Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dress time!

     Okay, so to all ten of you who read this, I am soo excited! So, I have been itching to sew lately! I don't usually get along with the sewing machine, but I realllly want to make my own gala (prom, for those of you who don't go to my private school) dress, and i have very little experience with sewing dresses.
   In comes excitement! So, my English teacher, Ms.Griffin, has us reading The Great Gatsby. Weird, frustrating book, you should read it if you haven't already. So she had this idea to throw a Gatsby party when we come back to school, since we have spirit week and have a little more freedom than our uniform. If we all dress up, we can get extra credit. I was like yeah, sure, extra credit, let's go. But I don't have any dresses that would remotely work.
   So I went looking on google image (girl's bff right there) and found that my wardrobe for the Roaring Twenties is worse than I thought. I have nothing that works. So next, switching to normal google web search, I go looking for patterns. And... Ding!
    I found a blog (please go visit it, it is possibly my new favorite place on the web), And it had a pattern for free that you can print out!!!! So yesterday's joy was taping that together, only to realize, crap, this woman's a size small. I'm not. So then I had to modify the pattern from its 34" bust and 29" waist to my 39" bust and 33" waist. Actually less hard than I thought, since the pattern shrunk slightly during printing, so I just had to add an inch to all of the seam edges.

    Next issue, what fabric? I went exploring in my grandma's basement, but no fabric was quite noble enough. Or rather, none appealed to my taste with this dress. But, never fear, Joann Fabrics had the solution! 3 yards and 23 dollars later, I have a gorgeous blue knitted fabric interwoven with silver threads. And it's sooooo soft!!! The three or four people who helped me at the store all made over how gorgeous and how soft it is, and this was genuine, "Wow, this is awesome!" not just "Oh, wow. Can I get paid now?" I know in the picture it might not look all that great, but trust me, in real life it is mind-blowing!

     So I can't wait! I have homework to do this weekend, so it will probably start to happen next week, but I just can't get over how great this is going to be! And don't forget to check out my new favorite blogger!

Monday, July 21, 2014

I am

    Most of my life has revolved around my feelings. Once, someone I look up to told me I was extreme, just based off of one conversation we were having and my polar feelings on the matter. He was more right than he knew. Unfortunately most of that feeling has been extreme sadness. I have been so focused on who I am not that I didn't take the time to see who I am, and who I can be. I am not skinny, I am not liked, I am not good enough, I am not right in the head, I am not able to maintain a social life, I am not, I am not. And it has taken me this long to say that I am loved by many, I am made in God's image, I am sweetly broken, I am an important influence, I am saved by grace, and I am a crazy teenager who has the potential to one day rock the world at its foundations. I am, and not being is not acceptable. Not being extraordinary with myself is not acceptable, because average is for those who do not care, and I am extreme. I don't know exactly where I'm going, or how I'm going to get there, but I have faith God will get me there in the end. God bless you all.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


