Thursday, July 30, 2009

Links and Videos

First off, nearly thirty years later, someone has made an animal friendly Crunchy Frog. And here is the original skit courtesy of You Tube and Monty Python: Crunchy Frog.

This one is actually funny. Although I believe it is a violation of the stormtrooper regulations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I'm having trouble again with the book I'm reading. the first chapter stared out well, but I've been finding just about anything to do but try to finish the second chapter.

The first chapter set the book and got my attention. Then the second chapter suddenly goes into the background of what I take to be the main character. We've gone back to her childhood (briefly), gone over her relationship to and the funeral of her grandfather, and I find myself having a hard time caring.

It's like getting on an express train, but then after the fist mile, suddenly being switched to a slow, multi-stop track.

I've got another book in at the library that is more Disney secrets, but this time on Disney World. I'll probably read that and try to come back to this one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Side steps

This afternoon, Jennifer and I went to Fairfield to give support to a friend. She was having some new body mods put in.

The got some interesting things like piercings. She got small plates like 1 centimeter by 1/3 of a centimeter , perhaps 1 millimeter tick, and with a threaded post like a T. The plate is inserted below the skin, and the threaded post sticks out. Then she has a gemstone or crystal threaded onto the post.

They are very pretty, but I stood out with her husband in the lobby, while Jennifer was with her and took pictures.

Then we went to the Blue Frog and had a beer.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Okay, a while ago I posted about this fan film: Saber.

Well it turns out that it won two awards in Atom Films' annual Star Wars fan film competition. One for Best Action and one for the Audience Choice.

Science Comedy

Through the fun of Bad Astronomy and Phil Plait, I have discoverd a new (to me) comedian: Brian Malow.

And my friends thought me laughing at Science LOLCats was bad.

His site has some funny audio and one video clips. His blog has a few other videos.

And I have two new jokes.

1) A virus walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "We don't serve viruses here." The virus replaces the bartender, and says, "Now you do."

2) A helium atom walks into a bar, and the bartender says, "We don't serve helium here." The helium doesn't react.

And now my geekness is obvious to all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mars and Moon

Today Jennifer and I went to go see "Moon".

It was an intriguing movie.

There is so much I could say about it, but the only thing I want to say is go see it.

The movie stands well as a whole, and tells a fun story.


This evening I finished reading Ben Bova's Mars Life. I really enjoyed it even though parts seemed predictable. It was written in a style similar to Michael Crichton, and so you knew there had to be a disaster somewhere. Granted, there ended up being three, but still until the first one hit, I was waiting for the shoe to drop.

It's a fun read, and I'm glad I read it. I was glad that everything got wrapped up, because for a while I was afraid it was going to be a multi-parter.

This is the first Ben Bova book that I've read, so now I've got a new science fiction author to check out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Today, I had a bit of a revelation. As there are levels of geekness (as best defined by Lore Sjöberg at the now defunct Brunching Shuttlecocks), there are also classifications of geeks.

It is possible for these classifications to vary from day to day, but the geek will tend to show their true classification over time.

So my classifications are as follows:

The Stealth Geek - These are geeks who through various methods try to hide their geekness. They will shun the Star Wars t-shirt, avoid the convention, and act perfectly normal in mixed company (mixed being geeks and non-geeks). And yet they will give themselves away to the alert. Stealth geeks may dress in the colors of their heroes. or perhaps they may remove all logos from their clothing and possessions. Watch for them.

The Covert Geek - These are geeks who want to show their chosen geekness, but are subtle about the way in which they do it. Again, they may dress in the color of the hero, but add a small token symbolic of the hero. Of perhaps wear small jewelry that is a die. On I saw on the road today was a biker dressed all in black. He was dressed all in black, and his helmet and visor were a nearly identical glossy black. However on the forehead of the helmet was a white imperial insignia. Basically he looked like this. I tend to be this level. especially when I'm wearing normal street clothes but wear my Superman belt buckle.

The Overt Geek - However, sometimes I fall into this category. The overt geek wears his Zombie shirts proudly. He is unafraid to walk the mall with a Justice League bowling shirt over a Superman t-shirt, with matching belt buckle, earring, necklace, and watch. And yet, there is a style to it. The swagger as he carries his katana umbrella. The smile as he meets people's eyes. This geek has come to accept his lot in life, and will no longer hide. Mostly because the jocks are wishing they had as good a job as the geek.

