Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

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acitteg
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Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

I watched the crash course on Sunday night.  It's now Thursday and I'm obsessively reading websites, prodding my friends to take the crash course, spinning out scenerios with my husband.  One second I'm in total survivalist mode: what do I have, what do I need, what can I do?  and the next minute I'm trying to figure out if there will be anything to live for if the worst case scenerios come true. 

 

I like how Chris breaks down the planning (stuff you can do now, stuff you can do that will disrupt your life a bit, stuff that will really change your life), but I'm having trouble keeping focused.  

 

I guess I feel like I'm grieving a bit for the future I thought I had.  We just bought a house with room enough to start a family, (but of course, that seems like a worrisome--or even foolhardy--prospect under the circumstances).  My job's going well, my husbands job is going well.  And then this.  

 

Hard to focus.  Do we invest in solar for the house or will it be taken away from us when we inevitably lose our jobs?  Do we sell a car, put the cash in gold?  Do we sell both cars and buy hybrid?  Do we replace all the windows or is that fool-hardy because they'll only be broken by the angry hordes?  Do we install a security system or will that, too, be a waste of money because the police will no longer exist?  Do we buy guns?  Do we take on a lodger to help us with expenses?  

 

Do we spend our limited resources on buying tools to produce our own food or just stock up on preserved food in the expectation that it's all going to return to normal again after the disaster?

 

How do I make a community out of the group of keep-to-yourself neighbors without coming off sounding like a nut job ("Hi, I live across the street.  I'd like to get to know you better to make sure that in the event of the end of the world, you decide that it's more mutally beneficial to trade with me than to steal my food.")

 

And what will be valuable during the disaster?  Energy, for sure.  Food.  But what else?  What will be needed to trade with if all our systems have broken down?

 

I suddenly feel the 400 miles that stretches between me and my aging parents.  I suddenly realize that I know so few people in this town even though I've been here 4 years.  I don't have kids.  I don't have pets.  So how would my neighbors get to know me?  I'm not religious, so I don't have that community ready-made.  

 

 How will this all go down?  How much time do we have?  

 

I'm heartbroken to think of how small the world will get when we lose the internet.  When we can't make calls to family, friends...  Will the postal service still work?  

 

I can't go on like this.  Too uncertain.  Limited financial resources, limited time.  How can I prepare myself on all fronts?  I can't.  But it's consuming me.  I want to be responsible and act like an adult and take precautions, but how do you prepare yourself for something this big?

 

I want to tell everyone I know about this crash course, but I also feel like now that I know, the stress and anxiety that have come with the knowledge are too much to burden other people with.  I have friends who are undergoing treatment for cancer.  Do I stress them out with this?  But how can I not?  

 

Sorry for venting here.   I'm sure all of you have gone through this same space.  Has anyone out there got some genuine hope they can spare for me?  

 

 

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Arthur Vibert
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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

acitteg -

You can't do everything at once, and that's okay. The good news is that you've made yourself aware, so you're already ahead of the game. Most people have no idea that things could get bad, or just be different.

If you've seen the Crash Course then you know that you're going through the various stages of emotional reaction to learning about what's really happening in the world. You're grieving for the world you thought you were going to have and probably won't. That's normal, and to be expected. It will pass.

I would encourage you to get to know your neighbors. Have a barbecue, invite everyone within easy walking distance. Sound people out without being too obvious about your views. You will find someone who is open to the ideas presented in the Crash Course. Don't discuss it at the party. Get to know them and introduce it gradually, so they know you're not crazy - just concerned. Get involved in various community activities, like food banks. If they don't have one where you live, find out about starting one and get others to help.

Meanwhile continue to research. I would encourage you to read Sharon Astyk's blog:

www.sharonastyk.com

She is all about preparing on a budget. She's great, and I think she will make you feel A LOT better about doing what you can in anticipation of an uncertain future. She also has a couple of books that are well worth reading. By the way, she has 4 children. It's possible to prepare AND have children. Don't despair.

I would learn about Transition Towns. You can start at the Transition Towns wiki:

http://www.transitiontowns.org/

and go from there. Depending on where you live you may find that there is already a Transition Town or a community thinking about becoming a Transition Town nearby.

