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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 16, 2011

The Unconquerable Dave: Still Unconquerable

By Guest
155 Comments

It’s Friday, everyone! And that means another Primal Blueprint Real Life Story from a Mark’s Daily Apple reader. If you have your own success story and would like to share it with me and the Mark’s Daily Apple community please contact me here. I’ll continue to publish these each Friday as long as they keep coming in. Thank you for reading!

Back in January I received an email from an all-cap typing, keg-throwing, tree-climbing Primal enthusiast with a grizzly beard and an indomitable spirit that blew me (and eventually Mark’s Daily Apple readers) away. His name? PAPA GROK, aka DAVEMAN, aka The Unconquerable Dave. If you haven’t read his original story take a gander now.

I get emails from MDA readers fairly regularly telling me how they were moved by his story and asking for an update on how Dave is doing. I reached out to Dave a couple weeks back and he graciously sent me the following report and pics. Many thanks to Dave. GROK ON, BROTHER!

HELLO MARK …DAVEMAN CHECKIN IN…

WANTED TO DROP A NOTE TO YOU AND ALL THE PRIMAL / PALEO CLAN OUT THERE. ITS BEEN A FEW MONTHS AND WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW HOW I AM DOING. THE BIG STORY IS THE FOOD… IT WORKS!!      I NOW KNOW THIS BECAUSE  MY EXERCISE IDEAS TOOK ON A CHALLENGE ALL THEIR OWN THIS YEAR..And it seems the FOOD foundation held up GREAT!

SOME FOLKS ARE ALWAYS INTERESTED IN THE 30 DAY CHALLENGE.. WHICH I ALWAYS SUPPORT WHOLEHEARTEDLY.. ITS CALLED A CHALLENGE FOR A REASON..ITS NOT AS EASY AS IT SOUNDS FOR MANY..BUT I AM ONE WHO WILL BE THERE TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT THE REWARDS FOR ACCOMPLISHING IT…AND MORE..HERES MY TAKE ON THE LAST 120 PLUS DAYS OF A CHALLENGE THAT I DID NOT SEE COMING>>>

THIS PAST JANUARY I HAD A SERIOUS PRIMAL ENCOUNTER WITH A LARGE MALE DEER( I did dispatch said Deer and eat it) THAT REQUIRED SOME SERIOUS SURGERY. This was shortly after that pic of me in the flip-flops in the snow. ..This LED TO MY CURTAILING OF SERIOUS EXERCISE AND OTHER HEAVY LIFTING THINGS..I WAS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO ALL THAT DETERMINED EFFORT I HAD JUST PUT INTO MY LIFE BY HAVING TO SPEND MONTHS LETTING MY BODY HEAL UP..I HAD BOTH RIGHT AND LEFT SIDE ABDOMINAL WALLS TORN UP AND SPENT 4 HOURS IN SURGERY GETTING MYSELF REBUILT AND RESEWN BACK TOGETHER…ROBOTIC SURGERY IS A WONDER OF MODERN MEDICAL SCIENCE…BUT I WAS PUT ON THE INACTIVE ROSTER FOR MONTHS AS FAR AS WHAT I COULD AND COULD NOT DO….ALL I CAN SAY IS IT DOES INTERRUPT ONES “PLAYING” WITH BIG TOYS….NOT FUN….OUCH!

I WANT TO LET YOU KNOW THAT EXERCISE IS ONE THING..BUT I HAVE LEARNED THAT THE FOUNDATION IS THE FOOD…YOU DONT HAVE TO BE A FANATIC AND DO RADICAL EXERCISE ROUTINES OR GO TO A GYM FOR ELITE FITNESS OR ANYTHING AT ALL FOR THAT MATTER…JUST GET UP AND MOVE AND DO THINGS THAT REQUIRE A LITTLE MORE THAN USUAL EFFORT….AND IT WORKS!!…I HAVE NOT SEEN ANY REVERSAL AT ALL!!…I CAN ONLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO GET WITH THE FOODS… THE PROPER FOOD INTAKE WILL KEEP YOU SOLID AND FREE FROM WORRY ABOUT WHETHER YOUR GOING TO “ENLARGE” AGAIN…LOL… I CANT SIT STILL..I LOVE TO MOVE AND WALK AND CLIMB TREES AND DO THE STUFF I DID AS A CHILD AGAIN…I PLAY LIKE A KID SET FREE OUTDOORS AGAIN ..AFTER BEING LOCKED UP IN A HUGE NON FUNCTIONING BODY FOR YEARS…THIS IS GREAT!!!…So I encourage any and all activity that you can do..especially walking around anywhere..Its what people used to do all the time,walking around is a foundation stone in the rebuilding of yourself.

