Ayarane Project

Tag: unpopular opinions ahoy

I Am That Asshole: Wallowing in Memes edition

by Yoshi on Apr.04, 2017 | ITP: , ,

Guess what, you guys? It’s time for another unpopular opinion! Hooray!

Once again this relates to memes on the Facebooks. There is a type of meme that aggravates me, even as someone who can relate, because it encourages a kind of behavior that is just… severely counterproductive. Allow me to present an example of what I speak of:

wat

Uhm… sure…

I’ll admit that, yes, I get it. I am very much the same way. BUT, I feel like these memes, and the accounts that pass them around, and the people who share them, are feeding into a mindset that “it’s okay to not do something to improve my situation, even a little, because other people understand me.” I know the intent behind the accounts is to give people a place to commiserate and share experiences, but there’s a point where it just enables wallowing.

And the people I often see sharing these memes are, sadly, the sort who could SERIOUSLY benefit from therapy and often have the means to actually get said therapy, if their friends didn’t simply coddle them rather than give them the needed kick in the butt to make an appointment. But, nope, they go on posting these “I am socially awkward, please don’t drag me out of my safe space and force me to grow as a person” memes or vague and self-pitying one-liners and… I’m sorry, but I just have to eyeroll. I’ve seen too much of this and have invested too much bandwidth into others who shitposted like this, and my heart has hardened as a result.

When you post these memes, I think “Congratulations! You’ve acknowledged you have a problem. Now do something about it!” Is it callous and mean-sounding? Yes. I know I would shrink away if someone said this to me. And I have, because I’ve had similar things said to me, and those people were right.

The thing is that depression and anxiety are lying bros, and humans are prone to taking the path of most comfort and least resistance. It’s easier to wallow and dwell on how bad things are, and to want people to cater to you, even if it hurts you in the long run. Depression and anxiety, those douchebros, want to sell you the lie that it’s pointless to do something to extricate yourself from the gloom and that people will judge you anyway, so… learned helplessness!

Wallowing in your feebleness is yucky and unattractive. People talk of the importance of “self-care.” Posting memes about how socially awkward you are, and suggesting that it’s a thing that should be left alone rather than improved upon is not self-care. Working to improve your confidence and self-respect to not be so beholden to intrusive thoughts, THAT is self-care.

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I Am That Asshole: The Solidarity Edition

by Yoshi on Nov.15, 2015 | ITP: , , ,

Not doing it.

Changing my profile and hashtags won’t help your cause. Sorry.

So, uhm, apparently on my way home from my most recent stay in the hospital, some awful stuff went down in Paris. And as usual for anything of this calibur, social media thinks it can make it all better if people would just change their icons and insert platitude hashtags.

No thank you.

Now, before I continue, I want to make it clear that terrorism in any form is horrible and I don’t condone it in ANY way. (Because you know someone is going to interpret this Post of Unpopular Opinion like that…)

It’s, just… changing my profile picture does what, exactly? “Support France and the people of Paris” is an awfully vague statement. Call me a party pooper, but overlaying the colors of the French flag over my fat face… doesn’t really do anything to, you know, locate the perpetrators, collect evidence that would lead to their conviction, provide monetary and logistical aid to the wounded and their families. Changing your icon does not do any of those things, ever. Only people on the scene can do that, and people on the scene have no time to be busting out their phones to fart around on Facebook.

This is just like that one time where there was a campaign encouraging people to change their Twitter/FB icons to, what was it, 80’s cartoons to raise awareness for child abuse. And I was all “what the crap, how vague and ineffective is that? Changing your icon will not end child abuse. Not by a longshot.” Classic feel-good slactivism is what that is, feeling like you’ve contributed to a cause by doing what is essentially nothing at all.

So, all you people swapping icons to support a cause or to “mourn” with a locale that has suffered a tragedy… Please, please think about what you are doing and whether or not it will influence the outcome in any way. (Spoiler: It won’t.) If you want to Do Something About It, put your feet on the ground and get to it by, you know, volunteering for the appropriate organizations. Or if you’re too far away or otherwise unable to act directly, go donate to said relevant organizations. Enough with this “I’m going to change my Facebook profile to support/protest X” bullshit, because you’re just diluting your own message.

