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Thread: Buddhist inspiration thread - Get In Here!

  1. #1
    disastermouse
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    Buddhist inspiration thread - Get In Here!

    *Edited to add a few*

    Hey all,

    Who are your inspirations in this practice? To whom do you look up, or even sideways on this path?

    Me first? (These are not in order of influence)

    Siddhartha - I can't believe I left him off the original list. Maybe we Zennies really aren't true Buddhists! /kidding

    Taigu - He's got the fire and knows when to 'splain and when to smack ya.

    Jundo - I've never seen him fail to answer a question or engage a practitioner unless it was harmful to keep engaging. He's truly tireless and he has helped cure me of 'emptiness poisoning'. He's also been an example of forgiveness and not-holding-a-grudge. Anyone who's been here for awhile knows what I mean and how this has affected me personally.

    Stephanie - Our friendship has been immeasurably valuable in my practice!

    Dosho - What a transformation I see in Dosho! I think I used to be on his 'least-favorite-persons' list - and even though we probably still rub each other the wrong way - interacting with him has helped me immensely. We used to bother each other, but I now consider him a friend.

    All the G+ people! - They've REALLY helped me keep on with the daily sitting, even when they don't show up in my hangout nor I in theirs.

    (Peeps I've never met) :

    Steve Hagen - His dharma talks are very direct and have helped pull me back to the practice again and again. Although I haven't listened to him recently, he has been instrumental to keeping me on the path.

    Adyashanti - I know he's not loved here, but nonetheless, I think he's on to something and he's helped reinvigorate my practice now and again.

    Genpo Merzel Roshi - His is a cautionary tale, but inspiring in itself.

    I'll add others as I think of them.

    Who are your inspirations?

    Gassho,

    Chet

    *Edited to add a few*
    Last edited by disastermouse; 10-25-2012 at 08:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    I love this!!!

    On Treeleaf:
    Taigu, Jundo, Saijun, Fugen. I'm still new, so still meeting people and making connections, but the support on this path tells me I am going the right way (already was, but sometimes the signs can be encouraging.)

    In the broader Buddhist community:
    HH The 14th Dalai Lama - How can you go wrong? Commentaries on the old texts, a world peace advocate, a man who has faced incredible challenges. Well versed in "comfort food" Buddhism and traditional Buddhism as well.

    Tsem Tulku Rinpoche - The Neon Lama! Whenever I am not acting like a bodhisattva I hear him in my mind: "Do not embarrass the Buddha! Shame on you!" His many videos on Youtube very much inspire me to be a better person and a more committed practitioner. He has kept me straight, from such a far distant.

    Thich Nhat Hanh - I just LOVE his commentaries on the Sutras. After Jukai I plan on studying his anthology of his sutra writings. I do like, as well, his psychological approaches. He is the first one who drove home the simplicity of just sitting, mindfulness, and how just breathing for a minute can change your outlook on the day and help you act in accordance with your Buddha nature.

    In Buddhism in General:
    Shakyamuni (of course!) - Need I say more? The man who brought the madness to our lives Of course Buddhism is not the words of the Buddha, it is what is in our hearts and our nature already, but the historical Buddha is a source of so much reflection and guidance for me.

    Tsongkhapa - One of the few "old school" Tibetan figures I just feel drawn to. A well known philosopher who is credited with forming the Gelug school. He had a wonderful emphasis on discipline even if you can't agree with the other teachings.

    Kwan Yin/Avolokitesvara (in any of her manifestations) - An endless source of compassion for others, a continuous spring of fresh water to drink from, caring for all equally. I feel refreshed when reflecting on her and chanting her mantra, which I usually do in times of extreme happiness (trail rides with my horse, kayaking Lake Jackson, etc.)

    Eihei Dogen - "Mystical realist." What a wonderful combination! In the stream, rushing past to the dusty world, my fleeting form casts no reflection. This is when I first felt a connection Taigu, incidentally, via his video about this quote. Simplicity, beauty.

    Thank you for this AMAZING thread!

