Why Pick Up When You Can Eat In or Take Out?

Why do I mind? Why is my open-minded brain unable to be completely comfortable with the idea of the open-ended relationship? Why does the prospect of him picking up women really get to me. …or as he asked,

“What are you so afraid of?”

Besides the obvious, losing what happiness I’ve gained, not being able to get closer and missing an opportunity to be closer, not being used to this position… Besides the negative connotations of pick-up with ideas of manipulating people for sex… There is more.

I was finally able to get the clarification from the boy on the subject of pickup. There are many methods of pickup apparently, and apparently one of them goes along with what I was thinking and Steve described in one of his quotes on a post:

“I compensate for my lack of self-confidence by deceiving others.”

The boy admitted that a lot of guys do that. He admitted he tried it, and it failed horribly. He wasn’t comfortable with being fake and it showed. It also wasn’t getting him what he wanted.

And what does he want?

According to him, he uses techniques learned in pick-up to break the ice and be able to display his best qualities to someone. He can project the kind of person he wants and what he wants from that person.

There are two camps of people in pick-up apparently. One of them is the people who use pickup to rack up their ‘score’ in the game, like notches on the belt. The other is the people who use pickup to learn how to approach and get the women they want and then move on to relationships with those people. These people are not necessarily lacking in confidence in other areas of their lives, they just have a hard time meeting and getting anywhere with women. The latter type eventually move out of pickup, while the former stay there and rack up their ‘score’.

So where does the boy fall in this broader picture? He says he will at some point fall into the latter, but is not done with the journey. He feels like he has more to learn and experience. He may stay in it for not much longer, he may stay in it for a while yet. He doesn’t know.

I do have to ask, with how close and how serious we’ve been getting, why pickup now?

He admitted he wasn’t seeing anyone else right now, the people he was seeing when we started out were long gone. He’s been going to his pickup meetings, but hasn’t been picking anyone up.

He admitted that his intentions were to use pickup to attract people he wanted to eventually settle with. The settling itself though still scares him. It comes down to the classic fear of commitment. Like, he could buy a house right now. It’s a good market to buy a house. His rent is too high, it’d be a good investment. He doesn’t want to though. Why? He’s afraid it would ‘root him to a place’. Even though he could sell or rent it later, he sees this as an all or nothing, as if he’ll die in the house he buys. It’s symbolic more than anything, and the metaphor frightens him. This is the all or nothing syndrome I talked about him having before.

This fear goes even deeper into his relationship history: fear of repeating old mistakes.

The boy has had two major relationships in his life and both of them: unhealthy. One of the girls he lived with, and even financially supported. He was needy and so were they. He expected too much from them and as a result gave more and more hoping for himself to get back what he wanted and be fulfilled. He didn’t know how to express or get what it was he wanted. There was no good communication, expectations were unreasonable, and there was too much too fast.

Even with only two relationships, he’s gone further than I have, and made some of the same mistakes as me only even more hardcore.

He has been very needy in the past and is now firmly on two feet. According to him, what we have right now is the most healthy relationship he’s ever had.

He told me what he was afraid of: afraid of repeating the past and slipping back into bring this needy person. This is something I understand all too well, a common theme in my own worries.

Now I at least understand why our official relationship status is what it is. He’s afraid once he relabels what we have, things will change and the worst may come.

Now that I understand his fears, let me come full circle on my own. I didn’t realize this until we started talking, but the big issue really is that I am following relationship rules that I didn’t make and I don’t fully understand. They’re becoming defined, but I didn’t define them: he did. I’m still expected to follow these rules or stop seeing him. That’s an uncomfortable bit of control I’m giving him. I know that in other relationships I’ve had, I didn’t exactly control the parameters either- they were defined by canned traditions.

Things weren’t one hundred percent defined at the beginning, and they still aren’t. In one of my last posts I talked about whether or not people we both knew were off limits or not. We never talked about it, but he told me one day that yes, people who we consider friends are at least. There wasn’t a discussion, it was just something he felt like he needed so: new rule. The rule itself I don’t disagree with, but I do take issue with these rules seeming like they’re being made up as we go along and he’s the one making them. I know they are being made up as we go along because this is new ground for both of us. Even if I were to find myself being fully comfortable with a non-traditional relationship, feeling like I’m following someone else’s rules feels like it is against every fiber of my being. I am fiercely independent and fear people trying to control me.

