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And Just like That History Is Made

This is a baseball post. But, if you aren’t a baseball fan, at least it’s short.

Tonight, October 4, 2022 a player for the New York Yankees, their center fielder, Aaron Judge, hit a home run. What makes it remarkable is that he did it 61 times this season. Tonight was the 62nd homerun for him in the 2022 season.

It’s the first time in the 150 year history of the American League that a player has hit 62 homeruns in a single season. Babe Ruth, also a Yankee, never did it. Roger Maris, another Yankee player, never did it.

The record has stood for 61 years. Longer than any of today’s ball players have been alive. Longer than I’ve been alive (and I’m sort of old.) Who knows when it will happen again. And it will undoubtably happen again. Baseball is a living, breathing sport that continues to set new records.

But, today, this one was set.

It was a good day to be a baseball fan. . .even if Judge does play for the Yankees

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

My Entire Bucket List is One Item. . .With 30 Pieces

I’ve travelled all over the world for work and for pleasure. I’ve adopted kids from multiple foreign countries. I’ve been on a desert safari. I’ve walked on the Acropolis in Athens. I’ve stood in an ancient Scottish cemetery art up in the Highlands while someone played the pipes. I’ve published books. I’ve been on cruises. I’ve been married to the love of my life. I met my grandparents, a couple great-grandparents and I’ve gotten to meet multiple grandchildren.

My life has been good. Many of the items that people put on their bucket list, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience. There’s only one item on my bucket list. Well, there’s really like 30. But, they are all part of the same item.

My bucket list is to see a baseball game at every major league baseball stadium. There are 30 baseball teams in the Major League. And, of course every team has a home stadium. I’m not terribly concerned with the difference between the Kingdome and T-Mobile Park (Both former homes of the Mariners) even though I’ve been to both. But, my bucket list doesn’t involve keep track of specific buildings. I just want to watch a home game for each team.

This weekend I got to chip away at that goal. I’ve seen a home game for each of the following teams.

  • Atlanta Braves
  • Baltimore Orioles
  • Boston Red Sox
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Cleveland Indians (They weren’t the Guardians yet)
  • Florida Marlins
  • Pittsburg Pirates
  • San Francisco Giants
  • Seattle Mariners
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Texas Rangers

Each time I attend a game I do two things. First I buy a hat. And second I buy a hotdog. I don’t really keep track of how good the hotdogs are. I can’t tell you where I had the best one.

This weekend I went to Petco Park home of the San Diego Padres. It was especially enjoyable because it was with my lovely wife. The Padres were playing the White Sox. We had great seats. They were on the 300 level along the first base line. I was wearing the Padres cap I bought so I was rooting for the home team. My lovely wife decided to root for the visitors. She got her wish.

I’m now at 13 out of 30. Will I ever get to every park? Maybe. But, even if don’t it’s a fun goal to pursue.

Oh, the hotdog at Petco Park wasn’t great.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

A Moment In History

I’m not a Yankees fan. Most times if I watch a Yankees game it’s to root for them to lose. But, I turned on the Yankees/Blue Jays game tonight. And I got to see a moment in history.

No record in baseball is as revered as the homerun record. You might have heard about steroids and names like Bonds, Sosa, McGwire setting single season homerun records while taking performance enhancing drugs. The thing about baseball is there are two leagues. Well, two major leagues. They are the American League and the National League. I won’t try to explain the difference between the two leagues. Because starting this year there really isn’t any difference. I’ll just say that the National League Champion plays the American League Champion in the World Series.

But, each league has it’s own set of records. There will be an MVP selected this year for the National League and a different person selected as the MVP of the American League. The Yankees (and my beloved Mariners) are American League teams.

Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa all played in the National League. They were all three steroid users. And they all hit over 65 home runs in a season. The “record” is held by Barry Bonds at 73. The NATIONAL League record.

The American League record is 61 homeruns and it’s be in place for 61 years. It was set in 1961. (Baseball fans love numbers that repeat.) In 1961, New York Yankee, Roger Maris hit 61 homeruns to break the old record that was held by another Yankee named Babe Ruth. Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927. His record stood for 34 years before Maris broke it. And despite the steroid era of the early part of this century, no one in the American League ever hit 61 again.

