Monday, April 30, 2007

Playground Issues, Part Two

All the books warned us that, as an interracial adoptive family, we'd get lots of inappropriate questions from strangers. I just didn't realize that the most questions would come from other kids on the playground. Yesterday, as I was helping Adinah conquer a new set of monkey bars at the park, we got swarmed by a very inquisitive little fella. He was older and with some friends, and I think they intimidated Adinah's best friend Oskar, but Adinah was just agog because a bigger boy was paying attention to her, and she's in awe of anyone older than five. I tried to be polite to the kid, but I was also trying to protect Adinah, especially when he started literally getting in her face as they were climbing on the bars. I guess ten-year-olds don't always understand the concept of minding ones own business, but I may still have to learn the German for "Back off, junior."

Here's how the conversation went....

Serbian Ten-Year-Old (in German)"Is she your child?"

Me: "Yes, she's my daughter."

STYO:"Is she adopted?"

Me: "Yes, she's adopted."

STYO: "Why don't you speak German with her?"

Me: "I'm American. My German is not so good."

STYO: "You're American? Do you know Heidi Klum?"

Me: (laughing) No, I don't know Heidi Klum."

Me: "Where are you from?"

STYO: "I'm from Serbia."

STYO: "Why doesn't she speak German?"

ME: "She speaks German. Deanie, do you speak German?"

Adinah: "Yes."

STYO: "Where did she learn German? (moving closer to Adinah) Where did you learn German?"

Adinah: "From my mother."

STYO: "What's your mother tongue?"

Adinah: "German."

STYO: "What's your name?"

Adinah: "Adinah."

STYO: "Where is her real mother?"

ME: "Her real mother is my wife. Her first mother-"

STYO: "Yes, I mean her first Mother."

Me: "Her first mother is dead. You can ask her about these things...."

STYO: (moving closer to her again)"Adinah, are you sad your first mother is dead?"

Adinah: "No, because I (inaudible.)"

STYO: "What about your real father? What about [etc. etc etc.]"

Me: (climbing up on the bars next to Adinah)(in English)"Adinah, can I tell you something? Sweetie? Just because someone asks you a question, it doesn't mean you have to answer. If you don't want to answer something, you can say 'No.' "

Me: "Deanie, do you want to come down from there?"


STYO: "Adinah, do you want to play with me?"


Me: (in German, to STYO) "I think we're going to play with our other friend."

STYO: "What?"

Me: (in German) "I think we're going to play with our other friend."

STYO: (with a slightly curled lip) "I don't understand you."

STYO: "Adinah, I will give you a compliment. You are very sweet."

Adinah was pretty un-phased by the whole exchange--as Holmes was interrogating her, she was climbing higher on the monkey bars than she'd ever been.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

the old gigs

Naturally, I'm not supposed to blog about my new job, so with apologies to Bukowski's Factotum, I'd like to offer my past and future Employee Index.

Most Ridiculous Job Ever Held:
Arcade Attendant and Manager, Austin, Texas, 1983? My duties included giving change, even though there was a change machine, and scolding Scientologists for smacking around the pinball machines.

Number of Movie Theatres I worked at in Austin and San Antonio:


Number of Ice Cream Parlors I worked at:


Worst On-the-Job Injury Ever:
While working in a shopping mall taco stand, I chopped up a mess of jalapeno peppers, got the juice on my fingers, and didn't wash my hands. Ten minutes later, I put in my contact lenses.

Most Justifiably Unpaid Job Held:

Manager of a rock band. I criticized the drummer for "ting-tinging" too much.

Profession in Which I Least Excelled:


Best Exchange Witnessed Within the New York City Magazine Business:
"We should do a music feature on Stone Temple Pilots."
"Because they sound just like Pearl Jam, but they do press."

Most Shameful Resignation:
Quitting my gig as a photographer's assistant by leaving a note on his apartment door.

Most Uncharacteristic Gig for Someone who has Trouble Operating a Can Opener:

Writing about technology for Wired magazine.

Second Most Uncharacteristic Gig:
Writing about water monitoring technology for a Viennese water monitoring company.

Coolest One Day Job:
Production Assistant for a Bill Moyers TV special on the history of the song "Amazing Grace." We shot one scene in a sweltering Baptist church in a rough neighborhood in Philadelphia, and the choir who sang the song were amazing.

