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Moving right along…. January 28, 2008

Posted by marymac in Excuses for not posting, Me me me!.
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No, I’m not dead. Yes, I know it’s been a while. Yes, I know how to pick up a phone…have you been talking to my mother? She could call me once in a while, you know….


Aaaaanyway, I’m really just here to announce that I’m moving. The blog, that is.

Now that I’m co-blogging my fiberish-related things with the fabelaktig group over at House of Wool Repute (when I have any that aren’t super-seecrud projects), there isn’t much reason to post here as well and be redundant and repetitive. Also, I know this is hard to believe but I have one or two other interests besides knitting (okay, try to get hold of yourselves — the fainting couch is to the left and I believe there are smelling salts around here somewhere) that I’d like to spend more time writing about without worrying that The Knitterz will come after me.

So…the new places:

For knitterly things (I’d like to pretend there will be other fibery things involved, but I’m a one-craft girl right now): houseofwoolrepute.com

For Otherly things (including politics, culture and stuff that you’re not supposed to talk about at the dinner table but I was raised by wolves and we talked about all sorts of things at the dinner table*): storyvalue.com

So, you know, move your bookmarks and all accordingly. The archive here isn’t going anywhere (for a while, anyway) in case I hate the my own domain thing and because I’m busy and lazy and the new semester is about to start (there’s always an academia-related excuse for everything; I love it).

See you in the new digs!

*oooh, I think I have a new About Page slogan!


Ceci n’est pas un swatch. July 27, 2007

Posted by marymac in knitting, Me me me!, yarn.

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(This is not a swatch .)

Neither is this:

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And neither is the blue thing I blogged about in my last post.

I might possibly have a case of Startitis.

(And I bought crochet hooks today. None of these projects are crocheted.)

It’s as if I’ve forgotten that I’m a Wicked Slow Knitter(TM). I blame Ravelry and its easy access to gazillions of patterns. I have a habit (pre-dating Ravelry, even) of browsing patterns online when I’m trying to avoid buying yarn (yes, sometimes this has the opposite effect of the one I intend). Fortunately, I am a Wicked Slow Knitter(TM), so mostly I acquire many patterns that I will never get around to making. (Welcome to Circular Reasoning 101.) It’s not often that being disorganized actually saves you money.

Would you believe….no. May 17, 2007

Posted by marymac in I'm so deep, Me me me!.

So, there were lots of interesting guesses regarding my last post.


Not what I was looking for. I seem to have out-clevered myself (this happens sometimes) and led you all astray. This is probably a sign that I shouldn’t do contests. Or I should only do them when I know what the prize is. Or when I’ve put more than thirty seconds of “hey, that would be funny” thought into the answer.

Officially, however, you were ALL right and blew the curve and I am so unprepared for your brilliance that all I can give you is my undying love and affection. Congratulations!

Aaaaanyway, as I mentioned in my last post, a couple of months ago (before I turned into a big bad-contesty liar) I had a thing and people decided to send me stuff. First came a box all the way from my beloved Theresa in Norway.

I’m not sure why Theresa even talks to me, exactly, because I am a Big Meanie, and she is the direct opposite. You know in those cartoons where the kind, gentle girl is followed around by happy woodland creatures? Well, I have it on good authority that this portrait of Theresa is quite accurate:

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Theresa doesn’t wait for shearing — she negotiates the wool from the goats. It’s FABELAKTIG.

Also fabelaktig…the stuff in the box from Theresa.

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First up, a lovely card with lovely Norwegian sheep on it.

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Next, a box.
A LUNCH box.
A Norwegian one.
I love boxes. (I’m serious — containers are fun.)

And I really love boxes that have more stuff in them.

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Seigmenn are little gummy people. And you can bite their heads off. Not that I do that kind of thing. (yum yum yum).

And then….and then….there were these:

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Okay, that’s just one, but I promise she sent both mittens. Those are the Hermione Mittens.

