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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Molly's Show is tonight! See me sell postcards.

Like a little match girl, tonight I'll be dolled up in black and white at Molly Crabapple's merch table. Come to the show!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

undercover spelling bee operatives!

You know you've made it when you get infiltrated by the competition! Okay, actually, this person was just thinking about starting a spelling bee, and she has wholly nice things to say. Anyway, we've been blogged.


An Open Letter to the Marketing Executive Who Names Shades of Pantyhose

Dear Marketing Executive Who Names Shades of Pantyhose:

I know that I'll never be "suntan." Even when I actually have a tan, my legs are far, far paler than "suntan." I grew up in Virginia Beach, where, despite the presence of the beach, everyone goes to tanning salons to darken up all the fat they've accumulated from eating too much barbecue.

If I'm not "suntan" (and I'm certainly not "mocha" or the colors that are even darker than that), it looks like "beige" and "ivory" are the next couple of notches down, but again, my skin is paler than both of those hues. I wouldn't want to be "beige" -- that would make my complexion sound like the old family computer or the waiting room at the DMV -- but, apparently, I am lighter than "ivory." Having never physically juxtaposed my legs to the tusks of elephants, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one.

Your next lightest shade on offer is "nude," which, in some kind of Aryan color hegemony, indicates "a color paler than ivory." But even "nude" is too dark for my skin. Yes, I am that pale. But if my nude legs aren't nude, what (or who) is? And what about all the other women, carmel and mocha-colored women, whose nude legs obviously aren't your idea of "nude" either? Call the guys over at Crayola -- they changed that whole thing about the crayon called "flesh" way back in 1962. Now, you can go to the store and get a box of sixteen special crayons called, literally, "Multicultural Crayons," so you can color a little United Nations of variably-hued people. Take a hint!

Now that we have established that I am not suntan, beige, ivory, or nude, well ... now what? I once dated a Mexican guy who commented that instead of saying I have a "snow-white" complexion, I could alternately say I was the color of salt, cocaine, or aspirin. (Dear Mexican guy: Thanks for the compliments!)

According to the package of pantyhose my mom bought me because she's the same moon-like, blinding shade of talc (and your pantyhose matched her perfectly!), the color designation you have afforded me is: "oatmeal."

I am oatmeal-colored. This is not sexy, Mr. Pantyhose Man. If dark-skinned women get to be "carmel" and "mocha" and "espresso," I want to be "fresh milk" ... or "Zinfandel." Shredded coconut? Raw sugar? Throw me a bone here.

Your loyal customer,
Jennifer Dziura

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Friday, February 18, 2005

kiss me, i'm done

The other day, I made a note to myself regarding something about which I desired to blog, put the note aside (well, the note was on my computer, so I didn't literally push the note laterally across my desk and under my pewter paperweight), and forgot about it.

About ten minutes ago, I thought I might catch up on my blogging, so I went searching for this note, and found in my email outbox many such abandoned blogging notes (one might call them "Eudora abortions"), dating as far back as September.

So now, I shall proceed to catch up on my blogging in one fell swoop. These are all the things that happened to me in the past six months that were sort of important enough to tell you about at the time, but not so much, really. Here goes...
  • Note to self after buying cool leather-covered thermos for father for Christmas: Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, and those who suck at gift wrapping should stop buying people cylindrical gifts.

  • I saw a girl on the subway platform with a hearing aid, which was that unattractive sort of band-aid color. Kind of ruined whatever hotgirlishness she may otherwise have had going on. But then, on the train, I saw a kind of dorky guy wearing a really cool cell phone earpiece. It was black and silver and made him look important, even though you can't talk on a cellphone on the train in Manhattan. And then I thought, why don't they make hearing aids look like cellphone earpieces? Instead of trying to hide it, make it hot pink or black and glue some fucking rhinestones to it. If you got it, honey, might as well decorate it.

  • My cat jumped on top of the fridge! That's really high!

