Thursday, February 26, 2009

Numbers 33-34

34. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes. I can already hear the critics sharpening their knives - how can I include Fleet Foxes on a Top 50 list when their debut CD came out less than 9 months ago? Easy: it's a classic. A unique sound, beautiful vocal harmonies, incredible musicianship from guys in their early 20's. And to top it all off, they're from Seattle. Boo yah!

I've seen them on TV, I've seen them live, I've listened to their CD and EP many times. They're the real deal. And if you don't believe me, their album was also "rated album of the year by Billboard's Critic's Choice and in Metacritic's end of year best album round-up it appeared in 17 lists, topping six of them." (That's from Wikipedia, my sole information source.) I don't live and die by other critics (who else would choose Punch the Clock in his Top 50, for chrissake? King Crimson, too) but sometimes it's nice to have a little validation to back you up.

33. Guided by Voices, Alien Lanes. There's a part of me - not an inconsequential part, either - that wants to include GBV in my Top 10 for several reasons. First of all, they're pretty much just about my favorite band. And second of all, they're underappreciated. It's just a gosh-darn shame that more people don't know about the genius of Robert Pollard, the ridiculously prolific frontman of GBV. In essence, he *is* GBV - he writes the songs, sings, and shuffles the band line-up at his whim. And he's written, like, over 2000 songs. He can't be stopped - he can't even be contained. I don't know if there's anyone else out there who lives, eats, drinks (especially drinks) and smokes rock 'n' roll the way he does.

GBV is officially disbanded now, though I expect that Bob Pollard will continue to write, create and produce new songs for as long as he draws breath. It's been a few years, though, since he came up with something like Alien Lanes. This one has a special place in my heart, for I saw GBV for the first time during their Alien Lanes tour. Part of me is tempted to go with Bee Thousand instead, on the strength of songs like "Hot Freaks" and "Tractor Rape Chain" and also out of solidarity with my friend Chris, who lost a hive of his bees over the winter. But I think Alien Lanes is equally strong musically, and I will never forget that first GBV show and especially the moment they ripped into the 30-second long "Pimple Zoo": it taught me a new definition of rock.

numbers 35 & 36

36. Elvis Costello, Punch the Clock. Everything's gonna be difficult from here on out. Because after you've put The Police at #37, you've gotta make damn sure that everything above really belongs. So what am I doing listing Punch the Clock at #36??? Hell, a lot of people don't even consider it one of Elvis Costello's best albums.

Well, I guess I just can't play it safe. As is true of many great albums, there isn't a weak song on here, and every song has its place. Even "Pills and Soap," probably my least favorite tune, displays some of Costello's legendarily caustic social commentary. Other songs teeter between clever pop and relationship heartache ("The Element Within Her," "Love Went Mad"), and legendary trumpeter Chet Baker hits all the right notes (ha ha) on the slow, classic "Shipbuilding." I've listened to this CD probably 5-10 times as much as any other Elvis Costello recording, so I may have grown biased over time; but then, there's a reason I've listened to it so much.

35. Moby, Play. This bastard step-child of techno and the Delta blues somehow grew into the kind of world-changing tour de force that ... sorry, that metaphor just spun out of control, and the only thing I could do was pull out. But anyhow, Moby created a unique genre with this release, and somehow made it seem effortless. The success of Play was driven in part by the hits "Porcelain" and "South Side" (if Moby'd had the foresight to put the Gwen Stefani version on the album, Play might've cracked my Top 30), but everything on here sounds beautiful and satisfying.

Moby really hasn't come close to matching the popularity of this album with anything he's done since (another common refrain on this list). Maybe because he tried to get away from the formula that worked so well here? Any Moby experts out there? You're welcome to chime in with your theories ...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

numbers 37-41

41. Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. This bad boy just seems to get more and more popular with time. Apparently, when it was released, a lot of critics felt that singer/songwriter Jeff Mangum was dabbling in mere sophistry. But time has vindicated Mangum and his wildly inventive work. It's hard to listen now and not be amazed by the way this album incorporates everything from New Orleans funeral marches to Anne Frank references into a dazzling, cohesive whole.
And by the way, I have no idea what "dabbling in mere sophistry" actually means. I just thought those words sounded pretty good together. Especially in a music review.

