The last time I was in Cali was 3 years ago during the ACE Coaster Con, which for the most part was a very insane and amazing trip, but nothing like this.
I was SO psyched about THIS trip, especially having the chance to FINALLY ride X and Insanity (in Vegas). I was also excited about meeting up with my friends, who were flying in from all over the country. It was going to be the most insane, most awesome week of my life, which turned out to be more than what I expected.
Monday, March 7th.
I got up about 2am and drove to Port Columbus Airport, which is about 3 1/2 hours from Charleston. The reason why I didn't fly out of Charleston is because the airport is VERY EXPENSIVE to fly in and out of unless you are going to DC or Chicago or Charlotte. Go figure. lol. All I know is I saved about $250 flying out of Columbus. I flew from Columbus to Denver, and then into LAX (which is an event in itself) and got a call from Clint (Teckno) and buddy Jamaal who landed around the same time I did. We were both heading in different directions but promised to meet up later. Gator Bill called me just as I was taking the shuttle bus to AVIS, and followed me there.
As I was getting my car the VERY cool clerk asked me if I wanted a convertible. I had pre-paid for a sub-compact and was not really interested in spending more money until she informed me that it would not cost me another dime. Well, hell YES!!! So I ended up with a nice, silver-ish convertible Sebring. I ROCK! This trip was already kicking ass!
After meeting up with Gator we immediately headed south to Carlsbad to Legoland. We planned on hitting Belmont Park as well until we learned that the Giant Dipper was in rehab and would not be open until later that week. Oh well. Next time. :-D
I never really had an interest in seeing Legoland until recently. As soon as we entered the park I was amazed, just by the visuals alone. I HIGHLY recommend visiting this park ASAP!
The three coasters were also very surprising, especially the Dragon Coaster! It has lots of speed for such a small coaster. These coasters are more than just *credits*. Trust me on this guys! Even if you don't have kids and/or are not into Legos it doesn't matter......this park is WORTH the time and effort!
Bill and I were VERY impressed by everything the park had to offer, especially the *towns* that were all built out of legos (obviously). I was in awe. The staff were also VERY cool, and I would visit again in a heartbeat.
After Legoland we drove back to our motel near Knott's, and went out to get some food and beer (the basic necessities in life!) Ah, what a GREAT first day in the Golden State!
Clint called later that night and said that he was tired (we THOUGHT he and his friend Jamaal were staying in the same Motel 6 but we would soon learn that wasn't the case). lol.
Tuesday, March 8
The next morning Clint called again, and asked us to stop by his room on our way to breakfast. We went up to what we thought was his room and knocked for a good 5 minutes. I called Clint and told him to answer his f*****g door. To make a long story short we realized that Clint and Jamaal were at the *other* Motel 6 (near Disney). LOL! It made for some good laughs, but we were all going to Disneyland so we would run into each other eventually.
After getting off the phone with Jodi (who was originally going to pick us all up) we decided to head down to Disneyland on our own since she was stuck in traffic (surprise there, huh?)
Disneyland was a blast. I had been to DCA before on my last Cali trip (although I now wish I would of got the park-hopper thing instead...oh well...lol) and had been to Disneyworld about 5-6 times ever since I was 2 years old, so I sorta knew what to expect.
Space Mountain was obviously down. The Matterhorns were a RIOT! Big Thunder was just as I remembered it in Florida, and the Gadget Go-coaster was cute.
The park was packed but the longest we waited for a ride was 20 minutes. The Indiana Jones thing was my favorite ride in the park. VERY cool! Actually, it was one of my favorite rides of the week! GREAT effects and visuals! What a ride!
We met up with Jodi, as well as Clint and Jamaal and had an AWESOME time, even on "It's a Small World" which I am STILL wondering what kind of drugs the creators were on whenever they built these things some 30+ years ago. The new Toy Story thing was also very cool, as were the Pirates of the Carribean,etc.
Jodi and I decided to play some DDR, which unfortunately ended rather soon as I pulled a muscle in my leg. YEOUCH! I watched her as she kicked my ass to West Virginia and back. lol. Jodi is AMAZING on DDR.
