nonionay: (goddesscross)
So last weekend, my parents and I went to Montana to visit my Uncle in the Bitterroot Valley. I took the opportunity to get in some alone time and drive down the valley to Lake Como, which I haven't been to since I was a kid.
Now, I've usually been to the valley in the summer or during the winter holidays. I didn't realize exactly how gorgeous fall is there.

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nonionay: (goddesscross)
Since one person liked the idea of a geology post, I made this long and rambly post laden with photos and links.

Okay, geology. I love geology, and took a bunch of classes in college. That said, I am terrible at identifying rocks, but I love them anyway. Geology is as close as we're going to get to a time machine to the far past. It's one age influencing another. The past shapes the present and the present changes the past. A humble stream bed, dry for eons, is all that's needed to divert a river and carve a canyon.

I'm particularly interested in the Channeled Scablands, aka most of Eastern Washington. They were carved by massive floods into layer after layer of flood basalt, and are pretty much as close as we'll get to certain Martian terrains here on earth. (1)

My favorite part is Glacial Lake Missoula, which was created when an ice age glacier dammed the Clark Fork River and flooded much of Western Montana's steep valleys. I like it because I like imagining myself underneath this huge, cold lake filled with icebergs whenever I visit my grandparents. I like imagining the whole system breathing as the water rises, breaks the ice dam, and pours out, rushing through the plains, pauses to pond behind the Wallula Gap, then rush through the gap and the Columbia Gorge, pause again in the Willamette Valley, and then rush on to the sea. Then the glacier kept moving forward, and the cycle started again.
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nonionay: (goddesscross)
So I've been needing to get out town. Desperately. Turns out, my attempt to do so was a near perfect success. I rented a car (a bright red Mazda 2, as it happens. No free upgrade this time, though the clerk did try to get me into an SUV) and headed to Eastern Washington. Not only did I need to get out of town, I needed to get into a totally different biome.
There's lots more pictures over on Flickr. I took about 500, and uploaded about 60.
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Yesterday, work was slow, so I took the afternoon off. Today, work was deader than dead. Silence. No customers, no machines running, not even my manager chattering about Islam with the bindery guys.

I was in a perky, restless mood, so I said "so long, suckers," and took off without bothering to clock in. It has been an amazingly long and pleasant day. I've been finding different comfy places to read Mira Grant's Blackout, and finding scenic coffee shops to write in. I've been in communication with a person selling a cheap macro lens in West Seattle, and even though we hadn't confirmed a meeting time, I figured, "what the hell?" and got on the water taxi. I've never taken the water taxi before, even though I've been meaning to for forever. And this is how I ended up doing something I've wanted for a long time, and may never get again: time in West Seattle on a sunny day without crowds. Yay for travel during the workday!
More time was spent sitting on a warm rock on the beach waiting for the water taxi back to downtown, with the sound of lapping waves and giggling children in the background. Back in downtown, I went to the Smith Tower, which I've also never visited, and which is only open when I'm at work. Holy smokes, that building is opulent. Also, empty.

Back in downtown, I got the message from the lens seller asking if we could meet at the Alki Starbucks at 7:30. I figured, "What the hell?" and went right back to the place I'd been just a few hours earlier. I'll have to take the bus back, but I've never done that either, and it should be interesting.

So here I am, at the Alki Starbucks, which arguably has the second best view in the city, after the Sky View Starbucks. I've discovered that cake pops (hey, it seems like a cake pops kind of day) are about as unexciting as I suspected. (Lowering the price by about two thirds would up the excitement factor.) I'm also starting to wear down, and there's still 45 minutes to our meeting. Not sure if I'll have more energy for writing, but even if I don't, I've got about a 1000 words of good material down.

Maybe I could have used the money from putzing around at work, but I'm glad I did this. I needed this shaking up of my routine.
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Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm housesitting. Dude! I have access to a car! And a huge tv with surround sound! Also, dog. This means that I get to bring [ profile] kehrli out to North Seattle and we watch ridiculous Nick Cage movies while playing with the dog. (First, Face/Off, last night, Con Air. Up next, The Rock)
nonionay: (Default)
So this weekend was the second road trip of my current mid-life crisis. This time, [ profile] kehrli accompanied me.

