Monday, May 21, 2001

New Orleans Pictures

I've posted 5 New Orleans pictures in this Yahoo! Photos album.

Ski Pictures

I've scanned 4 more ski pictures. They're the last 4 in this album.

Pencils in the Ceiling

While I was walking Teddy yesterday, I noticed a perfectly good yellow pencil lying in the grass and felt compelled to pick it up. Not that I needed any more pencils -- I've got plenty. And not that I was being good about picking up litter -- I wasn't going to throw it away, I was going to keep it.

I thought back to the last day of classes in junior high school. I remember there was a tremendous number of pencils that people had stuck in the ceiling. I don't know what the name for that type of porous tile is, but it holds pencils pretty well. I was just shocked -- I eventually realized that people were getting rid of their pencils because they had no intention of writing all summer. That seemed very sad to me, but at the same time it was a good opportunity to score some free pencils.

That, in turn, reminded me of something that happened to me in middle school. At the end of the year, everybody was cleaning out their lockers. One of the things we had an opportunity to do was to sell our used books back to the school to recoup some of the money our parents had spent on them at the beginning of the year. I noticed a lot of people throwing out their books instead. An enterprising youth, I rescued them and attempted to sell them back to the school. My capitalist urges were met with some irritation, and I was told that the money would go to the parents of the students who had originally owned the books.

That was fine, but at the time I didn't really understand why. Looking back on it, I still feel a little disillusioned by the waste these kids were willing to engage in and the explicit condonation of that by the school. I was upsetting things, and it was easier to get annoyed at me than to try to teach these kids not to be so spoiled.

Club Champion

My father won the Mountainview Men's Golf Association club championship. Congrats!

Sunday, May 20, 2001

Ski Stubai

When my alarm went off at 7 AM, I was wide awake. This was a nice change from previous days when I had lingered in bed unable to shake the fog of sleep. Of course, I wasn't going to make the 7:20 bus to Stubai Glacier, but I had a good shot at the 8:30 one. After a shower, a nice breakfast at my hotel, and the purchase of a Coke from the usual bakery, I walked to the bus station. And walked. And walked. After extensive consultation with the map, I discovered that I had taken a wrong turn back in Albuquerque. So it was back to correct my course. I arrived at the bus station right by the Hauptbahnhof -- just like the tourist information center woman said -- at 8:40. Blech.

The bus stop listed the upcoming buses, and my bus wasn't one of them. If this were [insert your own culture about which the stereotype of lateness fits], no problem. But I was condemned to wait another 65 minutes for the next bus.

I decided to take a stroll around, since -- well, since there really wasn't anything else to do. Walking another block south, I found -- another, bigger bus stop! You weren't expecting that, were you?

So now I was in the throes, as they say, of a dilemma. Which bus stop was the correct one? Or did the bus stop at both? Or -- shudder -- at neither? I looked at the schedules posted at the big bus stop. One of them was labeled "Stubaital" and seemed to be waht I was looking for, but it did not have the telltale "Stubai Gletscher." So I went back tot he train station bus stop and waited. AS the buses came and went, evenutally a bus due to leave after 9:45 showed up on the electronic sign without the Stubaital making an appearance. Now the big bus stop seemed the better bet, so I wandered back. My suspicions were confirmed when I saw other people with Stubai Glacier brochures wandering around, and then when I was people loading snowboards on the bus.

Traveling public transportation is always a much more broadening experience than ending up on some sort of tour bus. As I got on the bus, so did two pair of Spaniards, and as they discovered each other, I was reminded that my Spanish is not so much better off than my German. Then again, Spanish accents can be tricky (especially Castillan ones). I also got to see Tyrolean schoolchildren got on and off the bus as it would through the rural valley. The Alps were, of course, beautiful, and I was particularly awed by the waterfulls tumbling down sheer cliffs as the snow melted with the coming of Spring.

As we were riding along, I was excited -- here I am, skiing in the Alps -- but I expereienced a certain amount of anxiety. Would I find a place to change? (Not a good one -- new rule, change first when skiing unless I know the place ahead of time.) Was I dressed warmly enough? Was I dressed too warmly? Was I out of my depth? Would I be able to figure out the lifts?

As usual, I was over-concerned. I got to the ski area, went to the ticket counter and used my new favorite phrase, got my lift ticket and headed towards the gondola.

