Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Dear Fat Guy on the Train This Morning,

I know those silly contoured seats on the subway aren't fair to any real person's ass. And yes, there was an empty seat on either side of me. But that does NOT give you the right to sit on me. Seriously, dude, no "excuse me" or anything? Just BAM, that's my fucking thigh, thank you very much, but apparently you're too absorbed in The Da Vinci Code to notice. So what happens then? I move over, of course, but the woman on my right has an overflowing ass as well, so I end up sitting in-between the seat I was in before your kamikaze attack and the one next to it. Okay, none of us is as thin as we might like to be, but compared to the two of you I'm Nicole fucking Ritchie, so how did I end up being the guy who's taking up two seats with the ridge between them wedged firmly up my butt crack??

Oh, it's going to be another one of those days....

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I sort of hate to ask it...

Apparently, I have some pent-up aggression today, as I learned at Duane Reade when the cashier asked me to take the items out of my basket and I just glared at her for a minute.

But seriously, what's the point of this? You can't lift my bottle of vitamins out of the basket and scan it just as easily as you can lift it off the counter and scan it? I mean, if anything, the basket gives you half an inch less lifting to do! Then she ignored the fact that I was holding out my club card (usually they ask for it before I can even set my basket down, let alone get my wallet out). Then, when we were done, she muttered something about the basket (which was still sitting on the counter) and motioned noncommittally with her hand. I gathered that she wanted me to put the basket away (as if I worked there and this were my job), so I tossed it into the basket that was on the floor next to me, thinking that's where they went. "NO!" she suddenly yelled, "Over THERE!" Her hand gesture wasn't any clearer than before but I gathered she meant by the door, from where I'd first gotten the basket.

"Sorry," I said, not sorry at all, "there was one here already so I thought - "

"Just because there was one there doesn't mean that's where they go! I SAID to put it over THERE!"

"I didn't HEAR you," I said, articulating carefully but not yelling, "and I thought this was where they went. I'll take BOTH of them on my way out." And I did. I walked by a manager as I did so, but decided to be the bigger man and not say anything.

I mean, I don't want to be the rude customer, and I'm sure your job sucks and you have to deal with fuckwits all day, but how about a little courtesy and professionalism, huh? I just didn't realize I'd gotten on the self-serve line at the drug store.

Frak me...

Remember when I said I wasn't obsessed with Battlestar Galactica? Yeah, that may no longer be true.

Over the weekend I hit the halfway point in the Season 1 DVDs, and I then finished the season in less than 24 hours (pausing pretty much only to sleep). Then I downloaded the podcasts. Tonight I'm borrowing Season 2 from a friend. How did it take me so long to get into this show? Especially since it was being watched in my house??

On another note, my geektastic post from last week about the Apple Store opening (as opposed to this geektastic post about Battlestar Galactica) got linked from a site all about the Apple Store, so I've been getting some extra hits and feel some pressure to write something good. Um, this isn't it. So if you've just joined us, welcome! I hope you'll look around, and check out the "Best of" links in the sidebar, as my recent output has been spotty at best!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dontcha think?

It would have been so much more fun if the Brangelina Baby had waited a week and been born on 6-6-06. I'm not saying she IS the Antichrist, but how cool would that be?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

End, begin, all the same. Big change. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad.

Since SA challenged my childhood and drunk-in-college memories of The Dark Crystal's greatness, I watched it again this morning. I bought it when it came out on DVD a couple of years ago, but I couldn't remember if I'd watched it all the way through then or not. In truth, much of the movie is rather unmemorable, but at the same time it's loaded with iconic moments and images that have stayed with me since I was 7, and still stay with me between viewings.

The pacing is astonishingly slow (kids today would never sit still for it, and I'm not entirely sure how I did), the opening narration is pretentious, and some of the characters look and sound a little too much like Muppets to take seriously (especially the incredibly hammy Skeksis... Skeksises? Skeksi?).

But I stand by my love. It's beautiful to look at, has a gorgeous score, a positive message, and remains technically brilliant. I almost wrote "for its time," but it looks pretty damn good, and I don't think the DVD was retouched at all (take that, George Lucas!). I love me some good CGI, but there's still something remarkable to me about good puppetry, and about the fact that people had to actually build and give life to everything on that screen.

So yeah. I say without hesitation or the haze of nostalgia: The Dark Crystal still totally rocks.

Friday, May 26, 2006

DVDs in Brief-ish

Enough about me! Well, it's my blog, it will always be about me... but I haven't reviewed anything in ages. I was going to start with TV, but now that the season's drawing to a close (and nearly every show I really like is ending for good) I figure I'll just wait and do a single wrap-up.

While I'm not the fastest at tearing through my Netflix, my rental history is pretty huge at this point, so here are some capsule reviews. I'll start with the most recent, so I can just stop when I reach the point where I don't remember enough to write anything. (In light of today's earlier post, please forgive any brain-tumor-induced typos!)

Battlestar Galactica (Original Pilot / New Miniseries / New Series Season 1). I'm not obsessed yet, but I'm rapidly on my way. Boy has recently gotten into this SciFi Channel show, casually at first, but with growing fanboy avidness (he bought the first season DVDs and has been listening to the podcasts), and I fear I'm following him down that path. He and I are often immune to each other's fixations (no Alias for him, no Dr. Who for me), but BSG is highly infectious. All the amazing press it's been getting certainly doesn't hurt.

I started, just out of curiosity, with the original pilot for the 1978 show. It's quite bad, of course, what with the poor extras in Cylon suits who can barely walk, the bizarre Ren Faire feel to Caprica, the intensely odd Egyptian imagery (and pretentious opening voiceover about Earthlings being descendent from aliens who built the pyramids...or something), the streaks of 70s mascara, and of course the ludicrous "robot" dog thing. But it's also surprisingly dark for television of its time. We essentially watch the destruction of a civilization, and watch that Renaissance Faire go up in flames. There are suicide bombers (okay, they're robots, but it's still ahead of its time), and that robot dog is a replacement for the real one that we get to see die (and isn't the great joke of action movies that dogs never die?).

