Here We Go!

The great experiment in life/work balance has begun! Let’s see if I can juggle all the flaming torches life will throw at me.

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My limited amount of money I have been using to get by is running out. At the time of writing I have only £90 left. This is partly due to a great weekend I had catching up with friends. As I mentioned in New Beginnings, I was invited to see a live band. It was a lot of fun. I won’t say much about the band itself at this point, though they have been invited to check out this website. If they approve, then I will write them a review article.

It was rather last minute, but I enjoyed myself. The main event, the one I’d been planning with friends and had a Facebook event too, was last night. In addition to old friends from my home town Barrow and my college town Lancaster, I also invited a new friend. We’ve been talking on Facebook and she’s friends with people I used to hang out with in Lancaster.

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To my delight she came, even though none of the Lancaster crew could, and we hit it off well. I can’t wait to see her again, but this is where it gets problematic. I still have no income. My website still doesn’t have the traffic necessary to make any money. Though hopefully that could change soon. I have a friend that offered to help improve the website. I’m looking forward to see what she does with it.

I’d already decided before yesterday that I would dedicate today to looking for a job, which is good because I clearly need to do so. I won’t be eligible for Jobseekers allowance (it’s a little like welfare benefit in the US) for another few days since you have to prove that you’ve been back in the UK for at least 3 months and haven’t worked at all. It’s been almost 3 months, but I’ve been told that in order to be able to claim jobseekers allowance you need to be able to prove that you’re spending 35+ hours a week looking for work.

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I’m only looking for a part time job. Just so I can afford to make improvements to my website, save up the money I’ll need for self-publication, occasionally take a trip to Lancaster to see my new darling, and maybe indulge in a hobby or two. I don’t want to take too much time away from my writing. So to that end I think I’ll skip the process of applying for jobseekers allowance and just get a job! Easier said than done? Maybe, but I’m motivated!

I’m updating my CV (that’s a resume Americans) and uploaded it to Indeed.com and a few other sites. I’ve even made a CV page on this blog that I’ll be sharing on LinkedIn and Facebook. Later I’m going to work on a one-page printable version of my CV so that I can drop into places and hand them a copy. I may even check out Craigslist. If you happen to be an employer looking for someone skilled in customer service, creative writing, or pouring a pint, then please contact me.

I’d better get on with it. Have a great day 🙂

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New Beginnings

If you can’t see the video, or can’t play it right now, I’m just showing of my very pretty (for now) room in my Grandparents house in Dalton-in-Furness. We just arrived today, and I’m very excited about this next step in my life. This will include more writing, find a part-time job to help keep on top of things, and meeting new and interesting people that I can get interested in my website and my book.

To that end I also have the new business cards. They arrived the same day I did. They look awesome. If you take objection to the fact it says author, that’s okay. I still consider myself an author, a writer and a wordsmith. I would include poet, but I don’t particularly enjoy writing poetry. Regardless, I self-identify as an author and I will not be bullied into changing it just because I don’t fit certain people’s narrow definition. 😛 Here’s the card, it’s double sided:

I have a little desk that folds out. I have it set up right now, but I can put it away when I’m not using it so that it doesn’t take up space. It was still in boxes when I got here. The first thing I did, before I’d unpacked even, was to build my desk. I like it very much. Being able to fold it down out of the way should encourage me to put away my notes when I’m done with them instead of leaving them strewn across the desk.

You also get to see me reflected in the mirror. Don’t be too alarmed. I’m going to keep this article short as Grandad should be coming back with Fish & Chips soon, and after dinner I need to get myself ready. I’ve been told there’s a band playing at The Derby (a pub in Barrow) tonight, and I intend to be there. With my new business cards.

I look forward to comments, but bear in mind I’m entitled to a difference of opinion. If you want to change my mind, may I suggest a reasonable discussion between equals. Shoving your opinion down my throat and insisting I change is precisely the wrong way to go about it. 🙂

Have a great day.

