Tag Archives: bed_bugs

What it’s like to write an eBook when you have no idea what you’re doing

In case it wasn’t apparent from the giant banner at the top of this blog, I wrote an eBook. That was a little under two years ago, but due to career changes, life, blah blah, it feels more like something that happened in the life of an entirely different person. Also, WordPress deleted like thirty minutes of good edits so this post is not as good as it could have been (*fist shaking at the WordPress gods*).

My life has changed so much in the past two years that I rarely think about the time when I hated my job and my career prospects and the only thing that gave me any sense of satisfaction was writing this blog. I really only think about it in a “wow, I’m really fucking lucky I’ve found something I love to do everyday. How did I trick these people into paying me?” kind of way. Or I think about it when people say, “Hey. You wrote a book. What was that like?”

And that’s what I’m going to talk about. I’ve been reticent to write about the experience because I don’t want it to come off humble-braggy (or regular braggy), or sounding like I’m lamenting one of the most exciting and proud accomplishments of my 20s. Please keep that second part in mind when I lament.

But I think enough (so, like five?) people who read this blog are also writers/aspiring writers in some vein and hopefully my learnings can help you one day when you also write an eBook (or regular book. Dream big, peeps!). So, here goes:

How did it happen? 

Like threepointfive years ago I was walking home from work, thinking about how the one year anniversary of when I met my then ex-boyfriend was coming up because I’m a massive creep who’s overly sentimental and I was thinking about the Google reminder I’d set for myself when we broke up for four months out that was like, “Throw a party because you’re totally over that douche”, and how that reminder and come and gone and I was, in fact, not at all over that douche. I should have told my boyfriend to skip this paragraph.

^That’s a tangent and also very close to the first page of my eBook. NEWAY. I came up with this whole idea about the online dating and went home and told Austin and CLEARLY we got drunk in the living room to celebrate and when our other roommates came home and we were sitting on the floor having a singalong to Robyn (but songs from before she was like, Gay Icon Robyn, eg. “Show Me Love”) and were like, “Why the fuck are you guys blackout? It’s Monday.” We were probably like

BECAUSE TIFFANY’S GONNA BE INTERNET FAMOUS FOR DATING

but I’m not sure we said that because we were blackout.

So I started my experiment and nothing happened. The Internet did not rally around me 40 Days of Dating style, but some of my friends did express that they thought I was The Worst for going on dates and writing about it in what I like to refer to as The Great Rooftop Confrontation of 2012. And then Chris and I got back together and the blogging about dating came to an end.

BUT. A year later, when I was submitting anything and everything to Thought Catalog anytime I felt extra suicidal at work, one of my posts was finally accepted. An editor there started scanning through my blog and reposing more stuff. Then one day she emailed me and asked if I wanted to turn my online dating posts into an eBook.

Within about ten minutes my boyfriend texted me that he’d gotten the job he’d been in hoping to get for the past six months. We had the best day ever. Champagne was consumed, Drake was blasted, drunk rapping was the main activity of the evening. The high from that lasted a few days for me. I was going to be an AUTHOR. Ok, well, an eBook author, but someone who wrote something who someone else asked them to write so that’s like an author. Right? Shit, I was going to be an author. was going to be an author? How was I going to be an author?

What was it like? 

I wanted to be a writer when I was a little kid. I imaged sitting in my New York City apartment, guinea pig on my desk, eating a cookie at 9 AM because mommy wasn’t there to tell me I couldn’t. I’d look out the window at my city view and type away, relaying all of my experiences to the world. It’d be fucking beautiful.

Wrong. Me writing a book looked like this –

All of my roommates were out of town that weekend. Someone had gifted me some adderall a few weeks back (god bless you, unknown drug angel) so I spent the weekend very alert, holed up in my apartment crying and ordering different variations of my favorite sandwich from the bodega across the street, feeling utterly terrified that I was going to fuck up writing a book like I fucked up music school because apparently I’ve got some demons, people. I had bed bugs but I didn’t know it yet, so I was also quite itchy.

And here’s where I get to the hindsight being 20/20 part –

I was living with a brilliant, kind, helpful, beautiful, wonderful human with a giant book deal (who could make this sentence a hell of a lot better) and I didn’t ask her for help. One of my dear friends who knows every terrible, embarrassing thing about me is an editor a very real publication. Yet another good friend is an editor at a publishing house.

