Feb 17 - Feb 23

Five Things for the Week

Hello there, I hope you had a great week. Mine was “eventful”, though I can’t (yet) tell you why. If things continue the way that I hope they do, next week’s newsletter will have some big news.

You’ll see this reflected below, as it will read like I’m stalling for time instead of just telling you what I can’t yet tell you. For this I apologize.

I will say, I’m happy and excited. I’m proud of things I did and accomplished. I’m grateful for what I have and where I am. It’s a good place to be.

Have a great week!

[one] but we need to get back to planning things to do on weekends

We had another relaxing, no commitment weekend. It was much needed as we both needed rest and recovery. I fell a little behind in schoolwork during the week and used the weekend to catch up. While we did a few chores and made it outside to get a few things done, any time we thought about going out to do anything “bigger” we couldn’t quite muster the energy or willpower to do so. Not a complaint; sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy being a homebody. 

[two] you just can’t go wrong basing your stories on dogs

Social Media platforms have become annoying for me. The only reason I check Twitter anymore is with the hope of reading through another of Blair Braverman’s threads where she tells stories about her sled dogs, either focusing on an event or a specific dog’s personality traits (or learning experience). It’s probably the most pure, joyful thing being shared on that platform on a regular basis. It continually feeds my daydream of owning a big plot of land to use as an open shelter for dogs and cats. 

[three] blah blah photography blah blah

I stopped at a local camera store to check it out and ended up having a good conversation with one of the sales reps about photography. We talked mostly about taking photographs for ourselves, making it a more personal and intentional experience. This takes the intent away from sharing online (on social media) for views and likes and any other stats the platforms offer. He also talked me through is workflow form camera to printing and arranging them into photo albums and books, which had me intrigued. 

Intrigued because it’s something I have been “trending” towards over the past few weeks. I’m taking photographs but not posting them anywhere, instead queuing them up to have prints made sometime in the near future. Eventually I want to cover my home office walls with photographs I have taken. 

I’m grateful for that conversation; it was nice to talk about the process and end game of photography instead of equipment and technical specifications. An added bonus is that the rep was Korean American and gave me some recommendations for Korean restaurants to check out. 

[four] you could call it meditation

The best (recent) decision I made is to make time for myself to do nothing. You could call it meditation; I just refer to it as time for me to think. No distractions, screens and devices or otherwise. It’s a time to just let my mind wander without trying to constrain or reroute, or negate the thoughts. It has calmed me in a lot of ways. 

This week’s “time to think” has helped me realize:

  • My current professor is excellent. He is extremely smart, detailed, and stringent in his grading. And he has challenged me to be better, increasing quality of work and encouraging me to continue putting my own perspective into the assignments (rather than just completing them for the optimal grade). I need more people around me with this kind of influence. I also want to be this kind of influence for others. 

  • I like to travel. I do not like business travel (even though it has given me many opportunities that I don’t think I otherwise would have had). I need to do better to take more advantage of traveling personally and leisurely, depending less on business travel opportunities. Related: I love road trips and want to get back to taking more of them.

  • I can apply John A. Shedd’s quote “A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” to so many aspects of my life, and increase quality and happiness in doing so.

  • Also, I want to apply the Chinese proverb “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now” more frequently to my life.

[five] the kitchen is going to get busy

This week, I decided that I want to learn how to make more Asian food to add into our rotation, specifically Korean, Chinese, and Thai. I have some cookbooks and the equipment to get me started. I just need to frequent the Asian markets more often for better ingredients.

I was also reading through Gabriela Cámala’s cookbook and want to work my way through some of her recipes. 

Slightly related: I didn’t realize how many cookbooks I have that I haven’t yet made any recipes from. It lead me to realize that I purchased a lot of them to just read through, as though they were novels. Does anyone else do this?

Recently Read

How to Do Nothing, by Jenny Odell - This was a surprisingly deep dive into the attention economy, going into the history of human attention and concepts, and discussing how they apply to our world and cultural systems today. It was eye opening in a lot of cases. This isn’t a self-help book. It’s not a “how to be more mindful” book. It’s absolutely worth your time. 

