Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Wondrous St. Anthony

Why am I posting about St. Anthony? Because yesterday he found stuff for me, so I'm thanking him this way.

St. Anthony is widely known as the patron saint of lost articles.  Ever seen the acronym S.A.G written on envelopes and such?  That stands for St. Anthony Guide.  And he does.  The things we've found after praying to him!
So.  Yesterday I lost my American Literature notebook.  About a week before that I lost the USB cord for my beloved iPod.  (It's a shuffle - nothin' fancy, but it's still my preciousss.)  I was all mad about losing them, so I finally remembered to pray to St. Anthony.  So I'm sitting there rummaging through my bookbag, and I say, "St. Anthony?  Could you please find my American Literature notebook?  And...if you don't iPod USB cord is missing too.  I know it's not important, but still.."  The second I'm done praying, guess what?
I pull the American Lit. notebook out of the bag!
I'm positive it wasn't in there before.  So I say a quick thanks to St. Anthony.  I realize that the bag is all slumped over (I like things to be just so), and I straighten it up.
And there's my USB cord!
At that point I totally lost it.  I sqealed "THANK YOU, ST. ANTHONY!" and hugged my precious USB cord.  Then - and I blush to admit it -  I started babbling to heaven about how awesome St. Anthony is.  They don't use slang like "awesome" in heaven, I'm afraid.   I could probably have expressed my admiration in more elegant terms...
See, the thing is, that's not the only thing that St. Anthony has found for me and my family.  Drivers' licenses, keys, ID cards, blouses, books, spill-proof attachments for sippy cups...the list goes on and on.  But you know what?  I think St. Anthony has a sense of humor.  Meaning no disrespect, but sometimes I think he's almost mischievous.  If you don't specify when you need something, you're liable to get it back as soon as you don't need it anymore.  Or maybe a year later.  He always finds things, but sometimes he makes sure you exercise the virtue of patience first.  Also he likes to make you feel silly, because he puts things right in front of your face, and when you've been complaining that the thing is lost for a week and then you see it right in front of you, your family tells you to go get your eyes checked.
He's a wonderful saint.  His life was very interesting, too.  You can read it here.  Be forewarned: the article's pretty long.  New Advent articles generally are...
Next time you lose something - anything - ask St. Anthony to find it for you, and I bet it'll pop up in no time.

St. Anthony of Padua,
Pray for us!
Oh, and sorry for the slight jumpiness and randomosity of this post. :p

Song Saturday

I've decided to do Song Satuday every other week instead of every single week.  See, I feel like I'm posting more songs than anything else. (Even I only have....three.) :p  
So after this week I'll post songs twice a month.  (Of course, now that I've decided that, I'll probably end up doing two songs in one post because I suddenly got ideas for songs to post. Oh well!)

Anyway.  This week's song is Caribbean Blue by Enya.  If you like it, it's on the CD Shepherd Moons.  I don't own the CD, but I'm sure the rest of the songs are pretty, too. :)  Enjoy!

P.S. - if you have any suggestions for music, or ideas for topics you'd be interested in seeing covered on Raindrops and Moonlight, comment and tell me!  Ideas are always welcome.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gone with the Wind - Rhett

Again, I will be typing all sentences containing spoilers in this green color.  Enjoy! 

Everybody loves Rhett Butler, despite his being such a scoundrel.  For my part, I feel quite sorry for him.  He had a lot of potential, but he never lived up to it.

Everyone knows that Scarlett has a lot of bad qualities, and many dislike her for them.  But everyone seems to ignore Rhett's numerous bad qualities.  He was not a good person, my dear!  True, he had some nobility (which I'll discuss in a minute), unlike Scarlett, but he was still very immoral.

There would have been some hope for Scarlett if it weren't for Rhett.  True, her selfishness and her pettiness would still be there, but I doubt she would have been so wild without Mr. Butler's influence.  The Scarlett-Rhett relationship shows that "little things" really can lead us to worse things.  Rhett encourages Scarlett's skepticism, bad temper, and flouting of rules.  At the ball Scarlett goes to after Charles Hamilton's death, Rhett dances with her even though she's supposed to be in mourning.  He then gets her out of mourning.  In his conversation with her, he sneers at the Confederacy and agrees with her selfish views.  Making Scarlett even more of a monster isn't his only fault, either.  I could almost forgive him that if it weren't for his complete lack of contrition for his immoral life!  He is openly a speculator, a drunkard, and an adulterer.  And he doesn't care.  

