Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mix It Up a Notch: Striped Nautical Dress

This is probably one of my most basic of dresses. It was purchased from H&M in Venlo, Holland in Autumn 2012. As per usual, when I buy clothes, I neglect the size tag altogether. So, as you might've guessed, I purchased a size too big and it often slides off my shoulder when I wear it. Hence, why it was never worn on its own. That and the fact the cut is a little less to my liking for a dress. However, the stripes and colour palette is perfect for a basic top - as I have very few of those in my wardrobe. Aside from the subtle nautical theme, my favourite feature of this dress is the 3/4 length sleeves, which is perfect for any weather. The jersey material is also adaptable to any kind of temperature, which means it's versatile for any season. The broad neckline is also quite casual and makes it easy to remix. When I returned to Indonesia, I took it to the tailor to have it taken in, so I'm seeing a lot more wear out of this piece in the foreseeable future.

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Autumn Vibe in a Dry Spell

Lately, the internet has been adorned with the colours of autumn. Being my favourite season, it saddens me so not to be able to experience it anymore - well, at least not for the foreseeable future. The beautiful golden leaves, the plethora of mushrooms and tons and tons of persimmons. Instead, here in Indonesia we (are supposed to) have wet season, starting September. But it's almost the end of October and there's no rain just yet. If you don't already know, Indonesia is currently, literally ablaze. Forest fires everywhere, sending toxic smog across the country and now it seems ready to invade Jakarta. I bet that's also the reason why the rain hasn't come yet. This pisses me off so much! But I'll probably save it for another post - actually wrote an essay about this for my English class. But, really, what I want to know is: how have you been enjoying autumn so far, if you live in a country with four seasons? If not, what are you having right now? Please share along!

Thrifted dress via Pineneedle Collective // Marks & Spencer sweater (gifted) // C&A hat (old) // MKS ankle boots // photos by Ken

Just because we don't have autumn doesn't mean I cannot dress up in autumnal colours. Normally, this would mean shades of red and orange for me. But sometimes it's fun to look at the other end of the spectrum of fall colours, which are earthy tones and different shades of purple. This is what I'm channeling here, although the tights and boots are more winter. You might think this is an incredibly hot and bulky outfit for this weather but, surprisingly, it didn't make me sweat at all. The breeze which blew my skirt up definitely helped, of course. This dress somehow became the tool I use to measure whether or not I have lost weight, because now it fits me better almost just as it did when I purchased it last year. It's still one of my favourites - and has become my sister's favourite too, actually. Also, yes, this is the book I'm currently reading right now. I'll talk more about it in this month's overview.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Support Alive as Always on Patreon!

As you might have known or noticed, I've been trying to monetise this blog one way or another for as long as I've been blogging. From the survey I did earlier this year, I know that most of you aren't happy about it and I can understand that. Also, personally, I don't want to have to support brands I don't believe in just because I need money - in other words, I'm afraid of 'selling out' - so I've been putting it to the back burner. Then a couple offers came and I decided to accept them after researching them up a bit. But, of course, it's really hard to get some more - especially ones who fit your ideals. 

Therefore, I decided to set up a Patreon page. Yaay! In case you don't know what Patreon is, it's basically a tool or medium for everyone to support creative makers of the internet - be them illustrators, writers, photographers, youtubers or musicians. So, basically, this is the website you can visit if you want to support me and my blog (and illustrations). This way, you guys who love my blog can support me and keep the blog genuine, just as you like it. There will obviously be monthly rewards for those of you who pledge every month, which you can check out on the linked page above. As I've only just started figuring this thing out, any kind of input will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time and hope you would at least consider becoming a patron!

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Sunday, 25 October 2015

Messy Ponytails + Knotted Plaids

Lately, weekends have become a blur to me; a mere myth someone once told a long time ago. I really don't want to complain - and I'm not - but weekends these days are spent catching up with assignments. At least, though, I don't have to wake up early, go to class and deal with the drama of everyday life - which isn't even my drama.  But I feel like I've been more productive than ever and it makes me feel incredibly blessed. Also, lately I've been thinking up and planning new projects by myself and with other people. I cannot wait to turn all these ideas into a reality. That being said, sometimes it's absolutely okay and necessary to take some time off, which is what I did last Saturday - not yesterday. My sister and I decided to go watch Crimson Peak. It was another of Guillermo del Toro's masterpieces, although many people seem to be disappointed because they thought it was a horror movie. No, it's not, people! It's - as my friend put it - more like a gothic love story, which is very unique and heartbreaking. Jessica Chastain has caught my eye through her acting in this one.

