Monday, June 27, 2016

The Current Crisis, Summed Up on a Long-Lost Sticky Note

Somehow this sticky note my family therapist wrote for me got blown off the wall of my former basement office and lost. I’m guessing it blew into the trash basket underneath my desk. I’m glad I got a photo of it, because it was one of my favorites. The sentiment is very specific to my current circumstance here in this small hotel room with my wife and four cats, but could apply to anyone stuck in a bad job, relationship, living arrangement, etc. Which is to say, everyone you know, and maybe you, too.

It’s an endurance contest, like anything. Don’t let it crack you. Don’t let them see you sweat. Clear a corner of your mind, make a plan, and execute it in silence. You owe no one an explanation, and big speeches are for smirking-stupid villains about to get taken down.

Clear a corner of your mind. If you haven’t done so already, this should be your first item of business. Everything else should become clearer (if not crystal clear) from there. Good luck.

Drive-By Review of Independence Day: Resurgence

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY/tl;dr: If you’re going into this movie stoked for a reprise of that exhilaration you felt the first time you watched the 1996 summer smash/cable TV staple, Independence Day, you’re in for a world of disappointment. Independence Day: Resurgence is entertaining enough as an alien invasion movie, but falls flat as a sequel due to sloppy storytelling that fails to remind us why we cared for the original characters, let alone the fate of all life on Earth during the current crisis.

It’s been so long since I’ve been in a theater to watch a movie I couldn’t tell you if it was the last Harry Potter movie, or the first Hunger Games. It’s been so long I’m past bragging about it like it means anything (insert usual sing-along complaint about rude theatergoers, etc.). Life has been so much less complicated since I abandoned caring about the movies, and modern pop culture as a whole, altogether. It’s pointless to complain about the endless remakes/regurgitations, and CGI superhero cartoons. It is what it is, and it won’t change until it does. I’m proud to say this is the first time in years I’ve bothered with the subject at all.

As it turns out, my wife and I are stuck in this hotel room until we can close on our house in Monte Vista. A small hotel room, with all four cats, and the litter box in the bathroom. Yesterday, she had to get out. We’ve had free tickets for Regal theaters that had been gathering dust in a desk cabinet since 2007. The time had come to put them to work.

At least agreeing on the film was easy enough. As the original Independence Day had been a favorite of our family since it first came out in 1996, we were curious about the sequel.

Yes, a family favorite. It’s one of those movies, when it comes on the TV, we end up watching it. Never mind that we have it on Blu-ray. Never mind that we’ve seen it countless times. Independence Day catches our attention, and keeps it. We laugh and cheer along when the good guys get one in, because the bad stuff has been making iconic disaster scenes one after another since the countdown Jeff Goldblum figured out hit T-minus zero. We’ve seen the White House go ka-blooie, we watched Air Force One race the deadly fireball, and we thrill to it just like we did the two dozen times before. 

Here’s the deal with good ol’ ID4, as the marketing boys branded the original Independence Day. A major lesson I took away from reading multi-genre masters of “pulp” literature like Robert E. Howard, Louis L’Amour, and Edgar Rice Burrroughs is that you can have the corniest setup, the most clich├ęd characters, the most obvious story direction—and you’ll keep reading, and love every cornball minute of it, so long as all the right narrative notes are hit, all the correct emotional triggers engaged. It’s not as easy as it seems, which is why we remember these pulp masters, and why people still read their decidedly non-literary work decades after their deaths. It requires OCD-level attention to detail among all the moving parts in the story, but it can be done.

This is exactly what happened with Roland Emmerich’s original Independence Day. We had different characters from different situations drawn into the crisis, and brought together for the final conflict. We had the U.S. Marine Corps pilot who wants to be an astronaut, but might not be selected because he’s in a relationship with a stripper. We care about the stripper because she’s a single mother and has aspirations to better herself (and proves herself heroic in the evacuation, rescuing even the First Lady of the United States from the wreckage of her helicopter). That’s a couple of examples. I could go on, but the point is, the sequel can’t even do these simple things, all of which can be set up with a few lines of dialogue.

