Somewhere ’round mile-marker one-twelve

September 30, 2009 § 2 Comments

Ah, I’m home. Back in Leipzig, back to the Saskias and the dog. Back to my wide bed where I can let my feet dangle over the edge. Back to my own kitchen, my own bath, two clocks in my room, green walls, cooking for myself, the TARDIS poster on my door, tons of pillows between me and the wall, and tons of yarn, needles and books to choose from.

I came home yesterday, actually, but it was rather late, I was kinda knackered, and pretty much all I did was changing my sheets from dusty to new and sparkly, taking a bubble bath, and making some baked beans. And tea, lots of tea. And soup, around 1.30am, when I was inexplicably bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Then, today, I got up late, and after breakfast set out to the long-procrastinated-on task of cleaning up my room. I’m… just so lazy with it. I do parts, but for the wide majority of the time, I just drop things on my desk or wherever, or plop down books on other books in the case instead of putting them back properly.

Seriously, the only part of my room that’s even remotely organized 90% of the time is my stash.

So I took down three bags worth of trash, a carton full of paper, plus I dusted, vacuumed, started on my desk, and reorganized my books. Oh, and I found two DPNs, a row counter and a crochet hook behind my bed. I’d been looking for those.

My proudest achievement of the day? Organizing a cultural timeline from Ancient Egypt all the way to contemporary Germany and the UK. It’s the history and culture textbooks I have, plus stuff like Shakespeare’s plays, Greek myths, the Iliad, Arabian Nights, Wilde’s ‘The Picture of Dorian Grey’, Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’, Thoreau’s ‘Civil Disobedience’ – basically, essential texts, books that I didn’t really want to put in my mostly fiction-based regular bookcase. The only thing in the main bookcase that’s non-fiction are the handful of knitting books, and John Barrowman’s bios. And I think that’s about it.

So, yeah. I’m rather enchanted by the whole timeline thing though, because it illustrates my point of view exactly: History and culture and literature are never entirely separate things, but quite the opposite: they three facets of the exact same thing. Like three sides of the same, weirdly-shaped coin. Ahem.

Other than that… I did the ‘most boring slideshow ever’ today, for Saskia. I’d told Sassi about it beforehand, and we both had to work very hard to keep from bursting out laughing when Saskia’s comments became more and more pissy. ‘Well, it would be nice if you could see anything besides the three of you! Seriously!’ Mwahaha. But I did a slightly-more-extended-than-the-regular slideshow afterwards, and she was rather more enthusiastic about that one.

I still have to upload a couple of pictures to show up here, but… not tonight.

It’s so nice here, all quiet, except for the dog breathing on the (freshly vacuumed) rug next to my bed.

Sassi squeed really, really loudly when I gave her the little ball I spun out of the hairs Wave shed this spring.

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Sometimes the ace, sometimes the deuces

September 24, 2009 § 4 Comments

Excuse me while I squee.

HOLY SHIT JOHNBARROWMAN HELD MY SOCK.

*breathes*

I’ll start at the beginning.

I was at the Playhouse way early, because I just couldn’t breathe in the National Gallery. I was delighted at seeing Velasquez’ Toilet of Venus, but at that point I was just numb and I’d developed a slight agoraphobia due to what they call rooms but are in reality the size of a gym, and that’s just your average room. So, yeah.

I got a coffee and trudged down to the Playhouse (which is right by the river. Who knew?!) around 5, 5.30 or so. Sat down on a stone bench around the corner from the stage door, a vantage point from where I couldn’t see the actual door, but the gaggle of Barrowmaniacs was all too obvious. To be honest, allI wanted was a nice, small, quiet, dark room, and Northumberland Avenue isn’t exactly the perfect substitute for that, but once I got out my knitting, I was less stressed out, and at least there was fresh-ish air.

Naturally, when I’d finished the first sock and just cast on the second one so you couldn’t even guess what it was going to be, the gaggle squeed, there was the sound of a motor, and I ambled over to catch a glimpse of John Barrowman.

