Mini Rock Stars

I'm a little late to the Rock Band party, but tonight I played it for the first time with my niece and nephew. They stuck me on drums - probably better than listening to me sing.
My niece, K, is 6 1/2, stuck right in the middle of the Hannah Montana/High School Musical Juggernaut. She's cute as a button and miniature. She can still fit into 18 month skirts, though they are a bit obscene.
P, the nephew, is 11, and is entering the 'my family is embarrassing' stage. And we all know it's all going to get worse from here. We will all be hideously uncool in his eyes for at least 7 more years.
But, to my great surprise, they both tolerated their dorky aunt playing in the band.
P took the the guitar, and started in on the trash talk - he informed me he'd be playing at the hard level. But I should start at easy. Always nice to be put in your place by a preteen.
K was our singer. For a six year old, the kid's got swagger. She took her place at the front and started immediately on the tush wiggling.
First song, P's choice: Hungry Like the Wolf. Nothing like a little Duran Duran (I love you Simon LeBon!) to get things started. I tried desperately to keep up, but that drums on that song are not easy! I pretended to know what I was doing and even tried to do a few spins with the stick. Yes, I'm a dork.
Next song, the classic, Eye of the Tiger. Now, this was a song I could handle. Basic beat, nothing fancy. I was starting to get the hang of this!
And finally, the last song, a surprising choice for a couple of kids - Man in the Box by Alice in Chains. I love Alice in Chains, they're probably one of my favorite (don't slap me for saying this) grunge bands. But they're a little dark for little kids - or so I thought.
K struts up to the tv and starts - woaah oh oh woooah oh oh oh, oh oh oh. Or something like that. Luckily the lyrics were cleaned up a bit - there are a few naughty words.
And then the chorus - FEEEED MY EYES, JEEEESSSSUUSSS CHRIIIIST! Oh. My. Goodness. I could have died.
We made it through the song, and then it happened. P struck the final chord and K jumped up in the air, did a scissor kick and landed in the splits.
I think we're in trouble.


Little Good Things

Today could have been a very bad day.
But somehow, it turned out just fine.
The day started out a little shaky. B had been out by the natural gas meter on the side of the house and smelled gas. We knew that we needed to get it checked out, but I was convinced that the gas company would somehow charge us some 'emergency' fee. With dread, I called the gas leak hot line and explained that it was probably not a big deal, it was probably just a tiny leak. The friendly, competent woman I spoke with assured me someone would be out shortly and there would be no charge. And that all gas leaks were a big deal.
While I was on the phone, I heard Carl (our big dumb golden retreiver) whining at the back door. I went to the sliding door and opened it, shushing Carl - George was down for a nap. Then I noticed something strange. Sadie, our very needy husky mix, wasn't crawling over Carl to get to me. I called her. Nothing. I called her again. Same. I went to the side of the house and the side gate was open. I knew for certain the gate was shut because I had been on that side of the house earlier sniffing for gas. So, my creepily intelligent dog had opened the gate on her own.
I tried to stay calm, but she has escaped before and ended up down in doggie jail, requiring a $75 bailout. I closed the gate so Carl couldn't escape (why he didn't before I'm not sure) and went out to the front.
"Saaaa-dieeeee! Here Sadie, come on Sadie!" How embarrassing. And she was nowhere to be found. I tried to sound as inviting as possible, I knew she wouldn't come back if she felt my voice was even a little bit threatening. I called for about five minutes. Still no Sadie. Then I decided to call Carl instead. Sadie can not handle Carl getting attention. It's her kryptonite.
"Caaaarl! Car ride, Carl."
Sadie reappeared, galloping up the road at record speed.
I was nice to her, and didn't even scold. I was just happy she was back and not in the back of the animal control van or smashed on the road somewhere.
So, back to the gas company. Sure enough, less than an hour later two guys showed up and there was definitely a leak. They fixed it quickly and even came in the house to restart my furnace and hot water heater. And they again assured me there would be no charge. I'm still in disbelief.
Another highlight? I discovered the business Costco just down the road. It's much closer to our house than the regular Costco and doesn't have all the tempting books, movies, kids clothes, et cetera. Much easier to get out without overspending.
As I write this I realize I sound INCREDIBLY LAME. But seriously, it's probably one of the better days I've had in a while. So I'll take it at face value. And hope the gas company doesn't send a surprise bill.


