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14th July 2008

10:13am: Can you guess ?
Ok, so...for those of you who have not heard... My wife was induced, and gave birth to Charlie on June 18th at 3:13 pm. He was born weighing 8.10 lbs and was 21 inches long. The labor and birth went very smoothly, and the doctors and nurses were great! Luckily for my wife, they did not have to do a C-Section and recovery for Rosie has been going very well.

As most of you could probably guess, things have definitely changed around the house! For the most part, Rosie and I have been getting much less sleep. :) The baby sleeps for about two to three hours at a stretch, and then wakes up wanting to be fed. He is already developing a personality, and refuses to eat until his diaper is changed. And then usually needs another diaper change after his feeding. Needless to say, Rosie has become very good at changing diapers in a short time!

Since Charlie has arrived home, he has been a wonderful baby! He has shown no signs of Infant colic, and cries very little; usually when he needs to be changed or he is hungry! He started nursing with little difficulty, and he seems fine drinking from a bottle with very little complaints. Little Charlie spends most of his time eating, sleeping and filling diapers! But mostly sleeping!

Since he arrival home, he has been gaining weight, and has longer periods of activity; he is trying to lift his head, and will turn his head to the sound of my voice. He loves to take naps with Mommy, and I have found them both asleep in on the couch and on the bed.

The whole process has been amazing and surreal for me. Without sounding horribly cliché', it really does change your entire life; in ways that you could never imagine. I was able to spend the week after he was born with my wife and my new baby; and that was probably the best thing I could have done. I am now back at work, but find myself thinking quite often of my wife and my baby boy; and look forward to going home and holding him again in my arms.

Speaking of which, I should get back to work. I will update when I can!
Current Mood: happy

10th June 2008

2:21pm: Preparing for GO time !!!
I have been extremely busy on the weekends, and sleep is up and down. Last weekend was spent patching up the ceiling in the Kids room, and building another rack and more shelving in the closet for the baby clothes. I also had to clean out the garage, and straighten up the attic. Lately it seems that I work harder on the weekends then I do during the week!

Unfortunately, things have been terribly busy at work as well. I informed my boss that I was planning on taking some vacation in June to be with Rosie and the baby; and he piled on some work with deadlines to be finished before I leave. Not really the reaction I was hoping for. I have been trying to complete two different projects, and do my normal workload and I go home exhausted. Ah well, hopefully I can get some sleep and relax once I am on vacation with the baby....ha-ha!!

Rosie can't wait for the baby to get out of her body. She loved being pregnant, but being big and pregnant, and all the wonderful side-effects that come with it has just about worn out her patience. We have been preparing for baby for the last two or three weekends, and I really don't think we have much more that we need....but I know that I am probably wrong.

Rosie said that she looks like she swallowed a basketball, she feels HUGE, and watching her get in and out of bed is funny (but heaven help me if I crack a smile!!!). I would post a picture of my lovely wife, but I am sure that would only earn me a death sentence. Rosie has had intense contractions for the last three weeks, and she describes it as "someone stabbing you *down there* with something very pointy and sharp". Boy, I sure am glad to see that I am missing out on that!

Rosie "officially" went on maternity leave on May 27th, but was on doctor's bed rest for two weeks prior to that. With her impromptu vacation, she has been busying herself at home; and I have been coming home to a cooked meal, a tidy house, and nicely pressed laundry. It's nice, and I have been enjoying the perks of a "stay at home Mom". Unfortunately, it has given her a good chance to cast a critical eye at the house, and the "To Do" list will reflect that.

Needless to say, she would like to have this pregnancy OVER, immediately, and has tried almost anything to (safely) induce labor. But I am told that is "normal" and after what she has gone thru, I really can't blame her. My wife saw the doctors yesterday, and everything looks good. They said that that my wife and the baby are beginning the initial stages of labor, and are extremely confident that she will be going into labor within the next two weeks. Failing that, they plan on educing her on June 18th.

With the official nod from the Doctors, and a delivery date on the calendar, we went into baby-overdrive; and had packed, planned, prepped, and provisioned so that we can leave for the hospital at a moment's notice.

So, now the REAL waiting game begins...
Current Mood: tired

16th May 2008

12:58pm: Countdown to baby...
So my wife went to the doctor, and he said everything looks good "for the most part" (I am learning to hate those words); but there are some problems. Namely, that the placenta is calcifying due to the steroids that Rosie had to take earlier in the pregnancy. In layman’s terms - the warranty on the baby's fridge is about to expire.
In addition, the embryonic fluid is a little on the low side. The baby is very active, and is kicking and punching mommy whenever he has an opportunity; he also weighs about 7lbs; a far cry from the earlier predictions.
While the baby is fine, Rosie is not completely "fine". She had been put on bed rest because of complications, and has spend the better part of this week at home. On the plus side, the house is very neat and tidy, and all the laundry is done; but on the downside Rosie is really bored. Rosie is also very uncomfortable as well. The last month of the pregnancy is supposed to be the worst, and Rosie would like the baby to get out of her body now.
Rosie and I have been making plans and preparations for the baby's arrival. We have the changing table and crib in place; and the diapers, salves, and lotions are at the ready. We will be shopping for a baby carriage and car carrier this weekend. For the most part, we are ready. Now we play the waiting game.

6th May 2008

2:46pm: You never write...you never send me flowers...
Yeah, so...it's been five months since I posted to this journal so maybe its time for an update-thingy.

So, I was offered a promotion at work...of sorts. It's a lateral promotion, meaning that I don't get a pay raise; but my job changes slightly. It was time for something different, and so I said yes. It has been a refreshing change, but has also made me insanely busy at work. At first I thought my boss was great, but quickly realized that he is like all other boss's that I have ever had. But overall it was a needed change for me, things were getting a little to stagnant in the workplace.

My weekends are also busy, in fact, I think I work harder on the weekends then I do during the week. Oskar has a busier social calendar then most adults, and if I am not escorting him to some function, then I am doing grownup things like cleaning out the garage, and installing AC Units in preparation for summer. I have had precious little time to do anything that was not family related; and I hope some "me" time comes sometime soon...

Oh yeah, and Rosie is pregnant. Not sure if I mentioned that one yet, but um yeah, she is due in June. This pregnancy has had more thrills, chills, and spills then most soap operas; and I could probably write an entire journal just on the last six months. The upshot is that the baby boy is due in about five weeks; and everyone will be much relieved when he arrives.

