as it were, per se
to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand. One day it will be my turn, Trebek.
It turns out that I'm still trying to make sense of all the photos taken from the (ridiculously amazing) trip to Iceland during August. Blame it on procrastination or the other usual suspects, but perhaps the below trivia spotted during a hike will keep provoking your thoughts whilst my procrastination sorts itself out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009
dude, i finally got the venue i wanted
Friends Jesper and Marieke, who moved recently to Boston from the Netherlands, made it down to New York last weekend, and it just so happened that the visit coincided nicely with the first Saturday game in new Yankee Stadium, a venue so tastefully and impressively done that really all I can say is that it truly feels real, which I reckon is not an immaterial compliment for a new American construct these days. Grant you I will that the weather was so delightful that you almost forgot that weather itself was still an enterprise, and, all things considered, it was one hell of a way to spend New York City's first real spring day in 2009.








Of course I remain fascinated with this disclaimer written in the second level of the outfield bleachers, a place where I still have no idea how a bat could travel and/or land.

Monday, October 13, 2008
where's the money lebowski?
I've been reading an awful lot in recent months about the current "crises" that are holding hostage our economy and the trade that forms its foundation. Although no skilled politician wishing to be elected could ever say so, it's clear to me that there is no one in particular to blame. Knowing that's not popular enough an answer, then best we just blame everyone, or anyone, whichever makes us respectively feel better. Regardless, the problems do not go away, rather they are just blurred and disguised as something else. Like always.

Really at the root of it all though, in my opinion, is whether we as people value more: the concept of equity or debt. Debatable of course is the real value of equity and underlying ownership rights therein, but at least it is unlike debt, which must be repaid to the enterprise providing the money on said enterprise's terms. Or else. For example, take Iceland, who decided it would try to magnify returns by issuing significant amounts of debt, much of it owed to the United Kingdom, one of whose bankers was quoted in this weekend's Financial Times newspaper as saying: "The Icelandics had better get their fishing rods out. They've got a lot of cod to catch to make up for what we've lost."

I typically explain to slick businessmen/women trying to convince me otherwise the reason why I don't believe in debt by simply declaring: "I like to sleep at night." Perhaps I can compliment that by further declaring: "And I also don't believe in fishing for quantity's sake."
Thursday, October 02, 2008
københavn
Denmark, as best I can surmise, is an awfully good place if you are into liking good things. And, even if you are not, any country whose citizens out of habit drink chocolate milk with their hot-dog stand hot dogs is one whose goodness should not be underestimated nonetheless. The trip started with no discernible plan other than to have not much of a plan and ended with a lack thereof, or at least so it seemed. The Zurichsters even flew in for the lack of festivities, and in turn our never-ending, typically dithering conversations, including topics such as, for example, the pros and cons of wearing the same suit to work every day and/or the root of the financial crises and/or whether it is appropriate to put imported barbeque sauce on Pringles chips, continued uninterrupted. Also, Jesper happened to be up from Amsterdam for a couple of days, and with HP living there and graciously guiding the tour all week, it turned out to be a trip worth noting.

As you'll see here, Denmark is, for good reason, known both for its industrial design and bike culture:


Declarations were rightfully made that Logismose hot dogs/sausages, as modeled here, were without a doubt probably the best hot dogs/sausages in the world:


Here's an action shot of Slim explaining to HP and Jakester why he prefers drinking Faxe Kondi (a Danish soft drink) Light:


And, here's an action shot of Jakester demonstrating to Slim what Backgammon means when used as a verb:


A windwhirl sort of trip, you might say.

Sunday, September 28, 2008
your money is being held by a kid named larry sellars
In light of "The Bailout" appearing to be nearly decided by the powers that be in Washington DC, perhaps most ironic of the many interconnected ironies within, is that as best I can tell the US government is funding the asset purchasing program by issuing more debt. Said another way, is America throwing a ringer for a ringer?
Monday, May 05, 2008
日本
Almost incomprehendible is it that it's now been nearly three months since returning from Japan. Almost incomprehendible was being in Japan. Accurate is it to say that the trip started with a long flight and ended with much of the same. But, I urge you to rest assured that immaterial were those flights in the grand scheme of things, whatever that is. Simply combine its people and its food and its landscape and what you end up with is something along the lines of dizzying cool. For dessert, order some of the best powder snow you could even imagine, yet alone actually ski, and you'll probably sleep all of the fourteen hours flying back home wondering what the hell just happened. And also wondering why the hell you ever had the nerve to leave. But, let my pictures fail to do this trip sufficient justice in hopes that my words will likely suffice even less:

