Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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2014-15 Hockey Pool – Team Has-To-Be-Reasonably-Attractive-Or-At-Least-A-Nice-Guy

The start of the NHL season this week means one thing – it’s fantasy hockey pool time! As you know, I’m usually pretty terrible at this hockey pool thing, which I like to blame on a variety of excuses, including “I was too busy with MBA school to pay attention to my picks” and “I’m testing important scientific theories, such as the correlation between level of attractiveness and hockey skill”1.

  • Three years ago I used Team Hottie, where every player on my team had to be a hottie. My terrible finish in the pool that year disproved the hypothesis that level of attractiveness is correlated with hockey skill (p < 0.05)2.
  • Two years ago there was Team Uggoe – since my hypothesis that attractiveness does not correlate with scoring all the points, I decided to try the opposite and hypothesized that higher levels of ugliness correlate with scoring all the points. I again did terribly in the pool and this hypothesis was also shot down3.
  • Last year there was Team Hockey P0rn, where players had to have a dirty sounding name to be on the team (Notable members include Grant Clitsome, David Legwand, Victor Hedman, and Jiří Tlustý). And again – terrible finish in the pool4.

So this year, I’ve decided I’m going to try to be more diligent about updating my picks each week and I’m going to give myself a little more leeway on who I can pick by choosing Team Has-To-Be-Reasonably-Attractive-Or-At-Least-A-Nice-Guy – the latter part of which will allow me to choose a Sedin or two once in a while5.

For the record, here’s my week 1 team:

Hockey Picks - Week 1

I have no idea why I starred St. Louis instead of Crosby. (You get to “star” one forward, one defenceman, and one goalie and you get double that person’s points for the week). I actually thought I’d starred Crosby until I looked at my standing later in the week.

Now, I know it’s early days and we only have 4 people in our pool so far (I expect more to join soon), but I have to record for posterity that, at this moment, I’m tied for first:

Hockey Pool - 12 Oct standings

Now I’m going to make my picks for next week. Wish me luck!

  1. It definitely has nothing to do with the fact that I rarely pay attention to hockey beyond the Canucks and thus have no idea who to pick in a pool. Nothing whatsoever to do with that. []
  2. The scientist in me had a really hard time writing that sentence - we don't attempt to *prove* or *disprove* things in science! But the comedian in me said that "My terrible finish in the pool provided evidence against the hypothesis that level of attractiveness is correlated with hockey skill but the sample size of n=1 means that the study was unpowered to detect an effect. More research is needed." just wouldn't have the same comedic effect. []
  3. I accepted the null hypothesis. But again, this study was underpowered. []
  4. I think that not changing my picks the entire season (this is a pool where you can change picks each and every week, which means that you can clear out injured players and stack the team with players who have the most number of games on any given week) probably had something to do with this. []
  5. Daniel and Henrik are fugly, but I’ve heard that they are really nice guys. []

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#TBT – Happy 10th Anniversary, Sarah & Dave!

I’ve never done a Throw Back Thursday (#TBT) posting before, but today seemed like the perfect opportunity to do one because 10 years ago today two of my favourite people in the world got married and I had the distinct pleasure of being part of their wedding party!

Sarah & Dave wedding photo

Happy 10th Anniversary, Sarah& Dave! Your love is an inspiration!

P.S. I hope you don’t mind that I stole that photo from your Facebook!

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Campaign Curling

On Sunday, I did something I’ve been wanting to do for years1 – I learned how to curl! It was all part of a FUNdraiser for my friend, Patrick Johnstone, who is running for New West City Council in next month’s municipal election.

Ice at the Royal City Curling Club
Ice at the Royal City Curling Club, waiting for us to start our curling lesson!

The event took place the Royal City Curling Club. We got a chance to learn some of the curling basics – how to throw the stone so it goes where you want it to go, how to sweep the ice to get the stone to go further and straighter, how to walk on ice without falling – all the important curling skills2! After practicing all of this stuff – which was far more complicated than one would expect just from watching the game – we got to play two ends, with a little bit of help from a coach (because honestly, I had no idea how to tell if the stone was going fast enough to get where we wanted it to go (and thus we shouldn’t sweep) or if it was going too slow and sweeping was needed). Our game was a close one – my team won 3-1 after the two ends3.

