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Jul. 22nd, 2016

My bonnet somehow arrived today - so fast! It is beautiful and fits so well and will last me forever. It's totally inspiring me to do some more bonnetry of my own ... but not now, I need to trim this bonnet (when the ribbon arrives) and I'm pretty sure several of my new underthings need buttons/need buttons moved because I assumed I'd get more waist-reduction with the new corset. (Probably need tabs added to widen the waistbands tbh, I was pretty optimistic.) Later, though! I have a roll of good buckram, and I think I will use it to make a bunch of forms to cover at another time. I haven't had great luck with it due to bad materials and bad patterns, but I really like the whole 3D nature of millinery.

I worked tonight and am working tomorrow and did the same last weekend as well, which I feel like should frustrate me more? But whenever I do more than 40 hrs in a week (which I will be going WELL over next week, what with setting up and then working the reeenactment) I remember that after December 1, I can't legally do that anymore! It perks me up no end. Some of the board members seem to think this is unfair to me, but ... I don't want to work unpaid overtime, why would I? It's never like "oh, I have so much work to do, I need 55 hours to do it in," it's pretty much always a function of there being an event I have to work as well as my regular hours.

Also I just realized the other day that in September, I have to give a talk at the War of 1812 Symposium at SLU on women's dress (natch) the weekend after my birthday, and then the next Thursday I have to give a talk on the exhibition we'll be opening that day, and then on Friday I'll be leaving work early to go directly to the airport and fly to Albany for our vacation to see our cousins in California. :O

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/913101.html - comment wherever you please.
I found a bonnet! I emailed Timely Tresses to see if she had any forms already made, and she has an early 1860s model in natural straw (among others in different colors), so I've asked for it and she's sending me a PayPal invoice. Very very happy, this is going to be a much nicer hat than my brown silk one. Now to get ribbons. Oh, and netting to line the brim - or maybe I'll just pink some voile or lawn instead, I already have a lot of that and I'm pretty sure that's acceptable?.

Civil War Weekend is giving me the worst anxiety for no reason. Everything is set, all we need are volunteers to do admission and run the gift shop. But I'm all et up inside anyway. Also, I had a message on the voicemail about someone wanting to volunteer, and first it was awkward because I'd misheard the name as "Angela" and it was "Andrew", and then Sue heard the name and came over and wrote that he's visually impaired on a pad, and after I'd booked him in to do admissions on Sunday morning with his assistant she told me he also has some emotional issues and basically I'm just hoping this all works out okay.

work ventingCollapse )

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/912885.html - comment wherever you please.
So I'm an idiot, and I kept putting off getting an untrimmed straw 1860s bonnet and now nobody seems to have any, either because they've sold them in preparation for summer or because they took them off their websites so they could take them to events to sell. Any thoughts? I've got my eye on a couple of iffy/earlier specimens that will do all right, but I'd rather get a decent one for the period.

Lately I've been listening at work to the podcast You Must Remember This, which is about the first century of Hollywood (skipping the stuff about the 1970s-1990s) - definitely recommend! Today I also looked into Employee of the Month, just for the recent Tituss Burgess (the best one tbqh), Jon Hamm, and Patti LuPone interviews, which were great. And started listening to Code Switch. I never really poked around the podcast section of iTunes before: I thought I didn't like them, but I guess I just didn't find ones on subjects I was interested in.

While walking the pokemans this evening down on the Heritage Island Trail, I passed a guy going the other way, and was like whoa, because he was way better looking than the other adult guys I've seen playing without a wife/girlfriend and totally my type (clean, dressed reasonably well, about as fit as me). And then I ended up a dozen yards behind him when we were leaving the island. He split off and went down a side street while I went straight up Main St. to the park. Eventually I saw him at the park as well, standing at the corner and waiting to cross to the movie theater side of the street. Walking toward him, I fantasized about catching up and him being like, "hey, it's you again! I'm going to see Ghostbusters, which I'm excited and not at all whiny about, want to come along?" and then we'd go see Ghostbusters together and it would be great and super-chill. But the light changed and he was going in the theater by the time I got to the corner. WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE HERITAGE ISLAND. Anyway. The park is full of nerds playing Pokemon Go every night so maybe we'll just keep running into each other, have a meet cute, and ... eventually get married, that sounds about right.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/912487.html - comment wherever you please.
Oh snap, Bloodline is also a Monte-Cristo-esque revenge show! I an even more intrigued.