Re: re: re: re: - “A glimpse inside the lives of asylum-seekers, new couples, prisoners, and pen pals through their letters, texts, WhatsApp messages, and Facebook posts”. Fascinating. The many different ways we communicate, what we share, and the varying levels of sentiment and importance we assign to it. Fascinating.

Recently Watched

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - currently at s4 e9. The Visitor! What an excellently written and performed episode. Jake Sisko has quickly become one of my favorite characters. The addition of Worf this season has made the series significantly better. I especially like the “clashing” between Worf and Odo. 

Star Trek: Generations - We watched this partly because we needed a small fix of the Next Generation crew and partly to make sure we weren’t missing any story/canon references as we continues through Deep Space Nine. 

Recently Listened

This week’s rotation included Mala Rodriguez, Peggy Gou, Rush, Pearl Jam, and The Black Crowes

KEXP Music That Matters, Vol. 709 - New Planetary Vibrations -  This was a good mix; I played this a lot, in the background, while working.

[Podcast] Criminal: Call Russ Ewing - We need more people standing up for others. 

Recently Posted (on the blog)

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You want more? Ok… Are you sure? Ok… My website is swtlo.com. A lot of my photos are on Flickr, and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @ptrcktlln.

Feb 10 - Feb 16

Five Things for the Week

Hello! My cold is still hanging on. It’s the character in an action movie that is hanging by one hand from the edge of a cliff, and I’m the character that is taunting it by stepping on its fingers and laughing as its inching ever so closer to falling off.

I had a lot of good conversations, this week. Most were online but a few in-person. You know what their overall underlying theme was? Life is too short to not be yourself. And, take the time to genuinely enjoy being yourself.

Have a great week everyone! Please go out and enjoy just being you.

[one] another peak into how my mind works (or doesn’t work)

I got into my car to go to a meeting and, upon seeing the odometer at 12000mi, I seriously thought about leaving the car and taking a Lyft/Uber so that I wouldn’t mess up the even number.

[two] just keep bringing meat and sides until we pass out, please

We both had Friday off and decided to try out Daikon Korean BBQ, recently opened in our neighborhood. As we both had the day off of work (long story but, we originally planed to go away this long weekend) we opted to go mid-afternoon to 1) beat the Valentine’s Day rush and 2) so we wouldn’t be stuffed full of food late into the evening. 

We weren’t the only ones with that line of thinking. There was a decent crowd arriving at the same time we did. I loved the atmosphere and decor of the place; it was modern and clean, with a good use of space. It was “AYCE” (all you can eat) so, in the interest of “splurging” and wanting to try a little bit of everything, we opted for the higher price tier and sampled as many things as we could. 

I ordered items with no rhyme or reason, again just wanting to try as many different dishes as we could. Usually, when I order, I take more care in pairing tastes, proteins (meats), and sides. I tried the Korean Mule and I can honestly say that a Korean Mule > Moscow Mule. It was all really good; definitely worth coming back to this place to get a Korean food fix.

Overall it ranked above average against other Korean BBQ restaurants I have experienced. I think the banchan quality and choices could have been better, and I missed not having a mix of lettuces and perilla leaves, sauces, and garlic to make wraps. Being that they just opened, I’m sure there will be improvements with time. I’m also very happy to see more Korean choices around here.

[three] i like to hold one and pretend i’m a giant

Our grocery store had a bucket of Rockit apples which intrigued me. They are small, as shown in the above photo with a “regular” sized avocado and a Cutie (mandarin) for scale. And, I have to say, they’re perfect. Sometimes a whole apple is too much apple, you know? These take a few bites (3-5 for me) to finish, and I feel like I got the right amount of sweet and crunch after finishing one. I want all of my fruits to come in miniature sizes from now on. Well, except avocados. Those should never be miniature.

[four] sleep is good*

You know what is moving higher on my overall list of priorities? Sleep. Sleep is good. Since I returned from Sweden, I have been averaging a little over 7-hours of sleep per night and it feels wonderful. Must continue this trend. 

