Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Be Mr. Darcy

As a married woman, I know that these dating problems don't affect me anymore directly. But I still hear men and women make complaints, and it drives me crazy. So here are a few things men do, specifically, that need to stop. Stop it, men. Stop it.

1) Pretending to be totally freaked out by womens periods. I'm not talking about the guys who wrinkle their noses a little at the thought, nor am I saying that guys need to be all about menstruation, which would be kind of creepy. I'm talking about the guys who get all theatrical every time a period is mentioned or referred to. They throw their hands up in the air and groan or shout "Stop it, stop it!" and basically act as if you started committing an act of bestiality and cannibalism combined right in front of them. It's irritating in the extreme. Grow up. No straight man is that freaked out by the normal functioning of the vagina. Hell even gay men are probably not THAT grossed out by it.

2) Saying trite things like "Why do chicks always like jerks?" and "Nice guys finish last" and stupid things like that. Let me explain why these statements are total crap. If you are a guy, and you have said something like this, I'm going to tell you very clearly what you did wrong. Either A)The girls you go for are immature twits. If this is the case I don't feel bad for you because you make bad decisions. Or B) You aren't a "nice guy". You're a pussy.
Because mature, psychologically healthy women DO like nice guys. What they DON'T like is weak little boys.

To explain the distinction: Think of Steve Urkel. Do you remember his alter-ego, Steffan? Steffan was a pussy. Don't be Steffan. Now think of Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is a nice guy. Be Mr. Darcy. In fact, that's probably the best advice any guy can follow if he's trying to seduce a woman. Be Mr. Darcy. Read that book and emulate everything about him.

3)Saying they "don't understand women" whenever they have relationship problems. That is stoopid on so many levels; but the most important one is this: you cannot generalize when it comes to women. Women are complex creatures. You will never, ever have success in a healthy relationship if you are trying to relate to "women". Instead you need to learn about your specific woman and understand HER.

4)Demand physical perfection from their girlfriends/wives while they get fat and wear white tennis shoes and fail to fix things around the house. If you demand female perfection, you should at least attempt to attain male perfection. Fair is fair.

Just a little public service for my lovely single female friends. It's important to give back and such.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Awesome Jobs I Can't Have

I would love to be a detective. I have no desire to go to any kind of detective school or police training, but I would love to have a brick-walled office where people would come hire me to find their missing relatives and discover if their spouses are cheating on them. I would wear an awesome top hat and hand around in dramatically lit alleys, my cunning eyes shifting from doorway to doorway as I stalk my prey.

Another cool job would be "Mythbuster". I want to be on that show so very, very badly. It's true that I have no professional scientific training, and no experience using power tools or building anything, but I'm a creative problem solver, and I'm very good at coming up with experiments. I could be the show's "Idea Person"; also I would be happy detonating explosive devices.

Ideally, I could make my living as a treasure hunter. I would get a ship, preferably an old timey one with sails, permeated with the fragrance of salt-cured wood and adventure. I would sail all around the Carribean and the coast of Florida, retrieving sunken Spanish gold and jewels. I would wear baggy, rolled up pants and learn to play the harmonica, which I would play while lying in a hammock on deck. I would probably discover a nest of giant squids or some kind of leviathan, or maybe even a brand new species of monster, which would of course be dubbed "The Dana Monster".

This might just be an extension of the Mythbusters fantasy, but I would also love to be an inventor. I would love to just work in my garage, making and doing and experimenting. I love the way garages smell; that smell of oil and wood and machinery. I'm aware that that's strange. But it is an environment that is conducive to productive thought and creativity. Sadly, I have no mechanical knowledge whatsoever. I have trouble screwing in garden hoses. It takes me 20 minutes to change a light bulb. So yeah, this career is out probably.

You know what is NOT my dream job? Sitting in a cubicle being boring all day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yes, I Hate Boyd's Bears and Precious Moments This Much, So Much That They Feature in Almost All Of My Violent Daydreams

Perhaps it's repressed anger, or Napoleon syndrome, or vestigial Viking blood, but I find that violent fantasies calm me down and make me feel peaceful. For instance, if I'm really having a bad day at work, I imagine the following scenario:

I'm all alone in a room filled with glass tables. On top of the tables are little ceramic Boyd's Bears and Precious Moments figurines. It's horrifying and sickening in a deep, visceral way. But I have some things.

