March 31, 2004

Interview #11

Today I'll be interviewing my friend Elena. She's a university spainish and italian instructor and wants to get some stuff off her mind.

KC: What about work has been pissing you off lately?

EL: I have two things that are kind of related but the big things are when people twist info to make themselves look good and when people do not take ownership of past mistakes, comments, etc.

KC: OK, give us the dirt on HOW people are twisiting information to make themselves sound good.

EL: Blind copying (rather obviously by the kind of info included in the message) higher ups on emails with messages like "by the way, did you take care of this urgent thing that we discussed" - which had never been mentioned.

KC: What about academia today motivates this kind of behavior?

EL: This behavior is not unique to academia, but is born of insecurity or envy. If one were to focus on problems unique to academia, one could cite the fact that academia in some ways is struggling to recreate an identity in a world where business models are the only reference for how things should be done. ie, if I want to make changes to the curriculum or pay structure, the number of commitees/people who have to "approve" the change makes it slower than government and often so far from the original proposal that it fails its original goal. There are exceptions to this, of course. I work with two extremely very capable faculty members who are focused on goals, sensitive to the "stakeholders" and effective in their follow-up. It's taken a while to be recognized for this excellence, though.

KC: How, in particular, are these two faculty members excellent?

EL: They solicit meaningful feedback from all involved or affected by a desicion and they focus on the message/intent/experience of those giving the feedback, rather than selectively choosing or "interpreting" the info that may be beneficial to them in moving forth their own agenda (which inevitably results in greater problems down the line).

KC: Is there really an "agenda" for those who create the problems other than their own perceived advancement?

EL: Sure, sometimes they want to ingratiate themselves to others, avoid making waves, avoid extra resposibility on their part, or simply to be contrary. I suppose there is a perceived personal benefit, but it's different from an agenda.

KC: I suppose what I'm asking is are these butt-suckers really interested in improving the academic environment? Do they even understand how their behavior stifles intellectual betterment?

EL: Ah, I see. I think some truly don't have an understanding of the "big picture" with regard to intellectual betterment. They may have neither the expertise, experience nor capability.

Kelly has an agent.

Just a little update on the last interview shown belowóKelly has gotten an agent who is very excited about her manuscript. So keep your eyes out for the book, which I am sure will be in stores realatively soon. You know, once they find a publisher and then go through the entire editing process and design the cover and do all the press on it and take Kelly's picture for the jacket. After all that stuff, expect to see it on bookstore shelves in the very near future.

March 25, 2004

Things that make you go, hmmmm.

Why do I post more on my brother's blog than he does? Why am I forced to sit here doing nothing, feeling my unused brain matter seep slowly from my ears? Why do American Girl dolls cost soooooooooo much freaking money? Isn't it disgusting to exploit a young girl's budding self-awareness for a buck? And why do I give into the capitalist machine? Why does my daughter now have three of those dolls? I could buy a really nice new diningroom light fixture for that money. Why am I not famous by now? Why don't I have my own talkshow by now? What ever happened to C.C. + Music Factory? Why do old men think it's appropriate to call grown women girls? What happened to the Pulitzer I said I was going to win by the time I was 30 in my high school yearbook? Why are people in Utah the only ones who know what NCMO stands for?

March 22, 2004


Yeah! thats right my girlfriend is how do you say. . .


Interview #10

I just had a really interesting interview here with Kelly, who is one of the grad students who works with me in the office and I lost it. It's floating around cyberspace out there. I hate computers sometimes, I really do. I started interviewing Kelly to help diffuse some of the tension she's feeling because of a lot of interest she's generating from literary agents. So, we'll just start again.

KC: How do you feel knowing that we've just lost all that material?

KK: Well, it's made me nervous again about agents. A little disappointing, but I'll live through it. Although I'm glad we lost that comment about me grinding up on agents' legs.

KC: Don't you know nothing's ever really lost.

KK: It's floating around on the internet.

KC: Yeah, and right here again, too.

KK: Dammit. Thwarted again. I'm never going to be at a point where I can take responsibility for the things I say, just like Jonathan Franzen.

KC: Funny you should mention him since we talked about Oprah in the lost interview. So, will you turn Oprah down?

KK: Hell no. I think the literary world now, it complains that people don't read good things, but when they do, they complain because they want to be set apart. They're just a bunch of snobs. Hell, no. If Oprah wants me, I'll grind on her leg too. I think Oprah should run for president. I think she's the only black person and the only female who could run right now and possibly win. Because I think there would be a whole new turnout of people who'd vote. Like housewives who don't vote. Oprah and Arnold. What duo.

KC: It could happen. You never know. So, what's the title of your book so people can run out and buy once it hits the shelves?

KK: Born-Again.

KC: Tell us a little about it.

KK: Stock reply: It's a story of an intelligent 13 year-old-girl who is very religious. She's been raised pentecostal revivalist born-again christian. She is assigned to read "The Origin of Species" for an academic camp that awards her a scholarship. She forges the permission slip that lists required readings, convincing herself that it is not a sin to read it as long as she doesn't believe it.

KC: What are the primary themes you're tackling in your book?

KK: The sort of vacuum that evangelical doctrine creates for itself. The perpetuation of ignorance and fear that somehow justifies religion. Fundamentalist religions.

KC: What do you hope readers take away from the book once they've read it?

KK: I think people, I mean the born-agains, people really fear and demonize these people and although I feel they're destroying other cultures, I want people to understand why they do this and how they cultivate their members, and that they're not really bad people. Some are very good people who have been through bad experiences and want to share love. But you have mass herders like Pat Robertson who makes them afraid of death and chaos. The fact, that in Darwin's world, they're insignificant on an individual level, but serve a higher purpose in evolution.

KC: Now, you mentioned wanting to make it as a novelist first so that you have the freedom to write your poetry. Do you ever envision writing poetry exclusively?

KK: No. I think since poetry is really dying in this country. I want to be able to use all sides of my writings. Short stories, I have a book of short stories. I have a book of poetry that's ready to go out. Stories I find I can't write in poetry, I can write in short stories and vice versa. I think they all compliment each other.

KC: What do you attribute this death of poetry to?

KK: Definitely laziness. I think the entire culture. People just want to sit back and not put any effort into anything. They just want to come home, sit back and be entertained. I think there are two components to story, spectacle and narrative. And more and more, I think people only focus on the spectacle. It's all equivalent to pornography.

KC: So do you think there's any hope for the literary arts in America? What needs to happen?

KK: Not under George Bush's idea of education. My mother's friend teaches 8th grade English and this new program has her handing out worksheets where they just do abstract reasoning instead of learning abstract reasoning through reading books. Everything is becoming standardized. We insist on the uniqueness of people, but everything we do is standardized.

KC: Do you think any of this has come about because of complaints of results on standardized tests and whatnot, where minority groups complain they don't have the same educational foundation to succeed, and that this is an attempt to provide that?

KK: I mean standardized testing doesn't make up for socio-economic differences. I went to Bowdoin and I had never even written a paper in high school. I don't think it changes that wealthy people get better education because they can buy it. I think these programs are for people who just want to follow the rules and not think for themselves. I think we should encourage people to think for themselves. I think the most academically stagnant environment would be one were everyone only knows the same stuff and have never learned anything different.

KC: Having gone to two fairly affluent universities, would you prefer now to have attended more widely accessible schools (like state university?

KK: It's yes and no. In smaller institutions, you get more attention. The entire english department at Bowdoin knew me and encouraged me and because these schools accept so many rich students, they have the resources for better education. But I've never known so many silver spoon children. They're not there because they want to learn. They treat it like a social retreat. It's hard to make a real decision on a question to like that. But people who haven't been taught to value education in the first place, they tend to be in those larger universities. So it's definitely a problem and I think always having that balance, the affirmative action, letting kids into colleges that can't contribute to the wealth of the college, but can contribute to the academic are important.

KC: Well, it's just about time to call it a day. Thanks for talking to us. It's been really interesting.

March 19, 2004

Interview #9

Today I've got a special treat. I'm interviewing my brother's girlfriend Christina. She's a really sweet girl, and I think my brother's a lucky guy since she's willing to be seen with him in public. At any rate, let's get started.

KC: Tell us a little about yourself, Christina.

CB: my name is christina [last name], i'm 25. i'm originally from cleveland, ohio, but moved to dc about 2 years ago.

KC: And which do you prefer, Cleveland or DC?

CB: definitely dc - cleveland is a nice famliy city, but that's not where i am in my life right now

KC: OK, I'm going to cut right to the chase: What do you really think about my brother?

CB: interesting question :-) there are a ton of things i think about your brother. let me try and get into that more - i'll ramble for a bit if you want

KC: That's fine. Rambling is good. Talk as long as you want. It all makes for fascinating reading. :-)

CB: mike is just mike - there's no other way to describe him. there's no one else in the world who is like him. he makes everyone around him happy, including me. he's always trying to make sure people are ok, that they aren't being left out, or that he's taking care of them in some way. he's always giving all he can to his family and friends. i think that's one of the things that i love about him. he's also one of the most random people i have ever met, although he says i should call it eccentric :-) he's says things as they come to his mind, sort of like he doesn't have a filter in there. but that's another thing that makes him special becuase you always know that he'll tell you what he's thinking and not hold back. he's honest and always means what he says. he won't try to sugar coat something to make it how you want to hear it.

KC: Well, you're right, there is no filter. His brain is completely filterless. I'm curious to know, when you first met him, did you know he was half-Asian?

