The Day After 10

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherHappy Sunday, Modern Philosophers.

Since several of you have been kind enough to ask how I’m doing the day after my ten mile run, I thought I’d throw up a quick bonus post to address the issue.

I’m sore.

I’m exhausted.

I’m questioning why I ever started running.

All to be expected after pushing myself to go ten miles.

I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and since I was still half asleep, I didn’t remember that I’d run such a long distance several hours earlier.

So I almost collapsed onto the bedroom floor because my exhausted legs were not ready to support my body.

That’s when it all came rushing back to me.

When I woke up again, it was time to start my day.  Even though I wanted to remain under the covers and allow my aching muscles to rest, I got my ass out of bed and put on my running gear.

There was no way I was going to skip a running day just because I’d challenged myself the previous day.  In fact, it would have been quite stupid of me to do so.  The whole point of running like this is to keep pushing myself and get into better shape.

Of course, I’m not an idiot.  There was no way I was going to put up any serious mileage today, so I set my sights on a nice, easy four miler.

Emphasis on “easy”.

Regardless of anything, I was still going for 200,000 steps for the week, and that meant I needed to collect 27,000 steps today.

I wasn’t going to get 27,000 steps by skipping my morning run.  Slow, steady steps still counted towards my total.

And so I trudged slowly towards my goal.  Just in case the pain wasn’t enough of a Sunday morning challenge, it was also raining.

I crossed paths with a very attractive runner twice on my journey.  The first time, we exchanged waves.  The second time, she came up next to me on the sidewalk as I was slowing running down the street.

I said hi.

She said hi back and smiled.

Did I mention she was very pretty?

I wanted to keep pace with her, but there was no way my legs would allow it.  So I just watched as her long, blonde ponytail danced away into the distance.

I almost called out that I’d run ten miles the day before, and that was the only reason I couldn’t keep up with her, but I was too tired to form complete sentences.

Normally, I can kick it into the next gear when I feel the need for speed, but on this day, the only gear I had was “steadily moving forward”.  The only other option in my arsenal was “curling up in the fetal position in the middle of the road”.

Oddly enough, my encounter with the attractive blonde runner motivated me to keep going.  It reminded me that getting into shape helps with my self-confidence.

running, health, fitness, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt also brought to mind that being out on a run is a perfect excuse to strike up a conversation with a pretty fellow runner.

And so I kept going.  Actually went a little further than I expected, but I was smart enough to not push it too far.

I know my limits.

I’m at 16,000 steps for the day, so I should hit my goal of 27,000 to keep my 200,000 streak alive.

In the meantime, I’m going to rest my sexy runner’s legs…

Posted in Fitness, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

10 Miles Alone With My Thoughts

running, health, fitness, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherI ran ten miles this morning, Modern Philosophers, and, boy, is my brain tired!

Ten miles is a long time to be alone with my thoughts.  While most runners I know prefer to listen to music out on the road, I choose to use the time to really get my Deep Thoughts flowing.

After all, I am a Modern Philosopher.

But before we dive deep into those thoughts, let’s circle back to the fact that I ran ten miles.  That’s no small feat.  In fact, it’s a personal best.

I did run eleven miles once on a treadmill, but I don’t consider treadmill miles to count the same way outdoor miles do.  The treadmill is just running in place in perfect weather conditions while watching whatever is on the TV in the gym.

I pushed myself because I’m totally motivated and maybe just a tad crazy.  I cracked the 200,000 step mark for the week last Thursday, and I’ve insisted on making sure my total didn’t sink beneath that magic number ever since.

No one would care if I collected less than 200,000 steps, but I would know.  And it would piss me off.

Maybe I’m a bit of a fitness addict at this point, or maybe I’m simply obsessed with numbers and 200,000 is a delightful one for my collection.

Running ten miles was no joke.  My legs were sore from averaging almost 30,000 steps a day all week, but I was up for the challenge.  The distance of any run is never set in stone when I leave The House on the Will, but I do keep a goal in the back of my head.

Today’s goal was ten miles, and I was determined to get it.

Of course, that means being out on the road for a long time, since I’m not going to try imitating The Flash when I’m covering that kind of distance.

