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SXSW 2009 – Day 1 – Friday

SXSW 2009 – Day 1 – Friday

I took the first day of SXSW off, even though the movies didn’t start until the evening. I have to have time to prepare you see. Rest, relax, basic slacking. I had planned on going to the panel on getting the most out of SXSW. But as usual I didn’t plan well. The traffic at 2 pm was worse than rush hour then combine that with the pouring rain. Not pretty. So it took me 45 minutes to get down to the convention center. I still needed to get my goodie bag. I managed to snag a meter spot and only had to pay 75 cents to park. Even that was overkill cuz it didn’t take me but ten minutes to get in and out. The ride home took me an hour cuz of the scared pansy drivers. You’d think it was ice and not just a wee bit of water.

Later, Mike and I headed down to Paramount to catch I Love You, Man. I went to my badge line which was INSANE and Mike went into his little film pass line. I got us seats, Mike was able to get in, and voila. The entire main cast were there and it was very cool to see them. Excuse the blurry picture, but we were quite far up the balcony.

The movie was hilarious. Paul Rudd was excellent. Understated, which made the hilarity that much more yanno, hilarious. The Q&A afterwards was a bit of a bummer, because Janet Pierson obviously didn’t think about what kinds of questions she would ask her first Q&A at her first screening of the first year as her being the director for the SXSW Film. If that were me, I think I would have practiced about 100 questions to ask. Just to have them in the pocket and ready to go. Instead of fumbling around, hemming & hawing. Bah. Makes me miss Matt Dentler, that’s for sure.

We stayed at Paramount and watched ExTerminators, with Heather Graham, Jennifer Coolidge, and Amber Heard. It was filmed in Austin, so that was excellent of course. It was about a group of ladies in an anger management group that decide to take matters into their own hands when it comes to the men in their lives. Very good stuff. Heather Graham was very good and I’m not usually that impressed with her. Mike also said she has “awesome boobs”. Yes, yes she does.

25 Random Things About Me

25 Random Things About Me

Ok, I did this for Facebook, but I ended up digging it quite a bit, so I’m duplicating the post here. I’m also doing this in response to a tag I got from a fellow EntreCarder… Pinklady.  Thanks for those that tagged me on this!  It was hella fun.

1. I have very little sympathy for humans, but can cry over road kill. Animals are at our mercy people.

2. I have written 4 paragraphs of a vampire-type book I want to write. But that was over a year ago. I feel like me and creativity no longer know each other.

3. I eat meat, but I CANNOT deal with raw meat. It’s gross. The vegetarian husband cooks all my meat for me :D

4. My house burning down was one of the best things to happen to me. Except I lost all of my yearbooks.

5. I still feel like I’m a kid. I seriously don’t want to grow up. (Mom, I’ll never dress like an adult. It’s just not in me.)

6. I have a screw in my left fifth metatarsal. I broke said bone while walking on a flat surface, wearing flat (but 2 inch soles) shoes. According to my husband, I went to the “Aggie School of Walking”. I will never hear the end of this. Also, if I sit cross-legged with my left foot on the floor, I can feel the head of the screw.

7. I cannot seem to grasp the importance of taking care of myself. The basics are painful to me. Eating, sleeping, drinking water, facial regimens, makeup… These things take way more work than they should. My husband has to constantly remind me to eat.

8. I desperately want a female BFF. Someone I can call and just chitchat with if I wanted to. Or even better… show up at her house and just hang. What a friggin’ concept.

9. Not only do I absolutely adore Justin Timberlake, but I have a really unexplainable love of all things catchy and poppy.

10. I really love listening to Rap/Hip-Hop at insanely high volumes.

11. I know a lot of ladies think they are gross, but I only use OB tampons.

12. I wouldn’t be brokenhearted if I never have a kid. I’m just too spoiled and selfish.

13. I cannot be the person who breaks a spine on a book. I read a book just opened enough to see the words.

14. I will never not dye my hair anything but red. It’s an obsession… or a mistake by nature. I should have just been born that way.

15. I’m seriously contemplating getting gastric bypass/lap-band.

16. I have a word doc for every television show I’ve ever watched. I keep track of what episodes I have & have not seen. Don’t judge.

17. I scan in every single receipt that my husband and I get. Granted, it does help with taxes, but still. It’s kinda weird, I know.

