The following “innerview” was published in Wind Tracks Journal back in 1998ish.  Since I don’t have the original photos in digital format yet, I’m just going to kind of wing it with some other images from the period that I have scanned already.  And I did give it a light edit to hopefully enhance it’s readability.  But no names have been changed. 


   At the time, I justified all this aggrandizing as the first of a series of interviews I wanted to do of some of my heros.  Some noise about how along with the freedom to travel, there comes an obligation to share one's experiences.  And that to help fulfill that mission, I'd resolved to make a practice of transcribing and submitting some of the conversations I have with people I get to hang with on the road.  Old souls that shine much light and knowledge on my path.  And that to give you an idea about where I wanted to go with this, and at the risk of seeming even more self-absorbed that I am, I was going to run a few questions by myself to sort of get the groove going.  Yeah right.  So while I’ve yet to make good on that promise, now that I’m self publishing on “Boardhead International”, maybe I will finally get that project going. 


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    “So who is this guy?  Is he really the Shaman of shred, or just another boardhead living out of a van so he can chase more wind?”

 


    Yeah Dana, have you ever considered giving up the itinerantly nomadic boardhead gig and getting a life?


    Not very seriously.  Sure every once in awhile I'll catch myself craving a relationship, steady work and place by the ocean.  But more than ever, the desire to chase windy waves pretty much rules my existence.

    Far more than just my passion, it's my favorite form of expression, my martial art, my meditation, my motivation and my vacation.  It's my most intense frustration as well as my most insane satisfaction.  I love it, I hate it and I still want to continue ever more intensely in this way until my turn is over.



    You do seem to pretty much be loving life.


    For sure.  I'd be completely blowing it if I wasn't.  It's such the amazing time to be alive.  Our freedom to travel the planet is unprecedented, our communication mediums have blossomed.  Carbon composite technology has afforded us the ability to virtually thumb our noses at gravity.  This fleeting moment will likely be the sweetest there ever was.  For it is so shortly after the birth and fruition of windsurfing and not so long before the increasing pressures from our rampant overpopulation and greed put an end to these freedoms. 



    Man, that sounds kind of fatalistic.

 

    Yeah, well no one want's to hear that we're about to go over the falls with our stuff. 



  So do you believe in any false Gods?


     Let me confess only that I have reverence for all life while operating on the assumption that everything is alive.  And feel I shouldn't presume to have any notion how such a magical set up came about.  My favorite ritual besides getting out on the ocean comes from native American culture.  It involves burning a little sage, then giving thanks to the four directions, Mother earth, the creators and the grandfathers while apologizing for being human. 

    From Santa Ria comes my favorite wind chant:  "Santo Lepanta, levanta la pata, svelta el perro y traige el Viento."  Which I understand to mean: Saint Lepanta, lift your paw, release the dog and bring the Wind.



    Do you chant that to yourself when you pause at the water's edge before going out?


    Not if it's already windy.  You know the practice of sitting by the water is actually a sitting meditation called seiza.  From martial art, it's about clearing the mind of past and future, reducing the heart rate and when the shorebreak is large, getting with the rhythm of the sets.  I know this might prove a frustration to anyone waiting to see if I'm going to be powered up, but it's fully prerequisite to achieving quality zone out there.



    How about describing your idea of a perfect day?


    That would be a day that I know it's gonna blow way longer than I can possibly sail.  The kind of day that a person can get some work done in the morning, coast to the beach and do lunch while the wind fills in.  No pressure or stress and time to fully enjoy rigging, loving each detail, neither rushing nor blowing off any interested onlookers.  Totally impressed by the magic of it all and basking in the importance of what we're about to do.  Then to sail to exhaustion, derig as the sun crashes into the ocean and share a huge meal around a fire while swapping tales and fantasizing about even bigger waves tomorrow.



   I've heard you use the words kazedoka to describe yourself.  What's that about?


    Coincidentally or not, I began studying Karate about the same time I started chasing the wind.  Before long it became apparent that this windsurfing would be the most excellent environment in which to apply the lessons of martial arts.  Teachings that draw much from devotion to the Taoist ideals that we should seek harmony with the natural forces and try to live free from affection or pretense.  From Confucius comes a sense of place and of obligation to those born both before and after.  Aikido taught me to breath, how to fall and to blend with an attack.  Shotokan brought kiai and stance.  From Kyudo, a more evolved notion that the purity of intention is important. 

