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WPPI 09 – Las Vegas, baby!

by Lucky Red Hen on February 20, 2009

I’m back from Vegas but my body is behaving like it hasn’t left.
Five days of late nights (interpreted as early mornings, like 4am early mornings), walking miles and miles and miles… to and from the conference center, the drinking water drought (I’m deathly afraid of the disease-ridden water fountains, the bottled water started at $3 and waitresses and bartenders looked at me like I was a cyclopse when I asked for a water), cigarette-saturated breathing air (cough cough hack choke) and trying to dance like I was still 25 :p
Last year‘s smoke inhalation didn’t seem as bad as this time. And I didn’t get over to my favorite restaurant, Mon Amie Gabi, like I wanted to (it’s a taxi ride from our hotel). I didn’t do any shooting this year either, even though I brought my pro camera. And I certainly didn’t arrive in Vegas the way I did last time either (too cold and far)! But I did see some of my friends this time that I did last time :)
With all that misery, I can’t wait to go back to be inspired, learn-ed (gotta say it like you see it… learn Ed), networked (I love knowing other great photographers from around the world) and reconnected with friends (and meeting new one’s)! Fingers crossed for next year (when it’s NOT on Valentine’s Day weekend… geez!)
Laurel McConnell & DJ Karl:
They’re from Seattle. Laurel kept me plugged
in to the goings-on (and we kept each other
from falling asleep during presentation). And
Karl, what can I say about Karl… he’s infectuous
with his friendly smile and happiness :)

Alison Bates (Nate’s girlfriend – wink):
She and I met at the Jose Villa Mexico ’07 Workshop
and I love her (mostly because she’s Nate’s girlfriend, haha)
Brian Adams; photographer, gentleman
& Edit Team guru (I think that’s his title)
whom I met at my first WPPI trip
(thankfully, because I could dance and not
worry about him expecting more – wink)

Mark Edgington (OSP West in San Louis Obispo ’07) had
me laughing whenever we were in the same room (even
from ACROSS the room) or sitting at the restaurant making
fun of Trevor and his hand gestures (oh, I cried it was so funny).
This pic was taken our last day right before he took off :(

Brian Greenberg of Richard Photo Lab
Look at him pull off that hat with his blue eyes!
I kept calling him “Richard” in Mexico, where we met,
only because it irritated him so much. But, luckily, he
has forgiven me enough to invite me to his swanky party
that had great people and yummy food… thanks, Brian!

My BUDDY’S, Colin Michael (BFAM) and Aimee Cooper
at the cool Peppermill Lounge OFF the strip (like FAR off).

Hey, look! It’s Colin again! My brotha from anotha motha (BFAM)!

This is David Burke (with an E) and my maiden name is
withOUT an E (Burk). Congrat’s on the upcoming baby E :)

Dennis Orchard, amazing photographer and print judge
from England. He’s given me valuable print advice.
I haven’t entered a print competition yet, but might someday.

Ed & Monica Pingol family ;) They were always smiling :D

The hunks who make up Edit Team. Troy Battle on the left
(he’s my kindred spirit – laughed ALL the time), Darren Green
& Brian Adams (again, lucky me). Thanks, guys, for the prize
I won (free editing)! Now I can start shooting again ;)

My neighbors (they’re in Redmond, I’m in Woodinville),
Gerald and Airika Pope at the Trade Show right before I
dragged them over to an impressive album company,, who has waterproof (hello Seattle)
albums that are sturdy, don’t warp and 3-day turn around!

My friend, Jason Groupp, from NY (could you tell?),
who humors me to no end. He had me going in 2007
at OSP West with a joke about a bus stop. HILARIOUS!

My southern sister, Jeanann Wilkinson, who I met in Mexico
and had lively discussion about one of the 3 taboo’s (religion).
Wish we could’ve hung out more this year :( Next time ;)

Oh, my, gosh! I can’t say enough about this tiny thing. It’s
Jillian Kay of the famous “Dear Silly Lady” fame ;) She may
be small, but she sure does pack a punch! Sure love ya, JK!
Oh, and LOVED your story about the candy necklace :D
Birthday boy, Joel Serrato, at the Venetian restaurant,
Canaletto, for the Richard Photo Lab party.
He makes me laugh with his pursed lips ;)

The godfather of shooting outside the box, John Michael Cooper
of AltF fame. We met awkwardly a couple years ago at OSPW 1.
I ran up to him and gave him a huge hug (he’s not used
to that), and he looked at me like I was crazy. But I’ve
grown on him over the years and he was all ready
this time to accept my neglect to respect his
personal space! Yay, John :D

Here’s another Jon. Jonathan Canlas of Film is Not Dead.
He likes to eat faces. I guess mine is yummy.

