May 31, 2011

Old Friendships

So here I am, above palm trees, so straight and tall. You are smaller getting smaller but I still see you.

One of the most hurtful feelings a person can go through is realizing you're just not as close friends with someone as you thought. Last night I was discussing this with someone I consider my best and closest friend and how we've both found ourselves in situations like that. Then today on Reddit someone posts an open question to AskReddit asking what the most dickish way in which a friend showed you're not as close as you thought. If you're feeling sad about having lost friends this will break your heart.

Naturally I started thinking about the friends I left behind and the friends who left me behind. Just as naturally, the one I'm mourning now was much, much more than a friend. When I decided to cross the line from friend to more I knew I could potentially lose him, or at least the relationship we used to have. We swore and promised and proclaimed no matter what we'd always be friends, and through our many disappointments we would express hurt but always end with more declarations of friendship. Except that now it's becoming clear that we're not, in fact, friends anymore.

On the one hand, this realization has been helping me finally begin, for real, the forgetting. I think in the last 6 months I got everything out of my system, including telling him I do, actually, want him to move here. I didn't lay everything on the line, but I got close enough, and... nothing. My mourning now is centered around the realization that not only won't he move, but he's completely content. Strangely, this I'm OK with. This means I can stop hoping or wondering or thinking what if and open my eyes to the rest of the world. Knowing things won't change, while a little heartbreaking, is at least somewhat of an answer to my always questioning mind. It's something concrete to mourn.

But on the other hand, I recognize that I don't want to forget. If I've lost the friendship entirely it's OK.The time we spent together as much more than friends was worth losing the friendship, as fucked up as that might sound. That time meant a lot to me, and it isn't something I want to forget.

Of course I hope the time will come back someday when we can be friends again. I hope by then I'll have gotten over my hopes and imagined jealousies and will be able to accept him as a friend, and I hope he'll do the same for me. I hope that the closeness we once had won't be forgotten forever, and I hope he doesn't become one of those friends that vanishes forever.

Unlike the thread on Reddit, neither of us did anything hurtful enough to cause a lost friendship, so maybe our story won't end up like the stories I read. I guess at this point only time will tell.

May 30, 2011


Just an infinity edge pool in a mansion. No big deal.

Some years ago I was friends with a Canadian-American who was dating a German girl. Much of their relationship was long distance (San Diego to Munich long distance, not one Southern Californian county to another bullshit long distance), but it was ridiculously obvious how much they cared for one another and she ended up moving back here and they got married and are presumably still ridiculously happy in love. However, while they were long distance they still were able to meet about once a month. For like a year. To put this in perspective, when The Ex and I were doing our shitty version of "long distance," which seems really dumb when you compare it to what our friends had, we didn't even see each other that often; we had the ability to talk on the phone whenever we wanted and could have spent every weekend together had we really wanted to. Obviously we didn't really want to, or we would have made it happen.

Even still, I found myself wondering how this German girl was able to visit the States about once a month. The Canadian-American took advantage of the multiple conferences held around the country (which were available to him as a grad student) and his German doctor girlfriend got permission to go to these same conferences. They were both paid to spend a night or two together in various cities. God damn was I jealous.

But one thing that really helped to make it that easy to spend so much time together is the way Germany views vacation time. How she explained it, something like every hour of OT she worked, which happened nearly every day, she accrued vacation time in lieu of extra pay. So a 10-hour day got her half a day of vacation time. And that's on top of the regular 4-6 weeks of mandatory vacation Germans just get, which is on top of national holidays. Fuck, America sucks sometimes.

So my Canadian-American friend and his German girlfriend got through their year or so of long distance dating with the help of Skype, international conferences and her nation's incredible vacation system. And The Ex and I didn't even talk on the phone every day.

America has always been stingy with vacation time. Work seems to be valued above everything else, and time spent away is almost grudgingly, like "oh, if I have to take this 3-day weekend I will, but I'm not happy about it". How did we get this way? Why is it so bad to be excited for the weekend, for a 3-day weekend, for a week off or for regularly scheduled days off? Why is it so looked down on us expressing our happiness at being away from work? This boggles my mind especially after realizing how few Americans actually love their work. We end up doing jobs that we're good at or jobs that happen to make us a lot of money, not necessarily jobs that make us happy or fulfill a part of our soul. But even if we all did love our jobs, enjoy waking up every morning to go to work, and truly enjoy our time spent at work, we still need time away. No matter how much those lucky few truly love their jobs (and even if we all truly loved our jobs), we need time to focus on ourselves, our families, our lives and interests outside of work. And it feels like we should all be pretending that our jobs are the only thing we need.

