Tuesday, October 30, 2012

FEARLESS-Adam Brown, The Team Work of SEAL TEAM 6


(After a sob story post- here is one that has been on my mind that is worthy of the moment.)

 FEARLESS- the bio of a man named

Adam Brown.

And it may as well be the bio of his family: his parents, his wife, his children. The author, Eric Blehm, did a great job of conveying the story of an all American home town boy from Arkansas.

Recall back on those pics I've taken of the little mini versions of FNL players, throw some brown hair and big doe eyes and a wild personality and you have Adam. That boy would get into some serious trouble bouncing off walls.
One of J's teammates comes to mind. uhem: E.
The kid would always get hurt but get up.
Adam stuck up for the little guy even though he was a wiry one himself-
until much later.

Adam is every boy out there.
But then Blehm takes us where Adam courageously gave permission for us to go- down a wrong turn after HS.

One that led to addiction to Coke.

Ugh. Mother's worst nightmare.

Then he shows us how Adam rises up, with the help of a faithful woman who he chose to be his wife.

 Simultaneously Brown fought that addiction and qualified himself as one of the most elite in our military,

 I fell in love with the heart of this man and the love his wife had for him- to help him get through training, withdrawel, and devote himself to God. I fell in love with the men who carried his body out of the Kush Mountains after rucking 6 hours to a compound
where a fight erupted leaving Adam mortally wounded.

SEAL TEAM SIX- his team, carried his 'litter' the 150 yards over rocky terrain, stopping every minute to give Adam CPR.
Something the Dr.s later told them was pretty much in vain.

Truly, he was all Amercan.

 Blehm then takes the reader to a place you don't want your hero to go- and that was down a path of drug addiction.
Who wants to send their loved one into the most dangerous missions? And why is it the individuals that choose that are just the ones that can carry out that sort of duty?
The ones that you can't really have to your self.
At least not for long.

Adam fought his demons as he fought through the SEALs training program.
He overcame and even qualified to be part of SEAL TEAM SIX after
being shot in the right eye and also having his right hand crushed in a humvee rollover.
Against all these odds he was with his team on an op one evening that took them deep into the jagged
Kush Mountains.

Close to seven hours they hoofed it through strems and over rocky terrain to reach a compound containing men that needed to be taken out.
Carrying heavy weapons and packs they accomplished their goal.
However, in order to do this Adam put his life on the line by entering the compound area to get a
better shot and was hit several times.

Adam kept a journal for his kids. So his words speak directly to whoever reads this book.
He wasn't afraid and he was willing.

As you can imagine, the sound of guns firing and bouncing off the mountain side woke the neighbors.
Adam's team carried his body out of that mess and to the emergency landing spot.
It was a mere two hundred yards away. But it took almost two hours to get there.
Each minute one of his mates would stop and give Adam CPR.

Adam didn't make it.

The author of this book had the great privilege to interview his teammates before they too lost their lives after taking out Bin Laden and being targeted.

Within a mere 5 weeks of speaking with one of them, Eric heard the fateful news that these men went down in a helicopter accident. 

 NRA LIFE of DUTY has some of the videos on Adam and his family. You will fall in love. With his kids. Him. The way he and his wife worked as a team and fought his demons along the way with divine help from above.

There is also a foundation called: Carry the Load: an organization to help families of fallen military persons.

One of the founders, a SEAL in his earlier days was out working through some of his angst. He was carrying a back pack and as he walked, he encountered an old man who asked him something.

Unable to hear what he said, he stopped and pulled the plugs outta his ears and asked the gentlemen what he'd said.

"Son, who you carryin?" he repeated.

The words sunk into this man and he started the program where you can walk, run, or" ruck"  miles in honor of these men, their families, and our country.

With what recently has happened back east with Hurricane Sandy it seems an overwhelming addition to the already heavy burden many have felt- there will be a lot of carrying.

I'm so glad I didn't have to go to BUDs training to do what I can to carry the load.
Thanks, for those who have and are on the front lines.
We gotta rally round.


