Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Congratulations Nancy, Dan. Welcome Yvonne

Let's all welcome my niece, Yvonne (Evie) Lois Molden to the world. (She looks just like her big brother if you ask me!) Congratulations to Nancy and Dan on their second child.

I'm told Nancy and Evie were in and out of the hospital so fast, that Nancy's cup of coffee was still warm when she got back home.

Daily Report: Camiguin Island Trip Day #3

It was back home today. But first, we stopped and looked at a house that is for rent.

It's 4½ miles out of town, and on roughly 2 acres of very secluded land with a private 300-foot-long beach (albeit a rocky one). The house is 3 bedrooms and about 2,500 square feet... on the inside. In addition there is at least another 2,500 square feet of patios and balconies in the front looking out over the sea.

Below is the view from the side yard... big porches, outdoor kitchen behind the fence on the right. Master bedroom has the upstairs balcony.
Next is the view from the front porch... That's Northwest, so the sunsets should be pretty nice. There is the patio at the top of the bluff, and then stairs in the rocks lead down to a hanging terrace about 15 feet beyond that, and then further on down to the beach itself. (Satellite view.)

It's $300 per month.

Best of all, the name over the front gate is quite providential for the host of a blog called "Jungle Jil":
And no... we aren't 100% certain yet that we'll be moving in — but close to about 75% certain.

Here is some video of house and the grounds:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Daily Report: Camiguin Island Trip Day #2

Another day in paradise. We had breakfast on the veranda of our bungalow with the sound of waves, crowing chickens, and tweeting birds. After that, our rented motorcycle arrived.

First, we drove into the town of Mambajao ("mom-BA-how") which is the small, clean, and antique capital of Camiguin Island. There, we went to lunch at The Rooftop, owned by a Dutch fellow named Gelt. He has a wonderful deli there, and a large selection of imported meats, cheeses, and other items. He also had, much to my amazement, dill pickles... the first I had seen in The Philippines. The hamburgers they cook at The Rooftop are really quite good. Stay away from the Mexican food though.

Gelt is also building a hotel on the third floor and the rooms seem quite nice... although why anyone would come to Camiguin and stay in a hotel room in town rather than a bungalow on the beach, I couldn't imagine.

There really are a lot of foreigners living here... perhaps as many as in Cagayan De Oro. However, CDO has almost a million people in it, while Camiguin has less than 50,000. Add to that the tourists, and you have a very visible number.

Camiguin seems like a nice place to live. You can take the fast ferry and be in CDO within 2 hours (plus time spent getting to the ferry). There are flights to Manila three times per week as well. Bohol is also only 2 hours away by ferry, and Cebu is a few more hours beyond that. The major problem I see with life on this island is getting your hands on cash: The ATM here only dispenses 4,000 pisos at a time: Those withdrawal charges add up fast.

After lunch, Epril and I drove out to the hot springs, which after White Island are the second best feature this island has to offer. I have to give the proprietors credit with the "design" they stumbled across: They took the little gully through which the hot water flows, cemented the bottom to make cascading pools, and added rocks to make walls, steps, and walkways. Then they covered the entire place with a net to keep out the leaves, giving the place a shadowy, private, and yet mossy and still wild/jungle aspect to it. It wasn't altogether dissimilar from bathing in a Roman ruin. And the water was simply wonderful, about the temperature of a bath.

After that, Epril and I went back down the hill and bought 10 Camiguin Island T-shirts for $2 each... one for everybody in the family.

From there, Epril and I went to Soda Swimming Pool, which was supposed to be a mineral spring, but was just plain water. (It may have been a proper mineral spring at some point in the past, but all evidence of calcium, salts, gas, carbonation, or other geological filtering of the water has disappeared as of my visit.)

Then, it was back to Golden Sunset Resort where Epril and I were served a lovely steak dinner out on the beach-side patio for our anniversary. There was candlelight and our own personal waiter. Very, very nice.

I've had internet access the entire time we were here at Golden Sunset: I just brought along the wireless Globe internet box from home and plugged it in, and it connected to the nearest Globe tower and all was ready to go!

Daily Report: Camiguin Trip Day #1

Epril and I are celebrating our anniversary in The Philippines' best-kept secret... the place where Filipinos go when they want to go to a rustic tropical paradise... Camiguin Island.

