Happy New Year

Sounds, patterns, people, perspective, promise and hope. Yes, baseball! Life goes on, the world goes around. As I write this the fans at the Ballpark in Arlington cheer. Never fear Tribe fans, it's a long season, plus it's only the 6th inning. Baseball is a game about losing. Seriously, you don't win a baseball game--someone makes the last out, not just one team--one individual gets credit for that last mistake.   Yes, there is a lot more to the game, but it's also simple, repetitive, patterned, historic, statistically rich, poetic.   Hey, the Cubbies won last year or should I say, Cleveland lost an amazing game seven. Baseball's Lessons for Life.
Seams and dreams
Laugh if you like, I can handle it, it's a long season!    
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Stems from HOPE

Hidden Figures. As a lover of numbers, math, words and stories, my intrigue grows exponentially. Looking just at the second word

Figures

I see numbers first, then realize the word also means beings, persons; after a while I think, oh yeah, sometimes women are dehumanized just into shape--so figure could also be that. I do love that it took me a while to think of that one. It might be like fighting windmills, but I see great power that stems from innocence and hope.       See what I did, I said STEM.

Science Technology Engineering Math

Love that it's a verb and a noun. Stem, branch--growth, living plants... Today, as I sit watching the my morning show, the light of the day illuminating behind the trees and my neighbors house; I sip my cup of coffee and plan my day. img_9998 Thinking of the math classes I've taken in my life. I can't say I loved all my classes, one math class short of a math minor, but oh how I love numbers! Seriously, part of my baseball fascination is twisted in the numbers, math and metrics.   Tonight, along with others working in my field, I'm attending an early screening of Hidden Figures. Why? Because the opportunity presented itself and I want to stand and be counted with those who honor these Hidden Figures in history. STEM not STEAM Yes, I left Art out on purpose. Engineering and Math are so connected to Art, that ART is hidden inside. Are you saying, it's not fair? That is true, it's not fair. Life is not fair. Life is life. I think that we should work to make life good and more equitable, because

With great privilege comes great responsibility.

I won't ask Spiderman to forgive me for replacing Power with Privilege, because in asking for that forgiveness, I'm saying I don't have Permission to create this saying. Permission is a funny topic, be polite, stay in line, keep your voice down--these all have a place, I don't advocate anarchy or chaos. I do advocate learning, growing, going beyond. Yes, and now I've gone beyond my morning time to write, sew or otherwise create. img_0005 Be You and Be Awesome--and look for the awesome in the everyday, right under your nose. img_1243-2
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Old Jeans, Seams and Dreams

Sometimes opportunity knocks, in the form of old jeans in need of new life--and with just a few hours to do the hack. I thought, if you give a fish, vs teach to fish... I have time to make a tutorial video on #snapchat. I spent about an hour doing the first pair BECAUSE OF THE VIDEO!!!  That pair was left with raw edge, but had reinforcement stitches (low tech, aka hand sewing) on the side-seams so pants don't come apart at the seams.  The second pair took maybe 10 minute total, well maybe 5-7 minutes max, and I finished the seams on the sewing machine.  I will do a machine tutorial later, but now, with the technology I have, here is the first cut, you get the most important parts in this video. I have a dream to teach sewing to those who want to learn on their terms and on their time--so yes, video is perfect!  Someday, I have a dream to have a videographer, but for now--good enough is good enough. Many of my dreams have been achieved.  Some I mentioned during Permission, Perfection and Other Fairy Tales at Mid-Apalacian Mid-Appalachian Quilt retreat last Friday.  I'm so happy that sewing, engineering, humor and joy can all play well together. Yes, I know some of my dreams are not realistic--like living in a place with awesome sunrise AND sunset views.  That dream drives me to appreciate those sunsets and sunrises that I do see. I want to enjoy daily life as much as vacation life--please don't laugh, but I'm finding joy in the simple act of everyday cleaning up.  When over 200 pounds of Bernese Mountain Dogs are in your life, if you can laugh at and enjoy sweeping the dog hair tumbleweeds you will have a better experience. So in the last few years: I saw the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) I used Spanish and sign language in my day job (not much but some) My baseball team won the Championship and I clapped so hard that my hands hurt I made great friends and business associates who help others achieve their dreams I got a theme song--thanks Colin Kemper!  Someday that will be known as my first theme song, cause I know it was only several hours worth of composing.  It's perfect, and I'm privileged that I was able to find you while I can afford your time.  Best of luck as you head off to study Music Composition in Alabama next month. Okay friends, thanks for listening--I gotta run to bed, and then off to engineering work tomorrow.  Yes, I like many of you have a day job and am also a superhero doing the audacious act of finding good in the world and helping it grow--oh, and I sew. Can't wait to share more stories and also to reveal more dreams--what are your dreams?   So here's the stats 7min- alter jeans to shorts with sewing machine, they look store-bought--got trust me, I returned them before taking a photo. 1hour- alter jeans to shorts with raw edge, while making video on snapchat 3hours, 40 minutes- create with iMovie, laying music in and writing this blog post.  Oops, actually only 3 hours, I forgot to clock out while walking the pups around the block. Posting to YouTube now and off to sleep! Peace! AtoZ   Full Disclosure--certain words are hard to spell: Appalachian is one of those for me--that sneaky H and double P.  I found this mistake myself, before others commented.  It's a balance of accepting my imperfections and doing my best.  So I've updated my post correcting the error and I did a strikethrough on my  correction.  6:15PM 25-July.    
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Spark of Science, Allure of Art

