Early Saturday

Gold Coast livin’ part two

Kia ora all! Sorry for the delay between parts one and two of my Australian adventure – I’m in full book mode and have been devoting the time I have to writing that. Nonetheless, here is part two.

So Kylie’s birthday was on the Wednesday – October 1 – and as a present to herself she got her hair did. We managed to score a free bus ride both ways by acting all touristy (asking how much it was, which coins had what value) until the bus drivers gave up in frustration and just said “it’s fine.”

That night, Mikayla took us out for a steak dinner at a nearby restaurant – one that happened to have deals on all mains on Wednesdays. I had a giant steak, but I didn’t take a picture of it because that’s silly.

Okay, it’s two weeks later now and I can’t remember what we did on each specific day. However, I believe it was the Friday where we went to see the coveted glow worm caves – again, no pictures, this time because it was pitch black.

We drove for like three hours to get to this place where we walked for another hour, down a steep hill, in the pitch black, with scary forest on all sides. Somehow, we avoided the drop bears and killer spiders and arrived at the glow worm caves, where we were greeted by a blue-greenish glow, which turned out was the worms’ butts. Some lady was yelling at people for even using a flashlight to avoid falling into the turbulent river a few feet away, so I’ll approximate a drawing of what the scene looked like.


As you can tell, it was very exciting.

Saturday during the day we went to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, which was a total blast. It’s where we got to see basically every cliché you’d attribute to Australia.

We went with Mikayla and her brother, Noah, who showed us around.  Luckily, we arrived just in time for the feeding of a MASSIVE CROCODILE (possibly alligator?)!!!!!


Afterwards, the croc wardens said we could HOLD THE ALLIGATOR (crocodile?) and I was like SHIT YEAH! They overplayed it a bit.


The wildlife sanctuary was pretty sweet. It had a bunch of different habitats, so instead of me rambling, I’ll show you pictures and give the names of the animals, if I can remember them.


This owl, who looked high as.


This wombat, who is actually the size of a dog.


Some koalas, socializing over some leaves from that tree I can’t spell the name of.


A god-damn Tasmanian Devil (like from Bugs Bunny, sort of).

We arrived at a theatre of sorts, just in time for a birds of prey show. One of them got pretty close to me.


There was also a giant pelican.


Of COURSE there were others, but I was a bit busy watching them catch bits of dead rabbit out of the air to take pictures, okay?

Next, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of going in a giant enclosure filled with starving kangaroos, and paying four dollars to feed them. Kylie came too.

CamKangaroo 20141004_150834

Unfortunately, that was the end of my day pretty much, as shortly after I stumbled into a giant spider’s web and was swiftly mauled to death.


Just kidding! Who did you think was writing this? Anyways, to cap off our day (actually, this time), we had to do the cliché tourist take-a-photo-with-a-koala.


My head is lost in a halo of light – as it frequently is – but you can see Kylie and the little bear pretty well.

After that heartwarming moment, we tried to feed some birds but they didn’t show up, so Kylie held a giant snake instead.


I took a photo from the side because we weren’t supposed to take photos but there was no way in hell I was paying 20 bucks for that picture.

The fun wasn’t over for the day, though. That night, Kylie, Mikayla, her friend Andrew, and I all went to a club and danced the night away. We got in with no cover and were allowed five-dollar drinks all night, and Kylie got free drinks to her heart’s content. We dragged her unconscious body out of the club around 10 p.m.

I’m pretty sure it was Sunday where we went shopping at a giant outdoor mall. Mikayla had some sort of appointment and Kylie tried on all the clothes in one store, so I wandered around looking uncouth with a two-litre jug of chocolate milk. I probably looked like a bogan. That night (possibly) we went to an opera in the park, which was pretty neat, if that’s your thing (it isn’t mine) – the food was good though.

Monday was an exciting day, as we tried stand-up paddle boarding. Basically, you get this thing that looks like a surfboard, and then you stand on it and paddle in some water. It was extremely difficult to find my balance on it, and being tall didn’t help, as the wind was trying to knock me into the water. Luckily the water was warm, because I spent a lot of time in it. OBVIOUSLY I didn’t bring my camera because that would have been stupid, but trust me, it was sweet as.

