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Filled from crown to toe-top full of direst cruelty.

So the nine-year-old saw a neat little card at Movie Madness that had a cartoon of donkey-headed Bottom in a referee’s shirt and a list of ye olde First Folio titles and some dates, and it was for something called OPS, which apparently stands for Original Practice Shakespeare, and you can go read about that later because the important thing right now is she saw the item in re: the Gentlewomen’s show, a Macbeth played entirely by a cast of women and non-binary actors, and said I want to go see that, so we did, up on Mt. Tabor on a cool August night that was lovely until the fog rolled in and then the rain with Birnam Wood but still, I mean, the Scottish play, so anyway, that’s how the nine-year-old’s first Shakespeare was Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth; the Macbeths.
Duncan and Lady Macbeth.
Macbeth soliloquizes.
The Macbeths.
Macbeth and Seyton.
Me and Her.
Grass.

A gifted mimic, he nonetheless eschew[ed] regional accents for comic effect.

They’re waxing utopian, over at mastodon, and who wouldn’t really, nowhere to go but up, but somebody went and posted a link to a ca. 2003 Dave Winer pæan to the power of the link, and while it’s perfectly inoffensive and utterly unfalse, still: one wishes for a sour snap, a bite, something not so blandly self-congratulatory as a dig at the New York Times (even then). If we’re reaching back fifteen, seventeen years, why not go for someone with panache, like—

—and here I admit I googled, because one does like to be sure, and I was right, about the spelling, but what caught my breath was the past tense in the little Wikipedia preview over to the side, there—

Dean Cameron Allen was a Canadian typographer, web developer and early blogger—

Back in January. —I’m just hearing about it now because we live in the future, where we are all wired together and interconnected and no news of any import escapes our sight.

Everything here and at the city runs on Textpattern, which he began, but it’s no exaggeration to say that every time I think about how to write on the web, and how to present that writing on the web, I think with Dean Allen; I think my way through what I picked up from how he went about what he did, clean and simple and rigorous; a way of being online that was what I wanted to be when I grew up. (Even down to such fine points as the use of en-dashes in the flow of the story over there, rather than the usual em.)

People who knew him better have said better things about him, and the Globe and Mail’s obituary was achingly personal, but maybe it’s best to let him have the last word.

Burned all my pronouns, what good are pronouns.

I mean, I’ve written about pronouns, like, fourteen years ago pronouns, and while I wince and cringe today at the patronizing tone I took then (forgive me, I was old), the basic stance is one I still take firmly: any system with two gender-poles requires at a minimum five genders of pronouns to operate with any dignity or grace. —That said, and the reason I bring this up now, now that pronouns and their various uses have progressed so far that bios should list them and badges should ribbon them and a third-rate Jungian washout can achieve international fame by refusing to honor them, now that we’ve come so much further than anyone might’ve thought possible fourteen years ago, the reason I bring it up is because when I go to take a step I wholly support everyone else in taking, to suggest or insist upon their preferred or actual pronouns—I find I can’t, and it’s for an entirely irrational reason that only applies to me, and yet, but still: I’d be telling you how to talk about me when I’m not there. —Which seems (to me! only for me!) inescapably, well. Rude. (To me! For me! You, you’re all fine! All of you! And beautiful!)

#walkingaway

“Embrace the #walkaway movement, this is a sign that the American people still believe in healthy debate.” “When actor James Woods tweeted out the hashtag ‘#walkaway’ in late June, even the alt-right missed the enormity of what lay beneath it.” “I am kicking off the #walkaway campaign by releasing my video about why I am walking away from liberalism and the Democratic party.” “The #walkaway movement that began with a popular Facebbook video featuring a gay hairdresser in New York City explaining why he was leaving the Democratic Party has quickly morphed into a major force on social media and beyond.” “Are people really leaving the Democratic Party in droves this week? If the #walkaway movement is to be believed, yes.” “Democrats aren’t converting to the right wing in droves. But #walkaway doesn’t have to be true to go viral.” “Russian bots are back: #walkaway attack on Democrats is a likely Kremlin operation.” “Democrats want you to think the “#walkaway campaign is a right-wing propaganda effort propped up by a legion of Russian bots, but don’t you believe it.”

