Sex, Tinder, and More Than That

12 01 2018

On changing up my dating life patterns and getting something better than before

Since getting back on Tinder in October of this year, I’ve matched with over 300 people, had conversations with 30% of them, and gone out with maybe, maybe 10 different souls.

Love_Sex_Tinder

It’s strange to me because 300 seems like a pretty big number and yet, I feel more disconnected than I ever have in my dating life. It’s as if the more people I match with the less likely I’ll find anyone of quality.

I know, I know, Tinder was created specifically for quantity. It’s designed so you want to keep coming back because someone hotter and funnier and smarter could be just a swipe away.

 

I get that we’re all throw-away people to each other now.

 

That we find ourselves rating our worth on the number of matches we have.

Yet, even though 300 people potentially would fuck me based off of a couple of photos, that doesn’t mean any of them would ever like being around me.

Like many people, I enjoy sex. I also have a higher sex drive than most people, men and women alike. It’s often not difficult to find someone willing to sleep with me. Yet, no matter how much I enjoy sex, one night stands, fucktoys, fuckboys, fuckgrrrls (is this a thing?), no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits–it’s all becoming rather tiring.

It’s time to go deeper with someone–not physically deeper–emotionally, spiritually deeper. It’s like we’re all afraid to actually get to know someone. We come with excuses that are worse than the ones that George and Jerry and Elaine always seemed to find. Hands are too small. Nose is too big. Beard is weird. He still eats Chef-Boyardee. She does this annoying popping thing with her toes. He texts too much. She doesn’t text enough. He sucks my nose when we’re making out. She pees a little when she sneezes. etc. etc.

 

But why the constant excuses? Is it fear? Is it FOMO? Is it actually justifiable and we should know they’re right from the beginning?

 

I’ve decided to slow down. To rid my expectations of other people. To attempt to learn something from everyone I meet. To stay curious and open to the exploration of other souls–and at the same time, my own.

 

The Tinder culture is addicting. It’s like junk food, it tastes delicious but it’s just a bunch of empty calories nothingness.

 

You keep wanting more but it’s not good for you. Instead of rotting your teeth though, it rots your soul. It makes you feel both wanted and rejected at the same time. It makes you think that the possibilities are endless and you should never settle. And of course you should never settle, but you should also not keep repeating a pattern that fails to live up to anything substantial or meaningful.

tinder_junk_in_and_out

I’m not sure if it’s a waste so much as a distraction. A tool that we use to keep ourselves occupied, to keep opportunity available, to see just how fuckable we are on a surface level. Because we all want the possibility of connection, even if it’s just for a night, but many people, whether we want to admit it out loud or not, many of us want something more, something with legs, something closer to longevity.

Maybe all it takes is putting down the phone and looking around, interacting with people in real life situations. It at least seems more fulfilling to talk to someone face to face, see if anything is there, and act upon it if there is, walk away (quickly) if there isn’t?

All I know (which isn’t much) is that I have to stop thinking Tinder is the answer. To be honest, I can barely even remember the question, but I think it has to do with how we uncover love in its long form.

My plan is to create new habits and knock off the bad patterns regardless of how long it takes or how hard it is because I want more–and I’m going to get it.

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Finding Solitude Within the Noise: Week 1.

8 01 2018

January Goal: Talk to People Less, Find Self More

solitude

Lone tree, hometown, Kansas, 2013.

After reading The Stranger in the Woods, I have been diving deeper into concepts of solitude discussed throughout the book.

In it, Michael Finkel writes:

“People who live in cities experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones. These hormones, especially cortisol, increase one’s blood pressure, contributing to heart disease and cellular damage. Noise harms your body and boils your brain. The word “noise” is derived from the Latin word “nausea.” (pg 113)

This stuck with me. I live in Denver and though it’s not as bustling and loud as some places like New York or LA, I am in the heart of the city where there is constant traffic and construction projects. In fact, they’ve been building a new house across the street from me for the last several months, and let me tell you, jackhammering at all hours of the day is definitely nausea-inducing.

There was a moment in the book when the author reflected on how long he had ever gone without talking to a single other person, including texts and phone calls. His was half a day. Mine? I couldn’t even think of a time. Had there ever been a time when I actually experienced ‘solitude’? Maybe once for a day in high school when my parents were gone before I had a cell phone or working internet and I decided to stay home “sick” from school, but that’s not a solid memory, just a thing that may or may not have happened.

