Gesture Firestorm Hits

This morning started with an alarming email from Rick Goff titled:

Paradise Valley Fire.

It said simply “not sure if you’ve seen this yet, but I figured I’d pass this along. There doesn’t seem to be anthing on inciweb about it yet, but I’m guessing that your mom’s house was in that area.”

It sure was. Just a short distance away. I quickly wrote a note to our friend there, got confirmation that my mom’s house wasn’t affected (it isn’t easily reachable by fire) and was relieved, but sounds like there’ll be some stories to hear when we get there on Saturday.

Anyway, what really happened here isn’t the fire.

It was the gesture response.

I told Steve Gillmor the story and said “I get what you mean by gestures now.”

Now, Rick isn’t a close buddy. Or anyone I really know. I don’t think I’ve ever met him. But, he remembered that my mom lived in Emigrant, Montana. How did he know that? Cause I blogged about that a few weeks back. That was my gesture to the world. It let you know that I might care about that part of the world. That I might pay attention to it. Cause I now owned property there.

So, when Rick saw that article he returned the gesture and sent me some very valuable news.

He was faster than even Google News was (I went there as soon as I got the email trying to find more info, there was nothing on Google about this fire, although there is tonight).

Now, Steve Gillmor is trying to find gesture algorithms. You know, algorithms that do what Rick did. Return gestures.

Can algorithms fill this role? Sure. For instance, read yesterday’s post by Fred Wilson. What gestures do you see there?

I see that he enjoys personal, authentic information about Venture Capital, music, and that he already reads the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal so don’t bother sending him anything that already exists in those two publications. I can see the beginnings of an algorithm right there. First step? Visit Technorati, bring back music info from anyone with any authority. Then you start applying filters. For instance, I see two posts with Chinese language characters. Fred’s blog is in English, so we can make an assumption that he likes English (he can always tell the Gesture system that he can speak other languages, but we’re building software here and software needs defaults, so might as well pick the obvious ones).

Then, I know that Fred is educated and has sophisticated tastes (based on his past posts) so we can delete that post with all the exclamation points — that’s a gesture of a teenage/unsophisticated mind so can be safely filtered out).

What other gestures do we see on Fred’s blog? Well, I know he likes new/undiscovered music. He also has eclectic tastes. And he is looking for music that rises above the noise level. We can further filter the result set with that. For instance, look for words like “love, new, discovered, etc.”

Anyway, my point is that bloggers send gestures to the world all the time and most of those gestures are lost. But, when heeded they could form an important new information retrieval system.

Oh, I sent a gesture over to Steve Gillmor in a recent post wondering what was up with InfoRouter. Last night over dinner he returned the gesture: http://gesturelab.com/inforouter/

One other thing. I didn’t link to Fred Wilson’s blog. Why? Cause if you really cared you’d have read it by now, right? I assume my readers know how to use Google and TechMeme. Cause you’re smarter than me and I can find Fred in both places right now.

Yeah, Steve Gillmor explained to me why NOT linking is better than linking. Tell me Fred, did your traffic from search engines go up today?

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54 thoughts on “Gesture Firestorm Hits

  1. I don’t understand the point of the “no linking” thing. Is the idea that because I’m smart enough to use Google, I might as well do extra work? I doubt Fred will get any traffic from this. I for one didn’t bother finding him.

    I read your weblog to find links to interesting things and people – take away the links, and you’d be left with one big, useless “in” joke.

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  2. I don’t understand the point of the “no linking” thing. Is the idea that because I’m smart enough to use Google, I might as well do extra work? I doubt Fred will get any traffic from this. I for one didn’t bother finding him.

    I read your weblog to find links to interesting things and people – take away the links, and you’d be left with one big, useless “in” joke.

    Like

  3. Michael: I tend to agree with you. But, if you really care you’ll find it. And those who DO take the time to find Fred are probably going to be extremely valuable readers to Fred. They are far far far more likely to subscribe to him, for instance, than someone who just is clicking on links and not willing to do any additional work.

