Thursday, April 21, 2005

Bubble bath

It's been quite a day! I've been working hard - but I managed to spare a little time for some of the things I like. I wrote a song about my best girl friend Slinky. At this stage it's a duet - we discussed being Australia's answer to TATU... but if she's not interested any more it can probably be rewritten as an ode. It's all about the pressure of being just good friends - a touch satirical but still quite fun and honest.

I also had time to look at fabrics and dress patterns for a half hour I had free in the city. Lincraft has some beautiful $3 chiffons - they're calling it party chiffon. It's not super fine, but then it's softer than an organza so I guess it depends what you like. They're all just single-colour. The party satin is horrible.

Additionally, I've managed to find a good stretch of time for a lovely candlelit bath. Yummy! The sort with too many bubbles (lots of too many...) and the spa jets going full of little soft bubbles of air. Nice and hot.

So now I'm off to rub in some lotion while I'm still fresh from my bath. I've also got to tidy the kitchen before bed... I know "never do today what you can put off til tomorrow" but I'll sleep better secure in the knowledge that I have a sparkly kitchen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bouncing around

So I'm feeling well and have taken a day off from blogging to catch up on some needed rest. I spent some of yesterday ironing and some at the mall, just hanging out and shopping.

Kmart has some gorgeous plush blankets, they have to be seen to be believed! They're marketed as faux mink, but they're printed and coloured in such a way as to mimic zebra and leopard fur. So they're actually faux faux fur... or as we say when the French are unfashionable, "pretend make-believe fur".

My first rant for this morning, and although I've not had coffee, I am on my second cup of tea, is about information.

I don't have a television and when people come to my house many enquire where it is. My loungeroom is arranged around the coffee table - which is great since we love coffee. We also have a music room of sorts. It used to be the third bedroom then an extension was made and it became a library with two more bedrooms coming off it. It has our sterio along one side and the piano sitting comfortably in the other half (it's a semi-concert!) with the couch arranged suitably and some beanbags piled in the corner. And that's it! I wouldn't know where to put a TV!

Yet people keep saying (and this really is true) "But what about watching the news?" I keep saying it but nobody listens - TV news is pure entertainment. You're not supposed to learn anything from it. If you do, that's OK, but it's really just supposed to make you watch the ads. Is this true of ABC and SBS? In my experience, they're better but ABC is too easily distracted by appearing professional and reaching the masses. In each case the content gets dumbed down to a few soundbites and pretty pictures. SBS used to make a great news presentation but of course they only cover world issues. While I'm interested in nodding disease, I'm a little concerned that even in my own country, there are some sensational scoops going unreported because it's currently unfashionable to ask hard questions. Particularly close to me is copyright law. Why nobody kicked up a stink I don't know, but I would have thought there was a lot of interesting stink to be made.

So we explain that the Internet is now used for delivering interesting multimedia and that we have a good connection. Now let me complain for a moment about how Internet news works. You go to a typical news site, such as ABC. OK, so the front page has some interesting stories, a German pope and an update on all the Aussie kids picked up taking drugs out of Indonesia. I don't think the churchy story is of much interest but 30-odd percent of Australia is Catholic so they'll probably disagree.

Here are a few examples of what is missing in these stories:
  • These legal stories rarely have all the evidence presented methodically. Instead, they follow the traditional newspaper method and just write the most interesting sentence at the beginning and the least at the end.
  • There is never any indication of how the stories reported affect the reader - and they often do. Example - traveling to Asian countries exposes one to risk. How about a discussion of the risks and rewards?
  • Why isn't anyone worried about the new Pope? He's calling himself Benedict, indicating that he wants to take a Zen approach, but he's also one of those who thinks we're all going to Hell and has given a speech about how he wants to close everyone's mind. Instead of presenting the important bits, the story is reporting on the ceremony. Discussion can be found through links at the end.
  • In other news, Brendan Nelson is suggesting Australia go nuclear powered. Instead of lauging at him and pointing out how much tide, wind and sunshine we have, everyone's saying "what about disposal?"
As you can see, my biggest issue is the lack of independant thought from the journalists. That's why my favourite sources of news are:
  • Hack on Triple J, a great current affairs program where they investigate claims made by Australian lawmakers and often show them to be ill-informed or just plain stupid.
  • Newscientist news, which discusses the issue, rather than just reporting who said what.
  • Silly news such as Fark. Partly because as a blog it can just link to the best article, and partly because it dredges up stuff I never would have realized. I usually just scan the headlines.
  • Local news - I love RiotACT by Johnboy. With a slashdot comments engine, anyone can make a comment, so the reporting better be good!
  • Or indeed slashdot. Yes there's a lot of rubbish there, but the moderation is getting quite good again and they report a lot of interesting news items in Your Rights Online and Science
Sometimes I miss out on important news items, but I'm always informed in such a way as to make intelligent decisions about my life, which is a pretty good start. There is, after all, a lot of news available today. It's better to accept the information and let the entertainment slide.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Herbs and dresses

