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Archive for February, 2016

Seun Odukoya’s BOOOOOM Novel: What I Think.

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Let me start with this: do not judge BOOOOOM by its cover. Neither should you judge it by the word of the writer, Seun Odukoya (of Saving Dapo).
Contrary to what I suspect most people would think BOOOOOM is about, namely: an explosion and the unravelling of the mystery behind it, the book is not that. BOOOOOM is a story primarily focused on the lives of people caught in a bomb explosion that occurred at Sunshine Bus Stop in Lagos State.
It begins with a newspaper report of the explosion which insinuated that the primary suspect was a woman in hijab clothing ‘carrying a parcel’.
That set the tone for a story one would expect to be investigative in nature, but save for a couple of eyewitnesses interviews with a photographer, a park restaurant operator (mama put), an okada man and one of the victims’ friend, the rest of the…

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Talking To Myself

soliloquy.

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“Chanelling My Inner Hamlet”

 

I have this recurring dream.

I am traveling down a slippery slope – driving; actually. I am driving down this slope and I suddenly realize; I am the one behind the wheel but I am not the one driving.

The car suddenly makes a sharp left turn – and I am thrown out.

But instead of hitting tarmac, I fall into this huge pit beside the road. I fall, screaming – and then wake up in my bed, sweat soaked, gasping for breath.

Writing is a lonely endeavor. It’s almost like a child trying to take her first steps – she keeps trying and keeps falling. At times, the parents – or at least someone – is there; other times not so much. Rarely do parents ever get to watch the miracle of that.

What they; the parents call ‘first steps’ is actually ‘first steps in their presence’. They have absolutely no idea what or how long it took the kid to arrive where she is.

Writing is lonely endeavor. Most often than not, you have no one cheering you on – at least; not during the creating process. You keep doing, you keep going – and what you share with the world; most of the time is a finished product. Only writers like you can even begin to appreciate the rigor that goes into it – but even they don’t exactly know; simply because writing is as individual – as personal – as a thumbprint.

At least ideally.

It’s almost like sex – more specifically; sex with intent to procreate. A million sperms are released; but only one makes its way to the egg. And then, the man keeps hoping and hopping from one foot to the next; not exactly knowing how it works (or maybe he is a brilliant surgeon) but hoping something; someone would make his efforts count – and something of himself would be left in this world.

Writing is a very intimate endeavor. Like sex.

To me, I mean.

I don’t take it lightly; writing – I mean. I still don’t believe I’m any good at it, so I stay in school, paying attention to all the available teachers – the bloggers whose works are praised as crap, the ones whose works are criticized as ‘perfect’, the books that didn’t sell a single copy, the not-so-best bestsellers and the actual ‘bestsellers’, the dreamers who just want to ‘dream’ on in their space; yes, even the ‘attention seekers’, the attention whores – yes; all these people are my teachers and I pay rapt attention to them while I scratch my internal head and wonder why I’m not as good as them – why my writing isn’t any good.

Maybe I’m not meant to be; I console myself with.

Writing is lonely.

There’s always that frightening reality that no one actually understands what jargon I just spent hours scribbling. That understanding that humans are fickle – today we scream ‘messiah’ tomorrow we’re yelling ‘crucify him!’ That awareness that sometimes – all I do is to put the words together in an interesting way – that what I wrote really does not make an iota of sense.

Well. I’m paranoid.

Understand; this is not some attempt at humility or anything close. I hardly ever like anything I write simply because my stories rarely come out the way I see them. It’s frustrating – but I’ve learnt to accept it –the exact same way I’ve learnt to be grateful. I’m really privileged to make a living; a comfortable living off something I enjoy doing – even though I really suck at it.

Something that gives me great happiness. For that alone; I will always be thankful to God.

Writing is sharing. A piece; a story – a thought is simply saying; in a manner of speaking – here; I thought about this and I wanted to share with you, in the hopes that it connects and resonates with you in some unspeakable manner. I hope this helps you makes some sense of your world, I hope it helps you escape some drudgery and boredom, I hope it broadens your mental horizons – and I really hope; at the very least, it makes you smile.

