Flippin Sweet Dude

December 11, 2018

Week 3 Update

Filed under: Missionary — aaron @ 6:07 pm

[Comments from dad, Rigil is a goat we took backpacking earlier this year, up by Kings Peak. This letter is mostly unedited, and I think Nathan must be learning Spanish well, because his English skills are falling apart ]

This week’s experiences:
I asked one of my Spanish teachers, how do you say “no pain, no gain” as a joke for lifting weights everyday and being made fun of for it, and then I realized that that applies to more than just physical pain, which wasn’t too deep, but a good thing to keep in mind. I have also further ingrained that every day in life, not just in here, is exactly what you make of it. To the point that you could get hit by a school bus, whether or not that day was a good or a bad day comes down to your attitude. It is a good thing to keep in mind while not achieving perfection, but being asked for it.

Rules of 3: If for any reason at all you see something in the scriptures, here something in a talk, or have a spiritual experience with something, or any combination of those things, if it happens 3 times or more it is because God is trying to teach you something about that. There is several times that this has happened to me this last week, some of the following are included:

The Lord God brings to pass his work by Simple Words ( in Jacob 7, I believe twice)
It may not be doctrine, but God feeds his sheep “one by one” ( 3 Nephi 11 ) I think that if it is at all possible, the Saviors atonement is eternal and infinite, because He suffered for us one by one. As a whole, we are all covered under the atonement, and it would have taken an eternity to have that experience one by one, but is God not all powerful? Is our conception of time not limited on this world? Just my thoughts

Also I have further ingrained my belief that God wants to answer our prayers quickly and perfectly because He is such a loving being. I would invite you all to start every morning and every evening this week with a prayer on your knees and just dump your heart out to God each time. I promise you you will find blessings and answers if you do this.

Okay random stuff this week:
I am up to 68 sneezes since I left home (Yes I have been counting)
I have been getting buff like crazy. I lift for one hour every day and by the time one muscle group is finally not sore any more, I am already using it again. The fatigue helps me to burn off steam and keep my stress down. I am losing weight, looking good and feeling very mentally healthy. I am going to come back with a 6 pack and not be a toothpick.
The “vets” left this week and we are taking their place now. We are halfway through the MTC!! That is crazy right? My first week felt like 6 years, but looking back on it I have also only been gone for 15 minutes. Crazy
I dreamed about Rigil the Goat the other night… Protecting him from like 9 wolves in our front yard, so yeah now that goat has scarred me twice ha ha. I have been having weird dreams here but I can rarely remember what they are about so I figured I should write that one down.
The nights here have been pretty cool, I was expecting hot all the time, but I get a little chilly under just my sheet when we leave the window open all night
I never realized how terrible English was until I was trying to teach my teachers how to use phrase verbs such as “get away, get at, get out” they all use the same verb, but have vastly different meanings

Interesting things about Guatemala:
Everyone just honks their horn for like 25 minutes when they are trying to merge, and people here are kind of low key scary drivers. Motorcycles in between cars like nothing I have seen before
Christmas down here is going to be way different. Everyone is shooting off fireworks like crazy, and it is way loud. They told us we probably won’t get to sleep at all on Christmas eve so that will be fun. They also have a “Devil day” which I think was on the 6 or 7, but they get like a scarecrow of a devil and burn it in their front yards to represent overcoming sin, and they all burn them at exactly 6 pm, so our building filled with smoke about 5 minutes later. On the same day, our Spanish teacher said any fireworks that go off that day are lit by people who are worshiping the devil, not trying to overcome sin. Thought it was interesting and a good change in the “tradition” from home. I’m glad we always changed it up, because everyone here is pretty homesick for their Christmas traditions

I have had my hard moments with leadership and companions, but I am doing well and in good health. Figuring things out and becoming more of an adult every day. I have also increased my testimony by milestones every single day in this MTC. The Lord truly does have a magnificent work out here that He is doing.

I love you all very much and I do miss you, but I am glad to have a strong home base filled with people I know will always love and support me no matter what.

Elder Nathan Searle

December 4, 2018

Week 2

Filed under: Missionary — aaron @ 11:54 am

Hey everybody!