The key thing here is GET INVOLVED. One way to feel better about the future is to DO SOMETHING. Once you start, you will find others who have been waiting in fear and are relieved that they aren't the only ones.

Congratulations! You should feel good about taking the first steps. You won't be caught off guard when things get bad (like they aren't already!).

Arthur

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Ditto the Sharon Astyk recommendation. I learned about her through someone else's recommendation here. Now my wife and I are taking an online course from Sharon on Food Storage and Preservation. She's excellent at helping you feel good about taking baby steps...or should I say going at whatever pace you're able.

 

About the stress etc. you might want to look at Chris's article The Six Stages of Awareness under Essential Articles here if you haven't seen it.

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

I had the opposite reaction upon viewing The Crash Course, that is, one of relief and (measured) hope. Relief that others feel as I do regarding the direness of our situation, i.e, I'm not crazy, and 2) hope that through his eloquence and determination (and also with the wide reach of  the Internet) Chris' message will reach enough people so that, as a nation and a planet, we will be somewhat prepared to collectively tackle the challenges that lie ahead. Having said that, I have no idea how things are going to play out, but I suspect not very well. To that end my wife and I are not having any children. We're trying to stay fit so that we can fend for ourselves and are learning skills such as gardening, and my wife has taken up canning foods and sowing. 

My main hope, however slim,  is that Chris' message reaches millions of people across the planet and effects profound change so we can tackle this thing together as a global community.To that end I've been trying to spread the word about The Crash Course.

 

 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi

 

It is quite a shock to find out what you now know.

Read http://www.peakprosperity.com/martensonreport/six-stages-awareness

Also check out other essential article in the "Learn" menu

Go to the forums and read old threads to see what has been discussed in the past

Sounds as though your husband is on board which helps.

Get used to being thought of as a nutter

Now days we look at everything soooo differently ( new parking building being built at an airport that will never be paid off... )

 

Cheers Hamish

 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Wow.  Okay.  Deep breath. 

 Sharon's great.  I like her tone.  The story on her website: "He Was Magnificent: What You Can Do When You Have To" was a breath of fresh air.  When the time comes for great deeds, humans can surprise even themselves.  (Yeah adrenaline!)

And you're right about the getting involved thing.  It's time.  Knowing my neighbors will help tamp down the irrational fear of them a la The Road.  (Great book, but DANG!  It's hard to shake!)

And it's so helpful to hear voices of reason who have made it past these early stages.  The friends of mine that I have passed the crash course on to have responded with varying levels of indifference and that's hard to understand. I keep thinking, "what's not to get?" But I'm wary of being seen as that crazy person who keeps talking about the world coming to an end.  

 Phew.  Another deep breath.  Deep.  Breath.  

 Thanks, Arthur.

 

 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Alex, the funniest thing about my reaction is that my overwhelming negative emotional reaction happened simultaneously with the positive reaction--that we're aware, that we have time to do something positive about it. 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi Hamish,

 Thanks, yes, he's on board.  We're still trying to figure out where on the spectrum we sit.  But it's good to have a partner in this.  

I hope the more people that know, the less I'm going to be the nutter and the more the ostriches (with their heads in the sand) will feel like the crazy ones.  I only wish the realization process weren't so painful!

It would be great if there was a segment on the website which allowed us to be put in contact with people by geographic region.  I'd love to find some like-minded folks in my area to start the conversation.  Surely there's a way to do that and also preserve people's privacy if they want it?

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Yes there is emotional pain and panic. Let it go it's course as it is a neccessary step toward acceptance. Many people get stuck in denial so you are doing well. Hold back from stangers and many friends until it has settled. You won't be able to stop yourself from talking about it. Don't squander your resources. Hold off with anything big until you are both more settled. When I was panicing I felt that if I didn't act I would not survive. Resist that feeling. Give yourself space.

If you want to do something in these early stages then look at storing and growing food if you can afford it. I made huge lists of things that we could need and then prioitized them by both importance and affordability. Keep in touch with this site but don't dwell on the news here. Charging all over the internet is not very healthy although entirely understandable. I agree about Sharon - she is great. It is all easier to say than do - I know and so does my partner whose reaction has been to grow more food while I rather noisily panicked.

