Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stores and restaurants

Now I've got a bit of steam for the blog; seven days was long enough.

Shortly after getting out of the store I headed for a coffee shop in the centre of town to buy my usual apple juice and tea. Once I'd finished talking to my aunt, who was in town with a friend of hers, I went to the girls that I knew from my old school who now worked as waitresses and tillmonkeys. The conversation started with the casual hello, but it wasn't long before I asked them whether they had a policy that restricted positions there based on gender. The answer was no — in fact, there was a boy, the brother of a friend of mine, working there at that moment. I then asked them how much m oney they made on the hour, and I was shocked to see the answers from those that were strictly waitresses: One made a mere $3.15 on the hour and relied on tips to pick up the rest, and the other waitresses made not that much more. One girl that only operated the till made $7.00 on the hour. And there was no union that included the coffee shop.

Now, at the supermarket I make $7.50 on the hour and receive no commission. The state minimum wage is $6.15 and should increase by one dollar come 1 October. Bearing this in mind and obviously assuming that waitresses at that store were subject to the aforementioned wage, I was in shock. I had heard before of waitresses that made money off tips (and since there's no gratuity requirement below 7 people there and whatever you get depends strictly on the mood of the customer and quality of your service, I have no faith in the system myself), but the fact that state labour laws apparently were condoning this (the lack of a union notwithstanding) was just awful. Determined to see what was wrong, I looked at New Jersey's minimum wage standards and came across this segment:

12:56-14.4 Cash wage standard

(a) The wage rate established in this subchapter shall be acceptable in those occupations where gratuities or food and/or lodging are actually received.

(b) Employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must pay the Federal cash wage rate of $2.13 and must demonstrate that the balance of the [$6.15] minimum wage required under State law is paid through gratuities in accordance with N.J.A.C. 12:56-4 and 12:56-8. Employers not subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act must demonstrate that the total wage, including cash and gratuities, equals the [$6.15] minimum wage required under State law in accordance with N.J.A.C. 12:56-4 and 12:56-8.

Looking at this, it seems I won't need to have any faith in the tipping system at all, yet the wage I'd receive as a waiter, if ever I did consider the position and if customers aren't too generous, would most likely be at the $6.15 bar, against the tillmonkey getting tips and being assured base pay of at least the minimum wage. Although this segment made an effort to equivocate wages, I was shocked to see the customer having to manually give the waiter pretty much the same money he or she'd spend later on.

My concern arose from not just being very close with these girls but also from prospects of moving there from the supermarket if I'm dismissed. Seeing as I have to walk or hitch a ride for five miles to the other side of the island to work where I am now, I have seen the coffee shop as more convenient as it's only a fifteen-minute walk from my house. Then again, there's a plus side to working where I am: Shifts aren't as long, there's more traffic, and I'm assured a wage that isn't counterbalanced by personal gain, regardless of how little it is and how much it is discouraged by the managers....

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Yet another youth summit!


Refer to the list in the article for descriptions of the above pictures.

Yes, folks, I went to the summit. And I have pictures, which I'll show you once the boring verbal synopsis is out of the way.

The day began with me climbing into the vans — yes, John the reverend was coming with us again! — and volunteering to navigate again. This time, however, the same junior high students that went with me to the camps at Donegal two years ago, the ones that held a mortal grudge against my friend Tom, were coming as well, and they were in the same van as me. When everyone was settled in, we decided that it was time to bypass New York completely and reach the end of the Garden State Parkway before heading east again.

The last time (click the link to see how Youth-to-Youth works; I'm not going through it again) I went up, we took a bus and there was not much leeway for the group due to another faction coming with us and there being no access to the radio. This time, though, it was time for an iPod war. John had his turquoise iPod with oldies in tow as a threat to the company that sat with us all the way up, whilst this company had John's daughter's iPod on them and managed to cram it into the receptor before John went in and as a result got their chance to annoy us with comedian skits, Chamillionaire's 'Ridin'', and a slam song named 'Date Rape'. The war only ceased at the two stops we made along the way, the first at the Asbury Park services to wait up for Elliott and the second on Route 3 in Rhode Island. Of course, waiting for Elliott denied us the opening ceremonies and half of the introductory games and also complicated workshop and dorm registry.

