To the extent that this lowly, neglected blog has any readers left, I would like to inform them that we are officially retiring La Dolce Vespa. Yes, I still have the Vespa. No, I do not ride it as often as I envisioned. But yes, I am still happy I bought it. The problem is not the Vespa, it's the fact that the Vespa has not provided the wealth of blogging material that I originally anticipated. Most notably, I still have all my fingers and toes.

The other problem is that my evil twin, Riley Noehren, has recently started her own blog, which she swears up and down she will post to on at least a biweekly basis. (But note: She is not trustworthy! Take whatever she says with a grain of salt. Do not--I repeat, DO NOT--enter into any multilevel marketing schemes with her.) Between the two of us, there is simply not enough time or material to supply two whole blogs. So if you're interested, kindly reset your Readers or bookmarks or whatever to http://www.rileynoehren.com/. Also, Riley really appreciates the moral support and patronage you provided in response to the last post.

Final Vespa stats...
Years owned: 2+
Miles logged: 600+ (still largely driven in my immediate neighborhood on weekends)
Helmet purchases: 3
Regrettable helmet purchases: 1 (pink Ed Hardy number with the words "Ed Hardy" in 12 places)
Minor accidents: 1 (the parking garage scuffle of 2007)
Brushes with death: 0 actual; 4,217 perceived
Members of scooter gang: 0
Persons invited to join scooter gang: 25


By any other name...

Declan McManus, Paul Hewson, William Bailey, Tracy Morrow—why do I like these fellas so much? First, for their contribution to (in no particular order) (a) good music, (b) good deeds, (c) the completely unexpected popularization of male redheads in white biker shorts, and (d) the fusion of gangster rap with serial television programs. But more importantly, I appreciate their artful adoption of some of the best pseudonyms ever. Sometimes I wish I had a pseudonym…

On a completely unrelated note, have I told you about my good “friend” Riley Noehren? She looks kind of like me except that she wears glasses and I wear contact lenses and if you ever see a fat picture that looks like me, it is actually of her, as I am naturally photogenic while she has a nasty tendency of being snapped with red cheeks and quadruple chinnage. Like me, Riley wrote a first-draft novel for nanwrimo back in 2007. Then she edited it into a full-blown book entitled Gravity vs. the Girl. Then she sent the resulting manuscript off to four agents, but got too lazy to send it to more after that, so she decided to self-publish. Then, after spending months editing and laying out her tome to perfection, she realized it would have been easier to send it to a few hundred more agents instead.

Anyhow, Riley’s writing style is eerily close to my own, so if you at all enjoy reading this blog (and I'm not assuming you do), you might want to check out Gravity vs. the Girl, which is presently available for purchase on Lulu, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and various online book retailers, such as this one.* Soon, Riley will be starting her own blog on her self-publishing adventures. Eventually she will throw up an author’s website.

Of course, Riley and I aren’t completely alike. For one thing, our names are way different. For another, unlike me, Riley is not paranoid that writing crazy books under her real name will result in the loss of future job opportunities and political appointments. And unlike Riley, I would never, ever engage in shameless self-promotion.

* If you buy it and even relatively like it, a review posted on Amazon or the like would be greatly appreciated. By Riley, of course.


Bicoastal Adventures

I spent President’s Day weekend in New York because I needed to use a free one-way ticket I got from new budget airline Virgin America. As my little brother (Pboy), his wife (Steph) and my good friend (Wing) all live there, it seemed as good as place as any to visit, and I’m sure glad I did. I learned three important lessons while there: (1) New York is even better than everyone says it is. (2) One three-day weekend is simply NOT long enough to even scratch the surface of New York. (3) LA has made me soft. Unfortunately, this last lesson was the hardest to learn. I spent the entire weekend bundled up yet freezing, compromising my ample personal space requirements, and grimacing at the sore feet resulting from this thing they call “walking” of which they are so fond in New York.

But first, a message from our should-be sponsors. If you have not flown Virgin America yet, DO IT. If you live in one of the hundreds of metropolitan areas not yet serviced by Virgin America, then move. Seriously, Virgin America has Southwest prices yet assigned seats, a full media console for each passenger, the ability to order soda refills using your own touch-screen television, and flight attendants who wear pants and collared shirts and generally refrain from wocka-wocka-wocka humor over the PA system.