After a fun-filled day with Mickey and the gang we said our "see ya laters" to Clint, Jamaal, and Jodi. Back to the motel for more drinking, and more bad food. Woohoo! This time it was Del Taco.....a new food credit for me. :-D
Wednesday, March 9
Universal baby! I had been to the one in Florida so I sorta knew the drill. Back to The Future was fun, as always. Jurassic Park was cool.
The Mummy was AMAZING (once they turned off the lights....lol.) GREAT effects! Bill mentioned that the one if Florida was quite a bit different. I can't wait to see for myself! It was a good time. Going backwards is even more insane. Wooooohooooooo!
The Backlot tour I always loved while visiting at Universal Florida, but I believe I liked this one even more, maybe because it (and most of the attractions/rides that day) were walk-on. Nah, the tour was AWESOME! I am wondering JUST how many Bates motels there ARE in the USA ????
The Waterworld show was also fun. Luckily we sat literally a few inches away from the "soak" section. AWESOME park. Disney and Universal may bet a lot of flack but when it comes to capacity and service, they CANNOT be beat.
Luckily I had pre-purchased discounted tickets for Disney, Universal, and Legoland which helped save us time and money.
The new Shrek 4D attraction was also a blast, and had me laughing like crazy just like the movie did. We also saw the Backdraft thing and the Sound Effects, where Bill got to do a FINE Tinker Bell voiceover. You just HAD to be there! lol.
We met up with Mike (Boblogone) and Beth (Bethtoons) for a few mintues before going our seperate ways. I think they were headed for the Backlot tour (which we just did) and we were heading for something else..the Van Helsling thing I think. We also purchased a $19.95 all you can eat (at three restaurants) which we took advantage of. I swear I have never eaten so much in my life! It was a GREAT deal, especially since a typical meal at Universal is anywhere between $9-$12 or more. Universal was just amazing. The "citywalk" or whatever it's called with the stores and restaurants was just overwhelming to say the least.
We were having an awesome week. After Universal we braved the hellish LA traffic to visit Bass and family (after calling everyone in my address book to find out his number), who were VERY cool peeps! Then it was back to our Motel 6 in Buena Park (which I still pronouce my way, even if it's the wrong way....lol) for even more bad food and more beer. I think this time we got lazy and went to the Jack in The Box next door. It's...........ok. The breakfast sandwiches are pretty cool.
Thursday, March 10
VEGAS!!! I had been to Vegas before, about 11 years ago for only a few hours. I did the gambling thing then, so by this time I was not interested in anything other than the coasters and the Stratosphere, ESPECIALLY Insanity. As soon as Bill and I arrived in Vegas (LOVE the drive from LA to Vegas) we immediately checked into the Stratosphere Hotel. As soon as we got to our room Dawn called us up and said her and the group (Danny, Kristin, Jeff (cedarit) were heading to the Sahara for a few spins on Speed:The Ride. Rob (Robocoaster), who lives in Vegas, also said he was going to meet up with us.
We all finally congregated at the Sahara and bought an all-day pass for Speed. There were NO lines.
WOW! What a ride! Kristin and I both got in the front row for our "first" times. Kick ASS! So smooth and so crazy. It made for some GREAT rerides throughout the day.
Next was Adventuredome. Canyon Blaster was a nice "check off the list" coaster, at least for me. Manhatten Express was a bit rough, but wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Whateva.
We spent most of the evening walking up and down the strip, taking full advantage of the cheap drinks, and the sights. Vegas is absolutely beautiful, and next time I am going to spend at LEAST a weekend there. We spent a LOT of time at the Bellagio and I finally got to see the Fountains. Totally breathtaking. The 99 cent margaritas were not too shabby either. :-P
Earlier that day we learned that Insanity was going to open to the public at 9pm, so everyone was pretty excited. After dinner that night Bill and I headed over to the Strat while some of the others promised to meet up later. We got the $29.95 thing that would give you unlimited rides on Insanity, X-Scream, High Roller, and Big Shot. Once we got up to the tower we waited about an hour until they announced that Insanity was closing due to high winds. Apparently when the winds surpass 25 MPH they will close it down. So we waited, and waited. Why in the hell would they build something like this KNOWING that Las Vegas is quite a bit, uh, WINDY at any given time on top of the Strat? Hmph. Oh well.
Finally we said the heck with it and headed over to X-Scream.
OH. MY. F******. GOD!!!!!!!!!!
