HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON! ... BONER, THE PIANO DOG ... November 27, 1994 ... February 20, 2010
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April 19, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Mo and I headed out to the Las Vegas Mission center for the Thursday dinner with about 600 people who live on the streets. There are two dinners every night there. I create music for both. The first for the outsiders, the second is for the insiders of the mission which is an additional couple hundred people. I really do need to let go of the resentment I copped from my time there on Easter. They would not give me an Easter dinner to take home. You know what they say about resentments right? All I know is that it hurts no one but me. It was such a small matter. When I give to the people (not the place) I must remember that the (place) is not why I am there... in fact I'm using the (place) for my agenda. Keeping my head wrapped around that fact is a challenge because I want the (place) to care about the worth I am bringing to it but that is not part of the equation. I had a good time today never the less and people are as appreciative as it can get, its fun, I get to do what I want, the way I want to and on a half decent grand piano. Below is some really amazing fun two man Boogie Woogie Piano Jamming from yesterday in my neighborhood.
April 18, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
My friend Stephanie up the street was having a small rockabilly party festival at her vintage clothing store so I decided to stop by with the Traveling Piano. Mo and I met some really fun people. Where I live visitors come to from around the world, those who want more than what the casino's have to offer. It is the Arts District and there are amazing vintage clothing shops. Casino's are fun, great, entertainment, marketing, money, selling but... a neighborhood provides a unique sense of reality into people's lives which I find more interesting. Two guys driving buy jumped out of a truck. They began wailing away Boogie Woogie music together at the piano... true pro's and just pure fun. I did not get their names and I sure as hell hope they contact me. Before leaving I drove one of the guys and his girl friend on the back of the Traveling Piano up and down the street for a minute while they sang and played. I have some fun video from it that I'll post later.
April 17, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Today was the only day this week that I could get out into the dessert to see the wild flowers while they are blooming. I was going to go to the Valley of Fire but other work delayed it. I was not free until mid afternoon. So for how ever long the time I had Mo and I drove to Red Rock Canyon which is close by. Now that is it spring the park stays open until 8PM. With practically no energy we walked and eventually just turned left off a path to find a cliff and then climbed down that to another cliff because I could hear water. We eventually found a small creek with lots of green trees. Mo got to jump around in some water for a change. I just sat and listened to the sound. The sun went down behind the mountains and it began to get cold so we headed out. A little part of me wanted to create some music in the parking lot but most of me said it was too cold. While heading back to the city we stopped at an overlook because there was still about ten minutes of sun there.
Then I decided to push myself to create music for just a few minutes and while setting up a woman approached interested. I responded simple and dry because I just was not able to interact musical. She left and I thought, "shit"! I felt guilty while creating music until someone else approached and then it all began. The first woman returned, a couple people visiting from Slovakia and then more coincidentally, more people from Slovakia, locals... and it went on until dark when a couple from Jamaica came up when the truck cover was almost completely on. I took it back off for them and finished the night. They could barely see the truck because it was dark and had not heard me play. They saw the piano sign and had an interest for their children. They said God had told them to come up to me and ask if I gave piano lessons. By the way, the wild flowers... they are blooming late this year so I will still have time to see them next week!
April 16, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
It is going to be a challenge to present the Traveling Piano as both for fees and without. I am just putting one foot in front of the other. Ten hours over two days were spent dealing with a business card company and my making revisions and telling them my needs. In the end was a failure. They could not produce what I needed because of their template structure and did not want to tell me in the hope that I would adjust my needs to "less than." Nope. Then I made this flyer for my apartment complex and others because there was what I told, bonafide interest. They knew the fees I used to charge back when. Unfortunately that interest was in the moment only. All the creating, producing, research for promo and what I want to say and how, playing for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, etc... is really cutting into my Traveling Piano time out on the streets and the routine I've had for the last 12 years. Processing pictures, as I said, working with the Traveling Piano, trying to practice, talking care of my healthy, Mo, spending time in nature, keeping life organized as in filing data, having a clean room and taking care of my emotional stability with the sleep I need in order to function, posting online, exercise, doing errands... it all takes a lot longer than in my younger days. I'm aware also how when people get older change does not come so easy and it never came easy for me to begin with. Still... I'm up for the challenge for today at least... one day at a time.
