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The Hero of Time

The Hero of Time tries to get published... and finally breaks the curse on the Great Deku Tree

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Spoilers for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time:

 

Spoiler

I've failed him!

 

I failed the Great Deku Tree. I fought my way past the many freakish creatures that infested his vast trunk; I traversed every room; I found the slingshot; but I was not prepared for this monster.

 

Hiding behind a twisted column, I cover my ears as Queen Gohma's bellow echoes around the huge, wooden chamber. She is the curse I vowed to break and, yet, it is my body that is bruised and bleeding. Only the last dregs of life remain. I hear thunderous footsteps as she moves across the cavern floor and my eyes squeeze shut. I've discerned the dreadful pattern that will lead to my demise.

 

She will climb to the chamber's ceiling. Time and time again I have tried to slingshot a deku seed into her glaring eye, but the panic in my arms makes my aim unsteady. She will lay eggs which hatch into her foul offspring. As I defend against one, the rest will attack. My sword swings will become erratic and ineffective. Finally, she will climb down and launch her gargantuan body at mine.

 

My fate is sealed... but how will I meet that fate? Will I cower in hiding as my life force slips away? Or will I hold a knife to destiny's throat and demand that my soul be taken by force?

 

My breathing slows in time with Gohma's steady steps as she climbs the column. The loud thump of my heart fades as I hear her cross the ceiling. I have accepted fate, but I will not supply its victim easily.

 

Navi darts back and forth impatiently but she remains silent as I gather my thoughts. As I pull my battered body into a standing position, Gohma's silence tells me that she is ready to lay her eggs.

 

I pivot on one leg until she comes into view. Navi flies to light my target before my foot touches the floor again. Gohma fixes me with her singular gaze, my breathing remains steady, I bring the slingshot into position, and release the shot.

 

My shock that the seed finds its target is mirrored by Gohma as she shakes her bloodied eye. Losing her grip, she falls to the floor with a deafening thud, and tremors radiate throughout the arena. With one fluid movement, I tuck away the slingshot, and ready my sword. With a yell that betrays my few years, and my weapon held aloft, I leap at my enemy.

 

One of us shall be broken by this duel.

 

Queen-gohma-Ocarina-of-Time-by_sulamoon.

 

All characters owned by Nintendo.

 

Image credits: Úrsula Dorada .

 

After discovering that I took on too much in my previous Challenge, I'm going to limit myself to two quests. Also, this reflects the fact that Christmas preparations and holidays are likely to make the available time even shorter. I didn't level-up in the previous Challenge so I'm treating this one as a boss-battle.

 

My two quests are related to writing and game-development.

 

Quest 1: submit the previous Challenge's Flash Fiction stories for publication

 

In the previous Challenge, I wrote five Flash Fiction short stories (one per week). In this Challenge, I'll submit them for publication. The current plan is to submit a couple of them to competitions and the rest to on-line publications.

 

Note that the title of this quest is not to be published. I have no direct control over that. All I can do is submit them for scrutiny and that is a challenge in itself.

 

Quest 2: find a good (free) on-line course to learn Blender and start the course

 

One of my epic quests is to develop 3D games. I'll be using Godot for the game development itself but creating the 3D models in Blender.

 

I've learnt the basics of Blender before but I always forget again when I haven't used it in a while. This time 'round I plan to make lots of notes. Also, there have been some usability changes with version 2.8 so I think this is a good time to start again. I plan to use Blender with a graphics/drawing tablet and that may present its own challenges.

 

Zero Week

 

There are a couple of things I'd like to do in preparation for those two quests:

  • edit some of the stories - I want to change the primary tense of one of the stories (present to past) and fix some issues that were caught in proof-reading
  • take the computer I built during the previous Challenge and make it my main machine - this will involve tidying up some internal cables for airflow, transferring a hard disc and DVD drive, and configure software to match my old set-up.

 

Secondary (fitness-related) quests

 

I'm trying to resist the urge to add more quests to this Challenge but I can't quite manage it. However, these fitness quests should be relatively easy to achieve and I'll work the XP rewards so that they're not required in order to level-up.

 

Get to level 7 in the NF diet

 

My wife and I are currently at level 5 of the NF diet. However, I think that, already, we fulfil the requirements of level 6. Getting to level 7 should happen during the course of this Challenge.

 

Add another kilogram to my dumbbells for strength training

 

I'm planning to do this on Monday, anyway. I don't do weight-training as such. The dumbbells are there only to make my normal exercises harder. Then again, I should probably read the Strength Training 101...

Edited by The Hero of Time
Incorporated corrections to the story from proof-reading.
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You have some great goals here. 

