Monday, December 14, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Friday, December 4, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Mrs. Anderson quickly disappeared into the house and then appeared with my towel in her hands. She motioned for me to meet her in the shallow end.
"Just act cool," I told myself and began to swim towards the shallow end.
One by one, the girls started glancing at me as I waded towards the steps. I had crossed the line into enemy territory and the enemy knew I was there. I quickly worked my way to the steps and sat down.
"I just need to rest for a little while," I said out loud for anyone who was in ear shot. The girls looked over at me for a second, but then went back to their chattering and giggling.
"Alright. Quickly. Let's go," Mrs. Anderson said, just loud enough for me to hear.
It was the moment of truth. Now or never. I quickly jumped up, one hand covering my front, the other covering my rear, and ran into the outstretched towel. Mrs. Anderson quickly wrapped me up tight, like a burrito.
I slowly turned to see if anyone had seen. To my surprise and great relief, no one had noticed. They all just continued to play, unaware that I had just experienced the most embarrassing moment in my life.
Mrs. Anderson led me to the hall bathroom. "I already put a pair of Billy's old swim trunks in there for you to change into," she said. "Just holler if you need anything else.
I walked into the bathroom, locked the door behind me and began to look for the pair of trunks. There, on the counter next to the sink, was the swimsuit.
"What are the chances?" I thought to myself.
There in front of me was Billy's old swimsuit. It was like a mirrored copy of the torn suit that was barely hanging onto my waist, only it was the color blue. They even had the same red stripe that went down the legs and around the bottom of the leg holes. I removed the tattered suit from my body and put on Billy's old suit. They were just as tight as my old pair.
"Here we go again," I said as I looked at myself in the mirror. I grabbed my towel and headed back outside to the pool. Maybe there was still time for me to get back into the game. But as I made my way outside, the scene I saw was completely different than when I left it.
There, in the middle of the pool, floating by himself on the alligator, was Billy. All the other boys were strewn about the pool. Some hung onto the side of the pool, while others lay on the walkway exhausted. It was like a battle field and only one final soldier was left floating atop the alligator.
Billy yelled triumphantly. "I'm the best Alligator Wrestler in the world!"
I stood there, now in Billy's old swim suit, debating whether I should go and challenge the now reigning king of the alligator.
Billy spotted me standing by the side of the pool. "You wanna take on the champ?" he yelled.
I still had the energy to do it. While I had been changing, he had been wasting all his energy becoming the top wrestler. I knew I could do it, but I also knew how flimsy old swim trunks held up against the most physical pool game I had ever played in my life.
"Nah," I replied. "I think I'll just swim instead of playing Alligator Wrestler."
Billy smiled. He was the champ…the king…the top Alligator Wrestler. "Woo hoo!" he cried. "I win!"
Even though I knew I could have probably beat him, I was still satisfied with the way things turned out. Billy, the birthday boy, had won. We were all having a great time. And no one, except Mrs. Anderson and myself, knew about my swimsuit being torn in two. Sure, I wasn't the winner of the game today, but that was the beauty of Alligator Wrestler. It never ended. It would continue to go on, and the next time the game continued, I would be right there in the middle of it all. And most importantly, I would be there, wrestling with all the other boys, playing in my new swimsuit.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I looked to the steps in the shallow end, but there THEY were. The girls. What moments ago had looked like a small pack of minnows now looked like a teaming pack of piranhas, ready to gobble up anything they came in contact with.
There had to be a way out without completely embarrassing myself. If I went out of the shallow end, all the girls would see and then I wouldn't hear the end of it. I could here it now. The laughing. The ridicule. The nicknames. I wasn't going to get out of the shallow end and risk getting pegged for life with a nick-name like Bare Butt Ben.
The more I thought, the more I realized that someone was going to end up finding out because someone was going to have to help me cover up as I got out of the pool. I looked back to the boys. No. Then to the girls. No way! That left me with only one option…a parent. If my mother had been there, she would have helped out, but that was the problem. She wasn't here. She was off running errands.
My eyes scanned through the parents sitting poolside. They all seemed to be in deep conversations with each other. I continued to scan the crowd until I came across what I thought to be my one and only hope. Mrs. Anderson. She was watching all the kids play in the pool as she sat in her chair near the shallow end.
