Shaggy, I'd like to talk to you about PKI...

Friday, February 22, 2002 8:34 AM
Hello, Shaggy. My name is Derek McBride. Although I have never met you before, I am a big Kings Island fan and I am also hearing-impaired. I read that you love PKI and so so I.

Yes I do love PKI. Why? Because of the Eiffel Tower and the Royal Fountain. That's what really hooked me up. I started loving KI SOOO much, I visited KI for the first time in 1988 (I was 8 at that time) Amazon/Congo Falls was new at that time. I don't remember KI that much but I do remember the Eiffel Tower and the Royal Fountain being there on the International Street.

I would like to know why did/do PKI hook you up and why do you love PKI? I love PKI because the park has the Eiffel Tower and the Royal Fountain, the park's landscaping, atmosphere, an impressed park entrance,  I don't love PKI because of the rides, I do like the rides. What PKI really attracts me is the International Street. It all began with International Street. Why International Street? Because when I entered Intl' Street for the first time, it impacted me, it attracted me, I had such as good feelings when I entered the best, beautiful park entrance in the world. It was/is the best, impressed park entrance I have ever seen in my life. I'll never forget it, ever.

There would be NO Kings Island if Coney Island never had floods so thanks to Taft who decided that the Old Coney need a brand new park. If there would be NO Kings Island, I would be going CRAZY, LOL! I really like this impressed park a lot, a LOT.

 I am excited about PKI's 30th Anniversary, hopefully this is a really good, great one. I am looking forward to ride Tomb Raider. I read that this ride will last 20 minutes, is it ture?

I have never been an ACE member before and I decided to become an ACE member so I could join PKI's walkback. How long did you wait to receive your ACE membership card from mail? I asked because I joined ACE about a month ago and I still haven't receive my ACE membership card from mail.

I have a couple more questions... does the Royal Fountain have electric sensors or is it manual turned on? And does the Eiffel Tower have electric sensors for its lights or is it manual turned on? Thanks.


Derek McBride
PKI Dude

Friday, February 22, 2002 9:05 AM
Excuse me, Shaggy, I misspelled "ture" above my post. It is actually "true". I know, I know, I am such an idiot, LOL.


Derek McBride
PKI Dude

Friday, February 22, 2002 10:59 AM
I'll warn you... it's actually an silly, long, odd story. More or less sentimental, but anyway... here goes: 

In 1981 I was living with my parents in Newport News, Virginia.  I was born and raised there since my Father retired as a Master Sergeant in the Air Force.  He retired before I was born and went to work as a very successful electrical engineer for a company contracted by NASA.

My Dad always loved amusement parks and rollercoasters.  He even took my brother, sister and I to Busch Gardens the year it opened. I think I was only 3 at the time.  Now it is important to know that I was born VERY late in my parents life and was 11 years younger than my Sister, and 10 years younger than my Brother.  Essentially I grew up like an only child and my parents got to do a lot with me individually.  In 1978 he and my Mom took me to Kings Dominion for the first time.  Among other small things there, I rode the Scooby Doo, and was scared to death.  I remember that trip vividly.

We did not go back to a park together for several years.  By 1981, my sister had married and moved to the Cincinnati area.  We went to visit her often, but one summer when I was 9, my Dad decided to take us to visit her and go to Kings Island.  He figured it was similar to Kings Dominion and knew we would enjoy it.  My Mother was not a ride person at all.  She enjoyed the shows and shops at parks, but ironically was the one that rode the Scooby Doo at KD with me.

I remember just a few things from that day.  First, I remember thinking it was just like Kings Dominion.  Second, I remember wondering why they did not have a big mountain like Kings Dominion.  But what I most remember was what ultimately began my fascination with the park.

You see, back in the rear corner of the park was this big red and black twisted piece of steel that I was mesmorized by.  While my mother shopped, my Dad took me back to the rear of the park, stood me up on a little brick "half wall" and we marevelled at "The Bat."  I had never seen anything like it, nor ever have.  He was ready to hop on, I wanted to know how on earth people could get up the nerve to ride it.  My Dad offered to ride it with me, but I refused being terrified.  I think secrety he really wanted to ride, but shrugged it off when I said "no!" 

