Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Too Soon...

I wrote my blog too soon yesterday. I was mad about what the president had been tweeting and the reactions to it from the Sunday talk shows and the Republican talking heads. It was frustrating me so much that they give him a pass so very often. Little did I know that he was going to have a "here hold my beer moment" soon after I finished writing.

That press conference...Wow.

Brent got the full blast last night with a lot of "AND THEN!" and "AND ANOTHER THING!" I am pretty unshockable at this point where Trump and what he will do is concerned.Or at least I always think I am. But I was shocked yesterday. He didn't even pretend to not show his throat. Body language, tone of voice and of course what he was saying. I guess it took two hours in private to fully measure their dicks but Putin's is much larger. Maybe with spikes. And Trump's testicles have crawled up into his throat.

Yes, it's all sexist language, and yes that's on purpose. The Republicans talk about how they want a REAL man leading, no more apologies (their word for diplomacy) and they like that he's a tough guy! Yay! Macho! Well, let's just say that if Trump met Trump he'd grab him, because yesterday he showed he was Putin's pussy.

And the crazy thing is they are going to let him do it...when you're Trump you can get away with it.

There were rumblings of "oh hell no" from the Republicans not running again. There was a this isn't good but don't mention the president by name from TurtleBoy. Even a few Fox News people not named Shep Sheppard were using words like "surreal." And then there was the interview with Hannity last night where they handled the real issues. Hillary's emails. And that the Mueller investigation is driving a wedge between Russia and the United States.

Umm...I don't know, but since we have proof enough to indict don't we want a wedge? Don't we want there to be a wide gap between the countries? The one run by Putin and the one that is supposed to be the leader of Western Democracy? Wouldn't a wedge be a good thing less than 4 months from our next election? Call me crazy...

I want people to understand things. I really do.

The Mueller investigation is not a witch hunt. The Russians really did interfere with our elections. And you can try to both sides it, whatabout it, or flat our decide it wouldn't have mattered in the end run, but it happened. Everytime Trump and his handler Hannity deny it, it makes him look more and more guilty. The whole don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining thing about trying to con someone has a counterpart. Don't stand in the rain and pretend it's a sunny day. You just look like a wet idiot.

Trump's other big reveal last night was that Manafort is like Al Capone. They couldn't bust Al Capone on his big crimes so they got him for tax evasion. But see, we all know Al Capone did much worse. We know he was a capital B Bad Guy. So his witch hunt analogy is now that they got Manafort for Witchcraft when they couldn't nail him for serial killer? Is that it? Just another hint for Trump, don't compare your compatriots to gangsters. It's not a good look.

We will see what the fallout from this will end up being. I'm not hopeful that it will be anything more than some defensive posturing and then some "I didn't say that" gaslighting. Business as usual from the White House.

Vote. Vote in November to change the power balance in Washington.
Vote. Vote in 2020 to try and stop the tilt before we all have to learn Russian.

Seriously, I'm having a hard enough time with Spanish and considering German. Russian is just too complicated. Especially the whole keep your mouth shut or die from poisoning...you know I'll never be able to get that down right.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Blame Game...

The Republicans blame the media for reporting on Trump. It's somehow unfair and biased reporting to quote him. What?

Trump blames the United States for the relationship with Russia. Including the very dishonest Enemy of the State media that won't let the whole Russia election meddling go. Trump says we're foolish, which we are, but I don't think in the way he's implying.

The Republicans call it a witch hunt.
Except there are witches being found so it can't be a witch hunt. It's a bear hunt. An old advertising maxim is to hunt where there are bears to be hunt. This is obviously a bear hunt.

But if only the media would stop talking about it then it would all be okay.

And his followers eat it all up.

Over the past two years the favorability among Republicans for Putin has gone up.
The trust in the media has gone down.

And for two hours today Trump met with Putin with only two witnesses and those were their interpreters. So no official record of what was said.

This should bother you.

I don't care what political party you belong to, this should bother you. We are not a dictatorship, we have a governing system. The president is not supposed to have unilateral powers on most decisions, and though we have eroded that over and over since 9/11, it does not mean we should all just accept it as okay. If governing through Executive Orders is bad for one side it's bad for both. If a do nothing Congress is doing nothing we should fucking vote them out. We have all rolled over and shown our bellies and are now facing a wanna be despot in the White House (stop acting offended and look at what he's said REPEATEDLY and tell me that he doesn't wish he had unlimited and unfettered powers) and still...nothing.