The_Dress_(viral_phenomenon) 26 February 2015.  That Day, That Dress. A spark that ignited communication beyond the virtual work, into our day to day existence. The irony of duality—the prose I planned to be an essay, spilled out like silk cocoon, as my fingers danced on the keyboard.  For most of my life, I’ve stood in awe of those whose have lived through eras of drastic technological change.  My dad’s mom worked as a seamstress, her childhood had no Saturday morning cartoons on TV—there was no TV.  I wondered what our fast paced world must seem like, when digital communication took the place of paper and pen.  A distant past in which, we knew those friends on our block, our news arrived on folded paper, and the lights at night were the stars and planets. We humans landed on the moon, before I was old enough to appreciate our small step.  I take a leap myself, combining and creating my life as a soup or stew as I stir my words, science, art and thought.  By day I tug on the seams of science in operational engineering.  By night I look up at the same moon, attracted to her pull.  Art and science together are a power of gravity and grace. I am just engineer, with a needle of steel and a heart of art, a human being that is all.  

That Day, That Dress

Ode to 26 February 2015

  Spark of Science, Allure of Art Frayed edges, snags and lies. Day Five-Seven of Two-Oh-One-Five Opposing views, left and right Blue-n-Black or Gold and White Like insects swarming in the night Converse and Curse across the Waves   Piercing my fibers, I form a knot Our viral Web spun, will it stop? Attired in questions, we cannot! Trust we must, that which we see Or set our sights on mystery? Science isn’t Black or White In packets, waves, shines both the light   Tugging a thread, I soon regret Are Science and Art, such worlds apart? Building blocks, unraveling thoughts Beauty, Knowledge coexist Woven fibers; Warp-n-Weft Pulling Biases we must resist Ripping our borders, edges, seams Concealed a veil, a wish, a dream   Tricked by truth, fooled by thought All turn and look, What is, Is not Spark of Science, Allure of Art With great disdain, I must confess Unraveled us all,

That Day,

That Dress.