Bobbles, anyone? (I am actually kind of creeped out by bobbles, but Theresa’s are quite tasteful, don’t you think?)

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Oh, For the Love of Maude January 29, 2007

Posted by marymac in I'm so deep, knitting, Me me me!.

First, replies to a couple of comments on my last post.

Karen asked: Is there a superseeeecret project that I’m not aware of? Or don’t you guys love me anymore because I”m not in chat as often?

If there are any current group superseekrit projects, I’m not aware of them, either. I have some personal superseekrit projects that I’m not posting about yet because at least some of the intended recipients read this blog regularly and I am trying to be surprising…erm…to surprise them. So no pics until the gifties are in their hot little hands (and that hand comment is not a hint). Also, I think Valerie was supposed to talk to you about how we voted you out of the cool kids club because you’re not in chat as often, but you didn’t hear that from me.

And Laura says: More pink (and more Barbie) please.

There will be more pink soon, because I think you have done something to my brain. Also, Blogging is Hard! (How’s that for Barbieness?)

Okay, all personal messages aside I wanted to talk to you about…the weather. Why? Because that’s what people do here in New England. All. The. Time. I do it too, in spite of the fact that I’ve never really considered myself much of a “New Englander” — Monkee‘s assertions of my “Yankeeness” notwithstanding. I suspect this has something to do with my family’s having lived in the US for less than 100 years (yes, both sides), but that’s another post.
Recently, our weather went from this:

To this:
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No, really!

Okay, maybe over the course of a couple of weeks months. Not more than six, I swear. Regardless, it got wicked cold wicked fast, and I found myself wanting a new hat. (My old hat still worked, it was just kind of itchy, which was entirely my own fault for cheaping out with the itchy wool, I know, and that’s why I put up with the itchitude for longer than I should have. Also, I am lazy about making stuff for myself. Yes, I am deserving. Yes, I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. Still lazy, though.)

!@#$@#&^ freezing cold can be quite motivating, however, so it only took me a couple of evenings to churn out this:

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‘Tis the Sunflower Tam from Knitting Nature, done with Patons Classic Merino in Burgundy, which I have a ton of because I think it was meant for a sweater that never happened. (I am slow as well as lazy — much of my stash was purchased for projects that never materialized.) Anyway, this took less than a ball, so I still have a ton of it. And no, that’s not my head in the picture.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the finished hat at first — the fit is fine, but it’s a little chef‘s toque-y, and I was concerned about appearing…howyousay…dorky. Fortunately, I am growing too old to put dorkiness over non-itchy headgear, and I decided to embrace the toque-yness. You’re still not getting any pics of me wearing the hat, however.

These give you a better view of the sunflower pattern:

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And lo, my head was warm, and there was much rejoicing. Which continued when I heard this news. When I was a kid I watched a lot of tv, and I associated many of the characters on my favorite shows with people I knew — mostly family members. My Aunt V. was Maude — divorced, tall, brassy, and with a mouth like a sailor. V. is still kicking at the age of seventy*mumble*, and it’s nice to see that Maude is back, too.

…compromisin’, enterprisin’, anything but tranquilizin’,
Right on Maude!

Resolved January 21, 2007

Posted by marymac in knitting, Me me me!, yarn.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I like to pretend that it’s because my eternal quest for self-improvement is beyond regulation by some arbitrary date on the calendar at which time I’m supposed to decide on all the things I’ll want to do over the next twelve months. But just between you and me and the lamppost, the truth is that I hate to be wrong, even if it’s about something as trivial as my ability to get to bed at a certain time on a regular basis, and you can’t break a New Year’s resolution if you don’t make ’em in the first place.

(And what does happen if you come up with a new resolution in, like, July? Do you call it a Mid-Year Resolution? Do you wait six months before trying to follow it? I have no idea what’s going to be important to me in July, kittens! (Hell, I have no idea what’s going to be important to me in February, but I’m working on that — see “eternal quest for self-improvement”, above.))

