Friday 29 June 2012

"I be rubber, thou art glue. Whatever thou speaketh doth bounce off me and cleave to you! "

It's about that time again, My Super Hero Squad collection part 3 (Part 1 / Part 2). I was going to hold on for a bit until i had collected some more but i need to get these packed away into storage so here it is. There was a seller on eBay a few weeks back getting rid of his fairly big collection so i watched and couldn't believe how much some of them went for. Mrs M thinks i should just keep collecting these and give them to Opeie when he's much older if they become more collectable.

Either way the collection is steadily on the up. there are hundreds of these figures, thankfully what has made it easier to keep track of is this Collection Heroes edition iPad app. This is great as it has all of the available collection with pictures and you can mark the ones that you own. It also has the Galactic Heroes collection too so my new collection for Seth has just been made easier too. (which im going to need as im not as knowledgeable about Star Wars characters).

I know these have already been mentioned in my Father's Day post but as their a recent edition i thought id include them. there's quite a few Iron Man boxes to collect, these are the first for my collection so I'm going to be busy. Ive only just found out about 3 Avengers Assemble boxes which i need to find and the 3 Amazing Spider-man boxes have been released but unfortunately only in the US. Doesnt make things any easier for me!

"I bear a charmed life."

Me and Opeie dropped Mrs M off at work today and was given some pocket money for good behaviour, so off we trotted to Build a bear workshop to get Opeie a teddy. After picking the lifeless bear pelt's up one at a time and waving them in front of Opeie's face he finally reached out and grabbed one (it did take him while). I cant wait for him to be talking soon, it will make decision making so much easier although to be honest i was more interested in the outfits as they still had their avengers range in.

Opeie is Spider-man mad, if it has spidey on it he's got to have it, and i mean anything (I think my next post will be all about that). Recently though he's been taking in a lot of what Seth does and he's started doing his own version of the Hulk Smash which seems to consist of him sticking his clenched fists out in front and saying "GRRRRRRR". It is very very cute!!

So obviously i thought it would be nice for his new bear who we named GRRRRRRR on his birth certificate to be dressed very elegantly in Incredible Hulk attire.

The great thing about our new bear is he complements 'Spider-Bear' who i have had since Spider-Man 3 came out back in 2007. If build a bear teddies were a little less pricey i probably would have come home with an Iron man one too but maybe ill just buy the outfit.

It was an enjoyable half an hour which almost ended in a screaming fit when Opeie decided he didn't like the noise the stuffing machine made clinging to me for dear life. Nothing a cuddle from daddy doesn't sort out though. We recorded him a voice too, i held back the urge to just have him shouting 'Bear Smash' and said something a little more personal to Opeie ending "you will always be my favourite super hero". 

We left the shop with a very happy boy and Hulk can be happy too knowing he is no longer doomed to walk the earth alone.

"droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that."

Today is William's brother Matthews birthday bowling party and Seth is very excited. I love going to the parties and seeing how happy the kids are. When your older you tend to forget how simple and care free life used to be. I went to one a few weeks ago and the kids looked so happy dancing to the Hokey Cokey and the Superman song.

I asked Matthew's mom what to get him but i obviously knew it was going to be Star Wars related, i just didn't know what. It seems that William likes the more aggressive characters with the blasters and lightsabers etc but clearly Matthew has a more sensitive side as he favours the Droids and Wookies.

So me and Seth looked about and decided to buy him a large 13" Chewbacca figure, hopefully when him and William are having a battle, over sized Chewbacca will give him more of an advantage over the smaller lightsaber wielding characters.

Seth thought it would be a good idea to cut up one of his Star Wars comics to use as wrapping paper and he was right it looks fab, and what star wars birthday would be complete without a message from Yoda himself?

Any way Happy Birthday Matthew, were really looking forward to your birthday celebrations.

*Note to self: Don't let your 1 year old play with the box of someone else's present! packaging looks like its been kicked around a car park!!!

Tuesday 26 June 2012

“You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? … It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.”

It's time to get over the Star Wars sadness that has occured over the last few months and embrace it fully. Seth lives and breaths the force and there is nothing this super hero fan can do about that. So let the Galactic heroes collection for Seth's Birthday and Christmas commence. Its not been that long since i wrote the last post including the pictures of the figures he already had but Ive already managed to get my hands on all of these and ended up with a second Millenium Falcon (which is useless to me). It seems that these are far easier to get hold of than the Super hero Squad figures, which for Seth will be great news but for me and Opeie its a bit frustrating.