So my plane left LA on Friday night and arrived a whole hour early at 5:30 a.m. in NYC. I did not sleep a wink in between. Following the explicit instructions Pboy had given me—which I memorized so I wouldn’t have to reference them and appear touristy—I managed to successfully navigate the NYC subway system for the first time in my life and showed up at Pboy and Steph’s doorstep in Brooklyn at 7:00 a.m. After a shower and some other primping, we got breakfast at a great diner in their neighborhood, where they sure know how to cook but not how to spell, so if you’re like me and have a hard time with typos on menus and such, try not to read anything the entire time you are there. This will be difficult—there are signs everywhere. But the effort will be worth it for their many flavored butters.

After breakfast we headed (1) to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens at my request, where everything is pretty much dead this time of year, (2) to Target for some much-needed Diet Coke, (3) to Battery Park, where we hopped the ferry to see (4) the Statue of Liberty and (5) Ellis Island. Both (4) and (5) were great attractions, but I wish we had spent a little less time at (4) and a little more at (5), (5) being far warmer because it was inside, involving far more things to explore than we expected, and employing the more congenial ferry workers. When debarking the ferry at Ellis Island, we were instructed to “watch [our] step” and “take it easy.” By contrast, on Liberty Island we were screamed at to “take bigger steps!”

When we got back to Manhattan, we headed straight for Chinatown. At one point, Pboy went into a bank to use the ATM, leaving Steph and I standing on a street corner waiting for him. I soon learned that standing on a street corner in NYC is equivalent to asking for trouble. We had only been there a few seconds when all sorts of Chinatown locals tried to sell us “Hempay.” As I suspected at the time, and as my internet research has since confirmed, they meant good old-fashioned weed, although Steph and I had a laugh over the technical distinction between marijuana and hemp and the nice hippie necklaces we could construct out of the product they were offering. Even more disturbing, one young man tried to buy some from us. Having watched way too many “cooperation” themed shorts on Sesame Street as a child, I suggested that we point buyer in the direction of seller. Fortunately, Steph reminded me that doing so would violate the law.

Once Pboy rejoined us, nobody tried to sell us anything. Now, I love my brother dearly, but given his beard and the retro-Castro look he was sporting that day, I would have assumed that he appeared to be the most-likely user/seller out of the three of us. I was wrong. Later, when I recounted the whole experience to Wing, she laughed and said the only things she had ever been offered in Chinatown were fake designer purses and watches. What?! Having been paid my annual bonus last year in watches rather than dollars (long story, but totally true-- wretched economy), I was wearing a real designer watch at the time and still nobody offered me a fake one. Nope, apparently I give the impression that all I care about is the drugs. I am seriously rethinking that H&M hat I was wearing to keep my ears warm.

Although every single meal I had in NYC was fabulous, I must say that the culinary highlight of the trip was at Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown, where they have the most wonderful pork soup dumplings (pictured above). I didn’t even know I liked soup dumplings that much until I tried these. It was love at first taste. I don’t know if Joe’s is the best Chinese food in NYC, but I will say it is the best Chinese food in LA. Even when you factor in the price of a plane ticket, it is a reasonable amount to pay for such a great meal.

Although it was still early evening, I was completely exhausted by that point. We went back to P&S’s super cool apartment and I fell asleep in the middle of CSI: Miami. They let me take a short nap, then woke me up and kept me talking for a few hours so that my sleeping schedule could get back to normal. They also fed me ice cream cake.

(The Players, from Left: Pboy, Steph, Yours Truly, Wing--who was
promised that no pictures of her would be posted on the internet without
express permission, which has not yet been obtained)

I spent the majority of the next day with Wing, my friend from law school whom I had not seen in four years. We got breakfast in the West Village (I think) and she took me on a walking tour of all the hippest neighborhoods in Manhattan. In the process, we stumbled upon a Belgian waffle hut selling French Macarons, which have replaced cupcakes as the chic treat du jour in Beverly Hills, so we stopped in to get one (or was it sixteen?). Then we went to the MoMA (my choice) and, as it goes with modern art exhibits, we saw a lot of awesome art and a lot of total crap. Seriously—a crumpled piece of paper under a glass case? That doesn’t even qualify as irony. My favorite was the “installation” of a motion-sensitive light bulb that, when you crossed its path, whispered horrid things at you in a Satanic voice. Wing and I had a good time standing in front of blank canvases while practicing our best “hmmmm… brilliant” faces. Yet our admission fee was truly earned when Wing overheard a New Yawker security guard tell another security guard, in his best New Yawker accent, “You have built yourself a false paradise.”