    Gassho,

    Dani

  3. #3
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    On Treeleaf:

    the Treeleaf teachers and unsui
    Chet/disastermouse
    Actually the whole sangha itself is an inspiration

    Others:

    Brad Warner
    Gudo Nishijima, though I could not make sense of his blog
    Charlotte Joko Beck
    Shunryu Suzuki
    Bernie Glassman and the Zen Peacemakers
    Dalai Lama
    Dogen
    Siddhartha Gautama

    Not exactly "Buddhist" but :

    Bruce Lee
    John Lennon
    My late parents
    My family

  4. #4
    The Treeleafers who are practicing regularly on G+, and participating in the weekly Zazenkai , live and recorded. It is where the rubber meets the road, and has become indispensable. Thank you for being my Sangha... can't do alone.

    Gassho, kojip.
    大山

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    I have two main inspirations. The Buddha and Treeleaf.

    Everything that happens here, every person, our teachers and even the site's code (I'm a nerd, I know).

    This is home.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  6. #6
    Stephanie
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    I am most grateful to John Daido Loori, whom I had the unbelievable good fortune to have as the first Zen teacher I encountered live, in person, as I made my weekly pilgrimage from my post in the cafeteria at Omega Institute to the Sunday Service at ZMM, and then later, during my period of residency at the Monastery. My experiences at Zen Mountain Monastery shaped my life and Zen practice in tremendous ways that time will never erase. The Eight Gates of Zen and the practice format a ZMM are the bedrock and skeleton of my practice. I only had dokusan with Daido Roshi once, and a couple other fleeting encounters, and yet felt such tremendous, inexplicable grief at his passing that I am still shaken by it. No death, even the deaths of family and friends, has hit me so hard. I feel like there is a whole world I have lost access to. He was so brilliant and clear, the practice structure he established so sound, and the way he taught so disciplined and traditional, and yet so fiery. He didn't coddle people or reassure, he kept pumping on those bellows of doubt and poking people out of their hidey-holes. I will always wonder if in a different life, I might not have been able to stay and study more intimately and more at length with him. No other Zen teacher I've met even holds a candle. His heirs are marvelous folks in their own right, and I'm grateful for the encounters with them at ZMM and, later, Fire Lotus Temple in Brooklyn, but it still ain't the same. I am so eternally grateful so many of his talks were captured in audio for posterity. Rarely do I have a road trip unaccompanied by one of his old talks, and that wonderful, inimitable voice, and his way of saying things that snap you out of your bullshit. Nine bows, a hundred bows, ten thousand bows to Daido Roshi, you have inspired and renewed my practice so many times, even after your death.

    Every teacher I've worked with since has had some impact on me, but even those with whom I met consistently, over longer periods of time, just haven't had that same impact. That said, every now and then I meet someone who has the fire, who livens up that sense of poetry, magic, and curiosity in me, who reminds me of that energy that brought me to this practice in the first place. And as Daido Roshi knew so well, it ain't got nothing to do with serenity and comfort, being PC and feeling reassured about everything. Though I often lament I have chosen to live somewhere that I don't have regular access to a formal Zen teacher, I am also grateful there are some fabulous teachers nearby that I have the ability to encounter every now and then in daisan. I am so fortunate to have someone as full of poetry and passion to face in daisan as Charles, and someone with as much spirit, clarity, and Rinzai eye for openings and moments that can be gates to awareness as Sandy. Richard's doubt and dedication and years of rigorous practice and Zen experience is a treasure within our own small sangha, as is the dedication of every regular there. Sometimes I feel full of doubt that I do not have a more formal teacher-student relationship in my life, but there is something here I cannot deny, in the small lamp of Dharma my sangha keeps burning for people looking for the Way, week after week, year after year, with such humility and steadfastness.

    On the 'Net, I am grateful for the odd ducks that stick their neck out in the comment sections of various blogs to spout their poetic and energetic play of being, like fellow Treeleaf delinquent Harry; I am newly grateful for Dosho Port's blog and to see that not all credentialed Soto teachers in America have given up on the tiger's or wild fox's way; and similarly to Taigu for his patience, humility, and gentleness, as paired with his fiery poetic style.

    And, of course, Chet is in his own category in my life and world. Rare is it to meet a true Dharma friend like this, the shape of whose life is so similar to your own and, through sharing that life with you, and always facing toward Dharma even when so awash in desire and confusion, asking questions and pushing you not to believe your own hype, keeps the Way lit for you.

