Here’s to the Manure


February 21, 2017

“Oh I’m going to write. Every day. Erry Day. Erry Damn Day!” And I did for a while. I fell off the horse. That’s not true. I didn’t fall off the horse. I pulled the horse over to stop for a spell. To grab a drink. Something to eat. And look, there was a comfortable couch, a tv with Netflix and, wait, what … an Xbox One S? I got off the horse and kept choosing to not get on the horse. Day after day after day after day. And the poor horse, just outside, waiting, getting lonely, bored, hungry. Shitting all over the place.

And why? So many reasons. Tired. Lazy. Maybe. Undisciplined. Scared. Scared? Of what, of the horse? There’s that thing, and I’m sure if we were to go through the pages and pages of stuff I’ve written, half written, mused upon there’s a lot of “why do I write .. no one cares. NO ONE CARES.” And that might be true. And that doesn’t matter. All that matters is “do I care?” And I do. So why not do it? Heck, I wish I could lose 15 pounds. I always wish I could lose 15 lbs. But I don’t always do it, I almost never do it. So there. Why? Lazy? Not enough time? Too many other things? Maybe. All excuses really. Maybe it’s this .. I don’t want to do it enough than not do it. I don’t want to do it more than I want to do other things.

So here I am again. Trying again. And that’s ok. To start a habit. To write. And why? Well, yeah, I just wrote it up there, but there’s other reasons. And this one may the best. I just spoke at a high school career day, I spoke to two classrooms full of generally uninterested students. That’s not fair, I don’t know that they were uninterested as students, they didn’t seem to be particularly interested in hearing from an actor they’ve never heard of. But a few did. A few did and that was pretty grand. But I told the students, the kids, the future – our future, that one thing they should all do is write. Write. Erry day. For yourself. Get your ideas on paper or on the screen. Exercise your brain, your imagination. And I believe this, with all my heart. Just as I believe we should all be in therapy, that we should always be kind, that we should engage in some kind of physical activity – I don’t always take my own advice, of course. And as I was saying to the second class, “write, every day, exercise your imagination” I thought – why don’t you? Cause I miss it. I do. I’ve said it time and time again that when I was writing every day, and there have been periods of months, maybe a year at a time, when I wrote something every day, I was better. Like meditation. I want to do it. I need to do it. I don’t always make time. And I don’t have to make the time, I don’t even have to find the time I just have to claim the time for it. Take it away from looking at glimpses of our doomed future on twitter, or flashy pictures of other peoples lives on instagram, or playing as Geralt the Witcher in Witcher III on my xbox. I make these choices to escape through other mediums instead of doubling down, investigating, escaping reality via my own imagination. And sure, playing a video game or watching a movie or tv show is not without the employ of my own imagination, and I won’t vilify the act because I think it has value. But I can and should make time to write. To explore. To exercise the muscle of my mind, my imagination, my heart, my fingers on the keyboard.

So here I am. I’ve wittled out a couple of minutes before I go to my day job. It’s not a lot, buty it’s something. And I’m just tapping away on the keyboard about how I feel, about what I think on this subject. And it’s kind of fun. It’s like talking to myself without the stigma of seeming insane. Having a conversation with myself, allowing me to suss out the “why” and “how comes” and “why nots” of writing.

So here’s to me making a habit of this today. And I’m gonna try and not get caught up in the “should this be a blog?” or “should this have a point?” or “should I be focused on maybe finishing the DEAD DOG PARK outline or the Beatrice story or any other number of things. Right now, or write now I’m going to focus on just tapping out the keys. Get back into it. See what happens. Maybe I’ll finish writing that song I started writing while at the McCarter. I hope I do. Maybe I’ll finish the outline of DEAD DOG PARK just to finish it. Beatrice … I hope so. There’s something about that story that begs me to finish it. Even just for me. Just to see where it goes. How it ends. And you know, that’s the problem. One of the problems. So much focus on how it’s going to end. I abandon a lot of writing because I get caught up in where it may be going, because I don’t see a clear path to an end, it get’s complicated, the ideas obscured. It’s very much that focus on the next instead of the now that fetters me in life and in creative endeavors. Not all the time, mind you, sometimes I can just be in the moment, in the now, to be in the flow of things. To enjoy the messy madness of it all. The beauty of it. The unpredictability of it. The sense of nonsense. The beginnings. The magic of the sprawling mess. I suppose sometimes you have to create the mountain before you can mine the diamonds. That’s awful. That’s something that in my mind seemed profound. But now, just to look at it … “sometimes you have to create the mountain before you can mine the diamonds” … I’m gonna leave it there. It takes manure to grow a flower. Maybe that’s it. Here’s to the manure.


