Sufficiently stretched for post 125..

Happy Halloween to everybody. DS1, the oldest college son, told me this morning when I texted Happy Halloween to him that I missed Halloween. I said, Dude, check your calendar. He said see appendix b, the college calendar. I get it, Halloween was celebrated Friday and Saturday night on campus. He said that the mascot outfit never left school since there were too many people around the office to “borrow’ it for the weekend. I think that probably is a good thing.  At the University of Scranton they had Safe Trick or Treating on Sunday. I mentioned this a few days ago. This is where “guides” (college students), escort groups of local children through the dorms for trick or treating. If you want to give out candy, you sign your room up and the guides bring the children by.  DS2, I don’t know what he did for Halloween. I guess we will get some face time this weekend to catch up.

Sufficiently stretched, yes I certainly am. Tonight there was no lacrosse due to Halloween. So I went to the health club with my DW for her (and my) usual Monday night yoga.  We were late. As we were trying to leave, the next door neighbor came by with two of hers and we chatted and my wife got to hold her six month old son. This is a picture of them.

Halloween 2011

Then after she and the kids went home, a “flock” of Halloweener’s came up the street.  This is why we were five minutes late for class. The usual leader says better to be a few minutes late, than not come at all.

Tonight I guess the usual leader was handing out candy at her house and was not working.  I met my fourth yoga teacher. Guess what, each of them are different. This women worked us hard. And she had the heat on in the room the entire time. Now, I sweat when we get going on a regular night, but with the pace, movements and the heat, I was soaked. As I sit here writing this, I am not sure if I enjoyed the class or survived it. I will have to give this some thought tomorrow.

My brother the weather man is still without power in North Jersey. He posted this picture on Twitter today.

Bloomfield, NJ - Halloween 2011

The caption said this was the house across the street from him and that most of his block looks about the same. He says they have been told it will be Wednesday or Thursday when their power is restored. In his town, trick or treating has been postponed until this Friday. My other brother that lives in North Jersey is without power as well. To add insult to his injuries, a branch or tree fell on their car. They posted a picture of the front windshield with quite a few sets of cracks in it.  Pretty crazy weather for the end of October.

Good night to all and hopefully you will get your power and heat back soon.


Jersey Shore is where post 124 is..

Not that Jersey Shore, please!  Any self-respecting person that lives in New Jersey would be offended by that show.  I can’t say that I have ever watched it. So how can I judge something I don’t know? Well, that happens every day. In this case, the press has been bad enough to help me form an opinion.  In my life everyone starts out even. Not good, not bad. Then as they say, that person opens their mouth. Then they usually go either up or down. I try not to judge on appearance, job or manners. Open your mouth, I will pass judgement.

Today at the Jersey Shore, “the real Jersey Shore”, the sun was out and it was cold. I woke up this morning and the outside temperature outside was 30 degrees and the indoor temperature was 60 degrees. In January if the outside temperature was 60 degrees, that would be outstanding. But inside, just a little cold. So the heat went on. STORY ALERT! I remember as a child living at home with my parents that they would wait as long as possible to turn the heat on in the fall. You can guess that air conditioning had not yet been invented in the house I lived in. Anyway, in the fall, we would have sweatshirts on, long pants and wool socks on well into November. My mother would say, “My sister Alberta does not turn the heat on in her house until Thanksgiving”. This was supposed to make us feel grateful when the heat finally went on mid November.

Today my DW went have her hair done. She is organized about this. She gets her hair done and makes the next appointment before she leaves the hair salon. Me, when my hair finally has annoyed me enough, I call the women that cuts my hair and if she is not on vacation, I can get my hair cut. No planning here. After her hair appointment we went to the grocery store. We stopped by the fish market looking for Stone Crab Claws. We had them twice last weekend. There were none to be had. After grocery shopping we had fried bologna and soup for lunch. Have you ever had fried bologna? It is an easy recipe. Frying pan, butter and bologna. Heat the frying pan, add the butter (not margarine) and cook the bologna. Serve on toast with mayonnaise. Yum, this is a comfort food from my childhood.

We did some small chores around the house and settled into watch NFL Red Zone tv. I have mentioned this program before. This program’s premise is to show you every score of every game. No commercials, no-nonsense. Just action. They jump from game to game like a child who skipped their Ritalin. I enjoy the lack of commercials and the fact that if you are interested in an out of market game, you will at least see all the scoring plays.

