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How simply do you live?

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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

How simply do you live?

Old 05-17-07, 05:48 PM
  #301  
workingbike
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I gave up my car to force myself ride more because of health issues. This led me to consider the huge impact cars have on our lives and environment, not having one has also stopped me, or made me reconsider doing stuff that would have been easy with a car. ( impulse purchases if you will ) I am now looking to see if I can purchase a small infill lot and build one of those sub-150 sq ft tumbleweed homes. Living simply is a definite stress reducer.

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Old 05-22-07, 02:42 PM
  #302  
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Originally Posted by workingbike
I gave up my car to force myself ride more because of health issues. This led me to consider the huge impact cars have on our lives and environment, not having one has also stopped me, or made me reconsider doing stuff that would have been easy with a car. ( impulse purchases if you will ) I am now looking to see if I can purchase a small infill lot and build one of those sub-150 sq ft tumbleweed homes. Living simply is a definite stress reducer.
My brother in law is an architect specializing in eco-friendly building. He'd probably love to help you build a Tumbleweed-esque home!
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Old 05-23-07, 03:29 PM
  #303  
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Oh yeah...

https://cbs5.com/video/?id=17249@kpix.dayport.com
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Old 05-29-07, 07:20 PM
  #304  
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Originally Posted by iBarna
This topic came up in the 'lurkers' thread, and so I'm making it into its own topic.

I have always (well, ever since I wasn't a teenager anymore) liked simple living. I always strive to reduce the number of things I own. Currently I think that apart from a few pieces of furniture (mattress, three comfy chairs in the living room, a rug and the cat tree) I could fit my life into three moving boxes. I just moved and apart from the furniture above, and my animals, which I transported in a friend's car that I borrowed for two hours, I moved by bike. Nothing reduces your life to a bare minimum like moving on a bike

Now I'm not Mr. Scrooge, mind you. To me this is not about saving money (though living simply does save you a chunk) as much as it is about just not having to worry about / store / repair / haul around stuff. I just cannot stand clutter. I think people who know me would be surprised that I own so little, because as I said, I don't deprive myself by any means. I do like nice stuff, and whatever I need, I will get. But, I will think hard if I really need something, and also that once I know that I need something, in what form do I need it? What makes the most sense? Is there something out there that could solve multiple problems at once? I get a huge kick out of this sort of tinkering and simplifying, maybe it's the same joy people get from buying all sorts of crap they use only once?

Just a few examples:

* My laptop is a very important component in my life. Apart from the obvious, I use it to: work from home, watch DVD's, wirelessly stream music to my speakers which are connected to an Airport Express -- basically my stereo. (Accordingly, the laptop must be a nice one. Next iBook or Powerbook is coming up.)

* Most of my documents and pictures, as well as all music I own is in digital form (yes, I do backups). Digital music and photography rule.

* I don't own books. I go to the library. I do buy books as well, but usually I donate them to the library once I read them. The way I see it, the library stores it for me so that I can still access it later, if I need to. I don't own DVD's either. Online rental is a great thing.

* I don't own fancy shmancy kitchenware. My cookware consists of a tried and true cast iron pan, a medium sized pot, one excellent chef's knife and a cutting board. That's it. I have prepared many a scrumptious dinner just with this equipment, to the disbelief of the observer(s).

* I change the contents of my closet. I like to buy clothing, but I am careful to not hoard it. I donate or sell / trade clothing and shoes I don't wear anymore.

* Obviously, I have no car, only a bike. My collection of bike tools is sparse, but allows me to do most repairs at home. If the job is too big, I bring the bike in. Last time this happened was a stuck bottom bracket cup, which the nice girl in the LBS removed for $5, using a special BB tool and a 5ft iron pipe. I would never have been able to do it, so it was a great deal.

