animals, videos, YouTube

Leon the Lobster moves to Georgia…

I wasn’t going to blog today because I’m having one of those “not so fresh” days, and it was kind of foggy and chilly this morning. I thought maybe I might binge watch season five of Cobra Kai on Netflix, and finally make use of my subscription. But three or four episodes in, I got really drowsy and thought I might fall asleep. So I tried to take a nap, but then I had to keep getting up to go to the bathroom, and the sun came out and made it a beautiful day.

I didn’t have a good topic in mind for today, either. I have been reading a book and I suspect it will lead to an interesting review when I’m finished, but I’m not quite halfway through it at this point. I could write about US politics, but I am not in the mood for that, and everyone’s writing about politics, anyway. So I went to YouTube for inspiration, and found that Brady Brandwood had uploaded another video about his pet lobster, Leon.

Leon’s journey has been fascinating!

Brady says Leon has now lived with him in South Carolina for a year. But he and his girlfriend split their time between South Carolina and Georgia, and actually spend more time in Georgia. So Brady bought Leon a new, much larger aquarium, and assembled it in the Georgia house. He decided to move Leon from South Carolina to Georgia, where he can enjoy the much larger digs and get to know Brady’s eight cats.

For those who don’t know, Brady famously rescued Leon from a grocery store and made videos about his progress in captivity. I’ve been watching Leon’s saga the whole time, finding it to be strangely fascinating… and now, I feel guilty about loving to eat lobster as much as I do. I’m also very impressed with Brady’s knowledge about how to take care of creatures of the sea. As I found out in watching this video, there’s a lot that goes into moving a lobster from an aquarium in South Carolina to a new one in Georgia. Brady also seems like a really nice guy. I enjoy his slightly southern accent, too. It reminds me of home.

Speaking of home… Bill and I used to live in Georgia ourselves, courtesy of his Army career, so the footage of driving on the Interstate– looks like it might be I-85– made me a little homesick. I’ve passed the water tower for Gaffney, South Carolina many times. It’s easy to spot, because it’s a giant peach, that always reminds me of a well spanked ass. Sorry, I’m a little kinky sometimes. 😉 I also used to live in South Carolina. I was there for the three years I was in graduate school at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. But I don’t think I ever drove past Gaffney when I lived in South Carolina. I do remember driving through there on my way from Georgia to Virginia and back.

Brady also includes some shots of the Atlantic beaches in South Carolina, which also remind me of home. I grew up about an hour’s drive from Virginia Beach. And some shots from North Georgia and his wooded home in South Carolina also make me homesick, a little. My dad’s side of the family is from Natural Bridge, Virginia, which looks a lot like North Georgia, and our homes in Georgia and in North Carolina were on wooded lots where there was a lot of wildlife. I love Germany, but I miss living in a secluded house with lots of trees around.

Our Georgia house was especially nice, with lots of deer in the woods, including a mama deer who was almost tame. However, I wouldn’t want to be living there now, as energy prices are soaring. It was a huge house and badly needed renovation. But it had an enormous kitchen and deck, which overlooked lots of trees and a creek in the back. Our house in North Carolina was smaller, and didn’t have the great kitchen, but it did have a view of a disused irrigation pond, where wildlife such as turtles and wild ducks lived. I loved watching them. It also had some fish in it. Sometimes, the neighbor would go out there and try to catch one. Those were the idyllic days of the Obama era, when political leaders seemed to have more sense.

Even though I’m totally freaked out by how polarized and violent the United States looks from over here, I do miss home sometimes. I would like to see some of my family members. And I miss American supermarkets, too. But I’m not quite ready to get on a plane for eight hours, even though it’s been eight years since I last set foot in my homeland. Also, I know that once I got back to the States, it would be no time before I’d be ready to leave again. I’m still glad people like Brady are posting content on video that teach new things and make me realize that not everyone in the United States is freaked out about the elections.

