Thursday, January 31, 2008

If i only had a brain...

...Or, more correctly, someone else's. Someone specifics actually. See, Dr Sonny/ Mr Dan ( or should it be the other way around? ) has set his readers a little homework challenge - to post as if we could borrow his brain for one entry. Personally, i think we'd need his heart too because a person's perspective is not just based on what they know, but thats entirely a different point. I choose not to use his offered subject, but rather, Christmas morning breakfast as it happened this past holiday season.....


Christmas morning, my brothers house. Its only the second time i'd actually been there and it seemed like the tiniest little house in the world. Possibly because it is a small house, but it probably had more to do with the fact he decided to cram so many people in there all at one time. 13 of us in fact, all jammed into the loungeroom and adjoining kitchen. I mean i would have felt as if my personal space had been somewhat invaded if it was only our family, but his wife's family aswell ? Sharing a seat with his sister-in-law and having to hang a cheek at 8am in the morning isnt all that appealing, even if it is in the spirit of Christmas. Especially seeing as she cracked the shits at our neice ( she's 2 years old mind you ). I mean i'm no expert on kids, frankly kids are great as long as you can hand them back, but even i know 2 year olds play favourites when it comes to presents. They dont care that you just bought them a $80 present, that you think its really great and god, you spent so much money on it, doesnt it make you the best aunty ever ? No, they care that someone else is now handing them something else to unwrap and that the empty box just may be the greatest part of that present too. You cannot crack it with a toddler when they act, well, like a toddler. Although it did kind of make me oddly happy that my neice loved ME enough to share her bacon - even if she was just tearing into strips and stacking on my empty plate...

I was also a little frusturated with my uncle's new girlfriend. The woman barely said a word, or looked anyone in the eye.... whats up with that? Sure, she'd not met any of us before, but it's not that hard to open your mouth and make conversation is it ? The fact that it was Christmas even gave her a perfect opening for discussion - " Hey, I'm Lisa, how are you going ? Merry Christmas! ". But no, she just sat on the lounge, near about clinging to his leg for dear life. I tried to get her to open up but to no avail - i just dont get people who find it so hard to get along socially.

Breakfast itself was ok - bacon, sausages, eggs, tomato, toast - all that stuff that we like to eat but probably shouldnt, but not much variety. And not very festive either. I chose to sit on the floor with my neice, partly because all the seats at the table were just about to be taken, but also because i wanted a break from all the family type person's invading my space and being all cheery first thing in the morning. My neice talks quite a bit but its just baby pyscho-babble, stuff i didnt really need to listen to. Kind of a like a radio tuned into static....

Short and sweet i know, but i didnt want to delve too deeply into that confused mind of yours....

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I have semi-tread marks now...

Right, so the very few of you who used to read my old blog will have pondered this before, but in the interest of raising awareness and provoking discussion, i have decided to re-post one of my old blog entries. It is concerned with blood donation, something i am passionate about and do as frequently as the blood bank allows. Everytime i give blood - every 10 weeks, almost on the dot - i save 3 lives. 3 people will benefit from my blood, allowing them to live longer, with a better quality of life in some cases. I even gave blood when i was in Cambodia, at a childrens hospital, because they had a diptheria outbreak and i knew half an hour of my time and 500ml of my blood could help.

My previous post is there in its entirety, unedited. Read it, and let me know what you think. Lay whatever your thinking on me, no cop outs, no pussy-footing around. Read it, discuss it, think about it.

I want your blood!
Apr 30, 2007, 20:53
I have just arrived home from giving blood. Well, to tell the truth, i didnt end up giving a whole unit today but its hardly my fault - the nurse was looking for a vein and just as she;s gone to insert the needle my vein has failed and motherforker did that hurt! She jiggled it around a bit, got it in, but it would pump properly so they only got about half a bag from me. But i digress....

I donate blood pretty much every 10 weeks on the dot. For example, i made an appointment tonight, while i was at the blood bank, for my next donation, 10 weeks from now. I am very big on giving blood. In fact, if i were prime minister ( or substitute any other political or world leader able to make these kinds of decisions ) i would make it a law that if you dont give blood, but you dont receive any. It may sound harsh, illogical, unfair... but its not.