I was also glad I watched it before watching the new miniseries, because it was fun to see what they kept and what the dumped, what they changed and what they reference subtly (and not so subtly). The new backstory is far more compelling than the original, with a great man vs. technology angle. The writing and acting are every bit as good as you've read elsewhere. This show is complicated. And dark. And I love the production design and all the little details therein. I don't want to say too much and spoil the fun for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. But if you're not watching it, you should be. It's not a typical science fiction show at all. It's a war drama, a political thriller, a bit of a soap. There just happen to be robots.

Popular Season 1. On another note entirely.... This is one of those TV shows people tend to be surprised I never watched. I don't remember if I wasn't interested at the time or if it was on opposite something else I liked in the pre-DVR days, but I kept hearing good things about it long after it's gone off the air so I finally checked it out. Eh. Totally charming and lovely cast, fun, quippy, reference-laden dialogue. I like the way they capture how everything seems like high drama when you're in high school, and write about realistic high school events with a heightened sensibility, rather than getting into teen crime sprees and hostage crises like, say, The O.C. (or Heathers, to which it seems to owe a deep stylistic debt, right down to the bizarrely 80s-esque score). But after two discs (six or seven episodes) I got bored. Every episode seemed exactly the same: Brooke and Sam reach some sort of détente, but then something happens (usually Sam's fault, if by accident) to make them hate each other again by the end of the episode. This is part of the problem, I'm learning, with watching TV on DVD. When you have a week in between episodes such things can be easier to overlook. But watching 4 eps in a row, anything formulaic like that really stands out. I'll probably come back to the series eventually, but I'm pausing for now. One of my new favorite things though is Bryce Johnson's IMDB photo, in which he seems to be thinking, "Please help me...I'm confused by my own hair and no longer understand all these buttons."

Saw. Loved it. I wasn't sure what to expect, and I guess I wasn't actually ready for it to be so deeply fucked up. It really creeped me out. I love how inventive the killer (or, credit where it's due, the writer) was. And it was exactly the right length. I have no interest in the sequel, or any of the knock-offs. It was a gimmick that worked perfectly once. Also, I love to see Michael Emerson making money.

Good Night, And Good Luck. I just joined the cult of Clooney this year, and I haven't even seen Syriana. He's one of those actors I've always liked but never really paid any attention to. Then he gave that fantastic Barbara Walters interview where he said outright that he didn't ever need to make any more money, and that's why he did Batman and I was sold. I also worship him for making a Big Issue Movie that's only 93 minutes long. Unfortunately, it's still boring as hell. I mean, I appreciate the film. I get what they were doing, it's beautifully shot, I agree with the politics and get the way it resonates with our present situation. But I wasn't actually entertained. I was far more interested in the subplot about the married couple, which served no apparent purpose.

Liza With A Z. Don't take away my homo card, but I've never been a Liza fan. I am, however, a huge Bob Fosse fan, and when I first saw the movie of Cabaret a few years ago I was amazed to see Liza in her prime. Growing up in her full-on crazy years, I had no idea she had ever been thin, or that the girl could really dance! So I picked up the CD of Liza With A Z and really enjoyed it. I don't feel the need to own anything else she's ever done, but the combination of Minnelli, Fosse, and Kander & Ebb is obviously a good one.

Or so I thought before I actually saw the thing. My god, it was horrific! What were they all thinking?? This was the year that Cabaret came out, and Fosse did Pippin - everyone was at the top of their game. So what the hell happened? Young Liza, when being herself and not playing a part (though I suspect there's a very fine line there) is every bit as creepy and weird and frighteningly needy as she is now. And since I've now seen many of the numbers performed by other people (they were in the Broadway revue Fosse) I realize she's not actually much of a dancer either. I mean, she's better than me, but I've seen them done better. And the costumes! I know it's the 70s, but those are exceptionally weird and aren't doing anyone any favors. What's up with the crazy pimp suits? Apart from being ugly, they really obscure the dancing, given how famously minimalistic Fosse's choreography can be. Having seen "Blackbird" up close with basically nothing but black leotards, seeing it with purple velour ruffles just didn't do it for me. I'm curious to hear the commentary track (which Liza recorded this year), but I can't yet bring myself to watch the thing again. It was just so disappointing.

THX:1138. I was curious to see George Lucas' first sci-fi epic, from back when he still wanted to make "art films" (his words, not mine). I'm not sure what he was making here. The design of it all is interesting, but the whole thing made very little sense to me, and the 88-minute running time felt like three hours. After Episode I I would have thought the dearth of dialogue would be a good thing, but that just added to the confusion. Something to do with people... not connecting... in the future... and having very weird sex...? Some Ewoks might have helped.

Rent: Bonus Disc. I love that you can just rent the bonus materials from Netflix. There were some scenes cut from the play that I really missed when I watched the movie, so I wanted to check them out and hear Chris Columbus explain himself. He did a surprisingly good job of that, but I still disagree with the choice, especially since those numbers actually translated better from stage to screen than much of the film. I also got sucked in to watching the documentary. It was interesting, but perhaps shouldn't have been longer than the feature.

Mirrormask. Boy do I miss Jim Henson. A year or so ago there was a page about this movie in Entertainment Weekly, in some preview issue or their "first look" feature or whatever, and I got really excited that this odd little movie from Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean and Henson Associates might be a 21st Century Dark Crystal. Why, by the way, doesn't The Dark Crystal get more love? Labyrinth has become a sort of camp classic (and deservedly so), but does no one remember that The Dark Crystal was actually fucking brilliant? At a time when Kermit the Frog is selling cars and pizza, and Statler and Waldorf are discussing each other's virginity on a podcast (for true; more on that later), let's remember please that The Dark Crystal was not only one of the smartest, darkest "children's" films I can think of (though not inappropriately scary), it was also the first (perhaps still the only?) live-action movie without a single flesh-and-blood actor on screen (unless you count Jen's stunt double climbing that rock), creating a fully-realized fantasy world long before Peter Jackson got his hands on the Hobbits. And even Labyrinth, for all it's bad wigs and codpieces, was pretty technically amazing, and captured the imagination of a generation.

So how disappointing that Mirrormask was like the worst-publicized movie ever. After that EW preview, the only other thing I saw for it was this brilliant joint interview with Gaiman and Joss Whedon. Maybe there was only room for one nerd movie that week and Serenity was it? Maybe the reportedly tiny budget just didn't allow for marketing?