Can’t Afford it, huh?


Jeff and I grabbed some coffee after our bike ride. The day was beautiful though cold and windy and while we cut short the ride at just about 11 miles, we rewarded ourselves with coffee. We sat outside a VERY BROOKLYN coffee shop (Small. Tin ceiling. Hip art. A glass chandelier. A boors head mounted on the wall. Lots of wood and brass and young beautiful people behind the counter not overly concerned about appearing friendly or helpful) near our bikes, clad in our cycling gear. My iPhone sat on the table, face down, as to not invite distraction. While we were in deep conversation about our respective neurosis or our friends neurosis or the latest episode of “Orphan Black” a woman approached and asked “spare a dollar?” I gave a weak smile and said, “Sorry, I can’t.” Jeff remained silent. She raised an eyebrow and said in our direction but not really at me, “can’t afford it huh?” before walking into the shop.

“Her sneakers are more expensive than mine,” I offered to Jeff. She was dressed in nice clean khakis, a somewhat expensive looking black top, her back-pack seemed new and not cheap and she was wearing pristine Nike Basketball Shoes. Had she been bedraggled, clearly destitute, I’d like to think I would have pried my wallet from my bike shorts and found a dollar in there. I had one, I just paid for a coffee and bagel with cash – and had perhaps $4 in my wallet. And I normally don’t think twice about giving someone money on the street, on the subway. Sometimes I figure a dollar is an easy way to help. But this time I didn’t. This time I decided this person didn’t need my dollar, despite their inquiry suggesting otherwise. Maybe I’m not as generous as I’d like to be.




Ex Machina – O Uncomfortable


Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 9.40.24 AM

I saw “Ex Machina” the other day. I enjoyed it. A lot. It’s an interesting, compelling, clever, smart, sexy, dark, and unexpected film. It is, in my humble opinion, so very well deserving of the best original screenplay nomination. The movie had a whole lot that interested me and a whole lot that left me uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.

Surely some of my discomfort springs from the “wow, robots will look like us and take over soon,” realization. My friend Matt was staying with us at the time, he walked in as I was finishing the film. He had seen it before and was a big fan and was similarly discomfited by the notion of a robot takeover.  “Yeah man, it’s scary because, well, like that shit could happen soon.” Then he went into a mini-sermon of sorts about how Boston Dynamics is actually Cyberdyne Systems and Google IS SkyNet. I didn’t argue with him. I don’t know that he’s wrong. I didn’t even get into a discussion about it. If did I might have mentioned that there is an actual company called Cyberdyne that makes robot exoskeletons and that the always friendly and never nefarious United States Government already has a SkyNet program (just want to make sure my blog gets flagged for “crazy conspiracy theories,” it’s good for traffic) and that, of course everyone knows that Google will enslave all of us in the near future. But the whole Terminator, Matrix, humanity ending at the hands of the very technology we created to save us concept wasn’t the most uncomfortable thing about the movie for me. The most uncomfortable thing about the movie for me was Alicia Vikander as Ava. Ava the android. Ava the beautiful android.

Alicia Vikander is  wonderful in the film, she gives a fantastic performance. She was believable as an android, which is a ridiculous statement as I’ve never met an android. But I bought that she was an advance AI android constructed by a mad genius. It doesn’t hurt that she’s incredibly beautiful. And it’s her beauty, in part, that gave me pause. Perhaps it’s the type of beauty or the category of her beauty that gave me pause.  There’s a moment towards the end of the film, and this is a spoiler of sorts, where Ava completes her human disguise, covering up the metallic, roboty pieces of her anatomy with synthetic flesh. We get to watch this transformation, the climax of which is a full view of Ava completely nude. I was struck at how young she seemed. It made me uncomfortable.

