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Halloween Baking Championship

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I cannot stand Nancy.  So although I love Holiday Baking Championship, it's tempered with my hatred for Nancy and the stupid things she says.  I don't mind Duff so much though.

 

I wasn't a fan of Rudy way back from the beginning since he was rude to Blais, but he grew on me a little.

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1 hour ago, mlp said:

You're right, Maverick.  I just saw an announcement of the cast for the Halloween show - Carla, Sandy and Damiano!  And the host will be Jeff Dunham which I don't understand at all.  I suppose the idea is that he'll draw viewers because he's popular but I didn't think he had any connection to cooking.  I really liked the panel last year so we shall see.

Ugh.  Damiano?  Seriously?  I like Sherry Yard but I also can enjoy Aunt Sandy bringing the cra-cra.  But Damiano over Ron Ben-Israel?  No, just no.   I didn't like him on the baking show and hated him on FNS.   I agree Jeff Dunham is a total WTF, but it's still a massive improvement over blowhard Blais.  So glad his fame whore arrogant ass isn't back.

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Wow, we've really sunk to a new low with these new judges and host. I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss Bobby Dean...

How the hell is this host? - a comedian with a ventriloquist doll????????

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The two new judges are awful and Jeff Dunham is kind of annoying (and I like his specials that are on tv).  The only bright spot was Carla.  At least she has some personality.  This is what, the 3rd time we have to see Damiano in a show and I still don't get the appeal of him.  Could they get no other judges?  It doesn't seem like the bakers are all that strong this time around.  The only 3 (don't remember their names), for me, I thought were good was the one who won the first challenge and the one who won the final challenge and the runner up. 

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I must have missed this last year....who were the judges? Were they the same as on the Christmas and Spring shows? Gotta say I'm not impressed with the host or the judges on this one :/

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Good grief not Damiano again.   He may be good looking (I don't think so but each his own) but the man has zero zip nada personality or charisma.   He's a complete wet blanket.   Save us from this man.

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Why make Damiano a judge when we can't understand one word he's saying???  Aunt Sandra wasn't too bad and I love Carla. I guess Richard Blais was too busy to be a judge this year.  Duff is busy doing the Worst Bakers in America.

Of course I liked Brad because I fell for his sob story (hanging my head in shame) therefore jinxing him to be eliminated.

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Why do Halloween treats have to be bloody, gory and disgusting? Why do the cakes have to look like a big pink disgusting blob in order to be winners? I know it was the zombie challenge, but would it have been so terrible to depict cute little zombies running wild or something? Those brain and body part cakes were not ok.

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I agree that I like Jeff Dunham in his stand up but he seems out of his element here. At least he's enthusiastic, which is more than I can say about the judges. Although Carla isn't so bad.

I felt for Brad. I guess it was just one of those days where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. At least his cake looked the part even if the taste wasn't there.

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2 hours ago, Maya said:
2 hours ago, Maya said:

Why do Halloween treats have to be bloody, gory and disgusting? Why do the cakes have to look like a big pink disgusting blob in order to be winners? I know it was the zombie challenge, but would it have been so terrible to depict cute little zombies running wild or something? Those brain and body part cakes were not ok.

I agree. I don't particularly like scary/gory things so I'm not that interested in seeing gory things. 

I definitely don't like Semi-Homemade Sandra as a judge. In the pre-heat she said something about someone having a more advanced palate for one of the treats and all I could think was that the combo presented wasn't THAT weird. 

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2 hours ago, joanne3482 said:

In the pre-heat she said something about someone having a more advanced palate for one of the treats and all I could think was that the combo presented wasn't THAT weird. 

What cracked me up was that I swear I heard her say that it was for a sophisticated palate, but she liked it. Hee. (I actually ran it back and this is a direct quote, "This cupcake is for a sophisticated palate; however, I loved the icing." Still made me chuckle.)   

 

In the spirit of full-disclosure, Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade show used to make me angry.  It was so bad! But then a few times, I saw Lee on shows where she was hosting or judging and not actually preparing food and she seemed like a genuinely nice person. If I hadn't seen those, I think I'd have been predisposed to dislike her as a judge. But she was fine. Always love seeing Carla, but they're probably using a ventriloquist host just to have something there more wooden than Damiano. 

