Yet Another Shoutout for Inequality

26 02 2012

So apparently, women in the US would have gotten their blanket protection against violence if not for the introduction of the LGBT and immigration clauses?

Let me just get this right… does this mean women are protected so long as they’re not gay, and have the right papers to prove their citizenship.  Nice.




It’s Time

22 02 2012

I usually process things around me fast.  I’m too self-aware for my own good.  But it took me quite a while to just accept defeat.

I already lost her.  And I could no longer get her back.  Because she doesn’t want to be with me anymore.  She’s convinced that she’s indeed better off without me.  She’s too hurt to even care.

Can’t say I blame her. Our track record isn’t exactly immaculate.  I’m definitely not one she’d want to get back with.

Despite myself, I want her back in my life.  For a million and one reasons, I love her.  But I have to let her go.

There was a time when I did many things to win her back.  Begged her, sent her messages even when she ignored me, stayed with her even when all she said she could give was friendship until we got back together.  But perhaps that wasn’t really what she needed.  She’s a good person and she deserves someone better.  Sadly, I’m not that person for her because she doesn’t find it in her to want to bring me back.

I saw a path with her and even when I didn’t know where it was headed, I took it anyway.  But loving someone doesn’t mean suffocating that person with my love.  Love is supposed to be given freely.  She doesn’t want to give me the small things that I need and I couldn’t give her the small things that she needs.  No one’s budging.  So it’s time to just go.

I’m back to closing cycles.

I love you, M.  My heart will forever sing songs of love for you.  This is my last stop.  Because no one will come close to you.  You were and will always be my only exception.

Goodbye, ma belle fleur.

Small Things

19 02 2012

Perhaps it really was time to finally let go.

We tried far too many times to rebuild and take detours.  It just wasn’t working.  There were just far too many nonnegotiables.

She’s all about the big things and blanket statements.  Big things that seem to give license to not take care of small and seemingly menial acts.  Blank statements that give assurance of a smooth-sailing journey without the need to even talk about the stops, the bumps, and the one-offs.

I am, on the other hand, all about the small things.  My reason: if you can’t even take time to make sure you take care of the small stuff, how can you handle the big things?

For some reason, I can make allowances for the big stuff.  My capabilities to understand major pitfalls, shortcomings and oversights–even those that were not too unintentional–are quite expansive.  But the wick gets a tad too short when it comes to the small things.

I’m a physical and touchy-feely person.  A hug can solve pretty much most of the world’s biggest issues for me.  I’m also a hopeless romantic, whose notions of love and romance are pretty traditional contradicting my other libertarian and radical principles.  I’ve mentioned this somewhere in my blog but I can no longer remember where–women always love flowers and to me, along with hugs, they just do it for me.

Being in a long-distance relationship is awful.  When you’re close to 8,000 miles apart, it’s terrible.  So you make do with what you can do because you can’t possibly hang on to something for over 2 years despite the turbulence here and there if you don’t love each other.

In this day and age, relationships are supposed to be easier.  We have online gateways.  But what happens when there’s an earthquake?  Or when you are trying to cope with the loss of a family member where you cannot go on video call or are practically offline? You take the traditional route and make sure you can be within reach by phone.

On special occasions, you make do with “talking” through any means possible because it’s humanly impossible to go on a date to watch a movie or do anything physical together.  So what can you do?  I’m also a girl.  I want flowers too.  And I want to be the first person that she greets on Valentine’s Day, with the difference in timezones in mind.  And because we’re relatively new, I feel special when my partner remembers the starting date of our relationship month on month with me, especially if she picked the date.

Having to deal with the frustrations of not being together at the moment and then having to deal with things that are disregarded because they are not as important to the other person as they are to you is ultra-devastating.

Love will always be there.  Especially when the person you’ve given your heart to is your soulmate–one person that you just know was meant for you.  But being in a relationship with that person just doesn’t cut it.