There's an episode of Star Trek in which Picard falls in love with a piano playing astrophysicist with pretty hair. Well, it's not so unlikely - there are a few of us around now.
He first meets her in the astrophysics lab. She's working super hard and if anyone comes in and turns on the light their work will be ruined. WTF? No, really, what are they doing that requires them to be in the dark, with no telescope in sight anywhere? They've also taken a bunch of system resources offline - like the replicatorors and other fun things, because they need the energy. Not half as much as the captain needs a cup of tea!
He wanders in to see what it's all about and she yells at him for letting light into the room. Good one - she couldn't at least post a sign? They're all standing around some display or other that apparently couldn't be put into a little black box somewhere safe. When she realizes it's the captain and he wanted tea, she scolds him like a child and tells him to drink herbs instead. Well, he's French, sister! I think he's had enough herbal tisane to know whether he likes it or not! He politely tries it, pulls a face, and wanders out full of lust.
When he goes to Data's violin performance, shock! She's the pianist!
She stuffs up her performance in the Chopin trio and generally waves her hands around incompetantly, and Jean-Luc gallantly congratulates her on her bold decision to play a different chord than the one written in a particular bar. So she follows him around with her hand roll piano showing him how clever she is. We piano playing astrophysicists have a tendency to get obsessed over new boyfriends and boys who like piano playing astrophysicists seem to really enjoy the attention.
He ends up killing her off but it's a good episode because Troi isn't in it much and when she does appear to advise him on the ethics of dating someone at work, she tells him he's sufficiently respected for everyone to be pleased for him.

The hand roll piano is now a reality - I guess trekkies can be inventors. Science fiction is definitely a good source for gadget ideas. Personally, I prefer to use it as inspiration for couture. I just love episodes with Lwaxanna in them - partially because she has a great personality and reminds me of a flamboyant friend of mine (she's 50 but dresses and talks like a spoiled teenager with the confidence and self-knowledge of years) but even just looking at her is a visual feast! The costume designer Robert Blackman has said that there was never a better actor to work with - that she loved the fabulous dresses he made and was an excellent sport about some of the more awkward ones.

Coffee

I love watching the crema settle on a perfect espresso. Sometimes I'm a bit late getting started (like when I'm sick and I know I'm on holiday anyway) but then the coffee hits and I feel energised and full of joy. If I had 4 hands and 2 pianos I'd be into Jupiter by Holst but I haven't so I'm confined to putting on the orchestral version CD and jumping around the house singing "dum dum dum da da da dum dum dum da da da dum dum dum da-da-da dadada dum dadada dum da da da"

I think I've got that right.

When I'm singing I'm more restricted. I can have my espresso but only if it's maybe an hour before I sing. No milk but I don't have milk anyway. But no soy milk because it's too filling. Definitely no chocolate! I can have a little tea but again I have to know what it is and not overdo it. Generally I have something neutral like ginger tea and lots of water.

I've been working on my piano repertoire to put together a programme I can take around. I've got some interesting classical tunes but need to work on lighter stuff - nobody wants to listen to a Chopin etude while having drinks, but a nocturne is welcome with the right crowd.

I'm also looking at the songs I know that I can play myself. The demand for this is very low. I'm actually better off with a CD player and a karaoke microphone. Grrr!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Unwell

No clever comments or recaps of my creative work today.

I've come down with a bit of an infection. Fortunately the prognosis, like my Slashdot karma, is excellent. The worst thing is the secondary effects. If it wasn't bad enough that the affected area is swollen and sore, I now have a bunch of general pains from the toxins associated with the infection.

