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10:59 AM, Jul 3, 2006 toot this
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Softball and 75th
I have spent the last 48 hours in solitude in my apartment, not getting pants dirty by wearing them, not troubling the public works with water for showers, and not increasing my razor's wear and tear. I spent hours perfecting a new web application for work, getting way more done than I could ever get done in the noisy office. That is, I did that stuff until today at about 3pm, when Ryan IMed me an invitation to play some softball in the 97-degree heat, down in Raytown. I happily accepted, and was riding down to some park off 59th within the hour.

I was placed at second base, and mostly embarrassed myself at first, grounding out, and screwing up some rather elementary cut-off fielding. But then, I got into the groove, and facilitated an inning or two's worth of defensive outs, and hit two hits, including a 2-RBI single. In the process, I gathered massive amounts of sweat and deposited them into a wet pangaea in my shirt, and into the dirt that caked all over me.

Ryan and I went from there to 75th St Brewery, where we enjoyed some excellent pastas and salads, not to mention hand-crafted IPAs. Some attractive woman next to me kept "accidentally" elbowing me, so I talked with her for a while. She seemed nice, but I was a bit tired to be "on," so I just talked like a normal person with her. She seemed to like this. Go figure.

During the game, I was fielding a throw from outfield, and took a nasty throw in the knee. Here's how it looks now. I guess the seam hit me.


2:10 PM, Jul 3, 2006 toot this
Counting Up
I'm on vacation. I have today, tomorrow, and the day after that off. I have had four beers now. I started drinking beer at roughly 2pm. I will continue to drink beer until I leave for some block party in Midtown around 9pm. Follow along with this entry, if you want a play by play. More to come. Timeline of my third of July, below.

  • 4:25pm: 5 beers. I am dizzy, and just finished listening to crazy Diana Fox doomp doomp music. Putting on Ladytron now.

  • 4:57pm: I had some trouble typing this one. Perhaps I should eat dinner. I need to be sober enough to make it to this tonight. Rather, I need to be sober enough to catch the bus to it.

  • 5:00pm: 6 beers. Getting dinner.

  • 5:53pm: 7 beers. There's a gnat in my beer. I drank it anyway. Also, I'm losing steam.

  • 5:55pm: I've taken to singing Elton John songs to myself. Looking forward to getting out, this evening.

  • 6:39pm: 8 beers. I think I'll take a sober-up shower now. Listening to "Euphoria" by the Fantastic Plastic Machine.

  • 7:10pm: So I didn't take a shower. I promise I will. I got another beer. Listening to Rilo Kiley now.

  • 7:15pm: 9 beers. All this editing made me change the victory page to redirect me back to the edit page. Also, I am not fit to drive.

  • 7:50pm: 10 beers. It has occurred to me, in this state of advanced cognition, that women are stupid assholes.

  • 8:13pm: 11 beers. Okay, I should actually shower now. Also, women are awesome.

  • 1:35am: 17 beers. Union Hill sucked. I'm going to bed.

4:46 PM, Jul 5, 2006 toot this
Happy 4th
The gridded scar on my knee looks gross now. While it doesn't hurt in the least, or even feel any different than when it's normal-looking, the bruise has turned a dirty green color.

I celebrated the 4th by staying in, hungover, until about 4pm. I went up north to Brooks and Kelly's place, where we grilled out, and lit off a bunch fireworks, including a couple quarter-sticks of dynamite, that left craters in the ground. After the fireworks were spent, I headed back downtown, parked the car, and made a beeline for Case Park, on the edge of the bluff, overlooking the West Bottoms and KCK.

Someone was shot and killed in Case Park, on the 4th of July, last year. Like most murders, however, it was directed and not random, so I wasn't worried in the least about my safety in the park. I was especially reassured when I started to be among throngs of people headed for the park. It was mostly young families and couples from downtown and the West Side, all come to watch the dizzying array of fireworks that there were.

Here's an interesting thought. Fireworks are expressly forbidden and illegal in Kansas City, but nobody would ever have guessed it last night. I have never seen so many fireworks being ignited at once. I could barely take phone calls. Shortly after I arrived at the Park, I got a call from Craig, who have a friend visiting from out of town. So, we went to Grinders and closed it. Then, we met Geoff down at Buzzard Beach in Westport, drank too much, and came home.