Were the filmmakers making a statement? Maybe they were saying “yes, we as a culture sexualize young women, and we will continue to do that in the future to the detriment of all.” I’d like to believe that. Ava was objectified quite literally, she WAS an object. A robot, created by a man, made to look, to sound, to (we find out) feel, like a woman. A woman created to look like an amalgam of Caleb’s (played by Domhall Gleeson) particular pornography preferences. She was built to appear a “barely legal” woman, to borrow a creepy phrase from the world of pornography (or so I’ve heard).  So perhaps they were making a statement: “we sexualize young women, we fetishize their beauty and youth and innocence, we de-value them as human beings and in the end that will destroy us.” Maybe they were making a larger statement about youth and sex and objectification that I haven’t quite processed yet, but my fear is that they weren’t. My fear is that they cast Alicia because she is in fact beautiful and they saw her as a beautiful, sexual being and didn’t think twice about the fact that she doesn’t appear old enough to vote. Oscar Isaac, who is fantastic as Ava’s creator Nathan, is 37 years old. Domhall, who is lovely as Caleb, is 32. Did the filmmakers not even consider that these characters would be interested in an android who appeared to be 30? 25? Able to by her own beer?

I know, I know. Hollywood has been doing that for ages. And I know, I’m engaged to a brilliant, fantastic, and beautiful woman who is nine years my junior. So maybe I don’t have a leg to stand on here, but I’m just putting it out there. The perceived youth of Ava made me uncomfortable. If that discomfort was intended by the filmmakers I appreciate it. If it was not intended, I fear it. I fear not only for our future. I fear for us now.



Writing 101, Day Five: Be Brief


His flight was delayed, he didn’t made it to the house in time. “You were missed, but you weren’t needed,” they assured him, “The movers were great.”

He insisted on going by anyway, he had never seen it when it wasn’t his home. And goodbyes have value.

“You haven’t aged at all,” he thought. The door was locked. He rang the bell on reflex. A simple greeting that faded to silence. He replied with a quiet “goodbye.”

On the brick path he saw it, his dad’s stationary folded into a card. He lifted it up, turned it over, “Joannie” written in a familiar hand.

Teary eyes make for difficult reading, but the message was simple enough:




He wanted to keep it for himself. He didn’t have enough to remember her by, some pictures and a Christmas Tree pin he gave her when he was 9. And besides, he thought, “I never had the chance to say goodbye.”

But he looked up at the house that they made into a home. And he thought about them, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. In sickness.

It wasn’t his note to keep. He’d give it to his dad. Gladly. Tearfully, more than likely, but gladly. She was mom and he missed her dearly. But she was his wife. She was his Joannie. She was his everything.











Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Returns


This brought me much joy.

Pearls Before Swine

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

View original post 977 more words

Writing 101: A View


I’m on the beach, Emerald Island, North Carolina and it’s just before dawn. There’s good and great and sometimes bad in any vacation, but this time, this place is the greatest.  If I plan correctly I can spend the first few moments of my day or the last few minutes of my night conferring with the waves as they crash and roll and run about under an indigo colored, sun-less sky.

It’s not about the sun rise, really. The sun is the climax of the event, and there is joy and beauty and triumph and relief when it rises. But it’s those moments before that I savor. When the sky is making it’s transition from pitch-black night to bright-blue day, when all is silent save for the wind and the surf and the worm-getting early birds, where the ocean stretches between infinity and my toes half-buried in the sleeping sand and the clouds drift along at whatever pace that suits them, that’s the when and the where I want to be. To bask in the event of a moment in transition. Waiting for the sun. There’s potent magic there.



Writing 101: Unlocking the Mind


Free writing.

Free writing here, for 20 minutes. No, that doesn’t mean that I’m offering my writing, for free, for only 20 minutes. This is a blog, anyone and everyone is free to read my writing, judge my writing, print it up and use it to line their bird cages if they are so inclined. At any time. By free writing for 20 minutes I’m following instructions, taking direction, going back to school in a manner of speaking. Or in a manner of writing I suppose.

