Six Reasons Why the World Isn’t Going to End in 19 Days

Sure, there have been all kinds of natural disasters, not to mention strange weather patterns in general. (One mild winter in North Dakota last season was awesome, yet terrifying, because it’s so uncharacteristic. This one’s rounding out to be pretty similar.) And even though I might have been a little nervous about it myself when I first heard of the whole “2012” thing a few years ago, I’m now convinced that there’s no way we’ve only got 19 days left. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The Mayans made calendars, not predictions.

Why are we banking predictions of the future on a civilization that couldn’t predict its own demise? Yes, it’s still a mystery and archeologists aren’t sure what necessarily caused it, but it certainly happened quickly. You’d think a big disaster might have been something they could foretell. That is, if they ever claimed to be foretelling anything. Let’s give the Mayans some credit here. They were pretty advanced people. They probably realized that the notion of predicting the future was quackery, themselves.

I couldn't resist.

I couldn’t resist.

So, their calendar happens to end on December 21, 2012. Ours ends on December 31 every year. What if some futuristic space people come to Earth in a thousand years, find one of our old calendars, and assume we predicted the end of the world because of that? As for the 2012 thing, maybe they just got sick of making calendars at that point. Or maybe they were like, “Hey, it’s like, 900 A.D. I think 2012 is more than enough. Let’s take a break. We’ll make more calendars in like 1980.”

Oh, how I love this.

Oh, how I love this.

2. Some are catching on to the fact that Taylor Swift is not necessarily all that and a bag of gluten free popcorn chips. (Trust me, in spite of any “gluten free” connotations, those things are delicious.)

It’s no secret that I’m not necessarily a Swift fan. At first, I thought it was an irrational dislike, but honestly, I just don’t see why everyone flips out and thinks she’s the greatest ever. As far as singing and songwriting, she’s pretty average among her competition. A majority of her songs are pretty much about the same thing – heartbreak, relationships, boys suck, yada yada. They all sound pretty similar. And now she’s not even staying true to her country roots, getting all “popified” with her new album. (Does anyone else think the, “WeeeeEEEEE!” in “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” sounds like a pig call? You know, “Sooooo Weeeee!” Maybe it’s just me.)

She has summoned the pigs!

She has summoned the pigs! (Yay for cute baby animal pictures in this post!)

But I always said jokingly, “If the world ends in 2012, it’ll be because Taylor Swift is some kind of spy and brainwashed the nation into trusting her and thinking she’s perfect.” I guess I just don’t fully buy her squeaky clean image. And my less-than-impressed opinion of her has gotten me yelled at multiple times. Each time, the yellers to try to convince me to love her. Why? If someone isn’t particularly a fan of any other music artist, people generally shrug it off thinking, “Eh, to each his own.”  What makes her so different? So, that’s what’s bothered me about her.

I'm just sayin'...

I’m just sayin’…

And that opinion is starting to grow, much to my surprise. So, there goes that theory. One more point for the world continuing to exist.

Yay!

Yay!

3. Hello, does anyone remember the whole “Rapture” thing?

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Although, it did make for an awesome excuse to have Rapture Parties and to sit around watching horror movies and drinking. December 21 will be an excuse to bring on the even more awesome End of the World Parties!

Plus, it was a great excuse for Shock Top to make this beer that I couldn't resist getting last night. It's pretty good, but I honestly think I really like it because of its clever name.

Plus, it was a great excuse for Shock Top to make this beer that I couldn’t resist getting last night. It’s pretty good, but I honestly think I really like it because of its clever name.

4. We’ve only gotten through the mid-season finale of the Walking Dead. Every episode’s enough of a cliffhanger as it is. There’s no way we can hold out that long.

Well, we actually haven’t even made it that far yet, but in approximately six hours we will. I’m going to have a hard enough time waiting until whenever it starts up again; I really don’t need an apocalypse screwing it up. However, if zombies were to be involved, at least I would have learned some great survival techniques.

Lori made the zombie apocalypse so much worse than it had to be.