So ... I think there's an issue with copper pipes at work. I've been having some stomach cramps in the morning after I start in on my first glass of water, and it finally occurred to me that this is because of the water, not a coincidence. There is a lot of greenish build up on some of the faucets. I'm going to try running the water before I get my glass tomorrow, and then we'll see if I still feel sick! And of course I will bring it up with the boss, but she's away for a couple of days.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/912345.html - comment wherever you please.


Okay, so: you cannot save boba overnight. The internet said they would last in simple syrup for 2-3 days, but I made some last night and by lunchtime today they were nasty hard little things.

I am liking Bloodline more and more - some spoilers for the beginning of the first seasonCollapse )

Saw so many bunnies walking in the twilight to look for pokemons! Hopping around everywhere.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/911979.html - comment wherever you please.


Hmm, I'm rewatching 30 Rock again like a crazy fool, and is the construction worker who catcalls Liz in that one S5 episode the same as the construction worker in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? ... DUDE YES DUDE IT TOTALLY IS

Gave up sitting around and being impatient about waiting for it to cool off, and went out to walk around town catching Pokemon. I love it, the park was full of Millennials sitting on benches staring at their phones, walking while staring at their phones, sitting at another bench while staring at their phones. If people thought we were ~addicted before I cannot imagine how they are taking this, and it must be completely ridiculous someplace like Manhattan, where there must be Pokestops everywhere and people flicking at their screens to catch pidgeys in every crosswalk. I have an Eggsecute with 113 CP! Unfortunately, unlike most people I can get NOTHING while at work because the internet beams can't penetrate our dang steel-beamed building. We do have a Pokestop out front, though (to which I attached my free lure because I was trying to figure out what to do with the stop to get stuff from it). And of course nothing at home because I live at the edge of the village.

I've started watching Bloodline - the blurb never did anything for me, but I saw a description that made it sound like it would really work for my id ... and after the first two episodes, my understanding is "rich family, secrets?? one brother is total woobie" and, well, that's enough for me.

So I was going to try not spending all my money, but then instead I bought some boba so I could make boba tea, and I'm cooking some up right now. Once they're finished cooking, I'm going to make a slightly vanilla sugar syrup to put them in.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/911714.html - comment wherever you please.
Today got off to a rough start when I didn't get out of bed until after 9:30 and finished eating my waffles close to 11. Internetted for most of the day - it's cold and rainy - and then I went off for a walk late in the afternoon when it seemed like it had stopped raining. It started again of course and I got soaked.

But then I cut out the pieces for a very simple dress to sew tomorrow, because I haven't had a new dress in quite a while. It's a dark turquoise cotton(/poly?) lined with white voile. I normally wouldn't bother to line the skirt, but it's a very light fabric, so I am this time. There's no pocket in the pattern, but of course I'm adding one - I guess it goes between the fabric and lining?

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/911442.html - comment wherever you please.
It rained today and my windows were wide open and everything got wet. :/ :/ :/ I am the worst antique sewing machine mama. But I wiped it down with oil to protect it afterward! And the corner of my pressboard coffee table is permanently bubbly and gross-looking as punishment for my carelessness.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/911298.html - comment wherever you please.
I just realized that my last two weeks' worth of posts hadn't been crossposting from Dreamwidth, so I've made them post to LJ. Sorry if they all jump to the front of your flists.

