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ErikH2000
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I went to work for a new company. I used to work as a contractor for Webfoot Technologies, whose history is entwined with DROD's. A lot of you guys probably think that DROD is my main gig, but it doesn't actually pay all the bills. Maybe about one-fourth of the bills--we're slowly getting there. So my day job used to be coding stuff for Webfoot, then I switched over to this new day job, and it's been good. Maybe too good.

They doubled my paycheck from what I made before, and I'm now one of the better-paid software engineers in Seattle (according to some salary survey I read). They gave me back the near-mythical 40-hour workweek. Heck, people even chide me to go home if I stick around the office past six. I got health/dental/vision/life, 401k matching, stock options, floating holidays, paid vacation, flextime, transpo reimbursement. These are things you don't take for granted after three years of fending for yourself as a mercenary contractor. I'm set up on cool new projects that are amazingly free of stress. They issued me a brand new laptop and superdeluxe leather carrying case. And a plastic water bottle with the company logo printed on the side. Nice, eh?

I found myself being tempted away from the world of DROD and Caravel by this bright and shiny new place. Instead of thinking of some cool story idea for Beethro as I sipped on morning coffee, I'd think of some clever way to structure a distributed telematics application that might earn the favor of my new masters. When my DROD-designated time on the weekends came, I felt like somebody going to clean up a puddle of aisle-five vomit. My inbox was always filled with twenty or forty messages that needed attention, carefully marked by my color-coded system of "Reply", "Action", or "Wait". By the time I finished clearing up five or six of the more important e-mails, maybe half of my allotted DROD time had evaporated. You'd think it wouldn't take long to answer e-mails, but they often have tasks associated with them like looking up wire transfer information, writing a royalty report, or reproducing a CaravelNet login problem. And just as I started getting to whatever substantial task I had promised myself I'd complete, my lovely wife would announce that dinner was ready. This is the agreed-upon event that signals the end of my DROD time for the day. If I push past this deadline, I've got other problems to deal with, believe me.

Contrast that unsatisfying day of half-assed DROD progress with a day at the new job, where, at least currently, I am conquering every problem with reckless ease. And other employees handle boring tasks like marketing, technical support, and accounts receivable for me. Can you blame me if I've had moments where I considered the benefits of a DROD-less life?

Feeling the need to alleviate my new cubicle home of its drabness, I affixed a massive print of The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Hieronymous Bosch. It is a complicated scene full of symbols and surrealism. After studying the newly hung piece closely for the first time, I saw my selection was wonderfully appropriate.

images of the painting and further explanation

Saint Anthony and Saint Erik both began with a conviction to stay true to their chosen path. Saint Anthony was committed to the virtues of personal and solitary worship of God. Saint Erik is committed to the perhaps less-lofty secular goal of making his own games. Saint Anthony, I've heard, was tempted by food and flesh, power and politics, and in the classical sense of the word "temptation", the mental and physical torture of demons. Noble Saint Erik, on the other hand, was tempted by stock options and logo-inscribed water bottles. So whenever I see Saint Anthony's troubled head turn away from the stark crucifix to gaze on a more colorful and distracting world around him, I will think of my own chosen burden.

Situations like mine have to be observed from a few steps back. I could merely gauge how I feel at any given moment or day or week and move towards those things that make me feel better. In that case, I'll just ditch all this silly DROD stuff and get busy building the comfortable structures of sloth and mediocrity. And then, some years later, the regrets of lost opportunities will catch up with me, generating a lot of pathetic midlifey whining that nobody wants to hear. I know that I love making grids and dropping funny little creatures and obstacles on them. I love telling stories. I love watching you all squirm and twist inside a world of puzzles. So if I get momentarily tired of something I've worked on for over a decade, so what? I've been tired many times before. It passed.

Bite-Sized Holds

Today, I don't feel tired. Mike Rimer is helping me by answering support issues, so that has something to do with it. Matt Cramp is helping me by running this month's contest. And honestly, it's a good thing he is, because we needed a proper DROD contest after my two off-DROD contests. The next contest I had ready also had nothing to do with DROD, so that would have made three in a row. Matt's "Holds Al Dente" architect-oriented contest breaks the run. Besides providing a nice creative competition, the contest will also generate a collection of holds that can be casually enjoyed inside of one hour.

Who can enter this contest? You can. Believe it.

Contest info

Mike Was Right

At the beginning of 2006, my business partner, Mike Rimer, said, "Let's do three Smitemaster's Selections this year. Let's take a quarter off to release DROD: The City Beneath." And in completionist spirit, I argued we should do four instead. But you know, it is fall now, and I'm a couple months late on the summer issue. I can either play catch up on Smitemaster's Selection or join the rest of the team that is patiently waiting for my help in finishing DROD: The City Beneath. Mike was right, and I'm going to do something that will make nearly everyone happy at the expense of some of my credibility.