We're staying at Camiguin Golden Sunset Resort, owned by British Expat Phil and his lovely wife. It's a lovely place with a nice swimming pool, a restaurant, a beach, and rooms that range from 2000 to 3700 pisos ($45 to $82) per night.

The resort chartered a boat to take us out to nearby White Island, a fantastic coral island (round trip 450 pisos ($10). White Island is simply one of the nicest beaches you can go to... especially if you are lucky enough to go there when it is empty, as Epril and I were. The aquamarine and cerulean water, the magnificent mountains of the island in the background... and the beautiful silence as you float around. It's just the best the planet has to offer.

In the evening, Epril and I walked down the beach to another kano owned resort, Secret Cove, and had dinner. Proprietor Tom from Canada has a beautifully-stocked bar there (scotch lovers will be more than thrilled), and specializes in diving excursions.

After that, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Then, it was back to Golden Sunset where I chatted for a while with owner Phil and another resident kano (of which there are a surprising number... over 200) by the name of Oliver, who owns a mining operation here in the country.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm Going To Study At Yale

Did you know that Yale has over 20 courses available for free on their website? Real courses consisting of dozens of lectures by the real Yale professors on everything from chemistry to literature to politics. You can just download the MP3 and listen, or watch the video of each class if you prefer. Very cool.

I imagine that this isn't the only major college that has this. I'll check around and see if any others do the same.

Ahhh... bada bing. 250 courses from UCLA, MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, Columbia...

How about Harvard?

Here's a blog that keeps you updated on what courses are coming online.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Random Thought

I'm beginning to realize that Filipinos can be divided into two categories: Those whose think too little of themselves, and those who think too much of themselves.

Fortunately, there are far more of the former and they can be encouraged, and you can see the latter coming from a mile away and they can be avoided.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Report: All Home, All Quiet... Almost

Epril, her mother, sisters Susan and Ednel, and niece Doreen all arrived home this morning, returning by ferry from Epril's mother's mother's funeral in Leyte. They were all tired from the trip. (Epril said she must be suffering from "boat lag".)

It was Doreen's first trip anywhere. Ednel said she enjoyed the mountainous scenery. Epril remarked upon how poorly-off her maternal relatives were.

Here is something that made me think: Epril took a 15-minute video of the funeral and burial. The amount of wailing, actual swooning, and overpowering grief in the video was really quite upsetting to watch. But, it's a very important memory for Epril's family — albeit it a truly bad one — so maybe having that video around makes sense. I can't imagine anyone ever wanting to sit down and watch that video again (especially somebody who was actually there) but at the same time isn't it a part of life worth documenting in the modern (video) format? I guess so.

Like what I did with my office?

Most people don't realize that Windows lets you do all kinds of things with your monitor setup, like rotate your screen to portrait configuration. Actually, I can't believe I didn't do this ages ago: Most computer programs are of the top-to-bottom, scrolling type, and a portrait configuration is much better for that. I can quite literally see three times as much of any given web page with my monitor on its end like this.

Tyson has picked up some bad habits from the dogs who live across the street: He barks at things in the street, especially wandering dogs. It's one thing when you have a little mop of a dog yipping when you are walking nearby, but Tyson is an altogether different animal with a much more alarming sound and demeanor. There is a few yards of chain link fence over in the corner of the yard through which Tyson is particularly prone to scare the daylights out of people nearby (one second all is silent... then WOOF) which I had Tatay cover up with some bamboo matting. That seems to have helped a bit.

I started giving Epril motorcycle lessons this evening. I took her out to an empty road and had her sit on the electric motorcycle and then walk it forward while gently throttling the engine so that the bike would move with her as she walked. I also got her to turn the motorcycle around while doing the same thing. She's very nervous, and it will be a very long time before I'd let her go riding around anywhere other than in the immediate neighborhood, but it's good for her to learn: Nobody in my family (not even Tatay) can ride that I am aware of.

Well, it was a quiet evening in front of the television again. Ednel cooked cream dory fish for dinner, and Epril also bought some bar-be-que pork.

Monday, September 13, 2010

So You Want To Be Famous?