Because I am so drawn to these ideas of quiet and because I can’t really leave everything behind and run away to the middle of nowhere to live in a tent (for one, I wouldn’t survive). I decided to attempt Solitude Sundays.

Through January, every Sunday (starting Saturday night before I go to bed) I am turning off my phone and my computer and I am spending the entire day alone.

It’s impossible to escape all of the noise, particularly when one has roommates, but cutting off technology at least gets me halfway there.

Baby stepping toward solitude.

Here are my thoughts from Week 1 of Solitude Sundays.

I went to bed early for a change on Saturday night shutting off my phone around 11:30 pm (this is early for me on a Saturday as I often stay up until 3-4 a.m. drunk socializing like an asshole).

I did not set an alarm.

I woke around 10 a.m.

Of course, one of the first things I normally do when I wake up is to look at my phone to see how popular I am based on how many people sent me texts and memes and shit (usually not very) but my phone was turned off and hidden from me.

Separating from my phone was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I knew I was addicted, but I didn’t know how bad it was until it was no longer there. It is my crutch. If I leave a room, even for a minute, I come back and check it immediately just in case I may have missed something or to see the time or to check the weather or to get on Instagram to depress myself by looking at how much fun everyone else seems to be having.

I had to rely on looking at a clock (shocking), stepping outside for a second to see how cold it was (wow!), looking within myself for entertainment or lack thereof (gee whiz!).

What did I end up doing all day? Not scrolling through Tinder I’ll tell you that.

I read.

I read a fuck ton of words.

I read short stories by George Saunders. I started Ape & Essence by Aldous Huxley. I went through my stack of magazines and separated everything I had read, didn’t want to read, wanted to read. I finished several Glamours. I read half of a New Yorker.

I re-read the entire introduction and section 1 of a book on Hedgewitchery.

I may or may not have done the first rite from that book.

I meditated.

I drank a cup of coffee.

I took out the recycling.

I planted herbs into a flower pot.

I finally raked the lawn.

I did nothing.

I longed to do more.

I had all these thoughts about the things I wanted to do with my phone, with my computer; ideas I wanted to look up, people I wanted to talk to. I even longed to call my mother to tell her how difficult it was to not talk to anyone all day.

I wrote down everything I wanted to do with the technology I chose to hide from myself onto a piece of paper so I could do them later if I deemed them worthy.

It was the smartest move I could make in that regard.

I journaled about my feelings (or lack thereof).

I went for a run. I took a bath. I ate some fancyass healthy food that involved quinoa and kale and tofu. My roommate came into the room and I had to say hello, which ruined the entire thing.

I didn’t let her get me down.

I stared out the window.

There were times of tremendous struggle. Times when I thought, “well, what if I just turn my phone on for a minute?”

I persevered.

solitude2

By the end of the time, I actually became anxious. I thought about how lovely it was to not have to talk to anyone and how the following day (today) I would have to start talking to people again. I begin to wonder how many days I could actually go before I went crazy (my guess is 11 days).

I wouldn’t necessarily call what I did “practicing solitude.” But it feels like a good step in that direction. My goal for next Sunday is to do less. I want to dive in deep to the inner self, see what I’ve been missing that’s been with me the entire time.

Alone?

Nah.

Not when I have myself.

P.S. I woke up, turned on my phone. I had missed three texts. One from a friend who called me “lame” for turning my phone off. And two from some fuckboy asking me to “69.” 

In other words, I didn’t miss anything (which makes me glad and sad at the same time).





My Favorite Books from 2017

3 01 2018

Short Reviews of My Top 3 Books of 2017

In 2016 I read 21 books, including the dense and quite long Infinite Jest (which is worth it, even in its intensity. I suggest going to Infinite Summer for tips on making it through). In 2017 I upped my total slightly and read 28 books– that’s an average of 24 pages a day.

The way I’ve managed to get this much reading done and still excessively binge television shows and have a social life and do the whole work thing is by waking up an hour earlier in the day and reading before I do anything else.

When I do this I get invested in the book and am then able to get my page count done in a timely manner on the regular. Of course, some days I read more pages than others, but the system seems to be working.

