Tags I Used On My Livejournal…

15 Dec

…which I wrote in regularly from late 2003 to 2011, and periodically from 2012-2014:

b/c i’m a drama queen
a joke without a punchline
a lament for gandalf
actory things
actually important
and another thing
and now you’re even older
assuage my vanity
blog like it’s the end of the world
broken link is broken
bullshit in the comments
buy my love
calvin rejects your reality
chris
clean all the things!
congratulations on embarrassing yourself
costume the world
cystgate 2010
delusions of grandeur
dragon*con
drunk post should not drive
existential crises
familial things
footnotes have vitamin b
funnier in hindsight
garf
get to the fucking monkey
god gold and/or glory
home invasion for fun and profit
home is there the cats fart
i already have a penguin
i can has cheezburger?
i don’t know you
i dreamed a dream
i fucking love books
i used to do technical shit
i wish i was a bear
ice cream with your woe cake?
inappripriate fannish behavior
injokes i no longer understand
ironic use of valley girl speech
it’s all about me
it’s alright
judging your grammar
just a pinch
living in a cellular phone world
luigi my dear friend
m
marching band
memes
miss scarlett has returned to tara
mixes
money money money
mostly in the comments
my allergies let me show you them
my friends are better than your friends
my latest reason for outrage
mysteriously blank post is mysterious
nano
obligatory holiday postings
one does not simply walk into macon
oops
people dying everywhere
planes trains and automobiles
posts of a scholarly nature
quizzes
quotes
recommendations
ren fest
reviews
roflcopter fuel
rpgs
samwise leaves for valinor
scarby
scarily accurate quizzes
sick yea unto death
snowpocalypse 2011
sometimes i injure myself
song lyric posts are for losers
stop whinging!
taking fiction too seriously
the day i got legolas
the way a sunburn should be
this is for science
to-do lists i might have finished
turn of the year
we no longer date for a reason
wedding
what has 2 thumbs & doesn’t give a crap?
working hard for the money
writer’s block
writing
wtf was i babbling about?
yay i’m a llama again!
you stopped talking to me
young lust

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Achieving Stuff II: The Search for Perspective

5 Dec

I have a ton of things on my to-do list today, and none of them are “write a blog post.” Then again, none of them are “organize pictures in downloads folder,” either, and I’m definitely doing that, so what’s a to-do list in the grand scheme of things, really?

I’ve been thinking about accomplishments.

A friend of mine graduated this summer, and I gave her a sketchbook with a little note that said something like “Your productivity does not define your worth.” I don’t remember the exact wording, but that was the sentiment, and it’s one that I’ve often expressed to her and to other friends. Of course that’s easier said than believed, and what’s sauce for the goose you like is not necessarily sauce for yourself when you don’t like yourself (that got away from me a bit), but I stand by it. Even for myself. Mostly. Sometimes.

Ok, though, maybe I don’t? Not really. I’ve spent most of my life believing I am lazy and  the worst. I’m 90% sure I have some kind of attention disorder, and who knows? Maybe in 2019 I’ll finally talk to someone about getting that checked out. Have I suspected this for several years? Sure. Have I been putting off seeking diagnosis because I’m secretly terrified that they will say “no, you’re just a lazy bitch and your inability to focus is a moral failing”? Yes, obviously, but that’s not the point. The point is: to combat this feeling of “you accomplish nothing, you are worthless” I’ve started keeping lists of what I’ve done every day, because otherwise I am likely to forget it. Come on: if a woman cleans the bathroom but doesn’t write “cleaned bathroom” down on the back of a crumbled envelope, did it even happen? So in the spirit of “I forget things,” what have I accomplished in 2018?

Well, I co-created four really great Dragon Age costumes. This blog started as a costume blog, and one might think I would have discussed that process here, but I was busy freaking the fuck out all the time and never got around to it. Anyway, my friend E and I put these together over several months this spring and summer. She made the armor, and I made the clothes, which means I custom dyed (it’s a mix! of two! different! dyes! and it took me! four! weeks! to arrive at this particular! shade! of video game blue!) and patterned all this fabric shit.  These costumes were hard as fuck. They took hundreds of hours. We cried a lot and wound up hurting and exhausted and deliriously happy. I’m enormously proud of both of us, as well as these pictures by YouAreRaven.