Dinner was home-made lasagna. Lasagna is one of my favorite foods. I cooked it and if I say so (and I do), it turned out well. The children were quiet today. Scranton got some snow, not quite the total tha the Poconos got. My trip up there today was cancelled yesterday afternoon due to the weather. We will be up Saturday to celebrate my DW’s birthday. Sunday afternoon DS2 has a concert that we will attend.  I got a cheap room at the Radisson. This hotel used to be a train station and while the facilities are old, the public spaces are pretty neat.  We have enjoyed all our stays here. One of the best things is that the University of Scranton is a short walk up the hill. Dinner will probably be at Kildare’s which is across the street from the hotel.

A picture is worth a thousand words (give or take). So, here you have a picture from Christmas 2009. As you will see the boys are just waking up. What age do they stop getting up before the parents?  Enjoy!


Christmas 2009

Snow, Snow everywhere but post 123.. (take two)

This is take two since as I wrote the original blog and tried to ge the pictures to line up, I mistakenly choose to publish, not preview. What I hit publish on was a mess. Rats. Maybe I should take that one day class from Word Press.

Here is the first picture sent by one of my Scranton children of the snow falling in The Electric City.

Marywood University - snow - 10.29.11 11:00 am

This picture was shot from the second floor of the music building at Marywood University. The street going left to right is Adams Ave.  If you drive to the right you will go past the county jail , Cooper’s Seafood Restaurant, and wind up in the center of Scranton. Before you get to the center of Scranton, take a left on Mulberry Street and go a few blocks up the hill. This will take you to The University of Scranton where DS3 sent me this picture.

U of Scranton - snow - 10.29.11 11:02 am

His picture came in about two minutes after DS2’s picture from the other side of town. Hey, it made me smile. Both kids were thinking about the old man and sent him a picture.

Here down the shore we have so far dodged the bullet. It certainly was windy and rainy today. No snow. My SIL in Randolph reports that the power is out on their street. Also that the town salt spreading truck flipped over on her neighbor’s front lawn. Hopefully they get their power back soon.

DS3 was supposed to go on a school sponsored trip to Hersey Park today but it was wisely cancelled. Who would want to drive 50 college kids two hours down I 81 to Hersey in the snow and rain to turn around and drive them back. And what would my son and his girl friend do for four hours stuck on a bus? Hmmm, next thought. They appear to have gone to the Steam Town Mall since he had posted pictures of them in a clothing store modeling winter hats, funny winter hats. Maybe Facebook might have some usefulness after all.

My DW is on call this weekend. She had to go in for one case this morning. Fortunately, the case went well and she was home in a few hours. So far nothing is scheduled for Sunday yet (yes, scheduled emergencies). I stayed home all day. Tweeted with my children and accomplished another project on the computer. Back in 8 th grade, DS3 had a school project where he had to write a page for each year about his life. Power point style. The report ran from birth to age 30. Since he was only 13 at the time, those later years were “hopes and dreams”.  We found the report while cleaning up the bed room he shares with DS1 when they are both home. I scanned and turned the report into a .pdf. You can view that document by clicking here.

All the sub tropical plants mentioned yesterday came in during the wind and rain today. The hot tub is full of water and going though its first filling chemical cycle.  That kind of sums up the day. I’m off to watch Clemson beat Georgia Tech (hopefully). If the weather got you this weekend, hopefully the power loss/heat loss does not last to long.

One more picture for tonight. Since it was a rainy day, my DW did some fall cleaning. Do you remember when you were a kid (this could not have only happened in my parents house), your mother would decide that today was the spring/fall cleaning day and everybody had to help or else!  That day was today, but not nearly as manic as when I was growing up. I guess having ten children would make anybody a little crazy at time. Enough, here is the picture. Enjoy!


Fall cleaning, everybody hide!


Finally Friday post 122..

Yes, Finally Friday here in New Jersey. When I got up this morning the temperature outside was 36 degrees. Yikes!  Maybe I should have brought some of the plants in for the night. We have five plants that go outside in May and come back inside in November. Palm trees and other sub tropical plants that look nice indoor and outdoors depending on the season. Today was a work from home Friday, so I got to sleep in.  My DW woke me up at nearly 8 am on her way to work at the hospital. I was having some crazy dreams. It was a good point in the dream to wake me up.  Breakfast was the usual Friday fare, eggs, toast, coffee, juice and pork roll.  Yum and yum.

