Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Obligatory Birthday Post

It's my birthday today! I had a bunch of drafts saved, waxing poetic about the passage of time and yadda yadda but I'm just not feeling that today. The sun is out, I'm feeling good, and I'm going to a vegan tiki bar for my birthday dinner! I can save the nostalgia for another time.

Something I did want to talk about, however, are the nice things I did for myself today. Self-care should be an everyday thing but let's be honest, I very rarely treat myself well (woops), but I felt compelled to be a little extra gentle with myself. What self-care looks like for me will be different than self-care for others and may not be within everyone's reach, but I think a lot of the things I chose to do for myself today could definitely be some best practices for a kinder existence.

  1. I let myself sleep in today. Even though it's the middle of the week and I still technically had to work, I turned my alarm clock off so that I could let myself wake up naturally. My bed is next to my balcony door, so the sun woke me up, but it was definitely nicer than my alarm screaming in my ear.
  2. Before I even got out of my bed, I stretched out my neck and back. For some reason, my neck has been killing me lately and it was recommended to me that I spend about two to five minutes stretching in the morning to help ease the pain and even prevent injury. It's probably from a combination of poor posture, bad chairs, and uh...infrequent physical activity. It's also probably time to swap out my pillow. No amount of fluffing that thing will make the head-shaped divot go away.
  3. I ate breakfast. Another thing I, for some reason, refuse to do. I've been using Daily Harvest lately to make smoothies in the morning and so far, I've really liked what they have! There are some flavors I don' like (the cold brew one, which was super surprising because I LOVE coffee) but for someone who's incredibly lazy and refuses to take care of their own needs, these have been really awesome! You just put them in your blender with some liquid (I've been using almond milk), blitz it, and pour it right back into the container it came in. Also, this isn't sponsored content, I'm just a sucker for targeted advertising lol. If you use the link, I get some free cups which would be rad because they are a little spendy. But again, you're paying for the convenience of not having to chop shit or portion shit out. WORTH.
  4. I completed a task that's been sitting on my to-do list the longest. My yarn and fabric have been sitting in the boxes they were moved in since uh...I put them there last month. Unpacking them has been the thing I've put off the absolute longest and it's been driving me crazy to see bins of chaos in the middle of the floor. I snagged a few zippered storage bags from Amazon and began sorting my yarn and fabric into them while I chatted with my mom. I was able to put them away properly and I instantly felt better.
  5. I took a bath! While I was putting my craft supplies away, I was running a bath (multitasking!) instead of my morning shower. I was also deep conditioning my hair (double multitasking!) because I still haven't gotten a haircut so it's looking a little rough up there. I've been saving this really cute bath melt from Lush specifically for my birthday and y'all it smells so. good. It made my skin incredibly soft and moisturized. It also made the water look like Sailor Moon's transformation sequence which, if you peep that cup, you know that's what I'm about.
  6. I told my friends that I loved them. I don't get to spend a lot of time with most of my friends because we all live in different states, but they all took the time to send me texts wishing me a good day and I felt that letting them know that their gesture was loved and appreciated was important to me.
  7. I went outside. The sun was out in rare form today, so I absolutely made myself go outside to enjoy it, even if it was just walking to Starbucks to get my ~*~free birthday drink~*~ and to Sephora to get my ~*~free birthday makeup~*~.

All and all, today was probably one of the better birthdays I've had in a long time. I did say I wanted to avoid the waxing, but there is some waxing required for each passing year, I suppose. If I was to go back ten or fifteen years, I definitely wouldn't think I'd be the person I am right now, that I wouldn't be where I am right now or lived the things I've lived. But, I do like my current place in the universe right now and I think that's a pretty good place to be.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March Small Goals

February was a time, y'all. I feel like so much happened and like I did nothing all at the same time, which is a feeling I don't particularly like. It felt a lot like January if I'm honest, but without being bedridden.

This month, I moved into a studio apartment and I'm still trying to adjust to the new space. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my place! But moving is stressful and expensive and you have to get used to the new sounds and putting everything away and I don't like to put things away and I just got drinking glasses yesterday, okay?

