star_swan: (Cloudy castle)
I started this dreamwidth several years ago as a dumping ground for a story, then a couple of years later, was hijacked by another, somewhat related. It evolved massively. I wrote a bit of it during NaNo 2013. Finished NaNo, but only made it a quarter of the way through the story. It evolved and altered nearly as much if not more. Then I felt myself being called back to the earlier one, set in the same basic time frame.

I was sifting through images and had a massive brainwave that is serving to solidify the first one. Been getting that lately, but what a flood this afternoon! I've sort of been working on them at the same time.

Please, brain, behave. I need to write like I need air right now.

I don't have outside work today, so I am trying to sort my life. It has been a bit difficult to focus in the recent past, but I think that things are getting better again. Ohhh, how lovely would it be if this Summer was a magical, productive Summer like two years ago. (Without the crazy drama that followed hot on its heels). I intend to take advantage of the momentum to complete original projects and writing, though fic is quite fun. I do write every day, a lot of it nonsense, but it'd be nice to complete something coherent.

Perhaps I should assign myself drabbles, like writing exercises that force me to focus a bit and then adopt and expand on bits that would work in the story(ies). Whatever I write, no matter how random, it tends to remind me of what I have yet to finish and sort of winds up there, in that universe, for lack of a better word. It is not a sci-fi story, sort of fantasy. But I suppose all books are their own universe.
star_swan: (KyonKyon Kitties)
I caved and made myself another tumblr, a booklr/studyblr/artblr rainynymphbookwhore.

Pretty much just for relaxing and reblogging lovely images of books, study plans, ridiculous note-taking systems that would impress Hermione Granger, books-to-read, and arty things.

Feel free to friend me if you have one as well!

I am bound and determined to read a book per week this year (and to catch up on the weeks past).

It is already three o' clock and I still have things to sort out today before I go back to work tomorrow. This Spring weather along with photos of other peoples' bookshelves is making me rather lethargic.

Listening to Harry Potter whitenoise generators with cat purring and crackling fires, also not helping. I feel very calm though. :P

Window Seat

Jun. 4th, 2015 04:16 pm
star_swan: (Huginn (raven))
I keep thinking that it is Friday and then I realize that it is Thursday, which while usually cause for celebration has resulted multiple times in my thinking disappointedly to myself, "Oh."

The week was going pretty swimmingly-ish. Or at least, whatever frustrations I did encounter I was able to handle without much self-inflicted drama (meaning thinking overmuch and wondering inwardly about things until I frittered away my free time with worrying). Then in the space of twelve hours I got hit with, well, drama is the only apt word (times three even). I realized though, and perhaps this is something important that I do need to realize/address, that my thoughts and reactions are my own and that while certain people and behaviors are annoying, they do not dictate my response. I can choose not to react overly emotionally, to get sucked in.

My exercise regimen sort of imploded during the past week. I had to be careful of my back though. Been walking or riding my bike a bit since they are fairly gentle forms of exercise. Just caught myself slouching. >.>...

Looking out my window, I am really appreciating the street that I live on. Sure, it's noisy. I do have a buffer of a few car spaces and various trees and sidewalk (as well as being on the second floor) so it is not as if the road is right upon me. It can be quite noisy though, especially on the weekends late at night with haloo-ing etc.. But it is also nice to be able to stand at the window/door and to look out and watch bikes, pedestrians and cars (and hummingbirds) go by. It would be different in a quiet room in a house removed from busy streets. It sounds lovely, but here, even if I do not go very far or if I spend the weekend near to my desk, I can still be close to activity of some sort. I never feel completely removed from society, even if I have no idea who any of these people are (most of the time).

I currently have an impressive stack of books for "research" purposes. I was going to try to make a skeletal outline for the book/project/thingy I am working on though I keep having turns of mind that cause me to scribble or backspace or rethink something. I like to have A Plan before proceeding, but sometimes that is not entirely possible. At some point, I will likely be at a place where I am comfortable discussing it, though not at the moment. There is so much work to be done. Trying to fit in time for this as well as practice is seriously challenging some days.

