This morning, I knew little about Puch motorcycles. I knew that they were distributed by Sears under the Allstate name, and that they were cute. I knew from Puch mopeds that the factory was in Austria. But a listing in the eBay "Other Makes" pages this morning caught my eye: a 250cc Puch Allstate listed for $162.70. I reckoned I had an edge on the bidding because the seller was local and would not have to pay for shipping. On a $10,000 bike, shipping hardly matters, but in the bottom-feeding world of low-end vintage motorcycles, it can be determinative. Heck, anything that runs is worth $500, and so I quickly entered a bid.
In the meantime, I learned a lot about Puch's. There is a dealer in Milwaukee that specializes in Puch parts. This meant I could replace the missing Sears tank badge on my new ride. All the cleaned up models I found online were of the earlier, round-tank variety. They are cuter. Still the price was right. The bidding rose to $204.50.
Mechanically, the Puch's were unique. Moderately mechanically-inclined folk will notice right away that the carburettor is not where it is "supposed" to be. Instead, it hangs off the side of one of the cylinders. And therein is the great mechanical mystery: Puch 175's and 250's were two-stroke "twingles," ie the combustion chamber was shared by the two cylinders. The pistons were slightly out of synch, the rear one mounted on an eccentric. The result was a slightly more fuel-efficient but conspiculously underpowered machine. Puch owners were proud of their little machines, but they acknowledged that the charm was less in the barn-burning speed than in the bikes' dependability. I found a Yahoo! group dedicated to Sears bikes and quickly signed up.
I was not planning to become a Puch enthusiast. But enough of my friends talk about taking up motorcycling that I thought a good starter bike for under $500 would be too good to pass up. Evidently, some other people had the same idea. About an hour before the auction was to end, the price had gone above my bid. Fearing a poacher, I entered another bid $25.00 higher than my initial limit. It was the winning bid for all of 20 minutes. As it turns out, not only was one person more interested than I, two were!
I confess I was a little disappointed to "lose" the auction, but the grapes were probably sour. I mean, I gained 400 bucks by not spending it: next week, I'll have 400 more bucks to play with, and a bit more space in the garage as well.
A couple of weeks ago, I thought I would take the freeway to school/work, but the freeway was choked and so I took the frontage road. Finding myself lost but going in the right direction, I rode past this building. Pretty cool, I thought, and I made a note of its location.
When I got home, I told Mrs. Blog about it and a couple of days later we went over to take some pictures.
We have a thing for old buildings. And we should really know better: the roof leaked like a sieve on our last old commercial building, eventually collapsing on the person who bought the building from us. You could say that Mrs Blog and I are pie-eyed dreamers when it comes to old buildings. Fortunately for us, the Crosby-Block Building is located in St. Paul, and thus is too expensive for us to purchase. If it was located somewhere in the boonies like our old home/business was, we could probably afford to get in over our heads -- again. It is probably not a coincidence that I find major architectural projects important and interesting right at the point when grad school looks more and more like it is incapable of making me happy. "I'm sick of delayed gratification: I want something big and fun to work on NOW!"
The building itself is a delight: big window frames (which all but the third story need to be replaced), our kind of location (not 50 feet from the railroad tracks: part sits above the tracks, and part below), and neither too large to be unwieldy nor too small to be impractical. The ground floor fairly screams for a cafe or bar (with room enough for both!), while the upstairs could house a residence and a studio above. See what I mean about the pie-eyed dreamer?
According to articles in the local press, the building was a drug-infested slum a couple of years ago. The slumlord was pretty much forced to sell by the neighbors, who had recruited undercover cops to make arrests there. The first pie-eyed dreamer wanted to convert it to graphic design studios (good idea!), but got ripped off by his contractor and abandoned the project. The current owners planned to convert the apartments to condos, which might work if one could resolve the fire access and egress issues, which I suspect were responsible for condemnation in the first place. At any rate, by June the new owners had already run out of money. They were pie-eyed dreamers once too.
- You could have a studio on the second floor and we could have an AWESOME penthouse on the third!
- We could build a carriage house out back for the bikes. Or have a garden!
- We could almost afford it. Maybe the owners just want to get out from under, like we did in Dunsmuir.
- The city would love to have some preservation-minded artistic types take it over. And besides, without all those units we wouldn't need so many exits!