Circa Old

Here it is. The sewing machine on which I will learn to sew or decide I will never sew again.

This sewing machine is well traveled. It has lived in many states and even more houses. It was born long before me. It is, however, electric. Whew.

It has been instrumental in the production of many colors of elastic waisted corduroy toddler pants. It has stitched many an Easter/Christmas dress. It tried to sew stirrup pants when those were in style - I swear they were at some point. Ditto for camp shirts and jams (JAMS?!).

I should hate this machine and the torture it inflicted on my childhood.

And here I am, gearing up to torment my son with homemade clothes. And yes, my feelings will be hurt when he starts to insist on REAL clothes from the store.

But I ask you, how can I really be mad at the machine when it made this little gem?

Wish me luck. Hopefully I won't stitch my fingers together.


You Capture: Week One - I Love.

This week's You Capture challenge? Photograph something you love with no flash. I headed outside for this one, as my camera skills are a little wobbly. But I love these shots!

I love everything about my son. But, in particular, I love his profile. When he was born, he arrived with such defined features. No little button nose here!

Why do I love this face so much? Because he looks just like my other favorite person, his Daddy.

Head on over to I Should Be Folding Laundry to check out some other You Capture posts.



Dentist & Gynecologist = Really Bad Day

Since my insurance runs out at the end of this month (gulp), I've been cramming in as many appointments as possible in the last few weeks. Today, well, I think I overdid it.
Three hour dentist appointment, which included cleaning and fillings. Couldn't drink without drooling or eat without gnawing on the side of my cheek for five hours.
And a lady appointment which, as all us ladies know, is just never pleasant.
So, I'm going to go stuff something in my face and then pass out.



I hate utility companies/internet, phone & television providers/credit card companies. I don't understand why they feel it's okay to for me to pay them exorbitant rates for mediocre service and then waste hours of my time on the phone.

Case in point - last December we signed up for satellite service. I won't name names, but they're pretty well known. They were advertising a great rate - 29.99 a month for 12 months. Not bad.

So today I get a bill for 132.00. WHAT THE $*%&#*?! I figured out part of it was from last month's bill, which I thought I'd paid through autopay. I promptly paid that $41.00 and then got on the phone. I was calm and figured it was just a billing mistake.

Forty-five minutes and three customer services representatives later, I learned that I could only get that rate if I filled out an online form within 60 days of starting service. Which was three days ago. And no, they simply couldn't fix my account retroactively.

Let's just say I wasn't very nice. And the matter has now been escalated to some sort of committee who will decide the fate of my satellite rate. And by the way, I can't cancel without some sort of major fee. Like I said - #*&@#@!!!!!

Maybe what these companies should understand about me is that I do not take no for an answer and I will fight them till I get what I want. I have taken a few phone companies and a car dealership to the Better Business Bureau and won. Seriously, I worked with attorneys for nearly eight years. Some of that bullheadedness is bound to wear off. And now that I'm unemployed, I've got all the time in the world (well, not really, but I've got enough to be really obnoxious).

So watch out major satellite provider. I will get my promotional rate. OH YES. IT WILL BE MINE.


My Child, the Genius

Yesterday during bath time I noticed G kept on pointing at my nose and saying 'NOOOO. Noooo.' Since his new favorite word is 'no', I thought maybe he had a problem with my nose. Like it needed to get off my face. But then it dawned on me - is he trying to say nose?
Then I asked him to point at mommy's eyes - which he did. Actually, it was more like stabbing at my eyes with his little chubby fingers. A fluke? Maybe. But then I said 'G, where are mommy's lips?" and he fishhooked me (if you are not familiar with this move, it's the index finger curled like a hook, inserted into an unsuspecting victim's mouth and yanked, hard)! I was so proud!
When B came home, I tried to show him G's new trick, but the little stinker was uncooperative. Big surprise there.
On another note, something not so intelligent, my son has discovered his gag reflex and takes great pleasure in ramming his fingers (or entire hand) down his throat, sometimes to the point of vomiting. Then he laughs maniacally.
Lovely! My son is bulimic at thirteen months. You know this will be on Discovery Health.


