Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Working 9 to 5, What a way to make a living.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked for help coming up with topics for the blog. Basically, I wanted to know what YOU are interested in when it comes to my little world here.

Brenda asked about my career path and how I ended up doing what I'm doing these days. And I thought, you know, that IS kind of an interesting story. At least, I think so. And so, here goes.

I went to college in Utah where I double majored in French and Political Science with grand aspirations of becoming a lawyer.

And then I took the LSAT and decided that law school probably wasn't so much for me.

While I was in college, I started working for a company that handled fuel cards for trucking companies. I started in the customer service department, but when I graduated I was promoted into operations and started doing a whole lot of other random stuff. It was a job. Nothing more. Not anything I wanted to turn into a career.

And then, one day, I decided it was time to move back home to California. And, much like when I arrived in the Beehive State, I returned to California with no job, no place to live, and only a few dollars to my name. But I now had a pair of degrees and I set out to see what I could do with them.

Because I needed to start bringing in an income right away, I took a temp job with the client of the accounting firm where my mom worked. It was a fun job, and if they had been able to afford me, there's every chance I'd still be working there today. It was a small, three-woman office and I loved it there. The job was easy, the environment was fantastic, and there were never any bad days in the eight or so months I worked there.

But we all knew it was temporary, and I was still looking for jobs all along the way.

One day, my BFF Candace told me about an opportunity at the college where she worked, and I decided to apply. The position was called Learning Resources Assistant and the community college was a small one. In the Tutoring Center. It sounded like a pretty good opportunity. Decent salary. Full benefits. I applied. And then the entire Human Resources department was let go in a mass house-cleaning and it was a couple of months before I was finally brought in for an interview.

But interview, I did, and a week or so later, I was offered the job. I accepted.

I held that position for about five years until things were changed around and my job was reclassified. Then I became the Tutorial Coordinator, still working in the Tutoring Center, but taking over the administrative aspects of a special intervention program we offer, and monitoring the training of tutors, and a few other duties. I've been doing this for three years.

It's a job that I mostly quite enjoy. I don't love the long drive to get there. But I like the work and the co-workers. It's a good place to be. And if I could keep doing this job without the ridiculously long commute, I would.

So that's how I got to where I am today. How about you?

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Friday, February 27, 2015

38 Things About Me

Today is my 38th birthday.

Thank you.

Anyway, I try to do something kind of reflective or, at least, mildly interesting each year for my birthday post.

Today, here are 38 things you might or might not know about me.

1.   My middle name is Marie.
2.   I'm left-handed.
3.   I have two brothers, a sister, two step-sisters and a step-brother. I'm the oldest in one family and the middle in the other. On one side, my brother is the only one that is married and on the other side, I'm the only one that isn't.
4.   I have never been married or engaged.
5.   I met my boyfriend Chris 8 months ago today.
6.   I do not like regular cheesecake. But I LOVE all the cheesecakes at Cheesecake Factory.
7.   I have a ham radio license but have never used it.
8.   Tom Cruise is my favorite celebrity.
9.   I live for baseball. The Angels are my boyzz.
10. My favorite football team is the San Francisco 49ers.
11. I'm a pretty decent singer and belong to a choir that performs in a big concert hall twice a year.
12. I'm a Mormon.
13. I speak French very well, though I'm not quite fluent.
14. I lived in Montreal, Quebec for a year and a half as an LDS missionary.
15. I love volunteer work and have been part of projects in California, Utah, Paraguay and Honduras.
16. I want to try WWOOFing.
17. I've been "working on my novel" for five years.
18. I've been blogging for almost 8 years.
19. I've been at my current job for almost 8 years.
20. I went to college at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah where I studied French and Political Science.
21. I once had ambitions to become a lawyer.
22. I love the beach and can't imagine living away from the ocean again.
23. I've been to 8 countries outside of the US.
24. I was born in Idaho.
25. I have completed a 5k, a 10k, and a half marathon.
26. I'm a registered Republican.
27. I've wanted Mitt Romney to be President ever since he ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
28. I have a dwarf bunny named Bruce Wayne.
29. Batman is my favorite superhero.
30. Christian Bale is my favorite Batman.
31. Star Wars is my all-time favorite movie.
32. I've dyed my hair so many times that the only reason I know the real color is because my roots are WAY grown out.
33. My favorite food is pizza. I could eat it every single day.
34. Falafel is the only food that I REALLY don't like.
35. I think Spongebob Squarepants is hilarious.
36. Friends is the best TV show of all time.
37. Try as I might, I just don't understand the point of LinkedIn.
38. My favorite color is red.

