Tuesday, January 31, 2023

My Book Lover Story

On one of the off-season episodes of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below), my co-host Judith shared her book lover origin story. As someone who loves to read books myself, I thought it would be great to share my journey with books. I hope people can relate to it and remind them of their book-lover stories too. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

It was my parents who started my love for books. I remember growing up with shelves of children’s books that they encouraged me to read: Disney books, Dr. Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, and Winnie the Pooh. I regret not being able to keep those books when we moved because they were significant parts of my childhood.


Monday, January 30, 2023

Podcast Feature: Bailey Sarian's Murder, Mystery and Makeup

As a podcaster, I know I should probably be listening to more podcasts to find out what is popular, what is good, and what we should not be doing for the Fandesals Podcast. However, I only listen to a select few because I do not have that much time to do so. I appreciate those who take the time to check out our podcast because I know from experience that it’s not easy to carve away time for it.

We mentioned some of our favorite podcasts during an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below). Although it was Judith who mentioned most of the podcasts on our list, I did mention being a fan of Bailey Sarian and her Dark History podcast. I might have failed to mention that I also listen to her Murder, Mystery, and Makeup podcast.


Sunday, January 29, 2023

My Favorite BTS Performances

In one of my solo episodes on the Fandesals Podcast, I talked about my favorite live performances of BTS. I had limited time to share more performances on our YouTube channel, so I am sharing more about them in this post.

As I have repeatedly mentioned on our YouTube episodes, with BTS, you will always, ALWAYS get high-quality live performances. This is a group that will never half-ass anything, be it with dancing or with singing and rapping. The production level will always be of high quality, with each performance looking concert-level in terms of staging and backing performers.


Friday, January 27, 2023

Disney+ Review: Bao

Last month, I spent time babysitting my one-year-old niece and one of the things that kept her entertained was watching short films from Disney+. Out of all the shorts that we watched, the one that touched me the most was Bao. I had heard about it before but watching it with my niece was the first time that I got to see it…and I am glad I did.

The short starts with a Chinese woman preparing steamed buns while her husband watches TV. One of the buns comes to life, and she starts treating the little bun like it was her child. She takes care of, spends time with, feeds, and clothes the little bun as he grows up. In time, the little bun starts wanting to spend time with other kids and wants to spend time doing things away from the woman. This causes conflict between the little bun and the woman until it reaches the point where the bun decides to leave home to be with his girlfriend. The woman tries to stop the bun from leaving and when she realizes she cannot convince it to stay, she grabs the bun and swallows it whole. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Books I Love

As any book lover would understand, it is difficult to say what book is your favorite. Our interests in books in terms of genres, storylines, and other categories tend to change through time. As we grow older, as we get exposed to more things, what we thought to be our favorite book or genre gets overshadowed by another. What may seem to be a favorite now may be a book you do not even remember later. 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Plus, it is hard to say that there is just one book that you would call a favorite. There are bound to be plenty of books that you could say that you love. Choosing just one out of many that have made a mark would be difficult to do. 


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Netflix Picks: Tomorrow

A little warning before starting this post: this show that I recently watched deals with sensitive topics so if you find yourself emotionally triggered by topics of death, depression, and other related issues, it might be best to skip this post.

Tomorrow is one of the K-Drama series that I watched last year on Netflix. I was not actively blogging back then, so I was not able to post a review, but I did share a bit about this show on the Fandesals Podcast on YouTube. It was just a brief review back on the show, so I decided to write a blog post to add to what I had previously shared on the vlog.


Monday, January 23, 2023

Thoughts on Romance

Who does not love a little romance? I am a fan of romantic songs. I love reading romance books. I love my fair share of romantic movies and series. I may not be as romance-crazy as I used to be in my younger years, but I still enjoy a bit of romance now and then. In an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded at the end of this post), I was able to share my favorite romantic moments from movies and series that I enjoyed watching. 

Image by Angela Yuriko Smith from Pixabay

One thing I realized from watching the episode that we recorded is that my definition of romantic moments has changed through the years. If I remember correctly, when I was younger my definition of romance was being swept off my feet with grand romantic gestures, flowers, big gifts, and public displays of affection. I equated love with passion and excitement, with big moments.


