Fun

The hypnotic rhythm of Eastern music and the smell of incense engulfs me. In a voice like calm water, the instructor gently guides. My Ujjayi breathing empowers me to hold impossibly difficult and long poses.

The "It" Jean, Harem Joggers

The “It” Jean, Harem Joggers

Like a prayer, I silently chant, “I am one with the universe…I am one with the universe…I am one-dering what the ‘It’ jean for fall will be. Hmm..So many shapes, textures and colors for denim.” My mind drifts, but I don’t judge. I gently shift back to blank space and breath. “Wide leg distressed? Distressed cropped? High-rise straight leg? Relaxed skinny? Harem joggers?”  Thoughts swirl like a buzzing fly.  Before my mind drifts to the outer regions of this season’s must-have boots, I make a deal with myself. If I cease and resist superficial brain chatter immediately, I can swing by Barneys on my way home from yoga. My sales girls can set me straight. I settle back to serenity. It embraces me like a warm blanket.

“Remember this is never a competition. Be gentle and kind to your body and being. You do not have to take each pose to its fullest possible extent.  It matters not what your neighbor is doing,” The sonorous voice of my instructor prods.

“Like Hell it doesn’t matter!” I’m thinking, as I stare distractedly at my neighbor with the Gollum arms; striated muscle and veins popping. She performs a flawless split while balancing on two fingers.

I’m starting to get my blood up. If Gollum can do that Pranawana-whatcha-call-it-pose, so can I. My attempt fails miserably, but I pump out five perfect chatarungas pretending that was my intention all along.

It was easy for the Indus-Sarasvati civilization to remove ego and move toward enlightenment when

yoga pose

yoga pose

they developed yoga and recorded it on palm leaves 5,000 years ago. They were the ones that made up all this crazy shit and obviously had pretzel bodies and zero percent body fat. Could they have foreseen the modern day overachieving power professionals, executives, housewives, and mothers removing ego from their daily workout regime?

Why pretend we aren’t comparing ourselves to everyone else in the class? Why not be really honest? Deeply honest. Heck, why not start a competitive yoga league?  An American Ninja Warrior meets The Crossfit Games, and toss in a little rhythmic gymnastics for good measure.  The Yoga routines could be set to pulsating Avicii remixes or hip hop.  The costumes could be flamboyant; impossibly skimpy. (Didn’t Lululemon “accidentally” release see-through yoga pants?) All of America could gather around the flat screen every Sunday night and cheer on their favorite Yogi. Participants could take monikers like “Hulk Yogan” or “Shock Raw”.  The finale of each action packed routine would be Shavasana. These professionals would really bring it home with the stillness of corpse pose or happy baby.

A note from the author: While “researching” this post, I discovered that I violate eleven of the fourteen “Yoga Etiquette Tips” on a regular basis.  A few examples of my most blatant violations: (1) Be punctual. Are you kidding me? (2) Don’t talk during class. Not realistic if you’re me. (3) Stay to the end and silence during Shavasna. I don’t “do” Shavasna. It’s not because I’m so wound that I can’t relax or don’t want to take the time. I’m too good at it! I plunge into a deep sleep; punctuated by snoring and drooling.  Hey, at least I abide by the personal hygiene rule

 

cherry blossom

Cherry Blossoms

The joy of spring! Cherry blossoms explode in pink puff balls. Days get longer. Crocus push up from the cold ground to seek the sun, and Ahhhhchewww! Allergies. For those of us who suffer, spring brings renewal and life, and an excruciating inner ear, inner throat itch.  I find myself wanting to jam a sharp dental instrument deep in my ear to scratch the itch.

My husband calls me Felix Unger, and it is not because I am a neat freak. I make a strange honking noise while trying to eradicate the tickly fiery feeling in my ears and throat.  I thought I had tried every over and under the counter med, shot, Neti Pot, nasal spray and EpiPen® in the universe, with nominal results.

