Wednesday, January 31, 2007

One For The Gingers



While watching "Some Kind Of Wonderful" last weekend, my boyfriend turned to me and said "Have you ever noticed that in John Hughes movies, the 'outcasts' are usually red-heads?" And then I thought about it and realized that that was quite a profound statement. He was right! Let's take a look at some of his movies:

Sixteen Candles:
Molly Ringwald (red hair) awkward teen infatuated with a highschool senior.
Joan Cusack (red hair) geeky teen with braces and a neck brace on. I don't think that she had any lines in that movie but she was always making peculiar sounds.
Anthony Michael Hall (strawberry blonde) awkward teen infatuated with Molly Ringwald's character.

Pretty In Pink:
Molly Ringwald (red hair) awkward teen infatuated with a "richie".


Some Kind of Wonderful:

Eric Stoltz (red hair) awkward teen infatuated with a shallow gold digger.
The geeky guy that Mary Stuart Masterson asks to pretend that he likes her (red hair).

Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
The school secretary (red hair).
The Principal (strawberry blonde).

I looked for a picture of John Hughes and discovered that he is a brunette. But he obviously has an affection for redheads as he ensures that his ginger characters overcome their obstacles and find happiness.

When I was in grade school, I was fascinated with red-haired boys (in the same way that I thought it was cool when people were left handed). But in grade four, I had a crush on a ginger named Michael. I don't know if he was aware of it, but it didn't matter because it turned out that he had a crush on a blue-eyed blonde instead. It was then that I stopped liking red-haired boys. Michael smelled like creamed corn anyways...

Today it seems that red-haired celebrities try to cover their roots. Nicole Kidman is now a blonde. Lindsay Lohan (I think we all know what she has been nicknamed) now has black hair.In the first Spiderman movie, Kirsten Dunst wore a red wig. Was she afraid of becoming a ginger and colouring her hair? While on the other hand, Jon Heder dyed his hair red and sported a perm in "Napoleon Dynamite" and was only paid $1000.00 to star in that film!

I guess that the moral of this blog is that gingers are people too! If you come across one in your travels today, stop and give them a hug. They probably need one because who knows what kind of day they are having. Maybe they gave a pair of their underwear to a geek and he charged his friends $10 each for a peek. Or maybe their dad bought them a hideous prom dress. Or perhaps they wanted to borrow their friend's car to drive a girl home and it wouldn't start. Or maybe they went to work and didn't realize that they were wearing their bra over their sweater. You'll have to watch some John Hughes movies to understand what I am talking about.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Representin' The Buddha


I would like to thank "anonymous" for their comment on my last post. They referred to me as a busy gal and said that they were disappointed when they have to wait two days for a blog. Well, in reality, I am not that busy and usually when I haven't blogged it is because nothing very interesting happened that day, or I got home from work and took a nap that lasted until the next morning. (I kid. I really don't do that...most days) If I blogged on a "boring day" it would be like this:

I woke up. One of the cats puked on the rug. Why can't they do it on the hardwood or the linoleum? I went to work. I ate too much at lunch. I finished work. I bought some groceries on the way home (I do that sometimes, really). I discovered that they have named a new snack food after a good friend of mine. I checked out my blog. I had dinner. I did the dishes and scooped the cats' litter box. I talked on the phone. I picked out my outfit for tomorrow. I swiffered. I stayed up too late...again.

So, that is a boring day. But, one of the highlights of my day is visiting www.bionicbuddha.com. At the bottom of my blog page you will find a link to their blog. (I don't know how to put a link here). Check out their blog and also click on their link to a short film that one of the members has put on YouTube. It's awesome!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Beautiful People


This is a picture of America Ferrara, the star of "Ugly Betty". I have watched a bit of the show and I have really warmed up to Betty's character. In one scene, she has given herself a makeover. It is a bit over-the-top and outdated, included big hair, drag queen make-up and a blazer with huge shoulder pads. She is walking down the street and a group of construction workers whistle at her. She stops and says "Me?" The workers nod in unison and she gratefully exclaims "Thank you!!" She then trips in her high heels as she continues to walk down the street. I also watched her acceptance speech during the Golden Globe Awards. She was graciously humble and spoke about self-esteem and the beauty that Betty possesses.