Dream Job, age 70:
the guy in the Godzilla suit for Godzilla Versus Glendale (in production, 2032)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Flashback #76

(This is a journal entry from almost two years ago. She still likes this song.....)

It seems natural that a child who came from your belly, or who looks like you physically would feel some sort of deep connection with you and would inspire deep feelings in you. That's "just natural" and it's "God's way" and it's "instinctive." But I don't know because I've never had that sort of a kid.

All I know is that Adinah and I have got a good thing going on, especially now that she's into the same music that I'm into. Well, she's into one song that I'm into: the classic ska tune "Monkey Man." Toots and the Maytals did the oldest version that I have, but some of my most teen new wave moments, and there were many, were played out to the Specials neo-ska version of "Monkey Man." Adinah seems to favor the song, and either version of it, mostly because of the chorus: "Aye-yai-yai, Aye-yai-yai (digga digga!)!" She sings along and shakes her bottom, and in doing so, also shakes her entire upper half. It's such a cool dance, but I certainly couldn't imitate it.

The question is, 'Why do I love the fact that she loves this song?' Because this is me reflected back from her. My passion, my history, a part of me, lighting up her eyes when she sings along and makes the gorilla noises at the same time that I do.

Maybe that means I'm narcissistic, like every parent. It's not sensational to say that some of the deeper connections that happen between people--between friends, family, lovers and even strangers--involve some degree of vanity, some element of seeing yourself reflected back at you from someone else: it's touching to think another sentient being is listening and paying enough attention to you to give you instant playback. But it's also pretty goddamn touching to think that something about you might have actually touched someone else, might have moved them or poked them right there in their soul.

Okay, one could say, 'It's just a catchy song,' or, 'Jeez, you made her listen to that terrible old song?' or even, ' 'Monkey Man' is clearly not Toots and the Maytals' finest work,' although I might really get pissed at anyone who said this last thing. But it's also possible that she loves the song because she can see that I love it. Or that she acts like she loves the song because she knows that might shake a few more cookies outta papa.

Say what you want. Fine. But whatever is going on over here at our place, I like it.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Stories she Tells me

Adinah woke up at a goddawful hour again this morning, and after Anette went to her once, I got up and padded into her room myself, knowing full well I wouldn't be able to get her to go back to sleep. The kid is like drivers in Mexico City: she knows two speeds--Go and Stop.

I got into the bottom bunk and told her she could crawl in with me, and I'd sing her a song. After much wailing and righteous indignation from the top bunk, Adinah consented to this arrangement. I sang "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" to her and held her hand, but she just couldn't lay still. I always tell her she has to close her eyes, and lay really still, and then she'll be able to fall asleep. This morning I told her that it was my father that taught me that, because he'd been alone in a hospital for a long time when he was a small boy and he'd had to learn how to take care of himself. What's polio, Papa, Adinah asked. And why did the mama of your papa take him alone to the hospital where they didn't have the medicines for polio, Papa?

We try to be a full disclosure family. I try to be honest with Adinah without telling her things that are going to trouble her unduly. So she knows my father is dead, and she knows some people in the world don't have enough water, and she knows about her first father and her first mother. What she does with this information is another matter.

After I told her about my father's time in the hospital, Adinah told me a story. "One time," she said, "my first mommy went to he hospital when she was this small (and here she pinched two fingers together). And when she came home they gave her a schultasche (a pencil case). And one time, my mommy and papa in Ethiopia had no water so they went to a man with a swimming pool and they said, 'Can we drink this water?' and he said yes and they took the water and the man gave me a traubenzucker (a candy). He was a very nice man."

Adinah, I said, are these stories for real, for really, or are you just telling stories for play?

"These stories are for really."

Okay, I told her. But if you want to make up stories about your first mommy and your first daddy, that's okay.

"Okay, Papa, and one time...."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I was shocked and saddened to hear about the shootings at Virginia Tech yesterday. I want to express my sympathy and condolences to the victims, students and families of victims of this horrible tragedy.