April 15, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Ok, now for the first Traveling Piano business card. I'm fearful with this as I do not want to, let me correct that... cannot... go back to the old life I had. I must evolve, transition into something new. That does not mean completely new. Maybe the old... in a new way. The bottom line is that I must move forward and income must be an aspect of that. So I just putting one foot in front of the other and even though I am doing the same old, same old... at least I am doing something while staying aware that it is simply a step. Again, it is a step and nothing more than a step towards income in a new and better and more profitable way than ever before. Ha... profit not. I am not interested in profit. In fact I have taken a vow of poverty with my work. I have no problem with someone else making profit, as much as they want as long as I can achieve my goals. (which are significant) I would have no problem with someone else making profit from my work as long as it does not detract from my needs and wants.
April 14, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
The first Traveling Piano calling card. It is not a business card and think I made it clear on the card. For all these years I've used flyers. This looks a little more upscale. I used to get flyers via contribution but the energy or desire to seek that out right now is not there. And... the cost was a deal, sixty bucks for 2500 cards and then fifty more more the gloss finish. Onward...
April 13, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Blah, blah, blah... I want to avoid that on this blog today. Crazy little synchronistic energy is happening. It is not good, bad or anything, it is just happening. I'm want to be humble about my present choices and the idea of how I go about getting some finances. It is all confusing because I am just spinning ideas around in my brain over and over. Maybe I should just do something even if that means retuning to old ways that I became so burnt out from and that became the impetus for this present journey. Getting paid for my work... feels destructive in a way, destructive of what I've been building for the last 12 years. Mo and I were at the Las Vegas Mission center today as I created music for the dinner there. One of the guys from the street came up to ask if I would play on the Traveling Piano as a celebration for getting back with his girlfriend. I said I would meet him them on the street near a bench at the bus station downtown at 10pm. They never showed up. I should have known better when he said he had a car and she lives in Summerlin, the high end area for people with money and he off the street for a dinner at the mission. He probably just wanted to connect and feel some worth with me. I ended up playing music on a corner for 45 minutes in the dark with an old lady pretty much passed out on a bench a few feet away. I hope the music touched her in a good way. She never moved before, during or after except at the start to make sure she was safe. She probably thought she was dreaming.
April 12, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
My rent is being raised and I am being forced to purchase apartment insurance and that is freaking me out. I just barley make it through the month as it is with the contribution I get. Something must happen. I'm going to put in a proposal for my apartment management to provide entertainment for the yearly community get together and employee get togethers. It is painful to think about booking gigs again. Is it a cop out? Why am I not getting up early in the morning and pursuing the rest of my dreams. Asking for more contribution is just so exhausting. I played today at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission and festered the entire time about how they did not offer or give me when I asked... an Easter Dinner to take home after giving the mission my time, effort, talent and Easter Sunday for them. I think about how if I slapped a few hundred dollars cash on a table for the mission the respect level would be totally different. The piano I am playing on is a grand and I am getting my chops back. Also, the people really appreciate me there. That... is what I need to focus on, not resentment. I'll just keep playing there until I don't... every Thursday and Friday. It has been taking away from my playing on the streets but feels like the right thing to do.
April 11, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
I had a conversation with an old friend of many years who has been feeling suicidal. We live our lives along the same guidelines and ways of thinking. I reminded him of how we have chosen the good life. Other ways would have been a living hell for people like us. In the good life our job is to stay in the light until the very end, suicide or not. He agreed while adding that staying in the light and living the good life is a struggle. That is certainly correct for people like us, no question about it. Mo and I headed out to the desert really needing to get out into the wide open space of nature. Who knew that deer live in the desert? Wildflowers are blooming. I looked out over the landscape and it reminded me of Wyoming or Montana and wondered why. Then I realized that the dessert is green now because of spring. I am so fortunate to be living in a major happening city with wide open rural nature a half hour away. And to have parking where I live in the middle of the city... it is some what like living in Times Square New York with private parking. When it gets really crowded everyone is driving around looking for a parking spot or paying out the ass and I just drive through the crowd, my gate opens and I drive into a parking lot behind a wall with the Traveling Piano parked almost directly outside my door. I mean, I'm not directly in the center of all the casinos and my area is still a pit but thats changing and I am still in the center.
