Inside My Head

the literary rantings of Angie Frissore

“Miles to go before I sleep…” (Continuation)

I ran to the kitchen window as the smell of diesel fumes filled my apartment, confirming Chris’s morning departure as I saw his would-be monster truck disappear down the street.  With one quick check in the bathroom mirror, I grabbed my sweatshirt, ran down the stairs, and knocked on the Tenant’s door.

“What took you so long?” he asked with a grin as he opened the door.  Before I could make my way into his apartment, Roger pushed his way towards me and jumped up, placing one large paw strategically on my chest and almost ripping off my somewhat skimpy tank top.

“Gooooooooood dog Roger,” Aidan laughed.  “I swear I didn’t train him to do that.”

“Right,” I said slyly.  “At least it’s more attention than I got last night.”

“Oh really?”

We made our way into the living room and I settled on the couch, with Aidan’s two dogs on either side of me.  As Aidan rolled a joint, I began to complain about my uneventful date with The Supervisor the night before.

“I just don’t get it,” I muttered, mainly to myself.  “I mean, come on, I know he was hoping to get laid and all, but would you just give up altogether after striking out on date one? Without even trying?”  The previous evening’s date had been the culmination of three months’ worth of flirting between myself and the mildly-hunky Italian manager that I had briefly worked with for some time after college.  Underneath all of the built up sexual tension, however, I had been left scratching my head over the pre-pubescent antics of the evening.

“Well he’s obviously an idiot,” Aidan quipped.  I looked at him quizzically. 

“Oh yeah?” I asked.  I had a sneaking suspicion that my neighborly visits were about to take an interesting turn. “How so?”

“Well, come on…” Aidan stammered.  “It’s not like you don’t know you’re hot as hell.”

Within minutes, the logical half of me watched helplessly as my impetuous side became lost in a passionate, albeit random, make-out session with the Tenant.   You can’t do this! It screamed out to me as I counted the many ways in which the situation was incredibly inappropriate.  Here was this man who was not only well within the circle of Micah’s friends, but who had also been spotted on several occasions bringing his apparent girlfriend over.  I placed a firm hand on his chest and interrupted our horny-teenager-like-romp.

“Ok, so hold on,” I said breathlessly.  “What about that girl who’s always here?”

“Megan? Don’t worry about her.  She doesn’t need to know.”  Surprisingly, his arrogant confidence in the sitaution became somewhat of a turn on for me.  This had not been a fluke, a moment of passion.  This had been planned.

“Are you serious?” I asked, slightly taken aback by his honesty.

“Yeah, I mean…we’re obviously both having issues in our own little romantic worlds, right? So who’s to say we can’t, I dunno…be there for each other?”

“What, like, routinely?”

“Well, I certainly hope so,” muttered Aidan as he leaned in closer to me.  “I mean, what are neighbors for, right?”

September 30, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | Leave a comment

The BEST Chocolate Chip Bread You’ll Ever Eat.

In a writer’s block-inspired ADD moment, I decided to bake something yummy for an early fall evening.  Problem was, this recipe was SO easy to make that I had to find other activities to satisfy my lack of attention span.  For something that takes literally five minutes to prepare (and not to mention produces TWO kickass loaves), screw the cookies and go for the bread.  You won’t be sorry.

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F/180° C. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.Combine eggs, milk and vegetable oil in medium bowl. Add to flour mixture; mix just until moistened. Stir in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and chopped nuts. Spoon into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool on wire racks.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Cooking | | 1 Comment

Curse of The Other One (Expanded!)

I sped toward the highway off-ramp with reckless abandon, without an inkling of concern for whatever law enforcement might happen upon us.  The Flight Medic had taken his time in meeting me, thus putting us at an arrival time which I was hoping would not coincide with the end of The Other One’s set.  My purpose in going to the show was for a proofing of shots from an older show, but I secretly adored the music and desperately wanted to see the band play.