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Album Review: Indigo

After J-Hope’s solo album release, RM was the second among the members of BTS to release an album. As someone from the rap line of BTS, I knew that he was going to rap, but after seeing the promotional material from the album before its release I knew that it was going to be different from his previous mix tapes. I had a hunch it was going go in a more R&B direction and I was right.

Like Jack in the Box, RM’s Indigo is a very personal and introspective album that shares his feelings about his life and career. The only difference is that RM has packed his album with an arsenal of collaborations to go with it. 

The first single from the album is Wild Flower, which has a beautiful music video. Despite having this song as a first single, according to RM he would like for people to listen to the album in the order of the tracks as he had arranged it. This has been the way that I have been listening to it since then and I must agree that the music flows well from one song to another in that way. I also noticed that with each song there are elements of the musical style of each other the artists he collaborated with. It is a good mix of his music and that of his collaborator.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Cooking Time: Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Noodles

Chrissy Teigen, the wife of singer John Legend, is someone that I have been following on Twitter for a while now. I’m not sure which came first: following her on Twitter or reading her then-blog, which was focused on food and called Cravings. After a while, that whole concept blew up and Cravings not only became a website for her, but also a personal brand. She has since launched two cookbooks and a line of cookware. If I’m not mistaken, she also has baking items out in the market too.

I’m in a bit of a cooking mood lately, trying out recipes from books and online and I decided that it was time to try out another Chrissy Teigen recipe. I’ve tried a couple of recipes from her Cravings cookbooks in the past, so this time around I thought I’d try one from her website. As with other recipes I’ve tried, I had to adjust the ingredient instructions to increase the number of people I can serve the dish to, plus there are ingredients that were not readily available at the time of cooking so I had to make do with what I had.  The recipe that I tried and that I’m sharing on this post is her Creamy Garlic Chicken and Mushroom Noodles. 

At first, I thought I was making a pasta dish, but as it turns out this one calls for egg noodles, so this is something new for me to cook and eat. I don’t think I've tried egg noodles with cream before so I was both excited and nervous to try making this dish. 


Friday, January 20, 2023

Disney+ Rewind: Lie to Me

With Disney+ finally in the Philippines, I finally got to see what all the buzz was about. I signed up for an annual subscription package and as soon as I checked the shows and movies in there, I knew that I got my money’s worth with it.

I discovered that there were old shows that I loved in the past that were on Disney+. Shows that I used to wait for on cable TV once a week for years. This time, I could binge-watch all the seasons as often as I wanted. There were so many to choose from that I did not know where to start! I eventually picked a show that only had three seasons, the 2009 crime drama called Lie to Me starring Tim Roth.


Thursday, January 19, 2023

Book Review: Vanessa Yu's Magical Paris Tea Shop

What would you do if you had the gift of seeing into the future? Would you embrace it, or would you run away from it? In the book Vanessa Yu’s Magical Paris Tea Shop, the lead character decided to do the latter, with disastrous results.

Image Credit: Penguin Random House


Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Throwback Movie: The Shining

Horror movies are not my thing. I have watched a reasonable amount of them, but I watched them only because the rest of my family are fans of the genre. I am more the type of person who watches these movies only when I watch with family, I would never watch this genre of my own volition. I will only watch it if someone asks me to watch it with them, which is not often since people close to me know that I am not a fan. It is not that these movies scare me, but that I do not enjoy watching these types of films in general.

Image by Frank Reppold from Pixabay

That does not mean, however, that I have a limited list of horror movies that I have seen. Through the years I think I have still seen a reasonable amount of them. In an episode of the Fandesals Podcast, I was able to share the horror movies that made a mark on me (episode embedded at the end of this post). In that episode, I mentioned one of those movies that I cannot forget to this day: The Shining starring Jack Nicholson.

The Shining is based on Stephen King’s book of the same name and directed by Stanley Kubrick. Classified as a psychological horror film, the movie is about a man named Jack Torrance, who moves his family (his wife and young son) to the Overlook Hotel, where he is the off-season caretaker while the hotel closes during the winter season. During the movie, the reveal is that supernatural beings live in the hotel, which Jack’s son sees because he has what they called “the shining.” Combined with the influence of these supernatural beings and his mental instability due to being an alcoholic, Jack goes into a murderous rage and goes after his own family.