Now that I have talked about inner-beauty, I will talk about plastic people. This weekend I went to an establishment to watch a friend of a friend's band play. I haven't been in a "bar" atmosphere for a long time. Here is a conversation that I witnessed in the woman's washroom:

Girl #1: So who is Marc?

Girl #2: He's that guy that I kissed that time.

Girl #1: Oh, I like you and Kirk together better.

Girl #2: Well, that's good because I'm dating him.

Girl #1: Whatever you do, please don't let me drink tonight, kay?

Girl #2: I hope that Kirk never finds out about Marc.

Pretty deep, eh? I have never seen so much orange skin in one place. And the guys looked like plastic. They all had that heavily gelled spiked hair. There were two guys that had identical hair. I imagined that they probably did each other's hair before they went out that night. They also all wore jeans with "faux" rips in them. One guy had a rip on the back of his knees! In the real world, people never rip their jeans there. Also, the jeans were dark blue which makes the wear-and-tear even less believable. I felt out of place in my regular "coffee shop" attire. I was almost tempted to walk up to those two girls in the washroom and ask them if they had an extra halter-top in their purse that I could borrow.

But the band was really good. They did a great version of The Fray's "How To Save A Life". That song is my guilty pleasure. During the evening, the group of us talked about the "Plastic People". The evening ended with a good laugh when my boyfriend's friends made plans for the next day and the one said to the other "Are you going for your botox shot tomorrow? Well give me a call after you go to Mystic Tan!" It was hilarious! Hilarious!!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Empty Fridge Special


So, let me set the scene for you...it is now 8:00pm and I am hungry, my fridge is pretty much empty and it is waayy too cold for me to go outside to walk for a half hour to buy groceries! So, here are my choices for dinner tonight:

Appetizers

Aged Won Ton Noodles with Hot Sauce
Pickles with Sour Cream
Vegetable Chips with Aged Spaghetti Sauce Salsa

Salads

Sorry, the chef regrets that we do not have ingredients for salad today. But we do have a lovely, aged Zesty Italian Dressing.


Entrees


Egg and Milk Free Crepes (as we are out of eggs and milk today) filled with Aged Tomato Sauce, a Dollop of Sour Cream and a Sprinkle of Parmesan Cheese

A Tablespoon of Rice in a Creamy Philadelphia Cream Cheese Sauce with a Sprinkle of Dried Basil

Three-Flavour Mix Gourmet Cat Food Soup in a Thick, Aged Tomato Base with a Dollop of Sour Cream and a Sprinkle of Dried Basil (Aged Won Ton Noodles optional)

Desserts

Egg and Milk Free Crepes filled with Strawberry Jam and Cream Cheese
Aged Won Ton Noodles drizzled in a Maple Syrup Coulis
Vanilla and Strawberry Sugar Wafers
Aged Gummy Bears

Drink Menu

Tap Water
A Quarter Cup of Peach Flavoured Sparkling Water
African Redbush Tea
Red Wine
Kahlua

What was I complaining about? I have lots of options for dinner tonight...and luckily I have all of the ingredients that I need to make a creatively, nutritious meal! Bon Appetit (and pass the Pepto Bismol! Oh, I forgot, I don't have any...)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Feline Antics



When I get home from work, sometimes I like to just sit and watch the cats play. Luckily they don't choose to do this at 3:00 in the morning. I find that they are pretty much on the same schedule as me. By 11:00pm they are pretty tired because they have spent their day cleaning my apartment, doing my laundry, talking on MSN or completing income tax returns (as a side business). Sometimes it is hard to get out of bed in the morning, because they don't want to get out of bed. There have been many mornings in which I am making the bed and a cat is sleeping on it. It makes me so tired that I am tempted to crawl back in for a few more minutes.

