Blogging the Infinite Static

sat 27 sept 2014... stuff in sept: Vegan MoFo

I am not a foodie, and I hate to cook, so I tend to ignore the fact that September is the Vegan Month of Food. But for many of the vegan blogs I watch, this is the only time of year that they post, and it's easy to get excited about some of the great food they write about!

And so the discovery of vegan mac & cheese.

I don't buy very many convenience foods: expensive and not healthy. But I like to try new things from Vegan Essentials every once in a while, and I had a box of the Earth Balance White Cheddar Mac & Cheese laying in the pantry.

And when Vegan Chai kicked off her Vegan MoFo with Mac & Cheese Mondays, I figured I'd give my box of mac & cheese a chance.

Yeah, I loved it. I got addicted in one meal, and now only wonder when I can get my next fix. It's all on backorder... so Earth Balance is pretty much evil for not making enough!

gold finches

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sat 20 sept 2014... Stuff in Sept: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is Sept 21 thru 27, but I like to celebrate all month! Intellectual Freedom is important to me, as a reader and as a human.

Unfortunately, in other parts of the world, the fight for intellectual freedom is actualy a human rights issue. Journalist are kidnapped and killed too often: Committee to Protect Journalists: 711 Journalists Murdered since 1992

I've read 9 of the 46 books on the Banned Classics list. (the same as last year.)

5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
9. 1984, by George Orwell
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron

From the 2000-2009, Top 100 list: 13 books (two more than last year!)

4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
88. The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle

I am currently reading Maya Angelou's autobiography series, which begins with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings... her writing and her stories have me completely under their spell! I'm reading the 3rd book of 7.

From the wikipedia page about Maya Angelou:

Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou used the same "writing ritual" for many years. She would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff was instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to play solitaire, Roget's Thesaurus, and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She would average 10 - 12 pages of written material a day, which she edited down to three or four pages in the evening. Angelou went through this process to "enchant" herself, and as she said in a 1989 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang." She placed herself back in the time she wrote about, even traumatic experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to "tell the human truth" about her life. Angelou stated that she played cards in order to get to that place of enchantment and in order to access her memories more effectively. She stated, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I'm in it - ha! It's so delicious!" She did not find the process cathartic; rather, she found relief in "telling the truth".

Yes! I love to hear about other people's writing habits. Enchanting yourself with serious alone time, solitaire, sherry and a thesaurus?! how wonderful.

banned books


sat 6 sept 2014... Stuff in September: Passenger Pigeons

Martha the Passenger Pigeon died in a zoo on Sept 1, one hundred years ago.

In the early 1800s Passenger Pigeons were the most abundant bird species in North America. They migrated across the continent in flocks that were made up of billions of individuals. Billions!

And humans made Passenger Pigeons extinct. We killed all of them through hunting and mass deforestation.

And we've learned nothing. We continue to kill animals like it doesn't even matter. Sometime through hunting (wolves!), sometimes by mass poisoning (bees!), and mostly by mass destruction of ecosystems (everyone!).

So here is a project to bring awareness... Fold the Flock. I love their About statement:

Fold the Flock is an initiative of The Lost Bird Project, an arts-based environmental non-profit that connects people more deeply with the earth through art.

Yay Art!

Their goal is to reach 1 million origami Passenger Pigeons by the end of the year. They are currently at ~453,500.

And you know, one million sounds like a lot... but it is a tiny fraction of the billions of birds who formerly roamed North America.

Here's my first attempt...

Fold the Flock, origami Passenger Pigeon

I've never done any origami before, and you can see that my folds are not great. Regardless, it still looks good, and it stands all by itself! ha!

I hope you'll try it as well. They have a free download that fits on letter-sized paper that you can print. You will have to cut it down. And you'll have to run the instruction video many times. :)

It's fun learning some origami!

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sat 30 aug 2014... Letter Writing Activist

At the beginning of the year, I was writing letters of protest for Amnesty International every weekend. At some point in February, I stopped receiving my weekly emails from AI.

For a while, I went to the website every weekend and picked a case and wrote for it. It was much harder for me to do this because I was overwhelmed by all the cases. It wasn't long before I quit writing every weekend.

I tried to get back to my letter writing in May, but I only wrote for two weekends. I've thought about it since then... I think about it often, actually... but I can't bring myself to look at the site and wade through all the most recent cases.

So I was thrilled to get an email from the crew at Amnesty International's Urgent Action Network. The email detailed the process of getting the cases to the AI activists, and some of the issues they've had this year. The email said "Please Respond" and I wrote back immediately and with enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, I haven't gotten an immediate response. I'm disappointed. Maybe next week?