Anyway… I hope some of you might watch Leon’s videos. I think they’re fascinating, and I’ve learned a lot about lobsters, and how to keep them, from Brady. I won’t be adopting one anytime soon, but I sure have enjoyed watching Brady take care of Leon. It reminds me of my friend who used to have me “turtle sit” for her, when she took trips. I never realized how much fun turtles can be. The one she had– a red slider whose name was “Little Chicken” (named by her then young daughter, who won him at a fair)– acted kind of like a dog when it was mealtime. He’d see me coming and crawl alongside of the aquarium. He couldn’t wait to eat his turtle food. She told me they eventually set him free in the Potomac River, which makes me think he probably didn’t live much longer… Apparently, he got too big to keep.

I don’t know what else I’m going to do today. We really should go out and do something, but unfortunately, I need easy access to the bathroom today. Maybe I’ll watch some more bodycam footage… or work on my latest jigsaw puzzle, which is 2000 pieces. Or maybe I’ll read more of my book, so I can move on to the next one. I might even be tempted to dream about our next trip, after we go to France for our anniversary. That trip will be to a place we’ve been several times, but not since January 2020. We’re going there because we know the apartment we’re renting; it’s pet friendly; and it will still be a change of scenery. We love going to Alsace, because it’s a beautiful part of France, but since Arran is having chemo, we don’t want to board him. Besides, it’s time Noyzi got to go on a trip with us.

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animals, Ex, songs, true crime

Powerful explosions, pesky varmints, and pearl necklaces…

Special thanks to SurryJohn on Wikipedia, who has granted permission to share his photo of a marten and provided today’s unedited and unaltered featured photo. I have never actually seen the marten who has been digging in the backyard, but my guess is that it looks somewhat like the one in the photo.

Welcome to Wednesday’s post. I’m pleased to report that although Arran woke us up at about 3AM, there weren’t any other big bangs this morning. I am, of course, making reference to the huge boom we heard yesterday morning at about 3:45 AM. Bill and I were actually awake at that time, thanks to Arran and his Prednisolone urges to eat. Poor guy woke both of us up a few minutes earlier; I distinctly remember looking at my iPad for the time. I’m glad we weren’t awakened by the sound of the nearby explosion, because that would have been pretty scary. Of course, there were also emergency vehicles and their blaring sirens interrupting the peace a short while later.

I mentioned yesterday that the explosion came from the sound of some criminally motivated asshole blowing up the ATM at our local REWE (grocery store). Apparently, that’s a thing in this part of Germany (and probably other parts, too). Certain people have taken to blowing up automatic teller machines, likely in an attempt to steal money. I’m actually sure trying to steal the cash is why they do it… but perhaps they also enjoy playing with explosives. In any case, when Bill mentioned this turn of events to his co-workers, he was told that there were similar explosions in their towns, too. Naturally, the idiots who are doing this do it when no one might be hurt… or be able to describe them to the police. On the other hand, they also cause people like me to lose out on beauty sleep.

Not long after the explosion, I was in the backyard cleaning up Noyzi’s poop, when the ground suddenly gave way under one of my feet. That was when I was confronted with the small sinkhole. I had considered that perhaps a varmint was in the yard, but then thought maybe it was an issue with limestone in the soil. Bill spoke to the landlord, who came over and inspected the deep hole and said he thought it was the work of a marder. Marders, otherwise known as martens, are basically like weasels. They like to dig holes and climb into car engines when the weather is cold. They can do pretty serious damage to vehicles. However, even though they damage property and dig holes, it’s illegal to kill them in Germany. The landlord said he would come over and fill up the hole today. Now that I know there are martens in our neighborhood, I now understand why I’ve been finding strange looking poop near the front doorstep. I found a nice sized pile on the doormat the other day, noticing that it was full of seeds… probably from the bushes in the backyard. I’m now assuming the dung came from our wild, backyard, weasel like resident.

And finally, a word on the humble pearl necklace… This is another R-rated Ex related anecdote, so if that’s not interesting, move along…

Still with me? Okay…

My friend Susi shared this short video from a Facebook page called Johnny Rambo…

I suspect the above video may eventually become unavailable, so here’s a brief description. The woman in the video is wailing about being forced to wear handcuffs. She appears to be a victim of domestic violence of some sort. Or, she is at least claiming that her husband lied and victimized her, and she’s upset that she’s been arrested and is in handcuffs at a hospital. She yells that her husband is the one who’s been in jail, and yet she’s there in handcuffs.

