No Fact Zone goes to the Rally and lives to tell the tale!

As I start this blog post, I am 27,000 feet in the air, flying back to Dallas and thinking of all of the wonderful memories that were made this weekend. I’m taking the day off tomorrow to specifically cover the rally, including a photo series of some of the best signs and characters that we saw at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear, video and report from the post-rally press conference at the National Press Club, screen caps and eye candy posts, and a list of some of our favorite moments from the Rally.

However, I’d first simply like to talk about my experience at the event. I hope you enjoy hearing about my most excellent adventure.

10/29 2:45p CDT

I leave work, and head to DFW airport. I actually work on the grounds of the airport, so it was a very quick ride there. It’s best that I leave work anyway – my brain has been on the plane since Monday, and virtually no one at work comprehends the pilgrimage I am about to make.

DFW Rally GoersAs my carry-on, I lugged my Barnes and Noble “I Am America” tote bag with the stipple picture of Stephen from the back cover of the book, with a KFA button I had gotten from the Comedy Central site earlier this month. (My Zazzle “Z” buttons, by the way, never arrived, even though I paid extra for two-day shipping and ordered them the same day as my official Comedy Central merch. Boo, Zazzle.) I sat down at the gate to wait for the plane, and immediately, someone said, “I love your bag, are you going to the rally?” I said, “I sure am!” The woman across from me said, “I’m going too!” and all of a sudden, I heard this chorus of “Me, too!” I stood up, and loudly said, “Who here is going to the rally?” Almost everyone’s hand at the gate went up. It was my first magical moment of the weekend, my first communion with a mass number of true it-getters. I took pics of the crowd, and tweeted it. I was so looking forward to being able to tweet every cool moment that I could over the weekend.

10/29 8:10p EDT

Whoo hoo! Landed safe, and able to check my e-mail. I had a special surprise when I opened up my iPhone , an e-mail from one of the Comedy Central PR crew, inviting me to a post-rally press conference at the National Press Club at 4p. No Fact Zone would only get one pass, though. My first thought was, oh no, that means I’ll be late to the Zoner meetup! And what will my rally buddies do while I’m at the press conference? Okay, that’s a lie. My first thought was AAAAAAAAHH! Then the other thoughts came up.

Once the shock wore off, I chewed on it for a few minutes, and e-mailed to say “I’m in. You rock.” I figured if anyone on this planet would understand, the Zoners would understand how I simply had to “say Yes” to this opportunity. I jumped on the train and headed out to Fairfax to meet my buddy from DC, Lisa (she’s a quiet person and I’ll do my best to respect her privacy in this post).

10/29 9:45p EDT

I’m in DC, eating La Madeline with my buddy Lisa and talking about the rally. We’re both exhausted, but also both terribly excited. We’re looking forward to meeting AnnG for the first time, as well as looking forward to the Zoner meetup. We decide we’re going to separate after the rally ends, while I trek the 12 blocks up to the National Press Club for the press conference. I figure I’ll blog and e-mail about the change of plans once I get to Lisa’s place. I check my e-mails, send a couple of quick notes on my phone, and head out to get some much needed rest.

10/29 10:30p EDT

I walk into the door of Lisa’s apartment, set my purse down, and go to grab my phone in the front pocket of my purse. It’s not there. I panic. Lisa calls the restaurant, but no one has seen it. My iPhone is officially gone. After having a minor meltdown, I decide that the best plan is to go to Wal-Mart, grab a call-and-text only GoPhone, and use that for the weekend so at least I have a way to call and text my husband.

I get back to Lisa’s place, set up my phone, e-mail my family my new phone number, blog and e-mail my number to the Zoners, and lay down to a fitful sleep well after 1a.

Everything I had planned to do for the weekend – the Zoner meetup, the live Tweeting, the picture taking of the crowds, and live-streaming the video conference on Qik – revolved around my iPhone. I had no intention of not reporting the rally, but the game plan for the day was definitely going to change. I sat there, trying to fall asleep, worried that we wouldn’t be able to deal with the crowds, worried that I wouldn’t get to cover the rally the way I wanted without my iPhone, worried that I would be too tired to enjoy the day. Then I realized, worst case scenario, I get to see Stephen Colbert. How bad could it be? And I finally drifted off.

10/30 8:05a EDT

AnnG, Lisa and I are all at the Starbucks near the train station. Going on around 4 hours of sleep, I choose a doppio espresso. My thought process was that it was the most caffeine I could get with the least amount of liquid. My port-a-potty paranoia was out in full force. As we drive to the train station, I make a horrifying discovery – Starbucks espresso is seriously gross.

Packed Vienna METRO train station in Fairfax, VA 10-30-2010The train station is packed, and it takes us 20 minutes just to get our ticket and get to the train platform. Lisa lets us know that the trains are running their regular schedule and will probably be very full. Luckily we were at the end of the line, and were able to get on the end car, with lots of seating. The train was packed full to the point where no one could get on by the third stop. And we still had about 10 stops to go. While I was nervous about the crowds, I was also thankful that we had gotten up early enough to make it onto a train in on our first attempt.

10/30 9:50a EDT

We come out of the train station and head towards the rally. We want to get our press passes and start exploring. Once the passes were procured, we made a b-line to the press area. It was relatively close to the stage, not the best view, but we could see the stage clearly if we stood just right. Same with the monitors. We then braved the crowds to start taking in the rally. Videos start playing at 10a, including the videos announcing the rally from the ‘Colbert Report’ and ‘Daily Show’, the Trololololo guy, and a Memory Game featuring pictures of the ‘Daily Show’ correspondents.

10/30 11:00a EDT

National Art Gallery - Rally To Restore SanityWhile standing on the steps of the National Art Gallery, I met a couple from Phoenix, who were just amazingly excited to be there. All day long, I meet people from all over the country – from California, to New York and South Carolina, and many other states. I was not the only one to make the pilgrimage that day, that is for certain. And while at the top of those steps, I got an idea of the massive crowds that had gathered for the event. I also realized how lucky I was to have the press pass and a guaranteed line of site of the stage.

It is impossible for the three of us to keep moving and stay together with the crowds becoming thicker and thicker. We decide to split up. Even with the insane amount of people that are crowding on the lawn, and the people trying to walk up and down the streets, everyone was in a good mood. Everyone was polite. No one pushed in line. No one yelled at each other, or shoved. It was the most surreal feeling I have ever experienced. I was doing my best to take pictures of some of the silliest costumes and signs that were there.

