I'm A Legal Alien Now

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ha ha ha ha!

I love this picture:

I am sick, sick, sick but am pumping my body with sudafed. I'm staving off opera deprivation with a visit to the opera tomorrow. I am looking forward to it very much.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Much excitement on 16th Street today as the President of Kazakhstan swung by his Embassy to unveil a sculpture on the front lawn. It distracted me for some time. But this was eclipsed by a spontaneous appearance in the afternoon by Borat (aka Ali G aka Sacha Cohen) holding an impromptu press conference on the steps, being refused entry to the Embassy and then marching down 16th to the White House with like a hundred media people thronging him.

For those removed from the Borat-Kazakhstan drama, Ali G/Cohen has a movie coming out in November in which he plays Borat touring the USA on a cultural tour on behalf of Kazakhstan. The movie is supposedly homophobic, anti-semitic, racist and deeply deeply funny. The Kazakhstani government is trying to counter its depiction of their nation and are trying to get it banned and such... (Kazakhstanis on the street seem nonplussed). So it was a brilliant PR stunt this afternoon, but funny all the same.

Otherwise today was a bit of a tetanus shot day. Painful at the time, but ultimately good for me.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Geographical Expansion

I have had such a busy weekend, for the first time in a while I'm actually a bit irritated that tomorrow is Monday and I have to go to work.

After my zoo experience, Roomie asked me to join him and his boyfriend at a party in North Beach, which is this little marina town on the Chesapeake Bay about an hour's drive east from here. I was much thrilled by sighting my first deer on the drive, and I also had my first Twinkie. A gay and grand time was had by all. I chatted, had two drinks, and was given a tour of a $1.4million motor boat by one of the guests who was a broker. There were irritating gays, charming gays, dancing gays and gays were I think were asking me to a threesome based on my accent alone and straight couples and drunk women and a woman wearing nipple caps which became the object of much amusement. There were also intriguing glimpses into the secret lives of Roomie and his boyfriend.

Still a little pooped, I think had a trip out to the outlets at Potomac Mills, about 45 minutes southwest of DC. Lovely BeeBee from work drove. Actually, I'm trying to slow down my spending a little so the outlets weren't the best move but I was very good actually. I spent around $140 but got some new work shoes which I kinda needed cos my current ones are a bit scuffed and daggy, some incredibly sexy pinstriped navy trousers which I'm going to wear with a white shirt to the opera next Sunday, a new boring pair of work pants which may prove necessary tomorrow as I gingerly tested the 'dry clean only' label on my current work pants which had a growing pinhole in the side seam anyway today and they may have shrunk to a 28 by 7am tomorrow, and a sweater from Banana Republic which was only $12. I tried to buy a H&M scarf that was a Paul Smith rip off but the cashier line was too slow and I gave up. Banana Republic, which I found I quite love, also had a sock sale. Pairs were usually $8.50 but they had a 4 for $20 deal which I eagerly took up as socks tend to be a bit of a crunch round here (that and underwear, but I don't like white undies and that's all they seem to have here).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Lions and tigers and bears... oh my!

I went to the Zoo this morning, on the first overcast day this week. The Zoo became increasingly crowded and less pleasant as the day wore on. However, my objective was to see the tiger cub triplets and I did. Unfortunately my zoom is not great:

What was weirder though was that there were these middle aged people there taking their ZOO PHOTOGRAPHY VERY SERIOUSLY and had their telephoto lens and tripods and even were wearing those kakhi multi-pocketed vests you wear when you're reporting from a warzone. There was something distinctly creepy about it, actually, though I'm not sure why. I wanted to ask one of them if they realised that they're not on the Serengeti and are, in fact, only fifteen minutes from the White House.

The tiger cubs though are ridculously cute, but tigers are very handsome animals anyway. The lions were reclusive, so not much luck there. They have this thing called the O-Line which is this suspended rope bridge thing for orangutans to get between their exhibit and when some of them started to cross it, the excitement amongst zoogoers was delirious-

It was a very gloomy morning.

However, everyone's attention was distracted and only a few of us shared the moment where two big orangutans began shagging in the corner of their enclosure, then cuddled for a moment before climbing into the doorway of their den and having another go at it (albeit not as energetically).

