Thursday, August 29, 2002

My third day of training for ye olde new employment. Today was kind of weird, in that we were introduced to the facilities we'll be running by way of a scavenger (face) hunt. This was entertaining, but not necessarily effective, as the competative nature of the hunt encouraged us to cut corners wherever possible. And boy howdy did we ever. Nevertheless, it did lend itself to the odd experience of fitting six people into a car by having three guys sit in the backseat with a girl distributed between all three of their laps; over three journeys, I got her head twice and her legs once.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
33. If I'm not feeling loved, I will start looking....
Even though we're not together, I shower her with attention and affection; so, no worries there. At this point in her life, being with a guy isn't very important to Linz. But, what will I do when that changes? Though I am fighting to truly be beyond jealousy, I know it will devastate me the first time she talks about a guy that way. Or, what's worse, if I find out she does feel that way about another fellow but was unwilling to tell me. Of course, these speculations are completely unfair to her, as they are born purely out of my own anxieties and insecurities.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

I had a dream this morning, which is very rare for me as I'm quite a deep sleeper. I was a combination of Michael Keaton and Erik Estrada, and I was wearing overalls and a white shirt. I was standing in a field with my wife, a dark-haired woman whose face I could not see. She was doing cartwheels in front of our house and was suddenly shot through the neck. I ran to our front door, but could not open it. Then, the man on our porch shot me. I had not seen him as I'd run to the door, even though he was the one who shot my wife. He was a ratty beachcomber type, with a white button shirt, short shorts, sandals, and a beard like Jesus. He walked in through the garage and the police, who had suddenly arrived, could not shoot him. They shot and shot, but always missed, and he killed a couple of them. He had a very unconcerned look on his face. I then consciously decided, as the omniscient narrator, that unless they are Clint Eastwood, I hate these types of unstoppable killers. So, I had the actor Eric Begosian shoot him in the back of the head. I liked having that kind of control over a dream, instead of just helplessly letting it happen.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
32. I want to be the best thing that ever happened to you--and for you to recognize this.
(Before I begin, a caveat: I am one undeservedly fortunate bastard. I am an American, from an upper-middle class, well-educated background [I am at least the fourth consecutive generation to attend college]. I was born in the late 20th century, a time of unmatched prosperity and potential. I am smart, and I am loved. These things did not "happen" to me, they are who I am. Similarly, my beloved brother did not happen to me. I have no memory of a time before David; so, from my perspective there was not a time before David. He is a fact of my being, an integral part of who I am for whom I am grateful to God each and every day, even if he doesn't believe in Him. That said....)
She is, and I do, but in honoring her wishes I cannot tell her so. I cannot even describe her to you. How do I articulate the majesty in her eyes? The glorious mischief in her smile? The heaven and hell in her voice? How do you describe the greatest thing to even happen to you? How do I live with the cruelty, unintended though it was, of her sending me this list? How do I make people realize that in all the earth there is none so lucky as I? She is the best thing that ever happened to me, and so I wait. I wait, and I remember the words of Alfred Bester, the first line of chapter one of The Stars My Destination, "He was one hundred and seventy days dying and not yet dead."

I will be helping my sister move to Washington, D.C. from Friday until the following Wednesday. It should be a glorious adventure.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

My life and my philosophical orientation are such that the most pressing problem in my life was that I was fast running out of clean socks. Now, I'm knee deep (pun intended) in clean socks. Sweet. I missed This American Life today, but I'll be at work when it's rebroadcast tomorrow; so, I'll have no choice but to sit down and listen to it. I love that show, but it's so hard to make myself sit down and just listen to a radio show. And This American Life is so good that I really want to pay attention; so, I can't really do anything else, thus making it even harder to make myself set aside the time. Ah, NPR, why dost thou vex me so?

But, the socks dilema solved, now I face the problem of establishing a dialogue with California. I'm worried that a girl at work likes me. Most of me hopes that it's just out of control egotism, but a small part of me doesn't. It's the small part that has me worried.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Although I have received several requests (and by that I mean a grand total of one request) for the addition of a commenting feature, I will not be doing so. Having seen the way it slows down others pages (i.e. Skeeter's taking two and a half minutes to load), we're not going to muck around with that kind of fancy gadget. We would, however, very much like to muck around with the keyboard player from The Gadjits (insert leering here).

