Rivers

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“Rivers and roads, rivers and roads, rivers till I reach you.” – The Head and The Heart; Rivers and Roads

For years this blog has been about memories and lessons, the way the world shifts beneath our feet and twists our ankles, the way we hit the ground… the way we get back up.

This week one of my best friends moved away from home. I don’t know when I will see him again, I know I certainly will, but I have no way of knowing when. This is another instability of life.

When I was a younger man I had this dream that me + all of my best friends would wind up in the same place. Despite the fact that we all wanted different things, teaching, theatre, engineering, photography, writing, it’s all the same, really. We all have these things that call to us and beg us to move forward step by step, even when we don’t know where to go there is always something pulling at us until our bones shake. Some small voice in the back of our minds begging us deep down to steel our shoulders and wrap the rope around our hands, to begin dragging the slabs of sandstone up long and shallow ramps.

It wasn’t until a couple years ago that this dream of mine had truly shown itself for what it was, a sham. Not that it is a bad thing at all. I’m so endlessly excited to see where each of the boys go, what they do, who they become. I’m so excited to evolve from Alan the Novelist to Uncle Alan, or Dyzygy on a Guest Stream, or even Alva Tobias, celebrity guest at a grand reveal of a play or movie. All of these things seem silly, I’m sure, but it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized that if we do not have these dreams, if we do not have these passions, we are lost completely. Each one of us, you and I, are bound together by one everlasting and powerful link that groups us together and cinches us tight.

Purpose.

I sat this week with someone who I hold extremely dear to my heart and talked with him about his novels, our jobs, his future and mine alike. We laughed like we always do, we joked like we always do, and we sat in the same dingy booth in the same shitty casino restaurant that we had frequented for years now and just experienced life together.

I ramble fairly frequently, if you think the blog is bad you should speak to me in real life. I have a hard time getting to the point, because I’ve never believed that the point is where we should be getting. We should be getting onward, guys like me don’t define ourselves by early or late. We don’t think about the end of the story, I know damn well that the end will come when the end comes and I have no intention of rushing or delaying anything. That being said, it is important that we must continue moving.

My life pulls me in a dramatically different way than everyone else’s. My best friends and I may not see each other forever, but they will always be a part of my pyramid. The bottom blocks, the biggest ones, that hold this entire wonder up. I would not be the man that I am today without the constant love and support of these men and watching them grow and change, evolve and struggle to overcome things is nearly greater than the joy I see in them when they have successes and we can share laughter over those small victories.

I love watching their stories unfold because I see all of us as these wondrous characters, grafted and designed with innumerable purpose, fleeting as our lives may be at the end of time, we can still stand at the gate of change or death or life and scream to the world that we were here, we exited and we lived, we loved with everything we can.

It is this way too, when friends and family pass on.

I talk so much about purpose, because I don’t think many people truly find their purpose. I stumbled around for the majority of my life, only recently discovering that I am here to inspire, to tell stories, to help others in some manner. I forget that sometimes. I forget too, that our lives aren’t meant to be rushed through. We have to take things one day at a time, thought is not a matter of moments it is an expanse of time.

Though thorough we may be to seek out our next step, it will come when it is ready. It is up to us to be ready for what comes next.

If you have to say goodbye, for the moment, or for forever, remember that it is all part of the purpose we are searching for. Each of us are destined to find our own way. Our friends may not live in the same city forever, but it never hurts to put yourself and your family in a boat and float down the river for a while, just to say hello every once and a while.

There are many things about my past that I don’t look to for inspiration. There are many facets of my own personality that I can’t stand to admit and yet, I was blessed with men and women who love me unconditionally through everything. Despite how horrid I believe myself to be inside some days.

I welcome change, I welcome the twists and turns of the earth. I know that my friends and I are in the same boat together and they will never be too far for me to paddle towards. I know they will paddle towards me in return. I am in no hurry and I am not one to wait around either. Everything happens, all good and bad, when the world wills it to happen. I cannot control it, so until the end I will enjoy every step, every laugh, every chest pain and every last splash of water into my boat, no matter who is sitting beside me.

Friends who love like that are hard to find, but they are out there and it can make you feel like the world will shake beneath your feet, and if you feel it…

You’re right.

