Wednesday, August 31, 2011

[Nicely Put]

Christina Drayton: [to her bigoted assistant, Hilary, in the driveway] Now I have some instructions for you. I want you to go straight back to the gallery - Start your motor - When you get to the gallery tell Jennifer that she will be looking after things temporarily, she's to give me a ring if there's anything she can't deal with herself. Then go into the office, and make out a check, for "cash," for the sum of $5,000. Then carefully, but carefully Hilary, remove absolutely everything that might subsequently remind me that you had ever been there, including that yellow thing with the blue bulbs which you have such an affection for. Then take the check, for $5,000, which I feel you deserve, and get - permanently - lost. It's not that I don't want to know you, Hilary - although I don't - it's just that I'm afraid we're not really the sort of people that you can afford to be associated with.
[Hilary opens her mouth to say something]
Christina Drayton: Don't speak, Hilary, just... go.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967), Katharine Hepburn as Christina Drayton

Monday, August 29, 2011

[You Ready For THIS?]

Quite possibly the most unexpected video/audio mash-up I've ever encountered. Honestly... I'm speechless.

Friday, August 26, 2011

[Nostalgic Video of the Day]

My latest discovery, thanks to that Faerie Tale Theatre DVD I bought for Cinderella:

The Princess and the Pea, starring Liza Minnelli and Tom Conti! I was really surprised by this one--I actually enjoyed it just as much as an adult viewer as a reminiscent look back to the 80s. If I saw this one growing up, I forgot due to not catching it on video tape. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[Nostalgic Video of the Day]

Cinderella, featuring Eve Arden, Jean Stapleton, Edie McClurg, Jennifer Beals, and Matthew Broderick, from 1985? Heck yes!

My DVD came today--it went on sale again, and I wasn't about to miss it again. Like yesterday's Sleeping Beauty was the version I grew up with, so is this version of Cinderella.

Gah... I love 80s cinema!

*Edit: Argh! One of these days I'll learn not to add things to a post from my cell phone. It autocorrected several names without my noticing til the next day. Boy, some days...

[Blearily Blinking in Bemusement]

Well, I did a little better last night... I think I managed 4.5 hours of sleep. Still, that nap's going to happen today, since it's a shorter day (I'm finished by 10 a.m.), and since yesterday Dad called me five minutes into my nap attempt, throwing me off my game. I'm definitely forcing myself to sit up at my desk, stare at Blogger's overly white background, and gulp down my generic brand Diet Mt. Dew until the worst of the drowsies have been fended off. It may surprise you to hear this, knowing I'm not a morning person and that I'm a hopeless night owl, but I do actually prefer morning classes. They get my day over with earlier, so I can spend the remainder of it being relatively productive. When I get off work in the afternoons, nighttime sneaks up on me too fast, and I find myself needing to get ready for bed again before I've really gotten anything accomplished.

I just don't like getting up before the sun. It never feels like it's morning when it's still dark out.

Apparently this is all my brain is capable of articulating this morning. At least today I'll be, so to speak, reading from the script [read: syllabus], so I won't need to be thinking of any lessons this morning. That takes some of the pressure off. ;)

Over and out, kids! Happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 22, 2011

[Nostalgic Video of the Day JACKPOT!!!]

Now THIS is the Sleeping Beauty I grew up watching. I so wish it were available in the US on DVD.

I admit, I was a little disappointed I didn't grow up to look just like Rosebud. Hehe.


Three hours is a long gap between classes, especially this early in the semester. I thought I'd spend this time setting up my gradebook, but of course the moment I decide to get started, all the OTC network portals (AccessOTC, Blackboard, etc.) are draaaaaaaaaaaagging. Too many people on at once, I guess, and there are something like 4,000 new students this semester. Meanwhile, Blogger and Facebook are working fine, but they're both pretty uneventful.

If I'd only gotten more than three hours of sleep last night, I might be able to come up with something interesting to do to kill time.

I could really use a nap in the worst way. Until a half hour ago, I felt fine, but sleep deprivation has finally caught up with me. I do wish I weren't such a night owl.

