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November 30, 2009

How to tell how stressed you really are


Doing household chores 
(See more Funny Graphs)

Not only are my dishes done, but the only thing I want to do these days is prepare food for lots of people. There was the Moose dinner, and Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving the sequel - in which I tried to get rid of leftovers and only succeeded in creating more leftovers. And now I find myself searching for reasons to invite people over for dinner. Or breakfast. Or cake. Or fois gras and champagne! (Stop, Julie, stop.)

Maybe I got used to having my Moose Cap Weekend guests around, maybe it's an early start to that Christmasy feeling, or maybe it's some kind of biological turning-into-a-grown-up-who-magically-enjoys-chores thing.

Or maybe it's that I have a research project to finish by December 17th, and a deadline right now.

Remember last year's "You know you're writing a thesis if..."?

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November 28, 2009

A not-very-brobdingnagian collection of quotes

"I’ve been spending far too much time at the computer over the past week. (…) But at what point does this really become a problem? When you’re walking down the street and wondering what graphics card they’re using to get the resolution so high? When you chant “ctrl+z” under your breath after telling an inappropriate Holocaust joke in front of your Polish and German friends? When you start hovering near power points instead of looking for somewhere that sells a decent cappuccino? (Trust me—you’re not going to find one. It’s Prague.)" - The Large Frog

"Some men set out to climb Mount Everest. Ammon Shea set out to read the Oxford English Dictionary full time, from cover to cover. Or rather covers to covers, his recent job as a furniture mover providing handy preparation for hoisting its 20 hefty volumes. And why did Shea fix his sights on this Brobdingnagian challenge - because it was there? "I have read the OED," he says, "so that you don't have to."" - Amanda Heller, "Short Takes", Boston Globe, August 24, 2008, quoted in the dictionary.com entry for brobdingnagian, word of the day here on accordingtojulie.com on Wednesday.

Posted by Julie at 12:11 PM | TrackBack

This post is not about pants

For a couple of years, I was in a drama group where we all wore black to class. The idea was that we would be in uniform, and that if we put on gloves and masks, we could be invisible on stage. This was back in the late nineties, during the last BSE (Bare-Stomach-Era). Long sweaters and high-waisted pants were impossible to find, and our strict drama teacher was always yelling at us to cover our stomachs because we were going to distract the audience. I was so ridiculously short that the cropped sweaters covered me anyway, but the taller girls opted for thick black tights which could be pulled up over their belly-buttons, and then short turtle-necks. This "outfit" was comfortable and worked under costumes, but looked ridiculous. But we were in our early teens; we felt (and probably were) ridiculous-looking at all times anyway.

I was the youngest and smallest in the class, and slightly in awe of the older girls, even when they were dressed like three-year-olds. So I vividly remember the horror we all experienced when one of the girls forgot what she wasn't wearing, and walked out of class and down to the public library - in just her tights! She came back mortified, telling her horrific tale of wondering why everyone was staring, and then realizing that she wasn't wearing pants! She was essentially wearing ribbed long underwear with attached feet, the kind with two thick seams in the back (and not in a good way).

Now we know that this girl was actually just starting the no-pants trend, which I am still fighting a decade later. I mean, look at this supposedly "fashion" photo, which I can't remember where I found:

I don't like leggings (or jeggings), but this girl has gone beyond that. She is wearing thick ribbed tights. Perhaps the cape-like thing with the printed cigarette-holding hand is actually her skirt? (The other girl looks awkward too, put I'm willing to call her sweater a dress, so she's ok.)

I found this photo lying around in my unfinished blog post drafts. I probably saved it to use as an illustration for a fashion rant. But my brain is in mushy post-Thanksgiving I-love-and-am-thankful-for-everyone mode, so I can't rant. I'll just share another pants-free memory with you...

I was at a club with some friends, when a girl we didn't know came up to us. To my friend - who happens to be an honest person - she said: "Seriously, how do I look?"

The unknown girl was wearing a T-shirt and black tights, the thin nylon kind. The kind that showed off her polka-dotted underpants to everyone at the club. So my friend said: "Since you ask, you kind of look like you forgot your skirt."