Frugal: The Energy Edition

I come from a family of penny pinchers. My mother rinses out and reuses plastic bags, hangs clothes to dry year round, and scrapes mold off of cheese - and I'm not talking about cheese that's supposed to be moldy. Think cheddar. Mmmmm.

She didn't acquire these habits on her own. My grandmother did all of the above - plus rinsed out aluminum foil to reuse, had an entire drawer full of twist and bread ties from the grocery store and when she died, we cleaned out her chest freezer to find frozen applesauce from 1964 (she passed in 1983). Though I was a little young to help out with the cleaning out of the house, I remember boxes and boxes of old school work, clothes still needing a button or patch, and several boxes in the attic full of rinsed out plastic sandwich baggies, waiting for a new life. I guess these practices border on - scratch that - are full on hoarding. But I can't really hold it against her - as a young adult during the Great Depression, she learned to stretch or save every cent.

After growing up in a household which always had plenty but every cent was accounted for, I became a bit of a rebel. While B and I were both employed, we did a lot of take out and barely reused anything. I have a closet full of half used hair and beauty products. I have WAY too many clothes. My kitchen is overflowing with hardly used gadgets and food products that we tried and then migrated to the back of the pantry. We don't have a lot of luxury or big ticket items, but we have a lot of excess. And now I find myself in a situation not as awful but certainly comparable to what my Grandmother experienced. I know, this recession is not on as grand a scale as the Great Depression, but most of us are going to have to learn to live with less and modify our over consuming ways.

Besides the obvious, which is spend less, I'm trying to figure out ways we can save money on bills - namely gas and electricity. Our gas bill this winter has been obscene - I know it was cold - but our house is only 1100 square feet. We have gas heat and hot water, and I'm sure where most of the cost is accruing. So, my newest mission is seek and destroy energy and natural gas suckers.

Some ideas:

- Hang dry laundry, especially jeans and towels. I let them dry almost completely then throw them in the dryer for a quick fluff.
- Always turn off the light when leaving a room. I've been keeping the blinds open during the day to take advantage of the natural light (when we have it).
- Showers instead of baths - except for George. He's not quite ready for the shower and is too wiggly to take one with either of us.
- Seek and destroy drafts. We have an ugly draft that leaks around our front door. And a huge draft from the cat door into the garage. I'm not sure how to fix these, but I'm going to do some research - I know we lose a lot of heat from these two areas.
- Only run the dishwasher when full.

These are just a few ideas that I can deploy immediately. I have others, like insulate the attic and buy a new, energy efficient refrigerator and furnace, but those things will have to wait.

Anybody have any other energy saving tips out there?


Hi, My Name Is ____________.

I've been wondering for a while who, if anyone, reads my ramblings. So I'm just going to put it out there. Who are you? Where are you from? Do you have a blog I can read?
Comment below, I'd love to hear from you!


I Was (Nearly) a Teenaged Felon.

I'll just preface this by saying three things:

1) I was a painfully, boringly good teenager. A little mouthy at times, but overall, well behaved. I went to church on Sundays and didn't drink until I was in college (where I bravely made up for lost time).
2) I grew up in the sticks. I supposed there are more remote places than Deming, WA. But when you're fifteen, living twenty minutes drive from the nearest "city" is tortuous. Suffice it to say, there's not a whole lot to do.
3) I am changing names to protect the not so innocent. But I know at least one of you reads this. Feel free to pipe in if my memory is hazy and I forget something.

Our story begins in quaint little Van Zandt, Washington, a tiny hamlet nestled, well, in the middle of nowhere. Though it does boast Everybody's Store (a.k.a. the Nickel Pickle, because they sold - maybe still sell - huge dills for a nickel). My dearest friend Bianca (we're going for the glamour names here) grew up out in those parts, and I and two other girlfriends were having a sleepover on a Friday night.

The rest of the posse - Antonia and Roxanne. Sitting around on a Friday night. What to do? A plan began to brew.

We were constantly hearing of the escapades the boys were having now that they were driving. Cool stuff like laying on top of a car going 45 mph down a county road and mailbox baseball. Why couldn't we go raise a little hell?

