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#6910029 Oct 29, 2012 at 09:02 AM · Edited over 4 years ago
Guild Officer
354 Posts
We've all seen the movie. Is your Avatar a direct representation of something else? Also feel free to share pictures of your avatars here or on Games MOOC Flickr group.

Here's a short presentation on "Avatars, Alts & Toons" up on YouTube.
twitter @kzenovka
www.center4edupunx
Games MOOC Instructor and Designer
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#6911949 Oct 29, 2012 at 04:08 PM · Edited 5 years ago
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561 Posts
AVATARS WITHOUT FEAR. I am so glad we have this discussion. People think of avatars as something that you have to be in a MMORPG or Second Life. That it has to be a representative of you in a virtual environment. I would like clear up that misconception. You have had avatars all your life but you just never thought about them that way, what do I mean by that? READ ON! :)

Here are the questions I will be asking below. I have re-listed them here at the top so if you “quote” in your reply you can delete everything but the questions:

1. Think again about your "profile image," Why did you choose it?
2. What is the first costume you had that you chose for yourself? [/b] Did you pretend to be that character?
3, Who are your "avatars" in real life?
4, Do you do games where you have an avatar? Care to share here or on the image slide show?
5. What book or film did you most identify with a character and why?

1. The profile image you have chosen for this MOOC is in fact, your avatar. Let's look at mine, "The Grasshopper98" I am shown as being inquisitive, check out my feeler levels and my hands behind my back, I am looking at something new, the number "98" which probably has some significance for me [it does] and why the grasshopper? [there is a story behind that too] I am also non-threatening, almost, but not quite a cartoon character. I am approachable. Think again about your "profile image," Why did you choose it? Even our emails are avatars!

2. Halloween is here, What is the first costume you had that you chose for yourself? Did you pretend to be that character? Of course you did. Ah, an avatar. . . My favorite? Dominatrix, and on the Pearl Street Mall, some young man asked what I was, and an adult man walking by said,"Son, if you don't know you are too young to ask!

3. In real life, we also have avatars, they are the multiple-roles that we use when we engage,or have engaged, with others. I am a woman, business person, anthropologist, [no I don't have an Indiana Jones hat, not an archaeologist], student, instructor, mother, grandmother, ex-wife, daughter-in-law, cousin, auto racer, Texas Hold'em player, gamer, geek, editor, political activist, and the list goes on. There are few of us that would "be the same person" in every situation we encounter. These are showing differences in our personality traits, emotional expression and in some cases, vocabulary. Who are your "avatars" in real life?

4. As children we take being an avatar (a different version of ourselves) as the norm, we think nothing of saying, "Look at me I am Wonder Woman," [I actually wore two matching bangle wide-goldtone bracelets], but now if we hear someone talking about their character in a game we are not as acceptive. When you were a child, tell us your avatar? Care to share here or on the image slide show? p Here is a 3rd Grader in Nebraska that dresses in character every day New Avatar Every School Day

5. When we read books or write stories, or even see films, we generally identify with a character and then you are "the avatar" of that character. What book or film did you most identify with a character and why? Me, it would have to be Fermina Daza, in Love in the Time of Cholora, never too old to be loved!

6. Ok now for some of my avatars, (a) Magic The Gathering Online (You do identify with what ever card image is on what you are playing. Vampire, Star Trek line a female Frengi Captain Female Ferengi Captain named Dilt Ferengi were so patrilineal that they have just now let females wear clothes and have jobs. I wanted to be rare, WarHammer, name Diltronic, I was playing the "free levels" and you have choice of evil/good, I chose "evil" so picked a BIG guy Diltronics (evil) in Warhamer, Second Life I am Mouze WarWillow, and I am insecure in Second Life, so made the tallest avatar I could and carry a big sword. I wanted to explore but not have other players want to chat -- it worked great Mouze Warwillow in Second Life, , Minecraft has an androgynous character for everyone, still I have a sword. Minecraft Avatar, and my online presence for a game company is actually “Dragon-in-Charge” Dragon-in Charge List some of your avatars and why you chose them, or if you don't have one, what would it look like?

I hope I have given you something to think about and respond. HAVE NO FEAR OF AVATARS, they have been with you all your life. My oldest recollection of an avatar? My grandfather could get me to eat okra if he said the pieces were people and I was a giant!
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#6912759 Oct 29, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Guild Officer
73 Posts
I think of any avatar as a virtual dolly in a technology mediated fantasy land. So, there may be some elements of what I know, but if there is any reflection of me - it would be lacking, at best. I suspect it's like that with most people.