The upside is America is slowly realizing the need for a work-life balance. Some companies even use their flexible understanding as a way to grab valuable employees. Though this is great, and it may lead up to us actually playing on the same level as other countries, it feels really weird that some companies get to brag about offering vacation time, health benefits, and other outside-life-related perks. It feels especially weird to think that other countries seem to get so much more for their time and money: Americans say that other countries have higher taxes, but those same countries have free universal health care and some have free universities. Overtime worked translates into more time off, which makes more sense than extra money. Other countries seem to recognize the link between healthy lives and productive employees. When is it our turn?

May 22, 2011

Still Here...

That was awkward. "No one knows the day or the hour..." Mathew 24:36

Well guys, it's the evening of May 22, 2011, more than 24 hours after the Rapture was supposed to have occurred. I saw no one raptured into Heaven, there was no discernible earthquake in my area, and nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever happened on May 21, 2011 (except for an insane amount of REM quotes on Facebook). At 6pm I was getting back to the hotel room in Pam Desert after an afternoon reading by the pool. No end of the world travesty. In fact, it felt a little like paradise.

Little surprise there. If I actually did feel an earthquake and people were suddenly recalled to Heaven I probably would have had a stroke. But what about all those "true believers" who were fully expecting to experience the second coming of Christ last night?

This is both depressing and hilarious.

Some felt confusion, some felt bewilderment, and all felt disappointed. I'm sure some also felt embarrassment for having believed some crazy whacko as strongly as they did, some even going so far as to give up homes, jobs and family to travel the country and spread the "awesome news" that the world would end May 21, 2011.

So, what happened to these people once they woke up on May 22, 2011 and realized they were wrong? Since there was supposedly "no Plan B," not even an obscure chance that May 22 would come for the saved, there's no turning back. Some will be destitute, some might go crawling back to the families they left behind. But there's a concern that these uber devout might turn to suicide as a means of coping with this severe loss and disappointment.

But there's a problem with this (and I realize it's a logical issue being applied to illogical people, but bear with me): Christians are forbidden from committing suicide. So no matter how bad their sorrow is at being wrong/left behind/whatever, they have to bear it until their natural or otherwise-not-self-inflicted deaths. This brings me to another logical problem I have with this whole rapture ordeal: some people truly believed this was God's telling them May 21, 2011 would be the date of the rapture, not a crazy old man who's been wrong before. And while I'm on my rant, the crazy old man who came up with this whole thing HAS BEEN WRONG BEFORE!

Harold Camping, however, isn't admitting lunacy. He says May 21 was an "invisible judgement day" and that the world will still come to an end October 21, 2011. And, of course, he's keeping donated money because he's not wrong.

May 19, 2011


Bugs Bunny: Eh, what's up doc? Hey, I gotta get back to Earth. Can you help me?
Marvin the Martian: *Busy putting his space modulator in a doomsday device* Oh, the Earth won't be there in a few moments. I'm going to blow it up.
Bugs Bunny: Oh, never mind then. *Stiffens cartoonishly in surprise*
Marvin the Martian: *Closes eyes and covers ears* 5...4...3...2...1
Bugs Bunny: *grabs space modulator and runs*
Marvin the Martian: Where was the kaboom? There was supposed to be a great big kaboom. *Notices the space modulator is missing* Hey! Come back with my space modulatooooor!

Seems like everyone thinks the world is going to end these days. Thursday April 21, 2011 was the day Skynet, the super-computer from Terminator, was supposed to become self aware and decide to destroy humankind. May 21, 2011 is Judgement Day, according to some guy (who was wrong once before). June 1, 2011 is the date determined by alien crop circles two years ago to signify Earth's demise. December 21, 2012 is the date the Mayan calendar predicts the end of the world. And each theory has its proof in order to suck in the unsuspecting.

Skynet: OK, so this one was totally fiction, but in the Terminator trilogy the super computer system realizes its own identity in the future (2011) and decides humans are bad and must be destroyed and go about killing a ton of people until Sarah Connor and her son strike back and save the human race. Ta dah!