What $20 can buy you at 5am (?) at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market, even if it was only sold by the wholesaler due to him being even more confused than we were. Simply have to boil in hot water and then let Lybrook take care of it from there:


Japan's rising sun greeting your backcountry ski run:


Japan's same sun no longer rising after said backcountry ski run:


But, as I've always claimed, the best powder days tend to be those when the sun rises not:


...and you see one of these on the side of the road while sipping obligatory post-powder ski road pops:


...you look at the following sign explaining how to proceed:


...follow its clear instruction:


...then wonder afterward if this nearby statue is real or merely a resulting hallucination:


So, that's Japan as seen by my lense. Suppose those are just a few of the reasons that I'm all set for a return trip next February. But, probably I'm returning in hopes that the local avalanche patrol will elaborate on its statement written in my 30th birthday's avalanche forecast: "the wind is not a river; eventually it will stop."
Monday, February 18, 2008
i like your style dude
It's been several years now, but it still amazes me that Slim, when asked by his over-signed to make it a little more lively, sincerely included the below clip art on some subject-irrelevant client deliverable he authored for a big multi-national client in Zürich. Perhaps even funnier is that when told the below was not what the over-signed had in mind, he instead added some bengal tiger picture on the subsequent draft. You can imagine where it went from there.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008
you don't go out looking for a job dressed like that? on a weekday?

This picture of Jacob, who forgot to pack his ski pants when skiing at El Bolson last summer (or winter, depending on your frame of reference), never fails to make me laugh.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
thanks a lot asshole
Did Bush's former press secretary Tony Snow really try to change the Iraq/Al Qaeda debate on this week's episode of Bill Maher's television show Real Time with the following comment: "what do you want to call it Asshole Aeda?"? I just rewound, and it appears the answer is indeed.

I still find it fascinating that there is no agreement on how one should spell or say the name of the organization (?) that these folks we somehow keep electing tell us we are fighting. Is that not at least not immaterial when thinking about the issue at hand, whatever that was and/or is and/or will continue to be?

Tony Snow was joking. But, perhaps he's right.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
and i ain't ever seen no queen in her damned undies
Having just booked a ski trip to Japan this February and declaring that I sure could use the vacation, it dawned on me that probably I was being overly dramatic when judged by context. For, I did manage to sneak away for a cheeky fly fishing trip to California with Brad for a week in October. Which I gladly offer was a hell of a time. Dry flies abundantly swarming around pristine spring creek water there were. Maker's Mark bourbon enjoyed creekside and between there was.

And, how could I forget our guide named Carl, who could both fish unlike anyone I've ever seen and talk unlike anyone I've ever heard. If you are ever in Fall River Mills, Cali and meet Carl, be sure to let him tell you about his first 12 hours in Belize, where he landed a flats fishing "grandslam" and was in turn dubbed "Carlito" by the locals for his feat. Carlito...now that's a name no one would self-apply where I come from.





Wednesday, November 21, 2007
it's a league game smokey
As I wait at home for a newly purchased ping pong table to be delivered and pass the time browsing through iPhotos because daytime television is embarrassingly horrible, I conclude that a day at the park and a game of catch with a father and brother is more satisfying than being inside and at the mercy of a delivery man to arrive. It might go without saying that I'm very much looking forward to playing ping pong again. If memory serves me like it's supposed to, while swirling gin, tonic, and ice in a glass one night in Zürich, I bet Coyster on a game. Indeed, it will be fun to collect those winnings when he is here for his nearing visit. But, probably just like when the bill would inevitably come at lunch, he'll claim that he has no cash and ask me to front him the money yet again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
file under: chicken wing humor
a chicken wing walks into a bar and sits down, and the bartender dutifully asks him how he's doing.

the chicken wing responds: "to tell you the truth, been much better. the subway was late this morning, and when it did show up, i was forced to stand on it for 40 minutes next to some dipshit eating chinese food with one hand and flipping through the paper with the other. then, i got to work and had to deal with a bunch of meaningless administration work previously attempted by folks that care even less than I do about its status and then sit in a 4 hour meeting where no one seemed to care what I thought. if that's not enough, my girlfriend was supposed to meet me here, but she said she had more important things to do than meet me at some bar and listen to me ramble on about my day."

the bartender, trying to cheer him up, says: "ain't no thing but a chicken wing, brother."