However experience has taught me that nothing works quite like massage for curing what ails ya (unless of course you require antibiotics) so I've been drinking litres of water and enjoying a bunch of different types of foot massage (i.e. reflexology). I've got one of those vibrating machines which is great, and I've also been rubbing my feet with my fingers. I'm feeling better already and hope to be back on track tomorrow or maybe one more day later after that.

Bread results (see previous post)

Yum! It tastes very seedy so next time I mightn't put in quite as many. Otherwise, it's dense and light at the same time like good brown bread should be, and it goes well with the ABC spread.

Home Made

Some of my girlfriends are very special people. They say the friends you meet in university are the special people that you will keep with you for life. For me that's pretty true - it was my first exposure to people like me in a lot of ways. Also, as we get to trust each other, we share our insights into our flaws and quirks, and we learn a lot about ourselves. We're very tightly bound.

So I've talked to my girlfriends about feminism and we've discovered that although we sometimes enjoy them, and although they have to be done, we feel guilty whenever we engage in traditionally housewifely domestic tasks. You know the sort - cooking, cleaning, sewing, re-organising the cupboards...

So when a dear friend of mine mentioned that she enjoyed cleaning, my horror was reduced to mere surprise and distrust. Well what are you going to do? Some of us get a thrill out of solving a fourth-order differential equation. I see the attraction in having things clean, but they get messy or dirty again so quickly that I don't really feel rewarded by the cleanness. I don't feel I've solved the cleaning problem, so to speak. A solution would involve abandoning all possessions and adopting a nomadic lifestyle. Now, it's been pointed out that aspiring businesswomen and maths students don't really adopt a nomadic lifestyle, and while I imagine I'd be happy as a wandering hippy, the fact is it's not going to happen. And so we reach the cleaning compromise. I attempt to get rid of as much stuff as possible, placing it in the holding pen that is my ample garage.

I've got such beautiful furniture, my house should look great. It doesn't because the furniture has stuff all over it. Bit by bit I go through the stuff and find places for it. The chess set gets packed up and put away. The CDs get copied onto a multimedia device and put away. The coffee table books go into a box with a lid and only come out on special occasions. I also regularly throw away old magazines, school notes, letters, journals, and all those other things people insist on keeping that build huge piles that need to be stored somewhere.

On the other hand I'm a keen cook.

I treasure my bread machine. With one of those you can make anything you can get at your local "bakery" (which may not even have an oven) but it will be fresher and healthier. For breakfast tomorrow is sunflower and linseed brown bread. I ground up the seeds with a mortar and pestle and chucked the whole thing in with some wholemeal and plain organic flour. When I pull that out, I've already got some oats and corn ready to go for oats and corn bread. There's polenta in the cupboard so it can be very corny, which makes a crunchy, dense loaf. The oats might make it stickier, I'm not sure - I've not used oats before.

I just love to experiment with cooking! Some people really enjoy the food I make. My hot vanilla custard is just amazing. It's completely vegetarian unlike the stuff in the supermaket with beef in it. I make mine out of soy milk, but you'd never know it. I also love coffee, and make excellent espresso, so I always love to make little biscuits to have with it. Ideally, they'd be chocolate, but I've discovered that I'm rather sensitive to chocolate lately, and even just a few pieces gives me a headache. Of course, what chocolate I do have I treasure, and there's no reason not to make a few chocolate biscuits, but low-sugar almond or almond and oatmeal (I don't use any oil at all but almonds will always be 20% fat) biscuits are healthy and yummy.

So that's what I've been up to today - torn between domestic servitude and domestic bliss! I try to enjoy the challenge rather than shrink from the impossibility. Right now the kitchen's clean (except for the mortar and pestle and they're next) and the bread is in the machine ready for morning. I'll eat mine with almond brazil cashew spread. For lunch I bought some yummy kalamata olives that will make a lovely pasta with carrots, peas and zucchini. After that there's the possibility of a trip to the market or digging deep into my homework.

I've got texmacs fired up ready to go. I've got my assignment and notes all together and my coloured pencils and pens. But tomorrow's another day.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Pencils

It's been a busy day - a cleaning day and an artwork day. I even made it to the mall to get some necessities. I'm now sore all over.