Hand-me-down shirt + pants // Armedangels tee via WWF Jugend // Picard backpack (old) // Mollinic loafers // photos by Akita

This might just be the most casual look from me yet. It was put together in a whim before I went to the movies with my sister. At first, I wasn't going to photograph it at all but then I thought why not, it's not like free time wasn't a privilege. Plus, I felt like putting a casual outfit that still becomes a treat to the eyes. Many bloggers I follow can put together casual, comfortable outfits beautifully, turning it into something else altogether. So I thought I'd give it a go. Plaid is the most casual of all patterns, I believe, and paired with a plain white tee - although mine isn't as plain as it probably should be - is just perfect combination. The tee is actually a freebie you'd get when you join WWF Jugend, which is manufactured by the fair trade brand Armedangels. Slip-on shoes, backpack and messy hairstyle just put the cherry on top. So what does your casual silhouette look like?

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Friday, 23 October 2015

23 Before 24

Oh my God, twenty-four already?! Time sure does fly by, doesn't it? I feel that fear of growing older again, it seems. Twenty-two sounded like such a prime age; it's an even number and it's just beautiful. Twenty-three, on the other hand, is a prime number and looks quite lopsided. But at least I'm still two years younger than what people say - there's a rumour on my campus that a 25-year-old from Germany is now enrolling for Bachelor degree, which, I think, is supposed to be me. To be quite honest, this list was made in a bit of a hurry, since I didn't have much free time - except on the bus - and I needed to garnish this list for this post before the sun went down. Although so, I'm really excited to accomplish them. They're more general this time, so whatever major changes in my life happen later, I can still achieve them. Also, they're more...growth-oriented ( now and I'm so thrilled to broaden my horizon.

1. Draw at least once everyday (and post it!)
This is an attempt to motivate myself to draw more and more in my life. Around 2-3 years ago, I stopped drawing because I felt creatively drained - ironically, I actually drew about this - and it's the biggest regret of my life. So now I'm trying to make up for it by doing this to fight off art blocks. Also, this could help me appreciate the little things in life.

2. Watch more documentaries
While TV series and movies are highly entertaining and can be a great form of art, sometimes they focus more on fiction than reality and it's not exactly morally healthy. Some of my friends love to watch documentaries all the time and they've told me things I wouldn't otherwise have known. I've watched a few documentaries in the past and they've been both highly entertaining and greatly inspiring. I'm really intrigued to find out more about the world!

3. Follow a webcomic regularly
You've got to believe me when I say: webcomics are the future of comic artistry. Seriously, with the rise of the digital age, everything has found solace on the internet - including literature. I've discovered more and more popular reads on the web and they've been really enjoyable so far. I've followed a few but haven't read them in a while, so I'm looking forward to catching up and reading more soon.

4. Do more volunteer work
If you don't know already, let me tell you this: I'm a girl who always has a cause. It doesn't pay to be smart, rich or charismatic, when you don't give at least a little bit back to the world. There is absolutely no reason why someone should not do charity or volunteer work. You want to be happy? This is the key. You want to be successful? This is the key. You want to be rich? Oddly enough, this is the key. Plus, you get to meet new people in the process, so why not?

5. Travel to places I've never been to before
As you probably notice, traveling is one of my greatest passions. Unfortunately, sometimes traveling isn't exactly doable - due to money or time - so I won't name a specific destination this time. I just want to discover some place new. It doesn't necessarily have to be abroad - or even out of town, it jus has to be someplace I never knew before.

6. Enter a competition (not giveaway!)
This is to make it clear to myself, because I enter tons of giveaways every year. The competition I'm talking about is legit: it's got to have actual jury, it has to have actual criteria of assessment and it has to have an actual prize, i.e. money, job contract, ticket to somewhere, etc. The bigger the competition the better, of course, but let's not pressurise ourselves.

