Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Shindig Time!: Can't Stop the Serenity 2011

It is my favorite time of the year because it is time for all the Browncoats to come out and get together!  That's right, because it is Can't Stop the Serenity 2011!  I went to the Browncoats of NYC event this past Saturday and had a blast.  

So, in case you don't know, Can't Stop The Serenity is a fan-run event started in 2006.  It is a chance for fans to get together and re-watch Serenity, the little movie that could.  This event began so fans could thank Joss Whedon for all he has done by raising money for his charity, Equality Now.  

Equality Now is an international women's rights advocacy group that was started by a student of Joss’s mother, so he grew up with this cause.  EN works towards the protection and promotion of the human rights of women around the world. Working with national human rights organizations and individual activists, EN documents violence and discrimination against women and mobilizes international action to support their efforts to stop these human rights abuses.  Since 2006, the Browncoats have contributed over $557,000 to the cause and that number just keeps climbing!

As I said, I attended the NYC event this weekend.  The Browncoats of NYC are such a great group of people, and I had been looking forward to this for weeks!   At each event, the custom is to re-watch Serenity but there is so much more!  Plenty of people come in costume, with music, dancing, crazy food, amazing auctions and Jayne hats as far as the eye can see!  I was pretty lucky to walk into the music of Ramblin Andy and the See Ya Laters.  I said hi to some friends, then I hit the auctions and raffles and my bank account is still crying.  Then as we got ready for the movie, we got a surprise video message from the man himself.

So, next year is a biggie.  Next year, Equality Now will celebrate its 20th Anniversary and Joss is excited.  He sent a video message to every event saying that 2012 is going to make some serious noise and he is leading the charge.  While he doesn't give much detail yet, he is excited and it makes me excited.  *You can kinda hear this video if you watch the streaming feed of California Browncoats event.  

If you are not excited yet, I have no idea what will make a difference.  Go find your local event and show your support for this great cause.  If you don't have a local event, find your local Browncoats and start one for next year!  Just remember, you can make a difference.  People, fans just like you and me, built this event and helped change lives.  If each of us makes the choice for equality, we can spread it like wildfire.

"No Power In The 'Verse Can Stop Us" - Firefly

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Links for June 26

The big news of the week was the unveiling of Pottermore, the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe.  It seems to be an expansion pack to the books, with additional backstory and an interactive element.  Even with the small amount of info given in the press release, this still seems like a shaky concept.  However, time will tell, so go and sign up for opening day.

We are wishing a Happy 10th Anniversary to American Gods, that released a bigger and better Anniversary edition this week. 
(via NerdBastards)

Image Comics announced that they are mimicing DC Comics' rating system due to customer requests.  With two large publishers following this system, will more follow?
(via Newsarama)

This week, it was announced that David Goyer will be bringing 100 Bullets to the small screen.  Showtime has jumped on the graphic novel bandwagon and I am glad they are bringing a comic veteran to work on this project.  
(via HyperGeek)

Torchwood: Miracle Day is fast approaching and this time it comes with a fun side story.  They are releasing a motion comic to watch along with the show, starring Eliza Dushku.  The only downside is that you have to pay to watch and play along, with the entire comic costing $2.99 on iTunes.

In the awesome column this week, check out this Lego rendition of Rapture from Bioshock.  This is a crazy amount of detail, which is just mind-boggling!

Now go and get ready for tonight's True Blood premiere and I will see you next week!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Video Friday! 6/24/11

Hello everyone! I have returned from my adventures. I can't remember the last time I was so unplugged from the world. It was nice, but now I'm playing catch up, and it looks like I've missed a lot. Here's some of what's been going on.

(via youtube)

For this last one, I kinda nearly fell over watching this. It's almost my most geeky dream come true - Wolverine and Barney Stinson singing and dancing! All I need is for Mal Reynolds to join and I would've died with happiness. If someone want to make that happen, I'll gladly support it. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What Makes a Great Volunteer?

