Thursday, March 29, 2007

Miraculous magic

... They began, as you did, with the aim of bringing back practical magic to the world. They were practical men and wished to apply the principles of reason and science to magic as they had done to the manufacturing arts. They called it 'Rational Thaumaturgy'. When it did not work they became discouraged. Well, they cannot be blamed for that. But they let their disillusionment lead them into all sorts of difficulties. They began to think that there was not now nor ever had been magic in the world. They said that the Aureate magicians were all deceivers or were themselves deceived. And that the Raven King was an invention of the northern English to keep themselves from the tyranny of the south (being north-country men themselves they had some sympathy with that). Oh, their arguments were very ingenious--I forget how they explained fairies.
-Susanna Clarke
in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

This reminds me of the clever efforts to explain miracles in scripture as natural phenomena. Locusts, frogs, water becoming dry land... all come to El NiƱo or something of that nature. Rivers turning to blood was accomplished with iron rich volcanic soil dying it all red... and the like. Seeing light and long deceased loved ones during near death experiences is chalked up to anoxic brain injury, spiritual manifestations and feelings of peaceful assurance can be mapped to certain parts of the brain. This interesting effort only bothers me when people try to use it to claim that miracles don't exist or that God doesn't exist. The jump to that conclusion is unwarranted.

There's the slightly confusing issue that the most sacred experiences people have aren't shared. This gives the illusion that miracles don't happen much these days. I can tell you I've had my share of personal miracles and that family members of mine have had miracles of a particularly dramatic nature... but since I'm reluctant to share the details on a blog, it's all for naught. It just pads my own confidence, nothing more.

And now, O all ye that have imagined up unto yourselves a god who can do no miracles, I would ask of you, have all these things passed, o fwhich I have spoken? Has the end come yet? Behold I say unto you, Nay; and God has not ceased to be a God of miracles.
Mormon 9:15

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

She took his hands and her eyes were shining. "And you did it," she whispered. They looked at each other for a long moment, and in that moment all was as it used to be--it was as if they had never parted; but she did not offer to go into the Darkness with him and he did not ask her.

"One day," he said, "I shall find the right spell and banish the Darkness.
And on that day I will come to you."

"Yes. On that day. I will wait until then."

He nodded and seemed about to depart, but then he hesitated. "Bell," he
said, "do not wear black. Do not be a widow. Be happy. That is
how I wish to think of you."

I'm not quite capable of really being happy with the club's fiction choices. I'm conflicted between my desire for complexity that mirrors life and happy endings that leave me feeling optimistic and gratified. At the end of Kavalier and Clay, Sammy left his family to go be gay... to live the happy life he deserved. And it made me miserable. Because I am Sammy, in a way, and I know with absolute certainty that such a move on my part would be devastating all around. It would be a tragedy despite all the back patting I would get.

Jonathan Strange had eternal darkness surrounding him. What of it? A little darkness never hurt anyone! Just drink your vitamin D fortified milk and buck up, for crying out loud! I spent the whole book in love with his wife because she reminded me so much of my own wife. I cried when I thought of her miserable and trapped in a place that was inaccessible to me--in a manner that I couldn't overcome. And then... just when the enchantments start to be defeated, they decide to just part ways and call it good? Just until later, of course. When that pesky SSA, err, darkness is overcome.

Yes, yes, I realize this is supposed to be a poignant statement about love and sacrifice and a testament to their commitment to one another. But I'm not happy. I want my money back. Oh, wait, it was a library book.

Amazingly, my wife disagrees with me about all this. If I felt that to be happy I needed to leave her, she says, she would understand. She says it so lovingly, so sincerely, so unbelievably unselfishly that it makes me want to just make out with her right there and then.

Bring on the storms! Bring on the darkness! Bring on the otherworldly fairy-demons! We'll be holding hands resolutely through it all if I have anything to say about it.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Dieting indefinitely

Getting patients to diet is an uphill battle. They may be sitting there unable to breath from sleep apnea, unable to move without pain from osteoarthritis, unable to take care of themselves because they plain can’t reach the necessary parts of their body, but some will munch their donuts as they shake their chubby fists and threaten to leave the hospital against medical advice if you restrict their calories.