And finally, on Tuesday, Kylie and I took a train to Brisbane and spent the majority of the day at a lovely market/mall. Around dinner time, we met up with an old friend of mine – Franny – and she was nice enough to treat us to a delicious meal.


And of course, Kylie and I got the glamour shot in front of the bridge.


Sadly, after that it was time to catch the train back to Gold Coast – which we did, barely. It was an early night, as we had to be up at the crack of dawn to make our plane – which we did, barely. We landed in Auckland about four hours later, and our journey to Australia was complete.

Stay tuned! Posts coming up include our drive from Auckland to Christchurch (1,079km), our visit to the Shire, and a few questions for the creative ones among you reading this.

Thanks for reading, and give me a follow, won’t ya?

Twitter: @CamMParkes 
Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Australia, Blog, Early Saturday, Gold Coast, Holiday, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Casino nights and creative stints

Oh man, it’s been about two weeks since my last update. WAIT, I CAN EXPLAIN!

Things have been quite busy around here the last little while. We’ve managed to successfully get a place in Auckland as of July 31, which is a huge relief since it means we won’t have to camp out in a park or something. We fly down the 31 to August 2 for our first trip, then again on the 9 for good. Or, well, for eight weeks at least.

Kylie and I also went to the Christchurch casino for the first time, along with some friends; the casino has an all-you-can-eat burger night on Thursdays, so we partook in that before hitting the slots. After losing about ten dollars, a well-timed max bet netted me over five grand, so needless to say, the night was a success in the end. You’re not allowed to take pictures in the casino, so here is a representation of what happened.


You can tell I used to draw comics for a living, can’t you? Anyways, that comic isn’t the only form of creativity I’ve been practicing these last weeks. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been frequenting a site called Sporcle – it’s a site with tons of quizzes and you should definitely check it out if you have the time (and let’s be real, if you’re reading this, you have the time)! When you do, you should start by checking out the quizzes I have created, spending hours and hours getting them just right. Links are here:

Monopoly quiz – think you know Monopoly?

Zelda: Majora’s Mask logic/knowledge quiz – Logic and knowledge required.

Zelda: Ocarina of Time A-Z – Name the items associated with the best game of all time.


I’ve also been trucking away at my “novel” – I’ve set myself a personal goal of the end of November to be finished. I’m forty-seven pages in so far (~15,600 words) so it’s going well. I’ve been pushing myself to add 500 words per day and have mostly kept it up for the past while.

On the other end of the artistic spectrum, Kylie and I have been creating some lovely music, so here are some more links for you to check out, share, like, subscribe to, whatever you do on YouTube.

Hey Ho – Lumineers cover

No Rain – Blind Melon cover (featuring flute)

And I have a few on SoundCloud too:


I think that about covers the links I wanted to give you! I’d have way more content if I hadn’t finally decided to watch Breaking Bad. Holy shit, I just…wow.

Oh! I also lost my onesie virginity on Thursday.


More updates soon: Auckland in less than two weeks!

Follow along for updates, pictures and 15-second covers:

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes

(Ok there were two more links.)



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Music, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going-ons in Christchurch

Hi all – sorry for the longish absence. It’s been a busy last little while!

First off, happy belated Canada Day, and happy current Independence Day for all those ‘muricans that may read this.


I’ve now been in Christchurch, New Zealand for three months, and things are changing up a bit. Kylie and I celebrated our eleven months the other day, and as well, we got a room together at one of my landlady’s other houses – it’s only for five weeks or so, until we go to Auckland, but in addition to getting to live together, it’s saving us both a lot on our rents, which is nice.

Recently, we’ve been taking advantage of a sweet deal at the movies (five tickets for 50 bucks) and seeing all the new films as they come out. We’ve seen Transformers 4, 22 Jump Street, Edge of Tomorrow, a delightful NZ film called What we do in the Shadows, X-Men: Days of Future Past, probably more that I’m missing, and last night we saw How to train your Dragon 2.