Recently I bought a little Way2Gro system at the hardware store to maximize my tabletop gardening space, since I can hang it from the curtain rod - I transplanted my little oregano plant into the bottom, and planted basil seeds in the middle and coriander in the top. There are little sprouts of basil! Nothing for coriander yet, maybe because that pot gets the least amount of sun, maybe because the seeds are more hardcore. The spindly basil plants I already have I transplanted into one larger pot, and then yesterday at the farmer's market I bought a flowering maple and a lavender and transplanted them into two other pots I bought. On Sunday and Monday, I took the basil and hanging plants out back and let them get some air and a little direct sun (in the case of the basil; the only place I can hang the others is in the shade, but the Way2Gro booklet says even ambient outdoors light is way better than ambient indoors light, so). I really need a child or pet because I'm calling them "my babies" in my head.

I also made four pairs of undies over the weekend. Four. And two are decent, so.

In the end, I talked to Mom about it and she'd like my old computer, so I did keep the new one and am setting it up right now. (By which I mean, preparing to install Windows 10, because 8.1 is horrendous and I hate it.) Oh well, I am stupid and selfish and this laptop is enormous and the keys are different, I'll just have to deal with that.

Things I don't want to deal with: scheduling and wrangling for the reenactment at the end of the month. It's actually mostly done! But it feels like it's hanging over my head.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/910920.html - comment wherever you please.

Thoughts on Fiction Lately

The Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph

You may remember that I picked this book up at the museum's book sale. It's by Frances Chamberlaine Sheridan (1724-1766), which is a fantastic name, right? She married an actor/director and wrote several plays (two of which were put on by David Garrick, which was a Big Deal) and novels, encouraged by Samuel Richardson. Her son was Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the writer of A School for Scandal.

Sidney Bidulph is a three-volume novel, and I've just come to the end of the first volume. IMO, it should be studied alongside or instead of Pamela or Clarissa - it's a much better read and just as literatury. So this is an epistolary/diary novel about a young woman having a suitably dramatic life: she lives with her mother, and her brother brings home a friend for her. The two fall in love and are preparing to get married, but a Moral Impediment is found (the friend impregnated a young woman) and her mother cuts off the match, with Sidney sadly complying. After a while, they (minus the brother - he's inherited their father's title and is off doing his own thing all the time) go for a long visit to a friend of the mother's, where the mother and her friend set Sidney up with a different young man. She's not in love with him but appreciates how gentlemanly and good he is, so they get married and the affection comes later. Several years and two daughters later, the friend comes back into the picture as her husband turns out to be having an affair with a neighbor; the neighbor is revealed as a nasty person who was involved with the friend impregnating the young woman in a bad way, and she orchestrates the husband into believing that Sidney's having an affair, and he hypocritically kicks her out. (End Vol. I.)

One of the things I really like is that, unlike Richardson, Sheridan doesn't hit you over the head with THIS CHARACTER IS BAD or THIS CHARACTER IS A PARAGON. The mother's actions are conventional and what most would have lauded, and Sidney's filial obedience is praised by the text (and I think by the author), but there's certainly critique of the social norms. There are also some side stories that contribute to the critique - the young woman's isn't finished yet by a long shot, Sidney suspects that she's not as innocent as she makes out (which at this point could mean anything from "she kind of wanted to have sex with the friend" to "she helped orchestrate their encounter to trick him into marriage"), but there's certainly a condemnation of what happened to her; the mother's friend has a daughter that married against her mother's wishes for love, and the narrative is very sympathetic to her and unsympathetic to her mother.

Finding Dory

SO CUTE. I wasn't sure if I was going to go see it - I'm a bit older than the demographic that's all "we've been waiting ten years for a sequel to Finding Nemo!" - but I saw it had 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and decided to do it. spoilersCollapse )

Crown Duel (Sherwood Smith)

I got this and its sequel, Court Duel, out of the library because of a rec online related to The Goblin Emperor (I think?). I was surprised that they turned out to be fairly slim YA volumes, but because they're older YA - back when it was "children's literature but a bit more complex and mature" - they're not full of the adolescent bullshit that usually makes me put YA books back on the shelf without finishing. The heroine is a teenager in a sexism-free medievalloid setting, and she and her brother have to rebel against the king on their father's death. She gets captured by the young aristocrat leading the king's forces, who they'd initially written off as a gambling fop, and they're clearly being set up for a future romance. I love it! (So far.)