Spiritual experiences I had this week:

Elder E and I were asked by the sisters to give them a blessing, and I have never spoken by the spirit in such a way. It was an amazing experience. Next, we took our morning on Saturday to go to a Catholic girl’s school across the street and served them by cleaning classrooms, gardens, and windows. I got to bless the sacrament in Spanish and bear my testimony on fast Sunday in Spanish too. Both were amazing and strengthening experiences to me. We got to fast for 24 hours whether we wanted to or not, which is one of the first times I have attempted this, and it is a good thing to try out. I also memorized my first scripture in Spanish, which is Nephi 3:7.

Elder E is teaching me sleight of hand tricks when we have down time and I’m getting pretty good, so watch your wallets when I get back home haha 🙂 I haven’t had to buy anything that I forgot, and I have about a million pounds of books to haul with me now. Please keep sending pictures of your adventures together and just of home! I love you all so much and I pray for you in English and Spanish every day.

I testify that the gift of tongues is real and that there are no coincidences in this world. God is real and he knows us and loves us so much that He sacrificed his Son for us. And that wasn’t easy, but he did it willingly because He loved us so much that He couldn’t bear to not be able to live with us again. God loves us so much.

I love you all so much and I hope you are all doing well.

I love you,

Elder Nathan Searle

November 27, 2018

Week 1 – CCM == MTC

Filed under: Missionary — aaron @ 10:40 pm

When we arrived we did not stop moving all day long and we had the longest day of our lives!

This week has felt like a year! I can’t wait to see that new world haha. It has been a long week but I am feeling a good grove coming along. It helped with the stress to have a good routine going on, and although it is sweaty, we manage to stay cool enough here to be comfortable. The weather is really nice, and changes every day.

My companions names are Elder O and Elder E. We are all from Utah, and all headed to San Pedro Sula East. Typical day is Breakfast, classes for several hours until lunch, then switch teachers for more lessons in the afternoon. We have gym in the afternoon as well, which makes it even hotter to work out. I put a lot of time on a fake “stationary” bike. Food is good. Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day, because I wake up not feeling ready to try new things, but I manage it most of the time. The food is like school food plus 5 ish on a scale of 1-10 so not too bad. We get to attend the Temple on P days, which are on Tuesdays every week that I will be here.

We study Spanish all day long, and it is coming quickly, the gift of tongues is real and we have started to teach fake lessons already. I can pray in Spanish and bare my testimony in Spanish too, which is a great blessing.
I can’t list all the things I miss most completely, or I’d be at this computer until midnight, but here is a short list of things I would kill a man for:
My bike, a box of Kleenex, a shower stall that is twice as big, my own AC, and to be able to go outside these walls…

It is good to be in the CCM (MTC in Spanish). It feels good to know that I am doing the Lord’s work now and I am on his timeline. We have been in classes all day, and the Spanish is coming well. The Gift of Tongues is very real and we are all found with it here. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but it is coming quickly.

The companion I was supposed to have stayed home do to a broken toe, so I am in a trio with Elders O and E. They are wonderful servants of the Lord. They each have their strengths and weaknesses as we all do, and we get along well for the most part.

We got to go to the temple this morning. It is a very small temple, but I was overwhelmed with the Spirit of the Lord and poured my soul out to God. I have a lot of love for God, or I would not be here, and this confirms my testimony in all things. My testimony grows stronger every single day and I love this place.

November 22, 2018

Nathan @ MTC

Filed under: Missionary — aaron @ 9:47 am

Hey everybody,
Been in the MTC for about 4 hours now. It is crazy and busy, and very sweaty. We are right next door to the temple, which is very beautiful. Armed guards and a big fence outside… To keep us in? Or keep them out?

It will be a long day, only slept on the second flight for a few hours. Heard that my P day is going to be on Tuesday.

Love you all,
Elder Nathan Searle

PS I keep forgetting to introduce myself as Elder, and I can’t remember anyone’s names 🙁

September 2, 2018

Mount Wolverine ( Alta Utah ) Summit

Filed under: FlippinSweetBlog — aaron @ 6:51 pm

In our attempt to get all the summits on the Core 77 Peaks East of Salt Lake Valley, we submitted Mt. Wolverine this weekend. I couldn’t find really good beta on the mountain, so thought to share what we learned, so you can have a well planned out hike.