The gondola was cool. I had never been on one before. You put your skis in a holder on the outside (if you had them -- which I didn't yet) and hop in for the ride. Once again, you're treated to spectacular view of the Alps. It was almost worth it to come this far just for the gondola ride. But I had come for more.

At midstation, it wasn't quite clear if I needed to get off the gondola. So I did, only to be waved back on -- I managed to move ahead several gondola cars in the process. Finally, I was at the top, and I needed to find some place to change. (I hate changing in WCs.) Then I rented my ski gear -- I had looked up my European shoe size (45) in advance -- and put my bag in a locker. (Another anxiety -- but the system wasn't bad. For AS 20 (~$1.25) you could rent a locker key (with an AS 200 deposit) for the day -- it's the best way I've seen so far.)

I then trudged up to the skischule to see if they offered English lessons. Ski lessons in English, that is. My English's fine, thank you. As was theirs, in fact. I took an hour long lesson with Erin. First we headed off to the kiddie area. [Why do I take a lesson? Well, it is always a decent way to get someone to show you the ropes of a particular ski area, and frankly, I know my skills need a lot of improvement in order to properly appreciate places like this.] This area introduced me to a new typle of lift -- the conveyer belt. Pretty cool, and pretty simple, as befits the kids' area. The slope itself wasn't much to speak of, and apparently after a couple of runs I had convinced Erin I wasn't going to fall down willy-nilly. So it was off to try another type of lift -- the T-bar. Here you rest your "bum" on a metal bar while haning onto the metal part, which is connected to a retractible cord that the lift pulls up the slope. No falls, so I guess I did OK.

For ther est of the hour, I practiced my turns on this short slope. It was OK, but not really any different than anything I'd seen at any of the American slopes (except for the spectacular backdrop, of course). I asked Erin if we could try something more challenging, but she said we didn't have time. (Should I have sprung for the 2-hour lesson? Hard to say.) She pointed out to me Trail 1, which ran parallel to the track of the chair lift. So then I did a run on my own -- where I realized that htis slope was in fact fairly steep, and only by turning perpendicular to the fall line was I able to keep from being too disturbed by this.

After fueling myself with some bratwurst, I was off to tackle Trail 1. The lift was very modern. It was a 6-seater chair lift. Apparently it's quite a feat of engineering to get a chair lift on a glacier, since the glacier moves a couple of inches a day. The chair also had a protective bubble that I could pull down, protecting myself from the sun and the wind. The lift ascended into the clouds and put me down there, where I realized that Trail 1 was pretty darn steep. I mean, a lot steeper than anything I had skied comfortably back home.

But there was nothing to do but ski down. So I did. There was a lot of falling involved, especially as my skis caught one of the piles of slush created by the melting snow. I did a lot of stopping, especially as the two-mile-high altitude began to take its toll on my lungs. Erin had estimated I'd take half an hour to ski down; it took me closer to an hour. By the time I made it to the bottom, the ski area was an hour or so from closing for the day, and I knew I didn't have the energy to make another run before the day was over.

So I went back, returned the skis, and picked up some souvenirs. I then took another spectacular gondola ride on the way back down and changed my shirt. I mean, I don't think anyone noticed, and who would care, but it was a lot nicer place to change than the WC. Once I got to the bottom, I had about 45 minutes to wait until the bus came. As I was waiting outside the little cafe/tavern at the bottom, their speakers started playing a Bloodhound Gang song. As the song started up, I realized that it was a particularly raunchy paen to a porn star called "Ballad Of Chasey Lain". I mean, I ordinarily don't have problems with raunchy lyrics, and I'd give you euphemisms of what was in the song, but this is really nasty. I wondered how many of the Austrians knew what it was about.

After the pleasant bus ride back, I stopped off to send e-mail to let people know I hadn't broken my neck on the slopes and went back to my hotel to take a nice long bath. Suitably rested and cleaned, I headed out for my last Austrian dinner. I went to the Fischerhausel, which was another restaurant that was supposed to be known for its Tyrolean cuisine. I was dining at appropriate European dinner hour (late), so the restaurant itself was full, and I ended up seated at the bar. That was cool, although the service was indifferent, as I got to watch drinks and dishes go back and forth with the upstairs restaurant via the dumb waiter. And I got to hear "The Ballad of Chasey Lain" on the stereo. You know, I don't think there's a radio station in America that would play that uncut. I enjoyed a nice lamb dinner. The proprietor asked if I wanted anything else, and I asked for a recommendation of some schnapps, which I knew was a Tyrolean specialty. His face brightened; "Good choice." He served me a very nice apple schnapps; my previous schnapps experience had been with peppermint, which tased more like medicine. I liked it so much that on my way to my room, I stopped at the hotel bar and had some pear schnapps. Good, but I like apples better.

