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When I was visiting my brother over Christmas I had the opportunity to exist in a real live family again for the first time in a couple years. Living with a bunch of crazy and smelly young men isn't really a family although it's entertaining, and living in a dorm isn't much better, although it also has it's benefits. So while I was visiting over there my semi-sister-in-law (it's a long story, there are a lot of those running around) was having a shitty day. This is understandable for a woman at odds with the other people living in her house who also two kids and little to do all day, I've got no complaints, but what was interesting was the way her 7-year-old daughter reacted. She got very snotty and sort of moped around all afternoon until my brother said

"Tori, you're acting like a brat. I don't like that."

She said,

"But Mom's been grouchy all day and she yelled at me!"

As though if someone annoys you, you've got to pass it on, 'right'? Kind of amazing. This is how everyone operates, even when they won't admit it or don't want to do it.

That's all that seems to be happening to me lately. My dad channels all of his frustration in his whole life into any handy inconvenience no matter how slight (I love the guy, but getting lost with him, even for a few minutes, is annoying). And now, the person I'm staying with is having soap opera with this woman who is upset and possibly genuinely hurting about something and she passed the upset on to him as an insult, and he's passing it on to me now and I'm getting annoyed about gender politics, and my own inability to deal with other people's problems with out appropriating them, and the fact that I didn't eat today.

I don't want to pass this negativity on, where ever it originally came from, but I don't know how to "get rid of" something like that without either passing it on or absorbing it. I don't want to do either. This is something I have to learn, before I go insane.

Less introspection might help as well.

I've been really poor the past few months. It's been really depressing, not in the least because my flat mates weren't talking to me because I was having trouble paying bills. I was starting to get really down, and then on Thursday I had an omen. I went for a long walk around Tooting to see if there were any jobs lying about, and as I walked I saw a road sign saying Recovery Street. Chuffed that I was on the road to recovery, I went home, confident everything was going to be fine. Sure enough, the next day I heard that a cheque had arrived for me in Ireland for 1000.

It arrived today and the first thing I did was buy a travelcard to go out to my sister's place in Richmond (something I was too poor to do yesterday). The trip out there increased my good mood – if you've ever lived in London, you'll know that having your trains all be precisely on time always cheers you up, on the rare occasions that it happens. I walked out to my sister's place, feeling like I'd turned some sort of karmic corner, and things were looking up. I got off the train, and outside the station there was a homeless guy under a blanket, with a beautiful white rat in his lap. It all felt a bit surreal.

On the way home, I was outside the Tesco in Richmond when I made eye contact with this girl. She was pretty, although only about 17. She looked a little like one of my flat mates actually – black hair, thin glasses, even wearing the same long black coat with a turquoise scarf. The eye contact was only for a second, and I didn't think much of it. Until she stopped and said, 'excuse me?' I stopped too and wheeled around to face her.

She began by saying, 'I'm sorry, but I need to ask you…' As a Londoner, these words instinctively make you want to keep walking, as briskly as possible. There's nothing that can be said after these words that I would ever want to listen to, and unless I already have some loose change I want to part with, there's nothing that's going to make me reach in my pockets. But I didn't walk away. There was something about her – she was dressed like my flat mate, had a quiet, polite voice, and seemed a bit upset. She carried on with, 'I know this is really rude. I've managed to get myself stuck in Richmond, and I don't have any money, and I really need to get back to Hendon and I know that this is really rude, but I'm really, really stuck.'

Behind her glasses, her eyes were welling up with tears. I found myself in a conflict – part of myself thought, 'wow, a poor teenage girl is lost in Richmond and having to beg'. But another, larger part of my brain was thinking 'London. Person on street asking for money. Fuck 'em.' In the end I compromised, mumbled something and reached for what change I had in my pocket. It was only about 90p. I dumped it into her hand and walked on.

Half way up the street, I was still thinking about it, and the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. This girl – lost, broke, scared. God knows how she'd ended up there, but she didn't seem like a street kid, and was probably at the end of her tether if she had to go around begging. I started feeling a bit guilty. In spite of myself, I am a great believer in omens and signs. My money arriving just as the bills and rent were looking unbearable was a definite sign, it really felt like I'd been given one last chance by some divine force. And here I was, with a real opportunity to actually help someone in need, and I'd walked away. I was close to the train station when I convinced myself that by ignoring her, I'd spat in the face of the cosmos, and that if I wanted my good luck to continue, I needed to try to share it with as many people as possible. So I did something I never did before.

