The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

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Posts for SNAIL MAIL Category

Mindset Reset

SNAIL MAIL - February 2, 2020

📷: February 1, 2020 – Self Portrait

My exercise for this new month is to not measure my performance or success on how perfect I execute something, but instead my level of effort

Starting off this month in bed with Loulou curled up next to me and the first episode of the Goop Lab playing in the background. The episode is the wonderful white world of wellness and its current exploration of psychedelics. I’m not as cynical as my previous sentence would suggest, I believe there is power in exposing different healing modalities through mass-media. But if you watch the show without some sort of eye-roll, then there is a clear disconnect from 99% of the rest of the world.

However, maybe I could benefit from psilocybin to further deconstruct the maze of mental obstacles I constructed this past month. Simply put – January was not my jam. On the last day of the month, my Lou accidentally ingested 5-HTP and had to be rushed to the emergency room. She was experiencing Serotonin Syndrome, and her BP had dropped to 65 by the time I brought her to the vet. For reference, a healthy dog of her size should have a BP of 110.  It was an extremely scary way to end the month, but Loulou is healthy and we are together again.

This morning I woke up with incredibly painful menstrual cramps. CBD, ibuprofen, a hot bath – nothing took away the severe discomfort. I feel like not only am I shedding my uterine wall, but also shedding the pain and discomfort of this past month.

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Happy New Decade!

SNAIL MAIL - January 6, 2020

📷: January 1, 2020 – Self Portrait

2020 here we are.

Last night I was on the phone with GoDaddy for two hours trying to get the domain for my art and music blog back. My credit card had expired, and in a series of unfortunate unseen emails, I lapsed on the renewal. The website has been dormant since 2014, but it’s important to me because it was my first real blog. It was my gateway into utilizing social media for self-promotion. The concept of social media as a marketing tool was in its fledgling state back in 2009 when I started that blog. It was a great training ground, helping me to secure internships and identify how one could market their material.  Now, social media marketing is my career.

In 2010 and the few years that followed, I was fully committed to that blog; interviewing bands, artists, and sharing what inspired me. Eventually, I wanted to write about even more interests, so I started Blanket Fort Adventures. Sadly, this blog has never seen the same level of dedication the art and music blog received – and it bothers me.

Several areas of my life continue to lack the level of dedication and attention I know they deserve. It is a frustrating aspect of my character. I have an aspiration or desire that burns really hot and fast, I’m caught in a whirlwind of inspiration or ideas, but the fire sputters out, and I allow the day to day to snuff out my motivation. Time goes by, and I wake up a year later, realizing I still haven’t leveled up and fully stepped into my potential. I’m good. I meet certain goals and obligations. But I’m not pushing myself to become and embody the image I have of myself in my mind’s eye. It’s a reoccurring self-realization.

For example, in 2012, I wrote about finally committing to going on a cross country road trip by May 2013, you can read the proclamation here. I didn’t meet that deadline. During the first few months of 2014, my heart was heavy knowing I had let myself down – again. I burn bright and then sputter out. But I changed that year, and I made it happen, I went on that trip.

Now, I find myself with that feeling again. Knowing that I’m letting myself down. I have within me all the lessons and experiences that have shaped who I am up to this point and can use those tools to really form the woman I want to grow into. We all do. I don’t want to say I’ll do something anymore, I want to do it – all of it. Step into my creative ambitions fully. Step into being a better partner and friend. Step into being a better human and being more mindful of how I move through this world, and treat this planet. Step into playful wonder and spontaneous adventures. I’m not trying to be my idea of perfection, but I am trying to step into, embrace, embody and reflect the truest sense of myself…

A thirty-two-year-old half Japanese woman without a bachelor’s degree who lives (and pays rent) with their mother. A writer, artist, storyteller, and performer with an endless desire to be heard and express themselves. A Kinsey scale 2.5.  A mother to my inner child who is still overcoming parental trauma (specifically from my Father). A kind, open, and understanding human. A fun, silly, and loving human. A determined, hardworking, and passionate human. Me.

Excited to meet who I am next decade.

