Okay, so I am tired of being angry. Someone else please pick up the angry baton, because I think it's a worthwhile race to run in, really. I've just done my leg of it for now. Gotta catch my breath again. This station will now return to its usual programming: silliness, flirting, meditating, and remembering, with the occasional review of something or other that has struck my fancy one way or the other. In any case, someone take the angry baton and run with it for while. I promise to take it again when you get tired.
Meditations in an Emergency
Random thoughts, memories, convoluted therapeutic ramblings, a billboard of love.
Saturday, February 28, 2004
Friday, February 27, 2004
Bush and the Republicans keep saying we can't have these activist judges making decisions for everyone like the ones in Massachusetts and San Francisco, but it's all right if he bypasses Congress to install activist judges of his own. What a jerk. What a hypocritical jerk.
First off, let's talk about pornography and what it means, or else what I'm going to say here might not make a whole lot of sense. Pornography has become synonymous with texts (both visual and written and aural) that are of a sexual nature. But this is not the true meaning of pornography. Pornography is any text that deliberate divorces an element of life (such as sex) from its elemental context in the wholeness of life. In pornography of a sexual nature, we are shown sex stripped away from its natural place in life and even why people engage in it.
But there are other sorts of pornography as well. And what Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" delivers to audiences is pornography. It is Jesus porn, plain and simple. It is a pornography of spirtuality itself.
Let me make myself clear here by saying I am not anti-Christian. I think Jesus's story is quite simply amazing, awesome (in the old sense of that word), and that it is powerful. But Christianity as it exists today has buried Jesus's message in a morass of convulted language, signs and symbols that have no relation to why he even died. It is a shame, because many of those who claim his name and identify themselves with him, have no relationship to his teachings, which are actually quite moving and beautiful.
I went and saw "The Passion of the Christ". Twice. Like Jesus, I am a masochist. The reason why I went twice is because the first time I went, yesterday, I was tipsy on a gin martini from dinner with friends, and I was afraid someone had slipped me something in that drink and that the movie I saw was in actuality a drug induce hallucination. After going completely sober tonight, I find that it was worse than with the gin.
What you get is two hours of watching Jesus being flayed. You see bloodshed and flesh ripping and a corral of Jewish people foaming at the mouth for more. You see "poor" Pontius Pilate in his dilemma over convicting Jesus, as if he weren't the representative of the real evil in this narrative, the Roman Empire, who oppressed a culture, and in doing so twisted its leaders into lap dogs who craved any power they could get. It's typical of what happens in colonized cultures that have been separated from their original identities. And yet we're asked to sympathize with the representative of the oppressor. Interesting take.
On top of this, we are given absolutely no characters to know. We are asked from the beginning of this film till its end to sympathize without context. This is where Gibson's film becomes pornography. He has divorced Jesus's death from the context that surrounds it, from the world and environment that gave birth to this story. He has given us a demonized portrait of Jewish culture, without showing us the humanity and the suffering this culture endured itself, the very reason why Jesus became a martyr is lost because of this. At the end of the film Mary looks into the camera accusingly, as if after viewing her son's suffering you are so low and nothing if you do not believe in what he died for.
I believe in what Jesus died for, but I'm not a Christian as the world has organized it today. What is only touched upon in this film, glossed over in one line of dialogue, is the fact that Jesus was trying to teach his people that no one should separate you from your faith, from your spirit, that no government has power to take this from you. This is why in the Bible he tells people that if they are not allowed into temple to worship, or are asked to pay fees to worship, that they should worship at home. This is why he told his followers not to pay the Roman government taxes to worship their God. He is simply incredible. He is teaching them to regain their faith, and to not allow the Roman's to take away their identities. And to rebel against the religious leaders who have been corrupted by the Roman oppressors.
This entire social history is lost, both in Gibson's retelling of Jesus's story, and also in much of modern Christianity itself. This past year I visited several churches of several different Christian sects, and saw mostly hate in these places of worship, rather than love. In Gibson's film, we are shown very little of Christ's actual teachings. One is allowed, in which he tells his followers to love not only those people who love you, but others who are different from you or are even against you, for if you loved only those like you where is the reward in that? He encourages them to love those who are different, to love even their oppressors, for he sees they are caught up in the machinations of poltically corrupt governments from distant lands. And yet in the churches I spent time in last year, I saw sermons delivered and plays acted out in which the congregations were encouraged to hate gays and people of other faiths in particular. What a lovely thing. I'm sure Jesus would approve.