Or maybe it's just that the film wasn't all that good. I'm not a comic book guy or really a fantasy guy, so I'm not inherently excited by Gaiman and McKean, but I know they're talented and I was hoping for more from that combination. It's a gorgeous movie - computers now instead of puppets, but like The Dark Crystal it's a fully-realized made-up world. Some good acting and interesting mask work. But that's all very technical, and there just wasn't much in the way of a story. It wasn't any fun. It felt like work. I sort of wish I'd watched it stoned.

Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Series. Another one of those shows people are surprised I didn't watch. I enjoyed it so much on DVD, it's kind of what kicked me off checking out more TV shows on Netflix (the late great Wonderfalls helped too). It took me a few episodes to get into it, which may be why I never became a regular viewer when it was on the air, but I was glad I stuck with it this time. Part of the issue for me is that, unlike the show's more rabid fans, F&G doesn't represent my high school experience at all. I don't know if that's because I'm a private school kid, or a city kid, or what, but, while I was certainly a geek, it just wasn't like that. And we only had a couple of "freaks." And I liked dodge ball. But that aside, F&G was a really good show. I ended up being more interested in the parents than the kids. Becky Ann Baker broke my heart pretty much every episode. But I love that the kids were, for the most part, actual kids. It was so refreshing to watch a show about high school students who actually look like high school students. Even the "hot" ones were kind of awkward and funny-looking, and they all looked so young. I can see why the show never caught on. It got kind of repetitive (again, one of the problems with watching TV on DVD) and, like actual high school, didn't really go anywhere. Disc one was good but didn't really grab me, discs two and three had me hooked, but by disc four my attention was flagging (and I watched over a few weeks, not like in one long marathon session). Long-term investment was certainly rewarded by the last couple episodes, and I would have loved to see where it would have gone in a second season, but I totally get why people didn't make it "appointment television." And with all the location shots, period clothes and props, and music licensing, it can't have been cheap to produce. It's worth a look on DVD though, and I totally get why it has such a cult following.

The Aristocrats. Another much-talked about movie that didn't do it for me. I just didn't think it was all that funny. And as a documentary subject, a single joke doesn't really make for a feature.

Corpse Bride. Loved pretty much everything about it. Gorgeous and funny and sick in the way I expect from Tim Burton. When is Danny Elfman going to write stage musical? He writes character-specific music (whether they're actually singing it or not) sooo well. Corpse Bride was everything I wanted Mirrormask to be and I wish it had gotten more acclaim.

Maybe that's why I found Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit so disappointing. I'm a big W&G fan from way back, but feature-length they didn't do it for me. The shorts have so much charm and wit and this felt sort of forced, like the story could have been told in 30 minutes. Also, have they always been so ugly? I guess the shorts didn't have many human characters in them. Wallace has sort of a distinct look, and Gromit has no mouth...the mouths on the people, which looked like they were just slapped onto the heads, creeped me out. Is that weird? And the bunnies were ugly! How do you make bunnies ugly?? I don't know what to say. I was really surprised by how much this movie bored me.

Heights. Great fucking movie!! I know this was a tiny film that hardly anyone saw (I only rented it because a friend of mine had a very small role), but why no love at Oscar time? So well written, designed, and acted. It's one of those six-degrees-of-separation-look-how-all-these-people-in-the-giant-city-are-connected-but-don't-know-it movies that can be very hard to pull off without becoming totally cliché, but it's so well done it works. Several of the twists and turns were actually surprising, and I found myself caring deeply for the characters. It's a New York movie that really gets New York right, and some of the location shots (like the one where Glenn Close and Elizabeth Banks are having a cell phone conversation, one walking south and one walking west, and they meet up on a corner - that must have been amazingly hard to coordinate!) really capture the city. It also manages to get scenes about the theater (auditions and rehearsals) sorta kinda authentic-looking. It's all very "young director, young writer, all-star indie movie," but it completely won me over.

Okay, you know what? I'm up to page 9 of this in Word. There's more, but I like the idea of ending on a positive note (and jesus, it's too long), so this post just became a cliffhanger. Y'know, minus any actual tension or suspense.

I've lost it

Since I work for a foreign company, an email had to be sent out informing people that Monday is a holiday here (a statutory holiday, as my employers call it) and our branch will closed.

Inexplicably, I just sent an email to every single person in every company office around the world with the subject line "U.S. Statutory Hospital."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bang and Blame

Wrapping up the events of last Friday that I alluded to over the weekend....

I returned home from the eye badness and the Apple goodness to find the latest, wholly unexpected salvo in the war against our downstairs neighbors under the door. A brief-ish recap: We didn't learn until after purchasing and moving into our apartment that the ceilings/floors are appallingly thin. Or hollow. Or whatever, they let a lot of sound through (but seem to be quite structurally sound). Our original upstairs neighbors had two small children who apparently enjoyed running back and forth in the living room wearing combat boots. When they moved out, we learned that we'd had it easy, because children go to bed early. The new tenant likes to have many friends over, stay up even later than we do, and apparently has subwoofers lining the floor of every room, so that our apartment vibrates when they watch or listen to anything.

But this isn't about our problems with them. The point is, we know our downstairs neighbors can hear us when we move around up here. The woman who lived here before us was quite old, and had very thick (and very ugly) wall-to-wall carpet, so we realize that two 200-pound men who appreciate hardwood floors and an occasionally rambunctious kitten moving in was a bit of an adjustment for the people below us. But the thing is, they're crazy. I first met them when I was in the building one day when we were doing some work on the apartment but hadn't actually moved in yet. I was on my way out when they approached me in the lobby, confirmed who I was, and started going on and on about how I had to stop moving furniture around at one and two in the morning. Boy and I had never set foot in the apartment after dark. Since then, they've continued to harass us, often banging on the ceiling when we're essentially motionless and silent. They talk to us about "moving furniture," which in their book seems to include things like pulling out chairs to sit in them. Obviously we'd never move a sofa at night. Communicating with them can be challenging, as their English is bad and our Spanish is worse.

In spite of the fact that these are people who should obviously living in a house in the country, and not in an apartment building, we've generally tried to be cooperative and considerate, within reason, and I haven't heard from them, directly or through the super, in months. I thought we'd achieved peace. Then I read this letter from the management company:

Please be advised it has come to management office attention, receiving several noise complaints concerning your unit. We ask that you please take into consideration the people that live around and under you, in regards to the noise level coming from your apartment.