April 10, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
The days are amazingly sunny, clear and the temperatures are perfect. I hope I can remember the feeling and it will last through the hellish heat coming in the summer months... if I'm still here. It is somewhat hot right now but it has not been for a while so... no problem. When it goes on and on relentlessly, then it becomes a drag. As I was going out to create some music for myself and interaction began with a neighbor a few doors down who I have not formally met. She told me that today is her birthday so I pushed myself to share the Traveling Piano with her and a baby niece and her sister as a birthday present... with pictures. I'm really glad I did that but feeling wary as I do not want to become buddy, buddy with neighbors living so close. It just has not worked out. Friendly hellos from a distance, interaction when natural but not created is the way to go. That feels unfortunately because I would love to live in a community where we all can get along good enough to hang out with each other once in awhile. I spent about an hour and a half just creating music for myself and recording it at the end of a local dead end street... nice and loud and it was very satisfying. I know people in the environment heard it and I am sure it was a treat for them as something different. Also, I am sure there were people full of curiosity wondering where the sound was coming from. Especially with the Boogie Woogie and Ragtime along with the improvisation, I've been bringing the old stuff back up to performance level. All was not perfect for everyone, my being there. I was a downer for two drug deals and two different hustling sexual encounters. People use places like where I was to do their dirty deeds only to find me, the music and Mo there when they drive up... it just does not work for them, so staying around is not an option lol!
April 09, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
TRAVELING PIANO UPDATE: A typical everyday miracle happened. People often ask and wonder how I get by with what seems to be the unconventional life I live. First, it is not simple. Second, I am not a free spirit. My life decisions are about trade-offs. So anyway, how I get by is best described with even the smallest of experiences. The Traveling Piano broke down on Charleston Boulevard here in Las Vegas ten minutes away from where I live. I asked a guy passing by if he would help push the truck into a strip mall parking spot. Then I asked another guy coming out of a restaurant with his wife and baby boy if he would give me a battery jump. That did not work so he began to mess around with the parts. No friends came to mind to call for help. Then I said the serenity prayer so I could keep my mind uncluttered with drama... accept what was, and have the strength to do whatever is needed.
The guy said he was pretty sure it was the fuel pump. We checked with the restaurant and they said the truck could stay parked there three days before towing it but I did not want to leave it there with the piano and speaker in the back. The guy offered to drive Mo and I with his wife and baby back to my studio apartment leaving the Traveling Piano behind. Once I got back I just began calling people knowing they probably would not be able to help but my calling them was all about putting one foot in front of the other and doing something, anything. I eyed a big white pickup truck on the street thinking how it was strong enough for a tow. I took a walk around the neighborhood with the slim chance an auto mechanic would be around late on Sunday night. A party was going on at the drug house across the street. Then, as I went for my gate I heard another party happening in my complex. I opened the gate to see who it was... and neighbors I know where there with other neighbors I never met.
One of them was a truck driver and he in fact owned the white pickup and without hesitation offered to drive me to the Traveling Piano and tow it to a mechanic he trusts. Another neighbor came along to help so we could talk via phone the entire way because the towing was with a thin rope we were using (it broke once en-route) and it was dark. The situation was precarious with stops, turns and bumps while I was super careful not to ram the back of the guys truck. Even his bumpers were white. We got the truck to the station and backed it up directly under a security camera there. At 8:30am this morning the mechanic called saying it was in fact the fuel pump, it would cost $230 and be done by 11:00am. I have someone who would cover my back for the cost but did not want to ask them because I knew they would suffer as a result big-time and so I went onto facebook feeling very grateful for the ability to ask for help and I... asked for help. In the meantime I borrowed the money from that someone. I thought how amazingly inexpensive $230 to replace a fuel pump with labor... on the spot no waiting, first thing in the morning.
Truck done... I shared the Traveling Piano with the owner and another customer and came back to find four friends had sent me $285. Then the local piano repair guy called. He has been out of town and I have been waiting on him because the piano sound slider is busted. I have one level of sound and it is not a lot. So off I go now with the Traveling Piano up and running and hopefully enough money to get the piano repaired.