It sickens me to see such an example for humanity twisted and ruined by the hands of modern religious leaders who use the power in his name for their own purposes. I see very little difference between them and Caiphus and the Pharisees who helped to erect Jesus's destruction.
Watching Mel Gibson's movie, I realized that this must be what it is like to watch a snuff film. The pornography of suffering. He showed us the suffering of Christ, but not why he suffered. And his depiction of the culture surrounding Jesus is a caricature at best.
On top of this, we have, once again, my good friend Orson Scott Card delivering his approval of the film. He also applauds Gibson's choice of using maggots and serpents, decay and deformity in conjuction with Satan. I found it absolutely stereotypical, the most obvious choices, and probably the most incorrect symbology to be associated with Satan, who after all was associated with beauty in all its forms, not deformity.
If Gibson would have given me the STORY, I would have wept. Instead, I was disgusted, because a powerful, empowering narrative has been reduced to one event in the life of Christ. This is nothing more than a passion play. Unfortunately, it did not deliver me into that passion that Christ felt deep down in his bones and blood, the truth about freedom and the inability that any human social form has of destroying our spirits, that we are resilient creatures that will resurrect from our suffering and the various deaths we face throughout our time here on earth. That no one can separate you from your relationship with your idea of God, the universe, whatever it is that is life in this place.
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Although he uses the example of Humpty Dumpty to show how language can be twisted to mean anything (and uses the example against what's going on with the gay marriage issue) Orson Scott Card himself does his own double back flips with Humpty Dumpty isms about fifty million times in this ridiculously absurd and self-assured article about marriage.
I particularly love how it becomes not only about gay marriage being wrong, but how women can't possibly lay the moral groundwork necessary in family life.
I also love how he presents as fact that without social constraints, men would devolve into Clintonesque rapacious behavior of all available attractive women. Wow, what a great view of what heterosexual men's "natural" desires are. Good thing we have this great civilization to bar us from raping all the women, because you know, that's exactly what I would be doing if there wasn't any social constraints. Right?
Well, according to this statistic, civilization ain't holding up its end of the bargain to stop rape all that much, Orson: In the United States, 1.3 women are raped every minute. That results in 78 rapes each hour, 1,872 rapes each day, 56,160 rapes each month and 683,280 rapes each year.
And he tries to link sexual abuse with whether or not someone turns out to be gay. Well one in three women have been sexually abused by a man, and most of these women who have been abused are heterosexual. Does that mean they are heterosexual because a man has sexually abused them, too?
Way to go, Orson! I hear Bush has a spot opening up for you on his team any day now. You're great at alienating over half of the population with as few words as possible.
Some links stolen from MichaelMoore.com:
Turns out heterosexuals are the fasting growing group spreading HIV, not homosexual and bisexual men.
Ten Myths about Marriage
And isn't this a fine case provided by the Bush family for a good example of the sanctity of marriage?
Go to Michael's site to read even more stuff. This guy has all the good links.
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Today in class I asked my students to separate. Those who supported Bush's call for a ban on gay marriage to go to one side of the class, those who thought he was stepping out of line to go to the other side of class. Then, after the two groups separated (blessedly there were only about 4 or 5 who agreed with him out of 25) I told the group that agreed with Bush, that gay marriage should be banned, that they would receive an "F" in my class at the end of the semester no matter how hard they tried, no matter how good their essays were.
They were shocked at first, but I continued my ploy further, being very serious about it. The anti-Bush side of the classroom cheered for their ability to earn whatever grade they would get, to have the possibility to live up to their potential in the class. Then the "F" group were up in arms. "How can you do this?" one said. They were starting to believe it. Another kid said, "I'll talk to your superiors about this."
I said, "Why can't I do this? I'm the head of this classroom, I can make whatever decisions I want about how I grade you. One of my criteria is that you believe the same things I do. And since you agree with our horribly horrid evil President, then I will fail you. Simple as that. You can come over to the other side of the class and pretend to believe what I believe and get those benefits that these fine folks have, but otherwise, no. If you're not with me, you're against me. And those that are against me get "F's".
