Previously, in Trip's Life...

30 April 2013 - Tuesday

Today was more useful, since we had the "breakout sessions" for R&D separate from the main Sales training. I learned at least one way in which we have unknowingly been violating policy! I also learned that some people in high positions are pro-Aster, which is reassuring.


I suppose in theory I could have done something useful or at least touristy, but instead I sat around the hotel room reading stuff on my iPad.

Etiquette and Espionage (Gail Carriger) is the first of a YA adventure series set in the same world as the "Parasol Protectorate" books but a generation or so earlier. It is equally silly, involving a dirigible-based finishing school for girl spies.

I bought volume 1 of Freak (Dong-Eun Yi, Chung Yu) because I didn't think I'd care if it was mysteriously eaten by DRM, and indeed I don't care. I do not feel I have wasted my time more than usual by reading it, but I don't think I'm ever going to want to reread it. Even if it does have brains in jars.

Eclipse Phase: Rimward covers everything from the asteroid belt out to the Oort cloud, which is mostly full of post-scarcity autonomists except for some hypercapitalist contamination at the inner fringes and the nugget of craziness that is the Jovian system. With, naturally, a lot of potentially creepy and doom-laden stuff in the vast interstices between the few dots of transhumanity.

Now I need to read the four adventures I have, and then I will be as prepared to write Eclipse World as I am likely to get.


I thought I was hungry, so I got regular nachos and a California burrito (I may have given up on eating properly, but the all-carne-asada-all-the-time burrito still seems excessive), but ended up eating the nachos and not the burrito. I guess it will be lunch tomorrow or something.


It's been a whole day since anyone checked on the cats! I hope they are still okay!

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29 April 2013 - Monday

Today was generic introduction to Teradata the company and Teradata the product(s), which means Sales-oriented. (This whole course is for Sales; everyone else just gets to piggyback on the first couple of days.) I knew most of it, although I had not actually seen the product lines laid out against the competitive landscape like that.

I was certain there were like half a dozen people from Aster on the list of attendees, but when people stood up and introduced themselves, there was just one other person besides me. Maybe they were trained separately? I can't imagine what sort of scheme would put R&D together with Sales instead of any other department whatsever, though.

Rah, rah, Teradata.


I wasn't ambitious enough to find a new place to eat, so I got nachos from the same place. They made me nostalgic for Bueno Bueno. I wonder if that was secretly a San Diego-style burrito joint?


Ayse reports that she and Ja Baby visited the cats, who remain fuzzy. Ja Baby did not want to leave Marmalade and Ghirardelli. Really, who would?

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28 April 2013 - Sunday

Today, I travelled. It was not difficult, although it did take a while (mostly because I left way too much margin time). In fact, it took long enough that I am now out of Shadow Unit! Why is there not more being written and published <JaBaby>Right Now</JaBaby>?

On the way from the San Diego airport to the Rancho Bernardo hotel, we got sidetracked by trying to find the place that the cute but somewhat hapless young lady in the shuttle with me actually wanted to be dropped off. We might still be wandering had I not pulled out my iPhone and butted in -- or they might have gotten it straightened out much sooner without my interference.


Eh, it's a hotel.


Yelp directed me to Cotija's Taco Shop, in a strip mall about four blocks from the hotel, so I followed one of Ken's recommendations and ordered a California burrito (which is like a regular carne asada burrito only with French fries inside). It was surprisingly food-like, although apparently I have given up on eating healthily while stuck in San Diego.


I actually finished Velveteen vs The Junior Super-Patriots (Seanan McGuire) a few days ago, but apparently forgot to record it, which is silly, because it was pretty swell and the title character has a creepily awesome power. The stories were originally published on the Web for free, but I am totally fine with giving McGuire money so she can write more of them.

It doesn't matter how heroic the individual super is, a corporation that has them under their thumb is a supervillain organization.


How can I go to sleep without cats to help?!

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27 April 2013 - Saturday

Today, instead of doing anything useful like preparing to travel, I went with Monkeycats and people to Santa Cruz. We ate brunch at Zachary's, had a beach experience, determined that the gaming store no longer carries anything interesting, and finally ate Mobo Sushi. There was a bit of confusion when Dave absconded with the keys to the car he was not riding in, but no one was trapped in Santa Cruz forever, and I made it home in time to... go to bed. Laundry tomorrow, I guess!


Mind Mgmt (Matt Kindt) should be interesting, but for some reason it is not. Too much distance from the characters, maybe?


Cover Girls is a thin collection of art by Guillem March, who is a guy from Spain. It contains more women than clothes, yet is not to my taste.