The more compliant bunch will go ahead and accept the restrictions. At first. But after a few weeks… or a few months… or a few years… they typically go back to the habits that brought them to their state of obesity/cardiac disease/high cholesterol/etc. in the first place.

It takes an unusual amount of resolve and determination to continue denying yourself for a lifetime what you crave but know will not be for your good. Bodies are hard wired to reinforce eating high calorie foods, and it’s a relatively recent evolutionary paradox that there’s enough food around for people to kill themselves with it. Knowing that polishing off a dozen fresh baked cookies is really not going to be good for you—despite that the warm gooey chocolate chips perpetually argue otherwise—doesn’t assure doing the right thing. It’s a bit daunting to imagine that graph that shows people dropping out of their diet compliance—giving in—one by one over the months and years until only a fraction remain.

What does it take to be someone who can persist in choosing mind over body for a lifetime?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More sex

In a way, my wife and I are achieving what some think is impossible. We're happily married, we've got a couple cute kids, and we manage to have sex even though I'm stark raving gay. Since I already opened the sex topic a few days back, I figure I might as well put in this little addendum while the subject is already on the table. Again, it's a topic that I approach with some reservation, because where is that line between appropriate and too much information?

Oh, well. I always did live my life as an open book.

The biggest challenge with having straight sex is making it an intimate experience between me and my wife rather than having my mind elsewhere (i.e. thinking about a guy). I could be wrong here, so feel free to argue with me, but I think the issue of intimacy focuses on not only what you do, but what the results are--are you more connected and intimate as a couple afterwards, or just messy? My wife pointed out to me after my last post on sex that I didn't really convey the parallel importance of physical gratification and intimacy--neither should nudge out the other. I mentioned that we love cuddling, but that's not the whole story. There is also that need for just the plain sex, I think.

I recognize that there's a commandment not to lust after anyone but one's spouse. So, there's that. But I want kids and I'm married, and so I'm willing to tolerate pushing some limits temporarily to make things work. And the way it has panned out is that I've thought about guys at certain times while having sex. This seems sort of pathetic, I grant, but it seemed requisite to achieve sex at all at first. It has become less so over time.

I haven't brought it up before despite that people kept saying "you must be bisexual if you're able to have sex with a woman." Folks, I'm really not. Or wasn't. Even now, I have some pretty good data to suggest that for all the progress I've made in being adequately turned on during intimate experiences with my wife, my responses are far more potent with guys.

Anyway, my point here is not to ruminate on my ambivalence and confusion on that topic. My point is to say that the raw physical component of sex is kind of important for a couple. The cuddling type of intimacy and pillow talk are great too. Neither should be the whole story or at the perpetual expense of the other.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Crazy gays

I saw Forester's post today, and SG's comment, and some other posts that reminded me that I suspect gays are uncommonly crazy. Anecdotally, as I tally up the gays I know and the gays I know who have some sort of psychiatric problem (whether it be depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, etc...) it's a freaking lot. It's just plain huge.

So, if memory serves, Hooker's research was the first step in showing that homosexuality was not associated with intelligence or mental health. But, if memory serves, that study had an enormous selection bias / exclusion criteria (one that is ignored by all the same folks who spit on the ground every time Spitzer's name gets mentioned).

Conventional wisdom says that any difference in the prevalence of mental problems in gays is directly attributable to a hostile society and the unfriendly circumstances gays must live in. Which, I believe to an extent, but not to the extent of explaining all the mental illness I've observed.

There ain't nothin' morally wrong with being depressed or bipolar or whatever. I'm a big fan of mental illness not carrying stigma. I do wonder, though, why I get the impression that there's such a big correlation.

I don't believe being gay makes you depressed. So, I wonder what it means.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The essential -L-

I still haven't managed to go back and put labels on all my old posts yet. I just keep saying the same thing over and over anyway, so it's not a big tragedy if you can't research all the early stuff. :-) Like the Barenaked Ladies put it, "It's all been done before." [Note: my preferred brand of Barenaked Ladies is a bunch of guys.]