Curling 5 Oct 2017
Group shot of all the curlers for the day.

I have to say, curling is a lot more fun to play than it is to watch and as with many things, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the sport now that I’ve tried it myself4.

After all that, there was delicious food from Re-Up BBQ and beer from Steel & Oak – two fantastic local New West businesses – and a chance to chat with other New Westies.

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Delicious cake decorated like one of Pat’s campaign buttons

Most importantly of all though, this was a fundraiser, and it was really great to see a sold out event in support of Pat’s campaign for city council. I’ve been helping out on Pat’s campaign5 in the form of door knocking with him6, because I think he’ll make an excellent city councilor. He’s really passionate – and extremely knowledgeable – about New West. And I really like his approach – as we’ve been out door knocking, he’s asking New West residents what their concerns and ideas for the city are. He listens to people and he answers any questions they have for him in a direct and transparent way7 – and when he doesn’t know the answer to a particular question he says “I don’t know, but I will find out for you.” He bases his position on any given subject on reason and evidence – and when there’s not enough evidence available he says “We don’t know enough to make an informed decision. X is the evidence we need to make an informed decision on this and Y is where we’d need to get that information” That’s the kind of approach that I would like to see in my government – receptive to the publics concerns, reasoned and evidence-based decision making, and transparency in the process. Anyway, if you are a New Westie, I encourage you to check out his campaign website for more information on his campaign and to donate!

  1. And which I inexplicably didn’t include on my “101 things to do in 1001 days list”. []
  2. Everyone already know how to yell “HURRY HARD!!!!” – no coaching required on that front. []
  3. No thanks to me, I have to say. I was OK at throwing the stone in practice but sucked pretty badly during the actual game! []
  4. I’m still not going to watch it when it’s on TV and I still think it would be better if there was a 3 second shot clock between when one stone stops and the next one must be thrown – watching people stand around and think for several minutes is SO BORING! – and it also needs 200% more yelling. But I have more appreciation for the skill required having now tried doing it myself. []
  5. Item #57 on my 101 list! []
  6. Though with other tasks still to come! []
  7. I’ve learned a lot about the city just by going around door knocking with him and listening to his answers to people’s questions! []

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My Hideous New Running Shoes

Photos of my running shoes tend to be some of my most favourited photos on my Flickr account1. So my all the running shoe aficionados, here are some photos of my newest pair of running shoes.

New running shoes. So ugly.

New running shoes. So ugly.

Assuming the aficionados like fugly running shoes. As was the case when I bought my last pair2, the current theme for running shoe design is “garish”. I mean, I don’t like pink at the best of times, but paired with that green? The horror! The horror! However, it was the most comfortable of all the many shoes that I tried on, each of which were hideous in their own special way.

An aside: While I was buying my shoes, another woman was also in the store looking for some runners. She told the salesperson that she was just visiting from China, where she is currently working and she needed to buy shoes here because she wears a size women’s 9.5, which is impossible to find in China. She also said she was training for the Great Wall of China half marathon, which sounds like it would be so freaking awesome. And even after looking at this insane elevation map, I still kind of want to do that race someday!

  1. Other common favs include my friends and me in wetsuits in Tofino and these photos of all the places where I got needles for immunizations, blood tests, and a TB skin test. []
  2. By looking for that blog posting about when it was that I bought my previous pair of running shoes, I discovered that I’d had that pair for just over a year! A quick check of my Runkeeper log shows me that I’ve run about 900 km in these shows. 900 km! []

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Night Race 2014!

Friday night was the Night Race – a 10 km run in the dark around Stanley Park where all the runners wear head lamps. Or should I say a nearly *11 km* race that they tricked us into believing was a 10 km race!