I asked none of them for help because I was Imposter Syndroming so hard. I didn’t ask my editor enough questions because I was starstruck and believed she secretly hated me and was terrified she was going to cancel the whole deal entirely.

It did not help that during this time it was that part of GIRLS where Hannah was blowing her book deal and if Lena Dunham couldn’t do it HOW WAS I GOING TO DO IT?

What was your “process”?

Art(super hating myself for even slightly putting what I do and ‘art’ in the same category) and expression are romanticized like whoa. In reality, they’re a lot like pooping.

You’re walking down the street, minding your own business, and suddenly it comes to you and so you have to go to a Starbucks and order a coffee and pretend like you want to be there so no one else knows you just needed a place no one you know will be in while you get this thing inside you out of you. This metaphor is working so well.

My “process” sucked. And I did it all wrong. And when my book was released (i.e. – put up on Amazon), I was actually sitting in my apartment alone, drinking massive amounts of vodka and texting pictures of dead bed bugs in a plastic bag to the guy with the bed bug sniffing dog to confirm that I did indeed have bed bugs.

Did you sell a lot of copies?

It was a stroke of luck in some ways that I was drunk and on the verge of insanity because both of those things compelled me to announce my book’s arrival on social media. I’d posted nothing about it previously because I was terrified I’d fail to produce, but in my drunkeness I harassed everyone I knew into buying it and reviewing it.

The early sales and positive reviews (thanks friend & mom) placed me into the Kindle Singles program. If you don’t know what that is it means lots of free promotion from Amazon and lots of lots of lots of sales. Of course, lots of sales means lots of reviews.

Is it good?

I was laying in bed on a Sunday morning, a couple days after the book became a Kindle Single, trying to figure out something to tweet because people kept following me on Twitter and I felt the pressure. I took a break from trying to think up jokes about my hangover and popped over to my Amazon page. And there it was, a review from an unknown human. It wasn’t scathing, by any means, but it was a, ‘this was a meh experience for me’ sort of thing. I freaked out, my boyfriend calmed me down. We got mimosas. All was well again.

Until the next day, when Googling myself brought up a review. A review! Of my book! As it turned out there was a new website devoted to reviewing every Kindle Single and the woman who reviewed mine absolutely fucking hated it. I read her review that criticized my writing, my experience and me, in general, and then I went outside to wander around in the fog and cry.

At the time, it hardly hit me that my book was in the top ten non-fiction Kindle Single sales for the week. All I could do was be obsessed with the opinion of this one person. And, subsequently, a bunch of other people who wrote negative reviews.

At first I wanted to hear all of it. I thought if I could soak up enough negative feedback I’d be able to make myself immune. In my quieter moments, though, those words would echo in my head. I’d get defensive and bitter. I’d make up conversations in my head. I’d try to take action.

Reviewer – “Seems like Tiffany needs to keep her day job.”

Me – “I AM KEEPING MY DAY JOB YOU ASSHOLE.” And then I went and marked every single one of his Amazon reviews for screwdrivers as ‘This review was not helpful’. Suck it, reviewer.

I made the mistake of personifying them when, in reality, internet commentors are unsympathetic shells of people. Anonymity does weird things.

So it’s two years down the line and every so often I get the inevitable, ‘hey! you wrote a book,’ from a new friend who’s taken the time to look at my Twitter. It’s a weird thing to be both proud of an accomplishment and simultaneously embarrassed by it. And it’s a weird thing to manage your internet self, a distilled version of you that (at least if you want to be paid attention to) should present every little thing you’ve done as evidence that you should be paid attention to. Well, until you’ve done something cool enough that just gets you them for free.

When I published the book I’d get asked by some of my more put together friends if I was nervous about the fact that I’d potentially forever be associated with drinking and dating. I didn’t think back then and I still don’t think now that I’ll ever be worried about that part of it. It’s really the smaller things, like the fact that I used the word ‘retarded’ or that I described in detail how I was repulsed by someone mainly due to his weight. I don’t worry people will find out I wrote it (because that’s still kind of fucking cool), but I’m always gripped by the anxiety that they’ll read it and see me like some of the internet commentors did. That maybe they won’t hear everything delivered in the flat, tongue-in-cheek tone I wanted them to hear it in.

