Wednesday, March 31, 2004

game over

I have found a sure-fire way to get out of a hormonal streak - just wait for your husband to make a joke about having a threesome with Hillary Clinton.

I swear, I will never eat cottage cheese again.



Have you ever seen the size of the woman's calves? One leg couldn't even fit the waistline of my jeans. Gah, I think I'm going to have to go celibate now. ()

Monday, March 29, 2004

roses are red, violets are blue - let's fuck

I now know how it feels to be a man.

Have you ever had one of those days where you're so revved up that you want to jump everything and anything? (Notice I didn't say "everyone and anyone" because that would indicate some kind of personal standard that's, quite frankly, been sorely lacking.)

That's been me for, oh, three weeks or so.

I'm talking about being so wound up that I've actually thought to myself, "Hmmm...what would it be like to have sex with a morbidly obese person? How would you get down with a paraplegic? A midget! Wow, there are all these demographics I've never even considered!"

Of course, it's all a moot point seeing as how I'm married, but it's not like you're supposed to shut off your "fantasy valve" just because you're wed. If that were the case, we'd all receive frontal lobotomies during the wedding instead of ten years into the marriage. But that's another story altogether.

I have been fantasizing about having a penis because I think I have some pretty good ideas of where I could stick it. I've even invented a few.

So yeah, I've been practically vibrating with hormones. This is where I get into trouble.

I've always had a really high sex drive as it is, at times to the point of embarrassment. I'm talking about situations including, but not limited to, using the phrase "baloney pony" in a serious context. Yeah, I'm not proud. But this is different. Growing up you always hear that men peak in their late teens but women peak in their thirties - when I was 21 Andy used to joke with me that he was afraid of what the future held when I hit my prime. Well, he's seen the other side of the mountain, and yea brothers, he is sore.

We had a long talk about what he's been calling my "behavior" and it's his assessment that Mother Nature is trying to get me to do the nasty with increasing frequency so that I will have another kid, ergo, I should refrain from, ya know, trying to jump him when he's not paying attention. (I think he's just saying that because he only got a combined total of six hours of sleep one weekend.) So I guess he only wants to have sex when I'm not in the mood...hey, man, fetishes come in all shapes and sizes, so don't judge.

Thing is, though, is that it's literally like an itch. Do you ever get a crazy-bad itch on your back and have to have it scratched right that second, but even as you're getting your back scratched you can almost feel the itch traveling to another spot? It's like that. It's chasing the itch that you can never fully scratch.

If this is what being "in my prime" is all about, I'm not so sure I like it. If this is how it's going to be or if, heaven forbid, should it get worse, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to hire a pool boy to take a shift to give Andy a break. So what if we don't have a pool.

Yeah, I know - it's a lot like a rich person complaining that they're bored. You wanna smack them and go, "Shut up, stupid - you're freaking rich!" Ah, but alas, I have seen the ugly side. It will leave you whimpering on the floor, crying out in the night. But not nearly often enough for your liking.

My enthusiasm was dampened, so to speak, on the drive home today when the local alternative station played this song that I'd only heard a few times - I usually only listen to NPR but I've been feeling really cut-off from the whole pop culture thing so I was listening. There's this song that, for some reason, always mysteriously gets me revved up despite the fact that the singer is quite obviously from Louisiana. (No offence to any Loozie Annie's who may be reading this, but just as a personal note I hate your accent. Not you; just the accent. Glad we cleared that up.) So I'm digging on this song, getting into my groove, thinking of how I can ambush Andy when I get home when the announcer comes on and says, "And that was blah blah blah by LUCINDA WILLIAMS." I swear I dropped my transmission. (And no, I didn't pay much attention to the "in hindsight they tell the whole tale" lyrics - again, accent. Plus, I'm all clouded by the lusty bug.)

Not that it makes a difference, but when you get lusty on a girl's voice it's different than getting lusty on a guy's voice - and gender ambiguity is a pretty effective cold shower most of the time, and now I'm all confused.

But still really, really turned on.

So not appropriately-ingly,


This post was sponsored in part by the fact that Andy was complaining that I never update anymore, but this is the second post in a week so he can just shut up and suck on it...beggars can't be choosers. ()

Sunday, March 28, 2004

what day is it again?