Here is something that I did with my friend, I hope you enjoy it.

Doki Doki Literature Club: [Ep. 1] – Let’s Play a horror inducing dating simulator.

Not into video games? How about this then?

Building Pyramids

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This is the last month of Noose Ends, and I’m planning the next movement now. I’m excited to finish this year. It has been full of love and joy and excitement, rife with sadness and pain and I have come out with so many beautiful stories to tell. I’m excited to bring you into the following year with me.

I can’t explain much in this life, I can tell you with certainty though that the stories we are writing are all worth it. I promise you that much. I’ve wasted a lot of nights worrying and fretting about things that aren’t real, that won’t happen, that don’t even exist. When I was younger I first heard this rumor about Stephen King. That he hired bodyguards to stand outside his bedroom at night when he sleeps so that the things that he created won’t be able to get to him. It was a silly rumor and maybe it is true, couldn’t tell you. Don’t honestly want to find out about it because if it is true it will invalidate everything I’m about to say.

Oops.

The point is, I’ve spent hours of my life worrying about fake scenarios in my head and things that don’t matter in the long run. I create these monsters for a living and it has become my go to for real life scenarios. A while back I was panicked about something and talking to my mother, who grabbed my head and whispered to me:

“Chaim, you need to go to sleep.”

Referencing Chaim the Writer, a Seraphim from my novel universe, who writes the aspects of the story down and is sort of the main force in my writing. I’ve often joked about him living in my head because of the frequency that I will have story ideas for myself to write down. We all do this in different ways, I happen to make stories out of my fears. I haven’t gotten so proficient at writing just by luck, I’m constantly telling myself about things that don’t exist. I haven’t gotten good at the whole happy endings to the silly stories thing yet, but I’m working on it.

I like to think about things in triangles, by that I mean there are three angles to every scenario. The first, is my point, which can range from totally factual and honest to completely made up and panic stricken fairytale. Then there is the second point, the other party. Whatever they feel or think, which can stem from fairytales like my own to nothing but hard hitting facts and logic, then there is the third point which is the outside influence, what do others see and say about things? This mentality affects everything in my life from my personal relationships to my business. There is what I want, what others want, and what the world thinks I want. The important part of all of this is that there is another aspect that I don’t’ think about often. All of those points are valid and need to be examined, perhaps not all of them taken seriously, but at the least need to be seen. Then there is one more aspect in the center of it that sits at the root of the diagram I draw in my head.

That I am in control.

I may not control others actions, or thoughts, but I can control my own and I will continue to do so for as long as I live, because why would I let myself live without control over my own mentality?

So, with that said, it brings me back to the Stephen King rumor I brought up. I am great at making up scenarios that don’t make any sense or that just simply aren’t true. As a matter of fact, I’m so good at it that I’ve done it for a living. I’ve only recently been better about calming down and not letting those scenarios freak me out, I’m looking at the whole pyramid, not just the base triangle. Hanging above every problem in your life, real or imaginary, there is something you should keep in mind. The point above all of the other three is that you will always control your reaction and your own actions, there is nothing else you can do at that point, so don’t let it rib you.

You built the pyramid, after all. No monsters will get inside. Just lie down and sleep soundly.

www.linmtba.com

Small Things

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So as you likely have noticed, I’ve been absent for a few days. I apologize for that. I needed to get my shit together, I needed to have a talk with the gentleman in this blog post, evidently.

As for the business front, some things will be changing and most things will be staying the same. I’ll be putting up the first official Vlog next weekend, as well as beginning Spoooky Saturday and Dyzygy + Friends.

Oh yeah, I HAVE A NOVEL COMING OUT THE 21ST.

There is this guy that comes into my work all the time, he and his mother order the same thing each day and they show up early, his mom pays for it and he waits around to pick it up from us. While he waits he will walk around the restaurant, speaking to random customers and telling them stories.

The way he busts into stories astounds even me, and I can Segway into just about anything. He just walks up to you and starts talking like you weren’t doing anything else just before he showed up. It’s like a phantom confidence that surrounds the dude that he just knows you’ll pay attention to him when he walks up to you, and if you decide not to pay any attention to him he doesn’t care he will just walk off and find someone who will.

He was shot in the head when he was younger.

