Cheeseburger Gothic

Man medicine

Posted May 13 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Having brought a terrible southern cold back north of the Rio Grande, there has been only one palliative measure I will contemplate. Hot rum toddies.

Here is my recipe.

Get a big ceramic mug. I mean, really fucking big.

Fill it at least a third of the way up with rum.

Add a teaspoon of real honey, not that shitty Chinese sugar syrup.

Squeeze some lemon juice in there. The fuck if I know how much? I'm not your mother.

Add a cinamon stick. Yes you have to do this. No it won't make you soft. Stop whining and just do it you stupid, fucking homophobe.

Pouring in boiling water. There, manliness restored. Nothing more manly than boiling water, right? Unless it's boiling oil poured on the heads of your enemies, which isn't approriate for this recipe.

Stir.

Destroy that fucking rhinovirus!

11 Responses to ‘Man medicine’

Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted May 13
Wish I'd known of this a week ago, being on the tail end of some lurgi. I wonder about the rum vs flu thing though - does the rum burn out the viral infection, or do you just end up plastered and forget about being sick?

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted May 13
Why must you ruin everything with your endless questions?

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted May 13
I am forced to point out that calling it a rhinovirus is hate speech.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted May 13
I am forced to respond that calling out my hate speech makes me uncomfortable and that's not cool.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted May 13
I believe the traditional Hot Whisky Toddy is served in glass? Also in the US national Hot Toddy day is January 11. Not sure if it has a date in Australia, so I am fine with May 13.

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insomniac mutters...

Posted May 13
I leave out the rum and the cinnamon, perhaps because the manly:girly ratio is 1, and go hard on the lemon juice, which works for me.

Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted May 13
Pfft - as I learned from my father, leave out everything but the OP Rum! Also, refer to my earlier post....

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she_jedi mumbles...

Posted May 13
I am bookmarking this for when I am inevitably brought low by some plague rat who thinks it's acceptable to come to work with their sniffle and spew their germs everywhere.

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jason would have you know...

Posted May 14
Is this how Conan shakes a cold?

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Dirk ducks in to say...

Posted May 14
Swap the Rum out for this and you have a winner.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beerenburg

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NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted May 18
Democracy and stuff, but how do we introduce mandatory, instant & appeal free quarantine for these vectors that insist on stinking up the place?
I'm a humane and gentle man, I don't want punitive conditions, just a cattle-truck with an articulated arm to snatch the snufflers and snotty from public spaces.

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WTF went wrong with rice cookers?

Posted January 26 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Seriously, after long using a basic model Sunbeam and replacing it only every 3-4 years, I've had to buy six rice cookers in the past twelve months. They keep burning out.
Granted, a couple of the replacements I bought were cheap no-name units from Woolies. I got everything I deserved dropping any money on them.
But even the Sunbeam, and most recently a Russell Hobbs unit all burned out after one or two uses.
I really don't want to go back to cooking rice on the stove top. I've had to relearn that arcane skill recently and there is nothing to recommend it. I'll happily check out any model anybody reading this is happy with.

15 Responses to ‘WTF went wrong with rice cookers?’

w from brisbane swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 26
You've had bad luck, I think. My rice cooker packed it in after about 7 years but I haven't replaced it yet.
Of the rice cookers Choice reviewed, 4 of the top 6 were Breville.

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted January 27
I’m also looking at a Panasonic.

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Barnesm mumbles...

Posted January 27
have you checked if you have recently desecrated a shrine, or committed an offence against Inari Okami, the Shinto Godess of rice? inari-zushi is a packaged shusi roll of fried tofu used as an offering, though I doubt I could bring myself to offer that to anything.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 27
Fried tofu? Are you trying to get me cursed?

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Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27
If I want rice I just order take out.

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Brad mumbles...

Posted January 27
Zojirushi is where it's at... the 230V models seem to be a bit more expensive than the 115V ones, and in other news I'm shocked to find gambling in this establishment.