I've had this conversation with one of you before, and mentioned donating blood to another and here's my take on it - giving blood is so easy. All it requires is, at the most 20 minutes of your time ( ok, maybe an hour if, like tonight, you have to wait your turn and then your vein collapses ) and it saves countless lives. It is one harmless needle, one momentary pinch and then you can relax in your chair and wait for your little baggie thing to fill up. Turn your head a little, and 10 minutes of free entertainment - those little baggie thingies look remarkably like lava lamps! And hell, at the end of it all, you get a milkshake and a sausage roll, all for free ... what more could you want? I reiterate - its so EASY.

So it shits me that people wont do it. People who say " oh, but i'm scared of needles " or " I just wont wana " or " i couldnt be bothered " .... screw all of you! That is a bullshit cop out - those are selfish reasons for not helping your fellow man and hell, they arent even reasons, they're just excuses. People who have some kind of disorder or illness that prevents them from giving blood, or old people and children for whom its just not recommended, well, thats fair enough. But anybody else - i just cant understand why people WOULDNT do it. It's so EASY.

And thats why i'm pushing my " No giving, no receiving " policy for all those bullshit cop outs. If you cant be bothered giving 20 minutes of your time to help others, to maybe save the life of a helpless child, a father, a mother, your neighbour, the guy down the block, then why should the rest of us be bothered to help you? Isnt it selfish to do one thing and expect another ?

And there ends my rant. As you can see, it is somethig i feel strongly about, so dont hate me if you have a different viewpoint. Just know that when i am elected to power, i'm not sharing my blood with you!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bringing sexy back...

So i have been out to dinner four nights this week, which means i have had some good " over dinner " conversations. One of these, with my girlfriends, ended up being a discussion on what is, and isnt sexy. We have a male friend coming down to visit and he has asked us if we could take him to one of the local pub/clubs, so that he can check out all the chicks. The fact that this particular pub is the place where all the young and, quite often, skanky chicks go is not lost on him - in fact its his whole reason for wanting to be there. We, though, are lost on what he, or any other man, could possibly find sexy about " skanky " chicks - what is sexy ? Of course, i understand that sexy is subjective so it got me to thinking - what do i think is sexy? And, possibly, why ? So, here for your reading pleasure ( and, possible disgust ) is a short list of what I, Amy, think is sexy :

1. Jeans and white tank tops - i almost always feel sexiest when in a pair of denim jeans and a white tank top, natural make-up and barefoot. I think there is something to be said about the natural, minimal sexiness of women, of a woman at her most relaxed. Dont get me wrong, i love dressing up and do feel sexy in a flirty dress and full make-up, but its when i'm bumming around the house, jeans, singlet and my hair in a pony tail that i can look in the mirror and go " yea, i'm hot.... "

2.Dark hair - on both men and women. I'm not being biased because i, myself, am i brunette; i just think dark hair is sexier. Men with dark hair seem more masculine to me and women too, seem more powerful, more alluring. Almost every woman i would count amongst my style icons has dark hair ( Audrey Hepburn, Audrey Tatou, Juliette Binoches character in " Chocolat ", even Mandy Moore is currently brunette ) and most every male celebrity i adore ( Colin Farrell, Mark Ruffalo, Johnny Depp... my heart forever belongs to Johnny ) is tall, dark and handsome aswell. No offense to the blondes out there, but blonde is over-rated.

3. Guitars - guitar music is sexy. Guitarists are sexy. Even guitars themselves, with their curves and polished woods, are sexy. Latin music, so heavily relying on the guitar, is the sexiest stuff to roll your hips to ( hips are sexy aswell, now i think of it ). Granted, drummers are cute, but its the lead guitarist, or lead vocalist/guitarist that always catches my eye. Its something about the music, man.

4.Men with muscular arms - think Rafael Nadal, or Vin Diesel, or the hot guy at my local pub with the tattoo. There is something to be said for men with well cut arms. Not only does the actual tautness of the muscle appeal to me visually, i think there is some kind of link between the physical and the emotional. I want a man with strong arms to hold me with them, to be able to pick me up, to keep me safe. I'm a petite woman, but being able to pick me up ? Thats sexy!