Heres a 6 pack of pics from the last few months…just to let you see the continuity of body size!

PIC #1 IS MY USUAL SELF HOLDING MY KEG UP…AND THE PICTURE SAYS IT ALL… This pic was taken in February of this year. 1 month after the surgery I was lifting 40-50 lbs carefully. I was so healthy and strong the doctor let me have my own leash and told me to manage myself and not be foolish and hurt myself again(PRIMAL RULE).

So it was my toy to play with. I just motored around and ate GOOD PRIMAL FOOD and watched my intake and output..I was the “test steak”..always testing what was happening to me. I simplified my cooking and cut down on the elaborate fancy dinners. I was concerned about my output of energy that was not up to the usual …Even though ALL OF MY FOODS WERE PRIMAL..I WANTED TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I WENT TO a more SIMPLE,FRESH,NON-ELABORATE MEAL…MORE PURE AND NOT SO MANY INGREDIENTS ALL AT ONCE.

I continued to see NO CHANGE in weight but was always wondering about loss of strength. The real test of muscle loss due to a lighter schedule would come later when I was able to Go after the big toys..

I keep very good track of what I eat and Dont eat>>> I found out for sure it’s THE FOOD IN GENERAL (Because I really switched it up a lot as far as complexity and variety went)..NOT ACTUALLY HOW YOU PREPARE IT that is what WORKS!

Pic #2 .After a while I could carefully lay back and lift the log rounds(70-90bs). I had to be careful! The grok in me was on the lookout big time. I had to do something so I was careful and holding the log in and then rolling it up and pressing it was safe and I was in control. Hugging the log felt good, the abdominal support of tucking it in was a great way to actually control what I was doing. It was nice to feel my body heal up and start to be able to do the Daveman thing again.

Pic #3 Is me with a GROK stick I made for an Army Special Forces buddy of mine. I still made nice things while recuperating…THE CARVING KEPT MY CORE SOLID AND MY ARMS AND HANDS STRONG…I dont like to sit..I only sit when I eat or drive..Im actually standing here at the machine writing this..I built a shelf on the wall for the monitor and a riser for the keyboard and mouse.

Pic#4…by May/June I got the release papers and went back to active duty there…That “stick” is over 10 feet long and weighs over 100 pounds..I went straight for the real stuff….BIG>>>THE BIGGER THE BETTER…MY WEIGHT WAS STABLE AND MY MUSCLE MASS WAS STILL INTACT…EVER PIC UP A BIG STICK?? ITS NOT AS EASY AS IT SEEMS..THAT TESTED MY CORE AND ABS WHILE DOING THE  BALANCING ACT AND I WAS DOING GREAT..still being watchful but SO GLAD to be able to go out and pick up large awkward items again.

Pic#5….Onward I went..eating the correct foods and and working my way back into the zone of the massive things..I love the big toys! I think I am solid again..thats a 300 lb tractor tire I am walking away with…MY newest TOY to play with..not really a rock or stone..but it does pass as the LARGE HEAVY THING..LOLOL

