July 6th, 2005.

So for yesterday my specific “thesis question” was centered around why we take road trips, and why we expect them to be what we think they are.

Yesterday evening, as I walked the grounds of the University of Maryland as I have not done for a long time, I thought about the dreams of travel I had while I was in college. A lot of those dreams and my understandings about what the American road trip was came from the big literary travel heroes I had not read, but whose names and deeds shone so bright in our popular culture that they defined the road trip for it, ie; Jack Kerouac. And then there are the movies that are based and born of the iconic literary travel books and make them more accessible to us: movies as respected as Thelma and Louise and as ridiculous as Road Trip.

Fireworks at the University of Maryland on the 4th of July. I took a lot a lot of good shots that day. It was the first time I’d gone to see fireworks in a while, it seems, and the first time in an EXTREMELY long time that I’d gone to see like, a big display of them. I’d forgotten how cool they could be, and there’s always new types. Beautiful things. I could fill the next couple of pages with them. But I won’t. We encountered Rick and Audrey there among the thousands and spread blankets with them on the asphalt to watch the stars come out and be hidden again by

A random inclusion. This was a tire stem valve thingie that we saw in the parking lot when I went to see War of the Worlds. Fantastic movie. Tire stem... so bad ass.
A random inclusion. This was a tire stem valve thingie that we saw in the parking lot when I went to see War of the Worlds. Fantastic movie. Tire stem… so bad ass.

But is that what inspires people to travel or to have a certain notion of how it’s done? Ernie Pyle said that a life or an endeavor itself was not romantic, but was made so in the retelling. So for a journey to be romantic, it requires an audience. Therefore, that audience then grows up to have a romanticized notion of what the road trip is, and wants to undertake one in the style they imagine. I’ve been thinking about Christopher McCandless, a child of privledge who burned his money and decided to hitch-hike to Alaska to live off the land, only to be found frozen. Was he going out there to live out his Jack London fantasies, as some have accused the reckless youth of doing?

But what about those first travelers who did not have an well-established travel archetype to guide them? Is there simply a repressed nomadic drive … a human thing that inspires us to want to take on that romantic road trip?

While I thought about this at 9 a.m., I looked over at my bedside table and read the book titles there: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Ernie Pyle’s Home Country, Hobo by Eddy Joe Cotton, a National Geographic chosen for it’s articles about papermaking and the lives of moths, Richard Brautigan’s Revenge of the Lawn, The Annotated Tales of Edgar Allan Poe, a hilarious anthology called Smoking Drinking, Screwing, The Last Unicorn and my beloved childhood copy of a collection of Grimm’s fairytales.

And that’s when it hit me that some of these books have more in common than I would have thought. The Fairy Tale! Even before the great literary travel stories get us, we are taught about the “journey” from our fairy tales. The Last Unicorn, which I’m re-reading for I don’t know what time, is a story about travel. A creature leaves her home and what she knows to quest the unfamiliar countryside in search of a goal that is not necessarily even a specific place. In nearly every Grimm fairy tale, people set out on a trip that is often symbolic of these children venturing into adulthood. The Two Brothers, cast out by their father, plunge a knife into a tree at the point of their departure and head off to prove themselves as men. The Goose Girl travels to a far-off kingdom to be married. The pious farmer’s daughter, whose father cleaved her hands to save her from the devil, leaves to make her maimed way in the world out of a strange kind of pride.

So is THAT it? Is the road trip about growing up? So many people seem to feel the best time for the road trip is the transition between high school and college, or between college and adulthood. Even my mother took her cross-country road trip, calling home every night, at 19.

And the companion thought … is it then actually about delaying adulthood by returning always to the journey and never to the endpoint, and therefore staying in many ways a child? The Unicorn is immortal, but because she finishes the only journey she can, she loses her innocence, she becomes more human … she actually ages. Che seems ever-young because he ends the trip that initially makes him more of an adult … but then he never really ends the journey, continuing to spread the revolution. Is that why we can only think of him so young though he is, in fact, nearly 40 at the time of his death?

Hmm, drawing connections between The Last Unicorn and Che Guevara … one day maybe I will go back to school and find some use for all of this academia frothing in my skull.

July 7th, 2005.