Limo driversThe street behind the stage is lined with media vans with huge satellites on the roof, and black Lincoln Towncars with blacked out back windows. As I walked down the street behind the stage, I see this group of middle eastern lookng men in black suits and ties. I think, huh, I wonder if these are actors for some kind of bit? I take a couple of pictures of them as they pose for pictures with each other. It then dawns on me – these are the limo drivers. Lots and lots and lots of limo drivers. I laugh at myself a bit and keep walking.

I pop my head in the media tent (a place with tables, power, WiFi, and a live feed of the event on multiple screens), where a few lone bloggers were sitting and watching the live feed with no audio. I quickly checked my e-mail and packed back up to get back in the crowds. In the front row of tables, there was a group of bloggers who seemed to be having the best time ever, so I had to ask – what group are you guys with? And it was the Comedy Central blogging team! They were watching the feed, checking the official sites, monitoring the check-ins on Facebook, and I saw a WordPress login screen at one point on one of their Macbooks. I thought, These are my people. I got to shake hands with quite a few people with whom I had corresponded for years, which was amazingly cool. Greetings and salutations complete, I left the tent to go meet up with AnnG.

10/30 12:00p EDT

My four hours of sleep and espresso had officially worn off. AnnG and I decide to go back to the media tent to Twitter a bit and check out what’s going on online while the Roots play and we ate one of the power bars we had packed in our totes. They turned on the feed’s sound when the rally started, so I was very much enjoying the performance of the Roots while I was checking Twitter.

Comedy Central blogging teamI found myself amused at how much fun the Comedy Central team is having. All of a sudden, I hear on the event stream “Ladies and gentleman, John Legend” and I exclaim “JOHN LEGEND?!” And not with my inside voice. To no one in particular, I holler “DUDE! I GOTTA SEE THIS!” and go running out of the tent. I can see the back of the stage and watch the band jam for a few. I then come back to some very odd looks. “I’m a big John Legend fan.”

John’s appearance was the first of many surprises over the course of the day. You guys know, more than anyone, that if there was something out there about the rally, we blogged it. But the team who put the rally together did an extraordinary job of keeping an airtight lid on the happenings. And I’m grateful that they did – the surprises were the best part of being there. When the Mythbusters team came out to start doing experiments with the audience, I stood up and said to the Comedy Central team, “Okay, guys, it’s time for me to stop being a blogger and start being a fan. Catch you guys later!” And with that, AnnG and I went to go brave the crowds again. We got back just in time for the jumping experiment.

AnnG and I discovered relatively quickly that the media reps surrounding us in the press area didn’t find the event nearly as funny as we did. The foreign media film crew directly behind where AnnG and I were standing were having a huge breakdown. “There’s 200,000 people here, the grid is overloaded. We can’t get a connection! We’re trying, but you’re just going to have to be patient.” I quickly began to appreciate my Luddite cell phone, 8-year old camera and Moleskine notebook.

10/30 12:50p EDT
[Editor’s Note: I don’t remember what happened at what specific time, so I just lumped it all in here. I’m going on coffee fumes right now, just go with me on this one.]

The rally has officially started. Jon Stewart takes the stage. The crowd goes wild. I am officially with My People. The beginning starts a bit slow, and as you can imagine, my thought is “Okay, I’m ready for Stephen now, please.” The crowd is still amazingly civil. Rowdy enough to be interesting, but not so much so that anyone around me feels uncomfortable The media still aren’t laughing, and the slow start of the rally starts to worry me a bit. But the crowd’s reaction to everything is so amazingly powerful that I know that the rally will hit its groove.

When Stephen came on the screen behind Jon, shirtless and filthy, the crowd erupted yet again. Soon after the video started, the crowd started chanting, “Stephen! Stephen! Stephen!” I even joined in for a Stephen! or two. And then I see it – Stephen Colbert coming up the FENIX capsule and taking the stage in the most obnoxious Evil Knievel jumpsuit ever. Everything’s going to be all right.

Jon came out and introduced Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stephens), and I thought, fantastic, they were able to get him! I gently swayed, and enjoyed the music until Stephen came running out. I thought, okay, here we go people. When Ozzy came out, the crowd went wild! While I enjoyed seeing Ozzy sing immensely, the best part of that was watching Stephen dance, in those Chuck Noblet boots, in the most obnoxious ways possible. The ensuing train fight was comedy genius, and bringing the OJays out to sing and dance absolutely jacked the energy up in the audience. That was the moment, the moment when the crowd was dancing and I could feel the joy radiating off of everyone on the lawn at the same time, that was the first real moment I thought, Oh my God, this is happening, and I’m here to be part of it. I was there. And it was indescribable.

When Jon gave the first Sanity award out, I could hear the wave of cheers all the way from the back, The cheering enveloped the entire audience, this huge wall of sound. Obviously the crowd approved the Sanity awards. I laughed incredibly hard at the Fear award to the media who were banning their employees from coming to the event unless they were covering it. I turn to AnnG and say, “High five!” A few seconds later, she taps me on the shoulder – “Look behind you.” Directly behind me was an NPR reporter. I quickly grab my camera, but by the time I had turned around, he had gone.

When Stephen uttered the words “Let’s not fight, let’s sing about it!”, I thought to myself, well, that’s it for my wish list! My wish list, by the way, was Stephen singing, Stephen dancing, and a surprise appearance by John Legend. Check, check, check. I could officially die happy. And when Jon first started singing, I winced in pain. Trust me when I say that it was literally physically painful to hear it in person. But once Jon got going, and Jon and Stephen started singing in harmony, it all came together so wonderfully. It was funny and it was jaunty and it was just lovely.

No Fact Zone exclusive - Arianna Huffington's buttI’ll be honest – the Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow musical numbers did nothing for me. Luckily, about that time, Arianna Huffington showed up in the press area. She shook hands of people that were on the other side of the fence, and talked to anyone who approached her. I thought, what an amazingly nice lady! And even though I’m sure she had been on the buses all morning, her hair still looked perfect. I tried to take some pics but basically just got a shot of her butt. So give it up for my pic of Arianna Huffington’s butt!