18. I’ve been rejected by SXSW twice for the same short film that I wrote/produced/edited, but I’m still giddy that I even have something to submit to a film festival. Hollah!

19. I feel like I talk too much, and am far too open with what I talk about, so that makes people not like me. (Perhaps reason for lack of #8). You’d think this would shut me up, but I think it just proves that nothing can shut me up.

20. I feel like I’m maybe two bad incidents from being an agoraphobe.

21. I’m damn proud of my 2 years in individual therapy and the 3 years in group therapy, and have never been afraid to tell anyone. I’d highly recommend group therapy for pretty much anyone. I think we as people really have no clue how to communicate with others with any degree of decent depth.

22. I really dislike it when someone touches my fortune cookie before I do (excluding the server, of course). Most of my friends/family know this and are very good about it. Thanks buddies!

23. I adore monotonous, tedious, even repetitive tasks. I’m about to take up knitting. It’ll be a BLAST!

24. If I ever get a tattoo, it’ll be on the top of my foot. Possibly a Shakespeare quote. However, I can’t quite get to that level of commitment.

25. I miss my eyebrow piercing.

SXSW Click!

SXSW Click!

Ooh. Look. Another one.. ALREADY.

Well, only cuz I forgot to mention that I turned in Socially to SXSW Click a couple weeks ago. I’m sure I will post if we actually get down into the finals for anything. If we do get to the point where we are up on their website, then I’m sure I will be begging, borrowing, and attempting to steal votes from all my peeps. THAT MEANS YOU!

Stay tuned for more information :D

SXSW 2008 – Day 9

SXSW 2008 – Day 9

Blah… That was my last SXSW movie of 2008. I started typing this March 15th, the last day of SXSW, and much like my SXSW 2008 experience, it petered out. So, here it is, so I can continue on with other things. Sorry about it’s incompleteness.

The last day of the film fest. What to see, what to see.

Well, I was up really late messing with the mac, so I missed the movie I wanted to see at 11am. I wasn’t crushed. Next movie is RSO [Registered Sex Offender]. Strange, it’s a comedy. It was filmed here in Austin, and I did have the chance once to see it “In Progress”, but I didn’t go then. I need to starting going to those AFS in progress things. Anyway, so, I started the trek downtown, and was dreading the chore of finding parking. I actually found parking pretty quick, and close to the Alamo Ritz. As I was walking from parking lot to theater, it dawned on me that I just paid $10 for parking in order to see one movie that I don’t have to pay for. Seems kinda munged. I also notice that downtown is SLAMMED. Sixth street is closed and there are stages set up everywhere.

SXSW 2008 – Day 8

SXSW 2008 – Day 8

Yah. I was tired. So, I actually did not see one SXSW movie today. I did watch movies though. As weird as that might be. I wasn’t in the mood to be crammed in a theater with a bunch of people, but I was still in the mood to watch cheezy flix. I went to H.E.B. to get some stuff for lunch, and then decided to look at one of those DVD rental dispenser things. I ended up getting 3 movies – 3’s the max. I rented Fantastic Four 2 (sucked, I wasn’t expecting it not to), Resident Evil 3 (not bad, I didn’t hate it like the first 2), and 30 Days of Night (quite impressed, but then I had no expectations). I also spent my entire day messing with the Mac, which I have now dubbed flicks, for obvious reasons. And for those that aren’t finding it obvious, it’s because I pretty much bought the machine to get my crazy Final Cut Pro editing on.

Yah, so Day 8. No SXSW films. Suckage.

SXSW 2008 – Day 7

SXSW 2008 – Day 7

As the SXSW days go by, I am finding it harder and harder to make myself go to any films. My original plan for today’s filmgoing was 5 movies. I made it to 2, and one of them wasn’t on the plan at all. So, the day began with me missing my first film that started at 11am, so that made me rethink. So, I decided to head down to Alamo South Lamar for the 1:30pm showing of Humboldt County. I quickly read that it was about a dude sort of trapped in aHumboldt County community of pot farmers, and that Fairuza Balk was in it. Since I love Fairuza, and pot seems kinda cool too, I decided what the heck. I make it a bit late for seating, but 30 minutes before the film starts. I get a crapcrap seat in the front, but whatever. 1:30pm comes and goes, and the film still isn’t starting. After another 5 minutes, some SXSW dude comes out and says that the film was so popular they opeend a 2nd theater, and now they have to link the projectors together so they can play it on both screens simultaneously. We get a couple more updates, and the movie finally starts around 2:30pm. Since my next film was in the same theater, I figure I’ll be ok for timing.