Work was not too busy. I have some customers that I do work for each Monday and Friday.  Problems that are unsolvable (at this time) and need to be addressed on a twice weekly basis. Boring, but predictable. The power at the office went out around 12:30 today.  After trying to get connected for fifteen minutes I went to lunch. Friday’s lunch is usually a chicken cheese steak at the local bagel store. The sandwich is piled high with chicken and only 7.25. A pretty good deal if you ask me.  After lunch I went food shopping for the making for home-made pizza.

I have not made pizza since May because it has been too hot to have the oven on at 500 degrees for an hour and a half. This time of year and all winter, having the oven on like that is actually welcomed.  The fixings that I got were, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, pizza dough and one large Portobello mushroom. My DW like Portobello mushrooms, I like pepperoni. As you will see in the picture below, one side is for her, one side is for me. About a year ago we bought two pizza stones, two round aluminium pizza trays and a peel to make the pizza on and to take the pizza in and out of the oven. One of the pizza stones broke over the summer. Since there are only two of us eating, one stone is fine.

The pizza stone goes in the oven for at least 45 minutes at 500 degrees. Then you stretch the dough, add some corn meal to the peel and lay the stretched dough on the peel. Add your sauce, cheese, topping and spices and into the oven it goes. The pizza takes about 5 to 7 minutes to cook. Easy as a pizza pie!.  Is it cheaper to make your own than to buy already made? Not really cheaper unless you make your own dough(get it?, a pun as it were). But the satisfaction of having made something good to eat with your hands is priceless. And when you DW goes back for the third slice of mushroom pizza (she never eats more than two slices) lets you know that at least tonight, you did a good job.

Children, Oldest sent a picture of the school mascot’s head. It appears that the mascot costume may be going to a Halloween party this weekend.  DS2 formally dropped Aural Skills today. DS3 needs more Shout to get the stains out of his ROTC clothes. He posted a picture on Facebook of his army clothes with a mud stain down the front. The caption was something about mud and hand grenades. Not real hand grenades I’m sure. They are not yet in the army. I plan to visit the Scranton boys Sunday. However, Saturday’s weather forecast is for snow. 6 -10 in the city and more in the Poconos. I will have to wait and see.

Tonight’s pictures go with the blog. Duh, but really, read the captions, they will make sense.  Enjoy!


Home made pizza, mushrooms on left, pepperoni on right










WJU school mascot ready for Halloween


Playing in the mud, and hand grenades. Love the army

Election board workers meet at post 121..

Off on another Quixotic quest I am. Or, speaking like Yoda might be closer to the truth. The story behind tonight’s title goes like this…  Story Alert!  You have been warned.  As an American citizen it is our right and our duty to vote in the elections. It is an easy statement to make that nearly half the eligible population will not vote in the election this fall. At the last election I voted in, I picked up a card from the polling booth workers that explained how you could become a poll worker. And get paid money, to boot. I sent in the card on a lark figuring that this might be interesting. And if not, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Back in August I got a letter from the county election people notifying me that class would be held on October 27 to train the new workers.  If I was interested, I should mail back their card. I mailed the card back and today was training day. The sign in rooster had 46 names on it. I would guess that maybe 35 to 40 people showed up. I was probably the third youngest person in the room. First we met Chris, he was in his mid thirtys with the beer belly to prove his position in life. (I’m just saying). He explained to us how to set up, close down and use the voting machines.

After Chris was done with his presentation, Suzanne gave her presentation about how to run the check in table. We learned about voters that were registered, not registered, need to produce id, had been sent an absentee ballot and many other possible scenarios that election workers will encounter during their one day of service.  I never thought about all the possible scenarios that an election worker might face. Add to that the presence of “challengers” who can challenge the validity of voters before they can vote. What a crazy system we have spawned. 

