Walking down Aristotle's yellow brick road
Friday, November 11, 2016
I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I usually get along with individual people. You can have decent conversations with them and civilly disagree. It's big groups I've got problems with, because (again, generally speaking) they tend towards the mob end of things and I'm not comfortable with that. I am willing to make an exception for some individuals though. Let me tell you a story as to why.
Last week you and your family were at the grocery store picking out desert. One thing's for sure: it's going to be ice cream. The grocery store has stocked up on three flavors: banana, strawberry and chocolate. All of your kids hate chocolate, so that's out. (I know, I know... but work with me here) The oldest really likes banana ice scream, but the other two want strawberry. So strawberry it is. The oldest one is miffed, but has no choice to accept this.
This week the neighbors and their kids are coming over for dinner. And because you want to be a good host you take all six kids (yours and theirs) to the grocery store to pick out dessert. Being predictable, they all want ice cream. This time the choice is between chocolate and strawberry, because the banana has sold out.
Two of the neighbor's kids really like chocolate. The other one just does not really care because he'd rather have lime flavored ice cream, but could be persuaded either way, and your youngest two, being the predictable little shits they are, go for strawberry.
The oldest one, being the little predictable shit he is, wants banana. You explain to him that he can't because he has to choose between chocolate and strawberry. Not because you don't care for him or hate banana, but simply because those are the flavors the grocery store has at the moment. Banana just isn't on the menu today.
This causes the oldest one to throw a tantrum. He goes on and on about how vile strawberry flavored ice scream is. Given his even greater dislike of chocolate, he won't have either. His friend from school, who happens to be there with his mother, chimes in and starts telling everybody how right he is. Strawberry is just plain evil and dangerous. Having heard all that, the undecided kid goes for the chocolate. So chocolate ice cream it is.
Understandably your eldest two are upset with just about everybody. They not happy with the choice of the neighbor's kids, but even more so with the youngest for not only not choosing strawberry, but being so vocal about it being nasty and vile, none of the neighbor's kids would consider it. Who then starts complaining about how we all should get along and make the best of a bad situation, because he doesn't like chocolate ice cream either.
If this were my kid, I'd give a stern talking to and tell him he doesn't get to so flippant after the stunt he pulled at the grocery store. You made this bed, don't go telling other people to lie in it. That's extremely bad form. Even worse form is saying it's not your fault, because you were only expressing an opinion. These things matter. Because a lot of small scale things add up to a big thing.
In the end it boils down to this: you had a choice and you decided to throw it away. And by doing so penalized not only yourself, because you ended up with the worst of the possible outcomes, but others as well. And as long as you don't recognize that, you've lost all your speaking privileges as far as I'm concerned.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
So I promised an update on my job situation. Here it is. The current situation is as follows:
About two years ago the university I work for decided to reduce the size of the non faculty departments (Personnel / IT / Library / Facility Management / etc.) a third in size to deal with rising overhead due to rising student numbers and less government subsidies. This meant going from about 1500 fte (full time equivelant = 40 (wo)man hours) down to a 1000 or thereabouts. This wouldn't happen in one fell swoop, but stretched out over two years or so, one department at a time.
Since you need the Personnel department to make this happen, we would be the last department to be downsized. Of course this is no longer the case because of some of the reorganizations running off the rails in spectacular fashion, but we're just about the last one anyway. This didn't stop them from telling how much fte the different subsections of the department would need to lose. For the archive the reduction meant we would go from 2,8 down to 0,8. Obligatory Highlander reference: There can only be one. Meaning only one of me and my coworkers would remain.
That was two years ago. Since then there have been several meetings to give updates about the current state of affairs. Which boiled down to: we can't tell you anything whether you get to keep your job, here's some semi-useful information. About four months ago during one of those meetings the selection criteria for those who would be allowed to stay were discussed in general. For subsections with 30 or more people in them, this didn't really meant anything. But with there only being three of us, the picture was pretty clear. And I wasn't the one. Which was confirmed to me about three weeks ago when they officially announced I'd be surplus to requirement (dutch: boventallig) as of January first of 2015.
