Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mmmmmmmm, procrastination.... Also, some more embroidery

While my brain tries to wrap itself around my latest homework assignment (readings, readings and more bloody readings) without snapping into a cranky old bat tirade about how people annoy me and why can't there simply be less people (social justice papers do that to you), I'm going to procrastinate, which basically means I'm going to write about my cross stitch again. Yay!!!

So this is the second of the embroidery bags, the ones I bled for. I do prefer the design on this one to the other, and it does appear to be more versatile for future designs, but once again it was painful and annoying, so I don't think I will be buying anymore pre-sewn bag kits like these in the future.

This is a kit that I picked up for a whopping $2. Who says cross stitch can't be cheap, sometimes. This giraffe kit did stinge out on threads though, making it very annoying when I realized I had finished the last of the green thread but not the last of the green sections. Thankfully I had some green thread left over from another kit and was able to use that as grass, meaning I finished the kit, and it ended up looking more interesting with the two green tones as opposed to one. This was quickly snapped up by my Grandma, who loved it on first sight and I have to say he's a cute little giraffe. Well worth the $2.

This is the other $2 kit and is entirely cute. Quickly snapped up by Mum, all I can really say about it is its quite nice, an easy kit to stitch and a pattern well worth the $2. There really are some quality kits out there cheap. There are some very very nasty ones too, but still, some good ones.

I guess this is the first design I've put up here which actually came from my now millions of magazines I have about cross stitching. Proving I am a total nutter, I started buying (last year) Cross Stitch Crazy, closely followed by The World of Cross Stitch religiously and doing designs from them. I have a million on the go, and they keep giving out free kits with the mags, which make me even more time poor. This one, proving I am out of order in my photos, is one I did for my Nana for Christmas last year. He was then slapped into a home made aperture card (because stupid Spotlight wasn't selling them at the stupid time and the stupid thing still didn't last visit. Annoying, and yet, I love them.) and sent off. She said she loved him, so that's always a good start. He took a bit of time and used a new technique for the stars, which I taught myself from the pattern. The mags are pretty ok at showing you how to do new techniques but their demos on french knots still frustrate me. He also used variegated threads, which was a brand new concept for me for the background. It took a few seconds to get used to them and how to use them in the best manner, but once I worked that out, I kinda developed a like for those styles of thread. It also introduced me to a new section of the thread stand at the craft shop. Mwahahahahaaaaa.

This would have been the first free kit I got with the first issue of Cross Stitch Crazy I got. It was a cute design and great fun to stitch, and really did set a high bar for the kits they give out with those mags. I have since been getting Cross Stitch Card Shop as well, and all the free kits are absolutely the highest quality and awesome fun. This ended up being given to Mum as her birthday card last year, after I decorated the card it came with to make it less boring. I liked that it had a bow in the middle and it showed me that you can have more additions to cross stitch designs than simply beads.

That's all for now, even though I have a crapton more on the go and completed. I have procrastinated long enough and now it is back to the world of anger and pissed off at stupid people (never assume that an academic is not a moron. Academics are sometimes the biggest tools to ever walk the planet) and try to interpret the vast areas of social justice that exist (sarcastic joy). Til next time.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Embroidery..... the thing the kids are really doing and just don't say it

There is the stereotype out there in the world that young people do "young people things", such as clubbing, drinking themselves stupid and smashing letterboxes. The other part of the stereotype is that "young people" don't cook, live off fast food and junk, and also believe and live a completely disposable culture. While parts of this are indeed true, I happened through freaky happenstance to have a group of friends in high school which rejected this culture. Sure, they drink to excess (reading drunken Facebook statuses is highly amusing), dance the "white boy" dance of my generation and do consume a large amount of fast foods, but they also make their own clothing, love to bake and cook, and some of us even embroider. At lunch time, our conversations which resulted in "Man, you've missed out," usually involved someone admitting they had never eaten pavlova before, and outrage was definitely screamed out when the same person admitted they had never before consumed trifle (*cough cough* Blondie *cough cough*). Things which were smuggled into the school yard were far from alcoholic, but rather cakes and trifle for the deprived human and all around her (don't worry, her culinary tastes exploded once we found out. It's a slow process.). Things which were common in our grandparents generations were beloved in ours. Baking cakes and being able to cook from a recipe was and still is highly regarded amongst my friends. Even me, the one who screws up most simple dishes can bake a lovely cake.