  For beautiful art that is also beautiful science, see the New Moon Rises exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. The Dress BBC article on The Dress
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Awesomeness Awaits: Right Here, Right Now

Right Here, Right Now is my invitation to the world to bring it on...  Especially bring on the good changes we need! I used to say it to myself in goal, when the play was at the far end of the ice and we needed to score.  Seriously, an ice hockey goalie muttering to herself is completely natural, it's a sports thing, and a goalie thing.  This summer I repeated Right Here, Right Now to the Bowie Baysox and we took the championship.  I only take some of the credit, the team played well. I did my part in putting out the positive energy. IMG_2077 A coworker asked about the starfish necklace, I wear.  He said I was an action oriented person with a positive outlook (which does feel very good to hear).  He had heard in a training class, the parable of flinging starfish that had washed ashore, when told the task doesn't make a difference and the starfish flinger replies, well it sure made a difference to that starfish.  I like that concept, that although the task is large and seemingly impossible, there is an impact to be made, in small simple actions taken Right Here, Right Now.  AmaliaMorusiewicz8718HiResPhotoByBonnieMcCaffery_ Now I turn it to the world.  I want to see more joy, more reality, more humanity and more good in the world, so I will start it Right Here, Right Now.  In life you can't wait for the perfect time, the perfect day, the perfect situation.  Life happens, Right Here, Right Now!  By the way, I'm a scuba diver, I come from a family of 5 persons, plus a star is a great personal motif.  Those are my reasons behind my necklace, not because of that story.  But now that I know the story, I cannot help but think it. Everyday, take the opportunity to be present and open to the awesomeness that awaits!   BU BAWESOME LARGE.001 - Version 5           31-day-blog-challenge-1-300x300
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Expect The Awesome! I’m not Jealous, You rock!

Do you expect the awesome to come your way? I do, and good stuff happens.  I also expect to work hard, be positive, and be the awesome for others.  As we consider success (yours, mine and theirs) plus the challenge of competition, there hides an opportunity to be awesome, and to be open to the awesome in life. After reading Cheryl "Muppin" Sleboda's post, I'm jealous of your quilting success and here's what I do about it, I had a visceral response, I couldn't pinpoint why that title bothered me. Her message could easily have been titled "How I've harnessed my green-eyed monster, to drive my motivation." Lacks the shock value of "I'm jealous...".  Kudos on shaking things up. Sometimes you have to take a different look. Are you gasping in horror? The audacity to challenge and present a different perspective!  Isn't it nicer to agree, adore every piece of art they create, and will go along with all they say and never challenge them? Nope, not nicer, but sometimes it's easier.  Take guts and lot of inner awesome to tell your own story and know it's not what others may think or want to hear. I played ice hockey as an adult, mostly as a goalie and had 6 shutout games.  From my teammates, I learned a new phrase 10682172_10207297300728093_7269113792554313713_o stood on your head. It's a hockey term, meaning I did great, wow, amazing, fantastic, awesome all rolled up into one. In the game in which I stood on my head the most, I also let in at least 10 goals, and my team did not win the game. We scored one goal, which was the only goal scored against this team of young women from Canada during this tournament. We held our heads high having played a strong game. We were awesome, and I was quite awesome, I think there was a gazillion shots on goal.  I earned my Dairy Queen treat that day!30862_1308215628237_2144347_n When a player on the other baseball team performs great feat, I applaud with genuine respect and admiration.  When opponents perform at their best, that is when we can have an awesome game and with luck get the sweetest victory.  My hometown double-A minor league baseball team is in the Eastern League Championship series.  I'm ridiculously excited, the positive energy is tremendous.   IMG_0959
congrats cheryl.001
Cheryl reaches 1500 likes!
Awesomeness grows exponentially, the more there is, the more it can grow. No limits. Jealousy, implies a fear and limits.  Don't worry, there is plenty of awesome, it grows within each of us.  Encourage, applaud and support each others as we achieve the awesome. Parts can be taught like a sport or a skill, but hunger and drive that Cheryl talks about, that has to grow inside an individual and is unique to them.  We can support each other, with gentle hints and recommendations. Think of tips like soap bubbles in a summer sky.  We blow them out, and they float away.  We can inspire with the bubbles, but if someone tried to capture the bubble, it often pops.  The best gift we give is to inspire by being ourselves and being awesome.  In my view awesome is in no way conceited, it is confident and awe-inspiring.  There is a level of respect with which we acknowledge our own goodness.  Be aware and beware of those who will seem like they are admiring you and your work as they say, "I could never do that."   IMHO, there was no question asked of you, don't try to convince that person of what they can do, and decline the invitation to lessen your achievement, downplaying your actions and skills. If you are compelled to respond to "I could never do that", respond with a question.  Oh, really?  Why, not? Oh, what do you do?  Ask the question and wait. Do you know the question game?

