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text 2017-11-25 17:16
16 Festive Tasks -- Ani's Tracking Post
game play hosted @ Booklikes



I'm going to hijack some ideas, and just going to keep a simple track of my tasks and points and whatnot here.  With so many things going on, I haven't had a lot of time to really think about how I would present update posts for the 16 Festive Tasks, but I DID start a tracking summary page at my Blogspot, if anyone is interested.


Chances are, I will just copy and paste and repost whenever I make an update, with an updated news bite at the beginning of each update.


I'm glad to be back among the living here at BL, and will hopefully be more active for this last half of the game!



My Progress

Points Earned:  6
Books Read:  4
Tasks Completed:  2

Currently Reading:

  • Forensics by Val McDermid

Upcoming Tasks:

  • Square 3 | St. Martin's Day -- Wine and a book!!
  • Square 5 | Advent -- My youngest brother and a Master's degree!!
  • Square 8 | Hannukuh -- The Dreidel game and the next read!



The Tasks


Square 1: November 1st: (Día de Muertos / All Saint’s Day / Calan Gaeaf)

Book for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day:  

  • Read:  Frost Line by Linda Howard and Linda Jones // ROYGBIV cover // review pending // +1 point

Book for Calan Gaeaf:  

Planned Read:  All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater // roses on the cover

Task for Día de Muertos and All Saint’s Day:  Undecided

Task for Calan Gaeaf:  Undecided



Square 2: November 5th: (Guy Fawkes Night / Bon Om Touk)

Book for Guy Fawkes Night:  Undecided

Book for Bon Om Touk:  

  • Possibile Read:  A Lady by Midnight by Tessa Dare // Spindle cove setting near the sea // possible choice for this square // review pending // ?? point

Task for Guy Fawkes Night:  Tea and Books! // +1 point

Tasks for Bon Om Touk:  Undecided



Square 3: November 11th: (St. Martin’s Day / Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day)

Book for St. Martin’s Day:  Undecided

Book for Veteran’s Day/Armistice Day:  Undecided

Task for St. Martin’s Day:  Wine and a book!! // post pending

Task for Verteran’s Day/Armistice Day:  Undecided



Square 4: November 22nd and 23rd: (Penance Day / Thanksgiving Day)

Book for Penance Day:  Undecided

Book for Thanksgiving Day:  Undecided

Tasks for Penance Day:  Undecided

Tasks for Thanksgiving Day: I am thankful for... and a new book! // +1 point

Bonus task:  Share your most hilarious turkey-day memory.  -- Skipping this one --



Square 5: December 3rd and following 3 Sundays: (Advent)

Book for Advent:  Undecided

Tasks for Advent:  My youngest brother and a Master's degree!! // post pending

Bonus task:  Make your own advent calendar and post it.  - Undecided



Square 6: December 5th-6th and 8th: (Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht / Bodhi Day)

Book for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht:  Undecided

Book for Bodhi Day:  Undecided

Task for Sinterklaas / St. Martin’s Day / Krampusnacht:  To be determined

Task for Bodhi Day:  To be determined // post pending



Square 7: December 10th & 13th: (International Human Rights Day / Saint Lucia's Day)

Book for International Human Rights Day:  Undecided

Book for Saint Lucia's Day:  Undecided

Task for International Human Rights Day:  Undecided

Task for Saint Lucia's Day:  Gettin' my Hygge on!  With chocolate! // post pending

Bonus task:  Make the Danish paper hearts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jur29ViLEhk -- Going to try this one at some point!



Square 8: December 12th - 24th: (Hanukkah / Las Posadas)

Book for Hanukkah:  Undecided

Book for Las Posadas:  Undecided

Task for Hanukkah:  Spin the Dreidel book selection! // post pending

Tasks for Las Posadas:  Undecided

Bonus task:  Make a piñata (https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Pi%C3%B1ata), hang it from a tree, post, basketball hoop, clothesline or similarly suitable holder and let your neighborhood kids have a go at breaking it. -- Probably not going to do this one.