Watch this video of a celebrity at the airport in Los Angeles.

Can you imagine what that must be like? The flashes blinding you, your family, your kids... strangers pushing towards you, your family, your kids... with no escape, no ability to fight back... an entire world of sound, light, and passive aggression all focused on you... at you.

Then go through it again tomorrow... and the day after... and the day after... for as long as you own that face, that name, that fame.

I can understand why the poparazzi do what they do: Snap just the right photo of a low-level celebrity like this and some entertainment rag will pay you an easy $1,000. In those 3 or 4 minutes, 3 or 4 photographers each made a grand. The bigger the name then the bigger the jackpot. LAX is just a steady streem of thousand-dollar opportunities walking by.

But, good lord, the subject of those photos — the celebrity: What an awful assault. There really needs to be a final, comprehensive, and enforced set of laws to ameliorate this kind of experience.

New Drunk Driving Law Coming To The Philippines

Everybody is aware that certain things about The Philippines can be anachronistic or even downright other-worldly, but this article entitled "Drunk Driving to Become Illegal in Philippines" dropped my jaw to an unprecedented depth.

I was especially gobsmacked by the statement of Then-President-Now-Congresswoman Gloria Arroyo, who is sponsoring the bill to make drunk driving illegal: "The World Health Organization (WHO) and various studies showed that alcohol intake, depending on the level of intoxication, results in impairment which increases the likelihood of a crash since it produces poor judgment, decreased reaction time, lower vigilance and decreased visual acuity."

That's apparently not-so-common knowledge here?

Actually, the article states, there already is a law on the books about drunk driving but "the law is insufficient in defining what constitutes drunk driving."

Well, since I've never actually seen a traffic stop in The Philippines (only roadblocks that you can see coming for miles due to all of the unregistered trucks pulled over to the side of the road in avoidance), I don't think that DWI charges will become too common unless the intoxicated person causes an accident.

And that's too bad too: Just like in Thailand (moreso in Thailand), drunk driving is a problem here, and it causes an inordinate amount of injuries and deaths. In fact, just last week, my friends Dave and Jessa lost two friends — a young couple just out of their teens — to drunk driving.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Article On Terrorism Worth Reading

Slate has republished an article which examines why, after so many years, there has not been another terrorist attack in the United States.

To summarize, the author examines 8 theories floating around, with "worry" levels ranging from very low to very high.

  1. Terrorists got really lucky on September 11, 2001. Dozens of "red flags" were flying in the days before the attack, and if only one of them had been followed up on, the 9-11 attacks would have been foiled. Terrorists really aren't as smart as we like to think they are, and there aren't even a fraction as many as we believe.
  2. Terrorists (other than Al Qaida) really would rather attack other Muslims, Israel, and "near enemies" rather than "far enemies" like Europe and America. It's only disaffected individuals, or small two/three member gangs of "wannabes" who try to put together plots against Europe and America, which have so far been easily foiled by law enforcement.
  3. American Muslims get along quite well in American society, and have no reason to attack their own country, or allow foreigners in their midst to hatch plots.
    1. Additionally, in America, the number of Muslims who are middle eastern is not as high as you think: almost half of american Muslims are African or white. In addition, a large number of Middle Easterners in America are Christian.
    2. Most middle-eastern Muslims in America are Shi'ites, whereas most terrorists are Sunni.
    So, the number of potential terrorists in America is much, much smaller than the term "Mulsim" or "middle eastern" would lead you to believe especially when compared to the social makeup of middle-eastern Mulsim communities in Europe... especially England.
  4. Al Qaida is looking for an attack more destructive than 9-11, feeling that small and ineffective attacks will only weaken it tactically (though they have committed terrorist acts in other countries since 9-11). So, they have forgone further attacks until they can make it really count.
  5. Al Qaida is busy fighting Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, and therefore doesn't need to go to America to engage in a fight against the United States (though it is proven that very few people fighting against American soldiers in Iraq are foreign, or in Afghanistan are anything other than local resistance fighters).
  6. Increased vigilance on the part of The American Government has thwarted any further attacks (though the attacks that have been thwarted have ranged from improbable to laughable to far-too-obvious).
  7. There is a theory that Al-Qaida times their attacks to coincide with elections in order to try to effect the outcome. (While true, the outcomes are varied in the results, and the long-term effects are seldom what Al-Qaida would naturally hope for.) So they are waiting for an election to stage their next attack.
  8. The most worrying theory is that it is simply too soon for the terrorists to attack again, because it would not yet be "terrorizing" enough, and that security is still too tight. They are waiting for the U.S. to let down its guard.
Anyway, read the whole article. It takes a while, but it really is an interesting look into the state of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the world today.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Dare You. Okay. I Dare You Again. Okay.