Mmm. This is my beautiful friend, Jose Villa.
That’s really all I can say without tearing up over this fella.
DJ Karl Berger, from Seattle. We were all sweaty from
dancing at the Gobee Bag party at the Luxor.

The ever lovely Lacie Hansen who works with Jose Villa.
She shoots, she models, she assists, she rocks ;D
Me with Laurel McConnell. She makes me laugh and
I like being around her. Look at how CUTE she is!
Linda Chaja (chai-ya) and I at the Venetian.
She’s smiling because she likes being near me ;)
Oh geez, this should be at the top (one of the first pics
taken), but it’s tricky to do without losing all my stuff!
Me with Mark Edgington at a restaurant at 330am.
I’m surprised my eyes don’t look worse after laughing
so hard we cried at Trevor Meeks and his hand gestures!

I met Tara Marie at Robin’s mini-session pool side (We Doodle Do
Album Design). She’s sweet and from TEXAS (I heart TX)!
Me and Simone Germaine Sutton on our last day
LOOKING like it’s our last day LOL! Exhausted!
Awe, this is THE sweetest guy at WPPI (no offense to the
other guys, but he’s really so gentle). His landscape images
are unbelievable (really, it’s like I don’t believe they’re real)
and he also has a royalty-free music site that’s great for
websites, slideshows and background music in your studio!
It’s Shawn Reeder and I’m glad I know him :)
Oh. My. Goodness. This is the ever popular (and shrunken
head miniature girl) Roxanne Benton of Pixel 2 Canvas!
We finally got to smooch all over each other after years of
chatting online (sounds creepy, but it isn’t). Their canvas’
ROCK and their DUCKS rock just as much (but not more).
Oh, Roxie, I miss you already (and smooch yo man from me)!
Me with Riley Kimball (A+R Photography in Arizona).
You may remember him from when I went to OSPW 1.
He was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting to see him!

Troy Battle (also from Edit Team)… we kept each other laughing!
We know each other from OSP (online photography forum),
so it was fun meeting in person, finally. See ya next time!

Trevor Meeks, of Meeks Digital, who I also know from the
photography forum and OSPW 1. He’s a good sport to put
up with my joking. Great hand gestures, Meeks! :p

Oh my Tomas Flint from Rochacha, NY! I LOVED running into
him in the halls of the MGM Grand (you’re the BEST, Tom).
He won’t read what’s on his belt buckle ;)

OSP peeps: Ed & Monica Pingol, Tim Co., Katie Pangburn
and yours truly at the WPPI 09 Trade Show floor!

Me with the Halberg’s, Tim and Cheryl in the
longest hallway known to man (or woman).

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My Favorite Place to Be in Vegas

by Lucky Red Hen on April 6, 2007

Mon Amie Gabi restaurant in the Paris hotel & casino

I bet she’s wondering where all her money went.
My favorite server of all time… meet Ray. Hello, Ray!

Our conference was mostly in Bally’s but that’s connected to the Paris where the gynormous trade show floor was (I only spent $30, yay me!) and also the best place to eat lunch, Mon Amie Gabi. I should go through my receipts to figure out how many lunches we had there but I think I’m safe to bet (get it, bet, I was in Vegas) 4+ times (on the other hand, maybe I shouldn’t go through my receipts).

The restaurant is beautiful and the servers aren’t too bad either ;o) Seriously, all the wait staff, from the hostesses, bussers, and servers, were absolutely terrific. To be fair, the folks at Sensi and The Fix (both in Bellagio) were top notch for dinner but our lunch fellas were divine.