All that shows Rhett's bad side.  But what keeps us (most of us, anyway) rooting for him is his oft-hidden and repressed nobility.  Yes, you read it right.  This profligate, immoral, irreverent man is noble, too.   Under his crust of evil, he has many truly good qualities.

One of Rhett's best qualities is his generosity.  Though he's unbelievably rich (according to Wikipedia his fortune would equal $7,475,000 in today's currency), Rhett is very generous with his money.  When Scarlett, in desperate need of money for Tara, marries Frank, he tells her that he would have given her all she needed, without payment, as soon as he got out of jail.  He gives Scarlett expensive presents, and after they're married lets her spend money like a queen.  He builds her a huge, elaborate house and lets her give lavish parties.  Rhett is also generous in the sense of sacrificing something for one he loves.  He wants his daughter Bonnie to grow up in the well-bred, moral society of the "Old Guard", so he temporarily reforms his entire life, becoming a perfect gentleman in order to win the approbation of the staunch Confederate nobility so that his daughter can one day be well-respected.  

Rhett's generosity is also shown in his rescuing the gentlemen of Atlanta during the Ku Klux raid.  He could have gotten into a lot of trouble doing that!

 Another of Rhett's better qualities, (thought not really a virtue), is that he truly loves Scarlett.  One of the hardest things for me in the novel was to see Rhett's true (though hidden) love for Scarlett and her blindness to it and continual wounding of it.  This really isn't a good quality at all though, now that I think of it, because - Scarlett being such a brat - she was not worthy to be loved, and Rhett's love for her actually shows an unfortunate weakness on his part.  His love for his stepson Wade and his daughter Bonnie, as well as his friendship with the gentle Melanie Wilkes, are much better examples of love.

Rhett understands people, almost too well. He knows that he is a scoundrel, and he can recognize a person who is not.  He is painfully aware of the fact that Scarlett's Carpetbagger friends are morally and intellectually inferior to the "Old Guard" Southern families, for example.  He's extremely intelligent, and his education is shown in his references to history and literature.

Rhett's friendship with Melanie is, to me, one of the sweetest things in the book.  Other than Ashely, he is the only one who recognizes her worth.  He knows that she is truly good, gentle, and kind, and he treats her accordingly.  When he is with her we see what he could have been. 

Another paradox in Rhett Butler's character is shown by his last-minute joining of the Confederate Army.  After all his sneering and disgust at the Confederacy, he finally breaks down and joins when he sees how much they need help.  Of course it's too late fore the Confederacy, but it was a good - and puzzing - act all the same.

Rhett Butler is truly a tragic character: he had a noble heart hidden by his cynicism and immorality.

Sorry Scarlett's in that picture.  I had a hard time finding photos of Rhett that I liked, and anyway, Scarlett got rather entwined in my post, so it's only fitting that she gets entwined in the photo as well. :p

So what do you think of Rhett Butler?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Shortcut to Mushrooms

I love mushrooms.  It's one of two characteristics that I share with hobbits, and therefore I'm quite proud of it.  (The other characteristic is my height.  I'm very short. :p)  But mushrooms are more than just pizza toppings and casserole fillers!  They're one of my favorite things in nature, because a) they're cute b) they're fascinating to study, and c) they make awesome pictures.  So today I'm going to share with you, my dear readers, some pictures of mushrooms that I took yesterday, along with any mushroom-ish thoughts that come into my head. 

Before I show you the pictures, let me just say that I am by no means a talented photographer.  The only camera I own is the dreaded point-and-shoot - This one.  (Mine's blue, though. And really, it's a good camera.  Just...not professional.)

Aren't they cuuuuute?

This is the same clump, only viewed from the top.  Notice the reddish splotches that weren't in the other picture.  Kinda weird, no?

I know, I know.  "What?  That's not a mushroom!"  Yes...but it is a sprig of orange leaves.  That's very important, you see, because orange leaves = autumn.  I'm quite ready for autumn, and even though it's only August, I was super excited when I found this bunch.  It's strange...I've always loved summer.  This year though, I wasn't interested.  It's been "ohhhhh, I wish it were fall!"  since June.
Anyway.  Mushrooms.