[five] daily affirmation with stuart smalley was an underrated sketch**

I had a great, 90-minute discussion with colleagues about challenges in business analysis, project management, and the overall SDLC (software development life cycle) that reaffirmed 1) I am on the right track professionally, and doing the thing that I want to be doing, 2) I know/understand more than I give myself credit for, and 3) of course, most of the issues are people issues, not system issues. 

Recently Read

Clotilda: America’s last slave ship stole them from home It couldn’t steal their identities - National Geographic’s heart-wrenching story, and accompanying photographs, is a stark reminder of how dark this part of US history is. Especially poignant is seeing photographs of the slaves’ descendants next to their pictures.

It’s Time We Give the Mexican Combo Platter the Credit It Deserves - Patricia Escárcega’s wonderful piece on the combo platter, which is one of my favorite things to order when trying new Mexican Restaurants. I love the swirl of melted colors and, as she writes, the classic “Careful! Hot plate!” that comes with it. 

I Trained Myself to Be Less Busy - and it Dramatically Improved My Life - I want to get to this point. It’s a change of mindset; accepting that it is okay to not be busy. Busy is not a badge of honor. 

The Curious Case of the Bog Bodies - This really stokes the imagination. 

Recently Watched

Deep Space Nine - currently at s3 e23. Where the season starts to drag (for me) is when each episode centers around one character. There was a span of Chief O’Brien and Dr. Bashir centric episodes that weren’t my favorite (The Next Generation, and all of the other series, really, did this too. So many Data episodes). I love the episodes where there is a complex plot where all of the characters seem equally involved. I will give props to the Sisko and Jake relationship. The writers have done a really good job around their father-son dynamics. 

Does photographing a moment steal the experience from you? - Erin Sullivan’s TED Talk resonates with me. 

Recently Listened

This week’s rotation included Eric Clapton, Amy Winehouse, Paramore, Live, and Def Leppard. 

[Podcast] Clearstory, “Rebuilding Paradise: Holding onto Home” - Even after hearing these stories about the recovery efforts in Paradise, it’s still difficult to imagine having to go through it all. 

Recently Posted (on the blog)

Post notes:

* I deleted paragraphs about racism, adoption, and emotional triggers that, while important that I write about them, I’m not ready to share.

** “I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate feedback, suggestions, and any other conversation you want to have. Just reply to this email!

If you know anyone who might enjoy this newsletter please feel free to share.

Share Five Things for the Week

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You want more? Ok… Are you sure? Ok… My website is swtlo.com. A lot of my photos are on Flickr, and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @ptrcktlln.

Feb 3 - Feb 9

Five Things for the Week

Hello! I almost forgot to send this out. I have been under the weather this week, fighting off a cold (that I hear has been going around) and catching up on some much needed sleep.

The above photo is a common scene I experienced during Games. While that isn’t my workspace (I support the people whose workspace that is), I love the atmosphere of it. Getting to watch the athlete compete while working with technology that runs the competition. It’s quite the view.

Have a great week!

[one] going to miss this loc

It’s very unfortunate that the 2021 Games have to be relocated from Sweden. This Local Organizing Committee (LOC) is a passionate group of people who are very enjoyable to work with. They’re one of the more fun and collaborative LOCs that I have worked with in a long while. These games went well and would have established a great baseline for us to continue building on for the next year. I hate that we lose that momentum and opportunity. I really do hope that there’s another chance to work with them soon.

[two] nothing like being home

It’s good to be home. No matter how long or short the trips are, there are very few things better than the feeling of walking through your own front door and sleeping in your own bed.

[three] that’s a bold choice

I saw this storefront while walking around the downtown area of Ostersund. I’m not sure what kind of store this was, part of it looked like an office building but another part looked like a hair salon(?). I remember looking at the shark and thinking, “well, that’s a bold choice” followed by “I need more bold choices in my life” followed by, “should I hang a shark in my office?”

[four] always sick after winter events

Like clockwork, I came home sick from working a Winter Games. My throat was scratchy, sinuses stuffed up, and was running a fever off and on, which made the flights home even more miserable. I suppose there is some solace in knowing that it’s not just me, and that the cold/flu has been going around. Though that hasn’t made these last few days any more bearable.

[five] have you ever eaten a bat?