The other side of that is with these rules, I can see other people. I don’t want to, however. I could try to make myself do it, but doing it because he is? That sounds like a bad idea.

I can flirt with other people, but so can he. Another undefined place is how far we’re allowed to take that while with each other. I don’t want to do the drama jealousy game when we’re out together. I also don’t want to have a double standard. This is the next thing we need to talk about.

I hate that I feel like I’m always the one who says, “We need to talk.” even if I only do it once in awhile. Even if parts of me feel better after wards, I’d rather be having fun than these sorts of discussions.

I’m all set with reading the rest of The Game. Maybe I should have forced the issue of talking about PUA sooner. He asked me why I didn’t. I asked him why he didn’t bring it up if he was waiting for me to. We were both scared of where that discussion would go. We can’t let ourselves be afraid of communicating, though. This isn’t likely the most scary discussion we’re going to have. Really, if we are too frightened to talk to each other at all, that’s where we should break it off.

So what do we do? The obvious answer is we keep talking, and discussing, and figuring these things out. We’ll see where things go from there…

Brits Eat..?

spotted dick in a can
My original thought was that I needed to come up with something in honor of Gary Gygax now that he has passed on to that campaign setting in the sky. This may still happen after I’ve finally come to accept its truth. Until then, I’ve made some startling discovery at what our friends the British apparently eat.

As a disclaimer, yeah, McDonalds is from over here and it’s gross. I’m sure there are other nasty things that make it out of our borders that I don’t eat, like Jello. As far as I’m concerned, none of it comes even remotely close to what I have discovered…

1. Spotted Dick: This is one I’d actually heard of. What I didn’t know is that it comes in a can. Also horrifying is that on this can it says you can microwave it. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, because last I checked metal cans and microwaves don’t mix. I knew this, but didn’t know the extent of it until my little sister blew up the microwave trying to make Jello one day.

I have not tried spotted dick, but one of my friends has (see photographic evidence). Let’s see what she has to say on the matter:
eating spotted dick

“It’s as good as can be expected considering it’s cake from a can cooked in boiled water…”

I think that’s as good a review as we’re going to get.

2. Mr. Brain’s 4 Pork Faggots in a Rich West Country Sauce: I barely know where to begin. I am trying to figure out what about this meal is a faggot. I am searching my definitions… homosexual man? No. Bundle of sticks? Nope. Measuring those bundles of sticks? No again. Cigarette? Uh-uh. All right… I’m just going to have to assume that one of these weird meatballs is also known as a faggot.

Pork Faggots

My next question is what is so west about this sauce. The spotted dick friend tells me: “…the West Country (where my Brit ancestors originally hailed from) is a region of England.” This is good to know, but it tells me little about the sauce. Another friend who tried the ‘faggots’ recalled the experience like a horror story. She had this to say on the matter:

“I shudder to remember. This was back when I was eating meat, but no amount of creepy processed fast-food spaaaaaaaaaace meat could have prepared me for this. Pork faggots are basically these meat balls made not out of what we would typically define as “meat”, but instead is ground up pig’s liver and possibly some other organs covered in some disgusting gravy. Ugggh!”

So far, spotted dick in a can is better than microwavable Mr. Brain’s pork faggots.

Toad in the Hole
3. Toad In The Hole: So… you put sausages in “Yorkshire pudding” batter and bake ’em. Now I’m out of willing candidates to try these things, but my spotted dick friend did have this to say:

“Oh, SHIT, Toad in the Hole? That looks terrible. TERRIBLE.”

Brits need to stop taking their sausages and putting them in everything! …


…we’ve already mentioned spotted dick, so I’m sure that couldn’t have sounded much worse.

Also on the subject of Brits and sausage…

4. Black Pudding: It’s sausage made with congealed blood. Brits like sausage apparently, and need variations.

5. Brawn apparently is a sausage form of head cheese. This has nothing to do with cheese, but everything to do with a head of a calf, pig, or sheep. It also can contain meat from the feet or heart. It’s even eaten cold. At least then we won’t smell it if someone reheats it. Thank heavens for small favors. I am not posting a picture as I’m afraid to try and find one.

