Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

It’s Been Forever, And There’s a Reason

August 12, 2010

I forgot how much work it takes to keep a blog rolling. At some point I lost interest, maybe forever. However, I guess it wouldn’t kill me to post something new in the event that I do ever reinvigorate my blog. And within this structure there is a postmodern dialog taking place that is so subtle as to be missed, as if there were something to miss. I miss the old me, but he’s dead and the lines between future and past have been blurred. The smudge is now. Perhaps by being obtuse and avoiding the melody completely, a writer can say everything he wants to without singing any of it.

In any case, I don’t know if I’ll ever write in this blog again after this. I certainly won’t make any promises, but know that the clouds love you and there’s a chance that everything will soon be in harmony once more. For the time being, just know that it isn’t, and this is my disjointed protest against the state of the world today. Our economy, our freedom, our president, our GOP – all monsters too large to let a little warrior like me squawk away on a meaningless soapbox so deeply buried in cyberspace. If you got here, there isn’t any chance you could leave a comment is there? I didn’t think so…

I’m Having a Mental Breakdown… I Hope You Care

February 12, 2010

I’ve not written in a while, because….

 Been hiding in my room, far away from the tiring social world of San Francisco.

Got a good pair of sweatpants and some curtains for my room. So this is what people do when they don’t play music and/or drink, huh?

Lots of daytime TV and organizational projects inside while the wind blows and rain falls. Plenty of sleep keeping warm and waiting for dinner time. New strings on all of my guitars. Another episode of the Tudors. Groceries in the fridge to be cooked. Pacing up and down the halls. Done with cigarettes, gotta close the window – it’s cold! New roommates, old friends. No woman to make me brush my teeth before bed, but I will anyway. Take another shower. Hang the paintings, record guitar track for song #28. Stop by the hardware store and get a 17/32″ drill bit. Check out another 10 cd’s from the library. Read the new National Geographic – leave it by the bed when you’re done.

Makes me forget how to write. So now I have to relearn. Makes me feel stupid, after all of these years training my mind to dance like a monkey, I’m finally giving it a rest. But now I don’t want to come back. I like it here in this Shangri-La, though I’m fatter and my bones ache with age and I get short of breath easy. No burnout this year for Jones. No burnout. Just empty space. Empty…

By the way, massages are amazing.

Too Much Coffee Makes Head Spin

November 20, 2009


I drank too much coffee and now I feel like the Incredible Hulk on speed. I’ve already had one near mental breakdown this morning, and I figure only a valium could help now. Gotta get on a plane to LA in a couple of hours, and I already have a problem with fidgeting. I’m going to lose my mind, help!

Ok, gotta get it together. Quick, put on some music! No, not that song… or that one either. Must type faster. Oh – stupid computer, you’re not typing fast enough! Damn! Oh, god, I feel good, oh shit, I almost crapped my pants. This is insane. Someone should make coffee illegal, or at least you need a license to drink it. My mouth is dry, and it tastes like coffee… mmm. My head is big like a balloon and I can hardly focus my eyes. My neck hurts, gotta stretch – aaah! I almost fainted! My heart is beating too fast, and my lungs feel like they’re going to cave in. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken that Vicodin last night. Jesus. When will it stop?

Basically, I don’t have anything to say, except that coffee is ruining my life, and I love it! Nothing like getting paid to have a panic attack. I also noticed that even though I have all this energy and am completely wired, I can’t seem to get anything done and I’m making a lot of mistakes. This is gonna be interesting…

My Posts are Too Long

October 28, 2009


I just noticed that most of my posts are too long for most people’s attention spans. If you are one of these people, I am sorry, I promise to work on it. As a consolation, here is an extremely short post, along with an intriguing picture that is kind of discomforting. And now I’m making it just a little bit longer. Uh-oh, now I’m ruining it by making it too long. Seriously, if I could just stop writing now it would be perfect… but I can’t help myself. Ok, I’m going to stop now. No, seriously, I will.

Is Your Favorite Reality Show Fake?

October 16, 2009
Operation Repo, or Operation Hippo?

Operation Repo, or Operation Hippo?