I did like the Giant Tortoise, but didn't take a photo as the people were starting to irritate me. Americans are loud, aren't they?!

It was time for the Moneyshot. DC has a bit of a panda fetish and in my first week here back in July they celebrated the first birthday of the panda cub born in the zoo- Tai Shan. The Panda viewing areas are neck to neck but although I do love a good panda the thing is you crowd around and it's noisy and there are flashes going off and really, all they do is sit there eating. I couldn't work out whether I was looking at Tai Shan or his mother Mei Xiang, but nonetheless, you too can play Spot-The-Panda, however you don't have to listen to braying Americans or lean perilously over a guardrail to avoid swaying and bobbing heads perched on fat necks (you can sense, perhaps, my mindset about the zoo by this point).

I resisted the Pandafied gift array (quite excessive) but I did get a Tai Shan mousepad as I've been thinking it'd be quite nice to compose again, and need to use the real mouse on my laptop to do so and thus needed a mousepad anyway.

So the National Zoo is quite lovely but also a madhouse even on a gloomy Saturday and will undoubtedly get worse when the new Asia Trail opens in October. That said, if and when I receive DC visitors, I will recommend they visit. On a weekday.

Friday, September 22, 2006


One of the nagging questions I want to ask someone at the Embassy but obviously can't for reasons which will soon become obvious is do I have any diplomatic immunity? I am reasonably confident I have none unless I am driving one of the Embassy cars and since I can't do that, I have absolutely no immunity whatsoever. I'm also not in the Blue Book, which is an important indication of diplomatic status. What I did discover today was that the Counsellor for Public Affairs' four year old son has complete immunity. I plan to tell him that whenever he gets in trouble at school to claim immunity.

Yesterday I was leaving the Embassy for lunch at the exact same point a seminar of military health professionals were leaving. I was the only one unable to see myself in my shoes and not wearing a ducky little peaked hat. So all I could do was grin inanely and quietly hum 'one of these things is not like the others/which of these things just doesn't belong'.

Last night I finally went to the iconic Ben's Chilli Bowl- a DC institution since the 60s (50s?) only three blocks from my house- the oversight of leaving it so late is quite glaring. Anyway, the Chilli Dog as a hot dog was good but not the orgasmic Dog experience I was expecting however I will say this- that man knows his Chilli. (I didn't take this photo- found it on google)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

No Bravo for you, Bravo.

I am deeply outraged that I was not adequately warned that the episodes marked 'FINALE' in the TV Guide for Project Runway tonight were actually repeats of last season's finale (and, on that note, I get that Daniel V. is the lovable cute gay guy who turned arsehole once the show wrapped- but come on. He puts his hair in a pigtail. That never bodes well for the future). All was not entirely lost however, as the next season of America's Next Top Model was starting on another, trashier channel.

And golly, ANTM is trashy after Project Runway. Between Tyra's overacting and her strange white-face make up in the Judging, coming so soon after Project Runway only highlighted how ghastly it actually is. All the girls seems really painfully bland, as if they decided to throw in the identical twins this cycle instead of actually finding girls who are going to have scrag fights. Those twins are not attractive girls either but they do photograph rather well.

I'll still be watching it though. Obviously.

In American news, it was such a beautiful day today I took an hour for lunch and walked to the books then the long way to Whole Foods. It was a lot like Brisbane's August- which I adore and was sorry I'd missed this year- brilliant blue skies and windy and it's quite warm in the sun but then you hit shade and it's a bit chilly. I still like how I get surprised I'm here- for some reason whenever I enter a drugstore (CVS, Rite Aid- wherever) I'm always somewhat astounded that I'm somewhere different. It's hard to explain- but that I'm a foreigner always seems to sink in when I'm in a drugstore. Perhaps because we don't have them at all in Australia (though, frankly, we should- they're brilliant concepts).

I'm really missing my dog. I can email and talk to everyone else except her. You don't realise how much you value their unquestioning companionship til it's gone. I was going to post a photo of her, but don't have one on the computer which makes me sad.

Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' almost made me cry it was so brilliant. I'm happy to report that his second book, 'A Spot of Bother', is totally different and although tears were never imminent is equally brilliant. Bravo, Mr Haddon, bravo.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Once, just once, I'd like to be able to do this:

God, she's cool. Although it would absolutely make me swoon if she won Project Runway, I'm a bit surprised she made the final 4 and thus got to show in New York. Happily though I like three of the four finalists, so as long as Jeffrey the Wanker doesn't win, I shall be content.

I swear I'll return to commenting on American oddities in my next post.

(pic borrowed/stolen from Project Rungay, which, obviously since I stole from it, is top-class indeed)

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Whilst my roomie is in SF, I've decided to avail myself of the opportunity to do a bit of a kitchen audit in preparation for starting to cook again (I did not get off to a good start after my previous post to this effect- I burnt my finger on a frying pan and it blistered). There were six boxes of spaghetti! Three bottles of soy sauce! Water chestnuts from 2002! Anyway, I got two cupboards done, filled four garbage bags and reflected on the inadequacies of garbage disposal in this country.

Garbage here is collected twice a week- Monday and Thursday mornings. This sounds quite reasonable, until you realise the tiny size of the garbage bin (about 1/5 of the volume of the wheelies back home I'd guess). What this means is that you then have to pile all your crap up on the sidewalk next to the bin. Which, if the garbos are on strike, can create quite a pile. So not only is it unsightly and smelly (and New York is even worse with all that high density living and not much sidewalk) it cannot be hygienic for a city. It's quite shocking to have to sidestep mounds of house refuse in a first world country in your daily walk to work.

At any rate, I'll do the other cupboard and the fridge/freezer after tomorrow morning's trash collection so I'm not responsible for some sort of minor traffic hazard.

I also threw out all these tins of Crisco. I'm not sure what that is, but it looks evil. Also, I discovered by accident on Friday that they don't have Copha in this country and don't even know what it is. Neither do I, for that matter, except you need it for Crackles and White Christmas (which they also don't know of!).

Thursday, September 14, 2006

In which I mention two religions...

Yesterday there was some sort of protest outside the Kazaks (who are next to the Nigerians and who I can see out my window at work providing all sorts of distractions). It all looked very festive. In fact, as I turned the corner and heard their chanting and bells and things I thought 'huh, I wonder what the Aboriginal performance we didn't know about is'. They were Hari Krishnas. Something to do with religious persecution.

I am such a good cultural ambassador.

Speaking of freedom of religion, at Whole Foods I discovered a Jewish Apple Cake. Finally! Judaism has given me something I can use! I would have bought one if it wasn't slightly unseemly for one person to buy a pound of cake, and it would've gone stale by the time I'd finished it (even I'm not that much of a pig.)

Speaking of eating (so many effortless segues today!) this weekend I am auditing the contents of the kitchen whilst Roomie is in San Francisco for the week. I have bought a cookbook. I am going to buy real ingredients that don't need to be defrosted. This is the dawning of a new age, and one that may even last more than a week. I'm starting tonight with a meal from Whole Foods (for a change...) but one which requires more preparation than sticking it in the microwave for six minutes and stirring occasionally. Minted Lamb Patties (which sounds a bit dubious but look SENSATIONAL) and some prepackaged carrot and celery which saves me the fuss usually associated with preparing vegies.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Questionable Shopping

I am not typically in the habit of posting photos of things I buy, nor am I in the habit of not centering my photos (or in the habit of spelling center like that either, frankly). But I went to Filene's after work before meeting E for dinner at Bistro du Coin to buy a boring jacket and more work pants. As you can see, there is a distinct lack of work pants in these images. The only ones I liked were the same as the ones I already have, which have a minute hole which can be repaired. To the right is my new walk-to-work jacket (boring, safe, functional) and some shoes which I decided I should buy. I'm not entirely sure why.

To the left is a more questionable purchase- yes, it is a leather motorcycle jacket and, yes, it is blue. It is also Ungaro and reduced from $450 to $70. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, honestly. I'm going to try it with my jeans before I take the tags off so I can possibly return it. It's real leather too (for $70 I was convinced it had to be pleather) but lined with acetate, alas, which I always confused with acetone which is used to dehydrate bodies before dissection (thank you Bodies Exhibition) and is also possibly the key ingredient in nail polish remover.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Suppose I Ought...

Being the day it is I suppose I ought to make some comment.