I then said, "Isn't that what Bush has just told the whole country? Hasn't he just told an entire group of citizens that they are second class due to some aspect of their personality? That they do not have the same rights that other Americans do simply because of a particular identity group they belong to? Well," I said. "If he can do that in his position of power, then so can I, right?"
It totally blew their minds. They hadn't understood it like that before.
If only people could see how terribly wrong Bush and his administration and people like him are. There are some absolutes in this world, and one of them is that it is wrong to define someone else's freedoms, it is wrong to define marriage as only a union between a man and a woman. Civil or religious, I don't give a fuck. I want my fucking freedom. The freedom I have to marry a woman and either have a wonderful life or to fuck that marriage up to high heaven, I want with a man too. I want the freedom to share my life with whoever the fuck I choose. And I want EITHER relationship to be acknowledge in both the civil union arena AND the religious one, mofo. These moderate heterosexuals are nothing but deterrents to this freedom too. The ones who say, well all in good time. Progress will happen as it will. Bastards! YOU don't have anything at stake, so you have all the damned time in the world! Take a fucking stand for the rights of everyone, not just your own lazy ass self-serving excuses for human beings.
THAT'S America, Mr. Bush. Not your little dictatorship.
Monday, February 23, 2004
The table of contents for the next Rabid Transit have been announced at our Nightshade books message forum. The stories this year are way cool and, as usual, the chapbook will be debuting at Wiscon in May. Orders will be taken online as well, through our website, just as you can order any of the preceding chapbooks (which are also way cool, so go purchase away).
Friday, February 20, 2004
I am fascinated by the different reasons people have for writing, and how they go about the process of writing and marketing (or not marketing) their work. Lately it seems there has been all sorts of debate among people of different stripes about what a real professional writer is and how they go about being professional. People have suggested modeling your own strategies after a professional writer you admire. Or they suggest simply writing story after story and inundating editors of magazines with product until they are "worn down" by the sheer bulk of narrative that they start buying some of it. Others have more reserved notions about their process. They may even see it as something like "art", and how they go about creating and submitting work is haphazard and serendipitous. What's most interesting is to see all these sorts of writers cawing at each other, declaring their way the best. It's really depressing in many ways, because it's just another argument of what works for you, personally, when it's boiled down to its essence. I get depressed by it sometimes because I think writing is often like a sort of faith. It's personal, the things you believe and don't believe, the things you practice and don't practice. And it's strange, when viewed in the manner, to see people dissing other ways to go about writing and being a writer.
Don't get me wrong. I've done it myself. I do it sometimes weekly. There are just some other ways of going about this whole business of writing that really really get on my nerves. You see, I'm the sort of writer who sees what I do as a sort of art, like making pottery or paintings or music. And I want my stories to have an audience, like any artist. But my relationship with my stories and whether or not they are good isn't defined by whether or not I've been paid "pro" rates, or if the story has placed in a magazine with a certain number of subscribers, etc. I usually define whether or not a story works by my own judgement of it, and the judgement of my peers, and of readers who contact me through email or at conventions to tell me they liked something I wrote and why.
But it seems that a great many other writers find validation through what I can only call abitrary signifiers like "pro rates" and circulation. Don't get me wrong. I like to be paid for my stories. It's a great feeling when someone actually wants to give me lots of money for something I've made, that I've enjoyed making to the best of my ability. But sometimes I publish stories in places that don't have a lot of money to pay out for their contributors, but I like those magazines and what they stand for, or I like their editor's vision, and I want to be a part of that, so I send stories to places that sometimes only pay me ten dollars for a story and may have a circulation of several hundred readers. To me it's important that my stories be read, and where they are read is important also, but not in the guidelines of how much I'm being paid or how many subscribers a magazine currently has. Maybe I won't get famous this way. Maybe I won't ever be able to support myself on writing by going about things this way. But I'm not really in the business of getting famous or rich really. There are lots of ways to get rich and famous, a lot of them easier to do than writing. So if I'm writing with those goals in mind, I'm pretty stupid. I'm in the business of writing to write good stories that I enjoy and other people enjoy, that hopefully work a sort of magic in people, as one reader recently told me a story I wrote did for him. Hearing things like that is often better than any money I've been paid for stories.