The ultimate gaming machine. Commodore 64 emulation on a 3.06gHz Pentium IV Alienware laptop
The ultimate gaming machine. Commodore 64 emulation on a 3.06gHz Pentium IV Alienware laptop

My sleep schedule is all screwed up again. I’m staying in Rowan’s basement apartment for the night. Staying. Not sleeping.

I worry abut how I spend my time – about how I don’t ever seem to have the will-power to tear myself away from some of the really useless stuff I spend my time on. As if I didn’t have enough of that already, I managed to download (by mistake! I swear!) a Commodore 64 emulator which allows me to waste time in a fashion almost identical to the way I wasted time when I was about ten.

Nostalgic, yes. Of course, there is also a sort of satisfaction to gained from the fact that I’m sitting here playing C64 games on the “Ultimate Gaming Machine” Alienware laptop. It’s cute, really.

Do I have a response to the idea that the Trip is a delay of growing up? Not really. If travelling in a Saturn makes me a kind of Peter Pan and Heather my Wendy, I’ll enjoy that while it lasts with few complaints.

July 8th, 2005.

It is a morning of grey and mixed emotions. I spent the night at my friend Audrey’s house. Rick and Audrey’s house. Perhaps they are a unit – they speak of worrying about two people that they know in London right now. and then there’s a pause, and they look at one another and they both say “well, two COUPLES”. It’s an alien way. There’s an odd moment when they sit on opposing couches, holding hands, and I think to myself – this is probably what they do every night. Just sit here. holding hands. I comment on it and Audrey says that no, usually at about this time she’s complaining about the dishes.

I figure that’s legit.

Yesterday, waking at Rowan’s to the noise of news. The bombings of London were being reported in the background as Rowan woke me out of some unwanted dream and I didn’t even take notice. I had assumed that it was all just one more IED being detonated in Iraq , or a bombing in any number of places where such events are everyday. My acceptance of the fact is kind of horrifying, I suppose. The idea that the bass thuds and crumpled metal sounds of morning rush hour malice in the form of plastique could ever be a standard morning sound – the aural space shared with the hissing brakes of busses and the chatter of people and the random fluting notes of whatever the local birds are. that’s pretty disgusting.

It casts a pall over the day. I hated having to get on with business. The announcement of our ilyANGEL eBay program finally going online couldn’t be postponed. Limited time, and all of that. but you can’t send a mass-email out to a thousand people and not put in mention of an event of that magnitude. I mentioned it. I worried that I had done it distastefully, but I’m learning that there’s only so much time I can worry about how I say things. There’s only so much time in which to say them. I figure there’s always someone out there to get offended by the way I say things, but it’s more important that they’re said, and there’s plenty of people who will get it and be glad of it.

rob ,
I would like to applaud you for your message. You are right. There is no good way to mix these messages, and sending one without the other today just doesn’t seem right. Just the commercial message alone might seem crass, but just the message of anger and concern for friends and family seems inappropriate to send out to your fans for no other reason.

Living in this world can be so frustrating it tears you apart sometimes. Thanks for doing your part to make it invigorating, intriguing and fun. And keep talking honestly, ’cause you do it well.

Cheers and welcome back home,

A good letter. It’s good to hear I get it right sometimes.

Last night I spent sitting up late, talking to Audrey. She talked me into headache and collapsing fatigue, and I talked her into incoherence and collapsing fatigue, and we finally turned in at around 2am or so. Late for her, early for me. We were both exhausted. It was a good conversation though – I think I’ve mentioned before about how I Love the fact that our uneven and rather random schedule leads us frequently to keep our hosts up to odd hours in rambling talk. Sitting in door jams and sprawled on floors on dogs and on couches. I Love those finishing touches on the night.

We talked a lot about my Dad, though. I told her I worried about getting too old to keep doing what I’m doing. I told her I worried that other people would think I was too old. She told me that I worried that my Dad would think I was too old to be doing what I’m doing. She said it simply and it took my breath away. Audrey can be so wise in the midst of so much chaos and late-night babble.

It lead to strange dreams.

Banjo the happy dog. He's Lovely and very floppy. Just... moist in the tongual area.
Banjo the happy dog. He’s Lovely and very floppy. Just… moist in the tongual area.