I may not be into Star Wars much but i do love these little figures, the main problem i have though is that apart from episodes IV-VI, i have no idea of the names of most of the characters making it very difficult to keep track of the collection. This will probably mean somewhere down the line i will end up buying characters i already have. Obviously multiple storm troopers would be a bonus but who wants 1 jar jar binks let alone 2???

Collecting these has reminded me of all the figures i loved of mine, my favourites when i was younger were Max Rebo the leader of Jabba's house band (the blue elephant looking thing with the trunk playing the crazy circle piano) and the Gamorrean Guard (the Green Pig Faced fellow wielding an axe from my last Galactic Heroes post. 

I was always playing with my Star Wars figures and now I'm thinking about it i dont think my love of marvel really got properly going until my mid teens so i guess i see why Seth is so into it. As much as he goes on about Star Wars if i ask him what he wants to watch on the TV, 9 times out of 10 he will say Spider-Man so maybe there's still hope. 


"Retiring is one thing. Being retired is something else altogether."

It always makes me a little sad when the boys grow out of their toys and are no longer played with. Recently it has come to my attention that the cast of Disney Cars have outstayed their welcome in the house. Seth apparently needs the extra shelf space and in his words "you can put them on eBay i don't really play with them anymore" (this maybe because a while back he sold his He-man collection and we used the money to buy his Batcave so I'm guessing there's something new that he has his eye on). Now there's the 'do i put them on eBay or will Opeie be into them when he's a bit older' situation?? Opeie like's playing with his push along bubble blowing mater so there's a good chance he will.

It doesn't seem that long ago that Seth was lightening mcqueen crazy but unfortunately the cars don't wield lightsaber's or swing from building to building via web so i guess they didn't stand a chance against the super hero heavy weights.

Ive got to admit i still really like Maters tall tales and the first movie, I was looking forward to seeing the sequal but like most things they had to take it to far. I was really disappointed and although Seth did watch it a few times after he soon lost interest. They were never going to have the same kind of appeal as Captain America or Darth Vader.

I was never really impressed by the toys, they always seemed like a tackier version of Seths thomas the tank engine wooden trains for his brio track (which i will write about soon as i think their great). The train and the yellow truck were the last two that we bought him and i don't think they were ever played with after the day he got them out of the box.

For Christmas last year we bought Seth a few set's of Cars Lego but it seem's that the Lightening Mcqueens retirement had already happened and we were unaware (and I'm usually so clued in when it comes to toys). The one set hasn't even made it out of the box. Which makes me realise that a lot more information needs to be gathered before this Christmas.

The two other sets were never played with once they were made and smashed up so i spent a while rummaging through 25kg of Lego to find all the little pieces (which was a nightmare) and put them in Ms M's zip lock bags that she loves so dearly (but that's a post for another time!!!). Seth hasn't even noticed they have gone so maybe it will be something for Opeie to play with when he's got over the 'Lego is for eating phase'.

It is sad that the toys have lost their appeal but we have all been there. i remember when i was younger deciding one day that i was to big to be playing with my 'my pet monster' (who had been in some ways my closest friend growing up, mostly seen on my back with his handcuffs around my throat).

Sadly when my toys reached their retirement years they were passed on to two of my cousins who i remember just used to destroy them. Seth and Opeie's on the other hand will be packed away carefully to live out their elder lives comfortably or at least until they are given a new lease of life to grandchildren maybe. or even someone we know that is less fortunate than us having all these wonderful toys.

So Lightening Mcqueen and all your friends. From Me, Mrs M and The boys it was a pleasure knowing you. Goodnight.

Sunday 24 June 2012

"That's my secret, Cap: I'm always angry."

A few days ago we had to quickly rush out so get Seth something sporty for school as he had a sports/olympics theme none school uniform day and we had completely forgotten about it until 17:00 the night before. Had it been a Super hero themed none school uniform day i can guarantee i would have been a lot more organised and he prob would have ended up that school morning with a selection of outfits to choose from just incase.