I look at this photo from ID4, and realize I can’t
connect the little boy in the photo to the grown man
representing the same character in Resurgence.
Not even a little bit.
We can’t even decide on who the hotshot pilot who saves the world will be in Resurgence. Is it Will Smith’s grown stepson from the first movie? (Smith’s character is conveniently killed off in a non-alien-related plane crash before the story begins.) He’s haunted somewhat by the sight of his mother falling to her death as the aliens begin their next offensive. Somewhat. It really has nothing to do with anything, except for Vivica A. Fox reprising her role as stripper who miraculously becomes head something-or-other at a hospital, only to plunge to her death with a collapsing building shortly after loading a new mother and her baby into a helicopter. It’s mentioned a couple of times later how badly the guy feels about it. I felt nothing. I don’t even remember Will Smith’s character’s stepson’s name.

There’s another hotshot pilot played by Liam Hemsworth, and he’s got that Loveable Rogue thing going on. Are you our hero? He screwed up his career by nearly getting Will Smith’s character’s stepson killed in some flying maneuver gone wrong. Or something. It’s never quite clear. It just kinda happened, but Will Smith’s character’s stepson is still angry about it, and a Chinese general hates him for the same reason, because, well, you’re not a rogue if you don’t have haters. Or something. It’s something that apparently calls out for redemption, and there is, of sorts, but like everything else in this movie, there is no emotional traction whatsoever. You’re not rooting for anyone like we all were rooting for wisecracking, cigar-smoking Will Smith in 1996.

Oh, and I almost forgot: Will Smith’s character’s stepson supposedly leads an entire elite squad of the Bestest Fighter Pilots in the Solar System. I’d call them The Flying United Colors of Bennington but only people who remember the ads from the mid-1980s to 1990 will get the joke. So the joke fails, and our young, whey-faced pilots aren’t much good for anything, either.
“I’m aghast! All this potential greatness, wasted!”

Not even Jeff Goldblum saves this. He’s supposedly an expert on alien stuff who gets to do whatever he wants, having created the computer virus that saved the world in the first movie. He flits around a bit and flusters bureaucratic types who expect him to be somewhere else, doing something else, but for most of the movie he looks either aghast or baffled. He’s not very Jeff Goldblummy, really, which means Independence Day: Resurgence, is no Independence Day. Along with Will Smith, he was a large part of the heart of that first movie.
A great scene among the many great scenes in the original ID4. You’ll see nothing like this in Resurgence.

Judd Hirsch, who played Jeff Goldblum’s dad, is no more than buffoonish comic relief with a heart of gold in Resurgence. In the first movie, he was Jeff Goldblum’s conscience who inspired him to snap out of his middle-aged divorced guy funk to help save the world. He even led a religious service for those not actively engaged in battle, which was a nice touch in a film in which it seemed Earth might very well lose. Here, he's a hustler who wrote a book called something like How I Saved the Earth, capitalizing on his role in the first crisis, and not doing very well at it.

I could go all day with this, character by wasted character. Bill Pullman’s PTSD-wracked former President Whitmore is especially disappointing. Pullman’s character was hurt, but was by no means emotionally shattered in the first movie, despite losing his wife and most of the country he was president of in ID4. He has no reason to be broken in Resurgence, yet he’s a figure hovering helplessly, impotently between reverence and pity here. He even has a limp that requires the use of a cane. Why? Was there a rock in his boot while he flew the fighter jet in the first movie?

All of this brokenness requires redemption, naturally, which he sorta kinda gets. His Great Sacrifice™ should be more exciting than it is. It isn’t.

Brent Spiner’s character has no reason to be alive at all, given that the room he was in was shot full of holes by the president’s detail in the first movie. But he jumps up from bed looking no worse from wear after TWENTY YEARS IN A COMA once the aliens come back on the scene.

Spiner’s character probably has more to do than anyone when it comes to actually affecting the plot, which, curiously, says it all for this appallingly weak sequel. Even getting past his being alive and unusually spry and fit for someone who has been on their back wasting away for twenty years, Spiner’s Lead Science Guy at Area 51 was a somewhat annoying character out of touch with the horror wreaked around the world by the alien tech he was so enamored of. (Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore memorably checks him on this in the original ID4.) In Resurgence, he’s simply annoying.
It’s not Los Angeles. Also, the bad stuff is on account of what’s coming from the sky, not from unstable and collapsing earth. I had to remind myself of this. Loveable Rogue’s flight through the debris that should have knocked him out of the sky was too reminiscent of John Cusack in the small plane in Emmerich’s 2012.

