|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Saturday, October 09, 2004
What scares Mrs. Can’t Hang?
So Al and his lovely are booking Vegas and he tells me that they decided on the Strip rather than Fremont Street, all because the Mrs. is “scared” of Fremont Street.
Even knowing the reputation of the gregarious Mrs. Can’t Hang, this sounds like Al’s in for a side trip to the Hoover Dam, and probably a few viewings of the Bellagio Fountains to me. Regardless as to how cool you think your woman is, maybe Vegas isn’t the right spot for her if she’s frightened of Fremont Street.
I mean, if it’s the crime, I don’t think she has a leg to stand on. Let’s say you’re the crook. Do you want to knock some old bag over for her bucket of nickels, or do you want to make some real cash? I thought so. Apparently though, she and her mom had a bad experience in the elevator of the Plaza with a “weird dude.” To which all I have to say is…
..I’m sorry. How many times do I have to apologize? You wear gold lame hotpants around a drunk guy like me, and I just have to assume you’ve got a price tag. For the umpteenth time, I’m sorry.
Anyway, Vegas. Las Freaking Vegas. Sixty Three days remain, and I’m basking in the glow, or at least whatever luminescence nearby slot machines and huge screens filled with horse racing can provide. Bob gave his five things he’s going to do in Vegas, here’s mine…
ONE – I’m going to spend all day Saturday wagering on horses. I love being at a “real” track or race book, where you can get the DRF, sit down in a cubby with a desk, and really go to town. And putting six giant screens of horse racing on the wall in front of me, well, there ain’t much wrong with that.
TWO – I’m dying to watch a day of football with the boys on Sunday with about eighteen tickets in my pocket ready to pay off. Who’s going to score first in the Lions/Packers game? I’ve got $10 on Javon Walker! How about Oakland/San Diego and the halftime over/under of 17.5? You’ve gotta take the under! Damn, I love gambling.
THREE – I’ve never eaten at one of those kickass dinner buffets in a casino. You know, the ones that cost $25 and have crab and lobster? I'm looking forward to that.
FOUR - I want to walk through the Venetian at 2AM again, with the weird feeling of having the indoor murals on the ceilings projecting afternoon sun. That was surreal and cool.
FIVE - I want to win some freaking cash this time.
By the way, screw the Plaza. Bob and I are staying with the gang at Excalibur. Sweet.
So I set up an account today with the good people at Peets, who specialize in mail order coffee. Am I bourgeois enough to order specialty coffee from San Francisco rather than just buying a can of Colombian off the shelf? Well, yeah, but that’s not the point. Point is that I have been buying Starbucks beans, and I really, really love “good” coffee. But Starbucks has crossed the line with me, and I think I have to boycott them from my everyday life.
I live in a town of 11,000, and there are four locally owned coffee houses. In the past two years, Starbucks has opened outlets in two grocery stores which, counter to counter, are no more than 500 yards apart. They recently acquired a property in town to open a third coffee house.
Now, if the local coffee houses sold beans worth a shit, I wouldn’t have a problem buying my coffee for home from them directly. But since I buy Starbucks, and I can’t in good conscience continue to buy coffee from them (except in an airport or on the road where my choices for decent coffee may be limited – I’m not drinking gas station shit), I have to find another way to get good beans.
So, I’m giving Peet’s a try. $30 delivered for two pounds of coffee, this shit better be good.
Speaking of fighting back, I have a friend of mine who works for a leading Democrat in the house, and has been busy all week working on an attempt to dethrone House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Apparently, DeLay has been rebuked by the House Ethics Committee twice in recent months for a couple of indiscretions. DeLay is in line to become Speaker of the House, and some Democrats are rallying to paint DeLay in the media as an unethical power monger.
Well, good for them.
I have gotten really annoyed by and turned off from politics over the past ten years or so, mainly due to this media culture of soundbites in which we live. Basically, we’re at a point where whomever has the loudest, meanest, smuggest, snarkiest attack dog on their side wins. And what distresses me is that the Democrat have largely kept their dogs tethered up in the backyard, while the Republican dogs run rampant.