    Don’t worry, I’m gonna keep linking. That post was mostly for Steve Gillmor anyway.

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  4. Michael: I tend to agree with you. But, if you really care you’ll find it. And those who DO take the time to find Fred are probably going to be extremely valuable readers to Fred. They are far far far more likely to subscribe to him, for instance, than someone who just is clicking on links and not willing to do any additional work.

    Don’t worry, I’m gonna keep linking. That post was mostly for Steve Gillmor anyway.

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  5. Links are valuable, they don’t make me work harder when I don’t have the time and they don’t devalue my appreciation of Fred’s blog. It’s one area I totally disagree with Steve.
    Don’t drink too much of the koolaid Robert, give us da links please 🙂

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  6. Links are valuable, they don’t make me work harder when I don’t have the time and they don’t devalue my appreciation of Fred’s blog. It’s one area I totally disagree with Steve.
    Don’t drink too much of the koolaid Robert, give us da links please 🙂

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  7. I don’t know Steve well enough to judge his line of thinking, ideas and such. I appreciate a well thoughout line (such as “not linking is better than linking”) not because I believe it to be true, but because it gets you thinking, so you may find a middle point that perhaps you didn’t notice before. I do that a lot, so perhaps I should be more receptive when someone else does it to me.

    In this case, there’s no such thing as “not linking is better than linking” *and* viceversa. There are different context, different attitudes, different people, different needs, different moods, and on top of all that, we all may be reading that particular text at very different situations that would promtp us to click/not click/search/not search. And that *is* true.

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  8. I don’t know Steve well enough to judge his line of thinking, ideas and such. I appreciate a well thoughout line (such as “not linking is better than linking”) not because I believe it to be true, but because it gets you thinking, so you may find a middle point that perhaps you didn’t notice before. I do that a lot, so perhaps I should be more receptive when someone else does it to me.

    In this case, there’s no such thing as “not linking is better than linking” *and* viceversa. There are different context, different attitudes, different people, different needs, different moods, and on top of all that, we all may be reading that particular text at very different situations that would promtp us to click/not click/search/not search. And that *is* true.

    Like

  9. My my, from “attention” to “gesture algorithms”…the never-ending supply of meaningless buzzwords, keeps on trucking.

    In the real world, this is called having friends, knowing and caring about them, keeping in touch, and gasp, unconditionally at that, even when they are of no use to you, or can’t help boost your traffic or can’t play your marketing pitch up.

    Life is not a computer program spitting out info and links in some sort of raw attempt to mimic human emotions. And the “gestures” we send out, might be pure fiction, what we dream them to be, not what they actually are. I like to consider myself a 6 figure Hollywood scripter living in Malibu, but the cold hard reality is just another eternal spec-monkey pounding my fists at Final Draft, doing corporate and local churn with a few hopeful optioned lines (assuming the Red Sea parts again). But if I ‘gesture’ that I am John August or David Koepp, then I am, right? Gestures to the dreamers…

    Sometimes I think you people aren’t quite human, just cylons in a homosapien-conceptual-framework, programmed to be wholly unaware.

    Like

  10. My my, from “attention” to “gesture algorithms”…the never-ending supply of meaningless buzzwords, keeps on trucking.

    In the real world, this is called having friends, knowing and caring about them, keeping in touch, and gasp, unconditionally at that, even when they are of no use to you, or can’t help boost your traffic or can’t play your marketing pitch up.

    Life is not a computer program spitting out info and links in some sort of raw attempt to mimic human emotions. And the “gestures” we send out, might be pure fiction, what we dream them to be, not what they actually are. I like to consider myself a 6 figure Hollywood scripter living in Malibu, but the cold hard reality is just another eternal spec-monkey pounding my fists at Final Draft, doing corporate and local churn with a few hopeful optioned lines (assuming the Red Sea parts again). But if I ‘gesture’ that I am John August or David Koepp, then I am, right? Gestures to the dreamers…

    Sometimes I think you people aren’t quite human, just cylons in a homosapien-conceptual-framework, programmed to be wholly unaware.