But I did turn another corner practice-wise yesterday evening. I played something at tempo that did not sound like crap to me or like bits of it were so-so timing-wise. I just hit it and it worked, at least once which is cool even if I did not replicate it again all evening. Still, a breakthrough. Basically, the fingers of my left hand are more responsive/quicker. I do loads of maddening finger exercises. They are not as bad as some of the ones I have seen out there though. They can be meditative and enjoyable, especially when you begin to master them and play them to speed.
How anyone can tolerate Czerny finger exercises though is beyond me! They're mind numbing. There are all of these methods and dusty books written over a hundred years ago or more that set forth the "proper" way in which you should approach the study of classical piano. And mad debates occur online between people who swear upon one or the other. And who swear that doing one will bust your fingers/give your carpal tunnel/drive you crazy!
It is fun to just sit and read people getting worked up about it. Basically you need to speak with people/have a tutor who have experience and exercise common sense. Don't play until you are in pain or play seven days a week even if the thin, powerful muscles in your forearms are throbbing.

It is a bit warm this evening.
There was a chance of thunderstorms at the end of this week, but it is dwindling now. :(
Thunderstorms are rare here. I really miss them. I have mp3s of rain storms for when I really get dragged down by Summer heat and dryness.

It's June!!

Jun. 1st, 2015 09:53 am
star_swan: (Fire)
An update and then I am going to go read journals/reply to comments as I get some other reading/work done.

This weekend was quite a bit warmer than it has been!
I am excited that it is June. Though I am usually excited at the beginning of a new month. It feels like an opportunity. I was not so productive in May in many ways while also figuring out a few things. Was more in absorption mode.

I somehow managed to tweak my back when I was in the laundry.I am not even sure how! I was in the laundry and after moving or bending in a particularly ordinary way, I felt this series of shocks up my spine like I was being struck with something. After that it was difficult to walk properly and bend any which way. So I sat carefully upon the ground and on top of one of the washers, crossed my legs and twisted to pop my back which took the pressure off and righted things. I was able to walk and move fine, but that area is tender now. It will take another day or two to feel less sore. Lying on my side is not fun unless I have a pillow in between my legs. It's been a lot worse though. I haven't had any problems in over a year. But I've had recurring lower back "issues" as my chiropractor called it since I was 16, so I need to be careful. It isn't weight or movement usually but just moving in a very particular way for just an instant that knocks things out. It might be related to an accident I had on my bicycle when I was 15. I was riding a racing bike when someone came out of an alleyway and hit me and I was thrown several feet. I caught a lot of air and after I landed I slid a few feet on the asphalt. On my face. I luckily was wearing a helmet. I remember limping home which was about another block. :OOO

Oddly, my back feels better than it did before I tweaked it. I am standing up straighter and feel taller.

Another reason that June is rather nice is that the university lets out and we are bathed in relative peace and quiet. Quite a few people leave to go on their annual trip to Europe or wherever and most students go back home. Summer session is pretty intense and all around is the soft buzzing of people focusing on their tasks (or else!) The warmer weather has a way of mollifying folks or causing them to slacken their pace a bit and to not rise up to meet every possible, perceived offense or slight to their person. I am not a fan of HOT weather, but I do appreciate the season. Perhaps when it gets ridiculously hot, I will go swimming. <3


Here are a couple of photos of Percy, Bill's brother, who passed away a little over a year ago. I had meant to post them before but I lost them in my bucket! Things that I've uploaded are out of order.

Percypuss )

Also, the birds are getting super loud in the mornings! It's great! Around the Solstice, the dawn chorus gets louder and louder. Sometime after the Solstice, the tweeting is noticeably less enthusiastic.

Eff it.

Mar. 31st, 2015 08:37 pm
star_swan: (Default)
I write in here nearly every day, at least three times per week, and I have been keeping this up for the past two years. Before that I was writing a handful of times a month. And I have been locking all of my entries. Why the fuck have I been doing this?

Putting this here because it is amazing: extreme words of wisdom about playing an instrument, specifically piano. It highlights how you have to work steadily, consistently, and reasonably resting in between sessions.

My favorite line: You can't cram the piano.


