My Dad Passed Away


This was taken in Paris, 6 years ago

I’ve been trying to write this since July, I’ve been trying to put everything down and explain what happened.

My dad should never have died of Cancer.

the dreaded C-Word.

If the universe made sense, he should have passed away gently in his 80’s with a beer in his hand and a natural setting sun.

Not of Cancer, one of the most aggressive types, with only 700 getting his type of pancreatic cancer each year.

It took three months from diagnosis to death. Ninety days to get my head around the concept.

You have to appreciate that he beat cancer last year and got the all clear in January, and we all celebrated since 2015 was so bad, so 2016 had to be fantastic.

My nephew became a world champion gymnast, sister in law gave birth to their firstborn son, and my dad passed away.

In April when we found out that it was back, terminal and the only thing they could really do was make him “comfortable”, you see how the United Kingdom actually treats its terminal patients.

Like nothing more than chattel.

The only real quality care my dad received was in the last few days, he had hospice care coming to the house and the support of our local GP and chemists. Besides that, well keep reading.

We all know the adverts, they make out chemotherapy is in a friendly environment where they give you tea and coffee, and it’s all nice and quiet.

Mount Vernon Hospital, is like a goddamn conveyer belt full of over 100 people, milling about, the sounds of the beeping machines, they take hours just to get you started and even though it comes out of a tap, they do not even give you water. You have to bring your own.

Compare this type of thing to those Cancer adverts. Just try to imagine that dimly lit room, which if they had replaced with a tent would resemble something out of the Third World.

Welcome to the NHS, ladies and gentlemen

Dad only had one chemo session, it wasn’t going to do anything and after that experience, who would want to go back.

We did have District Nurses, but when they came and forgot the basic rules of hygiene like washing their hands, could not handle drugs and were unable to treat body wounds and drains…what is the need for them? My dad acquired a bedsore, which they were unable to, or unwilling to treat correctly. But they did nothing, so seriously, just stand there while my dad’s body fills up with fluid because his body is shutting down.


This was taken last year, before it all came back

The palliative care community nurses well they came twice, once to tell us she was going away…then a few weeks later, to say she was going away again.

No replacement, but she wasn’t going out of her depth to handle drugs. So she was to quote my mum “She was as useless as a chocolate teapot.”

You can imagine I’m a little bit jaded with the medical profession and right now can you really blame me?

When it happened, when we found out that all they could do was make him “comfortable”, I was there.

He was in Hillingdon Hospital, with a retention of fluid and an infection, and it wasn’t the first time over the three months it took for him to pass away. Dad, mum and I were escorted into a room at the back at the back of the ward and told by an assistant of the Doctor’s, who looked too young to be making that type of statement to anyone. However, she explained there was nothing more they could do.

“Comfortable” was the word of the day, and I’ve really come to hate that word.

How can a man who beat cancer once already, after having to go through a Whipple procedure in which they would never have done on a man in his late sixties? Yet he was so healthy he had the internal organs of a 50-year-old…and all they could do is make him comfortable since the cancer was spreading.

According to “Whipple procedure may have a five-year survival rate of up to 25%.”

I only got one year.

Then I had the watch him deteriorate into a man, no one recognised anymore. Not even to himself

That’s the one thing I can’t accept. That I had to accept the strongest, healthiest man I had literally ever known was going to pass away. We all had to process it and deal with it, most of the time it was either resignation, acceptance or to some. Total denial until it was too late to do anything about it.

I miss him, I’m not going to use my blog to explain how it happened, but it was in July on the type of day he would have been pottering in the garden or just enjoying a beer in the sun.

We all kept our promise to him. He passed away at home, with all of us at his side…which was just what he wanted.

But I miss him.

This is my nephews first Christmas, and we are going to focus on that, on all the grieving grandchildren, to try and make it special. But all our memories of Christmas are intertwined with dad, well both our parents, because even though each year he whined about getting the decorations out of the loft. He loved “The Most Magical Time of the Year”, and now we have to keep it going without him.

I have no idea, how we are going to accomplish this.

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I am really never going to meet Michael Rooker!

Ok, here it comes a geek whinge.