To add to it all, the side eyes and other miscellaneous looks I was getting, as an Asian man any time I coughed, was enough to make me want to hide in a hole for fear of being mobbed. Yes, I’ve seen the stories about racism online, against Asian people, regarding the Coronavirus. It’s pretty bad. Between the “jokes” and the outright cruelty… it’s bad. I un-followed two extended family members on Facebook because of some of the “jokes” they were posting. And while it wasn’t overt racism, this experience came from my Lyft driver upon being picked up at the airport: 

Lyft Driver pulls curbside: Are you Patrick?
Me: Yes. 
LD: Where did you come from? 
Me: Sweden
LD: Sweden? Where’s that? (no joke, he didn’t know where it was)
Me: Northern Europe. 
LD: Are you Chinese?
Me: No. Listen, if you’re uncomfortable I can request another Lyft…
LD:  It’s ok, you can get in. I’m just being careful, you know? 
Me: I have been through three airports on the way here. They would have stopped me if there was concern. 
LD: So, if you’re not from China, where are you from? 
Me: *rolls eyes* LA (my go to response when I don’t want to get into it). 
LD, while driving: So I heard that this (Coronavirus) started with some Chinese eating a bat. Have you ever eaten a bat? 
Me: No man. 
LD: You guys eat some crazy sh*t.
Me: *stares*

He eventually got the hint that I didn’t want to talk and thankfully just turned up the music and drove. And even more thankfully, the ride was short. I have had worse Lyft rides but this one came after 25 hours of travel. I’m actually surprised I didn’t snap. 

There’s a level of ignorance out there that I will never understand. 

Recently Read

I Survived the Warsaw Ghetto. Here Are the Lessons I’d Like to Pass On. - History does, indeed, repeat itself.

Why Tourism Should Die - and Why It Won’t - travel is one thing that has forever changed (and continues to change) my perspective on people and the world we live in. To travel is a privilege that I wish everyone could experience. And while tourism itself shouldn’t “die”, there has to be a better, more mindful, more respectful way to do it.

How Andre Iguodala handled his rare NBA sabbatical - Knowing your worth and what you want to accomplish, not settling for anything less. That’s what I took from this.

Sorry, keto fans, you’re probably not in ketosis - Diet and nutrition science is so primitive considering how much we don’t understand about it all. Which is one of the reasons why we have so many different diet fads.

Recently Watched

Snowpiercer - I missed this movie when it was first released and watched it on a flight home. I liked the unique approach and stylized way the scenes were put together but, there were a lot of things I couldn’t get past, like how a train wouldn’t be able to keep running for as long as it had without someone maintaining the tracks. Maybe there’s more in the book that explains this?

The Good Place, series finale - I have said it before; I like when a television series ends at their peak rather than play out for years. This was the perfect length of run for a series and way to end.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - currently at s3 e9. The introduction of the Dominion and Odo finding his home world was very well done. What is boggling is now with the constant threat of the Dominion, Starfleet hasn’t offered or sent any reinforcements other than giving the DS9 crew a ship (the Defiant). Especially after losing a Galaxy-class ship in the process. A wormhole that connects two sides of the galaxy is under threat and Starfleet is like, “Here’s one barely-tested ship. Let us know how it goes.”

Recently Listened

This week’s rotation included Courtney Barnett, GOWE, Collective Soul, Mala Rodriguez, and Concrete Blonde.

[Podcast] NPR Short Wave: A Coronavirus Listener Q&A Episode

Recently Posted (on the blog)

Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate feedback, suggestions, and any other conversation you want to have. Just reply to this email!

If you know anyone who might enjoy this newsletter please feel free to share.

Share Five Things for the Week

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You want more? Ok… Are you sure? Ok… My website is swtlo.com. A lot of my photos are on Flickr, and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @ptrcktlln.

Jan 27 - Feb 2

Five Things for the Week

Hello from Östersund, Sweden. The above photo is from the top of a tower next to the office I work from, while onsite. It’s quite the view; a 360 degree view of the town.

It’s cold and beautiful here. We’re getting more daylight than we did during last month’s visit, with the sun already out around 7:30 am and setting just after 4:00 pm. The Games are going well and everyone seems to be having a lot of fun, which is all we can ask for.