This movie is something that I had first watched as a child and watching the film had become an annual tradition between me and my cousins whenever they visited our home in our younger years. It is one of those movies that we used to expect to see whenever we were all together.

While not a fan of this genre, I did appreciate that this movie is something that is not just about jump scares or blood and gore. Growing up watching the film through the years I have come to realize that this movie’s appeal for me was that it was something that made you think. It scared you more by playing with your mind rather than by killing people and showing violent scenes. Now that I look back on it, Jack only kills one person in the film, and even then, the actual killing is not in the way that modern horror movies do where it can be as gruesome as possible. Even the ending where they show Jack in photos of the hotel’s parties in the past makes you think and wonder about the supernatural power the hotel has over the people in it.

I have not seen the movie in years, but I still clearly remember images and scenes from the film. Jack Nicholson breaks down a door with an ax as Shelly Duvall screams in terror. The young boy on his bike riding along the carpeted hotel hallway. The same boy saying “Redrum.” The scary twins in matching dresses. The hedge maze with Jack Nicholson freezing to death while holding a scary look on his face.

Watching The Shining may be the reason that I prefer horror movies that mess with your mind more than slasher films. I still would not watch these movies on my own because I am not a fan of the genre, but if I had to choose, I would pick movies like The Shining. I heard that there is a sequel to this one called Doctor Sleep, but I have not had the chance to see that yet. Reviews do not seem to be that good, so I think I will pass on it because it might spoil what I liked about The Shining.

The Shining is available on YouTube for rent. If anyone out there knows if it is on any other streaming service, please leave a message on this post and let everyone else know about it!


Tuesday, January 17, 2023

KDrama Review: Love in Contract

One of the things that kept me going during this pandemic is watching K-Dramas. I have been a fan of Korean shows for years now, but it was only during the pandemic that I found myself watching these shows to relax and unwind after a long and stressful day.

Love in Contract starring Park Minyoung, which is currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime, is one of the shows that recently got my attention. I am familiar with Park Minyoung because of her previous shows like What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim and Her Private Life, two shows that I previously enjoyed watching, so I was curious about this show.


Monday, January 16, 2023

Instagram Accounts I Love

When I first started blogging, it was about following fellow bloggers, and fellow writers. Real people who talk about their lives and their experiences. Gradually, bloggers started to fade away and attention shifted to social media where people suddenly became influencers, personalities, and celebrities themselves. There are so many people that you can follow online on an entire range of different platforms. To be honest, it feels overwhelming to me the number of social media platforms you can be on. I have come to realize, however, that if a social media personality is big enough, they usually have accounts on every platform and that the content is usually the same everywhere. Since then, I have decided to follow the people I like on the platforms that I am most used to (specifically on Instagram and YouTube).

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

My friend Judith and I talked about social media accounts/personalities that we have been following on an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below). While we have talked about diverse types of social media accounts in the episode, for this post I just want to share five of the accounts I follow on Instagram that I failed to mention in our podcast: 


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Music Review: The Astronaut

I still remember how it happened: Jin announced that he was releasing a single during the BTS Yet to Come concert in Busan. The following day they released an announcement that he was enlisting in December in the South Korean military. The news followed that the single release is by the end of October and that it was a collaboration between Jin and the band Coldplay, whom they had previously worked with on the song My Universe.

I had mixed feelings about the single. It was sad to think that he had something new coming out but that we could not look forward to more for at least 18 months while he is in the military. And when the single and the music video came out, I became even sadder because it turned out to be a love song for his fans and it was a way to say goodbye for now while he goes to fulfill his duty in the military.


Saturday, January 14, 2023

My Version of Galbijjim

After my too-spicy attempt at Budaejjigae from the BTS Recipe Book, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to try another recipe from it. I realized that there were recipes that did not require anything too spicy so I decided it would be best to wean myself back into it by choosing a non-spicy recipe. This time around I tried Galbijjim. 