I played a game each of Art Truck and DDR today. I still blow chunks at Art Truck, but come Thanksgiving I'm going to dance dance circles around Linz. Because nothing says love like a mercless shalacking.

Linz called last night while the Mountain was over. On Wednesday night I didn't have anything to do; so, of course, both of them were available yesterday. Lousy irony.

Know what I hate? The fucking gamer sitting two computers down. Yes, he's got the volume turned down, but I can still hear that maddeningly repetative video game music and clash of comically proportioned swords. Rassum frassum, no good so-and-so.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Welcome to Axis Chemicals. I'm Jack Napier. "We've been ratted out here, boys."

The Order of Things, III
I am many things. Among them, I am a) sarcastic, b) insensitive, and c) not actually a bad person, despite appearances. I'm also many other things, but these three are germaine to the present discussion. I'm often sarcastic, too often when I shouldn't be. I'm also insensitive, and by that I mean I'm regrettably oblivious to how my actions may affect others. For this, I am sorry. I am working to be more aware of how my words will be seen by others, but there's still a long way to go. This is how I am. If you can't accept this, you'd best find another blog with which to waste your time because this one will continue to be a minefield for the indefinite future. Now, I'm not sorry that I'm sarcastic. I love sarcasm. Yet, sometimes I'm sarcastic when I shouldn't be i.e. I'm insensitive to how my sarcasm will be received. Nuts. Again, I'm working on it; so, bear with me. Or don't. It's your dime, after all. But, I really do want to do right by my friends. The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and I'm happy to tell you that with the flow of traffic, I'm making excellent time. This blog, as stated to the left of your screen, is about people. If you know me, some day it might be about you. I am trying to be more considerate and I'm not trying to hurt anybody (or rather, if I'm trying to hurt you, you'll know), but this is my blog and it reflects what I think and if it can't be that, then it will simply cease to be. Read at your own risk, since I sure as hell am writing at mine.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

MxPx's Ten Years And Running is amazing. The only thing I don't like about MxPx is that they're only two years older than I am, yet they've been a band for ten years. And they're great. (Really, I love that about them, I'm just envious.)

The worst thing about fighting with a friend is you cannot really fight. You know each other so well that you are able to inflict real damage, but neither of you really lets loose, since, after all, this is your friend you're talking about. Somebody you love. It's really fucking frustrating, especially when you've been cut very very deeply, even more deeply than they intended or realize, and you can't bring yourself to mount more than a token counterattack. And then an armistice is signed and it's just over. No, I do not at all recommend fighting with a friend. The experience is highly unsatisfactory.

The Order of Things, II
Hey, remember the last time I put a gun to your head and forced you to read my blog? Everyone reading this is doing so of his or her own volition. If you do not like what you are reading, here are some suggested courses of action: a) just stop reading my blog, genius; b) mutteringly call me an asshole; c) let me know that you think I'm a douchebag (my email address is; d) let it slide, since it's not like you care what I think anyway. If you don't like me, if you don't consider me a friend, then I fail to see why you'd care what I have to say. If I don't like you, you can bet your bottom dollar that I do not care what you think about me. Not my friend = your opinions don't matter to me. The same principle should hold true for you. If you don't like me, then why would anything I say bother you? Tell me to take a long walk off a short pier if you like, but by Jove, don't let me tell you what to think. If you agree with me, great. If I can persuade you to see things my way, fantastic. But if you don't like me, just ignore me. Have enough faith in yourself to tell me to go bugger myself when we disagree. And if you do not have that kind of faith in yourself, then you deserve whatever you get. If you don't like me but my opinions are still upsetting to you, maybe you don't like yourself much either.

The University's Macs have all been changed over to the OS X operating system/interface. No, sir, I don't like it. Not one damn bit. And now, to the Post Office! Away!

Monday, August 19, 2002

Yesterday was a lot of fun; nevertheless, it was undoubtedly the worst Warped Tour I've experienced.