An example? How about the fact that we have a President in office who may possibly have snorted cocaine once (or twice, or seventeen dozen times, who knows), and that barely a whiff of that was discussed in the 2000 election, but Clinton’s “I didn’t inhale” became a well traveled national punchline in 1992? How about the “Travelgate” scandal, which garnered its own special prosecutor? You’re telling me two years of taxpayer money needed to be spent to find out who knew what about a few people being let go from the White House Travel Office? Why is there no talk about impeachment from leading Democrats over this current administration’s lies about war motivations in Iraq? Travelgate is a bigger deal?
Do I think the Democrats should fling poop back at the Republicans? No, I think both groups need to stop being so goddamn petty all the time. Unfortunately, our media loves to put on anything that sounds sexy in ten words or less, which means that “serious” policy discussions are left for CSPAN and PBS. This is why I get annoyed with politics. With all these messages of mass distraction flying around, how do I know what to believe as truth, and what is simply hyperbolic ranting?
I Wear My Sunglasses At Night
I had a dream Thursday night. One where I’m shorthanded in a SNG, have a huge chip lead, and watch top pair/bad kicker hold up against some knucklehead trying to make a straight off four parts on the flop. Then, playing heads up, I again push all in with top pair on the flop, and watch the next two cards give me quads for the win.
Wait, this really happened?
I played a six handed SNG ($3+$.30) on Choice Poker, where I’m either going to take my bankroll to $100 and cash out, or piss away my (now) $22, and landed a table with five would-be Moneymakers ready to match wits.
I actually believe these guys were probably doing chip tricks and wearing mirrored sunglasses while playing online. This is what I was up against.
Down to three players with yours truly holding a significant chip lead, I check in the big blind with 93 of diamonds. Flop comes 2d8d9h. Dude in the small blind bets at it big, I re-raise him all-in, and he pushes. An offsuit Ten on the turn, Four of diamonds on the river.
He had JTo, and must have thought four parts to a straight with two flush cards on the board was a good call. I loved it even more when he cursed me out after catching my flush. “UR A ****.” Thanks to Choice, I’m assuming he called me a dick, but could just have easily have been calling me a stud or something, I have no idea.
So, we’re heads up, and I’m sitting three to one versus my opponent. Blinds are 50/100, and I’m making it 250 to go for any face card down, as this guy is obviously weak-tight and folding like a cheap map. The decisive hand was a beautiful one. I had 96o in the BB, and was able to check in. 269 rainbow, giving me two pair. Chucklehead pushes me all in, and I gladly follow. Turn and river? Both Nines. Suck on those quads!
$12 win for me last night, and it was goooooood.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
I’m not one to generally get all political or anything, especially in public, but I’m really irritated by some of the messages being sent by the Bush campaign in my backyard.
West Michigan is largely Republican, and features a population dedicated to their religion. So, it should come as no surprise that Bush will likely garner the vast majority of votes around here. Rather than finding specific points of differentiation between Bush’s policy objectives and Kerry’s, the Republicans, in their infinite wisdom, are appealing to the populace in a different sort of way.
(Seen on a billboard): It’s about our national security.
Is it fair to assume that everyone interprets political ads/messages the same way I do, always looking to draw differentiations between your guy and the other? If so, the emphasized (it’s underlined on the billboard) “our” seems to stress that John Kerry doesn’t belong to the same nation George Bush does. Either that, or the insinuation is that Kerry won’t represent America, and will concern himself more with the national security of other nations on the world stage. Maybe I’m nitpicking this one, but the next message really irritates me…
(Also from a billboard): One nation under God.
Hoo boy. Again, the intimation is that Kerry is a godless heathen, and won’t represent the Christian values Bush seems to cherish. For Democrats to try to counter or challenge this argument is tantamount to taking the Kirk Cameron Ten Commandments Quiz and trying to make your argument that you’re a good human being. It’s like beating your head against the wall trying to counter mythology so ingrained in people it becomes, well, gospel truth. With born again Christians, you can’t conceivably win the “Who loves God more?” argument. It’s just not possible.
And it’s unbelievably annoying to me that messages like these, presumably poll tested aphorisms custom drawn for our local mentalities, are what politicians choose to broadcast to the masses.
As if I needed another reason to vote against the smug, arrogant bastards in charge of our government now.
Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right…
How irritating is it to play poker at low limits?