CB: he brings a smile to my face everything i think about him. i see him in all these different moments at once. like seeing him on a friday night and how his face lights up as he walks in the door. or when he's concnetrating on something, like when we cook together, he's all serious and focused. or when he's just out hanging with everyone and relaxed. some of his best faces though are defintely in pictures and those are ones i remeber best - he's always doing something goofy. i love the way he looks at me. i can always tell how much he loves me by the way he looks at me. it's like his eyes are some kind of laser beam that send me all this love :-)

i could tell he was. it was his eyes. i love mike, every bit about him, even the little things that drive me crazy.

KC: That's so sweet, and I'm not usually one to say something like that. I'm actually getting a little choked up reading your answer. Since he's my brother, it's hard for me to see him as others do. So, you two are getting married, right?

CB: i hope so someday, when he asks. we've talked about it a lot. and with him, there is no doubt in my mind that he will, it's just a matter of when. he needed to get back to dc though and get settled, and do some of that stuff. i'm not rushed for it. when it happens it will.

KC: Yeah, I keep pestering him about it. I'm one that really likes to know EVERYTHING. See, I basically think you two are already engaged because he says he's planning on marrying you and you say you're planning on marrying him--that's being engaged, you know. Now I do want to ask you how the two of you have discussed religion, because it's obviously an important part of his life. As far as I can see, it's probably going to be the biggest issue between the two of you. Do you think the two of you will be able to come to a compromise?

CB: that's a good point. there is no doubt in my mind that i want to be with him and i know he feels the same. being engaged though takes everything to a new level. there are still certain things that mike and i don't discuss because we are not engaged or married. like money - i have no idea what he makes, has, debts, etc and he doesn't know that about me. the other we always go back and forth about it church. i'm not catholic and he is, and he's really set in being catholic and i'm set in being protestant. i know it's not a big deal now, but that's something that we would really have to talk seriously about.

KC: Yeah. The religion thing is a big one.

CB: every time we've talked about it, it's gets heated. mike can be stubborn and i will fully admit to being stubborn. we both were raised in the church and have very devout families. religion has always been a big part of my life growing up and him as well. i don't know what we would end up doing to be honest. we would have to reach some level of compromise and make the best of it. for me anyways, it wouldn't be any kind of deal buster with him. i figure it could always be worse, we're both christian.

KC: I want to get back to an earlier comment you made about liking what drives you crazy about Mike. What are those things that drive you crazy?

CB: oh michael and his little eccentricities ;-) sometimes he can drive me crazy, not bad crazy, but just - ahhh! he loves the weekends because he's here in va and we are doing our thing together. and when that happens, he just lets go and he's all over the place :-) i don't know how to describe it very well, but it's like you can't get him to focus on any one thing! but it's funny at the same time. other things he does that drive me crazy, nothing much really - just little things when you are living with someone (we aren't technically, but basically) - like he shuts the door when he leaves my room and i hate having the door shut when i come back to it (i'm always afraid someone is on the other side, silly, i know). stuff like that.

KC: I know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to his scattered activity. I want to ask you a couple of questions about work now, please talk a little bit about what you do.

CB: ok. i work for deloitte and touche and i've been here for almost three years. my official title is senior consulant. i started working at deloitte as an intern in cleveland and then worked there after graduation. i wasn't liking the work up there and asked to transfer to dc becuase i wanted to do a more specific kind of work that was available in dc. they said yes, and sent me down here 2 years ago. in a nutshell, i perform data analytics and statistical analysis on our client's data (client's being who we audit as a firm). it's interesteing work. sometimes it can be frustrating because it's like solving problems and puzzles all day. but i do get to work with our client's driectly and i do like have the person to person interaction.

KC: So did you actually do well in statistics in college? I really, really sucked at it.

CB: yeah, i found out in college that i actually like stats and things of that nature. i got a degree in management information sytems and decision sciences (business statistics).

KC: Yeah, whenever I think of stat, I think of that one Far Side cartoon that says, "Hell's Library," and it's shelves and shelves of books on word problems, which to me is half of what's confusing about stat. I seemed to never be able to translate the written problems and scenarios into mathematic equations that made sense. Do you know what I mean?

CB: i know exactly what you mean :-) that's half of what we do on a day to day basis. try and make sense of these abstract things. it can really make you want to pull your hair out.

KC: Besides the statistics, what other courses did you enjoy in college?

CB: art history was my favorite. i would have been an art history major in a heartbeat, but i knew that i would not be able to get a good job with benefits after graduation. i'm sure someday i'll pursue that more, but as a hobby. it's just not a practical job. i did like my music and all that during college. i didn't really stop playing until after i graduated. i just never found time in my life again. i would like to be able to do that again as well.

KC: I don't know about your music. Were you in a band?

CB: i've played violin for my whole life. my mom started me on it when i was 4, and i played all through college. i actually was even a music education major for a year or so, but realized that as much as i love music, i couldn't do that all day was alwyas a huge part of my life growing up. my parnets had my brother and i were really involved in it. lessons every week, music theory lessons, group lessons, orchestra, piano lessons, chamber music, all of it.

KC: So had you originally hoped to be part of a symphany one day or were you thinking you might teach music?

CB: when i went to college, i actually thoguht i wanted to be a pediatrician. but i didn't like that. so i went to music education because i knew i would never be really good enough to be in a major orchestra, but i didn't like that either. it became a job instead of something fun. hours in a practice room is not my idea of fun. that's how i ended up in busines, kind of an, well, if all else fails, this is something i could try too.

KC: Going back to the art history, what kind of art do you like best?

CB: it changes on what i see i think. sometimes i like impressionism, but i really like post-impressionism a lot. some of the more modern art i like as well. i like going to a museum and just wandering around.

KC: You could volunteer to be a docent at one of the Smithsonian museums.

CB: yeah, i've thought of that. i think that would be really cool to do someday. right now, i just don't have enough time. i volunteer for the junior league and they have a program to be a part of the corchran gallery in dc, but it's a three year committement and classes, etc.

KC: Yeah, lack of time is the eternal problem in life. Speaking of time and life, what are some of the things you absolutely want to do before you die?

CB: wow - there are so many things that i would love to do. some of my dreams are to travel all around the world and see everything i can, all the usual ones people say - african safari or hike to machu picchu. but i also want to try and live in some of those places. but other than traveling, i think i would really have to think about it. dying seems pretty far away right now. i try and do everything i can now and take advantage of opportunities - i figure that way i'll always be working towards doing everything i can before i die. and when i get some time to think about it, hopefully i'll already have done most of the things i wanted to, does that make sense?

KC: Sure. Now tell me what is your biggest pet peeve?

CB: nail filing. i can't stand to hear people filing their nails. it's like hearing nails on a chalkboard. i don't know what some of my other pet peeves are. nothing too big i guess if i can't seem to remember them.

KC: Which characteristic in people do you find most annoying?

CB: when people always try to one up you, like i say i had a bad day, and the other person says, i had a bad day and proceeds to tell you why it was so much worse than yours. that's annoying. i can't think of any others right now, but i'm sure i could come up with some - it would just have to be right when someone was doing something that annoyed me.

KC: When have you been most hurt by a person?

CB: this one isn't something that someone did to me purposefully. but, i was hurt by my family in a way. my dad had a heart attack when i was gone one summer and my mom and brother were there, but i wasn't. and then my dad also had another near-death incident that my mom and brother were there for. i've always felt like i missed big family events, like i missed out. i wasn't there for the expereince and can never fully appreciate what they went through - the trauma, the paramedics, the life flights, rushing to the hospital. it was like a huge family event and i missed it. i can picture it all in my head how it probably happened, but it's not real. now i always have this fear of missing something. like i'm not going to be there when i should be. so it's not that they hurt me on purpose or anything, but that's something that's always hurt. but more that i felt hurt because i wasn't there for them, kind of guilty. i don't know if that makes sense.

KC: No, I understand what you mean. When my mother was diagnosed with her brain tumor and had her subsequent operation, I was away at college and wasn't even told she was going to have surgery until a week before hand. I was the only one not home while they were going through the ordeal of her testing and hospitilizations and whatnot. So you only end up understanding it in a peripheral way because you didn't eat, breathe and sleep it 24 hours a day like everyone else. But, what really hurt about that particular situation was that they didn't keep me informed. Everyone else knew about all of this and no one bothered to tell me. That was difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, I see that it is getting close to quitting time for me, so I will bring this to an end. I want to thank you for sharing your time with us today, and I hope you'll join us again one day.

March 18, 2004

Interview #8

Hi, today I am very excited about the guest here with me. I don't know him personally, but he works with my friend Michelle, (who, as you'll recall, is interviewed a couple of posts down) and is also a graphic artist. His name is Dennis. So, let's get cracking and jump right into it.

KC: Dennis, for our viewing audience, could you please provide a little background on your ethnicity?

DS: I was born in Seoul, Korea in 1969. My 2nd Generation Irish and 1/8 Polish father (born in a small farm outside of Litchfield, KY), was drafted by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War at the age of 21. Luckily for him, he was stationed in Korea. My father met my mother, at the age of 27, and in one of those boom-boom clubs the soldiers would go to after hours. They got some boom-boom on them and started dating.

Six months later, they decided to get married and ran into a host of trouble because of restrictions the military sets on dating between foreign nationals and U.S. Soldiers during war time. They somehow got through all the red tape, and married overseas. I came along, and by my second birthday, we moved to Ft. Bragg South Carolina and finally moved to Kentucky by my 6th birthday.

