Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Expanding On My Dorkitude

So I mentioned yesterday that I submitted my latest blog about my health insurance struggles as a commentary to Marketplace. According to the website, I should not expect a response for at least 3 to 4 weeks. Happiness in submitting my work slightly dulled by the denied gratification of learning whether it is good enough.

Considering this is my first entry/submission of my adult life (I had a limerick published in an Anthology when I was in middle school), I'm holding my breath until I get word. Odds are, it won't get excepted. I think it is fair to say that most people don't get published/aired on their first shot out of the gate.

In submitting my blog, I had to par it down to 400 words. In case you didn't realize it as you read it, my original blog was around 800 words. It took me about an hour to get it down to the alloted amount. They also wanted a conversational style of writing, but, since you're reading this right now, you know that part wasn't a problem.

So, for your opinion and/or entertainment & enlightenment, I have included my submission below. Enjoy.

Currently in Washington, elected officials are debating health reform. One major point of contention is a public insurance option. Along with a majority of Americans, I want this policy enacted. For me the reason is simple: I was rejected by a private insurance company. Without the advent of COBRA policy, I would not have insurance today. But my coverage only lasts until June of next year.

We need a public option. Too many people in this country are denied health insurance. I was rejected because I’m overweight. In order to qualify, the company informed me I needed to drop 60 pounds. Knowing there is an average weight loss failure rate of 85%, I'm trying. But I don't see why I have to hinge my personal financial security on how much I weigh.

Not having health insurance is equal to waiting to be financially bankrupt. For a year after college, I didn’t have health insurance. When I had a toothache that wouldn't go away, I found out I needed to have a specialist perform my root canal. That one procedure cost me $950. To completely fix the tooth totaled $1700. Mind you, this was all for a tooth. My best friend broke her wrist before she turned 21 and, since she wasn’t in college, she had no insurance. She was forced to file for bankruptcy before she was legally allowed to drink a beer. That is not the way we wanted to start our financial lives.

Insurance companies argue that a public plan will put private insurers out of business. I disagree. I suspect the majority of people who will opt for the public plan are those like me who have been rejected. Should people go to the public plan because they prefer it over a private one is only a testament to being over charged or under provided. The failure of private companies will be their own fault, not the government.

While a public option does not fix every situation, it gives people like me a chance. It is my plan, and hope, that I will loose the weight and apply again. Should this bill pass, I will apply for it as well. Whoever gives me the best coverage with the optimal rate will get my business. I don't care if I'm paying a private company or Uncle Sam. All I want is health insurance.

Monday, June 29, 2009

dork-a-licious moment

I condensed my last blog into 400 words and submitted it as a commentary to Marketplace. Keep your fingers crossed/me in your prayers/good thoughts for me.

A Snap Shot Regarding Health Reform

Currently in Washington, elected officials, lobbyists, and advisers are debating over health reform. One major point of contention, a public option, is what I wish to discuss in this post.

Along with a more-than-super majority of the American people, I want the option of purchasing public health insurance for one simple reason: I was rejected by a health insurance agency. I have blogged about this. I have struggled through this. Without the advent of COBRA policy, I would not have insurance today.

With the option of COBRA, I am paying $435 a month to keep my health insurance. Every time I write that check, I question if it is worth it. But then I remember my SO's debt due to an appendix emergency, and I write the check. But this can only last until June of next year, at which time my 18 months is up.

I would love to have health insurance. I would love to have applied, been accepted, and not have to weigh in on this debate (no pun intended). But that did not happen, so here goes.

We need a public option. Too many people in this country are denied health insurance for medical reasons that seem ludicrous to me. For instance, I am overweight. I was rejected for this. In order to obtain insurance, I need to drop at least 60 pounds. For those of you who don't know, this is incredibly hard. While watching a daytime talk show, one expert sited that most diet & exercise attempts to loose significant amounts of weight fail. And by most, I mean 85%. That's right, I have a 15% chance of succeeding. With those odds looming over my head, I'm trying.

But I don't see why I have to hinge my personal financial security on this. Why couldn't the insurance company I applied for just charge me more? Insurance companies already charge more for being a woman (if you are of child bearing age 18-35, which some states are attempting to make illegal). Why not just charge more for the "preexisting condition" they reject people for? As much as it would hurt, I would accept that to simply have a plan. Of course we all know they do this to insure they make money. But shouldn't my health be worth more than their profits?

