03rd Jul2012

Sweet

by Dorothy

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Simplicity is Sweet.

100% galaxy noted.

20th Apr2012

Which Draw Something Player are you?

by Dorothy

Its been some time since I played DrawSomething though I can’t deny I was utterly hooked when it came out. Because that’s what happens when you have a huge phone that comes with a stylus. But then it became less intriguing when I started to guess the answers even before the drawings were completed, like how a single orange line could symoblize TheLorax, for example. There are also so many Furbies, Pegasuses and Lady Gagas one can draw before it all becomes rather cliche… well you get the drift.

So, I was pretty happy to see some new features being added, even with the FB acquisition of Instagram kind of overshadowing the original news of “Omgpop being swallowed up for a cool reported 210 billion(!!!)” but the rest of us mere mortals are still trying to keep up being drawsome and earning enough tokens for yet another colour palette.

 

So here goes…the various types of DrawSomething players and their psyche.

The Psychic – can guess what you are drawing with two strokes.

Clueless– The opposite of the psychic. “I have no idea what you just drew dude, and it looks like you’re done with your drawing. Great” or ” How is what you drew even remotely resembling a (insert phrase to be guessed here)??”. Amusement usually ensues, after you have to resort to playing the game like Anagrams because then it’s either give up (but that word doesn’t exist in your vocabulary, does it?) or make wild guesses with the letters.

Cautious Guesser – Wont try to guess without (near) perfect information, i.e The One That Doesn’t Guess Till You Finish Drawing, even though after 3 strokes it was pretty apparent that what you were drawing was totally BritneySpears. Either really patient, or totally risk averse.

The Cheater– unabashedly writes out the phrase to be guessed.

Anyhow Whack – Guessing by wildly filling in letter tiles, and completely missing the point. Your drawing doesn’t matter because they’re just looking at the alphabets anyway. These are the people who should be playing Scrabble, Anagrams or Hangman, really.

MMOminus-the-RPG – Just Involved In Too Many Games At Once. You might have to wait till 2014 before they click on your game again.

The Messenger– (well at this time of observation, DrawSomething was still sans chat function) So there were the people who wrote you a message first on their blank canvas before flipping the digital page to start a drawing proper.

The Crowdsourcer – Posting SOS images on their Facebook when they can’t figure out what on earth the drawing is about.

Crab – Has phone orientaion on crab mode or something. Some people’s pictures just come out sideways. Seems to be something to do with the iPhone, I could be mistaken.

ColourCrazy – Absolutely intent on earning as much coins as possible to get all the available hues possible; ends up not using half of them anyway.

Intensely overkill & spoil market – Drawing a Monet with your phome while the majority of mere mortals stickman away. This tumblr shows it all. Some are pretty good.

The Chronic Mis-speller – Always places that one tile wrong. That one misplaced tile away from perfect spelling.

Spread Spelling – For some reason, fills up the tiles from the middle, instead of spelling the word from left to right. I’m not sure why but it’s interesting to note.

I Don’t Have a Phone That Supports The Game – I feel for you. I’ve had App Envy pre-iPhone/Smartphone days too.

The Late Adopter – Drawn into the game (pun totally intended) only because everyone at brunch seems to be playing it.

I suppose there could be a whole lot more profiles, so leave a note if you have anything to add!

30th Nov2011

New York in an Almost Year

by Dorothy

Random quick bits about thoughts and The City from Q1-3:

I guess there is a certain vibe, a certain stigma about New York City. It’s a city on overdrive and it will and can fry your senses if you’re not careful. Mentally, physically, literally, metaphorically.

The city is a curious mix of architecture marvels with history and people. From the eco friendly Hearst Tower, the dimly lit chanderliered entrance of the Royal Palace Hotel, eclectic little shops in Soho and the Lower East Side to the rather sterile concrete buildings of Wall street. The Brooklyn Flea houses a collection of quirky little trinkets and items, and itself is housed in a stately building that was converted from a bank; a stark dichotomy.