The first shot of the movie was almost painfully long as it slowly zoomed out of our lead actor’s face to show us the classroom environment of a medical school. Despite the slow shot, the film actually gets going pretty quick. I liked that the film didn’t necessarily glorify pot and pot farmers, but it used the whole setting as a real-life classroom for our medical student lead. The film was very nicely shot, and I really loved the use of late afternoon/early evening light. I’ll have to remember that for future filming myself. Maybe it’ll allow me to get away with reflectors instead of full-on light setups. Blech. Of course, the beautiful setting of the woods added to the environment and the way the light spills through the trees and whatnot. Ok, I’ll try to stop with the technical commentary, but I really did appreciate the great lighting. The film was really good, and some excellent performances by Jeremy Strong (lead, Peter), Brad Dourif, Frances Conroy, and even the cutie 11yr old Madison Davenport. 8 out of 10

Edited to add: Fairuza isn’t in the film too terribly long. She’s basically the cinematic device to get our lead to the potfarming community. However, there was a great scene of her singing in a night club, and wow. She was amazing. She has a great voice, and I was unaware of that. Nice bit of a surprise. She’s grown up quite a bit from the very first time I ever saw her in Valmont. She just gets more gorgeous every time I see her… which isn’t nearly often enough, IMO.

I stayed at Alamo South Lamar to catch the documentary In a Dream. This seemed a bit unique to me. A documentary about an artist, Isaiah Zagar, and his family, made by that man’s son, Jeremiah. I would imagine most people would want to show their family as a wonderful beautiful thing, and try to hide all the uncomfortable secrets. Jeremiah Zagar does the opposite. He exposes his father, mother and brother’s life as it is. When it’s good, it’s good. When it’s not, it’s not held back. This was a beautiful film. I didn’t know anything about Isaiah Zagar or his art before this film. But afterwards I feel like I’ve seen his art, and I’ve seen the pain that inspires it, and it’s all beautiful. 9 out of 10

This might even have been my last film for SXSW 2008. I’m just not feeling the movie love this year. But, who knows, we’ll see.

SXSW 2008 – Day 6

SXSW 2008 – Day 6

So, got home early-ish last night, and yet still went to bed late cuz I was playing on the Mac, natch. I also knew my first movie wasn’t going to be until 1:30pm, so no big thang. Well that all went to shot at about 6am when I woke up with a lovely case of acid reflux. I couldn’t find my reflux meds for a while, so I ended up staying awake. I don’t know if you know how much it sucks to lay down while stomach nastiness is already trying to crawl up your esophagus. Well, not fun. So, I decided I could kill time until my first move by – you guessed it – messing with the Mac.

My plan was to head down early to get some food at Wiki Wiki Teriyaki, but that went in the crapper cuz I run late like that. So, hungry, I head to Paramount. While on my way I get a text fromBananaz Rob asking if I was going to see the Gorillaz documentary Bananaz. I texted my confirmation, then went into Paramount. I fumbled with bag, beverage, and popcorn. After settling in I get a text from Rob saying “WTF?” I’m all wuh? Then he texts me “How’s the popcorn?” I start looking around and lo and behold, Rob and Alev were like 5 seats down my aisle. I was seriously baffled cuz I didn’t know they had the afternoon off. They joined me on my side of the row, we chat, we laugh, and I spill my popcorn everywhere. Cue movie.

WTF? Indeed. I think I now know less about the Gorillaz than before the movie. I’m just so damn confused. I could rarely understand anything that was being said. When I could understand, I just never understood what the hell they were even talking about. Other than a slight indication of chronology due to when albums were released and touring, I have no idea. I just have no idea. If this review has confused you. Join the friggin’ club. 3 out of 10

Cook, as in cookin’ meth. County, as in yanno a state type taxing district, but probably more like country. Thus Cook County. This is basically the story of a family of cookers/users of meth and the path their lives take because of it. It shows a small slice of the meth lab life and what people are capable of stooping to. Abe (Ryan Donowho) has been abandoned by his father Sonny (Xander Berkeley) for over two years. He was left to stay with his Uncle Bump (Anson Mount). Sonny returns suddenly with a new truck and no explanation to where he’s been.