Ok, I’ll admit it. I watch Reality TV from time to time. I mean, after all, where else can you find desperate bimbos and shameless douchebags needlessly screaming at each other in order to resolve some issue that was created by the production staff of the show to make interesting television? I fondly remember the early days of COPS and Real World (what ever became of Puck, by the way?). I even jump on board to watch the first few episodes of American Idol every year when the crazy people sing. And yes, I was witness to probably the greatest season of Reality TV ever created, Surreal Life, season 2 (remember the first episode where Verne Troyer peed on the rug?). Yes, I have indulged and continue to consume Mark Burnett’s out-of-control creation that pretty much dominates modern television today.

Recently I have been watching some of the new reality shows and found myself staring in awe and amazement at what they were able to capture on tape. My first reaction was , “How did that just happen?” As the shows progressed I started thinking the forbidden, and by the end of each one I let out a scream of frustration and the following taboo words:  “This is so fake!”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. All reality shows are fake to some degree. Many scenes are instigated and controlled by story editors, who manipulate common folk and turn them into pseudo-actors. But this is just outright fraud that I’m talking about. Remember those “reenactments” from shows like Unsolved Mysteries, interspersed with commentary from the actual people involved? Well, that’s what they’re doing on these supposed “reality” shows nowadays, except the people involved are also taking part in the reenactments, and they’re playing it off as reality.

I first noticed this happening on Jerry Springer. While it seems impossible that the guests aren’t paid actors, but real specimens of American society’s dark side, it was Richard Dominick’s The Springer Hustle that so brilliantly revealed the degree to which guests were coached, coerced, and coaxed into “performing” on stage and elaborating their stories. No, the Springer show isn’t fake, but it’s not real either. At least it’s not trying to pretend to be a reality show, though.

The first show that I can, beyond a shred of doubt, proclaim to be fake (except that the reenactments are based on true stories), is Operation Repo (which is ironically broadcast on TruTV). While I don’t doubt that Luis ‘Lou’ Pizarro and his gang of repo dudes/dudettes are the real deal, it’s clear that filming of the actual repossessions are actually overly-dramatized reenactments. There is no other way that this kind of action could be happening to them on a regular basis and be caught on tape. One viewing of a single show is enough to convince me that these people have collected stories over the years and decided to make a TV show out of them. Of great concern to me (although I’m sure no one else cares) is that we don’t even know if the stories happened to the people on the show, or if they are collected from other sources. The worst case scenario would be that most of these stories aren’t even true, and they are created by a television writer who is probably an underpaid intern under the guise of “story editor”. Hey, wait a second. Wouldn’t that just mean that we’ve come back full circle to actually writing television shows again instead of relying on real people and real stories to provide us with entertainment? If so, I’m totally ok with that, as long as I’m told the stories aren’t real and the writers are getting paid. Neither of these things are happening.

This show is obviously the worst offender, and there are many more out there that are almost as bad. I specifically point my finger at Rehab:  Party at the Hard Rock Hotel (also suspiciously on TruTV), and any of the VH1 “Love” shows (Rock of Love, I Love NY, etc). While some elements of these shows are based on reality, the fights and confrontations are all staged and, in some cases, don’t even involve the people who were actually in the real fight (if there ever was a real fight). Half the time there is a huge build-up to something that looks like it’s going to be a fight, and then the situation is resolved without a confrontation. Apparently this disappointment makes you crave more action – like having a steak wafted under your nose and being fed carrots instead. 

There’s an interesting article that TIME ran about this phenomenon, and even though it’s a little outdated (2006), it reveals what’s really going on and why this continues to happen. The bottom line I guess is that studios don’t want to pay real actors or writers to do television because they have to hire union workers and pay more money. Those bastards have figured out how to make TV entertaining without spending big money by eliminating talent from the equation. At least the cameramen are safe, or at least until they can train a monkey to hold a video recorder.

The saddest news in all of this is that Americans absolutely love this format, and most people don’t even question whether what they are seeing is real or not. The shows are entertaining and people are fiercely loyal and identify with particular characters, despite the fact that they are really just underpaid actors whose lives are scripted for our amusement. Offices are still filled with mindless chatter about what happened to Spencer on The Hills last night, or whatever they’re talking about over there. Couples continue to gather around with their pets and children, eyes glued to the boob tube. Yes, it does seem like the television is a destructive force in society. It’s doing a great job at keeping you from getting up and doing something else that might be more interesting than watching teenagers get drunk and yell at each other, fat people hanging from ropes, or gangsters getting their rides repossessed. Sometimes I feel like Running Man is closer to reality than we think. What it’s not doing a great job of is fooling me into thinking that any of this crap is real. I guess reality isn’t actually all that interesting after all. America, you are being lied to again. Alas, I’m still waiting for the revolution.

70’s Jeans – Why They Won’t Work for You

September 13, 2009

The 70's Jean - Trendy Kitsch or Society's Greatest Threat?

The 70's Jean - Trendy Kitsch or Society's Greatest Threat?


PG&E – Another Reason to Hate Them

August 4, 2009

PG&E is an evil company. So are Haliburton and Enron, but they don’t directly fuck me the way PG&E does, so I would have to say that I hate my gas company more. There are several reasons why I don’t approve of a company like this hording a monopoly over services as basic as electricity and gas, but today I would like to share a horror story that only recently got resolved. Prior to this, the mere thought of wasting additional breath on such a horrible subject left me sick to my stomach, but now that things are back to “normal” I think I can muster up the energy to explain what happened without nosediving into a hateful rant.

I pay the energy bill for my apartment. I collect the money from 3 other impossibly unconcerned roommates who may or may not feel like paying their bills every month. I’ve been royally screwed in the past (one ex-roommate still owes me $120), and I hate doing this. Unfortunately, I am the only person capable of actually performing such a task semi-reliably, and thus take the burden on with a grudge.

Initially, it was easy enough for me to pay the bill by credit card, because even though I would probably receive finance charges, it’s a lot simpler than hunting down my roommates for the money every month. Unfortunately, credit card companies stopped allowing people to pay their bills this way, probably because they were leaving behind bad debt. I would like to blame PG&E for this, but I guess it isn’t their fault that electricity prices are so ridiculous. Or is it?

When I was reduced to sending checks I had to use a different strategy. I began paying my bill every other month in order to buy enough time to collect the money from my roommates. This became extremely difficult to cover, because there is one in particular who is known to leave his heater and iron on then leave for work and doesn’t believe in turning off lights ever. He turns on his heater with the windows wide open from time to time. He also likes to decorate our house with hundreds of electrically-powered pieces of tchotchke. For instance, there is the Coors beer sign in the front window, the 500 christmas lights on the outside of the house, the glowing pumpkin, the glowing garden elf, and the glowing grapes, just to name but a few. Also, he has an entire light show in his room that is hooked up to about 3 remote controls. It’s ridiculous, and I tolerate this because he is a friend. Sometimes I long for better friends.

He is not the only contributor, but is definitely the prime reason why our bill tends to be about $200 a month for 4 people. Since I was only paying the bill every month, I would owe around $400 at a time, and I work part time. So you can imagine that things got cut a little close every month. I would often get late notices that said things like, “you have until tomorrow to pay your bill or your service will be shut off”. Naturally, I would always scrape the cash together at the last minute so my precious roomies wouldn’t have to go without electricity and I wouldn’t be stuck with a $40 “re-activation fee”. We all know what that is. It’s a charge so when the meter guy comes he sticks a key in the meter and turns the gas back to “on”. It takes about 1 minute.

But I digress, because I thought I could make it all work well enough so our utilities never got shut off. For three years I successfully employed this method, until this spring, when I got a letter in the mail demanding a $400 deposit because of “too many late payment notices”. I promptly ignored this for several weeks hoping it would magically disappear, until April came around and I got several calls from PG&E telling me that I had to pay up or they would shut off the energy. Of course, this occured when I happened to be on a two-month tour around the US with no money to spare. When I tried to explain that I didn’t have $400 to just give to them, they told me I could get a cosigner on the account. That  could be anyone who had a PG&E account of their own that would vouch for me in case I ran off and didn’t pay the bill. “Aha!”, I thought, “Problem solved! I’ll ask my dad to do it.” Not so fast – this turned out to be much more troublesome than expected.