The cap of this one is a little bit out of focus.  You do know which part is the cap...right?
Just in case, here's a diagram of a mushroom.  I wish the ones in textbooks looked like this!

There we go.  Now you know all about mushroom structure.  End of science lesson.

Speaking of science lessons, I'd like to point out that children love learning about fungi.  If your children/siblings/small neighbors/cousins are ever bored and you're supposed to entertain them, take them on a mushroom hunt.  Show them all the different parts and admire the pretty colors and textures.  (Just don't let them touch the mushrooms.  Some parents - like my dad - tend to freak out over their children touching mushrooms.  It's understandable because they're potentially poisonous, but personally I don't think it's a problem.  Just make sure the little ones don't put them in their mouths.)  If the children are a bit older, "pick" a couple mushrooms, take them home, and have the children sketch them.

The above mushroom is my mom's favorite.  She majored in photography, so I'm very flattered when she likes my pictures.
I took that one and uploaded it to Picknik, where I had a blast editing it up in different ways.  Editing tools are fun.  So  I will proceed to bombard you with some of my edits.

I love that one.  It's so fairytale-ish!

My mother didn't like this one much.  She said it wasn't happy looking. It isn't, really, but I think it sort of fit the "earthiness" of mushrooms.  And it looks cool.

I made one hot pink, just because.

And I finish with a happy one - literally!  The credit for this goes to my 5-year-old brother, who told me to put a mustache on the mushroom.  I didn't put the mustache, but I did put the rest of the face!

One last thing.  I do not mind if you use my pictures, as long as you credit me!  Please do not try to pass my photographs or edits off as your own.  Also, I'd appreciate it if you told me that you're using one of my pictures, but that's not obligatory.  I'd be happy to know that people like my things.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my shortcut to mushrooms!  

Not my picture - Google Images

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Song Saturday

Hello again!
Today's Song Saturday features one of my favorite artists: Orla Fallon.  I own her CD Distant Shore, and it's one of my favorites.  She has the loveliest voice!  And she plays a harp.  I like harps. 
Anyway.  So, today our song is Dancing in the Moonlight, written and performed by said Orla.  I have never met anybody (*ahem* except my father) who didn't like this song, so tell me what you think!

Not until I started posting songs to this blog did I realize how much "Celtic" music I listen to. It makes it hard to find things to post, because I know not everybody enjoys Celtic music....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Feast of the Assumption

Today is the solemn Feast of the Assumption, or Marymass.  The feast commemorates the assumption of Our Lady into heaven, body and soul, and is a holyday of obligation.

Traditional celebrations of this feast usually have a lot to do with herbs and flowers, as an old legend tells that after Adam's fall, all the flowers lost their scent, and that as a special favor to His mother, Our Lord restored their scent when she left the world.  The Bible account of this event says that her tomb was filled with flowers when she had left it, and they filled the air with their sweet fragrance.  I guess this is where the legend comes from.
This link gives more information.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wherein Bilbo Baggins gets arrested, Elizabeth Bennet gets captured by Orcs, and Elizabeth Swann challenges Ashely Wilkes to a duel.

Long title. :p

I got this thing (I have NO idea what it would be called) from the lovely blog Elenatintil.  Click the link.  Her version is screamingly funny. 

I've mentioned where a character is from for the lesser-known ones.

List twelve characters from any fandom, then answer the questions below.

1.  Eowyn
2.  Flynn Ryder (or Eugene Fitzherbert, if you prefer. )
3.  Elizabeth Swann
4.  Mr. Darcy
5.  Bilbo Baggins
6. Elionwy (The Chronicles of Prydain)
7.  Orlando (As You Like It)
8.  Prince Caspian
9.  Rose Brier
10.  Ashley Wilkes
11.  Emily Winslow (The Hollow Kingdom)
12.  Aslan

1.  Who would make a better  college professor, 6 or 11?
Hmm.  Elionwy and Emily Winslow are rather similar, actually... I think I'll go with Emily.  Elionwy's too flighty.  She's be teaching her class swordfighting or taking them for dangerous adventures.