It has been suggested to me that perhaps I could resolve to update the ‘ol blog more often, because I’m a wee bit behind. Yeah, that’s gonna happen. I have been remiss, though in a couple of things…..

Shortly before The Holidaze, I went on a little WEBS mission for my dear Roxy, and in return she sent me a treat:

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(“Barbie” is one of my aliases. Don’t ask.)

Now, the little pink case would be exciting enough on its own, but when I opened it I found these inside:

Loverly stitch markers! I promise to try not to lose them, Roxy! (I’m kind of bad with the stitch marker losing, but I’ve managed to hold on to these so far. The case helps.)

Also, just to prove that I do occasionally finish things, these were part of my brother and SIL’s XMess gifts:

They’re the Manly Mitts from Knitty, sized down a bit because my brother has “teeny little girly hands” (don’t tell him I told you that). My hands are the same size as his, so getting the sizing right on these was easy-peasy. They’re done in Cascade 220 in colors that I don’t remember because I bought the yarn a year ago and only just got around to giving the gifts. They were my first stranded pattern and I had a lot of fun making them until about 1/3 of the way through the fourth one, at which time I never wanted to see a mitten again in my life. I have since recovered.

Close-up of the stranded colorwork:

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I also made a scarf for my SIL’s birthday gift (her birthday is between XMess and New Year’s, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle). She likes pink, in case you haven’t figured that out:

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That’s Argosy, also a Knitty pattern. It’s made from two balls of Valley Yarns Amherst (a little less than two balls, actually, because I kind of misjudged on how much I needed to finish so it’s a short scarf). This was the first opportunity I’ve had to use Amherst, and I liked it a lot — it has a nice hand (it’s Merino wool) and shows stitch definition well:

I’m not crazy about non-reversible scarves, but I wanted a relatively quick knit (since I didn’t manage to get the gift started until the day before I wanted to give it…oops) and the stitch pattern for Argosy is pretty easy to memorize. SIL said she liked it, but she used to be an Actor, so I’m never sure if she really means it when she says she likes her gifts.

Now it’s time for television and dinner and knitting on superseeecrudprojekt #3432564.5. I resolve to blog again sometime this year….

mmmm….booooook….. November 20, 2006

Posted by marymac in books, Feeling historical, Me me me!.

When I was a kid, I was afraid to close my eyes in the bath, which made rinsing my hair a long, complicated process. (Don’t laugh — it isn’t even the looniest of my childhood fears, I promise.) This was because of my dad’s little habit of watching horror movies while my (very young) person was in the room and (he thought) preoccupied with a book or a game or a fight with my little brother (also, we only had one tv with cable and he liked to be the boss of it). I have, however, always been good at multitasking and absorbed a lot more than he realized at the time.

The movie that inspired The Bathtub Thing is The Changeling. It’s about a guy who moves into a house where a kid was drowned in the bathtub and Scary Stuff happens. Or something — seriously, even now reading the plot summary creeps me out, so you’ll have to do it yourselves. I’ll wait here under the covers. With all the lights on.


See? Scary, right? Even people who like that kind of thing say so. You’d be traumatized, too.

The thing is, it’s just movies. I can read scary novels and not bat an eye (okay, yes, Lord of The Flies freaked me out, but that wasn’t really written as a horror novel per se). I read every ghost story collection on my elementary school library’s shelves before moving on to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, and (of course) Stephen King. Meeting the devil in the New England forest, hearts that continue beating after being buried under the floorboards, psycho killer clowns — no problem. As long as I don’t have to see them anywhere but in my head. (I know they say that what you imagine in your head is always worse than what they can show you on screen, but my imagination is apparently really good at applying petroleum jelly to the lens so that nothing is too sharply focussed. I can’t explain it.) (This also helps when reading long, boring descriptive passages in highfalutin’ books, in case you were looking for tips on getting through, say, Dickens.) (Who wasn’t highfalutin’ in his day, but that’s another post — or just click that link.)