First up- September 11 was horrible. I know that, per capita, more Australians will killed in the Bali bombing than Americans in Sep 11, but the sheer horror of the September 11 attack (not to mention the additional fact it was all recorded a thousand times over by live media and everyday folk) is unmatched in the modern era. Also, not only do I find the shots of people jumping from the towers unspeakably upsetting but what I also find upsetting is how much it fucked the world over since in changes of policy and, ahem, political action (as a adjunct to the diplomatic corps, I no longer have public political opinions but those who know me well know what I think).

And I suppose that the 5th Anniversary is a biggie...


I am continually appalled at the orgy of remembrance that surrounds this event, and how the media and political parties (any political party) take as many cheap shots as they can. CNN gets to loop the worst footage over and over again, and to dare to suggest that maybe, just maybe, it's time to get on with our lives and let those people who lost friends and family have a little private time instead of being paraded in front of the cameras every September, is unpatriotic and supporting the terrorists. There was a brilliant article in either the Guardian or the New Yorker- I tend to think the former as I can't imagine an American writing this- that to hell with banning the act of gloryifying terrorism- we already do it ourselves every year on this date with our indulgences into watching the sheer spectacle of those towers collapsing (and I know an artist- Christo I believe- was castrated for saying it at the time, but it was spectacular in an absolutely horrifying, breathtaking way- if Hollywood had done we wouldn't have believed it).

I'm not explaining myself very well, but there's something a bit sick I find about the whole thing.

Anyway, for every cliched image and anecdote played on CNN, you do occasionally come across part of the memorials that is moving and in an understated, un-nationalistic way. I present to you, this image from today's New York Times. The girl in pink lost her mother, a police officer.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Oh, August.

The balmy days of August, where I'd often spend an hour during lunch at Filene's Basement, have long passed and we have hit the storm after Labor Day when Congress, the universities and every other goddamn faction in DC comes back to town.

I have done two 100+ head functions in two nights now. Last night wasn't so bad as it was catered, but tonight was inhouse and I pretty much ran the show from behind the bar. So I guess I can add barman to my resume now, and I've earnt oodles of overtime.

But, man, I don't think my feet should be visibly pulsing like this.

Monday, September 04, 2006

New York: A Pictorial Report

Firstly, I cannot believe Steve Irwin is dead. This is strangely upsetting for me.

On to more pleasant news:

My Weekend in New York: A Pictorial Report

So Hurricane Ernesto was bearing down on the Atlantic Coast and DC spent most of Friday in gale force winds and driving rain. What great weather for hopping on a plane! But hop I did and, in all honesty, it really wasn't that bad. Even the TSA were nice to us (perhaps in case the winds blew our plane into the Potomac). Deltaflot was perfectly acceptable in a bare-minimum way. Just before 10pm, I arrived at New York LaGuardia and got a cab (yellow, of course) to the Paramount Hotel on bustling West 46th Street and next door to the Church of Scientology which, unfortunately, was spending its weekend having a Open Weekend Recruitment Drive. How I glared.

As I had wisely not packed any liquids to blow up the plane with some plastic explosives mixed into my toothpaste, I had to venture our to the Tourist Vortex known as Times Square, not even a block from my groovy pad. I hate to admit, but this first adventure was actually quite neat:

That is not a very good photo, but I refused to be one of those wankers who stops dead in the crush of pedestrians so they can focus their camera.

I had a rather rotten night's sleep, but nonetheless I faced the somewhat inclement weather on Saturday morning. I hunched my shoulders into the wind and drizzle that often ran parallel to the street and charged up Broadway with grim determination to Central Park which had the rather wonderful benefit of not acting as a quasi wind tunnel:

I eventually ended up at the Metropolitan Museum. Now this is a truly wonderful institution and I wish it no ill-will but their rather shady ticketing practices make me rather annoyed. They have a 'suggested' ticket price of $20 for adults, which considering the size of the collection, is quite reasonable. However that this is a suggested price is only in tiny print- you can, in theory, give the girl a penny and she must be admit you. To me, this seems to be trying to have one's cake and eat it.