My main line of defense is napping. A lot of napping; bordering on hibernation. I recently discovered something elementary, that changed my allergy calculus; Sudafed®.  Not only does it dry my sinuses, but my energy level flies off the Richter Scale. Apparently it’s a stimulant. I pop one of those little red pills in the morning, and I am the most cheerful carpool mom on the road. When I go to the gym, I run the track like the Tasmanian Devil, on….um, Sudafed® . I run stairs, and execute mountain climbers and burpees like I’m starring in a fitness video. I tie weights to my wrists and ankles. I sing along with Eminem at the top of my lungs, “Shake that #$% for me!” But then a disturbing thought crosses my mind; am I addicted to Sudafed®?

As I am racing around the track for the fiftieth time, I imagine myself on celebrity rehab. Maybe they would throw me in as the ingenue from Seattle. The naiive, non-celebrity house wife with an over the counter pill problem.  I could be holed up in a luxurious manse in the Hollywood Hills, my days filled with lounging by the pool and self-indulgent therapy.

Mel Gibson Crazy

Mel Gibson Crazy

I can see myself brawling with Mel Gibson. “Too bad you can’t go to rehab for racism!” I yell.

I encourage Leif Garrett to get it together and make a comeback on the Indian Casino circuit.

I think I could help Chris Brown with his anger management issues. Every time he flies off the handle, I will hand him a picture of little kittens. When he’s built trust, I will provide real kittens that sweetly mew, and calm his frazzled nerves.

As for Crazy Town’s Shifty Shellshock, I will tell him to look on the bright side; he is highly employable at Champion’s Party Supply Store.

shifty

Shifty Shellshock

 

Cinco de MayoI’m a binge Facebook consumer. Weeks, maybe even months go by. Then I find myself sucked into the vortex as I endlessly scroll. There’s the cryptic “Thanks everyone for your support while I was sick,” posting. Hey, would you mind adding a little detail? Was it a common cold or Ebola? For those of us who weren’t there for you, it’s hard to know the level of guilt and alarm we should feel.

There are the far right, and the far left rants, which eerily sound like the same rhetoric. There are the inspirational quotes, that change your life, and even a few Bible passages. No offense to The Big Man and God Jr., but the more I try to understand these quotes, the more garbled they sound. I realize a few millenniums have passed since this all went down, and there have been many translations since. I suppose it’s a bit like a game of telephone, so I’m willing to let the obtuse language slide. I’ll leave the interpretation to those who are really in the know.

I’m a sucker for the random nostalgic postings. Over the weekend, a friend posted a grainy “Photomat finish” photo from Cinco de Mayo, year 2000, and it all came rushing back. This was not your average, run of the mill, “Taco Tuesday Party”. The dress code was come as your favorite Latin celebrity. Party goers embraced the theme. Latin lovers, coffee moguls, pop stars, and the requisite revolutionaries; Don Juan, Juan Veldez, J Lo, Che Gueverra, and Poncho Villa were represented. We had three Carmen Mirandas. (Or were they Chiquita Banana?) Chi Chi Rodriquez met his future wife at our party, and yes, they are still married.

margaritasTequila flowed like the Rio Grande. Someone I won’t mention, barfed in our hedges, and the police showed up not once, but twice. Fortunately my husband, in full Mr. Roarke-welcome-to-Fantasy–Island-white-suited-regalia assuaged them with his charm. Tatoo fetched them taquitos and refreshing beverages garnished with colorful umbrellas.

 

I took unpaid leave from my unpaid, less-than-part-time blogging job, so I could make the most of summer. And what a summer! Bright cerulean blue skies, mid-to-upper eighty degree temperatures, day after day. This was a summer for the record books; and when the sun shines in Seattle, it calls for celebrating. A lot of celebrating. Day into evening, evening into early morning, hit repeat, revelry.

Hottest Accessory of the Season

Hottest Accessory of the Season

Here I am pictured in my summer uniform; a perfect poolside or beach hopping ensemble. “What was my accessory of the season,” you ask? Not the wide brimmed hat, obliterating peripheral vision while keeping me pasty white. No, not even the flowing caftan, purchased at H&M, that made me feel oh so Talitha Getty, lounging in Marrakesh. The true summer accessory of the season was my magically magnificent soft-sided rolling cooler. The versatility of this accessory cannot be overstated.  It holds six bottles of wine, champagne, or pitchers of margaritas; whatever the occasion and mood require. The gun metal grey hue compliments any outfit. And the wheels! They move things along with ease. In fact, this accessory is so versatile, it’s going to roll right on into fall with me.