In fact his base celebrates him. And all that he does. Cult 45 it's called. I think that's becoming more and more accurate.

Yes, I know, we need to not be so divided as a country. This is exactly what Putin wanted to do with Russian interference and he did it. Just because I know it's what he wants doesn't make it any easier to not be disgusted with the minions towing the line on whatever Trump says or does. He blamed the United States today for the bad relationship with Russia. He ignored the 12 new indictments on Friday (that he was briefed on, by the way, before he ever left for his NATO summit where he tried his best to wreck our relationships there before taking credit for a referendum that happen in 2014). He says Putin is good guy. Former KGB agent, poisoner of people he's miffed at, invader of Crimea, Putin. He's a good guy. We should have a good relationship with him. Putin says he didn't do anything wrong and who are you going to believe our ENTIRE intelligence community or Putin?

How in the world can you not be at least a little concerned over Trump and the Russians? Say he isn't a Russian pawn, what would he be doing differently if he was? Because it's hard to see.

Republicans keep saying that his administration has taken action against Russia so it shows that he is strong against Russia no matter what he tweets or says in speeches. No, no it doesn't. For one thing he keeps getting forced by Congress to act. Which is what our governing system can do. CONGRESS keeps acting against Russia and forcing the White House to comply. The White House says: the United States is foolish, Russia a great country and Putin is a really good guy and the investigation in to their meddling in our elections is RIGGED, FAKE, WITCH HUNT!

Because he can't possibly think for a second that the outcome was affected by anything but himself. I mean, that's a big part of it in my opinion. Putin is telling him what he wants to hear and who the fuck cares if nobody else believes that, Trump wants it to be true so he will believe Putin over everything and everyone else. He lives in a world of tissue paper lies. Very fragile place to be. If he were a stronger person he would be able to say, "Russia meddled in our elections. We need to stop them. They tried to do a number of things. Some of them were successful. Thank goodness that they were not able to actually change any votes. We need to send a message that this is not something we will tolerate. And we need to assure ourselves that they could never actually affect the outcome of an election." This shows he won "fair and square" (which we can all argue until we are blue in the face but we will never actually know) and still puts the blame on them for messing and getting caught.

But he can't do that.

So instead we are left wondering is it that he can't do that because his ego is so fragile he cannot fathom that an election he called RIGGED from the moment he entered it might actually have been meddled with, just in his favor, or is it that he is beholden to Russia in some way? Pick your poison because it's one or the other.

We are being governed by a fragile man baby or a pawn.

Vote in November. At least put some brakes on him.

Vote in 2020. Let's send him back to rage against the machine on Twitter alone.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Sick of Him...

"...and then Te..."

Janie interrupted her friend, "Could you not mention his name? In fact could we change the subject altogether? I'm not feeling very well."

"Oh my god! You did it! Where were you even able to get it?"

Janie gave a wan smile, still feeling a little green around the gills she wasn't sure if talking about the pills would make it worse or better. She waved Paula away, "Give me a little bit to feel myself again, okay?"

"Okay, but we are going to talk about this. I have questions."

"I'm sure you do."

After a few minutes of chatting about the weather Janie finally felt like she wasn't about to vomit all over the table. "Gloria's friend has a friend who got me a bottle."

Paula was glad to be back on the subject she really wanted to discuss. "But I thought they were illegal?"

"Well I didn't exactly go to a store and buy them from him. Gloria and I were talking and she asked if I wanted them and I said sure so, there you go. It's only temporary."

Gloria nodded. That's how they had been marketed. Like Antabuse for alcoholics. Something that would make you so ill you would not drink anymore, except in this case it was think instead of drink. Cognitive therapy in a pill with negative effects to speed it along.

"And is it working?"

"Well I literally get sick to my stomach when my mind wanders and as you saw even hearing his name in conversation is enough to make me want to hurl so...I guess?"

"You guess?"

"It's giving me all of the negative symptoms but it's not really keeping me from thinking about him. It's less Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and more Eternal Sickness of the Queasy Stomach. Probably won't be as beloved of a movie."

