I Think We Can Do Better

“I think we can do better.” – Julia Herz, Beer and Food Summit, CIA, St. Helena CA 2015

Julia’s a wise and savvy person. And I agree with her entirely.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

We all have the power & tools to be better.

I know we can do better to invite women into beer. I know we can do better to describe beer flavors and attributes. I know we can do better to explore pairings of beer and food together. I know women can pull a chair up to the table to get involved. I know beer brands must be fully respectful to everyone they wish to sell beer to. I know we can do better in so many ways.

Doing better means you have to have a mark in which to see what ‘better’ means.

So if we think, say, pairing  beer and pizza is good, I’d say – we can do better. Let’s look at focusing in from the way too generic Beer and Pizza to something like Porter and Crimini Mushroom Pizza. That’s better.

To pair beer and cheese: we can do better by pairing not just any beer and any cheese. We can use a great resource like Janet Fletcher’s Cheese & Beer book to educate ourselves and learn to match flavors.

To market beer: we can do better by universally assuming full respect for all people, all makes, models, identifications and preferences. Who cares what all those ‘things’ are when what the human population simply craves togetherness. Let’s do better by getting together over what is universal: flavor.

We can do better. And we can do a bit better every day. In the interest of continually improvement, we can all do better when we realize that doing better makes the world better too.

Doing better means one thoughtful action at a time, adjusted to be better. Try it. Have fun, see improvements domino.

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The Fusion of Flavor

“Flavor is a fusion.”Julia Herz, CIA Beer & Food Summit 2015

Our taste buds stand at the ready to give us the sensory experience of our lives. If we can let our brain be led by our taste buds, we stand to gain a great deal.

Ginger & Julia in Vail, Big Beers fest 2016

Ginger & Julia in Vail, Big Beers fest 2016

Flavor is fusion. It’s combination of actual and figurative – we factor in our previous experiences with flavors in present day eatings. Keeping an open mind will help us all enjoy more, learn more, and share more.

I like the idea of flavor as fusion. We are combining what we just put in our mouths with what else we’ve had today, be it coffee, toothpaste or pancakes. It’s the mental gymnastics we allow to frequent out thinkings while consuming too. Can you remove that bad (insert your own no-thank-you food here) from trying it today? Many of us have a tough time doing that yet that’s precisely what we need to do to move forward and get past the bad.

Be “beer-minded” – think about what is going on, talk, discuss, ask questions. Flavor components and agents aren’t necessarily off-flavors – they are what they are by themselves. preference is different from quality; quality is more the realm of off-flavors and consistency & infection issues.

With a nod and a bow to Julia, be flavor minded. Enjoy the journey of beer and all its flavors available. Happy fusion awaits.

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1 2 3 Brewery Marketing Punch

I had the distinct pleasure to be part of a panel at this years Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia this month.

Abby sharing tips on how to get PR for your brewery.

Abby sharing tips on how to get PR for your brewery.

Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, and Abby Berman Cohen, The Rosen Group PR Firm, were my colleagues to inform, educate, and provide answers and ideas to a room full of beer folk.

As testament that marketing is a forever-desired topic and necessary part of business, the room was indeed pretty full (I’m guessing 200 – 300 people). When Julia asked for a show of hands for new, start up, and in-planning breweries to raise hands, a LOT of the room participated. Whoa.

With over 2 breweries opening every day in America, there’s a huge need for people going into any kind of beer business to get smart with their marketing plans. Here are 3 reasons why:

  1. With well over 4300 breweries in America already, the field becomes more populated every day. This  makes the clarity of your marketing message and brand all the more crucial to survival.
  2. All breweries must have a plan. Because opening a brewery is a business like any other entity, you must plan to succeed. Marketing is part of the foundational planning.
  3. Marketing = communication, education. Knowing your market and desired target market needs to be done before any tanks are bought, leases signed, or beers brewed. You must know who you will sell to before you begin.