When I run races, I usually don’t pay too much attention to the route – I take a quick look at the map to figure out where the start line is and to get a basic sense of where I have to go, but beyond that I figure I can just follow the crowd, the kilometer markers, and the volunteers yelling and pointing in the direction of any turns you need to make. If there’s an elevation map, I’ll look at that so I’m forewarned of any major hills. But given that the Night Race was around Stanley Park, I knew the route would be flat and easy to follow.

However, if I’d really been thinking when I looked at the route map:

Night Race 2014 so-called 10 km route

I would have noticed this very important fact: the route didn’t just go around Stanley Park. It started inside the park at the Pavilion and you had to run down to the seawall, all the way around the park, and then back up to the Pavilion. And since the distance around the seawall is 10 km, a route that goes around the seawall plus some other stuff must be >10km! Yet I didn’t put this together, even as the race started and we ran down the path to the seawall. It never occurred to me during the entire time around the seawall. It did not occur to me when I saw the 9 km mark. And it absolutely did not occur to me when the GPS told us we were at 9.8km and started a sprint into the “home stretch”. Which, of course, was not the home stretch – it was just at the point at which we had to turn to go back up the path to the Pavilion. The path that was all UPHILL for nearly an extra 1 km! Which was really difficult to do given the fact that I had just used up the last of my energy and the last of my breath to do that sprint to what I thought was the finish.

And even at that point, my brain wasn’t doing the math to really get that this route was not a mere 10 km1. As I crossed the finish line, I checked my time and saw that I came in at 1:05 and I was very disappointed, because I’d felt like I’d been running fast enough to meet my goal of being under 1 hr. And then it was pointed out to me that we’d run significantly more than 10 km, so I really did break the 1 hr mark!

Night Race 2014

In fact, if you look at my splits:

Night Race 2014 - splits

you can add up the times to run the first 10 km and see that I ran it in 59 mins and 5 seconds – nearly a minute quicker than my goal of 1 hr!

Sadly, there was no acknowledgement by the race that the route was significantly longer than 10 km and they didn’t have a chip sensor at the actual 10 km mark to tell you what your real 10 km time was2. They are only reporting out the time you crossed the finish line, a full 0.85 km longer than 10 km, so the official race results say I finished in 1:05:063. Happily, I was tracking the run so I know the truth!

Much thanks to Daniel who paced me for the race so I could reach my goal, even though it meant running much more slowly than he normally would!

Night Race Vancouver 2014

Look at those awesome headlamps!

Now, as you know, I’m a big nerd and like calculating things. Since the race publishes the results of all the finishers, I was able to do some calcuation-y goodness and found that:

  • I came in 238th out of 673 runners in the race4, or 65th percentile (i.e., top 35%).
  • I came in 95th out of the 437 women in the race, or 78th percentile (i.e., top 22%).
  • I came in 30th out of the 131 women in my age category (30-39 years) in the race, or 77th percentile (i.e., top 23%).

Not too bad if I do say so myself!

Now, as you also know, I’m slightly addicted to race medals, so you may be surprised that I even ran a race where you don’t get a medal5. I did, however, get that headlamp that I mentioned, which is like a medal, only more functional. So I’ve hung it up with my race medal collection!

Collection of race medals

And speaking of medals, I have officially registered for the Rock’n’Roll 10 km race in October, which has one of the most beautiful medals I’ve seen for a race:

vancouver-reveal-885x500

Importantly, I’ve also looked more closely at the route map and it appears that the Rock’n’Roll 10 km is, in fact, a 10 km race:

Rock & Roll 10 km Route 2014

When I was on my spreadsheet to calculate my percentiles, I noticed that the Night Race was my second best time for a 10 km – my personal best is 58:48, which I did in the 2007 Pacific Spirit Run. The math-y among you will notice that this is a mere 17 seconds better than the Night Race – so I’m thinking that setting a new personal best needs to be my goal for the Rock’n’Roll.