In line for next week is Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and shortly after that, Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s been fun! When we’re not doing that, we’ve been busy looking for rooms, flights, etc. We have a good lead on a room in Auckland that won’t break the bank, and we’re hoping to confirm getting it this week. We’ve also started planning our trip to Australia, which will be in the first week of October most likely, and even started looking at flights home (gotta book early!) for some time in the new year.

In other news, I’m just over 10,500 words into my attempt at a fantasy novel, and the ideas are still flowing, so that’s good; I’m also creating quizzes on Sporcle – only one so far, but I have ideas. It’s just over a month into winter here, and the lowest the temperature has dipped is -2 degrees C. On average it’s about 12 degrees, so that’s nice.

Kylie got a job at a jewellery kiosk in the mall, so that’s keeping her busy as well as bringing in more income. Yay! Also, we’ve started doing covers of songs! Check it out on my Instagram (link below) or my YouTube page. Our goal is one per week.

To celebrate three months in New Zealand, here are some words we say that they say differently:

Us vs. Them

Counter – Bench
Trunk (car) – Boot
Gas – Petrol
Pop – Fizzy
Five-thirty (time) – Half-five
Canada – Canadia

That’s all for now, keep following for more updates.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes



Categories: Adventure, Auckland, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Holiday, List, New Zealand, Travel, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Antarctic excursion

Today, I wanted to surprise Kylie, so I took her on an impromptu date to the Antarctic.

Well, as close to the Antarctic as I’m likely to get – for the foreseeable future, anyways. Christchurch is actually only about 1,800km from one of the main Antarctic base camps – not all that far, really. We visited the International Antarctic Centre which, aside from providing tours and a range of activities, is actually the gateway for people venturing to the coldest, windiest, and driest continent in the world.

Kylie was quite a good sport about it; I sprung the fact that we were going on a date on her late Friday night, while we were waiting for a bus to take us to see Maleficent– which was very good, by the way – and that she wouldn’t be able to sleep in on her Saturday. Although I refused to tell her where we were going, she agreed, and we left for the bus stop around 10:10 Saturday morning.

She didn’t know where were going until we got off the bus and saw this:


We checked in at the main counter, and one of my fears was relieved; I had thought I’d have to plan out our order of activities, but that wasn’t the case. A nice lady at the counter gave us a little map and wrote times beside when we should go to specific activities. First up: a ride in a Hagglund.


The Hagglund is an amphibious Antarctic vehicle – and these were authentic ones. We boarded for the ride – but first we took a selfie.


The ride consisted of a trip around a unique course designed to recreate conditions of traversing the Antarctic tundra. Contrary to what you might believe, the ride wouldn’t be smooth; blowing winds spread dirt, gravel, and ice chunks over the surface, making it a bumpy ride, which we experienced. We also went up some steep inclines and plummeted down – the jostling had us gripping our handholds for dear life – and finally went through a small pond that was three metres deep. The Hagglund handled it with ease.


After our ride, we entered the Explorers’ Legacy room. It had lots of props, like a cabin, flags, penguins, and more, and also had changing lights and weather conditions, including a sunrise and “snow” (bubbles).


Showin' em who's boss

Showin’ em who’s boss


Next up, we went into the “snow and ice experience” – a room kept at -8 degrees Celsius, with snow and an ice slide and some cool props like an igloo and snowmobile. We put on authentic Antarctic coats, even though -8 is a warm spring day in Canada.

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Every half hour, an “Antarctic storm” would sweep through the room, gusting up to a terrifying 35kph and dropping the room’s temperature to -18.4 degrees Celsius with wind chill. This was a neat experience, as the lights went out and a voice crackled over a radio warning of an incoming storm. It reminded me of the day in April when I left home, except not quite as cold.

After we escaped from the Antarctic storm, we went to see a cool 4D movie about journeying to the Antarctic. The seats moved, we felt the cold spray of the ocean – and some seagull poop that hit us in the face – and saw some stunning cinematography.


After that neat little experience, we went to a gallery of Antarctic memorabilia, including rocks and fossils, equipment, food samples, and much more. There was a station where you could dress up in authentic gear again – we didn’t bother with the pants, gloves, boots, hats etc., but I tried on a jacket that looked a lot like a Western University official Canada Goose jacket.