After the MoMA, we got real NYC hot dogs for a late lunch and cruised around Central Park. In actuality, it was only Wing who was “cruising”—in her leather boots, no less—while I was “hobbling” along in my sneakers. Eventually we met up with Pboy and Steph in the East Village for some Thai food. The food was great, but the 1980s easy listening soundtrack made it even more memorable. During a Richard Marx song, Steph confessed that she had childhood crushes on both Richard Marx and George Michael. Strangely, the very next song was Wham’s “Careless Whisper.” Only it wasn’t George Michael singing, it was as if someone in the restaurant was singing Karaoke. The restaurant was empty except for us and the employees, none of whom appeared to be singing to Steph. After “Careless Whisper,” the music returned to normal. We never did solve that mystery, but after encountering that demonic light bulb at the MoMA, I can’t help but wonder if it was the fixture above our table serenading us.

By this point, I was dead on my feet once again. Regardless, Pboy, Steph and Wing dragged me to Times Square just so I could say I saw it. I did. It was fun. We all debated the need for an entire store dedicated to M&Ms. Then we went home. That was also fun but not as electrified.

On Monday, Pboy had to work (heresy), so Steph and I set out for some bagels, some shopping, and some Brooklyn Bridge crossing. I was pretty much freezing the whole trip, but being atop the Brooklyn Bridge with all the wind took the cake. Still, if you go, you have to do it. We also ran into Tom Hanks and Colin Hanks at a store in SoHo, but I will let you read about that on Steph’s blog cause I’m getting tired of typing and Tom Hanks really only talked to her and not to me. And no, he did not try to sell us any “Hempay.”

After recovering from our unexpected celebrity sighting, Steph and I met Pboy near his work and went to lunch at a place called The Burger Joint, which is literally a shack tucked out of sight in the lobby of a five-star hotel. There was quite a wait, but it was well worth it as the burger and fries were fabulous. After that, it was time for me to head back to Brooklyn, pack up, and get myself to the airport.

Back in LA, the only public transportation I took was the shuttle from Terminal 4 to Parking Lot C (for you Angelenos, it was too late to catch the Flyaway bus). Then I drove my car the eight miles back to my house. An entire Jeep for just me and my backpack seemed like an embarrassing excess after a weekend of cramming into the subway with other people. And that, my friends, is how LA makes people so soft.


Now taking requests

Oh sweet Sara. Thank you for the shout-out and request for commentary on a recent LDS Midsingle Activity that we both attended. Since I have quite a few non-LDS friends and readers, I’ll have to do a little back story, and then, in my usual long-winded nature, I will probably spend far too many words on far too little substance or laughs, but here goes:


Times are tough for the LDS Midsingle. If you do not know what this phrase means, then you are either not LDS or not single or neither, in which case your life is eons better than mine because, as every Midsingle knows, nothing is worse than being a Midsingle, not even an abusive spouse or a terminal illness or addiction or living in third-world poverty. As you may have guessed, we Midsingles are more than a little self-absorbed and often self-pitying. But it’s not our fault, you see, as we have spent our entire lives being the most important person in our entire lives. Isn’t that sad? Do you need a Kleenex yet? No? Then you are a soulless monster, probably with children.

To better explain, Midsingles are those members of the LDS Church who are unmarried and generally between the ages of 31 and 45. Singles under 31 are called “Young Single Adults” or “YSAs” and, in larger metropolitan areas, the Church has organized entire congregations of YSAs to encourage them to socialize with one another, get married and thereby avoid—you guessed it—the pitfalls of Midsingledom. Singles over the 45-ish range are just called “Single Adults” or “Old People.” Ironically, my research has shown that Midsingles are more likely than YSAs to refer to Single Adults by the more derogatory phrase.