Alright. This is about as much on the subject I can look into right now. If any Brits are out there reading this, we could use some insight into your cuisine. I for one, don’t get it. This is coming from someone who loves sushi, so I’m thinking the average American would be even more lost.

I guess my biggest questions are, do you actually eat this stuff, eat it often, and like it? …or is this just food propaganda that makes it across the borders to frighten us? I mean, there’s fish and chips, and that’s great.

Inquiring minds in the U.S. want to know!

Trust, Even After Trying it’s Gone

Rex attacks with poison flour
Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest for the SNES. One of the crappiest Final Fantasy games ever made has some of the crappiest writers and translators at the wheel.

A warning to those who don’t know eating flour provided by undead dinosaurs may be potentially hazardous: an adventuring career maybe isn’t for you. This has been a video game public announcement.

What kind of adjective is “flamerous”? It certainly isn’t English.
– – – – –

Gawn and Treye sat down together in a cafe in a the small, industrial city of Worner, sleepy in its wintry shell. They hadn’t seen each other in months, though they live but miles apart. Treye had been calling Gawn off and on for weeks- as well as everyone else she knows in the city with little luck. Even friends with which Treye knew nothing but good times seem to have moved on to somewhere or something new and exclusive. Treye was getting sick of being positive about her loneliness, and her desire to vent was fast overcoming the desire not drive Gawn away. It had been three days since Treye spoke to anyone other than customers at work and voicemail boxes of friends. All of her recent attempts to try and meet new people were met with polite but cold reactions or hopes of sex.

Treye was about to give up on humanity and the act of putting trust in people. Still, she reached out to Gawn on more time hoping she’d be proven wrong.

Gawn tried to reassure Treye but also has a hard time disagreeing with her assessments.

“In all trust there is the possibility for betrayal,” admits Gawn.

“Then it is better not to trust,” Treye stared into her cup of black tea, hunched over it as if huddling for warmth..

“But… without trust there is no real friendship, no closeness, none of the emotional bonds that make life worth living…” Gawn lists passionately.

“These are the experiences and feelings that make up life itself,” agrees Treye.

“Exactly,” Gawn slapped the table, glad to be getting through.

“So… you put yourself at risk, and do so knowingly and willingly.”

“…every single time,” admitted Gawn, smiling.

“How do you know when to trust others and when to trust your doubt?” Treye pushes herself and her tea further across the table towards Gawn, “How can you separate paranoia from a real, deserving lack of trust?”

“Hopefully you trust yourself over others before the knife ends up in your back. Other than that, I really can’t give you an answer. Some people trust others until they give them sure reason not to. Some will even forgive and extend trust again and again.”

“How does one find a trustworthy individual?” Gawn seemed to have all the answers, and Treye hoped she could pull some to apply to her own life.

“The same way one finds an honest man.”


“I’m saying, one doesn’t. The capacity for betrayal is within all of us.”

“Not me,” Treye denied without a hint of pride or happiness at the proclamation.

“If that’s true, then I pity you. You are doomed to a lifetime of expectations that no one can fulfill and things given that no one can reciprocate.”

“Perhaps there is something wrong with me,” Treye squeezed the ceramic mug, “Sometimes I suspect I am not human.”

“Oh, you’re human all right- human enough to feel betrayed, rejected, isolated, like no one understands you-”

“So, I’m just a whiny cliche?” Treye chuckled at herself without a bit of humor.

“No, just human: individual, but part of a common experience of common emotions.”

“That’s where you’re wrong. People don’t feel the same way,” Treye paused, thinking before finding the words to explain, “Sure, we all get sad or angry, but one person’s depression is barely another person’s sadness. The same sad person maybe feels barely any anger”

“How would you know?”

“I know when I react honestly and deeply, there are times I’m told I should be in a mental institution or on a drug.”

“Yes… I guess some people are… sensitive,” Gawn conceded.

“And I’ve met other… sensitive… people and have found they understand me better, but are perhaps even more selfish that the norm. The can be more unsympathetic.”

“They’re trying and protect themselves maybe?”

“I could think of many reasons. In the end, it just is. The sensitive person is a victim in a cycle of their own creation making themselves more the victim by throwing themselves under trucks and into fires- that is unenjoyable, but comfortably selfish: the attention they attract, the band aid of other’s pity and self pity. Other people become competition,” Treye shakes her head bitterly.

“And you’re different..?”