We must have stood there for 45 minutes just gawking at it.  My Dad was very patient, and answered every question I could think of regarding what made coasters "work."  He patiently explained it as best he could and I was enchanted.   I recall getting back to my Sister's home late in the day, before dinner and on TV was a commercial for the Bat.  Now, I think I had ridden the Beastie that day, but do not recall it particularly.  Obviously, other than watching the Bat, the "big" rides were not foremost on my mind at that time in my life. 

I do recall the one "souvenir" I got while there.  It was a Flintstones bubble kit.  One of those old toy sets where you squeeze the gooey liquid out of a tube onto a straw and blow large plastic bubbles with it.  I could never get that darn kit to work!

But I digress......

Within the following years, I had matured a bit and even worked up the nerve to ride Loch Ness Monster at my (then) home park BGW.  My Dad's patience had paid off.  He never pressured me to ride anything, yet gave me the choice to decide where and when.  I strongly feel that is the key to enjoying a park with kids.  Never force them on rides, rather let them work up to them on their own.

Surviving my later rides on Loch Ness at BGW made me ready to do more.  I finally went back to KI in 1984 ready to ride the Bat, but by then it was history.  Thus I missed my chance.

However, on that trip I rode the Beast for the first time which absolutely scared the $(^& out of me.  It was the weirdest thing.  I rode it, was extremely glad when I had lived to tell about it, but was very relieved to get off.  Oddly enough, just as soon as I got off I felt some weird fascination stirring within me.  I LOVED the thrill it gave me, and how scared I had become.  I wanted more, more MORE!

I was hooked on coasters and have ridden many since.  When I was 16, in 1988, I desired a job at BGW, but inavailability of ride positions, plus my Mothers desire for me to not work for a Alchoholic Beverage Company, thwarted my working there.

Fast forward to 1998 when I had long been on my own, moved to Cincinnati and held a full time job.  I applied and got a weekend ride op position for kicks at PKI on FOF.  I stayed two seasons and loved every second.  PKI gave me the chance to fulfill a dream of working amusement attractions that I had since a young kid.  In my time working there, I met and made many friends I am still in close contact with.  It also introduced me to the wonderful staff that keeps PKI going strong.

So what is it about PKI that I love?  I will sum it up with just a few points:

- It enchanted me as a kid.

- It offered me the chance to fulfill a dream.

- It helped jump start my fascination with coasters.

- It enabled me to meet so many special friends

- It introduced me to ACE and enthusiasts.

In conclusion, PKI became my safe place, my home-away-from-home.  I get an odd feeling when I walk in the park that no one else could understand.  When I enter I always take a deep breath and just drink up the atmosphere that enchanted me so over the years.

Each time I am there, I make it a point to walk by that little brick half wall and think about those "Bat" moments with my Dad.  It is my favorite Father-Son memory and I am eternally grateful for KI for it.  My Mom died of Cancer when I was a Freshman in college and my Dad has recently been in poor health (he is in his 70s) and does not live close by.  So part of me feels just a little bit closer to them when I am there.

I took my Dad back to PKI in 2000.  He had not been there since that first visit in 1981.  He does not ride anymore (He rode Drachen Fire the year it opened and walked off saying..."Well, that was it for me!") but was still just as fascinated by watching the rides.  When we were at PKI, we stood for probably 45 minutes marvelling at Drop Zone just as we had marvelled at the Bat some 19 years before.  Only this time was different.  This time around HE wanted to know how on earth people could get up the nerve to ride it, and I was the one ready to hop on!

Things sure come full circle, don't they?

So there is my long winded sappy, self indulgent story.  I am sure it is full of spelling errors, so don't ever feel you have to apologize to me!

I hope that more than answers your question.  Thanks for asking, it has been fun sharing.  PKI sure is a great place.


A.K.A. John K.

Friday, February 22, 2002 11:20 AM
In regards to your questions...
"I am looking forward to ride Tomb Raider. I read that this ride will last 20 minutes, is it true?"

I think that the entire experience from when you walk into the first show building until you exit the last, will probably last about that long.  I would not count on the "thrill" part of the ride lasting that long.  However until I myself see and ride it then I won't really know.

"How long did you wait to receive your ACE membership card from mail?"

Seems like it took a month or so. I believe they batch print them.  Thus they save up until they have several and print them at once.  You'll get it soon.  If not, you should email the Membership Director, Brian Peters, via the ACE website.