Until today.

Today another Yankee, Aaron Judge hit his 61st homerun of the season. He tied Maris’ record. The Yankees have seven games remaining. If Judge hits another homerun in the next 7 games he will be the single season homerun champion for the American League.

For baseball fans today was a pretty amazing event. It will literally become a “I remember where I was when” moment. Judge has done something that only one of the thousands of men to play baseball for American League teams over the past 100 years has ever done.

A New York business man offered the fan who caught Judge’s 61 homerun ball $2,000,000. But, the ball didn’t go into the stands. Instead it ended up in the Blue Jays bullpen where a relief pitcher caught it. Some officials from MLB showed up to take possession of it. The pitcher wanted to see some ID before he handed over a multimillion dollar baseball. Finally, one of the Yankee pitchers came over from their bullpen next door and took possession of it. (You can’t be too careful.)

No doubt Aaron Judge will get the ball back. Hopefully it ends up in the Hall of Fame.

Remember how I said that baseball fans love numbers? Well, Roger Maris wore uniform #9. And Aaron Judge’s number? Fittingly he wears #99.

A historic day. And one of the few times I found myself rooting for a Yankee.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

I Hate Bullies

I mean, who doesn’t? Right?

But, sometimes you have to deal with bullies. In Hallmark, or Disney movies the shy kid gets bullied and eventually he stands up to the bully. We then find out the bully is really just misunderstood and everyone goes home happy.

I’ve never been in a Disney or a Hallmark movie.

In our dreams often we are the hero. We recognize the bullying and we stand up to the bully and “give him what he deserves!”

Never seen that happen in real life. At least not that cut and dried.

No, typically what happens is that you have to learn to live with your bully. I’m going to refer to the bullies as he/him. But, they can be women too, of course.

The worst situation is when the bully is in a position of authority over you. I had that happen at my last job. Anthony was a bully. He was intimidating. I worked at that job for years after encountering Anthony. Eventually he left and then I was COVID downsized.

It was a good thing. I got a job that paid better.

I’m dealing with another bully. Why are some people bullies, do you think? My lovely wife thinks it’s because I intimidate him. Maybe. I’ve been in business a long time. I’ve worked for some pretty prestigious companies.

I realized that with my last job I spent way too long “making it work.” I worked around Anthony. I did my job in spite of him. The truth is that I wasn’t helping myself. I was hiding. Kind of ironic. I was hiding BEHIND the bully.

But, really, life’s too short. Sometimes you HAVE to work with a bully. But, you don’t have to KEEP working for a bully. Go find a worse job with a better boss rather than stay with a better job and a worse coworker.

Take care of yourself first and the rest of it will work out. . .or, so I’m told.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

A Good Experience At The DMV?

I bought a new car. . .sort of.

My son Jason bought a car with a loan from his friend Charles. But, Jason didn’t take care of the car and since Charles was holding the note, he took the car back. And paid to repair it. And then he sold it to my other son Arthur. But, the registration was still in Jason’s name. Arthur got tired of it,

It won’t go over 45 MPH!

So, he sold it to his sister Sarah. Sarah doesn’t have a driver’s license. She thought maybe owning a car would help motivate her to get her license. It didn’t. She now owned a car that she couldn’t drive and didn’t want.

I was driving a 1994 Toyota Corolla. It has 305,000 miles on it. I named it Marcus Aurelius and I wrote about it here.

So, we had to decide if we were going to buy my daughter’s car and sell Marcus Aurelius, or keep the ancient emperor and sell her car. Oh, her car was a 2001 BMW 325i. And while it has 297,000 miles A 21 year old BMW is a nicer car than a 28 year old Corolla. (And it certainly goes above 45 MPH.)

So, now I’m driving a new “old” car. When you buy a new car you need to register it, of course. Today was the day. I left work and drove straight from Salt Lake City to Provo. I arrived at 4:00. The office closes at 5:00. The DMV has really pushed people to try to set appointments. If you have an appointment you go to the front of the line and get an “A” number for “appointment.” If you don’t have an appointment you get a “W” number for “waiting.”

