February132014

That Awful Movie

Last night, a friend of mine and I decided to ditch Happy Hour and instead go have a relaxing night, escape the cold, and see a movie. There weren’t any movies out that I was dying to see, so I let me friend pick. And since she is obsessed with Zac Efron, she chose That Awkward Moment.

I had no real opinion on seeing the movie. It looked funny and entertaining, so I said sure.

Now, this is my first time ever writing a review on a movie, and I think people who sit down at home and spend time writing a pointless review about a movie they saw are idiots. Because, really, who the hell gives a shit?

But, upon watching this train-wreck of a film, I felt compelled to be that loser, sit down and waste my time writing about this movie, because I walked out of the movie theater more pissed off than that time the Outback ran out of Blooming Onions.

So, for those that do not know the plot, That Awkward Moment is about three male best friends who make a vow to remain single (for each other) to stay out of the messy-ness that is “relationships.”

Ok, so it is like American Pie, but for an older generation.

The three guys are all 26, met and became best friends in college. Fine. That of course happens. What do they do for a living? Well, two of them work as book cover designers at a trendy SoHo loft, while the other one is…a doctor.

Not a nurse. Not a doctor in residency or medical school. A full-fledged doctor. At 26. OKAY FINE. That could be possible.

Oh, and said doctor is married.

At 26.

That makes me, a single ‘writer’ at 27 feel awful about myself, but that’s besides the point. It turns out that his wife has been cheating on him and wants a divorce. Being upset about this rapid turn of events in his life, he turns to his two best friends for comfort and solace. Where they should have been listening to him and offering advice, they did what normal 26 year old straight men do: they took him out to a bar to get laid.

While at this bar, the main character, Zac Efron, meets a girl – his love interest for the remainder of the film.

What bothered me about this girl is so superficial and I feel horrible about it, but…she was hideous. From the missing tooth to the un-combed hair, she was a disaster to look at and completely had a hand in ruining this movie for me. I couldn’t stop but wonder, “What the HELL does he see in her?”

So, they go home, hook up, and he leaves because he thought she was a prostitute. Because, that’s a normal thing people think about. But you tought their story was over? Of course not! It turns out this non-prostitute is actually an author of a book that is being published and she came into Zac’s agency to get her book cover designed.

Maybe I took this part pretty harshly because, as I said, I am a 27 year old writer who wants to get a book published, and I am realizing it is not the easiest thing in the world. But this is a movie, so, fine. She wrote a book. Whatever.

I wont bore you with the rest of the movies details, but they fall in love, have a fight (BECAUSE ZAC DIDN’T SHOW UP TO HER DADS FUNERAL ON THANKSGIVING DAY) and she asks him to never speak to her again.

So, he drinks, fights with his friend, and has a movie-montage of depression. He cannot stop thinking about this hideous girl. Eventually, months later, he finds her and makes a grand gesture of his feelings for her in front of many people, she cries, he cries, and they end up together.

Aside from the horrible story line, the disappointing acting, and the overall un-funny script, I have just a two problems that I must air out.

  1. I am so sick and tired of watching movies taking place in New York City with 20-something lead characters living in humongous one bedroom apartments. That is the furthest thing from reality. A 26 year old book cover designer does NOT live in a huge loft in the East Village alone. It doesn’t happen. You really think he is making over 100K at his first job for a dying industry? Nope.
  2. The married doctor character. So, as I mentioned, he was married and a doctor at 26. His wife? A 26 year old lawyer “about to make partner”. Are you kidding me?? Middle-aged men who have worked at law firms for decades aren’t even making partner. But she is? WHAT SCHOOL DID THEY GO TO?

So, I advise the two of you that actually will read this to please stay away. Spend your 14.50 on something else: socks, a meal at Wendy’s, anything! Do not go see That Awful Movie! 

August42012

My Year in New York

As I sit here, on August 3rd, 2012, I reflect upon the past year. One year ago, my biggest dream came true. No, not the technology for full hair restoration (fingers crossed…still), but that I moved to New York City. 

I have had some of the best times of my life this past year. And have met some of the most amazing and influential people, as well as reconnecting with a few friends from the past. 

I decided that I would post my 50 favorite memories, although there are hundreds more, complete with pictures and stories. I am so grateful for the love and support I have had from my family and friends this past year. And this blog is dedicated to them. 