I stayed at home overnight, and had breakfast this morning with Mom at Bob Evan's. We talked about Dad's descent into madness and she seemed intrigued by my theory that it began after his father died. Grandpa Wilson was a madman, may he rest in peace, and since his death his second son (my dad) has grown to be more and more like him. We resolved nothing, but still, it's always nice when Mom and I can share a moment.

The war seems to be over, but I don't believe things can ever be the same between my adversary and me. I'm really quite upset about that.

It's going to be a busy week; so blogging may be erractic. Thus, "45 Things" will not return until next Monday, August 26.

The Order of Things, I
When I began The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society, inspired by my dear friend Julie, I revealed its existence to but a small group of people. These were the people whom I hoped would be interested in what I chose to say. I did not reveal its existence to most people, as I had no intention that they would ever read it. Others were excluded by necessity; for instance, Lindsay knows I have a blog, and as I have not invited her to read it, she correctly assumed that there were things therein that I preferred she not know. I hoped, and still do, that some strangers would wander in from the wilds of the Internet and find my writings intriguing. This is a concession to vanity of which I am not the least bit ashamed. But I considered the possibility that persons known to me whom I had not invited would visit the Secret Base to be remote at best. Even when the Secret Base was linked to Julie's blog, I didn't think anyone I knew would read it. I honestly didn't think they'd be interested. Had a known that certain persons were reading, I would not have changed a word, even though I never anticipated they would be reading. Next time in "The Order of Things," we will discuss the whys and wherefores of when you shouldn't give a hill of beans about what I say.

Left over from last week, The Bourne Identity was good and the 1962 Gregory Peck-Robert Mitchum Cape Fear is vastly superior to the 1991 Nick Nolte-Robert DeNiro Cape Fear.

Friday, August 16, 2002

Welcome to the second day of The Base of the Dot. I'd say "Welcome to the second exciting day," but as we discussed, personal opinions are a terrible thing. Good thing our friendly NYC-based Thought Police are here to make sure we are all good little conformists. Anything else I'd say would be sure to be tainted by personal bias; so, good day to you all and have another day. (Again, I'd say "Have a good day," but, you know.)

Oh, yeah, so it looks like I won't be going to New York in the Fall.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Hey, good news everyone! Due to the fact that I hurt somebody's feelings, this blog will no longer be about what I think and feel, but rather about nothing at all, as this is the only way to give no offense. Whew, thank my lucky stars I've been shown the error of my ways. Heaven forbid I should have kept writing what I felt in my blog.

I guess the first place to start shaping up my act would be the title: The Secret Base of the Rebel Black Dot Society. Well, "Secret" has clearly got to go, as it implies that this blog doesn't belong to everyone, when obivously it should reflect the broad opinion of the whole group, not that of one lone crackpot. "Rebel," now that won't do at all. What kind of a world would we live in if someone felt strongly enough about something to rebel? It gives me nightmares just thinking about it. "Black" is either racist or insane. If by "Black" I mean "of or relating to African-Americans," then I really should use the proper term, African-Americans. Or, if it was meant as dark, cynical, or not optimistic, well, than that indicates a mental health illness, as the only reasonable way to live is to love everyone and embrace all ideas as equal. And a "Society," well, that just screams exclusionary. No no, I'm afraid that cannot stand. Submissions for a new, friendlier name to this blog are welcome. Please email them to Thank you. Until then, please regard this site as The Base of the Dot.

My friend Lindsay is swell. In fact she [Censored: Personal Opinions Are Not Allowed.]. Hmm, no go? Well, I guess that's fair. If I am allowed to express positive opinions, I'll only become full of myself and eventually think I can express negative, or at the least uncomplimentary, opinions.

I saw The Bourne Identity last night. I'd tell you what I though of it, but, you know, we can't have that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Hmmm, weddings. I had a great time at Sarah von Linsowe's. Okay, I had a great time after Sarah von Linsowe's wedding, when Linz and I went to Conor's still decked out in our fancy clothes. (My God, she was stunning in that dress.) At the reception, we sat with and talked to the Knags, which is always fun. Emma invited me to her wedding in December, but I have serious doubts that I'll get a real invitation. And you know, that doesn't bother me, because Emma and I haven't been close since high school and this Brandon kid she's marrying, I don't know him from Adam.. I don't think there is much danger of being invited to Laura Johnson's wedding, but one can never be too careful. I need to keep a low profile.

