All Settled In Boston!

A quick picture I took of BU West Campus from BU Bridge

A quick picture I took of BU West Campus from BU Bridge

Woo! Coming from living on an Island for the last 15 years (and 10 years more prior to that), moving back to the city is quite a breath of fresh air (or stinky air, considering I live in Allston)! I moved here to start working on my masters degree in music education at Boston University. Being a few weeks in, I already have so many stories to tell, but so little time to tell them.

While I don’t have too much time to blog, I’m just going to keep my blog posts on the shorter side, just so I have things to look back on. No one really reads my blog anyway, so enjoy, future me!

And just to close, I am super loving it here so far. Until next time!

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The CFA building here at BU aka my 2nd home for the next two years.

Student Recital A Success!

10863894_10202922090925476_8354611684756712762_oThe student recital was a major success! All of Dr. Stephen Bednarzyk’s and my students did a wonderful job.

It was also the first time I had my recital in a bigger venue (in the UOG Theater rather than the FA127 classroom). I think it made some of my students more nervous, but overall they took it really well! There wasn’t too much of an audience, so there wasn’t too much pressure on them.

I love putting recitals on for my students because it makes them work and practice towards a goal, but at the same time, I am really glad it’s over. Time to enjoy my break!

Merry Christmas everyone :)

Four Month(-aversary) Engagement

Sabrina and I have been engaged for four months now! Eeeee :D She got me a gift, but couldn’t wait to give it to me, so she gave it to me a day earlier hah.

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How did she know?! I will add it to my boxes-wrapped-in-butcher-paper collection.

She has been raving over a pair of Zorries that she bought herself a week or so ago, and I guess she wanted me to have a taste of it too. They’re called Nike Comfort Footbeds.

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As its name suggests – Bed for your feet

When I finally unwrapped and opened up her gift, I was so excited! My recent pair of comfortable zorries had just retired indefinitely, and she knew I was on the market for a new pair. Plus, she kept making moaning noises whenever she put on her own pair, so it was nice to finally see what the fuss was all about.

And holy crap, these are the most comfortable pair of zorries you will ever own. All shoes should have whatever the bottom of these are made of. Thank you, Sabby! :D yayay

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Happy Feet!

I reciprocated by taking her to get some sushi! We went to go try Rotary Sushi, which I know has been there since forever, but neither of us had ever been there, so we decided to go for an adventure. I don’t have any pictures from it, but two words can sum up the food there: fresh and expensive. Totally worth it though.

Creatures of the Night

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Sorcerer/Magician Mickey and Zombie/Sexy Minnie

Late post! Happy late halloween :)

My baby and I decided to check our Creatures of the Night 2, a big Halloween party on Guam held at the Hyatt Regency Guam. We decided to go as another couple outfit with some dark/zombie-ish Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes.

Sabrina did a great job with her big, scary teeth, didn’t she?! She was supposed to do the same thing to my face, but my mustache was in the way. With less than an hour left to do makeup, she decided to just give me long sideburns to go with my facial hair. It wasn’t as cool as hers, but I liked it.

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Post by Mid Pac (Host of COTN)

Sorcerer Hat to be removed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World

I went to Walt Disney World on Christmas 2013 for my brother Alan’s wedding. I hadn’t been there since I was a little kid, so I was stoked, mostly because I would be able to finally ride all the rides this time.

So one of the first things I see when I enter the Magic Kingdom is some teenager wearing a Sorcerer Mickey hat. He looked so boss wearing it too. I just knew I had to have one. So I did. I went to the nearest merch store I could find and I bought it without even thinking twice. I spent the rest of my week is Disney wearing that thing nonstop. I loved it so much. It was my most favorite thing ever. As a plus, when it would rain (and it did a LOT…c’mon, it’s Florida), the hat made a great hat-umbrella to keep the rain out of my eyes.

So, the next day after Magic Kingdom, I go into Disney Hollywood Studios, and I see the huge hat right in the middle of the park. Oh. My. God. I was so happy. And I saw a band playing under it too. It was the greatest thing I had ever seen in my entire life. I had no idea that the hat I was so in love with was a centerpiece of an entire park.