We ask that you follow the 80% carpeting rule in reference to your unit. Please understand that an inspection with the building manager it's necessary. You must call the management office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to avoid further complaints and notices as this.

Your cooperation in regards to this matter is greatly appreciated.

I love when people who don't speak English very well try too hard to write overly formally. I bet if they'd written a simpler letter it would have made more sense. Anyway, we faxed them back instead of calling, because I want a written record of all communication from this point out. I have to say, it's one of the best letters I've ever written:

We have received your letter and would be happy to schedule an inspection of our apartment. We would appreciate it if this could be done during the evening or on a weekend, so that we do not have to miss work. Please call Adam875 to arrange this.

Is it possible for you to tell us when these noise complaints were made, and at what times? We have had several conversations with the occupants of unit XX – though none in the past several months – and have done everything we can to be considerate neighbors. If they have specific complaints, we would like to know so that we can try to address them. Maybe there is something we're not aware of.

We do want to note (and the super can attest to this) that the occupants of XX once stopped me in the hall to complain about noise "late at night" before we had even moved in to the apartment. As you may recall, the previous owner had granted us limited access to apartment YY, and we were around occasionally during the day painting, etc. During this time we had never set foot in the unit between the hours of 8 pm and 8 am, yet our downstairs neighbors accused us of "moving furniture around" during those hours. We do not wish to dismiss their complaints, as we know first hand how disruptive a noisy neighbor can be, but we feel it is important we receive specific examples so that we can try to correct the problem and continue to live in peace.

Boy approved the letter, to which I signed both our names, but we actually disagree somewhat on how to handle this. I want to do everything I can to comply within reason, and make us look like the most perfect, cooperative neighbors ever, save for the fact that we're unable to levitate. I believe that this will only make them look crazier. If we need to get inspected, or take any other action, I'd like to do it soon, especially since I leave town in less than two weeks. Boy essentially says "fuck 'em." He doesn't want to do anything to help these people, or to give their complaints any possible credence. It's odd when you consider that he majored in international relations and I majored in drama.

Our letter went out on Sunday night, and we still haven't heard anything. I'm tempted to make a follow-up phone call, before I go away, but on the other hand we did our part and replied in a very timely fashion, so the ball's in their court. But the whole thing makes me crazy and I want it dealt with. I basically want management to come in here and talk to us and see our various area rugs and tell the crazy people to fuck off. Until that happens, I'm going to brace for a broomstick on the ceiling every time I roll my desk chair two inches. I want to be a good neighbor, but (forgive the dramatic phrase here) I don't want to live like that.

Anyone know a good hit man? You'd have an inside track on a fabulous apartment if you did!


The lovely people who pay me to sit in their office and stare at a screen have actually expected me to, y'know, work this week, which has seriously crimped my blogging plans. So I've got a few posts backed up in the queue. I'll start with a quickie....

So after the eye thing on Friday (which does appear to have fixed everything), I went to the opening of the new Fifth Avenue Apple Store. Boy's friend MC had been there for about an hour already, and was saving me a place on line. She'd been there between 2 and 3 hours before the store was scheduled to open, and there were easily 200 people ahead of us. And many many more behind. I love how going to this sort of event (like the opening of a Star Wars movie) brands me as a big nerd, but I will still never be the biggest nerd there. Not by a long shot. That distinction goes to the man who was standing in line on a Segway. With a "MAC GEEK" license plate. Oh yeah. There was also the couple who got engaged on the line. It was sweet. Unless of course you're their future child, in which case it's incredibly embarrassing. Of course, I was wearing my post-surgery Yoko-Ono-meets-Stevie-Wonder shades, so my own non-nerd cred was seriously diminished. Would it be so tough for them to include a baseball cap with those that says "I just had surgery at Manhattan Eye and Ear and all I got was these lousy sunglasses" just so people know I don't usually walk around - indoors - like that?

For a while before the line wrapped around again, we were on the outer perimeter, and three passers-by asked me what was going on. When I replied, "The new Apple store is opening," two of them looked at me with some of the most baffled expressions I've ever seen. This, in turn, baffled me. It doesn't matter if you're into it or not; if I saw a line of people on the street and was told it was for the opening of the new DKNY or whatever, I would think, "Oh, publicity stunt. I wonder if they're giving stuff away," and go about my business. So I'm choosing to believe that their reaction had more to do with them being dumb than with us being colossal dorks. (Much as I like comments, please, no one disabuse me of that notion!)

About a half hour before the store opened, a horde of staffers in their black t-shirts emerged from the cube and danced around and tried to get the crowd going...with limited success. Steve Jobs was spotted near the entrance. I saw him shaking hands with the first few people to enter the store, but he was gone when we actually got to the front. I was glad he didn't speak. I'm loyal to the company he has built, and I admire his achievements, but separate from the Apple brand there's a cult of personality around Jobs himself that I find (like I find anyone with a giant ego, whether he deserves it or not) incredibly off-putting. Under the circumstances with my eyes, I just wanted to go in, check out the architecture, enter the drawing for a free laptop, get my free t-shirt and go home and sit in a dark room.

The store Apple store. The plaza with the cube is absolutely gorgeous (especially considering what it looked like before), and it's neat to walk into that glass structure and down the glass spiral staircase (with a very Star-Treky round elevator in the center). And then...Apple store. I guess it's bigger than the Soho one, but it's all on one level instead of two (a big plus in my book) so that might just be an illusion. They do seem to have many more floor models of things to play with, but there's still a very finite number of products, so, while useful, that's not all that earth-shattering. Since I was there, I picked up some screen cleaning wipes, and I do love that many of the floor staff carry wireless checkout machines that scan your bar codes, swipe your credit card, and email your receipt to you. No lines! That's hot.

I'm glad I went. Now that Star Wars is done I need something dorky to wait on line for every May. And the free t-shirt is quite cute, actually. (I did not, clearly, win a laptop.) I passed by the next afternoon and there was still a line to get in. I thought I might enter another drawing (it was one per hour for the first 24 hours), but not so much. I wonder if they made Harry Connick and Spike Lee wait in line. I walked by again the other day and decided to look around with fully-recovered eyes and a normal-sized crowd, and it is, in fact, pretty nice. But so's the old one. Ah well, it was an Event. I'm a sucker for a well-planned publicity stunt. (In fact, I may go see the remake of The Omen simply because I think it's genius that it's opening on 6-6-06.)

