Wednesday, November 28, 2012

W. T. F. Minnesota

You ever have one of those moments where you go WHAT THE FUCK?

Yea, me too.  In this case, it's about this article I read on  Here's the facts as I understand them.  Two teens tried to rob a 64-year old retiree while he was in his own home on thanksgiving day.  He shot them both dead.  Today he got convicted of second degree murder.

Now, my initial reaction on reading the article was YES!  Old guy defending his home from ROBBERS!  Way ta go!  Only, apparently, everyone else in the town reacted differently.  maybe i'm a little weird, I admit that, but i do NOT understand the reactions of the townspeople involved here.  Apparently, everyone is shocked, SHOCKED, that anyone could kill these two wonderful teens.  They were so fun-loving, so full of life, they were 17 and 18, and everyone liked them.  Sure, the girl had had substance abuse issues in the past, but she was trying to turn her life around and was a mentor to many girls on her swim team, but the 17 year old boy would never have turned to robbery because he had a good job at his dad's business or something.  A direct quote said something to the effect that they "didn't know whether or not they were there to rob him but regardless of that they shouldn't have been killed."

So now I am confused.  I look up several articles so i can get all my facts straight.  Here's what I know.  The guy, a retired 64 year old ex-employee of the state department, is puttering around in his basement on thanksgiving day.  He's been robbed EIGHT TIMES recently, according to the guy's friend, the last time was in october, where they took $10,000 worth of guns and electronics.  Apparently, the 17 year old came down the stairs first, surprising the guy, who apparently had a rifle and a pistol handy.  He shot the 17 year old in the shoulder (or chest, the articles differ on this), who tumbled down the rest of the stairs, then shot him once in the head.  The 18 year old girl then apparently came down the stairs shortly thereafter, possibly after the older man dragged the body over on a tarp, and he shot her as well.  She fell down the stairs.  He would have shot her again, but his rifle jammed.  Apparently, she laughed at this.  The older man drew his pistol and fired into her chest several times and then shot through the chin into her head.  Apparently, he believed the authorities would be suitably busy on Thanksgiving that he didn't want to bother them, so the next day he called his neighbor to ask if they knew a good lawyer, and then either the neighbor called police or the guy called the neighbor back and asked them to call the police.  The police arrive friday, the guy admits to killing them, they arrest him, he goes to jail.  Sits in jail for the weekend, gets arraigned on monday, and somehow, is convicted by this morning, wednesday, two days later.

Let's just look at the timeline here for a minute.  I don't think I've ever even heard of a murder trial (which this turned out to be) taking two days from start to finish.  He gets arrested friday, arraigned on monday.  How would they even have notified potential jurors or finished selecting the jury by tuesday to begin the trial?  Don't these things usually take years, or at least a few months?

I was discussing this with my nephew this morning.  He told me a few things I had not read in any of the articles.  I'm not sure where he gets his information, but he said the girl was shot 16 times.  Excessive, if true.  He also said the guy was happy he'd killed the two, asking the police if they thought the kill shots were nice and clean.  Doesn't sound like a man who is feeling guilt over doing the shootings to me.  Of course, my nephew also told me his trial only lasted ten minutes, because the guy wanted it that way.  I asked my nephew how an entire murder trial can be conducted in ten minutes.  My nephew said "maybe small scale crimes like this are handled differently?  Maybe the guy was feeling too guilty?"  Well, if the man is feeling guilty and wants his trial over quickly, then that certainly doesn't sound like the guy who was gloating over the kills during the police interrogation, does it?  None of the articles I read mentions her being shot 16 times, nor his gloating, nor the length of the trial, except that, somehow, they found him guilty of second degree murder in 2 days.  I can see a jury taking a couple days to decide the outcome, but the WHOLE TRIAL taking two days is unheard of, let alone ten minutes, which is absolutely outrageous.  And small scale?  A second degree murder conviction with national media attention is small scale??

My nephew was originally on the side of the teens.  How dare an old guy shoot these two wonderful people with so much to live for.  How could he shoot them, instead of getting an alarm system, or getting a dog, or just hiding and calling the police?  One, it's a rural area, authorities might take a while to get there even if he had called the police.  Two, he was in his basement at the time, whether he had a phone down there is questionable.  Three, a dog, really?  Those things poop EVERYWHERE.  Four, an alarm system in a rural area might not have even made a difference.  Sometimes your neighbors can be so far away they wouldn't even hear an alarm.  But that's all just supposition on both our parts.  My nephew had to completely rethink his position by the end of our discussion.