Square 9: December 21st: (Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night / Mōdraniht / Yuletide)

Book for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night:  To Be Determined

Book for Mōdraniht:  Undecided

Book for Yuletide: 

Task for Winter Solstice and Yaldā Night:  (Something planned) // post pending

Bonus task:  Read a book in one night. -- Totally going to attempt this one!


Task for Mōdraniht:  Undecided

Bonus task:  Post 3 things you love about your mother-in-law (if you have one), otherwise your grandma.


Task for Yuletide:  Undecided



Square 10: December 21st: (World Peace Day / Pancha Ganapati)

Book themes for World Peace Day:  Undecided

Book themes for Pancha Ganapati:  Undecided

Task for World Peace Day:  Not sure yet

Task for Pancha Ganapati:  Thinking about it



Square 11: December 21st-22nd: (Soyal / Dōngzhì Festival)

Book for Soyal:  Undecided

Book for Dōngzhì Festival:  

  • Possible Read: The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin // Chinese author
  • Possible Read: My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin // Chinese author

    Task for Soyal:  Undecided

    Task for Dōngzhì Festival:  (something planned) // post pending



Square 12: December 23rd: (Festivus / Saturnalia)

Book for Festivus:  Undecided

Book for Saturnalia:

  • Planned read: The Lost Night by Jayne Castle // sci-fi book that takes place in space

Task for Festivus:  Undecided

Task for Saturnalia:  ???



Square 13: December 25th: (Christmas / Hogswatch Night)

Book for Christmas:  Undecided

Book for Hogswatch Night:  

  • Possible read:  The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

    Task for Christmas:  Undecided

    Task for Hogswatch Night:  Undecided



Square 14: December 25th: (Dies Natalis Solis Invicti / Quaid-e-Azam / Dies Natalis Solis Invicti)

Book for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti:  

Book themes for Quaid-e-Azam:  Undecided

Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti:  Undecided

Tasks for Quaid-e-Azam:  Undecided



Square 15: December 25th-26th: (Newtonmas / Boxing Day / St. Stephen’s Day)

Book themes for Newtonmas:

  • Current Read:  Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime by Val McDermid // Flat Book Society November group read

Book themes for Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day:

  • Read:  Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare // duke employs paid servants in his household // review pending // +1 point

Tasks for Newtonmas:  (something planned) // post pending

Tasks for St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day:  Baby in a box? // possible post pending

BONUS task:  Box up all the Christmas detritus, decorations, or box up that stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of, or donate, etc. and take a picture and post it.



Square 16: December 26th-31st:

Book themes for Kwanzaa:  Undecided

Book themes for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day:  Undecided

Tasks for Kwanzaa:  Undecided

BONUS task:  Create something with your stack of books: a christmas tree or other easily identifiable object.


Tasks for Hogmanay / New Year’s Eve / Watch Night / St. Sylvester’s Day:  Undecided

MASSIVE HUGE BONUS POINTS if you post a picture of yourself walking a pig on a leash. (Done to ensure good fortune of the coming year.)

-- Baby dressed as a pig on a leash??  =D



Surprise Tasks / Bonus Tasks

Surprise, Surprise Bonus #1 - Melbourne Cup Day, the Race that Stops a Nation!
11/05/2017:  Pick three of the ponies listed for this task to bet on, then wait and see what the outcome is.  Host, Murder by Death will announce the results and award points for any winners!

My Picks:  1) Wall of Flame // 2) Nakeeta // 3) Ventura Storm
Winners:  1) Rekindling // 2) Johannes Vermeer // 3) Max Dynamite
Points Earned:  0



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text 2017-11-25 15:42
16 Festive Tasks | Square 2 - Guy Fawkes Night Task - Tea and books!
16 Festive Tasks - Guy Fawkes

Tasks for Guy Fawkes Night:  Post pictures of past or present bonfires, fireworks (IF THEY’RE LEGAL) or sparklers.  Or: Host a traditional English tea party, or make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle down with a good book to read.  Which kind of tea is your favorite?  Tell us why.

