One Hundred Thousand Blog Views

9 11 2016

Southport Fireworks 2011

Recently, my Blog (the one that you are reading now) has celebrated some major milestones. A few months back I published my 500th blog post, WordPress informed me that my blog is officially now 7 years old, and much bigger than those, I have reached the milestone viewing number of 100,000.


It’s a big moment for me, as I never thought my blog would even reach that number. In the first 10 months of my blog I reached 1000 views, but I was getting less than 300 views a month. But steadily over the years the viewership has increased, and then declined (which it’s sadly doing right now), but after 7 years of blogging, my blog has been viewed 100,000 views. Now this was last week, but I thought I would still celebrate and have a chance to thank everyone who read and still reads this blog, supporting my writing, my hobby over all these years. So thank you to everyone who has read (and continues to read) my blog, supporting my writing, my hobby over all these years and I hope you will continue to read my blog in the future. Thank you all.


Now to celebrate, I had no real plan other than to say the above, but I thought I would make a post out of this as well. So, how to celebrate? Well, how about a cake; here’s an (old one) I made:

Red Velvet cake mix

Now for the rest of the post, I thought I would provide you with some possibly interesting Blog Stats. As I have said I have no real plan as to what I am doing, but here are some generic blog stats about my posts and blog that I noted down to present to you (a couple of days ago):

Most views in a single day: December 31 2012

Most Views in a Month: December 2012

Top 5 Countries where the most views came from: USAUKGermanyCanadaFrance


Top 5 Most Viewed Posts (not including the generic homepage):

Top 5 Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream Flavours

Top 5 Monsters For The 2014 Godzilla Movie

Top 5 Saxon Songs

The Best Film In The World – Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack

Film News – Seventh Son and 47 Ronin

Caramel Chew Chew

Well there you go; I thought I would just share those stats with you, hope I did not bore you too much? So anyway, thank you to everyone who has viewed and supported this blog over the last 7 years, and I hope you will continue to read this blog as it continues. Now to finish off, why not a celebratory piece of music?


Pokémon and Dire Straits: A Brilliant Combination

22 10 2014


For nearly two years now I have been playing Pokémon on Thursday nights at Juicafe in Lancaster. I used to collect and play Pokémon when it first came out in the UK in about 2000, but without much of somewhere to actually play it; I ended up just playing it mostly with family and some friends. Eventually, while I still wanted to continue it, my interest waned. Then in 2013, Juicafe started a Pokémon Trading Card Game League and so at long last I was able to play again, and this time with other enthusiasts.


Playing Pokémon again was brilliant, and I enjoy it so much more than when I first started and is a definite improvement and better option to playing Magic: The Gathering competitively, for which I have now retired from. In the past year though, I began to notice people naming their decks, something I didn’t quite understand. From what I was able to gather, It was more for the experimentation of deck building to see how a certain deck works out. Being somewhat of a standard player, I did not consider naming my decks at all (I still prefer to play the cards with no sleeves as it feels more authentic despite the card scuffing, as well as the fact that I do actually have sleeves for them).

Pangoro Boxes

Well eventually I did decide to name my deck, but me being me, I decided to name my deck which was made up of Grass and Psychic Pokémon as Strong Arm Of The Law. I chose that name for one very good reason, it’s a song by British Heavy Metal Legends; SAXON. Strong Arm Of The Law is a very good song with a cool intro and riff, and a pretty good chorus section that is also kind of catchy. So pretty much there and then I decided to name my decks after Saxon songs. I planned to call a possible Fairy/Steel deck Princess Of The Night, while if I was to make a mainly Grass deck, that would be called And The Bands Played On. A Flying deck would receive the name 747 (Strangers in the Night) and a Fire deck (with possibly some Grass) would be Unleash The Beast. So I had it all planned out really.

That was until very recently. I decided that come the new season in September/October time I would start the construction of a new deck. I had been using Strong Arm Of The Law since about March/April 2013 and so in order for me to try something new plus some possible variety, I decided it would be best to get a new deck going. Strong Arm Of The Law was originally built by a friend at Pokémon by combining two Intro/Theme Decks, so I bought two decks at a brilliant Board Game shop in Horsham (BattleQuest Games). While I did do my research into Intro Decks and there were some with more powerful Pokémon, I went for a Dark and Fighting intro pack with a Panda like Pokémon on the front card called Pangoro. While I still need to build the deck, (I have yet to open the boxes) I have already chosen a name for my new Deck, and being a fan of Saxon, and deciding to name my future decks after Saxon Songs, my new deck’s name is,The Sultans of Swing, which many people know is the name of a song by Dire Straits.

