Feed My Sheep (song)


Feed My Sheep is an outreach center run by John Mowry of Columbus, Ohio. On Tuesday nights, volunteers from several churches prepare meals and bag groceries to pass out after the message is delivered. Please consider making a financial contribution to help the ministry continue its mission of bringing God’s Word and food to those who need it.

The name Feed My Sheep comes from a conversation between Jesus and Peter after the Resurrection. Jesus asked Peter three times if Peter loved Him, and then gave Peter this command: “Feed My sheep.”

Peter was a disciple of Jesus, yet he had his faults: he was impulsive, and prone to act without thinking. Still, Jesus did not give up on him. Peter, who denied Jesus three times, would later become the rock on which the church was built.

How many of us are like Peter? We can be impulsive, and we can deny Christ through our words and actions, yet Jesus does not give up on us. He is patient with us as we continue to learn and grow in Him. That’s what this song is about.


The Lord saw Andrew and Simon as they were fishing. Not a single fish could they reap.

Jesus called out to the two brothers, “Let down your nets, into the deep, let down your nets into the deep.”

Simon, grateful and awestruck, fell before Jesus. “I am a sinful man” was his plea.

Jesus said to Simon, “You will be called Peter.

Lay down your nets, and follow me, Lay down your nets, Peter, follow me.”


You don’t have to be perfect to follow Jesus, because Peter was so ordinary.

And if Jesus can use an imperfect man like Peter, then He can use a man like me.

Yes, He can use an imperfect man like me.


When he saw Jesus speaking with the prophets, Peter spoke of a temple for each one,

Then a voice from heaven spoke and silenced Peter.

“Hear Him, this is My Son. I am pleased in Him, this is My Son.”

Jesus told His disciples they would be scattered: when the shepherd is struck, the flock will flee.

Peter said “Lord, I would not forsake You.”

“Ere the rooster crows, you’ll deny Me. Three times, Peter. Ere the rooster crows, you’ll deny Me.”


You don’t have to be perfect to follow Jesus, because Peter was so ordinary.

And if Jesus can use an imperfect man like Peter, then He can use a man like me.

Yes, He can use an imperfect man like me.


The disciples were all frightened and hiding. Peter returned to the life that he once knew.

When Jesus appeared once again, he told His disciples,

“Do not be afraid, and peace to you. Behold it is I. Do not be afraid, and peace to you.”

Jesus said to Peter, “Do you love me? If you love me, Peter, My word you will keep.”

Peter said, “My Lord, you know that I Love You!”

“Feed My sheep, Peter, feed My sheep. I’ll tell you again. Feed My sheep, Peter, feed My sheep.”


You don’t have to be perfect to follow Jesus, because Peter was so ordinary.

And if Jesus can use an imperfect man like Peter, then He can use a man like me.

Yes, He can use an imperfect man like me.

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Who Is This Man?

A few years back, the praise team at church was getting ready for Palm Sunday. We wanted to do something special, and something specific for the occasion. We had some trouble finding a suitable song. In previous years, we had done a cover of a song called “Shout Hosanna.” It was a perfectly good song, but I wanted something more personal. I turned to scripture as a source of inspiration. Mathew 21 tells the story of Jesus as He entered Jerusalem for the Passover feast. In verse 10, the people asked “Who is this?” That question served as the foundation for this song.


Who is this Man?
This Nazarene,
whom some hail as a King?
Is He Elijah?
Is He a prophet of Yaweh?
See Him come, perched on the donkey
as He makes His way into the city.
God’s people come round, and they lay their palms down
as they cry, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!”
“Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!”
Who is this Man?
They say He silenced the sea;
Now He silences the Pharisees with His wisdom,
after they tried to trick Him.
The lame can walk,
and the blind can see,
and He speaks with such authority
when He tells them, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord:
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
Who is this Man?
Nailed to the tree,
convicted of blasphemy?
God’s people took delight
as they watched Him die.
They shout for blood!
How can this be?
That the people here that I see
are the same ones who laid their palms down
as they cried, “Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna.”
Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord:
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest!
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Hard Times

I recently had the privilege of purchasing a hand-made cigar-box guitar. The brand is Hard Times CBG, built by Bob Lowery, from right here in central Ohio. When I met up with Bob to purchase the guitar, he was gracious enough to take the time to let me interview him for my blog.


After taking a few moments to admire the guitar, I started the official interview.


