Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chicken and Egg-Tart Problem

I’m still doing my pedestrian survey of Oakland. Lately I’ve been purposely walking the less bustling parts of the city because while I was walking Chinatown, I saw many stores and restaurants I wanted to come back to, and I’m still working on that backlog. I want to visit all those places before I discover too many distracting new ones.

That means that lately, I’ve been walking around the semi-industrial areas on the outskirts of Jack London Square, and near the railroad tracks. They’re actually pretty interesting in their own rough way. There’s a lot more going on than I expected. It doesn’t feel deserted or creepy, and I discovered some nice little parks and pedestrian paths along the estuary that I didn’t know about.

Still, I have to admit that I’m having a lot more fun exploring the bakeries and cafés of Chinatown. I found two great snack shops, both on Webster Street. The Shooting Star Café has two treats Pipi and I have been meaning to try: lemon coke and condensed milk toast. (Don’t worry; we won’t have them both in the same sitting. We know our limits.)

The other, Sweet Home Bakery, is an even better find, I think. There is no place to sit, but you can get three egg-custard tarts for a dollar, and milk tea is only a dollar more.

I love egg tarts. I had three yesterday. I bought a bag in the afternoon, and by the time I was done with dinner, I’d eaten two of them. I very magnanimously saved one for Pipi to eat after Chinese class. By a strange co-incidence, she came home with her own bag of tarts. I ate the one offered to me because it would have been rude to refuse a gift, right?

What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, really. I just needed to confess my sin of gluttony. (There are still two egg tarts in the refrigerator. I’ve managed to keep myself from them all day so far.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Not Strictly Related, But….

…I found a 2007 penny today, my first of the new year. I literally found it, on the ground in an Albertson’s parking lot. (Yep, I’ve still got it.) This is about the earliest in the year I’ve ever gotten a new coin, although I’m not sure what the record is.

I’ll try not to make the same mistake I made once when I was little. One year my father got a shiny new penny in change during the first weeks of January. (I don’t remember what year exactly—1977, maybe?) He gave it to me, knowing I’d appreciate it. And I did—I latched onto it and, afraid I’d leave it somewhere around the house, didn’t let it go all evening. When I finally did peel my fingers off the coin, it was all tarnished, having aged 10 years in my sweaty little fist. I felt terrible, realizing that I’d tried to protect something beautiful and had ruined it in the process.

I‘m sure there’s a lesson there, but it’s late. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This Is What I’m Talking About
To recap: Fidel Castro—not a nice guy. I went to Cuba (legally) in 2002 uncertain what I thought about the Communist regime. I certainly had concerns about humanitarian issues, but I went there wondering if there were any possibility that trading free speech and property rights might be worth the perks you always hear about: free health care and free education for all.

At the end of a week in Havana and Trinidad, I had decided that in theory, there probably is no way to justify that trade-off, and that the reality of life in Cuba certainly fell short of being a warm, fuzzy workers’ paradise. I got tired of hearing, “But—free health care!” as an answer to any challenge about human rights violations, and by the end of the trip, I’d realized that the health care wasn’t all it was made out to be—the sight of a customs official who had repaired her shattered eyeglass lenses with Scotch Tape made me realize that treatment may be free, but you can’t just run down to Lenscrafters and pick up a new pair of glasses whenever you want.

Plus, the glaring gap in the quality of life between those who area able to participate in the tourist industry (alive and well despite minimal American involvement) and those who have to scratch a living out of the socialist peso-based system was too great to ignore. My impression is that Communism has helped almost no one in Cuba, and that it has harmed just about everyone.

That said, this is just wrong. Celebrate the end of Marxism if you must (and if it happens). But celebrating the end of someone’s life? You can’t do this and expect to find your appropriated ranch waiting for you in heaven when you get there.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Speaking of Miami…

…I got encouraging news from the Miami Herald editor: She’s holding onto one of my stories for possible use later.

She didn’t mean for this news to be encouraging. In fact, she specifically cautioned me that she has about 100 stories in this “maybe” pile. But still, I took it as encouragement since I don’t usually hear anything from editors, and when I do it’s a rejection. As always, I’ll let you know how this turns out.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Going to Miami

People often ask me where and when my next trip will be, and I now I have a specific answer: Pipi and I are going to Miami for Presidents’ Day weekend (leaving Saturday and returning Tuesday). On the itinerary for sure is the Deco District and Little Havana.