The summer and fall issues will be combined into one issue. Or to put it differently, we will skip the fall issue, and just call the late summer issue "2006 Summer/Fall Smitemaster's Selection". Then presto! ...I will suddenly be caught up with Smitemaster's Selections and can get back to DROD: The City Beneath.

I anticipate some obvious objections:

"I have a CaravelNet membership. I'm supposed to get four Smitemaster's Selections! This way I'd just get three!"

Everyone with an active CaravelNet membership will be given a downloadable Smitemaster's Selection credit before the end of October. So in addition to getting the holds that are released during the duration of your membership, you will also have an extra credit you can use at any time to get a Smitemaster's Selection download from our website. You can use this even after your CaravelNet membership has lapsed. And you can choose to obtain any released Smitemaster's Selection, including ones released previous to your membership.

"I have Smitemaster's Selection CDs coming to me as part of a subscription order. Will I get one less now?"

No way. You still get the same number of issues on CD coming to you, but between now and the end of the year, you will receive just one instead of two. If you have more than one CD owed to you in your subscription, then those will come next year. As a bonus to get back on your good side, I am planning to include a mini-poster with your CD in the next shipped order. It will be a larger version of the artwork that appears on the front cover of the jewel case.

"I'm still not happy!"

If anyone feels bait-and-switched, hornswoggled, or just mildly dissatisfied with the situation, you can receive a no-questions-asked refund on a CaravelNet membership or Smitemaster's Selection CD subscription. Just send me an e-mail that includes the full name from your order, CaravelNet account name, and a statement that you would like a refund for your CaravelNet membership or Smitemaster's Selection CD subscription. For CaravelNet memberships, I will refund the current year's membership fee ($12). For Smitemaster's Selection CD subscriptions, I will refund a pro-rated amount for any CDs you have yet to receive. You don't have to explain yourelf; just ask for the refund if you want it, and you will get it. I will do my best to make everyone happy.

So that's the plan. You guys want the bar to grow faster so you can be playing TCB sooner. This will do that.

Techant is a Girl

It's a little sad that our female members on the board are so few that whenever we identify one it seems like some kind of event. Not to put on some sappy display of geek chivalry for members of the opposite sex, but I think its great to have some ladies around. Is it my imagination, or do Techant, Elfstone, and Bunches civilize the place just a bit?

Anyhow, here's what I like about Techant: She gets involved in pretty much every contest, although I don't want to put too much pressure on her to continue her 21-contest streak. And her contest attitude is always sporting--it doesn't matter terrifically to her whether she wins or not, despite her enthusiasm. She often says nice and encouraging things on the forum, and is generally a strong positive influence here. And then there's that cool picture of the Ant Nebula in her sig. I hope Techant stays with us for a long time. It's definitely a better community with her here.

I can't remember Techant recently asking me for anything, so that makes her eligible for a "Don't Ask" award. She deserves one, of course, so let's give it to her! Techant will receive 1000 mod points and access to the in-game DROD marquee to use for sending one message of her choice. She can use that bullhorn sooner or later--it doesn't matter. Techant, just e-mail me with your message choice when you feel like it.

Topic Picks for October

Summarizing the more interesting topics of our forum for you is a mighty task. Are you at least grateful?

A Real TCB Leak, Really
Something cool Eytan wrote about TCB. It gives some strong indications.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=12284

Patron Saint of Lost Items
Not even Saint Anthony can help the campers of Virtual Burning Man who have fallen victim to a possession-scattering dust storm.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=11989

Build Your Own Daddy Long Legs
NiroZ wants you to make a spider for DROD. It’s a contest!
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=12240

Subsummarization of Contests and Games
Rabscuttle earned himself a stickypost. Check out the topmost view of games and contests on the forum.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=8850

Tar Versus Mud
Can a centuries-old argument be settled with a cheap little internet poll?
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=12263

Ice Island, Seasons, The Dancers
These are all the new holds (level collections) that have been released since the last newsletter. Elfstone and Andy101 released their first holds. Gas released his second. All three are rated favorably.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewboard.php?BoardID=11

Cavern Redux
Chaco is at it again with his engine 2.0 remix of the purply Cavern theme from Architects’ Edition.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=12248

When Beethro Swears
A discussion on the various words and phrases Beethro utters when he stubs his toe.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=12224

Virtual Katamari
There is still time to join this game before somebody attaches the entire planet Earth to a growing, infinitely sticky object.
http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewtopic.php?TopicID=12252

Enjoy yourselves!

