Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's that time of year again!

This is my second year participating in the In2Books program.  In case you missed my post about it last year, In2Books is an internet-supported, curriculum-based reading mentor program.  "What what what?" you say - translation: it's a program wherein you're partnered with elementary school kids, you read books with them and then you discuss by email.  And it's awesome.

Click the link to read more about it straight from the source, but I can tell you firsthand, it's a really rewarding program.  Last year, my pen pal was a 3rd grade girl from the Seattle area.  I had so much fun getting to know her and hearing about what was going on in her life, all while seeing how excited she was about the books we were reading and about having a grown-up in a whole other part of the country who was really excited to be reading with her.  As the school year went on, some other pen-pals in her class had "dropped out" and stopped responding to their students' letters (seriously?  Who does this?  These amazing kids are so excited to write to you, and you just fail to write back?  There's no excuse - if you can't stay involved, don't sign up, but at least tell the kids that something has come up and you can't keep writing to them), so the class needed more mentors.  I took on a second student for the last unit of the year, and it was even cooler to discuss the book with two completely different kids and see their different takes on the subject.  The teacher in the class sent occasional emails to let the mentors know what was going on in the classroom, and he was really nice and seemed SO into what the class was doing with this program.  I had such a great experience, I sent the class a gift at the end of the year - 4 books for the classroom/school library, or for the teacher to do whatever he saw fit with, and a little grab bag for each student with a book mark, book plate, pencils, an eraser, and some candy.  They were stoked, and I hope to be able to do the same thing each year that I'm involved in the program.

This year, I opted to get paired with a new student rather than sticking with the same girl as last year, though I'm pretty sure that was an option.  My pen pal this year is a 5th grade boy, but I'm still not sure where he's from.  We just got paired up last week, and I've only gotten one letter from him so far.  I just found out the first book he's chosen, and I'm picking it up from the library this weekend.  I can't stress enough how cool I think this program is.  Childhood literacy has become sort of a key issue for me, and whatever I can do to help get books into kids hands is SO important to me.  I was blessed to grow up in a reading family, and I think it made all the difference in my life, in terms of my learning ability, my absolute love of learning, and my ability and desire to go as far and do as well in school as I did.  In2Books is always looking for new mentors, and they haven't finished pairing people up for this school year, so it's not too late to sign up.  There's a nominal $5 or $6 fee to pay for the cost of a background check, and the only time commitment is to read 5 kids books over the course of the school year, and exchange at least one email per book with your pen-pal. 

Seriously, go to their website and check it out.  Consider signing up as a mentor.  You can thank me later.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stop Talking, Start Trying to Catch Up

A Thousand Suns
Linkin Park
Released 9.14.2010
(hang on, this review is going to be really long - it's maybe more of a thesis . . .
but look at me posting a review of something the week it came out!  Go me.)

I've hardly stopped listening to LP's newest since I downloaded it on Tuesday morning before work.  I wrote a lot of this review on Tuesday, but wanted to give myself a few days to mull it over before posting.  My opinion hasn't changed, and in fact, my extremely high regard for LP's fourth studio album has only increased in the ensuing days.  Bravo, guys.  Bravo.  The album is, in a word, Epic.

I want to start by saying that this is like nothing LP has ever done before, and not like much I've ever heard before.  To call it "experimental" or a "concept album" is fair - it's more electronic than everything they've done previously, and I guess it's not as heavy, but it is definitely bigger than anything they've done.  When they put out Minutes to Midnight, I recognized the new direction, and I liked it.  The band indicated with that album that they hoped that people would treat the album as a single work, and listen to it that way, as opposed to individual songs.  This time, they weren't taking any chances - the iTunes versions of A Thousand Suns all include a 16th track called A Thousand Suns: The Full Experience.  It plays the entire album in one piece without breaks between tracks - the way it was intended.  If you're going to listen to this album, and especially if you're going to place judgment on it, please, please, please do yourself (and the band) a favor and set aside 47 minutes of your life to listen to the whole thing beginning to end.  And do it with an open mind.  I think you'll find that this is more LP than you might have initially thought.  Of course the individual songs stand out - but you need to hear it all in context to really get it. This isn't "9 songs with 6 little blips of noise in between" like some (former?) fans have argued - it's a 47 minute cohesive work.  If you're looking for a collection of radio songs and arena anthems, this is obviously not for you.  Open your mind up and listen in one piece.