  • I normally would sooner stab myself in the trachea with a fork than attend a poetry reading, but my best-friend-from-high-school Maureen released her new chapbook on her birthday, so I clearly had to attend the party. And, of course, I adore Maureen herself. So the idea of having to attend a Maureenish poetry reading provides the same sort of cognitive dissonance as if I had to attend, say, a flower show (bad) in celebration of Jon Stewart (good!) Or if someone gave me some really tasty butter pecan Hitler-brand ice cream. Turns out, though, Maureen was fabulous at reading (and writing) poetry, so much so that you could barely tell that she was reading poetry. It was just like she was talking much more compactly than everyone else.

  • At a fashion show, I was having my hair done when the stylist asked another stylist "Do you have any hair bands?" "Hair bands?" the woman replied. "Yeah," said my stylist. "You know, like Motley Crue or Poison?"

  • As part of my job, I sometimes take the SAT. I have finally gotten a 1600. It would have been more useful a decade ago, but I'll take "perfect" any time it comes around. (Maybe I didn't blog about this when it happened because it was too boasty, but now that it's older news and it's sandwiched between trivial acts of reportage, it has ventured over the line into okay).

  • My best friend Molly commented over coffee that my "eyeshadow skills" have improved since we've known each other. I did not know what to make of this compliment. I haven't been trying particularly hard, but I suppose one must pick something up from having professionals poke and prod at you over time.

  • I recently taught an SAT class on television as part of an MSNBC feature on the new SAT. I still haven't seen this broadcast. They filmed me teaching the essay writing part; I was disappointed that they didn't get me doing some terribly complicated math problem, like the one where a pentagonal swimming pool is divided into seven regions of equal volume and then filled 37% full, the width of the swimming pool at its widest point is z, depth of the swimming pool is z cubed, there's a multivariable function that determines the rate at which the swimming pool drains, and then I deliver the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

  • I'm reading Susan Sontag's "Regarding the Pain of Others," which is a much easier read than the seminal "On Photography." Is the pain of others somehow more comprehensible than the art of photography, or did Sontag merely become less abstruse with old age?

  • As part of a report for my fiction class on publications that buy erotic fiction, I recently had the pleasure of going into a bodega in Brooklyn and purchasing both True Romance and Hustler magazines. I didn't discover until I arrived home that Hustler came with a free DVD! I mean, it's probably a promo for full-length DVDs purchasable from, but still. I wonder where I put that. (Guess what someone's getting in their Christmas stocking!)

  • My favorite color is celery. Just FYI.

  • The Word a Day I get in my email has been lame for about the last five years, but the other day they sent "tribology," defined as "The study of interacting surfaces in relative motion and associated issues, such as friction, lubrication, and wear."

  • I performed in The Smut Show at Galapagos in Williamsburg, on a bill with performance artist (and former Mr. Lower East Side) Neal Medlyn. Neal was funny at first, with a sort of gross striptease wherein it was revealed that, under his clothes, Neal was covered in Band-Aids. Then, ultimately, it was revealed that under his tighty-whities, his asscheeks were taped together with Band-Aids. After that it got really, really long, Molly wanted to go, and I was hard-pressed to muster an argument against it.

  • I spent two hours rolling around in fallen autumn leaves in the freezing cold in a cemetary in Sleepy Hollow for a photoshoot. Reminder to self: roll around in fallen leaves sometime when it's warmer and more clothes may be worn.

  • From my friend Ken, on the question of whether homeless people can register to vote: Most states have rules that all that one is required to identify for voter registration is your place of residence, which can be a non-traditional address, such as "the bench at the corner of 9th and Main," and a mailing address, which can be a post office's "general delivery" address. The main problem for homeless people is potentially the need to register every year, as most states purge their records annually based on the voter registration cards mailed and returned as non-deliverable.

  • From Craigslist, Screw You, Iced Soy Mocha Moron

  • Awhile ago, the MTA published the winners of their children's subway poetry contest in the ad space inside the cars. One poem, the middle school winner's, had a couple of really nice lines: "I am charmed by silver/trains slithering like snakes/in dark-pitted dens." It went downhill from there, but, hey, not bad for an eighth grader.

  • My dad sent me this joke a long time ago and it's still funny.
    Why did the zombie baby cross the road?