I grew out of most of my childhood fears eventually (I know you were concerned); my reasoning is that I started to acknowledge all of the real-life scary stuff in the world. These days I’m more likely to avoid the news if I don’t want to be frightened than to worry about what might be hiding in the closet (having the box spring on the floor eliminates that pesky monster under the bed thing). And if I want to read something scary I’ll find a memoir or a history (though to be honest I mostly read stuff that I don’t think will freak me out because I’m kind of an NPR junkie).

And then sometimes somebody comes along and combines it all for you in one package. Max Brooks’ new book, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a novel (in case the “Zombie War” part didn’t give that away)…and a history…and a memoir. Of something that hasn’t happened. Yet.

Presented as an oral history written by a former employee of The United Nations Post(Zombie)war Commission whose survivor interviews were deleted from the UN’s final postwar report for being too “personal”, World War Z describes the Zombie War from the first reported cases of the disease that caused the dead to reanimate to the aftermath of the strategic plan that allowed the living to survive. Each interviewee “speaks” with a different voice, and the attention to reality-based detail is incredible — obviously, one suspends one’s disbelief when one reads fiction — especially science fiction — but if you’re capable of believing that war and disease (and poor governmental responses to both) exist, you’re capable of believing in the premise of this story.

Be forewarned, though, World War Z isn’t a light read — realistic descriptions of military strategy and political maneuverings can get dense, and you may need to refer back to earlier chapters to refresh your memory about who is speaking at a given time (the book is presented in three parts: before, during, and after the height of the conflict).

I’d love to tell you that if you like x genre of books, you’ll love this one, but I think the genre of “future histories” is pretty small. I will say that you don’t have to be particularly fond of horror novels or zombie tales to enjoy it (though a high tolerance for gore is probably a good idea; about what you’d need for any graphic war story should do it). Oh, and this is definitely a book for grownups and/or those grown up enough to handle some of the more disturbing aspects of war (and I’m not just talking about violence here).

Rating: Four out of five zombies jamboreeing (back to back, belly to belly…).

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They call it Filler, Filler…. November 3, 2006

Posted by marymac in Excuses for not posting, Me me me!.

Oh, hello.

Yes, I know it’s a little dusty around here. Work has been super crazy busy with extra crazy on top, so at not-work I’m only capable of writing about a paragraph at a time. I suppose that would make an interesting series of blogposts, but it could also get confusing (especially if I didn’t post them in order… I wonder if there’s a National Make Other People’s Life More Surreal Day….).

Anyhow, in lieu of a real post:

