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  1. What's on the Bookshelf

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.

    My apologies for yet another slow week. Just as my concerns about the possibility of developing RSI eased, I managed to give my left thumb a good hard crack. I was starting to worry that I might have sprained it but there's no swelling and it's not bothering me so much today. I think I just strained it a bit. But, as you can imagine, the past few days I have not felt like doing an awful lot of typing and have mostly been wanting to continue resting my hands and fingers from the keyboard. Hopefully this week will see things settle back to normal again.

    The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas
    I am trying something a bit different with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. The Slap gives the perspectives of eight people who witness a man slapping a child that is not his own at a neighbourhood barbecue and the consequences that follow. Tsiolkas is an Australian author so I can put this one towards the Aussie Author Challenge as well!

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  2. Earth Hour 2010

    Saturday, March 27, 2010

    Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia in 2007. That year 2.2 million people took part. Now Earth Hour is a global event with hundreds of millions of participants all over the world. Earth Hour 2010 is only a little over two hours away (for me anyway) but it is not too late to sign up and plan some great activities with your friends and family. Maybe now is the time for you to make a new resolution to help the environment and minimise your "footprint"! Fill the hour by having getting your family all together and talking about your day, perhaps play a board game by candlelight, or head outside and take advantage of (hopefully!) fewer lights running in your area to gaze at the stars.

    My fellow Aussie's can click on the banner below to register your pledge to switch off all of your lights and electrical appliances around your home for the hour. If you live internationally, please go here to register. Earth Hour is organised by WWF. Go to their website to learn more about the organisation.

    I hope you all have a lovely evening unplugged.

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  3. Firefly

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    From the DVD Cover:
    Five hundred years in the future there's a whole new frontier, and the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship Serenity is eager to stake a claim on the action. They'll take any job, legal or illegal, to keep fuel in the tanks and food on the table. But things get a bit more complicated after they take on a passenger wanted by the new totalitarian Alliance regime. Now they find themselves on the run, desperate to steer clear of Alliance ships and flesh-eating Reavers who live on the fringe of space.

    My Thoughts:
    Joss Whedon's Firefly is quite possibly the single greatest show ever made. There. I said it and I am going to stand by it. It is also possibly the greatest tragedy in television history that it only lasted for fourteen episodes. If you can watch this show and not fall in love, I am telling you that you have no heart - FOX, I am looking straight at you.

    FOX, it would seem, had a vendetta against Firefly from the very beginning, even choosing to skip airing until later the pilot episode which sets up the entire story. However, during it's brief run Firefly earned itself a passionate and dedicated fanbase. So outspoken were the fans over the shows cancellation that they achieved having the show resurrected in the form of the sequel movie, Serenity.

    Firefly is a space opera with a western twist, a concept that fans of the anime Cowboy Bebop will be familiar with. Five hundred years from now Earth is all "used up" and humanity has spread out into the 'verse to find a new habitable home. Planets were terraformed for habitation. On the central planets live the wealthy privileged in a society that is, at least on the surface, a utopia. On the outer rim live the poorer folk, farmers and miners and the like. Not all of the outer planets terraformed quite right. Some of them have quirks and some of these quirks can make people sick. Out on the edge of the black the Reavers hunt.

    The most endearing quality of Firefly is the characters. Ship captain Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) is an ex-soldier who fought on the losing side of the war but still is not convinced that it was the wrong side. As a result he has no problems with doing things that might rub the Alliance the wrong way which is lucky for one of his newest passengers, Simon Tam (Sean Maher), who has just rescued his younger sister River (Summer Glau) from an Alliance experiment and is now on the run with her. Zoe (Gina Torres) is Mal's loyal second in command who fought alongside him in the war and is married to the ship pilot, Wash (Alan Tudyk), who likes to play with the toy dinosaurs that sit on the ship's dash. Jewel Staite is perfect in the role of Kaylee the ship mechanic, who, despite getting around in overalls and engine grease, is a girly-girl at heart. Jayne (Adam Baldwin) is the muscle of the crew despite having a girls name. Morena Baccarin is just unfairly beautiful in the role of the companion (read legal and high class prostitute), Inara. Book is a shepherd but there are hidden mysteries in his past. Finally there is the ship itself, Serenity, with whom you will surely fall in love. With each episode we learn more about these characters and the growing and changing relationships between them.