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Thank You 2018! I’m so f*ing grateful…

SNAIL MAIL - December 21, 2018

Thank you 2018, you forced me to grow. You pulled the rug from underneath me, stripped me of my bearings, and then starred me down challenging me to get back up.

Thank you 2018…

Now, I have that Ariana Grande song stuck in my head.

Not, but really. Thank you 2018, you forced me to grow. You pulled the rug from underneath me, stripped me of my bearings, and then starred me down challenging me to get back up.

At the end of 2017, I was chewed out by a toxic client and blamed for ruining a project that was not my responsibility in the first place. I became the whipping boy, and I took the lashings on my already burned out nerves from having spent the year plannin my wedding. I went into 2018 a little broken and tired. But put one mangled foot in front of the other, and slowly by the end of February I was starting to feel a little stronger. I’d started school and was making progress towards getting my AA — the goal to get it finished by the end of the year. I had figured out how to navigate work better. My mental health was on an upswing.

Then at the end of March, my sister and I found out my Father was losing his living situation and we would have to find him a place to live. I have a strained and complicated relationship with my father filled with a pool of pain. I had created a very structured and simple box labeled Dad I could stuff all my feelings in and shoved it on a high shelf to collect dust. I would take it down twice a year for his birthday and Christmas, but most of the year – it was out of sight and out of mind. Then all of a sudden the box fell off the shelf, shattered, and the feelings started pouring out; anger, resentment, rage, frustration, sadness, regret, guilt. Like a poisonous gas, all these issues I thought I had figured out how to deal with was all of a sudden suffocating me.

We found a place for him to live. We figured out a way to make sure he had groceries. Now, I go to doctor appointments with him as he is addressing various health concerns he had neglected for over 10 years. We cleaned out storage units to free up his cash flow. My husband and I even drove to Pullyup, Washington to empty out a storage unit into a Uhaul truck and dump the items at a Goodwill.

The storage unit in Washington

The tears flowed like a broken faucet as I drove away from Washington with my father’s choice possessions packed in the back of the SUV we rented, feeling like my life was closing in on me. I wasn’t going to be able to finish school this year like planned.  I had to take care of a person who had abandoned me. I felt stagnant in my career. My life had become a cage, and I felt trapped by my own choices.

Then in August, something changed. I shifted my perspective and realized that the cage had an open door. Yes, there were some truths about my life that I wouldn’t be able to change. But I wasn’t locked in, and I still could exercise my freedom if I chose. I felt stronger. I felt more empowered. I continued to work towards my degree and will be working on it in 2019 too. I’m not a zen master when it comes to my Dad, still working on it – but at least I’m working on it instead of ignoring it. And I finally had a few challenging and rewarding work projects this autumn.

But 2018 wasn’t done with me yet. Oh no, at the beginning of December I got strep throat 4 days before seeing my idol John Waters, forcing me to change a few travel plans last minute. Then last week my mother-in-law, who I adore and is one of the most unique loving one of kind people I’ve ever met, had a health scare. Plus the water heater is broken, a mild inconvenience.

Me, John “Grandpa” Waters, Hubs

So with 10 days away from 2019, I can say THANK YOU 2018! I’m not racing towards the change in the calendar. No, cause, you taught me that it’s not about what is going on around me, it’s about what goes on inside me.

When my husband and I were on operation clean out Washington Storage Unit, we were listening to the book, High Performance Habits, and one of the tasks was to choose 3 words to describe the person you want to be. I chose VIBRANT, PURPOSEFUL (aka INTENTIONAL), and GROUNDED. I visualized an old oak with its roots deep in the earth, standing strong in the storm.

I don’t know what next year has in store for me, nor do I really care. All I can do is put my all into today, right now. I have goals and aspirations. I’m excited to work towards them and give my actions more intention. But 2019 will roll out as it will, and all I can do is take what it throws at me with grit and grace.

I keep thinking of this saying, “When you make plans, God laughs.” As I look back on this year, I can find several pretty comedic moments; like the Uhaul not starting and acting like it had a dead battery after it was fully loaded and we had 45 minutes to drop everything off at Goodwill and a recycling center.