I never thought I’d say this, because I’m not really much of a fan, but I’m finding myself wishing good health to El Jefe. At least until the end of February. Because every time the guy sneezes, it seems like the Miami ex-patriot population dances in the streets. I really don’t want to see what happens in Miami if Castro actually carks it (new Kiwi phrase I just learned) while we’re there. Like I said, he’s not my favorite communist despot, but I still don’t want to witness anyone celebrating his death. That’s beyond bad karma. I don't care how big your finca was in the Batista days. It's just wrong.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Triple Threat

First I get a photograph published. Today, I got an actual paying gig, but it isn’t writing either. I’ve been asked to edit a cookbook for Meredith Books. So far this year, editing has turned out to be more lucrative than writing, and the only thing I’ve gotten published in 2007 is a photograph. Am I in the wrong line of work?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Google and Ye Shall Find

Do you ever Google yourself? I find that from a purely professional standpoint (having nothing to do with my own vanity, I swear), it’s a useful thing to do sometimes. Once I did it and found that the Christian Science Monitor had published one of my articles. I knew they were going to publish it someday, but they’d never told me when. So I was very glad I let curiosity get the best of me that day.

Today, I did it again and found another item that I knew would appear someday. It’s a photo that Out Traveler told me weeks ago they’d include in an online slide show. I finally found it. It’s pretty buried—I still can’t figure out how to navigate to it from the Out Traveler home page, but it doesn’t matter. Here’s the direct link. (I'm photo #2.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Traveling Vicariously

My friends Kristina and Bruce just got back from a trip to Belize and Guatemala with their son, Seth. They have a blog about that. There are a lot of good photos on it—it helps if you like bugs, though. (Seth sure does.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dark Day on Ivy Drive

Working at home means I know what goes on around the block during working hours. The woman who lives across the street may wonder what Buddy, her white terrier, does all day alone while she’s at work, but I know. (A lot of standing on the couch, making nose prints on the window, and barking at people walking by.) It’s dark when Moustache’s owners get home, but I know where the patch of sun was that he spent his day in. (He likes to park his large, black-and-white caboose next to a bunch of white flowers in the garden next door to where he lives. I think he thinks he’s hiding but it takes more than a spray of daisies to camouflage an 18-pound cat.)

I see the stay-at-home dad leave a couple of times a day with his toddler son (so much for the labels we put on people). I see the Asian couple with their conical hats going through the recycling bins. I see the guy down the street pull his BMW out of the garage on nice summer days and park it on the street, where he tinkers with it for several hours while listening to the Giants on the radio. He always knocks off in the late afternoon, opening up the parking space to the first of the nine-to-fivers returning home. They probably don’t even know he does this. If they even give it a thought, they probably assume the space has been wide open since early morning, because who comes to visit this residential neighborhood during working hours?

I see all these things, the charming pet behavior, the furtive immigrants smelting a living from our refuse, and the comings and goings of the other people on my street who, like me, don’t seem to have anywhere else they really need to be during the day. I see all these activities, and I follow them, because the sometimes banal, sometimes eccentric pastimes of my neighbors fill a niche I might otherwise be filling with daytime television.

Yesterday, though, was a little different.

“There’s been an accident with one of your neighbors,” the officer told me. I wasn’t exactly surprised—even in Oakland, you don’t glance out the window to find multiple police cars on your street unless something is very wrong. There had been three cars, one parked hurriedly at a skewed angle, partially blocking the street. A blond woman was standing on the sidewalk, talking to one of the officers. From my third-floor nook, I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but I could see she was in tears. She motioned for the officer to follow her up a short flight of stone stairs into a courtyard. Halfway up the stairs, she suddenly dropped to a crouch and took her head in her hands. In a moment, the spasm of grief passed, and she and the policeman continued up the stairs, along a pathway through the courtyard, and out of my sight.

