Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

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Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

135 Comment

  • Revel: Super excited, the BF just told me that he got us tickets to a Masquerade Ball for NYE. I have never done anything on NYE except during college (…yeah, let’s just not talk about those parties), so I am stupidly giddy about it. But now I only have 2 weeks to find a dress!!
    Query: I’m thinking rent the runway. I have never, ever worn a fancy dress (seriously, my wedding dress was $80 from Potomac Mills), so how does this work? Should I size up? Ack! Heeelp!
    Rant: Started the day with some, but now I’ve been distracted by the prospect of dressing up in sparkly things, so none now!

    • YES! Rent the Runway is fabulous! Read the comments for each dress, and you’ll get a good idea about whether or not you need to size up (or down) for each gown you’re contemplating. When I rented my dress for the opera, I got my normal size but I also got a back-up size one size up, based on the comments, and I’m glad I did, because the one size up dress fit more comfortably. Can’t wait to see pics! oh my gosh I’m so excited for you, that’ll be so much fun! 🙂

    • Yes, def do RTR. And like LBP said, the comments for each dress will help you decide which way to go. If you’re going full length also pay attention to which length to get.
      I buy the Pro service every year because two rentals pays for it, so if you think you might use it again, though it doesn’t sound like, consider it.

      • If you order jewelry it pays for itself that way too! I got it two years ago when I was also ordering earrings and a bracelet to go with my dress (and they were the lowest priced options), and it totally made it worth it since you have to pay insurance on those too. Plus you get a free birthday dress!

    • There is also a RTR store in Georgetown which is awesome. The stylists there are very very helpful.

    • Thanks for the advice!! I’m eyeing up a gorgeous gold Badgley Mishka right now!

      • Definitely check out the store in Georgetown. Last I checked, the website wasn’t very clear, but you don’t have to make an appointment (which costs $25). It’s totally not necessary as long as it isn’t crazy busy. They might even have the dress you’re looking at, so you can try it beforehand. Their selection isn’t as extensive as online and they don’t have every size, but it can give you an idea of how a dress will fit and you can try on dresses you wouldn’t consider otherwise (e.g. I rarely order fitted dresses online because I know my hips are iffy). I’ve rented a bunch of dresses from them and their service is really great. Rent at least three days in advance just in case there are any issues they can send you a new one.

        • Unfortunately with my schedule, there’s very little chance I could make it to the store before NYE :/

          • Wamp wamp. In that case, definitely rent as early as you can. With the 1st a holiday, you get an extra day since the mail won’t pick up that day. And if you get it and god forbid there’s a fit issue, don’t hesitate to call them. Even though they say they only give a free replacement if there’s something wrong with the dress, I’ve found them to be really accommodating.

    • Unless their policy changed this year, the first time you rent a brand with them you automatically get a free second size.

      • You always get a free second size.

        • I’ve rented the same brand with them more than once, and I haven’t been given a second size after that first rental with the brand. Did this change recently?

          • It’s been this way as long as I’ve used it. It even says on the front page “add a free backup size and second style for $32.50.” Obviously the sentence structure is terrible, but backup sizes, as long as they are available, as free. I’ve never been charged and I’ve gotten one across brands. I’ve probably rented 8-10 times.

          • You get a free second size of the same dress. It has always been this way (I started renting from them at least six years ago). If you’re working with an employee and the dress you want only has one size left, they may give you a different/similar style in a second size, but that’s not standard.

  • Quotia Zelda

    Rave: Pin curls + texturizing spray = awesome poufy 80s hair. I’m only missing the bangs.
    Rant: So many meetings this week.

    • Quotia Zelda

      Additional Rant: The travel process in this place is so dysfunctional, and having the Office Princess in charge of coordinating travel for our division just makes things worse. I wish she would retire already.

  • Rant: Cranky. Woke up at 5 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. After daylight, I looked out my front door and was infuriated to see a takeout styrofoam container sitting in my treebox (where I had so carefully planted irises over the weekend). An hour or so later, I looked out again and there was MORE litter, presumably blown there by the wind from somewhere down the street.
    .
    Rave: Cleaned up the litter, and my mood is improving.