Mark Knopfler

So why did I choose that? Well, during the summer, mostly thanks to listening to Money for Nothing about this time of year last year, as well as constant exposure to Romeo and Juliet on my Writing Adaptations module at University, I became a fan of Dire Straits. So pretty much the only music I have really listened to for the last 2/3 months is music by Dire Straits. One song in particular; The Sultans of Swing, I have listened to more than others. When I first heard it I wasn’t too impressed, I thought the song was a bit plain, but then when you listen to a live recording version and give it some time, it becomes one of their best songs. The lyrics the tune, everything. I once listened to it about 20 times in one week, I like it that much. So why did I decide to choose Sultans of Swing as the name of my new deck? Well, because:

  • A) I think it works, and…..
  • B) because I couldn’t think of anything else.

But the name does work, because in essence, I am calling the Pokémon in the deck, The Sultans of Swing. It is more of a personal name for them and gives the Pokémon cards both Character and Personality, and on top of that it brings two awesome things together into one brilliant combination; an Awesome Card Game and an Awesome Rock Band. Pokémon and Dire Straits is quite literally a Brilliant Combination (unless the deck turns out to be rubbish, in which case it may be the last time I use a Dire Straits song as the name for a Pokémon deck).

GENEPOOL (I could call a future deck Telegraph Road, but the deck would need to be so evenly mixed enough for the full 14 minutes of the song to take effect).

Top 10 Eurovision Song Contest Songs (Part 2)

9 05 2014

ESC Logo

For those of you who spotted my post on Wednesday, this week it is the Eurovision Song Contest and as I have been watching the contest for 10 years now, I am counting down my Top 10 Eurovision Songs from the last ten years. I have already said what my 10 through 6 songs (including a range of other songs of note mostly seeming to be from 2006) were, if you haven’t seen it yet, please check it out, but here and now are my Top 5 Favourite songs from the Eurovision Song Contest.

Hanna Pakarinen

5. Finland 2007 – Hanna PakarinenLeave Me Alone: With Finland’s ground breaking, history recording as well as record-breaking victory the previous year, Finland’s presentation of the contest in 2007 was one of the best years yet, but that didn’t stop them from entering an absolute monster of a song. This song may not have won, but it was certainly the loudest song in 2007. Leave Me Alone is a song sung with passion. The lead singer is talking to someone, who she wants to leave her alone but as the song progresses, she gets a lot angrier, leading to what may be something bigger but what is actually sadder, as if she has had enough and has broken down but managed to keep it together. Such lyrics work in good tandem with the tune as that progresses in a similar fashion but gets heavier and louder. The gothic theme presented from Finland in 2006 continues into this song with a gothic fantasy design for the clothes, set and background images, but the tune itself is very dark and offers a gothic fantasy piece in parts, but altogether it is more of a rock-based tune than pop, but as shown the previous year, that works and works well, and with the inclusion of the passion that singer is producing, it is one song that anyone can join in, feel and enjoy. Hanna is an amazing singer and her style is very clearly represented, one of the best vocalists in the contests history (not to mention that once again, YouTube has a problem with the video being up here, so please click the below picture to watch the video, thank you).

Leave Me Alone Song, Please Click To Watch Video

Eric Saade

4. Sweden 2011 – Eric SaadePopular: It is a well known idea that Eurovision likes Pop Music as it is something that mostly everyone can join in. The most popular of songs as well as those who have won a lot are in form of usually upbeat light songs which the audience viewing the contest can join in with as well as everyone at home as it releases a form of energy inside everyone to join in with in some form. This is a good sign as to the success of bands like ABBA in the past. It is only really in more recent years that music in different forms and styles are stating to get a shot in. But Pop will always have a place, as shown with this song. I don’t like pop as much, but you can’t help but like this song, from the opening quick beat, to the dark style throughout in the low pitch moments to the more out loud chorus, to the great dancing that you want to join in with, the amazing vocals by everyone involved, the glass breaking near the end and not forgetting the great lyrics as is the song while not forgetting the amazingly lit stage and background imaging. And with saying all that I have pretty much summed up how good and what this song is, and while I could go on by talking how the song shows the optimism by those who want fame but the tune shows the dark side of fame, I don’t really need to do that all that much as the song really carries itself. I am not much a fan of pop in the contest as can be seen, but I really do approve of this song.