"Do the Royal Fountain have electric sensors or is it manual turned on?"

Sensors.  But they can also be manually turned on I believe.

"And does the Eiffel Tower have electric sensors for its lights or is it manual turned on?"

Again, sensors.  But they can also be manually tuned on.  The panel is located at the base of the tower, next to the left hand elevator entrance doors.  I watched one night when maintnence was manually turning them on for FearFest.

Hope that helps.

A.K.A. John K.

*** This post was edited by Shaggy on 2/22/2002. ***

Friday, February 22, 2002 11:44 AM
Shaggy, even though I didn't ask the questions, I, too, have often wondered what your connection with/to PKI is. Thanks for sharing your story. It's always nice to read one of your well-written posts.

Oh, and if you need someone to ride Drop Zone with, I'd be happy to join you. :)

"If love is blind I guess I'll buy myself a cane..." - Guns n' Roses

Friday, February 22, 2002 12:28 PM
I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one with an "addiction" to PKI! I lived in the area as a child, and visited only once a year. Even as a kid, the beauty of the park was as appealing as the rides.

My love for the park took a happy turn last year.....I picked up and moved to southern Ohio...JUST SO I COULD BE NEAR PKI. I'm glad I did....I had a great season last year, and can't wait until April.

J. Moreland

*** This post was edited by coasterdime on 2/22/2002. ***

Friday, February 22, 2002 12:36 PM
In response to shaggys memories, I have some of my own that are very simular.   I can remember riding the Little Dipper at Lesourdsville with my grandma that is 12 years decesed. 

  My first ride on Beast was on opening night Friday April 13th 1979 at about 10pm.   I think what really made it special is that My father scalped a ticket  (Media night only) and caught us by the Eifel Tower to join me and my brother.   Im glad he did as one train operation and manual braking and Lapbar release made the wait over three hours in the cold and rain!   By ride time there was a full moon over the first hill and we waited the extra wait for the front seat.  Dad and his newly aquired friend (The one who gave him the ticket) were in row two and off we went on a ride I will never forget.   I just remember hanging off the front of that lift looking down into oblivion and from that moment on I have ridden Beast every year without fail.

Also Two years later I got both parents to join us at KI and Mom and Dad bothe rode Beast and The Bat with us :)

Now for the original post about International Street.   Those walkways down each side of the fountain used to be vitually clear of obstructions and no trees.   The used to have high school marching bands circle the fountain area quite regularly.  It was also a very good spot to watch The DOGFIGHT that KI daily held about 3pm and also the hot air balloon launches that were very common.   Still a favorite spot to watch the fireworks is from the entrance area as the trees don't block that much.

Tip on International street.   A Carmel Apple from the french paistry shop on the righthand side near the tower :)

Chuck, who has many memories of KI and hopes to have many, many more :) 

P.S.  Dad rode FOF last year and said that it just don't do nothing for me :(    I hope I can still enjoy parks when I am older but dad says the only two things he likes are the Whitwater Rapids and The Steam Train :)    I like them too!

Charles Nungester
167 coasters asn hopes to be over 200 by the end of 2002

Friday, February 22, 2002 1:37 PM
That's a good story, indeed! It's funny that there are quite a few people who are interested in working part-time at an amusement park, even when they have regular full-time jobs. I've thought very hard about doing it at Cedar Point many times, and if I do get to a point where I'll be truly self-employed, I might just do it!

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin -,
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

Friday, February 22, 2002 2:59 PM

I am sorry to hear about your mother. I am going to tell you what I remember about the first trip to Kings Island, here goes...

- I remember riding the Beastie but I don't remember the entire ride.

-Remember the Smurfs dark ride also don't remember the entire ride!

-Rode the Beast for the first time and my mother was worried about me so she rode with me and held me tight on the lifthill and the entire ride.

You see, I still like the rides but not as much as the Eiffel Tower and the fountains. I can't tell you how much I love those famous landmarks but I really love those famous landmarks. I wish I could have been there in 1972, that would be very cool and very groovy.

I love to discuss about PKI. It made me feel so good and fresh when people on this board and other boards discussing about this awesome park.