It is to invite a random stranger to step in your shoes for a moment; a minute, a second, an hour – a day – or even for longer; see the world through your tortured/lonely/tormented/inspired/fired/tired/suicidal/haunted/happy/distracted/excited/traumatized/crazy/insane/colorful eyes.

To love a writer is to know pain. To let a writer love you is to live forever.

Em. That’s a shameless plug ashually.

And you read something – and you laugh; pound on your table at work in excitement, or you’re angry at the stupidity of another human being (a character, actually) – or you tear up – happy or sad tears depending – or you’re struck speechless and people around you are wondering what the matter is –

But you would have; for a moment, seen what it is like to live another life.

Such is the power of the writer.

And; in the will-live-forever words of Uncle Ben –

With great power comes great responsibility.

 

I have this recurring dream.

I am travelling down a slippery slope – driving; actually. I am driving down this slope and I suddenly realize; I am the one behind the wheel but I am not the one driving.

The car suddenly makes a sharp left turn – and I am thrown out.

But – instead of falling into some bottomless abyss, screaming all the way, I find myself going upwards.

I am flying.

At first; it’s a really strange and odd feeling. But, as is the way of humans, I get used to it. I look around, marvel at the beauty of night – of millions of lights; if NEPA allows it – and I smile.

And I wake up in my bed. Laughing. Beating the pillow and screaming into it.

Another demon exorcised. Another mountain climbed.

And – as it will be till I die…

Another story to write.*

 

 

*This piece was originally published in my second short story collection Love Drops. If you haven’t read it, click here to download – it’s FREE.

 

 


PSA: A Letter From Deadpool To Every Parent

In the midst of his rip-roaring success, everyone’s favourite Merc-with-a-mouth remembers his responsibility as a parent nad therefore has taken the time to warn fellow parents about his Rated R movie.

Don’t take my word for it. Here:

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Awww, Deadpool. How sweet!

Still showing, in case you haven’t seen it.


Movie Review: Deadpool

 

Before you do anything, read this rant by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.

Read? Good.

 

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“Write Nonsense Review Fest Na…”

 

Deadpool is not serious.

 

That has always been Wade Wilson’s charm – that, along with his inability to shut up AND break the fourth wall. That guy can talk God out of His seat.

 

For the sake of clarity, I would like to state here that Deadpool aka Wade Wilson is a blatant ripoff of Deathstroke The Terminator aka Slade Wilson. Even Stan Lee admits to that. That’s so people who started following these guys via the big screen don’t start screaming ‘Copycat DC!’

 

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Slade Wilson aka Deathstroke The Terminator, Deadpool’s Senior Brother by 11 Years

Moving on…

I was excited to hear Deadpool was going to be a part of X-Men Origins – Wolverine. I was twice as excited when I found out he was going to be played by Ryan Reynolds who I have liked since Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place. The movie was underwhelming for plenty reasons, one of which was Deadpool having his mouth sewn shut and sprouting claws the length of katanas from the back of his hands.

I liked Ryan – but didn’t start taking him serious till Smokin’ Aces. That knocked me for a loop. Then came the tragedy Blade III, the seriously-underwhelming Green Lantern –

And then, I heard a new Deadpool movie announced.

I just knew Ryan was back in his element – especially since he had been jostling for a while to get that movie made. Then the first trailer came out.

Make no mistake; Deadpool is as true to its source material as it can get. Directed by Tim Miller (impressive full-length feature debut ) Wade Wilson is a retired (or dishonorably discharged) special ops operative who becomes a soldier of fortune to make ends meet, a mercenary who thinks it necessary to remind us at every opportunity that he is no hero. While playing at a friend’s (Weasel, played with ease by TJ Miller) bar he meets a hooker Venessa Carlysle  (CopyCat; nerdgasm!) and they fall for each other hard; having sex through the year (watch for the Fat Gandalf joke). Feeling the girl, he asks her to marry him – minutes before he suddenly collapses and is diagnosed with cancer of EVERYTHING.

