Month: March 2021

Wed. Mar. 31, 2021 – feeling better, and can unlock doors without keycard…

Forecast for today is warm turning to cold and blustery. “Take a jacket with you” says the local weather liar. I guess we’ll see. Yesterday started overcast and with a weird yellow green light, but eventually the clouds blew out and it was nice here at the house.

Spent the day doing low demand things. Started by going back to bed, as I felt tired and ‘off’. Woke up feeling much better. I still felt a bit tired and like my body didn’t know how to regulate its temperature by the end of the day, but for a while I was almost back to normal.

Cleaned, folded laundry, watered the trees, blew leaves, all low demand stuff. It kept me moving though. During the hour that it takes to get child 2 from school I had a chance for a short chat with one of the teachers. I mentioned that I’d had some mild, but unpleasant reaction to the vaccine, and he said he was just now going to get his first shot. He’s had FIVE people in his circle die from covid. 2 family, 3 friends. Yes, hispanic. Yes, co-morbidities. You can live a long time with diabetes, or heart disease, or obesity though and he specifically said it was before their time. This thing may not be tearing through YOUR family, or YOUR town, but it is tearing through some communities like the plague it’s made out to be.

Today is more of the same. Some needful things need picking up. Some stuff needs to be readied for sale. Some paperwork needs to be shuffled. Some things need fixing.

And some things need stacking. I better get busy.


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Tues. Mar. 30, 2021- not a completely lost day…

Cool and sunny, chance of rain. Yesterday started cold and wet but ended up very nice. Some threatening skies to the south, but nice at my house! Huge full moon glowing low in the sky at 7am when I took child one to the bus.

I didn’t enjoy the day much though. Felt “off” and went back to sleep after getting the kids out the door. Woke up a couple hours later, so dizzy I could barely walk or stand. Thankfully that passed and I just felt tired, slightly dizzy, and a little nauseous. More ‘achy’ than the day of the shot too. We’ll see how today shapes up. By all accounts, I should be over most of my symptoms soon.

Spent what was left of the day ripping DVDs to disk, poking at my linux box, and getting paperwork in order for tax preparation. I actually got things done in all three areas. The NVR is finally back. It looks like someone put the required packages back where they were, and everything installed and started running. It took a bit of google and poking at it to get my settings to look right, and get the stupid thing saving video in the right place. It looks like it’s working, and without the previous issues.

I got some of the huge pile of paper I need to go through organized too. Today I’ll do more with that. Maybe I’ll do my mileage too. That will help get us ready to file our taxes. I’ll have to actually pay my TX business taxes before we can file the Federal income taxes. No state income tax in Texas though. and some years we get a deduction for the sales tax we paid. Still a huge pain in the backside to do all the required filing and recordkeeping.

There is stuff going on in the world of finance that could be the beginning of the great unwinding, or could be just one more signpost on the way. Better minds than mine will have to decide, but it’s time to look around and pay attention to it. Decide for yourself it it’s a stumble or a fall. I’m no financial genius, and this isn’t advice, but consider taking profits if you have them. I was chatting with a young woman in the checkout lane at the Goodwill Outlet and she showed my how she uses an app called Cash App for her finances. She bought $10 of Tesla while we were standing there, with cash she got from reselling thrift store items. She gets ‘loyalty’ money from the app in bitcoin… which is also available inside the app. I didn’t have a chance to ask her if she ever sells, and what kind of reporting the app gives her for tax purposes, but consider that there are likely 10s of thousands of people just like her poking away at the market, and crypto, and that they likely have very little understanding of what’s really going on. It felt VERY much like talking to a virgin house flipper in 2008…. Be warned.

My stacking lately has been limited to items that are expensive and difficult to find locally. I feel like I’ve got a good base of the basics, and if opportunity knocks with specialty items I should answer the door. That said, waiting just 3 weeks to rotate my gasoline before hurricane season is going to hurt my wallet. My delay in replacing my truck will cost me more than if I’d bought two weeks ago. Inflation? or simple supply and demand? Who can be sure, but prices are going up around here.

If it is inflation, turning money into goods is generally a good strategy. If it goes hyper, you can’t do it fast enough. Can’t happen here? I’m sure the others who have experienced it thought the same thing.

