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516 E John Street, Champaign, IL 61820
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Urbana-Champaign's Best Independent DVD Rental store
(locally owned and operated since 1985)

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Rentertainment news... a mini-blog of sorts.
20010 Edition (Click for 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
July 26, 2010
Illinois Green Business Association Certifies That's Rentertainment as a Green Business!
With assistance from the Illinois Green Business Asociation, That's Rentertainment continues to implement as many energy saving, waste reducing and environmentally friendly practices as possible. After working with the IGBA for the past few months, we are pleased to be their 4th Certified Green Business in Champaign-Urbana (the first three businesses to be certified were the International Society of ArboricultureB. Lime, and Ippatsu Salon). You can read more about the process and what we do to reduce, reuse and recycle right here.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
July 18, 2010
Every Doctor Who villian since 1963!
Follow the link for a complete listing of all the villianous characters (from Abzorbaloff to the Zygons) in every Doctor Who episode ever filmed. Good fun for the nerd in all of us. Check it out here.
daleks
July 6, 2010
Ashley Ames (Dec. 21, 1986 - July 6, 2010)
Ashley Ames passed away at 2:40am on Tuesday, July 6th. From the Ashey Ames Fund Facebook page:
" 'Life is eternal, and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.' (R. W. Raymond). Ashley, you are in our hearts and thoughts always. Until we meet again, we love and miss you!♥♥♥"
Ashley, James, Ashley's family and friends -- we are all thinking of you.
Ashley Ames
April 9, 2010
Film Forum Presents: The Newspaper Picture
With iThis' and iThat's taking everything over, it's refreshing to see an occaisional nod to the old school -- the newspaper. Film Forum has put together a very impressive four-week film festival showing nothing but newspaper film. Of course, that's in New York and we are here but you can certainly find a lot of the same films on DVD and have your own festival in your living room... maybe they should put together a single-screen movie theater festival next.
(link to NYT article and to Film Forum site)
Film Forum
August 6, 2009
Ronnie Biggs to be released
"Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs has been granted release from his prison sentence on compassionate grounds, Justice Secretary Jack Straw has said. (link)" Along with being a member of the gang that pulled off one of the biggest train robberies ever, punk rockers, indie film buffs, and cult movie fans will remember Mr Biggs from his appearance in the Sex Pistol's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (while on the lamb in Australia after a daring escape from prison).
Ronnie Biggs

June 10, 2009
Bollywood for Beginners
Feel like dipping your toes in the world of Bollywood films (the largest film industry in the world -- sorry Hollywood)? Mother Jones magazine just made it easier an article including a 5-video cheat sheet for which Bollywood films to watch first. They also include snippets from each of the recommended films. Scroll down and find even more films to watch in the comments section. Personally, I'd recommend Lagaan. (link)
Bollywood

May 28, 2009
What am I going to miss?
Don't you just hate being at the movies and having to pee but not knowing when the best time to get up and go is? Fret no more! RunPee to the rescue. "RunPee.com lists movies that are currently in movie theaters and when we think would be the best times to RunPee during those films." There will even be an iPhone applet soon.
Urinal

April 12, 2009
Marilyn Chambers (April 22, 1952 - April 12, 2009)
America's wholesome blonde girl-next-door porn star passed away today. Her film career started out with a bit part in "The Owl and the Pussycat", she modeled as the Ivory Snow Girl, but she is best known for her parts in "Behind the Green Door" and "Insatiable".
Marilyn Chambers

April 1, 2009
Ebertfest films announced
This year's Ebertfest will be going on from April 22 - 26 at the beautiful Virginia Theater in downtown Champaign. For a complete schedule and ticket buying information please go to the official 2009 Ebertfest website. For previous years listings or DVD/BR available see our Ebertfest page. See you at the Virginia -- I'll be in my usual seat by the aisle! Here are this year's films: Woodstock (1970), My Winnipeg (2007), Chop Shop (2007), Trouble the Water (2008), Begging Naked, The Last Command (1928), Frozen River (2008), The Fall (2006), Sita Sings the Blues (2008), Nothing but the Truth (2008), Let the Right One In (2008), and Baraka (1992).
Roger Ebert's Golden Thumb

