Why have you forsaken me?!?!

Agh, another crummy entry from me today. I apologise. After a week of network and printer woes at work, my printer at home decided to crap out while I was trying to get a heap of must-be-done-on-paper proofreading done. I’m not proud, but I had a giant, loud, frustrated cry about it, something which I do extremely rarely, and then yanked the printer from the server to print directly from my laptop. Then the drivers wouldn’t install for ages and ages. I am living a bad sitcom.

Proofreading is now taken care of (phew), but now I’ve lost valuable pub quiz-finishing time (I have scrapped a whole section that seemed a brilliant idea at 1am, not so much today).

Luckily, my brother came home from his housesitting gig for a bit and is making a new batch of fudge, so that’s one thing I don’t need to worry about. It’s an unusual way for a man to rescue me, no?

Anyway, I’m not thrilled that the beginning of Holidailies has turned out to be “Wow, Megan is a bloody mess”. Onward and upward!

Gah! Gah! Mmm, sweet things…

I feel crabby and useless today (to quote Lorelai Gilmore – I have also just woken up from a Lindsay Fünke-esque angry nap), which is is a shame because today was Big Christmas Baking day. I am having seriously bad baking karma, exacerbated by a bad week, lack of sleep, and through-the-roof stress levels over Christmas (for which, as yet, I have no plans – yay for orphandom and singlehood?)

ANYway, today had to be baking day because tomorrow is the work Christmas party and I needed a few bits and pieces, including fudge (which turned out a bit  funny, but edible – my younger brother usually makes this), cookies (one batch of one variety burned, another kind was so sticky that I couldn’t cut out shapes very well),  and Cointreau truffles with toasted almonds, which look like this (apologies for camera phone shots):

Ill drag out the camera for proper food porn later.

I'll drag out the camera for proper food porn later.

Yes, my dining room table is that untidy.

Yes, my dining room table is that untidy.

So I’ll leave you to drool over those for a bit while I attempt to finish writing the pub quiz for tomorrow’s party.

Phoning it in.

I spent about five weeks this fall in a state of constant busyness at work, to the point where my ‘regular’ work tasks got set aside, sometimes for weeks at a time, because there were events! Film festivals! Auctions! Publication deadlines! Serious staff turnover! I was working 50-60 hours a week, still not getting everything done, and got totally burned out. Adding to my trauma was that my beloved bike got stolen, which felt not completely unlike a death in the family.

(I exaggerate only a little. I get quite attached to things, especially things that have been through a lot with me. I rode this bike to the hospital when my mother died, for example. It was a good friend. Oh, also I have a problem with anthropomophising things. Probably to do with separation anxiety lingering from my FATHER’s death when I was five, which…yeah, I might need therapy one day.)

When the maddening season finally ended, I took a day off for that aforementioned (well, on Wednesday) shopping trip to Montréal, fell asleep on a Greyhound bus on the way back (which is about as safe as swimming at the Playboy grotto when the pool filter’s broken), and ended up with plague. Needless to say, the stuff I hadn’t been taking care of at work didn’t get done very well, or at all, for a while longer.

After my very slow recovery, I realized just how half-assed a job I had been doing lately, but continued to do a half-assed (well, maybe a three-quarter-assed) job until, oh, two weeks ago? I know the staff noticed, because it seemed slightly contagious (the apathy, not the martian death flu) for a while (though that might have just been cold weather lethargy — perhaps I credit myself too much).

Obviously, I eventually snapped myself out of it and committed to no longer being a wastrel, in the hopes of causing less misery to everyone here (myself included), I found it really difficult to stop checking in to see if there were new quizzes on Sporcle or trying to figure out a way to go home early.

But, of course, I’m much happier when things actually get done and are working smoothly, instead of getting frantic messages on weekends from floor managers saying we’re out of small cups, trying to trace a missing $40 from a week’s old bank deposit, or having a big pile of box office reports on top of the phone. Who’d have thunk it?

Good academic habits.

I was a spectacularly average honours student in both high school and undergrad. Not ‘average’ meaning ‘hard-working’ or ‘clever’, but a solid B student for most of my academic career. I did the minimum to be kept in my program most of the time; I mean, there were video games to be played, television shows to be watched, and beer to be drunk.