No matter the current reason, I think it’s almost always a good idea to keep stacking (durable things, long lasting things, things you absolutely need, or things that are very easy to convert to other things). You know the drill…


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Mon. Mar. 29, 2021 – sorry to my more religious readers… I blame the vaccine

Cool and damp again. Yesterday got cooler throughout the day, and was down to 48F when I finally went to bed. We had scattered rain, and occasional drizzle throughout too.

My brain was definitely fuzzy on Saturday, and still not normal on Sunday, so my apologies that I missed both Passover and Palm Sunday. While I no longer practice, the passing of the Holy Days does punctuate the year, and I know many people who visit here are sincere believers. My best wishes to you during this season.

I also missed Persian New Year (March 20 this year) and even practiced saying Happy New Year but never got to my mechanic to bust out with “Norouzetan Perouz”, and I think it’s getting a little late for that greeting now. I was looking forward to seeing his face. The iranian expat and immigrant community in Houston is surprisingly big.

I think anyone might be surprised when they take the time to REALLY look around and notice things they’ve just been passing by, or haven’t passed in a while. I like to take different routes to familiar places, just to see what is in between, off the path I normally take, or even just looks completely different going the opposite direction. It can take a bit longer, but I’m often surprised by what is just out of sight, or just half a block over… If you find yourself in a set pattern or moving habitually, take the time to go a different way. Even just riding in the car as a passenger gives me a different perspective on my surroundings. You can expand this as a metaphor for life in general too, if you’d like….

I spent yesterday in my pajamas monkey punching computers and grumping at my family. Definitely don’t feel ‘normal’ yet, but it could be that I’ve run out of my daily anti-inflammatory drug (which hurts), it’s cold and damp out (which hurts), and also tree pollen season (which often makes me feel funny). Or it could be mild reaction to the J&J&j vaccine. Who knows? I wasn’t at my best and kept thinking I’d get back in bed. Never felt bad enough to actually do it though.

Still not making great progress on my lists. Might have made a little progress on the bathroom/saferoom project as my wife mentioned she might have the final floorplan figured out. Given that my buddy at Home Depot says they are restricting drywall and mud sales, and lumber is at crazy high prices, and going up, I should probably move getting the bathroom done higher up the list.

So many things on the lists. So little progress. I need more of me. Cloning or time machine? Which should I build first?

I don’t know, but I think a me with a time machine would tell me that I needed to get busy and stack some more… and get some dang projects finished and off the lists. And buy bitcoin. F computers, working, retirement savings, or a shiny new car, just buy LOTS OF BITCOIN. And then cash it out on XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX….system fail. Rebooting………………..


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Sun. Mar. 28, 2021 – getting close to the end of Q121…

We’re forecast to get rain and possibly thunderstorms today, but we’ll see. We had a similar forecast for yesterday and it stayed dry but overcast all day. Well, for me, and where I was. It looked like it was raining to my west, out in Katy. And I got the tiniest little bit of misty drizzle at one point… but mostly dry but humid, shirtsleeves weather.

Got my stuff dropped off at the auctioneer’s place, finally. Even made a small second trip. Didn’t get much done at my secondary location.

Got my china flu vaccination. I chose the J&J shot. One and done, traditional vaccine. The site was spacious, capacious, and well organized. The big church that was the host was also hosting a basketball tournament, so there was a lot of activity. I arrived on time with my paperwork filled out in advance. They confirmed my answers, passed me to the next gatekeeper, and then it was rinse and repeat. The girl who did my shot was very skilled. No pain. Small needle, small amount of fluid. Then passed to the next gatekeeper, and recovery room. Our Mayor stopped in to play host and glad hand the crowd for a bit. I couldn’t think of any reason to talk to him, so I left while he was still there. I noticed a wide range of masks on the patients and on the staff. Many of the staff had N95s but they had exhalation valves. Not supposed to use those. One person had a cloth mask over her exhalation valve, the one time a double mask actually does something useful.