The next day, and the trip home, was more or less uneventful. Despite the airline computers in Innsbruck and Frankfurt being down, I ended up with extra legroom in Economy Plus on the way home. Perhaps because of the computer problems, some of my luggage took an extra two days to get to me. But all in all, it was a great experience, and I can't wait to get back to Europe.

Monday, May 14, 2001

Thursday in Innsbruck

Thursday after lunch, the conference was over, and I was off exploring Innsbruck by myself. First, I went to the tourist information center, where I purchased a ski pass, which set me back slightly over $40. For this, I would get a bus ticket to the ski area (90 minutes away), equipment rental, and a day's pass skiing on Stubai Glacier. Not a bad deal. After that, it was off to the Apotheke to get some suntan lotion, as recommended to me by a Brit at the previous night's conference dinner. (Two of the people I had dinner with that night worked for Visa and Mastercard. They pretended to be rivals, but they seemed to get along fairly well.) I opened with what was becoming my favorite phrase, "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" After a suitable survey of the pharmacy's employees, they produced someone who asked whether it was for me. Then she looked at me, said, "You are not so dark," and recommended the SPF 20. She then started in on a discourse on the meaning of the term "SPF", which I tried to cut short politely.

When I got outside, it had started to rain, so I decided to occupy myself indoors for a while. My next stop was the Hofkirche (picture here). The Hofkirche was where Maximillian I commissioned his tomb. As noted earlier, he did not die in Innsbruck, so I guess that's why he isn't buried there. That's why what lies inside the Hofkirche is a cenotaph, a word with which I was not previously familiar. Unfortunately, the cenotaph was under restoration. I mean, I'm glad they're restoring it, but I'm not so thrilled with the fact that a) they were doing it during my visit -- so I couldn't see the cenotaph and b) nowhere did I find notice of this until I came upon the construction site in the middle of the Hofkirche. The Hofkirche also featured larger than life bronze statues which were fairly impressive, though the one of King Arthur appeared to be blocked by the construction. You know how some bronze statues have shiny noses because people rub them for good luck? Well, Kaiser Rudolph had a

After that, I toured the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum, which had implements of daily rural Tyrolean life going back a few centuries. Back to the 15th century, most stuff was made of soft wood, so it hadn't survived. The oldest pieces were pine chests -- lots of them. It was interesting to see how all the practical tools of daily life got decorated in such elaborate fashion. It was surprisingly big, and somehow peaceful to walk around among all the wood, reading on the occasional English captions.

From there, I went over to the Stadtturm (City Tower), which the brochure described as a "short climb up 148 steps." They were selling T-shirts saying, "I survived 148 steps." I always like climbing towers when I visit cities, and at 100 feet, this wasn't particularly tall. The view was nice, though not stunning. The main beauty of the view in Innsbruck is the Alps, and climbing the tower didn't really bring me any closer to them.

Then I went back to my hotel for a while to take a nap before heading out for an early dinner at the Ottoburg. The Ottoburg is one of the oldest buildings in Innsbruck, and the restaurant has won awards for its Tyrolean cooking. I had the Brazilian steak. (Hey, there's only so much breaded meat I can take.) That was pretty good, but the apple strudel was fantastic. I think I had located where the real talents of the Austrian chefs lie.

I was feeling a little bit lonely at dinner. I had dinner by myself of Monday (at the Stiftskeller), but that was a needed break from all of the conference interactions from people I kinda know (or kinda don't). Now, I was on my own for the next few days, and though I'm not averse to eating alone, I felt a little bit melancholy.

After that, I headed to the Ferdidandeum (on Thursdays the museums in town are open late). It contained paintings from the 15th to the 18th century, and, like the Folk Museum, had occasional English to put things into context. Also, the German captions seemed more substantial here than in the Hofburg. What it ended up being, though, was a set of mildly interesting pictures about the usual subjects (religion, landscapes & portraits of rich people) by Tyrolean artists I hadn't heard of.