My Ilvermorny opinions are probably somewhat controversial. (Link to JKR's writing on the first/biggest American magic school here, in case you haven't seen it.) It took me some time of pondering and mulling over to get at what was bothering me. See, Rowling doesn't even do the kind of interaction between Muggle and magical history and culture that people are expecting from her in other countries in her own. Magical Britain in Harry Potter is not just like modern day Britain, but with wands. She doesn't deal meaningfully with the Protestant Reformation/Jacobite Rebellion/reign of Victoria/WWI home front or the differences between all the regional cultures in the UK. It's very reasonable to say that you can do that to your own culture but not someone else's, but it seems like the common thought is that she was especially accurate to Britain and then did America worse and "wrong".

Basically, Rowling's worldbuilding is equal parts pastiche and Rule of Funny/Cool, and people want more standard urban fantasy worldbuilding. The magical world in HP is a thing totally apart from the Muggle world, not separated by a thin curtain so that every state/city has essentially the same culture on both sides. And TBH I wouldn't want it any other way.

... Actually, thinking about it, I would probably go with tight ethnic enclaves for American wizards, with some marrying in from local Muggles. There's definitely not a high enough population to support them spread out over the entire continent.


I just cannot write lately. I had a pretty good idea recently that could probably work as a novel but realistically, I know I could only do as a longer short story. Part of the problem is that I can't seem to get it started, and part is that I can't figure out what I'd do with it afterward. It's not salable (except maybe to a magazine from the Edwardian period), and if I put it on Amazon, do I use a pen name? Should I republish A Worthy Connection under a pen name? LIFE. I need someone else to make my decisions for me.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/910815.html - comment wherever you please.

Today I actually went and did stuff!

I started by going out for breakfast (the Bagelry), which is a great way of getting me into a productive mindset for the day. Walked back home and followed it up with a trip to the car place (made an appt. for inspection and to find out what else is horribly wrong with it), the grocery store (chatted with my buddy the sample lady (what a Liz Lemon thing), got some household supplies), and the hardware store (planting stuff so I can repot my herbs). Then took a huge amount of recycling down to the basement. At the last minute I decided to see Finding Dory, which was well worth it even if I ended up seated next to a pretty awful family.* Went home after, ate some snacks (I hadn't had time for much lunch), read some more of Crown Duel, and then got out my electric sewing machine and started working on sewing panties while watching the third season of Garrow's Law.

(I managed two pairs, neither very good - one with turned and zigzagged edges, the other with elastic - but next time they will be better. They're very quick to make up and incredibly cheap when you work out the percentage of fabric/elastic you use. Very soon I will be able to throw out the several hole-y pairs I've been going on for the past year.)

And the best thing about having Saturdays like this is that they're only day one of a three-day weekend! So maybe I will have two more days of productivity, or I will have a rest and still have gotten a lot done in a weekend outside of the apartment.

* For real, it was two women with a girl and two toddlers. The toddlers didn't care about the movie at all (one fell asleep, one kept having to be taken to the bathroom), the mothers barely lowered their voices in rebuking them when they dropped stuff, and the girl ate all the popcorn and then went to the bathroom and threw up, and her mother basically told her she deserved it for eating all the popcorn. And when she complained after her vomiting her mother told her to stop of she'd backhand her. Man.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/910515.html - comment wherever you please.
Yesterday I sewed on the top binding for the corset! Put it on today and took some pictures so I can do the blog post before the month is actually out. Unfortunately, while taking a back picture I realized that the lacing is really strongly \/. Which isn't a tragedy, it's just () and )( you've got to watch out for, but it's frustrating. I'm not sure how to fix that - the body is supposed to be straight up and down with bust gussets and a hip piece. Maybe alter the pattern by sloping the side seam out in front and back? It's hard to know how Mme Sebille would have sized up for women with broader backs. On the whole, I'm pretty happy with it but glad that I did a plain cotton one before cutting into the satin, even if the cost of the satin for such a small piece is negligible. I think the back hip gore (which I added - it's not in the original patent but is in this extremely similar corset - I copied this boning pattern as well) needs more flare and the front hip panel needs less. Unfortunately, I only get about an inch of reduction. At this point I think the issue is less about my construction methods (there is still room in the hips) and more my skeleton - my ribcage is basically right on top of my pelvis. So of course I'm torturing myself by comparing pictures of me in my corset to Merja in hers. /o\