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted January 27
Rice on the stovetop is not that hard. What's the problem? I have two ways of doing it. One taught to me by my Malaysian ex-MIL, and one forced upon me by ms insomniac when it was a WTF-are-you-doing-with-the-rice moment.

Dave W ducks in to say...

Posted January 29
Is it heresy to also talk about microwave rice?

1 cup of rice. 2 cups of water. 14 minutes on high. Done.

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Ceramic has opinions thus...

Posted January 27
Ugh, bl***y every thing is designed to self-destruct these days. Its awful and such a waste of money. I have about ten headphones that I want to get fixed/ fix one day when I can work out how.

Re: rice, cooker, got no idea. Might getting an industrial restaurant quality one help?

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted January 28
That’s not a bad idea. I might ask around a few restaurants

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Bangar mutters...

Posted January 28
Any idea of what your supply voltage is? Your inverter should display it. Being above 230V could be the problem.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 29
i can't help in this regard - due to limited cupboard space i put a ban on electrical goods that could be replicated by a saucepan or frying pan. I use the Kylie Kwong method (which i'm pretty sure is bog standard) and it has never failed me.

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted January 29
WHAT IS THE KYLIE KWONG METHOD????

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon is gonna tell you...

Posted January 30
Stove top. 1 part rice to 2 parts water. On high uncovered till it starts boiling. Turn down to low, lid on for 10mins. Take off heat and let sit for 10mins (do not under any circumstance take lid off). Draw back is this requires a small amount of attention whereas with a rice cooker you turn on and walk away.

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spankee swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 31
I'm a +1 for the Breville. On our 2nd one in 14 years. Bonus is that there is a 2nds shop in Tinglapa.

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Eating in Vietnam

Posted January 23 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Last time I was in Hanoi, it was for work and somebody else was picking up my tab. Apart from a few business lunches, I mostly just ate at my hotel, the fabulous Metropole. (It was French Cheese Week. Don't you judge me).

This time with the fam in tow and a long way from Cheese Week I was forced onto the streets. Most people seem to eat most of their meals on the footpath in Hanoi. As I mentioned last time, there seems to be little if no regulation of street level businesses – or more likely little to no observance of any regulation. Literally hundreds of thousands of punters simply open for business on the street out in front of the family home.

We had breakfast comped as part of our hotel deals pretty much everywhere we went, but that left us to forage for lunch and dinner. I ate well, but dropped a couple of belt notches, which I was happy about. Partly it was the 12-15kms of walking every day, but partly it was also eating like the locals. There's not a lot of muffin content in Vietnamese cuisine.

They do have bread, of course. The famous Banh Mi, adapted from the French baguettes of the colonial era. I had two worth a shout out. One at a Hanoi cafe called Banh Mi 25 in the northern reaches of the Old Quarter, which was nice but not a patch on the fiery pork roll I had at a place in Hoi An made famous by Anthony Bourdian in his Netflix gourmet travel series.

I'll fess to be being skeptical of Banh Mi Phuong. There was always a long line of tourists out the front—like always, every hour of the night and day—and they were there because Bourdain had been there. How could any business retain its mojo under that onslaught.

But it seems they have. Our last night in Hoi An we took advantage of a small drop off in custom to dive in and grab some rolls for dinner. I had a spicy pork banh mi that came generously slathered with Phuong's secret sauce. Repairing to the craft beer joint down the street, which invited you to wash your banh mi down with their beer, I was frankly fucking blown away by just how good a simple meat and salad roll could be. Good enough that it was lucky we waited until the last night to eat there, otherwise I might never have gone anywhere else and I'd have missed out on this lady's rice pancakes; cooked over a mobile grill in the Hoi An markets.

She ladled some mystery fish and a rainbow spread of spices, leaves and vegetables into the pancake before nuking it with bright chili sauce and yoghurt. Thomas and I knocked that one over while the ladies were off clothes shopping. (Every second shop in Hoi An is a tailor or shoe maker).

By the time we were done in Hanoi, we were inhaling all sorts of roadside food and I developed a taste for the little Vietnamese donuts that village women sell for a few cents each.