I haven’t crossed 8,000 miles to see her.  And it’s my issue.  Every time I say I didn’t get this or that, I have to hand slap myself because I may not have gotten flowers but I haven’t gone out of my way to see her either.  I haven’t made that ultimate sacrifice yet. But for how long will I suck things up because I haven’t done anything?  Isn’t being in a relationship all about doing things for your partner without expecting anything in return?  Don’t you just go all out for the person that you love?  It’s paradoxical because you don’t want to be in a one-sided relationship.  At some point, you too have to be at the receiving end.  I guess it boils down to when you notice that you really don’t get anything because your partner clings on to the idea that she has already made that major investment to see you so she can overlook simple gestures, like making sure her phone can reach you when you most need her, and you feel bad about it, it’s all right to yelp.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Sure there are wonderful times.  But when the weight of the painful small oversights gets a little bit too much, you give in to your humanity and just say, I give up.

Nevertheless, I long for something… deep within me, I wish I’d wake up to see flowers at my doorstep.  Or a note saying, “Come home.”

But then again, I’ve always been just a dreamer.

Books, Conspiracy Theories and Cynics

19 06 2008

I always encourage my nephews and nieces and any kid that I get to talk to to read. I am pretty sure it’s the only sure route to a million and one destination. I have always been a voracious reader. There’s something about a book that makes me really happy. I’m talking about the good old book that feels really good to the hands. While I read electronic versions of Harry Potter and controversial pieces, there’s something really romantic about the hardcover books, or even the paperbacks. So where am I leading? Conspiracy theories that’s what. Reading far too many of them has somehow made me really cynical about life. Well, in some respects, I think it has also awakened the realist in me but let’s go back to conspiracy theories, assassinations, doubles, espionage, charades, staged events and whatchamacallits.

Still vague, huh?

Well, I’ve been following the Ces Drilon and company drama ever since it was just whispered in some small circles here and there. And with the media coverage that it’s been getting (hello! That’s Ces Drilon!), I couldn’t help but watch the events unfold. I must admit, I never really doubted its authenticity when it first rolled but I got really turned off by the unabashed politicking that squeezed the life out of the story. I was breathless when Angelo Valderama, the assistant camera guy, was released although I thought it was weird that they had to make people believe that it was him who was huddled in that car with the lady vice governor when it wasn’t him. The swagger of the two Isnajis was a major flipper. Their involvement, notwithstanding the fact that their proximity made it their game, really got me thinking about a lot of things. And then when Ces and Jimmy Encarnacion, her cameraman, were released with Jimmy wearing a Love ko Si Mayor pink shirt, I got all the more cut. Of all the shirts that he could have been made to borrow!

And now the rumor mills are at it again. People say it was a farce. That it was staged! Are we that low now?

And is Loren Legarda that big a negotiator for her to add the Drilon and Company kidnapping incident to her list of feats? Not to mention she did this last in the comforts of her office in Luzon? Well, she did have a few people down south to do the legwork for her. But still!

Look, I’m not pointing fingers at anybody. I’m sure you couldn’t fake grief. I feel for their families. Going through something like that is never a breeze. One thing’s for sure. Drilon said so herself. There’s something about the place where they were held captive that drives people to do what they do. The government really has to do something about it. On top of graft and corruption, rice crisis, inflation, gas madness and whatever the hell else.

Let this be a reminder to everyone of us.  Nothing is worth risking our lives for.  Nothing.  And definitely nothing is worth risking other people’s lives for.

Not A Political Statement

22 03 2008

“Love is a human experience, not a political statement.”

Wow!  In this day and age, such profound words from an amazing and gorgeous young lady are a breath of fresh air.  There’s hope for this planet after all! 

Anne Hathaway IS something else.  She’s the recipient of this year’s HRC Ally for Equality Hero award. 

Giggles and Flirtation

2 12 2007

I used to actively chat via mIRC when I started out in college.  I guess it was around the time when the now extremely popular IRC client took its babysteps too.  Then came ICQ (an oronym for I seek you) but I never really liked it for some reason.  It was around that time when I first created my Yahoomail and Eudoramail accounts.  Looking back, I can never really believe how far everything has gone.  During that time, sending SMS was limited to the rich kids.  But later on, mobile phones have become almost an extention to our body parts.  Even the families who could barely eat three square meals have at least one. 