Lindsay and her sister, Megan, came over last night. We played DDR and pool at Pete's, but Megan was a party pooper all night; she was tired and in a bad mood. In my experience, though, she's almost always in a bad mood. So, my guess is that surly is just her standard m.o. Still, always great to see Linz.

And now the wisdom of 18th century intellectual John Dryden: "Beware the fury of a patient man."

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I had an absolutely amazing time last night with Linz, Zach Nie!, and the Professor. After trivia night and three rounds at Conor O'Neill's, we feasted on chili fries at the Fleetwood... where we encountered the king of the burnouts and lord high chancellor of wasted potential, Jared DeLine. Then, we hit Pinball Pete's for a little Dance Dance Revolution; after I beat Zach and she beat Jon, I defeated Lindsay to remain BTW DDR champion. A good time was had by all. Sweet merciful crap, I miss having her around. This week is an entirely unforeseen gift from Fate; I cannot let it go to waste. So, though I already miss him, perhaps it is fortunate that David is back in Grand Blanc as this will make it easier for me to let Lindsay monopolize my time. Here's hoping, anyway.

Call me a fool, call me a hopeless romantic (or, you know, just a Sports Night fanatic), but I'm Dan Rydell and she's Rebecca Wells, and I'm settling in for a long period of wall demolition.

And now for something completely different: Royal Tenenbaum's epitaph from The Royal Tenenbaums (may we all have such bravado): "Died tragically rescuing his family from the wreckage of a destroyed sinking battleship."

There are a lot of headstones in Wes Anderson's movies. Odd, that.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Lindsay's back in Michigan. Her grandmother's very ill; so, her parents flew her back last night. I'm glad she's back, but to my credit as a human being, I really wish it were under different circumstances i.e. her grandmother wasn't dying. Still, her return has thrown me for a loop. I spent all of June longing for the trip in July, and since I've been back I've been steeling myself to accept the harsh reality that I probably wouldn't see her until Thanksgiving or Christmas. Now, ever fickle Fate has intervened, and I am grateful. (Of course, the dark bastard demands his due. So, it must also be said that next week I shall once again grapple with the Anteaus of separation.)

I apologize, I know I've been whining. For that, dear reader, I am sorry. You deserve better. I am suspending "45 Things" for the duration. (Yes, I'm sure you're crushed. "Whatever will we do?") Fear not, for next Monday, excepting any delay caused by her grandmother's demise, The Secret Base's one and only special department shall come roaring back with No. 32, the straw that may break the camel's back.

In the meantime I leave you with Eloise Fisher's epitaph from Rushmore (the original source is unknown to me): "The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

Friday, August 9, 2002

I just left the CCRB for maybe the last time as an employee of the University of Michigan Department of Recreational Sports. I've worked for Rec Sports since the Fall of 1997. Classes and professors came and went, but through all my time here in Ann Arbor, I've always had the constant of going to work. I've been a lifeguard for eight years, five of them for Rec Sports. I'm still working a few shifts at the IM for the next couple of weeks, but inescapably something I've been a part of for a very long and tumultuous time in my life is coming to an end. And, as sentimental as I am, endings make me melancholic. It's like it's just now finally dawning on me that I really am leaving Ann Arbor.

There is only one sure thing about the future, and that is death.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
31. Surprises, especially gifts for moi = more loving.
Yes, Radio Free Wilson was very well received. I combed through my CD collection before Lindsay left and compiled ten discs of the best of what I've got. Five discs of ska, five discs of punk. About seventy minutes to a disc, that's a fuck of a lot of music. She was genuinely touched. Almost despite myself, I do in fact know what I'm doing.

The next "45 Things" is the single best/worst item of the entire list. Please forgive me if my emotion overcomes my eloquence.