He isn’t as tall as he seems as Captain Jack.

I got out the finished sock, and when I asked whether he would hold my sock so I could take a picture, he was slightly confused. ‘Why would I be holding a sock?’ – I’d figured the Dalek argument would win him over, but sadly, it did just the opposite because it’s not official merch or something, and his management would have his ass for it. So, I got my copy of his bio signed instead, thanked him, and marched back towards my bench. He went into the theatre just a bit after he signed my stuff, because his people kept tapping his shoulder, ‘John. John. You really need to get ready!’ The original plan was to knit enough sock that at least the cuff was recognizable, but there wasn’t any Daleky design on it yet, and go back to the stage door after the show.

Oh, the show! The playhouse is an old, wonderful, plush, comfy theatre, and La Cage aux Folles was easily the best musical I’ve ever seen. I mean, I loved Lion King, Elizabeth, Phantom, Starlight Express, Cats, Joseph, all of them… but none of them were so close to home, in a way. None of them were gay. And holy crap, was Cage gay. It’s not a lot of story for two and a half hours, so there’s tons of drag varieté and John Barrowman mincing around in a negligee and nipple pasties, and outrageous dance routines, phenomenal costumes, and just generally a lot of comic relief from a story that is actually quite sad. Well, until it all turns out well, of course, but Zaza just breaking when Georges told him Jean-Michel didn’t want him there, and then the dark stage, the single spotlight, and Zaza’s voice trembling when he slowly, so very slowly, started ‘I am what I am’… pure goosebumps. Goosebumps the size of… Zimbabwe. I was actually trembling in my seat.

It was just as well there was the intermission  right after that song, so I could catch my breath, and enjoy JB fellating the croissant in the next scene all the more.

After the show, I ventured back to the stage door, where I met Francis, the Australian who’d sat next to me, and made a bit of fun of all the absolutely hysteric fans crowding before us. I mean, seriously. It sounds kind of hypocritical from the woman who just started her blog post with OMGJBTMS, but I was actually not star-struck. I couldn’t get a word out when I saw Farin Urlaub, but John Barrowman seems so much more… approachable, I guess. Plus, he only cooks with water, too.

Anyway, when it was my turn again, we just grinned at each other, and I asked, ‘Would you at least consider holding a sock, without a dalek, without a photo,  for good luck?’, to which he agreed while his PA or whatever scowled a bit. The first thing I got out of my bag was the finished sock… just as well. No photo anyway, and… John Barrowman held my sock! And wished me lots of fun with it! And signed my bio with his name and ‘love’, instead of just his name like my program and probably everything else after the show. *laugh* okay, maybe I’m a bit post-star-struck. But while I was there? Not a bit. Until I grabbed my sock back, ran out of the crowd, and doubled over laughing, yelling at noone in particular, ‘Oh my god, I’m the biggest geek in history!’

I listened to ‘I am what I am’ all the way home. What an amazing night. I’m still on a bit of a high. The boys came back around 7am and told me they had a great time… but no matter how great that was, it still can’t have topped my evening. It was the best I can remember having.

Sometimes it’s not bad meeting your heroes at all.

It’s an overload in my head

September 22, 2009 § 3 Comments

British Museum and shopping today, and my brain just cannot compute any more information. I only spent 2.5 hours in the British Museum, which is laughably short for a museum of that size and me, but at one point I just sat in this huge room (which doesn’t narrow it down much, there aren’t any small rooms in the British Museum) and I just could. not. take. any. more. That’s never happened to me, my brain just going into a shutdown like that in a museum, but it’s been a long nine days, and I’m beginning to suspect that my feet aren’t the only part of me that need a quiet day of sitting and staring at a wall.