Start by going up Little Cottonwood Canyon to Alta: Take I-15 To I-215 Eastbound, take the 6200 South exit, South down the 210 for about 5 miles. Left to head up the canyon, after 8.5 miles you’ll reach Alta Ski Resort. Paying $6 to use the summer road, this 2 mile dirt road will get you to a small parking lot at the trailhead. You can also take the chairlift from the Alta parking lot, right to the trailhead, for $10 a person. ( I suggest this, for added adventure )

The trail is well marked, as it is used by many people to Catherine Pass to Sunset peak. Trip is a total of 3.8 miles, with 1400 foot elevation gain. Once you are at the pass, and can see down into Big Cottonwood Canyon, head sharply to the West, for the summit.

Here is a view of the summit, from about the 1/2 way point ( Looking North-West )

Ski patrol sign found at the pass, where you can see down into Big Cottonwood Canyon

The remaining part of the hike ( from the pass ). The first ( rightmost ) peak is not the summit, however you do summit this peak along the way. Mt Wolverine is the peak in the distance ( leftmost ).

Sign at the pass, directing people to Sunset Peak.

View of the summit from the false summit you can view from the pass.

View of Sunset peak trail ( from the pass ), if you head East from the sign

View from the summit, back to the false summit, and the pass beyond that summit.

Additional information here on alltrails.com

July 31, 2017

3 Cups of Tea Journey

Filed under: FlippinSweetBlog — aaron @ 10:01 pm

Recently, I finished a book that sent me on a journey that I think everyone should experience for themselves. The book, “Three Cups of Tea”, written by David Oliver Relin & Greg Mortenson is a story of a failed mountain summit ( Greg on K2 ), getting lost on the descent, and recovering for spending days in a little village in Pakistan called Korphe. Greg eventually is nursed back to health, and plans to continue on his journey. Upon leaving the impoverished village, Greg promises to return and build them a school to educate their children. Once back home, in the United States, he gathers donations and heads back to Pakistan. He learns that the village chief wants a bridge first, so he build the bridge, then the school the following year.

After a few visits back and forth, the Central Asia Institute ( CAI ), a non-profit foundation is created, funded by the generous proceeds of a dying friend. Funds provide many more trips, and a handful of schools are also built. In his book, he outlines his great success, travels, and even a story of getting captured by the Taliban for 8 days. Greg completes and publishes his book, and it becomes wildly popular, sitting on the New York Times bestseller list for more than 2 years. Greg spend much of his time traveling around, doing book tours and speaking engagements, at up to $30k an event in income.

After many years, doubts about Greg’s success, the accuracy of his stories, and rumblings of mismanagement of funds start to raise some eyebrows. Jon Krakauer and 60 minutes break a story, giving proof that Greg did not visit Korphe on his travels back from K2, that he did not get kidnapped by the Taliban, and more importantly, that Greg had used the foundation’s money to pay for travel to his speaking engagements, yet kept the income for himself. He also would not show receipts for his expenses, had a board that would not hold him accountable, and did not build and maintain the amount of schools he had claimed. The news program triggered an investigation with the Montana attorney general, where it was determined that CAI could only provided receipts for just 38 percent of their credit card charges spanning several months.

Jon Krakauer’s book, “Three Cups of Deceit” carefully enumerates through the claims and stories in the book, and sheds the light of truth. The first third of the book, where Greg spends many days in Korphe, and gathers his strength, was a complete fabrication. Even his climbing partner says that they only became separated for a couple hours, and the route Greg said he took was not correct. Krakauer give evidence of the mismanagement of funds, of testimony of Greg using the CAI as a personal ATM, and of the millions of dollars spent on Greg’s travel, family vacations and book tours, that resulted in personal income, and not donations back to the CAI.

Jon’s book is wonderfully written, with carefully laid out arguments, using highly researched data to prove his points. The book has clear references, succinct points, and does a fantastic job in uncovering the truth behind Greg’s fictional book and poor management practices.

Next in our journey, is a documentary by Jennifer Jordan named, “3000 cups of tea” that attempts to tell Greg’s side of the story. Its main points are that the schools do exist, Greg does not think like a Westerner, and therefore has no good concepts of running a NGO with basic accounting practices. Her documentary has interviews with Greg and his wife, she travels to visit the schools, and also interviews several people involved with the CAI and its programs.

