Branching out.

After years of talking about it and attempting multiple times, I have made a push once again to start a proper Blogger blog. I have reached out to 2 of my good friends to see if they will contribute to it but I won't count on that. So basically that is where I will post anything that comes to mind along with those high quality reviews people have come to expect from me. I will probably still post a copy here but they will hit there first. I swear to you all, this is my last attempt at making my own space on the internet. Whether it works out or not I am going to give a real shot. The site is ThaWriteStuff.blogspot.com mainly because The was already taken. Obviously it is a good play on words, credit to my friend for the idea and my wife for the one domain iteration that was available. So that's about the story there. Please, by all means check it out, leave comments, do whatever.

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A rough excerpt from an even rougher version of a story.

The raw power coursed through his hand.  The veins felt as though they were on fire.  Casually he gazed down at his hand.  It was not burned though it should have been.  It was scarred horribly, but the burn was gone.  What was left was a cross stitching of spidery white scars all across his hand.  He knew that if he were to look at the other hand, a similar image would look back at him.  He also knew had he looked at mirror he would see that his face too, sported such scars.  This is now who he is.  A trade to be sure.  A normal appearence, for this incredible energy that now flowed through him. 

 
The price, however, had been too great for him to block out the memories of that chance moment that changed his life.  Never could he forget that look of utter hatred that his brother had given him.  Those eyes burned with such cold hatred.  He had never meant for any of this to happen.  Fury and remorse sweeled throughout his body, all along it thin tendrils of electricity sparked their way up his body.  It was incredibly painful.  Almost excrusiatingly so.  He could barely maintin consciousness as he attempted to shunt the pain to his hands.  He curled the up into fists, tightly as he could manage, and felt the untold energy focused there.  They took on a white glow as the burning sensation became too much and not even his deep emotion could hold them at bay any longer.  He screamed a blood curtling scream of agony and threw his fists in the air.  As if the rules of lightening were reversed, two large bolts of electric energy shot forth to the heavens of the desolate planet dispersing out of sight up in the autmosphere. 
 
He awoke some time later, still in pain but less so, or at least that is how it seemed then he had been.  Slowly he felt hot tears well up inside of him.  What came out however was not the normal salty mixture, it was instead more pain.  HIs eyes now burned as if hot coals at replaced his sockets.  The horrible burning caused frusteration to once again boil up inside of him.  Now he couldn't even cry for his grief.  What horrible punishment has been wrought upon his soul?  What life could he possibly lead now?  He was doomed to live in pain and agony, enough to kill a normal man, for the rest of his unknown years.  Abandoned by his only family left, his brother, he had nothing.  His stupid idea, that of an innocent teenager who meant no harm, had cost him to lose everything he ever cared about.  This thought brought back the pain even stronger.  His emotions seemed to trigger the intensity of it.  He knew that with the pain came the energy, which had something of a mind of its own.   
 
Before the dark release of unconsciousness took him again, he attempted to drive the energy out.  If he could atleast get some releif from the pain.  Desperately he willed the energy to leave him.  That energy however had it's own plans, as it rippled through his body up to his head.  The unbelievable torrent of unpleasentness swirled through his brain as if a million angry bees took refuge between his ears.  He frantically grabbed his head, through gritted teeth he cried out in misery.  He hurled his head back and screamed more forcefully as if he hoped to scare the energy out of him.  As he slumped back to the ground, crumpled like a discarded piece of paper, he was rewarded with a beam of the white electric force blast forth from his mouth.  Darkness took him once more.  But he knew it would not keep him, for his curse was to live with this agony for the rest of his life.

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MicroStory: Pass

 
In his element, he relaxed in his seat, allowing his instincts to control his body.  The less had to think about things the better chance he wouldn't over think.  That could be costly.  He already knew what he had to do, already knew how to do it.  It was just a matter of getting there.  His fine tuned skills from years of experience were already leading down the path to where he needed to be. 
 
His hands moved deftly to the shifter.  Throw it down, take the line inside, blast past him in the rebound.  His mind computing the best approach line automatically.  Surely his immediate opponent would see him coming and attempt a cutback.  Which was what he was counting on.  His eyes gazed at his speed, counting down time remaining time till untill the corner.  Steady.  Steady.   
 