My mom was a public elementary school teacher in Texas before she retired, and after the Columbine shootings, she told me that the teachers in her school had began locking their classrooms from the inside everyday. After class began, they would only open their doors for someone who had used a special knock. She also told me that the school administration would ring a bell every morning at about 11 a.m. to remind children to take their Ritalin and various other medications. I don't know if those policies stayed in place through the last few years, but maybe they're back in effect today.

Some of our friends here cannot understand these things or how they can happen in America. I feel like I understand America a lot better than they do, but I still don't understand this stuff. I get angry at Europeans who tut-tut about tragedies like this. Because even those of them that have spent a lot of time in the States don't really get it. Not that I get it. But at least I feel like I have the right to talk about it, or feel bad about it or even judge it. It's still my country.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

the New Black rock?

I've spent two days hunkered down reading through two different online dust-ups about race, identity and music. The first one played out on YouTube, and revolved around a very good short film posted there called "a girl like me," which is largely about African American self-perception. The second fracas was inspired by a late January New York Times article about African-American indy rock musicians and black hipsters, or, um, "blipsters," and took the form of 140 posts on the comments page of a blog called Brooklyn Vegan. I came away thinking that white people really don't know how to talk about race and racism. Actually, we'd prefer not to talk about it at all, but when someone brings it up, we trip all over ourselves trying to explain and theorize and sympathize and speak truth to power. In other words, we're irritatingly compelled to speak on something we can't really truly understand. It's similar to the phenomenon wherein men can never say, "I don't know," so perhaps what I'm talking about should be referred to as Caucasian Answer Syndrome.

Of course, I'm as guilty of it as the next indy rock paleface, and that's possibly why I pitched a similar story to a new website just a few weeks before the NY Times article was published. From my safe European perch, I was probably the last one to notice that several of the most au currant indy bands in New York these days are either all black or multi-racial, and I just wondered why. These bands include TV on the Radio, Earl Greyhound, Apollo Heights and the Dragons of Zynth, and they don't have much in common musically. But I missed the forest for the trees. Perhaps the only thing significant about these bands, aside from their music, some of which is quite good, is that they point up just how overwhelmingly white (and conservative) indy rock is. It's one whiny/angry/"artistic"/"crazy" cracker after another, slobbering into the mic about medieval tapestries or depression or whatever, to an audience that looks just like him. And Bright Eyes fans just...don't know how to talk about that. Or deal with it.

In fact, racial homogeneity is one of the only common threads which runs through indy rock, a genre which could be said to include everything from the psycho folk of the Animal Collective to the new country of the New Pornographers to ultra-fey jangle-shit like Belle & Sebastian. Another common denominator is that, by and large, indy rock fans and bands tend to think of themselves as liberal, progressive and somehow outside of American master narratives like capitalism and racism. But they aren't outside of these things, nor are they outside of history. And the recent entry of a smattering of black bands and performers into this largely white context isn't completely unprecedented either.

After sorting through all this talk about blackness and music (best one liner at Brooklyn Vegan: "Frederick Douglass was a blipster."), I got locked inside the wayback machine, and remembered an interview I did a good while ago with Darryl Jennifer. Jennifer played bass for the legendary Bad Brains, one of the best bands, and one of the only black ones, in the whole spitty landscape of 1980's American hardcore and post-punk music. Like today's indy rok, American post-punk ran the gamut from the psycho blurt of the Butthole Surfers to the new country of Rank and File to the ultra-complicated math funk of the Minutemen, but it was all very white. Before they self-destructed--temporarily at least--in a shitstorm of madness, homophobia and bad reggae, the Bad Brains were kings and innovators, and they dealt with racism every night. But when I spoke to him, Darryl Jennifer was unruffled by all that drama.

"We had to deal with racism, but it wasn't a big deal," he told me. "A German kid threw a beer on me once, so I dropped him [ed. note: knocked him unconscious.] At the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill, the owner threatened us--once. He said he wasn't gonna pay us, and that if we didn't like it, he'd get all his machine guns and biker friends and dogs after us. [But] a lot of these skinheads weren't real Nazis, they were just frontin.' These days, Nebraska skinheads don't hate blacks anymore--they just hate the next town over. Racism doesn't exist if you don't let it."

Of course that last little bit is a tad optimistisch, but Darryl Jennifer was my hero that day for talking so cool about these humungus problems amungus. If only he'd post something like that over at Brooklyn Vegan....