The girl looked extremely offended, and said: "I just wondered if I looked tired or not."

Leggings are not pants. Tights are not leggings. That does not mean that tights are pants.

More "Style according to Julie"

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November 25, 2009

Contributing to society before 7AM - and bragging about it

bragging in the morning with comments

How? Why? I'll tell you later.

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November 23, 2009

This week: Fashion, Moose and Moose fashion

This week "unfriend" was named word of the year. Meanwhile...

I listened to Tomi Paldanius. Craig Woods, the guy who runs THE DA (which is probably a great website, but I can't really tell, since it's all about soccer) was my apartment's DJ this weekend, and for Saturday breakfast brunch, he played guitar covers of songs I don't really like. But they work as guitar covers, especially with bacon. Because bacon is the best thing ever.

I watched the first season of Mad Men, and I actually enjoyed it. I once wrote (in Norwegian) that Mad Men is "good clothes, bad people. I'm often in the mood for the former, not often for the latter. And especially not these days." Apparently these days are over.

Chanel is also good clothes, and so I watched this video. French pop music, Chanel, Natalie Portman - what's not to love?

I read about (but didn't watch) reality TV. The New York Times interviewed former reality TV contestants about the conditions behind the scenes, and my suspicions were confirmed: take a person who just wants to become a designer/model/millionaire/complete stranger's fiancée, subtract sleep, food and any contact with the outside world, and then add alcohol. That recipe will give you drama every time. On the Norwegian version of Top Model, a contestant with chronic fatigue quit the show when she was one of the top three, saying that working as a model was a lot less stressful than being on the show. After all, in the real, real world, you are allowed to talk to your family, sleep more than five hours a night and use the internet.

In other television news, Sesame Street in South Africa has an HIV-positive muppet.

The New York Times also taught me that fashion - especially for men - is getting really retro. Not 1980s, but 1890s.

If that's not your style, you could hope for an invisibility cloak instead. Yes, soon (er... maybe someday) we can be like Harry Potter. For real; scientists are working on an invisibility cloak. I first read about this in Norwegian forskning.no last spring, but there have been news articles in a lot of places this week, like The Telegraph. Meanwhile The Frisky suggests we use these cloaks to go to Paris for free, sneak backstage at concerts and dance like no ones watching - because no one can.

I could have read a personalized newspaper, if I lived in Germany. I still don't see the point of aged news, but I would try this if it were available in my language.

I added a new blog to my Bloglines: 1000 Awesome Things, because, well, it's awesome.

I wore my Official Moose Shirt on Friday, and realized that the design strongly encouraged photographs like these:


My Moose Shirt

I learned how to prepare Moose steak in the oven, and was rewarded for my efforts when Aina finally responded to my "I can't cook," with "Yes, you obviously can, you just look impractical when you do it." And then my mom wanted food advice from me, and I realized that I must really be growing up.

P.S. For fans of MGMT

Photo credits: Craig Woods and Aina Skjønnsfjell

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November 22, 2009

Blogging and democracy (fashion edition)

I read a number of fashion/style blogs last week*, but I also read about fashion blogging, because that lets me think about journalism and clothes at the same time.

The New York Times wrote about fashion blogging, commenting on what most of us already know (right?): The journalists and editors who were once gate-keepers of clothing knowledge are now commentators sharing the spotlight with independent bloggers, celebrity twitterers and well, everyone else.

But does this mean anything? Because to quote (and translate) Kristian Landsgård in the next issue of argument (available January 14th for Norwegian readers): "We're exchanging one judge of taste and opinion (the newspaper editor) for another (the pro blogger)".

Landsgård is talking about politics, but it's the same with fashion. Maybe even more so. Because when bloggers are scoring front row seats, backstage passes and free designer clothes, it's hard to see the crucial difference between a blogger and a journalist. Sure, these bloggers may be "ordinary people" in the sense that they have no education in fashion or journalism, but that's hardly a reason to love them, is it?

I obviously cheer for bloggers, but let's not exaggerate this revolution.

