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Reflections: After posting this topic on a form (http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=45335), I was able to collect popular movie selections for my article on the subject matter. I finished the assignment feeling empowered, yet it was brought to my attention that the article is TOO movie focused. After all, the site is established to serve people. This is a great lesson on getting a second opinion and incorporating an editor’s suggestions before public viewing.

The better article will be posted soon. However, may be you all will get a kick out of the original copy. Here goes!

Movie Night Extravaganza

Everyone loves movies! The best way to become a family with your fellow roommates is to establish Friday’s movie night. Now let’s explore the possibilities.

Action Adventure

Are you in the mood for a thrill ride of high energy events?  Action Adventure is always captivates viewers with an exciting journey. You can witness a world that involves chaotic police chases, powerful super heroes, suave secret agents, and unbelievable robotics. There is never a dull moment, which makes this genre the most fun in group setting.

Movie Suggestions: Indiana Jones, Transformers, Kill Bill, Die Hard, The Avengers, Inception, Hunger Games, Mission Impossible, Casino Royale, Reel Steal, X Men, The Dark Night, V for Vendetta

Children and Family

You don’t have to hide it. Even as adults, we still love magical movies that appeal to our child selves. Children and Family remind us of crucial life lessons dealing with character. For example, many Disney and Pixar films feature protagonists who are down on their luck yet evolve to reach their fullest potential. Also the whimsical atmosphere, innocent humor, and the moralistic story make this genre a great time for all ages.

Movie Suggestions:   Anything Disney, Anything Pixar, Anything Dreamworks, Miyazaki films, The Goonies, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, The Muppet Movie, Big, Coraline, Matilda

Comedy

Who doesn’t love to laugh? From witty dialogue to slipping on a banana, Comedy supplies a great amount of fresh ideas to tickle your funny bone. If you are ever feeling down, then this genre will easily return you to a positive state of mind.

Movie Suggestions: Shaun of the Dead, Anything Adam Sandler, Date Night, Rush Hour, Forrest Gump, Get Smart, Tropic Thunder, Blades of Glory, Blazing Saddles, Jump 21 Street

Drama

Sometimes life throws us lemons, and we have a choice to eat raw pulp or create sweet lemonade. Drama explores the very real emotions that are attached to this game called life. We have loneliness, we have loss, we have debt, we have depression, we have negative influences, and we have failure. This genre reveals the fact that we can hide in darkness or conquer it with light.

Movie Suggestions: A Few Good Men, Eyes Wide Shut, Slumdog Millionaire, American Beauty, Black Swan, August Rush, Amadeus, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Walk the Line

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Fantasy and Science Fiction will take you to a world unlike any other. The genre will break through boundaries of technology and human understanding. Here you will get a delicious taste of fast pace action while questioning your own reality. What will the future be like? Are there other worlds beyond our imaginations? What is magic? Is folklore a reflection of a forgotten past? Open your mind to the possibilities.

Movie Suggestions: Star Wars, Terminator, District 9, Avatar, Serenity, Star Trek, Alien, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Pan’s Labyrinth, Super 8

Horror and Thriller

Can you face your fears? Horror was born from the uncertainty developed from fear. You will witness demons, monsters, ghost, gore, and other unspeakable things that we want to erase from our memories. This genre can mess with your mind, so it’s wise to watch these films with as many people as possible.

Movie Suggestions: The Ring, Psycho, Sinister, Paranormal Activity, Exorcist, Carrie, Scream, The Shining, Orphan, Saw, Blair Witch Project, Shutter Island, Panic Room, 28 Days Later, Nightmare on Elms Street

Independent

I must admit. I am not too familiar with this genre. They don’t call it “Independent” for nothing. Of course, there are some titles that a good number of people are aware of. Independent films usual have a documentary feel to them. It almost feels as if the films are a reflection of your life. Weird!

Movie Suggestions: Little Miss Sunshine, Juno, Magic of Belle Isle, The Savages, Arranged, Donnie Darko, Lost in Translation, Pulp Fiction, Clerks

Romance

I LOVE Romance. Here you will explore the awkward stages of finding your significant other. Each moment forms a stronger bond between the love birds. This genre only makes you fantasize about meeting your ideal match. Hugging, kissing, laughing, and loving between two destined souls. Here love always seems so beautiful. Sometimes it can be quite funny.