In order to keep myself distracted from how much it hurts to run ten miles, I’ve got to keep the Deep Thoughts flowing.  Here are some things that crossed my mind today…

running, health, fitness, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherHollywood really sucks.

That should be obvious to anyone who knows the least bit about the movie business, but it’s even more apparent to someone who is desperate to write full time.

For the past month, I’ve been sharing little tidbits about some potential big news.

I was told that one of my screenplays, a psychological thriller, was close to getting the green light to go into production.

The conversation made it sound like it was pretty much a done deal.

I’ve told you guys a little about it, and even posted a couple of short stories on the blog as part of the social media campaign for the flick.

But I’ve also worked very hard to temper my excitement.  Because I know how Hollywood can be.  Dreams are quickly smothered in smog and die painful deaths.

Somehow, I allowed Hope to escape from its cage.  Now, the producer is telling me there’s nothing new to report, so I’m afraid Hollywood is playing its same, old, annoying game with me.  The eternal tease.

I’m frustrated with myself for even thinking any of this could be real.  The worst part about having to put Hope back in its cage is how stupid I feel for allowing it to escape.

Of course, such internal rage generates the kind of energy I need to run ten miles.

Dr Dre, running, health, fitness, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherDr. Dre popped into my thoughts again. If only that deal with him hadn’t fallen through.  I like to distract myself by imagining where I’d be now if Dre had made .33 Reverse Gunther as planned.

Probably not sitting on the porch of The House on the Hill complaining about how much Hollywood sucks.

I actually laughed out loud on my run as I remembered Dre’s infamous assessment of my writing skills during our initial meeting:

“You are one sick mother@#$%^&”.

Still consider that my absolute favorite feedback about my writing.

Dre was right.  I am a sick mother@#$%^&, except these days, I’m sick of sitting around and waiting for things to go my way with my writing career.

Since I was already making a mental visit to Hollywood and the World of Celebrity, it was only logical for my next move to be a jump to hyperspace.

To a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

As usually happens on a long run, my thoughts drifted to Daisy Ridley.  There could be some truth to the rumor that I get through all these long runs by telling myself it’s part of my Jedi Training.

And on May 5th, the day following Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you, Modern Philosophers!), I searched my feelings and realized I have a soft spot in my soul for my favorite scavenger from Jakku.

Daisy Ridley, running, health, fitness, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherI’m not going to impress Rey/Daisy by only putting up average numbers on my runs.  No, in order to turn her to the Dork Side, I’ve got to show her I can run ten miles.

Please tell me your follow the logic, because it’s really quite obvious.

And it wouldn’t be a typical Deep Thought session if my inner Hopeless Romantic didn’t take over my brain.

The Sweet Irish Girl has been on my mind a lot lately.  My new thing is beating myself up for ever letting her get on the plane to Ireland at the end of her last visit.  I should have just made the Grand Romantic Gesture, refused to let her board the plane, and proposed to her right there at Bangor International Airport.

running, health, fitness, philosophy, humor, Modern PhilosopherStupid me, however, let logic trump romance, and now I’m typing this all alone because I never married the woman who fell in love with me from across the world.

Perhaps I don’t take enough chances.

Maybe I insist on playing it safe.

That holds true for all aspects of my life.  Sometimes, I think I’m out there running for so long because I want to leave my mistakes in the dust.

Other times, I think I’m running towards this amazing new life that’s going to make all the past nonsense finally make sense.

At the moment, however, I appear to be running in quicksand.  Nothing is changing and my legs are perpetually sore.

Now I have to ask myself: What kind of sick mother@#$%^& just sits around and does nothing while life passes him by?

I think I’ll go for a long walk and ponder that one, Modern Philosophers…

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The Devil’s Deep Dish

short story, flash fiction, deep dish pizza, humor, Modern Philosopher“You are an absolute bore after you’ve gone on a long run,” The Devil chided from his end of the couch.  “You sit there like a bump on a log, with absolutely no energy.  Our fans want witty banter, the rapid fire back and forth that makes our Sunday adventures a must read.  All you’re giving them is a moping, irritating silence.”