An aside at this point – many years ago, in my sixteenth year, I had never been kissed. One night however, on a trip to an amusement park, someone went ahead and kissed me, and I had no idea what to do. It actually made me feel kind of sick. It was also my first experience with that uniquely male agony of “blue balls”. I didn’t know the term then, but I heard it years later, and I knew EXACTLY what they meant. anywho, I came home that night and talked to my friend Zack and said “OH my GOD I got KISSED and I didn’t know what to DO!!!!” He then proceeded to do this horrible fish thing. He explained that you opened your mouth, closed your eyes, stuck your tongue out and wiggled it. I’m thankful that I’ve learned more since then. But that’s beside the point, this is an important description and you’ll see why in a bit.

I dreamt that I ran across the actor who plays Snake Eyes in the GI Joe cartoons. He was on his knees in a hallway poking at some wind-up device – he explained to me that the cartoons were now all motion-capture, and he’d been having trouble getting a convincing bomb-disarming motion down. He took me back to the studio, a big black man dressed all in black, and introduced me to one of the women who ran the cameras and other random tools that transformed his pantomimes into the cartoon show enjoyed by millions every Saturday morning.

I was sitting on a lawn-chair of some sort when the very cute motion-capture specialist leaned over me and kissed me. It was at this point that I woke up in the midst of doing that horrible fish thing. An explanation HERE would just be annoying. hence the prefaced description.

I was very glad that no-one had come down stairs.

But then they did, and with them came the dog.

Banjo is a Loving mammal. He’s big with big paws and big floppy ears and a big floppy tongue that reminds me of a big smooth washcloth that’s been left in a very moist greenhouse. Wet, flappy, and organically unpleasant. I was thankful that Audrey had the foresight to build me a fort out of couch pillows, which actually kept Banjo at bay, but any exposed “paws” would get cleaned. so I’d fall asleep, relax, and perhaps dream a little more, only to be woken by the horrible sensation of Banjo giving me his undivided attention, at which point the exposed limb would be immediately retracted underneath the bright yellow sheets. Banjo would hunt for any other exposed flesh and eventually wander off, ever-vigilant for other dirty paws.

And so I faded in and out of dreams for much of the morning. Distorted moments of Harry Potter, of old acquaintances, and of course, driving dreams. I had one where Heather and I were joy-riding in my mom’s big blue van, but Heather’d never driven something so big before and was only nominally in control. In the way of dreams, by the time she’d lost it completely and careened up and over a mountainous service road, it had transformed into a big, red double-decker bus (a la London bombings). We were whipped by not-so-low-hanging branches as we fought to keep the vehicle upright and eventually brought it to a halt. A couple of women came out of the surrounding forest to check on us, one of which had a scythe. A big black metal scythe (she told me not to worry cause “I ain’t no grim reaper!”). Then the police came and asked for license and registration and all that good stuff. Heather had her license, but we only had the registration for the blue van and we were about to get in trouble when I was arguably saved by the liberally applied tongue of Banjo.

I didn’t bother going back to sleep at that point.

I was awake when Audrey’s sister came by with her four-week-old baby. Tiny, tiny creature. I shuddered at its softness. I’ve touched skin like that before, and it always makes me cringe. It’s too fragile to touch. I’d almost prefer the tongue of the Banjo. (put the stress on the JO and it sounds like a kung fu movie).

And so the morning progresses. We have normal morning sounds here. A couple of barks of distant dogs. Chirping of birds hidden in trees. The combined grindings and cursings of a man trying to start his car across the street. Stereotypical white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Gentle patter of the still-continuing rain from the night before, and the even gentler aftermath as it rains again from branches and the undersides of leaves. The thud of an old tree limb that finally gives in and comes crashing to the leafy ground.

Heh. I’m glad I got up. For the moment, at least, it’s the spring we missed in our travels.

July 11th, 2005.

PLOJ XXXIII was a success, though – as always – very different from what I expected. We had gotten a huge article in the Washington Times which I had semi-hoped would result in a lot of new faces.

I did then get a bunch of emails about the article, but I don’t think any of those emails translated into exciting new, warm bodies.

But that’s all separate from the actual PLOJ. We DID have exciting new warm bodies – they just came from where they were SUPPOSED to come from – i.e. slowly spreading word of mouth!

Some fungus for Heather because I miss her.
Some fungus for Heather because I miss her.

