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Mistr

Mistr keeps it together

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3 hours ago, Mistr said:

I need to use my 20 seconds of courage to keep a positive attitude and not freak out through the discussion. Our recent communication has been excellent. Historically things were difficult. I'm planning on bribing my brain weasels to get them to shut up.

 

If this works, please share the secret. :) 

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I was hoping to skip practice tonight so that I can prep pie crust and filling for Pi Day (held Friday this year because 3/14 is a Saturday). This is supposed to be my off week from teaching and my weapons partner is scheduled to teach. I just checked with him about it.

 

He is feeling fine now, but just spent three days training colleagues from all over the world. That puts him at increased risk for Covid-19 exposure. I decided to do some research and see how much of the pandemic hype is justified. The World Health Organization (WHO) is publishing daily situation bulletins (here). They have a list of cases by country and a figure showing the number of confirmed cases by date. The trend is showing an exponential growth curve. You can see from the map which countries got hit first. The US had the advantage of a delay and the case numbers are likely to be under-reported because many areas have only just started testing at all. I know there are at least two confirmed cases in my county. The WHO says this qualifies as a pandemic and that it is likely to get worse because many areas are not taking adequate measures.

 

The media is likely to be over-reacting, but this is a real threat.

 

My dojo has already been telling people to stay home if they feel unwell. The next step is to limit contact. That means I will be teaching jo techniques until things calm down. ;) 

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3 hours ago, Mistr said:

I was hoping to skip practice tonight so that I can prep pie crust and filling for Pi Day (held Friday this year because 3/14 is a Saturday). This is supposed to be my off week from teaching and my weapons partner is scheduled to teach. I just checked with him about it.

 

What kind of PIE are you making? I wish to hear about pie. Especially if the filling is some sort of tart and juicy fruit. 

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17 hours ago, Mistr said:

He is feeling fine now, but just spent three days training colleagues from all over the world. That puts him at increased risk for Covid-19 exposure. I decided to do some research and see how much of the pandemic hype is justified. The World Health Organization (WHO) is publishing daily situation bulletins (here). They have a list of cases by country and a figure showing the number of confirmed cases by date. The trend is showing an exponential growth curve. You can see from the map which countries got hit first. The US had the advantage of a delay and the case numbers are likely to be under-reported because many areas have only just started testing at all. I know there are at least two confirmed cases in my county. The WHO says this qualifies as a pandemic and that it is likely to get worse because many areas are not taking adequate measures.

 

The media is likely to be over-reacting, but this is a real threat.

 

This is mainly how I feel about it at this point.  The media whipped people into a frenzy (like they do), which is making it hard to find good reasoned action items (WTF, toilet paper?), and making things worse.  There's a lot of panic (health, economy, The Sky is Falling varieties), when a lot of the precautions are basic sanitation and common sense.  The social distancing thing is annoyingly relevant, even if I hate it.

 

Rawr.

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14 hours ago, Harriet said:

What kind of PIE are you making? I wish to hear about pie. Especially if the filling is some sort of tart and juicy fruit. 

 

We have had an overabundance of sweet pies in recent years, so I am planning on making a savory pie. It will have bacon, mushrooms and pumpkin. I will use eggs for thickening the filling but no milk because one of my coworkers is lactose intolerant. I'll use my grandmother's pie crust recipe with lard to keep with the no-dairy theme.

 

I was really hoping to have time to do prep cooking last night. Nope, no time at all. I had just enough time to eat and set out clothes for today before practice. After practice I washed my kneepads, did five minutes of French exercises and headed to bed. I really wanted to take 15 minutes of relaxation time, but I also wanted to get to bed 15 minutes early. That extra 15 minutes disappeared in feeding the cats and checking in with my family before I went to bed (on time for a change!)