Lori made the zombie apocalypse so much worse than it had to be.

5. I finally bought an iPhone. I better get more than 2 weeks to use it.
My Android phone spazzed out on me late last spring, so I got frustrated, went off the deep end, and downgraded to a dumbphone. It was nice to get away from paying for a data plan for a while, but this phone is even crappier than the phone I had in high school. I can only take teeny baby pictures on my teeny baby screen. I can’t take videos. It doesn’t like to send texts all the time, and it definitely doesn’t like to let me know when I’ve received one. So, a shiny, white iPhone 5 has become my Christmas present from me to me. It’s currently hurtling toward me and should be here by Wednesday, leaving me about 16 days with an iPhone if those who believe the end is near are right after all.

Hawt.

Hawt. My dumbphone.

6. This morning, I drank coffee with creamer that expired in September. If I made it through that, I can make it through anything.
I know this doesn’t help the rest of the world have any hope, but I’m feeling particularly resilient for living through that. I made it through half the cup of coffee before I decided that something was really wrong, and those chunks floating in it probably weren’t just undissolved sweetener. So, if living through drinking curdled coffee creamer adds any credibility to my End of the World Survival resume, let’s slap it on there.

Me, reading the expiration date.

Me, reading the expiration date.

But in all seriousness, I am kind of interested in these apocalypse theories, no matter how whacked out they might seem, and I like the idea that this whole December 21 thing isn’t an apocalypse, but an ending of one cycle and the beginning of a new one, as cheesy as it sounds.

But, hey, if you’ve been stockpiling food and alcohol for bartering, like a lot of the Doomsday Preppers I’ve seen on TV, that won’t mean it was all for nothing. It’ll just make your End of the World Party that much more awesome!

2012_end_of_the_world_party_invitation-p161584299638290495en75o_325

It’s A$$hole Tuesday

As if Tuesday isn’t one of the more depressing days of the work week as it is, my coworkers informed me as soon as I started that it’s known in our office as “Asshole Tuesday.” Maybe the fact that the week isn’t even close to over amplifies our general frustration toward dealing with jerks, or maybe the assholes all just decide to come out on Tuesday, but it really never seems to fail.

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The only thing worse than Monday would be an Asshole Tuesday happening on a Monday.

Unfortunately, even though we like to pretend at work that the assholes only come out in droves on Tuesday, the sad truth is that people, in general, tend to suck every day of the week.

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Ok, so that sounds kind of bleak. We could just feel that way because we’re in Williston … which also sounds unnecessarily negative. Don’t get me wrong – Williston has its fair share of great people, but many Willistonites agree that some of the people who come to the area in search of work aren’t simply down on their luck and looking for an earnest way to start over and make a living. Instead, this group of people are the type that blame everyone and everything but themselves for the trouble they’re in. Naturally, working in a law office, we get the joy of encountering a lot of these kinds of people.

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But, hey, we could deal with them, if they were the only ones who sucked. But they’re not. There’s a commercial that runs in western North Dakota, that starts out by saying, “There are 50 states in the nation, and every one of them wants to be North Dakota.” Until I lived in Williston again, I didn’t realize how true that statement was.

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For how mountainous this graph looks, the peaks only count for jobs. North Dakota is still flat as a pancake.

I would have never imagined that my boring little hometown would be a place anyone would want to live, let alone be jealous of. We are extremely fortunate to be experiencing economic happy times with the oil boom in our area. The sad thing is that money breeds conflict.

Random people living all across the country who never even knew North Dakota exists find out some long, lost relative of theirs that they never met owned mineral interest on land that’s got a producing oil well on it, and they’re instantly wanting and expecting more. They’re upset with me because I can’t get their paperwork done fast enough; they’re even fighting against their own family members to scrap for more.

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Come on, people! To come upon money just because you’re related to someone is an amazing stroke of luck – Isn’t that enough reason to just be happy? If you’re not okay with that, I’ll certainly take your pile of money …

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There’s my vent for Asshole Tuesday. All you assholes out there can crawl back in your holes now.