So, tell me something about YOU.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Addictions Suck

My baseball boyfriend, Josh Hamilton, is facing disciplinary action because he has relapsed (again) and returned to using cocaine.

I used to be a no-second-chances kind of person when it came to drug use, but there are a couple of people in my life that have had issues with addictions of different sorts and my perspective on it is totally different now.

The bottom line is that addiction is horrible and evil and can totally alter your perception of reality. I'm not excusing anyone who gets addicted to things. They're still responsible for their actions and their choices. And they should face the consequences.

But I'm a little more compassionate these days. And while I would love to see the Angels off the hook for Hamilton's ridiculously bloated contract, I hope only the best for him.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Confession Wednesday:

• Now that the Oscars are over, I don't know what movies to watch. I mean, I'm still catching up on a few I missed last year, but now I just want new stuff and nothing good has come out yet. Sigh.

• My birthday is coming up this Friday and I sort of don't really care about it. But I want to do something fun. But I don't really care that much. #conflicted

• I was underwhelmed by NPH at the Oscars. I wanted to love him and to think he was the Best! Host! Ever! but it just didn't happen.

• In general, I was underwhelmed by the Oscars this year. I expected a few surprises, and there really weren't any. And the red carpet basically sucked. And there was no Joan Rivers in the In Memoriam montage. #disappointed

• The Bachelor was SO boring this week. I realized that I only love it when the crazy girls are still there. Take them away and it's not that fun to watch anymore.

• I have this Friday and Monday off work and I have absolutely nothing planned. This could be a problem. If I don't have plans I tend to do absolutely nothing and am just terribly lazy. I need to stop that.

• I am totally phoning in this post.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wide-Open World

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to travel.

And not just travel.

I crave adventures.

Obviously, I'm all about jet-setting to Paris and London. But eating dinner at the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower was every bit as amazing as eating baleadas while sitting on a beach overlooking the Caribbean on a remote island that had no electricity.

My dream would be to leave my 9 to 5 behind, load up a backpack, and take off for parts unknown. I'd just have to find a way to convince Chris to come along.

Well, I just finished reading a book about a family who left everything behind for 6 months to volunteer their way around the world. Can you even imagine?

From Goodreads: John Marshall needed a change. His twenty-year marriage was falling apart, his seventeen-year-old son was about to leave home, and his fourteen-year-old daughter was lost in cyberspace. Desperate to get out of a rut and reconnect with his family, John dreamed of a trip around the world, a chance to leave behind, if only just for a while, routines and responsibilities. He didn’t have the money for resorts or luxury tours, but he did have an idea that would make traveling the globe more affordable and more meaningful than he’d ever imagined: The family would volunteer their time and energy to others in far-flung locales. 
Wide-Open World is the inspiring true story of the six months that changed the Marshall family forever. Once they’d made the pivotal decision to go, John and his wife, Traca, quit their jobs, pulled their kids out of school, and embarked on a journey that would take them far off the beaten path, and far out of their comfort zones.

Here is the totally engaging, bluntly honest chronicle of the Marshalls’ life-altering adventure from Central America to East Asia. It was no fairy tale. The trip offered little rest, even less relaxation, and virtually no certainty of what was to come. But it did give the Marshalls something far more valuable: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conquer personal fears, strengthen family bonds, and find their true selves by helping those in need. In the end, as John discovered, he and his family did not change the world. It was the world that changed them.

I know. Sounds too good to be true, right? After all, they must have been rich to be able to finance such a trip.