A public hearing on the building is slated for early June. If you go you might yet see Mrs. Blog there.
|Susan Synarski is a recently-minted celebrity and a true renaissance woman. Real estate tycoon, old-house fan, artist, and expert gardener, she was recently named one of Out Magazine's "100 Most Intriguing Gay People of the Year 2002." Her illustrations of she-pirates grace the pages of Booty (Chronicle Books, 2002) as well as the op-ed page of the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Rolling Stone. Beloved to animals, her pets respond enthusiastically to her instructions to perform all kinds of entertaining manouvers.
Her fame, fortune, and all-around excellence is cause enough to endear her to me forever and thus make her interview-worthy. But she is here in cyberspace today to talk about the newest addition to the Synarski-Meckel household, a Piaggio LT150 scooter named Pearl.
I understand that you had some initial resistance to having a scooter in the household. Please describe how you came to be convinced.
Several factors came into play. First, my co-pilot has been lobbying for a motorbike for several years now. She rode Vespas a lot growing up. She works hard and has many responsibilites. I knew having one would bring her a lot of enjoyment. I finally decided to let go of my fears and not stand in her way. Life is too short. Second is parking. Parking is really scarce near the gym, for example, but there's plenty of motorcycle parking (free). Third, the scooter shop in our neighborhood had a big sale. Fourth, it eases my conscience to use a high mileage vehicle. Fifth, it's really fun to ride!
Wow! That's a lot of reasons. You sound ready to ""join the Vespaô team" Have you been doing any evangelizing?
This blog is the kick-off to my scooter advocacy campaign.
Many of our readers are not motorcyclists. As a new member to our ranks, can you tell us a little of how riding differs from driving?
It feels like I'm going a lot faster at 20mph than I do in a car. I have a heightened sense of awareness, what and who is around me, the air on my body, the ability to see the world around me with no obstructions. It's more like riding a bicycle in that way but sexier.
That is a good point about the sense of speed being greater on two wheels. I remember how both exhilirating and exhausting learning to ride was for me. Do you suppose that the heightened sense of awareness is triggered by the self-preservation impulse? Also I can see that not pedaling and working up a sweat is sexier than bicycling. Are there any other reasons scootering is sexier than bicycling?
Yes, the feeling of increased vulnerability must play a part in the sensation of riding. I think the main reason scootering is sexier than bicycling is the clothes. Most people who are serious cyclers wear cycling togs that are not very attractive to me. When you scooter you can wear hip clothes. The shiny black helmet, leather gloves and boots also add to one's sex appeal.
How did you prepare for the motorcycle endorsement written test?
I read the DMV booklet several times. I tried to imagine myself riding to see how the rules made sense. A lot of it is common sense and applies to riding a bicycle, like the fact that people have a harder time seeing you.
Is it true that people "check you out" more on the scooter? Is it really a "chick-magnet" as has been claimed? Did the salesperson make this claim?
The shop owner, Darragh, made no such claim. I wonder if he uses that angle with other potential customers? I hope people "check me out" more because I want them to see me (from a safety standpoint). It's still too soon to make a call on this but it does seem like people notice a hot, middle-aged hipster on a scooter more than they notice a hot, middle-aged hipster in a station wagon. However, they would probably notice me more if I wore a bikini while walking the dog. I'll have to get back to you on the "chick-magnet" claim. It does seem to make me more attractive to my girlfriend, though. Got to figure out how to get the thing in the bedroom...
I would certainly notice you wearing a bikini walking your dog; Phoebe is quite a looker. Coming home from Prairie Home Companion, Mrs. Blog and I saw a woman on a chromed-out Harley with pig-tails, sunglasses, and a doo-rag; we thought she had quite a look. Girls on motorikes: Hot or Not? What is the hottest motorcycle fashion you've seen?
Girls on motorbikes=Hot. I mean, sitting pressed up behind a girl with your arms wrapped around her waist...no brainer. Fashionwise, a mod look is hot to me. One hot look I can imagine would be a completely co-ordinated, colorful ensemble that goes with the bike. The full-blown leather daddy/mommy look can be hot if the person has the body for it and it's simple and understated. I saw a 40ish guy at the DMV with a hot look that was very simple and "old-fashioned": faded black jeans, black gloves in back pocket, black boots, worn red and black, form-fitting jacket with some logo on the back. His pair of simple silver earrings set the whole thing off nicely.