It's no secret that I am a collector of obligations. I owe little bits and pieces of myself to many, many people. I tend to forget to return emails and phone calls. Heaven help you if you have some physical correspondence due to you, cuz it just ain't happening until well after my reply ceases to be useful. It's just the way I'm wired, I suppose - don't take it personally. I am simply a shitty, shitty person.

That said, it should come as no surprise that at any given moment in time I have over thirty voice mail messages waiting on my phone. The majority of them are from people to whom money is owed so they're way down on the list of people I'd like to hear from. I'm a bit ostrich in that respect - trouble is that sometimes other voice mail gets lost in the shuffle.

This morning I woke up to an IM from the lovely Other Natalie saying, "I think I left you a really drunk voice mail last night. Hope I didn't wake anyone." The timestamp on the call was two a.m. and I wanted to listen to it - trouble was that it was message 41. I didn't want to go through all of those messages but my weekend minutes are free so I bit the bullet.

please hold for an important call... Message deleted. That was about the first twenty or so.

Next up was a drunken moaned, "Natalie....NataLEEEEE...where are you?" This was followed up by a couple more, "Where the fuck are you?"'s. Ah, yes, the veritable Melly. She knows how to woo me, yes indeed.

Then there was, in a rather good affected Jewish mother accent, "You tell me to cawl and you don't even pick up the phone. Hassles like this I don't need! Smeghead." Hmmm, I wonder...could it have been Solonor? Ah yes. Again, woo woo, swoon.

Few more "please hold"'s and then I hear it: the distinctive background noises that tell me that someone's in a bar. Hmmm...

"Natalie! NATALIE!!! (note: it's voice mail, dear, not an answering machine - yelling won't get my attention) Natalie! I'm drunk and I wanna talk because I wanna talk to you! It's not fair that...shut up, I'm talking to the other Natalie that's not me." In the background I hear, "Natalie? Pickle juice Natalie? Mother fucking PICKLE JUICE Natalie?!? Fucking COOOOL! It's pickle juice Natalie, let me say hi!" Then a bunch of stumbles and grumbles were heard and a few quick introductions were made that I couldn't understand. I kept hearing someone saying, in rather disparaging tones, "blog" and "blogging" so I assume that was Peter, Natalie's husband, who falls into the "I just don't get it" camp.

"It's fucking my fucking birthday and I never get to be the fucking drunk one when we talk and it's not fucking fair...." Okay, side bar - she was effing everything so instead of typing it out all the time just imagine that sandwiched between every, oh, third word or so is the word "fucking", okay? Okay. It's my birthday and I love you and Minnesotan you are way in Minnesota but I'm in New Hampshire where they don't know how to say their Rs! Read my blog today okay because it's, well, I never update anymore but it's updated now and I'm gonna win a Pulitizer! And you and Andy and your Zoe and your Nicholas and your Sam and I love you all so Minnesota and I'm drunk! But I want to talk drunk at you! Did I wake you up? Guys, be quiet! Did I wake you up cuz I hope not and I just love you and come to see Texas and me and my cats okay? I love you! Bye other Natalie that's not me! I love you!"

I am so feeling the love. Are you feeling the love? I am choking on the stuff.

You know, the mom in me thinks, "Oh geez - a two a.m. phone call. Who died?" But the Natalie in me says, "Two a.m. and the phone's ringing...which drunk friend is it?"

My life is rich with drunkenness.



update: I've just learned that it wasn't, in fact, Natalie's birthday and that some of what I thought was being said by Natalie was actually being said by a friend of hers. Now I'm all confused and conflicted - do I have room for another drunk person in my life? I suppose it's out of my hands now. Happy birthday anyway, strange lady who loves me way too much!

I hope she's not mad that I posted her drunken declarations of love...but she's probably too hung over to really process anything right now anyway. Happy birthday, spanky - love ya right back. Happy birthday, strange woman. ()

Friday, March 19, 2004

shit piss bitching mother fucker!

What? No, nothing's wrong. Just felt like saying the words is all. I've had a full week of nothing but "oh my goodness, oh my word!" and am going through fuck withdrawal. I take brief steps out the back of the building and scream "mother FUCKER!" at the top of my lungs but that doesn't do it. I need a steady stream of swear words and cigarettes in order to function as a normal human being. But I can't even say, "Aw, hell no! Look at what the son of a bitching attorney general just sent our ass!" without getting, ya know, holy water thrown on me. Some people, eh?