The officer in blue hesitated a moment after informing me of the accident. I hesitated, too, uncertain whether or not I had the right to ask what kind of accident required the services of seven police cars—the three parked on my street, plus four more I’d just discovered around the corner. An empty, idle ambulance stood by as well. It was the largest collection of emergency vehicles I’d seen in a long time. When my car got broken into a few years ago, no cruisers were dispatched—an operator took my name, and it took days for someone from the police department to call me back to take my report. Once I was involved in a three-car accident. The police arrived quickly that time, but only two officers came, with just one car.

We both stood there in awkward silence, and it was then I realized that silence was another oddity. Shouldn’t seven police cars and an ambulance make noise? I hadn’t heard a single siren all morning. What kind of accident requires such a huge emergency response but no sense of urgency? My sense of dread mounted. I shuffled my feet uncomfortably. The officer was dressed so smartly, and I was wearing sweats and the wild hair I’d slept in. I almost hadn’t come out to talk to her at all, embarrassed by my disheveled appearance and the fact that if she asked what I’d been up to that morning, I couldn’t really say. Here she had already dealt with some kind of incident and begun an investigation, and I had nothing to show for my morning but a crumpled newspaper and clean breakfast dishes. I’d meant to go for a walk right after breakfast, but I’d been preoccupied by the police presence. If she’d asked me what I’d been doing for the past half hour, I would have had to say, “Pacing the bedroom and trying to eavesdrop on you.”

If she’d asked me if I’d seen or heard anything out of the ordinary, I’d have said no, except for the sound I’d heard while reading the paper on the couch. It had sounded kind of like a cat yowling, and sort of like a baby crying. I’d thought to check it out, but it sounded far away, and we have a neighborhood stray cat that makes a lot of noise for no reason, so I didn’t think an investigation would turn up anything unusual. Besides, I still had coffee to drink and it couldn’t really have been a woman shrieking. That kind of thing doesn’t happen on my street.

It was the officer who spoke first, answering my unspoken question about the nature of the accident. “Actually, your neighbor seems to have taken his own life.”

I think I gasped. “That’s horrible,” was all I could think to say. “Yes,” she said, “It is.” She gave me a sad smile and put a hand on my shoulder. Had she done this for the crying woman, too? I wondered how she could stay in touch with her compassion in her line of work without burning out. She must have to preside over “accident” scenes all the time. “You might not want to go down that street,” she suggested, gesturing toward the ambulance and the knot of uniformed men and women milling around it.

Was it a gory scene? I don’t know—I took her advice and didn’t venture around the corner until much later in the day. By that time the police had gone, as well as the ambulance. If there was a coroner’s van, I missed that, too. The tearful blond was nowhere to be seen. I expected yellow caution tape, but didn’t see any. Aside from myself, there were no gawkers. You would never know anything had happened.

Later still, my other neighbors would start straggling home, greeting their pets and reclaiming their street parking without ever knowing that Buddy had spent the morning exchanging barks with a K-9 Unit German Shepherd, or that the last car in their parking place was black and white with flashing lights. Unless they knew the blond lady personally, most people were—and probably still are--completely unaware of the tragedy that came out of nowhere like a meteorite falling into a pond, leaving behind concentric shock rings slowly dissipating, by dinnertime becoming so small as to be undetectable to someone who hadn’t seen it happen.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

….Is Meeainly in the Pleeain

Did you take it? I was pleasantly surprised to find that my accent is described as “Midlands,” which they describe as “another way of saying you have no accent.” Pipi was told she has a Boston accent, which isn’t really true, although I do like to try to get her to say the word “drawer,” because unless she realizes I’m fishing for it, it comes out as a one-syllable word with an “A” at the end. (Which I love.) Anyway, I’m glad they didn’t ask me too many long “A” questions, or include any queries about words with hard consonants in the middle, like “mittens” (“mi’ens), which make me go all Cockney for some reason.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Rain in Spain…
Have you ever noticed how strangely you talk? You may not think you do, but somewhere out there is an English speaker who thinks you have a strange accent. (And if you ever meet this person, you will think he or she talks funny, too.)