What did you learn?

No one asks me this question, but it’s the most important part, because it all goes back to the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned about Imposter Syndrome. I was dying for an opportunity like this one in order to prove to myself that I was not just another person blogging on the internet, but a person with ideas worth being put into a more permanent form. Once I got that opportunity I felt just as much like an imposter as I had before. I was up against the other people writing books who really knew what they were doing. I thought if I could just push out ANYTHING and be published then I’d have that title of “author” to claim for myself. Once I did publish the book and the reviews started coming in, Imposter Syndrome struck again. I wasn’t an author, I was a “bad author”, a “hack”, or as the website that continually liked to use puns on how my book was about drinking (we get it, you’re not good writers either <- still bitter) described it “only selling copies because of a clever title and good cover art.”

The lesson I learned was that I’m going to feel like an imposter until the day I die if I let myself. It’s never going to get better, nothing is ever going to feed that deep-seeded insecurity that I’ve got in the pit of my stomach. Every glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel fades and morphs into something sinister, a whisper in my ear that wakes me up in the middle of the night to remind me that I’m the shittiest.

^Uplifting, right? BUT IT IS I PROMISE STICK WITH ME WE’RE ALMOST DONE AND THEN YOU CAN EAT COOKIES IF YOU HAVE THEM I PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE WARNED YOU TO COME EQUIPPED WITH COOKIES. Once I realized that the imposter syndrome, just like all of my anxiety and my crazy, is with me forever, I was able to take it a little less seriously. It became just like that voice in my head that tells me the 90-something, tiny Asian woman walking behind me in the street is actually a secret serial killer and she’s about to stab me. It doesn’t go away, but it’s stupid as fuck.

Are there a bunch of things I wish I’d done better when I wrote it? Hell yes. Am I so embarrassed at points when I think about things I wrote? Oh my god you have no idea. But we learn best through our mistakes. We see new parts of ourselves when we’re putting our broken egos back together.

And all of the lessons I’ve learned? Those will just have to be used on the next (e)Book.

Next time… On Serial.*

*I’msorryIhadtoIcouldn’thelpmyselfitsoundsSOcoolinmyhead.

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I got 99 problems, but bed bugs ain’t one

JK, they’re #1. Right up there with my waist being wider than my hips and the fact that I haven’t yet won the lottery. As a former aspiring songwriter (my saddest label) I like to make up songs about my life. “Where did you go/ My strainer” sung to the tune of No Mercy’s “Where do you go?” is on heavy rotation in my kitchen and “I don’t want to go to work,” my folk tune original has topped my Monday morning charts since 2010.

The bed bugs and all of the information I’ve learned about them have provided me with ample material for a host of songs. Ha ha, get it? Host. Because I’m being eaten alive in my own apartment… too soon?

Possible tag lines for the TV ad: “All the music you’ve been itching to hear” / “It’ll keep you up all night long!” / “Reality bites… your music shouldn’t”

Man, I miss CD compilations. If it were the nineties, I could be all –

FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY, GET THIS YEAR’S TOP HITS. “NOW: THAT’S WHAT I CALL A BED BUG INFESTATION!!” IS AVAILABLE TODAY FOR ONLY $19.99. AND GUESS WHAT? THERE’S MORE! BUY IT IN THE NEXT TWO HOURS AND GET A PACK TITE TOO! THAT’S A $319.99 VALUE FOR ONLY $19.99!!

“Now: That’s What I Call a Bed Bug Infestation” features hits from today’s top artists:

Lil Wayne / Future / Drake – “My Bitches [bed bug sniffing dogs] Luv Me” 

Sample lyrics – “I’ve got dem bed bugs and rubbing alcohol / I’ve got an exterminator I can call / I don’t know what I would do witout OFF© / Ima heat things til they cannot crawl / That’s why my bitches luv me.” 

The Black Eyed Peas – “Where Are the Bugs?

