The webcomics blog about webcomics

Day Of Delights

Hey, everybody! It’s February 1st, and you all know what that means — it’s Saint Groundhog’s Day Eve! Okay, it’s also Hourly Comic Day and we’ll get to that presently.

  • Today is also-also the day that KC Green wraps He Is A Good Boy after 300+ multipage updates of spiral time and inner journeys. Crange may not be a good boy (he’s certainly not the greatest god-damn boy you’ll ever meet), he’s kind of a dick and pretty much inertia personified. But after seeing all the variations, all the Crange, all the Emersons, all the quantum-variant versions of himself, he found a way to start over with some peace, a way to exit the eternal cycle of birth and rebirth, which I’m pretty sure makes him a buddha.

    The big finish starts here. If it’s too weird for you, maybe check out a recent one-shot at The Nib wherein a squirrel gets his comeuppance. None of those acorns are Crange. At least, they probably aren’t.

  • Right! Hourly Comic Day! You know the drill, you make a comic that expresses what you did in each hour of the day, ideally within that hour. There’s more of them out there today than a reasonable person can count, but I’ll get you started with ones that I particularly enjoyed: Tony Breed, Carly Monardo, Jeph Jacques, Jean Wei, Haley Boros, Meredith Gran, Colleen Frakes, Abby Howard, Dean Trippe, Christopher Baldwin, Shing Yin Khor, and Lucas Landherr are all on Twitter; Danielle Corsetto opted for Instagram, and there’s a zillion on Tumblr (I’m not on Tumblr).

    But for my money, the best single hourly comic was the first posting from Magnolia Porter, because her comic for 6-7am doubles as that you ten years ago vs you today thing that was going around two weeks back. Oh, and happy day after your birthday, Mags; you rock.


Spam of the day:

Never eat THIS after 7:00 pm (triggers heart attack)

Man, now I’m going to be all paranoid when it’s time to shift the clocks. Does the heart attack food know about Daylight Savings? Or time zones?

Two Things

First, for many, many people reading this, stay warm. It is dangerous out there.

Second, a bunch of creators you follow live in areas that are deadly cold right now. Many more live places that are merely a hell of a lot colder than they should be, even if those places are not imminent hazards. Which means that i a couple weeks, they’re going to be getting utility bills that cover this period of frigid temperatures.

And you’re going to be seeing things like Uh, got my heating bill and it’s about triple what a normal month would be. Here’s {stuff in my store | commissions open | a pay-my-bill sale | my Patreon | my Ko-Fi | whatever} all over the damn place.

If you can afford it, help ’em out. It’s not a matter of poor planning when what’s hit this week is literally unprecedented, and do you want your favorite creators being able to create, or scrambling to keep the lights on in late February? Thought so.

Again — stay warm. Less than two months to the equinox.


Spam of the day:

– Welcome Gary, Need a Tax Debt Hero?

Oh great, it’s tax scam season¹.

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¹ Said in the same tone of voice that Lily Tomlin used in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse when she muttered. Oh great, it’s Liv. That line killed me.

Technology Of The Past, Preserved For The Future

Ever see something that is tailor-made for you, something that speaks to your very existence, and yet you know that you just can’t? Glenn Fleishman has dropped such a thing in my lap.

I may have mentioned, once or twice, that I am fascinated by type. When traveling in the Low Countries on vacation years ago, I made it a point to include Antwerp on the itinerary solely so that I could visit the Plantin-Moretus Museum, where a guy named Christophe Plantin worked with typefaces designed by Claude Garamond whose beauty have not been exceeded in the past half-millennium. His son in law Jan Moretus (and his descendants) kept the type foundry/printing company going, a place so key to the history of the written word in the modern world that it’s now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fleishman’s looked at the history of type, and noticed that while there are well-established and stable museums like the Plantin-Moretus, much of the historical artifacts of moveable type are in collections that have tenuous funding and may end up inaccessible to scholars, artists, and craftspeople in the future. Or hell, one fire could destroy a significant portion of the world’s history of type.

To distribute things of historical import and beauty, to ensure that examples of the craft are spread far and wide, to help guarantee that a single loss will not be crippling Fleishman has designed a mini museum of type, with historical artifacts as well as newly-commissioned examples of type in various materials.