When my father’s aide asked permission to buy a cellphone, I had a long talk with him.  I told him that while I don’t have anything to do with whatever he does with his life and his money, we definitely hope that buying a gadget that would test his priorities, would not affect his priorities.  He came here from a far-flung barrio where his father would beat him up if he couldn’t hand over a few coins to buy booze.  He came here because we need him as much as he needs us.  My father is paralyzed and because old men are the most hard-headed patients in the world, he has never recovered from his stroke.  He has become totally dependent to the not-so-young boy for even the simplest of things—from scratching his back to feeding him—to the messiest of them all, like wiping him clean after defecating, sponge-bathing him, and doing covert ops just so he could eat ice cream in the middle of the night when my mom specifically told him not to and so many other things.  My dad, even when he was in tiptop shape, has always been a handful.  That’s where I got most of my traits, I guess—his gene pool.  So anyway, we all know how it felt like when we first had our first ever mobile phone with SMS capabilities.  I kinda expected the changing of ringing tones, message alert tones, the horrendous volume, the non-stop-I’ll-trip-over-but-I-dont-care-just-so-long-as-i-can-finish-this-message thing, etc.  Because I am nocturnal, I get really hot-headed in the morning a few minutes before I sleep or when my sleep is interrupted during the day.  And because he had his message alert tone changed to some pop tune, the darn phone pumps up the volume non stop after lunch when everybody in the house is asleep for siesta, including him.  And because I’m a light sleeper–that depends actually on the kind of noise–I always get to be the one who hears the alert.  After three consecutive messages, I rush downstairs and try to find the darn phone and lo! and behold! it’s right near the landline phone in the living room.  So I looked for the owner of the loud phone.  And my, oh, my, the good boy is in deep slumber, with his mouth wide open as if waiting for manna from heaven to fall.  So there I was, fully awake after around just 3 hours of sleep after almost 36 hours of working.  In a very bad mood.  I make it a point never to do anything when I’m all angry and pissed.  And so I tried desperately to go back to sleep.  So sleep I did until around 7PM which made my head hurt real bad.  I don’t like sleeping till around that time because it always makes my head hurt like hell.  I went back to work and downed a whole pint of vanilla ice cream.  God, that was heavenly.

And so one day, I called him and asked him to sit down for another one of my attempts at diplomacy.  So I said…I understand how it is to have a new phone and to be new in the SMS arena but if could just put his phone in silent mode when he’s in Papa’s room, that would really be great.  Or he could leave his cellphone in his room so it won’t disturb anyone if he doesn’t want to change the alert tone. 

A few hours later, I heard the phone screaming mercilessly.  So I called him and asked him what’s going on.  He had the volume set to 5 so he could hear it even from Papa’s room.  Now, isn’t he wise!

So anyway, our houseboy has expanded his vocabulary, thanks to text education, to a few more English words.  He has also acted like a male dog in heat.  He has since become (and became) the boyfriend of almost all the housemaids in the subdivision and in the nearby bakery. 

Much to my mom’s utter disgust, of course.  But I try to tell her that I understand.  It’s so easy to flirt over the phone, online and even over the good old snail mail—pen pals anyone?  We all have different worlds and for people who do not have to think of anything else other than waking up and serving his bosses, I think he deserves whatever surge of lust or something like it that he’s been indulging to these days.  SO LONG AS IT DOES NOT AFFECT HIS WORK.  Well, there have been lapses but I think things have been addressed pretty clearly and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing bad will happen.  What is a little concession like that for days of peace and order!  If it makes him happy, then it causes a chain reaction.  Happy employees are more effectively productive and that means happier employer.

So, now, let’s go back to moi.  I once had a two-year relationship with a guy I met online way back in college.  Well, make that three.  The other two were merely sinfully wonderful and memorable flings so they don’t really count as relationships but just for the sake of statistics, let’s count them in.  There’s something about exchanging naughty and teasing comments with someone who’s not physically near you that makes things a whole lot more, er, tingly. 

When the cameras were integrated into mobile phones, my then boyfriend asked me to send him “sexy” pix and he returned the favor.  Since I was in a semi-long distance relationships, the ooohs and aaaahs over texts and later phone calls sufficed.  Then with the advent of more modern tech, um, simultaneous indulgence of self-help developed cult-like support online.  Sad to say, it has degenerated the nature of flirting and harmless chatting with strangers. 

I traverse the long and winding information superhighway every day and because of that people constantly ask me what cybersex is, or if I’ve met someone online who will whisk me off poverty in the Philippines to some sugar-coated gingerbread house in the land of milk and honey or somewhere far from this Pearl of the Orient.  Well, I can explain in a very clinical and academic way what cybersex is and how it is done but in terms of chatting with someone who will eventually become a special part of my life, the answer is a resounding, eeeeeenkkkkk! 