Let's look at the old guy's story.  The 64 year old man filed a police report just last month totaling the ten grand worth of guns and electronics they stole from him.  He's downstairs, working in his basement, according to what he told police.  He hears a sound like glass breaking, and the next thing he knows there is a guy coming down his stairs.  Fearing for his life and thinking they were armed, he shoots him.  A few minutes later, the girl comes downstairs and he shoots her too.  Apparently, the girl's initial wounds are so mild that she laughs when his gun jams, so he pulls his pistol and shoots her a few more times.  Perhaps a bit excessive, I admit.  But second degree murder?  Really?

Let's run through this.  It's legal to use deadly force to defend yourself in this man's state if you think you may be in danger or to defend your home or property.  I think it was minnesota.  Let's check these off.  The incident occurred in his home.  Defending your home, check.  They were there to rob him as they had done so in the past... defending your property, check.  They had stolen guns from him before, so he had every reason to believe they were armed, so defending his life, check.  I don't really see an issue here.

Let's reverse things a bit.  Say it's an 18 year old girl in her basement.  Two 64 year old men break in.  She has reason to believe they have robbed her before and that they are armed.  She shoots them both.  One laughs at her after she shoots him once.  She's only just shot him, so there's no way to tell if he's got a gun on him or not, so she shoots him several more times until he's dead.  Would SHE be charged with murder?  I highly doubt it.

Why is the fact that these two were teens such an issue, that the old guy should never have cut their lives short?  They've convicted 12 year olds of murder and rape before.  Obviously, at least to me, these two teens were career criminals who'd robbed from multiple people multiple times.  One at least was a drug addict, who stole not only from strangers but friends as well.  My nephew said these were "teenage mistakes," but how do you make the same mistake of walking into another person's home and stealing their stuff 10 to 12 times?  Now, who was the old man?  An ex employee of the state department.  Apparently never had a problem with the law before in his entire life of 64 years.  Puttering around in his home on thanksgiving day because he doesn't have family close enough to spend the holiday with.  A couple robbers break in and he shoots them.  If these two had been anyone but a couple teens, the guy would be back in his home right now, puttering around in his basement.

Now I know, you've got questions.  Why did the guy not call the police right away?  Why did he shoot them so many times?  Well, here's how I look at it.  The guy's in his basement.  It's thanksgiving.  Two people break in to rob and possibly kill him.  This is already an old person's worst nightmare.  I'm sure he was rattled.  He manages to shoot one of them, and puts another bullet in him to make sure he's dead, because he's an old man and the gun is his only defense.  There's no way he can fight off two healthy intruders.  Now, let's pause a moment here.  Let's say you are the girl, upstairs, on the ground floor, and you hear two gunshots.  Do you then go downstairs to find out what the noise was? This was a rifle, not a pistol.  These were LOUD RIFLE SHOTS.  No, you don't wander downstairs to see if your cousin is okay.  You RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.  Whether you go to the police or not is questionable, since you are there to rob the guy in the first place, but you almost certainly run if you are of sound mind.  My bet is, she was already high.  Now let's go back to the old guy.  I am pretty sure if I was in the old guy's place, I'd be wondering why the other intruder hadn't bolted at the first sound of gunfire.  So he's in his basement, he's just killed an intruder in his home, who he is almost positive was there to rob and possibly kill him with guns he'd already stolen from him.  He's shaken, doesn't know what to do next.  The phone is upstairs, so he can't call police.  The second intruder, instead of running, comes downstairs after him as well.  He puts a bullet in her leg as she's coming down the stairs, before she can aim and shoot at him for killing her friend.  Keep in mind, this is the first time he's seen her.  Up to the instant he puts a bullet in her, the intruders could have been anyone from Ted Bundy to Mike Tyson to Rambo.  Up til she falls down the stairs, he probably doesn't even know it's a she.  So she falls down the stairs, and the gun jams before he can finish her off.  He's scared, angry, he's just killed one of the intruders, and the other is laughing at him, possibly still armed.  Frankly, I'd have put a few bullets in her myself.  I don't really know any sane people that laugh when they get shot.  I'd have assumed she was laughing because she was nuts, about to shoot ME, or as was probably the case here, high as a kite.  So.  Now you're the only survivor of a gunfight in your basement.  You've killed two teenagers.  You check the bodies and realize they are unarmed.  You're already in a panic because you just had a gunfight, the first time in your life you've ever had this sort of excitement, and you're 64 years old.  What do you do now?

