DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

Movies

For me, there is one Disney princess that stands out from the rest and that is Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I identify with her because she is a princess who reads. I also like how the movie discusses appreciating people for who they are as opposed to what they look like.Belle

Bob Thomas, in his book Disney’s Art of Animation, discusses Walt Disney’s beginnings in film with characters such as Mickey Mouse and Snow White (the first princess). Last Christmas, I watched a documentary about how Snow White was made into the first feature film for Walt Disney. It discussed in length the process of getting to the finished result.  The journey continued after Walt Disney passed on with The Little Mermaid and then Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid was the first feature made after Walk passed and Beauty and the Beast the second. Thomas goes onto to share the updates of animation and storyboarding in the process of making Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast was adapted from the original story by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont.  We have some versions of the translation here at the library. In the original, there was no Gaston or animated inanimate objects that acted like servants.  Did you know that Belle actually had sisters?  These sisters were considered Belle’s enemy instead of Gaston.  The character of the beast is different as well.  He was more polite and not like the Disney version of the  character. Beauty and the BeastThe finished product  of  1991 Beauty and the Beast is a personal favorite of mine.  It is also a DVD we carry in the DCPL system.   I still remember all the words to songs like “Belle” or “Be Our Guest.”  I revisited the movie over the weekend and enjoyed it just as much as the first time seeing it in the theater.  We have a special edition DVD of the 1991 movie which includes a preview of the live action Beauty and the Beast that is in theaters now.

Be Our Guest and check out these fabulous books and media about Beauty and the Beast:

Beauty and the Beast 1991 movie

Beauty and the Beast soundtrack

DISNEY’S ART OF ANIMATION:  From Mickey Mouse to  Beauty and the Beast by Bob Thomas

Beauty and the Beast by Ms. Jean Marie Leprince De Beaumont (There are also other versions of this story in the DeKalb Library System)

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast by A.L. Singer

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Mar 30 2017

The Eternal Jane

by Dea Anne M

“No one who had ever seen Catherine Morland in her infancy would have supposed her born to be a heroine.”northanger

Upon reading this sentence, the first in Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, during my second year of college – I was hooked and from that moment forward I joined the legions of passionate Jane Austen fans. “Janeite” is a term coined and taken up during the late nineteenth century by a group of male literary critics and publishers and the label carried a clubby sort of aura. It denoted a privately held enthusiasm, almost on the order of a guilty pleasure, sort of how some people nurture a secret fondness for mayo and peanut butter sandwiches or for playing the lute. Now, “Janeite” often carries mansfielda pejorative meaning (though not always) for those who move in the rarefied academic world and tends to refer to people who indulge in the campier side of Jane Austen fandom such as costuming and reenactment events. Me? I just love the books. From the popular, much beloved and often filmed Pride and Prejudice to the undeniably problematic Mansfield Park – I can’t get enough Austen. I admit that I’ve yet to read Lady Susan – an early work of Austen’s which has been adapted for the screen by Whit Stillman as Love and Friendship (see it – it’s fun!) – but I look forward to doing so soon.

Make no mistake, I’m not one of those readers who swoon over Mr. Darcy (although there’s nothing wrong with it if you are!). My appreciation for Austen is tied up more with her consistently acute observation of what was, admittedly, a fairly narrow slice of the world and with her ironic sense of humor. Indeed, I’ve read most of Austen’s novels more than once and never fail to find them newly entertaining. I also remain fascinated with the offshoots and culture that have grown up around Jane Austen’s life and work. From the weird (but kind of wonderful) to the knitsearnestly correct there appears to be something for everyone in Austenland (which, incidentally, is the title of a 2013 feature film based on a Shannon Hale’s 2007 novel). I encourage you to explore and find your own cozy niche. Are you into needlework? Don’t miss The Best of Jane Austen Knits: 27 regency-inspired designs. Do you fancy a stirring love story mixed in with your epic struggle against the undead?  Be sure to check out Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: the classic Regency romance – now with ultraviolent zombie mayhem.