By popular request, here is a nice photo of my pewter dragon design tea pot... of which I have never used.  So let's pretend I did use it to steep the tea I'm currently enjoying.  It's just so pretty, all I want to do is stare at it and not blemish it with any kind of use.





Though, obviously I used a tea bag for my tea, but that's because I haven't actually used loose leaf tea in a long time.  Truth be told, tea bags are definitely much more efficient for when you just want a nice mug of tea... like, RIGHT NOW.


Here is a nice little mid-morning snack with my cup of tea as well--a glutinous rice cake, sliced and toasted.  It doesn't come that way, but our family like to eat glutinous rice cake in this fashion.  You may also steam it, as well as eat it with some sugar.

The glutinous rice cake is made of sticky rice as the outermost layer, with mung bean and choice other filling items.  This particular one just has roasted fatty pork.  The glutinous rice and mung bean are soaked for a time, and then everything is wrapped up in banana leaves, tied tightly, then steamed for a very long time until everything is cooked.

Our family typically do not make these from scratch because they take a tedious amount of work and time.  So it's much easier to buy from the store and reheat.  My grandmother used to make them for special occasions, and she especially loved to stuff them full of random ingredients ranging from aromatic Chinese sausages, to shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, boiled peanuts... just all sorts of things.  And the truth of it is, I really prefer less and like the store bought kind with just the fatty pork.

But let's get back to point of this post, shall we?


Yes, I am still reading this book.

Hot tea is one of those pleasures I absolutely enjoy, and I don't know if this is because I'm Chinese and tea is such a significant part of our culture... or if I just plain like it because you can get so many wonderful subtle aromas from a vast variety of different kinds of tea leaves.

For as long as I can remember, I've always preferred my tea hot over cold.  And, for some time, I'd always rejected any kind of sweetening of tea, as I had always felt that any kind of sweetener (be it sugar, honey, or fruit flavored add-ins) would mask the actual taste of the tea itself.  But some years ago recently, I'd realized that my tastes can change, and with it, an appreciation of certain kinds of iced teas, and certain kinds of sweet teas.


Our household will usually keep an assortment of tea bags, from Jasmine tea, to Herbal tea, Oolong tea, and so on.  We also have a few loose leaf varieties, some of which I'm not sure how to translate into English.  Dad has taken to drinking a Bitter Melon Tea, mainly in his attempts to lower his blood sugar (which really isn't that high to begin with)--and since he grows his own bitter melon, he has also started roasting his own bitter melon leaves for tea steeping.  My Mom likes to keep a supply of dried Chrysanthemum flowers, for the lovely and refreshing Chrysanthemum tea, also known as Flower Tea, with just a small spoonful of rock sugar--this is not pictured above as I cannot find her stash.

And, like mother, like daughter, Chrysanthemum tea is also a personal favorite of mine, sweetened or unsweetened.

I like teas of all sorts of varieties, so it's hard to pinpoint which ones are my favorites, to be honest.  While I love Chrysanthemum tea, I also love the more understated Oolong tea, or the lovely smelling Jasmine tea.  The Herbal tea (what I made for myself in the previous photos) is something more recent I'd been introduced to, which has a very subtle sweetness to it without even adding sugar or honey--it's a mixture of chrysanthemum, and other assorted medicinal herbs, which is good for the throat, and wonderful when you're out with a cold.

And that's just one more thing about tea:  It's a wonderful, warm and soothing drink when you're sick.  I like to spike my tea with crushed raw ginger root, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dallop of honey--works wonders!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/16-festive-tasks-square-2-guy-fawkes.html
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text 2017-11-23 21:23
16 Festive Tasks | Square 4 - Thanksgiving Day! - I am thankful for... and a new book!
The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season

Square 4 | Thanksgiving Day Tasks:
List of 5 things you’re grateful for –OR– a picture of your thanksgiving feast; post your favourite turkey-day recipe. –OR– Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book - post a picture of it.