5. High heels - i know, this one sounds like a total girl thing, but go with it. First of all, shoes are pretty, and high heels are the prettiest of them all. Secondly, high heels force you to use the muscles in your legs differently, so they make your legs look longer and make your bum sit higher. Lastly, and this is for my male readers mainly, think of a woman, semi-naked ( or naked if you want, its your fantasy ) in a pair of high, pointy, stiletto heels - she could do you some damage, and isnt danger sexy?

The second half i wont elaborate much on, if only to make a complete list of 10:

6. Confidence
7. Being a good conversationalist, especially if you can discuss almost any topic
8. Stubble - on men, not on women. Men with just that rough, stubbly, half beard thing going on? Totally hot!
9. Men who are comfortable with, and good around, children
10. Driving fast, something about the adrenalin rush, and danger again

And that be all. Fill me in on your agreeance, disagreeance, or what you'd add to the list....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Is it okay for me to be annoyed?

Is it okay for me to be annoyed at someone because of their faux participation in a conversation ? Let me explain.

I am starved for intellectual stimulation. In fact, the most intellecual challenge i get is from reading everyone else's blogs and being able to give my opinion. I have very little in the way of intelligent conversation, discussion or argument in my real, off-line life. Most of what i do get is from my father, usually when we have both read of, or heard about, a specific social or ethical issue. I enjoy debating against him, even though he frusturates me with his stubborness sometimes. Quite often our discussions will start at the dinner table on a Sunday night and my mother will interject every so often, but mostly she is intent to listen because i dont think she necessarily see's herself as smart enough to participate. This, depending on the subject at hand, may or may not be true. It is my sister, however, who has succeeded in pissing me off. Following on from an article in the paper about a couple who are going to sue their IVF doctors because the doctors missed a cancer gene in the child, my father and begun discussing the idea of genetically engineering children to reject such genes, the pre-birth screening for conditions such as cystic fibrosis, and the subsequent decision to abort a child if they were found to be carrying such a gene or condition. We were each pushing ouor agenda and, admittedy, beginning to argue the pedantics of each scenario. My sister then comes up with this : " There is no way i could raise a retarded kid ". Full stop. My mother said she could hardly make such a statement without being faced with the prospect and she replied " No, i couldnt. I wouldnt raise a retarded kid and you cant tell me i'm wrong because thats my opinion ". Full stop, arms folded across chest, obnoxious puckered arse look on her face. Well, thats just not right. Firstly, your cant just throw out something like that without having something on which you have based your opinion, and secondly you cant expect the other participants to call you out on it.

So i told her that was a stupid thing to say. No, make that immature and, if she really did feel that way, callous aswell and before i could launch into anything more substantial my mum pulls me up - " Amy, stop please ". What ? " No, thats enough ". And that, in turn, was enough to piss me off. How can my sister expect to be treated like an adult if she's going to say things like that ? If she wants to take part in an intellectual, adult conversation than she should be willing give reason, justification, for what she has said. But instead i am forced to stop the conversation i am having, that i am enjoying, the only mentally stimulating conversation i will probably have all week, because i may offend or upset her. That, my friends, is bullshit.

And so, i have come to this - I am tired of being smarter than most people i know. And i know that probably sounds extremely pompous and completelyself-absorbed, but its true. I love my friends and my family to death, but of all the people i know it would appear that i am the most intellectually intelligent, ethically concious and socially aware. When i get together with my friends we talk about other people we know; about movies; about what insane Britney Spears has done this week; about how skanky Paris Hilton is; about our work and relationships ( or lack thereof ). We do not discuss abortion; genetic engineering; hypocrisy in the Catholic church; racism in sport; who we think will win the US election or how to solve the war in the Middle East. The majority of my friends to not appear to give a fuzzy rats about things like that or, at the very least, dont care to discuss them. It frusturates me. On Friday night i went round to a mates place to hang with some rugby girls i hadnt seen in a while. Dont get me wrong, it was good to see them, to have them run at me and squash me against a brick wall because thats our " thing ", but after an hour i had to leave because all i had to entertain me was people drinking and taking photos of their arses. It didnt do much for me to be honest.

