You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
So this past weekend, the Alfar nuclear family (plus Dean's stepbrother Ricky) went to the beach--an event which anyone close to us can tell you occurs with slightly less frequency than the Olympics. Generally, you cannot expect Dean
or me to voluntarily depart the Makati-Ortigas-Quezon City environs without, at the very least, the promise of an inventively-stocked bookstore.
This was slightly less than voluntary, being Dean's summer office outing. (It really doesn't contribute to company morale if the boss skips out...) Nevertheless, we managed to have fun, since (a) it was an extremely well-organized expedition, and (b) it was only Sage's
second trip to the beach in her (admittedly short) lifetime. So, among other activities, we made sandcastles on the shore and went scouting for marine life among the shallows.
Particularly prevalent in those clear waters were starfish; and I was showing Sage how to find them and pick them up when I delightedly spotted a specimen that was, instead of the usual five-pointed star shape, more like a ten-pointed asterisk. I plucked it up out of the surf... only to discover that it was not, in fact, a
starfish, but rather, a pair
of starfish busily engaged in creating baby starfish. (Which, to my credit, is exactly the way I explained it to my daughter.)
In the wake of this realization, a cursory survey of the surrounding waters revealed that it is, indeed, the Season of Nooky for lucky or presumably more attractive starfish; with a few less-popular individuals splayed out alone on the sand, perhaps waiting for the phone to ring. Among these solo acts was a singular, strange starfish that had apparently been born sans
one arm, forming a cross or X shape rather than the standard star.
I plucked this one out of the shallows and presented it to Dean, Sage, and Sage's Uncle Ricky. "Look," I showed them. "This one is a mutant. It's abnormal."
"No," Ricky, who is gay, said with great aplomb. "It is not
When I'm wrong, I'm really wrong.
bit in at 1:07 PM ::
Monday, April 25, 2005
This is the second See-ree-yous Entry I've posted in a row! It must be stopped. Following this, I promise we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.
“On occasion,” as Mark Twain once said, “I have been accused of literature.” It has even been said--these are not my
words, mind you--that “Nikki Alfar continues to explore gender issues.”
I never set out on a quest of gender-issue-exploration, though of course I’m aware that I tend to write ‘strong female characters’, as they’ve often been described. I don’t know about the word “strong”, myself--certainly I’ve written characters that are flawed, even some that are victims. So perhaps a better term would be ‘multidimensional female characters’: women who are more than just ‘the love interest’, ‘the ingenue’, ‘the mother figure’, or ‘the femme fatale’. Among our little creative group, I’ve become sort of the watchdog for the treatment and depiction of women in writing.
“But that’s the way women are seen in Filipino society,” some have responded to my watchdogging efforts. “I’m showing the current reality; so if women are marginalized in my fiction, it’s only because that’s the way it is.”
This is such an ‘excellent’ line of reasoning that if Jose Rizal had followed it, he would have depicted Filipinos as lazy and stupid; because, well, that’s how they were seen in what was then the current reality, wasn’t it?
My point is that art has power. When we present a creation--be it fiction, poetry, film, music, sculpture, painting, comics, or what-have-you--for public consumption, we are proliferating not just craft, but ideas. However limited or widespread our actual reach may be, we, as creators, have some small power to either cement or challenge notions and viewpoints in the minds of our audience. Therefore we have a responsibility to consider not just the text, but the subtext of what we create and disseminate.
This is not to say that we are constrained to depict nothing but an idealized society in which all members are created and treated as equals--definitely not! The problem lies not in showing the ugly side of human existence, but in appearing--whether by intent or accident--to accept it; even to celebrate it.
In our very meager way, we are creators. We are neither gods nor monsters, but we are capable of spawning them. Is it so much to ask ourselves to err on the side of godhood?
bit in at 1:38 PM ::
Friday, April 22, 2005
I am so offended by this
that I can barely speak. If you are a woman or happen to know a woman, click the link and read it now
Every now and then, someone asks me if I'm a feminist. I say "yes", and they look at me with wary validation, a sort of combined "I thought so" and "Gee, she's one of those
; must watch out".