I got W498. The room was pretty full.

They were calling W487 when I arrived. I assumed I’d be here a long while. But, I also figured that if I got in the door before 5:00 I’d get my registration if I just was willing to wait long enough.

There’s a parable referred to as “The Elevator Problem.” Matt Davies defines it here:

You are the owner of a tall office building. The tenants in the building are complaining about the elevator (or ‘lift’ if you are British!) that takes them up and down floors in the building from the main entrance lobby. They are moaning that after pressing the button to call the lift they have to wait too long. They say the elevator is too slow and too old. Some of them are threatening to move out unless you solve their problem.

The point of the Elevator Problem is that it’s not really an elevator problem. It’s a people problem. Have you ever been to a gas station where they show TV on a screen while you pump gas? Ever notice that you are done pumping gas before the “newcast” is complete?

That’s because the screen is not there to give you news. It’s there to distract you.

The DMV had screens up showing which number was being served. Next to the number was an expected wait time. When I sat down the highest number was W494 and it showed a wait time of 50-55 minutes. My number wasn’t even on the board. Yep, I was going to be there for a while.

And then an interesting thing happened. The DMV was ahead of schedule. After about 20 minutes my number was on the board. And it now had the 50-55 estimated wait time. Okay, so about 5:20 I should be done.

And it continued. They were really running ahead of schedule. I watched as my number quickly moved up the board. And the estimated wait time kept decreasing. And then I realized something. The DMV, either by design or simply coincidence, had solved The Elevator Problem.

The solution to the Elevator Problem was not to build a faster elevator. It was, as the gas stations found, all about distracting you. Most solutions involve putting in mirrors, or something similar. My personal favorite solution is when they put newspaper pages on display in the elevator. People would get distracted by the news stories and stop thinking about how long the elevator was taking.

The DMV set the expectation that it would be over an hour wait for me. And then, they served me long before they said they would. They had distracted me. And it worked. I left the DMV happy about how quickly I had been served.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

And THAT Is What Scares Me

What scares you? What scares me?

I guess first we have to decide what it means to be scared. You know when you are watching that scary movie and then just at that crucial moment the monster pops out? That’s called a jump scare. It gives a crazy rush of adrenaline. I don’t like to be startled but I kind of like the jump scares.

The movie “A Quiet Place” was really well done. It managed to scare us without a lot of blood and gore. I thought it was great. I don’t like it when PEOPLE jump scare me. I once punched a really good friend because he jumped out and scared me after I’d asked him very nicely NOT to jump out and scare me anymore. (He didn’t do it again after I hit him.)

But, that’s not really the kind of scare I’m talking about. What frightens you? What are the things late at night that you dread?

For me, it’s lack of security. The inability to take care of my lovely wife and children. I used to be afraid of losing my job because my job represented security. But, after losing some jobs I realized that “job security” is an illusion. Jobs don’t provide security. And what is a secure job today could turn insecure tomorrow even if you did everything “right.” Losing my job doesn’t scare me anymore.

It wasn’t just the realization that there’s no such thing as a secure job. It was also some changes we made in our lives. We paid off our credit card debt. We paid off our student loans. We paid off our cars and other consumer debt. We owe on our house, but given the crazy housing market, the house is worth three times what we paid for it and four times what we still owe on it. The house is a great big piggy bank just waiting for us to cash it in if needed.

My lovely wife has had health scares off and on throughout our 35 year marriage. At times I was afraid she might not recover. And I realized there was nothing I could do about it. Her fate was really in the hands of God and the doctors. I was helpless. It was the ultimate feeling of lack of security. She’s doing very well. She recovered completely.

I’ve been diagnosed as having avoidant personality style. It was a revelation to me. I’d never heard of it. (Although it does show up once in The Expendables. One of the mercenaries has avoidant personality style. The joke is that the mercenaries don’t form emotional attachments. It’s a defense mechanism.

