Friday, June 16, 2006

Damn Phone!

Believe it or not, I've actually been doing a fearsome amount of blogging since my last entry here. Only problem is it's all been on my phone. I discovered one day in May that my overly fancy new phone has a dumbed-down version of MS Word on it, so anytime I'm stuck on the 'L', sitting in the waiting room at the dentist, lying prostrate on a saloon floor, etc., I just whip out the little bugger and add to the single loooong, undoubtedly boring, entry I've been writing about...

...well, I guess I'll just have to post it.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More on Casting Directors

Thanks to Anonymous and OhioProf for their comments on my last post. I'm inspired to throw a few reactionary tidbits together here.

First, about Casting Directors...

I hate saying it, but yeah — sometimes I do wonder whether they really know what's "good." The problem to a certain extent, I think, is that casting is indeed rather parochial — it's easy to think that the talent you call in, and the results you get from the particular way in which you run your auditions, are representative of the larger talent pool (or the best that can be wrung from the talent pool) if you constantly draw your actors from one place and/or you don't provide an environment where the talent can surprise the end-client. And I would even dispute that some casting directors really know what their clients want. If they did, I'm not sure they would do so much directing during auditions. Unless the client is a real dick, the norm by far is to provide a variety of reads within the parameters of the casting specs. Directors, for instance, want to know that an actor's not a "Single-Note Sally" — that they'll be able to go in different directions if need be — so why some CDs practically give line readings to actors is beyond me (especially in a town known for its pool of improvisers). Of course, I can't fault CDs for wanting to follow what's worked best for them in the past, but if, for instance, you only ever pull your talent from edgy, provocative theatres, then you shouldn't be surprised if your client wonders why few people on your casting tape don't seem to have a great deal of comic timing (not to mention camera technique).

Oh and secondly, thanks for the encouragement to go into writing, but the fact is that I decided a while back not to be one of those actors who tries to be a "hyphenate" — a la actor-director, actor-writer, etc. No disrespect towards Sam Shephard, William H. Macy, et alia who can do it (and do it well), but I have enough distractions in my life, and what I really need to do is focus my creative energies more so I can excel in one area, rather than dissipate those energies by dabbling in lots of different things. 'Sides, I generally think one should have a passion for what one does, and while I enjoy writing, my real passion lies in front of the footlights, so thence I go.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Peanut Butter and Chocolate

There's this adage that applies to bite-and-smile commercials — "don't act so suprised." Bite-and-smiles are those spots where the talent bites into a food product and reacts (favorably, one presumes — though come to think of it I once bit into a club sandwich where the food dressers had encouraged the bacon strips to glisten under the lights by brushing Pine-Sol on them; I think the clients saved my "hideous revulsion" reaction for their gag reel).

Anyway, a common mistake many actors make when taking a bite/sip/lick of a food product during an audition is to act surprised. Unless it's written into the copy that the character is outright skeptical about the taste of this thing in front of them (the only example I can think of being those old Reese's commercials, "Hey! You got peanut butter on my chocolate!"), acting surprised that it tastes good is basically tantamount to saying the product looks like sh**, or the Brand Name doesn't inspire confidence, or that this product stands out because it DOESN'T kill you. In other words, if it's that good, what sort of vomit-inducing experience were you expecting and why? (So what you typically see instead during a good bite-and-smile is a look of pleasant expectation before the bite, then a reaction afterwards that says the expectation was happily confirmed or, perhaps, even exceeded because they'd forgotten just how gosh-darned good this stuff really is.)

How this all relates is that this week was, as predicted by a realtor friend of mine, much busier than last week (they predicted that the upcoming Easter holiday would combine with Tax Day to dramatically slow down a lot of different industries), so I actually had quite a few auditions, both on-camera and voiceover. And one of those on-camera auditions was for a casting firm that rarely calls me in and, as I think I've written before, when they DO call me in they always act surprised when I don't fall on my face. Well, that's exactly what happened once again. I came in, the casting director was very business-like and doing annoying things (more on that later), then I did my bit, and afterwards the first words out of their mouth were, "Evan, that was GOOD!"

Gee, don't act so suprised.