My guest, who was dressed to the nines in an impeccably tailored suit, was one hundred percent correct.

I had absolutely no energy, my entire body ached, and my desire for total silence was trumped only by my wish for a full body massage.

“I’m sorry,” I offered as sincerely as possible while also using the least amount of energy.  “I ran nine miles yesterday and another five this morning.  I really just want to sit here and vegetate until I become one with the couch.”

Lucifer looked me up and down, then shook his head in disappointment.  “You didn’t prepare anything for today, did you?  You never sent me an outline, or even a list of random thoughts to use as conversation starters.  We can’t sit here and stare at each other.  That doesn’t translate well as a blog post!”

I nodded in agreement.  I was not prepared and this was totally all on me.

“You’re always saying you have big ideas you’d like to use in our Sunday adventure, so why don’t you take the lead on this one?  You’ve earned the right.”

A smile slowly grew on The Prince of Darkness’ handsome face.  “Are you sure?  This is your blog, and I wouldn’t want to step on any toes.”

Seriously?  The guy crashes at my house every Sunday, eats my food, drinks my Snapple, and he doesn’t want to step on any toes?  A little late for that.

“Go for it,” I encouraged.  “I’ll just sit here and be the sidekick for once.”

short story, flash fiction, deep dish pizza, humor, Modern PhilosopherSatan did a quick double take in response to that comment.  “I don’t think of myself as the sidekick.  More of a co-host.”

I just shrugged and took a long sip of my Snapple.  “Whatever gets you through the day, pal.  Now wow me with one of your big ideas from the depths of Hell.”

He straightened his tie, even though it was already perfect, and cleared his throat.

“Last week, when you were talking about your idea for the Forever Single chain of stores, it reminded me that I’ve always wanted to open my own store,” The Devil admitted.

Now that totally caught me off guard.

“But don’t you already run a very lucrative business of trading in human souls?”  I questioned.  “On top of that, you oversee an enormous hospitality business that provides accommodates for billions of the Damned for all eternity.”

“Sure, but that gets boring after a couple of thousand years,” Lucifer grumbled as he reached into the cooler for a Snapple.  “I want to branch out, expand my horizons, and take on something that really speaks to me.”

“I’ve got to know,” I confessed and summoned up the energy to sit up straight, even though it made my entire body moan in pain.  “What is this endeavor that so entices you?”

short story, flash fiction, deep dish pizza, humor, Modern Philosopher“I want to open a pizzeria,” The Prince of Darkness said the very last thing I expected to come out of his mouth.  “Deep dish pizza, baked in the Hell Fire.  No other pizzeria in existence can offer that.”

As far as reveals go, this one was even more disappointing than Geraldo Rivera’s opening of Al Capone’s vault.  Then again, he did have a point about the uniqueness of his product.

And who the Hell doesn’t love pizza?

“Back before J and I got married, we went to Chicago to visit her Mom,” I decided to tell a story from back in the day since it was related to this conversation, and I didn’t even care that it had to do with my ex-wife.  “That was when I had authentic Chicago deep dish pizza for the very first time.  It was so good that I insisted we go back a second time before we returned to New York.  I still love New York pizza, but deep dish pizza made in Chicago makes me want to cheat on my first love.”

“I’ve researched recipes for decades, and I’m constantly making deep dish pizza for myself and some of my top Demons,” Satan went on the explain.  “I think I’m ready to share it with the world.  I’ve got eternal Hell Fire, so I make pizza around the clock.  And I’ve got plenty of free labor to help with prep and delivery.”

short story, flash fiction, deep dish pizza, humor, Modern Philosopher“How come you’ve never brought me a Devil’s Deep Dish in all the years you’ve been hanging out here?” I demanded.

“I know you are a pizza connoisseur,” The Devil stroked my ego.  “I was afraid you’d hate it and my dream would be crushed.”

“Dude, do not show up here next week without some,” I ordered.

“You’ll be my very first customer outside of Hell!” Lucifer excitedly exclaimed.  “I’ll make sure it’s absolutely perfect.  Better than the ones you had in Chicago.”