Despite my general lack of follow-through on ambitious tasks (at least not until the very last conceivable second), I still think about returning to academia; however,  five years on, I’m more unsure about my mad academic skillz than ever and even less confident in my ability to stay on task.

I mean, I have a Masters degree, so I am neither stupid nor completely incapable (though, really, my dissertation was definitely far from ground-breaking), but I think I lack that particular drive (for now) to compete with other neurotics, most of whom will possess a greater depth of knowledge in their fields.

The bigger problem is that, like many, when there are big, important tasks to be done, I have (entirely self-diagnosed) temporary attention deficit disorder in times of stress. For example, in order to finish my dissertation, which took a stupidly long time considering it wasn’t particularly good, I had to uninstall online Scrabble.

Seriously. Before I even left Birmingham, I would sit with a pile of 10 library books, including ILLs that needed returning within days, and play Scrabble for four or five hours at a time. Then I’d get bored and go for a walk or to the gym. Then I might come back and take a few notes. If I turned on music, all was lost because I’d sing along. If the TV was on, sometimes I could work for a while, but only until something of mild interest happened. A rerun of Friends I hadn’t seen in a few months, for example.

Eventually, I figured out a solution (of sorts). I found it impossible to work in the library because it was too quiet, so I would spend hours of time in a Caffe Nero in Harborne (making a £1.90 espresso last for an afternoon is one of my truly amazing skills). I needed a din, preferably voices loud enough to hear, but not loud enough to be listened to. That would occupy the restless part of my brain somehow and I could get work done.

Nowadays, I have trouble recreating this. I signed up for an online course recently. I say recently; it was six months ago and I just missed the extension deadline. However, this time around, my distractions have been far greater than a Channel 4 documentary on the strangest things to ever be taken out of a human or a new version of Bejeweled; I have a job. A career (of sorts), even.

Admittedly, I’m no great shakes and staying on task at work all the time either, but I have to concentrate (at least a bit) while I’m in the office, so when I get home, all bets are off. I can’t recreate the Caffe Nero experience in Ottawa (so far); I don’t know if it’s because coffee shops here are louder or what, but that temporary ADD is worse than ever. Occasionally, I am able to get some things done if I have a movie I’ve seen a million times before on in the living room while I study at the dining room table, but most of the time? Not so much.

This, above all, is the biggest threat to my ever coming up with the Next Great Theory on Canadian immigration propaganda in the 20th century or, and I actually proposed this as a dissertation topic, how the Simpsons are this generation’s most important history teachers. A damn shame, really, since those would be truly important contributions to the already bloated historical canon.

Substance (of the insulating variety) over style.

Shamefully, this post is inspired not just by the darling Jan (also a Holidailies participant – hi Jan!), but also by this article/photo collection from the Daily Fail.

I like being warm. I even went a step further this year and spent a stupid amount of money on knee socks (well, in actuality, they are over-the-knee socks, but due to my gargantuan calves and relative tallness, they barely get as far as a knee) because I HATE a draft up my jeans (and I don’t like the bunchiness of long-johns). I have a variety of polar fleece and GoreTex and wool outerwear. I am prepared for almost every eventuality cold weather-wise. Hell, I frequently wear a tuque indoors à la 1967-era Mike Nesmith because my office is drafty.

The truth is, I’ve pretty much always been this way. Canadians are rugged folk, generally, but also, by and large, not stupid when it comes to extreme cold. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed more and more that the young people these days seem to take this ruggedness to, dare I say it, Newcastle levels. I mean, our scantily clad young clubbers will wear jackets, at least, but MAN the bare legs? When we’re in the sub-zero temps? I a) stupid, b) dangerous, and c) deeply unattractive once the mottled, semi-frostbitten redness kicks in.

I decided around age 15, when waiting at a bus stop ca. November, while wearing a denim jacket and, probably, wool socks under Birkenstocks (no, really, my high school was full of people ready for a Phish, or, rather, a Cult or Hip concert at any time), that warmth would triumph over all from that point on.

I freely admit to premature fuddy-duddiness. I actually exclaimed “WHERE IS YOUR JACKET, YOUNG LADY?!” to an 11-year-old trick-or-treater on this year’s snowy Hallowe’en. I’d like to look fashionable out in the cold (not that these chavvy and misguided young women in the Mail look particularly classy or hot), but hell, I’m rarely fashionable in good weather (Blundstones are appropriate work attire year-round, right?).