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Give my Regards to Man Ray

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I wrote my first film script this winter. Well, this morning I stopped by the set to watch my friend Dorit shoot the picture. It's a conceptual film--no car chases, blowjobs or exploding lead actresses--and to be honest, I hadn't quite understood it until now. Dorit is shooting the tables and chairs and knives and forks of some of the famous designers and architects who built the housing complex in Berlin called Interbau. I wrote a script--part fiction, part documentary--that reads like a fifty year oral history of the neighborhood.

But even though we've had lots of conversations about the idea behind the film, none of it really gelled in my head until I saw Dorit directing the cameraman and the props people, and I saw the playback of a lovely dolly shot passing across an arrangement of Josef Albers nesting tables. Somehow, seeing this process, this visualization and construction, made it clear to me. We are making a film about how people have lived in these buildings.

It's strange to think that people can put words and pictures together in a concept without really knowing if it's going to work. But I guess lots of movies (and music and books) come together just like that.

In any case, the penny dropped, the light bulb lit up, and finally I got it. When I left, I told Dorit, "I'm really happy." "Me too," she said.

I walked out into a gorgeous and sunny spring day, got on a streetcar and suddenly realized I am where I've always wanted to be. I'm in Europe making art with friends and fascinating people. Playing with ideas and trying to capture something real about our lives and the lives of others. Trying and maybe even succeeding in an attempt to document something of our time.

Back when I was an dreamy young knucklehead, I fantasized about being part of a salon, about being fabulous and famous and having lunch with Man Ray all the time to talk about, oh, shadows, I guess. Now I know it's not going be like that. But it's still sort (It'll be even cooler if I can actually pay my share of the bills while doing all this fascinating interesting stuff.) (But I guess that's another post.)

I had a girlfriend once who spent a lot of time puzzling over how she'd ended up with me, a Texan, and a fairly goofy one at that. She would always just say, "Ehh, you fall in love with who you fall in love with." I've always thought she was right, even when she fell in love with someone else. And I've told myself that I've ended up in Austria because I love Anette, and she loves Vienna. But actually it's more complicated. Or simpler: One makes choices.

I'm sure I'll feel differently tomorrow. But today I think I'm in Vienna because this is where I'm supposed to be.

Monday, April 9, 2007

It's a bit like the Overlook Hotel, minus the Gyorgi Ligeti vibe, the Demon Children and the Elevator of Blood

Last week, after a stressful teaching week for Anette, another bout with the monster cough which regularly comes to perch on Adinah's chest, and the attendant sleep-deprived nights for all of us, I got an evil idea. "Look, let's just take some money out of the savings account and go to Gösing." Anette agreed that it was a terrible, very bougeoise notion, so that's exactly what we did.

The Alpenhof Gösing is our sanctus sanitorum. It's a posh but slightly frumpy hunting lodge, about three hours outside of Vienna, and it sits just beneath a cruel mountain called Ötscher. There's an indoor pool, a sauna and a steam bath. The train from Vienna drops you off about fifty feet from the front door, so you can just stagger in, put down your bags and turn your brain off for a few days.

Since we started bringing Adinah up here, we never really do much more than pool, steam bath, shower, repeat. The kid is NOT into hiking. But yesterday, by distracting her with bubble gum and story-telling, the three of us managed to trek all the way up to a beautiful meadow, maybe half a mile above the hotel. We spent the whole time running up and down the cowshit-covered slopes, shouting our names and then listening for the echoes, and examining a purple earthworm. And we found two puddles with about a hundred frog eggs inside. It was awesome.

In anticipation of our future visits, Adinah renamed the place Chocolate Easter Bunny Meadow.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Songs I Used to Sing Her

I've added a new lullabye to my repertoire for Adinah's bedtime. It's "Love Bug" by George Jones, a sweet but thoroughly ridiculous country and western song from the Sixties. I thought she might like to know why I call her "bug" all the time (although the real reason is that back in Texas, saying someone is "cute as a bug" is a form of high praise). And now that she's starting to understand most of the words that I'm singing to her, it's about time I introduce a song that isn't about desperation, loss or murder.