I don’t have all of the details despite hearing the story a couple times a week, and it isn’t any of my business to repeat to you. But that is why he is the way he is, he lost sight in one eye and his mind doesn’t seem to function like the rest of our minds do. So he tells stories, it’s usually one of three. A kid he knew back when he was still in school, the bumper sticker on his mom’s car and how he got shot. Some of the people I work with are really bothered by how he is, that he has no social graces and doesn’t care about what we are doing when he wants to talk to us. A couple of the employees make it a point to speak to him every time he is in, because they know that he probably just wants to talk to us cause he wants to talk to us. I don’t know why he tells the same stories every single time he sees us, but it’s been a nice wake up call.

You know when you start behaving one way and you eventually get into a routine even though it’s a poisonous routine and should just not be that way ever but still are? I’ve been there. I have been having a back and forth battle with myself between letting my jaded and cynical side prevail or continuing the toothache fight that is being sweet and gentle all the time. (Spoiler alert: Cynicism is winning.)

Then the other day when I was working, just before going out of Elko for a friend’s birthday camping trip he came in and wandered around just like he always does. He spoke to a handful of tables, one older woman in particular looked especially incensed that he bothered her meal, to that I hope she knows she can get bent. Then after a while he came up to me at the bar and told me about his injury once more. I nodded along at the perfect cues and said “Wow, that’s crazy.” Like I do every other time.

There was nothing especially different about that day, I woke up late after spending time with my friends the previous day. I finished the edit for another book, I went to work and I set my sights on making it through another day without a cigarette and hopefully without a meltdown, but I realized how shitty I treated the guy.

Not so much that he knows I treat him shitty either, it is in how I react to him entering the building. I see him and know that he will tell me one of three stories that I’ve heard a million times and I have memorized how he tells them so that I can nod when he gets to a specific place and the nod is timed so well that it urges him on. Then after he finishes showing me a scar I’ll say “Oh my goodness. That’s crazy.” Then if his food isn’t finished he will go on to tell me about his mom’s bumper sticker and how much he loves her sense of humor. At first I would truly laugh when he spoke and anymore I just force a fake chuckle and say “Boy that really is funny!”

A week or so ago a new girl started, on her third day she said something to me that stuck with me. I was giving someone shit behind the bar and making a joke about how the restaurant was a prison and we would all die there. (You know, cause I’m light-hearted.) and she looked at me to say:

“I thought I was the most cynical person in this town and I’m surprised I’ve been proven wrong.”

I wanted to argue, but she was right. I knew she was right when our friend came into the restaurant and told me his story again and I replied again just like every other time I have. I made it a point to repeat myself and make sure that I didn’t give any possibility for expanding conversation.

What?

I felt like one of the guards in Skyrim with limited options for conversation. The adventurer came up to me and all I just repeated the same shit a million times.

“I took an arrow to the knee.”

“Oh my goodness that’s crazy!”

It likely wouldn’t bother me so much if the girl who called me out for my cynicism wasn’t such good friends with an old co-worker who used to praise me and marvel at my genuine kindness.  I wonder if it disappeared when I failed one too many of my own tests. Maybe I lost it in the grandiose plans I make. Maybe I lost it with my free time. I think the most likely problem that I’ve begun facing is that I am constantly eye to eye with drama and power hungry dragons that I’ve given up on fighting. It isn’t like I lost the sword, it is like the sword isn’t there anymore.

What I’m saying through eighty million veils is that our regular lasagna guy came in the other day and helped me find the handle. I realized how important it was that I would always tell myself that each day I wake up was a gift. It had been so long since I really heard that, that it shocked me to hear it once again. He always mumbles something under his breath in between his stories when he is wandering around the restaurant. Like most people, I tuned it out. I stopped listening after he exited his story because my life is just “too busy” for him. I don’t have forty seconds to take out of my day and humor a man whose life was changed dramatically. He came in again and was speaking with one of my other coworkers, a girl who found her passion in working with the disabled and handicapped. I was half listening to their conversation when the magic hit me again. He was mumbling to her and as always I was ignoring it, then, unlike myself she truly responded to him.

“Yeah, it is a great thing to wake up every day.”