10:33 PM, Jul 6, 2006 toot this
We had a doubleheader in kickball, last night. It's official. Our defense is awesome. Over both games combined, we allowed only three runs to be scored. Even so, even though we did great on the field, we were horrible behind the plate. Even with the pump-up music(mine was "Rapper's Delight") that we had for each person approaching the plate, we scored just two runs between the two games, tying the first and losing the second.

We followed the games with some firework detonations, and scurried over to John's Deck for a postgamer.

9:41 AM, Jul 8, 2006 toot this
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Another First Friday
Jeff and I walked down to Los Tules, last night, and got some delicious Mexican food among a crowd of First Friday goers. The service was a little slow(except bringing and processing our check), but that's to be expected, I guess. After settling up, we walked a couple hundred more yards down the hill to Jilly's, where the $2 beers were flowing nicely. Shortly after we sat down, Erik joined us, and watched the DJs, who turned out to be friends of friends, set up their gear, and start playing some really excellent house music.

Jason and Matt joined us for a while, but went to meet a friend over at the Cashew, where we weren't particularly hot to go, especially on First Friday. So, we walked down the hill to Southwest Boulevard, with a mind to sit outside at La Bodega, only to be told that despite the fact that there were three completely empty, made-up tables, there was a half-hour wait for any of them. We went across the street to some Mexican bar, where a bunch of neighborhood 40- and 50-somethings were dancing to a DJ playing pseudo-banda music. We grabbed some gigantic Pale Ales, grabbed a table, and saw that the Royals had, yet again, won a game. They embarrassed Toronto 13-3, with five insult runs in the final innings.

We walked out of there and remarked, as we passed under the I-35 overpass, the kee-kee sounds of countless bats, and walked around the incredible piles of their guano, and the droppings of their pigeon brethren. Around West Pennway, Jeff ran off to commit indecent exposure in a cool, dark place, and told Erik and me that he'd catch us up.

To Erik's intense frustration, the Cashew(where we were now going. sigh) was several blocks away, over even, level gound. We arrived, and had to get in line just to enter the bar. After the two of us entered, the bouncer had to stop people coming in, as they were apparently at capacity. Capacity, at the Cashew, is a lot of people. We wrestled our way to the bar, got some $5 beers, and went upstairs. We stood by the open-air windows, and watched the drunken bargoers driving in and out of the area.

While we were there, I received official word that Jeff would not be rejoining us. It was my turn to buy drinks, so I suggested that we move on, this time to Bulldog, over on Main, a short walk away. We walked in the back door, and found the back room to be silly with available tables, so we availed ourselves of one, and ordered a couple of $4 beers, in larger glasses than at the Cashew. In addition, the scenery was excellent, we both agreed.

After finishing our beers, we crossed the street to a place I went once, a couple years ago, that used to be called Danny's Big Easy, a New Orleans-style jazz bar. Now, it's called Daddy's, and it didn't occur to me what that might mean, until we walked inside. Now, I don't mind gay bars, but this place was very, very gay. We politely used the lack of Boulevard on tap as an excuse to leave, and as we walked away Erik, a native of Texas, very vocally expressed his discomfort, combined with his desire to kick me in the balls.

We walked over to the Screenland Theater for a quick drink, and called it a night. It was fun.

9:15 AM, Jul 9, 2006 toot this
Beery Saturday
I got up yesterday morning, checked my email and forums, and got a call from Mike at work, about a networking conflict with the green-suit people setting their stuff up among our machines. I responded, both by phone and email, and hopefully, the situation has been resolved, based on my feedback, because I haven't heard anything yet. After that, I fixed a couple bugs in a new web application I just released for work, and ran over to the office to pick up a package.

At about 1pm, Jeff and I hopped in the car and drove to Lawrence to attend the brewmaster-guided tour of Free State Brewing company's operations. One thing about the tour that I thought was especially cool was that among the six or seven attendees were waitresses, who were taking notes the whole time. It turns out that everyone who works there has to be versed in the brewing process, and is subjected to a written "brewing test," to certify their worthiness.