Galbijjim is braised beef short ribs and, according to Korean Bapsang, is served on traditional holidays and special occasions in Korea. I am not used to cooking beef, so this was a first for me. I had to ask my sister for advice when I was making this because I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn out right.

As with my previous recipe, I had to multiply by 2 the amounts in the recipe from the book because I was serving it for more people than what was indicated. Here is the recipe based on what I had used since some ingredients were (again) not available to me at the time of cooking:


Friday, January 13, 2023

Disney+ Review: In the Soop Friendcation

In the Soop means a lot to me. My friend shared the first season of the show during one of my low points in the pandemic and I enjoyed it so much that I ended up watching the second season as well. While I did not watch the season that featured the K-Pop band Seventeen, I did take the time to watch the one that featured BTS’ V and his friends, In the Soop: Friendcation.

This four-episode special was the idea of V aka Kim Taehyung. He wanted to go on a trip with his celebrity friends with cameras in tow. The Wooga Squad, as his friend group is popularly known, is Park Seojoon (actor - What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, Hwarang), Choi Wooshik (actor -Parasite, Train to Busan), Park Hyungsik (actor - Hwarang, Strong Girl Bong Soon), Peakboy (singer), and V (singer - BTS, actor - Hwarang). I have always been curious about the Wooga Squad because they are a close-knit group, and this show was on my list of Disney+ shows to watch. 


Thursday, January 12, 2023

Book Review: Almond

The recent Christmas holiday gave me a chance to read the books on my TBR pile. One of those books is Almond by Sohn Wonpyung. I only knew of this book from watching the first season of BTS’ In the Soop. RM and SUGA read this book in the show, with the latter seeming to highlight lines from the book so many times. I was curious about what it was all about, so I had to get my copy. 

Image Credit: Harper Collins

The book is from the point of view of the main character, Yunjae, who was born with a brain condition that prevents him from feeling emotions. Growing up, he had his mother and grandmother to support him, guiding him through the emotions that he cannot feel or understand in the hopes that he would be able to live and relate to others despite his condition. Sadly, on his birthday, both of his guardians become victims of a violent attack that kills his grandmother and leaves his mother in a coma, leaving him to learn for himself how to live in a world that does not understand his condition.


Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Falling Out Of Love With Basketball

Filipinos, for some strange reason, love basketball. You can throw a stone anywhere in the country and it would hit someone who is a fan. From the fanciest of places to the most rural of settings, you can find someone playing basketball. It could be in a gym, basketball court, or on a makeshift court on the street where people are playing in their slippers. That is how much basketball is loved in the country.

Image by Darek Beach from Pixabay

I grew up in a family full of basketball fans. Watching the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) on TV was a regular family activity. We all had our favorite teams and our favorite players. I was also a huge fan of college basketball, and I was serious about it too. I followed the games, and I was usually the type who would be screaming my heart out in the stands in support of my favorite team. I also had an NBA team that I was a major fan of, and I used to watch their games religiously.

Sometime after college, I suddenly lost my interest in basketball. I do not know how to explain it, but I just got to the point where I did not care about the sport the way I used to. It was weird since this was the time when people I knew from school were playing in the PBA. You would think that a personal connection to the sport would be enough to keep me interested but unfortunately, that was not the case.

These days, I am not familiar with the players in both the PBA and the NBA. I do not even know the names of the PBA teams anymore. It feels strange considering that I even had posters of basketball players on my wall when I was a kid.

I tried to get back into being a fan of the sport, watching PBA and NBA games on TV whenever I had the chance, but I could not get the excitement that I used to feel back again. I thought it was because I was also watching other sports at the time like boxing and football, or sports in general were not as important to me as they used to be. It was sad to think about since I loved basketball so much for so long. Do I need to find a team to root for to get that thrill back?

The excitement of watching a game is lost on me these days, but I still have an appreciation for the sport. I recently watched an NBA game on TV, and I am still in awe whenever I see a player or team play well. I still love seeing a good play, a good assist, or a shot when I watch a game. I still enjoy watching a basketball game if it is good, but the thrill I used to feel with the experience is just not there anymore. It does not help that the family is not as into basketball these days either. They still watch games, but they are not as big on the fandom as they used to be either.

