The Best California TV Shows

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the rise of a certain kind of Los Angeles television show.

Instead of exclusively depicting L.A.’s rich and famous, this newer crop of shows reflects a majority-minority city, where the median annual income is below $30,000 and, for most people, life isn’t all that glamorous.

For me, an Angeleno who lives far from the beach and knows few people who work in Hollywood, the joy of these shows is seeing a version of my life reflected back.

Many of you wrote to me about TV shows that feel true to your experience of California. Some reveal the grittier side of San Diego, or showcase reliably stunning views of the Central Coast.

I’ve shared your recommendations below, which include productions spanning nearly half a century:

The Rockford Files” (1974), Los Angeles

“Rockford may have lived in a trailer on the beach in Malibu, but he spent most of his time in less rarefied parts of L.A. As a kid in Aptos, Ventura Boulevard and downtown L.A. (long before lofts!) defined L.A. for me. Even now, when I’m in some of the more workaday sections of the Southland, something I see triggers the ‘Rockford Files’ theme music in my head.” — Ryan Ver Berkmoes, Monte Rio

Lou Grant” (1977), Los Angeles

“The show portrayed all sections of Los Angeles, from downtown, to the beach, to Bel-Air, to like, y’know, the Valley and stuff, and to the scruffier sections in the east and south. I first watched the show when I lived back east, and was thrilled to visit many of those locations after I moved to Southern California in the early ’80s.

Recently, I picked up several DVD box-sets of ‘Lou Grant,’ and was amazed at how well the show holds up after all these years. One episode, first broadcast in 1979, dealt with undocumented immigrants. Forty-two years old, and it easily could have been written 42 minutes ago.” — Bob Haus, Oakland

Nash Bridges” (1996), San Francisco

“I used to watch ‘Nash Bridges’ in part as a scavenger hunt trying to determine exactly where in San Francisco the scenes were filmed. I even saw the crews in action around town. There’s something special about seeing the real places you know show up onscreen.” — Mark Jones, Sacramento

Monk” (2002), San Francisco

“The opening of the show with Monk walking to his apartment at the top of one of San Francisco’s many steep hills is priceless!” — Chick Harrity, Calistoga

Terriers” (2010), San Diego

“Not only was it a very good show with intricate plotting, crackling dialogue and great acting, it also shone a light on a bit of a seedy underbelly of the San Diego beach towns. If I recall correctly it took place in Ocean Beach.

I had never seen a show that took away the fun and sun of San Diego beach culture and instead replaced it with the scrappy day-to-day (or as was often the case on this show, night-to-night) living in a part of California most people consider idyllic.” — Dan Hess, Los Angeles

Bosch” (2014), Los Angeles

“My husband and I were huge fans of ‘Bosch.’ Sadly, my husband died in March, and months later I finally got around to watching the last season. In the last episode, Bosch’s daughter is sitting outside Du-Par’s.

I have spent the past few months moving from Connecticut to Los Angeles. I now live a mile away from there — rounded the corner one day after first moving here and there it was.” — Marlene Cavagnuolo, Los Angeles

Lucifer” (2016), Los Angeles

“My favorite is ‘Lucifer’ because it shows the L.A. I remember most from 11 years lived there: the kind of morally amorphous city the devil would surely choose to live in.” — Ney M. Fonseca Jr., Teresópolis, Brazil

Big Little Lies” (2017), Monterey

“I was born and raised on Monterey Bay. I spent much of my adult life living and working there, though not since 2005. One of my family’s greatest joys was Sunday drives around the region.

I adored ‘Big Little Lies’ for all the iconic Central Coast, Monterey peninsula and Big Sur locations that were beautifully showcased.” — Rhoda Flint, Bellingham, Wash.

The Rookie” (2018), Los Angeles

“The star of the show is Los Angeles. It’s a well-done police procedural with a good cast and excellent plot. It stays interesting episode to episode.

Being a former Southern California girl, I have developed a love for SoCal that I didn’t have for the first 20 years of my life.