Oh well ill just have to wait patiently for that Super hero themed birthday party invite that may appear in his book bag anytime soon. 

Anyway after popping into the sports shop Mrs M decided she wanted a look around Asda living (oh joy i thought at the time). I was very happy that we went in there though, While we were perusing the isles we spotted this Incredible Hulk pyjama set. Since buying them Opeie hasn't wanted to take them off and keeps sticking his arms out and doing a very serious faced Hulk Smash (I'm so proud).

I tried every thing to get Opeie to stand in front of the huge Hulk canvas in Seth's room but Kid's being Kid's he didn't want to stand still. Thank fully Mrs M has magic fingers when it comes to Photoshop so she made me a Smashing (god that was terrible) comic book cover.

" Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes."

Ive been a fan of the Fisher Price and Playskool comic figures for a long time, even before the boys were a part of my life. I had collected the Spider-man and friends Marvel range when they were first released (Kinda hoped id have a son to give them to and when i finally did he was very excited about them). A year or so ago i spotted the Playskool Star Wars range and knew that i had to have them for Opeie even though at the time he was probably the size of a peanut unaware of his dad's obsessive compulsive collections.

Even if they brought out a new range of these when the boys were older i think i would still buy them for any future grandchildren we may have. Probably sounds a bit mental but i want to be prepared (i wonder if i would be cool grandad or just weird old grandad that still reads comics and loves Spider-man?). I think that these toys are great for getting your kids into the things that you yourself love and more importantly, being made by either Playskool of Fisher Price you know that they are safe for your little ones.

Seth would be all over these if he knew they were in the house, He really like's the chunkier figures, i think its because their more robust, so many of the action figures you get these days are flimsy and have so many joints a younger child could easily break them. I sometimes get these out of their box for Opeie to play with while Seth's at school and he nearly always goes for C3P0 (I think he must be part Magpie).

The X-Wing for this collection is great, making noises and playing the theme tune etc. Only problem is the size and heavyness of it, i wouldn't say it was great for the younger kids. I'm assuming Seth will end up playing with this more and Opeie with the smaller Galactic Heroes X-Wing. I like how with many of the boys toys each of them have their own version of their toys so they can play together.

Well im still missing two of the characters which i will get round to tracking down eventually. Unfortunately with Star Wars i have a lot less motivation with completing a collection. Not that the boys would even notice, their just happy of the new toys.

Saturday 23 June 2012

"There is only one God, and I don’t think he dresses like that."

I really don't think i need to write much about this post, the picture speaks for itself. This pretty much sum's up an average day as part of our family. I wouldn't change anything about them they are perfect and I'm the luckiest nerd on the planet. Thank you Mrs M, you and the boys are my world.

Thursday 21 June 2012

“.. its not so much about the shoes, but the person wearing them”

After buying the Reebok Captain America Trainers i started to get a bit impatient at the thought that Opeie wouldn't be able to wear them for a while due to the size i had bought, so i went on an internet mission to find some other fun shoes in a smaller size. Last week i found these Reebok Spider-man trainers. They are still a couple of sizes too big but to be fair he's not walking yet so its probably for the best.

I would have loved it if they made these in adults sizes as it would have been cute having matching shoes but sadly all of the Marvel trainers i have found made by the sports companies all look a bit chavy. Well at least my boy will look awesome in these and he has no shortage of spider-man T-shirts to finish off the look.

Ive been looking out for some in Seth's size but the ones for his age look more sporty. Adidas have released a star wars range but do i really want to encourage any more Star Wars activities in the house? I'll have to think about that one.

"Anger, fear, aggression... the dark side are they."

I finally sat Opeie down today and explained the betrayal of his brother, trading in his super powers for a crumby Jedi lifestyle. Although he didn't quite understand i feel his response speaks a thousand words.

Sunday 17 June 2012

"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

Seth has been asking me for a while if he can help with my blog because he likes seeing all of his  toys on the computer and he thinks that keeping a blog sounds fun. He said that when he is older he would like to write a blog about star wars! grrrrr...... like i said before Ive Lost him to the Darkside. "DAM YOU WILLIAM!!!" (shakes fist in the air!!!). I hoped both the boys would eventually start joining in and so far it seems to be going to plan.