So working on third day in a row of tossing and turning. I would always get back to sleep, but then I would wake up again. My cycles seemed to elongate as I approached dawn, probably because I was talking to myself (in my head) and trying to soothe myself back to sleep and into a more prolonged sleep, which worked, albeit with weird side effects. I would be dreaming and I would think to myself, "Damn! This feels so good, sleeping." and "I can see the edge of the dream. It's the outside world. Shit! Don't want to wake up again!" And then I would "physically" run away and plunge deeper into the dreamscape. I would even feel myself waking up and I would force it away. Then I thought, "Gee. I hope that I can wake up again if I need to." I can do this thing where I can be dreaming and I can decide to wake up, not every night, but a lot of nights. Lucid dreaming is really cool and also kinda strange. Being able to control your sleep means that any stressor or misstep and you can wind up with a jacked up sleep schedule. Mind over matter is not always a picnic, more like a demented carnival ride.

I've decided to pretend like this is a normal day and that I do not feel half delirious with dark circles under my eyes. I don't think that napping is going to fix it. Perversely, if I do my practice (gently) and manage to accomplish things, slowly, it will put my mind at ease better than trying to take half-assed naps would. The last time that I was sleep less, getting good and exhausted was the only sure way to calm my arse down. It's like I have to really want the sleep because a lot of the time I am too wound up or spinning my gears too much to settle down and accept the loss of consciousness. Even if I think that I want to go sleep. Spinning stories helps because it takes concentration, but is also diverting and relaxing and eventually you lose the thread and drift off. How sick is it that I play mind games with myself in order to sleep?

That and Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. It's the same as regular except that you can set lower or higher word counts for yourself for the month. And I do not want it to be like camp when I was nine years old where I was sad, beleaguered, and half feral from lack of rest.


***********

Three hours before three o' clock! Woohoo!! I spent a lot of it practicing Bach (which is restful for the sleepy mind) and this thing called Parisian Street Scene which has a pretty wicked tempo and is a lot of fun. I feel so accomplished right now, I can't even tell you. I think that I am going to do some leisurely exercises, grab a coconut water, and go sit outside at the shadier end of my patio and luxuriate in beneath the crepe myrtle and snapdragons/mint/violas/morning glories. It is pretty dope out there now with everything lush and flowering, have to say.

Mint water is GREAT! Ice water with crushed mint leaves in it to be exact.

I had to stop myself from going back to the piano earlier. I am tempted to play a little more, just something leisurely. So long as I do my three hours, I suppose I can do extra dabbling here and there. I think that I am going to start doing daily s l o w trill exercises. I started to do hand over hand arpeggios a couple (??) of days ago.

Tonight, I need to shower after dinner (I am going back to showering in the evenings because I forgot to this morning and I realized that it is weird after having showered for years in the evenings, pretty much my entire life with a brief interlude from HS or uni??) and then finish transferring notes and snippets into Scrivener. Tomorrow is IT. 1,110 words per day for a month. I can do this. I just need to find a suitable time of day. Seems like mornings would be best, first thing, after breakfast but before the piano.

Might have to dance this evening to induce serious tiredness. That and it will drive away over thinking by refocusing my energy into my body.
star_swan: (Addicted to coffee)
So I slept on it. Not very well, mind you. I kept tossing and turning and shifting and waking up at odd hours. Colin being out until three did not help. I can't help but keep an ear out for him. I always seem to get a brainwave right before he arrives home and I hear his key turning in the lock downstairs. After mulling it over and bending Angela's ear on the subect as well, and thinking about the various things that I have read (opinions all, but with merit), I am going to practice three days on, one day off. And I am going to scale back to three hours. Two hours in the morning and one hour in the afternoon/evening. This site says to only do four per week, but I think that my arrangement will work best for me. I will see where I am later and if I want to go back to four per day or not. With this system, I still manage to play six days a week, but the breaks allow a full day's rest sneakily placed in between so it looks like I am getting more rest than I am. In a sense, it is more beneficial rest because I am never allowed to play so many days consecutively that I can tire my hands (or my brain) with new movements, new passages, and whatnot. Three days in a row will allow my enthusiasm some breathing room, but taking a day off right in the middle will curb it enough to allow growth and repair and other things such as reading, chilling, watching a movie without feeling like I have to squeeze it in around practice time, chores, daily life. I also took the weekend off. Sort of. I did practice for a half hour last night, just light arpeggios and a Bach melody with right hand only. OH! This site/blogger/teacher also mentioned the need to continue to practice the hands independently. It allows you to pay attention to and to not miss subtlties. I have noticed that you lose something when you split your focus too soon before each hand has learned its part and force them to play together early on. I try to get the right hand down, then get the left hand down or vic versa depending before trying to add. And then I still will go back and forth if I feel like I've lost something along the way.