"what's that supposed to mean?"...the chicken wing asks.
Monday, September 10, 2007
the in-and-out burger is on camrose


sometimes certain events' sequences' pictures go without folks having to say. but, it's at least worth noting that said leftover pizza survived 5 hours of bike riding in between being pit stopped next to a brooklyn bar locked only by an expertly clipped bungey chord; only to be dropped on the ground by the bike's owner as he opened the door to his apartment.
Friday, August 24, 2007
the telemark artist

Yesterday marked exactly 365 days since I had bid farewell to Argentina. Which means that I experienced exactly four full seasons and their respective ups and downs and that the road that is life came full circle on so many different planes, even if, like most things, only temporarily.

It's still not really entirely clear just how much and in what context that trip influenced me. One thing I do know is that I experienced prolonged euphoria unlike anything I'd ever even imagined was possible. I admittedly laugh to myself when I think of the various thoughts that I processed during my time there. Perhaps the most ridiculous though was me inquiring to my journalist brother Andy (who, for the record, has decided he'd like his nickname now to be "Midtown") how I could go about getting a story entitled "The Telemark Artist" published in the New Yorker magazine. To his credit, Midtown actually replied to my message and wrote a well-worded response intended to gently return me to Earth, whereever that was.

Above and below are pictures of Jacob recently skiing in Patagonia for an eleventh straight year that I received while sitting at my work computer doing whatever it is that it was. Jacob, for the record, was to be the "The Telemark Artist." Initially, the artist designation was based on the flawless lines that were painted by his telemark skis time and time again on the untouched snow that is his canvas. But, as the "story" unfolded, I realized that the "artist" in him was less about his telemark skiing ability, of which many say might be one of the most impressive in the world, and more about his desire to dream and assume that everthing must be possible. You see: Jacob is the type of guy that says "maybe" before almost everthing he says: "maybe a helicopter for our ski lodge", "maybe we can ski that line", "maybe a coffee", and so forth. I realized after a while though that he was not asking these as questions, rather he was declaring that he saw no reason why not, regardless of how many obvious reasons why it could not be.

Anyway, I never did write the story. For, I was going around the full circle of the four seasons that were, per se. Maybe one day I will write it though. Maybe.

Monday, August 13, 2007
mr. treehorn draws a lot of water in this town
When riding the morning subway from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I read the Economist most days it seems, at least when not increduously looking at my fellow riders also on their way to Maggie's Farm and wondering how the hell chaos is not streaming. It's a good magazine for many reasons, but it's willingness to report the harshness and unfairness of many things in this world in reasonably unequivocal terms is something that I admire. For otherwise, people would continue to assume that all is fine just like their favorite politicians claim and prove it by pointing to a short-term decrease in gas prices or a new public works project that will benefit the local economy even if it will ruin it just the same. After being in Argentina last year and seeing and experiencing vastly different economic circumstances than existed in cozy Switzerland (and everywhere else I've lived to be honest), I really started thinking more and more about the concept of globalization and trade. Here's what I've basically concluded in no certain terms, if you will.

The way I see it is that most all enterprises exist to realize a profit from their "efforts." And, at a very simple level and forgetting about any related trade-related moral context for a second, it seems to me that however disguised via more interesting sounding synonyms (e.g. "value add initiative," "synergy," and.the.like), these "efforts" are just trade in the end. In more familiar multiple choice format, it seems to me that: trade is a) a seller providing and/or giving up his/her/their good or service to which he/she/they believe(s) that he/she/they have/has the right to sell whether or not a buyer exists, b) a buyer providing and/or giving up his/her/their good or service to which he/she/they believe(s) that he/she/they have/has the right to buy whether or not a seller exists, c) a and b, provided a buyer and seller exist d) c but a moreso than b, and/or e) c but b moreso than a. Said another way, isn't trade (and the resulting economies that ensue) just the act undertaken by two parties that proceed mainly because each believe it is in their best interest considering their alternatives, however unfouded this belief is regardless of who is judging (or grading)?