Missoni Bathing Suit cover upLas Vegas has a way of rubbing off on anyone who enters that most distinctive den of all dens of iniquity. My husband was at a trade show in Las Vegas last week, and sent me a photo of a fantastic Missoni bathing suit cover up.

“Yes, lovely”, I responded, realizing this was to be my Mother’s Day gift. I began envisioning myself poolside in the summer, reading a magazine, sipping cocktails, lounging in a hand-woven Italian masterpiece. Oh sweet reverie.

My knight in shining armor came home from Vegas, a little worse for the wear, and presented me with a shopping bag, that had definitely not come from Missoni.

“That Missoni was way more money than what I wanted to spend, but I thought this would be a close second”, my beloved husband explained.

He wasn’t even coy enough to say, they didn’t have my size. He just shamelessly admitted he was too cheap, and presented me with the most astonishing excuse for a Mother’s Day present.

I knew what I had to do. I needed to represent every mother out there who has ever received a second or third-rate gift on Mother’s Day. “Put up your dukes Lars Lindstrom, because this was a costly mistake, you cheap &$%@+!” I could hear the words in my mind, and envisioned a one-two knockout punch to the sides of his Norwegian blockhead.

There was only one problem. I just couldn’t help grinning from ear to ear, like I’d just found a new banana-seat, high-handled bicycle under the Christmas tree. This man, my sweet Lars Lindstom, after almost eighteen years of marriage and 21 years of togetherness, he knows me! He really knows me!

Sure, a Missoni’s rather nice to prance and parade around in, but this trashy Vegas get up, I can work with this. It’s just so inspiring.vegas 041

Pick up and drop off at my children’s school, the next auction meeting, the grocery store, baby showers, bridge club, PTA meetings, UW Husky football games with a purple onesy underneath, Tupperware parties, the summer neighborhood block party, National Pamela Anderson Day, honestly where and when can’t I wear this?

My imagination is running wild. I need to find a 1983 Chevy Camaro to rent or borrow. I might need to bleach my hair blonde and get extensions, and lock myself in a tanning bed. I won’t come out until I’ve reached that perfect burnished orange color. I should schedule a liposuction appointment for the problem tummy area.

Oh dear, I’ve got to go, V. Stiviano is calling, she wants to borrow my outfit for a hot date with that super hunk of hotness, #DonaldSterling.

spring 2014 017Perhaps you’re familiar with the Jack Daniel’s® Flu, but now there is Maker’s Mark® Therapy. I was recently diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis. Don’t worry, it’s not terminal. That’s the medical term for what is commonly known as tennis elbow. I grew tired of the chronic pain, so I went to see the doctor. I was hoping for a prescription for Swedish massage therapy, but was prescribed physical therapy. There is no quick fix for this particular malaise; you have to commit to doing some really boring exercises every day. I got tired of lying to my P.T. that I was doing my exercises in between scheduled visits, so now I’m on my own.

I don’t own hand weights, so I tested various household items: dusty t-ball trophies, bronze candlesticks, etc. I found the 1.75 liter bottle of Maker’s Mark® Kentucky Bourbon to be the perfect weight and shape. My pain is beginning to subside as my commitment level to my “therapy” has increased. The only problem is my trusty hand weight seems to get lighter every day; it’s often depleted after a weekend. Luckily it’s nothing a trip to the liquor store can’t remedy.

statueAs usual, I did not see any of the Oscar nominated films except the Disney animated ones, but once again I predicted the winners in the major categories, this year with 100% accuracy. I admit that this year was an extremely predictable year for an industry that loves to predictably award itself. My formula is simple and takes into consideration Hollywood’s biases and inflated sense of importance. I then take the data, plug it into the quadratic equation and apply the Dewey Decimal system. Voila! Perfect accuracy for the categories people care about.