Graffiti here is spontaneous and in the oddest of places, narrow subway underground tunnels the top of buildings, each a defiant testament to the people who claimed the space as their own. Not in a tightly controlled environment where a canvas is laid out in front of a curious audience. Like at the Night-festival in Singapore, anyone? Cough. I think that defeats the purpose of it. Don’t think the organizers understood the essence behind graffiti. The only people who should see graffiti being created should be the artists and their friends. Watching it appear in front of you, in a space dictated with crowds of curious spectators watching, with no element of risk, danger or mystery as expected just takes away the soul and experience of it.

I could do a photo series entitled subway trash of still lives – even the trash here somehow manages to look like a still-frame out of a movie.

Ben Stiller walked past us one weekend morning, apparently.

The size of rats vary with the parts of the city – the big black mean ones reside in Manhattan; small furry ones are found on the outskirts. The friendly mouse looking ones live in the Jersey PATH trains. 🙂

If you are anticipating a long subway commute, you probably want to switch your iPhone off while underground if you don’t want to find your batttery at 60 % even before the day has started. Why there has been no serious motion to actually get reception that works well underground or even in various buildings is beyond me. It is kind of like the weekend commute, when basically, the best thing is to expect nothing out of the subway reliability.

Sirens are your lullabies. You grow accustomed to it. The police and fire engines are just, everywhere.

Phones are socially taboo (at least it seems so at most eating spots) or maybe it’s a function of the crazy bad reception. People are engaged with each other here, and with time being such a precious commodity, one notices that cellphones are hardly the focus and the ones whom you meet grant you their attention, for choosing to spend the time.

Colours do not exist in the NYC fashion palette in winter. Everyone wears black black and more black even though the racks have a staple of black, white, red and the occasional electric blue. Who dictated that fashion has to mirror the season? Even within the line at JFK, I was standing out in a bright and (too) happy red.

Unaccustomed to the landscape so distinctly mirroring the seasons, visual cues start to hint to me the arrival of spring. Lighter coats, rain boots, slight colours, (short) skirts. People complain about the heat but hardly ever about the skirts. Do they not see the necessity of the former for the latter to materialize? Thank goodness for the cheeriness of Summer.

The city is edgy, fast paced, if that is your type of fun. Small enclaves of communities exist and in time, I intend to explore these when I’ve gotten my wings fixed. Sometimes the cashier mistakes me for Korean and rattles musically about the items I’m ringing up until I give a polite “I don’t understand you” in English. At other times Korean guys remark really loudly “a Chinese” as I’m trying to get up the steps to dinner in Ktown. I am unsure of the correct response to this so I do nothing save roll my eyes. Ethnicity seems to be a topic of conversation with random people taking bets as to whether you are Korean or Chinese in the most random of places.

Definitely pay more attention to your Chinese lessons if you are still in school, especially if you want to order take out from Ctown. Actually, make that if you want to order food in general. D:

Outside of the tourist belt, there are hardly any children, teenagers or too many old folk. Everyone seems to float around the college age to the young working professionals. And then there are the others, who seem to have decided that being perpetually in Peter Pan mode is their thing. Over 45 and still living like recklessly 25 is just a little creepy. Just sayin’.

There is also the distinction between “the tourists” and “New Yorkers”. Tourists are roadblocks, the grown up children who still find delight in every cranny of the New York environment. New Yorkers are past that – police road blocks and a barrage of media vans and satellite for Osama’s capture or “that IMF guy” being held in an undisclosed location in lower Manhattan? Just part of everyday life, now will you please, not hog the sidewalk so I can get to my cup of coffee/work/you get the idea? Your local news is global here. Something is always happening; somewhere.

I love how people actually care about stuff here.
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Photobucket Chivary is alive and well in the city because here is nothing more odd in their senses for a girl to be carrying a shelf on the streets.  People have also been awfully kind to help me move my furniture that I got from them, so maybe I have just been lucky so far. You can get quite a lot out of a conversation in the 30 minutes while moving your desk. So awfully DIY, but just one of those things you do before you succumb to the instant gratification that is Amazon. On an aside, if one ever contemplated never ever having to leave your house, Amazon could fulfill all your hermit aspirations.

Door holding is nice and I hardly get any slammed in my face if I am within close proximity. Anyone who has tried to get into a lift in SG with plently of space, only to have the door closed on you because everyone was too apathetic to press the Open Button will understand this. It’s the little things that count.