I admit, the old guy handled it badly.  But he had every reason to believe they were armed and dangerous felons who had previously robbed him.  I am sure that they were actually unarmed teens had never even occurred to him.  The mere fact that he'd been robbed 8 times previously would have me pissed off.  Who the hell robs an old man EIGHT TIMES in his own home?  I could never in a million years convict this guy of murder if I was on his jury.  Murder, to me, involves planning and preparation.  I didn't think you could be convicted of murder without that part.  I guess I was wrong, since these two teens surprised him in his basement, ended up dead and somehow he got convicted of second degree murder.  Which again begs the question, how do you get arraigned, tried and convicted of second degree murder in less than 48 hours?

Everything about this case screams WTF to me.  Sure, he didn't report the killings right away, on thanksgiving day.  Sure he panicked.  But he didn't try to hide the bodies.  He admitted right away that he shot and killed the robbers when the police showed up.  How this man is guilty of murder is amazing to me.  How he was arrested, arraigned, tried and convicted in 3 business days is totally unbelievable to me.  I doubt even jury selection would have taken less than a week for such a trial.  So that leaves a deal arranged by the prosecution to convict a guy amid public outcry for killing "these two wonderful teens."  Oh yea, while they were trying to rob him.  Come on minnesota.  I think instead of saying "whether or not they were there to rob him is irrelevant."  and instead say "How many times he shot them is irrelevant."  If they hadn't entered his home to rob him, AGAIN, they'd never have been injured in any way.  So instead of being with their family on thanksgiving day, these TWO WONDERFUL TEENS of which you speak are out robbing old people.  It would have happened eventually, whether they were 18 or 38, if they had gone on robbing people's homes and feeding their drug-fueled binges.  Everyone was outraged because he had cut their lives short, but nobody has mentioned how he cut their life of CRIME short.  Drug addicted career criminals going around robbing people's houses on thanksgiving day!  I mean come on!  I'm surprised the guy was even held over the weekend.  I think as time wears on, this older guy will get exonerated and released.  At least, he should if people come to their senses and really LOOK at the facts of the case.

But what do I know?  I guess Minnesota is different, and in that state, the guy is a vicious killer.  Remind me never to move there.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Giving Thanks...

So here it is, Thanksgiving again.

I make it a habit to be thankful for the things i have.  Like, wisdom.  My good health, such as it is, in between bouts of cold and flu season.  A roof over my head.  Some little bit of money in my pocket.  That my eyesight may not be great but i at least I am not as blind as some people with better vision.

I am thankful the elections are over.  Despite what was won or lost this election, politics is always going to be about who is the better liar, until it becomes a contest to see who can live up to their campaign promises, which it should ideally be.  If even half of what they said, they tried to do, the world would be a better place.  Because seriously, who votes for someone who promises to do bad things and then lives up to that promise?

I am thankful it's the holiday season.  Good food abounds.  Christmas music plays constantly on the radio.  I am thankful for the simple things in life.

