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N'at Man

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Everything posted by N'at Man

  1. 1. Nemesis 2. Top Gun (Carowinds) 3. Raptor 4. Orochi 5. Batman The Ride (SFOG) Nemesis simply blows me away. It's short but it's amazing. Top Gun for some reason strikes me as an all around solid inverted which is why I rate it higher than most people. I thought Alpengeist may have been the most impressive inverted I've ever been on (aside from Nemesis) the first two years it operated. Montu is a great ride but it is braked so it didn't make the list. All of the Batman rides are great as is Top Gun at Great America. I missed getting on Pyrenees when I was in Japan unfortunately and I haven't been on Katun either. As far as theming I like Dueling Dragons the best (good ride as well) followed by Black Mamba (decent ride) and Nemesis Inferno (also a decent ride).
  2. Thanks for the update. I was trying to figure out how you got night rides with the early park closing time but 6 PM at HW is essentially 7 PM EDT and at this time of year it would have been dark in the middle of ERT. Anyway, a friend of mine was there and he was happy with the Voyage's performance. He said they fixed the exit of the one 90 degree turn. I can't wait to get back for HWN next year.
  3. The unoriginal factor came into play back when CF renamed the ride at Geauga Lake to Thunderhawk. Makes sense to me to keep it the same, especially with some of the odd name choices we've seen recently. They could have pulled a Six Flags and called it Dominator or Steel Venom to completely confuse us. No surprise this ride goes to MiA. No way that park was getting a Beemer. It was probably down to the SLC or Boomerang and with MiA having the Corkscrew the SLC made the most sense. I don't see any CF park really needing a Boomerang in their lineup so it will be interesting to see what happens to that coaster.
  4. I visited Japan a few years ago so I am familiar with what a foreign traveler experiences in that country. I knew some key Japanese phrases, figured out that most foreign friendly restaurants had picture menus or plastic food on display and I learned how much English was spoken by the locals. I want to ask those who have been to South Korea, in general, how did the country compare to Japan for foreign travelers? Was it more difficult to find English signs or find people who spoke a little English? Was ordering food about the same? Were trains and buses as efficient and one time as they are in Japan? I'd be interested in any observations, including differences at the parks.
  5. I saw this one yesterday. It's right up there with Tommy Seebach's Apache music video.
  6. I've been working on a case of Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest. I normally don't like to buy cases of beer but based on how drinkable this stuff is I'll probably need another case of Oktoberfest soon. This beer about the smoothest and freshest German Oktoberfest beer I've had outside of Munich (but with a lower ABV than you find at the tents in Munich). The flavor is great but a little weak so it really depends on the condition of your palate as to how it tastes from bottle to bottle. Sam Adams brews a nice Oktoberfest beer but I'm a sucker for the German brewed Oktoberfest beers.
  7. One of the problems the Gold Rusher had was a lack of space for a queue and loading area. Everything is pointing to a shooting dark ride so the question is how will the park fit a new ride in that area with the extra queue area and updated ride experience the park desires. I became more of a fan of the Gold Rusher after Le Cachot was removed. There was nothing outstanding or amazing about it but it was a nice, standard dark ride. The spider and bats (stings) were surprising. With newer dark rides you rarely get those type of simple surprises that have worked for generations but have gone by the wayside for elements such as shooting games and 3-D effects.
  8. Thanks for the tips. I have been to La Ronde before but that was before the B&Ms were installed. I think it's a decent park. Luckily I got the mini mine train before they had restrictions. I may go for a Flash Pass. Can anyone tell me how they load Goliath and Vampire for Flash Pass users? If they give middle seats on Goliath then I'll probably skip it. If I can get a decent seat on Goliath I'm all for it. I don't care much where I sit on the others. But I'll probably try to get a few rides on Le Monstre early.
  9. I have some La Ronde questions of my own. Would you expect Labour Day (next Monday) to be as busy as a normal summer weekend day? I'm trying to estimate if I would need a Flash Pass. Also, if I arrive in the morning in a car do they park people near the front gate or in the back near the gate by Goliath? I'm trying to figure out how to deal with my camera storage (locker vs. car). It looks like Goliath is mostly situatied in the back parking lot so I'd probably want to go back there and get some footage if possible.