Yeah, that's all I've got. Sad, eh?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

[Childhood Flashbacks]

The pup has an ear infection. I took her to the vet Friday when the [what I thought were] ear mites were still hanging around, and while all the external symptoms fit with mites (minus the bugs, but I figured I'd overlooked them), a lab test showed that it was actually a yeast infection. Poor dog... I've been there. In fact, the entire first ten years of my life I was there.

And she doesn't like the ear drops any more than I did.

I don't know if they hurt her ear (they did mine... but then again, thanks to tubes, I had holes in my eardrums, so I had a reason to feel pain), but I understand why she struggles. Twice a day. Yeah, it's tiring.

Well, classes are back in session tomorrow. I'll confess to a few nerves this semester. It's been awhile since I've tackled two different classes (three sections of one, one of the other) in one semester, and that was only once, and one of the classes is one I struggled with last time I taught it. Of course, this time, we're in a computer lab classroom, which I'm fairly confident will solve 90% of the problems I had the last time, but those kind of memories tend to stick around.

I'm off to a good start, though. I did get all the major documents updated, revised some assignments, and got all four blogs up and running. The only thing I'm behind on is setting up the gradebook, but I can tackle that tomorrow during my downtime. There won't be any assignments to grade before Wednesday at the earliest, so I'm in the clear.

All four of my classes are full... conferencing weeks are going to be quite hectic, I'm sure. Plus, one section, my 102 section is on a different schedule, so sometimes their conferencing weeks will clash with 101's weeks, while times I'll be doing theirs on different weeks.

Oh, and all this while kicking my painting up a notch.

I guess that might explain the knot I've got in my shoulders.

Why am I still up? Good question... I just know me. My mind's going a million miles per second, and until I get good and drowsy from Benadryl, I know I won't fall asleep, so it'd be pointless to try. I'm just going to tackle a couple online puzzles until I'm struggling to think of basic words, and then I'm off to bed, praying for no back-to-school annual nightmares. Yeah... every year. Every semester even. The most common one is dreaming that it's close to finals week, and because I got distracted, I forgot about one of my classes after the first day... and for the rest of the semester. Sometimes I'm the teacher, sometimes I'm the student (and sometimes I'm both... even in the same class!), but either way, I've screwed myself over royally.


Until next time, readers!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

[Back to School Shopping Score]

In addition to a couple cute tops Mom bought for me last week, I managed to snag a few staple pieces today that should last me a few years, being fairly classic yet still modern looks. Using the money I'll earn tomorrow by attending the developmental education seminar, I managed to score: a teal wraparound-look blouse, a black-and-white dress (finally! And get this--it was a size TWO! and it FIT!), a flyaway cardigan, a skinny silver belt, and a wide red belt.

Rock star! And the way I looked at it, if these things fit me today (minus some obligatory bulge that's due to the  bloat) during my "fat" time of month, just think how awesome they'll look on me when I stop retaining water again! Nothing like successful shopping to take one's mind off the cramps. ;)

Rock star!

[Late-Night Nervous Breakdowns]

To understand my current state, take this post, and add the biggest *&^%()&$ brown spider* (to distinguish it from the bigger but less creepy brightly colored ones you see outside sometimes) that I've ever seen or killed in my bathroom last night just as I was about to take a bath. I managed to sleep last night only by taking an extra Benadryl and shivering/sobbing until I finally fell asleep close to four in the morning. I really thought I had gotten my arachnophobia under control. I could see one of those evil creatures, calmly grab a tissue (or ten), squish it, and flush it, with only a mild shiver. That is, until I saw that one-or-two inch body with eight hideous legs attached crawling out from behind the trash can in my bathroom. Oh, I killed it, but doing so was seriously traumatic.

This is why I need to get married to someone not afraid of spiders.

By the way, my dog is amazing. She remained calm while I screeched, cursed, and bawled, then crawled into bed with me and cuddled close while I shivered and sniffled until I finally calmed down. I'm telling you, once we get her over her people-ZOMG!!!-OH-WONDERFUL-PEOPLE-freak-out-greetings, I think she'd make a wonderful therapy dog or service dog, and I plan to get her qualified when she reaches that point. What a champ!

And now that my Excedrin Menstrual Complete is working, I'm off to get dressed, go to Wally World, and get some more bug spray, since I used all I had left last night. Yech.