That was OK, though, since my main goal was to tire myself out and go to bed early so I could get up early for skiing. The technique did not work at first (of course -- not only was I used to it being 6 hours earlier, but I had selpt past 8 and then taken a nap that day), so it was back and forth between attempts at sleep and CNN viewing. Finally, after midnight, my efforts paid off and I drifted into a sound sleep.

Tuesday, May 08, 2001

Mystic Crystals

I'm coping with a goofy German keyboard. The header almost came out "Mzstic Crzstals".

Innsbruck has been enjoyable (enjozable). I really am amazed at looking one way, and seeming the Alps right in front of me, and then turning around and seeing them in the other direction. Also, Innsbruck is a nice, old town with walkable streets and old buildings.

Today was the afternoon we had off from the conference for the excursion. The excursion was ostensibly to "Swarovski Crystal World," but the iron rule of any sort of bus tour is that you can never spend too much time in anz one place. It upsets the bus driver or something. So our first stop was the village of Hall. Hall was home to the old Mint. As the brochure says:

Competent personnel offers help and advice to guests and shares their pleasure when they create a durable souvenir of their visit to Hall in the form of a medal they can coin themselves by means of a powerful blow against the coinage die or an energetic jerk of the screw press.

Anzwaz...The Mint was apparently founded by Maximillian's uncle, Sigmund. The innovation due to it was to coin big silver coins rather than small gold ones; the innovation soon spread across Europe. This was good for Sigmund, since there's a silver mine nearby. The minting continued until Napolean invaded. Then, when the Bavarians "liberated" Tyrolia, they also helped themselves to the coin presses. Then we walked around Hall and looked at a couple of old churches.

Then it was of to the Crystal Worlds. Apparently Swarovski moved here from Bohemia 106 years ago because he had a great idea for making crystal, but was afraid somebody in Bohemia would steal it. Since this area was bereft of people who knew crystal, it seemed like a good place to start a crystal business. (That's my understanding, anyway.)

6 years ago, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the business, Swarovski commissioned a trippy techno "experience" (the type of thing Brian Eno would be involved in -- yep, he was involved in this.) Basically, you walk through about 6 different rooms filled with lights, crystal, and music, and are encouraged to ponder the meaning of it all. And they laughed at EuroDisney.

After those rooms (we were given over an hour; they took about 15 minutes), we were deposited in the gift shop. This seemed a familiar scam -- except for the fact that the gift shop was way cooler than anything else in the museum. Bunches of tiny crystals carved into parrots, dice and other wacky shapes. Really, really expensive chandeliers that you wonder who would actually buy.

It was nice to get out of Innsbruck. The mountains are really beautiful, and it snowed a couple of weeks ago. They say the snow will melt in a couple of days, but it's pretty while it lasts.

Monday, May 07, 2001

To Innsbruck

I got to the airport almost 2 hours early. At the ticket counter, they were still unable to give me a seat assignment, but they assured me I could get one at the gate. I waited in line for a few minutes at the gate, and then heard an announcement that we should just sit down and they'd call us with our seat assignment. I was advised not to play along, so I went up to the counter with my best confused-guy look. They took my ticket and gave me a seat assignment. I suspect they wanted people to sit down so they could dole out the superior seats to Premier fliers.

I ended up with a somewhat mediocre seat -- I lacked the extra legroom of Economy Plus, but I was on the aisle, and I did have a bit more room due to the wall in front of me. (Aside: do I spend far too much time writing about he plane flights and not enough about the destinations?) Unfortunately, the wall in front of me belong to the lavatory, which meant enduring some amount of people hanging out in my personal space while waiting for a free toilet. My personal space was doing fine, too, with two adjacent empty seats, until a flight attendant placed a couple in those seats after takeoff. Between that and a difficulty digesting all the salmon (I think it's a bit excessive to offer salmon as a main dish and then provide it also as a side dish. Hello? United? I have half a mind to pack my own meal next time.) I attempted to catch some shut-eye, but was woken up by a flight attendant who stepped on a water container that had fallen in the aisle and splattered my legs with water. Later, while I was attempting to sleep through breakfast, he was pouring water for the person next to me and spilled it on my arm. Anyway, I was not a happy camper arriving in Frankfurt.