I turned around, and went back to find her.

She was difficult to find. In fact, I had given up, and was walking back to the train station, when I saw her on the other side of the street, talking to an Asian guy in a suit. I watched him walk away without giving her anything and crossed over. 'Hi,' I said, 'have you had any luck?'

She stared at me for a second, not knowing what to say. So I carried on and said, 'look, I'm actually going to the train station right now. If you want to come along, I can get you a ticket to Hendon.'

In that exact moment, I realized my mistake. I had kind of thought that she might be grateful. I had worried that she might be scared, thinking I was some dodgy guy who might try to rob her or worse. What I didn't expect was a look of absolute disgust and disappointment. In my head, I slapped myself. She had absolutely no desire to go to Hendon. She just wanted the money.

'Um, are you sure?' she asked.

'Yeah. Uh, no problem. It's fine.' I couldn't bring myself to say I had changed my mind. Part of me was wondering if I was wrong, and didn't want to leave her stranded just cause she'd looked at me funny. Anyway, she looked so well dressed, and didn't seem like someone who'd scam change on the streets.

'That would be great,' she said without much conviction.

We walked to the train station in almost silence. I asked her how she had ended up in Richmond, and she said something vague about going to meet a friend in Kingston, but had been blown off by her and left alone. The walk wasn't very far. We got to the tube station in about 2 minutes. The beggar was still outside, but this time had an Alsatian on a leash, and no rat (rather bizarrely).

Inside, I couldn't see Hendon on the various buttons on the ticket machine. 'Um, y'know, it actually works out the same price to buy a travel ticket,' she said. I reached for the Travelcard zones 1,2,3,4 button. She stopped me, saying, 'no, it's 1,2,3,4,5 & 6'. As she reached across me, I saw the sleeve of her coat. It looked quite tattered.

'Of course it is,' I mumbled.

We walked down to the ticket barrier, where she said, 'um, I have to go to the ladies.' I wished her well and went for my train.

I waited, thinking either one of two things had happened. She was just a bit nervous about everything, seemed a bit off because she didn't know if I was going to suddenly attack her, and ran off cause she didn't want me following her home. Or, failing that, she was just hustling change on the street, saw an opportunity, got a travel card off me for the maximum amount possible and would attempt to hock it outside the station once she'd ditched me (selling travelcards on the street is quite common in London). Thing is, both theories seemed improbable. I got on my train, and was resigned to never knowing whether I had done a good deed or just been scammed.

Then I had an idea. I got the tube map from my pocket and searched for Hendon. Sure enough – there it was, safely nestled in Zone 4.

Still, I felt I'd learned an important lesson. If I had really wanted to be a Good Samaritan, I should have given it to the guy with the rat.

It's been a while since my last daynode, and I'm none the better. School has begun, and I'm not really making that many new friends. But it's only been 3 weeks, so I always have hope. I'm not quite sure what's happening in my life right now, and I'm a battered shell of a spirit that I was before.

I'm the project manager for my BUSM group or Business Management class and I'm finding that while I have the simple planning skills and diplomatic tactics to probably make it work, I'm finding it hard to "axe" two of the unproductive members of the group. I suppose I should but I would like to make this easier, getting over the guilt. More frustrating is not meeting that attractive young lady in my class. I see that I catch her eye almost as much as she catches mine. But again, my chicken mentality has hit me hard, and at this rate, I'll have no choice but to simply stare. Depressing yet true.

I went out with Karen and Michelle today. Karen had us over for dinner today, and Michelle broke up with her boyfriend last night. They were having a "break", she says, and she sought comfort in both me and Karen. It's nice to know that I'm dependable, but they spoke to me like I was a woman and bad-mouthed men like I wasn't one. Depressing but that's okay. We wound up at Kerrisdale Starbucks and they started talking about how they spent like 1000 dollars on a Prada bag or a Chanel dress or something. I wasn't in the conversation so I wound up bussing home.