7. Become a committee member of an event
This one's actually a work in progress, as there is an event coming up at my campus and I'm looking to be one of the committee members. I hear there're still a couple slots left so I'm crossing my fingers that I would qualify for the position. Plus, even if I don't get that one, now that I'm in uni, it'll be a lot easier to achieve.

8. Contribute to a publication
When I say contribute, I'm actually thinking about writing an article for a magazine or a newspaper. Judging from this blog, you should've known by now that I love writing, now especially when it requires a little bit of digging and researching. I've actually written for for a few months in the past, but the website kind of went inactive for a while and I couldn't juggle it with school and other obligations now. But it would be incredibly inspiring to do this again sometime.

9. Read at least one non-fiction every month
Now that I'm nearing my mid-twenties, it's only fitting to read more books which will do me good in everyday life. I'm not saying that fiction doesn't, of course. But there are definitely certain things that you need to learn head on by shedding the layers of phrasing of fiction books and actually understand the point-by-point lesson from non-fiction literature.

10. Open my online store
This is a project I've been working on for a while now. It's kind of already up, but I haven't really dotted the 'i's and crossed the 't's, you can say. I also haven't got all the products I want to sell just yet so I will come up with something and work on it as soon as an opportunity presents itself.

11. De-clutter my life and space
Sometimes you collect things and people in your life that don't really do you any good - anymore or ever, really - and they start to bring you down. When you hoard too many things and let them pile on in your room, they will eventually suffocate you. When you keep people around who emit nothing but bad vibes, you end up being brought down by them. This is when you need to de-clutter, to let go of things which no longer benefit you - but instead, bring you down.

12. Stick to a responsible diet regime
Again, this is an age thing. Nearing my mid-twenties, I start to worry about the food I eat and the way I eat them. Among my friends and acquaintances, I'm actually one of those who eat well enough. I rarely ever eat junk food, I always eat fruit and vegetable for almost every meal and I carry water bottles everywhere. Hopefully, I'll be able to up the ante and eat even better.

13. Open a booth at a convention
When I first came back to Indonesia, this was one of the things I wanted to do. Indonesia, specifically Jakarta, has so many amazing design and fandom conventions. Each convention is different from the next and they showcase different products as well as artists. Since there are so many, I thought I'd check them out first, learn the inner workings of the event, before I finally set up a booth. My friend Jess is interested in this as well, so we might open one together.

14. Read more diversely
There are so many great books out there and I've been trying to branch out on the geographical source of my readings. It would be an incredible shame to read just from the USA or Great Britain. Reading diversely - just as living in a diverse community - will definitely teach you about the different cultures, different situations and different perspectives of the world.

15. (I FORGOT TO WRITE THIS ON THE PAPER!) Make a new penpal
For the past several months, I've been writing back and forth with my friend Saku-chan who is currently in Japan - although she will be staying in Germany for a while, I imagine. Every month I look forward to her letters and I absolutely squeal with excitement every time I read it. That needs to multiply. I've decided to write to someone else. If you want to be my penpal, please let me know. I'd really love that.

16. Invest on more ethical brands
You should know by now that I'm an advocate for ethical fashion. However, you should also know that ethical clothing items do not come cheap, so it's quite hard to obtain one. But it would be wrong to use that as a reason to keep shopping retail and sweatshop products. Instead, I'd really like to invest more on items that are more ethical than major retail brands. They can be local products, sweatshop-free or even straight ethical; it's all about the baby steps.

If I see the pattern thus far, it seems that next year Firu and I will finally be reunited again. However, it seems that it might not be the case after all. This breaks my heart, of course, but I hope we will somehow see each other again soon. I miss him so much!

18. Post more artwork on my blog
I've been thinking of converting this blog more into an art blog in the future. I'm not sure how the transition will transpire but I guess we'll figure it out as we go along, huh?

19. Visit more museums/galleries/exhibitions
Yes, yes and so much yes! I just love them and Jakarta has so much to offer. No more missing opportunities like this anymore.