My next step is to decide if I am interested in earning 200.00 before taxes for working on election day. The work hours are from 5:15 am (polls open at 6 am) to 9 pm at night. You do get an hour off during the day. I would use a vacation day, so I would actually get paid twice for the day. I think I will call in and offer my “certified” service for this years election. If I can work locally to my house, that would hold more interest than driving 30 or 40 minutes each way. That travel diminishes the pay considerably.  I will report back if I get an assignment. And I can guarantee that if I work, there will be days worth of stories to be told.

DS2 announced today (I already knew some of this) that he was dropping Aural Skills for the semester. He started two weeks late and never got caught up in this class. He was going to fail it, so he withdrew and will take it again next year. He also announced that he was declaring a double minor. The minor studies would be in Psychology and Philosophy. Good for him. He really enjoys school.  We have already started talking about/planning for his masters classes.

Tonight’s picture comes from 2003. It was my DW’s birthday. Enjoy!


DW birthday 2003

All Springsteen, all the time for post 120..

Funny title. We have Sirius satellite radios in both our cars, one in our house and the spare unit went to The University of Scranton with DS3. His unit used to be in his car until he blew up the transmission back in July. I listen to about 8 minutes of real radio a day. The 8 am news and traffic, then back to Sirius. Usually the receiver is turned to Margaritaville. Which as you may have guessed has lots of Jimmy Buffett music with reggae and trop rock mixed in. Now and then the DJ gets into a different mood than me and plays song after song that just does not fit with my mood. That is when we go exploring the Sirius dial.

Tonight’s adventure led me to the Springsteen channel. I listen to it sometimes, but I am a fan of the pre 1990 music and not a big fan of anything newer.  That being said when they try to balance the old with the new, I don’t wind up spending a lot of time listening. This afternoon I got an email from the guy that runs the Summit lacrosse league that there is a pick up game in Westfield tonight. I reached out to the usual suspects to see if they could get out of the house, no joy. So I traveled the 75 miles (10 miles closer than Summit) and played lacrosse for 90 minutes under the lights.  I played attack. I had three shots, none went in. I did ping the pipe pretty hard on my first shot. I did have one “sweet” assist. The midfield player brought the ball over the center line and passed me the ball. He kept running and when he was three strides from the goal I hit him with the pass in full stride. He caught the ball and stuck it in the net. The play even looked like real lacrosse.

The field in Westfield was alongside the rail road tracks. There must have been during the 2 hours I was there at least fifteen freight trains go by. The goalie was telling which trains would pass by during the game. The Tropicana train, the garbage train. I said, “Garbage train” He said “Yea, and does it stink!”.  I guess I was lucky because the garbage train did not go by while we were playing. It was pretty funny to see the guys try to call a face off while the freight train is rumbling past about 50 yards from where they were facing off.

The title of tonight’s blog come from the fact that for the ride up and back, it was all Springsteen, all the time. I  turned the radio up and sang with the songs I knew, and turned it down and listened to the ones I did not know. During the ride home they broadcasted a concert from 10/26/1999 in Oakland, CA. I enjoyed the show. It is coming up on 11:30 pm eastern and that means it is past my bed time. My “medicinal” shot of sipping rum on the rock is nearly finished as well.

The picture de jour is from December 2004 when DS2 and I traveled to Tampa on a super cheap fight for the weekend. My cousin was living in Tampa at the time so she picked us up at the airport, drove us around, fed us and put us back on the plane when it was time to go home. She even let us sleep at her house!  It was a great weekend.  Looking back at the pictures tonight made me smile.


DS2 checking the water in Tampa Bay, December 2004

Visualize that you are a bird soaring into post 119..

So says the Tuesday night yoga teacher during our guided meditation at the end of the night. She left us up there soaring around the bright, warm light until it was time to go home then she guided us back to earth. I’m getting used to her style. I like the opening warm up stretches. After she has warmed us up we usually do something different each week. There are things that we do (or are guided to do) that my shoulders and wrists just won’t do. So, I do the best that I can, pushing myself, trying not to hurt myself. A work in progress.

Monday night lacrosse has been a work in progress as well. I have been trying to learn (get better at) playing attack after playing defense for 7 years. Last week the defensive guys gave us some room to play and I had better success.  This week I got matched up with a guy who was exercising some demons. I think my picture was on the head of that demon. I took a couple of good whacks. I guess it’s only fair since I have certainly given out my share. After awhile I tried playing on the other side of the field so that the other attack guy could get beat up. I did get a few shots off, none scored. One of the local lacrosse parents that I play with rode up with me and played defense for the other team. Next time we do that I will put on the opposite color as him so that we can play against each other. My brother the weather man had one or two goals for the night.