I recently shared a few ways to help my fellow geeks afford comic cons.  One of my moolah-saving suggestions was volunteering at events.  Personally, I have volunteered and managed volunteers at a lot of different events over the past few years.  In that time, I have worked with some really dedicated, caring people that believe in the event they are working.  If you want to volunteer, make sure that you are committing fully because the effort will be worth it. 

Despite my experience, I went to someone that works with geek volunteers for a living to tell you how to be the best con volunteer possible. I got to email the person with all of the answers, Kristin Heise, the Community Manager of ReedPOP.  She manages all of the volunteers for some of the biggest geek gatherings in the country, including New York Comic Con.

What are the driving factors for someone to volunteer?
I am sure the factor(s) vary by person, but below are a couple reasons I have heard more than once from a volunteer use as their primary motivation:

 ·To give back to the community they love. The positive energy at any well-run show is infectious, and we usually attract individuals who want to contribute and promote that sort of atmosphere at New York Comic Con. Ironically, by gathering a group of passionate individuals together to support a common goal, they in-turn create their OWN niche community of fellow crew and staff members—a welcome bonus to hard work!

· The volunteer program lets fans 'peek behind the curtain'. It's a great way for recent graduates and professionals alike to gain more experience while they observe key aspects of event planning and execution.

Do volunteers need to have any specials 
Besides impeccable hygiene and never-ending enthusiasm? Nope! (Author's note: Impeccable hygiene is also a must for every attendee.)

However, we do ask volunteer applicants to tell us about their skills and interests so we can assign them to an area in which they feel comfortable and excited to help.

What are the top characteristics you want in a volunteer?
The typical laundry list that makes any person awesome: proactive, resourceful, patient, friendly, understanding, engaging and, above all else, willing to help.

What are some of the things that volunteers never expect to do, good or bad?
ReedPOP staff members always balance working hard with having fun. Likewise, we encourage volunteers to not only enjoy the convention on down-time, but to OWN their role. In other words: Laggards need not apply!  (Author's note: I totally agree!  Nothing is worse than having to cover for another volunteer!)

How early should someone try to volunteer to make sure that they get in?
We released the application mid-May and will begin accepting volunteers on a rolling admissions basis beginning the end of June through September 16. However, we may fill up slots before September, so the best rule of thumb is to submit an application as early as possible.

A final note is the time WHEN one signs up matters less than WHAT they can bring to the table as a potential volunteer. We aim to recruit helpful, great people to run a fantastic event for our fans—if that sounds like you, give the program a shot!

If volunteering still sounds like a fun idea to you (it really is), then start applying now!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Review: Bella A Novel by Steve Piacente

Wilderowens scored herself entrance to Book Expo America and came away with tons of books to read, several of which were autographed by the authors (she is the swag queen. Seriously. If you want to learn how to score the most free stuff at a con, become her padawan.) We all took a few books to read, as you’ll find out over the next few months. For me, the first book I finished was Bella, A Novel by Steve Piacente.

Bella is the story of a young widow whose husband was killed in Afghanistan and the reporter, Danny Patragno, she enlists to prove the military lied about how he died. The story follows them as they come up against various obstacles in their search for the truth. It is a story about betrayal, justice and love.

The opening pages of the story I found to be awkward, and it bothered me a lot. I was not sure where the author was going and even considered stopping. Luckily, I rarely give up on a book that quickly. If I had, I would have missed out on a wonderful story.

The story itself is a little formulaic. If you read books or watch tv shows about coverups and getting justice for the little man, then you have a basic idea about where the story is heading, but what makes it so interesting is not the part about getting justice for the dead soldier and his widow; it is the story of Danny Patragno and how his life is affected by Bella walking into it.

I would not say Danny is going through a midlife crisis during this but there are some significant events happening when he meets Bella, and I believe that is partly why he makes certain decisions. He is constantly in a state of conflict, whether is it about the story or his personal life. What I like about Mr. Piacente’s portrayal is how believable he is. Danny is a fully fleshed out character. He is someone you or I know.