40. Quasi, Featuring Birds. I'm not gonna lie to you people: I did a little research in putting my Top 50 together. Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Metacritic, etc etc. Not so much to steal other people's opinions; no, no, this was to make sure I diverged from other people's opinions as much as possible. And to make sure I didn't overlook any truly deserving artists.
I haven't seen Featuring Birds ranked on anyone else's "Best Albums" list. But I challenge you to listen to it, and then say that it doesn't belong. I challenge you, dammit! Janet Weiss and Sam Coomes may be better known for their work with Sleater-Kinney and Elliot Smith, respectively, but in my opinion this is their masterpiece. There isn't a single wasted song on here.

39. Pearl Jam, Ten. I saw Pearl Jam play in Lollapalooza right after their landmark debut album was released. I can't remember the last time I saw a crowd that hyped up, especially for a mid-afternoon performance. They just grew from there; and of course, all this was going on out in Seattle right after I'd left town for a 2-year stint back in upstate NY. Damn!
Vs. was a pretty solid follow-up to Ten, but I just lost interest and lost track of their music after that. Except for that song "Wish List": after hearing it a few times, I decided it was one my least-favorite songs of all time. But I've always respected Pearl Jam for their fight against Ticketmaster (yeah! Kiss my ass, Ticketmaster!), their political activism, and their powerful first release.

38. Spoon, Gimme Fiction. A tip of the hat has to go here to my friends Dean and Caroline, who introduced me to Spoon. Actually, I stole this CD from them while housesitting during their trip to England. But later, I felt bad about it, and returned the CD one night when they had me over for dinner and weren't looking. But I burned a copy of it, so I guess I've also stolen from Spoon. (This whole episode is like some sort of sick morality tale ...)
So here's the payback: I am including Spoon not only in my Top 50, but in my Top 40. I don't know how much they're going to make from this plug, but I'm confident it'll be more than enough to cover all the Spoon CDs I've burned over the years. "I Summon You" is one of my favorite songs of all time, and I will publicly state that Britt Daniel may be the best American songwriter of the new millenium. Anyone out there disagree? Who's better, then? Prove me wrong, people! Prove me wrong ...

37. The Police, Synchronicity. Obviously, The Police had a few good albums in their heyday. So what gives Synchronicity the edge over Ghost in the Machine? Well, I still remember when this one came out, and the huge pressure on them to follow up with another major smash on the heels of Ghost. And The Police knocked this one out of the park. Play it safe? Hell no! There was the artsy primary-color cover, the bombastic videos, and the daring inventiveness of Synchronicity I and II. Even today, when "Synchronicity II" comes on the radio, it sets itself apart from other songs with its ripping guitar and understory about the Loch Ness Monster. My one grievance: Andy Summers' guitar "solo." (Did you, uh, forget to play some notes or something, Andy? You could have totally shredded here, and instead you just dither around until the melody returns!)

Minor details, though. This one belongs, solidly, in anyone's Top 50. At #37. Nowhere else. It has to be at #37.

third gear

For as long as I can remember, I've downshifted into 2nd gear when I'm going around a corner, in city driving. (Obviously, if I'm making a gradual turn onto an exit ramp from an interstate or something like that, I'm not gonna bring it all the way down to the deuce.) Lately, though, I've been doing a little experimenting with taking corners in 3rd gear. If it's a sharp 90-degree turn, it's a little cumbersome; but if I can veer out more towards the middle before the turn, then widen the turn, usually I've got enough momentum to accelerate out of the turn in 3rd gear without significant loss of power. It's interesting. Probably saves a little bit of gas, too.

By the way, do I sound like I'm boasting when I mention how I can drive a stick? There's a lot of stuff I can do, so I really don't feel like I'm bragging or anything, because compared to some of the other stuff it doesn't seem like a big deal. But still, I think you have to admit it's pretty cool ...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

a break from the countdown

Junior's heading back to the Mariners! Look out, Anaheim Angels! Look out, American League West! Also look out, American League Central and East! Look out, all you haters out there! Junior's coming back to the House that Junior Built, aka Safeco Field. And while I won't be there for Opening Day, or maybe any home games this year, and may not even see the Mariners much on TV although that'll ultimately depend on work demands and my schedule ... look out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Numbers 42-44

44. Weezer, Weezer. When they released their debut album in 1994, the members of Weezer probably had little idea that they'd spend the rest of their careers trying to match its huge success. But with songs like "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So," they should have known that something big might happen. Not every song on here works - "Surf Wax America" was a pretty bad idea, especially right in the middle of the CD - but others work in an understated, remarkable way (I'm thinking of "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" and "Only in Dreams.") Rivers Cuomo, the frontman, has since spent a lot of time studying classical music and releasing some critically-acclaimed solo albums. Maybe something else that no one saw coming...