Meanwhile, I'm going to write a few letters this weekend.

I am on the email list of both the USA and the UK Amnesty International offices... and I noticed when I sign the UK (email) petitions, they have a tab that hides a letter writing section. They provide a mailing address and the sample text!

Today I wrote a letter based on one of the UK petitions! It was to an embassy in London, I tracked down the ambassador in Washington DC and sent a letter to him as well. The sample text makes this so easy.

I'm also going to be writing a few "Animal Action" cases. I think I'll start with the Mirage Hotel Dolphins and then add some protests to Sea World. You've seen Blackfish, right?

kitty and squirrel

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sun 17 aug 2014... Random

Nobody ever updates around here. I think I need a secretary or something.

We have new summer-time neighbors at the day job...

turkey family

A mom and four kids. We have been putting out cracked corn for them... along with the sunflower seeds we give to the local squirrels!

The above photo was from a month ago. The four kids are quite a bit larger now. The family wandered into the warehouse last friday, just as the FedEx guy was picking up. Gil snapped a few pics on his cell phone before getting our packages into his truck! haha.

Art Journal. I've worked on a couple pages in my new art journal...

art journal

... and there have been experiments. For instance, the back of the left side page of the above spread, had some watercolours on it. The next page after the above spread has a background "painted" with beets. Beets from my community garden plot! ha! How awesome is that?! I don't know what I'm going to draw on that page. Maybe nothing. It's a lovely shade of red-violet. :)

kitty on the path

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sat 26 july 2014... from Blah to Boing!

Last week I was feeling rather disenchanted with all my projects. I knew I had to do something new and different, in order to get my mojo back. But I had no idea what my new and different thing should be.

I went to bed thinking about it, Friday night, and I woke up thinking about it, Saturday morning. I got nothin'. I didn't want to get out of bed, ever.

And then suddenly it hit me.

I literally jumped out of bed and started tearing thru my tubs looking for my favorite crochet hook and some fun string.

I made two dish cloths last weekend. It was exactly what I needed. The thinking time. Keeping my hands busy. And making something.

two dish cloths

I'm not sure when I last crocheted, but my last crochet blog entries were posted in 2011. Well, I don't think I will continue crocheting... it was a one weekend deal and now I'm done. I think!

So this week, I am back to my postcard projects. I won't be able to get my letter writing goals attended to before the end of the month like I wanted... but that's okay. I've got some other stuff going on anyway.

Including the Community Garden plot. I've eaten yellow zucchini every day this week for the first time. and today I brought home the first significant haul of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.

zuc and tom

Sun Golds are the yummiest. The first Lemon cucumber is about ¾ grown! And I think we will be overwhelmed with butternut squashes! Oh, and I'm bringing home an occasional beet, as well. I'm not sure how they have organized themselves so perfectly, but one is ready to be pulled up about every other week. Just the one, and that is all. nice!

And... someone else's art, which I noticed on the walk home from the garden...

Sidewalk graffiti

"Pick up garbage = ♡"

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USA International Stamp Sun, 20 Jul 2014 07:47:43 PDT
July Mail Goals
Greeting Card: may june july
Letters: short short long long short
Postcards: 25 50 75 100

sat 12 july 2014... goals, updates, odds & ends

My mailbox is happy most every day, but when I receive a letter from a friend whom I've not heard from in a while, I am especially happy. I've received two such letters recently... but when I went through my records, I realized that I have not sent any such happy letters to others in months! oh dear!

So, I am here making a public statement of my mailing goals for July: Catch up with my Greeting Card project; Write at least four reply letters, two short letters and two long letters; and Keep up my usual postcard pace of about 100 per month...

LetterMo International Achievement Sat, 12 Jul 2014 16:28:46 PDT
July Mail Goals
Greeting Card: may june july
Letters: short short long long short
Postcards: 25 50 75 100

mailbox in the garden

The community garden plot continues to be awesome... I've been eating zucchini for every meal on the weekends, and I was able to add one week day meal this past week! (I know: soon I'll be sick of zucchini and I'll want to pay people to take them off my hands! ha! meantime, I am enjoying them immensely!)

sun gold cherry tomatoes

Ate 3 cherry tomatoes this morning... I wish they would hurry up! Will gather another beet tomorrow. The butternut squash is taking over the plot, it's leaves and vines are covering about 6 square feet (almost 2 square meters) and I'm a little concerned about how many butternut squashes I'm going to have to eat!