Anyway over to Seth..... "I got the batmobile last week because Ive been a good boy and because i had some pocket money off my nanny Robson when we went to see her to take her some meals. The top window is easy to open and it came with a Batman figure  which was cool because he is wearing driving goggles. There is a button with the bat symbol on it for a grabber on the front to grab the Joker. When the wheels spin the fire on the back spins when it drives."

"The Batbike came with the Batcave, i use it for Robin but i have lost Robin at the moment he's run off to join the circus" (i love how he said that, after what happened to the rest of the grayson's at the circus i dont think he would be going back there in a hurry.)

"I like the goodies the best but the the baddies are my favourites as well and two face is one of my favourites because he's got half a bad face and half a good face. The Riddler is one of my favourites but i don't know why. Mommy likes the penguin because she likes his umbrella, she wants the Penguin submarine toy but they didn't have it at Toys R Us when we went."

"The Batcave we got from Toys R Us is quite cool because its got 3 floors ones at the bottom one in the middle and one at the top and its got a lift and the bat sign on the front lights up. There is a grapple hook gun. Its got a turning bit on it that opens the door. You can use the feet on the figures to open doors and the lift and a little gun thing that comes from out of the roof."

"When im playing with the Batcave i like to put the baddies in the jail on the back. Ive got 3 batman figures and i like to pretend that each one thinks their the real batman and they get angry with each other. Ive got 1 robin. ages ago Pauly was the Joker and he had 2 figures and pretended that one of them was a robot joker to trick me."

"Opeie has got a Batcave too and we like to put them next to each other so that we can play together, it's got a slide and a garage on it for his Batmobile and do you know? we got it from America in Florida. I got some Lego batman stuff that day."

"My Batcave has got a door on the side for Robins motorbike and the door on the front is blue."

"If we win the bat helicopter on eBay i want to write on the blog again, i would also like the the jail playset with bane, the jokers fun house, joker tank, and the penguin submarine so mommy can play with me."

Well there you have it, all you needed to know about Seth's Imaginext Batcave, it made a nice change lying on his bed with him before he went to sleep writing this and it's made me want to jump on eBay and buy that Batcopter just so we can do it again and i know that Mrs M will feel the same about the Penguin Submarine so Mommy can play with him.

I think i will definitely be making this a once a week thing as i love hearing what he has to say about his toys he's such a kind and sweet boy and i cant wait for his brother to get a little older so he can join in too.

Updated 19/6/12

Turns out that the missing Robin was actually with a missing Batman that we had forgotten we had. The two fearless crime fighters were overseeing the construction of their new underground Batcave that is being built under Arkham Asylum (For anyone out there with no imagination they were under the sofa). 


"When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry"

Mrs M says that Mother's day is her favourite day of the year and i totally get why, it's Fathers day today and although birthdays and Christmas are fun, having a day that celebrates everything i love about my life is amazing. When i was younger i didn't get it and selfishly thought it was unfair that 'dad's got a second birthday every year'. Needless to say i completely understand now.

Presents are definitely not important its more about the acknowledgement of what us dad's do on a daily basis, but saying that i still woke up to a pile of presents from the boys and Mrs M. My favourite was my Yo Gabba Gabba Muno "Mustaches are important" tshirt. Because they really are.

 I also got 2 boxes of Super Hero Squad Iron Man Boxes for my collection, it made a super geek very happy. My ever expanding collection for Opeie is coming on quite nicely. See you were expecting maybe squirrel girl and Odin wept! Not... wait for it... the Santum Sanctorum!.

Im always saying im running out of new backgrounds for my toy photo's so Mrs M and the boys brought me these new posters which have already come in handy for the super hero squad pic. I know that these days you can just photoshop an image in but i love that all my pics are used with things around the house.

Well its only midday now and Opeie is fast asleep on Mommy's lap shattered from all the Fathers day excitement. I love this day so much but if im completely honest both Mrs M and the boys treat every day like its Fathers day and i hope that Mrs M feel's exactly the same about us. I feel so lucky to have the three of them in my life. I have never felt so loved and they make every day the most amazing adventure.

Saturday 16 June 2012

"I've never let my school interfere with my education."

I hated school (well secondary school anyway), I couldn't stand being there but i did love getting new things, usually at the start of the school year. When i was in infant/primary school it was getting a lunchbox or bag. Things haven't much changed the only difference is I'm now getting excited about finding fun things for the boys.