48 Things You Could Care Less About

  • 1. First name? marymac (well, Marypossiblynotmac). Technically hyphenated, but I smooshed the two names together in, like, kindergarten when I got tired of people calling me “Mary”.
    2. Were you named after anyone? My father and his mother always assumed I was named in part after her because her first name was Maria, but my mother insists that they’re just saints’ names.
    3. When did you last cry? Wednesday.
    4. Do you like your handwriting? Everyone I knew was obsessed with their handwriting from about sixth through ninth grade. That’s probably the last time mine I cared about it in terms of more than basic legibility.
    5. What is your favorite lunchmeat? Prosciutto made by my uncle.
    6. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? I don’t know where I would meet me, but probably.
    7. Do you have a journal? Many, many journals.
    8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yup.
    9. Would you bungee jump? No. I might be convinced to jump out of an airplane, however. (I have done a high ropes course and some rock climbing. Not afraid of the heights.)
    10. What is your favorite cereal? Banana Nut Crunch.
    11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Not unless they’re tied very, very tightly.
    12. Do you think you’re strong? Depends on the context.
    13. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Banana. (With walnut smoosh-ins. From Herrell’s.)
    14. Shoe size? US Women’s 10
    15. Red or pink? Both, but more red.
    16. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? I’m a Big Meanie.
    17. Who do you miss the most? My grandma.
    18. What color pants, shirt and shoes are you wearing? Red shirt, blue jeans, brown shoes.
    19. Do you want everyone to send this back to you? 42!
    20. Last thing you ate? A sandwich.
    21. What are you listening to right now? Co-workers talking about Excel. …I mean, nothing! Birds!
    22. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Burnt Sienna.
    23. Favorite smell? Lilacs
    24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Don’t remember.
    25. The first thing you notice about people you are attracted to? Eyes.
    26. Do you like the person you stole this from? Yes!
    27. Favorite drink? Shirley Temple. With extra maraschino cherries.
    28. Favorite sport? Baseball. Though my obsession with World Cup soccer last summer makes it a close second.
    29. Eye color? Buh-rown.
    30. Hat size? Dunno.
    31. Do you wear contacts? No. Tried them and hated them.
    32. Favorite food? It would be cruel to have to choose one over another.
    33. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy. (Honestly, I kind of prefer “realistic” — definitely not scary, though.)
    34. 42! (There was no question here. I know not why.)
    35. Summer or winter? Fall and spring, baby.
    36. Hugs or kisses? Depends on who’s doing the hugging and/or kissing. I come from a Kiss Hello people, so I’m very good at the airkissing.
    37. Favorite dessert? Cheesecake
    38. Who is most likely to respond? 42!
    39. Least likely to respond? 42!
    40. What books are you reading? Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Little Children by Tom Perrotta is next, I think.
    41. What’s on your mouse pad? Can’t remember the last time I used a mousepad.
    42. What did you watch last night on TV? Ugly Betty and the first five minutes of Grey’s Anatomy.
    43. Favorite sounds? Waves hitting the shore.
    44. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Beatles
    45. The furthest you’ve been from home? Italy.
    46. What is your special talent? Thinking too much.
    47. Where were you born? Bridgeport
    48. Who sent this to you? I stole it from Theresa.
  • Where was I? August 23, 2006

    Posted by marymac in Excuses for not posting, Me me me!.

    The book review is coming. I’ve been… busy… Um… Reading other books. And Skypeing! I’ve been Skypeing!*

    Hey, you want it to read better than this entry, don’t you?

    Anyway, to keep you entertained in the meantime, Story Value presents a One-Act Play in One Act.

    Scene: Yesterday Morning. Marymac is leaving her apartment to go to work.

    Me: (Unlocks door, opens it, it won’t open all the way) ??

    Me: (Closes door, examines it, opens it again. It still won’t open all the way.) ?!

    Me: (Opens and closes the door quickly several times, trying to dislodge whatever is… lodged. Still won’t open all the way.) #$%^&^%!!!!**

    Me: (Closes door, realizes that security chain on door is still latched, undoes chain, opens door all the way) *sigh*

    Me: (Emerges into foyer, grateful that neighbors weren’t around to see The Great 8:AM Door Battle.) *sheepish look*


    Perhaps I need to go to bed earlier.

    *Except I kind of hate Skypeing, because it hates dial-up and there’s all this lag and I turn into Creepy Listener Person on conference calls, anyhow.

    **This is pronounced phonetically, obviously. Also, I may have said it more than once.

    The Road’s My Middle Name August 20, 2006

    Posted by marymac in Me me me!, travel.

    I was going to be all deep and display my varied interests which I am so allowed to have, you’re not the boss of me neener neener neener, but I got tired and didn’t write the thing I was going to write that would have accomplished this. Follow-through is hard!

    So what I was going to talk about was a book. A good book, actually — you should read it. Assuming I ever get around to telling you about it. Instead, I’m going to tell you about driving.

    I love driving. Before I learned to drive, I was mostly terrified of doing it, but back then I was mostly terrified of everything. I took drivers’ ed in high school and barely got through after swearing on my (very, very scary) instructor’s life that I’d do some more practicing with my parents before I took the test. What with one thing and another, though (mostly the fact that my parents hated having to take me out for driving practice with the passionate heat of a thousand burning suns), and the kindness of strange friends (it helped that I lived closest to the mall), I didn’t actually get my license until I was almost 22 years old.