And the "Odds & Ends"...

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sat 5 july 2014... Independence Day Weekend


Yep, we went out to see the fireworks. I had fun, but think next year we'll have to find a new place to watch... The fireworks didn't seem to go up as high this year, and most of the explosions were half hidden by the trees at the bottom of this pic! disappointing!

Plus, I need to remember to study my camera settings before I leave the house! ha. I just guessed on one of the night settings, since this cam doesn't have a specific "fireworks" setting. humph.

And this morning, a trip to the garden...

Baby Butternut

We've got a baby butternut squash! Ate a couple cherry tomatoes today. And the lemon cucumber plant is finally getting serious about growing. Couple more beets will be ready to pull up maybe next weekend.

And I'll be picking the 4th yellow Gold Rush zucchini tomorrow...

sharing space

It's a little bit hard to see in the above pic because of the morning sunlight, but that is a volunteer tomato plant on the right! ha!

We had a volunteer tomato plant last year as well, but it didn't amount to much, tho it did make a few tomatoes. This one looks much healthier! It's interesting because the only tomatoes we plant are hybrids, which shouldn't be able to reproduce. But, I guess "Life Finds A Way"! :)

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fri 4 july... USA, Hobby Lobby Decision

I try to avoid politics, but this thing annoys me so much, I feel I should type something about it.

On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations may claim religious rights to be exempt from Obamacare's mandatory coverage for birth control. Basically, Hobby Lobby will not cover certain forms of birth control in the health insurance they provide to their employees.

This is horrifing on so many levels. Not paying for birth control in your health plan? What century do we live in? And then, we are granting ever more individual rights to corporations. And also, it is opening the door a little wider on the "war on women".


I am not happy with the Hobby Lobby decision, and I am not proud to live in a country where corporate rights trump the rights of people.

Enough of that. Here is some cuteness relief...

guinea pigs, Ethel and Lucy

That's Ethel eating some beet greens and Lucy who has snubbed the beet greens and wonders what she's supposed to eat. haha.

Update: 12 July

Thanks to Aimee Dars for the link...

Knit a Brick, Secular Coalition for America

I am supporting this campaign!


sat 28 june 2014... an overdue update

It's been over a month since my last post here. I miss this. Typing up a post, and uploading my photos is enjoyable. I should do it more often!

The snow peas were not very successful this year, only a couple handfuls were gathered. The beets (a new experiment this year) are good -- three pulled up so far, and a bunch of little ones that still need to grow up! I ate my first (Gold Rush) yellow zucchini today! and the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes will hopefully get going soon. The butternut squash (another first year experiment) is nice and big and thinking about some blossoms.

Gold Rush zucchini

Mailing Projects
I have managed to fall behind on my personal mailing projects... which is to say, more behind than usual! ha. But I'm working on it this weekend, want to get the "May" postcards out the door. I have abandoned my Amnesty International writing again, and I've not even written any Animal Letters either. Not to mention my LetterMo replies. I guess I was taking a break, but I'm ready to get writing again now!

USA Forever Stamps: Song Birds

Art Journal
Decided I should occasionally use some of the art tools I buy! I'm aiming to work in my new blank book once a week. Last Weekend: Copics + Tombows. I think I would like to focus on illustrating some quotes... Mostly working on the lettering. maybe some drawing too?

House Projects
I have been taking a year-long Space Clearing online class. It's going amazingly well. It's amazing because I'm still looking at the daily lessons! I typically start ignoring online classes after two weeks, and here I am, still going strong six months into the class! ha!

Little things, here and there, get cleaned or taken care of. With house stuff, I have learned to ask for help and my partner has done some amazing things around here. My big goal, tho, is to take care of the piles in my bedroom. well... the best I can say about that is that it hasn't gotten much worse. *shakes head* At least I'm on the path!

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sun 25 may 2014... happy Garden trip

Last weekend, we bought some vege starts at Saturday Market and planted them right away. I meant to go back to the garden plot the next day (sunday) to get some weeding done, but it rained all day.

So I was very eager to visit our community garden plot this weekend. Not only for the weeding that needed to be done, but also to see how the starts fared.

Status of Starts: two out of three are growing happily. The lemon cucumber might need to be replaced.

Status of Weeding: yes, lots of grass got chopped and hoed and generally killed. I was feeling very pleased with my efforts and when I returned the hoe to the tool shed, one of the community gardeners called me over...

"Do you have lettuce?" he asked. "No, I don't," thinking what an odd question.
"Would you like to take some lettuce? I'm taking care of a friend's plot, and all this lettuce is ready to go." "heck yeah, I'd love some!"

