Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have been looking forward to the movie version of “Les Misérables” for at least 10 years. When they finally cast Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and started filming it, I practically started salivating. Over the past couple of months, while everyone else was stressing out over Christmas presents, I was waiting on the edge of my seat for the next released snippet of “Les Mis” on YouTube.
Christmas Day finally arrived, and of course I had tickets to the first local showing. No, it wasn’t at midnight — though, believe me, had a midnight showing been available, I would have been there. I would not be in costume (please, the last time I dressed “Les Mis,” I was in high school), but I would definitely have been there. Maybe with bells on. After all, it is Christmas.
ANYWAY. Since I have been hyping this thing since before they even hired a crew, everyone has been asking what I think now that I’ve finally seen it. So here’s my super geeked-out review. Needless to say, SPOILER ALERT, even though, seriously, the book is over 150 years old.
The casting for this movie was spot on. Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway both gave riveting emotional performances as Valjean and Fantine, and there is no way they will be snubbed when Oscar nominations are announced. I was worried when I heard that Sacha Baron Cohen had been cast because, well, he’s Borat, but he and Helena Bonham Carter were perfect as the scheming, opportunist Thénardiers. I love that these roles were actually darker in the film than they are on stage because even though the Thénardiers clearly play the role of comic relief in the grand scheme of the musical, they’re also villains who are out to ruin other people’s lives as much as they want to enrich their own. And speaking of villains . . . I’ve heard a lot of criticism about Russell Crowe and his lack of vocal prowess as Javert, but he really wasn’t that bad. Mind you, he wasn’t fabulous, but he really looked the character, and I didn’t think he was as bad, vocally, as he could have been. (Have you heard a tone-deaf person sing? Then you know: It could be much worse.) Everyone else was great. Samantha Barks owned the role of Eponine so much on stage that they didn’t even bother to cast a Hollywood star. Danielle Huttlestone was so ridiculously solid as Gavroche that they gave him even more face time and significance in the film than the character has in the stage production. Isabelle Allen made me laugh (intentionally, I think) with her wide-eyed facial expressions as Young Cosette. And, of course, Colm Wilkinson (the original musical’s Jean Valjean) as the Bishop of Digne was beautifully done. I love that his work wasn’t over after he turned Valjean from his life of crime, too.
CHANGES FROM THE STAGE SHOW
Yes, Tom Hooper made a few changes here and there from the stage show. Some of the songs aren’t in the same order — for example, “On My Own” (a second act number in the stage production) comes before “One Day More” (the first act finale on stage) in the movie, but while that’s a pull-the-rug-out-from-under-you change for obsessive fans (not that we know any of those, right?), it really doesn’t change the plot flow at all. I admit that I was concerned when “Do You Hear the People Sing” wasn’t included on the highlights CD — and then it didn’t immediately follow “Red and Black” in the film — but it popped up not long later (again, not affecting plot), so all was well with that in the end.
Then there are changes that were made for the sake of authenticity to the Victor Hugo novel. I love that they did this. From the time they first started releasing photos from the set and I saw the “elephant” Gavroche lives in, I knew they were going to do beautiful things that weren’t just straight stage-to-film. Here are a few of my favorites:
Gavroche’s elephant. When we first see Gavroche in “Look Down,” he and his fellow urchins pop out of the elephant statue, which is larger than life. Victor Hugo spends quite a bit of time detailing the elephant and the time Gavroche spends in it, but I suppose it wasn’t practical for the stage show, nor was it essential to the plot. But when I read the book for the first time 20 years ago, I could just see it in my head and wanted to see it played out somehow. Obviously, the creatives behind the movie felt the same way.
Gavroche’s errand. In the stage musical, when Marius finds Eponine dressed as a boy at the barricade, he sends her away to deliver a last-minute letter to Cosette. However, in the book, the letter delivery is assigned to Gavroche. I liked that they play it out the book’s way in the film because it reinforces the boy’s importance to the students, even before his ultimate sacrifice.