I loved everything about Formidable Opponent. I loved the puppet with the WristSTRONG bracelet and pen, I loved R2-D2, I loved Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and last but not least, I loved the surreal site of John Oliver in tights. When Stephen screamed “I’m melting … my precioussssssss”, I turned to AnnG and said, “I knew he couldn’t get through this rally without slipping in a Lord of the Rings reference.”

Jon’s speech was moving and brilliant and I’ll talk a ton more about it tomorrow. I thought it was a most excellent way to wrap up the rally. So much of the media and many of the audience came with an agenda – to pinpoint Jon’s “true” intent. Jon’s words were fearless, and strong, and absolutely put to rest any thought of this rally being anything other than a sincere plea for civility in politics. Go Jon.

10/30 3:00p EDT

I’m walking as fast as my Birkenstocks will take me to the National Press Club. I feel a bit alone, but am enjoying the opportunity to listen to what people around me are saying about the rally. One says he thought it would be funnier. Another said they enjoyed the puppet. A person beside me wonders how many people they were able to get to come on the HuffPo buses. I let him know that the lady I spoke with earlier said 216 buses, over 14,000 people. Two people discuss what they think the media’s reaction is going to be to the entire event. I wonder myself what to expect when I get to my next destination.

Now, keep this in mind, good Zoners. I am a blogger, and a small one at that. For what we do here, we’re a big fish, but in a very small fandom pond. But I’m not a professional journalist. I’m a fan blogger. I’ve never been to a press conference in my life, and have no idea what is going to happen or what to do once I get there. How in the world I managed to get offered this amazing opportunity is beyond me. But I’m going to be there if it kills me. And at the rate I was going, it was entirely possible that it would, in fact, kill me. I was beyond exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before. I was overheating because the sweater that wasn’t enough at 9a is too much at 3p. All I’ve consumed at this point during the day is the 2 oz. espresso, enough water to take a couple of preemptive pain pills, one bottle of water and a Cliff bar. I’m tired, I’m hot, and I’m basically walking over a mile to get to the National Press Club before 4p, and before I end up sitting on the floor because I’m the last person to get there.

But I’m not going to miss this. Dammit.

10/30 3:40p EDT

I’m escorted to the 13th floor of the National Press Club by a member of the Comedy Central staff. They’re excited to meet me, and happy that I could make it. I get to the 13th floor, and I’m pointed to the room where the conference will be held. I say, “Thank you. Where’s the bathroom?” Ah, glorious toilet paper and clean bathroom! I made it through the entire rally and was able to avoid the porta-potties. I consider that the greatest victory of the day.

I go to wash my hands, and look up to see a disheveled, rosacea-tinted face looking back at me in the mirror. Fanfriggintastic. So I stay in there for a few, until I look relatively normal and make my way to the press room. I’m able to grab the last seat in the first row on the right side of the stage. And then I waited.

National Press Club - Rally To Restore Sanity press conferenceThe center section had pieces of paper on the seats that say “Reserved”. I wonder, who in the world might show up to cover the rally? This young man comes in with a hoodie and moderately ironic shirt on, and I think, hmm, wonder who this kid is? Another lady sits down in the front row and starts talking to him and asks him his name. He says, “I’m Alexis Ohanian, and I’m from a site called Reddit.com. Reddit. R-E-D-D-I-T.com.” They talk for quite some time, and it was interesting to hear their dialogue. I realize later that the lady was Christiane Amanpour. I guess I just didn’t recognize her in a puffy vest. A few moments later, Arianna Huffington takes the front row with the other two, and I think, okay, this is cool.

10/30 4:15p EDT

By the time that Jon and Stephen made it to the room, I had sufficiently cooled down and calmed down. I had the good sense to realize that there were some very, very major journalists in the room and I felt it would most definitely be a good idea to let the big fish ask the questions. My fear is that I would ask a question and it would be like those horrible interviews you see right after sporting events with the coach of the winning and/or losing team. “Why do you think you won today?” “Well, Chuck, we took the ball, we ran with the ball, we were able to get it over that goal line, and that was our goal, to do that more than the other guy.” Well, duh. I figured I’d let the real journalists ask the questions. I was just jazzed to be there.

Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart and Tony Fox at National Press Club press conferenceTony Fox, Executive Vice President of Corporate Communications of the MTV Networks Entertainment Group, was there to introduce Jon and Stephen to the media, and moderated the questions with the media. Jon and Stephen walk in the room, and I take a few crappy pictures on my crappy camera, and then decide I can look at the pictures that the people with real cameras are taking. I think I’d like to sit here and listen to what Jon and Stephen have to say.

I’ll report more on the event tomorrow, but I’ll say a few quick things about the atmosphere in the room. Much like the event itself, Jon took the lead on many of the questions, and Stephen took more of a secondary role. While he was funny, he was not in character at all during the interview, which made it a special treat for me. His smiles were genuine, his appreciation for Jon was palpable, and his joy just made his eyes sparkle.

When Arianna Huffington asked her question, she said upfront, I am letting you know I am not being objective, and I thought to myself, we’re supposed to be objective? I’m so screwed.

At one point during the questions, Alexis said, “Hi, I’m Alexis from Reddit.com” and Jon said in a very sing-song voice “BLOG-GER!” I thought, yep, no questions from me. I don’t know what it is about Jon and his open aversion to bloggers, but I honestly think that’s why he kinda scares me a little. As a fan, I very much appreciated Stephen’s expressions of the joy that doing the rally brought him that he shared in the conference. And I very much appreciated Jon’s answers to the media, those who walked in there wanting to know the “real” agenda of what Jon was doing. I wanted to look at those “real” journalists and say, “You seriously don’t get it, do you? Did you even *watch* the rally?!”

10/30 4:50p EDT

Alexis and DBStephen and Jon left the room and I made it my mission to say hello and shake the hands of Alexis and Arianna. Because I am a total nerd. Alexis was such a nice guy, and we talked about the Colbert Rally group on Reddit. He gave me a $10 certificate for Donors Choose, and I can’t wait to use it to help a classroom. We took a picture together, and as I finished the final touches on this post, I realize it’s the only one I have of me from the day of the rally. But damn, it’s a cool one. I then went and snagged Arianna and thanked her for the buses for the fans and got a real pic of her. Also? When I grow up, I want to be Arianna Huffington. Her hair still looked perfect.