The opening to the left shone light a giant neon sign saying, "Step right this way!"  He slammed in the clutch seizing his opportunity.  Predictable.  He turned slightly to catch the reaction from other driver.  They exchanged glances for all but a second as he rocketed his car past him coming out of the turn.  Too slow I'm afraid he thought to himself.  Leaving that one in his dust, ti was time to focus on the next one, already coming into view going into the next bank.   
 
He checked his readings.  Tires still good, fuel is nominal, everything is working soundly.  His machine was at peak performance, he knew this because he was the one who made sure of it time and time again.  The advantage of knoing more about how the inner workings work instead of just knowing how to drive, that is what gave him more of an edge then anything else.  Alot of these other driers, they just know how to move their vehicles.  He knew how to drive. 
 
Cutting a better angle into the next bank allowed him to gain on his next foe.  This one was more aggressive, he noted.  It was giong to take a little more effort this time around,.  No hand outs here.  Thats okay though, because no one can stop me, he thought to himself.  
 
He managed to close the gap to just a few feet.  A workable distance for him.  The two cars zoomed single file through the straightaway, trees and varios other enviromental things blzing bast them, producing a literal tunnel of greens, browns, greys.  Only the sound of two mighty engines prevailed in his world of focus.  Both sounded tuned to perfection.  Truly a worthy opponent. 
 
Another turn, this one a lazy left that cuts back into a sharp right.  He would have to make a move here.  He knew that the other driver would most likely attempt to hug the left and switch back to the right to maximize his speed coming out of the turn.  He would have to try and pull up next to him off the left and gave the advantage in the right.  Sounded simple enough, he has done this dozens of times, he just hoped he successfully out thought his opponent. 
 
THe other driver began his approach to the S-turn and as predicted he went low in the left.  Anticipation swelled in him as he down shifted and slowed to take the outside.  It would be close.  His tires sqealing attempting to skid off the track.  He dug down hard attemting to still them with sheer determination alone.  He started to come up on the other car.  His front left corner all but touching the rear right .  It was really all the advantage he would need going into the right turn.  If the other driver was fool enough to make contact, it was a simple PIT maneuver and they would both be out.  The turn came and he held his breath as he slowed to take his inside line. 
 
The look of shock that crossed his face next was not triumphant smile he had prepared for the occasion.  The two cars were litterally side by side when they began their speed out of that turn.  He had the advantage, the inside line.  Yet his opponent was able to gain some precious acceleration and the driver started to pinch him out of his corner.  Unfortunatly, he had to yeld his advantage and it was back to riding right behind his opponent.  He had been close to taking the lead.  So close.  His brain desperately trying to disect the event, trying desperately to figure out how he had lost what was a sure pass. 

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MicroStory: Anxst

His fist, balled up as tightly as he could manage, soared through the air ending with a mighty collision into the wall.  A satisfactory amount of it gave way leaving a slight fist-shaped hole.

 
He didn't know what they expected him to do.  He was but a mere teenager facing the problems of the world alone. Utterly isolated from any chance of support.  This was never covered in any classroom.  Did his parents prepare him for times like these?  Ha!  THe thought made him smile slightly, a twisted distorted sort of smile.  Frusteration, mixed with anger, swormed throughout his mind tomenting him mercilessly.  The situation seemed impossible.  To make matters worse, his right hand now reminded him that hitting a wall is usually not the best remedy.     
 
His withdrew his hand from where it still lay slightly embeded into the wall.  Slight dropplets of blood clung to his knuckles.  He gazed at them, watching them lazily start to trikle down his hand.  Nice to know that atleast you could count on gravity to do its job faithfully, unlike other things that could be mentioned. 
 
This just wasn't right.  How could anyone expect him to be a child and an adult at the same time.  The best years of your life?  That means his life must be pretty bleak and depressing from here on out.  He knew whoever had said that was never in a situation that now smacked him in the face as if he threw his head out of the window of an airplane.  Surely he had to do something.  What was going on had to be stopped.  It was his only choice really.  He couldn't continue on day after day as if nothing was wrong.  It must end.  Now.   But how? 
 