I was nervous, yes, but surprised at much more nervous I could’ve been given the circumstances.  I hadn’t actually spoken to The Other One in years, and this time, I had a secret weapon.  It was to be my third date with Flight Medic, laid out before the eyes of the one man who used to be the standard to which all others were compared.  As we made our way towards the festival, I struggled to brush of the memory of the last time.

It was the summer after my sophomore year of college, and I was dealing with the consequences of what would come to be one of the silliest decisions I’d made – dumping my first true love. But I was young, and more importantly, invincible.  I was just starting to enjoy the powers that come along with womanhood and I wasn’t about to be tied down.

There was one small problem, however, and I, for once, sought the maternal wisdom of my mother.

“I gotta problem,” I muttered, approaching my mother as she laid in bed, lazily watching television as the summer afternoon passed. 

“Just one?” she joked.

“Well, no, but that’s neither here nor there,” I replied.  “I have these tickets to see this band…they were supposed to be for Mark and I, but, well….”

“But you dumped the loser?” My mother never did like Mark.

“Yeah, much to your shagrin.  Anyway, I don’t know a single soul who even knows this band aside from me, let alone someone who’d actually want to go. I wish Craig were around.”  My brother would’ve been willing to go with me, had he not been stationed in Japan at the time.

“Well, let’s think for a minute,” my mother said.  I could see the wheels beginning to turn in her mind.  “So you say Craig likes this band…so, would it be a logical assumption to make that perhaps some of his friends like this band?”

“Eh, not really.  Most of them are football players, with no musical taste.”

“Ok, well, let’s look then at the non-jock friends,” she said with a sly smile.

“Uh uh…no freakin’ way,” I protested.  “Like I could ever pull that one off.”  I knew my mother was insinuating that I bite the bullet and extend an invitation to The Other One, probably the only person I’d find who’d be into it, given his far more advanced sense of everything musical.

Without skipping a beat, I witnessed my mother suddenly turn into a teenager before my eyes.

“Aw, come on! You’ve got nothing to lose,” she urged.  “Plus, you can spin it as a favor for a ‘broken hearted girl who just broke up with her boyfriend’! Think of the sympathy!”

“I don’t even have a way of getting in touch with him,” I informed her smugly, wondering how she was going to argue that point.

“I’m sure it’s somewhere on an old phone bill in the files.”

As if overpowered by some unseen force, I suddenly found myself elbow-deep in my father’s filing cabinet, pulling out old phone bills from my brother’s various college breaks.  Before long, the home phone number of The Other One was staring me in the face.  After several minutes of giggling and excitement, my mother had convinced me to pick up the phone.

I returned a few moments later, sporting a somber look on my face.

“Well?” she asked.

“Yeah…he, uh, said yes.”

Excitement quickly turned to panic as we frantically discussed what would be worn that evening, and just what my plan was to attract the romantic eye of my new show-date.  LIttle did I know that the five minute phone call I had just had with the man of my dreams would have involved more conversation than our entire forthcoming evening together.

After waiting for what seemed to be months for the big night, I sat there under the pavillion, unable to enjoy a rare acoustic set performed by the main act, instead focusing on my apparent inability to form cohesive sentences around The Other One.  The night seemed to drag on and on as the realization that I would always be ‘Craig’s little sister’ bore through my head like a drill.  I had wanted this night for as long as I could remember, and now, all I wanted was to go home.  Every movement I made, every comment, every attempt at acting like a normal human being seemed to fail miserably.  Life had given me the perfect chance to woo this man, and instead I would’ve had more success wooing a pigeon.

I snapped back to reality as the Flight Medic and I scoured the scene at the festival.  The band was playing, indeed, but there was no sign of The Other One.  I looked around, trying to mask my impending panic, and soon noticed him standing directly in front of me. 

“Look at this kid,” I said flirtatiously, playfully jabbing The Other One in the ribs.  He spun around, smiling, and performed what looked to be a double take before scooping me up in a hug.  Suddenly Craig’s little sister was all grown up.

We chatted a bit, catching up on the highlights of the past couple of years.    I mentioned Craig, giving an obligatory update on the various goings-on of my brother’s life, and a sly smiled slowly spread across The Other One’s face.