How did you decide on the Piaggio LT150? I understand that your co-pilot is enamored of all two-wheeled motor vehicles. Who persuaded whom on the wisdom of this particular model?
Yes, my co-pilot originally wanted a motorcycle, like a Ducati; or a Vespa (for sentimental reasons). I pretty much deferred to her judgement on this because of her experience, but I didn't like the small wheels of the Vespa because they make it harder to control. They are terribly cute, though. Piaggio is the featured make at our local scooter shop so we'd looked at them several times. Selling points for the LT150: it's Italian, it's nicely designed, has decent horsepower yet is not too big, it's got bigger wheels, it's automatic, which my girlfriend said would make it easier for me to ride (part of her plan to convert me). When they went on sale it was the final nudge to make the plunge. She considers this a "good introductory scooter". I think her dream bike is a BMW.
Those are big bikes. Do you see yourself ever going that way?
Not really. My girlfriend thinks the motorcycle companies are missing out on a big market by not making smaller bikes for women. That's probably why she's happy with a scooter right now.
Did the scooter seem too heavy or difficult to handle at first? To what does it compare?
The other bikes I had ridden in my life were a Honda 125, a Bridgestone 175 (both my brothers' out on dirt roads) and, most recently, a Honda Passport. Of those bikes I'd say it's most like the Honda 125. The Piaggio took a little adjustment because you ride with your feet in the floorboard instead of straddling the gas tank with feet on footpegs. It's a little heavier than I imagined but not overly so. This will encourage me to get my "girl arms" in shape. While riding it seems well balanced and easy to handle. I have to be aware when parking it on the stand because if it falls away from me I may not be able to stop it from going over.
Has "helmet hair" caused you to rethink your styling plans? What directions do you see taking your hair?
Good question. Probably the most important question regarding motorbikes is how they affect one's hair. I understand why you shave your head now but I'm not going there. Forming cream or hair wax helps reshape the hair pretty well after helmet removal. I don't see making any changes cause I like my hair style right now. I'll just try to muss it back into shape as best I can.
How about eye-protection? Or did you go the full-face helmet route?
No, I'm just wearing sunglasses or my prescription glasses for now because I'm not a speed demon. But since I wear glasses if I need more protection I'll have to get a face-shield.
Artsy types seem to be attracted to scooters: is this an argument for or against having one?
For me this is definitely an argument FOR having one. Think how cool it would be if everyone drove scooters. It would kind of be like living in Europe, which, right now would not be a bad thing.
I have often remarked how much happier the world would be if everyone took Trail90s to work whenever weather permitted. This spring, many of my lesberado friends and acquaintances have been purchasing scooters. Is this a vast lesbian conspiracy to conquer the highways with cute, fun, economical and ecologically sensitive motor vehicles? And do you have plans to ride in the Dykes on Bikes contingent of the Freedom Parade? You will not be surprised to learn that I always thought they were the best part.
I think Dykes on Bikes is everyone's favorite part ... the anticipation as the ear-splitting rumble is heard in the distance ... sigh. We do plan to ride in the parade. In the back, of course, with the wee bikes. I think in the hierarchy of D on B, the Harleys must lead. I'm glad to hear that we are part of a conspiracy of cuteness. I've never been part of a conspiracy before.
Do you find yourself checking out other bikes now? Are there any makes and models you covet?
Yep. In spite of my aversion to small wheels, the Vespas are attractive little things and they're now importing the retro-style models. Also, Aprilia Mojito Custom 50 has a beautiful retro look. I like the chrome handlebars and headlight. And it comes in powder blue. It's only 50cc but judge for yourself.
What is the most pleasant riding experience you have had so far? The most unpleasant?
I've only ridden three times so far and they were all pleasant. I'm still most comfortable on residential streets right now but I've done short stretches on a busy street. I guess that was a little unpleasant because I was a bit anxious. But it was unpleasant in a good way.
Any plans to take it up into the hills? Skyline is a lovely road, as is Tilden Park.
Yes, that's great idea! The view would be even better riding out in the open.
How long do you reckon your garage will only host one scooter? I hear these things are addictive.
Funny you should mention that. Tonight Swiss Miss said we have to move to a bigger house with a bigger garage.