May112012

iHate Smart Phones

Cell phones, well now called Smart Phones, are taking over the world! Forget zombie, vampire, or alien attacks. This is what we should be afraid of now! Phones nowadays can do just about anything, when their only, original purpose was to make phone calls! Right? Who’s with me? Can I get a what-what?

Phones used to be stationed at home, usually in the kitchen or hung on the wall somewhere. If someone called you and you missed it, eh. No big deal. You moved on. Then “they” created the cell phone. Now you could dismantle that wall-phone, cut the cord, and carry this device in your pocket (well, the ones made after 1998) and never miss a phone call again. This advancement I am totally for.

But in the last ten years, technology – especially with phones - has amazed me with everything they can do. You can find movie show times, receive spoken directions to the movie theater, purchase your ticket without waiting in line, and even gain enough points to get a free small popcorn. What’s next? You’ll be able to watch a movie ON your phone??? Oh…

If anyone knows me personally (or the six of you subscribed to my blog) you can decipher that I am against all new technology involving communication. As a graduate with my Masters* in Communications, I have spent many hours studying and researching** the effects of face to face interpersonal communications, and not only do cell phones do the exact opposite, but I believe they hinder communication altogether.

Have you, a person without an iPhone (or android for that matter) gone out to dinner with someone with an iPhone (or android)? To you, you are enjoying a nice meal with a friend, catching up and discussing the events in your life. To them, they are out enjoying a meal, at a restaurant they found on Yelp, checking in on Facebook, uploading a picture, tagging you, asking you for a clever caption of said picture, tweeting a funny anecdote of their inner monologue while waiting for dessert, drawing a picture of a fire truck for their friends to guess, and playing the word “enation” to win the game on words with friends…all the while you are sitting there, right in front of them, at dinner.

Aside from all the applications, or “apps” - (remember when “apps” was short for mozzarella sticks??) phones receive emails and text messages. So, not only is your friend playing Family Feud with their college roommate, they are also able to get emails from Victoria’s Secret and texts from their friends, parents, and childhood next-door neighbors.

The cell phone is like an uninvited guest, sitting at the table, blinking that red light, waiting to be held. Put it on silent and in your pocket/purse/backpack and enjoy the present company.

These smart phones are ruining face-to-face communication and, well, dumbing us down. No one calls anymore. A text is the easier, more efficient way of getting in touch with someone. Again, I totally understand and agree. “Will you pick up a bottle of red wine on your way?” or “I work at noon” are totally fine examples of text message conversations. Simple, to the point statements or questions that only require a single word answer, if any answer at all. But, “Hey! It’s been forever, how have you been? What’s new? Did you ever get that rash figured out?” are NOT text message conversations. If you really want to know, pick up the phone and call them. Don’t make them type out a four page response on what’s been new in their life (or make them type “it was just genital herpes***”).

So, reader(s) and friend(s) and…well, Mom, I ask you to show a little respect towards your friends who ARE present and try, for those one or two hours to put your phone away and give them your undivided attention. Thank you.

* Bachelor’s Degree – But I was there long enough to get a Masters.

** I couldn’t afford text books and failed intro to Communications.

*** Everything cleared up.

If you liked this article, find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Four Square or just email me at my two accounts. Or you could always text (not call) me at my cell number ANY time. My handle for words with friends is JimmyKool and my download of Draw Something is currently loading (will get back to with that).

January112012

The Exchanging of Gifts

Finally the holidays are over and the time of giving has concluded and we are back to our normal, self-centered selves. Ah. Feels good, doesn’t it? But, with the act giving gifts to friends, family, and loved ones, thus comes the act of receiving gifts from those aforementioned. And the act of, well, acting.

There is nothing worse than getting a gift and realizing you hate it five seconds after the paper has been torn off. So, without hurting the other persons feelings, we, as the receivee (that’s a word, right?) must hone into our Meryl Streep acting techniques and try our best to convey that we really do  love the paper weight our grandmother gave us or the duck pajamas our significant other keeps thinking are cute and comfortable. It’s is truly hard work. Believe me.

