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Life in the Fast Lane
Everything, all the time
swngnblues
the following is pieces of message board posts i've made on other forums, as well as emails i've sent to personal friends.  for once, i'm unlocking a post to allow you to link to your friends whom i don't have on my flist to read....

i've had the draft resolution in my hands since yesterday afternoon about 2pm. the draft is 106 pages (most of that is actually because they only write on like 4 inches of the paper, leaving the rest for editing room, lol. i was rather pleased with the bill up until title 3.

title 1 and 2 setup the basis for the package to work. there's a fair amount of oversight. the bill is capped at $700bln, but what most people don't understand is that there's 3 levels of spending that sectreas goes through. the first authorization is only for $250bln. the next, requires approval from the president and it appeared to be a joint (house and senate) oversight committee to commit up to $350bln (which again, appeared relatively quickly). to reach the $700bln number, it required approval from the majority of the house, and something like a 10-14 day waiting period. all purchases would have to be justified, and the sectreas would have to report regularly on the health of the program.

there's also quite a bit built in on renegotiation of the aquired assets if they were in danger of default. i didn't get into the executive compensation limitations, but they're there. i'm not sure the level of protection that it provides. i was still caught up in the setup of oversight as i read through the bill this morning. i honestly probably won't be able to get through it today.

what really bugged me was title 3. in essence, it's a tax break for banks/financial institutions. under normal circumstances, gains and losses on investments held are classified as capital losses, subject to a 15% rate (at the personal level, and i believe at corporate as well). what title 3 (in it's 4 pages of glory) says is that any bank or financial institution that held fannie or freddie preferred stock (again, i'm not 100% clear on the definition of preferred - if it's true preferred or just all stock), and sold after the beginning of september, are eligible to take those losses and transfer them to the income statement - effectively reducing the taxable income, thereby reducing the amount of tax paid by a financial institution. it reeks of pork barrell/special interests to me. i'm not sure of the fannie/freddie exposure or capitalization, and whether or not it's a blip or dent in things, but if we're proposing additional spending, why cut taxes?

i should point out that the spending was specifically directed by the bill to raise additional funds through issuing new t-bills/notes. remember that those are obligations of the government, and are only obligated to pay current interest (the balance is due at the end of the term). by my current math, using a 3.75% rate (current is 3.63%) on the 10-year note, the government additional spending per year would be up to $28bln. assuming 100mil individual taxpayers (there were actually 134 million individual returns in 2006), that comes out to up to $300/yr extra in per person tax revenue that would need to be generated to keep current on those obligations. obviously, the idea, is that in buying those assets, the government would be able to generate current revenue to offset that $300/person number, and be able to re-sell those assets for at least the amount they paid for them, and therefore retire the debt that was issued (ideally, they'd retire debt that was paying a higher interest rate - but that's just getting into the matter of whether or not the government can manage money effectively).

i think the main reason for the failure and the overwhelming support against the bill does lie in the failure of representatives/media to adequately explain the provisions of the bailout. all that we've ever heard is the $700bln number, not what it means on an individual level. sure, i don't want to see my individual taxes go up by $300/year (if even), but at the same time, i sure don't want the economy to tank and be out of a job, either.

the precedent for the culmination in what was ultimately known as the great depression had its roots in the freezing of liquidity, the decline in the value of assets, and the subsequent run (and failure) on the banks that were overly leveraged because of frivolous debt granting. anyone else see the parallels here? the foundations for the great depression were in a lack of oversight, which ultimately spawned the massive regulation of the financial markets in the 33 & 34 securities acts. where we went wrong here, was a lack of oversight in trying to create the american dream for every man, woman, and child, regardless of ability to pay. i hate to play politics on this one, but the foundations of the subprime business can be laid directly at the feet of the democrats - carter's initiative in the late 70's to open home ownership to those of lower income or poor credit histories, and subsequently by the clinton administration in 94-95 to expand the program that ultimately created the benefit to the financial markets to expand and "ride" the subprime mortgage markets.