If you want to read ol' -L-'s take on some standard topics, here's a good place to find them. I've ruminated on the value of guilt, the importance of balance, and the moral status of gay sex. Hope despite adversity, ways to do better, and settling. Advice on considering marriage, keeping married, and a significant peril of mixed orientation marriages. Whether homosexuality is a weakness, a disease, might be changed, and whether to care. So, there you have a dozen or so posts to catch my meaning on the issues. That might be the easiest way to see what I think... but I'll be sure to keep repeating myself. ;-)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Best friends vs. boyfriends

My reparative therapist says that I need to connect with men. I need to find opportunities to be deep friends with them rather than just superficial. The idea is to meet my needs for male intimacy in a non-sexual way. This post isn't to discuss the merits of the therapy or this advice in particular, but rather to consider how to do this.

I've made some comments about having closeness with other guys and it being a good thing as long as you don't have sex. But I think you can still be in love with a guy in a way that contradicts the goal here without actually having sex. Basically, I'm wondering what's the difference between best friends and boyfriends assuming your relationship is platonic either way?

I imagine a best friend as someone I can call about anything, someone who knows me well, someone who supports me in my goals and situation. I see a boyfriend as someone who feels more a part of my life than a support... as someone who acts as if he has some type of claim on me (or me on him).

I don't know that I have any really good distinction worked out in my mind. Any advice?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Book club, March

Remember to go pick up your copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell so you can get it read in the next couple weeks! Book club is a lot more fun when it's not "vote on the book L has to read and post on all by himself" club. :-)

And for any of you Ugly Betty fans, see if any of the characters in the book remind you of any of the characters in the TV show. I have the cast for the movie version of this book all picked out in my head...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Straight sex

I first want to just extend a welcome to all who came here through a Google search. You may not find what you're looking for, and I won't be offended if you leave. Feel free to come back and bring your friends when I do my post on penis enlargement.

I've been meaning for some time to post about sex, but I haven't known exactly how to do it. Understandably, there is some curiosity among single mohos about how a gay guy can possibly father children. Granting it's possible in the strictest clinical sense, is it something that robs a guy of all dignity to have sex with someone to whom he is not fully sexually attracted? How about with someone to whom he is not the least sexually attracted?

Well, the only way I could get myself to write this post at all was to speak only in vague terms about where we've been in our sexual relationship. I don't want to cheapen what I consider to be sacred and legitimate intimacy by sharing too much, but I do want people who are interested to have an idea of what it's like to be gay, Mormon, married... and sexual.

There's no question we were off to a slow start. I never kissed my wife before we were engaged, and even then I found that I enjoyed it less than when I had kissed a guy. This was not surprising to me though--after all, I'm gay. What surprised me was that I enjoyed it increasingly. I loosened up, thought about her rather than me, and things got better.

On our wedding night we had a family prayer right away. It seemed like an appropriate way to start a family, and without consciously deciding to, I turned it into an invocation for our sex. I asked God to bless us that the sex would be "hot and gratifying". Unfortunately, there were complications. [Shocker.] I even saw a doctor about this (who was, looking back, a complete moron). Viagra doesn't really help a healthy gay guy have straight sex, FYI.

Over the first couple years of our marriage, we tried different things to make sex more enjoyable--to facilitate things. We tried getting lots of books from the library about sex (I liked the pictures... hee hee), we tried toys (dice, edible whatevers, etc.), we tried lots of positions and circumstances. We conceded that our situation wasn't one well documented, and we were going to have to do some primary research of our own to figure out what would work.

And eventually the orgasms came.

I'd like to be able to say here that my wife turns me on as much as any guy ever could. But alas, it isn't so. And besides, what would I have to blog about if I were already at that point? I'll get there some day. The sex is enjoyable despite that, though, because we've both learned that most of the fun is in giving to the other person. I want her to feel every good thing possible, and it turns out that I do get turned on when she's turned on, despite it all.

For now we still have to be unconventional sexual partners--working out the kinks because we love each other and we're best friends. We don't have to have sex, certainly. And I think a lot of mixed orientation marriages end up being a version of celibacy. But despite the unusual amount of work that goes into gearing up for and making love, I think it's important. For one thing, people that have more sex are generally happier and more successful ;-). For another, they're healthier. Maybe Scot can whip through the primary research and provide a bibliography for that, but I'm pretty sure that's an evidence based statement (notwithstanding the screaming problems with the causal connection I'm implying).