Really Writing- Me Unplugged

REmember being in an English class and the teacher told you to just start writing about anything. Freewriting. I recall sitting there with that sort of freedom and being locked into prison. W R I T ing. hmm.
How do you do it?
Start by doodling. find an object and like a painter try to describe it and suddenly you have your Senior Thesis done.
Something like that.
I look at my writing posts on this blog, I look at my life and what I want it to mean and be and then I look at my laundry and wonder: is this possible?
How can you make a difference when you are struggling with some of the basics? It's fun when I get a clever idea, or J. makes a comment that sends me on a perfect post. Something my English teachers would swoon over.
But the dream is fading like a lot of my clothes in the laundry.
And then there are moments that I feel like a fraud. That I am holding myself  back to come across as professional, when I know, I am not.  I started this blog out with the intent on giving myself that freedom that I AM not. I wanted the freedom to sit down and just put words to my world and throw them out there in the face of publishing companies. Because I got sick of their stupid form letters telling me: Nice job, No thanks.
Why, the heck, can't I play the guitar and write song lyrics like Taylor Swift?
Well, one I don't know many who would wanna hear about GI problems, even if it is on a country music station.
Cowboy Poetry- I  might fall into that category a bit better, but still!
And who wants to hear the same old chorus of disease relapse? Like your fav. song, eventually it gets old. The tune no longer illicites the same excitement and you move on. However, with this disease, I love so much, the song just plays over and over. Like at Disneyland. Which I've never been to, but apparently: It's A Small World After All, really grates on your nerves.
So I decided a couple weeks ago to embrace prednisone with all of my heart. Since i didn't have a choice.
The trial drug, that I got one dose of, is so costly the insurance had second thoughts and backed out. Hmmm. So all those months of staying on the lowest dose possible of prednisone, waiting for Remicade. Have that fail. Then wait for approval for a shot that is smaller than my pinky and costs 15k to be stuck once in my arm and then... taken away.
Aren't I trialing this drug? Aren't I blazing the trail for the pharm companies? Shouldn't they be begging me to take this drug so they can get richer? Or is that how it works? Will someone explain to me how THIS all works?
Do I send them a link to my blog so they can see the side effects of what the drugs do? Would being insanely let down be part of the leaflet they include in each drug when you get it?
Earlier I was bragging about getting off of prednsone for good! Yay, me! Strong me!
So wrong, me.
When My Dr. told me to go back up on pred, I felt the defeat. I felt the bottom of the barrel, 'there is nothing left but to give you this pithy pill that covers your symptoms like a band aid so "we don't have to look at them" feeling'.
Oh, sure. My backside was more than glad to get a break from the pain of 3 fissures running up into my colon. That was a relief. But when you know it's only for so long. The honeymoon period of prednisone; where you get your laundry done, mow a lawn, make some incredible meals... and stay up all night long getting even more done. All the while turning into a potato with toothpick arms and legs.
But this time, I don't know if it is cause I'm older and been through more that it's harder, or it's The Stelara drug, I was still beat. Just in bed, beat. yeh, I got some toilets cleaned, dishes through day after day. Made it to games and carried my stuff.
One thing that is the same is the food craving. My body has no clue it just ate. Why is this? Where is my self control? Cause it is sure that when I come off this and start to feel every inch of my digestive tract it is going to ask me what the heck I was thinking.
Tonight J. told me he wished he had a better mom. One who wouldn't get after him for stuff. Like losing things. Exspensive things. I had to remind myself that I've been reading about children suffering in Syria, read a few blogs about kids who have passed from Neuroblastoma to put perspective and love for my kid on days when he says I'm a crappy mom..
And, yet, I was still needing to hold back0to keep from telling him that
Santa isn't real.
How mean is that- to want to tell your kid such a lie? To get back at them for hurting your feelings?
 Oh, just your average ticked off prednizonal mother.
I held back.... because one, Santa actually does live next door to us.
And 2. I can't stop believing. Because then what?
Then what will we have????? We'll have genocide, childhood cancer, and stupid auto0immune diseases and prednisone minus SANTA!
I want to dress up as a pill bottle of prednisone for Halloween. this will just embarrass J. and myself when I come off of it. But I am so tempted. WE don't even know what he is going to be for this year and there are only a couple days to pull of the costume.
I mentioned John Adams since his pirate hat resembles the ones worn back then, some curled construction paper, overcoat with brass buttons and wa-lla! A Founding Father!
Our only salvation has been to ditch some of the chapter books and just read The Far Side lately.
That gets us giggling.
What DOES not is the transition from FB to BB.
Hello, Jersey.
He lined them all up in his closet tonight and broke out his well worn nerf hoop.
whoomp. thunk. bam. poing. crash. ....
All the sounds of J. shooting, slamming, dunking the basketball off the back of his door and the walls for a good hour before bed.
(It takes your nerves and just plugs them into a light socket I try to explain to J. And mention the prednisone thing.... he just whines for that perfect, healthy mother.) 
And can I ask how many jerseys does a kid need? I recall in Jr. High, we had to leave our jerseys there. And in HS, I had one. Blue/white reversible. Now kids have jerseys of all colors, numbers on them, AND the team name or mascot on it or something. Really? ??
Do I need to interview him or can someone explain THIS phenomenon to me; about the JERSEY?
Oh, and I need to put in here that I went out on a mission to find
for him for his basketball shoes.