    Even the opening theme is so addictive that is likely to crawl into your brain and stay there

    There is the usual quirky language that people who have seen Buffy the Vampire Slayer might expect to see in a Joss Whedon creation. "Shiny" is the new way of saying that all is good and, well, shiny. "Gorramit", as you might guess, means "God damn it." In a unique twist, when everything fell apart on Earth That Was the last two super powers left standing were the United States of America and China, as a result even the most uneducated of people out in the 'verse can speak both English and Chinese. Whedon and his writers take full advantage of this fact to give out some of the most ridiculous swears and insults in Chinese, hence I was disappointed when I switched on the subtitles on my DVD and was given the line "speaks inter-galactic language." Nothing important and that you cannot guess at the meaning and intent of is ever said in Chinese so don't worry if you don't want to spend the time looking up the translations online.

    Regardless of whether of not you have liked Joss Whedon's other projects, you must give Firefly a try. I promise that it is time well spent.

    Also Check Out:
    Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

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  4. What's on the Bookshelf

    Sunday, March 21, 2010

    In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Go here to find out more.

    Hi, all. So, I fell of the map over the last week or so but I am still here. I needed some break time from the computer as I was having some concerns about a bit of pain in my left hand and was worried that it may be related to my recent computer use. Ergonomics guys! Very important. So, I took things easy for a bit and everything seems pretty good now. Unfortunately, I did not get much reading done in this time but I did get to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 3D and mull over some blog related ideas and plans!

    Stargazer by Claudia Gray
    Admittedly, I was not all that fussed with the first book in this series, Evernight, but I recognise that this series seems pretty popular at the moment and I am all for second chances.

    In the meantime, if you missed my review of Evernight you can read my thoughts on the young adult vampire romance novel here.

    The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
    I have heard some great things about The Knife of Never Letting Go and I am just super excited to be able to add it to my reading list.

    It follows Todd who lives in Prentisstown, a place where everyone can hear everyone's thoughts. Until Todd stumbles upon a silent spot.

    Sacred Scars by Kathleen Duey
    I absolutely loved Skin Hunger so I am bumping this sequel right to the top of my to-read list. The first book in the A Resurrection of Magic series was just fantastic and delightfully dark for Duey's first venture into young adult fiction.

    Read my Sacred Scars review here.

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  5. True Blood Season One

    Friday, March 12, 2010

    From the DVD Cover:
    Vampires have come "out of the coffin" and are now living among us. Surviving on synthetic blood, they no longer need human blood to survive. Or so it seems...

    The small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana boats a wide array of colourful locals. Meet Sookie Stackhouse, a sweet and innocent waitress who hides her powerful ability to read minds; Bill Compton, a 173-year-old vampire who's just moved back to town; Sookie's brother Jason, a ladies' man who can't seem to stay out of trouble; tough-as-nails Tara, Sookie's loyal best friend; Sam, the owner of Merlotte's who tries to keep his feelings for Sookie to himself; Lafayette, a man about town who's always cooking up a something illicit and "off the menu" and a quirky cast of characters who each hide their dark secrets in the shadows of night in this series that's like no other.

    My Thoughts:
    Ages ago, I said that once I had the chance to watch the season through with the commentaries then I would post my thoughts on True Blood. I finally did get the chance to do so and was glad to find that I enjoyed the show a second time through just as much as I did the first.

    For those who are possibly not in the know, True Blood is based on a series of novels by Charlaine Harris called The Southern Vampire Mysteries, or sometimes simply refered to as the Sookie Stackhouse series. There are currently ten books in the series with the eleventh expected to be released later this year. Season one of True Blood follows the story of the first of these books, Dead Until Dark, where telepathic waitress Sookie (Anna Paquin) meets the vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) and realises that she cannot hear his thoughts. The two form a romantic relationship (and interestingly enough are in fact married in real life) but Sookie comes under threat when a murderer begins to target women who have been involved with vampires.

    At times the acting did need to be stronger. At one instance my mother walked in and complained about Anna Paquin's underdone reaction to something instead of complaining that I was "watching more vampire rubbish" as she normally would. Nelsan Ellis, however, is consistently fantastic in the role of Lafayette. I also really enjoyed Alexander SkarsgÄrd as Eric.