I am thankful I have the freedom to be annoyed by completely trivial things.  Like, wtf is up with movies and people with glasses?  Check out The Mummy to see what I am talking about.  Not the original horror film, the adventure comedy type thing with brendan frasier that came out in the 90's.  I actually love watching that movie for several reasons, one i think rachel weisz is hot, two i love egyptology and three, that movie is full of magic, undead, killer beetles, mummies and all manner of godly intervention.  Definitely qualifies as monster movie fare.  Arnold Vosloo plays the mummy, imhotep, extremely well.  i think they should make a 4th mummy movie and bring him back.  He kicks ass.  But back to my point.  In the first movie, there's this guy.  He's one of the ones that brings down a curse on himself by opening up the box with the canopic jars that contain Anuk-sun-amon's organs.  At least, i think that's how you spell her name, the chick Imhotep is trying to resuscitate.  So he's the first victim of Imhotep, he gets chased down a pyramid hallway and OOPS!  he trips and his glasses fall off.  DAMMIT!  Now he can't see AT ALL!  But, it doesn't really work that way.  Three things anyone with glasses can tell you.  One, you can still see SOMETHING without your glasses on.  Even me, with my bad eyesight, often walk around my house when i misplace my glasses, wondering where I put them.  I don't bump into walls, I don't feel around in front of me, going "I CAN'T SEE!  WHERE ARE MY GLASSES I AM NOW BLIND!" with my eyes closed.  I can even, occasionally, see where I put my glasses without actually having them on.  And I NEED them to see.  Two, when you need your glasses to see, you are pretty well aware of where they are at all times, even when they fall off.  It's the movie equivalent of an assassin dropping his gun during a fight or something.  Even if he can't get to it right away, he knows about where it went, it's just something he makes a mental note of so  he can retrieve it later.  Same thing with glasses.  The only time you ever forget where your glasses might be is if they are off your person for an extended period of time.  Which I have done.  At no point when my glasses were off, did I suddenly close my eyes, drop to the ground, and start feeling around for them.  lol  Three, the last thing you do is close your eyes.  Glasses are generally hard to replace unless you have extremely minor vision problems.  So you are using what eyesight you have to try and locate them immediately...  not feeling around in the dirt with your eyes closed.  Also, if you note the glasses in the Mummy (and this is usually the case with anyone who loses their glasses in movies) the lenses are so thin that the person probably didn't need them to see to begin with, and yet they always immediately shut their eyes and start feeling around on the ground for them, which conveniently lets some other person step on them and break them.  Utter silliness. Luckily mine are made of flexible metal and unbreakable plastic, because I'd be lost for days without a new pair if mine ever broke.  lol

Something else that bugs me.  So I'm talking to my nephew earlier, and somehow we got into a discussion about physics.  Basically, because it contained math and he hates math.  Which is fine, I am not that much of a math lover, either.  in fact, to illustrate my point about math being bad, i mentioned the "Great Attractor" that's supposedly pulling galaxies towards it at an unprecedented rate.  I basically told him that the great attractor was probably just a math error, as was the supposed "dark matter" controversy.  The controversy being, physicists were running numbers in math equations, something they've been doing for years, and instead of the normal results, they get numbers that indicate most of the matter in the universe is stuff we can't actually see.  So physicists begin pushing this "dark matter" theory, which is akin to religion, for me.  I mean, look at the parallels.  "There's a great being in the sky who controls everything and loves us and created us and guides us.  YOu can't ever prove that he exists or doesn't exist, but trust us, he's THERE."  and in the dark matter theory: "There's this dark matter and energy that we can't see or feel or detect in any way, but it's all around us and it shapes the whole universe.  Trust us, the math says it's THERE."  It sounds totally made up to me, and I am a man used to hearing lies.  I assume the lies are covering up a math error that no one has discovered yet.  I hope to be proven right eventually, because I know one thing for certain, 100% sure...  Humans make a lot of mistakes.  lol  Now here's what confuses me.  Because my nephew had never HEARD of the great attractor, he basically told me I was an idiot.  I'm not really sure why me being an idiot is a fallback position for him, but it is.  He is convinced that scientists do not believe there is a thing called the great attractor and that they do not believe galaxies are being pulled towards it, because, as I said, he'd never heard of it.  I even provided him with a couple links to the topic, so that he would understand that it was a real thing and not something i just made up to try and fool him, for some strange reason, and he refused to read the links because one was wikipedia and another was a forum topic.  Honestly, i didn't bother trying to push the discussion any further, because I know the difference between ignorance and stupidity.

