Reviews for Arms Race
tinybones chapter 4 . 9/3/2007
It's really good. Very well written. Continue whenever you can.
Zozma chapter 4 . 9/2/2007
Aww, opening with chore-bound Vince and Lorena's gender ambiguous parent is cute.

Doctor Chang. Lorena's mom, then.

“Okay, but look! You know we haven’t got insurance or anything. If we had to pay someone every time I got step throat or something just to diagnose it and write a prescription, I’d be dead. I would."

. . . O_O; . . . Vince is talking exactly like Holden Caulfield. In a few more minutes he's going to ask Ming Chang to take a look at his clavichord.

“Vince. Darling. Just take it. Come on, look, you’re insulting Mom, isn’t he, Mom?”

Ignoring the obvious "that's what she said" joke, I've gotta say Lorena is the perfect daughter, giving away her mom's money like that :P

Aww. Vince is quite the perfect gentleman when he's not a total asshole.

Ahh, the infamous Vince sucks at bowling scene :)

"p’owning"

Hmm, unique spelling. Bill Waterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame once had an extensive argument with himself over the spelling of "okay" versus "ok" and how the latter was more appropriate for comics. I think the same applies here, where pwn is clearly not acceptable in literature compared to your p'own. In any case, I see you're trying to give characters their own unique vocabulary.

“Will everybody just shut up about that?”

:)

"self-consciously pulling up the collar of his denim jacket."

Hickeys.

"lest they be turned off by the many obvious hickeys."

Yes!

Lorena refers to Kevin's many female admirers as a harem? I thought this Vince's job. Are the girls at Kevin's lunch table no longer "his whores?" I guess it wouldn't be appropriate to use that term so loosely around Gypsy at the moment, whose incidently being quite friendly :)

You have two "Vince scowled"'s in fairly close proximity. Not really a flaw, but you could probably make things a tad better if you changed one to "glower" or omitted one altogether.

I like how, even for a split second Lorena is almost selfish enough to risk Kevin's happiness for good pizza. Very realistic.

"he won’t be able to resist finding an excuse to sneak over there and…and be miserable in her direction."

Nice line.

"Gypsy, Lorena, and Kevin sat on one side, Todd and Vince on the other. Kevin was not within arms’ reach of Gypsy, Kevin and Vince were as far away from each other as possible, and Todd and Lorena were directly across from one another and could play footsies."

Expertly thought out. Nice work. Lorena and Todd aren't a very low-key couple, are they?

"Everyone chuckled. Lorena’s cooking was formidable, and not in a good way."

Kinda weak. Sound joke, but the wording needs tweeking.

"Gypsy shifted uncomfortably at Vince’s disconcerting nonchalance"

Absolutely dripping with implied sub-context and realistic character responses.

“Kevin!” Lorena hit him on the shoulder as hard as she could."

Women who hit as a means of chastising or expressing mock annoyance are always fun, for whatever reason, which is odd because it's an extremely annoying quality in men. One time my friend hit me and then followed it up with "you know, I like how, unlike most guys, you take the hit instead of trying to stop it." It was the second oddest compliment I've ever recieved.

"Yeah, but it’s always charming to hear a girl sing without somebody interrupting every thirty seconds to shout at her.”

Oh SNAP . . .

"which made Gypsy feel slightly ashamed."

Lord knows she doesn't need any more of THAT .

Nice touch with the pizza toppings.

“Damn.” She sighed. “I wanted to ask where she got her mascara. I can never find purple mascara.”

:)

I didn't think Rick's crush extended to him actually being put out when Kevin's mom goes on a date. It's a little more pathetic than I thought, which is saying something.

“Quit being a fag.”

Yay! I mean . . . gr.

She shushed him with a dismissive hand gesture. “Not hearin’ it. No homophobia at my table.”

Very cute. Silly Lorena, forgetting that a woman's lesbionic tendencies are perfectly acceptable to the homophobic mind.

"She looked quizzically at Lorena, who was dismantling her pizza toppings in her usual manner."

Assuming this is similar to your deconstructing of sandwhiches, you and Lorena really do have a lot in common.

"Now my pizza is naked.”

Accompanying the mental image of tiny Asian Lorena, that's an adorable line :-/

"That’s what you get for plucking all the stuff off it.” Vince teased. She stuck her tongue out."