Me: How long have you been building guitars?


Bob: I started around October of ‘12


Me: Oh really? Ok, how did you get into it?


Bob: I had a buddy who started making them. We had worked together and kinda both had just an obsession for odd projects. I think around the time of “It Might Get Loud,” the documentary with Jack White, The Edge, those fellas, there was a little clip of Jack White building a diddly bo at the beginning of it, and I think that kinda sparked our curiosity, and we both started tinkering with different homemade instruments and seeing what we could do with different things.


He started making guitars, and eventually I just wanted to.  I do all kinds of projects. I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Most things I do, I do it, never use it. I just want to prove to myself that I can do it, post them up on Facebook, just show people what I’ve been tinkering with. I got asked a lot, with a lot of my projects, if I could reproduce them, if I would consider selling things. And a lot of the projects I did, I could get them done, but they were so frustrating by the end that I never wanted to do it again. I started making these, and realized I could probably reproduce it and do it in a way that it wouldn’t drive me insane to be able to sell them and I enjoy doing it, so it wasn’t so hectic that I want to pull what was left of my hair out by the end.


Me: How many of these have you sold?


Bob: Let’s see. Right around, It’s numbered. I think 16.


Me: Where do you number them?


Bob: I  number them on the inside, if you look inside the soundhole.


Me: No kidding, that’s awesome. So obviously you use cigar boxes, but what else to you use to build them?


Bob: As far as general matierials, or for bodies?


Me: We’ll start with general materials.


Bob: I’ve always used maple necks. I try to find prettier maple when I can. It’s kinda the luck of the draw with a lot of what Home Depot has. I know I could always go to a woodworker’s store, but then I’m paying a premium for wood, and it kind of becomes cost-prohibitive because I don’t want the cost to be any more than what I’m asking for them. So occasionally I’ll find some nice flamed maple. If not, I try to find something with some type of decent grain or body to it.


Me: So this was a hunk of wood from Home Depot?


Bob: Yeah.


Me: That’s cool. Obviously you’ve got guitar tuners on it, but what about the bridge and nut?


Bob: The bridge, I use poplar, and then use 1/8” brass, hand-shape the poplar, and turn the brass and buff it out, round the edges off, give it a more finished look. The tailpiece is a hinge that I found that works well for me. The nut, I get a blank bone nut and shape it out and carve them, but they come as little rectangles of bone. I like to use red oak on the wings of the headstock.  The soundhole covers, they can be any number of things. They can be, in this case, a drain cover.


Me: No kidding! I would not have guessed what that was.


Bob: I try to use as little material intended for guitar as possible. If I can make it, I make it, if it’s too much, either find something that’s not necessarily made for a guitar to make it a little more eclectic. In the case of the tuners and strings, you don’t get a lot of choice.


Me: I guess not. What about the cigar boxes themselves? Are these common anymore? A wooden cigar box?


Bob: Yeah. You can find them. Just about any cigar store will have them. I’ve found certain sizes that work for what I like to do for the sound I like to end up getting out of them. Some of them usually have a ton. Some places charge more than others. Every now and again people will just give them to you. It just depends where you’re at, what the box is. Winter time is not a good time to get them. I usually stock up in the summer just for the simple fact that people don’t smoke cigars. With all the smoking bans, people don’t want to go outside and stand in this sub-zero temperature and smoke a cigar for however long they last, 40 minutes. The cigar store sales go down. A lot of them even close early, so the choices become very limited once the cold weather hits until you get through the Spring a little bit and they start selling again.


Me: What do you find the most challenging when it comes to building an instrument from scratch?


Bob: That really depends on the instrument. With this, the most challenging thing for me, the way I build these, is getting the neck fitted to the body the way I want it to. There’s tons of different ways people do it, but for me, getting it the way I like it inside the body is probably the most frustrating, just to make sure everything lines up good, and to be able to get the electronics in and have them sit where they sound good.


Me: What’s the most rewarding thing about building your instruments?


Bob: Well, for a while, just the fact that I got to play them. In general, just the fact that I can prove to myself  “yes, I can do this,” and then I can clear my head and move to another project. With the guitars, all of them that I’ve sold to people, they’ve been extremely happy with, and anymore seeing somebody else enjoy something that I’ve put my effort into.


Me: How did you come up with the name “Hard Times?”