    The show is faithful enough to the books to please fans while at the same time creating original material and throwing in enough twists to keep those of us who are familiar with the books guessing. On the television screen the lives of characters who only existed in the background on the page are now fleshed out and become their own fully developed plot lines that are just as enjoyable to follow as that of Sookie and Bill. Tara, for example, now becomes an African-American and cousin to Lafayette. An entirely new twist is placed on her character and it works to the strength of the show.

    Full of mystery, sex, blood, and fun True Blood is a must watch. Keep in mind that it is pretty graphic in terms of both sex and gore so make sure any little ones are out of the room before you put this one on.

    I will be reviewing season two whenever the DVD happens to come out in Australia. *Sigh*

    Also Check Out:
    Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

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  6. Who Loves You Baby!

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    A big thank you goes to Jessica who ran a Booklover's Diary and Velvet from vvB32 Reads for this award.

    The idea of this award is to pass this on to all the wonderful people out there who have awarded you in the past. Hopefully I haven't missed anyone.

    Books and Things
    Between the Lines
    Emma Michaels
    Mindful Musings
    Books, Books Everywhere 
    Fiction Fanatic 
    My World 
    The Book Nerd Club   

    My goodness, I think that we have actually reached the end of awards to hand out and so have reached the end of the awardathon! Thank you so much to all the wonderful people out there who make blogging fun and contribute to the book blogger community. With so many awards handed out it got a bit hard to keep track but I tried to fairly distribute them. Regardless of whether or not I was able to pass an award on to you, I think that you are all the most awesome people in the world.

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  7. I was going to post this yesterday but it just didn't end up happening. Instead, today there will be two awards given out. If everything goes to plan anyway. Keep an eye out tonight for the final award of the awardathon!

    A massive thank you goes to Kel of Between the Lines for this award! Thank you so much for thinking of me!

    Now, on to the rules!
    1. Thank the link to the person that gave you the award
    2. Pass this award on to 7 bloggers you've recently discovered and whom you think are fantastic
    3. Contact said Blogs to let them know they've won
    4. State 7 Things about yourself!

    Okay, so seven things about myself... Let's see now...
    1. My new favourite book is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.
    2. I am lead to believe that I am apparently the only person who has never read Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.
    3. I have only just recently discovered what an awesomely good show The Big Bang Theory is.
    4. I am not a very good cook but I am trying to get better.
    5. The Phantom of the Opera is my favourite musical.
    6. I sing along to albums from musicals. Loudly.
    7. I just went and squandered all of the exercise I did today by inhaling a box of pocky. It was delicious. I have no regrets.
    And now to pass it on to seven others!
    1. Darlyn and Books
    2. At Home With Books
    3. The Shady Glade
    4. The Sweet Bookshelf
    5. In Which A Girl Reads
    6. Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books
    7. Drying Ink

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  8. From the Back Cover:
    Bianca has just left the small town where she's spent her whole life. She's a new student at Evernight Academy, a creepily Gothic boarding school where her classmates are somehow too perfect: smart, sleek and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.

    Then she meets Lucas, another loner, who seems fiercely determined not to be the "Evernight type." There's a connection between Bianca and Lucas that can't be denied. She would risk anything to be with him—but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart... and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed to be true.

    My Thoughts:
    Some people may not be pleased to hear that I came away from finishing this book with mixed feelings about it. Evernight has some good qualities while at the same time having other qualities that I really did not particularly like.

    I started reading Evernight without really knowing anything about it except that it was a vampire story. This proved important to my enjoyment of the book as Gray has woven in some great unpredicatble plot twists that caught me completely off guard. On the downside, the major twist also reveals Bianca to be an unreliable and inconsistant narrator. While this was the intent of the author, I found it an annoying quality, particularly because after this event Bianca now thinks about the issue all the time whereas previously it never once came up.

    I also disliked the way Gray handled the romance between Bianca and Lucas. At first it seemed like she might start with a normal teenage crush and progress from there only to instead quickly degrade into yet another desperate star-crossed true love. What really confuses me in these kind of novels is why the author always makes the romantic competition so much more likable. His name aside, Balthazar is made out to be the far better choice and Bianca even disregards a warning from a friend that Lucas sounds like he would be an abusive partner.