Anyway, when I read the article, it broke my heart a little bit. I really I hope I get to see it one more time before it goes down. Sabrina and I plan to take a trip there in a few years for our wedding/honeymoon in Florida (yayay), so here’s hoping!

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5 Year Goal [update]

Wow. Thanks to one of my best friends, Tim Fox Dominguez, for stalking my blog and showing my original post to me. I completely forgot about it until he showed me. I guess there’s no time better than now to provide an update to this post, exactly 5 years later.

Before I say where I am now, I’m going to criticize where I was 5 years ago, based on what I’m reading in my post. I worked. Hard. I mean, I still work hard, but I work less nowadays and give myself more breaks and more time for fun. I’m still just as ambitious as I was 5 years ago, but I definitely am bigger than I was 5 years ago. Ok, moving on…

Let’s check out my checklist for where I wanted to by 5 years from now:

  • Day Job: Web programmer Full-time
  • Day Job: Emergency Wedding Pianist (max 20 weddings instead of 40 I usually do)
  • Saturday: Teaching Lessons
  • Late-night: Gig one or two nights a week
  • Sunday: DAY OFF

Let’s start off with what I’ve been successful with. SUNDAYS DAY OFF! This is definitely one of the huuuuge plusses of my life right now. I can’t believe I worked 7 days a week before. I mean, the income was good, but I’m glad I have way more time to do the things that I want to do (which is sometimes nothing hah).

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HIGH RISE in Saipan. August 2014.

The next thing I’ve been semi-successful with is a gig one or two nights a week. From where I was before, I wasn’t in a band, so that was my way of saying that I really thought I should be in a band. Well, I was in a band, High Rise, for a couple years. I still technically am with them, but we gigged for a couple years straight (and for a short time, twice a week). We eventually decided to take a break, but we are still for-hire for private gigs. So I guess I fulfilled my want for being in a gigging band. I’m glad we stopped gigging though, because staying up til 2am during a night can really take a toll on you.

Next subject! In terms of teaching lessons, I’m teaching 6 days a week now instead of 7. Teaching lessons is really good money, and I don’t think, at least at this point, that I can sacrifice my weekday teaching. Maybe when my programming business picks up, I can take it easier on the weekdays. I really hope that’s the case, because sometimes it can be such a drag to teach until 7 every day.

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The Inside of Crystal Chapel, Nikko Hotel

As for my day j obs, I am still a wedding pianist full time, although the wedding biz is slowing down. I think I actually may catch “the fear” (Friends reference) and be scared into trying my hardest to be a web programmer full-time. We are losing one of our most popular wedding chapels, Crystal Chapel (Nikko Hotel), so I expect my numbers to go down by a lot starting early next year.

So it looks like I’m doing pretty good for where I wanted to be 5 years ago. I’m extremely happy with my life right now, so there! That’s my update for my 5 year ago. I guess there’s nothing left to do now but to maybe post another 5 year goal pretty soon. Guess I’ll get started on that pretty soon :)

Mr. and Mrs. Frankenstein

10501696_942116995803160_1615627081212320299_nYes, yes, I know that Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created the monster.

So Sabrina and I were walking around The Dungeon (store in Guam for all things costumes) for a good hour or more, looking for a quick costume we could put together for Livehouse’s Sunday Night Showcase.

After picking up $50 worth of items, we were still hesitant to check out because of how expensive our items were just for one night. So fast forward, we found these nuts and bolts that go through your head, and they were only $0.50 each! So we just picked up some green face paint, and voila! A couple’s costume for less than $10 :)

We rocked out hard that night to Trey Cunningham, FiF, and Freedom Fries before we had to call it an early night. We did, however, get runner-up in the couple’s costume contest, so that was pretty fun.

More updates to come on actual Halloween with our for-real costumes!

