Tag Archives: wine

December 2013 @Woopop Twitter Archive


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I'm supposed to Instagram my gourmet lunch, am I doing it right? #artisan


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A Christmas gift from Mom&Dad Swasta... More liquid gold from @IthacaBeer !
A Christmas gift from Mom&Dad Swasta... More liquid gold from @IthacaBeer !

Whirlwind Weekend!

And aren’t they all? This one kinda deserved more than just a 140-character twitter post, however. After bowing out early at Volleyball playoffs on Thursday night, work on Friday came and went before we hosted a shindig at our place Friday night. But not just any shindig, we had weekend guests! Carlo and his girlfriend Sumner came up from Virginia for the weekend to hang out and enjoy themselves some Upstate New York. Matt, Lisa and Ian came over for dinner as well, so we had a deckful on a beautiful night. Good times catching up with friends, who in both cases we haven’t seen often enough!

Saturday was our road trip day, and we gave Sumner the “Upstate in a nutshell” tour: Breakfast at Tim Horton’s, a stop at the RIT bookstore, then a Seneca Lake Wine Tour! We drove down to Glenora and worked our way back up the lake, and had a blast in the process. Besides the winery, we also stopped at the only Finger Lakes “Weinery”, R.E.D.’s Hots, which was damn good. Not quite a garbage plate, but we got close! After Fox Run, our last stop, we chilled at home for a bit, and then hit our next classic Rochester destination, MacGregors. Same as it ever was, good beers, good food! (Pork Triple Threat Sandwich, thank you! Pulled pork, sliced ham, bacon, and BBQ sauce on a cibatta roll. DAY-UM.) We tooled around the city for a little bit after that, winding through downtown, East End, Park Ave, etc. just to show off the sights. A full day to be sure!

Sunday was an easy morning, and for lunch the last Rochester landmark, DiBella’s. Carlo hadn’t seen the new Italian Market on Jefferson, so we blew his mind with that 🙂 We then sent Carlo and Sumner off on their way back to DC after a full enough weekend, but I wasn’t done yet… Rockstar Uproar Tour at Darien Lake with Pete and Jerry! Disturbed, A7X, Stone Sour, Halestorm, Hellyeah and a couple others. That review will be up shortly, but we did some tailgating, rocked ourselves out, and I got pretty close to the front of the side stage for Hellyeah, and caught a drumstick from the legendary Vinnie Paul! Got some big props from Hellyeah’s Tom Maxwell for sporting an old-school Nothingface shirt also, which made my day.

This morning I got to deconstruct the tournament from yesterday at work, so no workout needed today!

Nothing Finer Than Some Keuka Wine'r

Mini wine tours are always fun, and the one we took yesterday was cool for a couple reasons. We’d never done Keuka Lake, so it was exciting to go to wineries that we’ve never visited before. Secondly, going with Scott and his friend Dave was a blast because A) they’re a blast, B) they know what they’re talking about. The focus of the trip was McGregor’s, as Scott and Dave are club members. Another new experience (for me, anyway) was vertical tasting. And what a vertical tasting it was, five vintages of their unique Black Russian Red. ’99, ’00, ’06, ’07, and barrel samples of the ’08. Completely fascinating how the grapes and wine vary from year to year. Another part of the learning experience that I had no idea about, storing the wine upside down in the box so the cork soaks up the wine, and won’t dry-rot while you’re storing it. Sounds like something I should have known already, but hey!

Just down the road to our next stop, Ravines, where the winemaker expanded upon our cork knowledge by explaining that natural cork is still the way to go if you’re going to age the wines, and while he doesn’t use them, synthetic corks and screw caps are fine for wines you’ll be drinking right away. It’s all about the application I suppose!

Around the bottom end of the lake, and next stop was Heron Hill, where we easily had the most excitable host of the day, as evidence by the exclamation point on his nametag (Dave!), but he was also very knowledgeable. Dr. Frank’s was next, and we closed up our tour day with a stop at Hunt Country. I think Tiff and I have found some new favorite wines and wineries, and we’ll certainly do Keuka Lake again in the future.