Now I'm tired as hell, but still trying to find the minimal time I have to node, and read up on Kiss, (the korean group, not the one with Mr. Simmons). I'm gonna upgrade my 233 Pentium MMX to an AMD Athlon XP1700+, 256 MHZ DDR ram, ECS K7S5A Motherboard with LAN, Sound Blaster Live Value 5.1, nVidia GeForce2 64MB MX400 with TV out and a Maxtor 60 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. Can't wait. How lame is that. That's the highlight of my month. Dang. I need more sleep.

If anyone has a better solution for my computer or would simply like to congratulate me, msg me. Haha.

I received a package today from a loved one, for no reason what-so-ever.

The delivery man left the package on the front step without knocking, or alerting my lightly sleeping self of its presence.

The dogs did not bark.

Completely confuzzled was I, when alerted to it's presence upon opening the front door later in the day, and noticed a maroon Carlton Draught beer holder sitting on top of my precious package.

Curiouser and curiouser.

I looked once, twice, three times. And yet the situation remained the same.

Many thoughts come to mind of drunken postal workers, and these thoughts have kept a moderately amused smile on my face for at least part of the day.

WARNING - this daylog contains no angst or sadness. In fact, it may even be a little soppy and gushing. If this will offend, then move on, there's nothing to see here. Thankyou, come again!

Well, last night was my brother's birthday. So it was out to mum and dad's place near Yass, about 45 minutes drive from Canberra, Australia. A chance to sit down with my dad, sample some of his latest home brew, and watch a bit of cricket. My dad brews a pretty damn good beer, I must say.

After a little while, my sister arrived, then soon after my brother, his fiance, and my nephew, Thomas.

This is about where the gushing's gonna start - don't say I didn't warn you!

It only seems like yesterday when I was visiting the hospital, soon after Thomas' birth. I'd never really held a really, really new-born baby before then. He was so tiny, and seemed so very fragile. Listening to his breathing, as he grew used to his new lungs. He's a little under 2 1/2 now, and he's an absolute joy. Totally gorgeous, with the cheekiest smile you've ever seen. It seems like he's constantly running and laughing. I've never been an uncle before, and I've gotta say, it rules!

I'm amazed when I see him now, that he remembers my name. I don't get to see my family all that often - perhaps once a month or so, sometimes longer. But Thomas doesn't forget. Even if he's not quite got his tongue around the pronunciation - I'm 'duert' to him at the moment! His mum has finally realised, after last night, that he's not actually saying 'do it'!!

We had a great time last night. It's probably too early to say, but he could have a future as a drummer. We drummed the table, the esky, the door, the hot water heater, my sister's car bonnet....even the broom handle leaning against the wall. It all got a good bashing. Me, on my knees, playing with my hands. Thomas, who was in charge of the double kick - hands going madly, while he stamped with his feet. I don't know if we were playing jazz, speed metal, funk or punk. Perhaps it was the ultimate fusion piece.

We played with plastic fruit, we played with a washing up glove - which makes quite a nice monster, I'll have you know - we counted beads on the high chair, and I followed him, when he demanded my hand, so he could take me somewhere to show me something of the upmost importance.

When he's being driven through an area that's been touched by the recent bushfires we've had here, he just shakes his head, and says "fire bad". He got to see a lot of the television footage of the worst of the fires, and his biggest concern? The animals. His mum was talking about it last night, and he overheard. In the middle of the conversation, Thomas pipes in - "what about the amals?" And it wasn't just something he'd overheard elsewhere - he really was deeply concerned with how the animals fared. God I love him..

He got upset twice in the entire night. Once, eating corn chips with salsa. He'd been doing a great job, picking out a chip, and ever so carefully dipping it in the jar (naturally, his hand was covered in salsa, but he was trying so hard!). Everything was fine, until he got a slightly spicier bit on his chip. A look of horror quickly crossed his face, as he ran to mum, the tears flowing down his face. Mum got him a drink, and everything was better. Then he trotted back in, got another chip, and began dipping again... Man he loved that salsa!

The only other thing that upset him was blowing out the candles on the cake. Everything was fine, until we started to sing Happy Birthday. He wasn't scared - he just thought it was for him, and got all embarrassed!