I saw a lot of things: pretty and fascinating, weird and horrific. I got to see a lot of friends, both expected and unexpected. I got my first speeding ticket! When I rented the car, I paid extra to authorize Keffy to drive it, and though I'm glad I did for the security it provided, I didn't need his help, which was just as well, because he had no desire to drive the tiny-windowed box we had been given.

The first obstacle we faced was getting out of the rental lot! We appeared to be completely hemmed in by other rental cars, but one of the staff said, "nah, you've got plenty of space!" indicating this tiny gap that opened onto the sidewalk. He guided my through, helped me avoid the streetlamp that was right in front of me (though I had to avoid the mother and baby walking down the sidewalk on my own.) and then make a hairpin turn onto a busy street. It did give me faith in the HHR's ability to maneuver in tight spaces. (And thank god I was sensible enough to get back to Seattle earlier rather than later. There was plenty of space to park the car in their weird triangular lot.)

Pictures and more behind the cut.
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Yesterday I hung out with my Everett friends. Our hangout time typically consists of driving around looking for interesting things and playgrounds. Yesterday was no exception. C had heard rumors of "a nerd mall" in Arlington, so we figured we might as well go looking for it. After much driving back and forth around the boring town of Arlington, we found it (The Mirkwood Cafe). However, there was ABSOLUTELY NO PARKING, so we just acknowledged that we'd found it, and drove on. This driving took us right past a minor but extensive brush fire on the side of the road, which was being battled by some bored-looking firefighters.
There was also a bit of wandering around a wildlife reserve, where the wildlife consisted of pretty much nothing but grasshoppers and dragonflies. But they were some colorful grasshoppers and dragonflies: Chartreuse, blue and red, respectively.

Not the most amazing adventure I've had, but I got to explore some unfamiliar areas, and bond with friends. It was a sorta draining day, emotionally, since it was bookended with heavy discussions of the past in the evening, and me discovering my name on the same page as my favorite author in the morning. (see next post.)
nonionay: (Default)
Having burned much carbon in the name of individual growth, I am pooped. Possibly the fact that I seem to have lost my ORCA pass is adding to my exhaustion. Bleh. [EDIT I didn't lose my pass! I found it stuffed in my bra, where I'd shoved it for easy access before getting on the bus. This is how tired I am.]
But aside from that, my weekend was awesome.
The main impetus for going was to take part in my Aunt C's 50th Jubilee, (the anniversary of her entering her holy order) and I would have gone regardless of my desire for a road trip. Aunt C is particularly special to me, being the closest to me both physically (everyone else is in California) and in personality. She has always been an inspiration, as well as a spiritual and psychological support. Seeing everyone heap praise and appreciation on her was a joy. :-) For gifts, the other sisters all gave my aunt stamps and thank you notecards. (Or Barnes and Noble gift cards.) She got one lovely blank greeting card with a message written inside on a post-it note, so she could reuse the card. :-)
I loved hanging out with her and Aunt L while she opened her cards and gifts. (She got at least fifty. "You have to count them!" said Aunt L, who is a retired teacher, "Just like with Valentines, so you know if everyone in the class got you one!")

Second big motivation for this weekend was my need to be a grown up and start to drive. So I rented a car and drove, all by myself, which I've never actually done. They gave me a silver Mazda 6, which was a snazzy-looking car on the outside, and had an awesome sound system with a 6 disc player, however, it's not a car I'd buy. For one thing, I COULDN'T SEE THE #%@$%#!! SPEEDOMETER PAST THE #%@$%#!! STEERING WHEEL!! I didn't notice this until I got on the freeway and actually needed numbers higher than 40. I soon left the freeway to adjust the wheel, but even then, everything past 80 was hidden. WTF, Mazda? Not to mention that the slightest hill took forever to go up. I wouldn't mind a car with the Mazda's inside and the driving capabilities of my dad's Scion. Dad's car has the most awesome, smooth brakes. I got spoiled, learning on them.
It also had this semi-automatic transmission they didn't tell me about. It shifts itself down, but you have to shift it up. So when I got on the road and sped up, I was all, "What the hell is wrong with this car that it sounds like it's in first gear?" But soon I figured it out and after that, I liked the weird transmission.