The Geek in Denial - This is the geek who refuses to hang out with other geeks. Often these are the rare female geek, but also can be the guy who claims he grew out of the geeky obsessions, and yet still buys the Orange Box and spends many late nights mastering Team Fortress 2.

The Geek of Stereotype - Let's just call these hideous creatures what they are: Harry Knowles clones and/or wanna-bes.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Holding Pattern

Right now I'm kind of waiting for things.

I doing some downloading, so I'm waiting for that.

I'm kind of in the mood to paint miniatures, but there's no table yet.

I'm waiting for tomorrow to get my comics.

Jennifer is on her way back from Great America.

And I still haven't figured what I want for dinner...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Differing Summers

Tomorrow Jennifer is going to Great America. She likes roller coasters. Me? Not so much.

I can remember (vaguely) riding the Scooby-Doo (as it was then called) at King's Island; I think it's called something like Son of the Beast (the big ride of the park is the Beast). I hated it. Never really liked the log flume either.

I've ridden the Matterhorn and it wasn't too bad. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was something dad got me on, and I disliked as well. Sometimes I can handle Star Tours... sometimes.

But the things they have now? Never.

In high school, they opened the King Cobra in King's Island; a stand-up roller coaster. Friends described it as being bound standing up, and being pushed off a cliff. And they would ride it again.

Jennifer also likes the Tower of Terror in Disneyland. Falling. Just falling.

Now a lot of my issue with roller coasters and the like is the aspect of uncontrolled falling. In recent years my acquaintances with numerous engineers has added to my distrust. I mean there's even a dedicated site to this kind of thing.

One of the few rides Jennifer won't ride are the ones where your feet dangle. She's afraid there won't be enough clearance for her long legs. I can remember hearing about an accident where the leg of someone on of those rides hit the head of a workman (who shouldn't have been in the area during operation anyway).

And then there's always the chance of this (a description).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day Zero - The Celebration

And what a weekend's worth of celebration it has been.

Friday, I drove back down from Eureka, and made it home by 12:30. I took a nap with Jennifer, and then we got ready for the evening. By 6:00, there were six of us (KT, The Rooster, the Tattooed Lady, The Ninja-Space Monkey, Jennifer, and me) in a limo on our way to San Francisco. Our first stop was to pick up our seventh (Mr. Second Life), and then we were off to Magnolia Brewing. After a fun and silly dinner there, we made a stop off at The Rickhouse to check it out, and then were off to the culmination of the evening at Bourbon and Branch. At the end of our time at Bourbon and Branch, we dropped Mr. SL at his corner, drove back to home, and everyone dispersed.

Saturday Jennifer and ran some errands, had wonderful Indian at Monsoon Masala, and then stopped off in Livermore for my comics. Then the evening exploded with the Fire Arts Festival put on by Oakland's The Crucible. I'll get pictures up of that later. There are quite a few.

Then on Saturday, Jennifer and I went to Carmel to for a little business of hers. Then we had dinner at Fandango in Pacific Grove. After dinner (having continued the weekend's practice of drinking a bit much) we walked down to the water and found ourselves at Lover's Point. We took some pictures there, and saw some otters playing in the surf and then we drove home.

And finally, the birthday. Today we slept in, puttered around, and finally went to the gym about noon. We did our thing there, and then Jennifer took me for a massage. After the massage, we came home, got cleaned up, and did our typical Concord evening of La Piñata, Baskin-Robbins, and Half-Price Books.

Now I get to start my next year tomorrow by going back to work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

1 Day and Year Forty

And what can I say about this last year?

I've gone to New York.

I've lost 25 pounds, and become much healthier.

I'm up to 13 sites that I manage.

Things are going well. If you need more information, then read the archives.

And I am very tired after the weekend's long celebration.

Which I shall recount tomorrow.

Happy Birthday to Me!

2 Days and Year Thirty-Nine

Things continued on their way this year.

The game progressed, the world developed, and the plot grew and grew.