I don’t know a single thing about what happened, other than what I can see is in the clip, and what she yells at the nurse who is trying to help her. The nurse tries to explain that the cuffs are for the safety of the woman, the cops, and the medical staff. I remember reading about how, when she was rescued from her kidnappers, Elizabeth Smart was placed in handcuffs. At the time, I was horrified for her, but now I realize that cops really don’t know what a person’s mental status is. Still, handcuffs are very uncomfortable and, in some ways, kind of inhumane. Last year, I had problems with my shoulder being impinged. I kept thinking about how it would be agony to have to wear handcuffs. I couldn’t reach behind my back or raise my arm without significant pain.

Anyway, the woman in the video, drops to her knees in prayer, then snarls at the nurse who suggests taking her blood pressure, saying that she’s been checked all over. “See if I’m pregnant at 66 years old!” she seethes, as the nurse says that’s a possibility (pregnancy at 66!!!). The woman is very dramatic in an over-the-top way, which tells me that she probably gives as good as she gets. She seems outraged and indignant, rather than shattered.

Then she yells, “I know it is. He’s put it in my ear, face, and put it all over me! How would you like to have cum poured all over you?!”

The nurse tells her to stop talking about that, as there’s a child nearby, and the woman snaps, “Well, maybe that child needs to hear about it”, as the video ends. I notice that the lady is well dressed in a charming pink ensemble and she’s wearing a pretty pearl necklace. I like pearls. The pearl is one of my birthstones. As Bill and I were watching this video short, I was suddenly reminded of a story he told me about his ex wife, back in the day. You see, they both went to the same Houston high school as Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top did.

One day, Ex was talking about the song “Pearl Necklace” by ZZ Top. Apparently, she was a fan of the song. I must admit, although I am familiar with ZZ Top, I am hearing the song for the first time this morning…

Apparently, Ex didn’t know what this song was referring to when she was enjoying it…

She came to Bill enthusiastically talking about how great the 1981 song “Pearl Necklace” is… and Bill started to chuckle, because she obviously didn’t realize that this was a song about something other than actual pearls… See the lyrics below:

She’s really upset with me again

I didn’t give her what she likes
I don’t know what to tell her
Don’t know what to say
Everything got funky last night
She was really bombed

And I was really blown away
Until I asked her what she wanted
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She gets a charge out of bein’ so weird

Digs gettin’ downright strange
But I can keep a handle on anything
Just this side of deranged
She was gettin’ bombed

And I was gettin’ blown away
And she held it in her hand
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace

She’s so cold
As pure as the driven slush
And that’s not jewelry she’s talkin’ about

It really don’t cost that much
She was gettin’ bombed
And I was gettin’ blown away
And she took it in her hand
And this is what she had to say
A pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace
She wanna pearl necklace

Ex then got a clue and was supposedly horrified by the song’s reference, even though she is quite experienced in such realms… much more so than I am. I have never had that kind of pearl necklace, and Bill would never give me one, even if I was interested. I know… that’s super gross, but I swear, when I saw that video and heard that poor lady in her pearl necklace talking about being cummed upon by her husband, that old story popped right into my sick mind. God forgive me.

Well, that about does it for today’s blog post. May your day be without random explosions, critters who shit on your doorstep and put deep holes in your backyard, or the wrong kinds of pearl necklaces. Oh… and by the way, Facebook let me out of “jail” yesterday, because they realized that the video below isn’t “sexually suggestive” after I complained. However, they evidently don’t have a problem with a guy sharing a video about a woman talking about being cummed on by her husband. Crazy.

Yes, sharing this video got me put in Facebook jail for a day. There is nothing inappropriate about it. It’s just weird.

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animals, complaints, dogs, modern problems, Trump

Today is a day I’ve been dreading, yet anticipating…

Today’s featured photo is of the moon, which I didn’t see last night… If it had been out, maybe being repeatedly forced to get up in the wee hours of the morning might have been more interesting for me.