    So to describe a blending of these pursuits, it seemed appropriate to take the Japanese word Kaze, which means wind, Do meaning path or way, and Ka which is a word for student. (Photo of me in my late 20s thanks to Marilyn.)



    No doubt your choice of white sails is somehow symbolic.


    White is not only an expression of humility but more faithfully translates the pastel hues of sunsets and sunrises while never clashing with either the ocean's mood or one's wetsuit.  (That wave shot was by Sydney Maddock shooting on the southside of Hatteras during some hurricane swell.)



    You've been sailing a couple hundred days a year, you're sponsored, you loop, you've even been doing a couple of the contests and yet you claim you are not a pro.  I hope you don't mind my pointing out that if someone caught you standing next to that van, they might easily mistake you for a pro.


    Would you believe that I'm preserving my amateur status just in case they ever make wavesailing an Olympic discipline?  (As if they wouldn't let the pros in anyway.)  Or how about that I'm trying not to complicate what I love with how I make money.  But really, I don’t even do back loops and I wouldn’t last one heat in the PWA.  And besides, I'm a late '57 model which let me duck into the Masters division a couple years ago. 



    So your not a pro and there's no trust fund.  I happen to know the windsurfing mags don't pay very much so how do you make a living?


    I don't want to sound ungrateful for what I've made from the magazines because that has covered some of my photographic expenses.  But I pay the bills with my efforts as a carpenter, striving for clean, efficient, minimal designs.  I work with recycled material wherever possible, advocate that less is more and I'm always right up front with a no guilt wind clause.

    Still, I'd wouldn't be getting near as much sailing if it weren't for all the sponsorship coming into my life.  It's given me way more freedom to train, teach, write, design and try to push the photographic envelope.  Yeah, the support goes a long way.  From all the friends that share their lives, build me windsurfing gear, drive me back upwind to my van, say good things about me, bake me stuff and show me their love in so many ways that I can hardly begin to describe here.



   I noticed that you put a lot more energy into teaching this year in spite of the fact there's been no money in that either.


    Yeah, but to teach and be taught is another reoccurring martial precept.  So I spent just as much time learning and received a lot of satisfaction out of the whole process.  Ironically, the best time to explore the subtleties of rig handling is in wind considered festerable by your average shortboarder.  Which is a good thing considering I'm entirely too jealous of my own sailing time to give up very much shortboard weather for coaching.  Besides, it seems far more appropriate to reserve the full on conditions for application and utilize the light air for teaching and preparation.  There is so much to repair, tweak or learn from an impromptu rigging drill.  Learning the carries is very empowering while going far to promote groove and comfort.  Then I go on to sail kata -- blending the duck jibe, clew first practice and a boom to boom jibe into a sail 360.  This training fosters evolution of body motion, muscle memory and a sense of spinning the rig on it's axis.  It's a basic tenet of the martial arts that through fundamental training comes enlightenment.  With committed repetition of this exercise, one falls into a meditative state that often leads us to important realizations.

    Driving the booms, simplifying the gear nightmare and the pursuit of non-attachment are all huge.  Then I encourage fellow students to explore the subtle realm of timing in the skateboardsailing environment while applying the lessons of rig kata to carving.  This program has been deeply considered and holds huge potential but most people still just work me for free loop advice.  While the whole time, Tony is sucking down something like sixty five bucks a pop at the gorge for the bear off, grab yourself, and sheet in loop theory.  So that's it.  I'm done with the free loop advice.



    At forty-one, don't you think your taking this nomadic boardhead thing a little to far?  I mean I can't believe you turn down offers of a bed inside in favor of sleeping out in that funky old van.


    There's nothing like sleeping in your own bed.  Not only is it fully cozy in there but it's comforting to be so tuned into changes in the weather and the first light of day.  Then there is the near certainty that my gear is still going to be there in the morning.  And I just love the sound of rain drops on the roof, that sends me right off.  For Hatteras, I made Velcro mosquito nets to fit the windows and when it gets too hot to rest comfortably, I know it's time to head West for a Summer of perfect sleeping weather on the Oregon coast.



    Hey I didn't see much of your stuff in the magazines last year.  Get a little burn out there or what?