Pic #6 …this was taken on September 30th of this year. thats the Daveman/PAPA GROK holding a 12″ x 24″ slab of one of our favorite things. You can see that the lifestyle I chose BY FOLLOWING in your footsteps has been very good to me. Injury/recovery/rehab in the PaleoGym… through 120 plus days of change in me and weather and life itself..And there I am. Strong/Healthy/Solid. This IS what the Primal/Paleo way of eating and exercising will do. EVEN IF YOU ARE NOT ACTIVE AND CANT GO FULL OUT WITH THE EXERCISE THE FOODS WILL MAINTAIN YOU PROPERLY. OVER 6 MONTHS AS TEST STEAK FOR ME..FROM NO EXERCISE AT ALL TO PLAYING WITH 300 POUND TIRES..THE LIFESTYLE SUPPORTED ME AND MY BODY AND I DID NOT GAIN OR LOOSE ONE POUND. I AM 6’1″ TALL AND WEIGH 205 POUNDS AND SLIP RIGHT INTO A PAIR OF 32 INCH JEANS…..THIS WAY OF LIFE WORKS!…MY BEST WISHES AND REGARDS TO YOU AND EVERYONE WHO STEPS ONTO THIS PATH…IT IS SUSTAINABLE, IT WORKS, IT IS THE WAY..

P>S>   I am Active on Facebook with the Primal/ Paleo movement. Many people have found me due to the success story from your blog. They continue to find me. I am “inspiration” as they call it. They have even given me the nickname of “PAPA GROK”.

I continue to support the efforts and guide as best I can, all who come my way. I have learned from many..and I am walking the center of the path. The variables in human nature and what they like and want to do are vast..So I make sure there is room for them to pass on both sides and support them all in their endeavors. Learning is something I will do forever and this way is a great place to learn..to live..to experiment and find your space that works for you…And it all started with a 30 day challenge 2 years ago….I never looked back.

and I owe you many THANKS MARK..

YOUR GROK BROTHER FOREVER

Daveman…aka PAPA GROK…….YAWP!!!!!!

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155 Comments on "The Unconquerable Dave: Still Unconquerable"

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Anne
5 years 12 days ago

Dave was credited as the information for last week’s paleo success story, so it’s great to see his continuing story this week!

Papa Grok–love it.

Anne
5 years 12 days ago

Wait–not information! Incredible, massive, soul-filling INSPIRATION. That’s more like it.

Bob Ewing
5 years 12 days ago

Well put Anne! Dave is who convinced my uncle to give primal a shot. I can only imagine how many people he’s inspired.

He’s been primal for two months now and is doing great. We started a primal blog a couple months ago to encourage him and others to give primal a shot for 30 days. It’s growing and has been a real adventure: http://wp.me/p1EIoE-gI

Grok on!

Kat
Kat
4 years 11 months ago

Dave is who finally convinced my dad to go for it. Now he’s well on his way to being happier and healthy than he has been in years.

selkie
selkie
4 years 4 months ago

Just wanted to say ‘Hi Dave’ in case you read this and let you know how much your story means to me. Although I’m a girl and stay at home mom/student, something about the tone of your story just really rang home for me. I am 27 pounds lighter because I read your story and that spurred me more than anything else to start PB.
I will transitioning the rest of my family to this lifestyle over this summer.
Thanks so much for being you in your style!

Nicodemus
Nicodemus
5 years 12 days ago

This is always one of the posts I show people.

You rock Dave!!!

Craig
Craig
5 years 10 days ago

Likewise – Dave’s story epitomizes the PB ! I love showing off Dave’s story 🙂

Sarah Due
Sarah Due
5 years 12 days ago

I love following your story Papa Grok! You look awesome man, keep it up =)

B.J.
B.J.
5 years 12 days ago

Thanks for the continued inspiration!

Abby C.
Abby C.
5 years 12 days ago

Papa Grok – Grok On!

Amazing inspiration!

dloots
dloots
5 years 12 days ago
Papa Grok! Love it and you!! It is because of you I am on day 5 on the challenge and doing well, after years of trouble with allergies and food, my mind was in the right place, and up popped the challenge and your story. I feel amazing. Have had no carb flu, no cravings, and my body has SHRUNK overnight?!! Inflammation going? Not just water retention leaving, I’ve had that before through cutting our carbs (in an excessive way, supported by artificial sweeteners), this is more more than that – like skin settling back onto my body properly or… Read more »
craig almaguer
5 years 12 days ago

One of the greatest things is I bet he’s close to 60 years old, right? give or take? I’ll TAKE IT!!!!