Bella, on the other hand, is a little harder to digest because of how she treats Danny, but at the same time, while we never truly find out what is going on inside her mind, we do believe her pain and how the death of her husband has affected her. Danny describes her “damaged, wounded and dangerous.” I think that is the best way to sum her up, but it is important to remember, she is not the villain of this story. Some of her actions can be described as callous or hurtful, but that is a direct result of her husband’s death.

This book is both tragic as well as hopeful. A horrible incident happens, certain people do bad things, and others fight to fix them. As I said, it’s a story we have all heard before, though there are a few really great twists, but Mr. Piacente has a way with words and makes the story feel fresh. If you are like me and think the opening is a little odd, hang in for the next chapter because the book really takes off from there. It is well-paced and sucks you in. You won’t even notice time has flown because you're so absorbed in reading it.

Another reason you should pick up this book is Mr. Piacente self-published it. He chronicles his adventures on his blog while also offering advice on how to successfully get your work out there. It is a great way to get an inside look at how the internet helped change how books are published and marketed to today's audience.

If you like stories involving government coverups and the people determined to bring them to light, then you will like this. If you don't believe me, take a look at the official Bella trailer and judge for yourself. Then go get the book.

You can learn more about Bella at http://www.getbella.com/

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Links for June 19th

Happy Sunday! Here are a few fun links between drinks at my cousin's wedding!

We were told that Uncanny X-Men was canceled but that was a Marvel trick. Instead, it is coming back as two separate series after the schism event.
(via Comics Beat

With all of the changes at DC, have you been wondering who is being left out in the cold? Check out this look at some of the comic creators just relaxing.
(via iFanboy

Mark Millar decided to leave Marvel for creator-owned work. Does this mean I will finally get more Kick-Ass and Superior issues?

In just plain awesome news, the man who always dies on screen seems to be invincible in real life. Sean Bean was stabbed outside of a bar defending his date, then just patched himself up and kept drinking. Awesome.
(via Cinema Blend

In stupid but fun news, NASA found a glowing green light right before the Green Lantern came out. Hmmm.....
(via iFanboy)  

In happy, celebratory news, DC comics co-publisher and comics superstar Jim Lee announced that he and his wife will be adding a new member to their family. Congratulations Jim and Carla Lee!
(via Twitter)

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Video Friday! 6/17/11

For the last week of website highlighting, I want to feature one of my all time favorite sites, The Awesomer. Getsuyobi introduced me to it and once he did, it became one of my go-to spots. Everyday, The Awesomer finds the funniest, most interesting, disgusting, crazy and amazing stuff the web has to offer. Here is a taste.

Next week, I'll be back and bringing you even better stuff. Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Geek-filled Weekend Coming Up!

There are two big things happening for geeks this weekend, and no, I am not talking about Green Lantern.  Here are some June 18th events you need to know about!

This Saturday is Free RPG Day!  Like FCBD, Free RPG Day is designed to encourage players new and old to try a role playing game.   This is happening all over the country, so make sure to call your local gaming store to ask if they are taking part.  If not, get some friends together and play anyway!  It is a great time to be had by all!  
If you are looking for a RPG to try, check out Mistrunner, one of the IGH-supported kickstarter projects.

This Saturday is also the worldwide meet-up for the League of Extraordinary Ladies!  The League of Extraordinary Ladies (LXL) is a group of women and men (yes, men) that want to bring geeks together.  All of us at IGH are proud to be part of LXL and want you to join up too!  This is the first meet-up, with plans happening in LA, NYC, Ontario, England and Ireland.  There are still talks about other locations, so if you are looking for some geeks to meet, just head over to the LXL website or facebook and let everyone know!  You can also learn more about this event with this great interview on Nerds in Babeland.

Enjoy your geektastic weekend!

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Who Wouldn't Want to Follow Tom Lenk Around?