What’s better than holding the subway door seconds just before it closes, is having two young teenage guys hold it open for you, upon seeing your approach and not even missing a beat in their conversation rhythm. Equally heartening is having a random stranger call out to you when you are at the far end of a corridor which only leads to an elevator, just so they can wait for you to enter.

Well, obviously there are rude people as well, but perhaps the word is not so much of rude than brash.
Weather is a huge factor here because it dictates your life. It’s the first time weather reports are actually accurate or important. The coats change with the seasons, and rain coming horizontally at you renders normal umbrellas useless. Let’s not even talk about the winds.

Things will go on even if it rains. At the Rooftop films, the organizers quipped that “We’re tough , we’re New Yorkers”, and the show went on. Seats were kept and folded after the show by each member of the audience, ” just so a lot of us can get out there faster”.

PhotobucketThe weather is unapologetically capricious and erratic – winter seemed never ending with the fresh white snow quickly morphing into black piles of slush. There was a brief dalliance with spring and upturned umbrellas. People marginally freaked out over the earthquake aftershocks. Hurricane Irene brought the City to a standstill whilst everyone went stir crazy being confined indoors. Coming from a country with NO natural disasters, you realize you have no clue what to actually do, but you get by. It snowed in Autumn and this surprised the trees in Central Park and many of them broke under the weight.

 

 

It seems counter intuitive to find contentment in a restless city, but that’s what New York can offer you, amongst a whole lot of other things. Transience is the only staple. The city has a routine of constant change, and possibilities in anything you believe in, if, of course, you search it out. Or maybe it might find you instead.

 

The City will speak to you, if you listen to it. The same City, but somehow in a different language for everyone.

 

^ And more photos, only because they remind…

22nd May2011

Emulate me.

by Dorothy

Landed at the login page of Twitter today (one of the rare moments when I’m not on a third party platform) and decided it looks uncannily like an older version of the Facebook login page from the placement of the various elements to the world map in the background.

Imitation, is the best form of flattery, I suppose. Just one of those random afternoon musings.

27th Feb2011

Apple Fresh

by Dorothy
When an iconic brand has a new launch, one just gets curious and does a pilgrimage just to get a glimpse.

Mad crowds at the 5th Ave Apple store which kind of contrasts nicely with the minimalistic store design.

View from across the street:

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Looks the same but apparently with better technology, so. This design doesn’t really speak to me so hopefully next round it changes. I was watching this kid (he must have been about 10) check his Facebook account at the store. At least, I hope that was his account! Hilarity usually ensues when people forget to log off their social networks on public terminals.

On a random note, everything in this post was created on an Apple. It’s my camera, Photoshop, writer, everything!

It’s tragical I’m in NYC without a compact camera because I -thought- an iPhone would suffice. The cold has made any photo ops without gloves mostly difficult and I am pleased to report that you can really use your nose to unlock/operate the iPhone as was suggested to me. Laughing fits kind of affect the results though. Because race and gender issues are more salient here, I also suppose this would work better if one had a sharper nose. Just sayin’. 🙂

15th Feb2011

Social Media Week – New York; Musings.

by Dorothy

I’ve touched down right smack before Social Media Week New York starts. Jet lag could not keep me away from this. The cold at night, unfortunately occasionally won.

Too many good sessions, too little time, coupled with an inability to divide and clone oneself meant that one had to be selective about the entire week’s events in New York. The level of discussion was amazing, and listening to people who were really into what they did is always highly inspirational.

 

Several themes that surfaced across various talks that were of interest:

 

1. Culture & Digital Identities:

  • Don’t confuse Anonymity with Privacy
  • Mentions of the shift from hiding behind avatars, even in traditionally privacy obsessed cultures such as Japan
  • The question of the impact of culture on adoption?