As far as making things goes, I barely knit anything because of the packing and the moving. I started a few sewing projects, but only managed to finish one, which I'll blog about after I wash it and take some pictures. I also started a Dungeons & Dragons game this month, hosted on the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitch channel and DM'd by my amazing friend Holly Conrad. There was a lot of prep work involved with that this month, as well as some final administrative stuff for Habibi. If I'm honest, I'm so glad I'm done with that.

Anyways, here were my goals for February:

1. Apply for the Ada Developer's Academy | The application window for Cohort 10 opened on February 20th, just a day after I moved. I've spent most of my time getting my apartment set up, so I haven't really sat down to do this. Not to mention, my computer decided to shit the bed for two days. Did not like that. But, I've set aside some time on the Monday after ECCC to work on this.
2. Do a digital deep clean | I hesitate to mark this off only because I did do this, but not to the degree in which I should have. I'd like to go over this task again.
3. Get a haircut | I don't have the type of hair where I can walk into any salon and have someone cut it. My usual stylist moved out of the state, so I need to research other stylists who are familiar with very curly and even natural/Black hair. I've had too many bad experiences in the past to not really put the work in on this because unlike hair that's straight and fine, if I get a bad haircut, it's ultra noticeable. 
4. Take a Barre3 Class | My girl Tori invited me to a Barre3 class and y'all, that shit is intense. I both loved it and hated it and the two days after were so delightfully painful. I only had time to go to one class this month, but I absolutely want to go back!
5. Start on my Ms. Marvel cosplay | A nope on this, too. My sewing and knitting supplies were the first things I packed up when getting ready to move because I knew it'd take the longest. I did, however, find a pattern I'd like to use as a base, as well as some materials! I won't be debuting this at ECCC, but there are plenty of other conventions on the horizon.

While finishing one goal is not a great look, at least it was the goal I wasn't so sure I could do! I want to do better this month.
March is probably going to be just as busy as both January and February were because not only is Emerald City Comic Con this month, my birthday is this month as well! 

1. Work through Nicole's "Feel Good, Dress Better" Workbook | Nicole gifted me a copy of her amazing workbook on personal style as a birthday gift. I've been really struggling with self-image lately and I've been wanting to take her course for awhile so I think I'll devote this month to working through the book.
2. Get my jeans hemmed | I own two pairs of jeans from Imogene + Willie that I've been meaning to get hemmed for over a year. I live right next to an alterations place now, so I really have no excuse.  
3. Record the first episode my eSports podcast | I've always been a casual following of eSports, but with Overwatch League, I've turned into the Sports Friend. I've been wanting to start a Sports Center-esque podcast for a few months now and have a co-host on board, so I'd really like to record the first episode this month.
4. Take another Barre class | I had such a great time last month at Barre and I've been really itching to go to another one!
5. Start using 1SE | If you're not familiar, 1 Second Everyday is a fun phone app that records little 1 second videos, with the whole point being that you record one every day. My bff Mia got me hooked on the app and I thought I'd start on my birthday and record a little video every day until next year, and then string all the videos together! I like projects like that, so I thought it'd be fun. Hopefully, at the end of this month, I'll have a video to show you!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Trapped in the Birdcage

One of the things I wanted to do before I turned thirty was play a full campaign of Dungeons & Dragons. When I wrote out my goals, I actually had a draft scheduled for like months because I didn't want to chicken out of posting the day before which I've done about a million times before about a lot of other things.

So when I wrote that post, my friend Holly hadn't approached me about being on a D&D livestream yet. Going back through the messages, it was actually about 2 days after because I'm living in The Secret probably.

Anyway, it was still in the planning stages and I trust Holly with my regular life and my D&D life so I was totally on board. So the planning began, new members of the party were added, some damn good art was made, and we were ready to get this show on the road. Well actually, it was on Twitch.

(Art by Kayla Cline)

The first episode was so fun and after the episode was over, I felt better about so many things than I had in a really long time. I've talked about anxiety and depression before, but because of all of the changes going on in my life, I've felt just pretty horrible lately. Playing D&D with Holly (who is the best DM ever) and my new pals Jimmy, Chad, and Anna* was exactly what I needed. I am so fortunate to have this opportunity to slip into a wonderful world of magic, fantasy, and adventure with these four amazing people.