    Mostly I've been holding out for some creative control and more involvement in the process while craving to see the energy go into something softer environmentally, with less gloss and bound with staples instead of glue to make it recyclable.  And how about using vegetable based ink and a domestic printer while we're at it.

    The idea of a net "zine" appeals to me as well.  Low impact and total control though I'm a little worried about the amount of time and money I would end up investing.  So in spite of somewhat mixed feelings about throwing myself into this Journal project, my stoke at having Clay back on it as well as the opportunity for some shameless self-promotion was not to be resisted.



    So what have you been doing with yourself while the strike's been on?


   Well I've been writing more than ever.  And I finally broke down and bought a Hi-8mm video camera for the coaching effort, my own training and to gather footage for various projects.  Photographically, I've been wasting a great deal of perfectly good fujichrome trying to capture a definitive shot with the hand held point of view angle.  But the thing I'm most possessed by right now, short of looping and hitting the lip, is skateboardsailing in concrete terrain.  It wasn't until I started pouring over every skate magazine to be found that I realized just how many skate parks there are.  Many seem as if they were made for skateboardsailing.  Mild bowls and snake runs.  Lips to bank off of.  It's the wave venue of landsailing and I'm completely jazzed by the potential.  I hear that in Europe, they stand on the seats and scream for that indoor pool stuff.  Just imagine if they'd let us use a couple sets of those fans.  We could bring in some portable terrain and blow all that away.  Sky hooks or straps, take your pick.  Imagine the carnage.  Ben Hur would be completely stoked I'm sure. (Thanks to Sara for the shot skatesailing Lansdown.)



    Judging from the list that's posted on the van of all the gear you've broken or thrashed, you're used to a little carnage.  Is that where "Mega" came from?


    It seems to me that the destruction of property takes on a whole new significance when it happens in the course of riding windy waves.  No longer merely an act of senseless violence, it can be elevated to the realm of noble sacrifice.  Especially if you consider said carnage to be in the course of research and development.  And I do.

    As for the Mega tag, I'm fairly sure that was referenced to my tendency to sail rather powered up and take long sessions.  Which I attribute to conditioning, good eating, balanced gear, calorie conservation, a little mental discipline and several Powerbars and or gels during an average sailing day.  Sure I may be the only kook out there in a full suit and a surf helmet but I'm a warm kook, way outlasting the same crew that has been known to mock me for wearing.  Wind is a finite thing.  A gift, magical and precious.  Only so much is gonna blow by us in this lifetime, so I'm out to catch as much as I can.  In the immortal words of Bart Vervoliet's Mom: "You only go around once in this life so you have to try to go around twice."  (photo thanks to Itay shooting me schlogging out the channel at Hookipa on a light wind day -- yeah, Kai had walked by me while I was rigging that day to offer his encouragement, saying “You’ll never make it out.”  Sure he was almost right but his words just made me even more determined than I already was to make it out and ride.)



    This all sounds quite soulful, but doing contests doesn't seem to fit the program.  All the wind you miss waiting for your heats as well as being required to sail in the wrong spot.  It seems like the whole concept of trying to quantify one's windsurfing ability wouldn't have much Zen in it.  Nor would expecting to schedule wind.


    Yeah I've been asking myself these same questions and I'm fully torn between obligation to the sponsors and the desire to just go train.  Though a contest does at least turn out to be a good environment in which to see some intense sailing and to confront the issues involved with performance on demand.  But the worst part of a contest is that while it bring so many friends together, it's so crazy that you barely get quality time with any of them. 



    Any truth to the rumor that you have a 2 square meter sail?  I mean really.  At 195 lbs., just what do you expect to use that in?


    Yes I have 2.0.  Doug Van Zandt made it for me in eighty-nine.  I even keep a 7' 2" polyester board to run it on. Up to now it's just been insurance since I haven't had the pleasure of being blown off 2.7.  Which seems to cover that 55 to 70 mile an hour range nicely so I can only wonder what I could hang with on that 2.0.  Ninety maybe.  So between the skateboard and that 7'2", I can go windsurf anything from 5mph up to a category one hurricane. (The photo of the 2.7 in action during the “Bonner Bridge storm”courtesy of Steve Jarrett.)



    The last few years have seen a lot of talk about how windsurfing is in recession.  What do you think it needs.