After the tour was over, we reentered the main area of the bar, which was surprisingly crowded. There was no way to get a seat, and it was 3pm on a Saturday. We opted instead to walk down Massachusetts St, and pick a place when we saw it. That place turned out to be Lawrence's BW3's location, because they were showing the Germany-Portugal game on every oversized TV they had. We sat down and got some beers, and some old weird dude, sitting next to Jeff at the bar, was overjoyed to have someone's ear to fill with his undecipherable stupid crap. We opted for a table, and watched the game unfold from there.

While we were there, we decided to make a trip to the TSC for the Royals-Jays game at 6:10pm. We made phone calls inviting people, and never got any takers. In the end, it was just Jeff and me. As we were leaving Lawrence, I decided to take US-24 home, for a more scenic route than the ultrafast turnpike. It was lovely. We got home with enough time to grab a quick bite and head over to Barney Allis Plaza to catch the bus to the game. The new tennis stadium they built there looked very nice.

The game was back and forth, but Toronto came out on top, 7 to 5. After it ended with Reggie Sanders striking out looking, we decided to take the Waldo bus instead of the downtown bus, back from the K, and went over to 75th St Brewery for a giant mug of Pale Ale. Chris joined us there, and we talked about various subjects for an hour or so, principally beer.

The last bus downtown left Waldo at midnight, so Jeff and I walked over to the stop at 74th and Broadway, and were delighted to see that it was an "Ozone Alert" day, which means that all bus fares are 25 cents. We took the bus back downtown, and topped off the night with some beers and pub chips at 12Baltimore. I was in bed by 1:30am.

7:28 PM, Jul 11, 2006 toot this
Up Too Late
That's right. It's only 9:30pm, and I'm up too late. Today was day two of "12 Days of Hell," sponsored by work. The division is doing a big happening, and I'm in the middle of it, producing nine-hour days all this week, no weekend, and 16 to 18-hour days all next week. While all this is going on, I'm making sure to get enough sleep, as there will be no escape from work during this period. Also, don't expect me to be all astute with the site updates before July 22nd. There might be a little something here and there, but the updates of substance will return when my life of substance abuse returns.

Until then, keep yourself busy with the return of Homestar Runner. Or get a hobby, you internet sicko.

Mad shoutz to Amanda, who's only three years short of thirty, today.

5:55 AM, Jul 15, 2006 toot this
Saturdays Aren't Supposed to Suck
It's early on a Saturday morning, and I'm at work. The Singaporeans are prepositioning their units today, and we're allegedly only going to be here until noon. I doubt this very much. I think we probably won't get out the door until 1 or maybe 2pm. Even so, everything has been going very well. A couple of the computers that we were sent from Orlando were so badly configured, or even damaged, that we couldn't even use them. We've made do, though, with a couple extra computers from Geoff's network.

I met Erp at the Red Front, last night, and we went from there to Tarantino's. We liked both of these places very much. Cheap Boulevard bottles and draws, and very friendly staff made them both very nice places to visit. We went back to the west side of downtown, after that, and met Greg in the basement of the Majestic, where we listened to some live jazz before they closed at 11. Greg had a grand plan of going to Jilly's to see Mike and Dan spin some thumping beats. Before that, we went to the Quaff, right by my place, and saw from our table, a woman basically getting her buttocks groped by the guy next to her, right in everyone's plain view. We noticed several attempts on her part, to affectionately hold the groping hand in a futile attempt to play defense, leading me to believe that she must really like him, to tolerate him rubbing and groping her ass in front of a hundred people.

Anyway, I went home after that, and got two hours short of a night's sleep.

UPDATE: 5:43 PM - We didn't get out until 3pm.

6:37 PM, Jul 15, 2006 toot this
Kickball Catch-up Pics
Here are some pictures from the July 5th kickball doubleheader. You can see the rest by clicking any of the pictures.

216erpfield.jpg 217meganjulie.jpg 218blasta.jpg 221FIREWORKS.jpg 224maggie.jpg 234erpkelly.jpg 237team.jpg 244meganerp.jpg

1:02 PM, Jul 16, 2006 toot this
1 comment »»
Day One
Day 1 of the actual simulation is underway. We've had some problems, mostly PEBKAC errors. But the Singaporean folks, who didn't attend an instant of the very exhaustive training we gave all last week, have taken it upon themselves to start operating simulation machines, and are beside themselves with indignation when they break something. They're very curious, and like to fiddle with things. Unfortunately, our simulation software isn't really robust enough for wanton fiddling.