One of the fun things that we recently had to deal with is gestational diabetes; which now has us measuring out meals, and counting carbs religiously. My dad is a diabetic, and this is pretty familiar to me. But all of this is very new to Rosie, and she really does not like her new "diet"; and reminds me at every opportunity. This new "diet" is not very forgiving, one night we had Chinese food because no one wanted to cook; and boy, was that a poor choice for Rosie to make. Her blood sugar levels went stratospheric.

The end result of this amazing thirty week odyssey is that the baby is BIG. This is in part because of the Gestational Diabetes, but also because of the steroids that Rosie had to take for a serious illness; and finally big babies run on both sides of the family which comes into play. The doctors are predicting that the boy might weigh as much as 11lbs; when the average is around 7lbs. The docs are now talking about having to perform a "C" Section to extract the boy safely; which is just another chapter in this epic tale.

I will be taking a small vacation in June to help out at home once Big Boy arrives; and in preparation for this vacation has made me busier then I even thought possible. I am doing work from home, and still not able to keep up with the workflow.

Oh, and I got a Blackberry phone thru work and I can understand how addictive they can be. I am quickly becoming dependent on my new gadget.

Another update will follow shortly…

11th December 2007

4:27pm: Where my nice white collar gets dirty...
Here is a good look at one of my recent projects.

This one I am calling the knuckle-scraper 5000. :P I placed a diskette at the left side of the image to give scale to the computer. This is a shining example of when the engineers and the technicians don't get along. Sure everything is nice and neat and compact, but if you have to work on one of these; it can be a living nightmare. In addition this design encourages the unwary to shove the computer into some dark unventilated hole, where the computers lifespan gets shortened considerably.

Where to start? With a computer as compact as this one is, there is no real easy way to get to the insides; so something as simple as replacing the RAM or a hard drive becomes a monumental task. I love to give the analogy that - it's like replacing the oil pan on a car by dismantling the engine first to get to the oil pan!

I usually end up having to poke, prod, pry, and unscrew; all the time hoping that I don't break something that is terribly fragile and irreplaceable. Some of these computers are fortunate enough to have detailed instructions on how to dismantle; but most of them don't. This beauty was made by some obscure company in South Asia, and there was no documentation online or available. If I broke something, it would take weeks to replace, assuming I could even order a replacement.

All of the metal that you see is usually very sharp, as the manufacture never bothers to file down the edges. Why would they? They won't be working on it again! And then there is the screws that are set into the chassis that are impossible to access unless you take the entire thing apart (Read the analogy above again for clarification). I had to take apart another one similar to this one; and at the very end I had six different Dixie cups filled with about two dozen screws. My knuckles were scraped, and brain was smoking trying to reverse the order that all the components were removed in.

All in all, this beauty is a real treat to work on from start to finish. Nothing can reduce you to cursing and muttering faster, then reassembling one of these; only to discover you have an extra screw / component / do-hickey lying on the counter. I usually end up getting so frustrated that I begin making up curse words as I begin to dismantle the computer a second time...or in some unfortunate instances; a THIRD time.

I suppose there could be worse jobs (I believe they made a TV show on that principal); I just can't think of one at this moment. :P
Current Mood: complacent

19th November 2007

2:20pm: Harvest at the onset of Winter
I know it's coming, and there is nothing I can do about it. It usually starts with discovering a thin layer of frost on my car windows, or that my breath comes out in wispy puffs. It was when I decided to take the air conditioners out, that the grim fact was unavoidable. Winter is on the way.

I enjoy fall and winter tremendously, I think it one of the most dramatic changes in the seasons. I love to watch the brilliant display as autumn begins, and all the leaves turn a wide array of colors. Sadly, we did not get such a brilliant display, and I privately suspect that it had to do with too much sun and rainfall; but secretly I think it's the forest gnomes that are plotting against me.

Regardless, there have been several nights that have been cold; even by my standards. I love the cold, anyone can tell you that. A few years ago my sister and I were in Bermuda attending a wedding; and she walked into my hotel room to see the windows were completely fogged up. As the gooseflesh began to rise on her arms, she looked at the thermostat to see the room was at 64 degrees. She exclaimed her shock and surprise, as I lay on my bed wondering if I could get my room any colder.

Sadly, my wife does not share the same enthusiasm about winter as I do. Rosie lived most of her life in sunny Miami Florida; where the temperature rarely drops below 70 degrees year round. I recently visited Miami in January, and stared in disbelief at all of the natives walking around in heavy ski parkas, while I was regretting not bringing shorts. The temperature was around 68 degrees if I remember correctly.

We were fortunate this year, because Halloween was one of the warmer nights; and we were able to do our trick-or-treating with light coats. Oskar was wearing a long sleeve shirt under his costume and even though we brought him a jacket, he really didn't need it.

This year for Halloween Oskar wanted to be a Ninja, and we were able to find a costume for him. The Halloween hawkers were in town, the mysterious stores that crop up overnight, usually in empty or vacant stores. They sell their costumes and accessories, and then mysteriously disappear; usually as quickly as they had arrived. It was here that we purchased a magnificent Ninja costume, including nun chucks and two katanas strapped to his back. I must say, Oskar looked pretty bad ass. I would supply photos, but he was a Ninja, and they really don't like getting photographed.

He was very excited to go trick or treating; and was running from door to door ringing the doorbell and saying "trick or treat" to whoever answered. At times we had to remind him to look out for things that could trip him in the dark; while jogging down the street to keep pace with him. At times he would disappear into the shadows and gloom, and all we would see it a single glow stick bobbing in the dark. He was truly one with the shadows. I would say he was in it for the candy, but the candy that he can eat remains untouched; even weeks later. I just think he loves dressing up in a Ninja costume and trying to scare anyone who sees him. About a year ago, he saw the word "NINJA" on one of my old gaming books; and after explaining to him what a Ninja was; he decided right then that he wanted to be one for the next Halloween. But he would have difficulty saying the word, and instead of saying "Ninja", we were getting "Inn-Ja". Somehow, in his mind, the first "N" was as silent as a Ninja's deadly strike. But this Halloween he got it right, and has the costume to prove it.
Current Mood: working

23rd October 2007

3:22pm: Recess
1: the action of receding
2: a hidden, secret, or secluded place or part

Hmm...Looks like I am a bit overdue for a update. Actually I have been setting little mental reminders for the last week that I should update my journal; but I always seem to come back to the question "how can I summarize what has happened in the last four months?" The death of my church Pastor (last post) was only the beginning of a eventful and often tumultuous summer...