“Speaking of Craig,” he said.  “You should’ve gone ahead and kicked that girl’s ass at the show. That was the best thing any of us had heard in a long time.”

I laughed as I could feel myself suddenly blushing.  News, as it were, had traveled rather quickly from Japan of my near-miss three weeks ago at The Other One’s band’s show.  I didn’t have to look over at the Flight Medic to notice the shocked look on his face.

“It really wasn’t my fault,” I reasoned.  “Drunk and flirty may work with men, but she should’ve known better…”

Torn between embarrassment and pride, I proceeded to explain to both the true reasons for needing to make a quick exit from the show that night.  For needing to have my big brother almost drag me out of the club, lest I wanted to end up in jail that evening.

It started off innocently enough.  Jason and I waited by the side of the stage for The Other One to make his post-set appearance, watching each band member come through the door without him.  Failing to wrangle through the hordes of swooning college girls, Jason tried desperately to get the singer’s attention to try to determine The Other One’s whereabouts.  He managed somehow to find out that no one seemed to know where The Other One was.

“Nice set by the way,” I interjected, masking my brother’s impatience with some obligatory flattery.  The singer looked at me with a smirk and held out his hand.

“Why thank you,” he responded coyly, taking my hand in his.  I quickly pulled my hand away and smiled.

“Could you just let him know that Abby and Jason are here waiting for him?” I asked, deflating his front-man ego.  The poor lad had naturally assumed I was swooning for him.

As we waited (and waited….), a somewhat heavy-set, mostly-drunk, definitely annoying dark-haired girl who was standing behind us on a balcony had decided to flirt with Jason.  With one eye on the stage door, I couldn’t help but commend Jason’s patience with Ms. Chubby McDrinksalot as he playfully laughed off her drunken attempts to swipe his glasses from his face.

Suddenly, I felt a hand trying to grab my own $10 not-really-necessary fake spectacles.  Without a moment’s hesitation, I was suddenly standing on my seat facing the drunk girl.  I snatched my glasses out of her hand and looked her dead in the eye.

“It may be cute with him,” I warned her.  “Touch me again and you just might lose that hand.”

I turned back around and focused my attention once again on the stage door, wondering where the hell this kid was.  After a few seconds, I could feel tiny splashes raining down from above me as Chubs was now flicking bits of her drink down on my head.  I grabbed Jason’s arm.

“Get me outta here,” I instructed him.  “Otherwise, you’re gonna need some bail money if we don’t leave right now.”

 

 

September 24, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | 2 Comments

Challenges….

I have not forgotten the challenges laid before me and am taking my time….making sure I put a full effort to obtain the most effective results….

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stranger in a Strange Land.

Mental health issues, these days, still seem to hold a bit of a stigma to them for those who suffer from them.  Ask anyone who’s been diagnosed with depression or other mood disorders (you do know someone if you take the time to look closely) and, though hesitantly, they will most likely admit that they are, in fact, suffering from it.

 

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.1 million American adults, or about 8 percent of the U.S. population ages 18 and older, in a given year.  More alarming, however, is that approximately 80% of people experiencing depression are not currently receiving any treatment.  Only about one-fifth of all women who suffer from depression seek treatment.  

 

The mental health stigma in the US costs lives.  Depression can put women at risk of suicide.   While more men than women die from suicide, women attempt suicide about twice as often as men do.  Those who live with depression and other disorders are often misunderstood by friends and family, who still see mental health as just that – mental.   A great deal of those who haven’t experienced these disorders first hand will instinctively label those with depression as weak and self-pitying.  Oftentimes those with depression are told by others that it is ‘all in their heads’.  Stereotypes and labels are thrust upon those who suffer from mood disorders, and oftentimes it is these stereotypes which keep patients from seeking much-needed, and effective treatments.  