The tattoo grew.

And Jennifer's business grew.

Due to her success, we took our first big vacation in a long while, and went to Key West.

3 Days and Year Thirty-Eight

This year I gained a lot more responsibility at ETIC. I went from being the project manager of 2 sites, to 4 sites, and then by my birthday 9 sites.

It was around this time Jennifer began her own business, working with people along the lines of a personal coach. She helps guide them into doing things they should be doing, sometimes using her Isagenix as a dietary guide as well.

This was the winter that I also got my first tattoo.

4 Days and Year Thirty-Seven

So I worked at AHTNA for a little over a year, and I was bored off my ass.

I had became an accountant.

All I did was get permission from our Army Corps of Engineers contact to replace broken down equipment. As well as the occasional monthly report.

So I began looking for other work.

And so serendipity stepped in.

I had gone on a few interviews, and had no luck.

Then I was called in to the manager's office, and told that they had lost part of the Army Corps contract, and so they were going to have to let me go.

Right after the meeting, I returned to my office, and there was an e-mail from one of the principals at ETIC Engineering apologizing for the delay in getting back to me on my resume, but wondering if I was still available.

I called and set up an appointment, and ended up being out of work for only a week and a half.

ETIC is a great place only 10 minutes away from home with no freeway driving, and (if I choose) no stoplights. The group is great to work with, and gives me responsibility and autonomy.

I am very happy.

5 Days and Year Thirty-Six

Work was again a major factor in this year.

Jennifer began working at the chiropractic office, and that began to shuffle my schedule a bit. But attached to that was my growing distrust with Sullivan.

When I was hired on full time I was told about the potential for professional growth, and advancement. However, they hired a chemist straight out of school, and placed him above me. He had no idea about the protocols on how to set up a drilling job, and served to really piss me off.

Then they had begun downsizing. This was an expansion office, and they went through two sets of layoffs. At that point I became unsure, and began looking for other work. I got connected through a headhunter, and wound up working for AHTNA Government Services in West Sacramento.

It was the end of the year, and I asked my then manager how raises and such were looking. He said he still didn't know, so with that lack of information I began considering leaving. Then the news from the other remaining staff geologist convinced me: He was leaving Sullivan to focus on his music and his band. I would be the only Indian under about 6 or 7 chiefs.

So I quit in January.

Around this time also, we got Pom from a Berkeley animal shelter.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Falling Behind

Being in Eureka with a substandard computer, I wasn't able to get to doing the blog.

I will catch up tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

6 Days and Year Thirty-Five

This year things were up and down.

I was hired full time at Sullivan, and the office moved from Battery to California in San Francisco. We felt more pressure as salaried versus hourly, and they used that to their advantage.

Jennifer began work as the office manager for a chiropractic office, and through treatment and doctor supervised workouts, she showed marked and rapid improvement.

Monday, July 13, 2009

7 Days and Year Thirty-Four

This was a long year with work at the Webster-Posey tubes to Alameda. My company truck got broken into and they stole my briefcase and my drill kit. This is a kit I use at a drill site. There's no drill in it.

I lost lots of equipment, both my own and Kleinfelder's. It became a sticking point on my reimbursement.

I continued to be squeaky about the loss, and the poor feelings toward safety.

Exactly 5 years after I started, I was let go.

I was out of work for six weeks, and through a placement company was hired temporarily at Sullivan International.

We worked with TetraTech for the Navy and worked at such sites at Mare Island in Vallejo and Treasure and Yerba Buena Island of San Francisco.

It was while working on Yerba Buena Island subcontracted out to Shaw that I met Steve Sorrell. We quickly became friends talking about what he was listening to on his iPod and mocking Shaw's geologists who were doing more of the dirt work than I was.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

8 Days and Year Thirty-Three

This year was not too different from our normal years.

Jennifer was recovering, and I was drilling holes around the bay area.

She had some bad days, but pushed through, but was not happy and stress made it worse.

We drove together when we could.

In GURPS, John and Aaron and I had rolled out our own private world earlier in 2001, and it made a nice regular activity about once a month.

9 days and Year Thirty-Two

My birthday was small this year, but August was the big celebration.