Which is the best segue I’ve got to the horror that’s supposedly going on around the world now that the aliens are back. That is to say, there isn’t any. The writers and the director don’t bother to build any tension with the aliens return to Earth. The movie opens with what appears to be an alien tactical display, showing President Whitmore’s head shot on a convex display making his big speech before the final battle in the first movie. And it turns out Whitmore is awaking from a nightmare. That’s how we know the aliens are coming back.

This artless beginning starts us off baffled for whatever happened to President Whitmore. We get a few quick lines about how Earth’s nations united—a detail that is unfortunately, albeit amusingly timed, given the real-world UK’s vote to leave the European Union the same week Resurgence was released to theaters—and how Earth adapted the technology to defend against possible future attacks. Hooray for us.

So we’re ready. No conflicts here. Then the aliens come, and knock all our extraterrestrial defenses out, from Saturn to the moon. Just like that. No slow burn, no build, nothing. They show up, they blow stuff up, and whatcha gonna do?

A better narrative might have involved tension between war hawks who insist on vigilance against those who say, look, it’s been twenty years, can we please focus on other issues? This could have been done fairly with both sides (suffering survivors would certainly be an issue), but instead the Earth is overwhelmed, and it’s game on. Much has been made in some corners about how actress Sela Ward presented such a fine example of presidential decisiveness, when her decision stupidly takes out a friendly alien emissary who clearly isn’t one of the bad aliens.

Incidentally, when everything goes sideways and Earth’s heroes go to ground, the presidential party holes up in Cheyenne Mountain, right here in my adoptive home town of Colorado Springs. The aliens arrive, and presumably kill everyone there. I don’t get to see this. Neither do you. Sela Ward is standing there looking all presidential as the big doors open and aliens in mech suits fill the space. That’s it.

In ID4, you see the giant, miles-wide alien troop ships filling the skies over all the major cities. We see these cities destroyed, or at least their aftermath. In Resurgence, it’s one great big 3,000-mile wide mothership that covers the entire Atlantic Ocean. This strains credulity even for the most casual sci-fi action fan. The mass of such a thing would affect Earth’s orbit. Such a thing entering the atmosphere would burn off the atmosphere from friction alone. The blocking of sunlight across such a broad swathe of the planet would be another set of problems.

And if you can build a ship the size of a continent, why do you need anything, let alone Earth’s molten core? There are so many other molten-core planets across the galaxy. Why bother coming all the way to the inner solar system of this out-of-the-way star?

Put all that aside, save for the bit about the molten core, and we’ve still got issues. For one, we feel no suspense whatsoever regarding the aliens reaching the molten core. That’s the crux of everything, and there is no tension.

The alien queen comes out to play for the final conflict, and she’s just ridiculous. By herself, she doesn’t pose the threat of total annihilation that a simple ID4 mothership and its fighter ships did in the first movie. We have ONE schoolbus full of children threatened by this ridiculously huge Queen Monster That Wants to Kill Us All. But that just figures when we see all of one city, London, destroyed. Goldblum’s character makes what should be a funny remark about how the aliens always go for the landmarks, but, technically, those were all destroyed along with every other major city in the first movie.

For a sequel that should have been bigger and better and so obviously twenty years removed from poor, primitive 1996, it half-assed everything. There are no characters we care about. There is no sense of worldwide scope. There is no tension. We were watching this in 3D, and even that wasn’t so impressive.

Well, what did I expect? Resurgence wasn’t a sequel so much as another lame “re-imagining” of something that worked two decades ago. Cue that old sing-along complaint.

Except at least everyone in the theater was courteous. All ten or twelve of them. So that was something.

Friday, June 24, 2016

In Case of Severe Summer Heat

More Random Acts of Photography.

Going through the large cache of photos I downloaded from the camera’s memory card, I came across these shots of the sunset from my former backyard (the same where we encountered the Baleful Bunnies) on 26 November 2015. 

I set this one as my computer’s lock screen. So calming. So cooling.

Try not to miss taking in a sunset. We only get so many of them. I’m glad I saved this one in particular. Here’s hoping it works as well for you.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Three Baleful Bunnies, Five Thunderbirds, One Sunny Summer's Day

A couple of extremely random acts of photography. There are more. Might as well get ‘em out there.