Naturally, we were starving at this point, so we bid farewell to Dave, and the rest of us went to pig out at Papa Jack’s for dinner. Yeah, pig out. GARBAGE PLATE TIME. Totally hit the spot. Good plate too. The wine, combined with the plate, led to food-coma time when we got home (for me anyway). Conked out on the couch, and that was it for my night. Needless to say I’m a bit more refreshed this morning!

Cold, But I'm Still Here

(With apologies to Evans Blue…)

So the online presence has suffered a bit while we recovered from the holidays. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all of which were relatively slow days (I mean, see the monkey? He was chill.). 8 hours of holiday pay on New Years Eve, during the day, was nice. Not like anything goes on during the day anyway, revelry-wise. We kept the night low-key, Pat and Jodi came over for a ton of snacks, good beers, the USA-Canada World Juniors game, some Wii, board games, (oh yeah, the ball drop!), and we called it a night watching the South Park movie. After we awoke in the morning, we soldiered on with our now-annual New Years Day tradition of going to brunch at Cracker Barrel. We started this last year when Dave and Michaela stayed over and suggested it, and this year we continued with Pat, Jodi, Tiff and I meeting Dave and Michaela there for another old-fashioned American fill-your-face-fest. Dayyum!

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After we rolled out of there, Tiff and I came home and started to deconstruct the house a little bit. Putting gifts away, cleaning up, etc. In anticipation of my new computer parts arriving soon (Thanks Mom & Dad for the Newegg GC!), I swapped out the guts of my main rig into another case and re-installed Windows and some apps. (For those scoring at home, the main tower case in the basement is getting the new parts, the AthlonXP went into what used to be the server and now lives in the office, and the old server parts (a 1Ghz P3) are awaiting a case of their own, anyone got an empty ATX case they don’t care about?) All while watching the Winter Classic! Fenway was a great venue, and obviously the last five minutes were the best, but another good job by the league, and by USA Hockey to capitalize on the day by announcing the US Olympic team after the game. After dinner, we watched the Sabres come from behind on the Thrashers, and laid low.

Saturday was more decoration removal, and the start of our winter-time spring cleaning. Kinda went through a bunch of stuff and figured out what we don’t need. Ventured out in the afternoon to do a couple of returns, grab some lunch, and pick up some groceries. Tiff made Spiedies for dinner, we had some nice wine (and some not-so-nice wine!) and then watched one of Tiff’s movies that she received for Christmas. That being the horrifically-bad House IV. So bad it never made it to DVD. I fell asleep and missed all but the beginning and ending 10 minutes. Apparently I didn’t miss anything.

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Sunday I got up early to feed the cat, moved the Ethernet cable and access point from the swapped guest room to the new office, replaced an outlet, helped Tiff rearrange the kitchen, and kinda watched the Bills game. Picked up some other odds and ends, watched the Sabres game, shoveled the driveway, ate dinner, we folded a mountain of laundry, then watched most of the Jets-Bengals game. I thought I scored a sweet deal at Sears online on a snowblower, but it was too good to be true and the order got canceled before it even got out of the gate. Them’s the breaks I guess.

Back to work this morning, and my parts from Newegg arrived, so I’ll be putting most of the new rig together tonight, but I can’t finish because the power supply shipped from California instead and doesn’t get here until tomorrow. Bummer. It’ll look pretty, though! More on that when it’s together and up and running. Promise.

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My Girl Wants To Party All The Time

We had quite the weekend…

Tiff’s work Christmas party was Friday night; we had an excellent dinner at the Rabbit Room in Honeoye Falls, and had a great time with the KJT crew. We also had an after-party of sorts at the Masonic Lodge with poker, board games and the like. A very fun night.

Saturday we swapped the guest room and the office, as the old guest room was right over the garage, and as such was easily the coldest room in the house. We had to deconstruct the desk, take everything out of the bookcases, take down and reassemble the bed, and shuffle everything around. The new guest room was pretty much completed, and we laid out the big furniture in the new office, and left the rest in shambles until we get to it. I also moved the main PC down in the basement and sorta rearranged the “man-cave” a little. After all that, a little shopping, and then preparation for our little holiday shindig that we hosted Saturday night. We had a number of friends over, watched some hockey, played some board games, indulged in a little food, beer and wine (um, yeah, a little.), and overall had a great time. Thanks to all that came, brought something, ate something, drank some more, etc. Good times!