I’m not sure if I had any reactions or if it was just the weirdness of the day and the disruption of my routine. If I did, they were mild. Felt some prickling itchiness in various parts of my body at different times. Felt ‘half a bubble off’ and fatigued. I wanted to go to be early, like right after dinner, but spent the time poking at my linux box.

Thanks to everyone who helped. I went to bed before the last thing I tried had completed, so I’ll update below. It would have been faster to reinstall than recover, if recovery is even possible. Tons of arcana were invoked. I feel the need to burn some sage after it’s all back up, just to clear the room of bad juju. If we’ve found the source of the last issue, then hopefully I’ll have a stable box for my NVR software. I’ll need it more than ever because things are getting sketchier.

On Thursday afternoon, a guy walking in my neighborhood was robbed at gunpoint of his phone by a black male in a car. I’m pretty sure that an armed robbery in my neighborhood was one of my setpoints for moving. I’m noticing an increase in street people, crazy acting strangers on the street, street vendors, and other inner city BS this last month, all closer to home than I’d like. Not good. Ironically, if the freeze did kill all my citrus trees, it will have removed one of my major mental blocks against moving out of this house. I’m not sure there is anywhere better within my wife’s ‘work radius’ though.

Holy cow I don’t want to even consider moving from this house at this point, but I do have to continually re-evaluate safety and security issues, balanced with work/life issues. Of note, if my neighborhood, statistically one of the safest in Houston, is having an increase in crime, I’d bet that pretty much everyone is. People say that your zip code won’t protect you, but it sure does impact LIKELIHOOD of something bad happening.

I’m sleeping late, blame it on the shot.

Lots of stuff in motion out there in the wide world, some of it is sure to affect you. Take what steps you can, and keep stacking.


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Sat. Mar. 27, 2021 – the weekend is just two more days to work…

Cool but dry, clear, and sunny. I hope. Yesterday was that way and it was great.

I managed to load the truck, but not to drop off anything at the auctioneer’s. She got called away for some other thing that came up. I’ll drop off today, after I get the J&J&j shot. I’m scheduled for 11am. Not really looking forward to that, but ‘a happy wife is a happy life…’ and all that.

After my dropoff, I need to spend some time at my secondary getting stuff thrown out, and getting stuff ready to take to the other ‘industrial’ auction.

Meanwhile, the world turns.

Ebola is back in the news, with a group being watched in Oregon after travel to an area with an outbreak. The chances are slim for a problem with this group but there will be others. If it gets here, some people are gonna die. And we’ll be lining up for the shot…’cuz that stuff ain’t no joke.

Street violence seems to be way up with publicized attacks on asians and elderly. Hell, kids too, with the guy who stabbed the 12yo kid in the neck. That can be taken as an indicator that we’re on the downhill slope. Prepare yourself mentally and physically.

There are more supply chain problems and shortages coming too. My buddy in OK reports that his Home Depot is limiting purchases of drywall and drywall mud and believes both will be in short supply for a while. Lumber prices are way up, but I think that’s due to strong demand more than any disruption.

About 10% of my grocery order was out of stock between when I ordered and when it got shopped, and there was a long list of items I’d bought before that weren’t available when I shopped. Things are very much still not normal.

In a situation with intermittent availability, you need to buy it when you see it, and buy some for later. I’m fully restocked on paper goods, and will keep adding to the pile. I’ve got meat in the freezer, and bulk buckets of starch, sugar, and carbs. I’m trying to build up some meds. I’m still buying ammo if I can and the price is OK. I thought about putting some steel cased 9mm in the auction, but I’m reluctant. I don’t want to shoot it, but it beats having nothing… the real question is what I would do with the money, and does THAT make it worth doing. With Executive Orders coming, I’d recommend sucking it up and paying what you have to if you are still short in the bang department, assuming you can get what you need at any price.

In other words, stack it. And keep stacking it.

And keep your head on a swivel if you venture forth.


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Fri. Mar. 26, 2021 – weird used to intrigue me, not so much anymore…

Pleasant and cool, with sun and a breeze.  A lot like yesterday once the overcast blew out.