 But you know better.  You know that it’s not just in your head.  It affects almost every aspect of your life: you don’t eat the way you should, sleep is affected, you have ongoing aches and pains, even digestive issues.  You come to wish it was only in your head.  Your friendships suffer as you retreat into your own world, for fear of being chastised and judged by others.  You know you aren’t you, and you want nothing more than to hide that stranger from those who know and love you.  

 Perhaps you’ve forgotten that people love you.  Perhaps you simply cannot see that through the cloud of hopelessness that you’ve come to accept in your life.  You’ve lost sight of the person you used to be and no longer wish to be around this strange, new you. 

 So don’t be.  You didn’t choose depression, but you can choose to recover from it.  It can start with anything, any small step in regaining that which made you, well, you.  

  •  Exercise.  You’ve heard it before.  The magic cure-all which is physical exertion.  We’re not talking becoming the next body-building champion or hundreds of dollars in gym memberships.   Just move.  For ten minutes, a half hour, get up and let your physical body take over.  Think about every person who’s told you to just ‘get over it’ and that it is all in your head – if it’s in your head, then perhaps it’s time to let your body take over.  In my darkest days, I eventually learned to succumb to a being much more capable of helping me than I was at the time – my dog.  Our morning treks outside would, on the harder days, turn into a forced walk.  The dog knew – better than I did most times – that by refusing to end her walk early, she was helping me to get those endorphins pumping, and thus, giving me back something long missed – a smile.
  • Write it out.  So you don’t feel that you can turn to any of your close friends or relatives.  That’s understandable – not everyone is equipped to properly understand what people with depression experience, and thus, aren’t equipped to help in any way.  When your thoughts are your enemy, write it all out.  Don’t write for someone else to read – I would even suggest writing as if your depression was your reader.  Get angry with it – tell it how you feel.
  • Baby Steps.  Once a week, think back to something that used to bring you joy before life with depression, and just do it.  Force yourself to.  I have spent many a Sunday baking sweet treats I know I’m not going to enjoy myself, simply because I knew that baking always made me happy.  If you keep denying yourself activities that used to bring joy, how will you be able to remind yourself that you CAN feel joy?
  • Keep your eye on the prize.  Understand that your depression is a treatable medical condition.  Would you suffer through the flu without treatment?  Always keep in mind that as long as you’re willing to seek the help, the help is there.  You will return to you.  Life will get better.

 

Other Depression facts (www.nami.org):

  • Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability in the United States for people ages 15 to 44.
  • While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5.
  • Major depressive disorder is about twice as common in women as it is in men
  • At least 90 percent of all cases of eating disorders occur in women, and there is a strong relationship between eating disorders and depression.

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 4 Comments

Ummm….what?!?!?!

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article4773601.ece?token=null&offset=0&page=1 

Reeeee-Dick-U-Louse…..

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

“When you gracefully creep in…”

After settling in for the rare occasion of a pasta dinner for one last night (funny how the desire to cook a proper meal wanes the more one lives a solitary life), I settled in for some mindless television programming and internet surfing.

I opened up Yahoo messenger – simply due to the need to delete someone from my contacts whom I no longer care to hear from – and was presented with something that part of me always knew was forthcoming but never wanted to receive: a missed IM from Christopher.

“I hope you’re okay,” the message simply stated.

Am I okay? Well, I’d probably be better off without thoughts of him constantly popping into my head.  Clear memories of standing on his porch drinking 32-ounce daquiris and laughing at passers-by.  Memories of little tender moments – him lovingly tending to an overly sunburned New Englander who cannot handle six hours in the Louisiana sun, his numerous calls to my mother as he sat waiting for me to wake up from surgery.  Memories of future planning. Moments of us.

In one month’s time, I was to be packing up and moving south.  I was to be starting my new life with him.

And now, I wish I’d never even kissed his lips that day years ago, walking through the Natick common.

But I did, and now this is what I am left with…too bitter for fond memories, too heartbroken to matter.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Randomness | , , | 1 Comment

Paul’s challenge, #2

Ok, so based on Paul’s second challenge, I’m throwing the gauntlet down.  Photgraphically chronicle for me, daily, for five days, your emotions for that day. Post daily an image representing your current mood and share why.