Now this doesn't mean I'm out of a job as of that date. There will be a reassignment period of 13 months in which I will be paid in full with benefits and be supported as I'm looking for another job. This includes the university having to make an effort finding me a suitable job either at the uni or somewhere else. If I don't find a job within that period I get transferred to an outplacement agency. This will will last another 12 months. The same conditions as at the uni apply, thought the definition of what will be considered a suitable job will be less strict. So you can see why I'm not worried as of yet. I have 28 months in which to find a job, without having to worry about my finances.
But there's more: about 4 years back the Personnel Department started a digitization project to get rid of as much as the paper in the work processes and the archive. I've been involved in various forms. Yes folks, I helped the uni get rid of my own job. And enjoyed doing so, because it was an interesting couple of years in which I finally started doing the work I was taught to do and capable of instead of the alphabetizing, hole punching and filing I'd been doing the eight years before that. Yes, that's a rather gross case of underachieving and slacking, but there you go. Turned out alright in the end. But I'm digressing.
One of the people I worked with during that period tipped me the Student Affairs was going to digitize their archives as well and gave me a name of somebody involved. After sitting on it for a while, the project at the Personnel Department was winding down but still interesting enough to keep me occupied, I mailed the person in question. Who then mailed me he wasn't the person I was looking for as he was no long involved in de student one, but did give me another name. I mailed this person the same day and didn't hear anything for three months. Four weeks ago, two days after my manager started inquiring whether or not the tip had come to anything, I finally hear back from person number two. Who refers me two person number three, who's actually in charge of the project.
I mail this person my resume on a Friday, not expecting much at this point. He mails me back the next Monday, telling me my resume looks interesting and asking whether or not it's OK he'll get back to me after Thursday because that's when his next project meeting is. I don't mind at all and mail him. Instead of having to wait I get a mail the next day, meeting had been rescheduled, asking me to come in on Wednesday for a get to know you meeting. This turns out to be a euphemism for a job interview, which I survive reasonably well even though I wasn't particularly well prepared.
Two more meetings follow. Head of Project wants to talk to my manager to get a better for whether or not I'm the person they're looking for and various technical bits as they basically want me to start the next day and I'm still gainfully employed by the Personnel Department. I get introduced to another person involved in the project by him, get left alone with her fifteen minutes into the meeting because of other engagements and am told I'll hear more on Friday. This was last Friday, my last workday before my vacation. I get the call and basically get a job offer.
So after three months of nothing and three weeks of basically everything at once the idea is as follows: I get to work for the Personnel Department 1,5 day in the week and three days a week for Student Affairs until the first of January. After that it'll be full time until the project is finished which should be start Q3 next year. This will postpone my reassignment period for as long as I will be working for the project. At least that's what the Head of Project said. I don't see why Personnel wouldn't agree with that as it won't cost anybody any money they wouldn't have spent otherwise, but the terms aren't certain as of yet.
Nor is it completely certain what I'll be doing. The one thing that is sure is that I'll be developing a business case for the digitization of (parts of) the Student Affairs central and faculty subsection archives with Head of Project. These archives are part paper, part email and part digital files from another DMS than the one we'll be using. Did I mention they want all of that ready to scan in about six months? As of yet I've got no real idea as to how feasible that is, as I'm not sure what the scope of the project really is, but it's going to be a fun challenge to figure out how much can be done in that period. And that is what I'll be doing until January.
If the business case gets the thumbs up, likely given the fact they've set aside a budget already, I'll be coordinating the project and getting the people from the different Student Affairs faculty subsections to get their archives in order in the way we came up with. For fun and giggles: these people will be told if they get to stay or will be downsized come January 2016. Yes the completion of the project will at least partially depend on people who know they will be out of job. Should be interesting.
So there you have it: a rather long update on my current status of employment. Interesting things are happening. At work, but first and foremost: four weeks vacation. Which will be spent working my butt of at an open air film festival in Amsterdam ( http://www.westival-amsterdam.com/ ) from tomorrow until Tuesday next week, followed by some days off at home and six days in London with my dad. I'm going to see The Throwing Muses and Tanya Donelly play and that kicks so much ass it hurts thinking about it. Can't wait!
