Hello Goodbye

harry potter suitcase

Check out our new home at EarlandOtherGreys.com

We’ve moved! After almost a year with our thoughtful host, WordPress.com, EoG and I decided to transfer over to .org, WP’s self-hosted counterpart. You can find us at the same URL (bethaneywallace.com OR earlandothergreys.com), with the same content, and the same crappy jokes. Only now there’s fewer impromptu videos.

Unfortunately we lost some of you in the move, and we’d like to apologize for our un-tech-worthy ways. To fix this you can sign up at the (already live) blog — just scroll to the bottom and enter your email. No spam, we swear.

And remember, no new blogs will be posted here — not even the Christmas one. We’re as terrified as you are … but equally excited.

Hope to see you soon.

Thanks and happy holidays!

Past Blastin’ into the 90s

Like John Hugges or the heir to Fruit Stripe gum, I’m a huge fan of the 90s. Mindsweeper, matching ruffled socks and scrunchies, Polly Pocket compacts – the kind that would logically only fit into a giant’s pocket – were all my jam. I woke up to Saved by the Bell, spent the day feeding my Tamagotchi, and played hopscotch while singing to my illegally dubbed Mariah Carey cassette tape. (That’s as 90s-saturated as I could make that sentence.)

cassette tapesThose years truly were all that and a bag of chips; the only thing that would have made it better was a lack of acid-wash jeans.

This da-bomb factor – not being born in the 90s and therefore having a chance to enjoy them – comes in many flavors, including an entire slew of dope movies. If made today, these films would be laughed out of the box office and back into their VHS sleeves. Perhaps the best of all 90s fare, Home Alone, woulmad cause an uproar of concerned parents (yes he’s unsupervised; yes he’s 8, move on). And without it, I wouldn’t be able to say things like:

“Your girlfriend … wolf.” – Macaulay Culkin/Kevin McCallister

“You’re such a disease.” – ginger Pete

And “Is this toothbrush approved by the American Dental Association?” – candy-eating Culkin

home alone

Consider this hat a Christmas gift from me to moi.

What other movie could have almost an exact script as its sequel (same kid, same forgetful parents, same burglars – although they changed to Sticky Bandits vs. Wet in version II, different city, different old person as hero) and still rake in millions? Non-trick question. The answer is Wayne’s World,* where As come in Ahhs and no-honk guarantees are given standard.

Where would the world be without Babereham Lincoln or yelling “Not” after a perfectly sarcastic statement?

Really, maybe more 90s flicks should have done the same. I’d watch a second Edward Scissorhands (can I get one of those asymmetrical haircuts?), Clueless Part Deux, or Good Burger: Mondo Burger Returns.good burger

This rule does not apply to Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King, which did provide (inferior) sequels, via TV series and movies, respectively. Toy Story gets an Exceeds Expectations.

As for 90s TV shows, they, some day, will get a post of their own; there’s simply too many fly things worth mentioning – cramming them in here would be a triflin’ shame.


*Honorary mention to Ghostbusters and Back to the Future – although I shouldn’t penalize for being made in the 80s.

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Virtual Rage, Real Problem

“I know what I have to do. I’ve got to go Red Ross. You know, Red Ross? The time we were all waiting in line for Dances With Wolves and that guy cut in line in front of us and I just lost it?! Screamed at him – turned all Red Ross?!”

-Ross Geller, Friends

Every few days, just when I’m sitting down to a fabulous cup of apricot mango black tea, or when I’ve just earned a huge Viggle bonus just for being me (which likely means checking into Supernatural or I Love Lucy), I’m met with a real downer. Coming in various forms, these hunks of bad news almost always come via email. And they almost always throw me into an instant state of anger. Like the road rage of the interweb, these events keep on coming. Perhaps it was a drifter telling me he could do my job “while on the toilet,” or maybe it was the millionth email from an account I’ve repeatedly marked as spam, or maybe, worst of all, it was the ignorers. Those who either block me out all together, or correspond regularly and then unexpectedly fall of the face of Columbus’s flat earth.

Let it be known that I hate all of you.

angry birdsAngry Birds: Don’t mess with the nest.