On this blog, I’ve never hidden the fact that I am a geek. I have no “Inner Geek”, I walked into a comic book shop at 14. And entered into a covenant. If I would embrace the geekling within and shed my previous life, I would then be reborn as a member of the geek nation.

Fellow geeks know what I am talking about, and those who are not are just thinking “What the hell is she talking about?”

And then from this point, my life would be awesome.

In truth, it mostly has been.

In the geek communities, sometimes we discuss our geek lords. Now a geek lord/lady/master. Is the moment the interest is first struck?

For me, it begun with I was 9 and it was Ron Perlman in Beauty and the Beast. I had no idea what he looked like until I saw him in Cronos, many years later. Ron Perlman is one of those actors who isn’t as famous as he deserves to be. Has been in bad films but never a bad performance and I would love to meet him.

The other is Michael Rooker

I do not know when I first saw him in anything. Though I suspect it was either Days of Thunder or Mississippi Burning.

Now let me talk about Slither, and he be spoilers if you haven’t seen it

Slither is an important film since it’s one of the few where he has a lead role and one where how you think he will act, isn’t how he is.

In most films set in the Deep South, you get the obligatory stereotypes of the sad little kings in their sad little hills, and the racist red neck with the down beaten wife.

Which is the first impression when you meet Grantham Grant.

At no point do you doubt his love and dedication to his wife, Starla. He is frustrated since her interest has waned, but doesn’t try to force her, he turns down a chance to cheat on her, and even after he was possessed, he never loses that love.

Even though Grant effectively died the moment, he was possessed by the Martians, and please debate elsewhere if that is a generic term from those from Mars or anything coming from outer space.

Incidentally, the film was written and directed by James Gunn from Guardians of the Galaxy and does contain some fantastic dialogue.

It’s a character like that which does stand out in a film like this, and in truth, he technically “dies” in the first twenty minutes. Yet manages to make the audience feel sorry for him.

If I haven’t sold you on the film yet or the talents of Michael Rooker, just watch Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which as a film should never have worked. The clothes were the actors own, the car was falling apart, and it’s a film about a Serial Killer…who perhaps is not the worst person in the film. Incidentally, Rooker stayed in character throughout the entire shoot, and I pulled this gem from IMDB

Indeed, so in-character did Rooker remain, that during the shoot, his wife discovered she was pregnant, but she waited until filming had stopped before she told him.

Now that is intensity

Reasons like this are the reason why he’s one of my favourite actors. Even guest appearances in shows stand out, for example, my favourite episode of Psych “Shaun takes a shot in the dark.”

Very much like Ron Perlman, this is the reason why he’s one of my favourite actors. Though I was trying to keep spoiler free until I saw Guardians of the Galaxy and almost choked when he appeared as Yondu. Deep down I feel more excited he’s joining the Guardians in Vol 2.

Looking over his film list I have noticed he’s never played a romantic lead, and I want him too. I can envision something slow and romantic about two emotionally shattered people learning to love again and individuals who are trying to force them apart. Well in my heads it looks fantastic

Now last year, I wrote a long blog post since he was meant to come over to an event in London, which due to the different nature of Hollywood, sadly didn’t happen after I shelled out £125 for the ticket.

However, I did enjoy Starfury, met Jena Malone and Paul Blackthorn and made some fantastic friends. However, it was missing something and that something was Michael Rooker.

Then I found out he’s back next year in London, and this is the moment where being a Geek, can bite you in the wallet/arse.

Now at this comic con, if I pay £36.00 for a standard ticket there is no chance I’ll get to meet him, so that leads the Premium Tickets. So it’s £180.00, £410.00 or the jaw-dropping £745.00!

And sadly being burnt last year, if he has to cancel…then what?

Yeah, unfortunately, as a mature working student…how the hell can I afford this?

What makes it worse is that Sean Gunn will also be there, and for those who’ve never heard of him, well for shame.

He’s Kirk in Gilmore Girls, which I have still never seen. Was Sammy in Tromeo and Juliet, and appeared in two episodes of Angel, playing two different characters, was Kraglin and who I consider real Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy.