    To wreak an unholy vengeance upon the driver of the car who's standing there, scratching his head, trying to figure out how a zombie baby's head can be beneath his car tires but the rest of the body is nowhere to be seen-- unless he were to turn around and notice the zombie baby body bearing down on him, coming ever closer, ready with grasping, pudgy zombie baby fingers to tear and rend at the flesh of this self-same driver who ran his head over, on the dark and rain-swept road that snakes down from the castle of the madman who's creating an army of zombie babies to do his dark, libidinal bidding.
  • I am often charmed by the misusages of English I encounter in Spanish Harlem. One Mexican restaurant advertises its Huevos Mexicanos as "Eggs with Mexican Style" (the "with" being the extraneous bit), which makes it sound like the eggs are dancing or dressing well. Also, the woman at my laundry place spells my name "Jennyfer," which is too cute for cuteness itself.

  • I really like looking at pictures of midgets. Also Russian mail-order amputee brides. Here are some Amish midgets, and midgets on bikes.

  • I Heart Huckabees was really enjoyable, in a senseless faux-philosophy kind of way. It might be fun to go see it with a dumb person and see if they try to act smart by pretending the movie makes any coherent sense. Also, Jason Schwartzman has gotten kind of hot. Jude Law has always been hot.

  • So, I have a profile on this modeling site, and I get all kinds of mail through it, from ligitimate jobs to casual compliments to casting calls for things I do not do. This has got to be the weirdest thing I've received:
    I discovered your portfolio and absolutely LOVED your work there!! We are [deleted], a family-owned company creating fun tickle videos. We're currently seeking new faces and models with an edge for paid shoots with us. Alot of fun and a TON of laughs, our shoots make for great side work or between larger projects. No sex ever, no nudity required. I would be interested in booking with you and am happy to send over additional information.
    My favorite part is that they're a "family-owned company." (Dude, what the fuck is wrong with your family?)

  • I think large swaths of our generation are demoralized -- even if they don't know it -- by the intangibility of most of our labor. We need to make more things. It's healthy. Good, solid physical labor combats moroseness. I mean, what have I ever made, exactly? Scarves? Scarves. Out of yarn. That is fucking lame. In high school, I wanted to take masonry, but it was a half-day vocational program that was incompatible with taking classes for college. But maybe if all the pansy-ass college prep kids had developed some kind of backup skill (like, say, I don't know, CONSTRUCTING THINGS FROM BRICKS), half my generation wouldn't still be living with their parents like weenie retards. Thank you.

  • A gentleman friend and I wanted to hand out Valentines (the kiddie kind that come in perforated sheets) at a party, but couldn't find any Valentines to buy that didn't have Shrek or Dora the Explorer or some kind of character on them. I eventually picked up some Strawberry Shortcake ones, which at least was a character from our generation. Someone pretty much has to stamp Nike logos on orphans before I start decrying commercialism in general, but, come on, what's wrong with some plain pink hearts? Dora can go shrek herself.

  • Did you know that the Puritans used to name their children my opening up the Bible and picking whatever words their fingers landed on first? If you ever wondered about Increase Mather in history class, that's what was up.

Monday, February 14, 2005

what it takes to get your baby back

From the AP: Jenita Jeyarajah has said that as soon as she regains custody of her baby, she will fulfill vows to smash 100 coconuts at a temple of the elephant-headed Hindu god, Ganesh, offer sweet rice to the warrior god, Murugan, and kill a rooster for the goddess Kali.

hope for those of you I haven't been meeting at the spelling bee

The new SAT, launching in March 2005, requires that students write an essay. A College Board essay grader was quoted in an article on as saying:

"F. Scott Fitzgerald once handed in a manuscript with seven consecutive misspelled words," Bremen says. "If you can write like F. Scott Fitzgerald, you will be okay."