"If it's doing nothing but making you miserable why don't you stop?"

"I can't. The side effects of stopping mid dosing schedule are severe. That's why they got pulled from the market. Too many people decided that the nausea was worse than the heartbreak and quit early. Then...well..."

Gloria remembered. People died. The drug company tried to blame it on something else but the tie was too strong. Their customer's hearts would give out during withdraw. People tried to make it romantic, the broken heart death. But the bottom line was people died. It didn't stop them from wanting the drug though. The lab moved to some island without regulations and kept making the pills and people kept buying them.

"How many days is a full cycle?"

"Thirty days to make a habit so they say do it for sixty to make sure it sticks."

"Two months? That's a long time to be sick to your stomach."

"Well to be fair I was feeling fairly sick to my stomach before the pills so it's not much different. Now I know if I think about technical things like medication and side effects it goes away."

"How long have you been on them?"

"A week."

"Oh man...."

"Yeah, it's a ways to go. But bright side I should lose the 10 pounds I put on with the cry and eat ice cream first portion of the breakup." Janie tried to joke but it was too close to thinking about him and she felt the wave hit her stomach.

Gloria watched Janie's face go from normal to pained, "So how's work?"

She had a feeling she would get very good at changing the subject over the next few months.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Day 11...

Day 11...has it gotten easier? No. Will this be a permanent change? I am thinking hell no. Will I make it to the end of the month? Well, yes. Because I am stubborn and I said I would so I will.

I will say that even though I have really solidified that I am not ever going to go social media free this still has been a good experiment for me. I know exactly what I really like Facebook for and what I don't get any enjoyment out of. I will be changing my feed when I get back on. Dropping one of our local news stations and trying out a different one. Clearing out a few more people that I don't dislike per se but that I don't ever interact with and that I feel at best meh about so my feed is more likely to pick up on the ones that I do interact with and do really enjoy.

Basically this has reinforced that I like Facebook to be a place where I can talk to my friends across the world, read long articles from The Atlantic and get quick news hits from The Post. Instagram is all well and good and it's helped me keep my Picture of the Day yearly goal, but not enough people are on there, or use it frequently, or interact much. It's mainly a place where you follow famous people and see what they are doing, or at least that's how it seems.

And, just in case you were wondering, my famous people list is pretty much hockey players and drag queens. Which is a pretty good summation of who you are getting when you deal with me.

I'm still really bummed when I think of a clever status update and can't share it. Facebook has been a boon to my ideas that need written down but aren't really a story or even a poem (Brent ratted you out, Skippy, I know now that you really miss poetry month. At least that's what I'm pretty sure he said you meant) I'm sure that what I will do is look deeply at my overly inflated need for interaction and over think it a bit. But I like when you tell me that you laughed at something I posted. Or thought differently about an issue because of something I said. Or even that you disagree with me and here are the reasons why, that still means you thought about what I said. I like you guys, is what I'm saying. Some of you more than others, for sure, but I like you guys. (I'll leave you to your own existential wondering as who I like more cause being off Facebook is making me ornery)

And let's catch up a little bit...

Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick should not have been a surprise as soon as it was known that Kavenaugh thinks sitting presidents shouldn't be able to be sued. Also are we really okay with the reports that not only was Kennedy's son involved in business dealings with the Trumps but that Kennedy supposedly picked his own replacement and that's how they got him to agree to retire? Does that not sound really really bad to anyone else? Maybe you are all posting about it and are up in arms about it, remember I don't know, but the news seems to be barely touching it so I'm not sure. Conspiracy theories are only crazy if they need a lot of leaps, this one seems like it's pretty much just a stroll.

This morning Trump started the meeting with NATO (listen to the contempt in his voice when he says the word) by slamming Germany. Nice. Now I actually do think that the dependence on Russia is a bad thing, but I think there are better ways of getting that point made, and I think Trump (Putin is a good guy, we will have a very good relationship, the meeting with Russia will be easy) is not the one to talk about Russian dependence right, Comrade?

This is after all signs point to North Korea not only not getting rid of their nukes but making more and Pompeo saying it was a good meeting while North Korea said, "get the fuck out of here with your gangster shit" (Okay maybe not a quote but you get the drift). So Trump is blowing up our alliances, screwing up his own peace talks and still sucking up to Putin. Maybe he should have taken July off as well?

