Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dating sucks

No really.  Maybe it only sucks when you're 35 (almost 36 *GASP*).  But, it certainly sucks.  I thought I managed to avoid most of this by, you know...getting married.  But, life had other plans in mind, I guess.

So...let me tell you a little about dating. 

First of all...there is no time for it.  I'm busy at work.  I only get to see my kid for 50% of his life, so there is no way I am giving up the time I get to hang out with some new person.  Throw into that soccer practice, church, evening work events, time with friends who don't get to see you very much anymore...and that basically leaves me with Thursday night.'s expensive! Etiquette dictates that the man gets the first check.  That's cool.  But, I am told I need to see lots of people since I spent my whole life with just 1.  That's a lot of first freakin' checks.  AND...I was raised to be a gentleman which makes it literally painful to not pay for everything!  I know that is tacky and SOOOOOOO not 2013.  But, that doesn't mean that part of me isn't screaming inside when I say, "Ok, yes you pay this time."  Especially when these ladies probably make more money than I do.'s stress!  Dating is more stressful than my job.  When can we meet, where should we go, what do I say, did that thing I just said come off wrong, omg...I have to go to the bathroom, is there something in my teeth, someone in this restaurant farted and I bet she thinks it was me, I really want the blue cheese double bacon cheeseburger but that won't impress the lady, are those my feet I'm smelling, am I supposed to kiss her goodnight, am I drinking too much, what if I don't like her, what if I DO like her and she doesn't like me? get the point. 

I put myself "on the market" in January or February.  Took a break for about a month or so because I wasn't really getting into it.  Maybe my divorce was still too fresh, I don't know.  So far, there have been 2 potentials, but nothing serious and neither of those worked.'s back to the drawing board.  Back to first dates.  Back to "3 questions to dig deeper" on eHarmony.  Blech. 

I think I'm going to be a priest. 

Goodbye Satchmo Baggins

I've been thinking about my next post for a while, now.  But, before I get to that, I should let the 2 people that still read know that we recently lost a family member.

My little kitty, Satchmo Baggins, died a couple weeks ago.

In July-ish, I returned home from a work trip and I couldn't find Satchmo.  Finally, I located her hiding in the upstairs bathtub. The bathtub was gross where she had thrown up, there was a ton of cat fur lying there, and she was very skinny.  I am guessing she was there the majority of the time I was gone.

I could not get her to leave the tub.  I began bringing her food and water, which she would eat.  But, she would only leave to use the litter box.

So...I took her to the vet. 

The vet (I am guessing an on call fill in...I have never seen her before) gave her a once over and couldn't figure anything out.  She received an injection of fluids and some anti-biotics (she had been scratching herself up in a few places) and sent us on our way. 

A couple weeks go by.  I finally get Satchmo to leave the bathroom, but she takes claim to a downstairs window sill that she refuses to leave instead.  Shortly after, I start noticing pee around the living room and kitchen.  I immediately think it's Quincy.  It didn't take me long to realize it wasn't.  Satchmo was no longer going upstairs to use the litter box.  So...I bring the litter box downstairs.  This helps, for a little while.  But, again, it's not too long before she stops leaving her window sill altogether. 

So...I take her back to the vet.  This time, we got the regular vet.  The regular vet listens to what I'm explaining while feeling Satchmo's insides.  She stops and says, "There's something here."  That's when I knew everything else I was going to hear.  We took an ex ray and ran some tests to confirm.  Satchmo had a tumor.  It was very aggressive.  The vet ran the options down for me.  1) Surgury.  Likely to run around $2000 and not guaranteed to get it all or to even succeed.  2) Chemo.  Also $1500-2000 and also not guaranteed to succeed.  3)  Make her comfortable. 

I love Satchmo a ton.  But, she was 13 years old and I couldn't afford to drop $2000, likely more.  So...we opted to make her comfortable. 

I wonder if Satchmo sensed what was going on at this point, because she began leaving the window to sit with me on the couch. She still wouldn't go upstairs.  I even tried moving her to my bed so she could lay on something more comfortable, but she would always jump off and go back to her window.  So...I started staying down there with her.  She would sleep on my chest the entire night. 