2.  Do you think 2 is cute?
YES.  I love Flynn Ryder, and yeah, he's definitely cute. ;)  *finds pictures to make sure*  Yep.  Definitely.

3.  12 sends 8 out on a mission.  What is it? Does it succeed?
That's weird.  My two Narnia characters: Aslan sending Caspian on a mission.  Talk about chance!
Anyway.  The mission would be...hmm, maybe a mission to save Narnia.  Whatever it is, I'm sure it would succeed.

4.  What is or would be 9's favorite book?
Rose Brier's favorite book would be something by G. K. Chesterton, I'm guessing.  I wonder if Regina Doman mentions that in the other books? (I've only read The Shadow of the Bear).

5.  Would it make more sense for 2 to swear fealty to 6, or the other way around? 
Wow, that's a hard one.  Would Flynn Ryder swear fealty to Elionwy, or would Elionwy swear fealty to Flynn?  I think Flynn would have to swear fealty to Elionwy.  But they're both so fiesty, I bet it wouldn't be a nice dignified event.  Probably Elionwy would poke a sword in Flynn's face and talk at him until he was so tired of hearing her that he'd do whatever she wanted.

6.  For some reason, 5 is looking for a roommate.  Should (s)he room with 9 or 10?
As Rose is a girl, Bilbo would have to room with Ashely Wilkes.  Y'know, I bet that would work out pretty well, actually - Ashley would enjoy reading Bilbo's poetry.

7.  2, 7, and 12 are going out for dinner.  Where do they go and what do they discuss?
Flynn Ryder, Orlando, and Aslan.  Wow.  Flynn and Orlando would be okay with a tavern, but I dunno what Aslan would think about it.  Now that I think about it... Aslan doesn't really.... eat.  So maybe he wouldn't care where they went.  Now, I wonder what they could possibly talk about - they all have very little in common.  Maybe Alsan would lead them in a discussion on something deep, with Flynn making sarcastic remarks every few minutes.

8. 3 challenges 10 to a duel.  Who wins?
HAAAAHAAAHAAAA OHMGOSH I CAN JUST SEE THAT HAPPENING.  Elizabeth Swann challenges Ashley Wilkes to a duel. Yikes.  Well, though probably Ashley could win if he wanted to, he would decline to duel a lady (even though Lizzie Swann hardly qualifies as a lady).  So nobody wins.

9.  If 1 stole 8's most precious possession, would (s)he get it back?
Eowyn steals Prince Caspian's most precious possession.  What's Caspian's most precious possession? Susan's horn? (He did give it back to her in the book.) Hmm.  Maybe if Caspian asked her nicely she'd give it back.  Puppydog eyes might help, too.

10Suggest a story title in which 7 and 12 both attain what they desire.
Well....all Orlando wants is Rosalind.  Aslan being a figure of Our Lord, he'd want the world to be virtuous and at peace with one another.  (Okay, that could have been stated better. *sigh*)  I'm sure Orlando would be happy with that as well, so the title would be something like The Perfect World.
Hm.  That sounds like a book on Communistic ideals.  Titles were never my strong point. :p

11.  What kind of plot device would you use if you wanted 1 and 4 to work together?
Eowyn and Mr. Darcy???  Haha!  That would sure be an unusual story.  They're both so proud and distant, I don't see what they could do together.  Ooh - maybe I'd have Elizabeth Bennet and Faramir imprisioned by Orcs, and Eowyn and Mr. Darcy would have to save them.  That would be fun to write...

12.  If 7 visited you for the weekend, how would it go?
'Twould be fun.  Orlando and I could write poetry together. :)  And I could ask him how it feels being a Shakespeare character, being able to come up with all theses pretty speeches in Elizabethan English.  Ooh, and he could teach me how to speak it, as well.

13.  If you could command 3 to perform any service or task for you, what would it be? 
I would tell Elizabeth Swann to act like a lady and to not let Will onto Davy Jones' ship.

14.  Do any of your friends write or draw 11?
*cough* The only person who draws Emily Winslow is yours truly. :p

15.  If 2 had to choose sides between 4 and 5, what side would (s)he choose?
Flynn Ryder has to choose sides between Mr. Darcy and Bilbo Baggins.  For some reason I feel like Flynn would have more sympathy with Bilbo's side of the argument, whatever it is.  