I know that’s largely a rhetorical question for my gambling brethren, but let me ask this out loud anyway. You know if I’m talking low limits, we’re really talking low limits. I’m a $3/$6 Limit/$25NL player who takes his shots at $10 SNGs every once in awhile.
So what’s got me worked up? Welcome back to Choice motherfucking Poker.
It’s a well traveled truth in bloggerdom that Choice is back, and that their bullshit offer to those of us they stiffed gives us a snowball’s chance of ever seeing our money again, presuming we can play $1/$2 long enough to “earn” it back. Bitches. Well, whatever. I figured as long as I’ve got $18 of credit here, I’ll take a few shots at hitting a big score…
…Like in a multi.
$1000 guaranteed, $2+$.20 buy-in, with unlimited rebuys. 120 players.
The rebuys thing should have been my first clue that I was up against amateurs.
I managed to take down a nice little pot in my first three hands when AQo flopped me two pair. I took my stack from 800 to 1200, and was going to play tight and wait for my chances.
Uh, that’s not going to help in this tourney.
I watched some dude at my table start to use the all-in button as his option to enter a pot. And unbelievably, he was getting callers. Not just “a caller,” callers.
And he was hitting everything.
I played a lot of NBA Live back in my day, and when I would go on an insanely hot streak against my roommates, I used to joke that I “put the code in.” What else could explain Ervin “Don’t call me Magic” Johnson scoring 22 with 18 boards and nine blocks for Milwaukee against Hakeem Olajuwon?
Regardless, I think this dude put the code in.
All in with 88? Catches his set. All in with 55? Board is junk, the fives (!) hold up against three callers. AQs? Two pair. 33? Catches a boat.
It was surreal.
Within the first fifteen minutes he took his stack from 800 to 7,000 without breaking a sweat. Yes, he had “good” cards, but nothing truly “great.” No Aces or Kings.
It became an all-in fest at the table, and everybody was rebuying. Dude had knocked at least six people “out,” but not a one of them left the table.
I realized that this tournament was likely to go on awhile. A looooooong while. Screw it, when in Rome…
First chance I got came a couple minutes later when I was dealt pocket Kings. All-in pre-flop, and I got three callers – including Big Stack. Board is all undercards, and I knew I was beat. Big Stack made a set with his pocket Tens. He took it down.
I rebought (only once), and got AA in my very next hand after the Kings. No action. Soon thereafter I got 99 down, and pushed all-in. Again, three callers (freaking insane). No set for me, two overcards on the board, and Big Stack wins again with JTo pairing his Jacks.
I left at that point, a little over an hour into the tournament, in 92nd place out of 120. Big Stack was over the 8000 mark at this point, and I really hope someone, somewhere along the line, buzz-sawed him with junk. He deserved a quick kick in that same junk if you ask me.
Freaking Choice Poker.
No, No, No…
If this is about Schwarzenegger, I never ever want to hear another Republican take a Democrat to task for either womanizing or college marijuana use. You hear me?
I was bemused by the late night email I received from Everyone’s Favorite Phishhead, looking to rally the troops to defeat the wicked scourge of an anonymous flamer on his site.
It seemed to me like the guy’s main gripe with Pauly was that he viewed Pauly as one of those “bandwagon” Phish fans who probably only got into the band over the past couple of years.
Without bothering to refute that obviously erroneous claim (I forgot the “i” in “claim” originally, and basically re-read that sentence calling Pauly’s flamer an “erroneous clam,” which I think works out well), I have to laugh at this whole idea of using how long one might have been a fan as a barometer of how much one might truly suck.*
*Except in the case of Dallas Cowboy fans who don’t live within 300 miles of Dallas, and never have. Unless your uncle’s name is Roger Staubach, or god forbid Hollywood Henderson, you’re a bandwagon fan. Kiss my ass, you absolutely suck.
I remember, circa 1993, reading a blurb in Rolling Stone about this new band whose album was just released to few sales and much critical acclaim. I bought the album and loved it. I was even thrilled the first time I heard their single on the radio.
Then, after the eighty four hundred and umpteenth time I heard “Mr. Jones” on the radio, I no longer felt like I had discovered something first, I was actually part of a club, a charter member of the bandwagon.
And I sucked now too.