My main speciality (other than baked goods, deserts and pasta) is the simple skill of embroidery. I cross stitch, long stitch, back stitch, etc. This pleases my grandmother immensely, especially as my mother fails in the ability to sew. As a child, I would try to knit and do crafts with my grandma (I suck a knitting), and this lead to a strong bond between us. One time after I had finished high school, my grandma brought home a small bookmark cross stitch from the shops and my passion for embroidery was re-ignited. I did that bookmark and gave it back to her, writing "Grandma" down the side. Her response was to frame it and place it in pride of place in her home. I was thrilled. It then gave me an idea. For Christmas I went and bought a cross stitch to do for her, and give her the finished work. It was of a puppy and a chicken, and when I bought it 3 weeks prior to Christmas, I felt hey, plenty of time to finish it. Boy was I wrong.

This is how it looked, not completely finished a whopping 2.5 years later. The "little cross stitch" was nowhere near ready that first Christmas or the one after. It was insane. I was clearly out of my depth, but somehow it was completed.

That is the final item up on my grandmothers wall. She loves it. After a while, I grew restless, and I have an embroidery on the go which is just as massive. It's cat's with guns. Should be awesome. But in the meantime, I have done small side projects for people. One was a special gift for a family friend. She was dying of cancer (RIP) and I decided to make a nice little bookmark for her. My reasoning was simple; she loved flowers and sure, people were bringing them to her, but those died over time. Cross stitched flowers lasted forever.

The cross stitch was found in her bible when she did finally pass, as it was the only bookmark she had. As she was deeply religious, I felt very touched to have something I made her placed in such a prominent spot. This did inspire me to do more, and as such my shopping life includes trips to discount shops for discount embroidery kits, which give me patterns to use with threads and blank Aida. At first I was happy to just do the cheap kits, until this one.

This is the most evil, horrible, satanic kit I've ever had the displeasure of working with. The pattern is ok, cheap, nasty, but it works and is ok. I can reuse it, and work with it in another setting very nicely. This kit, however, is for a bag and it comes with an Aida bag for you to sew onto. Problem; the bastard bag comes pre-made. As in, the sides are sewn together, and there's a tiny as hole to fit your hand in to sew the design. Very, very nasty. I cannot imagine a kindly old lady being able to do this without seriously hurting herself. The seams are so solid you can't even take them apart to do the design easily without damaging the Aida bag. The needle that came with it is sharp, which is not the sort of needle one should use in embroidery of this nature. I bled for that bag. It was given to grandma to fix up with ribbons, and she sent it on as requested to a person needing a pick me up. That person was her little sister, who has a relation dying and is having a hard time of it. I received a lovely little thank you card which grandma assures me has a lot of writing in it for a card from her sister. I have another of these bags waiting for me to do. It is something I am very eager to continue procrastinating over.

I have also done a little owl bookmark I am yet to take a photo of. That already has a home, and then there is a giraffe one to be completed. For $2 for a complete kit, I was happy to take the child-like designs.

There lies a question in all this, the big, Dark Knight question. If you are good at something, never do it for free. So how does one make this a business venture to solve the unemployment? I have a good idea for that, but it's not going to be easy and sometime soon I will have to undergo a test of my own design to examine if it can be done with a minimum of hair pulling and finger stabbing. In the meantime, I shall continue my own little embroideries and the ones I give away.

Oh and Blondie, finish those cross stitch bookmarks so I feel less like a grandma when I shop for embroideries.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A fire should do the trick.

Today is a day of odd feelings. Well, to be honest, not all of today was like that, but still a conflict that has been within me for ages is now ready to be finished. Closed off.

Today I received my certificate. Yes, a simple piece of paper which says I have officially finished my degree (the paper even says that happened months ago but the slack creatures in their admin have just finalised crap). Some would say that's a good thing. Certainly friends of mine who have received their degree have spoken of pride, happiness and great joy and satisfaction at having possession of such an object. My feelings are not along the same lines.