Now as for the rides, my favorite ride there is the Beast, I am as old as Papa Beast (23). Why is the Beast my favorite? Because of its first drop, tunnels, and very famous double helix-ending ride, this is my favorite part of the entire ride. I could not believe the Beast, now almost 23, still ran as fast as it could as it was in the past. I applaud PKI for taking care of the Beast. I am proud of PKI, they never disspoint us they know how to keep all of us exciting.

Anyway, it was nice to read your story, Shaggy, I enjoyed reading your nice story. Take care!


Derek McBride
PKI Dude

Friday, February 22, 2002 3:01 PM
Jeff, does that mean you are gonna tell the bad jokes on the boat ride? :)

Wow what a nice thread......I too hold KI accountable for my early coaster break-in, and it has given me wonderful memories. Though recent years haven't produced the same kind of fun I had when I was little (bring back the Screamin' Demon!) I still commend them for their tireless effort and dedication to enthusiasts and historians. There are many individuals at KI that continue to give us a great day to look forward to. I am without words when it comes to describing the joy of riding a new and improved FOF, seeing my favorite looper painted again, and anticipating those great morning walkbacks! And now the Flyers have their place on the attention pedestal! I don't have a good day at KI until at least one family turns away after watching us fly!

Derek, welcome to ACE and a great 2002 season! Thanks I can finally rig up a tower light show with those strobes I have sitting around (as if it isn't lit up enough at night). Sorry about your loss......we're here for ya!
Don't.....look.....back! The Headless Horseman awaits you in 2002!
Model coasters and rides

Friday, February 22, 2002 3:27 PM

 While the reason I like PKI isn't as magical as yours, I would like to say that I have also felt the park to be something more than a park.

 Where did I break my fear of coasters 12 years ago?


 Where did I meet someone from ACE for the first time?


 Where have I met some of the most awesome people on this planet?

 You guessed it! PKI! 

 There are times when I am at that park that everything seems to fall into place. Everything works out perfect during those days. Getting to witness SOB's first riders and the ultra-cool Drop Zone marathon we did was on one of those days.

 Getting to work with some of the best people in the indusrty during media events and other things at that park has truly shown me a side of parks that I didn't even know exsisted.

  Thanks for that post Shaggy. I needed to read something like that after a loooooooong day at work!


Friday, February 22, 2002 3:43 PM
Wow! Derek, Thank you for bring up such great memories. I too hold great fascination for International street. At no other park can you go through the turnstile(which I have ALWAYS been greated with a smiley face) and enter a new world. No matter how many times I go to this park, It still takes my breath away. Some things that my father taught me on our first visit together during the first few years of KI was: take the time to enjoy your surroundings. KI had a way with making surroundings (now called themeing) and International street just sets the mood. There was little not covered in the initial design as you do not see any of the goings on behind the scenes. From the cobblestone walkways, to finding the spot where the mist hits your face from the fountain, (and skating on the royal fountain during winterfest was a blast!), and the way many stores interconnect themselves. Candy, candles, glass blowers, and people watching. The bandstand at the end where you can touch the base of the tower as you look up while listening to the band play. The gardens and clock and the wonderful carousel. My father taught me that every park has a carousel. Judge the park by that and you willl know what to expect. KI and PKI has never left that to fail. As a child it always amazed me that when you enter the park, you kept thinking..."Where are the rides?" And having a mild obessesion with coasters, International street just numbed that feeling for a while and let you enjoy the day. Even with the music which plays almost too loud, and the fountain that sometimes you have to yell over to be heard, it is all part of the experience. There are so many memories that KI and PKI has made, like the racer for the first time, as you watched the red white and blue track wondering who will win. ... What a ball. And sorry Shaggy, I got to ride the bat many times. And yes...I have spent and still do spend a lot of time on the half wall watching vortex and remembering the bat, the rotor, der spinner keggers, withes couldrons, the card playing trabant ride, the skyride, Kings mills log flume. Kenton's keelboats canal, and the people. I always liked octoberfest and everyone had the german clothes.

My son is now 12, and we have hit 32 coasters in the past two years. I hope he will have as many fond memories as I do.

Thanks Derek and I AGREE WITH YOU!