There is a saying - "May you live in interesting times", which is the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse. While I didn't feel cursed, I can say with certainty that my summer was definitely interesting.

Most of the summer was spent at cookouts, amusement parks, family outings, and gatherings with friends. Overall, it was a busy summer, filled with activities and events. I was able to catch up with some old friends, spend some time with some new friends, and at the height of the summer was a small family reunion; which was no small feat. At the end of the summer I had managed to attend a wedding for my cousin; a wonderful beginning at the end of a season.

I had the pleasure to attend most of these events through the eyes of a six year old boy named Oskar. He has grown so much in the last two years; and is no longer a baby, but has turned into a little boy with thoughts and ideas and opinions all his own. He is filled with wonder and childish innocence, and continually surprises me and reminds me of my own childhood. He is happy and well-adjusted (given the circumstances), and is a "typical boy" in many aspects; who hates vegetables and homework, and thinks burps and farts are hilarious.

This summer also had it's share of difficulties beginning with the death of our Pastor and good friend. As expected, people have overcome their grief and carried on; but his death has not gone unnoticed or unforgotten. Even now, I will encounter something as innocent as a misprint on a flier; that will bring his untimely death to the forefront of my mind.

In addition, there has been some complications with Rosie's "routine" dental work. Originally what should have been a simple procedure has mushroomed into a Frankenstein's monster of dental surgery, visits, conferences, and unforeseen expenses. Had Rosie and I had any idea how complicated and difficult getting her teeth straightened would become; we would have abandoned the idea in an instant.

If that was not enough, Rosie's ex-husband has outdone himself to be as combative, argumentative, and confrontational at every decision no matter how mundane or trivial. He decided to file contempt charges against Rosie for the second time; and has taken us to court twice in less then a year. Both times the judge has found the contempt charges groundless, but these events have taken their toll; physically, mentally and financially. Rosie's Ex-husband has taken his defeat in court in stride, and undaunted, continues to challenge Rosie at every opportunity. It was only this week that we seem to have come to a peaceful agreement; but Rosie and I know too well that this peace is temporary, and will be far too brief.

For those that know me well, when I commit to anything...a person, a relationship, a hobby, or whatever else; I do so completely and totally. If it's something that I believe in, I really can't go in halfway...I just don't know how. I suppose this could be viewed as a admirable trait, but it has its drawbacks; when you are in the middle of something it becomes very difficult to see any other perspective, or remain empathic when you have invested so much emotionally. It's when the emotional riptide grabs me by the ankles and pulls me under; at that point I realize I am in too deep...but by then it's too late. And by the time I have pulled myself from the turbulent waters, I stumble onto a desolate beach, distant and removed...pensive and preoccupied.

Rosie and I recently celebrated our two year anniversary, and both of us were surprised that it had only been two years, given the recent events. And while it has been a little of a emotional roller coaster, it has definitely been "interesting times"! It's funny how the passage of time can change your perception on something. At times I think it's necessary to allow time to pass... in order to gain a new perspective.

There is another old saying "You never stop learning", and I can testify to that, as I have learned much in the last two years, about family, relationships, and myself; and wonder about the "interesting" times that lay ahead for me!
Current Mood: contemplative

25th June 2007

11:15am: A Test of Faith
Now that I have had a chance to catch my breath, I can make an attempt to throw some thoughts down on the proverbial paper...

Lately, work has been insanely busy. Here at Yale, all of the summer interns have begun working, and we have had a surge of problem Laptops show up. And when I mean surge, I mean five to six laptops a day on average. Usually we are used to seeing one or two a day, so for me this is a bit overwhelming; and the pressure is on to get them diagnosed, fixed, and then move on to the next broken laptop. Some of them are coming in with the new Windows Vista Operating System; and that topic could become a post on its own. Needless to say, not a whole lot of down time at work.

Life outside of work has been hectic and eventful as well. Most recently was the tragic death of the Pastor of my church. Pastor Bridges was possibly the nicest man you could have ever met. He was the one that married Rosie and I last year, and he was going to be the one to remarry us at our "official" wedding. He was very kind, compassionate, and always knew everyone's name. He still had a little southern twang when he spoke, the remnants of his childhood in Alabama. Not only was he an excellent man, but he was a valued leader and Senior Pastor in our community. He was highly respected and regarded, and was well connected with the community, the church, and the school. Quite simply, everyone loved him and he loved everyone.

His tragic death was devastating to the community, and a heavy blow to everyone who knew him. He had led the people, the church, and the community for fifteen years; and in one horrible instant...he was gone; leaving a hole that even now people are still trying to comprehend. The shock of his death was felt by everyone, and they had to end the school year two days early because of his untimely death. Oskar was deeply affected by this tragedy, and asked to come home early the Monday they told the students. He spent the remainder of that day curled up in his mothers' lap.

Very little is known about the details of his death. He was a healthy man, went running every morning; and exercising regularly (although I am amazed he found the time). He was only 53 years old, and was in excellent health. Outside of church, Pastor had only one other true passion; and that was for vintage cars and motorcycles. It was something that he enjoyed, and loved, and not too surprisingly; it was what he was doing when he died.

He was traveling on a local road, the same road that he would take every Sunday afternoon after church. He was a extremely careful and competent motorist, and when biking, he wore all the proper protection. It was a beautiful spring day, and he was taking his son's motorcycle out for a drive, and somehow lost control of the motorcycle. There was no other vehicle involved, and to this day no one is really sure what happened. All that is known is that by the time the paramedics arrived, it was too late, and he died on the way to the hospital.

This whole event is so difficult to comprehend... the apparent senselessness of it. Here was a man who was valued and respected, he was the anchor to an entire community; and now he is gone in one freak accident. The words on everyone's lips are the same: Why? What is the reason behind this horrible tragedy? He was survived by a wife, and two children; and was to celebrate his 30th wedding anniversary less then a week before he died. Why did this have to happen?

It's almost too much to try to comprehend, and many times I have seen people weeping and asking "Why? Why him? Why Now?" No one has a clear answer. We are told that he has earned his place eternally in Heaven; and that it was God's will. The Lord has his reasons, which we have no knowledge of; and that we can only rely on our faith, and that the Lord will not forsake us. The people look to our church for answers, and find none that can comfort them.