Spent the whole day indoors.   Kept plugging away at stuff in my office, and getting stuff ready for the auction.   Ended up rescheduling my dropoff for today when I realized I had a bunch of small items that all needed me to mess with them a bit before sending them, but that the money difference made it worthwhile.  So I cranked through a bunch of minor repairs, in between moving stuff around and doing my normal interweb things.  And poking at my NVR…  and doing the paperwork for my passport renewal… and other paperwork too.  Not what I was hoping to do but progress on a number of smaller goals.

Oh yeah, and spent an hour watching the President give a short speech and then get a tongue bath from the press.  Oh there were a couple of questions that sent him drifting off the rails, but OMG, one of them managed to sanctify him and damn Trump in the same breath.

I’ll admit there were a few times when he was saying stuff that sounded good, like actually providing a partial demographic breakdown of the illegals.  But that was mostly when he started to drift off message, and then he would just stop mid sentence and switch gears.  And there were flat out lies, misdirections, and contradictory statements following each other.

He looked less feeble than some other times, but his eyes and eyebrows are very strange, he had trouble controlling his speaking volume (considering all the practice a half century of “public service” has given him), and he needed extensive notes.  It was the longest I’ve seen him go without someone hovering near his elbow or just barely close enough to catch him if he falls.  Normally he’s got at least one person watching him like he was a toddler walking the top rail of a fence.

He played a couple of weird moments for laughs, and I don’t know if they were intended to be funny or if he just saved a gaffe.  Some of those things are being quoted without context.   I’d like to THINK he’s an affable guy, playing the fool for laughs, but I suspect that’s not what was happening.

To top it all off, he shuffles his feet like he can’t lift them normally, and he’s got a couple of weird tics that I associate with age and confusion.  I wasn’t looking to be impressed, and I wasn’t.  The whole business about whether or not he’d run next time was especially weird.    It’s like he doesn’t expect to be around for that, so why bother?  I agree with him on that.

He’s a train wreck.  Called Putin names.  Called other countries’ leaders thieves.  Promised more gun control, more government spending on stuff the private sector does better, bragged about the crusts he tossed to the peons, forgetting that it was THEIR money to start with.  Bagged on the rich, trotted out the old lines about greedy bigcorps not paying taxes, plugged the unions, all the normal playbook.  On the plus side, I didn’t have to hear Kamel laugh.

It’s getting weird out there folks.  Something’s gonna give.  And it’s a lot easier to break than build.  Get the stuff you need now, while you can, if you can.  And stack it high.


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Thur. Mar. 25, 2021 – do not press the shiny red candy colored button

Cool and damp.   Maybe rain, maybe just mist.

Yesterday was cool and damp all day.  Overcast never really broke, and we had misty rain in places and at times.   Usually when it was least convenient for me.  Because it’s all about me.

Did my errands.   Dropped off stuff for sale.  Picked up some needful things.   I’ll be taking more stuff to the new auction today or tomorrow.  And I’ve got a load for the ‘industrial’ auction as well.   The other auction hasn’t worked through all the stuff I brought them already.

The pile is getting smaller, but very slowly.

Today will be spent.  One way or another, on what I hope or not, but it will be spent.  I’m hoping to get my stuff together for the auction.  I’d like to take some GS cookies to my gun store buddy.  He has been a staunch and generous supporter of the troop but this year he couldn’t afford it.  So I’m bringing him one of each as a gift.   Meatspace.  Tribe.  Network.  Friends.  Call it what you want, you need  to get you some of that.  Strengthen what you already have, look for ways to expand.  Can you help someone out?  Can you do someone a favor?  Can you buy something from them or sell them something they need?  Look for opportunities.

I’ve been adding to my stacks this week.   It feels like it’s already Friday because I’ve gotten some stuff done, despite the lost day and the aching knee.   I need to keep this pace for a couple of weeks … and maybe I’ll get caught up to where I should have been in February.

There is always more to do, more to learn, more to organize, more to fix, more to buy.  Don’t let it overwhelm or paralyze you, do something, even just the first of many small things.   Get the ball rolling.

With that in mind, I haven’t heard anything back from the electrician about the generator hookup.   I haven’t found a replacement truck yet.   And there are still lots of things to go through for my taxes.

Baby steps are still steps.

Keep stacking.