Funny thing is, I was going to plant some lettuce seeds after I put away my hoe! Instead, I brought back several whole lettuce plants, thank you Marilyn! I stuffed them in my backpack and decided I had to walk home immediately or else they would wilt!

I got a bit distracted on the way home tho...

I had discovered an invasive red-eared slider turtle at the creek mid-April. And yesterday I saw her again, a little further upstream.

invasive red eared turtle

and then the ducklings! A mom with 5 children. Then the mom with the 2 older kids, that I saw last weekend. And a mom with 6 babies! Delightful! but hard to get decent pictures of them swimming...

6 ducklings

And then I got home and shared the lettuce with the piggies...

guinea pigs munching


sat 17 may 2014... spring babies


Does it get any cuter than that?! This bunch -- mom with 11 babies! -- was wandering through the parking lot at the day job. There isn't a pond or any water nearby so I was a bit worried about them.

But our resident birder said the mom mallard would feed them bugs from the fields... maybe mom was waiting to cross the street later in the day.

Also, at the day job... There is an osprey nest at the top of a cell tower. It's probably a couple blocks away, but we set up a spotting scope in the upstairs art department and watched them last spring. Unfortunately, they lost the babies. (Predation from other ospreys?) And then even more unfortunately, in the autumn stupid humans tore down their nest. Arg!

Well, the ospreys came back this spring and complained loudly. They went away for about a month, but now they are back. They've decided to rebuild!

ospreys rebuilding

(just hoping the ospreys didn't want baby duck for dinner!)
and it seems a bit late in the season to be building a nest. Will they try for some late babies? Or is this prep for next year?

And, in my own neck of the woods...

creek ducklings

some much older mallard ducklings. Just the two, and mom was close.

It's been years since I've seen baby ducks at the creek... the ducks get fed bread by misinformed human parents at Ducky Hill. The ducks gobble it up, but it's not good for them. None of our ducks have the deformed feathers that have shown up in other local park duck populations (Angel Wing, incurable). But a lack of babies is definitely a sign of malnutrition via bread.

So two mallard younglings is cause for celebration!


sun 4 may 2014... time

Turns out, the weekends are never long enough.

ha! Oh well. For may I've decided to go forward -- and not have any guilt for the projects I've abandoned!

So. Here is something that caught my attention today, that I wanted to type about...

Going through my feeds this weekend, I came across this post at UPSP Stamps: Latest Issue of USA Philatelic Now Available.

I realized I had somehow gotten off the USPS mailing list, so I signed up for that again. But then I noticed the author bio in the right sidebar:

Favorite stamp: My favorite stamp features a black-and-white photograph of designer Ray Eames holding a Christmas ornament over her husband's head. The stamp is from the 2010 Charles + Ray Eames stamp pane, and it always makes me smile. I love how joyful they look.

Well, I don't have the cool drawing of myself, that Mary has... but I do have an urge to answer the questions posed in that sidebar!

Favorite Stamp I really love the current postcard stamp, a hummingbird. But my absolute favorites are from the Nature series: the Kelp Forest...

Kelp Forest Stamp set

Three things I always have with me My camera, no matter what! I carry my back pack with me most of the time. Inside: my backup camera, the current magazine I'm reading, pens and mechanical pencils, some cash, and a clif bar or two.

Favorite way to spend my spare time Spare time? That would be nice! If I had some I'd be: Reading, Making postcards from my photography, and Internetting.

The last book I read Just finished The Golden Notebook it was very long and rambling, but I enjoyed it.

One thing I can't live without ha! my printer and computer? But when civilization crashes, I will really miss hot showers. But "can't live without"? I have more books than I can read in a lifetime... I think it's the books that I can't live without!

My favorite place in the United States My former life involved moving every 3 or 4 years... but I have finally found my Forever Home in Eugene Oregon.

The best meal I ever had an All Vegan restaurant here in town called Cornbread Cafe... every single item on their menu is complete and utter bliss!

Life motto Get Away From Me, You Stupid People!
(Yeah, I'm a little bit asocial!)


fri 25 apr 2014... flashing amber 5 times

I had other things I was going to type about today, unfortunately my printer gets precedence.

Canon i9900 printer

The printer died suddenly this afternoon. I am annoyed, but not as frantic as I was the last time it happend. Which was last July. Which means the printer is not even a year old. Which makes me further annoyed, since the first one lasted at least 2.5 years.