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club.” Hollywood loves it when a gorgeous and bankable actor loses or gains a lot of weight for a role and tries to look unattractive. For women they typically have to gain weight because if they lost weight, they would simply disappear. Think Charlize Theron in Monster. Christian Bale gained a lot of weight for “American Hustle”, so this would make him a contender as well, but AIDS always trumps congressional scandal, and the ulcerated face lesion McConaghey sported made him virtually unbeatable.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett, in “Blue Jasmine”.  This one was less about applying my cateformula and more about process of elimination.  I figured the Academy has finally tired of handing out Oscars to Meryl Streep and Judy Dench.  Judy and Meryl probably don’t even bother to dust their statues anymore.  Everything seemed to point to Cate Blanchett who is an extremely good actress and beautiful, and acceptance speeches sound much better with a lovely accent.  I also didn’t think there was any risk of a backlash toward Woody Allen. Hollywood is the last bastion where pedophiles and sexual predators are still honored and protected if their body of work is considered to be of extremely high caliber.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club.” Hollywood can’t resist the uplifting story of a prostitute dying of AIDS. Throw in transgender and it’s just unbeatable. Incidentally, Jared Leto didn’t intend to make a pro-life speech when he told the touching story of his unwed teenage mother. When asked later about his pro-life stance, he realized how offensive it must have been to his Hollywood peers.  He quickly recanted his statement and said that his mom should have aborted him.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”.  Gut wrenching performance, and she is a beautiful newcomer. Incidentally I thought her speech was hands down the best of the evening.

LupitaBest Picture: ”12 Years a Slave”; Hollywood loves an epic about the triumph of the human will. Quite frankly, I do too, and I like seeing Hollywood do what it does best. I sincerely hope they never give up on this genre.  By all accounts this was an emotionally draining and extremely moving story. The cynic in me must also acknowledge how much Hollywood jumps at the chance to congratulate themselves on confronting racism, so that certainly didn’t hurt the film’s odds.

I thought Ellen was funny and refreshing.  My son asked how they choose the host, and I explained they should be funny but not offensive to any of the special people in the audience that don’t want their feelings hurt.

I loved the appearance of the “Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come”, Kim Novak. Hollywood, heed thy warning, and be judicious with thy plastic surgery. I’m not going to mention how fast Mathew wanted to get off that stage, nor the irony of the winning movie’s title, “Frozen”.

Speaking of frozen face, my friend who was watching the Oscars with me had a great idea. She suggested the Special Effects category should be adapted to award the best plastic surgery. We decided to award the grotesque vs. the restrained.  Kim, Goldie, Liza, yes, you are nominees.  While presenting, not only did Goldie have that just rolled out of bed look but she seemed groggy. I think she must be on pain killers, because clearly her face hurts.

Leonardo, if you want to win an Oscar, you know what you have to do. No more pretty-boy characters who’ve amassed great wealth and are living the fine life of Gatsby, Howard Hughes, or Jordan Belfort. Gain or lose 100 pounds and find a role depicting someone filthy and penurious.You’ve got to get raw and gritty. Coke is too highbrow, buddy.  Smoke crack! If you need a weight gain coach, I’m your gal. If you need a new agent, I’m up for that job as well; I have plenty of time in between my daily naps.

12th man By now the Super Bowl is old news, and most of us have moved on to the Olympics. It was great fun for a city that has long been deprived of sports victories, and the media’s attempt to characterize Seattle, to the point of psycho analyzing its entire population, was so amusing. I don’t recall such attempts to gain insight into the collective minds of Baltimore, New York, Green Bay, or other past championship cities. Perhaps the quirkiness of our citizens is just too tempting.

The New York Times¹ coverage of the victory parade as anthropological experiment was particularly insightful.  Apparently we are polite but cold, very geeky, and most of the adult population has an intravenous espresso drip implanted into a vein. Seattleites also have a “mile-wide streak of insecurity about (ourselves) and (our) place in the world.”

Sifting through the crowd, the reporter found people who believe this victory will “build our confidence” and the Ringhelp us find our place in the world.  Others expressed dismay over the 12th man as un-sportsmen–like. Even more priceless is the hope that it will shine a light on the Seattle Opera, particularly Wagner’s “Ring,” (Seattle’s operatic version of a stadium Dead show). Perhaps Richard Sherman should don a horned Viking helmet over his dreads and join the Ring Chorus.  That would spark some interest.