So whilst young one was at BB camp, mom was driving across town going to all the places she could think that might have cheap, but cool, light up the court socks...... I was on a mission for socks, people.  With a sinus headache. Did he need these? No. Did I make him pay for them. Half.
 Because why?
It has to do with helmets and jerseys, I think. You put them on and it's game on.
Not because I am expecting him to play in the NBA some day. - something he thought was very rude of me to say. But I'm not. In fact, I'm hitting math so hard with him this next while he'll be doing stats in his sleep.
Where was I? Oh, a Sock Hunt. With a Sinus Infection. After a non-productive day and thoughts of self pity.
Then, as if by divine intervention, there they were. Two pair. Matched the orange-red of his basketball shoes to perfection.
Thank you sock angel.
I've been up most of the night but I have BIG plans for tomorrow. Yup. Prednisone has me already chomping at the bit to get out there and mow the lawn. It's supposed to be another nice day. Watch me though. I'll fall asleep right before the alarm goes off.
Stumble around making breakfast for Jimmer Jr. and then,,,,
And then need to wait for a good while before the drug revs my engines and I am out there like I don't have a single thing wrong.
That the world doesn't have a single thing wrong.
That the east coast isn't getting hit by a horrible natural disaster.
That kids around the world have bullets raining down on them and wonder if someone will save them.
That parents are losing their kids and needing to do fundraisers to help bring awareness to not just breasts, but little kids with cancer.
But all I can do is wrestle this drug and vow to do my best to trial some of these drugs so as to help someone else down the road.
If they would just give me a chance.....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Are Kissing Booths Real???????????

"Are those REAL?" J asked me after he had tuned into a Halloween Party commercial over the radio.  Apparently  an ad touted a 'kissing booth' planned for an upcoming Halloween party.

He had a terrified look on his face.

Very real. As real as Werewolves, Dracula, and the girl that plays Bella in Twighlight. STAY AS FAR AWAY FROM THEM AS POSSIBLE!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bye, Helmet

J's football season is over.

(pictures pending. computer malfunction going on.)
After washing his jersey, mouth guard, navy padded pants that lost one buckle so I had to jimmy rig it for the last four games, and taking care of "other" male protective gear- we headed into the championship game.
Due to the weather, I packed three blankets, hand warmers, tarp, fold up chair and bundled up to watch the Final game.
Gray clouds loomed and seemed to be a precursor to the events that would unfold. Wind from all directions blew in our faces and rent the tarp I'd wrapped around two seats on the sideline as we watched our boys fall 7-13 to Rigby.
It was really discouraging. As was the game.

The coaches gave good words of wisdom to the boys who'd taken a knee after receiving their silver medals (think back to Olympic silver medalist reactions and disappointment), and even threw out there that, hey, at least no more 3 hours practices!
When I cheered about that, most of the teary eyed kids looked at me in disbelief.
Finally, they did the ritual Grizz cheer and each boy headed to their respective parent. In the equipment shed, the head of the Upper Valley Grid Kid for our area, Doug, was taking back the rented pads and helmet.
J. sat on the grass as sleet started to fall and removed his guardian cover from the helmet, revealing the blue school colors with the white 'S' emblazoned on the sides.
That's when I became emotional. 
He has worn that helmet during games, strapped it on for brutal practices,  donned it in the yard playing football by himself and even sat up to the dinner table with it on. He even was under the impression it fit better with his hair longer. Somehow that added the tighter fit.
I fought him on this and didn't prevail until school pictures were upon us and there was only a couple games left.