Nope. They weren't rich. They took out a substantial loan, rented out their house to cover the mortgage, and opted for the most cost-effective measures along the way. And they were able to make it work.

The book is well-written. It draws you in and makes you want to keep reading. I loved it. I felt like I was sitting down, listening to a friend tell me all about their grand adventures, rather than reading a book about total strangers.

It's a fun read, a quick read, and just....good. I love their story. I love their trip. And I love that it really has changed their lives. After returning home, John decided he was done with the corporate world and now runs a foundation that helps fund projects supporting orphaned children around the world.

This is a book worth reading. And I hope you'll check it out.

For more information about John Marshall and the work he's doing, you can visit his website.

**I was able to read this book through NetGalley for free. Reviewing on my blog wasn't a prerequisite, but I still felt like I should mention it anyway. And also, if you're not on NetGalley yet, get over there!

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Organizing my office. A job unto itself.

Remember when I told you about how my finances are kind of a disaster?

Well, so are my organization skills.

They say creative people are messier, but I think that was just made up by creative people who didn't want to de-clutter their houses.

I am lucky to have an office at work. And not just any old office. It's a beautiful office in a building that is barely 4 years old. There's one wall made entirely of window. True, I share my office part of the time with student workers and office assistants, but it's still a big space for my needs.


But I have this problem with keeping it organized. The problem being that I don't. Keep it organized. Like, at all.

It's embarrassing. Whenever someone needs to come into my office to talk to me, I find myself apologizing and moving stacks of stuff out of the way. It's a problem.

Well, look for yourself:

As you can see from this picture, even my sweater is flung onto the chair in a disorderly way. I've got papers and notes and pens and my planner and a couple of small appliances and a bottle of water that has been sitting so long it is actually growing mold. Gross.

Here's another view:

I've got a phone directory out that I never use because everything is online now. A stack of cards that we haven't used in months. My Vera Bradley tote dropped into a corner instead of being put up in the cupboard out of sight. And behind the fan? That's an empty box from the USB refrigerator I've had plugged in since just after Christmas.

I also have a bookcase:

This isn't SO bad. Not when compared to the desk. But, seriously, that big red thing on the bottom? That's a chili pepper pinata from an event we had three years ago. There are more stacks of junk and a couple of binders that are full of stuff I can't even identify because they were here when I moved in. And there are personal books that I really need to take home and find room for on my own bookshelves.


The time had finally come to do something about this mess. Our office closes early on Fridays, so I decided to take advantage of the quiet afternoon to do some desperately needed purging and cleaning and tossing and boxing up.

It was quite the process.

But I did it. For realsies, too. This wasn't a hide-everything-in-a-drawer-so-it-looks-clean cheating job. My office is cleaner than it's been since the day I got it.

Wanna see?

As you can see, the top of my desk only contains the things I need. Gone are the piles of stuff that needed to be filed, discarded, or otherwise gotten rid of. Pens and pencils are in their holder where they belong. My current work is where I can easily identify and finish it. I moved a couple of books to the bookshelf (funny thing!), and lined up my USB refrigerator and electric water kettle neatly. The only thing that doesn't need to be on my desk per se is my planner, but I use it all the time during the day, so I figure it can stay.

I got rid of that box that's been there for ages collecting dust. I shed the big stack of crap and have shrunk it down to a small stack of stuff I need to discuss with my co-worker.

And then there's that bookcase:

Okay, so I didn't remove any of the books from my bookcase. I'll do that soon. When I have a box to cart most of them home with. But I got rid of more stacks of paper. And that chili pepper pinata? I think I sent it to a good home.

So there you have it. Office organization, check.

And how long did it take me?

Um...well...a grand total of...uh...45 minutes.

12X30 Challenge January: The Love Yourself Challenge

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

The 87th Annual Academy Awards Play-by-Play!

5:30--Neil Patrick Harris rises up onto the stage. "Welcome to the Oscars. Tonight we honor the best and whitest."

5:31--NPH starts singing a great number that pays tribute to the movies throughout history. "Moving Pictures."

5:33--Anna Kendrick joins him as Cinderella from Into the Woods.