The support from the tabletop and D&D community was also super staggering! Because I am That Person, I was like "THEY'RE ALL GONNA LAUGH AT YOU!" because I'd never really played D&D before. My knowledge of the game stops at some 30-minute mini adventures they host at GeekGirlCon, where the entire point is to learn to read a character sheet and how to collaborate with others. If someone was like "Hey, roll for initiative" or "Do a dexterity check", I'd have no idea what they were talking about. Which is why Holly's patience, expertise, and support was so amazing to have for a first game. And despite technical difficulties because I am forever trapped in an episode of Black Mirror, and having to look things up, the viewers and community members were so patient and I felt like they were really rooting for us. Everyone had a really amazing time and I think that's what matters! That's the point of playing a game, right? To have fun!

It was also really heartwarming to see my close friends that live far away from me participate in the Twitch chat, to tweet about the show, and to post about it in their Instagram stories (y'all gotta cool it with these video filters). I felt tremendously supported and loved by the people who matter to me most. And because I'm an actual saint and don't have a petty bone in my body, I'm not going to call out the group of "friends" who refused to show up for me and are the same ones who constantly demand emotional labor from me when it's convenient for them. I would never do that.

"Trapped in the Birdcage" is on the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitch channel on Thursday evenings, 5PM-7PM Pacific, right before another great D&D show Critical Roll! I'll be posting links to the archived stream after their air, as well as links to the amazing recaps by PowerScore!

*Anna is actually an old pal! We used to go swimming at my grandparents' house when we were in middle school and she was on the dance team with my sister! What a crazy and small world!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

30 before 30

My birthday is slowly creeping up on me (it's actually exactly one month away!) and much like the last few birthdays, it really has me thinking about who I am as a person, what I've done, and what I have yet to do. I'll be turning 29 this year and this used to fill me with dread as a teenager, but I was a teenager so I didn't know jack shit about anything lol.

Now that I'm in the last year of my "late 20s", it's time to start thinking about my thirties. Pretty much every blog I've had has had some semblance of a "30 Before 30" list in it. If you're not familiar with the concept, it's basically a bucket list of things you want to do before you hit that big 3-0. My lists from previous years were very different from this one and I think that has something to do with the fact that I just didn't know who I was yet. I didn't know what would be important to me at this stage in life, so I made goals that had to do with things that were important to me then. There were some things that I've already done (start my own business, knit a sweater, etc) and some things I just have no interest in doing or just can't do in the span of a year (have children or learn any of the 50 languages I've attempted).

I wanted goals that were achievable within the one-year time period as well as goals that leave me feeling like I've accomplished something worthwhile. Going to Coachella isn't going to be very fulfilling for someone who hates loud noises and crowds, but spending time supporting the arts or sewing a quilt that'll be enjoyed for years to come will. I plan on blogging about my progress and I'll appreciate being able to look back what I was doing as my twenties draw to a close.

So, without further ado, let's get into the nitty-gritty. What does the next year in the life of me (hopefully) look like?