She looked over to me as I waved for her to come over to the side of the pool where I was hanging onto the edge.
"Yes, Ben? Do you need something?" she said as she squatted down by the edge of the pool.
"I kind of have a problem," I replied.
"A problem? What problem? You look just fine to me," she said.
"It's my pants."
"Your pants?" she asked.
"My swim trunks." I took a deep breath. It was now or never if I was going to ask for help. "They, uh, kind of, uh, ripped."
"What, like, a small tear?" She put out her index finger and thumb and put them about an inch apart.
"No. Like a tear!" I put out both my hands about three feet apart to get my point across.
"Oh dear. That is a big tear," she said.
"It goes all the way from the front to the back! Please, you gotta help me," I pleaded.
She stopped talking and thought for a moment until she perked up. I could see the light bulb turn on in her head. "Alright, here's the plan. I'll go get your towel and meet you at the steps in the shallow end. You'll get out super fast and I'll wrap the towel around you so that no one will see. Then you can go inside, change into one of Billy's old swimsuits, and it will all be fine. OK?"
"OK…but," I began to say, but it was too late. She had already turned to go inside to get my towel. "But…but…The shallow end?
Not the shallow end! Anywhere but the shallow end. I'd almost risk getting out on the side of the pool and all the boys seeing my bare buns than go to the shallow end!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The girls made their way back to the shallow end, where they once again began to chatter, giggle and point. The rest of the boys lined up behind me. The game was about to begin again and I was at the front of the line. The alligator floated in the center of the deep end.
"Alright, Ben," said Travis, who was standing behind me in line. "Let round two begin!"
"Yeah, go already!" yelled Billy, who was waiting at the end of the line.
Oh, I was going to go alright. I was going to leap…no…fly on top of that alligator and with one mighty squeeze of my legs, I was going to crush it to pieces in front of all the girls who stared at me from the shallow end.
"Go, Ben, Go!" their eyes screamed to me as I stepped out to the edge of the diving board, took a deep breath and jumped.
But this was no ordinary jump. This was a super jump. The jump of all jumps. The uber-jump. It was one of those jumps that takes you so high, when you hit the apex, time seems to slow to a crawl and stop. And in that frozen moment, I could do no wrong. Nothing mattered. Not my year old swim trunks, my ultra white thighs, or the fact that I was a puny ten year old boy. All that mattered was that I was about to make Alligator Wrestler history.
I landed with a thud. My eyes and ears became filled with all the sights and sounds of the moment. The girls squealed with delight. The boys yelled their manly battle cries. The parents cheered from the side of the pool. But in the mix of all these sights and sounds, I also heard another sound.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, "No big deal. Threads pop and tear, but it couldn't be that bad, right?"
I quickly slipped off the alligator as Travis jumped on behind me and swam to the edge of the pool to assess the damage. My hand shot to my backside to feel the area and see if the tear was bad. I felt nothing. In some cases, feeling nothing would be wonderful, but in this case it meant I felt exactly that…nothing! Where I should have been feeling swimsuit, I felt nothing but the skin on my now exposed and bare butt! It was the mother of all tears.
I continued to feel about, but the more I felt, the more shocked I became. The hole, if you could even call it that, was not just in the back. The sheer force of my super, spectacular, uber-jump had torn my swimsuit in two. The only thing holding the two pieces together was the elastic waist band, which looked as if it too was about to pop.
"Great," I thought to myself. Not only was my butt hanging out the back, but mini-Ben and the boys were dangling out the front as well.
"You still playing?" Billy yelled from the alligator.
"Yeah," I quickly replied. "I'll be back in a second. I'm just taking a breather."
"But we just started back up! Just admit it," he said, "you're not man enough to continue."
Oh, I was man enough all right. If I got out of the pool right there he'd have been able to see how manly I was whether he wanted to or not.
"What am I going to do?" I thought as I continued to tread water by the side of the pool.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We landed with a thud.
"Woo hoo!" I yelled as I wrestled my way up the alligator.