If other people want to go about writing and publishing stories with a process that is more akin to a business model, or a science project, I think that's entirely fine. But I do tend to wonder what effect those models have on the stories they are making. Like the university, which has transformed into using a business model and lost so much of its intent to actually educate students broadly, writing stories with a business model as a framework for creation, I think, would also look for the lowest common denominator in the end product. It would encourage writers to punch out cookie cutter stories, one right after the other, endless variations on themes, series stories that are in the end the same story as the one before it with a different name slapped on it. It would encourage tit for tat business-like deals in a small pond publishing world like speculative fiction, where many editors are also authors. You publish me, I'll publish you. I suppose some of this is inescapable, and perhaps some of this isn't even bad. But I do worry that it is a paradigm of writing that could overwhelm the creation of fiction and its distribution to readers. It would create a sort of incestuous field of narrative, and the gene pool in a narrative field as small as speculative fiction is already too small enough to create a sense of homogeneity at times that is, for me personally, frustrating.
I wish the paradigm was less business-like sometimes, and more about vision and freshness. We need more stories with personalities we haven't encountered before, or rarely, in speculative fiction. Without that, we're just another string of paper dolls, endlessly repeating ourselves, creating an echo chamber effect in the house of story. In a genre like speculative fiction, I'm sometimes surprised at the hostility readers and writers have towards fiction that is different from what they are used to reading. I expect readers and writers who indulge fantasy and speculation to be more open, I suppose, to difference. But perhaps that's a foolish notion.
I'll say here the same thing I tell my freshman students at college. At school, I say, "If you're here for a piece of paper that you think is going to get you a job with lots of money and a comfy life, you're setting yourself up for a fall. That piece of paper doesn't promise you anything. So your education has to mean something more than the means to an end that is a higher living wage. It has to be about making yourself a better person for the world. The job at the end of a college education isn't a kept promise all the time. But if you are in school for other reasons, to learn more about yourself and the world you inhabit, to make yourself a better person in your community, those things are entirely dependent on you. Those are promises you can keep to yourself."
The same thing, I think, can be applied to writing. If you're doing this for money and fame, you're setting yourself up for a fall. It has to mean something else to you in the end. And if it doesn't, then you may be sorely disappointed. You have to want to write even without professional rates and high circulations and oodles of fans clamoring for your autograph. If you write for reasons that are dependent entirely on you, that it somehow gratifies you to make a story, that no one can take away from you, and perhaps will guide you to writing stories that are more *you* than if you are trying to write for a "market". And perhaps, just maybe, those stories would sell with greater ease than the ones punched out with the "professional" mold someone sold you when you were looking for "the key" to publishing.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Since I am sick and not quite as bitchy as I have been in the past couple of days, I've been watching movies while drinking orange juice and yelling at my cat for not leaving the bathtub plug alone. He thinks it's a toy. I've bought him toys: a brass cage with a red puffy ball trapped inside it, and a bell trapped inside the ball. A purple hippo doll, which has catnip laced throughout it (I'm pro cat drugs). And I've given him the keychain that he found on a nightstand that I don't use anymore, since he seemed to want it like crazy. But he still prefers to steal the pita bread bag and the sandwich bun bag from the bread shelf, which is now turned into the NOTHING but boxed food shelf, because he's not interested in boxes, just plastic bags. I caught him with the pita bread last night and chased him through the apartment. He kept looking over his shoulder at me with a terrified look in his eyes, but he wouldn't give up that bread for nothing. I have a hard time getting mad at him because he's so damned cute.
The movies were "I Capture the Castle", "Wilde", and "The Anarchist's Cookbook".
"I Capture the Castle" is nearly as good as the book was. They were faithful to the plot and to the details of Dodie Smith's novel, and it was just wondeful. Usually I read "I Capture the Castle" when I'm sick. But this time I watched it.
"Wilde" was good, but Wilde himself, as a friend has noted, wasn't very Irish. Beyond that, I liked it a lot. Lots of pretty boys being naughty. Lots of literary allusions. Fun, fun, fun.