I am not sure if it is just me, but the PBA does not seem as popular as it used to be, not like the way it was when I was younger. It is likely because there are so many other basketball leagues that have sprung up through the years. It is also possible that the pandemic changed people’s priorities. Or it could also be because of the recent popularity of volleyball in the country. Philippine basketball just feels different these days. I cannot even bring myself to watch a UAAP basketball game anymore no matter how excited people can be about it.

I may not be a basketball fan anymore, but I will always have a soft spot for it. The sport has given me so many good memories as a fan growing up. The excitement when your team is fighting for a win, the heartbreak of a loss, and the frenzy that happens when your team wins are memories that I will always have as a (former) basketball fan. Hopefully one day I can enjoy watching it again. 

We talked about the sports we like to watch in an episode of the Fandesals, where I also talked about being a basketball fan. You can check it out here:


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Netflix Picks: Partners for Justice

Binge-watching series (should we still call them TV series if it is not technically on TV?) has been the norm for me lately. I tend to watch them in the mornings when I work out. I have been watching Netflix often lately, which is how I recently discovered the Korean drama Partners for Justice. It popped up as one of my suggested shows and I decided to try watching it. I ended up watching and finishing the series.

The show is a crime/medical drama that revolves around Eunsol, a newcomer prosecutor who solves cases with the help of forensic doctor Baekbeom. I am normally the type who watches K-Dramas of the romance and drama category so watching a Korean crime drama was new to me. I have seen Criminal Minds Korea, but since it is a US franchise show, Partners for Justice is my first in terms of crime-themed K-Dramas. 


Monday, January 9, 2023

A Non-Gamer's Gaming Story

Gaming is not my thing. Playing games on a computer or a device is not something that I can entertain myself with for extended periods. I may start out trying a game, but I will not always have the patience to finish it. I play games to entertain myself so if things get hard and I cannot get past a certain stage, I will quit. If things get too repetitive, that will also make me give up completely. The only time I have ever played for hours was when I was playing Super Mario Brothers when I was younger.

Image by Joseph Redfield Nino from Pixabay

We talked about the games we play on an episode of the Fandesals Podcast (episode embedded below). We shared the games we played, from the point of view of non-serious/amateur gamers. I guess you can say we are casual gamers: people who play now and then to pass the time.


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Music Review: Jack in the Box

When BTS announced that they would be taking time apart to concentrate on solo projects, the world went crazy: media announced a hiatus/disbandment, and fans worried about missing the group. What we did not know then was that with the solo projects, fans would have even more BTS projects and merchandise to go out and support. There has been so much that it has left my wallet shaking!

The first one to “go solo” after the announcement was j-hope. He has had solo efforts in the past with his mix tape Hope World in 2018, but his latest project, Jack in the Box, is his first official solo album. The album first came out with the single More, followed by Arson, and these songs were highlights of his performance at Lollapalooza in 2022. 


Saturday, January 7, 2023

An Attempt at Budaejjigae

Years back I was out on the road at night with people from work. We were still a long way from home and the weather was so bad and there was zero visibility on the road, so we decided to stop somewhere to wait for things to clear up. We have not had dinner yet so we went into the nearest restaurant we could find and wound up in a small Korean place where I had Budaejjigae. It was so good that I promised myself that I would try to make this dish one day and this month, I finally did with the help of a recipe from the BTS Recipe Book!

Budaejjigae, also known as army stew, because (according to My Korean Kitchen) it incorporates American-style processed food into the stew (jjigae). Budae means military base, which was where Koreans sourced the surplus American food for this back in the 50s. 

I remember watching In the Soop and SUGA made this for everyone, commenting that preparing food for a large group of people was hard. I agree. The recipe book listed the ingredients as good for three people, so I had to adjust mine since more of us were supposed to eat it. I decided to multiply everything by two to make enough for my family.


