Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Thursday, April 03, 2008  
In the words of our founding father,
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

You know your employment future is not bright when your boss begins your quarterly review by suggesting two job openings in other departments. You know it’s time to clean out your desk when the second topic of conversation at your quarterly review is suggestions for retraining in a new field of work altogether.

And so began my dissent deeper into despair, dread and debt.



It’s interesting how you think, “Okay, things suck, I’ve fallen a very, very long way down the pit of despair, dread and debt, if it gets worse it will officially be time for bankruptcy or suicide. And those are extreme circumstances and I’m keeping ahead of them, so things have to get better because I’m not the bankruptcy or suicide type. I’m a sane, reasonably intelligent, college educated hard working professional.” You have that little pep talk with yourself when you pay every bill due RIGHT NOW and have $8.23 left to live on for the next 10 days. It keeps you focused on what matters in life. Family, friends, a few laughs, your job…

So you can’t catch a movie or go for a drink after work or eat anything other than peanut butter on graham crackers? Who cares? The important thing is that you have your family and friends and a roof over your head and a job. Things will get better. Everyone goes through financial difficulties sometimes. It’s just life and money doesn’t matter in the big picture.

Oh how I long for those halcyon days of thinking those were the rough days.


I still have my family, at least for now my dad is holding his own against cancer. And I have friends. Sure, most of them are leading very different lives from me and don’t have a lot of time for me and want me to accept I’m never going to find a man who loves me enough to marry me and want me to have an un-bridal-ed shower, but still, I have friends.

As for the roof over my head and the job, well, all good things must come to an end sooner or later.

And employment, and consequently the roof over my head, have come to an end.

Oh, sure, I’ve been given 30 days to “make up a plan” to present to HR outlining my skills which may be of any value to the company. I’m being given a “generous opportunity” to find another niche in the company. I know. Lucky me! I’m getting special consideration! Why, you ask, am I getting such special consideration?

And I quote my boss after suggesting I retrain to be a nurse: “[our division manager] told me I have to write ideas and a plan for you because she thinks you have ‘some merit.’ I dunno want you want to do so I’m giving you the task. It’s your future, you should ‘get’ to be in charge of this. And I wouldn’t know how to start anyway. You’re dead weight on our budget. Plenty of other people in the department can handle aspects of your job and we can hire freelancers and consultants for everything else. You’re a dinosaur, no one hires people like you full time anymore. You have to face that fact. So I don’t suggest you list those skills on your plan. I’m sure there are other things you can do, you’re a very creative person and sometimes you really impress me with what you know. I’m always shocked when you talk about things that I don’t even know exist. I remember when I started here I’d never even heard the term blog and you suggested [a client] start a product development blog. I thought you were talking another language or some technical engineering jargon. And look! Now blogs are everywhere! I didn’t know what a PodCast was, either, until you told me. So you can be smart and clever. You read stuff no one else even knows exists. So I’m sure you can find some skills other than your job to put in the plan. I dunno. I think nursing would be great for you. You’ve spent all your vacation in the last six years in hospitals and there’s always a need for nurses. You should just take off a year and go to nursing school. Everything you do is dead weight on our budget. I was looking into this cute little website which offers online marketing and design service, it’s perfect for us. They do what you do. It’s really cute. I sent them an email and this cute little gal responded right away with a proposal for us. That’s when I realized you’re just dead weight on our budget.”

Other people, normal people, people who haven’t worked with this woman for six years, might be shocked at the weirdness and abrasive honesty of all that information crammed into what’s supposed to be a 15 minute review and goal setting session. Delivered glibly, flippantly, har har laughing all the way. Other people, normal people who haven't worked with this woman for six years, might want to cram a case of Twinkies in her glib, smug stupid face and watch her choke on the cream filling.

I wasn’t shocked in the least, though Twinkie Torture could be good for a few moments of vindication. I know she has no clue what I do, what I can do, my value to the company, how cheap she’s getting off in terms of my salary v. what she’s going to end up paying that “cute little gal” with the “cute little website.” (I was shocked that she even noticed and acknowledged that I “read stuff”)

What I especially loved was how she, true to form, offloaded a monumental project which was given to her onto me. “Sink or swim, I think you’re dead weight, if it were up to me I’d fire you, it’s in your hands now, I need to turn it in by April 30 so have it for me by the 29th.” Her manager wanted her to be a manger and devise some ideas and a plan for me because she (division manager) feels I have “some merit.” Our manager wanted my boss to perform a boss function. And yet, as ever, it didn’t even touch her desk. It was passed off straight to me with a, “Handle this, will ya? I don’t have a clue,” attitude which colors every assignment she gives me.