The mall (particularly of a Friday evening) can certainly leave its mark on the shoulder and upper back muscles of a girl, and the back and forth cleaning does it too. Also, my feet hurt.

A little piano practice and plenty of drawing sealed the deal.

Because my current project is in pencil, I'm labouring over every little speck of the canvas. It's not actual canvas - it's textured card designed for watercolour. Because I want to do a wash background, it's the stuff I have to use. I had no idea it was going to be so intense. Anyway, I've got the basic design down and I've got colour applied to everything but the actual skin of the big portrait (I think I might do the skin in transparent acrylic for easier application). I love working with Derwents because you pick up a colour and then you start getting ideas for what to do with it. Of course they're shocking for Australian landscapes or portraits, but they're colourful for stylised cartoon images.

Tomorrow I'll have to get hard at work on all the maths I'm supposed to be doing. Now my room is almost spick and span (almost, but not quite...) I'm just about ready to go. Hooray! It's been a good break, but I'm really starting to miss it.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fantasy Girl

The first rule of geeker life is "have no shame". If one is not afraid to be a trekkie or a maths-head, then why be ashamed to be influenced by Britney Spears or Hello Kitty. There's no shame in finding something attractive.

If the geeker rebels against corporate branding and artifical desires, then surely we must acknowledge that the best brands cater to real desires and that it's OK for that same geeker to consciously choose to be surrounded by pretty or colourful things.

My house is a tribute to IKEA. I like their simple designs with colourful accessories. If I could only get rid of the clutter, it would be a thing of true beauty.

My artwork is sexy anime style. Not exactly Hentai (pervert) manga... just a strong character getting about her life - living some impossible fantasy. My writing also often appeals to fantasy. Not wizards and dice but the fantasies that people really have for themselves.

In high school I watched Star Trek and pretended it was real. But when I thought of my own future it was as a scientist with maybe a boyfriend and a pretty house painted a dozen bold, bright colours. In the more immediate future, perhaps I'd get to go to a cool city school and go shopping and "hang out". That's what I mean by fantasy.

The picture I've been working on today is a cross between a movie-poster and a perfume ad. It stars an unnamed character (but she'll need one soon) who is a cross between Lara Croft and Tasha Yar. But dresses like Jessica Rabbit. Now she's out spying and of course she is more comfortable in a backless strapless hot-pant catsuit. At a ball she wears the same top but it ends in a dress that has a side split from about her waist. Naturally! Set in the real world, but absolute fantasy.

My teen novel is also a fantasy piece. The protagonist is super rich and dresses fabulousy every day. She goes to cafes, takes days off school for special occasions, and generally lives the teen high life. Oh, sure there's some tension and conflice - you wouldn't have an interesting story without conflict. It's just that all this takes place within a little escape world.

We need to immerse ourselves in our fantasies and have no shame. They are what makes us great. No matter how simple or mundane, our fantasies are a crucial part of us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Keeping fit

As a musician, there is not really much emphasis on my appearance. Of course, I'm not just a musician, though. I have to keep my appearance up for my job as an "entertainer".

I go for hair appointments every few weeks. I'm between hairdressers at the moment and need to shop around which is stressful. It takes a few hours to update my colour and foils and then every couple of visits I have to get a trim. At the moment my hair is quite short and cut for curling up. It's fun, but I'm ready to go back to the straight blowdry. That means a whole new colour concept - probably less dramatic foils and more even distribution. The colour is a semi-permenant so it will fade if I decide to stop. Sometimes there is bleach involved with the foils, although they can be dyed back very close to my normal colour if I get fed up with them.

I don't actually exercise. I quite dislike gyms because there's nothing to look at. I particularly detest the ones with the television. I know I can take music but I don't want to be entertained, it just makes me uncomfortable looking at the same room for 20 minutes and not moving in it, even though I'm moving. But put me somewhere interesting (like a mall or interesting street) and I'll walk all day. This is great for keeping legs toned. I take the stairs whenever I can which also helps. I also drive as little as possible which confuses some people. It's not that I don't feel I can drive well in the city - I just love being out for a walk and walking a half hour or hour to a nearby destination is a privilege I'll take when I can get it.