*I did check online after killing the damned thing, and it wasn't a brown recluse, thankfully. Different body shape and different pattern on the back. Still... taking no chances!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

[Master Bedroom Fantasy Floral Abstract]

Moved to

[Snooty I and Sassy I]

Moved to

[Fabuloso Whole Wheat Pancake Batter Recipe]

1 cup whole wheat flour (I usually add another tablespoon or two)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk and 1 tbs. lemon juice)
1 tbs. honey
3 tbs. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. of vanilla extract
1-2 tbs. of carob or cocoa powder
If you want some extra chocolate, throw in some chocolate chips. 

If I double the batter, it usually lasts me about one work week, with 2-3 (1/3 cup of batter-sized) pancakes per meal. My favorite topping is the generic for Nutella. Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

[Free Publicity Friday]

Extra, Extra! Read all about it!

As you know, I spend a fair amount of time plugging my endeavors: my art, my writing, my classes, and my thoughts in general. But I also spend an inordinate amount of time checking out others' blogs, businesses, art, etc., and I know some of you are looking for a chance to spread the word about your own endeavors.

So, I now present the inaugural Free Publicity Friday! Every Friday I remember, I'll present you an opportunity to plug your projects in the comments section below. What do you want to share with the world? What are you trying to launch? Scurry on over to this post on my blog (the comments on FB are gone in no time, but the comments on the actual site will stick around longer) and let us know what you're about.  

And who knows... you may soon find your project linked on the site! (If it already is, go ahead and share anyway.) So plug away!

Monday, August 08, 2011

[Road Trips, and Roomies, and Repairs... Oh, My! (Part 1)]

It all began quietly enough about a week ago Sunday. After cleaning house in case my mother decided to show off my house in my absence while dropping someone off at the airport, I set off to lock up my house before spending four days with the family. You know that can't go smoothly in my life. True to form, I discovered that two of my new windows wouldn't lock, and after an annoyed discussion with my dad on the telephone ( in which he implied that I must be doing something wrong, which I naturally resented being a surprisingly handy single girl when it comes to repairs of that nature, because of which I threw a few testy retorts his way while I tried to wrestle said windows shut), I secured the windows by other means and hit the road with Sassy, hoping I'd remembered everything.

Naturally, that night: no toothbrush. Argh. Strike one.

Tuesday morning, Mom asked us to go home a couple days early, citing the need for Dad to come fix my windows. Well, as it turns out, they'd merely come open a little at the top but were too stubborn to go up without a fight (even from my dad). That problem solved, Dad sent home after a romp with the dog, I noticed it felt warm. Too warm for 72 degrees, which is my preferred daytime AC temp (yes, I'm a wimp... sue me). Sure enough, once again, the coolant had quit cooling in my AC. Confident that it was merely a matter of letting it rest, like before, I turned off the AC for the night, turned it back on toward morning (wrinkling my nose at my sweaty bed linens), and hoped for the best. For now, it was working again. However, later Thursday afternoon, it got warm in the house again. This time, it wouldn't need rest. It was done for. One month left of a summer of record-breaking heat, and my 30-year-old AC gave up the ghost. Hoping the fans would get me through until I left to visit my best friend Andrea on Friday morning (a visit to which I was really looking forward), I blocked off all thermal leaks as best I could and hunkered down under the ceiling fan.

That night, as I was winding down and clearing out my DVR as much as I could, a bright flash of light startled me, and a roll of thunder confused me. A storm? Really? It'd been awhile! As I tuned in to Ky3 Weather 24/7, after having to retune my antenna due to having tinkered with a couple new electronic connections, just as the pixellation started to form a picture, my world went black. 1:30 in the morning, 90 degrees outside, 100% humidity, the house still 80 degrees from the AC going out, and now, no fans, no electricity, and no deep sleep before a 3.5 hour drive and Sassy's first road trip.


As I looked outside, I could tell the outage was only my house or my side of the street, as all the lights were still on at Boys and Girls Town across the street. So, I called the utility company's automatic outage reporting number, expecting my lights to come back on within half an hour to an hour of the storm's end.