    Ohmigosh, complete fangirling moment right here! It is ON! I have discovered the wonderfully dark and antiquated mechanical world of Steampunk! *sigh* Ok... I think I'm done. NOT!
    Ok, for the millions of you poor people out there who are in the dark to what the wonderful world of steampunk is, I shall attempt to describe it to you. It centers around what I (possibly inaccurately) call Victorian London. Mostly it revolves around teen novels centered during this time period, but there's a twist- and a big one. The world is almost always focused on steam power. Electricity is benched to create an alternate history- one focused on steam-powered mechanics and technology, lots of gears, lots of leather, lots of chain and metal, and generally some very spunky heroines. Throw in automatons, steam-powered weaponry and transportation, and occasionally some twisted DNA, and you get one very dirty steam-filled world in the chaos of industrial revolution and Victorian values from a modern viewpoint. The whole thing started out there as an idea, and has morphed into a who genre of books, clothing, and accessories. One that sadly few know of. Oh well, I DO! XD
    I just finished a book entitled The Girl in the Steel Corset, which I loved. Perhaps a little historically inaccurate, but most of these are in one way or another. I just usually grumble and move on past it into the glorious plot. And glorious this plot is. It was based around a girl named Finley, an average commoner who has basically a split personality. You find out later in the book her father was a scientist which literary history calls Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde (for those of you not familiar with the particulars of that book, a scientist separates his goodness and his evil into effectively split personalities, but the evil is a monster that eventually destroys his goodness). So poor Finley has a darker side that comes out when she feels threatened and it causes all sorts of problems for her. She end up hanging out with this Duke named Griffin and his friends who also are abnormal in one way or another, and because of the same little bacteria-like buggers called Organites, which their parents messed about with. This insane man named the Machinist, an old friend of everyone's parents (who he killed, btw), then tries to kill them all, but not before we get an American cowboy involved, a love story happily situated, and the reader (well, me at least) just about screaming at Griffin and Finley, who obviously have feelings for each other but refuse to admit it because they're being stupid combined with the fact that she's a commoner and he's the next step down from prince... argh frustration. Book two, here I come.
    Another great Steampunk series is the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld. Much more historically accurate than the Steel Corset book, it is a very interesting read I highly recommend to anyone. It basically creates a world divided between those who accept steam-powered machines and those that have eschewed dirty steam for animals specially "fabricated" from "life threads" (DNA cough cough). These beast are combinations of several other animals and are used for all sorts of things from cleaning and mail service to air transportation. Throw in a girl disguised as a boy so she can get into the Royal Service and fly, and the kind-of illegitimate son of an Austrian Archduke, and you've got a plot that is impossible to ignore. Oh, did I mention that WWII begins shortly into book 1? *sigh*
    Ugh, I have basically written a novel for you and haven't even begun to discuss clothes. Well, if you stuck with me this far, I recommend you go google steampunk clothing immediately. Its all just so fantastic!!! I hardly know what to do with myself. I found this really cool instruction vid for how to make goggles from foam. His instructions are a little much for me, personally. Epoxy? no thanks... Latex? Ugh... what a mess. However, I do have the basic craft foam, and a little hot glue and Aleen's should be able to fix all the overly-fancy gluing problems I may face. I am biting at the bit to get started, but I dont have a spare set of sunglasses lying around for the lenses. I am gonna have to improvise anyway, because you need to pay $5 to get the template. I'm just gonna freehand it and roll, which will be more fun anyway, but is gonna take longer, and I'm gonna need to get my sunglass lenses ahead of time so I can work with them. The price I pay for improv DIY... oh well! Still super excited!

Darkness and Light

      For many years of my life I struggled with the idea of darkness. Growing up in my Christian School setting, I developed this idea that my inner human nature of sin was something I needed to separate from my "light", from God and all that I considered good of myself. From this, I mistakenly developed this idea that somehow self confidence = pride, which = sin, which = darkness. You can see why I was miserable there for a while. Thinking that any self confidence is something you need to get rid of immediately can get you to a dismal place. Mind you, too much confidence is bad, and a healthy fear of God is really nice to have. But, that is mostly just a rabbit trail. Back to the prize stag.
       I am prone to kind of these dark, gloomy brooding sessions. They are more prone to happen in the winter and leave me an emotional wreck at the end- so as nice as the wisdom that I find while in my deep blue funks are, sometimes I wonder if they are worth it and if they could please, at their earliest convenience, bugger off, if they would be so kind. But, seeing as how this has been a lifetime thing so far, buggering off does not seem to be something likely to occur soon. ANYWAYS. So, many times my brooding funks have taken me to evaluating light and darkness. Fun topics, I know. Real happy and fluffy. Kittens and all that. I don't know, but light and darkness are nice deep topics that my brooding side enjoys.
       After much of this brooding, and a great deal of thought on the matter while not in my brooding moods, I have concluded that my initial idea of separate light and darkness within me is, in fact, false. I mean, everybody knows that light and darkness are opposites, right? That means they can't mix? Well, you should probably contact a legit philosopher on this if you want more than my ramblings. However, I think humanity is more complicated than simple good and bad, light and dark. We were created as beings of purity and light, but we desecrated it in the pursuit of knowledge (ironic much, that?). So, now, we are inherently beings of the dark, but we all seem to have some light within us, at least at some point in our lives. But this does not mean that we have two sides, either. I tried that too, basically almost splitting my personality to light and dark, and ignoring what I considered dark. Well, that's what I told myself I was doing.
       When it comes down to it though, I think that human nature is more complicated than good and bad sides. The older I get and the more time I spend in the world, the more I am assured of this observation. Perhaps a better description would be a dual nature. We were given knowledge of good and evil in the Fall, and we say that Jesus had a dual nature of deity and humanity, so why couldn't this be the case? Perhaps we are at all times inherently good and evil, and our actions are dictated by situation and personality. This is not to say that God is not involved in this. He ultimately has the power to change situations to His will, and if He has saved us, then He has influence on our personality. So anyways, I figured out that once I got over the whole "banish the inner dark part of your soul" and moved on to "hey, I'm a mess, so let's work on fixing it" side of perspective, life has been a lot nicer for me to deal with. No more blame, etc. I am me, no blaming the devil or demons or "the dark side" (and, no, they don't have cookies), just flawed little me.
         Maybe I am just being silly once again. For what is darkness but absence of light? Maybe it is not possible for one to have light and not have it at the same time, or maybe my convoluted outlook is right for once.
         Maybe I need some color..... this black and white business is awfully bland
        And maybe I should just leave philosophy to those who think professionally.....