Vanilla Ninja

3. Switzerland 2005 – Vanilla NinjaCool Vibes: In 2005, Switzerland did something odd by asking a prominent girl band from Estonia to represent them in the contest. Now, while it does sound odd that a country asks a band from another country who did previously try to represent their own country a couple of years previously without much look and tried again for 2007 as well as the bands lead singer (Lenna Kuurmaa), as a solo artist trying three times to do the same thing, (in many respects it would be like France asking Motorhead to sing for them), I am glad that Switzerland decided to do so, as they are Awesome. Vanilla Ninja is a girl band from Estonia who have enjoyed widespread critical success in continental Europe whose style ranges from pop rock, to hard rock and gothic rock. The first time I heard of them was at the 2005 contest, and I am glad I did, as I am now a fan. They are an incredible band, and I don’t use the term lightly when I state that in my opinion that they are the Best Girl Band. Their song at the contest in 2005, starts off in a dark operatic piece for about a minute before the lead singer announces the beginning of the main bit. The song then keeps it’s dark gothic tone throughout with cooperation with the lyrics. the band is nicely presented with an absolutely fabulous choice of clothing, keeping a similar rock look but also wearing the same colour and playing it as well given the choice colour for their instruments. For the whole song also, your concentration on the groups members is on all of them not just one, which  think the choice of clothing helps too. It is really hard to say anything more about this song with out talking so much about how amazing the band are, so I’ll leave it there, but I will say that if you have not heard the song, do give it a go, it is sheer brilliance, and if you have not heard of Vanilla Ninja, do look them up, it is totally worth it.


2. Ukraine 2004 – RuslanaWild Dances: It really was a hard choice for second place between this and the above song. While the song may look tribal and the dancers and singer look like a group of Savages, don’t knock it because it worked, and well, it won the contest in 2004 and due to its appealing tune as well as the brilliant singing and dancing, basically the whole thing, it got me interested in the contest and without it, I probably wouldn’t be watching it. To call it a song would not give it all much justice as it is more of a performance than a song. The song is sung with a lot of passion from Ruslana, and the song is not dark at all, it is very upbeat throughout and the dancing matches it too and the tune is very memorable and uses more traditional forms of music such as traditional horns and drums. The song’s presentation is also of note as the singer and dancers choice of clothing really helps to represent the song and what they are trying to perform, but the song itself has a strange aura about it that produces tingles down my spine and so the song serves everything to the viewer if it can do something as well as be something more than just a song.


1. Finland 2006 – LordiHard Rock Hallelujah: First entering the contest back in 1961, Finland for years was almost nothing more than a massive joke in the contest, getting zero (Nul Points) points on three occasions and finishing last eight times, there was even a popular joke going round about them. Then in 2006, Finland had had enough and unleashed something radically different that was ground breaking, history making and record-breaking. While the popular format at Eurovision is in the form of pop music due to its accessibility, Finland entered something that was definitely, very different as well as over the top and whose presentation scared organisers into trying to pull it from the contest but also released a rabid like reaction from the audience, a sort of essence which had stayed dormant for so long, that it hasn’t really been suppressed since. They entered a Hard Rock band with a Hard Rock song and made history. The song is, Hard Rock Hallelujah performed by Finnish Rock Group Lordi, is obviously quite different to any Eurovision song in the past as Rock is hardly entered at all, but this level of rock which is knocking on the doors of both Gothic and Heavy Metal has its dark style, but it’s also upbeat enough for anyone to join in at all. The lyrics are quite easy to learn and is great to sing along too and while maybe not a dance song, there is something literally for everyone. But the real success in the song is not just in what style the song is or what the lyrics are, it is also in what the band is, as in what it looks like. Eurovision has always been a place for gimmicks and dressing up in unusual ways, but Finland’s Entry were not in the usual sense, but in nasty looking monsters that while looking horrific really appealed to everyone and made the entire entry stand out above the rest. I don’t think that the costumes would have worked if the song had been pleasant, it would have been ironic, but the song released the rock fans as it were that Europe has all over it and got them voting in the contest while other people were voting for the monsters to win it, everything about the performance was being voted for and lead to not only a first time win for Finland but also the achievement of having the highest score in the contest’s history at that time at 292 and stayed like that until Norway’s victory in 2009. Hard Rock Hallelujah ticks all the boxes as a great song at Eurovision and while it could be some time until a song comes along to be better than it, Lordi’s performance as a whole will remain a key favourite for everyone for years to come (So Britain, if we want to win, it may be an idea to see if Kiss is willing to do it, or beating that, Iron Maiden with an appearance from Eddie).