    In terms of those never met but through words preserved in text, there are many but none on the level of Chogyam Trungpa, whose life was itself a koan, full of wisdom of too great a depth to dismiss, and yet too raw and flawed to put up on an idealist's pedestal. Those words stand on their own merit, and their ability to cut straight through to the part of you that knows.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    There is something about this thread that strikes me as contrived.
    迎 Geika

  8. #8
    Inspired? Inspired to what in this practice? Everyone I have ever known, have known of, or will know inspires me indirectly; yet, no one inspires my practice directly. There is nothing to aspire to in my practice, so how could I be inspired by another?
    gassho
    -Lou

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou View Post
    Inspired? Inspired to what in this practice? Everyone I have ever known, have known of, or will know inspires me indirectly; yet, no one inspires my practice directly. There is nothing to aspire to in my practice, so how could I be inspired by another?
    I would say the same. I am inspired by the people too who may have been the source of pain or troubles in life as much as those who were more positive influences. We should be inspired by the old man and the infant, friends and strangers, the whole phone book, trash cans and mountains. I am especially grateful to Taigu, and to the folks I consider Teachers, official and unofficial. There was Azuma Ikuo Roshi. There is Nishijima Roshi ... there is Doshin Cantor ... and Jiho Sargent.

    If this is like one of those "thank you" speeches at the Oscars, time to play the music or we will go on all night!

    Thank you for the inspiration of the folks at Treeleaf too, all of you are Teachers.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    If this is like one of those "thank you" speeches at the Oscars, time to play the music or we will go on all night!
    *drum roll, cymbal crash*


    Raf

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    There is something about this thread that strikes me as contrived.
    For some reason I feel uncomfortable with this thread too.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou View Post
    Inspired? Inspired to what in this practice? Everyone I have ever known, have known of, or will know inspires me indirectly; yet, no one inspires my practice directly. There is nothing to aspire to in my practice, so how could I be inspired by another?
    Yes - this is as much as I could say. There is not a single thing/person/experience in this web of interconnectivity that hasn't inspired me in some way. And that includes all the negative as well as the positive.

    Gassho

    Willow

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    For some reason I feel uncomfortable with this thread too.
    Me too.

    /Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  14. #14
    For me ... everyone is inspirational, whether it be directly or indirectly. Sometimes, even our enemies can inspire us.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    Hm. Everyone made points, but I don't see why this should be negative/contrived etc. We are all on the path, going where to we already are, but we do have daily experiences and guides and teachers that help us along. Some commented that everyone they meet is an inspiration, which is true, but also there are those people and teachers who make more of an impression on us. I think to say otherwise can be somewhat pretentious.. after all we do meet certain people who give us a fresh perspective, keep us in line, remind us to practice when the opportunity arises. We all have someone we look up to, whether we admit it or not. Whether it is Jundo or Taigu or Dogen or your neighbor or your pet your "enemy" your wife Malala etc. I could be wrong, but I think most of us were not born into Buddhist traditions here. So there was that milestone teacher/event for people not born into a practicing Buddhist family- the thing that showed us "aha! this is where I am and should be."

    I found this thread helpful, I enjoyed Stephanie's post and it gave me a few things to look up and I actually ended up learning a great deal on that tangent. I also think that sharing the teachers who have made the most impressions on us gives a great clue as to the inner workings of individual Sangha members. We are all made up of millions of little pieces, and it's the little pieces that we learn about that can help us relate to each other. It's the little steps and teachers and events that led us all to Treeleaf and this tradition.

    Sure, we should all relate to each other peacefully and happily at all times without any details being shared. But that doesn't happen. And every person in our lives has the ability to teach us just as much as the next, so everyone we meet should be regarded as teachers and inspiration equally, but in reality I don't think that happens. Look at the "I thought I knew him" and the "Enemies, Confessions" threads. We are all where we should be, we are all Buddhas and all is dharma and all sentient beings teachers, but I think that is maybe only true when we are completely open and receptive. Sometimes life gets away with us and we don't act in accordance with our Buddha nature, sometimes we don't sit when we should, sometimes we form attachments that we need to work at to let go of. Sometimes one person does make more of an impression on us than another, and sometimes sharing that person's insight can help someone else realize an aspect that was already there.

    I've noticed that there is some criticism around the forum regarding certain teachers, certain teaching and certain philosophies. That is fine! But it is one example of not everything being equally taken for what it is and equally inspirational (or equally NOT inspirational.)