Not having health insurance in this country is equal to waiting to be financially bankrupt. Any serious surgery will cost you thousands of dollars. For a year after college, I did not have health insurance. A doctor's visit for me jumped from a $10 copay to $60. And that was for a checkup. When I had a toothache that wouldn't go away, I found out I needed to have a specialist perform my root canal. That one procedure cost me $950. To completely fix the tooth totaled $1700. It all went on a credit card. That is not the way a recent college graduate should start their financial life.

Speaking of that, I don't want to file for bankruptcy because I fell, broke my wrist, and now have thousands of dollars in medical bills. But that is just what happened to a good friend of mine. She hadn't even reached 21 when she fell and broke her wrist outside her home. Before she could legally drink a beer, she was in debt up to her eyeballs. She had a moment of bad luck. You think it can't happen? It happens every day.

Ella, upon her death, left behind stacks of bills that went unpaid. She could barely afford her rent and the bills. Something had to give. So the health insurance went away. And then she got cancer and died. If she had had health insurance, if she had a lower cost basic option, maybe she would still be here. I don't want to die because I can't afford to go to the doctor.

A public option gives people like me a chance. If a private insurer won't even accept me, what am I to do? Why am I deemed to roll the dice when I am ready and willing to pay for insurance? The system is wrong. It's is unfair and needs to change.

Insurance companies argue that a public plan will put private insurers out of business. I disagree. I suspect the majority of people who will opt for the public option are those who have been rejected from private insurers. Should people go to the public plan because they prefer it over the private ones is only a testament to being over charged or under provided. The failure of private companies will be their own fault, not the government's.

While a public option does not fix every situation, it gives people like me an chance. It is my plan, and my hope, that I will loose the weight and apply again for insurance. Should this bill pass, I will apply for it as well. Whoever gives me the best coverage with the optimal rate will get my business. I don't care if I'm paying a private company or Uncle Sam. All I want is health insurance.

So it is my hope that our President and the Congress is able to make this happen. Otherwise, come next summer, I may join the ranks of the uninsured once again, not by choice, but by commerce.

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Niece Is Not Related to MJ

After my four post day yesterday, there came the thought that I would give a full introspective essay on what "The King of Pop" meant to me in life and, now, in death. (Aside: You can thank Elizabeth Taylor for his title.) But all I've heard, from the moment the news broke, is everyone talking about him, praising his music, trying to step lightly on his life, and what it all means now that he is gone. As such, I feel no need to add to that cacophony.

Instead, I want to talk about how excited I am for my best friend's baby shower tomorrow. I know I haven't mentioned it before, but my BFF is very pregnant and due in the coming months. Our whole friend-group is excited. I'm sure her family is elated. It's pleasantly odd, the "village" type atmosphere that is surrounding this little life.

I'm hoping it's a girl. We don't know, though. She was shy in ultrasounds, so they couldn't tell. I think it's a good thing, though. It adds to the excitement and anticipation.

Having a close group of friends like we do, it's amazing to realize that with yet another step in our, gasp, adult lives, things will change. I choose to believe it will be for the better. This child will grow up with so much love and support, I am almost envious of her good fortune. But instead, I am happy to be a part of it.

Of course this situation has made me think long and hard about becoming a mother one day. My mom had me when she was 31 and it was not on purpose. Now, with an SO I love and care for, the thoughts of us having a child have crept up. [Aside: My landlord asked if we wanted a two bedroom with a "family room"; I believe that was a subtle question about possible procreation.]

What I have learned, as the months have passed with my friend, is the reality of a child is beautiful and scary. Yes, you are bringing a new life into this world, which is amazing. But, with that, you are taking on the wonderful with the complicated. Her baby registry alone is intimidating. The thought that a life is now in your hands and is your responsibility for the next 18 yrs, at minimum, is overwhelming. Yes, I want to be a parent, but I don't want to fool myself into thinking it will be easy or simple.

And, with that realization, I know I am not ready yet. Realistically, I want to give it at least a year. I want to be settled. I want to find more balance in my life. I want to know that I could provide for my child, emotionally and financially, and that my SO and I are comfortable and prepared. In short, I still need some growing up to do.