It was the first PLOJ in forever that I actually taped – Brennan set up some mics and we just let the recorder run all night. I’m going through the recordings now. A lot of good stuff.

In any case, despite the new faces, kind of a small PLOJ, which was fine – a little more intimate. The only really negative side was that we had lots of PLAYERS but few writers, which means there was a lot more dead space, trying to sort of figure what was going to happen next, than usual.

We ended pretty early, tired and sleepy and a little moody, depressed, I cleared out of there by about 2 in the morning and went back to my mom’s house to collapse and slow

ly totally fail to actually fall asleep.

A couchfull of PLOJ newbies. Isleen on the left, Becca in the middle (she did a Lovely rendition of White Rabbit - and poses good for the camera) and Meredith who was responsible for bringing the new creatures... she played a bunch of tunes from PJ Harvey and the Dresden Dolls that I didn't recognize. It was really cool to hear her take charge of the room.
A couchfull of PLOJ newbies. Isleen on the left, Becca in the middle (she did a Lovely rendition of White Rabbit – and poses good for the camera) and Meredith who was responsible for bringing the new creatures… she played a bunch of tunes from PJ Harvey and the Dresden Dolls that I didn’t recognize. It was really cool to hear her take charge of the room.
Heather and Jill and Brennan lead us in renditions of Rocky Horror Picture Show covers at PLOJ XXXIII on July 9th, 2005. Not something I would've expected, actually - but Joe Isaacs appears to be singing along!
Heather and Jill and Brennan lead us in renditions of Rocky Horror Picture Show covers at PLOJ XXXIII on July 9th, 2005. Not something I would’ve expected, actually – but Joe Isaacs appears to be singing along!

A gorgeous trumpet solo in the midst of Io's rendition of Johnny Cash's version of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt" at PLOJ XXXIII.
A gorgeous trumpet solo in the midst of Io’s rendition of Johnny Cash’s version of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” at PLOJ XXXIII.

Jason and Heather dancing to “the Stray Cat Strut” at the College Perk at PLOJ XXXIII.

July 13th, 2005.

Tonight we got to play another full-band show. Out under the slowly darkening sky at the Columbia Lake Front for one of Joe Isaacs’ “Music that Matters” showcases. We got to share the stage with Symbiont and Dan Sheer… both of which played in formats that I hadn’t seen before.

First off, Symbiont has a new drummer, who proceeded to be a monster of a rhythm player to back Jeff’s band. Really good sound. The toms went really well with Karyn Oliver’s hips. Good power set.

Dan Sheer had brought along a guitarist/bass player who I’d met before at the Thai Gour Cafe. Great blues player… really good night of a lot of great music.. Awesome night. It was really cool being home – I was surprised because I always think that College Perk is sort of like our homecoming show, and that that’s where we see all of our friends. I forget that I REALLY come out of Ellicott City, and the Jahva House, and that Columbia probably contains a WHOLE lot more of my old, old fans. I saw people tonight who were back from four years of school who didn’t have an album past Strength in Hare. Insanity.

I can’t believe how much time I spend just wasting my Life staring at the ceiling, or staring at the interior of my own eyelids, wishing myself to sleep. I forgot the process of it a long, long time ago, and then made up my own methods to get by. But the self-exhaustion required just can’t be found anymore, and at some point, I’m going to look back on my Life and realize that I’ve wasted days and weeks and inevitably whole years just tryingto fall asleep.

A beetle that Heather and I caught for Amy. He's apparently a male ruddy-brown stag beetle and I'm glad we didn't discover that he had wings until later. It would've freaked me out.Would've upset me. It was bad enough - my mom's reaction to realizing that he Lived in the house was NOT pretty.
A beetle that Heather and I caught for Amy. He’s apparently a male ruddy-brown stag beetle and I’m glad we didn’t discover that he had wings until later. It would’ve freaked me out.Would’ve upset me. It was bad enough – my mom’s reaction to realizing that he Lived in the house was NOT pretty.
He's BEEEYOOOOTIFUL!!!! Liz found one too!
He’s BEEEYOOOOTIFUL!!!! Liz found one too!

Ha, but probably only weeks writing about it.

Rehashing events and Life and the universe and everything, and wondering how I’ve ended up where I’m at, and what branches are extended to me from here.

July 14th, 2005.