It's been a pleasure interviewing you for Girls Gone Motorcycling Week. Any final thoughts you would like to share?
I'd like to thank you for your gentle persistence as scooter spokes-professor.
Day Two of Girls Gone Motorcycling features Jill McElmurry, author-illustrator, punk rock impresario, dedicated blogger, and fearless motorcycle passenger. Well almost. But she has really good reasons.
In 1977 I was being paid to do ink-n'-paint for John, an artist/animator in Montecito, CA. It was a pretty fun job. We worked about fifty steps from the beach in a sunny little hut surrounded by oleanders, eucalyptus, and palm trees. Sometimes John and I walked on the beach at lunch or else I sat outside eating whatever it was I liked eating at the time, something with alfalfa sprouts, no doubt. I canít remember how I got to and from work. My orange Karmann Ghia was 'in the shop' after one of my roommates accidentally let it roll off a cliff. Our mechanic neighbor said he'd fix it for a reasonable price, but ended up keeping the car for nine months. I could see it sitting next door as it disappeared under layers of leaves and bird shit. I guess I rode my bicycle to work or bummed rides from a friend, or hitched maybe. In any case, one day John offered me a ride home on the back of his motorcycle, a BMW something or other. He taught me how to be a good passenger: hold on tight and lean into the turns. Then he began the jumping ritual it took to start the motor. I climbed on back and just before we left, he handed me the helmet.
"Wear this," he said. He only had one.
"No, Iím ok. Go ahead," I said. But he insisted so I put it on.
It took fifteen minutes to get from Montecito to where I lived in Santa Barbara via the scenic route, ten by freeway. John chose the freeway. When we started down the ramp from Coast Village Road my heart was thumping, but there wasnít much traffic and once I got used to the speed, it seemed ok, even fun. As we passed the turnoff for the Bird Sanctuary, the bike did this weird wiggly swerve. Then another. And another. I thought John was playing around, doing a little motorcycle dance in the middle of the freeway. "Cut it out!" I shouted, gripping his shoulder, but he couldnít hear me, or maybe he could but he didnít respond and the bike kept swerving. I was mad at him for playing around. What a jerk! Then my senses did what senses do when something unexpected and frightening begins to happen: they snapped to full attention while simultaneously s-l-o-w-i-n-g e--v--e--r--y--t--h--i--n--g d---o---w----n. I experienced the moment with uncharacteristic calm. I noticed the color of the cars and the people in them, the freeway shrubs, the seagulls,the lavender hills, and asphalt racing under me like swift water. The swerves became swervier and swervier until finally the bike flipped and the two of us went flying. I lay on my back watching cottontail clouds drift across the blue sky, my arms and legs spread out as if I were tanning on the beach. At some point, it dawned on me that I wasnít on the beach, but in the middle of the freeway with a helmet on my head, and I sat up. John was scrambling towards me. The bike lay on itís side.
"Are you all right?" he said in a shaky voice,
"I think so," I said, while a traffic jam formed behind us.
"We had a blow out," he said, "I tried to keep the bike upright as long as I could."
Johnís motorcycle dance had been a lifesaving maneuver. He wasnít a jerk after all. Nor was he bloody or scratched and he still had all of his parts, as far as I could tell. Actually he looked fine except for mussed up hair and a scared look on his face.* I took off the helmet and ran my hand over a huge dent where it had hit the curb of the median strip. When the police arrived I handed the helmet to John and said goodbye, maybe we hugged. He had to stay there and take care of his motorcycle.** Sitting in the back of the cop car I peeled off layers of clothing searching my body for wounds. That was the worst part. I didnít know what Iíd find: half my intestines might be hanging out, or maybe a rib would be poking through the skin. All I found was a hole in my sweater and a bloody scrape on my elbow. I started to shake.
"Youíre very lucky," said one of the cops. "We consider motorcycles to be unsafe vehicles."
At home, I tossed my bloody sweater in the direction of a chair, fell on the bed, and shook for a couple of hours. I replayed the motorcycle dance and the sparkling fullness of those moments when everything slowed down before the crash. They were the most vivid moments of my life.
* One of his fingers was broken.
** John sold his motorcycle soon afterward.
by Jennifer Robin
Welcome to Girls Gone Motorcycling Week at USA. Today, we are honored to have reknowned singer-songwriter, animal-purse designer-sewer, and scholarship-winning graphical-design talent Jennifer Robin share the inspirational tale of a motorized two wheel love affair.