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Wed. Mar. 24, 2021 – nothing to see, move along

Cool and hopefully dry. Yesterday actually got nice at my house, although other parts of Houston got a good soaking.

I was pretty well sidelined by my continuing knee issue yesterday.   And I had some nausea and  gastro-intestinal distress brought on by poor dining choices, or, the constant knee pain.  Or embrace the power of ‘and’…

In any case, I didn’t go out, and I didn’t crawl around on my knees, and I didn’t lift anything heavy.  My brain was not fully engaged in much either.  Every time I start making progress, something knocks me off track.

So today I’m forcing the issue.   I have an appointment to drop off more auction items.  I WILL get out and do that, as long as it’s not raining.  I’ve only got the pickup truck, so I can’t really do it if it’s bucketing down.

I did do the tiniest bit of moving and sorting and organizing.

Later daughter one and I worked the heavy bag for a bit and had a nice chat.  Then we watched some Miami Beach chick fights so she could see what that looks like ‘for realz’.  She made the obvious observation.   There MUST be some video of white ‘youths’ fighting and rioting on Spring Break somewhere, right?  They’re just being suppressed by the white privilege police, right?

And then I went to bed early.  I’ve been trying to get back on a more ‘normal’ schedule, but between the time change and spring break laziness, I have been up too late, and in bed too long.

I’m looking at the news and it occurred to me…  Biden cancelling the Cherry Blossom viewing and closing monuments  keeps tourists from seeing the fence and standing army.   It keeps them from posting pictures for others to see.  When was the last time you saw a picture of the fence or the NG on duty?  They are both still there…

Biden doesn’t want pictures of the holding facilities near the border.   He* knows how bad it looks since they used similar images against Trump.  So we don’t see any.

I have to go to crowd sourced news to see video of the riotous crowds in Miami Beach.   The protected class is doing what it so often does, and that doesn’t fit the narrative.   Now that two of them drugged and raped a white girl, leading to her death- that is making the tabloid press at least.  I expect all kinds of arm waving and then it ends up spun as a caution to stay home in these perilous times.

Various parts of Europe are supposedly hip deep in new china flu cases, but where are the pictures of overwhelmed hospitals?

Is Portland still having nightly troubles?  What’s the status of the takeover at the “Red House” where all those young white kids decided to help those poor black folks with their eviction problem?

How the heck did it become commonplace for our big metro areas and even our secondary and tertiary cities to be 1/3 latino?   Like gun ownership, the  press keeps repeating the same number, as if nothing has changed, but people still keep buying guns, people still keep pouring over the borders.  “10M illegals” my flabby @ss.  When we’ve got 15000 unaccompanied minors in custody in the space of months?  When there are charter bus lines rolling from the border towns to ‘up north’ every day?  When there is a remittance store on every block?  When the billboards are in spanish?

What’s in common with these things and so many more?  “Nothing to see here, move along….”   and then the attention moves along, and the problem fades away.   What other things are we just not even aware of because no one is showing it?  What else is being downplayed, sidestepped, diminished, and when will it ‘come out of nowhere’ to suddenly bite us in the @ss?

Something will, you can count on that.  We got two mass shootings right on schedule…

Keep stacking.




*By Biden I of course mean “Team Biden” and not the empty skinsuit who shuffles on and off stage when prodded.    He should talk to Hillarity’s team of satanists, necromancers, and resurrectionists and find out what they’re using.  He’s always been an ‘also ran’ second stringer though, never could get ‘the good stuff’.

[zika, Acute flaccid myelitis, ebola – all mysteriously NOT in the news]

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Tues. Mar. 23, 2021 – sore, tired, busy

Might be some rain.  Mid 70s or 60s.  Yesterday we got a light mist a couple of times and even a short sprinkle once or twice, but no real rain.  Today we’re supposed to be deeper in the system.

Yesterday was a big nothing for me and my list.   My knee hurt, I was tired, and I basically did a Biden and just stayed in.  The sunburn on my neck wasn’t helping anything either.