One statement I made in my remarks was that the days of ‘if I brew it, they will come’ are long lover. The public – all of us – are more and more savvy to beer now than we were even a few years ago, never mind 5, 10 or 15+ years ago. It’s a whole new landscape and people wishing to open breweries need to prepare their marketing plans in order to succeed long term.

Philadelphia Convention Center

Philadelphia Convention Center

Being a flash in the pan works for gold mining. All other endeavors need to understand the full and total value of developing a marketing plan to make a living.

If you want to make beer in your garage and give it to your friends, fine – go for it. That’s what home brewing is about.

If you want to go up about 5 levels to pro level brewing and open a brewery, then do everyone the best service – you especially – and become business savvy. Study up, find a partner who likes and is knowledgeable in business to help, or work for someone else for a while to learn and figure out a lot of the actual day to day operations in running a business.

The first year I presented at the CBC was Boston 2009, effectively launching Women Enjoying Beer. So it was enjoyable to be on the East coast again for the event.

Cheers to Julia & Abby for what they shared. When you want a marketing expert, advisor and coach for your beer business, call on me.

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Beer Syrup

Yes, you read it right – beer syrup. What, you ask, exactly is that?

It’s a lovely elixir of almost unbelievably luscious flavors made by using beer in reductions and, well, to make syrups. On pages 197 & 199 of the new (totally fantastic!!) Beer Pairing book by Julia & Gwen, they cover making syrups.

goodies simmering in beer....

goodies simmering in beer….

I’ve got some in my fridge from the prep I did for the Big Beers festival in early January. For the seminar I lead, I had simmered various fresh citrus fruits & dried vegetables in beer. Once the fruits and vegetables were done, I saved the liquid. Almost every liquid in my kitchen finds a new life in other dishes. At a minimum the worms in my compost pile are extremely happy with what we give them!

Making beer syrup is quite simple with perhaps the most difficult part simply deciding which beers to reduce. Caveat: very bitter beers are not good candidates, as they can get very unpleasantly tannic. (I first learned this in cooking prep for the TFOB). It’s not what you or the beer really wants. All the same, experiment and cook a variety of beers down to see what you get, taste every few minutes to learn more about what’s happening and how the flavors change until you find what you want.

In preparation for my Vail session, I simmered ruby red grapefruit, lemons, limes, blood oranges, valencia oranges, and kiwi in 3 different beers: New Holland Dragon’s Milk, Allagash Nancy, and Bruery Terreaux Oude tart with Bosenberries. WOW! Talk about a very fun and tasty experiment – or shall I say exbeeriment….in all events, the syrup in my fridge from those exploits is deliciously awaiting being included in recipes. So far, I’ve used some for baking sweet potatoes (yum), smoothies (yum), and punch

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences - Vail rocks!

I love sharing new ideas with hungry audiences – Vail rocks!

(yum). They’re quite versatile so get creative.

Lucy Saunders, long time food & beer pro, is an outstanding resource for cooking with beer. Her books are useful, fun and a delight for the enthusiastic cook using beer in the kitchen. And I’m just starting to get to know Adam Dulye, beer chef for the BA.

When you find yourself looking for a new idea, make some beer syrups. I guarantee it’s beer as you’ve never had it before and well worth while. Oh, and sipping on a beer while you’re cooking is the best way to happily wait for the alchemy to happen.

Cheers!

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!! It’s the giving season again….

And where ever and however quickly it came from (seriously, only 300+ days ago??), tis the season. While I give the gift of books in particular year round, I want to share a few favorites with you today for beer & flavor lovers everywhere.

Books:

yum yum yum...Beer Pairing, by Julia & Gwen

yum yum yum…Beer Pairing, by Julia & Gwen

Beer Pairing, The Essential Guide From The Pairing Pros, Julia Herz & Gwen Conley *just* released  (2015 Voyageur Press). I’ll have Julia sign my book when next I see this dynamo of the beer gospel. Both she and Gwen have cut a smart swath to helping people enjoy beer. It’s a comprehensive book on what, why, when, how and why not of beer and food pairing. A great read and flavorfully inspiring, once you buy one for yourself get a few for others.