I love how bits of culture still filter through online. As interactions become increasingly digital, there must be some discount to the 30-70% rule that body language contributes predominantly to non verbal communication. In my work, having a feel of the various digital conversations on the ground also helps – I’ve noticed that posts from India tend to be 2-3 times longer than other regions. Some social media landscapes are much more politically charged than others. We’ve found that there might be higher levels of sarcasm in certain markets than others. A huge bulk of Singaporean netizens might not haVe ReAchEd ThE sAMe MatUriTy LevEl of otheR PlacEs WorXX.~ (Note to self: If someone types like that to you. Run. Do not hesitate.)

Purely digital text conversation is full of nuances. How people behave and participate online is full of nuances. There is all this talk about digital plumage and how people create their identities online, and even how responses might vary to different avatars online (important for all those customer service folk). It’s been 2 years, I am still interested in how research in this field is developing.

The question posed was then, How can brands help people shape their identities, and share? Those who successfully tap into this would become part of the conversation, gain valuable mind space in this attention driven economy.

Another aspect of culture to take note of – organizational culture. Social media empowers a small number of people to change the culture of an entire organization. Like most change, time is needed, but now, all the tools are at your disposal. This is equally fascinating to me about how a dominant culture usually permeates those from a particular organization.

 

2. A Time Sensitive Idea Economy

One interesting thing about cloning was raised, about how the USA could learn from Chinese innovations. A mature culture will equate to more innovation, and it will not be the first time that copy and paste culture exists.

3. Platforms

 

  • Birth of Hyper relevance- Opengraph, the semantic web. Location based advertising and marketing.
  • Facebook positioning as a company to power the next generation of web.
  • Question: Who’s going to be the open graph of China? Since Facebook is not in china. Ans: Localized versions of Chinese platforms? They have the money and resources.

 

4.  Infrastructure, Government & Politics

Big Government and politics also constantly surfaced.  How people used social media to organize themselves in times of unrest.

  • Social media is now permeating up especially where government is concerned
  • Freedom of Speech – With the law finally catching on to the game and laying down the rules, I’m really not too sure of the extent of this anymore.
  • When mobile lines are cut, should an internet “kill switch” actually exist?
  • When platforms like Twitter are blocked – How to use other tools to mobilize people?

 

We heard first person accounts of how some used public phones to stay anonymous, when the sharing of information became their daily goal when dealing with the situation unfolding in Egypt then.

Infrastructure always plays a huge role in communications (do not get me started about the lack of reception underground in the MTA subways.)

  • In India, even the roadside florists are implementing mobile orders for their businesses. Free Wifi is increasingly common.
  • The Delhi Traffic Police Facebook Fanpage allows citizens to upload traffic offences (hopefully the posters were not committing one themselves when documenting this.)

….and many have never even gone to school.

 

Interesting discussions & amazing people aside, this should be the beginning of a good trip.

 

And now, allow me to indulge in some #iphoneography.

Hues of the Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

 

Iconic.

NYC,Times Square

 

Advertisement v.s Consumer Sentiments:

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Horses @ Central Park

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Flag.

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NYSE; Wall Street.

new york,NYC

 

 

26th Dec2010

Mobile shops

by Dorothy
Cool concept shops appearing around orchard. Part art installation, part commercial. The transient nature of this only makes it more special.

04th Nov2010

iLike ; iLight Marina Bay

by Dorothy

It’s been quite some time since any exhibit in Singapore caught my eye, but I’ll have to say that the iLight Marina Bay installations definitely piqued my interest. I made it to each and every one of the 25 pieces of creativity and loved it!

I had the pleasure of running into Mary-Anne, who’s the festival director, all the way from Bondi and she shared some behind the scenes snippets of everything. It’s pretty interesting how she highlighted the need for entrance fees to a lot of the exhibits and events in Singapore – maybe this differs quite a bit from other places? Never quite noticed it, tbh.

She also spoke about soul, and passion (or perhaps the lack thereof in some situations), something that I had to agree with her. Sometimes things can get a little too clinical, too restrained around here. Until the generation learns, we’ve just got to live with it I guess. I constantly miss the ease that one can strike up a random conversation overseas, small talk, and all that jazz.

Sustainability was another thing – Fullterton had been supposed to turn of the lights to offset the energy usage from all of the installations, but somehow this wasn’t happening <?>. Pity, because the initiative definitely had a good intent. Even the paper fans that were distributed, on “paper from sustainable forest sources”.