If only I had managed to drag my lazy self and kids downtown to the parade. I would have given the roving reporters exactly what they had come for, waxing philosophically a-la-Noam Chomsky, “Why am I cheering for my team? It’s a way of building up irrational attitudes of submission to authority, and group cohesion behind leadership elements — it’s training in irrational jingoism.” ²

I then would have mentioned how much this helped a city suffering from low self-esteem and self-loathing to start the long slow process of loving ourselves again, and how I hope it will bring more visitors to the Gum Wall in Pike Market, and Paul Allen’s true triumph, the Experience Music Project.  Not only can you see the world’s largest collection of broken guitar strings, but it also features a piece of lint from Kurt Cobain’s favorite fuzzy sweater.

In all sincerity, I think the psychology behind celebrating a Super Bowl victory is pretty straightforward. Doesn’t every city like to flex their muscles by winning a major sports championship every now and again, regardless of the purported character of a city?  Call it human nature. And this particular Super Bowl championship for Seattle was so sublime. The Seahawks captivated this city, even the most ambivalent among us. Our admiration extended way beyond their pure athleticism and win/loss record. It was the myriad of human qualities they unabashedly displayed – humility, bravado, grit, strength, fearlessness, egotism, insecurity, vulnerability.

We all know it’s been a tough row to hoe for Seattleites when it comes to professional sports.  Thirty-five years since the Sonics won the NBA championship, and they are now playing somewhere on the Great Plains.  The Mariners last playoff run was in 2001, and it has long been rumored that if the Mariners ever made it to the World Series, it’s what Revelations was referring to as the Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

  1. “‘Chill’ Seattle Savors Its Super Bowl Moment in the Sun”, KIRK JOHNSON, FEB. 5, 2014, New York Times
  2. Excerpts from Manufacturing Consent ,  Noam Chomsky interview,  1992

french whiteI’m not talking about the weather or a dry martini. I’m talking booze-free, “detoxicating”, high-on-life January.  Believe it or not, this is my third year of dry January, and honestly, once I get through the D.T.s, I feel great.  Almost too great; no hangovers, high energy, less grumpy, skin glows, lose the spare tire, and maybe I’m even slightly smarter.

The first year I decided to try such a radical program was January of 2012.  I was coming off another Bacchanalian holiday season and was partied out.  I knew some of my pals were going off the sauce for January, and in spite of my January birthday, it really is the best time.  January is a time for new beginnings and resolve.  Let’s face it, there is always a party, or an excuse to party, so you just have to commit.  And by commit, I mean publicly state you are on the wagon. You have to be held accountable.  Most people are very supportive; some are dumbstruck with disbelief.  A few of my pals want nothing to do with me, but that’s okay. I get it. The thing is, I’m not one to count people’s drinks. Lord knows, I would hate it if people counted mine (not that most people could keep track, or even count that high).

The first year was definitely the hardest.  Particularly when the cocktail hour rolled around between 5 and 6 pm every night.  Wouldn’t a glass of wine be nice?  Read the next two sentences with a strong Pepe’ Le Pew accent: Maybe the rich and inviting texture of a Sancerre, with its lingering minerality and grapefruit flavors. Or perhaps a white Bordeaux with its complex richness, and refreshing herbaceousness.  Oh Hell, I’m thirsty! “Does anyone have some Blue Nun?”

This is the deal.  You just have to get through the first 4 or 5 days. My friend Em was on the same program, so we acted as one another’s sponsors.The texts began flying at cocktail hour every night:

Me: “I’m only half way through step one of twelve. I really need a refreshing beverage!”party 1

Em: “Be strong, you can do it! Grab a piece of chocolate and stuff it in your face”.

Me: “Technically, does wine count as an alcoholic beverage? Don’t the health benefits outweigh any adverse effects?”

Em: “Have a diet Coke and pop a Sudafed.”

Me: “Won’t I be hurting an already suffering economy by eliminating wine, the mainstay of my diet?”

Em: “You drink French whites; you’re not helping the GDP.”

Me: “Have you apologized to all the people you’ve offended over the years with your alcohol-fueled tirades?”

Em: “Have you made amends for all the embarrassing drunk dancing?” (This was before the wonderful term “Twerking” had entered our lexicon.)

Me: “No, but I think my drunk dancing is highly artistic. Quite frankly I’m surprised I haven’t been asked to be on Dancing with the Stars”

Fortunately, our support group of two helped me stay strong. By day five, I was totally over it.  I barely thought about wine, but I resolved to stay away from Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, my Mad Men addiction, and all imagery that glamorizes alcohol.