Friday, May 30, 2014

Juliek part 2

   Well, I thought I would update you as to the situation regarding my art project. I bought a really big brush that I used to do another coat on top of the black. Ridiculous, you say? Perhaps, except for that my small-brush technique left me with awkward streaks of matte and shine spots that looked pretty downright terrible. Another coat with a larger brush effectively removed this difficulty and made for a much cleaner matte-like finish. I did this some time ago, however, and in end-of-year insanity which ensues every May, the poor canvas got pushed to a corner and forgotten.
    Fear not! I found it, though! Well, I never actually lost it, per se. I actually got tired of the guilt looks its been shooting me as I look at it every night, berating me for not working on it. Along with a thousand other unfinished art projects. So it kind of got pushed away in the muddled noise of my subconscious. I am still really excited about the whole project, though, so I finally got back into it before a bunch of other ones. After finally getting sick of waiting for my grandma to decide if she was willing to brave her insanely messy basement in search of my mom's old violin, I resorted to google images for sketching.
   I first noticed how different a real violin is to how I imagine one. I mean, think about it. You can probably imagine roughly what a violin looks like. If you can't, I'm sorry. If you successfully got an approximate image, though, now go find a violin in google images. See what I mean? No? Okay, I admit I'm insane. I'm sorry. But still, I realized that this is going to be a lot more detailed and just intense to paint than I originally realized. You see, I am not only painting a violin, it is going to be broken in half and light exploding from the inside. I am still toying with the ideas of dripping blood or words or something else to add to the symbolism.
    This painting is, as I mentioned before, from the book Night by Elie Wiesel. Juliek, another Jew rotting in a concentration camp, has a violin and dies while playing his heart out. My painting will have the violin broken in half to symbolize the cruelly shortened life of this beautiful soul, and the light symbolizing all sorts of things: the life he will never life, the dreams which died with the Nazis, the artist's spirit which defined him and could not be killed, and an inner light that I believe God created everyone with. With the breaking of his body and the ending of his life, the pure light of his short life is released in a blinding array of purity. The broken violin is symbolism for his ended life, in a 'Van Gogh's chair' sort of self-portrait (that's an art reference.... sorry).

    Maybe I am getting too deep with all this...

   But my point is that I have to not only draw a violin, but a broken one. That means broken wood, as well as getting the perspective right for the broken bits and doing it all without an active model of a broken violin. Idk, maybe google images will have broken violin pics too... But on top of that, I am painting light, one of the main arch-nemeses of artists everywhere. Light, reflections, faces, shadows, shiny objects.... yeah, not fun. It wouldn't be that bad, except for that I DONT KNOW HOW TO PAINT LIGHT!!!!!!!!!! yeah, the flaws in this grand plan keep on coming.... I just hope I can patch the holes before the whole project sinks to the bottom of the Sea of Good Ideas, where it will die a painful, lonely death.
   I did start the sketch on the canvas. Idk how to get a pic on her though. Maybe I will have figured out how by the time I actually get more done on this and post again.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Dream Within A Dream