"Isn't this awesome?" Billy yelled, who was vying for a better position on the alligator. He made it up to the top and we wrestled to see who the master of the alligator would be, but were torn from our place by all the other boys. Travis, who I could now see in the middle of the group, slid up onto the alligator and took over our spot. I began to swim around the alligator, looking for a place that I could grab hold when something else caught my attention.
It was the girls…the minnows in the shallow end. They were still talking like they were before, but they were doing something else I didn't notice before. They were watching the boys. Some stared. Others pointed and giggled with delight.
"They're watching us," I thought to myself. But then a light blinked on in my head. They weren't watching us. They were checking us out!
Suddenly a new thought occurred to me. This wasn't a game anymore. The addition of the admirers of the opposite sex had changed this from a game into a way for young boys to display their strength and power. This was the true alpha-male extravaganza and all the girls had front row seats to the competition. I needed to get back in there! I couldn't let the girls just see Billy and the others in their macho display of strength. They needed to see ME! It now no longer mattered if I had white legs, wore an old swimsuit or was one of the smallest boys at the party. I needed to show the girls that I was the man. The one. The only. Alligator Wrestler!
I quickly grabbed hold of someone's leg and got back up onto the alligator. But as soon as you would get back up on to it, someone would pull you down and the cycle would begin all over again. The war waged on for what seemed like an hour until it was suddenly interrupted.
"Cake and presents time!" yelled Billy's mom.
Everyone got out of the pool and walked over to the patio where Mrs. Anderson stood.
"Can't we keep playing?" I asked.
"After cake and presents," she replied.
Cake was served and we all gathered around Billy, who began unwrapping his gifts that sat next to him in a huge pile. First a transformer. A shirt. Some Legos. Some shorts. And tons more. I couldn't help but sit there, waiting anxiously to get back to the game. Even though the game had no end, I knew the party would, thus creating an end to this round of the game. In my mind, there was only going to be one alligator wrestler left standing (or floating, in our case), and that was going to be me.
As soon as Billy finished unwrapping his final gift, a Voltron robot that he had asked his mother for, we all tried to make our way back to the pool..."tried" being the key word here.
Billy's mom yelled after us. "You guys have to wait 15 minutes before you get back in. If you don't you'll cramp up from all that cake you guys ate."
15 minutes? We wanted to play NOW, but the one thing that you couldn't do was say no to Mrs. Anderson. Even if she may have said everything with a big smile plastered on her face, we all knew she meant business.
We sat back down and proceeded to stare at the clock. 15. 10. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.
"Finally!" I yelled as I made my way quickly over to the diving board.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The car slowed to a stop in front of my friend Jimmy's house. My mother leaned over and kissed me on the cheek as I got out of the car.
"Mom! Don't do that. I'm not a baby anymore," I said.
"You'll always be my baby," she said back with a smile. "Have fun. And call me if you need anything."
"Alright," I said. I grabbed the gift for my friend and closed the door. "Love you."
"Love you, too," she yelled out the window as she pulled away.
I watched as she left, gift in one hand and towel and swimsuit in the other. The party had finally arrived and I was ready.
I ran to the door and rang the doorbell. My friend Jimmy's mother answered the door and greeted me with a smile. She was a tall, happy, red haired woman who loved to throw parties and make everyone feel at home.
I handed her the gift. "Here's my gift for Jimmy. I hope he likes it."
"I'm sure he will, Ben," she said. "Jimmy is in the pool with the rest of the boys. You can change in the bathroom down the hall. We'll do gifts and cake after you guys swim for a while."
"Thanks, Mrs. Anderson," I said as I walked to the hall bathroom. I quickly changed into my swimsuit. It was tight…and short! It made me look completely ridiculous. I had already gotten a tan from playing outside, but the tan line only came to the top of my knees. After the tan stopped, there were only my white lets. The too short shorts couldn't cover them up at all. I tried pulling them down to cover up my stark white thighs. That only pulled the top of my suit lower and I wasn't going to go out there with my butt hanging out for everyone to see. There was only one solution. I just had to hike up the suit and go out there…just me, my shorts and my ultra white legs.
"Here we go," I told myself in the mirror.