By real Rocket, he was the original voice and motion capture. Next time you watch Guardians, (if you ever need an excuse) compare Kraglin to Rocket. They have similar body movements and tilt their heads the same way. Also, the voice mannerisms even though Rocket was dubbed by Bradley Cooper are virtually identical.

Additionally, I’m friends with Sean Gunn on Facebook, and he had a great relationship with his fans, he loves what he does…and loves cats.

Yeah, It’s impossible to hate on someone like Sean Gunn.

Also even though the trailer hasn’t dropped yet both of these awesome actors appear in The Belko Experiment, a film about office drones who have to kill each other in a corporate Lord of the Flies, so to speak.

Since this will be based on office politics, and both Rooker and Gunn are a maintenance man and cafeteria worker respectively.

I’m guessing a lot of pent-up rage at being at the bottom of the totem pole of white collar workers will hopefully have both lasting to the end, or tearing up the place and/or going down in a blaze of glory. Ok, that’s what I’m hoping.

So fellow members of the geek nation, thanks for indulging me and what do I do? Do I take the risk or not at booking tickets?  Because I’ve seen so many pictures of both these men meeting their fans and they always come across as so approachable and excellent. So I take the risk so I can be one of them?

Any advice, please let me know.

And here be the link the the Heroes and Villians Fan Fest x


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Lost in the Land of Chocolate

This is something that has never happened to me before.

I got sick of chocolate.

Right now I can envision everyone I know shaking their heads in disbelief at this, but it’s true.

Sick of chocolate, tired of the magical goodness handed down by the Mesoamerican’s and I became sick of it.

Turns out a Chocolate Fair will do that, currently being held at London’s Olympia.

Courtesy of a day off and a half-price ticket with Timeout, I headed down there on Friday 14th October with two rules. Only spend £30 and try everything. I succeeded on both counts.

Picture a world of artisans (meaning expensive) chocolates, combined with all manner of combinations and flavors. Including clothing and art. Defiantly not a Cadbury or god forbid a Hershey’s’ in sight.

This is the real thing, like in Belgium, the land of chocolate. But the thing is, with good chocolate you don’t need to eat a lot to feel full. So in respect I didn’t eat a lot, but felt full. Yes, I am still deluding myself to my actual calorie content yesterday.

There was also a sold chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch, but I’ll rather have it be crafted into Chris Pratt’s from Guardians of the Galaxy…if I had the choice. I wish I had the choice.


“Well, hello”

Out of all the companies and you can see from the pictures, I’m just going to focus on the three which stood out to me.

Perhaps because it’s called Winchester Fine Chocolate, but I have to shout out to them, because their one of the newer displays at the event. And its Winchester, all locally sourced chocolate, and Winchester was my University.


Winchester Fine Chocolate and Zara

The owner of the company, Zara managed to get discovered before she graduated University and now supplied the Black Rat in Winchester.

The Black Rat for a University City,  is expensive, but looks like an average pub.

I envision if I put on my nicest dress (yes I own a dress), had my hair styled and got a mani and pedicure and tried to walk in. They wouldn’t just turn me away, but call the police and try to burn me as a witch!

From her I brought a chocolate star with the intention of waiting until Christmas. Well I intend too; I’ll just have to hide it under some tinsel or under the fairy at the top of the tree.

Next up, is Original Beans for their environmental message, not only is the chocolate is amazing but every time you buy a bar they plant a tree in the Bolivian Rainforest.


On your bar of chocolate, it gives you a code for your tree and you can watch its growth. One of the best ideas I have ever heard. It’s nice to enjoy chocolate and give back to the environment. And the chocolate really is amazing…and I’m giving back to the planet.

The last one up is Choctails, a genius idea done with perfection. Now you may have guessed, that this review is biased. But I am biased and honest about it.


Choctails. A marriage of chocolate and booze x

For a student, they were on the pricey side but for a marketing strategy sold the off cuts for £5 for ten chocolates. A brilliant marketing plan.

Combining alcohol and chocolate, they are a husband and wife team which put thought and effort into their product, and their product is incredible, the alcohol is present but not overpowering. It’s almost subtle in the detail.

That’s what is good about this show, not that it’s expensive, it is. But to meet real people passionate about their product and happy to show it off. There is so much to see there, from, chocolate clothes to chocolate you can hang it on the walls!