Here are some pics. Not as good as the professional ones on Apple's site, but they're mine.

Approaching from the east:

Over an hour before the doors opened:

Nobody mention Microsoft or the Apple Secret Service will get you!

On the way in:

Nerds descending a staircase:

The actual store part:

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Radish wants LASIK too...

...but just so he can wear the cool glasses afterwards.

I woke up with surprisingly little discomfort from the contact lens (I was worried, since I know even people who've worn them for life tend not to enjoy sleeping in them!), went about my business for a few hours before getting in touch with and setting up a time to visit the doctor, who removed the contact, looked at my cornea and sent me on my way. My right eye is still a little hazy, but not in the same way it was last week, and I'm confident it's on the mend. I guess I'll be more confident in a week or so.

I wish it had all been as simple as promised, but it was totally worth it. I'm looking forward to continuing to check out the world without glasses. To those of you who are considering LASIK, I say do it if you can afford it. If you're freaked out about the process, well, you should be – but a few minutes of discomfort seems a small price to pay. The actual price, of course, is quite high, so find out what it gets you. In my case, it covers all follow-up care, including having to go back in yesterday. If I want to, I can even have the prescription fine-tuned with the laser. (Like, just if I'm not happy with it – I'd have to be really not happy to do it again!) Find a doctor you like. Get a recommendation from your current doctor or a friend who's done it. Make sure you trust him or her. Y'know, making a flap in your cornea. Don't scrimp.

I'll check in and let you know how I'm doing. But for now I'll move on to less icky topics. Without wearing glasses.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Leave it to me to be in the tiny percentage of people who have problems with their LASIK. Maybe this is some sort of karma for my relatively spotless medical history, which features only one cavity (at age 27), no broken bones, and no chicken pox. If this is my biggest problem, as my Jewish-when-it-suits-her-to-do-a-fake-Yiddish-accent mother would say, I should be so lucky.

And it wasn't even a big problem. I'd been told I might have to go back in and have something like this done, I just didn't think it would be for this reason. But it's all the same procedure, and it's all covered by the initial fee, which is helpful in remaining zen about it.

I promised the squeamish I wouldn't describe how the surgery is done (and whatever you do, don't do a Google image search for "microkeratome," even after you've had LASIK - some things are better left unknown), which makes this sort of hard to explain, but it suffices to say that my right cornea wasn't healing quite the way it should have. My vision was improving (a combination of actual improvement and me getting used to it and beginning to compensate), and my doctor said it should eventually get all better on its own, but I'm an impatient person by nature, and my crazy summer job - which involves a fair amount of driving (I haven't been behind the wheel since last summer, and before then for five years, so our definitions of "a fair amount" may differ) - starts in three weeks, so when he offered a quick-but-inconvenient solution I was all over it.

So today I went back to the hospital to have my cornea...for lack of a better word that won't induce squeams, let's say "adjusted." Since I was such a brave little soldier last time, I was expecting to be able to tell you that this was a quick and simple procedure, as it involved no blade and no laser. It also, sadly, involved no valium, which might be why it was, in fact, horrible. Whatever the reason, I freaked out and was completely miserable until it was over and I was released from what I've come to think of as the Rambaldi Chair. I now have a contact lens – something I've never worn before – on my right eye acting as a sort of a bandage. It's wicked uncomfortable and making it impossible to tell if anything's better or not. And to sleep. Tomorrow I'll go to the doctor again to get that taken out, and we'll see where we are (no pun intended). I trust my doctor implicitly and I remain generally upbeat that everything will be fine (even with the problems I've had this week I could see better than I could before the surgery), but at this moment I'm cranky and stressed.

I decided not to let this detour ruin my plans, so I walked from the hospital to the opening of the new Apple Store, where I waited on line for an hour, saw Steve Jobs from 100 feet away, got a free t-shirt and did not win a laptop. (This terse description sounds cranky; in fact it may have been the high point of my day. I'll post pictures later.)

Then I returned home to find an infuriating (literally, I'm furious about it) letter from our building's management company about noise complaints from our crazy neighbors downstairs, who seem to think that we should somehow be able to levitate around the apartment so they can't hear us walking from room to room and occasionally pulling out chairs to sit in. This while our upstairs neighbors apparently have subwoofers on the floor, facing down, because they believe we enjoy hearing the low end of every CD they listen to or TV show they watch. Seriously, people, it's time for you to get a house. In the country.

Updates on all of these events tomorrow. Unless of course my eye falls out.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Name That iTune Answers

I was going to wait until next week, but since most of the remaining tracks are admittedly very obscure and people seem to be getting frustrated (like I said, even I wouldn't have solved most of them), I'll let y'all off the hook now and post the answers to the unsolved lyrics from yesterday.

I will say I'm shocked that no one got #11 and #18 (both somewhat less obvious songs, but from very popular albums by very popular bands), and, considering all the musical theatre fans I know read me, #10 and #13.

5) There's too much silence in her night. She calls herself an angel and she comes to town just so she can fall. - "Rock 'n' Roll Lies" by Razorlight

6) Am I sad? Not sad enough... - "Really" by Nellie McKay

7) All of my life I tried so hard, doing my best with what I had. Nothing much happened all the same. - "Thursday's Child" by David Bowie

8) Hope little girl, come blow me away. I don't care much, I'll win anyway. - "Fall Dog Bombs The Moon" by David Bowie

10) Hello, folks, we're into the follies. First, though, folks, we'll pause for a mo'. - "Buddy's Blues" by Stephen Sondheim (from Follies)

11) I don't need no arms around me. And I don't need no drugs to calm me. - "Another Brick In The Wall Part 3" by Pink Floyd

13) A man's got a heart, hasn't he? Joking apart, hasn't he? - "Reviewing The Situation" by Lionel Bart (from Oliver!)

14) So long ago, was it in a dream? Was it just a dream? - "#9 Dream" by John Lennon

18) I want a love that's right, and right is only half of what's wrong. I want a short-haired girl who sometimes wears it twice as long. - "Brown-Eyed Girl" by The Beatles

That was fun. For me, anyway. Maybe I'll make it a regular feature.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Name That iTune

I'm not usually one for the blogging memes, and I'm not even sure I have enough regular readers to make this one entirely successful, but I saw it on Whine and Cheese and since I listen to my iPod all day at work anyway (quietly, with speakers), it seemed like a fun thing to do, since I'm trying to post more anyway. Plus, it requires commenting, and we all know I'm a comment whore.