Engaged :D

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On the Seventh Night of July, 2014, I asked my girlfriend, Sabrina Borja, to marry me. And she said uhhhh…ummm….uhh.snifffffffff..whaa…snifff..wha..uhh..?!! *nods*

The short version of the story of how it built up: We were in Sydney, Australia for a Guam Territorial Band trip. Her favorite band piece for the longest time is entitled “The Seventh Night of July”. So since I knew we’d be in Australia on July 7, I bought a ring before we left and planned to propose to her. Little did I know that we were scheduled to play in the Sydney Opera House, playing The Seventh Night of July ON July 7, 2014. Everything lined up perfectly, and at the risk of sounding overly romantic, it was really magical.

So her response? It was the cutest thing ever hahaha. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind she would say yes! So, when everyone was asking me afterwards if I was nervous about asking, I would just say, “Pshhhh naw.” It was the most natural thing for me to do, and I’m glad she reacted the same way :)

Happy engagement to us! I love you, Sabrina Borja <3

Here’s a video of the song that inspired this night!

New Coffee Shop: Brewed Awakenings

10620504_1612854815608728_3667242851312421460_oA new coffee shop has opened up near my house! My fiancee, Sabrina, saw it and suggested we go there, so here we are this morning. The inside actually has a really nice ambiance, despite the building looking a little bit old.

Short side story:

  • Sabrina: Let’s try out Brewed Awakenings!
  • Doug: (didn’t hear the ‘B’) … that’s not a very nice name for a coffee shop
  • Sabrina: Nonono BBBBBrewed Awakenings!
  • Doug: Ohhh….damn that’s clever!
  • Sabrina: Duhhhh dumbass!
  • Doug: -_-

Anywayyy… The best part about it though is that Sabrina ordered her usual (double shot white mocha with soy), and she thought it was made very well. This is coming from one of the best former baristas from Infusion. I ordered a hot chai and was really impressed with the quality of their drinks too.

All it needs is a kitchen, and I don’t see any reason why this won’t become one of the places I frequent :) Like them on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Brewed-Awakenings/1612854462275430?ref=br_tf

P. S. There was an acoustic guitar in the corner too, so it looks like they’ll be hosting some small kine music events here sometime.

One Door Closes……A Million More Open

I’ve never been good at blogging. Look at my post history. All my posts are like, half a year (if not more) apart. Geez. So I’m just going to outline really quick what has happened since then. I won’t get too much into detail, but it has been a GREAT year in every aspect. I went through a huge life-altering experience in February, and although I never thought at the time I would be as happy as I am today, here I am.

Hudson River viewing NYC Skyline

Hudson River viewing NYC Skyline

So…with my sucky storytelling skills comes an outline of this years’ events thus far:

  • Rejoined the Guam Territorial Band after being 5 years on break for their New York trip and played in Carnegie Hall and Central Park. Spent time there with my best friend every (Victor Palomo) and made many, many new friends in the process. Super special thanks to Max Ronquillo.
  • Had the pleasure of sitting in with the Guam Jazz Quartet (Carlos Laguana , Larry Franquez, Patrick Palomo, Michael DiAmore) while DiAmore had an acute injury. This experience probably provided the most musical growth I have ever experienced in such a short amount of time.
  • Joined a new reggae band: High Rise. I met their drummer, David Bautista, on the New York trip and sat with him on the plane coming back home. We clicked immediately, he asked me to join the band, I attended a few rehearsals, and the rest is history. Their reggae band originally had no 100% dedicated horn players (myself included). But sticking to it, we’ve managed to compile a full horn section (with John Bermudes and Ben Hardy). We earned a great reputation of being the only reggae band on island with a full horn section. Since then, we have performed over a dozen different places in many different venues. We have also recorded a single, “Yes I” (buy it on iTunes!), won a battle of the bands (the prize was to open for Steel Pulse, but for logistical reasons, we were cancelled), and we perform twice weekly. We are set to release a full album sometime next year.
  • Sitting in with Renaissance. DiAmore is going off-island during a very important Renaissance concert, so that is giving me the awesome opportunity to play two sets with them. It is a LOT of music to learn, but it is probably the most talented group of musicians in this genre that I have ever had the pleasure of working with…and again, further pushing my musical limits.
  • Almost 200,000 hits on my YouTube channel! Originally, I was shooting for 1,000,000 hits this year, but I haven’t had time to record more videos. Still satisfied :)
High Rise (plus some other people)

High Rise (plus some other people)

These are all the highlights of my year so far. There have been countless experiences, but the year is only a bit more than half over, and I am looking forward to so many new things that are coming my way.