January 19, 2009
Criterion -- the greatest label ever!
If you are interested in film and grahic design, here are a few links for you:
http://wellmedicated.com/inspiration/an-ode-to-criterion-box-art/
... and then this link found in the comments (to a blog from a guy who designs Criterion covers):
http://ericskillman.blogspot.com/
... and this link, also from the comments:
http://aestheticapparatus.com/portfolio.php?subsection=packaging&page=0
... and one more:
http://blog.cartelagency.com/2008/08/31/the-10-best-designed-criterion-collection-dvds/
Criterion Logo

January 15, 2009
Fionna Merritt
Congratulations go out to my younger brother, Theo, and his wife, Christine, on the birth of their beautiful baby daughter, Fionna. As Theo puts it, she's "a red munchkin with cute little toes and fingers, crying and sometimes sounding like a goat bleating." Here are some more pictures...
Fionna

December 20, 2008
Clerk Dogs -- The ultimate recommendation engine?
Although still in beta, Clerk Dogs seems to the start of a good thing -- a movie recommendation site created by former video store employees. Rather than base its suggestions on the "people who like this also liked this" model (see Amazon and/or Netflix), Clerk Dogs bases it's suggestions on what they call a movie's DNA (suspense, character depth, violence, action and pace). Check it out!
Clerk Dogs

December 11, 2008
Bettie Page (April 22, 1923 - December 11, 2008)
Her life was not easy but the images she leaves behind remind us of a much simpler time. She was America's perfect pin-up when America desperately needed a pin-up. And, even today, Bettie is one of the iconic beauties. If you are interested in seeing any of her film loops, they have been compiled onto three collections (so far).
(official Bettie Page web site)
Bettie Page

November 19, 2008
Europa Film Treasures on the Web
This is an amazing on-line resource for streaming many long lost European films and accessing research materials from some of the greatest film archives in the world. Soon they will be adding teaching aids and recreational activities suitable for young audiences. (link)

 

Europa Film Treasures


November 13, 2008
Sita Sings the Blues... in the news again!
This just in from Jean Paley (Nina's mom): "More Mom basking in reflected glory. The IFC presents the annual Gotham Awards, Indie film's 'Oscars'. Sita Sings the Blues has been nominated in the category 'Best Film Not Coming To A Theater Near You.' Of course you wanted to know that."


Sita Sings the Blues


October 30, 2008
My Name is Art
Art Chantry, the amazing graphic designer behind (among other things) most of the great rock posters of the last few decades (including posters for Nirvana, Hole and the Sonics), is coming to Urbana-Champaign! There will be an exhibition of his work at the Parkland College Art Gallery along with a few special events.
Exhibition Dates:
Monday, November 3rd - Saturday, December 6th
Parkland College Art Gallery
Special Events:
Thursday, November 6th
1:00 - 2:00 Artist Lecture for Students (Parkland College room C118, Free)
6:00 - 8:00pm Opening reception at Parkland College (with Gallery Talk at 7pm by Art Chantry)
8:30 - 11:00 Post Reception Party at Parasol Records (303 W Griggs St, Urbana) -- music by Angie Heaton, New Ruins and Beaujolais
Friday, November 7th
12:00 - 2:00 Luncheon/Lecture (Parkland College room D244, $25 donation, reservations: 217/351-2485 -- by Wednesday @ 5:00pm)
External Links:
Official Art Chantry Web Site
Parkland College's Art Chanty site
Art Chantry C-U Visit Blog
Art CHantry Poster

October 26, 2008
Ninja Movie Flowchart
From (BoingBoing): "Comcast subscribers may have noticed a surprisingly large number of ninja movies on the free on-demand movie selection of late. I have formulated a chart to help you determine which of these inexpensive productions are worth watching." (link)
Ninja Movie Flowchart

October 16, 2008
Scott Durfor -- Award Winner!!!
Retired Rentertainment personality and current California celebrity, Scott Durfor, has been been awarded the Employer/Accommodations Award by Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum for his hiring practices at the Metropolitan Theatres Corp’s Paseo Nuevo Cinemas. Way to go Scott -- we love you, buddy! (more)
Scott Durfor

October 2, 2008
Fourth Annual Tournées French Film Festival!