  10. You have some very good points but I don't totally agree with everything you said. Progess and changes are needed and they not always a bad thing. I love great, new rides. But I believe you have to do it right and find the right mix of new and old. Look at how many old attractions at the Disney parks are top attractions but they have just as many newer attractions that are fan favorites. You mentioned the attractions that gave way for the Grand National and Big Dipper. I think if a ride survives for a long time, is still maintenance friendly and is a fan favorite it shouldn't be removed for another new ride. The flume may not have passed all of those tests so it was probably a better candidate for removal at the Pleasure Beach than a ride like the Big Dipper. But as far as Infusion being the "Nemisis of Blackpool" I'll give the GP more credit. They may get people to Blackpool once thinking Infusion=Nemesis but the GP will know that it's not the same and that Nemesis is clearly better. The GP doesn't know the names B&M and Intamin but they can tell what ride is better. If they didn't know this the Corkscrew at Alton Towers would be as popular as Nemesis, Air and Rita. Sure Infusion looks good for what it is but PBB will have to do better than this to impress a new crowd of visitors. Actually, The Big One is the type of ride that is impressive to people (though I find it a one trick ride with the first drop followed by a scenic railway rest of the ride - but I'm just an enthusiast and I realize that). I think I understand where enthusiasts stand in the world (not that they all do). But I observe what the GP likes and it's no coincidence that many of my favorite rides are the GPs favorite rides too. Not 100% but it's probably over 75%. I wait in many of the same long lines they do and skip some of the same rides they skip.
  11. The problem I have with Amanda Thompson is not that she is looking towards the future but she's forgetting the past (or what's good about old Blackpool Pleasure Beach). In order to get a new marquee ride she shut down a great classic park in Pleasureland, took out the SLC and branded it as new at the Pleasure Beach. How does an recycled SLC help you draw anything more than the same old Blackpool resort crowd instead of, say, the type of person who now only goes to Alton Towers and rides brand new B&M and Intamin coasters? I'll give credit where credit is due. Valhalla is an outstanding newer attraction that fits well into the park. Infusion looks great and is running well for the used SLC that it is. But it's still a recycled, second rate ride (a B&M inverted being an example of a first rate ride in my opinion) that doesn't compare to what Tussaud's offers at their parks. On the down side, the Turtle Chase is gone and the Whip is rusting away. How much of a future does Noah's Ark have? Kennywood has proven that these type of rides can still work and have a great deal of appeal if they are maintained. Kennywood still looks to the future and adds innovative new rides within their budget but they don't forget about their roots.
  12. Here's a video clip from England. We were staying at the Royal Hotel in Crewe (convenient to Alton Towers) and it was attached to the Corner Pub. We enjoyed bartender Dave and his buddy so much we had to get them on film. I was having a Guinness, Janna had a Kronenbourg and I think Dave had a bitter or a Carling. How can't you love the "I (beer) Beer" shirt? Notice the music we had playing on the jukebox. Another beer highlight of the trip was getting Amstel (non-light) at the Big Blue Hotel in Blackpool. I'm not much of a fan of the bitters so I stuck to Guinness, Carling and imports like Carlsberg. crewe.wmv Corner Bar at the Royal Hotel in Crewe
  13. I'll give you my guesses. I would imagine the the Pleasure Beach prefers that he ride the Big One during the day to promote the ride. But the Big One doesn't have much padding and being so tall the weather is quite raw on it. Also, the trim brake noise on the Big One would surely be disruptive to guests at the Big Blue Hotel at night. Apparently on the Big Dipper they built a cover for his seat on the Big Dipper for night riding. I was at the park last week during my England trip and they were working on a Big Dipper train for the marathon and we saw pillows and even a coffee machine setup in the station.
  14. Interesting that they didn't have any pricing/value questions. How about: --Price of parking --Price of a one day ticket --Price of a bottle of soda --Price of food Those factors would bring the satisfaction level down.
  15. For anyone who thinks that Renegade is better than Hades or Avalanche, could you explain why you have that opinion? I am very curious as to why because I see that some people have that opinion. Help me understand your preferences.
  16. If you are coming from Harrisburg then you will be on the Parkway East which is I-376. There will be impacts this weekend (7/14) from that direction (inbound will be closed before the Edgewood/Swissvale exit). I'd suggest exiting at Irwin and taking that route to the park (Rt. 30, Rt.48 or Rt.148, Bridge, Rt. 837).