Ebay’s WORKING!!! I mean, when we first started talking about it, I was pretty sure it would, but then it went up and just sort of sat there for a moment or two. I got a little worried. I thought to myself, “how many people would REALLY be interested in doing this?”

But it’s actually working! Heather and I are having a fun time trying to guess who’s behind the eBay handles. I mean, most of them are pretty straight-forward, but there’s a couple of mysteries. I’m NOT getting my hopes up over MyKalStyp, but it sure would be cool…

July 18th, 2005.

Joe Isaacs at his Music that Matters showcase at Columbia Lake Front.
Joe Isaacs at his Music that Matters showcase at Columbia Lake Front.
A new fan from College Perk, Shannon... she got a whooole lot of Love from Dylan (the dog). Dylan absolutely made my day. He was Lovely with his floppy floppy tongue and tiny waggy stub tail.
A new fan from College Perk, Shannon… she got a whooole lot of Love from Dylan (the dog). Dylan absolutely made my day. He was Lovely with his floppy floppy tongue and tiny waggy stub tail.

We finally got back into the studio last night, and though it was sort of a frustrating night, we got some really good things done. You can of course read more about that if you have access to the Studio Journal.

The eBay bidding went really, really well – raising another couple of hundred dollars towards the still-unnamed New Studio Album, and in general, things are moving pretty smoothly. I’ve written 41 emails this morning, and I’m looking for an excuse to write a 42nd. Not quite sure who that’s going to be to, but I’ve run out of things to talk about… hence the sort of inane biographical contents of this entry.

"Friends", Dan Sheer's act at Columbia Lake Front.
“Friends”, Dan Sheer’s act at Columbia Lake Front.

Also, took my poor Seagull into the shop today. Going to have some work done on that as well (at the moment, I’ve lost another key on my Alienware and my cell phone has ceased to work. Sigh) since I don’t trust the company that Seagull wanted to do the work through (Appalachian Bluegrass). Man, the more I find out about the guitar… It took forever to find a guitar that I Loved the sound of. I bought and returned a number of guitars, played a couple of dozen of them, and finally found this one that I Loved the sound of, Loved the playability of – sooo good. I bought it, installed a new pick up, reworked the neck… took it to a gig and put a hole in it during the sound check. Still Love the sound, still Love the way it plays…. now the intonation is off, and I figured I’d get that taken care of while it was in the shop… and the repair guy says that the reason that the intonation is off is that the bridge was installed slightly off of where it should’ve been. He can SORT of fix it. FRUSTRATION.

Some exciting money that we've been tipped with recently...
Some exciting money that we’ve been tipped with recently…

Ray recently got about 14 billion SPAAAACE PENNNNNNNSS!!! recently. We've been gifted with a case of 350+.
Ray recently got about 14 billion SPAAAACE PENNNNNNNSS!!! recently. We’ve been gifted with a case of 350+.

July 19th, 2005.

I appear before you, a very, very frustrated puppy.

The crack in my Seagull. 4.5 inches worth of crack. The street value of that line...
The crack in my Seagull. 4.5 inches worth of crack. The street value of that line…

Angered at the eternal damnation that is my advanced and spectacular laptop, I feel strongly that I shall never purchase ANYTHING more complex than perhaps a … what can I be trusted with… perhaps – I can probably handle books.  Yes… books I feel I can handle – I will never purchase anything more technologically complex than a book without a friend to help me through it.  And even then, I may ask advice on car manuals and hard science fiction.

I think that my laptop has eaten my wireless card.  Yes, my expensive, fancy, Ultimate Gaming Machine – my $3000+ Alienware Area51m (the M being a Misnomer for Moble).  At eleven pounds sans batteries, exhaling sperm-slaying temperatures from its Pentium IV laden bowels… yes the Alienware that runs so hot that it has melted its own processor out of its air vents twice.  The advanced laptop whose parent company no longer carries parts for it… the spectacular pinnacle of computing engineering whose alt key fell of but two days ago…

It has consumed yet another wireless card.  Earlier today I went through many Cingular phone menus to return my phone, which is being picky about when and where it chooses to get a signal.  Earlier this week I took my Seagull to a repair shop who has determined that the bridge was placed a half-millimeter too far forward when it was built.

Recording recording ….
Amy knows which ones to keep.