I went to the Mima Mounds, which would have been much more relaxing if not for the constant gunfire from a nearby sportsman club.
Coming back, I took a more roundabout way, going up some back roads and minor highways, which really is my favorite kind of driving. No time for Mt St Helens, but I'm sure there will be plenty more weekend trips in my future.

Overall, I feel I've sufficiently proved my driving abilities to myself. I encountered most every kind of road and traffic on this trip, from freeway to dirt to one-lane, from stop and go to wide open. I look forward to having my license for a year, so I can sign up for Zip Car.

Soooo tired...
nonionay: (Default)
So the Reno road trip made me long desperately for a proper road trip that involves actually being able to stop and look at stuff. Therefore, I'm renting a car and driving to Portland for my aunt's 50th Jubilee, with stops along the way at whatever the hell I feel like.

Why yes, this will be my first time driving alone.

I plan to stop for sure at the Mima Mounds, which I don't remember ever seeing, but are just off the freeway. I also got a couple books about geological road trips in SW Washington. I'm thinking Mt St Helens if I have the time, though likely I won't.

I'll give myself plenty of time and take a break if I feel overwhelmed.
nonionay: (sepulchrave)
Today I went north to spend an afternoon with friends in honor of a certain friend's birthday, which he would have forgotten if not for me and his girlfriend. So I bought him some chocolate almonds that I know he loves, and he was most happy.
We saw Attack The Block, which is a moderate-budget British film that is totally awesome. Aliens invade a crappy part of London, and a local gang of teenaged thugs has to save the day. It's about ordinary, flawed people having to take responsibility for their actions and be badass to save their home. I must say, it's more impressive watching some kid who you know is genuinely scared shitless overcome their fear (without any sort of whining) and whack an alien over the head with a baseball bat than some shiny action hero who you know will survive a fifty foot fall without a scratch.

The aliens are both ridiculous and creepy at the same time, but they're kept simple, and I like their explanation for why the aliens are there, and why the invasion was so localized.

It's more horror than science fiction, and does a good job with it. Unlike Shark Night, which they showed a preview for, and which is so damned cliched, I thought it was a joke at first. (The black guy dies first. Seriously! Moviemakers actually still do that! You'd think they'd at least shake things up a bit and have him die second. In Attack The Block, if a black guy had died first, it actually wouldn't have bugged me, because most of the cast was black! But even that they subverted.)

But before the movie, we hung out at a playground, and I totally bashed the heck out of my legs. Going down a slide, I misjudged my speed and distance, and started to raise my legs and stand up sooner than I should. As a result, I whacked the back of my legs, right below the calf muscles, and now have twin horizontal welts. I'm sure you'll all get to see them at Worldcon, when the bruises finally show up. Which reminds me, I have to go stick some packages of frozen burritos on those things.


Jun. 5th, 2011 08:40 am
nonionay: (Default)
Fun weekend so far, and I mean that both seriously and sarcastically.
Friday night, I had my first real houseguests, [ profile] plunderpuss and [ profile] awriter. I got to show them around the neighborhood and my apartment, it was nice. Come morning, [ profile] kehrli arrived and we drove to Portland via the scenic route of Highway 30. Jaycon was fun as usual. Pizza, friends, etc.

The real fun started on the drive back. We returned via the same highway we'd come down on, and stopped at the Trojan Park. This is the former site of the Trojan Nuclear Power plant, and is now a really lovely park. The groundskeeper was hilariously cantankerous. He drove up to us in his little tractor to say, "Out of the gate by eight. Not eight-ten. Eight."