But, then I keep coming back to a comment offered by an Argentine girl that worked at the hostel I lived in while in Bariloche: "it's nobody's land." Still waiting for the Economist to provide the answer to that comment. In the meantime, I'll keep reading comments such as the one in this week's issue: "Georgia complained volubly about a Russian missile that it said had been dropped by Russian aircraft into a field near the breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia. The Russians said the Georgians must have dropped the bombs themselves." Have it your way Dude.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
wouldn't hold out much hope for the tape deck though
Daft Punk landed in Coney Island's minor league baseball stadium last night. Just have to picture robots doubling as human electronic sound mixers reverberating earthly sounds with their metal hands in ways that merely serve to micro-manage unpredictable degrees of mesmerization. Which is why my brother's girlfriend Jennifer declared afterward that she wished he was a robot. Right? Assuming so, can't blame her as it seemed to me that robots appear to have their shit figured out. Easy for them of course as all they have to do is program it such that the shit figures itself out. And then proceed.


(photo © Jennifer Prediger)
Sunday, July 29, 2007
and the dude was most certainly that
Find me a better way to spend a stormy and hungover Sunday than watching Eddie Money's, yes, that Eddie Money, 25th music anniversary concert in Detroit. For: just imagine: a talent-deprived musician, who, after 25 years, is now even less able to use his voice as a form of effective communication, wandering aimlessly on stage and still wondering out loud to his somehow still-adoring, now grossly overweight, 40 and 50 something fans what would result if he could walk on water. He even had the nerve to lift his shirt up while singing his encore song: "shakin'." Do what? And, if that's not enough, this all presented in high definition TV on the HDNet channel owned by Mark Cuban, whom I'd say has figured some things out, including how to style his hair, for starters.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
hambone and the beave
addendum snap to the preceding post:

Monday, July 23, 2007
the dog days of summer
Some snaps from a recent week-long trip in Idaho with my brother Hambone consisting of not much more than mid-morning coffees, more-or-less all day fishing depending on the degree of required daily laziness, and alternating beers and whiskeys in between fiercely fought evening air hockey games.









Monday, July 09, 2007
a repertoire of 24 quiescently frozen confections
People: if you are looking to beat the heat, stop by and have one of the above provided I don't eat them all tonight, which I reckon is a real risk with about an hour before bedtime.

My three goals for the summer? I'm glad you asked. In a particular order: 1) buy juicer and concoct at least 3 different blends of real fruit juice ades using lemons and limes as the bases (extra credit: figure out how to package them in a bag so that they can be eaten frozen in mass quantities), 2) speak and write the word reckon more than once per day, and 3) develop or acquire enough in one thing or another so that someone refers to my resulting repertoire as "his repertoire."
Sunday, July 01, 2007
it kind of tastes like whale
Took a trip last month to Iceland, which I'd gladly volunteer is one of the more beautiful lands I've ever witnessed. It is awfully desolate, and its weather remains ever-changing. The people, when you actually see them, are wicked cool. The food is, if also a little expensive when using greenbacks as your numerator and/or denominator in your conversion calculation, rather interesting yet equally fresh and simple. Lots of lamb, fish, and seafood, which is what I think I can classify the whale I ate as, even if it is a marine mammal of sorts. Perhaps though the most memorable parts of Iceland were the views that seemingly changed with each blink of my eyes.

For example, the side-view-mirror view:


The hotel-room-with-a-view view (note the whale skeleton):


The window-at-the-oceanside-cafe-that-has-some-damned-good-fish-soup view:


The reach-out-and-touch-sand/lava/mountain view:


The bird's-eye-bird view:


The hotel's-geothermal-hot-tub view:


The I-can't-believe-it's-1:30am-in-Reykjavik view:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
not exactly a lightweight
Tonight, I hit an inside-the-Central-Park-homerun against the New Yorker softballclub. Sort of speaks for itself but probably it might not say enough on an unprovoked basis due to modesty concerns. After all, Central Park is big but apparently not small enough.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
red, lemon, and blue
just consumed my first popsicle of the summer; purchased it from a white truck parked on court street; waited calmly in line behind 4 kids that were maybe 1/4 the age counted for me.

well, what kind was it? you ask.