That is his new project, a documentary following his journey to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Lenk, who you must know from Buffy, has been performing his live show, "Nerdgasm," around the country, and he is now taking it abroad.  His friend and film partner, Andrew Putschoegl, will be there to document his journey in all of its nerdy glory.  The only problem is that they need your help.   Check out this fantastic video they put up on Kickstarter:

Both Andrew and Tom have been working together for a while, and even won some awards.  If helping for the sake of helping isn't good enough for you, just check out the goodies for each pledge level.  I am seriously bummed I don't have $10,000 though.  It would be totally worth it to have Tom Lenk in lederhosen washing my car.  Mmmmmm......lederhosen.

This looks like a fantastic journey for Tom, Andrew and all of their fans about the Nerdgasm experience.  Go support them now!

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Links for June 12

DC finished announcing all 52 new series, with some very suspiciously missing titles.  C'mon guys, don't take away my Terry McGinnis!  

With all of the announcement from DC this week, the biggest shocker was Barbara Gordon returning as Batgirl.  Jill Pantozzi wrote a very personal and touching argument to the switch from Orcale to Batgirl.  Gail Simone immediately sat down with Jill for a in-depth interview that gave away no details but showed how much Simone cares about this character.

Green Lantern opens next weekend but if you want to get in the spirit, look for your closest Green Lantern party.  They are holding secret events in major markets all over the US tomorrow, with a chance to join the Green Lantern Corps.  Just look for the Green Lantern symbol shining in the sky at dusk.  For all of you NYCers, a clue was released for the location, which leads you to Rockefeller Center.  If you go, try to find me!

Marvel was not going to be outdone this week in the news department, so they announced that they were canceling Uncanny X-Men.  I'm a little upset since I just started reading this series but it should be an interesting read.
(via Newsarama)

This week, the BBFC proved that sometimes a little oversight is a good thing.  They decided to ban Human Centipide II from British theaters. If you had desired to see this, don't worry.  I am sure that it will be streaming on Netflix in no time.

In the ever-growing amount of reboots, the newest one is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  No word yet on whether this will be live-action or animation.

Finally, I am excited to see some of the first images from the second season of The Walking Dead.  While they don't include any main characters, it just looks cool. 
(via The Beat)

Have a great week!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Video Friday! 6/10/11

This week, we're highlighting the good people over at CubicleBot. I love their stuff because they find videos that range from geeky to nerdy to silly to cute to "what is that?" Their variety it great. Enjoy!

This is my favorite one of the week.

.wav from .wav on Vimeo.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cons on a Budget

Do you want to be like the cool kids and go to all of the popular cons? Of course you do, but once you land on the show floor, the $ falls out of your wallet like rain? Or you have to scrap together the cash just to make enough room on your credit card to buy your ticket? If this is you, don't despair. You are not alone.

If you are like me, you keep seeing all of these tweets and posts about the cons people are attending and you are super jealous. I wish I could attend them all but my money tree won't grow! In order to make it to the cons I do attend, I have a few budgeting rules I follow.

1. Do your Research - Your new Golden Rule
Really, this is the only rule you need to follow. Knowing prices well in advance makes all the difference to your wallet. You need to plan your con trips out well in advance, and not just to make sure you can get a ticket. Every booth will have awesome stuff and some will even release a list of con exclusives. Going with an idea of how much you will spend will prevent an extra trip to the atm and those pesky fees. Also, make a point to look for local, inexpensive food. Buying food in the convention is crazy overpriced and it rarely tastes good.

2. Save your change
I know it sounds cheesy, but it really does add up. The change I save goes straight into my separate Con $ account. I save it up for spending cash and my con tickets. It really is pennies a day so you probably won't even notice it.  If you really get into the savings kick, try throwing a few singles in there too.