Behold the Power of Cheese

Friday, February 22, 2002 5:18 PM
I am really enjoying this excellent topic on PKI, and all the great stories of the park.  I first rode a roller coaster when I was two and a half years old.  The ride I first rode was The Beastie (with its yellow paint job).  However, I was still scared to ride the Racer by age 5!  In 1994, my family went to Cedar Point, and I rode Iron Dragon and Cedar Creek Mine Ride (I was afraid to ride the rest, which I rode when I returned in 1999).  Finally I rode the Beast in the fall of 1995, and I`ve riden it 79 times in the past two years!  Oddly enough, I remember riding a ride in Hanna Barbera Land.  While in line my mom said that I`d have to like roller coasters, because on our next annual visit, I wouldn`t be able to ride much if I didn`t like coasters because I`d be too tall for the the ride in kiddie land.  I bet now she wishes she didn`t say that as I went to PKI 34 times last year and visited Paramount`s Carowinds for the first time
I`ve ridden Son of Beast 67 times!
Friday, February 22, 2002 9:26 PM
Beautiful thread! This is my first post on CoasterBuzz after lurking for a long time. Its great to see a thread like this- talking about how someone feels very connected to a park. Many of my friends just "don't get it" when I go on and on about parks, especially PKI.

PKI is the park that I truly feel "home" at. As others have said on here, International Street truly enchants me. Sitting at a umbrella table with a slice of LaRosa's in front of me. Soaking up the music. Letting the mist of the Royal Fountains speckle my sunglasses. I'm in heaven just thinking about it.

So many things about that place that I love. The "burnt rubber" smell in The Beast station. Getting goose bumps everytime I see and hear a SOB train hit the break run full of screaming and clapping GP. Being able to spot "first-timers" on FOF like a blood hound- their reaction gives them away. I can go on and on.

Thanks Derek for starting this thread and Shaggy, Chuck, and others for your PKI knowledge and stories. I hope to get very-much involved with CoasterBuzz.

See you all in the queue!

p.s.- Sean F, I'm a "new" ACEr in your district (I joined June 2001 with my brother). I have yet to participate in any ACE events. I think you know two nice guys I march with- John Smith and Neil Rupp. I hope to see you on a walkback sometime.

"Back seat, no hands."

Saturday, February 23, 2002 10:52 AM
PKI is by far one of my favorite parks too.  When I was about 12 I got my first ride on Beast.  My mother forced both my sister and I to ride.  We ran to it first all the way from the park entrance.  While standing in line I was very scared and begged my mom to not make me ride.  My sister made fun of me and called me a chickin and such.  To make a long story short, I loved it,  Mom hated it, and my annoying sister had a protien spill (BARFFF).  I rode Beast 3 more times that day and I have yet to love a coaster as much as I love Beast.  PKI has impressed every year for the last 14 years since that memorible day. 

*** This post was edited by dexter on 2/23/2002. ***

Saturday, February 23, 2002 12:33 PM
OHIcOaster, I've met Sean, you are lucky to be in his region.  The venerable Shaggy I've yet to meet, but I consider it an honor I'll "eventually" have...great story, interesting how some of us become "attached" to the rides and the industry.  (I've expressed some interest in changing careers to get into the industry, but working for the State affords so much leave time to enjoy a great!...oh yeah, we tend to take in some coasters on these trips, LOL).

Somehow, in MY family things were a tad different, LMAO.  My father sort of "encouraged" me to take in my first inverting coaster at PKD, King Kobra.  I was 9 or 10, and I guess it was the first year for this shuttle-looper.  Mostly just scared at the time, I did manage to conquer the fear and ride.  Didn't really love it at the time (sorry, Anton;)). 

Well, it took a long time for me to really get hooked, around 20 years later in fact.  But BGT is the park that GOT me, and even though I make more trips to IOA, I still consider BGT my home park.  The addition of the picturesque wooden double twister Gwazi was perfect...a woodie with no inversions to a park that had no wood and no coasters without inversions!  Well, needless to say, I love wood (not JUST coasters) and got to see the coaster rising in a few trips to Tampa for work.  It also got me VERY interested in the busines aspect of park operations. 

I've "adopted" WA since I really appreciate the smaller and the traditional parks.  And I do visit IOA more, it's about 1/2 hour closer...and there's an S&S turbo-shot, and better water rides...but BGT is the park the flicked on the switch, and the flicker grew to a flame...and the conflagration rages...and I thank the park, and it's the park closest to my heart, if not my house...