The power of laughter is right there with love. Laughter diffuses pain, fear, and anger. Laughter is everything. So the only thing I ask for this New Year is more laughs.

Wishing all those who check my corner of the internet an amazing holiday season and fun night ringing in 2019.

*affiliate link to the book we were listening to : https://amzn.to/2Sg9VBk *

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Life Lesson from an Ice Cream Sandwich

EATS & DRINKS, SNAIL MAIL - August 24, 2018

When I was a kid I LOVED ice cream sandwiches, and it taught me a valuable life lesson.

I basically smeared chocolate cookie and ice cream everywhere.

When I was a kid I LOVED ice cream sandwiches. I’m not a huge ice cream person, but I still have a soft spot for the ice cream sandwich. The other day, as I was snacking on this tasty treat at Thinkspace Gallery, it reminded me of this mischievous story from my childhood.

One hot summer day during the commercial break of my favorite Disney Channel show, I grabbed an ice cream sandwich from the freezer. Obviously, I had many tasks to complete during this break, so for some reason, I took the treat with me to the bathroom, but promptly left it on the counter when I heard the tv show come back from its commercial break earlier than I anticipated. Well, as I was enthralled with the storyline, my ice cream sandwich was melting on the counter. I never went back for it. I think I left it there for a good hour. Don’t ask where my parental supervision was, latchkey kid all the way – BUT after whatever I was watching was over, or something uninteresting came on the tv, I returned to the bathroom to find ice cream all over the counter. I freaked out! Being only 5 years old I cleaned it up the best I could, with toilet paper. I basically smeared chocolate cookie and ice cream everywhere. Clearly unable to hide the evidence of my irresponsibility. I just locked the bathroom door and walked away.

It was another few hours until anyone attempted to open the bathroom. I continued watching tv, playing, doing what you do when your five years old. When my parents attempted to open the door, I denied knowing why it was locked. When they finally were able to get it unlocked to discover the ice cream sandwich madness within, my tiny handprints all over the counter and mirrors, I continued to deny knowing why it was locked. Eventually, I confessed to being guilty for locking the door and leaving my ice cream sandwich on the counter to melt.

Now as I reflect on this, I have to say my 5-year-old self had some real gumption to try and figure out how to clean up the mess they created all by themselves. It was my ice cream, so I should clean it up. Great sense of responsibility. Also, I learned at a very young age closing the door on a problem doesn’t make it go away. You have to face it straight on, and maybe asking for help when it’s a little too big to manage is smart too.

Next time you eat ice cream while feeling like life’s problems are a little too much to deal with, make the choice to find your sister and have her help clean up your mess before Mom and Dad find out.

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Time to Bloom : Life & Balance

HEALTH & WELLNESS, SNAIL MAIL - May 29, 2017

Hyperlinks marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. This means that if you buy something through the link, I get paid a little something for the recommendation. 

The second quarter of this year has been interesting. On the outside life was taken up a few notches with work, festivals, and school (yes I’m taking classes – more on that in a different post). But on the inside, creatively, I fell into a deep lull. I believe total wholeness is achieved when one can strike a balance between creative fulfillment and adult obligation. It’s more like a pendulum than a scale, but if the ball continues to swing back and forth, then there is a cosmic balance. Instead, my chain got tangled up on one end of the spectrum. I’ve taken some time to untangle that specific ball and chain and ready to kick the pendulum back into action.

Surprisingly, it was my dog Lou who helped me take this necessary break. A few weeks ago, on the 17th to be exact, we found out she was internally bleeding. Her platelet count was 11, and a healthy dog has between 100 – 170 platelets. The news of her health left me feeling completely helpless. I had no idea how she got so sick. The vet says it’s likely an auto-immune diseases and the GREAT news is that she does seem to be responding well to the steroid treatment the doctor prescribed. But, we won’t know for certain until her second blood test later this week. Once she got sick, I put my social life on hold. The steroid treatment is multiple times a day, at the same time. It’s causing her to urinate every hour. And since we weren’t sure what caused the internal bleeding, I started making her homemade dog food ( just in case it was her diet). The hyper-attention to her health helped give me the time to reflect on my own. I’m not happy she got sick, but I guess I see the silver-lining in the whole situation. The universe has a way of helping us when we are unaware of how to help ourselves.