Sample lyrics – “I’ve been itchin’ / I ain’t lyin’ / I can’t sleep and I feel like cryin’ / I’m so grossed out I could shriek / I think a bed bug bit my cheek / Pest Pro, Pest Pro, Pest Pro, help me / Send some an expert who wears gloves / I’ve been lookin’ but I’m still questioning / Where are the bugs?” 

PSY – “Bed Bug Style

Sample lyrics – ” Najeneun ttasaroun inganjeogin yeoja / Keopi hanjanui yeoyureul aneun pumgyeok inneun yeoja / Bami omyeon simjangi tteugeowojineun yeoja / Geureon banjeon inneun yeoj / EHHHH Rashy Lady / Op, Op, Op / Oppa Bed Bug Style” 

I wish this were a real

Justin Timberlake – “Pack & Tite

Sample lyrics – “I be always packing my shit tite / shit tite / I can’t wait til I can move outta my apartment / Been heatin’ fabric so much / It’s hot like an oven…”

Taylor Swift – “Trouble (I Knew You Had Bed Bugs When You Walked In)

Sample lyrics – “I knew you had bed bugs when you walked in / So shame on me now / You’ve been shopping at thrift stores againnnn / Keep your blankets on the ground oh / I knew you had bed bugs when you walked in / So shame on me now / Should have sent you vacuum-packing / Now I’m throwing all my bedding out!” 

The video to that one is great because it opens with a minute and a half of Taylor dramatically inspecting her suitcase after returning from a stay at the Ritz Carlton while talking about how she felt compelled to keep it on the floor even though she’d been burned before. Something about the carpeting was calling to her.

AND OF COURSE, WHAT ULTIMATE COMPILATION WOULD BE COMPLETE WITHOUT ALL YOUR FAVORITE GOLDEN CLASSICS:

Journey – “Don’t Stop Your Steaming”

Aretha Franklin – “B.I.T.I.N.G.ME”

The Beatles – “We Can Get Them Out”

Britney Spears – “Oops! They Bit Me Again”

Frank Sinatra – “Strangers in the Night” (I know, too easy!)

Carly Simon – “You’re so Vein (I bet you think that they’re gonna bite you)”

ACT NOW OR MISS OUT ON THIS ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY TO GET YOUR COPY OF “NOW: THAT’S WHAT I CALL A BED BUG INFESTATION!” AND YOUR VERY OWN PACK TITE!

CALL US IN THE NEXT 5 MINUTES AND WE’LL THROW IN A NOW RUBBING ALCOHOL SPRAY BOTTLE!

Peace, love and call 1-800-got-bugs to buy now, 

BWCE

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New Hobbies

The first thing you do when you see a bed bug is begin to research. It actually takes a while to figure out what the process is going to be like, because so many of the top links are horror stories from people. Here’s what you should do when you find a bed bug or think you have them.

  • Don’t clean or throw anything out (it will make it harder for the inspector to find them)
  • Call your management company, they will pay for the inspection
  • If you find an actual bug, try not to kill it and get it into a ziplock bag. If you already killed it, pick it up off whatever you killed it on with some tape and put it in a ziplock bag for your inspector/ management company.
  • Seriously. Don’t clean anything.

Once the inspector comes, you’ll know if you have a problem or not, or at least you’ll know if it is severe (my inspector and bed bug sniffing dog found nothing, so the situation is expected to not be TOO big of a deal. I am not as hopeful).
Your best friends will become your dryer or a Pack Tite and some vacuum packing bags. I’d recommend the Pack Tite because you can operate it in your home instead of lugging your shit too and from the dryer and worrying that it’s not really getting hot enough.

That being said, my Pack Tite and I have had our share of issues along the way.

$300 of my 2012 tax return went to this baby

Once everything is vacuum packed, they will come and treat. I don’t really know what happens after that (I find out tomorrow. FUN!) but I assume feeling OCD and freaked out about whether or not they’re gone.

The prep takes a LONG fucking time. Days and days. So many days I’ve watched almost a whole season of Psych, and I don’t really even like it that much. One of the more disconcerting things on top of that is the knowledge that if you misstep, unpack everything to early and the bugs come back, you’ll have to do it allllll over again. I’m blocking that possibility out for now.