Y'know what was different this time though? I think I figured out that it's just the way they are. For whatever reason, they're either cursed with a condescending way of expressing themselves to other people or, more likely, they really DON'T expect a lot from actors. I think it's more of the latter, simply because of those other annoying things they do. For instance, they'll call an actor into the room, then say, "Wait until the camera's rolling before beginning." (Isn't that a bit obvious?) Or, "Stand on the mark to say your slate." (Why? Do most actors slate themselves off-camera?)

But what do I know? Perhaps I just haven't walked in their shoes enough to see the endless parade of actors who can't face forward, find their light, or know where the camera is. Perhaps most of the actors they call in don't know what a "slate" is and respond with an entirely appropriate, "Huh?" (A slate is simply looking into the camera and saying your name — don't say no one ever told you.) All I can say is, it's odd that other casting directors don't act this way.

Still, knowing that it just seems to be part of their nature is comforting somehow. I guess it's easier knowing ahead of time that, no matter how many times they see me, they're always going to find it refreshingly novel when I smear peanut butter on their chocolate.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter

It was a slow week for daytime auditions (i.e., on-camera & voiceover), which was actually appreciated since I didn't (and still don't) have my taxes done. The whole week — heck, the last few months — seem to have been about my not being able to get done what needs to get done because something more urgent or infuriatingly distracting inserts itself into my life. Trying to breathe through it, but dang...

Cherokee told me the other day that she really doesn't feel like pursuing acting work anymore. She's said it many times before, but there've been extenuating circumstances that made me think she mght change her mind later. I'm pretty certain now that's not going to happen. Curiously, it really doesn't upset me too much — we both knew when we met that there's a fantastically high attrition rate in the acting biz, and one or both of us might eventually succumb to it. Still, I'd also think something was wrong if I just shrugged and didn't give her leaving the biz a second thought. She's an incredibly talented actor, and it shouldn't pass unmourned that she won't be sharing that talent anymore. At least, not in the traditional ways (i.e., stage, camera, microphone).

Rented the "Chronicles of Narnia" last night. Brought back warm memories of reading those books during my childhood, and I honestly think they did a good job dramatizing it. C.S. Lewis had a British sensibility about analogues (i.e., subtlety goes a long way, less is more), and previous attempts at dramatizing "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" have killed me with how ham-fisted they've been. Hope Disney more of the Narnia series.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Spring Is Here...

...and it really FEELS like a transitional time, y'know? Had a nice chunk of voiceover jobs last week Tuesday, then the crickets chirped until today, when a got one on-camera audition and three v.o. auditions. Fortunately, the rest of my life stabilized just a little during this time, and hopefully it's a trend that will continue.

The thought occurred to me yesterday that I need to start prepping for Equity generals soon, but I just as suddenly realized how very, very tired I am these days. Gotta get a handle on that...

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I think I've figured out why I've been such a grumpy old cuss the past six months or so. It's a simple case of my life being out of balance. Between juggling my entrepreneurial pursuits, buying a new house, selling the old house, a dearth of paying acting jobs, etc., my life is just plain out of whack.

I'm not saying my problems are worse than anybody else's, it's just that I've generally supported the insanity of an acting career (which I very definitely want) by having an exceptionally stable Rest of My Life. And generally it's been somewhat self-correcting — unlike acting, I tend not to engage in activities that don't have a fairly certain payoff or benefit and, except for my marriage or family relationships of course, I drop those things from my life that start to go sour.

Except, recently, I haven't beeen able to do that. Houses, for instance, don't just sell themselves according to how badly you need the money, and credit card companies don't take "I'm a Bohemian living a life less ordinary," as an excuse for getting your credit card payment in late. Cue the pathos, cue the self-serving righteousness, cue the crabbiness. And, since a diary gets double-barrels of whatever emotional extreme I'm serving, my posts seem lately to have been more yang than yin.

Had a night shoot last week. Nice to be among the normally abnormal again. Also have a few jobs in the booth lined up for next week. I'll try to break with recent tradition by just embracing those for the good they represent, rather than trying to qualify them by stating any perceived downside (e.g., "Hey, I've just been elected President! On the other hand, half the world wants to kill me...")