Thursday, August 8, 2002

You guys would tell me if I was pathetic, right?
45 Things She Wishes You Knew
30. I need to hear how you feel about me. Often. Tell me now.
She really doesn't want to know. Honest. Our friendship is contingent on no frank and honest discussion of this topic. While in San Francisco, on the night of the day of the Warped Tour, we were out with Dave Frantom and some of his friends at a bar called The North Star. Listening to me talk to this girl, Kim, Lindsay turned to me and said, "You must be getting drunk because you're being very forthcoming." This was after five of my eventual seven Guinnesses; I was not drunk. Most of the time, I'm willing be be forthcoming, people just don't want to hear it. In any event, were I allowed to, I would tell her how I feel every time we spoke; I would be shameless. Of course, I'm not allowed.

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

I've said it before and I'll say it again: scariest thing on the internet.
Man oh man oh man, what a great show last night. I'll never understand the bar scene, the drinking and smoking and miggling with strangers. If you want to feel alive, go find yourself a show and a pit. That, my friends, is ecstacy.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
29. You're sexy when you're shaving, fixing things, wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, driving, eating a peach, holding a baby.
Check, check, check, check, note to self: start eating peaches, check. Not that I hold babies or fix things on a regular basis, but, you know, I have done both those things. I guess this ties back to the fact that girls want a man. One who to some degree is an archetype. That's fair, since we expect girls to possess certain characteristics, like domesticity and a flair for make-up. At the same time, in a very accusatory way I've been called the most infuriatingly male man in the world. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

It's on my schedule to swim today, but I'm going to wuss out as I still feel tired from last night. If I have to be old and slow, damn it I'm going to use that to my advantage. Going back to Less Than Jake, Goodbye Blue and White is a great compilation.

The "director's edition" of Star Trek II is now out on DVD. Nothing says villainy quite like Ricardo Montalban and a fake chest. The next (and last?) Next Generation movie, Star Trek: Nemesis is set for a December 13 release. I'm as anxious as I am excited.

Tuesday, August 6, 2002

David and I are going to see Less Than Jake tonight, Super Wilson Bros. style. This is great, not only because Jake puts on a great show, but I saw them in March, and normally there's a bigger gap between shows. Kick ass.
The Plate's back in town. Joy. We could have been great friends, he and I, if he weren't so deathly afraid of confrontation. But, I can't be friends with someone for whom I have no respect. Nevertheless, I can't just blow him off because I need him for The Newsletter (new, way better website coming soon!). Of course, the nice thing about not being able to be friends with someone for whom I have no respect is if I don't respect you I have no problem lying to your face. So, I don't think he has any idea I don't like him.

I told you I was a monster.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
28. I'm in heaven when you hold my hand.
From a certain point of view, Lindsay including this on a list she sent to me could be construed as cruel. For the most part, I do not subscribe to that point of view, but let's move on. This item is exactly how I think all the time. I die every time I see her getting ready for bed, I delight in the furrow of her brow as she reads a recipe, I love the sight of her pouting behind her sunglasses. I remember every embrace, every meeting, every moment, and each is more precious to me than all the tea in China. I was in heaven when she kissed me, even though it was her way of saying goodbye.

Monday, August 5, 2002

Everyone in my email address book has a nickname. Lindsay's, based on her infatuation with Mike Herrera, the lead singer and bass player of MxPx, in "Lindsay Herrera." Although I changed her nickname to Lindsay Herrera as soon as I got back from Berkeley, she only noticed it recently and commented in a recent email. So, I signed my next email "the future Mr. Parker Posey" to which she responded that I'd probably have better luck, from an age point of view, pursuing Natalie Portman. Two rebuttals: a) David already has dibs on Ms. Portman and b) I am only eleven years younger than Ms. Posey. I view an eleven year age difference as the least of the obstacles on the way to winning Ms. Posey's heart.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
27. I want to be Madonna.
That's the saddest thing I've ever read.

Since Saturday, I've been devouring Lucinda Rosenfeld's What She Saw... and will finish it tonight. It's been absolutely fabulous and I recommend it most highly to all participants in the early 21st century dating scene. Well, actually, I don't have a workable definition for "the early 21st century dating scene" (Would I be a member? I'm not actively seeking to meet new people or pick up girls in a bar.); so, let me revise my statement and recommend it to all those who, in one way or another, are seeking love/romance/sex/happiness in another person in the early 21st century. For all those interested in the Middle Kingdom, I recommend the book I finished on Saturday, Patrick Tyler's A Great Wall.

