Friday, February 29, 2008

A Little Friday Filler


The apartment looks like the inside of C-130 delivering a humanitarian relief shipment.  Even better?  Sure, I'll go there.  We were thinking we were going to be in the new place tonight at least to paint.  Tigger wants to paint stuff (mainly because the departing tenant worked with a lovely dark mustard shade in the living room with the blue carpeting), and we picked a color.  Painting is something that I, and most guy friends of mine have confirmed this, give little thought to, and would generally roll with white all day long... but all's well.

We are not in the new place right now.  You can tell because I wouldn't have an internet connection.  Or furniture.  Or whatever.  Former tenant drags feet, we wait in the staging area.


Instead of all that, I am freshly showered and in a bathrobe, with a cocktail in hand, sneaking in a February 29th post because it just had to be done.

I am, however, not in the best of shape after sleeping poorly and insufficiently for days now, and spending some time being absolutely in a panic about the next two days, so there's that as well.

So in the meanwhile, go read (while both of you hypothetical readers certainly know about it already, I wanted to share it as I crawled out from under my rock, ran across it today, and divebombed* a couple of years of the posts.)  I guess when a late-forties suburban dad in the office sees it and says how much he loves it... it's not exactly like I'm setting up the first flash mob here or something like that.

The remarkable thing: 

-It's a web comic.

-It's funny.

I know you don't believe me, I wouldn't either.  It is, however, true.

In other news: Moose (according to numerous sources in the know) is likely to be around 150 pounds when fully grown.

In other, other news: I know no one wanted to endlessly hear me waste their time talking ad nauseam about a dog.  I will make an effort to be irritated at other things again, instead of just marveling about this one thing in particular.  Ire fuels the litter box... that and poorly spelled, inarticulate opinions.

So to be in line with the form...  YOUR LOOSERS PWNT!!!@#  1110100111

Is that better?  Does it make this feel like the internet again?  I guess I could also post more pictures of the dog and fit a different corner of things.

One final random thought in the Grab Bag: on the subway posters for the new pick 5 lottery campaign, it has a little tag on the bottom of the advertising that says (in text smaller than what's on your screen, dear hypothetical readers): "Play Responsibly."  Right.

Be well.  Pray for Mojo, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow are going to be pretty nuts.  We have to move, paint, AND we have to go to a wedding tomorrow afternoon.  Sweet!  Maybe I'll write that novel on Saturday while I'm at it.

Nothing quite like a bit of cohesive writing with a beginning, middle, and an

*The act of finding a source of writing or other material, and methodically roaring through mountains of archive.  It's fantastic, and it's a good reason to keep on sifting through the kitty litter that is the internet and looking for the impossible diamond as you work your way through.  I made this phrase up and I am telling you this here.  It's like an even more slack Slacker Copyright... I don't even need to buy a stamp!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's Post Brought to you by the Color Red (String)!

As you may know, or not, the great folks at the web presence for kabala will do you--or anyone with access to the wonders of the wondrous "Internet"--the honor of analyzing your first name according to the principles of Kabala!  For FREE!!*

So I went ahead and did the analysis for Moose (FHR) and here's the verdict:

"Although the name Moose creates executive ambitions, we emphasize that it limits your versatility and scope, tuning you to technical details."

Damn.  That name is what's going to keep our dog from having a well-compensated career as a shallow, unfulfilled executive.  Also, something to consider, given that this is intended to be a resource for people: how many engineers do you know named Moose?

"This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the reproductive organs, and elimination system."

AH!  Here's the hard sell on that whole thirty bones thing!**  Well, I definitely want to be happy, content, and successful at his engineering career... and (until we take them out surgically in just about two months***) I do totally want him to have the strength of TEN dogs in his reproductive organs.

"Your name of Moose has made you practical, systematic, and thorough."

No birdseed would have been left when he remained, if he had been just given the TIME to work on his technical project of sifting systematically, and thoroughly through the entire yard of dirt, so no argument there.

"The name encourages the expression of leadership and organizational skills, shrewdness and analytical ability."

I have to take some exception to this, given that he seems pretty disorganized with his reams of blueprints.  He also takes direction from anyone with thumbs, so that's a bit off the mark, but his analytical ability may have instructed him to take this path of least resistance, so who knows?