GENEPOOL (Does anyone else think that Vanilla Ninja’s lead singer looks a bit like Jennifer Lawrence?).

Top 10 Eurovision Song Contest Songs (Part 1)

7 05 2014

ESC Logo

I love the Eurovision Song Contest. Since I first took an interest in 2004, it has been one of the staple viewings for me personally of the year. From the moment that one is on, and a winner is crowned, I am already starting to get excited for the next contest the following year. It is an amazing spectacle to watch and I love the variety of not just the songs themselves, many bands and artists of which I have become a fan of since their appearance but also the show itself, and there have been many times when the music and the show have been on equal footing together, producing an amazing show (and with a minor thanks to me, three songs I have voted for went onto winning the year they entered). As 10 years have passed since I first started watching, as well as the next contest being this coming Saturday, I thought I would celebrate by choosing my top 10 favourite songs from the last 10 years of The Eurovision Song Contest.

Now choosing the top 10 was hard, I already knew the top 5, but the other 5 more so, and the thing is there have been many amazing songs over the last 10 years. So, just so that those songs may get a mention as well, here are the songs that didn’t get into my top 10, but deserve a mention as well (and click on the name to hear the song): Germany 2010, Denmark 2013, Norway 2013, Ukraine 2007, Belarus 2009, Moldova 2010, Netherlands 2006, Moldova 2007, Denmark 2010United Kingdom 2006 Iceland 2012, Lithuania 2006, Romania 2006, United Kingdom 2011, France 2010Malta 2006, Croatia 2006, Poland 2006, Spain 2007, (I know most of them are from 2006, but it was a pretty good year).


10. Sweden 2012 – LoreenEuphoria: While I initially voted for Iceland, there was something great about this song. It was more than just singing, it was also dancing, two things that don’t really mix at Eurovision from what I have seen, in that they are rare together. The song had a mix of disco along with some more natural elements to it, particularly the way Loreen danced in her bare feet, meaning that she could perform in a more natural state to her, but also meant that it had a more natural world feel about it. The song itself had great moments in the chorus and was almost three songs in one, the verse, the chorus and the pause before the end. The dance works in co-operation with beat of the music and the lighting also as well as some of the end snow effects. It is hard to explain this song other than being mysterious, but also incredibly enjoyable. This was definitely something different to both the usual and anything else presented before. Maybe that’s the meaning of it, the song is meant to be mysterious? For what is a song contest, Euphoria is both a celebration of Dance as well as music, but also a celebration of what can be achieved when they are brought together.

Elena Paparizou

9. Greece 2005 – Elena PaparizouMy Number One: In all honesty I did not notice this song until 2006. I remember watching it win in 2005, but did not notice until 2006, and I liked it, a lot. The song has a very traditional sound about it, the instruments that make up the track sound authentic and traditional and even the dance has a traditional, perhaps country dancing look about it. But there is an aura with this song, the singing is well performed and easily understood. It is a love song at heart with the singer talking to someone, stating what they are to her, but it isn’t a slow song, it is really upbeat, and one that you almost want to join in, both the song and the dance and it is a song that once you have heard it a few times, you will struggle to not only forget, but to also to join in with it.