43. Live, Throwing Copper. Everett True, a former music critic for The Stranger, once called Live "the worst band in America." Since Everett True was the most egregious of a long series of narcissistic d-bags who've written for The Stranger (I'm not referring to either of you, Dan Savage and David Schmader), this was a high compliment. Live was kind of a study in contradictions, emerging from little York PA with a Buddhist singer (Ed Kowalczyk) who wrote hard-rocking pop tunes with unabashedly philosophical overtones. ("Lightning Crashes" is the only song I've ever heard that includes the word "placenta.") Throwing Copper has a lot in common with Weezer: also released in 1994, early in the band's career, never quite matched by later releases (a bar set too high?), with its share of big hits but also some lesser-known gems like "Top," "Iris" and "Pillar of Davidson." It concludes improbably with the unlisted "Horse," one of the loveliest country ditties you'll ever hear.

More than a few people have scoffed at Live and their success, including (I suspect) some Mad City readers. Just keep in mind, people, that you're putting yourself in the same camp as Everett True! And is that really where you want to be?

42. Young Marble Giants, Colossal Youth. Who were these Young Marble Giants? Where'd they come from? Where'd they disappear to? It's an even greater mystery than Sparrow Orange. All we know is that they were a trio of young Welshpeople that recorded this album (their only LP) over 3 days back in 1979. And then ... they split up. Leaving us with this captivating, timeless work, built on the Moxham brothers' spare instrumentation (no drummer!) and Alison Statton's untrained voice. Half the songs are instrumental, little bursts of ingenuity that might go well with random sequences in some Wes Anderson movie. There's been plenty of lo-fi acts over the years, but none of them sound like YMG.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Numbers 45-47

47. The Catherine Wheel, Chrome. The early '90's were an interesting time in my development as a musicophile. I'd just graduated from college, where I'd had my first real introduction to alternative music via my college DJ gig, and moved to Seattle for the first time right after graduation. It took me a while to get "tuned in" to KEXP (no pun intended), so at that time I was influenced more by KNDD.

Looking back, I don't have a whole lot to show for those years. I didn't really appreciate Nirvana until after Kurt Cobain died! And so forth. But there were still a few bands and albums that stood out, and Chrome is near the top. Very consistent, somewhat spacy and yet rockin', moody and atmospheric at times. I don't think there's really a bad song on here. "The Nude" and "Strange Fruit" stand out, as well as the radio-friendly "Crank" (heavily played on KNDD). This one gets the nod over a couple others from that time and place, including Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins and (barely) Gentlemen by the Afghan Whigs.

46. The Sea and Cake, The Biz. I'm going to have to give a lot of props to my friend Brian for my picks on this list; I'd say he introduced me to at least 10 of the bands I've got on here. I think we also saw The Sea and Cake at the Showbox one time. Anyhow, I haven't listened to all of their albums, and maybe there's a better one out there; but The Biz is still a landmark achievement. The perfect amalgam of soft jazz and modern rock, with songs that sound similar and yet have their own distinct identity. This was released in 1995 but has a timeless sort of quality to it, kind of like Colossal Youth by Young Marble Giants (hint hint, a little bit of foreshadowing there ...)

45. King Crimson, Red. King Crimson is one of my favorite bands of all time. I really, really love some of their work, especially because not a whole lot of other people listen to them. That makes me feel kinda special. I also feel guilty about listing this album here and not higher, like maybe around 17, or 23. Maybe the next time I do one of these lists, I'll have the guts to put it up there.