Maybe I just need a slap upside the head...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Note to Agents

Here are some casting specs that were communicated to me by my agent this week (I'm paraphrasing for the sake of anonymity, but only slightly):

"Arrogant but clueless chef who thinks he's better than he is. Male, 30-50 years old, open on race. Good facial expressions, but not over the top. This is a real person, able to show emotions with the raise of an eyebrow, but stay away from extreme subtlety. The chef is a real person, but a heightened real person. National broadcast usage, plus cable, Internet, some print, and possible foreign broadcast. This character will become a spokesperson for a MAJOR worldwide brand, and the client is looking for strong actors who can convey the character consistently, and have that certain something extra that will make them the quintessential icon for the brand!"

Okay, so you know what the only usable part of that paragraph is? The first sentence, and practically nothing else. The ONLY thing I really need to know that will help me do a great job in the audition is that I'm an arrogant but clueless chef. The rest of it is either unhelpful (possibly even a hindrance), or else it's information no doubt intended to help you (the agent) do your job.

Gender and age range are tips to guide your submissions, and have little-to-no bearing on my prep work for the audition. The bit about "not too subtle, not too campy" is, at best, an indication to you that you should submit your strongest and most versatile talent. At worst, it's pretty darn confusing, and it's taken me literally years to realize that such pronouncements either indicate that the client doesn't know what they want, or that they're really bad at communicating what they want. The most useful sum-up I can make of this particular bit is "the client will know it when they see it" and "be prepared to do it different ways in the audition" (something most casting directors will encourage you to do anyway).

The rest of it, about what an icon this character is going to be (and how lucrative the gig will potentially be) is a downright hindrance for me. I mean, it's obviously going to be a great gig if I land it, but unless you have many personal experiences watching me rise above all others in the face of extreme pressure (not that auditions, opening nights, improv and other live performances aren't already extreme enough), why saddle me with that pressure for the audition? You want me to be relaxed. You want me to have fun. You want me to be playful. (Seriously, you do.) None of which come easier to me when I know that I'm going to miss out on fame and fortune if I screw up. Okay, I know there are exceptions — your favorite semi-retired client in Wisconsin who will only make the trip down to Chicago for "important" auditions, or the suburban parent who's on the fence between finding a babysitter or turning down the audition — but those are exceptions.

And, on an idealistic note, despite the fact that I recently bitched about low-usage commercials not being worth the effort, in point of fact I personally do actually feel that every role deserves the same investment of energy and dedication (which, I guess, means that you probably shouldn't tell me when a spot is going to get low usage either).

Oh, and by the way — just so you know, it's not like I keep my Extra Special Quintessential Something on reserve for some occasions and not for others. If I have it, trust me to bring it to every audition.

Really, I appreciate the openness with which you share information with your clients, and I can certainly edit out anything that I don't think is helpful, but I just thought I should tell you in case you'd never heard it before, and because it's taken me so long myself to realize what helps and what doesn't (which I don't really wish on anyone else in your stable).

Friday, March 03, 2006

New (Same) Tricks

Not a bad week, all things considered. The pressure is easing in some areas but ramping up in others. Just trying to hold it all together for the sake of those around me.

Got to audition WITH Cherokee for a spot the other day for the first time in, like, years, so that was a treat. Also had a job on Wednesday which was good. It was "just a demo" for a national brand, but any union work is good work. It was also my first time working with another talent from my agency with whom I don't agree on nearly anything (though I don't think they know it, despite our having known each other for over a decade). Aside from a somewhat abrasive personality when they're not around those they care to impress (including other actors), they're positively effusive in their glad-handing when they're around anyone they think can help them in their careers. There are a few notable others in Chicago who really stand out in that way, and I'd get irritated at them if I wasn't also somewhat shamefully amused. They're their own worst enemy and can't see it. Their superficial charm must be transparent to nearly everyone, their eagerness to please reads as desperation (a career-killer that), and their idea of self-promotion (to advertising professionals mind you) begins and ends with harrassing their targets with an array of useless name-imprinted tchotchkes.

But, I guess they think it works for them. Anyway...

I had an on-camera audition Tuesday that was this week's educational experience. I'd call it "teaching an old dog new tricks," but the fact is it was an old trick I'd simply stopped practicing. The audition was for a state lottery and, for those who don't know, lottery commercials are generally slim pickings — they generally only air in one state, and usually only for one cycle, but they require just as much energy (if not more) than national spots because they're often about super-excited people who've just won a buttload of cash.