    Apart from more effort for teaching and a wider acceptance of skateboardsailing, the one thing that might totally stoke all of windsurfing is a killer "morning after" bar.  (Maybe the folks over at Powerbar would take this on).  A little something to get you out there even though it was better yesterday.  Something all natural, organic and perhaps even mildly hallucinogenic.  Heavy on complex carbs, aminos, antioxidants and vitamins -- maybe a few grains of ibuprofen or some aspirin.  Sure the swell fell out and it's looking a little light in the inside.  But chow one of these, rig and get out there.  Once you're in the straps it's all good and you could always work on those jibes. 



   That's the move.  Hey what else are you working on?


    Well I've been putting a lot of time in on my waterstart.  That's the other move.  A little hustle can really save you a lot of abuse on the inside.  There's this thing you can do when your clew is to windward and time is precious.  From downwind, clear the mast just enough to get some air under the sail then whip it to leeward, effectively jibing the sail and leaving you with a cleared rig in the waterstart position.  I call it a “judo flip”. 

    Besides that, mostly I'm on the heli-tacks, bash turns [footnote: an instantaneous redirection with a jibe, off a pitching lip or whitewater, where the sail flips in the same moment.  Score extra for the aerial if you pull it off], ducks onto the face, forwards, riding one-handed and trying to be smooth.  I've been going for an occasional back loop but mostly when they're gonna happen anyway.  And how about a duck tack for the cleanest possible backside kickout?  So I've been working that out on the skateboard along with a carving one-handed helitack onto the face variation I hope to be pulling off this Summer.



    Yeah but I happen to know that an off the lip loop is your favorite thing to do in the air right now. 


    For sure.  Not only is it such a powerful feeling but the view of the lip is astounding.  My best ones so far have happened in onshore wind.  While working the wave upwind, you hit the aerial off the lip backside then just chuck it.  But it doesn't count unless you continue to ride the wave as if nothing happened.  And just when I thought I couldn't be any more possessed by the desire to experience looping sensations.



    How about what you do in the off season.


    Mostly, I wish I didn't have one.  But skateboardsailing goes a long way toward keeping me in sailing shape and from totally losing it mentally when I'm in town working.  Yeah I rig the 4.4 on my short board, fire up the skateman and head for the smoothest, stickiest, cleanest patch of asphalt I can find.  It's a serious workout and I'm blown away by how much it's done for my pumping technique, wrongside sheeting, footwork and flow.  And what an unreal environment for working on visualizations and technique.  Every session, there's something good from it.  Some inspiration or realization.  When I get back to the water, I'm sailing better that the last time instead of trying to get back to where I was.  (Thanks to Terry for the shot of me at an epic spot near Ft. Macon.)



    Hey do skinnies rock or what?


    Huge.  Sure I've only been on them for five years but have no doubt that in a perfect world, all carbon wave masts would be skinny affairs with thick walls and a mild, consistent taper. 

    But I'm deeply puzzled that the skinny revolution has been so slow in coming to pass.  The duro factor alone should have been enough.  I shouldn't even have to mention the handling or that they score huge points with the women.  That the duckdive option is huge.  And that you'll never struggle to pull your mast from the sleeve again.

    I have to wonder if it was the bad press that came from other reduced diameter mast that didn't hold up, had much less tip buoyancy and required a custom base?  Or perhaps it was the specter of change or a simple lack of vision.  Do we blame the slur campaign by some of the sail companies that didn't have constant curve compatible sails or retrofittable batten systems?  Could the fat mast makers be making out so heavily, selling replacements that they resist the adoption of a more durable design?

    This is to me a classic example of how an elegant, totally appropriate solution isn't instituted because of a stupid reason like not being in the best short term interest of people that have money and power.  I'm really hot about this too and I'm not going to go away.  I'm going to continue letting people try my stuff and convincing anyone that will listen or read that skinnies totally rock. 

    So if you still haven't tried a NoLimitz "skinny", swing by the van and permit me rig you up.  Hey it'll drop right inside your stock mast base and the adapters are so easy.  I know you heard they sink or they break or that they sink and then they break, but those people must have been talking about one of the other masts.  Sure a skinny isn't as floaty as a fatty but they still float and the more neutral buoyancy even affords the ability to duck dive the rig more effectively when facing pitching lips or burly whitewater events.  For what it may be worth, any mast will sink if there is no plug in it.  Ever even check?  If you haven't, let me encourage you to go have a look.  It does kind of suck to have any mast go turtle while your trying to do something like rig a broken boom for the trip back to the beach.  I could go on.