Oh, is that when we answer questions with other questions?

Do you think it applies to this story?

What story are you talking about?

Are you trying to confuse me?

The Question Game was my favorite segment on  Whose Line is it Anyway?  Wasn't it awesome?

Seriously, embrace the joy and fun in life. Lighten up a bit, help when you can. Protect yourself. Sometimes a question, a joke or a deflection is the best response.

be you.001

Like in sports, don't let them get in your head!

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Perspectives

The All Star Game is the halfway mark, baseball season, summer, even the calendar year... is it half empty or half full?   Maybe it's the positive vs negative perspective... Isn't perspective great? Eyes will trick you, and you can trick them back. This big blue sky moon over Mike Yastrzemski at the plate is fab - doesn't the moon glow against the deep blue sky?  

Beautiful night for baseball. Mike Yastrzemski at bat #baysox #baseball #funfromatoz

A photo posted by AtoZ Amalia Parra Morusiewicz (@funfromatoz) on

Except it's not the moon, it's just one of the stadium lights in Bowie at a minor league game taken with a cellphone camera.  It's still a beautiful photo, if I do say so myself.  Why do we feel the need to qualify everything?  It's a beautiful photo, on a beautiful night for baseball. Loving the pitching tonight for the All Star game, was 1-1 through four innings, now in the 6th watching my hometown pitcher throw to my hometown batter - yep I claim both Baltimore and Washington as my hometown.  When Harrisburg plays Bowie, I know that my team will win, just not sure which of my teams that will be. 10 pitches, 9 strikes - Nice job Jacob deGrom.  Love seeing the defensive game. However, Mike Trout with your base running you might just make me a fan of the offensive game, especially with the "running game" as he was flying around the bases.  Does anyone else call it the running game?  I know that's a football term, but seems right for base running. Did you know that we almost named our puppy (who is almost 6years old) "Tulo" after Troy Tulowitzki who in 2007 performed an amazing feat of the unassisted triple play. 1936123_1253118365384_6643928_n               We named Rocky after Rocky Colavito, so he did a baseball  name. So back to perspectives... and a great essay on baseball by Bart Giamatti http://funfromatoz.com/2011/09/11/summers-swan-song/
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Birthday recap 2014

Ya know I manipulate time so that I get more than just 1 day for a birthday.  Feel free to do the same yourself.  My birthday month starts September 15 and ends on November 15 - yep, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbonus - cause birthday month is 2 months long!So this year during birthday month (lots of circular stuff):

  • Both of my hometown teams still played baseball into October
  • Bloodmoon Lunar Eclipse
  • New Handrail by Steve Baker of Whollyterra20141025-224639.jpg
  • "Guitar" quilt came home
  • Sisterly Reunion birthday gathering!
  • WatermeOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAlon Cake - WATERMELON, fruit with homemade whipped cream icing - best birthday cake!
  • Saw my mommy and daddy two separate visits
  • Wore a tiara - with BLUE hair (wig, not my real hair)
  • Got asymmetric haircut (my real hair)
  • Big deal day job twice yearly meeting presented the data on data to lunar scientists
  • Big deal art job yearly event, where astronaut who quilted in space, Karen Nyberg gave a keynote
  • Rode a scooter (while in blue hair and tiara)
  • laughed so hard I was crying (this is a good thing) - not while on the scooter, but that was pretty fun
  • Smiled at an old pup that reminded me of Lucky
  • Watched video of Lucky singing happy birthday earlier this year
  • Demonstrated techniques for not so traditional quilt I designed as part of a traditional shop-hop (featuring a moon)
  • Got on the twitter... love that I am calling it "the twitter"...
  • Had a logo designed so I can get a superhero costume made (slightly kidding)
  • Held various 70's dance party studio retreats
  • Watched the sunset - remembering to look outside office window in the evening!