Needless to say, we had a late night, which makes for a late morning. A lot of lounging, a little errand-running, and a lot more lounging. Lazy Sunday indeed.

Wine and Brunch at the Castle

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Tiff and Rebecca taste some wine at Bellhurst Castle on Sunday… We met Rebecca and Joel (newly engaged as of New Years Eve, by the way!) for brunch and to hang out. Now that they’re in Ithaca to stay, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them!

Two Action Packed Weeks

As you can see, I’m back on the CD kick, as I’ve actually had some luck finding stuff used again. I’ve been trolling the three local FYE’s at the three malls, and they’ve been pretty good with both selection and even price-wise on their used stuff. (What? You thought I’d lost my mind (and my bank account) by buying new there? Puh-leeze!)

So what *else* have we been up to? Well, two weekends ago, Tiff had a big work weekend, so Saturday she did a lot of that, and then we hosted Matt, Lisa, Carlo, and Alyssa for some games. Sunday was football and more work for Tiff. I got the Ice Bowl tickets during the week, saw Finger Eleven at Water Street, had a roller hockey game, and then Friday night brought a party at Karen and Jeremy’s place. Grilling outside, a little beer pong, and some hardcore washers action. Jeremy made his own set, and they came out pretty well! Saturday saw the ladies going to Lisa’s place for a handmade jewelry party, while the guys all helped out Ahmad put up his new stockade fence. Well, we got there for the easy part, he already had the post holes dug, sunk the posts and the concrete was in. We just helped him put up the pre-made sections of fence, but hey, any excuse to have a couple beers and use some tools! (And destroy stuff with the tamper!!) We met back up with the girls for dinner at Beale Street, and then entertained Matt, Lisa, Karl and Kelley back at our place, chilling by the fire, and then inside for some TV.

Sunday we saw Karl and Kelley off, and Tiff and I had the day to ourselves, as it was our one year anniversary! We did our usual bumming around, and then had a very nice dinner together at Jojo, an “American Bistro”, in Pittsford. After our dinner, we stopped off at the famous Pittsford Wegmans to pick up some dessert, mainly as a fallback in case the year-old frozen wedding cake didn’t work out. And to no one’s surprise, it didn’t cut it. Well, it cut, and it looked okay, but tasted really really stale. We gave the cake it’s last rites, and busted out our Weggies brownies instead. Much better!

This week, I’ve had to get to work two hours early every morning, as we’ve had a mass renumbering project foisted upon us by the lottery. So over the course of this week, we’re resetting (RAM Clearing) every game on the floor, and assigning it a new device name for the network. It actually will make our lives easier, but right now, I’m cursing it! The OT however, is not bad. We have a fun weekend coming up, as Saturday we’re doing a wine tour with Tiff’s friend Michaela and her boyfriend, and then Sunday is the Naples Grape Festival. Never a dull moment this month, and next month is just as packed!

The Virginia Beach Recap

Friday – Since Carlo slept over, we were up at 7, and out the door by 8:45. We loaded the car, and Tiff barely had enough room in the back seat with Wizard. He got to ride on Tiff’s lap for the trip down to Horseheads, and he was fairly vocal about it. We made it to Horseheads without incident, and after dropping off the cat, we were able to rearrange the car and give Tiff a bit more room. We restarted our journey down Route 15, seeing a lot of PA, catching some Burger King for lunch, and then seeing a whole lot more of PA. Right about the time I wondered aloud “Where the hell does Pennsylvania end?”, we saw the sign saying “Welcome to Maryland”, and the free for all traffic began. Rt. 15 is still not a “highway” with controlled access, and as such is a 55mph zone. You wouldn’t know it though, as we were doing 75 and still getting passed. We hit 495, and then the real driving fun started. Changing lanes, weaving, you name it. Came up on 95, and missed the first entrance into the express lanes. Check that, the *only* entrance for the express lanes. So we got to look out the window like kids on a rainy day at all the traffic flying by us while we’re stuck in the collector lanes. Hello rush hour! Around 6pm we make it to our stopping point for the day, Fredericksburg, VA. Thanks to Hotwire, we got a great deal on a room at the Best Western. Well, one of the two Best Westerns that are equidistant on either side of 95 (read: a mile away). You can guess how we figured out there was two! Thankfully, our hotel was across the street from a shopping mecca called Central Park, so we had something to occupy ourselves at night, including Smokey Bones for dinner. We shopped a little and called it a night, in order to tackle the rest of the driving in the AM.