The question weighed heavily on his shoulders, shoulders that were already fatigued from years of carrying around that emotional baggage.  Somthing in the back of his mind tugged at him.  He couldn't put his finger on it exactly but it persisted, remaining just out of reach.  That frusterated him even more.  Hurling himself onto his bed he put his face in his pillow and screamed as loudly as he ever had before.  No one heard his cries, the house was empty.  As it is most days when he gets home from school. 
 
Slowly, he lifted his head away from the pillow.  How rolled over onto his back and gazed up at his source of escape.  He reached over, blood still oozing from his hand,switched on the stero and made sure the music was loud enough to drive away the demons that hanted his soul.  The self medication gradually made progress in temporing his white hot fury.  The problem itself still remained but perhaps if he could focus, he could find a suitable solution.  After all, problem solving was only possible on a clear mind and his intellegence, not limited by any means for his age, was capable of finding one in this instance. 
 
He looked up at the ceiling of his small room, contemplation replacing the anger that had once felt so unbearable.  Slowly he turned the problem over in his head , thinking about it from all angles.  People often assumed that since he was so quiet, he wasn't that smart.  They were ofcourse completely.  Just because he chose not to associate wiith them, hardly meant that he was an invalid.  Infact, his own intellegence often surpassed those around him by extreme measure.  His mind had not failed him in finding a reasonable solution in the past and it surely wouldn't fail him this time.   
 
There it was again.  The subtle tugging in the back of his head.  Some thought was trying to poke its way through into the front of his mind but seemed too fall just short, still eluding his coscious thought.  What could it be?  A possible solution to his dilemma?  He closed his eyes and attempted to give this annoyance his full attention in hipes of coaxing it out into the open. 
 
And there it was, plain as day.  He knew what he had to do.  His only answer to the problem taxing him every single day.  A broad smile started its way across his face.  He would finally be done with it.  No more frusteration.  No more anger.  Just a simple solution.  Why hadn't he realized it before.  He would have saved himself alot of grief.  It was so obvious.  He almost chuckled to himself.  Looking down at his hand he realized it didn't even hurt anymore.
 

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MicroStory: Fog


Though it was a bitter cold afternoon, He could feel the internal warmth fueled by the mixture of anticipation and adrenaline.  He only hoped it would be enough to discourage the elements to lay pray upon his weary body.  It had been 7 long months since he had seen his wife and children, waiting at home blissfully unaware of the danger he now faced.  The thoughts of his loving family brought a single tear forth from his right eye, it drifted lazily down his cheek to lay upon his rugged unkept facial hair.  He quickly wiped away the evidence it had once existed, can't let the men see that.

"The troops are getting anxious."  He casually glanced back at his most trusted officer who fell in formation behind him.  Apprehension coming from his own voice.

"They are tired.  We all are."  He paused reflecting on how long some of the others in his battalion had been away from thier families.  Even still how many of them would never return to see them.  "We will just have to hope God is on our side this day."  With that he lazily tugged at his steed, the loyal beast seemed to feel the tension in their air as well. 

The waiting.  How he hated the waiting.  Everyone hated the waiting but he felt it was by far the worst part of any coming battle.  "A little face time with the front line might help," he thought to himself, "Certainly couldn't make things worse."

As he slowly made his way down the formation, eyeing the men there who all quickly nodded a salute to him, he felt more despair at the cmoning storm.  They would never voice thier complaints to him.  To well trained for that.  No, they would ofcourse follow their orders.  His orders.  He had their lives in his hands and even if he disagreed with what the higher-ups commanded of his men, he didn't have to like it.  He met their steady gaze, one by one, showing appreciation without having to say a word.

The sudden swish as a bird launched itself from a nearby tree, caused him to halt his horse.  Though he tried, he couldn't make out what type it was but watched it as it flew across the open plain that lay ahead of them disappearing far across the horizon. 

A fog was rolling in.  An omen to be sure.  His heart sank.  The fog of war, it seems to be on every battleground at once.  It was clear that someone didn't much care what they were doing.  Even with both sides fighting for what they deemed noble causes, war is war.  You can't dress it up in fancy clothes and take to a fine dining estabolishment.  Its putrid stench would give it away.  Yet a full year later, here he was, still fighting for what he considered the most important cause of all.  Freedom.