Of course, apart from Austen’s own novels, there’s a plethora of fiction inspired by it. Here’s a very abbreviated list.

Longbourn by Jo Baker (Pride and Prejudice told from the household servants point of view)

longbornEmma: a modern retelling by Alexander McCall Smith ( from the creator of the wonderful Mma Precious Ramotswe series)

Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict: a novel by Laurie Viera Rigler (A modern woman’s time travel leads to amusing complication…and culture shock!)

Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron (the first in a mystery series featuring Jane Austen as sleuth)

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg (an engaging YA romp set at an exclusive girl’s academy)

The works of Jane Austen have also inspired a host of non-fiction books. Here’s a few that provide an unusual approach to the material.

A Jane Austen Education: how six novels taught me about love, friendship and the things that really matter by educationWilliam Deresiewicz

The Jane Austen Handbook: a sensible yet elegant guide to her world by Margaret C. Sullivan

At Home With Jane Austen by Kim Wilson

Jane Austen Rules: a classic guide to modern love by Sinead Murphy

Do you like Jane Austen? What’s your favorite of her novels? If you’ve never read her books and want to see what they’re all about, I would recommend starting with Pride and Prejudice – to my mind still her best – although I can’t help putting in a plug for my first Austen crush, Northanger Abbey. It’s one of her shorter novels, and most important, it’s very, very funny. Enjoy!

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May 25 2016

Are You a Die Hard Fan Like Me?

by Jencey G

How many of you were excited last December when the new Star StarWars 1Wars film The Force Awakens opened in theaters?  Are you feeling the blues now waiting for the next Star Wars film to be released?  Did you know that we have much to offer at DCPL with Star Wars movies, books, and more?

Star Wars Allegiance by Timothy Zahn

Star Wars Art: Visions by George Lucas and JW Rinzler

Star Wars, Attack of the Clones: Incredible Cross Sections by Curtis Saxton

Star Wars, Attack of the Clones: Visual Dictionary by David West Reynolds

Star Wars, Blast Off A Doring Kindersley Reader

Star Wars, Cloak of Deception by James Luceno

Star Wars, Complete Cross Sections by David West Reynolds

StarWarsAftermathThese books cover information about all of the movies except The Force Awakens.  With these titles, you have a chance to explore other possibilities and go on further adventures with your favorite characters.  I remember after seeing the The Force Awakens feeling withdrawal because I wanted to see more and learn more about these characters.  I, like everyone else, will be marking my calendar until the next film is released.

I first learned about Star Wars when I was a little kid and my father took me to see the original movies.  For me, they were like fairy tales with a handsome prince or scoundrel, if you like Han Solo.  The princess of course is Leia.  Then you have the Queen Amidala who is rescued by the Jedi warrior Anakin Skywalker.

So happy reading! And may the Force be with you!

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Apr 19 2016

Monkey Town, U.S.A.

by Hope L

Smiths

While reading the latest issue of my favorite DCPL mag, Smithsonian, I learned that one can still visit Monkey Town, U.S.A. ( actually Dayton, Tennessee), where they celebrate annually one of the most controversial trials in our nation’s history.

“Pretty much every summer since 1988, this tiny Appalachian town (pop. 7,200) has roused itself to celebrate that publicity stunt gone viral.  The Scopes Trial Festival, held over two weekends in July, features live bluegrass, tractor and craft shows, and a fried-Oreo food truck.  A storyteller spins his tales like a barker at a sideshow.  The centerpiece of the festival is a town-commissioned musical, Front Page News, which re-enacts the trial in the vast courtroom where it was held.

The play, performed by members of the nearby Cumberland County Playhouse, is essentially a rebuttal to Inherit the Wind ( both the DVD of the film starring Spencer Tracy and the book by the same name are available at DCPL).  The Hollywood version of the trial is widely loathed in Dayton, and the Front Page News does hew much more closely to the court transcript.”

Both the book and the DVD are available at DCPL.