Ha ha, remember #walkaway? No? Yeah, well, it was back in July, which is epochs ago in this superfast zipsquealed political age: painfully obvious #yourslipisshowing sockpuppets with stock photo avatars all posting Manchurian confessionals about how they didn’t leave the Democrat party, nope, the Democrats done left them. Worth a slow blink, maybe, and then you block the puppets and move on, and nothing ever really came of it, beyond the slow small grinding of the friction of dealing with bullshit that wears away at all of us more and more, but everything’s moving so fast these days. Who has time to worry about that. —Anyway, it’s long since over and done. I don’t even think it’s still making much noise over to Twitter, but I’m not gonna bother to go find out.

I walked away from Twitter 36 hours ago.

I joined pretty much ten years ago, exactly: the Kid was fixing to come into the world, and enough people we knew were already on it that it seemed like a good idea, even if it didn’t seem like a good idea. Microblogging. I mean really. We have blogs and RSS and Google Reader, who needs microblogging?

185,409 tweets later.

And I got a lot out of it: some (hopefully) lifelong friendships, some wonderful opportunities, some kind words, a lot of stupidly hilarious jokes. I had some fun with the form.

—But lately I’ve been tweeting less; I’ve even been retweeting less; mostly what I’ve been doing is reading or seeing some frictious slop of doltish hateful terrible bullshit, and blinking, or sighing, or biting my tongue, and setting about reporting and blocking accounts by the handful, the dozen, the hundreds. —Every now and then a report would come back, something had been done to this one account, or that, but never really what, or why, and anyway who has time for followup, there’s more, even more, far more.

This is not a healthy relationship. —I mean, it’s more rewarding than CandyCrush, but so’s breathing.

Content that appears to violate Twitter’s rules appears over and over again in the hundreds of hours of video available on the accounts that Jones and InfoWars maintain on Twitter and Periscope, a livestreaming video service that Twitter owns. Jones has repeatedly degraded individuals of the Muslim faith. He has attacked people on the basis of gender identity. And he has engaged in the harassment of individuals.

CNN on Wednesday morning presented Twitter with examples of such content available on both the InfoWars and Jones account. A spokesperson at the time said the company had no comment beyond a statement CEO Jack Dorsey made on Tuesday in which he said neither Jones or InfoWars had “violated our rules” and other previous statements by the company. When asked if Twitter would be reviewing the videos and content CNN had asked about, the spokesperson declined to answer. On Thursday afternoon, after another request for comment, a different Twitter spokesperson notified CNN that the company was reviewing the content.

After this story published, the tweets included in this article were removed from Twitter. A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that Twitter had not removed the content, and that the company was still reviewing it. The Twitter spokesperson said that either Jones or someone with access to his accounts had likely removed the tweets. A spokesperson for Jones and InfoWars did not immediately respond for comment.

And it’s not (just) that; it’s not (just) choosing Sean Hannity’s radio show as the venue to explain themselves; it’s not (just) verifying straight-up Nazis and Proud Boys and following “newsworthy” bullies like Mike Cernovich—it’s all of that, and the litany of responses from people I know and follow and admire, who have been suspended, forced to delete tweets, harassed off the site—transwomen for speaking out against TERFs, Black women for speaking out against racism, sex workers for speaking up for themselves—

I mean, fuck free speech. I know whose side I’d rather be on.

(Of course, the horrific irony is so many of those folks can’t walk away—their very lives and livelihoods depend on the opportunities and friendships such instant, easy connection makes possible, despite the ever-ratcheting grind. —So much for being on their side.)

(And yet: until we do it, we won’t do it.)

—So, I don’t know. Blogging. RSS. Mastodon, maybe. I’ve downloaded an archive of 185,409 snippets of text; when I can find a reputable service that can wrestle with Twitter’s API and win, I’ll delete them from the site itself. Burn it to the ground. Walk away.

Start over.

“Know this: I love you all.”

Definitions of distinction.