I’m hoping my parents will someday take my advice and get on board with this movement! Great inspiration Dave! You’re a beast!

speno
5 years 12 days ago

I think he not older than 55 years at this point. And he’s also awesome.

craig almaguer
5 years 12 days ago

yep Speno, my bad….I think he’s about 54. oops sorry, BUT STILL looking great none the less!! I just read his original post a couple years ago. way cool.

Tj
Tj
5 years 12 days ago
You are a HUGE inspiration, Papa Grok! It’s always nice to see what fit people like Mark have done with this program, but the real inspiration, for me, is what someone in my age range and out of shape, like me, has done with this program. I’m in to the 4th day of the 30 day challenge and I’m down 3 lbs. without really trying! Mostly I am excited for this to work for my 75 year old, Mom, who was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes! So, thanks so much for the incredible story and for sharing it, so… Read more »
Tuck
5 years 12 days ago

Awesome to see you so successful, and getting through a pretty major rehab so quickly. Thanks for sharing with us.

Natalia
Natalia
5 years 12 days ago

This is amazing. You are correct, this is the way!

Ranlome
Ranlome
5 years 12 days ago

An amazing story once again. Glad he’s doing all right.

Alison Golden
5 years 12 days ago

Wow, what did that deer do to you? I’m frightened to find out.

Way to go on the simple meals. As a mininmalist cook myself, I have to agree. Congratulations on the rehab!

Crunchy Pickle
5 years 12 days ago

I know! That was the missing part of the story, wasn’t it?!

Glad you are ok, Dave!

Pam S.
Pam S.
5 years 12 days ago

I’m guessing he decided to hunt the deer, but without a weapon.
Very nice to see that Dave’s spirit is still intact.

Alison Golden
5 years 12 days ago

Yeah, I wondered – but how do you do that? Wrestle it? I hope he comes back and tells us!

annierobic
annierobic
5 years 9 days ago

I was charged by a stag while minding my own business running on a forrest trail. He did have a few does standing around, and he might of thought I was a threat to them. I feel really lucky that he didn’t decide to gore me with his antlers.

katie
5 years 12 days ago

So inspiring!! Even for a 21 year old female like myself, I think anyone reading this can relate and be motivated by his enthusiasm and success. Love it!

Primal Kitchen's Family Grokumentarian

Amazing!! I love followups on comeback stories. Congrats on all you’ve achieved, Dave! 🙂

Daddah Rednaxela
5 years 12 days ago

I love this guy. He totally embodies what the primal way of life is all about: being good to oneself, being good to others — just wringing every last drop of goodness out of life, no matter what it brings. Way to be, Dave!

mw
mw
5 years 12 days ago

You know, I was just thinking this morning that the perfect first Friday success story for this year’s primal-challenge would be an update from The Unconquerable Dave, and here it is — awesome!

Dave, yours was the first Friday success story I saw after reading the book and subscribing to the blog — seeing that, I knew I could either do it too, or I could make excuses why I didn’t.

85 pounds later I’m still in-progress, still learning, still fighting the good fight. You continue to inspire, Dave — Grok on!

Eric
Eric
5 years 12 days ago

Why do people write e-mails in all caps? This blows my mind. STOP SHOUTING.

Peter
Peter
5 years 12 days ago

Gosh, so sorry. Take your mind elsewhere then. In this case, the caps are simply part of what makes Dave “Dave”. He is not purposely doing it to shout.

After reading his story, this is the only thing you can think to comment on? Try looking a little more for the positives in life. You’ll feel better, angry boy.

craig almaguer
5 years 12 days ago

Funny Pete! I don’t think he knows “shouting” either. No biggy.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 11 days ago

I imagine him as shouting, but in a happy way. He’s just excited.

Jen
Jen
5 years 12 days ago

Not everyone can pull it off, but I think Papa Grok can.

Kari
Kari
5 years 12 days ago

I notice a lot of over 50 people type all caps. Maybe it helps them SEE BETTER!!!! LOL!!!

Anna, Fair Flavors
5 years 12 days ago

LMAO @ “Maybe it helps them SEE BETTER!!!!”