Though not quite an adorable exchange. A little weak on Vince's part, but still a realistic response.

"Kevin froze, eyes wide. “Uhh…” He laughed nervously, trying his best to look endearingly sheepish as he climbed back into his seat. “Ow! Okay I deserved that – hey, alright, knock it off "

:) Wonderful.

"Even as she shook her head in disgust, Gypsy felt like giggling as Kevin sheepishly allowed Lorena to batter him relentlessly with her small, harmless fist."

And thus were a million shippers born.

"It was weird being excited to see her mom the way she was excited to see her cousin Tatianna and her kids every Christmas."

Very nice observation.

"I can’t believe…if you had told me a couple years ago that she wouldn’t always be my best friend, I’d have argued until I was blue in the face."

Saddening, but still very wonderful.

"Kelsey and Lorena would REALLY hate each other."

I now insist that Kelsey come to visit just long enough to get on Lorena's nerves.

"Her dad didn’t seem like he was buying it."

Kinda ugly. In fact the whole paragraph, while crucial in content, could be reworded better. Don't take all these criticisms to mean the chapter isn't brilliant, because it is. I'm just tired and unreceptive toward anything that isn't genius, which the better part of this chapter is.

You really captured the insecurities of parents nicely. Wanting to be the most important people in their child's life yet unconsciously nitpicking them at every turn.

The Mother in Law comparasion is a nice touch.

I like the implied weight issue in regards to the cake scene, that are even more powerful since I'm pretty sure we'll never see the cake scene.

“And don’t say Goddess, either, she’ll kill me.”

I'm very much on her side .
sugarandspice91 chapter 3 . 8/8/2007
Does he like Kevin way deep down?” Gypsy said dryly.

“Oh sweetie, don’t be ridiculous, he could never hate you as much as he hates Kevin"

. i just love lorena. :)

aw poor kevin!

yay chappy.

um..yeah.

that's about it.

m 7-up cake! :)
pixy-dizzy chapter 3 . 8/3/2007
ah, my internet is barely working and shuts down every two minutes so this one will have to be short and sweet...so the short and sweet of it is, what do you mean you don't like this chapter i like it a lot and i like how gypsy mused upon the band and the people and all their quirks and her relationships with them and (sorry i'm not really using punctuation, this is probably going to be very difficult for you to read coherently) i wonder who the person at the end that lorena is talking to is i think it might actually be kevin i don't know why. bye bye. i love you. please update soon; this story is so, so good.
EnigmaInk chapter 3 . 8/2/2007
Yeah, well, I don't like your face! ...God, what is it with you people and the self-depricating chapter beginnings! Look, I've just started the review and you're already making me us words I can't spell! Argh!

Hating things as much as Vince hates Kevin is now my new goal. Officially.

I take trains sometimes! I'm really good at it! Ooh, and I do the same thing, I bring this big strapping he-creature with me who, though he takes the window seat and has no idea what a schedule even is, provides some measure of non-awkwardness. He's like my brother, don't get excited.

However a brief moment of train-dialogue might be nice instead of a kind of out of place feeling explanation paragraph. Why do we need to know how she gets to practice right that very moment?

The Dialogue!Non!Dialogue bit is interesting.

"...a charming, likeable, well-intentioned skirt-chasing sleazebag." Isn't that what every woman wants, deep down?

PRINCESS.

Hey, I'm on facebook now too, and I also like Melissa Ethridge! I saw her in concert once, she was great.

Nice punkrock research.

"He was a useless little man with a negative attitude and a pretencious made-up last name." Hellz yeah!

*There* is our train dialogue. That could've gone before the page break line.

She didn't even visit for three months?

Wait, who was that last conversation between? Presumably Lorena and Vince, but... And now we have a Lisa and a Ruby? What do you think this is, Mindy V? You can't just through random characters in like M&Ms into popcorn! ...Oh fine, I guess you can. You are Tracey afterall. That gives you a certain edge.

Overall, good chappie. Stuff happened, even if it was mainly the passage of time, but that's important too.
Dust Cloud chapter 3 . 8/1/2007
"He could never hate you as much as he hates Kevin." Haha.

Lorena feels very little love, methinks.

Maybe he’s really just a charming, likeable, well-intentioned skirt-chasing sleazebag? lol maybe...