Personally, I fail to understand how any woman can not
be a feminist. Listen: it doesn't automatically mean that you hate men, that you are politically radioactive, perenially angry, or eternally suffering the angst of gender victimization. What it basically means is that you believe in every person's right to be recognized and treated as a sentient individual, with individual strengths and weaknesses.
Some woman are physically formidable, some are not. Some women drive abysmally, some superbly. Some are emotionally fragile, some are rocks you could dash yourself upon before they break. And the same goes for men, to a greater or lesser degree. We are all unique people; and assuming that a woman is, by default, "sweet" and "tender" is as offensive as assuming that every black man is a criminal, or that every Asian is 'inscrutable'.
Feminism is simply the formalized idea that roughly half the population deserves the same rights and respect as the other half. It has nothing to do
with having doors held open for you or chairs pulled back for you to sit down on; it has everything to do with combating the notion that your intrinsic worth rests solely upon your ability to please, nurture, and give birth.
Why is this still so revolutionary? Why, to this day, do we have an actual woman
spouting off lines like "Man is the genius. Woman, an angel"; "Man has supremacy. Woman, the preference"; "Man is strong because of reason. Woman is invincible because of tears"; and "Man is the conqueror of nations. Woman, the conqueror of kings' hearts and emperors' souls"?! Why do we continue to define men by what they accomplish, and women by what they facilitate?
Listen. I am (apart from this) a very happy wife and mother. And yes, I nurture and support my husband; and I am very much aware that we each--partially as a consequence of gender--contribute different things to our household and relationship. The majority of my friends are men, and we get along quite happily--notwithstanding their occasional lapses into societally-ingrained sexism--and I adore every testosterone-driven one of them.
None of this prevents me from being a feminist: from having "supremacy" as well as "preference"; from choosing "reason" over "tears"; from being a "genius" instead of an "angel" if I damn well decide to be. Because the whole point we feminists are getting at in "the eternal debate over gender" is not that men and women are the same; it is that we are equal
. We are individuals--different in many ways, yet equivalent in the fundamental fact of our humanity and right to self-determination. Regardless of chromosomes, we deserve the freedom to choose who, what, and how we want to be. Before we are men, women, wives, husbands, parents, children, geniuses, or angels, we are persons.
And if we female persons cannot grasp and uphold that simple, simple concept, then fuck it all, who will?
bit in at 2:35 PM ::
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
People seem to think it's Very Odd that I was a flight attendant once upon a time. ("I always think of you as the brainy type," Amie
said.) I'm not quite sure whether I should be flattered or insulted.
While I maintain my position that most of the people I had to work with during that period had IQs in the high double-digits at best, I feel a responsibility to point out that I did
learn a few things of value in my short-lived airline career, such as:
1. how to evacuate an aircraft in three minutes or less
I used to wonder what made three minutes a magic number for everything from emergency evacuation to fast food service. Observation under actual circumstances (the two evacuations I experienced) led me to conclude that three minutes is about the maximum time you can expect people to actually listen
to you before they start getting restless, and therefore attempting to do something independent and stupid--like trying to go back for their pasalubong
from Goldilocks. It really says something about the Goldilocks brand strength that passengers would risk immolation or suffocation in the hope of rescuing their mamon
. It's not even as good as it used to be...
2. how to apply or repair makeup while moving or in cramped spaces, with only minimal assistance from the nearest handy reflective surface
Strangely, Caucasian flight attendants seem not to have learned this particular skill (Have you seen
how some of those ladies look after eight hours?), but Asian FAs are masters at reapplying eyeliner, tweezing stray eyebrow hairs, or smoothing coiffures even in the midst of turbulence, without consulting a mirror. To this day, I can make myself up for a formal event in the condominium elevator, finishing up the last touches en route in a moving car.
3. how to smile and serve coffee with aplomb when you know damn well that the landing gear refuses to deploy and the plane is running out of fuel
Show me a former flight attendant with a tendency to panic and I'll show you someone who got fired. We weren't even allowed to cross ourselves if we knew something was wrong--when you're miles above ground in a flying tin can, you just have to assume that God is close enough to see what's going on, without your imploring him to do something about it.
4. how to deal with people who are mentally or emotionally overwrought, particularly in a crisis situation
On certain occasions, a good shove onto the emergency slide beats psychotherapy hands-down.