-a "mega missile." an awfully close relative of the "bomb pop" that existed in the days that were when i was a more frequent popsicle consumer.

and, how was it? you wonder.

-out of this world.

yeah. you heard me.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
linked

I am currently trying to build my first real-life Access database at work with the intention of linking various different data received from many different sources that deem it acceptable to offer their different data in different formats to ensure that all differences are indeed different and that creating relationships to bridge and link the differences differs in each circumstance depending on the dependency and/or dependencies. And: one aspect of effective databases that I've figured out from my newly delivered 1,000ish page book entitled the "Microsoft Access Bible" (I'm not kidding) is that each data table must have a primary key, which is the characteristic that makes each record unique and that for relationships between data tables to be able to be healthy, the primary key must somehow be involved and respected when finding what that link somehow is as otherwise the relationships will be corrupted.

On a related note, when walking out this morning in my pajamas to fetch my Wall Street Journal that I recently purchased a subscription to for reasons I'm still not certain about, above was the fresh pile of dog shit waiting for me on the first stair out of my place. Damned terrorists. When will "evil-doing" end I ask? Maybe only when folks are encouraged to figure out and then be proud of their primary key and then think about how they can link their differences to create workable and dependable relationships.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
easy like sunday morning
Courtesy of Nor'easter 2007, I was awakend this Sontag morgen by the same drop of water falling the 8 or so feet from ceiling to floor every 2 seconds at a speed of approximately 9.8 meters per second-squared. Even if your apartment is old and in Brooklyn and full of "character," it goes without saying that rain water in your apartment is not really an ideal situation.

Anyway, I spent the next couple of hours scooping buckets of water from the stairwell next to the backdoor until a plumber could come and relieve the storm drains. It was good timing, as I reckon if 30 more minutes had elapsed, my apartment would have been under a foot or two of water as my futile bucket-filling was proving no match, even if the plumber declared he believed that my "efforts had thwarted a disaster." What can I say? It was Sunday morning. Easy says. Easy does. I suppose.

And, I've never been that close to having my apartment flooding. But, let's just say that that was close enough, particularly as water was entering in 4 different places just slow enough for 10 old towels to soak up the impact. That said, it's really amazing how easy it is to forget how powerless we really are to alter the course of Nature when it wants to bring the heater to announce its authority.

Don't get me wrong, a bucket and a hand can of course help, but it's probably going to take a little more than that folks if we as a society value smooth sailing so.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
best ski tip i know: don't eat yellow snow
It snowed this weekend in New York. One thing I like about snow is that it is white.

Like most things here though, it was quickly discovered and exploited.

I'd be lying if I said I was not ready for Spring and the green and yellow that tend to accompany its arrival.
Thursday, February 08, 2007
"As a group, lemmings have a rotten image, but no individual lemming has ever received bad press."
This, a statement included in an accounting newsletter recently sent to me explaining the SEC is now willing to accept market-based values (versus model-based values) when determining the compensation cost associated with certain stock options:

"(The SEC letter) pointed out that one of the key advantages of a market-based approach over a model-based approach is that the market can efficiently capture a consensus view of informed market participants on both the uncertainties related to the expected cash flows and the compensation that market participants demand for taking on the attendant risks."

I wonder if they consulted guys like Warren Buffet and Billy Beane to see if they agreed? Probably not. Probably instead some academic "experts" that have never had to determine the value of anything on their own dimes.

But, couldn't it be that the "consensus view" merely includes views of market participants that just might be the opposite of "informed"? I tend to think so, and I'd argue in this instance that it's not that the model-based approach that's wrong, it's just that people are not using the correct inputs or models.

Guys like Buffet and Beane are though. And, that's why they are successful. Because they are willing to think in different ways when determining a value for something and could care less if the lemmings in their respective fields create a consensus that ensures they receive the bad press.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
think it's a pomeranian
Note written by current vice president noted in NY Times article covering start of Scooter Libby trial:

“Not going to protect one staffer + sacrifice the guy who was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.”