I’ve definitely seen Xander Berkeley better. However, Anson Mount was unbelievably awesome. His performance was just insane. Also, it’s been a while since I’ve seen him on one TV show or another, but damn he was skinny in this film. Nasty skinny. Like meth addict skinny :D Seriously excellent tweaker performance. Donowho was also quite stellar. I knew I recognized him but I couldn’t figure out from where. After the film I went to IMDB on my itty bitty RAZR and found the only other thing I would have seen him in was The OC. He’s a cutie and he is quite talented. Overall, I would say the film felt a teensy bit sluggish, but it was still quite good. 7.5 out of 10

I had a bit of a wait between Cook County and Texas Shorts. So, to kill time I went to Whole Earth Provisions to scout out their selection of Reef flip-flops. As of right now, their selection kinda sucks. However, I might wear flips year round, but I guess the vast majority don’t. Regardless of crappy selection I was still able to find me a pair… as well as a T-shirt, lip balm, and some bug bite balm. I always have issues with bug bites, so I’m willing to try anything. Ok, now back to the theater for some shorts. I am a lot more curious about shorts this year, and these being from Texas make me even more inquisitive.

I didn’t realize this was the premiere of Texas Shorts. The theater was packed! I ended up sitting next to one of the actors in a short. We talked a little about short films and the complete awesomeness of Alamo’s fried pickles. MmmmmMMmmm, fried pickles. The shorts were eh. Most were pretty bad, but the last one I saw was really good. I’ll have to look up the name of that one.

I left Texas Shorts early, and I didn’t feel bad about it. I know, I’m awful. Mike was already in line at Paramount for Choke novel. He’s the dude who wrote Fight Club, among other things. I also knew that . I didn’t know anything more about this film except that it’s based on a Chuck PalahniukAngelica Huston was in it I quickly learned that Sam Rockwell was the main character and that this was gonna be funny. Victor (Rockwell) is a sex addict. It’s the first thing you learn, actually. I’ve always enjoyed Sam Rockwell and this just made me love him much more. He’s just awesome. The film overall seemed simple. But not in a bad way at all. Like it was filmed in such a way that you don’t pay attention to the filmmaking, just the story and the actors. Well done. 8 out of 10

SXSW 2008 – Day 5

SXSW 2008 – Day 5

Let me begin by saying, I’m slightly disappointed in SXSW this year. There just seemed to be more great narratives last year than this. And there seem to be a ton more documentaries at SXSW thisShot in Bombay year. I can appreciate a good doc, but I am a narrative person. I tell you this because I honestly could no get my butt motivated to go see any films until 5pm on Tuesday. Let me also add that I do have a strong desire to play with my new Mac. So, I’m sure it’s a combo of crappy movies & a great new toy.

I met up with Rob & Alev at Alamo South Lamar for Shot in Bombay, a documentary by Liz Mermin. This is a documentary that follows the making of a Bollywood film – Shootout at Lakhandwala – and kind of all the political crap around it because of it’s subject matter, as well as the court crap the star has to deal with continually. I guess I thought this was more about Bollywood in general. But whatever, this was ok. Nothing great, nothing awful. I guess I’ll be like Simon Cowell here, and say it was forgettable. Unfortunately, it wasn’t “Mind Blowing!” at all. 5 out of 10

The only other film I saw this fine day was the gamer documentary Second Skin. It follows gamers and the different ways the games they play effect their daily lives. It ranges from the functioning gamer to the downright full-on addicted gamer who loses everything. Very well shot, for sure. However, I was disappointed. Much like Lord of the Rings, it seemed to have like 5 endings. This film could very much benefit from an editor that wasn’t the director. I felt like it wobbled a lot and it had a very weak core. BUT, I thought there was definitely enough for a great doc. It needs restructuring for sure. It also definitely needs to be shorter. There was a lady in the film that I think was supposed to come across as sympathetic, but she came across as downright creepy. Her son committed suicide due to gaming, according to her. However, just in the bit that she’s in there, I could see her having a bigger hand in that event. Anyhoo, again, it seems to be my theme of SXSW this year… it was good, but not great. 6 out of 10