But, onward from such negativity. I was quite selective in what I saw in this vast space as I didn't want to get museum fatigue so early in the game. I looked at the Anglomania Costume Institute exhibition which was quite striking visually, but I felt it was lacking a certain something curatorially. I also sussed out the Egyptian collection including the iconic Temple of Dendur which apart from being gazillions of years old is also quite charming for the graffiti scratched into the rock from the 1800s.

I should point out that the practice of turning into a room and finding a complete Egyptian temple is not that unusual at the Met. I also found a complete 16th century Spanish terraza shipped over brick by brick. And, this rather exquisite room, which I covet endlessly, by Frank Lloyd Wright:

So the Met is quite great, but not as good as the Louvre mainly because the Louvre is unapologetic about the fact it charges admission. Speaking of Mr Lloyd Wright, my all time favourite architect despite the fact his buildings have a nasty habit of not aging well and falling apart (this is important- read on), I then braved the weather, which was already improving, to charge north up Fifth Avenue alongside Central Park to the Guggenheim Museum, talking to Daniel and Anne at his farewell on my cellphone all the way. This is FLW's only building in New York, and an absolute icon of architecture. I imagine poor Daniel was quite shocked when in the middle of quite a convivial conversation I suddenly shouted 'FUCKERS, FUCKERS'. The Guggenheim was completely under scaffolding. This did not bode well and indeed I was completely underwhelmed when I eventually handed over an exorbitant admission fee (no 'suggested' business here) to look at a rather bland and irritating exhibition by someone I've never heard of when I wanted Miro, Picasso and Pollock.

There was only one way to cheer myself up.

I fell in love. His name is Barney and he is a department store with seven floors of the most divine clothes for men. The good thing was too that the only things I liked enough to actually buy were so severly out of my price range to be beyond question, so I was not tempted to stray financially. But I adored it. This was followed by a visit to Tiffany's. I believe I have mentioned that they have such good service and are not snobby at all in a previous post, based upon my visit with Xena in July. Well, I take it all back. The only way I could have been served there before they were good and ready and made sure all the richer looking people were being looked after was by stripping myself naked and singing 'Amore' at the top of my lungs. I bought cufflinks, which I wanted anyway, but also to spite them.

FAO Schwarz, the toystore, was next and it must be absolute unmitigated hell at Christmas time. I bought a bear. This was actually a more reckless decision than the cufflinks, despite being less than a quarter of the price. As Bear is rather large, and I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to get him back to Australia should the need arise in November. Here is Bear, with some other purchases I made, elegantly arrayed in my groovy Paramount hotel room (neat design for a small space but woeful pillows):

I suppose I should just be pleased I didn't go all out and buy a $300 soft toy African Savannah animal (they were AMAZING.). The book, by the way, is the autobiog of Joseph Volpe who ran the Met Opera until recently. It was rather biased and he didn't come off too great, which is always a bit startling in an autobiography.

That night, I went to see The History Boys, by the wonderful Alan Bennett. Now I realise I'm a whee bit behind the boat here, but it is absolutely brilliant. I found it absolutely brilliant despite that there were four women behind me moaning that they couldn't understand the English accents (though quite frankly Dominic Cooper, who played Dakin, is so hot he could've been speaking Persian for all I cared) and should have gone to Mamma Mia instead (bitches), and the guy beside me spent most of Act II rustling in an M&M's packet. The third scene, done entirely in French, was hysterical.

Lo, a new day dawned and the weather was surprisingly generous and quite stunning. I jumped in a cab (I'm not entirely sure when I developed an aversion to the Subway, but I did and it cost me) and headed to the BODIES exhibition at the South Street Seaport. It in itself was quite fascinating. There were some extraordinary cadavers and dissections on display. Yet throughout it all it was very obvious that these bodies were all poor Chinese people with bad teeth. I also skipped the Foetal Development room. So, my moral ambiguity about the enterprise is not relieved.

This was followed by a bit of a stroll around Lower Manhattan. I saw Wall Street, and look what I saw in the far distance from Battery Park:

This of course being Lower Manhattan, September 11 still casts a bit of a shadow over the place. Contrary to popular belief, Ground Zero is not a fun outing for the whole family but rather bleak. Also, I wonder how the people staying in the Hilton there feel when they look out their window at the hole in the ground.