And thats why i'm asking - is it okay for me to be annoyed about this ? Is it okay for me to be tired of being the only one who seems to care about the world around them ? Or should i just stick my head in the sand or, even better, up my arse?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Monday kind of Thursday

I had one of those days today. Nothing much at all went wrong, just it was an odd kind of day. I had very little to actually do at work ( apparently my colleague and i are just too damn efficient ), yet the day seemed to fly by; my mind wandered off on really random tangents but i alway smanaged to think my way back around to what i was supposed to be doing; it was grey, overcast and relatively cold for this time of year, but i didnt seem to mind, as long as it managed to rain. So, in honour of my odd day, here are just a handful of random, stupid things that you probably dont care to read:

1. Tonight is the first night that i have not successfully completed the task on my " To Do " list. This, however, is excusable. Tonights task was to clean the spiderwebs off the outside of my house - i'm hardly going to do that in the rain now, am i ?

2. Looooooving the Australian Open at the moment. Am taping away while i listen to Baghdatis vs Safin, knowing that i'll have to get to bed soon and wont get to see the end of the match. Did however watch all of Roddicks match last night and will watch any Nadal match i am home for. Mmmm, Rafael Nadal....

3. My head is buzzing with plans for my best friends hen's night. I have a resturant to book, theme to decide upon and then invites to get out. Plus there are games to think of that are appropriate in a retsurant setting, decorations, party favours, and a list of challenges to complete at the local pubs. So much pressure on my poor bridesmaids head!

4. Very excited about getting a gym membership for my birthday. I'm havign visions of dropping weight, adding toned muscle, and becoming a professional tennis player. Mmmm, Rafael Nadal....

5. I broke the aerial on my car yesterday. I parked in the under cover parking at the shopping centre where i work and, unbeknownst to me, my aerial got caught in a grate covering a light on the ceiling. When i started backing out i hear this weird grating noise and then snap! Broke about 4cm off the top! What a fucker... but at least i still get radio reception.

6. I've come to realise that i really hate those erectile disfunction adds they play all bloody day long on the radio. You know, the ones about getting your sausage to sizzle this summer, being longer and stronger with some women moaning liking she's having the greatest orgasm of her life ? I know i dont have a penis, but you cant help but hear the ads and start thinking about sex. And the last place you want to be thinking about sex is at work, with only two other women and two incredibly dorky, unattractive men for company, knowing you are not getting any, from anyone, anywhere, any time soon. Mmmm, Rafael Nadal....

7. Ben Lee's album , " Ripe ", completely rocks. Check out his duet with Mandy Moore plus the song " Just Say Yes ". Perfect intelligent, melodic, singer-songwriter pop.

And thats it. Like i said, it was an odd kind of day. Embrace it with me....

Saturday, January 12, 2008


So according to the comments on my post regarding my dream the other night, i am apparently the only one who understand what it means. Which, i suppose, is a good thing otherwise it would be like the rest of you knew too much about me, being able to interpret my dreams and all.
So, for the benefit of those who queried me in those comments, here is what i believe that dream is telling me:

" Black dog " is a colloquial term for depression, coined by Winston Churchill i believe. It's used in a lot of texts and when i first undertook counselling i was given a video to watch called " Taming the Black Dog " ( or something close to that ... ). Now, from what i can remember of the dream i am watching this huge, furry, black dog through my window - i know its there, i know it probably wants to come in but i dont open the window or the door, i just sit, and watch, and wait. Somehow - and i dont remember how, maybe i eventually DID let it in, i dont remember, thats just the way dreams work i suppose - this cuddly looking black dog gets into my house and bites me, on the ribs of all places, high up ( kind of near my armpit actually ...weird. ). And then - i dont know, because thats when i woke up.

So, having thought about it over the course of the morning and, since my post, the last few days, i think this black dog is representative of depression, of the depressing, ambivalent, non-motativational " mood " i have slowly been sinking into for the last couple of months. Just like in the dream, i could see it coming - i knew i was getting progressively lonelier, sadder, less motivated to do things - but i didnt really do anything other than sit and wait for the inevitable meltdown to come. Or for the black dog to break in and bite me, if you will. Secondly, the fact that this dog bites me around the ribs is telling aswell. Physically, my ribs are the most sensitive area of my body - it is, depending on the mood, either an intense pleasure or an intense pain to be touched there - so the fact that this is where the dog has chosen to attack tells me the depression is hitting me, attacking, preying on my weaknesses.
Lastly, and perhaps most alarmingly, its the appearance of the dog that disturbs me. This dog, in the dream, was not scary looking. It wasnt aggressive like, for example, a Doberman or a Rottweiler, big black dogs that most of us assume could do us some damage. No, the dog in the dream was big, furry, cuddly looking - more like a black Labrador. A dog that you would like to own, to shower affection on, to have as a company. The fact that i wasnt afraid of this dog, that despite the fact that i didnt welcome it into my house, i made no huge attempt to stop it and, other than the fact that it bit me, i actually didnt mind so much having a dog in the house, makes me think maybe i like being depressed ? Maybe i actively court these feelings because they make me feel different and or special ?