For several months now I have been wanting to burn my certificate when it arrived in the mail. I wanted to burn it even as I was finishing the degree. It is a single piece of paper which tells me that I have lost far too much to get it, that I destroyed too many friendships that will never recover, too much of my health, sanity and far too much of myself. There were days while I did that degree that I felt ending it made far too much sense, and I don't mean quiting the degree. That was never an option. I look upon that piece of paper which has caused me to loose jobs and any chance of employment. It has slashed my chances of ever being employed. I gained friends during that period and then lost them equally quickly, good friends, good people who I never speak to, haven't been able to speak to in months. Now they've all moved away, or are too busy chasing their own little pieces of paper, jobs or children to speak to me. A sad event indeed.

I lost my home because of this degree. It gave me one, ever so briefly to take it away just as fast. To have a taste of freedom to loose it is the hardest scar to bear. The degree took all my savings, ate them up, meaning some weeks while I was there, earning that piece of paper I could not eat more than one meal every day. Sometimes less.

It took my health, making me ill so much through stress and the overdose of sick people around me. Every illness known to man was in those lecture halls. I spent the entire degree with a cold and at least 2 flu's a year. Constant headaches, insomnia and yet a lack of being able to get up in the morning ruined my health. No friends, complete isolation and endless late nights doing homework while trying to speak to people on the internet, the only social contact outside uni or my family I could have, ruined my well being within myself. The constant failings no matter how hard I tried ruined what was left of my self esteem and during those dark nights I slowly became insane. I became what I had to to survive those days. If the course, which was full of girls, became bitchy (a daily occurrence) I had to become bitchy to survive. I lost a lot of my morality to that degree, a lot of the things I said I wouldn't do or say were obliterated in the grim harsh reality of the dark university. I soon lost myself.

With the coming of this certificate, I don't feel any smarter. I don't feel as though I have accomplished anything at all. If anything, I feel a keen sense of anger any time I am reminded that I own it. When the question was "Did I want to attend the ceremony to receive it, or get it in the post" like it was junk mail, the answer was simple, post. I did not want pictures of myself with it, and it in all likelihood that will not occur, no matter the pleading from family. However, the one thing the family has said which comes through clear as day is that I am not allowed to burn it. To them, that piece of meaningful shit is worth something. So it rules out the burning of the actual document.

I like the thought of burning however, as fire has always held meaning to me. It has a cleansing power beyond everything else. No matter how diseased your crops are, if they are consumed in fire the disease will be removed. Yes, it is deadly, a dangerous element which cannot be trusted. It causes pain just as easily as joy, but then, so many things in life do. It has the power to hypnotise and enthrall, it causes death and birth (some plants need fire to produce seeds) and most of all it ruins and creates.

So how shall I get my burning without pissing everyone off? An effigy will have to suffice I suppose. But even in effigy there will be a releasing of demons and I shall be able to truly forget the evil of that degree. And with that burning, I can finally move forward.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Follow up

We got our grades and I passed with flying colours!!! We got them on the same day as my last post, and it was concluded that the only reason we got them was simply because of the threats which had been levelled, and our suplementary exams being cancelled. They don't like it when they are told off, and when they can't screw over students.

But that's it. Never have to deal with that crappy University ever again. I've graduated their course with no job prospects and no future. Amazing that. Now I have to get another degree just to get employed.....

Stupid lying University.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Intelligence... not as great as one would assume

At a university one comes to expect certain things, like the high level of intelligence of the people teaching them, their compassion and the understanding that the majority of those working in the higher levels of the university were once students of a university. As such, one would assume, falsely, that the people in charge of their course, their degrees and in a perverse way, their lives would be filled with a level of understanding, as we have all at some point suffered under a power hungry jerk. Some people will always be corrupted by the power they wield. They suffered and as such, now someone else will also suffer. Some are altered over time, slowly but surely having their compassion removed at the same time they loose touch with reality. To some, power does not corrupt at all. They resist the temptation to do evil, remember how it feels to be at the mercy of someone and instead teach as they would have loved to be taught, taught with compassion.

Unfortunately, Biochemistry attracts the former over the latter.

Biochemistry as a subject is a component of my degree. I understand its inclusion. It is indeed very vital to understand and be able to apply in all facets of my qualifications. The problem does not lie in that it must be taught, but rather how it is taught.