Adding on to Sullivan's thoughts below, we do really live in a world where thin-skinned, volatile, and hidebound societies are ripe for... to put it simply... teasing.

Thailand learned this the hard way: The entire country had a fit when somebody put up desecrated images of their king on YouTube. Did the entire world apologize and promise never to do something so disrespectful again? Fuck no. Once people found out that you can annoy Thai people with a YouTube video, all kinds of people put up their own disrespectful pictures of the King of Thailand.

Think about some disaffected kid in middle America. He now has the knowledge that he can go out in his backyard, grab a couple hundred books, set them on fire, and once the blaze is nice and high, start the video recording, say "Oh yeah... look at those Korans burning", post that shit anonymously on YouTube, and watch an entire country burn. I mean let's be honest: How many 12 year old boys in America wouldn't think that's pretty damn spiffy? Hell: How many grownups in America wouldn't think that's pretty damn spiffy? Well, if that number is more than "zero", you know what is going to happen.

I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying — like Sullivan — that it's inevitable.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Perfectly Stated, Thank You

The reason why Andrew Sullivan is my favorite political writer is because on an almost-daily basis, some words he writes will decoct my thoughts into cohesive conclusions in ways I could not without hours of contemplation.

In other words, to put it succinctly, reading Andrew Sullivan allows me to think what I knew I wanted to think, with only a few minutes of my time.

Today he accomplished exactly that on a grand scale:
We live in an era of religious fundamentalism and fanaticism, exploited, used and manipulated by politicians, for their own purposes, and used by the media for its own. This has always been a dangerous and toxic combination, inimical to liberal society, dangerous to secular democratic politics, and today, something that can also lead to global warfare and destruction on an unimaginable scale. This blog has long warned of its dangers and consequences — and yet the role of religious fanaticism in politics only seems to grow, thanks to cynical Republicans and weak-kneed Democrats.

The new media, moreover, makes it especially combustible and unstoppable, whatever the mainstream media decides to cover or not cover. Does anyone think it will matter if the AP does not cover the now "suspended" but possible [Koran] burnings? Anyone with a cell-phone camera can send these images within seconds across the globe. Any bigot can incite mass violence in a culture already primed for it. And so there is something almost inevitable about the atrocity in front of us. And sure, enough, Fred Phelps is now threatening to burn Korans this weekend if Terry Jones does not.

My point, I suppose, is that this kind of cycle in this kind of environment is something that once started, no one can stop. It is a function of fringe Christian fundamentalism finally engaging fringe Islamist fundamentalism in a war of increasing terror and intolerance in a seamless global media world. It is the responsibility of all of us of actual faith rather than fanaticism to stand up and oppose this before it engulfs us all.

But you reap what you sow. You turn a benign Muslim community center into a "stab in the heart" of Americans (in Sarah Palin's words) and someone soon will up the ante. Which is why this summer has felt so ominous to me; and the forces itching for full-scale religious warfare more powerful and more unstoppable than any of the restraints in between — from the West Bank to Kandahar and Gainesville and Wasilla. One can hope and pray that this flare-up will be a warning prevented in time for the culture to take a deep breath and understand the consequences of religious fundamentalism openly embraced in the public square. But hope is scarce in this environment.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


My mother-in-law's mother, Epril's grandmother, passed away last night in Leyte. The family is getting ready to catch the ferry to Cebu tonight, so I'll be on my own for a couple of days with the youngsters to hold down the fort.