Florida needs an Intamin and/or CCI soon...PLEASE!
Son of Drop Zone - PKI CoasterCamp I Champions!!!

Saturday, February 23, 2002 4:29 PM

 Welcome to the region! Speaking of Neil, he is actually on the phone in the other room right now. He dropped by to plan a quick trip.


 Once again, many thanks! You are too cool! =:^)


Saturday, February 23, 2002 10:43 PM
I got Attached to PKI in 1991 when i was 6 and made my 1st trip to KI. I was shocked, I had been to americana many time but it didnt hold a candle to KI. The place was huge. I was mainly in Hana baraba land but i was still amazed. i fell sleep in the car on the way home.
 We went the next year only 1 time and that was for the star trek thing (or was that 93) either way. I rode what i consider my 1st real coaster. I got on the racers. We didnt go again till 98 when Me and my brother made several trips up. this was the year i rode everything. FOF was my 1st steel coaster and from then on i was hooked. I rode every ride in the park atleast 2 times.

99 was the 1st year I had a pass so we went about 10 or 11 times. and i rode everything that they had to offer and i was even more amazed.  99 was also my 1st time in water works.

I went 1 time in 2000 cause i won tickets to the prewiew day for SOB and it was broken down.

2001 I didnt have the money to get a pass and I didnt plan on going till they came to my school. I filled an app out but never took the interview cause I wanted son of beast and there was no open spots. well in aug they called me and offered me a position. I jumped on that like a dog on a falllen steak. The rest is history The park that has amazed me for 11 years is now my employer and I enjoy every second of it. from seeing little kids ride There 1st big coaster(top gun is a good starter ride) to myself ridding son of beast for my 1st time (after being forced in by my crew mates cause i was lieing to people saying i rode it 100s of timees) after time 1 i was hooked and rode it atlest 22 times before the park closed for the season. Now soon will be 2002 the parks 30th anversery and I doubt they will disapoint. There has never been a place where I have made so many firends in so little time.

Son of beast/top gun crew 2001 and 2002

Sunday, February 24, 2002 10:08 AM
Hi I`m new!!!  I live about 45 minutes north of PKI.  I am only 13, but I have memories myself. I went to PKI for my first time in 1990 when I was 2.  I don`t remember it that much, but I always wanted to become the owner of the place.  I went back every year since and last year I got a season pass.  My favorite part of the day at the park is coming over the "big" hill and seeing the place about 2 miles away.  It gives me a felling that nothing else or any other park gives me. In 2000 I spent the night at the Campground and me and my friend were the first to get to the park that morning. We stayed up all night and even walked to the park about 5 times. Now we aren`t friends anymore. Then I used to go to Pki with my aunt and uncle and 3 cousins all the time, I dont see them anymore.  There are just so many memories I had at the park. (I also met a chick there) !!!   this year I`m getting a pass again and I`m so glad. I can`t wait to go!!! Thanks for bringing up the subject of the BEST park in the world.
Sunday, February 24, 2002 11:10 AM
Yes I am sure younger than anyone here on this thread probably. my story isn't quite as amazing as others but it did start because I was the yougnest child. I wanted to show my brother and sister, both older than I, that was tough and "cool" like them. So I started to ride the roller coasters. Well one sunday my dad and I went to PKI. That day I rode Vortex, and the incredible Beast for the first time. We even have a picture of me standing infront of the Vortex sign wearing a Tazmainian Devil outfit. LOL. But I don't care about the Vortex anymore. it was The Beast that changed everything. After a late dinner of pepperoni pizza at the LaRosa's adjacent to The Beast. We walked BACK to get in the 3 hour line for The Beast. As time went on it got later and later and later. Eventually it was 10 o-clock. I was amazed how dark it was and even more scared to ride. But I got on anyways. The thing that was SOOOOOO amazing about this ride was that when goin up the first lift hill the evening fireworks started to go off. I looked over to my dad and said "this is amazing." Still today I remember that night. It wasn't the helix that got me hocked. It was the turn right before the second lift. I mean it's PERFECTLY banked. Positive and lateral g's!

I'll never forget that night.

Charlie (I rode the Beast when I was 6) Weingartner

It's his turn to feast, when you ride the Son of Beast.


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