-Erik

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[Last edited by ErikH2000 at 10-09-2006 04:49 AM]
10-09-2006 at 01:34 AM
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UrAvgAzn
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Congratulations Techant! Keep that contest streak going!

Keep posting,

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10-09-2006 at 01:42 AM
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Chaco
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Nice going Techant. I'll be waiting for that message. :)

Erik, that's a sad and touching story. While I can admit that I may not fully understand it in the way you do, I can say that I can see your dilemma here.

And, also, I will publicly say that my style is not as high quality as the three included styles. Whoever did those (Erik?) did a really good job, and I can see that all the better now that I've tried. Seriously, it's tough to make a pile of skulls look good; I didn't even try.

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10-09-2006 at 01:48 AM
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Ezlo
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Bunches makes things more civilized? :lol



That's a good joke Erik!
10-09-2006 at 02:11 AM
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Bunches
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
Is it my imagination, or do Techant, Elfstone, and Bunches civilize the place just a bit?


:huh I civilize the forum? Please tell me you're joking! I laughed until I cried. That was the funniest thing I've heard today!
10-09-2006 at 02:16 AM
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eytanz
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I think Erik needs to visit your Burning Man campsite (pre-storm) :)

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10-09-2006 at 02:20 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Bunches wrote:
quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
Is it my imagination, or do Techant, Elfstone, and Bunches civilize the place just a bit?


:huh I civilize the forum? Please tell me you're joking! I laughed until I cried. That was the funniest thing I've heard today!

Well, maybe it was just my imagination, then. We would have to do some scientific tests with you on the forum and then not on the forum, and see when it is more civilized or not. Also, I guess it depends how you define "civilization".

-Erik

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10-09-2006 at 02:36 AM
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zex20913
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Whenever I hear the word civilized (or civilised), I always think of Charles Barkley in a pith helmet, talking about deoderant. It was a silly commercial from about 8 years ago, but it stuck with me.

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10-09-2006 at 03:07 AM
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Ezlo
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So when should we expect the summer/fall SmS? I check several times a day! :smile
10-09-2006 at 04:00 AM
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
Everyone with an active CaravelNet membership will be given a downloadable Smitemaster's Selection credit before the end of October.
As of right now, this has been done. Everyone with a current CaravelNet subscription now has a credit for a downloadable SS. If you go here, you should see it. If you think you should have a credit but you don't, let me know and I'll look into it.

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10-09-2006 at 04:11 AM
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
Besides providing a nice creative competition, the contest will also generate a collection of holds that can be casually enjoyed inside of one hour.



Oh fie! Putting my super-secret ulterior motives all over the interwebs!

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10-09-2006 at 11:09 AM
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Drgamer
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And the leak link is here...
10-09-2006 at 01:09 PM
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quote:
At the beginning of 2006, my business partner, Mike Rimer, said, "Let's do three Smitemaster's Selections this year. Let's take a quarter off to release DROD: The City Beneath."

Ooh - does this mean an early 2007 TCB release? Happiness! :thumbsup

Seriously, Erik, take your time if the boring stuff's starting to get to you. We'd much rather you drop an SmS than drop out of DROD entirely!

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10-09-2006 at 01:38 PM
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Hikari
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If we already have all the SmS holds up to now and don't plan on letting our CN subscriptions lapse, can we use the download credit to get a discount on TCB when it comes out? :D

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10-09-2006 at 07:21 PM
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Tim
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quote:
ErikH2000 wrote:
I went to work for a new company.[...]

They doubled my paycheck from what I made before [...]

Contrast that unsatisfying day of half-assed DROD progress with a day at the new job, where, at least currently, I am conquering every problem with reckless ease. And other employees handle boring tasks like marketing, technical support, and accounts receivable for me. Can you blame me if I've had moments where I considered the benefits of a DROD-less life?
I'm wondering... Should I congratulate you on this, or not?
10-09-2006 at 09:00 PM
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Jatopian
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Excuse me while I step out of your crowd of admirers. It's not that I don't share their sentiments; you're just an excellent target for lightning bolts on that golden high horse of yours. :P
It seems as though the 'invisible demons of the mundane' you once shook your fist at (from JtRH afterword) have realized that one catches more flies with money than with vinegar.
quote:
ErikH2000 wrote: But you know, it is fall now, and I'm a couple months late on the summer issue. I can either play catch up on Smitemaster's Selection or join the rest of the team that is patiently waiting for my help in finishing DROD: The City Beneath.
Couldn't you release Smitemastery 101? I thought it was mainly finished, unless the voice acting isn't done.
quote:
Not to put on some sappy display of geek chivalry for members of the opposite sex, but I think its great to have some ladies around. Is it my imagination, or do Techant, Elfstone, and Bunches civilize the place just a bit?
It's nice to have a bit of balance, but I agree that chivalry isn't the way to express that. I've always thought it slightly sexist (less severely so than in days of yore - yay societal progress). And I remember the forum being civilized before Bunches & Elfstone (techant's a special case). But again, their presence is appreciated and I don't mean to offend.