But! Let’s start at the beginning! Because… I found buttons! For the Tempest Cardi! The one I finished in April! It was amazing. I’d basically scoured the length and width of Germany and still hadn’t found any buttons I liked, or that were the right size or weight or color or material or price, so after almost half a year, I was pretty desperate. I’d done my homework though, before coming to London, and had written down the address of the Button Queen. Remember my squeeage about BUTTON SHOPS IN LONDON? Yeah, that was that day. About that shop. Well, I went down Marylebone Lane, and there was the Button Queen… all boarded up. I had half a heart attack – and then ventured closer to discover a sign that they’d moved a bit further down the street. Phew!

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SO, I went into the shop, and was greeted by a very friendly gent,  who asked me what I was looking for. My mind went blank for a second, ‘Well… I’d like some buttons, obviously…’, but then I pulled out the cardigan, and he exclaimed, ‘Oh, I just saw something for this today!’. Then he went back to the back of the shop, came back with a drawer full of colorful laquered buttons… and they were a perfect match. The green ones AND the teal ones. Perfect weight, perfect size, perfect color, AND a real deal at 99p apiece. I could’ve hugged him. I felt close to bursting into tears of relief, and started babbling about how I’d been searching for buttons for almost half a year… and today, purchasing the buttons was a matter of ten minutes. And most of these minutes were spent trying to decide whether to take green or blue. I went with – both! I’ll alternate them. Unfortunately, that will have to wait till I get back, because my needle is too thick to fit through the buttonholes.

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But I’ve got buttons!!! I even bought enough so I can sew some onto potential gloves or hats, I still have a ton of yarn left over, after all. And I do recommend the Button Queen, wholeheartedly.

Then, I went to the British Museum, and there was a surprising amount of spinning and weaving stuff around. Maybe I’ve just never paid much attention to it before… but it was a pleasant surprise anyway. Spindle whorls and loom weights in the Greek, Egyptian and British exhibits, plus weaving shuttles and distaffs and vases with spinning and/or weaving motifs.

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Oh, and look! Some pharaoh with knitting in front of his face!

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No knitting exhibits, sadly. Well, big surprise, it wasn’t even invented when those cultures were around.

Aaaand at last… I went to iKnit in Lower Marsh.

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Such a jewel. Such exciting yarns! I mean, partly what I expected, Malabrigo, Manos, stuff like that. But then… silk/stainless steel yarn from Habu Textiles. And other crazy stuff from Japan. And my personal highlight, rare British sheep breeds, which prompted me to buy 200g of gorgeous scarlet Wensleydale. No pictures yet, silly me. Six pounds per 100g though, so not bad at all. Begging to become a shawl.

And then I bought a card. With a black sheep on it. Which, as it turns out, is made of recycled, Welsh sheep poo. Oh dear.

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Can’t read my poker face

September 21, 2009 § 2 Comments

This is what I wrote last night:

It is incredibly late by my recent standarts, I’m terribly drunk, the German keyboard is really hard after half an hour of a British keyboard the other day, and yet I am still hanging out in the lounge while the boys are doing unmentionable things in our room.

We went out in SoHo, in some gay club called Escape, which was rather empty  but free of entrance fee and rather nice (plus the beer was kinda cheap), and I did have lots of fun – even though I’m not the partying type. But you know how it is, once you get drunk  enough, anything’s fun and/or funny, and by the time Jörn’s hand wandered down to my ass because he was drunk enough to be moving the wrong arm (Christian was sitting on his other side)… I just dissolved in hysterics. And I’m still amused by that.

This is what I’m writing now:

To pass the time last night, I picked out and uploaded a couple of pictures. They’re not the sightseeing pictures, I’m gonna post these some other time when I actually have the patience to sort through all of them, which is likely once I come back. Instead, they’re knitting pictures.  Or knitty, rather, since not all of them are directly connected to knitting as such.

First, let’s start with something we already know: My Doctor Who scarf. Ever since it got wet the other day, it’s stretched out more and more, until Christian and I started wondering how long exactly it was. The answer? Really long. Long enough to stretch from one side of the room to the other one.