I want what I want when I want it

…so the first thing I asked about was the daily fish. Ray said, “We don’t have a fish today” (the look on his face was obvious that he thought it was a little funny that he had to say that but still with a smile that made not having fish OK). Then when I asked about pasta he said, “Well… there’s macaroni & cheese” along with a mischievous smirk. Ah, we’ll get along just fine.

Someone suggested
going to an Italian restaurant
if I want pasta.
Touche’ I say.

Even though we got off to a rocky start with the menu items, we were taken care of like royalty by Ray and Mike (sorry, no picture of Mike; next time I’ll have to get one for ya). We made a standing reservation everyday for lunch (except the one they didn’t work because, honestly, that wouldn’t be as much fun). The next day was outside on the patio with Colin Michael and Ryan Flynn (gotta do the patio at least once) where I complimented Jim Garner on his shirt (his studio took the top album prize and he won for several of his prints) but after that we didn’t mind being inside at all (Adrian Campos joined us once). We didn’t need the outdoor ambiance and had our own indoors.

My favorite:
the bleu cheese burger (medium)
butter lettuce salad substituted for the pomme frittes
a slight slathering of mustard (if they haven’t run out)

I really liked the tiny miniature pickles garnish. Is it strange to eat the garnish?

Also, if you go definitely ask for Ray’s section (he’s #47) and tell him Lucky Red Hen, the biker photographer girl, sent you. Maybe I’m a favorite customer and he’ll remember me?

Q: Am I that forgettable that my favorite server may not remember? If so, then remind him gently…

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Ride to Vegas on My Harley

by Lucky Red Hen on April 5, 2007

Last Friday afternoon (supposed to be morning) I rolled out (that’s what we say in Bikerville) on my Harley to attend the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International conference in Las Vegas.

The 6+ hour ride went reasonably well the first 2.5 hours. Until I ran into 2 hours of chilly weather and sprinklings near the Cedar City stretch (“please don’t rain, please don’t rain, please don’t rain” I kept chanting through my chattering teeth).

When it started to warm up the change in scenery distracted me from my gas gauge. All of a sudden my bike died! Cranked a little on the throttle and she buzzed back to life for about 1/4 mile then I repeated the process about 4 times. The last rev got me off the freeway in the middle of nowhere at an exit that advertised a gas station.

Then I saw the 100+ year old station (bar on one end) with old-fashioned pumps that didn’t look all that reliable. Luckily there really was gas. Unluckily a guy named Bruce offered me his pad to crash overnight so I could finish my ride to Vegas in the morning, “There’s a storm comin’ in” he urged. Um, Vegas is an hour and a half away, it’s only 4 o’clock and it doesn’t look that bad. I thanked him for the (creepy) offer and explained that I had dinner plans in Vegas and had to be going.

Rolled into Vegas just before the sun set with time to shower before Aimee arrived (trust me that after 6+ hours on a Harley you want me to shower). The valets at The Westin were darling and arranged for my private parking spot the remainder of the trip. Wish I had more $ to tip because they really were sweet (and this town runs on tips, I found that out hard and fast).

We wandered around looking for a place to eat even though Griff said we’d have slim pickin’s without a reservations on a Friday night. Luckily we were seated right away at The Paris restaurant, Le Cafe. The menu was pretty good but I just couldn’t decide. So I peered over to the plates of the guys sitting next to use and asked them how their meal was because I was having a hard time deciding. They said theirs was excellent and offered me a bite to see for myself. Alright! So I did and they were good but I chose the filet mignon… you can’t go wrong with a filet. Does it creep you out that I ate off a strangers plate? To ease your mind I used a clean fork and took from the opposite side that they ate from. Besides, I’m still alive, aren’t I?

Funny thing about the Paris hotel & casino is that most of the places start with “Le” – my days of French class in high school paid off with my being able to translate…

Le Burgers = burger joint
Le Toilette’s = bathrooms
Le Patisserie = desserts
Les Enfants = kids store

Alright, maybe I’m not the only one that could figure out the translations. If they made it too hard then all the drunk gamblers couldn’t find the bathroom and we’d all be in a heap o’ trouble if that happened.