The religion thing has actually calmed down quite a lot. For a while it was like everyone wanted me to know how holy they were and to gauge my own holiness. But that's fairly well finished and we've all achieved a nice balance of glory to gawd in the highest and, well, me.

Worst part is that a lot of my jokes go over people's heads.

Case in point, one guy was talking about the youth groups that come in to volunteer. He was saying, "Oh, the shift in these kids! They come in, sarcastic and aggressive, and by the time they're finished listening to the good they've just done for the world, they're weak as kittens. That's when we turn them over to the church." I said, in my best Bono accent, "The God I believe in doesn't need subversion, mister."

No one got it. Well, I thought it was funny, anyway.

I had one guy call me and after a brief conversation he asked me, "And what denomination are you?" I replied, "Twenties and fifties. Unmarked bills."

Dead air. Come on, that's funny. And it should have been a good diversion. This guy should have said to himself, "Ah, okay, 'nuff said." Most reasonable people would realize that my response was the "I have to wash my hair" of religious conversation. Still, he persisted - and even went so far as to explain what he meant as if I didn't know.

"No, I mean, what re lig ion are you?" Yeah, sound it out like I'm stupid. I told him I wasn't really comfortable discussing it. Private matter and all of that. His response was to take a direct approach and he bellowed at me - yes, bellowed - HAVE YOU BEEN WASHED CLEAN IN THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB AND ACCEPTED OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR???


"Yeah," I said, "I did it once to piss off my Jewish mother."

Come on, that shit was funny.

You know, you can love ol' Christly Christ 'til the cows come home but please, for the love of all things sequined, do not shove it down people's throats! These guys drive me nuts - they say things like, "We want people to know that God loves them; that God is an option."

God does not need publicity, mmm'kay? Is there anyone in this entire country that doesn't know that the church is there? Hell, I can't even get my groove on in a seedy motel without the good lawd's gospel staring up at me from the beside table, right in the same drawer as my bottle of Jack. If God is everywhere, why y'all gotta be reminding me of it every time I turn around?

I know that I don't have all the answers. I know that I can't be sure of the truth. And neither can you. Faith is just that - it's abstract. Faith does not rest on logical proof or material evidence...that's straight from the dictionary definition.

Do you know the only evidence of absolute faith I believe in? That my dollar has value. That's it. Do you know what keeps the value of the dollar alive? Faith. That's it. There is not a single, whole commodity backing up the majority of our currency anymore - did you know that? Fort Knox was tapped out and borrowed against a long time ago. Without our faith and belief in the value of our money it becomes so much green paper.

I have known people - the majority of which live in West Virginia, don't ask me why - who exist totally on the barter system. There is an entire town in West Virginia that exists wholly without cash. Sure, it's a small community that's fairly well cut-off from the rest of the world but money rarely, if ever, changes hands. Their actions are born out of the primary belief that the dollar bills themselves "ain't worth the paper they're written on". They're faithless!

And how did I, as a "believer" react to their lack of faith - in the face of the entire rest of the country having a staunch belief that our money has value? I said to myself, "That's fucked up." That was the extent of my thought on this anomaly. I didn't try to change their minds - I didn't try to convince them that they're system was destined to break down and wreak havoc with their lives because they've been living that way for generations. But what will you retire on! Well, that's why I do a lot of work while I'm young and healthy so that when the time comes to retire, I have credit with people who owe me. You fix my roof I'll fix your truck. Within their community, money doesn't happen. They trade a slaughtered cow for lumber for a house. They trade a room in their house for work on the farm. It's a great system and if it works for them then who am I to worry about their nest eggs?

That's just money, man. I'm dealing with people who bandy about phrases like "eternal soul" and think that's some of their fucking business.

My take on the whole thing is this: If you don't try to sell me on the concept of organized religion, then I won't extol the virtues of getting nice and saucy on a sweet bottle of whiskey and having wild-ass sex with strangers. Deal? Deal.