  • Rant: Still the same thing about the partner who uses the word “priority” to mean “Stuff he wants done now and it doesn’t matter that it is not as important as the deadline sensitive stuff I was told to work on”. It’ll get done. I’ve had to put in a lot of long hours, but it will all get done.

    Rave: The garlic parmesan chicken in a crock pot that I made on Sunday is still so freaking good. It’s going into frequent rotation.

    Rant: My dad’s dementia. I spoke with him briefly on Sunday (and my stepmom) and then he called me yesterday afternoon because he “hadn’t talked to me in a while and wanted to see how I was doing” and then again this morning. Heart is breaking.

    Question: I’m having some friends over for Christmas Eve potluck next week. I’m making a lot of food, and cookies, and opening my home. Is it also appropriate for me to give everyone little gifts? (I’m expecting somewhere between 15-20 people) And if yes, what would those little gifts be, keeping in mind I am not a wealthy person?

    • Will you share the recipe? Always looking for good crock pot recipes. Thanks!!

    • I don’t think you’re obligated or expected to give little gifts, but I don’t think anyone will object if you want to give them.

    • Oh SinSA, I’m so sorry to read about your dad’s dementia. I can’t imagine how hard that must be. But the silver lining, for today at least, is that your dad is thinking of you and wanted to see how you’re doing, and that despite the issues with his memory, he still remembers you and remembers he loves and cares for you. sending you a virtual hug!

    • So sorry to hear about your dad’s dementia, on top of everything else you’re already dealing with regarding his health. 🙁

    • You could do something like small favors. Think candy or cookies in cute containers. For my wedding favors I made cookies and the containers (which were cute!) came from the dollar store for about $.08 each. They were delicious, cute, and a hit! You could do a batch of reindeer chow, or flavored popcorn and put it in paper bags with some colored ribbon. Or you could totally do absolutely nothing because you’re already going above and beyond! Have a great time!

    • janie4

      Actually, I’m going to say not appropriate to give gifts. You’ve given up your time, and your space for this party. I’m one of the awful people who sometimes forgets to bring wine or a hostess gift, but presumably, your friends are much more classy than me. They’ll feel weird, like you’re imposing a bigger obligation on them (kind of “oh god, I didn’t get her anything besides this wine/flowers/etc!) Wrap some of the cookies you’re baking in little bags to take home.

      I get it, I’m lousy at the social, but I do try and get my friends gifts for the holidays (a friend of mine and I had stopped exchanging, but he had a baby, so I got her a onesie). it’s fun to see people’s face light up if you get it right. But it’s too much – it’s almost like party favors at a kid’s party.

      • janie4

        And I’m also an ass for not saying sorry to hear about your father’s dementia. It’s awful seeing your loved ones slip away like that.

        • You aren’t an ass, it’s okay. My friends who know me in real life who are unsympathetic/thoughtless are the asses. 🙂

      • +1
        No need to give gifts. In fact, it just introduces awkwardness.
        We just hosted our holiday party – all the food and top-shelf booze we provided was gift enough!

      • Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for sugar-and-spice candied nuts that are delicious (and easy to make)

    • If I were invited to someone’s house, I’d bring a hostess gift. Bottle of wine, box of cookies, that sort of thing. If I received a Christmas present in addition to the hospitality, I’d feel like I should have brought my hostess a Christmas present too, and it would make me feel a little awkward. I know, it’s not a quid pro quo situation, but really, the hospitality you’re offering is plenty!

    • I typically will make little party bags of homemade cookies or chocolates as a gift for people coming over for a party at my house. I’ll usually get some cute gift bags and ribbon from a party supply store to make it festive. Most of my friends are not into cooking so they love getting to take home a little sweet treat.

    • Re: gifts. Appropriate but far from necessary. If you’re in the mood and have the time for something small enough that it doesn’t trigger reciprocal guilt. An inexpensive ornament. .

    • So sorry to hear about your dad’s dementia. I hope it brings some comfort to know that he’s thinking about and reach out to you.

      As a small gift for friends, I would suggest making cookies or truffles. Enjoy the holiday potluck!