It was the second day of June. This month, this year. Only three weeks ago as of this writing, but of another age entirely when I looked out the window and saw these beady-eyed monsters looking back at me.

Six years out from the Summer of Half-Eaten Cats, when coyotes and foxes chewed through our north Colorado Springs neighborhood, the rabbits have multiplied in number. They have gotten so numerous and so bold you can walk up close enough to pet them. They won’t allow that, naturally—not yet, and I don’t advise trying it with these rabies and plague (yes, plague) vectors. 

Aside from the awkwardness of being mean-mugged by famously timid creatures, my wife and I have both been charged by bunnies in the front yard. They will break off and run away at a neat 90-degree angle once they get close enough, but it’s unsettling all the same. 

I’ve been telling myself for three summers straight this increase in the rabbit population cannot continue, but here we are with two or three grown rabbits per yard—I’m talking two or three to every front and back yard—and the little cottontailed creeps are starting to get territorial. I saw two bunny fights in the front yard in one week. I was fortunate enough to get part of the second fight on video, but I’ve yet to edit it. You’re not missing anything, really. Just a big bunny jump high in front of another. 

It’s when they rear up on their hind legs to do the kangaroo boxing that you realize they’re serious.  Keep in mind those front claws they’ve deployed are designed to dig deep holes in hard earth. That first fight could have ended bloody, but the second party wisely opted for retreat.

After a point, it’s no longer noble Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig and the rest of the good rabbits from Watership Down, but troops loyal to General Woundwort’s camp. Seriously, one hopes the predators do return sometime to thin out the population. It’s that, or disease. Disease can be even messier, what with all the intact corpses lying about.

Back in my office, I heard the roar of jet aircraft overhead, and I realized this was the tenth, and likely last year I'd be in Colorado Springs for the graduation of the US Air Force Academy cadets. The Thunderbirds had been practicing throughout the week, as is their custom, and we were now closing in on the final flyover of Falcon Stadium on the Academy. As the Air Force Academy grounds lie due west from my position up the ridges on the other side of I-25. I might be able to catch a glimpse of them from Frontier Park, across the street just north of my house.

They made several passes, but these were the best shots I got.

I wonder if this was where that fifth jet ran into trouble and separated from the group. The pilot later ditched in a field, the jet's fuselage skidding largely intact into a field as the pilot parachuted to the ground. 

As always, Pikes Peak was looking like the usual adjectives, serene, majestic, etc.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Skies of My Apocalypse

Sky porn in lieu of me bitching about my First World problems. All photos taken by and Copyright ©Yours Truly, via a Canon Powershot S95.

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for too long, owing to a major transition in my life—my own personal apocalypse, as it were.

It’s not a perniciously catastrophic apocalypse, but, as befits an apocalypse, there are no walkbacks, takebacks, or go-backs. This is it. This is the end. Long story short, the school district where my wife and I raised our now-adult children all of a sudden became a hot real estate property, affording us the opportunity to sell our house at a profit, pay off our crippling credit card debt, and move to a less crowded and hectic town in Colorado.

As of this posting, I’m writing from a hotel room in north Colorado Springs, waiting for the appraiser in Monte Vista to do his thing so we can settle into our new digs. Everything is delayed because the real estate market is heating up to varying degrees all over Colorado, and everyone involved in such transactions is booked solid.

The process of prepping, showing, and selling the house, along with the stressors of packing and moving (my wife did most of our packout, bless her), smothered my writerly mojo. I could hardly bring myself to post on Facebook, let alone on my blog, or—worst of all—finish my last book in THE SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER series. 

It’s been a week since my wife and I moved into this small hotel room with our four cats. We have maybe six more weeks to go. I’d like to think the worst of my stress was over yesterday with the stomach flu that had me puking my guts out all day Father’s Day, but...six weeks. 

Yeah, I know. Suck it up, Buttercup. It’s all you can do.

At least I’m past grieving for the change. I took many photos of my last walks through the greenbelt near my old place, and a few from my Jeep as I drove through the familiar streets. It’s been a stormier than usual summer here in Colorado Springs, and if I’m already sick of looking at happysnaps of my former home and office, the skies have reflected my mood rather nicely.