Certainly, this is not an album for everyone. But if you like King Crimson at all, you must listen to it. Much different than In the Court of the Crimson King, their phenomenal debut album, which may a tribute to the brilliance of Robert Fripp. (And FYI, there's a song called "Fripp" on Chrome. Cool, huh?) Red culminates in "Starless," a 12-minute jazz odyssey which starts off so slowly you might be tempted to walk away, then inexorably builds to an incredible, raging sax solo - the greatest sax solo of all time. All over a racing bass groove and Bill Bruford's amazing percussion. Hot damn. Hot damn, indeed ...

Numbers 46-50

50: The White Stripes, The White Stripes. Is being listed at #50 on a Top 50 CDs list an insult? Should one be happy just to be on the list, or ticked off that you're not listed higher? Here's what I look for in a "top" or "great" CD: consistency. Like, there should be at least a few awesome songs, but the rest should be at least pretty good too. There's nothing I hate more than a CD with one or two great songs, and the rest are fillers! Gggrrr!

I don't know if the White Stripes have ever had a truly great CD. It seems like there's some pretty disposable numbers on every release. But man, have they had some great songs. And the trio that launches their debut album is as solid as any opening trio I can think of. The raw opening chords of the first song, "Jimmy the Exploder": as solid as any other opening chords I can think of. And Jack White is creating a hell of a career for himself. (Although, what's up with him and Meg? I still haven't figured out if they're really brother and sister, or ex-husband and wife.) On the basis of all that, this CD makes the list, narrowly squeezing out Elephant for the right to represent the White Stripes' brilliance.

49. Sparrow Orange, Hands and Knees Music. What is Sparrow Orange? When are they touring? What are the names of their songs? I can't answer any of these questions, because Sparrow Orange isn't even listed on my only source for information, Wikipedia. All I can tell you is, this is an amazing electronica album. I bought it on a whim (I'd heard one of the songs on DJ Riz's radio show), and almost brought it back after the first listen. But it kept growing on me ... and growing on me ... and growing on me. To the point where I couldn't imagine life without it.

I'm going to strive for diversity in my Top 50 list. I'm proud to have electronica represented. But this isn't a case of musical affirmative action - this CD belongs, even if you've never heard of it. I know there's going to be people who are upset that I have Sparrow Orange ranked, and not the Eagles. It just goes to show you: the sparrow really is mightier than the eagle ...

48. XTC, Skylarking. Ah yes, the 1980's finally makes an appearance. Reviled for bands like the Human League and Kajagoogoo, the 80's also had its share of great bands with less time in the spotlight because they weren't played ad nauseam on MTV. XTC was also handicapped by the severe stage fright of singer Andy Partridge, which limited them to being solely a studio band for most of their heyday, which was mainly the 80's. This album was known mainly for the single "Dear God," but it's consistently great throughout, and also sports one of my favorite album covers of all time. (Ah yes, album covers. Back in the days when the art really mattered ...)

And you know what? I am totally spent. I am already going to break one of my cardinal rules, and only publish 3 picks this time. Tough shit, people! Tough shit. Don't forget that other cardinal rule: I get the final say.

my top 50

Several weeks ago, there was a short article in Sports Illustrated about an up 'n' coming 16-year-old Moldovan soccer player named Masal Bugduv. Somehow, the buzz around him kept building in the English media, to the point where the London Times named him among the top 50 promising players in the soccer world. But things fell apart when an alert blogger (yes, we do have a positive impact on the world occasionally) found out that Masal Bugduv didn't even exist.

There were two things that I took away from this story: one, that there really is a place called Moldova (I thought that was part of the hoax myself); and two, if you're compiling any type of a top 50, you should write about what you know.

So, a number of people have been begging me to publish my top 50 CD's of all time. I guess it started when another friend started to list his top 50 on his blog. I made some heated comments about a few of the choices, and was then told, basically, "Yeah? Can you do better?" (Not by the friend who was publishing his list, though - he's too much of a gentleman.)

And my answer in short is, "I don't know. Dammit, I don't know if I can do better." Because doing a list of the top 50 CD's is tough, man. I've been doing some prelim work on it for a while now, and it seems like every choice is fraught with second-guessing and anxiety about how my audience will respond. I'm not gonna beat around the bush about something: some of my choices are gonna shock you. And it's also difficult to compare the music of 30 years ago with the music of today! It's like comparing the baseball players of 30 years ago with the ball players of today. As we know, there's a lot more steroid use in baseball today; and the same holds true for music. Just look at that dude from Danzig.