"You are mathematically adept and have great patience with work of a detailed nature such as bookkeeping, accounting, or technical research."

How ironic is that?  I hated math as a young boy, and now work with numbers for a living.  Like father like substitute son!  He might provide the good example that gets me to balance my checkbook for the first time in my life.  Fair trade for picking up his leavings for the next ten years... it's all about the personal growth.

"Particular about your material possessions, you keep everything you own in a good state of repair, and you budget your personal finances very carefully."

I hope he does take good care of them, since Tigger and I just spend more than 350 clams on a full dog trousseau.  The china pattern is really quite lovely, though.

"Because of its matter-of-fact influence, this name limits, to some degree, your ability to be flexible and spontaneous."

Again, not sure on this one.  From what I hear, he will sleep almost anywhere you put him, inside or out.

"You tend to treat new and unfamiliar ideas with skepticism."

I hate to keep on coming back to the birdseed, but I would definitely call that a new idea that was approached with a dearth of skepticism if anything.

"Because of the serious, responsible qualities of your name, you must recognize the importance of a sense of humour and optimistic perspective of life."

Can't argue here.  Though, like with any good cold reading technique, it is good advice for just about all of us.  I suppose the kabala approach to dog naming is fraught with trouble, since finding a good "balanced" name is also not part of the free service.  Want a set of "good" names?  That'll make the full name analysis seem like hack work... a mere $245.00 will get you a Balanced Name Recommendation!****

I need to remind myself to take this all with a grain of salt, as there are certain analyses that I can't agree with at all...

Taking "Douchebag" as an example:

"As Douchebag, you have a natural interest in the welfare of your fellow man, and a desire to help and serve others in a humanitarian way."

Now, gentle hypothetical readers, I've met more than my share of Douchebags in my life, and this description doesn't really jive with any of them I can remember.  I will readily concede that it wasn't their officially Given Name, but if it's what everyone calls you (a "nickname" so to speak) isn't that pretty much the same thing?

N.B. Hey Kabalarians!  Just kidding around, okay?  Don't do some kind of Kabalarian thing that would make me seriously regret this, right?  Just send me an email... K?  I mean, I think it's a Kreepy Kultish Kavalcade kind of thing you all have going on, but live and let live, right?

*Note that if you want the full-tilt analysis of both first and last names in conjunction, and giving you the interplay that they represent, you will have to pony up 30 bones.  However, since I don't believe in Kabala, and am cheap, I stuck with the first name free analysis.  I hope you aren't too disappointed.  If so, then tough.

**It must be his LAST name that's giving him the diarrhea.

***Tigger has a disturbing command of the exact date ("May 2nd, 2008!") that the snipping is going to happen, and seems also filled with anticipation about it.  I don't know what more to say about this.

****Though I do have to give some full disclosure in that your minor outlay of two Franklins, two Jacksons, and a Lincoln will also give you the $30 name analysis for one parent, and a recommendation for a parent as well as a pending child, so I guess we have to call it absolutely bargain-tastic!  If you are appallingly cheap, you can just get the individual recommendation for $195, but I say just go ahead and get the analysis and a spare name for your eventual child.  You do want them to be happy and healthy with well functioning sexual organs, don't you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Think Good Thoughts...

Tigger's sister's dog either was lost, or it seems may have been stolen. It is hitting her family very hard especially having lost a dog who was hit by a car last year. Anyone who reads this, please send out good thoughts for the return of a wonderful, and happy little guy. Check tigger's blog for the information and pictures of the missing friend.

Sorry to be serious here, but it's very hard to see someone going through this. I'm upset as well at the thought.

Our Future Hairy Roommate (or FHR) had some issues of his own with his digestion this week, and while it didn't make the Seattle Post Intelligencer, it was a source of concern for us ordinary folk in the small mountain hamlet of Brooklyn.

To wit: he had diarrhea, and at 50 pounds Gross Dog Vehicle Weight, he had what I can only assume was a lot of it.

Knowing that you fine pair of hypothetical readers come here for classy material, I feel guilty giving you something SO awesome to think about and I suppose I'm apologizing. Just feel lucky while thinking about how wonderful it was for Tigger's folks who were being woken by the big/little guy howling/barking at one in the morning and again at 5 to be released that he might relieve himself.

Food changes were made, rice was added, and no improvement. The "medical team" (i.e. all of us) began to grow concerned. I'm sure you "all" are as well.

The answer?

He was eating discard bird seed. Sneaking it, and sneaking just loads of it every time he was outside; and since it was off the ground under the bird feeders it also included a healthy sprinkling of bird crap.

We collectively buy this dog human grade food with natural preservatives omega-3 oils and probiotics, to give him the best start possible, and he... wants to eat bird shit. I don't have the right words, but for the time being he is at least sleeping through the night again, and that's more than a small relief.

We're in the midst of moving, and all is hell, darkness and chaos. You know the drill. So, since I have no funny on that subject as I as of yet lack perspective on the amusing nature of the situation, here is where you should be reading about moving being engaged in by people way way way more noble than I am:

Well, I'll be moving with my car, thanks.

That, and movers for the first time in my life as I'm sick of having crisis moments involving elevators and couches. That can go and DIAF.*

In the meantime, stay beautiful just the way you are, and tip your servers out there.

*Little "throwback asterisk", and a "shout out" to my most favorite recently contemplated internet acronym.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

There's Something Fishy about this Rocket Fuel...

There’s been a lot of talk in the press recently about doping in sports, and in baseball in particular. I watched Andy Pettite give his press conference of endless mea culpas over the weekend, and saw a guy who seemed genuine and remorseful. As everyone has certainly said already, he did it once he got caught, and the integrity of that is not the same as what it takes to confess of your own accord etc. etc.

To this I have to ask when anyone has ever simply stepped forward to admit doping, or almost any other transgression.

So let’s just put that aside.

I have to confess that I have never been much of a fan of Roger Clemens, and while I understand that he is trying desperately to salvage his chances of making the hall of fame, and keeping his legacy intact, there is a sense of implausibility that is hard to shake. I’ve tried to believe before, and I suppose I am just low on capacity for that at the moment, I suppose.

The cynical take here is that the sports that actually succeed at catching doping violators are branded as nests of dopers and treated with suspicion. As Hank Steinbrenner put it the other day, the NFL quite probably has as big a problem as anyone with steroids and HGH, but they make it look like an effort is being made, and catch a few small fry without anyone seeming to care too much.

I come back to the Tour de France in 2006, and remember how it felt to watch Floyd Landis’ travails. I wanted to believe him then, and through it all hope that he will be proven not guilty, though it is hard to imagine it now.

I was pulling for Landis, for his sense of weirdness and his tremendous backstory… a former Mennonite kid who had ridden at night to avoid parental judgment, a mountain biker turned road racer with an utterly demolished, rotting hip and the kind of panache that the French talk about, and that makes the Tour at its best a spectacular thing to witness.

I remember watching the events of Stage 15, where Landis rode away from the yellow jersey to retake the lead and feeling a level of excitement at a dog fight of a Tour for the first time in a few years at least.

I remember the disaster of Stage 16, watching Landis collapse, crack completely on the final climb into La Toussuire, a man with nothing left in him. Left for dead, crawling into the finish and leaving ten minutes on the mountain. By all accounts, he was left with an insurmountable barrier between himself and victory in Paris. He traded his yellow jersey for a six pack of beer, a gesture that makes you simply shake your head and laugh at the sense of humor and absurdity in a man who would do that after a day of immolation.

Eddy Merckx believed, and bet on Floyd winning. Having a guy like Merckx believe in you is a powerful sign, and the next stage delivered the Panache in spades. At the start of the day, he showed his cards and told the peloton that he was going to attack… “We’re going on the first climb, so get a Coke and get ready if you want to come with us.”

I was at work, watching the coverage online, dispatches coming through every few minutes, and couldn’t believe my eyes… Landis made good his word and delivered a truly remarkable thing… he rode the field off his wheel, and tore an inconceivable amount of time that no one could recover before the day ended. 120 kilometers nearly alone, and thoroughly alone at the very end, coming up the final climb on the Col de Joux Plane and into Morzine. I was near tears, and was again when I reviewed the coverage from Versus that evening. No one could stay with him, and no one could catch him.

As Phil Liggett said about another man a year later, Landis was indeed riding like a man with four legs…

Then the testosterone test was made known, and the rest is history, to say the least.

I was tremendously let down, and had a hard time watching the Tour the next year, where I happened to make the wonderful decision to pull for Rasmussen. Good job, fan. At this point you’ve both learned that you shouldn’t take me to the track and take my suggestions, okay?

Funny thing, though: I had the recording of Stage 17 on my DVR, and months later when Landis had basically been stripped of the win I watched it again.

And it was still incredible the second time around. Still awe inspiring, and still basically superhuman. Even knowing what I knew, even with the later realities in my memory, I was still blown away.

Not because he won the stage.

Not because any number of other riders could have been doping (which I do believe.)

Just because of the pure act when it counted, and because we never can really know how much difference a minimal application of testosterone even might have.

Maybe Floyd could have done it without the drug. Maybe it would have just been one of the greatest days any cyclist had had in some of our lifetimes. Maybe we would be thinking back on it with wonder and joy ten years, twenty years later.

Pettite said that he didn’t feel like the HGH helped him. Maybe it didn’t help Clemens either, and maybe he would have won all the games, and all the Cy Young Awards without any unnatural means.

The one sad thing is that now we just won’t ever know, and we won’t ever have that day in France as part of our lore for the sport, and that’s the biggest disappointment and shame of all.

That’s where I feel robbed, and you should too.

That, and at the end of the long discussion there's the inescapable fact that after these last two years I don’t think I can bear to watch the Tour this time around, and it’s something I will miss.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gojira! Gojira!

We went out to PA last weekend, to meet the new roommate. He's got remarkably good social skills, seems to play well with people and dogs (both strangers and the familiar ones), and doesn't void on the floor, unless of course you don't listen to him howl at 5-6 AM when he has a bad moment.


FYI: We've been enjoying endless jokes about the idea of referring to the little Moose as "The Roommate"... "Jeez, our roommate just sits on the floor licking his genitals all the time"... "The roommate just leaves his body hair all over the couch whenever we leave him alone..."

You get the joke. I'm not proud, but I've gotten a lot of entertainment out of it, and I have no apologies for that. Go somewhere else for apologetic commentary on foolish humor. I won't go there, and you'll just have to learn to be okay with that.

Here's a photo of our little Moose:

Aaaand, for scale, here's a front paw, held in Tigger's hand.

He's twelve plus weeks old, and tips the Toledos at a lean forty-five pounds as of Saturday afternoon. I had a sudden moment standing in the living room with Tigger when we got home, where I couldn't help but wonder aloud as to what we were doing. She seemed unfazed, and all I could say was that when he destroys Tokyo, I just can not be held accountable.

Monday, February 11, 2008

We're Number One!

Lest I be accused of being tasteful...

We have a bathroom in our office where I work, with two urinals that have no barrier wall-ette between them. There are three toilet stalls along the wall. Now, men's rooms are profoundly unnatural environments when you consider the realities for any period of time. We stand around, exchanging bits of conversation if we know people, or completely ignoring them if we don't, all the while just vigorously blocking out the reality that we all have our cocks out, in what is at least a semi-public place (quite accurately "semi" actually, as it is half public, off limits to half of the world by gender at least) with sightlines to dudes who are total strangers (or at least they are invariably someone we wouldn't generally just stand around with, shooting the breeze or not, with penises in hand and all that, not to be too vulgar about it.)*

We block it out. We carry on! There's work to be done here!

What is even stranger than the fundamental fact of it is the people who come in and go directly to the stalls, and stand in their little box urinating. It just feels tremendously odd, and even leaves you feeling like they suspect you're just loitering around in the bathroom waiting to get a good ogle at their tackle.

We arent, okay? Really, really, really, really not at all. I'd wager that even gay or bisexual guys don't really (except for folks with some very specific fixations) have any desire to peruse the goods on display, so you can come on down and join the rest of us in our Heterosexual Hootenanny of Awkwardness and Denial. It's totally okay! It's SO TOTALLY NORMAL!

I'd rather not be sharing the moment with anyone, but it's just one of those things you have to deal with... weird, but so normal that the weirdness seems to fade in about a couple thirty years. It's not that hard. There are tribes with customs that seem normal to them (something recently about Amazon tribes that need to have their hands stung for ten minute stretches by gloves full of ants with the most painful neurotoxic sting in the world, and they have to do it twenty or thirty times. I don't remember the exact total, but if they can get used to that, we can all get used to our nerf padded American life in all its peculiarities.

*Ladies, complain to your heart's content about the quality of women's restrooms, and endlessly about the endless lines that block the way to them, but at least you get a private suite once you get inside. Yes, there may be no roof, but imagine a lack of walls... aaaaaand just let that settle in, for a moment.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

They Keep Oscar's Retarded Brother in the Attic, People.

So, Tigger was curious to watch the Grammy's this evening. I am not one for award shows, but I AM an angry, and bitter bastard, so this is kind of a summary of the liveblogging that happened in my head.

Hey there Kanye West! How many records can you sell and still be angry? Jesus, even you have to realize the bizarre irony of performing an ode to your anger at the establishment not respecting you ON THE GRAMMY'S.

The idea of it being down to being non-white is a little insane to me, with apologies (of course.) Of all the industries in this fair and blighted land of ours, you happen to be in the one where non-white folks have been getting airtime and a twisted form of respect for about forty to fifty years. Now, I get that most of those people were getting ripped off for their talent, financially speaking, but Sam Cooke already had that thing figured out... not everyone was James Jamerson*, okay?

Christ Kanye, every second white kid under 25 has at least one of your records, all right? It's time to settle in and enjoy the fruits, for pete's sake... And so, I award you the first [possibly] annual Pantaloonfan Lauryn Hill Memorial Award for Bitterness!**

Fergie! Performing something probably called "Finally" with John Legend... at the end I could only think "Finally, you're done with this thing!"*** And Fergz...? Frankly...? Just for "My Humps," okay? If I saw you by the side of the road with a flat tire, I would totally pull over and slash the other three, okay?

The puzzling Ringo Starr won for an old Beatles' song for a Cirque de Soleil piece. This immediately after a sort of odd Beatles montage on stage, which left me thinking "John, Paul, George and Ringo could also be read as "Brilliant/Dead, Hack, Talented/Dead, Incompetent." Ringo couldn't even play the drums on his own records, and I have had a conversation with Bernard Purdy where he did not deny the rumor that he was the drummer on a bunch of Beatles records... All I could think when Ringo walked up with George Martin was that he should have had Martin wear a damn tail-coat so he could have ridden those up to the stage. It would have been in keeping with history.

I give up people. My own musical taste is unpredictable enough... Tigger has faced the white whale and commenced sorting through all the mis-filed CDs in my collection (most are in the wrong cases! I'm that organized!) So we've been ripping CDs into iTunes for a few days... I just put in DJ Shadow, DMX, Rex Hobart, Duke Ellington and Gustav Mahler all in a row! Don't try and guess what the next one was, you'd be wrong.

* James Jamerson, a number of years after his greatest work was in LA, trying to find work, and when he signed up with the musician's union in the city, on the application where it asked about experience, he wrote "All that motown shit." Truer words were never fucking spoken.

** For those of you who missed it, Lauryn Hill, at the height of the Fugees success, said "I'd rather have my baby starve than have a white person buy my album." Yeah, well, that's pretty much who bought the first record that got you recognized, so... it's not as if "Urban Youth" in South Central were Rockin' those Jamzz, okay?

*** And also thought: "I almost broke my nose falling asleep onto my cocktail glass."

Friday, February 8, 2008

Down! Down boy!

So, as you know from recent mutterings on this page, Tigger and the fan have gotten a new apartment to move into, and both have wanted a dog. We were looking for a Bernese Mountain Dog, and someone called with a purebred that had been owner surrendered.

So, long story short, in the meantime Tigger's family is watching the newest addition to our household:

I was worrying, but then suddenly realized, that this dog is the greatest canine mentalist ever.

It may look like madness, but it's actually that he's focussing his energy on twisting and warping his metal bonds. His greatest inspiration is Yuri Geller (and Magneto), from what I understand...

What you can't see here is that the latch on the kennel has been smashed to pieces, and he's now preparing to make good his escape from mankind's bonds, and wreak slightly poorly coordinated vengeance on the world. Be afraid, or bring chewies or something like that. He's coming... in a couple of weeks.