Bob: I kicked around the idea for a while, and I was really big into skateboarding when I was younger. I remember there was a budget- I mean, as budget as you can get for what you would consider professional, real skateboards at the time- and there was a Hard Times skateboard company who based their designs and color schemes on being mindful of budget. They were a little cheaper; they were still made well, but they didn’t put all the bells and whistles on. That came to mind, and just being a depression-era instrument, it seemed to fit that it was something that was traditionally thrown together due to hard times. Somebody who couldn’t afford a real instrument would make do with anything they could find. This is probably a little bit more refined than your 1920’s-1930’s cigar box guitar. I’m sure people went over the top with them. Some people just had to make do with what they had. The combination of those just seemed to click, and it had a good ring in my mind.


Me: I like it. Is there an instrument that you haven’t built yet, but you would like to? Maybe a challenge you’d like but haven’t taken on yet?


Bob: I’ve considered building a lap steel, or even a six-string. I’d probably go with a lap steel first. The only drawback is a couple years ago I bought one, and didn’t really enjoy playing it. So I kind of lack that portion of the drive, but at the same time, it seems like something that’s straightforward enough that it would be easy enough to do, other than just the planning it out. Lately I haven’t had the time to tinker nearly as much as I’d like to. I’ve thought about trying to figure out a way to do more of a bass. I’ve built a few basses, but I rarely pick them up. Not that they don’t sound good or play well, it’s just that I prefer my electric bass over those.


Me: I think I saw a picture of it or two on your Facebook page.


Bob: That was something I did because I was curious about buying a Kala U-bass, which is a short scale bass. They make acoustic-electric or electric. At the time, I couldn’t find one in town to try out. I was really curious about them because I’ve always liked the upright bass thuddy, gut-string sound. Since I couldn’t play one and they were a little pricey, I was a little hesitant to drop the money on them, so I decided I would just buy the strings that they were using that seemed to be the predominant reason they were getting the sounds they were getting out of it. This kind of followed suit with an upright I had built previously out of PVC. That was a really frustrating project because I had never done a solidbody, never done a tapered neck, and getting the math with the different gauges of strings and trying to map out the fingerboard on it really drove me nuts on that. Once I got it done, I did come across an acoustic version of it in one of the local guitar stores, and actually preferred mine. There were slight differences in scale and different things, but I actually ended up liking the feel of mine a little better. Not to discount them: I’m sure their instruments are much more refined than what I made. It just had more of a, to me, a solid feel that theirs, and I guess it’s probably because of how small it is, being acoustic, me being used to holding a heavy instrument, it felt very toyish to me. On my build, I chose to go electric because making a true acoustic body is something that I don’t think I’m prepared to do and do right, and just with the type of strings being such a low frequency, I couldn’t imagine it resonating well, and really making any sense having it be acoustic: it wouldn’t be loud enough to hear, really, with anybody else playing except for maybe somebody who was barely touching their guitar. I ended up going solidbody. The one I played was acoustic and confirmed the fact that there would be no way I would want to buy an acoustic one, but I’m sure their electrics are quite nice. I ended up happy with mine.


Me: Any advice that you’d give to somebody who wants to, for the first time, create their own instrument?


Bob: I don’t know (laughs)


Me: Well is there anything that you wish you had known when you started, something you discovered along the line, that “it would have been nice to know this?”


Bob: Almost everything. (laughs) I went into it blindly. I never really did any woodwork, so to speak, I mean, other than building very simple things, you know, like skateboard ramps when I was younger. This was kind of the onset of me learning anything about working with wood. Luckily, my buddy, who had also been making some, he had done quite a bit of woodworking. He was able to kind of help guide me around different areas, different tools, how I could use the tools get what I needed done, but a lot of it is guesswork, a lot of it is trial and error.  Chances are, somebody else has built it, and I guess my advice would be is trust Mr. Internet for a little bit, get on there and look at what other people have done, take what works for you, know what suits what you have to work with, what suits your tools, and take a little bit from here and there until you can find something that is yours, unless of course your goal is to emulate somebody else’s exactly.



After the “official” interview was over, Bob showed me some more features of the guitar: for example, how he set the bridge, and how he determined the scale and marker placement (he showed me a picture of the scratch pad he used to perform the calculations).