I also took the time to thank some of the Comedy Central crew that had been so kind to invite me to the event. Thanks again Tony, Steve, Renata, Eve, Rachel, Darcy, and all the others who I met this weekend. You have no idea how much all of this meant to me.

I almost made it to the elevator before I realized, I really, seriously have to have some kind of liquids or the elevator doors might open to find a pile of dust. I find a water fountain, hydrate to the best of my ability, and head back to the elevator. I ended up riding down the elevator with Arianna Huffington. I try to act like I do this kind of thing every day. I fail miserably.

I had one more thing to accomplish, and by gum I was going to do it. It was time to meet some Zoners.

10/30 5:05p EDT

I’m on my last major trek of the day, back to the National Museum of the American Indian. I call Lisa to let her know I’m on my way, and start the 14 block journey on foot. I would kill a small animal to find a pedicab, but alas, no luck. I call my husband and he lets me know that he went to the Dallas rally, and wore my KFA hat. My husband, being a Completist for a Day – how cute is that? (That answer, by the way, is very cute.)

I also think a bit about my MIA iPhone. I realize that I would have had a totally different experience had I not lost it, and truth be told, I don’t know if it would have been better than the one I had. It dawns on me that losing my iPhone was the best thing that could have happened to me. It’s funny how life does those kinds of things sometimes.

As I walk by the mall on 4th Street, I am quite happy at how clean the grounds are.

10/30 5:30p EDT

I walk up to the front of the museum and look for familiar faces. And thank God there were a few. I go around and introduce myself to everyone and give big hugs all around. I then sit down and pray for the sweet release of death, or at the very least, a bottle of water. But first I have a story to tell. Marrena gives me some water and a pair of gloves, and I am refreshed enough to tell everyone there about why I was late. Luckily I took good notes and was able to get the good parts out about the press conference pretty decently.

We decide that we’re cold, so we go on a quest for a Starbucks, but unfortunately it was closed. We decide to call it a day, so we take a group pic (mine didn’t come out for squat, hopefully someone else’s did) and more hugs all around. As everyone is walking away, I realize I have a huge pile of “Z” stickers, Zoner meetup nametags and cards that I completely failed to give anyone. Oops.

We all go down to the train stop and head our separate ways. A woman standing beside me on the train ride back says that the rally was mostly Jon’s fans, as Stephen doesn’t really have that many fans. I take a breath, reach in my pocket, hand her a business card and say, “Go to my site. Stephen has fans. Trust me.”

As I finish this blog post, it’s after 2a here early Monday morning in Dallas, and I think that’s all the story I can tell for today. I’ll blog lots more tomorrow. But please let me know your story. What was your day like? Do you have blisters? Did you catch cooties from the porta-potties? Did you meet interesting people? Did you bring interesting posters? What moved you more than anything else? Please give us your stories about your DC rally experiences in the comments.

Also, if someone has an old iPhone 3GS 32gig they’d like to sell me cheap, I’d be mighty grateful. Thank you.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for that wonderful blog post, I really feel like I’m there with you when I read it! Congratulations on being able to join in with the main press coverage, you definitely deserved the privilege! I love your telling of the press conference, and I can just see Stephen’s eyes sparkling when I read it! That was a great finish to the rally day, I thought, seeing Jon and Stephen articulating some of the intentions and emotion behind it. I’m glad Stephen was out of character, he’s such a treat to watch when he’s being his usually kind, funny self.

    My rally day was crazy – and I wasn’t even in DC! I went to bed at 7pm, hoping to wake up at midnight and get ready for the rally coverage at 3am (EDT – Australian time). I ended up waking up after about an hour and was too excited to get back to sleep. I was hoping to have a few people turn up to the internet cafe to watch the rally with me, but everyone else dropped out at the last minute. But in the end, I was honestly happy that they did, as it meant that I could actually chat with my fangirl sisters about the event over at the forums, and some people on Reddit, without bothering anyone.

    I watched the rally from 3am until about 7am in the morning, and was just transfixed. The crowd was so amazing, it seemed to stretch out into infinity. I didn’t even notice how tired I was. As you say, the rally started off a little slow with the Roots (who I’d never heard before, by the way), but when Jon and Stephen arrived on stage, it was just electric. They both looked and were incredible, and the chemistry they have together as friends and comedians made me so happy. The big moment for me was Jon’s final “moment of sincerity” speech – I was watching with tears in my eyes and all this crazy emotion welling up within me. As I said pretty much everywhere on the forums – I really felt like I had just witnessed history. The love and respect I feel for that man is incredible. And Stephen played it perfectly at the end of the show – retiring to allow Jon to shine. Anyone who thinks that the rally was all about Jon was so wrong, Stephen was such an integral part of it, Jon was just the best person to present the sincere message at its heart at the end of the day. I love them both for the effort they put in, and I am so grateful to all the people over at Comedy Central who helped them do it.

    After the rally, I read up on a lot of different websites to get different perspectives about the rally, and went home and watched the wonderful press conference. As I said before, that was the perfect end to the event. I was planning to get some sleep then, but I was running a satellite rally later in the day and was trying to find a torrent or some decent video of the event. No luck, so we ended up watching it off C-Span. The satellite rally was amazing though – after the night before I was kind of depressed and thought that it might not be worth doing, and no-one would show up again. But I was so glad I did, people did come along and they were amazing. I haven’t clicked with anyone like that for a long time – we talked for hours about the shows and politics and the media and our lives after the rally, and it was like being with old friends rather than people you only just met. One guy even brought along pringles, whipped cream and Reese’s peanut butter cups and we had fun trying out SIephen’s pringle invention (actually better than you would expect!). I made some amazing new friends, and we’re going to meet up again soon. Thank you so much Rally for Sanity and/or Fear, you really did bring people together all over the globe!

    …One last thing though – I’m going to have to defend that jumpsuit you called “obnoxious” to the death. On anyone ELSE it would be obnoxious, on Stephen, it was just about the sexiest thing I have ever seen. I’m going to have to credit the transitive power of Stephen for that. ;)

    • Whoops, sorry, that ended up being an essay!