"Bye, Helmet."
 he said, holding onto it with his red, frozen hands for one last time.
"It was a good helmet." he said matter of fact.

Then stood up and took the old friend to the shed. Still squatting on the ground putting things away, I had to wonder: what it is about a HELMET. The innate desire of a boy to just stick one on his head.
So, today, I asked J. some q's, in Journalistic fashion, to try and understand the meaning of the helmet.
I had to come to the knowledge or reason he HAD to have one at a very young age.


So why is wearing a helmet such a big deal?

"I just like it."

Does it make you feel secure when you put it on? I asked thinking of cows that are often put in those restraining contraption things and they calm down.

There was a pause before he answered again:

"I just like it."

Are they even comfortable? Does it block out noise- like nagging from a mom, for instance?

"I just like it."

Obviously, I was getting nowhere with this interview.  I decided to find out for myself what the allure was all about and put one of his helmets on. He has the fortune of owning one that is way over sized but will do if he wears a few winter caps.

(schutt, it doesn't fit!)
It was too big for me too.
It slid down over my eyes. It was heavy. I tried to walk around in it. My neck felt weak. I felt, well,  Nothing. In fact, my vision was obstructed and it was annoying. There were bars in front of my face blocking my view- I was starting to feel claustrophobic.

When I tried to take it off ,it gripped on my ears like a tick to your leg and about pulled them off.

Clearly, I was going to have to ask an older "boy" who'd played what it was that made emotions stir in a young boy's heart and find the true symbolism of The Helmet.
Sunday night at the grandparent's lent to a conversation with my cousin. I turned it into another interview: 

Can you explain to me why, at an early age, a boy will whine, beg, and plead for a restrictive device called a helmet?

"Because their cool." he replied matter of fact.


"When you put on a helmet you are Steve Young or blah, blah blee"- some other famous football player he mentioned that I didn't catch.

Recalling when I put on the over sized helmet earlier in the day, I felt like myself. Just with a helmet on. I wasn't propelled into a QB-so I probed further:

"A boy feels like a different person other than himself? So what you're saying is it transforms a male?"

"It's just instinctive. Like when a boy naturally gravitates towards guns and trucks at an early age. Or making the sounds of a gun or a helicopter. It's part of our wiring."

"Try to make the sound of a machine gun." he encouraged me.

Caught off guard, I did my best impersonation of this particular weapon. It came off all wrong.

 He then did a perfect machine gun.

 He hollered for J. to come in from the living room where he'd been playing Zombie something on Gma's Ipod.

"J. can you make a machine gun sound?" he asked my son.

Placing his tongue in just the right place Jaden made the perfect sound. (He also can do varying guns.) And the helicopter- with the ease of switching from the all the different languages and dialects contained in India.

"It's part of the male brain." my cousin concluded.  He seemed to have a good case.

All I can say is that I am grateful it PROTECTS the brain- especially that of my boy. Which is something I get really emotional about. Especially when I see him tackling,  landing wrong, or his hands getting crunched in between helmets on a cold day.
(I love/hate watching football)
 Although I will never completely understand how a helmet can be so special in my son's life, I do know it was hard to see that helmet go back to the shed. It had a lot of memories attached to it. Even though there was a sea of similar helmets being turned in, it seemed like that
had his name all over it.
Nevertheless, it was returning to its home, where it will eventually be worn by another up and coming boy next year. As I pictured it being checked back into a stinky, dank room somewhere for the winter, the misty sleet sent down a few snowflakes. Because the walk to the car was a ways for me, I was bummed I'd already packed the tarp away.

So much for being prepared.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Beating Defeat- Upper Valley Grid Kid Finals

Ahhh, the feeling of victory. The S helmets raised high in the air; a  symbolism, to me, of the pinnacle of a mountain.   One of the many mountains they will have to face; climb and maybe fall back down or reach to top to see the many more that they will have to tackle throughout life!
 They reached the top of this mountain after slugging it out with the undefeated Rigby team during this year's last game of Grid Kid Season.