For many, to call upon their faith for comfort is too much to ask. The church attendance has dropped sharply since the awful accident. Rosie and I have continued to go to church, but the search for answers continues. It's so difficult to continue in the face of such an awful senseless accident; with reasons and answers that are unobtainable and will remain so.

Where does one find comfort when faced with such a loss? Even the leaders of our congregation are slow to answer. But, I will continue to go to church, if nothing more then to honor the memory of Pastor Bridges; I am sure that is what he would want me to do. That was his one true passion and one true love, and it will continue on with me.
Current Mood: sad

21st June 2007

1:21pm: Barely time to breathe...

To say that my life as of late has been eventful and hectic, is a gross understatement.

More later.
Current Mood: busy

13th April 2007

9:42am: Happy Friday the 13th!!!
It's Friday the 13th! Are you superstitious? I used to be, and after catching a bit of a local radio show I decided to look up some of the "Odds" for surviving this ill-fated day! I know it's a little morbid, but sometimes the weather colors my mood...

I am a strong believer of looking in the face of adversity, so if you will excuse me, I am running late and need to drive my motorcycle at 200mph in a rainstorm to get to my rock climbing class on time... ;)

The Scenario: Dying by any cause........................The Odds: 1 in 1
The Scenario: Heart Disease................................The Odds: 1 in 5
The Scenario: Cancer..........................................The Odds: 1 in 7
The Scenario: Stroke...........................................The Odds: 1 in 24
The Scenario: Motor Vehicle Accident.................The Odds: 1 in 84
The Scenario: Suicide..........................................The Odds: 1 in 119
The Scenario: Falling...........................................The Odds: 1 in 218
The Scenario: Firearm Assault.............................The Odds: 1 in 314
The Scenario: Pedestrian Accident.......................The Odds: 1 in 626
The Scenario: Drowning......................................The Odds: 1 in 1,008
The Scenario: Motorcycling Accident..................The Odds: 1 in 1,020
The Scenario: Fire or Smoke...............................The Odds: 1 in 1,113
The Scenario: Bicycling Accident.........................The Odds: 1 in 4,919
The Scenario: Dying in an Air Transport Accident........The Odds: 1 in 5,051
The Scenario: Accidental Firearm Discharge................The Odds: 1 in 5,134
The Scenario: Accidental electrocution.........................The Odds: 1 in 9,968
The Scenario: Alcohol Poisoning..................................The Odds: 1 in 10,048
The Scenario: Hot Weather.........................................The Odds: 1 in 13,729
The Scenario: Being bitten by a venomous snake..........The Odds: 1 in 37,250
The Scenario: Dying from a bee, hornet, or wasp sting...The Odds: 1 in 56,789
The Scenario: Legal Execution......................................The Odds: 1 in 62,468
The Scenario: Lightning.................................................The Odds: 1 in 79,746
The Scenario: Earthquake.............................................The Odds: 1 in 117,127
The Scenario: Flood.....................................................The Odds: 1 in 144,156
The Scenario: Fireworks Discharge...............................The Odds: 1 in 340,733
The Scenario: Dying in a tornado...................................The Odds: 1 in 5,000,000
The Scenario: Being attacked by a bear.........................The Odds: 1 in 36,000,000
The Scenario: Being attacked by a shark........................The Odds: 1 in 11,500,000
Current Mood: silly

9th April 2007

10:16am: Moving On...
Somebody cue "The Price is Right" Music...

"A New Car!!" (applause)

Well, it's "new" to me. :)

The insurance company had called me last Thursday and settled with me to the tune of about $9000.00. They said as soon as they receive the title and the keys to the stolen vehicle, they would cut me a check. They also said I might want to hurry up the car search as I had a little less then a week left on the courtesy rental car. They didn't have to tell me twice, I could not wait to get rid of the rental.

We went car shopping this weekend, and decided on a 2002 Honda Accord Sedan. We chose this car based on the maintenance record, and it had more room then the Civic. The gas mileage is agreeable (20-26 city / 28-32 highway), considering it will be my commuter car. Finally, unlike my old sports car coupe, this car has four doors and is much more family friendly.

The ironic part about all of this is that my parents had just sold their old car; which was a 1999 Honda Accord. Had I known that my car would be stolen a little over a month later; I would have bought it from them in a heartbeat. Oh well, such is life.

We were able to finalize all the paperwork on Friday, and after setting me up with the financing, I was able to drive off the lot that day. It's weird...I like my new car, but it still feels strange...like somehow I have been displaced into some other vehicle. I am sure I will get over this feeling eventually.

I have already begun to personalize my new car, adding my cd's, phone adapters, road maps, sunglasses, and other items that end up in a car. But I bought a steering wheel Club...something that my old car didn't have. I also plan to buy a car alarm as well in the near future.

I am glad this whole ordeal is over, and somewhat happy to be in a new car. Rosie and I tried to overlook the theft of my car, and put the best foot forward by looking for a car that would serve our needs; both current and future. I hope we have achieved that, and hope that this car will "go the distance". But considering that my last two cars met an abrupt end twords the end of their lease...I perdict that I will become very anxious in the first few months of 2012.
Current Mood: apathetic

3rd April 2007

11:29am: Mini-Time Capsule
The rental car that I am driving around only has a tape deck in it. I suppose after a trip to Radio Shack, I could have jury rigged my portable CD player; but instead I decided to listen to my old cassette tape collection (Eek! I just dated myself!). While the car has a decent radio, I stopped listening to radio stations long ago.

I found the plastic bin in my basement, forgotten and neglected. After moving several times, the tapes have been hastily consolidated, and now were jumbled into a large pile; scattered and unorganized. Some had cryptic labels such a "Summer '98", and others were well used...but lacked any label at all.

But each one offered me a glimpse into the past, a window to another time in my personal history. While the writing on the tape insert, and maybe even the tape itself can offer me some clues, it's the songs and the assembly of the music that offers me an audio picture book that can catch me completely off guard.

A few times in the last week, I have caught myself smiling, laughing, and chuckling at the memories that were forgotten until a familiar tune begins. The lyrics and the songs conjure up memories of who I was, and where I was...sometimes launching me into a deep introspection.

Or a timeless classic will come on, and the stereo gets cranked up *one more time* to the best Rock Ballard of the 60's/70's/80's. Sure, they are tired old tunes, but I still love them, and sing along every chance I get.