now granted, i'm a product of the subprime market. my house, bought on foreclosure for $5k below tax value, and the fact that i was able to finance 100% of the purchase price because of the relaxation of lending standards started in 94-95. but, the difference is - my loan is not considered subprime, and i entered into the transaction with my eyes relatively wide open. but - under pre-94 standards, would i have been able to be a homeowner at 28? doubtful.

my politics, at least when it comes to fiscal policy, are decidely republican. it's a tricky slope that we now face. i suggest that if you opposed the bill, saying "let them pay for their mistakes", or know someone who opposed it, re-examine what you know or think about the bill and urge your representatives to re-consider the legislation. as bad as it may be to pay a bit more per year in taxes, is it nearly as bad to lose your job and possibly a good chunk of your life savings because you wanted to say "stick it to the companies - it's their own fault"?

it's possible to avert or mitigate this crisis without the bill - but at what cost to individuals or the economy? the fed, the treasury, and the fdic can continue to work in their current capacity, but it's a slow process, that may not be able to fully mitigate a systemic failure of the underlying banking system as we know it.


there you have it - my take on things (albeit a bit scattered).  disregard the fact that i don't capitalize things when i post on most message boards.  i also don't bother with much in the way of grammar and/or punctuation. 

i've read some pieces this morning that actually shed a new light on how the voting went down yesterday.  i'll obviously leave aside my distaste for pelosi's commentary prior to the vote (ok, honestly, what freakin right does she have in a floor session to take shots at the administration? those were sound bites for her re-election campaign - not honest policy discussion).  but it was interesting to read that of those who face stiff challenges for re-election this year, voted 30-9 (or something like that) in favor of rejecting the bill.  they listened to their consituents, rather than what makes sense.  of those that are considered relatively safe in their districts, the vote was break-even, something like 197-198 yea/nea.  like i said before - the overwhelming negativity for this bill was based primarily on the fact that it wasn't explained or sold correctly.  take 15 freakin minutes people, and tell us how it's supposed to work!  don't rely on the people to read through your 106 pages of legalese to figure it out. 

less than 90 days before an election, and an important piece of legislation gets shot down because of politics.  had this happened a year ago, i doubt we'd have seen all the political maneuvering that we did in the last week.  but at the same time, this might not have even been brought to vote nearly as quickly. 

i know that i'm not the most educated (in terms of papers on walls) person, but you'd think that if i could figure it out with a bs in financial planning and working towards a masters in accounting, anyone of those ivy league yuppies that congress keeps on staff could figure it out and explain it. 

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': annoyed annoyed

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swngnblues

I feel like the Verizon guy asking this - but can you see me now?  I've got some serious issues with LJ right now in not properly showing all my journal updates.  

I think it had something to do with the way that you set minimum security in your profile (Friends), but then when you want to post, you're supposed to leave it as "public"... when you change it while posting, it actually applies the "private" setting to the post.  So that's why you think I've been MIA (which i have to some extent).

So... if you can see this (or any others) on your flist... please let me know!!!!!

~rj

Coordinates: Home
Feelin': cranky cranky

12 comments or Comment
swngnblues
Levi Leipheimer and Alberto Contador have signed with Team Astana, and it's rumored that 4 other very strong riders from Discover will sign with the "new look team" (Janez Brajkovic, Vladimir Gusev, Benjamin Noval, and Sergio Paulhino).  All I have to say to the rest of the ProTour is: "Be very afraid."  There are now 4 very strong Grand Tour GC-guys on that team: Andreas Kloden, Paolo Salvodelli, Alberto, and Levi. Add to that mix the guys Astana had supporting Vino and Kloden this past Tour, and you're looking at a team that's very capable of sweeping all three tours.  

Yikes...

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': excited excited

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swngnblues
I've just spent the last hour and half programming our phone system to play background music when you get put on hold.  Not only that, but I've actually had to wire a port on the big phone board to hook up the music source (currently my iPod).  Now, I'm taking an old computer and copying the CD's that people in the office own onto the computer, and will have IT playing hold music from now.  