Bill and I got in the back, which was frightening enough. What kind of sicko created this ride? I LOVE IT! Bill was freaking out as Clint (one seat ahead of us) was screaming like a little school girl. lol. I didn't hear a peep out of Jamaal.
Our second time was in the front. YES!
Now I have NO fear of heights whatsoever, unlike Bill, who was literally saying prayers in between cursing and fussing. What really freaked me out was how they "drop" you a few feet right after they hang you over the edge. You literally feel like you are hanging on to the top of a building by a boulder, and that boulder almost gives away. It was the most terrifying ride I have ever been on, but the most fun. As Bill was freaking out I was waving my arms over the edge. I LOVED IT! What a rush! He also got a bit nervous as I leaned on the windows (for a few seconds) inside the tower. WOW! I was LOVING it! Yes, I am a freak when it comes to heights. I have NO fear.
High Roller is the most boring coaster in the world. Big Shot was amazing. What a view!
After learning that the winds were not going to die down enough to ride Insanity we decided to head back to our room, while the others went back to their rooms at the Stardust down the street.
Friday, March 11
The next morning we went to the ticket booth and explained our situation with Insanity. Jeff and Kristin were told (when they purchased their tickets) that Insanity WAS running at the time, which they learned differently by the time they met up with us Thursday night. The manager was VERY cool and said we could ride Insanity as it was going to open in a few minutes. We were happy with this, UNTIL we got to the ride and noticed it was being worked on. I am not sure what was going on but it didn't look good. Still, we waited, and waited, and waited. About an hour later someone (can't remember his name but he was VERY cool) came over to us and explained that Insanity would be open later that evening. We were running out of time since we had to be at the Knott's Radisson by 5 (Bill and I had too...the others were going to go to DCA)
We were bummed, but to make a long story short the Strat refunded our entire cost of the Stratosphere ($29.95 each) We basically got to ride the other three attractions for free. ALL the staff were VERY cool and I left the place feeling dissapointed but happy. I was SO freakin close to riding Insanity I could almost TASTE it, but it was not going to happen today. There is always next time. :-P
They went beyond what I expect in customer service. AWESOME people! Now I need to go back.This time I am taking a whole weekend. (Gotta see the Thunder From Down Under SOMEtime..lol.)
After this fiasco, we hauled ass back to LA. Bill rode with Robo since he didin't want to make the 4 hour trip alone and I took along Kristin and Jeff since they were interested in the convertible. lol. The trip back was fun with those two. Jeff basically sunbathed as Kristin took video of everything. They are a blast to hang out with, and are hilarious. Such nice, wholesome kids. ;-) You know I love ya, guys!
Before we left Vegas Bill told us that stopping by Buffalo Bill's would take too much time, and I agreed. Once we saw Despie in sight though, we could not help it. All three of us needed the credit, as well as the pit stop. :-D The three of us literally ran (or walked very fast) to the ticket booth, got onto Despie, went to the bathroom, and grabbed some Mickey D's to go in less that 20 minutes. Jeff even managed to snap a few pics before we reminded him that we are going......NOW!
Did I say I ROCKED? Heheheheh.
Desperado was fun, VERY brutal but not too painful. I would of been up for a few rerides, but we had to get back to LA, damnit. lol. I drove between 85-110 the whole way back..........weeeeeeeee! You can't drive like this on these curvy West Virginia interstates.
We hit the Knott's Radisson around 5pm, which Bill was already checking us in. I met up with April, Pete, and Kelly (Coasters911) right away, as well as Jodi (who gave me an invitation for that evening's Diva party). SO many people showed up all it once. It was chaos, but it was also GREAT to see everyone again. I FINALLY met the Rev in the parking lot. Woohoo! By the time Bill and I got to our room we BARELY had time to drink a beer as ERT was JUST getting ready to start.
We had ERT on Xcel, Supreme Scream, Monte, and Ghostrider. SWEET!
I met up with a few more peeps that night including Dannerman Tim, Al and wife, Scott (Coastermoose) and Mark (coasttocoaster) who were all VERY cool. I also met up with Bruce for the first time which was NUTS, as caught up again with (gulp) The REV who managed to *corner* me into talking about Duran Duran for 15 minutes or so. Woohoo!