    Like

  11. Mr. Scoble… one of your favorite bloggers (Mr. Kawasaki) wouldn’t be where he is on Technorati (heck, his blog might be laying undiscovered on the side of a mountain somewhere) if it wasn’t for linking… and his shameless plugging for same. I love what he has to say, think he’s a terrific human being and am happy to link to him from my little patch of the grid. I want other people to discover him too. Easily. I wouldn’t have easily found the World Bank annual report he posts about last night… (BTW, have you seen THAT site!? VAST!)

    Rather than rely solely on Mr. Gillmor may I humbly suggest you broaden your frame of reference? For instance… what if Mr. Wilson DID find that new, lovable, undicovered indie band from Tulsa, shared the news with us all and he did NOT link to them? How helpful is that? What if their robots.txt file on their server has a no robots flag? Truly hard to find. There are givers and there are takers. You’ve been a perrennial giver. Please, don’t change that.

    In fact, interview Vint Cerf sometime and ask about the value of linking. Do that and I’m gonna wager a nice steak for you, Maryam and Patrick that you alter your position.

    Lookit! you’re at the top of the blogging food chain. You and about 500 other people bring a LOT of attention to things we might never have taken the time to search on. And a little bit of that traffic sticks around long after the click through, we subscribe to their RSS (you’re how I discovered Mr. Sandquist’s feed), we stay interested even if only a little bit because it’s so easy to stay connected now. Think all the BlogHer crowd are suddenly going to realize “Oh she can find that specific little nugget on (fill in the blank here)… she’s not going to mind the incovenience and extra work that will take her time and attention away from (fill in the blank here) to find it herself.” Nope. Linking is crucial to a great many of us. I appreciate and rely on the help in discovery of new things.

    Alright… that topic is thoroughly out of my veins. Whew, thanks for that therapy… copay is in the mail. (heheh) Gerald, Tulsa

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  12. Mr. Scoble… one of your favorite bloggers (Mr. Kawasaki) wouldn’t be where he is on Technorati (heck, his blog might be laying undiscovered on the side of a mountain somewhere) if it wasn’t for linking… and his shameless plugging for same. I love what he has to say, think he’s a terrific human being and am happy to link to him from my little patch of the grid. I want other people to discover him too. Easily. I wouldn’t have easily found the World Bank annual report he posts about last night… (BTW, have you seen THAT site!? VAST!)

    Rather than rely solely on Mr. Gillmor may I humbly suggest you broaden your frame of reference? For instance… what if Mr. Wilson DID find that new, lovable, undicovered indie band from Tulsa, shared the news with us all and he did NOT link to them? How helpful is that? What if their robots.txt file on their server has a no robots flag? Truly hard to find. There are givers and there are takers. You’ve been a perrennial giver. Please, don’t change that.

    In fact, interview Vint Cerf sometime and ask about the value of linking. Do that and I’m gonna wager a nice steak for you, Maryam and Patrick that you alter your position.

    Lookit! you’re at the top of the blogging food chain. You and about 500 other people bring a LOT of attention to things we might never have taken the time to search on. And a little bit of that traffic sticks around long after the click through, we subscribe to their RSS (you’re how I discovered Mr. Sandquist’s feed), we stay interested even if only a little bit because it’s so easy to stay connected now. Think all the BlogHer crowd are suddenly going to realize “Oh she can find that specific little nugget on (fill in the blank here)… she’s not going to mind the incovenience and extra work that will take her time and attention away from (fill in the blank here) to find it herself.” Nope. Linking is crucial to a great many of us. I appreciate and rely on the help in discovery of new things.

    Alright… that topic is thoroughly out of my veins. Whew, thanks for that therapy… copay is in the mail. (heheh) Gerald, Tulsa

    Like

  13. One other thing. I didn’t link to Fred Wilson’s blog. Why? Cause if you really cared you’d have read it by now, right? I assume my readers know how to use Google and TechMeme. Cause you’re smarter than me and I can find Fred in both places right now.