I would say that I miss not having a CD player; but in truth, I'm not missing anything at all.
Current Mood: nostalgic

21st March 2007

11:14am: Aftermath and Closure
The call came late Sunday night, a single forlorn chirp on my cellphone. Since I had no service in my condo, it rolled right to voice mail. The caller on the message was blunt as they were brief.

"I am calling to inform you that they found your stolen car, call the Police Department for details." Click.

A few hastily placed calls, and the details began to emerge. The car was found on a access road for Connecticut Light and Power. It was not even a marked road, and would not show up on any street map. The only reason it was found at all was CL&P needed to do some repair work to restore service after the latest snowstorm. My car was towed by a local Garage, and I was provided the number.

Talking to the owner of the garage was as frustrating as the cryptic voice mail about the discovery of my car. All he could tell me was that they had my car, the tires and rims were missing; and the interior was ripped out. I arranged to drive down to the lot to inspect the car myself that evening; and was left with my thoughts.

Later that night I approached my car, tucked between a Sedan and a Chevy; and the extent of the violence became apparent immediately.

The best phrase I can use to describe the state of my car is "a cloud of hungry locusts". The thieves removed anything worth any money that was not welded or embedded into the frame.

I have no criminal investigation skills, and only my perception and logical deduction to go on. With that, I can say that the thieves were patient and methodical. They worked carefully to harvest my car; taking the time to unscrew, unplug, and dismantle my car piece by piece.

Their goal was to make as much profit from the parts in my car as possible; which included items that I would not have even conceived to steal: rear view mirror, interior dome light, they even stole the model badge and emblem off the back of the car.

After their villainous work was done, they left wheels and the steering wheel on it (and nothing else); and towed it to its final destination. Once there, they removed the wheels and left it there, an empty carcass of what it was. I can assume the smashing of the windows was by vandals.

Ironic as it sounds, if I were to choose to have my car stolen... then this would have been the way I would have preferred. If you are to take from me, then make it complete...leave me nothing and I will say by goodbye and move on. But, unfortunately "choice" was taken from me the night they took my car.

The car by all accounts is a total loss, which I am somewhat relieved, (and saddened) to say. All that remains now is for my insurance company to cut me a check, and then I will go shopping for another car; probably towards the end of this month.

And this one will have some theft deterrent.
Current Mood: okay

19th March 2007

11:13am: When a headache mutates into a migraine…

Just when I thought it could not get worse... Waterbury Police found my car.

They found it on a dead end street in one of the "less then savory" parts of Waterbury. They found it on Thursday, but the Police didn't get around to calling me until Sunday night. So it has sat for the last three days in on a Auto Body lot, and who knows what has been done to it, or what's left of it since I saw it last.

I called the Auto Body shop and confirmed that they had my car, and asked what kind of condition it was in. All he could tell me was that they stole the leather seats out of it, and (you guessed it) the tires and rims were stolen as well.

Considering that my tires and rims were stolen off another car I owned six years ago, I found that morbidly humorous. Just can't seem to keep the tires on my car...

I also find it a little ironic that at first I just wanted my car back, and now I want nothing to do with my stolen car. Who can really tell me what has been done to the car? Did they just drive it down to some shady street, strip out the parts they wanted, and leave it for the police to find? Was it beat on mercilessly for almost a week straight, and then left? What problems seen or unseen could there be with my car?

It would have been so much easier for me just to have considered it a total loss, and resign myself to another car. In truth, I was halfway there, and was already considering options for my next car. But my insurance company needs to determine how much repair work is needed; and if it falls below 80% of the cars total value; then the car is mine to keep.

Assuming the tires and the seats are all that is missing / damaged...then parlaying with the insurance company officially begins. I predict extended phone conversations with my adjuster on who gets to pay for what. Then comes the struggle to get the car restored to what it was before this all happened; and will continue for months to come. And it could take weeks or months to get my car working again...

And they insurance company will stop paying on my rental shortly, so I will need to get my car working; or find another way to get to work.

I am dreading going to the garage tonight, and I am not looking forward to the weeks to come.
Current Mood: worried

16th March 2007

11:06am: Dude, Where's My Car?
So, here is the aftermath of the whole situation.

It has been five days since my car was jacked, and still no report of the vehicle sighted on the road. I looked up the "Top 25 Most Stolen Vehicles", and this was the list that was issued for 2006.

The list is based on a comparison of loss claims to the total number of registered vehicles.

1. 2001 BMW M-Series Roadster......2. 1998 Acura Integra
3. 2004 Mercury Marauder.................4. 1999 Acura Integra
5. 1995 Acura Integra.........................6. 2002 Audi S4
7. 1996 Acura Integra.........................8. 1997 Acura Integra
9. 2001 Acura Ingegra........................10. 2000 Jaguar XJR
11. 1994 Acura Integra.......................12. 2005 Suzuki Aerio
13. 2004 Suzuki Aerio........................14. 1998 Land Rover Range Rover
15. 1998 Jaguar XJR..........................16. 2003 Mercury Marauder
17. 2000 Acura Integra.......................18. 2002 Cadillac Escalade
19. 2000 Audi A8...............................20. 2000 Audi S4
21. 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600.............22. 1995 Land Rover Range Rover
23. 2005 Cadillac Escalade.................24. 2000 Honda Civic
25. 2001 Audi S4

My Car's make and model shows up EIGHT TIMES in this list, and is listed as number 17. It's amazing that my car was not stolen before now. Perhaps if I parked on a main road, it would have been.

But the article goes on to say that thanks to popular media, underground (illegal) street racing is very popular now. The racers run their cars hard until the parts fail, then steal Acuras for replacement parts; since most Acura parts will work in any Honda. What they don't use, they grind off the ID tags and sell; the cars are worth more in parts then they are in one piece.

The chances are very good that my car was stolen, chopped up, and has now been distributed into several other Honda's; or sold for profit.

Meanwhile, I am driving a Ford Rental that is roughly the size of a landing boat. The cheap bastards at the rental place, couldn't even give me a car with a CD player, and now I am listening to old Tapes I made ten years ago. It's an automatic, which I despise, has the acceleration of a pregnant whale; and the engine whines like a sick mule whenever I hit the gas.