Judgement Day: Harold Camping is the genius behind this theory. Back in 1994 he said the same thing and the world kept on turning. But this time he's right, or so say his devout followers. He's worked out this whole mathematical system that proves he's right and then went around and put up billboards all over the country saying the Bible guarantees this date. I've read the Bible (twice) and it says repeatedly in the second testament that no one is able to know the day or time of the coming of the Lord. But if this guy says the Bible guarantees it maybe there was something I missed. Twice.

Crop Circles: This one's a little more complicated. The website goes into detail on how it's so impossible that these crop circles, which appeared in June 2009, could have been created by people. And the symbols depict a time in June 2011 when the planets and some random foreign object are all in line. This could actually have some effect on our planet, if it's true that the line up occurs, but I seriously doubt our planet will be torn to shreds.

Mayan Calendar: This has been talked about for years now. People even made a (terrible, awful) movie about the world ending in 2012. Now, every earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, volcano eruption or oil spill is all part of some great plan signaling the end of the world. The supposed official date for the end of life as we know it is December 21, 2012, but there's no consensus on how, exactly, it's going to end. We do know that planets and the Milky Way will align on that date (at 11:11pm, how freaky is that?), so, as with the crop circles, whatever cosmic stuff happens will happen, but it's probably not going to be the end of the world.

If you believe in any of these apocalypse theories (ok, so Skynet never happened) it's time to do some praying, buy some supplies and otherwise prepare yourself for the end.

But what does this mean for the rest of us? The greatest excuse to party! Some atheists are having a shin dig on May 22, 2011 to celebrate Harold Camping being wrong (hell, even some Christian groups are purposefully organizing large events immediately after May 21). I might join them to celebrate their ignorance: I remember specifically reading in the Bible that no one is to know the time or day of the rapture, not even Jesus himself. So what makes this schmuck think the Bible hints at it, much less "guarantees it?" There will also surely be huge celebrations right before Christmas next year, which will likely last for ten days, until January 1, 2013.

These are interesting times we live in, and I look forward to each end of the world.

May 16, 2011

I Was In Love With The Place

I don't hate the number 4 so much now.

Before I lived in my studio in Banker's Hill, San Diego didn't feel much like my city. I moved all the time, changing zip codes as if it was nothing. I never felt at home. Community, and living alone for the first time in my life, changed that. In that quirky, old and crooked apartment I fell in love with San Diego.

Living two blocks from Balboa Park, an easy stroll from Hillcrest and an $8 cab ride from downtown connected me to the city. There was so much to do and experience, always people around, always someone doing what you're doing which makes a person living alone feel not so alone. For once, since moving out of our home the summer before my senior year of high school after my parent's divorce, I felt like I belonged. That space was mine to do with as I pleased, to cook what and when I wanted, to have whoever I desired over, to clean as often and as obsessively as I needed. My cat was no longer harassed, I no longer worried about who would be up when I came home, and sharing evenings with my neighbors made me happy to be social again.

But I also fell out of love in that apartment. With this newfound love for my city, and especially for my neighborhood and my job, my heart started leaking the love I had for my relationship. That love was suddenly no longer as important. My cat, my life, my city and my passion were all so much more deserving of love so I let the other one go. Looking back I mourn the temporary nature of my job and that I had to leave that apartment and that neighborhood, but I don't mourn the loss of my relationship.

Finally, that apartment was where the seeds of a future love were laid. Weeks, possibly days, before I packed up and left I was falling asleep when the person whose arms were comfortably wrapped around me whispered "I love you." I wasn't meant to hear those words so I pretended to be asleep. Those words weren't exactly real at the time, but they did mean there was more than just companionship. I wasn't ready to be in love with another person then, and because of that the following months were a roller coaster of disappointments. Now those seeds that were planted just before I left that place have sprouted and they feel like they're in full bloom.

Maybe it's all in my mind, just like the song:
I was in love with the place in my mind, in my mind
I made a lot of mistakes in my mind, in my mind
It's hard to think of certain things as mistakes though. I don't like that I don't live in Banker's Hill, but I can't afford it; I don't like that I'm not in love, but I wasn't ready when it was offered. In a perfect world I'll live in my old neighborhood again and the one I want will be nearby, and I'll just be the happiest girl in San Diego. Maybe it's time for me to make more of an effort at getting what I want.