It’s true that these irksome moments are just a part of my job, which involves talking with those I’ve never met through electronics and only sometimes phones, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to complain about it any less. It’s brutish commenters, condescending tones, name callers, and I’m-never-wrong types who make the online world a less awesome place.

It’d be appreciated if you kept your lack of online knowledge, bossy behavior, and toilet humor to your own IP address. Your Wi-Fi router (and me) would greatly appreciate it.

Other things that peeve me to the core:

  • I will cut youApple doesn’t use a forward delete. Sometimes my mistakes are frontal, not backard, Macintosh.
  • Saved credentials that are sometimes invalid; how can they only partially work?
  • Those who call me “Beth” or “Bethany” despite immediate access to my online signature. (It’s BethanEy; no abbreviations unless we’ve exchanged phone numbers and have at least three photos together.) I would eat your candy and take your free kitten before I’d approve of your immediate nickname.
  • Password restrictions. Let me be the decider of just how secure my accounts are, please.
  • Other web-y things I can’t think of right now.

While, after nearly two years as a professional web dweller, I would change the tactful-ness that takes place online, I certainly wouldn’t trade in my job. Instead, I write posts like these, outlining my frustrations. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to tell the uncivilized strangers how incredibly sorry I am it didn’t work out. Consider this the blog version of my crossed fingers.

Angry Birds artwork courtesy of Zero Lives.

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Best Accidents Ever: Favorite Blogs

I’m a firm believer in the idea of happy coincidences. I also believe in bad ones. So rather, I supposed I’m a believer in things happening. Daily events, the status quo – you have my full support.

On the thumbs-up days, I am of course excited. Like the time I found a zombie-face tomato in my garden, or when I interviewed a real life Gladiator. (The American kind – although both versions wear precarious shapes of leather.) For these reasons and because I give my change to the Salvation Army, Fate, sometimes loves me –actual Fate, not the girl I once met in college asking where she could purchase intravenous drugs. What is it about cardigans and ballerina flats that screams, “I SELL DRUGS?”

Other times Fate is a real life ruiner, like when the State of Kansas forced me to trade in my perfectly good license plate for a more stupid looking one.

But today is about happy finds.

World, I give to you my list of favorite, amazing, best reads of my life, blogs – all of which were found by incredible coincidences. They are so supremely ballin’ that I like to think that, had Oprah put blogs in her favorite things, they would have been on top of the list.

First up, the Joan Rivers of 80s sitcoms: Huxtable Hotness.  An especially happy find, this gem popped up in my search for pictures of Cosby sweaters. All it took was my reading its description and I was hooked like a catfish on a hunk of stink bait.

The writer also shares a distaste for Sondra, the eldest and mysteriest-est Cosby child, a fact that bonds us even further. “… explicit reference is made to the family having four children. (A better choice, in my opinion…)”

It’s Mission: The blog outlines – intricately – each episode of The Cosby Show, providing pictures and clever commentary along the way. Shoulder pads, baggy neon prints, oversized watches (“Theo’s watch could stand to lose a few pounds”), and children who don’t allow fabrics to fall near wrist level – it’s a wonder this blog hasn’t existed for years. There are simply too many important topics to ignore; I want to sit down and read the Hotness every day. But mostly, I just want to watch The Cosby Show.*

[pictures of sweaters]

Next, I present to you Muggle Hustle.

One of my great obsessions in life is Harry Potter; finding a satirical comedian outline the books in Tweets (and later a website) was like a Tuesday miracle. Because really, who doesn’t think that Mad Eye Moody is a huge creep? Who wasn’t confused when reading a 734-page book and finding that the Goblet of Fire required only three tasks?

Sure my dog stares, wondering why I’m cackling loudly at my computer screen, but whatever, Golden Retriever, it’s worth the judging.

A few highlights:

“It’s Friday, thuggles. Accio bad decisions.”

“When it comes to Lucio and Draco, the douche apple doesn’t fall far from the barf tree.”

“If I could be any two characters in Harry Potter it would be Peeves and Peeves’ understudy.”