I don’t normally think my accent is weird, but twice I’ve managed to stay out of the country long enough, and meet few enough Americans, that I’ve been able to somewhat objectively hear what an American accent sounds like. And it’s a little funny. Not funny ha ha, like Glasgow, where they practically speak another language, but funny odd. Very flat, with twangy “A”s and growling “R”s.

Both times I’ve managed to return pretty quickly to thinking that North American English is the default way of speaking, and that everyone else in the world but me has an accent. Quickly I’m back to picking out regional American accents, and wondering if my dropped consonants and tortured “A”s are betraying my Massachusetts (MEEAsachoosetts) roots. (I love Massachusetts, and I’m not trying to hide the fact that I’m from there. I’d just rather you heard it from me, not my vowels.)

If you’re curious about what others think when they hear you talk, here is an interesting quiz that will give you some idea of what part of the United States you sound like you’re from.

Did you take it? I was pleasantly surprised to find that my accent is described as “Midlands,” which they describe as “another way of saying you have no accent.” Pipi was told she has a Boston accent, which isn’t really true, although I do like to try to get her to say the word “drawer” because unless she realizes I’m fishing for it, it comes out as a one-syllable word with an “A” at the end. (Which I love.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Today I saw something I’ve never seen in Oakland before: a frozen puddle. It has been cold—frigid, by our standards—in Northern California lately. Frost happens here occasionally, and once I even saw it snow (very briefly, while I was standing in line to get into a Victorian mansion decorated for Christmas) but I’ve never seen a puddle of ice in the East Bay. Certainly not at 11 in the morning, under bright sun.

I don’t mind; this is what January is supposed to be like, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve never gotten used to the idea that when the newspaper issues dire warnings about winter “storms,” they’re just talking about rain. So it’s almost a relief to me when January does something I expect it to do.

Pipi on the other hand, is very concerned. For one thing, she’s from Los Angeles, so she has different ideas about what appropriate winter weather is. But she’s also a woman of food enthusiasms, and right now, it’s oranges. She can’t get enough, and we just read that the California orange crop is endangered. So I guess I should pause to give a thought to the citrus growers of the state, who probably don’t think frozen puddles are as charming as I do.

Friday, January 12, 2007

More on Coins

That’s not the only unusual coin event to happen to me lately. Those of you who knew me in high school may remember that I had an uncanny knack for finding pennies on the ground. I still do find more than the average person, I think, but for some reason I was at the top of my game then. I once found seven-and-a-half pennies in one day. (No, not a half-penny—I actually found a one-cent piece sheared in two. And seven regular pennies.)

That was my record until one day during the Christmas season. In December I was shopping on Fourth Street in Berkeley and managed to get a parking place in the Cody’s lot, which is nearly unheard of between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. So I felt pretty lucky already. When I returned to my car, I noticed a zip-lock baggie on the ground near my front tire that turned out to be full of pennies—well over a hundred, I estimate.

Usually I pick up the pennies I find—I guess I sort of halfway believe that it’s good luck. But this baggie I left. It seemed a little greedy to try to claim the luck of over one hundred pennies. I reasoned that probably someone there could use the money more than me--although north Berkeley is the kind of neighborhood where people throw away their pennies, so you never know. Still, it seemed like the right thing to do.

(You’re right; I’m exaggerating. No one in Berkeley throws away pennies. It’s Berkeley—they recycle them.)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Another Reason to Like Oakland

This is the kind of thing that never used to happen to me in New England: I was at the photo counter at Walgreens, picking up a couple of pictures I’d had printed. When I paid, the woman at the register gave me a handful of change, including what I’m sure she thought was a quarter. But it wasn’t a quarter. I caught a glimpse of a dull silver edge as she handed it to me, and thought it was a Canadian coin. It turned out to be something more exotic: One Nicaraguan Cordoba.

Technically I’ve been had, because this coin isn’t worth a quarter—it’s worth just over five cents at current conversion rates. But I just love it when I get foreign coins in my change. It happens fairly often here. Sometimes I think it might be a part of a scam—I’ve gotten so many Indian coins at laundromats that I think people may be purposely passing them in a sort of a low-level counterfeiting operation. (They’re the same size as quarters, but only worth a few cents.) But I don’t really care. I like coins so much that I’m more than willing to take a small loss. Once or twice I’ve gotten a Filipino coin in change, and once I found an English penny. One time I found what I thought was a dime on the ground near my apartment, but it turned out to be a coin from Iran. (All the writing looked like Arabic and it took me the better part of a morning on the Internet to figure out which country it came from—sorry boss!)