On August 25, Jennifer and I were married. We honeymooned on the Russian River estuary, and went to wineries, and saw scenery.

Then after a week, it was back to work. And things went downhill fast.

That November 1, Jennifer got hurt at work by a stack of boxes falling on her. There were stacked seven feet high with high gloss paper, each weighing about 100 pounds each.

She ended up on disability, and I was forced to drive to work alone. And so I began to hate my job. For the commute, and for what our company had done to her.

In April, we moved from Concord to Pacheco. We got away from a horrible landlady, and gained a pool and a hot tub with the condo complex.

Things became a little harder with the higher rent, but we managed to work through.

We always do.

That June, Jennifer went back to work, and that helped a lot.

For my 33rd birthday we had a Kevin Smith marathon, starting with the Clerks cartoon, and moving through all of the movies through Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back which came out that week on video. Only my best man and best friend, John stayed for the entire day and all of the movies.

10 Days and Year Thirty-One

Things got even better this year.

I began talking to my parents about possibly proposing to Jennifer. After talking, Mom gave me my great aunt's engagement ring which has a white sapphire in it.

On August 25, 1999, I took Jennifer top Il Fornaio's in Walnut Creek. I really don't remember much of the evening aside from it being very hot and being very nervous.

After dinner, we walked around Broadway Plaza and then came back to the fountain outside the restaurant. Once there, we sat down, I slipped off onto one knee, and asked her to marry me. A few years later when she was watching the DVDs of "Babylon 5", it turned out that I (unknowingly, I swear) quoted Sheridan's proposal to Delenn.

The first thing I said after her gasp of amazement, was that the stone wasn't a diamond, but was a family sapphire. Then she said yes, and got flustered and said, "Ask me again." After a second proposal and a second acceptance, we kissed and jugged, and got applause from the people eating outside at Il Fornaio.

The rest of the year was spent in saving and making deposits and going to parties.

We set the date for one year later: August 25, 2000.

And yes there's reason: No holidays in August.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

To be Continued...

Late night yesterday with work and a movie, and a full day today of gaming.

The birthday countdown will continue tomorrow.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

11 Days and Year Thirty

This year more things began to gel.

Jennifer and I moved in together in September, and while we struggled somewhat, we became settled and began seriously discussing the future.

That June we took a trip to Kentucky for my family reunion. My grandmother gave me her engagement ring from her first marriage. I showed it to Jennifer, and she said she would never wear any stone that big. The ring had two small diamonds on the side, and a diamond close to a carat and a half with what appeared to be a crack running through it (Grandmother talks with hands and tends to hit things with them).

For turning 30 the next month, I had a party where people came as their favorite fictional character. We had the Shogun, Roy Hobbs, Guinevere, Richard Cypher Rahl, and many others. It being summer, the party got moved inside due to the growing swarm of yellow jackets that were carrying off small bits of cold cuts.

Video Link Fest

So John got me started with this because his YIM tag link ed to a video of the "Super Chicken" intro.

The page then suggested one of my favorite, if strange, cartoons from the same era: "The Mighty Heroes".

Then, this page had a link to the old "Mighty Heroes" intro with words to the theme song.

This of course inspired me to go for three cartoon intros, so here's "Dangermouse".

UPDATE: Or at least it was. Someone apparently decided that hearing the music and seeing the animation was evil and wrong. So you can only hear the music. Lame.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

12 Days and Year Twenty-Nine

This year things began to turn around.
I took some time out from Kentucky, and went to my 10 year high school reunion. I didn't see a lot of people that I had been friends with. Mostly this was because they were still local and saw who they wanted to see.
But the one I did see was a friend from the band I had not seen since her birthday party 10 years previously.
Jennifer and I spent a lot of time talking, and traded phone numbers. The next day I saw driving up to Sacramento to see the gang up there, and Jennifer and I met for lunch. We traded e-mails then, and said we'd keep in touch.
Over the next few months, I finished up at UK, and Jennifer and traded lots of e-mails with jokes and questions. We learned quite a bit about each other.
For Christmas, my parents brought me back to California, and Jennifer and I began dating.
The end of that April, I started at Kleinfelder as a field/lab tech, and really settled into the next stage of my life to come.
By my twenty-ninth birthday, I was very happy.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

13 Days and Year Twenty-Eight

This was a very dark year.