Gavroche vs. authority. (Yes, I do love Gavroche.) In the stage musical, it is not abundantly clear why Gavroche has such a problem with authority, though we can assume it is because he is a creature of the street. In the movie, Javert roughs him up a little bit in one of the scenes — I think during when he (Javert) arrives in the square after Thénardier’s attack on Valjean and Cosette. I like that because it reminds of the part of the book where Gavroche is simply going about his business but is called all kinds of names by a guard: He simply retorts, “Citizen … I have not yet called you bourgeois. Why do you insult me?” This mistreatment fuels him to call out Javert later, when the latter tries to disguise himself as a rebel.
Enjolras and Grantaire. While the death of Enjolras was particularly dramatic in the original stage musical in that he went down over the “front” of the barricade and was later revealed to be hanging alone from it when the turntable spun around to the music, it still didn’t pack the symbolic punch that the book version did. In the book, Enjolras is actually captured and executed by government soldiers — and the meatiest part is, he is shot alongside Grantaire, who, despite his constant drinking and apparent lack of idealism, actually admires Enjolras. In the movie, they are likewise executed together.
Fauchelevent. In the stage musical, Fauchelevent is only mentioned as the name of the man whom Valjean rescues from underneath a runaway cart. The stage musical does not, however, cover the part of the story that takes place between Valjean rescuing Young Cosette and the events of “Look Down,” so it is not surprising that they left out this key detail, which the movie includes: Valjean, who, along with Young Cosette, is on the run from the law, is recognized as “Monsieur le maire” by the man he rescued, who then harbors Valjean at the convent where he (Fauchelevent) is a groundskeeper. This is especially significant in the book because Hugo specifically mentions that, prior to the cart incident, Fauchelevent actually resented Valjean (as the mayor) because Valjean had risen quickly from being nobody to being a successful business owner and mayor, while Fauchelevent, a lawyer, was not able to make ends meet.
I’m sure there are quite a few other from-the-book adaptations I’ve missed, but these really popped out at me as I watched the film.
Technically, the finished piece was a bit sloppy at several points. There were times when it was obvious that a line or two had been cut or a scene had been pieced together from more than one take, and the transition from one sentence to the next was completely abrupt. This is especially distracting for anyone who has done technical work (as my friends and I have), and it focuses unnecessary attention on some of the edits.
Overall, I really, really, really cannot say enough about how I love this movie. I can see where other devotees of the stage show might have issues with the casting or the script changes, but for me, nothing was so overwhelmingly bad that it outweighed the awesomeness of seeing this movie get done (finally) and get done well. The stage show has been going for over 25 years on the West End, and it will continue to be performed on stages across the globe for decades more, so people who would rather appreciate the stage version absolutely have an opportunity to do so. Meanwhile, Todd didn’t get to go with me to the movie on Christmas Day, and he wants to see it, so I am already looking forward to going back — and to eventually owning the movie on BluRay/DVD/digital in a few months!
Disclaimer: I do not own the above image of Cosette. All rights belong to (I presume) Cameron Mackintosh and the film company, and I am simply using the image here as a visual aid, not for profit.
Sorry I haven’t updated this page in months. I will try to be better about it in the new year. It’s not so much that I have nothing to say as it is that I have been avoiding controversial issues — which, really, includes all issues during an election year. You never know when someone is going to get offended and blow up your office building. And nobody wants that.
Last week, I received a copy of the subrogation letter my auto insurance company sent to AIMS, the claims adjustment company representing Hertz. The letter basically said that my insurance company’s investigation determined that the Hertz driver was at fault and that Hertz should now pay for the full cost of repairs to my car. (Hertz is the rental car company who employs the the guy who backed into my car in March; their corporate office is in the same building as my office.) This letter was just a formality, and my claims adjuster called today to say it generated a response from AIMS, who said they would not be paying for my repairs because their guy is denying fault. This was all expected, because the guy is either delusional (like he really, really doesn’t remember backing into me) or a completely unapologetic liar.
Here’s what I was not expecting: The next step in a case like this would normally be arbitration, but apparently, Hertz, being a big corporation, is not a “member” of arbitration. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as membership in arbitration. Go figure. My options now are to close the case or file a civil suit.