May 15, 2011

When I Grow Up

Sometimes it would be nice for life to be this easy.

When I was little I was going to work with animals and I was going to be a mommy. In high school I was going to be an animal trainer. In college I was going to be a journalist. Post college I was going to be a writer (whatever that meant). When the economy tanked and the opportunity to go to grad school presented itself I desperately wanted to hop on that boat, but I didn't know what to study. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life: biology sounded great but I'd need to completely start over and I still had no idea what I wanted to do specifically. Journalism still sounded fun to study, but the idea of being a reporter was totally unappealing.

This went on until last December. I was at my mom's for Christmas and it was just us two, talking and drinking wine. I was complaining about the sucky job market and how I wanted to get my master's but couldn't decide in what when she asked what seemed like a really obvious question: "Do you know what you want to do?" I started laughing (kind of hysterically) and practically shouted at her. If I knew what I wanted to do I'd be doing it, or at least taking the steps to do it.

The following months somehow sparked a change. I remembered the deadline to apply for schools was early February and if I didn't do it now I wouldn't start my master's until late 2012. Towards the end of my undergrad I took a few sociology courses because I'd always been interested in women's issues, but after two classes in which I learned women are valued less than men, no matter where you are in time or space, I got bored. In the years since sociology has stayed in the back of my mind; until a few months ago when I saw the deadline to apply was days away.

After years of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, being confused about my hopes for love and wishing to return to the time and place I was happiest, I know exactly what I want. And knowing is weird. It's weird to have answers to big questions like life and love. My dream life, which I'm working towards, is to get my master's, work in a field I'm passionate about and fall in love with a certain someone.

The sucky thing about knowing what I want is recognizing that there are certain things I just don't have control over. I know what I want to study but certain admissions departments don't think I'm deserving of the opportunity, I know what I want to do but it depends on available jobs, and I know who I want to be with but a certain person still lives too far away. Finally knowing what I want is freeing, but it can also be debilitating when it's something I can't have.

At least a girl can dream, right?

May 12, 2011

A Decade

Sweet girl.

I've written before, many times, about my cat Milo. Today was the tenth anniversary if his death. It may seem silly or crazy (let's not forget I'm both silly and crazy) but that was the first thing I loved and he's still the love of my life. Had he still been alive he would turn 18 this year, which is a pretty unlikely age for a cat, especially one that goes outside. But that doesn't matter.

It's so weird to think of someone being dead longer than they've been alive. Milo died ten years ago, a few months before he would have turned 8 years old. Two nights ago I dreamed our dog, Tipper, was with me on an intense hike with a group of strangers. She was the only dog and she was a real trooper, even though she was older. Everyone loved her, she hopped up onto the rocks like a pup, and swam in the water with me, even though in real life she was a little afraid of water. I gave her a big hug, like I was just realizing how great she was, and it felt so real in the dream. I woke up pretty happy that I had that experience with her, even though it wasn't real. I miss her a lot; she was a great dog.

The behbeh.

Part of the problem with loving animals is they don't live very long. That means I'll love, and lose, a great number of animals in my life. On the other hand, I've been lucky enough to not have had to experience the loss of people in my life yet. But I feel like I can have a stronger connection with animals than I can with most people, so maybe their losses have more of an effect. But that doesn't matter either, because that's something I never want to change.

May 9, 2011

So Much More Than This

"I'm famished!"

Ah, the job search. That never-ending search for a job that sucks your soul least. As I start my 4th week at my new job I hit the depressing realization that I do not give a shit. And it's not even like the money is good, either. It would be somewhat decent if it was for something I cared about, but using all of my creative juices to convince people to call us for their garage door repairs isn't what I saw myself doing.

On the upside, I am learning a lot about SEO, which is all the rave with my field. But on the downside I'm being asked to put a lot of effort (skipping lunch, staying late and working in a stressed environment) for not a lot in return and for something that doesn't really matter.

This is where it sucks being an idealist. I'm not about doing what it takes to make the big money, or working a shit job so I can afford nice things or doing something I don't like or don't care about only because it pays well. It's more important to me to love my work, like my coworkers and look forward to Monday, rather than just the paycheck. As long as my needs are met and I can support my lifestyle (which is far from that of the rich and famous) without worrying about every dollar I spend, I would much rather do something I love and always be a little poorer than be miserable and rich.