There will be up to 100 iterations of this museum (with 60 on offer at Kickstarter, no two exactly alike), each packaged into a box approximately 15x15x30cm, with a letterpress book acting as the docent to the museum. It’s a tremendous amount of work, several labors of love, and will go for US$1000 and it’s a godsdammned bargain and I just can’t justify it but I very much want to spend a long time exploring one.

Which is not to say that I won’t be getting in on the campaign.

I was probably in college by the time I remembered an incident from when I was very young — four or five, maybe. My grandfather took me to his place of work one day, in Lower Manhattan. He sat me on his lap at a big metal machine with many keys on it, in a vast, clattering, too-warm room. He pressed my fingers down on keys one at a time — G A R … — and after a bit pulled a large lever.

There was some noise, and then in a little tray, a piece of metal 10 or 12cm long, warm to the touch. I could make out the letters which spelled my name, but they were wrong … backwards. He showed me how I could press the backwards letters onto an ink pad, then onto paper and see my name spelled out, with one L slightly too high.

I didn’t realize at the time that Linotype was a thing, or that it was a thing on its way out. I didn’t understand what the advent of hot metal typesetting would mean to printing and publishing. I was mildly upset when I lost that slug of type in a move a few years later, and very upset once I got older and realized what I’d lost.

But Fleishman’s thought of me personally, it seems. At the US$100 level, 500 people will get a freshly-cast slug of Linotype, with any brief text that they want. I can feel my grandfather nodding at me across nearly five decades, telling me that it won’t be the one he made me, but maybe just as good¹. If I bump up to US$200, I can also get the letterpress guide that will go with the museums.

There is nothing practical about any of this; nobody is going to letterpress anything out of the scattered artifacts in these museums. It’s instead an act of optimism, of preservation, drawing a line in the sand and saying this is our history, it’s significant, join me and preserve it². That act of safekeeping is itself Art.

The Tiny Type Museum and Time Capsule will be fundraising for the next 29 days. The ten early-bird museums have be snagged up, and as of this writing 49/50 of the full price copies remain available. It’s the sort of thing that only the well-off or obsessed can back, so I’m not suggesting that you pledge. But spread the word — something tells me that galleries and museums, letterpress operations and design firms might well want to take a look. I have to imagine that the folks over at Blambot would be interested. This is something that needs to succeed.


Spam of the day:

This method is something mechanics have used for years when you give them your old dead batteries. But now you can do this too because of this new video.

Jumper cables. You’re describing jumper cables.

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¹ He’s also shaking his head wondering how a two-word slug could be valued at a hundo. From throwaway cheap to significant expense in a generation and a half — Linotype machines used to be commonplace, now they’re cranky rarities that artisans keep in working order because they can.

But you know what? If that’s the cost to subsidize the rest of the endeavour, it’s worth it.

² Which is remarkably similar to the discussions I had with the gallery director when I first started collecting Chuck Jones animation art. I absolutely believe I hold those images — Rikki Tikki Tavi and Kotick, Mowgli and Shere Khan, the Grinch and Max, the Dot and the Line — in trust for the future. Little slices of something larger, 1/24th second each, to be cared for and kept safe so that we don’t forget them.

Little Busy Today

I mean, not as bad as a bunch of you, stuck in record cold air temps and windchills. Stay warm, stay safe, see you tomorrow.

Devils And Details

The American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards have beenhanded out, and Fleen wishes to extend congratulations to all the winners. Of interest to readers of this page, Ngozi Ukazu’s Check, Please!: #Hockey is one of five finalists for the William C Morris YA Debut Award; over at YALSA’s Award For Excellence In Nonfiction, three of the five finalists carry the text written and illustrated by on the cover, indicating the unique ability of comics to convey complex stories.

Now, a quick bit of quibbling: the Morris award is presented to a book published by a first-time author writing for teens and celebrating impressive new voices in young adult literature, and Ukazu produced three self-published books prior to C,P:#H, which is itself a compilation of her first two self-published books¹. It’s a bit discouraging that the books don’t “count” until an imprint associated with one of the big publishing corporations gets a hold of it².