Generally, if you turn 31 and are still single, you are expected to leave your YSA group and attend and participate in a regular congregation (referred to by almost everyone in the Church as just a “Ward” except for Midsingles who, caving to their incessant need to point out their self-perceived outsider status, call it a “Family Ward”). This transition is rougher on some than others, but I am not going to get into that as it is a personal thing and I only know my own experience. Except that I do want to point out that it was not rough on me. I braved it like the champion transitioner that I am. I expect my Bishop is going to call me to the stand any Sunday now and publicly bestow upon me some sort of new and colorful medallion the Church has made and named in my honor, namely the “La Dolce Vespa in Action Personal Progress and Accountability with Integrity for Choosing the Right Ward Award.”

So I haven’t been a Midsingle long enough to know how long this has been in the making, but Midsingles around the world are beginning to unite and revolt and demand YSA-like activities and meetings for themselves. And they’re having conferences. Lots of them. Where they talk about being Midsingle. And play silly games. And dance to Depeche Mode. Some more enthusiastically than others or, more accurately, most more enthusiastically than me. Let’s just say the new Church medallion for “Duty to Praiseworthy Two-Stepping and Just Can’t Get Enough Weasel Scout Award” will have to be named after someone else.

I have tried my best to support this new Midsingles movement—really I have. But there is something holding me back from getting super excited about it. Maybe it’s because I don’t like to practice self-pity. It’s certainly not for the lack of good company. Lest I have made us sound too pathetic, I must state that most of the Midsingles I personally know are awesome individuals with stories, travels, accomplishments, professions, and viewpoints that are downright inspiring. Take Sara for example. Although she’s still a YSA, she was trying out Midsingledom for the night, so she counts. She’s a fancy CPA working for a fancy accounting firm that sends her on fancy business trips to places like India where she spends months at a time. But despite awesome people like Sara in the crowd, the minute someone gathers us all into a meetinghouse and starts spinning Depeche Mode and screaming “Let’s play kissing rugby,” the group dynamic takes a nasty, self-pitying nosedive which causes me to watch every second tick by on the clock and do deep-breathing exercises in order to restrain myself from banging my head against the cinderblock wall until I pass out.

I know I am not alone in my reluctant approach to Midsingles activities, but I have yet to come across anyone who has a real answer to the problem. Perhaps, given the aforementioned stories, travels, accomplishments, professions and viewpoints our demographic has to offer, our time together would be better spent on things other than 90s music and 80s games. What such an activity would involve, I’m not quite sure. Group therapy is just one suggestion.

So back to Sara and our recent activity. I had the inside scoop on this one and happen to know there was a lot of time, effort and thought put into it. Still, it is what it is--a Midsingles activity. The group dynamic was not perfect but it was far improved and for that I am grateful. We did play a number of “getting to know you” games, including one where we were required to “sew” ourselves to an entire team of people by threading a long string up and down all of our clothes. Nothing says “getting to know you” like tying yourself to a total stranger and then helping him partially undress so you can get to the knot under his shirt and free yourself from the tether thereto. Next time someone should probably bring scissors.

And so I must conclude that the activity was a success in that I ate some good food and met a few new people and generally refrained from entertaining too many self-pitying thoughts. But I guess it was a failure in that I didn’t get engaged by the end of the night. No really, I double-checked my ring figure a couple of times afterward and, wouldn’t you know it, nothing there.

Oh well, back to doing whatever I want whenever I want and spending my money however I want and riding my Vespa if I want and taking spur-of-the-moment trips to NYC for President’s Day Weekend without having to book a babysitter and sleeping through the night every night and generally being the center of my own universe. Not much cause for self-pity in there now that I think about it, but what do I know? I’m just a Midsingle.

(oh, and we are in the process of deciding on a new look for this blog, so please ignore the mess in the interim. apologies for taking the links down, but they need serious updating.)


Vespateers in Training

When it comes to future members of my scooter gang, I like to start them young. Real young. In some cases, before they are able to fully string together a complete sentence.

Enter the awesome motorized Christmas presents I got for the niece, Miss Dub (age 2), and the nephew, Lil' Gee (not quite 2), which are showcased below. They both immediately figured out how to drive, but their steering could use some improvement, as could their focus on things in front of the moving vehicle as opposed to those on the side, behind, or--in the case of certain doggie doo unfairly attributed to golden retriever Asher--underneath.


(The munchkins' real names have been bleeped out of the video, but Asher's has been left in as he is looking to increase his Internet presence.)