In all seriousness, I have wanted a dog since I was about twelve, and somehow the pieces have fallen into place. Here's hoping all works out perfectly, or something like pretty well... grandmother style photo madness awaits! Aren't both of you hypothetical readers excited? Yes??

Or no. Whatever. You can't escape it!

FYI, he's just three months old, and that big already. God help me but if they had dog pee wee football, he would totally be on the D-Line in a year.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Wonder of it All

To anyone who watched Super Bowl XLII, just imagine being a Giants fan, just imagine watching the game where the Giants went down in acid-soaked flames to the Ravens and coming out of the most improbable playoff run ever to watch that marvel of a fourth quarter... eight long years later, another try worked out so much better. Good on you guys!

It was incomprehensible. I keep on re-reading the articles, and watching the footage and trying to make it seem real. It hasn't sunk in yet, and it hasn't worked.

One more insane moment out of a long series of them in the past few days... hard to fathom.

We may have found a Bernese Mountain Dog to take into our new home, and I need to settle in with the idea that after twenty years of wanting a dog, I may just wind up with one.

And now, having said that, I'm going to get back to something that I was thinking about a few days ago, and it's easier to process this:

I was on my tired way home on the subway just the other day, luckily enough on one of the brand sparkly new cyborg subway trains (6 Line, for the connoisseurs) where the conductor's voice is pre-recorded, has a male and female pair of identities, and everything still seems like it may not have been pissed on more than a few times.

We were happily flying along at a mighty three or four miles per hour when we ground to a halt yet again in the tunnel between 51st and 42nd Street Stations on Lexington Avenue. Please note, for the record, that I get on the train at 51st Street. It was not what I had been eagerly anticipating in terms of the ride, let's just say.

Roboconductor cheerily pops up over the speakers after a few minutes, to announce that we were

"...delayed due to train traffic ahead."

Now, gentle reader, consider that phrase for just a moment, and think hard about which parts of it are actually necessary.

We are clearly not being blocked by a herd or angry subterranean barristas, so it wouldn't be anything other than a train, right?

"...delayed due to ----- traffic ahead."


Clearly, smoothly running trains would also not be at fault, so traffic might just be the most likely cause.

"...delayed due to ----- ------- ahead."

So, if there were to be a TRAIN causing TRAFFIC, it would have pretty much no bearing on my life it happened to be breaking down or filled with sick passengers somewhere behind me, would it?


"...delayed due to ----- ------- -----."

We can clip out the 'due to', as it explains no statement anymore. Final version would be:

"...delayed --- -- ----- ------- -----."

Hey there, how about just plain old "We are delayed"... how about that shortcut? For that matter, I'm pretty sure I can TELL when I'm delayed on the subway as it happens every time we stop in the tunnel, and remain in one place with the doors closed, while not in motion.

Two options:

1) Just say "We are." if you are going for the whole zen thing.


2) Just maybe, maybe leave me the hell alone.

Also, roboconductor, when you thank me for my patience, you're doing so in a situation where I am:

a) Captive
b) Royally pissed off
c) Really, seriously feeling IMPATIENT.

Are you trying to induce patience by incantation? Let me satisfy your scientific curiosity: it's not working. I hate it more than Andie McDowell's presence in a movie, understand? Those of you who've watched a movie with know well what that means, but fill in your own name if that's not clear enough. God, she was almost bad enough to ruin Goundhog Day, and we are all lucky that she had as few, paperishly two-dimensionally scenes as possible in it when all of her sickening bits and pieces of film stock settled like a Newcastle flurry of coal-gray snow on the cutting room floor.

So there.

Be well everyone.

Go Giants!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Just a few words

It's been a lot to deal with of late.

I went to a friend's wake, he was only forty. I worked with the guy for a long while, and I will miss him.

We signed a lease on a new apartment.

The Giants (I'm a long time fan) won the Super Bowl in the most improbably fashion ever.

Sheldon Brown passed away.

I voted today.

I'm waiting to find out in the next few days what the corporate restructuring plan has to tell me about my future.

I'm at about my limit for handling things in this life.

Tigger has things going on that she talked about on her blog... I am worried for folks, and it's all a lot to deal with.

Insofar as I'm ever funny, I haven't really felt ready and able to bring the funny or the illuminating as poorly as usual.

It'll come back, I think.

I'm also trying to quit smoking. I've never picked an easy time to do anything.