I grew bitter at that fatheaded Duritz clown for taking something that was good and special and selling it out to the highest bidder. I never forgave him for porking Aniston either. Had I seen him on the street, I’m confident I would have went all Giloolly on his kneecaps.
I bought your album before you sucked assholes, thanks for making me feel as hip as a Dockers commercial.
So what does this have to do with Phish? Well, probably nothing. I just like telling Adam Duritz to “suck it.”
Anyway, back to the topic of Anonyman and his flaming load of crap. No offense to Pauly (he knows how I feel), but to try to clown on someone because you want to prove who likes Phish more is inane. Aren’t these people supposed to be well-medicated and docile hippies? And even further, it’s not as if Pauly was saying, “Phish sucks, I like the Dave Matthews Band more.**” There’s no point of comparison, it’s just a dude talking about a band (and what he ate, and what he sees people reading on the subway, et al). No biggie.
**If I ever catch anyone trying to make this argument in reality, I really do believe I have the capacity for ending another life. Really. Try me.
Secretly, I think Pauly is thrilled to have a nemesis. I know I would be. Especially if they don’t seem to be very smart, then they’re just easy pickings.
I actually have had my share of real live nemeses in the past. A quick rundown…
>> My first big nemesis didn’t arrive until sixth grade. I had a friend on my block who was one of the more popular (even in fifth grade, that’s a big thing I guess) and athletic kids. Two nights before sixth grade started, I stayed over at his house. On the first day of sixth grade he disowned me on the playground. I really honestly think that for the next six years we didn’t speak one single word to each other. A bunch of his buddies became sub-nemeses to me along the way, as it was easy for the jocks to pick on the skinny smart kids at school.
>> Boyd was a seventh grade nemeses who always used to flick me in the back of the head in Science class while walking by my desk. Latent homosexual tendencies on that kid, I’m sure.
>> Mike was another one in seventh grade, and this kid was a major asshole. He had a brother who was older, and would have been one of those stereotypical 50s t-shirt wearing thugs with the cigarette pack rolled up in the sleeve, that is if anyone did anything bad like smoke in Utah. Anyway, his brother was famous for settling his disputes for him. Mike was a smaller guy, had a Napoleon complex, picked fights he could win (i.e. – Me), but still used his brother’s muscle as leverage along the way. I used to dream about beating that kid’s head in, but the brother was a scary dude.
>> Freshman year of college started out with every guy on the floor becoming instant best friends. Then Mario’s roommate announces he’s dropping out of school. Cool for me, as my roommate was terrible, and I wanted to move three doors down. Problem was, I left for winter break 24 hours before the drop out, and moved my stuff into that room before I left. Before he left. Half the floor hated Mario and I for the rest of that year. Dicks.
I’m not sure life is more fun with a nemesis, as I could have been marginally happier in Jr. High without those assholes I mentioned around. That being said, it looks like Pauly and his people are having loads of fun with this anonymous flamer. With any luck, we’ll find out who it is and turn up the heat…
The Number 14, with Egg Roll
So I ordered lunch (Chinese) with the group in the office yesterday, and left it up to the admin to place the order. Szechuan Beef Combo, no mushroom. She brings it over a half hour later, and neglected to ask for no mushrooms. I didn’t even crack the box, I wouldn’t touch it.
I did, however, open up my fortune cookie. ”Your luck will change around completely.”
Instead of happily eating at my desk, I now had to run out for food, and had to put gas in my car as well. I could have filled up on the way in to work for $1.94. Now it was $2.09. It took $30 to fill my boat. While closing the door after filling my tank, I caught the edge of my fingernail on the door’s upholstery, and nearly ripped my psoriasis-loosened and bruised fingernail right off.
I guess my question is this: When exactly did that fortune kick in? I’m hoping that by not eating the meal, it loses all effectiveness. If not, I’m thinking that there was some sort of bizarre destiny behind getting shafted on my order, gas prices, my fingernail, and the cookie.
I keep a fortune taped to my monitor at work. It says, ”You are busy, but you are happy.” I’m thinking those two things are true, but not always at the same time.