Bonus rant: the #prayersforparis hashtag!

Um, okay. I know your hearts are in the right place (the above notwithstanding), but… you DO know that France is a very secular country that highly discourages public displays of religion, right? While it appears to be a Catholic country because of all the historic cathedrals and such, in practice it is very big on religion being a personal thing that the state should have no influence in, like imposing a religion on everyone. It’s even uncomfortable with religious displays/expression in public places because it could be interpreted as support for one religion over another. Surely you may recall controversy about Muslim students wearing their hijabs in public schools…?

So, yeah, about that #prayersforparis hashtag that I’ve seen floating around? It’s actually quite inappropriate and does not respect the French stance on public displays of religion. Put another way, it’s like telling an atheist person that you’ll pray for them despite KNOWING they are atheist and would therefore find such a thing at LEAST a little offputting. In this case, the secular “our thoughts are with you” alternative is actually the best one you could use, if you must make such a platitude.

I understand that prayer is a common, powerful coping mechanism for many religious people, but it’s essentially their version of the “changing my social media picture will solve everything” trick. You can pray until you’re blue in the face, but prayers will not catch the perpetrators, get them convicted or provide medical/practical/monetary aid to the victims and their families. Actual hard work and donations to the appropriate charities will!

(Want a good, helpful hashtag to cling to? #PorteOuverte (literally “open door”) among the locals who provide shelter to those either directly affected by the attack, or are stranded because of canceled flights. And it’s an example of “action, not platitude” at work!)

—-

In the absence of directly assisting in those things or putting your money where your mouth is, the best thing you can do is to go about your lives and aspire to do good. Don’t feed into mob mentalities, don’t give into revenge fantasies, because that stuff just brews racism and violent thoughts and hate and… it just feeds into the cycles that lead to these incidents happening. We as human beings have this really bad habit of using Bad Events like terrorism or shootings to “otherize” people and lump them together as the enemy, and that doesn’t really help anyone. It happened after Pearl Harbor, it happened after 9/11, it happens every goddamn time that a large amount of people die because of violence, as if we think we can justify hate and vengeance and we forget that whole “an eye for an eye makes the world blind” thing.

“But I’m just blowing hot air,” the person who gets called out on openly talking about his violent revenge fantasy says. “I’m just talking. I’m not actually going to do (super violent thing), I know it’s illegal. But I’m just so MAD.” Still not okay, because it inevitably influences you to form prejudices and biases that don’t need to be there. I’m not saying “don’t get mad about stuff ever” but rather, funnel that into something constructive or at the very least won’t make the situation worse.

This unpopular opinion was brought to you by the itch on my belly and my cat rubbing on my chair.

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Christmas Creep (or, “I am a filthy contrarian”)

by Yoshi on Nov.03, 2015 | ITP: , , , , , , , ,

So I see a bunch of people on Facebook are, in addition to posting aggravating “simpler times were better/I am an 80s kid and it rocked back then” and “I’ma wear my Jesus on my sleeve and if you don’t like it you’re a horrible person” memes, and also the “parents should regrow their backbones and smack their children” ones (which led to me making a low-key but still kinda vocal rant on Twitter about how people who say “I was spanked and I am okay” are not really okay at all because they were conditioned to think violence against children is acceptable, with the noticeable disclaimer that because of my background I am more likely to view such things through the lens of abuse. I blame my lack of post-surgery pain meds for that one because I am usually much better at holding my tongue).

Ugh, okay, fine. I don’t obnoxiously broadcast my atheism/asexuality… and this being the internet, my obsessing over cats seems to be well-tolerated.

Now we have the “Christmas Creep haters” and the “these awesome stores are closed on Thanksgiving” memes.

Oh dear.

The Christmas Creep haters can actually get pretty, uh, vicious in their hate. One is all “for every mention of Christmas, God kills a baby reindeer.” Overkill much? o_O I get that you kinda want to give Thanksgiving its proper time, and your aversion to the blatant commercialization of Christmas at the expense of its spiritual origins, but, damn. (Spoiler alert, Thanksgiving is heavily commercialized too.)