And not related to HP: “I got a new bed today. It’s going to be hard to say goodbye to my dinosaur sheets OH WAIT IT’S NOT BECAUSE I’M TOTALLY KEEPING THEM.”

Other than the fact that I hate Texas (the mysterious author’s home state and point of pride) and the seemingly stuck caps lock, it’s a solid gold mine.

Next up, Wolf Gnards. This site was found in my search for stats about Full House** where I practically tripped over my favorite blog post ever, “Greek Tragedy: The True Paternity of the Girls on Full House.” Yes, it’s that good. It’s that funny. And it’s that scientific and well planned.

Here’s a sliver:

“Remember [Uncle Joey] is the man that rocked Alanis Morissette’s world. She wrote like 3000 hit songs about the passion that is Dave Coulier. She had a fever and the only cure was more Dave Coulier. Let us never forget that Ryan Reynolds dumped her, too, but I don’t remember any hit songs about that.
Dave Coulier > Ryan Reynolds.”


Lastly comes honorable mention site, The Slavic Inferno.

Reasons for not making the solid list: it’s semi creepy and most posts are moving pictures, sans caption. But most of its minuses come from being a Tumblr. Gross.

However, the site’s saving point is its blog on Doc Brown, how he is the real villain from Back to the Future. In a sea of awkward memes sit random posts that are actually worth reading. I let you decide whether or not they’re worth fishing out.

Unfortunately, that’s it. Why? Because when I tried adding to this list, I was looking for good blogs, which by definition meant I only found crap. Small but mighty, I’ll mark this list as the young David of all things blog.

*When I asked my friend Dr. Cooper if he likes the Coz, he responded with a standard, “Bibbity boppity bibble.” This is why we’re friends.

**How many semi-relateds can live under a single roof?

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Elbowroom, a Recurring Problem

Twenty-nine hundred-ish days ago – almost eight years to the day – I became a raging clostrophobe. Probably the fear had always been there, but growing up in a state with six electoral votes, space came in king size. I had my own bedroom, my own lockers at school – one for books and one for sports – and I never had to worry about fighting over a parking space. Maybe I fought over which parking space, but plenty were always available; no meters or hour limits necessary.

“Spongebob,” is actually Gaelic for “Webster’s”.

At the time, I was 17 and flying cross-country – with minimal parent supervision –into the most crowded city in the United States, NYC. Sure the airport was large compared to the hallway-like one I’d come from, but it was also crammed full. Full of angry travelers, of luggage, of intercom systems – getting a moment to one’s self would have been more rare than running into Mr. LaGuardia himself.

A little background info: Along with a few fellow dancers, we’d traveled to NYC to perform in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – which is much more impressive than it sounds. Much of my Turkey day was spent in a subway with 699 other red jacket-clad teenagers, and I ate dinner at a Hard Rock Café. However, I did get to walk in the parade, which was billions of times better than watching it from the people-dense sidelines. And, at one point, I was within touching distance of Matt Lauer*

Full of hobos and pee, it’s a town that quickly brought out my fear of lacking personal space. And it did so faster than a local shoving their way onto the 6 Train.

Ever since, I’ve been frozen by thought of touching strangers. New Year’s Eve, close talkers, Black Friday shopping – of which I participated in this year by sleeping and then hitting sales at a reasonable, yet still busy hour – all sit on a list of petrifying events.

What happened to the three-feet-of-personal-space rule? Why are people constantly in others’ grillz? Do I need to carry around a yardstick to claim the breathing room that is rightfully mine? Swinging it like a lightsaber, I’d poke those who encroach on my turf. Wookie or sith lord of all things darth, my spatial claiming tool would put a volt of electricity through the offender. Just to show I’m not crapping around. It would be an unpopular, albeit effective approach; who could stop me without breaking the most cardinal-est of rules?

Now all that’s needed is a purse that fits such a device. I’ll let you know when I find one that is both size appropriate and grounded … and on sale.

*No I didn’t touch him; that’s creepy. Other girls were grabbing his suit at random, like a bunch of unmannered heathens.