Metal Gear Survive

I know I hinted in the last post that I was going to write a full article on CW’s new “The Lost Boys” tv show, maybe I still will. I just have to get this out first while it’s fresh. I got an alert from Gamespot that there’s a new 4-player Metal Gear game set for release in 2017 for Xbox One, PC and PS4.

It’s called Metal Gear Survive, and it takes place right after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The official announcement trailer from Gamescom 2016 shows a lot of footage set during the ending of Ground Zeroes.

It’s a Metal Gear game so it will still have stealth mechanics at its core, allowing you to covertly avoid and overcome all manner of biological horrors in addition to the headless zombies we see in the trailer. We’re also going to see some new weaponry in the game, such as the bow and arrow seen in the stills, giving us more than the traditional pistols and rifles.

Since the game takes place in an alternate timeline, pulling the players, fellow and parts of Mother Base through a wormhole into a desolate post-apocalyptic landscape, I’m wondering it the reason for the primitive weaponry is due to a scarcity of ammunition, causing your party of up to 4 playable characters to get a little creative with your killing. It wouldn’t really be much of a survival game otherwise.

According to Konami, Metal Gear Survive “pursues a fresh spirit of exploration in unique gameplay mechanics.”

Tomotada Tashiro, European President for Konami Digital Entertainment, said “We are delighted to announce another exciting addition to the Metal Gear franchise.”  “Metal Gear Survive will offer a fresh take on the series’ famed stealth elements but within a unique co-op setting that is designed for a truly engrossing multiplayer experience.”

An official press release also said, “In a struggle to stay alive on this harsh terrain filled with deadly creatures, soldiers who were previously on Mother Base now must work cooperatively in order to survive. Metal Gear Survive continues the pedigree of Metal Gear Solid V’s highly praised gameplay design, with a unique blend of stealth and co-op play mechanics.

“Players can strategically manage massive threats with the help of four-player online cooperative play. New weaponry will also be introduced to combat charging creatures and lethal environments as well.”

Clearly we can look forward to a new twist on a classic franchise that should be a lot of fun. Here’s Gamespot’s video on the subject (if the embed works, if not click here):
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Blog of Definite Purpose?

I used to write for a popular Geeky website. I learned a lot about blogging in the process. It was fun. I could do what I already did, which is trawl through Facebook and the web in general looking for geeky/nerdy things. All I had to do was write one article per day. On a good day this was easy, even with working a 40+ hours per week day job. On a bad day I couldn’t find anything I’d want to write about, or someone had covered it already, or life just got in the way.

I decided to do my own thing, and write about whatever I wanted. This has resulted in a lot of self-indulgent nonsense and has occasionally hurt people’s feelings. I think it’s time to go back to geeky articles. I enjoy it, and I actually have the time to commit to it. I’m no-longer working a full-time job as well as trying to find time for my own writing, and a social life as well.

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These new articles won’t be about my progress as a writer, or about the emotions I’ve been processing, or any self-centred pretentiousness. They’ll be about Books, Games, Art, Science, Technology, Comics, Movies, and anything else that I find interesting. I’m going to try and keep it to new developments, rather than re-hashing articles you’ve already seen show up on your timeline at least a half-dozen times already. However, occasionally I might find something that’s already been discussed, but I have something I’d like to say about it anyway. You may still see posts about my story ideas too, from time to time.

I’ll be making use of categories and tabs to make the articles easier to find, and sharing them to topic specific Facebook Pages I already had set up from forever ago. I may have to add new ones as the need arrises. For example. Today I saw an article about the classic 80’s teenage vampire flick “The Lost Boys” getting it’s own series on the CW. I don’t currently have a page set up that fits this news.

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If I end up writing an article on it, it’ll probably end up on my “Gothic, Morbid & Beautiful” page, though at some point I may also have to make another page for anything TV & Movie related. I had considered slipping the details of the TV version of “The Lost Boys” into the tail end of this article, but I’m thinking it deserves one to itself.