Last year around this same time, I made use of a Top Ten Tuesday meme to post a list of things I am grateful for.  I went back to reread that list and found that not much has changed over a year.  I am, and continue to be, grateful for many of the items I listed in 2016: family, friends, books, food...

So coming up with a brand new list seems a bit repetitive.  But that doesn't diminish the fact that I am still thankful for all of those same things.

Instead of listing all of those lifelong "thanks," I mainly wanted to give a short ramble about some of the things I feel strongly about being thankful for, specifically related to this year, 2017.  In failing to actually come up with a list of 5 items, I am also going to post a picture of a new book I treated myself to, a la "Be thankful for yourself and treat yourself to a new book," at the end of this post.

There have been a lot of changes this past year, ranging from my younger brother getting married, to my father retiring, to my youngest brother soon-to-be graduating with a Master's degree status...  My cousin also graduated from Pharmacy school.  More cousins are getting engaged.  And my cousin's little boy turned one year old a couple months ago.

I will forever be thankful for family, and all the joy and activity that family brings to my life.  There are so many things to be proud of this year!

In my own personal life, I have made changes that will hopefully benefit me in the long run.  A new job, a new lifestyle, a new chance to get myself and my life on a new journey.  A new set of coworkers who are wonderfully nice people.

I am certainly thankful for opportunities, and the freedom to have opportunities and choices.



Some recent events make you think about life and how fragile life can be.  We've had a lot of natural disasters reported about this past year, ranging from tropical storm and hurricanes to fires.  We've had some not so natural tragedies as well.  And while not on the same global level of devastation, my own personal life came upon an event that was quite jarring, in itself.

I am grateful for life, for the little things that life affords you, for the small bits of luck, or even any greater power that may or may not keep us in good health.  I will continue to thank each day that passes, and not take the little things for granted.

Along with changes and events, the people in my life have always been wonderful about being supportive.

I'm thankful for my friends and coworkers, former coworkers, for being understanding and supporting of my most recent job change.  I'm thankful for my family for being there to get me through any and all scary events.  I'm thankful for wonderful relationships, online and off, when you really just need words of encouragement in order to move forward.  I am thankful for all the great listeners and the sincere advice I get from everyone when I'm feeling a little lost or trapped.

And finally, I'm thankful for the fur babies, the little ones who don't ask questions and accept you for who you are, and who will always just want to love you and cuddle and play, and all-in-all, just make a long, stressful day worth it when you come home and see them waiting for you, always happy to see you, always ready to bring joy.

Silly Baby is silly.


Tired Baby is tired.

Well, look at that!  I DID come up with five things after all.

Nonetheless, on a less sentimental and less serious note:

Being thankful for myself, I went and bought a book!  Obviously!


Using some of that e-book settlement money everyone was granted a while back (mine totaled somewhere in ~$5!), I went to the bookstore and bought Laura Griffin's newest Tracers release!  I probably could have bought more books, but I usually try not to go on book buying sprees anymore... unless they involve such niceties as "Fill a bag for $5.00!"

I had been planning on buying this book anyway after it's release, to add to my collection of Laura Griffin paperbacks.  So it's money well spent!

And yes, I may be popping open a bottle of wine this week for the holidays... or just because.  And also, please ignore the little liquor bar our family has going on in the background there...

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Hope you all have a great holiday!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/16-festive-tasks-square-4-thanksgiving.html
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text 2017-11-20 12:58
It's Monday! And I'm Back! I hope... | 11/20/2017
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself.  It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile!  So welcome in everyone.  This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey.  Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.  And here we are!


I really do hope to start blogging more actively now that my work schedule is coming back to a more normal routine--and I don't just mean switching to a day shift position, which is technically more of a midday shift position.  But with this transition, and all the fiasco about my car running into a deer, things have certainly been chaotic.