It's difficult to go anywhere "rural" in The Philippines at a moment's notice. I offered to fly everyone on the next flight today from Cagayan De Oro to Cebu, but apparently the last ferry to Leyte leaves there at 2 p.m., and they wouldn't get there in time to catch it. They'll be catching the 8 p.m. ferry from CDO, and then catching the 6 a.m. ferry at Cebu to Ormoc, Leyte. Then, it's a 5-hour road trip from there to where the funeral will be.

Older Sister Susan is already in Cebu with Jans, so she'll be meeting up with the family there.

My condolences are with my mother-in-law. She's very upset, as is the rest of the family.

HDR Video

Allow me to geek out for a moment.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and has been a popular little photographic trick for a few years now. An example of HDR can be seen in this photo on the right. More examples of High Dynamic Range can be seen here.

To put it in the simplest term, it is a photograph without shadows.

In more detail, what HDR is is a combination of several photos shot at different exposure levels, from a very under-exposed version that lets in less light (which lets bright areas show up well, but causes dark/shadow areas to be too dark) to a very over-exposed version that lets in more light (which washes out the bright areas, but allows the dark/shadow areas to appear). Then, the photos are combined together by a computer program so that all of the areas are equally exposed.

Well, obviously that's a bit of a complicated thing, making a single HDR image. So, you can imagine that making HDR video is pretty amazing, but that is what San Francisco studio Soviet Montage has done. The effects are pretty nice.

Oh Those Crazy Canadians

Vancouver wants to give its citizens practice in running over little girls, so they've created this 2D/3D road painting of a girl chasing a ball to give drivers the wonderful experience of squashing a child. Oh: And every time a car drives over the image, a nearby sound system lets out a piercing scream and then the "pffft" of a ball being popped. Just awesome.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

They Talk About Me Like A Dog

I didn't realize it when President Obama said that special interests in Washington "talk about me like a dog," but that's a Jimi Hendrix quote.
Every day in the week I'm in a different city.
If I stay too long, people try to pull me down.
They talk about me like a dog,
talkin' about the clothes I wear.
But they don't realize they're the ones who's square.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Not Particularly Reassuring

The U.S. Government has a new website up called mySkills myFuture, which lets you put in your current sucky or nonexistent job, and it gives you some alternative jobs that currently have openings.

Medical transcriptionists certainly have lots of alternatives, if you don't mind living below the poverty line:
Switchboard Operators, Including Answering Service          $20,600
Insurance Claims Clerks          $28,100
License Clerks          $26,900
File Clerks          $20,000
Paralegals and Legal Assistants          $36,800
Court Clerks          $26,900
Interviewers, Except Eligibility and Loan          $23,100
Executive Secretaries and Administrative Assistants          $33,700
Court Reporters          $34,700
Receptionists and Information Clerks          $20,500
Customer Service Representatives          $24,000
Billing, Cost, and Rate Clerks          $26,500
Office Clerks, General          $20,200
Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive          $24,000
Legal Secretaries          $31,900
Billing, Posting, and Calculating Machine Operators          $26,500
Medical Secretaries          $25,000
Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks          $26,900
Library Assistants, Clerical          $18,300

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Daily Report: Riverside

I thought I had checked that everything was as expected on my new used computer before buying it: 512 MB of memory? Yup. 80 GB hard drive? Check. 1.7 GHz processor? Yes. 128 MB video card? Got it. DVD drive working? I watched the guy load the drivers for the webcam on it... so yes...

... or no. It's only a cheap old CD-ROM drive. Doh.

(I wanted to copy all the Star Trek DVD's that I had bought from my friend Dave onto my new external hard drive. I had to use Epril's laptop instead.)

I did crap at work today. It seems to happen about once per week. However, a crappy day now used to be my average day just a few months ago.

Instead, I hopped on the motorcycle, and with Tyson running alongside, I went down to the river and joined Epril, Susan, Jans, and their friends on the grassy river bank where they had set up a little campfire and were cooking a jackfruit dish of some kind. I lounged in the cool water, while Tyson had a blast getting chased by an angry chicken. Filipino people are always scared of Tyson at first, but when they see him scrambling to get away from a puffed-up chicken, it puts them at ease.

After that, I went home and played my new game, Final Fantasy XIII, on the PlayStation 3. It's a game of jaw-dropping scope and grandeur, that was years in development. This is only the second Final Fantasy game that I've played (for more than a little while) and it's just fantastic.