A few weeks ago, I went to Montréal, that city where everyone else seems to have shopping luck except for me, and attempted to find a new wool coat that was warm, classically fashionable (ie nice but not trendy) and not a million dollars. I could not find anything that even met two of those criteria. But that’s okay. If I find something that covers the first, I’d be perfectly happy at this point. Regardless of how unattractive a winter coat might be, at least I won’t look half as stupid as these people.

Nearly useful advice.

There’s something oddly wonderful about totally flummoxing a clever person with infinite resources at their disposal. Like when people outdo Dictionary Corner on Countdown.

In today’s case, there were four people. Unfortunately, the bafflement continues and our work printer is still buggered after two and a half hours on the phone with Xerox.

Tip #1: Do not call tech support until you’ve made sure to eat something and/or go to the loo beforehand.

I’m practically an old maid now and tend to project an air of ‘fuck off’ when I’m out in public and therefore rarely get hit on by strangers.

Last night, however, I nearly scored at Euchre night. Unfortunately, I’m not into girls.

Especially drunk ones who scream “NEIL FUCKING YOUNG!!!!!!” at the jukebox, who ‘accidentally’ fall in my lap because they can’t roll a joint standing up, and who ultimately are asked to leave the bar for being a nuisance. Call me a snob, but I want someone who can carry on a conversation and has a penis. And isn’t 19 years old (probably). I made the (male) friends I was playing with pretty jealous, though.

Tip #2: If you are being kicked out of a mostly quiet pub for being loud and overly drunk, trying to sneak back in and SITTING AT THE BAR probably isn’t going to work.

My boss should never try to install a router again. He worked on getting the internet up for nine hours yesterday. It was horrible and because he can be such a stubborn, sarcastic fucker, no one wanted to offer advice in case they were eaten alive. Internet is now working at work. And now we are only two days behind our deadlines.

Tip #3: In the comedy rule of three, the last bit is supposed to be the punchline. Sorry.

The glamorous world of showbusiness/Monday morning ego-boost

I work in film. Not in an acting capacity*.  Not as a producer. Not even as a caterer at industry events. I’m the general manager of a fairly successul arthouse/rep cinema. Which would be fancy. Except it mostly isn’t. This morning, for example, I woke up to call the bus station at 7:30am to find out if today’s press screening was at the courier desk yet. It isn’t.

I have friends who are actually working in theatre, film, and television, from local children’s plays to stand-up comedy to big studio movies and tv shows. And I know working at all levels in the process can be one big frustration. But when was the last time any of them had to deal with a seemingly possessed oil pump on a popcorn machine?

At the same time, despite the butter stained jeans and arguments with antiquated word processing software, there is a weird level of prestige to my job too. For example, when I’m introduced at parties (which is, admittedly, rare) as the general manager of That Cinema Where I Work, people sound impressed. Or, at least, the make impressed-sounding noises, even if they don’t really care. I manage an icon (of sorts) in the city’s cultural community. I don’t like to think of myself as egomaniacal, but I kind of like that level of…standing? Authority? Not sure what you’d call it. But it’s nice all the same.

Even nicer is when people say how much they love the cinema, because, frankly, the industry is in trouble** and who knows how long my job is going to last. That anyone still goes to the movies, and is willing to put up with our lack-of-warm-place-to-queue, ‘scary’ downtown location, and occasionally grouchy staff (yeah, I’m a great boss!) to go to OUR cinema warms the cockles of my cold, black heart.

* I have been recruited to ‘act’ and ‘sing’ (oh dear) in a short  video my staff are producing in the new year. I am going to be in a dress that ‘represents’ a circus tent. Way to knock my self-esteem, guys.

** No, really, it is. The cinema I work at isn’t shutting down imminently, but seriously, we used to have a queue around the block for almost every single show from Thursday to Sunday. Now? A ‘good’ show has a 1/3 the people. People want to stay home with their HDTVs, Netflix, On Demand, or illegal downloads instead. Including me. Hypocrite, party of one? Kinda. But who wants to stay at work after hours, even if there is free popcorn?

This is post one in Holidailies 2010.