I’ve probably told this story before, but two years and 400,000 words later, I’m bound to be repeating myself, so here goes…
I had a weird experience with a psychic once. It was February 1997, and I was with my ex-wife, then (for all intents and purposes) my girlfriend, up at college doing one of those late nights playing cards and getting
Anyway, we’re watching late night TV and start to be inundated with those ads for three free minutes with a telephone psychic. We were scribbling down 900 number after 900 number, gathering them all for a staccato session of fortune telling.
One call stands out in particular.
It was my turn to do the dialing, and I called up, landing what sounded like a middle aged black woman on the other end. I’m only leaping to that conclusion because she kept calling me “chile.” Anyhow, after introductions, here’s how the conversation went:
BG: Tell me about my love life.
Psychic: Well, that’s a bold question for you to ask with her right next to you.
That took me aback for a moment. It was quiet in the room, no one was on another extension, and there’s no way she could have known with any certainty that there was someone with me at that moment. Safe assumption? Sure, it’s 330AM on the east coast, and I’m not some lonely woman calling for support. I’ll chalk that one up to “good guess.”
Psychic: (continues uninterrupted) She’s sitting right across from you, and she’s dressed completely in blue, isn’t she.
WOW. I was on the bed, near the headboard, and my girlfriend was directly across from me. And she was wearing a navy long sleeved tee with a navy tee on top of it, blue jeans, and blue socks. Everything she had on was blue. Everything.
Alright, it’s not a great story, just a little too coincidental for my tastes. How did she say the relationship was going to end? I wish I remembered. There was one psychic who saw a triangle, which, excepting maybe Jan 99-Feb 01 was probably true at every point of our friendship/relationship/marriage. But, then again, that’s generally just a good non-specific guess.
By the way, even though we hung up within three minutes every time, her roommate got hit with $200 worth of those calls. Oops.
You know, when you think about it, there are stranger things to believe in than how the moon and the stars and the planetary alignments can affect your life. Like Mormonism. Seriously (wait, I was serious) though, if the moon can move the tides in and out, couldn’t the delicate pressures and alleviations of such become an indicator of moods somehow? And if gravity exists between two bodies – even on the smallest most infinitesimal scale, couldn’t the subtleties in gravity shifts between Earth and Mars have some sort of impact on the human body?
Of course, I can’t for a moment believe Mistress Cleo has her PhD in AstroPhysics, and has somehow derived a cosmic decoder ring for planetary alignment as her thesis at Stanford. Yes, I do believe psychics are generally full of shit.
Maybe some of those kooks are actually legit. In college, where it was socially acceptable to do such things, I, uh, spent a few evenings in a different state of mind. On one such occasion, I could visibly see everyone’s aura. Sounds ridiculous and stupid, but that’s the best way to put it. A couple of my friends had energies that were slow and pulsing, but one of these people had this frenetic inconsistency, like taking an Alvin and the Chipmunks record and playing that on 78RPM. Maybe, somehow, these “capable” psychics are somehow able to see that aura, that energy, at all times. And maybe somehow they’re able to interpret what they’re seeing more than a kid who’s never been down that road before is able to.
That’s my only explanation for any of this.
And I re-read those last four paragraphs or so, and begrudgingly admit I’m a freaking hippie. Great. At least I don’t reek of patchouli.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
I’m that type of guy
So the doctor tells me yesterday that I have such high cholesterol that I could go strictly vegan for the next two years, and probably wouldn’t get my numbers to a manageable level.
So he puts me on Lipitor. Just so you’re aware, I chased my first Lipitor pill with a handful of salt and vinegar potato chips. Take that heart disease!
Just to drive drug salesmen nuts, my doctor actually gave me enough samples to last for three months. Hence, no need to pay for a prescription. Beautiful. Too bad they didn’t have that plan in college. Dealer: This is government grown stuff, man… I’m gonna give you a couple months of this stuff for free, if it gets you high, just come on back and we’ll work something out.
Anyway, I do have some poker-related content I’d be willing to share today. Considering I have a link at Wee Man’s poker journal, I figure I’m federally mandated to provide at least 10% of the daily recommended allowance of free form poker writing. Here goes…
To celebrate my brother’s triumphant return from his honeymoon (rumor has it he got laid), we threw a poker game in my honor. His honor. Whatever. For the first time, we ditched the tournament format we had all grown accustomed to, and played cash game. Still no limit, but this time we bought in for $20, and could cash out and go whenever we wanted.