Let me explain in case you don't know.  Ignorance is the simple fact of not knowing something.  Stupidity is not only not knowing something, but not wanting to know it.  These may not be the textbook definitions, but this is how I compare them.  I am, for instance, mostly ignorant about car engines.  I know the basic principles of how they work, but I do not know a thing about how to fix or maintain them.  Now, I am also stupid about car engines.  I do not want to know how to fix them, mostly because the idea of me sliding under a car and getting oil, grease and dirt all over myself while trying to find a problem I know nothing about seems ludicrous to me. Just makes more sense to let a professional fix the issue, someone who knows what they are doing, so i know it's been done right, instead of trying to fix it myself and maybe gumming it up (humans make a lot of mistakes, remember?).  So I refuse almost any attempt others make to show me how to do something to fix a car.  It's not that I am proud of my ignorance (like some people are proud of not knowing a thing about science and adhering to religion to solve all their problems), it's just that I realize cars are complex machines that require extensive knowledge to repair effectively, and again, humans like me make a lot of mistakes.  So yes, I am not only ignorant about engines but I am stupid about them.  There are other things in life I am ignorant of, like computer programming, that I would dearly love to learn, but have not had the time or the opportunity to do so yet.  Just because I am ignorant of something, does not make me a bad person.  Let me also say, being stupid does not make me a bad person, either, it's just that stupid people are hard to reason with.  Mostly because they are being stupid, and don't WANT to know any better.

Much like my nephew was being stupid when he told me the great attractor doesn't actually exist and I am badly misinformed because I happen to keep up on astrophysics.  And in fact, he may be right about it not existing (i happen to agree and think it's a math error, as I said), but it's not because I am badly misinformed.  His own ignorance/stupidity may blind him to the latest research in physics until such a time as they've explained what exactly is going on there.  In any case, it's not that my nephew is a bad person, it's just that I recognized that he did not WANT to know about what i was talking about, so he ridiculed me and told me my links were useless because I hadn't thoroughly researched my topic and had scientifically proven references handy.  lol  And because I recognized he didn't know, and didn't want to know (and thus, was being stupid by my definition), I let him go back to playing computer games.  Which of course, is a noble pastime in and of itself.  :-D

I suppose being intelligent isn't really about knowing things.  It's about knowing that there are things out there that I DON'T know, and recognizing my limits.  So perhaps I can take pride in not knowing a damn thing about cars, because chances are good that, in my ignorance, I would screw things up horribly whilst trying to fix a broken engine, and so I am proud that I am wise enough to leave that sort of thing up to the people who know more than I do.  So even if i were the most ignorant person in the world, simple recognition of that fact would make me smarter than most, who think because they think they know something, they are smarter.  For me, it's always been a case of, the longer I live, the more I recognize that I really know absolutely nothing.

So when are the young going to learn this simple truth?  That everyone actually knows almost nothing, and what little knowledge we have is based solely on our point of view?  Who knows.  All I know is, even when I was young, I knew this.

And I am thankful for that, too.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.  I hope you didn't over stuff yourself with too much turkey, but I know most of you did, just like me.  lol  Always remember, being smart doesn't mean you don't make mistakes, it just means you might recognize that you make them, and can learn from that.  If you want to.  :-)  Me, I want to keep making that eating too much on Turkey Day mistake.  I am wise enough to know to enjoy good food when it's handy.  ;-)

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Weather? Really?

Yes, I am blogging about...  the weather.

So, I have several nits to pick.  For you younger folks, that means I have things I want to talk about.  Firstly, what is up with weathermen?  Or more specifically, meteorologists?  Look, I know the weather is a complex global system.  I know predictions about it are never going to be 100% accurate.  But, can't we get somewhere in the ballpark?  Now, I'm not complaining about any specific weather day.  I wasn't out at a picnic today, for instance, and the weather forecasters said it was going to be sunny and 80 and I ended up in a blizzard.  But, are they ever right?  A meteorologist will tell you his forecasts are usually about 85% accurate.  Which is absolute bupkus. I would say closer to 40%, and that's just within 24 hours at best.  So who can keep a job being right 40% of the time?  What waiter would keep his job if he said "Sorry sir, I screwed up your order a little.  You wanted the fish and chips, and i got you a burger and rice.  But hey, at least I got your drink order correct!"  Or what employer would be in business long if they said "Oh sorry, I gave you $4000 dollars this week instead of $400.  But at least I spelled your name right!"  Look, when I can listen to the weather predictions for the next week, and make a more accurate prediction of the weather by saying the opposite of what the meteorologists say, they need to work on their computer models a bit.