5:34--Jack Black shouts "STOOOOOOOOOOP!" And then he jumps in and starts singing about how movies don't matter.

5:35--NPH and Anna kick Jack Black off the stage, then Anna leaves and he's joined by people in costumes of all kinds of movies. "Meryl Effing Streep."

5:37--The number ends and NPH talks about the movies of the year. "The Best Picture nominees have grossed over 635 million dollars. American Sniper was responsible for over $300 million of that. To put that in perspective, this side of the theater is the other 7 nominees. And this side of the theater is...Oprah. Cuz you're rich."

5:40--Lupita Nyong'o is the first presenting. She introduces the nominees for Best Supporting Actor.

5:41--The Oscar goes to J.K. Simmons for Whiplash. "I am grateful every day for the most remarkable person I know, my wife....And if you're lucky enough to have a parent, call them. Don't text, don't email, call them."

5:44--NPH sings "He won an Oscar, bum de dum de dum dum dum." To the Farmers Insurance tune.

5:45--NPH talks about the process for guarding his Oscar predictions for the night. He assigns Octavia Spencer to watch the briefcase containing his predictions in a glass locked box.

5:46--Liam Neeson introduces the first two Best Picture nominees: The Grand Budapest Hotel and American Sniper.

5:49--Dakota Johnson is "The reason you had to explain to your grandmother what a spanking bench is." She introduces Maroon 5 to perform their song from Begin Again.

5:50--Adam Levine is hot. That is all.

5:56--NPH says, "Welcome back to the Oscars. Or, as I like to call them the Dependent Spirit Awards."

5:57--Jennifer Lopez and Chris Pine introduce the nominees for Achievement in Costume Design.

5:58--The winner is Milena Canonero for The Grand Budapest Hotel! Wes Anderson looks so excited for her. Yay!

6:00--NPH says, "Our next presenter is so lovely, you could eat her up with her spoon. Oscar nominee Reese Witherspoon!"

6:00--Reese presents Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.

6:01--The Oscar goes to The Grand Budapest Hotel. I'm 1/3 for the night so far.

6:03--"Now our next presenter looks as good as a male stripper as he does in a one-piece wrestling outfit."

6:04--Channing Tatum introduces the 2015 Team Oscar winners.

6:09--Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor present the next award for Best Foreign Language Film.

6:10--The Oscar goes to Ida! 2/4.

6:11--The producer accepts his award and says, "How did I get here? Life is full of surprises." He talks over the orchestra. He's still talking. This is awesome! Let him keep going! He's never going to have this moment again!

6:13--Shirley McClaine is the next presenter. She introduces the next Best Picture nominees: Boyhood, The Theory of Everything and Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

6:15--NPH is now in the audience. He talks to Heidi, a seat filler in the audience. And to Laura, another seat filler. And to Steve. Carell.

6:17--Marion Cotillard introduces the next Best Song nominee: "Everything is Awesome." It is awesome.

6:24--NPH says there were some confusing movie titles this year. "Like How to Train Your Dragon 2. That movie basically admits that the first one didn't do a good enough job."

6:25--Kerry Washington and Jason Bateman present Best Live Action Short Film.

6:26--The Oscar goes to The Phone Call! I'm 3/5. That was a good little film. The winner thanks the people who run crisis centers around the world, including their mothers.

6:28--Kerry and Jason present Best Documentary Short to Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. (I'm 4/6.) The producers start to get played off, but one of them is accepting and says, "This is for my son. We lost him to suicide." The orchestra stops playing and lets her finish.

6:31--Viola Davis is the next presenter. "Only in Hollywood do we pause in the middle of an awards show to tell you about another awards show."

6:33--NPH is back in the audience. "Things sound better when you're British." He does a joke with David Oyelowo ("Oh sure, you like him NOW.") that isn't really funny, but it works because he has a British accent. Sort of. Meh. It's not great.

6:35--Gwyneth Paltrow introduces Tim McGraw, singing "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" from Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me.