3. Buy a Water Bottle (or get one for free)
I know this sounds cheesy but buying beverages is the biggest ripoff ever anywhere! Save the $5-30 a day for stuff that lasts. Not a fan of water? Spend a buck on a box of individual drink mixes for flavor. If you are going to reuse one from childhood that looks stupid, take all of those free stickers they hand out and slap them on there. 

4. Make Sacrifices
I know that you want to go to every con, every year. Or you just can't live without getting every season of every TV show you watch on DVD. I get it, really. Sometimes, if you want to get to go to the good stuff, you gotta sacrifice.  Every time you want to buy something, think about if you want it more than a signed graphic novel, a con exclusive figure or a photo with your favorite actor. 

5. Volunteer
I went to MoCCA for free this year because I was willing to spend a few hours a day monitoring panels. In return for my service, I got to see a few packed panels, meet some awesome comic celebs, free food and walked away with a ton of free swag. I know that this wasn't the most expensive event, but I really had a blast volunteering experience. Every con needs volunteers to happen and you get a ton of perks for your service.

Hopefully these tips will help you on your way to your favorite con.   Let me know your favorite tricks to save for cons and how you finance your geek trips!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Smurfs - Racist and Anti-Semitic?

My mind was just blown. In scouring the internet for articles, I came across one from the Huffington Post about The Smurfs. The article is about a book, written by French sociologist and author Antoine Bueno, called "Le Petit Livre Bleu" or "The Little Blue Book," which discusses the racist and anti-semitic themes within The Smurfs. 

Papa Smurf - Benevolent Leader or Cruel Dictator?
I'm not sure how to feel about this. There are some interesting points made. The comments about "The Black Smurfs" were especially disturbing , but overall, I'm just not sure. I really want to get my hands on this book because I love The Smurfs. They are a happy part of my childhood. I still have many of my old toys. I love them enough that I am seriously considering seeing the movie, even though I am fairly positive that it will be a flop (there are some things Neil Patrick Harris cannot make better), but now I am looking at them in a whole other light. 

I know a lot of beloved pop culture characters have dark or twisted origins, but this one bothers me a little more than I'd like, mostly because other than the weirdness with Smurfette being the only female for the longest time, The Smurfs were one of the few cartoons I never really saw a dark side to. Goes to show what I know. I wonder if the Snorks have those kind of themes too.

Below is a video about the book and the reactions of people hearing this theory.

What do you think? Plausible theory or just plain looniness? 

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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Links for June 5

The comics world was rocked this week with the news that DC would be updating and restarting all of their superheros in the DCU.  Every site out there went crazed with coverage and opnions, including us.  

Because of the DC boat-rocking, The Beat put together a comprehensive list of how DC crisis events have changed the universe and affected us all.  At the very least, it is a great way to catch up before it all changes again.
(via The Beat)

The gang in Riverdale becomes more and more with the times as they cover gays in the military in a very positive light.  Good for them! 
In getting ready for X-Men: First Class (which is totally awesome even though they screwed up the timeline way too much), Mike Romo from iFanboy writes about how he never connected with the X-Men because they were a grown-up comic.  In other movie news, if you are totally behind on the new releases, Action Chick just released her top picks of June.

Calling all Gamers!  GeekGirlCon is building their own WoW guild and needs your help!  You can be a part of its design from the very beginning, so go take part!!

Still trying to pick out the best gift for your geeky dad for Father's Day?  Elliot Serrano has you covered with a great list of gift ideas.  Time is running out, so go get shopping!
(via Geek To Me)

Have a great week!!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Video Friday! 6/3/11

Hey all! I will be traveling for a chunk of June, but I didn't want to leave you without some great videos, so for the next few weeks, I'm going to be highlighting a few of the websites I've found the videos at. This week is all about the site Geeks Are Sexy.