    • I once made hot chocolate on a stick for my coworkers (basically melted chocolate and sugar, poured into an ice cube tray and a wooden cake pop stick stuck in it that you put into a cup of hot milk and stir around to make hot cocoa) and homemade marshmallows. I might have included a small bottle of booze, but wouldn’t do that for 15-20 ppl, and put them in plain mugs from Michael’s. I can’t remember if I had the treats wrapped individually and placed in the mug or if I just wrapped the entire mug in cellophane, or both. The mugs cost maybe a dollar each, so it wasn’t too pricey, and it was cute and holiday-y.

      • That sounds amazing!! I might try that (maybe not this year, but cooool idea!)

      • topscallop

        This is a great idea that I’m going to try this weekend for my coworkers! Any suggestions for the marshmallows? I’ve never made them before and I’ve heard it’s a sticky, messy process.

        • Seconded on how to make homemade marshmallows.

        • I made marshmallows last year; the recipe was either from Smitten Kitchen or David Lebovitz (can’t recall). Easy, and no messier than other things I make.

        • I burned up the motor of my mom’s hand mixer making marshmallows. It got over the vent and almost immediately started smoking. They were good though!

          • Same! Do not attempt if you have a cheap-o hand mixer from Target. They were delicious though and fairly easy. I used the Smitten Kitchen recipe.

        • Stick with a one bowl recipe, i.e. no egg whites, if you only have one bowl for your stand mixer. It’s not worth it to move the mixture from one bowl to another because that is a mess and a half.
          If you make vanilla ones they taste fairly similar to regular marshmallows, but I found that they were a lot creamier and better in hot chocolate.
          When you are spreading the marshmallows out, use a wet spatula and re-wet as needed. That makes it easier.
          I just cut mine into cubes with a knife, I can never get the Pinteresty shapes to look good, the sides are always concave.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your dad’s dementia too.

      Homemade granola is an easy party favor, i’m a fan of the olive oil granola from the NY times
      http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012630-olive-oil-granola-with-dried-apricots-and-pistachios
      the house smells fantastic after making this and you can just vary the nuts and fruit as you like.

    • I’ve done little bags of different fancy popcorns for this type of thing. I get small “treat bags” or whatever from a craft store, fill them with different interesting popcorns from TJ Maxx, and tie it with ribbon.

  • rant: have a friend who seems to always put off having her dog properly groomed. he’s got these mats behind his ears that clearly bother him. I’m thisclose to just taking him myself to a groomers. god knows that will create drama, but come on. take care of your damn dog.
    rant: the nails on my left hand seem to be growing at a faster rate than the nails on my right hand. odd
    rave: office party today.

  • Rave: Feeling festive again. Continuing my holiday tradition of shopping and dinner with my best friend today. Office party is Thurs.
    Rave: My little brother graduates from College this weekend. I’m so proud of him. The whole family is driving to Delaware to celebrate on Sat.
    Rant: I’m missing a lot of holiday parties this weekend. Family is way more important of course. But there are a few I really wanted to go to .
    *
    I’d like to do late December Happy Hour on Weds either Monday the 28th or Weds the 30th. What date works best?

  • Rant: fraud alert on my credit card, and I definitely didn’t charge $0.25 on anything. Ugh.
    Rave: Sunday sauce (red sauce with short ribs) is in the crock pot.
    Rant: I slept hard for almost 8 hours and still don’t feel rested.
    Rant: I thought I was done with Christmas shopping, but apparently not.
    Rave: Great Caps win last night and I’m going tomorrow night, so I hope that do something similar.
    Related rave: Who’s the coach killer now, Crosby?

    • I can’t help but have a touch of schadenfreude over Crosby’s woes, especially given how everyone piled on Ovi a few years ago.

  • RANT: I know complaining about drivers can get old, but EVERY SINGLE DAY on my (bike) commute to Farragut, the one-way portion of 17th street between Rhode Island & K, there is a bozo driving the wrong way, against traffic. Now I understand it may be confusing for people who dont drive in that area daily, but it is super dangerous (especially when people turn north onto 17th from M). Perhaps the city could make some $$ by writing tickets to these idiots.
    RANT: TODAY a HUGE delivery truck was going the wrong way right on this stretch, and there was an f-ing COP CAR next to it and they did nothing! No ticket, no speaking to the driver, no sirens. The female cop was pulled over to the side of the rode on her freaking cell phone! It was infuriating!
    RAVE: Glorious biking weather, grateful for bikeshare, which i use on days I dont want my personal bike after work!