Cat playtime mostly consists of running from one end of the apartment to the other. Sometimes one cat will jump over another cat. Sometimes Gilbert (my tabby) will stand up against the wall by a doorway. I'll walk past him and I swear that I have seen him put his paw to his mouth as if to "sshhh" me. So I will walk into the other room and tell Sista (my short-haired black cat) that Gilbert is waiting around the corner so she'd better watch out. I don't know if she just doesn't listen to me or if she can't understand English because she falls for Gilbert's trick every time. She walks through the doorway and Gilbert jumps on top of her. Sometimes Gilbert hides in the closet waiting to jump out at Sista. That's when I will say "Oh, Gilbert is going to come out of the closet!" Sista and Bernie (my long-haired black cat) always get a good laugh out of that one. Gilbert just has a blank expression on his face and continues to wait for Sista to walk by. I wouldn't make that joke if I thought that Gilbert was homophobic or confused about his sexuality. I can guarantee you that he is all man! (even though he has been neutered)

I think that I need to spend more time with humans.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pursuit Of Happiness


Life is a bowl of cherries. The problem is that I can never just enjoy the cherries. I worry that maybe I will eat too many and my stomach will hurt. Or, that I will eat all of the cherries and there will be a cherry famine and I won't be able to get more to fill the bowl. Or, I worry that I might choke on a pit. I often find it difficult to simply allow myself to be happy, to let go of my fears and enjoy the moment.

I wish that I were more like my dad. He radiates positive energy. He is always smiling, even when he falls asleep at the table after dinner. About three years ago, my dad bought my sister and I these cute wrought-iron ladybugs in Jordan. It was very sweet because my sister and I were admiring them in the store. On the way home, my dad gave each of us one (he had gone back into the store without us knowing and purchased them). At the time, I was going through a difficult period in my life. I remember my sister asking me to put the ladybug on my bedside table and to promise myself to wake up every morning and think of dad. Because my dad wakes up every day and sees it as a new opportunity.

Even when times were difficult on the farm, you would never know it by being around my dad. I believe that his positive thinking has brought him to the success that he experiences today.

I hope that one day I can make him proud and become the person that I aspire to be. Maybe I'll put that ladybug back on my bedside table...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Run Lola Run" or "How To Make 100,000 Marks In Twenty Minutes"


This weekend I saw "Run Lola Run", a German film which was released in 1998, but I haven't had the opportunity to watch until now. It is a great movie! The basic plot is that Lola's boyfriend Manni has lost a bag containing 100,000 Marks of his mob boss' money. He has 20 minutes to replace the funds before meeting with his boss. When Lola receives a frantic phone call from Manni, she assures him that she will somehow get the money. What follows is a brilliant sequence of events with three possible outcomes. In each scenario, Lola and Manni's fate is determined by the simple actions of others. This was explained to me as "The Butterfly Effect".

What I liked most about the movie was that every character was flawed, but likable at the same time. As Lola runs in a determined but seemingly directionless manner, you can't help but root for her. Even though the money that she is trying to obtain will become mob money, you want her to obtain it through whatever means possible. The visuals were amazing although I felt a little nauseous watching all of that running. As I explained before, I can walk for hours, but I can not run. Running makes me nauseous and every muscle in my body aches after 3 minutes.

Some other films that explore the themes of the butterfly effect and parallel universes are "Sliding Doors", "Toto le Heros" and numerous episodes of "Seinfeld". "Run Lola Run" is subtitled, but like most great subtitled films, you don't even realize that you are reading. I even began to convince myself that I could speak German. "Der tasche! Der tasche!"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Plumber's Wisecrack


Whenever a plumber returns my call and says "So, I hear that you have a problem with your plumbing" or "When would you like me to take a look at your plumbing?" I am always tempted to say "Geez, you're gettin' a little personal". Bud dah dah ching! (Or the sound of crickets chirping).

Okay, so it's not that funny. And if I actually did say it, that would be so wrong. But I still think it and I laugh a little to myself. I would hate to say it accidentally and then later be alone in my apartment with the plumber while he fixes things. It would be so awkward. It would be awkward if he were attractive, and equally uncomfortable if he were hideous. So, alas, I will spare all plumbers my weak attempt at humour and keep it in this blog.

By the way, the whole "Plumber's Crack" thing is such a stereotype. Most plumbers that I know wear coveralls.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Waiting Room Woes


So today I finally made the dreaded trip to the Walk-In Clinic. Yesterday I was wickedly ill. I stayed in bed all day and dreamt that germs were hitting me with baseball bats and I had to fill out purchase orders for them. I believe that those dreams were fever-induced. I wasn't well enough to go to the doctor's yesterday, but today I felt better so after work, I took a trip to the clinic.