NO.  As a single (Asian) female, I do get into those moods when I feel like I really want to be with someone.  My former landlady tells me I’m on NPO for now—medical practitioners, go figure—and for someone who had been not on NPO for a collective and straight seven or so years, it’s quite hard.  They say you don’t crave for something that you haven’t really tried.  Well, I have and so I crave.  But despite being a cosmo girl who understood Carrie’s consternation at the prospect of losing her Manolos to a “shoe-napper”, I think my quick tumble in the hay days are over.  I am not into that anymore.  Well, if the opportunity presents itself, why not?  But I have made my circle so small that even I could not turn around that easily.  So what opportunity are we talking about?  I’m not complaining, mind you.  But the thing is, I meet people online.  From work, through blogs, through wherever.  And while I am a natural tease and flirt, being asked for a cam view and for something to start a few minutes after you even say hi, is a tad too weird for me.  After a long hiatus from chatting, I tried getting into one of those chatrooms in Yahoo and jeeez, people seem to talk in one language and all they ask and talk about is sex, cams and cums!  Whatever happened to friendship and getting to know you while we flirt occasionally without really meaning anything much?  It’s just me getting all cheeky and clenched butt. 

I remember one masseuse who’s a friend of my mom.  She’s quite talkative—a trait that I really do not appreciate while getting a massage.  But when conversations turn green, even in my half-awake, half-asleep state, my ears still perk up.  So anyway, she just got widowed and so she’s been the brunt of jokes about looking for an “American” (the word is enclosed in quotation marks because sometimes we have this penchant of calling all foreigners American) husband.  She said she tried chatting but she gets uncomfy when the guy that she chats up with shows his dick right out and asks her to show her boobs or slit in return.  So she makes up excuses about not having a cam and all that jazz while she and her relatives watch while the “American” on the other side of the internet touches himself till everything limps down and the guy excused himself so he can “dry off” and “clean up” that usually means going to the bathroom or grabbing a roll of toilet paper for some. 

While I do not want to sound prissy, this simply does not turn me on.  I don’t know.  I get turned on by witty conversations that are peppered with flirtations and naughty innuendos but being other than that, I can always get into the part and just type some “motivational” lines for the other party. 

Needless to say, I’m not on a serious quest to find someone who’ll treat me like a princess and not for anything else.  When I’m 30 and I’m still not “in a relationship” as Friendster puts it, I will panic.  But only for a moment.  I think I have a healthy enough self-esteem to know that it’s not being in a relationship that matters—it’s in having fun while we can in a way that we will have fun indeed.  Perhaps, I still have unresolved personal issues to take care of and I think I will not make a good partner until I iron out whatever ugly wrinkles there are in my shirt. 

I have recently been getting proofs how big a liar my ex-boyfriend is and his audacity of continuously denying so many things even when I know what the real score is have been such huge downers lately.  Well, there’s work.  It gets me down but not emotionally so occasional online flirtations with people that I don’t really know, help big time.  Well, I’m choosy.  I don’t like wimps and younger guys.  And I have very little time.  So when I do get into that kind of mood, I’ll go for knights (or badass chicks!) in rusty armors while I wear my French maid’s costume.  Don’t get me started on how to use the feather duster!  LOL. 

But well, I miss blogging and even if I’m not making any sense, I am quite happy that I have blabbered a thought too many somehow. 

Oh, and I’m not in THAT mood right now, with over 70 web pages to revise, I don’t think I can afford to let out even a lusty sigh.  So, a piu tardi! Molto grazie! Ciao! 

O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet GMA (No Blasphemy Intended)

2 12 2007

Conspiracy Theories — Pinoy Style

This entry is supposed to be posted the day the “executive clemency” was given to our country’s former prexy but I was not able to get down and really finish it so, I hope this entry will not cause any confusion to anybody who might stumble upon my blog. As if someone ever will.  LOL.

I am at a point where I have gone numb.  Over the past few days, I’ve been throwing possible conspiracy theories at my mom and she’s been rolling her eyes every time I do that.  Some are products of a seemingly cynical mind, some are figment of a very hopeful spirit.   