Saturday, August 3, 2002

Signs. Wow. Shyamalan's best movie to date.

In comics news, I could not be happier with the current run of The Flash, and I'm very much looking forward to the post-Kevin Smith run of Green Arrow. I'm nervous in the face of a new creative team behind Nightwing, but in all honesty that book hasn't been the same since the end of McDaniel's run (which is odd because he was just the penciller; it's had the same writer throughout). A new "all-star" team is taking over Batman. I have no faith in them whatsoever. *sigh*

I still can't believe I was twenty before I got into comics.

Friday, August 2, 2002

I've "socialized" twice this week, and the inescapable conclusion is that both times I would have been happier in my room by myself. On Monday, Brad's vapid birthday fiesta; yesterday, after the Animania plenary meeting, I accepted an open invitation to go see Austin Powers in Goldmember. Oh my stars and garters, it was terrible. I mean, The Spy Who Shagged Me was uninspired, but at least it was funny. I counted carefully, and I laughed four times during all of Goldmember. Sweet merciful crap, it was as bad as Shrek. So, unfortunately, I now have to classify Mike Myers as a hack and, what's worse, a has-been. He used to be hilarious; now he's just pathetic. Rich, but pathetic.

45 Things She Wishes You Knew
26. When in doubt, go with the shirt the color of your eyes.
You mean the crappy band T-shirt the color of my eyes? Sure, fine, I guess this is reasonable advice. For me, though, a better rule is that black is always appropriate. (In all fairness, I suppose it wouldn't be easy to come up with forty-five meaningful and passibly original statements on relationships.)

And now, a message from the dark bastard who resides in the back of my head: Lindsay's new friends, fellow incoming grad student Chris and his sister Erin (she befriended them on her admissions tour), are moving into their apartment in Berkeley this weekend. I suppose my usefulness has thus come to an end. She now has more than one set of drinking buddies, and someone with whom she can look forward to the Fall semester. After a pair of long and lovely phone cenversations this week, I anticipate that we won't be hearing from her for quite some time.

Now, before anybody fires off a heartfelt message of consolation (presumptuous fucker, aren't I?), let it be known that voicing dark bastard's concerns has the curious effect of nullifying them. Articulation dispells the black humors. Also, I have now officially classified jealousy in the same catagory as worry: it is an utterly useless emotion. To clarify, concern is good. Concern will make sure that what needs to get done gets done, that all your ducks are in a row. Worry, though, is a damned cancer. It'll eat you alive, break your spirit, and give you nothing. It is useless. Cut it out with a (metaphorical) knife. There's no way to ease yourself out of worring; you've got to stop cold turkey. Jealousy's the same way. "Jealousy is a waste of time," to quote the great Darwyn Cooke. Now, it will take a strong act of will before jealousy is gone, and friendship jealousy will be a harder dragon to slay than relationship/sexual jealousy, but at least now I'm fighting the right enemy. My sincerest thanks to Skeeter for helping to open my eyes.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

I'm reading Patrick Tyler's A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China, An Investigative History. Previously, the Carter Administration normalized relations with the People's Republic of China and currently, the Reagan Administration is wrangling with its conflicting desires to befriend China as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union and remain loyal to its long-standing friends on Taiwan. I understand that the Cold War dominated the entire geopolitical scene from the end fo the Second World War to the fall of Communism, but it's still shocking to read how broadly and completely everything always came back to the Soviets. The Berlin Wall fell when I was nine, and by the time I was twelve the Soviet Union had dissolved; so, much as I might consciously resist the notion, the collapse of the Soviet Union has always seemed pretty much a foregone conclusion. It's fascinating to read about the motives of men who thought that the USSR would stand forever, and might even defeat the United States. Odd, that.
45 Things She Wishes You Knew
25. I'm unimpressed with a man who doesn't take the lead.
Be a man. Not an asshole caricature, but a man. A noted feminist I highly respect once said, "The reason I don't like men is I've never met one." Don't be a frat boy, don't be a wimp. Don't keep it all inside, don't fall to pieces. Be a rock, not cold an unfeeling, but an archor for her in an often cruel world. Be a man, and to paraphras Kipling, yours is the Earth and all that's in it.