Todd would be just like Vince without his drums. Heh. THAT'S a scary thought.

Princess IS a pretty gross nickname, as in the Ann-Dan thing, but I dunno if they mean she's a conceited bitch...

“He was probably an insufferable ass.” No wonder Vince is getting flustered, then.

And nice end to the story...I wouldn't know who it was on the phone if you hadn't told me. Nice work. And it's not nearly as big of a Frankenchapter that you thought it was. Really.
You-Know-Who Fnordie chapter 3 . 8/1/2007
“Oh sweetie, don’t be ridiculous, he could never hate you as much as he hates Kevin.” Lorena assured her in what she mistook for a very soothing manner.

Yeah, why don't you just reassure her Lorena!

I love this whole section about the Chang Chores.

I love how...THICK these characters feel...they feel like real people. This whole paragraph about Gypsy familiarizing with the groups quirks makes me feel like these people are my friends. It really sucks me in.

This whole section from Gypsy's perspective just hammers into my head how deep these characters are. I realize every once and a while that they are this deep, and it impresses me everytime...

Im sorry. Pink Floyd is not a "him." I really hate to comment on this section like this, as it is so cool but...what am I supposed to say? I was there for this xD

“With the full and complete knowledge that she works there, but somehow it never crossed your mind that you might run into her and that might make you depressed.”

“It was stupid, okay?”

“Stupid doesn’t cover that, dearest! You have to have gone out of your way to do that!”

I love this xD. I like how we only definately know who one of them is. Once the speakers are revealed, I see "plot" developing. This whole section is hillarious...

So you know who ONE of them is, and you know that another was a guy, but we had figured that out already.

So. This chapter was a collection of random scenes, but there is no reason to hate it. I really like this chapter. It feels like you are floating above the world watching the characters normalize. I think this chapter really fits in well with the previous chapters. It just feels...right.

Let me say again, and then I promise I will stop, the depth of these characters astounds me. They are living people. I dont even WANT a plot, I just want to learn more about these characters and watch them argue.

Another fantastic instalment.

Excellsior I guess...

Love,

You-Know-Who
Dust Cloud chapter 2 . 8/1/2007
Because I just deleted the first half of my review, I'm going to say this: I love the first half and I wish I'd remember what I said. I liked the Gypsy analogy of Arm's Race to theatre, and that's...where it ends. Haha, sorry.

NOW I can add in the favorite quotes, and such, because that is where I am in this chapter now.

Vince is SUCH a jerk.

“No one wants to see that!” He shouted.

“Yeah?” Gypsy challenged. “Then QUIT STARING!”

lol, shut down.

“Good idea.” Kevin piped up, grinning sleazily. “All in favor of Gypsy’s tits being on display, say aye!”

“Oh, fuck you…”

“Aye!” Lorena thrust her hand in the air, grinning, as she repositioned herself upon her stool. “Just kidding, hun. Kind of. Ish.”

hahahahahahaha

“GYPSY’S LACK OF PANTS IS NOT THE FOCUS OF THIS ARGUMENT!” Vince bellowed, his face a madman’s mask of rage. *Another great quote*

“The train builds character!” Lorena once declared, openly mocking him. “No,” Vince retorted. “Just spending time with Kevin deteriorates it.”

haha. great work! I'll be moving on to 3 now
Zozma chapter 3 . 8/1/2007
I love One Update a Month Summers :). Everyone pumps out a chapter that they're not really proud of but end up being remarkable now and then. You more often than not, it seems.

"Lorena held the phone with her held and shoulder"

I'm immature and petty enough to point out this grammatical flaw.

“And his mom caught her leaving, so they were fighting all morning. He came to my house a couple hours early.” “I’m…sorry, I didn’t know…” She said quietly, feeling guilty and uncomfortable.

Seperate the quotations into their own paragraph, I should think.

"Oh sweetie, don’t be ridiculous, he could never hate you as much as he hates Kevin.”

Warm fuzziness :). You know, there are are probably those in the audience spoiled by Christmas Special trite that expect the book to end with everyone being friends, specifically Kevin and Vince developing an unshakeable brotherly bond. For the sake of making these nameless buggers discontent, the two musicians must remain forever at odds.

"Lorena was excellent at picking up sarcasm, but often she chose not to."