6:41--Uh...guys, where's Neil? The cameraman is back stage looking for NPH. He's backstage, with his robe stuck in the dressing room door, and he's in his underwear and they're doing a total homage to Birdman that is hilarious if you've seen the movie. They also throw in a Whiplash joke. And he comes out on stage in his undies!

6:43--The next presenters are Margot Robbie and Miles Teller, who introduce the winners of the Science and Technical awards that were presented two weeks ago.

6:45--Sienna Miller and Chris Evans present the next awards for Sound. First, Sound Mixing.

6:46--The Oscar goes to Whiplash in a surprise. This acceptance speech is slow and awkward and these winners obviously have no idea what to do.

6:48--For Achievement in Sound Editing, the Oscar goes to American Sniper! (5/8)

6:50--"Thank you to the Academy and Clint Eastwood." (Something in the background just fell from the ceiling. Whoops!)

6:51--NPH says, "After that last entrance, I am a changed man."

6:51--Jared Leto presents Best Supporting Actress. "They are 4 women, plus, in accordance with California State Law, Meryl Streep."

6:54--And the Oscar goes to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood. I can't get over that hair. Ugh. She did nothing with it. 6/9

6:55--Her speech is pretty standard. Nothing particularly special to it. She gives a shout out to givelove.org. And now she's talking about wage equality and equal rights for women. Guess it's not that standard, after all.

6:59--Octavia Spencer is still watching Neil's predictions. NPH tells Robert Duvall to make sure Octavia stays awake. He gets no response. "Eddie Redmayne, every 5 minutes or so, wake up Robert Duvall."

7:00--Josh Hutcherson introduces the next Best Song "Grateful" from Beyond the Lights.

7:02--"Before they were born, I had already lost my first Golden Globe."

7:03--Ansel Somebody and Chloe Grace Moretz present Best Visual Effects to Interstellar. Which was a great movie. If you haven't seen it, check it out. 6/10

7:06--Kevin Hart and Anna Kendrick present Best Animated Short. "Animated and Short. I think somebody's messing with us."

7:07--The Oscar goes to Feast! 7/11.

7:09--NPH says, "If you're at the Oscar party with the people that made The LEGO Movie, now would be a good time to distract them."

7:09--Zoe Saldana and Dwayne Johnson present Best Animated Feature. I'm still mad about The LEGO Movie snub.

7:10--The Oscar goes to Big Hero 6.  8/12.

7:17--NPH says, "It's my pleasure to introduce to you The President...of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences."

7:18--Cheryl Boone Isaacs does the standard Academy President speech about seeing the world in new ways. The audience is in more than 100 countries and 24 time zones and stuff.

7:20--NPH checks in with Octavia Spencer again. And then introduces Chris Pratt and Felicity Jones.

7:21--Chris and Felicity present the award for Best Production Design. Come on Grand Budapest...

7:22--The Oscar goes to The Grand Budapest Hotel!!!!! Anna Pinnock was a double nominee for Into the Woods as well. Adam Stockhausen accepts the award first. Wes Anderson just looks so happy. I love it!

7:23--"In A Long Walk to Freedom, he liberated South Africa. In Zero Dark Thirty, she tracked down Osama Bin Laden. In A Million Ways to Die in the West, I pooped in a hat."

7:24--Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain present the award for Cinematography to Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman! (10/14)

7:30--Meryl Streep introduces the In Memoriam segment. The lack of Joan Rivers mention has Twitter buzzing. I mean, she only basically started the whole red carpet thing. Plus she was in The Muppets Take Manhattan...

7:36--Jennifer Hudson performs. It's good, but I don't know...Not earth shattering to me.

7:42--Naomi Watts and Benedict Cumberbatch present the next award for Film Editing.

7:43--The Oscar goes to Tom Cross for Whiplash. I should probably see that movie. 10/15

7:46--Terrence Howard says, "How far would you go to help someone find the greatness within themselves?" He introduces Best Picture nominees Whiplash, The Imitation Game and Selma.

7:49--NPH says, "Now it's my pleasure to introduce two people who both deserve to be here tonight."

7:50--Jennifer Anniston and David Oyelowo present the award for Best Documentary Feature. The Oscar goes to Citizenfour. 11/16.