I've included an image of my avatar from secondlife below. Coincidentally, I have a green tophat in a similar style. ^_^


SecondLifeScreenshot by ThereseEllis, on Flickr
Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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#6914799 Oct 30, 2012 at 09:23 AM · Edited over 4 years ago
Guild Officer
187 Posts
Talking about my avatars is like some people talking about their kids! I bring out a huge wallet full of pictures and do nothing but chatter.

1. Think again about your "profile image," Why did you choose it?
I finally had to settle on an official profile image. This is the same profile image I use everywhere. It's a picture of my Second Life avatar, LeeDale Shepherd.

2. What is the first costume you had that you chose for yourself? Did you pretend to be that character?
I never really got that chance. We didn't do Halloween but once, and mom decided I got to be a witch and be painted green. And that was the end of that.

3, Who are your "avatars" in real life?
Well, there's the instructor (who has infinite patience), there's the designer (who again has infinite patience), hm... :-D

4, Do you do games where you have an avatar? Care to share here or on the image slide show?
Even in games where I don't have an avatar, I impose identity on it (unless it's something like Tetris). When I play Minecraft, I play various worlds in different ways. In some survival worlds I focus on building a homestead. On others, I focus on wandering around, nomad-like.
I have an image that I thought I uploaded to Flickr last night, but apparently it didn't actually upload. I'll upload it today.
However, for now, here's a picture with my (pouting) avatar in the middle. This was taken by Center4Edupunx (Abacus, I believe):

When Avatars Pout by Center4EduPunx, on Flickr

5. What book or film did you most identify with a character and why? The last time I remember directly identifying with a character, it was Lady Jaye in GI Joe (the cartoon, NOT the movie). Since then, it's been a wild assortment of characters from various media (Including games! Why aren't games mentioned in this question?).

@ThereseEllis: I have a BUNCH of Renaissance era gowns in Second Life. Your pic reminded me of them. I should pull them out and take a few pictures. Very nice image!

Later edit:
Here we go!

The Many Faces of LeeDale by Leedale Shepherd, on Flickr
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#6916591 Oct 30, 2012 at 04:06 PM
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111 Posts
As a gamer (man I love that qualifer...) I have had more avatars than I can count. Avatar seems like kind of a complex word, but it's really pretty simple in our context, and it's certainly nothing to be afraid of. Your avatar is just whatever representation of yourself you choose to use in a (generally) virtual community.

1. Think again about your "profile image," Why did you choose it?

It's an 8-bit NES-style sprite of my universal main character, Hawkye. (What a surprise, right?) It's a pretty decent representation of the character, fits in well with gaming, and is just the right size to use as a profile picture. The pixel art is done by the talented Blackhook.

2. What is the first costume you had that you chose for yourself? Did you pretend to be that character?

Well, the very first costume I can remember is being Jennyanydots, BUT WE'RE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT THAT. *Ahem* Very early on, though, I dressed up as Mega Man. I used to have a really hyperactive imagination (I still do, but I used to too), and I used to pretend to be characters all the time. I pretty much always wanted to be a superhero.

3, Who are your "avatars" in real life?

In real life? Uh, there's the sage with infinite patience ("Now hit Ctrl-V. Yes, that's paste. No, click back where the cursor was before. There you go.") The student with NO patience ("I can't BELIEVE there's another hour left to go in this class. WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE HAVE HOMEWORK DUE NEXT WEEK ARGLEBLARGLE") and the smart-alec computer nerd (That'd be the guy talking right now.)

4, Do you do games where you have an avatar? Care to share here or on the image slide show?

YES ALLA TIME ALWAYS. Like I said earlier, I've lost count of how many. A whole lot. I've already posted some on the Flickr, but I've had avatars in Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars and Star Trek Online, to name just a few.

5. What book or film did you most identify with a character and why?

A lot, but a charater I identified a lot with was Peter Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia books. I've always been the older brother, the leader. I'm not perfect and I often doubt myself, but I'll always try to do the right thing and I'm a shrewd tactical commander.
Here's to all the educated people who don't hate games!
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#6917862 Oct 30, 2012 at 09:10 PM
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561 Posts
Nice! Love the hat, I had researched those "little hats" quite the fad. How did you decide that style of clothing, Edwardian? Victorian? In second life do you spend more time in a "land" that everyone is dressed in tht style?

#6912759 ThereseEllis wrote:

I think of any avatar as a virtual dolly in a technology mediated fantasy land. So, there may be some elements of what I know, but if there is any reflection of me - it would be lacking, at best. I suspect it's like that with most people.