She said it and for a second everything stopped. The people stopped moving, glasses stopped clinking, the clock stopped ticking for five seconds. I needed that five seconds to remember that.

Holy shit. I woke up today.

What am I being such a grumpy bitch for? I’m still alive. I have a job that I enjoy. I get to do my passion every day. I don’t want for any single thing in this world and I’m still trying to justify being a mean little bastard all the time?

Life is a lot of big things. Job changes that make you relocate, marriage, divorce, childbirth, the passing of our loved ones, the birthday celebrations that mean a lot, the advent of beginning your career. There are so many big moments that we focus on to make our lives. I had been waiting for six months to win a competition that as it turns out, I didn’t even get an honorable mention in. I was furious at first, because I thought I deserved it. It would have been one of those big, life changing moments, but I failed. I spent a day or so moping about my house frustrated by how unfair the world is. Then I went to work and saw the guy again.

All this time I was ignoring the thing I needed to be reminded of the most.

“Every day I wake up is a blessing.”

Even if I’m not where I want to be, even if I don’t have a handle on things like I thought I would at this point, even if I come home sometimes absolutely furious about my work life, even if I bicker with my friends, even if most of my meals are crammed into my jaws in the midst of a busy shift, even if I have to curl up in the fetal position to lie in my bed and not hang off… I am here still. I can still do what I love. I still have a job. I have friends who care about me enough to tell me I’m wrong. I can still eat whenever I want to. I still have a bed to lie down to sleep in and tell myself that “everything is just so unfair.” And in the morning I can wake up and remind myself for the millionth time (because I need to often.) that yes, the world is unfair. Unfairness means that probability is slighted against us, and in that, it is absolutely unfair, but it is not unfair to us, not like we think. It is unfair to the universe. The chance of us even existing at all is so tiny we couldn’t comprehend it. I can’t claim to hate anything, because I was created, I was gifted life in the massive galactic mess and I can never one time take that for granted. Our lives are built up because of the small things we encounter day to day, not the big things that can change us forever.

I woke up today, and it is a good day.

Sandalwood Skin

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Last year I had the chance to spend time all over the country. I went to Oregon, to Georgia, Kansas and Alabama. I experienced so many beautiful things and I learned so much. I wish that I had been in a better place on those trips. I’m not saying they were a waste, but I am saying that I didn’t use all of my time available while I was there.

I know that because I ran out of sandalwood oil.

See, I have these little bottles of fragrance oil that I use after I smoke or before I go to work etc. Just to make sure I don’t actually smell like I spend all of my time at a desk in a den with two pups. On my trip to AL/GA/KS, I spent all of my oil because I was stressed. In OR I used it every thirty minutes to keep my cool or to remember all the lessons and the things I try to teach myself and those around me. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time you know that I often lose sight of things. I think a part of that stems from my levels of “Oh shit I have so much to do today/thisweek/thismonth/thislifetime etc.”

It is pretty easy to lose your grasp on things, even if they are sacred to you. The last blog post was about sacred things, and monsters. I focused more on the latter and didn’t really get to the meat of how I’ve been feeling lately. My birthday is right around the corner and I take a lot of time at the end of March to look at my life + who I am. Am I happy with who I’m becoming?

Not for most of last year, no.

That’s because I spent all of my oil on things I didn’t need to worry about. I used it every time I was even a tiny bit stressed. When big things came around I was helpless to them. All I could do to survive was cling to an empty bottle and watch the world around me.

The reason I brought up those trips is because they were the two moments last year when my life changed the most dramatically. My best friend was married in OR and I met one of my oldest friends for the first time in AL. Those were huge moments that affected me dramatically. Good things and bad things came from them both, due to various situations. No, don’t get the idea that my best friend getting married was bad, it was magical. His wife his beautiful inside and out and seeing them in love gives me immeasurable hope for my own life and the future of all of us.

I thought about my business and the way I write and work in AL, I considered that I potentially do too much. I’m a guy who likes organization. Even if it is messy, I know where all of my projects stand and I know what I need to do to accomplish them. I might get a bit delayed, but my work is never lost on me. I know what and where I need to put in effort. That isn’t always said for my personal relationships.