Don

_____________________________________________________________________

"And those that create out of the haulicaust of their inheritance, anything more than a convenient self-made tomb, shall be known as survivors." from a Keith Jarrett record cover. 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi Don,

 Also really good advice (give yourself space, don't dwell on this website or on the news, make a plan and start taking baby steps).  

 I think my biggest challenge will be letting it sit quietly in my mind without me constantly worrying about it.  I've totally wasted most of my day here in that crazed gotta-read-everything-right-now mentality!  (My google searches today have ranged from how to raise, butcher and pluck chickens to bee-keeping to searching the internet for large air-tight tubs for holding dry goods to... well.  You get the point.  

I've long thought that a little adversity will make a person stronger and I guess we're due for some strengthening! 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi everyone, I am fairly new to the site (I believe this is my first post), have watched the Crash Course (excellent job Chris), and I'm just starting to dive into the forums.  I agree with acitteg that a voluntary list of members by location could be very helpful, that is if it doesn't already exist and I just haven't found it yet...

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi acitteg

Work hard to find the humour in it. Thats what started to bring me out of my panic. I had to ration myself to internet time because real things didn't get done - got it down to less than an hour a day on average. Build a small list of sites you really need to see and let the rest go. I have five now and this is the prime.

You are doing ok.

Don

_________________________________________________________

7 billion people can be wrong, very wrong

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Don,

 Would you mind sharing your list of 5 sites?  I'm looking for sanity and information here...

Thanks!

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi again acitteg. Happy to

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/  Dmitry Orlov is one of the best writers I have found to make sense of the present and future situation.

http://www.mikeruppert.blogspot.com/

http://www.ranprieur.com/

http://sharonastyk.com/ mentioned below

and of course here.

I peek a look at Kunster occassionally but am not a devoted fan.  He is a smart thinker, talker but I find his range rather narrow. http://jameshowardkunstler.typepad.com/ http://www.kunstlercast.com/

lastly

My understanding of the big picture, at least present and past, comes from reading Daniel Quinn who wrote Ismael, Story of B and My Ismael, latest book (name says it all) is Beyond Civilization.

Don

_________________________________________________________

Anyone can trade for what they want, only fools trade for what they need.

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi scbissler and welcome to the site. Hope you like what you find and stay a while.

I don't know of any such list and would agree with you that it is a good idea. Think it has been discussed before maybe using ip addresses but that only works for some and doesn't allow contact. You can make email to you available as a user option if you want.

Not a lot of Kiwi's here but a few. Large percentage of site traffic comes from outside the US so I am told.

Don

____________________________________________________

Our greatest strength is diversity, our greatest weakness complacency

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi Don, and thanks for the welcome.  I intend on staying around.  And I bet your nice and warm down there in NZ.  Right now it's a lovely 0 degrees F here in Ohio.

 I wasn't thinking of anything complicated, more like a forum thread with a sticky where folks could put in their info if they so choose.  Anyone?

 Scott 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

and a Hi to acitteg, 

here's a link to an article on predictions for 2009 that I found interesting :

 http://www.strike-the-root.com/91/allport/allport1.html

 I particularly enjoyed his conclusion, and thought you might too : 


"Birds will still sing in the coming year.  Life will go on despite the economic downturn, and despite whatever other problems we encounter. Economic turmoil and even hyperinflations are nothing new, and in fact they are common. Our ancestors – even our parents or grandparents, in many cases – lived through depression and war and political upheaval and all manner of other hardship. Difficult times are a normal part of the human condition – yet lovers still kiss, babies still smile, and a summer's afternoon remains a bit of heaven.   A major goal for this column has been to encourage you to prepare, in whatever way make sense to you, for unpleasant jolts in the year ahead. Learn to garden, start a neighborhood group,  buy  some silver coins, move to Argentina – whatever your own sense of the situation points to.  Sensible preparation could make a huge positive difference in your life. That doesn't mean it will;  nothing is certain and safety is always an illusion. Wearing your seatbelt might not save  you in a car accident – but still, you'd be a fool not to buckle up. "

 

Scott 

  

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction
acitteg wrote:

And it's so helpful to hear voices of reason who have made it past these early stages.  The friends of mine that I have passed the crash course on to have responded with varying levels of indifference and that's hard to understand. I keep thinking, "what's not to get?" But I'm wary of being seen as that crazy person who keeps talking about the world coming to an end.  