If you want to check out Bob’s creations for yourself, then you can check out his creations on his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HardTimesCbg.Image

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I picked this up on Saturday: a Squier Jaguar. I’ve admired these before, but never actually came across one at a price that I was willing to pay. Roadies Music store on N. High is closing down, and the owner is selling everything at cost. He actually had 2 Jaguars, but the other one, which was an actual Fender made in Mexico, at $375, was just out of the budget. He was only asking $90 for this one, which was within the budget.

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I really can’t complain about the condition. It looks like it’s hardly been played. When I got it home, I began to understand why. When I tune it up and strum a chord, it sounds sour. The intonation is way off. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. All I need to do is adjust the distance of each saddle from the nut. I turned my attention to the bridge. Wait, what?

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On most electric guitars, at least the ones I’ve encountered, intonation adjustment is a 1-step process: simply turn the screw. The saddles on this bridge are held in place by a screw, but access to the screw is blocked by the string itself, so the string must be de-tuned before loosening the screw, and then the saddle must be positioned by hand and then tightened into place. Finally the string needs to be tuned again to pitch so you can check the intonation. It ends up being a game of guess-and-check, and takes much longer expected.  Once the job was finished, though, the chords sound sweet to my ears. I won’t complain too much, because in the end, I got a really nice deal on an unusual guitar.

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Texas Special

Because I simply cannot leave well enough alone, I have decided to upgrade the pickups in my Telecaster. Truthfully, the neck pickup doesn’t have the clarity that I think it should have. It sounds a bit “muddy” to my ears. The bridge pickup is quite bright and can sound a bit harsh. You can hear the guitar with the original pickups here:

I’ve tried adjusting the tone on both the guitar and amp, and have played around with the pickup height, but have been dissatisfied with the sound. I want to keep the guitar all Fender, so I ordered a set of Custom Shop Texas Special pickups. The plan was to install the pickups after we got home at 3:00, and I would be done in about an hour. Well, that was the plan anyway.

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I started with the neck pickup, because that was the easier one to get to. Remove the pick guard, undo the pickup screws, de-solder the connections. So far so good.

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I put the new pickup in the neck cavity while I set about to solder the new wires. Notice anything?

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That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the new pickup has THREE leads, whereas the old pickup only had TWO.  Better check the wiring guide which came with the pickup set.IMG 4766

Hmm. It seems that the diagram calls for a completely different setup. Not only will I have to solder the pickups, but I will have to disconnect and re-connect almost every contact. Oh well. If that is the case, then I’ll just put both new pickups in at once.

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To get to the screws which hold the bridge to the body, the outer saddles need to be removed. The two inner screws can be accessed by spreading the saddles apart afterwards.

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After installing the new pickup into the bridge, I ran into a problem when putting the bridge back onto the guitar.  The screw holes do not line up. The new bridge pickup is slightly larger than the original, and now the pickup cavity is too small. It wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

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I took the strings out and saved them for later: they had only been on the guitar for a week.

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I used tape to show approximately where the bridge will go. I also removed the neck.

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At this point I took a break, and went online to see what other people have done in this situation. The right way to do it is to use a router and template. I have a hand-held router, but no template, nor do I have any idea how to go about making one properly. It seems that it would be better to take of small bits at a time by hand. I went to the garage and got a mallet and chisel.IMG 4776

This is my face when I realized I would have to take a chisel to my beautiful Telecaster:

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It really wasn’t so terrible after all. I will caution all those reading to use a utility knife to cut the finish first to reduce chipping. I really should smooth and repaint the pickup cavity, but I don’t want to apply 3 coats where I have to wait 24 hours between each coat.

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See that little round spot by the bridge where the finish appears a bit lighter? That’s where the poly lifted from the wood. It’s not very noticeable, especially once the pick guard is on.

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By this time, my work bench had quite a mess. The hard part was done, so all that needs to happen is to finish soldering and put it back together.

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Of course it couldn’t be that simple. One of the screw holes holding the control plate is stripped out, and the hole is too close to the edge.

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I’m glad I keep dowels on hand. I ended up cutting and gluing a piece in, and then drilled a new hole.

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Finally I was able to put it all back together. Here is the second video:

I hear a difference with the new pickups. The neck is less muddy, and the bridge is bright but not harsh. This venture was an overall success, although it did end up a much more difficult task than I had anticipated.