    I’m not sure – this seems to have struck a chord, maybe you can expand? Sure, I can Google Fred. But I might not – that’s extra work and I might get led astray and never get there.

    Unless not linking is a way to filter out the people who don’t care so your traffic reflects people who are really interested from the goats.

    Example – we get slashdotted once in a while. Large traffic spikes. The last slashdot mentioned our name and what we were doing and a link to the news story – but not us. Traffic was low low low – more of a (small) speed bump and not a spike.

    Maybe a slashdot is diff’d from a Scoble?

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  14. One other thing. I didn’t link to Fred Wilson’s blog. Why? Cause if you really cared you’d have read it by now, right? I assume my readers know how to use Google and TechMeme. Cause you’re smarter than me and I can find Fred in both places right now.

    I’m not sure – this seems to have struck a chord, maybe you can expand? Sure, I can Google Fred. But I might not – that’s extra work and I might get led astray and never get there.

    Unless not linking is a way to filter out the people who don’t care so your traffic reflects people who are really interested from the goats.

    Example – we get slashdotted once in a while. Large traffic spikes. The last slashdot mentioned our name and what we were doing and a link to the news story – but not us. Traffic was low low low – more of a (small) speed bump and not a spike.

    Maybe a slashdot is diff’d from a Scoble?

    Like

  15. Your gesture theory makes far too many assumptions I think.

    You may think Fred’s taste is sophisticated – I may not or, more likely, I may think some of his likes are cool and some are lame (and would expect him to think the same of mine). That’s the whole point of subjective taste and why pandora is so underwhelming – the one thing that sophisticated taste most certainly is not is internally homogenous.

    Moreover, he does like the Arctic Monkeys, a band who are certain to attract !!! filled posts. The unsophisticated teenage mind being the originator of some of the greatest music ever known.

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  16. Your gesture theory makes far too many assumptions I think.

    You may think Fred’s taste is sophisticated – I may not or, more likely, I may think some of his likes are cool and some are lame (and would expect him to think the same of mine). That’s the whole point of subjective taste and why pandora is so underwhelming – the one thing that sophisticated taste most certainly is not is internally homogenous.

    Moreover, he does like the Arctic Monkeys, a band who are certain to attract !!! filled posts. The unsophisticated teenage mind being the originator of some of the greatest music ever known.

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  17. I’m reading your posts in reverse chronological order in my feed reader – so this is the one that get this comment: you’ve been talking a lot about different gestures today! haha.

    I’m still vague on the concept of a “gesture” in this context though. Is it just a piece of information that made it out of series of filters to fit someone’s interests?

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  18. I’m reading your posts in reverse chronological order in my feed reader – so this is the one that get this comment: you’ve been talking a lot about different gestures today! haha.

    I’m still vague on the concept of a “gesture” in this context though. Is it just a piece of information that made it out of series of filters to fit someone’s interests?

    Like

  19. Life is not a computer program spitting out info and links in some sort of raw attempt to mimic human emotions.

    ERROR. INPUT CONTAINS INVALID ARGUMENT OR ARGUMENTS.

    Sometimes I think you people aren’t quite human, just cylons in a homosapien-conceptual-framework, programmed to be wholly unaware.

    STACK OVERFLOW
    EXCEPTION 0x8000FFFF PARSING INPUT

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  20. Life is not a computer program spitting out info and links in some sort of raw attempt to mimic human emotions.

    ERROR. INPUT CONTAINS INVALID ARGUMENT OR ARGUMENTS.

    Sometimes I think you people aren’t quite human, just cylons in a homosapien-conceptual-framework, programmed to be wholly unaware.

    STACK OVERFLOW
    EXCEPTION 0x8000FFFF PARSING INPUT

    Like

  21. Sometimes I think you people aren’t quite human, just cylons in a homosapien-conceptual-framework, programmed to be wholly unaware.