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Things you don't put on FB: in about 25 minutes I will find out if I am to be downsized in the new year. Which I fully expect to be, given the fact there's three of us in the archive, they intend to keep one, the selection rules are clear and favor someone else. I'm ok with this, as I'm looking to take the next step in my career anyway. So why is that, all of a sudden, I'm humming the Imperial March to myself?
Friday, May 16, 2014
You know it's getting lonely on livejournal when they release a new (and goddamn awful) front page and you can't find any update decrying it's the end of livejournal as we know it and therefor the end of the world. I guess the end of the world already happened and there's no need for it to be mentioned anymore. Still feeling fine though.
Monday, August 12, 2013
I don't normally write about Justin Bieber, but when I do... I'm saying he's a nineteen year old doing nineteen year old things. And given the fact that most nineteen year olds can be a bit of prick most of the times, he's being a bit of a prick most of the times. Problem with this is is that most nineteen year olds have parents who set boundries or get they end up getting arrested by the police. Because Bieber is who he is, a pop sensation with access to far more money any ninteen year old should be legally allowed to have, nobody's setting those bondries. Nor does he encounter them himslef. Monkey gets impounded at the German border, who fucking cares, I'll get another one. Pissing in a janitor's bucket: YOLO. Spitting on fans standing under the balcony I'm on: doesn't matter I've got millions anyway so who cares about one more or less. Maybe, in a couple of years, he grows up leaves puberty behind and starts actinig more or less decent. Like oversleeping on thanksgiving and serenading the gathered relatives naked except for a big big guitar cover your wotzits. Which actually, contrary the regular Bieber news, sounds like a bit of harmless family fun to me. The way things are going right now, I'm not counting on it.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
ANP 12:12 PM EDT, Monday August 5, 2013
Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus on Monday warned both NBC and CNN of a possibility of losing their partnerships with the RNC for 2016 presidential primary debates in 2016. Though not much is known about the circumstances, insiders point to a disease called inflamation of the glutes as the source of possible problems. Causes include perceived biased media exposure for political opponents and other illusions of partisanship within the mean stream media. Though easily treatable by taking deep breaths and a stiff drink, if left unchecked it can cause incredible pains in the posterior and loss of all perspective. The possible source of problems seems to be corroberated by the fact that Priebus refers to a miniseries and documentary on Hillary Clinton, produced by the stations, as a possible source of contagion. It is unclear wether these are actually the source of the problem as the RNC has been really vunurable to what has become known in popular parleance as "butt hurt".
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
What teachers make by Taylor Mali. Slam poetry as it's meant to be. Powerful, intense, speaking Truth. bloody brilliant!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
It's been a while since I've seen a Tedtalk I really liked, but here's one that really hit home: Why pizza is better than baseball.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
So color me confused. Ever since LJ began hosting ONTD and mentioning popular posts on the front page I occasionally enter the weird and wacky world of celebrity watching. My normal celebrity news fix comes by courtesy of the Hollywood Babylon podcast and therefor mostly consists of Lindsey Lohan / Amanda Bynes / Justin Bieber / that 16 year old who married that 50ish guy from lost and got huge plastic tits bashing. So ONTD is quite a bit of unknown territory. Every time I go looking I'm pretty amazed about the interests of the vapid people in other vapid people and their ability to have a animated gif for any and all celebrity occasions. But that's not what got me confused.
Back in the day, when I was a bit younger and apparently more up to date than I'm now, you dissed people. Disrespecting was the thing to do when you wanted to show people how you really felt about them. But, along with the gangsta rap life style it originated from, dissing has apparently lost traction and has therefor been jettison. According to several replies in ONTD post we drag people nowadays. In what way and for how long seems unclear as there has been no mention of how to drag in the proper way. Anybody any idea where this comes from and what dragging a person actually entails?
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
To lend the title from a section Kevin Smith's and Ralph Garmend's Hollywood Babylon: here's some shit that should not be. For those who don't listen to this excellent podcast, Shit THat Should Not Be deals with the weird stuff that appears in movies when they're released. Even though they are seen, and checked, by at least dozens of people before they are. A rather well known example of this is the stormtrooper hitting his head while walking through a door in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Normally it wouldn't have been there, but it got missed and there it is. Now here's my musical take on it.