Movie Suggestions: Titanic, Ghost, The Princess Bride, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, You’ve Got Mail, 500 Days of Summer, The Proposal, The Notebook

Come on now. Don’t be shy. What is your favorite genre? Let’s go even further. List your top three favorite films from each genre. Once the results are posted, I believe we will see that we all have more in common than we think.

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I definitely maintain a love-hate relationship with Disney, and now we are back in the love corner because Once Upon a Time has become my all time favorite show. It brilliantly links the classic fairy tales together in an epic plot that jumps back and forward between our world and the fantasy world, or the past and the present. I especially favor this series because it explores the idea that there are many worlds existing simultaneously. It also dances on the theory of past lives, inner power, and the multiple aspects of ourselves. I find all of these topics fascinating, which explains why I enjoy this series.

The first episode begins with a bang as we meet our terminator protagonist Emma Swan, who is a bail bonds representative. On her 28th birthday, she makes a wish to ease her loneliness, which has become a curse of hers over the years. Her wish has been granted, and that’s when her son Henry appears. At this very moment, it is only fitting that Emma is set for a very intricate adventure.

Personally Emma grows on me. In season one, it was hard to watch her make the obvious dumb decision since we the audience know more than her. We are given constant glimpses of the character’s true selves as it relates directly to a given situation. So I can only slap my head in disappointment when she, for example, trusts Sydney Glass even though she knows he was Regina’s spy and Regina always has a bag of tricks to come out victorious. Another example of Emma not trusting her instincts is when she decides to give up Henry…again and also takes Regina’s deadly apple turnover as a goodbye treat.

However in season two, she is wise and we are given her back story to show why she guards her emotions and why she is attracted to the bad boys like The Hunter, Captain Hook, and Pinocchio. Speaking of Pinocchio has anyone else noticed that Pinocchio failed Emma twice? The first time was understandable because he was a child when he left her in the orphanage. But wow! The second time was dishonorable. He stole Emma’s money and only sent her the car key while she was in jail. This is very disgraceful because Emma probably would have kept Henry if she had that extra cash. Pinocchio definitely has more moral lessons to learn.

Mr. Gold, or Rumpelstiltskin, is a great metaphor on how people in general seek others to solve their problems, which only makes the problem more complex. Each character was resourceful enough to get out of whatever predicament if they would have took the time to think of alternatives. The best example of this is Cinderella. She is literally seeing fireworks from the Prince’s palace. Therefore, she could have made her own dress while her Step Mother and Sister were out, and attended the Royal Ball herself. But nope, she wanted a quick easy solution, which led her to the possibility of losing her child. And the full circle irony in Rumpelstiltskin’s deals is that he is unable to fix his own problem of finding his son, yet everyone goes to him to fix theirs. I definitely see this as a perfect life lesson of releasing your power to someone who uses that power for their own personal agendas.

My favorite character is easily Red. I can relate her desire to explore and break free from the life she perceives as her imprisonment. Through a twist of her being the wolf, she realizes her true nature and since she was considered the monster of her village, this symbolizes how her current thoughts and actions were destructive. She runs away from responsibility instead of conquering it. As her story progress, she gains control of how to use her power and this is also represented in her decision to stay and operate Granny’s dinner. Red’s character alone makes me ponder the very essential questions of: who am I, why am I here, what am I good at, and how does it benefit myself and my society? I definitely appreciate Red as a character especially her facial expressions. When she meets Emma and Belle for the first time it seems like she’s overjoyed like a happy puppy or enticed like a hungry wolf.

Well that raps up my thoughts, but there are some unanswered questions:

  • Is Henry a fairytale characters? Is he Regina’s father reincarnated making them relatives after all?
  • Where is Emma’s boyfriend, and what did he see to convince him to believe everything Pinocchio was saying? Did Emma not see this certain something because she was in denial initially?
  • Where and who is Rumpelstiltskin’s son?
  • Where is Pinocchio?