I have some of the same difficulties.  I agree, "What's not to get?"  Obiously, one of the problems is that everyone wants life to continue as it has.  Not happening.  Every day brings another revelation that people thought they would never see...if they are paying attention.  Unfortunately, my wife is one of those that is not on board.  Not that it affects my preparation, but it would be much more enjoyable if she had the same perspective as I.  I found that the only way I could keep from running around like a madman was to have a written list of priorities.  I still have moments where I get sidetracked.  However, it has helped me get past that initial stage of manic confusion.

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Its great to hear some other people who have had the same reaction. I found a friend of mine who was at the same stage and she hadn't seen the CC, just had been reading Sharon Astyk. We clung to each other like drowning people as we worked through the initial panic stage.  Then we realized the electricity wasn't going off tomorrow and we too could breath.

 

Then she found Transition Town. We have launched ourselves into the hopeful movement. I strongly recommend checking it out both on Google and youtube.  Rob Hopkins who started TT said that 'it is possible that life could be better without so much energy". I find that idea very appealing.

 

For me, this is both scary and energizing.

 

Lets all keep sharing these feelings

 

Kate

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Thanks to everyone for being here and doing your best.

I'm from Lancaster PA .If anyone is nearby, I'd love to discuss local needs for support etc.

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

I agree with Scott--

Perhaps something like how Craig's list breaks it down--Nation, State, Zone in state.  The other thing I like about the Craig's list model is that it allows people to send annonymous emails--that will allow folks the opportunity to get to know each other without having to divulge precious contact information. 

 I'd like to be able to see the screen name of the person in the Nation, State and Zone that they live, then be able to click on that screen name, find out what they want to share in their profile, then have the option to send an email through the site (which would display my screen name), but users would have to manually divulge actual contact information (real email, telelphone, etc.) to get in contact. 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Thanks to everyone who has passed on words of support.  I was buoyed yesterday afternoon and then sunk back again yesterday evening during the "do we sell our house" discussion. 

The most frightening bit to get my mind around is the possibility of the failed state.  That is just too horrible to comprehend.  We agreed at the outset to set those possibilities aside because it's just impossible to plan for, yet despite the agreement, it was clear that that possibility was still very much on our minds and coloring our discussion.  And gripping us (at least me) with fear.  

Okay, so we've got the six stages of awareness: 

1) denial

2) anger

3) bargaining

4) fear

5) depression

6) acceptance

 

Chris laid out everything so well that I think I skipped pretty briefly through denial, landed for a few minutes on anger, skated by bargaining (I think) and have landed squarely in the fourth stage.  

I do see glimmers of hope.  We are reasonable, creative, thinking adults here--there's no reason to think that we, as a group, can't find a way to avoid the more horrible aspects of what this change can bring.   I am thankful that I've got my health.  I am thankful that I found out about this now.  I am thankful that my darling husband is on board and keeping me from diving into a deep tailspin.  I am thankful that I've been hearing voices of support and that I'm not alone.

 But am I scared?  Yes I am.

Incidentally, I'm in Frederick, MD.

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi Acitteg,

I have gone through the stages as well and recommend not making decisions out of fear.  Best to wait till acceptance and you won't regret the decisions you have made.  While the conclusions the crash course suggests seem obvious given the facts, how they play out and at what time scale is still an unknown and dependent on how the people and their representatives in government react at each moment of change/crisis.  Humans lived for thousands of years without oil, debt based money, or lots of gadgets we take for granted and by some measures in some places and times lived happy lives.  I hope we can have as much social organization as we need to continue the advances of emergency medicine and basic science.

Welcome to the community,

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi Acitteg,

Thank you for sharing so clearly your journey with this very difficult material.  I have been aware of Peak Oil for four years now and I still struggle with fear especially as the concerns discussed become reality.