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 10-09-2006 11:19 PM : smiley]
10-09-2006 at 11:13 PM
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Chaco
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I believe kie is also a female, and a somewhat active one at that.

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10-09-2006 at 11:20 PM
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schep
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So does the link to eytanz' leak count as the leak that was promised in the previous Illumination, or is there still some point to checking that post once in a while?
10-09-2006 at 11:33 PM
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eytanz
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quote:
Jatopian wrote:
Couldn't you release Smitemastery 101? I thought it was mainly finished, unless the voice acting isn't done.


Voice acting isn't done.


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10-10-2006 at 02:39 AM
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ErikH2000
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quote:
Jatopian wrote:
Couldn't you release Smitemastery 101? I thought it was mainly finished, unless the voice acting isn't done.

I don't want to give people a slimmed-down issue only containing Smitemastery 101. That would be baiting and switching.

-Erik

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10-10-2006 at 03:21 AM
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Wow, I just got to find out I had gotten all these nice comments. Wow again. :D

I think everyone here for the most part tries to be nice to one another that is one reason I like to hang around.

I couldn't tell if I wanted to feel sorry for you Erik or envious :look Well since envious is wrong I will choose empathy. I am self employee and know how good it feels to have the constant income and also how much it can drain your motivation and distract you from the more tedious stuff. I think you are making a good decision to cut back but not give up.

In my experience when you run your own thing you have dry spells where it is just work and you wish is was fun again. You've done this a long time you know the fun will come again and your creative juices will flow again, give it time.

And as a women who is also a wife of a guy with his own, what do I call it, thing passion calling hobby organization it is all of those and more for both of you it seem, anyway as that women I have this advice:
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Thanks again for all the hard work you put into this place! I do plan to keep up my contest streak it is just too much fun to stop now, I already have my 'Holds Al Dente' entry almost done. Finally a hold contest where the harest is not the bestest :fun

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10-10-2006 at 08:46 AM
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poo. I checked the HR manifest here at my company, no Mr Hermansen.
He seemed to describe my company almost to a tee, but I guess a lot of Seattle places have similar benefits and such.


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10-10-2006 at 11:02 AM
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quote:
silver wrote:
poo. I checked the HR manifest here at my company, no Mr Hermansen.
He seemed to describe my company almost to a tee, but I guess a lot of Seattle places have similar benefits and such.



I have found seven Mr Hermansens at my company, but alas, no Eriks.
10-10-2006 at 11:25 AM
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quote:
Stephen4Louise wrote:
quote:
silver wrote:
poo. I checked the HR manifest here at my company, no Mr Hermansen.
He seemed to describe my company almost to a tee, but I guess a lot of Seattle places have similar benefits and such.



I have found seven Mr Hermansens at my company, but alas, no Eriks.

You could try looking for Erik's alternate name, Kire. I believe that there may be some left-over thugs still floating around, so Erik may have had to change his name to avoid being discovered when he sneaks out of the basement.

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10-10-2006 at 11:35 AM
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John259
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Perhaps you should check whether there any Mr Budkin's working for your companies? - John

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10-10-2006 at 01:39 PM
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John259 wrote:
Perhaps you should check whether there any Mr Budkin's working for your companies? - John

Nah - that would be far too obvious. The Smitemasters' guild would be on this Mr. Budkin in a flash, complaining about why he wasn't exterminating dungeons.

Actually, if it was an "Erik Budkin", he'd probably get away with it; I doubt there are many Eriks on the Eighth.

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10-10-2006 at 04:20 PM
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Chaco
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Actually, Google says there are actually infamous people with the Budkin surname - these seem to be Russian people.

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[Last edited by Chaco at 10-10-2006 07:48 PM]
10-10-2006 at 07:47 PM
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Back on topic, I forgot: Will there be pre-ordering for TCB? I can't get it for Xmas if it's out in early 2007...
Will the system requirements be posted? I've got an old computer and if those have increased I might not be able to run it.

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10-11-2006 at 12:08 AM
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Rabscuttle
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icon Re: The Temptation of Saint Erik (+1)  
What we should do is get Erik a DROD water bottle.
10-11-2006 at 12:32 AM
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coppro
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icon Re: The Temptation of Saint Erik (0)  
From all the info we've been given so far, I suspect it will be out by then.
10-11-2006 at 12:57 AM
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