Not having worn the plastic whalebone for a whole day, I can't give a full report yet, but just from trying it on I think it's excellent. It's quite similar to the heavy-duty cable ties in terms of flexibility and strength, but thinner. I expect it will mold like cable ties and actual whalebone. Haven't done any flossing, but unlike my old steel-boned corset all the bones are just the right length for their channels and don't need it so much.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/910246.html - comment wherever you please.


I'm so glad I went to Cape Vincent. I wasn't sure if I would because it's an hour and a half away, but I wrote to Nancy yesterday and made sure she was going and got an invitation to carpool with her and Rita. So I went! Neither of my Regency outfits are quite satisfactory, but the thesis ensemble is at least comfortable so I wore it. We only did three dances - Duke of Kent, Lord Byron's Maggot (always great fun with our group, because a couple of people are real hams and play up the 1st man/2nd woman & vice versa bits), and Turn of the Tide - but we did each once as a demonstration and then all eight of us went to the crowd and got someone to come back and be our partners for a second round. Then after a break in which we checked out the tall ship docking, we came back and did the Boulanger because this TINY GIRL had missed us before and really wanted to dance. I got to be her partner! (As much as there are partners in the Boulanger.)

Afterward we got dinner for free from the lunch menu at the restaurant across the street - I think someone connected with the reenactment was paying for it and then was going to bill us out of our dues or something. I had a fish and chips sandwich and it was delicious.

I'd done some pin-curling before I left home and I was really hopeful that it would work, but my hair's just too long for those front curls - they were kind of spindly and hung down my face to my shoulders, so I incorporated them into my bun. Maybe if I use only a few hairs next time? I'm going to try it out again tomorrow morning.

As I stepped on my hem and tore out one side of the neckline drawstring in Turn of the Tide, I was reflecting on how I definitely need a new outfit. It's so annoying, I want to be able to concentrate on accessorizing! I always feel so plain because I don't have a purse, bonnet, chemisette, etc. But I need a more 1812y dress like the peacock blue one, but not dark silk taffeta because it's too hot. Ankle-length for dancing.

Edit: tried a smaller bit of hair over my ear, wrapped it around a pen as a gauge before pinning it and spritzing, let it sit until it was dry and then took it out, and it looks really good. Can't wait for the next event! I'll do it longer then and hopefully get a more sausagey curl.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/909917.html - comment wherever you please.

Jun. 23rd, 2016

Last night, I made congo bars. That recipe is AMAZING (although it needs some more cook time than the site says - it was raw in the middle after 30 minutes). Five thumbs up, no doubt.

On Saturday, I'm going to a Regency dance demo out at Cape Vincent! And I'm being social and carpooling! Double success, triple when you count not having to drive. Going to wear my thesis outfit because of the heat, and because my proper Regency corset and evening dress are a bit too small in the bust. I'm also getting myself involved with sewing a dress for another person ... I know, I know, it's a bad idea, but she has the pattern and material. Her pattern is modern, though, and she wants to adapt it for Regency. I'm going to talk to her some more about it and find out if she has an historical one around (she says that when she's used them in the past they came out too big, so I'm hoping that means she has one) that I can use instead, because this sounds really tricky. I don't know, maybe I should turn her down, I don't want to do a really stressful "simple" project.

Cut for nonsenseCollapse )

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/909692.html - comment wherever you please.
Been a while again! Gosh it's hot. High 80s every day. I really, really need to get on top of making some tap pants.

Today I boned that corset. I really like the plastic whalebone! It'll be interesting to see how it acts when I wear it properly, but I can say at this point, it's really nice to be able to cut the bone down when I accidentally make the channel too narrow. It killed my hand, but it was better than having to make new channels, especially as this is a single-layer corset with applied backing where necessary. All I have to do is bind the top (and technically I need to do some flossing up there, too) and I'm done with May's challenge!