Finally, I went with Epril, Susan, and Jans to Glitz Bar for more friends and some beer. I didn't stay too long; I dislike Karaoke so much. I finally figured out why too: Yes, listening to people sing off tune at high volume is the principal reason. But, in The Philippines, all of the Karaoke microphones are set to have this strong reverb effect. So when people sing, it is to my ears and brain the same as staring at an out-of-focus movie: Very annoying and uncomfortable after a while.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Nice Video Of Jasaan Fiesta Posted On Facebook

This past week was Jasaan's fiesta, and there were lots of goings-on, including of course a big parade that everybody showed up to see. Mark Buray has a nice video that he put together of the event.

Expat Attacked At Restaurant, In A Coma

A fellow named Marian, a Polish-American who has recently moved to Cagayan de Oro and is soon to be married to his fianceƩ, Kenny, was attacked at a restaurant by the restaurant's owner and is now in a coma, barely clinging to life.

Apparently it was an argument over cold soup. Marian sent back the not-hot soup wishing to have it heated up, and instead the waiter brought back a different kind of soup (that wasn't hot either). After that, the meat that they were served was undercooked and Marian complained about that too.

Then, apparently the wife of the owner started saying rude things about Marian (and Kenny, who was with him). From there, I'm not sure precisely what happened, but according to Kenny, first the waiter attacked Marian, and then the owner (a Japanese national) came and hit Marian in the back of the head with a hammer.

Marian has been unconscious ever since... 4 days on.

The Japanese owner is in jail. The owner's wife is on TV sporting a bandage on her arm, telling the world that Kenny attacked her with a knife and that Marian just fell over while he was drunk.

Now: the way that I see things, unless dealing with a person or party completely devoid of their faculties (which I'll admit is always a possibility), a dispute about cold soup does not go from words to blows without both parties contributing to heating the situation. I won't argue that point.

But: assault with a deadly weapon? That could never be justified; that should certainly be good for an instant guilty verdict followed by a very, very long jail sentence.

Stupid Japanese fucker ruins Marian's life, ruins his own life, ruins his wife's future, and breaks Kenny's heart... over cold soup. What a shame.

Daily Report: Friday, Week In Review

Sorry about not posting much this week. I know how you look forward to reading about what I am doing... even when it is as close to nothing as is possible.

Actually, I was busy this week. My friend Don has put me to work on his new business plan (as he had offered after seeing my lament about my work hours being cut). It doesn't pay now, but instead in the form of future dividends, which — after having the idea explained to me — should make for a very nice income. (Sorry... I can't tell you what I'm doing. Don made me promise: It's something that is only profitable as long as we're the only ones doing it.)

I got my electric motorcycle back this week and I've been taking Tyson out for runs. We cover about a kilometer and a half in 7 or 8 minutes. I drive and Tyson runs like a maddog. Obviously I'm not getting as much exercise as when I walk Tyson myself, but Tyson gets at least 20 times as much exercise, has at least as much fun as going on the leash, and it's all over and done with much more quickly.

It was out to dinner at the Thai restaurant at Limketkai mall tonight with Susan and Jans. I did all the ordering since nobody else really knew what would be good. Weird thing about that Thai restaurant: They have no sticky rice, except for the traditional sticky rice mango dessert, so if I want sticky rice (and I do) I have to order the dessert without the mango or sweet milk poured over it.

After dinner, we all went shopping and I bought a new computer for the living room. Well, a new used computer for the living room that will be the household internet terminal... to give Epril's laptop a break and allow more than one person to be on the internet at a time. The whole computer, with keyboard, mouse, wireless internet, LCD monitor, et cetera, cost about $250. (Actually, with my office computer, the PlayStation 3, and Epril's iPhone, in addition to the laptop and living room computer, we now have 5 points of internet access to enjoy.)

After that, I went and bought a new chair for my office. The old one broke after only 5 or 6 months. (Like that is a surprise?) There were 3 different chairs to try, ranging in price from $100 to $300, and — lucky me — the chair that fit me best was also the cheapest.

After that, it was home with Driver Chris at about 9:00.

There. We are pretty much all caught up now.