I turned out to be in Group 9, the same number I was tied to when I went up in 2004. In it was a violence counselor, a college student bound for California, and a girl that had wrangled through a divorce and crack habits of her mother, among other people. This group, however, was somewhat more vague to me as they tended to keep in small groups themselves, yet we still were capable of laughter, especially when we attempted to create a string of 'ha' and 'yo' sequences but eventually succumbed to natural laughter.

This year was very different than the one before overall. Firstly, there were only two workshops, one led by a youth staff member and one led by a presenter, both held on day three. The ones I selected were 'Connect Fore', a seminar on initating and maintaining a conversation, and 'Root Causes of Sexual Violence', an investigatory seminar on sex crimes and how magazine articles and ads (one FHM article distorted feminists completely) fostered such situations (I was one of only two boys that entered the second seminar, and the other slept it out). Secondly, the dance on night three was commuted to the campus as the park had been closed due to a thunderstorm. And the Warm Fuzzy Board remained (one notice asked whether you 'chuck or husk' corn, and during the conference I received eight fuzzies, five of which were found on day three), yet in my group 'secret fuzzies' were never assigned, although a few girls opted to create circular notes for the rest of the members. We did, however, have a few things remaining intact. Firstly, we had our four presenters:

  • Covin Perkins told us stories of a childhood in which his imagination, even when restricted by his mother, was unruly. He was active in the Youth-to-Youth programmes for some time and even led an improvisation workshop.
  • Tei Street was evidently proud of her figure of a short and 'voluptuous' woman, as she said her husband liked his women back in her day. She went on to explain her obsession with stunts such as those of Harry Houdini — toss into a pool with arms bound by rope, anyone? — and had it culminate in a story of taking skydiving lessons. She was able to turn this story into a motivational piece of material. As James would say, 'ten out of fantastic'.
  • Robert Petrocelli is someone you can really call a survivor of tragedy. As explained in one of his books, he was sleeping with his wife Ava when he was thrown out by a drunk driver that had crossed a motorway median and careened into the house, smothering Ava. This, coupled with the emotion he put into his stories of coaching sports teams in Texas and Brooklyn, nearly drove me to tears — again, if someone had told me that this would happen prior to the conference, I would have thrown them from the room as well.
  • Javier Sanchez was the liveliest of all. First he started by leading the congregation in a rap assisted by his friend, and then he introduced us to his two children in the forms of pictures, cellphone recordings, and the tale of his son Mateo charing out of the bathroom after a long sojourn to scream 'Introducing, Naked Boy!'.

The sports session was also in place on day two, although this took place during the afternoon. I managed to get a bit of swimming in that time, as the water was not as cold as it was the previous year. Still in place, also, were the jives and group games such as 'Ride that Pony' and 'Shake Your Booty'; I have pictures of the games in action below as well as explanations. And yes, the energiser rounds and the world-famous Dexterity Checks were back, in the same fashion (five claps, five more, three more, three more, then arm cross ('We'), arm extension ('are'), clap ('drug'), fists back ('free'), and three fist thrusts ('unh, unh, UNH!')). And as before, time would be invested in a map that I drew of a town. This time it was called Margaret, situated east of the map of Ilfracombe that I drew the year before. I 'officially' completed it at the end of the dance on night three, had one of the adult staff photograph it for the CD and inal presentation, and, once the closing ceremonies were through, handed it and an old colour relief I had drawn over to a youth staff member named Hayley, one I'd known ever since the 2004 conference.

The trip back was along the same route, and for good reason, too: I learned today that Interstate 95 had been cut off by the collapse of a dummy missile. Still, it took so long that it wasn't until midnight that I finally returned home last night and slept once the rap music and the PC updates were cleared up.

So now that that's out of the way, it's time to show you the photos, as I promised before.