I was blown away by the detailed street-to-street detail, and the different downtown L.A. neighborhoods. The cast are all very likable and tough. Plus the diversity of the cast is what it should be, with Black and Hispanic actors making up the main characters.” — Iris Buckley-Jacobson, Atascadero

City of Ghosts” (2021), Los Angeles

“‘City of Ghosts’ on Netflix is a little miracle of a show — humane portraits of L.A. neighborhoods outside the ones we’ve seen for years, naturalistic performances and a delightful art direction and animation style. Super great for adults AND kids! Hope you like it.” — Paul Kimball, Campbell

For more:

Chocolate cheesecake with graham cracker crunch.

Today’s travel tip comes from Jacqueline Leventhal:

“The Lafayette water storage reservoir is a 975-acre site located on the west end of Lafayette in Northern California’s East Bay. It is the perfect place to walk all year long. Birds, wildlife, picnic areas, benches and bathrooms are scattered throughout.

There are two trails. The popular 2.8-mile trail is easy and flowing around the reservoir. The four-plus-mile unpaved rim trail is good for the more hearty and offers great views.

It is a little oasis in the middle of urban life. You can walk the ‘rez’ any time of day — with strollers, dogs. It’s about an hour around and you will leave refreshed and inspired by this gorgeous natural setting.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Has your child been vaccinated against Covid-19?

Share stories of your children receiving their coronavirus shots and how it has affected your holiday plans. Please include your child’s name, age and city of residence — and even a photograph, if you’d like.

Email me at and your submission may be included in a future newsletter.

California has found an especially cute way to fight climate change: sea otters.

Successful efforts to increase the animals’ numbers off the California coast have led to the growth of kelp forests, which gobble up carbon from the atmosphere.

Read more from Wired.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Game for world champion Magnus Carlsen (5 letters).

Jack Kramer, Steven Moity, Mariel Wamsley and Jaevon Williams contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at

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Traveler reveals hack that will allow you to watch shows on your phone without having to hold it

FLYING on a plane without a television is not ideal, so if you want to watch a film on a long flight here’s a helpful tip.

This genius hack means you don’t have to hold your phone in front of you while in the air. 

If you've ever struggled with watching television on airplanes, this hack might help you


If you’ve ever struggled with watching television on airplanes, this hack might help youCredit: TikTok/@nickii
This hack uses a barf bag and your phone to make the device a hands-free television


This hack uses a barf bag and your phone to make the device a hands-free televisionCredit: TikTok/@nickii

The video shows the step-by-step process that savvy traveler Nicki Baber uses to transform her phone into a hanging television. 

First, Nicki removed her phone case and placed one end of the in-flight barf bag in the bottom of her case, so that the rest was sticking out to the left of the phone. 

Next, she put her phone back into the case with the bag under it to secure it in place.

For step three, Nicki removed the portrait lock on her phone and held her phone sideways so she could view the screen in landscape mode. 

Finally, she took the free end of the bag and stuck it into the tray on the back of the seat, and locked it into place.

With these steps, her phone was left hanging from the tray ready to play a show or film.

Several users commented that they were excited to try the hack, but many seemed to be more concerned with the fact that her phone was not on airplane mode. 

Others argued back saying she can’t get Wi-Fi for her shows if she’s in airplane mode – which is not true. 

As noted by Business Insider, turning on airplane mode turns off Wi-fi initially, but it can be turned back on without using cellular data.

The internet has provided ample examples of travel trips that make traveling a bit easier.

Previously, a flight attendant made a video detailing the foods she thinks are best to bring to keep her nourished on a long flight.

Some of the things she always makes sure to pack are fruits, vegetables, extra water, and food with protein like protein balls, which are made with protein powder, almond butter, honey, chia seeds, oats, and more. 

Another person encouraged her followers to wear a neck brace while flying rather than a travel pillow, which is supposed to help with awkwardly positioned necks on flights. 

While it may look strange to use a neck brace, the people of the internet branded her hack as “genius.”