Now, I don't often wear the cute sort of shoes that some women must have sold their souls (oh, dear god, I started to type, "soles") to be able to wear. But I figured, hey, today I'm only going to be sitting in a car and then a pizza place. I'm going to wear high heels. Well, even just sitting in a car and standing in a pizza place was hard on my feet, and then trying to walk around a park? Was not happening. Fortunately, Trojan Park is full of amazingly soft grass, so I just took off my shoes and enjoyed it. A beaver startled us by slapping his tail, we took a lot of pictures of us hanging in trees and weird concrete holes, and we saw a sweet old great dane who was being fostered after some awful abuse that left her skin and bones enough that we initially thought she was a greyhound.

The real, real fun started just before Exit 119, right by Fort Lewis. The left front tire blew out, sending Keffy sailing across four lanes of traffic to land safely at the base on the off ramp. I want to stress that Keffy is the best driver I know, and I continue to see evidence of this. I wish I could give him an award. So there was a bunch of sitting on the side of I-5 while we waited for a tow truck and [ profile] mikigarrison to show up. Continuing our streak of genuinely good luck, Miki was on the road an hour behind us, and arrived just as the tow truck driver was finishing his work. She took the two of us who wouldn't fit in the tow truck.

So now I have my houseguests for another day, a day when my parents are coming to visit. So thanks to the blowout, I'll probably get to show my friends around the Arboretum. :-)


Nov. 15th, 2010 06:00 pm
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Orycon was this past weekend, and pretty fun. Extra fun, actually, since this was a road trip involving myself, [ profile] plunderpuss, [ profile] kehrli and [ profile] awriter.

After the con, we went to the Downtown Powells, since Audrey and Keffy had never been. Camille Alexa suggested we take the free train to downtown, which was a great idea. It probably took longer, but was way less stress. Of course, when we got back to the car, we discovered that someone had siphoned Keffy's gas tank. He wouldn't have noticed if the gas light hadn't gone off just as we left the garage!

Also on the way home, we stopped at Spiffy's restaurant in Mossyrock on a whim. It's full of kitsch and happy instrumental versions of Moon River and Sentimental Journey. It also had lots and lots of Bible quotes and books about hell for sale. It had a strange effect on all of us, since the atmosphere should have bugged the hell out of us, but didn't. This led us to discuss which one of us had been kidnapped and replaced with a Pod Person. It could be San, who'd gone to the bathroom, or Audrey, who had to run into the back to regain her composure after stabbing herself in the soft palate with an onion ring.

Oh, and we saw a Delorean! (License plate: OUTATYM) Rather than getting off the freeway to get coffee, Keffy insisted on following the thing until it made its inevitable escape off I-5 towards Bellevue and the land of rich Delorean owners.

Life Update

Nov. 7th, 2010 10:09 am
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I haven't been making any substantial posts lately because my poor old MacBook died. I'm still holding out hope for the little thing, but any potential resurrections will have to wait until I have more money. In the meantime, I got my beloved old NEC MobilePro up and running to write Nano on. I can't find my memory card, so I have no idea how I'll get the words OFF the MobilePro, but that's a problem for the future.
But yesterday, my dad got me "an early Christmas present," a wonderfully cheap Toshiba laptop. So far, I'm happy with it. He also found me a free program that lets me get files off my Mac-formatted external hard drive.

I am, alas, behind in Nanowrimo. I figured I'd catch up this weekend, but yesterday was taken up with the aforementioned new laptop, and the evening was filled with other awesomeness.
[ profile] awriter and I went to the Radio Museum's annual benefit, which this year was themed as a 40s era USO dance. I forgot until the last minute, so I was about the only one there not dressed up. Every single person there looked awesome, and it was worth the seven bucks just to ogle all the gals in satin and back-seamed stockings, and guys in fedoras and patent leather shoes. And, there were free Rocket Donuts and awesome music and, of course, the museum itself.

And then, rather than go home and write like a sensible person, we stopped by [ profile] plunderpuss's to take him and the dog for a walk to the marina. The wind was awesome last night, and it makes music on the boats. Also, in the little sheltered area that contains the marine science center, the wind had blown leaves into perfect, sharp-edged piles. We totally ran through them! And that's why we love autumn around here.