 

inherit

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Oct 9 2015

Meru vs. The Holiday Inn

by Hope L

meruI have written previously here about adventurous sports like mountain climbing, ultra-marathons and cross-canyon treks.

But when I saw the film Meru (which won the Audience Award at Sundance) over a weekend at the Midtown Art Cinema, I thought, “Oh, come on now!”

Narrated by one of my favorite authors, Jon Krakauer (who knows a few things about mountain climbing), the film follows the pursuit of three climbers to summit the thus far unattainable Himalayan peak Meru. (Click here to see the movie trailer featured at The Guardian.)

Now, when I read and blogged about Krakauer’s and other climbs of Mount Everest, I thought surely that must be the ultimate challenge. Hardly. Meru sort of makes Everest look like the Holiday Inn.

I’m exaggerating, per usual, but watching these guys in their ledge bivouac, dangling precariously and waving in the sheer winds of an ice storm, having first lugged their equipment up the straight vertical cliffs (no sherpas in their right minds would work here), fighting frostbite and avalanches in a quest to perch atop a single “shark fin” protruding from this massive rock–well, let’s just say they wrote the book on crazy.

But almost running out of food and fuel has to be the last straw. It’s not like they have Papa John’s on speed dial up there.  I mean, even at the bottom of the Grand Canyon you can get a meal in a restaurant!

No, although the views are breathtaking at the top of the world, I fear my only involvement in extreme sports will have to continue to be outlasting the green-haired Generation X-er on the Stairmaster next to me at the gym.

And oh, does that make me happy!

Mammoth Book of Eyewitness EverestBut undoubtedly I will be reading more about Everest soon, inspired by the new movie with Jake Gyllenhaal.  There’s nothing better on a chilly day (or a hot one) than reading inside in a comfy chair (or sitting in a climate-controlled theater) while the crazy people in freezing, life-or-death adventure-dramas do their thing.

Use this link to find more books at DCPL about mountaineering and Everest, including The Mammoth Book of Eyewitness Everest edited by Jon E. Lewis, with 32 firsthand accounts.

Note to self: Stock up on hot chocolate and popcorn!  It’s going to be a COLD winter!

If you want to view the trailer for Gyllenhaal’s film, see: Everest – Official Trailer (HD) – YouTube.

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There is so much available on our library website. I’d like to discuss the RSS feeds with you today. They are listed on the right side of the DCPL homepage. One recommendation I make to patrons all the time is to check out these feeds, which are updated every Wednesday, to find out about new items at the Library. There are also feeds for popular reads currently available in the system–with no waiting. We have a feed for everyone!

Below are some examples of what DeKalb County Public Library offers when following RSS feeds.

New Adult Fiction

New Adult Nonfiction

Great Reads, No Waiting

Great DVDs, No Waiting

New Adult DVDs

New Young Adult Fiction Titles

New Juvenile Fiction Books

If you have a book club or want to have a movie night, the feeds for Great Reads, No Waiting or Great DVDs, No Waiting can provide the perfect option! If you see items of interest, but all of the copies are already checked out, you can make a request for a Hold to receive the next available copy. (See the information about Holds on Materials on this page.)

I hope you have a chance to check our RSS feeds out and let us know what you think!

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Jun 19 2015

Art or Life?

by Rebekah B

Hello readers,

I love watching movies–the kind of movies which explore the dilemmas and dramas of human passions and desires. Cinema is an art form that, when well done, can fully engage our hearts and minds. When we get down to what brings meaning to our everyday lives, I think most of us would like to feel that by being in the world we have somehow served our families, friends, and co-workers by sharing some essential aspects of our own being. For the artist, the need to create meaning through art is more often than not a compulsion–a need more important than building family or career. We may ask ourselves the question: Which is more important–to live one’s life in a compassionate manner, adding value to the relationships we nurture at home and at work, or to isolate oneself to a certain degree from society in order to produce work that will allow future generations to continue to relate to the workings of our heart and mind, long after our personal death?