As one of those who felt vindicated when the guilty verdict was released by the two justice halls, the news of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s issuance of an executive clemency for former President Joseph Estrada is a tad too disheartening.  While I understand that human nature, especially that of the Filipino, makes us look kindly at older people, regardless of how guilty and legally-declared corrupt they may be, I feel that it’s too soon.  I, myself, would have wanted the former president pardoned and, well, forgiven—really.  But that’s just me.  And I figured that he should at least have stayed in the Bilibid Prison for some time, say, a year, or even six months.  And then he could be granted that clemency, but not this soon. 

So back to those controversies…

1) JDV/FVR vs. GMA — JDV used to be consistently a play-it-safe-traditional-politician.  He’s known for being an avid Lakas loyalist.  FVR, on the other hand, has always been a major player in most major turning points in the political arena in our country, way back in 1986 to the Edsa 2 success to the possible GMA ouster soon.  The two of them “adopted” the number one turncoat in our country, GMA in 1998.  When they coalesced, they became the team to beat.  Lately, GMA’s KAMPI has been having problems with LAKAS members especially in the LGU. 

a)  The Speakership of the House this year — Congressman Pablo Garcia, former governor of Cebu, is a known stalwart of GMA.  Cebu sealed GMA’s victory in the last presidential election—honestly?  You decide.  Members of Kampi made noise about nominating Garcia and for a moment, the usually nonchalant JDV appeared flustered.  But he won anyway. 

b) The ZTE Deal — Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Give me a politician who has never tinkered with his office’s budget.  I know Joker Arroyo cuts down on his office’s expenses and he is known to a few as the senator whose office has the largest savings every fiscal year.  He pays for his own travel expenses and other stuff.  Well, I’m a Joker Arroyo fan so I may be biased.  Many say that he may have gotten money from wherever and stashed it somewhere.  Well, I couldn’t care less about that anymore.  It boils down to my first sentence in this paragraph.   So anyway, as Miriam Santiago said during that infamous session where she walked out afterwards, it’s a case of half-truths and doublecrossers.  Joker also earlier remarked that it was a mere case of “commissioners.”

Now, one thing has baffled me greatly.  JDV seems to be making his son do the dirty work for him.  He feeds him with statements like the “screaming” GMA in a private meeting, etc.  I mean, they seem to be talking openly about these things.  GMA’s attitude towards JDV seems to be “unaffected” with JDV’s son’s accusations.  But every day, the young De Venecia detonates one bomb after the other and the opposition senators are giving him their time of day as if his accusations could actually alleviate the country’s poverty.   JDV has always been cunning.  But he’s not exactly the brainy and brawny type.  So that makes me think of someone who is–FVR.  According to Teodoro Agoncillo, Filipinos are by nature regionalistic (think Desperate Housewives, then think Wisteria Lane).  FVR and JDV both hail from Pangasinan and they have always been “tight”.  I mean if they’re still “ok” within their coalition, shouldn’t this issue have died down by now?  But the young JDV seems to be unstoppable.  He does not seem to want to give up to the point of now including GMA into the questionable ZTE deal.  I don’t get it.  If there’s really a case, why not take it to court or something?  The senators are not paid daily or per session so why are they letting this drag on day by day?  I mean, there’s Doble who keeps on changing his statements depending on his moodswings and they like talking to him as well but the ZTE deal seems to be a more interesting deal for them. 

c)  Cash Gifts — I have been “baptized” by political waters so I’m not new to cash being casually handed over, slipped under piles of forms submitted for registrations and whatnots, or slipped directly into pockets, or even of sacks of bills being brought in for “supporters and volunteers”, and so many other things that political parties are known to play around with.  Now, Gov. Panlilio, bless his heart, is a neophyte.  Despite all that he may be, he is still a priest who thinks that he can exorcise corruption in the government by taking his frock off and donning a government official’s casual garb.  Now, he get’s “baptized” and receives his first (or is it?) “bundle of joy”.  Not knowing what better way to deal with it, he pressed the button and said, Deal!  Happily, he went home to his constituents and said, ok, we have money, now let’s do create some waiting sheds (that’s me speculating, folks, but based on his earlier pronouncements).

Makes me wonder…could there be a plot to squash Arroyo somewhere?  Has she outlived her usefulness?  Or is she too smart to play marionette?