Slence overtook them.  The men noticed the lack of usual animal noises and a hush full upon them.  As if the whole world held its breath.  The fog thickened.  "Not long now."  He thought as he continued his march down the line.  He wished he had something uplifting to tell his men.  Something that would lift their morale and give them the fighting spirit that seemed to be all but a hollow shell of its former self.  No such words came to him though.  He knew, as they did, that they were haevily outnumbered and not likely to survive the end of this day.

His reached the end, the heavy unit.  They were busy double checking their cannons.  Fiddling with fuses, opening storage pouches, lining ammunition.  Making sure everything was ready for when the time comes.  The squad leader looked up at him through eyes veiled with fatigue. 

"Everything is in fine order, Captain.  You may, ofcourse, double check to your satisfaction."

"That won't be nessecary, Lieutenit.  I have every confidence in the excellent abilities of your unit.  I have no doubt they will fulfill their role exceptionally."

"I thank you for the kind words, sir."  He threw up a crisp salute, more effort used then his scarred arm would have allowed.

"Carry on,"  He returned the saulute in kind and reared his animal back the way he had come. 

As he returned to his position at the head of infantry, next to his second in command, the sound they had all been waiting for finally came slowly rolling down the plain.  Quietly at first, then echoing with intensity as the appraoching army drew nearer.  The grinding of machine.  The clank of metallic feet.  The fearfully exact march or every step being in sync.  The Machine Army was indeed approaching.

The Captain looked up, amazed that in a scene of such despair as this, the sunset would still be so beautiful.  Would this be his last glimpse of beauty?

"Steady."  His horse bucked fearfully from beneath him.  He checked his officer's revolver, reassuring himself as he had severl times before, that it was indeed fully loaded.  All around him he heard the sounds of his men checking the powder, ammo, fuse, of thier muskets.  They raised themselves to their feet getting ready to face whatever future fate would see fit to give them.  With the weapon firmly gripped in his left hand he drew his cutless with his right.

Closer now the marching came and he could just barely make out the dark band that ringed around the edge of the fog.  He turned to his men.  The time was at last upon them.  With a mighty battlecry that started low in his stomach and vibrated out through his entire body, he threw his heals into the flank of his stallion.  With blistering speed his cavelry emerged from the shelter of the forest's edge, the infantry following behind.  His cry echoed by all 237 of his battalion as they hurled themselves head first into the fog.    

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MicroStory: Fear (It's like a short story except shorter!)


His eyes darted around the dimly lit room.  He knew it wouldn't be long before his hiding place was discovered.  The lone ceiling light hung horrible shadows across the walls, forcing the timid animal's heart to race even faster.  There, huddled in the corner of the room curling up as tightly as he could, he knew he was in trouble and it was only a matter of time.

The door suddenly opened, moaning slightly aginast old hinges and a tall dark figure of a man entered.  His eyes settled on the defensless creature huddled in the corner, guilt radiating from its soft features.  He then turned his head to view the cause of the animal's fright, anger boiling up inside of him.  Clouded by hatred he viewed the animal anew as if seeing it for the first time. 

The dog sensed the object before it made contact and scrambled to evacuate the area.  His tired legs could barely propel him away before the lamp crashed against the wall only inches from his body.  Desperate to get away from the rage filled stare aimed in his direction, he dove for shelter behind a couch.  Safety for now, but for how long?  Survival instincts firing as quickly as they could

The man's fury boiled over as he missed time and time again.  Surely he would have hit the animal by now but his anger caused his aim to skew.  His gaze followed the animal as it dove for shelter behind the couch.   Shelter that was short lived as he reached one large hand under the piece of furnature and hurled it end over end, finally settling in a newly formed hole in the wall.  There, trembling, cowering in fear, the dog stood. 

Looking through eyes as wide as saucers, his head downturned, he seemingly begged, pleaded, that his master not be mad at him anymore.  His small mind was only barely able to determine that his pleas would go unheard.  This was going to be his untimely end if he remained motionless for much longer.  Renewed determination filled his leg muscles as he coiled and lunged as hard as he could for the door which lay open to the outside, to freedom.