P.S. Just a heads up, I finally made a Facebook page for the blog. The link’s over on the right margin of this page, near the top, if you feel so inclined to click away. I’ll put some awesome little tidbits up, and links to every post, of course.

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P.S. Here’s an adorable picture of my cat, Sperry, being an asshole and hogging the remote. For the record, I did not stage this. She’s actually this much of a freak.

Sorry I’m Such a Tease…

Ok, so I had good intentions in, say, March, when I wrote all about how I was coming back to my blog.  Hopefully, I’ll stick to it this time. After all, I have no social life anymore, (Did I ever?) so I really shouldn’t have much of an excuse. Regardless, over a year of crazy happenings in the life of Kaitlin have left me with plenty to write about.

Forever Alone Meme

Or a few months…

I’m in a completely different place than I was at the time I wrote my last regular post. Literally. To begin with, I’m across the state (still in North Dakota, unfortunately) sitting on a bed covered with teddy bears and unicorns in my room….in my parents’ home. In Williston, ND. (You know, Wild Wild Williston? It’s even wilder. And Willistonier.)

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That’s my unicorn. I also have its baby now, too. Maybe I shouldn’t have admitted that…..

That may sound like I’ve become a total failure on the surface, but hopefully I’m not. At least, I try to tell myself that. You can’t really go anywhere but up when you come out of college bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with your shiny, new several-thousand-dollar piece of paper and find yourself working at the local Olive Garden. I will never be able to hear the words “Unlimited Soup and Salad” again without cringing. (Fun fact: I worked at the Olive Garden Marilyn Hagerty went to when her review of the restaurant went viral. In college, I also worked at the newspaper Marilyn writes for and had her as a guest speaker in a ton of my classes. But the whole story about all that and my time at the ol’ OG is for another post. Or seven.)

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That’s me. Looking fresh as ever.

Anyway, I’m banking in on the cash cow that is Williston, ND, while I can. Yes, Wal-Mart’s starting wage really is $17.00 an hour. McDonald’s will get you $15 an hour starting. So, this is a great place to work at a law firm, getting some experience while saving for law school. (Yep, I got in! And I’d be there right now if I hadn’t been offered a rather significant scholarship to defer my enrollment a year. You know, because too many people accepted their offer of admission and they need to make themselves look uber competitive for the US News & World Reports Rankings. It’s all a big conspiracy. But, I digress.)

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Woot!

Living at home and banking money also has its perks for saving for a house, the big move across the country in a few months, and the WEDDING which will follow shortly after! Yes, in a little over 8 months, my blog title will no longer be a catchy little spin on my last name, but it’s a small price to pay for the lifetime of awesome I’m getting. Especially since Chris and I have been, and will continue to be, living across the state from each other until we make the move. It sucks, but at least I can get away with not shaving my legs very often. (Gotta always look on the bright side.)

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I was distracted by something shiny and didn’t see the random bowl of popcorn on the floor…It was Chris’s house, don’t ask why it’s there.

So, now that I’ve unnecessarily updated you, dear reader whom I probably don’t know on a personal level, on the biggest intimate details of the last year, I think I can successfully move on and begin blogging like I used to. Maybe not every day, but at least regularly. My original plan, in March, was to just let all my big new changes come out as they needed to in the process of writing different posts, in an attempt to not give off so much of my personal life. But I think that idea was a little too daunting. I guess it seems like I need to let people know where I am in life to make my posts relevant. Even though anyone who might still be interested in my blog probably stopped reading about my ridiculous personal blatherings after the first paragraph.

Anyway, yay for blogging again 🙂 I hope to see you around.

(P.S. I also got an adorable kitten. I’m obsessed with her. And she’s the one who loves the unicorns on my bed, I swear.)

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Yes, she is laying on a placemat. I may have been a crazy cat lady when I lived alone…

Guess who’s back — Back again. Kaitlin’s back — On her blog.