I’ve watched enough court drama to know that my case is paper thin. As I mentioned previously, there is no evidence and there are no eyewitnesses. As I told my claims adjuster, even if someone had been standing just a few yards away, they probably would have missed seeing anything because we were blocked on one side by a construction wall. There were no explosions, no projectiles — just the crunch of the front of my car under the weight of his (oh, wait, his company’s — he’s not even the registered owner). Nothing to get anyone’s attention. No CSIs came to the scene to examine skid marks on the pavement to see which car had been in motion. If I took this guy to court, it would just be my word against his, and my story, true though it may be, makes no sense because what he did makes no sense.
So I guess maybe that is the end of that. I asked my claims adjuster whether my premiums would be affected by this, and she said she couldn’t tell me. They are making a notation of “not at fault” in the incident writeup, but whether I get assigned a point (which would then adversely affect my premium) is up to the underwriter.
Am I missing something here? It just seems too simple that the guy just gets away with this, doesn’t it? I am planning to write to Hertz corporate to let them know that his behavior as an executive reflects poorly on them as a company and that they have thus lost me as a customer, but all that will do is get things off my chest. Am I really just stuck with paying the deductible? Have I exhausted all reasonable options?
So, here we are in May. March and April were the most emotionally challenging months of my adult life. Lots of crap just happened, and if things had happened one by one, scattered over the span of, say, a year, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it felt like everyhting just dogpiled. Grandpa had a mini-stroke, Chloe got really sick, Chloe died, some HR nightmares happened at work . . . and some guy reversed into my car with his company-issued vehicle while we were stopped at a red light, then proceeded to tell my insurance agent that I rear-ended him. It was just one small nightmare after another, and I felt like I was constantly putting out fires while basically running on fumes.
So, obviously, the Chloe thing never got better. She’s gone, and it sucks. For a while, my mind was so busy trying to forget how painful her last days were that I wasn’t able to remember any good times, either. For a while, I wanted to throw things at well-intentioned people who mentioned the Rainbow Bridge. (Sorry if y0u were one of those people — it’s not you, it was me.) For maybe a week, I was so overcome by grief that I would just cry. Every time someone said they were sorry, I wanted to cry all over again, because no matter how sorry they were, I was even more sorry. I couldn’t sleep at night, but sleeping was all I wanted to do during the day. Classic depression, I know. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t have much enthusiasm for life, either. I really identified with lyrics from Switchfoot’s song, “Yet,” where the first verse goes like this:
All attempts have failed
All my heads are tails
She’s got teary eyes
I’ve got reasons why
I’m losing ground and gaining speed
I’ve lost myself or most of me
I’m headed for the final precipice . . .
But somehow, I couldn’t really get to the verse — to the whole object of the song, which was hope. I was hurting so much, I just couldn’t get it.
Then one day, I was just better. I could laugh again. I could wake up and not dread having to pull myself through another day. I had prayed and prayed for this to happen, but the longer the sadness dragged on, the more it seemed like there would be no end to the pain, until one day, it’s as if I just snapped out of it. I could finally really “hear” the verse: . . . but you haven’t lost me yet. I’ll sing until my heart caves in. No, you haven’t lost me yet.
The accident thing is still ridiculous. With the insurance company’s approval, I finally got my car fixed yesterday, but the entire ordeal has been a struggle. A number of people have really flaked out on me in the past few months, not the least of which are certain people who are directly involved in the situation. It has really taken all of my self-control to avoid storming up the stairs (or the elevator) to see the guy who hit my car and give him a piece of my mind about what an unethical jerk he’s been this entire time . . . but I know it won’t help. Because he’s denying fault, my claims adjustor says we have to go into arbitration, which will involve a review of the evidence. Despite what you’ve seen on TV, evidence does not always exist. I’m the only person who took any pictures at the scene. The “police report” is just a minor vehicle incident form, which simply records everyone’s contact, registration and insurance info. There were no witnesses because we were on a not-very-busy thoroughfare. So basically, it comes out to my word against his, and, as it is, everybody tells me how little sense it makes that he would back into me at a red light. Yeah, I know, geniuses. I don’t know why he did it, he just did. If, by some miracle, the arbitrator or whoever determines that the other driver was wrong, his company’s insurance (yeah, he works for a car rental company and is pretty high up on their corporate ladder) will reimburse my deductible; otherwise, I’m out a few hundred bucks, and I’m guessing I’ll also have to pay increased insurance premiums. I have no idea how long this process will take and how long I will have it hanging over my head — and you know how I hate having things hanging over my head. I can’t tell you how much it helps to have my car back in good condition, though. It was drivable but really ugly up front for a good month.