  17. I'm back from an extended weekend trip along with Nashville Mike up to Wisconsin and Minnesota. While Renegade at Valleyfair was the motivation to make the trip, Hades at Mt. Olympus stole the show. Mike drove from Nashville and picked me up at the Madison airport on Friday morning. We headed up to Wisconsin Dells with the mandatory stop at a Culver's along the way. We've been to the Dells the last three years though without the opening of Renegade up north I doubt I'd have visited this year. I may not need another credit to decide to return next year as you will soon read. Our first stop was Mt. Olympus Theme Park and once inside our first coaster was Hades. My first impressions were that overall the ride was slightly rougher in spots but nothing unexpected for year three. The "jackhammer turn" near the end of the ride was still rough but not nearly as nasty as it was last year. The tunnel seemed good as new and overall the ride was moving quite well around 1 PM or so. So we were relieved that Hades was doing fine even with its new, hard backrests. We caught a ride on Zeus and it was interesting. I'd rather not get into specifics with the ride ops but the mostly international staff operates a little bit differently than a typical park crew. If you've been there you know what I mean. It makes for some interesting moments. I'll leave it at that. Also interesting was the amount of foliage growing through the Zeus tracks. William's Grove didn't have that many weeds growing through the tracks of the Cyclone. But Zeus was running quite well and I would have taken a few more laps if Hades wasn't right next door. It was much smoother than the last few years and it had some nice airtime in spots. Cyclops was also interesting. The oddity about Cyclops was that the train was in shambles. It was literally falling apart. But the ride was running fast and still dishing out the scary ejector airtime it's known for. Back to Hades, we took a ride at 2:30 PM and we were stunned. The big "dead hill" which is the entrance to the ending run of the ride was hardly dead. It had some airtime. The next curved hill by the station was ridiculous. The train roared over that curve and gave solid ejection and a slam to the left. The last two hills had very nice airtime as the train tore through the ending section of track. Voila, we had a very complete ride and top five rankings were falling quickly. I really did not expect Hades to get that much better. But the guys at The Gravity Group must have known what they were doing with that big "dead hill" because it now is very much alive which allows the rest of the ride to work amazingly well. Hades used to be a ride with a funky beginning, a hellacious tunnel section and an ending that was just there. Now, the ending rocks and it improves as the day goes on. Oh, I forgot to mention some other improved areas of Hades. The hill at the exit of the out run of the tunnel is really aggressive and effective with very solid airtime. The turnaround isn't as slow and the "column hill" before going back into the tunnel has four full seconds of big time floater air. The last two bumps in the tunnel are really working well together. The first of the two bumps turns you to the right while the oddly angled second bump slams you back to the left. The rest of the tunnel is your regularly scheduled insanity that the ride has had for three years. We ended up with nine Hades rides on Friday, including a ride in the front during the fireworks. Speaking of the front, that's definitely now the seat to ride in. The first year it was back but the last two years it's been the front. As for rankings, Hades moved ahead of Tremors and Boulder Dash for me. Moving ahead of Tremors was something I was not expecting but it took Hades becoming a complete ride to bump Tremors down a spot. Hades simply has a lot of that Voyage type insanity that only The Gravity Group can deliver. They're now 2 for 2 in my book, 1-2 in my wood rankings. Amazing. Down the street at Timber Falls, Mike and I stopped by for a late afternoon Avalanche session. Avalanche really exceeded my 2005 rides in 2006 but this year was a different story. The first quarter of the ride was on par with 2005 but once the ride went past the station it slowed down. I don't know if its new track but the slow down is very obvious. It didn't ruin the ride but it wasn't the totally crazy ride it was before. The airtime was there but it was more floater after that point. The ride was much smoother this year but in general it's still a fairly rough track. Staying off the wheels was a must. I still enjoyed Avalanche quite a bit but it was disappointing that it was running slower for much of the ride. We played a round of mini golf on the wooded course across the street from Avalanche before we headed back to Mt. Olympus but we had time to come back before 11 PM for another round on our wristbands. They have some very nice courses by the river and in the trees. I won the first match, Mike won the rematch. The next day we took our time getting to Minneapolis. It was horribly hot and humid outside. We ended up getting to the park just