No luck. The storm tapered off around 3:30 in the morning, but by 5:30, the lights were still out. My cell phone was down to half a battery as it rang--City Utilities calling to see if they'd succeeded in restoring my power. Press 1 to confirm, or press 2 if the power is still out. The number 2 button lit up on my phone as I poked it. Forty-five minutes later, cell phone down to 1/3 of a battery, rinse and repeat. Finally, 6:45, a cool breeze filled the room, and my phone beeped a warning just in time to charge up. I danced for joy (a little off-balance for the whole two hours of sleep I'd gotten) and sent Andrea a text message to let her know I'd be delayed, having not had a chance to finish packing beginning at six as I'd intended.

Finally, at nearly 10:00 a.m., half an hour later than the one hour goal range I'd planned for leaving thanks to another sudden and severe thunderstorm, I loaded the car with the bags and the dog, locked up the house as tight as possible, notified everyone who was going to track and pray for our drive, backed out the driveway, and headed north, just as the rain picked back up. Sassy squealed excitedly from the back seat, taking advantage of the packed floor to attempt to crawl in the front seat. That cemented my plan to stop on the way to buy her a seat harness. Though the rain poured like crazy as we ran into Pet Warehouse, by the time we came out, the rain had cleared back out.

However, not two miles down the road, Sassy's excited squeals turned panicked, and a glance in the mirror told me she'd managed to get ridiculously tangled in her new harness and the seatbelt. As soon as I could, I pulled over and set to work resetting Sassy's seating arrangements as she, in her panic, shut down and refused to move her 55-pound butt so I could get her untangled very easily. Finally, as I sat back down, pulled out, and listened to Sassy resume her excited whimpers, I knew it was going to be a long three or four hours...

To be continued tomorrow.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

[Stay Tethered or Break Free?]

Before I begin my venting, a non-related thought. The blog's got a new look! Have you seen it yet? It's making me feel pretty cheery. I still don't have favorite colors, but I have colors of the moment and power colors, and these are mine. Step outside your RSS reader and come on by!

And, now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

I just wrapped up a three day visit with my parents. They're good people who want what's best for me and want to make sure I'm secure in the world. Totally great. Totally understood. Really. I just think that we have different ideas of, well, a lot. Now, so far, they've been supportive of my art venture. Mom's been showing off print-offs of my pieces and helping spread the word at her church and in the family. Thanks! I'm grateful. They want me to keep doing this, and they're actually the ones who originally suggested doing something like this, so they get credit for planting the seed.

However, sometimes they place more emphasis on worldly success than makes me comfortable. Yes, I'd love to be well-off and have a stable income. Really. That's been my goal with the adjunct teaching all this time. But my ideal would be to be a full-time artist, not a teacher, and make enough money to remain comfortably out of debt and free to indulge once in a while.

Don't get me wrong--I like teaching, and most days, I like dealing with my students. I like helping them. But there's a mentality and even a hostility I get from a select few every semester that creates a perpetual sense of dread when I have to deal with their resentment, overtly or not, day in and day out. I like to be liked. It really bugs me when I'm creating plans and assignments to benefit my students' mastery of writing, and then I read some vicious slams in the end-of-the-semester evaluations. Granted, this is more than balanced out by those who enjoyed the class, worked hard, and allowed these activities to benefit them. However, they aren't usually the ones who take the time to fill out the evaluations. And I suck at the thick-skinned, laugh-it-off attitude. It hurts a lot. So, given the opportunity should my art take off and gain enough of a following that I could reasonably make it my full-time work, yeah, I wouldn't look back.

Unfortunately, I mentioned this to my parents, thinking they would support the idea of my pursuing my dream. After all, weren't they the ones who always said that I could do whatever I wanted to do [occupationally] when I grew up? Weren't they the ones who suggested it to begin with? And didn't I make it clear in the conversation that I wasn't talking about right now, but down the line if or when I have steady income coming from the art, equal to or greater than my teaching salary [I did, by the way... I emphasized that over and over again]? But they panicked--Mom in particular, but Dad did the same a little more indirectly by essentially saying the same thing while pretending to see it my way. We talked and argued for a long time. I cried.