I can’t honestly say I’m fully recovered until the whole car thing and a bunch of other issues have been resolved, but I can tell you that I have definitely been listening to more upbeat songs and pushing forward with life, anyway. Despite all the crap — maybe in spite of it. Philippians 3:13-14 (NLT) says, “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved [perfection], but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Whether you are a person of faith or not, you must admit: This feels a heck of a lot better than the alternative.
Admittedly, I haven’t been to a ton of concerts in my life. There just aren’t that many musicians I’d pay ridiculous amounts of money to see, especially out of what few bands make their way out to Honolulu (or are in Chicago when we are). Anyway, if you’d asked me what the best concert I’d ever been to was, up until this past weekend, I would’ve said Billy Joel. But this weekend, we experienced something totally incredible: Switchfoot doing a completely acoustic set on the North Shore.
When I first heard they would be playing a 210-seater at a bar at Turtle Bay, I kind of scratched my head. I didn’t get it: Why such a small venue, when we have the Blaisdell or even the Waikiki Shell? Of course, all is explained when you realize that we’re talking about Switchfoot, a band named after a surf technique: It’s the NORTH SHORE, a surfer’s Mecca. So even though the venue was small, Jon Foreman explained, they would make it work, even if it meant going with a fully acoustic set for the first time ever.
It turned out to be amazing.
I won’t lie: It’s always pretty darned amazing when you’re in the front row. Yes, it’s the spit-and-sweat zone, but there’s an added sense of intimacy, even in an already small venue. The seating was general admission, but I ordered us VIP tickets, so we got tables right up front!*
So. Awesome. First of all, Switchfoot’s music isn’t gospel music, but the guys are Christian and their music definitely has a deep spiritual influence, which I love, especially since Jon Foreman writes his own songs, which I also love. Also, there’s a totally laid-back, Pacific-ish vibe to their whole countenance (they are from San Diego), which probably had a lot to do with their willingness to improvise and do this amazing kind of show. Also (again!), they took the one song that could possibly work this way, moved their instruments and mics, and played it smack in the middle of the bar. To borrow a word from my friend Trina (who also likes Switchfoot but was not at this concert, what the heck?), it was amazeballs.
Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Jon Foreman.
“Hello Hurricane” — in the middle of the bar! Wow.
Us with the guys!!!
I’m uploading a few video highlights, which will not do nearly enough justice to how incredible an experience this was, but I want to remember this forever.
“Learning to Breathe.”
My favorite part of “Dare You to Move.”
“Hello Hurricane” in the middle of the bar.
* Todd was kind of worried because last time I gave my name and was told I could sit right up front, it was at Second City and they had Google-stalked me and scary sweaty guy told the whole audience all about me in a sketch about the TSA . . . hahaha . . . but no, Switchfoot did not embarrass me.
“Hello, good morning, how you been?
Yesterday left my head kicked in
I never, never thought that
I would fall like that
Never knew that I could hurt this bad
I’m learning to breathe
I’m learning to crawl
I’m finding that You and You alone can break my fall
I’m living again, awake and alive
I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies”
A little over a week ago, we lost our Pomeranian, Chloe, who had been a member of our family for over 14 years. For most of her life, she had never been completely well, having to deal with multiple bouts of chronic pancreatitis, but she was always happy. Her last week was a little less so, and her last two days were an excruciating experience I would never wish on anyone. The physical emptiness that followed her loss was awful: When we walked out of the vet’s office after we put her down, I felt the air punch me in the chest, right where she would have been, had I been carrying her as I had for much of the past 24 hours.
This is the last photo taken of Chloe and me together:
I didn’t know how I was supposed to go on without a dog: We hadn’t not had one in 14 years. I knew, though, that I didn’t want to feel that physical punch of emptiness again when I got home from work on Monday. So when the family left the decision up to me (nice, huh), I picked out a puppy a couple of days later. This is our new 9-week-old Yorkie, Mochi:
Yes, she is adorable and rambunctious and impossible not to love. So I am learning to love her, and I am most appreciative to have her there, happy to see me at the end of the day. But I worry that people are judging, thinking that we are just replacing Chloe. Rest assured, she has not been replaced. I think about her and miss her immensely every day. I cried for days over her loss — even after the void of not having a dog had been filled.