But I began to feel a little better once I got off the plane, and it was time to wander around looking for my flight to Innsbruck. I found the gate number and headed in that direction, but I soon came upon passport control. I wasn't sure if I should go through German passport control when my final destination was Austria, so I walked over to the United counter. They sent me to the Lufthansa counter. Sometimes I feel silly for not knowing where I'm supposed to be. Lately I've been getting over that by looking at how confused everyone else seems to be. Here that was demonstrated by all the people trying to get to the counter via the clearly marked Exit/Ausgang line. The Lufthansa people issued me a boarding pass and let me know that I did, in fact, need to go through passport control.

The guy there glanced at my passport, mumbled "OK" and let me through. As a result, I didn't get my passport stamped in either Germany or Austria. This is the first time that's happened to me on a trip abroad. (Besides Canada, which doesn't really count.) :-(

I got on the prop plane to Innsbruck. I slept through most of that, which was fine given all the clouds obscuring the scenery. I was awakened briefly by the splash of coffee on my arm.

I collected my luggage, which showed up suprisingly quickly, and realized I had no idea how to get to my hotel. On the assumption that it wasn't 2 blocks away, I took a cab. I think this is the first time I've gotten a woman as a taxi driver. Huh. She dropped me off a block away from the Goldener Adler, as much of the old city was closed off for a marathon.

It was only 10 AM, so my hotel room wasn't ready, but the receptionist talked me into an Innsbruck Card, which allowed one-price access to all of Innsbruck's attractions for the next 24 hours. It seemed like a good way of keeping to the always-a-good-idea but never-really-feasible "stay up all day" method of fighting jetlag.

My first stop was the Maximilianeum, a museum devoted to the Emperor Maximillian. Max was the Hapsburg who really started to consolidate the Austrian Empire. He used strategic marriages to gain territory across Europe. Unfortunately, in his last visit to Innsbruck, he was chased out because his credit was no longer welcome.

At first I was impressed by the Maximilianeum's audio technology. They gave me headphones, set them to "English," and whenever I was near an exhibit, I'd hear the appropriate flavor text. So, while I sat through the 20-minute introductory movie in English, others were listening in their own languages. It seemed to be superior to a similar system at the Tate Modern in London, in that I didn't even have to punch in a code for each exhibit. Unfortunately, the scheme fell apart in the (tiny) museum itself. The headphones worked by a very very short range radio broadcast, which caused a great deal of moving around one's head and body trying to pick up a signal. It got even more awkward when someone else was trying to do the same thing. Fortunately, the exhibits were more or less a rehash of the film, so I wasn't missing much.

Next it was off to the Hofburg, which was some sort of palace for Hapsburgs over the years. It was nicely furnished, but the (German) captions on the displays really didn't give much context. After this, I made my way carefully around the old city (avoiding the marathoners), only to discover that the 3 other things in the area that the Innsbruck card got me into weren't open on Sunday afternoons. Further, the trolley that would take me to other parts of Innsbruck ran right through the marathon course, so I wasn't going to be able to take that. So it was back to the hotel to check in, ride a somewhat disconcerting elevator to my room (there are no set of interior doors on it, so you really see the floors go by), and take the inevitable nap.

After that I went to the Congress Innsbruck to register for the conference and enjoy the opening reception. I ran into a guy I've known since we were 12-year-olds taking summer math classes, and we went with 4 others for a late dinner. I had some gnocchi, and after much calculating, we were able to settle the bill. Despite all this, I managed to sleep last night from 11 pm to 7 am and haven't fallen asleep in any of this morning's talks.

Sunday & Monday in New Orleans

Greetings from Austria. Let me tell you about...New Orleans. I'll finish this off (I wrote it on the plane) so I can later get on with telling you about Innsbruck.

Sunday began with a Jazz Brunch at a hotel in downtown New Orleans. It was the type of fancy-schmancy all-the-caviar-and-shrimp-you-can-eat-my-humble-apologies-sir-that-I-put-onions-in-your-omelet-let-me-make-you-another-one buffet that everyone should be able to indulge in every once in a while. The jazz was cool, and the view of New Orleans and the Mississippi from the 11th floor was impressive.