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“I’ve figured out why I love you. Your crazy matches my crazy.”

EVERYTHING.

He goes to cry on Weasel’s shoulder and meets ‘Agent Smith’ who tells him about an organisation that can not only cure him but make him extra-ordinary. He balks – but then reconsiders and runs out on Vanessa to enter for the program.

Of course, there are pretty disastrous results.

There’s too much to like about this movie. The casting is perfect – except for a few missteps like the bland bad guy Ajax/Francis (played by Ed Skrein). Gina Carano who I thought would be perfect to play Wonder Woman potrays a very different Angel Dust (watch Haywire to catch my drift). Negasonic Teenage Warhead (even Deadpool has to admit how cool the name is) is cool and collected for her age. Brianna Hildebrand works this role perfectly.

The movie plays like one long gag reel. The jokes go on and are hardly bland – even those already heard in the trailer. Colossus is a shambling CGI giant; I think a far better job could have been done (Hulk; anyone?) but his lines, delivered in a youthful Russian accent are bliss. And his need to spout off Art-Of-War-esque cliche lines and advice while trying to play everybody’s egbon?

Not for you, Piotr Rasputin.

He is charming, nonetheless. There’s a particular scene in which he and Angel Dust are mixing it up and he refrains from hitting her because half-a boob is on display. She says ‘That’s so sweet,” and proceeds to punch him in the same place Deadpool broke a hand doing the same thing.

 

Ouch.

 

A few continuity errors (watch Deadpool’s sheaths closely during and after fights) and a couple very obvious gaffes do nothing to mar this gem of a something – even though I fear for Deadpool’ shelf life – especially the timed jokes. Still, it is freaking worth every cinema moment. Maybe even twice of those moments. And with 123 million large ones grosses over the opening weekend? Who cares what I think?

Even I don’t.

Though, you have to ask; there’s a scene in which Angel Dust is torturing Wade and he headbutts her hard enough to draw blood from her nostrils. This is the same girl who went toe-to-toe with Colosuss, the guy Deadpool broke all his limbs hitting. Now maybe that would have made sense for the comic version – she needs adrenaline to be strong and can only be for a short period, but for the movie version?

Inconsistency.

 

Anyhow, I’m seeing it again – definitely.

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“Nice Review! Oya Go An Watch, Else I’ll Send This Two To Ya Momma’s House!”

 

I’ll do as he says, were I you.

Deadpool is showing at Ozone Cinemas at the following times:

Fri-Thur: 10:45am, 12:50pm, 3:00pm, 4:55pm, 6:05pm, 7:00pm, 9:00pm

 

 

 


Killing Cupid

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day y’all!

 

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Hey Cupid,

 

It’s official. I hate you.

 

This probably sounds somehow coming from someone who writes the kind of things I write, but it’s true – as true as the words that are appearing on this page as I type them.

 

I hate you.

 

I know; you’re probably somewhere in the clouds, fluttering your annoying little child-cherub wings and getting drunk with your buddy Dionysus – who is way more reliable than you are, by the way.

 

Well, I hope you choke on a grape and it kills you. I hope your wings freeze in mid-flight; preferably while you’re over the Third Mainland Bridge – so you can fall from that great height and break all your miserable little bones. I hope you get so drunk you lose your sense of direction and fly into the sun.

 

You miserable little liar you.

 

Don’t get it confused; I’m not the only one who hates you. I’m just the one with balls enough to call you out. There’s a whole bunch of us carrying placards asking for your head on a platter. We would prefer you alive and whole so we can fish-fillet you; but if that’s impossible we’ll take the next best thing.

 

Yes; we’re calling for your life – or death as it were. You lied to us, Cupid! You sold us a boatload of horse dung and we bought it hook line and sinker. I mean; they always say gods cannot be trusted but I had to meet you to know just how true it is. You told me love is the answer; you said only love can conquer hate. You said I would be happy forever – just like Cinderella and Snow White and the nameless handsome prince.