2011

So far, the new year has been great to me.

I got back to the Philippines on the new year. Great way to start the year fresh after a nice vacation. Now that I’m back, I’m finally settled into the new year after a month of stressful juggling of new things.

First off, I now have 25 students. I usually max out at 15 students, but now this is just insane! All the cracks of my schedule are filled, and I barely have any time to do any of the other things I love to do (for work and enjoyment), like recording and programming websites. I still have time actually when the weddings are slow, but surprisingly enough, even tough we added a pianist at World Bridal, my hands are still pretty full. I may finally have my first student recital too, since I have a good number of students.

In addition to having lots of students, I have also opened my other room for my friend Jean Ann Hu to teach flute. She’s fresh out of college, so I’m excited that she’s able to jump on this opportunity and help me out.

Another thing that I’m really proud of is that I’ve started running! No more of this Wii-fit business (not that I didn’t enjoy it). Wii fit was great, but it’s time I graduated to some real exercise. Actually, I’ve always wanted to run, but the only convenient place really is UOG, and that’s a 15 minute drive from my place. Now there’s a pool near my house (just about 5 minutes away) and it has a nice .5 mile sidewalk surrounding its perimeter that a lot of people run on.

Anyway, I’ve been doing the C25k (Couch-to-5k) program, which is a 9 week program to get you to run a 5k nonstop. I started it since the new year, and now I’m on week 6. I’ve been able to work up to running 20 minutes straight from only being able to run for about 60-90 seconds at a time. Talk about a milestone! I can’t wait to finish the program and try to tackle another 5k to see if I can run it in about 30 minutes.

I also have a few recording projects still open. I am still working on Freedom Fries’ recording as well as recording a new band called “Flyspeck” (sp?). They have a pretty cool song coming out that you might hear on the radio soon! :)

That’s the year so far. Oh, and I’m looking to start recording YouTube videos once again if someone is interested in helping me out. I have a nice video camera and editing software. I just wonder if someone out there is wanting to get into video editing and is interested in helping me out. I want to upload a video every week onto YouTube. Let me know if you’re interested.

Oh, and I may try to blog a bit more. Or maybe not. Who knows! Ciao.

Lunch Disaster

So today, I had two weddings: 11:00am Crystal and 1:00pm Crystal, both with Gigi. So since we had about an hour in between, we went downstairs to Magellan restaurant for buffet. It’s like only the best buffet evar!!! Plus we got tip from the wedding ($20 each!), so like yay.

We got a table, sat down, then proceeded to the buffet table. When we I got there, I’m like… oh look, the first dish is seafood. Let’s take a look at the next dish… more seafood. I walked around the whole buffet table… ALL SEAFOOD!! WTF?! Oh, for those of you that don’t know me, I don’t eat seafood. :/

Anyway, since I’m already there, I figure I might as well just try… So I get one of everything. They still have the bread I like, which is awesome. They had some seafood veggie soup, which my parents make all the time anyway so I had some of that too. Got a piece of shrimp, seafood pasta, a fillet of sea bass…

It turns out I really like sea bass. At least, the way they prepared it. It was very un-fishy and nice any crispy with a spicy sauce. The soup was even better than my parents make it too (probably all the MSG), so I found a few things that I could really like.

Anyway, turning lemons into lemonade, I managed to get full, so it turned out to be alright after all ^^ Oh, and of course, it was so much fun hanging out with Gigi as usual.

Seaside Concert

The symphony seaside concert was pretty alright. It’s the same old same old. It started with a Bell Choir, then UOG Singers, then GTB Brass Group, then UOG Jazz Band, then the Symphony. All groups did just fine, although I have to admit that the acoustics are pretty terrible. The sound amplification does an okay job, but without any monitoring, it’s almost impossible to hear what exactly is going on on stage.

I actually really hate the Ypao beach shell. It’s facing the worst way possible, because the sun is shining right into it for all of the afternoon, so it’s pretty damn hot for the whole entire concert.