After putting in close to 200 hours of football (not counting recess and non-practice football) these boys are standing at the top of a mountain. For now.  Hardened abs,  a long list of injuries and accumulated bruises have resulted in many lessons this year.
So into the championships we go- back at the base of a mountain to climb. 
There are butterflies in my stomache.
Keep climbing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Bloggin' Bout the Big Garden Competition

Well, none of my pics are ready to upload- the "garden fam pic, the nets that need untangling, still need their photos taken. Really excited to do a comparison with my garden to
The Presidential Garden.

That means crunching some numbers and some serious manual labor on my part, but it'll be good! We'll compare sweat equity, prices of needed tools, some harvest, compared to the President's yield and include local grocery prices; All the things that make for a good competition!
Presidential vs. Residential Garden.

Today I had J. pull out the Sunflowers. First he got to hack at them with a souvenir hatchet from: The Mountain Man Rendezvous in West Yellowstone. Once he'd demolished them he had to bundle them with twine and carry them to the curb. He wasn't too stoked on the later part.
Here's some Preliminary #'s and 'tools' I didn't have to Purchase.

  • Hatchet: $ 20.00
  • Child    : $ 2 million. Just a guesstimate (so far)
  • rake---- Padre's.
  • shovel-- also Padre's.
  • garbage bags-- Jumbo good deal at Sam's on Padre's dime.
  • twine------ more dimes from Padre
It's a good thing I reside at Padre's place, cause this garden would be EXPENSIVE!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Inches- Gatorade Ad

There was a Gatorade ad online that caught my attention.
A cartoon aerial view of a football field  incrementally turned bright green, like mercury in a thermomter, the green line 'inched' its way toward the goal posts.
Then it stated that "it" comes down to inches.... so drink Gatorade.

As you can see, J. did not drink his Gatorade;
 he missed this sack by an inch. Under the pressure, the QB was clutch and made a sweet pass to the receiver.

Monday, October 8, 2012

FOLD IT! RNA strands- not laundry!

(Doesn't this RNA strand containing key proteins look like a party?)

This post has nothing to do with laundry.
It is a medical game made for the express purpose of getting millions around the world to help biochemimsts speed up the process of how specific strands of proteins "fold" into a cell.
So maybe it does have some similarities to laundry.
Instead of cramming your laundry into your drawers, it's always more efficient to fold the articles of clothing, oraganize and stack them to best fit into your chest of drawers.
(i.e. pants in one drawer. J's work out shirts in another and so on.)
(more partiness)
Some of the appendages can't "mix" with other little lego looking ends.
Sounds as exciting as a months worth of laundry waiting for ya to tackle, doesn't it ??

My latest research kick was looking into Stanford University's latest Medicine X Forum in Sept.-
A man with Crohns disease had been invited after he'd had a full bowel organ transplant by his surgeon. (Michael's blog is: beingapatient.blogspot.com)
If you want in on these couple of days of the latest in medicine it is only over 1k to attend.
But they do give scholarships. I might actually apply for this one.
The first clip I took in from the forum Mike went to was Professor Rijuh Das (specializes in Physics and Bio-Chem)  on "RNA folding". What he was wearing was what initially pulled me into the lecture.
In a laid back way, and wearing a  green T-shirt with a alien-ish cartoon character matched with burnt red pants, he proceeded to talk about the topic while I tried to figure out if the colors he had on were actually coordinating. Then my ears pricked up at this:

Hey! I'm a patient!  I want improved health! I thought.

Rij gave a power point on how networking and "outsourcing" the mind work process bio-chemists are facing on how proteins fit or fold over themselves in a cell; was speeding up the process by the millions.
Since 1950 those poor scientists could only get through 50k. Computers can only "fold" the proteins so far because they lack creativity.
So one creative guy who loved playing Atari, Game Boy, and on and on- came up with a 3-D
game of these protein strands and then turned it over to the online community in the form of a race to "Fold" certain protein/RNA strands.
You might be asking: "Why??" Stay tuned wives, who have husbands who play video games while you literally fold laundry, because they might actually be the next Nobel Prize winner if
they can crack some of these "folding" problems.  
(try folding this!)
What does this have to do with illness, disease and what not?
Well, these crazy strands apparently are the work horses of a cell and the communicators of what need to happen.
The medical rationale;fight fire with fire; which means we need to know how they are "folded", or squished in their unique way, into a cell so we can translate that into a medicine, cure, or vaccine.