So anyway, my agent calls me up, gives me the casting specs, and I sort of groaned inwardly because they wanted a very specific talent. I'm not going to say what that talent was, but imagine, for instance, that the specs called for someone who can do sign language. Now, I actually took a class in American Sign Language years ago (true) but usually when casting directors are looking for a particular talent, they're looking for an expert — someone who's actually deaf or has been doing ASL all their life. And, most often, they can find such a person (which is also why, unlike theatre, it's usually useless to pursue on-camera jobs calling for a 40-year-old if one is actually 25 — there are plenty of 40-year-olds in the available casting pool, and you'd better be stunningly better than all of them in some way in order to change the client's mind about who he thinks he needs).

The reason I groaned, though, was because the person casting the spot was one of those who almost never calls me in. Now, although I think the benefits of being exclusive with one agent in Chicago outweigh the bad points (I started my career in L.A., so it's what I'm most comfortable with) here's one of the bad points: If, for some reason, you make a bad first impression with a casting director (as I apparently did many moons ago when I was still wet behind the ears), and assuming that particular CD is not one of the more generous ones in the city who actually call an actor for auditions ten or more times before giving up on them, what's going to happen is the next time this casting director calls you in, it will generally only be because your agent recommended you, or you have a specific talent that disqualifies most of their regular pool (or both). Now, because you are exclusive with your agent, you're among the first people s/he calls when the CD gives them an "empty" slot to fill (the CD basically says "Send me these 15 particular actors [they name them], but because we need actors with such a specific talent, it's going to be a light day, so add to your list one or two others you think would be good").

OK, so now you're going in to see a casting director who's not thrilled about you, your audition is at the end of the session (making it much more likely that you won't be seen by the client), and, as often happens, you also have to follow a bunch of presumed experts at exhibiting a particular specialized skill. This is not a recipe for success. In fact, my experience has been that the casting director often simply feels that their first impressions of you were correct — you're underwhelming. Yet again. What a surprise.

But what else are you going to do? Sure, you can tell your agent you refuse to see the casting director unless it's under circumstances that are more favorable to you. That's certainly valid, and I'm all for empowering actors to do that if they think they have the equity to spend with their agent. It is, however, a "special order". That is, you're setting yourself up to be a custom job when it comes to casting, and the agent must now remember somehow "Evan will see Casting Director X all the time, but he'll only see Casting Director Y if he's in the first ten slots and only if there's no sign language involved." That's too much work (again, speaking only for myself). Following the path of least resistance, I only turn down an audition if I have a product or scheduling conflict, or if the specs are grossly out of my league. In ten years, I think I've only turned down maybe one audition for that last reason, and I'm really only allowing for the possibility — I don't actually remember doing so. Ever.

So there I am. Unenthused about the waste of time this audition is costing me, but hey — I chose to do it, so shut up already, right? Well, lo and behold, it turns out that I actually pulled off the "special skill" at least passably well, and (gasp) the casting director let me know that the experts s/he had called in were generally unable to handle the copy well. And, in this particular case, the copy turned out to be more important to the client than the special skill. So, in the end, I was actually a viable choice for the client, and the casting director got to see me Not Fail. Which, of course, is actually what I hope for every time I go into one of these situations. When you're stuck at the bottom of a well, you don't focus so much on the light at the top as on clawing yourself up to the next level.

But, as I thought about this afterward, I realized that I knew this already. These sorts of auditions are not that much unlike what every audition used to be for me when I was starting out as a total unknown (not that I'm now a renowned talent or anything — it's just that I've actually managed to fool a few casting directors into not calling me in last for a change). So yeah, I guess I've gotten soft. I guess it's time to remember the old tricks and practice them as much as possible.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Venting My Spleen

Okay, I said I didn't want to get into this, but maybe if I just get it off my chest it will go away and I won't have to deal with feelings of avoidance.

Went to a SAG meeting Monday to meet the new union president, Alan Rosenberg, and Secretary/Treasurer, Connie Stevens. Afterwards, one friend called them "wrong-headed but not insane," and I think that about sums it up. Our union is filled with some of the most ridiculous ego-centric grandstanders, megalomaniacs, wheel re-inventors, and just plain head cases, and I respect that Alan and Connie have to create some order out of all this chaos. I also believe they're earnest and well-intentioned. What I didn't get, though, was a sense that we, in the Branches, know what we're talking about on certain issues, particularly Merger and the Commercials Contract.