This travel hack allows you to watch television on your phone without having to hold it


This travel hack allows you to watch television on your phone without having to hold itCredit: TikTok/@nickii

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Best Murder Mystery Dinner Shows & Parties in America

murder mystery dinner

Imagine a real-life game of Clue. | Image by Maitane Romagosa

Imagine a real-life game of Clue. | Image by Maitane Romagosa

I’m sitting with a group of strangers in an ornate, century-old bed & breakfast. The Victorian estate checks all the creepy boxes: creaky hardwood floors, flickering candles, unsettling taxidermy, and even a hatchet next to a black-and-white portrait of Lizzie Borden.

After some mingling in the foyer with my new acquaintances (and some shots of vodka to blur reality just a bit), everyone shuffles into the library. Our host pulls out her tarot cards for a reading. Normally, she goes by Becky Luker, the owner of the Stone Lion Inn in the suburbs of Oklahoma City. But tonight she is Madame Curare, a mysterious medium bedazzled in sequins. Spoiler alert: she predicts a murder.

“Socially, most of you are already dead,” she says, before pulling the card of karma. “And you’re all going to get what you deserve.”

We unnervingly proceed to dinner, but by the time the screams start reverberating through the dark, rickety halls, it’s clear the evening has taken a turn. “Something terrible has happened,” Madame Curare says, clearing our plates. Someone has been killed right here, in this hotel, on this very night. And we’re going to find out whodunnit.

dining room
Professor Plum in the dining room with the candlestick. | Photo by Matt Kirouac

Murder is just a typical night at the Stone Lion Inn. Every weekend, upwards of 40 strangers don their best bowler hats and feathered headbands for a multi-course murder mystery dinner. The (allegedly haunted) hotel’s ambiance certainly aids in the suspension of disbelief—in fact, real-life Clue games are being staged in elegant settings all across the US, from creaky manors to old-timey trains and even literal castles.

While some dinners cater to private events, others are designed for strangers to come together and immerse themselves in a story with a transportive theme. Details about the premise and time period are usually sent out in advance (via email or even literal mail), so folks can prepare their costumes and characters. Once you arrive, you check “real life” at the door.

“I think murder mysteries have become so popular right now, because they’re an incredible way to escape,” says Krissy Garber, co-founder of New York City-based murder mystery company Even If It Kills Me. “Since the pandemic, everyone is craving human connection and laughter, and with murder mysteries, you get that in spades.”

Silver Fountain Inn & Tea Parlor
Suspicious characters at the Silver Fountain Inn | Silver Fountain Inn & Tea Parlor

According to Garber, the first murder mystery game was called Jury Box, a ‘30s parlour game where players became jury characters to determine the guilt or innocence of a fictitious defendant. Boxed sets in the ‘80s and the evolution of the internet helped spur the trend. Many companies thrive on word of mouth and referrals, though you might be surprised by the abundance of options from a quick Google search.

“It’s really incredible how quickly people become comfortable with themselves, their parts, and the people around them,” says Garber. “Solving the mystery gives everyone in your party a common goal, which makes it easier to bond with people you don’t know.”

Apparently I had shady business dealings with the deceased victim’s Far Ukrainian Casket Company.

Which is certainly the case during my event when, after a dinner of green chili bisque, roasted Cornish game hen, and cheesecake squares, more than half the party accuses me of homicide. (Apparently I had shady business dealings with the deceased victim’s Far Ukrainian Casket Company.)

If attending a full-blown dinner isn’t your jam, hosting one at home is totally doable. Services like Muder Mystery Games or Masters of Mystery provide at home kits containing plots, character roles, and instructions for the host.

“My main tip is to have fun with it!Get into your character, dress the part, and decorate your space to set the mood,” says Steve Wilder, CTO and co-executive producer with The Dinner Detective, a murder mystery dinner theater with locations nationwide.“People throw parties and tell stories to have fun and connect with each other, so if that happens at your murder mystery party, I think you’re doing it right.”

Still, there’s nothing quite like being thrown together with a group of conniving would-be murderers in a remote Victorian manor. Across the country, here are other places hosting next-level murder mystery dinner parties.