AND...oh my god his followers...Tons of news stories about the sanctions and the fact that farmers are being hardest hit. Already losing thousands of dollars. In an industry that plays on the thin edge of black and red anyway. And when they interview those people who voted for him who are now losing THOUSANDS of dollars? They are still okay with him. They are pretty sure he has a plan and it's all going to work out. Why? Why are you sure of that? This is a man who has bankrupted multiple companies. This is a man who does not pay his contractors. This is a man who is being sued by his personal driver for hours and hours of unpaid overtime and who gave him a raise and then took away his benefits! He's not a good guy. He doesn't care about you. He doesn't have your best interests at heart because he doesn't care about you. Again, why do you think he does? Because he says things? Okay...

Yeah, staying off Facebook hasn't changed my disgust with him at all. Or with people who blindly follow him. I wish everyone would do some soul searching as to what is actually important to them. And then own it. "Yes, he's a piece of shit but we are using him to stack the courts to take us to Gilead so I don't fucking care." At least that's honest. But the whole, "I wish he didn't tweet, hee hee, but he's really MAGAing his heart out." Or the worst, "He tells it like it is. He says what we all think."  No he isn't, no he doesn't, he tells it like he made it up and we all don't think that way. Some of us think that until someone shows themselves to be an asshole you should not treat them like an asshole. PC isn't a bad thing if it means you Practice Courtesy toward your fellow human beings, right up the point that they don't deserve it anymore. Because some of you don't.

So there you go. Day 11. I haven't changed. I'm just keeping it inside more, and of course blasting at Brent, he deserves another medal. Facebook isn't the issue, it's me.

Twenty more days to go.

The living room still isn't painted.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


He was ready. This time she would understand that he was serious and she would do what she was told. He squared his shoulders and walked into the room.


"Come on! You know it's time." He really didn't like that he sounded so whiny. That was not at all what he had been going for.

"I'm busy. You really need to come back later."

"This is the third day this week I've been here."

"And I'm still busy. Why don't you just wait until I tell you that I'm free? Or try and get something scheduled for later. I'm sure that will work out."

He looked at her and cocked his head, "Really? You're going to try and schedule me in?"

"Why not?"

"Why not? You know why not. That's not how this works."

"Well, it seems like it does work that way, now doesn't it? I'm busy. You will have to come back later. I don't have time to go with you right now."

He sighed. "You're going to have to come with me. I can't keep coming back here to see if you can fit me in. I'm busy too you know."

"I know that. And I don't want to keep you any longer than I already have. So you really should be off now."

"Nice try. You know I can just make you go with me."

"Actually, I don't think you can." She watched his face for a sign that she was right. And there it was. A little flicker in the left eye. "I think I have to agree to go with you. I think I have to do it voluntarily."

He shook his head. "You know that's not right."

"No, I know that's not right for other people. But I think that because of this," she gestured between them, "it is right for me. I don't think you get to decide. And to top it off, I don't think you want me to go with you anyway."

He shook his head, "Nope, you're wrong. I want you to come with me."

She smiled, "I don't think so. I think that you would miss me if I left."

He sighed and sat down in the big comfortable chair in the corner. She had him there. He would miss her. She knew. He knew it. It had been a good run. Even though he had spent a few years without her, give or take a few hundred, the past 65 with her had been the best. He wasn't entirely sure he wanted to go back to wandering the earth doing his job if he didn't have her to visit with.

"But your time, your second time, is up. What if I told you that by staying here you were preventing another from coming into existence?"

"I'd say that was a fairly lame attempt at guilting me into doing what you feel I should. If that were true then the earth's population would stay constant. It hasn't. My being here has nothing to do with if another can or will join us. Just add one more to the mix. There are billions of us now."

"What if I told you I'd been on probation since my last mess up and if I don't take you I'll get fired?"

She narrowed her eyes at him, "What would that even mean for you?"

"I'm not entirely sure. Nobody ever comes back to talk about it."

"Could you ask?"

He stared at her, "Do you think they would tell me? Or do you think they might have an idea that I was going to be insubordinate instead of just ignorant this time?"

"But I don't want to go. It's too soon."

"It's 65 years later than it was going to be."