I've been living around red-necks ever since. I guess that makes me: 1/2 Korean, 1/4 Irish, 1/8 Polish and 1/8 Redneck.

KC: I have to say that the similarities between our backgrounds are uncanny. I was also born in 1969; although, only conceived in Seoul, Korea. I actually popped out in Fort Gordon, GA. My father (who is half Irish and half Czechoslovakian) was stationed in Korea and met my mother through mutual friends. They also decided to get married after just a couple of months, but because my mother was converting to Catholicism to marry my father, they didn't have a church wedding until a few months after their "official wedding" at the embassy. Apparently, the two of them went to get their paperwork and they called my father into the office while my mother waited in the hall. My father says the guy behind the desk signed a piece of paper, handed it to him and said, "Congratulations, you're married." Have you ever heard a more romantic story? Yeah, gotta love the US government. Now, how would you describe your experiences growing up half-Korean in America?

DS: It's really comforting (and a bit disturbing) to know that other people have had similar experiences in the past.

Growing up half-Korean... well, it wasn't a pleasurable experience early on: I went to public schools; was very shy throughout grade school, was 1 of only 3 Asian kids in a fairly redneck high school going through some segregation wars; was short for my age until late high school; and my last name was Smiley (for those of you who grew up in the 80's, you know why that name was a popular [ha] name).

Anyway, because of this combination, I really recessed into my studies and sports. I don't know if I was really that introverted, I just felt more comfortable alone ? and more in-charge (throughout my grade school years).

Interestingly enough, my sister had a lot of the same experiences but it had an opposite effect on her. She became super-extroverted and became a wild child. I look back now and wish she did not hang around the "wrong" kinds of kids, just because they accepted her for who she was. At 28, she is still making up for many of her mistakes during the middle/high school years.

This is what I think happened to me: I became overly sensitive to other people's feelings, but became de-sensitized to being different. In fact, when I was in the Army (2 years active, 4 years reserves), my fellow soldier's called me "mother" because I always took care of everyone and watched out for them (when someone was in trouble, I would always be called). Because I started to care less for my insecurities, I started to excel in anything that posed itself as a challenge. That is what I would focus on and that is the way I am even to this day. It's why I am in the creative field, I'm sure (It's always different and there are many challenges).

P.S. ? I often make super non-politically correct statements (some Asian statement even offend white people), because I really believe all cultures have some area of hilarity ? and it is ridiculous to think any one culture should have to be tippy-toed around, as to not "offend" anyone. So, if I have offended anyone, get over it. Don't take yourself so seriously ? it builds character.

KC: Well, I wasn't really introverted. My father stayed in the Army until I was a sophomore in college, so we (I have a younger sister and younger brother) moved a lot. When I was in the primary grades (K-3), we lived in Augusta, Ga. because my father was stationed at Ft. Gordon and I remember getting a lot of shit from a good number of people in Georgia. To this day, it's really, really hard for me hear a southern accent and not immediately have negative feelings. I'm obviously able to get over it because it's a stupid reaction, but it's an instinctive thing now. At any rate, I can remember being mad because I'd get called names and they wouldn't even be right. This one girl would call me Chinese girl or Japanese girl, and my mom said I'd come home from school and yell that people were stupid because they didn't know I was Korean. But since we moved around a lot, I never felt the compulsion to really try and fit in because I knew we were going to be gone in a couple of years. As far as being politically uncorrect, go for it. I think people are way to concerned about how PC they are and it has a stifling effect because people are too scared to say anything. In general, I think everybody needs to chill out and not take any of it too seriously.

I find the statement about your sister interesting because I've read some articles where a lot of Asian-American men feel they're getting the short end of the stick because mainstream American culture seems more accepting of images of Asian women and embraces them more readily, and that the men still have to struggle to be considered attractive and "viable" potential partners. What do you think about that?

DS: Not touting my own horn, but I've never really been in a position of feeling that unattractive (I'm high yellow you know). However, because of the insecurities that I felt for feeling different, I think it did cause me to become an over-achiever at a pretty young age. In fact, I choose to challenge and put myself in situations of extreme discomfort at times, just to get the feeling of accomplishment achieving my goal.

I don't look to put others down or am so competitive that I lose sight of why I do things, I just think that I always have to prove to myself that I am as good as anyone else or sometimes even better. The weird thing is, when I accomplish something, it becomes less of a challenge the second time. So, I usually look toward the next challenge.

An example is: Last year my wife and I thought about building a house. We found a lot in a nice neighborhood and started to talk to builders. After talking to several General Contractors, I started noticing that none were that detail-oriented. I was a little uneasy with not knowing where we were on a budget until toward the completion of a house, so I started to gather information and references on top-notch contractors in the area which we were going to live. After 5 months of planning (in the midst of contractors and friends objections because of the pitfalls and my lack of experience in the field of construction), I had a hole dug and started to contract out our house.

We are moving in this weekend, as a mater of fact. I look back now at all of the trials and worries I went through (I kept my wife out of most of it, until the painting stage), and realized that I thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning and embarking on an unknown challenge. I guess all I needed was a few people to say "'re not going to be able to do this..."

Anyway, I feel rising above all of my insecurities and living through all of the ridicule in childhood helped me develop as an achiever and a person that truly enjoys watching and helping others succeed.

KC: It's refreshing to hear that despite having been teased as a child, you didn't use your race as an excuse to not keep trying in life. I've had a similar perspective in my life. I never thought or felt that being half-Asian limited me in any way, despite the fact that there were people who were never going to let me forget that I didn't look like them. But, I think that's the way that it should be. I feel absolutely no sympathy for "minorities" who whine that they haven't been able to accomplish what they want because someone is keeping them down. It's all a lot of self-pitying crap, as far as I'm concerned. Now, I'm going to veer off from the race questions a bit and ask what do you think is the primary source of conflict between men and women?

DS: I think it's sex. Not simply a physical activity thing, it can be that as well, but I don't believe it is a subject. It believe that we are "wired" a little different at birth.

I'm a very creative person, so I'm very open-minded, but when I'm asked a question that is (to me) that ambiguous, I usually fall back to scientific studies and develop theories from a mix of written information and my own observations.

I think that because of instinct, as an incredibly adaptable species our opposites (sometimes the same sex ñ though I believe one partner takes on the opposite role) are sought after for balance (for survival).

Anyway, men are more technical-task oriented and women are more cognitiveñabstract thinkers. Obviously, there are exceptions to this theory, but I think that in many cases, the origin of most conflicts between men and women is the simple fact of how we are "programmed" at birth.

A woman sits on a sofa in her living room tackling a crossword puzzle. Her spouse comes into the room and sits on the sofa next to her he sits deeply with his head back and eyes closed.

A few minutes pass by and she says, "Honey, what's on your mind?"

Her spouse glances sideways at her and says, "Nothin'."

The woman says in a puzzled voice, "You have to have something on your mind."

The spouse replies (and folks, he really means it), "No, I've got nothing on my mind... just resting".

KC: Hmmm, interesting. So let me ask you, do men consider sex a "technical task" and that it's not wrapped up in something more than just the physical and mechanical process of engaging in intercourse?

DS: That's kind of a hard question to answer quickly. I think a lot of men have some complexity in their thinking when it comes to the subject of sex, but I would also add that in my opinion (whether most educated men would admit to this or not) most men would put on their list of importance first ó the "technical task". Sex (the full scope of the meaning something more), would come in second.

The best way to describe it, for me, is that if we use it in the context of the solar system (the full definition of sex being the solar system), most men would say the whole solar system is the physical activity of engaging in intercourse instead of saying the sun is the physical activity and is just part of a bigger picture.

I really believe, that at the center of the pursuit for the opposite sex, men (just like males in any animal species) initially pursue sex for the physical contact/act itself ó not for anything greater. Relationships that happen to develop from this contact is most times tertiary.

But, I do not want to rationalize. I think the question depends on the masculinity, the femininity, the background, and the culture of the man in question. Personally speaking, I think the definition is greater ó or maybe I have just convinced myself that it is. To be absolutely, totally honest, when I read your question, images of attractive women engaging in the physical act itself (okay there was one ugly one) immediately streamed through my mind.

KC: OK, so tell me truthfully, do men consider having to deal with the emotional side of a relationship just the trade-off for having access to regular sex? And why did you imagine one ugly woman? Was it to keep the fantasy more realistic?

DS: I think that men consciously or unconsciously, at first, think of the emotional side as a trade off (or maybe as an obstacle). At that point, they might realize something more in a relationship (a longing or maybe a connection with the person) or sensing more, they might start developing a way to get out of the situation with as little complications as possible.

The men that say they have always looked for a relationship and something more before sex crosses their minds, are either not telling the whole truth, or have been so ingrained with that idea in their upbringing that they honestly think they believe what they are saying.

The ugly woman keeps it more realistic, but (beauty is only skin deep) she might bring more to the table than the more attractive ones might not. Also, maybe subconsciously it's comfortable to have someone to fall back to that doesn't make me conscious of my insecurities.

KC: I find this fascinating....So, why do men marry? What do they get out of marriage?

DS: Men marry because there is some sort of connection above and beyond the initial sexual attraction. This can come at any time in a relationship (after the initial attraction) and, in my observations, can be attributed to several things: The woman can have physical or behavioral characteristics of the man's mother (or his mother figure in childhood) and he just feels "at home" with her; The woman may fit all the criteria for the man's image of the "perfect" woman and he may not want to "share her" with anyone else; he may have a low self-esteem (or may be unattractive) and upon a long search for someone to have relations with, falls "in love" with the first person he sleeps with (feeling that this only comes along once in a life-time); and finally he may find a person in which there is much in common and he just feels "right" with ó wanting to sustain that feeling forever.