The real revolution is not in who is doing the writing, but in the possibilities of online publication itself: speed and details. Sure, I can read a journalist's opinion of a new collection or a front row blogger's opinion, but I love that I can go to Style.com and see photos of every outfit right away and make up my own opinion first.

(In fact, I would like more details, more close-up shots of the bags and shoes, and more info on things like fabric choices, since that can be hard to see on photos. Thanks!)

Oh, by the way:

* And then I realized I had hit some kind of all-time low when I sent an e-mail to my dad specifying that he should wear a purple bow-tie this season.

Posted by Julie at 10:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

November 19, 2009

The three-quarter curse

“I so badly want it to turn out good, but nothing seems sufficient, every sentence is wrung out of me like blood from a stone, and every time I decide on yet another part that I’ll have to leave out, it hurts.” - Hanne Melgård Watkins on her own writing.

Welcome to feature journalism.

The affliction Hanne is going through has been described to me by an experienced writer as “the three-quarter curse”: You are three quarters into being done with an article, and you find yourself hiding under your desk, wondering why you ever wanted to write anything, ever.

EVERY journalist goes through this apparently, and the only consolation is that: You will finish. And it will be worth it. I mean, logically, if writing were not worth the three-quarter curse, there would be no writers, since this happens to everyone. 

P. S. I couldn't bring myself to post this photo, but it does illustrate the point. I would say that I didn't post it because it wasn't CreativeCommons-licensed, but the truth is I'm just terrified of snakes.

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November 16, 2009

The polka-dotted jumpsuit

I can't believe I wore this...


... to a party.

This is my mom in 1991. And this is me, in 2009...

185 Ugh. 80s parties.

It was fun though. Apparently my outfit distracted people from their conversations because it was just so... 80s. So over-the-top, polka-dotted, shoulder-padded and well, a jumpsuit.

To be fair, jumpsuits are back (Why?!?!). And this one is comfortable. And I like polka-dots. In moderation.

However, there was no moderation in the 80s. Which is kind of the only thing I respect about 80s fashion. It was crazy, but at least it wasn't as boring as 90s fashion. The 80s had bad taste, but the 90s had no taste.

Anyway, thank you Cecilie, for the photos. And thank you mom, for lending me the jumpsuit, shoes and pearl necklace - and for letting me wear whatever I wanted back in 1991.







Extra photo, in which I look terrified. Scared of my own outfit:




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November 14, 2009

This week: Not quite magazines


I have discovered - and begun obsessively reading - a new blog this week: Yes and Yes by Sarah Von.

In one post she laments the stupidity of women's magazines: ("I could really do without another quiz to determine if he's into me (note to self: if you have to take a quiz to find out, the answer is no) or instructions on how to look thin while having sex.").

Sure, I've read that particular complaint before, and the obvious solution is to not read Cosmopolitan. But clearly, there is some part of me that wants to flip through glossy magazines that are not about international politics or the future of the media. I crave a break from all my different brands of geekiness. I always reach for Cosmo, Elle etc. if someone places one in front of me for free - and then I am always, always very disappointed. At best bored, at worst angry.

Luckily, the internet exists. This week I have read, noticed and remembered a lot of things that could very well have been in Cosmo. But if each of them were, they would have been the smartest, funniest thing in there.

Via Maggwire, you can browse articles from over 10 000 different magazines (in English), instead of committing to one or two from the newsstand. You may ask whether this site really gives us anything we didn't already have - the articles were already out there on the net before Maggwire, after all. But this site supposedly remembers your reading habits and makes recommendations accordingly. I say supposedly, because I only just found Maggwire on Thursday. There is an immediate benefit though, much like the one you can get from reading an actual magazine: you might learn things you didn't know you didn't know. I doubt that I would ever have Googled the words that got me to this podcast about newborns' accents. I found that because it was on Maggwire's front page of "popular articles".

While current magazine are turning into websites, photos from past magazines show up in books. For example, you could buy Dogs in Vogue, if you want a collection of fashion photos from Vogue magazine, with dogs. Like the ones in this post.