(Oct 31 - Nov 6, 2008 -- Boardman's Art Theatre)
From the web site: "Welcome to The Fourth Annual Tournées French Film Festival presented by the University of Illinois and Parkland College. We are very pleased to return to Boardman’s Art Theatre in Champaign, Illinois, where nearly 2,500 viewers annually have had the opportunity to discover new French and Francophone films during this week-long event. Organized jointly by faculty and students from Champaign-Urbana’s two post-secondary institutions, the festival is open to the general public. As in previous years, faculty specialists will introduce films at select screenings throughout the week, while the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities will host a panel discussion entitled "Her Name is Sabine: Documentary Film Making and the Ethics of Institutions." (link)
2008 Tournees French Film Festival

September 26, 2008
Paul Newman
The world lost a great actor, philanthropist and man today. Paul Newman has been in over 80 films and, through his not-for-profit foundation, Newman's Own, has donated over $250 million to thousands of charities worldwide. They don't make stars like him anymore, they don't make films like his anymore, and they don't make men like him anymore. The world is a much better place because of all Paul Newman's contributions.
Paul Newman

August 17, 2008
Introducing... The Itty Bitty Bike Shop
If you've been in the store this week you may have noticed what might very well be the smallest bike shop in the world (right now it's half of a 2' x 2' space) sitting where the Pepsi machine used to sit. We call it the Itty Bitty Bike Shop. It's got all the basics for your commuting needs: chain lube, inner tubes, lights, multi-tools, patch kits, some reflectors, tire levers, water bottles, and, of course, the ChampaignCountyBikes.org Urbana-Champaign Bike map. We've also got a pump (schrader and presta) in case you need some air. By the way, 10% of all sales will go to ChampaignCountyBikes.org and another 10% will go to The Bike Project in Urbana. Ride safely! (link)
Itty Bitty Bike Shop

August 4, 2008
Parkland Poster Poject hung...

Paul Young and I have discussed the idea of having one of his Parkland College design classes design posters for That's Rentertainment. They had to be cool and deal with local not-for-profits, environmental causes or social issues (or be somewhat general movie related posters). Of course, the semester we finally decide to do it, Paul wasn't teaching. Luckily, John Havlick offered to have his class take on the assignment. (more)

 

IMC


August 1, 2008
New bike lanes pave way to make Champaign a more bicycle-friendly community

On August 1, 2008, City of Champaign Mayor Gerald Schweighart will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to showcase the new on-street bike lanes on First Street at 10:30 am. The bicycling community, residents and city staff will be on hand to celebrate the City's accomplishment in becoming a more bicycle-friendly community. (more)

 

First Street Bike Path


July 20, 2008
Introducing the Champaign County Bike Map
Today at the farmer's market Champaign County Bikes held a press conference to announce the release of the all new Champaign-Urbana Area Bicycle Map. According to the good folks at CCB, "20,000 copies will be made available at local bike shops, fitness centers, other retailers, and public buildings throughout the communities. 10,000 copies will be distributed on the University of Illinois campus." They can picked up at various locations in Champaign-Urbana... (link)

 

Champaign-Urbana Area Bicycle Map

July 18, 2008
Re-make / Re-model
This might be old news to many of you but it's new to me. Wikipedia has an extensive posting listing about a zillion re-makes of films from all genres. Check it out here. We also have a listing (compiled by Edwin Jahiel) in our Pocket Pal section of French films that have been re-made. Have a look at it here (you'll have to scroll down a bit).

 

Roxy Music

July 14, 2008
Renter employee and super gal, Lou -- now a celebrity!

Venus Zine has picked our very own, Lou, as their reader of the week. "When she decided to shave her head, Marjorie Perry said she just bit the bullet one day and went to Supercuts. That’s it. But for Perry, going with the flow seems to be her M.O. From living in a foreign country to living in her own country without electricity, the 22-year-old is naturally inclined to living life in the moment..." (more)

 

Lou, Lou, Superstar

June 24, 2008
Top Ten Chicago Movies
This just in from Dan Schreiber and the local news blog, Smile Politely: "Last summer, Sun-Times columnist Tom McNamee listed his choices for the ten best Chicago movies of all time. His list appears to be lost to history via a content-reshuffle at the Sun-Times Web site, but I thought it was a fun exercise, and decided to do my own last year. I’m on vacation this week, but summer is a time for re-runs, so I am shamelessly reprinting my list as a column this week." (more)
Note: read the comments on this one -- let's see if we can come up with all the Urbana Champaign film mentions. Maybe we could have a film festival!
Note #2: I've started a list of films that reference Urbana-Champaign in one form or another. Check it out here.