It was GREAT to ride Xcel again after 3 years. WOW! Monte is one of my faves. Ghostrider........well, I am not a huge fan of. It was OK but I have never really had THAT awesome of a ride on it. I like smoother and more airtime-filled woodies. :-D
Friday night's dinner (courtesty of the Radisson) was just amazing. We had steak, salmon, roasted chicken, some funky spinach dip, salads galore, and a cash bar. NEVER in my life have I had such an awesome meal at an *event*. After living off of fast food all week, a normal *meal* was VERY welcomed.
The evening was getting a bit cold so I decided to walk back to the Radisson to change clothes. Once I got back ERT on Silver Bullet had started.
KICK ASS! I LOVED this coaster. It's not so "intense" but there is enough action and elements to keep you wanting more. The double dive thingy was nuts! I can't believe how this coaster is so underrated. It was a definite surprise of the week.
After a dozen or so spins on the Silver Bullet we congregated back to the motel, which consisted of a dozen or so mini-parties. I went to a Diva meeting (with tiarras and door prizes including some handcuffs...lol.) followed by a mini-party with Kelly, April, and Bruce. OMG what an awesome time! I have never laughed so hard in my life. What a motley crew we had at the Radisson!
Saturday, March 11
I got up WAY too early (as usual). I went to the breakfast buffet (which was included with our Radisson *emgee* weekend package) and proceeded to pick up my Solace stuff. I then went back to the hotel and chilled out for a few minutes. From 7am to 10am we had ERT on Xcel, Supreme Scream, Timberline, Jaguar, Boomerang, and Monte. I met up with Bruce again who shared a few early morning Xcel rides. What a GREAT way to wake up!
We soon met up with Ed, as well as Kyle, Tammy, Craig, and his son, as well as Frank and his daughter (and friend). We talked about meeting at the exit to go to Adventure City. At first I was not interested in going as I had been there before but decided to at the last minute.
I chilled out and took some photos around the park for a bit before noon. The park was getting PACKED very quickly. Bill and Rob showed up and we did a few spins on Monte and Jaguar before they decided to do Boomerang (which I passed on). We then got split up again, somehow. lol.
Anyway, I left the park around 12:30 and told the group at the exit I would meet them at Adventure City, which was just down the road. Jodi had arranged for all of us to get into the park half-price for the day, which ROCKED! Adventure City has ALWAYS been very good to any enthusiast visiting the park. They are always the first to go out of their way when other (more larger) parks could really give a rat's ass.
Anyway, we all congregated to the Tree Top Racers which are fun, then I ran off on my own to play some long-overdue DDR (luckily my leg was feeling better).
After one game the group found me and were ready to leave. We went back to Knott's JUST in time for lunch, which included a chicken dinner and/or ribs, hot dogs, with ALL the fixin's, as they say. lol. Knott's gave us complementary *bullets* which was followed by a warning to store it in our checked luggage as most airports will confiscate it if you have it in your carry-on.
After lunch a bunch of us made the HELLISH trek to Scandia, which took us about an hour with the traffic. Cute little park. The Scandia Screamer was INSANE! Although I bailed out early with some of the others, it was a VERY fun time. There is nothing quite like 20-30 enthusiasts taking over a small park.
On our way back to the Radisson we stopped by the liquor store (yep, got to keep stocked up!) before heading back to our rooms to chill out for a while. I had a few while calling my friends back home to rub it in about what an awesome time I was having. Bill came back and said that him and Rob were going to hit some of the flats before ERT and I should come along. Twist my arm. ;-)
I was feeling quite buzzy by then, which made the Rockin Tug, Revolution, and the Screamin Swings even more insane. Weeeeeeee!
10pm meant MORE ERT on Silver Bullet. WOW! I could of stayed on the Bullet ALL night.
I went over to Ghostrider with a few peeps but didn't really feel like making my headache any worse, so I bailed out early and went back to the motel to chill out. The next thing I knew it was 2:30 in the morning as Bill came back from watching a film from the conference room downstairs with some of the others. I immediately went back to sleep, sorta. lol.