As part of Red Nose Day boyband One Direction released the singe One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks). What gets me about this is not that they're a boyband, though I can get a pretty hefty alergic reaction to those. It's not that they're a teenage boyband, a thing that occasionally gives me violent urges even though I'm a laid back dude. It's not even the fact they managed to turn two enjoyable, decent new wave songs into one bland and annoying poppy non entity, an act that sometimes makes this happy go lucky guy depressed. It's the lyrics that got me going.
Before we go into why I think they're a monumental fuck up and we should punish whoever thought they were a good idea by having them listen to the entire One Direction catalogue for the rest of his or her adult life: I get what the lyrics are supposed to represent in the context of Red Nose Day. I'm gonna get you either refers to roping into taking part in the fund raising or having them take out their wallet to donate; Teenage Kicks might well be about the antics of fundraising or the fun and spectacle on TV, with its love and goodwill to mankind. Or something along those lines. On the first look, or listen as the case may be, that's the kind of vibe it puts out. Specially with the happy, bouncy music it sounds like there's nothing wrong it. But lets consider what's actually being sung.
Lets start with Teenage Kicks. First released in 1978 it deals with somebody, probably a guy, observing the pretty girls walking by and thinking about having sex with them. Nothing spectacularly bad. Might get a bit pervy if you want to have the first line mean the guy doing this is (well) past his teenage years, but even than it's reasonably ok. We've all been there one way or another.
Speaking of which (see what I did there?) let's look at the lyrics to the Blondie song. Now there's no mention of sex whatsoever. So, for a given value of good, that's good. What does emerge from the lyrics is a stalker determined to get their hands on the object of their affection by staking out their house and following them around town. Yikes. THat's not good at all. For a lot of values of good.
Which brings us to the audiance participation part of this post. You get three guesses. The first two don't count. Here's the question: what do you get when you throw those two lyrics in the juicer and let it do it's magic for a minute or so?
[insert thinking muzak here]
Yes indeed: you get a nice cocktail with a roofie. Or should that be cocktale? Either way: you get a song about a stalker following you around because he wants to hold you tight get his teenage kicks. All night long. With you. And contrary to what one might assume that's not being angsty and talking about your feelings. On the contrary. That's rather a nice image, isn't it? Now imagine five boys not quite 20 singing this to their target audiance of young girls who might not even have hit puberty yet. Just gets better and better doesn't it?
So there you have it: One Direction's One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks) is Shit That Should Not Be. And not even because they're a crappy band who make really annoying music. Well not entirely anyway.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
This is fucking hilarious. I would love to see this movie. There's so much awesome b-movie potential.
Side note: I actually got handed a Chick tract after helping a lady out with bike on a train traveling home. In the Netherlands. It even was translated in Dutch. She asked me whether she could give me something after I helped her out. I said sure, why not. I was just trying to be helpful, not looking for some kind of reward, but what the hey? So I was kind of surprised, because it really wasn't a big deal, so why give me money? Wasn't really sure what to expect. But I can assure you I really didn't expect a Chick tract. It still blows my mind. It wasn't the Dark Dungeons comic unfortunately, just some random one. I'm not sure what happened to it. I think I was supposed to send it to gollumgollum, but I can't remember if I ever did. It was really weird to see one in real life.
Anyway: andrewducker linked to the kickstarter, I liked it and remembered I actually have seen one in real life so I thought I'd share.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Because it's Valentine's day: Jason Silva waxing lyrically on Love and the Human Condition.
"Love is the beauty and the promise of immortality and it's also the joined mourning of lovers that know that they might die. So... love is the answer to the problem of human existance, but it doesn't solve the problem of human existance."
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
You've probably never heard of 50 Foot Wave. Which is quite a shame in general, but specifically if you, like me, grew up in the late eighties, early nineties and overdosed on anything and everything somewhat musically related to the Pixies. Which, ironically, was about the only band in the College Rock / Alternative Rock scene I wasn't listening to at the time. I got serious about music a bit after they hit the scene and missed (out on) them. But bands like Belly, The Breeders and Throwing Muses got, and still occasionally get, a lot of air time at my place. I had Last Splash on continuous play for days on end.