    Something deeply odd about a humanist (is there a better term?) who lumps a diverse collection of people under the heading ‘cylon’ and calls it a day.

    As if there aren’t as many diverse opinions and legitimate thinking going on here as you’d find in his favorite co-op coffee shop.

    As if he’s not participating inthe cylon-ing (his term I’m sure) of the culture. Tune out, brother before you become one with the Borg!

    Like

  22. Sometimes I think you people aren’t quite human, just cylons in a homosapien-conceptual-framework, programmed to be wholly unaware.

    Something deeply odd about a humanist (is there a better term?) who lumps a diverse collection of people under the heading ‘cylon’ and calls it a day.

    As if there aren’t as many diverse opinions and legitimate thinking going on here as you’d find in his favorite co-op coffee shop.

    As if he’s not participating inthe cylon-ing (his term I’m sure) of the culture. Tune out, brother before you become one with the Borg!

    Like

  23. Sorry, I didn’t bother looking for Fred’s post either (but at least I figured it was probably linked from an earlier post of yours – until I got to the end of your post).

    I like the idea about gesture tracking, will this help me communicate better with my wife? ;D (it’s about time technology started helping me in that area, goodness knows it hinders enough!)

    Seriously though, do we want our gestures trapped by some fiendishly methodical automated system? OK, maybe I’d like someone to watch blogs for pre-suicide attempt gestures, or similar meaningful terms – but maybe I’d be really pissed off if I decided to post some blue poetry from my teenage years, only to get a phone call from a helpline counsellor offering to hold my hand while I tell them my problems … even worse, I’d HATE getting spam email based upon gestures from my blog. After allo, I might not even know I was sending those gestures myself – so why would I welcome someone else pointing them out?!

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  24. Sorry, I didn’t bother looking for Fred’s post either (but at least I figured it was probably linked from an earlier post of yours – until I got to the end of your post).

    I like the idea about gesture tracking, will this help me communicate better with my wife? ;D (it’s about time technology started helping me in that area, goodness knows it hinders enough!)

    Seriously though, do we want our gestures trapped by some fiendishly methodical automated system? OK, maybe I’d like someone to watch blogs for pre-suicide attempt gestures, or similar meaningful terms – but maybe I’d be really pissed off if I decided to post some blue poetry from my teenage years, only to get a phone call from a helpline counsellor offering to hold my hand while I tell them my problems … even worse, I’d HATE getting spam email based upon gestures from my blog. After allo, I might not even know I was sending those gestures myself – so why would I welcome someone else pointing them out?!

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  25. Interesting concepts. And no, we’ve never met. We almost did when you came through Billings, but it didn’t happen.

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  26. Interesting concepts. And no, we’ve never met. We almost did when you came through Billings, but it didn’t happen.

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  27. Fred’s blog is one of my all time favorites. I have to read it every day, or I get edgy. He totally gets the medium and uses it exactly how I want it to be used (as an avid blog reader): to gain a new perspective by allowing people to discover the world through your POV.

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  28. Fred’s blog is one of my all time favorites. I have to read it every day, or I get edgy. He totally gets the medium and uses it exactly how I want it to be used (as an avid blog reader): to gain a new perspective by allowing people to discover the world through your POV.

    Like

  29. Ironically, Fred’s blog just popped up in my Bloglines search feed because he quoted my comment about not bothering to look up his site, so I just subscribed to his site.

    Maybe your gesture worked after all… but it took 48 hours to work its way through the tubes.

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  30. Ironically, Fred’s blog just popped up in my Bloglines search feed because he quoted my comment about not bothering to look up his site, so I just subscribed to his site.

    Maybe your gesture worked after all… but it took 48 hours to work its way through the tubes.

    Like

  31. Pingback: AListReview
  32. It is ironic, Fred linked to this post and that is how I landed on this page. Does seem silly to force users to have to search for something, thus making it harder to judge for ourselves.