 

Fine. I know I’m not handsome – but you didn’t say that mattered!

 

See what I mean? You’re a slimy, disgusting two-faced liar.

 

You lied to me – you lied, and gloated while I stumbled in the mess of romance, trying to find that elusive ‘Happily Ever After’ you promised. And I tried, Cupid. I tried; so miss me with that ‘am I supposed to do everything for you’ speech.

It’s gotten boring.

 

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. That’s a simple rule of business – of life. You don’t lead people along and then do some silly stuff like ask them to figure it out themselves. You might as well stand on the sidelines and leave us to figure it out. At least, then if we do a bang up job there will be no one but ourselves to blame.

 

But no; human misery is something you clearly find pleasing. So you promise and lead us by the nose and laugh yourself crazy as we pile up casualty after casualty in our desperate search for the proverbial pot of gold at the end of romance’s rainbow. We stagger around in pits of quicksand, looking for and clutching at straws while we sink in our own misery; perhaps realizing only too late that love; just like life, is what we make of it.

 

I mean, when could you ever trust a god?

 

So I hope against hope; ignoring you and your childish quest for gratification, determined to disappoint you at least this one time and find that haven on earth you promised. And as I squirm and wriggle my way out of the mire I allowed you lead me into, I come into myself; realizing that a ‘happy ending’ is not one you walk into, it’s one you create. I realize that you’re nothing but a miserable little creep doomed to unhappiness and therefore seeks to find joy in the misery of others; and therefore there’s no greater favor that I can do myself than to deny you that pleasure. And as I walk towards this light at the end of love’s tunnel, I entertain the possibility that maybe this was your goal all along; to shock me into taking responsibility for my life. That maybe I have to work for and through ‘happily ever after’ daily.

 

I realize that maybe if you had told me that; told me just how much of it lays in my hands at the beginning, I probably wouldn’t have tried at all.

 

I’m making excuses for you.

 

Maybe I’m right; maybe not. Maybe you’re really the sweet little cherub and not the villain I’m making you out to be. But one thing remains;

 

I hate you. Put that in your little wine cup and drink it along with your 100% proof bullshit.

 

Me.

 

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My Greatest Films Review: Mad Max Fury Road

 

Better late than never hey?

 

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“My name is Max. My world is fire and blood.”

On hearing those words, I knew beyond all reasonable doubt;

Mad Max is back.

At least that’s what I told myself when I saw the posters with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron on them. I was slightly resentful; I couldn’t let go of the images of Mel Gibson in dusty dirty leather driving the custom job Pursuit Special along the deserts of Australia looking for bad guys to devour, his demeanor as bleak as the landscapes he moves within. But then, I remembered Hardy from Rock ‘N Rolla and The Dark Knight Rises and I figured I could trust him.

Intentionally, I stayed away from the trailers as much as I could because I didn’t want to spoil my sense of anything. I wanted to go in the cinema free of opinion as humanly possible.

I saw Fury Road same night I saw Ant Man – and then; promising a review I went to see Fury Road again. I didn’t want anything to color my view; same reason I stayed away from the trailers. And then, for some reason I couldn’t put together a review. And by the time I had myself in hand, there just didn’t seem to be any point.

So why am I doing this now?

Well, this is coming because two of my pals – special pals – Akintunde and Deoye asked me to write it. So fellas, here’s to you.

 

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Thirty years after the third Mad Max film (Beyond Thunderdome with Mel Gibson as Max), George Miller, creator and director decides to try again. Failed attempts in 1997, 2001 and 2003 regardless, Miller decided to pursue the film again after working on the successful Happy Feet movie. Gibson at this point was too old to play Max, and besides had his issues so Miller moved past him and casted Tom Hardy after Heath Ledger passed. Filming was done in 2012 and lasted 120 days. The result?