If I were not worst cat-dad ever, I would have brought back some of the sushi from Mobo!

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26 April 2013 - Friday

If I am going to be out next Monday-Wednesday, I should probably get someone to take over the things I would otherwise be schedule to do, huh? Like help these people who are doomed because they are using EC2.


Still addicted to Shadow Unit.


I tried to do laundry so that I would have something to wear to San Diego, but failed to actually get out of my chair. However, I did finish the last lecture of mathematical thinking, which gave me flashbacks to Math 0.9.


Twelve paws!

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25 April 2013 - Thursday

Workingu workingu la la la.


I am up to volume 8 of Shadow Unit, and the doom keeps coming. However, apparently I was wrong about the project being dead, since it looks like the most recent item on the website was posted just a couple of months ago.


I hread Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon (Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido) because Carl recommended it. It was pretty entertaining, but possibly would have been more so to someone who has been paying attention to Marvel this millenium. It would work well in Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, because whether Hawkeye gets clobbered by street thugs or cleans the clocks of supervillains is completely up to what would make a good story, with none of your petty Champions-style consistency.


El Cazador de la Bruja ("The Hunter of the Witch") reminds me a lot of Noir and Madlax, which Wikipedia informs me is no coincidence. I like it so far, although the second episode could betray me horribly.


Twelve paws!

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24 April 2013 - Wednesday

I did some work today. It wasn't very interesting. Mostly, I read Shadow Unit. And petted kitties.

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23 April 2013 - Tuesday

The flight to San Diego and the hotel room there and (most importantly) the flight back from San Diego are all pretty much arranged now.


Read more Shadow Unit. Wow, that's a huge amount of doom. With additional doom on top, and also serial monsters. It looks like the project is no longer going, but I'm only up to vol 5 out of 13 (as it's packaged at Amazon for the Kindle), so I have plenty more doom to admire.


Is it too early to being worry about how the cats will do left on their own for four days?

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22 April 2013 - Monday

Things I want to do today:

  • Read Shadow Unit
  • Eat dried mandarins
  • Take a nap
  • Pet cats

Things I do not want to do today:

  • Answer questions from customers
  • Answer questions from cow orkers
  • Book a flight to San Diego next week
  • Try to get my prescription for brain inflator parts renewed
  • Take an on-line course for work
  • Anything even slightly productive

I got 23/26 on the problem set, because it turns out you can assume that one bit after all.

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21 April 2013 - Sunday

One customer sent me a question that showed he hadn't read the docs. Another customer sent me a question that showed he was kind of dim and probably hadn't read the docs. Neither of them took long to dispatch.


Hurray broiled grapefruit!

Ayse and I tied in Dominion twice in a row. Sadly, neither time was for first place.

Because I am a terrible friend, I went home instead of staying at Monkeycat Towers for dinner. At least I avoided the temptation of pork chops. (Because guacamole and salsa and chips is a much healthier dinner.)


Mycophilia (Eugenia Bone) is partly about mushrooms and partly about people who like mushrooms. Personally, I think the human interest sections were an unnecessary distraction from the fungus, but I suppose the bulk of the book's sales would come from people who feel otherwise. Also, too much respect for traditional Chinese medicine. (Why do people who blather on about TCM not give the same respect to Galen and the four humours?)

On the other hand: fungus! Tasty fungus! Scary fungus! (Cordyceps was mentioned several times, though not the mind-control aspects.) Ginormous fungus! Fungus that makes you hallucinate a sense of oneness with the universe! Fungus that makes you smell and taste like maple! Hurray fungus!


After reading Midnight Blue-Light Special (Seanan McGuire), I wanted to go back and reread Discount Armageddon, and I finally finished that. There is not enough Istas. And, the third book is going to be about different characters, so there will be even less Istas! Bah!


This time I did not stay out until 934856923 o'clock. The cats were not noticeably more appreciative, but they are fuzzy.

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20 April 2013 - Saturday

No customers today!


Manga I read while being useless today:

  • The five published volumes of Strawberry Marshmallow (Barasui): Why am I rereading this while in the middle of watching the anime? I dunno. The rule of anime vs manga definitely applies, though.
  • Kitty & Dino (Sarah Richard): Awww! I think I should get this for Ja Baby (after proper vetting by her parents).
  • Somthing Wikkid This Way Comes (Nicole Peeler, Cassandra Jean): Topless succubus, but meh.
  • My Girlfriend is a Geek vol 1 (PENTABU, Rize Shinba): I probably would have been appalled by fujoshi too, when I was young and thus even stupider than I am now.