"she's the Eleanor Roosevelt who finally found herself in the right generation"

New York Magazine is running a cover story about Hillary in '08. Some parts of the lengthy article supplied me with new factual information:
Since serving in public office, Hillary has scrupulously positioned herself as a centrist: She sits on the Armed Services Committee; she has spoken out in favor of the death penalty; she voted for the war in Iraq, then voted unambiguously for the $87 billion extra to sustain the troops (and without Kerry's grammatical sleight of hand--she voted for it before voting for it again) ... Yet even by Senate standards, Hillary has demonstrated a stunning flair for bipartisanship. In just four years, she's managed to co-sponsor a bill with nearly every legislator who, at one time or another, professed to hate her guts.... A Reuters story from April 2003 noted she'd already sponsored bills with more than 36 Republican senators.
However, the article also contained this entirely embarassingly commentary, as though Carrie Bradshaw had started writing political analysis:
These, perhaps, are the Clintons' characterological differences in a nutshell: Bill, the bounding cocker spaniel, panting for praise and attention no matter what the hour; Hillary, the groomed Cheshire cat, shrewdly observing boundaries. Dogs often become presidents--Kennedy, Johnson, and Clinton come to mind as recent examples--in part because their desperation to please, their sensitivity to human moods, makes them ravenously hungry for public approval. (And, as we unfortunately know, also a bit prone to acting like dogs.) But can a cat become a president?


Sunday, February 13, 2005

If you're in Boston, don't miss the wenches and various assorted schemers

My friend Cat in Boston has the rather obscure avocation of performing in late-16th-century-italian-style masked improvisational comedy in a troupe called I Sebastiani (The Greatest Commedia dell'Arté Troupe in the Entire World). The show is from the 9th through the 12th of March at the Boston Center for the Arts.
I Sebastiani (ee se-BAS-tee-AH-nee) performs late-16th-century-italian-style masked improvisational comedy. Commedia performers play stock characters (the rich miser, the learned man, the lovers, the thief, the braggart, the servants (helpful and not so), the schemer, etc.) and work from a scenario that describes the plot and some of the actions to be performed. The scenario does NOT include any dialogue -- that is improvised on the fly. The basic story will be the same every night, but the actual telling of it will be different.

The scenario we are using for this show was originally written about 400 years ago by Basilo Locatelli. A beautiful young woman is betrothed to her father's loathsome business partner... An acting troupe is hired to perform at the wedding... love blossoms... plans go awry... zaniness ensues.

In this scenario, I (Cat) will be playing the sweet young thing betrothed to my father's loathsome business partner... despite the fact that I am in love with said business partner's son! Will love conquer all?
And ... the link again.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

if spas can sell mud and salt treatments, I'm sure they could sell an icing bath

I don't really like cake; it's usually too sweet, and just not as good as, say, croissants, or warm cookies, or tiramisu, or pudding. Once, my mom asked me what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday, and I said I'd prefer a birthday meatloaf. (I think my mom made the meatloaf, put a candle in it, and then made a cake anyway).

However, I attended bobbyblue's birthday party, and his roommate Gene made the best cake I've ever eaten. The icing contained an entire pound of butter, a bit of salt, and very little sugar. I wanted to slather it all over my body and roll around in it for hours.

(And, of course, happy birthday to spelling bee founder and fantabulous butterfly bobbyblue).

I'll bet you could write a script that would blog your epitaph after you died and stopped posting

My friend Cat just bought me an espresso and wrote to say:

I thought you would be extremely amused to know that I originally read the list of your previous Blog post titles:

crime and punishment
I'm actually live-blogging from Schaffer the Darklord's show
The Smut Show, at which Molly Crabapple was my merch girl
70's porno-funk music being played by men from Mars
accompanied by a photo of an old man dancing for his Alzheimers-stricken wife
can you guess what my word of the day is?
a little belated, but my bedroom is covered in magazines
The Strand is the shizzle dizzle.
spelling is so dreamy!
corporate lovesexy

as one rather avant-garde poem. Hee hee.

This reminds me of the time I was in Screenwriting I in college, and everyone had to write a ten-page short screenplay, and then we were going to vote on which script the class would produce. I wrote a script about a homeless guy who stands on the Dartmouth green and asks everyone what time it is, even though he's standing right under a giant clock tower. (Of course, he just wanted to talk, and most passersby didn't have time for him).

After reading my piece, someone said "I don't get it." Other class members nodded.

In a flash of desperate inspiration (I really wanted this thing to get made), I said "Oh, I forgot to tell you it's an adaptation of Waiting for Godot!"