  1. In my brain’s defence, it really wasn’t getting any oxygen at that point! []
  2. When I ran the 8 km race at the BMO marathon in May, the route was also slightly longer than the advertised race length, due to the logistics of trying to have an 8km race where the runners join up with the half and full marathon route in the middle of Stanley Park in such a way as to be able to share the finish line. But they had a sensor at the 8 km mark to record you real 8 km time and then another at the finish line. []
  3. I just looked at the race results now to look up my official time and I notice that they are now listing the race as a 10.5 km race. []
  4. When I say “in the race” here, I’m talking only about finishers. It’s possible there were others in the race who didn’t finish, but I don’t have those numbers. []
  5. Well, the top three male and top three female finishers in each of the 5 km and 10 km races got a medal, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen for me! []

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Happy Birthday, Watson & Crick!

Today my kitties turned 3! Since this is the first birthday on which the cats have been with me, I wasn’t totally sure what the appropriate way to celebrate was. I mean, they don’t eat cake and cat nip shooters seemed like that might be overkill. But then when I went to the pet store to buy some food and litter the other day, I discovered this:

IMG_0010

And that seemed like a super awesome birthday present for them. Sadly, however, when I tried them this evening they were an epic fail! The solution doesn’t make bubbles at all – I dipped the wand in the solution, but it wouldn’t make a film and so all that happened was catnip-filled drops feel on the floor. Which the cats did lick, so I guess the manufacturers were only lying about the bubble part of “catnip bubbles”. To make it up to the cats for the epic fail, I gave them some real catnip and then blew some regular bubbles1. They liked the catnip, but were terrified of the bubbles! Poor kitties.

Their birthday was, however, brightened up by a video call with my nephew, Thomas, who sang “Happy Birthday” to the cats while they ate their birthday treat of dried herring. Thomas, like the cats, is 3 and singing “Happy Birthday” is an awesome thing to do when you are 3. Also awesome is seeing kitties on video. And, apparently, watching your aunt put her hair in braids for her hockey game. Many things are awesome when you are 3. As well, my mom called to wish her grandkitties a “happy birthday” – these kitties are so loved!

And how cute they not be? Look at these faces:

Watson, close up

Crick, close up

IMG_0729

Watson is so cosy on the couch

IMG_0738

Happy birthday, my little fuzzballs!

  1. Which I just so happened to have from my own birthday, thanks to my friends Monica and Chris who gave me a container of bubbles that looks like a ninja. Because ninja bubbles = amazing. []

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Unsloth

Hey, remember that time that I mentioned being a total sloth? Apparently my strategy of blogging about my slothiness as a way of killing said slothiness was a good one, as I have managed to turn around my slothy ways and get myself back on track. Since that blog posting, I’ve done:

  • 7 runs (for a total of 58.52 km)
  • a 35 km bike ride
  • 4 hockey games
  • 2 hockey lessons

Not bad for 29 days.

RunI’ve also signed up for the 10km Night Race and am tentatively planning to do the 10km Rock & Roll race – for the latter, I’m just waiting for my Coquitlam hockey schedule for October to be posted, to make sure I don’t have a hockey game that morning1. I really hope that my hockey game isn’t in the morning that day, as the medal for the Rock & Roll is gorgeous and I really, really want to add it to my collection!

And speaking of hockey, in addition to playing on my two teams (one in Coquitlam, one in Burnaby), I’ve also signed up for 10 weeks of hockey lessons on Saturday mornings. As I said to my friend Patricia the other day, after two years of weekend MBA classes, I apparently have to be learning *something* on a Saturday morning! Basically, I decided that after 10 years of playing hockey2, it’s high time that I learned how to shoot a puck. We’ve had two lessons so far and I’m finding it very helpful. The class is small (there were only 4 of us there today), which means we get a lot of 1-on-1 coaching and the coach is excellent at breaking down skills into easy-to-understand parts. This is helpful for both improving skills that I’ve developed bad habits on (e.g., skating form) and for working on skills that I never really mastered in the first place (e.g., shooting the puck). The coach also pointed something out in the first lesson – during a game, you probably only touch the puck for 15-30 seconds in total, so how can one expect to get good at stick handling or shooting with so little time to actually do it? So I’m really glad I’m taking these lessons, so that I can spend time working on these skills. Of course, the lessons are only 45 minutes long and we work on a bunch of things3, so I really need to get out to some stick’n’puck to put in some dedicated time working on the skills I’m learning, because you really don’t get good at this stuff until you’ve done it enough times that you no longer have to think about it!