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I guess I am one of the few that didn't mind the new judges.  I didn't care for the new host even though I too like his standup.  He was just too much.  What is it lately with over the top hosts?  First Johnathon on Cake Wars and now this guy.  I think they tend to overshadow the contestants and the action.  To me, a good host needs to stay more in the background and let the contestants shine. I'm not watching a show for the host, but for the competition.

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It was funny that Sandra kept eating one of the offerings: "And now she's going for cupcake #2!" I didn't watch her Food Network show and haven't seen her on anything else that I recall, but I understand now where all the jokes about her being drunk come from.

I like Damiano fine. The judges don't bother me although poor Carla seems like she might burst a blood vessel straining to insert some lightness and humor into the proceedings.

Edited by lordonia

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Oh good.  I'm glad to see I'm not alone in my reaction to Damiano.  All I could think of during the show was that they're still trying to make him happy.  I'm surprised they didn't rig The Next Food Network star so he'd win.

Sandra Lee surprised me.  I've seen her show maybe once or twice but I understand why she gets so much flack for it.  However, I thought she was a pleasant judge.  I do think they need to improve on the feedback.  For raspberry chocolate cupcakes they'd say something "I taste the raspberry.  I taste the chocolate."

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On 10/3/2016 at 7:37 PM, Eliza422 said:

Wow, we've really sunk to a new low with these new judges and host. I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss Bobby Dean...

How the hell is this host? - a comedian with a ventriloquist doll????????

I couldn't have said it better. This was never on the level of GBBO, but this is really bad now.

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18 hours ago, Darian said:

What cracked me up was that I swear I heard her say that it was for a sophisticated palate, but she liked it. Hee. (I actually ran it back and this is a direct quote, "This cupcake is for a sophisticated palate; however, I loved the icing." Still made me chuckle.)   

 

In the spirit of full-disclosure, Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade show used to make me angry.  It was so bad! But then a few times, I saw Lee on shows where she was hosting or judging and not actually preparing food and she seemed like a genuinely nice person. If I hadn't seen those, I think I'd have been predisposed to dislike her as a judge. But she was fine. Always love seeing Carla, but they're probably using a ventriloquist host just to have something there more wooden than Damiano. 

LOVE IT!  But is the dummy really more wooden than Damiano???  

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This is the first time I'm watching the Halloween Baking Championship. I didn't really get into these shows until last year. Someone from my town is competing (John), so I figured I'd tune in. Jeff Dunham? I'm not familiar with him but he comes across as extremely awkward. And ventriloquists are creepy AF.  I have no idea what he has to do with this show or baking.

I didn't see Damiano's season and I don't understand the fuss about him. He was the most critical judge. The other two were inoffensive. 

I actually prefer the usual lineup of host and judges. Wow. Why the departure here?

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Damiano seems to be qualified to judge baking but he's not very interesting.  I've tried, in my own mind, to make excuses for him because of the language barrier but then I remember when Fabio Viviani first appeared on the scene in similar circumstances but blessed with a winning personality and a great sense of humor.   Damiano just isn't "made for TV."  

I am totally sick of the new FN regime bringing in people who have nothing to do with food.  At least Jeff Dunham is not a judge like football players on Chopped and so on.  I was happy with Bobby Deen.

I don't dislike Sandra Lee but she's certainly not known for being a baking authority.  I know she used to go all out for Halloween on her own show but that doesn't make her qualified to judge professional bakers.  I'd be a lot happier with Ron Ben-Israel or Sherry Yard.        

Edited by mlp
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16 minutes ago, mlp said:

Damiano seems to be qualified to judge baking but he's not very interesting.  I've tried, in my own mind, to make excuses for him because of the language barrier but then I remember when Fabio Viviani first appeared on the scene in similar circumstances but blessed with a winning personality and a great sense of humor.   Damiano just isn't "made for TV."  

This describes him perfectly. FN keeps trying to make Giada's honey happen, but it doesn't matter about the cute Italian accent when there's no cute Italian personality to go with it. He's just not a TV star.

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Why make Damiano a judge when we can't understand one word he's saying???

What-uh do-uh you-uh mean-uh? Don't-uh all-uh Italiano people-uh speak-uh English-uh like-uh that-uh? ;-)

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I know it wasn't just me: Brad has got to be Eddie's (RHOC) cousin, down the the same jutting jaw.