     How about a few tips for someone, who like myself, might aspire to make a late twentieth century boardmobile statement?


   I think it's important to keep in mind that stickers alone do not a boardmobile make.  Nor should one pay money for any sticker save something like Surfrider foundation or United States Windsurfing.  It is also poor form to display any sticker you do not have intimate knowledge off.  And one needs to render soul to said boardmobile with some sort of alternative paint application technique or appliqué.  I'm particularly fond of those enamel rattle markers, for some handwritten graffiti can go far to balance the look as well as enhance its value as a conversation piece.

    Non-attachment to the finish and the condition of the thing is key to the program.  It is of course rather poor form to even start in before the vehicle's been fully depreciated.  I've got to think that the business of using a valuable machine for a windsurfing ride can't be very happening.  Flying rigs, blowing dogs, sand blasting, salt spray and tight parking situations all contribute to a tense existence if you're the least bit concerned about the condition of that body.  One should place one's energies instead with the functionality of the interior.  As well as the opportunity the exterior offers for making absolutely certain there can be no doubt what it is you do.



    Functionality huh.  That sounds like another word for packed, which is how it's looking in that Astro.  So how is it really going with that? 


    It was a little rough there for a while.  Which is why I tagged her with "the disAstro", but we're starting to bond.  The graffiti project is coming along.  The interior is livable, she barely leaks and averaging 22mpg on the highway blows the old Dodge away.  If I could just get around to installing a decent sound system I'd be there.



    Anything else in the works?


    Well I've been laying plans for an adventure.  The stated goal is to sail the length of Hatteras Island on the ocean side with a swell running.  While it's only about fifty-seven miles as the pelican soars, doing it during the second or third day of a northeaster would make it something of a challenge.  I feature launching inside the north point of the Oregon Inlet, sneaking across the shoals then riding endlessly off the wind on large open faces as they peel across the outside bars.  Catch up with the chase van at Rodanthe and again at Avon for lunch.  Maybe ride a couple with who ever is out at the Lighthouse and haul out there for another powerbar.  Crossing the Diamond shoals will be the crux move for sure.  From there it would be smooth sailing as the wrap waves are blown clean by the offshores.  Long lefts peeling into the cove would show the way down the home stretch to Hatteras inlet.  With timing and luck, I might even get to buzz the support crew as they ride the ferry across for a rendezvous on Ocracoke. 

    Beyond that, I have several T-shirt ideas I'd like to have produced.  I spend a lot of time thinking about how I could pull off living on Maui for awhile.  And I'd like to rig a personal stereo for the wavesailing.  The difference between skating with and without music is phenomenal.  The same with skateboardsailing.  I feel so much more energy flowing when driven by dynamic tunage.  What if there is such a boost while riding the face of a wave?



   Then there's kitesailing, I'm kind of surprised you haven't taken that up yet.


    Yeah, I'm still trying to learn how to windsurf.  While I have lots of respect for all the effort that's going into the development, I can't get past the strings.  I know the potential for massive gliding airs is completely beyond huge, but I've got skateboardsailing for the light air situation and am unwilling to take on another sport anyway.  Still, I believe that with the development of a fourstringable control bar and fully inflated double surface wing, it's gonna rock for sure.  Four strings being key to being able to park it where you want it and to be able to sheet in and out at all possible altitudes.  Then of course, the clew first waterstart would be helpful I'm sure.



   How about the last book you read?


    I just finished something called "Wind" if you can believe that.  It's by a naturalist writer living in Nags Head woods named Jan DeBlieu.  While she doesn't windsurf, she's more tuned into the forces that move us than most that do.  She's been on both my vans with the quote, "I love it when the wind blows so hard that it does your breathing for you."

    Her book is a wealth of wind related knowledge and a killer overview of how wind has shaped our history and culture. 



    And the most decadent indulgence you can talk about here?


    I guess that would have to be Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk.  White chocolate and nuts like you can't believe.  Try sharing a pint with someone you love. 



    All time so far? 