If I'm housebound, then I try to keep healthy with some gentle toning exercises. I do ballerina-style exercise - squats with various feet positions. I think they're called plies. I also do a few sit-ups sometimes but actually, I find my stomach is incredibly strong and I don't like the look of the six-pack. Similarly, I don't really exercise my arms much as I'm already doing plenty of lifting and carrying which is fine. They definitly aren't soft and that's what counts. Sometimes I even do some yoga, because it feels great. The stretching also looks pretty good, but that's not the main motivation.

I never really diet and I don't weigh myself except as a check every two months perhaps (to maintain objectivity). Since body weight fluctuates so wildly, it makes little sense to do weekly weigh-ins, so it's either occasionally for a basic clue or daily for a moving average. I don't need the moving average, because I really only care that I am healthy and attractive. I am 182cm tall and I weighed myself just now at 62.0 kg. My scale also does body fat with a little electric sensor and guessed about 21% and a quick calculation puts my body mass index at a healthy 18.7. A few months ago I was 58kg so I'm glad I've managed to gain a little. It's mostly muscle tone. If 62kg seems heavy, bear in mind that the same body mass index on a woman of 165cm (about average) gives 51kg.

If I'm really working hard (not practical at the moment) I use stair climbing machines or a cross trainer, but prefer bike riding (as long as it isn't too hilly) or ideally roller blading. My current goal is to just gain a few curves... Kylie Minogue style. We can't all be stick figures.

I said I don't diet. The main reason I've been able to gain much weight is that my energy use is on a rapid decline. Before now I've been eating like a monster and using it all up. But I think I've gained enough so it's time to watch myself again. I've been eating on the run and not thinking about food much. The end result is I either eat too little or too much. I make a special effort to enjoy my food and drink lots of water and some tea. Because I'm vegan, it's easy to enjoy food. And super easy to prepare. Just chop a bunch of vegies, throw in some beans or tofu and make a salad/stirfry/pasta/stew/soup/roast/pie. I eat like that all the time and gain my necessary extra calories from desserts like chocolate pudding, sorbet, spiced tea, banana split, or just fruit.

So that's how I keep fit!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Science fiction ideas

I love the Foundation series. And Dune - wow! But if I write a science fiction novel it will be in a relativistic universe. In other words, all these hyperspace shortcuts will be actively researched by any scientist characters I may happen to create, but all travel will be below light speed.

This means inhabited space will be filled in more densely and characters will really only know their local area. The extent to which the Universe is inhabited won't really be known once the civilization gets large enough. The first lunar colonies will have excellent communication with Earth and visit home regularly, but when it takes maybe 10 years to get to the Alpha Centauri system, people will only know their own neighbourhood. Some people will live their whole lives in ships (city-ships, I suppose) and I suspect they will only move when the situation where they are gets really dire or there is some nasty advertising trying to convince people that shipboard apartments are really trendy right now.

The outer space people will first be companies and maybe some expanding countries. In time, companies will seem like fascist countries as regulations become laws and people are born into the company (because if your workplace is your landlord and only source of food you're really stuck with them and you can't really go anywhere). The asteroids will be slowly mined, people will slowly fill the Solar system and other systems as we go.

I'm not sure that terraforming is as easy for me as it was for Asimov, so my planets would all be domed, even eventually becoming like Trantor. I don't mind putting in windows but I imagine that would be very scary at first.

I wonder whether my characters will lead lives of relative drudgery or whether the whole thing will actually be set up properly to begin with. I suspect that it depends on who they were on Earth and who they shipped out with. Some might work to a plan where everyone lives well, but others might just take a cheap ticket away from a dying Earth to a richer land where there are greater resources.

What plants and animals would be saved? Where would they go?
What would everyone eat?
What would they do for air and water?

Is there a solution other than biosphere is what I'm getting at. And for a large enough biosphere I think it's quite reasonable to take spare air on a rocket mission.

This is the universe. The book will reflect our attitudes to it. I need to do a lot of research on how people consume resources and how we change our environment to suit us. I want to also look at how we arrange ourselves into social and economic structures in various circumstances. Finally, there will be an investigation of culture shock, and how people handle cultural differences.