And I feel like a lot of the reviews that are dissing this new album just don't get it.  Bands grow and evolve and advance, just like the people in them do - U2 is never going to make another Joshua Tree, and the Chili Peppers will never put out anything like Mother's Milk again - that doesn't mean that what they're doing now is no good!  LP has been one of my favorite bands since Hybrid Theory came out, and I've really loved seeing them progress as a band and as individuals, including Mike and Chester's side projects.  I fully acknowledge that this new album isn't full of hard, screaming anthems the way that HT or Meteora were, but feeling or saying that this album is awesome doesn't take anything away from how great those two albums were.  It's just different.  It's different in an awesome way.  

I can't help feeling like When They Come for Me is LP's retaliation against everyone that just wants them to keep making HT and Meteora over and over and over again.  Lines like: "'cause even a blueprint is a gift and a curse/'cause once you got a theory about how the thing works/everybody wants the next thing to be just like the first/and I'm not a robot, I'm not a monkey/I will not dance even if the beat's funky ... Ya'all ought to stop talking, start tryin' to catch up, muthafucka!"  It's like saying that they're going to do what they do, how they want to do it, no matter what anybody thinks, and you'd best stop badmouthing it and start trying to keep up with it - they're doing cooler and cooler shit, and you're going to miss out on all of it if you get so hung up on the old stuff.  I LOVE this song, by the way, and I cannot wait to see this performed live, with the chanting and all of that.

The fanboys want something heavier - they want to hear Chester screaming.  You know what?  Chester has been screaming for a long-ass time, and maybe he's tired of it.  Get over that and actually listen to him - he's a fantastic singer.  Enjoy it, you can thank me later.  Pay close attention on The Messenger at the end - Chester's voice is completely laid bare with nothing but some acoustic accompaniment, and it's effing beautiful.  And while you're at it, go back and replay When They Come for Me, Blackout, and Wretches and Kings - they're all pretty heavy, and the beats are sick.

The beats on this whole album are pretty sick, and most of the songs are stick in your head catchy.  Stick in my head, anyway.  The whole thing has this feeling of being bigger than itself - of being bigger than anything - it's almost ominous.  I've often said that part of what's always drawn me to LP is the complexity of their sound, and I think that's more noticeable here than ever.  There's sort of a middle eastern/African/reggae influence that seems to pervade a lot of the album, and that's super-effective, when the political anti-war theme of the whole thing is taken into consideration.  This album is smart.  It's brilliant in it's concept and in it's execution.  From the creepy opening, through quotes from Robert Oppenheimer, MLK Jr., and Mario Savio, the album builds and builds, taking you with it through an uprising and rebellion with a virtual apocalypse of sound before summing it all up with the beautiful song of hope and love in The Messenger to wrap it all up and let you walk away with a great feeling.  I'm pretty sure that the chorus from that song has been the most quoted in all the reviews I've read, so I'd be remiss not to point out that "When life leaves us blind/Love keeps us kind" is maybe the sweetest thing LP has every said to anyone.  Awww.  But it's effective.  I usually can't support the interludes and quotes and everything on a lot of hip hop albums, but this is completely different - the quotes that are used are used in a way that works. I said at the outset that there's a lot of electronic sound here, and there is, including a lot of vocoder/autotune-type stuff.  Frankly, I could have done with a little less autotuning, but I get that it's used for the feeling it gives the songs, not to eff with Chester's voice, so I'm over it.  I'm just don't love autotune.  My one and only other criticism is that somewhere in the middle of Blackout, the mixing feels sloppy.  It's totally possible that the sound is also intentional, because it works with the song, but there's just something a little off about it.