HumblingBirdmanA few recent (2014), somewhat literary films in our DCPL collection, I feel, illustrate this theme well. Birdman, written and directed by  Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Michael Keaton, and The Humbling, directed by Barry Levinson, starring Al Pacino and based on the next to the last novel written by Philip Roth, both feature aging screen and stage actors struggling to remain relevant, to prove to themselves and to the world that they still possess the magical power that grabs the viewer by the emotions and reels them in. Both protagonists are terrified by a progressively tenuous relationship with reality, with friends and family. Yet their desires remain powerful, and they fight the demons of death and chaos as vigorously as they engage the remains of their personal genius in their art.

WhiplashWhiplash, written and directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons, is, I feel, the most powerful of the three films. Teller plays a young and ambitious drummer enrolled in a New York City conservatory. In a telling moment, he squashes a budding relationship with a young woman to whom he is obviously attracted, feeling that his overriding desire to become a famous drummer will cause him to inevitably dissatisfy her–and that she, as an ordinary young woman, will never understand or be fulfilled by him. In his youthful arrogance, he somehow knows that his need to excel as a musician dominates any other desires. As we watch the scene, the painful question, “art or life?” is illustrated. In Whiplash, the relationship between Andrew, the young drummer, and his mentor, the verbally abusive and manipulative Fletcher, is intense and fascinating. Fletcher uses any means he deems necessary to bring to fruition the talent he sees in his young charges, and Andrew’s vulnerability and passion stir in the viewer an ambiguous desire to see him succeed.

In all of these films, the viewer experiences the angst-ridden desire of the artist to remain relevant as he ages, as well as our own fears about the loss of vitality. We share the struggle of the artist to straddle the fine line between his own vivid imagination and the demands of conventional reality. We observe the dedication and work required to develop and maintain the necessary craft which is the armature of any successful and compelling art form. Watching these films, we can experience with emotion the conflicts and difficulties caused in the artist’s personal life by his or her focus on an art form to the near exclusion of all other responsibilities and relationships. You could say that the artist is egocentric, a narcissist. And it is true to a certain degree. Art is an unforgiving mistress or master, requiring uncompromising devotion. As a mere human being, the artist is nearly always at the mercy of art itself.

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juneauI love Jon Krakauer’s books. For some reason I assumed that I had read them all, but then I stumbled upon Into the Wild, Krakauer’s book that tells the story of Christopher McCandless. And it turns out this is probably the author’s most famous one (especially after the 2007 movie of the same name, directed and produced by Sean Penn, which is also available at DCPL).

It’s eerie that I should discover and read this book right before my vacation to the very state where the real-life McCandless journey takes place: Alaska. No, I will not be going out “into the wild,” foraging for berries and sleeping on the ground, trying to eke out precious protein by catching small rodents, or wearing crampons and climbing with an ice ax along mountainous crevices. I will be cruising on an ocean liner in luxurious comfort, receiving massages and eating an abundance of tasty food–being waited on hand and foot like the naive and lazy adventurer that I am–for I am not really an adventurer but a shameless tourist. No doubt I will purchase souvenirs in Alaska that were actually made in China.

glacbayAs of writing this paragraph, I have now returned from my 9-day trip. It was beautiful, as you can see by the photos taken by yours truly, a wanna-be photographer with an iPhone. I can totally understand McCandless yearning to spend time in Alaska. But I would never be willing to “rough it” as he did. I did consider it quite rough, however, when our stateroom commode overflowed in the middle of the night and we had to call maintenance in at 3:30 a.m. I had to use my best wilderness survival tactic: I blamed my spouse.

And now, DCPL has added to its collection The Wild Truth by Carine McCandless, Christopher’s sister. Written almost 20 years after Krakauer’s book, Carine shines some light on her brother’s legendary adventure.