Feel free to send me any suggestions, leads, or geeky topics you’d like me to rant about. I’m still just trying to get myself out there, so I won’t charge you for product reviews like some other blogs do. I’ll take a donation if you’re offering, but the way I see it, you’ll be doing me a favor by giving me something to write about that could draw more traffic to my page and get build an audience. Click the ‘Contact Me’ me tab at the top of the page or this link.

If you’re new to this page, take a look around. If you’re a sci-fi fan you might be interested to know that I’m working on a book called Hermes925. Click the drop down menu above to read what I’ve written so far. Follow me so you don’t miss what happens next.

Have a great day.

 

Honestly Sorry

Did you ever hear the phrase “better to beg forgiveness than ask permission”? It’s kind of been my philosophy regarding this blog. However, I seem to be upsetting some people. In some cases it’s only taken a little editing, such as the ‘Dating Disasters‘ article. Sometimes the offended party requires more.

There have been two articles now that I’ve had to pull from Facebook. However, these articles are still available here on the blog. Namely ‘Road to Recovery‘ and the article I wrote earlier today, ‘Adopt, Adapt and Improve‘. The first of which may have caused my ex her job. Now our relationship may not have been the best thing for either of us, but I certainly don’t want to be responsible for her getting fired. If she loses her job, it will be her own fault, not mine!

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The latest article offended my cousin, and when I mentioned this to my Mum, she became concerned that other members of the family might also have taken offense. Mum hadn’t read it yet, but I didn’t want her stressing over it. Especially since she’s been supporting me and helping me transition back to life in the UK. The part that really got to my cousin was when I mentioned trying to convince my Grandma to lie for me. I should instead be supporting their independence, and not trying to undermine their decision.

I should have realised that the level of honesty and openness that I’m demanding of myself in order to truly get to know myself might ruffle a few feathers that would rather keep certain things private. Even Dad told me that he might have to start being careful what he says around me. As you can see though, I’m not stopping. Instead my plan is to share only the articles that are inoffensive. Anything that might upset my family, Mum and Dad in particular, will be exclusive to the blog. Starting with this one81257-harry-potter-dont-care-gif-NO-tFUp.gif

In other words, if you want to see every single article I publish, then you need to either visit this blog daily, or enter your email address on the right hand side to follow this blog and get emailed alerts every time a new post goes up! Some will be getting links to this article privately via Facebook Messenger, so they know what’s up. If you’re one of them, well done, I’m not worried about offending you! 🙂

One of the things I liked about my ex-wife was her bluntness. I do need to be careful to keep this side of being deliberately hurtful and saying ‘just being honest’ by way of apology. That’s not honesty, that’s being obnoxious. I don’t like having to be sneaky though. I want to be open with them. Especially since, if I can’t be open with them with everything, I might be tempted to keep bigger things from them.

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I really want to get high, and one of the reasons I don’t try harder to acquire some weed, is because I’m being honest with my family about it and they are able to help me through it. I don’t want to start hiding anything, because I fear it would be a slippery slope. However, they’ve asked me to stop being so honest. So be it.

 

Mischief and Magic

When I asked my niece Imogen what I should write about today she didn’t get a chance to tell me before my Dad piped up “Faeries!” She did give me some very sensible suggestions afterward, but I decided to go with my Dad’s suggestion. I love that the Reverend Trevor Copeland not only accepts that I believe in the Fae, but also actively encourages me to share my thoughts on the subject.

Just in case you think I may be crazy, let me give you a little background. I don’t expect to change your mind, but perhaps it’ll help you understand why I think faeries are real.

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I grew up in a haunted house. My parents got a good deal on it because the previous owner was a medium. By that I mean she was able to summon and communicate with the spirits of the dead. She told my parents (and presumably any other prospective buyers) “You may get the occasional visitor, but don’t worry they won’t do you any harm”. If I was the real estate agent, I would’ve hated her for that!