Sunday, March 13
With only (literally) a couple of hours sleep, I got up around 6am and started packing up. I wanted to get to Magic Mountain as EARLY as possible. After getting our s*** together we were on the I-5 at about 6:35. We got to SFMM about 7:25 or so. After checking in and getting our Ridewold passes they promptly opened the gates at 8am, while everyone ran to X. I had to wait for Jodi, since she PROMISED me that my first ride would be in her favorite seat on her "man". About 10 past 8 she was relieved at the registration table and we proceeded to the one ride I had been looking forward to for three years. I was beside myself. There were NO lines with the exception of the front seats. Jodi and I got the very back, which I got the inside seat on the right side.
X was.....just.........just.........FREAKY. Strange. F'd up. I am not sure how to describe it. I guess for those of you who have been on it no explanation is necessary. You just.....know. As Robbio put it in his TR........F*** Me. It was the most freaky coaster I have ever been on. I was just speechless by the time my first ride ended. I was not sure what the hell had happened. Whatever it was I loved it! and went back three more times before I got SUCH a nasty headache that I needed to stop before I started bleeding out of my ears (that last trip on one of the back outside seats was just PAINFULLY horrible, despite the visuals and the ride itself......woohoo!
Onto two of my faves........Riddler's Revenge and Golitah, which were BOTH running better than ever. I do NOT like stand-up coasters, due to my back, but for some reason Riddler's does not hurt me and is as smooth as glass, not to mention lasting what seems like forever! AWESOME Beema! Goliath was running VERY well, and was glad to see Clint and Jamaal's expressions as they rode the first time. KICK. ASS!
I got my Scream credit. What in the WOLRD is WRONG with you people? Scream ROCKED! Am I the only one who absolutely lusted over it? Hmph.
After a few spins on Scream I did Batman and grabbed an early lunch. Note: SFMM's burgers are the best first thing in the morning! I finally met up with Bill and Rob again, along with Jeff and Kristin as we all did Colossus (still another coaster that I love that a lot of people complain about.....who knew? lol.) Bill, Frank, Kristin, Jeff, and I needed to do the season pass thing, which turned out to be a pain in the ass, despite the deal we were getting. We had to take our ticket stub to 2 different buildings before being directed to the Sales Office. We purchased, er, upgraded our season passes there. Then we got a ticket that was suppossed to be taken to the Play Pass center (not the season pass processing center outside the gates) You then had to take this ticket and exchange it for a voucher, which was more like a SAT test. With every letter of your name, street address, phone number, etc. you had to fill in the corresponding bubble under it. It was exhausting. ONCE you finally made it to the door, they took your voucher and took your pic, and the season pass was made there.
After going through the mostly painless job of getting our season passes we decided to meet up with the other peeps (who just got finished chowing down at the Mooseburger) and take a spin on Canyon Blaster.
After that I was ready to leave as the park became more and MORE crowded. The crew wanted to do Viper so I waited on them (been there done that, no more headaches please!) After the crew exited the ride, we said our goodbyes to Kyle, Tammy, Craig and son and "see ya later at the party" to Kristin and Jeff.
Rob bailed out right before Viper to get a head start on the trek from SFMM to Playa Del Ray, where Moosh was having the party.
Bill, Rob, and I made it there about 6:30-ish (being the early geeks we are..lol) to be greeted by the MAN himself. I had about 8 or 9 beers leftover so I dumped them into one of the tubs of ice.
Rob, Bill, and I decided to go out onto the beach for some photos (and to see an AMAZING sunset) before heading back (it was starting to get cold).
Mooshy made a blissful mexican lasagna type of thing, which salsa, guacamole, tortilla chips, and a ton of other munchies. The lasagna was AMAZING! Thanks again Moosh!
The party was very fun, very relaxed, as we chatted and watched some vintage videos of old flats (mostly from Coney Island) with some tunes in the background.
Slowly but surely people began to show up, including Ed, Rudy, Scott and Mark, Jeff and Tim, Bruce, Kelly, April, Jeff and Kristin, and Dawn. By this time I was getting WAY too drunk and my memory is a bit fuzzy after that. I remember watching the PKI DVD (after most people had left) and passing out, waking up at 5am the next morning scrambling to get my s*** together to get to the airport. WTF? Where did the time go?
Actually, April clued me in on some things that I absolutely do NOT recall.......getting into an argument with her, (I barely remember April or Kelly being there) I don't remember Pete being there, Dawn celebrating her birthday with a cake (Happy birthday girl!!) Mike and Beth being there, Danny being there (was he there?) and of course passing out in a chair outside (before I passed out on the sofa). Damn, and I ONLY had beer, I think. lol. Between that and the 10 hours or so of collective sleep I got throughout the week it's no wonder I crashed, and HARD!