One thing I got out of last night was an appreciation of just how tiring it must be, to look after, and raise a child. I was with Thomas for a few hours....not too late, I was fast asleep on the couch, worn out. He wasn't being difficult, he didn't spend the night crying and demanding attention. In fact, he was perfectly adorable for the whole time. And I was exhausted. I don't know how anyone can manage that day in, day out. His parents can't afford to crash out on the couch, while he's running around, into absolutely everything. I'm in awe of the incredible job my brother and his girlfriend have done with him, and just hope that when my time comes, I have the strength that they have.

E2 mums (or moms!) and dads, you're incredible.

Sappiness over - it's now safe to continue.

So he comes to my cube with his eyes watering and says, "Dude someone shit their pants. I swear to God I'm going to throw up. Wtf do you want?"

I ate Krystals for lunch. For those of you who don't know what Krystals are, think White Castles. For those of you who don't know either, think a little meat-like-substance sammich that's so greasy it practically melts in your mouth. After half a dozen or so of them little gut grenades your body really hates you. Soon everyone else hates you too, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

So I'm sitting in my cube this afternoon seeing how long I can go without blinking because nothing cures boredom better than searing agony in the eyeballs when I squeak off a lil bitty one. O M G I nearly gagged - the Krystals were in full effect. Sooooo I hunkered down and let the ammo build up and then sneaked over to my buddy's cube and let go a hall of famer right outside his cube door and quickly ran back to my cube. Then I emailed him saying "Come to my cube right now I need your help QUICK!!!"

I want to talk with Kristin Hersh about how she manages to get anything done. Just how the heck does she make such amazing music with three sons, a bunch of dogs and a husband orbiting around her?

Because there are times, like right now, when my kids are freaking out and screaming. Full on, open mouthed tonsil dancing eye squirting earsplitting screams. Hanging from my left arm, pressing the keyboard. Times like now when I can not see past this moment and all I want is a quiet place to stick my head.

I lose my words in I want I want I want, until my personal intentions for the day have been cast aside. Everything but my words are undone, the bed, the dishes, the diapers. And I can not believe I never saw this picture hanging on my future, back when I thought 95% of any parenting moments would have to be fabulous because I was going to be the coolest mom ever.

But I am not nearly as cool as I thought I would be. I don’t pretend it’s an easy task, this motherhood thing, which turns you into a nutritionist, art teacher, mender, finder of lost things. You do not so much shape a person as you just kind of facilitate their development. Then you do all this along with your own mind-blowing head-trips. And I expected to be much better at it.

I do have mother-like instincts. How else could I remember to turn off the stove and wipe my hands on my shirt while running up the hallway, not stepping on landmines, seeking out the sad sound of a wee one who fell down with a loud smack and cried out, Mommy…I…Need…You. Someone has fallen and it’s only me can fix it.

I know cures, mostly magic words that surprise even me, “I know you’re mad about the apple juice. Here is a honeysuckle flower!” I know herbs. I talk birth. I write what’s around me. I can make a bed with two kids jumping in the middle of it. I have made 320 gallons of milk in three years nursing. I like big cheeks and blue eyes and baby heads bowed together to discover something. I love the smashy smashy of my lips on their cheeks, like pressing my face into bread dough just before baking it. I love their low rumbles, the giggles, and watching them think. You should see me haul my giant son around. I am fierce but vulnerable, like all mothers.

But I also have this vivid fantasy of myself in some dusky bar, in a black sweater and jeans. Smoking and having stimulating conversation with someone very engaging. Admiring the shadow on their cheekbones, subtly flirting. Mentioning my book tour, my amusing stint on This American Life, perhaps filled with witty little anecdotes about Ira Glass, and “OH let me tell you how funny Margaret Atwood was when we peed in neighboring stalls”.

And those things may not seem to have anything to do with each other, but they do. And I can not get these two things to mesh, which seems to be the root of the whole problem. This mom thing is hard. There is only so much self-sacrifice anyone can take. And all around, advice. “It will pass”, “They will grow up, enjoy it while you can”. And I KNOW all of that. But when I hear others say it I wonder if I just have everything all wrong. If I am just secretly very very horrible. Because no one ever tells a new parent, hey, sometimes this job is really gonna suck. So when you get here and all around is this silly wistful advice, you start thinking maybe everyone else is just much better equipped to handle it and you are strange for ever having gotten it wrong.

It is getting harder and harder to write under these conditions. And if I don’t write I can not get anything to feel right. Like a dog chasing his tail in endless loops.