    • Seems odd that you included the detail that the cop was female. What gender was the idiot driving the truck, or is that not relevant to the story?

        • Yes, Krampus is right on point this morning.
          .
          Plus, I saw this really terrible male cyclist this morning that veered RIGHT in front of my double-bus this morning downtown even though he had a red light. It was infuriating!

  • Rave: Bought my tickets to go home for Christmas – it’s odd how much this time of year makes me miss my family, even though most of them aren’t terribly far away.
    Rant: Stupid kid toys that are out of stock or can’t be delivered in time for Christmas, forcing me to actually go to a store and try to find it and then ship it myself!
    Rave / Rant: Holiday cards from dear friends – I love seeing my friends and their spouses and kids (and/or animals), but sometimes it brings on such a strange pang of jealousy and regret, or maybe it’s more just plain old sadness.
    Question: Anyone know of a place more convenient than the post office to get international stamps? I need to send some cards overseas (and yeah, they’ll probably be late but it’s the thought, right?), but I’m out of airmail stamps, and really want to avoid the Post Office if I can.

    • You can order regular stamps from the post office online, and it’s free delivery, so I’d check there for international too.

    • I meant to offer, if you find yourself taking the bus and don’t want to ride back from White Marsh to DC, maybe we can coordinate. Where it stops is like, 10 minutes from the BF’s house so if you’re coming back on a Sunday, I’d be happy to give you a list!

      • oh! I already bought tickets, but yeah, I’m coming back Sunday afternoon/early evening, maybe we could coordinate and catch up!

  • Revel: Christmas is better with a cat! Homeward Trails is having a special “Pay what you can” adoption fee for all adult cats through Dec.31. If you’ve been thinking about adopting now is your time! homewardtrails.org.

    Rant: My own cat ate half a bag of flour yesterday. I’ve learned to not leave bread out, but flour???

  • Rant: It’s incredibly rare for me to complain about my celiac disease but dang I must have eaten something wrong yesterday. So much pain.
    Rave: I think I may have finally figured out what to get the other Mrs. Rabbit for Christmas.
    Rant: Having a rather sad day.
    Rave: Holiday baking will be commencing soon.

    • Aw sorry to hear about your first rant. I must have glutened myself last week and it was not fun. I hope you’re able to rest up and enjoy your holiday baking!

    • I’m so sorry to hear you were glutened! It really is such a terrible wrench thrown into a week. Take it easy and be kind to your body as it recovers.

  • Rave: I survived a trip to Ikea last night during holiday season.
    Rant: I did not sleep well last night. I want all the coffee.
    Rave: My partner — he always finds a way to make me laugh.
    Rave: Star Wars this weekend and a holiday gathering at a friend’s house on Friday night.

    • How busy was IKEA? I need to go over there sooner or later, and was thinking that a weeknight wouldn’t be too busy… but maybe I underestimated the holiday factor?

  • Rave: had a long weekend of relaxation.
    Rant: really want to start hanging out more- that’s the only way I can potentially meet someone.
    Weird: To see how so many people on here put so much guilt on themselves for some of the weirdest, smallest, non trivial things one can possible be dealing with.

    • “really want to start hanging out more- that’s the only way I can potentially meet someone.”
      .
      Do you mean “really want to start dating more”? I’m not sure if you’re looking for a friend or a relationship here. Personally, it drives me nuts when people I meet as I’m looking for a relationship refer to “dating” as “hanging out.” Unless you’re specifically looking for friendship first, it makes me feel like the person is less interested (or not interested) in relationship. But that’s just my personal opinion, I’m sure others feel differently.

      • I took it to mean getting out more to increase the chances of meeting someone

        Ultimately the label is irrelevant if you both have the same end goal in mind. Have you clarified what that means or if they feel dating is something different? I’m very upfront if I don’t see long-term potential, and that for me is the line btwn hanging out vs dating though I’ve never said hanging out in that context.