But I know what the problem is and I know what the solution is. It's a bit expensive, and there is a good chance the replacement won't work properly either and I'll have to return it for another. Whatever: been there, done that, no big deal. However...

I use my printer extensively and having the printer down, completely disrupts my life. I print my own postcards, and I make and send 25 or 40 every week. Not being able to do that for a week or two?

Yes, I'll survive. But this is the hobby that gives me joy. This is the hobby that makes me excited to get out of bed on Saturday mornings.

A week or two of store-bought postcards. ugh. I'll probably survive...

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sun 20 april 2014... Lab Animal Liberation Week

Okay, nevermind about the long pause in the blogging. Just re-arranging some stuff in the life!

And also I got bored with the mail related blog posts, here. I never meant for this site to be about postcards and letters only, and that's what it has become. Yes, making snail mail is a big part of my life... but I am a well-rounded human with many interests! :) And Static8 should reflect that!

So today I want to type about World Day for Laboratory Animals. The British National Anti-Vivisection Society dedicated a day on 24 April 1979, which is the birthday of a former NAVS president. The day, and now the week, is celebrated by demonstrations and protests by animal activists who want to end the use of animals in research.

As a vegan who cares for two sweet guinea pigs, animal testing is a topic that is important to me. Adopting guinea pigs is part of my animal activism.

the piggies

(sorry for the terrible pic, but they are both in it! Lucy in front, Ethel wondering what's going on.)

Please take a moment and think about some of the products you use. How about switching your shampoo to one with the leaping bunny logo? Don't give any more money to charities that experiment on animals. Support Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine instead.

Yay Vegan!

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Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:48:06 PDT
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 21
Reply Mail: zero
Amnesty International: zero

I had to take a break from the daily mail this week. But still... not a bad week with 21 postcards sent!

Sat, 15 Mar 2014 18:45:13 PDT
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 23
Reply Mail: 3
Amnesty International: zero!
Instead, I worked on an Animal "Urgent Action" case last weekend: Oppose the Sportsmens Bills

Sat, 08 Mar 2014 09:31:57 PDT
Weekly Mail Check-in
Total Mail: 29
Reply Mail: 3
Amnesty International: One case
(Total AI cases this year: 6)

sat 1 mar 2014... Amnesty International

Amnesty International

I joined Amnesty International in December 2011 with their Write for Rights campaign, and shortly after that I joined the Urgent Action letter writing campaign. In 2012, I wrote letters for 40 cases. In 2013, I wrote for 37 cases.

My tentative goal for 2014 was to write for an Urgent Action case every weekend. Except, I've not been very dedicated: I've only written for 5 cases so far and this is the 9th weekend of the year!

Well, it doesn't help that I've not been receiving the emails... I'm signed up for a weekly message, where they send one current but random case. Since I've not been getting the emails, I've been going to the site to pick out a case.

And there are just so many to choose from.

I like the fact that I can choose a case that I'm interested in and passionate about. But the whole process takes longer: sifting through all the current cases, then writing longer letters because of my interest, and really hemming and hawing over the words and language I use because I want to get it right. ha!

AI, Urgent Action envelopes

I print my letters on coloured paper... today it was green. and I always decorate my Urgent Action envelopes. I hope it catches their attention. But I sometimes wonder what they actually think about it. :)

I'm hoping to get 2 cases written this weekend. Today I am writing for a Syria case... a Kurd postal worker was disappeared by the government in March 2012 and has not been heard from since. Unfortunately, the postal system in Syria is so unreliable the case sheet only gives fax numbers. It's sad and ironic that the postman they took is probably dead of torture.

It's hard, being confronted with these life and death situations, and people really are being tortured to death right now and every day. Sickening.

But I can't ignore it, and writing for Amnesty International is my way of dealing with it.

And then I go for a walk.
Nature cleanses my mind and soul.

Chickadee, dee, dee.

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LetterMo Mail Fri, 28 Feb 2014 19:18:47 PST
Weekly Mail Check-in
This Week: 26 mailings
Total LetterMo Mail: 150 mailings

Now the replies need to be written!

rifts avatar
I am rift vegan!
(Also known as cheri.)
I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, with my Significant Other (SO), and guinea pigs Lucy and Ethel. I am vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, my love for animals and nature is a very important part of my life.
        This blog is occasionally about...
Vegan Life
Handmade Postcards
Books, Reading & eBooks
the Paper Journal
Drawing & Art Projects
Randomness :)

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Art 2014
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Yep, you can email me. and you can write to me.

rift vegan
PO Box 23724
Eugene OR 97402



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