Than thou-ingly,


You may call them "deadly sins" but I call them "a recipe for a relaxing weekend". ()

Sunday, March 14, 2004

i want to make one thing perfectly clear - i thought the cop was a prostitute

Long timey no posty, eh? Sorry 'bout that - fell into a bit of a funk and couldn't pull myself out of it. I tried starting probably fifty posts in the past week but they all veered into "up my own ass" territory so I refrained. Then Spalding Gray was found and it was downhill from there. I was just not a pleasant person to be around in the slightest.

Pretty much the only thing I had to talk about was depressing work stuff, and it's my opinion that telling work stories are like telling dream stories. You might think it's totally bizarre and outlandish but anyone who listens to you retell your dream are actually only waiting to hear if they were heavily featured, and preferrably naked. I love hearing stories of where I show up in someone's dream naked, but the rest of it where you and a Christmas tree sprout wings and fly to Norway? Nope. Not interested. Same thing with work stories. So I shall refrain.

One little slightly work-related thing I've rediscovered about myself...I am one of the dreaded Post-It note organizers. You've seen this guy before - you walk into their office and you notice bright swatches of blue, pink, green and yellow in and amongst the white paperwork lying haphazardly across their desk. It looks random but it's not - believe me, it's not. There's a very intricate system at work there. I can look at a stack of papers and know what everything is just by the color and placement of my stickies. And books - I use them in books, too, and no two Post-Its are serving the same purpose. Sure, there may be a few pink ones all in a row but their functions are entirely different depending on whether they're sticking out from the top, the side, or heaven forbid, the bottom.

You can fuck someone's day up but good by walking by and saying, "Weirdest thing, Natalie - your book had a bunch of Post-Its sticking out from the pages, so I took them out for you and threw them away." Additionally, you're veering into broken fingers territory if you happen to grab a Post-It from a sheet of paper because it's "handy" and "didn't have anything written on it" so it "obviously wasn't serving any purpose". I am seriously considering fashioning a type of "police line - do not cross" banner out of the large yellow Post-Its and placing it across my door in the morning.

On my business cards I'm thinking of putting "Bean Counting Post-It Nazi" as my title. It's a working title, to be sure, but I think it's vitally important that I include those two bits of information. Andy's suggested, "Vishnu, Destroyer of Worlds" which is also pretty accurate, but I'm not sure it encompasses my whole Post-It note fixation to the extent in which I would like.

So there ya go - contemplation of Post-It notes. It's been a laugh a minute round here, let me tell ya.

A lot of my problem comes from that whole addictive personality thing I have going on in that when I start doing something, I really, really do it. The only webpage I pull up in the morning is MPR for their audio, then at one I switch to NPR. That's it. How can people blog from work six, eight, ten times a day? How in the world do people possibly keep up with everything and still accomplish anything? The only time I even read Andy's blog is when he points it out to me, and then it's a two-second read and back to work. It's not like I have to stay busy all day - I just do. There's a woman I work with who spent the whole day working on her online photo album. That's it. That kind of stuff just drives me up a wall. The Three-Hour Lunch People are, collectively, my worst enemy. Because I am a bitch and will call you up on things, and that just makes everyone uncomfortable.

It's not that I'm jealous of the Three-Hour Lunch People and that's why I get pissed - it's not that I'd like to be a Three-Hour Lunch Person. It's that if your dumb ass is off at said lunch and I'm hanging out, waiting for you to get back to me about something or other and I am stuck waiting, I will start another project. Boom, another commitment. You get back to me with what I need, so I finish that one, and in the meantime something else crops up. Two big projects on the go, and on and on and on. It strains my mad-azz time-management skills and that makes me cranky. So if you're a Three-Hour Lunch Person at least do me a favor and pretend, I don't know, that you're going to the other office or something. Because if you come back all whiffing of Bennigans you and me's gonna have some words.

So, yeah, I spend most of my week being a power-hungry she-devil bitch from hell. It's probably better if that kind of stuff doesn't spill over onto here, for all our sakes.

If you take nothing else away from this little blog o' mine, and you probably won't, except perhaps for a burning sensation during urination, I want it to be this: do not - and I mean ever - fuck with another person's Post-It notes. Insult my mother, steal my truck, do what you will. But do not ever, ever touch my stickies.

Cuz I'll cut ya.

Prison yard-iously,


You wouldn't like me when I'm angry. I turn all Post-It Note pink. ()

Friday, March 05, 2004

here's a tip...