He reached with both hands for the cause of his rage but the creature managed to slip through his grasp.  Giving chase after the animal at full speed he was right on its heels.  He would overtake him in moments.

Without looking back, he knew he would be caught.  Fleeting visoins of his happier days passed before him. 

Success crawlded over the man's face right before his foot bumped into an overturned end table.  He tumbled to the ground hitting his head hard with a  mighty crash against the unforgiving tile floor.  Slightly disoriented, he watched through half closed eyes helpless now to satisfy his blood thirsty desire for vengence.

His last ounce of strength pulsed through him, his body heaving from exaustion, he ran faster then he was even physically able.  He crossed threw the threshold of the open doorway and out into the freedom that was hidden in the darkness of night.  Relief passed through him as he turned to face his new bright future.

Just before consciousness left him, he heard the squuealing of rubber tires losing traction on slick roads mixed with the helpless sound of a small animal crying one final time.    

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Impressions - New Music - Iron Maiden: The Final Frontier


Yes Iron Maiden are still releasing new album!  After a few years of touring they have crammed themselves back in the recording studio, helmed once again by the talented Kevin "Caveman" Shirley at the mixing board.  The Final Frontier marks the bands utterly incredible 15th album of original content.  Wheather you like them or not, you have to atleast give them credit for being so successful for the past three decades. 

So how does the new material stack up to favorites such as Piece of Mind and Powerslave?  Well anyone who has been following the band in their more recent releases Dance of Death and more recently A Matter of Life and Death, the Maiden of the new millenium is not quite the same as the metal gods of the foredays.  Now a days they have skewed their sound to keep up with more modern sounds.  That isn't to say that they have lost their image, they have just updated it.  It is still very music heavy with all the talents of the band's six members, the songs are just more mainstream then they used to be.  But being able to adapt has helped them rule over the charts worldwide for years.

The first song you hear when you pop in the cd, (or dump the mp3s on your ipod,) is the hybrid Sattelite 15/The Final Frontier the former being an instrumental lead-in to the latter title track.  The instrumental is rather obnoxious with its almost techno-ish base line and lack of any real "melody", but luckily the title track does well to make you forget what you just heard.  It provides a more Maiden-like sound that fans have come to expect and just might sooth that headache caused from Satellite 15.

The title track is followed by El Dorado, which is a single the band released before the album was released.  This track is somewhat unique in that it leads in with what Rock Band players might call a Big Band Finish which kind of sounds like what the end of the last song of a concert might sound like. As for the song itself, it is a bit bland lyrically, but the music is good and that is the most important part.

The next two tracks, Mother of Mercy, and Coming Home, are both solid songs.  They feature good harmonies and more substancial lyrics and are just all around excellent of how Iron Maiden is still relevent all these years later.  Paired with the slower tempoed, The Alchemist, the first half of Maiden's latest creation is all around a good listen.

Next up is track 6, The Isle of Avalon.  This one is not as great as the previous tracks and not a good start for the back half of the cd.  It starts out very slow and just kind of loses itself somewhere in the middle sounding more like everyone playing something different then a whole song.  It almost finds itself again in the last third of the song, but having to go that far is not something you can ask the audience to do.

Starblind, though not as good as the better three from the first half, atleast picks up some slack left behind from the previous track.  It features many breaks and some even better harmonies and accents.  With a band that has three guitars to play off of each other, it is nice to see it implemented so well.

The Talisman is good return to what you really want.  It picks right up into some rocking doesn't let you go tell the end.  By far this is the song that vocalist Bruce shines on and it might even be the best song on the whole CD in terms of all the members coming together for a truly remarkable sound.

Another lack luster track, 9: The Man Who Would Be King, this one starts off good enough but the song just get away from them in the middle.  Lyrically it is as if Bruce is fighting to get all his lines out.  Even with a decent finish, this is not going to be your favorite track.  Luckily Iron Maiden knows something about a strong finish.

Weighing in at 10 minutes and 59 seconds, When the Wild Winds Blow is quite a piece of music.  Maiden has never shied away from long tracks, (neat fact: that is a major contributing factor to why you don't hear them on the radio!) and this one has somewhat cinimatic feel reminicent of The Wall though not as good of an implementation, obviously.