“Yes. I know I hurt myself by giving trust to those who don’t deserve it, by not being able to connect with people that would treat me better, but I don’t advertise it like a beacon hoping for those to flock to me to ease the pain as well as allow it to continue so the flock stays.”

“Maybe you should. Maybe you just don’t because you’re afraid they won’t come.”

“No, I’m afraid of being disgusting and weak like them. I’m afraid of my own guilt,” admitted Treye.

“Oh, so bottle it up inside and try hard not to trust those you want to. There’s a logical solution,” Gawn rolled his eyes and nibbled at the left over crumbs of his scone.

“I guess I’m caught in a bit of a paradox.”

“If your values weren’t mixed up in this, I’d have a solution: throw your honesty, integrity, pride, loyalty out the door… Just be and accept.”

“What, like them? Those people don’t accept anything- they live in constant delusion. I’d rather be miserable than delude myself,”

“Would you rather be lonely than to try to trust again? To never connect or know someone else again?” Gawn was getting frustrated.

“It doesn’t matter much what I want. I’m lonely either way. Trust gives darkness a face to whisper to at least.”

“For a bit of pity for you?”

“No. Connection. For real, honest connection. Not ‘I feel bad for you’, but ‘I know what you mean, and hang in there.’.”

“You’re talking about wanting someone to care, understand, and accept you as you are,” Gawn was trying the best to be understanding and sympathetic, but was seeing the circular logic Treye was caught in.

“Yes. And I know I will find it again. It’s just painful knowing it never lasts. At the next inconvenient moment the connection ceases.”

“Um… can we maybe talk about this some other time? I mean, it’s been good talking but… I just have a lot of stuff to do, you know?” Gawn got up to leave. He put forth a forced smile and mentally asked for forgiveness.

“Yes. I understand. I know. Goodbye.”

Treye and Gawn never saw each other again.

Waywards Wandering – Chapter One: Breakfast

This is the current draft of the first chapter of my non-existent fantasy novel called: Waywards Wandering. I will periodically post chapters that I feel are ‘pretty done’. That’s not to say I wouldn’t appreciate any suggestions and feedback (and other comments) from the peanut gallery. I like cashews better, but any nuts are okay with me. :)

Chapter One: Breakfast

“It’s been fifteen years, old friend.”

No. Sixteen.

The words that resounded in Kanji’s mind were deep and undoubtedly masculine. Less could be said for the strange figure in front of him. His scaly hide, vaguely snake-like head, and sizable tail gave away no indication of gender- not that his broad sword or polished armor were at all feminine.

“Whichever,” Kanji shrugged, looking up at the reptilian man and smiled pleasantly as he often did. When he did his mother’s ancestry showed through with his slanted eyes. His western father had given him his small pointed nose, his large ears, fair skin, and unrelenting ambition- but it was his mother that gave him his small, peculiar dark eyes that slanted to slits when he smiled. She also was kind enough, and ironic enough, to give him his slight build. The top of his small frame barely reached up to his friend’s chest.

Yes. It’s about time we returned home.

Home. That word must have a different meaning for us, thought Kanji. But he bit his tongue. While Kanji grew up in a monastery in Wenga, this creature was not of this world. One summer when Kanji was still a boy there, he had been out playing with his friends as he was often allowed on the hottest days of the summer when the masters said it was too hot for heavy training and too nice out for a boy’s wandering mind. There was a secluded valley along a nearby river that Kanji and his band of ‘warriors’ would set out to in search of adventure. They were to battle bears, and goblins, and yes, even dragons!

However when faced with an actual scaly beast all of them had fled, most screaming, some soiled.

All but Kanji… Kanji and…

“It will be good to see Lial again. We will have many tales to tell her.”

Lial was the reason for Kanji and Deathwish’s desire to return to the eastern lands. She had sent along a message to them- it was terse at best. It had told news of being married and being with child, and had requested that they visit. While the subject of the letter had been about happy things, the letter itself seemed strangely short and almost emotionless.

It had left Kanji feeling restless. When Deathwish had insisted they go immediately, Kanji wholeheartedly agreed.

That is if we finally get to tell her anything. It seems as if the Gods themselves are throwing boulders in our path.

Kanji grew grim, “I hope you’re wrong, Deathwish. For if that is true, and even Brihaad blocks our way. That would mean only serious trouble awaits us in Wenga.”