Saturday – We got back on the road, had pretty much smooth sailing (save for the 295 to 64 junction), and then rolled into Virginia Beach about 1pm, meeting up with Karl and Kelley. We grabbed some lunch at the first place we saw (Red Robin), and then had the fastest check-in process ever. Sandbridge had a drive-through check-in process where we didn’t even have to get out of the car! We got the keys, got to Diggity Dunes (the name of our house), and after the cleaning ladies got done with their thing, we finally got in the place. And what a nice place! The pool in the back, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and we’re right across the street from the ocean. The beach isn’t private, but it may as well be, because it’s certainly not crowded at all. Joel and Becca rolled in not long after. We had a “blow up the inflatable tubes” party, and hopped in the pool for awhile. After a series of phone calls, we got Adam here, and headed out to the Baja Restaurant for dinner, which is down at the end of the beach. Seafood pizza anyone?? After everyone was full, we got back to the house and did our usual sitting around, having some beverages. Karl and Kelley had to split a little early, so we didn’t have the pleasure of their company on Sunday.

Sunday – It was supposed to rain all day, but it only rained part of it. Nevertheless, this was our shopping day, we rocked some Panera for breakfast, then proceeded getting all the groceries at the infamous Food Lion. Wegmans it ain’t. We came back, and headed out to the beach! As became ritual, after the beach (since the ocean was so cold), we’d come back to the pool and actually go in the water for more than 5 minutes! Adam manned the grill for some marinated chicken, so we certainly ate well. We also went out for ice cream to Coldstone Creamery, which I guess is a chain, and while the ice cream was very good, it was kinda expensive, and that cost seemed to go to the “upscale” look and feel of the place. Eh, the sugar rush was still good! After that, we just kinda sat around the living room playing games, cards, or whatever. I think a puzzle got completed as well.

Monday – We really didn’t have anything planned for this day, and I happened to get up really early (like 6:15) so I took the opportunity to take a peaceful walk on the beach. I got back and ended up falling asleep on the couch for a bit. I had forgotten to bring reading material with me, so my mission on this day was to find a bookstore. Tiffany, Adam and Carlo came with me as we first explored Gen. Booth Bvld, which is one of the main drags in our part of town. We discovered (and stopped at) a Salvation Army thrift store, but came up empty. They did, however, have a shrinkwapped copy of the Canadian version of the Hip’s Music @ Work though, which I thought was mighty strange! Making our way north to the big shopping center, The Virginia Beach Town Center had a Barnes and Noble, which proved to be just the ticket. In true form, I picked up two hockey books I’ve had my eye on for awhile, those being Marty Brodeur’s book, Beyond The Crease, and also a book called The Rebel League, about “The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association”. I also grabbed a book that Giants QB-turned-broadcaster Phil Simms wrote in 2004 called Monday Morning Quarterback from the bargain bin. We got back in time to hit the beach, and then flip some burgers on the grill. I spent the evening on the porch with Adam just talking and watching the passerby before heading off to bed.

Tuesday – We got our beach on in the morning, because we had a plan for the early afternoon! We drove the 15 minutes to the tourist strip on Atlantic Ave, to see the boardwalk and all the touristy shops. The girls got their shopping on, we had lunch at a sitdown pizza restaurant called Dough Boy’s (with a cute Carlo-approved waitress!), and then more walking. Adam had to catch a flight back to Buffalo at 5pm, so we parted ways with him on Atlantic Ave, and continued on back to the house. Tiffany made us some awesome baked ziti for dinner, and then I demolished the Phil Simms book while Carlo and the girls worked on a puzzle, and we played some games.