I am usually a fairly patient person and waiting doesn't really bother me. But today there were a couple of kids in the waiting room that were really getting on my nerves (today I decided that I should never be a parent or a teacher). I am definitely an advocate of instilling self-confidence in youths, but these kids were over-the-top. A mother was at the doctor's with her, I would guess, 10 year old son and 15 year old daughter. The boy had a very high pitched voice and he kept dancing around. When his mother would tell him to stop, he would say "But I am just entertaining everybody". The daughter kept telling stories about her day, such as "Today I was listening to my i-pod in the hallway and I started singing out loud and everyone was looking at me. I'm going to be in a video at my school. I was chosen to be in it. Mom, how old are you again? I always think of you as 42 and I just can't seem to get it in my head that you are actually 3 years older than that now". Then a song came on the radio and she said "Oh I love this song". I cringed as I just knew that she would probably start singing at the top of her lungs and, sure enough, she did. Then the boy started looking at me and saying "How you doin?" I just kept reading my magazine because I really didn't want to encourage these prima donnas. I know, I sound like a real bi-atch, but it was really annoying. When the boy's name was called he stood up and kept saying "That's me! That's me! That's me!" I felt like I was waiting in an audition room for some breakfast cereal commercial.

Then it was my turn to see the doctor. She squeezed my face, looked in my ears, throat and nostrils (I don't know what she could see in my nostrils that wasn't already running down my face, but she wanted to look in there so I let her) and came to the conclusion that I had a sinus infection.

I then waited for a bus for 40 minutes in -12 degree weather. The whole time that I waited for that bus and felt different parts of my body going numb, I thought about those bratty kids and how they were in their nice warm vehicle on their way home. I also thought that maybe the cold weather would kill some of the germs. And I thought about how pretty the trees look with all of the ice on them. And then the bus came and I wasn't a bi-atch anymore.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eee-I-Eee-I-Eee-I-Ohhhhh!!


Today I was at Tim Hortons having a breakfast sandwich with sausage (they are pretty good, by the way) when a man sat down at the table next to me. He looked familiar and I was reminded of my childhood. He was eating a bagel and the woman that he was with was eating a raisin bran muffin and I couldn't stop looking at him, because I felt that I knew him. And then I realized that I did! I recognized him from many years of watching "Polka Party" as a kid (did you know that that show ran for 22 seasons and is one of the longest running series in Canadian television?) When a woman walked by and said "Hi Walter" I knew that I was right. It was Walter Ostanek!

I became very nervous because I knew that I had to say something. I finished my sandwich, took a swig of steeped tea and walked over and introduced myself. I shook his hand and told him that I had grown up watching his television show and that he was a legend (He has been nominated for 13 Grammies and has won 3!) He thanked me and then started asking questions about me such as was I still in school (I always like that one:) what did I do for a living and where was I from. He was very genuine and easy to talk to.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to talk to him. But I do regret that I didn't ask for his autograph. I didn't have anything for him to sign, except for a Greyhound bus ticket. I am sure that he would have happily signed it, but I felt silly. Did you know that Walter Ostanek has hundreds of autographs from his favourite country music stars? He regrets that he never had the opportunity to meet Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins or Roy Acuff.

So, today I met Canada's Polka King! It was definitely the highlight of my day. Now I am going to go on Ebay and look for some autographed pictures. Or maybe I'll bring my Walter Ostanek Band album to Tim Hortons next Sunday (and a felt-tipped pen!)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Liquidation Heaven


I have always loved a deal. Since I was very young, I have had an affection for bargain shopping. Even as a fickle teenager, I was never embarrassed to buy clothing from a second hand store or a bargain shop.(Although, in the 80's, my sister and I would remove the labels from our "Esprit" or "Polo" clothing and sew them into our second hand store and bargain store purchases). But I have never enjoyed the wonders of shopping in Liquidation stores until now. My fella (let's call him Ivan, because "fella" sounds cheesy) introduced me to them. When we first went to one together, I stuck to the neatly stocked shelves containing dried goods and candles. I was intimated by the "messy" sections where everything seemed broken or dirty. But Ivan showed me that that is where the real gems can be found. I was amazed to watch him roll up his sleeves and dive right in. He opened boxes and began to assemble items, looking for missing parts. The key to successful Liquidation store shopping is to find something for at least 70% off. If it is broken, make sure that it is fixable. If it is dirty, try to determine the nature of the dirt and whether it can be removed. Then, you have a found yourself a deal!