Thankfully, our sexual encounters aren't like that creepy scene in Angels In America. I'm sure there are gay Mormons who might approximate that... but with some communication, open-mindedness, honesty, and commitment, sex has been "hot and gratifying" on more than a few occasions since my invocation. Even when the sex isn't quite as hot... there's always the cuddling. Mmmm... I'm gonna go lie down with my favorite person.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Humility, true and false

My writing style includes bouts of false-arrogance (that I find amusing, if nobody else), and self-deprecation (also usually false). I like to tell myself that under that outward presentation I've got a pretty healthy combination of self esteem and humility going on. I know it sounds contradictory to call oneself humble, but the 12 steps gig I'm working on right now specifically says to be honest about both the good and the bad you find when you look at your life, and I think that with some regularity I'm pretty aware of my weaknesses, dependence, and blessings.

Unfortunately, I think when I dig deeper yet, I find lots of evidence that my life is filled with too much real arrogance and simultaneous unhealthy and unfounded poor self regard. In a weird way, I do think this contributes to my attractions. It's as if I can't really believe honestly within myself that I'm worthy of another man's respect and love. I mean, what do I really have to offer? My self scoffs and says, one way to connect (for someone as pathetic as you) is through sex. Everyone loves sex. It's a way to be loved. Yes, this sounds like I'm parroting Nicolosi, but it actually just popped into my mind through my honest introspection and it wasn't until I just typed it that I recognized the Nicolosi connection.

Let me hasten to add that I don't think that view of being accepted through sex makes any sense. So, I really do have a pretty healthy view of relationships and my own value... but all that cognitive self awareness sometimes conflicts with the the way I act. All I can figure is that I really do have some self-loathing in hidden places and my disrespectful subconscious is sometimes winning the war.

Whenever I consider myself, I'm very critical. When I read my journal, I'm embarrassed and want to burn it. When I think back to my mission I want to send apology notes to all my companions. When I think of achievements and public appearances, I always criticize the way I looked, the things I said, or ... something. Who would love me, I wonder? I don't know that I would love me if I met myself.

I think my self-conscious believes it's somehow indecent to give myself credit for anything. The good things are just meeting minimum expectations. The bad are horrible deficiencies. I have inconsistent expectations of myself and everyone else... and I don't know what they should really be.

I've been thinking about this for a few days now, and I still can't really tell what I'm getting at. But I went ahead and posted anyway because it jives a bit with what ATP was talking about today. I look at him and think, he's a great guy! Smart, funny, attractive (and no I'm neither joking nor hitting on you...). I wonder why he can't see it. And I can believe good things about myself with full certainty, but there's some deeply influential traitorous imp in my brain that will never be fully convinced.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Choosing influences

When I was a kid, I always got the advice to choose good friends. But I never knew exactly how to go about doing that. It’s not like all the kids in the middle school line up waiting to be chosen by me. It’s more like if you want friends at all, you’ll take what you get and be grateful. There are personalities that I just clicked with, and looking back now, they weren’t always what one might call “a good influence.”

I like the idea of choosing the influences you subject yourself too, but it can be easier said than done sometimes.

Choosing to go to church or whether to read the scriptures and whether to watch a particular movie all seem to have reachable answers. But choosing whether to read some particular website, or follow a particular blog, or have some particular friend takes trickier judgment. As an adult my attitude has leaned more and more toward preferring the straight dope, so to speak... give me the anti-Mormon arguments, the pot-shots, the sophistry, I'll take all comers and I'll spend the effort to assess them for what they are. But sometimes I think this is a mistake. A big one.

Some time ago I joined a discussion group that calls itself supportive but turned out to be a meeting place for (what seemed to be) a bunch of really nice folks to grind their axes, indulge their hatred, and reinforce their skewed views on life. The hypocrisy is palpable every time I open up a few threads. It's almost like they've created an incubator for spiritual insanity. Of course, most of these folks would (and have) said precisely the same thing about the LDS church. It seems we're all "brainwashing" ourselves, I'm told. And in a sense, after stripping out the negative connotation, we are. I think people choose affirming influences--whether members of the church, members of an insane online discussion group or whatever.