It’s not completely fair to say things like this never happened in New England. I did used to find foreign coins a lot. They just weren’t as exotic. Canadian coins were very common, partly because I lived closer to the Canadian border then, but also because I think the exchange rate was closer to parity then and shopkeepers didn’t bother making a distinction. (Or maybe they thought a child wouldn’t notice? They had no idea who they were up against.) Coins from Bermuda were not unusual, either, especially pennies and nickels, which looked very much like their American counterparts. But that was about it. My friend Toby and I would be beside ourselves if we got a penny with a San Francisco mint mark, so coinage from Central America was something we didn’t even think to look for.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Feeling Better Now

The stove’s all fixed. I’ve calmed down. Breathing deeply. Thank you for your concern.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bad Day at the Office

This is what a bad day at work is like for me now. Work itself was fine. I emailed one article to the L.A. Times travel section. I polished another to send to the L.A. Times weekend magazine, but they like hard copies, so I printed one. Only I couldn’t send it because the stamps I ordered days, actually weeks ago, haven’t arrived yet. (As a side note, does it make sense for the post office to charge for postage when they send you something? You’d think they could work out some kind of deal.)

So far it wasn’t a bloggably bad day though.

I always found when I worked in an office that my feelings about my job and how each day went usually had little to do with the work. It was usually some personal interaction, or a policy change, or the way the machines I had to deal with worked or didn’t work that colored how I felt my day was going.

It’s the same now. The guy who was going to fix the stove never showed up, so I’m still singing my knuckles every time I make tea, and I spilled cooking wine all over myself trying to spritz up the stock I’d been simmering all day. But things were tolerable until it came time to knock off work and really start dinner.

Since I’m home now, it usually falls to me to cook on weeknights. I don’t mind this; I like cooking and in the days when Pipi and I both had full-time jobs outside the apartment we’d come home too hungry to cook and didn’t eat anything fresh during the week. We’d make a large batch of something Sunday and eat it as long as it lasted—or as long as we could stand it—and then it was frozen entrees or restaurant food at the end of the week. Sometimes one of us would make something after dinner to eat the next night, but then it was already a leftover before we’d even touched it. So this is much better.

On this particular evening, however, nothing seemed go right and it put me in a muttering funk. (Why doesn’t anything WORK around here? Why is it so hard to FIND anything? Who left the stupid BREAD on top of the stupid REFRIGERATOR?) I couldn’t find anything. The bag of Arborio rice I got a Farmer Joe’s the other day was nowhere. It just disappeared somewhere between the bulk foods section and the rice/grain/pasta shelf of our pantry. I was short an onion, too. The convenience store at the bottom of my hill sells onions, but the parking lot was full and I almost collided with someone going the wrong way. So I had to go to Albertsons. There’s almost nothing that puts me in a worse mood than large grocery stores during rush hour, and by the time I got home I could tell my cooking muse had deserted me, probably fearing I would start throwing things or decapitate her with a vegetable peeler.

So we ended up eating the salad I’d meant to have as a side dish as our main course. This was certainly good for us but a little disappointing. Unless you’re a rabbit, expecting rich creamy goodness and getting raw vegetables is a rough adjustment.

(Don’t feel bad for us, though. The salad had mozzarella cheese and marinated artichokes, so it’s not like we’re wasting away. And now when something like this happens I get to complain about it in front of a worldwide audience. So it’s not all bad.)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Resolution Update

After a full week of 2007, I have not done a stellar job with the resolutions. I’m not in the black yet. I haven’t cracked my Chinese textbook. I haven’t even finished the New Year’s cards. But, I only have two more to write. I have been blogging every workday. And I haven’t gone to beauty school even once. Not a bad percentage as far as New Year’s resolutions go.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Not Strictly Related But…

…Have you ever looked under your stove? I’m not suggesting you should, I’m just saying that it’s an interesting thing to do, anthropologically speaking.