Friday, January 6, 2023

Disney+ Review: Disenchanted

Enchanted was one of those Disney movies that I enjoyed watching back when it first came out in cinemas. Having a story where a fairy tale/animated character transitions to the real world (and vice versa) was cute. It was exciting to hear that it was going to have a sequel so when we finally had Disney+ here in the Philippines, my family and I sat down together to watch this (warning: spoilers ahead!).

Image Credit: Disney+

In this movie, they said that in the real world, the story does not end with happily ever after. In the case of the family of Robert, Giselle, and Morgan, it meant more things can happen after the couple ended up together. Real life happens. Morgan grows up and becomes a teenager with an awkward relationship with Giselle (who is still as insanely optimistic, naïve, and bubbly as ever) and there is also a new addition to the family, a baby girl named Sofia. The now larger family moves to suburbia, to the town of Monroeville, where the growing gap between mother and daughter gets worse. 


Thursday, January 5, 2023

Book Review: Arsenic and Adobo

Reading is an activity that I have always loved. Being able to finish reading fifty books in a year used to be a normal thing for me. However, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I stopped. I could not bring myself to pick up a book. I read one short romance novel last year but at the end of it, I did not feel the satisfaction that I normally felt from reading. 

Image Credit: Penguin Random House

I decided that it was time to go back to my reading roots. Mystery books, particularly the Nancy Drew series, were my category of choice back when I was a kid. I looked around for current and highly-rated mystery books and found myself getting the book Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala. It is a Nominee for Goodreads Best Mystery and Thriller in 2021. 

A mystery book featuring a Filipino family? It was just the right book for me to dive into to get out of my reader’s block. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2023

My Superhero Story

These days, superheroes are a massive thing. Big-budget movie (and TV) franchises that are big hits revolve around these superheroes. As someone who grew up in times when these superheroes were only in comic books and cartoons (or in live-action movies and shows that had less than impressive special effects), it is awe-inspiring to see how today’s technology has made these heroes come to life in ways that we never imagined in the past. Today they can make all these fictional worlds and people (and super beings) come to life so well that it seems believable for these characters to blend into the real world as they do in movies and TV. It gives children even bigger inspiration to dream of being heroes themselves.

Image by Kathrynne from Pixabay

I grew up being a fan of Wonder Woman. I remember watching Lynda Carter’s old show and loved how she portrayed Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. She was both feminine and empowered/strong at the same time. She was a good role model during my younger years. I credit my being a fan of hers back then to the fact that I started to veer toward strong female characters in the books I read, and in the shows/films that I watch. I would like to think that this helped me to grow up stronger and more empowered as a woman as well. 


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Disney+ Review: Soundtrack #1

Disney+ is a streaming service that I had been waiting for around a year before it finally became available here in our country. I have been hearing about the number of movies and shows that I liked that was in this service and was excited to start watching when I was finally able to sign up for it. One of the first shows that I watched from Disney+ was the Korean drama Soundtrack #1.

Photo Credit: Disney+

Starring Park Hyungsik and Han Sohee, the 4-episode series is about best friends whose relationship develops into a romance. I have heard so much about this show and I was very curious about how they could pull off a romance in just four episodes. It turns out that the concept is doable and that it was more entertaining than I expected it to be. 


Monday, January 2, 2023

Throwback: My Favorite Childhood Snacks

Fellow adults, I have a question: what gives you comfort after a stressful day? I have a bunch of things that give me comfort, but one of the things that helps me to de-stress is eating my comfort food. There is an even longer list of what types of food give me comfort which would make this too much to read so let me settle on one category: snacks from my childhood.

Image by b13923790 from Pixabay

There is something about eating snacks that I used to enjoy as a child that helps me to feel better after a long and tiring day. This is because these snacks remind me of simpler times, and it brings me back to memories of days when I did not have as many responsibilities and was able to do whatever I wanted. 


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Blanket Lady

If someone asked me what I wanted as a gift right now, I would answer one thing: blankets. I know it is weird because I live in a tropical country, and it is too hot to use a blanket, but I love them. I would like to try a weighted blanket or at least something close to it. A heavy blanket or a duvet…something heavier than a regular blanket but not as heavy as the weighted ones out in the market. I would need to turn on the air conditioning to use it though. 

Image by Myléne from Pixabay

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