I just celebrated Christmas with my family this past weekend (yes, I know – a few weeks late, but remember, I’m a big shot in New York City and rarely have time for anyone else). Luckily, this year my mother finally learned and stuck to the list. Everything I had asked for I got. (Thanks, Mom). But, there were still some “surprises” waiting underneath the tree. Things I had not asked for, but my mother said “just screamed James”. Naturally, the things that screamed James to her just made me…Scream.

I tried my best to pretend I loved the green corduroy pants 3 sizes too big, or the pen thats also a flashlight, or the 8x10 of her and my father, but I’m no Meryl Streep. Without even having a chance to fake-smile, my mother already knew – I hated them.

So, the exchanging of gifts on Christmas turns to the exchanging of gifts the next day. In a statistic that I just made up, nearly 65% of gifts are returned each year. That’s almost half. And what surprises me even more is that the department store sales people are never adept at handling the most simple of returns.

 I don’t think that I have ever in my 25 years of not liking presents ever had a breezy return. I am always “that guy” at the register for forty minutes while Sally looks at me like I just asked for a piggy back ride in the women’s lingerie section. So she types on the computer, hitting buttons at random, asking her work associates to come over and help. Which they do, then shake their head, and then tell Sally to get the (dun dun dun) Manager. So now, what should have been quick and easy is now becoming…long and hard. Okay. Maybe that wasn’t the best antonym choice.

So, because you do not have the receipt with you (and why would you have the receipt? I hate when they expect you to have the receipt. It’s a gift for returning out loud!) they can only offer you the sale price, which is always in the four dollar range. And you know they are ripping you off, but at this point, you always take it, because you know that you are almost out of the store and onto the next one to do the exact same thing.

I spend more time exchanging gifts than I do shopping for them. That should tell you something, shouldn’t it? Well, I don’t know if it should. That just sounded like a good point to make. Okay, returning to the returning topic. I don’t think, as society, we will ever come to a gift-giving-conclusion where we will always be 100% happy with the gifts we get. But, to me, that is sort of the enjoyment. You don’t always want to get what you want. Where is the fun in that? No..wait. Getting what you want is actually a lot of fun.

Another thing. People always complain to those who are repeat offenders and beg “Just get me a gift card”. I, for one, am a huge supporter of the GC (that’s gift card) but it reallllllly shows you how much someone cares for you with how much they put on it. When someone buys you a gift, say, a candle, it could be a really nice, expensive, Gucci-esque candle that smells like napalm. Or, it could be from the Dollar General. You don’t know. So your relationship stays the same. Just with a better aroma.

But, when they are restricted to get you a gifty-c, you know the exact monetary value of how much you are worth. Sometimes you are pleasantly surprised. And sometimes you get one from Starbucks without enough money to buy a grande frappucino.  This is when you start deleting people out of your life. But that’s a whole other blog entirely.

I hope that you all got what you wanted this Christmas, one way or the other. But remember, the holidays aren’t about gifts and presents and money. It’s about spending time with the ones you love. * Happy New Year!

*I couldn’t even get through that sentence without laughing.

November232011

Speak Now.

Last night I was supposed to go see the Taylor Swift concert at Madison Square Garden. Key words: Supposed to. I didn’t have tickets, but I thought showing up an hour before the show started with a hundred dollars in my pocket would gain me two tickets into the arena. As you can probably infer, it did not and my night ended pretty early. However, on the way home, I passed a Best Buy retail store and purchased her concert on DVD. It’s sorta the same thing. Right?

As soon as I got home, I put the DVD in and sat on my bed and watched it. At first, I was getting depressed and said to myself “I don’t want to see this! This exact show is going on one mile from my bedroom!” but then the opening of the concert came on and I got a whole new attitude and perhaps, perspective, on the night. The beginning monologue of the show was, and is, my favorite part, because it embodies all of the reasons as to why I am a Taylor Swift fan. I know I get a lot of flack from people as to why I am such an avid fan, but I truly believe that this 21 year old has a great outlook on life, and knows just the right words to say what everyone is thinking.

Take her album and tour title, for instance. Speak Now. Most people that hear that don’t really think about the importance of those two words. What exactly is speaking now? And why should we do it?  Well, I will tell you. But first I will tell you in the words of Ms. Swift herself.