 

I finished a short-novel-length piece of Dragon Age fanfiction. It’s just under 75k words, mostly original characters, and yes it’s fanfiction but you know what? I finished it. I started and finished a goddamned long-form piece of fiction for the first time in my life. Like, I finally learned how to do that. Do you understand how big an accomplishment this is for me? Do I understand that? I’ve been scribbling away at stories for 20something years and can count the number of Beginning-Middle-End Finished Pieces on two hands. What’s more, I posted it. Like, for strangers to read. And it’s pretty goddamned good, if you like that sort of thing.

At some point I finished the rough (very rough) draft of a female-driven fantasy novel I’ve been working on since late 2013. There’s still a long way to go on this one, but the skeleton and the muscles are there and we’re moving steadily towards the tendons and skin and…nerves? what other pieces of a body fit into this metaphor? I’m working on what could be called the second draft now. It’s slow going, but it gets better with every change, whether big or little. I’m learning how to organize and work through this process. It’s sitting right around 100k words. It has a title. It has a beginning and an end and most of a middle. And it’s pretty goddamned good.

Around Memorial Day weekend I started a female-driven urban fantasy novel that I’m about 61k words into. It’s pretty goddamned good so far. It’s looking like a trilogy. And I wrote some more short stories and creative nonfiction, some original and some fanfiction (Mass Effect and Rogue One and more Dragon Age, because this is who I am), some for public consumption and some for practice. I started referring to little throwaway snippets as “practice” rather than “a waste of time, God biscuit what is wrong with you” and I stopped thinking of writing as a chore and started treating it as a thing that gives me joy, because that’s what it is. I have started seeing a future in it–a for real future, an honest to God path forward. I have started doing research for What Comes Next. I have started making tentative plans.

I did an entire season playing music on stage in a duo at the Georgia ren faire, and then I did an entire season playing music on a stage solo at the Carolina ren faire. Not every set was perfect. I was nervous as hell. I forgot words, I forgot chords, I chickened out of some of the harder stuff, I cried after some sets, but I smiled and I sang and I kept going and I persevered. I never missed a set. I practiced all the time. I challenged myself and learned new things. I am infinitely better at the guitar than I was this time last year. I got roped into performing in a last-minute show at the fringe festival a week after the Georgia faire closed, and despite a laundry list of obstacles, I pulled it off. I performed several other places. I’m looking for more. I entered some contests. I’m entering some more.

I dealt with constant pain in my back, knees, and elbows, and intermittent pain in my left ovary for almost the entire year. I forgave myself for that pain, I let myself get treatment, and I forgave myself for getting treatment. I forgave myself for a lot things that shouldn’t need forgiveness. I started wearing knee braces and using my inhaler when I need them, not just when I need need them. I kept up with my hair color. I flossed. I spent a lot of time strengthening my marriage and friendships. I promoted my friends. I promited myself a little. I voted. I protested. The world is a garbage fire, but I’m doing stuff.

This time last year I had no idea where I was going, except that it would have to be better than where I was. This year I have almost stopped telling myself that I am a worthless procrastinater who never finishes anything.

So that’s what I’ve accomplished in 2018. In 2019 I’m going to really work on that “getting my hair trimmed regularly” thing.

Because WordPress won’t let iframes work unless you pay them, this year’s Intention Playlist can be found here.

Letters to Nobody

15 Nov

Dear Tay,

I hope it’s ok to call you Tay! I read in your authorized biography, MMMBop to the Top, that “Tay” is your nickname. Probably it is mostly for family and close friends, but you and I have a lot in common! You’re 13–I’m 12. Your favorite color is red–my third favorite color is red, after purple and sometimes blue, so sometimes it’s my second favorite color. You like Aerosmith–I love Aerosmith! My younger sister looks just like Zac, even. I feel like if you would just come visit my hometown so we could meet–

Ugh. No.

Ok.

Dear Taylor,

I hope this missive finds you well. My name is biscuit, and I am a very very big fan of yours. We are a lot alike, you and I. I’m almost 13, just like you. Also, just like you I travel the world singing, or would if my parents could have afforded that choir trip to Italy–

Oh hell no, don’t talk about being poor.