So I woke up about 5am-ish and noticed that Rob was passed out on the larger sofa and Bill was snoring away under a blanket on the recliner. LMAO! I was feeling like crap, especially since I forgot to take out my contacts the night before. I woke up Bill and reminded him that we had to get to the airport, which was about 10 minutes or so down the road from Moosh's.
We packed up our crap and left, and made it to the AVIS lot with no issues. I was REALLY sad to see that car go. :-(
We took the shuttle to the airport and said a quick goodbye. We were flying home on different airlines which meant different terminals that seemed like miles away from each other. I somehow thought (in my many moments of drunken confusion) that we could at least get together for a cup of java before boarding time but would have to go through security again (which was painless for me but it got to be VERY crowded soon after) as well as WALK forever. I was hoping for a more proper goodbye but oh well. I was happy. I was also tired, exhausted, hungover, sore, grouchy, but happy, content, and glad I was able to make the trip. It was WELL worth it and I look forward to many trips just like it, although I will have trouble trying to top this one.
I left LA in a daze. The 3+ hour trip to O'Hare was a ***** but it wasn't too bad. They showed a Pierce Bronson movie ("After Sunset" or something like that) which I enjoyed, as well as an episode of "Joey" and a few videos. I landed in Chicago about 1:45 and had about an hour to kill before my flight to Port Columbus. I was still in a daze. I am amazing that I got home, especially driving from Columbus to Charleston, WV. It's a relatively short drive but next time I don't give a rat's ass how much more expensive the tickets are.....I am flying out of Charleston. Screw driving after a VERY long day of flying. lol.
I made it back here about 9:15 Monday night, in a nice, balmy 35 degree weather. So who's ready to go back to Cali? I know I am.
Thanks again guys for the memories. I had a BLAST hanging out with everyone! Thanks to all the parks for showing us the best of times! You guys ROCK!
Thanks for reading!
*** Edited 3/15/2005 10:07:02 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Edit: I forgot to say great TR Tina. ;) *** Edited 3/16/2005 12:21:09 AM UTC by Fastball84***
I also agree that Silver Bullet is very underrated, but we like it that way. The Cali B&Ms were really delivering this weekend.
The Flying Turns makes all the right people wet - Gonch
Rob, I still like your X TR the best. ;-) There are really no words to describe that puppy.
Moosh, your party was a nice ending to an AWESOME week! Luckily the airport was nearby. :-)
I would LOVE that recipe (to give to my mother since she cooks and I don't cook anything that can't be nuked..lol.)
*** Edited 3/16/2005 9:46:24 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***
Great TR mate - you have no idea just how tormented I felt speaking to you and hearing Magic Mountain in the background lol.
Glad you finally got to do X - bummer you just missed out on Insanity but hey - that's another excuse to return!
I am totally with you on that one, I rode in the back too and that scared the crap out of me, I thought we were going over, my picture is hilarious.
Sucks you didn't get to do Insanity, hopefully it will be open when I go back in August so I'll get a couple rides on it for you.
We are going to go back for our 1st anniversary in August and airfare is 150-200 bucks round trip for where we live so you can't be that, also her mom gets these crazy room specials (we spent 20 bucks a night at Binions)
Let's shoot us some deer Joe Joe!!!!
I'll add more later, right now these F***s want me to get some work done...;)
You won't see me coming...
Exhausted? You bet!
Still had a good time, but remind me never to do any trips with Sean Flaharty...;)
Bob, you know you LOVE my Joyce-ian streams of consciousness...how many *others* here do you recognize purely by punctuation? ;)
Myself, I really thought it was COOL that we got a trip inside the mummy's tomb with "21st century lighting", didn't get THAT on media day here in FL...:)
My strongest recommendations for SoCal?
Do NOT miss LegoLand, and do NOT miss the Universal tram tour...
It's too bad you didn't get to ride Insanity as I was really looking forward to you calling me and rubbing it in that you rode it. =:^)
...and to think I was in your area this past weekend. We could have picked you up an showed you what a "out-n-back" trip was.
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