How awesome that people do contribute to the lives of others and that friends do step up to the plate and the universe does respond with goodness when asked and I might mention this last note of interest because everyone knows how much I appreciate diversity. Who were these strangers that helped me? One was a bible thumping Catholic from Mexico, a black guy from New Orleans, an interracial Atheist couple, a dark Muslim and a guy from Guatemala all residents of Las Vegas, Nevada.
April 08, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Balancing the Traveling Piano with caring about my world and people who have no voice and who need and want support... informing those being gaslighted and used by those who are self-serving only... calling out the idiots who cross my path with truth which I feel a strong responsibility to do... it is a challenge because, I'm not sure if there can, or should be a balance. I've never been good at balance and must sort of do everything at the same time while my life and thoughts constantly syntheses into what is most important for the moment. Someone called me a very interesting person today saying how amazing it is when you get to know someone just a little, how interesting they can be. I agree with that, totally. I in truth do not see myself as interesting but I know I am to many. For me, I am not interesting or non-interesting. When people say it to me, I always reply with the fact they they are interesting because... they are interested. That is how it works. Think about it. Some people make a point to infer that I am not interesting at all. Usually they are people who could use some self-respect for themselves. They attach the idea of interesting with what they consider is worth... and they do not want to see worth in me because they cannot see it in themselves. And that... usually is a self-centered-ness problem.
April 07, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Last night after three agendas, I almost added a fourth by creating music until midnight out on the street near where I live for the monthly festival. Wow, am I glad I did not do that because... I'm hurting as it is, from the energy I had already put out. Constantly, I'm trying to understand how to proceed with my life. The operative word... "trying". Nothing will happen while I continue to try. I must... "do." I keep thinking how to, and how do I want to get the money to move forward. That is the wrong focus. What is needed is a decision, clarification of desire to actually do it and how. The money cannot and should not be the focus. Desire, inspiration, anticipation, visualization, willingness and there is so much more that needs to be focused on before money. There is no question about it. If money is to be my priority I would die. This is something I know from within. God or the Universe must want me here today else I would not have an angel in my life that has been helping me to get through financially... on the thinest hanging thread in existence... but still hanging!
April 06, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Mo and I headed over to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission to do our duty so to speak. And that is to create music. Everything flowed fine and dandy and then afterwards we rushed to a classical violin-piano concert at a church in Green Valley which was just so excellent. As I get older, I am appreciating live music more and more but hearing it less and less. Also, getting out into concert environments with different types of people is so important but again... it has been happening less and less. Tonight was the First Friday event in Las Vegas and it is in my neighborhood. I usually share the Traveling Piano away from all the hoopla just for neighbors close to where I live but tonight I stopped my a guys house near the memorial park a few blocks away where I have been with the Traveling Piano many times. John has a gathering of friends there every month and has always wanted me to share the Traveling Piano with them. Tonight was the night to do it. He has brought dinner to the Traveling Piano for me while at the park three times. One time was when I was there on Thanksgiving. The park is a memorial for the gun-murder victims here in Las Vegas last October.
April 06, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Today was with Traveling Piano music for the Las Vegas mission center. I'm working to look past what happened on Easter but am not going to pretend or forget it did not happen. That is not possible because of the kind of person that I am. It is too bad when everything perfect shows itself as none perfect. How can that not happen? Nothing in life is perfect or stays the same and everything both perfect and none perfect exists at the same time anyway. So... I had fun with the energy of my spirit along with the need to consciously work and not let the negative inside myself show, as a professional. It is what it is. I'll just enjoy creating music at the mission until I don't or something happens that says "no more." The only difference now is that I am not extending my hello's to people who work there and never responded anyway, or who I felt an obligation to engage with for whatever reason and... I'm certainly not eating dinner there anymore.