[deep breath]

To: Taylor Hanson
From: stone biscuit (a girl)

This is a strange way to start a letter. I guess that’s how email goes, but I don’t have the internet so I don’t really know about that except what I can see at my best friend’s house You and I have never met, so I don’t know any other ways to begin this letter. I don’t even know why I’m writing to you, except that there are so many feelings inside me I feel like I’m going to explode. Do you know what it is like to be 12? Do you know how it feels when everything is the most important thing, and yet nothing is important, and the hours seem like days? Of course you do; I stole that last line from a song you wrote. Maybe that’s why I love you.

Maybe that’s why I can’t decide if I want to be with you, or to be you.

From where I’m sitting you have everything I want–people love you, people pay attention to you, people give you money, and as far as I can tell you get to do whatever you want. You represent love and sex and self-expression and self-determination and creativity and freedom, things I can’t put a word to, things I am only beginning to realize I crave more than I have the capacity to handle, much less express. I don’t even think it’s you I want (though you are cute, and you grow up to be gorgeous, and there will never exist a moment in my life when I wouldn’t happily do age-appropriate sex things with you). What I want, what I long for, what I feel like I will die without (what I maybe want to die without?), is the sense that something, anything that I am doing now has meaning, has importance, that there is something to life other than the boring bullshit of school and bedtimes and nightmares and bullies and mental and physical illnesses and dark quiet streets that make me want to scream until my throat is bleeding just to break the stagnant suburban silence.

I know we’ll never meet. You’ll grow up to have five kids and a million nieces and nephews because you and your brothers have apparently never heard of birth control. You’ll all three break from your label and release a bunch of indie albums that garner critical acclaim and maintain a core audience of fans, and even release a beer at some point that I will never drink because I hate IPAs. I will grow up to make my own choices, to put a name to demons in my head and to start fighting them. I’ll learn lessons of harmony and storytelling from participating in your fanbase, and I will find my own voice. I will carry the internet in my pocket. Eventually I will realize that I can’t spend all my energy running from, and learn to start running towards instead, and while that seems so, so impossibly difficult some days, I will surround myself with the people and things I love, and I will arm myself with courage and grit and sheer goddamned spite, and I will pour myself into making art, and sometimes I will be able to outpace the terror of endless summer afternoons spent wondering if my existence has any meaning at all.

In the meantime, though, I will be an awkward 12-year-old girl in the suburbs of a shitty city, loving you, coveting the things I imagine you have, and clinging to the dream presented by your music to remind myself that there is more to life than…*waves hand vaguely* all this bullshit.

Sincerely,

– stone biscuit –

PS. While the close harmonies and simple elegance of White Christmas made up for it, I feel your cadenza on O Holy Night was embarrassingly overdone.

Diego Luna Owes Me New Panties: The List of Five, the Female Gaze, and the Politics of Desire

2 Nov

I recently read for the second time at Atlanta’s Bleux Stockings Society, which is a live lit series featuring female and nonbinary voices. This month’s theme was “attraction.” 

There is a concept in some monogamous relationships called the List of Five. The idea is that each of you have a list of five people, typically celebrities, that you are allowed to sleep with, guilt-free, should the opportunity arise. I don’t know where this idea originated or where I heard of it, but I this it’s a cute exercise and I’ve had one for ages. Since this a show about attraction, here it is.

Diego Luna

20181102_131705

I discovered Diego Luna in Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. I’m not proud of that, necessarily, but I’m not ashamed either. Discovering Diego Luna in the Cuban-revolution-era sequel to Dirty Dancing is like meeting your significant other online prior to about 2005. Nowadays your grandma is on Tinder and Diego Luna was in Star Wars, but once upon a time we didn’t talk about where we met our partner, or where we first discovered Mexico’s most beautiful export.

I have a lot to say about this man but only 7 minutes, so let me just sum up: there is nowhere on earth I would not be willing to have sex with him. On a beach, in a hotel, under the sea, in an actual coffin, on the moon, in a stadium bathroom, I really don’t care, I would fuck him anywhere in the universe, Diego, do you hear me? Call me.

Diego Luna is the only person who has been on this list since its inception.

Tom Hardy

20181102_131719

Speaking of Inception, did you know that Tom Hardy is in Marie Antoinette? He totally is, and he looks just as good in 18th century French attire as he does in a suit or whatever he’s wearing in that movie where he’s a convict.