Vive la déférence! (Not about gardening)

(Written not long ago)

So, I’m on the Eurostar. The reality is not nearly as glamorous as I had imagined, but, then, I am travelling second class. Like a chump (I kid). I do think I said ‘excuse me’ to Pam Grier, or a remarkable doppelganger, in the terminal, though.

That the train is already creaking when we are still in the banlieues is worrying.

Anyway, my relationship with Paris is difficult to sum up, but it suffices to say that I eventually came around to liking it. Since I am not feeling very poetic (or whatever it is) about it, though, here are a series of lists about my time in France:

Pastries consumed: 5

Réligieuse eaten by a maniac.

Réligieuse eaten by a maniac.

Oranginas consumed: 3

Movies seen: 1 (Inception – had meant to see more than this)

Times gotten lost: approximately 600

Times gotten so lost that I just hopped into the next Métro station I came across just to get found: 2

Number of times Canada’s contribution to the two World Wars are mentioned (in passing) in exhibits at the Musée de l’Armée: 4

Number of times US is credited with winning the First World War: MANY

Average wake up time: 7am

Oddest hotel rule: No eating in room

Great Frenchmen’s gravesites seen: 2 (Napoleon and Serge Gainsbourg)

Genius.

Genius. There are Métro tickets scattered around it too.

Number of conversations entirely held in French: 4 or 5 (argh – my accent baffled the French)

Possible celeb sightings: 2 (Woody Allen and Pam Grier)

Things I didn’t do:

  1. Go to the Louvre (couldn’t face the crowds)
  2. Drink wine (got intimidated by snootiness/lack of knowledge)
  3. Eat a fancy meal out (too broke)
  4. Visit the catacombs (got lost, then missed last tour of the day

Stupid things I heard other tourists say:


Napoleon rests here, among ridiculous iconography.

Napoleon rests here, among ridiculous iconography.

  1. ‘Get out of the way! I’m posing!’ (Napoleon’s Tomb)
  2. ‘Hey! Hey! This store sells tiny Eiffel towers! Hey! Aww, you missed them.’ (Near Notre-Dame)
  3. ‘Could I have this salad…Niquoise?’ (near Musée d’Orsay – yes, I am showing my arrogance)

Reasonably priced things

  1. Admission to the Cinémathèque française (€5)
  2. Public transit (€1.20 per trip if you buy a carnet)
  3. Lunch at Flunch (basically a cafeteria – giant meal + dessert & coffee €10.20)

Ridiculously priced things

Sorry for the out-of-focusness. Was trying to be sneaky.

Sorry for the out-of-focusness. Was trying to be sneaky.

  1. Beer in a brasserie (€4 – 5.50 for a demi – not a demi-litre, but a demi-demi litre)
  2. Soft drinks or mineral water in many brasseries (€4.20)
  3. Almost everything else.

Dodgy things I saw:

  1. Early morning team meetings of the army of scammers aggressively selling plastic Eiffel towers and other ugly shit to tourists.
  2. Carnet ‘entrepreneurs’, mostly old men who buy carnet (10 tickets for €12 Euros) and then sell the individual tickets for €1.50 each)
  3. People hanging over railings at Barbès – Rochechouart station trying to sell cheap fags and ‘genuine’ D&G watches.
  4. A dude, dressed a bit like a New Age guru, going mental at a ticket agent at the Cinémathèque because he wasn’t allowed into a film screening late, even though he had a ticket. He then yelled ‘NE RIEZ PAS DE MOI, threw a credit card/ticket machine, and tried to run away with his girlfriend (who was carrying a yoga bag made of Tibetan prayer flags). It didn’t work. (Ommmm.)

Things I learned from French advertising

  1. Carte Noir coffee is so good that it’ll make you think that you’re having sex with ghosts
  2. You shouldn’t snack between meals (per warnings on all unhealthy food advertising)
  3. ‘Jambo’ is a perfectly acceptable word in Kenyan tourist advertising

Places that are scary

Sacré-Coeur? Sacrément! The girls with the umbrellas were dancing to Its Raining Men, BTW.

Sacré-Coeur? Sacrément! The girls with the umbrellas were dancing to 'It's Raining Men', BTW.