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We also got tangled up in it while we were hanging out at Potters Fields next to Tower Bridge – it really is huge fucking long. The scarf, I mean.

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Then, next up, TARDIS socks. Sadly, when we went to Shepherd’s Bush, we found out the hard way that there’s not BBC museum there. You can pre-book tours through the facilities, but eh. So, no TARDIS-in-front-of-TARDIS pictures, but I did drag it everywhere around the city. Have two photos, one in front of that brige there and another one in the Mexx store that matched the color scheme of the yarn pretty well.

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I do have to say, I’m rather proud of that Tower Bridge photo. I don’t know why, it just appeals to me a lot. But then, I did get pretty lucky with a lot of pictures (or maybe I’m just a spectacular photographer), so, go me.

Then, my new socks. I bought this really really nice yarn in this cute little store in Carnaby street, and to keep with the general feeling of overall geekery of this trip, I decided to make… Dalek socks. Not just on a whim though, because there’s a lot of these little nubs, and they do showcase the colors rather spectacularly, and once I’d decided on nubs Daleks just sort of… sprang to mind.

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The yarn, wound with the generous help of Christian (who just admitted that at least in the beginning, he learned to knit only to make me happy. huh. I’m slightly flabbergasted, and… touched, really.)

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Aaaand a glimpse of the shaft motif. In the background? That’s part of the textile exhibition in the Victoria and Albert Museum, V&A for short. And the textile rooms are just… insane. There’s really no other word for it, because they do have some stuff in showcases, oh yes, but they just have so many fragments and everything they just keep them in these… frames. That you can pull out. And there’s (I think) somewhere between 150 and 200 frames in a cabinet, and there’s at least six or eight cabinets. It’s crazy. It really, really is.

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And they’ve just got the most amazing things tucked away there. Fabric from 4th century Egypt. English bobbin lace. Japanese silk embroidery. Elizabethan needlepoint. My lowly little sock felt very, very humbled next to all that splendour.

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But I do think it’s turning out quite good on its own. The Dalek is mirrored on the other side, so they’re both facing forwards, divided by three columns of nubs. Eeep! I’m already around the heel, about… 10 rows or so after the gusset, I’m guessing. I don’t even know when I find the time to do all that, it just sort of appears on my needles overnight. Huh.

And now, last but not least, two men who may or may not have something to do with knitting… allow me to introduce Lord Kitchener…

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And OMG OMG OMG my ticket for an amazing Wednesday evening!!!!

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(Still contemplating whether to just pop over to Northumberland Ave. around the stage entrance before or after a matinee… but, you know. I’d just hang around in a probably dark alley, knitting away on Dalek socks… even if sitting and knitting wasn’t conspicuous, the whole Doctor Who motif would give my intentions away. Plus, I do have better things to do. No, really.)

I’d walk a thousand miles

September 17, 2009 § 5 Comments

… and not only would I, it feels like I already have. Though, to be honest, when it comes to hard-core touristing, the boys are nowhere near up to par, so it’s less than I would’ve walked with my family. Yesterday I spent about seven hours walking around town, from the Tower over Tower Bridge to Shakespeare’s Globe, over the Millenium Bridge back to the North Bank, St. Paul’s. That’s where the boys gave up, while I continued by tube to Carnaby Street to buy some yarn – yarn! Pretty, pretty, green-and-orange handdyed local yarn at “All the fun of the fair” – a pretty store, very small but rather well-stocked and just cute with its white-and-pink decor. Then I ambled through the West End and Covent Garden, just wandering here and there, having fun with seeing everything… until my feet were ready to give out, my pinkie toes were both a mess of blisters and I’d gotten my first ever blood blister.

The day before that, we went to the National Portrait Gallery, but didn’t do much else due to the absolutely horrific weather. It felt like the Great Flood. I saw a little wave go at least 20 m through a puddle next to the sidewalk. But the Portrait Gallery was nothing short of AMAZING, all those people, all those faces, not two alike. Plus it was kinda empty-ish, which was very, very nice. I wish I could upload photos, but this is the PC in the lounge of the hotel.