Yep. That’s avoidant personality style. At least it’s my style of it. I don’t easily form emotional attachments. I’m devoted to my lovely wife. And my children and grandchildren are precious to me. But, deep down in a place I don’t look at very often, I have this feeling that if I needed to, I could break that emotional bond.

You know those scenes in the movies where the hero needs to kill someone he loves, but he just can’t bring himself to do it? I’m not that guy. I’d do a quick risk/reward analysis and then I’d end up pulling the trigger. I also believe that if I needed to, to defend my family, I could also pull the trigger on someone else, someone hurting my family. And I wouldn’t even feel bad about it.

There’s a Cherokee legend about a grandfather who told his grandson that there were two wolves fighting inside him, one evil, one good.

Which one will win?

The one you feed.

I believe it. And I feed the good wolf. But, I absolutely know the other wolf is there, lying in wait, not malnourished despite the fact I don’t feed him. No, he’s there waiting to be woken.

What does this have to do with fear? With being scared? With fearing a lack of security. I harbor the belief in the evil wolf as the ultimate security. The idea that ultimately I have the ability to meet any challenge. To ruthlessly destroy anyone necessary to protect my family.

Would I? Would I be able to unleash that wolf and do whatever was necessary, even hurting or killing others? None of us know how we would react. I’ve never been combat. I’ve never faced someone who wanted to kill me. Honestly I don’t know what I would do, despite my beliefs.

My fear is not that I would awaken the evil wolf. My real fear is that I wouldn’t.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

I’m Not Modest. I’m Just Not That Interesting

I have a new book coming out.

Okay, it’s mine and nine other writers. It’s an anthology. And it’s about Christmas. And my story is science fiction.

The editor is great. His name is James Elliott and he runs a small publishing house called Anderson Publishing. James does a lot of work on each book. I respect him a lot.

But, James wants to interview me. And the subject he wants to talk about is my blog. He thinks it’s noteworthy and newsworthy. I’m trying to believe him.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate all y’all who read my scribblings here. Whether your a regular subscriber who gets it sent to you every day, or if you check in every now and then, I appreciate each and every one of you. And I work very hard to provide interesting and sometimes useful content.

I guess I’m just not sure how useful it is to talk about talk about blogging. It’s like talking about writing. It’s not a particularly interesting subject to me. I enjoy it. I love writing. I like just about every aspect of the writing process, world building, character development, plotting. Even editing. And, like most writers, I love to read.

But, talking about writing is about as interesting as talking about reading. Or talking about watching a movie.

So, while I appreciate my editor (he’s a really good editor,) I have to question his choice on content this time.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Do I Really Not Care? Or Only Want To Not Care?

 “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do not care who gets the credit”
– Harry Truman

I don’t need to be right. I really don’t. At least I don’t think so. I hope not.

Some people care. And they care a lot.

I’ve worked in IT for a REALLY long time. I’ve got computers older than some of my coworkers. I don’t like to code. But, I know a little. In fact, after 35 years in the IT world, you end up knowing a little about everything including how to design code.

We needed to exclude a particular item type. I explained to my team how to do it. Basically scan the input and if that particular item type is detected, flag it and exclude it.

A senior Program Manager didn’t agree.

We shouldn’t hard code it. We should simply define it in our data library and then we can exclude it.

He was VERY insistent. And he was also wrong. I knew he was wrong. But, he really wanted to be right. And he was my supervisor. What would you do?

Okay. Let’s talk to Terrell and let him design it.

Terrell was our Senior Developer. You know what Terrell said?

We have to hard code it. We add items to the data library on an ad hoc basis. We can’t know when we might receive that data type.

Terrell didn’t know that I’d suggested something very similar. My supervisor didn’t mention it again and neither did I.

Earlier I had explained to Terrell how we had agreed to design a feature. Terrell didn’t remember the conversation. And so, in his mind, the conversation didn’t happen.

No, Rodney, I pay particular attention on calls and I would have remembered that!

You know what I said?

Okay.

Later I talked to my supervisor about it.