Seth needed a new lunch box and i had spotted this a couple of weeks after he had started the school year. This was delivered yesterday and he hasn't seen it yet but I'm sure he will be very excited when he is carrying his lunch to school in it on Monday morning. Id have been chuffed if this had been my lunch box back in the day. I have considered buying a few more to store my loose Super Hero Squad Figures.

"I am Iron Monster, Superhero of the laundromat"

Opeie loves Sesame street, personally im more of a Yo Gabba Gabba kinda guy but Sesame street is a close 2nd. Every now and again the show will come out with a funny sketch and today Mrs M stumbled upon this Spider-man parody sketch called 'spider-monster' which being the Marvel geek that i am i obviously loved. 

I also found this Iron man parody a while back which is from the Sesame street: Iron Monster and Sesame heroes dvd which i am yet to get my hands on despite desperately searching about for it while we were in Florida. I'm sure ill find it at some point though. Enjoy.....

Friday 15 June 2012

"Hey, Myers, you're a talker. What's a good word, a solid word for "need"?

A few weeks back i wrote the post "Look sammy im not a very good shot but. . .", i had started the B.P.R.D Buddies collection to go with Opeie's super hero squad figures but was having a problem finding the last 2 for the collection. Yesterday our postie bought me these. I managed to find them in the US and a lot quicker than i was expecting (and as i said in my previous post i was obsessing about them a little).

There's something quite satisfying about completing a collection, but once one is out the way it get's me thinking about whats next on the horizon.  Ive been debating a Marvel legends collection but it would be pretty epic as there are a ridiculous amount of figures, i guess Ive already started it really though as Ive had the fantastic four and super Skrull for a couple of years (which I'm sure i will write about soon).

Tuesday 12 June 2012

"You underestimate the power of the Dark Side!"

Coming to terms with a loss can be a really difficult thing to go through, sadly for the past few month's i have been living in denial. Its been a rough time for me but ive been dealing with the jolt on a day to day basis and am now slowly coming to terms with the fact that i have lost my eldest to the darkside!!

Since Seth has started school he and his friend William have been inseparable. William is a very shy boy and is quite reserved but once he gets talking about Star Wars he is a completely different child and there's no stopping him. This has serverly disrupted the balance of super hero actively in our household. They spend all of their time at school playing and talking about Star Wars, So much so that a couple of weeks ago their teacher brought in a talking Yoda from home to keep them entertained. Seth is slowly losing his super powers and exchanging them for the force (and its getting strong with this one).

I guess i should understand really as i used to love my Star Wars figures when i was younger. I can see the appeal but the super hero comic book world has so much more to offer. Mainly there's no annoying characters like Jar Jar Binks and Anakin Skywalker who's whining got pretty annoying during episodes 1-3 he's so much more bearable as Darth Vader. I think that once Seth's reading gets better and i introduce him to the Amazing Spider-man Issue 1 i might have a chance of winning him back.

Even though I'm still working through the upset of the changes to the past few months its only fair that i embrace the situation and move forward. I had already brought these Galactic Heroes figures for the boys but seeing as i have been collecting the Super Hero Squad Figures for Opeie then i guess a new collection will now be starting for Seth's birthday and Christmas. I'd certainly never turn down a new collection and it will definitely give me even more to write on here about.

 In the mean time ill be doing everything i can to re tip the Super Hero balance in our house and ill certainly be doing all i can to avoid the introduction of Star Wars to Opeie, although i may be fighting a losing battle there with a little 5 year old Jedi running around wielding his lightsaber.

Sunday 10 June 2012

"Sometimes you rise above your material, sometimes you don't."

Yesterday we had to go to Smyths to buy a present for a girl in Seth's class to take to her birthday party, while there we Inevitably got taken down the Lego isle so that Seth could show us and the Lego Star Wars kits that he wants for his Birthday. The Lego Star Wars X-Wing was pointed out to us in order for us to make a mental note.

Now I'm definitely not cheap as I'm happy to buy Lego for the boys and we will most likely purchase it but when we got home i initiated getting the Lego out and made it my mission to have an X-wing for Seth by the end of the day.