Writing 101 starts today and our first assignment: free writing for 20 minutes. Write about anything. Don’t even think about what to write. Just write.

So here I am, typing away, my cracked iPhone to the right of the laptop counting down the minutes and the seconds until this exercise is completed. There’s some pressure there: a ticking clock. Time ticking down until … what? Until I stop writing, look over what I’ve written, make no changes, make no judgment, and publish it on my blog. If I had a following of … well, if I had a following at all perhaps I would pause and consider such action. Consider the intelligence of such an action. Consider publishing, for all my followers to read, a 20 minute, unbridled, stream of consciousness exercise with no purpose, no point, no editing and, perhaps, no value whatsoever. But I have no need to make such considerations. Sure, I have a few “followers,” kind friends and anonymous bloggers who clicked “follow” after reading one of my very few posts. I appreciate them. I appreciate their faith. I appreciate the fact that most if not all of them have likely given up on me, or at least my blog, because I haven’t done much with it. And by saying “I haven’t done much” what I mean is “I haven’t done anything at all.” I’ve thought about doing something. I’ve thought about different posts, essays and articles complex in their hilarity and social insight. Essays and articles that once set down on this digital template would surely change the fate of the world. Or perhaps, at least, change my fate.

I have spent a fair amount of time struggling with ideas or, more specifically, struggling with giving life to the ideas that I have. I have a library of notebooks overflowing with scribbled thoughts and quotes and scenes and questions. And by scribbled I do, in fact, mean scribbled. Much of it is unreadable, indecipherable. Some ideas still have promise, the hint of promise, the possibility of possibility. And there’s something about the taking of the idea and putting it onto paper or onto the screen that is appealing to me – there must be, else why would I have so many books filled with these meager seedlings? Why would I have not one but three blogs. Yes, I believe I have three blogs. There’s this site, there’s a Tumblr site – because it seemed like the thing to do at the time, and there’s a Blogspot site. Each site a neglected child stranded in various ends of the world wide web, each started with hope and promise, each forgotten by their well-meaning but neglectful parent.

It may be too late for me and Blogspot – I fear I have neglected her for too long. She’s bound to be out and about, denying any relation to me at all, wearing too much eye make up and listening to bands that are poorly ripping off The Smiths. As for Tumblr? Well, with all due respect, it’s Tumblr. He doesn’t require much. A couple of funny pictures, some links to someone’s insightful or at least trendy blog, a couple of crazy pet GIF’s, and my Tubmlr site may be able to stand on his own for a while. But as far as this site, a site I signed on because I really thought I’d try focus on some writing, I think I’m going to give it a go. I know I’ve made this promise before, and I won’t blame you for not believing me. But I’m going to really try to use this blog as a platform to take my thoughts and ideas and transform them into something more. A launching pad perhaps? That sounds too bold, too … too … too “get over yourself buddy.” Maybe I can use this site as a nursery or incubator. A place where I can take these ideas and give them a little room to grow. Even if they aren’t quite ready to live in the world on their own as stories or essays or scripts or poems or rants or anything, maybe here I can get into the practice of giving them a chance to thrive.

Look at that, my 20 minutes is over. Truth be told, it’s been over for a couple of minutes. I’m a bit long-winded, in case you haven’t notice. Until next time …

What’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?


Nothing. There’s nothing funny about peace, love and understanding – though it seems that we don’t take them very seriously. I’m not saying that we don’t give them value. We do, we value peace and love and understanding in books and films and television shows, love songs and poems and theater and art and even church, sometimes. [I was brought up Catholic, so while I was constantly being reminded to love my neighbor the church leaders were busy condemning homosexuals and any woman who dared even considering abortion.] But do we take peace, love and understanding seriously? Do we treat it not only as something worthy to put on a poster, but something to aspire to? Do we teach our children, do we encourage ourselves, to put it into practice?