20. Give a work area tour
As you can see from above, I actually have a work space. It's not big at all and it's actually located in my bedroom. But I would love to get things organised one day and give a tour of everything that is my work space. Hope that'll be interesting to you guys!

21. Meet more local illustrators
Again, Indonesia has so much to offer! I'm so interested in interviewing more Indonesian illustrators for the blog in the future. If you have anyone to recommend, please don't hesitate to let me know!

22. Do a book/clothes swap with someone
I've done this once or twice before and it was a lot of fun, so I'm very intrigued to do it again. Both will be gold! But either one is fine. Although, swapping books might be a lot easier than clothes since you don't need to have the same sizing, just the same taste.

23. Design a clothing item (and have it tailored!)
This is something I've done before - as you can see here - but I'd really like to design fabric this time, have it printed and turn the fabric into a piece of clothing. I actually thought about creating a fashion label, but hesitated. At least for now, this is what I'll do.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Fatahillah Frocktoberfest

Yesterday I turned 23! Woohoo! Okay, to be honest, I'm not too thrilled about that but now I'm starting to feel like age is really just a number - both positively and negatively. I celebrated it by going to the Museum Fatahillah and Museum Wayang, in a field trip with the rest of my campus. It wasn't in celebration of my birthday, of course - the timing just happened to be perfect! - but I enjoyed it anyhow. I've never been to both these museums before, as far as I can recall, so I was really excited to check out what's inside. Aside from these outfit shots - taken by my friend Ken, I also took tons of photos from the museum but they would actually be too many for this post so I'm only sharing five. They're located in the old town of Jakarta so the buildings still feel quite colonial and they create a triad - together with Museum Keramik  as well - facing a huge square in the middle. It was like we traveled back in time. Sadly, I feel like both the museums aren't so well tended and rather small in size. But they have some really wondrous objects to showcase.

Ask by Asky backless dress // vintage shirt via Etsy // vintage loafers + hat // Braun Büffel purse (old) // outfit photos by Ken

This is the dress I bought at Brightspot Market last month. It is actually a backless dress, which you can see from the photo above, and has a romantic silhouette on its own. But I'm not all too comfortable wearing a backless dress - to a campus outing, no less - so I decided to wear it over this vintage shirt I've been loving for over three years. At first, I hesitated on wearing this out since the colour looks so similar, the combo looks almost flushed. But then I decided to wing it anyway because the silhouette looks rather nice. And - you know what? - I'm happy with my decision. The dress, in particular, is really lovely to wear. I didn't have to wear a bra, since the chest area is padded. Jakarta's heat was unmerciful, though, so I shed the look as soon as I got home - which is a long and winding story that covers my feet in blisters. I'll be updating the birthday list soon so stay tuned!

P.S: The ribbon was actually Ken's idea and it's brilliant!

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Monday, 19 October 2015

22 Before 23 List - RECAP

GULP! Another birthday, another year older. This time it didn't feel like it was only yesterday that my 22nd birthday came and went. It felt like it was seriously ages ago! A lot has happened since the last time I was a birthday girl and I feel like I've grown up quite a lot. No matter how prepared I was for the unexpected, I still couldn't see what was coming and it caught me quite off guard. To be honest, if I had my way, I would really like for the world to stop spinning for a bit and let me be 22 for at least a couple more years. I'm not ready for 23 - as lame as that sounds - but I won't deny myself all that I've learnt and all the determination I've managed to muster because of exactly that number. That being said, let's see how much (or little) I've accomplished from the 22 Before 23 list I made last year:

1. Attend an Event on Campus
Okay, I'll level with you: when I set out for this goal, I already knew it was going to come true. Around a month afterwards, my best friends and I attended Pasar Seni ITB - which is held Gina's campus, just in case you're wondering. Turns out this event was only held every 4 years or so, not annually as I originally thought. The place was super crowded but understandable - since it's held only every few years or so and there's no entry fee. Now that I'm going to uni, I feel like I'll be in more of these in the months to come - obviously not counting my orientation week.