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A is for Amazon, for Which I am Thankful

Note: In honor of one of my favorite authors, Sue Grafton (who is not releasing a novel this holiday season), today’s blog was named after a letter. It was also her books that led me to another beloved author, Edward Gorey, whose The Gashlycrumb Tinies sparked Grafton’s alphabet murders.

 Ahh, what Thanksgiving spirit they have.

Oh Amazon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: Thou art kind (Why yes, I’d love to check out your daily specials.), complimentary (My review helped how many shoppers? What a flatterer you are, Zon.). And thou hast the memory of a 20-something on an entire bottle of ginkgo biloba (What’s waiting in checkout? Oh right; thanks for the head’s up.). But most importantly, thee knows mine own heart more thoroughly than any other. Pages and pages of my desires are lined up in detail – all that which were provided with ample thought and consideration.

This Amazon, is why I love thee so.

Yes, you are confusingly named after a river and allow users to sell their items with skyrocketed shipping fees. Eight dollars for a half-pound object? It better show up in an hour. And it’s true that, despite pocketing billions, you charge full price on new-release Kindle books that arguably cost you nothing. But you also provide classic versions at no cost. You sell everything, which can be shipped freely with minimal purchases. (I will always spend $25 on more things to not pay $3 for shipping.)  And you can read my mind. Absolutely I want a 12-set of Paper Mate flair point-guard porous point pens – how did you know?!

There are few others whose online-ness I fully respect (discounting my own sites, as that’s cheating), and they too remain inferior. PayPal is forever changing their fee percentages; Etsy adjusts search features without warning; and Pinterest can never remember my good member status.

And then there’s Chrome, keeper of passwords and eliminator of search windows, also created by he who brings daily doodles. BUT these happy glimmers were also spawn by he who turned Docs into “Drive,” those who made Google +, and those trying to stiff-arm me into an authorship account. (I will join never and when it’s necessary, respectively.)

No, only you, Amazon, truly understand; the competition fails to reach your standard of esteem.

…what’s that Ghostbusters and Skip Its are on sale? I’m there.

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Grammar is Ruining My Life

It’s true. The art of punctuation, the knowing of when “whom” is appropriate, distinguishing between what’s right and what the British mangled beyond recognition – all of it is ruining my life.

By definition, hobbies are to be enjoyed. Runners like the torture that is manual transportation. Hunters love sitting in the cold and dark before popping off ear-ringing rounds.* Even painters are soothed by the creation of art – even when it’s crap. My hobby, however, points out blunders.

Marketing campaigns that post 1) “MPG’s,” 2) “salad’s,” 3) “”desserts,”” or even 4) “Pizzas”** are a constant stick in my craw. It’s likely money was spent on these ads, did someone not think to ask a second grade teacher for reference?

Alas, they did not.

Instead, I am forced to send snooty emails to J.C. Penny’s for their incorrect use of “everyday,” to which they sent a thoughtful, albeit incorrect, reply. The second company I contacted about grammar errors soon after went bankrupt; I like to think the events were related.

Yes, this makes me a huge hag – which is even more reason to claim grammar as a life-ruining skill. I’m like Kirstie Alley with fad diets; the awareness is there, but we can’t not sign up for Xylo-thin, the magic waist-shrinking drug. Our will is too strong.

Besides, how many tire salesmen would sit back and watch a stranger drive with ill-placed lug nuts? – affecting the driver’s and other travelers’ safety. Each salesman would speak up, fix the tire bolts, and walk away knowing they had done a good deed. That is my best and most realistic comparison.

Of course, there are always judgment calls in grammar: t-shirt (love it), scuba (hate it), and lining up multiple punctuation characters in a row (want to have its babies).

But for the most part, rules are rules. They’re, their, and there all have concrete definitions. Ellipses are overused and decades rarely have ownership. Em dashes are right dashes. Long live the Oxford Comma, and 89 percent of the time, periods go inside quotation marks – 99.6 percent for commas.

This love of grammar is a torture I must live with – and worst of all – that others must listen to; I apologize in advance.

*BTW, I totally support hunting; I do not support being cold.

**If you don’t know why these examples are incorrect (and if you care):

1) The apostrophe is only used to convey missing letters. That’s it < here, it signifies the absent “i” from “is”. (This period is an 11 percent example.)