I want this dress, to wear not eat. Honest!

Here are the links to all the websites I have mentioned, and if you can the last day is tomorrow Sunday 16th October.

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Inspiration on the Embankment: Publishing Event

My name is Jodie Portugal and I want to be a writer.
Or I am a writer
Or I like to write
Every time I write that, I just sound pretentious, as if I’m pretending to be something I’m not.

It’s moments like this, when I require inspiration, which I found on the Embankment, titled.

How To Get Published with Bookends and Marie Claire 

It happened on Tuesday the 11th October, Tickets were £25 and entailed a master class, talks with four authors. Tasmina Perry, Mike Gayle, Kathryn Hughes and Tracy Rees and a goody bag containing the latest books from these fantastic writers.

I will get into the event later, let me just give you some background.
It took place at Embankment at a new building.

New buildings stand out in London, and are not actually considered part of the landscape. It typically takes fifty years for a building to be accepted. In response we give them nicknames to illustrate how ridiculous we find them. The Gherkin, The Shard, The Walkie-Talkie for examples. Which incidentally is the ugliest new building in London.

This new building, is anything but. Then again the Embankment isn’t really that old having been completed in 1870. Which for London and its historical buildings is considered young.

However Carmelite House, is stunning. If you ever imagined a publishing house, this is what a publishing house should be. Full of glass, maximizing the light, walls full of the company’s publications and if I was to every work in publishing. I want to work there.

They also have work experience placements, yes I am considering applying for one, and graduate placements too. I wonder if mature Masters students come under that?
It has a fantastic open terrace and one of the most stunning views of the Thames I have ever seen.


Sunset over the Thames. Always beautiful

On street level, London has its own very kind of organized chaos. It’s dirty, hectic, expensive and the Thames is polluted. London really is filthy. But it’s a special type of filth. Historical, if you will. Old town houses which were converted into flats, still have Victoria debris and smoke grit stuck to them

I remember the palaver a few years ago when they cleaned up Westminster Abbey for William and Catherine’s wedding. And it turned out that grime covering Gods House was protecting it from the dirt of the City.

However, standing on the terrace looking at the sunset, it’s very easy to forget how beautiful London truly is
London is grimy, but it’s my city. Hence I will defend it at all times, and whinge about it too. As is my right as a Londoner.

The actual event I’ll get to in my next post. But let me tell you about James Scott
Since this event was arranged with Marie Clare, which is a magazine aimed at women. There I met several fantastic women, with all of us harboring the same dream and to all of them there. I hope we all make it.

However, there were a few men there, which is where I met Mr James Scott. Though in truth I initially thought he worked there, or just rocked up from M16 Headquarters down the road. This man can rock a suit, believe me.

But like me he was a self-published author and gave me his business card, he has business cards…I need to get business cards. He had a good business card, professional but not too serious. I need to get some too, I have no idea what I would put on them, but I need business cards.



This is how you do a card

Having been through this before, he also gave me some advice about self-publishing. Because I didn’t know that Amazon only give a damn about your book if you have fifty reviews. Seriously I put my last book out for almost nothing…and got nothing back.
One review would have been helpful.

I got none, well so far.
Hint drop: if you’ve read the book please leave a review.
Mr Scott writes Thrillers, However I don’t like thrillers.
I’ve seen Gone Girl, own Girl on the Train but never read it and aside from films and The X-Files, I am not into thrillers. This is my exception; oh this is my exception to the rule. And this is one of the best decisions I made that day.
As soon as I got home, and having to get ready for work the next day, I found the time to download his book on my Kindle.
And this is the review I promised him.

“I don’t usually read thrillers, but having met the author, felt compelled to buy his novel. And this is one of the best decisions I made that day.
How to explain it.
Imagine being a lethal assassin, but you have no memory of what happens. Being kept as a slave to the Arena for years. They are confident in their abilities to control Laura, like a puppet. Imagine what happens when they find out they can’t?
What makes this novel stand out, is its length. It doesn’t waste time with realms of expositions. We learn what is going on, along with the characters. You understand their motivations, their actions, and even though it’s full of car chases, deaths and an uncompromising heroine who once she knows who she is. Knows exactly what she wants. This is a debut for a fantastic new author, and I happily await the second installment.”