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, she was barely moving at all.  She was so skinny.  She never used the litter box, and even when she did try to go, very little came out.  She wasn't eating or drinking anything.  However...every night she would still lay on my chest and purr. 

I took her to the vet, Shaundar met us there, and we said goodbye.

When I picked up her ashes, the vet gave us this little token.  I love our vet.

Anyway...I miss my kitty.  She was a good girl.  She frequently gave dirty looks and she loved to knock the glasses off my dad's face when he visited.  But, she still know how to make me smile by rubbing her face right against mine.  Or how to sit in my lap at just the right time when I was feeling sad or lonely. 

In case you're wondering about Desmond.  He misses her, too.  I explained to him what was going to happen the night before.  He became very sad.  He yelled NO at me and told me he didn't want Satchmo to die.  This outburst lasted about 20 seconds before he said, "Daddy...when Satchmo is gone, can I get a pet mouse?"  He will still occasionally tell me he misses her.  But, I think this is simply a set up for the next question, which tends to be, "When are we getting another cat?" 

Here is the eulogy I posted for her on Facebook:
Goodbye, Satchmo Baggins. I figured you would outlive me because I was convinced you would either kill me in my sleep or shove me down the stairs. I will miss your dirty looks and our reading time cuddle sessions. Try not to scratch up God's furniture. Love you.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Conversation pieces

Desi: "Daddy...I think Grandma lets me have lots of stuff and spoils me because she's rich.

Me: "Yup..that's exactly why."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

What the duck

Took Desi kayaking a while ago.  Got some pics.  Here they are because I know you can't live without them.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Why dating a single dad is smart.

I came across this article on the Huffington Post today.

You know...I had a ton of fears about dating after my marriage failed.  After all...I had never really dated before.  Like...ever.  Women are scary, man. 

And, I have a kid to throw into the mix!  While my kid is super awesome and anyone who disagrees is clearly dumb, I understand that children are baggage that some people don't want to have to help carry. 

But, now that I have picked myself up and started to put myself out there a little bit, I came to realize a couple things, and this article helps prove it.  Single dads are awesome!  Well, unless they're jerks.  I'm not talking about dead beat single dads, mind you.  I am talking about involved single dads.  The ones that are ready to show you pictures and also ready to say no to a date because they are spending time that day with Jr.

So ladies...allow me to share with you some of my insights as to why you should date a single dad:

  1. We know what it's like to put other people first.  It's kind of necessary when you're trying to stop a tantrum in the middle of the toy aisle.  
  2. We've been barfed on and pooped on so there isn't a mess in the world that will gross us out.
  3. We are obviously fertile and, with our offspring, you get a preview of how good our genes are.
  4. We know how to keep things clean!'s a total lie.  Sorry.
  5. We're always ready to tell you a new joke we learned from our kid!  Like this one: Knock, knock! *who's there?* Toot... *toot who?* I TOOTED!!!  HAHAHAHAHA
  6. We're great cuddlers from all the practice we've gotten with our little people.
  7. We can cook!  I'm not saying we can cook well, mind you.  But, we can cook!
  8. We won't cheat on you because, frankly, where would we even find the time?
  9. Your whining won't phase us like it would someone without kids.  Wait...did I say whining?  I meant, we are open to listening to you talk about how hard your day was. 
  10. Family is important to us.  We will be just as picky, probably even more, than you are in finding the right person to be with.
So there you go.  The rest of the pond is full of schmucks.  People are just after you for your money.

But, in the single dad pond, you find someone who isn't afraid of commitment, someone who has a proven history of stepping up, and someone who can clean up the plate of anyone who is full.

So...consider a single dad.  Cuz, we're awesome (excluding all dead beat dads, cheating dads, and Alec Baldwin)!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Conversation pieces

While wrapping up bath, last night:

Desi: "Daddy...I have to get out. I'm all pruney. I think I am turning into something?"

Me: "Oh no...are you turning into some kind of monster?"

Desi: "I think so."

Me: "Do I have to worry that you are going to eat me tonight?"

Desi: "'ll be ok. I already had dinner."

Oh...and here's a pic of...well, I'm not really sure what to call it.  Some combination of the Dynamic Duo and the thug life, I guess.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Will you see the Ender's Game movie

So...if you've talked to me about books, you know that Ender's Game is my favorite book of all time.