Deathwish smiled, Does anything else ever await us?

Deathwish’s stomach growled as if answering.

“Something to eat, hopefully.”

They descended the steep narrow stairs of the inn and into the stuffy haze-filled common room below. Kanji did so gracefully and silently, his many years of training and sneaking through dank dungeons showing through. Deathwish grabbed the ceiling overhanging the staircase to steady himself as he bent over and crept down precariously, his talons and scales scraping, slipping on the worn wood. He briefly regretted foregoing putting on his oversized, custom-made leather boots, but realized they may have not of helped at all.

“When you die, Deathwish, it will not be at the icy touch of the undead nor in the fangs of some beast, it will be at the bottom of a stairwell.”

Well that’s all well and good as long as its not in this over-priced, dung-ridden excuse for a-

“Mornin’ yer holiness- shall I be fetching ye some breakfast.”

Even though Kanji knew the woman had not overheard Deathwish’s telepathic comments, he blushed and stuttered as he turned towards the voice and stared strait into the young serving girl’s cleavage which was a mere few inches away and right at eye level to Kanji‘s small frame. Kanji continued to stutter as he quickly corrected his line of vision by tipping his head up at an awkward angle to stare at slightly confused pair of eyes.

-excuse for an inn and it’s with a *real* woman, one with firm scales instead of over-ripe melons-

“Uh- uh- Deathwish!”

-melon… now wouldn’t that be nice for breakfast-


What? Did you want melon too?

Deathwish looked smug- or at least he looked smug to Kanji who knew him well enough to translate the combination of odors and facial twitches he emitted.

The serving girl had backed off a few steps and started to edge away looking frightened.

“N-no! You don’t understand! Deathwish is his name!” Kanji pointed at his reptilian friend which did not seem to help the mental state of the young woman. She tentatively looked up the staircase to what must have looked like a dragon to the eyes of a sheltered serving girl. She stood eyes wide and paralyzed in place.

Hi there.

That single projected thought into the woman’s mind was all it took to send her off screaming to the kitchen, a tray of some patron’s breakfast launched into the air. Other patrons turned to look as Kanji’s training sprung him into action, quite literally. He leapt kicking to the side, sending back up a plate of potatoes, catching a sloshing mug in his left hand, and the tray in his right, which landed a moment before the potatoes again touched down upon its surface.

Now that’s what I call service.

A round of applause quickly followed, but just as quickly ceased. Deathwish finally finished his descent down the stairs and stood by his diminutive friend. A moment’s silence followed before Kanji thought it best to take the attention off of Deathwish, his largely imposing form no doubt emphasized by Kanji’s opposite stature.

“Who ordered the potatoes and cider?” Kanji asked as casually as he could muster. A hand tentatively rose from a table by the bar and Kanji gracefully hurried over to set the tray down. He tossed and spun it the air on the way over for added effect as Deathwish slipped into a seat at the end of the bar with only a bit more than a few worried glances. Kanji soon joined him holding a few copper pieces.

“Well, if nothing else we once again avoided a major incident,” Kanji began with a sigh as he slid into a stool, “and I got tipped. That doesn’t normally happen.”

Deathwish nodded a bit perplexed, Yes, but what about the serving girl?

He barely finished forming that thought as the kitchen door swung inward and an irate cook carrying a mean looking meat cleaver stalked into the room. He took one look Deathwish’s way and growled, wiping a plump, greasy palm on a meat-sauced stained apron and passing his meat cleaver over from hand to hand over his pot-belly, “No one messes with Miss Bessy without answerin’ to me- be ye a devil spawn or not!”

“W-wait,” sputtered Kanji, nearly falling out of his stool, waving his hands, and approaching the man, “There’s been a misunderstanding!”

The cook eyed the small, simple robed man with an unrelenting glare and grit his teeth, “And who might you be? The monster’s sympathetic mid-mornin’ snack?”

Deathwish’s stomach growled in the following moment of Kanji’s stuttering. The enraged cook boiled over at the sound, pointing and waving his meat cleaver in Deathwish’s direction, “I’ll have no hungry monsters in my inn, licking their chops at ladies- I’ll have none of it!”

“Now, now,” Kanji patted the air nervously, “No one is licking their chops at anybody-” Kanji again was interrupted by a loud growl from Deathwish’s stomach.