Wednesday – Another do-whatever day, we hit Panera again for breakfast, but this time I took the laptop and used some free wireless to do a quick catch up on emails and stuff. Came back and started in on the WHA book, which was full of tidbits and things I’d never heard before. This was also the day that Matt and Elise arrived, and as soon as they got here and got settled, we headed out to the Tiki Seagrille & Bar for dinner, due to Joel and Tiff’s desire for the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet. The rest of us enjoyed our dishes as well, and then we came back for some fun and games, notably Catch Phrase. Yay Catch Phrase!

Thursday – Woke up and finished the WHA book, so I started in on the Brodeur one. He had a lot to say, and did so very candidly. I guess three Cups and two Vezina’s grant you that candidness. I think I have a bit more respect for Marty now, reading his thoughts on the NHL and the game in general. We then hit the Beach first, pool second. The crabs were out in full force on the beach! Poking their little heads out of the sand, peering out, and then either scurrying on the beach, or sinking back into their tunnels, they were fascinating to watch. Waited until about 4pm to hit the tourist strip again, to show Matt and Elise, and so Tiff and Becca could do a return trip to a couple shops. We came back, and Becca and Tiff put out a marvelous spread for tacos for dinner. So so full. We played a spirited game of Uno, had some dessert, and then did some reading and conversing.

Friday – Tiff, Joel and Becca hit the beach, Carlo, Matt and Elise went to the Aquarium, so being left to my own devices, I explored a little bit, going up and down Sandfiddler road to see the rest of the beach houses, including the one I stayed at the last time I was here. I also went to the shopping plaza, and went somewhere that I simply can’t go to at home. A Sonic drive-in! We see the commercials back home all the time, but we don’t have one close at all. It’s pretty much a fast-food joint, but you order from your car, and they bring the food out to you, in your car. Their breakfast burrito was damn good! I came back to find Tiff and Becca poolside, wine in hand. At noon! The girls kinda partied themselves out a bit too quickly and spent most of the afternoon sleeping it off. They revived themselves just in time for our BBQ chicken dinner on the grill, and then we headed out to play a round of mini-golf. Tiff, who was none the worse for wear, tied with Matt for the low score… Back to the house for a bit of nighttime fun in the pool and then the dreaded packing. Sleep came early, as did the next morning!

Saturday – We were up by 6am, had the car packed, and were out the door by 7:30. We were making excellent time, and decided to stop on the commercial strip on Rt 15 in Sellinsgrove, PA for some Wendy’s for lunch. Got back on the road, and since I missed the turn where US-11 splits from 15, we took 15 North instead of PA-147 and I-180 to get to Williamsport, which added about 15 minutes to our trip time. Tiff was going to call her parents to tell them of our delay, when she suddenly realized her phone was in her purse. Which was back at Wendy’s. 45 minutes away. After using my phone to call 411, and getting an operator that miraculously connected us to the Wendy’s (since at the time, we couldn’t remember the name of the town!) to verify that the purse was indeed there (thanks to the folks at the Sellinsgrove Wendy’s!!), we backtracked (down 180 this time!), got the purse (and got some Frosty’s!), and headed back for home again. We rolled into Horseheads about 6:45, scarfed down some pizza, picked up Wizard, and got home about 9:30.

We had a ton of fun on the trip, did a couple things, did a lot of nothing, and generally had a relaxing vacation! Hit the thumbnail below for the pictures!

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Boston Recap

Tiffany and I earmarked this past weekend for a visit to Boston, to drop in on Rebecca and Joel and make them tour guides. I think we succeeded! We were aided in our trip by Alyssa, who graciously house-sat and cat-sat for us for the weekend. Tiff and I got out of the house at 6:30am on Friday, and made the trip in about 6 hours, including all of the bathroom breaks for the both of us (hehe). We rolled into Somerville about 12:45, where Becca greeted us, and promptly turned us around and back out the door! We made our way to the T station, and Becca was nice enough to hook us up with Charlie Cards, which paid for our subway fares all weekend! Our first destination? Why, the Samuel Adams brewery, of course! Now, Tiff and Becca were already veterans of the tour, but considering you get free beer at the end of the tour, they weren’t disappointed in the least to go again. Granted, a brewery tour is a brewery tour, but it’s always cool to see how things are done. Unfortunately, they don’t do any bottling at this facility, so we didn’t get to see anything of that sort. Fortunately, they *do* perform all of their taste-testing, experimentation, and competition brewing there, so not only did we get to hear about those, at the end of the tour, during the taste-testing, we got to try an experimental Finnish-style beer called Sahti that probably won’t ever see mass production. I wasn’t terribly impressed, but hey, gotta try it! We also picked up a pair of the special Sam Adams “perfect” pint glasses in the gift shop, which are supposedly scientifically crafted to make Sam taste better than from a regular pint glass. Either way, they look cool, so I’m down with it! We also ran into two of Becca’s friends from school, Mahan and Dave, and hung out with them on the tour (which is why you see two other random guys in the pictures!).