In general, blogs like Yes and Yes are my slightly funnier, weirder, smarter alternative to paper-based make-up/travel/parties/friends/shoes chit-chat. This week Yes and Yes taught me Five productivity tricks. I especially need to apply trick number one to my life:

"The First 10 Minutes" Trick
When I get home from work, the temptation to kick off my boots, eat a bowl of cereal and sit down in front a Hulu is nearly insurmountable. However! I (try) to force myself to spend the first ten minutes of my time at home doing something productive. Maybe that's paying bills, putting a load of laundry in, catching up on emails or changing the litter box. Regardless of what I do, those first ten minutes of my time away from work set the tone for the rest of my evening, and I find it a lot easier to keep doing stuff if I start off in that mind set.

Another alternative to a "Women's Magazine" is The Frisky. Unlike personal blogs that I read regularly, I probably skip about 5/6 of the posts on this online mag/group blog. But when I need a fifteen minute break from whatever geekiness I'm working on that day, there's always something kinda-interesting-without-being-too-serious on their front page. For example, a list of things that should be illegal. Here's a shorter list with the proposed laws I particularly agree with:

It should be illegal ...

  1. ... to wear tights as pants.
  2. ... to take longer than five minutes to prepare a drink at Starbucks. 
  3. ... to touch a pregnant woman's belly without her permission.
  4. ... for men to assume that by virtue of being female you a) want a relationship and b) want it with them.
  5. ... for men to wear spandex to yoga class and then proudly show off their boners.
  6. ... to call a size 8 (American sizes, so roughly 38 in Norway) woman "plus-size."
  7. ... to speak only as a "we" once you're a part of a couple.

I disagree with The Frisky on some legal issues. It should be legal ...

  1. ... to talk on your cell phone on public transportation. 
  2. ... to wear full makeup and heels to go to brunch on Sunday morning.

The Frisky also alerted me to something someone at at least one of my Halloween parties should have worn: the knife ring. Scary jewellery by Renee Andriole.

I firmly believe that paper is a horrible way to deliver current hard news. And potentially anything paper can do, the internet can do better. But I still think people will be reading magazines for entertainment, photos and timeless articles for a long time. I still buy magazines and subscribe to weeklies. I mean, this post starts with a photo from the July 2009 issue of French Vogue, which I'm glad I bought. I liked it enough to photograph some of the photos, so I would have them when I lost the paper magazine.

Thing is, though, if I'm going to spend money on a stack of pages, they better not be filled with articles I've already read. And seriously, I had read every "Women's Magazine" article by the time I started high school. It's like they're on a loop, and they just add new illustrations. Blogs win.

There are more links and tips in the "This Week" section of According To Julie

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November 13, 2009

Life is interesting

Remember I told you to remind yourself that the world is an interesting place? Watch this.

I found it on Yes and Yes, where the comment was: "Doesn't this make you want to hug life?"

"Inspirational" videos can be so annoying. But as I watched this, with gray November skies outside and my brain going "Coffee... Coffee...", I thought: "Oh yeah, you're right. Everyday life is kind of interesting, isn't it?"

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November 11, 2009

Blogging - What's the point?

I was going to call this "Why you should blog - even if you have no readers", but then again, I do have readers. I mean, my aunt prints out some of my Norwegian-language posts so my grandparents can read them.

Seriously, I know that there are people out there who don't know me at all, but who are still reading, for whatever reason. And I blog for them as much as I blog for my friends. But mainly, I blog for myself.

I've been blogging since June 2005. When I started, people asked me: "Do you have time for this?" and I thought "Time? Blogging isn't time-consuming!" Since then, I've used this site as an (incomplete) digital archive of things I've been thinking about anyway. I think pretty much everything I've put here needed to be written. Rather than bookmarking interesting news articles, writing out the lyrics of a song I obsessed over in a journal (yes, I was once a fourteen-year-old girl) or simply talking about the same thing with every person I met, I could store my thoughts online. And as an added bonus, sometimes someone cared about it.

Continue reading for some examples of why I blog, and what blogging did to me.

I guess the more interesting question is: Why are you reading this?

I have blogged in order to...

And sometimes people cared...