Sometimes I make it very, very known to higher ups that I did the project or client relations or whatever it was my boss was supposed to do. But most of the time I just handle it and let her bask in the credit if any is given. We’re a “team.” In the end who did what doesn’t matter – what matters is the client and their satisfaction with the end result.

That’s my purpose, that’s my concern, that’s my reason for dealing with ridiculous crap at work. I like our clients. I have (I think) fantastic relationships with them. I want them to have services and projects they like from us. I like to think they think of us (me, at least) as part of their team ready and willing to help them reach their goals.

I know, doesn’t that sound like resume cover letter or mission statement BS? The sad fact is that it’s honestly the way I feel. I have that can-do spirit and mentality. I truly believe in and can recite the Girl Scout Law, too. Some people have the Lord’s Prayer or the Serenity Prayer posted on their desk at work so they can take a few minutes to have a calming moment and gain strength. I have the Girl Scout Law on my desk. Even though I know it by heart and live it in deed, it’s a nice talisman which has got me through a lot of difficult days at work. Wanna hear me recite it? Huh? Do ya? Okay, it goes like this:
I will do my best to be:
Honest and fair,
Friendly and helpful,
Considerate and caring,
Courageous and strong, and
Responsible for what I say and do,
And to respect myself and others,
Respect authority,
Use resources wisely,
Make the world a better place, and
Be a sister to every Girl Scout.

When I’m working with the young Girl Scouts I always make an aside and talk about being a sister to every girl whether she’s a Girl Scout or not. It might be breaking “The Law” but at 9-years-old many girls like to feel elitist about something and I don’t want them to use the Girl Scouts as their clique of choice.

So, you know, I’m kind of one of those people. If I weren’t so aware and real (read: cynical) and too annoyed by trite and cliche pith I’d be the type to have Successories posters in my office and home and would attend motivational seminars for fun on weekends. (Lest you think your pal Trillian is even more of an annoying middle manager than you suspected, I also have a couple Douglas Adams quotes taped to my computer screen. Yes, I realize that only further confirms the opinion that I am an annoying dork. But maybe not quite as annoying as someone who has Successories posters in their office, or worse, their bedroom. Swut. That was ages ago. Remember that? I’ll have to dig that one out of the archives. I do meet some of the weirdest people on the planet. Like moths to a flame they seek and find me.)

Suffice it to say my boss was not, is not, a Girl Scout. There are a ton of women in my department. There is only one other (former) Girl Scout in the entire group. This was recently discovered at a staff meeting. I just smiled knowingly when I heard that that she and I were the only two Girl Scouts. Why knowingly? Because of the entire group of women she’s the only one I would consider to be an intelligent, professional, decent human being. Isn’t that interesting. And yes, I thought that long before I knew she was a Girl Scout. When it came up in front of the entire department that there were two Girl Scouts in the group, my boss laughed. A really loud obnoxious laugh she has. A glib, flippant, scoffing, mocking, taunting, superior laugh. Kind of like Marge’s sisters’ mocking laugh at Homer.

Right. So. I know. Focus woman, focus! The problem at hand! Unemployment.

Yeah. Well. I dunno. I have no idea where to start with this. I think it’s an exercise in false altruism based on guilt from my division director, and therefore and exercise in futility. Giving me the “opportunity” to create a new niche for myself sounds good, but it’s not quite as simple as, “I have the skills to run the entire company,” and a month from now I’m executive director. It has to be discussed and approved by at least three people before it’s even proposed to HR. If it makes it to HR there are several steps in that process, not the least of which is assigning a salary and benefits package for the new job. Companies don’t think in terms of individual people, they think in terms of individual job descriptions. People come and go. In theory job descriptions, or at least job needs, stay the same. I understand that. There’s a lot of logic to it. It can seem impersonal, but business is business. “Stuff” has to get done and there need to be a few pieces of glue holding the structure of the business together. Keeping specific job functions glued to specific jobs first, and to specific people second, just makes logical sense.

Consequently, in spite of my boss’ (usual) glib oversimplification of writing out my skills and creating an idea for a new job, there’s a lot more to it than that. There always is. That’s why she gives me the projects which are given to her. She apparently doesn’t “read stuff” and doesn’t (can't) manage the project. But she glibly makes it sound easy (“So easy even a Trillian can do it!”) and therefore doesn’t feel guilty “delegating” it to me while she focuses on difficult and important projects. Like finding Hawaiian shirts for the department bowling tournament. I take care of the project, the client is happy, and my boss reports back to her boss that a) “we” did it as a team, or b) it was so easy she had Trillian handle it.