My friend has made the resolution to read a book a week this year and I plan to steal this same idea because reading takes me to much better places than most of my other daily activities seem to do. Sometimes it’s better to replace one habit with another one instead of trying to remove the old habit altogether.

Here are my top 3 favorite books from 2017, if you’re looking for something to fall into this year.

1. Homesick for Another World by Ottessa Moshfegh

homesickforanotherworld

Ever feel like a terrible human being? Never fear, you are probably not as terrible as the characters in this collection of short stories. Moshfegh has the ability to succinctly capture the essence of a person (the good, bad, and ugly of a person) always leaving you wanting more, but happy to have experienced the little bit that you did get.

I also read her novel Eileen, which was good but felt more drawn to the collection, as it was able to show glimpses of the humanity in all its fucked-up-ness that we often rarely get to see in creative form (which is a much more pleasant place to experience it than in reality).

 

2. Theft By Finding Diaries 1997-2002 by David Sedaris

theftbyfinding-cover

Even in his own diaries, Sedaris knows how to reveal the humor in the mundanity of everyday life. There were moments while reading where I literally spit out my drink because I was laughing so hard. Right when you think the moment can’t get any funnier he hits you with an even stronger punchline. If you can’t laugh at your own life, start with someone else’s, I suggest his, because humor is the best medicine for getting through the bullshit.

3. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

strangerinthewoodsbook

Ever have the desire to desert everything and everyone you know and go live alone in the middle of nowhere? Well, one guy actually did that, not just for a day, not just for a month, but for 27 years. If he hadn’t been a thief, he probably could have gotten away with it until he died, yet, that is not quite what happened.

As someone who is pretty introverted, what I found most fascinating about the book was the exploration of solitude–the attempt to understand why someone would not want to be around any other people.

Something happened during this book, something that caused me to suddenly finally feel okay for a day. Okay that I don’t have to want to be around people. Okay that sometimes I’d rather hide and not talk to anyone. Okay that I don’t have to like all the things other people like. Through his extreme outlier lifestyle, it helped me to see the facades of our daily existence and to look at solitude as a positive solution to the noise aka nausea of modern society.





At Least I have Longer Hair Now

2 01 2018

In 2017, I quit my job of 3 years, went to Burning Man, fell in love, went on road trip through the desert with lover, fell out of love while on said road trip, came back, wrote a book in a month, and then sat around and stared out the window until the year ended. I wasn’t meditating or having some deep existential breakthrough, I was literally just staring out a window.

It was a weird year.

At the beginning of the year I gave myself a theme, 2017 would be the year of patience. I would track my patience by growing out my hair and not dyeing it–this seems like a simple task for most people sure, but I am the type of person who snips and colors every month just to change it up. January found me with barely any hair on head, shaved on the sides with about an inch or two on top. (I had clearly been snipping at it for awhile.)

short hair

2016 Hair

I’m happy to say that I made it to the end, my hair is now almost to my chin, yet even though I have a symbolic representation of my theme, I’m not entirely sure having a theme helped that much.

Or maybe it did.

The reason why I chose patience, to begin with, had to do with my anger issues. The daily injustices and the real shit dramas that have accumulated over time that have helped shorten my fuse; I mostly respond by retreating, hiding in my room, stewing, letting it simmer, letting it boil, acting out with self-destructive behavior because I’m mad at myself the most.

I should have been smarter, should have saw it coming, should have done something about it etc. these ideas play in my head over and over becoming nearly paralyzing in nature.

So I run.

I go outside, no music, no podcasts, and I run the anger away. I run nearly every day and I’m still mad.

Yet, I’m patient with myself. I tell myself this anger will not last forever. That I must harness the energy of it. That I must channel that anger into something useful and not just use it to rage out on the hundreds of drivers in Colorado who don’t seem to know how to operate the cars that they drive. I am patient with myself for not being patient.

I pull at a strand of hair and watch myself becoming more and more irritable. I hold on to it, I take a breath, I wonder how many more days are left in the year so I can stop paying attention to how impatient I am.