Have a great week!

[one] the right team makes a difference

It’s Games week, here in Östersund and Are Sweden. This week was spent on final onsite preparations, including some more user training and systems integration testing. Yesterday was the first day of divisioning (competition) and Opening Ceremonies. Competition goes through Thursday. 

Once competition kicks in, our team of system operators takes over and my role is just to provide support, both technical and moral. I float between venues to help troubleshoot as needed but, mostly, I’m stationed in the Games Systems Operations Office.

During Games, I send a daily email to all of them with updates, motivational stories, and sometimes a comic that pertains to a situation we all faced. Just to keep things light.

We have a great team onsite. They care about what they’re doing and they don’t mind the long hours. Because of that, and many other things, it makes my job very very easy for the remainder of the Games. 

I’m grateful for this.  

[two] quiet, dark walks through the town

It’s a 20-30 minute walk from my hotel to the Games office. There’s also a recurring shuttle, which I take when I need to be somewhere and it’s time sensitive. But I have been walking when possible because I like the quiet. And not just in the sense that I’m usually walking alone. The snow acts as a nice sound dampener, and the walks usually occur early morning and late evening. It’s just... calming, being among the quiet, breathing in fresh, cold air, and seeing the landscape looking clean and undisturbed (as it’s covered in snow). 

The other day, I took my time was walking back. I wandered through neighborhoods and side streets, to get a better feel for the town, and eventually ended up near City Hall. Ostersund is a town of just over 50k people. It feels like some of the cities in Ventura County (CA), which is probably why I feel so comfortable here. 

[three] worth the extra weight to travel with

I’m thankful that I brought an actual camera (as opposed to just relying on my iPhone). I haven’t been able to get out and photograph as much as I want though, the few times I did, I very much appreciated having it with me.

[four] I’m surprisingly used to falling down

Early mornings and late evenings it’s icy around here. Some of the sidewalks and pedestrian bridges are treacherous at times. I have fallen a few times in the first few days I was here. Lately I seem to have gotten the hang of walking, slipping, but not fully falling. I look like a really bad figure skater in doing so. 

Related: Right before the trip I bought a bigger backpack so I can carry more things more comfortably. The downside of this is that my bigger backpack acts as a bit of a “turtle shell” so, when I fall and land on my back, it’s a little challenging to get up.   

[five] not homesick but ready to go home

For Major Games I’m usually onsite for 7-14 days at a time. My longest trip has been 21 days. I do get homesick, usually towards the end, where all I want to do is sleep in my own bed. Part of what intensifies this is, lately, I have started to see things that we can do to lessen the amount of time we’re needed onsite. Hopefully I can implement some of those things in time for the next Games. 

Recently Read

I haven’t had time to really read anything, this week. I haven’t read much outside of things related to our competition systems and the Games. 

Recently Watched

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)- Meh. 

The Revenant (2015)- At the end of the movie, my only thought was “was it necessary for this movie to had been made?” I just hate movies where you watch someone suffer the whole time.

Recently Listened

This week’s rotation included David Bowie, Rachael Yamagata, ABBA, and Ace of Base

My colleagues created an all-Swedish music group playlist that plays in the background while we’re working (hence the ABBA and Ace of Base). 

Recently Posted (on the blog)

Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate feedback, suggestions, and any other conversation you want to have. Just reply to this email!

If you know anyone who might enjoy this newsletter please feel free to share.

Share Five Things for the Week

If you received this as a forward, and like what you read, please consider subscribing.

You want more? Ok… Are you sure? Ok… My website is swtlo.com. A lot of my photos are on Flickr, and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @ptrcktlln.

Jan 20 - Jan 26

Five Things for the Week

Hello there. This has been sent out while I am en route to Sweden. Scheduled posts sometimes come in very handy. My next few weeks will be dedicated to doing my part for this event, which I’m looking forward to.

It’s the events that rejuvenate me even though we end up working almost 24/7 during them. There’s something about being among volunteers and athletes that makes everything else so worthwhile.

Have a great week!

[one] you just jammed that pun in there… and for no reason

Monday was a holiday and I took measures to ensure that I didn’t do any work or school. Which, in retrospect, was both awesome and painful.

It was awesome because it was a whole day spent floating around with no commitments. I went out mid-morning, after relaxing and sipping coffee on our couch, to photograph. I didn’t have anywhere specific in mind but assumed that I would end up in downtown to do a little street photography.

I actually ended up at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, just a few miles west of home and, somewhere we drive past frequently. It has always been on my list of places to check out and I’m glad I took the opportunity to. And while the sky was overcast and grey, and it was a bit cold out, I slowly wandered through taking time to watch birds and take in the scenery. I spent about 45 minutes alone just watching a single egret (and I have no egrets about it. Ha!). Here’s a link to couple pictures of it. It was so relaxing. And it’s definitely a place I’ll frequent for photography.

Afterwards I treated myself to lunch at Tres Hermanas in East Sacramento. So good. The afternoon was spent vegging out at home.

The downside to this was me losing out on a full day to get a bunch of work and school done. Which, fortunately, I made up for later in the week but, that required some long days and evenings in front of a computer.

[two] you don’t want to know the context

Here are some (very) out of context things that I said to other people, this week:

“Hey, if Josh Gad can be famous, you can too.”

“Sometimes you want the authentic street taco, sometimes you want the crunchy taco from Taco Bell. There’s no shame.”

“Yeah that’s fine. You might want to turn off your webcam though. We’re trying to get through a meeting here.”

“I would bet on Beaker over the Swedish Chef 9 out of 10 times!”

“Just because you ‘meow’ at me doesn’t mean that you… oh, nevermind. Here you go.”

[three] we work so well together

My wife, after seeing my socks: You think you should throw those away? They have a few holes in them.

Me: I will wear these until they disintegrate off of my feet!

My wife: *eye roll. walks away*

~end scene~

[four] she’s my lobster

I fully appreciate how much my current happiness and successes are because of my wife, and how she has unconditionally supported and encouraged me through the years. She has pulled me out of a really difficult time in my life (when we first started dating) and is doing the same as I work through some physical and mental health issues now. I love you, M.

[five] so, it’s a selfie that moves?

I started vlogging this week. I’m just using my iPhone for now. And I’m not posting these publicly. I kind of like it, though it’s taking some time to get used to talking to a camera. I’m just treating it like a video journal.

Recently Read

Bwaha ha ha! Like I had time to read (fiction), this week. System Analysis textbooks and web resources, anyone?

The 25 Best Accessible Trails in America - More accessibility in more places, please? Also, I want to do all 25 of these.

Japan’s Wildlife Is Still Reeling from the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami - Eight years later and the ecosystem is still recovering.

Recently Watched

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - currently at s2, e20 - I know it’s still early in the series’ run but I feel like some of the “better” characters are being underutilized. Major Kira and Sisko (yeah, he’s growing on me) should be more involved in these stories. Less time with Quark would be fantastic. Also, it’s weird that a station positioned at a wormhole that leads to a whole other part of the galaxy isn’t being frequented more by the Federation’s explorer ships, yeah? Also, I equate DS9 to be like LAX, where it’s an international gateway but it’s completely run down and falling apart in most places.

Recently Listened

This week’s rotation included Rush, Peggy Gou, Tokimonsta, FinK.L., and GOWE.

“Bright As The Sun” by Pike & Sutton - This came on the radio in the car as I was cruising (slowly) through the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. So chill. Put me in a good headspace.

[Podcast] Criminal: Herrin Massacre - we (humans) can be so destructive and hateful for stupid reasons.

Recently Posted (on the blog)

Post notes:

Seriously, there was no reason for that pun whatsoever. You should have edited that out. Really.

Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate feedback, suggestions, and any other conversation you want to have. Just reply to this email!

If you know anyone who might enjoy this newsletter please feel free to share.

Share Five Things for the Week

If you received this as a forward, and like what you read, please consider subscribing.

You want more? Ok… Are you sure? Ok… My website is swtlo.com. A lot of my photos are on Flickr, and you can find me on Twitter and Instagram as @ptrcktlln.

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