    And then I immediately began driving myself everywhere. All the time. Alone. I got flat tires, I left my lights on, I even got into a serious (for the car) accident. I took jobs that had long commutes (a night job in a warehouse) or where I had to drive from one client’s house to the next (I did home health care — get your minds out of the gutter). And it turned out that that one serious for the car (and early in my driving career) accident aside, this driving thing was pretty cool.

    But I haven’t taken a “real” road trip in a few years, and it’s making me antsy. About four years ago I accompanied a friend who was moving across the country (we took her car and I flew home), and then a year later I drove halfway across the country with a different friend who was going home for a while before doing some other travelling on her own. Both trips were around this time of year, and now I seem to get that itch to hit the road right around the time when vacations are supposed to be over and school is about to start and my office at Acme University is going to be very busy… erm… counting things. (It is so an important job — how would you know how many things there were without counting them? Shut up.)

    So the road and I have had to do some renegotiating in order to keep me from hopping in the car on the spur of the moment and driving to, oh, Texas or something. So far, our deals include Labor Day weekend in Boston, Some Other Weekend in September in New Yawk City with the Knitting Posse, and a possible trip “Upstate” (New York, that is) for some big ‘ol fiber festival thing, assuming I have any spare change at that point for festing fiber. Oh, and I suppose I have to go see The Family in Connecticut at some point in there, but it’s not quite the same thing.

    Vroom. Vroom.
    (Okay, the title of this post is a total lie. I don’t have a middle name.)

    Hey, baby, wanna go for a drive?

    Don’t make me turn this thing around. August 18, 2006

    Posted by marymac in knitting, Me me me!.

    Now that everyone who’s visited so far has finished looking for their names on the blogroll, perhaps we can move on. (This is not a popularity contest, kittens. And for the record, all of the blogs I visit aren’t even on the blogroll. Because I thought maybe I should have some content, too.)

    Content, right…. Well, if you have peeked at the blogroll (How many times can I write “blogroll” in one post? How many times will I misspell it in the process?), you may have noticed that there are a whole buncha knitting-related-type blogs there. Yes, I’m a knitter. Yes, I’ve started a blog. But I’m reluctant to call it a “knitting blog” for two reasons: a) I do have other interests, and 2) having a knitting blog implies that one will show off one’s knitting occasionally. As a member of the Wicked Slow Knitters Association, this creates a problem — either I will post so rarely that my guilt-tripped loyal readers have to blow the dust off the blog before they can read it, or all of my progress posts will look and sound very much alike.

    A short demonstration:

    Doublewide Starsky Swatch Swatch, day one (click for big). (Actually, about day 4, but that was because at first I was only working on it for a couple minutes at a time. Yes, it is very wide. Yes, it has a bump in it — that’s where I changed needle sizes. Yes, I love my Denises.)

    Doublewide Doublelong Starsky Swatch Same swatch, next day (click for big). (Yes, it’s blurry, because I am a bad photographer and I didn’t feel like GIMP-ing it just to compare widths — I promise to say ten Hail Mapplethorpes if you’ll forgive me.)

    It’s like a stop-motion movie of someone knitting. You could make a flip-book on the knitting of my swatch. Yeah, I think I’ll be talking about other stuff here, too.

    (A word on the yarn, because I know there will be questions. It’s KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Bordeaux. It’s very soft and has a nice drape — the gauge is a little smaller than what’s called for in Starsky, but the sweater is supposed to have a lot of ease, so I think I can get around that pretty easily by making a different size. I could be here swatching for a while, though, so I’ll have to keep you posted.)

    room with a view Yeah, now I’m just showing off that I (finally) figured out how to do the clickable thumbnails thing. (Hi! Dorky! Me!) That’s the view from the window above my bed. (I didn’t get the big round hay bales in the shot, though. Next time.)