So much has changed in our nine years at the old address. When we moved to Colorado Springs in 2007, the town was known as “the evangelical Vatican.” I shared the same ZIP code as Focus on the Family, and was maybe ten minutes away from Ted Haggard’s New Life Church. It’s not nearly as severe as one is given to believe. The day after we moved in, a neighboring homeschooling mom showed up at our front door with a welcoming batch of cookies. I may disagree with the evangelicals on any number of topics (and we are NOT going into that here, or anywhere), but I will defend to the death the practice of welcoming neighbors with fresh-baked cookies, and the people who would do such a thing.

I’m not sure the family is still there. We haven’t seen them around in ages. A lot of people have moved out. Others have moved in. After nine years, with a metaphorical wolf circling in the yard just outside our door for the last five—never mind what the media is telling you to be upset about; the very nature of the economy has changed most apocalyptically since 2008—it was our time to fly.

Nine years. The churches aren’t the big deal they used to be. Many of the tech companies that employed the majority of people who once lived on the north side have either closed, or replaced a lot of their workers with H1B visas. They’re hard to miss, as their families fill the local King Sooper’s between four and six p.m. 

Our children are out of high school and on their own, looking to make their own ways outside of Colorado Springs. While Colorado Springs was a great place to raise children, it never was much of a town for young people to stick around in. And unless you’re an officer with better than average security clearances, and connections in the defense contractor companies still here, it’s no place for military retirees, either. As the economy has contracted, so have the surviving cliques. They’re naturally wary of outsiders, and if you’re not already in, outside is where you’ll stay.

Regardless of the change and how it happened, a change was happening. Adapt and overcome. Change or die.

We’re looking outside the Pikes Peak region to the high San Luis Valley, three and a half hours away. The house we want in Monte Vista is over 100 years old and in need of some work, to say the least. But it fits our narrow budget. And with the debt paid off, we’ve sent the wolf away from our door and down the road a piece. With some care, and barring further catastrophe, he’ll stay there.

As that old song everyone hates goes, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

It’s waiting for that beginning to get properly going that’s going to drive me crazy over the next few weeks. But I’m writing again. That’s something. It has to be. 

It’s a blank new world. Let’s see what I can come up with this time around.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Pastor Bryce's Sunday Message: The Moral Imperative of the Living in the Zombie Apocalypse

Yes, I know it’s not Sunday. I was laid out with a stomach virus yesterday. And all these days before, I’ve been adjusting to living in a small hotel room with my wife and four cats as we wait to close on our house. Yeah, I know. No reason to complain, and my lack of posting is all on my scatterbrained, easily flustered self. With that out of the way....

One of the things I’m most proud of regarding Grace Among the Dead is my refusal to play the Evil Preacher stereotype. I’m not at all religious, but I know a few good-hearted Christians, and I’m not throwing them under the bus for a cheap, easy trope that’s long since been done to un-death.

Besides, I remain convinced that a mega-church (or even a fairly large, but not stadium-sized church) with tight organization and well-run “smallgroups” is probably your best bet for surviving any kind of an apocalyptic crisis. Being a lone wolf works only so long as you haven’t broken an arm or a leg, or gotten sick. Whether it’s zombies or a high-altitude EMP taking out the power and utilities, you need people at your back, even if you share nothing else but a common interest in survival. A church shares a Belief, and that Belief will inspire unity and cooperation—a necessary leg up when all the others have been chewed off.