First thing (if memory serves) - we stole a sign. We were badasses, but not without conscience, so we thoughtfully selected a sign that would not cause a traffic problem. A Dead End sign. Conveniently, there was such a sign just down the road. After dark, we piled in Roxanne's car (she and Antonia were 16 - Bianca and I were still a few months off). There are no street lights out that way so we were under the cover of night - and dove into the ditch (which was surprisingly deep) when the occasional car passed. You may think knocking down a sign is pretty simple. Well, it's not. What we failed to recognize is that the sign post itself was probably ten feet tall. So once we had that sucker down, we couldn't fit it into the sedan Roxanne was driving. We thought fast - we opened the trunk, two of us climbed in, and held onto the signpost as it lay across the back of the car. The mile drive back to Bianca's house was harrowing - considering the sign went about three feet into the oncoming lane. Brilliant!

Once safely back at Bianca's house, we stashed the sign and cooked up a bunch of spaghetti. Noodles only, no sauce. I'm not sure if we had a plan for them at that moment, but we packed up the pasta and headed to town.

Next on the agenda - supplies. We went to the first grocery store as we came into Bellingham and loaded up - toilet paper, eggs, and plastic forks. If you are not familiar with teenage pranks, three of the basics are tp-ing, egging, and - wait for it - forking. I will explain this later and it is supremely stupid. But I digress.

We checked out and as we were loading our loot in the parking lot one of us noticed the car of an upperclassman - aka, victim number one. This is where the pasta was deployed. I can't remember completely, but somehow the pasta ended up all over the hood of her car. Yes, lame. But I'm pretty sure she was pissed and thought someone else did it - boys. HA!

That was only half of the spaghetti - I think we threw the rest at some random pedestrian on the way back out to the county.

Victim number 2 was not really a victim at all. He was a 19 or 20 year old guy who was the driver when a bunch of guys from my class egged my house the previous summer. The worst part was they were INVITED to my party - and egged my house instead. This is where the forking came in - we each took a pack of plastic forks and stuck them all over in his (parents) front lawn. Oh my stars! What a bunch of hooligans! I would be surprised if we didn't throw some eggs as well. It would have only been fitting.

Victim number 3 was a guy in our class. He lived right on the main highway and for some reason we felt his house would be a good one to toilet paper.

We slowed down in front and Roxanne cut the lights as we pulled into the driveway. We jumped out, armed with our toilet paper. I'm sure army crawling was involved. We needed to move fast, and have our getaway car ready if we needed to flee. Remember, the headlights are out on the car, and it's probably about 1 am. Three of us were doing a VERY CRAPPY JOB of toilet papering (we had little or no experience) and Roxanne began to back down the driveway onto the highway to get turned around.

And then we heard it - a screech and a crash.The three of us ran down to the highway to find Roxanne sitting dazed in the drivers seat, a truck with a dented front fender and a really pissed off dude.

We all jumped into the car and I won't name any names but ONE of us yelled "Drive, drive!" Roxanne threw the car into gear and drove.

Truck guy ran to his truck and tore after us. At this point we knew we couldn't outrun him so we pulled into the our high school parking lot. Someone was a quick thinker and explained to angry truck guy that we wanted to get off the freeway and under some lights! Whew - hit and run charge averted!

Numbers were exchanged - but no pleasantries. Angry truck guy left (looking back, I'm pretty sure he was drunk) and we sat in the deserted parking lot. I think we were probably crying at this point. We were in massive trouble, for sure.

The crying continued all the way back to Bianca's house, and the last thing I remember about the night was sitting on Bianca's floor in a circle, hands clasped in prayer. Please God, please don't let our parents find out. The prayer of a teenager.

I don't know about anyone else, but my parents didn't find out. In fact, I told my mother nearly six years later. She was still shocked. But she couldn't ground me.

So that's my story of teenage shenanigans. After this night, I was a little gun shy about pranks and tomfoolery - and then I went out with a guy for two years and became insufferably lame and boring.

But I'll always have that night! Thanks ladies!


We Don't 'Do' Valentines Day...Or Do We?

I have been with B for almost 8 years. And in that time, we have never celebrated Valentines day. I've tried to force it on him, which usually did not end well. Valentine's Day is a 'Hallmark' holiday. And that's that.
Or is it...
This year, I honestly forgot it was Valentines Day. I don't know how - probably due to the fact I have more pressing issues. So I was floored when my darling B came home last night with a lovely card and some nice bath salts. A small gesture, but to me it meant the world.
And he even played Mario Kart with me and let me win a few times...
I think I'll keep him.