Newest obsession: Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto (another Bronfman performance from the same year, 2008). I remember hearing it around fifteen years ago and urgently wanting to know what it was. But I never found out. Then a few weeks ago, I found it again! It forcefully reminds me of something, I know not what. I will probably listen to it a couple more times this evening. It makes me think of blue and dampness, perhaps the ocean. There are misty dales and sunlight. Green and blue.

I listened to it twice again while doing the the massive after dinner cleanup. I am now on my FIFTH listen. I was listening to Martha Argerich play it as well. She and Fima are the masters!! They play it with the verve and intensity that it deserves.

I have marked up my calendar with "P"s for practice days and "X"s for the breaks, just to make it abundantly clear. My goal for this evening is to get to bed early, and chill with a book that I have been wanting to read for awhile, and just relax.


I have decided to do Camp NaNoWriMo because it's a place that shows you your progress and in doing so makes you accountable to your goal. I am thinking of setting it at 33,300 (haha, I am a weirdo). Anything that I do beyond that is gravy! I renamed it again….."From Out of The Rain" just for the purposes of the event. So my daily word count goal is 1,110. I have this number fixation and this works for me! It takes place in a couple of days during the entire month of April.

There is this bonkers show, Broad City, about two women living in New York City. It is very odd. I think that I need to watch more. One of the main characters flashes her VaJaJay at a statue of Peter Stuyvesant whilst riding on a Citi bike in a dress. There are no words…

I am still in love with New York even if I do not babble endlessly about it as much anymore.
star_swan: (Woods at twilight)
And another level of crazy

Yesterday was crazily busy what with errands and whatnot. I checked out some videos online that I have looked at before on practice. It was all about playing scales and finger exercises slowly with just(!) the fingers in order to build up finger strength. So between yesterday and today, I out in many hours of doing mainly that. I had to relearn the C Major fingering because I had learned it a different way which was apparently not correct (from one of my books). I thought that I was going to lost it at one point. But I persevered and retained both my finger and my brain and I have got it. Just need to practice. I am now doing four octaves of Hanon instead of two per a recommendation. I am stopping just shy of developing issues. I rest though and I am fine. I noticed an immediate improvement in my chord playing and in a couple of exercises/bits from the Czerny book that require you to hold down a note for four beats with the fourth finger of your left hand while hitting a third with your first and second for three beats, the last staccato. On the right hand, you play four eighth notes and a half note legato as a single phrase. It was choppy sounding yesterday, but today I could play it quietly and more smoothly after the slooow as fuck warmup. It felt good though, sort of like doing slow pushups in smaller increments, taking breaks in between.
I just ploughed through it with focus and intent. It helped that I spent the earlier evening listening to some of my favorite tunes and envisioning what I want to accomplish.

I was chatting with Angela about it and she called me a "beast" for practicing that much. :D I still have so far to go, but I am going to keep at it. I composed some more story stuff yesterday and this morning, mainly having to do with the Phineas-Friedrich-Audrey triangle. I think that I have it sorted now. I went to make an entry yesterday and it just morphed into a story exposition. I delved a lot more into Friedrich's motivations and softened Phineas a little (but only for certain eyes. he has to be ruthless as far as other people are concerned).

Will try not to stay up too terribly late. ;_;
star_swan: (Sunflowers)
Just left a possibly, stupidly long quotey comment on my friend's A03. I think that I wound up mostly quoting and gushing and scarcely leaving any (to my mind) insightful or useful commentary. I am blaming my period brain. I read it a couple of days ago. But I have been too tired to formulate a coherent response. Haha, so this was slightly less incoherent than what it would have been had I commented yesterday or the day before, only every so slightly...
Fuck, I love her stories. There is only the now and all it affords you to feel in explosive colors that bleed out of you in the hopes of touching others.