Anyway, I hope to get out of here by about 9pm, tonight, go home, and go directly to bed.

It's a gas.

12:51 PM, Jul 17, 2006 toot this
It is really frigging hot outside. Today is day three of probably five straight days with midday temperatures over 100 degrees. During the height of yesterday's burn, there was apparently a brownout, or partial blackout, kicked off by local air conditioners running as hard as they can go. My linux computer, which had an uptime of about 450 days, was taken down in the first power outage that there has been at my apartment since I moved in, three years ago.

When I got home, it wouldn't turn on. I'm not happy about this.

11:41 AM, Jul 20, 2006 toot this
In 20 minutes, Tiger Balm 2006 will be officially over. We'll start packing things up, and putting things away. Hopefully, this will all be an unhappy memory by bedtime tonight. When I get home, I will get right to work, finishing the Pale Ale keg we haven't finished yet.

Wish me luck!

9:30 AM, Jul 21, 2006 toot this
After we finished the exercise yesterday, we busied ourselves pulling down network cables and packing up the 40 computers that were sent to us from Orlando, into huge padded plastic cases. We wheeled them over to Supply, shook the supply sergeant's hand, and struck all memory of Tiger Balm 2006 from our minds. We immediately convened at High Noon Saloon and Brewery for a post-exercise victory drink, compliments of our supportive and generous COTA(the guy in charge).

After that, I hopped in my car and drove the ridiculous 35 miles back to civilization, with a mind to cut loose, as it was established at High Noon that the next time we would all meet at the office would be next Thursday. After that, I am taking a four day weekend, with my sister visiting. So, of the next eleven days, I'm working one. I got home at about 6:30, and started working on that keg, and after a short while, I received a text message from Matt, informing me that everybody was at Harry's except for me.

I legged it to Harry's, and met up with Jeff, Eric, Matt, and Kristin. Hardly everybody, but a very good crowd nonetheless. After a bit, Kristin had to move along, as she had kickball obligations to attend to. The four of us stayed, and continued drinking beer. We were very funny to ourselves. We were just settling up when Elli arrived, and we denied that we were settling up. I think I had two or three more glasses of Bully! Porter after that, and managed to get them paid for, because Matt appeared to be awkwardated when he told Michelle, our waitress, that he'd be covering Elli's drinks. "....um, and his too," be quickly added.

I finally got to see the cheesy commercial Matt starred in for the Metro. It's very cheesy. Among many other poses and locations, it features him sitting at a bus stop, talking to folks with fast quips like, "I haven't bought gas in months!" It was very entertaining.

I sensed that they were waiting for me to leave, so I left. Even at 11:30pm, it was still well over 90 degress outside. I sweatily walked home, and went to sleep with no intention of having to wake up for anything. I awoke a full eleven hours later, and started writing this website entry.

I have people coming over later, so I suppose I should get going on that pile of laundry over there.

11:42 AM, Jul 22, 2006 toot this
1 comment »»
Kill the Keg
In preparation for next week's party, we've reserved a new keg at Gomer's, and we're very excited about it. However, we still have an undetermined amount of beer left in the keg of Boulevard Pale Ale that we have now. Therefore, Jeff and I called an emergency flash party, last night, in an effort to finish off the beer. Josh came over first, at about 5:30pm, and we set up camp chairs out on the front patio.

The weather, up until yesterday, was horrible. The temperature broke 100 degrees Fahrenheit every day since Saturday the 15th. Just being outside was exhausting. Then, when my exercise in Leavenworth ended, the weather righted itself. There was a slight deluge yesterday morning, the vanguard of a much cooler weather system. Since then, the temperature has been very comfortably in the seventies and low eighties.

And so we sat, watching the big pretty clouds roll over us, in the shade of tree-lined 11th Street, on an idyllically gorgeous Friday afternoon. We sat and watched cars pass. Children were playing on the sidewalk, just up our stairs. Commuters on foot were finishing off their workweek, regarding us with grinning envy. It was as if the world had momentarily forgotten about its problems. It was lovely.