While we're talking about individual tracks - Waiting for the End is like magic.  It might be the most perfectly produced song I've ever heard.  I love the flow.  It just rolls - it rolls you up and takes you with it.  The timing and the pace are so spot on.  I'm pretty sure it's my favorite track on the album.  I adore the nods to Chuck D and Public Enemy in Wretches and Kings, and Burning in the Skies threw me for a loop the first time I put the album on - it initially seemed too poppy to me, but after hearing it 100 more times in the last couple of days, no, I think it fits perfectly with everything else

I don't know folks, the bottom line here is that A Thousand Suns just made my short list of the best albums ever, and I just want you all to give it a fair chance as a single piece of work.  The band has made it clear from the start that this wasn't going to be your typical album - it was designed to be something completely different that the record stores wouldn't know what to do with.  Mission accomplished.  It's not a collection of 15 songs, and no one wants you to listen to it that way.  Set aside 47 minutes of your life to enjoy this in one big bite, then feel free to go back for seconds (or thirds or 57ths) so you can really let it all sink in.  I love it.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall to Pieces by Mary Forsberg Weiland

If you know me at all, or if you read this blog, you know that I have a thing for addiction memoirs and for music autobios.  You may not be aware of my similar predilection for mental illness memoirs - I guess I think of addiction memoirs as a subset of this anyway, and while I don't read the crazy stuff quite as often anymore, there was a time when it was about all I read (I've always said that crazy is drawn to crazy, and at the point in my life when I was reading this stuff all the time . . . let's just say things weren't quite normal in my corner of the world).  I digress.  Anyway, with all of that intro in place - did you see the subtitle of this book?  It says, "A Memoir of Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll and Mental Illness."  A trifecta!  Additionally, if you'll please note the author - yep, it's Scotty Weiland's ex-wife. 

This book was a grand slam from the day I found out it existed, so how psyched was I to read it and find out that it is also a pretty awesome book?  Psyched.  I'm not going to say that the writing was the best ever, but it was good.  What was so awesome were the stories that this woman has to tell, and the way that she tells them.  It's candid and honest, brutal and funny.  Mary and Scott both suffer with bipolar disorder, and pretty severe alcohol and drug addictions.  Not to mention some level of co-dependency that came to define their almost-twenty year relationship.  It's terribly sad, but at the same time, infused with a certain hope.  The book was just written last year, but after everything Mary and Scott have come through, you can't help but wonder where they stand now.

My only complaint is that sometimes the time lines feel wrong.  I honestly couldn't tell whether the book was skipping around chronologically or not, but sometimes it was difficult to tell what time frame things were taking place in.  All is forgiven, though, when you keep in mind that the author was either wasted or manic, or both, during much of the time that she's writing about.  She points this out at the beginning and again at the end of the book, so I really can't fault the story-telling.  What's been on my mind for the past couple of days, since I finished reading, is how a lot of the songs on STP's new album seem clearly to be about Mary.  There were a few points in the book where she mentions hearing Scott's songs about herself, and how she reacted, so I wonder about her reaction to this newest album.

Monday, September 13, 2010

10 Reasons why Transporter 1 is better than 2 or 3

The first installment of the Transporter series is on SpikeTV right now, and I'm completely incapable of shutting it off.  I mean, we all know I love Jason Statham, but this movie is just so full of win, it's more than just the Statham factor.  I used to think that 2 was my favorite of the franchise, because of all the scenes with JS looking after that little kid, and how it's set in Miami, and I love it there, but I stand corrected.  1 really is the best.  And it has the best of everything - fights, chase scenes, planes, parachutes, shit blowing up, boats, the tractor trailers . . . I could go on all day, but here's 10 reasons why Transporter 1 is better than Transporter 2 or 3:

1. The music.  Seriously, the music in this film is fantastic.  Fantastic.  I don't know who the folks are that did the music for these movies, but the guy that did 1 was not responsible for 2 or 3.  That scene in 1 where Frank has just dropped of Lai, and he drop kicks the door down to get back in and beat the crap out of a whole house full of people?  That music is beyond perfect.  It's that way through the entire film.  As an aside - it was that whole sequence that really showed me how awesome Jason Statham is in the first place.

2. There is no room for taking itself too seriously.  It's ridiculous, with just the right amount of plot to keep it from sinking into parody.

3. The directing.  Louis Leterrier directed 1 and 2, making them automatically far superior to Oliver Megaton's (yes, that's really his name) work on T3, but Corey Yuen was also a director on 1, as well as in charge of fight choreography, whereas on 2 and 3, he was just in charge of the fights.  Which were still the best part of 2 and 3.

4. Frank actually followed his rules, except for when checks on Lai in the car.  By T3, all the rules are fully out the window.