It’s finally Thursday, which means that today Arran gets his second chemo IV push treatment of Vincristine. All week since last Thursday, I’ve been giving him Prednisolone, which truly is a wonder drug. However, it also has some significant side effects that can be quite annoying for both man and beast. For most of the past week, Arran has been handling things like a trouper. But as I wrote yesterday, the steroids are now causing some noticeable side effects that are interfering with things like my being able to sleep. Arran has to go out often, because the drug makes him pee a lot, and he constantly wants food, because the drug makes him hungry.

Fortunately, today we will start giving him 5 milligrams less Prednisolone. I also see, based on the schedule the vet gave me last week, he will be getting it less often. For instance, tomorrow, he won’t take any medicine at all. Saturday, he’ll get the reduced dose of Prednisolone and the Endoxan (Cytoxan) chemo tablet, then he gets another day off from the drugs on Sunday. I have noticed that the drugs have been very effective. A week ago, he was having trouble eating, had low energy, passed slimy, mucousy, bloody poop, and was shivering a bit. He was also in pain, as his lymph nodes were very swollen. This week, the lymph nodes have shrunk almost to normal. His eyes are bright. He wants to take walks and eat. His poop is also much more normal.

So far, the Endoxan seems to make him tired, so he’s now resting on the blanket on the floor in my bedroom. In a couple of hours, I’ll drive him to the vet to get his infusion, and he’ll probably spend the rest of the day recovering. However, he will also get to see his favorite person in the world, as Bill has finished his latest business trip and will be coming home today.

Arran and I have both been looking forward to Bill’s return. I’ve missed having him at home, as it gets pretty boring here by myself. We’ll probably get the first bill today, and it may be painful… but I suspect it will be less than what we’d be paying in the United States. Canine cancer is a real drag, but every time we experience it, we learn new things. This is our first experience with chemo, but it probably won’t be our last. It won’t surprise me if what we learn from taking care of Arran will even help us in our own lives at some point. There’s every chance that either Bill or I or both of us will have cancer ourselves someday. And I can almost guarantee that we will have another pet who has it, unless this experience turns me off of pet ownership. I can almost guarantee that it won’t, though. As I have mentioned a few times, we’ve definitely experienced worse pet cancers than lymphoma. At least this one can be treated, and isn’t as terribly painful as the others have been thus far.

In any case, so far, the treatment hasn’t been terrible. I’m reminded of a hopeful book I read a few years ago about a woman whose dog had an aggressive form of mast cell cancer. Both Arran and our previous dog, Zane (RIP), have had mast cell cancer, which is also often very treatable, but then leads to lymphoma. That book, which was written by a twice divorced lawyer whose dog had mast cell cancer, was also about the author’s own breast cancer diagnosis, which happened at the same time. I reviewed the book for the original blog and have reposted it here, for those who want to read about it. Unfortunately, a lot of us dog lovers are dealing with this shit… and a lot of us Google for hope. I know this, because I often see people hitting my post on the travel blog about homemade dog food and holistic help for cancers in dogs.

Anyway, I don’t want my blog to turn into a canine cancer diary, so I think I’ll move on to another topic. Unfortunately, I don’t have a happy one to write about today, as I’ve mostly been here by myself all week, taking care of Arran and watching the news, as well as YouTube videos about the news. And so much of the news is about Donald Trump, and his multiple legal woes, desperate attempts to avoid accountability, and inflammatory public statements. I can think of two he made recently that were blatantly racist/anti-semitic. It’s hard to understand why a regular person can be quickly “canceled” for doing something like complaining and/or calling the police, while Trump can pretty much do what he wants and get away with it. I am glad to see, though, that there are finally some officials who are at least trying to take him to task.

The other alternative is to read about inflation, high gas prices, and Putin’s war against Ukraine. I have a good friend who was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Russia in the early 90s. He later worked in Armenia, which is where I met him, then embarked on a global career. He married a Ukrainian woman and had two children, then immigrated to Canada, which he was able to do with relative ease, because his mom is from Canada. My friend often posts about what’s happening in Ukraine, as his wife’s family is still there. Yesterday, he posted about a young woman he knew who had worked in a wine store he used to frequent when he lived in Kiev. The young woman was happily married and six months pregnant with her first baby when, the other day, she and her husband, as well as the developing baby, were killed by one of the Iranian drones Putin has deployed to Kiev.