I was lonely. I had only a small group of friends, and no romantic prospects. I was missing the touch of another person.

My aunt had gone to the hospital during the summer and was discovered to have stomach cancer. Mom came out to help take care of her.

Things were rough.

One of the few escapes I had (other than the internet) was movies. And that year I saw my first Kevin Smith movie: Chasing Amy.

It would prove to be a powerful influence on my future self. But for now, I absorbed the movie, and went on to rent his other two movies: Clerks and Mallrats.

That summer, I moved out of my aunt's house, and lived with the son of a family friend. We got along much better than we had as children. It had been one of those situations where our father's had been best friends and, despite what I have told for years, we were also expected to be good friends as well. This new friendship wold last for a while, but quickly faded over my last few months living in Kentucky.

What goes up...

I've been watching the shuttle launches since I was a little kid.

This video is incredible. Not only the launch perspective, but also the fall of the boosters back to earth.

From the boosters' perspective.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Oh yeah...

So I took pictures while in New York.

Just a few.

Here's my gallery, and here's Jennifer's gallery.

14 Days and Year Twenty-Seven

And so at the end of July this summer, I went back to Kentucky for a pair of family gatherings.

Primarily to get together with my dad's side for a remembrance of his dad. And then since we were there we saw mom's side too. And while we visited, my aunt who worked for the University of Kentucky in their grant management group got me an interview with the dean of geological science. In the interview he asked about my GRE scores, and I thought I could remember the scores. He said if the numbers were what I remembered them being, then they were good enough for a full ride as a graduate student.

Dad and I worked to get in touch with the house sitter, and have her dig through my stack of papers on my desk. As it turned out, they were good, and I was set. And I had three weeks to get back to Kentucky for school to start.

I drove cross country with my youngest cousin. He's in the Air Force, and makes my dad look like a safe, slow driver. We got from my parents' house in Concord to his in Louisville in 35 hours. And that included an 8 hour stopover somewhere in Wyoming or Colorado. I was very tired and don't really remember.

My first year in grad school, was pretty cool, and I was most shocked by student teaching. We all got one section of the Intro Geology lab. You have no idea how the chalkboard resonates behind you until you do a full lecture.

Living with my aunt and cousin was good enough while I was there, and I made some good friends at the school.

But it sure is hard to be surrounded by all of that limestone with no igneous rocks in sight. And being landlocked sucks. Each time I went home, I wanted to see the sunset over the Pacific, and touch the rocks in the Marin Headlands.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Weekend of Independence

This weekend had been such a nice weekend...

Friday, Jennifer and I went to Sartaj in Sausalito for lunch, and then wandered Haight-Ashbury again, and had dinner at Magnolia Pub and Brewery which, after this experience, will be where we have dinner in phase one of my birthday celebration.

Saturday, we walked from home all the way to the Dollar Tree in Pleasant Hill (with various other stops on the way), then home and then after a couple hours, walked to College Park High School,and watched the fireworks, and then we walked home.

Today, we had a day of cleaning and straightening. And then dinner at my parents' with mom, dad, and my aunt and uncle.

That did not go well.

Things were tense already from lingering issues, and things never really got better. Finally they erupted when mom, my aunt, and Jennifer got in a heated discussion no one would back down from.

Jennifer and I followed our rule: If one of us wants to go home, we leave; no questions asked. And Jennifer wanted to leave.

Everyone was/is upset, and it will not be easy to recover from on any front.

15 Days and Twenty-Six Years

A long year with little or no accomplishments.

I collected many rejection letters and postcards from companies for which I interviewed. I averaged at least one interview per week which I worked around my schedule while working at the bank. The most devastating news was when I failed to get hired for an entry level position that ended up going to a PhD.

Let me repeat that: an entry level geologist position that went to a PhD.

And so things looked bleak.

And then my paternal grandfather passed away.

In August there would be a family gathering that would truly change my life.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

16 Days and Twenty-Five Years

This would be my last year in Sacramento and I would graduate in May.