There's something about being limited by the bricks that we have that really get's my creative juices flowing and i also see it as having a sense of a competitive element (Me Vs The Bricks). don't get me wrong we must have about 20kg+ of Lego but unlike buying a kit where you have the pieces all mapped out for you, rummaging through mixed Lego you have to have a lot of dedication and patience. Mrs M always says she doesn't know how i can sit there for so long going through every tiny piece (plus i think the noise drives her crazy).

Turn's out i couldn't have it finished before Seth went to bed so being the cracking dad that i am i soldiered on after me and Mrs M had had tea and were watching the telly (what a hardship on my part haha).

 Seth had asked me in the afternoon why i like building from my imagination so much, i explained that i had a lot of Lego when i was younger and that i wasn't brought many kits so was left to build things from memory. I also told him that everyone that goes into a toy shop and buys the Lego X-wing will all end up with the exact same model but by making your own you have a completely individual build, one which NO ONE else will have.(he liked this reason as he said he could show it off to his friend William). As i said in my previous post "Every true genius is bound to be naive", I think that Seth's AT-AT build showed a lot more character than the generic Lego kit and hopefully the same applied to my X-Wing.

The other main reason for me loving to build like this is that I'm more likely to leave Seth on his own building with a kit but if were building together like this it means that we get some quality father son play time together (and who wouldn't want that?).

 Well its the following morning now and I'm waiting for the little one to wake up so that i can show him his new x-wing (I'm so proud). It actually turned out better than i expected as half way through i was convinced it was going to end up multi-coloured due to brick limitations but somehow i managed to scrape the colours together. unfortunately our grey box (yes our Lego pieces are seperated into colour order) has taken a hit so ill be having to buy more.

The build was finished off perfectly before i had even started it when Seth pointed out that he had a Lego X-wing pilot in his Minifigure box. It was meant to be. I'm just wondering what he's going to say he wants next and hoping its not a Death Star.

Thursday 7 June 2012

Thats not my Dad, His face is to smooth!!

"That's not my" 3 words that you can guarantee would put a smile on Seth's face at bed time, he used to really love these books and now our little one is also getting into them. These are great books for getting kids involved in stories.

Our 13 month old knows exactly where to stroke when you turn the page. It is very cute. As Mrs M's Proposal book came out so well I'm Considering making a 'That's not my Daddy' book for Opeie.

Sunday 3 June 2012

"Every true genius is bound to be naive."


I never thought i would ever write a blog post about a single Lego build but after this weekend i am left thinking that Seth is some sort of Lego genius and has been letting me do a lot of our builds until this point. I'm convinced he's been holding out on me.

Mrs M had work to do and Opeie was asleep which as far as me and Seth are concerned means 'get the Lego out' as its really difficult to build when Opeie is awake due to him trying to put all the pieces in his mouth. I was building a robot girlfriend for his intergalactic robot. Seth had been very quiet so i looked over to see if he was ok (as my head had been stuck on a Lego box routing for pieces) and saw a masterpiece in production.

Seth has been going on for weeks about wanting the Lego AT-AT for his birthday or Christmas this year. I have no problem buying the kits for him but i think Seth learns more about building when making things for himself. The kits are amazing don't get me wrong but Seth always seems that extra bit satisfied when he has done it all himself. 

Last year for his birthday he wanted the police station (which he reminded us about most days for the months coming up to his birthday) which ended up costing us £80 and once it was built he smashed it up and it was never built again?? He also had one of the large Disney Cars Lego sets for Christmas and now coming up to 6 months on its still in the box unopened.

I loved Lego when i was younger, i don't remember there being much choice of kits to buy so i always had to rely on my imagination to build what i wanted it usually consisted of a castle as i had loads of knights minifigures and i was always building robots.

Any way back to the masterpiece, For a 5 year old i think this is pure genius (and not just saying that being the doting father that i am). Apart from me strengthening the AT-AT, Helping with the hinges and adding the weapon holders on the side for him it was all done by him. 

What i love most is how he built it completely using his imagination and knew exactly what he wanted to add to it, I even got a telling off when i added the wrong color lightsaber to the side of it as it was a Jedi and not a Sith one!! how bad did i feel!!. Personally i think it has come out far more superior than any generic straight out of a box kit.

Its also made me think i need to up my game on my builds as he's going to be putting me to shame.