  1. This one is of me, taken by John's daughter.
  2. This was of Sara and Tara horseplaying, a result of the usual fights that went on whenever the iPod war was at ceasefire.
  3. The audience looks on in the Janikies Auditorium during the staff introduction.
  4. Team Rocket make a fool of themselves yet again on a cafeteria television screen.
  5. With Hayley. We had met two years before and only spoken once from that point to this conference.
  6. Family Group 9. Top row: Amanda, Britney, Katie, Lindsey, Ginny, me. Bottom row: Stephanie, Samantha, Trevor, Alex, Estrella.
  7. Talent show, or, simply put, 'The Show'. Mariah Carey has always been a popular pick, mind....
  8. 'Ride that Pony'. In this game, you arrange in a circle and send an amount of students into the circle to have them prance around whilst the outer ring claps and chants 'Here we go, ride that pony, ride upon that big fat pony, here we go, ride that pony, this is how we do it'. Once that finishes, the participants in the circle approach members of the outer ring and each pair begins thrusting forward ('front to front to front, my baby'), turning back to each other ('back to back to back, my baby'), then turning side to each other ('side to side to side, my baby') and then taking the partner's place in the circle and sending the latter out to prance within ('this is how you do it').
  9. 'Shake Your Booty'. A member calls to another random member, 'Hey [name]!' The target responds, 'What?'. The sender repeats once, the target repeats once, and then the sender yells 'Show us how to get down!', to which the target says 'No way!' and the sender yells the request again but this time around the target yells 'Okay!' and begins rotating and shake-dancing as the congregation yells 'Jump, jump, shake your booty' four times before they either end or call on another member. In the lunch periods it usually ends up with the whole mass shake-dancing.
  10. Following the scavenger hunt on day two. Everyone gathers around the clue list and what I have of the map at that point.
  11. Mick's 45-second Dance Break, a spoof session that occurs every morning. This time, instead of leading the congregation in dance, he faces off against an aspiring breakdancer.
  12. Jigaloo, which I never understood.
  13. Another game I neither understood nor knew the very name of.
  14. Youth Staff skits. I forget what this particular one was from, but the skits included a man skipping out in an inflatible ring and trunks speaking in an Irish accent and clarifying a cannabis hustler's objectives in one skit and an interracial relationship conflict in another.
  15. A view of the dance during Casper's Cha-Cha Slide.
  16. Youth moderators in assembly of honour at the closing ceremonies.
  17. Admins in assembly.
  18. Completed map of Margaret with my certification. Seventeen hours after this photo was taken, I handed it and the colour relief to Hayley for personal records.
  19. Another view that didn't include the aforementioned song, thank God!
  20. Adult moderators in assembly.
  21. Final presentation. I hated how the snapshot of my maps turned out....
  22. Construction of Interstate 95 in New Haven, which has persisted ever since 2004. It's evidently interchange works for Interstate 91.
  23. The same.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Tales from the Arcade III: More Smoking...and Teen Pregnancy?! (That's Three, Articuno!)

Chances are that you'll remember the posts I made about the arcade and the smoking business I saw there. Today, there was yet more smoke about, and since my throat was not cooperating I was rather indignant about going to hang around them, especially when they barraged me with a good round of trivia. I'd been known around the town for knowing who was the president in which order, and I'm surprised I've been able to hang on to that in the summer.

However, trivia was not what I'd come home to blog about; neither was it wholly the smoking and the ability of street officers to miss one of the thirteen-year-old girls carrying into the arcade a pack of Marlboro menthols. This was about a sixteen-year-old that I was unfamiliar with, bantering with the rest of the lot. It eventually got down to where one of the girls made a joke of being 'two days pregnant' and everyone began rubbing her abdomen. A few minutes later, one of the boys went over to this unfamiliar sixteen-year-old and began blowing on her abdomen. When I edged in closer, I could see the abdomen portruding quite a bit and everyone was soon rubbing it — she was pregnant.

Now, I had known two other pregnant teens in my entire life. The first was in my school and was taken out (shortly before the baby project!) in April; her baby shower coincided with my turn to do the baby project. The second was outside the school by the poles when the buses arrived and was seldom seen by me within. I'd talked to a friend online about it, when I was under the impression that it was just an anomaly, but she asserted me that it was nearly everywhere she went (mind you, she lives in southern Devon). When I first took a course on birth control, I was merely told that there was an alarming teen pregnancy rate and I thus decided not to get in the mix by having sex so fast — but it didn't really hit me until I saw it happening twice at a secure school. The third time, now, was the charm. It was real, all right. What worried me, though, was that this sixteen-year-old was around cigarette smoke and a mere four months along. (Good for the older girl having a hormonal patch in sight when she was taking her drag!)