That’s it for now, folk. To the next episode and beyond.

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Oh yeah!

I must pat myself on the back and cheer; I’ve been making extreme progress with my day-to-day eating habits. I’ve already mentioned my favorite breakfast dish, but I feel I must share another one of my fabulous dishes I’ve made on my journey of conscious living.

Food truly is art! Every time I complete a dish, I admire its array of bright colors and its diverse range in textures. (Actually, I may need to take pictures of my food projects.) So today I must share a dish I created recently, and I call it “A Taste of Spain by the Sea.” (And yes! I am streaming with fun, wacky labels for everything I do – haha!)

Basically this dish is flavorful fiesta rice topped with crispy fresh salmon. As you can see in the photo above along with the countless recipes online, you can use any method you want to create your own cooking masterpiece. Holding your hand and writing another “Easy Cooking for Dummies” recipe will only rob the fun out of taking scraps and turning them into gold. With that said, my ego wishes to share a little alternative method to generating the rice. It saves a lot of time if you have to throw a party in two hours. (I’ve actually witness these last-minute catastrophes).

First steam a hardy amount of plain white rice with a cube of chicken bouillon in the usual pot. While the rice is thinking, chop up a satisfying amount of tomatoes, onions, and the most loved and equally hated ingredient of all, fresh stinkin’ garlic. It is the link that fills your house with an enticing aroma, which will easily make your neighbors dazzle with envy. Use a second skillet to fry the onions first, then after they loosen up, add the garlic. After the garlic does its job, then throw in the plump, easy-to-please tomatoes. The rice should be done by now. Seriously! The rice should be soft, hot and ready to eat, but you won’t just yet. Toss the rice in the skillet with the bathing vegetables and herbs. Use those muscles and mix it all together really good. Add your favorite seasoning like Thyme, Black Pepper, and Ceyanne, and Ka-BOOM! You have yourself a plate of delicious, Picasso rice. It’s beautiful.

Hahaha — UGH!

Easy, fresh cooking is now a permanent part of my life. We are a very happy couple, but I must add. There is that weak part of me that can’t resist a love affair with the sin of all sins, Reality Television!

I found myself stuck back where I started. I was drawn back into Tyra’s Wicked Reality with ANTM Cycle 18, British Invasion. After the last cycle, I began to roll my eyes at the manipulative plot twist and uncrafty outcomes. I vowed never to watch this dried-out series again because I figured, there is no where to go but back down just like a tidal wave. Tyra is full of surprises! She jumped back into her ridiculous bag of ideas, and pulled out another media whoring tactic. She infused international girls from the English motherland. GENIUS! Not only will she draw in blind pride viewers from American fans, she will also draw in blind pride “Brits” fans. I can not resist, so here are my first impressions of yet another cycle of Tyra’s Reality Volcano.

I will not lie. It’s fascinating to study the manufactured differences between American females and British females. The American team has a fluid nature about them. Not fluid like water, but fluid like fire. (It will make since as I continue).  They take on tasks head first relying on their passion, drive, and determination to achieve ultimate results. They’re more risk takers, and it is apparent when you view them in the side-by-side “Cultural Clash” photo shoot. So some may say the American’s have an advantage because they have this spontaneity about them, but the British will say they are lacking depth.

It is painfully obvious that the British Team have a regal aura about them that is portrayed with striking confidence. If the Americans are fire, the British are definitely earth. They posses a strong mentality and physique, and no matter how many times they get burned, they use their natural appeal to brush themselves off and begin again. A subdued radiance is the British strength, and since they are trained observers, the British will be powerful competition.

 

Striking Stand Outs!

Jasmia

WHHHY! She has a very striking look from the get-go. And yes, her picture was so-so but it still stood out in my mind compared to the others. She has this powerful mix of edgy vixen yet sweet damsel. I still think she was dynamic, especially paired with her modest yet self-assured personality. Oh well, no use crying over lost earrings.

Ashley

Okay, so it was between my initial favorite Jasmia and Ashley to pack up and head back to the Queen. Even though I instantly see Jasmia’s potential, I prefer to watch Ms Scottish Ashley. She really is the personality of the show that sparkles amongst the crowd of cardboard cut outs. She is very natural; she’s herself. At first I was worried that she was going to be the longing mother type, but she’s more versatile than that. Sorry, Jasmia! I’m glad Ashley gets a second chance.