So Mr Scott

Good luck with your fifty reviews xx
And much thanks to the organizers of the event, I will have my review of that up in a few days


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The Accident. Three Years On.


If I were pretentious, I would sit here right now and marvel about Parallel Jodie. In Parallel Jodie’s life and useing the most annoying version of Sliders for inspiration; her life is probably better than mine.

However, if every action has an equal and opposite reaction, there must be Parallel Versions of me, aside from the one who just got off the bus. Since this is my blog, let’s have some fun and let me talk about myself in the third person!

In the world where Germany won WW2, Jodie now works for the Government but is also a member of La Resistance

In the world where the Ancient Egyptian Empire never fell, Jodie works as a Shrine Maiden in the Temple of Athena; she provides visions for free, aka she makes shit up and people believe it.

The world where Coffee was outlawed, Jodie is a Master Brewer and smuggler in secret. No one knows how this mild-mannered woman, is keeping people from going stir crazy without the right stuff.

In the world where the Aliens intercepted the Voyager probe, then invaded Earth and made us all slaves, Jodie most probably died in a blaze of glory. Alternatively, most likely, tripped up while trying to escape.

You can tell I watched Sliders since in the real world I just for on with life apart from the simple fact that I cannot wear heels and now walk with a limp. Oh, and that I am not pretentious

God, I sound depressing sometimes, yes the woman who after six months now decides to write a blog post about how much I miss heels.


I miss heels the most, which is funny because I never thought of them before, now it is like I have a foot fetish. In the clubs looking at woman’s footwear, marvelling at how high those heels can get. I even miss sitting in the clubs with my feet in the sink, whinging at how “I should have never brought those shoes, but they looked so pretty.”

It’s also a long running joke, that every time i’ve been a bridesmaid, at least by the end of the Wedding Breakfast I am barefoot.

But anyway, three years on.

It still hurts almost every time I put my foot to the ground, even though some days are better than others, I still have to carry deep freeze to numb the damn thing. I can’t run, and it still have arthritis to look forward too, and I have to worry about it always.

And all because I fell off a bus!

Another thing which had changed is my attitude and confidence when I’m on a night out. Most of the time it’s “Be careful on the dance floor because of the foot” or “Don’t have too much to drink, in case you numb your body, get hurt and it happens all over again.”

I watch people dancing and miss the wild abandon I used to have, and the stupid shenanigans I got up too.

And rereading this, my god it looks like I’m having a pity party, but it’s on the anniversary, just indulge me.

I know I’m fortunate that it was never amputated, which was what that Doctor suggested when I was at the hospital. Titanium is defiantly better that that scenario.

Just to give you an idea, these are the pictures of the accident and what the inside of my right foot looks like


I took one look at this, called an anbulance and smoked


The moment i realised  i would never wear high heels ever again


This is my foot, see those two forks. This was taken during the surgery. Pretty, ain’t it?



















You may think I’m an asshole for not giving a warning, but guess what. Life doesn’t come with trigger warnings, life isn’t safe, and no one is going to hold your hand.

If you think otherwise, then you are a special snowflake who needs a reality check. Because these pictures, you are looking at them. But this is me, this is what happened to me. This is my new reality.

So from this moment, the geek list is back in action, and I’m adding Going Ice Skating to it, I fully embrace it will hurt like hell. But look at those pictures, who cares xx


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Looking Back: The Reason I Deferred University

If my life had turned out the way I had planned, right now I would be sitting on a beach in Okinawa, watching the sunset, reflecting on my life with my hypothetical children Sakura and Midori.

By this point, I would have climbed Mount Fuji and watched the sun rise from the summit, and had many adventures I could look back over. Well, if you’ve got a fantasy, you can’t be half-assed over it. In this scenario, I have perfect vision and gravity defying breasts too.

Instead, I’m in Middlesex, living not the “life less ordinary,” but the life I never wanted.

Until this point, I have never been honest but now I am going to be, and I don’t care about the consequences. I’m stressed and hate what my life’s turned into. Because sometimes I feel so trapped.

How the hell, do you break free from this trap?