Eh, that's kinda impressive huh? Oh, that's just the beginning... I'm keeping one of my birthday month adventures a secret for now...

Can't wait to share!

 

 

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Eight – a very loopy number

Yep, I am still amused by numbers!   Today is day eight of month eight  - I've always liked double numbers like 11, 33 - but never really thought about the number 8 until now... Nope it's not a prime number, but 8 is a Fibonacci number Did you know that you need 8, we all do... take a deep breath and look on the periodic table at atomic element 8, Oxygen. so in the beginning, well my beginning... I was born in October (the 8th month in the early Roman calendar.) In '78 a local Maryland kid (who turned 18 that August 24) was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles with second round pick that the O's got from Boston, where the Red Sox player who wore #8 had an August 22 birthday.  Wearing the number 8, Cal Ripken and Carl Yastrzemski each had 3,000 hits and 400 home runs... Yesterday I saw Yaz's grandson, Mike Yastrzemski play for Orioles franchise (Bowie Baysox) and in offense hit his eighth double of the year, and on defense played in position 8 (centerfield).  Would you believe his birthday is also in August - on 23 right between Cal and Carl's birthdays... interesting huh? I'm more a pitching fan - so looking to see if there are any 8 in those stats?  Wouldn't that be perfect? The term "perfect game" came about in 1908. No runs, no hits... Then October 8th, 1956, after having pitched the only perfect game in a World Series, Don Larsen (also an August baby) gets a bear hug from Yogi Berra whose #8 jersey was retired by the Yankees. On July 18, 1999, Don Larsen threw the ceremonial first pitch to Yogi Berra, then the Yankees pitcher David Cone threw a perfect game.  Pretty perfect huh? My favorite pitcher - Tom Glavine, was elected to the hall of fame on the 8th day of 2014. I think 8 is my mom's favorite number ... trace the shape of the figure 8, and it has no start, no end, like infinity...  
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“No-No”

You know that rituals or silly superstitions are only silly if they don't work! I've witnessed 3 no-hitters - translating for those who don't speak baseball.  I've been to 3 baseball games in which the pitcher* had a full game of almost perfect  play and got by with a little help from his friends.  In a "perfect" game, the team batting against that pitcher, doesn't get to first base in any manner, in a "no-hitter" they could reach first base if a mistake is made by the defensive team - pitcher could walk a batter, also called base on balls, or someone can commit an error that allows the batter to reach base, but he doesn't get credit for doing so cause it's not a "hit".  So you can hit the ball, but not get a hit... Fun from A to Z definitions of baseball terms Pitcher - intense looking guy standing on the lump of dirt, throwing a ball rubbed in dirt at another man crouched in the dirt, called a catcher (the man not the dirt). Baseball ball - white leather ball with 108 red double stiches and which is rubbed in mud from the Delaware River before the game Catcher - modern day knight in full armor that's made of polymers and padding who is crouched in the dirt No-no - . the term "no-no" is used if you absolutely must talk about a no-hitter as its being made.  and you just don't say the words "no-hitter" before the game is over and the no-hitter is official, sometimes you shouldn't even think about it.. I saw two double A minors league no-hitters and one in the major league - in which Hideo Nomo threw a no-no, pretty cool for sure.  Later that weekend, we were in line for tickets outside the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  Cooperstown carries the same level of reverence for baseball fans as Paducah, Kentucky does for fans of quilting.  In 2001 on a chilly April in New York air, we found ourselves chatting baseball with the president of the Hall of Fame, he was telling us what he was doing that week in the same manner that someone would say "I've got to stop by the dry cleaners on Main Street, pick up milk at the market..."  as he told us he was heading to Boston to get the no hitter ball from Nomo, then New York to get some other artifact... Yeah, I know, still haven't told you why this topic yet.  I don't say the words "no-hitter" if there is a chance it might happen, and I try to not let the idea of a no-hitter even enter my mind, I don't want to take the chance... This evening I got an email saying that a Museum [OMG, yes I said MUSEUM] is interested in displaying Studio Art Quilt Associate's Text Messages exhibit, in which I have my time machine, Tempus Machinus.  I have an idea of which museum it might be, but I'm not saying it aloud, and I don't really want to think too much about it....  So keep your fingers crossed, say your prayers and maybe just maybe we'll get thru these nine innings and have some pretty awesome news to report. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-hitter    Sarah and or John Connor says "no fate but what we make".  Ya know, I really did study actual  philosophers in school, but wisdom is wisdom even if it's packaged in science fiction.    
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Long May She Wave – Reveal Day 6