5. Madelines.  I'm still pretty sure this movie has something to do with how much I love those damn cookies.

6. You knew it was coming - JS just looks better in this one.  And he doesn't take himself too seriously either.  That whole warehouse fight scene with the buses and the oil?  Brilliant.

7. The chick.  Lai is sweet and likeable.  The mom in T2 is also sweet and likeable, but she's married and she's a mom.  The blond Amazon chick is just scary.  And please don't even get me started on the annoying, food-describing Russian in T3.  WTF was that about?  Don't get me wrong, the JS striptease scene with the keys was sort of hot, but she still annoyed me.

8. Frank's effing house.  How rad is that place?!

9.  The bad guy.  C'mon, Wall Street was way cooler than the guys in the other two movies.  Matt Schulze is great (he also plays Vince in The Fast and The Furious movies).

10. Inspector Tarconi.  It's not necessarily that Francois Berleand is any better in this movie than the others, it's just that this is the first time we meet him and see what a great, funny character Tarconi is capable of being.  Plus I'm pretty sure he has a bigger role in this movie, so there's more Tarconi to love.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New and anxiously awaited albums due this month!

 All signs point to the new Linkin Park album being amazing.  A Thousand Suns drops next Tuesday, the 14th, and so far there are four tracks up on their MySpace: The Catalyst, Waiting For The End, Blackout, and Wretches and Kings.  All of them, as promised, represent pretty huge departures from the LP sound that I have come to know and love, and all are full of awesome.  I've said before that I thought Minutes To Midnight was a bit of a departure for them, and I loved it because I thought it showed the band growing a little, and I loved the direction they were taking, but this new album is light years away from even where MTM was.  There's some sort of international sounds going on, I detect a little reggae influence, especially on Waiting For The End, and Wretches and Kings reminds me of something that Fort Minor would've come up with.  I caught The Catalyst on the radio last week, and while I was initially a little shocked by the drastically different sound behind Chester's voice, I instantly fell in love.  It's an awesome, awesome song, and a great first single - it's downright catchy.  Look for it on the MTV VMA's this weekend - they'll be performing it live.  I'm psyched.  I'm SO, SO psyched for this album.

 In other news, Tommy Lee's new Methods of Mayhem album is FINALLY set to drop a week later, on the 21st.  I was counting down days for this one too - Tommy recorded it using - posting stems of the songs, and allowing anyone who was interested to submit their own takes on the songs.  Then he incorporated some of the amazing stuff that he got into the album.  A Public Disservice Announcement is currently up for preorder on iTunes, and you can preview the whole album in 30 second snippets.  Overall, it sounds like it's going to be an awesome album - completely different, and a lot more tame than the last Methods album, but still pretty experimental and definitely unique.  You can check out the first two singles, Fight Song and Time Bomb - which are dramatically different, I might add - on the RoadRunnerRecords website.  I really like the last Methods album, but there's no denying the heavy, angry feel to it.  It's almost funny to listen to that and then to Tommyland: The Ride back to back.  It's like they're from two completely different people.  From what I can tell, APDA is going to be a fantastic blend of those two guys - maybe it represents Tommy finding a little balance.  Either way, I can't wait to hear the whole thing.

Stay tuned for follow up on both of these before the end of the month.  Yay!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Action Movies I've seen lately

I looked forward to this movie for months!  I was counting down the days until it came out, I'm not even kidding.  Lucky for me, J completely indulges my mild obsession with Jason Statham and ridiculous action movies, because he was probably the only one I ever could've talked into going to see this with me at all, let alone on the night it came out.  But, alas, I was a little disappointed.  It was a pretty typical Stallone movie, so as you would expect, the plot was sort of thin, the dialogue was a little weak, and the violence was pretty heavy.  All of that was to be expected, but what let me down was that the character development just wasn't there.  I feel like they could've done A LOT more with this band of mercenaries/friends who go way back.  I liked it, but there were definitely some eye-roll moments.  It took itself a little too seriously, which is always an issue for me with action movies.   Mickey Rourke was, once again, the perfect casting job for his role.  There was one scene where it's all surreal and close up and Mickey's talking about life and regret and being all deep - and honestly, the scene was sort of laughable, but no one else could've pulled it off in quite the way that he did.  My bottom line here is that I honestly want to see it again.  I think I was too excited and too googley-eyed over seeing JS on the big screen for the first time in a couple of years to really appreciate the film for all of its merits. I have to have missed something, because it was number one at the box office for a couple of weeks in a row.  Clearly, people are into it.  meanwhile, in my Jason Statham-loving world, I only have to wait until January for the next opportunity to see the man back on the big screen, reviving Charles Bronson's bad-ass role as The Mechanic.