"The Anarchist's Cookbook" needs some work. I was happy to see that kid who used to act on "My So Called Life" has work again, along with a good haircut, but the script moved slowly through parts. It had potential, but not the energy it needed. And it didn't feel "real" enough in places. I'm not sure if I ever believed in the dangerous events, or was scared by the so-called scary characters. Maybe it's just because I've hung out with scarier people than they portrayed, I dunno. So, I folded laundry and watched it, instead of giving it my full attention. That kid has a great haircut though.
I am floating in a cloud of cold medicine, which is kind of groovy. Everything feels very light, and my reactions are off by just a second. I'm hoping I will be more well by tomorrow morning so I can go to school and make it through the day without much trouble. Feh. Colds are evil.
Monday, February 16, 2004
I am sick with my first cold of the new year. Bah! It has made me bitchy and argumentative and depressed. At first I thought I was just depressed, but then I realized I'd been feeling achy and sneezy and things were tasting funny, and then before I knew it I was laying in bed sore and achy, and even my hair hurt. I have spent my sick time being argumentative on the internet, so if I've offended anyone, sorry. Forgive the sick boy this once. Usually I try to stay out of stuff, but the more my constitution weakens, the more pissy I seem to get. And crude, too. I've been feeling really crude today as well.
On top of all this, one of those personality tests online told me I have issues with: my father, age, submission, walls, and innocence.
Yeah, okay, whatever.
My mom and I used to stay up really late talking when I was a teenager and still living at home. We always had great talks, but they'd often devolve into arguments. My mom would say, "Chris, if I said white, you'd say black," and I'd say, "Not if I thought white was white." And she'd say, "See?" and I'd say, "That's circular arguing, you can't say 'see' as if that is self-evident."
And the truth is, I wouldn't say black if she said white unless I meant it, but sometimes I do say black when I mean white, particularly because I have these supposed "issues" with submission probably. So mom, white, okay? Just this once.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Time to repost this poem, the original Meditations in an Emergency.
After spending a night listening to the best of indie rock in the area, I came home to listen to The Postal Service, which I have none other than Elad Haber to thank for leaving me their cd. It's just my most favorite album right now, absolutely the best. I know that all the cool kids are listening to the Postal Service right now, but you know what? They're good. And I just can't argue with that. They hit me, right there, in the heart and the aural zone. I can't argue why, they just make me happy listening to them.
Thursday, February 05, 2004
I love Franz Kafka's writing. I don't think there's ever been a writer quite like him, and I haven't found a writer since discovering him that has been able to truely frighten me. Gothic novels, ghost stories, horror tales, much as I love the shivers they give me, don't scare me like Kafka does. Whenever I read him, I feel like he's got me by my shirt collar and is holding me over a cliff, forcing me to look down at the waves breaking against the rocks below.
Zadie Smith has written one of the absolutment best essays on him and his writing and his career and how he fits into the scope of the novel form. It's a bit long, so be prepared to sit and read it for a while. It's absolutely beautiful though, this essay, and I am glad someone has been able to articulate these things about Kafka and his work in such a fine, precise, honoring manner.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Questions from Ms. Bond:
1. If you could have any kind of animal print skin (but without fur!), what
would you choose?
Okay, a nonfur animal print skin. I'd have to say I'd love to have giraffe print skin. Giraffe's are cool. They are cute and come with color blocking, and I am all about that. ;-)
2. Karaoke vs. lip-sync -- pro and con?
A very good question. I've had to give it much thought, as it's a delicate issue.
Let's start with Karaoke. The very nature of it is all about YOU, fabulous YOU. Get up and vocalize, throw in a few fancy moves and mannerisms. Do this either in homage or in great irony. A very versatile activity, as you may find yourself listening to an incredibly heart-wrenching rendition of a sad love song, or putting together a mock mosh pit while someone trashes an eighties song. Karaoke has power, but you must be a self-aware karaoker to access it. Do not simply go up and think you can flub your way through something (ahem, okay, I've given up menntioning what happened at Gavin and Kelly's wedding--you know who you are). Go up with panache and grace. Your intentions should be clear to the audience. Otherwise you are just another yokel with a beer in one hand and the mic in the other.