Someone said "Oh!" And then, based on, I think, everyone else's desire not to seem like they were the only ones who hadn't read or didn't get Godot, they all voted for it.

I wonder if I could pass this off as a real poem by claiming it's a takeoff on, say, Spoon River Anthology, updated for these modern blogging times.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Feb. 26: Molly Crabapple's art show is the pinnacle of modern culture and the ultimate answer to all human desiring

Everyone upon everyone must attend Molly Crabapple's opening at the Jigsaw Gallery on February 26, from 6pm until well into the night.

The show, "Ink!  Babes!  Irony!", showcases Molly's multitudinous and varied wenches and damsels -- in this case, all rendered in pen and ink.  Concurrent with New York's renewed interest in burlesque performance, Victorian-style pen and ink work has come into vogue.  Molly, however, laments that neither burlesque nor pen and ink work are lucrative in proportion to their popularity, and hence has billed the show as her final "goodbye to pen and ink." 

Along with Molly's pen-and-ink pinup girls, there will be booze and go-go dancers (and me working the merchandise table).

Jigsaw Gallery is at 526 E 11th between Avenues A and B. Be there or be utterly unenlightened to all metaphysical realizations of our era.

Click here for printable invite

the official athletic shoes of Andover and Exeter

A friend of mine who is a GMAT instructor puzzled his class the other day with the following grammar question(pick one of each pair):

If I was/were he/him, I would not do it/so.

The (only) correct answer is "If I were he, I would not do so."

There was some major confusion among the non-native speakers over that. This also means that the Nike slogan, "Just do it," is incorrect, but can you imagine the pansy-ass shoes advertised by the phrase "Just do so"?

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all my Cubanelle peppers are impeccable

I just got my first FreshDirect order, which is awesome, because someone just carried hummus and Gruyere and apples to my fifth floor walkup, but I seem to have massively over-ordered in the produce department, and I didn't realize until seeing all this food that I just can't eat that much produce before it goes bad. Or else I will become obsessed with doing so, and I will be SO healthy! (However, it's hard to work up the mojo to cook an eggplant when you have a big tub of the good hummus with the pine nuts going on).

Unlike the UPS and the FedEx guys, the FreshDirect delivery man carried everything up to the fifth floor, and then introduced himself and congratulated me for being a new customer.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

queen bee owns up to spelling gaffes

There's no better way to find out who's reading your blog than to misspell something. Thanks to Spelling Megan and Grumpy German for the correction.

Molly, my dearest, you are delectable. Not "deletable." I would never delete you. That would be ignominious.

Megan, incidentally, was wearing an utterly awesome bumblebee t-shirt at the spelling bee. It was so bee-spirited.

Last night's bee had the most contestants ever -- with seventeen people, we really had to truck on those words. Tom the Gaffer won, although I can't remember any of the words he spelled (only the joke he made about the word "proclitic," which doesn't mean what you think it does).

a new photo of Molly and me

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Monday, February 7, 2005

for the five of you who read literary magazines

I have been informed that my short story "Flawless" will be published in the spring/summer edition of the Powhatan Review. The main character is a young woman who works in a nail salon and speaks little English.

Incidentally, I'm still at approximately 134 pages (maybe fewer, since I have to go back and do some heavy editing on my last story) of the 160 page book I'm writing, but I've been doing lots of other things. I can let the fiction germinate a bit.

Thanks to my college friend The Grumpy German for his help slightly-redesigning this site. It's a little less cluttered now, and more of the blog is displayed on the front page. Yay for The Grumpy German!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

licking lips, eyes rolling back in head

Last night I went to Starbucks with the delectable Molly Crabapple, where we shared the new "Chantico drinking chocolate."

It's supposed to be "like drinking melted chocolate," and, indeed, it is. It also contains two-thirds of your federally recommended fat intake for the day. I dislike sweet things, but this drink was not oversweetened; it was dark and chocolatey and shockingly viscous.

Molly and I sat at a table and slowly passed the cup back and forth, each taking one small sip at a time, and making noises of chocolate-appreciation pleasure.