Here's how it works:
Step 1: Put your iPod/MP3 player or iTunes on random.

Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song. (Instrumental songs, obviously, do not count... I am also not counting songs where the tile is uttered in the first line) [Unless, I (Adam) have decided, it's so obscure that that won't matter, or I can sneak around it (title in the backing vocals, for example...not that that's a hint or anything).]

Step 3: Readers, comment and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.

Step 4: Blogger, strike out the songs when someone guesses correctly and post the title in bold after the stricken song when it is guessed. (I will identify any unguessed songs...eventually. We'll see how people do.)

Step 5: (for those guessing the songs) Looking the lyrics up on Google or any other search engine is no fair... play nice! [That's not really a step, is it?]

I'm not going to Google anything either, so forgive me if I misquote something. And since I enjoy blogging my iPod on shuffle and haven't done it in a long time, I'll tell you what I skip too.

1) Walkin' like a man, hitting like a hammer, she's a juvenile scam, never was a quitter. Tasty like a raindrop… ["The Look" by Roxette - SA]

["One (reprise)/Finale" (A Chorus Line) disqualified for title being first word of song]

2) I had never met a Republican 'til I went to college. The mother of a classmate said she hated Bella Abzug, and I said, "Are you a Republican?" And she just laughed and I said, "bitch." ["Republicans" by William Finn - Faustus]

3) My dear mademoiselle, I have something to say. Something I fear was left unsaid. ["When We Are Wed" from Once On This Island - close enough mcm]

["Fame '90" (David Bowie) disqualified for title being every third word]

4) You lost your reputation on a woman; you didn't understand or care to know. ["Runaway Lover" by Madonna - tim]

5) There's too much silence in her night. She calls herself an angel and she comes to town just so she can fall.

6) Am I sad? Not sad enough...

["Of These, Hope" (Peter Gabriel) disqualified for being an instrumental]

7) All of my life I tried so hard, doing my best with what I had. Nothing much happened all the same.

8) Hope little girl, come blow me away. I don't care much, I'll win anyway.

9) Woke up today to everything grey, and all that I saw just kept going on and on. ["What You Wish" by Guster - m.e.]

10) Hello, folks, we're into the follies. First, though, folks, we'll pause for a mo'.

["Saturn Girl" (Paula Cole) disqualified for having the title in the first line.]

11) I don't need no arms around me. And I don't need no drugs to calm me.

["You And Me Of The 10,000 Wars" (Indigo Girls) disqualified for starting with the title.]

12) Help, someone come quickly! A car has crashed! ["Pray" from Once On This Island - mcm]

13) A man's got a heart, hasn't he? Joking apart, hasn't he?

14) So long ago, was it in a dream? Was it just a dream?

15) It's a fish-white belly, a lump in the throat. Razor on a wire, skin and bone. ["This Train Revised" by The Indigo Girls - VJM]

16) I go walkin' and at once they're stalkin' me... ["The Ladies Singing Their Song" from Baby - mcm]

17) You and I in a little toy shop buy a bag of balloons with the money we've got. ["99 Red Balloons" by Nena - Jenn]

["What How Where When Why" (Ani DiFranco) disqualified for annoying me.]
["The Clash of Lightsabers" (John Williams) disqualified for being an instrumental.]

18) I want a love that's right, and right is only half of what's wrong. I want a short-haired girl who sometimes wears it twice as long.

19) You were the sweetest thing that I ever knew. But I don't care for sugar, honey, if I can't have you. ["Walking On Broken Glass" by Annie Lennox - SA]

["I Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (Melanie Doane) disqualified because, really, no one's going to ever get it (it's from the Buffy soundtrack).]
["Power To The People" (John Lennon) disqualified for being almost entirely the title.]
["I Can't Get No Satisfaction" (Rolling Stones) disqualified for starting with the title.]
["The Prophesy" (Michael Giaccino) disqualified for being an instrumental.]

20) Tarzan wasn't a ladies' man. ["Superman Song" by Crash Test Dummies - iMark]

That was fun! Not to get all mathy, but I remain sort of amazed by the odds of the shuffle. I've got 6,164 tracks on my iPod, yet in the 31 that played I got repeat artists and albums (not that that's a hint either). I do love that there are songs on here that I wouldn't be able to "solve" myself, and it's my iPod.

Have fun!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The cornea's high as an elephant's eye

I've had glasses since high school, but I resisted wearing them regularly all the way through college, putting them on only when I was driving (ie, hardly ever), or in the back of a classroom or a theatre. I eventually had to give in, but even in the ten years or so that I've been wearing glasses all day every day, I never got entirely used to them to the point where they felt natural and automatic.

I can barely even look at someone putting in or taking out their contact lenses without getting creeped out, and I'm bad at drops or anything really coming towards let alone touching my eye. Somewhat paradoxically, I also have the bad habit of rubbing my eyes a lot (they're closed when I do that, so it's different). So I never really considered getting contact lenses; they just seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. The rubbing is just one reason my glasses are usually dirty - I'm always sticking my grubby little fingers under the lenses.

My dislike of glasses was never a cosmetic issue - in fact, I think I look better in them than out of them - but a purely practical one. The way I can't go out in a drizzle without an umbrella or baseball cap. The way my Transitions lenses don't do any good in a car (the windows block the UV that activates them). The way a long day of wearing a headset at work pushes the ear thing against the side of my head. The way my peripheral vision - one of my favorite kinds of vision! - doesn't get corrected. The way they always seem to be dirty or at least dusty, no matter how often I clean them. The way I can't nap on an airplane or in a car without taking them off, which means finding a place to put them and remembering when I wake up. The way everything at the gym is always fuzzy because I hate the way they feel when I'm that kind of sweaty, so I just don't wear them, which means finding a place to put them in my locker where I won't crush them with my shoes when it's time to shower. The way I can't buy cute cheap sunglasses at the drugstore. Okay, I guess that last one is cosmetic.