Anyone else here who shares this philosophy and lives along these same lines? How much stuff do you own that you can't move on your bike? (And how do you justify it? )
I want to be you, only simpler, but for now I am a pack rat, I got more junk that yall put together.
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Old 05-30-07, 09:26 PM
  #305  
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My dream

Originally Posted by workingbike
I gave up my car to force myself ride more because of health issues. This led me to consider the huge impact cars have on our lives and environment, not having one has also stopped me, or made me reconsider doing stuff that would have been easy with a car. ( impulse purchases if you will ) I am now looking to see if I can purchase a small infill lot and build one of those sub-150 sq ft tumbleweed homes. Living simply is a definite stress reducer.
I've also been really wanting to be carfree, buy an "unbuildable" lot, and put a tiny tumbleweed home on wheels on it. Everyone I know thinks I'm crazy. I recently bought the first bike I've had since I was a teenager, and am building up my distance. I'm in pathetic shape.
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Old 06-06-07, 06:56 AM
  #306  
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Seems like the only ones living simply are americans. Land of consumerism heh? The UK cyclists must be spending like crazy.

Jim
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Old 06-06-07, 11:05 AM
  #307  
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Originally Posted by bigjim1
Seems like the only ones living simply are americans. Land of consumerism heh? The UK cyclists must be spending like crazy.

Jim
Probably Europeans do live more simply, but it's so natural to them that they don't think to post on forums about it. I know that Europeans, even in the UK, use about half the petroleum per capita of Americans, and still manage to have a high quality lifestyle.
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Old 06-07-07, 04:15 AM
  #308  
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We probably don't have to commute so far. Most of our shops/services are within walking or cycling distance. Although we are definately getting lazier. Lots of fat overfed kids and young adults about.

Jim
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Old 06-07-07, 12:30 PM
  #309  
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Originally Posted by bigjim1
We probably don't have to commute so far. Most of our shops/services are within walking or cycling distance. Although we are definately getting lazier. Lots of fat overfed kids and young adults about.

Jim
True about Europe having less sprawl, thus being better for carfree. However, even in parts of the US that are as compact as European cities, like the northeast corridor, Americans drive much more than their European and British counterparts. So, really feel free to give yourselves a pat on the back!
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Old 06-07-07, 01:58 PM
  #310  
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Any minimalist females on this thread? I've been moving down this path for the last few years and am just curious if women find it as easy as I do.
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Old 06-07-07, 02:12 PM
  #311  
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I'm quite minimalist. However, my husband and kids are not as on board as I would like.
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Old 06-07-07, 07:33 PM
  #312  
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Originally Posted by rockmom
I'm quite minimalist. However, my husband and kids are not as on board as I would like.
You'll just have to convince them.
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Old 06-15-07, 02:35 PM
  #313  
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Originally Posted by bigjim1
Seems like the only ones living simply are americans. Land of consumerism heh? The UK cyclists must be spending like crazy.

Jim

I think that what he means is that he hasn't found many people in the UK that take biking as a way of achieving a simpler life. Like so in Spain, I haven't found many people that want to live a simpler life through cycling (with the notorious exception of squatters). All the "bike" people with whom I come in contact highly value the latest and greatest from the cycling industry. I believe that it boils down to the fact that many people live car free and don't need a bike to do so. At least it has been that way for many years. I can't help to notice that over the 9 years or so that I spent in the US, Spain has become more "americanized" in the urban planning arena. We have more and more shopping malls designed around the automobile. More and more McDonald's, just like the ones in the US (we also have American fast food restaurants in the city centers that are a bit less stereotypical as they are usually located on the ground level of some building and lack drive-thrus etc). For example, in my hometown all the movie theatres folded years ago and you have to drive to the megaplex to watch a movie (and they only play Hollywood crap).

Luckily in the town where I live, there is some culture and the old theatre has reconverted. Now they play subtitled foreign movies, independent films, etc. When I talk to locals they claim that they like the newer theatres because of the big screens and sound systems... What about content, the quality of the script, the acting...? blank stares is what I get.


Anyhow....
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Old 06-20-07, 06:20 AM
  #314  
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Many of the posts here are truely inspiring. I didn't realize there were so many people out there sharing the same ideals I hold.

I have accumulated so much more stuff than I need, when I look around this cluttered room it makes me sad. However, I've come to realize that all this junk can actually enable the life I'm progressing towards. I made a spreadsheet of everything I own, and then researched the resale values (ebay, craigslist, etc)...and came up with an amazing amount of value in all this junk.