The novelette is, of course, but a narrower version of the novelatelle, and the novelttine is narrower yet; the novelccine is larger and thicker than the novelatelle, but more of a ribbon; the novelucce is wider than both by far. Noveletti, as a rule, are thin rectangles or squares of plot, while the noveleja is an elongated screw. The novelalde, like the novelccine, is a ribbon, but long, with ruffled edges, and the novelaldine is a novelalde cut into bits. The novelgnette, also called the noveliolini, is short and thick; the novelarelli is fluted; the novel alla chitarra is named for the strumming motion made to slice the theme. Novelozzi are similar to shoelaces; noveloline are ridged, but only on one side of the plot; novelerini are slender and photogenic. The noveloccheri is made without tropes, and so is hard to manipulate; the novelardella is thick and wide, similar to a thick novelccine. The novelagliati is irregular in shape and size, formed from the scraps left on the floor by other novel-shapes.

Light.

I wish I had a flashlight, said the nine-year-old, as we walked through what’s yet pre-dawn to the bus stop.

Well, actually, I said (and you must understand, I am speaking quite literally as a father, here: my well, actually is well earned): in this sort of light, this half light, a flashlight would do more harm than good: the light of it’s bright, sure, but only on what you shine it on. Everything else would be harder to see. But if you let your eyes get used to the darkness, you can see much more.

Okay, she said, but dubiously.

I mean, a flashlight would be good for focussing on something specific, I said. But it’d be so much harder to see everything else.

Look! she says. I can see my shoes now! —And she can, we can: green shoes, and blue, subtle shades that mingle in the dim light, but at least we can tell them from the grey concrete of the sidewalk, now.

They could be flashier, I said.

Flashier?

Yeah, I said. With reflective stripes? Or the ones that light up, when you step on them—

Oh, yeah! she said. —But those are no good, she said, for lock-down drills.

—Oh, I said.

—Later, at the bus stop, she climbed the ladder of the playground slide, and saw a flash of green with the sunrise, and called to me to come see it, and it was still there, sort of, mostly, limning the bellies of the clouds. —But then those clouds all lit up in that shade of magenta they say you can’t ever see in a rainbow, and the bus came, and she went off to school, and I headed off to work.

Altogether elsewhere, vast.

So! Um. Hey. You look good, you look good! All things considered. —Oh, you know, screaming a lot, goggling aghast, scrambling to cobble together the paychecks I need to make it from one to the next, that sort of thing. Anyway, I’ve been doing some stuff over at the city. Maybe take a look, next time you’re around?

Ten years of roses.

Pretty much what it says on the label: coming up on ten years ago, in August of 2006, I started posting City of Roses online with “Prolegomenon”; since then, I’ve written what the back of this envelope tells me is about 400,000 words. Two complete volumes, and just about half of a third; twenty-seven novelettes; one decade. —Those certainly are numbers.

One true only.

The occasion ought to be marked in some fashion? I’m thinking of a reading or two, though no concrete steps have been taken yet to set something up—I’ve been head down writing the most recent chapter, you see. But also because I’d like to have a new edition of the paperbacks ready, or at least the first volume, with a tightened cover design, a sleekened interior, with some minor edits here and there to correct a smattering of typos, remove an infelicitous “goddamn” or two, smooth out some inconsistencies of usage, as perhaps the leaping capitalizations of his Grace, His Grace, his grace. Mostly, though, I’d like for these books to have a new distributor, one more salubrious to libraries, and independent bookstores, one freed from Amazon’s narrowing straits. And I don’t yet have a release date firmly pegged for this new edition: the designing, the proofing, the paperwork, each take time, and, well, my head has been down.

—Time, but also money: to buy a block of unentailed ISBNs, to set things up with a new print-on-demand shop, to secure test prints and ship review copies—more numbers.

Some possible covers for volume four.

Thus, Patreon. —Patreon is my choice of crowd-funding sites to help support this independent publishing endeavor, as have chosen so many other writers and cartoonists and filmmakers and historians and pornographers and musicians and suchlike. Mine’s set up so that amounts can be pledged on a monthly basis, and I make sure to post something for patrons at least once a month—cover reveals, raw images of possible covers under consideration (like the above), deleted scenes and alternate takes, and of course copies of each novelette, before they’re available anywhere else. And it’s been of incalculable assistance already, whether it’s covering a last-minute webhosting bill, or domain registration, or groceries for a week when other checks are late—more, and far more important, than beer money, and I’m endlessly grateful to each and every patron who’s already pitching in.