The year I initially did biochemisty, it had a very strong metabolism focus which aided us all tremendously in the later year of our degree. However, the way it was graded and set up made it so intense many failed. There was a rumour that 80% of my compatriots failed that year. That was the rumoured fail rate for people in my stream of biochem. Painful, in fact so painful they decided to remodel the course for the next year. I was, unfortunately amongst the 80%, however I decided to skip redoing the subject the next year, picking to instead do it at the very end of my degree, allowing it to be my sole focus. The subject underwent a large change. Renamed, pre-requisites changed, locations, lecturers, etc, the whole works. And this appeared to work to a point as the fail rate was apparently not as high that next year. However, it was still too high and more was done to alter the course.

Enter the year I did it for the second time, this year. It was entirely different to the year I originally did it. I almost did not make it in the subject due to the pre-requisite change. To be honest, I never was told if I was permitted to do the subject without the new pre-requisites. That's a fight I am preparing for. It should have acted as a massive "watch out, people who run this don't know what they're doing". I noted it, but ignored the level of the stupidity which should have served as that warning of events to come.

This year was full of "radical" "new" ideas, ideas which other subjects have been using and refined for years, but to biochemistry were so amazingly new it hurt them to implement it. 2 exams instead of the 1 crippling event, making that 70% on the exam a little less painful. Practicals every second week, tutorials as written questions with a tutor to aid you. Revolutionary! 2 practical tests instead of the one fail worthy exercise. Almost seemed to good to be true. One lecturer even gave us appropriate questions to expect, and some of those questions were accurate! Such large changes, such evolution since that first year of fail. Too good to be true. They can't have actually learned from their mistakes. Surely not!

They hadn't. The first term of tutorials were full of problems. Tutorial questions which made no sense, the man who wrote them, our first lecturer and subject coordinator, repeatedly called a dickhead, arsehole and other unsavory terms by his appointed tutors. Entire questions were wiped out by the tutors who said they made no sense, and that only an idiot could have written them. The revision for the first exam was released and it lead people in the wrong direction. Told them to learn things which were not in the actual exam and based an entire question on a textbook which we were not supposed to have read. The actual exam came and the level of detail required was insane. It also contained far too many questions for the time slot and the practical exam afterwards even had a calculation no one had ever seen before, let alone known to learn.

It was horrible. Later that day I had an assessed practical to do, straight after my exam. It was a hard day. When we went to the tutorial the week after, we were given questions which would have aided us in our exam, had we received them earlier. When we asked why we were getting them now we were told a horrible reason; the subject coordinator has put them in to make sure he can use whatever material he wants in the next exam. You may be examined on the same stuff again.

The outcry was immense. Screaming could be heard across the university. Many in tutorials had walked out, refusing to play any part into the evil that had been unleashed. We had all suddenly realised we could not trust this mans word further than we could throw him.

Grades were released and we soon learned that 3/4 of my tutorial group had failed by a significant amount. The girl I knew was also repeating received around 30% on that exam. My 49% suddenly seemed like a badge of honour. I had almost passed it. It was one of the highest scores I knew. Brilliant.

We received the one lecturer in the course, our degree coordinator, the one person with compassion. She made her part of the subject easier, nicer, possible to pass. She struggled hard to ensure we were all happy, and all loved her. She released questions for the exam, revision questions but still, they were relevant! The second exam was not easy, but not as bad as the first.

So we assume.

I had thought for a moment there that I could put biochem behind me. Boy was I wrong.

The week after our exam (28th June) we were told a meeting was planned amongst faculty to discuss marks on the 12th July, and results would be released on the 13th-14th. So we waited. Come the 15th, still no results. On the 16th we receive an email from the one woman in the subject who cared, the one who taught us so nicely. She was saying by the end of day she would have our marks released. At 5pm we received another email bemoning her lack of power, saying at least the sup had been pushed back and we would get our results Monday, 19th. Monday came, no results. Tuesday brought a reason. So many had failed that marks had to be adjusted so we all had to wait a touch longer. So wait we did. Today, 7am, came an email which has shattered me. The woman who fights for us is loosing strength and has to leave the country for a conference. It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who is loosing sleep and health over this, but it hurts to see the desperation in her tone. She has decided there will be no supplementary exams for anyone. At least not at this time. Not even medical sups, simply because we have no grades. Her words say our next deadline the best;
"Last Friday, I said that I “hoped” you would have the marks by this Monday. Well, that hope has turned to fear."
Her own words, and she then goes on to state she doesn't expect our grades to be released by the time she comes back.