Josh and I sat and drank and talked about nothing in particular, and were just starting to sit quietly for a bit too long when Becca's head appeared above the brick fence. Her company made everything more enjoyable, and soon, Jeff got home and joined us. Josh had an engagement to attend, and took his leave about five minutes before Cole arrived and took his place. Nick and (another)Josh introduced themselves and joined us after a bit, and soon Ryan rolled up. We had a healthy little knot of people, all enjoying the weather immensely, and just feeling generally jovial.

Nick and Josh left after a couple of beers, and by this time, the sun was beginning to set, and the alcohol was taking effect. And still the keg showed no signs of weakening. Ryan, with our approval, sent a few text messages to some friends, and soon, seemingly out of nowehere, Kansas City's bicycling community was standing around our front patio, drinking happily, and offering fervent thanks and money for the beer. We accepted the thanks, but not the money, and mingled with the crowd which had now grown to over thirty people.

Then, with a word from someone who appeared to be in charge, the bikes all rolled away to the next spot, leaving Jeff, Cole, Becca, and me with a keg that was, astoundingly, still pouring. We decided it was a noble effort, but the attempt to kill the keg had failed, and we caught the next bus to Union Station, to pick up Jeff's friend Jamie, who was expected on the next train from St. Louis, and would be visiting for the weekend.

In opposition to established security standards, Jeff and I walked right past the "wait here" sign, and out onto the platform in the cool night air. It's really not that difficult. Just walk with purpose and everyone assumes that you know what you're doing. We walked out to the platform and looked appraisingly at both the Southwest Chief, steaming in its extended layover in Kansas City, on the long trip from Chicago to Los Angeles, and the new pedestrian bridge from Union Station to the Freighthouse District.

Jamie's train arrived after we'd been standing on the platform chatting for about twenty minutes. From there, we legged it over to Skies, at Pershing and McGee, for a 42nd-floor rotating view of the city, and $8 Long Island Iced Teas. Jeff bought, so I couldn't complain. We took in the views, took a cab, got some Pancho's burritos, and called it a night.

Jeff knocked on my door this morning as I was looking at pictures of local women on Myspace, and asked if I wanted to join them for breakfast. I accepted, and suggested a trip down to the Corner Restaurant, just outside Westport. As partial thanks for all the bus rides and cab rides and drinks, I bought breakfast. We sat next to an open door, and enjoyed delicious food amid a heavenly southerly breeze. We walked without purpose into Westport, looked around, and just as absent-mindedly, headed back to the car.

Right now, I'm enjoying a Stewart's Root Beer, while Jeff and Jamie run around downtown getting pictures and sightseeing. We're going to a Royals game later tonight, which should round off a very nice Saturday.

10:01 AM, Jul 24, 2006 toot this
Hard Drives and Parkville
Jeff and Jamie were running around town today, which gave me some time to formally investigate my computer. Without a monitor attached, I took it into the kitchen, set it up on the counter, and plugged it in. As it turns on, a noise like an alternating tick-tock sounds at random intervals, from the direction of the bow of the ship(er, computer). I had a feeling it might be the primary hard drive, so I decided to test my hypothesis, by disconnecting the drive from the power supply, and turning the machine back on. I did this, and there was no noise at all, except the machine beeping frantically about there being no operating system. Anyway, bingo.

Just to make sure, I plugged it back in and turned it on. Tick-tock all over again. I have a failed hard drive. It definitely makes me sad, but I should have seen it coming, as the date of manufacture was June 3rd, 2001, over five years ago. Luckily, all my movies, music, and TV shows are on non-system drives. So, I ordered three items: two hard drives and a serial ATA controller. One of the hard drives(a 37 GB WD Raptor) will be the system disk, and the other(an 80 GB WD Caviar) will be my '/home' directories. All the real storage(music, movies, pics, TV shows) is on the big drives(the 250 GB and the 300 GB), and shouldn't be affected in the least.

What sets me back, however, is that I'll have to rewrite a couple kinda major scripts, to get some pretty basic things working again- mostly notably the picture renaming and resizing scripts. I also lost everything that was in my home directory, which was a lot. I don't want to think about how much.