My parents were young and sceptical, so they bought the place. It was right across the road from the local school, next door to a general store, and just around the corner from my grandparents. A good deal. After we moved out, my Dad confessed to feeling a cold spot at the top of the stairs, right next to mine and my sister’s bedroom. He just told me now that it would sometimes smell of kippers (smoked herring).

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On the other side of that wall was a wardrobe. For my US readers, that’s a piece of furniture that functions as a closet, a cupboard with a clothes-rail in it. Anyway, this wardrobe stood in the corner of the room with games and toys stacked on top of it. Even with the door open ajar (my sister was afraid of the dark), there was a deep dark shadow above it.

Sometimes I would lay in bed staring into that shadow, and see red eyes, black fur, and a smile full of sharp teeth. I called it ‘the monster on top of the wardrobe’. Dad tells me that I told him about it (I have no memory of this), and that he offered to chase it away. I told him (he says) “No Daddy, It keeps the others away.” As I grew up I didn’t see him around as much. He showed up again when I was much older, after I began to look into paganism and witchcraft.

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There were other strange things too, that I just took for granted. My older cousins had given us a tote-full of Lego. It was awesome. I could never find the piece I was looking for, so I learned quickly to pretend I was looking for something else. I held the image of the decoy lego brick in my mind clearly as I hunted, until I’d found all the bits I was really looking for.

Long after we moved out of that house, things would go missing, and I’d be the only one able to find them. By pretending it didn’t matter that I found it or not, or seeming to be looking for something else, I can get a ‘feel’ for where the missing item really is. I still do that now. It doesn’t always work, but I have other tricks up my sleeve.

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Monica and I were staying in a youth hostel in London once. As we were packing to leave, we couldn’t find her watch anywhere. We both heard the faeries giggle. I left a pile of coins on the window sill as an offering (we weren’t going to be able to use them in America anyway) and trusted that it would show up. When we got back to the states and opened her backpack, there was her watch, sitting on top of everything else she’d stuffed in there.

Going back a little in time, to a family holiday (vacation) on the Isle of Man. This little speck of land between England and Northern Ireland is a fascinating place. According to legend, it’s the home of the Celtic sea god Mannanen. He kept the Island protected from Roman invaders by hiding it in a blanket of fog, but allowed Vikings to land and interact with the Manx Celts peacefully.

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The Isle of Man also has a faery bridge. As you cross it you’re supposed to say ‘hello’ to the faeries and wave. If you don’t then bad things happen to you. The locals will tell you about a coach bus full of tourists ignoring the tour guides advice, which then crashed on the other side of the bridge.

Then there’s the time I was exploring the woods in Williamson Park in Lancaster, UK. I found an area where the trees looked twisted and unhealthy. I could feel their pain. There was one tree in the middle of them that seemed to call to me, so I approached it and reverently laid my palm on it. I got the clear impression that a glade god, a green man, an aspect of the Celtic god Cernunnos, passed through me. He expressed gratitude for being released and vowed to restore the glade, and I saw/felt the faeries of his kingdom swarm from the tree also, bringing life and joy with them. That same group of trees looked, and felt, much better the next time I passed through.

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I’m not sure I could prove their existence to anyone else. I’ve learned to accept that they’re around through personal experience. Perhaps, if you’re open to it they’ll make themselves known to you too. I do know this though. There’s a lot more of them here on the UK than there are in the US. The faeries I met there were weak, sickly, hurting. Desperate for any belief they could get. Do me a favour and believe in them anyway. Save the American faeries. Leave them coins, milk and bread. Dedicate a little corner of your house or garden to them. Listen for their giggles when your stuff goes missing, and smile.

Do you believe in faeries too? Do you have any stories of personal encounters, or know someone who does? Get in touch! 🙂

 

Dating Disasters

A friend suggested I write an article about one of the most awkward and uncomfortable subjects I could possibly write about. My terrible track record with girls. I’ve been putting it off. I even tried coming up with something else to write about, but to no avail. So this is for you. A tale of trial and turmoil, detailing my dating disasters.