So I've wanted LASIK for years, and mostly it was a question of money, since even when I could afford it, it seemed like an unjustifiable luxury item (my eyes weren't that bad), and anyway I had to wait for my prescription to stop getting stronger.

Then suddenly it just seemed like the right time. I'd sprung for pretty expensive glasses last year and they still weren't doing it for me. My prescription was stable, and I had some extra money to burn. I had a check-up scheduled with my regular eye doctor, so I decided to ask him about it. I actually expected him to be against it. He's very old-school, and there's that whole weird thing about me being at risk for glaucoma (which I don't think I ever followed up on - I have unusually high pressure in my eyes, which could mean glaucoma, but in this case is caused by my unusually thick corneas - yeah! my corneas are buff! - but the doctor still wants to see me every six months to keep checking). But instead he said, "I think it's great," and gave me the name and number of another doctor to go see.

I made an appointment to consult with the surgeon the next day. I still wasn't sure I really wanted to go through with it. The procedure itself creeped me the hell out. I can't watch someone put in a contact lens, but I'm going to allow a stranger to cut a flap in my cornea?? The new doctor put me completely at ease. I wish I could say he wasn't trying to sell me on anything, but he was selling me in such an honest and straightforward way that I liked him immediately. He told me about the risks, appeared to understand my financial situation, and, in the same breath as calling him a very good doctor, asked me if the doctor who'd referred me ever yelled at me (yes, every time I see him). I loved that he described the device used to hold my eyelids open during the surgery as "Very Clockwork Orange," even though I hated that he would describe anything involved with any medical procedure I would go through as "Very Clockwork Orange." I made the appointment.

This was the Wednesday before last. I wanted to make the appointment then and there because I wanted to snag a Friday afternoon, and I figured those would be the most popular. It turned out I could have actually done it that very Friday, but I thought I should wait more than a day, in case I freaked out about either the procedure itself or the money. I wanted to give myself time to bail. Even though I'd been thinking about this for years, it felt like a fiscally irresponsible impulse purchase, and I still needed to think about it.

But what I really did was give myself time to be impatient. I want an Oompah-Loompah and 20/20 vision NOW, Daddy! From the moment I made the appointment I wanted to hurl my glasses across the room. They drove me nuts. I could feel them on my face at every moment. The lenses seemed to get dirtier than ever faster than ever. The Transitions didn't transit fast enough, and I wished I could just put on sunglasses. Whenever I puttered around the house or the gym without my glasses, I'd try to really take in how my vision was, so I'd have something to compare to later.

At the same time, I was completely freaked out. Let's talk about the way someone was going to reshape my cornea and turn it into a permanent contact lens. Actually, let's not. Even after the fact it squigs me out a little bit. I spent most of Friday completely stressed and nervous. Work was slow last week, and I wrote parts of this post then. Even though I was writing in the present tense about my relationship to my glasses, I worried that I was jinxing myself. What if the actual post ended up starting, "Sorry I haven't written in a while. Someone shot a laser at my eyes and they fell out. This voice-recognition software takes a while to calibrate."

I needn't have worried. I mean, for starters, they gave me valium, which I was pretty psyched about. I won't go into the details of the procedure, but it was over amazingly quickly. The prep and pre-tests (drops, a pill, pictures of my cornea and the inside of my eye) took longer than my time in the chair with the laser. And in the chair, taping my eyelashes back and putting the Clockwork Orange thing in took longer than anything else. The doctor talked me through everything before it happened, and I actually wanted him to talk less so it would be over faster. He'd warned me not to get freaked out during the parts of the procedure when I briefly lost vision or focus, but I actually found that oddly relaxing, since it meant I couldn't try to look around the room or worry that I wasn't staring at the right spot or try to blink. Blurry was blissful.

And then it was done. SA met me and made sure I got home okay. We took the subway, since getting a cab during Friday rush hour would only have been stressful, and it felt like coming home from a night out before the smoking ban - I was a little doped up, my eyes were itchy, and mostly I wanted to go to sleep. We got home, SA fed the cat and left, and I got into bed and listened to podcasts.

I couldn't really sleep so when Boy came home from work I got out of bed and we ordered Chinese food. We picked TV shows off the DVR list that wouldn't be too visually exciting, and I kept the ridiculous I'd been given at the hospital on while I half-watched, half-listened, and half-dozed (or, rather, thirds of those things).

I was expecting something revelatory, a moment of epiphany where I'd want to scream, "Hallelujah! I can SEE!" And I sort of got it, briefly. About 5 hours after the surgery, right when I was told to expect it, I realized the discomfort (which remained minor long after the anaesthetic drops wore off) had gone away completely, and I decided to see how things looked without the peril-sensitive sunglasses. There was still a white haze over everything, and bright points like the DVR clock and even the candles and street lights on the TV screen had fuzzy halos around them. But I could read the DVR clock. Boy was sitting on the floor in front of the couch with his laptop on the coffee table, and I could read the small text on his screen from the other side of the sofa. My eyes hadn't even been that bad to begin with, but I found this all somewhat overwhelming and unexpectedly emotional.

And then it was over. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I expected to have perfect vision, with maybe a little dryness. I followed my usual morning routine, minus the part where I put on my glasses, plus the part where I tried not to flinch while putting drops in my eyes. I sat down at my desk to check email and get some writing done, and was dismayed to discover that I couldn't really focus. I worked through it, figuring I was just adjusting, like you do whenever you get a new prescription for your glasses. And that's part of it, but eventually I realized that my left eye was seeing perfectly, and my right eye was not. I perceived it as trouble focusing, but when I called the doctor he said it was probably just a haze. A trip to his office a few hours later confirmed that there was nothing wrong, but my right eye was healing more slowly than the left. The haziness that should have lifted by the next morning was sticking around. It's still sticking around today.

The problem, as my doctor put it, is that I have two eyes. If I had nothing to compare to (ie, the left eye), the haze probably wouldn't bother me much. And in fact, I'd had my emotional "It's a medical miracle!" moment when both eyes were fogged over. But now my right eye knows what it's missing, and because they don't match my eyes aren't working together quite properly, and so they get tired. So do I.