In OR I sat outside the trailer on my last day and had a heart to heart with two friends where we spoke on relationships and love, what it meant to grow and how we were all changing as time passed. We talked about drama and about life for a long time around a dying camp fire. I went to sleep that night full of peace.

The next day on the drive home I was still present, but distracted. I wasn’t giving attention where I needed it. Instinctively I reached for my bottle of oil.

It was empty.

So I continued going on, still smelling the familiar stink of stress loft around my sinuses.

We returned and continued life, things went up and went down and I lost control of my relationships outside of my circle of friends. I was slipping. There was nothing inside of my mind stopping me from snapping or getting on peoples asses for silly things. I felt that anger and tension vividly in my day to day life.

Eventually it became clear to me that I needed to purchase a new bottle of oil. I needed an escape. The trip to KS/AL/GA was much the same. I was so impacted from meeting my friend that my mind was in the clouds for the following days. I desperately needed oil then. I needed to be brought back to the real world.

I can’t tell you what has happened from then till now, but I realized that I wasn’t invested in anything other than my own projects and matters. That’s so wack. I build this whole thing based on the happiness and importance of others, so I can’t give up on them.

We will run into many monsters, but our blessings outnumber them. I was reminded last month that I have a place to live, food to eat, friends who love me, family who would go to the end of the earth for me. I have so many things. Honestly, I have everything that I could need. I take that for granted so frequently, all these hot spots that I can pull oil from.

So I sunk my teeth in. I wedged myself into those blessings and remembered.

How we smell is important, but it isn’t everything. Oil won’t always sustain us, but it will cover up our foul scent until we can manage to get things under control.

Don’t worry if your bottle is empty, I’m sure that you can wash your broken heart and your various hurts inside the pools of others. Don’t hide your stains. Let them show. Don’t cover them with oils and fragrances. Wounds smell so terrible so that we will attend to them and clean them. Not so that we can cover them up.

If your oil bottle is empty today, toss it out, find a new one if you need, but don’t use it as a mask to cover the hurt you might be feeling. Get somewhere to think and figure out the next step. Find bandages in friendship, find cleaning solution in your job or your hobbies, find what you need to heal…

And scrub the layers of sandalwood from your skin.

Make sure to keep your eyes on www.linmtba.com + my social media profiles to see all the cool shit I’m gonna be giving you for my birthday.

Raising Curtain

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This week is the second week of my YouTube Channel’s life (sorta.) and if you really wanna have a good time, go check out the videos that I’m uploading tomorrow and Sunday! For schedules on my blog/video release schedule you can check out my website and be directed appropriately to those places + then you’ll never have to miss a video again!

It’s no secret that I like secrets. With the ciphers and codes I have built into my writing and business, I enjoy the element of mystery. It’s something remarkable to me when I am reading through a book or playing a game and I find a secret language or a message hidden in the pages or somewhere on the screen. I find a kind of thrill in it that I can’t describe. Like I once again managed to embrace that child like fascination with the world and I suddenly become a spy decoding some kind of message that could potentially save the world.

Of course, few of us ever truly reach that position in the real world. We are accountants and bankers, authors and mechanics. We manage apartment complexes and there is rarely complexity in our lives so we must substitute our own to fulfill some kind of rampant desire to understand more than we do.

It’s honorable, sure.

That’s what I’m talking to you about today. The concept of hiding things or disguising things in our own lives.

Often I hear from friends and family that they don’t understand other people. A while back I was having a conversation with my roommates and we were talking about human nature. How we don’t know what someone else is capable of ever, regardless of the situation we can never put a pin in someone elses motives. Why is that do you think?

I think I can justify it by using the secreat agent mentality. That we want so badly to understand and to seek, that internally we have a craving to crack codes and uncover things because of the rush it gives us. So in light of that, we spin this intricate web for ourselves behind the scenes and don’t reveal how it crosses over. We hold opinions that we don’t explain and we sit in the middle of these spider-like webs hoping (at least, I can only assume we are hoping) for someone else to come along and unravel the mess.

Why are we like that? I can’t tell you outright. As always with the blog it has to do with my own opinions and ideas, when it comes to this topic I just don’t understand it.

Why is it that we want to disguise our motives and ideas behind veils and curtains so that the people around us can’t understand what we are really up to? I am just as guilty as many others of this. I frequently keep things hidden up till the last minute in the hopes that someone will dig up what I’m doing, and then when someone does I get pissy and throw a fit because they are “in my business.”