When I think back about my bright blue Vespa Ciao, a flood of great memories washes over me. It was by far the most carefree period in my life. I was about 22 and lived in Santa Barbara California. My mo-ped was my only means of transportation for several years. Beautiful Santa Barbara was the perfect little city to scoot in. Uncrowded, gorgeous weather, you name it.
It was about 1979 and I was a budding musician and living in a tiny cottage that was one of six and paid only $212 a month rent. I would park my Ciao just outside the front door and to the left of the little covered porch. When it rained I would push (let's call her Bloo), up the three steps onto the porch where it would just fit. I remember many a rainy night getting up out of bed and racing outside across my 10 feet of cottage to get Bloo up and out of the rain. I was very protective of her. During that same period I was designing and making purses and backpacks in the shapes of animals called Jennifer's Jungleô. I sold them in galleries. I would ride all over town on Bloo with a Puppy Pack on my back, ears flapping in the wind. Like I said this was a very carefree time. I would also make bagel runs on her. I was totally into lentil soup and bagels and there was a great New York style bagel store in town where I would always buy some even number of bagels, stuff them into my puppy pack and scoot home. But, being this budding musician I eventually needed to haul a P.A. system and guitars to my gigs. So I bought an old Buick Special, but rode Bloo whenever possible.
Life then became more intricate and involved. I met this musician and we started living together and eventually married. I had to give up my cottage but I kept my Ciao. Matter of the fact I kept Bloo for several more years, even through the move to Los Angeles. That marked the end of an era. it quickly became apparent that L.A., being such a car town, was not the best place for mo-peding. Especially where we lived. So Bloo would sit for weeks in a storage room with all the amps and keyboards and microphone stands. It became too hard to see her with all her spirit in such a state of inertia. So I made the difficult decision to sell her. I got her all spiffed up and checked out and placed an ad in the Recycler. Well, I got a call from a UCLA student and thought that he sounded perfect. We drove Bloo down to West L.A. and met with the prospective buyer. It was all going very well, although I was feeling quite choked up and sentimental. The prospective buyer had never driven a scooter, gets on for a test run and proceeded to fly willy nilly into a curb. I was so angry. I couldn't believe that someone could be that stupid! Mostly I was sad to see her all scraped up dinged up and skewed. But as Underblog would say "that was a sure sale!" I drove home that day feeling pretty empty and like I had just lost an old friend.
I now live in a beautiful part of L.A. in a small space, and single again. I have been writing and performing my music for many years now. It's my passion. That period with Bloo, the cottage and the puppy pack had a profound effect on me. Over the years I have had a recurring dream about going back to that little cottage. There is something there for me. I think part of the reason I am as happy as I am now is because I am returning to some of the simplicity and innocence that I had while riding on Bloo. Who knows maybe I will buy myself another scooter someday.
My love affair with motorbikes began with the illicit sort: when I was about seven years old, my oldest brother would sit me in front of him on his mini-bike and take me for laps in the clearing in the woods behind our house known as The Valley, a clearing where the county had buried a giant surface run-off pipe. These communal spaces have all but disappeared from the suburban landscape.
When it comes to the streets, motorized vehicles are more strictly enforced. California is pretty explicit in its vehicle code about what kinds of vehicles require registration and which kinds of vehicles are verboten altogether. At least, I never saw in California (nor in Maryland) the variety of oddball "scooters" and go-karts peddled here in Minnesota. I reckon the big appeal of these Taiwanese imports is that they exist pretty much outside the regulatory universe, appealing to those individuals who are unable to obtain insurance coverage or have lost their licenses. Paradoxically, these vehicles appear to be much more dangerous to operate. Capable of reaching speeds between 9 and 20 miles per hours,they are dangerously underpowered. It can be argued that bicycles are likewise underpowered, but they can actually move more quickly than these micro-scooters. Moreover, their tiny wheel size prevents them from achieving much of the stabilizing gyroscopic effect upon which bicycles and motorcycles depend for stability. Finally, bicyclists have the option of riding on the sidewalk, from which these micros are banned.