If you are so immature that you're still throwing up at the end of a night of drinking, you probably should stick to Budweiser or something you wouldn't be sorry about chucking. That was actually some pretty nice wine - seems a shame to be wiping the remnants off the side of the sink.

It's not my fault, though - there were some sinister forces at work. I think I assed myself up but good last night, and I can't be certain but I'm fairly sure I sexually propositioned his wife and asked her to teach me to crochet.

Whoo, doggie, innit I a charmer? It's a wonder I have any friends at all.



Thank jeebus I have to take Sam to the airport today because I really couldn't deal with work right now. ()

Thursday, March 04, 2004

file under "things that should never have to be said"

"In much the same way that I didn't need to 'out' myself as a smoker, it was really unnecessary for you to 'out' yourself as having irritable bowel syndrome. Haven't you ever wondered why I use the men's bathroom?"

It explains why Gordie and his buddies won't mop the floor in there.



When you talk about sex you're "going blue". When you talk about toilets you're "going..."...Gah, nevermind. I can't believe I even went there. I apologize, from the deepest depths of the toilet bowl. ()

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

all the egomaniacs in the house say "hoooo!"

Just to let all y'all big-heads in on a little secret - the last post was about me. See, I was doing exactly what I was saying I hated...that's why it was so funny.


Well! So what's new in Nat Town, eh? I've been busy doing Very Important Things with Very Important People regarding Very Important Issues. Jealous? Yeah, I didn't think so.

My days are a weird mix of balls to the wall excitement punctuated with the most boring shit you've ever done in your life. Or maybe it's the other way around - I'm too close to the problem to tell. For example, there's this huge deal going on that I can't really give any details, wait, I guess that's not a very good example. Okay, to put it into perspective...pretend, like, hell I don't know...pretend it's on par's right about the same level of excitement and big deal-edness as, say, George Bush telling the country that you and you alone are the only thing keeping him from catching Bin Laden.

Fucking hell, what's happened to my brain? That was a horrible example! Not good at all. Let's try this one's as exciting as...okay, got it - it's as exciting as getting a walk-on role in an episode of Blackadder. That's a perfect example - just as what's happening at work is met with whoops of joy by some people, other people are kind of going, "Yeah, well, so what? I don't even know what a Blackadder is."

I forgot the point I was driving at here...scroll, scroll, scroll...well, hell, that thought is gone. I'm sure it was a good one, but I lost it. Sorry 'bout that.

One cool thing is that there may be some travel to the sunny Bahamas in my near future. Isn't that great (for me)? I worked my magic so freaking well at the corporate level that they want me to ship off 'round the world and make sure all our secondary stations are up to snuff. And what better way to do that then to send me there to work on-sight for a while and get them headed in the right direction? What better way, indeed!

Trouble is, most of our secondary locations are not in vacation hot-spots. Unless there's something really cool going on in Uganda that I don't know about.

Man, Uganda...that place is fucked up, innit? We just had a guy come back from a tour of duty (that's really what we call it) from Uganda and he barely escaped the worst massacre in that region since '95. Scary, non? What's even scarier than that is that he's planning a return trip in two months.

I'm finding that this on-location stuff is like getting a get one and before the swelling has gone down you're already thinking of what your second one is going to be. That's the mentality. These are not thrill-seekers - these are ordinary, average people who willingly detour through Haiti on their way back from vacation just to see what they can do to help. It's absolutely amazing.

Going into this I thought it was going to be like a Sally Struthers thing...feed these starving kids while you marvel at how fat I have gotten since "All In The Family" and wonder about the misappropriation of charitable funds...but it's not like that at all. These guys go over and pass out food, sure, but they also teach the locals to farm (in Uganda the women - who do all the farming - were literally using pointed sticks as their main farming implement), about hygiene, setting up basic medical facilities, training them in first aid and CPR and the like, as well as setting up water filtration systems, working to provide a helpful curriculum for schools, and teaching villagers minor skills like fixing cars and whatnot...they do a lot to help and it's all totally behind-the-scenes. You will never meet a more modest bunch of people.

But me? I couldn't do what these people do (often sinking a lot of their personal money into the venture) and am quite happy to sit in a corporate office working my magic and, yet, I've made myself a halo. No shit - a real halo. Out of garland. With blinking lights. I wear it everywhere, along with a t-shirt that says, "Ask me about my halo!"