“Real life is a funny thing, you know. In real life, saying the right thing at the right moment is beyond crucial. So crucial, in fact, that most of us start to hesitate, for fear of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. But lately what I’ve begun to fear more than that is letting the moment ass without saying anything.  I think most of us feat reaching the end of our life, and looking back regretting the moments we didn’t speak up. When we didn’t say ‘I love you’. When we should have said ‘I’m sorry’…There is a time for silence. There is a time for waiting your turn. But if you know how you feel, and you so clearly know what you need to say, you’ll know it. I don’t think you should wait. I think you should speak now.”

I remember the day I first read that paragraph on the insert of her CD and then hearing it spoken when I saw her concert in June, and then remembering it last night when I watched the concert. It made me really think for a while. So much, in fact, that I put the DVD on pause and opened Microsoft Word to write about it.

I cannot even count the times when I had the chance to speak up and say what it was I wanted to say, but out of fear and feeling vulnerable, I just let the moment pass me by.  I want to kick myself every time I think of those moments. I feel so ashamed that I didn’t have the confidence and courage to tell people to their face that I loved them. Or that I was sorry. Or that they meant the world to me. I now have to live with those passing moments every day, and it is one of the worst feelings.

I urge you to take Taylor (and mine’s) advice and Speak Now. Don’t be nervous, scared, or embarrassed by the other person’s reaction or answer. Putting yourself out there is one of the hardest, yet greatest, things us as humans can do. Don’t live your life in regret.

So go out and tell someone what they need to hear. You never know. They could be in the same position as you and are just waiting for the perfect opportunity. There are too many stories I have heard about missed love and lost chances. Don’t walk away. Don’t hesitate. And don’t procrastinate. You never know what could happen tomorrow.

Thank you for reading this and giving me the chance to speak now.

I love you.

I am sorry.

You mean the world to me.

- James

November142011

Quarter of a Century

This past week everyone who has wished me a Happy Birthday has said “You’re a quarter of a century old now!” (Oh, and if you are reading this and did not wish me a happy birthday, please go on Facebook and do so. And then continue reading. You haven’t truly wished me a happy birthday unless it is on Facebook.) Where was I? Oh, right. Being a quarter of a century old. Every time it was said to me, I just did my “polite chuckle” – you know, the one you do when your grandmother says something crazy or your co-worker makes an inappropriate joke about the Holocaust.

I don’t know why, but I just don’t get the significance of the term. I am 25. And yes, 25 is a quarter of a century (1/4 for you math geniuses, Harvard graduates, and rain men out there) but after the nineteenth person said it to me I got a little agitated. We don’t say to someone turning five “Ah! Happy Birthday Susie! You’re half a decade!” or to someone turning 77 “Ah! You’re really old, Ned!”

My point, and I did have one, but I lost it when I was thinking about that Holocaust joke my co-worker told me the other day. In any event, I am 25, and as much as I thought I would dread it and be scared, I’m surprisingly okay with it. A lot has changed this past year and I finally feel like an adult. I graduated college, moved to New York City, and have a big-time job working on Wall Street*. I have left the guidance (and monetary bearings) of my parents and am finally taking care of myself; both personally and financially. Can I borrow have ten dollars?

I am so grateful, honored, and sometimes confused with how many amazing people I have in my life and was truly blessed and surprised with how many of you wished me a Happy Birthday - and meant it. I don’t mean logging onto Facebook and going to that side panel and just typing a generic Birthday message and clicking ‘enter’ before realizing you spelled my name wrong (Aunt Judy) but taking time out of your day to make the phone call, write an email, or send a text message. I will save each one. Oh, shit. I thought I hit ‘save’ but instead hit ‘delete all’. Anyways, I am grateful.

I had the chance to go to Florida for the week to see my family and friends and celebrate my birthday. Luckily my big corporate job allowed for the paid week off**. And while I was there on my vacation I got to see so many people that I have missed while I have been away in New York. Each and every joke was still funny and it seemed no one had really changed. It was as if I had never left. So, thankfully Delta let me fly out a few days earlier so I didn’t have to spend any more time with those people. I am just kidding! I flew United.

Okay, I have been rambling on and on and on about me and my birthday and some of you are like “We get it!” or “Happy Birthday Blue Eyes!” or “What’s that Holocaust Joke?”  