But, in the interim, my little niece is going to have lots of loving aunts & uncles to play with and puke on.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Breaking (Emotional) News

With all of the juicy gossip and interesting news of the past 24hrs, I neglected to blog on my emotional good news for the day.

Apartment is a go; I repeat, apartment is a go.

My SO and I are moving into an apartment in my current complex. A 2BR 1 1/2BA will be our new home. I visited the leasing office yesterday to pick up applications, and they said one would be available July 24th, exactly one month for us to prep and roll.

It turns out, my landlord loves me. I pay on time (well, early actually cause I give him pre-written checks months ahead of time), and there have been no noise complaints involving me. Not-to-mention, I also learned our credit rating was great, back when he ran it for my initial qualification. To give a direct quote, "We want to keep you."

In the event the current occupants of the unit don't move out, which is unlikely, he said he knows of other units that will open up soon. (Apparently I may be loved, but others aren't.) Also, he'd be willing to have me sign a new lease, at my same rent price, and just transfer me over to the 2BR lease as soon as another unit became vacant. Did I mention I love my apartment complex.

The rent for our soon to be unit is $1220 ($610 per person). That is amazing for us. My rent will drop by $389. My SO's would drop by $265. For my SO, that is a car payment begging to happen. We've talked about going to Carmax for a second vehicle once we've settled in. There is a master bedroom and a smaller bedroom, but I've already said I don't care which one I'm in. We'd split the rent, the electric, and Fios.

I am so excited; I was jumpy all last night. In fact, we both were silly and giggly. It felt right, this new step we're taking.

[Aside: During our conversation, I also admitted that my concern over his Greta Garbo moment was, in part, due to PMS. I've been off the pill for this past month and did not realize, at the time, I was in hyper-emotional mode. Normally I can tell when I'm letting something that could be minor turn into something major. This time, that didn't happen. It didn't help that my SO was vague, but I didn't help by reacting so sharply. We're good, though.]

So yeah, I pretty excited. Cohabitating, more room, and less in bills = My current trifecta of glee.

Sweet Sweet Revenge

Grumpy conservatives, increasingly impatient homosexuals, Iranian leaders, and any other entity that wants sweet sweet revenge on the Obama White House: Warm Up Your Arm.

Child's Strip Search Found Illegal By High Court

In a case that sparked my personal fury and much controversy concerning how far administrators can go in their hunt to remove "the scourge of drugs" from their schools, the high court found (rightly) that the accusation of one student that another has prescription drugs does not give school officials the right to strip search the student, especially when the accusation was not corroborated nor was their any mention of the supposed contraband being located in her under garments.

Link to the full USAToday story here.

Another One!?!

Okay, so by now everyone has heard about where South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has been since he went missing last Thursday. If not, here's a link to the full story for those not in the know.

In a week, there was speculation that he was away writing or away hiking, missing out on Father's Day with is his family. I find it hilarious that both of these were so far from the truth.

I learned the news while driving down I-95 listening to All Things Considered on NPR. Frankly, there was a lot of laughing and multiple yelps of "Are You Kidding Me!". True, these were tamed once I started hearing about the news of the day from Iran, but, for a minute, I experienced pure ecstasy.

In less than two weeks, we have had two revelations of marital mischief from prominent Republicans. Though Sanford is by far the juiciest, what with the South American mistress and Harlequin-esq email exchanges, I find the sum total of the intrigues amusing and vindicating.

I don't want to hear any Republican talk about "family values" & DOMA in the same sentence for a very long time. Hypocrisy is alive and well in the Republican Party.

Beyond their un-insightful reasons for denying equal rights to same sex couples, I am just as disturbed by the precedent this is setting for their children. Gov. Sanford has four boys who now have the example of a philandering father to live up to. Nevada Republican Sen. Ensign paid off his mistress's family with extra salary and jobs, including one for the mistress's 19 yr old son. What kind of message are we sending to the youth in this country? Cheat on your wife, keep your very profitable job, but just don't turn queer?

There is no better time than RIGHT NOW to repeal DOMA, end Don't Ask/Don't Tell, and have this country come together in support of the LGBT community, rejecting the hateful hypocritical views of many conservatives.