1. Attend a ballet performance | Despite taking ballet for years and years and living incredibly close to the Pacific Northwest Ballet company, I've never been to a ballet performance that wasn't my own.
2. Pitch 10 writing pieces | I've been super lax about writing in the past year and I'd really like to get better about it. I really should take the time to hone my skills, maybe take a class or two, and get back to pitching my work to publications.
3. Enter a Cosplay contest | It's one thing to sew everyday clothes for yourself, but it's something else entirely to bring someone's vision to life and parade yourself around and be judged for it. This is definitely outside of my comfort zone, but I definitely want to try to cross this off my list.
4. Visit Buckingham Palace | This is one of those items that's been on every list I've made since I decided I wanted to try this challenge. This year, there will be a special exhibit for Prince Phillip's birthday.
5. Travel abroad on my own | I've done this kind of but my trips usually end up with me staying with or meeting up with people. I want this trip to be completely for me, on my own, doing whatever I please without needing to coordinate with seven other people.
6. Pay off my student loan | I'm so close to this goal that I just want to knock it out and be debt-free and forget about the nightmare that is college.
7. Have professional pictures taken | I've talked before about my unwillingness to have my picture taken and not knowing how to conduct myself in front of a camera. But this year, I want to have some really nice pictures taken for me, whether they're in costume or not.
8. Donate $500 to charity | I donate to various charities fairly regularly, but I've always wanted to give a large lump sum to a single charity. I haven't decided which one yet, but I'm leaning towards Planned Parenthood or PATH.
9. Double my savings | I've always been pretty okay with saving my pennies, but for the past few years I've kind of struggled with one mishap after the next and when I was unemployed last January, I all but drained my savings. Now that I have a good job that I really enjoy, I've been able to put money back towards it and I want to really commit to doubling that amount because I know all too well from personal experience that it takes one bad day to put you in a really scary spot.
10. Fill a journal | While blogging is rad and everything, there are definitely some things I don't want to share with the internet. I've kept a paper journal off and on for most of my life, but I've never filled one before getting a new journal to fill. I really want to fill one from cover to cover without abandoning it or even throwing it away for a new one.
11. Build an app or website | A friend of mine who is a UX dev and I have been in talks to build something really cool and with the skills I've taught myself over the last few months, I know we're going to makes something pretty neat and I can't wait to share it.
12. Attend the Labyrinth Masquerade | If you've never heard of the Labyrinth Masquerade, it's a yearly masked ball in Los Angeles based on Jareth's ball from the movie 'The Labyrinth' and I've been wanting to go for nearly a decade. It's bananas, y'all. People dress up in incredible costumes and there's dancing and performances and fairies granting wishes! I was born to go to this ball.
13. Cook 30 new meals | I love to cook but I've been pretty crappy about it as of late. I eat out a lot and not only is that really expensive, it's not super great for me. I have a fair few cookbooks, but I never seem to pick them up and go straight for the same 3-5 dishes. I want to mix it up and find some new favorites.
14. Sew a quilt | Quilts are no joke, y'all. My mom used to quilt and I have super vivid memories of this one hand quilted piece she made that took literal years to finish. It's the first blanket I reach for to cuddle with my pups on the couch when I'm home. There's nothing like a handmade quilt and I've always wanted one for my home.
15. Visit a National Park | Washington state is teaming with incredible National Parks, none of which I've been too! I really want to take a weekend to spend time in taking in Washington's natural beauty. I'd also be more than willing to visit an out-of-state National Park, too! Maybe a trip to the Grand Canyon is in order?
16. Create an emergency fund | While I have a savings account, my emergency fund leaves a lot to be desired. As in, it doesn't exist. And as someone who is notorious for having shitty luck, this is probably something I should have as a functioning adult.
17. Go a day without technology | This is a lot harder for me than people think because I can't mind my damn business and I gotta know what's going on always.
18. Play a Dungeons & Dragons campaign | Did you know that one of my first purchases on Amazon was a set of pink D&D/Roleplaying Dice? They're hot pink and I still have them! I've done a few one-shot D&D campaigns, but I want to play a full-on, multiple-sessions game of D&D.
19. Sew my own lingerie | I don't think I'll be the type of person to have a full underwear drawer full of me-mades, but I'd love to have fancy panties and bras. Even if I never wear there, they're just so cute and come with a plethora of skills I'd love to learn.
20. Read 10 books written by women of color | I've talked about how I suck at reading before, but I really want to try a little better this next year and I want to commit to focusing on reading the words of women of color exclusively.
21. Sew a historical costume | What can I say? As a longtime reader of Angela Clayton's fantastic blog, I just want to sew a big poofy dress from the 18th century, complete with a bum roll.
22. Learn to lift weights | Notice that it just says learn to. I'm not trying to deadlift 500 pounds in a year. I just want to learn how to safely lift weights in a way that will nurture my body.
23. Visit 5 different museums | I love museums and Seattle has a fair few of them that I've never been to. I want to change that!
24. Start learning a new language | While I don't expect to master a new language in a year, I can at least get the ball rolling and start learning a new one. Monolingualism is for suckers!
25. Consult an orthodontist about my teeth | This old chestnut. I'm not happy with my teeth, never have been. It's time to decide if I want to invest in dental work of if I can deal with my smile as is.
26. Learn a new craft skill | There's SO much out there that I want to learn, but I'm trying not to like...learn everything. I just want to focus on one new craft this year. Haven't decided which one, but leatherworking or weaving are neck-and-neck with each other.
27. Decorate my apartment | I'm moving into a studio apartment in ten days (!!!) and I really want to focus on actually decorating. Part of the reason my spaces stress me out so much is because I never make any effort to make my house a home, so to speak.
28. Revamp my website | My blog layout is fine, but I really want to jazz it up a bit, y'know? Put some more color on the ol' girl, actually fill out the 'about me' page. That sort of thing.
29. Take an archery class | I want to fulfill a childhood dream of being Legolas for a day. There, I said it.
30. Fill out an Advanced Directive and create a Living Will | Recently, I read Caitlin Doughty's book "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" and while my thoughts on her book (and her second book which I'm currently reading) are for another post, learning to accept that life doesn't last forever has honestly made me appreciate the things I have and the people close to me all that much more. And because I appreciate my family and friends, if something were to happen to me, I want all of my wishes laid out for them. This isn't me being morbid, it's me respecting myself and the people I care about.