My dad handed it to me in the 8th grade.  I refused to read it because I didn't like to read.  I liked comic books and watching TV.  I was dumb like that.

Finally (and, for the life of me, I can't remember why I changed my mind), I read it when I was a Junior in High School.  I fell in love.  I'm reading a book right now called "The Shadow of the Wind."  In it, there is a quote.  "Few things leave a deeper mark on the reader, than the first book that finds its way to his heart."  For me, this book is Ender's Game. 

I read a lot now.  Ender's Game is what made me a reader. 

Anywhoo...I could write about Ender's Game forever.  How the second book, Speaker for the Dead, was equally as good, but in a different way.  How the 3rd in the series was good not great and how the 4th felt like the author (Orson Scott Card) couldn't figure out how to properly end it, so he started writing gibberish.  Oh, then, I could write about how every single book since in the Ender universe was a pile of steamy horse crap written simply to make money off of the only character he was widely known for.

I digress.  Orson Scott Card is a Mormon.  He has never hidden this. In fact, he's pretty open about it.  Logically, one could therefore assume that he opposes gay marriage.  I don't read much of what he has to say outside of his books because, frankly, I don't care.  And...I'm still mad at him for ruining my favorite character of all time.  It wasn't until recently, now that an Ender's Game movie is in the can for November release, that I have been made aware of just how anti-gay marriage this dude really is.

He's not just against gay marriage for the same bullshit, but sometimes misguidedly logical, reasons your standard Republican homophobe is.  He's is downright "overthrow the government" opposed to gay marriage.

Now...I support gay marriage.  Yes, I am a Republican and I support gay marriage.  I can write an entire post about how it's hypocritical for Republicans to oppose gay marriage, but I'll save that for another day.  I support gay marriage.  But, I'm not really in the fight.  If you oppose gay marriage, I roll my eyes and move on.  I don't really have a horse in the race.  While I support it, I do not put it on the same level as the civil rights movement (gay people are not using separate drinking fountains) and I don't see marriage as a "right" to begin with.  Therefore, the issue does not fire me up like it does others. 

But, I do hate intolerance.  I do hate putting people in a lower class because there is something different about them.  And, this is where OSC has crossed the line for me.  Because people with a different lifestyle want the same perks as people with OSC's lifestyle, OSC is advocating revolution.  This is where he moves, for me, from one-hit-wonder-bad-writer-man, to jerk face.

If I think someone is a douche, I will not give them my money.  For example...I have never seen any movie by Roman Polanski because he is a rapist.  I don't care how artsy or moving or whatever these movies are.  I refuse to give my money to a rapist.  I don't see anything Mel Gibson is involved in anymore because he is a woman beating anti-Semite.  He doesn't get my money either.

But, damn...I LOVE this freakin' book!  For a long time now, I have envisioned seeing the movie.  Putting faces to beloved characters.  I've been wondering how the Battle Room can be brought to life with it's Zero-Gee fight scenes.  I so want to see Bonzo's eyes roll into the back of his head as Ender delivers a deadly blow to the crotch (oops...sorry.  Spoiler alert).  This book could very well be described as having changed my life (thanks, Dad!). 

What to do? 

An option I am considering...getting a less-than-legal downloaded copy from my buddy who hasn't paid for a movie in years.  I am typically morally opposed to this avenue.  But, I am also morally opposed to giving money to bigots. 

I have until November to figure this out.  Any philosophical advice???

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Elementary, my dear daddy.

This morning, I am trying my hardest to style my hair in a way that hides the fact that I am losing it all faster every day.  Desi is downstairs, supposedly, getting his shoes on.  All of a sudden I hear, "DADDY!"

"WHAT?" I yell back.  We're on two separate floors, you see.  It would take too much time to actually go to each other.


It seems that Desi had located an empty Tootsie Roll wrapper on the table right next to my Xbox controller which was sitting very near to the spot on the couch where I often relax to read, watch TV or...I don't Xbox and veg out. 

I started to get nervous.  He was onto me.  He runs upstairs and shows me the wrapper.

"Look!  Someone ate it!" he says.  "Someone ate it without asking me."

"Uhhhh..." I stammer as my eyes dart back and forth.  "Who do you think it was?"