I don’t always look forward to visits from The Prince of Darkness, but now I could not wait to see him again next week…

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

One Million Dollars Needed For Social Science Experiment

philosophy, happiness, Doc Brown, humor, Modern PhilosopherIt’s time for the blog to get philosophical, Modern Philosophers.

I didn’t come to this decision randomly.  I was sitting out on the porch the other day, reading a book, and minding my own business when the DeLorean materialized out of the blue in the driveway.

I’m always excited when Doc Brown, the blog’s biggest fan and largest financial backer, stops by The House on the Hill.  His visits have been sporadic lately, though, because he’s busy with the time traveling thing, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

Turns out Doc has been spending time with an Amish community in late nineteenth century Pennsylvania.  As a result, he was eager to talk about how important it is to enjoy the simple things in life, and that money, technology, and possessions aren’t important as long as you have community and love.

Of course, I had to chime in with a comment about how ironic it was that without technology and money, Doc would not have been able to time travel back to live among the Amish and realize he felt this way.

Doc scolded me with the classic comeback: Money can’t buy happiness.

I saw this as a perfect opportunity to conduct a social science experiment, and prove both Doc and that annoying saying wrong.

philosophy, happiness, Doc Brown, humor, Modern PhilosopherBecause after years of independent research, I believe that money can buy happiness, Modern Philosophers.  And if someone would give me one million dollars, I am ready to prove my theory to the world.

Please note I am asking to be given this money.  It is not a loan that will be paid back.  Science is expensive.  I’m sure you can all understand.

Doc scoffed at my idea initially, but then said he was eager to review the results.  Apparently, just a little time back in the present day, far from the clutches of the Amish, reawakened his Deep Thoughts.

So who’s up for sending me one million dollars?  It doesn’t all have to come from one person, of course.  A few of you can pony up a quarter million each.  However you guys want to sort it out.

The donor(s) will receive a ton of mention when I publish my findings, and I’ll even name a character after you in my next screenplay.

And there’s absolutely no need to limit the donation to a mere million.  That’s just a jumping off point, the minimum necessary to really crawl inside this ancient philosophy and pull out the cold, hard truth.

How do I intend to go about proving my theory?

I’m going shopping for happiness, of course.  I understand what would make me happy, and before any of you wise acres brings it up, I do not plan to spend the million dollars on a mail order bride.  Ha ha.

The first thing I’d do is pay off my mortgage, and then settle up on my property taxes for the next ten years.  With the worry of keeping a roof over my head suddenly gone, I’d be able to write full time.  That alone would make me very happy.

I’d buy a new laptop, and make some long needed repairs/changes to The House on the Hill like a new furnace, better windows and insulation to keep it warm, and some actual furniture to make this place feel like a home again.

There would be a large donation to the Bangor Humane Society, and a smaller one to my local library.  I love animals and books.  This should ensure that both are well taken care of, which would make me very happy.

Next, I would put up enough money to get one of my screenplays into production.  That investment in my future should open more doors, and bring in new income so I’m no longer dependent on this million dollars to survive.

philosophy, happiness, Doc Brown, humor, Modern PhilosopherThat would leave plenty of money to pay the bills, stock the fridge, and allow me to do random fun things like go to New York to visit old friends and attend every game of a Yankees home stand.

It doesn’t take much to make me happy, Modern Philosophers.

The money would simply buy me out of the everyday debt that makes us so dependent on money in the first place.

I just want to be comfortable in my home, doing what I want for a living.  Once I’m happy, then maybe it will be easier to find a special someone to make my life complete.

If not, I’ll just go to more Yankee games.  Or see if I can buy a tiny share in the team.

Who’s ready to send me that million dollars so I can turn Philosophy into fact and prove Doc wrong in the process?  The interns are standing by the phones ready give you the information you need to route me the funds.

I wonder if I’ll get a Nobel Prize for this.  That would make me happy, too…

Do you think money could buy you happiness?  How much would it take to put a smile on your face?  How would you spend it to achieve happiness?

Posted in Humor, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

My Quest For 200,000 Steps

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherSometimes, you’ve got to spice things up to keep them interesting, Modern Philosophers.

That has been the case recently with my fitness program.  It’s been 13 months since I dragged my lazy ass up off the couch and started running again, and I worry that it’s going to become boring, or seem like a chore.