 

Chicago Skyline

June 23, 2008
Where the Hell is... Matt?
How fun is this? Super fun -- that's how fun! Matt just goes around the world dancing, video taping himself, and uploading the videos collections. I cannot imagine anyone not smiling and feeling at least a little bit better about the world after watching this. Way to go, Matt.
(official "Where the Hell is... Matt?" page) (wikipedia page)

 

Where the Hello is Matt?

June 17, 2008
AFI's Top 10 Films -- now by genre!
Oops... they've done it again. The American Film Institute has gone and made another list of "the best films ever" -- and now it's broken down into 10 easy to digest bite size chunks: one representing each important genre (you know, like SciFi, Westerns, and... eerm, Fantasy and.. oh, Epics, of course... and, well, you get the idea). For your convenience, I've put it all together onto one easily printable sheet of paper. So, print it out, study what's on it and check them off as you watch them. (download the .pdf)

 

AFI Top 10

June 17, 2008
We're in the Guinness World Book of Records...
... sort of. We don't have a softball team, we don't have a kickball team, we don't even have a bowling league, so, Rentertainment joined about a billion other people around the world in downloading Firefox 3.0 on super-duper download day helping to make it the most downloaded program in one day ever. No one can say we're not competitive anymore!

 

Mozilla Download

May 4, 2008
Share the Road MTD bus unveiled!
It's no secret to most that I wish MTD buses would stay off campus (how about a four block perimeter and folks can walk into the core) but if we have to have busses they may as well carry a good message -- like, "Share the Road". To that end, ChampaignCountyBikes.org and the CU-MTD have banded together and created such a bus. Its city-wide debut was today at CCBs 2nd Annual Bike Fest in Hessel Park. Look for it on the streets for the whole next year.

 

MTD Share the Road

May 1, 2008
Commuting or just riding around... Cycling is fun!!!
Get your calendars out and write this down, in pen -- May is Bike Month. Within Bike Month we have:
Get your calendars out and write this down, in pen -- May is Bike Month. Within Bike Month we have:
1) May 4th -- ChampaignCountyBikes.org is holding the 2nd annual BikeFest at Hessel Park from 11 to 4. Among other things, there will be a bike auction, continuous bike film screenings, and lots of fun stuff for kids. There will also be folks on hand from The Bike Project to give you tune up tips. Check out their websites for more information.
2) May 12-16 -- Bike-to-Work Week
3) May 13th -- LiveSTRONG Day (link)
4) May 16th -- Bike-to-Work Day
5) May 21st -- Ride of Silence (7:00pm, starts at the parking lot at the corner of First Street and St. Mary's in Champaign, IL). Click for more info on the local ride.
6) May 23rd -- the Illini 4000 for Cancer kick off their cross country bike trek in New York. Look for them 4000 miles later in Seattle on August 3rd. Check out their web site ( www.illini4000.org) for more information and to make a donation.
7) Also, check out our list of Cycling in Film and here's a bunch of links to other cycling related stuff.
Don't forget, the Tour de France is right around around the corner and if you're going to keep up with the peloton you'd better bank some miles! Lastly, May also marks my one year anniversary as an all but exclusive bicycle commuter... way to go, me.

 

Cycling

April 16, 2008
Want to work at a video store?
Too bad, but you can do the next best thing... be a virtual video store clerk at videostoreclerk.com! Turn your music up loud, ignore anyone who dares approach you, and act like putting your sandwich down to help someone is absolutely the final straw -- it'll be just like working at a real video store without all the hassle of leaving your house. Who knows, maybe with enough practice you can graduate to the real thing...