Yeah, it bugs me. I had really felt at peace about this whole art thing. I felt like the door was opening at the right time, giving me the opportunity to do what we all dream of doing--pursuing my passion as a career. I mean, if no one took a risk and pursued his or her dreams, we'd all be little worker drones in cubicles (no, there's nothing wrong with being that, but it's not something EVERYONE should do). I mean, I'm in my 20s (late 20s, granted, but 20s all the same), with no family to support--just a mortgage to pay. What better time to do this? I could wait until retirement, yes, but what's the guarantee I'll even live that long? We're not promised today, much less making it to retirement. And I'm not seeing a lot of full-time teaching opportunities coming my way, so it's not like I'm managing to save up for retirement.  So I want to try. And that scares my parents, robbing me of their support when I want it most. (No, they don't read this blog, so kindly don't mention this to them, please?)

Now, I get where they're coming from. No, really, I do. They're pretty transparent about it without saying it outright, but they're in their 70s now. Dad's 73, and Mom will be this month, and their health could be far better. They know the realities of being senior citizens, and they worry about me. They want to make sure that I'm safe and secure, with no need of emergency rescuing, should their time come. I get it. I respect that. But I've lived that way too long--never taking any risks, never taking a chance on something. I've always taken the safe route and lived in fear of screwing up. It's not healthy. And so yes, I resent their continued cultivation of that particular neurosis. I see where it's stunted my growth and relationships, and I want to change it. I'm not talking about throwing all caution to the wind, but rather taking some reasonable steps further.

I just wish they'd stop trying to talk me out of it. I mean, they've successfully talked me out of: studying abroad, becoming a missionary, taking road trips, and more. They don't realize just how much of an influence they do have on my choices, however vocal I may be when resisting.

There's a reason I have the quote from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan that I have as my blog title: "To live would be an awfully big adventure:" because I'm still speculating and imagining without doing it. And I'm scared to death that this is one more time that I'll give in and stay dreaming without doing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

[A Cool Moment in a Sweltering Summer]

Look! Look! My coxcombs are blooming! Okay, it's on one of 20 plants, but another one's quickly gaining size enough, and most of my transplanted ones have survived and may yet bloom. I'm excited.

[Brushstrokes by Niki FAQs]

Just to address some of the most common questions and concerns, I present the official F.A.Q. list!

Q. I like your style of painting, but I don't have a dog or a pet. Can I get a portrait of another sort? Can I get a pencil or graphite portrait instead of a painted portrait?
A. Yes! Though I gear my advertising primarily toward the dog-owner crowd, since I spend a lot of time taking Sassy to the local events, I'm happy to tackle projects of other sorts as well. You're also free to choose from a variety of mediums, including acrylic paints, oils, pencil, and more. I can also venture beyond the realm of stretched canvas--in fact, if you look at my portfolio, one of my earliest recent (oxymoron, I know... but I mean since graduating college) portraits is a personalized dog house! As long as I've got a flat surface to work with that isn't impervious to paint, bring it on!

Q. How long does it take from placing an order to receiving the finished product?
A. At a minimum, a painting or a drawing takes three days. However, since the business is, at the time of writing, a part-time venture until I at least build up a strong enough following to comfortably rely on it as an income (I'm single, no roommates, and I own my own home, so I definitely have a budget to keep!), I have divided attention, especially around the beginning, midterm, and end of college semesters, as I'm a part-time college instructor. However, in general, I try to complete projects within a month of a client placing an order. If there is an exception, due to medical emergency or other extenuating circumstances, I will keep you posted.

Q. How much do you charge for a custom portrait? What forms of payment do you accept?
A. I get this question a lot, but it's difficult to answer without your giving me an idea what sort of project you have in mind. However, in general, projects start around $125, depending on project size, type, and complexity. Don't automatically assume a smaller portrait costs less. In fact, up to a certain canvas size, there's little difference in my supply price, and it actually takes me longer to do a smaller portrait with its innately tiny, and as such, more difficult, details. If this price is too high for you, don't be afraid to contact me anyway. We can mostly likely be able to work something else out that will make both of us happy--so don't be shy about telling me your budget up front.

As for payment forms, I accept cash, check (there is a fee for a bounced check, so make sure you've got the money before you write the check, please!), or PayPal. And in general, I do require a deposit before beginning a project, if for no other reason than I buy your canvas upon receiving your order and planning out the dimensions. There's a reason for that "starving artists" cliché. ;) Also, I am now accepting donations via Google Checkout--just use the button in the right-hand column.