Anyone who has been in my presence when I’m writing (admittedly, this could be no one but the voices in my head) knows that I won’t start writing anything unless I know exactly how I want it to open and how I want it to end. But I really have no idea how to end this blog entry because I’m still figuring things out. I’m getting better in the sense that I finally took her “riding towel” off the passenger seat of my car the other day. I’ve stopped sobbing loudly. But, I’m still wrestling with the feeling that I could have done more — or no, that I should have put an end to the craziness sooner. When the day grows long, I find myself waiting for Chloe to come back: I know she won’t, but I can’t stop myself from waiting for it to happen. Every day when I wake up, I have to steel myself for the fact that she won’t be in the next room. I know it’s only been a week, but in a sense, I can’t imagine what the next seven days will be like without her.
But we have a new life in the house now, and she needs me to pull it together and get her to the vet — yes, the same one — for her checkups and shots. And so I go on. And thus, every day, despite the pain, I am learning to breathe . . .
Todd and I took a long weekend trip to Chicago in January. The primary purpose of the trip was to see a Blackhawks game, but we ended up doing a lot more than taking in the Hawks vs. the San Jose Sharks, among which was the second event we made reservations for: dinner with Leesa and Scott at Girl and the Goat.
Girl and the Goat is the West Loop brain child of Stephanie Izard, thus far the only woman to win the title award on TV’s “Top Chef.” Leesa tried to get snag us reservations there last year, but her efforts were futile, so this year, I tried to book a few months in advance using OpenTable. When I had no success with that (it kept telling me I was trying to book too far in advance), I e-mailed the restaurant and found out that while OpenTable imposed a 90-day-early policy, they booked up to a year in advance (!) by phone! So, needless to say, I called immediately and signed us up for what would either be a very early (5:30) or very late (after 9) dinner; we opted for the early.
Take in mind, it was pretty easy for me to get a dining time because we were flexible, but apparently, this is not always the case! I have heard several people since say that they have had to wait for months to get a table. Granted, we booked three months in advance, but I have no idea how successful (or not) we would have been if we had tried to book something more immediate when I made the reservations back in October, so it seems like either way, we totally lucked out.
So, did Girl & the Goat live up to the hype? Was it worth the wait? Two words: Heck, yeah!
First, they have a rotation of breads. A rotation. You know how so many places have one signature bread? Well, G&TG rotates in three per night:
They may not look like much, but the night we went, we had these three: the Squish Squash (a squash-based loaf) served with apple purée and pecan butter, the pretzel loaf served with honey mustard butter and 1000 island and the Chicken Little (a chicken noodle-based loaf) served with chicken liver butter and carrot sage oil. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, you must be one of those anti-carb people. And even then . . . you know you secretly want it.
The rest of the menu is divided into sections by main ingredient type: vegetable, seafood or meat. I couldn’t tell you which items necessarily came from which menu section, as I believe the following came from the meat section:
Ham frites, people. Ham frites with tomato aioli and beer cheddar dipping sauces. The beer cheddar packed a lip-smacking punch — and who doesn’t like a good aioli with their fried carbs? So good. I’m not exactly sure where the “ham” came in other than that maybe the potatoes were fried with some bacon-like deliciousness. It was straight up fried goodness. Everyone at the table enjoyed these.
Pretty much anyone from Hawai‘i could identify these by their signature flat bone cut:
These Kalbi-style ribs were done with the authenticity you’d expect from any Korean restaurant. Todd liked them for their simplicity, especially among the cacophany of flavors and exotic offerings on the menu. (Yes, this is a “safe” dish for those who may not be into taking too many culinary risks.)
The more adventurous among us enjoyed a few other dishes, as well:
Spaghetti squash provided the perfect textural complement to these blue prawns. The peanut-pork ragout was like a richer version of a Thai-inspired peanut sauce. I never would have expected such freshness of shrimp so far inland, but the salty flavor of the ocean was perfectly preserved in these perfectly cooked crustaceans. A definite winner.