 

I'm going to need to review videos to refresh my memory of jo waza techniques. I taught three basic moves for my basic class. I made everyone wash their hands before class and wipe down their jos with hand sanitizer. I was pleased when one of the senior students made everyone wipe down the broom handles with hand sanitizer after sweeping the mat. We've got this.

 

On the other hand, work is only going to get crazier. My company manufactures components for diagnostic kits that use nucleic acid amplification. We also manufacture instruments and kits for purifying nucleic acids from various biological samples. Including viruses. I'm not concerned about my coworkers getting sick any more than usual during flu season. I'm worried about schools being closed and child care not being available. That could make life very interesting. 😷

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I've just been doing some risk management stuff for my office, so I'll give you my takeaways.

 

60-70% of us will get it (and many of us already have it and won't know for weeks), so first let's be pragmatic about that risk. The things to stock up on are common cold medicines; we will need them, and the panic is not on them yet. It's basically a deadly common cold, so lean hard into managing that well, rather than as sort of an afterthought about comfort. The ER can treat the deadly symptoms of high fever and difficult breathing, but it's better for you and the health care system to not get to that point. To bring the fever down: both ibuprofen and acetaminophen, alternating between the two every three hours. (I believe this is to raise the fever reducing drugs in the system without exceeding either's dosage recommendations.) Expectorant and cough suppressant, daytime and nighttime; the cough will be bad and hard to shift. Cough drops to help you rest, including sugar-free for overnight. Have a plan for steam or humidity; breathing will be rough. Freeze some soup and meals. Rest. Fluids. Do what you can now to make that easier later.

 

When it comes to personal contact, do good risk management. Avoid it when possible. Make it short when you can't avoid it. Reduce the number of people you come into contact with - a risk pool of ten people between home and work is better than meeting lots of people briefly. Obviously, no licking faces and so on.

 

The personal contact thing is going to be culturally hard to take on board, because it's not primarily you that you're protecting, or even primarily the people you know, but the larger statistical system we live in. By cutting down viable routes for the virus from hundreds to tens or ones, we're cutting down how fast it can spread even more than how far (though that would be nice). It may not be us who benefits; our homes may get sick. The people who met with the people we didn't meet may be the ones who benefit for a few weeks. It probably won't even reduce the numbers of people who get sick, but it will reduce the deaths and financial cost by helping the system cope with the strain better.

 

So any cutting down is better than nothing, IMO. If you can do two days at home and three in the office, you're bringing down risk. My officemate and I started working from home today. We haven't ruled out going in when we need equipment, but we're cutting down on the opportunities to run into people where possible. Because it's statistical risk reduction, for us, for the whole office, for the city. It's not reliable personal protection where we'll see results. We're just shifting the odds everywhere we can, and picking our exposures wisely.

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7 hours ago, Mistr said:

We have had an overabundance of sweet pies in recent years

 

How is that possible?

 

I'm too lazy to make pie and mostly like the filling, so I think I'm going to treat myself to cranberry apple crumble. I still have a bag of cranberries in the freezer 🙂

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Last night didn't go at all as planned. I had to stay late at work. We got Chinese take-out for dinner even though we have plenty of good food in the house. It is comfort food for us.

 

Dumbledore asked for my help doing a task he was dreading. We geared up for it by folding and putting away laundry. B) 

In fact everything went really smoothly. It was a two-person job, but not that hard. Dumbledore was an emotional mess about it though. I was still strung out about work and did my best to keep my temper and be supportive. I hate it when we both need emotional support at the same time. We did okay under the circumstances.

 

On the way home we went to the grocery store to buy pie. I still plan on cooking pie on Saturday (to use up the ingredients). It was clear that I didn't have time or energy to cook. I got a frozen chicken pot pie for work. As we walked through the bakery section, we saw that they had a big stack of pies. All marked down already to $3.14 each. We got three of them. I told Dumbledore that he had done well and could eat all the pie he wanted. :P

 

14 hours ago, Xena said:

I'm too lazy to make pie and mostly like the filling, so I think I'm going to treat myself to cranberry apple crumble. I still have a bag of cranberries in the freezer 🙂

 

My favorite cranberry pie doesn't have crust and is really easy to make: https://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/nantucket-cranberry-pie/

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Hey people, listen up!