Elnur and Samir

8. Azerbaijan 2008 – Elnur and SamirDay After Day: 2008 saw the debut of a country that would shake up Eurovision every year after its arrival. Since 2009 Azerbaijan has always finished in the top 5, coming third in 2009, second in 2013 and winning in 2011. But it was in 2008, their first year, that they arrived, and produced a song that went to number 8, very easily. Day After Day is an unusual song where as it tells a story instead of being about something all the way through. It is a classic, setting with an almost Fairytale styled theme and setting over the long duel of the sides of Good and Evil. On the good side, the parts are sung almost operatic while still conventional pop, where as on the evil side, it is not so operatic, almost more normal, but the overall message that good will always win over evil is very much clear by the end. the song has a strong chorus which will is easy to join in, and will make you want to join in, and along with its well designed and strong presentation, Day After Day is one song that cannot be overlooked.

Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankoulov

7. Bulgaria 2007 – Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan YankoulovWater: 2007 was a great year for the contest. Such a great amount of diversity from all who participated, and the arena was nicely designed and the overall show was brilliantly presented. One song stood out for me in particular, it had a mix of loudness, speed, slow at times, brilliant dancing and singing and a presentation that was unlike anything else that year. The song was more a piece of music than a song, like Euphoria is more like a piece of dancing instead of a song. The main form of instrument was the use of constant percussion which sounded very tribal in its essence and the vocals that there were used in tandem with it, worked as such. The talent that Stoyan and Todorova poses in both their chosen and instrument and vocals is quite clearly seen, and while they may not have won, their talent and piece was so obvious in it’s showing that it helped them get into the Top 5; Bulgaria’s best result to date. I look forward to the possibility of them entering again someday.


6. Finland 2008 – TeräsbetoniMissä Miehet Ratsastaa: It is a common feature for songs at Eurovision to be sung in English, as it is the most spoken language in the world. But on an occasion you will get someone singing in a different language altogether, and not just bits here and there, but all the time. Now depending on your own language, these occasions can be hard to join in with, but it is possible. Also, Eurovision over the years has featured mostly Pop orientated pieces, not much Rock or Metal, but when a band does so, it can lead to some success in the contest. Now mixing both these points together is hard, but when the song is as catchy as this one, you will want to join in, in the language they are singing the song in. In 2006, one of the contests most unluckiest countries, Finland won for the first time, and with a record score using a song that was quite definitely Rock (and lead to me voting for them for four years in a row). in 2008, they decided to try and repeat this success with this. Missä Miehet Ratsastaa, translated to ‘Where The Men Ride’ is the song Finland used in 2008. A definite Rock, more like Metal song performed by native Power Metal Band Teräsbetoni whose look and lyrics are a lot like Manowar but whose sound is more like Faroese Folk Metal Band Týr. The song itself is actually very catchy and when the chorus comes in you will just want to sing it with them, in Finnish (Like I do, I pretty much know the entire song off by heart). As for its look and presentation, it’s something you are unlikely to forget anytime soon, but in now way is it off-putting and the design of the whole thing including the guitars themselves is beautifully done. The song is brilliantly played and orchestrated but with most of your attention turning to the both brilliant Vocalist and Bass player; Jarkko Ahola leading the song. For a contest that most of the time is filled with mostly Pop, it’s good to see something from the world of Rock and Metal, and when it is at a quality as good as this, it doesn’t disappoint (unlike YouTube who won’t let me put the video up on here, please click the below picture to hear the song).

Terasbetoni Video (Please Click To Watch Video)

GENEPOOL (That’s it for part 1, check back on Friday for the Top 5).

Top 5 Metallica Songs

12 08 2013


Since early 2009 I have loved the music of Metallica. Back in 2009 when I first went to Animex and saw a trailer video for Guitar Hero Metallica, I fell in love with the music. While my views on Guitar Hero are well founded, the power the band had in just that one trailer was enough to get me interested. After finally discovering the name of the song on the trailer and watching that song from the band live on YouTube I grew to enjoy their music more and more, eventually becoming one of my Favourite bands. I even watched (and reviewed) the film Some Kind Of Monster. It was from this that I named them the Kings of Metal and my interest in heavy metal was founded and grew. With the Roaring vocals of James Hetfield, The Power of Lead Guitarist Kirk Hammett, The Thunderous Drumming of Lars Ulrich and the Besieging power of the Bass Player Robert Trujillo (as well as Jason Newsted and Cliff Burton) Metallica is one of if not the shining example of how powerful Metal as a music form is and how popular the outcast of the music world is. So, it’s time to celebrate their Great work, here are my Top 5 Favourite Metallica songs.