As an aside, the rather well done memorial in Battery Park of the distorted bronze globe that stood between the towers was quite effective. However I don't like how 'hero' and 'sacrifice' have become so commonplace. Whilst I don't doubt that every fireman and so on who went into those buildings deserve honours, the civilians I'm not so sure about. This is not to demean their deaths in anyway, as it must have been such a strange and frightening way to die, but they didn't really sacrifice anything- all they did was go to work, like they did every other day. I actually find that quite unsettling in itself.

A bit depressed by this, I headed to the ultra-trendy Balthazar for brunch in SoHo or TriBeCa or UnuSualCaPsville where somehow the devastatingly handsome host (he was one of those elegant, slender young black men with gorgeous eyes and dashingly dressed) pulled me ahead of the queue waiting for a table and I was seated within minutes of arrival. I know, deep down, that this was somehow pure luck but nonetheless it made me feel special and I tipped accordingly. I then bought a t-shirt from a guy on the street. It's cool. Another cab! This time to the Natural History Museum where in the Village I saw this billboard from the cab which made me snort:

I am referring, of course, to the billboard for a law firm. Everything about is so wonderful- the billboard, the fact that they're painted on it (it may look like photographs in the photo- but trust me, it was a rather entertaining weak portraiture effort), the 'hablamos Espanol' in text and the ACCIDENT VICTIM? heading. But, best of all, is that the billboard is above a sex shop called Fantasy World.

The Natural History Museum was conflicting. For a start, it was too expensive. It is actually rather charmingly dated- I did love the diorama heaven in HALL OF AFRICAN PEOPLES and so on, but most of the museum sucked surprisingly so. There was this cool gigantic thing called the Hayden Sphere though (I think it was some sort of Imaxy thing inside) and you walked round it in a descending spiral and they used it to indicate scale of things in the universe. Sort of like 'If the Hayden Sphere is the Sun... this is the Earth' then they'd be a model of the Earth suspended next to the sphere. Eventually you got down to 'if the Hayden Sphere is a Hydrogen Atom... this is a proton' and there was a tiny speck. It was brilliant.

I walked down the Upper West Side and decided that were I able to afford to live in New York the way I would like to, I would like a brownstone (not neccessarily the whole one! a floor or two will do!) on West 75th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. Paid my respects to the Lincoln Center, popped into the Met Opera Shop and then down to Columbus Circle where I investigated the new Time Warner Center, which has a very swanky shopping mall which includes Botero sculptures (that I adore) as standard decor. And this is the atrium:

Another nap then time for Avenue Q, which was one of the funniest nights I've ever spent in the theatre. I even related to the characters, all the more surprising since half of them were puppets. The main character, Princeton's, first song was how he had a useless degree. Plus, any show with a song called 'Everybody's a Little Bit Racist' or 'The Internet is for Porn' (best line= 'so grab your dick and double click!' is alright by me. I had intentions to mount the Empire State Building afterwards, but the wait time was two and a half hours at 9pm at night so I rather decided I wouldn't. Instead, I had a cocktail or two back at the Paramount mainly so I could perv on the hunky barman with killer arms like shipping cables.

Oh, before Avenue Q I even saw someone who may very loosely qualify as a celebrity.

After a horrid night's sleep (those Manhattans haunted me all night), I dragged my sorry ass from bed and went to MoMA. Again, I resented the exorbitant $20 entry fee especially considering MoMA isn't exactly strapped for cash. However any lingering resentment eventually faded as the collection completely won me over. Seriously, I was going Gaga for Dada and that I got to see Joe Dallasandro's penis a few times was a bonus.

Now some MoMA sculpture garden photography:

It was time to head home, via Saks Fifth Avenue (fabulous) and Kenneth Cole in the Rockefeller Center (surprisingly disappointing). I did however need to pick up some postcards in Times Square, which by this point I found absolutely horrendous, despite the presence of a rather famous icon- a particularly buff guitar player in his tighty whities-

Another furtive photo as the type of tourist who throngs Times Square is so repulsive I dreaded to think that anyone associated me with them.

The flight home was uneventful, though greatly enlivened by sitting next to a hottie who made me sweat slightly everytime our thighs touched.

It was a strange feeling to be 'coming home' but not to Brisbane. I 'came home' to U Street and it made me feel a bit odd. It is very hard to explain.