You might note that I’m only a few dollars short of the current goal, which is intended to support precisely the sort of nuts-and-bolts redesign I’d like to accomplish for this anniversary. What I’d ask is maybe consider a moment helping me reach it, and reach past it, and while I don’t have much beyond the listed rewards to support this particular pledge-drive, anyone who signs up in July or August at a level to receive paper copies of the ’zines and books will receive all five volume three ’zines thus far. (And also stammering gratitude, abashed blushes, toe-lines dragged in dust, etc. etc. —I really need to do something about my marketing department.)

Now: back to the various grindstones I’ve set before my nose! Further bulletins as events warrant.

Vol. 3, In the Reign of Good Queen Dick, nos. 23 – 33.

Madeleine nabobs.

I’m told that professionals, when recording on the road, in a hotel room, away from the studio, will climb into bed and pull a blanket up over themselves, to cut down on ambient noise, I suppose; but I didn’t hear that until after, which is maybe why the audio’s not so great on my end—well, that, and my habit of speakingquiterapidlytillthemomentIsuddenly, uh—

—pause. And the swerve. —But! Jonah Sutton-Morse, proprietor of Cabbages & Kings, invited me over (in part, I believe, based on this old post) to talk about reading, and genre, and reading genre to our kids, and it was a blast: he’s a gracious and a generous host, and he keeps it moving in his finished pieces, and somehow even focussed—despite the material I gave him to work with!

So go, have a listen. —Jonah assembled a slideshow of book covers, a partial list of the titles we discussed, and it skews young, which is to be expected given our focus and purpose, but there’s another skew I wanted to note, here, at least: it’s rather almost entirely pale. —And that’s understandable, I suppose, given our purpose and our focus, and who I was and what I read when I was young, but the very fact I’m saying it’s understandable is telling enough, isn’t it? Or the itch I feel to soothingly point out that it’s a list of things I have read, not a list of recommendations to read, though I don’t not recommend them, or not all of them, anyway, and it is what it was, which is awkward, which it should be, which is useless, which leaves me, what?

(There are moves I could make. Other lists to itemize. But.)

—A footnote, though: one of the last books we talk about was one of the first that ever made an impression on me, in the way that books can, even though I only ever saw a school library copy, and then not ever again for years afterward, forgetting the title, the author, the illustrator, the names of the characters, most of the plot, but not—that thing? Whatever it is, that’s useful to us in a story, when all the rest is worn away? —Once Taran was old enough, I took those bones of a memory and went looking for the book, which it turns out is something the internet’s pretty good at.

Something Queer is Going On.

Something Queer is Going On. How (further) disappointed I am in myself, that I might’ve forgotten a title like that! —There was something of a disorienting madeleine-moment, opening the envelope, seeing a lost memory restored and reified with one rather swell foop of that vanilla-ish old-book smell, but more dizzying was opening up those worn boards (the front cover has since fallen off, and been taped) and reading it aloud, feeling the ghosts of the word-memories under what I was hearing my mouth speak, but above all having the two main characters restored: Jill, whose mother is “O.K.”, and Gwen, with her habit of tapping her braces when she’s thinking, and their friendship, which—and there’s nothing that revolutionary about it, it’s not like this was the only or first time it’d ever been done, but still: how shiveringly odd to hold in my hands the first time I’d ever so long ago met the archetypes I’d later lean on, when I started to write about Ysabel, and Jo.

What I did in the year just past.

—Well, there’s a couple days left. But! One of those hard-hitting exposés of self-publishing get-rich-quick schemes; an argument that shot itself in the foot, for which it was most assuredly aiming; I went and read some words aloud, that I had written; I entered into a (very) limited exclusivity deal with a titan of e-commerce (and cloud computing, so-called); and, of course, there were four novelettes, kicking off the third volume of City of Roses: “ – the thin ice – ”, “ – vilissima & infima – ”, “ – two sweetest passions – ”, and “ – only borders lie – ”. —What’s next? Well! The fourth novelette’s queued up to appear for free in a couple of weeks, and I think I know what body-part I’ll shoot at next. —But otherwise, I mean, it’s a leap-year, 2016. One whole extra day. Anything is possible.

Rising to fall,
or, Something-or-other.