 

COVID-19 Info

 

You know that Biogen conference in Boston where a bunch of people caught COVID-19? I just found out that my brother was one of them. He had dinner with one of the people who unknowingly brought the virus home from a trip.

 

Here are the main points from his experience:

  • The person he caught it from was not showing any symptoms
  • It took about a week from exposure to first symptoms. He started by feeling tired, which could have just been work. The next day he went to work even though he wasn't feeling 100% because there were people he needed to meet with. By mid-morning he realized that it was getting worse and going to work had been a mistake.
  • He got the version with just a fever and headache. No coughing or respiratory symptoms. Lots of chills and aches. He said he felt like he was 90. The headache was so bad that he couldn't read. He listened to Netflix when he was awake and slept 14 hours a day.
  • After the first few days of being out of commission, he started to feel better. Then it got worse again for a few more days.  At least 7-10 days from first symptoms to feeling recovered.
  • The clinic didn't want to test him for COVID-19 because he was recovering. He tested positive.
  • Neither his wife or son have caught it (so far, 🤞). I think that is because my sister-in-law has been hypervigilant with the Clorox wipes.
  • He says this was really nasty and you don't want to catch it.

Take home points:

 

- Put away those reassuring comments about "mild flu-like symptoms". This is worse than the flu. Possibly MUCH worse for some people.

 

- The US public health system has completely dropped the ball on this one. They should have tested all the people who were at the Biogen conference and quarantined those who tested positive. They didn't do that. All of those people have gone out and spread the virus. The public health system doesn't have a plan or the capacity to trace people who had contact with those who were exposed. The lack of testing means we have no clue how many people are already infected. We just know there are lots more than official estimates. 100x more, 1000x more, we don't know.

 

- We do know that people are contagious before they start showing symptoms. That is why we are asking apparently healthy people to stay away from each other. Much better to miss out on some events now than to get a call several days after the event "say, you were sitting with Mike last weekend, right? Well he is sick with corona virus..."

 

This is not a drill. Take measures to protect yourself now.

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Pheeeeew. This has already helped. The teaching blue belt at my Academy may have been exposed; this makes it seem more likely and my decision to stay off the mats tonight might have prevented a vectoring toward either my parents or more immediately one of the older people at my gaming table who has some additional associated risk factors.

 

Thanks for this.

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Update - Crisis mode day 3

 

Monday was stressful as my team figured out how to implement our remote contingency plan. Half the team set up at home that afternoon and most of the rest were set by Tuesday morning. I'm one of the three people holding down the fort in the office. That makes my boss happy. It is good for me because the internet at home is not reliable enough for me to do my job there. We are looking at upgrading, but who knows how long that will really take. Plus it keeps me away from Dumbledore and Elf, who are already getting on each other's nerves.

 

Tuesday was a nice change. The office is much, much quieter with only three people in our cube farm. I was able to focus and get more done. The one downside was that Management decided to close all the exercise facilities to save on cleaning supplies. That means I have to exercise at home. I was grousing about having to fit in both exercise and zen. I'm bad at doing them in the evening and don't have time to do both before work in the morning. This morning while I was lying in bed I came up with a solution - move zen to lunch time. There are plenty of quiet places where I can sit zen for 30 minutes now that most of the company is working remotely. So I did core yoga first thing this morning.

 

The restaurant Elf works at closed last weekend. All restaurants in the state are closed now. They were very upset about it. Things were going really well for them at work. They were scheduled to get trained for more responsibility this week. Now everything is in limbo. I think they will be okay once they decide how to use their unintended free time.

 

I've been taking full advantage of my extra time in the evenings with no aikido. I've been playing piano, spinning and catching up on things. I finally got all the medical bills sorted last night. Tonight I will start filing HSA reimbursement forms.