Sunset HockeySo, the upshot of this is that I’ll be on the ice three times a week from now until mid-November4. Plus, I now have a standing Tuesday night running date, so I’ll be getting that workout in as well. Also, I am now settled into my new office enough that I know where the shower facilities are, so yesterday I went out on my first ever lunch hour run. Since I work so close to the seawall, it would be a crime not to take advantage of that great running route! I think this will be especially useful in the winter-time, when it’s dark before I leave for work and dark by the time I get home – I can run on my lunch when there is actually daylight!

In addition to all of this, I’m also inspired by my goal of running 800 km in 2014. When I lasted blogged about my slothiness, I was 57% of the way to my goal, but 63% of the way through the year. Thanks to my renewed training, I’m now 64% of my way to my goal and we are 70% of the way through the year. So I’m maintaining my relative standing (i.e., I’m 6% behind), but I’ll take that as an improvement, because I had been on a trajectory of falling further and further behind. I’ve crunched the numbers and figured out that I need to average ~19km per week for the rest of the year to meet my goal. It’s a lot, but given the aforementioned Tuesday night running dates and lunch time running option, I think I can do it!

Image Credits: Running shoe photo posted on Flickr by Fe llya and hockey photo posted on Flickr by Tyler, both with Creative Commons licenses.

Footnotes:

  1. To me, every form of exercise other than hockey is just off ice conditioning, so if I have to choose between hockey and a local race, it’s going to be hockey, not matter how beautiful the race bling is []
  2. Or is it 11? I can never seen to remember when I started playing! []
  3. Today we worked on stopping, cross overs, dangling, and wrist shots. []
  4. Well, except for this coming week, as I have to miss my first two games in Burnaby due to conflicts with other events. []

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Walk for the Kitties!

Nearly 8 months ago, I adopted my kitties, Watson and Crick, from VOKRA – the Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association. VOKRA is a volunteer-run organization that has been rescuing kitties who are abandoned or surrendered – more than 1800 per year! – and finding them safe and loving “forever” homes for 14 years. It takes a lot of money to do this work – they provide vet care for sick kitties, food and litter for kitties living in foster homes while they await adoption, and they had to create a new intake centre because they have so many kitties coming in that they couldn’t keep operating out of the president/co-founder’s basement. Hence, their fundraiser – the 5th Annual Walk for the Kitties – coming up on Sunday. Unfortunately, I can’t do the walk myself, as I’m already double booked that day, but I encourage all kitty lovers to check it out. And even if, like me, you can’t participate, you can always donate!

WatsonCrick in the tub

Watson and Crick thank you for helping kitties just like them to find their own forever homes!

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Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning’s End

Last week was a bittersweet one1. Sweet, because I started my awesome new job. But starting my awesome new job meant first saying good-bye to my awesome co-workers at my old job. I don’t generally talk about my work here on ye ole blog, but I will tell you that for the past five years I’ve had a really good job where I’ve done some meaningful work that I’m very proud of and I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really fantastic people. I’m really going to miss seeing those guys every day!

As my final day of work approached, the admin assistant in charge of timekeeping annotated my last ever timesheet:

Timesheet

On my second last day of work, my coworkers threw me a little farewell at the pub near our office. They also showed that they really know me well, as they gave me a farewell card in an envelope addressed like this:

Farewell Card

Which included a gift certificate for a brewery tour for two:

Brewery Tour gift cert

Like I said, these guys know me really well!

On my last day of work, I decided it was time to finally wear my “I am not an epidemiologist” shirt to the office. I had this tshirt made awhile back after being introduced as an epidemiologist one too many times2.

Last Day of Work

At the end of the day, after I’d handed in my ID badge and my keys and made my rounds of the office saying “bye” to everyone, my coworkers with whom I shared an office – a room affectionately known as “The Observatory” – played this song for me:

I managed to avoid crying. Barely.

photo 2

Final farewell photo with my Observatory buddies! (Left to right: Christina, Salman, me, Geoff, Diana, Rahul).