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Comic books have had a huge positive impact on my life. As a child of 7 or 8, I would visit the gas station at the edge of my neighborhood on a weekly basis to buy a couple of comics with my meager allowance earned by completing household chores. Pouring over these weekly purchases expanded my vocabulary, sharpened my reading comprehension skills, and whet my appetite for more. By the third grade I was reading at a level well above my peers, and though I eventually progressed to lengthier novels, I continued to read comic books regularly, all the way into high school. As such, I have a permanent place in my heart for comic books and was incredibly pleased and excited when movie adaptations of my favorite titles began to be released. The transition of those superheroes onto the big screen and into mainstream pop culture resulted in a whole new generation of fans. Sadly though, many of these new fans have never been exposed to the comic books that the films they’ve grown to love were adapted from.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Winter Soldier coverDCPL not only carries many of the recent superhero film adaptations, but frequently we also carry the corresponding print comic book titles in our Young Adult and Adult Graphic Novel collections. In many cases, the story ideas and even titles for the film adaptations were directly inspired by their print predecessors. A good example is the recently released Captain America: The Winter Soldier, much of which is based on the comic by Ed Brubaker of the same name. Others films may draw from their ancestral comic series more generally, although they’ll often contain allusions and references that old school fans will pick up and delight in. While there are far too many DVDs and comic series for me to enumerate on this blog, I’ve posted a sampling of some of the most recent films and some of the corresponding comics below. If you are interested in more titles from a particular superhero or superhero team, ask a librarian for assistance, or just try searching the catalog for yourself; both movies and comic books can typically be pulled up with a title search.

Essential X-men
You’ve seen the movie: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Now read the comic book!: Essential X-Men

 

You’ve seen the movie: Iron Man 3Invincible Iron Man

Now read the comic book!: Invincible Iron Man

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Sep 12 2014

Ready for Fresh AND Affordable

by Rebekah B

un climate summit 2014

At DCPL, if you haven’t already taken note, we have a wonderful collection of documentary films.  A lover of the cinema and an eternal student, I am always eager to check out new additions to our collection.

As world leaders calling for restoration of ecosystems prepare to convene at the United Nations Climate Summit this September 23rd in New York City, the largest people’s demonstration on climate change is also scheduled on the morning of September 21st. In the spirit of environmental awareness, I am trying to do my part to make our society, economy, and food/health-care more sustainable. Although I am unable to attend the NYC march, I can write, watch relevant movies, exercise, buy healthy local foods, recycle and re-use items instead of buying new, travel less…and much more!

Fresh_flyer

One of the films that I recently watched and found noteworthy from our DCPL collection is Fresh: New Thinking About What We’re Eating, produced and directed by Ana Sofia Joanes in 2009.  With an outlook intended to be as objective as possible while supporting the sustainability and local food movement, the film features visits to industrial or conventional farms and to sustainable organic farms and lightly touches upon the problem of food deserts.  The film also includes interviews with farmers from both ends of the spectrum, some of whom had begun their careers as conventional farmers, later converting to organic farming, as well as urban farmers, activists, and smaller businesses promoting locally produced foods.

By visually demonstrating and comparing the processes, output, economics, and attitudes of industrial and sustainable farming, I was able to observe for myself as well as to learn from the experiences of these Americans who have devoted their lives to farming, producing and distributing food.  There is a lushness and beauty to the farms where animals and humans share information about living in harmony with nature that is so harshly lacking in the feedlots and chicken farms, where the animals appear stressed, their coats and feathers dull or literally hen-pecked. Prior to watching this film, I did not realize that industrial farmers clip the beaks on their chickens and that pigs’ tails are trimmed.  Bored and frustrated, the animals often attack one another in close quarters, where they never see the light of day.

anajoanes

Organic farmer Joel Salatin of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia demonstrates how he pastures his herd of about 300 cows in fields in which over twenty different types of grasses and wild flowering plants flourish. Conventional farm feedlots group together thousands of animals in close quarters. As in nature, in which cows naturally move to different areas over the course of a day or week to graze, Joel rotates the cows (and pigs) to varied pasture lands from day to day.  Bringing in chickens to the pastures where the cows have grazed, the birds earn their keep by picking the fly larvae from the cow manure deposited throughout the field, allowing the cows to soon return and avoid infection by parasites.