Much like her sense of morality and reliability, Lorena's sarcasm radar is completely selective :P.

"and Dad is too creative to mow the lawn."

I love this line.

"Vince could always use some extra cash, which isn’t to say he’ll take it.”

I imagine this being said with a matter-of-factly tone, as if Lorena is trying to convince Gypsy that, while a jackass, Vince is totally loyal to his friends.

"Their Christmas tree went up Christmas Eve and came down around Memorial Day."

Clever line that's thoughtfully placed and punctuated. Look, I don't know. It just seems that isolating this statement all on its lonesome rather than including it into the "Why Lorena's parents are lazy beatniks" list gives it emphasis and pronounciation. It's one of those fung shuay things, leave me along.

"It had been something of a family tradition since the day Vince passed Lorena’s father in height."

Cute :P.

“Buhbye, baby.”

That's more or less the closing line of dialogue in Solomon's Song. And then the other guy get's shot.

I think Clara needs a flaw. Lorena's got a few, as we discussed, which leaves only Clara as the semi-perfect, enviornmentaly conscience, motherly role-model.

"Gypsy’s job was to sound pretty"

But not look it, because that makes him uncomfortable. I can see Vince becoming a megastar in the future and ending up as the focus of one of those reality shows where a bunch of people have to work for the extremely anal, picky millionaire. Every womam maid will have petticoats buttoned up to their lower jaw and a long skirt/ pants combination. We will call it The Margarelli Experience and show it on prime time MTV.

Nice little tenis ball conflict between Vince and Gypsy. More importantly, they all had good points, rather than it focusing on Gypsy as being in the right, even though she was.

"Gypsy, Kevin noted, was very cute when she was mad. Kevin, Gypsy replied, could take his evaluations of her appearance and stick them where the sun didn’t shine."

:-D

"They dropped it, with the full knowledge that the whole fight would replay itself the next day. The whole fight replayed itself the next day."

Nice. Redundancy definitely has its place in humor. Marsy won't approve, but it's nice anyway :).

I like the Exploring Kevin's Inner-Self paragraph. Nicely written with each (important) character getting their own little word in edgewise. Speaking of important characters, where the Hell is Tod?

"The more she remembered this -didn’t feel she sung the song as well the second time."

*hugs Tracey's personified artistic genius and verbal eloquence*

*also hugs Tracey's personified clarity and foresight into complex subconscious human motivations such as the primitive alpha male phenotype Vince tries to maintain in face of a more charismatic outsider presence*

"Todd’s anger was channeled and if you took his drum set away he would come into school with a small arsenal of weapons and kill everyone."

Still hilarious the second time around. Would be even moreso if we got to experience more of Todd's mellowness instead of his relentless quiet, but still funny.

I've been conditioned to cringe whenever I see the words "The Goddess" on paper. It irks me that fantasy writers will take basic Christain ideals, attatch a feminine subfix and think voila, I just achieved an entirely unique spiritual experience for my characters to loosely follow. We'll have to cover it in the Guide. Oh, not that it applies here, of course, Lorena's just being open/progressive minded as to the exact gender of our creator, which is totally cool.

"exfoliants"

. . . Pastry?

Now I really, really like Gypsy's awareness of her petname's subtexts. That's extremely clever.

Yay, sex pistol scene!

Alex gave me the three chord Punk talk, too, which would admittedly be fascinating if I knew what a chord was.

"When Gypsy and Vince talked music, it was like two monolingual diplomats conversing without a translator"

An apt and intelligent simile.

"I like this message’, which was that politics suck, ‘but I can send it across in two minutes’.”

That's not fair, Pink Floyd's lyric to purely music ration was pretty disproportionate to the latter's favor and even the most researched music professor can't argue that music on its own is symbolic and I don't know why I'm making this arguement to you.

"I’m happy here. She screamed through the excuses. Don’t make me come back ‘home’."

Sad Zozma :(

Lorena's presence in the conversation is, of course, obvious, but the second party's identity is fairly ambiguous. Nice work.

I'm also highly impressed that second party is mentioning the minute details such as glass refills that don't need to be said, but would obviously bother him. It's like he's voicing his concerns despite them being trivial and unimportant.