 I too love Sharon's writings.  Additionally, if you want to learn about food storage, Sharon has a Yahoo group called Sharon Food Storage where we help each other break down this very important step into manageable chunks and support each other when our efforts don't quite work out.  You can check it out here:

  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sharonfoodstorage/

 

I really agree with Chris' approach of breaking things down into manageable steps.  It really helped me feel more secure and less overwhelmed.

 

Good luck!

--Suzie

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Acitteg...

 

Besides earlier wise counsel posts above, suggest take next several weeks to learn and understand, but don't obsess.

 

With time and support from others, your views and emotions will balance.  

 

FWIW...I've shared much of Chris's views for years before I came to his site in early November. 

I'm actually more optmistic than pessimistic.  Suggest take time to learn and understand all the issues, assumptions, and where real answers will come from.  Couple this with enduring human principles and values, my first hand experiences in disasters in three wars, two volcanic eruptions (Mt St Helens, Pinatubo), recent floods where I live in Iowa; found we can deal with anything with above.

 Keep the faith!

Nichoman 

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hi David, hi Suzie,

 Thank you for your words of support!  Yes, I must keep in mind that this will not happen tomorrow.

We're currently worried that the market for houses and cars is not doing very much, so even if we wanted to sell I'm not sure we'd have much luck with buyers.  

 Yes, happiness is not dependent upon gadgets, but I can name a few gadgets that I'm pretty sure I'd miss (refrigerator, food processor, wash machine, cell phone, to name a few) that make life a lot easier.  What an adjustment to going without!  

 Yes, the flip side is that life's pace will ultimately maybe slow down a little bit... No more 60 hour weeks...?

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Hey Suzie

Are you in the current food storage class? I am and it's a great help for the practical steps as well as the encouragement. Sharon has an amazing attitude. Plus,  she must be plugged into her own  personal form of alternative energy! I don't know how it's possible to do what she does!  As you know, she includes a weekly phone call as part of the course. She called me last night and it was great to ask her  some things directly...and I'm hoping some of her energy and attitude will rub off on me.

Jerry Lee of Lancaster PA

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Jerry,

Although it sounds absolutely great, I am not in that class.  I simply don't have time for it right now.  Yes, Sharon is amazing.

 Here is another resource for you.  The University of Georgia has an online food preservation class that is free and self-paced.  Here's the link:  http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/#

I have not taken this class either but t was recommended to me by Pat Meadows who runs the Yahoo group healthycheapcooking where we learn how to make healthy meals from basic ingredients.  If you are interested in this Yahoo group, here's the link:     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/healthycheapcooking/

In my old, fast-paced corporate life I used to eat out 5 or 6 times a week and knew nothing about cooking with whole grains and beans.  This group has really helped me learn how fun, less expensive, and easy it is to cook healthy.  The recipes that we share are posted in the group files, so new members can easily find things to try.

--Suzie

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The Truman Show

I just finished watching The Truman Show with Jim Carey on TBS.  When he starts figuring out that everything is a sham is exactly how I feel now.  Seems like everything is smoke and mirrors and people are starting to realize that we are being taken for fools.

Just an observation. 

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capesurvivor
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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

Acciteg,

Do keep a perspective on things. The world is not ending tomorrow. Also, keep in mind that those 6 (actually 5) stages Chris mentioned are just rough constructs as seen by most of us in mental health. Some people don't go through them all; some backtrack, some times they don't seem to be helpful. The worst therapists try to push their patients into or through the stages. Don't try to track your coping skills based on those stages; I find them not as helpful as many other aspects of the Crash Course. They were derived on observations decades ago of folks dying in hospitals; it is not clear to me how well they relate to impending massive changes at an uncertain time in the future.

Most studies that inquire about people's optimism show that, while people may think the future of the country is poor, for example, they have considerably more optimism about their own future. Individual initiative and planning and unconscious faith in oneself to cope with problems go a long way.

 

SG

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Re: Grief, stress, and planning: reaction

I'm sure this isn't everyone's cup of tea but it is worth reading.  This is from a guy who went through the Argentinian finacial troubles in 2001.  It is more aimed at survivalis, but has some resonance as to what the future might hold

 http://www.frugalsquirrels.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=044387;p=1

 

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