Finally, we wandered into the Little Blue Penguin exhibit. These guys are the smallest species of penguin, and, as you’d expect, are adorable.


It’s actually quite a touching story – each of the penguins (there are about 12 I think) were rescued. They all have some sort of disability which would have made it highly unlikely that they survived in the wild, and were brought to the IAC to live their lives. One, named Marty, was born with her left leg paralyzed, and so swims in a peculiar fashion; she also has her own spot near the corner of their enclosure.


Another one is missing a leg, a few are blind in one eye, and one, named Toto, is 23 years old and has cataracts and Alzheimer’s. Only two per cent of penguins live to age 20 – most last six or seven years – so she’s truly remarkable. We stayed around for feeding time, and then visited the gift shop to pick up some swag. Kylie got some shirts and kindly purchased me a coffee travel mug.

All in all it was quite a fun day, with immersive experiences and a bit of education thrown in to boot. It almost makes me want to visit the Antarctic…although I’ll probably settle for just going home.

Twitter: @CamMParkes

Instagram: cam_parkes




Categories: Adventure, Blog, Christchurch, Early Saturday, Holiday, New Zealand, Place to see in Christchurch, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday morning musings: a new adventure

There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of “if you love something, set it free; if it comes back to you, it’s yours.”


I think that saying, while perhaps “deep” or whatever, would better read “if you love something, set it free; then follow it to the ends of the earth, if that’s what it takes.”

I am living up to that fake quote I just made up. One month from today, I leave myFM – not because I don’t like my job, because I do; but I’ve been presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.

I am going to work, and live, in New Zealand.

Obviously a big plus about this move is that I’ll get to be reunited with Kylie. I’m also getting to recognize my dream of one day exploring Kiwi Island, as well as potentially Australia.

I’m going to be freelance writing while I’m there, to start anyways, and may pursue other interests like voice acting.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime, dream-come-true opportunity, and I’m happy to grab it by the horns and take it full on. Is it a big change? Uh, heck yes. Will I be able to handle it? Uh, even MORE heck yes.

I head out there April 2, and will be there until December or January 2015. I’m sure I’ll be posting updates and stuff in the meantime, so feel free to read them – at the very least, it will give you something to talk about, right?

If you want to hang out or whatevs prior to then, that’d be cool too.

Follow me on Twitter if you want to be a part of the adventure!



Categories: Blog, Early Saturday, Holiday | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Saturday Morning Musings: Adventure Time

Oh man, is this becoming a trend? Perhaps if I blog on Saturday mornings for enough of them, I can write a shitty book called “Saturday Morning Musings” which will already be written since it will just be a compilation of my blog posts, then sell it and get super rich?

(As always, tl;dr at the bottom.)

Currently I’m sitting in the office, alone as always on Saturdays (see my last Saturday morning post). The smell of wet carpet permeates the air, despite the myriad of de-humidifiers and fans going. We had a flood of sorts at the office yesterday; a pipe burst and soaked almost the entire space. Thankfully, our IT equipment and studio escaped harm – regretfully, my desk did not, and I lost a good notebook. It was just pages away from retirement, too.

Anyways, today will be a REVIEW SATURDAY!

(Hold for applause)

In the last several weeks, Kylie and I saw a bunch of movies, as we are wont to do on cheap Tuesdays. They’re not the real reviews, though, so I’ll sum ‘em up quick:

Frozen: awesome movie, even though it was a Disney one and perhaps geared to younger humans than I. The snowman provides comedic relief that is actually funny, there’s a twist at some point I didn’t see coming – and I always see things coming – and also apparently Kristen Bell can sing. I tweeted her about that and she responded with a very sarcastic tweet, but who cares? She’s a celebrity and can do what she wants.

American Hustle: fairly good movie, although a little boring at times. Great acting by some big names though – Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, and Christian Bale all put in solid performances. And of course, Jennifer Lawrence put on a great performance, was drop dead sexy, and also SPOILER ALERT kisses a girl!!!! The only issue really was with the accents – they were inconsistent for most of the movie.