The next day, Aimee had an all-day class so I lounged around a bit and hung out at the pool until we met for lunch. It had to be quick so she could get back to class. We tried a deli in Bally’s over by the escalators. Aimee went first and ordered something normal, smart girl. Then it was my turn and I ordered The Gobbler… turkey, cranberry and dressing. The lady starts by putting about 1/2 cup of cranberry sauce on my 6″ bread – what the…? It was a HUGE pile. Then she pulled something out of the microwave which I anticipated being turkey but instead it was Thanksgiving stuffing; known to others as “dressing.” I like stuffing, very much so that I make it from scratch once a year and get rave reviews.

But this plop of junk
wasn’t even close.

When I read “dressing” on the board I thought it’d be some kind of sauce… like salad “dressing” but on a sandwich. Why would someone create a sandwich that involves bread and MORE bread (stuffing) to top it off?

That sandwich was the WORST sandwich I’ve ever eaten.

However, as I complained about that bootie sandwich I ate it down to the last 2 bites. I paid $10 for the darned thing after all (Vegas food prices are CRAZY) and it didn’t taste BAD but it didn’t taste GOOD either.

Note to self… dressing can mean stuffing.

The next night was the $25 buffet at the Rio. Warning: when there are huge amounts of King Crab legs, people get greedy and pile 20+ legs on 2 buffet plates, picking through them to get the biggest ones WHILE 5+ PEOPLE WAIT RIGHT BEHIND THEM. Couldn’t believe guys were picking corn dogs off the buffet!

That night our shuttle driver back to Bally’s, Darren, gave us free passes to a couple nightclubs so we could shake our tail feathers. Luck would have it that we didn’t get to use them because they expired at 10:30pm and what respectable party goer gets to a club before 11pm (“none” is the answer)?

More friends showed up Sunday and that’s when we really got rolling. The Bellagio had a LOT of good stuff to shoot so that’ll be separate along with the story of our $120 dinner. Oh, and the Paris was one of my favorite places to be so that’ll take up another.

How about some pictures to tide you over? These aren’t the impressive ones. Come back later for the REALLY good pics of the models we shot Monday night (I even impressed myself with those).

Where most of the conference was held.

Never went to the Flamingo but I know the boulevard.
Didn’t go in this one either but it looks cool.

Took Ryan on his first Harley ride & he took this.

Here’s a partial of my bike.

Another piece.

And there it is when I pulled over to PROVE how cold it was. I thought I could warm up at the gas station. But seeing that it was 7 mi. OUT OF THE WAY I would actually get COLDER having to ride 15 more minutes up into the mountains. So I just pressed on.

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20 Questions

by Lucky Red Hen on September 30, 2012

My little girl has been asking us questions about our favorites and writing them in her little notepad like a reporter (she even comments on each answer, encouraging us and acting interested). She lost interest with me and moved on to someone else when it took me minutes to think of my answers because I don’t usually have just one. I like options.

Favorite animal? Well, in the zoo it’s a giraffe, but at home I dig dog’s, and although I don’t want the mess of their droppings and seed scattering I yearn to hear the “cheepa cherpa” of society finches.

Yes, I yearn but, if there is such a thing, Ben anti-yearns for them and that’s why we don’t have any. <sigh>

What if I were on a game show and had to answer fast about myself? What if YOU had to? Could you answer quickly or are you more like me and would have to think about each one first?

Play with me. Let’s figure these out BEFORE we’re on a game show. I’ll tell you mine then you tell me yours (add your link in the comments; or if you’re too private, email me yours instead). If you don’t want to play, don’t read the rest of this post. Also, no judging.