Part of the reason I wanted to give this a shot was to try to keep more people in the game longer. The other part was to throw a curveball.
I play 25NL at Party, as does my brother. The other guys are awfully used to tournament style. I figured that by putting actual dollar values on the chips, it would probably tighten everyone up a bit.
It was a more enjoyable game than usual, in my opinion, as we had four of us moving the game past midnight, whereas heads-up is usually going on at that point. Also, the mentality of “I was trying to limp with junk, why not call this 10x BB preflop raise, I’m already in” was gone. That slowed one of our players down significantly. I’m not afraid to lose $20 and rebuy at 8PM (not that I did, I finished down $5 for the night after five hours), but he apparently was. This is a guy who thinks nothing of shoving his stack around during tournaments. For most of the night, he was glazed over with tough decisions, obviously concerned to push another $3, as opposed to T300, into the pot.
I loved it. About freaking time.
My brother was the first one out of the game on Saturday, when his A9 flopped the Ace with junk on the board, he pushed, and was called with A2. Anyone want to guess at the river card? Uh-huh. It took more time for his opponent to stack his chips than it did for my brother to peel out of my driveway in disgust.
He doesn’t take getting rivered very well.
Joe ended up the big winner for the night, which meant he had to take home the roll of quarters I bought in with (for making change later, which didn’t end up being an issue). Joe’s coming along, and has a couple wins under his belt recently. Nice to see. He also, as per usual, brought along what we refer to as “Joe’s Salty Nuts.” This time, they were “Butt Rub Brand BBQ Peanuts.” DH asked, “How much might one anticipate paying for a specialty peanut as such?” Funny guy. Tasty nuts.
I’ve been running poorly at PartyPoker lately. It’s those 25NL tables. I can sit there and fold patiently, but I have been overplaying playable hands big time, and am guilty of minimizing my profits with winners while maximizing my losses with second (or worse) best hands.
Take, for example, a session from mid week last week. I was dealt 77, and got into a re-raising war preflop. AKs took me down. Yeah, I’m an idiot. I’m re-re-raising with 77? I deserve what I get. This is after three hours of treading water.
Sunday, though, was a different story. I was down to my last $31 in my account, and still had 75 raked hands to play before Party released my whopping $15 bonus. Whoopee. So I log on while watching the NFL pregame show, and go to work.
Aces right away, profit. Kings shortly thereafter, I’m sweeping the pot.
It was beautiful. Three hours later I shut down up $46. And I cleared my bonus.
And I guess that means I just kick ass.
If you don’t know, now you know
BG: “It’s a little ironic that my ex-wife shares the name of the hurricane currently decimating Florida, don’t you think?”
Pauly: Sounds like a Truckin’ story to me....
I know that after reading what I posted yesterday, along with my entire body of work up to this point, some of you might have the impression that I’m some weepy dude crying alligator tears as I’m furiously typing away.
While I admit that I have the tendency to gravitate towards the maudlin, I’ve got to assure you that this time that definitely was not the case.
Actually, once I finished the draft I posted yesterday, I was elated. Yes, you heard me. Elated. See, originally I had just written everything that wasn’t in italics, which was a vague metaphor comparing the genesis of my divorce to the hurricane. It was OK, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. I sat on it for a couple of days and tried to figure out what to do with it.
Putting those three “scenes” in the middle dawned on me as the solution, and I typed up those inserts with a big grin on my face.
Now, I know I’m a hack, and I know this stuff isn’t remotely close to “great,” but there are times where I am proud of what I’ve written, and this is one of those. I felt so good about it, as a matter of fact, that I actually got on the instant messenger and had a pleasant conversation with her, kind of as a “thank you” for giving me some fertile ground to till and such.
It all boils down to the old adage, “write about what you know.”
Is it fair to say I feel fucked over by my ex-wife? Absolutely. Can I still say that I miss her? Sure, but that doesn’t mean I’m holding a torch or want her within 100 miles. It is what it is, and if you read this stuff thinking, “Sheesh, BG needs to grow a sack,” you’re completely missing the point.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Here's a story about a hurricane...
I buried it back in the archives, as it's a little long. I'm not sure it's fully done yet, but here you go...
Thanks big time to Pauly for suggesting that I take this idea and run with it.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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