Tom Hardy recently bumped Joseph Gordon-Levit off this list, so if JGL wants to join, and they want to engage in a little Arthur/Eames roleplay, which I like to believe they do anyway, I’m totally into it.

Chris Evans

20181102_131737

Not only is he doing his level best to live up to Captain America’s mantle in his public life by calling out institutional -isms and vocally supporting good causes, his shoulder-hip ratio is the perfect demonstration of the inverted Dorito shape. I once saw him call President Trump a liar on Twitter, and it caused me to spontaneously ovulate.

Sebastian Stan

20181102_1317431.jpg

I have watched a couple of truly embarrassing movies because this man is in them. In one of them he’s a witch! And another guy punches him, and Sebastian Stan looks up from the punch sort of smirking like [here I demonstrated my best attempt at a sexy smirk] and it’s just OH MY GOD.

Daveed Diggs

20181102_131727.jpg

Other than his ability to spit rhymes, I have little evidence to support my theory that he is great at dirty talk, but I believe in the scientific method and I would be willing to test my theory over and over and over again until the scientific community is as satisfied as I am.

Speaking of science, here’s a scientific fact: when Daveed Diggs smiles, the sun goes dim, realizing it has been tragically outclassed, yet the amount of light in the solar system remains the same.

The List of Five is ever-evolving. If you’d like to see some of the people taken off the list over the years, see me after the show.20181102_131646

[image reads:

  • Ryan Reynolds – plantation racially insensitive AT BEST + Deadpool sucked
  • Ryan Gosling – grew gross mustache for that movie I didn’t see
  • Kaidan Alenko from the Mass Effect video games – turns out he is not real :( 
  • Kara Thrace from Battlestar Galactica, Eomer from The Lord of the Rings, Tor from The Hero and the Crown – same problem
  • Steven Tyler – leftover crush from childhood. PROBLEMATIC AF
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson – still would, but ONLY in Quicksilver costume from Age of Ultron
  • Seal – I would be overwhelmed with feelings and cry the whole time
  • Keiffer Sutherland – it is no longer 1987; he no longer looks like he did in The Lost Boys
  • Jason Momoa – eyebrows are more expressive than mine and I cannot abide that
  • Former President Barack Obama – disrespectful to Michelle to even consider this
  • Taylor Hanson – still would]

In the interest of equality, my husband Chris also has a List of Five:

20181102_131651

[List reads:

  • Shakira
  • Shakira
  • Jennifer Anniston
  • Queen Elizabe II (“Power is sexy”)
  • Shakira]

I know this is a silly exercise. The idea that I’m ever going to have sex with Diego Luna is so far-fetched as to be ridiculous—and I probably wouldn’t even if I had the opportunity, list or no list, because I don’t like to share and I shouldn’t expect Chris to be OK with something I wouldn’t be if the situation was reversed. But fantasy is important, I think, especially for women, because so much of society is geared to the idea that women are to be objects of desire rather than subjects who desire. I can’t count the number of straight cis men who have told me, with great authority and confidence, that women should be objectified because women are just more attractive than men, as if the experience of straight cis men is not only more important than mine, but actively invalidates it. One time a routinely inappropriate coworker cornered me by the drink station just so he could tell me, “You have to admit, there’s nothing sexier than a woman when she comes.” Probably he was just trying to express to me how very concerned he was with female pleasure, as if that would magically make me stop being interested in my boyfriend of the time and be interested in him instead, but it sat wrong with me then and it sits wrong with me today. For one thing, hello, that’s wildly inappropriate work conversation. More to the point, though, my orgasm may be sexy for someone who’s attracted to me, but my partner’s enjoyment of my orgasm exists as a distant second to my enjoyment of my orgasm. Positing my pleasure as a creepy turn-on puts the onus on me to feel pleasure no matter how I feel or what my partner is doing, and to do so in the same performative way I am expected to do everything else in my life: for the consumption of men.