Mad Max is second most nominated movie in this year’s Oscars, second to The Revenant (read that review here), also starring Hardy. Is it that man’s time or what?

The first few seconds of the movie are caught up in painting a picture of the fall of man and civilization as we know it. News reports interspersed with images of storms, explosions and riots set the tone for the film – and then abruptly, the image cuts to a shrouded Max standing and staring at nothing – until he suddenly stomps on a two-headed lizard creeping behind him and eats it.

The plot is simple. Max, who says “So I exist in this wasteland. A man, reduced to a single instinct – survival” is captured by a wandering group of War Boys; characters who look like spillover zombies from World War Z. He is tested; and discovered to be of the blood type O – universal donor is branded and turned into a human blood bank to save the life of Nux, an at-once-awkward-yet-charismatic character played with fluidity by Nicholas Hoult.

Everything is scarce in the future painted in Fury Road. Everything; fuel, water and even blood.

 

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Meanwhile, Charlize Theron’s Furiosa is a general in the dictator Immortan Joe’s ‘employ’, such as it is. Immortan looks like the grandfather of the War Boys; a pale half-dead imposing hulk with a grinning breathing apparatus for a face. Played with subtle aggression by Hugh Keays Byrne, the bad guy Toadcutter in the first Mad Max movie.

Random Fact: Tom Hardy was only six months old when the first Mad Max film was being made.

Furiosa is sent on a mission to find gasoline. Watching from the citadel he calls home, Immortan realizes something is wrong when his most trusted general suddenly drives off route. Charging into his apartment, he finds that five of his women or ‘breeders’ as he calls them are missing. Furiosa has abducted them and is taking them to The Green Place, a paradise of sorts she grew up in and hasn’t visited for nineteen and so years.

Then begins a road chase of high octane energy belonging in the wastelands they were shot in. Visually, Miller serves a full plate of dry desert landscapes during the day, waterlogged marshes at night – and a particularly scary-looking sandstorm that looks like something from a Stephen King novel that came to life. The energy is kept on an even keel throughout the movie, and the action scenes/sequences are just as intense.

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What makes Fury Road special for me is the emotional core that such a supposed heartless and dumb action movie possesses. Max goes from the lone soldier who wants to survive to the leader who takes care and guides the girls and Furiosa and her people (from the once-Green-Place-now-barren desert) back to their real home – Immortan’s Citadel. He saves Furiosa’s life by stabbing her in the side to relieve pressure from her collapsed lung – and then gives her an impromptu blood transfusion. Nux bonds emotionally with the beautiful Riley Keough’s redheaded character, telling her about being a failure because three times the great doors of Valhalla (‘hall of the slain’ in Norse mythology where the honorable dead go) opened up for him, and three times he failed. Nux is presented as a suicide case; from the beginning of the movie it’s clear he wants to die; we know he is going to – but it still hurts slightly when he does, sacrificing himself to save the rest.

The War Boys are post-apocalyptic versions of suicide bombers – rushing into battle headlong and carelessly, hoping to die with dignity. You can see the jealousy on their faces as they watch another of their numbers die grimly.

I like how the movie was made; a new movie if you’re unaware of the Mel Gibson trilogy, a continuation if you’re a fan. It simply continues breathing and doesn’t miss a step.

There’s so much to say about the movie – and I have prattled long enough already. If you are yet to see it, see that you do. You would at least want to know why I would just be reviewing a movie that was in the cinemas almost a year ago – and you should want to know why it’s on my list of Greatest Movies of All Time.

Don’t worry. You’ll meet them all in due time.

Meanwhile, you can still catch Tom Hardy’s cool coldness in The Revenant, still showing.

I’m holding my breath for the next installment in the Mad Max franchise.

 

Up Next:

 

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Movie Review: Batman’s Bad Blood Is Sour

 

Much ado about The Dark Knight.

 

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Maybe it’s the Nigerian in me but Batman: Bad Blood might as well be named Batman Bad Belle something.