"Rain in May" rhymes with "Small Cafe"

Rocket fibbed!
I said I didn't want to be one of those people who gets busy for a few days and doesn't post anything, but here I am at the end of a busy weekend and I haven't written a thing.
2 toddler birthday parties (why have just one?) for which I made the cake, a dinner party with a surprise guest (a jazz musician and old friend who I haven't seen for a couple of years) making the cake for the parties (chocolate with Hello Kitty in the icing)... I saw DJ T for a while of course but we got playing with my keyboard and piano and a glockenspiel and that was the extent of music we had this weekend.

Anyway, I'm nervous about writing. It's hard to know if it's going to be interesting and since I've never done it before I feel a little under-qualified. On the other hand, the blog is definitely a postmodern medium. As a postmodern writer I am highly qualified.

Hanging out with the jazzers has been great and I've got some interesting ideas from that. Pop is so dramatic nowadays... it's either true love complete with harp-playing cherubs or it's heartbreak that feels worse than when my brother ripped the head off my beloved plushie. Jazz on the other hand is more real. It's about lovers being "retarded" for each other or reminiscence of a fun (but now over) romance, but with a firm understanding that these things rarely work out and that it's OK to just have fun with each other.

So I think a jazz feel would be an appropriate context for my songs. Now I can adhere strictly to the jazz formula and write a song that goes:

On a rainy day in May
Dancing in a small cafe.
Just as the day turns into night
Summer's gold to winter's white.
Now he's gone away
I hadn't time to say
Our love didn't burn bright
But he always treated me right.

It's not going to happen!
Stay tuned for some of the themes I am planning to turn into songs. Some of it is a bit abstract, but it's definitely about young people and our aspirations.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Growing pains

In my excitement I had prepared yet another post. But now it's gone. I'm still learning to use this interface and it made sense to click back from my preview to my composer screen. Alas, this was not the correct action and now my work is gone forever.

I had written about a project I am working on with a man who has no alias. For his privacy, I have decided to call DJ Thomas. We are creating a dance album together, a project that DJ Thomas has thought about for a long time. His job is to help with recording and do samples, mixes and various cool instruments. I'm supposed to write the songs and suggest appropriate rhythms and other elements such as counterpoint or effects.

Although I yearn to create, I had experienced some difficulties with my songwriting. First, I felt the project was not sufficiently defined. I didn't know what songs to write. I can create a poem and even have it rhyme, but that doesn't mean it is a good dance song. I eventually settled on the topic of mistakes. I guess it's because I've been down lately. My life is great, but there have been some dissonances. I'm not sure if the dissonances are causing the blues or I'm too down to make the corrections that usually fix these things but it was becoming clear that something had to change.

The nature of the theme meant that I had to find some way to integrate it with the dance music ethos. Dance music is about celebrating life and love and sweetness and strength. Some dance music is about things that aren't right but there's humour or the strength to overcome adversity. Some dance music is about things that were wrong but are better now. These are interesting songs, but to create an album, I had to find a way of looking at these things from the positive direction so as to not fill an album with songs that go "here's a mistake, here's what it should be and I'm OK". That would be boring.

Anyway, I've moved through my sad period and I'm moving into a positive phase now. I can see that my life was dissonant for a while but I've fixed that and the future stretches ahead. I think I now have the material I lacked to write the songs I wanted. I am seeing DJ Thomas this weekend so I'll get some ideas down before then and I hope he likes them.

Hello

Greetings to you future Rainbow Cadets! My name is Rocket Rainbow - my friends call me Rocket. If you would like to be friends, please call me Rocket also. This blog is my first dedicated online presence. I hope that I will be as interesting to you bloggers as some of you have been to me!

My purpose is to share with you my own creative processes and ideas. I hope you will also take interest in the many world issues that I feel need our attention. There are no rules and you can also propose topics. Perhaps you will eventually recognise yourselves in my work!

As we progress you will be informed about my other ventures into cyberspace and the new projects I start. You'll also share my messy kitchen, teetering iron pile and dying garden, all of which I plan to avoid.

In summary, I wish to say this is a blog about living life more fully than ever before - about delighting in ideas and friendship. Will you join me?

Fr1st p0st

Traditionally this post is used to introduce myself, state my blogging philosophy and the content you can expect to see here, and establish myself as an exciting writer with comments you want to read.

My opinion is that first post is too much pressure for a novice writer to do a great job of it. I could be here all evening attempting to craft a witty introduction for those who came in late. It's pressure enough just trying to explain why I've not yet said hello!