Sep. 2nd, 2010 10:08 pm
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Tonight I went to one of the highlights of my vacation--the Oregon Symphony's outdoor concert. It took place in a big park, and there were lots and lots of people. However, there was a round little plaza right next to the stage where, except for a few benches, no one was sitting. I sat on the bricks* against a low, curved wall that probably enhanced the acoustics. The sound was perfect, the view of the ballet was perfect, and little girls used the open space to be ballerinas. Of course, this open space was later abused by children running and screaming during the quiet parts of the 1812 Overture. Partially forgiven because one of the kids produced a glowing lightsaber, and so one of the would-be ballerinas became a graceful ballerina Sith chasing and hacking the other children. They did all stop in their tracks when the Howitzer** went off.

I was hoping the cannons would be better timed during the climax, along with the fireworks. They went off once right before the climax, and then a whole lot right after the end. But hey, cannons! Seeing the big metal towers of the Hawthorne Bridge surrounded by smoke was pretty cool. And walking back to the bus, while the Howitzers and fireworks were still going off, really did make me feel like I was in a battle.

*Yes, I was probably sitting in homeless person pee. I washed my hands. Jeans, too.

**The local National Guard light artillery troop operated the cannons. Last year, they couldn't do it because they were in Iraq, but they've just returned last April.
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I think I just went to my first ever Latin Mass. I thought it was special for the William Byrd Festival, but I guess it's weekly. This means everyone else knew what they were doing, and I didn't. Latin responses aside, there were a few differences in tradition. They bowed in the middle of the Profession of Faith, and genuflected before receiving Communion, not after. (And some of them were very expansive in bowing and making the cross.) And, they didn't touch their heart at the consecration of the Eucharist.
I might check it out next week, just to see what the regular music's like. William Byrd's Mass For Four Voices was beautiful. Also, I think since this week's special, Mass was said by the retired bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand. Latin with a Kiwi accent! I also don't think I've ever seen Mass led by a bishop in full regalia, with mitre and crozier and everything.

Today was full of options. I chose to go downtown, where supposedly a coffee shop held weekly figure drawing sessions. Turns out that this week, it was across the street at a booth in a block party. (It wasn't a nude figure drawing!) The music was a little too boom boomy for me, so I passed. However, since I'd trekked downtown, I figured I'd enjoy myself, and wandered towards the waterfront. That's how I discovered the huge outdoor market they have every Saturday. I found a nice dress for half off, which manages to simultaneously make me look cute and fat. I put it and my pearl earrings on when I got home, for church.
(I love my clip-on pearl earrings. They are instant class. If by class, you mean, the 1950s.

Tomorrow, I plan on going to an open choral concert at the Portland Opera, and possibly the final concert of the William Byrd Festival.

(And what did I do yesterday? Yesterday, I went to the free night at the art museum. Continuing today's religious theme, Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis is awesome. It's a paradox, because it's a reverent depiction by an artist who's very creation of it makes it automatically irreverent.)
nonionay: (Default)
I'm housesitting in Portland for two weeks. Right now, I'm lounging on the bed in the guest room (aka the air conditioned room. No one warned me it was going to be 92 degrees here. Fortunately, it cools off tomorrow.)
The interior walls of this house are...paneled. Like the outside of a house. It takes some getting used to. I appreciate this sort of weirdness, but it's still weird.

So I'm in Portland for two weeks! Is there anyone on my friends list (who isn't going to Worldcon :-P ) who wants to hang out? I've got a tree full of Asian pears to bribe you with...

Any must-see sights in Portland? Tomorrow I plan on walking to Mt Tabor, which is about 2.5 miles from me. Me being a geology nerd, I figure I should pay tribute to the friendly neighborhood volcano.
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Just got home from Writers Weekend at the beach. We decided to take the scenic route and went up Hood Canal, planning on taking the Port Townsend ferry. However, we switched to the Kingston ferry to save time, which turned out to be a good thing. The Hood Canal Bridge was open (and by open I mean, closed.) and the Kingston ferry had a posted two hour wait (but we only had an hour and a half! And there was ice cream with [ profile] quantumage! And a guy saying fuck a lot as he walked by on his cell phone!) But when we called to check out the Port Townsend wait, they were sold out for the rest of the day, so lucky call on that.
And hey, if we'd gone to Port Townsend, we wouldn't have seen that hooker get into two rich old guys' Mercedes at the Edmonds ferry terminal.