Hmm, it's ironic that the "Right" can be so wrong.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'd Vote For This

Barney Frank Introduces Marijuana Bill

He wants to remove criminal penalties for possession less than 100 grams and only a $100 fine for public use of the substance.

To me, being a clear minded liberal who sees that almost half of drug related arrests and imprisonments are due to pot, I see this as fair, reasonable, and downright necessary in easing the burden of our justice system. But that's me.

Lets see which tobacco farming, alcohol distilling state will dust off it's copy of "Reefer Mania."

Thanks to @ComedyCentral & @theindecider for the link.

Couldn't Stop Laughing

From the Twitterverse: Roger Ebert's review of Transformers 2. I laughed while I was reading it and for a few minutes following. I love this man.

thanks to @DDog, @thesurfingpizza, & @tommy_day (the line from which I got this link).

Monday, June 22, 2009

Don't know who I got this from...

...but it made me laugh so hard & was entertaining for over an hour.

Stephen Colbert is the man.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Greta Garbo Moment

Sometimes it is the simplest answer possible and I need to accept that.

My SO said they wanted to be alone. That was it. They wanted to be alone. My SO didn't want to talk to anyone, didn't want to interact with anyone. They just wanted to be alone, in their own head, and though I would have preferred more notice and a splish splash of further explanation, sometimes a situation "is what it is." (I hate that line, by the way.)

We had a lengthy conversation in a public parking garage before we were going to see "Up". We didn't see the movie, not because of the conversation, but because of bad timing. We didn't check movie times before we had dinner and lazed around the shopping area. Instead our night ended while watching "Role Models", rented from Blockbuster.

There were tears, but I always cry when something emotional happens, good or bad. I asked my SO what was the nature of Tuesday's request. My SO said, "I just wanted to be alone." I asked for further explanation. My SO got frustrated. It was hard for my SO to understand that, with no further explanation, it's hard for me to take things at face value.

This situation has not come up before. My SO, when I was trying to explain why I was upset, cited their mother calling, understanding the situation, and immediately ending the conversation. I then explained their mother had obviously had this situation happen before, where as I had not. Now that I know, should this happen again, I'll understand it is just my SO wanting some time alone, instead of jumping to conclusions because I am left wanting more information.

So yeah, crisis averted, though not for lack of anxiety and anger.

I know I tend to think too much and assume the worst, but one or two more sentences to explain the situation is all I need sometimes. Just give me a little more and I'll be fine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I woke up angry and upset today because of a situation caused by my SO. My SO, who knows I need constant reassurance because of my emotional issues, calls me once I get off work yesterday and says, "I want to be alone tonight; I'll see you tomorrow afternoon." No warning and no explanation given, I babble some okays and the conversation is ended.

My first reaction was to be upset, almost ready to cry. Did I do something wrong? Was my SO offended by a stupid incident we had last night? (Aside: I keep a small pair of scissors in my robe. We were on my couch, my head in my SO's lap. They notice and pull out the scissors. I feel a pull on my hair and say, "Don't you dare cut my hair." My SO reacts by saying, "Do you really think so little of me?" My response, "You pulled scissors out of my robe and I felt you pulling on my hair." It's stupid and ridiculous, but it was the first thing that came to mind when I started to think my SO's self imposed isolation may have been my fault.)

My next reaction, about thirty seconds later, was full on I-want-to-kick-some-ass anger. My toothbrush, my hair brush, my deodorant, and other important items are sitting by my SO's bed because I was not given any warning. No explanation, just a phone call. How is that fair? How is that caring? How is that reassuring? It's not.

As a person who is trying to wrestle with emotional issues and find a better way to deal with the feelings inside me, I thought I did really well choosing to not go to his work and yell at him or call him while I was angry and scream profanities.

All kidding aside, I mostly felt like I was put in an impossible situation. Either I bow to my SO's desire and spend the night worrying and upset or I call and leave myself open for the clingy partner assault. I felt betrayed. I felt like I'd been slapped in the face.

It is our plan to move in together towards the end of the year. What happens when this urges comes over my SO then? Being as the apartment we want to live in is 35 minutes away from work and my SO has no vehicle, will I be asked to drive home silently and not speak for the rest of the night? Will my SO just not come home, leaving me wondering where they are all night?