My last day of that job was Tuesday and since there is no rest for the wicked, I started my new job on Wednesday.

When I’d told my mom that I’d gotten a new job, the first thing she said was that I needed to have a new pair of shoes for my first day at a new job. And who am I to argue with my own mother? I went out and bought this pair and then had to wait very impatiently for nearly a month to wear them3:

New Shoes for a New Job

They were totally worth the wait. Both comfortable *and* stylish!

My first three days on the job have confirmed that I made the right decision in taking this new position. The project that I’m working on is a major one – it’s going to be fast-paced, challenging work and it’s going to be having a major impact in the lives of a large number of people. I spent my first three days in many meetings to meet many people working on the project, getting the lay of the land and figuring out what pieces of work I’ll be needing to do and thinking about how I want to build my team to do them. All the people I’ve met have been fantastic – a brilliant group doing some amazing work and all so friendly and helpful! So exciting!

I also spent some time doing the usual administrative things one needs to do when they get a new job – setting up email accounts, ordering a laptop, completing copious amounts of paperwork to ensure I get a paycheque, and getting an ID badge. To do the last item on that list, I had to go to a location that wasn’t at either of my offices. In fact, I had to go to this building:

Doctors Residence

And, of course, I couldn’t resist snapping that pic! It’s my residence! (Also, shouldn’t it be “Doctors’ Residence”?)

And, yes, I did say “either of my offices”, because I have two of them. One of them is technically a cubicle, but it’s so much bigger than the desk I was sitting at in my old job, that it feels like an office. And I even have a view of the mountains:

View from one of my new offices

…if I lean back and look around my cubicle wall.

My second office is an actual office – with walls and a door and everything! The view isn’t quite as nice as office #1, but I’m honestly happy to have an office *and* a window!

View from my office window

If you look close, you can see the pigeon spikes on my window ledge:

Pigeon spikes

I haven’t yet had a chance to decorate either office, but I did make sure to bring this to put on my desk:

New Beginnings

My friend Sarah gave me that when I left Ontario for BC and it’s seen me through a number of new beginnings these past 14 years. I have kept in on my desk in every job I’ve had during that time and it continues to make me smile to this day.

Footnotes:

  1. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, the quote I used as the title of this posting, which I know from the song “Closing Time”, is actually a quote from the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger. Which seems much more sophisticated than being from the lyrics of a song about being kicked out of a club at the end of the night. []
  2. Not that there’s anything wrong with being an epidemiologist. Some of my best friends are epidemiologists. But, for the record, I’m an evaluator. Which is a completely different profession from epidemiology, though it shares the similarities of (a) starts with the letter “e”, (b) deals with data, and (c) no one outside your field knows what you do. []
  3. I had to give a month’s notice at my last job. []

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Summoned

I arrived home today to find a little something unexpected in my mailbox:

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Mail from the Ministry of Justice?

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Apparently, I’ve been summoned for jury duty at the end of September!

It’s a funny coincidence as just the other day I was talking with a friend about jury duty and how I’d never been summoned before. Clearly, I’ve jinxed myself1.

Given that I’m just about to start a new job, it’s not really the best timing for such a thing2,3. I tried to log on to the online jury summons response site, where apparently I will be able to select the “excuse tab” and see if I satisfy any of the “excuses” that will allow me to be exempt, but the site doesn’t work on Google Chrome or Safari, which are the only two browsers I have on my computer at home. So I guess I’ll check that out from my work computer tomorrow.

In the meantime, have any of you been called for jury duty? What was it like?

  1. Even though there’s totally no such thing as jinxes. []
  2. On the plus side if I do get selected, however, is that the commute would be awesome. I can pretty much jump off my balcony and land on the courthouse, it’s so close! []
  3. Unless it had been the Bertuzzi/Moore case. Because that would totally be an interesting one to see. But that was recently settled out of court, so I know it can’t be that. []