I grab the baseball bat first. I smash and smash, until everything in that room is dust. I stomp on the dust and grind it into the ground as it makes lovely scrunching sounds. Then I grab one of those big red plastic containers of gasoline. I pour it out all over everything. The room is a big glass/gasoline soup. Then I step out of the room (obviously) and launch in a bunch of homemade hand grenades, relishing the smashing sound of the bottles, and I watch it burn. I sit outside and watch as the building burns to the ground. When it's over I go stomp on the ashes, squishing them under my boot and stamping and screaming until I'm all tired out.

By the time I'm done with this fantasy I feel calm and centered; like everything is ok again.

I should state that I am no way violent by nature in real life. I have never so much as been in a fight, and I don't vandalize things on purpose, ever. But there is something in me that likes to think of destroying things.

So here's my question. Why do people say they "dislike violence" in movies and songs etc? I totally understand why people don't like real-life violence. I don't either. Especially violence against children and animals. But I think it's human nature to have deeply buried, visceral violent impulses. It comes from the primitive part of the human brain, the part that kept us alive through some pretty horrifying history. In civilized society, of course, we have to repress those urges, in order to get along and maintain order. But those urges are still there, lurking below the surface. The way we deal with those impulses is by watching violent movies, listening to violent song lyrics and watching violent sports like boxing. Or in my case, fantasizing about smashing things. It's the most harmless, healthy way for us to deal with our violence issues.

So who are these people who say they don't like violent movies, or violent sports, or anything of that nature? Are they simply more evolved than the rest of us? Have they completely purged themselves of all anger, unkind feelings and "fight" responses? Or are they LESS evolved, to the the point where violent images inspire a crazy blood-lust in them that they fear they cannot control? Are they the ones we should REALLY be watching? I'm honestly curious. If you don't like violence, tell me why. I promise not to judge you or make snotty comments. I just want to understand your point of view. In return, please do not make snotty comments about my love of violent movies, or call a psychiatrist to have me committed for my smashing-burning-daydreams.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Common Sayings And What Is Wrong With Them


This is said, ironically, to foster a sense of team spirit, though it sounds like something you would say if you did not want to be a team player. "Wait, there is no I in team. Screw you guys I'm going home". But instead, when you hear this phrase you are supposed to think of subjugating your own needs and desires for the good of the team. You know, like communism.

But here's what's really stupid about that saying: it's not a good argument, because it's illogical. Everyone knows that team is spelled t-e-a-m. No, it is not spelled with an I. But the letter "i" does not always represent the first person pronoun. If it did, then I could say "There is no I in work. Guess I'd better go home". Or "There are three Is in 'millionaire'. Guess I'd better get spending". How can any rational person be inspired to great acts of teamwork by an irrational statement?


If you have no regrets you are a sociopath. You should regret things, unless you're some kind of perfect saint, which you aren't. We ALL have done things that are kind of messed up, and if you have a conscience, you are SUPPOSED to feel bad about it. I'm not saying you should cut yourself and torture yourself over it. But if you have any kind of moral compass at all, and you are reflecting on a mistake you made, you say to yourself "That was wrong of me. I wish I had handled that differently". If you say "Yeah, what I did was horrible, but whatevs. Have no regrets!" you are a horrible person.


No. That's not why they call it a "present". You can see my "I in team" description above, because really it's the same argument. Except I would like to add that the "present" is not always a "gift". Just ask the people starving in Africa, or the people being tortured in North Korean prisons. They would probably love to skip right to the future.


Ugh. How many idiots have dumped perfectly good people because of this horrible advice? This advice is guaranteed to keep you lonely and alone. Because here's how this goes. John is feeling antsy in his relationship with Jill. So he dumps her to see if she comes back. Jill is confused. Why did John dump her? Things seemed to be going ok. Jill is depressed and she starts drinking a lot of bourbon and listening to lots of Bikini Kill. But one day she brushes herself off and decides to heal her broken heart. Jill calls that guy she met at a friend's party who was kind of cute. Jill marries the cute guy from the party. John sits home alone wondering why Jill didn't come beg him to take her back like she was supposed to.