4. Get My Driver's License
This is one of those things I've been meaning to do but somehow time slipped past me and I haven't got my license yet - and my birthday is tomorrow! But I've been getting reacquainted with the steering wheel, pedals and gears so let's say I'm halfway there. I promise myself to get it before the year ends, so that I can finally ask my friends to hang out and be all like, "I'll pick you up at 10, okay?" Yeah, I'm 23, it's about time.

5. Join an Organisation/Association
In the last several months, I've been thinking a lot about social work and projects. When I entered university, as part of our orientation week, the students were obligated to create one social project per class. It felt good to be giving something back, although I also felt like I haven't really made a dent in world crises. In that spirit, I've joined, which is a website here in Indonesia where you can find any kind of volunteer work you might be interested in. It covers all sorts of field and topic, that it won't be too hard to find exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it. It's almost like a job market but for social work. I'm not a member in the conventional sense, I guess, but, hey, it's a step forward.

6. Do an Art Trade with Someone
Soon after I set this goal for myself, I went high and low on social media to find people who create good art but aren't too busy and will be willing to do an art trade with me. Needless to say, old habits die hard: I abandoned the majority of them - and they did likewise. These three are the only ones that pulled through. The first one is with Karla Alcazar, the second one is with my friend Beth and the last one is with my friend Enggar. This was one of my favourite pastimes back in middle school and throughout high school. I still keep most of the art trades people made for me - some of which, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't return the favour. If you like to draw and you're interested in doing this with me, please don't hesitate to ask. I'd be more than happy to oblige!

7. Cook Dinner for the Whole Family (At Least Once)
As you can read here, last week I cooked my family a bit of dinner. It's the only time I did it out of my own initiative and almost without anyone's help. Throughout the year, my sister and I sometimes had to cook dinner for everyone when our Stepmom's out of town. But, for the most part, she would leave us pre-cooked food and/or instructions to follow so we need only to put it into action. However, when we feel brave and wild, we really just experiment with whatever we can find in the kitchen. Make of that what you will.

8. Eat at Least One Fruit and Veggie Everyday
In every list there hast to be one item that is almost exactly like this one: the one you do as much as you promised you would until one day you just don't care and do it willy-nilly. Although, I must say that I've pretty much stuck with it through to the end. It's not quite as hard, what with living at home and having my Stepmom to cook my every meal, which is almost always complete with veggie, and a fridge stuffed with fruit. This year I've decided to go nuts and take full advantage of my living in Indonesia by eating all the tropical fruit, such as starfruit, pomelo and dragon fruit. Yum!

10. Befriend (an) Indonesian Blogger(s)
Last year I didn't set my goals too high. I opted for just ONE blogger, because I don't know if any of them would want to be friends with me. But lo and behold, I made friends with three - one of whom doesn't actually write blogs anymore, though. I've met one of them and it was a blast! With one, we kept missing each other, but she guest-posted on the blog. The third one I haven't had the pleasure of meeting - nor can I see an immediate future where I can visit her - but we keep in contact from time to time. That, of course, is to add up to the blogger friends I already had. It's been fun trying to get to know new people online - and how their online persona and real personality can be quite different, in a good way.

12. Try "New" Indonesian Dishes
When I set out to do this goal, I really didn't know how easy it would be to get my hands on Indonesian food that I've never tasted before. Most of the photographed above were brought to me by pure chance, if anything. From left to right, top to bottom: Bubur Coro (from Demak), Manisan Carica (from Dieng), Fried Eel (from Surabaya) and Kue Jubung (from Gresik). This really opens my eyes to how little I actually know about my own home country. And these all come from Java alone! Imagine what more lies out there on the other islands! I'm so intrigued to taste more.

13. Get Healthy ASAP! (And Stay That Way!)
In September 2014 I was diagnosed with Lymphadenitis Tuberculosis - you can read the story here, here and here. The doctor told me I had to go through a year of treatment and that I did. Finally, this August I was through with the treatment and stopped taking medications. Although the doctor hasn't quite denounced me healthy yet - and my condition is still under surveillance - but at least I am free of pills and surgeries for the time being. If I play my cards right, in two years, I should be back to 100% again and - hopefully - stay that way. Yup, no more scalpels and antibiotics for me, thank you very much.