KC: So do men really "love" women, or are they just fulfilling some other territorial compulsion left over from when we still lived in caves? Even in the case of men who marry the first girl they have sex with, the instinctual drive could be to form a "tribe" because, historically speaking, it's easier to survive within a group than on one's own.

DS: I believe love has a different meaning to any given man. We definitely are brought into the world with that instinctual "tribe" mentality, so I would say that many men fit the criteria of the caveman. However with the power and the complications of the human brain, I think there are many men, as well, that believe that they truly "love".

For example, I truly love my wife. But is it love in the conscious sense of what most of us believe ñ defined? Or is it a combination of what I've been taught from childhood with a subconscious underlying instinctual drive? I don't really know the correct answer, but I lean more toward the latter.

KC: What do you think love is for women, then?

DS: I donít think that love is only for women. But referencing the the original question of the source of conflicts, I think men and women's idea of what love is, (besides a connection to someone) is different. Sex (the physical act) shares a larger part in the man's idea of love.

KC: What's been the hardest thing you and your wife have had to overcome in your relationship?

DS: The hardest thing we've had to overcome has been the loss of my father two years ago from a massive heart attack at the age of 50, and 6 months later the loss of my wife's father from a freak car accident. It really was taxing on the relationship.

KC: In what way? Taxing to the point that it could have meant the break-up in your marriage, or taxing in that you both needed a level of support that the other wasn't prepared to offer given your individual griefs?

DS: It's a bit complicated. I'm the oldest son (I have only a younger sister), so when my father died it was a shock to the family. Because my mother is Korean and her support group was members of her Korean church, I became the main facilitator and support person for my mother. With all the things that needed to put to rest (setting social security, funeral arrangements, investments), I really did not have time to grieve.

By the time things were pretty much in order, my wife's father is in a car accident and we have to travel to Illinois to attend the funeral and take care of family stuff there (my wife is the oldest sister of four). My wife and her father never really had a great relationship. Her father left her mom when she was 4 years old, and my wife has kind of held that against him. However, about a year before his passing, I convinced my wife to put the past behind her and try to strike up a relationship with her father and his new life. She gave in and forgave him as well and something in herself. I am so happy she did that before the accident.

Anyway, after my father-in-law's funeral, we take it upon ourselves to be the support group for my wife's mother and family. By the time both of our families lives are moving toward a balance, we are both grieving our losses. This puts both of us in a dark, depression stage. We tried to be so supportive of each other, but there was distance, emotionally and of course, physically. After about a year of this, and many talks of the subject, we started on a course of finding out what good came of the deaths. The more we looked, the more we discovered silver linings in our families and our lives.

I look back now and so much good has come out of the two deaths. We care more about people rather than life as a big picture. Corny as it sounds, we started to actually "stop and smell the roses." I honestly don't think I would have jumped into contracting our new home (with no knowledge of building) if the deaths did not happen. We also have a longing appreciation of each and every friend, family and child that we know. It's sounds clichÈ, I know, but it has changed our lives to the point that we came back to the crossroads in life and have taken the path that we at one time did not

KC: Yeah, it's amazing the sorts of challenges life throws at you. My husband and I had a really rough period after our daughter was born. We had just moved to Indiana two months earlier so I could attend graduate school, and we didn't have any family around to fall on, and trying to get on track with new jobs and school and baby was really, really hard. I have a tendency to turn inward and just focus on getting done what needs to be done and not worrying about what's going on beyond that. Needless to say, it put a lot of strain on our marriage and we were both miserable and angry at each other for a really healthy chunk of time. At any rate, we kind of forced ourselves to talk about the situation and try to examine what was going on and what the causes of it were, and over time we were able to get rid of a lot of the harmful emotions and habits. Any marriage is a compromise and looking back on it, you definitely feel pride in knowing you tackled it together and were able to come through the fire intact. So what do you think it is about so many marriages today that make people not willing to do the hard work required of staying together?

DS: Methinks that has several answers. Some people do not have the aptitude for the level of empathy and compassion to make a marriage last. Some are too lazy to make the effort to work at the relationship. Some have too much pride to admit when they are wrong or to let their spouse win some, lose some.

Finally, some come from backgrounds where there hasn't been a role model (or models) to give them the tools for making a marriage and family work. That is why kids of divorced parents statistically have higher divorce rates (when reaching the appropriate age to marry), than children of happily married couples.

KC: Well, it's no secret that over the past few decades the divorce rate in America has sky-rocketed. Do you think couples split more easily today because there's no longer the social stigma attached to divorce that there once was, or do you think there's been a fundamental break-down in the perceived sanctity of marriage in our country, or do you think it's something altogether different?

DS: I think both of those apply. People are getting so used to hearing about divorce, it's almost like saying "were buying a house". It's commonplace to hear younger couples talk about their second marriage. Also, there is a breakdown in the sanctity of marriage. I talk to young people all the time about marriage and to them it is a "thing" you do. If it doesn't work out, there is a way "out".

It's not just a marriage thing, I think the less-than-thirty generation (sounds familiar) is bombarded with contradictions in issues of morality that we and our parents hold true. Bill Clinton, for example, not only has given everyone the public impression that he cheats on his wife, but ask any teen if a blowjob is sex and a high group will tell you "no".

KC: So what needs to happen? What do we, as a society, need to do to make young people realize marriage is a lifelong process that takes a lot of hard work and commitment, and isn't one of those "crazy" little things you do like piercing your belly-button?

DS: I don't really know if it is a fix we can do in our generation but we could lay the groundwork for it on a big picture scale: media, government (local) messaging, in school maybe. The school thing is so tricky. You cannot have religion-related stuff taught, but moral issues are for everyone.

I think it is a slow fix because from my own experience and observation, many of my close friends and family have children that have skewed ideas of morality. But many of them have strong moral convictions and are outstanding parents.

KC: You know, this might sound weird or prejudiced in some way, but my whole life I've thought most pure Americans--people whose parents are both American--are a little lazier and unmotivated than people who have at least one parent from another country. Obviously, this doesn't apply to everyone, but I think when someone has that kind of intimate outside exposure to something else, they tend to have a greater appreciation for the value of working for what you want and not expecting everything to just be handed to you. I think that plays into the morality thing because understanding you are accountable for your own actions and decisions goes hand-in-hand with morality. What are your thoughts on that?

DS: I absolutely believe that is true. I've seen it first hand with my family members that own businesses (Asian) and with the Mexicans (not Latin-Americans) working on my house. The amount of work that a person outputs is what they think is expected of themselves. But, the person that is accustomed to hard work, long-hours or less-than-perfect conditions has higher expectations of themselves. It's what they think of as normal.

That goes for a persons actions and decisions as well. However, it seems that each generation from the first in this country keeps their culture and teachings, but replace bits and pieces with the "American" way of thinking. I'm guessing about the fourth or fifth generation will show only small amounts of the original culture.

KC: Do you have full Korean relatives living in the states? Cousins and such?

DS: Yes. Almost all of my mother's family, except a brother, live in the states. More than half here in Kentucky.

KC: And are you and your sister the only mixed children in the family?

DS: Yes. And yes there is a perceptible distiction from the full relatives (in their actions and conversations).

KC: Do you and your sister speak Korean?

DS: We both speak very broken Korean.

KC: My brother, sister and I don't speak any Korean except for a few phrases and I've found I feel a real grieving for not being able to speak the language because I can't interact with some of my relatives. How do your Korean relatives treat you? Do they view you as Korean or American?

DS: They definitely treat us as Americans. I also would like to speak to my grandmother, who only speaks korean.

KC: How does that make you feel? My American cousins view us as Korean and our Korean cousins view us as American, so we're an "other" to everybody.

DS: It makes me want to excel and try harder at everything so that the family recognizes me for something they deem as respectful.

KC: Have you had friction in your relationship with your mother because she thinks your behavior is too American? That's definitely been an issue with my mom as I've grown up.

DS: No. I think that is more between women and their daughters. Mine was always looking good for the other family members because of my being the oldest son. My sister had much friction.

KC: Do your Korean aunts and uncles expect their kids to marry other Koreans?

DS: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, my mother was hurt and wouldn't talk to my wife (now) when we were dating, and even went out of her way to hurt my wife's feelings. All because she's white.

KC: But even your mom was upset? That's odd since she married a white man. My mother never worried about whether or not we ended up marrying white people, but I really think she was hoping my brother might marry a korean girl. His girlfriend is white, so that's probably not going to happen. How did your wife handle this treatment?

DS: At first my wife was hurt. After about a year of dating, she tried to avoid her as much as possible and felt uncomfortable around her when my mom came to visit. But, after the two deaths, they've become much closer. They aren't your typical "go out and shop" together mother and daughter-in-law, but we do take mom out to eat and spend more time with her.

KC: What do YOU think about your mother's reluctance to accept a non-Korean daughter-in-law?

March 16, 2004

Interview #7 Revisited

As promised, I have Kristen back with me again today to finish up our conversation from yesterday.

KC: OK, I've got to know more about this whole Jodee Knight thing. How did you two end up being friends? She seemed so mainstream to me.