    Now that's a tough one.  For awhile it was downwinding from Waves to Buxton  on the sound side, a meter over rigged, way broad, completely smooth, linking planing jibes in euphoric trance.  Then there was instaplane (instaplane is when you have to put your feet in the straps and hook in before you fly the sail to waterstart)  out behind Avon with a 2.7m on my 7'2" during the Bonner Bridge Storm.  Or maybe that full moon rise down the line experience at Florence.  Imagine how sweet a cool freshwater sesh on a lake in Kansas after driving fourteen hundred miles in hundred degree Summer heat with the windows down in the old Dodge. 

    Then there was the legendary dream sesh "Shredemania" at the Cove in Hatteras.  And driving right up to solid 4.4 at Pistol after the old four day cross country was powerful stuff  (especially since I didn’t catch wind in Kansas that year).  I think that was the same Summer I caught a solo breakthrough sesh at a place they call Neptune, totally in the zone, oblivious to the rest of creation.  And the vision is still perfect of mast high and peeling long into the late afternoon glare at Askin's creek.  There was that completely magical sunset-moonrise sesh at the lighthouse. At the time I remember thinking mast high Shacks was the sweetest I'd had.  Until I got to go to Maui.  Then that south swell at Maja Shiva Shanti changed everything.  Davenport's upper reef with the swell from Hurricane Linda breaking all the way from around the point to the launch felt like all time at the time.  Although the ultra smooth, emeraldlucent peelers at the Jetty during last Summer's best swell were far sweet for sure.  So it's kind of hard to say.  Besides, it's supposed to blow tomorrow and all time is so easy to abuse.



    Hey you wouldn't happen to have a top ten you'd like to air out?


    You know I love tens.  There's something about the format that makes me just want to go off.  So how about my top ten pet peeves.  #10) would be that they're gonna' move the lighthouse.  Well in excess of thirteen million dollars pitifully wasted.  The local school really could have used that money.  #9), missing windy waves.   #8), would be unsolicited accounts of the windy waves I missed.  #7), when people trash recyclable material.  #6), makeup.  #5), when boardheads leave broken gear at the beach, even if it's in a trash can (see number seven).  #4), conspicuous consumption.  #3), when people toss cigarette butts.  As if smoking wasn’t bad enough, they go and litter too.  #2), spin.  And #1), my current top pet peeve has to be that there are ordinances against skateboarding just about everywhere, yet anyone that can turn a throttle can go pollute most any scene with a jet ski.



    How about blowing outta here with some gratuitous sponsor stoke?


    I'd be stoked because with all their love, I'm sailing far beyond where I'd be otherwise.  Northwave's boosted my performance huge by making me fully unreal custom wave sails.  Nolimitz makes the toughest mast by far.  The Seatrends are holding up way better and the shapes are right in there.  O'Neil's been keeping me warm.  Powerbar stokes me heavily.  Chinook's tapped Wes Lap from Carbon Creations for ultra sweet carbon boom tubes to go along with all the other stuff.  Da kine's got me strapped in with a killer deluxe new design by Kevin.  (The “cores” had just come out.) The Hatteras Island surf shop, Big Air windsurfing on the Oregon coast and Ocean Tribe near Pistol River all give me major shop support.  And a huge Mahalo to everyone that even so much as smiled in my direction.  Much respect and gratitude is due.






Epilogue:


    While a lot has happened in the last fifteen years or so. a couple things haven’t.  Like that downwinder the length of Hatteras on the ocean side.  It’s something no one’s done yet and I still have my eye on it, even though it’s coming up on seven years since I bailed the east coast and moved to Oregon.  My current project is to windsurf Nelscott Reef.  It doesn’t even start breaking until it’s 25’ and word has it no one has done that windsurfing either.  I think it’s doable though.  Just need the right kind of swell and enough wind to make it out. 

    And while my vision of what kiting would become wasn’t so far off, I hadn’t envisioned getting to go live in Oregon year around.  Or that I’d end up getting a Ford next.  Or that I’d still be working on most of the same moves over a decade later.  I guess I should just be stoked I’m still sailing at all.  And that I don’t have an off season any more, since Oregon provides year around.  And I have managed to get one of my ideas on a shirt and the zine finally came to be. 

    It’s a start and I’m fully going to bear down and be working on being a little more prolific this next decade or so.  Especially on the video front.  So let’s see how I do.


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