All of that means that today I’m playing catch up, even if my knee is bad.  And if it’s bad I might have to try to see someone.   My experience says there isn’t anything to be done about it, but I’d like to know what I damaged, since I must have done more damage than I initially thought.   The Dr that did my knee clean up surgery 12 years ago is no longer available, and my records are probably gone by now anyway.  I’ll have to find someone new.  I hate breaking in new doctors.  Just the history takes pages…

But we’re grid up and doctors are available.  Might as well use the obammalamadingdong care I was forced to buy.

So I better get busy, lots to do.




(keep stacking- got a set of crutches in your preps?)

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Mon. Mar. 22, 2021 – back to school, HAH HAH! /muntz voice

Cooler but also possibly wet.  National forecast has us on the edge of a system, and we usually don’t get the rain in that case, but I guess we could.  Yesterday was absolutely beautiful.   I got a sunburn on my neck while working in the yard.

And yes, the yard is very bright now that we removed the pecan tree in the middle.  On the plus side, my one garden bed should get much more light too.

Spent a couple hours in the yard playing with the wife and kids.  Did some archery.  Did some hitting of the heavy bag.  My 11yo mentioned some time ago that she was interested in learning more about fighting.  I had a kid sized heavy bag show up in the auctions, so I got it.  Took down the trapeze from the ‘play structure’ and hung up the bag today.   Funny how different girls are when throwing a ball or a punch.  I have to constantly remind her to straighten her wrists, but she’s getting it.  We’re going to be doing a lot of palm and elbow strikes and less punching once she gets comfortable.   The goal is to surprise any attacker and open up space to get away, not to win cage matches.

The younger child wanted to hit stuff too, but once she got started all she wanted to do was pester me with ‘what ifs’ and ‘but I want to turn my hand while punching’ and ‘ow that kinda hurts.’  It’s gonna be a bit more of a struggle with that one.  She’s a barracks lawyer in training and her brain goes a thousand miles an hour.

Part of ‘getting through this, whatever this is’ means getting the kids ready to make their way in the world.  They need some physical skills as well as mental, so I’m doing my best to head that way.  There’s always something more to do.

Changing subjects entirely, for the last couple of nights I spun the dial on the shortwave to see what the bands sounded like.   We’re supposed to get increased sunspot activity which improves ham and shortwave radio propagation, so I want to pay attention and see what the baseline is.   Well, nothing spectacular so far.  (and not expected either)   I did get a night with late evening great signal from Tennessee and Cuba, but it faded as it got later.   Usually 5mhz is better later, so that was a bit odd.  Otherwise, it’s been noisy and variable for several days.   Having a shortwave radio is kind of a prepper cliche’, but after years of tuning around and dozens of radios I was pretty sure that in anything short of the zombie apocalypse there wasn’t going to be much point in shortwave listening.

Most of the stations that are readily receivable are fringe religious broadcasters or state propaganda outlets.   Still, the religious stations have news and opinion programming, and even propaganda can give you some information, and tuning the bands to get a rough idea of band conditions is easier with shortwave, so I still recommended people have a good shortwave radio.   The recent increase in ‘cancelling’ conservative voices has changed my mind.   Alex Jones was one of the very first to be cancelled, and he is still on the air, on shortwave radio, getting his message out.  You may think little of his message, but he IS being heard.  The religious broadcasters are almost all VERY conservative when you can tell anything about them, and so some other conservative voices are showing up on their news segments, and in their editorial content.

If things online get worse, the only place you might find a conservative voice is on shortwave.  Hopefully, more people will take advantage of radio, and more of the existing broadcasters will leverage their platform so that there is an increase of opinions and news available.  Shortwave could see a renaissance.   One very good thing about shortwave, no one is tracking the listeners.  (yes, there are ways to confirm someone is listening but you have to know who they are first, generally, to target them.  Not so with online media.)  Get a radio and string up a wire, and get some practice in tuning around the dial.

I’ve talked about radios and what you might hear before.  So did RBT.  Use the keywords for amateur radio and radio and do some reading… especially in the comments.

Today should be spent doing all the stuff I didn’t do this weekend, especially getting more stuff out to auctions for sale.  Weather will determine which stuff moves up and down the list.  Getting the kids up and out the door will be the first challenge…

Back to normal life.  Stack it high!



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