Cheese & Beer, Janet Fletcher (2013 Andrews McMeel Publishing). Janet’s written a few dozen books on food – cheese being her forte and oh-so-deliciously so! Others include Cheese & Wine, The Cheese Course, Yogurt (a personal fav go-to), and Four Seasons Pasta. All dandy and mouthwateringly fun and functional. Her writing style and the information she gives us is timeless and well rounded by smarts and broad world view.

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer, Maureen Ogle. Maureen is an historian and was inspired to write about beer upon wondering what her next book was – and at that moment having a Budweiser truck cross her path while driving. Inspiration struck and she’s tells the story starting in the 1880’s to modern times. Great read like many with herstorian context: you learn way more about way more than you think.

The American Craft Beer Cookbook, John Holl (Storey Publishing 2013). John’s an accomplished journalist and definite flavor lover. I’ve had the pleasure of sharing many beers with him as well as having hosted a book signing party when the book came out. He’s collected recipes with beer in them and paired with beers from brewpubs across this fine country. With sidebar stories and additional beer suggestions included, this book is a winner winner beer for dinner.

Beyond books, I’d invite you to find a few Women Enjoying Beer & Men Enjoying Women Enjoying Beer goods on our shopping page. Since we’ve exited a very successful festival circuit run, we’ve got a few goodies remaining looking for great homes. Be ahead of the curve as they may be collectors items soon!

Your Local Brewery

SSBC Gift Six pack

SSBC Gift Six pack

Our local breweries need our business. They pump ridiculous amounts of effort & money into our local economies, all the way up to the federal level (ask them about excise taxes, for example). Visit them all, as you can and see fit. Ask them questions, listen, share, buy and support. One of my locals, Standing Stone Brewing Company, sells Brewer For The Day packages as well as the holiday Gift Six Pack. Order a keg in advance to help celebrate in tasty fashion, give the gift of lovely glassware.

Homebrewing

Home brewing abounds in America! It’s a fabulous opportunity to learn to cook a whole new recipe: Beer. Locate your local shops and go to a demo, hang out with the local clubs, and start making your own. Like food cooks, many professional “beer cooks” start by homebrewing. The American Homebrewers Association is a super place to start.

Whatever you do, give the gift of flavor this season – and year round. Start with flavor first, experiment, try, share and repeat. Beer changes as does everything else in life so pour it on.

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Beer, Wine & Spirits – Oh My $$

  • Beer: $101 billion
  • Wine: $36 billion
  • Spirits: $65 billion
Julia Herz, CIA 2015

Julia sharing in her dynamic style at the CIA.

The tornado & spokesperson Julia Herz, Brewers Association Craft Beer Program Director, shared these stats at the CIA recently.

Whoa. Think about those numbers for a moment…..

Or two.

Then to let it further resonate, realize that constitutes 1.5% of the American Gross National Product. Beer Serves America echoes these numbers and also provides more info here.

When you’re supporting beer in our communities know it goes way beyond the glass.

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Beer Poetry Winner Announced!

With a nod and a pint to the inspiration of beer, the incredible Julia and this Craftbeer.com post, WEB decided to also encourage people to wax rhapsodic about beer. Here’s the invite that we posted.

ode to beautiful beer

Today I’m very hoppy to announce that Jeanne Core is our fine winner! In fact she’s a beer poet overachiever – she sent in two great pieces for us to enjoy.

repose

ever tranquil brew / forgotten am i within / thy shimmering drop

another beer haiku…

joyful golden sip / oh beguiling infusion / delight me always

Many thanks to Jeanne for her contributions, as they delight us to be sure! Watch for Jeanne to be making a continued positive impact in our beer community in the years to come.

May all your beers be delicious and inspirational too ~

p.s. a nice compilation by Jay Brooks too – read more beer poetry here

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Women + Beer Advance: Agenda

Here’s the tentative agenda(updated 6.21.12)* for the inaugural Women + Beer Advance, dedicated to providing fun, engaging and stimulating education for all female beer enthusiasts. (Yes, it’s subject to minor changes, alterations and enhancements, as life can change; *as of 6.21.12)

All agenda items listed are included in the registration fees. Registrations can be made here. Sooner is better than later please.