But I’ma be the wielder of unpopular opinions and contrarianism once more. I LOVE Christmas. Yes, I’m a filthy atheist and I freaking love Christmas. I fully embrace its blatant secular commercial aspects. For one thing… lights! Lights are shiny and happy and this is the one time of year I have no problem jacking up my electric bill to illuminate my tiny-ass synthetic tree (that I unfortunately need to replace due to aging, it’s breaking apart pretty badly). I love seeing the house lights on the rare occasions I am able to go out, and this year I intend to try walking around my block on a regular basis to look at them. While I live in SoCal, the land in which snow is something you would see more on TV/art than in real life, I like the winter-themed decorations in the stores and around the city. I will even happily stomach your blatantly-religious Christmas music since it’s quite pleasant to listen to. And, of course, Christmas is an excuse to eat eat eat and eat some more, candy and sweet breads and such.

(Loot is… a distant perk, I guess. About 10-ish years ago it might have been more important, but not so much anymore. I mean, it’s nice if I get something, but… no big, you know?)

So, yes, I am in favor of Christmas Creep. I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving because first and foremost, I find turkey and most Thanksgiving food rather bland and unappealing. (Sadly the hospital food was NOT helpful in this regard, they kept pushing turkey and I’m all “uh no thank you, I was happier on the liquid diet since that way I got chicken soup”) This of course leads into the guilt trips over not liking turkey like “normal” people, which in turn leads to a lot of needless mashing of my depression and anxiety buttons. While in recent years that hasn’t happened so much because nobody comes over for Thanksgiving anymore, and we have opted to ditch turkey in favor of takeout like the filthy Americans we are… you never forget that stuff.

This leads to the second part, my distaste for people gloating about stores being closed on Thanksgiving. The original message, that people should be given time off to be with their families, is completely legit and I’m okay with that. But when you start gloating and shaming others because they shop at places that ARE open, that’s what I have a huge problem with, because you’re missing other sides of the story. For instance, some people don’t have families to spend the holidays with and/or WANT to work on that holiday, because they need the money (and maybe to get away from family. Yes, here I go, seeing stuff through a lens of a person with narcissistic parents.)

Also, I’ma go to bat for those of us who are chronically less-prepared, or just have shit come up and “oh, we don’t have enough food. SURPRISE MARKET TRIP!” If the haters had their way and shut down all the stores– ALL OF THEM– then we’d kinda be screwed. Surprise Thanksgiving Market Trips are, surprise, a common thing in my house because my mom is a LITTLE bit scatterbrained is known to forget to restock/get stuff even though she has apps to remind her. Yep. It would be nice if everyone were perfectly prepared and there were no sudden instances of “oh noes we are missing/don’t have enough of X” so all the markets can shut down for the day and give everyone the day off.

Also ALSO: we statistically have some Canadian-born people that may have already done their Thanksgiving and wouldn’t mind being at work to pick up an extra shift? Just a thought.

Again, this feeds into my true complaint about it, that people either forget or are plain unwilling to consider alternate scenarios. Le facepalm!

I had my post-surgery follow-up appointment thingy yesterday, and the doctors (the surgeon who actually did the surgery, and a cute lady doctor who… well, I don’t think she was in the OR, but she was definitely someone who was involved in evaluation and analysis) removed my JP drain flask. I MAY have inadvertently called it a “jejunum-placed” drain rather than its proper name (“Jackson-Pratt”), oops. I was sent home with antibiotics because the little hole where the JP drain tubing was inserted was starting to get red, and the doctors were all “ruh roh, let’s stop that before a bad infection crops up.” Long pink pills (Clindamycin) are loooooong.

Gotta come back in a week to get the staples taken off, and then it’s just a matter of waiting for everything inside to fully heal.

Arrowhead is a pretty hospital. ALMOST as nice as Kaiser. (Kaiser does have mini-waterfalls in its enclosed garden, so it scores slightly higher there.)