SXSW 2008 – Day 4

SXSW 2008 – Day 4

The Lost CoastI was running just a smidge late, but I made it to The Lost Coast at the Alamo Ritz. It was my first movie at the Ritz for SXSW. I ended up with a rather bad seat. But oh well. That’ll teach me for being late. The movie is about three high school friends that sort of reunite for Halloween. The night sees them dealing with their past as they try to make it to a party and then trekking to the beach. I really liked this film. It was simple, quiet, and gorgeously shot.. but not in that, “I’m a great cinematographer” way. Just simple, but beautiful. 8.5 out of 10

I got right back in line at the Ritz to try to get into A Necessary Death. Ok, I will be honest here. I thought this was an actual documentary. The film is a movie about a movie. The documentary being filmed can be best described by it’s classified ad… “Documentary Filmmaker looking for suicidal individual to follow from first preparation to final act.” I just couldn’t believeA Necessary Death that there would be anyone that would do this sort of thing, so of course I had to see it. What I liked most about the film was how it stands alone regardless of it being real or not. I didn’t even realize it wasn’t real until the credits started rolling and I saw “Script by”. Maybe that makes me really twisted, but whatever. Very well done, and I’m betting it didn’t even cost that much. I need to come up with cheap, controversial, awesome, film idea stuff too. The Q&A had almost everyone involved it would seem — the producer, director, and all stars (except one). It better get released. It would seriously be an injustice in the film world if this never saw the light of day. 9 out of 10

I got back in line for The Black List — a documentary where Elvis Mitchell interviews various African-American celebrities of various sorts. It’s a way to reclaim the term blacklist from its negative connotations. This one is hard to describe, but I really enjoyed this film. The interview subjects were really well known people, and it seemed that during the interview they were more themselves and less of their public personas. It was really well filmed, and I was uber impressed at how relaxed all the subjects appeared. And, you will have the opportunity to see this on HBO later this year. Keep your eye out. 8.5 out of 10

I attempted to hoof it fast over to the Paramount to get into Judd Apatow’s latest — Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I was late, and it was apparently full. So I got in line for the next film, Stuart Townsend’s directorial debut, Battle in Seattle. I knew I wanted to see this film, cuz Stuart Townsend is a hottie (yes, I knew he wasn’t in the movie), and his woman Charlize Theron was in it. However, that was the extent of my knowledge of this movie. I had no clue what it was even about. Turns out, it is based around the true events of World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999. Wow, super impressed by this movie. I love these little types of surprises. Random movie turns out to be awesome. Sweet. I highly recommend this movie, from both the film standpoint and the historical standpoint. I felt a bit like a lump, cuz I had no idea about these events at all. But I’m guessing that might be common. And, I think that might be a point of making a film like this — to keep the information in front of people so they don’t forget or they get informed for the first time. Lovedlovedloved it. 9 out of 10

Edited to add: I had a request for more info on the actor’s performances in Battle in Seattle. First, let me say THANKS! for reading. I love to know that there are people besides my family that read this. Back to the actors… Martin Henderson was awesome. I think the only other thing I’ve seen him in is Bride & Prejudice (which I adored), so I had no real preconceived ideas about him. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance. My only criticism about it was I never really truly felt his motivation for being where he was. I know in the story it’s because his brother died during some protest in some way. But, in the performance, I just wasn’t feeling that. I definitely felt his passion for the work he was doing, but the brother thing just felt like info. Charlize Theron was just OK. Woody Harrelson was pretty good. He seems to be getting better as of late, or I just dislike him less. Anyhoo, I think their relationship just felt odd to me. Hmmm, I don’t think I ever truly believed them as a couple. But whatever, still overall good. Michelle Rodriguez… I usually just can’t even stand to watch her on screen. I loved her in Girlfight, but since then, she’s given me the willies. But I really liked her in this movie. Her performance was strong, but subtle as it needed to be. And a surprise in the film was one Mister Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000 from Outkast). He’s getting quite good with his acting skills. I won’t say he’s in Mos Def‘s arena yet, but he’s definitely working at it. He plays the upbeat, slightly comedic portion of our protesting team in the film. I would say Andre Benjamin, Martin Henderson, and Woody Harrelson’s performances were the best of the bunch, and what really made the film for me.