Women + Beer Advance, 2 – 4 August 2012, Southern Oregon, USA

Thursday August 2nd:

Welcome reception & Beer30– social mixer for attendees, available presenters, and hosts to sip, nibble and meet.

5 – 9 pm, location pending, Medford

Friday August 3rd: Onsite at Host 4 Daughters Irish Pub

9 – 1030 am Opening & Welcome address by Ginger and the WEB crew

1045 – 1215 – In the Beginning: Beer Ingredients – supported by Roy Farms and Briess Malting

1230 – 2 pm Learning Lunch*, select Advance menu available for attendees at host 4 Daughters Irish Pub

1 pm* Dynamo Julia Herz, Brewers Association (via remote broadcast): “Taste Trip” interactive beer and food session as part of lunch

215 – 330 Good Sense! The Sensory Side Of Beer, Rebecca Newman, Dogfish Head Brewing

345 – 515 Alchemy of Beer & Glass, Glassware session lead by the Beer Goddess herself, Lisa Morrison featuring Offero Glassware. Lisa will have her books available to sign and purchase.

(Break for Dinner on your own)

7 – 9 pm W+B Beerwalk, Special PubQuest Maps provided guiding you to 4 Downtown Medford beer friendly places serving fresh, well cared for beer.

Saturday August 4th: Onsite at Host 4 Daughters Irish Pub

9 – 1030 am Classic Combinations: Beer & Cheese, Shawn Fels, Award winning Rogue Creamery

1045 – 1215 Economics of Beer, Larry Chase, professional brewer, Standing Stone Brewing. We’ll learn about the economics of beer – from buying ingredients to making the beer to getting it in your glass.

1230 – 2 pm Inspirations & Aspirations: special Advance select menu luncheon. Open floor question & answer time, at 4 Daughters Irish Pub

215 – 330 pm Sustainability of Beer, Katie Wallace, New Belgium Brewing (via remote broadcast)

330 – 400 Beer Resources – Discussion of more resources on beer, online and offline

400 – 430 Wrap up and Thank you, awards & goodies

5 – 6 pm Live Nationwide virtual tasting Guests queued to talk

745 pm Screening of The Love Of Beer, with Filmmaker Alison Grayson; brewer Tonya Cornett, 10 Barrel Brewing – long distance appearance

—–

All travel investments are on your own. This high value advance includes a lunch both Friday & Saturday, otherwise there are plenty of choices close by to enjoy.

The area Chambers of Commerce can help direct you to places of accommodation and transportation. Medford, OR Chamber & Ashland, OR Chamber

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More Ground to Break: Inaugural Women + Beer Advance

Women Enjoying Beer, an independent, consumer based research and education company based in Ashland, Oregon will host an inaugural Women + Beer Advance this August 2 – 4 at 4 Daughters Irish Pub in Medford, Oregon.

This event offers an educational opportunity for women to advance their enthusiasm for beer, build connections with other women who enjoy beer, and to have fun while learning more about beer.

Tapping into their love of beer, Ginger Johnson and guest speakers will create a collaborative conference celebrating beer in all forms. Guests include Lisa Morrison (The Beer Goddess), an appearance by Julia Herz (Brewers Association), and a screening of The Love of Beer with documentary filmmaker Alison Grayson.

The Women + Beer Advance kicks off on Thursday evening, August 2, with a Beer:30 social (location pending).  On Friday, August 3 and Saturday, August 4, attendees will experience a wide range of social activities and educational seminars including Beer & Food Pairings, Recipes for Cooking with Beer, the Economics of Beer, Beer Tasting Exploration, a discourse on ingredients and how they are used to create beer, and a pub walk.

Premium and Regular pricing information is available here.

Join Ginger Johnson and the crew of Women Enjoying Beer at 4 Daughters Irish Pub in Medford for these enlightening sessions.