I've included an image of my avatar from secondlife below. Coincidentally, I have a green tophat in a similar style. ^_^


SecondLifeScreenshot by ThereseEllis, on Flickr

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#6922252 Oct 31, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Initiate
108 Posts
Interesting questions! Let me chime in ;)

1. Think again about your "profile image," Why did you choose it?

My profile image is actually my character from our weekly Pathfinder game, an elvish rogue named Riska. So I guess she really is my avatar. When I went to create trading cards for my classroom game, I wanted to create some heroes of Cognosco. I made 3 up off the top of my head; the other two were my character from Pathfinder and my husband's. Since it's Halloween today, I dressed as Riska (with my sis in law's awesome ears) and the kids knew who I was right away, which was awesome!

2. What is the first costume you had that you chose for yourself? [/b] Did you pretend to be that character?

When I was a kid we lived in a small town with a big annual figure skating exhibit, and every year they sold off old costumes. One Halloween I got a martian costume and I LOVED it for years to come. Heck yeah I pretended to be that character!

3, Who are your "avatars" in real life?

Interesting question. The role of teacher is a definite avatar for me, since I can be myself to a certain extent, but not entirely. I'm also a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a coworker, an online presence.

4, Do you do games where you have an avatar? Care to share here or on the image slide show?

As I said, my profile image is my avatar from Pathfinder. But I tend to identify strongly with any avatar in game. For example, right now I'm playing Alpha Protocol (leave me alone; I'm behind on my games ;) and I identify very strongly with the central character as an avatar even though I am not male, a spy, or anything else that should lead me to see him as a stand in for myself!

5. What book or film did you most identify with a character and why?

This is a bit embarrassing and dates me, but when I was a kid I loooooved Shadowcat, aka Kitty Pryde, from the X-Men comics. She was a lot like me: teen girl, kind of bookish, trouble getting along with others her own age... and of course she had super cool powers and a team of mutant heroes to look after her, which was pretty appealing to me at the time!

Great questions -- interesting reflections!
Don’t do work that just exists within your classroom... do work that changes the world. -Will Richardson

http://www.gamifymyclass.blogspot.ca
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#6925401 Nov 01, 2012 at 03:58 PM
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111 Posts
Ah yes, Shadowcat - the "cat who walked through walls." Good one!
Here's to all the educated people who don't hate games!
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#6927010 Nov 02, 2012 at 12:12 AM
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561 Posts
[quote_post6914799 user=767258]Talking about my avatars is like some people talking about their kids! I bring out a huge wallet full of pictures and do nothing but chatter.

I had to laugh at that, but that is true we really do show them to other "gamers" and get to see theirs. I think that is what frustrates me a bit about Minecraft, even with "skins" you are still stuck with a cubed/pixel character, but when you live in a world of cubes there isn't much choice.

LeeDale, a question, in Second Life, where I know you do a lot of work, do you ever pay real money for costumes, etc? That kind of surprised me the first time I was in Second Life. My one experience in buying a Ferengi and it was not good kinda put me off of doing that. Do you find it mostly a positive experience? What do you do if the merchandise you purchased with real money is not what was advertised?
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#6927026 Nov 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM
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561 Posts
Hawkye
"Well, the very first costume I can remember is being Jennyanydots, BUT WE'RE NOT GONNA TALK ABOUT THAT. *Ahem* Very early on, though, I dressed up as Mega Man. I used to have a really hyperactive imagination (I still do, but I used to too), and I used to pretend to be characters all the time. I pretty much always wanted to be a superhero."

I had to look that up. That isn't so bad, LOL, I can imagine you as that, burns my eyes but I can imagine it... I have had fun with costumes over the years, and so have my son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter. They actually got married in costume at the theater on Walnut in Boulder, he was a Demon and she was the Wicked Queen of Sleeping Beauty, think they had 300 friends in attendance all in costume. I came as a Wizard, brides mother, a lovely Christian lady, wore my old Dominatrix costume she bought at my yard sale, not sure she realized what it was... lots of fun. . . Wedding photos are hilarious. Pastor was a zombie with part of his skull looking like a black hole.

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#6927033 Nov 02, 2012 at 12:23 AM
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561 Posts
#6914799 Leedale wrote:

Why aren't games mentioned in this question?).