I’ve been contemplating doing this for some time now. Yeah, I know, I totally fell off the face of the Earth before. Not completely tactful, but there was a little air of mystery, wasn’t there? Maybe I died or got abducted by aliens or something, for all you knew.

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Yeah. I'm the cow.

Unfortunately (only for the sake of an interesting story to tell – not because I would have preferred to be abducted), I was the same old Kaitlin. That’s not to say nothing exciting happened. There have been some big changes in KaitlinLand. But for now, this is what you get to know:

– I’m currently back East sucking the juice out of the last few days of my vacation, but unfortunately, I still live in North Dakota for the time being.

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That's the statue they built to me after being abducted. Actually, that's Salem Sue, the "World's Largest Holstein Cow." You can see her from the highway when driving by New Salem, ND. Another claim to fame for ND.

– As for why I decided to pick my blog back up now, I have no idea. But, I will forewarn that it’ll probably be a limited time only thing again because, starting in the fall, I’ll have no life. But I won’t bore you with the details of my life because that’s not what’s interesting … Unless, of course, these details tie into a later post. And I find that I oftentimes reveal way more about myself to complete strangers through blogging than I originally intended.
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Because. Also, I realized I just used one, but can someone explain the whole meme thing to me? I mean, is the surface really all there is to it, or is there some massive Internet inside joke I'm missing out on? And WHERE did these characters even come from? Maybe I'm just overthinking.

– Um … I guess that didn’t necessarily warrant a bulleted list, since I don’t really have anything else to say. But I figured I owed any readers that may still exist a slight explanation post before diving into new awesomeness.

And awesome it shall be.

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Where is the love? Right here!

I heard about this on Sunday, but there was really no outside information to pass on besides the fact itself. I guess there still really isn’t much. But maybe for the four or five readers who’ve stuck around ( 😉 ) and aren’t from North Dakota (hence, don’t know me personally), this is new to them.

In any case, it’s worth writing about because it’s nice. And I like nice things and nice people. Mean people suck.

But this makes me happy that not everyone sucks. Allow me to cut to the chase: Minot, ND, a central North Dakotan city I would call decent-sized but you non-North Dakotans might consider minuscule, is still picking up the pieces from the disastrous flood they battled earlier this summer. Over 10,000 residents were forced to evacuate in late June. The start of the school year has been delayed, the North Dakota State Fair, the state’s biggest annual event, was canceled, and the cost of the flood is estimated somewhere around $1 billion.

This one’s a tear-jerker. “Fix You” is enough to start the waterworks for me, but a weekend trip to Minot was always one of my biggest treats growing up. It’s sad to see a place you’re so familiar with suffering.

Josh Duhamel — hunky actor, married to Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, you may know him from Las Vegas, the TV show, and movies like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!, When in Rome, the Transformers series, Ramona and Beezus — is from Minot. Pretty sure I would have dropped over dead if I’d ever seen him walking around the mall there.

Prowling the halls of the Dakota Square Mall? Maybe.

He’s been backing his hometown from day one, just like a true North Dakota boy. So, he got the Black Eyed Peas to set up a special concert benefitting the flood fight that’ll be held in Minot on September 3. Awww, *swoon.*


Tickets will go on sale August 12 for $100 a piece, and full information should be available at this site: www.minotrising.com. (Only it’s super faily and just says “Coming soon…” for now. That was the only source they provided when the news first broke. I had to laugh a little.)

Still, I’m glad they’re spreading the love, following the cry from “Where is the Love?,” one of their first hits. (I oftentimes forget that song exists, but I’m glad when I remember because I think it’s my favorite of their songs.)

Oh, and speaking of Duhamel being a North Dakota boy, this is a perfect opportunity to plug this little video, which went semi-viral last summer, but really just never gets old. It’s also where I got the name for my Wild Wild Williston posts.

Come on over! We’ve got Kegs!

I’m a self-proclaimed foodie. Some people might call me a fatty. Either way, I enjoy food, and I’m not ashamed. When I had cable, my TV was on Food Network at least 80% of the time because I find it interesting, and because it’s relaxing background noise for doing homework. Now, I have to resort to planning my workouts around my TV schedule, and end up being “that girl” who’s watching Food Network while she’s running on the treadmill.