In August.

My hope has indeed turned to fear, for yet another reason. This is my final subject for this degree and I plan on getting another degree next year. For that I need an official transcript to prove I've done this degree and show what I exactly did.

Problem. In it's infinite wisdom, the university is shutting down the facilities to order, pay for and get official academic transcripts for an undisclosed amount of time. Starting, you guessed it, August. I need my grades before they close that facility.

Some people at university remember what it used to be like for students. Some are intelligent and have undergone university itself. To change our grades, all they must do is alter one or 2 numbers in a giant excel spreadsheet. I can do that in a minimal amount of time, 2 days at the absolute tops. How does changing a number in a spreadsheet take a month? Only one member of the faculty has cared enough to fight our cause. Only one has emailed us updates whenever she had them. One. No one else appeared to care enough to inform us of what was happening and still expected us to do a sup without grades. Now, other schools on the campus which are legendary for their lack of ability to give grades to their students will have grades well before we do, and that is simply not good enough.

Biochemistry, you are a disgusting subject. You pride yourself on your high fail rate, think yourself prestigious. You demand so much from students, yet give so little feedback in return. The entire subject needs to be burned to the ground and a completely fresh subject raised in its place. The people who manage this subject are a joke. The people who mark this subject are also laughable. The university where I did this abhorrent piece of shit is beyond a joke and trust me when I say they don't give a shit.

Loath is a hard word to use, a powerful word. I use it now. I loath this subject.

Never, ever trust universities or anything called biochemistry.

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

At the same time as starting uni, I started a job in retail. While being at this job, I have seen a wide range of customers, varying between the nicest people you will ever meet and complete and utter idiots, the type where you wonder how they manage to dress themselves. The latter customers are often comprised with people who will scream at you because of their ignorance, but they are everywhere. No, the story I am going to share with you is of a prize idiot who even made my managers crack up laughing and look more than a little horrified.

The "hero" of our story, a middle aged man, balding, fat decided to approach the registers where I was covering the long suffering register girls break. This "casanova" decided he was most certainly a gift from the gods to woman kind and could charm me enough to gain something. This is more than a little horrifying when you realise that most of my coworkers and the customers think I'm still in high school..........

Idiot customer: Hi
Me: Hi.
IC: I'd like to buy this. (holds up plastic containers)
Me: Sure. (Scans item) That's $24.95
IC: There's a sign just over there for $9.95
Me: (sighs on the inside and looks over the counter at the sign) Sir, I'm afraid that that's for the other item, right next to where you picked this up from. It clearly states its for a 3 piece set by X brand while this is by Y brand and is 10 pieces.
IC: Oh. (Begins to attempt to flirt with me, leaning provocatively against the counter, trying what I assumed was a sexy face while sliding over a $10 note)
Me: Do you still want this?
IC: Yes. (Pushes the money closer)
Me: This is $10. The item costs $24.95.
IC: I'm sure that you could do this for me, just once. Say you scanned the wrong item.
Me: Uhm, no. I can't.
IC: Sure you can.
Me: I'm afraid I can't do that.
IC: It's just a few dollars. Just change the price. I know you can. (Starts to bat his eyelids)
Me: (holding back vomit) I don't have the codes (I would have said this even if I did, but not having them just meant I had plausible deniability). I would have to call over my manager.
IC: No you don't. You can do this.
Me: (debating how long it would take for me to dive to the phone and what words I could say to make the acting manager run like the wind towards the tils) I. Do. Not. Have. The. Codes. I'm sorry, but I would need to call my manager.
IC: Come on. Everyone steals from their workplace. Everyone does it. It's just a few dollars and they wont even notice.
Me: (blinks wide in surprise. Inside thinks, WTF??????!!!!!!!!!?????????? he so didn't just say that) I'm sorry. I'm not going to change the price without my manager. I can't change the price. He is the only one with the codes. I can call him if you want.
IC: (looks at the line mounting behind him with other customers looking at him like he's a freak) No. I won't take this.
Me: Who's next. (idiot scurries away)