16.  What might 10 shout out while charging into battle?
Ashley Wilkes would never shout anything.

17.  If you had to choose a song to best describe 8, what would it be?
This is lame, but whenever I think of Prince Caspian I think of the closing song in the movie - The Call.

18.  1, 6, and 12 are having a dim sum at a Chinese Restaurant.  There is only one scallion pancake left, and they all reach for it at the same time.  Who gets it?
Eowyn, Elionwy, and Aslan.  Elionwy gets the pancake.  She's quick, plus she's the youngest.  The youngest usually gets that sort of thing.
Tangent: anybody ever had a scallion pancake? I haven't. I wonder what it tastes like.

19.  What would be a good pickup line for 2 to say to 10?
Erm, Flynn Ryder does not need a pickup line for Ashley Wilkes.

20.  What would 5 most likely get arrested for?
Unauthorized possession of dragon-treasure.

21.  What is 6's secret?
She has magical powers of some sort.  (I'm sorry, I haven't read the book in a looooong time, and I just remember some fight with Achren about magical powers and being the princess of Lyr.)
OR you could say that her secret is that she loves Taran.

22.  If 11 and 9 were racing to a destination, who would get there first?
Probably Rose would get there before Emily.

23.  If you had to walk through a bad neighborhood late at night, who would you feel more comfortable walking with, 7 or 8?
Prince Caspian, I think.  Probably I should pick Orlando, but I dunno, even though Peter makes fun of his fencing, I still prefer him.

24.  1 and 9 reluctantly team up to save the world from the threat posed by 4's sinister secret organization11 offers to help them, but it is later discovered that s/he is actually a spy for 4.  Meanwhile, 4 has kidnapped 12 in an attempt to force her/his surrender.  Following the wise advice of 5, they seek out 3, who gives them what they need to complete their quest.  What title would you give this fic? 
 Oookay.... Eowyn and  Rose Brier reluctantly team up to save the world from *giggle* Mr. Darcy's secret organization.  Emily Winslow offers to help them, but it is later discovered that she is a spy for Darcy.  Meanwhile, Darcy has kidnapped Aslan in an attempt to force his surrender.  Following the wise advice of Bilbo, they seek out Elizabeth Swann, who gives them what they need to complete their quest.
Ahem...didn't I already say that I'm not good at finding titles?  Hm, let's call it...
Unlikely Companions


Monday, August 8, 2011

Gone with the Wind - Scarlett

 Note: I'm putting all sentences containing spoilers in this pale green color.  If you haven't read the book and you don't want to know what happens, DON'T READ the pale-green print.  Kay? If you're like me and you don't care what the spoilers are because you know you're going to forget them way before you read the book, then go ahead.  Just saying, proceed at your own risk. :p

There she is: Scarlett O' Hara, the coquettish, determined heroine of Gone with the Wind.  Everybody is fascinated by Scarlett.  It's funny, though, because she's hardly a likeable person.  She's selfish, controlling, mutinous, and little-liked by most of her fellow-characters - the female ones, at least.  (The men like her for her beauty, but nobody sane would base their opinion on the preferences of men, so that doesn't count.)
I think the reason that we don't totally hate Scarlett is that, even though she's essentially a brat, she's very, very human.  We can understand her, even though we disapprove of her.

     For me, the hardest thing to understand about Scarlett - and her worst flaw - is her selfishness.  How could she give it free reign the way she does?  She doesn't care that she's deceiving Charles Hamilton by marrying him only in order to spite Ashley Wilkes, and she's only sorry when he dies because his death makes her have to wear mourning and stay at home instead of going to parties.  She doesn't care that Frank Kennedy was engaged to her sister Suellen, either.  She shamelessly lies to him and gets him to marry her, just so she can have his little bit of money for Tara.  The thing (related to selfishness) that really drives me crazy is her indifference to her own children.  She hardly cares for them at all, and it really annoys me - I just can't understand how she can be a woman and be so indifferent to her own children.  