Welcome to the working class Mantra. “You have a job, so it doesn’t matter if your happy or not. You have a job”. I read once that class system was tied into Protestantism. In the Church of England, if you have a job and work hard, you’ll go to heaven.

So if I don’t have a job, I’ll go to hell?

Well, some days I feel like I’m at my destination

We say within my class “As long as you’re working,” yeah as long as you sit there with a degree doing as working class job. Because you wanted to better yourself, and often wonder if the Master’s you had to defer is going to help after it’s over. The Heavens will open, red carpets will unfold, blessing from the Pope and all that

In this blog, I’ve discussed self-publishing, life in general and oh yeah learning to walk again.

I’ve never once said what I do for a living (no, I am not a spy) Just that I have a job, one which I’ve held for ten years and one which caused me to reflect on my life and go back to university.

I still can’t believe I did that some days

The moment you have an epiphany, which doesn’t give you the answers. The only thing I did know was the phrase “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Incidentally, this isn’t a comment about where I work. Most days I love my job, I am lucky to work alongside many awesome people. It’s just that I look into my future and do not want it to be my future. There is an excellent reason for this, which I will get into in a later post

Typical story, dissatisfied with life so makes the change and goes exploring. Oh sorry, you need a budget for that. Middle class vs. working class dreams and all that.

On thing I learned early, pursuing goals is for the rich folk! Just google “Follow your Bliss,” and you come up with some Eat Pray Love Bullshit, in which a fantastic holiday of having an orgasm over pasta in Italy, whine like an annoying bitch in India and then fall in love…and then fall in love with someone else.

I saw the film, felt nothing for Liz and her insipid whining about needing a “champion” and feeling so hard done by and “Oh my publisher paid for this, so I have to write about something. Let me inspire you” rhetoric.

I am sick of the stories about how someone “Quit the daily grind, and now works in India in an Ashram, and has a beautiful house…and now buy my bestselling book”. because it’s easy to find enlightenment when you don’t have to worry about the bills

Then again, if you google anything relating to stress or health issues. You get bullet points and some asshole plugging their book. “Yes, I can help you beat stress for $19.99, plus Tax.”

Everyone is trying to force their own path on someone.

Strange the path led me to university. Well, back to university but then I had to fit it around working four days a week.

I am at University for two days a week, there is the writing, there is the reading, there is the critiquing. The latter I did on the X26 to Kingston because time was not my hands.

I had to write, come out of my comfort zone and experiment with new styles of writing, read a lot of textbooks, write some more, critique other people’s work. Feel upset that my work wasn’t good enough, suck it up and remember why I was doing it (even though I didn’t have a clue some days). Navigate the world of the mature student. Produce more work, produce more work. Feel good that I passed my first term, be upset because I knew I could have got a better grade if a had more time. Rinse and repeat for the second term.

In six months I only had one day off a week

Eventually, something had to give, and that something was my sanity.

Stressed, exhausted, burned out and I know I wasn’t producing good enough work because I wasn’t producing anything, which wasn’t gibberish.

If I was pretentious, I could say, “My muse had abandoned me, my creativity was lost like tears in the rain. My creative well had dried up, or my Inner Goddess was sitting forlornly with a pen in her hand and an empty notebook in the other.”

Thank God, I am not pretentious.

In April when my tutor suggested that I defer and start back again in January 2017 to give myself a break, in truth I didn’t want to. I wanted to get this done and get my degree, but I needed to defer and take a break and remember how much fun I found writing.

It has taken me six months to get to the point I can write again. Other stuff got in the way. But I’m writing again, and it’s fun, no matter what I’m writing. To quote my tutor, “I owe my own words again.”

However, ending the post on a cliff hanger. One of the reasons I’m doing this.

Is because the day my dad found that all they could do was keep him “comfortable,” he said to me

“Get out of that job, Jodie. You’re a fucking jobsworth.”

He was wrong about the “jobsworth” bit, but not about the rest.

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Looking Back: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

It’s amazing what defines a moment in your life. Be it a friend coming into your work to tell you in a hushed tone “The World Trade Centre, had been bombed,” to going home and seeing exactly what h…

Source: Looking Back: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

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