KW: You know, I'm not really sure how we became friends. We were in debate class and she sat in front of me with some other popular girl (can't think of who)...anyways, you know me, I was very opinionated about issues, most of which the class hadn't even thought about much or even more scary, knew anything (Apartheid, what is that?)....First of all I think she was just intrigued because I had lived near Wash. D.C. and she had gone there the previous summer and so we talked a lot about the area. I think it was her first big trip out of Utah and it obviously impressed her a lot. I was sarcastic and not afraid to say what I thought and I think she thought that was so "quirky" and that it would be a huge step for her to associate with someone outside her little clique...we just continued to chat and hang out together at debate tournaments so I guess circumstance really cemented our friendship more than genuinely trying to hang out with each other. She had a WAY more busy social life than I did, but in Senior year she did include me in a lot of stuff. We skipped class and went to a Howard Jones concert with two other girls and stayed in a hotel in park city (that was a riot and a really long story because those girls did not know how to really cut loose). She knew I didn't like most of her other friends though, and they felt the same about me so for the most part we just kinda tolerated each other. She and Angie did not like each other at all, for obvious reasons, they were complete opposites!

For a brief period, she really struggled with her identity. She told me a lot about how she wanted a lot of things but knew that her upbringing and her Mormon values acted as a barrier to her really embracing life. Honestly, she wanted to go to D.C. and work and live the single girl's life for a while and she talked to me openly about how she questioned things in the Mormon church and about life in general in Utah. I swear, I know its hard to believe, but its true! She didn't like always being the misshomecomingqueen personality that she couldn't avoid being...she even made me take her dancing to some 18 and under club that briefly opened in ogden and started hanging out with some of those guys in drama who were goths and openly acted gay (I don't know if they really knew what they

I don't know it was weird, in the long run, she really couldn't break free of her values and just accepted a life as a good mormon, going on her mission and marrying that guy. I remember her parents were so cruel to her because they wanted her married after her freshman year of college and she hadn't done it yet, that is why the whole mission thing came up.

I have to say I'm grateful to her because through her I in some small way saw a little different side of the people I judged to be jocks and snotty girls. Like John Taylor, from your class, he came back to a game right before his mission and we were hanging out and I was being me, coming up with some game to invent poetry (one person would make up a line, the next continue) and he apparently was totally impressed with that and thought I was cool and told people that he wished he wasn't going on his mission so he could ask me out. . .and Sean Casey (I think that was his name) had the best taste in music, I was shocked!!! Sara somebody ended up being a little more knowledgeable about the world than I thought (plus she told me she had a nose job, that was priceless)...

Phew, that is a lot of info. But my memory bank has been triggered and its downloading fast and furious.

KC: OK, number one, I'm SCREAMING (not in a bad way) to hear John Taylor wanted to ask you out because he is the first guy to have ever seen my bare boob during a make-out session. Whew, just reading his name brought back a whole bunch of stuff. At any rate, I know Jodee and Angie hated each other, but I always thought that had more to do with the fact that Angie was good friends with Ron Eastland and Jodee didn't like that. Anywho, what's the coolest thing you've ever dug up in the field?

KW: Whoa baby, John Taylor got a special surprise (and obviously a penchant for non-Mormon girls!).

Yeah, you are right, I think a lot of Angie and Jodee's antagonism had to do with Ron and Angie's friendship but me being friends with both didn't help! To be honest, I didn't even remember Ang and Ron were friends but that is because I didn't see them interact a lot together (they both worked at Gap right? Or did you and Ron work at Gap? Damn memories)....

Coolest thing I dug up? Very easy: A carved Ipiutak (Ancient Eskimo) antler endpiece for a staff and an ivory decorative item (perhaps part of breastplate) with Jet Black eyes...I'll attach pictures but don't post them anywhere since the village is concerned about their publication. They are only around 1200 years old, but they were so beautiful and I dug them up while trying to carefully excavate a displaced burial with a group of elderly Eskimo women and young children watching me. When I uncovered the antler item, I think my heart almost stopped and the gasps from everyone were astounding. It was the first time I became really emotionally involved with my work, I didn't realize it but tears were running down my face and when I finally stood up, all the little old ladies came over and patted my arms and blessed me with little statements because they were grateful for the way I had handled it. That whole project was the best experience of my life, I learned so much about myself and grew besides doing amazing archaeology.

Longer answer then you expected, eh? I'm trying to avoid finishing this bibliography, I HATE doing them.

KC: See, I think that would be really exciting to hold something like that. I mean, really, you're holding history in your hands. When you think about the past, it seems like something totally disconnected from everyday reality, but to hold something tangible and realize what permanence and longevity really mean is like having the breath knocked out of you a little. As far as John Taylor's surprise, believe me, it was a small one. :-) Yeah, Angie and Ron worked together at the Gap and I didn't even realize how close they were until after he died and Angie called me about it because I don't think she knew who else she could cry to. They showed his picture during a slide-show at our 10th reunion and, of course, everyone got really quiet. I didn't really know him at all. I also remembered another piece of gossip that's pretty good. Did you know that Matt Godfrey is the mayor of Ogden? I guess that's not really gossip, but interesting, nonetheless. Now back to the questioning. Which teacher did you hate most in high school and why?

KW:(History) Yes, you summed it up pretty well. I was hooked the first time I was digging a site (a Spanish Colonial house destroyed in the Pueblo Indian Revolt of 1680 in Santa Fe) and realized I was the first person to see what I had uncovered since it had been left behind on a day that must have been frightening and horrific (the residents of the house probably got away thanks to sympathetic Pueblo Indians in area).

(Little surprise) Ha!

(Ron's death) I feel bad when that happened, I think it was when we were freshman in college. At that point I think Angie and I had had a bit of a falling out due to the fact that she owed me money and we were running with different crowds, I feel bad that she didn't really have anyone there to help her with it. I was kinda absorbed in dealing with Jodee, she really clung to me because I was the only one that wasn't saying all the stock sympathetic statements to her. She really expected Ron to come back and that they would settle down, I don't know if it would have happened but of course at the moment of tragedy she couldn't let go of that notion. I didn't get to go to my 10 year reunion, no one told me, I don't think Angie went either? Our class officers weren't real good about advertising it to people.

(Gossip) Yeah my brother told me! I think it is kinda funny. I seem to remember something tragic happening to him, like he had a girlfriend in CA who was murdered or something...

(Most-hated teacher) Mr. Moore. I couldn't stand that man even though I know everyone that he was the most spectacular English teacher. First of all, he wasn't, he just impressed everyone with all his exotic recollections of his European trips. Second of all, he was creepy, he latched onto some girls in my class and it made me very uncomfortable how much time he spent with them and how he would sit there and actually do things like give them candy in front of the whole just wasn't appropriate. He also couldn't stand me because the first day of class he ran his slide show of art from museums in Europe where he impresses everyone with how much he knows about art history and I answered every one of his questions...he literally was flustered by the fact that someone was responding! I think he pretty much didn't like me after that. Remember how he used to throw things around at people when expounding on points, well one time he looked like he was going to throw one of his hefty gold rings at me and I looked him straight in the eye and said "Don't you dare throw that at me or I will walk out of here". I did well in his class (and subsequently scored a "5" on the AP English exam so he couldn't have been all bad as a teacher but I credit my teachers in VA more).

KC: And once again, it's time to end our interview for the day. I want to thank you again for taking time out of your day to chat with us today. Hope to talk to you again soon.

March 15, 2004

Interview #7

Today I've got another really special guest with me in the studio. Her name is Kristen and she's an archaeologist in Texas with the U.S. Army. Kristen and I went to high school together in Utah. Being non-Mormon in Utah is enough to make people friends in high school there, but we were also reporters on the school newspaper together, and that's probably how we really got to know each other. Kristen also was a very good friend of my sister's, who was in the same year as Kristen. I'm a year older than the two of them, so I was really more of a mature, fiercely intelligent woman role model for Kristen. :-) At any rate, let's get started with the interview.

KC: Kristen, when we were in high school, you were really committed to the idea of becoming a journalist. You wanted to go to Columbia and really go all the way with it. I'm curious to know how you shifted gears and ended up in archaeology.

KW: good question! When I went to college, I started out a communication major with every intention of becoming an international journalist. I diligently signed up for my first required courses in communications (a core requirement of courses had to be filled before you could be "accepted" into the journalism program or something like that). The first course had some vague innocuous title like "Intro. to Mass Communications." On the first day of class our instructor had us go around the room and explain why we were in communications as a major. To my dismay I was surrounded with a bunch of eager freshman wanting to become (and these are quotes), a "PR representative making 80k a year" and, my personal favorite, "the next Jane Pauley" that in and of itself was not enough to drive me away from the field...after all I was an idealist, hopeful that I could save the world through obective reporting of world events. However, with every assignment, I became more dejected about the field. One of our projects was to develop a "spin" for the Exxon Oil Company in addressing the Valdez Oil Spill. In hindsight, I can see that there was a reason to prepare an assignment, this was a general communication class not a journalism class. I was offended and simply wrote a paper saying that I would encourage Exxon to admit their error and take proactive steps to mitigate the damage, working in conjunction with the environmental groups who were the most vocal about the spill to clean-up the spill. I received a C for not thinking creatively in how to spin the issue. The PR wannabe-Young Republican who wore a tie to class everyday received an A for finding a way to blame it all on the Captain and not directly acknowledge fault. I hated the class and stopped giving it my all immediately...there were mountains to hike and hours to be
spent hanging out talking about important issues.