5. how to not rescue someone from a crash landing at sea
When you take your swimming lessons in training, they don't teach you to swim with speed or strength; they teach you endurance, because the assumption is that you may have to keep yourself afloat for some time before rescue arrives. They also teach you how to rescue people, but not without the admonition that drowners tend to flail and even fight--meaning that they could hit you in the course of your well-meaning attempts, meaning that if you get knocked unconscious, you'll probably both die. Which is why I resolved early on that, if I ever found myself in a position to rescue some drowning stranger, I would swim slowly, weakly, yet enduringly away.
6. how to perform artificial respiration, CPR, the Heimlich manuever, and other first aid techniques
Also, how to holler "Hey, hey, are you okay?" at people who are manifestly conscious, able to speak, and looking at you as if you have gone insane. Which probably you have, from having had to practice such things repeatedly on the same dummy that every other first-aider in the country has undoubtedly used.
7. how to deal with butt-pinchers and other sorts of lechers
Luckily, my immediate supervisor was female and the coolest boss of all time, who had this advice to give: "The first time they try something, stop whatever you're doing, look at them sternly but politely, and say something to the effect of 'Sir, please don't do that. I am not part of the meal service on this flight.' The second time they try something, feel free to slam them over the head with your meal tray."
You can see that my early experiences as a flight attendant actually contributed significantly to my current philosophies and demeanor. So, y'know, for a brainless job, it actually taught me a lot. I should really start carrying a tray around with me again...
bit in at 4:27 PM ::
Thursday, April 14, 2005
After hard drive crashes and myriad other technological catastrophes, I've lost a hell of a lot of writing over the past few years. Yesterday, though, Dean
managed to unearth some of my old stuff (The earliest of which was written over ten years ago!), which had me alternately cringing and snickering over the musings of my past self.
The good news is, I think I've improved over time, thank God. The bad news is, evidently I used to be this prattling little windbag with delusions of grandeur.
Anyway, the poem below was originally written for Jason
, who at the time was engaged in promoting his self-created poetry form, the Binary Tree. This sample is actually not too
badly-done, considering the stringency of the form.
At least, it's one of the few of the archival materials that I can actually read without asphyxiating from either amusement or embarrassment. Hot damn, it's good to be 32!
by Nikki Alfar
It's only love--don't hold your breath.
You win sometimes, or someone dies; it's only love.
Don't hold your breath: it's no big revelation.
It's only love--you win sometimes, or someone dies.
Ignore the tears that fill my eyes; it's only love.
You win sometimes, or someone dies: it's just the damn pollution.
Don't hold your breath. It's no big revelation--
one person's truth, another's lies; don't hold your breath.
It's no big revelation: love is no solution.
Ignore the tears that fill my eyes--it's just the damn pollution.
One person's truth; another's lies: love is no solution.
bit in at 4:03 PM ::
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I went around trimming the blog of dead links today. If you happen to not be a 'dead link', yet I've mistakenly eradicated you from the list, please give me a holler and I'll gladly reinstate you.
bit in at 10:27 AM ::
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
and I went on a furniture spending spree, picking out a bookshelf, a vanity shelf, a new closet, and a bed. (We’ve never actually had a bed before, having slept on a mattress for years. This mattress concept was all cool and bohemian until we actually hit our thirties. Sadly, springing to vertical from ground level is no longer as effortless as it once was.)
This splurge was a result of the windfall I received from my work for two SM annual reports. As per our agreement, one-third of everything I earn goes to the shared household budget (Dean contributes considerably more, bless his gallant husbandly soul), so we went and splurged a good chunk of it at Our Home at Megamall, selecting furnishings somewhat whimsically named Griff, Hendrick, and Fontie.
This completed the following rather dismaying financial ouroborous: SM gives me money; I give it to the family; we give it back to SM, which happens to own and operate not only Our Home, but one of my favorite money sinks, Watson’s. Aaand… sometime in the next few weeks, I will begin another SM project, for which I will eventually get paid, at which point I will probably wind up spending at least part of the money at SM.
It’s really all the same funds that keep going round and round--with no one, apparently, actually getting to keep the cash. Luckily, somewhere along the way I get furniture.
bit in at 9:31 PM ::
Monday, April 11, 2005
I actually promised Andrew
this revamp over a month ago, but to rather horrendously paraphrase Gloria Estefan, "the work got in the waaay..."