I can't believe I actually found this picture. That's me. Only I'm not tan or brunette.

If you watch Food Network semi-regularly, you’ve probably seen a pretty popular show called “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” It’s one of my favorite shows on the channel, along with “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” That’s probably because these shows pick out awesome little restaurants around the country and feature them for making fantastic food. I’ll totally stop at restaurants featured on the shows if I’m ever near any of them on vacation. (North Dakota doesn’t really get a whole lot of airtime.)

In fact, I would make a road trip out of it to go to some of the nearby places. It’s nothing to me — In high school, we used to drive 45 minutes to get a Whirl-a-Whip in Stanley, ND. (It’s kind of like a Blizzard from Dairy Queen, but known around the state.)

This is an image from Stanley, ND's, website. The Whirl-a-Whip is their claim to fame.

Although North Dakota (specifically, Grand Forks, ND — since that’s where I’m currently living) has never been featured on one of those Food Network shows, we’re home to some spots that are definitely worthy of some airtime. I finally visited one for the first time today, after a lot of curiosity and recommendations.

“Have you gone to Kegs yet?” my parents often asked me. I’d always do the mental head-slap, wondering why I didn’t think of it last time Chris and I were sitting around playing the “I dunno — What do you want to eat?” “I don’t care. What do you feel like?” game.

This is actually a website. The F-word makes it somehow more funny and entertaining than your average recipe website: http://whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner.com/

My dad often told me how he was a regular at Kegs when he was a student at the University of North Dakota, grabbing a monster burger or some onion rings on his way to work. The student-friendly prices haven’t changed. A huge, homemade cheeseburger was around $2.

I probably forgot about Kegs because it’s tucked in the middle of town. It’s plopped right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. Kegs definitely takes you by surprise a little when you first approach it. Aside from being a little dilapidated on the exterior, you can’t deny that it’s got a curiosity-sparking gravitational pull.

The Kegs Drive In at three on a Monday afternoon.

When my family and I pulled up, we were the only car in the lot. It’s a true old-fashioned, 1950s drive-in. You press the button on the menu when you’re ready to order, and the waitress brings you your food on a tray. It first opened in the 1930s, as part of a local seven-restaurant chain. This Kegs is the last one that remains.

The Kegs Menu

We were a little unsure it was still open until we saw a fluorescent-shirted worker passing behind the counter inside. We discovered she was pretty disgruntled, to say the least, but I think it added to the whole experience. Besides, the food is worth it.

They’re known for their sloppy joes — That’s what I had. I didn’t think you could really do much with a sloppy joe recipe, but there was definitely just something better about it. They’re also known for their root beer, as you can probably tell by their signature keg-architecture, but they have a whole slew of beverage choices, like homemade vanilla, lime, and cherry Coke and even a chocolate Coke, which I might have to try next time.

Their burgers and onion rings were perfection, too. I had a bite of my dad’s and will definitely be trying that next time. As my brother said, it tasted like 1953. And in the best possible way. There’s just something about a really great cheeseburger that makes everything seem right in the world. Or maybe that’s just me and my foodie-fattiness.

Not long after we arrived, Kegs quickly filled up with cars full of people young and old. Battle Axe Waitress and her younger counterpart remained efficient, although Battle Axe also remained pretty crabby.

There’s just something about places like Kegs — They’ve been around forever because they’ve been doing things right. Grand Forks, like any city, is rich with tradition, but a lot of those traditions stem from the University and its hockey team.

Kegs is a place that hangs onto a tradition of its own.

“You never know. This could be the last time we eat here. They’ll probably tear it down by the time we get back to Grand Forks,” my parents were saying, acknowledging they’d said the same things 20 years ago when they were in school.

I’ve got a feeling Kegs isn’t going anywhere.