First of all, they told me it was too late to get a cosigner so I still had to pay the deposit anyway. So I figured out how to borrow $400 and paid them their stupid money to buy myself time. But when my dad called to cosign, they told him that I had already paid the deposit and now he was unable to cosign! This was a blatant lie, and is the first evidence I present of PG&E being a horrible company. The second thing that happened was that I called back a day later to make sure my payment was received, obviously very stressed out by the situation. The person on the line told me not to worry, because my service wasn’t set to be shut off for another couple weeks! That’s not what they told me when they had me on the phone before. Liars! Two strikes for PG&E. The third strike came when I returned home several weeks later to request that the deposit be dropped as long as I agreed to pay every bill on time. They wouldn’t budge. They said, “I’m sorry, but this deposit cannot be reversed”. This, we all know is a lie, but not such a horrible one. The fourth lie came when I was one week late in paying my bill once. I decided not to pay and see if they would use my deposit money towards payment. Unfortunately, PG&E doesn’t do things this way. They said, “we need payment immediately or we will disconnect your service.” I coyly replied that they had my money and that they were welcome to take it and use it to pay their bills. They blankly replied that this was not possible. There it is – lie number four – if they wanted my money so bad, they could have had it. What other company does this?

Finally, I put in another call to my dad, who I don’t like to ask for things, mainly because I am 100% financially independent from my family and never ask them for money, and secondly because my dad is not a person I would ever want to owe money to. He would make my life a living hell. It took 30 minutes to convince him that I didn’t really care if he cosigned on the account with me or not. I repeatedly explained to him that I always pay my bills in a semi-timely manner, and that I wasn’t asking him for any money, and that this was a favor he could do for me if he felt like it, but was in no way obligated to do so if he had doubts. The situation forced me to grovel before my father for a simple favor. I hate them most of all for doing this to me. After finally convincing him to cosign, he called PG&E and got the paper work sent to him. He filled it out and submitted it and now my deposit has been “credited” to my account.

Credited. That one really pissed me off. I have to pay them cash up front, and now I only get “credited” the amount back to me. That’s what PG&E thinks of me as a customer. A customer that has generated around $2,500 of revenue for them anually for the past four years, and this is how I get treated? Well, I would just love to go with another company. But the thing that pisses me off is that there is no other company. If there was, PG&E could never get away with misleading their customers and bullying them into paying deposits of such astronomical proportions. They have mismanaged California’s power for years, ripped off their customers, and no one can do anything about it. But I can’t blame them. I mean, anybody who wants to can go into the utility business, I guess. I just don’t think anyone else wants to do it. Now I do know there was a ballot measure in the last election for San Francisco that stated the public should take over utilities, and I think it’s something to look forward to, but I also think that this is a recipe for disaster without severe planning and support from the community. Could you imagine if our communities tried to control such a mess? It would probably leave us all without power more often than not. Wait, PG&E already has power outages all the time. I forgot about that.

In the future I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for news regarding plans to usurp this nasty beast of a company. I hate them, I hate their policies, and I hate their business. I will support any realistic effort to create an alternative to these bastards, but the fact of the matter remains – they do the dirty work and as a result, get to stick it to everyone else. Until someone or something comes along that wants to replace it, we’ll all have to deal with PG&E.

There are now three things you can’ t avoid in life – Death, Taxes, and PG&E, but you can still spit in all their faces. It doesn’t change things, but it certainly makes one feel a bit better.

Making Plans for the Future – Waste of Time, or Pain in the Ass?

July 24, 2009
Life is a Carnival, not a Game

Life is a Carnival, not a Game

I am a horrible procrastinator. Have been since college. Prior to that I would take care of my responsibilities ahead of time because they were pretty much effortless. I never really had problems in high school, I guess. It was a game and I was good at it. College, on the other hand, required the best of my intellectual efforts and I never really felt like I adapted to the stuffy world of academia. Trying to figure out what a professor wanted instead of following my own muse created the pressure to perform against my will. So I waited it out until inspiration struck.

Usually that would be the night before something was due, and usually it was impossibly too late to try to finish anything. I remember staying up for as long as three days without any sleep just to finish all my papers and finals. In the end, it always magically got done just at the last second, and I survived to fight another day. I always felt that all of this was a waste of time, not realizing that these experiences would prepare me for the waste of time that is the Real World. As does college, the Real World forces you to do things you hate and don’t understand (i.e. work), unless you are fortunate enough to have your dream job, which very few of us will ever have (hence the word ‘dream’). Even then, you may find yourself forced to do things you hate doing. I think the definition of job should be:  “Something you don’t want to do but have to do for the sake of survival.”

Now that I am a participant in the Real World and tackle jobs instead of homework assignments, I find that planning for tomorrow is not a game. There has been a time in my adult life where I have procrastinated on advancing, refusing to get a job, living with my parents, and collecting unemployment (this is known as my Jane Pauley Era). Nowadays I have a job, apartment, and a musical career to look after. My musical career is the most difficult aspect of my life to maintain. Yet it is by far the most rewarding, and without it I would feel out of place in the world. I’ve never been very ambitious when it comes to having financial stability and career goals. My current employment as a part-time office assistant suits me just fine for now. But when it comes to following my passion, which is writing, recording and performing music, there will always be an inherent risk involved.

That’s right, I thought it. Now I’ll say it out loud:  “This might not work out. Ever.” I’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars into music projects so far, and frankly, none of them have been successful. That doesn’t mean they weren’t good (most weren’t), but finding a way to make money off of music is like trying to squeeze water out of a rock. In the world of music, those who bullshit for long enough to fool the serpent actually make it to the top, while the rest give up or become casualties. Still there are those who persevere on, despite being old and unknown (and terribly pathetic, too). This latter type rarely ever sees any reward for their hard work, but because they do what it for the love of music, there is no actual failure because the act of doing is it’s own reward.

Now I’m finally getting to my point. I spent years in school, learning how to play ‘the game’ first, then learning how not to play that game, and currently I’m in a state of contemplation, wondering if life has to be played by the same rules as ‘the game’. Planning for the future by learning to adapt to a set of rules (i.e. school, work, society) is something that a lot of people do at my age. And every financial adviser will recommend that you look ahead and invest in you future. My mother probably wishes I had a plan, but I don’t. I’ve found that every time I make plans for the future, I end of subterfuging myself and purposely procrastinating, perhaps because my subconscious is guiding me away from making a huge mistake. Or maybe it’s because I know that making plans is a good way to ensure that they will never happen.

How many people do you know, including yourself, have made plans, whether it is taking on a certain career path like being a lawyer or doctor, or getting married to your first sweetheart, only to find out that it wouldn’t work? And what did all that planning lead to in the end? Arguably, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and no experience is not worth having, but I would retort that you could have been enjoying and learning about what you really wanted to do instead of wasting your time on things you secretly know aren’t right for you.

Granted, there are many people out there that don’t know what they want, or find it impossible to even begin to do the things they want. Usually their excuse is based on their plan. For instance, I have a good friend (we’ll call him Joe)who works 80 hours a day running a successful business because he has a ‘plan’ to be the greatest at what he does in his line of work. At the same time, he’s often told me of his dream to leave the country and travel for a long time. When I ask him why he doesn’t just leave now, he explains that there is too much work and the business couldn’t carry on without him. Because he has to adhere to working to make his plan work out, Joe never gets to do what he really wants to do. Consider an alternate reality where he went to Costa Rica and lived on the beach and surfed every day. From this perspective, Joe could conceivably discover what is really important to him in life and have a realization that leads him to a more liveable path in his life. Instead, he sticks to his ‘plan’ because either he’s afraid to do anything else, or doesn’t want his precious work to go unrewarded. What kind of life is that, you ask? Well, it’s the life of many people who are stuck in a mode of thinking.

With this microcosmic example, I ask you to consider the bigger picture now. We currently live in a highly unstable world. Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis has there been such a threat of nuclear war on our planet. Economies all over the world are faltering and the largest superpower, our good ol’ USA, is at a true low-point economically. There is no universal health care coverage and unemployment rates are skyrocketing. Huge companies like GM and Mervyn’s are collapsing without other viable economic powers to take their place. People are losing their life savings and 401K plans in the stock market fallout. Many who planned and saved for years to buy their ‘dream house’ are now forced to foreclose. Meanwhile, China and India’s governments are completely disregarding their environmental responsibilities for the sake of economic growth, consuming oil in quantities that will decimate reserves more rapidly than necessary, and exploit some of the most impoverished humans on the planet. What is going to happen next? I sure don’t know, and as much as people try to speculate, there is no reassurance of anything ever. Period.

What does this mean to us as individuals? We all must continue to dream and have goals. In order to accomplish those dreams and goals we are always told we must have a plan. But if you have learned anything from watching dieting commercials, you know that a plan is just an excuse so you don’t have to think for yourself and adapt based on your intelligence and awareness of what’s going on around you. So if you have created ‘the plan’ for yourself, consider reevaluating your situation and coming up with a strategy instead. A strategy is as good as a plan because it guides you towards your goal, but it doesn’t define any laws or rules which allow you to stop taking personal responsibility for your actions. Be willing to change and adapt at any moment, and quit doing things that don’t benefit you. Always do what you want to do, or at least work towards trying to do the things in life you aspire to as soon as possible before it’s too late. Use your strategy to figure out how to live without harming your financial and emotional stability, and forget about tomorrow. Only dream about tomorrow when you are living your life as you should today. It is only from this perspective that you can gain the knowledge you seek.

MySpace = Death, and Other Ruminations

July 14, 2009

Happen, damnit!

Happen, damnit!

I never get to just write for fun anymore, but since I’m faced with the overwhelming task of booking, and since I am a veteran procrastinator, I figure’d I’d give my two-cents about a few things for all of you who use my website as your own form of masterful procrastination (try saying that 10 times fast – it will use up at least one minute of your time if you do).

First off, what’s up with MySpace? I’ve been using it as a great networking tool for years, and lately it’s become so dead that I find myself not even checking my messages any more. Time was, a man could go onto MySpace, attract new people that would listen to your music and make comments on whether they liked it or not. Nowadays it’s more like the last day of a huge garage sale. Nothing is left but the fodder of fake hot-chick profiles, horrible bands that never were, insecure underage girls battling publicly, and that same old guy who posts about a hundred snooze-inducing bulletins every hour with subjects like, “277 Things That Suck”. It feels dated just being on the website, and I’m currently in the process of switching over music promotion efforts to Facebook. Because the creators of this site have made it virtually impossible to figure out how to do anything, it’s discouraged most bands from attempting to used it for the purposes of shameless, irresponsible promotion. After wandering aimlessly throughout the faq’s for several hours, I was finally able to figure out how to create a page and post things to people that I know. The sheer networking capabilities of Facebook are effective, and finding people that won’t hate you is so intuitive that it naturally lends itself to targeted promotion that isn’t unwanted (unlike MySpace’s constant barrage of band requests). Now if I could only figure out how to use twitter and not feel ridiculous…

That being said, MySpace is still a great place to contact local bands across the Americas, troll for Russian brides, and post pictures of you and your drunken friends behaving like idiots for the world to see.

In other news, I would like to let people know that Summer is not that great! I mean, when you’re 14 and you get to miss school and go on vacations with your friends’ families it’s great, but for those of us who have to work in the miserable heat it’s truly a drag. Every time I play a show lately it feels as if I’m going to pass out, and I have to change my shirt multiple times in a day. There are more flies and you don’t feel like doing anything after the excitement of the first few weeks has kicked in. Eventually, and especially if you are in the more tropical climates, you resort to spending entire days in an air-conditioned environment, methodically drinking Kool-Aid and eating frozen food. But I must digress, because even though I’m giving Summer a hard time (has any human ever attempted such a foolhardy feat as challenging a season before?), I have been enjoying the sunny weather for at least 30 minutes every day, whether or not I want to, and it’s actually very pleasant.

Strangefeather (who also has a new Facebook), will be going on a West Coast tour in August up through Oregon, Boise, Utah, Nevada, and back through California. It will be much shorter than our previous Spring tour, and we can’t wait to get back to the Southwest, South, Northeast, and Midwest again soon! We sincerely miss all the wonderful people that we are still in contact with from tour, and it’s great to hear from all of you!

Oh, and I’ve started playing solo again. I have just finished a new album called “Interstellar Lounge Music”, which isn’t quite ready for the world yet. Or is it that the world isn’t quite ready for it? I can’t tell, but I promise that this particular release will be special in that it will be promoted differently and more imaginatively than anything else I’ve done.

Final thought of the day:
“It is not the amount of talent you possess, but moreso the fervor with which you lie about the talents that you do not possess and the conviction with which you do so that ensures that you will eventually be either forgotten or laughed at eternally.” – The Shaman of Smoke

Leave a comment and tell me what you think about the current state of MySpace. It’s your turn to rant.