At the same time that I was dragging myself reluctantly to that class, I was thinking back on a class I had taken the quarter before. The class was called "The Human Past" and it intrigued me. I had never been too much into science in high school but in this class, genetics and the role of physical sciences in uncovering the mystery of human evolution and adaptation fascinated me. The class was writing intensive and after the first exam, the professor had berated a mortified room of students about the poor quality of writing and how disappointed he was that only 3 students had managed to write coherently and earn an A. Well, you can guess who one of those students was! Nothing like a little positive reinforcement.

I still hadn't given up my journalistic goals, but I had become more interested in pursuing international politics as a degree rather than communications which I felt wasn't going to give me what I wanted (in my idealistic mind). I can't really pinpoint when I decided to officially pursue becoming an archaeologist, I just know that the classes in cultural anthropology I took to supplement my international politics class were far more interesting and stimulating to me. I loved exploring the mystery of how culture defines us as human beings and the role it has played in world geopolitics. After my first archaeology class, I became even more hooked on the idea of literally digging stuff up to piece together history. I loved being outdoors and out in remote places, I found it hard and still find it hard to spend long periods in big cities and stuck in offices. I thought archaeology was the perfect way for me to stimulate my mind and my body at the same time...and now, over a decade later, here I am!

I could go on and on about it, people are confused. You should have seen my parents when I said I was switching majors, I consoled my Dad with the idea that because of the intensive writing involved in Anthropology, many people used it as a springboard for law school. In all reality, I did toy with that idea as I wanted to pursue Environmental and Native American Rights law, but couldn't give up dig-in-the dirt archaeology.

Also, as an irony, the girl who was editor-in-chief of paper before me, Sherri Murry, also became an archaeologist. She got her masters like me and works in SLC as a professional archaeologist. Isn't that funny?

KC: Actually, I don't think it's such a far stretch that you (or Sherri) ended up in archaeology because it's still a form of story-telling, and not in the sense of fictional story-telling, but in the journalistic sense. What do you do? You piece together bits of evidence you've collected to come up with a bigger picture and cohesive story of what happened. Like you, I became disillusioned with the journalistic field when I was in college because it seemed so obvious the push was more on how you had to write a story to increase submissions and viewers. I did consider just switching to PR because I thought, hey, that's really all it is. I'd rather just be truthful and call it what it is. In the end, I finished out with journalism, but you can see it's not where I stayed. I got sick of writing what other people wanted me to write and not being able to tell what I saw as the truth, so I focus on my fiction now because I can tell the stories I want to tell. Now, with all of that out of my system...what comes to your mind when you hear "Utah?"

KW: Love your comments about your own experience with Journalism. I don't think PR is so bad now either, after all, at least it is explicit, whereas I wonder with the media...whether swinging a blatant liberal or conservative agenda it bothers me that there is very little objectivity.

First thing that comes to mind when I hear "utah"? Well the first thing I do is physically cringe (I swear! I did it just now)...the second thing I think of is "STERILE" and "STIFLING" is a place that just scares the s#$t out of me because I think it tends to just drain the individuality out of people in the long run. My brother still lives there with a wife who comes from a mormon family. She doesn't practice the religion but she carries the values and behavior at some intrinsic level despite her attempt at liberal posturing...and my brother, my family feels like he isn't the same person, he has started talking like a Utahan, you know that sing-song kind of nervous voice...and they are just so sorta uptight and afraid of anything different. In fact, this year was the very first time their whole family traveled out of state to come see my parents and us in Santa Fe. My brother thinks Utah is so great, but I just can't stand it, the minute I get there I start feeling repressed. Does that make sense? I went there for some training with a co-worker and he didn't believe all the stuff I said about it but after a day or two, he changed his tune to "I can't believe you are right, this place just FEELS oppressive." And now with all the growth, it has all the negatives of big cities with none of the positives despite all their attempts to internationalize (is that a word) the place for the olympics.

There is a woman I work with here who is a civil engineer and she grew up an airforce brat in Layton. She is Catholic and the first time we both realized we were from Utah and NOT mormon we both launched into this laundry list of common things we hated about the place. She never wants to go back there to live, even though her parents retired there and she does visit them with her husband and child. There is just something that Utah does to you, there was an article on MSNBC.Com during the Olympics from a reporter who grew up there as a Non-Mormon and it really articulated the experience well. I wish I had bookmarked it!

Have you read that Jon Krakeur book on the polygamists in Utah? It really is a well-written history about Utah in general that really captures the overall feeling of being in Utah and not running with the Righteous so to speak!

KC: Actually, I haven't read the book you mention, but last I time I was in Utah visiting my friend Erin, I actually got to see a polygamist family up close and personal. We were hiking at Zion and we were at the visitor's center and there they were in all their glory. I was really excited because I'd never seen a polygamist when I lived there. Oddly enough, they reminded me of the Amish. They kind of dressed that way. The really funny thing (maybe not so funny, really) is that the husband was just gross looking. I mean, there was nothing about him that would make you look at him twice, let alone let him touch you, and there he was with his multiple wives?banging away every night, I'm sure. I'm sure they didn't appreciate me staring at them like they were an exhibit in a zoo. When I first started college, people couldn't believe the things I told them about living there. I do try to get back every few years to visit friends, because they're still my friends despite it all, and I can't help but lovin' them. Now, who is the guy in your past that you think "what if" about?

KW: Yeah I saw polygamists when I worked in a government public affairs office in college there, they would come in for forms and stuff...kinda funny how they are anti-government until they need welfare and stuff like that because the man is too lazy and busy procreating to earn a living to support all these women and children...very strange..people do have a hard time understanding what it is like. When I used to spend my summers up north of the Arctic Circle, my colleagues looked forward to the after dinner relaxation in the kitchen tent and would pester me for stories of Utah and
Mormons..funny, huh?

What guy do I think "What If"? Easiest question ever, I've always wondered about a guy in high school in Virginia, Christopher G. When I started school there after moving from Austin, TX, I felt in major culture shock. My family had moved us from the richest school district in Austin (where we were the "poor" family) to the middle of rural Virginia farm country where we were suddenly, the "Richest." I had never been out of the suburbs except on vacation and was shocked by the demographics of the high school population. They were equally shocked by me with my odd clothing (MTV had been a staple in Austin). Christopher was this preppy guy who had moved there the year before from Texas and he was immediately friendly to me and started talking about Texas and our shared love of good music. He was popular, a swim team member, fine looking and he was always a good friend to me. I'm sure his prepster friends gave him a hard time about me (oooh, it sounds so "Pretty in Pink" now!), but he never shied away from being a friend to me when they were around or anything like that. Of course, he never asked me out on a date or anything but when I moved to Utah, I remember being shocked that he had actually written me back after I sent him a letter (he actually sent me a tape that he talked on and put some tunes
on, I thought it was cool). I don't know what happened to him, I'm sure he is either settled down and happily married with 1.5 kids or maybe even gay (with my luck)! But I always thought we would have ended up a really cool odd couple!!

There is also Trent S. from my junior high days in Texas. We were going steady until I dramatically broke up with him for daring to want to hold my hand in school!! Too much physical contact for me in my opinion! I thought he was even geekier and more boring than me. He tried to win me back with a Garfield calendar at Christmas....I wasn't impressed. I later found out from my best friend there (who I still talk to also!) that he ended up becoming an Olympic level swimmer (actually tried out for Olympic team, may have been on it) and was really good looking and had got a PHD in computer science and owned his own software company in Austin and ran triathlons...sigh...don't know where he is now, maybe Austin but also might be getting an MBA at Harvard last I heard (ironically I don't know if he is married, but I can't imagine he isn't!

What about you? Who is your "what if?" Is it someone from Weber? hint hint, anyone I know ;^)

Sorry my answers are so long! I can't shut up when it comes to dredging up memories!

KC: My "what if" is a fellow Weberite; although, I don't know if you knew him. I dated him the summer before I started college, my friend Erin's brother Steve. It was a very whirlwind sort of romance and the only one in my life where I felt completely swept off my feet. Of course, there were too many barriers for it to really work. There was the religion issue, just to begin with, and the fact that he was in Utah and I was in Pennsylvania. But, I still like to wonder about it because it's really the only relationship I've had where it came to an end because of logistics rather than due to the fact that we were done with each other. There's nothing more intriguing than a relationship that didn't have the chance to run itself out. At any rate, he made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the world at a point in life when every girl should get to feel that way. So, I owe him a lot for that. Also, don't apologize for the long answers?you're an interviewer's dream. No prodding needed here. :-) OK, I'm going to liberate you now. What thing from your past have you been hiding because you'd be absolutely mortified if anyone knew?