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Sticking Your Neck Out

For Christmas, my father-in-law gave me an Amazon gift card. I have made several purchases from different retailers through Amazon, mostly guitar accessories, such as strings, pedals, capos, that sort of thing. On a whim, I put in a search for “Fender neck” and was pleasantly surprised at the results: not only do they have Fender licensed necks, they also sell actual Fender necks from the Fender factory, complete with Fender logo and serial number.

I had recently swapped necks on a couple of Squier Stratocasters because one had a bad neck and I wanted to keep playing it. The swap did work in that it resulted in a straight neck paired with the guitar I wanted to play, but the neck didn’t quite feel right. It seems thinner than the other one. However, if I can get an actual Fender neck, then perhaps that would work better than the one I have on the guitar now. I placed the order on December 26, and it arrived the morning of December 27. Really.

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I am so keeping this box.

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Because the neck already has the holes drilled for the tuning peg guide holes, I can use the tuners I pulled the other day from my Telecaster.

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All that is required to install these tuners is a 10mm wrench for the ferrule.

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With the tuners on the neck, I can get the body ready. I’m hoping this will be a simple bolt-on.

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This guitar started out as a Squier, which is Fender’s import line. However, it now has GFS electronics, and it is getting a Fender neck and tuning machines. I decided to replace the neck plate with a plain one.

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The neck seems to fit into the pocket quite well, but when I run the screws, the holes do not line up. Great. This is a minor setback. I ran into this same problem when swapping the two Squier necks. You can read about it here: https://mrmaxwellrocks.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/drill-and-plug/.

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The neck looks pretty good on the guitar, but there is a slight gap in the pocket. The only way to tell if this is going to be a problem is to install the strings and look at it.

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This is the point where my helper came to visit me. She really loves guitar strings: apparently they’re big fun to chase around.

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The strings are on, and the neck seems straight. The strings seem centered on the fingerboard. It feels pretty good, too. The neck new neck is thicker than the old one, which is more comfortable for me to play.

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My main concern is the tuning machines. These tuning machines require the use of a string tree on the headstock. However, I don’t want to drill a hole on the front of my new neck. The other option would be to use staggered locking tuners, which I already have. However, those require me to drill SIX holes on the back of the headstock of my new neck. I decided to not install either. I will keep the guitar as-is unless the 1st or 2nd strings give me any trouble.

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Locked In

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! At the Maxwell house, we hosted our extended family, and celebrated with family, food, and gifts for everyone. Now that life has settled down again, I am able to once again turn my attention to the blog.

My wife bought me a beautiful gift for Christmas: a hand-made leather guitar strap by Sun Wizard Creations from Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/SunWizardCreations). I’ve never had a strap this nice, and I want to take extra-special care of it. I’ve decided that I would install a nice set of strap locks and use it with my Telecaster.


The strap I had on the guitar before was held on with plastic guitar strap locks from ebay seller guitarstraplock. This is a super-inexpensive solution to hold on your strap. The plastic locks are great when you want to keep the strap on the guitar, even when it’s in the case. My new strap is so thick that I’m going to need to remove it every time I put it back in the case, so I need something different.


I decided to go with the Dunlop dual-design strap locks. I have used these before, and have been very pleased with the result. They are simple to install, and they hold quite securely.


Tools needed:

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • drill
  • 7/64” bit
  • tape
  • bar soap or wax
  • lubricant (gun oil works well)


First, remove the original strap button. Notice the size difference between the original screw and the new one which comes with the strap locks.


You will need to make the hole bigger. The hole should be 7/64” wide and 7/8” deep. I put a piece of tape around the drill bit to keep me from going in too deeply.


The original strap button should have a small felt washer to protect the finish. Be sure to put this on the new locking strap button. Place a bit of wax or bar soap on the tip of the screw. When installing the new strap button, you will also need a skinny screwdriver, because the screw sits so deeply in the hole.


After both buttons were installed on the guitar, I started on the strap itself. Each lock has four parts: the barrel, the top washer, the bottom washer, and the retaining clip.


The only difficult part is getting the clip to lock into place. I use a flathead screwdriver to push it into the channel on the barrel.  After it’s all put together, I like to spray the barrel with a bit of lubricant.

This is a quick and easy mod which is like an insurance policy for the guitarist. I remember the time I was playing at church, and my strap came loose from my guitar. The guitar fell towards the floor. Somehow it survived without any real damage (don’t ask me how). Ever since then, I always make sure to have my straps secured.

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