Either way, each group performed just fine and I’m glad this musical weekend is over! Except I have another gig coming up on Friday for the Guam Woman’s Club and another concert for a church on Sunday, so meh. I was hoping to get some relaxation in before my PI trip, but I guess I might as well make as much money and stay as busy as I can, and my trip will be that much better.

Music Week

It’s been a very musical week. Of course, on top of my weddings and lessons, I took part with UOG Jazz Band concerts and I’ll also be playing tomorrow with the Seaside Concert at Ypao beach from 3pm-6pm. I’m still having some body aches, but overall, it’s really fun and I’m glad to be a part of it all. I can’t wait til it’s all over and I get a break! That’s what PI is for I guess :)

Also, one of my students is going to be playing for his church, and he hasn’t been the bright student of mine, but his mom has insisted on him taking lessons almost every day and he’s gotten way way way way better than any of my other students have been. This makes me want to start a daily class for people of certain levels, because it turns out, I guess meeting with my students once a week isn’t enough.

Anyway, he will be playing 4 short pieces, and he had such a hard time with it before (not to mention a bad attitude about hating all the songs I gave him), but now he loves them all and is doing really well. Hopefully this will inspire me to try to alter my teaching methods for the better and trying to recommend my other students to meet more often throughout the week.

Pinched Nerve

So it turns out I have a pinched nerve. At least it’s not carpal tunnel, I guess. So I read that Yoga *may* help relieve a pinched nerve, so I started Wii Fit’ing again along with doing my normal arm stretching exercises. I’ve been keeping up with that for the past couple days, and things seem to be getting better, so I’m really gonna cross my fingers on this one.

I got referred to see a neurologist. It’s gonna cost me $300 to get a consultation! Not to mention I might have to do a testing (x rays and such). I was thinking about seeing a Chiropractor in the meantime because I’m starting to feel some pains spread toward my neck.. eh :/

Week Recap

Hell week is finally over! Last week I had to rehearse for Cinderella Mon/Tue/Wed night. Thurs/Fri/Sat night were shows. On top of that, I had morning matinee shows on Thurs/Fri, and I had a pretty busy wedding & lesson schedule. So glad that’s finally over.

I went to Von’s Chicken last night for the first time. People were saying it’s better than Pochon. I was quite the skeptic, but let me tell you, it’s pretty damn close. The only problem I had was that the chicken wasn’t spicy, but it was definitely more tasty and more juicy. Pochon is pretty dry. Either way, great experience.

So Alan’s leaving tomorrow to go back to the states. He’ll be back before Christmas, though, and he will be moving here for a couple years :D I think that will be pretty fun. He’s having a baby with Marissa pretty soon, so it will be pretty fun to see how things change around here.

Alan bought me a couple early Christmas presents: Just Dance 2 and Rock Band 3 with the keyboard :D It’s pretty fun, but almost impossible to keep track of all the different colors. I’d do way better with actual written notation, but maybe I’ll take some time to mess around with it to see if I can sight read.

I finally see the Doctor tomorrow for my arm problem. I hope it’s nothing too serious. I waited really long to get this checked, so I hope it didn’t escalate. Will post an update about that ^^

One of those days…

So it’s one of those days you don’t really feel like doing anything.  I finally have a light wedding schedule this month after a few months of being crazy. My jury duty term is finally over. There are so many things I could be doing right now:

  • Laddering Starcraft II
  • Working on my “secret web project”
  • Working out (something I haven’t done in a long long time!)
  • Recording YouTube vid.

But there are a few things bogging me down. I woke up today at noon. I been trying to get up since like 9am or 10am but kept snoozing because I had a massive headache. The other thing is, I have this stupid shooting tingling sensation going down my right arm. I haven’t had time to get it checked by a doctor because of my really busy wedding schedule last month, but I finally get to see the doctor next week and I hope they can help me!!

I have so many things to do. I finally have a day off from weddings today so I can do other things, but I just wanna be lazy today. Haha well, who knows what I’ll end up doing… meh.