* * * * *
The party was in full swing when I walked out the screen door to the backyard. Many parents sat on lawn chairs while all the kids were in the pool. It was exciting, but quickly noticed there was something strange was going on in the pool. All of the boys were boisterously playing in the deep end while all of the girls were huddled together in the shallow end of the pool like a school of minnows. I had thought that all of the boys and girls would have been playing together, but instead it was starting to look like an old-fashioned Mennonite gathering.
Billy got out of the pool and excitedly walked (because his mother was watching like a hawk) over to where I stood.
"You got to come play this new game we just made up!" He was obviously excited about the game because he couldn't stop bouncing up and down with excitement.
"What game?" I asked.
"Alligator Wrestler!" He quickly explained the rules to me. The players, which at this point were only boys, jumped one-by-one onto the back of the giant floaty alligator that was in the center of the pool. The goal was to be the one who could stay on the longest.
I nodded my head to let Billy know I understood, but there was only one thing missing. "How do you win?" I asked. Someone had to win, right?
"That's the best part," said Billy. "You can win, but you can't." I was confused. He continued. "When you are on top, you're the winner, but as soon as someone else is on top, they become the winner. That way, the game just keeps going and going and going."
A game that never ended? Every kid, no matter who he or she is, is always on the lookout for that one game that could continually go on forever and never get old. By the look on Billy's face, he and the others had just discovered it.
He grabbed my hand and started pulling me to where the action was taking place. His mother's voice rang out. "No running, Billy!"
Billy slowed to a walk. "Sorry, mom." She smiled back at us.
We quickly walked over to the deep end where all the boys were playing. The girls were still in the shallow end…talking. The deep end, on the other hand, was a war zone. In the center of the pool was the alligator, covered from head to toe with my friends, and they all seemed to be wrestling, flailing and jockeying for position. One boy would fall off, another would jump on. It was an unending cycle of chaos. I already loved it. It was like King of the Hill, only it took place on top of some poor unsuspecting pool toy that, at the moment, looked as if it's plastic googly eyes were about to pop out of it's head.
"Hey, Ben! You got to try this," yelled my friend, Travis. "It's awesome!" I couldn't even see him. He was somewhere in the midst of all those flailing body parts.
Billy looked over at me. "You ready?"
"You know it," I said back with a mischievous grin. "Let's go!"
And with that, we both jumped, flying through the air, and landed on top of the giant mass of boys and blown-up alligator.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The story below is taken from the memory of my most embarrassing moment in my life thus far. Although some things have been changed for the sake of telling a good story, the majority of it is true. I've also broken it up into sections, so that I don't have to post it in one gigantic post. Hope you enjoy it.
"Mom, where's my swimsuit?" I yelled as I rummaged through the bottom of my dresser. It was the beginning of springtime and I had just been invited to the first swim party of the season. My friend Jimmy was turning 10 and had invited everyone in our 4th grade class to his party. To say that I was excited would have been an understatement. I was ecstatic!
"It couldn't have gone far," my mom yelled back from the kitchen. "We just bought it last week. Check and see if it's in the beach bag in the hall closet."
I ran to the hall closet and began rifling through the bag. Towels. Lotions. Toys. But no swimsuit. The only thing close to a usable pair of swim trunks were the old pair I wore last year, and they were a size too small.
"They're not here," I yelled back in frustration. "All I found were my old ones."
My mother, who hated having conversations by yelling at each other across the house, came to the hall closet. "I don't know where they could have gone," she said. Why don't you just use your trunks from last year?"
"The old ones?" I replied. "No way! They're too small!"
My mother shrugged her shoulders. "Then I guess you'll just have to go naked."
Naked? No way! I knew she was being sarcastic, but I couldn't go naked! Not only was this the first birthday swim party of the year, but this would also be the first boy/girl party I had ever been to and I was dead set on showing up wearing the proper attire.
"Can't I just wear a pair of shorts and underwear? I asked. I was beginning to get desperate. I would rather have to deal with wearing heavy, droopy drawers than swim in my old swimsuit that was too small.
"No," she replied. I could tell that she was beginning to get frustrated.
"Just this once. Pleease."