Pastor Isaac “Zack” Bryce is the classic trope of the Reluctant Hero elevated to his current station by the crisis at hand, who may be in a little over his head. If that trope never gets old, it’s because that’s every damn last one of us when the shit hits the fan. Pastor Zack understands the moral imperative of survivors of a zombie apocalypse better than most, though, and his mini-sermon to main protagonist Derek Grace is crucial to the book—or anyone who is paralyzed into inaction by guilt, etc.:
“There is one thing you, me, and everyone else privileged with breath and life needs to understand—that if you’re privileged with breath and life, you’re obligated to take arms against this mockery of nature, and do what you can to push it back.
“And pardon me if I sound like some sort of preacher or something, but I’ve got the Good News: It’s never been so easy. If you blame yourself for people losing their lives, then go out and save as many as you think you lost, and then some. Save so many the numbers of your lost become insignificant. There’s no excuse not to go out and get your redemption. It’s money on the table.
“It’s that, or you can turn into those lost souls who were going to kill you. Or their prey.” Pastor Bryce raises his eyebrow at that last one. As if he knows that’s the worst thing to be, we just don’t say so in polite company.
“If you’re worried about those children,” Bryce continues, “they weren’t yours to save. They were ours. And may God forgive me if this is wrong, but I’d rather have you here working with us than you dead, and Deputy Grayson and his sidekick still out there.”
“Did Wyoming tell you about them, too?”
“If Wyoming knew anything about that gang, it would have been awfully nice if they’d have warned us. We lost two men on our first and last trip into Falcon. Deacon Walsh was there for that one. One of the deputies approached and declared him and his party under arrest for looting and trespassing. Walsh got his gun off first and was just able to get out of there, but not before someone in a second-floor window dropped David Whitman and John Ross.”
“There were more than two deputies?”
“Walsh didn’t stick around to take the census. He knows he killed him, though. Hollow point rounds leave extra-large exit wounds, but they won’t do as much damage to anyone standing behind the target.” Pastor Zack Bryce sighs, and his face relaxes back into that of the guy I first shook hands with, only sadder. “I didn’t know stuff like that until after all this got started. I really wish I didn’t know now. It doesn’t help me do my job.”
“But that’s what I’m here for,” I say. “Because a doctor I talked to twice in Natalia and a colonel I’ve never met thought I’d be a good fit at this survivor’s outpost.”
“You have a lot of heavy hitters promoting you. It was the provisional governor of Kansas who spoke most glowingly of what you did in Natalia. It was her calling me about you that was the first we learned of what was going on in the outside world.”
“Kansas has a governor?”
“Governor Rebecca Donaldson was appointed the morning after you left. One of the first things she did was leave a text on my cell phone telling me to get to my desk phone and wait for her call.” Bryce looks at the landline phone on his desk. “Mr. Grace, can you imagine? After the busiest, most emotional week of your life, you get this text from a number you don’t know, with the caller ID announcing themselves as ‘Prov Gov of KS.’ I thought it was a sick prank at first, but she knew who I was. She knew I was at this number.”
“Rebecca?” A huge, painful throb of headache rattles my skull. “As in, ‘Special Agent Rebecca Anne Donaldson’?” I’ve got my hands on my temples, the pounding of blood palpable beneath my fingers.
“Well, I don’t know about the ‘special agent’ part any more than I do her middle name. Although I did make the mistake of calling her by her first name in the course of our very brief, rather one-sided conversation, and she nearly took my head off.” I open my eyes in time to see a sly smile crease his boyish face. “You don’t have that problem, I take it.”
“Oh, I probably do now.” Nearly took my head off. Dr. Hearn had called her the Mantis, and said I was blessed among men if I slept with her and got away alive. 
“Well, whatever’s going on between you, she credits you with single-handedly cleaning up the city.”
“Look, Zack, I didn’t ‘single-handedly’ do sh—”
“That’s exactly what she said you’d say. Yes, of course, you had people helping. Still, you’re a legend among the worker bees they had bunked at the high school. They’re the ones who gave you your name, if I’m not mistaken.”
“My name?”
“The Dead Silencer. Wherever the Unclean soil the air with their unnatural cries, you’re there to shut them up with carbon-coated steel, a hammer, and a gun.”
So this is what Rebecca, a.k.a. Rebecca, Queen of Hell had meant by cursing me with success. I’d thought she was just being cute. No, Dr. Hearn’s Mantis was simply outsourcing having my head chewed off. 
“You need some water?”
“Yes, please.” Although I’m convinced nothing short of a bullet to the head will take me out of my misery now.
Like most, Derek Grace is resistant to the message. To be fair, he’s somewhat stressed out, what with being hit with a tranquilizer dart to bring him in. Like every one of us, he has to learn the hard way, and why not? I’d have no book, otherwise. It’s a tale of Love and Redemption, the Living Dead and a Monster Truck. And just wait until you meet the lady driving that truck. Mind you, she’s no Manic Dream Pixie, just blood and guts with baggage all her own.

If this isn't a mess, it'll do til the mess gets here. What are you waiting for?