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I’m going to start with Monica quick. I’ll keep it short though since this isn’t about her, and the friend who put me up to this already knows. I’ve mentioned her before, so I’m using her real name.

Monica was, and technically still is, my wife. We met on campus at was was called St. Martin’s College back then. Now it’s the University of Cumbria‘s Lancaster campus. She was into Tim Burton’s Batman movies and Nirvana, and she was very interested in me. Since she was only going be there 3 months, I saw no harm in flirting with her rather heavily. So what if she says no, she’ll go back to America and I never have to see her again. Things got complicated and emotional when her Grandma passed away. I was morally obligated to help her through it. I could have been a jerk, but I’m not. She was the first to say “I love you“. She thought I was asleep. I wasn’t. I said it right back.

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The day she left I still thought I would never see her again. We’d been through a lot though and it hurt to say goodbye. She kept in touch, left her fiance (that’s right, she already had a fiance), and began sending me care packages from the states. She would call me late at night, and due to the time difference, this would often be between 2 and 4 am. She came back to see me 6 months later. Clearly this was love (or so I convinced myself). Despite the bravado and confidence I’d displayed during the 3 months we’d already spent together, I was fairly certain that this was the best I could hope for. She went back to America with an engagement ring.

Four years long distance before we (she?) decided it would be better for me to move there, to the US. We got married, had a difficult 10 years together before we broke up. I never regained that confidence I had when we first met, until the end. She kept telling me to be myself, but I’d already had to give up much of who I felt I was to keep the status quo. I had colours in my wardrobe. I had white shirts! I owned Khakis!! Yuck. I think the turning point was when she told me it wasn’t my job to make her happy. Okay then, I thought. I have no reason not to be myself.

I expressed some opinions that I’d been keeping to myself, and shortly after I was sleeping on a spare mattress in the office. We still haven’t raised the money for the divorce, or to settle the credit card debt accumulated during the marriage. We’re very definitely separated. I decided that there’d be no more compromising. If I had to change who I was then it wasn’t meant to be. I’d find someone who liked me for me, or it wasn’t worth it.

Post-separation girlfriend number 1. Let’s call her Betty. We met on Ok Cupid. I was immediately put off by the jar of homemade pickles she had posted among profile pictures. Pickles are gross. She was also blonde (I generally prefer dark hair and pale skin), five years older than me, and 2 hours drive away, in La Crosse, a town not far from Monica’s family. She chose to contact me anyway, using the fact that we’re both fans of the Elder Scrolls games, Game of Thrones and home cooking to entice me.

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Dating her was fun. Monica had been my first and only ‘sleeping partner’ until Betty. I had been a little worried that she would be the only one I ever could ‘sleep’ with. Betty had her own house, a beautiful garden and chickens. She liked to bake. She made a very good living as a retail assistant manager. However, I was on the rebound from a 10 year long marriage. I was emotionally torn between wanting to spend the rest of my life with her, and to prove to myself that I could make it on my own.

The decision because easier when the little changes I was making to my lifestyle began to add up. She didn’t like that I drank Mountain Dew, and wanted me to switch to coffee. I don’t like coffee, so she’s make mine with two thirds flavoured creamer. It wasn’t bad. She pick out clothes for me that were more ‘hipster’ than I liked. It was fun trying to get my moustache to curl though. She only played Elder Scrolls Online, and I never saw her play it the whole time we were together. We started spending more time watching tv together, and less time in bed, or working on the garden together. We did make pickles together. Did I mention that pickles are gross? She wanted me to try one. We broke up not long after.

By that time I already had an apartment in her town, La Crosse WI. I decided that before I got involved with anyone else, I needed to work on me and heal my broken heart. I was happier without Monica, yet I still ached for what I’d lost. I quit my job. Cashed out my 401k (retirement fund) and spent a few months just trying to get my head together. I thought I would write, but I wasted a lot of time playing Skyrim and dicking around on Facebook.