The idea of debut and first-time is frequently stretched at awards time in all sorts of media (including all over the place in books, music, movies, and comics), and I don’t mean that Ukazu should have been excluded — it’s just I’d like to see acknowledgment that the work was just as good when people did it on their own as when it went through the editorial departments of some very large companies. Congratulations to everybody that got good news out of Seattle this morning — you’re going good work.

Speaking of good work, please keep an eye on Abby Howard at Twitter this week — she’s doing a series of demon drawings, with originals up for sale at Etsy. Howard, of course, draws the hell (so to speak) out of spooky stuff, and she starts things off with a stellar rendition of The Adversary. I expect things will be suitably scarifying for the rest of the week³.


Spam of the day:

in the the video above you will find 2 new ways to make your PACKAGE look BIGGER and last longer In the 12 hrs we are deleting it!

I think they’re saying that they’re going to delete the video, not my package, but you never know.

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¹ Okay, third one is shipping soon.

² Unlike, say, American Born Chinese or SMILE, which existed in printed form as minicomics prior to their book book publication, Ukazu had actual gosh-darned books out there and for sale. Only thing is that they may not have had an ISBN and bar code.

³ Depending on your view of domestic animals, she may have done so just an hour later

For Those Planning Ahead

There seems to be just a little light at the end of the tunnel, the smallest indication that we as a society will start occupying normal processes again, instead of the whims of a mad would-be king. The sort of thing that means that just maybe we can make some plans without worrying that the ground shifts again by tomorrow. Please Snidely Whiplash totally got busted and didn’t even have time to put on Morning Dress before getting perp-walked.

For those that like that sense of civilization and will be in the Bay Area, the Cartoon Art Museum has some events coming up you may want to check out:

  • Jo Morra was born in Uruguay in the 1870s, came to America, and spent his career creating illustrations, comic strips, paintings, sculpture, photographs, maps, and books. CAM will be supplementing the currently-running exhibition, The Life And Times Of Jo Mora (27 October 2018 – 28 April 2019) with a special presentation on Saturday, 23 February.

    Jo Mora At The Cartoon Art Museum And Beyond will see Peter Hiller (author of the Mora’s upcoming biography and curator of the Jo Mora Trust) talking about the exhibition and Mora’s body of work. The talk runs from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, and costs US$8 (advance purchase) or US$10 (at the door), with CAM members admitted free with RSVP.

  • The following weekend, CAM’s monthly visiting artist program, Cartoonist IRL, welcomes Svetlana Chmakova (Crush, Brave, Awkward, and other books about the middle grade experience, plus a dozen other works of note). Q&A and signing with Chmakova are free with museum admission and will run from 1:00pm to 2:30pm on Sunday, 3 March. Chmakova’s appearance is part of CAM’s contributions to San Francisco Comics Fest (with more to be announced) and Will Eisner Week 2019.

One of the news-related links up top is to the twitterfeed of KB Spangler of A Girl And Her Fed; she livetweets administration press events so you don’t have to watch/listen. By coincidence, the first time I mentioned CAM this year, I had sad reason to mention Spangler — her enormous goof of a dog has cancer.

Today, in and around the larger world’s stupidity, she had an update about said goof, and it’s not great¹. So this is your reminder — Spangler has not posted a fundraiser and is not asking for money. But if you have ever heard me rave about her writing and somehow resisted the siren call, this would be an excellent time to check out her store, which is full of words.

If you want to jump into something that’s entirely self-contained and audaciously ambitious, may I suggest Stoneskin? It’s a cracker of a Sci-Fi story about sufficiently-advanced technology that appears to be magic, how the galaxy has crushes on teenagers, and also the importance of supply chains to a star-spanning civilization. You’ve never read anything like it.


Spam of the day:

Jimmymup wrote:

The rest is Chinese characters, but can we just focus on that account name for a second? Jimmymup sounds like somebody was really disappointed that their kid James was not born with wires attached to his arms.

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¹ Full disclosure: the same cancer killed both of my dogs, who due to age and challenges from their dog racing careers, would likely not have tolerated amputation well. I am rooting for this guy to knock cancer on its ass.