2)  GMA-ERAP — It all started with the pardon.  Then with ex-president Estrada calling GMA, Madam President.  Then the let’s-clap-our-hands-for-her-for-if-not-for-her-I-won’t-be-here-blah spiel in San Juan.  Then Erap’s I-will-support-her declaration.  Could it be that with GMA being the cunning woman that she is is reassessing her aces and chess move strategies?  Could she be thinking of using the knight instead of the rook? 

I personally feel that it’s too soon.  Filipinos are naturally forgiving and forgetful so I am not particularly surprised when the executive clemency was issued.  But I did not expect it to happen far too soon.  As an EDSA Dos attendee, I feel bad.  As if it was all for nothing.  But the people who have realigned and supported Erap for the sake of going against GMA are now making noise about the whole pardon thing! 

Look at these people.  They have called for GMA’s resignation, impeachment, etc., but they have always looked kindly on Erap.  Probably because we always have the heart for the underdogs and when Erap was still “in prison” he was an underdog compared to GMA.  But not anymore.  Those who are pro-Erap are celebrating and are somehow swayed by Erap’s let’s-clap-for-her call.  These leaves us with those who rode on Erap’s “poor state” to be in the limelight.  Now we see who’s who and who’s with whom.  Now, people are showing their fangs.  They want Erap thrown into jail and GMA with him.  I don’t get it.  Yes, the present president who has never batted an eyelash for so many parodies and name-calling against her, is taking the fall.  I’m not saying she’s perfect.  But for someone who’s been the object of so many impeachment campaigns and so many political and personal attacks, she has kept hold of the reins.  She must really be something.  Marcos fell after people finally realized what was going on and took to the streets.  And he’s really smart!  Not to mention over  five feet!  But this petite lady is a force to reckon with.  I do not like her personally.  But hey, we’ve, at one point in our lives, worked with someone we do not personally like and approve of effectively.  That team behind her, her image handlers and whatever they’re called is one kick-ass team.  Well, it all started with using the Nora Aunor look-alike come-hither and then that pose, remember her then senatorial campaign posters that ultimately catapulted her to the number one slot?  One thing I know for sure, she is a woman.  She reshuffles her cabinet members the way I rearrange our furniture.  And with Hilary Clinton taking the lead from Obama, who knows what could happen next with her association with the Clintons and all?  For people like me who work with people overseas and thus getting paid in dollars, the present state of the peso is not a laughing matter.  But it makes you pause for a moment and think that this is not something that is just for a show.  The peso has been stable for over a year now.  

I’m a positive thinker.  I learned never to entertain negative vibes.  So I always look at the brighter side of things.  I try, at least.  Now, GMA is very vocal about the call for unity and healing from Day One.  And I think she’s being consistent to that.  So while I am not jumping up and down my seat with the latest development with Erap, I would like to believe that this is indeed in line with her thrust. Well, let me say one more “Salut!” to her speech writers.  Anybody who has heard her speeches and SONAs would know what I am talking about.

Going back to my psychedelic imagination about conspiracies–couldn’t it be a ploy to strengthen her artillery since FVR and JDV seem to be dropping her?

I’m really just confused.  After all, I’m not a political analyst.  I am no longer an activist.  I don’t believe in just one ideology but I believe in cosmic justice and retribution.  Above all, I am an advocate of humanism.   Having volunteered for various UN and independent non-profit organizations, I have come to appreciate the little luxuries that I have and the small blessings that come my way.  After talking to a Burmese missionary around 5 years ago, I have come to appreciate the small liberties that we get to enjoy.  So I guess all I want in my life is to just to be able to walk freely and talk about what I feel with utmost candor.  And I guess I am enjoying all that.  But as a human being, I cannot be contented with just that.  I want more.  And I’m sure the rest of my countrymen wants more as well.  But do we really know what we want?  If GMA is ousted, who do we think is the best person to take her place now?  De Castro? Villar? JDV? Roxas? Escudero? Legarda? Aquino? Erap? Trillanes? The Chief Justice? 


Weeks after that fateful release of Erap, GMA had a close-door meeting with FVR and JDV and even if the younger JDV gave residual publicity somersaults, the ZTE issue and all the other things behind it seemed to have closed their doors as well.