      Here is a picture of me and my new friends at the satellite rally, by the way! (I’m the one kneeling at the front wearing the “Koala Bears: The #1 Threat To Australia” T-shirt. :P)

      http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b87/arrowchan/Sanity%20Fear%20Rally/DSC_5467.jpg

      And for posterity – Pringles meet whipped cream!

      http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b87/arrowchan/Sanity%20Fear%20Rally/DSC_5489.jpg

      • The most amazing thing about the rally for me as a fellow Aussie was being able to watch the rally live online. Normally watching TDS and TCR on ABC2 feels a bit weird because we get Monday nights show on Tuesday night, and at a much earlier time. It always makes me feel a bit out of sync with the rest of the fandom, but being able to watch it live for the first time truly made me feel like I was there with the thousands of other fans. It has got to be the most incredible experience I have ever had the chance to witness!!

        It’s so great to know that there are so many fellow Aussie fans out there. So glad you guys had such a great time at your satellite rally!!

      • That is so awesome Arrow and kudos to you for organising a satellite rally. It still amazes me that we can be so far away yet still be able to take part. It’s a small thing, but I felt so privileged to be able to watch the Rally live.

        With the time difference the Rally was on at 12am Perth time, so thankfully wasn’t too bad.

    • Hey Kat and Jen, great to hear from other Aussie fans – there were a few Australian satellite rallies in the end, I think Melbourne was the biggest one with over 70 people signed up! Ours was a lot smaller than that, but it was still a lot of fun. I agree that it was fantastic seeing the rally live, I’m really grateful to Comedy Central for providing that, and letting international fans access the feed. According to them they had over 4 million views, which is just amazing (and I don’t think that even includes the people watching on C-Span). I wonder how many of those people were international fans!

      Now if only Comedy Central would make their online store international… :P

      • Wow 4 million people, that’s incredible!!

        Try a mail forwarding service if you’re after some merch. That’s how I purchased a Colbert Nation hoodie and some Wriststrong bracelets. It’s annoying but totally worth it. I wore my hoodie everywhere during winter :)

    • lockhart43 says:

      “One guy even brought along pringles, whipped cream and Reese’s peanut butter cups and we had fun trying out Stephen’s pringle invention (actually better than you would expect!)”

      I knew someone else would try it and like it! I tried it a few days after the initial episode, and oddly enough, I really liked it. “Better than you would expect” is really the best way to describe a Pringle/Reddi-wip sandwich, haha. :P

    • Jen – Luckily, one of my friends in the US was happy to be my middleman…er..woman. :) I was fortunate enough to get a WristStrong from Stephen when I saw the Report live, but I really wanted to get some rally merch and a couple of spares! I just can’t wait for it to arrive!

      lockhart43 – Haha, yes, I don’t know if I’d make a habit of it, but it actually worked together amazingly well, all things considered!

      • lockhart43 says:

        Haha! Exactly – I wouldn’t make a habit of eating it for dessert, but if there are Pringles and Reddi-wip in my house and it’s 11 o’clock at night, I’m not ruling out the fact that I may get hungry for a late-night snack. :P It’s definitely hard to explain the taste to other people though, especially if they’re not fans of the show, because then you have to explain were it comes from, and that’s just a story that ends with the other person looking at me funny, lol.

  2. Thankyou so much DB! That was such a pleasure to read!

    I also got up to watch the rally at 3am thanks to comedy central! It was SO awesome! Afterward i also read a lot of reviews of the rally too. I have to say I seriously loved the whole mythbusters’ performance! That wave was amazing to see, the size of the crowd was incredible. i’ve watched multiple times on youtube when they start to explain that they’re going to do the wave and they say that they “have people at the back”(of the crowd), at which point this incredible roar just erupts from the depths of the crowd. People at the front suddenly turn around in amazement. Its so cool!
    Of course Jon’s speech just perfect, i was transfixed.
    Wow, I love these guys so much! I so wish i could have been there. I was so excited to just be watching it live on another continent, so i can only imagine how awesome being there actually was.
    Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now, it’s someone else’s turn!

  3. Thank you so much DB for your report, I really felt like I was right there with you while reading it.
    I watched the rally via live stream -thanks Comedy Central for providing that wonderful HD stream btw- at 6pm (German time) and talked to some people online about it. Even though I’m 4000 miles away from Washington, even I could feel the amazing atmosphere. Unfortunately, just in time for Formidable Opponent, my internet connection broke off so I missed that part, luckily I got it working again in time for Jon’s fantastic ending speech. I loved everything about the rally…the musical performances (especially Jon and Stephen’s “It’s the greatest,strongest country in the world”), the humor, Stephen’s costumes, Jon’s dancing, the people,the signs…it was just awesome. I’m really happy for everybody who was able to attend, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. Oh and also: Just how adorable are Jon & Stephen together? I mean we all know they’re “GFF’s”, but when I watched them perform and also later at the press conference I kept thinking “You guys are adorableness personified”. Alright, I’ll stop now…can’t wait to read more stories and reports :)

  4. It sounds like you guys had an awesome time! I had a great time watching it live on my computer but I would have given anything to have been there!

    My reaction to Jon singing wasn’t to wince in pain but to laugh out loud. He was hilariously bad at the beginning. That song is very catchy.

  5. Gabrielle says:

    DB, I am so happy for you and for anyone that went. I’m radiating from half-way around the world and that is a testament to Jon and Stephen and how relatable their message is. For all your efforts, DB, these are some privileges you most definitely deserve.

  6. Thanks for the report! I ended up standing on the National Gallery of Art steps. I could see a screen but couldn’t hear much. Now I have to go watch it on my TV so I know what was going on! :)

  7. I’m probably just saying this because I’m exhausted (and slightly distraught about the fact that I have to get up for work), but it would have been way better without the inclusion of the trio of Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow and T.I. The way Jon was describing him, we genuinely believed someone amazing was about to take the stage. Someone like Springsteen or Elvis Costello. For the rest of the day, on the street and on the Metro, I heard people talking about how totally weird it was that, of all people, it turned out to be Kid Rock.

    The non-musical pieces were, of course, hilarious and awe-inspiring. (Ok, I’ll admit I may have teared up during Tony Bennett’s rendition of America the Beautiful. I also went slightly nuts when Yusef was on stage, though I really did want to hear the song!)

    It was all worth it, though. The crowd was amazing, and as I walked down the street after the rally, I really did feel as though I had been a part of something. The interplay between Jon and Stephen provided me with enough joy-gasms to last the rest of my life, and Jon’s speech at the end was convalescent, but very familiar at the same time. I would make a comparison there, but it only happened on Saturday. Everything I say right now will come out crazy sugary because those two boys just fill me up with so much love.