It's very comfy, but it feels like I am driving around in someones sofa set. It even has a cloth armrest in the middle of the front seat that can be used when I get bored of driving. I imagine that I could sleep in the backseat with my knees bent if I get tired and need to rest. Oh yeah, the best part is that the car has blind spots that you can hide a small compact car in; kind like my car...

Blargh. I miss my car.

I can't wait to get my settlement check, buy a new car (that does NOT show up on the list above); and put this all behind me.
Current Mood: grumpy

12th March 2007

11:26am: Sometimes you're the Pigeon.......
... And sometimes you're the Statue.

Well it looks like today is the day that I am the Statue. :P

My car got stolen last night, right out of my parking lot in the condominium complex where I live. My car was about three hundred feet from my door.

I really should not be too surprised. The car was a very popular make and model, and was highly desired. It didn't have any car alarm, but as it turns out, that would not have mattered much; it would have taken about a minute longer to steal it.

I went to the Police and filed a report, and the news is not good. Most of the time sports cars (like mine was) are stolen for joyrides, or for parts. Not the kind of joy rides that pictures you gliding down the road to the supermarket listening to your favorite radio station with the windows down. It's more like the most violent car chase you have ever seen on film...with screeching tires, and screaming engines...yeah...that is closer to the truth.

If it was stolen for parts, then it's sitting in some chop-shop right now, getting cannibalized. My car was a luxury Honda, and it's almost common knowledge that 90% of all Honda parts are interchangeable between make and model and year, that is why Honda's and Toyota's are stolen so often.

Next after filing a report with the Police, came the call to the insurance company. It looks like I will be driving around a rental for the next few days; courtesy of my insurance company. But that is where the good news ends.

If the car is found, the insurance company will assess the damages. If the car is considered 80% missing / damaged then its a 'total loss' and they cut me a check for the Kelly Blue Book value of the car. Assuming I get 6000.00 for the car (which is on the generous side), that is not enough to buy a new car; and hardly enough to buy a descent used car with a limited warranty. I could put that towards a new car, and then resign myself to five more years of car payments.

Believe it or not, I really hope that the car is totaled, or never found.

If the car is recovered, and the insurance company determines that less then 20% of the car remains, then its not totaled, and they then reimburse me for the cost to get the car "working". "Working" is a very lucrative term, and usually is barely enough to cover the cost.

I am then out a car for weeks (if not months) while the car is repaired, and my insurance will not cover any rentals after thirty days. And usually, a stolen car is never, ever, the same...even after the repairs are finished. Nothing works right, and usually the car is prone to break down often, due to the abuse it received.

And if that was not enough, I also have to worry about identity theft, as I kept insurance papers and the vehicle registration inside the vehicle; which had my full name, address, phone number, and policy number of my insurance. Not enough to start stamping out Drivers Licenses, but it gives enough information for anyone trying to forge my identity a healthy head start. So then came the calls to Trans-union to put a block on my Credit Account; and I will need to be called personally if anyone attempts to open a Credit Account using my name.

Finally there is the horrible violated feeling you get when your personal property is stolen from you...I wish I could say this is new to me; but sadly enough I have been stolen from before. I kept a pretty clean car, and luckily there was not really much in the car to steal, outside of a few car adapters, my new CD Radio, and two wallets of my favorite CD's.

But they stole my car, and it was mine...and now it's gone. :(

I am trying to remain positive and optimistic, but when faced with the shock of the theft, and the outcome... it's hard.
Current Mood: depressed

8th March 2007

11:38am: The Cat is officially out of the Bag!
Well, I finally did it.

I finally let everyone I know and love about the little secret that I am been keeping for almost nine months now.

I was a member of the Communist Party.

No, of course I am kidding.

Nine months ago, I got married. And no, this time I am not kidding.

Our story begins on one hot summer day when the idea was presented to us by our Pastor. To his credit, there was no guilt, or pressure, or even a stern voice. He was merely interested in why we were not married, and left us to think about it. And so, Rosie and I thought about it, and the more we thought, the more reasons we came up with to say "yes" and not too many reasons to say "not now".

So we hatched an idea to have a small private ceremony, right then, keep it a "secret" until we could properly plan and save for our wedding; and then have our "real" wedding a year later. So, we came up with this idea, kind of got swept away with it, and were married the following weekend. What can I say? I am a romantic to the last, it was hard for me not to say "Yes!"

One of my favorite expressions is – "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions". I knew almost from the start that trying to keep our marriage a "secret" was a big mistake, and not having my family and friends there to celebrate with me was even bigger one! Needless to say, it didn't take long for a slip up, and the secret was out!

Rosie and I don't regret getting married, but we both regret not having our family and friends there to share in that special event. We still are planning on an "official" wedding sometime in June of 2008.

Obviously, looking back I would have done things differently. But the past is the past, and we are told to live with no regrets; and so, I have none to speak of. I am relieved to finally "come clean", and can shamelessly brag about my lovely wife and family to anyone who will tolerate me.

What could be better then that?
Current Mood: relieved

22nd January 2007

10:16am: And the walls come tumbling down...
The City of New Haven imploded the New Haven Coliseum this weekend. I saw the footage on the news, and they were interviewing people who waxed nostalgic about the events that took place at the Coliseum. I really had no connection to the building outside of that I remember it hosted a few Rock concerts during my High School Years.

Truthfully, I was more interested in the implosion. You can see it for yourself at varying angles at this site: http://www.wtnh.com/global/Category.asp?C=92041 (The montage is the best).

You can see little flashes of light as primary charges blow the base charges cascading around the base. And then in a instant, the entire thing collapses into a cloud of dust.

There is a section of my brain that thumps his chest and howls with primeval glee. I suspect this is the same area of my brain that enjoys watching car chases, gunfights, scantily clad women...and of course, large explosions.

In fact, if they come up with a movie that incorporates bikini clad women driving around, while shooting and blowing things up...I would probably watch it...sheepishly, but I would watch it nonetheless. In fact, I would not be surprised if the movie has already been made, and I just missed it.

But, I am not alone in this thinking. I think that I can speak for the majority of men by saying while we like to create, we also like to destroy; and we relish in it. This thought goes way back, before the destruction of sandcastles on the beach, or destroying army men, but somehow its been hard coded into our DNA.

I would love to run a social experiment and pipe various video into the TV's of a bar crowded with men, and see what gets the majority of their attention. I suspect that the imploded New Haven Coliseum would rate pretty high, but most certainly the bikini-clad women blowing stuff up. You throw that up on the TV, and you will see the entire room zero in on the TV; much like a cat when introduced to a pen laser.