        • +1
          “Hanging out” probably means meeting friends-of-friends at holiday parties, happy hours, group dinners, networking events, etc. The best way to meet new people is to be a social person and consciously put yourself in opportunities to broaden your social network. I know that’s a “duh” statement, but you’d be surprised how many people rarely break out of their home-work-gym-home routine.

          • You hit it on the head. I’m stuck in that work-gym-home routine. I’m always invited to hang out and socialize with my friends, but then I never go. Thus I never meet any new people and I’m stuck doing the same thing with the same people(when I do decide to go out). Then I always get this- Why a guy like yourself is single. I just need a more active life- I felt like I did so much of that early on- that it’s just not exciting to me. But something has to give.

          • Come to some of the Popville Happy Hours – there’s lots of fun and interesting people to meet, and you might meet even more fun and interesting people through them!

          • It’s tough, but I try not to turn down friends who want to hang if I have nothing going on. I assume staying in is no more exciting, so go out with the idea that it has far better potential to lead to a love connection than flipping channels. 🙂
            At least try to mix in some new places. There are some really great spots you may have missed by going to old faithful.

          • Wow. I hope your friends aren’t aware that you think their company is only marginally better than flipping channels, or that you’re spending time with them mainly in the hope of meeting someone to date.

          • Ouch, anon. Some people are introverts and have trouble going to big gatherings, etc. because they get overwhelmed. And some people have legitimate social anxiety disorders that can make it difficult to leave the house, even to see people they very much know and love. Please be careful with your words. You don’t know OP’s situation.

      • I meant getting out more–to where I’m meeting people- that where I can potentially go on dates with and you know maybe find a connection. Pretty hard to do if I don’t go out and socialize.

      • I was confused by this language too. Wouldn’t you have to meet someone prior to either “hanging out” with them (whatever that means) or dating them? (Unless you met online?) Or was the idea “I need to be social and hang out with my friends more often, so that I’m out and about and in a position to meet someone new”?
        Is “hanging out” a precursor to dating? And/or is it millennial-speak for “spending time together and making out/having sex, but not going on dates that cost me any money”??

        • +1 this was my concern. But I totally get The OP Anon’s point above and that is completely valid — frankly I need to get out more to socialize (although with the addition of school to that commuting-work-other errands routine it’s difficult!)

        • Precursor, alternative, or same thing different name….really depends on the person, I guess.
          As mentioned above, it means we’re dating knowing there is no hope of a future to me. That situation should be explicit though which is why I think it’s good to talk and see what the other person seeks to determine what that means to them.
          There was an article in the express today about a woman who only talked to and saw the boy on the weekend. He virtually ignored her all other times. That doesn’t sound like dating to me or he’s married. He’s making a minimal investment of time, being cold outside of those times, etc.

  • Random: What happened with the terrible rape over in Hill East? I found an article saying they made an arrest, but they didn’t release his name. I couldn’t find any other articles?

    • I don’t have the link, but articles said that they caught the guy in PG and he’s awaiting extradition to DC. A violent forced entry rape would not allow him opportunity for bail, IIRC. Seems like there’s some procedural stuff holding up the transfer; I think PG may want to try him for the charges sustained there first. Regardless, this guy is off the streets and not getting out for a very long time, if ever.
      Perhaps someone who is an expert in PG-District extraditions can weigh in on the time it takes.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: not feeling myself
    Rave: micro manager going away on a long vacation

  • Rant: Stupid neighborhood cat (Guillermo, as I now know) comes into our yard and — if possible — into my house every single freaking day, even though it causes my cats to emit spooky dying baby sounds while they try to stare him down and often results in a truly vicious catfight. I was out front this morning dressed only rowing trou (think bicycling shorts) whacking him (gently) with a broom while commuters walked by and rolled their eyes, after driving him out of the house. Why can’t Guillermo be happy roaming THE ENTIRE REST OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD?

    • Is Guillermo a medium hair white/gray cat? I saw a very friendly cat like that a block from Irving in Mt Pleasant a few weeks ago and was worried he was lost since he was so friendly. I hope he at least has a home even though he’s allowed to roam.
      Sorry about the chaos he causes in your house!

      • Lost cats aren’t friendly. Lost cats are scared and skittish. If a cat comes up to you and rubs and purrs and is generally comfortably social, it isn’t lost. It’s on its own territory and perfectly happy.