Thus we have sought to divine the true meanings of this sad tormented spirit which is Poe. Ok, I'm done being dramatic. Maybe. In layman's, my English class has begun to explore some of Edgar A. Poe's works. Beautifully haunting work, I find myself comparing myself to this poor lost soul. While my intelligence surely does not match his, nor his view on life, I can find some connection therein. While reading the poem "A Dream Within A Dream", Poe anguishes over the futility of life, agonizing that he cannot save but a single grain of sand from its fate of the tormenting sea. Perhaps that is a metaphor for some deeper, more profound message, I know not. I found myself thinking, though, that it is the way of the world and the fate of sand to be carried by oceans afoul with storms. It is like when a kitten dies on my grandmother's farm; it is undeniably sad, but it is the way of things and is part of why God made cats to have litters with many kittens. I find thankfulness to God in this, that I can accept that some things must be and can only be accepted, because I surely would be like Poe mentally had I not learned this. And then I realized the danger in this philosophy. Our God is capable of all things, so how can I rightly limit Him with what "must be"? Do I have greater faith in the laws of physics than the One who created them? Do I hold more trust in the philosophies and understandings of men, though they be incomplete, than the One who knows all completely in infinite understanding? Oh, ye child of little faith.....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Juliek part 1

     Hey, guys! Im planning on doing a series of posts here in my blog for a personal art project I'm working on. Im calling it Juliek based off a scene in Elie Wiesel's book Night, which describes his experience as a Jew in the Holocaust. I know it is a bit of a grim topic, but I am planning on exploring a little bit more into the Holocaust itself as I go, so I wont bore you completely with just pictures and me critiquing my own art.
      I came up with the idea for this last night and made a (very) rough sketch of a broken violin with light exploding out of its exposed insides. I'd show you the sketch but it kinds sucks so I will show you the other progress I made: the canvas. I happened to have bought a few canvasses a few months back because they were on sale, and the atypical shape of this canvas appealed to me then. It now seems like the perfect shape: wide enough to provide lots of space for a broken violin and some cool light effects (I'll get into my plan for that another day), but short enough to eliminate any awkward negative space. 
     In light of the darker nature of this piece, I felt a pure black background would set the mood nicely and create perfect contrast for the light, among other things. One problem: the canvas is white. Easily fixed, however, so here is the progress for day 1. 

     Yes, I know, the edges aren't painted, but I plan on finishing that up and adding touch up tomorrow. Then I'm gonna get around to the irritating part: sketching, sketching, and more sketching until I am thoroughly sick of violins and get so bored I start painting. I think I might try borrowing my mom's old violin from my grandma to get a physical model. Google images is great, but real is always better. 
     How is it possible that what should probably be my shortest blog post ever manages to become this long?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Strong enough?

h     Life the past couple of weeks has resembled a roller coaster to me, and particularly reminds me of one in particular. I must admit, I like roller coasters. I'm not as fond of the big metal ones that go 60+ mph and 100 ft in the air, but I end up enjoying those when I ride them anyway. The one I am thinking of is probably my favorite, though. It is in a lesser-known park called Kennywood right outside Pittsburg, and in the back of this part of this park is an old wooden roller coaster called the Thunderbolt, if memory serves. It was fantastic, though, because it went fast, had great turns and rises and dips, and was just laid out great. The first time I was at Kennywood, we didn't end up getting to the ride until it was dark out, and that only made it more fun. You see, the first half of the ride had floodlights, but the last half was flooded with darkness, so you didn't really know what was coming next on the track. In a roller coaster, this is incredible fun. In life, its slighly less so. 
     I was listening to the song "Strong Enough" by Matthew West. It immediately caught my attention, with the lyrics "you must think I'm strong to give me what I'm going through," because it pretty perfectly summed up my recent feelings. It goes on saying how, the singer isn't strong enough to do it on their own, so he gives up to God. And then, I had a bit of a slap in the face from the song. "Well, maybe that's the point, to reach the point of giving up, 'cause when I'm finally at rock bottom, that's when I start looking up and reaching out."
     I would like to laugh ironically at this comment. That also fits so perfectly in my life. I am obstinate enough that surrender is something that is out of reach until I hit rock bottom, which, as far as I'm concerned, I have. I finally got so low that I stopped just looking up and childishly asking, "Well, God? You gonna help me or not?" and started to reach out for help. I finally realized that there is something wrong, and I need to get out of this. 
     So, in this light, is it perhaps not if I am strong enough to handle it all, but am I weak enough to surrended my strength and thus find peace? I don't know if I am, but maybe peace and surrender take time, like I am discovering so many other things do. 