  1. Anywhere tourists are congregated en masse (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysées, Montmartre) because of the crowds and the scuzzy scammy people.
  2. Gare de l’Est. It’s gross.
  3. Streets around Sacré-Coeur
  4. Ivry (Long story involving a walking route with no escape (Seine on one side, motorway on the other) and my stubborn determination not to turn around)

Recommended things to see

Oasis.

Oasis.

  1. Musée du cinema
  2. Musée d’Orsay
  3. Jardin romantique
  4. Cimetière Montparnasse
  5. Shakespeare & Company
  6. Musée de l’Armée/Les Invalides

(Of these, the Musée d’Orsay was the only really crowded one.)

Nearly at the Chunnel (do people still call it that?)

332km/h under the sea. I think I’ll go panic quietly now. London, ho!

Later: Survived tunnel (obviously). Funny how coming to the UK feels like a homecoming. Maybe I’ll write about my first, miserable trip to London 11 years ago some time.

The “Actually, Do Mention the War” Tour Continues. (Not about gardening.)

(Written this morning)

Oh, hey, I’m in Paris now. Two hours in and I’m sitting in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower having just finished a religieuse. Mentioned to the woman at the bakery that I hadn’t had one in about 19 years. She smiled at me in a ‘don’t engage with the lunatic’ kind of way. As Orson Welles would say, “Aaaah, the French…”

Of course, yes, I probably do look like a lunatic. I just got in from Berlin on an overnight train and haven’t showered yet (hotel room’s not ready). On top of that, I have Scabface – I have blown my nose so much that the skin around it is raw and coming off in chunks. I also have a confusing accent and far-from-perfect-grammar. I wouldn’t have engaged me in conversation either.

By the way, the first notable thing I did in Paris wasn’t getting lost, but getting stuck in a turnstile in the Métro. Getting lost was the second thing.

I didn’t write about Berlin yet because I was exhausted, sick, and overwhelmed for much of it. I did rent a bike, which is BY FAR the best way to get around. Especially as cyclists fucking rule the roads, sidewalks, and every other horizontal surface in the city. It was great. Of course, on Monday, I walked and lived in fear of the cyclists instead. Fuck, they’re bastards, but it was fun to be one of them for a while.

Spent much of Sundays in museums and Monday meandering around Mitte. Here are some photos:

Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz. One of the ugly-yet-admirable icons.

Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz. One of the ugly-yet-admirable icons.

This is my sweet ride and the sweet bike rack I locked her to outside the DDR Museum.

This is my sweet ride and the sweet bike rack I locked her to outside the DDR Museum.

No, I didnt just see the stereotypical tourist stuff...

No, I didn't just see the stereotypical tourist stuff... (Brandenburg Gate)

...just mostly them. (Checkpoint Charlie)

...just mostly them. (Checkpoint Charlie)

Tried to take a sneaky pic inside the lobby of this tiny cinema. Not so successful.

Tried to take a sneaky pic inside the lobby of this tiny cinema (Kino Central). Not so successful.

Did watch a movie in the adjacent courtyard. Das Leben die Anderen. (I had seen it once before, but still!)

Did watch a movie in the adjacent courtyard. Das Leben die Anderen. (I had seen it once before, but still!)

Only a bit of The Wall remains (about 1.3km worth). This bit’s known as the East Side Gallery. The artwork was updated last year.

The Understanding of Ignorance

"The Understanding of Ignorance"

I apologise for the lousy quality of some of these. I was so smugly pleased to have remembered to charge my camera battery that I forgot to put it back in my camera before leaving the hotel. Brilliant.

It’s hard to write or think about Berlin without resorting to being trite or thinking in clichés about ‘massive change’ and ‘coming to terms with its past’. It’s an amazing place. You should go.

A note for anyone visiting: If you ask “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” of hotel, restaurant, or shop staff and they reply ‘a little’, chances are that they speak it better than you do. Just sayin’.

Is this a blackout or am I losing my sight? (Not about gardening.)

Deeply, deeply exhausted. Here’s some stuff I wrote earlier:

(Written today on another semi-epic train journey – this time from Gdańsk to Berlin via Poznań)

I spent my last night Poland eating a massive bowl of pasta, drinking Chilean wine, and watching Gentlemen Broncos (off a laptop) with friends and their cats. I wouldn’t have changed a thing, except for the dozens of attempts at sinus clearing with rough Polish toilet paper.