Usually it annoys me, but with Dave, I don’t care. I love that guy. He really is such an inspiration!

Jim C.
Jim C.
5 years 12 days ago

Yeah, almost as annoying as nitpickers, ain’t it?

Annabel
Annabel
5 years 11 days ago

From the other phrases in his story I think he’s prior military (maybe? “Release papers” and “active duty” among other things) and it’s standard to write in ALL CAPS in the military. My guess was that’s it’s a hold over from that, if he IS prior military.

Even if he’s not prior military, pretty sure that’s just Dave being Dave. He’s very enthusiastic, and I’ll admit, it’s part of his charm.

Kevin P Carey
4 years 2 months ago

good point he even mentioned a Special Forces friend he had. Unless hes in the service he wouldnt know SF people

Arty
Arty
5 years 12 days ago

This is amazing. It is sustainable, I totally agree!
Been primal now for 1.5 years and don’t even look back. I don’t miss any of the SAD foods at all.
And you’re right, the (primal) foods will maintain us properly.
Looking great btw, nice freakin bicepts man! So jealous…

Kristin J
5 years 12 days ago

Rock on Papa Grok!!!!

shannon
shannon
5 years 12 days ago

“I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world!”–Walt Whitman

too bad we don’t get to see a picture of the other guy: the deer.

Deannacat
Deannacat
5 years 12 days ago

Shannon, check pic 6 again. That IS a slab o’ribs there. Could they be venison??? LOL

W. J. Purifoy
W. J. Purifoy
4 years 9 months ago

I wondered about the ribs, too. LOL

Susan M.
Susan M.
5 years 12 days ago

Amazing – thank you so much for sharing!

Shelby
Shelby
5 years 12 days ago

Dave never fails to amaze me. Keep on rockin’, dude!

Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 12 days ago

DAVE ROCKS MY GROK SOCKS. GROK ON DAVEMAN!

Glad you won the fight and lived to continue telling your tale.

Brooke
Brooke
5 years 12 days ago

“IT IS THE WAY”… I love it. Awesome job Dave. Keep leading the way, you inspire so many.

Cheers to you friend.

Princeps
Princeps
5 years 12 days ago

Dude’s a fu#*ing badass.

Nion
Nion
5 years 12 days ago

Grok on Papa Grok! We love hearing about you 😀

BobChase
BobChase
5 years 12 days ago

F’ing BADASS!

Good to see Papa still kickin’ it.

Son of Grok
Son of Grok
5 years 12 days ago

Long live PAPA-GROK!

Patrick
5 years 12 days ago

Love the deer crossing photo with the stop signs. I guess that deer didn’t pay attention and used you as a brake?! 🙂 You’re a great inspiration to everyone Dave. Keep it up!

Happycyclegirl
Happycyclegirl
5 years 12 days ago

Ha, ha. I wondered the same thing when I saw the signs. 🙂
Thanks for updating Dave.

Pippa * Jeanne
5 years 12 days ago

I’ve been forwarding your story to everybody, Dave, and I’m just gonna come out and say it: I’m a little bit in love with you. How else with such vitality!

THANKS FOR THE INSPIRATION! Especially on a day I felt close to giving up.

craig almaguer
5 years 12 days ago

Don’t even THINK about giving up!! just get back to basics and do ONE good thing at a time. But cut out all the other 83 bad things at once. haha

Pippa * Jeanne
5 years 12 days ago

Thanks, Craig! Haven’t fallen into any of the bad old ways and I’m not planning to! Had a bite of 70% dark chocolate today, which I figure is OK, especially as I tend to be too all-or-nothing about stuff. Just struggling to make time for physical activity with office stuff being wild. Grok on, and once again, thanks for the encouragement!