Next time, I'm going to get them to put an espresso shot in there. And then I might fall over and die of bliss. Dying in a Starbucks would be kind of ignominious, really.

cat fancies magazines

I have about two hundred magazines and newspapers in my bedroom, due to my writing endeavors. My cat, Cow, rather inordinately enjoys sitting on periodicals (or any type of paper, really). It's like she's nesting. Just now she was resting happily on top of a list of common SAT vocabulary words on my desk.

In any case, this is a picture of my cat being absurdly cute while I'm trying to work.


Friday, February 4, 2005

The State of the Onion

While I'm not going to use this space to expound upon the unwisdom of Social Security privatization, I must say that the bit in the State of the Union address about expanding funding for DNA testing in capital cases was a kind of brilliant stroke of PR. Who the hell could disagree with that?

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-Nev), however, began his rebuttal statement with this Garrison Keillor-esque bit of prose:
I was born and raised in the high desert of Nevada in a tiny town called Searchlight. My dad was a hard-rock miner. My mom took in wash. I grew up around people of strong values -- even if they rarely talked about them.
Can you believe that? Someone's speechwriter is a frustrated novelist.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Example Phrase Using Today's Word: Se debe usar el ascensor o las escaleras automáticas.

I recently discovered that "escalator" is plural in Spanish. Makes perfect sense. I mean, if "escalator" is singular in English, why are stairs plural?

I can see the argument for plurality (pluralism? both of these words have totally other and unintended meanings here) or singularity (singularism?), but it seems like a language should really pick one for both stairs and escalators and stick with it.


It looks like a cigar, but it's a feather duster

Here's one more fashion show picture by Gary Winter:

This fashion show took place at the Tainted Lady in Williamsburg in mid-December. The models wore vintage outfits which were auctioned off to audience members (no, you don't get to take the clothes off the models; you get the clothes after the show ends and the models change).

One man in the audience asked me, while I was doing my walk in this outfit, if I liked the outfit. I said yes, and he bid and bought it for me. He said he really didn't have anyone to give Christmas lingerie to, and he wanted to do something nice.

Isn't that sweet? It's like the gift of the Magi, but with lots of lace and elastic.


crime and punishment

Bad, bad freaky moment -- I was going through some old email, looking for someone's address, when I discovered an old message from Nicole DuFresne, the actress recently murdered on the Lower East Side. I once answered her Craigslist post about some books of plays she was looking to buy, but we never met up.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

I'm actually live-blogging from Schaffer the Darklord's show

So far, we've seen ventriloquist April Brucker. Okay, I'd like to review this show, but even though the bar has free wireless, I feel like an ass using it. The pale glow of my computer screen is probably distracting to others, even though live blogging ought to be awesome.

Here are some photos by Gary Winter from the last Girdle Factory show:


Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The Smut Show, at which Molly Crabapple was my merch girl

I performed "Seven Nights" last night at the Smut Show in Williamsburg.

About two minutes into my piece, this woman shuffled in, took a seat right up front next to her friend, and was all like "Oh, hi! I haven't seen you in AGES! Kiss kiss!"

And I stopped performing and said to her "Okay, hello, how rude are you? What are you doing, lady?"

She didn't even notice, and kept on talking.

And I said "Excuse me, new person. This is a sadomasochistic poetry reading."

And she said "Oh! Well, I'm a dominatrix?"

And I glared, dropped my voice a half-octave, and said "Not right now, you're not."

And she said "Yes, ma'am!" and sat down.

What a good-natured professional.

Also, a big thanks to poet/performance artist Regie Cabaco for buying my CD and flattering the fuck out of me by asking me to autograph it.

70's porno-funk music being played by men from Mars

I joined CDBaby, so I can sell CDs online and be listed in the iTunes directory. After I signed up, CDBaby sent me a lovely newsletter containing the following advice:
If you're an in-your-face, tattooed, country-metal-speedpunk band, have the guts to call a potential booking agent and scream, "Listen you fucking motherfucker! I'm going to explode! Ah! Aaaaaaah!!!" If they like that introduction, you've found a good match.
The CDBaby newsletter also suggested that you answer the question "What kind of music do you do?" in a creative way, such as "We sound like the Incredible Hulk having sex" or "This CD is a delicate little kiss on your earlobe from a pink-winged pixie."
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