It was all just "filler" for me anyway. No one has ever walked away from the rescue mission saying wow, what a great meal! I know the volunteers from the outside feel entertained and the people who eat and live there truly enjoy my presence. I realized again today how one big part of who I am, demands that my ass stays clean totally. What I mean by that is... throughout my formative years the intent of my authority figures were forced upon me as my own. My personal intent was always poo poohed or questioned as not possible or wrong... questioned and never believed. The ability to begin trusting my true intent as a person, the decision to own it and not be deterred by outside forces no matter what, that... is what began this journey. It takes a daily remembering to remember with conscious self-examination and responsibility to stay honest with myself and to be as clear as possible with others whether they want to hear, know or believe it or not. Lots of joy for myself and the world has resulted with all that.
April 04, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
On the first Friday of the month I have always played on my street corner but now I've made a commitment for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission on Thursdays and Fridays so I thought to take the Traveling Piano out into the neighborhood today. I created some music outside my apartment complex for a short spell, in the streets around my neighborhood and outside my friends vintage clothing shop. Three twenty year old male Japanese students jumped onto the piano seat. I did not know how valued American vintage clothing is for the Japanese. Very. It made me think about the probably $70,000 worth of vintage clothing I drove up in 2007 to my friend Cory in Canada so he could cut it up in pieces to take to Uganda and sew into hammocks for kids in the bush to sleep in, play in and sell to tourists.
No kidding... you can read about it and see the pictures in this blog! I also stopped in front of a local recording studio where the original guy who ran it is now gone.I met the new guys. What the two have in common... when you open the door... enough smoke for an easy contact high, lol. Lastly, we stopped outside Albo's pizza around the corner from me. There were a few drugged out street people who walked by and thank god they avoided me. Another, older kind of decrepit man went into the pizza place and I was curious about him having money to buy anything or the place serving him. When he came out he had a Gatorade. We connected eyes and I invited him to come pet Mo and then onto the piano. This guys body was as worn as a body can get. Hardened, toes and fingers that were calloused in a permanent state of being swollen for probably years.
He was a little mental but had enough wits to function. I gave him my contact info to get the picture I took of him if he should ever get email knowing that would not happen. I give my information to people like this because it signifies trust and value and I know they "get it." Also, there is practically no chance of them using it and something they can keep on themselves to remember and know I appreciate their lives. He went to put the contact info in his wallet which was a folded piece of paper with a few dollar bills in it. He offered me two dollars from it. Of course I said no but just the thought in his asking moved me with gratitude. He was dying to express his emotion. He was just randomly playing around on the keys for a short while and began to cry. I can't get that out of my mind. It was so poignant, his sincerity, honesty and ability to be real with me... the neediness, the appreciation, the spiritual connection to release himself through relationship... our interaction with music.
April 03, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
My energy level is very low. Staying in touch with a passion for life is tricky. I have had passion for aspects of this journey but I look at it more as a highly spirited and motivated energy. I am not really aware that it has been a passion although I know intellectually it has been. That is only because people have told me and from the definition of the word... you know what they say... if it looks like a duck, walks and talks like a duck. I was not taught or given the feeling of passion through my developmental years in fact passions of my own making were discouraged. Being determined has never been a forte of mine but tenacity has. Determination as in having a strong willingness to do or achieve something verses tenacity as with stubbornness as in not letting go. I must find something associated with this journey that I can have desire for to gain more determination so I can latch on with tenacity. Mo... my pup Mo has been helping me everyday through his being simply a dog. His companionship, constant presence, patience, tolerance, willingness, his knowing trust in me, his sensitivity and love... thank God for Mo! Most of all... 100% of the time he is ready and eager to show happiness and contentment. We went to the monthly community command center police meeting together tonight. Through time I've been getting to know neighbors who care about community and it feels good.
April 02, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
I'm still "smarting" about the Las Vegas Rescue Mission yesterday. Yea, I'm a little embarrassed, my ego is a bit hurt, I feel needy but more importantly it brings up who and what I want to associate with. The fact that I have found my own way in life is no coincidence. Being able to negotiate into "systems" has always been a challenge. I think about what happened and also how I've been giving of myself through the place. Of course it is a small/big issue for me because it is about personal respect. One of the "tells" of a true bureaucracy is how volunteers are thanked in general ways while money donors are thanked in specific ways. "Specific" works for me. General does not. You can bet if I plopped down a thousand dollar contribution on the mission the CEO or event manager or someone else in management would have introduced themselves to me by now, thanked me or even know I have been there for two months.