My choice of nighty-night songs for Adinah has always been mildly perverse. They're all songs that I love, and like to sing (in my homely, atonal croak) but they're not exactly Blues Clues material. For a while, I was doing "Roam" by the B-52's, which is about wanderlust, and loving someone enough to let them go. That made sense (to me) because Adinah's been a world traveler since she was eight months old, beginning with a two day road trip in a Toyota Landcruiser from the north of Ethiopia to the capitol, where we met her for the very first time.

I still sing Otis Redding's "(Sitting on the)Dock of the Bay" to Deanie,and no two ways about it, that's a sad sad song. Is the protagonist actually homeless, or just achingly lonely? I don't know, but it's always killed me when Otis starts whistling at the end of the number, and that, plus the way the bass bumps, and the wave sound effects that come in, makes the record sound like the most peaceful end of the road a living human can reach. So far, Adinah hasn't asked me any questions about what that song means, but she will soon enough.

Then there's "El Paso" by Marty Robbins, the original country crooner. I must have been listening to this song since I was 8, first on AM radios, then on Radio Shack stereos, then on CDs, but it only started making me cry when I got to be a grown-ass man, fully informed about what bad love can do to a cowboy (or a NYC rock critic.) Maybe I wanted to sing it to my daughter because El Paso was the town where my father lived and died. Or I started doing this one at bedtime because it's long and repetitive and I thought that would be soothing for D. When she was small, she'd always conk out just after the hero shoots his rival dead, but way before he himself dies in a hail of bullets. But really I just wanted to sing it to myself, because it may be the most gorgeously tragic song I know, and because it really does make me think of the sound of the wind on a moonless night in the West Texas desert.

Nevertheless, now that Adinah's starting to stop me after every line of it and ask why the first cowboy hurt the second one, well, maybe I'll phase "El Paso" out of my regular set.

"Love Bug" is a bit more upbeat. The chorus goes like this:

"Well, the little itty bitty teenie weenie thing they call the love bug\Nobody's ever seen it but it's got the whole world shook up\It all started with a little bitty kiss and a hug\Just a teeny weeny itty bitty thing they call the love bug!"

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Der großer Supermarkt Top 20

I'm only just now starting to master the science of Viennese grocery store shopping. The first thing I learned was that you must purchase your own stuff, pay for the bag, bag it yourself, then get the hell out of the way, because people here HATE waiting in line and they will begin gently bumping you with their shopping cart as soon as they can to make that point. The second thing one must understand is that there is a strict division of provisions here--you can't go to one store for everything. Billa is for food and wine, Bipa is for deodorant and cleaning supplies. And none of them are open after eight p.m.

The major chains, in descending order from fancy-schmancy to cheap, are Spar, Billa, Zielpunkt and Hofer, and they all have their pros and cons, but in none of them will you find Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Oh well. Here then, are my awards for the best and the wurst:

Best Tortilla Chips: Spar

Best Snack Chip: Nacho Cheese Bugles

Worst Snack Chip: Nacho Cheese Bugles

Most Surprising Product Found in a Supermarket: Haagen-Daz Cookies and Cream, Spar

Most Sorely Missed Product: Ben and Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch

Grocery Store Item Most Unappreciated by the Locals: Haas Avocados, Billa

Surliest, Shoviest, Most Abjectly Horrid Customers: Hofer

Store with the Highest Percentage of Organic and Bio-Products: Hofer

Best Fresh Bread Product: the humble Pumpkin Seed Roll, available everywhere

Most Delightful Discovery in the Produce Section: Kohlrabi

Store Most likely to Descend into a Lord of the Flies-type situation at any Moment: the Billa in the Franz-Josefsbahn train station on any Catholic holiday

Best Frozen Food: Iglo brand Edamame

Most Embarrassing Guilty Pleasure: Liver paste

Convenience Store Most Densely Populated with Drunken Teenagers: the BP gas station-mart at Schwedenplatz

Saddest Convenience Store: the 24 hour shop at the MichelBauern Allegemeines hospital.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

the Dead

Die Toten is the name of a project by the Dusseldorf artist Hans-Peter Feldmann, which is now on display here in Vienna at the Kunsthalle museum. The work consists of ninety reproductions of photographs of the members and victims of several violent political groups founded in the the late nineteen-sixties, particularly the Red Army Fraktion, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang. We took a look at it on Sunday, and it burned a hole in my brain.