Lip syncing, on the other hand, is a far more fey practice. This involves the body in ways that karaoke doesn't necessarily promote (although it does not preclude this!). Lip syncing can be like ballet, if it's done right. Someone has orchestrated a "delivery" of a song, an interpretation of a performer's persona. It is not for just anyone. In many ways, lip syncing is poetry to karaoke's prose. But it lacks the versatility that karaoke has. It's hard to be ironic while lip syncing, unless you're a drag queen, and then you're ironic in general, and this carries over.
For me personally, karaoke wins out. Lip syncing is a dying art that came before the wise invention of portable microphones and lyricless tracks and strange videos to accompany a karoke stylist. Just face it. karaoke is where it's at.
3. Do you consciously think about where you want your writing to go, or does it lead you there instead?
Actually this is a tricky question. If you mean my writing in general, I write whatever grabs me and holds my attention. If you mean during the process of writing, then I do both.
During the process of writing itself, I usually let my writing lead me where it wants to go. I try not to be a control freak most of the time. The way I see it is that if I try to control the story too much, it's like psychologists trying to study subjects who are aware that they're in a test situation. It changes their natural reactions and answers. So in my fiction, I try to be very still and quiet and hide, so I can catch the characters at their weirder moments, saying what's honest and doing what's honest for them. They make the plot go just by making decisions. After I've gotten to a certain place in a story, I begin to see how things are wanting to be shaped, and this then makes the process of finishing the story easier. The beginning has told me the ending, and I usually feel less uncertain at that point. Going back through on later drafts, I am more conscious about things, like how the prose should actually look on the page (I know this is weird but I have a slight compulsion with this) and I will change imagery and sentence cadence and paragraphing, and I'll rewrite in places where I feel like the story isn't doing something interesting, whether it be language or content revision or both. I'll rearrange sections, sometimes, seeing how they'd read if they came before or after a different section. This doesn't work with just any story I write, but I've done it with several and it produced some good results, I think. I try to think of writing a story like sculpting. It's a tactile event on some level for me. I don't know why, it just is. So initially, no, I don't think too much, and let the writing lead me. And then later I begin to think a lot and change the writing where I think it needs changing.
4. What is your favorite compliment anyone's ever given you and why?
This is a hard one. I'll go with one that's stuck with me for the past 10 years. It's from my eleventh grade english teacher. She gave me a book of poetry when I graduated high school and wrote on the inside: "Your creative talent challenges the best writers; your sincerity will conquer the world. I will always remember you." And even if I'd never published anything at all, that coming from her would have made me happy.
5. What are your best loved sickbed books?
I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith (in recent years), Possession, by A.S. Byatt (an old favorite), Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson, Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen, The Tooth Fairy, by Graham Joyce, and Alice Hoffman books while I'm sick feel particularly comforting (I think it's all the small town coziness). Oh, and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books. Those are great when you're stuck in bed.
1 - Leave a comment if you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.
Sunday, February 01, 2004
So. There is a new addition to my household. Along with me and the plant, there is now Hobbes the cat.
My friend Brooke's family are part of a program called Angels for Animals, which fosters abandoned animals to families who will take care of them until a permanent home can be found for them. They have had Hobbes for about eight months now. Angels threw the poor boy out because they said he was too much trouble whenever he came to the shelter for shots and baths and to be kept for periods of time for potential visitors to come visit him. Apparently he was a troublemaker at the shelter, being loud in his carrier and mean when he got his bath. But Brooke gave him a bath last night and he was fine, and when I picked him up today he walked into the carrier by himself and turned around and actually waited for me to close the door. Didn't seem like a troublemaker to me.
So I got him home and he came out and ate first, drank some water, explored the apartment, played with me a little, and went to sleep. He heard the downstairs neighbor starting his car at one point, and actually stood on his hind legs looking out the window, not bracing his forlegs on the sill or anything, as if he were a person. I imagine he was just a sensitive intelligent creature that could not bear being in the shelter and made as much fuss as possible until he got out of the clink.
Apparently Hobbes had two friends at Brooke's place that he hung out with relentlessly, but after they were both placed in homes, he wouldn't get close to any of the other cats that came through. I said, "That cat there is for me," and so he is here now, and sleeping in the living room.
Troublemaker. Feh. Misunderstood is more like it.