The second option is her passive aggressive approach in action. It makes her seem so clever and smart that she give an underling a project that seemed like a difficult project to her boss. It makes her seem impressive. It makes her look smart and me look dumb. In her boss’ eyes the chain of delegation speaks to the difficulty of the project. I always thought our higher ups saw through her idiocy. And since one of them thinks I have “some merit” maybe that’s the case. But then why isn’t my boss on the job chopping block?

She’s not and I am and that’s that.

So I’m scrambling around like mad trying to get my ducks in a row. Apart from a lower level job in another department and a new and rewarding career in nursing, my boss said, “There’s that report about client needs, you know those cute little surveys finance sent to clients? I think there’s comments on those reports, maybe you could figure out a job description from those.”

Right. Okay.

I’ve learned to speak her language so I’ll translate: Use the client feedback analysis reports from the exit surveys to ascertain and assess areas needing improvement as identified by clients and devise a job description which will address those needs.

You’re thinking, “Okay, Trill, that sounds like a no brainer for you, shut up and do it. You’re great at marketing analysis, just use that skill set and market yourself.”

You’re right. It is a no brainer for me to identify needs and strategize a viable plan.

And I have worked out two scenarios and have a germ of an idea for a third.

“Okay, so, what’s the problem?”

The problem is that my boss obviously wants me gone. Her contempt has moved from passive aggression to flippant sarcasm. Well. Okay. Her brand of sarcasm which lacks intelligence. She’s increasingly openly hostile toward me. Other people have noticed it. One of her buddies even defended me during a recent meeting when she talked over me and tried to shoot down an idea. Her buddy said, “Sheesh, let Trillian finish, it sounds like a good idea. [The client] would love it.”

My boss’ response, “Ha! Are you serious? You guys go ahead and try it, but you have to find money out of your own budgets for it. I’m not supporting it.”

Three weeks into the project the client is on board and giving more money to take it to an even bigger level. And guess who’s taking credit for that? My boss was the first in the door with the check to our senior manager’s office glowing about how ingenious “our” idea was.

There are bigger issues. One of the jobs I “made up” and the third I’m working on would put me (or whomever) in a position above my boss. That was not by design. By using logical and typical agency operations structure, my boss’ job’s space on the org chart falls under (well under in one case) the space on the org chart where the new job would be inserted. And we all know that’s not gonna happen. No way, no how.

The good news is that since I’ve been able to walk again I’ve been applying like mad for jobs. So far I have a few rejections and a couple offers for short term consultant gigs. (translation: No health insurance, no job after six months.) Those jobs would be “great” if I had a husband who had a job which provides health insurance and a steady income. But I don’t. I have me. And they’d be great if I could handle a couple of them at a time and bankroll a wad of cash to cover medical expenses and the mortgage during the down-time. But I’m just me. And the consulting gigs I’ve been offered are on-site, “regular business hour” jobs. Since I’m not actually Samantha Stevens and can’t be two places at once, that pretty much rules out those choices.

I’m trying to stay optimistic about getting a new job offer within the next few weeks. Unemployment is at the highest level in two years and all things point to me being jobless for more than a month. But I'm staying optimistic. Meanwhile I’m working on the exercise in futility delegated to me by my boss, otherwise known as My Possible New Job Description.

You may be thinking, "Glass half full, Trillian, glass half full. Why would they even bother to give you the opportunity to 'make up' a new job for yourself if they were just going to fire you anyway? C'mon, square those shoulders and rise to the occasion. It's not all doom and gloom, you're not unemployed yet. Don't let it become a self fulfilling prophecy." You're right, and I am working on it. But keep in mind two other people have been "let go" in the past three months, both were "given other opportunities" which either involved a cut in pay or job revision which ultimately was shot down by HR. "oh. you didn't mention that." Yeah. Sorry. It's seems to be the M.O. lately. My cynical seen-it-all brain thinks this is a plan devised to limit the unemployment and severence benefits my company has to pay. If they can document that "we" were given opportunities for other jobs, we effectively quit. It's a matter of syntax, but, in terms of unemployment benefits it's no small amount of money.

And then there’s the other option: Following the road of enlightenment. I've been playing out my worst case scenarios.