I think there's a prevalent sense among members of the "Membership First" faction that the Branches are 1). pro-employer, 2). easily duped by all the previous administrations that have called for a merger between AFTRA and SAG, and 3). anti-Hollywood. In reality, I think most Branch members are none of that.

The idea that we are "pro-employer" seems to come from the fact that we voice serious concerns about going on strike over the Commercials contract in the near future, but that's mostly because we arguably bore a disproportional amount of the pain in 2000 — the Commercials contract accounts for more income in the branches than it does in Hollywood and, because we have fewer members than Hollywood, we had more work cut out for us in prosecuting the last strike. So we acknowledge the inherently adversarial position we're in versus our employers, but at the same time we're STRONGLY in favor of working out an equitable deal, because — at least at this point in time — getting even half of what you want is preferable to risking it all by going to war.

Regarding Merger: Again — the Branches have a disproportional amount of members who are necessarily members of both AFTRA and SAG, and many of us, including Yours Truly, have lost Pension and/or Health benefits because our income was split between two jurisdictions. (You have to make a certain amount each year to qualify for benefits under each union's plan, but if the qualifying level is, say, $15K, a $29K wage-earner is outta luck in both unions if his/her income was evenly split.) What Membership First does not seem to understand (or, at least, has never said that I remember) is that we in the branches are voting our pocketbooks. All the Pro & Con rhetoric is very entertaining, thank you, but in the end, we've done the math and decided that the best thing is to have just one benefits plan. And since we, by law, cannot exert a majority influence over both Benefit Plans (both are controlled 50% by our employers, who quite definitely do not want the two unions to merge), we've decided to exert control where we can — by merging the two unions anyway. Matter of fact, the adversarial stance that M.F. seems to chronically take with regard to our employers is strangely absent on this one issue, and it's an inconsistancy that breeds distrust in the Branches — it seems to indicate an agenda that is based more on intra-union factional power than on strengthening the power of the workers versus their employers.

And lastly, we're not anti-Hollywood — except when Hollywood adopts an anti-Branches stance. Seriously, although it was mentioned numerous times by Mr. Rosenberg during the meeting that we in the Branches "have no interest in DVD residuals" (a matter that is important to those working the Theatrical contract, i.e., mostly Hollywood Branch members), the fact is that most of us (I reckon) would defer to Hollywood if a majority of those members thought a strike over the issue was necessary. Conversely though, we think a certain amount of deference on Hollywood's part would be nice when it comes to the Commercials contract (which, again, disproportionately affects the membership in the [non-Hollywood] Branches).

It's also worth noting that, following the Strike of 2000, the very next issue put to the membership concerned re-apportioning the governance of the union so that it was proportional to the number of members in each Branch (which, of course, would give the Hollywood branch alone a 50%+ majority control in the boardroom). At the time, it was called "undemocratic" that no single branch had majority control, but — if the non-Hollywood branches voted together — they could override Hollywood. However, there's a reason our Founding Fathers created the U.S. Senate. It was so that those states with a disproportional amount of resources and/or wealth (say, for instance, New England) would not feel that those in the more populous states were always making all the decisions (e.g., Rhode Island doesn't stand a chance in the House of Representatives against California). And the reason that's a good thing in a union is that you may, someday, have to strike. And if the rest of the nation feels that Hollywood is making all the decisions — even when they run counter to what the rest of the nation tells Hollywood it wants — you're going to have serious problems the next time you want to have a nationwide strike.

I'm not saying that the new governance situation is "wrong," per se, but the timing of it, as well as the rhetoric that was bandied about at the time, was a serious slap in the face to the branches who had just prosecuted a nationwide strike that many felt had been instigated primarily by members in Hollywood. (I don't happen to hold that opinion — I still think it was necessary at that point in time — but the vehemence with which some very vocal Hollywood members went about pursuing the change in governance afterward only heightened the suspicion on the part of many in the Branches that they had been duped in 2000.)

There, I hope that does it. Seriously, I don't want this blog to degenerate into one of those partisan sites that seem to discuss only union issues, but to entirely ignore my feelings on these issues seemed wrong as well. Spleen vented, damage done. On to the next thing...