Anchorman 2: not as funny as I was hoping, and a few bad cuts, but otherwise almost exactly what you’d expect. We saw it with only like three other people in the theatre, so I think it’d have been funnier if there had been a whole theatre of people to laugh along with.

Okay now that those are out of the way, the real review: possibly the best show of all time, Adventure Time.

Adventure Time features Jake the Dog and Finn the Human going on adventures throughout the Land of Ooo. Several hints throughout the series indicate that this is a post-apocalyptic world, where Finn is the only human (or is he???) and all other beings have been morphed into various weird things. Like the Candy Kingdom – all the subjects are candy that can talk and stuff.

Finn is the hero, along with his adoptive-magic-dog-brother Jake. Jake can change his size and shape at will.

The “damsel-in-distress” is Princess Bubblegum – and she’s rarely actually in distress. In fact, multiple times it’s up to her to save the day, and she usually comes through.

The “bad guy who doesn’t really do much bad stuff” is the Ice King. He stirs up trouble, but nothing more serious than kidnapping princesses and forcing them to marry him, usually. He also is a link to the past, and in a few episodes, offers explanation into what happened to the world.

Marceline the Vampire Queen is another main female character. She’s a vampire queen. She knows the Ice King from before the world went to hell, and while most people can’t stand him, she has a soft spot for him. She also rocks out on the bass guitar and is like, super deep – understandable, since she’s 1000 years old.

Guys, this series is weird. You have to have a certain type of humour to like it – fortunately, it’s my exact type of humour. At its base, it appeals to younger kids – the animation, language and simplicity of the obvious theme seems geared to them. But the subtext – the pre-apocalypse parts, double meanings of jokes, and occasional venture into alternate universes and timelines – appeals to adults as well.

There hasn’t been an episode of Adventure Time I’ve watched during which I haven’t laughed uproariously. When I was at the Gazette one time a worker came out to see what was going on because I was pissing myself laughing.

I highly recommend watching this show. Each episode is a mere 11 minutes long, so you can burn through a season in like…nine hours. Oh yeah, there are about 50 episodes per season.

Currently they’re on episode 43 of season 5 – and actually, this post comes at the perfect time, because a new episode airs Monday (and each Monday after that, in the nature of a series).

In the meantime, you can watch every single episode right here. Seriously, you can get through them all in one lazy week. Or I guess you could do homework, nerd.


Frozen was great, American Hustle was pretty good but sometimes boring, Anchorman 2 was what you’d expect, and Adventure Time is an amazing show so watch the episodes here.

Follow me like that photographer follows his girlfriend:



PS. If you laughed when I said I always see things coming, GROW UP.

Categories: Blog, Early Saturday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s 5 a.m. I must be lonely


As I sit here in the almost-unfathomable early hours of a Saturday morning – okay, it’s after 9:00, which isn’t too terrible, but I’ve been here since 5:00 a.m. – I can’t help but feel that this time of day is under-appreciated.

Getting up before the sun is up on any day sucks ass. When it’s extremely cold out, it’s even worse. When the reason you’re getting up before the crack of dawn is to go to work, your life sucks. And if that’s on a weekend? Oh, the humanity.

The only possible reason one should be up on a Saturday before noon is if they’re taking a page out of Calvin’s book:

And even that’s pushing it. I – or my body – made the decision long ago that more sleep was better than cartoons. And eating breakfast. And getting shit done. And seeing friends and family. But I digress.

Now, through my sleep-crusted eyes, I’m looking at things in a different way. Many bloggers (or, in my case, people who occasionally write stuff down and it happens to get online) consider themselves experts on everything, for whatever reason. Perhaps some of them really are. I always spout of crap that I shouldn’t really have any say in – did you see my New Year’s article? I’m not a scientist or anything, I just listed a bunch of stuff I thought based on common sense and not being an idiot (actually, remember my contributor Laura? She has a blog now! Check it out here). But this…this, my friends, I know all too well.

The Saturday morning 5 a.m. shift.