Game on.

September 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can run, but you can’t hide.

It always manages to find you.

The moment you think you’ve beaten it, risen above it…it sneaks up behind you and follows you closely, waiting.

Waiting for you to let your guard down.  Waiting for the inevitable dramatic moment in which you flew too close to the sun…waiting to catch you.

It waits for vulnerability.  A poorly-received criticism from a supervisor, from a friend.  A moment of bruised egos and hurt feelings.  It’s there, knowing that you’ll soon run back into it’s embrace.

And so you retreat.  You hide in your safe, solitary world where the lack of drama provides a lonely comfort.  You ignore it.  It follows your every step but you look elsewhere, hoping it won’t be there still when you look back.

Inevitably, you embrace it.  You surrender to it.  Because deep down, you’ve known nothing else.

September 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Challenge Me (please)

As of late I’ve been seriously lacking creative focus.  Instead of being inspired to write, I’m churning out useless crap and calling that writing instead.  I think I have A.D.D., but only in my right brain.

So, I need a challenge.  Something random, silly, serious, pensive, creative…anything, something.  I’m asking you, my readers (thankyouthankyou by the way) to offer up some challenges for me.  Give me something that will hopefully keep me from writing the next Freddy Got Fingered.

That is all.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

“And I can’t get him outta this house…” (excerpt)

It is physically impossible to spare someone else’s feelings.

I sat on the balcony of Samantha’s apartment, waiting for her to return from the laundry room, desperately trying to figure out how I was going to get out of this whole Newbie thing with minimal drama.  I tried to create scenarios in which I could fabricate a clever claim about how I was just not as ready for this whole dating thing as I had originally thought, or seem like I was acting in his best interest due to the fact that I would merely destroy him over time anyway, and he was lucky to walk away before it was too late.

But as I sat there in the fading sunlight, with a bipolar Himalayan sleeping in my lap (apparently I was on the VIP list that day as far as Bubba was concerned, as I had not suffered so much as a scratch since arriving), I realized there was truly no way to get out of this without breaking the Newbie’s heart.  That, in and of itself, was an issue, given we’d only been testing out this coupling for a few days.

Why did I have to end up the bad guy? Why is it that one cannot ‘try out’ a date for awhile to see if there’s an atraction without someone getting hurt? I knew I would have to take the high road and be as brutally honest as I could with him, but was bothered by the impending fall out.

Scott would call, wondering why I had been so mean.  Chris would begin to act uncomfortable around me.  Skippy, though, he’d have seen it coming all along.  It reminded me of this hot, younger, puppy-esque guy I had once dated, and Skippy’s prediction, back six years ago: “You’re gonna destroy this kid.”

I was technically doing the Newbie a favor.  I was gonna tell it like it was, so that he could be free to pursue his happy little fairy tale elsewhere, where it would be more appreciated. This was a good thing, right?

Right?

Samantha busted through the door with her arms wrapped around a sky-high pile of clothing.  She walked through the living room (barely pausing to dump the load on the couch) and headed outside to the deck.

“Dude,” I said. “I gotta do it.  Quick, easy and painless.  For me at least.”

“Like a fuckin’ Band Aid,” she said, smiling.  “You gotta let me watch.”

September 16, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

day 257 (excerpt).

not as much of an urge to smite others upon waking.  pondered giving in to complete fathood by purchasing coffee shop’s version of the Egg McMuffin; saved by lack of cash.  dragged self to work.  received four emails from The Mother asking when I was start taking life seriously and settle down.  deleted without reading.

cut out of work early, stopped by Sean’s house to smoke with roommates.  decided to brush off stress caused by The Mother by initiating romantic seek-and-destroy with The Newbie.  Celebrated inflated ego victory with massive amount of chinese food and cheap wine. thought of calling The Southern Man; thought better of it and went to bed.

September 16, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , | Leave a comment

Excerpt: “Oh, mama…can this really be the end?”