  8. I was there, both for the rally and the Zoner meetup, and almost 48 hours later I’m still on a huge high. It was SO MUCH FUN!

    My day in a nutshell – I got to the Mall around 9a and managed to snag a spot in the 2nd section along the rail in the center. I could see the stage but there were tv cameras in the way so it wasn’t a clear view. However I had a great view of the giant screens. And being on that center aisle was interesting, as there was a constant stream of handheld tv cameras/reports/print press wandering around most of the day. And therefore I got on camera twice. :-) I was hoping to meet up with lots of friends/relatives who were going but since I went earlier I never found any of them, but that’s ok, had fun with all the people around me. I thought the show itself was great, only slow-ish part was Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow, but that was when we could take a breather, haha. The whole “train” thing was brilliant – kudos to whoever came up with that idea. Ozzy and Cat Stevens together? Awesome. Loved Stephen and Jon’s song and the fact that it wasn’t exactly perfect pitch-wise just added to it, I thought. Stephen’s entrance was brilliant. I was crazy excited to be part of a Mythbusters “experiment” as I love that show. I’m normally not a fan of doing the wave, but that was freaking amazing. We couldn’t believe how far back the crowd went. Jon’s closing speech was fantastic, the perfect message for all those crazy media people out there.

    Afterwards, I finally managed to make it over to the American Indian Museum for the Zoner meetup – yay! It was so much fun to meet everyone, and to hear about their experience that day. Also to bond over our love of Stephen! :-) And DB, so jealous of you getting to go to the press conference, but it was particularly great to finally meet you. I know you were exhausted but we all appreciate the effort!

    I’ve put up an album on Facebook from the rally, which consists of a lot of signs and a few other things, haha.
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?aid=568497&id=848245509
    And this photo cracks me up –
    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150310274580510&set=a.10150310265805510.568497.848245509
    I happened to be next to the backstage area when Stephen and Jon came out, and Stephen waved to everyone then did a couple of heel clicks then lept off a park bench. That’s the one photo I got. It’s not great but seriously, how can you not love Stephen in mid-air. :-)

    • lockhart43 says:

      I agree with you about Jon and Stephen’s song – the fact that Jon never perfectly got on with the pitch just made it all the more funny and adorable. Actually, that brings me to one of my favorite parts of the whole rally – when Stephen was tuning his voice with Jeff Tweedy and didn’t quite start the song right, the camera panned over to Jon who was covering his face and just bursting with laughter. That was pure JOY.

      And I LOVE that picture you got of Stephen mid-air! I feel like that picture pretty much describes both Stephen’s personality and my feelings about the rally. :D

    • Totally agree with lockhart43 – that moment when Jon cracked up was just hilariously wonderful – and then Stephen getting his revenge by paying him out during the press conference. xD Loved it! It was so great that the event had those fun little unpolished moments, it really made you feel that everyone was taking the same delightfully crazy trip together, and the bumps were just part of the ride.

      I’m reaaaaly hoping that Jon and Stephen do a studio version and release that song somehow, however – it was just so catchy! And they both do have good voices, I think!

  9. excellent report, DB!!! :D it sounds like a marvelous, magical experience.

    i’m pretty bummed about my rally experience, honestly. i went with my roommate, who didn’t think to mention that she has an apparently phobia of crowds? and so we had to bail on the rally lest she barf all over everyone there. :| i was only there for The Roots, and i didn’t even get to see them, just hear- we spent an hour trying to get through to the back of the mall, and went back to my other friend’s house and watched the last hour of it on the television. i still felt like i had a good time, although then at the end her telling me that she had a miserable time and that it was a huge mistake of hers definitely took alot of wind out of my sail.
    (sorry for the rant, but i’m still upset over this!!!! i’ll just have to go to see the show someday to get to see stephen in person, upon which i will most likely burst into tears.)

  10. Another Melbournite here, and I never even thought to check if there’d be any international meetups. D’oh!
    Oh well, I was happy alone with my Comedy Central feed and Tumblr. I took some screen caps on the fly, but Tumblr started slowing down too much to post. Besides, I was missing bits of the rally by snapping and cropping and uploading.
    The rally itself was a joy. Never heard The Roots before, but really enjoyed them, and John Legend was utter love.Jon and Stephen played off each other beautifully, and Stephen’s Evil Knieval jumpsuit was legendary! About the time I started to wonder where John Oliver was, he appeared as Peter Pan and turned the rally into a Panto! (OH NO HE DIDN’T!) <3
    Jon's final speech was thoughtful, moving and very fitting.

    DB, I'm so glad you got to experience first-hand the rally, and the presser, and all the camaraderie of the fans, and thanks for the fantastic report. Have a good rest, and commiserations about your phone.

  11. Gratefull says:

    “When Arianna Huffington asked her question, she said upfront, I am letting you know I am not being objective, and I thought to myself, we’re supposed to be objective? I’m so screwed.”

    LOL … this is such a great line. I watched the press conference on the press.org site and was really hoping and figuring you were there, DB. Sweet!

    Truly all the questions asked seemed to have an agenda to support. I can’t remember the exact words but one asked Jon what he thought would happen next and he said he wanted to hug his kids and otherwise, he didn’t know. The report talked over him with the suggestion that Jon couldn’t predict but Jon came back with “I don’t care.” Which felt to me to be so very honest and strong and purely confident. I saw Stephen smile admiring over at him.

    It was also fantastic that Stephen said they have a show to do on Monday and the have to hump it over the weekend to get it written and then a live show on Tuesday to which Jon groaned and then on Wednesday and Thursday right through to Thanksgiving.

    My admiration for you, DB, Stephen, Jon, the staff and crew and all the fans is just astronomic right now. Doubt I will come of this high for a bit. Thanks so much for the great coverage!!

  12. Splendiferous_Zeppelin says:

    Thank you DB for your most excellent report!

    My rally experience was pretty low-key compared to yours! I had the afternoon alone at home, so I put on the live-stream and made lunch and ate in front of the computer. But even that was something to remember. I also watched a lot of the pivotal moments of the Obama campaign online while eating in front of the computer, so this reminded me a bit of those days. I laughed out loud quite a bit, and I caught myself grinning maniacally and shaking my head when the camera panned to the view of the crowd. My hometown was also mentioned by one of the speakers and I gave a big scream after that, as it was totally unexpected. I had chills by the time Jon’s speech was over. It definitely made for an entertaining afternoon.