In cases of possession, as in: “This is Francisco’s cigar,” the apostrophe stands for the missing “hi” in the contraction. Formerly, “his” (known as the his genitive) was gender neutral and used to show ownership.

Old school form: “This is Francisco his cigar.”
Correct form: MPGs

2) Same explanation as above, only with lower case letters. In most cases, salads do not own, although “the salad’s croutons” is acceptable.

Correct form: salads

3) This was hard to convey with double American quote marks ( “ and “ ), but unless someone said it, don’t use the marks. Rare other cases are allowed, such as separating words or letters from the rest of the sentence (look above for examples).  Sarcasm also works.

Manny, the amazing guy that he is, presented me with The Book of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks within our first month of dating. It was then I knew I wanted to keep him.

Correct form: desserts

4) In English, only proper nouns are capitalized – meaning names, certain titles, and beginnings of complete sentences. Unless “Pizzas” is a given name (eg. Pizza Franklin Carter) or beginning of a sentence, such as: “Pizzas should be served on days that end in ‘y’.,” a little “p” it shall receive.

Word and iChat disagree, often capitalizing peon words into more important forms.

Correct form: pizzas

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Making Teatime a Thing

Every afternoon, after lunch and before naptime,* I need a real kick in the pants. It’s a time of day where I get groggy, bored with work, and some sort of typing ailment usually flares up. (Numb shoulders, carpal tunnel, or the standard headache – they’re all in cahoots with one another.)

Generally, this kick comes as a sometimes-deserved break. I’ll see what King of the Hill (KOTH) is up to on TV, or make myself a snack of olives and apples. Sometimes errands are run. Other times Molly, my dog/best co-worker ever, and I play an intense game of fetch.

But what I really want – in a land where traditions don’t die and are allowed to transfer continents – is teatime. An hour or so where tea is served, usually with a cucumber sandwich or finger dessert. Every day sounds a little ridiculous (I really do work, I swear), but once or twice per week would just be dandy.

During these tea parties, the townswomen and I would dust off our corsets and take turns hosting these gossipy events. We’d say things like, “Votes for women!” and “My petticoat needs a good mending,” and would brag as to whose hired help is the most competent. (In a world where I’m bringing back teatime, I’m also bringing back servants – but with updated labor laws.) Although we would still be in charge of making our own tea; it is considered too precious for servants’ hands – I learned that from the Olympics.

The good China would also be used, and our cups would be lined with various flavoring agents – lemon wedges, droplets of honey, and perhaps the occasional sprig of mint. Even milk for anyone who thinks that combination is worth drinking.

Then, when this old fashioned even had been completed, we would go back to our respective jobs. The mothers to their children, the teachers to their student children, and me and the other office drones back to our loving computers. Teatime will have been the break we needed to get through the day. After which, we would be tided over until the day’s next fictional event, brillig.

“’Brillig’ means four o’clock in the afternoon – the time when you begin broiling things for dinner.”

-Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

(although no one is cooking dinner that early)

Until this teatime once again becomes a thing, I’ll prepare myself for its return. I’ll drink tea throughout the mornings, afternoons, and decaf in the evenings, lest my habits keep me from sleeping. And as for the finger desserts, I’m sure there’s a good British cookbook out there somewhere. I’ll keep my kitchen utensils ready.

*Assuming I take a pre-scheduled nap every day, which is only sometimes true.

Teatime print courtesy of Creative Review

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Fandom Disorder, a Serious Condition

This week’s post first began as a plea to elect Coach Bill Snyder for president. How he, who taught Yoda the force, who would beat Chuck Norris in Chuck Norris Stadium, would make a far better leader than the current options. He’s polite, compliments those he beats, and has the 90s Cottonbowl windbreakers to prove it. 

Dumbledore and Bill, besties

But in the midst of my explaining, “Enough with the debates, United States. How about electing a man who really knows his way around the field?” and in my further writing, “Colin ‘CleinCat, Kleisman, Optimus Klein’ Klein can be appointed as the White House’s head boy, like in Harry Potter but without magic … so as not to distract him from any trophy winning,” I became oddly superstitious. Like the Bud Light commercial where fans torture themselves with old underwear and OCD behavior. (Cue Stevie Wonder.)