I didn't plan for these reactions to happen. And while I'm far, far from being the kind of blogger who achieves money or fame from blogging, I can definitely say that blogging has changed my life.

In the winter edition of the Norwegian magazine argument, there will be an article by Kristian Landsgård about political blogging - and it's pointlessness. Kristian has been using his blog to test out ideas and thoughts that may or may not end up in his magazine article. And as we were discussing his work, we couldn't escape the irony: a political blogger arguing that political blogging is pointless? So why is he doing it? And this got me thinking about what the point of www.accordingtojulie.com really is.

So that's why I'm still blogging. Why are you still reading?

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Somewhere in the hills of Ireland is a Prada bag

I wanted to add a Youtube clip of the Tori Amos song Ode to my clothes to my post about what clothes I want to hand down to someone in the future. And then I came across a video of an elementary school chorus performing the song.

I love the idea of a school teacher teaching kids the lyrics to a rare Tori track. And then I found out that these kids actually know plenty of Tori songs. Awww...

nobody knows things like my clothes
my telephone-life in the back of my jeans
nobody knows how I feel today

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November 8, 2009


What from your closet will you pass down to your daughter?

This is a dress which I think my grandmother made for herself in the early 60s. I actually don't know the story of this dress, but it was definitely hand-made, and I found it in the attic of my grandparents' house. It's modeled by my little sister here, in my kitchen which is probably as old as the dress. You can just glimpse the hand-me-down coffee cups on top of the espresso machine in the background.

Although the kitchen is due for some updating, I really hope the dress survives the parties I'm taking it to these days, so that I can show it to my daughter/niece/much younger friend sometime in the future. I think it's interesting how this dress just might work for the next generation, while my modern mass-produced clothes can barely stay together for a few seasons.

Given how much I enjoy my red, white and blue vintage dress, I hope some future girl will enjoy some of my favorite stuff. I'm generally careful with my clothes and accessories, so chances are good that someone will be able to wear them - or at least look at them and shake their heads over "2000s fashion" - years from now. I really hope my daughter likes...


... the dress my mom made for me this summer.

... skirts my mom made for me, like this one. I would hand down the top too, but I have almost worn it to death already, so that's not an option.

... my white jean strapless dress from French Connection, which I want to wear all the time these days - and my recipe for cookies.

... my bunad. My favorite outfit of all.


... my t-strap dancing shoes, my pearls, my grandmother's bracelet - and possibly my mother's lacy skirt and mink shawl, although they might get handed down to one of my nieces.


.... my polka-dotted skirt and my white trench coat, if they survive.

I've already saved my Miss Sixty jeans from junior high for this very purpose. Everyone had the same jeans back then, so they really tell the story of being fifteen in Lier in the very early 2000s. I've also saved the grey corduroy jeans I added lace and navy-blue stitching to a couple of years after the Miss Sixty's. I wish I still had my jean jacket with the embroidered butterfly "shoulder tattoo" from early high school, but I left that on a bus stop. I still have my bright pink jean jacket though. And there are white Buffalo platforms in my mom's closet - a fashion crime which must be shown to future generations. If we don't know history, we are doomed to repeat it. For the same reasons, I am saving that polka-dotted jumpsuit my mom wore in 1991. After all, I'm glad she's kept it so far.

Posted by Julie at 3:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

November 7, 2009


OR Alternatives to Ben&Jerry's OR How to stop yourself from murdering a man OR 11 ways to feel better

Remember that "traditional box of post-break-up Ben&Jerry's" I mentioned? Don't do that. Here is a list of things you can do that actually help if you want to feel better.

By the way, I'm deliberately posting this at a time when I don't need to follow my own advice: I am just really happy, with or without the tips below. But I have been editing this post for a long time, and everything on this list has been tested.

Listen to the right music. If you're like me, having the wrong song play in shuffle mode when you're already feeling bad can ruin your evening. Have your own version of a joyous playlist ready. The songs on the list should not remind you of whatever the Problem is, and they should probably not be happy love songs. In fact, you might want to include something really angry in there, just to get those feelings out of your system. It's kind of like when you have a song going through your head, and the only way to get it out is to actually listen to it. Alternatively, listen to something you've never heard before, either without lyrics or with lyrics you can't understand.