Anyway, if you ask me, the finished product is a tad sedate to properly express Drew's personality, but he seems to like it. What happened was that I found this kickass Buddha image online, and it pretty much dictated the rest of the design. Which is a little tyrannical for a supposedly serene sort of god-figure; but then we all know I have contentious relations at best with Divinity.The Brass Buddha Machine
features what I like to call 'the peekaboo game'--wherein you can play hide-'n'-seek with the title by scrolling up and down; you can also play 'hide-the-buddha/show-the-buddha' by scrolling from side to side in the 800x600 setting. (Probably this is why Gautama got so snitty with me, because I go around using his image for inane games to entertain the easily-amused...)
I'm kind of thrilled that Dean
has finally given me permission to play with his blog design again, though it will probably take me some time to work on that one because he has a tendency to be persnickety about his layout. Well, actually, he's only about as persnickety as I am myself--it has to be very readable, with ample space for lots of text, distinctive but never distracting. Hmmm.
To those very kind people who, with regards my recent blog design work, have said, "You really can do everything, can't you?": Nope.
Can't drive. Can't speak a third language (unless you count HTML, but it's not like I speak it). Can't draw. Can't win at Monopoly. Can't play the violin. Wish I could; hopefully I'll get around to learning one of these years.
Can't play basketball. Can't think for long without cigarettes. Can't bake a cherry pie. Wouldn't if I could.
It's nice to know your limitations.
bit in at 2:11 PM ::
Thursday, April 07, 2005
I don’t really do
memes, but it’s my husband that’s askin’; and I try not to deny him anything unless it involves animals, lasting physical harm, and, um, other forms of sexual deviancy that even I
am not comfortable discussing… and you know
I’ll talk about practically anything. This qualifies as none of the above, so here we go:What book do you have at your bedside?
the 2004 Delivery Pages
, because my nightstand is also the phone table. Whatever book I happen to be reading doesn’t so much stay at my bedside as migrate around the apartment with me--to the dining table, the living room couch, and of course, the bathroom. I have to stomp around like an aggrieved moose hunting for it if I’ve left it lying about.You’re stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book do you want to be?Fahrenheit 451
, in hopes of creating a paradox effect that would blow the entire book-burning reality asunderHave you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
Aside from characters in role-playing games, you mean? Lots, though right now I can’t name anyone specific other than John Constantine. (I mean the comic book version, not
Keanu! Philistines.)What is the last book you bought?Code Noir
by Marianne de Pierres, a sci-fi espionage thriller that, sadly, looked more thrilling than it readWhat are you currently reading?Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends
by Lewis Spence and A Short History of Nearly Everything
by Bill Bryson. The former is for long-haul reading, while the latter is for sneaking in between moments when I should really be doing something else.What are the five books you would take to a deserted island?
1. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook
by Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht. I actually own this how-to manual on starting a fire without matches, fending off a shark, performing a tracheotomy, landing a plane, etc.--so I’d feel pretty crappy if I wound up stranded on an island without it!
2. The Lord of the Rings
, which is my favorite book, and which--may I say for the umpteenth repetition--is not a set of three books, but a single novel divided into six parts. I have read it with satisfaction sixteen zillion times, so a zillion or two more shouldn’t hurt.
3. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
, which I stole from my ex-boyfriend’s house when I was 18. It was more like ‘rescuing’ than stealing, really, because the poor thing was gathering dust on its un-creased virgin spine in that house of book-buyers-not-really-readers. It has some of the best stories in the world and is so thick that by the time I’m done with the first reading, I’ll be just about ready for the next. Can also double as a weapon, in case it happens to be a Lost
-type scenario with a big white monster thingie on the prowl.
4. a comprehensive book of Filipino myths. It’s sad that I know all sorts of junk about myths from various cultures, but very little about my own--unless you count the obligatory Malakas at Maganda
. The reason is that I have yet to find a collection that is written both entertainingly and intelligently. Being stuck on an island would force me to learn the mythos, however uninspiringly crafted.