Early registration is available through June 15 and regular registration up to the opening of the event at http://uneven-goat.flywheelsites.com/events/.

For further information please contact Ginger Johnson in Ashland, Oregon at Ginger@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com  or 515-450-7757 or Emily Engdahl in Portland, Oregon at Emily@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com  or 503-502-1689. To place it on a local calendar contact Kat Blaisdell at Kat@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com

This press release and other media information can be found at WomenEnjoyingBeer.com/media-kit/

Women Enjoying Beer (WEB) is in the business of developing and serving the female beer consumer.  WEB partners with the beer industry to help it grow by authentically and accurately marketing to the female beer enthusiast.  WEB also works with women directly to encourage their beer enthusiasm.  WEB does this work through marketing, focus groups, workshops, and events.  For more information about Women Enjoying Beer and its focus on prime opportunities, please visit WomenEnjoyingBeer.com or Facebook.com/WomenEnjoyingBeer

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Alison's Love Of Beer

Bagdad Theatre, cite of the premier

Enjoy this photos from Alison Grayson’s world premier of her documentary, The Love Of Beer. It’s an honor to be in the film and such great company created by such a talented and thoughtful woman.

Look for a screening near you soon – or better yet: make a beer and film trip out of it. Film = education.

Julia Herz, Ginger, Alison Grayson, Lisa Morrison

Celebrate your love of beer today – Cheers!

Ginger & Teri Fahrendorf share a laugh prescreening

Stage call: for all women in the audience involved in beer

Alison and MC Lisa Morrison

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All Ale The Ladies Beer Pledge

It takes so little to make people happy.

Quality beer, lively company, fun atmosphere, and terrific hosts. When I say ‘little’ I don’t mean minimally or small things. It’s the effort part. Let me explain.

If you’re going to do something, then you’re going to put effort into it, right? And if you’re going to put effort into it, you may as well make sure you’re doing yourself, the effort and all related resources to good use. Otherwise, don’t bother. Plus – women don’t like half-baked attempts.

All Ale The Ladies 2011, The Black Squirrel (DC)

At the All Ale The Ladies event Sunday last (6.5.11) in Washington DC, everything was spot on. Yes, it was crowded (how many dozens of women wanted to come that got turned away!?). And the energy was off the charts!!! The energy compensation alone made the squished-in-a-small-space-college-party-feel totally acceptable.

It was a distinct pleasure to be a featured guest speaker – in great company, might I add – as well. In honor of the women in attendance (and a few sporting men), during my brief spotlight turn I spontaneously had the entire room raise their right hand and pledge:

“I am a Woman/Who enjoys my beer/

And no one else can tell me/What beers to like or drink.”

It’s almost needless to say that there was a huge and uproarious ‘Cheers!’ to the pledge when we were done.

Really, it’s simple: get engaged participants in the same room (women), serve them right (fresh quality beer and food), take care of them (service again), thank them for coming (external customer experience), thank the generous hosts (internal customer experience), talk about beer (education), treat them with respect as consumers (no-brainer for too few), and you’ll hit it way beyond out of the park. Try the next county.

My sincere gratitude goes out to the following for inviting me to be part of this event. And for putting together and executing such a successful and impactful evening of Women in Beer:

Thanks from the bottom of my glass and heart! Hope to see you all sooner again that later.

Here’s a whole slew of fabulous pictures by Heather McAndrews to enjoy.

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Beer Is Not Wine CBS!

I feel ultra compelled to share the following with you.

As a member of the Brewers Association, one receives a daily Monday through Friday e newsletter chock full of great information, conversation, happenings and so on. Horst Dornbusch posted this spot on piece this week.

This, sadly, made me laugh out loud – and then get slightly pissed off.  ‘To wit’ indeed Mr. Dornbusch.

I’m in your camp and wanted to share it with WEB followers. If you agree readers, SPEAK UP !! Call CBS, NBC, FOX, whoever demand accuracy and proper representation and get them to realize Craft Beer is NOT a novelty nor nearly this ridiculously monochromatic. You get the idea. Act and we shall all receive.