before 5 PM and we headed directly to Renegade. Our hopes weren't too high for this ride and I was hoping for something nice, maybe like Kentucky Rumbler. WRONG. In the end we were debating whether or not GCIs weakest, Lightning Racer, was better. Renegade is a weak ride. I'd have to guess the blame should be put on the park, home of many tamed rides, rather than GCI who has proven they can do much better than this. We joked that The Gravity Group should take clients up to Valleyfair to ride GCIs newest creation before blowing them away with Hades four hours down the road. We rode Renegade at 5 PM and later at 7:30 PM and just after 8 PM. While the ride did warm up a bit speed wise, it didn't translate into much action at all. We could see on our first ride that the design was tame. The first drop was interesting in the back with a little kick. After that I found one hill had a little thrill in it and one turn had a little slam but that's it. Some sections were so vanilla plain it was ridiculous. In particular one section with some side to side action is probably the weakest section of GCI track I've encountered. The ride slows towards the end and limps to the finish. Even a promising looking station flyby hill is useless. This ride is mostly a dud with very little thrill. Front or back, didn't matter too much where you rode. I'd much rather ride Roar at SFA at opening than Renegade at 8 PM and that's not saying too much. Maybe Renegade is a little more fun in the dark and a little faster but I couldn't see it improving that much. A dinner at nearby Famous Dave's was much more interesting to us than waiting around another four hours in hope that a miracle would occur with Renegade. The rest of Valleyfair is unfortunately very mild as well. It could be a reasonably nice park but it's mostly a bore. High Roller has a great looking layout that is killed by trim brakes. The IAD train looks great and the layout has so much potential but the trimmed ride is mild. Wild Thing should turn the W upside down. The beginning section is reasonable but the huge helix section is really drawn out and the brakes absolutely kill the ending of the ride. Excalibur would have a great first drop but this ride seemed very tame compared to the last time I rode it. Mildness all around. Our trip concluded with a quick credit run into the Mall of America on Sunday. I picked up the Timberland Twister at the park formerly known as Camp Snoopy. I was surprised by how good this ride was. It's clearly better than Pandemonium at SFNE. It beats anything at Valleyfair. I called Little Amerricka but they said the Meteor coaster is a few weeks away. I'm not sure if I believe that or not. I think they told me the same thing last year. Despite a mild trip to Minnesota, Hades gave us some serious return on our trip investment. We left the Dells wanting more. More Hades, Zeus, Cyclops and even more Avalanche. I'll have to return sooner rather than later.
  18. I was up in Michigan last weekend so I was looking to stock up on some Michigan beer. Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids was convenient so I stopped by there. The bottle selection was actually pretty average and I only found a few things I couldn't get at home. I probably should have found a distributor but at least I was able to get a good sampling of beers. I was really hoping to find some Expedition Stout but it's too late. Kalamazoo Stout isn't a bad consolation prize. Since my trip was sad and pathetic style and hastily thrown together I didn't make it to Founders or Bells breweries but I did pick up some of their beers. I never tried Founders before so here was my chance. The store only had a few styles including Centennial IPA, Dirty Bastard and Red's Rye Ale. I picked up some Bells at Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids. New to me are the Third Coast Old Ale, Consecrator Doppelbock and Lager of the Lakes. I arrived in Michigan at my free Hampton Inn (yay Hilton HHonors) with the Hampton bed and the Hampton caddy to hold my McHenry from Clipper City.
  19. To answer some of the questions, I rode in all of the extreme seats, 1.1, 1.2, 6.1, 6.2. Also, the ride did pick a reasonable amount of speed by 4 PM where it would, in the past give, a lot of airtime at that speed. But it gave minimal lift compared to what it used to deliver. The ride is now much rougher than it used to be. It's not nasty like Mean Streak but it's enough roughness on a long ride that it wears you down and can give you a headache over time. As far as me getting too used to the ride, I don't think that's an issue. Since I do know the ride I know that it wasn't running well. I really think the track feels different now. I rode Timbers on opening day back in 1998 and it was truly an amazing ride. Since then I've ridden it every year and it was my #1 for 8 years. There are times when it's been a little off but starting two years ago I noticed it started to change and lose a bit of its punch. Even last year it still had a very acceptable amount of airtime. I think Timbers Fest is next week so we'll see if anyone has an update on how it's running.