All right, enough talk. Let's get to the rules: A) I'm gonna start from 50 and work my way down. B) Only one album/CD per musical performer/group. C) No greatest hits or compilation albums. E) Double albums get double credit. F) The Eagles are not going to make an appearance, so there's no use in waiting around for that. G) I have the final say. H) I'm going to publish 'em in bunches of 5. I) "I" stands for I get the final say. J) The only other rule is, there are no other rules.

Let the madness begin ...

Saturday, February 14, 2009

winter driving

There's kind of a myth out there that people from the North instinctively know how to drive well in snow, and people from the South don't. Well, the part about Southerners may be true; but after being around Mad City for a few winters, I can tell you that Part A is a myth. We don't all have it. Now, I don't like to boast about my own winter driving abilities, for fear that I'll bring some sort of fender-bender upon myself. But let's just say I can handle my own. (I know, I know - that's what she said ...) But the same can't necessarily be said for some fellow inhabitants of the MJC.

Here's another myth: driving slow is an important winter driving skill. By definition, a skill is something that not everyone can do. And everyone can drive slow. So that's not a skill. No, here's the real skill: recognizing, during the winter, the times when you you *should* drive slow, as opposed to the times when you *don't really need to* drive slow. I can do the former, but I'm even better at the latter. Unfortunately, even when you're able to recognize road and weather conditions that would permit rapid travel, you're almost inevitably hamstrung by the knee-jerk types. Oh no! There's a snowflake! Better ease way up on the gas!

My point is, it shouldn't have taken me 15 minutes to get home tonight. It should have been more like the usual 10-12 minutes. Damn ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

getting my ass handed to me

When I started this blog, I vowed that I would create at least one entry a week, to distinguish myself from some of the riff-raff out there in the blogosphere. But the thing is, sometimes I get really busy with work and whatnot. Like this past week. It's been pretty damn busy, or what they call in Wisconsin "getting your ass handed to you." So it's been a challenge.
But guess what? I'm still finding a way to do it. Like, I think what I just wrote here qualifies as a valid entry, even if it's not quite up to my usual standards. And don't worry, Mad City-o-philes, I'll have some better stuff headed your way soon enough ...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

addendum to joke of the day

Did everybody get my point there? Say somebody steals your credit card, and then they're trying to do something with it. And the merchant is like, "What's the security code?" And the credit-card thief is then like, "Oh man! It's too difficult for me to turn this credit card over and verify that 3-digit code for you!"

See what I mean? Now do you see why it's funny?

joke of the day #6

What's up with these "security codes" for credit cards? All they are is 3 extra numbers! Like, you have a total of 16 numbers on the front of the card, and then 3 extra numbers on the back. Is that really supposed to make me more "secure?" Why don't they just put 19 numbers on the front?

Hey, Master Card and American Express! Why don't you crank it up to 19? You know, like in "Spinal Tap," but with 19 instead of 11. Geez ...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

freedom fries

I had some fries with my lunch today. And as I was eating them, I thought to myself the same thing I usually think when eating fries: these are good, as is. Like, I don't need ketchup on them.

It seems like everybody puts stuff on their fries. Most Americans like ketchup. The Belgians, as we know from "Pulp Fiction," enjoy theirs with mayonnaise. The Brits have a preference for malt vinegar. But to me, a plain fry is a good fry. Actually, check that: I do use salt and pepper.

But think about it: a french fry is a part of the potato, deep-fried in oil. Most things that are deep-fried are delicious! And even without ketchup or any other condiment, except salt and pepper, fries seem delicious to me. I guess I'm unique like that.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

20 things I love about tj's

My life has been defined by its proximity to a Trader Joe's. Growing up in little Gloversville NY, we didn't have Trader Joe's. And there is a Trader Joe's near Amherst MA - but it wasn't there yet when I was in college! Damn! But then I moved to Seattle, and in due time I learned about Trader Joe's and started frequenting it. And it was a love affair that only grew stronger over time.

But then I moved to Burlington VT! And they didn't have Trader Joe's there! But then I moved to Mad City, and we do have Trader Joe's here. Kind of like Bogey and Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca" - you think something's out of your life forever, and then of all the places in the world to walk into blah blah blah.

Anyhow, I started this off as my "10 things I love about tj's," but of course I couldn't stop at 10. Just like shopping there! You think you're done, but then on your way to the register you see something else you want, and then something else, and before you know it you've decided to do another loop of the store. I call it "impulse touring."

All right, enough talking. Here goes, in no special order:

1. Chipotle hummus. I love chipotle - my fickle stomach can't handle stronger peppers - and its marriage with hummus in this dish is like a match made in heaven.

2. San Francisco sourdough round. Perfect for toast ...

3. Mochi ice cream. If I were still in Seattle, I could get this shizzle at Uwajimaya. But I'm not, so I can't. Luckily, TJ's carries it. My favorite flavor: chocolate.

4. Shopping bags. Trader Joe's has the coolest, earth-friendliest, most durable shopping bags of all time. 99 cents, baby! I own 4 of them.

5. Wine. I'm actually not a fan of Three-Buck Chuck. Because you see, for like 5 bucks, you can get a bottle of something pretty damn good, like Bear's Lair Merlot, and avoid that Charles Shaw stigma.

6. Dark chocolate chocolate pretzels. Ohmigod, these are sooooo good!

7. Triple ginger ginger snaps. Ohmigod, these are sooooooooo good!

8. Barbeque chicken frozen pizza. Props to my peep B-Phat for introducing me to this little number ...

9. Stockyard oatmeal stout. All right, wait just a moment here: this beer is ridiculous. Ridiculously good, that is. It may be as good as any other stout I've ever had - I shizzle you not - but it's also cheaper than any other stout you can buy. How? How do they work this magic???

10. Civility and banter. Normally I'm not big on talking to whoever's working the register at a store. I tend to be the sullen, silent type. But the employees at Trader Joe's somehow recognize this, and respectfully engage me in enlightened, thought-provoking discourse. I trust them. They are my friends.

11. Almond butter. Almond butter is a fairly simple substance - basically, just ground-up almonds. And yet, Trader Joe's makes it so goooood, and it costs like 30-50% less than at other places. I don't know how they do this. I assume it's being produced in a Bangladeshi sweatshop. I don't really want to know. Just keep it stocked on the shelf.

12. Pure castile soap. I really like castile soap, but I feel alarmed by the religious ferocity of the labels on Dr. Bronner's soap. TJ's gives me another option.

13. Jam. Are you like me? Do you like low-sugar, no-artificial-sweetener preserves? TJ's has them, in a rainbow of flavors.

14. Peanut butter Puffins. Well, I guess technically these are made by "Barbara's Bakery," not Trader Joe's. Unless that's one of those aliases for a TJ's product, like Trader Jose or Trader Giuseppe. Anyhow, none of the other supermarkets around carry this cereal. For anyone else who gets freaked out by Cap'n Crunch (you've gotta admit, he's one scary mofo), this is for you. And get this serving size information: total carbohydrate, 23 gm. Sugars ... 6 gm! When was the last time you saw sugars account for less than 90% of the total carbs in a cereal? Amazing.

15. Chocolate-covered espresso beans. Sure, you can get these in the bulk-foods section of any ol' store. But at TJ's, they come in a cool little tub, just the right size. Proper ...

16. Chicken sausages. I was talking to some people about Trader Joe's during the Super Bowl yesterday, and one of them mentioned these. I've seen 'em in the store, just haven't pulled the trigger yet. Next time. They're in my sights.

17. One-pound chocolate bars. Another thing that's usually not on my shopping list, but my friend Dean loves these things. He'd be upset if I didn't mention them.

18. British muffins. Definitely better than the store-brand English muffins at other places.

19. Olive oil. I have no idea why the olive oil costs so much more at other places. They should do what TJ's does: pick their own damn olives, stomp 'em with their own damn feet, and sell it under the Trader Giotto's label.

20. Peanut butter-filled chocolate pretzels. There's only one way to improve chocolate-covered pretzels, and that's to drill holes in them and pump in some peanut butter.

All right, I'm sorry but my mouth is totally watering at this point. I'm gonna go clean myself up. Talk amongst yourselves or something.