And just how much does this set my boss and his partners back????? A whopping $4.26 (for the cable).

GO ME! :) *doeshappydance* 

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': accomplished accomplished
Tuneage: Frank Sinatra - The Way You Look Tonight

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swngnblues
Many updates and some ramblings that I've been committing to MS Word lately...

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': contemplative contemplative

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swngnblues
Snagged from fritz42 ...
My ultimate Halloween Costume is.....Collapse )

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': anxious anxious

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swngnblues

I've finally seen Transformers... and a darn good movie it is (courtesy of bittorrent).  Little campy in some points, but otherwise good.  I can definitely see the relationship between other Bay films....

Anyways... I'm trying to sort of pre-figure out what in the world Transformers:2 will be about....

I mean, the Decepticons lost Megatron, Bonecrusher, Devastator, Frenzy, and Blackout... dunno about Starscream, Scorponok, and Barricade (but I assume they survived).  

Any thoughts?  Are we going to have more coming from across the universe then?  What would be the overriding plotline? The Allspark is gone....

And someone please tell me that Megan Fox and Rachael Taylor will be in Trans2 as well... ;-) 

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': curious curious

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swngnblues
Ships 10/16/07... at least according to my Columbia House emails. : ) Oddly enough, it ships before SpiderMan, which was in theaters for better than a month before Transformers... And I'm still wondering when OotP and PotC:WE will be available... 

Now.. just to use those 3 free DVD coupons... guess you know which ones I'll be getting with those. : )

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': cranky cranky

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swngnblues
What in the wide world of sports is going on with LiveJournal lately?  Journals are being deleted like crazy, apparently.  What's with this implosion?  I haven't seen anything on the lj_news feed... so who's got a clue what's going on?

I mean - I see people posting on their journals and communities about f-locking posts and stuff, but what in the name of Sam Hell is going on? 

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': curious curious

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swngnblues

Most people know Tim Allen as the lovable, chauvanistic, grunting, somewhat home-repair challenged father from the sitcom Home Improvement.  If you've ever been lucky enough to catch his standup performances before that period though, you know the grunting male routine that started the series.  That's what I thought of after the last few days of projects on the house.  That's exactly what I did with several things - I rewired them. *insert chauvanistic male grunt here*

The most intensive project, which is not complete was moving a double light switch box from inside the garage to inside the house.  These two switches controlled the overhead light in the garage, and the two lamps outside of the garage door.  I got tired of not realizing whether or not I had left those lights on or even bothered to turn them on.  Plus - it makes no sense for me to have to go out into the garage to turn on my front lights.  (I want to smack around the architect or whoever else did some of the schematics for the house.)  So, after an 18 x 24 inch hole was cut in the garage wall, I managed to relocate that switch box to the inside (where there was a single switch), and now have a nice new three switch control center in my little entry-way.  BUT.... the funny thing is, that I had to turn off breakers for my office, the garage, and the GREAT ROOM... so, when I grabbed one switch, thinking that the power was off... I got a Tim Taylor sort of electrical shock.  It's actually not that bad....  Now, I just need to finish cleaning up the hole in the wall (actually a patch now).

The other major project was installing two programmable thermostats.  The install was easier than the programming... :-/  But, I now have my house more energy efficient, which is the goal... especially seeing this latest shocker from Duke Power.... *shudders*  The 2nd floor (all bedrooms and laundry) basically shuts down for the entire day, and only runs at night, and the downstairs shuts down during the day and the night.  

I've also been trying to patch up one of the walls that had a lot of little knicks in it (at the bottom of the stairs).  Oddly enough... they seem to stop about 2 1/2 feet up the wall... :-/  And I've been working on all these little areas where for some reason or another, the drywall screws have popped back a bit.  Mostly, those are in the ceiling.  I need an honest opinion from everyone - should I leave the ceilings as "smooth", or texture them?  I get the impression that this will continue to happen over time, and I'd hate to have to keep repairing the ceiling, and think texture would hide these blemishes better.  