AzMarie

This is so obvious. She’s very interesting simply because she is shining with both feminine and masculine beauty. Her androgynous appeal automatically makes her mysterious, although the challenge will be if she can pull off the more sweet and sexy version of herself. Something tells me she is more that meets the eye.

Seymone

She blended in with the salad, at first. Seriously! I had to look up her name just now. However, I definitely remember how she used her cheer leading talents to take risks and make her photo the most wanted at panel. She definitely deserves to make it on this list. She’s very beautiful and very curvy, which is a nice change up from the usual skinny archetype.

One day I will be done with Bad Television once and for all, but until then, I am tuning into another awfully good show, Chef Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. Can you say British invasions?

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Tarra and Bella is an inspiring tale of a genuine friendship between a courageous Golden Retriever and a loyal Asian Elephant. The unusual pair met in an instant moment of shared acceptance. Basically, Tarra (Retriever) felt comfortable enough to sleep next to Bella (Elephant) one day. After Bella woke up perplex by the situation, she simply stood over Tara and began her day as normal.  Surprise! Tarra followed her every step of the way, and Bella welcomed her new companion’s company.

To no surprise, Bella actually had a hard time interacting with the other elephants in the reservation. She does have an unusual upbringing. This Elephant was brought up in the zany world of show biz where she worked hard as an animal actress. As she grew older, Bella’s caretakers at the time allowed the unique Elephant to retire in a simple life at a reservation in Tennessee. Due to Bella’s background, it is only expected for her to find a best friend in stray dog. (I am sure Tarra had many adventures of her own.)

Tarra and Bella may look different, but they share the same interesting spirits. (I will even say that they were connected in their “past lives,” but for the sake of this report, I will not deeply explore this possibility…at least for now). The friends cared for each other, even in the worst possible situation. Once Tarra sprained her leg, Bella waited patiently next to her mate until help arrived.

 

 

Sadly, Tarra experienced another unfortunate event. She was brutally attacked by coyotes, and Bella carried her bruised body back to their regular play location. Tarra eventually died, and Bella was present for her funeral to mourn for the lost of her dearest friend. The touching story of Tarra and Bella displays the simple fact that you can find companionship in others even if they do not look like you – just focus on the beauty of the spirit.

 

It is very difficult to locate pure a friendship because many people, including myself, tend to have a hazy fantasies of how life is supposed to be, how they are supposed to be, and how others are supposed to be. Through this fantasy, most find friends who maintain the perception of themselves. Just to put it simply, most use relationships for selfish purposes, which explains why it is hard to locate a genuine friendship.

 

 

Here’s a wonderful example. In the video above, Audrey O’day and Aundrea Fimbres met in a challenging competition to join a girl band called Danity Kane. O’day and Fimbres shared the same love and respect for each other as they strive for the same goal. Then a problem arrived. They both get accepted in the band by music producer Sean “Puffy” Combs, but sadly as the group becomes popular, the ego took over. The world of mainstream music is CUT THROAT.

At that time, both ladies have different perceptions of how to handle fame. Since neither is willing to conform to the other’s fantasy, the friendship is doomed. This is a common situation for many people; it happened to me as well. There is ALWAYS hope though. O’day and Fimbres learned from their faults and joined forces again to create a song that perfectly displays their downfall. So, I do appreciate their 360 turn-around.

 

 

From the wise words of this pop song, I will strive to tame the ego and achieve beautiful friendships like the bond between Tarra and Bella.

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The Beginning – December 2, 2010

I was hustling trying to get everything packed and ready for my first trip overseas. I remember telling myself, just make sure to have the passport and tickets. My mind was fixated on traveling; I guess I have a one-track thought pattern in this aspect.

My energy was high. I drove to Los Angeles (LAX) and ate at a fascinating, country-style waffle house. Of course, I ordered the classic waffles. The meal was irresistibly good. The waffles were golden brown, a moist cake-like center surrounded by a delicious crispy exterior topped off with thick whipped cream. Those waffles set the tone for the excellent food to come.