(Not that I watch RHOC!)

Count me in as someone who misses Bobby and his insane posture.

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I just got around to watching this. What on earth is a comedian like Jeff Dunham doing hosting a baking competition?  Couldn't they find anybody else? Perhaps somebody who knows something about food? All I took away was it was a tie-in to the commercials that ran promoting his show that's coming to my area in early 2017.

I didn't like any of the contestants. There's always a "Brad" each year, a sort of non-descript dad-bod (I don't mean that to be cruel, just means an average guy) who is kind of average and might last a few weeks. This one went quicker than I expected. I thought that Tamara should have gone home instead. I couldn't believe how stupid she was to try to make red velvet cake with olive oil. Really? She seemed very slow-witted when she was speaking and trying to figure out how to correct her mistake.  She seemed slightly more with-it in the second round.

Then there is the smug professional baker, what's his name, Damian?  Sorry, but a culinary instructor who says, "expresso," loses complete cred in my eyes.  I am sure he'll go quite far though. I also didn't care for the arrogant woman from Texas or the pregnant biker chick with all of the tattoos, but she did produce some cool baked goods.  The woman with the long dark hair from California who was gushing over Damiano reminded me of Audrey from last year's competition.

So far, I have found nobody to pull for.

It was Sooooooo good to see Aunt Sandy strutting out in one of her outrageous costumes, but Damiano Downer had to spoil it by complaining about her butterfly wings. Anyway, I thought Sandra looked great and I'm so happy she's feeling healthy and strong enough to do this show.  But c'mon, this is a woman who added cranberry juice, flavored milk and extracts to boxed cake mix.  I cracked up at some of the faces she made when she tasted the offerings. I think her gut-level responses balanced well with Damiano's technical critiques.

I am not in the camp who thinks Damiano is a hottie.  I think he is dull and humorless. I know there is a lot at stake for the contestants, but he needs to lighten up and have some fun and not take himself so seriously.  It would be nice if he does like Duff and Lorraine do when they are judges, they can usually pinpoint what went wrong and explain how to correct it.

Carla is fine. She has the right balance of humor, constructive criticism and cooking chops to be behind the judging table.  It will probably take a couple of episodes for the three of them to find a rhythm.

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On 10/8/2016 at 8:41 PM, grisgris said:

I am not in the camp who thinks Damiano is a hottie.

Right there with you.  All I can think is that he looks a lot better in person, I'm not getting it over the TV.  And that accent of his!  It may not be, but it comes across as phony as a $3 bill to me.

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I cant be bothered to remember her name but I do not like the contestant that is so full of herself. For both episodes I heard her say things like I'm so talented, this is where four years of art school come in handy. Talented or not try a little modesty and humility lady, don't like her!

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3 hours ago, stormy said:

For me, Damiano is the only legit judge here.  He actually makes good comments and criticism.

I'm no Damiano fan, but I'm not a fan of the other judges and the host snarking on him and the editing trying to cut him down.

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My favorites have been John, Damian and the black woman who won the cake bake whose name I can't recall right now so I was disappointed to see one of the men be sent home.  I don't care for most of the younger women because they seem pretty smug, a couple worse than the others.

I wasn't happy when I heard that Jeff Dunham was going to host the show because he has nothing to do with food AFAIK but, to my surprise, I'm rather liking him in that role so far.  I do wish he'd brought a more congenial dummy.

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I am assuming they knew ahead of time what they were going to make for the pie crust challenge. No way could they conceive and bake those items in 30 minutes. So did they know about the cake challenge too? If so, was the last minute card switcheroo also fake? I don't believe any of these challenges are a surprise. 

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I watched this last season, but I don't remember it being quite this bad. I mean, four random slices of dough (or sticks of gum, or whatever those were) and a couple of dots is enough to invoke a mummy for these people? Between that, the painful attempts at humor, and the distinct lack of Ron Ben-Israel, two episodes is officially enough for me to nix this season.

Edited by dewelar · Reason: Remembered the horrible humor
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4 hours ago, dewelar said:

I watched this last season, but I don't remember it being quite this bad. I mean, four random slices of dough (or sticks of gum, or whatever those were) and a couple of dots is enough to invoke a mummy for these people? Between that, the painful attempts at humor, and the distinct lack of Ron Ben-Israel, two episodes is officially enough for me to nix this season.