 

39 minutes ago, The Hero of Time said:

 

I'm trying to resist the urge to add more quests to this Challenge but I can't quite manage it. However, these fitness quests should be relatively easy to achieve and I'll work the XP rewards so that they're not required in order to level-up.

 

I can relate to this so much. I already feel the affects of New Years and just want to start doing all the things, but then I remember I am a lot busier than usual with company and family holiday shenanigans, so it is probably not the best month to try and do all the things if I want to set myself up for success.

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2 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

Quest 1: submit the previous Challenge's Flash Fiction stories for publication

 

In the previous Challenge, I wrote five Flash Fiction short stories (one per week). In this Challenge, I'll submit them for publication. The current plan is to submit a couple of them to competitions and the rest to on-line publications.

 

 

This is so awesome! Sounds like you've been doing brilliantly. 

 

2 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

Note that the title of this quest is not to be published. I have no direct control over that. All I can do is submit them for scrutiny and that is a challenge in itself.

 

+1 WIS

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Transferring to the new machine resulted in more downtime than I was hoping. A lack of some parts (screws) and a physically large hard drive resulted in having to rearrange components a few times.

 

On 12/4/2019 at 1:59 PM, Aquarii said:

You have some great goals here

 

Thank you.

 

On 12/4/2019 at 1:59 PM, Aquarii said:

probably not the best month to try and do all the things if I want to set myself up for success.

 

December always ends up being busier than I expect. Leaving some of things until January sounds wise. Then there will the challenge, all over again, of not trying to do all the things at once in January.

 

On 12/4/2019 at 4:05 PM, Harriet said:

This is so awesome! Sounds like you've been doing brilliantly. 

 

Your advice from my Level 1 Challenge has played a big part in that. I'll be using The Submission Grinder that you suggested, there, too.

 

On 12/4/2019 at 4:05 PM, Harriet said:

+1 WIS

 

I haven't been able to work out what the "WIS" stands for.

 

On 12/4/2019 at 4:13 PM, Chris Tarly said:

I'm working on my first novel. I'm curious to see how your submissions go.

 

Kudos for taking that plunge. May I ask which genre?

 

I'll report as much as I can about the submission process.

 

On 12/4/2019 at 8:04 PM, KB Girl said:

Exciting!  

 

Thank you, KBG. Great to see your 21 days of writing. To quote Jane Yolen:

 

Quote

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.

 

Hmm, I would have been tempted to put a semi-colon in her first sentence...

 

Anyway, I'm running late on editing my stories... and I've got to sort out this wifi, and install pandoc again, and configure emacs... Ugh, so many things to do.

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7 minutes ago, The Hero of Time said:

December always ends up being busier than I expect. Leaving some of things until January sounds wise. Then there will the challenge, all over again, of not trying to do all the things at once in January.

 

I have the same problem. I already know that January is going to be a battle to stay reasonable with my goals. It is like that every year, despite my best efforts, haha.

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3 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

Hmm, I would have been tempted to put a semi-colon in her first sentence... 

 

A semicolon wouldn't be grammatically correct there, says your local sometimes copyeditor. ;)

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On 12/6/2019 at 12:16 PM, Aquarii said:

I already know that January is going to be a battle to stay reasonable with my goals. It is like that every year, despite my best efforts, haha.

 

I somehow have to accept that, if I work on fewer things, then I'm more likely to finish a few things. As opposed to, if I work on many things, then I'm more likely to have many unfinished things. It's the perennial problem.

 

On 12/6/2019 at 3:38 PM, sarakingdom said:

A semicolon wouldn't be grammatically correct there, says your local sometimes copyeditor.

 

I'd like to be educated on this. Here's my reasoning for including the semi-colon:

 

I'd like to put everything after 'every' into a separate sentence. I.e.

 

Quote

Exercise the writing muscle every day. Even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry.

 

However, the second sentence is dependant on the first. Therefore, I use a semi-colon rather than a full-stop:

 

Quote

Exercise the writing muscle every day; even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry.

 

My motivation for wanting to create two sentences: The second half of hers is a comma-separated list, which is separated from the first half by a comma. I just don't like the way the comma is used both ways in the same sentence; but, perhaps, that's where my problem lies.

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Right, I've dealt with this morning's server meltdown. Time to gather my thoughts here.

 

I'm not going to have weekly targets like I did in my first two challenges. They were useful in my first, not so much in my second. I'm hoping that, by excluding them here, I'll get a feel for where they're actually useful.