  1. COLD BEV: fresh-made lemonade (Newman’s Own, Chick Fil-A, Ooba’s)
  2. HOT BEV: hot cocoa with Pero and half-n-half (or heavy cream, like a mocha breve)
  3. SUMMER: meh (prefer spring), hammock, too hot, t-shirt, casual skirt, barefoot
  4. WINTER: bundling up cozy, watching snow fall, hoodies, jeans, staying home to snuggle
  5. BREAKFAST: cereal or green smoothie, but out I like hash browns (because I can’t make them at home), French Texas Toast, scrambled eggs sprinkled with hot sauce
  6. ACTOR: Heath Ledger (I refuse to watch the Batman movie he’s in because I don’t want The Joker as my last image of him); Robert Downey, Jr. (I’ve loved him from the beginning, not just because of Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes); Matthew McConaughey (would he PLEASE voice the male version of Siri?!?), Oliver Platt, Sam Elliott, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (those DIMPLES)
  7. ACTRESS: Sandra Bullock (I enjoyed her sister’s book, Confections of a Closet Master Baker), Frances McDormand (Fargo, anyone?), Charlize Theron (I love her versatility)
  8. CHILLIN’: crafts (jewelry, fabric), Sudoku, magazine, sit on the porch
  9. FUN: playing games with others, hanging with friendly people, craft fairs, in-home parties (like Tupperware), riding my Harley, experiencing new things (but I won’t bungee jump or sky dive, I’m afraid I’d die or mess my pants)
  10. FOOD: thin-crust pizza (no green peppers or pineapple), Alfredo (or just melted cream cheese like at The Pizza Factory with their bread twists), thick-cut fries (especially with the new ketchup packets you can dip into), Pugliese bread with stuff on it (artichoke dip, crab dip, Trader Joe’s bruschetta, pesto, whatev), grilled salmon, Thai
  11. DAY: Saturday, it’s usually open to do something fun with the kids or work on projects
  12. TIME TRAVEL: mid-evil times with knight’s or Pride & Prejudice era (as long as I live comfortably and I don’t get beheaded or a deadly infection)
  13. MOVIES: romantic comedy’s (Return to Me), dance movies (started with 1984’s Breakin’, classic), period pieces (Pride & Prejudice with Colin Firth, although I like the 2-hr version for a quickie), definitely NO horror
  14. TV: FRIENDS and Firefly (Nathan Fillion) fan; we Hulu+ Castle, WHITES, New Girl, Grimm (it’s cheesy fun)
  15. CAMPING: I love not camping. Motel 6 is as camping as I want to get, and that’s pushing it… have you been barefoot on their floor?!? <shiver>
  16. ASSET: firm handshake, hug like I mean it, honest, tie cherry stems in my mouth to get free drinks
  17. FLOWER: peony, tulip, ranunculus, but not into cut flowers (they’re so expensive for as short as they last, I’d rather have a smile or the cash)
  18. GAMES: Mexican Trains (dominoes), Things, Pictionary, squirt gun into the clown mouth at the carnival
  19. TALENTS: wire wrap jewelry like a pro, being non-fashionable, self-with-friend cell phone portraits, organizing, trouble-shooting, secret keeper, eagle-eye target shooter
  20. TREATS: non-frosted brownies (corners), Chewy Spree, raw almonds, celery, Tillamook cheese with crackers, Tillamook Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream, basil-infused homemade hummus, fresh fruit shake (huckleberry or peach), Rice Krispie treats, naked popcorn or way-buttered popcorn (depends on my mood), my husband’s peanut butter cookies

Alright, if you got this far it means you want to play 20 QUESTIONS with me, so copy/paste and plug in your answers then send me a link. I’m excited to get to know more about YOU!

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Friends: Old, New and Strangers

by Lucky Red Hen on April 3, 2007

Yours truly with new & old friends (and 1 stranger) in Vegas…
Me and Corey McNabb‘s shoes (his is the bigger one, thank goodness). Corey was the first to notice we’re shoe twins (these are the Converse slip-on’s and I LOVE them).
Serena (my OSPW bed buddy), Steve Florin (kept me giggling like a school girl throughout the awards show – we were joking about the lady handing out the awards… she’d kiss SOME of the winners but not others and we tried figuring out who she’d get and who she’d avoid) and me crooked because I’m holding the camera. I don’t know how others do the self-portrait-hold-the-camera-with-your-own-arm shot.

One of my valets at The Westin. They gave my Harley a special spot right in front of the stairs so I wouldn’t have to worry about its safety or mine. The other cool valets were Erik and Craig but no pictures (dang my memory to pull out the point-n-shoot).

Party of 6 a.k.a. The Asian Mafia & Token White Girls: Ingrid, Junshien, Aimee, Jerry, me and Serena. Cool thing about this Pearl kiosk is that they had real oysters with pearls sitting on the counter in water – very stinky but cool! We didn’t buy any pearls because we spent $7+ on ice cream next door!