Life is shit as usual. I woke up at 9 AM and sat in my bed staring at the top of the wall until 12. I didn't dream at all though. I cried for close to an hour last night.

She doesn't seem to care anymore....That is enough to make me cry by itself.

I can just sit and think of that first night I went to the halloween party with her. It was a wednesday and I was going to be picked up at 6:00, but I waited outside for a half an hour before. A week before when she told me that I could go I started shaking, I was so excited.

When she told me my heart skipped a beat, she actually wanted me to do something with her. I was shivering, I couldn't stop.

I cry every night, she doesn't know this. I still love her, I still don't ever want her to be hurt. At first she still seemed like she cared about me, everyday she'd ask if I was ok. She'd call me and make sure, she even cried once over the phone when she found out how broken up I was. She says she cares, but I can't be sure.

I haven't talked to her on the phone in a week, and when I saw her Sunday we talked for all of 3 minutes. She was and still is one of my 3 good friends, but now it's not the same. As much as I miss cuddling with her, as much as I wish I could kiss her one more time, I miss the times when she would tell me all about her day. When she'd be online almost as much as I was. When I could ask her anything or say anything and if it was dumb or annoying she'd call me "silly". When she'd stay up late just to talk to me, and call me every night before she went to bed.

Now if I say something she'll ask me what the hell I am talking about. That hurts me so much... She doesn't trust me, I'm not attractive to her anymore. She'll probably end up reading this and get pissed at me again. I cry out for help from her so subtle-like. She doesn't notice, or she doesn't care. I'm not her hero anymore, I did save her, but she doesn't care anymore. Love? Isn't love supposed to be forever, she even told me one day she loved me unconditionally. Unconditional love is false. Love is convenient, at a whim.

I can't trust anyone when they say that anymore, I truly do love her, she calls it obsession.

It would be obsession if I stalked her and called her all the time. I don't do that because I respect her.

I am the epitome of the heartbroken guy...

It's been almost 3 weeks, and I still don't know what to do.

I can never trust anyone as much as I trusted her ever again...I lost my heart and soul when I put them into her.

I know if she reads this she will be angry. I'm not gonna keep lying to her and myself and act ok. Is it so bad that I truly care about her? She once told me she loved me no matter what...she doesn't anymore. I never hit her, never yelled, never fought. I hate being nice.

Everything reminds me of her, it's out of my control.... I need something to happen, anything to make this better. I'm sorry I ever told Brian those things, but I fear she will never forgive me, and never trust me again. She's so wonderful and beautiful and everything... This sucks...

i feel sick. i've been sleeping poorly, writing music, and listening to too much death in june. it's snowing here, today, and i have another mile and change to walk before i get to my semi-final goal of the evening. yes, folks, i'm going to go back to coffee hell and be voluminously verbose at high volume. or maybe i'll actually scoop up my guts and finish that jazz song i'm working on. it hasn't been titled yet, but i think of it as 'the prince's wings' -- a complete nonsequitur, even if you have met the muse. it got the name because i began writing it while thinking about a conversation i'd had about persian royalty and the colour of a man's wings.

sitting at werk, now, listening to the 25 minute version of the andromeda suite, and trying to decide how to explain to my professor that i couldn't synopsize (is that a word?) the article he assigned because he was mistaken and the library doesn't contain the periodical in question. i know. i went there more than once, just to verify that i wasn't crazy. i s'pose i could say it just like that...

and now to totally break stride: have you ever had a friend who had seen and done more than most people will see in their dreams, but they know they haven't seen it all, and their eyes gleam with the lust for data? one of those people who glows when you show them something new, who shimmers with rapture at techno remixes of classical music and laughs hysterically when you explain that on the album version of boiled in lead's rasputin, the line is 'outrageously well-hung man'...there's nothing like it, i tell you. dancing in the machine room, talking about vivisection, and revelling in the decadence of sparkling peach juice....shit, man, with friends like mine who needs lsd.

Today is serene indoors, contrasting the rising of the storm. My room is dimly lit by candles...one peppermint, one with poppy seeds, one citrus vanilla, two plain. Their flames shine brightly and pure through tinted glass to reflect off of my
monitor. The glow of rainclouds diffuses through my window, adding its own exquisite and indescribable color. Thunder rumbles
quietly above my music--progressive harp, 'Caverna Magica' by some guy whose name I can't read.