I don’t think we do. Not enough, at least. And I think it’s something that we need. I think it’s something we should be reminded of on a daily basis. Because we do think peace and love and understanding are valuable. Quite valuable. Songs and poems and Hollywood movies aside – we revere the likes of Jesus, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Dr. Martin Luther King. They are heroes, icons, people to learn from, examples of lives to aspire to. And I know I’m simplifying all of this, but these people (and many others like them) are so remembered because they embodied peace and love and understanding. In a world of violence they preached and practiced non-violence. Surrounded by enemies, they not only sought to understand them but they loved them. It is right and good that we value these amazing people and in so doing it is right and good that we celebrate their values. But we should also honor them and ourselves by following their lead. Each and every one of us. Each and every day.

I know it is hard. It’s extremely hard to embrace peace and love and understanding. It’s hard for me and my life is easy: I’m healthy; I live in the United States; I have a job (for now); and I’m a white male.  And I’m trying. Yet despite these factors it is very hard for me to love those with no love for me. It is very hard for me to try to understand people with views and ideals contrary to mine. It is very hard for me to work towards peace when I want to fight, to argue, to prove my point, to show that I am right, when I meet with resistance from others. If it’s hard for me, how hard must it be for those that don’t have it easy: those who are oppressed, discriminated against, the victims of violence and poverty? How hard must it be for those people to live by these ideals?

There’s a video in heavy circulation of Malala Yousafzai being interviewed by Jon Stewart.  She’s a 16 years old Pakistani woman who shot in the head by the Taliban because she spoke out for women’s right to be educated. She lived. And she still fights. What does she think about peace, love and understanding? She tells Jon Stewart that we must not fight our enemies with violence, we must fight them with peace, dialogue and education. Wow. Wow. This is a 16 year old. This is a woman oppressed. This is a woman who was nearly killed. And yet, there it is: peace and love and understanding. And more. Is there any doubt why she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize?

While watching the interview I couldn’t help but wonder if I was witnessing the early years of a future Mother Teresa or Dr. King or Gandhi. I hope that all forms of media will help us to see that this woman is a hero for all the right reasons and that we can and should strive to be more like her. I hope our children see that. I hope we all do. [I tried to embed the video here, alas my technical skills are lacking. Please click on “video” above and see for yourself.]

Please also check out the Malala Fund, an organization created to help girls in the developing world reach their true potential through education.




Good Advice


Have you ever wondered, “What’s wrong with our world?”

What about, “What can we do to make it better?”

If you have so wondered, you should watch Tom Shadyac‘s documentary “I AM” . Click the hyper-link in the previous sentence or find it on NETFLIX.

If you haven’t … watch it twice.


It’s intelligent, moving, inspirational and, dare I say, important.

That’s all I’m going to say about it.

For now.

But I will add the following quote, which isn’t from the movie, but is thematically linked.

“The ‘norm’ for humanity is love.
Brutality is an aberration.
We are not sinners by nature.
We learn to be bad.
We are taught to stray from our good paths.
We are made to be crazy by other people who are also crazy and who draw for us a map of the world which is ugly, negative, fearful, and crazy.”

Jack D. Forbes, Columbus and Other Cannibals

(thank you BLACKOLOGY101 for setting out this quote)

Oh deer


Last Tuesday night while driving through a section Maryland where suburban sprawl hasn’t completely spoiled the countryside I spotted a small herd of deer – herd sounds so large, it was really just a group of three or four – hanging about on the side of the road.  When I came to a full stop I locked eyes with a beautiful doe hanging in the amber light of the moon. One of her buddies looked my way but the others seemed completely uninterested in my existence. I took a picture with my aged iPhone, though the limited lighting and lack of flash resulted in hardly anything at all:


With the helpful polarization option on InstaGram however, this is what I got:


I call it, “Ghost Deer” (not to be confused with the ghost deer of the Seneca Army Depot)

The picture is a little spooky. When I consider that the evening before I watched a deer get hit by a car, the picture seems a little more spooky.  And if I acknowledge that approximately 5 minutes after I took this photo I witnessed another deer take her final breaths, the photograph is whole lot spookier.