My mother had had enough. "No! Either wear the old trunks or don't swim at all!"
There it was. The ultimatum. When mom threw down the gauntlet I knew that the conversation was over. I either had to sit on the sidelines at the party and watch everyone have a good time or suck it up and wear my old swim trunks.
"Alright. I'll wear the old trunks."
"Good," my mother said with a satisfied grin on her face. "Don't forget to get a towel and sunscreen as well." She walked back down the hall to the kitchen to continue whatever it was she was doing.
I reached back into the beach bag and pulled out my old swimsuit. They were yellow with a thin red stripe that went down the sides of the suit and around the bottom of the leg holes. They looked like a pair of running shorts. You know, the kind you see someone wearing and think to yourself, "Boy are those some short shorts." Worst of all was the fact that they were beginning to get a little thin and see-through. But it was either wear this pair of trunks or miss out on all the fun, and I wasn't going to miss this party…my first boy/girl party.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
For cake madness, click here.
For zombie cats, click here.
And for frisky Ewoks, just check out the video below.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Example 1: We've been trying to make him laugh by making odd noises and the only thing that will make him laugh is a fart sound. Typical boy.
Example 2: He loves to play. He also loves variety. Whether it be on his play mat, bouncer, swing, or sitting in his Bumbo, he loves to wiggle and giggle his way through the day.
Example 3: The boys already likes watching TV. But not just any TV. He loves cartoons. So this morning the two of us sat in front of the tele and watched Superman. As you can see, he couldn't keep his eyes off it.
Monday, June 29, 2009
The Cheesiest Road Sign Award: This award goes out to the city of Weed, CA. As you enter the city there is a sign that says, "WEED like to welcome you!" This made both Alli and I groan. Clark, on the other hand, was speechless.
The Super Origami-Man Award: While stopping at a BK in Redding, CA, for lunch, we met a man who had the knack for folding paper. When we sat down he was in the process of making a little girl at the table next to us a T-rex. Then, as he was leaving, he gave Clark the gift of a dollar that had been folded into a tiny little collared shirt. It was so cool! I was totally inspired by this man who used his gift of paper folding to bring a little joy to others around him.
The Coolest Invention Award: Everyone has seen those vending machines that you come across in the bathrooms at truck stops. They dispense everything from aspirin to condoms to fake tattoos. But Alli and I saw a new one. Cologne. This machine had five different spray nozzles that will squirt your choice of imitation scents on you for only a few measly coins. The silliest thing was that in order to get your neck up to the nozzles, most people of average height would have to stand on their tippy toes. Sheer genius!
The Most Thoughtful Train Conductor Award: On the final stretch of road on the way to Fresno, we came across a train crossing our path. Not a problem...usually. With only one and a half train cars left to go, the conductor stopped the train. Just when we thought we were almost there, we had to turn around after waiting 15 minutes. Thanks a bunch, inconsiderate train conductor man!
The Ding-dong-McGee Award: This one goes out to yours truly. We made our first stop of the road trip at the Woodburn outlets, which was only about 45 minutes from our home. Alli pulled out a brand new container of formula for Clark. The tab to open the container broke off as she tried to open it. Without even thinking, I said, "Just hand it to me. I can open it." I pulled out my keys. The sharp edge of a key would be more than enough to pop the top of the container. So I took the key and pushed. Good news, the can was open. Bad news, in my rush to open the container, I opened it a little too hard. With a nice firm push, I pushed the key, and my fist, to the bottom of the can. Formula shot everywhere, coating Clark and the entire backseat of the car with a hefty dose of white powder. Clark stared at me in shock. Alli laughed out loud. And I, not wanting to curse in front of my child, began to spurt out the closest thing possible to what I truly wanted to say. "Ef! Ef, ef, ef, ef, ef, ef, ef!" One hour later, after a good vacuuming and a much needed cool-down period, we made our way to California.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Books to Read: The Book of Lies - Brad Meltzer, Wizard's First Rule - Terry Goodkind, and finish as many Harry Potter books as I can before the next movie comes out.
Games to Play with people who I want to hang out with: Carcassonne with Alli, WOW Minis with Chris, Zombies with Clint, and Fifa 09 with Sean and Tyler.