A Food Winner (Alternate Title: How Many Times Can I Write Balls in One Post?)

Being a SAHM (stay at home mom or sweet ass hot mama) has it's benefits. One being I can actually dabble more in scratch cooking, which I really enjoy. I've decided to hone my mad skillz on my poor son.
G has moved into this stage where he refuses to be fed but is pretty unsuccessful with flatware. He'll get a bite or two in then use his spoon as a drum stick (the drum kind, not the chicken kind) or a utensil to feed the dogs. So I've been trying to come up with healthy finger foods - though some days chicken nuggets from the freezer are mighty tempting - for me and him. Man, I love breaded chicken. Okay, breaded anything.
The last two days I've had some success. Here's one: Sweet Potato and Chicken Balls. I need a better name for them, but it'll have to do for now.

You'll need:

1/2 large sweet potato, cubed
1 medium russet potato, cubed
2 Tb butter (unsalted or salted, your choice)
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
1 carrot, shredded or diced
1/2 small onion, diced
flour, for breading
oil (I used olive, you can use that or vegetable)

Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 12-15 minutes, or until they're mash-able. Drain, and mash with 1/2 the butter.

In a skillet, saute the onion and carrot in a bit of oil till they start to soften. Add the chicken and cook till done, about 10 minutes, depending on how small you chopped it.

Process the cooked chicken mixture in a food processor and add the chicken mixture to the potato mixture. Form the mixture into little balls about the size of large marbles. Dip the little balls into the flour to lightly coat.

Heat a skillet with butter and oil (oil has a higher smoke point and will help the butter from burning). Place the breaded balls into the pan and brown on all sides. Drain on a paper towel. Cool a bit and serve. These also freeze well - freeze them on a cookie sheet before transferring to a freezer bag.

PS. These are good for adults too. I ate a few for lunch with some salad.
PPS. You can also do these as mini pancakes. But then you don't get to say BALLS.


To Do

These last two days have been an odd mix of frenetic organizing and laying catatonic on the couch. As I write that it sounds as if I'm manic - I'm not, I promise! I can happily say my bursts of energetic go-get-em-ness have been quite fruitful. I've cleaned, done laundry, made lots of doctors appointments all to take place BEFORE the insurance runs out. I did and filed the taxes and oh yeah, filed for unemployment. Weird. It's scarily simple. Though I've heard to keep it going you must apply for several jobs weekly. Sounds delightful.
All this catch up is keeping me sane for now. But I know I will eventually need to come up with other distractions. Yes, I have G. He is a very fun distraction. The problem is I tend towards cabin fever and quickly. I've been trying to come up with fun things to do with a very loud toddler in tow.
We've tried the park. It was fun, until we left. Holy tantrum, Batman! G screamed all the way home (a good mile or so). I'm sure passersby thought I was kidnapping him. I am not discouraged though, we will try the park again, but on a day that is warmer and I can handle G eating all the little pieces of bark in the playground.
So I have the park, and am going to try to find some good swimming lessons for G, and possibly some music lessons if they aren't completely cost prohibitive. I have ideas for G. But for me?
Well, I want to learn to sew. I have a machine, albeit old, that I think I may drag out. I don't know what I'm going to sew, but I figure now is a great time to learn.
Another thing: a vegetable garden. I think I can put one on the side of our house. There is enough sun and the dogs can't destroy it there. Some beans, some carrots - nothing too complicated.
That's my personal to-do list so far. Any other ideas? I've got all the time in the world...once G is down for a nap.


Makin' Baby's (Food): A Simple Tutorial

I've never fed G any food out of a jar. When I tell people this, I sometimes get comments like 'wow, you must have a lot of free time' - sha' right! While it does take a wee bit of commitment to get up and running, making your own baby food is super easy, economical (HELLO RECESSION!), and the best way to make sure your kiddo is getting the very best ingredients and a varied diet.
So, I'm going to hop off my soapbox now and actually tell you how to whip up some baby grub.

First, the gear.