Will I find my happy middle ground or, if I'm lucky, that perfect job? Is there a position out there that will allow me to help others, improve the world and feel good while also letting me live comfortably? No one helps me financially; my parents don't pay my rent, I don't have a boyfriend or husband or sugar daddy to pay my bills or buy me nice presents, I do everything for myself. I need to work to support myself because I have absolutely no choice. Unfortunately, I'm afraid, the jobs where you can genuinely help others and make the world a better place are pretty low-paying jobs. I might be able to make a paycheck doing something I'm passionate about but if I ever want to have a savings or retirement plan I better marry rich. And while it would be nice to work for fun and not because I need the money, I kind of doubt that'll happen. I made my peace a long time ago with being at least a little poor, but I would like to live in a place that doesn't need bars on the windows.

Too much to ask?

May 8, 2011

Subtle Differences

When I first told people I preferred Hillcrest to North Park I got a lot of surprised reactions. But in the last 7 months (apparently it's been that long already) I've got some subtle yet concrete reasons for my preference.

First, the not so subtle (the blindingly obvious?):
There are cops everywhere. Like, everywhere. It doesn't make me feel any safer, it makes me feel like they're either out to get me for whatever I could possibly do wrong or that there's enough crime to necessitate that many cops.

Now the subtle:
Interactions: People in North Park aren't as likely to smile. Running through Balboa Park I probably get smiles or at least nods from 3/4 of my fellow runners/dog walkers/outdoor yoga enthusiasts. Running around North Park gets me smiles/nods/eye contact from maybe 1/3 of the people who are out and about. Not quite as friendly.

Maybe you just have to be more friendly on a bridge?

Environment: Hillcrest has a lot more trees than North Park. Lawns are more maintained, buildings more recently painted, and sidewalks a little cleaner. North Park has less green, more concrete, and more litter (which could be one reason why there's bi-weekly street cleaning in North Park and none in either of the two places I live in Hillcrest.

All the pretty palm trees.

Sounds: There are constant sirens. In Hillcrest there are ambulance sirens because there's a major hospital nearby, plus quite a few retirement homes. In North Park there are cop sirens and fire truck sirens (though there's a fire station down the street from my apartment), which are a bit more unsettling.

Smells: North Park smells like fried food. Between the fast food restaurants and the smells wafting from various apartments, it's no wonder we're an obese country. On pretty much all of my running paths in North Park I pass by at least 1 fast food place, plus there's fried smells coming from apartments all around. There are also loads of bars which almost exclusively sell fried foods, making the smell nearly impossible to avoid. Breathing in fried foods kind of sucks when you're huffing and puffing.

There are a few other things that make me feel less at ease about being in North Park (the bars on my windows, the amount of bums, the way the streets smell, the lack of parking) that I never thought of in Hillcrest. One day I'll return to Banker's Hill, that perfect distance away from Balboa Park, University Avenue, Downtown and the airport and flight path. In Banker's Hill I felt both safe and in the middle of the city. I almost never had to drive around looking for parking, I could walk to Hillcrest or Downtown, and nights were quiet as businesses and families turned off the lights. I might be romanticizing that area a bit, but I did love it, and did hate to leave it.

May 7, 2011

Two Years Ago

Two years ago I made out with a giraffe. Kind of.

Two years ago yesterday was the first day of the rest of my life. On May 6, 2009 I signed employment papers to be a photo caravan driver at the Wild Animal Park. I met people who changed my outlook on life so much that I'll never be happy if I'm not doing something I'm passionate about.

Two years ago I had been unemployed for 3 months after being laid off from my writing job. I wasn't happy there and had been looking for a new job, but never would have looked at the zoo job board had I not gotten laid off. And because I was desperate for a job I knew I'd take anything. Luckily, being a photo caravan driver was the best thing to happen and I rocked my interview, getting the job the next day. I went into the interview thinking it was for the Journey Into Africa tram and was beyond excited to hear otherwise. I spent the next 4 months getting up close and personal with dozens of wild animals, listening to my coworkers talk about their behaviors and how they've adapted to their environments, and watching species I don't know if I'll ever see in the wild act completely natural. It was a dream come true for me, a dream I never really knew I had.

Two years ago I didn't know this animal existed.