  20. Oh how the once mighty has fallen. Two years ago Shivering Timbers was still my #1 coaster even though it was starting to show some weaknesses. It was destined for #2 with the debut of The Voyage but a true downfall was not something I expected. But in my opinion that's what has happened under the Cedar Fair banner. I had a chance to ride Timbers yesterday. I know it takes time to warm up but even at 3 PM the ride was doing nothing even with two trains running all day. In the past, early in the day when Timbers was running slower, it still gave you some airtime. You barely even felt floatage on the fourth hill. The rest of the ride was long and rough. My last ride was just after 6 PM as I had to give up after the ride gave me a headache and left me nauseated. Pardon me for leaving the park so early but I can tell you the ride didn't pick up any more between the hours of 4 and 6 PM. In past years the ride has been tough for me to ride and it keeps getting more difficult each year. I've gone from taking 60 rides in a day on Timbers down to 9. Consider that I can ride The Voyage for entire ERT sessions at night with my hands up, left wanting more, yet I can only manage a handful of Timbers rides all day. Strangely at 3:45 the ride really picked up some speed but it still didn't deliver. It had some airtime but nothing to get me excited. Nothing like it used to dish out. When I compare my Timbers rides to recent rides on the Blue Streak at CP, the Streak blows it out of the water as far as airtime goes. Back in Timbers prime I'd never compare it to the Blue Streak. The ride was not really a #2 caliber ride last year but it was probably still top 15. Now it's going to rank out of my top 25, no contest, not even close. Strangely, the Blue Streak is about the only Cedar Fair woodie that has impressed me recently (I'll pick up Renegade soon). Shivering Timbers has that Cedar Fair coaster feel now. The track looks and feels like the type of track you have on Mean Streak, Ghostrider, Hurler, Rebel Yell, Racer, etc. They've taken the CCI feel out of it. I doubt the ride will be brought back to its former glory any time soon if ever. Michigan's Adventure draws a crowd despite being one of the least attractive and least appealing parks you'll find anywhere. Aside from Timbers they have the crappy Wolverine Wildcat and an obsolete Corkscrew flanking Timbers as flagship coasters. But at least they added a Coasters diner so there is now one acceptable place to eat in the park. I probably shouldn't have visited the park this year but I had to know first hand if Timbers was going to hold on to some of its greatness or lose it all. Now that I know the answer I doubt I'll return to Muskegon any time soon.
  21. To answer Nicole's question, here's a link (but it's pretty technical and may confuse you even more). http://capital2.capital.edu/admin-staff/dalthoff/coastercar.html This will be interesting because all of the single bench trains I can think of are single axle trailered trains. With each individual bench of these new PTC trains there will be a front and rear axle and I have to wonder if it will make each row feel like a typical PTC "wheel seat." I agree that the GCI trains are comfortable to sit in (lapbar aside) but they also run on pretty smooth coasters to begin with. I rode Roar West recently and that was rough. I have to wonder with these PTC single bench trains if the track is rough will each bench feel like a wheel seat or will each bench feel a little less rough than a wheel seat. Either way there will be no escape to a "non wheel seat" like you can find on 2-3 bench PTCs today. But overall I'd have to imagine that if the single bench trains were put on a ride like the Voyage that it would help ease track wear. I think it sounds like that would be the advantage as the cars would be able to traverse the track a bit better.
  22. Here are some upcoming closures. Weekend of: 6/30 - Outbound 7/7 - Outbound 7/14 - Inbound (Kenny Kon impact!) 7/21 - Outbound The 7/14 inbound closure will likely mean that you will not be able to get to the normal Kennywood exit via I-376 Parway East westbound for Kenny Kon. Someone not familiar with Pittsburgh may consider taking the turnpike to Irwin (especially if coming from the east) and take Rt. 30. From there follow the Kennywood arrows to either Rt. 48 or Rt. 148 which will take you to the bridge and Rt. 837, Kennywood Blvd.