Must have:
ice cube trays
blender or food processor
nice deep pot and a steam basket (this one is cheap and easy to clean)
sieve or fine mesh strainer
Freezer bags
Sharpie marker

Nice to have:
stick (also called immersion) blender - these are great if you have little space and can replace the blender/processor
food mill - good for grinding things like peas where you need to get rid of the skin

Next step - grocery shopping! To be very honest I'm not super vigilant about organic. B works in a nursery and is very knowledgeable on pesticides and the like, so I don't get too worked up about organic vs. regular produce. Especially for things like squash where you're going to discard all of the peel. But that decision is entirely up to the chef - that is the beauty of making your own baby food - you get to decide what goes into it!

Here are a few ideas for some easy, freezable first foods:

Pear - Peel and core, chop and steam. Cool and puree, then pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Apple - See Pear.
Butternut Squash - Peel, chop and steam OR bake in the oven (pour a little water or orange juice in hollow and cover with foil) and scoop out the flesh. Puree, adding water to bring to the right consistency. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Yams - Bake in the oven (this produces the sweetest taste) and scoop out insides. Puree like the squash. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
Peas - I buy frozen, no salt added. Steam the peas, puree and push through a fine mesh strainer or sieve to get rid of the excess skin - the skin is a little tough for beginners. Pour pea puree into ice cube tray and freeze.

You might ask why ice cube trays? I find they freeze just the right portion for a baby just starting solids. Once the food has frozen, I pop the little portions out into marked freezer bags. At mealtime, simply choose your food and pop it in the microwave for about 25-30 seconds. Stir vigorously to get rid of hot spots and check the temperature before feeding to baby.

That's it!

If you're still skeptical about the time this takes - take heed. It only takes about an hour, max, on a Sunday afternoon to produce enough food for an entire week - or maybe two. So it's really not too much of a time commitment.

Now, for a little inspiration. Once your child is old enough that you've tried a good base lineup of foods and ruled out allergies, you can start using more complicated recipes. I've found a couple of really great cookbooks for ideas:

Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel - Easy to read, quick recipes and very tasty. This is a good book to start with, goes over all the basics of preparation and nutrition.
The Petit Appetit Cookbook by Lisa Barnes - This one is fun, creative and especially good if you're going the organic route.

I've gained so much from preparing all of G's food - I'm not home with him all the time, so it's a good feeling to know that when he eats meals while I'm at work, it's something I put time and effort into. I know it benefits his health and saves some money. And who doesn't want to do that these days!


Magnetic Bag Clips: A Cautionary Tale

This year our Superbowl gathering was small: B, G and me. I didn’t feel like putting together a full blown spread, so I ran out to Trader Joe’s and picked up some wings, taquitos and garlic fries (yes, my arteries hurt reading that).

All I had to do was heat them in the oven. I set the oven to preheat and set my jelly roll pans out on the stove.

The preheat buzzer went off and I threw the food loaded pans into the oven and set the timer so I could retire to the living room to catch some of the game (okay, the commercials).

After about five minutes I smelled something from the kitchen – something plastic-y. I had accidentally melted a sandwich bag onto one of my stove burners last week so I figured it was just heating up and was stinky. I grabbed my tongs to rotate the wings and pulled open the oven door.


I called to B in the living room ‘Um, I think the oven is on fire’. To which he replied ‘You think it is on fire? Or you know it’s on fire?’

I opened the oven door again. ‘Definitely on fire.’

B jumped up and ran into the kitchen. We had a short ‘discussion’ about how to put out plastic fires and settled on baking soda. Which worked beautifully by the way. Then we set about airing out our house, which was filled with noxious plastic smoke.

At this point, I had no idea what had caught on fire. Did one of my little nieces or nephews stash a toy in the oven the prior weekend (yes, I hadn’t turned on my oven in that long)? Did a plastic bag get dragged into the oven with the jelly roll pans? I had no idea.

I pulled the food out and tried to inspect the oven but it was still too smoky. I looked at the bottom of the pans and on one, there was a magnet. Huh? A magnet wouldn’t cause a fire.

Later on, I was cleaning up the kitchen and putting food away. I went to seal up the tortilla chip bag and couldn’t locate my bag clip. My MAGNETIC BAG CLIP.

The oven was clear of smoke so I peered inside and sure enough, in the char was the little spring from my incinerated clip.

So, take heed. Magnetic bag clips stick to metal pans. Duh. The strangest things happen to me. I’m a sh*t magnet. Pardon the pun.