I’ve been through all the stages of grief at this point (twice) and I *think* I’ve accepted my fate by some positive self talk.

“It’s ok, Tiffany, you just have some new interesting hobbies. Think of what you can tell people.”

Person with no bed bugs – “So, what are you doing after work?”
Me – “Oh, ya know, just heating a bunch of my shit to 120 degrees for about an hour and then sealing it in a vacuum pack. You?”
PWNBB – “Ummmm, going to the gym and then dinner?”

PWNBB – “Are you drinking this weekend?”
Me – “Nope, not drinking but there will be lots of alcohol. RUBBING ALCOHOL that is. You know, because I spray it on everything I own to help kill/ deter the bed bugs.”

Me – “My morning beauty ritual includes an intense, 10 minute inspection of my body to see I I have any new bed bug bites.”

So far my favorite hobby has become inspecting every piece of lint I see everywhere. I have a promising future as a lint analyst, so suck on that, people with engineering degrees.

Peace, love and pack tites, 

BWCE

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The One with All the Bed Bugs

I’ve been freaking out about bed bugs since I moved to New York. Sure, they don’t threaten your health, they don’t cause any particular harm other than itchy bumps in 70% of people, but they are massively inconvenient. They seemed bad, and then they seemed less bad. People no longer had to move, no mattresses were thrown out, they were just a minor inconvenience some people experienced.

Well, last week life gave me bed bugs. They’re not in my roommates’ rooms, my boyfriend isn’t allergic to their bites, they are my very own bed bugs. Allllll mine. I was settled into my bed with my laptop for a lazy Sunday afternoon, when right there new to me I found a full-grown bed bug, chillin’ on my pillow, re-watching season 2, episode 1 of Girls with me.

I GET IT BEDBUGS, A LOT OF YOUR FRIENDS LIVE IN BROOKLYN.

After spending the last week going through this experience, I’m shocked that every sitcom ever about New York hasn’t made a bed bug episode. Why was 30 Rock the only one to cover bed bug territory? The whole process is so annoying, there are so many opportunities for humor.

  • If Friends had done it, it would be called “The One with All the Bed Bugs.”
  • If How I Met Your Mother did it, there would be some awesome physical comedy involving Marshall and the laundromat.
  • On Girls, Lena Dunham would schlep her bed buggy bags down the street, counting over her shoulder and getting hollered at by old Brooklyn men. She’d go to the laundromat and fight with her parents while waiting for her items to be heated to 120 degrees about how she definitely hadn’t infected their home on her most recent visit and how their throwing out her childhood bed was sending her into existential crisis.

I thought a lot about whether or not I should write about this on my blog, as I don’t particularly want to become a social pariah for the next three months, even though the no social obligations and excuse to constantly stay in ordering Seamless sounds kind of awesome. But then, on day three of taking conference calls while sitting next to a 120 heater that was cooking all of my personal belongings so I could vacuum pack all of them for the foreseeable future, I realized I HAD to talk about the bed bugs.

The only things online are tips and tricks, laments, scare tactics to keep you from movie theaters, hotels and Hollister (I support that one). No one tells you about the other stuff – about the moments of near insanity where you start turning all the rap songs you’re listening to into songs about bed bugs (it’s actually quite easy), about how cute the bed bug sniffing dog is and about the overwhelming desire to get totally shitfaced every night so you can fall asleep in a bed you imagine to be crawling with bugs but knowing you still have I go to work in the morning and vacuum packing things while hungover is hard.

So, I am embracing this experience with open arms (increasing airflow helps with the itching). Just as we walked together through surviving Valentine’s Day, feel free to join me in my attempt to beat bed bugs. Come back every day this week and you’ll get tips, tricks, songs and rants.

Peace, love and don’t get bed bugs I’m serious they are the worst I am losing my mind,
BWCE

 

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Don’t Movie Theaters Have Bedbugs Anyway?

I know they’re supposed to be fun or whatever, but I really don’t like movies. The last time I went to a movie theater it was to see “Contagion”, which only reminded me of why I hate movies. Seriously, “Contagion” was so boring that I wished it was a zombie movie, even though I once had to leave a movie theater while watching “I Am Legend” because I didn’t realize it was a zombie movie and I got so scared that I started sobbing. Yeah, I was 23 when this happened and my mom totally took me out of the theater and hugged me to calm me down. So what?