Monday night lacrosse in Robbinsville starts up in two weeks. If you read this and are interested in playing in a 35 and older league, leave me a comment. We play on Mondays nights. The facility is in Robbinsville, NJ. Do a google search for The Robbinsville Field House.  It is a full field, indoor facility with good lighting. The game up north is off next Monday due to Halloween. I guess they figure that no one will show up since most have children younger than ours.

Work was busy today and tomorrow promises to be another slog. Hopefully some of the work I did today will speed up the process tomorrow when the installer is on site. My DW had a tough day. I’m not really sure how or what to say about it. Probably nothing at this point other than a doctor seems to have chosen to cause her trouble at work and probably won’t stop anytime soon. Neither of us are sure what to do about it, but hopefully the problems takes care of itself. Meanwhile we document, document and document.

Children, DS1 no real contact. He texted back after seeing the video that I sent him. DS2 sent a preliminary course schedule for the spring in the email. He was very specific about the schedule be preliminary, very specific. DS3 not much either. I did see on Facebook that he was enjoying the weather and maybe, just maybe, playing too much Battlefield 3. I’m not saying, just he is a college student and the master of his own destiny, that is all.

Tonight you get a video instead of a picture. I was driving south on the GSP just north of the Toms River tolls when traffic came to a halt. The tell-tale smoke up ahead proved to be a vehicle on fire in the median. I hope the person was ok, they took out about 15 feet of guard rail. I looked on the local newspaper website and there is no mention of fatalities or the accident at all.  Click here to see the video.


Splash and dash for post 118..

Now that is a title that would make me want to read tonight’s blog. Well, when I’m short on time, creativity suffers.  Tonight is a lacrosse night up north with my brother. I wonder if he will bring a set of gloves this week. Last week he had two left gloves. Luckily I had an extra pair in my bag.  You can’t wear the wrong glove on the wrong hand. The gloves just don’t bend that way. There is the threat of some light rain. I hope it holds off. Wet and tired will make for a rough drive down the parkway.

Work for me today was busy. I was “working for” one of the installers today. He was on site and over his head. In the way that our company works, nothing or next to nothing was done in advance. This leaves the installers behind the eight ball trying to get the job done in the expected time frame while the customer stands there constantly asking questions. I don’t mind working with them if they are nice about it. But sometimes I get the feeling that I am being taken advantage of.  Not my best feeling. Helping yes, doing your work, ummm not so much.

DW had a full day at work. That is good since October has been historically a poor month for work. The doctors all seem to go away on vacation at the same time leaving the unit empty of patients. And the nursing staff gets flexed (unscheduled vacation). When you get flexed you either eat your vacation time or go without being paid. A good deal for the hospital, not so much for the nurses that get flexed.

DS1 is thinking about offering his coaching services to the high school where he attended locally.  DS2 was quiet today. He has been really busy. He was a lot more communicative last year.  DS3 sent a picture of one hot dog from Coney Island Lunch. That was all the paper money hae had in his pocket. One lonely hot dog. He did say that it was excellent. Not much from him other than that. He posted on Facebook thanking his honey for a great weekend.

Tonight’s picture is of that lonely hotdog.  Yum for sure. Enjoy!


Hot dog


Bumping into the rules of 117 (post)..

The following is “tongue in cheek” and should not be taken for anything other than humor.  You need to find the funny things in life and cherish and laugh at them.  We have settled into a routine of sorts here at the ranch now that the boys are away at school. If things around the house are a mess, there is nobody to blame. It was either you or your spouse. No other choices.

Last night we had finished dinner, stone crabs and crab cakes. We had some wine (really, just some), and were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. There were no kids to help, just us. Over the last month when I put dishes in the dishwasher my DW would move them to a different spot. It seemed like every time. I did not get it, but in the interest in domestic tranquility, I just shrugged my shoulders and went about my business. Last night, emboldened by wine (I guess) I asked if there was a reason that the dinner plates had to go in on specific place in the bottom rack of the dishwasher.  I got a reasonable answer that included the possibility that the need to place the dishes in a certain spot or else might be some mild OCD.  Tongue in cheek here people! We both had a good laugh, but now I know the dishwasher rules. I will respect them and follow them. Do you have “rules” like that in your home? I am willing to bet that we are not unique.