"But I didn't know that then. It's not like I did something on purpose. I just, there's just, I mean..." she trailed off and he saw her lower lip start to quiver.

"Oh don't do that! You know I hate it when you do that!"

"I'm sorry. I just didn't think you'd actually make me go. You know? We've done such good work together I just thought it would last forever. There is just so much more we could do." She searched his face and saw nothing but sadness, "It really is over isn't it?"

He sat up a little and patted his lap. She was a little old for it now, but it still seemed like the best idea. She walked over to him and sat down, curving her body against his. The quiver turned in to a sob. She buried her head against his chest and cried.

For the second time in his long after life a large fat tear formed and fell from his eyes. It landed on her head, on her deathmark. The sickle glowed bright enough that he could see it through her hair. Then it faded away. She turned her face towards his and looked into his starry eyes, "I know. It's time. Of everything here I'm going to miss you most of all. Not everyone gets to be friends with Death."

He put his hand on the side of her face and lowered his forehead to hers, "Best friends."

She started to count the stars and made it five before she was gone.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

That Type of Woman...

She knew exactly when she became "that type of woman." Or at least she could narrow it down to a one month period in her life. She had always wondered what "that type of woman" could possibly think, or believe, or feel, and then she knew.

She never said anything though. She didn't want anyone else to know that she was "that type of woman." After all hadn't she and her very smug friends always looked down on them? Pitied them? Which would be the worst thing of all. To be pitied. She didn't even allow self-pity. At least not for long. Oh sure there was a stretch where she thought she deserved some special consideration, some allowance, but that didn't last. Once she accepted that she was in fact "that type of woman" she only had herself to blame. Or give credit to.

The only thing she would change if she could would be to apologize to the women she had judged before. But she knew if they were like her they would want everyone to pretend they didn't know. That they assumed they were hiding that they were "that type of woman."

Was it an age thing? She wondered about that. She had always worked with mainly women. She knew attitudes changed as each generation came in to the office. Those a few decades older than she was would have blamed her. It was because she had put so much focus on her job. Really they were all taking a risk of it by working. The women a decade younger than her would put the blame squarely on him. How dare he do such a thing. And on the other. To betray a sister like that? She was the worst. And the much younger would laugh at the idea of labeling anything anyway. Wasn't that just like ownership? It wasn't natural. People needed to be free.

She didn't blame the other woman. She owed her nothing. They didn't even know each other. How could she feel any sort of responsibility towards a woman whose only connection was an obviously strained marriage to an attractive man? As for the younger ones, she had watched their attitudes around commitment change as their partners did. It was easy to live with no labels when you weren't really serious about your partner. But as soon as you started to envision them as the father of your children? Well ideas about faithfulness soon followed. She assumed it was biological.

As for her generation? They had always sworn to each other that they would not be like the generation before. They would not put up with bad behavior. They would insist on monogamy. On faithfulness. On true partnership. And they would do so while pursuing their dreams as well. It wasn't their responsibility to meet every need he might have. Every thought that might enter his head was not to be taken as law. They would never be that sort of woman. The type that stayed when the man strayed. How sad and pathetic those women were.

But then she found the evidence that she was in fact "that type of woman." Even if it was unknowingly. She had spent some time processing the information. And re-evaluating everything she knew about her life and her past in light of it. Then she confronted him. He first tried to lie, then to explain, and finally to ask for forgiveness. That was when she discovered that she was also much crueler than she ever knew.

She withheld. She could see that it hurt him and she didn't care. Or more accurately she enjoyed it. She wanted him to hurt. She had a business trip during that time. Sitting in the airport on the way home she noticed someone had left a hotel room key, one of the new electronic ones. Hadn't she just read a story about the information stored on those keys? She picked it up to take home with her, just in case. She didn't want someone to have their information stolen because she left it there. When she was unpacking he noticed the key. And the fact that it wasn't from the hotel she stayed in. She could have cleared up the confusion, but didn't say anything. He didn't get to ask her about such things right now.

Later she realized she had probably helped hide someone else's infidelity. A key to a hotel they were not supposed to be in. She laughed and it was bitter.