But thank you all so much for being there for me and I know you will all help make 25 the best year ever. Because I am the square root of 625! Or two dimes and a nickel. Or three nickels and a dime. Or half way to 50! Or almost 30! Or, my favorite, a quarter of a century!

* Some items in this sentence are false/incorrect.   

** Again, sadly, this is not true.   

August82011

It’s Up To You, New York

“If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere”…

Ahh, those famous lyrics crooned by the legendary Frank Sinatra. I remember being about six or seven and hearing this song for the first time with my parents. We were in my dad’s 1979 beige Crown Victora towncar listening to a Rat Pack cassette tape while driving to Friendly’s for an “after church” treat.

I demanded an ice cream sundae for being inconvenienced on a Sunday morning and dragged, against my will, to church. My parents were devout Catholics while I was in the process of converting to Judiasm. Since I wasn’t a full-on Jew at the time, and under the age of ten, my parents still made me go with them to Sunday mass.

“Can’t we at least stop for bagels and shmear on the way?” I would whine from the backseat.

Tony Bennett had just finished singing “Tender is the Night” and the next sound I heard was this powerful saxophone playing the intro to “New York, New York”. I was suddenly in a trance. I sat quietly and listened to each word, memorizing the message into my 2nd grade brain.

“I wanna live there! In the city that never sleeps! Can i? Can i?” I shouted as we pulled into the packed Friendly’s parking lot. In between screams  I took note that this place was becoming way too popular and I needed to find a new, low key, ice cream joint.  

My mom, ever so sweetly adjusted her scarf, put her arm around my father’s chair and turned to me and said, “I don’t want you living in that God Damned city. You hear me?” And with that, she did the sign of the cross. I tried to fight with her. “But ma-“ I whimpered.

“That’s the end of the conversation James Christopher. Now, do you want that cone head sundae? Then don’t mention it again!”

And let’s face it. I wanted that cone head sundae.

As the years went on, my infatuation with New York City grew and grew, much to my mother’s dismay.  I hung pictures all over my room of the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge. I guess you could say I was a fan of the book The Secret. If you’re not familiar with the book, it says to surround yourself with pictures and anecdotes of something you want in your life, and if you look at it every day, it will happen.

And it did.

It is now 18 years later, and with much convincing, my mother changed her outlook on The Big Apple. Sure, she is skeptical, as a mother should be, but she is also very supportive of what I want in life. As a mother should be.

Those little town blues sure melted away and I am now a resident in the so called “City that never sleeps” and it is exciting, and thrilling, and special. But most of all, it is tiring.

I never knew how much walking I would do. Just today I walked almost 3 miles. Back in Florida, I walked a cumulative of three miles a year. Now, I was doing it on a regular basis. The plus side is that I don’t feel as guilty when I gorge myself with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Or the pizza shop that is conveniently located directly underneath my apartment building.

Besides all of the strolling and strutting I have been up to…and believe me, I have been strutting…I have been on a mission to find a job! Actually, as I write this entry, I am going back and forth between Microsoft Word and Career Builder.com.  I sort of realized that in order to live in the city you must work in the city. So I will sit here and apply for every job that I think I could do: Marketing executive, Copywriter, Chipotle Cashier. And I will find a great job. I know I will. But until then, I will just sit it out and wait because it’s not in my hands. It’s up to you, New York.

New York.

March12011

The Dating Game

Today as my blackberry shot off that obnoxious sound to alert me of a new text message from a new beau, I got to thinking of the rules and regulations one must follow in order to play the dating game. Dating, unlike any Milton Bradley board game, comes with no manual explaining the step by step instructions on how to win against the opponent. And phones, especially the iPhone, Blackberry, and any other smart phone device out there leave us to feel clueless, confused, and just plain stupid.

Should dating be a strategic and carefully planned part of life? Must we devote so much time and attention to get people to like us? I wish it was as simple as the game of Life. But, low and behold, there is no clear path that directs us to a job, spouse, 2.5 children, or even the Victorian mansion. We usually just get stuck with a GED education, remain single, and living in the Beach Shack.

Instead, dating has turned more into the game of Risk. Every text we send, every call we make, every voicemail we leave, we are risking everything we have to see or hear from that person again. If we text too soon, we come off as desperate and needy - too late, and we are uninterested and apathetic.