I suppose competence is a relative term. Not sure the same can be said about a meat grinder, at least when expressed literally. But, much more importantly, how is it even remotely possible that the jurors do not laugh out loud (aka "LOL") every time Scooter's lawyer refers to his client as Scooter?
Thursday, January 11, 2007
we vamos in argentina skifahren
Other than: What's up?, How are you?, How's it going?, What you been up to?, Wie geht's?, What's shakin'?, How's New York so far?, Another beer?, How's it hangin'?, When's that going to be finished?, perhaps the question I've been asked most often in the past 6 months is: How would you compare skiing in North America, Europe, and South America?

Similar to the other questions most frequently asked, I'm not all that sure that the folks genuinely care to hear my answer. Rather, I figure in most cases these questions are just a means to bridge the time from when the conversation (whether voluntary or involuntary) begins to when it ends. But, for those who know me, you know that I'm always rather keen to discuss skiing and ski days passed, so I tend to prolong my answer to this question in hopes that I can avoid reverting back to questions that result from continuing the smallest of meaningless talk.

Last year, I read the book How Soccer Explains the World, an easy yet thought-provoking read about, well, how soccer explains the world, authored by Foer, Franklin. Pretty interesting hypothesis to think about and one that might not have satisfied a middle-school teacher's demands that hypotheses be testable. But perhaps examining several different circumstances on micro levels, as does Foer in his book, is a better way to help understand and explain this crazy world in which we all try to live in on a daily basis. Otherwise, we have to revert to trying to write books entitled How the World explains the World, which, when attempting to pen, probably only gets as far as: "Has the whole world gone fucking crazy"?

I suppose I ski for many reasons: The challenge. The exploration. The solitude. The times with friends. The cold wind on my face. The tranquility of powder snow. The sun that makes for the occasional bluebird day. The cold beer that awaits. The cup of coffee before, during and/or after. And so forth. But, the more I ski and the more I ski in different places, I've come to realize that I enjoy skiing also for the chance to see new places, meet new people, and to understand different cultures and why they are different. And, trust me when I say you can really learn a lot by observing the local skiers, their skiing, and the surrounding skiing environment that tends to influence how they ski and live.

I've skied many places in my life to date. And, I'm awfully thankful for those opportunities because it's taught me a lot about the world and also myself. But, Jacob, who I skied with this summer, has skied literally the world over, and he's a much better person than most that I've met because of it. I'll let his website and pictures prove it: http://www.piltriquitron.com.

He has many more pictures that are equally good, and I hope that he'll upload many more because there's a lot to be both enjoyed and learned from them. Frankly, I don't know that I'll ever ski with anyone that is more enjoyable to ski with and perhaps the best part about the skiing was not the skiing, but the conversations that usually transcended small talk during the lift rides, the pre-ski coffees, and the post-ski beers and steaks. He is someone that's seen a lot of places (and done the related exploring without any book or guide) and met a lot of people (the picture of the afghan warlord and his sherpa carrying his skis remains my favorite). And, if he ever found some months to stop skiing, I'm pretty sure after listening to him this summer that he could write a pretty interesting and convincing book entitled: How Skiing Explains the World.

Anyway, skiing in South America is difficult to describe. I've tried to come up with answers, analogies, and detailed explanations, but generally all to no avail. I can describe North American and European skiing pretty accurately and am currently happy with my automobile analogies: North American skiing is kind of like a minivan that is family-friendly and does its job but whose entertainment value equally exists in the dvd-equipped TV hanging from the ceiling while European skiing is more like a fast all-wheel drive BMW that makes you feel as if you can explore in fashion but is also fast on the highway should you choose to travel the road more-traveled. But, the only automobile that I can analogize South American skiing to is one that I happened to stumble upon one morning while walking to the bus to the ski hill:

There folks...that's my answer to how I'd describe skiing in South America.

Verstehen? Entiendo? Understand?
Thursday, December 21, 2006
the sock monster
Why is that regardless of the brand of machine or the machine's country of residence, I always seem to lose at least one sock per wash cycle?

Good thing it's nearly Christmas, as I remain rested assured that my Mom will present me a gift of socks for the 2Xth straight year.