    I also think that maybe inspirational isn't the right word for what we were talking about, maybe more "reinforcement/assurance" since there isn't anything to aspire to. There is always room to learn, right?

    Just my reflections at the moment.

    Kindly,
    Gassho,
    Dani

  16. #16
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    When I truly think about this it is as much about the people I have hurt as those who have hurt me. Without the pain and shame the comfort road would have been as easty option. In a desperate moment I was reading from Conze's Buddhist Scriptures and read aloud the Three refuges. I now live in that place. On the way here Dogen has been a light to delve into and on that journey I made it here to Treeleaf and you ALL are inspirational in ways you cannot imagine. Jundo and Taigu are the yin yang twins for me and both well..... gusho!gusho!gusho!!!
    Heisoku
    平 息

  17. #17
    disastermouse
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    I know that myself - I rarely express gratitude overtly and I was feeling especially grateful when I wrote this post. I used to be so gawddamned punk rock that I didn't acknowledge the importance of inspiration or the parts of the community that have kept me on the path.

    It is a bit contrived, in the way that most overt displays of gratitude seem contrived. I'm as uncomfortable as most with overtly expressed gratitude (ask Steph), but I think I want that to change.

    Also, I think it's hilarious that I accidentally left Siddhartha off the list. LMAO!

    Also - I wonder what this post says about me who used to hate this sort of 'softy-soft' Zen style. Am I losing my edge? If so, then happily! I've long wondered how long it would take me to more permanently learn the lesson that not everyone is engaged in a tragically hopeless attempt to be me.

    Chet
    Last edited by disastermouse; 10-25-2012 at 08:04 PM.

  18. #18
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr.Lou View Post
    Inspired? Inspired to what in this practice? Everyone I have ever known, have known of, or will know inspires me indirectly; yet, no one inspires my practice directly. There is nothing to aspire to in my practice, so how could I be inspired by another?
    You're just too Zen for me, Lou. So punk rawk!

    Chet

  19. #19
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I would say the same. I am inspired by the people too who may have been the source of pain or troubles in life as much as those who were more positive influences. We should be inspired by the old man and the infant, friends and strangers, the whole phone book, trash cans and mountains. I am especially grateful to Taigu, and to the folks I consider Teachers, official and unofficial. There was Azuma Ikuo Roshi. There is Nishijima Roshi ... there is Doshin Cantor ... and Jiho Sargent.

    If this is like one of those "thank you" speeches at the Oscars, time to play the music or we will go on all night!

    Thank you for the inspiration of the folks at Treeleaf too, all of you are Teachers.

    Gassho, J
    No one stands out of the crowd at all?

    Nijishima? Dogen? Everyone and everything drives us to the practice, but some people are special in that they've helped determine our more particular path.

    To what to aspire? For me, it has been rebooting my daily practice, getting more involved with the sangha, and reaching out for help. I might even have a few dokusan questions now that I'm sitting more often.

    Chet

  20. #20
    I like the gratefulness felt here. It does come through.

    Just thought I would add though: when I read Dogen, I don't think about Dogen. When I read Dogen, his words almost seem like my words, and it is as though they came from inside me. Likewise, when I read David Foster Wallace, I don't think about David Foster Wallace. In one sense, I could say that, yes, these people are inspirations, but what they seem to be to me are different names with the same face, that same thing smiling through both of them, and I can see that face, which is also mine and yours. In the same way, friends I have known who I might consider inspirational have this same face and it is perhaps easier from my vantage point to see each in each, and I could name them here, but why chart out a tree which we perceive to be more inspirational than some other when that other is the same, though the looking's tougher or the looker's biased, as we all are.

    Seems like playing the favorite movie thing, the desert-island thing, with people. I don't think there's anything wrong with this thread, but for me better to quietly just let these people know I'm grateful and not worry about it otherwise.

    Gassho,
    alan

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    I like the gratefulness felt here. It does come through.

    Just thought I would add though: when I read Dogen, I don't think about Dogen. When I read Dogen, his words almost seem like my words, and it is as though they came from inside me. Likewise, when I read David Foster Wallace, I don't think about David Foster Wallace. In one sense, I could say that, yes, these people are inspirations, but what they seem to be to me are different names with the same face, that same thing smiling through both of them, and I can see that face, which is also mine and yours. In the same way, friends I have known who I might consider inspirational have this same face and it is perhaps easier from my vantage point to see each in each, and I could name them here, but why chart out a tree which we perceive to be more inspirational than some other when that other is the same, though the looking's tougher or the looker's biased, as we all are.