I made the decision to get a new (refurbished) laptop. :O It's not that mine is broken - it's just that it was my usual "really cheap because we've just taken it off the shelves" model, and I've burned through two batteries at this point, and isn't it so much easier to transfer your files over before the computer starts to die? Meanwhile I am also sewing a rag rug for the bathroom out of old sheets. Priorities: are mine sensible?

This weekend I made burritos from scratch. DELICIOUS. It never occurred to me that I could do that for myself. I got a great salsa for it - I never have it on hand because I don't entertain or hang out with tortilla chips, and I think of myself as not being able to handle spiciness anyway (even though I realized about eight years ago that I like spicy things).

There is an enormous thunderstorm coming in from Canada, between Brockville and Kingston, aaaaaand it's heading directly east so it's actually south of here. :( I'm getting some of the thunder and lightning but no rain. It's very sad and unfair.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/909438.html - comment wherever you please.

A Darker Shade of Magic

Time for my traditional "I'm only halfway through this book but I want to talk about it" review.

Read more...Collapse )

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/909083.html - comment wherever you please.


So much has happened this weekend!

- I got a lot done on the corset. Added the busk, then the bust gores, the boning channels in front and back, and the hip panels. Then took out a bit of the hip panels and added a gore to them because they didn't flare enough. The bust seems *sigh* slightly too big, I don't know how this always happens. I now need to order a bunch of new boning because everything I have is too long.

- Finished tweaking formatting stuff with my paper and submitted it. Now I'm terribly nervous that it's just bad. It's kind of a list of primary source information ... but in some contexts that's a good thing.

- I recently ordered a new summer fitted sheet - it's sooooo nice, cotton sateen, and it actually fits the mattress so I don't have to pull it down at the corners every morning. The old one and the microfiber one I was using for winter are both horribly pilled and worn, so I cut off the elastic and seams and ripped them both into 2" strips, which I'm now braiding in preparation for turning into a rag rug for the bathroom (and probably another for the kitchen, this braid is getting very long). It's very satisfying - I hate waste.

- My stepmother got Hamilton tickets for us all in that AmEx block that opened up for next spring. I know. I'm kind of stunned but excited but also feeling a little guilty because so many people would love this opportunity while I'm actually more interested in Shuffle Along. :/

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/908751.html - comment wherever you please.
JSYK, the Met bookstore is having a great sale. I ordered Poiret (have wanted this book for YEARS), Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations (don't care, but it came in a set with Poiret), American Quilts and Coverlets in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and American Portrait Miniatures in The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/908446.html - comment wherever you please.
I enjoyinged S1 of Indian Summers, but I've had to resort to FrockFlicks's costume recaps at times because I'm missing things. Read more...Collapse )

Trying to decide which bonnet to go with: Timely Tresses have some very nice straw forms and Anna Worden B. has a fancy one I fancy. But I can't figure out what would look best with my face ... none, really, I suppose. I'm a hat person, not a bonnet person. Fat cheeks. But I do like AWB's. Think I could pull it off?

Lately I've been playing this bizarre restaurant game - it's called Hunt Cook. You're the chef at a restaurant that specializes in wild game (and not just the normal things like fish and pheasant, but ravens and badgers??) and your boss is a shiba inu in a hat. IMO it has just enough action to be entertaining, just enough idling to make it not waste much of your time, and just enough of a challenge to keep you going without feeling stuck. Also, it's adorable.

Cannot wait for next week's Samantha Bee. CANNOT WAIT.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/907797.html - comment wherever you please.
Feeling very clever and industrious because I'm working on the images to my article. Feeling very stupid as I banged my arm into a doorknob and it hurts like the dickens.

I didn't get into Indian Summers when it was actually on because it's obviously reminiscent of The Jewel in the Crown, which I felt burned on (but don't quite remember why - I think because it turned out to not be about the characters the first few episodes made it seem like it would be?), but now that it's come to Amazon Prime I'm really enjoying it! Check it out if you didn't see it before, it's worth the time.

Original post: http://chocolatepot.dreamwidth.org/907564.html - comment wherever you please.

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