Who is this Lisa that's being spoken of and why have I not received an immense amount of detail regarding her backstory, occupation, measurements, theological orgin, and newspaper preference? Are you holding out on me? Are you . . . are you telling these little details to some other hunky woodsman? You are, aren't you? Harlot!

Anyway, excellent chapter. Really. There's a literal ocean of minor details and character tibits to appreciate here. I think what your problem is is that you're too hung up on plot. People's lives don't have a theatrical direction, Tracey luv, and when a story is entirely character driven you can't expect fate or subtle actions to gently nudge them along a fixed path. Unless of course, I'm wrong, and you don't care about the plot, in which case the chapter's still remarkable and you're just being silly.
EnigmaInk chapter 2 . 7/29/2007
Yeeks, war!

Heat has layers?

Wish I had an attic room like that.

Not wanting to swear makes swearing okay? Cool!

Ah, the introduction of the ice cold showers.

Casual introduction of suspense about Gypsy's past, very nice.

Nothing like hair in the artifical wind, is there.

No Love: Less Than Not A Lot

I WILL MAKE GYPSY'S LACK OF PANTS THE FOCUS OF EVER ARGUMENT FOR THE REST OF FOREVER. WHICH WILL BE TRICKY, BUT HYSTERICAL.

Kevin: The Anti-Character.

Very good. Arguments count as occurances, I just decided, thus allowing you to have all the talk you like while semi-moving the 'plot' along. But no one has really complained about the lack of plot drive, so stop apologizing for it.
Ben-Ho of the 23rd Gate chapter 2 . 7/18/2007
His Mom usually made dinner, but she’d been passed out on the couch when he got home. He’d thrown the empty bottles away and hurried up to his room to shut himself in before his Dad could get home.

He’d heard him come in. The walls were thin and the main bedroom, well, all of the upstairs was right beneath the attic, after all, and he’d heard her. No specific her. Just some her that he’d picked up after work.

This section does so much for character development of the three characters...

It was truly a testament to Vince’s character that he didn’t want to swear profusely, on account of his father’s mistress was a woman and that was against his outdated morals.

Which is to say, he did swear profusely, but he felt badly about it afterwards.

xD

the whole section on the phone with Lorena furthers the impression of Vince's lack of financial security.

“Oh my Goddess"

Oh my Eris!

The first Gypsy section reveals some of the depth of her character and your understanding of it.

“Ah, but it’s all part of the master plan.” Clara winked. “Later, I can use my refusal to date someone you don’t like as an excuse to exercise my veto power in regards to all your potential boyfriends.”

“Conniving bitch.” Gypsy stuck out her tongue, getting into the car.

Yay for loving name calling!

“Howdy.” He grinned. Todd was not southern at all, but occasionally liked to think he was.

like someones mom.

This whole thing in the bombshelter...if this story had plot, this would further it so much. You delve so deeply into the psyches of these characters...they act in such a realistic way...I love your writing style...

GYPSY'S LACK OF PANTS IS NOT THE FOCUS OF THIS ARGUMENT!

I concur.

And of course, Kevin and Vince cannot end a rehersal without trying to mess with each other.

You have an incredible writing style. I know that I have become constructive with the last few reviews, but there is nothing that you could have done better. Your writing amazes me each and everytime I read something new of yours, and your depth in understanding every aspect of every character and relationship is mindblowing.

A wonderful read.

Love, Ben-Ho
sugarandspice91 chapter 2 . 7/17/2007
w00t! more chappy!

...yeah i do the whole hand-gesturing while on the phone thing too. its great.

teehee.

GYPSY’S LACK OF PANTS IS NOT THE FOCUS OF THIS ARGUMENT!” Vince bellowed, his face a madman’s mask of rage.

There was a really, really long pause.

i that was my favorite part. XD

poor lorena. there was lots of non-love going on here in this chap. they should all take up meditating or something. they're all too tense. mm. maybe yoga.

hehe, rack!

heart lorena

screw vince and his "bleh! cleavage is unholy!"-ness. you should have him have a nightmare about a cleavage trying to like kill him or something. hehe. that'd be awsome.
pixy-dizzy chapter 2 . 7/17/2007
Now that you mention it, it DOES seem like fictionpress is deliberately sabotaging you. I can't remember the last time one of your reviews wasn't cut off. How not-nice. Have you noticed that when you upload documents/chapters it cuts those off too and you have to go back in and copy and paste the entire chapter into the document manager thing? It's stupid. And irritating. And designed to make us people who are altogether very fond of our own verbosity stamp our feet with fury.