 

Playing piano has been just fascinating to observe. I first learned to play in high school, then didn't play at all for 30 years. When we bought our house seven years ago I decided to move my piano, which had been stored with a friend. I started playing again as if I was learning for the first time. It took a bit to remember how to read music. My fingers remembered more than my brain. I stopped playing when Elf moved in with us. Partly because Elf was staying in the family room where the piano is, and partly because I was training for my nidan test and didn't have time. I don't know why I started again a couple weeks ago, it just felt like a good idea.

 

I've been going through the relearning process again, but much faster this time. My current challenge is to learn to play finger exercises in time to a metronome. I tend to go slow to start then speed up as I get warmed up. I want to learn to keep time even when I screw up. Keeping playing regardless is one of the skills I need to learn if I ever want to play for dance events. I'm not sure that is actually one of my goals, but it used to be and might be again sometime. For now I'm happy with the mental and physical exercise. My PT said that playing piano is an excellent antidote to working at a computer because you have to stretch your fingers. Plus I get to listen to music I like. :D 

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6 minutes ago, Mistr said:

It is good for me because the internet at home is not reliable enough for me to do my job there. We are looking at upgrading, but who knows how long that will really take. Plus it keeps me away from Dumbledore and Elf, who are already getting on each other's nerves.

 

We're only two humans in my household, and we are getting on each others' nerves already as well. Which is weird since we hardly ever go out anyway, but something about it being forced (sort of), just makes it aggravating.

 

7 minutes ago, Mistr said:

This morning while I was lying in bed I came up with a solution - move zen to lunch time. There are plenty of quiet places where I can sit zen for 30 minutes now that most of the company is working remotely.

 

That sounds very nice...! My work has closed all "public" facilities as well. People who have to go in to the office to get their work done still can, but they have to do without the cafeteria or the gym.

 

Side-note: I feel like the phrase "social distancing" is misleading. We should not stop all social interactions, if anything we should probably do the opposite, but we should instead practice "physical distancing". We don't have to be isolated in our homes (unless mandated by local government, of course), we can be out and about outdoors and in stores, but we need to keep a physical distance to each other and we need to avoid touching public objects like doors and counter tops in stores as much as we can. But we need social interaction while we keep that physical distance.

 

Back on track: I love reading about your piano playing. Music feeds the soul. :) 

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On 3/11/2020 at 4:15 PM, Scalyfreak said:

If this works, please share the secret. :) 

 

We finally had the financial discussion and survived it. Here is what happened.

 

After putting it off several times, we discussed what we needed to talk about and when would be a good time. There were two related topics. First was coming up with a budget for a single income. Second is how to deal with debt and expected major expenses to make the budget more feasible. We decided to wait until after breakfast so it would be daylight and we would be well rested.

 

Things almost went off the rails when Dumbledore started by bringing up a new, unanticipated big expense and getting mad when I said I thought that was a bad idea. I reminded him that we had agreed on a different place to start the discussion and he backed down. We went through our usual de-escalation procedure (which involves being silly and making each other laugh). We agreed that in prior years we would have had a screaming fight and not been able to deal. We also agreed to put aside the new issue until later and keep going as planned.

 

We then sat down at the dining room table to look at budgets. I had put together a spreadsheet showing our actual expenses per month for 2019 and our projected income. No surprise, our expenses were more than income. We both had ideas on how to cut back. We put together a couple different scenarios and looked at the numbers. Our plan involves nuking some short-term debt to cut back on monthly payments and to sell one of the cars to save on insurance and upkeep. We are also going to cut back a little on groceries and a lot on eating out.

 

The major expense discussion is still on hold until next weekend. We agree that some things will just be postponed until the economy picks up again. Our eating out will certainly be curtailed for the next month. :P 

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On 3/18/2020 at 12:42 PM, Mistr said:

We finally had the financial discussion and survived it. Here is what happened.