Peace inside. Chaos outside. There is balance.

It occurs to me that I would like a cup of tea, so I wander into the kitchen. I begin heating water in a cup twined 'round with
painted ivy leaves, and search for my favorite blend--orange tea, from India. As I sort out enough of the tea to brew a cup, I
notice that I'm almost out of it...really should get more, somehow. Tea, a small spoonful of honey, and heated water...watch the
water change color from clear to deep gold to brown.

Ack, power failure. Thankfully I saved this work just before it hit. Restart, boot Linux kernel, fsck -A, all that good stuff.

Two hours later...

Coolness on my eyes, wiping away the tracks of my tears...crying always gives me a headache. Wish it didn't have to be this pathetic
sometimes, but it just is. At least I don't have to go anywhere...since to anyone with an eye to see out of, it's quite apparent
that I've been crying, and there's nothing worse than seeing people you don't even know look at you with that half-pitying,
uncomfortable gaze. To distract myself from the moment, I take up a pink gel-pen and draw the kanji for 'cherry blossom' on
the back of my left index finger. It makes me feel better, somehow.

It was midday when the three of us walked into the Mexican restaurant. Only I was named, as the others were traveling under assumed names, unknown to me. It was midday when the restaurant participants finally noticed the entry of an elf, a dwarf, and a man, each apparently mortal, but impressive beyond all imagining. They quickly looked away as we ordered our food.

I ordered a steak something they call kei-se-di-ya - it was mysterious for both me and the elf, but not apparently for the dwarf who ordered something else. The elf was a picky eater and had grown up on pizza and hot dogs, but his steak kei-se-di-ya seemed to agree with him.

We were here for our gifts. I had a ring of my own already, there to be recharged. The dwarf became a new ring-bearer. And the elf received a toothpick. These were our own choices, but such were their functions:

The Ring of Marriage: an eternal mate upon which all power is shared - for better or for worse - requiring a true leap of constant faith - a gift from Candle.
The Ring of Class: a removable ring and binder of minds with tales of adventure and mazes of adventure itself - an educational gift from the tribe of reflection.
The Toothpick of Disbelief: a sharp precise object for picking out the undesirable - examining it - and recycling it into new forms - like twin swords forged into a single handy wooden splinter - a gift from me.

We talked of the fellowship of the ring and Tolkien's trouble with women before we left on our own adventures as the tribunal. Their choice of names would soon become obvious.

I admit it. I node at work. I feel guilt about it. I think I shouldn't. I feel it's an example I must set for everyone who is not having fun at work. I want others to to have fun at work as well, and thus I node.

Deny this: Promote me. Allow me to delegate my responsibilities to trustworthy people. Why? Because I am working on nodes for servant leadership and networked administration. I'll teach them our ways. Your ways. Or I am already doing it. Ha!

For me, it was a busy day at work. Things were steady in the tech support department at InfoRad during the morning, but after I finished my tuna salad, the calls came pouring in. Many of the calls were from people using one of our single-user products on newer computers (damn those Conexant/Rockwell modems). I was able to make everyone happy by getting their software working, or referring their problem to the customer's pager service.

During my lunch break, I called one of my former high school classmates and told her a little bit about my recent trip to Florida. She wanted to know more, so there's a tenative appointment set for February for us to meet and share more info.

I was planning on talking with my girlfriend during the evening on my cell phone, but I didn't know where it was. I knew I had it with me, but when I went looking for it, it was not in the places I thought it would be. I left her a message on ICQ stating that if she were to call, she would get my voice mail. Later in the evening, we would end up chatting on ICQ, mostly about when we can actually meet face-to-face.

My dad came home with a couple disks with programs that he wanted me to make copies of. He also wanted to know how to get program output to print from a Win98 computer running a DOS program. The programs appeared to be written in QBASIC and I did not see anything allowing the program to print directly to the printer. Only thing I could think of is redirect the program output to a text file, and print that. My mom also was having fits about her laptop computer not booting up. Turns out it was a memory issue that was corrected when I removed the RAM chip from the computer and reinserted it.

Another long day, and I wish I had something more to show for it.

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