Most of you probably cringed, and maybe let out a low whistle followed by a “man, sucks to be THAT guy.” You probably did this while still in your PJs, nursing your second cup of coffee for the day – oh, and despite the fact I’ll probably post this sometime between 8:30 and 9:00, it’s almost certainly noon or after when you get around to reading this.

Well, guess what loyal readers? I LIKE early morning Saturday shifts. And on this, I AM an expert – I’ve worked at 5 a.m. or earlier every Saturday – with a few exceptions – for seven months. Now, let me explain.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a social butterfly. I love interacting with people – which is good, given the nature of my job is to interact with people. However, everyone needs their alone time. If you say you don’t, you’re a liar. My alone time is from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon. I’m the last one to leave the office Friday, and the first –and usually only – to come in Saturday. And there’s something about that I like.

Early shifts during the week aren’t the same. There are always a few other people burning the midnight candle, or going in early to catch up on work. As the day wears on, other people come into the office and the normal hubbub begins. Not so on the weekend.

While every other sane person is tucked under their covers – or, many times during the summer, just getting home from the bars – I’m hauling my ass out of bed to the jangle of three simultaneous alarms. I make the trek to Tim Horton’s faithfully – the poor kitchen worker, who definitely probably wouldn’t agree with me liking Saturdays, knows me well enough to give me a tray without asking – and head into work, the world still quiet and peacefully sleeping. The majority of these days that Tim Horton’s worker is the only person I see. There’s a serene feel to the world in the early hours of the morning, and it’s something you can only find at that time when you’re in a city.

Besides the beauty of being able to ponder the meaning of my existence uninterrupted, there’re more perks to working the Saturday AM shift. For one, that means I get a day during the week off. Basically, I work for two days, get a day off, work for three days, and get another day off. I’ve found I like this a lot more than working five straight days followed by a weekend off. This, in turn, makes it easier to see people who work jobs that involve working weekends.

Working 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. leaves the entire rest of the day open. Most Saturdays, granted, I’ll take a nap after work – but I’m still up and kicking by late afternoon. This leaves plenty of time for a well-rested me to haul ass to a chum’s place for beers and the Leafs game, should the invitation be there (it is sometimes). Or, if not, I have the entire evening to do what I want. This mostly involves eating and playing Halo, but sometimes I clean or do laundry or get my haircut or shave or something.

It actually makes for an easier Friday. I can’t speak for all jobs, but Saturday at the radio station is kind of a neutral day. During the week I gather stories, but on Saturday it’s just news casting. No new stories go into rotation, barring any breaking news. This means stories I gather on Friday don’t need to be completed until Sunday evening, to run Monday. So as long as I gather interviews, I can write a story or two on Saturday, or even Sunday, should I get busy Friday. Personally I like to write them Saturday, as I have a bit of time to spare (as you may be able to tell).

I have a bit of time to spare. My responsibilities on Saturdays are to news cast for four markets. Once I’m done that, I have to monitor the stations and change anything that needs changing, but other than that, I have all the time in the world to finish stories, crush candy, or write blog posts. Or sometimes, watch cartoons. In fact, a Saturday morning shift was how I discovered Adventure Time, and The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack (post to come on these hilarious cartoons).

Sometimes I do chat with people via Facebook at 5 a.m. Some friends of mine live across the world, meaning the wee hours of the morning here are prime time to talk with them; also, local friends who have just finished work sometimes want to rant before going to bed.

Basically, here’s a tl;dr: sometimes isolation is good. It’s entirely possible that I go Friday from about 5 p.m. to Monday morning without interacting face-to-face with anyone, and sometimes I like that.

In fact, if I didn’t literally talk for a living, enjoy singing in the shower, yell at video games, or talk to my lovely lady friend daily on the phone, I could go that whole time without saying a word.

Saturday: the day I put in an eight-hour shift, beat probably like ten levels of Candy Crush, read a hundred comics, get a haircut, shower, shave, nap, and wake up – all before you get your lazy ass out of bed.

You really should try to be more like me.

(A good start is to follow me on Twitter to…uh…observe me?

@CamMParkes )


Categories: Blog, Early Saturday, Satirical | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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