Are women beautiful? Yes, of course. So are men, so are enbies, so are agenders. Turns out the human body is a masterpiece of skin and muscle and fat and nerves and thoughts and feelings all bundled up into one incomprehensibly incredible package. And it turns out that sexual women are perfectly capable of feeling deep, overwhelming, stomach-churning, lip-biting, nipple-tightening, panty-soaking desire, despite modern US society declaring that we are “not visually stimulated” or “more invested in emotions” or whatever the fuck. Positioning cis men as the attracted and cis women as the attractive, with no room for deviation, not only invalidates trans and NB people altogether, it also places women as objects in our own lives, as passive vessels to be acted upon. And it creates a system in which, while women have lifetimes of beauty work to engage in and emotional baggage to carry around, cis men require so little effort to be seen as presentable, put-together, and attractive. Imagine that Chris and I put the same amount of effort into doing the same beauty routine. After washing our faces, brushing our teeth, dressing in khakis and a button-down shirt, and applying deodorant and a touch of scent, he is dressed in business fucking casual, whereas my low-maintenance ass is barely comfortable going to the mall. And DON’T get me started on prepping for a performance day. Now, is he attractive to me no matter how much effort he’s put in? Hell yes. Does he consider me attractive no matter how much effort I’ve put in? Yes. Does the rest of society consider us equally put-together given we spent the same amount of time on ourselves? No. Is that fucked up? Yes.

I’m not going to posit that wistfully fantasizing about the way Diego Luna bites his lip when he laughs is going to fix the gender gap, or stop sexism, or change the world. The Female Gaze is not an answer to institutional kyriarchy. I accept that. But I am going to posit this: reclaiming the right to feel attracted rather than just attractive, the right and ability to desire, is important. And it’s fun. And maybe it’s time more straight cis women started expecting straight cis men to put in a little more goddamned effort.

Singing To Myself

10 Oct

There’s a song I like a lot. As near as I can tell, it’s called May You: The Folksinger’s Song, which is fitting, given it’s a song about being a folk singer. It’s by Jan Marra, but I know it because a friend has occasionally played it for loved ones who are having a really rough day.

May you never be sorry you traveled this road,
May you find all the work that you need.
May your eyes be bright when you’re out late at night,
May never your glory get mixed up with greed

The last two weekends, the first two weekends of the festival, were full of really rough days. It was hot and brutally humid. Well, it’s often hot and humid at ren faires, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

The crowds at this faire are not necessarily prepped for hot, humid weather. It’s a fall festival, after all. My stage is a little off the beaten path, with not much in the way of signage, and there’s no shade on the benches for most of the day. I did what I could–I even dragged benches up onto the stage for the later sets, which helped a lot, but I played for small crowds. They were good crowds, full of engaged and happy people who liked what I was doing, people who were complimentary, people who laughed and cried appropriately, people who tipped, but there just weren’t many of them. On Sunday I had a total of maybe 12 people on my benches over three sets. And for more than a little bit of time, I played for myself. We all did. Some of the finest musicians I know were playing to empty benches.

There’s a number of people who’ll sit in the rear,
They’ll talk through your sets, they will catcall and jeer
A number of people will turn a deaf ear,
Just keep right on playing for those who will hear.

And that’s…it is what it is. It’s not ideal, but it happens. Normally it’s ok. I love to sing. I love to play guitar. But getting on stage requires a lot from me, and getting to this particular faire requires a lot of driving and being away from home. I’m not confident of my solo work, and when there’s only four people listening to me, it’s way easier to believe the little voice in my head that says what I’m doing is terrible. And then, you know, there was All That Stuff going on in the world, what with credible accusations of sexual assault still not being a barrier to being appointed to the Supreme Court (or elected president). Last Sunday morning I overheard a different friend make a joke that boils down to “bitches be lying,” and I cried a lot, universe. I cried a lot. I was supposed to be getting ready for the day, warming up and tuning and doing makeup, but instead I was crying. I got out there and I did my thing, playing the Village Protest Singer with all the considerable verve at my disposal, and I sang my feelings to the heavens and the three people who were listening, but I was hot and drenched in sweat and bleeding and full of rage and sorrow and fear, and I had to dig deep into my reserves to find the courage and energy to get up there, and the crowds were very small and I was very tired.

When the time comes to pack up and ramble along,
May never you wonder just where you belong,
And if you hit hard times may they make you strong.
May every experience lend to your song.