But then she admitted to herself that she would rather move forward with him than without him. They started therapy. He said it wasn't her fault. He was feeling old and unattractive and he had been stupid and vain. She had been surprised. How could he have felt that way? He was still the most attractive man she knew. She told him that. He said he had stopped believing her. Not because of her, but because of him. He felt tired. Worn. The other had made him feel better about himself. Therapy was like pouring rubbing alcohol on an open wound.

They worked through it.

Eventually he asked about the hotel room key. She was still tempted to tell him it was none of his business. She told him the truth. He cried. She was too good for him. He would spend all of his time making up for his failure. She didn't want that. She didn't want to think about it. The therapist said that was an option. That they could close that chapter and just move forward.

And so she became "that type of woman." The type that forgave. That didn't leave. That moved forward.

She came to think of it as strength instead of weakness. That leaving would have been easy. But staying was better.

So now she knew what "that type of woman" thought and felt and believed.

She still wished she didn't.

(Writing prompt: That Type of Woman, there is another direction I thought about taking this but when I first read the prompt I had The Pina Colada song going through my head and I have issues around it so this tied in to that and here we are)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Day Six...

So...I had a few really good days. Did the clear out notifications once when I posted a blog. Made birthday wishes through the reminder on my phone, not even going to a page to do it. Feeling a little good about my incredible will power and commitment to this diet...

Then yesterday ate a Super Sized Big Mac Meal in the parking lot of McDonald's...hypothetically.

It started out innocent enough. I got a notification when I logged on to my computer. So I looked. Then I was scrolling down my page catching up on bits of bobs of news...I miss you guys. I really do. After a long scroll of one more look and then I'm done I closed it out. But then I got a notification on my phone and before I thought about it I clicked through and opened Facebook on my phone for the first time in days. Ugh.

So today was the recomit day. But...Guys, Belgium beat Brazil and I HAD to see Nico's joy for myself. Really that was all it was...just a peek to see someone who was going to be SUPER happy about it. AND then True Facts had sent me an update to a new video so I watched that but does that even count? I mean it's really YouTube right? But then...well I had a box of donuts in the parking lot of Krispy Kreme.

Diets are not my strong suit.

Cheating on diets? Now that I'm a pro at!

So back to it. Again. But we're only 6 days in so it's okay. I'll break the habit. Or at least I will get through the month.

I'm learning a few things already though.

First off, being off Facebook does not in fact make me any less cranky about what our current White House inhabitant is doing. I'm still yelling at the TV and radio when people are stupid about what he says and does. I'm still disgusted with my fellow Americans who voted for his skanky ass. I'm still amazed at how blatant he is about his disgustingness and how THEY praise him for it. So Facebook isn't the issue here. It's not Facebook, it's me. It's like an old Malcolm in the Middle episode where the girl says, "It's not you. It's me. I've decided I can do better." It's not you, it's me. I'm disgusted by him. I wish we had done better.

Secondly, I really do miss you guys. I love my introverted way of interacting with everyone. I get to be part of your lives and not have people breathing my air. It's really pretty perfect. So after my diet is over I imagine I will not do this again. At least that's what I think at Day 6. We will see if I get past this part by day 31.

And third, it's not really freeing up a lot of time in schedule like I thought it would. What I've discovered is that Facebook was a filler. Like cleaning the bathrooms yesterday I had moments where I thought "I should check Facebook" and normally I would have. But it's not like I got the bathrooms clean in an appreciable lesser amount of time. And maybe that will change once World Cup is over and I'm not sitting on my ass watching soccer for a few hours. Maybe it's just that I've replaced one time suck with another. We will see soon on that one. But for now? It's not as you would notice.

Fourth,  I feel like my diet is going to make you all thinner. Sort of like when I go on an actual diet Brent loses weight. I think my not posting about politics and every thought that comes in my head is probably making it better for all of you. Less angry rants. In any case it's at least freeing up a spot on your feed for someone else to post. Though I am sure they are not nearly as funny as I am. I mean, really. I'm so funny.

And last, I miss my laugh emojis. Can you tell? I like to make people laugh and Brent is going to get tired on the onslaught of pent up status updates soon enough.

Okay, so there is the Day 6 update. I also have a short fiction piece bobbing in my head that I'll try and get out this weekend. It's another scene from a life thing. So don't expect any resolution. But if you read my stuff you should know that by now...


Okay, I'm going.


Diet time...