There it is, thirty things I'd like to try to accomplish in just over a year's time. I'm excited to see what this next year brings and if I'm honest, I am so ready to leave my twenties behind.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February Small Goals

With the start of the year, GeekGirlCon planning meetings, and PAX in San Antonio, I feel like January was a lot busier than it probably actually was because I'm overly dramatic all the time. I also spent 2 weeks of this month incredibly sick. As in, fever of 102F and bedridden sick. It sucked. Despite this, I was fairly productive and got quite a lot done this month. I didn't finish all of my January goals, but I came pretty close! I also managed to knock off some other things on my to-do list like go to the dentist (twice!) and clean my entire studio!

I only knit a single pair of socks this month, all of which took place during my trip to San Antonio. I wanted to finish my Miette sweater, but I'm still stuck in Sleeve Hell lol. I also neglected to finish my #sewmystyle project for this month because I spent most of the month (and all of the free time I had) super sick. Womp womp!

Let's recap January's goals:

1. Clean out my closet | This was actually the first thing I knocked out and it only took me ten hours. My closet isn't that big. It's certainly not a walk-in closet but I had somehow managed to shove nonsense into every nook and cranny and there was an entire shelf of stuff that wasn't even mine. But it was actually kind of fun? I went through everything behind those two doors and really weeded out a lot of junk. It also led to me giving my whole studio a nice little tidy-up, too!

2. Get a Washington state driver's license
 | I had actually tried to do this right before my trip to San Antonio but honestly, the entire process is such a nightmare. The documents I brought were documents they no longer accepted so I had to get new documents proving my residency. I ended up having to take a day off to do this and it still took forever, but I did get it done and I have a nice hole-punch in my Florida's driver's license and a temporary paper license to show for it.

3. Renew my passport | Another shambles! Anything dealing with the bureaucracy of the American government is like being trapped in the seventh layer of hell. I made an appointment at USPS, but their printer AND their camera were broken, so they told me to go to Walgreens to get pictures done and to do the paperwork on my own and just come in again another time. When I went in the second time, I had apparently filled out the wrong form (I even told them the form they wanted me to fill out wasn't the right one but they insisted I fill out a different form) so I had to do that form but I couldn't do it at the post office and I was not about to make another appointment so I did it on my own and everything is in the mail.

4. Clean out my pantry | Unfortunately, this was the goal I just couldn't get around to doing. I have some time set aside to do it this weekend, but it's a lot scarier in there than I though. Woops.

5. Get a pedicure | My best friend Mia asked me to be her Bridesmaid (!!!) and part of the gift was this very On Brand rose gold glitter nail polish so as a treat for surviving the Washington Department of Licensing, I went straight to a nail salon and got this done. And of course, I managing to slam my big toe into the corner of my sofa several hours later and fuck up the polish job, but having my other issues with my feet addressed was really nice. 

By nature of being a month that's short a few days (which can make all the difference if you're like me and suck at using your time wisely), I'm hoping that February isn't as busy as January seemed to be. February is also the month of my favorite holiday: Valentine's Day! Miss me with how much you hate it because I legit do not care~! I hope I can squeeze out some special Valentine's Day themed makes this month.