Two years ago I was in love with someone I knew wasn't right for me, but too afraid to let go. I had been going back and forth between wanting to break up and wanting to stay for almost 5 months. I didn't have the courage to leave a 5+ year relationship and I knew it. Meeting the photo caravan people, seeing their immense passion for these animals, getting glimpses of their lives and the animals in them, made me realize how unhappy I would be if I didn't leave my relationship. I always knew I wanted horses, a cow, dogs, cats, rats, whatever came my way, but the person I was with not only didn't share that dream, he was allergic to animal hair. The only reason we lasted as long as we did was because he put up with it to be with me, and he adored my cat, but it was always a sore issue. I knew being with him would eventually mean giving up many of the animals I wanted in my life. It took me two more months to fully realize this, to fully realize how badly I would hurt in the future if I had to give up (or be restricted in) having animals in my life, but I finally did and I left. In the two years since it's been absolutely crucial to be with someone who loves animals. I may not have found the perfect man yet, but knowing that this is something I can't compromise on really narrows it down.

Two years ago I learned this face will likely determine who I love.

Two years ago I was lazy, tired and bored (and boring). Working in an office all day, staring at a computer screen, sitting on my ass drained all of my energy. I would go home, put on my pajamas and watch TV until I fell asleep. I didn't go out and do things at night and barely did anything on the weekends. I hated who I was. Working in the intense heat of the San Pasqual Valley, moving around and lifting buckets of water when I wasn't driving, and being mentally stimulated while I was driving gave me ten times the energy I had from my previous job. I left work sweaty and gross but rejuvenated, went home to shower and went out with friends and coworkers. I had energy to sit up late with my neighbors drinking wine and talking in the courtyard, energy to go to Taco Tuesday pretty much every week, energy for Stone movie nights, energy for bar hopping on nights off and running on mornings off. I loved who I was that summer. When the summer, and my job, ended I knew I would have to find a new job I could be passionate about, that I wouldn't be happy ever again doing something I didn't care for.

Two years ago I never imagined this photo would exist.

Two years ago I had no direction in my life. I gave up on being a journalist and had no where else to turn. If I wasn't going to continue making writing my career, what was left for me? Biology would be too impractical because of the debt I would have and because I still didn't know what I wanted to do. Writing didn't make sense if I wasn't going to be a teacher or a journalist, and nothing else interested me. Despite knowing I definitely wanted to continue with higher education I couldn't just do something for the sake of getting a master's. I needed to love it, needed to want it, needed to imagine myself in a specific position afterwards. And I'm excited to admit now, finally, I know what I want, know what I want to be, and know how I want to help change the world.

Two years ago I had an idea but I was on the verge of giving it up. Two years ago I found out I don't have to hide my passion and excitement for animals and conservation. Two years ago I learned what it meant to be a Cape buffalo. Two years ago I knew it couldn't be any other way.

May 2, 2011

A Deserved Death

This is my favorite!

Within minutes of the Obama press conference announcing the death of the current world's most hated terrorist, the Internet had a field day making snarky images. Facebook has also been blowing up with people arguing over whether we should celebrate his death or...well, mourn would be the wrong word, but not celebrate it. While I agree that no death should be outright celebrated (come on, we are better than that), some deaths are very, very deserved.

I'm a supporter of the death penalty. I think that some people do such atrocious things to others for no reason that they give up their right to humanity, and with that goes compassion and life. Osama bin Laden was responsible for hundreds of thousands of innocent deaths, and his own death could not have come too soon. But on the other hand, maybe chanting and singing and celebrating isn't the right approach. Maybe we should have a respectful moment of silence for those we've lost in the last ten years (still wrapping my mind around the fact that it's been ten years), and reassess our efforts in our war triangle.

Perhaps it's finally time to withdraw from the Middle East and focus our resources on strengthening out country from within. Let's spend that war money on defense (not offense), educating the poor kids who keep getting school days taken from them, putting people to work, and celebrating our own very unique culture. Maybe, if this was our goal, now we can stop "helping" others for long enough to help ourselves. Maybe.

After watching the press conference I wanted two things: to see a picture of the body and to learn about the SEAL who fired the bullet (and his brothers). I don't know if either will ever happen, but I'm glad for this milestone. I'm sorry it had to take so long, and I hope this means the end is coming soon.