I continued my progression of getting the walls painted, and managed to get the remainder of the breakfast nook and the kitchen.  All that remains on the first floor is the dining room and foyer. I'm not really looking forward to doing the foyer, to be quite honest... all 20 feet of it...

Other than that... life has been rather uneventful.  I'm just biding my time like everyone else until the movie and Deathly Hallows is released.  There's so much news coming across for the release of both, that it's flooding my RSS reader.  Getting a bit annoying lately.  And I hate that the "full media" (CNN, AP, etc.) are all asking the question "Will Harry Die?" and then postulating to high heaven about it.  

The Tour de France kicks off tommorrow in London.  I find myself for the first time in a little over a year, excited for it.  The doping scandals of the last year have put a damper on my enthusiasm for cycling, but in the last couple of weeks, it's really come back.  Here's to hoping that it's an exciting race, and I'm rooting especially hard for the Americans - Levi, DaveZ, and George. I'd love Discovery Channel to return to the days of "Le Train Bleu"... but we'll see what happens.  Prologue tommorrow!!!  Bright and early!

That's all for now.  Catch you all soon!

Coordinates: Office
Feelin': accomplished accomplished
Tuneage: silence....

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swngnblues

This weekend marks the end of what will be my 4th "true" week as a homeowner. Although I closed almost 2 months ago, I've only been living in the house for 4 weeks. In that time, I've discovered there are some basic immutable truths about life as a homeowner....

1.) There is no such thing as "done" when it comes to home improvement projects. You finish one thing, there are at least 2 more that replace that one item.

2.) Yard work creeps up on you very quickly. I seem to vaguely recall cutting the grass Monday night, and I'm trying to figure out if I'll make it to next week without having to cut it again.

3.) I have a much greater "personal incentive" to keep the house clean, as opposed to my apartment. Can't figure that one out yet.

4.) Thank God that the house was designed to take advantage of natural light. I can literally wake up in the morning and go until 8:30pm without ever needing to turn on a light.

5.) Trying to keep your grass green and healthy is a never-ending struggle and frustrating as hell. My front yard is nearly emerald green... the back yard... well...

6.) Keeping your computer separate from the living area is a great thing.... most of the time.

7.) I'm amazed that I can keep the thermostats set on 75/76 (upstairs/downstairs), and it's actually comfortable. In the apartment, if it wasn't less than 71... it was downright stifling. Now.. it just remains to be seen how winter will be around here.

8.) Speaking of winter... I'm extremely annoyed that Piedmont Natural Gas has to charge me a flat fee of $10/month just for the privelege of running gas into the house.

9.) My Master Bath is too big. Or I'm doing something wrong, because I open the shower curtain in the morning to get out, and get assaulted with a HUGE blast of cold air.

10.) There's always something else to buy for the house. I dropped $30 for a fan in the office last weekend, and then dropped $40 for a string trimmer (I'm a stickler for having the grass trimmed). I think I need a wheelbarrow, because one of the next projects is to lay a small brick "pad" on the side of the house for my trash bins, and I need to dig up a fair amount of dirt.

But wait... there's more!Collapse )


You'll all need to keep an eye out for felixfelicis1's piece Unbreakable Bonds coming to PS once the incomparable iviolinist gets her hands on it. Very enjoyable piece of work. And I was surprised that it checked in at 219 pages (pre-beta). I'm still working on a few final thoughts for felixfelicis1, though.

Think that's it for now. I should try to tie up a few loose ends here at the office before the day is done.

~rj

Coordinates: The Office
Feelin': bored bored
Tuneage: air conditioner

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swngnblues
As promised, I have picpsam of the house!  I'm sorry it's a bit late, but I've had a couple of small things that I wanted to finish up before I posted these. (painting the bathroom, the "mud hall", etc. :P)

I've resized most of the images, and everything here is thumbnails that click through, so no one has a right to complain about your friends page. :P  All picture descriptions are available on the click thru page.  Just so you know... I probably ran up a few KwH to Duke Energy lighting up the house. :P  It's very well lit naturally, so I don't normally turn on that many lights (I think every single one was on).