Metallica (James, Kirk, Lars and Robert)

5: Enter Sandman – The main song of their hit early 1990’s album Metallica or sometimes referred to as The Black Album. Enter Sandman was a major departure for the band as it was more of a small easy-going track than the power anthems they had previously produced. The dark tones though stayed with them in this song as it is not very light or happy. While the song does not pick up as much speed as songs like Fade To Black, it still provides enough power to satisfy those who prefer stronger faster pieces while those elements don’t make much of a show.

4: Seek and Destroy – A classic from the first album. A song that is fast all the way through and does not let out while also conveying rebellious dark muscle tones from beginning to end. Seek and Destroy provides a lot of anger in the lyrics and this kind of represents how much the band has come on since they first appeared in the early 80’s. Back then they had a lot of pent-up rage as youngsters and just wanted to get it out, nowadays they are still able to provide that kind of energy while also maintaining some control in maturity. Seek and Destroy is a nice little way of showing how much time has come on for the band and provides to be a good classic for the band. The song when played live also contains a Fantastic Solo from Kirk and Lars (look out for it).

3: For Whom The Bell Tolls – One of the first songs I listened to back when I first started listening to Metallica back in 2009. One thing that I find interesting about how I discovered this song is that it is the theme for British Professional Wrestler, Johnny Phere. For Whom The Bell Tolls is another classic song and carries a lot of attitude and anger. It is a lot like in some sense the work of the band Manowar (who have been going on for one year longer than Metallica) as in the song tells a story and for some part sounds like a fantasy setting until the mention of a gun, however this could still be attributed to a fantasy setting but possibly a more recent one. The songs tune follows an easy steady riff for its heavy beat and dark tones and is a great way of representing anger in music, something that is hard to do on most occasions. Another thing that I really like about this song is that the song is very much played by the Bass player. The songs main theme is played on the Bass, and so the Bass is not providing a supporting track for the song but is the main lead; a nice reversal from the Guitar being the lead and the Bass being the support.

2: Fade To Black – Back in 2010, just before I went to Teesside University I could not really listen to anything other than Fade To Black. While the song was really written about Suicide, the song can be seen in other forms of ending. The End of one thing into the next. So as me going to University was starting a new chapter in life, I was fading to black in another (Although my time at Teesside University ended within a year and I returned to the previous life). The song has a nice calm feel to it and picks up speed a couple of times in the main chorus but throughout its calm start it remains one incredibly beautiful song. Then the song almost takes the form of a Black Sabbath song as it practically changes into a completely different song. While it is the same song the tune changes into one of the bands most powerful riffs, picking up speed and ferocity, getting faster and faster, not giving out until the song ends, but before it does it almost changes again with an expert riff from Kirk. Not only is Fade To Black one of my favourite songs by Metallica, it is also one of my Favourite Metal Songs. While in many cases it does not get as mentioned as much as songs like One, Enter Sandman or Master of Puppets, it does not mean that this song is second best to any of the Metallica Classics.

1: Master of Puppets – What else was it going to be? It was thanks to Master of Puppets that I heard about Metallica in the first place and to this day every now and again I give in the urge to go onto YouTube to listen to it again and again. While the title sounds a bit like some kind of Fantasy Puppet Master the song is actually about drug use and when you listen to the lyrics, they fit perfectly with the heavy, dark tune. The lyrics are actually very easy to learn also and so it makes a nice sing a long piece. While saying that sounds soft, the song is anything but. The piece does not start off calmly; it starts with action immediately filling your ears. The combination of Guitar Bass and Drums produces a riff that many have said to be one of the best Guitar Songs produced. The song carries on in this fashion for about 2/3 minutes before turning gentler. Originally when I first heard the song I was a bit annoyed at the slow part in the middle but when you give it a chance it is a nice sweet peace which becomes the opening for a much bigger part of the song. It gives the band a nice break from speed before they go even faster and harder. Much like Fade To Black the song also has a Fantastic Solo part from Kirk which just seems to make the song go even faster and then when you feel like it has finally stopped, it picks up speed again for the final chorus before going into the Big Finish. Master of Puppets is the crowning glory for the band and in many ways for Metal also. It is a sign of Victory, a sign saying that they are proud of who they are and the music they play. Master of Puppets is the proof to why Metallica are the Kings of Metal.


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