In just 3 weeks, people from around the world were able to take their "gaming" talents and solve mysteries that scientists have been working on for a decade.

I'd heard of this some time ago but I finally looked into the "game" .  At one point I was wondering when a curling iron came into play to make some of those strand twist.
Supposedly you don't have to be a rocket scientist. Although I think some gamers are actually that smart.  Yes, to moms and wives they are in disguise.
Gamers, I owe you an apology- I was under the impression your brains were melting as you spent endless hours with your virtual friends creating world, I predicted the violence of the war games was de-sensitaizing; strategizing with people on the other side of the country with your Star Trek mics made me wonder if it was creating an anti-social attitude.
However,  It is your ability to do that, (as addictive as it may be) is cracking gazillions of protein codes that are folded in cells.
I think this could become a BIG job maker that one of the candidates for President ought to seize upon. But for now, it's just a game that you get points for and if you "win" in the alloted time frame I think you get your name put on their site.

 For whatever reasons, the minds of gamers are a key element in finding the cure to many diseases. MIne included. (not my mind, my disease.) Opening up the dilemma, in the form of a "game" to everyone, "folding" together in teams, means data is coming back in droves.
Raj can hardly get through the thousand folds that come in each week.

I looked up the game and realized I, like a computer, lack folding creativity. And the IQ of 99.9% of gamers. And it felt akin to the first time I tried to fold/wrestle up two car windshield blinds together- going from sorta square to a circle I could shove under my seat.
The bizarre, 3D rubix- cube like worms boggled me...
I wondered if they were neatly folded "laundry", or maybe hapharzdly folded and stuck in the cell/drawer? Or is it just organized chaos? 
The good news is that the game is made to help folks like me, who are afraid of failure, feel comfortable making mistakes. In fact, you can spend hours doing just that as you try to "match" up different "ends". (I'm sure there is a scientific name to those ends-I just don't know what they are) 
So my first experience with the game made me feel like I do when I can't find a sock match and so the lone sock gets thrown into a basket- to be sorted semi-annually or quarterly, if it's lucky.

To add insult to injury, a few years ago a 13 year old broke the code to one of the proteins.
Prodigy, maybe?
The simplest explanation about the neclace, kite looking strands is this info pulled from nobelprize.com-
In higher organisms, the hereditary material, DNA, is located in the cell nucleus.
The DNA in one human cell contains about 100,000 genes, located on 46 chromosomes.
A chromosome pair and the DNA molecule, a long double-stranded helix, are shown to the right and below.
The genetic information in the DNA is stored as a sequence of bases (or nucleotides). The bases are stacked in between the two strands which wind around each other.
The order of the bases determines the genetic information. When a gene is activated, the DNA strands separate and one of them serves as a template for copying a messenger RNA (mRNA) as shown on the right.
The letters represent the bases adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cystosine (C).
In the double helix, A always pairs with T, and C with G. In the mRNA, thymine is replaced by uracil (U).
A stretch of three bases in the mRNA determines the position of a particular amino acid in the growing protein molecule.
The mRNA, containing the information for a particular protein, is transported from the nucleus to the cytoplasm, where protein synthesis takes place. Amino acids are joined together as pearls on a string.
There are 20 different amino acids. Their order in the protein molecule determines its structure and function. Proteins may serve e.g., as enzymes, hormones or structural components of a cell.
The final protein molecule may consist
of several hundred amino acids linked together according to the instructions encoded in the mRNA.
So I guess I have my work cut out for me. First, to identify which mutated DNA  protein strands of mine are involved  and then, well, fold them.
When they talk about more patient input and getting our input it reminds me of the change in the publishing world. They want you to do the hard work of selling yourelf, AND write the book.. then they will publish you.
So it only makes sense that to be pro-active in our medical care we solve the problm, and then hand over the hard earned research to someone who can translate it into a medicine
and help them win a
I'm down with it if it means getting rid of this Crohns Disease.
And I would be cool with Standford inviting me to the next Medicine X. I just ask for an interpreter.



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Name that Neck Injury

This photo makes me cringe.

I can only feel sincere sympathy to #23's parents.

(one of our boys on the left.)

Football is so brutal.

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