7:53--And we lost our satellite signal. Okay, it's back. Just in time for commercials.

7:57--NPH goes back to Octavia Spencer--"Wait! Who are you??" It's a seat filler. "Oh, uh, please welcome Octavia Spencer!"

7:58--Octavia introduces John Legend and Common performing "Glory" from Selma.

8:00--This performance is really great, but I still like "Everything is Awesome" best. But that's just me. Not like it's gonna win.

8:03--NPH says, "Benedict Cumberbatch. It's not only the best name in show business, it's also the sound you get when John Travolta tries to pronounce Ben Affleck."

8:04--Idina Menzel comes to the stage and introduces her very good friend Glom Girzen. Aka John Travolta.

8:06--Our sound just cut out! Luckily, I can read lips and the winner is "Glory" from Selma.

8:09--Okay, our sound is back on. Thank goodness! That was making me frustrated.

8:13--Scarlet Johannssen introduces a tribute to The Sound of Music. And then Lady Gaga sings a montage of songs from the movie. She's actually not bad. I'm pleasantly surprised. Although, of course, I wish Julie Andrews could still sing it.

8:20--And then Lady Gaga introduces Julie Andrews. Who is just beautiful and perfect and I adore her. "Dear Lady Gaga, thank you for that wonderful tribute."

8:22--She presents the award for Best Original Score to Alexandre Desplat for The Grand Budapest Hotel!!!! It's an upset that I am THRILLED about. Desplat finally wins his Oscar!

8:29--The next presenter is Eddie Murphy for Best Original Screenplay.

8:30--The Oscar goes to Birdman. 12/18

8:31--Alejandro G. Inarritu accepts the award and talks about when the journey for Birdman started. He is grateful to share this experience with his co-writers. He then gives his co-writers a few seconds to say their thanks too.

8:33--The next presenter is Oprah Winfrey for Best Adapted Screenplay.

8:35--The Oscar goes to Graham Moore for The Imitation Game. 13/19

8:36--Moore uses his time to talk about how he didn't feel like he belonged and tried to kill himself as a teenager, and now he's standing here. "Stay weird, stay different."

8:41--NPH just said something that got laughs, but I missed it because the dogs were barking. I'm guessing it was a Gone Girl joke.

8:42--Ben Affleck presents the award for Achievement in Directing to Alejandro G. Innaritu for Birdman. 13/20.

8:43--"Tonight I am wearing Michael Keaton's tights." Um...okay. "Ego loves competition. Because for someone to win, someone has to lose."

8:48--Cate Blanchett presents the award for Best Actor. Her hair is all messy too. What gives?

8:51--The Oscar goes to Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Aw, he's crying. And he's trying to give his speech and then, "Wow!" It dawns on him that he just won an Oscar. "It belongs to Stephen and Jane Hawking and I will promise to take care of it. I will polish it. I will treat it well." 13/21

8:53--Alright alright alright, Matthew McConnaughey presents the award for Best Actress.

8:56--The Oscar goes to Julianne Moore for Still Alice. 14/22.

8:57--She finally won her Oscar. "I read an article that said that winning an Oscar could help you live 5 years longer. If that's true, I'd like to thank the Academy because my husband is younger than me."

9:00--NPH says, "It's time for the envelope you've all been waiting for: my Oscar predictions."

9:02--He reads his predictions, which are not the winners, but things that would happen during the ceremony, and all of them happened. How did they do that??

9:03--Sean Penn (ugh!) presents the final award of the night, Best Picture.

9:04--The Oscar goes to...dramatic pause..."Who gave this son of a bitch his green card? Birdman!"

9:05--Alejandro G. Inarritu makes a joke about "Two Mexican directors in a row? That's suspicious."

9:07--He gives the mic to Michael Keaton who says, "Who'm I kidding? It's great to be here."

9:08--Inarritu also talks about Mexicans building a government that works for them.

9:09--NPH thanks everyone and says, "Buenos Noches!"

And that's the show, friends. My final total was 15/23 for 65%. I'm right in line with my average. Bummer.

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