On the way back, I was hungry, had some extra coin + coupons, and dammit, I was curious about the new All Day Breakfast menu at McDonalds, so I got two Sausage+Egg McMuffins (buy one/get one coupons FTW). And I got fries because fries are better than those tiny hash brown patties. When I got home I poured out some syrup into a condiment bowl so I could dip my McMuffins, kinda like a breakfast version of au jus. It was gloriously tasty, would very much recommend. :)

UNFORTUNATELY things took a tragic turn a couple hours later, as when I was moving my table that had my water cup and my ninja macbook Dinah, I kinda sloshed the water and some big drops got on Dinah’s keyboard, and I guess enough got in where the damage was critical. Stupid me! I should have closed her lid, but I was so used to doing this that… ugh. I dried her off and powered down and turned her upside down to let anything in there drain out, and tried to reboot her later that evening, but it was too late. Her “body” is in situ near my bed. :\

She’s 2 years out of warranty, and the current Mac Book models are way too expensive to even consider… so I’ma have to go without for the foreseeable future. Sort of. Rather than get a replacement laptop, I guess I’ll just fling my spending coin (the portion of my SSI money that I do my best to keep away from my mother when she drains me every month for bills) on the iPad Pro+Pen that’s supposed to come out later this month. I thought I was going to not bother looking into that even though it has tasty pressure levels and I can use it as a proper drawing tablet, but with Dinah broken, this suddenly became a more appealing option. I’ma have to piggyback on my mother’s Best Buy credit though, something I am not exactly jumping for joy over… but yeah. Definitely getting it in gold, because if I’ma get Apple, I may as well go Full Bling. :P

BECAUSE OF THIS (needing more coins, and having something to facilitate art), I will most likely be opening up Gourmet Ramen commissions soon. I was hesitant to do any commission work after being approved for SSI because of concerns about interference with benefits, but, screw it, it probably gets read as “beer/fluff money” and won’t count (and I don’t think the government cares enough to track recipients’ bank accounts in real time, that shit is probably expensive to do for not much reward).

Finally, today is Tuesday, which is yay because that means raiding with bro and Lazy Peons. Robert sent me a cute tell when he was logging out, “yell at me if I oversleep!” (Usually it’s ME who oversleeps…) I was all “I will (politely) yell at your phone. And then give it cookies. Because mage tables.”

Absolutely no regrets in dragging him into Lazy Peons. Probably one of the best things I’ve done in WoW, and we’re all better for it. He seems happier having more people to talk to, he gets to be an Orc, I have more reason to play my Horde people, and the guild overall likes him. We just gotta get him to talk on Vent, so people will believe me when I describe him as being a blend of David Hayter and Will Smith (complete with “oh HELL no”).

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The one about equality and religious freedom

by Yoshi on Jul.06, 2015 | ITP: , , , ,

It’s time for some… well, maybe not UNPOPULAR, but it’s a controversial topic that I’m a little late to because of other things, but had been musing about all the same.

SO.

A couple weeks ago, the internets and medias were all in a kerfluffle over the whole “okay marriage equality is officially a national Thing now!” Good for them! It’s been a long time coming, but at least it’s in the bag.

I wasn’t expecting a lot of fallout on social media since my friends are 99.5% liberal or at least “I am okay with gay people” and the two that wear their Jesus on their sleeves was something I could smile and nod my way through. Then I was reminded very quickly that sometimes just two people can be louder than a hundred if they felt like it.

I’m an atheist. I don’t exactly broadcast it, I’m the person who politely declines when people offer to pray for me because I don’t really think prayer is anything more than an emotional placebo, but I don’t want to be the jerk who shoots holes in your (unusual to me) coping measure. I find the Bible fascinating as a work of literature and mythology (and to that end, I see video games and other fictional things that play with Judeochristian themes– Xenogears, to name a huge example– as being not unlike how Western media often plays with Norse and Greek/Roman mythology). I get a little uncomfortable at the sight of Facebook posts that are ever-so-subtly judging nonbelievers, or that proclaim that everything good in the world is only that way because of your god. I really want to charge in and (very tactfully) point out how there is good being done in the world by people who do not partake in any religion, and that one need not have divine inspiration to be virtuous, but it’s PROBABLY better that I don’t, because as we all know, the sort of people who wear their Jesus on their sleeves get a little defensive if you as much as poke them! So, uh, let’s not do that.

Still, though, seeing these two people being unusually loud and overly dramatic in their “lamentation” over marriage equality… I feel like I need to address the recurring things I’m seeing. So, I’d rather just do it here, in somewhat-more-general terms.