So, I’m constantly looking for ways to motivate and challenge myself.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I participate in the Wellness Program at work, and we use the Virgin Pulse app as part of that.  I like perpetually being in the top spot on the leader board for steps, but even that isn’t enough to push me at times.

This week, I’ve given myself a new goal that has really got me motivated:

200,000 steps in one week.

When I started with Virgin Pulse last April, the goal was to get 7,000 steps a day.  For a guy who hadn’t gone for a run in ages, that was challenge enough.

7,000 steps a day meant I set a goal to get 50,000 steps for the week.

Pretty soon, 50,000 steps was too easy.  My new FitBit demanded I strive for 10,000 steps a day, so I set a new weekly goal of 75,000 steps.

And so I progressed in my goals as I got into better shape.  Keep in mind that every 2,000 steps is equivalent to about a mile of walking.

So when I started setting goals of 100,000 and 125,000 steps a week, I was cranking up the miles and pushing myself well beyond what even the FitBit wanted from me.

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherOnce I hit 150,000 steps for the week, which is about 22,000 steps and 11 miles a day, I was pretty sure I was at my limit.  Maybe one or two other coworkers were cracking 100,000 steps a week, so topping that by another 50% made me feel like I was really at the top of my game.

But I found that even this number was not enough for me.

I set my sights on 175,000 steps a week, which is 25,000 steps a day.

That’s also more than three times what the Virgin Pulse app was asking us to do, and two and a half times more than what made the fireworks go off on my FitBit’s display.

At this point, my coworkers started ribbing me.  How in the world could I get so many steps in a day?  How come my legs weren’t falling off?  Why didn’t I get a life so I had something else to do with my time?

Yeah, some of the comments were a little harsh, but I just used them for motivation.  Any time someone else made a run at the top spot on the leader board, I’d just up my total.

Pretty soon, I was at 185,00 steps for the week.

And so it became obvious that it was time to try for 200,000.  I wanted the new challenge and I was also hoping it would jump start another round of weight loss, since I’d been holding steady at the same weight for a while.

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherAs an added incentive, I told my friend Dani that she had to take me to dinner once I hit 200,000 steps.  Dani has yet to agree to these terms, but don’t worry.  I will keep pestering her about it, and I’m sure she’ll cave eventually.

I thought 200,000 was a lofty, unrealistic goal.  After all, that’s a little less than 29,000 steps a day, or 14.5 miles.

I figured I’d have to wait until my summer vacation to have the time to accomplish it.

How I do sell myself short at times, Modern Philosophers!

When I went to bed last night, my weekly total was at 197,700.  Some quick calculations led me to realize that if I collected 30,000 steps today, I’d crack the magic number.

As luck would have it, I have the day off, and I’m feeling active.

I went for a 5 mile run this morning, so I’m already at 15,000 steps and it isn’t even noon.

How have I managed this incredible surge in steps?  By going for longer runs in the morning.  I’m now making sure to go at least 4 miles on work days, instead of my usual 3 – 3.5 miles.

When I get home from work, I immediately go for a long walk of at least 3,000 steps.  I call this my post-work, anti-stress walk.  I leave all the stress from my work day outside along my walking route and don’t allow it into The House on the Hill.

That makes for a much more relaxing evening.

Then I go for another walk after dinner.  The weather has been so beautiful that I want to be outside doing something healthy.

health, fitness, running, humor, motivation, Modern PhilosopherSo today could be the big day.  If all goes as planned, I will crack the 200,000 step barrier before bed.

I hope Dani has put aside some money for a nice dinner.  Collecting all these steps has made me very hungry!  Ravenous in fact.

It’s crazy what I have been able to push myself to do.   A year ago, I couldn’t even run three miles without having to stop multiples times to catch my breath.

What are you doing to motivate yourself and  achieve your fitness goals?

Posted in Fitness, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Bronx Bombs Away

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, baseball, poetry, Modern PhilosopherThe Bronx

Has come under

Heavy fire,

But the only ones


Are the

Opposing teams

And their fans.