While I’ve been taking extra care of Lou (and myself), I’ve been reading  *”You’re A Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. It’s AMAZING!! The book contains a lot of information I was previously aware of, but her words and the way she writes is helping to flip on lightbulbs left and right in my brain. My synapses are firing! I haven’t finished the book yet, but I  highly recommend it. I’ve started to apply a few of the principles, and already, I’m seeing big cosmic shifts. Even this book was a part of helping to untangle the mess I found myself in.  I made the following video, “Time To Bloom”  as my first step to reigniting my creative spark, and also to recognize I’m ready to do thinks a little differently.

Thank you for being my buds!

love & light

 

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The Coachella Beekeeper

ADVENTURES, SNAIL MAIL - April 29, 2017

Yesterday, as I scrolled through the train wreck… not even, the nuclear meltdown that was #FyreFestival, I was overcome with shame for every time I complained the vegetarian options outside of VIP sucked at Coachella. Dan and I survived working the Coachella record store another year and have officially decided not to do it again; we even bought hoodies as a commemorative souvenir. Coachella is an emotionally and physically exhausting event to work, and I’m still getting over my Coachella induced cold. But Coachella overall is an amazing festival that really takes care of its attendees. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to create a great experience for those that attend the festival, that to complain about any of it just shows the amount of delusion us first world people live in (and I’m super guilty). Anyways, one of the little details you’ve probably never thought about when it comes to festival production is ‘pest’ control. I’ve been to Coachella five times and not once did it occur to me they have an onsite beekeeper to remove hives until I sat down to dinner with him. The Coachella Beekeeper.

Dan and I like to retreat to catering where there is an oasis of iced tea, fruit infused water, and a dessert bar. It also has buffet food for those working in production and have an artist pass, but we don’t get access to that. Anyways, as Dan and I went to catering to rest our weary legs and drink some free cold beverages, I sat down at a table with a friendly looking guy. Since I don’t have permission to use his name, he will be referred to as Mr. B.

Mr. B looked like an old rock dude with shoulder length hair. Out of curiosity and polite dinner conversation I asked what he did for the festival. Mr. B then proceeded to tell me he relocated beehives. I was shocked and excited. My face lit up! We then went on to talk about the dwindling bee population and how he got into bee removal. He grew up in Colorado and started beekeeping at the age of 12. Later, when he moved out to Palm Springs in his early twenties, he was working as a waiter when the opportunity to remove a beehive came up. With the experience he had from his days of beekeeping in Colorado, he attempted to remove the hive and was successful. He immediately saw a business opportunity and never went back to waiting tables again. For the last 30 years, he’s been relocating hives from businesses and buildings to his farm where the hives can thrive in safety.

I loved talking about bees with Mr. B, who had removed at least five different hives from the festival grounds. Coachella bee removal, a logistical element I would have never thought of, but this pro-festival has it on lock.  Mr. B also worked Desert Trip, and his eyes lit up when talking about meeting Mick Jagger.

It was an awesome and unexpected interaction. I wasn’t even going to share this story until I read about the Titanic failure of Fyre Festival. Production is not an easy job, and Coachella really runs a tight ship. So this is 1) me sharing about the most interesting man I met at Coachella, 2) a giant apology for ever complaining about anything, 3) a massive thank you to the amazing people that coordinate an experience for 125,000 people.

yum humble pie - coachella

** p.s. Before anyone makes a comment about Coachella funding hate groups because you saw a viral video. Please see the below comment I made on another friend’s Facebook post.

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SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – CACTUS BLOOM

LISTEN, SNAIL MAIL - April 1, 2017

March was an insanely busy month. The digital marketing company I work with took on 3 new clients. I went to a natural products expo and volunteered at the LA Marathon while sick. Dan and I took amazing engagement photos in Long Beach, and we also managed to go on an adventure out to see the super blooms in Anza Borrego State Park. Also, in the last few weeks, I’ve started something new in my life, that I’m just not ready to fully share about – but it’s time-consuming and fun.