The last two week at my former job was a big headache, because someone accidentally entered my last day incorrectly, so I got booted out of the system for three nights.  Dealing with all of that was annoying, and I almost just wanted to say F-it! and just call in sick for those last few days.  But I persevered, and now I've started my new job in a new set of hours, and things have been quite nice so far.

The transition has been a little tougher than I'd expected, but I hope everything will normalize soon.

I've been reading, but not really blogging, so I'm a little behind in my reviews.  In order to make myself a happier person, I've just been indulging in the rest of Tessa Dare's Spindle Cove series, and will be finishing it up, hopefully by the end of the year.  It's been a rather enjoyable Tessa Dare marathon for me, and I'm quite satisfied with myself.  Because of my strange anal need to read all things in the order they were published, I will also be starting Tessa Dare's Castles Ever After series, if only because it shares a last book with Spindle Cove, apparently--Do You Want to Start a Scandal?

Don't ask.

Meanwhile, I'm finishing up the Flat Book Society Read, Forensics by Val McDermid, which hasn't exactly been what I was expecting, but still enjoyable to an extent.



What I Read Last Week




What I'm Currently Reading




What I'm Hoping to Read Next




Other Plans On the Blog

I had stated in a previous post that I have a few 16 Festive Tasks posts planned--for the actual activity tasks, and not the reading tasks.  Hopefully I will be able to get those written and fleshed out, then posted at some point.  I especially want to get the Thanksgiving task posted this week, preferably the day before Thanksgiving, or maybe even on Thanksgiving Day.

While I'm still training at my new job, I will have every weekend off until they deem me ready to work by myself, so hopefully I will be able to prioritize my weekends to include some blogging, and plan a few more 16 Tasks posts!

Meanwhile, I will probably be flooding everyone with the backlogged reviews I've yet to finalize.

Hope everyone else is having a good month!  I've been missing the updates, but have been skimming the Booklikes dashboard and seeing all the 16 Festive Tasks activity!



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/its-monday-and-im-back-i-hope-11202017.html
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review 2017-11-11 07:55
Thoughts: It's in His Kiss
It's in His Kiss - Jill Shalvis

It's in His Kiss
by Jill Shalvis
Book 10 of Lucky Harbor

'Sexy Grumpy Surfer' are three words combined together that aren't as smoothly read as you would think.  I tried it a few times, so if we must, we shall refer to Sam as the 'SGS'... if I feel like lending him an endearing nickname or something.  Sam's nickname for Becca is just slightly cuter, as he calls her 'Peeper' since he's caught her staring at him from her apartment window many times.

At some point, I almost forgot that these characters had real names anyway.

As for the actual story, itself... well, let's just say that Jill Shalvis, while excellent at creating character interaction and lovely humor, definitely isn't all that great at addressing issues that are a bit more serious in nature.  She will use them to help create a backstory for her characters... but by conclusion, those issues seem glossed over in favor of simply solving all the problems with the "One True Love" formula.

And while it's not entirely a deal-breaker for me continuing to read a Jill Shalvis book, I can certainly understand why this would be a reason for many others to be upset or frustrated.

The Story:
Becca Thorpe arrived in Lucky Harbor to get away from the stress of recent events involving her family, specifically her little brother.  To Becca, Lucky Harbor was only supposed to be a pit-stop until she could figure out what to do with herself, how to move on and get her life back together.  But as she continues to explore and get to know Lucky Harbor, she finds herself drawn to the small town of eccentric residents, and slowly creating a home for herself, even if she doesn't realize it yet.

Add onto that the Sexy Grumpy Surfer guy, Sam Brody, and Becca has every reason to continue hanging around... even if this is just a pit-stop.

Meanwhile, while trying to avoid his own complications, Sam can't help but be drawn to Becca when he notices that she has secrets that have hurt her in the past.  He's intent on finding out what her mystery is, even as he has some unresolved issues of his own that need addressing.