The Henderson Castle
It was a dark and stormy night… | The Henderson Castle

Kalamazoo, Michigan
The Henderson Castle, situated on bucolic grounds that look straight out of a faraway fairy tale, is the dreamiest escape for a quasi-rural wine tasting or high tea. It’s also the dreamiest destination to get entangled in a murder whilst dressed like a reveler from The Great Gatsby. Murder mysteries are held monthly in the inn’s chandelier-clad special events venue, each with a ‘20s or ‘30s theme and a prix fixe menu that typically includes passed canapés, wedge salad, and chicken beurre blanc.

Dover, New Hampshire
This rustic-chic Victorian inn near the New Hampshire coast may look harmlessly elegant with its babbling stone fountains, hand-cut crystal doorknobs, and regal four-poster beds, but there be murder within these vintage walls. Built in 1871, this three-story B&B is an ideal setting to bring out your inner Sherlock Holmes. Packets of information are sent via email, with rotating themes like “Westerns,” “Pirate,” and “Medieval.” For full immersion, guests can stay the night, or just do dinner on Saturday.

Moss Mansion
This looks like the kind of place Colonel Mustard would hang out. | Moss Mansion

Billings, Montana
Built in 1903 by Preston Boyd Moss and Martha Ursula Woodson Moss, who lived there with their six children and three servants, Montana’s Moss Mansion sounds like something out of Shirley Jackson’s dreams—or nightmares. Nowadays, the three-story, 28-room house operates as a historic museum, open for tours, special events, seasonal festivals, and, most fitting, murder mysteries. Bookable for private events or public dinners, the mansion serves three-course meals in a majestic setting, with parts assigned to each attendee.

Parkersburg, West Virginia
A crown jewel in the quiet town of Parkersburg, West Virginia, The Blennerhassett Hotel became a millionaire magnet when it opened in 1889. A beacon of opulence, the mammoth property now includes 89 guest rooms, a ridiculously cozy library, and a grand staircase that puts the Titanic to shame. Basically, it’s the perfect setting for spooky fun. The hotel hosts periodic murder mystery dinners (with impressive menu items like butternut squash orzo risotto or fig and almond phyllo tarts) and also works with touring companies like Murder and Merriment for themed events.

The Kentucky Castle
Seasonal menu with a side of murder | The Kentucky Castle

Versailles, Kentucky
Equipped with a formal dining room, billiard room, ballroom, a grand hall, a bourbon hall (how Kentucky!), and a library, this Medieval-style castle set on lush Kentucky farmland is basically “Clue” incarnate. Sure, you can come stay the night, treat yourself in the spa, and dine on oxtail medallions with foie gras Bordelaise—or you can partake in a murder mystery on the castle rooftop. Hosted by Murder and Merriment, the interactive outings feature some of the tastiest sounding food for such an event, with seasonal menu items like tagine-spiced elote corn and fruit cobbler.

Napa, California
If you’ve ever wanted to participate in your very own Murder on the Orient Express, the Napa Valley Wine Train is as close as you’ll come to full-blown Agatha Christie cosplay. A romp on this trek to St. Helena feels like traveling in time to a bygone era of luxurious train travel, aboard beautifully restored Pullman cars outfitted with plush seats, etched glass, and four kitchens. One of the voyage options, to the delight of any Christie stan, is a murder mystery ride. Organized by The Murder Mystery Company, events are two-hour voyages with three courses of food and themes like “Death of a Gangster” and “Wizards & Witches.”

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Matt Kirouac is a travel writer with a passion for national parks, Disney, and food. He’s the co-founder and co-host of Hello Ranger, a national parks community blog, podcast, and app. Follow him on IG @matt_kirouac.

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Pre-flight testing can reduce the number of covid-infected passengers, study shows

“These data suggest that even at this higher level of active community infection, a single molecular test performed within 72 hours of departure can decrease the rate of active infection on board a commercial aircraft to a level that is several orders of magnitude below active community infection rates,” the study says. “The addition of other interventions, including universal masking at the airport and onboard aircraft, increase in frequency of air exchanges and enhanced clearing, physical distancing during deplaning activities, increasing vaccination rates among travelers and exclusion of symptomatic individuals, further enhances safety.”