 

Glad you survived it! I love how you both approach these things :D 

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On 3/18/2020 at 11:39 AM, Mistr said:

I'm one of the three people holding down the fort in the office. That makes my boss happy. It is good for me because the internet at home is not reliable enough for me to do my job there.

I'm having a similar problem. My internet slowed down a lot a couple weeks ago (before covid-19 significantly affected behavior in my local area). I don't have enough bandwidth to do videoconferences for example. I'm not sure how I managed to stream that yoga class on Wednesday. I have to go into work and sit in my office (by myself, in an almost empty building) for videoconferences.

 

Great job on the financial discussion. It was a really smart strategy to table the discussion of the proposed new expense. Seems like it would be hard to fit in more strain on your budget.

 

Also very good solution about sitting zen during lunchtime!

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Update

 

Short form - still keeping it together. Some scrambling may have been involved.

 

As of today I am working from home. Someone who works down the hall from me tested positive last week and the state governor issued a "safer at home" order. My boss told my team we all need to work at home for now. My company is still working overtime because we manufacture viral testing reagents. While everyone else is scared and figuring out how to work from home, or get some kind of income from home, I'm sick of questions about COVID-19. "Can I take this kit that was made for getting DNA from plants and tweak it to work for getting virus RNA from nasal swabs?" Umm, maybe, but I wouldn't recommend it. Over and over with variations. I'm glad that we are making a difference, but it's still stressful.

 

The actual work from home setup is better than I expected. Dumbledore swapped an adjustable folding table for the coffee table in our family room. I wasn't thrilled about a white plastic coffee table, but it makes a great workstation. My new location has a window and plants. My regular desk is on the far side of the room from the windows at work. So far our internet has been sufficient. I warned Elf to download things last night so they could entertain themself without streaming during the day. Dumbledore was good about working in his office when I was on the phone. I have the perks of an extra hour a day from not commuting and getting to go for a walk with Dumbledore at lunch. I can cope. ;)

 

My biggest challenge is going to be doing exercise. On Saturday Dumbledore and I went to the fitness equipment store where we bought our treadmill. They were open, but expected to close soon because their supply truck was stuck in California (due to the state closing) and they were running out of everything. We got three sets of dumbells and a 20# kettlebell. We already had three smaller kettlebells and one set of 7.5# dumbells. I have a yoga mat, an exercise ball, two sets of pushup stands and all the colors of resistance bands. We are set for equipment.

 

The problem is time and motivation, not resources. I did the basic kettlebell routine from NF on Sunday. It covers quite a bit of the same muscles as my barbells class. I know I would be fine walking from my office to the gym at work to do that routine. I need to convince myself to walk from my family room to the bedroom, change clothes, come back to the family room and do that routine. Or yoga. Or core exercises. Walking outside is great for fresh air and getting away from work, but it is not strength or mobility training. Maybe I'll work out in the living room just to convince my brain that I'm getting away from my desk.

 

Another option is to get up a little earlier so I can do both exercise and zen before work. I really want to keep zen in the early morning slot. The house is quiet and it fits my routine. I have a bad tendency to put it off and skip it when I leave it to evening. I'm going to try the mental trick for exercising tonight. I know I can come home, grab a quick dinner, then go to aikido for an hour. I can do the same thing here. The only difference is that I'm not going to see a bunch of friends to do something fun and home has many distractions. Who knew that the mental side of training would be the hard part?

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You can totally do it. If you have enough flexibility in your schedule, I think trying to exercise and sit zen in the morning is a good idea.

 

Yeah the RNA extraction situation is kind of weird. I've vaguely seen things about donating kits, but it seems really weird to donate a bunch of random kits of various types. Seems like procedures should be a little more standardized than that. Obviously if you know exactly what's in the kits, there are some things that would be interchangeable, but pooling a whole bunch of different kits from different companies seems really inefficient.