/]Leedale Shepherd[/url], on Flickr



Because I forgot to be specific? Guess I assumed -- which is never a good idea.
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#6946984 Nov 06, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Initiate
17 Posts
Sadly, I don’t have a picture of my first avatar in Second Life but it was a rather funny-looking one simply because I didn’t know how to make it look better. I had signed up for SL to attend a conference so I wasn’t really interested in the tutorial for beginners that I was supposed to watch and consequently I ended up with a ‘ bizarre’ avatar which gave away the fact that I was a newbie :D. Fortunately, friends were kind enough to send some hair and decent clothes my way … I don’t really think of my avatar as a direct representation of myself as it doesn’t really reflect who I am in real life but I do enjoy exploring different identities through this normative virtual body which strives for the ideal of physical beauty :D

Your text to link here...

Your text to link here...
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#6948251 Nov 06, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Guild Officer
73 Posts
Thanks! I actually just played around and this bad boy seemed to be available as a default steampunk ensemble. Yay! ^_^

#6917862 grasshopper98 wrote:

Nice! Love the hat, I had researched those "little hats" quite the fad. How did you decide that style of clothing, Edwardian? Victorian? In second life do you spend more time in a "land" that everyone is dressed in tht style?

#6912759 ThereseEllis wrote:

I think of any avatar as a virtual dolly in a technology mediated fantasy land. So, there may be some elements of what I know, but if there is any reflection of me - it would be lacking, at best. I suspect it's like that with most people.

I've included an image of my avatar from secondlife below. Coincidentally, I have a green tophat in a similar style. ^_^


SecondLifeScreenshot by ThereseEllis, on Flickr

Games Based Learning Mooc (gamesMOOC)
FRCC Humanities Instructor
The best combination of technophile and luddite

Twitter @ThereseEllis
Google+ therese.catherine.ellis@gmail.com
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#6948365 Nov 06, 2012 at 10:41 PM · Edited 5 years ago
Consigliere
61 Posts
#6910029 kae wrote:

We've all seen the movie. Is your Avatar a direct representation of something else? Also feel free to share pictures of your avatars here or on Games MOOC Flickr group.

Here's a short presentation on "Avatars, Alts & Toons" up on YouTube.



--------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks Kae for the avatar video, which clarified the distinctions between avatar types for me (even more thankful that the video helped me catchup with current game lingo to save me from sounding so "out of touch" or old school when I enter an MMORPG) ;D

On a regular basis, I use a few avatars that work interchangeably as main or alts. This week's question forces me to reflect on WHY I am using these particular avatars, which serves as a really good thinking exercise for a philosophy buff.

I tend to use animals who looks a bit "off" as my forum avatars. No, no, they are not my "spirit animals." The choice to use animal avatars is quite intentional; knowing that people will unavoidably hold bias against others based on any distinguishable human characteristic, I deliberately use "not quite right" looking animal pictures to prevent forum contributors from being able to judge me based on a characteristic, such as gender. Rather, I prefer forum contributors to identify me based on my writing style, which often comes across as overly wordy and eccentric (i.e. not boring but also not quite normal).

Let me scare you . . . I mean, let me show you a few of my avatars that make repeat appearances on my behalf across Reddit, Facebook, Google+, Wikis, Blogs, Twitter, and other platforms in the social media universe:


1. My "main" gravatar - "Cat Hipster" - Representation of my inner hipster/punk (against the norm wise, not dress style wise):


Cat Hipster by Mind Erasure, on Flickr



2. My alt gravatar - "Cat Logician" - Representation of my philosopher's angst, and a Meme of the same purpose for many

Cat Logician by Mind Erasure, on Flickr



3. My alt gravatar - Bread Turtle! - Representation my cute and non-threatening personality

Bread Turtle! by Mind Erasure, on Flickr



4. My alt gravatar - Cat Computer Geek - Obvious representation of my computer geek side (I've got many sides, yeah, what C.G. Jung said~)

Cat Computer Geek by Mind Erasure, on Flickr



5. My alt gravatar - "Cat Bookworm" - Representation of my ancient knowledge seeker side (Look! I'm using an almost antiquated technology to obtain knowledge! Oooo...words)

Cat Bookworm by Mind Erasure, on Flickr



6. My alt gravatar - "Cat Majesty" - Representation of my over-inflated ego side (which is off balanced by the occasional substitute appearance of "Bread Turtle")

Cat Majesty by Mind Erasure, on Flickr



7. My alt gravator - "Dog Posing Kimono Style" - Uh, representation of my inner asian? Huh?

Dog Posing Kimono Style by Mind Erasure, on Flickr


I could continue, but I think you guys get the point. After much reflection, I recognize that each of my avatar seems to be a manifestation of my desire to "deflect" any form of judgment toward me; I interpret judgment toward my virtual image as a misinterpretation of my identity (I demarcate my identity between my physical and virtual beings); I prefer the responder to address my thoughts, rather than be distracted by my physical form. I think this is partially the charm of avatars, the visual representations of our ability to be whomever we would like to become/to ascertain.