Anyway, before I realized I would have to make these purchases online, I rode up to Best Buy with Jeff. He's having computer problems, too. They weren't able to help either of us. We celebrated our non-victories with a run over to the Qdoba at Zona Rosa, for poorly-assembled burritos. On the way home, Jeff veered right at the exit for MO-9, saying, "this road becomes the HOA bridge, right?" I confirmed this, but then asked him if he'd ever been to Parkville, which was only a couple miles in the other direction.

Amazingly to me, he had not, so we went, and found ourselves driving like tourists down Main Street, ogling the pretty buildings in the late afternoon sunshine. We were irrevocably drawn to the Power Plant, where we stepped inside, and were very pleasantly surprised. It was the last brewery in the list of locals I had not yet visited, and it would seem that I saved a doozy for last. As the name suggests, the brewery occupies the space previously taken by the power plant for nearby Park College(now Park University), and the surrounding charming small town.

Today, the bar itself is wrapped around the old coal feeder/boiler, and its interior has been converted into a walk-in cooler. We discovered that they seem to brew the best IPA in the Kansas City area, along with the best nut brown. On top of that, the atmosphere(an old, hollowed-out brick building right next to the train tracks) is excellent. The Power Plant gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from both of us. Also, being next to the tracks means that every 35 minutes or so, a freight train passes by the building at high speed, and it can be felt throughout the whole circa-1914 building. It was startling at first, but then very cool.

We had a couple beers, watched the ending of the Tour de France, chatted with the staff and regulars, and left as the sun was setting. We decided that it was such a nice evening that we'd walk down to the very pleasant park the town has, against the Missouri River. The cicadae, crickets, and lightning bugs were out in force, all novelties to us, living in the heart of downtown. Another very pleasant novelty was that we could see stars coming out. We wandered around the park until it was wholly dark, and made our way back to the car. We both agreed that we like the old part of Parkville, and would like to visit again.

7:45 PM, Jul 25, 2006 toot this
Data Recovered!
The next time I see Tim Wasson, I'm buying him a bunch of things. I tried sticking my failed hard drive in the freezer(in a ziplock bag), and using a neat piece of software, and my roommate's hard drive enclosure, it worked!

The problem I had before no longer exists. Huzzah!

11:35 PM, Jul 26, 2006 toot this
An Important Announcement
This is the greatest song ever. It's over 13 MB, so you'd better be certain you want to hear the greatest song of all time.

9:33 AM, Jul 27, 2006 toot this
Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
For the last kickball game of the season, we played a team called Kick Me. Very clever, I know, but the absolutely important part is that we WON. Our music was awesome, we played well on the field, and rearranging the kicking order really paid off. Well, that, and the fact that we got some lucky hits in, including one that glanced off the side of the unfortunate pitcher's head, causing her to take a moment to relish the pain.

The jubilation among those who attended was palpable, and the team we played was not happy. They had watched us play, and lose, all season, only to fall to us themselves, in our sole win of the season. We celebrated with some shutgunned beer, and postgame victory drinks at Grinders, and on to the Stables. Also, as if our success was somehow fully knowable, the staff at Grinders did an excellent job, taking care of us.

Anyway, we rock!

2:17 PM, Jul 27, 2006 toot this
tagged with ontap
Schlafly APA
It took forever, but we finally killed the keg of Boulevard Pale Ale. This makes me very excited, because I picked up the next keg at Gomer's this afternoon.

I first tried this excellent beer last year, when Schlafly came to town for "Hop in the City," a self-promoting beer festival down in Waldo. Josh joined me, and we both decided that the APA was just wonderful, got drunk from it, and rooted raucously as Notre Dame almost beat USC.

Today, I walked into Midtown's finest liquor store, and Mark helped me out. He even filled out the keg form for me, ensuring that all I have to do is sign and pay. He rang the keg up as $133, and this surprised me. Last week, I was informed on the phone that it'd be $110, so I said so. Without even a blink, he voided the $133 number from the register and punched in $110, saying, "OK, I trust you."

My beer consigliere trusts me.

Anyway, come on over, perhaps tomorrow night, and have some.

11:14 AM, Jul 29, 2006 toot this
Quantity Hill
The party last night was a blast. The dishwasher is running for the second time, and I have a belly full of Chipotle. I'll have to post pictures of it, somehow.

Here are the pictures, you freaks.

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