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1 hour ago, Mistr said:

Maybe I'll work out in the living room just to convince my brain that I'm getting away from my desk.

 

A lot of people who are a lot more experienced at working from home than I am are emphasizing the importance of routines that helps us maintain a clear distinction between work, and life outside work. So for example get up and get dressed, as if going in to work, and then have a similar ritual at the end of the work day, that sort of thing. I went without rituals my first week, and it really makes a difference to have them.

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I did my kettlebell exercises last night, in large part thanks to accountability here. I was able to use the 10# bell for everything but the overhead circles ("halos"). I'll stick with 10# for a couple more sessions before going heavier. My knees made all sorts of crunchy crackly noises but didn't hurt. Evidence that I need to move through full range of motion more.

 

This morning I did a 20 minute core routine. I thought I would have time to do zen afterwards, but I had to work early because a coworker is sick. Hopefully just normal sick and not corona virus. My plan is to alternate core and strength, may with yoga thrown in.

 

14 hours ago, Scalyfreak said:

A lot of people who are a lot more experienced at working from home than I am are emphasizing the importance of routines that helps us maintain a clear distinction between work, and life outside work. So for example get up and get dressed, as if going in to work, and then have a similar ritual at the end of the work day, that sort of thing. I went without rituals my first week, and it really makes a difference to have them.

 

That is a good idea. I'm thinking I can get a throw to put over my home office table when I'm not working. That will let me pretend it is not there and use the family room for my usual relaxing things. I normally sit on the couch to read or knit. My work table is four feet from the couch - kinda hard to ignore. It would feel different covered up.

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1 minute ago, Mistr said:

That is a good idea. I'm thinking I can get a throw to put over my home office table when I'm not working. That will let me pretend it is not there and use the family room for my usual relaxing things. I normally sit on the couch to read or knit. My work table is four feet from the couch - kinda hard to ignore. It would feel different covered up.

 

Or hang a sheet between the couch and work table, like a screen or curtain. A visible divider makes a huge difference.

 

I am very grateful that Husband was willing to give up his upstairs man cave for my work. I go up the stairs and close the door, and I am at work. When i leave the room I close the door behind me, and works stays behind the door. :) 

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10 hours ago, Mistr said:

I'm thinking I can get a throw to put over my home office table when I'm not working.

 

That's brilliant, and I bet you have something at home that would work for the purpose.

 

I also bet that whatever you do in that respect will be very interesting to the cat(s) [forgot if you have more than one]

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14 minutes ago, Xena said:

I also bet that whatever you do in that respect will be very interesting to the cat(s) [forgot if you have more than one]

 

Now I definitely vote for just hanging a sheet and seeing what happens!

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On 3/25/2020 at 8:36 PM, Xena said:

That's brilliant, and I bet you have something at home that would work for the purpose.

 

I also bet that whatever you do in that respect will be very interesting to the cat(s) [forgot if you have more than one]

 

On 3/25/2020 at 8:51 PM, Scalyfreak said:

Now I definitely vote for just hanging a sheet and seeing what happens!

 

I went with a light blue fleecy blanket. It is amazing how covering the desk and monitors makes my brain treat it like it's not there.

 

The room is not set up so I can hang a sheet. The desk is on the side of the room, not in a corner. The idea is good, but execution would be difficult.

 

The cats have mostly ignored it. One of them sniffed at the dangling corner of the blanket and decided it was not interesting. The other one decided that curling up on top of my laptop on the blanket gave her a good view out the window. I made her get down. Bad cat. If she gets too persistent, I'll put another soft blanket right in front of the window and raise the blinds partway so the better view is from below my worktable.

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5 hours ago, Mistr said:

Bad cat. If she gets too persistent, I'll put another soft blanket right in front of the window and raise the blinds partway so the better view is from below my worktable.

 

I'll be curious how that works out. My efforts to outsmart my cat never seem to work out...

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