Places I want to go to: Visalia for Chris and Mimi's wedding, Forest Park for some hiking, more Timber's games, and the church basement to record music for the church.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Tonight's Kung-Fu Double Feature:
Rumble in the Bronx and Righting Wrongs (Also known as Above the Law)
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
- Acorns (or any type of nut)
- Super Heroes (They never get old... probably started with Underoos)
- Wooden Soldier Nutcrackers
- Christmas Packages
- Fruit (Haven't seen them with the fruit basket yet, but I'm sure someone will come up with it sooner or later)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
- There was The Old Ship in Fullerton, CA. We love that place because of the late 40s English waitresses that would call you "love". It's known for it's red phone booth outside.
- There was The Old Ship's sister pub, The Crown and Anchor in Monterey, CA, which was like Cheers, where you have to walk downstairs to get to the pub. It was dark and musty, but was all English.
- BC's Pizza and Beer is as close as you can get to a pub in Clovis, CA. You can take a 50 beer tour around the world and get a plaque on the wall. I made it 1 1/2 times around the world. My plaque reads "If only my mama could see me now." I know. I was a total turd when I wrote this. Sorry, mom.
- Kell's Irish Pub in downtown Portland, OR, has to be one of the best. It's nice and classy, but still has the pub feel. They even have a way to stick a dollar and 2 quarters to the ceiling. They say it's "Irish Magic". I have to find out how they do it. But the best thing of all about this pub is their Guiness Shepherd's Pie. Yum!
- Last, is a new find. My friend Sean found a pub that plays the Premier games on Saturdays and Sundays. It's called the Horse Brass Pub in Portland, OR. Soccer. Great beer. (They actually have the Old Speckled Hen.) And a totally traditional English Breakfast that comes on a huge plate. Everything was awesome, but I still don't know if I'm a fan of Fried Bread (Yep, it's bread that has been deep fried...that's it.) Here's a pic of Sean and I at the Horse Brass as well.
Monday, April 6, 2009
There is nothing like stepping out your door, driving to the forest and hiking on a dreary day. The only thing I usually struggle with is what to listen to as I hike. But since today was drizzling and especially dark, I thought a little Radiohead OK Computer would do well. It did. It was perfect! And it made it even better to hike to the Stone House in Forest Park. It was an old Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in the 1930s but later was abandoned and ruined in the 1962 Columbus Day Storm. It all looked very spooky and ancient. All in all, music + hiking + sweet old houses = a jolly good time.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Or who can forget Ron Burgundy and his mustache bringing San Diego the nightly news.
And last but not least, Tom Selleck, his mustache, and his baby blue eyes.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
To hear the song, just click here or visit http://drop.io/portermusic.
But it did. Don talked about how individuals like ourselves are in the middle of our own personal/faith stories and asked us, "What is the story that you are telling?" and that it all boiled down to asking ourselves who do we want to be/do and going for it. I was moved. Not to say that my story is all that bad, but there are definitely some areas that are rough around the edges. So I began to make a list... a list of all of the things I wanted to do. One thing stuck out. Song writing. For some reason, I felt it was time I stop writing for myself and start writing for God.
God must have been ready for me to give him the reigns. Other members in the team started saying they wanted to be a part of writing worship and making music to share with the church and possibly record. I don't know if I was ready for that but it's in full swing now. I'm just eager to see what happens. As Don said, there may be some conflict, fear, and doubt involved, but if you hang on to your story, God can do awesome things. Personally, I can't wait to see what happens.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Beth and Nicki
Makin' a wish.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
That's right... It's Mustache March. Out of the eight of us, only three remain. Ken, our janitor, already had a mustache so he didn't do Full Beard February, but man does his stache look good. As for Clint and I, we are sticking to the plan (unlike Sean, in the background, who is sticking with his trimmed beard). First up in the way of special shaves is the the Tough Guy Look. This is the full chops attached to the mustache. It's the staple for bikers and wrestlers. Sure, most of the ladies we work with think we are crazy, but we don't think anything of it because they thought we were crazy even before we had crazy facial hair. So here it is! Week 1! Up next, the Frenchman!