My SO's actions do not breed trust, they breed fear. They do not breed understanding, they breed resentment. How are we to keep sharing a life together when I am left feeling tossed aside? I love my SO, but this is the type of behavior that makes me worry about my choice to stick it out and baby step our way to the life I want for us, the life I thought we both wanted.

So that is how I've spent the past 16 hours. My SO didn't call when they got home, like they said they would. A text message sent at 9pm got me a two word answer, confirming at least my SO is alive and was walking to their home. There has been no other contact since.

I'm sad, but, mostly, I'm angry. I know tonight I will try to not be mad. I will try to explain why I believe my SO handled yesterday in a poor manner and, with my SO, try come up with a way to better handle the situation should these feelings come up again. Mostly, I'm trying to keep it together. I've already gotten upset about a simple task at work, transferring my frustration from one situation to another, which is not productive nor is it mentally healthy.

I don't want to feel this way, yet my SO has done this to me. WTF!

Yelling is too good of an excuse to give my SO. I don't want to yell. I want to get my point across and correct the situation. I don't want a blow out, but my anger is so great currently, I'm finding it difficult to keep things in perspective.

For now, I'm just trying to breathe. Just breathe and some how make it through my work day in hopes that I will get an explanation of why I'm being treated in such an unfair manner.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Lighten Up

After scanning my last few blogs, I noticed how serious and ra ra ra politics they were. So I've decided to insert, hopefully, a none heavy post to give a break from the important. Feel free to ignore it if you like the hard stuff and tire easily of the soft randomness of life. Otherwise enjoy.

So, I'm working on this story that could be a novel or it could be a graphic novel. I am seriously leaning towards the comic aspect because so much of it is action and sex. Lots and lots of sex. There is innuendo and just plain fucking at times, though always in concert with some other activity. No use in wasting entire scenes on screwing.

I have a feeling this has as much to do with my increased libido as it does with my last story being all about repression and needing an outlet. It seems I have gone to the extremes in two stories, which makes me wonder what my next will be like. Plain Jane and boring or finding an extreme in a different context? We'll see.

Non Sequitar: I'm taking my mother to the hospital tomorrow. No worries. She's going in for a procedure her doctor called a "dusting and cleaning." The fact that a professional individual would talk about my mom's lady parts like that leans me to not worrying about it. With all luck, I will even get to work on time.

One of my uncles had open heart surgery today, which was shocking to hear not having any prior knowledge of his condition. When I called my mother, it was to wish her a happy birthday. But then the conversation went to the dropping of the bomb about my uncle, only to have my mother start cursing because Uncle Tony went off somewhere and she couldn't find him. This was all then aggravated further by an appointment she needed to make that was set for thirty minutes from the time of my call. It seems I had wonderful timing. I politely hung up and said I would see her in the morning.

Speaking of, I need to wake up at 5am tomorrow so I have enough time to drive to my mother's home and pick her up at 6am. One would think I would just go up to her home and sleep there over night, but until you've heard my mother snore, you just don't understand.

I'm alone in the office again. I've come to enjoy the quiet and the opportunity to spend time writing. Getting back to my comic/novel, I've got about 12 pages written, which in retrospect seems small, but I still have at least half the story left, if not more. Who knows, maybe I'll find a way to stretch it out or just be satisfied with the good I have and figure out what to do with it later.

Non Sequitar: I randomly leafed through my high school year book yesterday. I don't know what gave my the inkling, but I found myself sitting on the floor by my bookcase, trying to find pictures of myself. I was never one to show up a lot in yearbook, for the simple fact that on Picture Day I was always out of school. I had a mentorship that had me out of class one day a month, and that day would always line up with yearbook pictures. I was annoyed then and slightly still am. I know pride is not important, but one wants to at least be acknowledged for their accomplishments, however non-important they may be after the fact. One thing that did please me: my best friend mentioned my name in their senior quote. It was slightly amazing to realize we've lasted this long.

Well, I suppose that is suitably random and rambling enough to qualify as funny or at least harmless. Back to serious stuff next time.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Country We Should Be At War With

North Korea has convicted two American journalists, Euna Lee & Laura Ling, for "grave crimes against North Korea" and sentenced them to 12 years in prison, the maximum possible punishment. They are to be transferred to a labor camp in ten days.