There aren’t black and white signs telling us what to do. And there are no useful information directed by a set of dice will to direct us on how to tactically beat the opposing team. No one informs us who killed who with the candlestick in the conservatory and no one is telling us to not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. We in turn look to our friends, the player to the left and right of us. We listen to the advice they give, and hopefully they are trying to help us…and not sink our battleship.

Perhaps what we must do, as players of this game called love, is redefine the rules and regulations to our own terms. To something that makes us have an advantage to the other player. Maybe what we should do is get a clue, try not to be sorry, and stop getting into trouble. But the most important thing I have learned is to always take a chance. You never know, you could meet the love of your life. Just make sure you don’t get sent to jail.

I end this blog with a question to my readers. Hopefully I am up to four by now. In the dating game, can there ever be a tie?  

November282010

Blogger’s Block.

So…

I have been staring at my laptop screen for close to two hours trying to think of my next big “Blog” that I can share with you guys. So far, all I got was “I know we believe in love at first sight, and if you know my personal life, lust at first sight, but have we ever considered loathe at first sight”? Or “My life is one long, continuous run on sentence in desperate need of punctuation”. Or this one. “In life, we set sail on many different ships - friendships, championships, apprenticeships, and hardships - but when it comes to relationships, do we set our sails or just follow the wind?”

Sure, if I had the material I could indulge on these topics and somehow create a story or lesson for my readers (hopefully I now have more than 4) and help them relate it to their lives. But, as the title of this blog suggests – I got nothin’!

Months ago when I started this blog, ideas came efficaciously.  I sometimes would write three or four in a one day period and have to spread the love out over a few weeks. Now, I would pay someone to give me something to write about. And maybe I will. Minus the whole money thing.

Another reason for the lack of inspiration has been due to my hectic and busy schedule. I have really put most of my time and effort into my schoolwork, being that I am a senior graduating in less than a month. Maybe I should write a blog about that? Eh. I feel that most of my friends would read it and respond “We get it!” …

…I guess I have kind of talked everyone’s ear off with that.

So, if you have an idea or a concept you would like me to write about: love, relationships, friendships, country music, Michael Jackson, the NY stock exchange, etc. Let me know! I could use all the help I can get.

Just get me out of this bloggers block and bring the blogs back! (anyone else love alliteration as much as I do?!)

October252010

Waiting…

Working in the restaurant business, you get the chance to meet and interact with hundreds of people a night, whether it be your coworkers or your guests. I have had the privilege of working with some insanely interesting people at my time in this business, and have also met some people who, for unknown reasons, scare the living crap out of me. It is a fun way to make money because aside from the mundane rituals of serving someone a cheeseburger and coke, there is always someone there to make you laugh, someone to share insight into the future, and someone there that makes you thankful you don’t have their life.

As for the customers, I try not to get too involved with them. If they are fun, I go with it. But most of the time all they want to do is eat. And I am just a person with the power to make that happen. I try not to let guests bum me out too much, and definitely don’t take it to heart when I don’t get a “20 percent tip” (gasp!)

But the other day I had the strangest interaction with a couple dining at my restaurant. They were my last table of the night, and getting out of there was the only thing on my mind. I was tired, I smelt as if I bathed in French fry oil, and my body odor was starting to repel people. I dropped off their check, ensuring there was no rush for them to close out with me, even though I prayed they would put in cash real quick and leave. As I started to walk away, the man asked me “Hey, waiter. What exactly are you waiting for?”

This question stopped me in my tracks, and although he was trying to be, I don’t know, humorous, it struck a nerve in me that made me contemplate my existence for hours after my shift was done. I did a polite laugh, shrugged my shoulders, and replied “Besides the last installment of the Harry Potter franchise, the future”.

For the past few years I have been struggling to get out of Florida, with a degree in my hand, and it has taken me longer than expected. Don’t get me wrong, I love it here. Well, I mean I like it here just fine. But lately I have started to have the growing-up-itch in me and I have yet to scratch. I want to move somewhere different and start my career, whatever that may be. I want to travel to places I have never been. Ireland, Greece, Pennsylvania.

I feel that these next few months will be the hardest for me. I am going to cherish the time I have left with my amazing friends down here and take every opportunity I can get, because I know that my time here in Orlando is coming to an end. And until that time, all I can do is wait.

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