Developed a taste for cheap beer and cocktails too. Wine is super expensive and not easy to get compared to spirits and ales; perhaps a final fuck you to the French. I coped. We stumbled across Beer Street by accident, while out exploring the old quarter one evening. It was a bit of a zoo scene, full of western backpackers and I could imagine it getting very untidy.

But there was also a pretty sweet gin bar we found near the Cathedral. The Mad Botanist. Five flights of steps up above a bbq pork place. I wouldn't want to negotiate the climb down after a solid session, but for quiet visit at cocktail hour it was just about perfect.

3 Responses to ‘Eating in Vietnam’

Oldy puts forth...

Posted January 23
I've got a mate who spent some time over there with Ausaid, and fell in love with it. Listening to him wax homesick about it, and reading this, it's definitely on my to do list.

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happy buddha is gonna tell you...

Posted January 23
I've been there a couple of times, once in the late 90's and again about 7 years ago.
The food is brilliant, never had bad food anywhere.
Only once or twice even had average food, and that was in Saigon.

I'd go back to Hanoi in a heartbeat, with a side trip to Hoi An,

We rode old russian Urals from Hanoi down to Hoi An.
Great haircuts in Hoi An.

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jason asserts...

Posted January 24
In Hoi An there is a chap sitting outside an orphanage with a big bucket of what looks like sump oil. I thought he was doing road side servicing. In fact he was selling black sesame seed soup. I had two a day while i was there. Heaven.

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I think I want some turkey

Posted November 21 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

The internet is often lke a giant tractor spreading enormous tonnages of shit all over the world. And sometimes not. One thing it does do is globalise quirky regionalalisms like poutine or kangaroo scrotum coin purses

The internationalisation of Halloween was surely accelerated by a thousand Buzzfeed listicles. And I have a feeling we're not far away from everyone deciding they want in on America's annual festival of eating too much for Thanksgiving.

Me. I've decided I want some turkey. You don't see it very often on Australian menus. Even duck and goose are more common (and way less likely to be overcooked into a dry, joyless protein cud). But I was reading a Washinton Post bit on how to carve a turkey this morning (don't judge me, I just got off deadline, also the story boasted of an augmented reality bird carving tutorial), and now I just want to eat walking bird.

When you think about it, Thanksgiving is perfectly situated on the calendar for us. It's a few weeks into the summer drinking season, which officially commences a month before summer on Melbourne Cup day, and we like to eat things. Too many things and too much of them.

I'm serious enough about this that I'm thinking about looking for a restaurant which will feed me a bif turkey dinner with all the fixin's, whatever the fuck fixin's are.

8 Responses to ‘I think I want some turkey’

jl asserts...

Posted November 21
What makes the turkey is the stuffing, you have to have righteous stuffing. Baste well and often with butter to prevent dryness. Cranberry is a must. Biscuits (the American hot fluffy ones), gravy, pumpkin pie, sweet corn- those are the fixins.

The best Thanksgiving Day turkey I ever had was cooked over a trash fire overseas. It tasted like burnt plastic. We were getting ready to leave that hellhole, so many thanks were given, and I thought that burnt turkey was great.

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insomniac reckons...

Posted November 21
Thanks to ms insomniac's daughter being over from the US in December but not staying until Christmas Day, we're having pre Christmas Christmas with turkey etc etc plus Christmas with turkey etc etc.
And that is the correct way to carve a turkey, especially the breast. When it's stuffed under the skin, slices like that contain a little bit of everything that is good in the world.

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Leftarc has opinions thus...

Posted November 21
So you want to talk turkey (I learnt this from The West Wing)

https://www.butterball.com/about-us/turkey-talk-line



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FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted November 22
i sent you a tweet on the back of Chuck Wendig delving into the depths of depraved frontier icecream flavours https://twitter.com/LLah_Nomis/status/1065451763258380288
it may not quite satisfy that turkey craving though

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jason asserts...

Posted November 23
I am fully behind the push for Thanksgiving in Australia. No presents, much drinking, watching sport, showing some gratitude for all we have. Best idea for a holiday ever.