I'll have a bit more of an update later.  But at the least, I got everyone the pics (that's been asking for them).

~rj

The house

Front Door

Nook to Patio

Patio #1

Patio #2

Back of House

Nook

Kitchen

Kitchen from Bar

Left Kitchen

Kitchen - right

Entry

Dining Room

Office #1

Office to

Half bath

Great Room

Great room from garage entry

Stairs

Top of Stairs

Front Full Bath

Hallway to Master

Foyer from Hall

Master from Door

Master from Corner

MBR to MBA to MC

Master Shower

Master bath

Master closet - left

Master closet - center

Master closet - right

 

Coordinates: The Estate
Feelin': accomplished accomplished
Tuneage: hitmusicstation.net

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swngnblues
I refuse to do a list, because, well, that's ofmythandlegend's thing.... ;-)

For those who don't know, I've spent the better part of the last month cleaning up my house for move-in. As such, that took place Saturday. It was a very warm day, and we worked our asses off, but we got it done fairly quickly. 95% of my 3 room apartment went into the truck in under two hours, and was moved out of the truck into the house in about an 1:15 hours. I kid you not. I had moved a majority of the small stuff (books, pantry items) over the previous weeks, so it was "daily items" and stuff that was left. I made the mistake of not fully informing and checking back in with my "hired help" (Jeremey), so not only did I drag him out of bed at 9:15 on Saturday morning, but lost his services about 12:30... and wound up having my friend Anna help me with the unloading. I think she got the better end of the deal, as only the bedroom furniture had to go upstairs. The sleeper-sofa and everything else just came off the truck into the Great Room.

So, a further trip back to pack up the food and remaining few miscellaneous items, and we were back at the house at 5:30. I was dead tired. Virtually no nutrition since breakfast, sweating like crazy, and little hydration were of the order. We did stop for dinner at 8-ish, then came back, and loaded the washer and dryer up to the 2nd floor. As convenient as it is to not have to carry laundry up and down the stairs, it's a pain moving those things up there! And lo and behold when I run my first load that night, it's developed a tiny leak because the fittings weren't on as tight as they needed to be. A nice puddle of water in my garage. *grumbles*

Sunday, I had to work a small party for the caterer, so after dropping $500+ at Costco (thank you mom!), they went back to the apartment to clean, while I went to work. They also had to get my dishes and glassware, as it was the only thing left. Mom wound up having an issue with her knee, and all they got was the dishware and a small spot of cleaning done. I started to unpack some of my kitchenware, and find that I managed to transplant ants from my apartment complex. *screams* My guess is they dropped in from the tree overhanging the bed of the pickup truck, and found the partial bag of powdered sugar. Thank goodness it was only stacked in the foyer, and I've been on constant spray patrol for the last couple of nights. I'm keeping RAID in business right now. :P I've also setup ant traps in the kitchen just in case. But I got home, and again, crashed on the floor in the great room.

Monday was "back to the apartment day", and knocked out the cleaning in under 2 hours. Handed in the keys yesterday. The rest of the day was spent putting stuff away, and assembling my new gas grill. : ) As dad said, I'm now officially middle-class suburbia, as we had Jeremey and his wife over for some ribs, corn, bread, and salad. I drank a few beers while we were grilling, so I feel suburbian now.

The 'rents left yesterday morning, and made it home. Before I left for work, they made me pose for pictures outside of the house. I felt like it was my first day of 1st grade again... *eyeroll* I spent last night putting away some more things, and installing under-cabinet lights in my kitchen. They look really cool, and I'll post a pic of them later. I'm not a big fan of leaving the overhead flourescent light on all the time, so these really are nice, plus, they add extra light to my countertops for when I'm working.