We, As All Right-Thinking Folk Do, Rejoice At The News

[Quick note before the main event: Rosemary Mosco and a host of other creators from :01 Books’s Science Comics line will be at Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, Massachusetts on Saturday, 26 January, from noon to 3:00pm. Go see them!]

You have, by now, no doubt heard the news that the Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d’Angoulême has, after generally suffering from a couple of years of not having their collective shit together, pulled up their pants and gotten over themselves. That is to say, they have declared Rumiko Takahashi the winner of the Grand Prix, which makes her only the second woman¹ (after Florence Cestac in 2000) and the second manga artist² (after Katsuhiro Otomo in 2015) so honored in the festival’s 45 year history.

Given the depth and breadth of her career, and the numerous creators who’ve established their careers and cited Takahashi as their inspiration, this is both richly deserved and long overdue. For generations of readers around the world, Takahashi is practically synonymous with comics. Nobody can dispute these actual facts, and you’ve no doubt read something very similar to this already.

But have you read the observations of a French lover of comics? Take it away, Fleen Senior French Correspondent Pierre Lebeaupin!

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So Rumiko Takahashi won this year’s Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, and this is a significant event in more than one way.

First, it is significant for Takahashi-san herself, of course. While to the French public she needs no introduction, it is expected this will result in renewed exposure to her work, such as through re-edition of her classic works (did you know? It is only after Bill Watterson won the Grand Prix in 2014 that France finally got a French version of the Calvin and Hobbes tenth anniversary book).

Then, it is significant because she’s a mangaka. For a very long time comics professionals of the French-Belgian school have been resentful of manga’s success in France, sometimes openly so, and it is still going on today, to an extent. This new Grand Prix both shows the body of professionals is changing (the profession as a whole contributed to selecting the Grand Prix) and means it is time to put that attitude to rest and accept manga as an integral part of the pinnacle of sequential art; because while Katsuhiro Otomo’s Grand Prix in 2015 might have been misinterpreted as a fluke, Takahashi’s Grand Prix confirms that it isn’t.

It is also significant because she has created a significant body of all-ages comics. While I revere Otomo-san, I am also not going to give Akira to my 9-year-old nieces (or nephews); this celebration of all-ages comics is significant in that, while French-Belgian classics such as Tintin, Astérix, Spirou, etc. could be read by everyone from 7 to 77 years old, as the slogan went, the industry has drifted away from that in recent decades, with most comics bookshops today featuring a split between regular comics and comics for children. This, to me, is an unnecessary segmentation that impoverishes the medium, and we are fortunate to have creators such as Takahashi-san, many of them in manga, that keep supporting the idea of all-ages comics; we can only hope this Grand Prix will cause this segmentation to be reconsidered. In a similar fashion, Takahashi’s work blurs the line between shojo and shonen, weakening that segmentation as well.

And it is most significant because of her gender, of course. Finally we have a second female Grand Prix winner to keep company to Florence Cestac. Remember it was only three years ago that Frank Bondoux attempted to claim the absence of any female creator in the 30 nominees for that year could be in any way justified … and while many of us always knew he was telling de la merde that day³ (with we at Fleen specifically suggesting Takahashi-san as an example of qualifying female creator), this year is the year the supreme court of comics for the French-Belgian circuit handed him down a decisive defeat. Good riddance to that idea.

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Our thanks to FSFCPL for his local insight, and congratulations again to Rumiko Takahashi; as one of the aspects of the Grand Prix is that the winner is the President of the next year’s Festival, look for Angoulême 2020 to feature a lot of leggy ladies, short skirts, bountiful hair, frustration-laden slow-burn romance, and the best sight gags since Chuck Jones.


Spam of the day:

The persons shown in photographs in this email may not necessarily be actual users of valentime.com

As you didn’t actually include any pictures, I imagine not.

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¹ Or possibly third; in 1983 an additional tenth anniversary prize was awarded to Claire Bretécher, but it wasn’t the “real” prize.

² Again, possibly third; in 2013, a special fortieth anniversary prize was awarded to Akira Toriyama.

³ An event so obnoxious it resulted in me taking up the mantle of Fleen Senior French Correspondent from then on. [Editor’s note: And we at Fleen are lucky to have him!]