I also had the pleasure of dating Dian for about four or five months. I'm still not sure when it started exactly, but I know it ended on March 16, 1994. I was thrilled those months, and very in love. It was extremely hard on me when she broke up with me, but it helped make leaving Sacramento easier.

Because after I graduated, my parents moved me back to the Bay Area. There I looked for work while working at the Wells Fargo main branch in Concord.

17 Days and Year Twenty-Four

A very rough year.

John graduated and could not remain in Sacramento financially, so he moved back tot eh bay area. I was forced to find a roommate, and that ended up being very bad.

I ended up with a guy who was a big talker, but never did anything. He was always going to go back to school. He was going to be a stand-up comedian. He was going to cash in some CDs. The money thing ended up being one of the biggest problems, so I had to look for a new place when the lease ran out.

I ended up moving in with my friend, the future Sutter Creek cop, into a house he was renting from a friend of his who was actually renting it from his father. It was a fun summer going to garage sales, and once or twice to the local flea market to sell stuff.

The best part was when Ray got the swimming pool working and it became blue instead of green.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Shallow Geek

I like fan films.

"Troops" is awesome.

And so is "Duality".

There are others that are either silly, or intense.

And then there's this one that mixes the Axe commercials with the Lite beer cat fight, with the over-arcing spice of Star Wars.

I'll admit, I'm shallow. Plus I think with recruiters like her, I'd definitely go Dark Side.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Today I got an e-mail survey from MacMillan Publishing. It was a survey geared towards e-books (Kindle and such), and one of the questions was "How many books do you read in a year?"

Then it gave check box choices:


I think by scrolling down you can see that I'm easily in the 20+ category.

I didn't notice the stupidity of the survey until it asked my age in a way similar to the above.


In 18 days, I could conceivably check two boxes.


18 Days and Year Twenty-Three

This... was an interesting year.

I began my schooling working towards my geology degree.

I worked an insane amount at Sizzler this year as everyone else behind the counter on the cold side either quit or was fired. By default I became Coldside supervisor. I made some good money, but was the person behind the counter besides managers.

Later this year, John's car got destroyed by a crazy accident that made him glad to be alive. And made him shy of driving past Baca Brothers.

Things were stressed, and we realized we would have to move to save some cash. So by the end of the summer we prepared to move further down La Riviera to Glen Brook Apartments.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

19 Days and Year Twenty-Two

What does one do for their 21st birthday when you live in Sacramento?

That's right, drive to Reno with your roommate to gamble.

But he doesn't get off work until around 11:00, so you drive through the night, and get there in mid-morning. Still, we had fun, and the only time we really were getting tired, we came across (literally drove over) the carcass of a deer that had been killed by a semi. We were wide awake for the rest of the trip. I gambled away a total of $20 on roulette, and almost got a big payoff on $5 but bet the day of my birthday (20), and not the birthday itself (21).

Then we drove home and got to Sacramento before rush hour, and sacked out to rest up for my birthday party later that day.

The first alcohol I bought was a 6-pack of Heineken, and I didn't even get carded.

That night people were unsure if I was drunk or not (I wasn't), but I did do something... silly.

A friend from the Sizzler in Concord had come up for the party, and being an artist, created a drawing of the Beatles for me. It was given to me in a Sgt. Pepper's bag, and I carefully extracted the frame from the glitter and the tissue. She got miffed at me, saying that I was supposed to get the glitter (tiny gold stars) everywhere. I said okay, and proceeded to pour the bag of glitter over my head.

For the remaining two years in that apartment, John and I were finding gold stars everywhere.

And sometimes in the apartment that followed.


Later that year of course, Desert Shield and Desert Storm occurred and my mother got terrified that there would be a draft, and I would be sent away to war. The offensive, that I have come to call the Hundred Days War (really, 100 days, look it up) was brief and I remained in school. In school, and doing poorly as an engineer.

I had taken Pascal in High School (DVC), and then FORTRAN as a college freshman. Then in my fourth year, I took Basic. This threw me, seemed stupid, and I failed the class. Thermodynamics was nearly as bad, and so I changed my major. The next year I would start Geology. And also retake Thermodynamics (getting an A), and Fluid Mechanics for an Engineering minor.

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