 

Video Store Clerk

March 31, 2008
Second Annual Latin American Film Festival
The Second Annual Latin American Film Festival is at the Boardman's Theatre, April 4 - 10. The festival is organized by the University of Ilinois’ Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies with collaboration and support from Boardman’s Art Theater. All screenings will take place at the theater, 126 W. Church St., Champaign. Tickets, priced at the theater’s standard rates, will be available for sale at the box office in advance of each showing.
April 4: “The Violin,” 7:30 .m.; “Cocalero,” 9:45 p.m.
April 5: “The Aura,” 5 p.m.; “Alice’s House,” 8 p.m.; “Madeinusa,” 10:10 p.m.
April 6: “Cocalero,” 6:30 p.m.; “The Violin,” 8:50 p.m.
April 7: “Alice’s House,” 6:30 p.m.; “Madeinusa,” 8:50 p.m.
April 8, “Madeinusa,” 6 p.m.; “The Aura,” 8:15 p.m.
April 9, “The Violin,” 6:30 p.m., “Cocalero,” 8:45 p.m.
April 10: “The Aura,” 6 p.m.; “Alice’s House, 8:55 p.m.
(more information at www.clacs.uiuc.edu)

 

Latin Film Festival

March 17, 2008
The Portland Mercury makes me laugh...
... because they came up with Werner Herzog's blog "Werner Herzblog", the "Rainer Fassbinder Word Finder", and "Wim Wenders' Payday Cash Loan Lenders!" -- Nein credit? Nein title? NEIN PROBLEM! And, here's a link to the actual "Werner Herzblog". Hilarious!!!

(link to the Portland Mercury home page)

p.s. there are two great video stores in Portland: Movie Madness and Video Verite -- check 'em out when in town.

 

Werner Herzblog

March 5, 2008
Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge
This excellent web site will map a two mile radius around your house and show you all the places that are easily within riding distance for you. So, next you are running out for a quick errand, why not ride your bike? It's easy!
Step one: Get a bike.
Step two: Start riding.
Step three: repeat.

 

Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge

February 24, 2008
Happy post-Oscars!

Did anyone watch them? I stopped watching in 1998 when Rob Lowe did that embarrassing song and dance routine... with Snow White -- yuck! I hear they are only a little bit better now (and maybe even a bit shorter). Here's a list of the big winners and when they'll be available on DVD:

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN – March 8 (Best Picture, Director, etc)
THERE WILL BE BLOOD – April 8 (Best Actor, Cinematography, etc)
LA VIE EN ROSE – Available (Best Actress, Make-up)
MICHAEL CLAYTON – Available (Best Supporting Actress)
JUNO – April 15 (Best Screenplay)
RATATOUILLE – Available (Best Animated)
SWEENEY TODD – April 1 (Best Art Direction)
ELIZABETH: GOLDEN AGE – Available (Best Costume Design)
BOURNE ULTIMATUM – Available (Best Film Editing, Sound Mixing, etc)
ATONEMENT – March 18 (Best Original Score)
ONCE – Available (Best Song -- which they played over, and over, and over again)
GOLDEN COMPASS – April 29 (Best Visual Effects)
COUNTERFEITERS - No Date (Best Foreign)
LE MOZART DES PICKPOCKETS - No Date (Best Live Action Short Film)
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE - No Date (Best Documentary)

 

The Oscars

February 15, 2008
City of Urbana's Bicycle Master Plan unveiled
Please take a moment to look at the final draft of the City of Urbana's Bicycle Master Plan. The document outlines recommendations the City of Urbana can use to fully implement a bicycle network in Urbana. The city council, members of all the local bicycling organizations, and a ton of other citizens have worked very hard on this. Let's make Urbana a model community for bicycling! (link)

City of Urbana Bike Plan
February 14, 2008
The Adrienne Shelly Foundation
I just learned that Adrienne Shelly's husband, Andrew Ostroy, has set up a not-for-profit foundation in memory of my favorite actress. The collected funds are to be used to provide grants and scholarships to young female filmmakers.From the web site: "The Adrienne Shelly Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated in loving memory to the uniquely gifted actor and filmmaker Adrienne Shelly, whose highly accomplished life was tragically cut short November 1, 2006."
(more)