I am normally not a pro-war person, but, in the case of North Korea, I am inclined to make an exception. It is hard for me to understand why they keep doing this. I understand the concept of a communist dictator. But, one would think, he would not actively seek to provoke the international community, nor would he threaten the most powerful country in the world. And yet, here we are.

The small country of North Korean is a thorn in the side of the international community. Their only ally, China, cannot even control them. No insane, for I believe him to be so, dictator cannot and should not have the capability to kill and destroy that nuclear weapons allow. North Korea's blatant nuclear tests, missile launches, and rejections of diplomacy lead me to a place I am rarely found; I would support going to war with them. If it were not for Afghanistan & Iraq, I believe we may have already taken that step. Chalk up yet another alarming situation caused by our former president.

Read more on the plight of the journalists and what others hope will be the eventual outcome, namely using them as bargaining chips in further negotiations with world leaders, in the following article I read on USAToday.

North Korea sentences US journalists to 12 years in prison

DA/DT: The New Third Rail of Politics

Yet another setback in the ongoing struggle for gay rights and equality in our country: the Supreme Court refused to hear a case challenging the validity of the prejudicial military policy "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", instead covering their behinds by stating it was up to the Congress to change or amend the practice.

What happened to that promise, Mr. President? What happened to that simple answer, Mr. Gibbs? We are all getting sick of waiting.

Thanks to @anamariecox for the heads up. Click on the link below for the full story.

Court rejects challenge to DA/DT

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Hampshire Makes 6!

How come I didn't hear about this? The New Hampshire governor on Wednesday signed into law gay marriages rights.
Full Article Here

Thanks to lazy circles for the article and info.

Seriously, why didn't I read or hear about this before today?

Checking In

I know I should be better about updating my blog, but, like I know I should be better about a myriad of things in my life, I haven't been. So, a synopsis of the latest.

My brother graduated from college recently. It was an interesting experience for many reasons.

1- He attended the same college I did. (This was not on purpose. I felt the need to say that.) It was surreal to be seated in the stands when four years ago I was in my cap and gown, sitting with so many others on the basketball court. His commencement speaker was better, but boring like mine. I was happy for him, though frustrated, as was expected, by the huge crowd. I brought food I didn't eat and a book I did read. All-in-all, a good experience.

2- My father, my older brother, my aunt (who is now VERY hard of hearing) and my step mother (so odd to say that out loud or in my head) all attended. And, yet even more shocking, it went well. I did not expect the "Lady of the House," as my mother likes to call her, to be there.

At first, I didn't even know it was her. It was not until my older brother said something to my father about his wife that I connected the dots. Once again, the best place to hide something is right in front of my face.

She was civil. We didn't really talk, but wouldn't have anyway. She and my aunt were to themselves. I chatted with my brother and father. Lookers on had no idea the family history or histrionics. It was refreshing, and something my therapist was so right about. To think for so long I expected some kind of blow up the next time I saw her. This was the polar opposite of my worst nightmare.

Since I mentioned it, therapy has been going well. My Doc has helped me with relationship issue, she makes me talk about my weight and being proactive about fixing it, and I have talked more about my feelings towards my Dad than any other time in my life. Starting therapy was defiantly a good a decision. It makes me wonder what I would have done if I had not sought help. Possible scenarios I do not like come to mind, so I'll leave that one alone.

I've been writing more, which has made my heart leap. I finished my first screenplay and have given it to good friends to read over. For the next month, I've promised myself I will try to not think about it, giving them hopefully plenty of time for their critiques. Instead I've worked on short stories that have the potential to develop into something more. One leans more towards action. The other is more outlandish satirical comedy. I do not know where they are going, but I know the road to their destinations will be interesting to travel.

My SO and I will be moving into together sometime this year. The roommates are looking to buy a house and my SO does not want to move with them. In a moment of insecurity, I asked the hard question that came to mind a day or two earlier. "If your roommates don't buy a house, will you still move in with me?" The simple "yes" response made me feel reassured. Once again, thanks to the Doc for teaching me good relationship practices.

It's quiet in the office today, just like I like it. With any luck, and motivation, I will work more on my stories, in hopes that one day my stories will be my work.
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