I read the last three on the Yen Press app, which worked fairly well after I got it to download. However, I see nothing to indicate that Yen or Apple can't randomly delete my purchases and deny having ever done so.


Third episode of Sherlock was definitely better than the second, although Moriarty seems like the wrong kind of crazy.

  • Hanasaku Iroha 18: Go Nakochi!
  • Steins;Gate 4-5: The crazy people in the attic seem to be doing nearly as well with their Cellphone Microwave as the Illuminati are with their Large Hadron Collider, which bodes well for their ultimate victory.

I came back, cats! Now I can refill your food dish!

If Marmalade ever figures out that the food cupboard is closed the same way the Linen Closet of Solitude is, I'm going to find myself locked out of the house one of these times.

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19 April 2013 - Friday

Yay, it's Friday! And I'm not-- wait, what? How did that happen?!

I guess I am on call after all. Bummer.


The Rise of Ransom City (Felix Gilman) takes place around the same time as The Half-Made World, and the main characters from the one have bit parts in the other, but mostly it follows the interesting life of Harry Ransom, inventor, utopian, wandering entrepreneur, figurehead of the Evil Railroad Gods, and laughingstock of the magical natives.


Finished Tin Man, which was not particularly unique, but did have at least one brain in a vat.

Remember, cleavage is a sign of evil.


Twelve paws!

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18 April 2013 - Thursday

I appear to be causing trouble at work. Or maybe helping my cow orkers cause trouble. Either way, I'm doomed.


Lecture on basic (and I do mean basic) number theory: check. Kitties petted: check. Tud.

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17 April 2013 - Wednesday

More training, interrupted by only a few zillion customers. I think I knew something about most of what I missed, but I can't be sure, because well.


I should have watched a lecture on number theory, but instead I watched Strawberry Marshmallow and died in a pit full of cat fur.

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16 April 2013 - Tuesday

There are geese hanging around out front of the building where I work. They do not appear to be vicious guard geese, or maybe they can detect my keycard with their cyberbeaks.


Gigantic all-day training, which we have to fully concentrate on while still spending all our time supporting customers.


Dreams and Shadows (C Robert Cargill) is a story of fairies, wizards, djinn, magic, and doom. And more doom. Do not read this book if you like happy endings.


After viewing the tutorial (review) for the problem set I turned in on Monday, I feel slightly vindicated. The instructor got a score of 21 for the example proof, and said that was arguably at least one point generous, and I checked the 10-19 box. Hmph.


Twelve paws!

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15 April 2013 - Monday

Oh, look, it's Monday. How did that happen again already?


The one question I got wrong on this week's homework was evaluating how many points out of 24 a proof deserves. Apparently I am unwarrantedly harsh, which anyone who has tried to learn something from me can probably attest.


Now I will watch excessive cuteness and be kittybreaded orangely.

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14 April 2013 - Sunday

Adam was betrayed by the recent penchant for building computers with moving parts, so no gaming today. Instead, I spent much of the day reading. With some cat-petting.


I keep meaning to read Nalo Hopkinson but failing, so when I saw Sister Mine in the New SF section at the library, I seized it.

I liked it! It reminded me a lot of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, with the coming-of-age and family drama with extreme magic. Perhaps I will remember to find some more when I go to the library again.


The Magic of Reality (Richard Dawkins, illustrated by Dave McKean) was shelved in the general science section, but it seems more appropriate for children of a moderate age, maybe 8-10, who need to understand how we know things (and that it's not by divine revelation or space crystal waves).


Strawberry Marshmallow is very silly. Fortunately, I had no masculinity left to endanger in any case.

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13 April 2013 - Saturday

The Departure (Neal Asher) features more enhanced (but not necessarily stable) intellects, but fewer giant bug monsters. However, there are plenty of human monsters, since it's set in a very dystopic future -- kind of cyberpunk, but where the black-helicopters version of the NHS and associated UK bureaucracy has taken over the world instead of Enron and Microsoft.

At least one more book is planned, which is good since the two plot threads were only eyeing each other warily as of the end of this book.


I wandered down to Castro St to meet up with Ken (who was playing in a Mage LARP) and Ja Baby (who was being a toddler). There was no dinner, but we trundled back to Monkeycat Towers and ordered from Mike's Pizza & Taqueria (which also has Indian and Italian food) so cannibalism was once again averted.


The second episode of Sherlock was more flawed, but still entertaining.

  • Cross Game 4: It's the crime-fighter Baseball Lass!
  • Persona4 1-2: Apparently this is following the game pretty closely, so I feel underqualified to watch it.