This year, I dare say, it wasn’t a big deal starting the program January 1. In the interest of full disclosure, I gave myself a dispensation for my birthday. No sense in being a darn fool about it…

JazzerciseAt our auction a few years ago, I purchased a one-month pass to a newly minted barre method studio in town. I thought it might be fun to mix up my regular yoga and running routine.

It is always a little intimidating walking into a new workout facility.  It’s as if you have “newbie” tattooed on your forehead. And right out of the gates, I committed several faux pas.  I was cheerfully greeted by Felicity, who would be my instructor that day.  The studio was impeccable and shiny. In my earnestness I marched on in, only to be scolded immediately. “No, no, no, we don’t wear our shoes past this line.” I looked down to see a white line painted on the floor, which I had crossed.  “Please take your shoes off, and deposit your neatly folded clothing in one of the cubicles, provided at no extra charge.” I was relieved to have the authorized equipment; no-slip socks and logoed leak-proof water bottle. Mercifully, they were included in the auction package.

I filled out the necessary paperwork.  In case of emergency contact my beloved husband. Yes, I have insurance.  Yes, I have a medical directive authored by a reputable attorney, signed by me, and notarized.  No, please don’t let my beloved husband pull the plug. No I don’t carry my own defibrillator. With that taken care of, I entered the studio.

I was instructed to grab a small mat and towel (this equipment was also complimentary). The towel was to be placed upon the mat, so that no part of my skin or clothing came into contact with the mat at any time during the workout.  As the studio began to fill, I wished the auction package had included a gift certificate for Lululemon.  I hadn’t realized how much workout clothing had changed in the ten years since I had last Jazzercisepurchased eight pairs of yoga pants, jog bras and tank tops at Target.  Unlike my workout bras and tops designed specifically to smash everything down with force, the new tops, pushed everything up, and in, and included varying degrees of padding.  I had to be careful not to stare in bright-eyed admiration.  Not only were these women stylishly outfitted, but they all looked like they had come straight from the salon.  Everyone’s hair was down, highlighted, and cascading in beautiful long curls and waves that appeared to be straight off the red carpet.  I marveled at the Coppertone tans they all sported during the dregs of winter in Seattle.  And as they blinked, I felt the air begin to move, generated by the fans attached to their eyelids, giving them all a decidedly “My Little Pony” look.  I wondered if their makeup was going to run once we all began to sweat.

I needn’t worry. This workout was designed to lift your bum and tone every inch of your body without ever breaking a sweat.  It consisted of really tight jerking movements and gesticulations. For the entire hour we were yelled at to squeeze our nether regions. I had a hard time figuring out how to breathe without relaxing my lungs and nasal passages, which was strictly forbidden.

I felt horribly guilty that the instructor had to spend an inordinate amount of time continuously adjusting and readjusting my posture, pulling my shoulders back, and then punching me in the belly to get me to “suck it in”. I wondered if I had internal bleeding, and I tried to explain to her that “I was sucking it in. That was as far as my belly could suck, and that Spanks were invented for a reason”.  Talking back was a really poor decision, as her wrath reigned down upon me. I felt like I was Richard Gere in “An Officer and a Gentleman”, being berated and humiliated by Louis Gossett, Jr.  I wondered if my instructor was trying to win an Academy Award, as I began looking for the hidden cameras.  Luckily she did find time to pile on some lavish praise to her star students.  A few were in training to become instructors, so they too could join the “Cult of Perfection”.  If I wanted to continue coming to this class, it was going to take a substantial investment in hair, makeup, workout gear, and plastic surgery.

I admit, the workout was fatiguing, but being of the old school, it’s just not a workout unless I sweat profusely.  I was curious what these women did to supplement this workout, so at the end of class, I asked Felicity, “What do you gals do for cardio?” Felicity looked at me with a mixture of sympathy and disdain, and like a trained flamenco dancer, made a sweeping gesture with her arm from the top of her perfectly coiffed head to her tiny waist. “Oh no! Only barre! Absolutely only barre! How do you think we get these bodies?”

 

© 2017 Napadaisical
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