3000 cups of tea has weak appeals and is full of fallacies. Jennifer asserts that because 60 minutes did not travel as she did, their data is not accurate, and her information is, simply on the fact that she was on location. It is full of poor emotional appeals, strawman arguments and misrepresentation of correlation and causation. Greg and his wife claim that the way the data was presented was unfair, and that Krakauer was only out to get them, even though there is overwhelming evidence to support their misuse of funds. The documentary is riddled with attacks on the process of investigation and journalism, but never gets to the heart of the problem.

The best part for me, is a great interview done by KUER here in Salt Lake City, where Jennifer and Jon meet and present their sides of the story. Jon does a fine job in using his professional research to make valid points, disprove Jennifer’s claims, and shows how inaccurate her logic is, and that she uses weak emotional appeals, rather than the truth or logical arguments. ( My favorite part is when Jon reads directly from Greg’s book & Jennifer gets frustrated )

Reading the books, seeing the news program, watching the documentary and finally listening to the KUER interview was a great way to see the difference between careful research and writing verses using fallacies to make an argument. These materials could easily be a school teacher’s dream, as they teach students in a logic or communications class.

It was very interesting and educational to go through this process, and learning about this unusual story. I highly recommend you get through all this material, and experience it for yourself.

Greg’s Book : https://www.amazon.com/Three-Cups-Tea-Mission-Promote/dp/0143038257/

Jon’s Book : https://www.amazon.com/Three-Cups-Deceit-Mortenson-Humanitarian/dp/0307948765/

60 Minutes program : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw4HS_E7Yss

Jennifer’s Documentary : http://www.3000cupsoftea.org

KUER interview : http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/controversy-over-three-cups-tea

Followup article from Jon : http://www.thedailybeast.com/is-it-time-to-forgive-greg-mortenson

December 3, 2016

Soldier Hollow Peak

Filed under: FlippinSweetBlog — aaron @ 9:54 pm

Want to work on summits in the Wasatch Front area, so will be working the Wasatch Core 77 Peak list. First was the Soldier Hollow Peak today. Was a fairly easy hike, even though the snow was a little thick at times, and the animal tracks were a bit scary at times. 1.3 miles up, and about 1,000 foot elevation gain.

More Beta:

December 1, 2014


Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , — erika @ 12:27 pm

Amedeus was an epic film, as it was epically long and painful. While I’m sure that there was many historically significant events, I am not a history buff and don’t know what it based on truth or not. I’m sure some music majors and historians would like to view the film, perhaps just once in their lives, however the potential audience for really enjoying the content of this film must be extremely narrow. I do find classical music very enjoyable, and the time period is interesting, however the making of a 3 hour movie for his life is a bit of a stretch.

One element that I found very interesting was the way that the story was presented. The use of Antonio Salieri’s retelling of his life was a great way to present the storyline. This allowed us to view his emotion, in the way he told the story on screen, as well as the perspective of the other actors playing out the scenes. This dual perspective gave added voice to the presentation, and gave us a type of stereo vision, allowing us to understand it much better. The switching from Salieri’s first hand dialog, to the long scenes of the events allowed for better attention span, as well as broke up the story into logical pieces, making it a bit easier to comprehend what was going on though the story.

The basic storyline of the film is the telling of the lifespan of Mozart through Salieri’s point of view. We start with Antonio, in a mental hospital of some kind, telling of Mozart’s early childhood. We learn of his music skills as a prodigy, as his father drags him all over showing off his talent. As he matures, he ends up working for many folks, composing music and full operas. His relationship with his father sours, and eventually becomes a problem for his wife as well. His appetite for women, poor financial planning and spending, and not following social norms causes friction between his employers and wife for most of his life. His father passes away, which is clearly a tough time for Mozart. Salieri secretly hires Mozart to write his (Mozart’s) own funeral march, and plans to knock off Mozart at some point.

As I watched this film, I’m unsure why Mozart’s laugh, which was peppered throughout the entire dialogue, was so obnoxious and painful. His emotional and witty laugh was unusual at first, and even playful in parts of the show, however after 3 hours of hearing the laugh, it was clear that he was insane. It was unclear what point this was making, if Mozart really did have this crazy laugh, and it was trying to be historically accurate, or if this was a tool to show Mozarts playfulness, immaturity, unpredictability or instability. This film was dialogue driven and as it was broken up with scenes from opera’s you could still feel the animosity between Salieri and Mozart even when they weren’t communicating directly. I did find the music enjoyable and really had no idea how many pieces Mozart had composed that I have heard before.