Ron Ben Israel was the judge in cake wars, not this show ? Last year it was Duff Goldman, an American female baker, and a British female baker. 

These judges SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!! The new host SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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 No, those are the judges for the Holiday and Spring baking shows.  For the Halloween show, it was Ron-Ben Israel, Sherry Yard and Carla Hall with Richard "Look at ME!" Blais hosting.  Carla is the only holdover from last year's show.  And it's far the worse for it.   Damiano is simply awful.  I agree he's not attractive, humorless and just generally boring.   I can live with Aunt Sandy because of her unabashed and over the top love of Halloween but a definite downgrade from Sherry in terms of expertise.  Dunham is fine.   He's the host so I can live with him not having a food background.  And Dunham's puppet is an improvement over Blais (who, while a chef, isn't a baker and was on Top Chef where virtually every contestant whines about having to do desert).  

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I think Aunt Sandy is a hoot!  I laughed when she was mocking Damino's harsh admonishment to a contest of "Don't ever do that again!" I knew the pre-made pie crust would be right up her Semi-Ho alley and it was.  No, she doesn't have the bake-from-scratch skills to make her a technical expert, but I appreciate her initial reaction unfiltered comments. To me, she represents the average Joe (or Jane) who'd taste one of the desserts and how they might honestly respond.  Carla seems to be middle ground between Sandy's off-the-cuff remarks and judgmental Damiano.  Carla usually finds something positive to say to everybody -- even if it's a stretch!

Hey, the judging panel could always be worse: Damiano, that sourpuss Florian from "Cupcake Wars" and the new male judge on "Cake Wars." LOL!

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I thought Carla looked beautiful in her zombie getup!  Wow. Was surprised to see Damiano, but don't have any trouble with any of the judges.  I think if I were competing, I would approach cake challenges with some sort of "optional" twist I could make when they bring in the surprise. a flavor profile that I could modify or switch out . The people that had vanilla-based cakes were better able to incorporate lime curd than those that had specific, complex flavors already in place.  The thought of lime with chocolate and peanut butter just makes my stomach turn.  It won't guarantee a great tasting cake (or whatever), and plain vanilla cakes wouldn't get you very far, but they know a twist is coming.

I thought the zombie pie crusts items were all pretty cute.

What is the appeal of a "stuffed" cake, where it is just a pile of candy?  If I want a handful of candy, why do I need a cake? I was thinking taking snickers bars or peanut butter cups and mixing them in the batter, or between the layers, rather than just poured in the center.  But I would lose...

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Well, I guess SpongeBob and Miss Snooty Pants got lucky.  Felt bad for pregnant lady.  The cake pop challenge was so WTF.  I guess they didn't really want awesome cake pops but time crunch drama.  Why do producers of these types of shows always think that's what the viewers want?  I would rather see some awesome cake pops!

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1 hour ago, tobeannounced said:

Well, I guess SpongeBob and Miss Snooty Pants got lucky.  Felt bad for pregnant lady.  The cake pop challenge was so WTF.  I guess they didn't really want awesome cake pops but time crunch drama.  Why do producers of these types of shows always think that's what the viewers want?  I would rather see some awesome cake pops!

TOTALLY! I want to see beautiful cake pops that I can't do at home. I don't have a blast chiller, but it takes me at least 3 hours to do cake pops correctly and that's before my terrible decorating.  Had they been given pre-made cake that was fully cooled they could then adjust the flavor (and color) using their different frosting ideas and could complete the challenge with their "own spin" and made something that actually looked like a scary clown. 

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I don't understand John's(?) game plan if he is going to make the exact same cake every week. Has he never watched a cooking show? He said "it's a lot easier watching from home," so one would assume he's seen the show. Did he think the judges wouldn't notice? I don't understand and need a Talking Head of where his head is. I also wasn't completely paying attention, but when Damiano told Michelle(?) her dessert was too sweet, was she the one to ask him "What is your perfect dessert then? It's cake, there's sugar!" Because (1) awesome line and (b) I dislike him so much why are they trying to make him happen? He's never going to happen!!!

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38 minutes ago, backgroundnoise said:

Giving them only 45 minutes to bake, cool, and decorate cake pops is ridiculous.  And ultimately boring to the viewer because of the, at best, tepid results.