There is a lovely breeze out. The relative temperature (relative to wherever you happen to be: the grass, the pavement, the patio all vary by degrees) outside is warm, but it is still nice. I am longing for a storm, for dampness. That would make my life right now. I realize why the change is so comforting, apart from it being what I was born into, what I am used to, what I grew up with. There is so much (more) sensation in a storm, the drop of the barometer, the accumulation of moisture that you can feel and smell on the surface of your skin, inside your nostrils, caressing the airways of your lungs. And standing in the rain with all of your free nerve endings alight with the cool droplets pouring down from the sky, rolls of thunder in your ears, flashes of lighting bouncing off your retinas. Wow. I miss it. I never thought directly about it, but it is an enveloping sensory experience.
Fuck science, really, except for its capacity to afford one yet another pathway for expression. That is what I will use it for. I sincerely hope that no one mistakes me for a true devotee. I am tied down to no belief system, be it outwardly, purportedly religious or vapidly, misleadingly, fallaciously factual in nature. In nature. What the fuck do they know about nature in their ever pressing need to dissect it and lay out all of the bits for further, cold-blooded probing? I believe in the web of life, the interconnectivity of the universe, and in magic. And rainstorms.


In other news...lady parts are stabbing me (but not as much in the feels, it's more strictly physical, thank gods) , Colin is mopey because he seems vaguely dissatisfied/tired and I think it is because he is exhausting himself with theatre and trying to avoid home so much it hurts. I would like him to feel more comfortable (even with nagging grandparents) and to feel safe here. I know that someone like him treats home as a temple and if it can't be, he tends to fall apart a bit. He needs it. We all need it. You can't always be flinging yourself here and there willy nilly. Not even the most outlandish of extroverts can manage that. I told him that I did not want him going into the city alone to see the Front Bottoms, one of his favorite bands. A friend was supposed to go, but she punked out on him. It is not all dire though. Yesterday we went to see Begin Again again and Colin met us after outside the theatre and for a moment everyone looked happy to be in each others' presence(s). That film though....it completes me. XD It was even better the second time around. Just....incredible.

Colin wants to see it again so I will have to take him or give him some money to go see it with someone. Hmm.

I don't often see people with as wide an array of facial expressions as me. What's weirder is when they seem to possess the same ones. o_O This is just random gifs on the internet, nobody around here. Or have you ever encountered people (am I actually addressing questions to my blog now?) who have a rather similar life path, upbringing, sort of only in an odd reversed mirror image sort of way? ...like they moved or did things at around the same age, or grew up someplace wintry and defined by it and you grew up someplace where it didn't ever exist and you longed for it because you glimpsed it in picture books and they wished for the things, conversely, that you had in abundance where snow never touched the ground, a brisk chill never kissed the air? But there are uniting factors like being an only child, the observer. It's like they could be your mirror twin. Only NOT. Yeah, uh. Severe babbling. Bad. Bad. Must stop. Pay no attention to the complete freak behind the curtain...this has nothing the hell to do with anything. Any resemblance to...is purely blablabla etc.

Oh and, Colin said the other day that I am the most awkward person that he knows. WHUT?

I feel like a fool for wanting little quiet, happy moments and perhaps I am making a big deal of it, but I can't stand it when he is just lying there in his room, clearly moping and feeling sorry for himself. I am allowing him to get away with it for about another hour or two before I need to make dinner and then he is talking to me whether he likes it or not. This is ridiculous. He is trying to learn six new songs in a short period of time and I can tell that he is receding in the face of feared failure. His room is a disaster zone, again. He is just settled morosely in bed amidst a cluttered sea of his haphazard possessions. It's the perfect stereotype of teenage angst. Perhaps drama is as drama does. STILL. :S

Meanwhile, amidst my ravings I have the bonkers/impossible schedule this week. Need to cram info for Exam 5 and then turn around and review for the final that occurs on the very next day. I was planning to review more this weekend, but it got away from me. I was also so tired. I am so tired. Urrghh.
star_swan: (Fire)
I have been sick the past couple of days and it may be affecting my head. Coughing, taking extra naps, reading about cranial nerves and interstitial spaces filled with ionic fluid, gawking at Tumblr, reading, writing, day dreaming. Ooh! I saw Mars last night and it was lovely.

