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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:13 PM
Original message
My night at Occupy SF -
Edited on Thu Oct-27-11 08:29 PM by Hell Hath No Fury
And WHAT a night it was.

I had woken yesterday to the news of the raid on Occupy Oakland, and the horrible attack on Scott Olsen. Royally pissed of, I searched the Occupy websites for more information and discovered that Occupy SF had been served with a notice that their site was being considered a "health threat" and that they were afraid of a similar raid happening to them. I decided then that I really wanted to participate in a show of solidarity for not only Oakland and Scott Olsen, but also take stand for Occupy San Francisco should they decide to raid. When I got home from work, I saw a local interview with our Mayor, Ed Lee, in which he flatly stated that the Occupy SF camp would be gone in no more than a few days -- I knew my decision had been a correct one.

When I arrived there were already hundreds of people there in addition to the regular occupiers. San Francisco had clearly gotten the word and they showed up in force. The mood was electric, the energy was high -- the sound of drums echoed around the plaza and sounded like a call to arms.

For being a movement that stands accused of being unfocused, unorganized, and without a clear message, they sure as hell knew how to throw an occupation. There were advanced occupiers at various locations blocks from the plaza, radioing in information on any police sightings. Groups were organized to protect various areas of the plaza. Tactics were discussed and agreed upon. All would engage in nonviolence civil disobedience -- some protesters agreed that they would allow themselves to get arrested, while others would act as support to them. Drills were performed repeatedly and for various scenarios. We would stand, kneel, sit three deep at our designated areas with our arms interlocked. We were told the effects of tear gas and how to protect ourselves from them and how to treat ourselves if we were hit. We were also given the name of the local National Lawyers Guild group to write on or arms should be arrested and need representation. Throughout, we were reminded that this was about us being a family in this movement, and about the very real community that had been created there at the plaza.

A quick word on the Human Microphone: it sounds silly as heck, but damn it works. Using it we were able to get vast amount of information to a large group of people, quickly and efficiently.

Once our drills were over, I chose to go to the medical tent, trying to help in anyway I could. I started off with cutting towels into strips and patches -- the strips could be soaked in vinegar and wrapped around the head to help with inhalation of tear gas, while the patches could be soaked in diluted milk of magnesia and used to clean the eyes of tear gas. I also mixed up bottles of diluted Malox to use as eye drops. The medical tent was a fantastic place to be -- I got to hear much of the radio information that was coming in, and I got to see and talk with the wide variety of people who were participating when they came to the tent for their anti-teargas supplies. Some were old pros who had obviously spent nights like this before -- they knew what to ask for and how to use it. Heck, some of them came with their own gas masks. Others were new to this sort of action -- nerves were showing, worry was etched on faces. Everyone -- to a person -- was polite and thankful to us for helping them.

A quick words on my new friend, Vince: Vince is a freshman film student at San Francisco State University. He decided to come to the camp to find out just what the Occupy movement was about. We had both opted to protect the medical tent, and we quickly got to talking about the Occupy movement and politics in general. He was young, questioning, and scared. He had law enforcement and military in his family and was worried about how they would react if he got arrested that night. Early on I asked him if what he was seeing that night was like what he had been seeing presented in the media about Occupy SF -- he gave a surprised sounding "no" in response. He had seen the movement painted as unfocused, and the camp as a place just short of filthy -- absolutely none of which was true. I told him that was his first lesson in just how dishonest the media can be, and how important it was for him to investigate a story for himself and come to his own conclusions.

As we drilled and worked, there were news vans taking locations around the plaza and a helicopter hovering overhead. This really reinforced the feeling that something important was going to go down that night. At one point, protesters from Oakland arrived to show solidarity with Occupy SF and defend the camp -- it was a fantastic moment that buoyed the sprits of everyone present.

We got word fairly early that someone had spotted police in riot gear gathering at a nearby police station -- the news, relayed via Human Microphone, sent a shockwave through the camp. Many of us looked at each other with the same thought mirrored in our eyes, "Holy shit, this is really happening." We did a few more drills and then waited for what was to come. Which was...nothing. Hours passed and no sign of police, other than the handful of officers who had been patrolling the perimeter of the plaza. Unsure as to if the original tip had been correct, all we could do from then on was to hurry up and wait.

Over the course of the evening, a party atmosphere prevailed -- there was drumming and dancing at the north end of the plaza, just across the from the Marriot Hotel. Passing drivers honked their support and were responded to with cheers. Periodically, someone would call out, "What kind of pie?" and the crowd would respond with a joyful, "Occupy!" I am sure the visitors at the Marriot were getting the kind of "San Francisco experience" no travel brochure could prepare them for. At one point, we got word that four members of the City's Board of Supervisors were present, and that they were insisting to the local media that Mayor Ed Lee needed to come down to see the camp for himself before making a judgment about its future. Thank you, Supervisors!