You are free to disagree with me; after all, I could be making some pretty broad generalizations. But I think there is some truth in my statements. Regardless...

Watch the implosion. Its Cool. :)

10th January 2007

1:23pm: Signs of wear and tear on the older model...
I nearly crippled myself a few nights ago.

Well, that is a little dramatic, but not too far from the truth. But I had no idea that I could cause myself so much pain by simply falling asleep. Well, there is a little more to that statement as well. You see, like so many other things in my life, I do things a little "differently" then other people; and this would include sleeping.

Ok, so for those of you, who have not seen me "sleep", let me elaborate and hopefully you can follow along; as it's hard to explain in words. Even since I was a toddler, I would fall asleep in an unusual position. I would first cross my legs (sit cross legged) with my feet tucked under me. Got it? Ok. So then I would take the upper half of my body, and fold myself over. Did I lose you? Ok. Picture someone sitting cross-legged and then flopping over, so that their shoulders are next to their knees. Freaky huh? My Mom believes that I am a Tibetan Monk reincarnated, but Lord knows where I really learned that little trick.

So you can understand my parents alarm and confusion when they walked in to see their four month old boy doing THAT. I mean they were accustomed to seeing me sitting cross-legged, but THAT was taking it to the next level!

As the years passed, I would sleep like that less and less, until it became a rare occurrence, and usually it would be associated with stress, illness, or sometimes the really freaky nightmare.

Which brings me to the present.

A few nights ago I was feeling a little under the weather, and my sinus were really bothering me. I needed to get some sleep, and the pressure was pretty bad, so I took some Sinus Meds, with a "Sleep Aid". And so I fell asleep.

Little did I know, just before I drifted off into the land of Nod, I shifted into the aforementioned sleeping position; and then fell into a drug induced sleep.

You see, when I used to sleep like that, my muscles were supple, limber, little rubber bands that were easily pliable. Years of age and neglect have caused that same system to lose a little of its flexibility. And in my drug induced sleep, I suspect it took a little while for my brain to register "discomfort"

But, "discomfort" was not even the half of it. I had to take three Advil just so I could move without wincing.

I gotta start stretching...or stop sleeping.

Is there anyone out there that sleeps in an "odd" position? Or knows someone (besides me) that has some peculiar sleeping habits?

Just wondering.
Current Mood: peaceful

9th January 2007

11:56am: The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated....
Wow, take a little "vacation" and look what happens? Two months slip away just like that!

Where was I? Oh yeah. The new windows in the condo. So, um they are really nice...and I guess I would be writing on how well they keep the heat in, except that it really has not gotten very cold recently. In fact, it was so warm this weekend that (ironically enough), I had to OPEN the windows because it was getting too warm inside for my liking.

Now the weather forecasters are saying that it's possible that we won't see any snow at all in January, and the outlook for snow for the rest of the season looks pretty grim. Personally, I think that sucks a big toe. I mean, I LIKE winter because of the snow. Sure its cold, but you also get to go skiing, and sledding, and snowball fights, and snowmen, and hot cocoa, and... fun stuff! Of course Rosie can't stand the cold, and if warmer temps mean no snow...she can live with that. But if we don't get one snow storm, someone is getting a big BAH-Humbug from me!

The Christmas holiday came and went, mostly because I was pretty busy in the month of December; between my new job and the Classes I took...what? Oh I didn't tell you? Right then...

So, things at Yale are good. Someone apparently decided that I was doing my job so well, that it was time to give me another job. There was some political maneuvering, and some other things going on the in the background; but essentially the "Powers that Be" decided to shuffle some people around to better satisfy the faculty. And since I showed interest in other available positions at Yale, I was "Volunteered" for the transfer.

All in all, made out alright in the shuffle. I am still working on computers, but now instead of going out to the computers, I work at a Computing Center, and the computers come to me. I have my own workshop, just like Santa, but he gets the elves, and I get the...busted computers. But I like my new(er) job, and I have my own office, and the work comes to me, and it included a marginal raise...so I think it was a good move.

In addition to a new job, Yale decided to educate me some more, and sent me off to Apple Computer School. I spent a week in New York City learning that Apple Computers are not "evil" and are definitely not reserved for "elite-yuppie-scum". My instructor was a Hippie, in fact I think he was one of the original hippies, and peppered the classes with "Man", "Dude", and when he got excited, he used some other colorful expressions that I shall not disclose. He was a character, and fascinating man, which I could probably do a entire posting on him; but I will refrain.

And yet, it was somewhat odd to see this long-haired man with a salt and pepper beard go on about "File Permissions, and Library structure"...despite his best attempts, he looked a little out of place in front of the Powerpoint Presentation...but I was strangely OK with the whole setup, and a small part of me had expected nothing less.

By the end of the week I was so confused. I have used Windows ever since I discovered computers, and was subliminally told that Apple Computers were forged by Lucifer Himself. But that is not the case, in fact they are...better in many different ways. Bill Gates would not lie to me...would he?

Yeah, so the Apple Computer class was refreshing and interesting. And now I am really comfortable using Macs, if not a little guilty that I am cheating on Bill Gates. The only bad thing about the whole experience was that I was staying in a Hotel in China Town, and had all the Asian Food that I wanted for the month of December. I also felt weird walking down the streets; at times I was the only "white-boy" to be seen, and if you removed the street signs you could have sworn that I was in a far away country in the pacific. The other bad thing was that I was away from home for the entire week before Christmas, and that sucked as well; but the good news was I got a warm homecoming.

Hmm...that is all for now.

Continue monitoring this frequency...update will follow...sooner
Current Mood: peaceful

10th November 2006

10:20am: Keeping up with the...heating bill.
After deliberating for the last few months, Rosie and I have finally broke down and will be replacing all the windows in the Condo. The time to replace windows is a little off, as I was prepared to replace them next spring, hopefully after a large tax return.

But the windows are shot. The condo is about twenty-five years old and like much of the condo, the windows are the original windows and were hastily put in when the condo was built; and they show their age. The wood is cracked and bowed, the springs in the windows were shot, the window caulking comes off in your hand, and they do very little to keep the cold out and the heat inside in the winter months; even with the storm windows down. This makes the entire place very drafty and the heating bill enormous.