Such a tragic story! People need to wake up to evil of some of the world’s leaders.

I could spend some time reading about Kiev, feeling more hopeless and angry and frankly, depressed… I could read more from MAGA idiots who are bitching about expensive gas. I could engage in unpleasant interactions on social media with people who pop off at the slightest provocation (and in fact, I just had one with someone from the Czech Republic). But, as it’s Thursday, and I’ve been looking forward to, and dreading, this day, maybe I should just focus on getting through the next chemo treatment with Arran. He’s now parked in my office with me as I type this. In an hour, I’ll put his harness on him and head the 2 kilometers to the vet’s office, don a fucking face mask, and get him this week’s treatment. Hopefully, the coming week will go as well, or even better, than last week did. He will be getting less Prednisolone, which may, at least, help me get a full night’s sleep, right?

And finally, I wish to share a funny meme I saw on Twitter yesterday. It about sums up my mood…

This could be plausible.

I did buy a bunch of books this week, too. If I could get through the one I’m currently reading, maybe I’ll have a crop of new book reviews. Especially now that I have the right contact lenses and can read properly again.

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animals, controversies, dogs, mental health

Another day on the lymphoma roller coaster…

Today’s post title might be a tad dramatic. But then, I woke up at 2:30 am to Arran needing to go outside. He went downstairs and started to pee on my rug– a place where he’s peed a bunch of times before. But this was the first time I ever caught him in the act. “Arran!” I yelled, as I opened the door, “Go outside!” He went out and did his business, then wanted a treat, because he’s a beagle and Prednisone makes him hungry. I gave him a couple of dog cookies, then went back to bed.

A half hour later, Arran wanted to go out again. He was also obviously starving, so I gave him a handful of kibble. He went out, but not before he dropped a couple of turds on the same rug, which I stepped in with bare feet because it was dark in the room. So then I had to clean THAT up. Then, at about 4:00 am, Arran got up again, and this time he insisted on getting some food. The sound of the kibble hitting the metal bowl woke up Noyzi, who also thought it was time to eat. I made him go out while Arran ate a little more food to stave off his hunger pangs until a slightly more civilized hour.

Naturally, I couldn’t sleep after all of this activity, so I started reading the New York Times, where I read a couple of fascinating articles. One was about “atypical anorexia”, and with it was a photograph of an obese woman who, seemingly paradoxically, also suffers from anorexia. Naturally, there were many insensitive comments, as well as mean spirited laugh reactions. As someone who doesn’t look the part, but has dealt with eating disordered behaviors, that reaction really pisses me off. I thought it was a very insightful piece about a misunderstood problem that is killing a lot of people. If more people would read and understand about eating disorders with an open mind, lives might be saved. I was heartened to see a few stalwart folks speaking up about the ignorant idiots laughing at these women who are suffering from a hellish problem. I’ve about had it with the compassion challenged people in the world… especially the ones who are based in the United States. Anyone who wants to read about atypical anorexia is welcome to click the link, which should take you to the unlocked article.

Next, I read a sad update about a 26 year old retired New York City carriage horse named Ryder who, in August, became famous after he very publicly collapsed while working in Manhattan. After the collapse, Ryder got a new owner, and was sent to spend the rest of his days at a farm. But Ryder was losing weight and, on Monday, collapsed at the farm where he was living. Later, he had a seizure, and his new owner decided to have the Standardbred put down. You can read about Ryder by clicking the link, which is also an unlocked New York Times article.

The vet suspected that Ryder, like Arran, had lymphoma. I have no experience with equine lymphoma, but from what I’ve read, it’s expensive to treat, and horses who are diagnosed with it, are usually in an advanced stage of the disease. On the other hand, for those who have the means, chemo for horses with lymphoma can work. The University of Pennsylvania article I read reported that the mean survival rate for horses being treated with chemo for lymphoma is about 8 months, but that was taking into account horses who had died after just a month, and some who haven’t died yet after a couple of years. I have a feeling that, as it is with cancer a lot of the time, you just kind of have to leave it up to God.