This is so stupid I can't believe anyone ever took it seriously. Because maybe if you've had a totally priviliged, cushy life that's all you have to fear. But the rest of us have to worry about disease, finances, global warming, drunk drivers, pedophiles, and meteors colliding with the earth. I understand the point, kind of. Obviously panic and irrational fear is bad, and unhelpful. But it doesn't follow that there is NOTHING else to fear. That's just silly.


Most people feel emotions because of external or internal events, which are either pleasing or displeasing. I, for one, have never decided to feel an emotion simply because of the number of muscles involved in expressing it. It's not even a contributing factor. BAsically, if I'm feeling upset, I'm not going to stop feeling upset simply because it's more effort than feeling happy. I won't stop feeling upset until the underlying issue is resolved.

Besides, who frowns? Seriously? When was the last time you saw someone frown? If I saw someone frowning to express displeasure, I would laugh and assume they were just trying to be funny.


What? Whoever said this has never been in a relationship of any kind. If you love someone you say "I'm sorry" all the freaking time. "I'm sorry I ruined dinner". "I'm sorry I was late". "I'm sorry I laughed when you slipped and fell". Apologizing is the way we acknowledge that we want to be a certain way in our relationships, and we have fallen short of that ideal. It says to your partner "I care enough about you to want to do better for you".

On the other hand, if you do something wrong, and DON'T apologize, what you're saying is "I don't care how you feel. I gotta be me baby. Deal with it." No one but God will love you long with that attitude.

So many more sayings, but I'm tired now, and feeling sick from trying to eat Chipotle.

Monday, February 7, 2011


As a child growing up in the 80s, I was exposed to a huge amount of really cheesy educational programming, the purpose of which was to encourage children to "use their imaginations". As the children of ex hippies and potheads, the children of the 80s were encouraged to express ourselves and think outside the box. Fine. But the problem was, the makers of the educational programming obviously had NO imaginations WHATSOEVER. These programs were so boring it made my head hurt. They always (I do mean always) featured excessively precious drawings of rocket ships, friendly looking monsters and children staring up at the stars, wide-eyed, dreaming of space travel. As a result, I believed that "kids with imaginations" were simply kids who were obsessed with rockets and outer space. Those things didn't appeal to me at all; and if you had asked me "Do you have a good imagination?" I would have responded, almost angrily "No. I really don't".

The truth was, I had an insanely overactive imagination. But it wasn't the kind of wholesome, teacher-approved imagination which the educational materials attempted to cultivate. My imagination was probably the worst thing about my childhood, and at the time the very best thing for me would have been for someone to stamp it out immediately. Of course, as an adult I've learned to manage and control it a lot better, thanks to increased awareness and high doses of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder medication. Now, I've learned to make it work for me; for instance I can focus it on happy things like re-writing sad movie endings and making elaborate revenge plots. But as a child it was oppressive and horrible.

For instance.

When I was 8, I began reading VC Andrews novels. For those of you unacquainted with VC Andrews books, each book is essentially 400 pages of teenaged girls being raped by every family member they have. Graphically, graphically raped. Why my mom let me read those books still puzzles me, but suffice it to say, they made an impression on me. As did a show I watched every weekend at my Grandma's called "Unsolved Mysteries". "Unsolved Mysteries often featured mundane things such as black widows and serial bank robbers, but it often had specials about ghosts. Well when I stayed at my Grandma's house, I slept in my dead uncle's room. It was a perfectly nice room, but in my little 8 year old mind, there were obviously ghosts living in it at night. Where? The closet. But then why would a ghost be hiding in the closet? Well, to rape me obviously. And so I developed a number of "protections" against ghost rape. Mostly I would repeat a little chant-prayer over and over again, asking God to please not let the ghosts rape me. And I slept with my legs tightly zipped together, the blankets tight, tight around me, so only my head poked out the top. I sat awake many a night, just knowing that the ghosts were going to come violate me while I slept, and I would, of course, wake up pregnant, at which point my parents would kick me out of the house for being a whore. Because no one would believe it was ghosts. Obviously.