Some day, I’m going to get a record deal.  Or perhaps a big illustration contract.  And I will complete said deal or contract.  And I shall be paid, and I shall go shopping with a friend and I shall (switch into the preacher voice with me now)… and I shall TAKE their advice – and I say unto thee, when I return unto whatever abode the Lord has seen fit to bless me with at that time there shall be a great Smiting.  And I’ll invite all my friends over to watch.  And I’ll take pictures with the digital camera that only works because I took Justin’s advice about it.  And there shall be much…


much rejoicing.

Heather at the Baltimore Songwriter's Association open mic at the Mojo Lounge.
Heather at the Baltimore Songwriter’s Association open mic at the Mojo Lounge.
Heather taking advantage of my excitingly lit face at the Full Moon Saloon.
Heather taking advantage of my excitingly lit face at the Full Moon Saloon.

July 20th, 2005.

Heather and Jon and a small beestie at the Full Moon Saloon in Baltimore, MD. We played a gig there on Wednesday night at the invitation of the Revelevens at the behest of John.
Heather and Jon and a small beestie at the Full Moon Saloon in Baltimore, MD. We played a gig there on Wednesday night at the invitation of the Revelevens at the behest of John.

And the night wears on, watching the progress bar in Dreamweaver competing with the sci-fi pulp of Demolition Man.  Poor Sylvestor can’t handle the beauty of cyber-transmission of erotic imagery with Sandra Bullock.

“You are a savage creature John Spartan, and I wish you to leave my domicile RIGHT now.”

Ah, she’s Lovely when she’s angry and interrupted mid-silicon orgasm.

I’m borrowing a Mara’s laptop – which is finally getting the website uploaded, piece by piece.  4500 fucking files, all meandering their way slowly up to some server somewhere in California.  I don’t know what’s taking so long, I think all the bits and bytes are hanging out somewhere en route, arguing with one another, perhaps having a wild rampant row over whether or not THEY believe that Sylvester Stallone could knit a whole sweater in just one night.

A nice sweater.

We headed out to College Perk tonight, tried out a new song at the open mic.  A woman sang a song I haven’t heard since the Audrey Years – one of the tunes that slapped me in the face with angst and beauty and heart-stinging Love when I first encountered her playing acoustic guitar in the courtyard of the dorms back in school.

Beyond that, it was a night of tension and heat, humidity and headaches and interpersonal distress.

But the important stuff?  I got my new phone in the mail.  We’re playing a gig tomorrow in Fells Point, and all sorts of data seems to be getting transmitted slowly but surely to where I bloody well want it.

July 24th, 2005.

Thank God for cartoons.  Well… with the cartoons I’m talking about, it’s probably really not God’s doing.  Most of Adult Swim is probably sent up by some minion of evil, but I feel strong… I can resist… and it just feels SO good.

Gigantic mushrooms in front of my mom's house. (Flaming boot provided for scale)
Gigantic mushrooms in front of my mom’s house. (Flaming boot provided for scale)

It’s been a week of non-accomplishment, feels like.  Which is frustrating.  A lot of time spent waiting for other people, or waiting for ideas, or waiting for my computer.  Though my recent spate of tech troubles are just about squared away, and I went and picked up my Seagull (can barely see the crack!) – I’ve got a freelance logo design job that’s busily kicking my ass.  I forgot that I wasn’t going to pick up any more corporate work, and here I am, trying to muddle my way through some imagery that I’m just not at home with.

I don’t miss corporate design at all – but I must admit, the paycheck will be nice.  I miss the $100/hr contracts sometimes.

Tonight, I’m crashing with my friend Liz, enjoying goat tacos.  I didn’t know they existed either, but they were juicy, succulent, and just about everything I didn’t really expect out of a goat.  I’m now prepared for some goat burgers, and perhaps a savoury goat stew.

We’ve got one more day before we hit the road again.  I’m doing some session work for Sarah Fridrich’s new album tomorrow, and then it’s back into the trusty Saturn, though this time we’re only away for two weeks.  Thank goodness.  It doesn’t seem like that long since we got back from our mid-west tour (Liz was surprised to learn I was leaving again so soon) and really, winter faded to spring faded to summer, and I barely noticed.  Time’s been moving with unseemly swiftness.

Bastard time.

Maybe we’ll find some good goat tacos in Boston or something.