5. The aforementioned A Short History of Nearly Everything
, because assuming I’m stuck on the island long enough, I’ll end up memorizing the whole thing and will therefore be the most educated person in my island neighborhood. I’m sure the crabs and barnacles will be suitably impressed.Who will you pass this quiz to?
You! If you wanna do it, do it. Just be warned that if the words ‘Sidney’ and ‘Sheldon’ appear side by side anywhere in your list of answers, you will be laaaughed at, most loudly by me.
bit in at 11:30 PM ::
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
This was inspired by Rei's
, of similar nature.
Although I've lived in Manila for all but four years of my life, I speak atrocious Tagalog (or Filipino, as we are now supposed to call it). Seriously, I can barely converse for more than two minutes without floundering for the right word, and attempting to read in the language involves a sort of mental gymnastics as I struggle to translate into English--more often than not missing the nuances of the writing in my battle with the literal meaning of it.
No one actually spoke to me in Tagalog until I was around nine years old. I kid you not. My mom was a U.S. Army brat who grew up all over the States and to this day speaks worse Filipino than me. ("Kananan
!" she used to yell at taxi drivers, mangling the word for 'right' as she pointed insistently to the left.) My dad is from Cagayan and speaks only Ilocano and English; and my grand-aunt, who lived with my family till I was twentysomething, spoke Spanish, English, and something known as Ibanag. So the only way everyone could understand each other in my household was to speak English--even our helpers were chosen based on their level of fluency in the language.
Because my mom worked for the U.S. Navy, my brothers and I even started our early school years in the American school at JUSMAG in Quezon City. We were so ignorant of the local tongue that one day, as we were all playing with the neighbor kids in our backyard, my older brother spotted a snake and was literally tongue-tied, trying to remember the Tagalog word for the damn thing. He actually stood right in front of the snake for several moments, thinking: 'Awit
?' before finally giving up and yelling: "Snake!
" as he hightailed it for safety.
Unlike people in Hong Kong, Japan, or, notoriously, France, Filipinos will speak to you in English if you address them in that language. Possibly it's an aspect of our hospitality tradition, but regardless of their actual proficiency in English, Filipinos will struggle manfully or womanfully along with the tongue in order to save you from having to struggle in our
tongue. They will think it's cute when you mispronounce words, and will even forgive you for singing their national anthem with the ludicrous lyrics 'Lupang Hinarang
'. ('Blocked land', as opposed to the more proper 'Lupang Hinirang
' or 'revered land'.)
I was so spoiled by this that I actually flunked Filipino in high school the year that we studied the Filipino classic Noli me Tangere
. In my defense, I had just returned from two years of high school in Alabama, and was occupied with trying to eradicate my acquired Southern accent, aside from trying to relearn my limited knowledge of the language. Besides, Noli
was a stupid, boring book--or so I thought until I finally read the English translation, and discovered that it was actually a pretty damn good read.
It makes me wonder how many other things I miss all the time, having been "brung up wrawng", as they would say in Alabama. Going to U.P. for college significantly improved my facility in Tagalog, but from time to time I still need to have the occasional joke explained to me, or to be told that the song title Tanging Yaman
means 'only treasure', not 'stupid treasure'. (Thanks again, Ron
At least, unlike one of my old AmBoy friends, I know that the plural for pakwan
(watermelon) is not, in fact, 'pak-two'.
bit in at 2:19 PM ::
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Not that this state of affairs is all that
unusual, mind you, because (a) Dean
is prone to accomplishing various extraordinary feats--such as winning seven Don Carlos Palanca Awards for Literature and owning two reasonably successful businesses without the benefit of a college degree; and (b) I'm really so in love with the man that I tend to think he's being superlative even when he's doing something incredibly mundane, like snoring.