Right. And then the judges complain that it doesn't look like a clown. 

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This is why I love these boards. I didn't know much about how cake pops should be made. All I've seen on competition shows, which is the only place I've seen them made, are competitors just smooshing stuff together like last night or using underbaked or messed up cake or brownies (again, just smooshing) to have something to put on the plate. I was just so turned off of the whole idea. Why didn't they give them more time or prepared cake? Makes no sense. Now I want to go hunt down some actual properly-made cake pops. 

Aw, I wish Amy could have stuck around but it was smart of her to leave if it was too physically taxing.  

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I also wish that all the shows of this format would give adequate time. I understand that it's not interesting if they have too much time--there has to be a sense of urgency and it can be interesting to see who flourishes under pressure--but it's gotten ridiculous how often unrealistic time crunches are used for drama. I'm completely in the camp that giving 15 minutes more for a better looking product is much more interesting to watch than people producing something that looks like a 5 year-old made it.

I also agree on Damiano. I watched him on FNS and always thought he was OK but he's getting really annoying now. Clearly he has a palate that prefers less sweetness. That's okay but there's a "holier than thou" feel to his constant declarations of things being too sweet--as though it's not a preference but an absolute truth and anyone who thinks differently is just wrong. He also seems grumpy and completely humorless--whatever slight charm he had on FNS seems to have disappeared. Time to end the Damiano experiment.

Edited by ElleBee
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3 hours ago, Darian said:

This is why I love these boards. I didn't know much about how cake pops should be made. All I've seen on competition shows, which is the only place I've seen them made, are competitors just smooshing stuff together like last night or using underbaked or messed up cake or brownies (again, just smooshing) to have something to put on the plate. I was just so turned off of the whole idea.

To make a cake pop, you do smoosh stuff together. A correctly made cake pop takes the baked cake and mixes it with the frosting to make a denser clay/dough. You then roll it into tight balls (and then refrigerate), then stick the sticks in (and refrigerate) then coat with the candy (and refrigerate) then decorate. To keep them in the right shape into the candy coating, they have to be very cold. Once the candy coating has hardened, you're mostly good (although in Texas the heat will melt that). 

3 hours ago, ElleBee said:

Clearly he has a palate that prefers less sweetness. That's okay but there's a "holier than thou" feel to his constant declarations of things being too sweet--as though it's not a preference but an absolute truth and anyone who thinks differently is just wrong.

I have presumed this to be a European vs American thing. I've always heard that, in general, the US likes things excessively sweet compared to many places. I can't imagine he'd like cake pops at all because every one I've made is very sweet. 

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BWAHH!  HA!  HA!  Can anybody tell by now that Sandy doesn't have much use for Damiano. (Carla doesn't appear to have much use for either of them.) I can appreciate Damiano's and anybody's else's preference for less sweetness in desserts. However, Sandy was right in that it's a dessert competition. I don't think the adage of a dish having "sweet, sour, salty, etc." flavors really applies in this scenario.  He's a dud and I hope that FN has fulfilled whatever obligation they felt they had to the hoards of disappointed viewers after cutting him from FNS.

I would have sent John home. That mermaid was fugly as hell and there is no reason for him to continue to skate by week after week making the same type of cake.  Veronica's cake might have looked better if she'd made the dumbell thing a different color (gray? silver?) to it at least wouldn't have been nearly indistinguishable from the cake. And yeah, it did look like a dog with a bone.

I was so happy that Tamara won again this week.  While Michelle consistently produces beautiful and delicious baked goods, her smug attitude annoys me know end, even when she's trying to disguise it (and not very well) as playful ribbing.  I wasn't too sure about Tamara during the first episode, but WOW! and I hope she wins the whole thing.

Too bad Amy had to leave. She always did well, but the health of her and her baby have to come first.  Hopefully, we'll see her in a future baking competition.

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Is it Michelle that was crying about her friend who passed, I have trouble with their names. Anyway WTH, why did they say John's decorations looked rushed when she had nothing but white icing on her cookie thing. I am sure he was the right person to send home but they should have commented on how unfinished hers looked. The day of the Dead is about color!

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It was Veronica that was crying.

Michelle will be the winner of this which, for me, all in all has been pretty boring.

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