Sometime after midnight, a man came rushing into camp, saying that he had just been on Treasure Island (a nearby former Army base located between SF and Oakland) and had seen buses and hundreds of officers in riot gear. Whether they were heading to SF or Oakland he did not know. We were unsure what to make of the information -- it seemed like an odd place to stage from and we wondered if it was another piece of bad information. Several of the Occupiers decided to go to Treasure Island to find out for themselves. Where I was located in the plaza I could clearly see the Bay Bridge and the traffic on the upper deck that came into the City. Within 15 minutes or so, we could see a tightly grouped bunch of very large vehicles that could have been buses come into the City.

Once again, a call went out that the police could be on their way. Our numbers had dwindled over the evening and we began new drills trying to compensate for the lack of bodies. We heard from the folks who had gone to the Island that they had followed four buses with officers up to the Potrero Hill police station, where they were grouping. But when the police had not arrived at the plaza after an hour, we were back to hurry up and wait. Protesters were advised to try and get some rest, and I saw people sleeping on the sidewalks on a very chilly San Francisco night, wrapped in nothing but their coats. That, to me, demonstrated the dedication of the people of the Occupy movement.

As the hours passed, many of us were questioning the ability of the police to conduct a raid at such a late time. There were still several hundred people at the camp willing to get arrested and to get us all in custody and processed would take a good amount of time.

Sometime around 4 in the morning, we were told that three City labor Union leaders were there and that they wished to speak with us. It was fantastic to hear from them that their Unions had voted on showing solidarity with the Occupy movement, and that they were now planning an active presence at the camp. One spoke of San Francisco's Labor history, and how several Unions members had lost their lives just blocks away during just such a movement back in the early 30's. After such a long and chilly night, their words put a little wind in our sails and got the party going once again.

Just around 4:30 in the morning, the call "Mic Check!" echoed out across the plaza, and we were notified that the SFPD had released an official statement: The raid was OFF. A huge cheer went up in the plaza, and the drummers kicked it up to high gear in celebration. For that night, a few hundred people held a plaza armed with nonviolence and dedication.

I encourage EVERYONE within distance of an Occupy city to go to it: experience it, participate in it, judge it for yourself.




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Lebam in LA Donating Member (717 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:18 PM
Response to Original message
1. K&R!!!!!
Off to the greatest!
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. Thanks you!
:hi:
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Chiquitita Donating Member (113 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks for this! n/t
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. You're welcome!
:hi:
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The Wielding Truth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. HHNF, thank you for doing your part and for sharing your experience.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. It was a blast --
though, at 51, I think I will need a week to make up for the lost sleep. :) I'll be back to camp on Saturday for a big march. :hi:
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phasma ex machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. k&r
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:09 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. Thank you!
:hi:
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:32 PM
Response to Original message
5. Photo of cops on their way:


The mayor evidently didn't want supervisors and councilmen and those running against him for Mayor to be arrested! Congratulations to you and everyone there! Thank you for the excellent report!

:woohoo:
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #5
13. Wow, that picture gives me chills --
I swear I went to bed not knowing if all that I'd heard about the potential police presence was really true. Now that I have been looking at various pictures, everyone had been correct about what they had seen. Last night could have been u-g-l-y. Luckily, we have a Mayoral race in just a few weeks -- I think you are correct in that having played a HUGE part in calling off of the raid.

Glad you enjoyed the report! :hi:
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. K & R - Thank you! This one is a keeper.
What a wonderful eyewitness report for the future histories of the Occupation.
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Tsiyu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:42 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thank you so much for sharing your experience


Felt like I was there a bit with you.

Great post.

K&R

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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. So glad you liked it --
That's what I wanted -- for folks to get a real taste of the experience. :hi:
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Tsiyu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #14
20. I've been laid up


with a gimpy hip and an empty gas tank. So no occupying for me - except OccupytheComputerChair lol

Many thanks to you for bringing Occupy to the "shutins."

:yourock:




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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #20
31. Occupy the Internet!
There are a bunch of Occupy sites, including those on Facebook -- they can always use words of encouragement! :hi:
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dixiegrrrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 08:52 PM
Response to Original message
8. I don't live there anymore, or I would be there.
Thank you for the clarity of your report.
I know where you were and it does make sense that any police would be staging on Treasure Island, for either Oakland or SF.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. It seemed really odd at the time --
We had heard there were PD from other jurisdictions at Oakland the night before and wondered if those on TI were not SFPD specifically. Still have not idea what the full story from last night was. :shrug:

Wish you could have been there! :hi:
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
15. k&r
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
16. Hey! I was there, too! I brought supplies (art, food, warm things). I didn't stay late...
work in the morning. My daughter and her boyfriend are going tonight (they participate regularly).