 

Released on the second day of February 2016 (officially at least; I had the movie at least two weeks earlier) Bad Blood is another entry in a long line of dismissible DCU Animated Movies. Just like the lukewarm entries Son of Batman and Batman Vs Robin were, Bad Blood serves up so much potential – and then smothers it after the first five minutes.

 

Continuing the trend of using Batman in the title because he’s a guaranteed money-maker (Batman: Assault on Arkham, Batman/Superman: Apocalypse to name a couple), Bad Blood is a Batman story that has little to do with Batman. The Caped Crusader disappears mysteriously after a firefight in which he rescues Batwoman (Batsighs, anyone?), leaving Alfred desperate enough to call in a reluctant Nightwing to assume his mentor/guardian’s mantle. Then starts a smorgasbord of attempted delights that end up spiraling into tragedy in a hurry.

 

Batwoman, makes her onscreen debut here, crashing the interrogation of a criminal by other criminals, but gets her wings tangled in a hurry and has to be saved by Batman himself. She is a strong presence in the movie and DC utilizes what could only be called perfect timing to introduce; at least to the screen, a character with other sexual preferences. Very much like Huntress, she reinforces the mentality of most female characters in the Dark Knight’s life (with the exception of one; more on that later); ‘I don’t need his permission or protection, but he basically created me and he’s awesome and I so desperately want to impress him’.

 

She impresses me sha.

 

I honestly cannot figure out why Batwing (Luke Fox) is in this movie at all. Apart from a few gaping plot holes, the character is simply there for the sake of an introduction. I can forgive the Iron-Man-esque uniform donning; but I would like to ask director Jay Olivia just how he figured out where the armor was and how to use it. Maybe it comes with a user manual.

Or maybe he has brains like a bat. Duh.

Nightwing is still very much an unknown character despite being in the Batsuit more than the original owner himself; most of his back story is revealed via dialogue. It’s disheartening that such a solid character is still being relegated to the sidelines, but what else do you expect when he keeps being shown alongside the Dark Knight?

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He should have his own movie by now.

But apart from that, I cannot get over how easy it is for Nightwing to remove his mask and show Batwoman who he is, thereby indirectly revealing Batman’s and Damien’s secret identities. I think he should be smacked upside the head for that one.

Damien is well, still being Damien – except somehow he has grown to love and respect his father. Somewhere in the movie, as he saves a villain he knocked off a walkway, he mumbles to himself; “Justice, not vengeance. Justice, not vengeance”; the lesson Bats tried so hard to instill in him the preceding movies.

Basically, my issue with the cartoon can be narrowed down to that – the cast. Even the bad guys suffer casualties, Talia Ghul suddenly and inexplicably hates her son and his father – and wants to control the world (I hope they do an issue in which it is explained as Ra’s messing with her mind because it totally makes no sense), The Heretic is a clone of Damien who wants Damien’s memories and doesn’t have enough time on screen for us to care about him one way or the other. It was nice seeing Killer Moth; and The Mad Hatter is a schweet villain. Unfortunately, the Hatter couldn’t keep his hat – or his head for that matter.

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The Heretic

 

The fight sequences are fantastic and well-choreographed, fighting styles as individual as the costumes and the names of their wearers. The art is mediocre at best; it’s been the same illustrative style since Son of Batman and it isn’t visually appealing.

The people behind this new direction for the Batman would do well to study up on all-time Batman animation classics like The Batman Animated Adventures, The Justice League of America series and Batman: Under The Red Hood. Jason Mara isn’t a bad voice for Bats, but personally, the ONLY perfect voice for Batman will always be Kevin Conroy – the closest to him being Bruce Greenwood, the dude who voiced Bats in Young Justice. Stuart Allan continues his near-perfect run as the voice of Damien Wayne/Robin, providing the character with the perfect brashness of overeager youth.

I can pass over everyone else.

Frankly, Bad Blood is one to watch but I fear for its shelf-life. It is very colorful and glamorous; but at the end of the day, is quickly forgotten.

 

 

Up Next:

 

 

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