And speaking of movies that don't take themselves too seriously - Machete was effing awesome.  Robert Rodriguez knows what the hell he's doing behind a camera.  The cast for this one goes on and on and on, too: Danny Trejo (and I'm not sure they could've made this film without him as Machete), Bobby DiNero, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan . . . it goes on and on.  There were so many ridiculous, laugh-out-loud scenes that you know it's not taking itself too seriously.  The plot is just as deep as it needs to be, the dialogue is great, and the film is sort of satirical at times, which made it that much better.  It's obviously not for everyone, but if you have ever seen and enjoyed a movie by Rodriguez, you will love this one.

Stone Temple Pilots! 8.31.10 @ Mohegan Sun

I'm not even sure that I can come up with words for how awesome this show was. It was by and large all old songs, but for about 4 songs from the new album and one cover. The four or so new songs that they chose were probably the four best songs on the new album. My biggest regret for the night was that we didn't switch our seats sooner. Our assigned seats were in the middle of a row (the seats were great, by the way - upstairs, stage left), so when we walked in we took some empty seats in the unsold section next to ours. Some security dude told us we had to move, so we did. When the show started, everyone in our crowded section remained seated and appeared to have no fun at all. Anyone who's read this blog before knows that I love to dance, so clearly this situation wasn't going to work for me. After about 4 songs, we moved back to the forbidden seats and I danced my ass off all night long. We also missed Cage the Elephant, who I had been stoked to see open, but hunger prevailed and we grabbed dinner before heading in to the show. Without further ado, here's the setlist (which, incidentally, is exactly the same as every other show they've played on this tour, but more on that later):

1. Crackerman
2. Wicked Garden
3. Vasoline
4. Heaven and Hot Rods
5. Between the Lines
6. Hickory Dichotomy
7. Still Remains
8. Cinnamon
9. Big Empty
10. Dancing Days (Led Zep cover)
11. Pretty Penny
12. Silvergun Superman
13. Plush
14. Interstate Love Song
15. Huckleberry Crumble
16. Down
17. Sex Type Thing
18. Dead and Bloated
19. Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart

I realized at the show the other night just how much Scott Weiland uses his voice as an instrument. To some extent, I know that all vocalists do, but Scotty's voice can change so dramatically from one song to the next, and sometimes it really just sounds like he's playing along. Check out Hickory Dichotomy and Interstate Love Song, especially, to see what I mean. Along those same lines, I really love the megaphone/microphone thing he does on songs like Crackerman and Dead and Bloated.

The show started off hard and heavy with Crackerman, and that carried the feeling for the whole show. Scotty came out wearing all black, including a cape, hat, sunglasses and a scarf. Song by song, the layers came off. The man has style, I gotta say. I wish that more layers had come off; Scotty without a shirt might've made my life, but even still. Speaking of Scotty's style - I recently learned that he has a clothing line. Crazy, right? And seriously, follow that link and check out some of the clothes in that line - it's all button-downs, suits and ties. And they're really, really nice.

Crackerman was an amazing way to start the show, and Trippin... was an excellent closer. Though, any closer would have made me feel sad, really. I was bummed when I walked out of that show. Bummed. My heart hurt, I was so sad that it was really over. I haven't felt that strongly about a show being over in a long time. I'm always sad, but the other night, it was severe. I can usually turn it around to being thankful that I had the opportunity to be there in the first place, and hold onto that gratitude, but I had to KEEP ON reminding myself of that until I fell asleep.

While we're talking about individual songs - Wicked Garden and Dead and Bloated might have been my favorites for the night. I was so souped to hear Sex Type Thing (Scotty growling something about how he'll give me something that I won't forget and how I shouldn't have worn that dress just does it for me, honestly, and it did it Tuesday night, but not like I wanted it to), but it just wasn't as awesome as WG or DaB. Plush into Interstate Love Song was a moment - the crowd sang the chorus, and it was as cool as it always is when that happens. Those two songs are just so widely known, you couldn't help but appreciate the whole place singing along. There were multiple occasions when I found myself thinking that this was what church should feel like.