So, I'm not the most objective person around. But I'm fairly certain he's done something quite applause-worthy this time, namely getting yet another short story published in yet another U.S. anthology. (The first being "L'Aquilone du Estrellas", in The 17th Year's Best Fantasy and Horror
, last year. It was originally published online at Strange Horizons
.) This one is called "Terminos", and will see publication in this year's Rabid Transit
Read Dean's (overly humble) account
at his blog
bit in at 7:24 PM ::
Monday, April 04, 2005
Octave law is held to be the basis for the significance of the numbers seven and eight throughout mystical doctrine, philosophical thinking, folkloric belief, and natural phenomena. Among others, Pythagoras’s “music of the spheres”—the idea that the universe obeys a specific pattern—is based on octave law. The Chinese I Ching has eight basic trigrams, and Buddhists are enjoined to follow an eight-fold path. As defined on periodic tables everywhere, chemical elements fall into eight types or “families”. DNA-RNA dialogue is known to be transmitted by 64—or 8x8—cordons, and similarly, the ancient game of chess is played on an 8x8-square grid. There are seven colors in the rainbow, with white—the so-called “unity of colors”— considered to be the eighth. The list of examples goes on.
The word ‘octave’ itself is derived from Latin, meaning “the eighth”—although octave law itself is as much about the number seven. At its simplest level, octave law basically posits that everything in existence is built on a structure of seven distinct parts, with the eighth part being a reiteration or variation of the first part. This is most clearly expressed in terms of music: in your basic diatonic scale, there are seven notes—do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti—with the eighth note, another do, completing the octave and functioning as both the last part of this first scale and the first part of the next. The eighth note doubles the frequency of the first note, thus echoing the prior scale while subtly altering the tone of the next.
In other words, once you get past the first seven notes, it’s all fundamentally the same music. Or, as Hermes Trismegistus is reputed to have expressed it in his Emerald Tablet
: “That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of the one thing.”
Of course, inherent in the concept is that while all these progressions of eight are essentially the same, they are also significantly differentiated as you either ascend or descend a given series of octaves. As is said in Meditations on the Tarot
: “Since at the root of the diversity of phenomena their unity is found—in such a way that they are at one and the same time different and one—they are neither identical nor heterogeneous, but are analogous in so far as they manifest their essential kinship.”
This is taken to apply to everything from planetary orbits to the intrinsic nature of Man. At one point or another, under various names, Egyptians, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, and Christians have all enumerated the seven “principles of Man” as follows:
1. physical body
2. vital force
3. astral body (the etheric duplicate of the body, a sort of template or blueprint)
4. animal soul (passion or emotion)
5. human soul (intellect or will)
6. spiritual soul
7. universal spirit
Some cultures see these as stages through which every individual must progress in order to achieve perfection, which of course is perceived as the eighth and integrating principle.
No, I have not abandoned my customary cynicism for New Age (or in this case, Old Age, really) mysticism. The preceding 'treatisette' is actually the result of some research I did for the role-playing game I'm in under Dean. Which means that only K8, Alex, and Dean himself will understand the relevance of the topic, but I figured it was interesting enough to share with y'all anyway.
bit in at 10:58 AM ::
Friday, April 01, 2005
I'm starting to feel like Cinderella, particularly with regards the song those anthropomorphic mice sing in the Disney cartoon:
"Every time she gets a minute, that's the time when they begin it: 'Cinderelly!' 'Cinderelly!'
Honestly, I keep thinking that my work docket is finally about to clear up, but then another couple of projects come rolling down the pipe. I must remember that I actually chose copywriting as an infinitely preferable alternative to my previous occupations. After all, at one point or another, I have been (among other things):
> a radio newscaster, which was actually lots of fun, but paid peanuts (sometimes literally, when sponsors would give products to the station);
> a flight attendant, which was nowhere near as glamorous as I'd been led to believe, and had me spending days on end with attractive co-workers who unfortunately were the mental equivalent of peanuts;
> a bank manager, which I thought was going to turn me into a high-powered, suit-wearing, go-getting corporate type, but in reality involved hours of brain-and-butt-numbing boredom sitting in the bank and wishing someone would come and rob it just to break the monotony; and
> an administrative officer, which was actually kind of fun for a while because I liked my co-workers at the design firm I worked with, but I ended up helping out so much with the creative side that they finally just made me a copywriter.
Which is how I ended up doing what I do for a living. Mostly I'm glad to actually use my brain on a daily basis, but lately my brain has been wrung out and strung out from the unending inundation of projects. It kind of makes me miss the days when I was writing porn comics... a few "ooh oohs" and "aah aahs" written down, and I'd get paid $50 a page.
Clearly, virtue does not pay.
bit in at 4:52 PM ::