I’ve more been working on the thing-that-argues, and not so much the argument, and you should understand whenever I make a pronouncement like that it’s with an air of selfish mockery: how could what I do ever have any regard for how I say it’s done? —As if such a thing could ever be just what I’ve thought it ought. —Anyway, thus the (relative) silence. I’d point you to some recent quotes mined hither and thither; I’d also (coyly) note that patrons have already received a rough cut off what will be no. 26, and are about to be slipped a mix of a scene that will subsequently never appear—a might-a-been, and you know how I feel about those. —You could avail yourselves, if you like. —And also, on a whim, I decided to try to scare up more readers by dangling some Kindle-bait: thus far, I’m told, four whole Kindle Edition Normalized Pages have been read! —Slowly, surely.

Welcome to the City of Roses.

Like a good neighbor…

We generally speak of the doings and goings-on among the local f--ries as we walk to the bus stop, Taran and I. It’s quite a vibrant little neighborhood, with elderly elm mansions, a great apartment complex in a towering hedge of arborvitæ, and a holly bush bank. (All holly bushes are f--ry banks, I’m told.) (One afternoon, on the way home from the bus stop, we knocked on the doors of f--ry houses and ran away, quickly; they like pranks, I was assured. We both woke up the next morning exhausted and foully tempered from restless dreams.) —Today, she was pointing out the various berries and berry-like fruit growing from this tree or that shrub: they are f--ry pumpkins, a fresh crop grown to get ready for Hallowe’en. (Strawberries, it turns out, are really perfectly sweet little f--ry pumpkins for f--ry pumpkin pies.)

We passed a holly tree, and the berries on it turning from green to red. “See?” said Taran. “More f--ry pumpkins.”

“No,” I said, “those are holly berries. You don’t want to upset the Holly King by calling his berries pumpkins.”

“No, they’re f--ry pumpkins,” said Taran. —She’s heard stories of the Holly King before, and the Oak King. They don’t impress her.

“But he is a f--ry,” I said. (I’m fudging things a bit here, granted, but one does tend to do so when one is in a hurry to catch the bus.)

“No he isn’t,” she said.

“Yes, he is,” I said. (One must be firm once one’s flag is set, you see.)

“Papa,” she said, and she held up her hand. “Look at this text I just got from the f--ries. It says he isn’t. He’s just a legend. Okay?”

Our neighbors.

A bricoleur’s dam’.

Reading the Attebery’s been interesting, and good, most especially the chapters on structure and (most especially) character, but I’m coming up on the last chapter, the one I got into it for, “Recapturing the Modern World for the Imagination,” all so I could start to get at what he had in mind when he coined “indigenous fantasy” which, I mean, well. We’ll see. —I mean, I’ve peeked; of course I peeked: the opening of the second paragraph alone:

Of all the subgenres to emerge within fantasy in recent years, the one that promises to reshape the genre most significantly is as yet unnamed, or rather no name for it has proved adequate.

Written in 1992, five years after I’d already got lost; by 1992, I’d already read Ægypt (The Solitudes, anyway) cover to cover and back again, and oh God Folk of the Air. And since then, but since then, that promise—the promise embodied by this swirling mess of indigenous fantasy (soi disant), this low fantasy, contemporary, postly modernist, magically realist, paranormally romantic, this syncretistic mulch of pulped megatexts, superheroic, supermagical, superscientifictional, these fantasies that “describe settings that seem to be real, familiar, present-day places, except that they contain the magical characters and impossible events of” say it with me now, URBAN FANTASY—what happened? What became of it? Of us? —I mean, we ate the damn world, or what we could find of it, and what good did any of it do?

But in all this, welling up out of all of this, there’s a specific refusal? rejection? repudiation? that I struggle to apprehend, much less articulate, when I turn from this model I’m building to argue with, yell at, kick against, to take up the thing that kicks, that yells, that argues? sermonizes? —There’s an abjunct, between that all-of-this, and the very specific feeling of tuning a sentence just so, of overdubbing detail, of rigging or tripping over structural rhymes, the very peculiar shiver that can obtain with just the simple repetition of a cocked and loaded phrase—map and territory, theory and praxis, forest and trees, I know, I know, but still: I’m either wrong there, or wrong here, and I know where I’d rather not be right.

—Anyway, permit me some links: just about a quarter of the next volume of praxis has appeared since June; I’m hoping the larger cycles have begun to hove into view, and you can see the shape I think it makes, might yet end up making, and that I can keep this discordant bolus soaring, not crashing in a mutter of nothing-or-other:

No. 23: the thin ice

no. 24: vilissima et infima

no. 25: two sweetest passions

Download kip manley or read online here in PDF or EPUB.