But, here are the more important goals for February:

1. Apply for the Ada Developer's Academy | I spent a bit of time in January doing a little self-teaching and I hope it's enough to snag me a coveted spot in the extremely limited Ada Developer's Academy. If I don't get in this time, I'll have another opportunity to apply later in the year. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
2. Do a digital deep clean | Between my desktop computer, my Surface, my phone, and my Google Drive, my digital file keeping is a god damn nightmare. My goal is to clean out and organize my personal inbox and my GeekGirlCon inbox, as well as go through all of the files on my Google Drive, my Chrome bookmarks, and my desktop and Surface. It's going to be a beast of a task, I can already tell.
3. Get a haircut | My hair is super curly and I have to get it cut by someone who knows how to work with it. I used to go to a stylist that was trained at the DevaChan salon in New York City, but she moved away so I'll need to find someone new. I should get regular cuts but haven't gotten a trim since July of 2017 and it's really starting to show.
4. Take a Barre3 Class | I promised my friend Tori that I'd go to a Barre3 class with her but January was so busy that I never made the time for it, not to mention the thought of going to a gym in January sounds like literal hell. I really want to commit to taking care of my body and after watching a few Barre3 videos on YouTube, I think this will be exactly my speed. 
5. Start on my Ms. Marvel cosplay | Emerald City Comic Con is during the first weekend in March, giving me just under a month to draft a pattern, make a muslin, source fabric and supplies, and do a stupid amount of test fitting for this cosplay. Ms. Marvel means everything to me so I want this to be perfect! I also told myself that I'd stop falling into the Con Crunch bullshit and plan ahead.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

I'm still here!

It feels so weird to not have posted anything in a week after posting daily for an entire month, but I haven't had much to "share" lately. I've only completed one small sewing project: just a tote bag to test out a few features on my sewing machine. I have three knitting WIPs, one of which is a cardigan I'm hoping to finish up in the next couple of days so I can take it with me on my trip to San Antonio.

My other WIP is the Resferber sock by Mina of Knitting Expat Designs. I've got about 3" until I start decreasing for the toe on my first sock. I'm planning on a true afterthought heel this time around and I'm really enjoying the pattern so far. I'm trying not to knit it up too fast because I need plane projects! I will say that I'm using fewer stitches and smaller needles than I ever have and it's giving me a much denser fabric. I've tested it out and it's a bit snug, by my last two pairs of socks are pretty loose and I want to see if I prefer a smaller sock this time around. I'm also knitting socks via magic loop for the first time. I wish I would have split my yarn so I could do two-at-a-time socks, but I didn't think to do that until it was too late.

I hope I'll have some FOs to show y'all after my trip to Texas. I'm really looking forward to seeing some of my best friends, as I've been feeling a little lonely lately and they always know how to make me feel better!

Monday, January 1, 2018

January Small Goals

I somehow survived December and made it into the new year, blog and all. Something that I found really helpful the past few months was making a few smaller goals to commit to for the month. They tend to be easier for me to stick to instead of spearheading the new year with a big ass list of all this shit I'm never going to do. I did make some goals and commitments for the year in my previous post, but I kept them very general on purpose with the intent on making more time-based goals each month.

My friends Nicole, Harper, and Mia have also done this same exersize in the past and then recap them in the following month. As we know, I love inserting myself into a conversation, so here are my small goals for January.

1. Clean out my closet | There's a lot of...stuff in there, much of which doesn't belong to me or doesn't belong there in the first place. Clearing out space in my closet would also mean I'd have more space to store my dyeing supplies.

2. Get a Washington state driver's license | Technically, you're required to change your driver's license within 60 days of moving into another state if you plan on residing there. I've been here nearly 3 years and still have my Florida driver's license. Call the cops, I don't give a frick. I really do need to change it over, though.

3.Renew my passport | My passport actually expires in February, but I'd rather take care of this and my driver's license at the same time because I plan on my hair looking good that day for double photo duty. I will never waist a good hair day, y'all.

4. Clean out my pantry | I do this once a year anyway. I go through all of my dry goods and check expiration dates, give the shelves a good wipe down, dust off anything that looks well...dusty, and move older items to the front. It's leftover training from my LUSH days. It's a task I actually really enjoy!

5. Get a pedicure | Slightly superficial, but as someone who danced for years and walks about a mile each day, I know how important it is to take care of one's feet. The dry weather has done a number on these dogs and I really need to do something about it, y'all.
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