I loved how there seemed to be a mixture of planned and unplanned interactions going on. There were some workshops at One Fullterton, where people were apparently turning plastic bottles into art. Photography buffs with their tripod and camera gear all around, snapping away. Curious gazers who just happened to wander in – the families, the couples, the accidental tourists on their own home turf, those experimenting with the technology capturing and projecting their images in a mosiac pattern on the screen….

Love the iphone App loading image too! I love the sketchy style and the mood of it, and the little plays of light. This proved really useful when trying to navigate through and planning the exploratory route. 🙂

You can check out more info here. I believe there are guided tours for those who want some directions, else its really much more fun if you take your own time to explore the area and just enjoy the scenery, literally.

Apart from mistaking another light installation at the Marina Barrage as the actual artwork itself, which was kind of hilarious..the only other thing was the haze which obscured some of the view on Day 1, but Day 2 was much better. It’s a bit of a stretch to try and cover everything in a day, but definitely worth it.

It’s on till the 7th of November, so if you haven’t caught it, you really should. I recommend the stretch from the Customs House all the way to Marina Bay Sands, where most of my favourites were concentrated. Awesome stuff!

11th Sep2010

Of Search and Social

by Dorothy

This morning (and now about a day ago because I sat on posting this), I came across this RWW article that got me thinking about certain things.

Americans spent more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google for the first time in August, and Yahoo edged out the search giant in monthly traffic, according to new data from marketing research firm comScore.

Information is being created at an amazing speed. The folks over at Youtube quip that “every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.” But correspondingly, human capacity to process, comprehend and store this cannot possibly mirror this exponential growth. This capacity remains the same, and hopefully all that talk about how the internet is making us stupid is not true.

So what interests me about the RWW article was the intricacies of the nature of interactions on each site/platform as well.

Say Google really delivers the quick and streamlined search results (even before you finish typing..Google Instant anyone?). How does this affect their ad revenue model if it’s working so well and a user skips off(albeit happily) in the few seconds of interaction?

 

When I grow up, I want to be just like (you)?

With Facebook…

– Trying to be Yahoo with the newly rolled out Facebook Answers, which doesn’t seem to have the superior targeting engine that Facebook ads seems to have… because none of the questions have been particularly compelling enough to click on. Not sticky. It is also seemingly mostly perpetuated by USA centric discussions so the lack of local probably is another factor as well.

– Trying to be Foursquare with Facebook Places that nobody in this parts can access without a VPN (seriously..), which I would say has greatly affected my experience naturally.

I’m still logging into Facebook daily though.

I don’t use the Yahoo portal much honestly but their mail interface really works for me over Gmail. I suppose new ways to present old stats will always surface and I suppose part of this is that it’s interesting to have a sexy title that any other company could challenge and (gasp) beat Google at its game. In perspective, it’s really all about how you define “beat” as well. It depends on your purpose. Am I going to stop returning to Google because they can quickly direct me away (incidentally to exactly where I want to go)? No.

Here’s another perspective on the overall picture, since the Comscore data seems to focus largely on the USA  – Google still ranks tops on sites like Alexa, and there are whole lot of other related properties like Youtube, Blogger and etc so collectively it will be interesting to see how each entity fares. If Twitter would not fail whale so often, I wonder if they would move up as well. 

At any rate, I just came across this post here that claims people spend more time on Facebook than on Google‘s sites combined. You will notice I use the word “claims” because I still think everything is too subjective nowadays until there is a unified way to look at things across the board, one site’s claim is only as sound as you make it to be.

 

(Search)

On an aside, Search was one of the topics that happned to be discussed when Mel Carson from Microsoft Advertising came down from the UK. Had a nice cozy chat this week with a couple of other practitioners together with Mel…and interesting that he highlighted his background in SEM.

Search is important and I figure it shapes the way you learn, because in essence, you dictate what your perception on the topic is. Like the case of BP (something that was brought up a couple of weeks back in another setting, so I just wanted to hear opinions on this), and I’m still on the fence about how ethical, or “right” it is for brands to spend on search to have control over the results. And case in point- BP and the oil spill disaster.