Here it is.

“Mainstream Media Still does not (!) Understand Beer

Beware of false saints!

I followed Julia Herz’s link to http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/03/earlyshow/saturday/main6643411.shtml?tag=pop in BA Forum Vol. 16-0706, which guided me to “CBS Early Show features wine expert Ray Isle talking up ‘Beervana’ in Portland, OR.”

While it is commendable that organizations like CBS have begun to recognize the existence of craft beer as an important part of our culture, I believe the piece behind the link shows how far we still have to go in educating the media and much of society about craft beer. To wit:

* Why on earth does CBS need a “wine expert” to showcase craft beer? As if there weren’t enough brewers or beer journalists who could have lent a (competent) hand!

* And then there was this zinger in the write-up: “Rogue Dead Guy Ale: This is a darker, more intense style of ale (technically, it’s a German style called a Maibock).” This is inexcusable (even though in Texas, equally inexcusably, a Bock must be called an “ale” by law). I really must tell my friends in Munich about this American “Bock” innovation! With such brew-technical nonsense, Mr. Isle has shown himself to be a mere vacuous pontificator, a false saint!

* A quick look at his food pairings, too, reveal Mr. Isle’s rather unsophisticated understanding of beer: He singles out as suitable pairings “grilled seafood, raw oysters, that sort of thing;” “chicken, potato chips, pretzels, you name it;” “hamburger;” “anything from fried shrimp to French fries;” “sausages on the grill, barbecued ribs, that kind of thing.” How pedestrian and utterly predictable!
“That sort of thing, that kind of thing, you name it,” and—who would have thought—hamburger, pretzels, and fries (!)…such is the august advice from a culinary “expert.” To me this is proof that there is still a huge wall of ignorance about good beer out there that we must not tire to tear down!
Horst Dornbusch
Cerevisia Communications
West Newbury, Massachusetts

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Terroir

All About Beer has a really informative, good to read article this month entitled  How Does Your Beer Taste? And How Do You Taste Your Beer?

Terroir in our beer

Part of what we taste involves terroir.

Terroir has been a term long used in the wine world. It’s starting to be applied in the beer world too – as it should be.

Terroir is defined by dictionary.com as, well, it’s not there. Heck, the spell check in WordPress doesn’t even offer it. Hmmm…so let’s go to Wikipedia (there’s a message right there).

Wikipedia states, according to its aggregate style information:

“Terroir (French pronunciation: [tɛʁwaʁ]) comes from the word terre “land”. It was originally a French term in wine, coffee and tea used to denote the special characteristics that geography bestowed upon particular varieties. Agricultural sites in the same region share similar soil, weather conditions, and farming techniques, which all contribute to the unique qualities of the crop. It can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place,” which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the manufacture of the product.”

It goes on:

“The definition of terroir can be expanded to include elements that are controlled or influenced by human decisions.”

Finally I’ll clip this snippet “Terroir in other drinks”. Yet – alas!! No even a hint of a mention of beer.

Curious since terroir is all about the influence of where the ingredients were grown or raised. Beer has 4 primary ingredients. The water, grain, hops and yeast will all contribute so many flavor characters, and arguably all 4 could plainly exhibit their own terroir. Is that terroir to the 4th power?

Julia Herz has talked about Terroir per beer. We should all be listening to these ideas.

Tasting goes well beyond the obvious. That’s why you should savor your beer.

Even if it’s hot and you have a great session beer in front of you. It has its own terroir so take at least a few sips and give it the opportunity to expand your thinking and please your taste buds before it simply quenches your thirst.

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Toasty Brewer

Julia Herz (l) BA & Larry at the Craft Brewers Conference

I’ll take the opportunity today to highlight My Fine Husband, Larry Chase. He’s a professional brewer, is truly passionate about quality clean tasty beer and I love him for it (among other reasons).

The Brewers Association offers many benefits – among them featuring various members of the brewing community on site. Like here.

Good man, good beer, good dogs (see the picture). Good life.

Lucky me.

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