So, I’ve gotten somewhere at least. I’ve gotten to the point where I can see myself and that seems like a pretty important skill to possess. I notice the irritability, the anger, the unnecessary clapbacks quicker than I used to. It doesn’t always stop an outburst from happening, but it’s almost as if I’m not attached to it anymore. That I can see it as a pattern of behavior that’s reactionary, that happens because that’s how I’ve been reacting for so many years, yet I no longer see those reactions as belonging to me.

I know that they do. But I also know that they don’t have to. That eventually I will feel the old impatient me coming up to the surface and I can stop her, I can replace her with a different storyline.

Undoing 30+ years on reacting one way with another may, in fact, take longer than 365 days, but I’m a bit closer than I was before and now I can put my hair up in a ponytail and (soon) whip it in people’s faces if they’re annoying me in a bar–so there’s that.

long hair

One whole year of growing hair out, so patient in 2017.

What’s in store for 2018? I’m contemplating the art of discipline. Self-control. Motivation. Hoping the patience I gained from 2017 will help, only time will tell….

 





Thank You For Parking Here

8 06 2017

Lately, I’ve been having a series of parking issues. You could say my head is ahead of itself, as in, as I’m parking I’ve already parked and am onto my next task, but in reality I have not yet parked and thus end up failing to parallel properly or I land across the yellow line and need to re-do at least five times.

Last night, I come home later than usual and there’s not spot on my block. So, I park on the main street nearest me. Of course, I had gone to buy plants and groceries so I had an entire car to unload (because that’s obviously when one would need convenience the most and not get a close spot).

parkinghere

I am on my third and final trip, trying to tell myself positive things like, “hey you didn’t get your run in today so be thankful you’re getting some extra exercise,” and “look our neighbor has a pretty blooming bush, how hopeful late spring becomes,” you know, happy thoughts of that nature, etc. I remove my tote bags from my trunk (<- look at me remembering my reusable bags) when this old white dude in a maroon colored van creeps up behind me. He rolls down his passenger window, leans over and nearly inaudibly whispers, “thank you.”

It takes me a second to register what he said, then I am confused.

Is he thanking me for parking here?

Is he thanking me just because I exist?

Is he thanking me because I saved his life in some lucid dream he had the night before?

A second later I become angry.

He better not be thanking me because I’m wearing a dress and now he has a boner. He better not be thanking me because he somehow believes in some weird white male fantasy that I am wearing what I’m wearing for him.

I slam my trunk down.

This will not do.

I glare at him in a way that says, “if you do not move along in less than one second I will come after you and rip your eyeballs out of your head.”

I step in the direction of his van.

I am destruction.
I am fury.
I am woman who has had enough.
I am empowered Goddess.
I am not about to take another man’s shit.

White Old Creep lurches forward like a puppy dog that has been spanked for peeing all over the floor. If an oversized metal vehicle had the capabilities to shrug its shoulders this is what that van seems to do.

I turn and stomp back to my house. “Asshole,” I mumble under my breath.

I become conflicted.

Is it wrong to be thankful for the beauty in the world?

No.

Is it wrong to drive a creepy van and use it to creep up on a woman parked on the side of the road and whisper weird things at her?

Yeah, that’s pretty fucking weird.

Is it wrong for me to be wearing this dress?

No, I can wear whatever the fuck I want.

Is it wrong for people to be thinking in their heads, “yeah, but when you do wear short dresses, skirts, etc. that kind of lewd behavior from entitled creepy men is expected.”

Yes. Yes it is wrong to be thinking it, but it doesn’t stop people, even me from thinking it. Thinking about how I can’t even park a half a block from my house without being gawked at like some humping post. Thinking about how maybe I’m too old now to be dressing so scandalously, thinking about how dumb it is to think I’m dressing scandalously just because my dress cuts above the knee.

Wondering if I should actually feel flattered that I’m still getting cat-called. Wondering why I am wondering that when I know deep down that there are plenty of less creepy ways to flatter people, particularly strangers.

Proud of myself though, proud for getting pissed and going after him instead of retreating, smiling, acting like I’m complimented when I’m not, I’m annoyed.

I’m proud of my body.

Proud of my mind.

Proud of my ability to finally after years and years, move forward to fight instead of backing away.

Not that it’s a bad choice to back away, surviving is always a good choice. But, enough is enough already. Making that step is what I needed to do to get back in my head right. To be like, nah bro, I got this, watch me take care of me. Watch me wear what I want, walk how I want, be who I want, even park where I want–because now my head is back, which means there isn’t any parallel fear. I can back my boatcar wherever I need.