KW:I remember you dating someone but I can't remember the guy! Oh well, I'm surprised I remember as much as I do, but it always seems to be odd stuff, like the place I used to eat lunch at Weber with Angie, some stairwell near our lockers and I'd hog all Ang's lunch because it was usually some awesome leftovers of your mom's Korean cooking (the fact that there is not one but several Korean restaurants around me since it is an army town balances the negatives of being in Central Texas! Although I still can't find some of the
things your Mom made (some spicy pancake and a kinda stew like thing with rolled up ricecakes sticks in it...mmmm)

Anyways, I digress, as usual.....avoiding the issue obviously. What thing are you hiding from your past that you would be absolutely mortified if anyone knew???? I suppose it would have to be an affair I had with a fellow graduate student whilst I was coming to the end of a turbulent romance with my ex-fianc?e...although we had officially decided to become unengaged we were still a couple working on things supposedly (although it was mostly me trying to deal with this very intelligent, tortured writer guy trying to get into graduate school for philosophy). The fellow student was someone who WAS just engaged to a girl he had dated for 7 years and who I knew and
liked. They were also having relationship problems, but that really is not justification for what happened. It was an easy way to escape problems by running to someone else. It stopped obviously although I have to admit by that point I was starting to like him a lot since my relationship was failing so miserably. He married the girl but they ended up divorcing a year later (weird huh, almost 10 years together and then marriage made them implode). He rushed out and married the next girl he dated and they have a kid. We email as friends but we've never really talked about what happened. I feel most awful about my ex-fianc?e, for all his faults, he was always
faithful to me and made me feel beautiful. He just was so devoted to reading, wandering the wilderness on solitary journeys and writing that there wasn't a lot of room for me. I really wanted us to work but even though we tried after our "Disengagement", it didn't really work. I think the main problem is that I could never really come clean and tell him what happened and he deserved to know that...but I was afraid it would devastate him and felt ashamed. So I've kept it to myself, only two other people really know it happened. My ex-fianc?e and I stay in touch, he has moved toFrance to pursue his writing dream, but I still can't bring myself to tell him. Shameful isn't it? I hope you edit this down! I used to feel really awful about this, while I'm still not thrilled with it, after observing and talking with people over the years, I realize I'm not the only one who has made some hurtful choices in my life.

KC:Wow! I don't have anything that good. All my secrets revolve around stuff I haven't told my parents. So, I'm going to come clean with you. Dad, that time Laura Glenn got drunk and I told you I didn't, well, I did. I feel really bad about that one because when my father looked me straight in the eye and asked if I was telling the truth, I looked him straight back in the eye and said, "When have I ever lied to you before?" And he took my word for it. Also, I took birth control pills in college and had sex before I got married. OK, that felt good. Now, in what way do you think we (Americans) as a culture have failed our children?

KW: Man, you are so good! I debated about just going with the run of the mill, I lied to my parents, but I never really did. I always told them about when I drank and my parents pretty much accepted me living with my ex-fianc?e and knew I was sexually active, they just wanted to make sure I was safe and covered my Mom took me to the doctor so I could get my birth control pills!!! My Dad just kinda pretended he didn't know it was all going on! It was safer for him that way!

In what ways have we as Americans as a culture failed our children? I have to say that there are probably many ways we have failed: in not protecting our environment more, in not protecting our country more, in not giving greater recognition to the past and in emphasizing the "Me" in American....I hope I can write my ideas out here because there are a lot of things that bother me. It bothers me that kids today are exposed to so much hedonistic and greedy behavior via the "role models" put out there by the media. Whether it be Britney Spears or Kobe Bryant (I know innocent until proven guilty but still his behavior was wrong) or 50 Cent the rapper, we feed our kids a culture that it is o.k. to be a superficial person. If people say to me that Britney Spears is about female empowerment, I laugh, she doesn't even know how to spell the word much less explain what it means (and I'm not saying girls should stomp around in combat boots and not shave their legs, just that I don't think Britney gets balancing femininity with equality). Kids today get bombarded with the notion that the easiest way to be a success is to sing well like on American Idol or play sports or just be attractive. The show Survivor summarizes to me the problems I see in American Culture. As an anthropologist, the notion of Tribe means a group
of folks with shared values and behavior who stay together as a result of their common experience. On the show survivor, the goal is to outsmart and outwit your teammates to win a big wad of money. That doesn't make any sense, a "tribe" would never behave in that way. In most primitive societies, groups of people banded together find communal sharing a better way to deal with exterior pressures.

I feel sad, I think we grew up in a generation that was more socially and politically conscious than youth today. The technology that was supposed to improve education for future generations in some ways is contributing to its demise...videogames, sound bytes, some ways we have shortened the attention span of an entire generation! Awareness and study of the past, of theatre, of art, of literature are all important aspects of a modern society. I don't think the Technological and Scientific advances we've seen would have taken place without is like that Sting commercial for music and math, have you seen it?

I guess that sounds really depressing and it probably shouldn't. First of all, I don't have kids so I guess I don't have a great perspective although I do outreach and programs at a lot of schools and am sometimes horrified by what I see. On the other hand, I do think there is a lot of hope for the future based on my positive experiences from schools and also from witnessing my own niece and nephews. There is plenty of good out there, I just hope that this fascination with the gluttonous media blob of reality tv and greed is balanced out some.

Phew, this soapbox is making me dizzy!!! If that doesn't make any sense, I wouldn't be surprised, I was putting down my thoughts quickly. Edit down or condense into something legible, if you can! This was great fun!

KC: Is that your polite way of telling me you've got more important things to do right now? :-)

KW: no! I'm still finishing up lunch! It just sounded like it might be the last question! Gal, I could write all day about stuff and since I'm stuck in front of a computer anyway with this mapping I'm doing, what the hell? :^)

KC: OK, since you're still willing to answer questions. What's the best piece of gossip you've heard about someone we went to high school with?

KW: What is the best piece of gossip from high school? Geez, I don't know, I remember hearing that one of my best friends, Jodee Knight, got married and divorced later which was kinda shocking to me....I also found out that a guy (Danny Wade) I was in World History with ended up being gay and living with a flight attendant partner in SLC(and he was not a drama guy, he hung with
the popular-sporto crowd)....Seems like I should having something more "juicy"...I mean Angie is a little bit of a story but she is my friend so I don't count that! I think I was gossip for a little while because when I was at home after my freshman year, I hung out with Brian White and we both had become, um very briefly, deadhead potheads...I'm sure some of the old crew talked about that but we were in college so it was ok to be smokin' (and I did smoke cigarettes for a long time and lived with someone out of wedlock, gasp, the shame!)... I feel like there is someone big I'm missing but can't think of it....whatchya got? Anything good?

KC: No, I don't have anything really, really good. Although, I did hear that before Jennifer Cragun got married she went in for a gyn check-up and the doctor felt a large tumor on one of her ovaries, so they scheduled for immediate surgery because they thought it might be cancer and when they opened her up, the tumor was an egg that had tried to develop without being fertilized and it had teeth and bone in it. Of course, when told this, I found it hard to believe and said, "Are you sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy and they're just trying to cover up the fact that she had sex before marriage?" I still think that's the case. But that's probably the best thing I've heard. Did you even know who Jennifer Cragun was? You were friends with Jodee Knight? I have to say that really shocks me. There was nothing about her that would make me think you could be friends with her. I definitely want to hear more on this, but, alas, I have to go pick-up [my daughter] from school. Maybe we can start this up again tomorrow if you have time. At any rate, thanks so much for talking to me today. It's been real, just like J-Lo.

March 11, 2004

Interview #6

I have a very special treat for all of you today. I've got my friend Ann here with us. I cannot put into words the kind of friend she is to me. You know how people talk about finding their soul mates? Well, I think there are soul siblings, too, and I think of Ann as a soul sister. Some people just get you in a way that the majority of the population can't, and those are the people you never shake. Ann and I met our freshman year of college, where we lived next to each other in the dorm. To say things were a little "wild" that year would be a massive, massive understatement. Let's just say it was a year filled with the kind of experiences that end up binding people to each other for life. We were roommates our sophomore year. We were little sisters in TWO fraternities together, and she was one of my bridesmaids. So, without further adieu, let's get started:

KC: What do you regret most in life, and what do you regret least?

AK: I would have to say that what I regret most is not enjoying my senior year of college as much as I should have. For some crazy reason, I was eager to get out into the job market - what was I thinking?? What I regret least is moving to San Francisco. I have had some opportunites come my way here that I would never have had if I had stayed in NJ and plus it's a kick ass place to live.

KC: When you think back to some of the crazy stuff we did in college, what makes you laugh the hardest?

AK: Wow - there are soooo many. First thing that comes to mind is back in the Stone Hall days - you and I devising a fool proof plan to steal alcohol without anyone finding out....singing the Mission Impossible theme while doing it. (of course, everyone knew it was us).

KC: Yeah, I always laugh when I think about that and anytime I hear the Mission Impossible theme song. I think I remember most fondly the time you and I had to pee so bad on the way to an after-hours party that we stopped and peed in the bushes in front of some fraternity. I think it was DU. The sad part is we weren't even in college anymore on that one. Old habits die hard, I guess. Describe the best day of your life.

AK: The peeing in the yard WAS a great one too!! Friends that are peeing together...anyway Best Day of My Life - wow that is REALLY tough!! I have great moments but best day..hmmm. Probably while in South Africa on safari. During the day, [my boyfriend] and I took the micro bus out in the park by ourselves and just saw some amazing things - a full grown elephant not more than 200 feet from us, two giraffe fighting, two hippos fighting, about 10 different species of birds within 100 yards of us. That same night we went out on a night ride and drove alongside two male lions. I could have reached out and touched them. It was an experience that I will never forget.

KC: Did I know you went to South Africa? I think I remember it somewhere in the back of my mind. I always wanted to go on a photo safari until I read about all the parasites and whatnot you can get in Africa. Now, I don't know. I know I'm a wimp, but what can I say? How would you summarize the shortcomings of American culture today?

AK: I think the biggest shortcoming has to do with our education system. One example (and this of course, is only my take on it), most Europeans are taught and become fluent in at least one other language. In America, maybe some kids learn Spanish. Another short coming is the lack of interest in traveling to others parts of the world and experiencing different cultures. Many of my friends have
NO desire to travel outside of the US (and this is before 9-11). Most won't even leave the East Coast, if you can believe it. There is so much out there to see, it's sad that they are missing out.

