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Old 01-17-2018, 03:34 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Young and (over?)ambitious

Hi all,

Firstly, glad to be here. I'm sure I'll be spending just a TON of time here reading over the wealth of information on this forum that I've started to skim, but I figured I'd go ahead and put this introduction down so I can be hopefully garnering replies while I gather information.

A little about my skoolie ambitions and why my title is what it is first. I'm 24, my partner is 25, our dog is 8, and we have not much a savings to speak of due to drifting through life in a dis-enfranchised fashion up till this point. Now that we've got a dream to work towards we've turned all that around and are rapidly building a solid financial base to begin this, though I'm sure the actual process will quickly reverse that.

I've got a decent head for mechanics and a heavy DIY attitude, but no formal training and better on the wood-working side of it being a contractor's son who grew up helping out. So while I firmly believe in my ability to create a comfortable living space I'm worried about purchasing the right bus, so after this I'll be looking for the spot to post what I've found and see what people think. Looking for a larger bus, more on that in whatever separate thread I create.

We really intend to turn this into a lifestyle and start a blog/social media presence as we're both pretty tech-savvy and I love to write. We've both spent our whole lives in a college town in south central Indiana and done not much travelling besides myself pedaling a little bicycle 10K miles around the country while in high-school.

We've already got all the space and tools we need once we have the bus, thank goodness. Now just for materials and, y'know, the bus...

We intend to be hitting the road when our lease ends, July 31st, 2018. No idea if that's even possible but dangit, we're gonna try our hardest. Now if I could just quit these cigarettes...

So in short, young, broke, maybe a little dumb and ambitious but capable enough in theory. Whatcha think our chances are, and what would be one piece of advice you'd give us?

Thanks in advance for your time, and I'm real excited to join the community here. All the best to you and yours! -Noah
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Old 01-17-2018, 03:51 PM   #2
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If you're going to be living in it full time it would be really good if you could make insulation a priority. I don't know where you intend to spend your winters, but hot or cold, insulation in important.

Sure you can do it. Don't try living in a metal can in adverse conditions.
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Old 01-17-2018, 04:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for being my first reply!

Oh yeah, I've definitely realized by now through research that insulation is vital, especially as we do intend on living in it full time. We are excited partially because we're planning to avoid the cold as much as possible because we're both string beans who lose our toes in a matter of minutes (5 degrees with 7 inches on the ground here right now, I'm miserable) but we also want to spend a lot of time in the south west where we'll have to fight the oven factor. Though I'm personally pretty comfortable up to 120 degrees dry heat as long as I've got water, dunno what that's about, both my brothers are cold weather folks. Maybe it's because they've both got about 30-60 pounds on me. But yes, insulation as the very first piece of advice directly given, that certainly drives the point home!

While I'm here, I have been looking at this... What do folks think?

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...69412596474617
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Old 01-17-2018, 04:44 PM   #4
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Hey you sound just like me! (more or less)

And lemme tell ya: I don't care what the odds are, I'm taking my chances. I feel it's worth it, and I can't even say I'm mechanically or tool or tech savvy. I'll be doing this mostly alone.

Your timeline is similar to mine, I'd love to be out of here and in my bus by Fall 2018 or so. (not sure I'll be happy trying to travel in the winter)

I agree with Robin, I've been researching this project for almost two years, and doing insulation right is a MUST. You want comfort? Invest in GOOD insulation. Do your own research. I spent months tossing around on the insulation issue, and FINALLY decided on spray foam and rigid foam on top. But don't take my word for it, research! (I LOVE research, so this project, while so far mostly research, has already been so much fun for me.)

This is the FUN of this project: it's ALL YOURS! You get to choose and shape EVERY DETAIL of your bus!

I'm next door in Illinois, and I also wanna quit smoking. Kinda takes up some of the money I'm saving for the bus but it also keeps me from going nuts so, small trades I figure, for now...

GO for it. Glad to have you here. Nothing beats a notebook and clicky pencil for scrawling floorplans and notes. Create a bus we can all smile at when you share pics. Create a bus that FEELS like HOME to you.