Edited again: I forgot to talk about Channing Tatum‘s performance. I wonder if that means something. Actually, I quite liked him. He plays a SWAT type police dude working with Woody Harrelson’s character. He starts out as a hardass against all the pansy protestors, but due to some experiences, starts to feel/understand them. I’ve not seen anything else he’s done yet. I was almost going to see Stop-Loss which he is also in, but the laziness had set in. However, having seen him in Battle in Seattle, I did almost get off my butt to go. Looking at his current filmography might scare you, with all the teen pop movies he seems to enjoy doing, but do not let this fool you. He’s actually quite talented. I’ll have to keep a look out.

SXSW 2008 – Day 3

SXSW 2008 – Day 3

Sunday — I met up with Roberto at the Carver Center in East Austin for the free panel about Getting Your Foot in the Door. Our film class instructor was one of three on the panel. So, we went in a display of support and if we learned something new, excellent. The panelists included Kat, Ya’Ke Smith and Christian Raymond of Austin Film Society. They were all great speakers and there was always something to talk about. I won’t say that I learned anything that Kat hasn’t told us before, but I’m still glad I went. It was nice to hear from different perspectives. Kat didn’t go to film school and Ya’Ke did, so that was a new viewpoint. I’m beginning to think all film school types are a wee bit on the snobbish side. Not that Ya’Ke was… AT ALL.. but the more I hear during the Q&A’s and whatnot, I’m starting to definitely get a Film School vibe from folks. But regardless… long live different opinions and viewpoints.

Rob and I then headed over to the Convention Center to attempt to catch Super High Me. WeSuper High Me walked around the convention center for a bit before getting in line. We went upstairs to where a lot of the Interactive booths and whatnot were. It was pretty cool. Mike and Alev met up with us eventually. Once we were in the film, I noticed a very uniquely hippie/stoner smell. It’s like a cross between organic soap and patchouli. The film is a spoof of Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me. It started as a part of comedian Doug Benson’s stand up act. Overall it was decent, I guess I was expecting a bit more on the medical side or whatever. Something closer to the feel of Super Size Me, instead of oh-my-god i’m so stoned and I am so funny. Definitely entertaining though. 7 out of 10

Mike and I stayed there for Full Battle Rattle. It’s a doc about troops training in a Iraqi village created in the Californian Mojave Desert. It’s a 2 week training exercise where the soldiers and villagers stay in full character the entire time. The villagers live in the village the whole time and the soldier have a camp they live in too. The film followed a few of the soldiers and a few of the villagers. I liked it, but thought the pacing was a bit slow. Still really good though. The Q&A included the two directors and a few of the doc subjects. Since the doc was war related, the Q&A had a slight political edge to it. One of the directors got very passionate with one of his answers but not overly so. His point was just that America and Americans need to be open to dialog. 7.5 out of 10

Mike and I trekked over to the Paramount in the hope of seeing Run, Fatboy, Run. You never can tell with the really big movies, but it doesn’t hurt to try. We did get in, and got pretty good seats thanks to some friends. I really like Simon Pegg, so I overlooked the fact that it was directed by Friends’ David Schwimmer. This Run Fatboy Runkinda confused me since it seemed like it was supposed to be a british comedy, but it was being directed by an American. Weird. Basic story is dude has hot looking girlfriend who is pregnant and is about to marry her. He then decides it is all too much for him, so he runs away. Fast forward five years and he’s a bit of a loser security guard who lives in a basement who visits his kid regularly. He discovers his ex has a new boyfriend that’s getting rather serious, so in an effort to show how awesome he can be, he tells his ex he’s gonna run a marathon just like her new man. I’m not totally positive what he tells her, cuz the sound went out for about a minute right at the point where the “bet” or whatever goes down. While the entire cast was British, and it was a comedy, I don’t know that I would call it a british comedy. Maybe a watered-down americanized version of what most of America thinks a british comedy is. Bah, just way too predictable and a bit too cutesy, but still really funny. The mass of America will probably eat it all up. 7 out of 10

I’m getting old or something, cuz I haven’t hit a midnight movie yet. That or this SXSW isn’t motivating me quite like last year.