Y’see, the first 8 (!) days of this holiday were hugely buffered by friendly faces. I’ve travelled alone before (always in the UK), and been fine, but heading into the ‘unfriendly’ stage seems awfully daunting at the moment, possibly because I’m feeling miserably full of snot. The resentful glares from the other women in this compartment aren’t helping.

I wish (kinda) that I was one of those people who could make friends wherever they went, but, really, my generally loner-y behaviour and disdain for most people (kidding – I’m mostly just shy) makes it difficult. The fact that I’ve sworn off youth hostels (FIE ON YOUNG PEOPLE) makes it trickier too. I don’t initiate conversations with random strangers (aren’t they all?) easily either. So, despite the lack of a crippling language barrier from here on in, I might still be semi-mute until I get back to Canada. Unless anyone wants to hang out near Heathrow next week?

Anyone remember that plan to see a movie in every country I visited? Well, the Neptun in Gdańsk, a Soviet-era cinema in the Old Town, doesn’t really show movies much anymore (except festivals). Luckily my translator (Piotr) conveyed to the old woman working the cash (they have smaller rooms with regular chairs where they do show some regular films) that I managed a cinema in Canada, she let us in to take a look around. My camera had a bit of a hissyfit with the light levels, so these shots aren’t great. My apologies. Still, very cool to get to see it. I guess I have to find a ye olde cinema in Berlin too. And maybe even see a film in it.

This auditorium holds 1100 people today.

This auditorium holds 1100 people total.

Seriously, this place is huge. The ByTowne holds 670.

Seriously, this place is huge. The ByTowne holds 670.

I think the speakers might have been behind those funky decorations before.

I think the speakers might have been behind those funky decorations before.

This lobby has amazing murals on the walls.

This lobby has amazing murals on the walls.

I have no idea what they normally serve food-wise, sadly.

I have no idea what they normally serve food-wise, sadly.

(Written much later)
Now on the sehr luxurious (comparably) EuroCity Warsaw-Berlin Express after an unexpected 4+ hour stopover in Poznań. Turns out that RailEurope was working from an old PKP schedule – my train was due to come in at 14:05 (per RailEurope), 14:26 (per PKP), but actually came in at 14:38. My original train from Poznań to Berlin left at 14:23. I had to pay 16 zloty to make the ticket change (about $6).

Poznań Głowny is slightly better than many stations I’ve seen, but really, spending an afternoon there is not recommended.
Some things that happened:

  1. I discovered that there were lockers more or less when I was on my way to the platforms to catch my train. I may have barked (such is my voice at this point) “SON OF A BITCH!”
  2. You think that being harassed by drunks in train stations is fun? It’s even less so if you don’t understand what they are saying.
  3. I managed to find an English-language newspaper (Guardian Weekly, no less – I wasn’t feel clever enough for the Herald-Tribune) after five days of trying to make a highly entertaining book last longer (Charlie Brooker’s The Hell of It All – highly recommended, BTW) because I was pretty well out of reading material.
  4. I conducted my first transaction entirely in Polish. Okay, it wasn’t, because, again, Italian names for froufy coffee were involved.
  5. I nearly missed my second train because the Odjazdy (Departures) jammed. Luckily, I understood the announcement that said “Gleis eins” (platform one – thanks Fran von Bloedau for teaching us that song about trains). I still had to make a crazy dash for it, though.
  6. Andrew Bird’s The Mysterious Production of Eggs is fucking ideal train music. (So is the Best of Leadbelly.)
  7. I’ve been looking out of the window every minute or so, but have no idea whether I’ll notice the border (how times have changed, eh?). There are a lot more trucks on the road running by the railway line. Never mind, I think that’s a highway. I think I’m in Germany.

As I’m getting very late, I think I’ll stay in tonight. But, really, the worst thing about right now is that I only have one Kleenex (sorry chustczki higieniczne) left.

PS (20:40) I was not in Germany. Rzepin ain’t no German name.
PPS (20:48) Now apparently stuck in Rzepin. I wonder if this has to do with the sheepish guy being led down the train by the guards earlier.
PPPS (21:02) Oderbruck! Guten Abend, Deutschland!
PPPPS (21:12) Hm. This train’s okay, but the commuter trains in Frankfurt (Oder, not am-Main) look like spaceships compared to this thing.