New Chapter in Life

Not mine. Someone else’s.

My best friend on Guam, Victor, has left for boot camp. That actually affects my life directly. It hasn’t been so bad though, because after he had his baby about a year ago, I haven’t seem too much of him anyway.  Every time someone leaves the island though, like last time it was Rommel, it makes me wonder what I’m still doing here.

Guam really isn’t a bad place to live. I have great connections here and am making a good amount being self employed. I don’t know though… What brings people back to Guam are their friends and family, and all I have left here pretty much is Rhea and Rich. Jhonjhon is actually my last best friend on the island, but between WoW and work, I barely see him at all (once, twice a year maybe?).

Anyway, Victor leaving feels like a new chapter in my life too, but he’s been gone, and life goes on for me. Good luck Vic! I wish you all the best, because that’s what you deserve. Just wish you didn’t have to go so far to get it :/

Recent Highlights

I haven’t blogged much, but here’s a quick recap of the past month:

  • Solved 4x4x4 cube
  • Hackintosh’d my M1530
  • Finished lots of website work
  • Finished Freedom Fries original recording “Get Out”. They submitted it to Power 98. Listen!

Uh, that’s all for now, I guess. thanks!

5 Year Goal

So I was talking to Doc and Stevie B about the future of the UOG Music Department and it really got  me thinking. I mean, I’ve always been thinking about the future, but it’s mostly been a blur for me… Like, I really can’t see exactly where I’m going to be 5 years from now. Doc says that he has about 6+ years to retire, so he jokingly (or not?) mentioned to me that I should get my DMA so I can come back in time to teach!

Little backstory… I haven’t really had an entire day off since I graduated in Spring ’08. I teach lessons every day. Sunday/Saturday are my busiest teaching days. I do weddings in the daytime M-F. Even if I don’t have weddings, I teach. If I have a full day of weddings, chances are, I have a full day of teaching after that, and to top it off, a rehearsal. The money is good and the music is fun, but seriously, I want to have at least ONE day off out of the week 5 years from now.

Fast forward to this summer. When I went to the states for Jimmy’s grad, I visited the sax professor Dr. Radnofsky at New England Conservatory about the possibility of going there for Grad school. I didn’t bring my sax which disappointed him a bit, but he was VERY understanding and let me play one of his saxes. He was also impressed that I came from Guam, which was a plus for him because he travels often to smaller places trying to popularize classical saxophone playing. Anyway, I played for him and he was fairly impressed by my flexibility and my background. He told me that if I learned two pieces on a list of ten that he gave me, I would be in.

Yet another tangent (don’t worry, I am going somewhere with this). This year, I became a part of two new web companies: DRT Web Solutions with my friends and Gecko Labs, LLC with my brother and his best friend. I have been programming websites since high school, and I haven’t stopped learning new techniques and technologies ever since. I am well versed in XHTML, PHP, MySQL, CSS, Javascript, AJAX, etc…

So here are all my career possibilities at the moment (in no particular order):

  • Running my recording studio (for those who don’t know me, I started it in 2005)
  • Running my music store/distribution/repair (same, 2005)
  • Wedding Pianist
  • Music Teacher (private lessons)
  • Grad School
  • Web Companies
  • Band Teacher (I haven’t totally pushed it aside)
  • Gigging musician

I have several scheduling categories for myself: My day-job schedule, my night/weekend schedule, and my late-night schedule. Right now:

  • Day Job: Wedding Pianist Full-time (40 weddings/mo)
  • Nights/weekends: Teaching lessons
  • Late-night: none

This is where I would like to be 5 years from now

  • Day Job: Web programmer Full-time
  • Day Job: Emergency Wedding Pianist (~5 to ~20 weddings/mo depending on season)
  • Saturday: Teaching Lessons (a total of 8)
  • Late-night: Gig one or two nights a week
  • Sunday: DAY OFF

My web career is picking up quickly, so this doesn’t seem too far off to achieve 5 years from now. If I’m nowhere near this goal in 3 years, though, I am really going to consider going to Grad school to get my DMA in Music (sax) and being a full time Sax teacher/university professor while being a part-time web programmer.

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