I've always had the dream of being pretty much totally self-reliant. I want to build myself a house with my own hands, grow my food on my own land, be independent of inputs and outputs (no power, no sewer). Live in harmony with the world, essentially.

I'm currently in school (though I don't really know why, I don't see myself "working" in a conventional sense, but I do like learning, and I need money at least to start, so it makes sense for now), but I have been taking incremental steps towards achieving this. First off is education, I read everything and anything I can about self-sustainability, alternative construction techniques (lots of amazing stuff here), biology, chemistry, agriculture. I've even been "practicing" these skills while I can afford to fail, for instance I've got a little garden with various soil mixtures and plants I'm learning so much from, and eating my first home grown meal was an incredible experience. I've got a little flock of chickens running around the yard, and a pool with some fish and plants floating on the surface, plus a worm bin that turns all our scraps into fertilizer (and food for the fish and chickens). And I'm slowly selling off all my stuff, bit by bit, putting all the money aside for that all important piece of land.

When the time comes I'm confident I will have all the skills I need to realize my dream. And the prospect of owning a house without selling myself into slavery for 30 years is incredible.
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Old 06-20-07, 07:56 AM
  #315  
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All work is not slavery. There are quite people out there who enjoy doing whatever they do and find a lot of satisfaction in achieving something at the end of the day. And where would we be without our teachers, doctors, scientists, rubbish collectors, delivery drivers etc. I think the skill is finding the right balance to achieve the lifestyle you want. Not always so easy. Especially if you have a family to support. I'm not so sure that I could last very long without regular human contact. i.e the dream of growing your own food from your isolated cottage. Hmmm....

Jim.
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Old 06-20-07, 12:36 PM
  #316  
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Originally Posted by RebelWithACause
Many of the posts here are truely inspiring. I didn't realize there were so many people out there sharing the same ideals I hold.

I have accumulated so much more stuff than I need, when I look around this cluttered room it makes me sad. However, I've come to realize that all this junk can actually enable the life I'm progressing towards. I made a spreadsheet of everything I own, and then researched the resale values (ebay, craigslist, etc)...and came up with an amazing amount of value in all this junk.

I've always had the dream of being pretty much totally self-reliant. I want to build myself a house with my own hands, grow my food on my own land, be independent of inputs and outputs (no power, no sewer). Live in harmony with the world, essentially.

I'm currently in school (though I don't really know why, I don't see myself "working" in a conventional sense, but I do like learning, and I need money at least to start, so it makes sense for now), but I have been taking incremental steps towards achieving this. First off is education, I read everything and anything I can about self-sustainability, alternative construction techniques (lots of amazing stuff here), biology, chemistry, agriculture. I've even been "practicing" these skills while I can afford to fail, for instance I've got a little garden with various soil mixtures and plants I'm learning so much from, and eating my first home grown meal was an incredible experience. I've got a little flock of chickens running around the yard, and a pool with some fish and plants floating on the surface, plus a worm bin that turns all our scraps into fertilizer (and food for the fish and chickens). And I'm slowly selling off all my stuff, bit by bit, putting all the money aside for that all important piece of land.

When the time comes I'm confident I will have all the skills I need to realize my dream. And the prospect of owning a house without selling myself into slavery for 30 years is incredible.


You would have liked some of the folk I met when I was living in the countryside of Catalonia (Spain). Near where I lived there were 3 houses of people with similar mentalities. Most of them were ex-squatters, hippies and such. The houses where they lived were ancient, several hundred years old, all three were hard to get to (if it rained, you needed a 4x4 or a bike to get there). They had pseudo-contracts with the respective owners to maintain or restore the house and they were free to do whatever they wanted. They had animals (goats, pigs, chickens, geese, rabbits- yes, we eat rabbit in Spain-, etc). They grew their own veggies and some held regular jobs from time to time. They lived off the grid, no running water, etc. They had springs nearby and they used solar panels for electricity.