Mr. Salatin explains that sustainable farms are much more efficient and clean than industrial farms.  The animals are healthy, yet they are given no medications, and the veterinarian is almost never needed.

russkremer5

Conventional farms produce huge amounts of pollution growing grain that does not feed people, but cows (who are by nature consumers of grasses). It is expensive to produce this grain, which requires huge amounts of water and enormous quantities of pesticides.  Groundwater and soil are polluted and depleted by this process, and the natural variety of grasses that would ordinarily populate and regenerate the soil is suppressed.  Feedlot animals are regularly injected with antibiotics and consume pesticides through the grain they eat.  Their feces accumulate in large quantities and cannot be recycled because of contamination by the drugs and pesticides.  Additional pollutants are created through the gases produced by the waste.  The continuous use of low-grade antibiotics causes bacteria to mutate, creating strains that are antibiotic resistant, affecting animals and humans alike and creating risk of untreatable infections. The meats produced by grain-fed cows and pigs are also unhealthy because of concentrations of pesticides, antibiotics, and omega 6 fats accumulating in the meat from the high carbohydrate diet.

ChickensInBatteryCageslg

Conventional farmers interviewed in the film complain that they have difficulty finding people to work all shifts in their plants, particularly in the processing areas, because of unhealthy conditions.  It becomes clear that going against nature is expensive, inefficient, unhealthy, unpleasant and sometimes life threatening to both people and animals.

Today, we face a quandary.  Large industrial farms receive federal government grants to raise grain that does not feed people.  These single crop farms threaten plant and animal diversity and are creating an environmental disaster.  By producing local food even in urban areas, we can lower the costs of creating sufficient, healthy, fresh foods and make them affordable and available to everyone in the country, including low income families in urban areas.  By watching this film, while already convinced of the necessity to make healthy and local foods available at reasonable cost to our entire population, regardless of socioeconomic status or geographic location, I feel the urgency to help people become more aware of the environmental consequences of conventional agriculture in this country.

industrial vs conventional farming

As consumers, the film notes that each purchase we make is a vote, a demonstration of each of our voices in the democratic process. By purchasing local foods, we are supporting the sustainable movement.  By supporting organic farms that produce quality products, we are supporting our economies and producing jobs in places where people enjoy their work and are well paid for the work they do.  Animals who are raised in accordance with the laws of nature are happier and healthier, and the interconnected process of sustainable farming ensures sufficient food for everyone at a lower cost with infinite benefits for all.  The rear panel of the jacket of a documentary new to DCPL, Fed Up, reads: “This generation will live shorter lives than their parents. By 2050, one out of every three Americans will have diabetes.”  If this is not a wake-up call to change your family’s eating and buying habits and to take action to change the American way of life for the better, I don’t know what is!

basket of veggies

Industrial agriculture and feedlots are responsible for the production of more greenhouse gases than the burning of fossil fuels, to the order of at least 18% (in 2008) according to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  An Indian economist and vegetarian, Dr. Pachauri recommends a reduction in the consumption of meats as an important personal contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gases and the global warming effect.  Choosing to eat grass-fed organic meats or organic poultry is also a good choice. Whatever decisions you consciously make in this direction contribute to the return to balance of man’s relationship with nature.  Your stomach will thank you!

A selection of documentaries on sustainable living and health, the environment, and climate change in the DCPL collections:

Fed Up  2014

Hungry for Change 2012

Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? 2010

Plastic Planet 2009

Burning the Future: Coal in America 2008

Carbon Nation  2011

Children of the Tsunami 2011

Garbage Warrior  2007

No Impact Man 2008

Food, Inc. 2008

Blue Gold World Water Wars 2008

Car of the Future 2008

Farmageddon 2011

It’s a Big Big World. The Earth Needs You: Recycling and Caring for the Environment 2007

Freeze, Freeze, Fry: Climate Past, Present, and Future  2007

The Science of Climate Change 2014

Sustainability in the 21st Century 2008

Tapped  2010

The Garden 2008

Fast Food Nation  2006

Business Advice for Organic Farmers 2012

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