Or maybe, in that third instance anyway, i'm just over-analysing....

Friday, January 11, 2008

I forgot about this....

I wish we could open our eyes
To see in all directions at the same time
Oh what a beautiful view
If you were never aware of what was around you
And it is true what you said
That I live like a hermit in my own head
But when the sun shines again
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.

Sorrow drips into your heart through a pinhole
Just like a faucet that leaks and there is comfort in the sound
But while you debate half empty or half full
It slowly rises, your love is gonna drown

I'm rockin' this list, yo

The challenge is going well - i have thus far successfully completed the first three days of tasks, and still managed to watch " The Amazing Race " last night and " Cirue Du Soleil's Varekai " on TV tonight. Ace for me!
I also made up my mind on what i want my father to cook me for my birthday dinner a few weeks from now ( Chicken Deluxe, with hasselback potatoes and crunchy green beans... mmmm ) and came up with a suggestion for my birthday present. I want a monster truck, bright red with flames up the sides, named Big Bertha, so i can just drive right over the top of everyone who drives slow, doesnt know where they're going or tries to cut me off. What ? Road rage ? Me?

But seriously, my parents are, after discussing it with me, going to buy me a 3 month gym membership for my birthday. It was my idea to join the gym, and theirs to pay for my membership. See, i figure joining the gym will give me something else other than my lonliness to focus my energies on; it will give me a place to go after work other than just coming straight home to lie on the lounge; and it will improve me physically which can only be a bonus right ? Plus, regualr exercise is on the recommended natural forms of lifting a depression, without the drugs, so it will be twice as good for me. So we can all look forward to a brighter, more energetic, slimmer me.... yay!

And that be all for now. Its Friday night, i have watched the brilliant Cirque Du Soleil presentation and i have uploaded 8 ( count 'em - 8! ) CD's to Itunes.... i have nothing left on my plate except to sleep.

Oh, i have some dishes that need doing too, but they arent on the official list so they can wait til tomorrow....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Well thats obvious

It 8am and i have just gotten out of bed. I woke up at 4am, after a dream where a giant, furry, black dog broke into my house and bit me. Fucker. Might sound weird but i know EXACTLY what thats referring to....

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Baby steps people, baby steps....

After having had a relatively important conversation ( hinted at in the comments on my last post ) and being tired of sitting around like a steaming pile of depressed crap, i have decided to take charge and get better. Or at least back to normal anyways. I was lying in bed last night, willing myself to quit thinking and drift off to sleep but i actively decided that if my brain wouldnt shut down the least i could do is think about something useful and important. So last night i decided to set myself a challenge, small but significant - in the lead up to my 24th birthday i am going to take time out each day to do one menial task that i have been putting off. One chore, one little thing that i have had no motivation to do even though i know i should. I am going to push myself to do the set task, no matter how bored/tired/depressed i happen to be. So i sat down in my lunch break and this is what i cam up with :

Wed 9th - Fold basket of washing that has been piling up for 4 weeks.
Thurs 10th - Put folded washing away - including hanging jeans and dresses!
Fri 11th - Upload at least 6 CDs to Itunes.
Sat 12th - Finishing packing away the crap in the spare room.
Sun 13th - Take down my Christmas tree. Yep, its still up.
Mon 14th - Clean the bathroom, including making room for where Erin's stuff will go when she moves in.
Tues 15th - Sweep and mop kitchen.
Wed 16th - Unpack at least two boxes that are still languishing in the garage.
Thurs 17th - Get rid of the cobwebs springing up on the outside of my house.
Fri 18th - Upload at least another 6 CD's to Itunes.
Sat 19th - Sort through my clothes - take the old ones to charity.
Sun 20th - Clean out the fish tank.
Mon 21st - Vacuum all the carpeted rooms.