You know, Rodney, I think you’re right. I remember us talking about that. I think Terrell is wrong.

Did he mention it to Terrell? Of course not. And neither did I. It didn’t matter who got the credit. At least it didn’t to me. It certainly did to him.

I take a lot of calls with Terrell. I was training our client on a part of product. They asked a question that I was 90% certain on the answer. I sent a facebook PM to Terrell.

They can do that process multiple times, right?

I’m honestly dumbfounded that you don’t know even these simple features of our product. That’s unbelievable.

You might read this and think, “Geez, Rodney’s kind of a wimp.” I don’t see it that way. I don’t need credit. I don’t care if I get it or not. I wish Terrell didn’t think I was an idiot, but there is nothing to be gained by arguing with him about it. And if you ever find yourself considering the phrase, “I’m not as stupid as you think I am,” it’s probably best to keep that unspoken.

The point is to get the job done.

But, here’s the real cost. I’ll continue my job, because despite my supervisor and Terrell’s opinions, I’m good at it. The client certainly thinks so. But, will I feel a sense of loyalty? Will I feel a sense of pride and belonging?

Nope. I’m not that much of an idiot.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

Thank The Geeks For This One

Yesterday was September 19. It was a Monday. But, that’s not why it was special. It was my daughter’s anniversary. But, that’s also not why it’s special. (Well, special to my daughter and son-in-law. . ) It was also the birthday of Mark Summers’ ex-wife. And THAT is why it’s special.

On June 6, 1995 Summers was playing racquetball with his friend John Baur. And then one of them took a nasty spill and yelled “Aaarrr!” Of course, everyone knows that is how pirates talk. (Okay, they don’t REALLY talk like that, but people like to imitate pirates by talking like that.) Anyway, the two friends decided the entire world should set aside one day to talk like a pirate.

But, June 6 is already an important date in history. It was the day in 1944 when the Allies invaded France. It’s recognized as D-Day.

So, the friends needed another day for their holiday. They chose September 19. Out of respect for Summer’s exwife’s birthday.

I enjoy Talk Like a Pirate Day. However, it’s officially International Talk Like A Pirate Day. So, I’ve always thought a rather than say “Aaarr,” a better statement would be:

Yes, of course this is a valid windows license. No way would I be cheating you.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

A Most Strange Gathering

Have you ever met someone and felt like you would be friends forever?

Chances are you weren’t.

How about an entire group of people that you felt that connection with?

On Saturday I went to a reunion at a nearby park in Pleasant Grove. It wasn’t a high school or college reunion. It wasn’t a military reunion. It was a neighborhood reunion.

But, that’s not the strange part.

We left this neighborhood nearly 30 years ago.

But, that’s not the strange part.

This neighborhood isn’t in Pleasant Grove. It’s not even in Utah. It’s two states and 1000 miles away in Maple Valley, Washington.

Yeah, that’s the strange part.

There were over 50 people at our Pleasant Grove neighborhood park. Some drove 1000 miles from Washington to attend. Some, like us, lived less than 2 miles away.

Thirty years ago we lived in Maple Valley a suburb outside of Seattle. We lived there for nearly nearly 10 years. We built a house there. We raised our children for many years. We completed our first two adoptions there. And then life changed. I left my job at Microsoft and moved back to Utah. And we lost touch with the people from that neighborhood.

Enter Facebook. We reconnected with a few people. And they connected with a few people and before you knew it, lots of the people from “the old neighborhood” were back in touch with each other. . .kind of.

And by some strange coincidence, a lot of us had moved to Utah. And not just Utah, Pleasant Grove, Utah. We now live closer to some of those neighbors than we did back when we were in Washington. And while there were plenty of people I didn’t recognize, several of them stepped right out of my memories and we picked up right where we left off.

We are all much older and the kids we helped each other raise now have kids of their own. But, whatever magic that neighborhood held, it’s transcended time and space.

Yup. These are my tribe.

May you find a tribe that will maintain your membership over decades and hundreds of miles.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. Order Miscellany II, an anthology including his latest short story, “The Mercy System” here

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2022 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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