With this in mind next to the party held at a neighbour's house prior to a concert in which nearly everyone, aged 15 to 20, was either drinking beer or smoking a cigarette — which leads me to believe that Brigantine is going to the dogs at the same rate as the rest of the nation — I think I'll have a whole litany to read off when I go up to Rhode Island in...three days already!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Saving the dub

Not too long ago, 4Kids declared that it was backing out of producing the Pokémon animé series, instead leaving it all to Pokémon USA. At first this was greeted with exuberance because of the changes to the storyboard and dialogue that 4Kids tried to make in order to Americanise the dub — which was partly the reason, when I finally realised it, why my interest in the animé itself dropped away. But if there were to be any improvements to the rendition of the animé outside Japan, it would have come at an arguably great cost: When 4Kids left, it wanted to take Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Addie Blaustein, and some other voice actors with them.

According to Animé News Network, the old actors, save for Erica Schroeder, were wiped off the board. Ikue Ootani, off for maternity leave from what I heard, had to turn the Pikachu voice over to Shinichiro Miki but will probably return for the voice if Pokémon USA allows. Veronica Taylor, the voice of Ash, was replaced with Jamie Peacock. Exit Eric Stuart, the voice of Brock and James, enter Bill Rogers. Rachael Lillis — Misty, Jessie, and May — had to give way to Michelle Knotz. Addie Blaustein (Meowth) had to give up her seat to Jimmy Zoppi. Compared with the original actors, from reports I read, the new actors were wanting, even with attempts to emulate the original actors, but since I haven't seen the movie in which this change was introduced, Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon, I can't really say whether I like them.

So when it became clear that the removal of 4Kids would cost them most of the original voice actors, all of which (except Erica Schroeder and Ikue Ootani) were signed under the 4Kids contract and could not be transferred, the campaign to 'save the dub' started. Now, I admit that when I first saw the topic on PKMN.NET, I put my signature down for a rudimentary petition before I realised why the change was taking place. Since then, I've pretty much regarded the subsequent campaigns on the Pokémon Community, Pokébeach, and with little more than disgust — to put it short, everyone wanted to have the cake and eat it too. Apart from the fact that most of the protests were occuring on the Internet and few responses actually got to the offices of Pokémon USA and 4Kids, I was able to determine that the campaign was both ill-fated and bound to last no more than a few months. Some still have banners in their former signatures, echoing their call of sedition.

Why there was no point in having this whole hootenanny with the voice actors comes down to a few good reasons.

  1. As I mentioned before, the protests were conducted over the Internet more than via snail mail. And as for the snail mail, chances were high that such letters, due to paratactical reasons, would never get to the people responsible for the actor changes.
  2. The only indicators of progress apart from updates on respectable websites were emails claiming to be from the old and new voice actors, the former sort congratulating everyone for their solidarity against the change and the latter sort discouraging others from going any further. Exceptions to this rule were present, though; in one email Addie Blaustein claimed to have been pleased with Jimmy Zoppi's characterisation of Meowth.
  3. The fact that Taylor and company were under a contract that prevented them from defecting to another contract was largely ignored. It was technically impossible to keep the voice actors because there would have been legal reprehension that might have cost both parties more than just adapting to the change.
  4. There are other examples that demonstrate how such changes could be beneficial for the franchise. One is Scooby-Doo. The first episodic series, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and Scooby-Doo (featuring Scooby-Dum, the white-coloured relative of Scooby) had 89 episodes between them all, compared to more than 400 for Pokémon prior to the voice-actor change, when they ran from 1969 to 1979 and still remain popular as the cornerstone of the surviving Scooby-Doo franchise. Then popularity fell when the next seasons gradually omitted Fred, Daphne, and Velma, leaving Shaggy and Scooby with Scooby's cousin Scrappy-Doo, and popularity resumed only when the older episdes containing the original characters were re-aired. Using this as an analogy to the Pokémon voice actors, Pokémon USA will agree to re-broadcast the episodes using the older voice actors once popularity fades enough due to the quality of the new actors, just as the quality of Scooby-Doo episodes diminished when characters were removed. In other words, the voice actor change could turn older episodes into classics and inherently be better for everyone!
Now, I realise that this is bound to touch a major nerve in the world of Pokémon and am publishing this rant in the fear of receiving hate mail in response. However, as James had said about politics, you have to take a side knowing that you're ready to give your all to defend it. Here, though, it was a matter of people being so stubborn that they missed the details altogether and overall refused to take the good with the bad.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Tales from the Arcade II: More Stalking and Smoking (and a few more rounds of OutRun in between)

Further to the post I made about the arcade and the activity there yesterday, I was today told that Christian had been apprehended by a prominent cop and hauled off the island, prohibited from re-entering.