I'd say your odds are at least as good as mine Noah, and I'm sure as hell betting on myself.
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:07 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DreamWeaverBus View Post
Hey you sound just like me! (more or less)

And lemme tell ya: I don't care what the odds are, I'm taking my chances. I feel it's worth it, and I can't even say I'm mechanically or tool or tech savvy. I'll be doing this mostly alone.

Your timeline is similar to mine, I'd love to be out of here and in my bus by Fall 2018 or so. (not sure I'll be happy trying to travel in the winter)

I agree with Robin, I've been researching this project for almost two years, and doing insulation right is a MUST. You want comfort? Invest in GOOD insulation. Do your own resea...
Thanks for the encouragement! Glad I'm not the only crazy kid embarking on this adventure. Seems like a lot of this community are post 30's, which can be discouraging when comparing stability, knowledge, and prep time, so love hearing that there's others who are just absolutely winging it.

Good on you for going into this rather alone, that's impressive. Having a partner to help has been a huge boon, they've been handling a lot of the figuring and research regarding how to remain profitable and secure while I've been tasked with the more hands-on stuff, hence my presence here. I'm a doing kinda guy though so all this research is getting me really amped/frustrated to get my hands on something though, dunno how long I can hold out, hahaha. Already learned a lot just from the couple hours I've been browsing! Kinda to be expected I might say considering we've only been hedging on this for...a month now? Wasn't even in the pipes before but we're pushing through. I might need to get back on my ADD meds though, lol.

Alright, that's two direct "INSULATE, FOOL" advices, gonna erase that from the requirements and write it in even bigger. It was already pretty huge, too, oh boy!

Oh, speaking of floor plans, I'd like to share our very first mock-up of the floor-plan! Also have a side-side split down the middle mockup but haven't uploaded it yet. Hand-drawn since I'm still figuring out my little brother's copy of AutoDesk Fusion 360. Glad I've got my contractor dad to help with that when it comes to it. I'm sure we made some glaring error somewhere in here though and would like anyone's input before we do the next draft!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf SkoolieFloorPlan(1stdraft).pdf (307.8 KB, 35 views)
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:41 PM   #6
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We were living in our bus 45 days after I bought it, and to be fair we weren't working that hard to get it ready.

We literally started with "What do we need to do to sleep here at night?", did those things, and started sleeping in the bus every night. Then we did the same idea for the things we needed to spend the day in the bus. Not every feature on your list needs to be a "Day 1" feature, and half the things you think are critical now you will realize you can live without. We spent all of last year travelling around the US without really adding much beyond our initial build, and when we got back "home" we started taking things out we didn't need after all.
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:48 PM   #7
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Your welcome! I meant every word! This bus project has kept me going for more than a year now, I'm happy to encourage others to join the Skoolie life, especially those like me who almost have no idea what they're doing. Don't be discouraged or intimidated by the experience of others, if they're willing to share it for free, consume at will with gratitude and humility.

I'm 28, dunno if that busts your illusions but it's the truth lol I'm living with my grandparents right now, working min wage at a buffet, saving what I can and trying to sell a classic car, all for funds to buy a bus. I was actually gonna go bus hunting monday, someone local has a bus I wanna check out, but the weather's been crappy so I'm just enjoying a late Xmas break...

Yeah, wingin it alone. Not even worried. I expect problems to arise, but I will meet each and every one of them best I can, probably with the help of the forum and any mechanically clever friends I have. (I luckily have a few, and they will be compensated in a fair friend manner. )

Glad to hear you have a partner in this venture though. It would be pretty fun to work on something like this with someone else. <3 You both have my romantic smiles and happy wishes.

Yeah, the "Insulate FOOL!" message is clear, but it comes from the experience of everyone here, and I'm just taking their message to heart. I didn't like it, but adding two DIY spray foam kits to my budget appears to be absolutely worth it. On amazon and ebay two kits, which would cover an average sized bus, (ten windows or so) would run you a little over a grand. A small price to pay for temperature control. I plan on moving north or west to the mountains, so I decided to spare no expense on insulation. My bus will be kinda rustique in design, but it will be me, and hopefully it will be temperate, so there we go, it's worth it.

Nice floorplan! Can't speak for how well it is though, I've drawn up more than two dozen floorplans myself, getting better each time, closer to what I want and also what I need. I'm not sure about what your wants and needs are in a small space, so I can't speak for any improvements.

Sorry for the kinda crappy images, but here's a couple of my floorplans.
Good luck with your bus, it's gonna be a fun journey.
DSCN0501.jpg

DSCN0500.jpg
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:42 PM   #8
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Dreamweaver, what classic car are you try to sell?
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:28 PM   #9
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Better to be "... young, broke, maybe a little dumb and ambitious", than



old, broke, maybe a little dumb and ambitious.



Trust me on this.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:14 PM   #10
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Tango,
I strongly agree with you. I'll be 70 before I'm even going to look for abus. But here I am, reading the posts every night, just like a kid. I want a bus. I do wish I'd bought one years ago. I've already had one heart attack, never want another one. I do want a bus.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:26 PM   #11
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I'm sure you can motivate some youngsters to help build it how you want.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:03 PM   #12
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There's more like you than you think! Just turned 30, split from wife year ago, staying with my mom and just started second job at Xmas to help save for my wild random idea of skoolie life, lol. On Friday I'll have a little over 3grand set aside so far. Trying to bank all I can until summer (trying to set aside 2g a month, seems doable after starting second job, delivering pizzas is great side cash) and then get that bus going! Hitting this thing solo with 9 years experience doing car stereos / alarms / wood fabrication, never done anything quite like this so far, and I'll be kinda winging it too, but I have a good idea of what I want.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:56 PM   #13
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As they say at Nike...

Just Do It!


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Old 01-17-2018, 11:10 PM   #14
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Timing is good to buy a bus before the tax deadline.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:59 AM   #15
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If you lack mechanical ability then it would be better to find a bus that is not electronically controlled. It is relatively easy to troubleshoot and repair stuff that isn't electronically controlled.

There are a few of the regulars here who are really into electronics and understand what is going on down to the coding level. Me, I have a hard time understanding what it means when a code pops up and I have the decoder ring to translate into small words what might be wrong.

Above all else, if there is any rust walk away quickly. Since you live where they salt the roads I don't have to explain to you about rust issues in a vehicle.

As far as specifics are concerned, from your floor plan it appears as if you want a Type 'D' bus--service door in front of the front axle with the engine either in front of the front axle, between the axles, or behind the rear axle.

Since it sounds as if you intend to put some miles on your bus, hopefully at highway speed, it is much better to find a bus with big HP and highway gearing rather than trying to make a low HP slow speed bus into a highway cruiser.

While this bus is located quite a long ways away from where you live, it has a lot of potential and some of the hard work has already been completed. https://bellingham.craigslist.org/rv...404460661.html

Good luck and keep us posted as to your progress.
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Old 01-18-2018, 05:44 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenLightNowBegin View Post

So in short, young, broke, maybe a little dumb and ambitious but capable enough in theory. Whatcha think our chances are, and what would be one piece of advice you'd give us?

Thanks in advance for your time, and I'm real excited to join the community here. All the best to you and yours! -Noah
Welcome !

You are sooo lucky- do you know that you live in the middle of RV treasures? They manufacturer a bunch in Indiana, so finding windows, appliances, etc for your conversion will be much easier. You are not to far from Kankakee, home of Midwest bus.

I'm right next door in Illinois, too, if you all need a foreman.

Cigs: Now that you committed your intentions to writing ina Public Forum, you can get on with the quitting. Switch to the vape. I know it's not the same ritual, but will get you closer to where you want to be.

The bus you didn't go look at because it's cold- go look at it. Great time to buy, when others are too lazy to go out and look, then go get started in some remote frozen parking lot....and like Robin said, people will have a few bucks to blow after H & R Block is done.

Be picky !!! Make a post of all the things you want on the bus, your requirements (pets, people, stuff), plans, etc. and ppl will help steer you to a bus. Like that really nice old Gillig.
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Old 01-18-2018, 08:02 AM   #17
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Dreamweaver, what classic car are you try to sell?
A 1969 Ford Thunderbird, asking $6000
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:07 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
We were living in our bus 45 days after I bought it, and to be fair we weren't working that hard to get it ready.
Highly encouraging, thank you! Mostly worried about having the money to get materials and what-not over the work it will take. Youthful and energetic, but not affluent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Better to be "... young, broke, maybe a little dumb and ambitious", than

old, broke, maybe a little dumb and ambitious.
And that's why we're jumping on this now instead of putting it off. From what I hear regret is usually what folks didn't do rather than what they did. Thanks for the encouragement!

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Originally Posted by GWinKS View Post
Tango,
I strongly agree with you. I'll be 70 before I'm even going to look for abus. But here I am, reading the posts every night, just like a kid. I want a bus. I do wish I'd bought one years ago. I've already had one heart attack, never want another one. I do want a bus.
You've got this, sir. A salute to your ambitions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjhwick119 View Post
There's more like you than you think! Just turned 30, split from wife year ago, staying with my mom and just started second job at Xmas to help save for my wild random idea of skoolie life, lol. On Friday I'll have a little over 3grand set aside so far... Trying to bank all I can until summer (trying to set aside 2g a month, seems doable after starting second job, delivering pizzas is great side cash) and then get that bus going! Hitting this thing solo with 9 years experience doing car stereos / alarms / wood fabrication, never done anything quite like this so far, and I'll be kinda winging it too, but I have a good idea of what I want.
Whoo! Sounds like you're making one hell of a change, props to you! I wish I could get out of my lease and just crash somewhere to save on money but I've got a room-mate to think of and I don't think the partner's ready to let go of ALL the creature comforts to make this happen just yet, though I think I'm going to need to put that on the table based on our rate so far. Maybe extend our timeline a little, take a couple months of living in hell to travel through paradise. Good luck to you, and well done on 2k saving a month, that's impressive!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Timing is good to buy a bus before the tax deadline.
That's kinda what I was thinking. Need to get my post count up with quality posts so I can post some links to things I'm looking at. Think my budget is a little lower than might be reasonable but like someone else said, this is a great area to be in. Think I'm looking for something under $3000 ideally, but not crossing my fingers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
If you lack mechanical ability then it would be better to find a bus that is not electronically controlled. It is relatively easy to troubleshoot and repair stuff that isn't electronically controlled.

There are a few of the regulars here who are really into electronics and understand what is going on down to the coding level. Me, I have a hard time understanding what it means when a code pops up and I have the decoder ring to translate into small words what might be wrong.

Above all else, if there is any rust walk away quickly. Since you live where they salt the roads I don't have to explain to you about rust issues in a vehicle.

As far as specifics are concerned, from your floor plan it appears as if you want a Type 'D' bus--service door in front of the front axle with the engine either in front of the front axle, between the axles, or behind the rear axle.

Since it sounds as if you intend to put some miles on your bus, hopefully at highway speed, it is much better to find a bus with big HP and highway gearing rather than trying to make a low HP slow speed bus into a highway cruiser.

While this bus is located quite a long ways away from where you live, it has a lot of potential and some of the hard work has already been completed. https://bellingham.craigslist.org/rv...404460661.html

Good luck and keep us posted as to your progress.
Yeah! I'm seeing quite a few of DT466 in my area, and a few DT466e as well, looking for the non-electronic for sure, though I'm decent with electronics once I do some research. Easier not to fuss with though. That is one area I've been frequenting for reading here is the electronics board, that is probably me weak suit.

Is rust really so terrible? I know it can kill a bus quick if you don't do something about it, but small patches can be repaired, right? If you don't mind, I would like an explanation about how bad rust can be as that's something that's eluded me, being where they salt I frequently hear conflicting stories of "Rust killed my frame" and "Naw boy I just ground that out and welded in then painted over the spot" or whatever.

You're right, definitely leaning more towards a Type D as you put it, though I was thinking in terms of FE. Also just love that classic look, though I hear a RE can be nice for the volume of it. Though am I wrong or isn't the engine off most of the time you're not on the road?

HOO! That is a beauty, but way far away and way outside my range. Thanks for the post though! I tried to post a reply to someone earlier that included a link to a bus I was considering, but I haven't hit the post count necessary yet so it didn't go through. Oh well, I'll get there and will probably throw out a big list of what I'm looking at at some point. (Maybe I shouldn't have made this a multi-reply, lol.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
Welcome !