    Seems like playing the favorite movie thing, the desert-island thing, with people. I don't think there's anything wrong with this thread, but for me better to quietly just let these people know I'm grateful and not worry about it otherwise.

    Gassho,
    alan
    Alan - thank you for this - you've expressed so well what I've been chewing on all day.

    There is nothing wrong with this thread - the reason I felt uncomfortable is because the word 'inspiring' didn't feel quite right (for me). The sense of 'coming home' - of an inner resonance - in the spoken /written word is what moves and encourages me.

    The other aspect that made me a bit uncomfortable was the notion of naming members from Tree Leaf. I have gained so much from being here - really from everyone.

    I know it's probably my over-sensitivity again - but to roll out names ia a bit like when the bright kids in class get a gold star and the others are left feeling a bit inadequate.

    Anyway - that's just me - sorry if it came across as dismissive.

    Gassho

    Willow

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    The other aspect that made me a bit uncomfortable was the notion of naming members from Tree Leaf. I have gained so much from being here - really from everyone.

    I know it's probably my over-sensitivity again - but to roll out names ia a bit like when the bright kids in class get a gold star and the others are left feeling a bit inadequate.
    Thank you Willow. That is it exactly.

    Nothing wrong with the topic, or the intent, but the picking out and naming individual Treeleaf members makes me a little uncomfortable too. I think it's great to show one's appreciation of other members, but perhaps it's better done through a PM or by responding to their posts. By saying that the thread made me uncomfortable, I didn't mean to put down Chet in any way. Just sharing my feelings.

    Gassho,
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  23. #23
    My list would look a lot like the above but my inspiration list is as follows: (in no particular order)

    Treeleafers
    Brad Warner
    Noah Lavine
    Dogen
    Bodhidharma
    Sifu Chango Noaks
    My Shaolin Ancestors
    --Washu
    和 Harmony
    秀 Excellence

    "Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body" George Carlin Roshi

  24. #24
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I agree with Willow and Pontus.
    迎 Geika

  25. #25
    I was just inspired by the cold to put another log on the fire, but that is about as far as it goes.

    Inspiring the wind,
    Expiring the morning fog;
    We live to be breathed.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Gassho tedmac
    迎 Geika

  27. #27
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I agree with Willow and Pontus.
    Ditto.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  28. #28
    It's an awkward self-conscious thread... but the squrminess only goes so deep. There are squirmier threads imho.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  29. #29
    disastermouse
    Guest
    I wonder if it'd have been less disturbing had I not mentioned Treeleaf people. Then again, it's Treeleaf in general that I feel most grateful about.

    And it DOES make me squirm a little to say shit like this - that was kind of the point. Going out of my way to express gratitude and, more disconcerting still - influence and dependence - makes me VERY self-conscious.

    Saying nothing when I felt gratitude seemed unnecessarily stoic. Acknowledging that Taigu seems crazy but still on the mark a frightening amount of the time seemed honest. Pointing out that Jundo has been fair when it could have been easy not to be also seemed honest. These things do inspire me to not shit myself a la Taigu and to be fair a la Jundo.

    I didn't express gratitude because I felt like anyone particularly needed to hear it, but because I thought it might do me some good to learn how to say things like that. Holding back my expression of gratitude has been very destructive in my life.

    At first blush, it may seem like apple polishing, I suppose. However, lets be honest here and acknowledge that I'm not exactly an ambitiously rising star here at Treeleaf. I've been here (forced ban aside) for four years and haven't so much as gotten my funny Buddhist name yet. I haven't even sat a live zazenkai here.

    Chet

  30. #30
    Who needs to be a star eh,Yakunezumi?

    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  31. #31
    disastermouse
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    Who needs to be a star eh,Yakunezumi?

    Pontus
    I have no idea what you're referencing, Pontus.

  32. #32
    Sorry!
    You said you aren't exactly an ambitiously rising star. The japanese word is a translation of Disaster Mouse (I don't speak japanese though, so it could be way off! ), a name I offered you in a thread 1,5 years ago!

    Mostly joking,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  33. #33
    disastermouse
    Guest
    I kind of like that name, but I'm not (removes sunglasses) attached to it.

    Chet

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