The sale of these micros may be legal in Minnesota, but where exactly is it legal to operate them? They are banned from bike paths (I recently spyed two Latino youth pushing them along the bike path as a police car pulled away) because they are motorized, and from the highways because they lack the standard operating equipment motorized vehicles are required to have, e.g. brake lights, head lights, and the ability to keep up with traffic. It appears to be that it is possible rather than legal to ride them wherever one can get away with it.
One thing I really like about Minnesota is that they appear to be much more cavalier than either California or Maryland about this kind of thing. For instance, I routinely ride my Trail 90 on the bike paths at the U. and park in the bike racks. Admittedly, I used to fear that someone would notice and tell me to stop or, worse, write me a ticket. Instead, motorcycle cops (without a doubt the most likely people to issue tickets) ignore me altogether.
In Maryland and DC, I noticed that young adults would often flout the helmet law if they were riding <50cc scooters. Still, these scooters had license plates -- meaning that the vehicles had to meet some basic safety requirements. In St. Paul, kids can be seen (and heard) buzzing around the neighborhood on these things when it is completely dark outside. They buzz down the streets, up onto the sidewalk when cars approach, terrorizing pedestrians (looking out after their own safety) and motorists (looking out for the kids on these unregulated vehicles). I miss those semi-public spaces where kids could endanger themselves, and envy the motorized fun the kids seem to be having. At any rate, I expect the neighborhood micros to disappear just as soon as either the kids reach driving age or the first broken bone results. If the machines last that long.
The last seminar of the semester. Presentations. Due to the constricted schedules of our seminarians, all twelve us were to present. Normally, class runs two and a half hours, a long time to talk about political sociology. To accommodate the large number of presentations, we planned to meet half an hour early and end an hour late, thus extending the seminar from two and a half to four hours long.
The plan was to keep each presentation (Powerpoint, please) to 15 minutes. With five minutes for Q 'n' A after each presentation, all of us could fit in. Upon arrival, we delighted to see that the prof brought a cart full of juice, pop, tortilla chips (the "plain" looking ones were spicy!) and cookies.
There were some technical difficulties, exacerbated by the fact that no one in the room had ever had to set up the computer/video presentation equipment. Plus we needed a key to the cabinet. We looked at our fellow seminarians email inbox on the screen as they went through their email for their presentations.
The first few presentations ran a little long, and it became clear that we were not going to end on time. The prof was really getting into the Q 'n' A. After the first two hours had passed, one of our astute if sometimes quiet seminarians noted that there were still seven seminarians to go. It was suggested that the presentations could be edited a little. One presenter demanded her full allotment of time, since had rehearsed her 15 minute presentation; it lasted 45 minutes, with Q 'n' A just about an hour. Then she left. If all of us had rehearsed so well, it would have been a 12 hour seminar without breaks.
We decided to chug on rather reschedule another meeting. Those among us who had children to rescue from day care or other pressing commitments bailed. During the breaks, we stopped getting "goodies" off the cart and stretched instead. All of us at one point or another stood through some of the presentations, to get off our cans for half an hour.
It was eight o'clock when when the other most locquacious seminarian began her presentation. She wanted to go last, but Quiet Insightful surprisingly held on her to the "clean up" position in the order. We had heard about her project all semester. We were ready for a long one. She asked us to cut her off after 20 minutes or so. We did not: she had been so patient to sit through all of our presentations after all.
She rambled. And rambled. And rambled. She was tired. Like us, she had been in seminar for six hours. But now she had to perform. As her presentation went on, she slowed noticeably. Her presentation ground to a slow almost imperceptible halt. Then Other Locquacious was surprised to learn that there was another presentation to go.
Quiet Insightful demanded to go last because it was her last day at the U. Her presentation actually prompted quite a bit of discussion; Quiet Insightful had volunteered with the campus vegan activists. This brought up a lively philosophical discussion of whether the Genesis gives Man dominion over the beasts, and whether or not that implied that we should be eating them. By the time discussions ended on her presentation, it was ten o'clock, and all of us were fairly wiped out.
As a motorcyclist, I have found that it is in my best interest to pay extra careful attention to what people are doing in their cars. This morning I saw a woman at a stoplight in her SUV using her cell phone and applying make up AT THE SAME TIME while driving. I mean really. Shortly thereafter, I swerved to the far right of the lane to avoid turning into oncoming traffic. Turns out she had a dog on her lap. I love dogs as much as anyone, but again. Really.