Lately my pilot light has been on the fritz. My apartment came with a Regan-Era gas stove with an electric starter, and for the last few weeks I’ve been having to light it with a match because the starter is sparking so weakly. Today the manager came to fix it. He wasn’t able to—he has to come back Monday with a part—but in moving the unit away from the wall to check the connections he did inadvertently unearth a time capsule of the history of my kitchen. Pens from the Clinton administration. A piece of a plate I broke four years ago. Petrified ginger. Cat toys purchased at stores that don’t exist anymore. And a champagne stopper I’ve rummaged through my kitchen gadget drawer for on so many New Year’s Eves I can’t even count.

No wonder the stove didn’t work right. It was barely on level ground.

Now that I think about it, the kitchen hot water faucet is a little wonky, too. I hate to think what’s in the pipes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Published in a Most Unlikely Way

The Out Traveler is a magazine I get with my subscription to The Advocate. It’s a little on the boy-crazy side, but it’s a very good publication, with plenty of information of interest to women, and the tone is nice. They talk about places I might actually go to, and mention hotels that I might actually stay in. They don’t assume everyone is on a Conde Nast-type budget (or lack thereof).

It’s the kind of magazine I could imagine writing for, but oddly enough, a photograph is the first thing they’re ever going to publish from me. In their print magazine they have a feature called "Souvenir." It’s a page where readers are invited to send in vacation photos. A few months ago I sent a few of mine in on a whim, all from my round-the-world trip. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, but yesterday I heard from them saying they’d like to include a Japan shot in an online slideshow starting January 8. I don’t know where exactly this will appear, but I’ll keep checking and provide a link as soon as I find it myself.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Okay, This Is Embarrassing

I remembered another resolution (and it’s so typical of what I do that I’m just now thinking of it): I resolve to finish my Christmas cards.

I wish I could say that I’m joking, but I’m not. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I never really intended to send Christmas cards. I wanted to, but knew I probably wouldn’t get that together. So I set my sights on New Year’s cards. Just this morning someone wished me a happy new year, so I know the moment hasn’t completely passed, which is encouraging. My goal is to get them out by the end of this week, ideally before the denuded, desiccated, abandoned Christmas trees start appearing on sidewalks, because that’s how you know the holiday season has really entered the hangover phase.

Honestly, I don’t know how I ever got anything accomplished when I had a real job.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Year’s Resolutions
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions—I’m not really the iron-willed type, so it just usually ends in tears (and my resolving not to be such a crybaby next year). This year, though, I do have a few.

  • Relearn my Chinese characters. I always say I’m going to do this, and last year I even started, but I don’t think I studied very effectively. This year I’m going to review a few every day and see if I can really learn them this time.

  • Make some money. I’ve heard that if you do what you love, the money will follow, but I realize I’ve never heard the word “immediately” used with that saying. So far, freelancing has not exactly been a get-rich-quick scheme for me. So this year, I resolve to make a real career out of this. Part of this will involve working harder—it won’t kill me to put off some of the home-improvement projects, house cleaning, and weekday errand-running I’ve been doing lately. Normal people get these things done on the weekend and I can too.

    But mostly, getting into the black is going to involve working smarter. I’ll be doing less spamming of articles to nationwide newspapers. Instead, I’ll target the most prestigious ones and make sure my articles fit their format and style perfectly. I’ll pitch to more magazines, too. They’re where the money is anyway, and they also don’t want you to even bother writing the article until they’ve accepted your pitch, so there’s less wasted effort. (If I can’t write my way into the middle class, I can at least minimize the time I’m spending not making any money.)

  • Keep up with the blogging. I’ve been pretty good with the daily postings this year—let’s see if I can keep it up.

By the way, Ellen DeGeneres has an interesting approach to New Year’s Resolutions. She prefers to focus on what she accomplished in the past year, rather than her shortcomings. She also tries to make the resolutions that she does declare be attainable. “Don’t go back to beauty school” was one of hers for the coming year, for example. So that’s a good one. I absolutely, positively promise you I won’t go to beauty school in 2007. That one I think I can stick to.