Adrienne Shelly

January 31, 2008
Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival - Call for submissions...
The deadline for submitting films to the Central Illinois Feminist Film Festival is February 29, 2008. From the flyer: "This film festival promotes the mission of our Women’s Studies Program at Eastern Illinois University: to promote an understanding of how issues related to gender, age, race, economic status, sexual identity, and nationality affect women's lives and the communities in which they live. In order to promote an equitable and sensitive environment for all persons, the Council also responds to issues affecting women on campus and in the community."
(pdf of flyer)

January 26, 2008
How cool is this?
The newly soon-to-be re-built Presby Hall (just down the street from Rentertainment) is a cutting edge green buiding. If I'm doing my math right it should only take them about 12 years to break even on the aditional expense and then they'll be making money -- and saving the environment the entire time. Three cheers to the powers that be at Presby... well done!
(read the full article in the The News Gazette)


Presby Hall
January 25, 2008
Movie weapons that kick ass...
The British newspaper, The Telegraph, has posted the results of 20th Century Fox's survey of 2,000 movie fans about what their favorite movie weapons are -- here's the rundown:
  1. Light saber (from the Star Wars films)
  2. Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum (you know, the one that can "blow your head clean off")
  3. Indiana Jones' bullwhip (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)
  4. The Bride's samurai sword in Kill Bill
  5. Leatherface's Chainsaw in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  6. James Bond's golden gun (from The Man with the Golden Gun)
  7. Robin Hood's bow and arrow
  8. Tony Montana's "little friend" (the machine gun in Scarface)
  9. The planet-destroying Death Star from Star Wars
  10. Oddjob's boller hat in the 007 movie Goldfinger

I couldn't help but notice the lack of Lethal Weapon's air nailer (that worked despite not being hooked up to anything). It's a fun list anyway, I suppose. Read the entire Daily Telegraph article here.


lightsaber

January 22, 2008
Hey Everyone -- It's Oscar time again... ho-hum.
Once again folks, it's time for all the thrills and excitment of the annual Academy Awards presentation. The nominees were officially announced in the wee hours this morning and the red carpet presentation will be on Sunday, February 24th. With all the writers on strike and the down-turn in the economy, maybe they'll just re-run last year's presentation. Then I could skip it a second time without missing anything new...
(link to Variety's Academy Awards nominations list)


Oscar

January 14, 2008
Sita Sings the Blues
Urbana native, Nina Paley (cartoonist extraordinaire) sends us this news: "So the good news is, Sita is in the Berlinale. The bad news is, she’s programmed in a theater that doesn’t do Digital Cinema. That means unless I have a 35mm print by February, her one and only World Premiere will be on, well…video. I can’t let that happen. The 35mm master will still cost about $30,000 - more if we do surround sound, which is much better audio. I still need to raise $20,000. I’m looking into bouncing credit card debt - you know, putting it all on a few credit cards, then continually applying for new credit cards and shifting the balances from one to another. It would be much better if some rich person just lent me the money. Or if some supernatural being just gave me the money - but honestly, a loan would be plenty. Big ol’ credit in the film, you can attend the Berlinale with me as part of the film team, my undying gratitude…" Read more about Berlinale and Sita at NinaPaley.com


Sita Sings the Blues

January 11, 2008
Dusty Cohl: In Memory
If you've ever been to Ebertfest you've seen Dusty Cohl. You may even have met him. Either way, you're his friend. He was always surrounded by a crowd of people including his good friend and local "handler", Kim Robeson. I was never sure who he was or where he came from but everyone else seemed to know him -- and he always smiled and said hello. He was a founder of the Toronto Film Festival and put on his own annual festival, The Floating Film Festival, where he showed films he liked to his friends -- on a cruise. Dusty will be missed, and I will miss seeing him at Ebertfest this year...
(more from Roger Ebert)


Dusty Cohl

January 1, 2008
There's a new sheriff in town...
... and her name is Jenn! If you notice a new face behind the counter at Rentertainment it's probably Jenn -- Renter's new manager (Amanda has continued to refuse to return from Portland... sheesh). You may recognize her as one of the many friendly faces behind the counter at the campus Espresso. I'll still be around but Jenn will be doing a lot of the day to day stuff at the store. Say "hi" the next time you are in -- she's much nicer than I am.


Sheriff Car

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