The evening prior I watched two deer dart across the highway. I noticed them, apparently, at the same time as the driver who hit the slow one. “Wow, look at those ….oh NO!” and the doe was wrapping up her violent and awkward tumble to the far right lane. The driver of the offending car seemed fine, the offended doe less so. Much less so. I hoped that she was able to shake it off and vault triumphantly into the brush. Maybe she did. And while I’m doling out maybes, maybe she is the very deer I photographed the next evening. And maybe, just maybe, what she was thinking that next evening while we locked eyes was, “See? I’m totally fine. “Deer” means “resilient” in Latin.”  I don’t remember much from my two years of Latin, but I’m pretty sure the deer has it wrong. I’m also pretty sure that Latin is not the only thing in this story that’s dead.

Back to Tuesday night. I took the photo, bid farewell to the herd, and drove away. Five minutes later, as I prepared to turn into campus I noticed an emergency truck, lights silently flashing, blocking the turning lane.  I pulled around and saw the driver standing in the headlights. I wish that I had looked at his face: did he show any hint of compassion or wonder or frustration? But I was too busy registering what he was looking at: a beautiful doe stretched out in the turning lane, her head resting uncomfortably on the curb. She was alive, but not for long: the position of her body, the bloody trail, her big, beautiful dark and ever darkening eyes made that clear. I moved on, pulled into campus, retreated to my room and prepared for bed. A few moments later I heard the gun shot.

Three deer encounters on two evenings. One creepy photo. Two dead animals. What did it mean? I recounted the events to Katherine. She was unconvinced that I had photographed an actual ghost deer (if there’s an app for that it’s not on my ancient iPhone 3GS), she offered, however, that perhaps my seeing so many deer (and so many female deer) in so short a time was a sign, a portent. So I looked into it and thanks to Google I found much on the symbology of deer.

From the site (that has nothing to do with picking up women at bars), Whats-Your-Sign.Com:

“The deer is linked to the arts, specifically poetry and music in ancient Celtic animal lore due to its graceful form.”

“The deer (particularly the doe, females) has the capacity for infinite generosity. Their heart rhythms pulse in soft waves of kindness. Match that graciousness by offering your trust to her. She will reward you by leading you to the most powerful spiritual medicine you can fathom.”

As set forth by Spirit Animals and Animal Totems,

“The meanings associated with deer combine both soft, gentle qualities with strength and determination:

  • Gentleness
  • Ability to move through life and obstacles with grace
  • Being in touch with inner child, innocence
  • Being sensitive and intuitive
  • Vigilance, ability to change directions quickly
  • Magical ability to regenerate, being in touch with life’s mysteries”

Beautiful. Not at all surprising, but beautiful.

Does any of this information elucidate my two evening deer-extravaganza? Was the universe conspiring to show me deer, to make me consider the deer? I’m not sure exactly what I believe, but I’m pretty certain the Universe is too busy to send me a personal message. I do know that these encounters affected me, stayed with me, gave me pause, compelled me to think on them and to write this entry. Maybe that means the deer is my animal totem.

According to a brief yet informative video at Whats-Your-Sign.Com an animal totem expresses an “affinity,  affiliation or connection to an animal,” and offers “messages of pure intent … pure information, guidance.”  Further, according to the video, the best way to connect to and strengthen one’s bond with their animal totem is “through observation, contemplation and meditation.”  I observed, I contemplated … arguably I’ve meditated on this animal and have even meditated on “what is my animal totem?”((1)) Does that mean the deer is my totem animal? I have the artist thing and the Irish heritage thing and the inner child thing but one would hardly call my form graceful.  Physically I’m much more badger-like ((ibid)). But I am striving for grace at least in behavior. As for my generosity, it is too, too far from infinite, but I am working to change that. Is that enough? Is that what this is all about? Is the deer my animal totem?

I don’t know. I’ll keep thinking on it, I’ll keep noticing. I do hope that I see more deer while I’m staying in Maryland. And, if the Universe is listening, I would very much prefer to encounter them whilst all parties involved are alive and happy and not in the middle of the road waiting for death. Which begs a final question: if the Universe feels that the deer is my animal totem, why does it insist on me seeing them die?


((1)) A couple of days before meeting the deer my friend Andrus was trying to assign me a spirit animal. She was formerly of the belief that my spirit animal is a badger but is presently unsure. The badger is strongly affiliated with focus, tenacity and persistence – and as it has taken me a week to get this far in drafting this post, the badger may not be the right fit.