 

Progress made during Zero Week

 

I transferred my main hard disc to the new computer build. I'm using that machine now. This was more of a pain than I expected and there's a lot of configuration still to do.

 

I rewrote one of the five stories to change the primary tense from present to past. Feedback suggests the result may be confusing. There's a strong chance that I'll revert this change.

 

I had planned to make corrections, that came from proof-reading, to the stories. However, I wasn't left with enough time after the hard disc migration.

 

My wife and I are now officially on Level 6 of the Nerd Fitness Diet. Also, my carbs have been under 150g per day, and under 100g per day 70% of the time.

 

Today's quests

  • Do the batch-editing of the five stories to incorporate proof-reading corrections
  • install Blender 2.8
  • print out Level 6 of the NF Diet
  • add 1kg to my dumbbells for tonight's strength-training workout
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1 hour ago, The Hero of Time said:

However, the second sentence is dependant on the first. Therefore, I use a semi-colon rather than a full-stop: 

 

Being dependent is why it can't be a sentence. A sentence must function independently, and that doesn't. It's a dependent clause, and can't stand on its own, and thus is not eligible to be separated with a semicolon or a full stop.

 

(The problem is the "even if". "Even if" is a conjunction. Sentences can't begin with conjunction**. That second bit is a dependent clause, not a sentence.)

 

**I'm sympathetic to the colloquial use of "and" and "but" as sentence starters in places where speech patterns are mimicked, and use them myself, but it's purely informal and would never fly in prose. Possibly in quoted speech, if demonstrating colloquial afterthought.*** The only ones I'd do that with are coordinating conjunctions, which are designed just to show relationship between independent clauses, while "even if" is a subordinate conjunction, which by definition is creating a sentence fragment connected an independent sentence.

 

Basically, if you're going to do it colloquially - and again, wouldn't really fly in a prose essay like she was writing - you should be able to remove the conjunction and have the meaning stand, if less emphasized. For instance:

  • I wanted to go my way, but she didn't agree. (Correct.)
  • I wanted to go my way. But she didn't agree. (Incorrect, but colloquial.)
  • I wanted to go my way. She didn't agree. (Correct. Same meaning.)

They are being connected, but they stand independently; nothing is subordinate. Or to bring it back to parts of speech, in the original sentence, those are independent clauses.

 

Compare that to:

  • Exercise the writing muscle every day. It is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. (Technically grammatical, but has lost meaning and is borderline word salad.)

The meaning is dependent on the subordinating conjunction; it can't be removed. That second bit is entirely dependent clause, and can't stand alone as a sentence. Putting a period or semicolon there leaves you with one sentence and one fragment, not two sentences.

 

**Just proving I'm down with the colloquial sentence fragments in informal speech-patterned writing, y'all.

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2 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

My motivation for wanting to create two sentences: The second half of hers is a comma-separated list, which is separated from the first half by a comma. I just don't like the way the comma is used both ways in the same sentence; but, perhaps, that's where my problem lies. 

 

It's correct usage to use commas both to separate clauses and to separate lists. One can argue about readability, but going from correct usage to another correct usage that avoids that structure will require a lot of rephrasing, not just repunctuating. :)

 

Hers might not be my very first choice of phrasing, but I think it is fairly readable, because it's actually more than simply a comma-separated list. It's also a conjunction, subject, and verb for context and separation. I'd pick probably more contextualizing (read: longer and more visible) ones, given how close it puts the list to the start of the clause. She picked the most concise ones, which I can also respect a valid authorial choice. Conciseness can also be a form of clarity, and perhaps that was her priority. I might raise the issue if I were editing it, but I'd be perfectly okay losing that one.

 

(By the way, your semicolon in the above should also be a comma. You're separating a clause, not a sentence. An independent one, though, so we won't make a federal case of it.) ;)

 

ETA: Actually, I think if I were writing it, I'd frontload it as a dependent clause in a new sentence:

 

"Exercise the writing muscle every day. Even if it's only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, or a journal entry, the act of putting pen to paper keeps the words flowing."

 

IMO, the shorter first sentence creates a stronger emphasis on the core idea. She maybe could have upped the conciseness and context a bit. ;)

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Well, I've learnt a lot today.

 

48 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

Being dependent is why it can't be a sentence. A sentence must function independently, and that doesn't....The problem is the "even if". "Even if" is a conjunction.

 

Thank you. That's a good explanation. Perhaps I can use this Challenge to double-check my use of semicolons when writing. (Damn-it, I keep misspelling 'dependent.')

 

29 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

By the way, your semicolon in the above should also be a comma. You're separating a clause, not a sentence. An independent one, though, so we won't make a federal case of it.