That last one is my current favorite. Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

DC Universe Reboot: Pros and Cons

The comic world is still flailing helplessly over the news that the entire DC Universe is going to be rebooted and upgraded

"We looked at what was going on in the marketplace and felt we really want to inject new life in our characters and line. This was a chance to start, not at the beginning, but at a point where our characters are younger and the stories are being told for today's audience."  
- Dan Didio, DC Comics co-publisher to USA Today

People are saying all sorts of responses, from the really good and excited to the psychotically angry. Personally, I am torn about this, so I'm going to look at this from all angles and see the Pros and Cons of this little endeavor.


- Refreshing these characters that have been 
around forever may make them more 
appealing to the younger crowd. 

- Great way for new readers to jump into the DCU.  Definitely simpler than Marvel's Point One in a lot of ways.

- With less baggage, these characters can do all sorts of new and fun things.

- Character reboots happen all of the time, the only reason we are noticing now is because it is happening all at once.

- With the new stories as canon, the older DC books will raise in value. Now's the time to cash in!


- Great way to alienate current and loyal readers.

- These characters can't be changed too much anyway - everyone knows their origins!

- I read Batman Beyond, which is a fairly new series. Why dump something that just started? It doesn't even exist in current time DCU?!  Not to mention, what is my encouragement to keep reading if it is all changing in a few months?  

- One of the ways comic readers start is because a current comic reader shares a book that they enjoy. With everyone starting fresh, who is going to provide guidance and encouragement?

I'm sure that there are more reasons for or against the reboot, but in the end, it doesn't matter. This is happening no matter what any of us think. Only time will tell if this will be a good move by DC.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Alex Robinson from Too Cool to be Forgotten at the Midtown Comics Book Club

Midtown Comics Book Club was last week, and Thor & Zoe brought us a really good one: Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson.

In case you haven't read this awesome book from Top Shelf, here are the basics.  The story follows Andy Wicks on his quest to quit smoking. As a last ditch effort, his wife takes him to a hypnotist to help him stop. From there, Andy falls back in time to the '80's when he was in high school. He quickly realizes that here he can finally get to redo everything he regretted, including smoking.  Through his journey, he gets to the true root of his problem and it's not what he thinks.  

In this book, I love that he keeps remarking how he forgot how difficult it was to be a teen.  I think that every parent should read this just so they get the slap in the face about the horrors of high school.

This post contains face-melting spoilers.
Read at your face’s risk.
If symptoms continue for more than 4 hours, contact [insertgeekhere].

At the Q&A, Alex Robinson talked about how this book came to be. Surprisingly, this came about because his 20th High School reunion was happening. Even though he didn't attend, this book helped him deal with feelings that came up.

Thor asked about how the 1980's genre fit into the story.  Robinson said that he tried to avoid the classic characters that you see in every 80's movie that are too cool. He decided to go look at his own high school yearbook for inspiration and write more realistic teenagers.   The base style of the characters are based on his former classmates.  He even used some of his lunchroom conversations from school, just for realism.  One of the ways Robinson tried to convey realism is in the scene where Andy reaches out to one of the loners.  The loner kid ends up being mad at Andy for talking to him.  Robinson wanted to show that sometimes loners are anti-social for a reason.

Despite how Andy resembled Alex Robinson, there were differences.  Robinson had to make Andy more social, but he didn't go to parties as a kid.  He tended to stay home and draw a lot!  Robinson also never smoked; this was just used a device to send Andy back in time without too much tech.  Also, Robinson never lost his dad.  His father is still alive and well but because of this book, many fans go up to Robinson and tell him their own heart-wrenching tale.  However, Robinson didn't have the best relationship with his dad.  His parents did divorce and he had a rocky relationship for a while.

This is a fantastic book with so many great feelings wrapped up in it.  At first glance, I really had no idea the wild ride it would take me on.  I am not the only one that felt this way; Thor also remarked that in rereading this, he felt overwhelmed with all of the emotions that it brought on.  Robinson let it spill that it has been optioned for a live-action movie, so I can only hope that they do it true justice.

The June book is Northlanders Vol. 1 with writer Brian Wood.   I highly recommend that you read this.  When I picked this up, I couldn't put it down!   Make sure that you join us!

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