In Honor of my Grandpa Dave.

3 08 2016

This was the talk I gave about my Grandpa Dave on August 1st, 2016. And yes, the preacher did ask the crowd afterward if anyone had any ivory soap with them to wash my mouth out. If there’s one thing my grandpa taught me, it was to always tell it like it is, and I wrote this in honor of him and that passionate way to live life. 

meandgrandpa

Grandpa Dave and me when I was just a wee thing.

As many of you here know, my grandparents started dating in high school. One of my favorite stories is how, at the beginning of their courtship they would end up at the Dairy Queen; on the first date my grandma ordered a strawberry shortcake and because she was so bashful, she ended up having him order the same thing for her over and over, date after date, because she didn’t want him to know that she didn’t really like their strawberry shortcake all that much.

But. She liked him, and he was a good one to like.

grandpaandgrandma

Dave and Arlene May 1961

They were married the day after Christmas in 1960 and have been together ever since. For me, they were a shining example of love that endures, love that survives through the thick and thin, the good and bad; a love that was real, true, even if at times there were struggles, they were always there for each other and for their children. They had four lovely, generous, and outspoken kids, 2 even named after hollywood celebrities, Rick (after Ricky Nelson), Sandy, my mother (after Sandra Dee), and then Tom aka “Spook,” and Bob. They loved good music and my grandfather never shied away from belting a tune or two out loud at any random moment.

grandpagrillGrandpa Dave was at his best when he was at home, spending time outside on the patio, the long nights with the bug zapper and the laughing and chatting; grilling, drinking beer and bellowing out those old tunes.

Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket/never let it fade away…

Blue moon/you saw me standing alone/without a dream in my heart/without a love of my own

Charlie Brown — Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?– you know Charlie Brown right?) he’d say.

I was to him, Krystal Leanie the Big Fat Green Beanie to which I would also yell back, “Grandpa! I’m NOT fat and I’m not a green bean!!”

All the grandchildren learned quickly to hide their knees when in his presence or he’d “show us how a crow lights,” by pressing on the pressure points that make the leg jump.

When we were really young we’d all climb up on top of him while he laid on the couch and try to take over his tv remote, which only worked for a short period of time before it was back on a baseball, or basketball, or football, or the worst of all, golf. He was an avid sports fan, dedicated to The Royals, The Chiefs and KU no matter if it was a winning or losing season. He himself played on a winning softball team. He also coached his kids on winning sports teams. And when my mom started coaching me, he’d come to all the games and cheer me on, very loudly, often expressing his opinions of the situation to the umpire.

He was a stickler for routine. Every morning he’d drink his Folgers and finish a crossword puzzle and we’d often find him listening to sports radio, many of us trying hard to turn that shit off.

He was at his worst on the road. Anyone who has everyone gotten into a vehicle with him knows what I’m talking about. To me, it was an adventure. I could tell other people were nervous, but I was always excited, ready to go fast, waiting for the next new cuss word I’d learn. “These damn farmers,” and “What? Are we in a fucking parade here?” were his top phrases, and to say that didn’t rub off on me would be a complete and total lie.

And that might be the most beautiful thing about grandpa Dave. He was not a bullshiter. He was bold and stubborn and always had an opinion to share even if it was sometimes a bit shall we say, off color, or about killing those worthless cats, though it was usually about politics or sports teams and certain players lack of skill.

It’s taken me years to admit that I am actually a less-than-average driver and when I sort of kind of ran into a menu sign at the Sonic while driving his truck to work one day, both my uncle Bob and my grandpa were the calmest I’ve ever seen them about someone in the family doing something really ridiculously stupid. I thought he’d kill me, but he was just glad I wasn’t hurt. And that’s the thing, deep down he was the sweetest, most loving, gentle soul, which is perhaps why sometimes he came across as the opposite–he didn’t want to give that secret away. Anyone close to him though, knew better. Not very many men baby-talk their dogs or let their grandchildren ride them like a horse through the house.

grandpadavehorse

Yes, I have proof this really happened, that’s me and grandpa Dave back in the day. 