1. Same-sex marriage will give rise to polygamy/bestiality/pedophilia! OHNOES! Um, no, doesn’t work that way. This merely allows (with consent) two people to get married, regardless of gender. There’s no change in regards to the other things (which carry issues of consent and, in one case, animal cruelty). Polygamy is another issue altogether, and I’m not even going to touch that one beyond “it’s not even in the same category as what this drama is about.”

2. Same-sex marriage will ruin this country! Other nations have had it for awhile, and they don’t appear to be falling apart at the seams. Perhaps you would be less stressed if you try not to think about what those two dudes on the opposite side of the country are doing in their bedroom?

3. But, but, the sacrament of the institution of– Heterosexual people have tarnished whatever “purity” that your definition of marriage entailed long ago. And not just with reality shows like The Bachelor and Wife Swap, either. Really, the whole system was broken since the beginning, back when it was used as a method of trading one’s daughters for property or political gain, and as an unspoken safe harbor for violence against women.

4. I believe in the Bible. Um… sure. You acknowledge that it’s a book that exists. A lot of us do, whether religious or in it for the good reads. Spoiler alert: it went through a mess of translations before it arrived in a form you can read, and probably saw a lot of alterations along the way (to account for idiomatic phrases as well as translator’s discretion, also sometimes passages were altered to accommodate social/political biases at the time. See: the King James translation). If God wrote the Good Book… well… the phrase “too many cooks spoil the broth” comes to mind.

(also, small tangent here: Is it me, or is the Bible a ginormous editor’s nightmare? Specifically the New Testament. Seriously, the first half of it is just mostly-redundant retellings of the story of Jesus. Okay? Could we not have compiled all of the accounts, eliminated the overlaps and seeded in the differences where appropriate? I understand wanting to give each one their proper due, but, come on, there are limits!)

5. This is a Christian nation! And we don’t want gay people getting married! The First Amendment disagrees with you, sir. As much as you cling to that Amendment as your guarantor of your ability to wear your Jesus on your sleeve, it also says that one religion CANNOT be the law of the land. And that is a very good thing, given our incredibly diverse population. Now, I imagine there are some very bad actors that would really like a “state religion” imposed, so as to enable them to go after nonbelievers, but… well, let’s not go there.

Rather than dwelling on the theoretical boogeymen arguments surrounding gay people and what allowing them to marry might do to this country (because most of the “what-ifs” center around misleading, harmful stereotypes), let’s instead look at the good things that will happen as a result of allowing same-sex marriage. Specifically the very industry of weddings themselves. Getting married is expensive! And for the people we hand off that money to, getting married is extremely profitable! I bet those wedding planners, florists and bakeries must be salivating at the thought of all the new business they’re about to get. For this reason alone, same-sex marriage is very good for the economy! (Also, marriage licenses cost money, so there’s another source of revenue for the government. A small increase, but still…)

6. I don’t hate my gay friends, I just don’t agree with their lifestyle. This is where we have a little problem with “don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin” talk, because that “sin” (being gay) is kind of integral to their core identity, and is just as important as their other major personality components. The common rebuttal is that heterosexual people don’t parade their straightness around*, but that’s not really a fair counter because, for all intents and purposes, straight is “default,” and I am hard-pressed to find historic examples of heterosexuals being oppressed for their orientation.

* except heterosexuality IS paraded around, every day, and we all take part in it. That picture you have of your girlfriend on your desk? That counts. Bragging about your hot date? That’s “parading,” too. Even talking about your wife and kids, that counts because you’re giving away that you had sex with a woman, to productive ends! And that’s just individuals. The media glorifies hetereosexuality. “Parading” is an understatement.

7. I just want to express my opinion per my First Amendment rights and not be persecuted for them. Understandable. Change and accepting it is hard. However, in this case, maybe loudly protesting, exaggerating, hyperbole and positing doomsday scenarios isn’t an effective way of swaying others to your side. The LGBT community is not trampling on your beliefs (in fact, there are Christians and other devout sorts among them), they simply want a shot at being themselves with the same dignity as the rest of us.

So, sit down and relax. All this stressing about same-sex marriage… well, certainly it’s not good for your blood pressure.

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I’m an 80’s kid and I LIKE today’s technology!

by Yoshi on Mar.16, 2015 | ITP: ,

My, it seems I’ve been all about unpopular opinions lately. Let’s add one more onto the heap!