Twelve paws!

Persona 4 by marith (Tue Apr 16 09:42:22 2013)

Actually you are better qualified since you are able to view it as an anime instead of seeing the menu choices in your head with each piece of dialogue :) I'll be curious to see if it was translated successfully into a noninteractive story or if the need to keep it faithful for the fans gets in the way.

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12 April 2013 - Friday

Yay! It's Friday! And I'm not on call!


Romeo x Juliet continues to be different. I may not bother to watch any more of it.


I don't think Ayse ever reads this any more, so possibly I can stop with the Paws Report.

paws! by marith (Mon Apr 15 22:50:25 2013)

I care about the state of the paws too! Especially since I am no longer their neighbor and don't get to see them!

Of course, if you don't want to post about your cats you shouldn't, but I do enjoy reading about them and being assured they are appropriately fluffy and have all their paws.

Re: paws by Trip (Tue Apr 16 08:34:17 2013)

Okay, I will continue to report, at least sometimes!

Did you know my cats are cute?

Re: paws by marith (Tue Apr 16 09:31:35 2013)

Good lord! This demands more in-depth journalism!

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11 April 2013 - Thursday

Even more training, this time sourced locally. And useful!


Some number of Kenneth Hite's Pyramid columns on Strange Stuff were collected as Supressed Transmission: The First Broadcast. Mystery airships of 1897, Antarctic Nazis, alternate history, secretly alternate history, space dwarves, Spring-Heeled Jack (who is not Jack the Ripper), snark about bad archaeology/athropology, the conspiratorial alphabet, it's all here. (Well, not all of it, since apparently there is a Second Broadcast.)


Night & Demons is a collection of David Drake's short fiction over the last four decades of the 20th century or so. It is mostly horror or sword-and-sorcery or both. I did not spot all of the twists coming.


Twelve paws!

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10 April 2013 - Wednesday

Additional training, possibly not as well-organized as the last instance in the series, but still much better than the first few.


I downloaded this week's lecture, but did not get around to watching it. But, I ate salsa and petted some cats.

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9 April 2013 - Tuesday

Some people on my team are pretty awesome. Some are... not so awesome.


I bought the MHRPG Civil War Event Book before it started seeming less likely that we will run anything in MHRPG, to see how adventures are supposed to be designed. I'm not sure I know any more now than I did before, but it's not like this was intended as a training document.


Romeo x Juliet continues to have some of the same names as the original.


Aspen will usually let me pet her if she's in the Basket of Warmth, but trying to clip her claws is Too Much.

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8 April 2013 - Monday

Former Cow Orker A is not here. Who is going to remind me to play foosball now?


Black Bottle (Anthony Huso) is the sequel to The Last Page, but it suffers from the problem of one of the major characters no longer being human. Also, doom and additional doom.

Despite the questionable use of obscure words, I will probably read the next thing Huso puts out.


I did not triumph utterly on problem set 5.


REI agreed that my shoes were falling apart much faster than could be explained by normal wear, so they gave me new ones. W00t.


I need to computer less and play with cats more.

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7 April 2013 - Sunday

For the first time in ages, we have both Adam and Earl for gaming, which means we can play more Diaspora Effect!

My position on where we should set up the meet with the spider-thing prevailed, due to my key insight that aspects that made a place unfavorable could be removed with proper use of Assets and Bureaucracy, and we were able to admire his efforts to buy us off with promises of wealth, nieces, and species survival. A fight scene ensued, but naturally we were able to destroy the geth and sway the spider to our side with promises of not being complicit in multiple genocide. The rest of the cult structure was rolled up, the nieces were sent to intensive therapy, and the invasion of the Reapers was staved off for another few years. Yay us!

It was a pretty swell campaign, with an actual ending, but we cannot play it again, so we must decide what to do next.

Earl votes against MHRPG, but he is too busy to game through at least the end of the month, so we have no idea what to do next. Earl has threatened to run either D&D or Night's Black Agents, but if he's not going to be around, then the rest of us have to come up with something, which history suggests will be completely unappealing to Earl (because I kinda suck, apparently).

Two weeks from now is bad, so we have extra fun next weekend. Perhaps we will use Microscope to make a new campaign setting. Microscope is fun, even if our ability to use the results is lacking.


Midori Foo's Book of Pictures is exactly what it says on the cover. The pictures are mostly pretty and shiny, and many of them are of attractive young women with detailed but extremely impractical clothing and accoutrements. Some of them are other things, and some of them are downright creepy. One of them reminds me of Ayse's Dungeon World character.