He lived in Greeley his entire life, and worked for 32 Years at GM, many of you know him best from the Greeley Quick Shop aka the liquor store where he’d greet everyone with a big “how you doing today?,” and shoot the shit with anyone who had the time.

He was far from perfect, but who isn’t? There were things he liked and things he didn’t like and he’d always tell you which one was which. Regardless of which side you were on in those discussion, they were always lively; and his honesty and sincerity were two of his most admirable traits.

He will be greatly missed in the community, by his friends, and within our family.

I will say, that to this day, whenever I hear someone loudly sneeze three times in a row, I wait for the echoing GOD Damn It!!! I know I will never hear it again, but that God Damn It spirit will live on forever.

grandpafam

Grandpa Dave, me, Grandma Arlene, Mindy and Judy, Christmas 2011.





10 Randoms: Slut City Summer.

17 07 2012

1.) Our neighbors were gone for like 2 + weeks. They come back. And move out two days later. There goes our free internet and our porch chairs. Damn. Anyone looking for an apartment? It’s a cute one (with cute neighbors).

2.) I went to my first strip club the other night. Honestly, I thought I would hate it. I thought all the women would be Barbie-like with big fake boobs and tiny waists. But the opposite happened. The women were of many shapes and sizes, big boobs, little boobs, big butts, no butts, smiles, no smiles, Black, White, Asian; so many women making bank off of men. Good for them. Because until our entire system of oppressive capitalism changes. . . I say, shake what you got.  (If you’re doing it in an empowered conscientious way and not because you’re manipulated into it or feel like it’s your only choice.) Also, it made me feel more comfortable in my own skin. Seeing women of all shapes and sizes completely naked and embracing their sexuality was revealing–on multiple levels.

3.) Also, that very night I ended up at a random Reggae event. It was Black & White themed. Good thing I went or the “white” part of the theme probably wouldn’t have happened.

4.) I’ve been getting mega-creepers at work. Two in one week. And I’ve realized it’s incredibly difficult to tell other people how someone else is being creepy. Creepy is hard to describe because it’s not just what they say, but how they say it. It’s a look in their eye. It’s doing something awkward and taking too long of a time doing it. It’s lying and being terrible at it. Guess what creeps? Just because I sell sexy things doesn’t mean I want to have sexy time with you.

5.) Speaking of sex. I’ve decided to have more of it with more people. I am determined to become a Super Slut. Every. Single. Dick. In. Denver. (That’s every Single dick, as in, not-taken dick, not every single one of them.)

6.) 5 is not completely true.

7.) I’ve realized that for many many years I have been incredibly good at reading people; what they need, what they want, and then mirroring those needs and wants for them. This has come in handy in regards to my like-ability—as I have a rather abrasive personality or I can be abrasive if I’m not careful. But, that’s the thing. I am not going to be careful anymore. I’m going to stop mirroring and I’m going to start living for me. I’m going to go after what I want, what I need, and I’m going to stop caring if other people care. This has been a theoretical issue with me for years, in concept I don’t care, but in reality I totally do. No longer! Sure, perhaps I will turn into a narcissistic ego-maniac but it’s not like I’ll be the first. And if it doesn’t work out for me, I can always go back to who I was before, right?

8.) The biggest issue is figuring out what I want. Wading through what society has told me I should want and what I want deep down within. Hence the Super Slut. Being a “slut” is “bad”. . . but why? Why does monogamous heterosexual relationships have to be “the norm” and even if they are “the norm” why do they have to be “the only” acceptable relationship model. To me it appears to be another way of controlling women’s goddess-like sexual allure. By taming us sexually, you control us on all fronts (it’s a theory I’m still working through…perhaps too third-wave post-feminist but whatever). I don’t agree with the monogamy model. I find it boring. Sure it works well for people. I actually don’t know if it “works well” for most people, but it works okay for the general public. But the general public has no confidence and likes to follow guidelines instead of inventing their own.

9.) I’m going to invent my own guidelines. If you’d like to follow them, you’re more than welcome.

10.) I’m excited for the development of my new personality. Be on the look out people. It’s either going to be the. most. amazing. thing. ever. or the Crashiest Trashiest Courtney Love-esque down-fall you’ll ever witness.

(I feel like there is a bigger development here that I haven’t quite discovered yet, perhaps tomorrow it will all tie together).