If I “lose” my job (get fired) I will lose everything I own within a month of walking out the office door for the last time. Period. If, if I can sell my condo during one of the worst housing markets in history, I only have one year of equity into it. Meaning: I will still be paying a mortgage. Granted, a smaller mortgage – I’d re-finance whatever the difference is between the selling price and the amount I owe. And I still wouldn’t have an income. And from there it’s bankruptcy court. I know, I know, there are “programs” for homeowners who lose their jobs, I know. And that might be an option. I’ve already looked into it.

But.

I’m unmarried, no children, no cats, a lot of debt, a lot of medical expenses and a boss who hates me and wants to be rid of me. I like my condo but I’m not in love with it. It’s a nice, cozy home, but it’s just a place to live and the property taxes have already increased a lot in just the one year I’ve lived there which makes me feel even more resentment toward Mayor Daley and home ownership in general.

I’m: Unattached. Unattached to every aspect of my life except my family and friends. Consequently “losing everything” isn’t a big deal to me. I lost the man I loved and thought would always be there for me. My furry soulmate has been gone a year. In comparison, losing my job, my home and my few remaining possessions really isn’t a big deal. I’ve weathered bigger emotional storms than this. I won’t be homeless, per se, I have friends and family who will let me stay with them. Now that I’m catless it’s easier to sleep in someone’s spare room or bounce from couch to couch. I’m lucky – I have family and friends. And I’m lucky most of my friends are married and live in enormous houses with spare rooms.

Oh sure, this just deepens my reputation as: Trillian the Single Zero Loser, but really, that’s already a rock solid reputation so unemployment and homelessness will be expected.

Does that mean I’m giving up trying?

No. You know me better than that. But I’ve thought it through, a lot, and my worst case scenario of losing everything really isn’t so awful.

Sure, the health insurance aspect sucks, especially since I was informed Monday that it looks like my foot will require another surgery. That was always a possibility. I’m going to see yet another specialist for confirmation. But given my job situation I’m not going to embark on it. I went to a couple job interviews when I was in the surgery boot and on the scooter. That was a weird situation. I don’t think it cost me the jobs, and I’m sure I left a lasting impression on the hiring managers. (“Remember that woman who rolled in on that scooter for the interview…”) But it was difficult and I’m sure I wasn’t giving my best and brightest “hire me!” schpeel.

And my podiatrist told me that it will be a long time before I can wear heels again so I’m getting rid of most of my shoes. More possessions, more part of my past: Gone.

See what I mean? Losing pieces of your life isn’t horrible. It’s not fun, it’s not “normal,” but when you’re a single zero you learn to accept loss and dashed hopes. It’s not pessimism, really. I know it sounds that way, but it’s not. It’s not stoicism, either. It’s just: Dealing with reality on your own without emotional and financial support of a spouse or the drive to succeed because of the need to take care of children.

Oh, yeah, children. I forgot to mention, I was told by my senior manager that portions of my job are being given to two other people who have children. Apparently attempting to appeal to my sympathies she said, “We need to keep them busy and employed, they have children. [one] has a daughter going off to college next year and [another] has two youngsters.” Oh. Of course. It’s more important to keep two people who have children employed than one single woman.

Yes. I believe this is discrimination, but no, I can’t find any solid information on officially making a claim.

Single. Zero. First to go. It’s not enough that we’re the ones who get stuck working late and on weekends when other people can’t because they have children. And you know that happens in offices everywhere and the issue of equality or fairness in this respect is never addressed. Who can fault someone for taking care of their children? You can’t. But should it be at the expense of the single people in the office? No. But that’s how it works. And when it comes time to cut personnel, I’ve seen it time and time again, and now it’s happening to me: People with children get the sympathy vote. Single zeros are perceived as being resilient, flexible, unattached and “easier to displace” than people with children. I know it can make you wince to read it spelled out, but we all know that happens. A lot. Do I regret the late nights and weekends I spent working while my coworkers were picking up babies from day care, going to ballet rehearsals, soccer games, band concerts, parent teacher conferences, staying home with sick children and using their child as an excuse for everything imaginable? No. It's all work for the greater good, it's about the end result. Do I resent the attitude that children are a built-in excuse for getting out of work and that single zeros' lives outside of work are less important than workers'with children? Oh boy do I. Why? Because I've seen so many single zero people who've given countless extra hours to a job be let go in favor of keeping employees with children employed.

Do I think this is the "real" reason I'm on the fast track out of here? No.

In my case it’s just another ingredient in the stew.

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2:25 PM

 
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