Here's my next thing.  Hurricanes usually come with lots of rain and wind.  They usually do lots of flooding damage to coastal areas.  Do you remember all the days leading up to Hurricane Sandy, where they said "This storm isn't going to be like anything you've ever seen before!?"  Well.  Let's review.  There was lots of wind and rain.  And.. it did lots of flooding damage to coastal areas.  So... how was that different from the other hurricanes?  Did it rain skittles?  Did the wind smell of hot and spicy chicken wings?  No, the only difference I can see was that it hit New York City instead of Florida or wherever.  So why all the fuss beforehand?  Was it just to spice up an otherwise semi-ordinary event like a hurricane coming ashore?  Doesn't that pretty much happen every year, sometimes several times?

Which leads me to my next two points.  There's tons of celebrities going on the air lately asking me to donate my hard-earned money to hurricane sandy relief efforts.  Hmmm.  Where were the celebrity aid requests during the last florida hurricane?  Or don't celebrities care about a few retirees who lost their trailer park in the sunshine state?  Is it just because there's a lot of celebrities living in new york and they now need your money because their expensive apartment building just got washed out to sea?  Hell, get some hot female celebs to lose some clothes in the commercials, and I'll be more than happy to pay up.  Yea!  Start a naked female celebrity hurricane sandy relief effort!  You'll rake in billions!

Just as an aside, I'm not trying to make light of people having trouble getting back on their feet after Sandy.  I'm sure there's still people out there who are homeless or without power, and i can't even imagine.  I mean, my power was out for 3 whole days during the october storm around these here parts back in 2005 and it drive me nearly insane!  I was cold, it was dark, and worst of all, I had no internet access or computer games to play!  AGH!  So, anyone just getting back onto the net and reading this after being without a home or power for weeks, you have my deepest sympathies and admiration for surviving with your mind intact.  Assuming you survived, with your mind intact.  I don't think my mind made it, but nobody seems to have noticed yet.  Or, maybe you did.

But here's my third (or fourth?) point, do we really need to start naming our winter storms?  Athena?  Brutus?  I can see naming a hurricane.  It's a huge weather event that has the potential to come ashore and cost millions of dollars in damage as well as lives, even if it does turn and head out to sea half the time.  But do we really need to name every single cold front that sweeps across the nation?  Aren't we just adding to the confusion at this point?  Athena dumped an inch of snow on my front lawn!  A WHOLE INCH!  ZOMG!  Brutus froze that lock on my car door!  THAT COLD HEARTED PRICK!  Geddit geddit?  Cold hearted?  HAH!  I make joke.  You laugh.  But seriously, why?  Are meteorologists or media junkies just so friggin bored that they need to draw viewers in by naming storms?  Really?  Are you that desperate for viewers???  Doesn't pretty much EVERYONE watch the weather at some point to find out the forecast?  How do you get more viewers than EVERYONE?  Isn't that being just a tad greedy?  lol

So here's my problem in a nutshell.  I looked at the radar images of hurricane sandy coming into the coast.  I looked at the predictions of where it would go.  Weathermen in my area were calling for tropical storm force winds when it got close enough.  I looked where it was heading, realized that not only was upstate new york (where i live) not anywhere near the center of the storm, but we were in the outer bands of what is usually the lee side of the storm, where the hurricane's direction of travel and prevailing winds go against each other, and realized in about 2 seconds that we wouldn't see anywhere near that level of winds, and probably wouldn't feel much of anything.  So how did I, an out of work technical support guy with a minimum of understanding about the weather, able to make an accurate prediction that went against what every weatherman in our area was saying, and be 100% dead-on-balls-accurate, as Marisa Tomei so eloquently put it in "My Cousin Vinny?"

Hell if I know.  But when I can out-predict a trained, experienced meteorlogist, they got to be doing something wrong, don't you think?

In other news, I think my movie review format was a little too rigorous last month.  I may go back to just random thoughts about the movie divided into paragraphs.  It seems like having to organize my thoughts, instead of just rambling incoherently most of the time, stifles my creativity in my reviews.  So, next review, I am going back to incoherent rambling!  Sounds like a good name for a heavy metal band, right?  "FEAST YOUR EYES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!  Back by popular demand, INCOHERENT RAMBLING!"  Hey, it'd certainly squelch the need to come up with good song lyrics.  You could read your little brother's book report on See Spot Run while blasting out guitar riffs and the drummer's LSD-fueled solo and nobody would notice.

Squelch.  Word of the week.  Until next time, rabid fans!  Yea, if you are frothing at the mouth to read my blog, you really need to get a hobby.  lol