My Thoughts:
Sometimes I wonder if some authors just like to create characters with tragic or crappy backgrounds just so that they can become soul mates in their love story.

Sam and Becca both suffer from disappointing, pretty terrible, childhoods.  Sam's father had always been unreliable, which had always ended with Sam in the foster care system.  In present day, Sam does nothing but give his father anything the old man asks for, even if it's unreasonable and only manages to further cause a rift between father and son.  Becca's parents had always left her younger brother to Becca's care, expecting her to do whatever it takes for her brother, even at the expense and detriment of Becca's well-being and mental health.  In present day, this expectation is still floating in the air, and recent events are what caused Becca to uproot and move away from her family, hoping to find comfort and solace for herself.

Once again, to be honest, Jill Shalvis writes lovely characters and stories, with a lot of cute dialogue and tangential side stories.  These are all fine and dandy, but then she brings in some serious issues, such as Sam's relationship with his father, or Becca's relationship with her parents and her brother, or Becca's stage fright, or even the alluded to tragic event that had brought Becca all the way across the country to Lucky Harbor, Washington.

There is always so much potential for these issues to be addressed in a thoughtful way.  In the meantime, there's no reason why we can't have a sweet romance at the same time.

But the book is slightly imbalanced in that the romance overshadows every other issue brought to surface, and then in the end, apparently it's back to "love conquers all," and then Happily Ever After.

The resolution of both Becca's and Sam's conflicts with their respective parents felt abrupt and too easily managed.  The resolution with Becca and her brother might have been a little more believable.  But the issue about Becca's recent tragic event... I'm not sure I really like how that one was handled.

Meanwhile, the romance had it's moments, but the fact that our couple lives in a perpetual state of keeping secrets from each other, but also expecting the other to answer all questions posed to the other was a bit frustrating.  I loved how Sam tried to take care of Becca; I love how Becca got under Sam's skin and makes a place for herself in his life.

What I don't like is how Sam will push for personal, private information that Becca wants to keep to herself, but then shut down the minute she turns around and starts asking him about his own problems.  Then vice versa.

On the other hand, Becca and Olivia actually make a better starting out friendship--neither pushes the other to reveal secrets that she doesn't want to tell.  It's called respect, and the girls seem to be able to keep to those boundaries.  I mean, maybe over time when they get to know each other better, they can start sharing family histories... but for right now, they had just met barely a handful of days ago.  So I find this a refreshing friendship.

Meanwhile Sam and Becca just kept getting irritated when the other wouldn't talk or share stories with the class.

Anyway, enough of my issues.

It's In His Kiss wasn't exactly a Jill Shalvis book that was completely terrible.  I'd say it was in the mediocre 'meh' level, if only because it had it's moments, and it didn't really frustrate me too much.  I will say, however, that I DO miss the close camaraderie of each trio of friends found in each sub-trilogy of the Lucky Harbor series.  Sam, Cole, and Tanner were fun, but they were also kind of boring.  Becca had Olivia... but where's the third point of the trio?  Not to say that Becca and Olivia's new friendship wasn't great--the drunken by two bottles of wine scene was pretty cute.


The 16 Tasks of the Festive Season


16 Festive Tasks - Dies Natalis Solis Invicti

I'd been meaning to read the rest of Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor books anyway, and it just so happens that this book can fit a couple squares for the 16 Festive Tasks.  And so I've marked it for Square 14 -- Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Read a book that has a beach or seaside setting.  Sam and his two best friends are surfers as well as run a charter company, and Becca rents a warehouse turned apartment near where they work and live; so the majority of this book DOES indeed take place with the beach as a main part of the setting.

Other Possible Squares:

  • Square 2 | Bon Om Touk:  Water on the cover.
  • Square 3 | St. Martin's Day:  Becca spends the first part of the book looking for a job--her one night waitressing stint was hilarious.
  • Square 10 | Pancha Ganapati:  Book cover has blue, green, orange, and yellow.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/11/thoughts-its-in-his-kiss.html
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