Soon, there shall be pictures. (Not of the hooker, though. My camera batteries were dead.)

PS Shelton sucks. They have a bunch of meth heads loitering in the Safeway parking lot, and even though they have the gothiest playground ever, they don't allow dogs in the park. So screw them.
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Adventure, Phase 2 was nice and (mostly) low key, spending time with friends and watching movies and getting some writing done. (I'm basically trading writing advice for baby care) I say "mostly" low key, because there were a lot of babies to help with.

But I also managed to watch Unforgiven, followed by part of Taken, which is an interesting movie to watch after Unforgiven. They both deal with the themes of "Man must return to the wild ways of his badass past." It's a good movie on it's own merits, but it's black and white enough to highlight the insanely nuanced way that Unforgiven tells its story.

Today, we took a drive through Wahkiakum County. It's a part of the state I've never visited, but I've got a couple friends with ties down there. It's a beautiful area, and [ profile] kenscholes knew a couple interesting nooks and crannies. Among these were an old church with an interesting outhouse behind it. It was wooden, with the requisite crescent moon carved in the back, and two doors. Each was labeled "man" or "woman" along with a foreign word. Finnish, I assume, based on the local ethnic content. Inside the woman's side was a seat and tank, along with a cute shelf holding silk flowers and Purell. Inside the men's side was a broken wooden seat with no hole or tank, and a wasp's nest.

I drove around Puget Island. Yes, me! With my driver's permit! It was the perfect place, because it was mostly flat and straight, and there was like two other cars on the road. All involved in this endeavor survived.

This is the longest amount of time I've been away on non-writing/family business for a long time. It's sort of thrown me, I think. Entering my front door, I was swept away by the distinct feeling of reverse culture shock. Hopefully, a good night's sleep will cure that.

I'll leave you with me (in the loud skirt I bought with [ profile] calendula_witch in a San Francisco thrift shop) in front of the Historic Grey River Covered Bridge.

Lisa at the Grey River Bridge
nonionay: (Default)
We got the moving done quickly and smoothly this morning, even with having to park on a San Francisco hill to load the van, and having to park across the street and lug heavy boxes of books across said street. I wrenched my shoulder on the very last box, and that is now healed, and I banged my shin, but I'm very fond of interesting bruises that don't actually interfere with my movement.

Afternoon took us to the science museum in Golden Gate Park, right around the corner from [ profile] calendula_witch's house. There was an aquarium and rain forest and lots of living butterflies and dead animals in jars. There were real, live chambered nautiluses. :-D

Here's [ profile] calendula_witch's entry regarding this morning, with photographic evidence.
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I have successfully arrived in San Francisco. While in the airport, twitter alerted me that Mark Teppo (whom I've met a couple times, but only sorta know) was also stuck there waiting to go to SF. Not having anything to do for the hour my plane was delayed, I set off to find him. I thought I saw him sitting at the gate beside mine (which was, btw, clogged with Texans waiting for their own delayed flight) but I was too shy to go up to him. Turns out this was for the best, because it wasn't him. He was on the flight they let me get on (earlier for me, two hour delay for him!) I didn't notice this until we were in the air and I saw a guy several rows in front of me who kind of looked like him from behind. If not for Twitter, I suppose I would have been waiting at the curb for my ride and turned and gone , "Hey, I know that guy!"
Anyway, he's in town for this promoting his new project, The Mongoliad, which is a collaborative story via iPhone app by him and Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear and a bunch of others which sounds totally awesome.

I was a little sad [ profile] calendula_witch and I weren't able to make it (I'm a big fan of Mark, and she of Neal) but we made up for it by consuming lots of wine and rich Italian food.

And now I'm probably going to bed early, because we're getting up early, and if it's not raining, going for a walk. (I haven't spent much time in San Francisco, certainly not the non-downtown part. I love the huge towering hills! I love having tall green things around me.) And then, on to the Uhaul!


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