Modesty and piety clash with my skin tone, you see. I'm an autumn, what can I say?

The people with the big mouths, the "lookit me, ma!" people (including yours truly) do very little hands-on work. Though I did finally meet with a group one night that was packaging food for Romania - that was pretty fucking surreal. These kids were maybe seven years old, tops, and it was just me and them. Every time they finished another bag a big whoop went up and they said, "Six more fed - no more dead!" They packaged enough food for 1,700 meals. That was just incredible, and that's only one small part of what goes on there.

I can understand why so many religious people are involved in this kind of work. After the kids had left and I'd cleaned up I stood there looking at the small stack of boxes the kids had filled that night and I felt very, very small. I imagine it's the same way a religious person feels when they survey all they believe their God has made - just very, very small. Not in a demeaning's hard to explain. If there's such a thing as having a secular revelation, that's what happened to me that night.

It's good work, fulfilling work, but I know myself enough to realize that I have to pull away at certain times or else I'll get burned. I'll watch videos of these trips and I physically hurt inside and I want to scoop up all of these kids and bring them back to my house for frosty milkshakes and Girl Scout cookies. It hurts to see them with their distended bellies and emaciated frames. It's painful when I hear stories of how children waste away to nothing such that they look like decomposed corpses well before their bodies hit the dirt. And I hate how they smile through it all. That's the hardest part - their smiles. Have you ever seen an African person smile? It's the most fucking radiant thing in the world. Then you look at how they live in villages of five-thousand people within a square mile with an open sewage ditch running right next to their huts and you have to wonder what kind of fucked up world we live in. American kids shooting up schools because they were picked on and forgot their Valium that day, kids who take a life for a jacket, and you just have to shake your head and think, "What the fuck is wrong with this picture?"

In Uganda, our guy had an empty plastic water bottle in his truck that fell out. The kids picked it up and reverently handed the item back to him - for surely he'd want to keep something so valuable - and, confused, he said, "Thanks, but that's just garbage." The interpreter told him that the children wanted to keep the bottle so he let them. They all took turns popping the spout out back and forth and beaming their white smiles at the generous American who brought them such a treasure.

My kid's bummed that she doesn't have more games for her Playstation.

I don't know what the balance is but I know that sometimes, it really gets under my skin and I feel small. Not small like when I looked at the boxes of food, but small as in inconsequential, unnecessary, worthless. I don't know how to fix this, and I hate that I have to pull myself away from work to stop myself from choking. I don't know how to fix it all, so I have to wrap myself up in the self-appointed cloak of a job well done in a corporate office in Minnesota, far away from blinding white smiles, chocolate skin, and a life of slow death.

Up my own ass-ious,


I didn't write this to get a pat on the back and a "But you're doing a good thing!" comment - it's more like I'm trying to strengthen myself, mentally, to really throw myself into it all or walk away. I can't make that decision yet without exploring all of the jagged edges. I'll pull myself out of my ass soon, I promise. (Haven't I said that recently?) ()

Monday, March 01, 2004

sometimes it just goes that way

Dontcha hate it when a blog you read suddenly drops off in posts? Sometimes you'll still peek in, thinking, "Well, maybe they just didn't ping so they're not showing as 'updated'." Sometimes you think that your reader didn't pick up their feed for whatever reason. And yet it remains unchanged, sometimes for days.

Then after a few days you see that it's been updated. Huzzahs! You click over expecting an entry of the same general length and comedic value you've come to expect, only to be met with something like this:

Despite their reputation, beans have never given me gas.

Dontcha just hate that? It's like, "Come on! Nothing would have been better than that waste of time, that 'I have nothing to say but cannot bring myself to stay away for another day' post!"

Then you kind of get pissed off and think, 'You know, you've really lost your sparkle. You should give it up. I'm not going to waste my time reading you anymore."

It's pretty bad when things get to that stage, isn't it? You think, "Just one post - come on, one chuckle-worthy provacative glimmer of insight...that's all I'm asking." It never comes, but still you come back and check the blog, and check, and check again.

Annoying, innit?

And on that note, I will leave you with this singular thought...why is it that whenever anyone moves out of their house, they leave that one miniblind pulled up crooked? Man, I hate that.



Don't worry about it - tell you what, I'll smack myself for you - is that cool? ()