Again, though, that was a lesser worry and more of a relief, but now it was left to me to see that the two that came out of the truck were not the only smokers. Anthony (with whom I shared a room at the Elks conference!) came out of the arcade once and accepted a drag from one of my OutRun opponents, aged 15 or so, who also smoked. In all, that meant there were about six boys (if Byron, a friend of mine, and the girls I was eavesdropping on didn't light any up themselves) under the age puffing in the courtyard in plain view of motorists.

I remember saying before that an older arcade had been on the northern end of the island before the owner was convicted on association and drug charges and the facility condemned. Notwithstanding that the owners of this new arcade seem like solid citizens, are we headed for a repeat of the situation, but with the patrons on the wet end of it?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tales from the Arcade I: Stalking and Smoking

Far be it of me to disclose anything that goes on in a menial day, I think it's time I lived up to the promise of more regular updates for once.

I apologise if I haven't said before that the reason why I've been working the morning shifts is due to the abscence of juvenile activity at that time. Sometimes it can be at the beach, although this is beleaguered by the requirement of beach badges between 10.00am and 5.00pm, so what I do is troll the middle section of the island instead, where there's always an arcade and a line of pizza, Italian ice, ice cream, and fizz shops. The former had been opened shortly before Memorial Day and didn't have a large selection then — perhaps only ten games against the current 30 or so — and I tended to stay awa from it out of the doubt that anyone I knew from the old school would have the audacity to appear there.

The arcade, it transpired, was the complete opposite. The first day there, I realised that my friend Mike worked there, so he was always up for a game iof air hockey or OutRun 2 at his expense. The second day, Dave, his close friend, appeared there amid the crowd I knew from the old days, but it was then that Mike managed to tell a blonde about my maps and, when I neared her, who I was. I was shocked to see that she was so happy to see me although we had never met before!

But as time went on, Dave's crowd only proved to be part of the sporadic clientele. A few days in, I noticed a group of girls that aged about 14 or 15 that hanged around the sister of the girl who always takes a shot at me in the store. The girls instantly recognised me when we first saw each other — I wasn't surprised since the people at the doctor's office also recognised me for that. It was only today, though, that the lot would actually show signals that they wanted me to be part of the group, even as they knew I was sometimes hovering over their closed discussions and competitions at the Dance Dance Revolution machine (this, like my school's version, required you to move your feet to register arrows). This acceptance, though, proved to be at the expense of a boy named Christian, who would pretend to be established with one of the girls; after the acceptance phase of the day, he summoned me and pointed out the girl he was following:

Christian: Are you following her?
Me: As in stalking or overseeing their discussions?
Christian: Overseeing.
Me: Yes. But they actually have accepted me, if you must know.
Christian: I don't care for that. Stay away from her.
Me: Why? What is your point? What is your objective? It's not as if you're the pimp of the group yourself.
Christian: Forget that. Just stay away from them. They're my bitches.

Which, of course, the girls refuted. As I continued to surround them, he kept going to the girl he pointed out and pointing at me, evidently reprimanding her for talking to me. Even so, when I inquired, they assured me that he'd do that in any case; after all, he wasn't the only other boy involved in the lot.

However, that was a lesser worry. Soon after I confronted Christian, a truck pulled up, another girl and the sister of the girl that terrorised me in tow. They had left amid the possible penalty of being punished by parents so as to drop someone off at a marina, but when they came back I smelled something awful: When I next glanced at the two, they had stowed in the mouths a half-worn Newport cigarette. Having attended two Youth to Youth conferences and an Elks conference, I began to back away slowly, only looking sceptically on as the two finished the last of the drags amid arguments from the rest of the lot. The younger girl was 18, a year below the age to purchase tobacco in New Jersey, but even if my prior assumption that she was 15 was not correct, I was still disgusted. Afraid that I would get dragged into the mess surrounding it, as the girls that weren't smoking were nonchalant about the presence of Lorillard tobacco, I excused myself ten minutes after the girls popped up amid hugs from the nonsmokers.