As I know from personal experience, lymphoma often sneaks up on animals, and it varies in how bad it is. Ryder was already up there in years, so if he was still working in August and was ill with lymphoma, it’s no wonder he collapsed. Lymphoma causes weight loss and exhaustion, among other things, and unfortunately, even the best cared for animals can get cancer. While Ryder did have a new owner after his collapse, I wouldn’t necessarily assume the old one was abusive. It’s possible that he or she didn’t yet know that the horse was ill with cancer. There will be a necropsy to determine what ultimately caused Ryder’s demise.

My heart goes out to his reportedly devastated new owner, who doesn’t want to be identified, because people have been sending hate mail. As someone who also got a little bit of “hate” after we lost Jonny, the dog we tried to adopt in 2020 who escaped his pet transporter before making it into our home, I have empathy for Ryder’s owner. People can be really shitty to one another… and they justify being shitty for, frankly, spurious reasons, like tragedies that they negatively judge, often without having all of the facts or giving the situation much rational thought. What would have happened to Ryder if his latest owner hadn’t stepped up to care for him? I’m sure his owner’s loss is truly heartbreaking. The last thing he or she needs right now is shitty comments and mean spirited missives from so-called anti-carriage activists, especially if the cause of death really was cancer. People shouldn’t feel emboldened to harass others with hate mail, especially if they aren’t personally involved with a situation.

I do think that at age 26, Ryder was probably too old to be doing carriage work in New York City. I say “probably”, because I don’t like to make such statements without actually knowing the individuals involved; but in reality, I do think 26 is too old for horses doing that kind of work in a city. It’s a real shame that Ryder didn’t go to a farm earlier in his life. But, I also understand that these decisions can be complicated. One of the reasons I haven’t tried harder to get back into my beloved former pastime of riding is because I get attached, and my current lifestyle doesn’t really allow for having horses.

Horses aren’t like dogs. They don’t tend to stay with one owner their whole lives. And they require a lot of work and money to maintain. When they are part of someone’s livelihood, it’s not so easy to just decide to retire them simply due to age. But I will agree that in a just, humane world, these horses would get more kindness and consideration. On the other hand, I wish that for human beings, too. And most humans can’t afford to just take care of horses as “pets”. I also know that most horses prefer to work, especially when they are specifically bred for certain jobs. Standardbreds are usually bred for harness racing, so it makes sense that Ryder made his living pulling carriages.

I have mixed feelings about the New York City carriage horse industry, which has become very controversial in recent years. I don’t think working in Manhattan as a carriage horse is the most ideal life for equines, especially given that they don’t have a place to be turned out. However, I would rather see a horse working in Manhattan with somewhat decent, but less than ideal care than, say, being hoarded by some mentally ill nut, or being sent off to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered. Also, I do believe that many of the carriage drivers do care very much about their horses. Why would they choose that line of work if they didn’t enjoy it? As it is with anything, it takes all kinds. I just hope Ryder is resting well, and wish much peace and comfort to all of those who loved him. A lot of people who are against the industry are people who don’t know anything at all about horses.

Well, I suspect I’m going to be tired today, since I didn’t get much sleep… so I think I’ll practice guitar, and consider taking a nap… if Arran will let me, that is.

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animals, Germany

The Black Forest is a dream…

I’m stopping in for a quick post before we head off to Stuttgart to see the dentist. We arrived in Baiersbronn yesterday, after dropping off Noyzi and Arran at the dog hotel. Noyzi was very excited to be there and even banged on the gate with his paw. He loves the lady who takes care of him when we travel. I expected Arran to be upset about staying there, but he didn’t seem to upset. He likes Natasha, the caretaker. They’re in good hands. With all luck, we’ll get through the weekend unscathed.

For now, I am really enjoying the beauty of Baiersbronn, and the insanely delicious food at the Bareiss Hotel. Yes, it’s costing us a mint, but it’s so nice to get away. A change of scenery has done good things for my morale. I even made a new friend at the hotel’s petting zoo.

I love the goat. That’s saying a lot, given how many years I showed horses.

I’ll probably write a longer post when I don’t have somewhere else to be. For now, I just wanted to check in, for those who are interested. We got here safely, and it’s a pleasure to be back in the Black Forest. I hope anyone in the US reading this and facing Hurricane Ian is safe. I don’t miss dealing with hurricanes at all!

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