My personal favorite in the NPG was this general from WWI, who encouraged the population to knit for the men in the trenches, and introduced the wedge-toed sock that was grafted together in the front with an invisible stitch. The name of the man? Lord Kitchener. (How I know all this? It had a little plaque between his portrait and his bust.)

So, yes, basically I’m having a splendid time. The boys are having some sort of lovers’ quarrel that I’m really sick of, because it drags my mood down as well, but they had better resolve that tonight.

I just finished the TARDIS socks today in an Italian restaurant just off Oxford Street. It’s great, I knit on them basically everywhere. The tube, Piccadilly Circus, the crypt of St Paul’s (on the grave of Joseph Binghamton, Esq.), a bench next to and the steps in front of St Paul’s, the bus to and from the city, Potters’ Field between Tower Bridge and Town Hall… everywhere I went, I knit.

Geeky moments so far: every second of wearing my Doctor Who Scarf, which has stretched even longer after it got all wet the other day. Seeing Canary Wharf Tower, ie Torchwood One, from the Tower Bridge (which is a relief, since I can now scrap the trip I’d planned there, thank god). Freaking out for a second as I walked by the Duke of York’s Theatre – John Simm is in a play there, there’s his face all blown up on posters everywhere around the theatre, and for a second part of me went “OMG HOLY CRAP HAROLD SAXON THE MASTER OMG OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” except then I remembered it’s all fake. Did I mention wearing the Who Scarf  feels super geeky all the time? I kinda love it, because I feel everybody is staring at me. I wear the badge of geekdom proudly.

I’m still looking forward to our trip to Shepherd’s Bush and the BBC… thing there (I shall take the TARDIS socks. and photograph them in front of the TARDIS there. omg.) , and I’m still working on getting the guys to want to see Cage aux Folles, because I really, really want to see John Barrowman live in action.

Oh, London! Such an exciting, exhausting city!

Let’s dance to Joy Division

September 14, 2009 § 1 Comment

One last little blog post before what are by default going to be ten comparatively analogous days – I’m not taking Grahahm, but I will pop online occasionally from one of the boys’ laptops.

I AM EXTREMELY EXCITED, though honestly, right now, I’m kind of too tired to jump around and be manic about it. As complained about on Twitter, the wonders of three and a half hours of sleep. Maybe four, tops. I’ll probably sleep some more on the way to Düsseldorf, or on the plane, but I have a feeling I’ll be too full of manic travelling energy and too excited and I’m gonna drop like a stone around 6 or 7 pm. I can already see it happening! Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best is probably my best shot.

The Rose Line Mittens, as I’ve decided to call them, are finished. Did most of the second one Saturday night, right up to the red line, only to realize in the morning that the thumb hole was two rows or so too small. So I sighed, tore at my hair a bit and ripped back, but now it’s all done. Though the gauge is slightly off on the second one… must have knit tighter. Why does this always happen with me and gloves? At least it isn’t as painfully obvious as with the Endpaper Mitts though.

Why Rose Line? Well, I wanted to call them something London-y, but what I started with was some Doctor-Who-ish stuff, titles of soundtrack songs, since I listened to them a lot while knitting. But Gallifrey just didn’t seem right (though I would’ve loved that one), and by ‘Hanging on the Tablaphone’, a song I can’t stand but is awesome in the actual episode, I came to line, something line, the zero meridian’s in London, ROSE LINE! Rose! Line! I figured it was only appropriate, with the thin red line around it, not meridian-ally, but hey, you can’t have everything. So, Rose Line Mitts it is. I don’t have any new photos, but I assure you, the second one looks much like the first one, except I reversed the colors.

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(Subtle way to reuse photographs, isn’t it!)