And even though they're a fine band as well, it's not The Breeders we're concerned with, but the Throwing Muses. That's because 50 Foot Wave is ex Throwing Muses front woman Kristin Hersch's by this time not so new anymore band. Formed a decade ago it features drummer Rob Ahlers and ex Muses Bernard Georges on bass. And they rock hard. In ways both reminiscent of the Throwing Muses and distinctly their own.
Exhibit A: Clara Bow from their 2005 release Golden Ocean. While the breaks give it a slightly more contemporary feel and the song is more up tempo than most of the Muses's were, Clara Bow features the heavy use of distortion and melodic vocals one would expect to find in one. As such it would have been right at home in the 90's. It's right on and straight up. Which is good news for any fan of the genre in general and the Muses in particular.
As and added bonus the clip accompanying the song is rather excellent as well. The concept is pleasently simple: feauture the band, and what I presume is a young son of one of the members, in white clothes on a black background and vice versa. It's a clean look which avoids unnecessary and distracting convaluted imagery and symbolism. This also could have turned it into a rather boring clip. That fortunately didn't happen.
There's a couple of reasons as to why. The aforementioned kid, as well as the band, look like they're enjoying the hell out of themselves and that's always fun to see. More importantly though the clip features kinetic type in the form of the lyrics flashing across the screen. It's well done and gives the feeling the band is actually inhabiting the song. Which is a cool feeling. I love the long drawn out line of i's in bitch in the chorus. And last but not least: the editing is excellent. The visuals fit the flow of the song and hit the accents spot on. With quite a bit of sharp cuts that make this not just a pleasure to listen to but to watch as well.
Kristin Hersch's site, also home of 50 Foot Wave: www.kristinhersch.com
For the music they released under creative commons (with tip jar): 50footwave.cashmusic.org
For your viewing pleasure:
Monday, January 7, 2013
Beatles or Stones?
Micheal Jackson, Madonna or Prince?
MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice?
Blur or Oasis?
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Monday, December 17, 2012
Decided to be stupid and not got to bed on time. Instead I'm going to live blog the WWE's TLC. For those who have no clue what I'm on about: google tlc 2012, WWE and/or professional wrestling. Any which way: here we go. In case you hadn't guessed: spoilers for the results.
It sucked ass. The slammies they handed out were just not interesting. The Divas Battle Royal for the number one contender spot for the diva's title was turning ok until interference from Eve left Naomi of the Funkadactils the winner. That's going to be another predictable match that will go nowhere. And it's going to be on the ppv. Talk about no respect for the paying public.
Rhodes Scholars vs. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara Table Match
Great match for the number one contender spot for the tag team title. Started very enjoyable with Damien Sandow insulting the crowd in his rather eloquent manner. What followed was lots of high flying, high energy moves from Mysterio and Sin Cara, lots of viciousness from Rhodes Scholars and some fine wrestling in general. The end came a bit sudden, with Rhodes shoving Sin Cara of the top rope onto and through a table, but wasn't an over the top surprise as some "shock" results have been lately. Would have been OK with either team winning, but like seeing Rhodes Scholars get a shot at the title.
R-Truth vs. Antonio Cesaro for the United States title
The current storyline dictated a win for Cesaro and that's what we got. As matches go it was OK, but rather predictable. Cesaro dominated at the start of the match with some submission ground work, R-Truth comes back, get a couple of kick outs on two and ends up losing the match anyway. Not badly done, but if this isn't anything other then reasonable filler, TLC 2012 is going to be a bust.
3MB insulting the Spanish announce team, getting attacked by Alberto Del Rio and the Miz?! WTF?! They expect people to pay money for this kind of filler nonsense? Oh of course, they needed another match. Ah well, lets have another match.
Wade Barrett vs. Kofi Kingston for the intercontinental championship
Barrett's power vs. Kingston's agility and speed. Nice back and forth. Specially liked the way Kofi actually was tossed back / rolled back into the ring. Some high flying kicks as well. I like him. Like Barrett as well, some nice power moves. The match had a couple of kick outs on two and roll throughs. Unfortunately the end was a bit sudden, one of those out of nowhere results, which was kind of a disappointing end to a reasonably entertaining match.
CM Punk and Paul Heyman in a sky box
The usual bad mouthing of opponents and the public. But they do it well. Never gets old.