 

I can see I've been misusing semicolons for a while now. Having done some background reading, I can see that, if I wanted to use a semicolon, the sentence should have been: "I just don't like the way the comma is used both ways in the same sentence; perhaps, that's where my problem lies."

 

42 minutes ago, sarakingdom said:

ETA: Actually, I think if I were writing it, I'd frontload it as a dependent clause in a new sentence:

 

Unfortunately, I don't think I know the "ETA" acronym you're using here. I'm assuming it's not Estimated Time of Arrival.

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Semicolons are super hard. I suspect they're the thing everyone struggles with.

 

14 minutes ago, The Hero of Time said:

Having done some background reading, I can see that, if I wanted to use a semicolon, the sentence should have been: "I just don't like the way the comma is used both ways in the same sentence; perhaps, that's where my problem lies." 

 

Yes, I think so, though I'd remove the comma after perhaps; it's not a clause on its own, but an adverb modifying "that's".

 

(Sorry, once the inner copyeditor is activated, it's hard to stop till the copy is clean. I will stop now.) :)

 

26 minutes ago, The Hero of Time said:

Unfortunately, I don't think I know the "ETA" acronym you're using here. I'm assuming it's not Estimated Time of Arrival. 

 

Edited to add. I had an afterthought. Which might, in a way, be a somewhat delayed estimated time of arrival, mentally speaking...

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Dealt with another server meltdown this morning. I think we've worked out what caused it so, hopefully, it shouldn't happen again tomorrow.

 

Week 1, day 1 summary - Dec 9th

  • I completed the batch-editing of the five stories
  • I printed out Level 6 of the NF diet
  • I added 1kg to my dumbbells

I didn't get as far as installing Blender 2.8.

 

I felt as if I could have added more weight to the dumbbells. I could probably do that in time for my next strength-training session but I'll wait 'til next week; I don't want to do too much at once.

 

I might as well track my carbs here.

 

Carbohydrates consumed: 87g.

 

This is below the 150g target for Level 6 of the NF diet and even below the 100g target for Level 7. 30g of that came from banana.

 

That measurement does not come from "basic" carb counting system. We're still weighing every piece of food we eat and I'd really rather get past that.

 

Today's quests

  • Look for two or three competitions in which to enter some of my stories
  • install Blender 2.8

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21 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

Sorry, once the inner copyeditor is activated, it's hard to stop till the copy is clean.

 

No need to apologize. That's how I learn the finer points of English composition. That's a skill that is of great value to me.

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1 hour ago, The Hero of Time said:

Carbohydrates consumed: 87g.

 

This is below the 150g target for Level 6 of the NF diet and even below the 100g target for Level 7. 30g of that came from banana.

 

That measurement does not come from "basic" carb counting system. We're still weighing every piece of food we eat and I'd really rather get past that.

 

What do you mean by "basic" carb counting system? 

 

 

Great job smashing out most of you goals for the day. Sounds like you got a lot done.

 

1 hour ago, The Hero of Time said:

Dealt with another server meltdown this morning.

 

I initially read this as "severe meltdown" and was very much confused for a second.

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12 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

 

I felt as if I could have added more weight to the dumbbells. I could probably do that in time for my next strength-training session but I'll wait 'til next week; I don't want to do too much at once.

Smart! :)

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There was no server (severe) meltdown this morning, so that makes life a bit simpler.

 

Week 1, day 2 summary - Dec 10th

  • I looked for Flash Fiction competitions
  • I installed Blender 2.8

It's remarkable. When I was looking for writing competitions during my Level 1 Challenge, every other one seemed to be a Flash Fiction competition. This time around, they seemed far more difficult to find. When I did find them, I discounted most because either their word-count restrictions were too low (often 360 or 100), or they had a set theme. In the end, I've ruled out all but one. This does suggest that, in the future, it may be worth finding the competitions first and then writing to their restrictions.

 

I installed Blender 2.8 but it keeps crashing if I do a render more than once (it may crash more with real use, but that's the test I used). I installed 2.79 (using apt) for comparison---that crashes just as frequently and in the same way. The problem appears to be related to the nouveau driver:

 

blender: ../nouveau/pushbuf.c:723: nouveau_pushbuf_data: Assertion `kref' failed.

 

Also, I get messages such as:

 

Received X11 Error:
	error code:   8
	request code: 152
	minor code:   34
	error text:   BadMatch (invalid parameter attributes)

I plan to look into that issue today.

 

Carbohydrates consumed: 98g.

 

This is below the target of 150g and still (just) below the Level 7 target of 100g. Banana accounted for about 40g of this.