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‘Tip of the spear’: Atlanta leads Southeast innovation, Panoramic Ventures reports shows – Atlanta Business Chronicle

‘Tip of the spear’: Atlanta leads Southeast innovation, Panoramic Ventures reports shows  Atlanta Business Chronicle

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Distance to emergency, urgent medical care shows a ‘health care need’

STOCKBRIDGE – Imagine this: You’re at home, your temperature spikes and you feel awful.

You know you should see a doctor, but the nearest urgent care or emergency room is more than 20 miles away. That’s only made worse if it’s raining or snowing and you need to navigate country roads.

For rural residents, the options are making that drive to an emergency department or calling an ambulance.

For Deborah Smith, a pastor at First Presbyterian Church Stockbridge, that’s a challenge many of her parishioners and members of her community face when it comes to seeking emergency care.

Without access to medical care closer to home, people wind up eschewing emergency or preventative care and just get sick or die, Smith said.

“I think there’s a health care need,” she said.

Despite the growth in Lansing’s medical infrastructure, residents living in Greater Lansing’s rural community face long distances and travel times to access emergency care. In Ingham County’s southeast corner, Stockbridge residents must travel an average of at least 35 miles or 39 minutes to reach an emergency room and more than 20 miles or 25 minutes for an urgent care center, according to a State Journal analysis.

Virginia Rezmierski, a retired University of Michigan professor and community volunteer, said rural areas are like an “orphan” when it comes to medical services yet Stockbridge and the surrounding townships are home to thousands of people.

“(Services) don’t extend to the rural tip,” she said.

More: Sparrow’s and McLaren’s combined $1 billion investments fuel Greater Lansing’s growth

Here’s how far and how long it could take to reach emergency departments from Ingham County’s rural southeast corner:

  • Dansville: An average of 28 minutes or 22 miles from a hospital emergency room. Roughly 10 minutes or 7 miles from the nearest urgent care.
  • Leslie: An average of 25 minutes or 24 miles for a hospital emergency room. Roughly 12 minutes or 9 miles from the nearest urgent care center.
  • Webberville: An average of 25 minutes or 22 miles from a hospital emergency room. Roughly 19 minutes or 13 miles from the nearest urgent care.
  • Williamston: An average of 23 minutes or 18 miles from the nearest hospital emergency room. Roughly 12 minutes or 8 miles from the nearest urgent care.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said Ingham County’s most significant health disparities are in the urban core, where the population is lower income, older and include communities of color. That’s where Ingham County sees its worst health outcomes, she said.

“That’s not to diminish that they do have limited access to resources further out in the county,” Vail said.

The Stockbridge area, which includes towns in Livingston and Washtenaw counties, was recently listed by the Health Resources and Services Administration as a medically underserved area. Three geographic areas around Lansing received that same designation in 1994.

More: Michigan got walloped by COVID. How it can better prepare for next time

Health care and community organizations have a mandate to serve everyone, not just urban populations, Rezmierski said. If groups can collaborate, it could be possible to fill service gaps, she said.

The Five Healthy Towns Foundation aims to start that coalition, building partnerships to address health and wellness needs for people in the Stockbridge area as well as those in the rural parts of Livingston and Washtenaw counties, Rezmierski said.

“We’re pretty excited about the possibilities,” she said.

Sustainability key to attract, retain providers

Stockbridge did have a health clinic, but it closed because so few people went there, Rezmierski said.

The primary barrier to attracting health clinics, grocery stores and transportation services is the isolation of the area, Smith said. Having those services available  contribute to a person’s overall wellness, she said.

“We are such a desert for so many different elements of health,” Smith said.

The demand for services exists around Stockbridge, Rezmierski said. A survey conducted by Five Healthy Towns found 57% of respondents would use a local health clinic if one was available and 86% would consider transferring service to a practice closer to home.

Rezmierski said many people need laboratory tests and annual examinations and would like to see those services nearby.