for anyone who might like to see the song, hopefully this link will work. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Martha, Martha

     I have had issues for a long time about worry and fear. However, I found a little bit of solace through the story of Martha, her sister Mary, and Jesus. Found at the end of Luke 10, it is a story familiar to most of us on some level. Jesus comes to visit these sisters, and Martha tries to be the good host and is somewhat flustered trying to do it. Her sister Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him speak and teach. Martha gets annoyed with her sister, and asks Jesus to make Mary help her.
     However, this is not what Jesus does. Rather, he says,“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42 NIV)
     So what place does my anxiety have in my life, rightfully? "Few things are needed, or indeed only one," and that One loves me far too much to want me to worry about Him. While it is not that easy to get rid of worry, I think that every bit helps.

Monday, February 10, 2014


   Long have I considered mortality a strange thing. It gives meaning to life, because we only have so much time to get everything that we want to done, so we live with it hanging over us. Most people would rather live longer if possible, and yet I, as a nerd, of course, have seen my fair share of sci-fi movies exploring immortality. Most of the writers came to the same conclusion, however. Immortality is a curse if it be layed upon any on this earth.
   Now, where did this come from? I mean, we use modern medicine to give us just a little more time, and the idea of extended life isn't exactly new to this century. Juan Ponce De Leon came to South America in search of the fountain of youth, the key to eternal young life. While alchemy is most famous for the pursuit of turning common metals of little worth into gold, many alchemists also sought out the key to living forever. Even some early doctors, astrologers, and 'magicians' sought out this. Perhaps it is pulled from our ancient heritage, with lifespans that have slowly dwindled down from the first two humans, who would have lived forever had they not sinned. 
   But how could earthly immortality ever end in good? If one person could achieve it, they would have to watch all they loved die around them, and then watch their civilization die, and if they were not yet mad and hermits, watch more civilizations rise and fall, rise and fall, until it all ended someday. Madness would be sure to strike them eventually, because how much can the human mind endure? We were made for a lifespan of roughly "threescore and ten" years (70 in layman's terms), so how many years past that could a mind survive sane? Would they survive to 200 years, or even 150? 
   Say, however, that you did not just make one person immortal, you made the whole world immortal, or something like just the rich or the smartest. Suppose that you could account for the brain, at least for a few hundred years or so, and keep it from going mad, and yet still intact. How would this be good, either? With the whole world immortal, society would fall into overpopulation, and then cruel dictatorships would arise, demanding population control, in any form it takes, with a likely output in eugenics. With just the few as immortal, the world would fall into an even crueller heirarchy. Money would dictate your life, and the few would live in luxury while the rest rotted in ignorance, depravity, and poverty. The rich would oppress the already poor to stay rich and not have to share. The brilliant would run out of ideas, eventually, and with the general population being uneducated in an effort by the rich to control them (because stupid people don't fight or think for themselves). Society would crawl to stagnation. The upper class would try to educate a chosen few, to have new ideas, but it is almost impossible to make a genius. Even if they did succeed in making geniuses, half of genius is free thinking, so this new batch of geniuses would be severely controlled and therefore unable to think truly freely, not to mention they would have so many ego problems to add to the already stinking humanity.
   And why do we delude ourselves in thinking any more time will help? In most cases, those who want more time the most are the ones who used the time given to them for the least. The ones who 'wasted' their lives, who could have done more with it, but didn't, and regret it. Either that, or they waste most of their life seeking it, only to fail in misery. Do these people deserve immortality, because what are the chances that furthering of their lives will actually get them to do anything with themselves? It is the same as leadership; those who wish to lead are often least fit to do it, and those who seek immortality are likely those who deserve it least.
    But then again, does anyone deserve immortality? Time changes people, and someone who is kind in a normal lifespan may become bitter after a few centuries. It doesn't even take that much to change someone. If man if fallible, what says he deserves to be immortally fallible? Our own sick pride? Or is it fear?
    If a fear of death can lead to one wasting their entire life in search of futile immortality, how else can fear this great affect us? 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Circular Reasoning