Ultimately, The Final Frontier is a good buy if you are a fan of the formula.  It is unfortunate that, with all the good music, vocalist Bruce just can't do it like he used to be able to.  What can you expect from someone who has been doing it for so long?  But don't him that, he will record and tour until his vocal cords fall out because that is what he and the rest of the band love to do!  Along with some excellent cover art, (expect nothing less from the band that gave us Eddie!) and an attractive case for the Mission Edition and you could certainly find worse things to spend 16 dollars on!  A must buy for  Maiden fans and a good choice for fans of the genre.     

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Joys of moving


Basically there aren't any.  I have moved so many times in my life and each time I move I discover I have more crap to move then I did last time.  This time we did it smart though.  We used Pod.  Now Pod isn't for everyone.  They charge a premium for their service because they know you want it.  If you haven't heard of this before, basically they drop off a storage unit at your doorstep.  You take a few days and load that unit up.  When you are finished they come and haul it away and store it.  Then you move to a new place.  Call them up and they move your crap and drop it off right at your door.  Take a few days, unpack it, and they take it away.  I guess it is like having someone drive a U-Haul for you.  Anyways, it is a pretty good service but like I said, hella hella expensive.  Infact it turned out to be more then we were originally told.  So would I recommend it?  Hell no.  But whats done is done and we get our crap back on the 12 so its game on then.  While the systems were away, I got some of my droogs together and we played some RIsk online.  The site, landgrab.net turned out to be the best free online Risk clone.  It features all kinds of crazy maps, a crap ton of settings to tweak, and a realtime view so you can see what is going on as it is happening.  If anyone who reads this bog happens to find themselves there, shoot me a message.  Screen name is ofcourse thatguy0130 as it is on everything I ever do.  The story behind that will have to wait for another time thogh because I have a match coming up now.  Till next time, take it easy people.
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What have I been playing lately?


Well I am going to send my PS3 off tomorrow, again.  I hope they send me one that works this time.  Atleast I got to use it for a few weeks.  During that time I played through a few games.  Most recently was Battlefield Bad Company.  Not a bad game as I mentioned in my review of it.  After that, since I knew I had to send my system in, I didn't want to start anything serious.  So I stuck to Guitar Hero games.  I picked up Metallica for a 20 spot.  Since then I have been listening to an absurd amount of that.  Game is not bad either.  I mean, it is exactly what you would want.  Smash Hits I picked up for the same price.  GH I and II had some of the best music and I am glad that I can finally play that on my PS3.  Could they have just sold it as DLC?  Sure but they didn't.  Whatever, atleast I can play Bark at the Moon some more.  Even though they changed the way the song is played, it is still my favorite song on that disc.  So I have been playing alot of that and I played some Littlebigplanet.  I will finish that game one day.  It is just that the farther in that game you get, the more you realize that it wasn't meant to be a one player game.  You can easily get about 2/3 of the way through by yourself but in those finally levels it is really obvious how useful a second player would be.  I popped in UT3 for a few matches.  Since the last time that I played that game they added trophies, so I have to go back through the whole campaign from the start to get the ones that I missed.  That kind of sucks but whatever.  I like UT3 so I will do that one day.  Thats really it.  My Netflix disc has seen alot of action as well.  The wife and I have discovered Rescue Me.  Funny show, I recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind profanity and lots of cable channel sex scenes.  If you can get past all that, the show is just hillarious.  Anyways, since the PS3 is going away, I thought I might go looking for some good PSP games or something.  I was thinking of finally picking up GoW: Chains of Olympus.  You can get that for 10 bucks now a days and with the new one out that might be worth a play through.  Maybe get my Star Ocean: Second Evolution on as well.  That game has also come down in price.  Shin Budokai: Another Road?  I loved the first one.  We shall see.  I will update when I figure out what I do.  Till then. 
 
p.s.  I also got hooked up with a copy of that Peggle Nights for PC.  I never played a Peggle game and I have heard alot of chatter about them.  Now I know.  I played through that whole game crazy fast.  Peggle is not a bad game!
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