But it's at a point now where I can tell it's getting better. This time yesterday I left work early because I couldn't look at the screen anymore, and today I'm writing a too-long blog post. A few days of minor inconvenience (I can function just fine - I suppose I'd be crankier if I had to drive) is an okay trade-off for my new life of 20/20 vision, especially considering how easy and painless the actual surgery was. While I wasn't expecting this to happen, I was warned about a few days dryness and itchiness, and, in the hours after the surgery, "feeling like you have gravel in your eyes." I've had none of that. So I'll take my painless haze, as long as it disappears in the next couple of days.

I keep forgetting I don't wear glasses anymore. I expect things like reaching for them first thing in the morning (especially given my still slightly blurry vision), but despite always being more aware of wearing them than I would have liked, now I think I have them on when I don't. I took a break while writing this and washed my face, then spent a few seconds wondering where I'd left my glasses. While I was writing about the LASIK. This morning I hesitated before leaning my face on my arm while standing on the subway, and I had to remind myself that doing so would not, in fact, push my glasses painfully against my head. It's all very weird. And my right eye is now at a point where I can really tell that it's improving, which is exciting. I'm sure I'll post updates as I heal fully and discover more fun things about only have two eyes, not four.

Alternate titles for this post (aka a trip through my iTunes library):
Wrapped up like a deuce another runner in the night [think about it]
In Your Eyes
She's pure as New York snow; she's got Bette Davis Eyes
She's precocious, and she knows just what it takes to make a pro blush
Eye of the Tiger
Somebody's Eyes
Naked Eyes
For Your Eyes Only
Could that joke be any cornea?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Thursday, May 11, 2006


People often ask if my boyfriend and I having the same name ever causes confusion, and the answer is generally a do-we-really-have-to-answer-this-again "No," with eyes that are tired of rolling.

But the other night we had dinner with my great aunt and uncle, who are both in their late 70s/early 80s and who haven't seen or spoken to me since I was 3 or 4 years old.

As my mom was introducing us all to each other, my great aunt said, "So nice to meet you both. Which one of you are we related to?"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Whatever happened to class?

I'm a little appalled by this article in the New York Times and I'm not entirely sure why it's got my goat so much. I've been suffering from some mild insomnia and I'm irrationally angry about this (so much so that I just used the phrase "got my goat!"), so this may not be my most eloquent post ever....

In brief, in case you're reading after that link has expired, a high school in the Bronx was putting on a production of Chicago, and they had not secured the rights (which, had they asked, would not have been granted because the school is within 75 miles of where the show is currently playing on Broadway). They got caught, and were told they couldn't do the show. Somehow this made the news, some city council-people got involved, the Broadway producers had a huge PR problem on their hands, and everybody - producers, licensing agent, authors - caved.

I first heard the story yesterday on the radio, before the "happy ending," and the spin on it was "The big bad producers won't let us do our show too close to theirs," and not "It's illegal to perform something without first getting the rights." Clauses about performing a currently running show within x miles of a commercial production (in any city or on tour) are pretty standard, and I will admit that it's the one thing about all this I find a little silly, 'cause it's not like a high school production is really competition for a ten-year-old Broadway musical. But it's also not the point. Because that clause was actually irrelevant, since they never asked (or paid) for permission in the first place. Then there's this little nugget from the Times:

The school's drama teacher, Anthony Cerrini, 24, had decided to stage "Chicago." He found some dialogue on the Internet, transcribed some of it from the 2002 movie starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger, and wrote some of it himself.

At the news conference, Mr. Cerrini took responsibility and said that he had never been told about the need for an application.

Okay, seriously?? He thought it was okay to write some of the dialogue himself??? What, I wonder, qualifies Mr. Cerrini to be a drama teacher? Apparently not reading plays, which almost always have a warning about performance printed in them (along with convenient instructions on who to contact for the rights).

Now that permission has been granted, will they pay royalties, or was this a gift? And much more importantly (to me, anyway), which version are they going to do? Somehow I doubt everyone was pulled out of class today for emergency rehearsals to learn the correct text. Are they seriously going to do Mr. Cerrini's patchwork script and call it the work of Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse?

I mean, okay, it's high school, I get it. My drama teacher thought he could do some minor rewrites to some of the shows we did - not to make them age-appropriate, but to make them fit better with his "directorial vision." But at least he paid for the rights first! In college we put on a couple of revues without permission to use the songs (though we didn't charge admission, which might make it okay - and what do cabaret singers do?), and anyone who's ever made a flyer for a college or high school campus is probably guilty of some form of copyright infringement of an image or two. (Hell, I've probably technically broken the law by posting the occasional comic strip on this very blog - though always with a link to the original source.)

But this just seems like a much bigger deal to me. If it were just a case of the guy being new and maybe going to the bookstore and buying the script and the vocal selections and making photocopies without realizing he also had to get permission, I might understand that, since the materials are out there. But to make stuff up? To transcribe parts of the movie? That's so clearly wrong! What is it teaching these kids about the rights of the artist to protect his work? About artistic integrity?

And what's worse is that they got caught and didn't really have to own up. Because I'm sure this sort of thing happens all the time all over the country and no one's the wiser. In fact, "…the principal, Robert Leder, said he had not recalled having to apply for anything in 27 years of putting on high school musical events." (27 years?? Dude!!) But when those people do get caught, they get shut down, and we just don't hear about it. And I suppose it's not fair to the kids, who've been working hard on this thing, to suffer for the mistake of their teachers. But the lesson here is essentially "Don't take responsibility, make a big stink and cause bad PR for the people who are against you even though they're 100% right, both legally and morally, and you'll get your way."

Fuck drama, Lehman High School needs an ethics class.

Though I guess, in the end, Fosse and Ebb were right. "When you're in trouble, go into your dance. / Though you are stiffer than a girder / They'll let you get away with murder. / Razzle dazzle 'em / And you've got a romance." That's copyrighted material, by the way.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Fun With Signage

So I ducked into Barnes and Noble to pee, and in the rest room, I saw this:

Um... what would you like me to use the sink for then? At least the bottom part of the sign clarifies matters, but I would expect better in a place where they sell books, where you can practically smell the culture and learning in the aisles (though the rest room smelled distinctly like something else).

Then, after using the sink to wash my hands (which apparently is not personal hygiene), I turned around and saw this:

If there had been an employee around I might have walked to the dispenser and dried my hands in extreme slow motion just to be a bitch.

Then I realized how creepy it was to be using my camera phone in a public rest room - in Chelsea, no less - and fled.