Anyway, whenever Oscar time comes around it serves as a reminder that I have seen none of the movies. This year is the second year in a row that I have seen not a single nominated film. Luckily, my boyfriend also hates movies, so we live in this magical land where nothing we watch lasts more than 42 minutes unless it’s a stand up comedy special or a documentary on serial killers. We love serial killers.

It’s a strange thing to realize that there’s this whole portion of culture from which you’ve excluded yourself. My roommates will be talking about some movie I’ve never heard of and I realize this is probably what it’s like for people who don’t have Facebook profiles because they have some pretentious view on it being the Panopticon. Despite knowing nothing about these movies, I’ve formed my opinions on what I think the movies are about based upon the following criteria:

1. The title
2. The subway poster (if it exists)
3. What I’ve heard people say about it
4. Jon Stewart’s interview with the lead actor

So the other night, my boyfriend was showing me the trailer to “Silver Linings Playbook” to point out that the movie was DEFINITELY shot where he grew up and I was like WHAT I THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS A MOVIE ABOUT FOOTBALL. I thought Bradley Cooper was like, a football coach and Jennifer Lawrence was his wife or maybe a cheerleader and together they brought together white and African American youths through the great American sport. We had to watch “Remember the Titans” a lot on the church bus and I think it’s the only football movie I’ve ever seen so I assume they’re all about this. This realization led me to think about all the Oscar nominees this year… Here’s a list of what I think these movies are about. You can correct me if I’m wrong. I don’t care about spoilers because I’m never gonna see it.

“Argo”
Pixar’s newest film. Something about Iran and Canada. I’m guessing a Persian cat befriends a moose that has accidentally wandered into Toronto and they start a hair salon or fly a plane. Whatever it is, it’s probably adorable and Ben Affleck is all over the news for his debut as a voice actor.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” 
They’re still making these? As a quick aside. I know you think epic adventures are awesome. “Lord of the Rings,” “Star Wars,” “Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle,” are instant classics… Blah blah blah.

Epic adventures stress me the fuck out. You guys realize that these characters are having the WORST DAYS EVER… Right? Like, if you Luke Skywalker you’d be all, “WTF. I’m crashed on this ice planet and I have to sleep inside the carcass of this bear thing. Oh, yay, someone saved me but now I’m in this swamp and the dude that’s supposed to teach me shit is clearly deranged or at least from Central Florida, guessing by his accent, and at least there’s this hot chick – oh wait, she’s my sister. Fuck. This has not been my week.”

I only want two types of epic in my life – epically funny and epically drunk.

“Lincoln” 
Oh! I know this one. It’s definitely about Nebraska.

Nailed it.

“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Most recent adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are. The Dave Eggers/ Spike Jonez one was too weird so they went with Jonathan Franzen / Wes Anderson this time. Instead of the Yeahyeahyeahs, FUN. Did the soundtrack.

“Life of Pi” 
Another documentary about fast food and corporate farming? Are you kidding me? Look, I saw Food Inc., I even liked it, but I get it already… Everything is evil and killing me. All I care about is how sad the chickens looked.

“Django Unchained”
Something about racism. I think Jamie Foxx is in it but I’m not sure if he’s playing the serious actor role or crazy action hero role.
Or was that “Beasts of the Southern Wil” and Django is a Tyler Perry and/or Quentin Tarantino movie?

“Les Misérables”
Anne Hathaway is in it and she has some new haircut, so it’s definitely another movie where she plays an ugly duckling and gets a makeover. She’s the new Sandra Bullock, I called it when I saw “Devil Wears Prada.”

Sure, she looks busted now, but wait til 22 minutes in when she gets a makeover at Versailles!

“Zero Dark Thirty”
Ooooo! Definitely an alien movie. Probably based on a video game.

I know, I know… I’m surprisingly good at guessing exactly what these movies are about. It’s a talent, really. Maybe that’s why I’m so bored by them… I already know exactly what’s going to happen.

Peace, love and that’s enough thinking about movies for this year, 

BWCE

PS – Romcoms are exempt from my hatred, obvi.

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