The fact that I am just one volunteer of many or simply a piano player well, the operative words are "just" and "simply." My worth is more than that and I just, simply... do not associate and give my all to situations or with people where I do not get the respect I personally need to give of myself. Of course I know all the comebacks with this to rationalize not having any issues. It has taken me a life time to reach the level of self respect I have and I am consciously responsible with it. So... I'll keep going to the mission for myself and for the people living on the streets as well as the volunteers working the dinners... for now. If I feel any further discomfort I can simply discontinue. Thank God I have a Traveling Piano, a way to give and share with the world that does not involve obligation or expectation from anyone including myself. It takes effort and consciousness to continue giving unconditionally to anything without developing obligation or expectation through time. Short term stuff, no problem largely because there is no time for issues to develop.
April 01, 2018
Las Vegas, Nevada
Last night, right before bed I got really sick with serious pain and my mind began to sink into confusion. It is an old problem that has not surfaced in a long time and also... has never come about so quick. Thank God I still have medicine from three years ago and it worked on the pain and put me out for a few hours. I think it happened for several reasons. I did not drink enough water yesterday when working with the Traveling Piano. Also there is some relational stress going on, my sciatic nerve issue has not totally gone away and... I had a high level of excitement about working today for some reason. I was really looking forward to it. Before falling to sleep I sent up a prayer that I would be ok when I woke up. I was ok. Mo and I first went to the Veterans Village food bank. I thought it would be packed for Easter but for several reasons it was not crowded at all. In fact it was the shortest time I was ever there, only an hour. That felt like a blessing because of being sick last night. It made for an easier day which was probably best. The job was accomplished, short and sweet. Several women and men there were in their Easter finest. Old habits of fun just never leave some people. Poor people and those living on the streets...
I'll never forget one day when I woman came out of her tent in a field looking like she just came out of a shower with makeup and a nice outfit on. I told her, "You look amazing and are impressive." She said, "just because she did not have a home does not mean she has to be a slob" and that she still has her dignity. Same for the people I saw today in their Easter finest. For me... HEROES: "People without means or resources of their own... that insist on finding ways to stay with and create joy for the sake of life". An hour later Mo and I went to the special dinner at the Las Vegas Rescue mission to create music. There were paper cards on all the tables with names of people who donate to the mission and how much... and how many meals the donation is worth. For an organization that pulls in close to four million a year working almost exclusively on volunteers and meals costing about a buck each... that raised an eyebrow for me. Especially when that food is also donated. And then... I asked for a meal to take home specifically for the ham. They had planned for about eleven hundred people and about seven hundred showed up. The answer to the meal... no, they ran out of ham. Lol, I mean really? They had plenty left over or could have offered something else. That... was very disconcerting for this piano man who has been consistently giving his time, effort and expertise for a few months there. Sadly... this is the way with bureaucratic, non-profits. Also, not one administrator or manager has ever introduced themselves to me or thanked me for adding to the experience they provide.
This all brings my core values to the surface of who I want to work with and along side of. The nice grand piano to play on has been a major perk and in general I've liked the attitude of the volunteers. As far as bringing joy to people... there are a million ways to do that and I have a way... have been doing it successfully for the very same people and for the last twelve years on the streets. Without thought my kind of organization would have said... "please, take two meals home with you, take four, thank you, thank you, thank you. We all know where that left over food goes because of the rules and regulations, eh? Since I'm on a rant... someone was telling me how three trucks of food were dumped yesterday because Catholic Charities refused to take the food. They didn't want to go through the hassle of sifting through it for the good stuff. That just makes me angry. It is just another self-serving bureaucratic institution justifying that they help people through waste and the continuous sucking of donated money. Fact is, all the good stuff gets skimmed off the top for the management and workers of these places and if they feel like it they sort through the rest or just toss it. The poor people get enough to justify the continuation of the charity/business. I say they must do whatever necessary to give all the food away. That is the job and especially, if it was donated for that purpose. Give the food away, damm it! That is what it is there for! Conditions and rules, who deserves, etc... what a bunch of bullshit. Happy Easter, lol!