Three Points Makes A Line

As mentioned last week, there have been two updates to The Abominable Charles Christopher a week’s interval. It had been years since the strip updated regularly, and we at Fleen were only cautiously optimistic that a change was in the offing.

Welp, today is update three, and furthermore the first we’ve seen of the titular protagonist in two and a half years. I know that Karl Kerschl’s work on Isola¹ may make this return irregular, but I believe we’re likely past the sometimes years-long breaks in the story.

Now if we just get Luga back, then everything will be right in the world. No pressure, Karl.

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For those with next Monday open, a reminder that the American Library Association is holding its annual midwinter conference in Seattle, starting this Friday (25 January) and concluding next Tuesday (29 January). A highlight of ALA Midwinter is the announcements of the Youth Media Awards, including the Newbery, Caldecott, and Printz awards, winners of which have been known to overlap with the list of Great Graphic Novels For Teens put out by ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association.

This year’s GGNFT list includes Birding Is My Favorite Video Game by Rosemary Mosco, Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu, Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen, All Summer Long by Hope Larson, Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol, Check Please!: Book One, #Hockey, various collected Giant Days by John Allison/Max Sarin/Liz Fleming, The Hidden Witch by Molly Ostertag, and On A Sunbeam by Tillie Walden. Look, I’m not saying one or more of these folks are going to get to describe themselves as Printz Award winners, but I’m not not saying it.

Anyway, the Youth Media Awards will be announced from 8:00am PST via live webcast. You should check ’em out.


Spam of the day:

for me it was a game changer when I found Rockwall and started investing with them my passive income started to grow much faster than before

I’m guessing you and I regard rock walls as very different things.

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¹ Which is so good — beautiful, lush, willing to tell its story in its own time and to leave bits of plot and lore mysterious rather than to firehose all of it at us. It reminds me of Miyazaki’s Nausicaä Of The Valley Of The Wind, a story which took twelve years of fits and starts to reach a conclusion, and which left more unsaid than said.

Flyers

Hey, got some Kickstarter cash in your budget? There’s some things you might want to look at.

  • Charles Brubaker has done licensed SpongeBob comics, done work with the usual gang of idiots, and a series of web strips that lean heavily on the cute. The latest of these, The Fuzzy Princess, has reached the point where an upgraded print collection makes sense. Crowdfunding, ho:

    I had two paperback volumes of “Fuzzy” printed, but due to limited resources they were released in black and white. I always dreamed of having it put out in color, however, and made it my goal to do so.

    This is where this Kickstarter come in, to reprint the first book volume in color. It’s not just a color version of the black and white books, I’m also adding new materials: title-page illustrations for each chapter, behind-the-scene sketches, as well as remastering old comic pages, with cleaned-up art and dialogue for clarity and general improvement.

    Given that Brubaker’s done this before, everything’s laid out and ready to send to the printer, so the promised August 2019 for fulfillment is eminently doable; physical copies start at US$20, which is pretty damn good for a 192 page book in color. There’s another 28 days to go and Brubaker’s coming up on 40% funded, but that backer count is a little low; it looks like he’s got a devoted group of superfans, but he’s going to have to get a broader base of support to make the (very reasonable) goal of US$5000. If you ask me, 20 bucks is a pretty fair price to take a flyer on a new comic. Give ‘er a look.

  • I don’t usually point at Kickstarts that haven’t happened yet, but I’m making an exception. Inhibit is new to me, but it’s got a killer hook:

    As a kid, Victor dreamed of training to be a superhero. That didn’t go so well.

    Now, nine years later, Victor is a resident at the Earl Estate, a home for kids who haven’t yet demonstrated that they can control their powers. With his 18th birthday — and a transfer — only a few weeks away, he has one last chance to prove he is capable enough to receive his licence and go home.

    That comedown in the first line is great.

    Like I said, I like to promote stuff I’m familiar with, and while I’ve started a quick read of the archives, Inhibit’s been updating Wednesdays for four years and that’s 200+ comics to catch up on. The reason I’m mentioning it here is creator Eve Greenwood took the time to put together an announcement with a clear description of who they are, what they do, what they hope to accomplish, and where to go for more info. As a hack webcomics pseudojournalist, this makes my life a hell of a lot easier.