During my down time I tried to recharge by sitting in the audience of empty sets, listening to my friends play beautiful music, and that helped. At one of those sets on Sunday my first friend played the Folksinger’s Song. I don’t know if he played it for me; I think he played it for all of us, but it was still very good to hear. I cried a little more, and then I ate lunch, and I felt a little better. It was still really hard and I’m still very tired, and I’m still not confident in my solo stuff, but I do love to make music, and that’s not everything, but it’s not nothing.

May your heart be light, may you sleep well at night,
And I hope that you find all the love that you need.

To Your Union, and the Hope That You Provide

4 Oct

Recently, as in two weeks after Dragon Con, my best friend got married. This was a big deal for many reasons, both obvious and not-so-obvious. There were rainbows. It was pretty great. I have a lot of feelings about the whole thing, but zero emotional power to parse them, so instead, here is the text of the speech I made.

I’ve known Caroline a very long time—long enough that I am used to calling them “Indigo,” the nickname we used when we were high schoolers whose idea of “delinquency” was skipping church youth group to hide in the bathroom and write stories. It seems fitting, then, that we each partnered up with the appropriate-gender version of the other: my husband is much like Caroline, in that both are subdued introverts who like solitude, tools, dogs, and obscure facts, and I call Kate “Mini-Me,” because we are, respectively, the Fun Sized and King Sized versions of the same enthusiastic, glittery, anxious candy bar.

Not long after Kate and Caroline started dating, I went to meet them both for lunch one weekday. It happened to be the day that Oberfell VS Hodges was decided, which effectively struck down all same-sex marriage bans in the US. The three of us gathered in Woodruff Park, eating our respective lunches—spoiler alert, Indigo had tacos—and enjoying the sunshine and celebrating the federal recognition of civil rights they should have had access to all along. I seem to remember that people around us were celebrating as well, but I may be misrembering based on how monumental a moment it was for us. As I sat there in the sunshine across from my best friend in the world and the woman they really liked, who I also really liked, celebrating the day that had sometimes felt like it would never come, I had what you might call a wild fancy that someday we might all be at this point. It would be a mistake to say that I knew we would. I didn’t. It was too soon for that, and I can’t see the future. But I hoped. And on the day of the solar eclipse, when I got what I believe is the first notification text, and ran around the Seattle airport crying and telling people “my best friend is getting married!” I couldn’t help but feel a little bit smug about being right. 

It hasn’t been an easy or a fun road for Caroline to get here, but here we all are, gathered together to not only share our love of these two, but also to eat tacos. So please raise your glass or your tortilla chip to Kate and Caroline. I’d like to quote a great philosopher: Nicole Cliffe, formerly of The Toast, who recently said on twitter that the secret to marriage is to always react like a cartoon wolf when you unexpectedly see your spouse without a shirt. I hope you will take that advice to heart. May your household never run out of your preferred drinkies and snackies, and may your marriage continue as your partnership has: in joy and respect and healthy communication and great love.

15 Feb

I just spent about half an hour pulling a splinter out of a kid’s foot, cleaning the wound, and listening to her complain as she squeezed my arm with both hands–as hard as she could, though I didn’t feel a thing. We sat on the floor of the bathroom with her foot in my lap and the contents of the first aid kit spread around us, and she yelled “ow ow it hurts! This is the worst thing ever!” and I made lots of cracks about her very stinky feet. She’s around 10, and her feet were wretchedly stinky (she is a young dance student and had a field trip to a farm today), to the point my hands still smell bad after two thorough washes.

We live in a world that is frightening and painful even for adults. Kids are small and fragile, and they live in a world that is confusing, arbitrary, painful, frightening, and designed for people who are wiser, older, bigger, and everything elser than them. They depend on adults whether or not they know it, or would admit to it, or even want to think about it.

I don’t have kids. I never wanted kids. But I have worked with kids extensively. And I have loved, in some small way, every child who has ever crossed my path. Even the dramatic ones, even the smelly ones, even the horrid spoiled bratty ones.

I don’t remember Splinter Girl’s name. She doesn’t know mine. In a few days, once her foot stops hurting, she probably won’t remember this at all. It doesn’t matter; she doesn’t have to remember. She’s a kid. She’s a small, fragile, dramatic kid. I’m an adult. It would be my responsibility to help her even if it wasn’t my job to help her.

And I am in some kind of mood about you people who keep letting your Goddamned gun fetish get in the way of remembering that.

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