You know the last 2 words from the USA National Anthem?  It's "Play Ball!" for this baseball fan.  Seriously, I'm a big baseball fan, love the sights and sounds of the game.  I'm also very patriotic, so I mean no disrespect with my Play Ball joke. In my region (I'm ashamed to say its the Nation's Capital and Baltimore, ); we have a horrible disrespect of the National Anthem.  Some Baltimore Oriole fans yell out "O" during part of it at baseball games and some Washington Capital fans yell out "Red" during those parts of the Anthem.  If the Flag and the Anthem represent our Country, what does it mean when people yell words while we are standing respectfully holding our hats in our hands and with our hands over our hearts.  I want to ask each person that yells, if they realize that they are disrespecting my nation when they do that.  Even if it's not your nation, when a national anthem is sung it's still a time to be respectful.  That's my humble patriotic opinion... So when I was playing with ideas, I caught this symbol and gave it a wave.
  • Wrong side of denim used as background - great color
  • Appliqued fused bias wavy strips free cut using a Multi Step Zig Zag stitch - I love the shape created where the strips in the center meet forming a nice curvy v in lower right corner.
  • Free Motion Machine quilted - leaving the center bar unquilted
  • Hand stitched 13 cream buttons and 37 "X's" using 50wt sewing thread (4 strands red, 4 strands blue)... 13+37=50, get it?
  • Free Motion Zig Zag edging
Lessons Learned - when the machine starts complaining and making noise - CHANGE THE NEEDLE - before it breaks - you still will need to change it if you wait, but then you need to find the piece of broken needle and hope that the machine didn't suffer.
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Halfway there, whoa… living on a prayer…

On Day 7 of 12, I think I earned myself a post - but still keeping my work to myself!  I forgot to credit the Twelve By Twelve group with the idea of small quilts done on a regular basis.  I started following the 12s when a few us were working thru the Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston.  Lucky me, as guild program chair - Deborah Boschert was recommended as a guild speaker, and she motivated me to rejoin SAQA by sharing the plans for the local SAQA parlor meetings.  Like I always have said, I am very lucky!

friends at the Quilters Unlimited Show, fun!
Well back to this challenge - some days I know what I am doing, and other days (ok most of the time) just letting myself go with the creative flow.  It was actually easier to start on quilts for days 1-5, I attended a local quilt show the morning of day 6 - lots of beautiful art to look at, and took lots of photos.  But strangely enough, I didn't come home with the itch to stitch, more like the ache to bake. Not cake, but myself, spent a beautiful Sunday at the ballgame!  Almost like I needed to let me mind process what I had seen and get back to looking for inspiration from trees, lawnmover lines in grass, crowd of people at the ballpark, sights and sounds of nature.

A couple lessons to share along the way...

1- Find what you LOVE!
  • I really enjoy working with real ultrasuede. Love the rich matte texture it adds.
  • I love free motion machine quilting. I find it a way to getting the creative flow going and relax while scribbling on fabric with thread. I know many find it to be stressful. My advice, turn on some good tunes and machine quilt on some scraps to get into the groove.
2- Don't over think!
  • forgive all my sports analogies, at my core I am an athlete - in sports we practice so that when it comes to games we don't have to think, so ideally in practice you get to the point of not thinking and just doing!
 3- I am NOT creating "Works of Art", I am doing the "Work of Art".  Which athletes play only in competitive games? None, they also practice. Shouldn't we as artists do works that are for practice, skill building, experimentation?  I think so!


inspired by mottled look of the crowd, the bright moon, the lights, the next batter warming up, the curve of the grass....and you thought I was just watching baseball!
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