Now I'm thinking the same thing James did, although his ideas weren't forged by youth summits and he even looked in retrospect on possible enhancement of comedy by such. Why would they do this to themselves? Why would their families (the older girl's mother would invariably order three or four Newport packs at my register) do so? It did run in the family, and cigarettes were evidently having a gradual effect on their countenances. The girl Christian pointed out had optic orifices that flapped on the top and bottom, a warning sign that she would probably trip over into smoking, the older girl emerging from the car had a lot of fat between the breasts and pelvis and had a flat face, and the 18-year-old had a splotchy red face. Even worse, though, will be the bill when they have to have the throat or lungs repaired. Of course, they could also do what my father's father did: Ignore the fact that his aorta was blocked from smoking three packs a day, downing two beers a day, and driving one block to the beach to hunt for clams — and, a month after notification of the blockage, lapse into a coma and die.

I've got a story to tell on 18 July.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

New look

Rejoice, for Cross Stinging Reality has developed a new orangey look!

Well, so much for the jovial side of me. I decided that since I had started up this thing with 'News on the 40' to advertise the blog I might as well upgrade the blog to reflect what people expect to see from that.

So, here I'm welcoming any criticism you may have on the new look. Go on!

Monday, July 03, 2006


Two weeks ago, my father had me taken to a motor vehicle department outpost to vouch for my permit, a time when I had become (and I still am) dependent on my feet to get anywhere I wanted and refused to stray from that property. Although I really didn't feel like getting the permit then, even though my parents insisted that I would drive to complete internships at a college near to my school, I now have to say it was a good thing: as of Saturday, it would have been impossible, as all motor vehicle agencies and roadworks were shut down then.

Today, store customers were distraught at the fact that they couldn't buy any lottery tickets, some having come from outside the states and willing to indulge in state gambling. The very moment motor licences ceased to be handed out, ticket sales were stopped. And the day following, horse racing was stopped, depriving holidaymakers of more gambling. And on Wednesday morning the source of the bulk of New Jersey's revenue, the casions in Atlantic City, are scheduled to stop gambling operations since all casino inspectors, required to remain on site at all times, would be furloughed.

Here's how the Garden State turned, over the course of three days, into the Sorry State: The state's Constitution requires that a balanced budget be submitted by 1 July. However, governor Jon Corzine's move would be to reject increases of other taxes and elevate the sales tax by 1 percent, a move met with fervent opposition from his Legislature. Because the Legislature wanted to slash federal funding for most projects and increase subordinate taxes rather than hike the sales tax, the deadline came and no report was even close to complete. Frantic, Corzine declared that all nonessential employees and services would be suspended — this meant the DMV would become inactive and road construction would stop, and the lottery would be suspended at 7.55pm Saturday.

However, the key problem behind this measure was the fact that there was a city in the south whose revenue weighed mainly upon the operation of twelve casinos. In New Jersey, a casino needs an on-site team of inspectors in order to run. According to the shutdown measure, these inspectors would be found to be unessential, which would mean that the casinos would not be able to operate. The debate over this alone floundered for some time until this morning, when it was declared that the inspectors would be removed at 8.00am Wednesday — granting a reprieve for the 4 July weekend that otherwise would have resulted in massive income losses for the city — and the casinos would close then.

Gambing notwithstanding, the budget impassé would mean no welfare and medical assistance checks could be mailed out. July's checks have been mailed, thank you, but there will be no August check until the budget is balanced. In turn, stores, which receive money from the government in response to purchases made with food stamps, would lose money due to overstock. And for a cashier like me....I just hope I'm significant enough as my employers say.

Benefits for the poor and the loss of income that could potentially overturn the deficit is not the solution, and everyone that I've rung up today says the same. I just hope that somehow we'll either see the positive effect of Corzine's mind of a Wall Street broker or a mutual consent of tax modifications and see the balanced budget we need to keep going. Yet, as a customer said, 'those casinos won't be closed for long!'