Damon, um I mean, Davide Greene… international photographer who didn’t mind me calling him by the wrong name because the BluDomain party at the Palms Playboy Kingpin Suite (the suite wasn’t as impressive as I imagined it would be – again, should’ve taken pictures, dangit) was so noisy (and my hearing ain’t so hot anyway). So it’s my secret pet name for my new friend.

Mister Sexy Six-pack Dancer Man, Brian Adams, with me and Aimee. What a gentleman, dangit :o) Just kidding about the dangit part. Thankfully he knew his way around Vegas and hooked us up with a great dinner at Bellagio’s Fix restaurant with stellar service (my 1st pick is still Mon Amie Gabi at the Paris for lunch) and kept us safe all the way back to our hotels. I heard his name mentioned at the awards ceremony but he’s playing it down like no big deal.


Tom Flint from Rochacha (seriously, Tom, I can only remember what you DON’T like to refer to Rochester, NY, as) and Corey McNabb (my shoe twin) in a Shannon sammich. I loved running into these guys throughout the trip. That’s what makes these conferences so much fun in between classes.

Here’s the stranger part of the post. This guy walked by when me and the Asian Mafia were eating our $7+ ice cream (obviously I have an issue with paying so much for ice cream) downstairs and I thought he looked familiar. I mentioned it to Serena because she knows who I think he looks like but she didn’t get a look. So I said if he walks by again I’m going to show her to see if I’m right. Well, he DID walk by but I was too late to get Serena to look. As we went upstairs to the awards ceremony he was leaning against the concierge desk as if he was WAITING for me to bug him! So, of course, I freak out and squeal to Serena that’s the guy, she giggles and thinks I’m crazy but I approach him and tell him the story and ask if we could take a picture. He was very obliging (see the smile) then I gave him my card and said I’d blog about it if he wants to see himself famous. I also explained that I wasn’t hitting on him and he said it’s all good because he’s married too. Phew. Just a fun moment that’s caught on film! By the way, it’s Aimee’s brother, Riley, I kinda thought he looked like — I think it’s just the glasses now that I look closer. But fun anyway! Thanks for being a good sport, Stranger :o)

Adrian Campos, Aimee, Juan Ortiz, me and Joaquin Moreno. George is taking the picture. Because George is underage and clumsy with the mayonnaise (all over Juan’s pants), he wasn’t allowed to be in the pic but we let him to take it for us. However, he did compliment me on my new scent without me asking so I should’ve taken a picture of him just for that. Thanks, George!

It’s a Jillian Kay “Dear Silly Lady” sammich. We first met at OSPW but knew of her on the forum for her “Dear Silly Lady” letters. She’s got a knack for responding to difficult questions in a clear and concise manner that isn’t offensive or demeaning. Plus, she’s got great taste in shoes (has been known to taste them too).

Don’t Colin Michael and I look related? He’s notorious for turning people over to the dark side (Canon) and I am one of his followers. We had been in touch on the forum about my new Canon 5D and he said he’d show me some quick tips on how to use it when I was at OSPW (it came in the mail only 2 days prior). Before our first shoot, I ran up to him and said, “Colin, show me how to use this thing!” He happily obliged but later I find out that Mike from Big Folio overheard me and said, “I can’t believe the amateurs here. One girl didn’t even know how to use her camera!” Luckily the people he said that to knew me and explained that I actually knew what I was doing just not with my new camera. We all had a laugh over that (especially since he doesn’t even take pictures – he’s a programmer!). Anyway… thanks, Colin, for hanging with me at the awards ceremony. Sorry if Steve and I were embarrassing (it was HIS fault hahaha – j/k).
Congrats on getting 5 entries past the judges!

For some reason, Jefferson “JT” Todd has this face when we take pictures together. I AM really funny but maybe just once we can get a normal smile out of this guy?
Aimee and I at our $120 dinner in my $100 dress and borrowed gems from Azucar, (thanks babe and congrats on your new baby, James).

Awe! It’s my buddies! Griff (fastest texter in the west), Sharon Henderson (that’s Tom Co’s pet name for me), Jason Groupp (whom I had snorting with laughter at OSPW until 4am) and Tom Co. (Tim Co. to everyone else). Thanks, Griff, for taking this picture and letting me steal it off the forum ;o) Email me more!

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