    I do want to bang my head against the wall a bit when it comes to the media coverage of this event. Can’t satirists just have a fun event once in a while? Can’t they be taken at face value, that they’re giving a humorous event to encourage civility in discourse? Do we have to suspect that they have a hidden agenda? Does everything have to be turned into us vs. them, Stewart vs. Beck, Democrats vs. Republicans, liberals vs. conservatives? For Pete’s sake. I am completely mystified why so many people read so deeply into it. Ironically (or, as Jon might say, “ironically”), in many ways the coverage of the rally confirmed the need for the rally. I’m glad you got the same vibe off of the event as I did – that it was truly just a celebration of civility and a chance to have some fun and to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

    I love this fandom. Congrats on the event and thanks for the great report!!

  13. Wow! I’m so glad you had such a wonderful day, DB! Thanks for the write up. Honestly, the thing that really made me sad about not being able to go was knowing I wouldn’t be able to meet any of the Zoners or Colboarders I’ve had online communication with for about 3 years now. Hopefully there will be another opportunity at some point.

    Thanks to everyone who went for posting write ups. Saturday turned out to be a busy day for me so I was only able to catch the last half hour of the rally on tv.

  14. Oh man, sounds like you had a great experience DB! My only regret from the day of the rally is not sticking around long enough to meet you.

    We flew in from AZ on Thursday and I was wish some friends who had never been to the East coast, so we stupidly decided to go to NYC the day before the rally. We had a great time but I can’t even describe our level of tired at the rally. After a full day of walking around the city we had some hotel complications, and basically ended up driving through the night with a 1 hr pit stop at our hotel. It says a lot about the people I was with that they had no idea what this rally was about and still put up with me and committed to getting there so early.

    Thankfully I had plans to meet up with Zoner friedthing who had the great idea of parking at the airport and taking a taxi in, so we could get there earlier than the metro started running. We were at the rally and had our camp setup before 7:30. So we were in the front of the crowd, in an area where they closed off after a while so we had plenty of room to spread out. We were crammed in like sardines at first, but realized that we couldn’t see anything over everyone’s heads so we moved back a bit where we had room and a great side view of the stage.

    I came dressed as my greatest fear, an illegal immigrant with an anchor baby, and had lots of nice people coming up to me and asking to take pictures with me. It was kind of weird, and I don’t think I’d ever make it as a celebrity. But for the day, it was great. I couldn’t believe how polite and friendly everyone in the crowd was, even as I was stepping on their toes trying to get past them. I took a nap before the rally started because at this point I was getting a little delirious.

    Once the rally started, pure bliss. What I loved the most is that the people I was with were really enjoying it, even though they have never watched TCR or TDS. I was trying to take pictures for my photography class, but I had a hard time deciding between getting nice pictures and just enjoying the show.

    When the show was over, we went over to the museum for the zoner meetup, waited in the long line to get in, saw the line for the cafe, and I just couldn’t do it. I was seriously considering a double amputation of my feet at that time, because I was in some serious pain. I walked around and found a few of the zoners that were waiting around for more to show up, introduced myself, and left. We tried to find a cab which proved impossible, so we hopped on the metro where I was crushed in a huge crowd trying to get on the train. It would have been awful under normal circumstances, but it just made me realize how many people showed up for this thing, and I was in awe.

    I talked to a bunch of people on the train who were from the area and said they had never seen a crowd like this. I know there was not a “competition” with the Glen Beck rally, but if there was….we totally won :)

    AMAZING!!!

    • friedthing says:

      Thanks again for meeting up with me! I’m so glad your companions had a good time! And have you SEEN some of the pictures from the metro and even the sidewalks after the trains started running?! I’m so glad we beat the crowd!

      It was lots of fun meeting other Zoners, even if I was in zombie mode by that time in the evening ;).

      Stephen’s ridonkulous outfits were a highlight for me… the man will wear anything! Gotta love that. Chilean Stephel Knievel was probably my favorite, but I actually owned some star pants like that when I was about 11, so those are a close second. I also liked learning that the P in PK Winsome stands for Percy. I assume the K then stands for Kittens, of course! Loved seeing Adam and Jamie, loved seeing Kareem Abdul Jabbar (and did you see him standing next to Mavis Staples at the end? So funny!)…. My favorite part overall was probably the Peace/Crazy/Love Train bit… that was inspired!! The whole thing’s kind of a jumble inside my head right now, though, so I have to go watch it online. Wheeee!

      • dodgerblu says:

        No problem! Thanks for hanging out with us and waiting for us at the airport :) I wish I had stuck around ’til the end with you, but as you saw, I was in no shape to meet anyone unfortunately. I was really glad we beat the crowd too, showing up before sunrise was totally worth it!! it was great to meet you! :)

    • Ohh, I would love to see some of your pictures, please let us know when you post them! :)

  15. Gosh, DB -that was simply epic and a pleasure to read. I saw on the LiveBlog on Comedy Central:

    12:13 – Missive from the CC Press Tent: “DB Fergeson of NoFactZone just shrieked when John Legend came on.”

    and I thought “Yeah, you go girl!” Then reading your version, just lovely.

    An awesome time, awesome fun. Yep, Stephen and Jon delivered all right!

  16. I wasn’t able to go to the rally, so I watched the event live on Comedy Central in my pajamas (West Coaster here). I was going to at least freshen up a bit, but I remain transfixed on my bed until the end of the rally. Seeing the first wide shot of the crowd was simply amazing! I squeeed like a little fangirl when John Legend took the stage and many times thereafter. Just watching Stephen and Jon do a toss makes me giddy, so seeing them banter, dance and sing together was beyond awesome. Jon’s speech was heartfelt and wonderful – I loved his comments about how different people work together every day to get things done.

    To DB, the Completists and Zoners who were in attendance – it sounds like you all had an incredible time (despite some travel headaches and aching feet). I can’t wait to read more reporTs about the rally!

    I know the boys like to joke sometimes that they’re “just on basic cable,” but their impact was certainly evident at the rally. Seeing such a large, diverse group of it-getters made me very happy.

    Thank you to Jon, Stephen and everyone at TDS/TCR for organizing such an amazing event.