"I think it was Satchmo,"  He responds.  This was unexpected.

"Why do you think it was Satchmo?"  I ask? 

"Well...she was standing on the table and she ran away as soon as she saw me looking at her." 

Hmmm...sounds like a solid deduction to me.  Still, I couldn't let Satchmo take the blame for something she didn't do.

" wasn't Satchmo who ate your candy."  I told him.

"It was Quincy." 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flash Super Move! I have this video game called Injustice: Gods Among Us.  It's basically a fighting game that puts the heroes and villains from the DC universe against each other.

Since it's a fighting game, I don't play it in front of Desi.  However, recently, he saw the box for the game (which looks like the pic to the right) and asked, very nicely, if I would play it so he could watch. 

I said No.

He asked again.

I said No again. 

Finally, he asked again very nicely and promised that he would continue to keep his hands to himself at school and be good and not play fight with his friends.  So, I gave in.

I turned on the game and Desi orders me to play as the Flash.  So, I do.

Now, in this game, each super hero has a supermove.  It's more or less a cutscene of them using their super powers to beat up their opponent.  Here is what the Flash's looks like:

In case you can't see a nutshell, the Flash knocks his opponent into the air, then proceeds to run ALL THE WAY AROUND THE ENTIRE WORLD before punching the guy another two times, the last one knocking his opponent to the ground.

After seeing this, Desi proceeds to put on his Flash costume and ask if we can go outside to play guys. 

Playing guys typically involves Desi playing a super hero of some sort and me playing a bad guy.  Which bad guy is usually determined by Desi.  In this case, I am told I will be "Slow Man."  Not the kind of villain I expected would be a strong opponent to the Flash.

Anyway...we go outside to play and I record Desi performing the following super move. 

WP 20130616 010 from Jason Pankow on Vimeo.

And, there you have it.  Desi wins. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Conversation pieces

Reading Charlotte's Web with Desi. Just read the chapter where Wilber learns the farmer plans to kill him when he's bigger.

Desi: "Why are they going to kill him?"

Me: "Because they will eat him."

Desi: "Why would they eat him?"

Me: "Because some people eat pigs."

Desi: "Yuck! I don't want to eat pigs."

Me: "Did you know bacon is made from pigs."

Desi: "Oh." *smiling* "I love bacon."

That's my boy.

Monday, April 22, 2013


We decided to sign Desi up for T-ball this year!  AND...I decided to coach!  A little nervous about it.  But, what could go wrong?  I mean, it's just 12 four and five year olds.  Not like they can get out of control or anything, right?


Anyway...I thought this movie clip is appropriate.

Friday, April 19, 2013

There are many paths to Heaven

So...I dragged Desi to church this weekend.  He's not a fan, for obvious reasons.  Anyone who remembers going to church as a kid knows why.  It's boring as hell...wait...I mean, it's boring.  Even as an adult, church bores me.  I currently really like my church because the priest is great and tends to deliver an ear catching sermon.  But, Desi doesn't care about that crap.  He wants to play Angry Birds.

Anyway, this church is really tolerant of kids.  At many churches, you can hear the grumbling around you when a kid gets antsy.  And, let's face it, what 4 year old would not get antsy when forced to sit quietly during an event which doesn't once refer to Batman or fart jokes? 

My church has these little doodle pads in the pew for kids to use to draw on.  Desi wanted to draw on one.  Actually, he drew on 3.  There were none left in that particular pew for future kids.  Not very Christian of him.  Whatever.

Anyway, he basically drew a big ass scribble. 

After scribbling, he shows me his masterpiece.  "What is this?" I ask.

Desi: "I drew a map!  It's a map to heaven."  He is showing me how the lines end at the picture of Jesus and the children. Then he goes on to say, "See...there are many different ways to get to heaven."

I thought this was ridiculously profound and I had to keep the scribbles.  For those of you that ever talk with me about religion, you know that I am not a "You must agree with me or you're going to hell," kinda guy.  I am Catholic, but I would never ever tell you that my way is the only way and that my faith is the only faith.  In fact, I will tell you that I am pretty sure the Catholic church has it wrong it certain places.  I choose this faith because it works for me and helps put me on, what I believe, is the right path to heaven. 