Q. Do you do seated portraits, or do you work from a photograph?
A. I definitely work from photographs. If you don't have one already, if you're local, I can meet with you to take a workable photo. If, as in the case of Fancy and Grumpy, the two Westies, the pet subject has gone to the rainbow bridge and you've only got some small photos from family activities, as long as I can identify defining features and know the breed[s] of your pet, I can usually adjust or combine some generic pictures to look like your beloved fur-kid.

Q. What factors go into how you decide on what to charge for a project?
A. At this stage, there are three major factors that go into my calculations: supplies, labor, and extraneous factors (such as shipping, delivery, project complexity, etc.). Supplies vary by size, type, and material. For example, an oil painting costs more than acrylics, due to the price of oils being higher than acrylics and the longer drying time, which affects how long I have to wait between layers. Meanwhile, pencil drawings cost less still. Canvas is basic, while wood and doghouses will very much depend on the prices of the object. I also leave a small amount of room for replenishing supplies in a certain color if it's one I use a lot.

Labor (for now) is something I calculate based on Missouri minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour. Generally, basic paintings (16" by 20" being the most common canvas size, and my preferred minimum size (again, smaller takes longer and more tiny detail work)) using acrylic paint take approximately three to four days of working anywhere from four to eight hours. So, to calculate, let's assume I work on your project for three days for six hours per day. $7.25 times six hours times three days comes out to $130.50, so in fact, with a base price of $125, you're getting a real discount. Also consider that those are hours that, by painting, I do not get any other form of outside income, including a potential part-time job, so I'm not making a labor price just to make a profit--it's a very real concern.

Q. Why are you starting this business rather than sticking with teaching or having gotten a degree in art to begin with? 
A. Believe it or not, I did start out as an art major. However, I went to a college that likes to call itself "the Harvard of the Midwest," and in so doing make everything, from physics to art to agriculture, just a bit more competitive and demanding. Because I was in school entirely due to scholarships and grants and had to maintain a 3.25 to keep those scholarships, I couldn't afford to have mostly B's and an occasional A, which ended up being the case during that first and very transitional semester in spite of putting in close to 40 hours per week per project in two different classes in addition to four other full classes. So after checking out other majors, I ended up in English, which was a subject I could care about and still do well enough to not have to drop out and work. :) I did miss it, though, and as budget cuts keep trimming my already part-time hours back in adjunct teaching, I'm coming back to my first love.

Q. I can't afford a project right now, though I hope to be able to have one made down the line. What can I do in the meantime that will help keep your business and art afloat, especially at this point of you just getting started?
A. The best way to help me out if you can't hire me right now is simply to tell people about Brushstrokes by Niki. Refer them to the home page, the Facebook fan page, or simply give them my contact information if I've given you a business card. If you're on Facebook, "like" the fan page and comment occasionally (or even just "like") on new paintings and updates--one of your contacts may see that action and want to find out more. On average, for every 100-200 people that I tell about my business, about one is in the right time, place, and has the desire to have a custom portrait made, so the more people that hear about my art and see my portfolio, the more likely it will be for me to be able to continue to pursue my passion, and as most of you know, that ability is priceless.

Q. Why don't you post Brushstrokes by Niki's contact information publicly?
A. Have you seen the news in the last ten years? :) It's a security measure, really. It's so easy for a hacker or potential burglar to use that information to steal my identity or worse. If you're already a friend or family member, just send me a message and I'll pass the info right along to you if you don't already have it. If you're a potential customer that I don't know personally, I do take a few extra steps to ensure my safety. I've already had to have my windows replaced following an attempted break-in, and I've owned my home for less than two years. I have reason to be cautious. So in the meantime, fill in the contact information on the home page, and I'll still get the information. Thank you for your understanding!

Monday, August 01, 2011

[Nostalgic Videos of the Day]

Weeeeee run, we jump, we swim and plaaaaay! We grow and go on tripssss! But the things that last foreverrrrrrr are our dear friendships!

Watch "Salute Your Shorts Music: Theme Song [Season 1]" on YouTube

Watch "Salute Your Shorts Music: Theme Song [Season 2]" on YouTube

I promise to embed the real videos when I have a little more time.