   Ever talk to yourself? If you said no, think again. I'm pretty sure we all talk to ourselves sometimes, even just mentally. Even as children, we set up alter egos of ourselves and called them "imaginary friends". I do it a lot. It helps me to think through things. I even set up mental debates sometimes, with two extremes of whatever I am thinking of, and then I work out as many angles of the issue as I can see. It really doesn't offer a second insight, but it does sometimes take me down avenues I wouldn't normally travel.
   Well, today I just had a conversation with the air. This was just me, pacing for about forty-five minutes, ranting to the air about the logical pointlessness of pretty much everything. I did it because when I am emotionally unstable (which is more often than I like), this tends to be as an issue I cannot overcome. I figured that if I discussed it while level-headed, I could aide my future self in this aspect. Turns out it felt really good right now, too.
   So after a long path of one thing leading to another, I concluded that yes, life is mostly pointless, but life is better than the lack of it, happiness better than sorrow, and religion better than atheism. Not only is religion better than atheism, though, Christianity is better than other religions, and Jesus is better than Christianity (sorry if I just lost anyone...). It is better to be alive and do whatever it is God has decided for you, because it could possibly make someone's life out there a little less pointless to them. There really may not be any feasible reason to life while we live it, but we can't see the wheels of a car while we drive, either. We only know why the car rolls because we have stood outside it. We could try to figure it out while in the car if we had never been outside it, but we probably would come up with a number of conclusions (without other cars to look at out the windows, of course). It would be ridiculous for any grown human to think that the car moves because the road moves us to where we want, but how would we know otherwise if we had lived in the car our whole lives and never seen the outside. But say someone managed to figure out the car indeed had wheels, would it be illogical for him to conclude that they moved by magic, or by little mice running in wheels, or some equally ridiculous means?
   So no, I do not think we will find the "meaning of life" in its entirety. Because we are not God, and we cannot see all of time and all of humanity that ever was, is, or will be. Because no one has ever come back from death to say, "Hey! I found the meaning of life!" and they probably never will. But talking to yourself about it might help you get a little closer to finding it :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Growing up

   For almost as long as I can remember, I have been trying to grow up faster. I had a tendency to be rather precocious when I was younger, and wanted nothing more than to get this "growing up" business over and done with. It seemed like a time when you are not taken seriously even though sometimes you have something good to say, and that frustrated me. So, I started a quest for learning. I love to learn, and love to share what I have learned with everyone. The words, "Did you know that..." have been my close, constant companion, along with all those lovely question words. I find that Rudyard Kipling summed it up quite well;

"I keep six honest serving-men
  (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
  And How and Where and Who."

    And yet now as I get a little older, and am now having a bit more freedom, I am finding myself yearning for childhood. I want to just go have fun, to dance under the moonlight. I want to listen to my music loudly and I want to run, jump, and just generally be an idiot before I am expected to be confined by adulthood. I am finding myself wishing for health when I do not have it consistently, and each day I find myself in a state of almost tense resignation of another "episode." I worry about little things, and find that my precocious nature when I was younger has robbed me of, well, I am not quite sure, but there is something lost from it.
    God put this experience of "growing up" in our lives for a reason, though, even if I find my own lacking. I guess the world needs some people to grow up fast, but can I never be a child again? Even the adults with the most childish natures, I discover often have a much darker, deep-thinking side that they hide under the simplicity of childhood. Maybe the whole point of childhood is God showing us what he wants from us; that the world really isn't as big and complicated as we say it is, that some fears are silly, and that the best messages are often the simplest and most direct. That, devotion, is with one's whole heart given with a smile.
    But do I really want to go back to that state? I look back and find myself hopelessly naive, easily impressed upon, easily pricked to emotion, and oh, so stubborn. Perhaps it is good that I have grown up, but then again, perhaps it is good that I have not fully yet.
    And, did anyone ever notice that the years before 18 are oft described as "the best of one's life" and that we should enjoy them, and not waste our precious youth, and yet no one ever seems to want to go relive high school once beyond it? Ah, the irony...