Unfortunately, as I have admitted in previous posts, I have not played that much in MMORPG in recent years due to hectic teaching schedules. I shall create a few more "toons" for the sake of my virtual game-based learning journey. Until then, I shall appear to you as strange animals for your amusement (yes, surface interpretation is but a trick on your mind . . .)


Mind Erasure (aka Sherry Jones) <--- I admit who I am here, because I want to know you, fellow Games MOOCows! (I really hope MOOCows catches on)
sherryjones.edtech@gmail.com
Twitter @autnes
http://bit.ly/sherryjones
Mind Erasure (aka Sherry Jones)
See my Visual Bio!!
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#6948486 Nov 06, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Initiate
45 Posts
Mind Erasure: "The choice to use animal avatars is quite intentional; knowing that people will unavoidably hold bias against others based on any distinguishable human characteristic, I deliberately use "not quite right" looking animal pictures to prevent forum contributors from being able to judge me based on a characteristic, such as gender. Rather, I prefer forum contributors to identify me based on my writing style, which often comes across as overly wordy and eccentric (i.e. not boring but also not quite normal)."

Might there be an unintentional side-effect? The "cute animals" theme might be taken as frivolous -- detracting from the value of your writing.

If you'd like the focus to be on your writing, why have an avatar at all? No avatar, or a vanilla, default avatar, would convey that quite effectively.
(Being "down under" doesn't make me backward)
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#6948516 Nov 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM · Edited over 4 years ago
Consigliere
61 Posts
#6948486 Michael Barry wrote:

Mind Erasure: "The choice to use animal avatars is quite intentional; knowing that people will unavoidably hold bias against others based on any distinguishable human characteristic, I deliberately use "not quite right" looking animal pictures to prevent forum contributors from being able to judge me based on a characteristic, such as gender. Rather, I prefer forum contributors to identify me based on my writing style, which often comes across as overly wordy and eccentric (i.e. not boring but also not quite normal)."

Might there be an unintentional side-effect? The "cute animals" theme might be taken as frivolous -- detracting from the value of your writing.

If you'd like the focus to be on your writing, why have an avatar at all? No avatar, or a vanilla, default avatar, would convey that quite effectively.



-------------------------------------------

Hi Michael Barry, good point. I think I should have clarified that my intention is for the interpretation of my writing to be affected by/contaminated by my playful avatar image. In other words, my avatar confers to my forum posts a light-hearted tone (and this is intentional too).

Certainly, the context and situation would affect the interpretation too (I teach rhet comp, so I think about context and situation all day long), so my comments here at Games MOOC could be taken seriously, or not.

I certainly do not expect academic conversations in virtual environments (such as writing a paper for peer-review publications), unless the virtual environment demands seriousness.

I'm quite interested in the research of the effects of virtual reality on its participants. For now, I still like to "joke around" in cyberspace if you will. I take things too seriously in real life, so virtual reality serves as space for play? Hmmmm....

Mind Erasure (aka Sherry Jones)
sherryjones.edtech@gmail.com
Twitter @autnes
http://bit.ly/sherryjones
Mind Erasure (aka Sherry Jones)
See my Visual Bio!!
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#6951764 Nov 07, 2012 at 04:46 PM
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111 Posts
Oh my goodness, I love your avatars! HELLO, BREAD TURTLE. I do like the fact that you use a light-hearted avatar in most cases. Since there is no voice inflection to be heard online in many cases, visual cues are very important. (I learnded this in Interpersonal Communication class! :D)

It's really interesting to dissect (so to speak) avatars that are chosen deliberately. For example, my icon of my character, Hawkye, depicts me with a sword drawn and energy around my left arm. I'm clearly ready for battle, and yet I have a easy-going smirk on my face. This might indicate confidence about tough situations. I'm also wearing nothing but plain clothes - short sleeves and shorts, in fact - revealing that I'm also not particularly concerned about being hurt.

I'm curious whether anyone else has thought about the details of their icon/avatar?
Here's to all the educated people who don't hate games!
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#7927471 Jun 03, 2013 at 05:08 PM
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561 Posts
Immersed again in summer 2013
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