  

Today's quests

  • Use Submission Grinder to find suitable markets for my stories
  • look at the formatting requirements of those markets
  • look for solutions to the Blender crashes

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21 hours ago, Aquarii said:

What do you mean by "basic" carb counting system

 

Page 7 of the NF Diet Cheat Sheet says:

 

Quote

I know that cutting back on carbohydrates is the fastest path to continued success, so I do a BASIC counting system and make sure to keep my daily carb consumption under 150 grams per day.

 

Unless I've missed it (which is quite possible) nowhere in the NF literature specifies how to do a basic carb counting system. I would expect a basic system not to involve weighing everything I eat, but I haven't come across another way to count those carb grams.

 

21 hours ago, Aquarii said:

I initially read this as "severe meltdown" and was very much confused for a second.

 

It was fairly severe but, thankfully, it was just the server melting and not me. :smile-new:

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2 hours ago, The Hero of Time said:

 

Page 7 of the NF Diet Cheat Sheet says:

 

 

Unless I've missed it (which is quite possible) nowhere in the NF literature specifies how to do a basic carb counting system. I would expect a basic system not to involve weighing everything I eat, but I haven't come across another way to count those carb grams.

 

Basic carb counting is done by reading labels and looking up nutritional information (which is what I have done in the past). Basic accurate carb counting is done by weighing the food to make sure you are actually consuming only the amount listed on the label. So long story short, if you really want to be accurate and make sure you are staying within a certain calorie and/or macro goal, the scale is necessary. At least in the beginning. You can make it easier by batch cooking, and over time you will get a better idea of what a serving looks like, so you don't have to weigh it. 

 

I would recommend checking out his article here: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/losing-the-last-20-pounds-7-lessons-learned-while-still-eating-carbs/

If you scroll down to point #4) My Metabolism Wasn't Broken, My Tracking Was, he talks about why he highly recommends using a food scale, especially for your carbs.

 

I will point out that this is a more recent article, and he has switched to a more moderate carb/lower fat approach (as opposed to the lower carb/higher fat approach of the NF diet sheet), but the advice in the article applies whether you are doing low carb or low fat.

 

That is all just to say, you are already doing it the best way right now, so good for you! :)

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Week 1, day 3 summary - Dec 11th

  • I used Submission Grinder and picked ten markets
  • I had a first look at formatting requirements---most want .docx or .odt or similar
  • I didn't look at the Blender crashes

I spent a while familiarizing myself with Submission Grinder. Also, I spent a while looking at submission guidelines for various markets. They seem to be quite varied and rarely match the William Shunn 'standard'. I decided to stick to markets that allow simultaneous submissions, in order to increase the number of places that receive my story. I chose ten markets, so that each of the five stories could be submitted to two... but I've just remembered that one of the stories is going to a competition... I should add two more markets so that the remaining stories can go to three each.

 

I'm starting to get the feeling that the process of submitting the work for publication may take as much time and effort as writing the piece in the first place. Nevertheless, I'm telling myself that, though it seems mysterious at the moment, it's just another skill that I need to develop.

 

Many of the markets use a service called Submittable. That's not something I've used before.

  

Carbohydrates consumed: 90g.

 

This is below the target of 150g and below the Level 7 target of 100g. Banana accounted for about 40g of this. I keep mentioning bananas because, though they're a convenient way to keep my calories up, they're the biggest single source of carbs in my diet.

  

Today's quests

  • Look into the Blender crashes (I've put this first because I probably wouldn't get to it otherwise)
  • add two more Submission Grinder markets
  • look at the Submittable service
  • vote (there's this little thing happening in the UK, called a General Election)
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22 hours ago, Aquarii said:

 

That was a very interesting read. Also, it's useful to see how Steve's views change over time. I respect him for that. Changing ones views in the face of new information is the intelligent thing to do.

 

As things stand, I still intend to keep my carbs under the 100g mark. Whilst my wife wants to lose a few more pounds (I actually want to put on a few) I think we'll keep weighing our food. The data so far suggest that a 'basic' carb-counting system, in my case, would be "don't eat banana". I really do need to find a replacement for banana, though; they're an easy way to keep my calories up whilst minimizing my wife's.

 

I suspect that, once my wife has reached the weight she wants, we'll stop weighing food but keep eating the same way. We've been weighing the food for a few months now, so we have a good idea of the macros that go into our meals. Then, I think we'll go back to weighing for a week or so every so often, just to check that the meals are still on track. We'll continue to weigh ourselves and we can get out the food scales if those values start to drift.

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