The Bronx Bombers

Are back,

Terrorizing pitchers,

By sending baseballs

Soaring deep into

The sleepless

Spring night.

My beloved Yankees

Might be younger,

But these

Baby Bombers

Definitely know

How to mash.





A murderer’s row

For the

Twenty-first century.

Yankee Stadium

Will always be

The House

That Ruth built,

But now,

It’s also

The house

That can’t contain

The young guns,

Who seem intent

On putting

A baseball

Into orbit.

Bombs away

In the Bronx.

The Yankees

Are back,

And a

World Series title

Is on the way!

All Rise

And hail

The younger

And stronger

Bronx Bombers!

Posted in Humor, Poetry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Forever Single

short story, flash fiction, relationships, humor, Modern Philosopher“Do you know that store Forever 21?” I asked The Devil as I fished a bottle of Snapple out of the cooler.

As always, my Sunday guest was dressed in an impeccably tailored suit.  He did not even glance up from the Sunday paper to answer my question.

“Sure, I’ve heard of it,” Lucifer replied as he turned the page.  “It’s not my style, but I am aware of the chain.  Before you ask, you are definitely too old to shop there.”

I could see his devilish grin behind the newspaper, but I chose to ignore it.

“I was thinking about opening a chain of stores called Forever Single,” I shared before taking a long sip of my Snapple.

The Prince of Darkness laughed loudly and put down the paper so that he could applaud what he thought was a joke.

“I love it.  You can sell sweatpants, oversized hoodies, pajama bottoms, and ratty tee shirts,” he volunteered with a smile.

“And why limit it to clothing?” he continued.  “You could also sell food.  Row after row of freezers stocking every flavor of ice cream imaginable in convenient pint size containers.  Of course, you’d also need all the other comfort foods so there’s always something on hand for those lonely nights crying in front of the TV as you watch whatever sappy movie is on the Hallmark Channel.”

I stared at him in disgust, but he was too busy laughing at his own jokes to even notice.

“You’d probably also want a section devoted to cat supplies,” Satan managed to get out between the laughter.  “No offense, Cali, but your Daddy is going to end up a crazy cat man if he doesn’t go on a date soon.”

short story, flash fiction, relationships, humor, Modern PhilosopherI slammed down my empty bottle of Snapple on the table in anger, which led to a sudden end of all negative jokes about the single life.

“Why did you immediately jump to a place of mocking?” I demanded.  “Do you really think my single status to be that pathetic?”

“My apologizes,” The Devil offered as he wiped the smile off his handsome face.  “You’re usually so negative and, yes, a little pathetic when you talk about dating and relationships, so I thought this was just another rant about how much you hate being single.  I was simply trying to lighten the mood with some witty humor.”

“For you information,” I began as I could sense my face redden with both rage and embarrassment, “my vision for Forever Single is not at all pathetic.  In fact, it is quite empowering for those who do not have a significant other.”

I stood up because I was totally in the mood to talk down to the smug, stuck up prick currently occupying the other end of my couch.

“Forever Single would offer clothing to make someone feel great whenever he went out, even if it was alone,” I explained.  “Plus, there would be an awesome gift department and helpful salespeople who would assist a single person when he needed to find that perfect something to bring to a party.  And healthy food and cookbooks to prepare delicious meals for one.  To top it all off, there would be an amazing book section because no one is truly alone when lost in a good book.”

Lucifer neatly folded the section of the newspaper he had been reading.

short story, flash fiction, relationships, humor, Modern Philosopher“That sounds lovely,” he assured me.  “I’m sorry I made fun of your idea.”

“That’s okay,” I forgave him begrudgingly as I grabbed another Snapple out of the cooler.

“Now would your store have helpful salespeople on hand to assist a discerning customer in the purchase of the perfect brand of catnip for his twenty-seven cats?” The Prince of Darkness asked with a straight face.

I couldn’t help it.  I had to laugh.

“Who am I kidding?” I finally asked.  “Your ideas are so much better.  Do you think you can help me set up meetings with investors?”

And by becoming the multi-millionaire CEO of a national store chain, Modern Philosophers, I was finally able to come to terms with being forever single…

Posted in Dating, Humor | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments