1. Spending way too much time on Wikipedia playing with ideas for my remix fic. I am so excited about it, so of course I am procrastinating like crazy and writing 200 words at a time before looking for some detail like average rainfall in a certain place at a certain time of year (*poker face*) and then looking at pictures of Mt. Etna and reminiscing about volcanoes and ash clouds (you guys think this Iceland thing is bad, try living in a place where it rains sand for serious), which leads to research on the various types of volcanoes, which leads to reading about Romans, and yeah.

2. Falling HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE with Justified. (You can also find it on hulu, which I find to be a nicer, more browser-friendly way to watch.) I love Timothy Olyphant, and therefore Raylan Givens. I love Elmore Leonard for giving him to us. I love every single supporting character. I love the south, and the way come morning in Kentucky, the fog curling and the cicadas warming to the day hot already, it's like the land knows you're there and doesn't mind much.

3. Slinging drinks. And burgers. And, when it gets to be late-night and there's no one out in the stupid Wisconsin spring drizzle, doing plenty of crosswords. And remix plotting. And re-reading Dante's Inferno for a John/Mary fic that I really really want to write but that I haven't done anything but sketch out, because I have very little time right now, what with remix and watching Justified like a million times so I can get the character voices right for fic I am not writing. *cough*

4. Being my usual excitable self.

the rush

Feb. 18th, 2010 01:00 pm
So it turns out that re-entering fandom after a long vacation is sort of like being the friend who shows up to the party forty-five minutes past fashionably late and has to be shuffled around and introduced to everyone and has no place to put their plate of cookies on the crowded potluck table, but after another two hours is just there and everyone forgets about the whole awkward entrance.

Perhaps, also, it is about run-on sentences. And the thrill of the hunt. I've been chasing down authors and stories and meta like nobody's business for the past few days. I almost forgot I was supposed to meet my usual friends at our usual pub last night, I was so caught up in it (oops.) Now that I've got a bit of time off, I can't wait to start writing again. As Miss Frizzle might say, "Seatbelts, everyone!"

Also, in the spirit of the Good Things that seem to be happening lately, I stopped into my favorite little craft/bookbinding/diy shop yesterday and found a notebook made from the cover of Bad Company's Straight Shooter. I mean, how badass is that?

But anyway, it's time to haul myself out for a run and a trip to the co-op and some experimental bread baking and the rest of the outline of this weird fic idea I've had going for a week or two.

Cause, you know, I'm a wild fire woman.

round here

Jan. 4th, 2008 11:24 pm
[Happy New Year!]

It's Friday night and the neighbors downstairs are having a party. It's not particularly noisy, but there's talking and laughing and the clinking of glasses and cutlery, and it's keeping me awake.

And then it suddenly occurred to me that if I can hear them, then they can hear me, or more importantly, my kittens, my clanging around in the kitchen, my sex life, and my impromptu dishwashing karaoke, in that order of frequency and loudness. I feel particularly bad about the kittens. When they're running around after each other, they can be irritating as hell. (One of the holiday visitor cats somehow got on top of the refrigerator this evening as The Boy and I were eating dinner. It was pretty impressive, but we still had to give him the requisite scolding.)

All this boils down to: I'm sorry, downstairs neighbors, and I will try to prevent the bed from squeaking too much or the kittens from pushing any more glasses off the coffee table.

I had a real reason for writing this post, though, and that was to squee about and comment on several new books. It's the semester break, so I've been sucking down everything as non-academic as I can find. This started out with The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss. Go drop everything and read it. Seriously. I actually met the author a while ago and told him I would read his book, and then my manager squeed a lot about it, so I picked it up. It's fantastic. It's the first third of the life story of an arcanist, from his childhood through his early adolescence, and--get this--it has a dragon on crack. I'm not even kidding. I can't wait for the next in the series.

Then I read (or tried to read) Diary of a Bad Year, since I'm a giant Coetzee fangirl. Couldn't get past the first 50 or so pages. It was kind of painful. Maybe when I'm in a different mindset or something, but right now I'm not feeling it, stylistically or in terms of content.

So after that I picked up The Yiddish Policemen's Union, because I'm determined to read Chabon backwards from The Gentlemen of the Road (omg BEST). And it's omg SECOND BEST so far. Because I still can't get over the pure joy of Gentlemen.

Also I Am Legend was really good, with the added bonus of a bunch of short stories in the back that aren't noted at all on the front (the I Am Legend part is half as long as it looks from the outside.) A couple of things irritated me. Mostly the re-use of nouns three or more times in close proximity (I'm still a little scarred by the number of times Matheson managed to put the word "chest" in a single page, because I keep imagining Charlton Heston's chest, which I've seen way too much of, and yeah.) But the story itself was fantastic. Now I want to see the movie.

Finally, I borrowed In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. As an avid cook/baker/lover of all things vegetable, animal, and mineral, I've always been interested in the American attitude towards food, and although I'm not quite halfway through this book yet, it's elaborated on a lot of the things I've always wondered about. Like how hundreds of thousands of cultures around the world can eat vastly different diets and still remain healthy. How scientists and therefore Americans have moved away from things we recognize as "food" (an apple, a carrot, a cut of meat) to things we recognize as "nutrients" (vitamin-fortified, highly packaged, processed edible things.) It's a good read, too--you might know Pollan from The Omnivore's Dilemma, which was a hot seller at Borders a few months ago, but which I have unfortunately not yet read.

So those are the ones I've read and loved so far. I read a few more that I didn't love, but liked enough to finish, most of which I will probably do a short commentary on later. And as it seems now that the party downstairs has moved to a different room, it is time for the sleep.
Two weeks ago, I was bitten by something while asleep. The bite swelled into a hard red welt, itchy and painful, and I was sure we had bed bugs. I literally stood beside the bed, unable to get in, for hours that night.

As it turned out, the kittens had attracted a small flea population, probably from the squirrels that live on the trees surrounding and overhanging our back porch. We got the requisite flea treatment paraphernalia and eradicated them. I, however, had done too much reading online and was petrified that the insecticide would kill the kittens. Even though I bought the most benign formula I could find, I insisted that we lock the kittens into a well-ventilated room as far away from the living room (where the fleas were) as possible. The Boy looked at me a little funny, but complied, even when I stuffed towels under the doors so they couldn't possibly inhale any of the aerosol. I placed a fan blowing out the window behind the couch, and attacked said couch clothed from head to toe, wearing gloves that reached to the elbow and a scarf over my hair. The Boy came into the room in a t-shirt and socks, told me I looked absurd, and wandered off in search of soda.

I read the directions on the can of insecticide four or five times. I aimed it down. I judged two to three feet. To be sure, I crouched until I could see the distance from the side instead of the top. I made uniform sweeping motions until all surfaces were just slightly damp.

With the windows open, it was probably thirty degrees in that room. I was sweating by the time I finished.

The kittens are still locked in their room. After scrubbing myself in hot water and soap, I allowed myself to go play with them. I might let them back into the living room tomorrow, but the thought of it makes my heart pound.

Throughout this phobia--not of insects, evil bloodsucking insects that lurk in couch cushions, but of the insect killer--some part of my brain realizes the ridiculousness of it all. I took all the proper precautions. No prolonged skin contact, minimal inhalation, no eye contact or contact with food surfaces.

But some part of me is still scared, just a little. Some part of me is in that first babysitting job mindset, when you're sure you're going to kill the neighbor's kid. Some part of me is ten and has to run to take the trash out after dark or the flying wolves will catch her. Some part of me is already in the heart-stopping adrenaline rush of coming up from the basement with the laundry, up an unlit, creaking external stairwell with paint cans and all manner of night creatures lurking in the adjacent crawlspace. And some part of me thinks all those other parts of me are pretty stupid and contagious.

Tell me that when I can't pick up a dropped sock because the giant red-eyed rats might eat me alive if I stop.
I should be editing the paper that is worth 25% of my grade right now, but instead I'm translating Old English that won't even be on the final, calling The Boy to make sure he's awake and remembers to mail the Christmas cards, figuring out how $15.33 is going to pay the rent (I have subscribed to Carmen's Theory of Dehydration, in which if you pour money on your checking account, it will magically grow in a beanstalk-like manner), missing the purring kitten that slept on my lap all yesterday, and deciding how to spend the week after finals, when I will be too exhausted by the Christmas madness to do anything anyway.

Ah, the last week of school. How I loathe and love thee.
I may have lied about being back when I posted a month and a half ago.

Currently, I have four classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, thirty-two hours of Borders shoved into the other four days, a fifteen+ page research paper to write, an Old English poem to translate, a draft to revise, a take-home exam to complete, and three tests to take. In addition, I am making just enough money to keep me from destitution (although not according to the Federal government--yay being under the poverty line!--or to my mother's standards, because when I let drop in conversation that I had $1.14 to my name until payday, she nearly had a fit and accused me of bad money management. I did not point out the part about being officially under the poverty line. That would have ended not-well). Between me and The Boy, though, all of us (now including one adorably twitchy and one lazy little pudgeball kitten) get fed, housed, clothed, and sometimes even not-stressed.

(Yes, The Boy still exists, apart from a sort of...glitch? we had back in October when things were bad for a few days. He still rocks most of the time, except when he's driving me nuts playing a video game or ranting about the deliciousness of Chipotle burritos when all we have left to eat is a can of tomatoes and some pasta or demonstrating the "correct" use of the parking brake in cornering on an ice-covered Wisconsin road. But we're still together, and I'm insanely in love with him even when he dries his boxers on the shower rod, so it's good.)

Anyway, I am slightly busy.

As a result, I have not kept up with SPN or FNL aside from the first few episodes of each, which was a giant crisis for me. I ultimately chose 3.5 hours of sleep a night and some semblance of sanity over the media. Besides, I'll be able to catch up at semester break. Hopefully.

On the plus side, working at Borders rocks. Well, most of it does. The pay blows monkeys, and as with any job, there are parts that I dislike, but the discount almost makes up for it, and the fact that I get to find people books all day long wins by a long shot. Also that we sell DVDs, and so I get to rant about Ratatouille and Escape from New York and Blood Simple to unsuspecting customers. They never know what hit 'em.

Oh! Speaking of Blood Simple, All and Sundry should see No Country for Old Men. Easily one of my favorite McCarthy books, easily the best Coen brothers film yet. As creepy as their early Fargo-ish stuff, with that gorgeous eye they have for the scenery and the setting and the characters. Intense shit, yo.

And now! Off to write about effective design strategies for after-school programs targeting minority and low-income urban children!
As always, I apologize for the long delay. I tend to fall in and out of love with the internet and fandom, especially during the summer, when all I want to do is spend as much time out-of-doors as physically possible. When I want to remove myself from any traces of academia and taste the sunlight dancing on my tongue.

I might start updating here soonish, since this is primarily a fandom/writing journal with a little life thrown in, and both SPN and FNL have started again. When I get time to write (and more importantly, read) fic, I'll definitely begin posting again.

The real reason for this post, however, is to share a friend's website/blog/project with you. It's called The Intimacy of Strangers, and it's a fascinating venue for connection and conversation about life in general, New York living in particular. Go check it out. (For those of you who read both of my LJs and have therefore seen this announcement twice, go check it out more than once!) There's a great discussion about the inherent versus assigned versus interpreted meaning of photographs going on right now. Pop in, give it a look, and maybe drop a comment or two into the discussion. It's still a work-in-progress, and it could definitely use some of the intelligent commentary I know you as a group could provide.

Anyway, I'll be catching up with you all sometime in the next few weeks. For those of you who've recommended or commented on my fic recently, I'll get back to you ASAP. I had no idea how many new people I'd rather passively acquired. For now, I'd just like to let you know that you're appreciated, even if it's taken me this long to notice. *cringe* And it's good to be back, even in this tiny way.

Life: good

Jul. 1st, 2007 11:54 pm
I am not stressed about anything right now. It's amazing. I can't remember the last time I wasn't under some sort of stress over school or work or paying rent or a relationship or a friendship or a pet or something. But as late, I sleep through the night, I wake up in the morning wanting to get out of bed, I take long walks, I come home after an uneventful day to be slammed against a wall and molested by The Boy before I even get a hello, and it's pretty damn good.

I haven't been writing as much as I should, but that'll change as I get back into the habit. Speaking of which, I'm going to be making my poetry posts private soon--I'd like to start submitting and putting together my thesis, and having that stuff available online could be a bit awkward. So if you want anything, save it, and if you decide you want something after it's gone, just let me know and I'll send it along. This is of course assuming that you want something. If not, feel free to go on about your business.
I quit my job two weeks ago. I'd had enough. I was going to bed angry and waking up angry and dreading work from the moment my alarm went off to the moment I walked through the front doors. It was damaging my ability to be kind to people. And when I felt, more often than not, the urge to tell customers to fuck off, I decided it was time for me to go.

After I turned in my two weeks' notice, my managers talked to me, offered me a raise and a guaranteed thirty hours a week. I almost said things I would have regretted, but I refrained. Sometimes, I do actually possess self-control.

There's no room for regret here. I don't regret quitting the job. Sure, the next months are probably going to include a lack of chocolate-covered espresso beans and possibly also apologetic, cringing calls to the landlord to ask for a little pity while I scrape together rent. That's not the problem. I've been without money before.

The problem is that I want something to work. I want to do a job I like, I want to do a job that means something to me. I want school to mean something to me. I want to get up in the morning because I'm looking forward to my day, not because I can't afford a no call/no show. I don't ever want to burn out as hard as I did at the end of this school year. I don't ever want to wake up angry again.

I'm taking a few weeks off--The Boy and I are driving home for my brother's graduation. Hopefully, my head will be on straight by the time I get back. And I will be able to breathe again.
Last night, I was in what I think was the worst pain of my life, with menstrual cramps so bad that I literally couldn't breathe for ten or fifteen seconds at a time. The Boy, despite his dogged insistence that he wasn't tired and would stay up with me, passed out around four in the morning. I didn't have the heart to wake him, so I crept into a chair nearby and started making lists of things to distract myself from the fact that I could barely function.

My most important list consisted of ways I'm going to reduce my environmental impact. Yes, I get environmentally conscious when I'm suffering. Sue me.

Things I already do:

-ride a bike, walk, or take the bus everywhere
-re-use paper
-use as little water as possible
-drink tap water
-use a coffee mug instead of disposable cup (except from Cafe Soleil, where they use biodegradable "plastic" cups)
-buy local produce
-conserve electricity by using as little light as possible
-try to buy unpackaged (or sparingly packaged) food
-buy organic, fair-trade coffees and teas

Eco-friendly things to continue or start using:

-dishwashing liquid (continue)
-detergent (continue)
-general cleaning products (continue)
-pads/tampons (start)
-shaving cream (start)
-conditioner (continue)
-lotion (continue)
-sunscreen (start)
-sponges (start)
-natural-fiber toothbrush/hairbrush
-toothpaste (continue)
-unbleached toilet paper, paper towels, coffee filters, etc. (continue)
-my fertilizer-free garden! which I'll have next year! (start)

Eco-friendly things that I can't afford now but will when I'm not a poor college student:

-100% natural-fiber clothing
-recyclable/biodegradable shoes
-100% organic food, especially locally produced
When I updated Firefox the last time, Google somehow (via magic, I assume, though other possibilities exist) developed the ability to suggest search terms I might want to input based on a few words typed into the search bar.

This is an extremely distracting feature.

Yesterday, as you might recall, I posted a list of Google's suggestions after I typed "how to."

Today, I was bored. So I typed in "why" and looked at the ten suggestions I received in exchange. Some of them are not interesting (why lyrics, whyy), but some of them are fascinating:

1. why is the sky blue?
4. why we fight
7. why do cats purr?
8. why do we have christmas trees?
9. why do men cheat?
10. why don't penguins' feet freeze?

Tenth result under what: what is the answer to life the universe and everything?

Four out of the ten results for who have to do with the game show Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? (One of the others is who let the dogs out?)

Second suggestion under where is where's waldo?

Under when: (1) when is hannukah, (6) when was jesus born, (10) when is easter 2007. The rest of them are either lyrics or (9) when harry met sally.

I'm endlessly fascinated by these. They're so impersonal, but somehow they force me back into the mind of whoever was typing them, into the person's reasons and motivations, into his relationship with his kids or the job she hates. It's cool. I want to write some of them down. Maybe I'll create a series out of it.
By the time I finish college, my life will be almost one-quarter over. Dude, I've got shit to do.

I will get to responding to replies to my story, I promise. Soon. Hopefully. Yes. Soon.

Dean is an annoying character to write for many many reasons, not the least of which is his tendency to freak out every time Sam does anything ever.


Top Ten How-Tos, As Suggested by Google

how to tie a tie
how to save a life lyrics
how to save a life
how to write a bibliography
how to knit
how to kiss
how to draw
how to play poker
how to lose weight
how to write a resume

I love those. I love how much they say about the people who are searching through google. I can imagine a concrete story for each one, from the boy whose father is unexpectedly out of town on the day of winter formal to the girl who wants to kiss something that's not her hand or her pillow, to the kid just out of college and trying to get the first job that doesn't just require a warm body, two hands, and the ability to feign sobriety during the lunch rush.
I just found a diary entry from January 1, 1997. Over ten years ago.

Transcribed, complete with spelling errors and questionable grammar:

Wedsday (is that spelled right?) January 1, 1997

Happy New Years! In october 22, 1996, I turned 9. I am 4'11" tall and wear size 4 1/2 shoes. I am in the fourth grade and my teacher is Mr. Brown. (He's really mean but I can't tell my mom.) My hobby is electric trains and I have a huge set of them. My interests are swimming (definnetly not diving.) (Diving makes my stomach go around.) History, Math, Science, Writing, Reading, and P.E.

I wish I could have met myself when I was a child. You know? Wouldn't it be cool if you could do that?

Don't eat at Taco Bell in December of 1999, I would tell myself. It will result in your forever associating Stevenson's Kidnapped with stomach pain so severe you'll think you're dying.

Get to know your grandfather. He won't live forever, and when he dies, you'll always wish you had talked to him while you could.

Value every single second of happiness, every single one. Sometimes they'll be all you have to hang on to.

Learn from your mother, and let her go. Talk to your father before it gets awkward. Realize that you will never find stronger or more complex relationships than the ones you have with your siblings. Don't taunt your sister; you'll grow to love her so much that she and your brother are literally the only two people you can imagine killing for.

Keep smiling, kiddo. Keep smiling.
Things not to do while being pissed off about international politics:

-Listen to A Perfect Circle's remix of Pet, Counting Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the War Drums.

-Argue with a professor's lecture on The Lady of Shalott in the margins of my notes until I can barely make them out for all the point-for-point rebuttal. I am maybe a little bit of a nerd.

-Try to write a coherent Middlemarch paper about how George Eliot forces the reader into a passive role of a judgmental society without descending into a rant. (I spent five pages analyzing the first few sentences of the book to prove this point and by the end I grew weary of defending it.)

-Work. Which I will have to go to in ten minutes and which I am dreading.

-Post to LJ. Heh.
Sometimes I really want other people just to do things because they'd make me smile. Like the dude in front of me at Walgreens? I really wanted him to drop the packet of socks he had oh-so-casually draped over a box of condoms. He would have blushed bright red, because it's his first girlfriend in a while. He'd finally grown into those extra pounds he gained when he was fourteen and when she smiled at him in Physics class, his ears burned. He freaked and angsted over whether to ask her out for two weeks before finally muttering, Hey you know if you wanted to like grab a coffee or something sometime or not because you know whatever but I'd be cool with it either way. Feeling like a total idiot until she said, Sure, whatever, and smiled in the warm way girls do when they want to be wanted.

They talked about themselves because they thought they had nothing in common. He didn't know how to have a conversation, kept threading his fingers through the handle of his mug. His coffee was cold, but he was afraid to put it down, afraid of not having anything to do with his hands. She excused herself for a minute to use the bathroom and he breathed out, first time in a long time, while a girl curled in the corner seat near the back nodded at him, tapped her fingers to the beat of the music through her headphones.

What bands do you like? he asked her when she came back, and she told him that she liked Interpol and Frou Frou and this hip-hop group from Minneapolis, Atmosphere, you heard of them?

Dude, he said, because Atmosphere, he fucking loved Atmosphere. You know that one, Tears for the Sheep, he said, and she grinned at him.

It's all about Say Shhh, she said, love song to the Midwest. No one sings love songs to the Midwest.

He set his mug on the table between them, leaned forward. I do, he said. I do.

Yeah, well, she said, her voice soft.

He wanted her, wanted to wrap his fingers through her hair and pull her towards him, kiss her until the older couple at the window clucked at them. He wanted to feel her legs spread wide over his, feel the tension thrumming the muscles of her lower back. You wanna get out of here? he asked.

He walked her home, and she smiled at him before she went inside. When he shoved his hands in his pockets, the scrape of denim against his knuckles made him shiver.

On the walk home, he felt the twist of his sock around his left foot, the whisper of cold air, and remembered the hole in the toe. Walgreens, then, six-pack of white crew for five bucks. Ten feet away, an aisle of Lifestyles and Trojans and Beyond Sevens, and he unhooked one of the boxes, fighting the tightness of embarrassment just below his adam's apple. Stood in line, saw a girl standing behind him, hair down, left thumb hooked in a belt loop, right arm cradling a ream of printer paper, and thought, There are people here. He nestled the packet of socks over the condoms, twitching a smile at the linoleum.

Fifteen sixty-two, said the clerk, snapping her gum. The blue of her vest brought out the green of her skin. She looked twice her age. He blushed and fumbled a twenty from his wallet. Shook off the offer of a bag, shoved his purchases into his backpack, let the night cool the rush of blood beneath his skin. Thought, maybe. Yeah.

(Um. When did this become a story? *facepalm*)
Realization of the Day: I like ordering things that are shipped UPS because I can track them online and it's like a tiny, vicarious road trip.


Feb. 12th, 2007 03:49 pm
The snow is still falling lazily outside. A woman on the street level is standing outside a car, cuddling a black kitten with white facial markings while the tow truck guy uses his jump kit to start her battery. The two of them converse while the cat struggles against her chest. I think I want to curl up with someone behind me, wrapped around me. I miss having someone to share a bed with.

Some kid lost the key to his bike chain and had to call Capital Lock, Inc. to cut it for him. It's too bad. It was an expensive chain. He stares at the severed ends for a moment, shaking his head, before removing his gloves to retrieve his wallet from a back pocket. He gets his change back and tips the locksmith two dollars. His hands burn with the cold; he thinks about how he can't afford another lock. He hates himself a little for losing his key. He thinks it might be a metaphor for something. He thinks it might just be Monday.

In an hour or so, I have a meeting, followed by a few hours of homework, some paper-writing, perhaps some hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps, if I'm done with the homework in time. Hot chocolate sans the peppermint schnapps, otherwise. Either way, comfort in a cup.
I was homeschooled until fifth grade. I went to Italian middle school. The two experiences were often very isolating; the only people I knew for more than a year or two at a time were my brother and sister. And while I don't regret my educational choices at all, they've meant I've always thought of myself as a socially awkward person. Not so much in the sense that I don't know how to conduct myself in social situations, but that I often avoid social situations because I'm much more comfortable with one or two other people and only absolutely comfortable with my siblings.

Except, for some reason, people are comfortable with me. They'll tell me their life stories at bus stops or narrate the entire arc of a relationship gone wrong within the first few days of our acquaintanceship or confide that the two years they spent in jail were the most difficult, most dangerous, and most important years of their lives. I've always found this strange, because I don't tend to offer up a lot in return. I'm "difficult to get to know," and it's not necessarily because I'm deep or mysterious; it's just that I don't let other people get to know me very often.

I love it, though. I love people's stories. I love it when random people talk to me. I love making tiny connections with strangers I meet crossing the street or walking past a bar entrance while the regulars are outside shivering and smoking and trading lies that become more and more blatant with each exchange. People are endlessly interesting.
Good book? Check.

Snow falling outside? Check.

Radiators working? Check. (Bonus check: they are working soundlessly.)

Black Russian? Check. (PS self, need more KahlĂșa.)

Cat in a puddly-pile at my feet? Check.

Laundry done, room cleaned, calendars cross-referenced with syllabi and planner? Check.

Darkness curled like warm arms around me? Check.

I am randomly excited about life today. I was also skimming through this journal and realized that my RL posts tend to the bipolar. I'm not; it's just that if I feel the urge to post about my real life it's probably because I'm (a) happy or (b) not-happy. Also I tend to forget that despite how much I complain about school, I actually rather like it.

Signed up for [livejournal.com profile] spn_j2_bigbang because omg yes. I already have an idea sketched out. I'm already a little bit in love with this idea. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing.



May 2010



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