I laid there in the silence, unable to sleep.  It wasn’t just the customary night-before-a-flight insomnia…I kept replaying various conversations that had taken place over the course of the past five days.  An uneasy, melancholy feeling was welling within me as I mentally took note of the many ways in which the Southern Man had failed me during my time with him.

I was promised a birthday dinner.  This was not to be just any dinner, no – he had promised my mother, no less, that I was to be ‘treated like a princess’.  I had even been instructed to pack the little black dress that I had been desperate to find an occasion for.

The dinner turned out to be burgers and milkshakes at a retro 50’s diner.  We were both wearing jeans and black shirts, as my sexy little dress sat crumpled in my carryon in his bedroom, probably acting as a nice nesting place for the cat.

Earlier in the day, the Southern Man had been fuming about the possibility of having to make a venture into work to sign some papers (that should’ve been taken care of ages ago, dammit, why doesn’t everyone else know everything like the Southern Man apparently does?).  He openly complained about having to interrupt his last day ‘with his woman’.

That evening, after greasy burgers and creepy James Dean cutouts, we spent our last evening together in the living room.  He played video games, while I sat, on the other couch, wondering why I had been unable to get his attention.

He…never…laid…a…hand…on…me.

This was not something that a woman like myself could comprehend.  Regardless of anything else, I could make any man want me physically.  That was always the easy part.  But here was this…man.  This man who was ready to have me pack up and marry him, and yet I might as well have been sharing a bed with my mother.

The disappointment eventually took over, and I tried desperately to hide the sound of my crying.  Given the total silence of the room, this was not an easy task.  I masked sniffle after sniffle, producing little fake coughs to imply I was suffering from allergies (there was the cat, after all).  Before long, a voice broke the silence.

“Are you gonna sit there and cry all night?” The Southern Man asked.

“Nope,” I replied sternly.  “I’m gonna sit in the living room and do it,”  And with that, I got up and went into the darkened living room and sat on the couch.  I was infuriated, yet at the same time, this was the sign I had been waiting for.  As if all of the dozens of times he had disappointed me clearly had not taught me anything, this was it – I had reached my pain threshold (as Samantha would say – I wished desperately I could’ve called her at that moment).

He came into the living room, feeling obligated to probe into what was bothering me.  I started to try explaining just how selfish he was and how hurt I was after making such an effort to be there.   I even brought up his lack of interest in anything I liked  – friends, music, movies.

“I don’t expect you to care about my past, because I really don’t care about yours,” he said, apparently thinking that was a tender thing to say.

“Well, now that we have that settled.  You should get to bed, you have to work.  At least I can sleep on the plane,” I said cheerfully.  All I had to do was patronize him for less than six more hours.  “I’m going to smoke a cigarette and try to wind myself down.”

I sat outside, reflecting on the things he had said.  I didn’t want to think about the future, whether it involved him or not, but I found myself asking why would I want to give up my life for this – for him.

I didn’t.  I didn’t have to.  I just needed to get on the plane, away from here; away from him.  Just get home.

September 13, 2008 Posted by | No Messages - Excerpts from the Draft | , , , | Leave a comment

New Joy from Old Stuff

I was on a typical post-work-rainy-day exploration into the depths of my desk drawers, rummaging for a cd of old family photos, when I came across a golden little nugget of goodness.

Scribbled on a blank cd were the words, “A Frissore – portfolio.ppt”.  I popped it into my computer and was taken back to 2000.  Oddly enough, these were the primary photos I hadn’t scanned when I did the ‘big scan’ of everything a few weeks ago.  That works out pretty well.

Here are some of the images I came across.  I’m off to continue my happy little walk down memory lane.

September 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Noticing.

she sees you, ya know

from your safe distance, shooting glances

that fall heavy upon her bruised ego

you thought she overlooked

secret shared stories and inside tales

while you didn’t dance the night

away that time

you don’t think she can tell

how you store away every little word

that falls from glossy lips that always

seem to have the scent of mandarin

or how detailed her image is in your mind

when she’s not around

but she sees you, alright

she sees you.

September 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments