Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Misanthropic Cellist

I wrote half an entry ranting about the events that made my week go downhill (it's still somewhat going downhill, but it's also more than half over). And now that I've deleted it, all that remains is the title above. Let that be some hint. It's not really worth it to type about, it just felt good to type it out when I did a few hours ago.

In other news, a German guy (as in, from Germany) joined our String Orchestra recently. I don't remember his name, but I know he plays the violin and is quite hot, and his German accent only makes things that much better. Distractions everywhere!

And now I have a headache. And I still have 3 papers to finish . . . sigh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Mask of the Composer

Thanksgiving break was wonderful. Did pretty much nothing academic and caught up on lots of sleep. And, for the first time in over 2 months, I had inspiration to compose a little more on a couple of my pieces that have been on hold. For the first time in a long while, I donned my Mask of the Composer.

Now, it's a very amateurish mask, and I contend that anyone who knows any semblance of music theory and has a creative mind can compose something. That said, very few people compose well, and I don't profess to compose well. I do it for fun as it's another creative outlet, and I can hear "potential" in my pieces, but I don't have the training and technical expertise to make them sound great. Anyway, here's my Mask.
I guess I started composing my senior year of high school. I've only composed for instruments I either know how to play (piano and cello) or know how to play in theory (violin and viola). So I've mostly only composed for these 4 instruments. I use a free program called Finale Notepad 2004 that I downloaded off their site on the internet. The full version of Finale costs too much, though my brother was somehow able to pirate a few copies (a whole lot of good that does him, as it expires after 30 days without a valid authentication key).

Anyway, I've composed many pieces, and every semester starting my second semester of freshman year we (my string trio) has played at least 1 piece I've composed. Music for string trio (violin, viola, and cello) is unusually hard to come by, particularly good music. Most trio music are for violin, piano, and cello. Poor viola. So I thought, why not compose something that'll at least be fun to play? And that I did. To date, most of my pieces have been for string trio. I once tried to compose a trio for electric guitar, piano, and cello. Thanks to my friend, MS-M, I knew (in theory) how to compose for guitar; however, since I don't play the guitar (electric or otherwise), I composed intervals that were near-impossible to physically play. Alas. I compose on average about 1-2 pieces per semester. There are also many other pieces that I've started but haven't finished (and maybe never will).

Currently I'm working mainly on 3 pieces: one for a string trio, one for a cello quartet, and one for a string sextet (2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos). The string trio piece will be played next semester for sure, and it's aptly titled "Farewell." The history behind that piece is obvious enough. It's my last semester of undergrad. Also, it's partly to commemorate my friend who passed away last year, as well as a friend who went from majoring in MSE (material science engineering) to becoming a nun over the summer (and now we never hear from her anymore). It utilizes a lot of chords and sustains in A minor. I think it sounds pretty good thus far. "Hymn" is the working title for the cello quartet, though that'll likely change somewhat later. It follows a similar style as the string trio. Now, the sextet - that's a beast to compose. I may never fully understand how the great classical composers wrote such amazing symphonies, as it's hard enough to coordinate 6 instruments! Anyway, the title of the sextet is "String Alchemy."

Composing Philosophy
I believe that every composer has some kind of philosophy when composing. Mine has been fairly simple: no instrument, part, or piece will be overly repetitive. I've listened to too many modern songs where it's basically an exposition, several refrains, then an ending. Such a boring structure. And I've played many pieces in my life where the cello part is the same damn thing for almost the entire piece. And I also pity the viola. They too often get offbeats, syncopations, and arpeggios. Now, arpeggios are fairly cool . . . until you've played them for a page, then it gets old.

So my composing philosophy is to never subject an instrument to that. That's quite a challenge though, because you need the repetitive parts to create certain effects. My earlier pieces don't have that forward moving drive because the cello and viola parts lack the repetitive parts. So the direction of the piece relies solely on the players as a unit because there's no internal mechanism from keeping it going.

My later pieces utilize more repetitive parts, though not for very long in any particular instrument. The repetitive "beat-keeping" parts move between the three instruments, though it's still mostly kept to the cello and viola. It's a decent compromise. I like to have my pieces where everyone gets melody and everyone gets harmony at some point.

It's still difficult though, as things are limited by instrumentation and how they sound. Obviously where the cello's the lowest instrument, it must be the foundation of sound from which the other instruments build upon. Thus it must either keep beat in its lower register or have long sustained notes. Sigh, the very things I dislike playing. At least when I compose these pieces I'll have no one to blame but myself. But, when the instrumentation is like 4 cellos, things get much more interesting. For one, the bottom base part can easily switch between all 4 cellos, and it has the added effect (though this only applies in proximity of the performers) of hearing different parts being switched and played from different members of the group. It's kind of cool if, say, the "first" cellist is playing the melody one second only to have the "fourth" cellist playing it the next second.

Now, there are many composition forms. There are preludes, there are fugues, there are toccatas, there are chorales, there are ABA/ABBA/ABCBA sonata forms, there are etudes, there are tarantellas, and the list goes on. I haven't explored most of these, partly because I don't know where to begin and what to do. It's somewhat difficult, even in this internet age, to find "rules" of composing in these forms.

I was, however, fairly successful in composing a fugue last fall semester. It was called (uninspiringly) "Windchaser Fugue." Currently, the pieces I'm working on probably most closely resembles chorales, but only for parts of the pieces. Hmm, I wonder if there are "rules" for chorales . . . probably. One day, I may try to revisit the idea of composing a "suite" like Bach did. It would include a prelude, a sarabande, and a courante for sure. Those are fairly simple ideas. One day maybe. I may also go back to pieces I've already composed and make them sound better with the benefit of retrospection and experience.
So I basically only compose when I'm struck by inspiration, which happens at the strangest times (like 2am, I composed an entire piece between 2-3am every night for like a month - it's aptly titled "Early Morn Inspiration"). I've also noticed that inspiration only comes when there's time for it, and when it does, it comes in waves.

I'll get a sudden urge that'll last a few hours, then it'll disappear for days, even weeks. So I'll compose maybe a page or two (rarely) in a single day/night, then won't compose on that piece again for maybe a month. It's strange how that works, but then again, this is a very strange (and incomplete) mask I wear.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I was going to write a post ranting and raging about something that happened on Tuesday. It was pretty bad, and it caused me to rage inside for almost all of Tuesday and part of Wednesday. But you know, it's freakin' Thanksgiving, so no ranting here.

Thanksgiving is awesome and one of the most underrated holidays, in my opinion. Thanksgiving is never really advertised much. Things tend to bypass Thanksgiving on its way from Halloween to Christmas and that's sad. While I pretty much love all holidays, my two favorite are probably Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year, partly because of the sheer volume of food involved.

To me (particularly in the last 4 years or so), Thanksgiving is a time to just get together with my immediate family and not really do much. After the food's made, it's restful (usually). It'd be cooler if my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents could all get together with us as well, but they live in Chicago, IL, and in Milpitas, CA, so that's not going to happen. Also, my brother's birthday is always within a few days of Thanksgiving (he was either born on, the day before, or the day after Thanksgiving) so it's almost like a double celebration. It's pretty sweet.

It's late so that it for now. At the very least, I'm thankful it's Thanksgiving. There's really too much to be thankful for to be fully expressed concisely in words.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Autumnal Fires

It's been quite cold the last few days here in my Midwest state. Sigh, it was so nice just prior too. The leaves were all in beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow - almost looks like the trees were on fire if the sunlight hits it just right (hence, autumnal fires). The leaves have now almost all fallen, and the autumnal fires are now but embers. But before they dwindled into embers, I took some pictures. Ah, mid-autumn is one of my favorite seasonal parts of the year (the other being late spring). Here's a sample, enjoy!

The two pictures of a statue is of one called "The Flame of Wisdom" near the med school campus. I managed to catch ES-M in two of them, haha. He's kind of cute and oblivious from behind. :P

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


No, not me. I'll still be here blogging, for quite some time yet I think. No, a post-doc in my lab is moving back to Brazil. Tomorrow. That's sad. She's such a nice and uplifting person, I'll miss her.

She was showing some of us pictures that she took while she was in Japan for a human genetics conference, so she was only there for a few days (at most) but in that time, she took about 1600 pictures. What?! Now that's a lot of pictures.

My researcher, MMC-F, said that she must take pictures like the Japanese. When my researcher was in France (she's French-Lebanese), she was walking around with her husband behind a Japanese family. They had to dodge being in the photos as the Japanese just go around and click click click click. In her words, "They don't see Paris. They see Paris later, in photos."

Anyway, as she was talking about Japan and telling us how impressed she was, she showed us pictures of their toilets. She has many pictures of their toilets because she was so impressed by them. I must admit, the Japanese are quite inventive with things. I mean, their toilets had buttons that squirt water at your butt to clean it after you're done doing whatever. You can also adjust the temperature and pressure of the squirt. They also installed a faucet and small sink on top of the toilet so when you flush, the faucet runs and you can wash your hands. They're so efficient at making due with tiny spaces.

Speaking of tiny spaces, their parking lots are also quite ingenious. Basically, you can park under someone else's car. This is a bit hard to describe because you'd have to see the pictures. Anyway, the ground parking spot can lift up, like an elevator of sorts, to reveal a space underneath where another car can park. Then it goes back down and that car is now underground. When you want to get to that car again, you put a key into this thing, and the ground spot (and the car on it) lifts up again so you can access your car. It's certainly more effective/efficient than building a whole new second parking structure, so says my researcher.

Okay, that was quite a bit of info about toilets and parking lots. But it's pretty clear that Japan is more technologically adept and modern than the US, and they make really good use of very little space. Yes, it is impressive.

Yeah, I'll miss her. I hope she's happy and successful wherever she ends up. Oh yeah, she wants to order one of those Japanese toilets when she gets a house. Apparently, the cheapest one costs like $298 US dollars or something.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Things that Come Up

This is going to be an epically bad week for me. Had 2 quizzes yesterday, an exam this morning, a paper due tomorrow morning, another quiz tomorrow, and a Chinese presentation due Thursday as well as a really long Chinese homework . . . on top of everything else. Yeah, I shouldn't be blogging right now. Oh well.
Anyway, I was have a conversation with DvF-M yesterday about epic literature, literally. We were discussing epic poetry like The Iliad, The Odyssey, and The Aeneid. It started because he saw some ad on TV for the Beowulf movie that's coming out, and about how it totally ruins the original epic poem. Well, the poem was written in Old English before Latin influence, so many words and grammar in Old English doesn't exist in today's English. It's like reading Classical Chinese and modern Chinese - it's really hard to do. Well, we debated that back and forth about how already so much is lost in translation, that a movie couldn't be that much worse (well, I argued that).

Then we decided to discuss what's actually considered an epic poem or an epic. Really, the last epic written was The Lord of the Rings, by Tolkien in the 1950s. Are epics rare throughout history? It seems so, I think.

Incidentally, epic poetry is almost entirely absent from East Asian cultures. What they have is the epic novel, like The Lord of the Rings. Supposedly, the first novel was The Tales of Genji from Japan. China never had epic poems, as most Chinese (and Japanese) poems are really short. Apparently, words are intentionally kept out of the poems because they're implied, and "what's left unsaid" was considered artistic and beautiful. Chinese poetry does have a certain flow to it, I must admit. It's also kind of hard to understand because it can be interpreted and translated in so many ways.

Now, the Chinese epics are all books or novels. For example, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Journey to the West, and Dream of Red Chamber (also called The Story of Stone). These are all ingrained into Chinese culture, as indicative of any epic I think. Journey to the West is the one I know most about, but still I haven't read any of them in English (and certainly not in Chinese). And that's why I'm going to take a course next semester in it, or at least I intend to. Epics for the win!
Today right before my evolution exam, I was sitting in class talking to my friend, JP-F. She's taking animal physiology lab this semester and apparently, it's an amazing lab (I believe it). JP-F was recounting how in lab yesterday they had to do an experiment where the frog/toad they were using had to be dead. Well, some people weren't able to kill their frogs/toads all the way, so they were still partly alive, and it was quite disturbing.

At this moment, EC-F turned around to comment how amazing that lab is, lol. A few seconds more of discussion and JP-F mentions another experiment she found disturbing. In this one, they had to cut a rat's tail near the base where it meets the body to collect blood samples (I don't think they cut the tail off). Apparently, blood goes everywhere as the rats run around in pain (heck, I would).

I commented with something like: "In research, my lab cuts off the very tip of mice tails to get DNA samples. You can only cut the tails before a certain age because if the mice are young enough, the nerve endings haven't connected to the end of the tail yet, so they don't feel pain."

Okay, I must note that I dislike hurting/killing things with the exception of certain insects (flies, mosquitoes, ants, wasps, the like). I try to avoid stepping on worms and such, and I don't even like harming plants, well possibly because I love plants.

So anyway, EC-F mentioned how people cut the tails off dogs when they're puppies. JP-F and I looked at her in kind of a dull shock for a few seconds. So, part of the tails of hunting dogs are cut off, and some other dogs have their tails "modified" for aesthetic purposes. I would imagine that it'd hurt, and EC-F and JP-F certainly agreed. Then EC-F was like, "The dog thing is kind of like circumcising male human infants. It hurts but they don't remember it."

Well at this point, with the mentioning of that one word, a really weird and uncomfortable feeling came over me. It wasn't like a chilling effect. It was more like a "my stomach collapsed and all my internal organs are rearranging themselves" kind of feeling (you get the idea, yes?). It was quite uncomfortable. All I could manage to say was, "That doesn't make it right nor acceptable." (And seriously, just because babies don't remember it doesn't make it right nor acceptable.) Why does that one word - circumcise (and its variations) - disable me so when said out loud? Here I am - someone who has no problems dissecting a mouse or frog, who can watch surgeries and eat pizza at the same time (actually, that's a short scene from the first season of Grey's Anatomy, but I could if the situation came up) amongst other things, but that one word makes me shudder. It's weird, and it's kind of like my fear of heights.
Okay, change of topic. My Chinese presentation is taking too long. Grrr, it sucks that it has to be all in Chinese (logically). I just happen to choose a fairly difficult topic to talk about and am having to look up translations to words I'll probably never use again. I guess I'll work on it later. I had contemplating not sleeping tonight, but that wouldn't have been a good idea and I've never pulled an all-nighter and don't intend to.

Now, to quote my roommate, DvF-M: "You're a weird man, Aek." Well, that I am. :P

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Tea and Water

I've recently discovered (re-discovered?) the joys of tea, particularly green tea. For whatever reason, I average a cup of tea almost every day. Last year (and all the years before) I almost never drank tea, but I really like tea, almost as much as coffee. However, tea is far easier to prepare: boil water, put some tealeaves in a cup (no teabags here), and then pour hot water in. Then let it cool until you can drink it without burning your tongue. Good coffee (or the ones I really like) I can only get in a coffee shop, like Starbucks or something . . . and that can get expensive.

Milk tea or bubble tea is also really good, but it takes some effort (particularly to make the bubbles - tapioca takes a while to "cook"). Milk tea I make or drink only when I have time/am bored. Bubble tea I go to a tea shop to get, like Bubble Island or something. It's such an Asian thing, haha. But it's really really good, in my opinion. Plus in a shop like Bubble Island, you can get many different flavors added to it like strawberry, blueberry, mango, papaya, etc.

Okay, now I've a peculiarity when drinking water. When I drink water by itself, I like it either at room temperature or slightly colder. I generally don't like drinking cold/ice water by itself. I have a large bottle of water in my room that I periodically drink from when I'm too lazy to walk to the kitchen/fridge to get water. So that bottle of water's always at room temperature. My roommate, DvF-M, simply can't understand this or why I do this (he likes his water cold).

I pretty much only drink cold water with food (and even then I don't like it that cold), and I only drink hot water if it's used to mix with something like tea, honey, or coffee. Oh! Hot honey water is amazing! Especially when you have a cold or persistent cough. It helps soothe the throat and clear the sinuses (a little). It's really good at warming you up on cold days. I also drink it (or tea) when I'm stressed because it sometimes helps me calm down. So yeah, put a tablespoon of honey in a cup of hot water, stir, and enjoy.

In retrospect, this was a very random and rather pointless post. Oh well.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mask of the Poet

Many years ago, in middle and high school, I had a mask - the Mask of the Poet. I wrote quite a number of poems (not all of them good), and I exercised fairly poetic writing even in my essays and papers. Poetry was like music with words on the page - it was elegant, beautiful, flowing. I enjoyed it thoroughly and it was one of several outlets for the many things floating in my brain (I cannot emphasize the word "many") that would've been either bottled up or forgotten.

Since then, this Mask has slowly "cracked" over the years from disuse. There was a time when rhyme and meter almost came effortlessly to me, but not so now. This isn't all bad, as there's a lot of great poetry without either of those. Recently I wrote two poems, lingering shadows of this Mask.
Pandora's Gift

The great sins of our species haunt us,
The ghosts of history taunt us.
Yet while I breathe, while I live,
I cling to Pandora's final gift.

The lid was not tightly closed . . .
It whispers in our ears and dwells in our hearts.
Against all the evils that plague us,
It lets us taste redemption.

Its voice rings clear in the dark -
Words of encouragement,
Words of empowerment,
Words of unyielding optimism:

Let laughter dry the tears we've shed,
Let mercy heal the wounds we've bled,
Let love give birth to new life,
Let hope be the refutation of our sins.

Unless darkness consumes us all,
Unless light cannot penetrate the shadows,
I will cling to Pandora's final gift -
I cling to Hope.

In This I Believe

I believe we're meant to be imperfect,
That the Forms1 are mere illusions.
I believe the best of us can still fall,
And the worst of us can be redeemed.

I believe the more humanity progresses,
The more we're mired in our past;
But hope drives us to escape,
And in this we see reflected truths.

I believe that while fists are strong,
Words are stronger than fists,
Hugs are stronger than words,
And laughter is stronger than all.

I believe that life is an unending cycle,
Where we search for who we are,
And only after reaching Enlightenment
Can we then return to humanity2.

I believe in circles:
That what once was will be again,
That what is will repeat in time,
And only change is unchanging.

I believe "You must be the change
You wish to see in the world3."
I believe fate is ours to mold.
I believe in those most dear to me.

In this, I believe . . .

1. Plato's Forms represent the true perfect and unchanging versions of worldly physical objects or ideas.
2. Refers to the 9th and 10th pictures in the Buddhist "Ten Oxherding Pictures" (also called "Taming the Ox") by Kakuan, from 12th-century China. The 9th picture is completely blank, representing one transcending the self and reaching Enlightenment. But in the 10th picture, one then returns to humanity to teach Enlightenment.
3. "You must be the change you wish to see in the world" is a quote by Mahatma Gandhi.
Etched remnants of what once was there . . . enjoy. Oh yeah, I finally added Closet NS to the blogs I read because I finally got around to reading his entire blog up to date. Hurray!

Sunday, November 4, 2007


This is me being Asian (again, haha). Last week we learned one of the most amusing - and ubiquitous - Chinese phrases in class: 哎呀 (pinyin = aiya; pronounced like "eye-ya"). It's an interjection used to express wonder, shock, admiration, or complaint. I sometimes use it as the Chinese equivalent of "oops" or "crap." Yes, I do use it sometimes . . . albeit rarely.

Now I leave you with two YouTube vids, both by the Taiwanese group 2moro. Both are really cute (in more ways than one).

The first is called:
少了 which translates to "Less."

The second is called: 朋友出去走走 which sort of translates to "Friend goes out for a walk."

So enjoy (it's cuter if you know what the lyrics say, but whatever).

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cast of Characters

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players," a line from Shakespeare's As You Like It, perhaps the famous line from that play (I don't know, I never read it). Because I don't really feel like writing a "real" post as there's nothing particularly interesting, it might be a good time to elaborate on all the major players in my life right now (or at least the ones I talk about). Also, this helps clarify my system of naming people on the blog and will hopefully make it a bit easier to follow (if it isn't right now). So without further ado, the major cast of characters in my life right now (in no particular order of importance):
JW-M: Political science and Asian studies double major, senior. He was my roommate freshman year and has remained one of my closest friends ever since. Very intelligent and understanding, also pragmatic and reasonable.

BW-M: Anthropology and linguistics double major, senior. JW-M's best friend and someone I had a pseudo-crush on during my freshman year (he often walked around without his shirt on). While he's also quite intelligent, he's among the more conservative of my friends and often cracks "gay jokes," which I find annoying.

JL-M: Psychology major, senior. He lived down my hall freshman year. I pretty much only see him when we meet up for lunch and when we work out. Being Asian-American like me, he sometimes provides interesting conversations in that respect.

ES-M: Soon-to-be engineering major (what kind exactly, I forget), freshman. He's the Malaysian guy I have a small crush in my Chinese class; regardless, he's cute, being a freshman and all. Our friendship pretty much stands at "study buddies," and is completely platonic. He's a very devout Christian, and has some conservative opinions that he usually keeps to himself.

SP-M: Biology major, senior. He's pre-med and is a friend from my high school who attends the same university I do. We've drifted apart a bit in the last 4 years, but we're still good friends when we're actually able get together. He's finally dating SN-F (see below), as RZ-F's been trying to set them up for over a year.

DvF-M: Math and physics double major, senior. He lived next door to me freshman year and across the hall sophomore year. He's one of my apartment-mates right now. He's alright, though he's also among my more conservative friends. As long as we don't talk about politics and academics, all's good.

AW-M: Music major, German minor, senior. He also lived down my hall freshman year and has been my roommate for the last 2 years. He's great. He's almost never around and is quite oblivious when he is around. His girlfriend has him by the leash so tightly it's kind of scary, and he's so nice and obedient. It's great though as it's almost like having my own room, which I essentially do like 80% of the time.

JR-M: Film major, junior. He doesn't go to my university, but we were next door neighbors for many years and we were really close friends. I would actually consider him one of my "best friends." He's very creative and driven, quite liberal and open, but also really busy so it's hard to get a hold of him nowadays.

CM-M: Computer science engineering major, junior. He's one of JR-M's best friends and a good friend of mine. He attends my university, plays the piano and violin, and is a pretty good composer. He actually composes the film scores for JR-M as well as sometimes plays as one of his actors. He's a really nice guy, and has become quite attractive in recent years (in a strange dorky way). I wish I could "blossom" like that, haha.

SR-F: 2nd year pharmacy student (would be a senior otherwise). She plays the violin and we've been in the same trio since freshman year. She also lived the floor above me back then. She's one of my closest friend and the only person I've "come out" to. She's also very Jewish.

JW-F: AOSS (atmospheric, oceanic, and space sciences) major, senior. She's been SR-F's roommate for the last 2 years. She lived down my hall freshman year and we met in the most interesting way (I'll write about that later, if I haven't already, and I don't think I have). She plays the cello and is my stand partner in 2 orchestras this year. She's also Jewish but considers herself a "bad Jew" as she doesn't stay kosher and is a somewhat vocal atheist. Also very liberal.

RZ-F: Biology major, senior. She's pre-med and also lived down my hall freshman year. She can be quite intense and very "Chinese" at times. I'm kind of surprised that she hasn't gotten into a med school yet (I'm not doing too well on this front, as of this moment). We were almost dating last year, we did so much together and hung out quite a bit. But I stopped it just short before an attraction developed because I wasn't ready and needed to be alone to "figure myself out."

SN-F: Biology major, senior. She's also pre-med (gee, a pattern, go figure) and has been RZ-F's roommate for all 4 years at the university now. She got accepted to Case Western and OSU, which goes without saying since she's an Ohio resident, has a 4.00 GPA, got a 36 MCAT, has done quite a bit of research, volunteered at the university hospital, etc etc. I'm so inadequate compared to her stat-wise for med school. Alas. Oh yeah, and she's now dating SP-M. They're so different yet it somehow works out really well. It's rather adorable.

MW-F: Was a MSE (material science engineering) major, but is now a nun (or a nun-in-training). What?! you might ask. Well, she was one of my friends from high school who attended the same university as me for 3 years. She was the violist in our trio for 3 years. She's a very devout Catholic and quite conservative, but she also tends to keep her opinions to herself and doesn't judge too much. But, she recently decided that she wanted to be a nun after visiting the Vatican. Alas, she's pretty much beyond reach now. I do miss her and her viola.
So there you have it, the major friends in my life. Some of them I probably won't mention much, others are far more recurrent players. There are also many more people that aren't mentioned here who were probably once more important in my life. But so many of us have drifted apart over the years, and that does make me sad.

Oh well, time for sleep. I've a long 2 weeks ahead of me.