My new mantra is I am an abundance of energy and good health. It’s the only way I can look at my to-do list and not spiral out. Yet, the underlying stress of the month definitely manifested itself yesterday as in the middle of a dental filling I started to have a panic attack. I do have a fair level of dental anxiety, but I’ve never had a panic attack. So while my mouth is wide open, the dentist is doing his thing, and I’m listening to Hindustani music to drown out the drilling; I felt my jaw tremble, body start to shake, and I just went into “mind over matter” mode. Fortunately, I was able to get through the attack but not without a few tears.

Why am I sharing my dental panic attack? Basically, as a reminder that as much as one might think they are a machine we’re actually human. Stress will manifest in the most inconvenient ways, so maybe I should have done a yoga flow that morning knowing the anxiety I already have about the dentist. I’ve become more and more aware of my stress levels. Every unicorn hair on my head is a reminder of how my body reacts to stress. With the awareness, I’ve also learned tricks to help manage it. Like even though it was a stress inducing month, I also managed to balance it out with enough fun that I feel I’m not feeling completely burned out. I think I’m finally getting a grasp on how to manage work and play (said in the voice of Sarah from the Labyrinth).

So, I had a surge of creativity this last week that helped me build out my new playlist ‘cactus bloom’. I also gave Blanket Fort Adventures a little makeover with a new aesthetic on the blog, youtube, and twitter. I have felt a shift within and I want what I’m doing now to reflect that too. April is going to be equally non-stop. Dan and I are headed back to the Coachella record store, my client “50 objects / stories of the Japanese American Incarceration” will finally launch, and the wedding will only be 7 months away ( so I need to send out save the dates, start a wedding website, look into this and that).

I am an abundance of energy and good health!!

                                                                 

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MY CHILDHOOD ACT OF FEMINIST REBELLION

SNAIL MAIL - March 9, 2017

I’ve always been an observant person, and when I was a kid I figured out that being one of the boys allotted girls some sort of power. I wouldn’t consider myself a tomboy as a child, but I wasn’t afraid to climb fences or get hurt. I never wanted to cry or show fear. I never wanted to be perceived as meek or girly. Yet, I was proud to be a girl. I knew girls could do anything just as well as boys. We were just as smart, brave, strong, clever; all the positive attributes given to great leaders or successful people.

So when I was eleven-years-old and was being taunted by a boy at summer camp about being a girl, I slapped him in the face to shut him up.

It probably wasn’t the best conflict resolution but his expression of shock is still imprinted in my mind.

All the pre-teen kids were hanging out on the playground waiting to be picked up by the camp van. Boys and girls from the ages of 11 to 14 waiting to head out on a fun excursion. This one boy relentlessly taunted me, saying “woman or girl” over and over again. I tried to express to him how rude and ridiculous he was being. I tried to fight back with words and tell him being a girl isn’t an insult. I was proud to grow up to be a woman and infuriated that he thought being a woman was something less than he.

I can’t even recall when exactly I slapped him or what I said afterward, but I imagine my pre-pubescent-self wanted to literally slap the stupid out of him. After I shocked him with my might, I said something to the equivalent of “just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I am anything less than you, and me being a girl or woman is not an insult. So stop taunting me like it is.”

Later when the vans picked us up. The pre-teen councilors were informed of what went down on the playground. The councilors were both women, feminist, and lesbians. I know they were feminist because of the patches and buttons on their bags, and I didn’t find out about the lesbian part until 6 years later, but that is a different story. I remember watching their faces as they were informed I had slapped this boy. I could see this conflict within them, knowing they needed to reprimand me for my act of violence but also understanding the world this idealistic girl was going to grow up into, and this may be the only male she ever gets to slap for his stupidity.

I was told don’t do that again.