14. Give My Blog a Makeover
As you can see, my blog has gone through a change in appearance since the last time I had a birthday. It's something I definitely hopped to right away. The design has gone through some minor details throughout the year because - guess what? - I'm actually planning to change it again. I  already started on a new design but I'm not an avid web designer, you know, so the process takes longer than it should, I reckon. And then uni came along and I haven't had a chance to even look at it again. The new design will be easier to navigate, now that I know what I want to keep and what I want to discard. Oh well, I guess we'll see when I'm done.

16. Get an Independent Income
Every year I set out to do this but it was almost always a failure. Not this year, no. You can finally call me a (part-time) working woman! I am so psyched about this. How, you ask? Well, first off, I opened a commission - which is still available, by the way - and put Indonesian Childhood Games Handbook for sale. Second of all, the blog has been sponsored a couple times and I've been paid generously - so to speak. Last but not least, I've started selling my LINE Sticker set on LINE Creators Market. It's not steady income yet, unfortunately. But there are plenty more projects to come so let's just wait and see, shall we?

17. See Firu's Family
The dynamics of my relationship with Firu changed last year, with me moving back to Indonesia and him staying in Germany. This means long-distance relationship between us, but also close-quarter relationship with his family. I've never known anyone with this kind of situation before so, at first, I was kind of nervous and awkward about it. But, little by little, I enjoy my visits there. In the past year, I've visited Firu's family on around 3-4 separate occasions. They're like family to me and I'm so happy to have known them in my life. You can see a bit here and here.

18. Learn the Art of Batik
Earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to have been introduced to my stepmother's high school friend who happens to own an ethical batik clothing line, called Kana. Her name is Ms. Sancaya Rini and she is super friendly and welcoming toward young people who are eager to learn her form of art. Although brief, I learnt a lot about the way of batik-ing and natural dyeing and it was magnificent. It was definitely harder than it looked - I got hot wax all over my hands. Let me tell ya, cleaning it up was a total bitch! But it made me realise how amazingly hardworking and talented all these batik artists around the nation are. Also, I learnt about the batik conundrum from Ms. Rini as well. It makes me sad to think how little we care about authenticity these days.

19. Feature a Local Hangout Spot
When I made this goal, I really just wanted to introduce local taste to foreigners and other Indonesians who might've been missing out. I really wanted to feature than just good food and good atmosphere, but also good history. The one spot I actually feature does have that and it is still by far my favourite place in Semarang. However, I also went to some other culinary installments in Indonesia, which I didn't feature but wrote in posts here, here, here, here, here and here. If ever you want to check them out, please do - although I wouldn't recommend all of them, to be honest.

20. Read More Indonesian Literature
When it comes to reading, you know I'm quick on my feet. This year I read several Indonesian books and even finished a series - granted, it's a trilogy but still. Some of them remind me exactly why I stopped reading Indonesian literature and some of them make me have faith in our nation's literary talents all over again. I did a run down of all the Indonesian books that I've read in the past year, which you can read here. This got me excited to read more Indonesian literature in the future, so yaay!

22. Figure Out What I Want to Do For the Rest of My Life
Ding ding ding! Time for the million-dollar question, huh? Last year when I wrote this into one of the things I wanted to accomplish in a year, I was feeling quite lost and could only see a bleak future. I was pressurised by time and financial condition, that I feel like it was of the utmost importance that I do this. 365 days later, things have changed and I've managed to do so much that I've never done before, I've learnt a lot from the experience and I am finally sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. Of course I'm still growing, which means things can alter again, but, at least for now, I'd like to stick to being a freelance illustrator and blogger. I'm already planning some things to make this happen and I'm so excited to see where we go from here.

Well, that's all I've got this year. Every year I try to shoot for the "realistic" stars and every year I let myself down. I guess, it all lies in the fact that nobody knows what the future holds and it can mess up some previously set plans/schedules. Of course, let the record show that despite not completing some of these goals, I did other things that are different and new to me and beyond my - apparently - wildest imaginations. That, alone, should be worth something, right? One thing's for sure, though, I don't think I would ever tire of making such lists. Self-set goals are so much more fun to pursue. Stay tuned to see what's on my 23 Before 24 list! (Already twenty-four? Yikes!)

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