The International Airport…I have arrived. I walked around aimlessly since I have many hours to kill. As I wondered around, I noticed the rich diversity of people the airport had to offer. All of them were waiting to visit another land, just like myself.

Finally the clock was heading toward midnight. It was time for me to redeem my official airline ticket, but suddenly I was struck with a bolt of bad luck. I missed my flight. It turns out my original flight left at midnight the morning before. It was extremely confusing, but nothing was going to stop me from seeing the new world. So for an embarrassing fee, I eased my way on the flight that was leaving now.

My first flight to Beijing, China was 12 hours long. Being in a small place (although this was the biggest plane I have ever been on) for a long period of time is enough to slowly drive me insane. Luckily, I met an interesting, cute fella who was sitting next to me. He was from Venezuela, and I learned he was quite the traveler. He was on the flight to meet his girlfriend who was dancing in a competition in Xi Ann, China. Anyway after hearing many fun stories from my neighbor, going through China’s security, eating a scrumptious Chinese dumpling breakfast, and catching another 3 hour flight to Japan, I was finally in the large city of Tokyo.

Tokyo was chaotic with people in every direction, but it was still very orderly. This oxymoron was my best impression of the big city of Japan. Thank goodness though, many of the locals were studying English and were interested in practicing it. This did emphasize how many of us English-only speakers are spoiled when it comes to worldly communication… or maybe not. The huge downside is that we cannot easily learn other languages. Seriously, I tried to studying Japanese for a month straight and I still cannot say a proper sentence in the language. Sad! But this was beside the point!  Many Japanese citizens were learning English for business purposes since the English language dominates the global market. However, Japan is keen on customer service. Learning English is also used to accommodate many foreign visitors. Relief!

Japan’s customer service wins the gold in my eyes. When I got lost in Asakusa, my home away from home, I came across an older gentleman on a bicycle. He was kind enough to take me straight to my destination, Khaosan Tokyo Inn, which was quite a distance. I wanted to offer money to show my gratitude, but thought it was rude, so instead I stressed the phrase “Arigato Gozaimasu” while bowing heavily. He was definitely a life saver.

I must admit, I was very disappointed with my sleeping quarters. This is because I never been in a hostel before, but sharing a dining and bathing area was all too familiar. Hostels remain me of college dorms, and that was not the experience I was going for when staying in Japan. But I was over reacting. I immediately got settled in and strolled through Asakusa’s nightlife, which lead me to my first Japanese dessert, creamy almond custard. It is to die for.

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IT’s BAAAAACK!

Tyra’s brilliantly crazy mind has come up with another dangerously addictive concept for her popular reality show, America’s Next Top Model (ANTM). There has already been sixteen successful cycles of excitement, pain, passion, desperation, art, but cycle 17 will be the cycle to end all cycles. Wicked Tyra is bringing back some of the most popular and most destructive members from past seasons. And while the blood-thirsty contestants claw their way to number one…again, us fans will be loving every second of it. So let’s travel back into ANTM history and re-introduce the All-Star Cast, one by one.

 

1. Shannon Stewart, Cycle 1

Whoa! Shocking!

Shannon is a small-town girl who chose to live a biblical life by pursuing a career in modeling. She is definitely one of the highlights in cycle 1 since her photos are the most memorable out of the pack, but that is not saying much. Honestly, I think Shannon will be eaten alive by her competition since she may not have anyone to cling on to. We will pray for you, Shannon.

 
2. Camille McDonald, Cycle 2

“Camilla Deville” is returning with her rock-solid confidence and signature walk. Camille is definitely going to bring the heat this season. Camille is a crazy genius who delivers lines so memorable, they will make you question your own sanity. She is known to stomp on other girl’s insecurities and thrive in the spotlight as a lone wolf. Despite what you think, Camille is a strong beauty who will definitely  be one of the stars.

 

3. Britanny Brower, Cycle 4

Britanny is a gorgeous creature from another planet, as her vivacious personality is not of this world. She is able to turn any situation into a party, even when she is placed in danger like being stalked by lions (seriously). Fear is not in this woman’s vocabulary, and it shows in her natural modeling abilities. Britanny, thank goodness you are here.