Sorry, Deathwish shrugged helplessly at Kanji, I‘m hungry and you said chops. Like lamb chops…

“We are but two weary travelers,” Kanji began again in a soft, non-threatening tone, blocking out Deathwish‘s thoughts best he could, “looking for a warm bed and fine food to fill our stomachs- food from your kitchen, not your patrons!” Kanji was quick to clarify.

The cook looked skeptically to Deathwish who attempted a smile, but instead only succeeded in showing off a row of pointed canines. It was then that Deathwish noticed the barmaid peeking out through the kitchen door, when she saw him looking at her with his teeth bared, she shrieked,

“Kill it, Dell! Kill it, kill it, kill it!”

It? Deathwish projected loudly to the entire common room. I’m not an it. Furthermore, I am not going to be killed by anyone, Deathwish rose from his stool and placed has scaly palm on the hilt of his broadsword, Not by anyone here.

“Deathwish, please!” was all that Kanji got to say before the common room erupted into a combination of shrieks of fear and shouts of challenge. The inn door opened and patrons rushed out, while others took to the common room furniture.

“If yer thinkin’ were the type ‘o folk to be pushed around by some scaly, slimy, arse-sucklin’ demon-spawn, then yer thinkin’ wrong!” shouted the enraged cook, shaking his meat cleaver.

Kanji attempted to answer, but was forced to cut off his train of thought as a chair began its descent towards his head. He sidestepped it easily, hopped up onto the chair still being held by a disgruntled patron. The patron didn’t quite register that he’d missed before Kanji lept over him and kicked him squarely in the back. It sent him tumbling into a table, sending the table on its side, flipping drinks, and launching food flying into the air. In general, it began an old fashioned common room brawl.

While Kanji was coping with the brawl, one patron weilding furniture at a time, Deathwish was engaged with the meat cleaver and the cross man who owned it. The cook crossed the cleaver over his mound of a belly back and forth as if it were a nervous twitch. Deathwish stood calmly, not bothing to draw his sword. This seemed to only anger the short, fat man and he flew up a stool and ran down the bar to swing his knife into Deahwish’s skull.

Deathwish had other plans as the cook came for him. Deathwish easily backed off from the blow and backhanded his opponent’s large overbalanced body off the counter and careening into the floor with a loud, satisfying fwap.

It was then that Deathwish felt a sting of pain in the back of his neck and shook off shards of crockery from his scales and shirt. Behind him Bessy hovered over the broken pieces of pottery. She panicked and screeched,

“Oh, what did ye do to Dell ye demon?”

Deathwish sighed, picked up the screeching girl under his arm, and made his way back into the kitchen. A few patrons tried to stop him, probably thinking he was going to cook her or worse. Deathwish grabbed one man by the shirt and threw him across the bar, leaving him to slide several splintered feet across it face first. Another two he swatted with his over-sized tail into the inn wall where they caused a goblin head trophy to fall into one of the poor men’s lap. He shrieked like a small girl when he looked into his lap and saw the goblin staring back. He went to stand, making the trophy fall to the floor and his head connect with a mounted over-sized spider carcass that had been magically hardened and preserved. He senslessly slid back to the floor. The other seemed to know better than regain consciousness.

Once in the kitchen, Deathwish put the kicking, screaming, biting woman’s head into a sink full of luke warm soapy water she had been scrubbing pots in all morning. He then pulled her greasy, sudded head out of the water to ask if she had cooled off yet.

She sputtered and shrieked, and again Deathwish repeated the process adding how all he wanted was breakfast and what did he do to deserve such poor service.

“Don’t eat me!” was all the woman managed to sputter out with a sob. Deathwish dropped her to the floor.

Like we said- I don’t want to eat you, Deathwish turned to leave the girl and return to the common room, Don’t flatter yourself!

When Deathwish returned to the common room the situation had worsened a hundred fold. Kanji had all but his left arm pinned and a large semicircle of locals was closing in on him with ropes, “Where in Brihaad’s name have you been? I could really use some help here!”

Deathwish felt something really solid connect with his skull before he sank to the floor. Bessy, with a cast iron skillet, stood over his scaly hide victoriously. She flung her hair back with a defiant snort,

“Yer order’s up!

Continue to Chapter 2