After returning to Becca’s place from the brewery, we set out for Burlington, across town, to Joel’s place. We caught some dinner at On The Border (safe mexican!), and then came back to watch the Sabres beat the Rangers while getting some Euchre on. We headed back out for a nightcap to the Tanner Tavern in Woburn, which was a real nice bar/grille type place. Last call was at 11:45 though, we thought that was kinda odd, and the place was pretty much shutting down at midnight. Whatever. Came back to Joel’s and called it a night, to get ready for our big touristy day on Saturday.

After getting up, around, and catching breakfast, we drove downtown and started our day by catching the T to Fenway Park for a tour. Even though I’m not that big of a baseball fan, nor of the Red Sox, it was still cool to see one of the most storied ballparks in the country. The tour started from the Yawkey Way Souvenir Store across the street, led us up to the 2nd level grandstands, around to the top of the Green Monster, the oldest (and narrowest) seats in MLB, and then to the cafe-style seating out in right field. The views were spectacular, and the grass certainly is some of the greenest you’ll ever see.

We were approaching lunch time, so we jumped back on the T to get to Faneuil Hall, also known as the Quincy Market. This is a pretty big shopping area, with lots of little shops, and the Quincy Hall Colonnade, which is like a mall food court on crack. One long hall filled with different food stands. Tiff and I figured we had to go somewhere with local flavor, so Boston Chowda sounded like the place to go. She got (what else?) New England Clam Chowder, and I got a Haddock pot pie, which I was kinda skeptical about, but it ended up being awesome. We did some poking around in the shops, walked down to the Harbor to check out the ocean, and then made our way to Newberry Street, which is Boston’s shopping mecca. Tons of big and little shops line both sides of the street, and there’s some really high-end stuff to be had if that’s your game. The girls had a field day down there (thankfully didn’t break the bank!), and then the rain came. We ducked into a pub called Charley’s Eating and Drinking Saloon to catch a beer, and catch a break from the rain. We formulated our dinner plans, which called for heading to Boston’s North End, which is a run of Italian restaurants and cafes.

We got to the North End, and took our survey of all of the eaterys, settling on one called Il Villaggio Ristorante. Continuing our trend of amazing food during the weekend, everything we had was fantastic (Mushroom Ravioli FTW!). Barely leaving enough room for desert, we were implored to check out Mike’s Pastry, which is apparently legendary in the area. Must be, because the line was pretty damn long to order anything! We got some cannoli’s, Tiff got some tea cookies, Joel a peanut butter brownie, and we were on our way. Certainly needed the walk by that point to make sure dessert would fit! We got back to Joel’s place, and dove into the desserts, which were predictably great. Some more cards, more wine, and we called it a night after a full day.

But we weren’t quite done just yet. We trekked back to Becca’s place in the morning, and they took us to a place called Johnny D’s Uptown Restaurant and Music Club for brunch. What a brunch it was. Omlette, French Toast, oatmeal, and homefries. We practically rolled out of there! We said our goodbyes, and headed back for Rochester. The same six hour ride home, frantically trying to find the Sabres-Rangers game on the radio (which I did for awhile near Albany, and then picked up our stations on the west side of Syracuse), finally getting to hear the overtimes. We got back home and unpacked, and crashed on the couch. What a full, entertaining and exciting weekend for us! Big thanks to Becca and Joel for putting us up, putting up with us, and being gracious hosts! We’ll see you guys in about a month!

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