You are sooo lucky- do you know that you live in the middle of RV treasures? They manufacturer a bunch in Indiana, so finding windows, appliances, etc for your conversion will be much easier. You are not to far from Kankakee, home of Midwest bus.

I'm right next door in Illinois, too, if you all need a foreman.

Cigs: Now that you committed your intentions to writing ina Public Forum, you can get on with the quitting. Switch to the vape. I know it's not the same ritual, but will get you closer to where you want to be.

The bus you didn't go look at because it's cold- go look at it. Great time to buy, when others are too lazy to go out and look, then go get started in some remote frozen parking lot....and like Robin said, people will have a few bucks to blow after H & R Block is done.

Be picky !!! Make a post of all the things you want on the bus, your requirements (pets, people, stuff), plans, etc. and ppl will help steer you to a bus. Like that really nice old Gillig.
I was not aware, thank you for mentioning that! Lucky me, that's exciting! I had looked at a few from Midwest Bus but saw that a lot were outside my range, this is probably going to be something of a budget bus, we'll see how that plays out for me. Mostly been looking at ones from private sellers, have found a few that look to be good options but of course I need to go inspect and probably get the opinions of people here.

Thanks everybody!
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:22 PM   #19
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Stay on the hunt and as noted...be picky. More often than not, spending a few extra bucks up front can save tons of time & money in the long run.

As for rust...nearly all buses have some...somewhere. It is the "where" and "how much" that is critical. Patching a rusted out panel area or around a wheel well is common, but we had a member here who discovered too late that his whole bus was near collapsing. The frame was nearly rusted through and as I recall, it was not that old. So be prepared to crawl all over and under any unit you are interested in and be critical. At the very least, rust can be a strong negotiating factor if you are able & willing to deal with it.

And if you can bring along someone with diesel knowledge...all the better. Once again, it can save your butt and/or provide leverage on the price.

Just do all you can to be prepared. Personally, I would never buy anything I had not seen in person and driven. Many folks do it but as for me...I have an aversion to pigs in pokes.

Happy hunting!
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:35 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Stay on the hunt and as noted...be picky. More often than not, spending a few extra bucks up front can save tons of time & money in the long run.
Yeah, I'm realizing my ambitions as to initial bus price may have been under-estimated. Upping the budget keeps happening along the way, hoo boy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
As for rust...nearly all buses have some...somewhere. It is the "where" and "how much" that is critical. Patching a rusted out panel area or around a wheel well is common, but we had a member here who discovered too late that his whole bus was near collapsing. The frame was nearly rusted through and as I recall, it was not that old. So be prepared to crawl all over and under any unit you are interested in and be critical. At the very least, rust can be a strong negotiating factor if you are able & willing to deal with it.
That I kinda figured, I couldn't imagine such a heavy-duty vehicle with generally so many miles not somehow being rusted somewhere. Thankfully I do have experience spotting and evaluating rust and have no issue with getting dirty to find it so I think I'll manage to avoid anything that is going to cause me long-term problems. I feel for that person who learned the hard way, that must have really hurt. Noted on the negotiation!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
And if you can bring along someone with diesel knowledge...all the better. Once again, it can save your butt and/or provide leverage on the price.
Think I do have one family friend who used to own a trucking business that I should be able to bring along if I time it right. He's been trying to get us to visit too, so maybe a road trip would be good in the cards. Thinking those friends with knowledge and/or space are going to be invaluable, and he's got all that in spades.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Just do all you can to be prepared. Personally, I would never buy anything I had not seen in person and driven. Many folks do it but as for me...I have an aversion to pigs in pokes.

Happy hunting!
That's my sentiment as well. I don't think I'd ever feel comfortable buying something I hadn't looked over myself. Heck, when it comes to something like this I don't fully understand I don't think I'd feel comfortable buying without having someone ELSE I TRUST look over it as well!

Thanks for the advice. I think I've reached my post count to post links now, so inbound is a list of what I've been looking at, I hope you can take the time to look it over!

(also playing with bbcode, been a while since I was posting on a forum, PLEASE let me know if my posting/quoting style is enraging or anything, and that goes for anybody!)
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