      • He’s kind of a heavyset orange tabby (tiger?). Looks enough like one of mine that he’s actually known around our house as “Fake Carl” which makes refereeing complicated. Per wdc, he’s an apparently affable, un-lost creature who just has boundary issues.

        • Don’t most cats have boundary issues? Or more precisely, have issues with our silly arbitrary boundaries like “no cats on the keyboard” and “no butts in my face.” And in the case of Guillermo, your house versus all of his other houses.

    • There was a really good My Cat From Hell episode about how to keep outdoor cats away from your yard / keep your indoor cats happy. I’m totally blanking on the episode name and can’t find it in a Google search, but maybe some other crazy cat people out there remember it?

    • Thanks for the awesome mental picture on that whole scene. My cats would not like a neighborhood visitor either.

  • Rave: Vacation is SO SOON!
    Rant: Want to make some handmade last-minute Christmas cards, but don’t have the supplies. I want thick colored paper (cardstock or just nice quality normal paper) but I don’t think anywhere near work/home carries this. When I lived abroad, there were stationary stores every few blocks that carried stuff like this. What gives?
    Rant: Being asked if I have any interest in attending outside events at work. This has been a common occurrence in my past offices, too, but I feel like it’s a weird gray area between “You must go to this” and genuinely asking if I’m interested. To be honest, I don’t really feel like it this week! I’m lazy.

    • try the Blick art shop in metro center

    • “When I lived abroad, there were stationary stores every few blocks that carried stuff like this. What gives?”
      .
      Was this in South Korea? My recollection from when I lived in Japan was that stationery and attractive presentation/packaging were a bigger deal than they were here, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Korea is similar in that respect.

      • Yup. It is true that presentation is a bigger deal there. That Blick store above helps things a little. I would have been reallyyy surprised if Paper Source in Georgetown was the only semi-artsy shop in NW.

      • Try Plaza Art at 19th and K. Also, Staples usually carries card stock paper

    • If you’re near K Street/West End, there’s a very nice stationary store on the ground floor of the IMF building at 19th/Pennsylvania. There’s also the art supply store on the second floor lobby mezzanine in the office building on SE corner of 20th and K (next to the secret sushi lunch counter).

      • Thanks! Actually I could step out for “lunch” and check these places. Is the 20th and K building art supply store above the CVS?

        • Yes, that’s correct. It’s a full fledged art supply store that caters primarily to GW and Corcoran students.

          • SUCCESS! An assortment of Christmas colored paper and gold glitter (I couldn’t help myself) obtained. Thanks!

  • Has anyone been to the Renwick midday during the week? I was thinking of skipping lunch next week to try and get through it in segments, since it sounded pretty cool but very very crowded on the weekends.

  • RAVE: got Xmas Day tickets to the Hateful Eight 70mm showing. So excited! 😀 Need to figure out dinner plans for afterward. Thip Khao is closed on Xmas Day! Any good Chinese (or other Asian) recommendations in Rockville or Silver Spring? :-/

    • There’s a Thai place — I think named “Thai of Silver Spring” — and I think a Vietnamese place (don’t remember the name) both located in the vicinity of the AFI.
      .
      A couple of blocks away is Mandalay, a Burmese place.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Mandalay is really excellent. Not sure if Lotus Cafe is the place textdoc meant, but it is a very good Vietnamese place about half a mile south of downtown Silver Spring (a few feet north of where the red line tracks pass over Georgia Avenue)

    • jim_ed

      Rockville is home to the best Chinese in the area, and there are probably a dozen places to choose from that are all worthwhile. Personally I like A&J Restaurant in Rockville for their enormous dumplings and spicy beef noodle soup, Joe’s Noodle House for their dan dan noodles, or Bob’s Shanghai 66 for vegetable dishes.

      • Thanks Textdoc and Jim – I will investigate the options you’ve mentioned 🙂

        • Add to the Rockville list:
          East Dumpling House for Northeast style Chinese food – Lamb Skewers, good noodle soups and a variety of dumplings. Jin River for Sichuan style food, particularly for more sour flavors. Far East for good standards (duck, walnut shrimp, etc.).

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