Unfortunately, I knew this when I bought the condo, and I also knew that it would not be inexpensive. I clung to the idea that like some condo associations, the cost of replacing the windows would be picked up by the association. Sadly, this was not the case.

We have seven colonial windows that will need replacing, and after making some difficult choices on style, form, and functionality; we ended up paying the equivalent to purchasing a brand new 58' inch plasma TV. Owch. We could have taken some shortcuts but we only would have saved a few hundred dollars or so. Even though the Condo Association is not paying, we still needed to adhere to the Condo guidelines in regards to style and color.

But the new windows are a nice upgrade. They are double pained glass, and have a Xenon Gas filling the space between them. For those of you who need a brush-up on your chemistry, this is a dense inert gas that makes it very difficult for oxygen to pass thru. Meaning the house retains heat/cold and resists the outside elements. The windows can snap out of the frame which makes it very easy to clean, and finally the windows all come with a lifetime guarantee, which covers accidental breakage.

But this was a difficult decision to make for Rosie and I. It was clear to both of us that the windows needed to be done; and frankly neither of us was looking forward to another winter in a drafty condo. But we also both know that we are not going to be in the condo for more then another year or two. And with the market value of houses coming back down; we are really concerned that we will not get the money we invested in the new windows back.

Anywho, I will be posting some before and after pictures as soon as they finish so you all can see our investment!!!
Current Mood: pensive

31st October 2006

2:58pm: Happy Halloween !!!
Happy Halloween!

Since Rosie and I had Oskar for Halloween last year, he will be spending the evening trick-or-treating with his father. We are a little concerned, as he has not been feeling very well the last few days; but we don't want to ruin his Halloween with his father.

He is also having a Costume Party at school as well, and Oskar decided to dress as King Peter from the Chronicles of Narnia. I read the book as a child, and we all saw the movie that recently came out, so it seemed like a good choice. Rosie was "volunteered" for cupcakes for the class party and was up late last night making them. Not that she minds, but next time a little advance warning would be helpful! ;)

Rosie and I are not doing anything outside of leaving out light on and waiting for a few trick-or-treaters to stop by. Last year we were not home, and the year before that the turnout was rather weak; but that is fine...all the more candy for me!!!

Sitting at home and waiting for the two or three trick-or-treaters seems like a great idea for both Rosie and I, the last few days have been really eventful ones; and we could really use a quiet night at home.

I hope everyone out there has a safe and Happy Halloween!
Current Mood: cheerful

27th October 2006

4:11pm: The High Cost of Due Process
Well, the leaves are turning, and there is a cold bite in the air; which tells me that winter will soon be here. I saw frost for the first time on my car, and realized that October is nearly finished. I love this time of year most of all, namely for my birthday (earlier this month), but the three major holidays that follow in the next three months. I think I also enjoy the change from Fall to Winter in New England because it is so dramatic; and in some ways very abrupt. But there is something comforting about the leaves in the wind, the chill air, and the clear skies, seen thru tiny puffs of steam from my mouth. Of course, Rosie would disagree strongly. She finds nothing comforting about the cold, and would rather be digging her toes into the sand on the beaches of Miami. When I told her this morning that the temperature was 32 degrees, she looked a little panicky; knowing that winter was coming but unable to prevent it.

There has been a change at the Yale campus as well. The students have returned and work has picked up noticeably. The students look so young, many of pass me by, and I wonder if they are able to drink... or vote...or even legally drive a car. When surrounded by such young faces, I feel a little old, and out of place.
My Co-Worker is leaving for a week vacation this Monday, and the "reins of power" have been handed over to me for the time being. The powers that be look upon this with a little nervousness, and I suspect that they are not completely confident that I am ready to be on my own. For me, this is an opportunity to shine, or burn in flames; and either outcome will make a lasting impression while I remain here.

Within a week or so, Rosie and I will be headed back to court to continue legal battle with her Ex-Husband. This Custody battle has been going on for over six months now, and has mushroomed into many bitter arguments both in and out of court. Before this whole thing has started, the sum of my Legal knowledge was fairly small, and contained what I could remember from High School and from TV and Movies. It has been an enlightening, frustrating, and expensive journey; to the tune of about fifty dollars’ an hour (my estimate). To those of you who read this, and can't relate...be thankful. To those of you who are divorced but have never had to go to court, count your blessings. While he/she can be a royal pain in the ass; at least you can come to an agreement with your "Ex". It was somewhat of an empty victory when the court appointed Professional mediator had said that Rosie's Ex-husband was "argumentative, abusive, and unreasonable". He had filed a series of erroneous Contempt charges against Rosie, and the Judge threw them out; but warned the both of them that they need to work together in the best interests of Oskar. And while I do believe that eventually we will get what we are looking for, it will come at a cost.
Current Mood: contemplative

5th October 2006

3:58pm: Camera is repaired!
Since I finally got my camera back, (yay) here are a few more pictures:

The first two are Oskars First day in First Grade! and the second one is him marching in the Cub Scouts Parade.

Current Mood: tired
3:48pm: Making the best of it.
So, we never ended up going camping.

We were ready and I had everything prepped...all the camping gear was laid out and ready to go. But Oskar had come down with an ear infection and by the time the weekend came around, it was just not a good idea to go anymore. I had promised Oskar that we would try again in two weeks, (his Dad has him this weekend) but I think it will be too cold to be camp outside, even with my three season tent.

So, since the weather was good, we made the best of the weekend and went bike riding. First, we needed to get a hitch for the Explorer, and then get Rosie a bike, and finally we needed to get helmets for Rosie and me. We really didn't need helmets, but we wanted to make a good example for Oskar. It was a little more then I was willing to spend, but I think it will be a good investment, and hopefully we can do some more biking next spring.

We chose a nearby biking trail that used to be an old train track that was used in the industrial years. So the track and rails were removed and after some asphalt was laid down, it made for a nice, flat, easy bike ride. This is perfect for a little boy who was still learning the ropes.

What was surprising was how far we went on the trail. We have gone about three miles before I realized that Oskar was having fun but was starting to get tired; and we would need to bike all the way back! So it ended up being a six mile bike ride on an easy track; and needless to say Oskar went to bed without a problem that night!

When we were done with the bike ride, we decided to play some mini-golf and then see "open-season". And while it was not exactly the weekend I envisioned, it was a nice weekend all the same; and Oskar really liked biking and golfing with us.
Current Mood: tired
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