Anyhow, they were an interesting crew to say the least but I´m always suspicious of commune people as I've heard many stories of hippies actually having lots of money, the equivalent to trust fund kids in the US. Plus I can´t stand all the pointless assemblies.... anyhow, it was tempting for a while but it was far from being simple. Lots of hard work around the house and in the garden, always worrying if they were going to get enough water for the summer (bad droughts here last few years), worrying about hail and their tomatoes, being hours away from emergency healthcare, etc. I'm sure they´ll be ahead of the rest of the world when the BIG oil crisis finally arrives...
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Old 07-01-07, 02:27 PM
  #317  
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Easier said than done.
Originally Posted by accain
You'll just have to convince them.
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Old 07-07-07, 03:19 AM
  #318  
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We pretty much sold everything. The condo, the cars, furniture... The furniture was bought second hand from ebay and craigslist so they were recycled. The rest is now in a 5x5 storage and on our two bicycles. Yep, we lived simply, saved enough money and now we are traveling around the world with our bicycles . There is not a single day when I miss the stuff that we sold. Now I just can't understand why we bought them in first place.
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Old 07-24-07, 04:40 PM
  #319  
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Really been enjoying reading this thread.

As far as large items that take up lots of space......
I own two bikes, a portable record player with computer speakers, records, a bed, a small futon (which i need to sell or get rid of), way too many books, 19" TV (which rarely gets used), and a kitchen table.
I do not own a car.

Living simply is a matter of personal preference or state of mind for sure, and no matter how much someone claims to be a minimalists they will always adapt their beliefs to their lifestyle. For instance i have met some minimalists with netflix accounts, cell phone, computers, etc. Now for a true minimalist none of these things are essential but the "minimalist" in question had reasons to justify each of these things.
I say that you should live your life in the way that you want so that you will be happy. If that means that you take pride in owning few things then don't go and boast to everyone how minimalist you are because very few people use only what they truly need to live.

Since graduation i have found a well paying job that i enjoy, but i find myself still living the college lifestyle in regards to spending. However, when i eyed that new bike, and couldn't stop dreaming about it, i bought it soon after, something i would not have been able to do while in college. It was hard though because i was looking at my other bike knowing that i really don't NEED another bike, but when i considered my lifestyle i knew it was within my means, and overall i would not regret the purchase.
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Old 07-25-07, 03:45 PM
  #320  
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Originally Posted by zoltani View Post
Since graduation i have found a well paying job that i enjoy, but i find myself still living the college lifestyle in regards to spending. However, when i eyed that new bike, and couldn't stop dreaming about it, i bought it soon after, something i would not have been able to do while in college. It was hard though because i was looking at my other bike knowing that i really don't NEED another bike, but when i considered my lifestyle i knew it was within my means, and overall i would not regret the purchase.
Haha. Same as me. But I suffered about a year after graduating by living at home with my parents and commuting 90-100 miles a day in order to avoid pay the high rents near work. In doing that I've managed to pay off all school loans and the small loan I took out for my car.

And now, because of the experience I've gained from the job, I got another better one and can afford to live within 1 mile of work. That car I bought now sits in the backyard 99% of the time.

Since I have no expenses and live like I was in college (more conservative than others) my savings has swelled and I actually have more money than I know what to (responsibly) do with, other than investing. Thats where my nice used 2006 Trek 1500 came about, in addition to my other two bikes.
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Old 08-09-07, 08:15 PM
  #321  
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From what I have heard the Republic of Ireland uses 30% more oil per capita than the USA and has very little in the way of mass transit (source:RTE). Would any Irish like to chime in here?
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Old 08-09-07, 11:17 PM
  #322  
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I live in a tiny apartment (less than 250 square feet). Aside from a mattress, a TV (no cable), a table, chairs and several milk crates drafted into service, I think I live pretty simply. Most of the clutter belongs to my room-mate, who has 6 pairs of downhill skis, and 6 bikes of various styles. I do have 2 bikes now, one is my old Kona Fire Mountain, and the other is an old Sekine cruiser-style ladies' bike that I'm fixing up. All my bike tools fit into a restaurant style dish bin. I could stand to give away most of my books, but I figure that since I used to own over 200, my small collection of ~20 is compact enough. I don't own a car, there's very little I need it for, Banff is a very compact town, and the insurance ad gas are just not worth it. By the way, gas in Canada is just over $4 per gallon.
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Old 08-11-07, 07:46 PM
  #323  
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I have just spent the better part of my day, on and off, reading this entire thread from start to finish. I started out feeling inspired and in awe of many of the original posts. Around page 4 and a half, I got angry--especially when I saw people who "live simply" and define the purpose for "living simply", in part, as a way to reduce stress and conflict. With the exception of a few jerks...the thread regained it's momentum. I have to say I learned a lot and think that this forum has a good amount of highly intelligent users!