Scotty looked almost pudgy about the belly on stage. That made me so happy. The level of awesome achieved on this newest album raised fears in the back of my head that he was back on the smack, but I think he looked too good (and too chubby) for that at this show.  No doubt, he still drinks, and I'm pretty sure that wasn't water he was swigging between songs, but whatever it takes.  I did some further research on this point (shocking, I know), and learned that this new album was only the third that Weiland has ever recorded sober (fn and fn). The other two were STP's debut, Core, and Velvet Revolver's second album, Libertad.  I feel like this helps explain how this album got to be so great, as well as some of the freaky that Scotty had going on in between.

I am a little bummed by the fact that they're playing exactly the same show for every show on the tour, and in that way, I feel a little let down by the lack of spontaneity, but I think this is a common thing with rock tours nowadays, and STP is not alone in sticking to a formula that works.

If I can just digress for a minute here - what happened to the days of bands coming up with and rehearsing a couple of set lists that worked real well, and then shuffling through them throughout the tour, adding and subtracting to suit the mood as it happened? I'll tell you what - major labels and the demand for more and more over-produced shows has led to the lights, cameras, lyricsmonitorsinthestage! (yes, STP, I sat side-stage the other night, I know you're guilty of it - I'm not saying you relied heavily on them, or even used them at all, but they were there) atmosphere that we now see and pay for with every ticket we buy. And speaking of tickets that we buy - don't advertise your show as proudly keeping ticket prices under $50 (and I'm not talking about STP here - they were over $50 and proud of it), only to charge $49.50 plus $13 in "service charges." That's bullshit, it's disingenuous, and it's not how you should be treating your fans. Pearl Jam got out of the ticketmaster/major label bullshit, and others could and should do it as well. Gimme an old-fashioned club show for $15 ($20 at the door) over such an over-produced, multi-million dollar spectacle any day. J even said that this show would've been so. much. better. had it been at HOB instead of Mohegan. I think that at every single big arena show I go to, and it's rare for him to agree or care to discuss the finer points with me, let alone to bring it up himself. I'm glad he has seen the light, and I can only hope that he will continue to vociferate on the topic, as I hope that you will, dear readers. Down with major labels!

All of that aside, though - it was a fabulous show, whether it was the same as every other show on the tour or not. I guess it works out well that I couldn't afford to go to the show in Boston the following night, because it might've felt too contrived after seeing the exact same show the night before. Either way - the show was still one of the best I've seen. If you haven't heard the new album, do yourself a favor and check it out. And if you have a chance to catch a show - go! Trust me on this, I've seen the exact same show already. :)

ETA (on 9.9.10) - Holy crap, I almost forgot about my other favorite part of the show.  Big Empty just came on as I'm sitting at my desk eating lunch, and I remembered how right before STP launched into this last week, Scott lit a cigarette and sang this song kind of low and mellow while he was smoking.  It was great.  See kids, sometime smoking still does make you look cool.  ;)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Remember me?

Wow.  I have nothing to offer by way of an apology for not posting for so long, but I promise that I have a lot in mind waiting to show up here.  Some highlights:

1) I'm currently listening to what might be the best book ever written.  We all know I'm not a fan of favorites, but I might have an actual, single favorite author by the time this is over.  I'm also already in the market for the perfect paper copy of the book so that I can start re-reading and re-reading and re-reading it, something else I rarely do.  This is just that good.. 

2) The new Stallone/Statham movie came out a few weeks ago.  I went on opening night and I have some thoughts. . .  It may be a big movie post, because I also recently saw Inception, and it blew my mind, and there are a few other things I've seen recently that I'm sort of itching to talk about.

3) I experienced Stone Temple Pilots rocking Mohegan Sun last night, and I can't wait to rave about how awesome it was.  I'm still giddy.

4) Despite my current audiobook kick, I have some music tags to post.

5) I'm working on some new short fiction to share.  I know, the very idea that I might share something I wrote is fascinating to all of you, isn't it?  Don't hold your breath.