During the conversation, Mel shared that it was something like 57 thousand to later 3.6 million that BP spent on Google Adwords. Which is an astonishing jump if you think about it. The stats are also up at this post from Adage.

BP’s increase underscores how important Google has become for reputation management, and in the battle for public opinion. In the wake of the spill, Google was a natural first stop for people seeking information, and BP bought up dozens of keywords associated with the disaster such as “oil spill,” “leak,” “top kill” and “live feed” as it vied for clicks with news stories, images of oiled wildlife and plaintiff attorneys trolling for clients.

“Google has become the remote control for the world; it’s the first stop, not TV,” said Will Margiloff, CEO of Innovation Interactive, a unit of Denstu. “More than any other media, that messaging is requested; people are seeking BP’s answers out as opposed to waiting to be told.”

Clearly there are implications for PR, Crisis and Reputation Management, since this is just another arsenal that can be utilized. Not one of the more discussed strategies, since most people are typically more focused on the tangible responses (Did the CEO apologize? Did they have a press release?..etc). It’s pretty much impossible to try and control social media (people are going to share what they want to anyway), but the public can’t read what they can’t find if you’re going to manipulate search results that way. So at least some of the traffic can be redirected that way.

And just to document the thoughts from another conversation, I think Greenpeace are actually one of the world’s most successful creative agencies or filmmakers or storytellers if you think about it. If I ran an agency I would be hiring someone like their creatives for projects. It is exceedingly difficult to defeat a machine powered by passion. Some of the content they produce, or the way they can mobilize the masses is just nothing short of amazing compared to some of the other “official” creative advertising.

The mind is an interesting thing. Sometimes just starting to think about a single topic can lead onto so much more. Short of titling all future blog posts “random thoughts of the day (date)” etc I haven’t quite found a way to address this when trying to consolidate certain thoughts.

This has been a good week of conversations, I seriously hope this continues!


Other previous Search/Social related posts

Social Media Sticky Behaviors – Google & Facebook

Search Portals v.s Social Networking Sites – A Fight for the Advertising Dollar (& our eyeballs)

20th Aug2010

Hello from New York!

by Dorothy

It’s been a couple of days in New York. Great ideas, great conversations being circulated so I’ll probably put all of the thoughts down when I’m back in Singapore.

Given that the heatwave of Summer is probably over, the weather has been incredibly agreeable with me, save for the sauna that is the Subway. I am loving the Summer outfits and feel of the city; quite a stark contrast to the all black or mostly bundled up crowd and rainy, wet streets from the past few visits in Winter and Spring.

Times Square continues to be a full blown assault on the senses. There is really no other way to try and describe this sensory overload – sights, smells, the weekend rush, the PRE-weekend rush, or should I say, perpetual rush…and the very suspect smoke steaming from the underground.

 

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There is the juxtaposition of big branded billboards, and odd billboard like the below…which someone definitely needs to explain to me.

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DO I GET RESULTS? DO I HAVE A BILLBOARD IN TIMES SQUARE?

 

There’s people everywhere right up till late night, dining al fresco, even the solitary old man on the corner table with a chess set all laid out, waiting for an opponent to sit down to game with him. Times Square is swarming with tourists like ants and there are a couple of new interactive billboards from AE and F21.

 

Social Media

….is more prevalent in New York than it is in Singapore, even compared to a mere 2 years ago, there are perceptible differences.

Very cool – AE plants your mug shot on their space when you make a purchase, and F21 simulates a leggy model taking a picture of the street below, which is, in fact an actual real-time shot of the current crowd. This then animates into a Polaroid snapshot, real-time used in a great way there. There are also the love tweets on F21 related content.

 

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I missed my 24/7 internet so, and only periodically had access to things like Foursquare specials from American Eagle at Jersey Gardens. (Public Wifi, FTW!)

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New York is inspiring, even in the strangest of places. It can be overwhelming at first, downright antagonistic in the winter, but every time that I’ve been back it just gets better and better. For some strange reasons.

 

I still believe that where you are defines who you are to some extent, but it has been a while since I’ve let a place change me. I hear constant calls, still.

But the funny thing is this is also the first time I am here; there; but also home.

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