Ahem. Anyway, the story. :)

Le gasp! Tracey! You got your angst in there! I am so, so proud of you. I send flowers and all assorted paraphenalia to you in some serious R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Haha, kidding. But it really was beautifully done, the more serious aspects. They weren't overpoweringly mushy and sentimental and the matter-of-factness about it just kind of pinpointed how sad it was. And seriously. How terrible for Vince is that, you cruel woman? That's gotta be one of the saddest things you can do to a kid, I think.

But I heart his prissiness. It endears him to me, especially when he's being an asshole.

As for Gypsy, I'm sensing a Buried Past. I think it involves an abusive significant other.

Vince and Gypsy are cute. I like the genuine cruelty of Vince's comments. Well, I mean, not that I'd like them in real life, but as in you've written his character incredibly well and that type of interaction seems quite natural.

Kevin's a douche, a perv, a general fleabag. But he's growing on me. XD I know! I know. Sometimes I have the weirdest taste in who I like as characters. I don't think I'd like him in real life.

Lorena's cute. Actually, she reminds me a little bit of a way toned-UP me.

Todd...um. Thus far I only see him as an extension of Lorena. Perhaps you meant it to be that way? Her personality does overshadow that of milder people.

I'm loving the story. I'm loving all the little details you put in that round off everything and make everything seem more real. You seem quite meticulous in how you're doing this...I'm jealous. I'm always all over the place and you seem very in control of the plot. :D I think I'm growing quite fond of the characters. And since, as you said, this is primarily a character-based thing, I'm growing quite fond of the story in general. Please update soon! I heart you.

Oh! And signing off. :)

-pixy dizzy
Zozma chapter 2 . 7/16/2007
This is utterly unacceptable, Tracey. How dare you excercise enough free will and creativity to post a chapter today? Zozma is tired, he has worked all day, and has been around the oven long enough so that all the box glue has melted painfully to his hands. Now Zozma has to read a work comprised of the most

entertaining teenage angst experienced since he read You Don't Know Me back when he was twelve and write praising reviews until the clock tocks midnight, whereupon he will sign on AIM to talk about it *for another three hours* because he won't be able to sleep at night unless he gets all his little questions answered. Seriously, Tracey, your brilliance is seriously invasive on what could loosely be called a social life.

ANYWAY!

I'm sure every good artist has known what it's like to toil under bad home atmosphere while working on any one piece only to turn to find they've been doing so for two hours. Time really flies when you create an Epic Masterpiece that Transcends the Boundries of Genres Even as It Reinvents Them.

I gotta say that, while simplistic in appearance, the way the first few paragraphs establish Vince's homelife is very touching, enough so that if you continue it may very well become excruciating. I also like how it adheres to his character. You can tell that getting beat and chewed out for the whole day is *almost* worth getting a chance to play his song.

"He’d heard him come in. - Just some her that he’d picked up after work."

I really, really like this paragraph. It's got that deliciously satirical- I guess you could call it a- play on words that I'm beginning to assosciate with Arms Race

"even in nothing but his boxers, Vince felt trapped in fifteen layers of hot."

And he's probably not the only one right now, if Vince has lived up to fangirl expectations.

"Tonight, he thought, I’m going to duct-tape shut the hole in the -."

Everyone has these sort of problems, I'm sure, yet coming from Vince's house makes it seem more destitute than it ought to be. Whether that's by accident or not I don't know, but good work.

"The upside was that as long as he pulled the ladder up, no one could get in without his permission."

Cute idea, but probably something that ought to be considered when the "incident" between Vince and his dad happens, hm?

Except, he totally did

Aww .

"It was truly a testament-outdated morals."

Funny on multiple levels. Excellent job, Tracey.

"Which is to say, he did swear profusely, but he felt badly about it afterwards."

I
A Reader Peep chapter 1 . 6/23/2007
...*looks around suspiciously*...

MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!

Hehe.

I'm guessing Kevin has a crappy familial situation, and Gypsy used to have an eating disorder. Lorena is a laugh. She kind of reminds me of my dentist. But not really.

More?

:P
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