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  33. It is ironic, Fred linked to this post and that is how I landed on this page. Does seem silly to force users to have to search for something, thus making it harder to judge for ourselves.

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  34. >> Cause if you really cared you’d have read it by now, right? I assume my readers know how to use Google and TechMeme.

    Linking does no harm to those who have already read Fred’s blog, and saves everyone else time.

    Because a reader is capable of something doesn’t mean they should be forced to do so. Linking is about respecting people’s time, and even if the majority of people are already familiar with the link, is worth doing for the few who might benefit.

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  35. >> Cause if you really cared you’d have read it by now, right? I assume my readers know how to use Google and TechMeme.

    Linking does no harm to those who have already read Fred’s blog, and saves everyone else time.

    Because a reader is capable of something doesn’t mean they should be forced to do so. Linking is about respecting people’s time, and even if the majority of people are already familiar with the link, is worth doing for the few who might benefit.

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  37. It’s clear to everyone that linking in blog posts is what we do when we’re not lazy.

    We link to provide a fast, easy bridge to a relevant or substantiating site or web page or whatever online.

    The #1 User Reality is that they’re in a big hurry. Users are impatient, stressed out, multi-tasking, and skim-scanning.

    We must NEVER slow down or put obstacles in the path of a reader. We must facilitate and expedite information transmission and information trails. Linking is discretionary, but the more you link, the more you build the map of human knowledge and expertise.

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  38. It’s clear to everyone that linking in blog posts is what we do when we’re not lazy.

    We link to provide a fast, easy bridge to a relevant or substantiating site or web page or whatever online.

    The #1 User Reality is that they’re in a big hurry. Users are impatient, stressed out, multi-tasking, and skim-scanning.

    We must NEVER slow down or put obstacles in the path of a reader. We must facilitate and expedite information transmission and information trails. Linking is discretionary, but the more you link, the more you build the map of human knowledge and expertise.

    Like

  39. What would Tim Berners-Lee think? The WWW is about links – nothing more, nothing less. The Internet works because it is stupid, and WE provide the links. Stop doing that, and the ‘Net stops working … I thought you grokked that, Robert?

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  40. What would Tim Berners-Lee think? The WWW is about links – nothing more, nothing less. The Internet works because it is stupid, and WE provide the links. Stop doing that, and the ‘Net stops working … I thought you grokked that, Robert?

    Like

  41. Cluetrain mentality or old economy, there is no in between.

    Cluetrain, Gonzo Marketing, Naked Conversations, and Net Gain clarify sufficiently that we are pioneering an interconnected realm.

    Now the blogger acts as a bot. We run around the net, finding relevant info or entertaining content, and we re-mix, re-blog, and re-distribute it.

    The blogger is an infobot, a knowledged daemon, a subservient messenger, weaving a web of intuitive omniscience.

    Like

  42. Cluetrain mentality or old economy, there is no in between.

    Cluetrain, Gonzo Marketing, Naked Conversations, and Net Gain clarify sufficiently that we are pioneering an interconnected realm.

    Now the blogger acts as a bot. We run around the net, finding relevant info or entertaining content, and we re-mix, re-blog, and re-distribute it.

    The blogger is an infobot, a knowledged daemon, a subservient messenger, weaving a web of intuitive omniscience.

    Like

  43. hello my name is jeff and i experiecne things un natural. last night i had a dream of runing n jumping fences n lots of dogs then to day i watched a movie beetoven with the dog n in a couple of parts people jump fences n was runing n then there was lots of dogs n the dog beetoven was in the dream please contact me bak on aim my screenname is sk8rR0ckerkid

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  44. hello my name is jeff and i experiecne things un natural. last night i had a dream of runing n jumping fences n lots of dogs then to day i watched a movie beetoven with the dog n in a couple of parts people jump fences n was runing n then there was lots of dogs n the dog beetoven was in the dream please contact me bak on aim my screenname is sk8rR0ckerkid

    Like

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