That brings me to another point.  Despite her flirting and interest in pretty clothes, Scarlett is really not very feminine.  She's all about money and business, and she hates the conventions and customs of her era.  She's quite headstrong, and she doesn't care what people think, so she just ignores a lot of things that women were supposed to do.  She's egged on in this, of course, by Rhett Butler...but that's another post. ;p

  She's "fast" (meaning she flirts unashamedly), she goes into business for herself, she consorts with Scallawags and Carpetbaggers, she drives places by herself, etc.  Also, she's not religious.  There is, if I'm not mistaken, only one scene in the book where she actually thinks about what the consequences of her actions could be, eternally speaking.  Other than that, she seems to be entirely without morals.  Scarlett has no respect for the sanctity of marriage, she has no qualms about loving another woman's husband, she doesn't care about the workers in her  sawmill, and she even plans to have an immoral relationship with Rhett in order to get money.  Rhett finds her penitent and ridicules her, which I find wrong, even though he was probably right about her lack of sincerity.  There is a scene in the beginning of the book where she prays the rosary with her family, but, far from concentrating on her prayers, she's busy thinking how to snare Ashley Wilkes into proposing to her.  Typical Scarlett.

The girl does have a few redeeming qualities, though they are tainted by the rest of her character - she's certainly determined, for one.  She devotes all her energy into saving Tara, knowing that if she can't get money, Jonas Wilkerson will get the property.  She fights for Tara with all she has.  Also, she will not give up loving Ashley - but that's not exactly a redeeming quality.  When Melanie's baby is being born, Scarlett stays and delivers him - mentally cursing Melanie the whole time, of course, but still, she does it, and she's nice to Melly during her labor.  Afterward, there is her almost heroic feat of taking a sick Melanie, a newborn baby, and a whining slave girl home to Tara through the war zone - she's on her own, she has a half-dead horse, and she's dodging Yankees the whole way.  That takes real determination and strength.

Scarlett's other good quality is that she doesn't care what people think.  This could be very valuable to her, if used for the right reasons.  Unfortunately, just like her determination, she uses this for the wrong things. 

Scarlett's training by her mother Ellen Robillard O'Hara and Mammy vanishes as soon as she's off on her own.  Her greatest dream, to be like her  mother, is left far behind.  The way Scarlett turns out is the exact opposite of her well-bred, charitable mother, who would be horrified by many of her daughter's actions.

Well, I hope my little (actually, rather long) post has inspired you, if you've read the book or seen the film, to investigate Scarlett's character for yourself.  If you haven't read the book or seen the film, I hope you are now encouraged to do so.  Cause it's an interesting story.  And exploring characters is fun.  (For geeky persons like myself, at least. :p)

So what do you think of Scarlett?

P.S - I found this really cute painting of Scarlett on Google images.  (By the way, be careful if you ever search for pictures that way.   Sometimes completely unrelated, very inappropriate things come up.)
Anyway, I liked this picture, so I'll close with it. :)

EDIT: sorry about the weird highlighting thing in the middle there.  It's driving me insane, but I can't get it off.  I don't even know how it got there...  *sigh*

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Song Saturday - even though it's Sunday

I'm afraid I forgot to post a song yesterday....sorry about that.  Oh well, better late then never!  Maybe it's Saturday somewhere in the world...
Anyway.  This week we have Hayley Westenra's Both Sides Now.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Excitement & an Apology

I HAVE THREE FOLLOWERS!!! YAY!!!!  Thank you soooo much, Adela, Ivy, and Madeline. 
Okay.  I know I'm a bit pathetic, but I can't help it.  I was envisioning months without followers here, and though I do talk to myself quite often in real life, it feels lonely to do it online.  So, yes, I'm obviously really happy to have a few followers.

Now that's established, (also, in view of my increased blogging responsibility), I just want to apologize for the lack of posting since I've been back.  Yes, I've only been home for four days, but I still feel guilty.  I promise I'll have a GWTW post up before....uh....shall we say the end of August? :p  No, really, I'm trying to get together a post on Scarlett.  Thing is, I've started school already, so it's a little difficult to juggle everything - plus my family is currently limited to one computer.   Things are rather "catawampus" 'round here at the moment.  (Don't you just love the word catawampus? ) 
Okay, so, I'll be posting as soon as I can, I'm glad to be back, and I shall try very hard not to be consumed by such items as leftover geometry, Shakespeare, American Lit, reasearch reports, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.  Good-bye! I leave now to eat lunch and do....some form of schoolwork.
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