Street views

Google maps has a new feature, I think called street views. The deal is that they drove around this truck with a dozen cameras coming out of it at every angle, and circled around the streets of various cities, shooting digital images. Then they stitched it all together, and in a google map, you can click a thing and see a panoramic image of the street, as if you were standing at a point and looking around. It’s a very interesting project, but I’ve found if you’re oddly nostalgic and possibly a bit homesick for things of the past, it’s absolutely depressing. I put in the address of my last apartment in New York, and I can totally “stand” on Grand Street and look up and see our old deck and our window AC unit jutting out of the living room. Luckily, they do not have maps of Seattle or Bloomington.

I’m not really homesick or anything. It’s just that there is enough distance between me and New York that it has become an abstract concept. And Denver has not taken on enough of an identity yet that I have dreams in the middle of the night and I see this as home in them. (Actually, the house where I grew up in Indiana always seems to be the default stage for my dreams, and after asking around, I guess that’s not too unusual.) I think being crippled for the last month has put a damper on a lot of my plans to explore the city. But it’ll figure itself out. I have a lot coming up in the next couple of months, so that’s cool.

Yes, I’m still a cripple. I finished taking my course of prednisone, which all but cured the foot. And when it was done, it gradually reversed course, and I’m back where I started. I will call the doc when they open and try to get this figured out. In the meantime, I have been drinking a lot of tart cherry juice. The stuff is absolutely horrid by itself, but I mix it with Sprite and it isn’t bad. Cherries are supposed to cure gout, and it’s easier to drink an ounce of juice than it is to eat a pound of cherries.

We drove to Evergreen this weekend (the town, not the college). It is amazing how you can get in a car in downtown Denver and drive for 45 minutes and be in the middle of absolutely nowhere, on a windy little road going up the side of a mountain, with drop-dead views of the Rockies and running rapids and wild buffalo and tons of trees older than this country. In New York, if you had a car, within an hour you’d be lucky to make it to the Jersey side of the Holland tunnel. We’ve been taking a lot of drives like this lately, and they’re always awesome. The only problem is that we’re debating where and when to buy a house, and it’s tempting to buy some really cool log cabin/ski lodge looking thing on the side of a mountain somewhere, but spending two hours a day commuting would not be good. I really want to buy a dumpy place in town, the worst house in the best neighborhood, and then fix it up. Then later, maybe get a place in the hills. I’m becoming disillusioned with the 40 acres, especially since there’s no water and no trees and it would be a constant struggle to do anything there, and meanwhile there’s all this land full of giant trees and roaring water up here. So, who knows.

Speaking of roaring water, there was this bizarro hail storm yesterday. It was 100% clear, then around noon, the sky got pitch black and there were all of these close lightning strikes. The sky opened up, and this hail started. It looked like someone was pouring coarse rock salt over everything – the parking lot across the street and the cars in it were completely covered. There were these pings on the glass, like someone was throwing rocks at the apartment, and the street turned into a giant river with this influx of water and ice. See here for some pictures of it.

I think I’m ditching flickr, and I’m trying to figure out what features are lacking from my shitty php scripts in my photo dir. I know, many. But I should work on that instead of giving yahoo money. I have been brushing up on my php these days and I have a few mock projects that are going okay. Nothing usable, just portfolio fodder. But the more I learn php, the more I realize I could never do it for a living. I dunno.

Okay, I need to get working.

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Random stuff

I’m not awake and have no coherent train of thought, so I’ll just hit you with a bunch of random stuff.

I know panhandlers probably don’t read my journal (maybe they do, now that all of these places have WiFi) but here’s a tip: don’t try to panhandle someone on crutches. Just sayin’.

I’m seriously thinking of creating a zine or website or something that reviews burrito carts here in Denver. I haven’t eaten at one yet, but there are a fuck of a lot of them at construction sites and near all of the factories north of here. The hipster doofus demographic has barely been tapped here, but I know it’s going to explode in the next year.

I watched all of the UK version of The Office. It was good. I usually loathe British comedy, largely because of the people who worship it. (Similar things: JRR Tolkein, Comic Books, Boston Red Sox, wine bars, REI, poker.) I am now watching Weeds, which isn’t bad, and has funny stuff in it. (Oh, add pot to that previous list.) The only thing is that in Weeds, the youngest kid looks absolutely deformed. And it’s weird, because the same thing was true about the youngest girl in Nip/Tuck. Maybe those two should hook up. It would be weird if they did, and their two Mongoloid genetic sets combined to create the next Angelina Jolie. (Come to think of it, take a look at her dad some time.)

I’m still trying to rate the unrated songs I have in iTunes. I already did this once before, but then I fucked up my computer in January. So I have like 2500 unrated songs, and since I only listen to my rated songs on shuffle, I sort of need to get the shit rated. Unfortunately, I don’t like to spend my time writing and playing the “hey, wow, every Jethro Tull song except for Aqualung really sucks, but I better listen to ten seconds of each one before I give them a one, just in case”, because I get obsessed with the iTunes shit and I don’t write. (Case in point: it has taken me 27 hours to write this far into this post.)

I missed a cooking class because they sent me the wrong time in the confirmation letter. We missed a maid/cleaning appointment because we left a key at the front desk, and the girl at the front desk “didn’t know what to do with it” even though it was taped to a letter saying to give it to the cleaning people. I missed (but rescheduled first) a shrink appointment because I couldn’t walk that week. So there’s a lot of rescheduling going on here.

(Aside: the class I missed was this knife skills class. I kindof want to show up in all camo and whip out a giant two-foot-long Rambo knife and start on some kind of schitzo Red Dawn rant, like “yeah my dad offed a lot of slants in ‘Nam with this shit. It has that extra tang on the side so when you stab someone in the lung, the gash won’t close and the ‘Cong gets a sucking chest wound and sepsis.” This would probably get more of a reaction in SF or NY though – I’m sure it happens like every other class here.)

I just realized that the clocktower two blocks away and about 10 degrees to the left of center at my monitor actually tells correct time. All this time, I’ve been either hitting the dashboard for a clock, or turning around and looking for one on the wall. Fuck.

I got Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories or whatever it’s called. I played the fuck out of the original Vice City like five years ago or whenever it came out. This one is I think the same map, but different story, and it’s two years earlier. It doesn’t seem to be as immersive – not as much going on, the songs on the radio seem to repeat themselves more, etc. I don’t know if it’s because the game was a rush job, or if I’m just high. Maybe both.

I just realized there’s no fucking way I could get a government job or something at one of the local aerospace places that require a piss test, since I’ve been swimming in Vicodin for weeks. How long does this shit stay in your system? Maybe I should go check rushlimbaugh.com.

(I probably shouldn’t make fun of him for his drug habit, because fuck – it is pure heaven. If I had his money and the balls to do the doctor shopping and online ordering, I would be taking fifty of those fuckers an hour. It’s not like going off of them is like not eating candybars if you really like them – it’s like going off of air if you breathe it a lot.)

I can walk now, BTW. Not 100%, but yesterday I didn’t wear my ankle brace, wore normal shoes with orthotics, and didn’t use a cane or crutches. The main problem now is that after not using the foot for like two or three weeks or whatever, the toes are really weak, and the arches (or lack thereof) aren’t used to being pushed up by the orthotics. So I’m not 100%, but I’m more than 80%. We were able to walk to this market/coffee place/sandwich cafe that’s a few blocks south. I forget the name of it, but I should link to it a million times because I really like it there. Our neighborhood is nothing but loft apartments and bar/tavern places fed by the ballpark crowds, so they started this market so people could shop in the neighborhood and not have to drive to another neighborhood to run to Safeway for a loaf of bread or some toilet paper. They have a very nice space, and it reminds me of Speakeasy back in 1995, before they got stupid, and without the computers. Anyway, they are just getting started, and I wish I could do something, like grow a bunch of corn on my land and sell it to them.

We got some corn on the cob last night, and fuck it was good. I don’t think I could eat it constantly, but it’s just one of those “summer’s about here” foods that reminds me of picnics and nice weather and school being out and so on. Lots of butter too, but now it has to be that Smart Balance shit. I have to get on a diet, and the problem is, I need to get on like 19 different diets at the same time. I have been searching and saving diets of foods you should eat for gout, weight loss, depression, blood pressure, etc. And I think that when I put all of the lists next to each other and cancel out everything, I will be left with just water and iceberg lettuce.

Another Jethro Tull song just came up.

I tried adding a blogroll to the side bar using the blogroll service, but it’s a stupid ponzi scheme, i.e. “Totally free! (Unless you don’t want our stupid crap on your web page or any other advanced feature, then you need to pay us.) I always have crazy ideas about doing shit to bring more readers here, and I thought the whole blogroll thing would do that, or at least add some kind of cross-pollination, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s stupid and full of some kind of fake-politic MySpace bullshit. Or whatever.

Similarly, I thought I should start reading Digg and participating in it. I honestly don’t have much to read these days on the computer, as I’ve become disillusioned or pissed off with most of the stuff out there. So I signed up for Digg and got all psyched up, and then I realized how pathetically stupid it is. I mean, when a story on a new PlayStation joystick degenerates into whining babble about how we need to get out of Iraq, it’s pretty much past the point where I ever want to read anything on the site ever again.

You should be reading my million dollar ideas blog (link at right). I should just keep adding to that until I have a book, and fuck this other stuff.

I need to take a shower.

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Ankle thing

I went to another set of doctors yesterday about this ankle thing. They think that it’s an attack of gout, and not a sprain. The more I think about it, maybe that’s true. I was sick for a week and severely dehydrated; there was a cold snap the night it happened; it’s red; I’ve had gout before. What is differrent about this is that it’s up in the joint of the ankle, and not in a toe. )

Anyway, they didn’t shoot the ankle full of cortisone, which is what I’d prefer, but I guess it’s not easy to do. Instead, they put me on Prednisone for the next ten days. At first, I thought they were going to put me on it forever, which I would not want to do at all. I guess ten days is fine, although the second I can jump up and down and walk with no braces or crutches, I’m stopping. I’ve heard nothing but horror stories about pred, and I don’t want to gain 200 pounds on a starvation diet or whatever else. The good news is that the swelling in the foot went down like 75% overnight. The bad news is that I slept about 75% less last night, even after taking sleeping pills. So this could become problematic. I’m also going through all of the usual gout cures – ate a bowl of cherries, drinking cherry juice and a shitload of water, putting on an icepack now and again. My goal is to be somewhat functional by the weekend, or at least on just a cane.

Yesterday was my first good writing day in a while. This weekend I totally figured out how the second and third thirds of the books could happen – it all came to me in the shower, so I hobbled out, dried off, and wrote about eight pages of notes. (I always get my best ideas in the shower. Probably over half of Rumored to Exist was thought up in the shower. I need a waterproof computer in there.) So Monday was a day of not much progress, but a lot of shuffling and moving and outlining and that sort of thing. Yesterday was my first 2000-word day on this book since New York. And today was a quick 2000 words. If I could write 2000 words a day, five days a week, I would be much happier in life.

The only weird thing about my plot is that I totally thought of it and wrote it, and then that night I saw The Departed and some of the plot was similar. I mean, the story, the characters, the setting, all different. But just the outline, the way the pieces come together, bore some vague resemblance to what I was doing. This didn’t piss me off – I take it as a good omen. Truthfully, I rip off so many little things from other books and movies here, it’s not even funny. Like I rip off the idea from Total Recall that in the very beginning, a character tells the protagonist exactly what’s going to happen for the rest of the movie/book, and then you forget all about it, and then at the end, you realize, “Hey, that dude at Recall tells the whole story five minutes in!”

I actually watched Total Recall yesterday, just because I haven’t seen it in a while. It’s weird how it is both really good and really bad. I mean, Ahnold can’t act, and he always makes that same “AAAAGH” sound constantly. All of the characters are very stereotypical, and some of the sets and effects are very hokey. On the other hand, this was like the last big-action movie to be done without any CGI, which makes it one of those weird delineating marks. It’s like the last Ford car with a flathead engine, or the last year of the Harley with the Shovelhead engine. So it looks shitty, but it’s nostalgic. And I guess the thing about the movie is that it has this really twisting plot, and even after you watch it, you say “wait, was it all a dream?”

Anyway, I should get back to it…

P.S. Random Colorado observation of the day: often, a sealed package of food or condiment or whatever will somehow become super-pressurized by the time it gets to 5280 feet. Like, I have this little package of carrots and ranch sauce, and the thing of ranch sauce is bulging at the seams. Typically, I don’t think of this and open it, and ranch sauce explodes all over me. I think this also happens on airplanes, or maybe they package the salad dressing at a lower temperature or whatever.

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Target cart

We went to Target the other night, and when I hobbled in on crutches, the greeter kid said “would you like a motorized cart?” Fuck yes, I would like a motorized cart! So he gave me one of those little Rascal things, with a basket on the front. It was not the best thing in the world – it had a weird squeak that slowly vanished as we added more junk to the cart, the reverse gear didn’t work, and it had two speeds: ‘dead stop’ and ‘go, dammit’ – but it sure beat hopping around a Super Target on crutches. I was a bit worried that I would get strange stares or the evil eye, for being a largely able-bodied individual using up the cart for the invalids. I did have my air cast and this little velcro booty thing, since I can’t wear a shoe, so I guess I had a small visual indicator. But I know I hate it when I see people using the carts and their only handicap seems to be terminal laziness. Anyway, I had fun with it, and now I want one, but I’m sure that by the time it shipped and showed up at my door, I would be 100% healed.

I’m currently not healed 100%, but I think I’m making slight progress. I can walk on one crutch for short distances, which helps in carrying stuff around the kitchen and whatnot. I’m sleeping well, but that’s the drugs. The air cast is starting to really bug me, probably from having a hunk of plastic strapped to the same exact place for days. I wish my particular model had an air bellows to add more cushion to the inside.

I started writing again yesterday – I have not been on schedule and I need to be, to regain my sanity. I’m working on this third book I was on all of last spring. I’m still struggling to get the second of three parts started. I have the beginning, and I know the ending, but how to arrange things evenly through that middle part is the catch. I also don’t know how absurd I can push things before they make no sense whatsoever. So, we’ll see.

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A cripple again

So, I’m a cripple again. I managed to sprain my left ankle, maybe on Thursday. I say maybe because it’s another one of those weird injuries that happened in my sleep because my ankles and legs are all fucked up. I have extremely flat feet; every podiatrist that has ever looked at my feet has said they were the worst they’ve ever seen. My last podiatrist has been practicing for over 60 years and he told me that. One time when I was in the ER for another foot problem, they paged all of the residents on staff to come and look at my feet, they were so fucked up. I’m surprised nobody has photographed them for publication in some journal. Anyway, flat feet mean that when you run, you get severe shin splints. It also means it’s very easy for your foot to slightly twist and hit wrong and fuck up all sorts of ligaments and muscles. And I’ve found that sometimes even when sleeping, the position of my foot can be a little off, and when I wake up after six or eight hours of that, the ligaments are all jacked up.

So I woke up Thursday morning, and that’s what it felt like. I don’t know anatomy, but there’s a chunk of soft tissue at the base of your ankle, where it meets the foot, at the outside edge, and that was tender. So I wrapped my foot in tape, and limped around all day. I didn’t think much more of it, because this happens to me maybe two or three times a year. And maybe once a year, I will go to a doctor or the ER or a clinic, and they will look at it, and say “damn, you’ve got seriously flat feet”, then tell me it’s some kind of soft tissue damage, and I should tape it, take a bunch of tylenol, and it will be OK in a few days. And it usually is. And I’d rather save myself the $400 and eight hours of exposure to TB and screaming kids and not go to the hospital and just follow their advice. So that’s what I did. And Thursday night, we had to go to Walgreen’s for something else, so I bought one of those stupid velcro and nylon splint things that wrap around your ankle.

By Friday morning, I could barely walk. It felt like the splint thing did more damage than it helped. Luckily, I am crippled often enough that I own a cane, so I was able to hobble around a bit more. We even went to dinner that night, and that was nice. As an aside, here is my major major fucking pet peeve about having a jacked up ankle. When I am on a cane, EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. PERSON. I see asks me every fucking possible detail about why I am on a cane. EVERY FUCKING TIME. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to know myself. I’m sick of telling the story exactly two times after I tell it. And there is no story. What really amazes me is that show House has been on the air for, what, two or three seasons? I watched the first season before I got bored of it, and in that entire time NOBODY asked him why he was on a cane. NOBODY. Yet I can’t take an elevator or go to a restaurant without some mouth-breathing idiot asking me detailed questions about my medical profile. Today’s lesson: if you see a disabled person in a chair or on crutches or with a walker, DONT ASK THEM WHAT IS WRONG. Help them with a door, tell them to have a nice day, ask them about the weather BUT SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT WHY THEY ARE A CRIPPLE BECAUSE IT IS NONE OF YOUR GOD DAMNED BUSINESS. If you get to the point maybe where you are about to have sex with them, then you can ask, otherwise SHUT THE FUCK UP. And for those of you women riding public transportation, GIVE THEM YOUR SEAT YOU STUPID BITCH. You probably do stairmaster for an hour a day, but think you are too precious or entitled to give up your seat for two minutes to a person who can’t stand unassisted. And to people who think I am just overreacting, let me tell you this: THE ENTIRE TIME I EVER RODE THE MTA WITH A CANE, ONLY ONE PERSON GAVE UP HER SEAT FOR ME, AND SHE WAS LIKE 79.

Seriously, I am going to start telling people like that a Greenpeace protestor or Hillary Clinton campaigner knocked me over and broke my ankle.

Anyway, we got home Friday night, and my ankle was fairly fucked. So I took a bunch of pills to sleep: Gabapentin, Tylenol PM, and Tylenol-3 (Codeine). I slept about two hours, and it felt like someone had parked a truck on my leg. I then spent about two hours trying every combination of pillows and supports, none of which could put my leg in a position that didn’t hurt. But I was still in excruciating pain, and had to crawl to the restroom, since walking wasn’t working anymore. I also really wanted to sleep, but like I said, I had taken enough drugs to knock out Rush Limbaugh, and I was so awake, I could have flown a plane. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I woke up Sarah and told her we had to go to the ER.

I always hate the ER, because when you show up, even if you had ten gunshot wounds and were holding your severed arm in your lap, they still make you wait six hours, and then they ask you 50,000 stupid questions. (“So Mr, uh, Kornath, do you smoke”/”just sew back on my fucking arm already!”) The ER here was a completely different experience. The people were extremely nice, very efficient, and had me checked in within the time it takes you to get your food at McDonald’s. There was nobody in the waiting room, which is weird because I thought on a Friday night/Saturday morning at 3:30 AM, there would be scores of gangbangers or something. It was just me and Sarah in chairs, watching a Star Trek rerun from the original series, which I don’t 100% enjoy to the point that I’ll rush out and buy the DVDs, but it was entertaining enough, and it wasn’t the Jesus channel, so there. I also got a wheelchair when I got out of the car, and it had a million different adjustments and leg holders, so I spent forever fucking with that and considering maybe buying or renting one in the future.

We got a room, got a table, got all of the vitals taken, and after a while, the doc came in and bent it and felt it and looked at it and said it was a sprain. I should restate that everyone was incredibly polite and helpful and asked where we relocated from and how we liked Denver, and apologized for the wait, and on and on. It was weird. It was like anti-New York customer service. Anyway, as for the foot, there was some worry that it was a septic joint, because it was very red. But my skin is ivory-white, and if you put a piece of paper on it, it will leave a red mark, so it wasn’t a rash. That didn’t stop them from giving me some antibiotics and writing a bunch of shit on my foot with markers. They also gave me Vicodin, which is pretty much pure heaven. Once it kicked in, I was in this totally lucid state, and was babbling on about ideas for the million dollar idea blog, although I remember none of them now.

I got home with an aircast, a set of crutches, and 15 Vicodin tablets, which I am carefully rationing. I was able to sleep on and off through the weekend, and now I’m about caught up. The crutches are a huge pain in the ass. They’re very hard to use – you use completely different sets of muscles, and maybe if I had trained for the gymnastics events in the Olympics, it would be fine, but walking from the bed to the kitchen is about like running two miles at top speed for me, and the altitude doesn’t help, either. Doing something like using the toilet is very difficult, and taking a shower is impossible. (I did yesterday and it almost killed me. And I’ve still got all of this marker shit on my foot.) I couldn’t put any weight whatsoever on the ankle, although now I can put a tiny bit on there.

This is all incredibly depressing. I think everyone thinks it’s goddamn hilarious that I was down for a week with the stomach flu, and now I’m going to be out for however many weeks with this, except I don’t think it’s funny at all. If I believed in god, I would blame him, or maybe blame myself for something I did in the past to bring this on. When you alternate your day between being goofed up on pills and being in total agony, and your big project of the day is to get out of bed and walk ten feet to take a shit, you start to get really weirded out. And of course, the most beautiful two days of weather happened when I was bedridden. I’m sure when I get walking, it will snow out. I’ve been having a very bad spell lately anyway, because I’m not writing, and I’m not getting any of the stuff done that I said I would when I moved here, and the days seem to just vanish. And now I’m into this whole thing of one medical problem after another, and I’m only 36. I need to live twice this long to retire. I think that after I get this ankle working, I will quit trying to find a job, quit writing, quit every single thing on my plate and make it an 80 hour a week job to just go to physical therapists, go to gyms, eat an absolutely impeccable diet, go to allergists, see shrinks and doctors, and do absolutely nothing except obsess about my health, 24 hours a day. Because it seems that if I do any less than that, all of this shit happens.

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Best cheeseburger ever

I had the best cheeseburger of my life yesterday. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been sick with some kind of stomach flu. I thought I was almost over it, but it continued on all weekend, and I had a hard time eating anything because of this crippling nausea. And before you say “why didn’t you try some ______?”, go fuck yourself – I tried every single thing known to modern and ancient medicine, plus seven others. It was bad because, if you google stomach flu, you’ll see that there is basically nothing you can do but wait it out, which means if I did pay $800 to see a doctor, he would say “there’s nothing you can do but wait it out”. So it’s been a very rough week. And then yesterday, I felt good enough to actually leave the house, drive to Safeway for another 60 gallons of Gatorade, and stop at McDonald’s on the way home.

And I know you’re saying “why the fuck would you go to McDonald’s? [Insert knee-jerk screed on how evil fast food is]” Well, it’s funny that I can be so nauseous that an ounce of applesauce would make me retch, but a hamburger is fine, but it’s true. So after not eating anything more than bananas and jello for a week, I had two cheeseburgers, and they were absolutely THE. BEST. EVER. The ketchup tasted like an exotic spice ten times more expensive than plutonium, and I couldn’t believe meat and onions could taste so good. So I’m back on solids, albeit at much smaller capacities, and I’m ten pounds lighter, but I’m sure that will be back in a week.

Laying in bed or on the couch for a week has been strange, only in that there are times I don’t exactly know where I am. Andrea mentioned in her journal that she finds it odd that I am not in New York instead of Denver, and sometimes I feel the same way. I get these weird bits of locational nostalgia, because I haven’t settled in here yet. Like I was sitting in bed the other day with the windows open and a nice breeze blowing in (despite the fact that our floor to ceiling windows only open like four inches. REMEMBER THE CHILDREN!) Anyway, I just got this very distinct recollection of when I lived in Colonial Crest, after Andrew left, when I had the place to myself and used to sit in bed, listening to Brian Eno, looking out the window at the clone building across the parking lot, thinking about writing but never doing anything. I just remembered I published a story about this in issue 10 of the zine.

There are also these odd, surreal moments that happen when I’m sitting at the computer with this huge parking lot in the background. Yesterday it was sunny and beautiful, and then two minutes later, it was dark as night, and giant stormclouds were tearing across the sky. Because of the altitude, clouds that are at like 6,000 feet for those of you in the plains states are at about twelve feet here, and it gives this eerie landscape, like the sky is about to open up and alien ships will jump out. Instead, it poured rain like I hadn’t seen in ages. It rained in New York, but it always got diffused a bit by the buildings, and there was never a wide open area where you could see so much of it at once. (In Seattle it rained a lot, but you’re between two mountain ranges, so it’s very broken up, and there was like one thunderstorm there in the four years I lived there.) I tried to take a few pictures of this, but they probably look like shit.

Okay, I need to go work on other shit now.

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