The Shield vs. Hell No and Ryback in a TLC match to be decided by pinfall or submission
Jesus Motherfuck. That was one of the most physical matches I've ever seen. Powerbomb through a table, double suplex from a table perched on the top ropes, someone thrown from the top of a ladder through a table, Ryback went through the announcement table (again), it was carnage. It was awesome. The shield have been a good thing story wise and have shown tonight to be a fine addition to the wrestling side of things as well. The fact the Shield won was just a side note on an excellent match.
Naomi vs Eve for the Divas Championship
As predicted: low on wrestling content and low on entertainment content. The only good thing about it was the fact it was over in no time. Unfortunately this is the state of women wrestling today. It's going nowhere. Which sucks. But that's an article in its own right.
The Big Show vs. Sheamus in a chairs match for the world heavy weight championship
Reasonably slow paced match with The Big Show mostly stalking Sheamus, clobbering him with a steel chair. This followed by the usual exchange of big moves: a white noise by Sheamus putting The Big Show through two chairs, a knock out punch by the Big Show, followed up by a giant steel chair across the back of Sheamus. Which was enough to give The Big Show the three count. Stupid gimmicky end to an otherwise good match.
3MB vs The Miz, Alberto Del Rio and the Brooklyn Brawler
Well this explains this rather random match: it's a vehicle to give local old timer the Brooklyn Brawler one more chance to shine. Standard match which didn't last too long. Which was long enough.
Dolf Ziggler vs. John Cena in the Money in the Bank Briefcase ladder match
The crowd has been really vocal all night, but has gone absolutely crazy now during what turns out to be another incredibly physical match. Cena sustains a cut above the eye. Ziggler gets hit with the top of the steel steps. He runs into it head first at full speed. Cena climbs the ladder with Ziggler on his back, falls backwards through a table. It's incredible the amount of damage these guys soak up. Anybody thinking professional wrestling is fake just needs to take a look at this match. Bloody hell.
The match ends with Vickie Guerrero coming out with a chair to make sure John Cena is not getting up while Dolf Ziggler is out on the outside of the ring. She's followed by AJ Lee, who pummels her and sends her packing with Cena's signature five knuckle shuffle. This gives Cena the chance to climb the ladder and take the briefcase. As he reaches the top, AJ, who's been skipping around in the ring, pushes over the ladder, causing Cena to land in the ropes, Ziggler kicks out his lights and gets to keep his money in the bank contract.
I'm a bit conflicted it all. Story wise it makes perfect sense. Cena has been giving AJ the cold shoulder the last couple of shows, AJ was acting obsessive and has been known to go a bit loopy when things don't go here way. From a wrestling point of view I'd rather have seen a wrestling end to the match. It was a great match with to wrestlers performing extremely well and that deserved more recognition than it got. But at least it made sense.
The PPV in general
It's been a while since I've enjoyed a wrestling show as much as tonight's TLC. It's been pretty lackluster the last month or so, but not tonight. Apart from the Divas match it was all at least enjoyable if not spectacular. Only a minimum of bad filler and two epic matches. That's a good show. The appearance of the Shield has decidedly given more edge to the writing and tonight they showed they can deliver the goods wrestling wise. If handled wisely this bodes well for the future. Are we going to see a Paul Heyman stable? I think that would be awesome. Anyway it's now 5.19. I'm going to catch a couple of hours sleep before heading off to my parents. Good night.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Your music for today is a little gem by mid nineties alternative rockers Splendora. From their first and only album In the Grass: You're Standing On My Neck. The song was used as the theme for MTV's animated show Daria and as such their best known song. Pretty typical of the genre the song rocks out with quite a bit of distortion and nice vocal harmonies The rest of the album follows suit, sometimes veering to the left into a more rockish feel, sometimes a bit more to the right into punk/grunge territory. Anybody who feels at home with bands like the Throwing Muses, Veruca Salt and Belly should feel right at home with Splendora.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
11:20PM - That's great
Logo I designed while bored at work. I rather like it.
I joined the dark side and created a facebook account. If you haven't been friended already and feel left out let me know and I'll add you. Or feel free to send me a friend request instead.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
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