That was it. That was my only punishment. Don’t do that again. I wasn’t barred from that day’s activity. A letter was not sent home to my parents. I did tell my Mom and Dad what happened and all they said was, don’t do that again. That boy’s parents never called my parents. I was never severely reprimanded for standing up for being a girl, for being a woman and that stuck with me. Because what the adults’ actions told me was that my anger was well placed, but let’s not resort to physical violence. I’m thankful for the councilors and to my parents, they shaped the woman I am today. I grew up knowing my voice had value in the collective conversation that is society. I grew up knowing that I am equal to a man. Sometimes society doesn’t necessarily reflect that, obviously. But it doesn’t make the truth any less valid. As its International Women’s Day, this act of feminist rebellion surfaced to the top from my memory bank.

I remember that boys name and what he looks like, and his face of shock is burned into my memory. I slapped him hard. The sting on my hand from making contact with his cheek. The cut he got on his cheek from my nail. As an adult, I realize this way of insulting a female was likely something he heard on TV or maybe at home. And I don’t condone violence, but I can’t help but be a little proud of my younger self and I hope that boy treats women with more respect now. I know he never messed with me again.

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SPOTIFY PLAYLIST – Decade Dance

LISTEN, SNAIL MAIL - March 7, 2017

A micro February recap + New Playlist:

I’ve been burdened with deep thoughts ranging from “why have I limited myself as a writer” to “how do I incorporate more glitter into my makeup routine and wear lipstick on a daily basis.” Last month, Dan and I celebrated another rotation around the sun. We allowed ourselves to indulge in various alcoholic beverages and delicious, expensive dinners to celebrate. Our birthday month ending with one final friendship fueled bash at Clifton’s in Downtown LA.

The following day, surprisingly with little to no hangovers,  we explored Downtown LA on foot. We love walking around a city and getting a feel for its character when we travel, so why not do it in our backyard. It was an adventurous month filled with art, music, and lots of freelance work. My management of the freelance work caused a hiccup in my personal content production, and I feel backlogged with stories I want to share, video footage that needs to be edited. A never ending wave of ideas and inspiration that I am just writing down and saving for later because I’ve yet to find the time for execution. Yet, I feel a little disheartened and resentful to my idea bubbles. They just keep coming, and I haven’t figured out the time to actually work on them. This past weekend I saw a very astute doodle/ illustration about having ideas that elicited a bit of shame within my bones.

I am the girl in pink. What is worse is that I have a tendency to share my ideas before actual execution, which then make me feel like it isn’t the ideas yelling at me to finish them it is the world asking where that idea went. I’ve decided I’m going to stop sharing ideas out loud. Although I had this one idea, no, I shouldn’t say it. But it was an idea around ideas. Anyways, the real point of this post is to share February’s playlist before I’m too far into March. So without further ado … Decade Dance Playlist

 

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Practice Everyday

SNAIL MAIL - February 17, 2017

I’m currently watching Abstract on Netflix and the first episode featuring illustrator Christoph Niemann just reminded to check in on the blog. He commented on how musicians practice their instruments daily, so artists should do the same thing and create their art every day. I don’t know what I am exactly, my label is malleable, but I like to consider myself an artist. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable with that title, but I have the heart of an artist – so let’s run with it. Anyways, this week I’ve been writing a little post every day and it’s been really fun for me. When Niemann made the comment to practice something every day it reminded me of the beauty of daily practice. Like, in January I did a yoga flow every day for two weeks and really felt the wondrous effect of this daily ritual. I eventually fell out of practice, and am once again getting back on track. But like my yoga flow and now this daily blog writing, I can only try my best.

Tonight I had plans to see the Crocodiles, but then decided against it after I found out my friend wasn’t going to be playing in the band after all. My incentive to stay up late and go out on a “school” night was specifically to support an awesome creative human. After my incentive was taken away, the reality of my responsibilities seeped in. Yet, what makes me glowing with love and smiles this evening is that my fiance’ was completely supportive of my desire to stay in. He’s currently at the show and I’m in my pajamas. I’m exactly where I want to be and his supportiveness makes it all that more special.

Well, I guess I should get ready for bed as it’s almost midnight. But I have to say doing something daily or practicing every day really helps to create a resilience in one’s ability and work – so I’m going to try to stick with it.

Good night!

 

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