The goat, pork and veal sugo with pappardele was delicately seasoned with rosemary (which can be too strong if you’re not careful) and cape gooseberries. I’m not really sure how the flavors all balanced out with this one, as none of these are ingredients I would normally cook with (except for maybe pork), but we really liked this dish, too. I think I picked it because of the berries in the description, and the gamble really paid off.
Finally . . . THE PIG FACE!
Leesa was relieved when she learned that we would not actually be presented with an actual pig’s face (which, if you’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant or a Filipino party, you know they can do). In fact, as you can see from the photo, you can’t even see the pork (wood-roasted pig cheek) pretty much at all until you move the egg aside. The way this dish works is, you break the egg and mix everything on the plate together. It looks completely unattractive at that point, but once you taste it, you don’t care. The main ingredient is fork tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, seasoned with tamarind and cilantro, with potato sticks providing just the right touch of crunch.
Girl & the Goat received a 2011 James Beard nomination, and Stephanie Izard was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of 2011. Why these awards are hanging in the dark basement hall, I couldn’t tell you, but they are well-deserved in a city that takes no culinary prisoners.
Oh, yeah . . . and I totally dig the napkin-holders:
We’d definitely dine there again! G&TG is a welcome addition to the mandatory Chicago dining experience.
I came across this linked recipe for Chicago pastry chef Mathew Rice’s Gooey Butter Cookies one day on Pinterest. I’d asked Todd for a stand mixer for Christmas — I even picked out the exact one I wanted (the cheapest KitchenAid one, 4.5-qt, white) and Wish List-ed it on Amazon — but I didn’t really have a particular recipe in mind to make with it until I found this. I’m a sucker for a nice, chewy cookie, and this looked like it would fill some kind of holiday dessert void.
The recipe for a lot of butter, a lot of sugar, a ton of flour (not literally) and half a real vanilla bean (which, let’s face it, you can only buy whole), so it definitely isn’t the cheapest cookie recipe in town — but it is well worth the “extras.” With all you put into the effort, you do get a lot out of it: One batch yields at least six dozen cookies (it’s actually way more, but I lost count) if you use a teaspoon-sized scoop, and everyone you gift these cookies with will be your friend for LIFE. The gooey butter cookie completely fulfills the promise of its name in terms of taste and texture, and it tastes amazing whether it’s consumed warm, refrigerated or at room temperature. Bless your friends with these, and you will definitely bring smiles to their faces; after all, really good cookies with pure natural ingredients are hard to come by these days!
And so, without further adieu, I bring you the recipe for possibly the most fabulous cookies on Earth.
GOOEY BUTTER COOKIES
Recipe by Mathew Rice of Nightwood Restaurant
Source: Tim Mazurek, Lottie + Doof (reprinted with permission)
Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, butter, vanilla bean seeds, and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract.
Incorporate the flour mixture. Chill for at least 30 minutes. Scoop roughly 1-ounce balls and toss in the confectioner’s sugar. Place on a baking sheet, lined with parchment, a couple of inches apart. Bake at 325° F until they spread and puff slightly, about 12-16 minutes. They will be really soft in the center. If they start to brown, they’ve gone too far. Cool to room temperature.
Seriously, do not skimp on the ingredients. Tim thinks the vanilla bean is optional (“but important”), but really, I think if you’re going to go through all the trouble, go big or go home.
You will use lots and lots of confectioner’s sugar. That is why there’s no set amount: It’s just a lot.
The longer you refrigerate the dough after prep before you roll it into balls, the better the shape will hold up. This is true for most cookie recipes, but it is especially important here.
You should also keep the dough (rolled or not) in the refrigerator whenever you don’t need to have it in front of you (i.e., while each cookie sheet is baking).
Cookies can cool on a plate in the refrigerator. Yeah, it’s ghetto compared to cooling racks, but when you’re lacking for counter space, it works, and it’s fast.
If you are a friend of mine within reasonable geographic distance (i.e., you live on Oahu), please don’t steal my thunder and give these away for Christmas. . . . But otherwise, you know, enjoy!