    It was disappointing to see that Gray had given herself this great gothic setting but did not utilise it better. Between both the setting and certain plot points Gray could have created a wonderful gothic tone. The setting up is there but the tone wasn't really achieved, especially when you throw into the mix a lead character who pokes her tongue out at the stone gargoyles. As a result, Evernight Academy rarely seemed "creepily gothic" as opposed to just an old and snooty boarding school.

    One more thing, why would hundreds-of-years-old vampires tolerate consenting to curfews and pop quizzes? Why would they enroll in high school when we are even told that there are (nicer sounding) options out there for them to achieve the same goals?

    Give it a try if you have enjoyed other stories of irrational teenage supernatural love but overall I found Evernight to be a bit hit and miss.

    Also Check Out:
    Fallen by Lauren Kate
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

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  9. Teaser Tuesdays

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
    • Grab your current read
    • Open to a random page
    • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
    The two weeks between Balthazar's invitation and the ball were confusing for me, because my emotions kept tugging me in a thousand different directions at once. I could look at dresses in a catalogue with my mother, happily picking out favourites, and within the next hour be so lonely for Lucas it felt like I could hardly breathe.

    From page 120 of Evernight by Claudia Gray.

    I have finished reading this now. My review of this one will be up pretty soon.

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  10. Thanks go to Emma Michaels for this award. Doesn't look just delicious?

    Now, to list ten things that make me happy and then to pass this award on to ten sweet-as-cupcakes bloggers!
    1. A hot cup of tea
    2. Chocolate
    3. A good book
    4. Listening to Nightwish
    5. Joss Whedon shows
    6. Bangles! One of my all time favourite accessories!
    7. Sleeping in
    8. Or in contrast... an early morning walk!
    9. My awesome friends
    10. My wonderful family
    I am passing this sugary sweet award along to:
    1. The Book Nerd Club
    2. Fiction Fanatic
    3. Books, Books Everywhere
    4. The Ladybug Reads
    5. The Neverending Shelf
    6. Peace, Love & Pat
    7. Persnickety Snark
    8. Wicked Little Pixie
    9. Red Headed Book Child
    10. Hey! Teenager of the Year


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    1. Honest Scrap Award

      Monday, March 8, 2010

      Okay, a massive thanks goes to Nicole from Books, Books Everywhere, Jamye from Fiction Fanatic, Melissa from My World, and Mummazappa from The Book Nerd Club.

      This award asks that we reveal ten honest things about ourselves before passing it on to ten other people.
      1. I am terrified of cockroaches
      2. I like to keep a stash of chocolate in the top drawer of my bedside table. (If any goes missing I will know that it was one of you guys who took it!)
      3. I think that Tuomas Holopainen is a genius.
      4. I spend way too much time and money down at my local bookstore.
      5. And even more time and money at my local music store.
      6. My real name is Rebecca. It seemed like there was already plenty of Rebeccas out in the litereary blogosphere so I chose to blog under the name Terra, which has already been my internet alias for a number of years.
      7. I wish that life were a musical.
      8. I want to go to Middle-earth.
      9. I can kill you with my brain. Okay, that is not so honest.
      10. I am the final cylon. No, I suppose that this is not very honest either. Or is it?
      I would like to pass this award on to:
      1. Laughing Stars
      2. Daydreams and Wanderings
      3. Misfit Salon
      4. The Book Vixen
      5. Book Magic
      6. Tales of Whimsy
      7. Lucid Conspiracy
      8. Literary Life
      9. On the Nightstand
      10. My Fluttering Heart
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      1. Let's Be Friends Award

        Friday, March 5, 2010

        Thank you, Velvet from vvB32 Reads!

        "Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to 8 bloggers."
        1. Should Be Reading
        2. Emma Michaels
        3. Imagination in Focus
        4. Trish's Reading Nook
        5. All About {n}
        6. My Overstuffed Bookshelf
        7. Ramblings of a Bibliophile
        8. Tina's Book Reviews
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        1. Zombie Chicken Award

          Thursday, March 4, 2010

          Thank you, Natalie from Mindful Musings and Velvet from vvB32 Reads!

          "The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken-- excellence, grace, and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all."