In addition to driving around like maniacs, the kids were kind enough to demonstrate the following scooting techniques:

Looking into the turn

Turning the scooter around like Aunt G does when nobody's watching


Jaw Jacking

So, I will get down to doing a real post one of these days, but in the meantime, here are a few recent events I've thought about posting about. I have no idea why they all involve driving. Oh, except that I spend my entire life in the car. Seriously, I should have been a trucker. Then I could have gotten paid for it. And learned all that cool C.B. lingo. Alas...

Late November
Two weekends ago, I witnessed an accident while driving on the 10-West. Traffic was cruising around 50 mph and all of a sudden everyone’s slamming on their brakes and I see a car a couple of vehicles ahead spinning in circles across several lanes, driving the wrong way head-first into a wall, bouncing back, and bumping a minivan in the process. When the whole thing ended, I had like second-row seats to the affair. I pulled out my cell phone and called 911, sure that the driver of the spinning car was seriously injured. I have done this once before (to report a driver that was either drunk or completely asleep at the wheel in the middle of the day, and who had turned the packed freeway into a bumper-car course of sorts) and it’s creepy because 911 knows where you are and automatically patches you into CHP. I told them about the accident and all. Then the driver of the spinning car, apparently fine, gets out of her car, starts throwing a Jerry Springer worthy fit about the accident and shaking her fist at the poor woman in the minivan. This is about the time that I, and the rest of the freeway, lost all sympathy and concern for her and began driving off in droves.

But post-crash etiquette is not the point of this post. Rather, for the next half hour, my cell phone periodically gave off this weird ring/alert I had only heard once before—the last time I called 911 from the highway (I swear, I don’t do this every day). Does anyone out there in blogland know what this is? Was CHP keeping tabs on my position or something? Just wondering.

Thanksgiving in Phoenix
In LA, the speed limits are kind of a reference point. The reality is that you are permitted to go as fast as traffic will let you. Usually, this is far below the speed limit. But on a good Saturday morning, where no wildfires or bikers or landscaping trucks or other accident-prone vehicles have managed to mess things up for you, the flow of traffic generally averages out at around 80 mph. As long as everyone is going 80 mph, and as long as you’re not doing anything too stupid while going 80 mph, you can drive right past a cop at 80 mph (who will also be going 80 mph) without any real worry.

Given this background, I’m sure you can appreciate how very frustrating it is for an LA driver to be in the greater Phoenix area on a holiday weekend where the traffic is light enough that one could easily go 80 mph but be forced to drive 65 mph instead. When you’re able to drive 80, 65 seems like a snail’s pace. But that’s just what they’ve done in Phoenix—taken the joy out of driving by placing a whole robotic committee of ground-triggers, radars and an entire photo studio complete with fake books and oversized “Class Of” letters and other stupid props at five-mile increments on all the freeways in town. This committee purportedly records your speed and snaps a picture of your car and then tickets you by mail. What, no e-mail tickets? No tickets asking to be my friend on Facebook?* Sheesh. Get with the times, Phoenix.

So even though Dave and Mary warned me about the new and ruthless traffic regime in the Valley of the Sun, and even though there are signs posted everywhere telling you about it, I still got noticeably flashed on the night I drove in and then, while leaving town, I spaced and did it again. So now I am biting my nails every day as I open the mailbox, waiting for not one but two speeding tickets to jump out at me. And the worst part is that I wasn’t even going glorious 85, only like 72 or so. So it wasn’t even worth it.

Thanksgiving in L.A.
SoCal’s holiday rush hour started a mere seventy miles from the Arizona/California border this year. It took me three hours to drive from the Fantasy Springs casino to the Cabazon Outlets. Previously, I always considered the two to be adjacent to each other. Oh wait, they are. There was a meltdown of sorts. I’m still experiencing PTSD as a result.

Yesterday I was sitting in traffic after work, which was even heavier than normal due to something going on at the Staples Center that warranted Batman lights and helicopters flying all around, and I see this kid walking on the side of the freeway, pull out a can of spray paint, and begin to tag a concrete wall right then and there. In rush hour. The freeway was packed. A cop was bound to drive by eventually. That’s some real moxie, people.

Now, I don’t know what this says about LA and the jaded nature thereof, but all of the drivers in my lane, including yours truly, had the exact same reaction at the exact same time: pull out the celly and snap a grainy picture of this young hooligan in action, because nobody’s going to believe it otherwise. Seriously, the lights on our phones all went on in tandem. Alas, it was dark and we were under an overpass or five, so the grainy picture is not worth posting. Neither was the kid’s graffiti. I can see why he’s willing to risk life and limb to get some practice in. His handwriting wasn’t even good.