KC: I agree on both counts. People seem to take education for granted in this country because it's so easily accessible, and have forgotten you have to actually put something (resources) into it to get something out of it. When you see people who have been denied education, like girls in Afghanistan, and then see how eager they are for it, you realize how complacent so many Americans have become. I also don't understand people who don't want to travel. Because my entire childhood was spent travelling, I get fidgety and nervous after I've been in one place a couple of years, and feel like I want to go someplace new and see something new. In your globe-trotting, what would you say has been your most enlightening and insightful experience into another culture?

AK: Again, my answer goes back to South Africa. We stayed in Capetown for a week where we were attending a wedding of a white South African woman. I was amazed at how fearful and hateful the white people are of the black people. At the wedding reception, a woman at one of the tables wouldn't talk to or even look at the black waiter/busboy serving her food and wine. Only her husband would address him. God forbid anyone said "thank you". Of course, in my bitchness, I made an effort to say thank you to everyone that helped me in a slightly louder tone than I would normally use. :)

KC: That is interesting. I'd actually like to hear more about your observations, but I think I'll save that for a private conversation. So, what's the freakiest thing you've ever done while having sex?

AK: I think I'm pretty tame in this area but I would have to say slapping the rear of my partner.

KC: While you were shouting, "Who's your Momma? Who's your Momma?" No? Did you have him outfitted in horse gear? OK, tell me about the last fist-fight you were in and what caused it. Also, who won?

AK: Can you believe I've NEVER been in an actual fist fight? I did have a girl come up to me in high school telling me that she was going to "beat the shit of me" for talking to someone's boyfriend or something like that. I started to laugh in her face (nervous reaction I'm sure) and I think I said "Why doesn't she (the girlfriend beat me up? Why do you have to do it?". But it got her all flustered and she didn't know what to do. So, she said that I better stay away from him or else. Strange - so I guess I won?

KC: Actually, I can't believe you've never been in an actual fist fight. I don't think that's really registering with me. There are certain truths I've taken for granted: The Earth is round, beer is good, and Ann has kicked the shit out of someone at least once in her life. At any rate, it's nearly punch-out time for me, so I'll have to bring this interview to an end. But before I do, I want to thank you for sharing your time with our viewing audience and we hope to see you again real soon. Peace out, G.

March 10, 2004

Brakes on a car breaks on a train breaks to do most anything! thats right curtis blow in the hizzie. How about some pope on a rope? or the leaning tower of pisa cutter! 2 and a half weeks and I'm outta this byatch!!! thas right thas right!!!

Interview #5

Today my friend Michelle is on board to talk to us. Michelle and I used to work together at the American Nurses Association. I was the reporter for their newspaper and Michelle was the graphic designer. While there are many people I'd like to forget from my time at ANA, (well actually not many, just one really, really annoying person) Michelle is not one of them. She's just a super swell gal and cute as a button, to boot. Michelle also is currently expecting twins, which is incredibly exciting. So let's start with some "being in the family way" questions:

KC: How's the pregnancy going and do you know the sexes yet?

MK: The pregnancy is going very well so far considering the load I'm carrying around. I'm always a little scared to say things are "great" because that would be the day that I'd go into preterm laboróand these little bugs need to bake for at least two more months. We're not finding out the sexes...I know that just kills you doesn't it?!

KC: So you're not finding out the sexes, huh? Yeah, and you're right, that kills me. I don't understand why people make such a big deal about being "surprised." But enough of the rant, we are interviewing you. So, what would you say has been the most unexpected part of being pregnant?

MK: Well, after trying for so long, just being pregnant was pretty unexpected. Feeling them move around in there is pretty cool, but I can't say I wasn't expecting that. I guess I'd say watching your stomach stretch beyond your imagination has been the hardest thing to grasp. I mean you see it on other people but it's different when it's your body doing it.

KC: Do you have stretch marks yet?

MK: No, luckily not yet. My friend gave me some "belly balm" to rub on twice a day but I hear those products won't really stop it if you're genetically inclined to get them. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because neither my mom or my sister got them.

KC: Yeah, well you're lucky if you don't get them. I thought I was going to get away scott-free until my sixth month and then I look down and in one night, they were everywhere. Sad, really. What's been the most annoying thing people have done to you, related to the pregnancy?

MK: Well, I don't mind the belly touching because somehow I feel like the babies are truly a buffer between me and the offending hands. Plus I grew up in an Italian family...very emotional and touchy/ I guess I've gotten used to people invading my personal space. It does kinda get annoying with people asking how you're feeling all the time...I know they are just being nice and mean well, and if it were just coming from one or two people no big deal, but I hear it all day long from everyone in the office. I just want to hang a sign around my neck that says "I feel fine. Thanks for asking."

KC: I was most annoyed by how men on the Metro would avert their eyes when they saw me come onboard so they wouldn't feel obligated to offer me their seat. How is [your husband] handling the pregnancy? Is he completely freaked out?

MK: Oh, the metro...thank God I don't have to ride that thing anymore. If he is he's not showing it. He was the one who really wanted twins in thefirst place so he's pretty happy about how everything is turning out. I think his timeline and my timeline are a little different as far as when things need to get done around the house. His attitude is more "What's the rush, we have at least two more months." and I'm thinking..."If they put me on bed rest and all your tools are still strung out around the house I might explode!"

He keeps asking to take photos of my stomach. I think he finds it humorous and fascinating at the same time.

KC: It is such an exciting time when you're pregnant, although, very trying as well. I'm going to shift gears a bit now: What have you learned about [your husband] since being married that makes it impossible to still think of him the way you did before you got married. (Feel free to be brutally honest with this one.)

MK: Wow, that's kinda tough. I was finding out all sorts of things before we got how incredibly stubborn he is. And he's an absolute SLOB! He's gotten somewhat better with that after six years of nagging but I'm afraid it will take the next 26 before I truly break him down.

The first thing that popped in my head is how much he is like his father. Some of the facial expressions and hand gestures he's picked up since we're living closer to them and see them more often freaks me out a little. I mean you don't want to crawl into bed with your husband one night and wake up with your father-in-law. Whoa, that just gives me the heeby-geebies.

KC: Yeah, waking up with [your husband's] father would freak me out too. What's the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?

MK: I'm sure I've embarrassed myself on numerous occasions without knowing it but the one that sticks out in my head is when I went to my friend Tim's fathers visitation and walked into the wrong room at the funeral home and into someone else's wake. After standing in line, signing the register and
standing in line again to view the body it wasn't until I was five or so feet away before I realized it was some little old lady I didn't know. I was wondering why I hadn't seen Tim or the rest of his family and then I had to try and subtly get out of the line before I had to say something to this woman's family. I just went to the closest chair and acted like I was pulling myself together then I slipped out. I got a thank you note from that family a few weeks later.

KC: So you just sat in the chair and pretended to cry a little or did you act real hysterical and scream, "Oh, why her, God? Why her?" And then run out like to couldn't stand to be the room with her lifeless carcass? Yeah, I can see why that would be embarrassing. Now, let's get down and dirty: What is the most erotic dream/fantasy you've ever had?

MK: See, I knew it was only a matter of time.

It's a little clichÈ but it would probably be the handsome stranger fantasy where you are only drawn to each other my meaningless physical attraction and it's the best sex of your life. My guy is kinda Lenny Kravitz-esque (is that spelled right?) and usually on a beach with no shirt, longer, loose shorts and looking extremely hot.

KC: What do you mean it was only a matter of time? Are you suggesting that I have a gutter-mind? Lenny Kravitz, hmmm? Me like. OK, since we're heading down the slippery slope of proper discussion topics at a fast pace, let me ask you if you find yourself farting more often now that you're pregnant?

MK: Hey, I thought we were off the pregnant thing. But yes, I'd have to say so. Although not as much as I thought I would be based on what you hear and I've seen on "Sex In the City." Maybe I just farted more than most to begin with.

KC: I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. Heh, heh, heh. In your opinion, during the period of detente between the United States and former USSR, what would you say was the key contributing factor to the eventual breakdown of that uneasy peace?

MK: I couldn't say for sure...maybe it was our stereotype of their women all being fat and hairy. But more than likely it had something to do with a Republican, probably Reagan. And don't give me the crap about Nixon getting things going in the first place he was probably just scared after the whole
Bay of Pigs thing. But hey, it made for some interesting music in high school...what was that Phil Collins song with the puppets in the video? Oh and I know you know the Sting song "Do the Russians love their children too" what was the exact title of that one? Are we going to keep going with politics? I mean cracking on Bush becomes such a bore and I know you have a lot of Republican friends out there I wouldn't want to insult. ;-)

KC: Hey, now. Republicans are people, too. At least we believe in taking care of ourselves instead of expecting handouts from the government. But, I digress. :-) I'm going to my happy place, I'm going to my happy place....When you think back to high school, what is the stupidest thing you can remember doing?

MK: Um...unfortunately it was probably all the unprotected sex. Not with different guys mind you but with my one boyfriend over a three year span. Pretty stupid. Hopefully my daughter (or son) will feel comfortable enough coming to me so that we can discuss birth control should she/he need it.

KC: Oh yeah, tell me about it. I'm trying now to set the foundation for a good talking relationship with [my daughter] so she feels she can come to me with anything as she gets older. But, regretfully, I notice that it just about time for me to call it a day. So, thanks for being with us today, Michelle. It's been a great conversation and I hope you'll see fit to join again one day.

MK: Sure, love to.

KC: Bye.