And there you be, thats it, there's my list. Like i said - small, menial, everyday tasks that i have just not been able to drag myself out of the cloud to do. But i am now, i'm going to make myself, making small baby steps to other things. Another baby step - tonight is the first night in almost 4 weeks that i have cooked myself an actual meal and not just eaten fruit or made some toast. It was only spaghetti, nothing fancy, but it was a big thing.

Wish me luck....

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Stop searching the obituaries, i havent died...

Nor have i fallen off the face of the planet, or moved underground to live with the mole people. I merely decided that i needed to take a complete break from blogging, just for a little while, because if i cant escape the confines of my own mind i can at least escape from putting them to print. You would think that getting thoughts and feelings out would do a person some good, would at least get things off my chest, and in some part it does, but it also lets you read and re-read things that perhaps you'd rather not live through again. But never mind that, here i am, alive and sort of well, at least today.

See thing is, just after my last post in december, which was relatively sunny in comparison to the other recent posts, i had a nice little meltdown. Not exactly on a Britney Spears kind of scale, but big enough for me to take notice and need to take a step back. I'm talking a full blown panic attack, crying and thinking ( and hoping ) that i would die; strangely enough, the start of this panic attack happened in front of my parents and younger sister, at their house, which i fled in tears. I drove home, erratically mind you, and tried locking myself in my house in the dark but my mum kept calling and calling and within 20 minutes or so they had turned up at my place, trying to help. And they did a little, in that instance anyway - i still kept crying, stopping and starting, still struggling to draw breath at some points but they managed to calm me down and talk me through what was plaguing me at that particular moment. Apparently my parents are a lot smarter than i thought - they told me they'd noticed that i'm lonely, that my behaviour had been more depressed and nonchalant lately, that a lot of the time it appeared like i really didnt care about anything. They also told me that unfortunately there isnt a lot they can do to help me with the loneliness issues, and any self-esteem or self-worth things i have going on, well, they dont really see where any of it could stem from. They think i'm fantastic. But you're parents are supposed to think that right ?

So there you be - i had my breakdown that, lets face it, we all knew was coming. Nothing much really has come of it, except for a few days afterwards i felt a little lighter because i had managed to get something out. But that feeling of emancipation hasnt exactly lasted long - i've had bad days since then, and have an almost constant feeling of " blah ". By that i mean that i have almost no motivation to do anything, or at least anything important. I havent eaten properly in at least three weeks because i cant bring myself to cook anything ( i've been eating fruit or making toast, or buying takeaway, and yep, i know thats not healthy ).I have a few ideas running around in my head but no drive to make any of it happen. Not that any of the ideas themselves are important on a world scale but they would at least give me something to work on. And the stupid thing is i know that i have no motivation, i'm disgusted by the fact that i would really like to get out and go for a walk, or do 50 sit ups, or even fold my basket of washing, but i have no inner feeling pushing me to do anything other than lie on the lounge and watch the cricket. It makes me sick. It makes me think i need to be back on medication, or in counselling, or at least reaching out to someone and asking for help but i dont want to admit defeat.

The other thing that has come of the shit hitting the fan is that i have decided, after me originally suggesting it jokingly a few months ago and then having my parents bring it up for real, is that my sister is going to move in with me when she gets her drivers licence. I am both happy and apprehensive about this. On the one hand it will mean that i have a room mate, that i wont be coming home to an empty house, and that will be nice. Plus, i'll have better finances because she'll be paying half the rent and bills, so more money is a nice incentive. But on the other hand, my 17 year old sister is almost the complete opposite of me. Dont get me wrong, for siblings we get on really well, i'm not worried about that. What i mean is that she's a beautiful girl, popular, has all the self-confidence in the world, and the people to go along with it. What i'm worried about is her inviting friends over at the weekends, or the new boyfriend she seems to chop and change every month or less, and me looking like the sad older sister who has a sibling for a room-mate because she has nobody else.Of being the sad old spinster who always seem to be sitting around Erin's house, doing nothing, with no-one.I dont want to be that.

And thats it for now. I was thinking i would make a post with my favourite stuff for the year, like movies and music and world events. I've been meaning to do it for a few days now but, strangely, i havent been able to muster up the motivation...