But before I launch off, I have to stick something here. So, you know how freaking hilarious it is to read Amazon reviews of books that you have already read, just for the histrionic reactions and the snarking back and forth? Well, this one takes the cake or the, something. I just knew that the more rancorous reviews for this particular slice of freaky literature would be golden, but this person exceeded my expectations. Awhile back I read this novella entitled Exquisite Corpse. Yes, that is the actual title. This was back when I was bored and kept going through various bits of twisted literature trying to find the most depraved piece of writing imaginable, something bleak and weird enough that I would stop in my tracks and feel sated in my bizarre need to vicariously feed off the bent mental wanderings of other human beings who had headed to the dark place in their minds with a vengeance and then proceeded to set up semi-permanent residence. (Something that would make Oscar Wilde go, "Well, fuck, that's strange.") As can be guessed from the title, there's cannibalism involved. It is not simply a metaphor. It's a tad porny as well, just a tad. There is much fellatio et le reste. Here is what one person had to say about it:

"Anyone who has really tasted ejaculate knows that it is not salty--salt would be poisonous to sperm cells. "


lmfao! She's right and, well, is there anything else you can say to that? She gave it one star. I was busting up and could scarcely make it to her other more salient points about the plot (or odd lack thereof in spots).

And this one, so true:

" This book is darkness for darkness' sake, extremely gross and sadistic, and beyond disturbing. Though well written, I thought it was a waste of time and offered nothing but horrific visions and bleakness"


...which is *coughs* what drew me to it in the first place, uhm, before I actually read it that is.
I agree with the second review. It was pretty awful. I skimmed bits because I did not have the stomach for reading graphic depictions of "putrescence" and human rot being sexualized. Euuuurrghhh. Anyone who gets on their eerie religious high horse about charnal houses and people wallowing in sin by appeasing the flesh misses the point of real, human intimacy. It isn't about simply pressing and rutting against tissue compartments and fluid filled layers in order to tweak sensory nerve endings hard enough to spray your cerebrum with ecstatic neurotransmitters.

Our senses are intense, fragile gateways to our experience with the outside world and the only way to touch upon it, to be as close to others as we can whose gazes and affections and comingling of thoughts we crave so desperately is to get as physically close as possible which at times...depending on the blistering intensity of our oft misjudged and completely misunderstood not strictly chemical, but so much more crazily complicated impressions/emotions is still not close enough. No wonder some connections feel a little like drowning or that most people when truly, legitly confronted for the first time in their lives with a love that demands to be acknowledged despite their frantic, intellectual protestations, that tears away at their neat compartments and threatens to knock them on their ass and leave them shuddering all undone like a pile of nerves unraveled from their preciously held bindings, run the hell away in the opposite direction. Love will fuck your shit up! But I like to think that it can be the making of people. Some connections are a little scary, but so so good once you get past that , er, period of adjustment. Everyone is basically in awe of that most carefully navigated emotion. Who wouldn't be. It's heady stuff. It's REAL, no do over, no half-assed, "Well let me think about it..." NO. You don't get to think. You're asked to feel and to own up to it. Then you actually get to revel in it even as it is still tilting your world on its axis. Such delicious pain. :S

Whoa. Anyway. Yeah.

I was reading something earlier that started me on this path to being all wound up. It was a couple of stories, really, though the last one really hit me. People speak of parts and of types, but really, who you fall in love with becomes the only type for you, when you really fall irretrievably, inescapably hard. You see that form and that aspect everywhere and you want it because you want the person inside who it has come to represent so completely...the physical footprint of their being on this earth. You may not even know it, that like a magnet or something else equally as cheesy sounding, the universe is conspiring to draw you in a bit closer, closer, closer still...
This might be why some folks say that they feel that they already know someone even though they have never met or how they just sort of knew even though it was illogical and really the complete knowing only came later in retrospect when they were finally capable of giving words to their initial impressions of that other person.

Hmmmm.

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I was promised tea

April 2017

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about me

I'm a mad translator with a degree in Comp Lit and assorted languages. Writing a novel and studying violin. (The story has been flailing along for the past couple of years. I think that the Scrivener research file is larger than the actual text.)

I live with a rather naughty ginger cat. Is there any other kind?

I love tea, loose leaf teas, teas in sachets, all sorts of teas and COFFEE. The more legally, addictive stimulants, the merrier!

Music and books are my life. I basically live in a closet-sized library with a container garden. I occasionally sleep. <3

ivybellis ------> star_swan

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