As soon as I was relieved I told one manager what had happened and how the idiot told me to just "steal from my workplace 'coz everyone does it". She cracked up laughing and rushed me over to the other manager telling him he just had to hear it. His look of utter horror amongst his laughter said the real story. If it had been someone on the tils who was less experienced than me and faaaaaaaar less cynical and stubborn, then a deal could have been made which could have resulted in a poor young register girl loosing her job for stealing because some idiot sweet talked her into giving him a lower price. It horrified me that this man thought he could get away with it, and that batting his eyes and leaning suggestively would "blow my mind" enough for him to gain things for far less.

When you receive crap customer service, or think that the girls behind the til are bitching away for no reason whatsoever, remember the idiot customer. While hes the first person to tell me to steal from my shop (My job supplies me money, which secures me shelter and food. I ain't blowing that for some douche to get a few dollars off a crappy set of plastic containers, even if he was the living embodiment of sex, which as a fat, balding middle aged man he clearly wasn't), I have to deal with so many idiot customers a day, all of which are snipping at me, pointing at me and telling their children to stay in school or this is where they'd end up (I'M AT UNI! I have a higher education than the morons pointing and staring. I'm doing this so that I can afford my degree, because unlike the idiot pointing I'm not just dropping a kid for centrelink cheques). This makes me crabby, cynical and hate before I've even met you or heard your latest complaint about how you can't read a sign or about how the guy down in electrical didn't bend over and allow you to spank him. And to be truly honest, I don't care. With a passion.

I have a million more stories, most of which would horrify you. Remember, the holidays are coming up. If you annoy me at the start of a 12 hour shift, well, that's 11 hours of you getting ignored and told that "I refuse to do that". If you want customer assistance these holidays, remember the long suffering university students, the high school graduates waiting for a better job and the wise workers who have been working in retail so long they don't remember not being in a shop. These people have to deal with everyone's crap, and listen to seriously horrible Christmas carol tapes while they're at it.

Don't screw with me these holidays. I will not stand it.

Monday, June 08, 2009


I just read my dad's post on this, and I felt compelled to write a bit myself.

My pop died. That should be a phrase which causes me to burst into tears, curl into fetal position and never leave the house, but it doesn't. Strange really as I cried for ages over a dog, and still occassionally mist up and this is a man who was my father' father, but really, I'm scarily fine. I feel nothing.

Basically, I never knew the man. He lived in another state when I was a child and we never saw him, but we had a replacement in my Nana's husband, a man who is always there and cares about myself and my brother greatly. This doesn't mean I don't have any memories of pop though. As a child I would recieve gifts and a letter from my pop's wife for my birthday, but this stopped on my 7th bithday when we recieved a letter saying he was in the hospital. Mum quietly conveyed to me that he'd had a heart attack and was very sick in the hospital. When we didn't recieve another letter, I wrote him off. He'd died as far as we knew and so that's what I assumed.

A talk years later with my father changed that. He said pop was still alive and kicking. Again, I felt nothing. I forgot about him again until I recieved a card from him, asking how I was forwarded through his step-daughter when I was 16. This card made me feel conflicted, as I realised 2 things with this card; 1. He was still alive and who was this man, and 2. why hadn't he asked about my brother or sent him a card, and why hadn't he contacted us before? These thoughts conflicted but eventually my procrastinating self won out, and I never replied.

The next I heard of him, my step-aunt rung me up to say he was dying and that he wanted to speak to me. At this point, I felt curious and a bit of pity. This caused me to say yes, yes I would speak to him to satisfy my curiousity and to ensure that an old man was at peace if the end was near. It was when I spoke to him that he asked about my brother, to which I said he was ok, and it was the first time he had shown any interest in my younger brother in my life. This annoyed me slightly, as he had 2 grandkids through my father, but he hadn't even put any effort into contacting one, sending him a letter or anything.

We ended up speaking twice, and to this day I still don't feel sad that I never met him, nor do I feel sad at his passing. I only hope that the old man didn't suffer unnecessary pain at the end, just as I would any other stranger.