On Twitter and Facebook, I’ve seen this image floating about. I’ll just put it here in case you haven’t seen it yet.

but was it really better then?Okay. I get it. You like nostalgia. Who doesn’t? Life just felt more pleasant back then. Saturday morning cartoons, 8-bit Nintendo, mix tapes! Rad stuff!

Psst. You can take the rose-tinted nostalgia goggles off now.

I won’t deny that there are some very real social problems that either came about or, more likely exacerbated by our new toys. I won’t deny that there should be some no-tech fallbacks for when stuff fails. Those are practical concerns that should not be handwaved because they ruin our fun.

But the issue I take with this meme and the underlying sentiment behind it is that the naysayers are discounting how much better our lives have been because we made new stuff and improved on existing things. The argument is that all of this makes people “soft.” It doesn’t. It just makes us aware of how horribly inefficient and tedious the old ways were. Do you really want to go back to when, oh, you had to rewind video tapes or face a fine from the video store because their workers were too lazy (or they just wanted another way to make money)? Or using terribly-outdated encyclopedias when you were tasked with doing research on school projects? Or having your favorite TV shows interrupted by breaking news and not being able to watch said show on demand later? Or having to share a phone line with people who give you grief for wanting to have an extended conversation and it’s not practical to drive across town? Hell, it was like pulling teeth for me to go out with friends at all, because my parents (mostly my mother) used their convenient excuses of “but mah work schedule!” or “but this house is a mess!” to keep us locked away at home all the time and away from friends. And, face it, when friends moved away, you can sing the praises of letters all the time, but “out of sight, out of mind” was very much in effect and the friendship was basically over (I was the one who sent all those letters only to have the replies taper off very quickly). I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more success maintaining long-distance friendships with email/txt/Twitter/Facebook/etc. than with writing letters.

But more than that, I feel like this “it was better back then” meme just reeks of trying to shame people for enjoying what we’ve accomplished. “The old days, before we had all these things, were better, and you’re a lesser person for liking these new things!” I guess this is the newest form of “kids these days”-type grousing. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to deal with being shamed for liking things since, well, always, but I’m tired of this “tech is ruining everything” blather. It feeds into my weariness of the pervasive doom and gloom that I have to live with (again, mostly from my mother). I’m also tired of the argument that social media and “selfie culture” makes people narcissistic, because that is a myth and the “narcissism” they speak of is not True Narcissism (aka Narcissistic Personality Disorder), which is far more insidious and dangerous than a somewhat inflated ego by taking pictures of themselves. But that’s something best saved for another post.

So, yeah. I’m an 80’s kid, and I like today’s technology.

I like that I can take pictures of my cat and have them instantly available to post to Twitter (and that I can take pictures of seemingly trivial stuff like my cat’s weird sleeping poses without having to worry about wasting film).

I like that, if I miss the first broadcast of a TV show or movie, it’s more and more likely I’ll be able to stream (or otherwise obtain, ahem) it somewhere after the fact rather than have to wait on a possible re-airing.

I like that if I want to research something, I have a pretty good assurance that the reputable sources are not horrendously out of date.

I like that if I want to play a video game with someone, I don’t have to physically be in the same room if they’re on the other side of the country (or planet). If I want to talk to them and text chat is too slow (or not available, ‘sup Nintendo)? Good thing we have things like Skype and Ventrilo!

I like that if I want to reference a funny scene from something, I can call it up on YouTube rather than stumble over my own words to describe it and probably misremember some things (plus I don’t have to be at the mercy of what Big Media decides I should like, because I have weird tastes).

I like social media. I may not be hugely popular, but at least I don’t feel so alone, as I would otherwise be because my circumstances don’t let me, you know, go out and have local friends anymore.

Yes, change is scary. It’s tempting to want to go back. But we can’t go back, it’s just not practical. And the awesome thing about being human is our love of tweaking, improving and making new things. We should not be ashamed (or shame others) of what we have accomplished. If there are problems resulting from, made worse with or being revisited through  our creations, let’s put our energy into fixing them rather than calling for firebombing everything and retreating into the past, where things were most definitely NOT better.

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