There you have it, folks.

* No, I don’t do Facebook and I won’t be your friend.



Better to blog poorly than to not blog at all.

If you are one of the many blogsnobs who disagree with that statement, you should probably stop reading here.

Things that have been going on lately:

Life as usual. Meh.

Politics. Have you heard there is an election coming up? Well, not for me as I already voted by mail weeks ago. Yet the fact that my vote is “spent” has not stopped the entire universe from perpetually pestering me for my vote and/or my assistance in pestering others for their vote. Never before has the phrase “I’m over it” rang more true. That said, I am grateful to Governor Palin for providing an easy Halloween costume this year. Despite our difference of opinion on many issues, we apparently share a love of ¾-sleeved business suits, peep-toed heels, pearls, and mid-length brown hair. I’ll pretty much be able to go to any Halloween festivities straight from work without doing anything other than teasing my half-do and switching my regular glasses for a rimless pair I bought online for $14. Ooh-I hope they come in the mail today.

The McDonald’s Monopoly Game. Unfortunately, I have been plagued by a lifelong gambling addiction. Fortunately, my strict religious beliefs frown on gambling and have therefore prevented said addiction from getting me into any major trouble. Unfortunately, commercial sweepstakes have never really been characterized as “gambling” when, in reality, they kind of are (I mean, you pay in with the hope of getting an even bigger payout despite strong odds against you). Thus, twice a year I consume 4000% more McDonald’s food than normal in a foolish attempt to secure the winning Monopoly game pieces. Anyone need an Oriental Avenue? I’ve got about 400 hundred of them. Also, I thought we weren’t supposed to say “Oriental” anymore. “The Orient” is a proper noun/place, while “Asian” is an adjective, right? Hey, if you’re of the Asian persuasion, why don’t you contact me and we’ll file some sort of lawsuit against McDs and Parker Bros., insisting they change it to “Asian Avenue” and also that they give us, say, $10 million for our trouble. It’s probably a surer payout than playing the dumb game and considerably less fattening. Cause did I mention that I am dressing as chubby Gov. Palin for Halloween this year? I would sue McDs for making me fat, but I hear that’s been done.

My new career as a multi-sport athlete. In addition to compulsive gambling, I have been beleaguered by a lifetime of taking a joke too far. Like, I’ll say I’m doing something silly or outrageous just to get a laugh out of people, but then when they respond exactly as I expected them to—i.e., by saying something along the lines of “How hilarious,” or “You will not,”—I get all huffy and belligerent and “I’ll show them!” And then I do it. Maybe not well, but I do it. The thing I was only kidding about doing. Even if it takes years and changes the course of my entire life. Like that one time when I joked about going to law school.

So remember how after the Olympics I joked about winning a gold medal in archery in 2012? Well, guess who’s been going to archery practice two times a week for the past month and a half? Guess who spent her birthday money on a leather quiver and an armguard and a finger tab? Guess whose left arm is covered in bruises because said armguard does not cover her hyper-extended elbow? Guess who was talking to a “traditional” archer at the “range” the other day when he compared the rules of his “trad club” to those used at “Ren Fairs”?

In case you’re really dense, it’s ME. And I have to admit that, after that last scenario, I seriously questioned the specific course of life events that led to the moment when slang such as “Ren Fairs” was being thrown around in my presence. (FYI, I have no interest Robin Hood type archery or bow hunting or attending said fairs or even faires). But aside from that, it has been a ton of fun and I’ve actually seen some real improvement.

But then I worried that “just archery” wasn’t athletic enough. After all, it's not the most cardiovascular of sports. (Have you seen all those heavyweights at the Ren Fairs?) So I decided to start training for a (distant future) marathon, too. There has been improvement in this area as well, but it has been a lot slower and a LOT less fun to come by. I still love my Nike+ gear, though.

So, what with all the living and politicking and McDonald’s eating and Asian client courting and target shooting and running till I nearly kill myself with the accompanying huffing and puffing, guess who has had absolutely no time for blogging?

(Duh, it’s still ME. In case you haven't caught on yet, this blog is kinda all about ME.)

Illustration I-A