Romeo x Juliet is not yaoi, as low-minded people might think from the "x" in the title, but is pretty heavily modified from the original even in the first episode. Juliet as masked avenger! But I fear it will have a happy ending.


Twelve paws!

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6 April 2013 - Saturday

Today I tried to do three useful things, but only accomplished two of them because I was lame and took too long at lunch. (Also because the bus is not very helpful on weekends.)


Halfway through anime, we stopped to let Ayse and Ken show us the first episode of Sherlock, the new one set in the modern day. It was flawed, but entertaining, and the yaoi fangirls are probably going nuts over it.

The modern setting works surprisingly well. Apparently the time it takes to forget "never get involved in a land war in Afghanistan" is slightly over 100 years.

  • Nodame Cantabile III 10-11: The end! The resolution is more about them getting their lives in order than about them getting together, but I think it's clear that they are now able to get together in a sane and functional way.
  • Hanasaku Iroha 17: No one is surprised about the movie crew, but it gives Enishi and Takako an excuse to get wet together.
  • Steins;Gate 3: Some very brief shots suggest that there really is a conspiracy, but mostly Kyouma is just crazy.

Next week, Persona 4! Unless there is only Zuul I mean Sherlock.


The train tried to betray me by being delayed by some kind of almost-flaming accident near SF, but did eventually deliver me back to my cats.

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5 April 2013 - Friday

Cow Orker R is working from home, Boss G III is out, and Cow Orker A became Former Cow Orker A around noon, leaving me in complete control! Muahahahaha!

If only I were in control of something involving power, like maybe robot armies...


Steven Harper's saga of zombies and mad scientists concludes dramatically in The Dragon Men, in which it is revealed that you want mad scientists on your planet even less than you thought. There is apparently to be at least one more book, but with different characters and at an earlier point on the timeline.


The anime of Strawberry Marshmallow is approximately as cute as the manga, only with more color. How have they not thrown Miu out a window yet?


Twelve fuzzy paws!

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4 April 2013 - Thursday

Going-away lunch for Cow Orker A, at Red Hot Chilli Pepper. We only ordered dishes with a single pepper icon, but I still had to drink much water. Cow Orker A wimped out on ordering the three-pepper-icon ghost pepper special and getting free beer for a week if he finished it.


I could probably do better than Angel's Ink (Jocelynn Drake) and considering how I write, that's saying something.


Hello, Opacity-kun! Welcome to my computer desk!

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3 April 2013 - Wednesday

Cow Orker D, who I respect highly, said I was one of the smartest people he's worked with, which was pretty gratifying, although it fills with me dismay for humanity.


The second volume of Genshiken Second Season (Shimoku Kio) is just as wacky as the first, with 100% more crazy blonde Americans. Well, 50% more, anyway; it's hard to be as crazy as Sue.


This week's lecture: proofs! Also, brown fluff!

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2 April 2013 - Tuesday

No work today! Ha hah!

Instead, I went with Ayse and Ja Baby and Ta Baby to the Oakland zoo! We showed Ja Baby many charismatic megafaunas, which were scary but mostly safely distant. The pettable goats were okay on the first visit, but had become too scary by the second, so she never did get to pet any sheep, but that was okay. We were worried the sky ride would be too scary as well, but in fact it was "so so fun"! What a brave bunny!

(Ta Baby was in the presence of many animals, but at his stage of development I'm not sure he can even focus on things that far away, let alone find them interesting.)

Zoo food seems to consist mostly of hot dogs, but I survived on chips and French fries.


While I was at the zoo, Cow Orker A announced that he is leaving at the end of the week. This is not good. Who will I play foosball with now?


Library books: net change -1.


Darkship Renegades (Sarah A Hoyt) was very libertarian and not terribly good, but I was able to finish it over dinner and return it without feeling bad about abandoning a book. -2!


It's a good thing the cats didn't come to the zoo. The lions and tigers might have given them Ideas. (But it might have been okay if the meerkats had given them ideas.)


Indeed, I missed that one question for exactly the reason I thought, but that question got a lot of attention in the tutorial video, so I guess historically a lot of people have missed it. (I presume the tutorials are relatively fixed, since it doesn't seem like there's time to make a new one each week unless it's based on comments in the forums within the day or two after each assignment or problem set is released.)

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1 April 2013 - Monday

Workingu workingu la la la.

I only missed one point on this problem set, and I think it is because I failed to consider that ∀p∀q includes the case p=q. I will have to check the tutorial.


Twelve paws!

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