My house looks so empty right now. I have no dining room furniture, 2 bedrooms are empty, and my Master Bedroom looks cavernous with my small suite of furniture. My office even looks kind of empty. And I have no cable right now! *grumbles at Time Warner* My master bath is in the midst of being painted right now, so I'm running from end to end in the morning to get ready. I just slept in my bedroom for the first time last night. but..... IT's MINE! : )

I'm hoping to get the Master Bath finished up in the next night or so. I really want to move the rest of the bath supplies back to my end of the house. I've got a giant box of toiletries and stuff that's sitting in my closet just waiting to be put away in the bathroom. I've also got to replace the fan in the front bath, because for some unknown reason, it doesn't work. *shrugs*

Slowly, but surely, it's coming along. It might be just a tad late to plant anything, as we're already below nominal rainfall for the year, and part of my lawn has already gone dormant (or was it dormant to begin with?).

Here's a couple pics that the 'rents took. Just of the outside. You absolutely have to see the colors in the office and MBR and great room. Mom and dad (known for having nothing but off-white in the house, outside of the wallpaper) really like the colors. : )

So.. here you go!
Some picspam! : )Collapse )
By the way, if you haven't seen POTC3, check out the trailer. Also, check the trailer for Transformers. Both are on my "must see" list, right after OotP. : )

Believe that's it for now. I'll be back with picspam of the inside in a few days. At least I should have internet starting tommorrow night.

~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': chipper chipper
Tuneage: n/a

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swngnblues
With everything going on this week, and me being sick on Tuesday, I completely forgot to post about this.  Literally, when I woke Tuesday evening (bad migraine, missed work), I had the official US trailer to OotP downloaded. : )  I now have on my hard drive, the "500k" Quicktime version (which means you can view it full screen without losing too much in quality).  I've watched it frame by frame, and I have to say, it's rather interesting. 

So... if you're interested in having a copy of the file to download, leave me a comment, and I'll send you the link to download it.  I'm not going to publicly post it. 

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': working working
Tuneage: hitmusicstation.net

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swngnblues
It's been a busy week or so. Overshadowed by working my tail off last weekend, and Monday's tragedy, I completely missed wishing Sean a happy birthday.... so here's a very belated Happy Birthday!

Now that the formalities are out of the way, I closed on my house on Thursday! It's official!

The seller (Bank of NY) tried to make life difficult at the 11th hour, arguing over what closing costs they were paying (they got off with paying less than the 3% I asked for... *grumbles*). I think it's merely because New York is full of attorneys. But we got everything finalized at the last minute, and my mortgage broker was a huge help to me. I feel bad that to make the numbers fit in the end, he had to cut his commission. Hopefully, I can get it made up to him with a referral or two, and a future HELOC, and a re-finance if rates get better, or my job situation changes for the better. : ) 

Speaking of job changes... I threw my resume out on Monster, and another site (local paper), just to see what sort of response I could get.  With me being a Master's student, figured I might generate a hit or two, as a possibility.  Well, I've received about half a dozen communications from Financial Services firms, for SALES positions.  If I wanted to go sales, I'd do it here.  I feel like my career path is taking me away from that, and I've had to politely decline these people with that very same line.  I'm not really seriously searching... more like testing the waters, at this point.  Just keeping an eye out for any opportunities, as well. 

I officially know I'm a homeowner now, because I've already dropped my first $100 at Lowe's on Friday afternoon. (New deadbolts, painting supplies, air filters.) Sheesh... amazing how quickly that stuff adds up! And I'm not even talking about decorative paint! This is all primer! I did take note that the "decorative paint" is signifigantly more expensive... :-/  My mind is turning with things I'd love to do to the place... floors, countertops, tile in the bathrooms, etc.  Even landscaping.  The only problem I'm having is coming up with a color scheme for painting the walls...  So if anyone has any suggestions, PLEASE make them. : ) 

Classes are winding down, and my countdown to move-in hits 30. All that's really left for me to do is a lot of cleaning.  Mom is supposed to head down here in a week or so to help me with the scrubbing, so that'll be good.  I can't wait till I've got this place looking new again.  I walk in now, and it doesn't quite feel like mine yet, because it's not MY dirt.  Yanno?

Dasvedaneye! (Goodbye, in Russian.)
~rj

Coordinates: Work
Feelin': calm calm

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