At the end of the film you see the priest who is supposed to be there to absolve Salieri of his sins is overcome with the story he has just heard. Salieri points out that it was in fact God who took Mozart away and let him continue living for 32 years full of mediocrity. Salieri claims he is the Saint of Mediocrity and can absolve all the mediocre souls out there. His obsession with Mozart has ended up taking away what joy he could have had in life. This was a unique film that I will probably never watch again.

November 24, 2014


Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , , — erika @ 8:46 pm

Nostalghia is a foreign film written in Italian by a Russian director. I had a hard time deciding what was actually going on in the film, between reading the subtitles fast enough to understanding the plot of the film. This is not a dialogue based film, it relies greatly on other background sounds in the film and lack of sound. In fact to me, I felt that the actors were constantly “breaking the fourth wall” while talking. You couldn’t always see they were talking to someone because they were the only one in the shot and sometimes I thought they may actually be talking to themselves while looking at the camera. That made the editing for me seem really disjointed. I understood that Andrei was from Russia and was visiting Italy to research a Russian composer who lived in Italy for a while. I didn’t understand why it was so intriguing to the other characters to know he was from Russia doing research.

The lighting in the film changed from feeling stark black and white to having some color come through in certain scenes, like when Eugenia is in the hall and Andrei tells her she is beautiful, you can really tell that she has red hair. There were plenty of instances where the camera would be a medium close up and then it would pull focus and move farther away helping you to see just how far away someone was or making it seem they were really lost in thought. When Andrei is talking to Domenico the scene changes multiple times making you wonder if you are still in him dilapidated home or outside. The images were not always clear when you would move to a different scene and it would take a deliberate amount of time to come into focus and really let you know what you were looking at.

The sounds and music in the film were not comforting to me in any way. They seemed harsh and at some times I thought it sounded like a circular saw going off in the background which was grating on my nerves. It was hard for me to follow and completely know when the characters were reminiscing about their lives and what was currently happening. The film seemed to jump back and forth from the past to the present. I think Andrei was homesick for his wife and children, but wasn’t very proactive in getting back home soon. I want to know where the dog fits in. The dog seemed to be in past and present scenes and in both Domenico’s and Andre’s dreams. I don’t know what his specific importance was though.

In the final scenes where Domenico was preaching and shouting the ramblings of a madman, most of the other people in the scene were stationary and I felt that they were statues. It was as if he was invisible to them, but it also felt like time was standing still for everyone else. It was a very dramatic ending with him pouring fuel on himself and lighting himself on fire. The one man on the ground that mimicked his actions made me wonder if he was part of Domenicos imaginings of what he was to do next. Why do we not see what exactly happens to Andrei as he finally makes it across the bath with the lighted candle? We just hear a thud making me assume that he dies too, not returning home to his family. Then you end the film with Andrei sitting on the ground with his home in Russia behind him as the focus is pulled through again and makes it look farther away and his home is left in between the streets of Italy.

November 18, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , — erika @ 7:50 pm

There are many Marvel movies that I really like to watch, but Guardians of the Galaxy was not one of them. Maybe it’s because I didn’t understand where this movie was supposed to go. Maybe it was because you have to read the comic books so that you have a better knowledge about what the movie should be about. I was not a big fan of this movie. Let’s start with the beginning. This movie starts with Peter Quill, a young boy with a dying mother. His mother dies and he runs from the hospital crying with a present she told him to open when she is gone. He collapses on the hill and is promptly abducted by a space ship. What??? Where did that come from? Fast forward 25 years and you have a man who likes to steal objects and sell them on the black market in the galaxy to anyone who will offer the best price. He also has no qualms about turning on those he should be working with.