But, as Einstein said, "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." I'm not an advocate of spurning all negative influences; we couldn't be rational and informed if we did. I'm just an advocate of spurning the bad negative influences.

I read blogs I don't agree with, but not all of them. Some have demonstrated their ill effects on me, and that's enough. I don't read much of the discussion group I mentioned above either. I tried to respond to some of their stupidity, but wasn't rewarded much for it--they persisted in their delusions and I left thoroughly abused. Why go back after that? If someone walks their dog by my house and leaves some crap on the lawn, I can clean it up easily enough. But I don't walk barefoot through the dog park and I don't go outside when it's raining dog doodoo. It's the same with anti-Mormon writings--I've answered every issue I've come across to my satisfaction when I put in the time and effort... but I don't have enough time and effort for the mountains of stuff thrown at me by folks who are so "concerned" for me (that they tenderly take me in... and then start snarling if I put up any resistance).

I'd rather build my own mountains of faith than fill the holes somebody else has dug.

Just be aware of what influences you choose and why. That's my advice for the day to all comers to the growing queerosphere.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


I didn't plan to perseverate so much on the difference between my public self and my secret self, but it's just sort of flowed that way. I've appreciated the comments.

Today in the library I happened to see a book that had been pulled from the stacks and set on top of one of the shelves. It was about gifted children and how telling them they're special can sometimes lead to all sorts of problems. If there's one message I took away from my childhood, it was that I am special. And, really, I suppose it was true in a way beyond the standard "every child is special" line. But just as this book seems to warn, I ended up feeling like I had to perform a certain way to measure up. Constantly performing turned my life into a performance.

Perhaps the best therapy for my perfectionism was med school. I learned to be happy with passing rather than acing tests. Very happy. Thrilled. And as much as I hated it, I had to face the fact that I was no longer the brightest person around, no longer a star, no longer "special". It was drilled into me constantly for four years.

I haven't really lost my perfectionism, but it has been thoroughly tempered. I'm okay with failure in a way that I've never been before. I'm okay with faults. I'm okay with personal fallibility. I can even honestly criticize myself in this blog space--this weird half-life between public and private--most of the time without acquiring bruises that would otherwise make me withdraw.

And while this post is mainly about my past, and what has got me to where I am, I'm happy that I'm in a place that doesn't settle with character flaws but doesn't demand liberation overnight either. I've found the zone well distanced from overly wrought suicidal on the one hand and complacently damned on the other, and it feels sort of... perfect.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

When no one is watching

Being duplicitous is a mixed bag. The most obvious effect is that I created a pattern of loosening up my values when nobody was watching. They were still my values, and I still believed in them... but repeatedly edging across the border of behavior's acceptable limit (and never getting caught) allowed me to feel increasingly comfortable with things I should have been ashamed of. Basically, I numbed up my conscience because I was getting all the rewards and no notable negative consequences.

When no one was watching I looked at porn. When no one was watching I considered the possibility of meeting someone for anonymous sex. I started looking at online personals. Somehow, despite that I'm a principled person, I got myself to throw everything I believed temporarily away while I flirted with arousing alternative options. I lost track of what was really off limits by repeatedly violating my own standards. Would I then stop with looking? Would I stop with kissing? Would I stop anywhere? Yes, probably, but nothing was certain when I was (am?) my other self.

There have been some good things from duplicity. I didn't throw away my faith in the name of being "authentic". Sure, avoiding duplicity is a good thing, but not necessarily if the approach is to kill the virtuous part of myself and declare the licentious part the "real" me. People still treat me as if I am a principled person, so I believe them. And, yes, my mistakes represent the "real" me in a sense, but not the me I want to become or the me I believe that I am most fundamentally. Perpetually reinventing myself as a better person rather than accepting whatever "realities" may be is the province of repentance and a principle that I try to let guide my life.

For better or for worse, I don't want other people to define me. I want to define myself. And because I know the self I want to be, it would be nice if I had the personal integrity and strength to always behave the same way when I'm alone that I would if my parents were standing next to me.