 

4. Lisa D’Amato, Cycle 5

Oh shitake!

Forget about being from another planet, Lisa is from a galaxy far, far away. Of course, her inhuman behavior is welcomed in this vicious cycle. Lisa is so unconventional and wonderfully strange, that it is impossible to fully describe her with words. I wonder if Britanny speaks her language.

 

5. Bre Scullark, Cycle 5

Bre is blessed with goddess-like features and an interesting set of raspy vocals. Unfortunately like Shannon, she is a little lukewarm in the character department. But unlike Shannon, she has a strong presence. I have a feeling that Bre is going to be a quiet storm during this cycle.

 

6. Bianca Golden, Cycle 9

No! No! NO!

I will admit, Bianca is the most strikingly beautiful girl I have ever seen, but that disgusting persona of hers leaves her face in molding scraps. Bianca is painfully insecure, and instead of finding solutions to empower herself, she strategically decides to tear down the stronger girls instead. She did this with Lisa from cycle 9, She did this with Heather, and she tried to do this with Saleisha. Luckily, this new group of girls will NOT stand for her devious tactics. Hmmm then again, she might make Shannon her flunky.

 
7. Dominique Reighard, Cycle 10

Dominique’s looks are harsh, but she is still fascinating. And yes, she was the “bitch” of cycle 10, but I have a strong feeling that this will not be the case in cycle 17. Like Bre, I predict that Dominique is going to take the back seat and watch all the other girls kill each other so she ends up on top.

 
8. Isis King, Cycle 11

Isis has peacock like features, and luckily, it is paired up with a humble demeanor. Isis is the most focused model out of the flock. Her drive, her passion, and her mind will make her immune to the dirty gossip that is attached to the ANTM experiment. Isis is definitely the most dignified model this season, and her professional determination will get her far in the competition.

 

9. Sheena Sakai, Cycle 11

Yes! Yes! YES!

Sheena is a spicy mix of East meets West. She holds the presence of a strong warrior, yet she has an angelic aura that is captured in her photos. All I have left to say is thank you, Sheena! Thank for delivering your many blunt opinions for our viewing pleasure.

 

10. Allison Harvard, Cycle 12

Once upon a time in the depths of our darkest imaginations, there appeared a girl named Allison who looked frighteningly stunning. Her eyes hypnotized our soul, and her artistic persona was brunt into our memories. There is a reason why Allison is so popular. She is a walking Mona Lisa, and I love her. I love her so much, it’s scary.

 

11. Laura Kirkpatrick, Cycle 13

Laura truly is a slice of apple pie. Every time the camera is on her, she is a face full of genuine smiles.  Laura is also a small-town girl, but her light spirits repels all the negativity. She is in a league on her own, but don’t be fooled. Laura will destroy you with her photos.

 
12. Angelea Preston , Cycle 14

Love her or hate her, Angelea is an unusual beauty. She truly looks like a model. However while observing her on the show and even some of her most recent pictures, there is a certain desperation about her that chips away at her beauty. Regardless, she is another ANTM genius. She delivers some of the most hilariously brilliant quotes…ever.

 

13. Kayla Ferrell, Cycle 15

Kyla possesses an interesting mix of awkwardness and sexiness. She is another girl who is very passionate about her pursuits yet is one of the background candidates. She takes fierce photos, but I’m not sure if she will last long considering her competition.

 
14. Alexandria Everrett, Cycle 16

Here we go again!

Alexandria understands the mechanics of modeling 101, but her constant need for control will be the death of her in this competition. She is capable of being spontaneous when she expected to be spontaneous, but she is incapable of living the art of spontaneity since she doesn’t “go-with-the-flow.” Relax Alexandria. Though, I’m sure you will become great friends with Bianca.

 

There you have it! The 14 beastly beauties are ready to fight for the last prize. If you notice though, there are no constants from cycle 3 or cycle 6. But I’m sure those girls are too sane to volunteer themselves back into this social nightmare. The 14 above are just crazy enough for another wildly, fun ride.

Let the games begin!

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