During this process, my friend/blog sounding board, Dr. Cooper, suggested I write about the actual superstition instead. “Face this fear!” he said. “Show luck who’s boss; jump at your negligence; pee into the wind!”*

So to take his advice, and as the equivalent of blog knocking on wood, I picked yes. That I would face my calling-it fears.

The superstition, however, still doesn’t feel any less powerful. Clown-sized shoes are filled here. Cursing he and the Cats would be a Guinness Record faux pas. A mistake I can’t handle.

To date, I’ve never turned off a light switch an alphabet-number of times, washed my hands more than was inherently necessary, and, out of spite, I always listen to music on an odd number of volume. (Don’t even get me started as to why volumes are assigned numbers at all.) But despite this previous bout of rational behavior, I still think prefacing a football game will cause it to go horribly wrong. The minute this blog posts, Bill Snyder will likely become a KU fan and Colin Klein will break three arms. The Kansas State record will become lost in the BCS history books, and the Bill (Bill Snyder Family Stadium that is) will be struck by simultaneous El Niños and La Niñas. Each is as plausible as the others.

So why am I still writing this? Because now that the thought is in my head, not writing about it would make it happen. It’s a vicious circle, one that thankfully envelops only the sports fan section of my life.

I can’t imagine always being this nuts.


*These quotes may be fictional

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Why 10 Seasons of Friends Isn’t Enough

“I wish I could but I don’t want to.”

-Phoebe Buffay AKA Regina Phalange, a businesswoman in town for business

A few Christmases ago, I started receiving Friends DVDs as a gift – generally two-three seasons at a time. Intermittent and out of order, I’d watch the episodes repeatedly for the remainder of winter. (What’s falling snow without a viewing of Phoebe’s snowstorm wedding or Joey and Ross climbing down the icy fire escape?) Watching their witty banter, their general lack of responsibility, showed me what my post-college life would be. I’d drink from large coffee cups (I’d also grow to like coffee), I’d spend hours at a time sitting on a questionably clean sofa, I’d circle through boyfriends before falling for the guy across the hall. Each episode was like a premonition of what a version of my life could be.

Eventually, all 10 seasons (236 entire episodes) had been collected under my tree. No longer were sections repeated, but shown in their entirety, from pilot to close. I watched Rachel go from runaway bride to runaway employee. Ross went through multiple divorces, Phoebe became somewhat normal, Joey finally made it as an actor. And most surprisingly, Chandler settled down and became a dad.

Each time I watch he and Monica carry Anna Faris’s bastard twins out of that apartment for the last time, a little part of me dies. “It’s over, “I tell myself. “Friends actually ended,” like it was destined to be the Saturday Night Live or Energizer Bunny of sitcoms.

Canoes make great couches.

Despite knowing the show is done, Friends’ finale brings no closure. I want to know what happened with Rachel and Ross. I want to see Phoebs and Mike attempt parenthood. I want to visit the Bings in the suburbs. Ten seasons wasn’t enough for me – and no Joey doesn’t count; let’s pretend that show never happened.

Especially now that I’m approaching Friends ages, where bad music and mooching is a supposed way of life, I need to know what comes next. I’ve yet to meet a Janice, a Fun Bobby, or even a Gunther. At this point, I’d probably even settle for a Mr. Heckles … maybe even an Ugly Naked Guy. Anyone who can answer a list of nagging questions:

  • Where can I get a lamp that controls park lights?
  • How many abortions has Joey paid for?
  • What state does Ross forget in The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs?
  • Did Phoebe have some sort of hiding place for all of her disappearing boyfriends? Did she stab them all like she stabbed that cop?

These and countless others continue to nag away, a fact that has yet to keep me from repeating the shows. In the mean time, until a Friends addict cure is invented – some type of shot or single-dose pill – I’ll continue to recycle through by 40-set of DVDs, knowing that, for every clean, empty apartment, there’s an equally clean yet furnished one back in season one.

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