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I got talking to a girl I’d had a crush on while I was still with Monica. She flew from Colorado to be with me. The week she was crashing with me she talked almost nonstop about her ex boyfriend and how much she still loved him. We didn’t ever share a bed. I don’t even remember her name well enough to give her a fake one, but we’ll call her Jan anyway. She had a little problem with pills. I dodged a bullet.

After that I tried to avoid women altogether. Reasserted my decision to work on myself before I got involved, and managed quite well for a while. Still didn’t get any writing done, but I was making time for friends. It was two of these friends though that decided it would be fun to take me to a strip club. I’d never been to one before, but I’d heard it was like going to a freak show. A parade of ugly, talentless and scarred (physically and emotionally) women trying to make a living the only way they can.

The reality was not what I expected, and I came away from experience desperate for a woman’s touch. It’s almost ironic then that my next girlfriend had severe anxiety. She also lived in the town I had moved from, the same town that Monica and I had lived together in. Owatonna.

Let’s call her Sarah. Sarah remembered me from that time and began talking to me on Ok Cupid. She was smart, pretty, funny, good with animals, shared my beliefs, loved Star Trek: TNG, Dr Who and sci-fi/fantasy literature. She was almost perfect, except that I was still desperate for the one thing she was unable to give me. Just not desperate enough to respond to the generous, but intimidating (I still feel sort of inexperienced), offer of her roommate. I gave up on my plans to move back to Owatonna.

Again I was alone, and determined to figure out my emotional crap before getting involved again. I still followed the posts of one of Betty’s friends. Let’s call her Kahli. I had/have a bit of a crush on Kahli too, but I thought trying anything with her would lead to all kinds of awkwardness. Plus she’s really into sport, and I’m completely clueless. However, one of her friends made a smart and funny comment on one of Kahli’s facebook posts. Let’s call the mutual friend Reacher!

Reacher invited me and a bunch of other friends to get together and listen to live music at a coffee shop called Java Vino. I was going to flake, but she messaged me to get there because no-one else had shown up. It was valentine’s day. Clearly everyone else had plans. She wasn’t dressed to impress. The was wearing a hoodie. Her eyes were amazing. We talked and joked about all kinds of geeky things.

I invited her back to my place as a friend, and we watched a show she liked called Warehouse 13. She got sleepy so I let her take the bed, and I stayed up all night watching the show, and in the morning I made breakfast. She showed her appreciation physically. It was fun, but things got complicated. She has a teenage daughter. The two of them are best friends. Even this wasn’t a problem until Reacher got behind on the rent and was going to be evicted. She and her daughter were already spending most of their time at my  place anyway, so we upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment on the condition that they keep up on the housework (their old apartment was a disgusting fly-ridden mess) and that her daughter would listen to me. We broke up because that didn’t happen, and most of her stuff was still in storage when I moved out to come back to the UK.

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There’s been a couple of girls I’ve been crushing on since, including a super-hot skinny young goth that was working at the same place I was, and another co-worker that was as geeky as I am and likes to knit. I decided that the potential sexual harassment lawsuit wasn’t worth it. I’ve also had offers from other girls too, one of whom was already married, and if I’d agreed to it, she would’ve been the biggest girl I ever slept with.

Now I’m back in the UK. Living with my parents. I can focus on writing. My heart no longer feels completely broken. If I ever feel the urge, I can just visit a few websites and get over it. I’m in no hurry to begin dating again, but it seems I always say that right before I find myself right back in the game.

Those of you who have been my friends through any part of this. Here’s a quick quiz for you. Leave your answers in the comments and I’ll tell you if you’re right. If I’ve used a made up name, please continue to do so.

  1. Which one would squeeze her body zits while we were hanging out?
  2. Which of the girls I actually dated were overweight?
  3. Which one of them had a chin like a fairy-tale witch?
  4. Which of them wouldn’t let me say “I love you?”
  5. Which one tried to get me into ‘My Little Pony’?

I hope you enjoyed my little walk down failure lane. Please make sure you follow my blog so you don’t miss anything. If you have any other article suggestions/ requests, please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.