I usually enjoy the genre of science fiction, but this one left me wondering what the plot really was and feelings of confusion thinking that the general theme seem to change. I took my teenage sons to this movie and they asked me what the point of the movie was supposed to be. I thought they just liked going to movies for the action, who knew my picking apart and analysis of movies was going to rub off on the whole family. Peter Quill, who wants to be known as Star Lord, has not instilled in me a sense of the protagonist in the movie that I want to root for. He seems more like the loner kid who just hasn’t grown up and wanted to know why he was kidnapped and what he is doing in the galaxy. The only memento that he holds onto is the tape walkman (that yes, I had as a kid) with the tape that his mom made him of 80’s music. Keeping the movie real to when you see Peter first as a kid in the late 1980’s. I had a feeling that the movie was stuck in a cycle of continuing to be in the “all is lost” phase of the movie beats.

I did however, enjoy the special effects in this movie. You have the computer generated walking, talking, raccoon named Rocket, and Groot the humanoid tree creature with the limited vocabulary of “I am Groot”. Groot kept being left out in decisions and the discussion of splitting the money that could be made, but I found myself wanting him to go farther and succeed. He was the creature I wanted to win and root for. I enjoyed the part towards the end where Groot saves them all by growing around them with the sparkling little lights around him. You knew he was going to sacrifice himself for the group. This movie did stay true to the thought that there are many different kinds of races out in the galaxy waiting for us to know and have relationships with. I was frustrated hearing at the end that the group that kidnapped him knows who his father is and was supposed to bring him to his father. I’m sure there will be a sequel that I won’t care if I go see.

November 17, 2014

The Cove

Filed under: Films — Tags: , , , — erika @ 7:09 pm

The Cove is a cinema verite documentary about saving the dolphins. It starts with the characters saying they tried to gain this footage and information legally, but you get the feeling there will be some covert action to gain this information. Especially with the effects in the beginning showing places in black and white with music that sounds like it comes from a spy movie. Then you have Ric O’Barry talking to Louie Psihoyos in a car in Taijii, Japan. As they enter this town you have the sense that they love dolphins in all of the advertising and ships they have in this town. Ric quickly sets you straight that this is the front of what he is determined to find out for sure what goes on in this little cove off the ocean. He is followed and questioned by the police because they don’t like him digging around. In the first few scenes I got the impression that he was a little crazy and fanatical talking about how if the Japanese fisherman could catch him they would kill him.

You then find out that Ric O’Barry is the one who made the television show Flipper a reality. He caught the dolphins for this show and became a renowned dolphin trainer. You hear the music from the 1964 television show of Flipper. Flipper was a tv show about a dolphin who would help the people of the town, kind of like Lassie. This gave people the idea that dolphins were smart and trainable and this could be turned into big money. After the show ends one of the dolphins that played Flipper dies in his arms and this turns his view of capturing dolphins for captivity upside down. He is arrested the next day for trying to free dolphins in captivity.

This documentary filmmaker plays many roles in this one film. They are the explorer, the reporter, an advocate and they even employ the use of guerrilla tactics to get the footage needed to tell their side of the story. They do an excellent job of keeping the audience asking the burning question of what happens to the dolphins in the cove they bring in on a daily basis? Every time you think you might get that question answered, they are chased away by the fishermen or official authorities. No one want to talk about what happens in the cove, which leads the viewer to be even more curious as to what is really happening. Deep down though I knew what was happening, but I continued to watch hoping my fears would not be true. They are being killed and they have to disguise the meat to be sold as something else to cover up the fact that dolphins contain too much mercury to be eaten. Their meat has a toxic level of mercury in it, but no one wants to acknowledge this or be held accountable.

You could tell that this film held a personal interest to all who were involved in it. They really loved what they were doing and were willing to go to jail for it. The dramatic potential for the film was there as you watched them try to go in and covertly set up cameras and sound equipment. With the gear and technology they were using it made you feel you were watching a special ops mission. There may be critics as to how they received their information, but you could tell that going through the “proper channels” was getting them nowhere. You don’t see too much of the other side of the story, but I didn’t feel it was so much a lack of them trying to ask questions and get answers. They just really didn’t want what they were doing to get out to the rest of the world. The visuals at the end where the water turns red with all of the blood was a little overwhelming to me. I was emotionally invested by this point and it was not a humane way to kill these dolphins. You don’t have to agree with me, but I don’t see how killing these dolphins is helping anyone. They are needed in the marine ecosystem and we as humans do much more damage to our world than these marine mammals could do.

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