Monday, March 05, 2007

The duplicitous guy

I remember being at a friend's house when a movie was on that had an extended nude scene. I excused myself (in, I think, a completely non-self-righteous way) and walked home with my brother. I felt good about being the "good" kid, but I knew that I really had wanted to watch that scene. If only there hadn't been all those other people there that I had to be example for, I subconsciously thought, I could have had a look.

The same scenario played out in other situations. Our family would be watching a movie, and I would support the decision to fast-forward a sex scene or tut disparagingly at a nude scene... unless I was alone. When I was alone I could indulge my curiosity.

I tried not to look into the lockers in middle school where I knew kids had nasty Vanna White pinups... but I flipped through medical books and National Geographic mags to have a look at nudies as long as nobody was watching.

I think this duplicitous nature was directly caused by always trying to appear the "good" boy for my folks. They rewarded me with praise and love for all my good choices, so it seemed (however incorrectly) that I had to keep up appearances. I even excused myself for the show of righteousness because I knew my parents were having trouble with my brothers and sisters and would congratulate me for the good decisions I had made. I didn't want to disturb them more than they were, I thought.

It's easy to imagine how a kid who would never look at porn when anyone was around could suddenly be way over his head once the Internet solved the privacy and access problems for me. I ended up becoming very skilled at covering my tracks on the computer. I was enlisted to monitor others' use and once discovering a fellow RA had viewed porn on our office computer and once caught the Elders' Quorum president at it in the library. I was keenly aware of my hypocrisy, but I wasn't going to volunteer a confession either.

Even now I think the privacy issue and the trap of easy access are key to my addiction and recovery.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The nice guy

I'm thinking about my life and I think I've always sort of taken on the role of the nice guy. I've always known this, but never really thought about how it plays into all the nooks and crannies of my life. I used to date girls who otherwise never would have dated. I used to befriend guys that didn't really have any other friends. I was the guy in school who was nice to everyone, but never quite felt like I deserved the respect of the kids I admired the most.

I figured my best chance of belonging was with the nerdy kids--the smart ones and the musicians. I fit right in with those "band fags"--the kids that held hands in a circle and shared inspirational thoughts before each performance. Like angels with one wing, we told each other, we had to embrace to fly. So, there we were, pimply skinny nerds, hugging and feeling loved. It was good stuff.

On the academic front, I always felt like I didn't measure up to the really smart cool kids. I still remember with a chuckle the time I took a standardized test and was so afraid that I would do so poorly that my smart friends would make fun of me, and then I inadvertently scored higher than anyone in my school had scored in years. I wonder what would have happened if I hadn't been scared of rejection. Hee.

I think being nice gave me a bit of an unrealistic view of myself and how I should interact with others. I thought I had to always defer to the needs of everyone else and that I had to prove perpetually and always that I was a "good" kid. It made it hard for me when I needed some space to figure things out, but didn't feel like I could ever be honest enough with my parents (or my friends!) to show my vulnerabilities. So I just weathered it alone most of the time.

Life was lonely and secret and motivated by a mix of generosity, kindness, secret failure, and overall a show of having things all together.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

That's so gay

I'm irritated. I've tried not to be, but it doesn't seem to be working. Watching the polls and pre-pre-pre-election info for the presidential race, I've seen that quite a few more people are willing to support a gay president than a Mormon president (although this statement combines two polls that didn't have comparable questions). Personally, I'm offended that anybody wouldn't want either kind of president because I think you should elect an official based on their character, policy, and leadership ability not on some ridiculous non-issue like religion or orientation. But the comparison does underline that it's becoming mighty unpopular to be Mormon these days, and apparently increasingly acceptable to be gay.

Well, if I can't have everything, I'll just be glad for the increased tolerance for gays.

But then I had to read the story about the Mormon girl disciplined for saying "that's so gay" in response to being teased about having 11 mothers. So, she was being harassed for being a Mormon, used an inappropriate come-back and lands in the principal's office being disciplined for her crimes while her provokers got off scot free. Hmmm.... Lawsuits and crankiness all around.

I don't think her behavior is acceptable, but I do think it's more likely that she was not being deliberately offensive than it is that the kids who were harassing her were not being deliberately offensive. Basically, it seems that the school's policy is that insulting/harassing Mormons is just fine and dandy, but insulting/harassing gays is hateful and borders on criminal.