Now...someone else, say a Mormon or a Muslim or an Atheist, might take a different path.  That's right...I'm including you non-believing heathens in here as well. 

I don't think God expects us to know all the answers.  This isn't a history quiz.  If it were, God would have given us much clearer instructions.  Basically, he left us nothing.  Some might say he left us the bible.  I would say bogus.  He left us a bunch of people that wrote down a bunch of things that were put into a book.  God giving us the bible would mean God literally threw a book down from the heavens and told us to get reading.  As far as I know, that's not what happened. 

Because God hasn't given us all the answers, I believe, he does not expect us to get everything right.  He expects us to do what's right.  What's right, you ask? your neighbor.  Help those that need help.  Don't judge other people.  You know...all that liberal hippie stuff. 

There are many paths to heaven.  What's yours?

Monday, April 15, 2013

We are all marathoners

I just read this article and it resonated with me.  But, not for the reasons the author mentions.
Everything he says is true.  Running a marathon is hard.  It's damn hard.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of strength.  But, even more than that, it takes a strong will and a determination to succeed.  I have now run 2 half marathons and 2 full marathons.  My times would certainly not qualify me for the Boston, but I am very proud of myself nonetheless.  IMHO, I have every right to be proud.

But, again...this isn't what I thought of when I read the title of the article.  What I thought of isn't just the runners.  What I thought of were the friends, family and the spectators of the run.
Running is not easy for me.  If you know me well, you have probably heard me complain about running.  But, I do it anyway.

When I have run races, the courses are filled with people cheering me on.  I don't know these people.  Chances are they are there for someone else.  But, it doesn't matter.  They are cheering for me, too.  They are holding up signs like, "Worst parade ever," or, "Runners are sexy," or, my favorite, "Keep going, Keep going!  That's what she said."

They are giving me high fives!  Telling me what a great job I am doing dispite the fact that I look like death.  They smile at me and often get me to smile back even though I just want my legs to fall off.  When I am done, they tell me what a great accomplishment it was and how proud they are of me.  Strangers.  Strangers tell me how proud they are of me.  When I finished the Goofy Challenge, I got a hug from a fellow runner.  A person I have never met. We congratulated each other and moved on.  It was wonderful.

Some people suck.  But, it's only some of them.  The majority of people are amazing.  They cheer you on.  They help pick you up. They hug you when you succeed.

We're all marathoners.  Even if we're cheering from the sidelines.

My son stiffles my creativity

Desi has a tremendous imagination.  I love to watch him play with his toys.  Action figures, stuffies, whatever.  He is really great at playing by himself and creating worlds to play in.

However...when I play with him, I get nothing but rejection!!!  Let me give an example.

Last night, Desi asked if I would play with him during bath time (meaning he's in the bath and I am kneeling outside the bath, perverts).  I said sure.

He has a collection of superheroes that he plays with in the bath.  Recently a couple of Transformers were added to this collection.  Apparently, the super heroes (which for this run consisted of Wolverine, the Flash, Batman and Hawkman) were supposed to be trapped on a raft in the middle of a poisonous ocean.  One of the Transformers, either Optimus Prime or Bumblebee, neither of whom transform into boats, for the record, would save them. here's what went down.  I was playing the role of all of the super heroes.  Wolverine was trapped on the raft.  His super-friends (one of whom can fly and another of whom has a both a boat and a helicopter) are standing helplessly on shore hoping someone will save their friend.

Then...Optimus Prime, in transformed position, races, underwater, to the raft and rescues Wolverine!!!  He takes Wolverine back to the shore to be with his friends! 

Here is where I decided to improvise a little, because I am creative like that. 

The friends are so excited that they rush over to Wolverine to make sure he's okay.  In the excited commotion, Batman falls into the poisonous ocean!  "Oh No!" I cry.  "Batman is in the poisonous ocean!  Who will save him?"

Expecting Bumblebee to dive in, I was shocked to hear, "NO DADDY!  That's not what you're supposed to do!  He has to be on the raft!!!"  At which point, Desi goes all diva, breaks character, removes Batman from the bath, puts him back on the ledge and proceeds to instruct me to put Batman on the raft so he can be saved.