Better... kind of.

Thanks to Story and Madie for their comments on my last post. Things are a little better, but I suspect it's largely because I'm choosing to ignore the pain. Caught a killer cold last weekend, and I'm only now getting down to the "egg yolk stage" (as a friend of mine delicately puts it). And, a couple of days ago, I walked in the front door of our new house to the sound of water cascading down the kitchen walls and into the basement, where it was about 6 inches deep at the point where it was splattering off the circuit breaker box. The good news is that half of it seeped through the kitchen walls to the outside, where it pooled around the 116-year-old foundation, no doubt cracking the mortar, stones, etc.

And, you know, past a certain point, you just have to laugh.

Things have gotten so wildly, outrageously beyond my control that I've ironically grown very calm. I'm just dealing with whatever's in front of me at the moment, and handling anything beyond that if time allows.

No on-camera auditions this week, but at least one voiceover audition per day. Given my cold, I guess I should be grateful there was only potential money on the line instead of real money.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Well, Cherokee finally got me to take a vacation for two weeks. I think I did pretty well at leaving most of my cares behind while we were gone, but the backlog of stuff when I returned has kept me so busy I honestly feel like I can't breathe at times. I already had a backlog of stuff to do before I left, and now I've got another two weeks' worth piled on top. Issues with the new house, issues with selling our old house, carrying two mortgages in the meantime, organizing and paying taxes on our business and our personal income, running our business in the meantime, etc. All this and auditions/jobs to boot. It's not stuff that I'll be glad I did when I'm on my deathbed (compared to, say, having had a close and loving mariage and family), but it's stuff that'll put you on your deathbed quickly if you don't do it. Even writing about it seems like a waste of time, and if I wasn't waiting for a file to upload to our server at the moment, I wouldn't even be writing this.

Had a job yesterday, thank heavens, and a surprise job today that I just found out about. Both are/were re-records of previous sessions for spots that didn't air because the client decided to change the script after it was in the can. No complaints, as it's badly needed money in my bank account.

Also had two on-camera auditions early this week. In both cases, the last take I did was good (both in my opinion and, I think, in the casting director's opinion) but that's actually disappointing to me because — unless you're one of the first ones on the audition tape/DVD — chances are pretty slim that the client is going to see the final take, since they quickly start to view only the first 15 seconds or so of each audition before speeding on to the next. Guess I'm a bit rusty from the slow flow of on-camera auditions lately.

Speaking of non-sequiturs, check out the SAGFireBird blog for a discussion of issues currently affecting (and afflicting) the Screen Actors Guild. Again, I don't want to get too deeply into them here, but it relates strongly to something I mentioned in one of my last couple of posts.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Year, Fresh Start

Well, it's a new year and so far so good. Cherokee & I have a new house, I've had a couple voiceover gigs already, StoryActor is back in fine fettle it appears, and perhaps we'll see more opportunities this year for employment.

I've been reading a book lately called "What's the Matter With Kansas?" and it's really been occupying my thoughts a lot lately. It's about the NeoCon revolution within the Republican party, and it's written by a Kansas native who sees in his home state a microcosm for what's been happening (and even what will happen) nationally. I don't really want to get into politics too much here, but I do see some parallels between what's been happening politically in our nation and what's been happening within the Screen Actors Guild. In both instances there is a very vocal minority that manages to effectively exert its will, often (it might be argued) to their own detriment and to the detriment of the body at large.

And so you get, for instance, Kansans who are losing their union jobs to union-busting efforts, free trade agreements, and shady corporate maneuvers, but they'll vote FOR a candidate who is anti-union, supports free trade agreements, etc. because that candidate takes a particular stance on a "moral issue" they agree with (e.g., Roe v. Wade). Similarly, in SAG you see some really angry, angry people who will fight tooth and nail to prevent consolidation with AFTRA, a renewal of the Agency Franchise Agreement, or any collective bargaining agreement that is not a total 100% victory for the Guild, and they (all of them, as near as I can tell) consider their efforts at undermining the majority as something of a moral obligation.

I'm not sure what, if anything, to say about this observation, but it's disturbing to me and it's been on my mind, so I thought I ought to write it down somewhere. Here, for instance.