  23. Over the weekend I had a get together in Northwest PA with friends Adam, Ellen, Dave and Janna. It was more of a relaxing type weekend but we did make a run up to Waldameer Park for half a day. We rode all of the classics such as the Comet coaster, Whacky Shack and Pirates Cove along with modern favorites like Steel Dragon and the new X Scream drop ride. We also got a look at the Ravine Flyer II site. Down below on Peninsula drive the terrain looks quite impressive. I can't wait to get back next year. We also took a cruise on the Kaylee Belle boat at Conneaut Lake Park. While it is sad that the park is currently closed the boat is open by appointment for groups and it was to do something at the park even though the sight of the dormant Blue Streak was tough to accept. But the park is being maintained to a certain extent and grass is being cut in key areas. Our final stop was the famous Pymatuning Reservoir Spillway which is home to the biggest carp feeding area you'll ever find. It's insane. We brought two full garbage bags of bread and that didn't last long. Throw in a bunch of bread and the carp go crazy over it. Last but not least was a visit to the carp at Pymatuning Reservoir Spillway. It's gross but so amazing. Adam & Ellen enjoy the ride. Check out the beer thread for more pics from our trip. Janna points out Dave's very yellow Blue Streak Challenge shirt. A view from the Kaylee Bell on Conneaut Lake. Best of all the Kaylee Belle was open for us by appointment. If you call the number on the park website you can have your own cruise at $7 a person. The lawn was cut in front of the Toboggan. The landscaping around the Hotel Conneaut has been kept up. But inside the park you'll find a little activity on the beach and boardwalk. Here's the Blue Streak, quiet as can be. Conneaut looks like a closed park from this angle. Next stop is Conneaut Lake Park even though the park is closed. X Scream is an ARM drop tower and it has a very effective drop. The view of Lake Erie and Presque Isle is great as well. X Scream is essentially new for this season and the park also added many new statues around the park. Yeah, it's kind of odd looking. Steel Dragon was spinning quite well on Saturday. Steel Dragon (and a new Dippin' Dots stand) And the highlight of Pirates Cove, Toilet Head! Just look at the awesomeness of Pirates Cove. Pirates Cove is the walk thru sibling of the Whacky Shack. It's also a great, classic dark attraction. Enjoy the Whacky Shack, but please, leave your canes at home people. Here we catch Adam & Ellen in a totally candid moment on the Whacky Shack. They have no idea they're being photographed! Whacky Shack is an awesome old Tracey dark ride. Comet features a curved station with manual brakes. Missing on the transfer track is the second train and it's cobwebs. But for now we still have the Comet to ride. More of the Ravine Flyer II worksite across Peninsula Drive. More Ravine Flyer II construction. Unfortunately I can't show you all of the footers on the bluff that we saw from the road. Ravine Flyer II construction site. Waldameer will be home of the Ravine Flyer II next year. I can't wait to have a Gravity Group coaster so close to home.
  24. This weekend BACT "Pittsborg" and NJ visited Northwestern PA. We stayed at the BACT headquarters in Conneaut Lake and took a day trip up to Erie to visit Waldameer Park along with a trip to feed the carp at Pymatuning Spillway. We also had an exclusive BACT cruise on Conneaut Lake. We visited The Brewerie at Union Square in Erie. I was surprised how cool this place was. It's in a restored train station and it's big. They had good beer too. Adam & Ellen enjoy a beer on the cruise. Since the park was not open we took advantage of the relaxed rules which allowed us to bring drinks aboard. Here I am on the exclusive BACT cruise on Conneaut Lake on the Kaylee Belle enjoying a Sam Adams Summer Ale. Adam enjoys the Brewerie Honey Maibock. It was very good although we wanted to try the Hop Ness Monster which ran out. Brewerie was great. The building has kept all of the train station features but integrated them into the brewpub. Before we went to Waldameer we had lunch at The Brewerie at Union Station in Erie, PA. On both evenings we enjoyed some drinks around the campfire in Conneaut Lake, PA. We started on Friday at Compadres restaurant in Meadville, PA. Margaritas and Dos Equis beer.
  25. I tried a Weyerbacher Blasphemy Quad I picked up in Wildwood from Tom (can we just call him LivesNearDorneyDude ?). Quite complex, a little sweet and very alcoholic. For comparison's sake, I liked it better than Victory Golden Monkey Tripel. I'm really not good at taking these self beer portraits. Blasphemy!
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