Curl your hair. If your hair is straight, use velcro rollers in damp hair with mousse and really strong styling spray (or L'Oreal StudioLine Indestructable Gel with so-called "Style Memorizing Effect For Bounce-Back Style"). Wear the rollers while you follow one of the next tips on the list, and then take them out to look like this:

Depression Moose Cap 040

Actually, this picture was taken the morning after I used velcro rollers. Bounce-back style indeed.

I find it hard not to smile when I look like this. I don't know if straightening your natural curls will have the same effect, but maybe it's just the drastic change. And it's not as cliché as cutting your hair short, like girls who desperately need a change always do in the movies.

Watch Hard Candy. A man brings an under-age girl he met in a chat room, back to his apartment and has a few drinks with her. He then wakes up to find that she's drugged him and now he's tied to a table, naked from the waist down except for a bag of ice, and she's standing over him saying she wants to do some "preventive maintenance". The plot can also be summed up by this photo. Important: if you're a guy, don't watch this. It is Not Safe For Life.

If you're not THAT angry, and you'd rather just laugh, watch Hot Fuzz. It is really, really, really, really funny. As in I laugh hysterically every time I see it. And added bonus: the only couple who are happily in love are decapitated. (I don't condone violence BTW. When someone stamped on my foot on purpose in a club, while wearing stilettoes, I hid in a coat room rather than punch her. And three minutes of No Country for Old Men left me rubbing my throat for about a week to check if I was still breathing and not being strangled by the chain between someone's handcuffs. But this is a good time for a violent revenge fantasy. Just make sure your visual entertainment is violent, NOT your real-life actions.)

Plan a party. Everyone says keep busy, and this is a good way to do so. Plus, it gives you a reason to clean your apartment, wear something that makes you look amazing and surround yourself with friends. Which brings me to the next tip:

Surround yourself with people who know you're amazing. It's an obvious one, but it should be on the list. Make sure you have a few allies in this party-planning process. People who know that you can't handle negative stress or not having enough guests. People who will not ask you where your date is or randomly not show up or leave laughably early to go home with their boyfriends. If you have pets or younger siblings who look up to you, hang out with them more than usual. Little creatures who think you invented being awesome are exactly what you need right now.

Make new friends superficial coffee-drinking buddies. The best part about these new people is that when they ask you how you're doing, they don't want an honest, detailed answer. Find a brand new acquaintance who thinks your life is perfect. Force yourself to keep up that illusion for as long as you can. It's not fake, it's therapy: Smiling and focusing on the positive is good for you. You can always share your deep, dark secrets when you've known them for a few months.

Dress really, really well. At times like this, you should at least make sure you look great. Dress up just a little more than necessary for any occasion. Enjoy the compliments. Notice the stares. (Also, there is always designer lingerie on sale somewhere. This is the right time to buy some. The Problem has no idea what he's missing.) If you feel ugly, follow these tips.

Be rude. If you're angry, be angry. If you're sad, be sad. How upset you are is up to you. It is not up to anyone else, or to any unwritten rules. You can (and should) pretend to be ok some of the time, for your own sake, to distract yourself. But don't officially tell people who are supposed to care that you're ok until you are. Because they will believe you too soon. And never, ever pretend to be ok for the sake of the person or people who hurt you. Forgive them for your own sake, not for theirs.

Go to concerts. And to the movies, and the opera, and the theater and restaurants. Experience! Remind yourself that the world is an interesting place to be.

Flee the country. Ideally, if you're the right age, go to Ufton. You'll be surrounded by cheerful, British theater people who hug you. A lot. And you'll learn new things and make new friends and one day, you'll just realize you're over him. At least, in my experience. But seriously, travel. It could be a long weekend visiting a friend who lives an hour away by train or actually moving to another continent. I don't think I've ever regretted going somewhere else.  

If none of these work, and it's been longer than say, a month, go to your doctor. Life is not supposed to be this hard.

P.S. If a break-up is the issue, there are more specific tips for that here.

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