          1. The Book Chubi
          2. La Femme Readers
          3. Who, What, When, Where, Why
          4. Teens Read and Write
          5. Bookworming in the 21st Century
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        2. Over the Top! Award

          Wednesday, March 3, 2010

          Thanks goes to Melissa at Books and Things for this award!

          "The rules are pretty simple. Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though."

          Your Cell Phone? Flip
          Your Hair? Foils
          Your Mother? Awesome
          Your Father? Also Awesome
          Your Favorite Food? Can't choose! I love food!
          Your Dream Last Night? None remembered
          Your Favorite Drink? Water
          Your Dream/Goal? Happiness
          What Room Are You In? Bedroom
          Your Hobby? This blog!
          Your Fear? Cockroaches
          Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? In a good job and a steady relationship would be nice too...
          Where Were You Last Night? Home
          Something That You Aren't? Llama
          Muffins? Delicious
          Wish List Item? Tickets to see Wicked
          Where Did You Grow Up? Wollongong
          Last Thing You Did? Tidied room (still at it)
          What Are You Wearing? Jeans, black tank top
          Your TV? Off
          Your Pets? Forever loved and in my heart ='(
          Friends? The best
          Your Life? Great
          Your Mood? Eh
          Missing Someone? Jasper
          Vehicle? Just bought!
          Something You Aren't Wearing? Clown shoes
          Your Favorite Store? Book stores!
          Your Favorite Color? Purple
          When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Watching the Big Bang Theory
          Last Time You Cried? Today, Yesterday, Day before... (See question on pets...)
          Your Best Friend? Is awesome too.
          One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Home? Work? Ah, bed!
          Facebook? Hooked
          Favorite Place To Eat? Family dinner table

          I am hopeless at sticking to one word answers!
          This award now passes to...
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        3. From the Back Cover:
          Chloe Saunders used to have a relatively normal life. But now she finds herself in the middle of some really strange situations because:
          • She suddenly starts seeing dead people.
          • She gets locked up in a group home for unstable teens.
          • The group home isn't what it seems...

          My Thoughts:
          I liked The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong a lot more than I thought I was going to. Now, maybe that sounds a bit cynical but lately I have not felt so inclined towards picking up all the paranormal young adult fiction that is out at the moment. Fortunately, I decided to check it out when I heard that you can currently read the book for free over on the Harper Teen website!

          I found The Summoning to be a refreshing addition to the paranormal young adult genre. Romance fans may disagree with me, but I found the absence of any trite star-crossed teen romance to be wonderful breath of fresh air. What elements of romantic inclination were included in the book were handled with a subtle realism.

          Neither does Armstrong plunge straight in to full on paranormal. Chloe's ghastly visions result in her being diagnosed with schizophrenia and much of the early half of the book deals with Chloe trying to come to terms with not only what is the truth, but what "truth" would be worse. Is it better to see and hear ghosts or to be dealing with schizophrenia for the rest of her life?

          The book ends on quite the cliffhanger leading into the next book. Overall, I really liked The Summoning and I will definitely by looking to check out the next book in the Darkest Powers trilogy, The Awakening, which came out last year.

          Also Check Out:
          Fallen by Lauren Kate

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        4. Teaser Tuesdays

          Tuesday, March 2, 2010

          Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
          • Grab your current read
          • Open to a random page
          • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
          • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
          • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
          He pulled the tarp about them and he lay awake a long time listening. If they got wet there'd be no fires to dry by. If they got wet they would probably die.

          From page 14 of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I have only just started but so far so good.

          I finally stopped ogling Viggo on the front cover and cracked the spine on this one. I have only just started but it seems so far so good.

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        5. Thank you Natalie from Mindful Musings!

          I would like to present this award to the following blogs:

          A Good Addiction
          and Books and Bards.

          Both run awesome blogs. Go check them out if you have not already!

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        6. I Love Your Blog Award

          Monday, March 1, 2010

          I was given this award by Gabriel who has wrapped up his old blogs and has started a new one, The Convent of Blood. Originally I did make a post to acknowledge this award but was yet to pass it on to anyone.
          1. Rhiannon Hart
          2. Teens Read and Write
          3. vvB32 Reads
          4. Reversing the Monotony
          5. Reading withTequila
          6. The Bluestocking Guide
          7. Parajunkee's View
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