Yvonne Sinclair
5 years 12 days ago
Okay this was just great. The caber toss was my favorite…gotta see that in person. Being the Scottish Lass that I am I loved that one. Keep up the great work of making life acceptable and happy….here is my motto. Sometimes it is the quiet times that feel the best. Being accepted by another human without strings or ulterior motives. Allowing reality of existence, no pretending, just the true self. No need for walls or masks. Being myself. My inner beauty shines much brighter than any outer shell we could imagine. Feeling good from the inside. Being real. Showing myself… Read more »
Erin
Erin
5 years 12 days ago

GO DAVE!
(In all-caps, just cuz…)

Stephanie
Stephanie
5 years 12 days ago

Awesome recovery DAVEMAN. I can also attest to the food being a major factor. I used to have to workout with chronic cardio daily for 45mins-1 hour just to maintain my weight when I was eating my vegetarian diet of lots of grains and legumes. Now I eat as much as I feel like, don’t need to feel guilty for eating fat, don’t get as hungry, and, can maintain my weight right now despite not having time to work out nearly as much as I’d like. Go Primal foods!

Matthew
Matthew
5 years 12 days ago

Such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing Dave!

Maryann
5 years 12 days ago

Wow, Papa Grok! I had no idea you had such a severe injury! Yet another amazing tale to share about the primal journey you have undertaken!

I continue to refer people to your original story, and will be sharing this continuation with everyone I know, especially the doubters.

Alvaro Coronel
Alvaro Coronel
5 years 12 days ago

Dave’s birthday is FEB. 8TH. He turned 54 this year. See the original post near the end under “February 26th”

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/the-unconquerable-dave/

Spartanmom
Spartanmom
5 years 12 days ago

DAVE! – you look AMAZING!

Tina
Tina
5 years 12 days ago

Thank you for your inspiring story, Daveman! You look great and it sounds like you feel great, too! Glad to hear you’re recovered from the incident with the deer. (did you feel delightfully vindictive every time you made venison? ;-))

Chrissy
Chrissy
5 years 12 days ago

GROK ON, DAVE!!! I’m gonna go find you on facebook so I can continually be inspired! 🙂

And I have to say it’s beyond awesome that you didn’t let such an injury defeat you and the Primal lifestyle!! So many people would’ve used it as an excuse and become lazy and eaten crap…but not you! LOVE your determination and dedication! Keep it up, Papa Grok!

chima_p
chima_p
5 years 12 days ago

LIKE A BOSS!

Rachel S
Rachel S
5 years 12 days ago

Simply amazing. GROK on Dave!

Ginger
Ginger
5 years 12 days ago

Oh, Daveman…promise me you will never change. Love everything about you, even WHEN YOU TYPE IN CAPS. I’ve got a smile so big my face is cramping.

Mike
Mike
5 years 12 days ago

I love where Daveman lives. It either snows or is sunny mid-summer.

iGrok
iGrok
5 years 12 days ago

As if Dave’s story wasn’t already inspiration enough…he’s goes and blows us all away again! He is the real “Super Dave”!

Daveman
Daveman
5 years 12 days ago
THANKS EVERYONE>>>HERES THE DEER STORY…A nice 7 point buck was flushed out by some other hunters and I was in the middle of the path he wanted…Dressed in CAMO..very hard for Him to see until the very last moment.. Lucky for me I had a long gun in front to block the impact but I took the antlers in the lower mid-section..both sides and this bad boy just threw me to the side…NEVER underestimate the POWER a wild animal can have. I did not get penetrated by the antlers due to the gun and the heavy clothes..but ended up with… Read more »
Peter
Peter
5 years 12 days ago

Only would happen to YOU Dave!!! Your are the ultimate primal dude!

Octavio
Octavio
5 years 12 days ago

You da man, Dave!

Karen P.
5 years 12 days ago

I love this man.

And why is it his ALL CAPS are the only ones I read as enthusiasm and not yelling?

Awesome.

dani
5 years 12 days ago

This is awesome! What a beast!

Anne
Anne
5 years 12 days ago

Yay Dave!!

Laconophile
Laconophile
5 years 12 days ago

Caps lock is autopilot for cool.

Pooka
Pooka
5 years 12 days ago

Thanks for the update! It appears you are doing well even after the incident. Like a lot of people, the first thing I ever read on this site was your story, which was linked to by someone promoting the Primal Lifestyle. Thanks for being the catalyst that started me down this path!

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