I am the complete opposite of most of the people who have posted here. I'm not at all proud of that but I also refuse to criticize myself for it either. I am a by-product of my environment and I was raised by parents who had nothing as children and spent a great deal of their adult life proving to their parents that they grew up to be "better" by purchasing happiness. I don't think it ever even crossed my mind that people live differently from the way I was raised until I began to date my husband. He, and his parents, are a true testament of what living simply is IMHO. They have plenty of "things", but many of them were acquired through barter or second-hand purchases. Because of their frugal living they own their business which provides income for our family and theirs and they have purchased a nice retirement spot on the lake (for $50,000 b/c squatters had taken over when it was not being used) that has doubled it's value about 5 or 6 times over. They sold their home and they live in an apartment they built in the back of their business' warehouse on the days that they work (now only 3 days a week) and the remaining time they spend at their house on the lake which they have worked to restore. By no means is it the kind of home many people on this very pricey lake live in, but they are happy and they have not a dime of debt. My husband is very similar to his parents but had the misfortune of marrying a materialistic wife.

In the beginning, I often defined his family as "simple" but in a psudo-negative regard. Now I look at them with utmost admiration; I hope that we can live as they do one day. My husband and I have two children and there are some things I will never part with, for example, private school tuition for my children. They attend a God centered school with excellent academics. I don't pay tuition to keep up with the Jones', I pay it because my children's education is extremely valuable! We both have cars but mine is paid for and dh's will be in the spring. We have a home that we have mortgaged and I'll be happy to live here for the rest of our lives. We've never purchased a new piece of furniture, short of the baby bed for my daughter (which was re-used for my son) and the bedroom suit we graduated my daughter too after she was too big for her baby furniture. We own a TV and plenty of other furniture but 98% of it was either a hand-me-down or something we purchased at a scratch and dent sort of establishment. But we have debt. Tons. From my college days and my materialism and it drives me crazy. As a result, I spend more. There is certainly truth in self-medicating for depression through spending. I have a wonderful life but can't find a way to un-do the damage I've done.

I am trying to raise my children to be who I wish I was in terms of financial responsibility. I hope that one day my husband and I can be free from debt and live "simply". To me, living simply really is just living without worry. I will still buy groceries from Public or Kroger and I will likely drive my car since I commute 30 miles each direction to a job where I must dress professionally. I am a special educator for a school system with excellent services for children with disabilities; I could work at the neighborhood school but not if I wanted to look myself in the mirror--I have very strict standards for education and it isn't provided to the children I serve in the public schools near my home.

I do think I could live virtually care free in the summers and I might even try next year--I could certainly see myself loading my babies (4 and 7 months) into the burley bee and pedaling my way to their school (only about 2 miles away).

So many of you are an inspiration. I do purge our home regularly of stuff--mostly clothes which I give to goodwill or friends who will use them. I need to learn to stop falling prey to commercialism and making impulse purchases. After reading all of this, I intend to put forth a stronger effort. For those of you who spoke honestly and without anger and animosity, thank you--you've made a difference in the way I look at my own financial irresponsibility.
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Old 08-11-07, 07:51 PM
  #324  
FXjohn
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Originally Posted by cristy View Post
I They attend a God centered school .
<snicker>
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Old 08-11-07, 08:30 PM
  #325  
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FXjohn,
you just ruined that ladies entire post by sharing your snicker with us. That would suck if you are over the age of 15, because I would then assume that you are immature, and have nothing else to do but criticize.

lame


cristy I just read what you had to say instead of reading every single page
-and thats pretty cool
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