From there, it was a street car ride (neat!) to Jackson Square. The statue of Andy Jackson had been built by the locals prior to the Civil War and then carved with the words "The Union must and shall be preserved" by a Northern general during the occupation of the city. (You tell 'em!)

We attended a special Girl Scout Mass at St. Lous Cathedral. Normally not on my "to do" list for New Orleans, this event featured the older 2 of our hosts' 3 adorable daughters. My mind swam with trite observations. Gee, Catholics really seem to like ritual. Uhh. But nice cathedral, and congrats to the Girl Scouts on earning their Catholicism patch.

Afterwards, it was off to Cafe du Monde, for the famed beignets. Despite somewhat indifferent service, our beignets arrived, and I accompanied mine by some hot chocolate. Mmm. Fried dough goodness. Afterwards, when the 9-year-old was asked by her mother whether she needed to "powder her nose," she pointed out her sugar-covered clothing and said, "But I've already powdered by dress." Aww, how cute.

Monday morning we went off to the Aquarium of the Americas. Despite warnings that it would not live up to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, I was impressed. If you shaved off the dolphin and sea lion exhibits from the National Aquarium, I think you'd get somnething fairly comparable to the A of the A.

After that, it was a tasty lunch at the Napolean House, followed by a final walk along the river before saying farewell to the Big Easy. An hour-and-a-half drive back to Baton Rouge allowed us to return the rental car ("You might want to check the air in the tires.") and head back to DC.

Saturday, May 05, 2001

Saturday Night in New Orleans

After we returned from the Jazz Fest and cleaned up some, it was time to call a cab and head down to the French Quarter. And wait. And wait. And call again to check on the cab, to be told they'd call it again. And wait. And call back to ask how long it would be for the cab to get there. And be told, "Look, it's Jazz Fest, we're busy," and be hung up upon. And realize the cab was never actually going to show up. This is why I hate "calling a cab". (But have little problem with "hailing a cab".) I'd much rather take public transportation than have to depend on one of those undependable companies to show up. Just so the search engines can hear me, that's United Cabs of New Orleans. We called for a taxi, one didn't show up. Draw your own conclusions.

So I drove the rental car (still no flats) into town. It wasn't that hard to find parking, although driving constrained me from enjoying too much of the New Orleans spirit. By this time, we were starved, so we followed our guidebook to Cafe Maspero. It was a nice, inexpensive way to experience New Orleans cuisine. I had jambalaya washed down with some beer, and then we were off on our walking tour of the French Quarter.

It's clear that the walking tour in the guidebook was never really meant to be done at 11 or so at night, but we pressed ahead. The Spanish architecture was really neat, but after a while we grew tired and wandered over to Bourbon Street. Wow. I don't know what I expected, but what I got was "World's Biggest Frat Party." Uh, pass. So we stopped in a voodoo shop, then wandered home, leaving the post-midnight revelry to those more dedicated than us.

Thursday, May 03, 2001

Jazz Fest

Saturday morning (the car still sans flats), we got up and headed to Jazz Fest. We parked at City Park, 5-10 minutes from where we were staying, and took the shuttle in. Apparently parking near the Fest is pretty atrocious, so this was a good idea. When we got to the fairgrounds, it was time to head for the most important destination -- the food. Our food tally:

  • Fried Gator Po Boy
  • Crab Stuffed Shrimp
  • Gator Sausage Po Boy
  • Crawfish Bread
  • Mango Ice
  • Fruit Salad
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Crawfish Remoulade

Oh, yeah, there was music too. We listened to the Soul Rebels Brass Band, who had a unique rendition of Wham!'s "Careless Whisper". We caught a bit of Los Hombres Calientes, but were really too far away to hear them very well. Then we wandered over to hear the tail end of "Süroit of Canada w/ Hadley Castille" -- Cajun music. Later, we heard some torch songs (Little Jimmy Scott) and some folk music, before ending with the Wallflowers.

OK, I know it's somewhat cheesy (although not as cheesy as the crawfish bread -- mmm, mmm) to go to Jazz Fest and really only be familiar with the Wallflowers. (For those of you who aren't, it's an alt-rockish band fronted by Jakob Dylan (pictured above) -- yes, Bob's son.) But you know, that's what I know, and now I have a little bit more exposure to other types of music.