Lately it has been a weekly ritual for us to visit the Liquidation store in my city. These stores usually remain open for a mere couple of months. As the one in my city neared its closing date, its contents went from 50% off to 70% and finally 90% off!
Last night, Ivan purchased a beautiful screen for his fireplace and a wrought iron log holder for $20.00 (including taxes)! For $3.65 (including taxes) I found a great pair of black corduroy pants and a cool Japanime rock band toy (complete with miniature pet cats, backstage passes and cereal boxes(?). It was an exciting evening! Today on the way to work, I passed by the store and the windows were papered up. I felt a bit nostalgic. For a brief time, that was "our place". Sniff...

It's funny, because now when I shop in second hand stores, or bargain stores such as Giant Tiger, I really think about my purchases. Value Village has become quite pricey, so now I am more likely to pass on purchases there as I can buy brand new items for less at a Liquidation store. (Don't get me wrong...I still encourage people to shop at second hand stores, especially if they are Non-profit organizations).

When I first saw Ivan's house, I was impressed by his knack for decorating. As I admired his various collections, area rugs and small appliances, he would point to items and tell me that he found them at Liquidation stores. Many of the items were originally from Pier One. From what I understand, when a store closes, Liquidation warehouses will purchase the inventory. The inventory is brought to a warehouse and kept in boxes on skids. Anyone can open a Liquidation store, but when they purchase their inventory, they purchase by the skid and have no idea of what is in the boxes.
Interesting, eh?

So, that is my lesson on Liquidation store shopping. So, the next time you pass by a Liquidation store, pull into the parking lot, roll up your sleeves and take a look! You never know what you might find....

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

A Surplus of Mucus


I have been ill for eight days. Actually, I feel fine but my head is full of a never ending supply of mucus. I don't have a fever and I am not coughing. But I swear that I could blow my nose every five minutes and still have more to blow. I don't know where it is all coming from! I don't mean to gross you out, but I really am a freak of nature right now. But I know that I am not alone. Almost everyone that I know has some form of cold or flu right now. Except for my fella, but I think that he has some sort of Eastern European spell or potion that keeps him safe.

My cold gets really embarrassing at work, because when I blow my nose at my desk, it lasts forever. I usually start laughing half way through (especially when I can hear people on the other side of the cubicle asking each other "What the hell is that noise"?). I would go to the washroom to blow my nose, but if I did that I would never be at my desk and I wouldn't get any work done. Actually, there is a woman in my office that can not stand it when people blow their nose in public. She told me that if her husband ever blew his nose in front of her, she would probably divorce him. The funny thing is, she sits right across from me and that hasn't stopped me from blowing my nose. I can't see her expression because there is a high cubicle between our work areas. But every time I finish blowing my nose, I wait for the silence to be interrupted by some sort of rant about how gross I am. It hasn't happened yet and I hope that it doesn't.

I am waiting for my illness to reach the 10 day mark and then I will go to the doctor. I dread going as I am sure to be stuck in the waiting area of some Walk-In Clinic with 20 other sick, gross people. Maybe I will even catch something else while I am there. I will have to take antibiotics and I hate taking medicine. If a medicine has any sort of side effect, I usually make myself believe that I am experiencing it. Usually within seconds of taking the medicine as well. Yes, it is all in my head.

I am growing accustom to the conjested feeling like I have been swimming or crying for 20 hours. I am also getting used to breathing with my mouth open. I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror and it is very attractive. I still have my tastebuds, but I have to be careful when I eat because I can only close my mouth for small intervals before I start having difficulty breathing. I also find that I am not such a quick thinker right now. It's like my head is all cloudy. Also, when you have to breathe with your mouth open, it is difficult to feel intelligent. It is sort of like "Faces You Should Never Make". (remember that blog?) After my mom read that blog she said that my sister and I looked like a pair of Siamese twins that she had watched a special about on tv. One is a Country & Western singer and...well....after she reminded me about them I had to agree that I did resemble the one twin...Okay, I digress...I have to go blow my nose....

Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Fine Line Between Creep and Artist


Last weekend I went for a hot beverage with my fella and his friend. We went to our usual place and it was crowded as it to be expected. At the table next to us, a mother was sitting with her young child, who was about three years old. He was very sweet and the interaction between the two of them was very endearing. But at one point, I noticed that at the table next to them a man was sketching the young boy without their knowledge. His hand moved quickly and his eyes darted from his notepad and back to his subject. I was a bit disturbed by this. I pointed it out to my table mates and although they could see my point, they said that it was a public place and the man wasn't really doing anything wrong. I was very curious and wanted to make sure that the man was really drawing a picture of the boy (I also wanted to see if he had any talent) so I went over to the creamer, stir stick and napkin bar and peeked over his shoulder. It was then that I realized that, not only was the man completing a sketch of the child, he had also finished a portrait of my fella (It was actually quite good).

When I returned to the table and informed my fella and his friend of this, they seemed uncomfortable for a moment, but then shrugged it off. We then became distracted by another freakish character who tried to strike up a conversation with us and follow us around the shopping mall.

I still think about this incident and wonder if this man has ever been approached by an unwilling model who requested that he stop drawing. But then I also think about the people that he has sketched and how they have become immortal on the page. Maybe some would be flattered...while others would be offended.

But as I mentioned before, he was quite talented. Perhaps he will become famous and the portrait of my fella will sell for thousands of dollars. Maybe he could seek royalties. All I know is, the next time that I go there for a hot beverage, I am going to make sure that I look my best. Because you just never know.....

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Baby Talk


My baby niece was born today! I have not been able to visit her as I have a really bad cold, but I hope to see her soon. All is well with mom and baby. I can't give out her stats or name for privacy reasons and she doesn't have a CB handle yet but she is healthy and from what I have heard, "very cute and neat". It was a bit of an adventure as no one could get in touch with my mom and dad as their fax machine was tying up the phone line. So, I called their next door neighbour and she informed me that they weren't home. She made sure to tell them the good news once they pulled in the drive.

I know all about the facts of life and a bit about science, but I am still amazed by the whole baby thing. I think that it is fascinating that we live the first nine months of our lives immersed in liquid, but our mothers have to worry about us in or near water after we are born. I also think that it is amazing that we are the combination of our parents genes and their parents genes and so on and that two people can make a new person. I also think that it is awesome that someone so small and fragile will eventually weigh 20 times more and be capable of so many things.

Welcome to the world, little one!

Love,
Aunt Cherry

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy New Year!






It appears that I have been on holidays, but in reality, I have only taken a holiday from blogging. My days off from work are Tuesday and Wednesday, so I have spent the holiday season working and trying to fit in social stuff, so I haven't taken the time to post. But as tomorrow is Tuesday and I am feeling inspired, I will post tonight.

I had a really nice New Year's Eve this year. I had to work New Year's Eve (day) and again today, but I still had an enjoyable evening. It was a casual get together with some dear friends, a few games of "Crazy 8's" and a glass of champagne. All of our watches and clocks were set to different times so we had to call someone to find out what the true time was. So we actually had two count downs and we still aren't sure which one was right, but it was a lot of fun. I think that this was the first year that I didn't watch the ball drop on tv, but we were listening to great music so it didn't matter. (Plus it's not the same without Dick Clark)

One thing that I have enjoyed about getting older is that my New Year's celebrations have become more relaxed. I like to stay away from bars and parties on New Year's. As long as you are with your close friends, that is all that matters. I know that it's cheesy but, I would like to get tickets to a New Year's dinner once and wear a fancy dress and stuff. But I guess that I could just cook dinner and wear a fancy dress at home next New Year's. I'm not a very good cook, but I do have a year to practise.

I was hoping that my sister would have a New Year's baby, but I am still anxiously awaiting the arrival of my new niece. All the best to my sister and a stress free delivery. And she knows that I want a phone call, even if the baby is born at three in the morning!

Here's to new beginnings and a Happy New Year! (There, I just clinked my glass against my computer monitor. It just has water in it but it's the thought that counts, right?)