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Spanner would have you know...

Posted December 2
A turkey hindquarter. All dark meat. Insert butter under the skin. Part fill roasting pan with water and place hindquarter on rack above water. The water stops the turkey drying out and then the butter and turkey fat drips into the water. Make gravy out of water, butter and turkey fat liquid.

Contact your cardiologist immediately after consumption.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 13
Consider The Walking Bird, as a subset of birds. It would appear Moa, Elephant & Dodo all rated well on fork based factors. Emu egg is >adequate, perhaps post adolescence Emu are just too fleet of foot to feature frequently in fine dining. (Note to self: vegetarianism, perhaps if you can out run a prey species you can feel good eating it. * thinks as chewing pork* " You should have evolved longer legs Arnold") There are Forty 'leven different penguin, none palatable, all chock full of fish oil one would assume, but they are more swimmers than walkers.

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Oldy is gonna tell you...

Posted December 28
Having played American Football for 15 seasons with a revolving door of visiting Americans, I've always thought Thanksgiving is a great holiday. All the good bits of Xmas without the financial burden or stress of what to get someone.
Plus food and football. Joy.

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Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector

Posted January 22, 2018 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Not being a foot fetishist, I’ve never dreamed of drinking champagne from one of Jimmy Choo’s finely crafted stilettos. I’ve never thought of drinking champagne out of anything other than a champagne flute, or in a pinch, a coupe; one of those shallow, wide-rimmed glasses reputed to have been modelled on Marie Antoinette’s boob.

I’ll allow that taking a sip directly from the royal fun bags might not be terrible. But there I draw the line. I do not want my bubbly wine suggesting a tincture of athlete’s foot. And there’s no way known I’m drinking soup from a shoe. This atrocity was most recently catalogued by the excellent ‘We Want Plates’ campaign and no words can do it justice.

I’ll simply let your eyes feast on what your tummy could not possibly stomach.

At what point in the accelerating collapse of our civilisation did we agree that this bullshit was not just permissible, but worth a business plan? The story of humanity’s climb to the top of the food chain, starts not with our emergence from the primordial ooze, but with our decision to not slurp that ooze from our cupped hands. Anthropologists speculate that we might have started by using sea shells as our dinner bowls, but it was not long before we graduated to agriculture, nation building and dinner plates. Along the way we experimented with eating off rocks and bits of wood or bark, but the inherently superior nature of plates, bowls and cups is shown by the fact that they are found in abundance wherever human beings leave traces of their fallen civilisations. When everything else has been lost to time, a simple porcelain plate endures.

Wooden platters do not endure.

They split and rot and harbour living filth within their cracks and crevices. The term ‘trench mouth’ for ulcerative gingivitis, traces back to the use of wooden trenchers, or shared serving bowls in medieval times. They proved to be excellent transmission vectors for all manner of exciting infectious disease. Our return to these vessels, and worse, is our surrender to entropy. If human progress is no longer possible, why not stick a plastic cup full of tinned soup in a red shoe with a cheese cruller? Nothing matters anymore.

But! But… all is not lost.

A restaurant in the UK was recently fined £50,000 (or eighty-six grand in dollarydoos) for serving bad food on worse letters. After poisoning a dinner party of fourteen guests, Ibrahim's Grill and Steakhouse was ordered by local government health inspectors to stop serving food on cracked, dirty wooden boards. Of course, in the restaurant biz cracked, dirty wooden boards are so fucking hot right now… so Ibrahim kept right on poisoning those fashion-obsessed foodies.

It would be a shame. I think, if this small victory went nowhere. Wooden platters are not the worst things food has been served on, of late. This big fucking chunk of steel I-beam would be in with a shot...

… Were it not for the horror of meat on a clipboard…

Or, seriously, wasps in a biscuit.

The madness must end.

11 Responses to ‘Ibrahim's Grill and Transmission Vector’

Oldy is gonna tell you...

Posted January 22, 2018
...but guzzling beer out of the coach's boot after a football championship win is still ok, right?

Asking for a friend, obviously...

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jl mutters...