As a society, businesses and groups tend to focus on urban populations because it’s easier to make their profit margins, Smith said.

“They’ve got to stay viable,” she said.

Stockbridge mobilizing to fill area’s care gap

The coalition envisions a school-based federally qualified health center that can serve both residents and students. Rezmierski said services could include primary care services, laboratory services, preventative medicine and a hub for telehealth.

That process is in its early stages as the group is still putting together a proposal and seeking grant funding to move the project forward, Rezmierski said.

“This is a coming together of the grassroots of the community,” she said.

More: Developments to watch: Greater Lansing’s growing health care footprint

The success of a clinic, if one is created, relies on people feeling comfortable that it will offer quality, professional care that meets their needs, Rezmierski said.

Rezmierski said people in rural areas can be reluctant to access services. The lack of density and transportation makes it difficult for organizations or businesses to meet residents’ needs, she said.

“They need the services but they are hesitant to get involved,” she said. “There’s some real barriers that we need to overcome in the rural population.”

Contact reporter Craig Lyons at 517-377-1047 or Follow him on Twitter @craigalyons.

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riskiest ways to travel 4

Holiday Travel Outlook Shows Mixed Feelings Among Travelers

The fall/holiday travel season is shaping up to be less predictable than expected. New results from Longwoods International and Miles Partnership tracking study of American travelers found a mixed bag when it comes to their plans for travel during the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks.

The research shows that, while some are eager to hit the road, there are still many people who are hesitant to return to pre-pandemic travel levels.


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“Full recovery from the pandemic for the U.S. travel and tourism industry is still a bit further away,” said Amir Eylon, president and CEO of Longwoods International. “Travelers remain cautious, which could result in a long, slow climb back to the robust, record-breaking travel volumes and spending the industry experienced pre-COVID.”

Intent to travel still remains high, but the delta variant is having an impact on the fall holiday season. Thirty-four percent of travelers said that they had reduced the number of trips they were planning to take in the next six months. However, nine out of 10 of those surveyed are planning some travel.

For many, the pandemic is not having an effect on the way they travel. Forty-one percent said that they were planning the same number of trips during the holidays as last year.

The better news is that the data showed 27 percent of respondents indicated that they were planning more vacations this fall and holiday season while 32 percent of travelers are taking fewer trips this year compared to last year.

While it is difficult to predict what the next few months will bring, Longwoods research revealed that the pandemic has changed the way people travel. Driving to destinations is still more popular than flying, and domestic travel is still more accessible than international—two long-term trends.

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International travel convention begins in Las Vegas — a model for other shows

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Las Vegas and the U.S. Travel Association are kicking off the city’s first international trade show since the start of the pandemic.

The U.S. Travel Association’s IPW has been overhauled as it brings together travel exhibitors, travel buyers, journalists and government representatives from across the globe.

This year’s convention is relying heavily on appointments for convention-goers as they come to the convention floor at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s West Hall. Registration was Saturday and Sunday, and now people are getting down to the business of travel.

Organizers describe the IPW show’s mission as “connecting U.S. travel exhibitors with travel buyers and media to promote their product and negotiate future business, securing America’s position as a foremost global travel destination and showcasing the best of what the U.S. has to offer.”

Past shows have generated more than $5 billion in future travel, according to the IPW website.

And this year’s modifications will be a model to help restart international travel and shows.

Since we are still fighting our way through a pandemic, the show requires attendees to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of check-in.

The show’s presence is a positive after the National Broadcasters Association canceled their October meeting, choosing to wait for April of next year.

Coming up in the next few weeks, big conventions are scheduled to hit Las Vegas. Those include the International Wireless Communications Expo at the end of September. And in October, more big shows are scheduled: the American Rental Association, NHS Las Vegas 2021 — a national hardware show — and the National Business Aviation Association Convention.

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This TikTok Shows How You Can Walk to Russia From the U.S. – and Cross a 22-hour Time Zone

This TikTok Shows How You Can Walk to Russia From the U.S. – and Cross a 22-hour Time Zone | Travel + Leisure

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