Feldmann has been criticized for hanging pictures of the RAF next to those of the people they killed, since this could be seen as setting up an equivalence between criminals and victims. I don't think Die Toten does that, but one real problem with the project is that it's entirely composed of press photographs and clippings. In fact, the RAF attacked the offices of the right wing German publisher Axel Springer because they believed biased and irresponsible mass media was one of the scourges of late capitalism; Feldmann has in effect given the media trolls the last laugh, by reproducing much of their version of the story.

All of the photographs in Die Toten are death scenes, which adds a sensational element to an already sensational, and morbidly fascinating subject. (It's a typical choice for the Kunsthalle as well, which seems to be programmed by a thirty-something adolescent who mistakes shocking pictures for compelling art.) The photograph above is not part of Feldmann's project, but it is a picture of the RAF leaders Andreas Baader and Gudrun Ensslin. They look nice, don't they?

For me, this photograph is more shocking than some of those in the exhibition, because Baader and Ensslin may have been nice, but they also led a group which blew up department stores, robbed banks and killed people.

Feldmann's work is part of a soul searching process in Germany and Austria concerning the RAF, which has been set off by the fact that one of the group's last living members was recently released from prison. But as an American, I've always been haunted by the Red Army Fraction story too. It seems like such a bitter tragedy: an ultimate example of ideological commitment and fatal wrongheadedness.

Since September 11th, one of the delusional aspects of America's war on terror has been our tendency to imagine that our enemies are all Islamic fundamentalists, all Over There somewhere, and all somehow fundamentally different from us. I think the RAF is still so disturbing for this part of Europe (and for me) because it means that terrorism isn't other people. It's us.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

One Saturday Night in Vienna, Austria

As we climbed the stairs to the third floor, Adinah looked up at me and raised her arms, which means, "Papa, will you carry me?" Since I'm doing this less now--because I think she's old enough to walk, and because she's getting so damn big now that she's heavy--I said, "Why, Adinah?" She stuck out her lower lip, and said, "I'm shy."

We were on our way up to African Jump Night at the WUK, our local anarcho-socialist community center, concert space and kindergarten. Deanie must have sensed that we wouldn't know anyone there. So I did carry her in, and not only did we not know anyone there, but we were practically the first ones at the party--a double-plus nightmare for the shy. Nevermind: my girl and me looked out the window at a big fat moon, until more people started coming in the door.

Anette arrived. I noticed a man with crazy dreads and leather pants--clearly one of the party organizers. A light-brown skinned fellow in an army jacket smiled at us. Another adoptive family--white mom, black daughter and brown son--drifted by. Various turntleneck-clad hipsters and white leftie punks. Some Africans in Dashikis, others with Jamaican knit caps, a few bronzed blonde Euro mommies.

One man introduced himself to the crowd by saying he lives in Upper Austria, and then he read several poems (in English) about being black and African. Then a statuesque white woman and a black man gave a fairly desultory dance performance. And a band played: three percussionists and a guitarist. At times, they reminded me a little of Amadou and Mariam, but honestly, I know so little about African music, it was hard for me to judge it.

Still, judge it I did. I wondered why the black men in the band were all wearing traditional African clothes: did they think they needed to perform "african-ness" for the honkies in the crowd? And I began to suspect that the white man on congas was showing off and soloing needlessly, and I asked myself if this wasn't actually a Western/Northern/paleface vice (as opposed to a simple case of obnoxious musicianship).

I didn't really interrogate the whole thing because it was easy to just have a good time. Everyone was so friendly, from the five year old kid who came over and struck up a conversation with me (he turned out to be one of the two adopted kids I had seen before), to the guys selling plates of rice and plantains. Plus, Adinah very quickly got over her shyness and started spinning around in the middle of the dance floor before anyone else had started dancing. She asked me to catch her if she started to fall and then she was giggling and staggering and twirling around the place, with me scuttling awkwardly after her with my arms wide. I felt like people were watching us but it felt like they were smiling. And it didn't matter because the warmest thing in the room was Adinah's face, smiling up at me, her papa.

Sometimes our daughter is so unafraid it makes me realize how uptight I can be. She's really something else, this girl.