Today was Sunday. Another slooow start to the day. Eggs Benedict with left over crabmeat for breakfast. Food shopping for the week. I watched a zombie movie on AMC then cleaned the hot tub. Currently it is empty waiting for some more cleaning and new filters. It got the cleaning of a lifetime today We have had it since 1999 and it needed the cleaning. I was not planning on the end of world cleaning but since the world failed to end (again) on Friday, we needed to do some of the preventive maintenance that comes with owning a house. I mean what is the sense of repairing things if the world is going to end? 

Yesterday DS2 had a trumpet lesson at his instructors house in Scranton. Saturday night he went to see the NEPA Philharmonic at Wilkes University. He tweeted that he had front row seats.  My brother the weather man tweeted this morning that yesterday he ran 22.5 miles in preparation for the NYC marathon in a few weeks. That is a long way. I would have been happy to ride my bike that distance, nevermind run that distance. God bless him!  Hopefully he will make it to lacrosse Monday night.

All three children were challenged to provide a picture to be included in tonight’s blog. Only Ds3 came through. He sent the following shot of a poster at Scranton. His friend Lee set up a speed dating night at the University. DS3 decided to take his girlfriend to the movies instead.  He thought his choice of a movie with his honey was a better choice than speed dating. enjoy!


Females and food, you can't go wrong



Domestic tranquilty with post 116..

We had a typical suburban day here in the South Jersey. Maybe not typical for people with children under the age of 18 or 19. Those people, and we were recently one of them, spent the day running here and there with their children.  We had a slow start to the day, breakfast at 10 am. After breakfast we goofed off (maybe I goofed off), and then went downtown for the annual Fall Festival. In most years in the past, the Fall Festival was a big deal. This year is seemed kind of subdued. The number of vendors was down, the  crowd seemed full of people with young children. There were not too many politicians. Usually whomever is running is there to press the flesh. The Republican, Democrats and the Tea Party were all absent.

The town build a new gazebo over the lake in town. We went to take a look. They did a pretty nice job on the building. Our tax dollars at work. I mentioned to my DW that the gazebo would be a nice place to get married. She replied that I was not going to be needing that any time soon. I said “Would you marry me again in the gazebo?” Pregnant pause, breathe, Yes dear, I would she said. Hmmm, pretty long pause. We both got a chuckle out of that conversation, nothing negative ment by it. I think I caught her off guard. She may have been thinking that I was thinking about a second marriage, not renewing the current marriage. Life certainly is funny. 

We tried the clam chowder from one of the local restaurants, it was pretty good. It was a little to early in the day for the beer truck. So we left and headed north on Route 9 towards our favorite seafood store to get some crab meat to make crab cakes for dinner.  We stopped at Bruno’s Italian Deli for a sandwich for lunch and for potato salad. They make excellent sandwiches that are piled high and taste really good. We continued up Route 9 and when we got to Waretown we saw a sign tha the first aid squad was selling soup as a fund-raiser. We stopped in and each had a bowl of soup. I had Turkey chile with jalapenos and my DW had Chicken Noodle Soup.  All the food was home-made by the Ladies Auxiliary. After soup we got our crabmeat, some stone crab claws and headed home.

While we were at the festival we purchased auction tickets to benefit the high school field hockey team. We won two baskets. One was coffee and tea items, mugs and such. The other was a Christmas basket with some jewelry. A field hockey parent dropped the baskets off at our house. College football ruled the afternoon. Clemson is on a roll. It has been quite a long time since they have had a season like this. The LSU game should have been close, but LSU ran away with the game in the second half.

Dinner was crab cakes, stone crabs and zucchini from the garden. The one zucchini plant that I thought was a cucumber plant keeps producing fruit. The left over green tomatoes continue to ripen on the table on the back porch. My horoscope (which excels at being wrong) said I should have something sweet tonight or relax in the hot tub. I did turn the hot tub up last night before the high school football game hoping to get in last night. After this blog, we are going for a dip.

The picture of the day is from 2005 when DS3 was in 6 th grade. He played the police officer in Guys and Dolls. Enjoy!


Guys and Dolls 2005

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