    Greenwood also dropped in some good images showing off various parts of the story as well as the cover¹, and gave me the full rundown: the campaign launches on 28 Jan (that’s next Monday) at 5:00pm GMT, and runs for 30 days. The goal is £4500 (approximately US$5800), with books starting at £20 plus shipping (which hopefully won’t be a bankbreaker). Now exactly what else is up for grabs at what support levels, and where the stretch goals go? We’ll learn together.

    I’m taking a flyer on this one myself because Greenwood’s obviously thinking and planning and treating their career seriously (having graduated university this past November with a Masters of Design in Comics & Graphic Novels) and I want to encourage that. Want me to take a flyer on you? Gotta bring your game up to at least Greenwood’s level. And if the Inhibit Kickstart craters, you’ll have to do even better, so we’re all rooting that that the followthrough will be as good as the prep.


Spam of the day:

Explore the Glory of Single Russian Women

The fine print at the bottom indicates This is an advertisement for services offered by SOL Networks Limited, which makes me wonder if they know what SOL stands for.

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¹ Which I have to say really grabbed me. Those faces are great and have oodles of character.

Travel Day, Holiday, Let’s Clear Some Spam

Oh man, the quality of these spammers is just not what it used to be. The entire cold-contact-people-so-you-can-scam-them industry is filled with scrubs. For example, today I got one of those robocall messages about how it’s very important that I press 1 to talk to somebody about restructuring my credit card debt¹, so I did what I always do:

I placed my phone’s handset and headset on the desk, with the mic of each against the speaker of the other, set the the handset to speakerphone, and pressed 1. When the scammer on the desk started to talk? Glorious, glorious feedback. The more they shout, the louder it gets. If you call me with the intent of stealing, then a bit of shrieking in your ears (and residual tinnitus) is the very least you can expect.

Time was scammers would hang up, shrug it off and maybe put my number on the don’t bother to call again list² and accepted that at least I didn’t waste their time for 15 or 20 minutes. That guy today hung up, then called back 15 seconds later to call me a bitch. Next to the guy who called back to scream at me that he was part of Al-Qaeda and would bomb my house³, he was the sorest loser I’ve encountered. Give me the old-fashioned scammers, the ones that realize that in trying to steal from me, they’re running a risk and may have to pay the price.

Anyway, here’s some of the drive I’ve gotten lately. Enjoy.


Spams of the day:

Must say your website looks quite ok. Good job. However, if you want your website to be really successful, then make sure you use the best tools to optimize your online content. Otherwise it won’t be on the top of Google search results and no-one will know about it.

I think he’s trying to neg me but can’t quite do it.

I discovered your Fleen: The Awkward Christmas Dinner Of Our Obligation To Existence » It’s Been A Day page and noticed you could have a lot more traffic.

Wow. You’re able to read the <title> tag in HTML. Your wizardry will never cease to amaze.

mate your site is really cool, but it has a poor Domain Authority sad truth is that sites with poor Domain Authority won’t rank high in Google and in result get very little of traffic

Given that Domain Authority requires a Google Places or Facebook page and I have absolutely neither of those, I’d say it’s undefinable on the good/poor scale.

This is a stupid title. I bet a large percentage of kids have written essays about gun control since it’s one of the biggest social issues in US politics. This kid wasn’t some clairvoyant.

This spam, which is selling an academic essay-writing service, was referencing this post, which features neither the word gun nor the word control. Maybe work on your reading skill before offering up your writing?

Hello, Could you be interested in making $ 200,000 a day with us? Visit our website for more details

Weirdly, your URL appears to go nowhere. Also, that’s Zimbabwean dollars, right?

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN MAKE OVER $750 PER WEEK IN 2019 & YEARS TO COME … JUST BY USING INSTAGRAM ON COMPLETE AUTOPILOT!

WHY ARE WE SHOUTING?

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¹ The amount of which is zero, thanks.

² As opposed to the Do Not Call list. The DBTCA list is the one where I pick up and as soon as I say something, it disconnects.

³ He also shouted about how he was having sex with my mom and I told him unless he’s got a thing for very particular controlling behavior, it seemed unlikely.