  17. I love that so many Aussie fangirls stayed up (or got up) to watch! I’m in Perth so did the 12 – 3am shift on Comedy Central, and was Facebook-ing and checking tweets … Awesome! I guess the rally was a little less controversial than the TV shows, but it was a family friendly gig, so that’s to be expected. All in all, a fantastic show and one we’ll all remember. Mel x

  18. Thank you for the Rally report! I was there too!!! But i was definitely in the thick of the crowd, towards the front of the stage, but still far enough that I couldn’t really see the features of the people on the stage.

    The rally was amazing, and I can’t wait to read more of your report later!

  19. Firstly: YOU ROCK. And it is BEYOND AWESOME that you were invited to the press conference.

    I was up at 5am to watch the live stream. I liveblogged my reactions as I was watching on my Facebook status here (warning: contains gratuitous capslock) http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596261544#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=166830550011656&id=596261544
    I got there a little late, and then the sound on my computer crapped out and the only thing I could think of was to reboot, so I missed a chunk, but it was before Jon and Stephen came out so I didn’t mind too much.

    After it finished I headed out to the Auckland rally/meetup, photo of which here: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=596261544#!/photo.php?fbid=163898560311007&set=a.163898556977674.32875.153145618052968 I’m the one in the red tshirt says Viva la Stewart. Met some cool and nice people, talked about the shows, the rally, Obama, and various things. Apparently I was the only one who actually got up to watch the rally so I was able to give a brief run-down of events.

    A fun time was had!

  20. lockhart43 says:

    DB, I loved reading your recap, and I’m loving everyone else’s as well! I could not agree with you more about the way Jon and Stephen handled the press conference. You could just see in Stephen’s eyes how happy he was with how everything went and how proud both he and Jon were of everything. And Jon’s “I couldn’t care less” response to the question of how he thought the media would react the next day is exactly what I expected of him, and just what I was hoping he would say. And it is an understatement for me to say that it’s cool that Comedy Central’s PR Team got you a press pass. That really says something about the level of respect No Fact Zone has garnered, and I’m so proud of y’all for that. :)

    I sort of wrote my response to the rally in the official thread post earlier, and don’t want to write the same thing twice, but I will say that being able to watch the rally unfold live (even though I still wish I could have been there in person), and then being able to share in the joy with you people, is a wonderful feeling, even two days later. :)

  21. I’ve loved reading DB’s and everyone else’s Rally stories as it’s fascinating to see the same event through the eyes of different people. Each new tale adds so much to the Joy Machine that was that day. Thank-you so much for sharing. If you’ll permit, I’ll add my story to the mix too.

    I currently live in the DC area having moved back recently (and by recently I mean my stuff arrived last Tuesday) so there was no way I was going to miss seeing my heroes in my own backyard. I had friends who also wanted to come from Jersey, so as long as they were willing to sit on boxes, they were welcome to stay. While I waited for them to make what was certain to be an 8 hour trip down I-95 on Friday night, I received an amazing phone call from a colleague. He had managed to procure tickets to the front section of the Rally and had one for me. All I had to do was find him the next day.

    The next day felt like Christmas Morning. I woke my very tired friends up at 5:30 and we were out the door to the Metro by 7:20. This, I have since learned, was a very good idea as there were no crowds at that hour. However, as we got to the Mall and watched the sun rise over the Capitol, we realized that there were a ton of people there already creating an electric atmosphere of pure joy and excitement.

    We found a place in the second section where my friends could see the stage and a Jumbotron and then I left them to find my colleague with the ticket. Heading back to the Metro at that point was like being a salmon heading upstream, but everyone I came across was polite and really happy to be there. By the time I met my colleague and got back to the front, it was about 10, but we were able to get in and get close enough to see the stage, although I spent most of the day desperately wishing I was about six inches taller :)

    As everyone else mentioned, the Rally was fantastic and it was an amazing experience to be with all of those it-getters to play the games Stephen and Jon wanted to play. We were all part of something simply by showing up. What struck me most was not the music, the silliness, or Stephen’s outlandish wardrobe but the civility of the crowd. There were certainly people of all kinds and differing beliefs but they were all there to enjoy the Rally and seemed to try not to disturb everyone else’s enjoyment. It was also really powerful to hear how the chants from the crowd echoed off of the Capitol building in front of us and I couldn’t help but wonder if the people who worked there were listening. Finally, the combination of the silence of 215,000 people and Jon’s final words echoing down the Mall on one of the nicest days DC had to offer simply sent chills down my spine. It’s those things I will remember.

    Sadly, when it was over and I met back up with my friends we were all just too tired to fight the crowds to meet up with the Zoners so I’m sorry to have missed those of you who were there. But I did get the experience of calmly walking down the middle of Pennsylvania Ave. with all of the other Rally-goers, which was it’s own surreal experience. However, the crowning achievement of the day might have been that we got seats on the Metro going home…

    Apologies for the length of the post, but none of my other friends really understand how much this event meant – you all will.

  22. MaryLovesColbert says:

    I know this is a really late comment (lol), I just wanted to let you know how heartwarming and fun it was to read your personal account of the Rally. I’ve been reading many accounts from a lot of my friends over the past few days, and yours, DB, was just great. :) I can tell you really enjoyed yourself. I love how you kept saying that Arianna’s hair was always perfect — it certainly seems that way! Thanks for documenting your day, it was a lot of fun to read. :)

  23. I’m even later to comment but I thought it was worth a comment. I don’t follow blogs in general but stumbled across yours and even though I was at the rally, your post brought me into a whole other side of the rally experience so I thank you for that!

    My trip to the rally was almost derailed on several occasions (ride share plans interrupted, meetup & place to stay with friend in DC deferred, hotels all booked, not to mention the 6-8 hour drive each way and the need to get back for Halloween with the kids).. But I was so absolutely determined to do it.. sad that my wife and I couldn’t work out a way for her to join me but so very passionate about the cause.

    I was a little concerned about feeling ‘alone’ even in the massive crowds I expected but I trekked on and I am happy to say that I met so many other ‘sane’ people (in the city, on the metro, at the rally) that I felt immersed in family. A truly unforgettable experience and one I was happy to share with everyone when I got back home!

    • Welcome Dan – I’m so glad that you were able to make it to the rally in the end and had such a good time! :)

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