What it boils down to is that we as a society have built a complex map of how things should be. We have polarized so many things and put people we respect in high seats, then in an attempt to understand them we dig through miles of spider silk in an effort to figure out their brain patterns. Perhaps for the thrill of the chase, perhaps for something more complicated. That’s just it though.

I did it there myself, Instead of looking at things as they are I assumed that there was a mor complicated motive behind our own actions, mine included. We have this intricate mind that can do more than we even comprehend and we want to understand that thing.

In our personal interactions we strive to leave some mystery in them, which leads to plenty of confusing and complicated situations. A friend of mine was involved with this guy once who was rather needy, wanting to see her frequently and spend time with her which I totally support. However he was angry when she told him she didn’t want to make a big deal out of their relationship. Also understandable. From the outside I heard one half of the story and it boiled down to this: One party wanted to remain as they were at that time while the other wanted to officially date this girl and make it public. There could be a host of things behind the root cause of their problem, jealousy, insecurity or whatever else, but as I heard the story I considered how much easier it would have been if both parties had just been upfront from the get go. They had spoken on their feelings a few times and it seemed to get better from that point, but not really, not from the outside looking in and from the messages I got from my friend, it wasn’t that great on the inside either. One or both of them were concealing something from the other. A motive, a reason, an assumption, the whole truth wasn’t being shared between them which ended up making the two conflict.

So we know the problem in our personal and professional lives. Your boss wants you to do something but won’t tell you why, your girlfriend expects you to behave a certain way but won’t tell you why, your children want you to believe something but won’t tell you why. So that leaves us at one simple conclusion.

We must stop acting as if we are spies. We have to consider the fact that others don’t know how to solve our puzzles. That people are not inherently built for the constant logical Olympics we as a race have decided to put one another through. We were meant to look at things face to face and understand them as they appear to us. Years ago there was less of the trickery and misdirection. I think that is something we as the youth can examine and look at within our own lives.

Is someone mad at you today and you can’t understand why they are mad?

Did you find yourself frustrated with someone else who just won’t apologize for what they did?

If so, consider what I’ve said in this piece of writing. I think there is a maddeningly easy cure for these simple problems.

Communication.

We have to talk to one another again. I mean really talk to one another, and listen in return. We were given two ears and one mouth, so that means we were meant to listen more than talk. When someone is mad, confront them peacefully and ask them what you did, or what is wrong. If they choose not to tell you then there isn’t much else you can do. If you are on the opposite end of things and are holding a grudge in your web, if someone approaches you and asks what is so frustrating or saddening, tell them. Sit down with them and pull the curtain back. I know you worked hard on your intricate web of thought, I have too. That doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated after it has been seen. More often than not we appreciate things so much more when we truly understand them. So seek to shed the curtain and end the show. Don’t let yourself put on an act anymore. Be honest with people. I bet that they will admire the work you’ve put into your own thoughts and motives. Then, when they are done with you, you can observe them in return. When two parties understand one another, they don’t have to agree or support each other’s choices, but it makes things a whole lot better for living in harmony. I don’t know about you guys, but I think we need more harmony right now. Things can get messy in our melodies, we need something to balance that out. So we should tell people about that. We should ask and we should first seek to understand our own motives before we try to break codes and decipher messages in order to understand someone else.

If you enjoyed this, come back next Friday for “Where Is Everybody?” about aliens, and human silliness. If you want more of GME, tomorrow I’ll be posting a recap of this week’s blog posts (poem + blog post itself.) in my vlog over on Dyzygy! It’s the start of a super rad journey and I’m so damn excited to start it with you all. I wanted a way to let off some steam and to be honest, a way to have an excuse to play video games. (oops.) So I’ll see you there tomorrow!

If you want to put more words into your eye places, you can buy my book “Mean Shadows” now! It’s available signed on my website or if you’d rather, you can order a blank copy from Amazon!

If you guys still want more from me (I’m humbled.) you can follow me on Twitter + Facebook for updates on this blog, YouTube, and my novels/poetry as well as anything else I might have up my sleeve at the time! I’ll see you on the other side, my friends.