Oh, e-Books Downloads dot net, you irrepressible publishing disruptor, you! I’m chuffed at the numbers you’ve already racked up—858 downloads for The Dazzle of Day? 570 for “Wake up…”? 85 people so far have read the omnibus edition? (And how do you count the reads, anyway?) —It’s adorable, how the copyright complaint form on your website actually bothers to tell me that it fails every time I hit send; it’s hilarious that I can’t point and laugh at this over on Twitter, since apparently they think your whole domain is spammy, for some reason. (I’m highly recommending to my readers that they clear cookies and caches if they do click any of your links, by the way.) —But hey! Thanks for spreading the word!

Tune-up.

So there’s about a week left in the Future Fire‘s Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for another ten years; go, look, pledge. —I mention this not only because it’s a great little ’zine, but also because they bought a story of mine: “The Tuner,” published some little time ago. —So there’s that.

“Jagged bits of plastic spattered to the floor. Again, and again, until it broke open in a spray of colored wires and thin green beaded cards.”

Done did read.

I figured it out on the way there, the intro, which I had to mostly scrap because when I timed out what I was going to read it took eight minutes when I’d thought it was only going to be five and we only had ten, each. But if I just jumped right into it, which I did, when I first moved to Portland, twenty years ago, the first article I read in the Sunday Oregonian was a Randy Gragg column about the Moonday T-Hows, does anyone remember the Moonday T-Hows? And it’s a young crowd, so I don’t have much hope, though it is a ’zine crowd, so maybe, and there, at the back, a nod, a yes, okay. —This amazing space, built out of scrap lumber and windfall and like eighty-five dollars’ worth of supplies [ed. note: it was $65] that hosted parties and get-togethers and just hanging out being in a place stuff, community stuff, that came together and tore itself apart all in one summer and was gone before I even got here. It, seized my imagination, and when I started to write City of Roses, it couldn’t help but work its way into a story about magic in Portland, this fantasy

And I’d like to blame it on a certain blogospheric kerfluffle, I would, the deprecating shove I gave that word, “fantasy,” the irony with which I larded it, but that would be wholly unfair; I would’ve done it anyway. It’s a ’zine crowd, and of all the worlds I flit about, gadfly-fashion, comics and genre, fandom and criticism, politics and self-publishing, it’s the ’zinesters where I feel the least at home? —For all that I, y’know, make ’zines, pretty much the only necessary and sufficient condition for being considered as such—certainly far more than I do comics or fandom or criticism or anything else. —Oh but there’s more to it than that; there’s all the myriad unspoken ways and means, and beyond the staples and the xeroxing, well. —I always feel off-kilter, doggedly serious where light-fingered irony is called for; digging for sarcasm when the mood’s gone earnest, and off-kilter makes me defensive. I lard. I shove.

—this fantasy, I said—

And the thing was, this was the transition in the introduction, shifting deftly from the personal history of the thing to how it’s situated in the story, the excerpt I was going to read, which is about Luke, and Jessie, and the ghost of a memory of a teahouse, but leaning on that word, defending what it might leave open, betraying it to reach out to the audience, hey, we both know what’s what, right?

This would be why preparation and ritual are essential to any proper working, and also why you don’t whip up a bit of untested oratory half an hour before you go on.

—I botched the transition, is the thing. Got tangled up in Luke and Lake, Thursdays and Mondays, continuity hobgoblins, what-happened-last-week-on, losing the feel of it in the handful of all the facts, and tripping over my feet, as it were, in my haste to get on with it. —The reading itself went well enough; it’s got some swing to it, the excerpt I read, builds a head of steam under an adolescent tantrum, and I do all right with something like that. But I’d lost them, with the shove, and the stumble. The applause was polite.

Off the pier.

Yeah, that work I ought to be doing, the ostensible fruit of my thinking-through. —Are you up on the latest chapters? —I’ll be reading at Reading Frenzy on Thursday, from no. 25, which doesn’t go live until Sept. 14th, so there’s that. —And there’s the Patreon. I’m sure I don’t mention the Patreon often enough. Did you know there was a Patreon? —There, that should cover the next middlin’ while.