FYI, The human microphone actually makes me tear up. I think it is beautiful.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Well, poop, I wish I'd known!
Ddi you dropoff a bag of clothing at the Medical Tent by any chance? If so, I was the one who took the donation. :) I'll be heading back for Saturday's march - lemme know if you are going to go and we can meet-up. So glad another DUer was there -- thanks for stepping up! :hi:

I (heart) the Humnan Microphone, I gotta tell you, Though is does get a little "blurry" at 4:00 in the morning when everyone is sleepy. :)
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #18
46. I got there early (probaly 3:30) and stayed until around 9:00 PM.
I dropped off blankets mostly and some gloves/mittens & scarves. I am starting to go through my basement looking for useful items... there has been a lot of people who have lived in this 3 unit building over the past 20 years and they've left a fair amount of stuff.

Is it the Halloween march at 3:00? I'm probably not going to make that but I do intend to join the Oakland General Strike on Wednesday. (It appears SF is not participating - there is nothing on the calendar.)

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
19. Someone asked Leland Yee if he thought the raid was cancelled because he was there.
He said, no, it was because SFPD used Muni.

lol
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #19
32. OK, that was funny as shit. :D
:hi:
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #32
41. I know, lol.
I love Yee. I can't vote in SF so it doesn't matter but, he doesn't seem to have much of that big need to be loved that tanks so many politicians. Or a younger man's insecurity. I met him at a Kerry event in 2004.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:46 PM
Response to Original message
21. kr
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-11 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
22. Sent you a pm by the way
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 12:23 AM
Response to Original message
23. Dr. Yee heading over to camp again.
I hope more of these folks decded to hang out there until SFPD and Ed Lee figure out that these raids are a dangerous waste of resources.
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Fire Walk With Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 12:38 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. ...
:wooho:
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:34 AM
Response to Reply #23
33. I think Lee HAS figured it out ...for now.
I think all will be quiet until after the election -- after that, I dunno.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #33
40. He has. His being there provides an op for Lee and the PD
to figure it out.

This morning I read in the Mercury that TWELVE other agencies "assisted" Oakland that night. Oh, and Chief Dennis Burns in Palo Alto suggested Olsen was injured by a protester throwing something. :puke:
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
24. Thank you for the great report from SF.
So the police were at the Army Base? Isn't that a bit strange?

I'm glad they changed their minds. Looks like someone decided to call it off.

NY Occupiers also had a solidarity march of over one thousand people for Oakland last night. They marched through police barriers and people there said the police were unusually restrained in their reaction compared to the past.

One reporter on RT said that people in the park are preparing all the time for what they think will eventually come, a huge raid on the park.

Another reporter from Oakland said she had been trying to calm down some of the protesters who were angry after the attacks by the police. Then she went to cross the street and a cop car followed her. He positioned his car so close to her the bumper touched her leg. She asked him 'what are you doing', and he mocked her, she said. I guess at that point she understood the mood of the crowd.

Seems the Oakland police were trying to instigate the protesters into becoming violent, even reporters like her.

Anyhow, glad you all didn't have to deal with a raid this time. And thanks again for the report.
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #24
36. Oakland is whole different story --
Their PD has such an incredibly long, ugly history that the people remember all too well -- any protest that takes place there is held with that as context. As for Treasure Island -- it is a former military base, now decommissioned -- it still has great facilities and space for a large action like raid preparation. :hi:
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:05 AM
Response to Original message
26. K&R
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inna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 03:28 AM
Response to Original message
27. what a fantastic post! extraordinary!! thank you! (i was there in spirit last night,

will be there physically tonight)
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #27
37. Fantastic!
There is going to be another march on Saturday -- hope to see you there! :hi:
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 05:31 AM
Response to Original message
28. Thank you!
Excellent OP!
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #28
38. Thank you!
:hi:
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bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
29. REC. nt
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AsahinaKimi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
30. I love that .."WHAT KINDA PIE?" "Occupy!!"
cute.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:37 AM
Response to Reply #30
34. I was thinking a good mascot would be "Octu-py" the octopus
Edited on Fri Oct-28-11 10:37 AM by KittyWampus
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:44 AM
Response to Reply #30
39. I loved it --
Someone tried a "What kind of pants? Occupants!" chant -- not as successful. :D
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
35. A most awesome post. K&R n/t
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kjcarlin50 Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
42. Thank-You
It is so hard to know what is really going on actually at the occupy spaces when the news is so negative on MSM as I know it would be but nice to hear what it is really like as we don't hear that often enough from people at the encampments. So proud to be an American!
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #42
44. "So proud to be an American!"
:applause:

Yes, it is hard to know what is going on -- finding good news sources can be very hard in this day and age. Find a local Occupy and find out for yourself! :hi:
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Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
43. "That, to me, demonstrated the dedication of the people of the Occupy movement."
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kayakjohnny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
45. Great, great, great post! I was riveted the whole way through. That was intense reading!
Damn, I felt like I was right alongside you.

Awesome journalistic report.

I usually don't read long posts, but you reeled me in with this one.

I'm only a few years older than you and you made me feel what it's going to be like if I go to one of these.

One of the best posts I've read in months here.

Thanks for your courage, your dedication, and your fantastic account of what happened.

Damn!
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femrap Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-28-11 07:45 PM
Response to Original message
47. thanks for taking
the time to type up your report on OcuPie SF.

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