So. I did pack fingerless mitts, but they’re the thin cotton pair, and probably quite useless, or at least less useless than these merino babies here. I also have my teal hat and Baktus in my carry-on, and the DW scarf, the Atlantic Cowl and the Swallowtail in my luggage. And the Tempest cardigan, for which I’m hopefully buying buttons. Finally. That’s I think all of the knitwear I’m bringing along – well, that, and ten pairs of handknit socks XD Okay.

I’ve packed and repacked – I’m gonna weigh my luggage again after I’m done showering, and hoping I’m back to under or around 13kg (which would leave me 2kg worth of stuff I could buy). There’s two books plus paper journal plus the TARDIS sock plus stuff for a camera case (incidentally enough, the same yarn I used for the Rose mitts. Creative, ain’t I just being!) plus my ipod in my carry-on. One might think I was terribly afraid of getting cold or bored. I hope that’s all I need.

Oh god, I’m a little afraid I won’t be able to stand the guys after these ten days, and I’m a bit afraid the hotel is totally crappy, and I’m a bit afraid London’s gone to the dogs and it’s at all as awesome as I remember it, and I’m afraid I’ve forgotten something or that I’ll lose my backpack or my jacket… but I’m mostly excited. I’m all fluttery.

Hell yes, I’m going to LONDON!!!!

This is Gallifrey: our Home, our Childhood

September 12, 2009 § 4 Comments

… which is the perfect title for a post that has indeed barely anything to do with Doctor Who, but it’s a simply gorgeous song, the live version’s even better, see it on YouTube here and marvel. Now. I’ll wait.

… no, really, I’ll wait. Zoom along.

So! Photos! Not one of the TARDIS potholder, it’s still not done, missing a couple of details, I have abandoned all hope for the writing, etc. Plus I guess I’ll need to block it, it’s all crooked. Sigh. Speaking of abandoning all hope, I’ve decided I hate what little I have of my DWSLCBP (you recall, the Doctor Who Scarf Log Cabin Blanket Project) and while I’ll not frog it, I’ll definitely abandon it. No point in knitting miles and miles of garter stitch of something I hate this early on.

But! Cool finished stuff.

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First Baktus, modelled by our dinner table and a slightly bleary-eyed me – I’d just gotten up, or maybe it’s just the absence of makeup, but I do like the photo, and it shows how I and the rest of the world wear the thing, that is, tied in the front over the tip. I have to admit, the more I wear it, the more this thing is growing on me, and I’m already contemplating knitting a stripy version. In blues or greens, maybe. I’m still maintaining my opinion that it’s a pretty basic garter stitch triangle, but it’s comfy to wear, kinda stylish all knotted in front, and the little tassels I added entertain me to no end.

Then! Well, finished is too strong a word, but the first one is done, except for the weaving in of the ends.

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The observant among you will notice that this is, in fact, not a Rose Glove in creamy white yarn. Indeed, I say, indeed. I cast on the Rose Glove with the Langora, and not only was my gauge off, the fuzziness of the yarn also did not go at all with the cables and seed stitch, plus I realized that fuzzy mitts will mean the fuzz stuck in my mouth.

So I whipped out leftovers from the Doctor Who Scarf and started a subtly striped mitt. Knit in the round, then knit flat for the duration of the thumb hole, then joined again. I added the red stripe just for kicks, I rather like it. The other mitt will be reversed – starting and ending with big grey chunks. I think. I haven’t cast it on yet, haven’t had time, and time is getting short. Well. I have all of tomorrow once I’m done packing and running around like a headless chicken, and there’s still the drive to and the waiting at the airport. Though knitting this in less than optimal light is, well, less than optimal. Because I can’t tell the purple and grey apart. Oops.

Update on TARDIS-Sock: Still not king. Uh, sock.

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But other than that, it was a gorgeous day, I baked cookies, bought fabulous new shoes and a bright orange umbrella, zoomed around at 100km/h with the window down, sunroof open, and Queen’s ‘One Vision’ blasting as loud as I could stand, and the sun was OUT, baby.

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I can already smell the autumn in the air.

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