But my pregnancy fears didn't end there. Being raised Catholic, of course I learned the story of the Virgin Birth. And while I absorbed the fact that the Immaculate Conception was a mark of God's FAVOR, I took that story in a whole different direction. Because if God could knock up a virgin once, he could do it again. Could God knock me up? But why? To punish me of course. Please understand that I was most definitely a virgin. I was 9, and I had never been molested. But whenever I did something "wrong" I felt certain that to punish me, God would give me a shameful, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and my life would be ruined. It was a short leap from worrying that I COULD be pregnant to worrying that I WAS pregnant. I remember one particular day when I realized that "OH NO! I'VE NEVER GOT MY PERIOD!" and then "MY STOMACH IS STICKNG OUT". I was postive, so very positive that I was a pregnant nine year old. So panicked was I that I made myself throw up, only convincing myself further that I was, in fact, pregnant. I had this same panicked thought intermittently for FOUR YEARS.

Oh but it doesn't end. I don't know how other kids played with Barbies, but the way I did it was messed up. Barbie was constantly getting beat up by Ken. Barbie got arrested for drunk driving all the time too. Sometimes Barbie would become crippled in a car accident and Ken would keep her locked up in a room, and she couldn't get out because she was crippled. Also Barbie often had babies who died.

There was a lot of death in my head as a child. Whenever a parent was late coming to pick me up, it was because they were dead. When they went out at night, I assumed they would, of course, die, and I would frequently call the bar where they were to make sure they were alive. If they weren't there I would go into full blown panic mode, shaking and nauseated, completely unable to sleep or focus on anything but my imminent orphan-dom. When I left the house, I assumed that when I came back to it, it would be burned to the ground, everyone inside dead. In addition, I was obsessively worried about CAUSING the death of others. If I dropped ice on the ground, someone would surely come and slip on it and snap her neck and die. I had heard of a girl who died because she used a knife that had traces of peanut butter on it. I becaame really paranoid about peanut butter and for several years insisted that "I don't like peanut butter".

Sometimes I thought there were secret passageways in houses. I would spend an inordinate amount of time searching for these secret passageways, pulling books out of shelves and putting them back, pulling an anything that might be a lever, and pushing anything that looked like a button, then stepping back quickly, waiting for the passageway to open, revealing skeletons of people who got trapped in there and starved to death. Possibly treasure as well, but mostly I was really worried about anything living that might be trapped in there, or anything sinister that was hiding in there waiting to rape me.

These are just a few examples of my childhood imagination in action. It makes me wonder though, what the creators of the imagination-encouraging-programs would have thought of me. They probably would have sent me to therapy and given me some very heavy anti-psychotic meds. Though perhaps if the ghost raping took place in spaceship, they would have been more comfortable with it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I Judge You For Your Churlish Need To Hoard Lemons

The folks who live across the street have three mature lemon trees in their front yard, bearing hundreds of lemons. Recently they have put up a big laminated sign, stating "Do Not Take Lemons. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL." I don't know who took the lemons. Yesterday the little kids next door were having some kind of "juice" stand, but that could just be coincidence. I don't support stealing of course, but in this case I feel that the lemon tree owners are in the wrong. Here's why.

1) Whoever took the lemons obviously didn't take that many, since there are literally hundreds of them left. So let's not overreact, as if they stole your car.

2)How many lemons could you possibly need? Only two people live there. They are obviously not lemon farmers, so it's not as if the thieves were cutting into their lemon profits. But lets say they are just crazy about lemons. Every single day they make a pitcher of fresh lemonade, they season every dish they cook with lemon juice, and they garnish every plate with lemon slices. That's just how they roll. Even then, we're really only talking about like 10 lemons per day. And I'm 99% certain that they aren't even using that many. But even if they were, they have THREE mature trees FULL of lemons. They aren't even putting a dent in it, seriously.

3) I'm pretty sure that the lemon theives were the little neighborhood kids. Look, I know stealing is wrong, but really? I'm putting myself in the owners' shoes. I'm old and I love lemons. I see a couple of little kids rush into my yard and pick a few lemons. What do I do? Honestly, I would chuckle to myself and move on. If I was feeling feisty, I might patronize the "juice" stand and say "Wow! This lemonade is delicious! Wherever did you get the lemons? You must have used fresh ones to get it to taste so good!" And then I would wink and go back to my house. But that would be like, if I was PMSing and felt like scaring some little kids. I can't get my head around the mindset that thinks "Someone stole three of my 800 lemons. I'm angry and I'm not going to take it anymore!" And then I LAMINATE a sign and hang it up in the front yard.

4)Let's say it wasn't kids engaged in an innocent lemonade stand enterprise. Let's say it was an adult. Does that really change matters that much? I mean, we've all been in the middle of a recipe and said "Shit. I thought we had lemon juice but we don't! I'm in the middle of cooking; I can't run to the store! What should I do?" And then we get resourceful. So?

I didn't steal the lemons. I'm just saying.

5)Why bring religion into it? Of course thou shalt not steal. We all know that. But you know what else? Jesus was all about sharing. He didn't say "These are my bread and fishes and this is my wine. Go fuck yourselves." Jesus was a big supporter of sharing, turning the other cheek, and forgiveness. You aren't being a good Christian by getting all angry because someone took a couple of your lemons. You're just being kind of a dick.

6)Not to "blame the victim" but if you put fruit trees in your front yard, with no fence of any kind, you're kind of asking for it. I mean, if someone robs your house, that's wrong. But if you left your front door wide open, valuables in full view, you're kind of to blame too. If your property is that important to you, do something to secure it. By not taking measures to protect your property, you're kind of saying "I don't care, go ahead and take it". It doesn't mean the thief is in the right, it just means you are stoopid, in addition.

So here it is. I believe that the lemon tree owners are totally within their rights to put up the bitchy sign. I think they are within their rights to be angry. Heck, they would even be within their rights to call the police. It is their private property, and if they say you can't have it, then you can't. But this isn't about whether you have the RIGHT to do something. It's about whether you SHOULD do something. I have the right to hiss at ugly people. It doesn't mean I should. The lemon tree owners have the right to hoard as many lemons as they like. And I have the right to think they're petty, selfish idiots.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Truth About My Hobbies

I hate being asked what my hobbies are, or what I like to do for fun. Not that I find the topic of conversation objectionable - I don't - but I don't like discussing it, because I don't want people to judge me. So I always say something like "reading, cooking, kayaking" etc. You know, something that is relatable, while not being a lie. But the fact of the matter is, I hate crafts, suck at art, despise sports (except gymnastics and The World's Strongest Man Competition and boxing - and I only like watching those) dislike killing animals, and really, really can't sew or crochet. So that leaves very few hobbies I can claim as my own.

Unless I were to tell the truth.

So here, written for all of you, are my real hobbies.

1) Scoping out prospective adoptive parents on websites and judging them.

This is so much fun. There are whole websites out there where parents put "profiles" of themselves, describing who they are, and why they are the perfect people to raise your little bastard. I read the profiles very carefully, scrutinizing their pictures, jobs, hobbies (yes I'm a hypocrite) and interests. "The Smiths from New Jersey seem like very accomplished professionals. But Dan says his favorite dessert is banana cream pie. How could I let my child be raised in that kind of environmnent? I say no to you, Smiths from New Jersey." "Ew, they both say their favorite show is American Idol. And look how fat they are. I'm not gonna give my kid to people who are just going to die of a heart attack in two years. Then my poor kid would be a double orphan! No". Or "OH! These people are so perfect! I almost want to get pregnant just so I can give these amazing people my baby!" Admittedly, it's not the "nicest" hobby, but so much fun, and so addictive.

2) Gawking at people with eating disorders.

This goes for overeaters and under eaters, as well as the more "exotic" eating disorders like people who eat chalk, etc. Any show that features morbidly obese people losing weight earns a season pass on my tivo. When I discovered "pro ana" and "pro mia" at first I thought it was a joke.

And then I found the online forums.

I loved reading those forums. They don't post pictures of themselves, so if you just read their posts, you get the impression that you're in some kind of fat girl support group where they all try to encourage people to reach their weight loss goals. They're really nice to each other. "Only 10 more pounds until I reach my goal weight!" "Yay Mia2883! You can do it!" But then you keep reading. And they start talking about strategies for avoiding food...always. And then you see their "thinspiration" photos who are invariably heroin-chic-looking skeletons, even though heroin chic went out years ago. I started getting really into their internal dramas, and started to get familiar with their individual personalities. One day Phil asked what I was reading, because I looked freaked out. I replied "Ana362436 is in a jam. Her mom found the bags of vomit she was hoarding in her closet."

Phil was freaked. "What the hell are you reading? Why was she hoarding vomit?"

"Because she didn't want anyone to hear her flushing when she purged. Also, the vomit was gross, so it was a good disincentive to eat. It makes sense, really."

"No honey. It doesn't..."

"No! I don't mean it's like, a good thing to do. I'm just saying, if you're going to be bulimic, it's a good strategy."

Phil was pensive and then made me promise I would stop reading the pro-ana, pro-mia forums.

Which I have.

3)Online shopping while drunk.

Sometimes when I drink I buy things online. I blame one click shopping. If I had to get up off my ass, retrieve my purse, enter all the information and then confirm it all, this probably wouldn't happen. But with one click shopping I can buy whatever I want, whenever I want it. And under the influence of alcohol I lose all sense of worry or restraint.

But then I forget that I bought stuff. And weeks later I'll come home from work and find a bunch of packages on my doorstep. "What's this?" I say to myself. Only to open up the packages and find all kinds of treasures! Sparkly shoes! Fancy scarves! Books on travel! Sometimes even boxes of candy! I'm not proud of myself for my actions, but in all honesty it's hard to be too concerned about it because every time I do it I get rewarded with all kinds of treats. It's not exactly teaching me a lesson.

4) Redoing movie scenes.

I don't like unhappy endings in movies. If I want harsh reality and somber truths, I'll listen to the news. I go to movies because I want to be entertained and uplifted. But some movies with sad endings are really, truly good; and they do entertain me. So how do I remedy this? By creating a new ending in my head, which I replay whenever I like, for my pleasure.

Here is an example of what I mean. If you have ever seen the movie "Life is Beautiful" you know that it is amazing and wonderful. Until the end. I can't watch anything after the scene where the dad does a humorous goose-step to amuse his son who is hiding from the Nazis. I turn the movie off at that point and say "The end! They won a tank! Yay!"

But that's not a very satisfying ending. Kind of a cop out really. So here is the "Dana Improved Ending".

It's the dinner party scene. The riddle loving nazi drops his fork to lure the dad away from his waiter duties. The dad goes over to him, hope radiating from his every pore. He knows that his friend will help him.

The riddle loving nazi says, with no preamble, "Your wife is safe. I've moved her to my cousin's farm in the country. They have a safe place for her to hide."

The dad lets out a blast of relief, tears almost flooding his eyes. The riddle loving nazi speaks quietly and quickly. "It's not safe for me to move you and your son tonight. I'm sorry. Can you meet me by the south wall at 3am this Saturday?"

The dad nods curtly. Of course he can, an innovative man like him! He'll find a way!

"My cousin's farm is not a luxurious place. But you will all be together, safe. My cousin and his wife are good people; they'll see that all your needs are met."

"Thank you! Thank you so much!" begins the dad. But the riddle loving nazi cuts him off. "All I ask in return" he says, very serious, "is that you assist me with this riddle" and then proceeds to tell the riddle. The dad laughs with giddy relief and of course gives him enough clues to answer the riddle on his own. It's the least he can do.

Well, the dad now has to explain to the little boy that they are quitting the game. He'll probably have to say that he found out it's all a trick and there IS no tank!!! He will devise an ingenious way to be at the south wall at 3 am, probably something humerous involving disguises and magic tricks. They are almost caught, but make it out by the skin of their teeth. They are all reunited on the farm and live happily ever after. And then they get a tank anyway.

See, isn't my ending better? I like to make little scene revisions and play them to myself whenever I'm bored. It's good fun, and I recommend you try your own.

5)Grocery shopping

Is anything more awesome than grocery shopping? Yes, but not much. I love looking at rows and rows of tasty, gourmet foods, knowing that I CAN BUY WHATEVER I WANT. For most of my life my food decisions were based on whatever was cheapest. But now. NOW. I'm making up for lost time. Yes I do need 6 pomegranates, imported gorgonzola cheese, truffle oil and a bottle of Chablis. Why not? Why should I deny myself? I shouldn't. That's why.

Are these healthy hobbies? Probably not. Are they hobbies I could discuss in polite company? Probably not. But it feels good to get it out there and be honest with you all. This is what I like to do for fun. Judge me.