GTL: As long as the “T” stands for “Translucent”

I’m a natural blonde. I’ve never been a redhead (except the one and only time I became a brunette just out of curiosity and my hair kind of started turning auburn). You wouldn’t be able to tell by how prone I am to sunburn, though. I’ve got just enough Norwegian in me that I can’t quite enjoy the sun.

Contrary to popular belief, North Dakota does get warm for a few months. It’s an extreme climate. In fact, I had a Facebook status a few weeks ago that I think summed it up perfectly: “North Dakota: One of the only places on earth where you can experience what both 111 degrees and -50 degrees feels like.” I’m not exaggerating. We’ve been battling a heat wave that just recently let up enough for us to enjoy some time outside.

Sigh -- Apparently it's impossible to find the weather from a few days ago. I would have taken a screen shot, but it just disappeared.

But even on those rare days when it’s 75 or 80, breezy, and the mosquitoes actually aren’t gnawing at any bit of exposed flesh they can find, I can’t win. I had a coffee on the patio at Starbucks with Chris one afternoon for 25 minutes tops. I was under an umbrella in the shade. My shoulders still gleamed red afterward. So much so that mere acquaintances winced at them in empathetic pain and suggested aloe vera.

It pains me to even post this. It's so unflattering. This was the result of being fresh out of chilly ND and into Virginia summer heat. Sunburn doesn't usually show up well in pictures that aren't intentionally documenting it. Also, excuse the lack of makeup on my end.

I think it’s just North Dakota. I think being confined indoors, seeking shelter from blizzards and frostbite nine or more months out of the year, deteriorates whatever endurance you may have had for the sun.

In fact, I have evidence of this.

Chris’s background is Italian. When my grandma saw a picture of him she commented, “Oh, he’s so dark!” For North Dakota, yes. His so-brown-it’s-almost-black hair and golden skin sticks out a little against all of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed Norwegians here. And, I admit, he’s naturally several shades darker than my general hue of purple. (My translucent skin usually gives way to my blood vessels underneath. Yummy.) But set Chris out in the sun for a couple of hours, and he bronzes up like a freshly-baked calzone.

See? Notice my sunburn, once again. It's kind of turning into a tan in this picture, though. "Tan" for me is sometimes considered "darker shade of pink/purple."

Or, he used to. Now he has to worry a little about sunburn, a phenomenon he’d never experienced before spending a winter in North Dakota. Longing for warmer weather, he spent spring break in Malibu, California, his first year at UND. He came back with a peeling sunburn. Coincidence? I think not.

Unfortunately, no documentation of Chris with sunburn exists ... that I can find at least. But his nose was the worst, so here's a picture of a sunburned nose.

I’m finally taking a few days off from North Dakota living and heading east in two weeks, spending a few days in Pennsylvania, a few in Virginia, and a few days on the beach in Delaware. [I CAN’T WAIT.] I’m fully prepared to become Lobster-Kaitlin, as usual. Even when my initial burn has turned into my version of a “base tan,” I’m no match for a few days baking on the beach.

A lot of girls here, though, do achieve a bronzed-goddess glow. (Especially female athletes of winter sports — Have you ever watched a high school girls’ basketball game in North Dakota?) I’m jealous of them … and their perfect ankles. I think they achieve it from a combination of much more fortunate genes than those I was graced with and chronic fake-baking.

Even though my dad and grandma tan easily and burn little, I ended up with the crappy end of the gene pool in many areas: yucky toenails, fine hair, inability to tan, and the dreaded CANKLES. I do make a few trips to the tanning bed a year. (I know how bad it is. I only go a few times a year to acclimate my skin to ultraviolet rays in an attempt to avoid the inevitable melanoma-causing, molt-inducing sunburn that will confine me to a tub full of aloe vera lotion for a week.) Still, any tan I ever accumulate fades almost as quickly as I got it.

Ewww. Molting.

Sigh … the joys of a North Dakota summer. The only thing that’s worse is a North Dakota winter.

P.S. Just so someone else might have some entertainment out of my unpleasant situation, I’ll post a picture if I end up burned at the beach.