I mean, come on!  Clearly we have established that the Transformers can drive underwater.  What gives?  I can't work under these conditions. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Conversation Pieces

Desi: "Daddy, when can we have artichokes for dinner with pickles and chicken?"

Me: "????"

Monday, January 21, 2013

Run Disney and Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge!

Just got back from a vacation to Disney World with my folks and Desi.  Why Disney World, you ask?  Why drop the clams to fly to Florida when Disneyland is much closer.

One word...Goofy's-Race-And-A-Half-Challenge.

See, I have decided to reboot myself in 2013.  It's hard to explain, but I needed to set some kind of goal for myself to kick off the new year and my new life.  I decided that a worthy goal would be to run a marathon.  Last year, I ran my first half marathon in Seattle.  This year, let's up the ante.  But...where should I do this?  A destination marathon would be more inspiring to keep me training and motivated to continue.  But, where to?

That's around the time I heard of RunDisney.  Apparently, Disneyland and Disney World occasionally hold running events at the parks.  This year happened to be the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon.  Sounds awesome!  Sign me up.

Oh...but then I learn about this thing called Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.  To complete the Goofy, you have to complete the half marathon on Saturday AND the full marathon on Sunday.  Keep in mind, I learned this while sitting at a bar with a buddy getting drunk.  Sounded like a horrible and remarkably stupid thing for someone like me to do.

So...I went ahead and signed up.  Cuz I am stupid.

The race was last weekend.  Let me tell you about it.

It was AWESOME!!!  Now, if you remember my postings from last year, while I was training for the Seattle half, I hate running.  This hasn't changed even though I am running much more frequently then I was then.  I still hate it.  It doesn't feel good.  I can never seem to find that magical zone people talk about.  I just generally don't like it.  However, it happens to be the easiest way to exercise and keep yourself in shape when you are busy working and getting divorced and being a single dad and junk. 

But this race was incredible. 

We arrived on Wednesday.  My parents joined us, which was great as Desi had someone to hang out with while I ran.  On Thursday, we hit the park.  A full day at the Magic Kingdom.  I love this place.  Characters, music, parades, etc.  Yes...I know I am a nerd, but few places make me as happy as Disney.  Marketing genius on their parts.

On Thursday night, because it's my elderly parents favorite restaurant in the world or something, we went to Golden Corral.  Big mistake.  In the wee hours of Friday morning, I was yacking in the toilet.  We didn't do much that day.

Saturday was the first race!  A half marathon through Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom.  I took it slow because A) I had another 26.2 miles to run the next day and B) there are a shit ton of characters to meet!  I am a sucker for Disney characters.  I am a 35 year old man but I still love to give Mickey, Donald and Goofy a big ol' hug!  The race went well.  I felt good!

Until the next morning when my alarm went off at 4:00 AM.  At that point, I was questioning my judgment.  But, I got up and headed back to Epcot.  The full marathon was harder...obviously.  I was keeping really good pace with a pacer.  I didn't take as many pics for the full because I had to be conscious of my time (they pick you up if you don't keep a certain pace) and the pacer waits for nobody!  I ended up hurting my knee around mile 16 which slowed me down further.  I haven't seen my final time, yet...but I think is was somewhere between 6 and 6:15.  Slow...but, I'll still take it. :-)

As a vacation, it was great!  Desi had a blast!  I had a blast.  My folks (I think even my dad) had a blast!  Would I do it again? Absolutely!  Although, it won't be soon because, everything considered, it wasn't a cheap trip. 

Pics below.  In no particular order because I am too lazy to move them around.  2013 is starting off well, so far!!!

Finish line.

All 3 medals!

High 5 from Goofy.

Running out of the castle during the 1/2

Mom! Phineus and Ferb are hanging out with runners, again!


After finishing the half.

Left nut and right nut.

Launchpad McQuack! I love this guy!

Desi and Tigger


Can't get enough of Phineus and Ferb, apparently.  Where's Perry?

He's got good taste.

With my best little fan.

My folks and my kid.

After flirting with Cinderella.

Cool light show on the castle.

Next to Belle, Ariel is my favorite.

I can't NOT chime in on this Supreme Court thing

So, it's no secret on this page that I am rapidly pro-life.  I don't beat around the bush on this topic.  But, what you may not know...