Posted January 22, 2018
Strongly agree with above.

One of the most sincerely held desires I had when serving in various unpleasant locales was for normal, won't-give-me-dysentary food served in sanitary conditions with people around me who didn't want me dead. Why would anyone want, short of Siege of Leningrad conditions, a biscuit filled with wasps? Or why eat some repulsive looking repast off of something salvaged from a scrap heap or a garbage dump?

One of the blessings of civilization is readily available, healthy and nourishing food. Damn, people must be bored with life, kind of like those seekers of the Darwin prize who eat Tide detergent pods.

Ennui kills as surely as a bullet. Look no further than the expensive slop on your trendy wooden plate.

FormerlyKnownAsSimon mumbles...

Posted January 24, 2018
i'm glad this fad is dying in the arse.

Saw a funny joke about the tide pods going around the traps (disclaimer, funny cause i'm a dad and it definitely fits in that category):
It's easy to deter girls from eating tide pods but much harder to deter...gents

God. That has lost its shine in less than 24hours :(

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Dave W asserts...

Posted January 22, 2018
Food served on something that reminds me of a workplace, such as a clipboard (yes, I know, I haven't used a clipboard in decades, but office supplies in general), might drive me to a bigger drinks bill. But I won't go back to that place after the initial unpleasant experience.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 22, 2018
I think the clipboard is easily the worst one.

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Therbs mutters...

Posted January 22, 2018
This sort of wankbadgery is down to Gen InstagramFoodie ignoring the bit about function in the whole "beautiful" design process. Steve Jobs would be appalled.

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John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted January 22, 2018
There's something amiss with the comments, again. So I'm posting this one by Jim Kable, who emailed it to me.

I spent many years in Japan - and was served food on some of the most spectacular pottery and porcelain - some the work of Living National Treasures (even of some who had passed away - and I don't want to rework that LNT appellation). Commiserations re the wooden platters, etc. - and the drinking from shoes option. Trying to drink out of glass jars is already bad enough!

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jason mumbles...

Posted January 23, 2018
I put my hand up to take some of the blame for this. I live in hipster central where this sort of frippery was encouraged and glorified. Sipping a short double shot espresso while riding a fixie after eating off a recycled toilet seat on the way to get an ironic tattoo is a way of life here.

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted January 23, 2018
You sir, are history's greatest monster.

Dave W reckons...

Posted January 23, 2018
I am convinced that this is all a sign of the end of days.

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted January 24, 2018
If it's not it should be

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Happy Boy Review

Posted March 14, 2017 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

"The best vegetarian dish always comes with ground up pork."

10 Responses to ‘Happy Boy Review’

insomniac asserts...

Posted March 14, 2017
Isn't that the Asian thing though? Anything but beef can go in a vego dish.

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John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted March 14, 2017
Haha. This was supposed to be a placeholder entry, not to be published until I'd done the full review. Still, that one line sums my thoughts exactly.

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jason is gonna tell you...

Posted March 14, 2017
Get back to work Birmingham

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted March 14, 2017
I believe vegetarians are a dish best served cold

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Dave W swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted March 15, 2017
Vegetarian food fets served with a side of incredulity.

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Lulu ducks in to say...

Posted March 15, 2017
Sounds like they were eating mapo tofu.

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted March 15, 2017
You don't win friends with salad

Sudragon ducks in to say...

Posted March 15, 2017
You don't win wars with salad.

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Peter in the bleachers ducks in to say...

Posted March 16, 2017
Isn't the answer always bacon?

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stevetheh is gonna tell you...

Posted March 16, 2017
Had a mate who once served up a dish of Tofu made from the lard bits at the bottom of his BBQ pan (pork roast on spit done the night before).
Was done as a joke for us meat people...problem was it looked damn close to the real thing, guy was a frackin artist with this stuff.
Enter one Vego who was a bit peckish...
Literally before anyone could do/say anything grabbed a slice and gobbed in.
That look of complete and utter horror will stay with me forever.
Thank Glod (TP) the garden was only one doorway away...

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