BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker: Awesome Sound & Great Portability.

BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker review

What is it?

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The BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker is ideal for bringing music to life wherever you are. It is designed to provide a rich, deep-bass sound experience with minimal cable and wiring fuss. In fact, the SoundLink only requires one charging cradle cable to operate, keeping wire installations well out of the way.

Why you should buy it:

I’m always amazed by the fullness and clarity of sound from such a small device (Speaker Size:  2.0″ H x 7.1″ W x 2.3″ D). As I researched a bit more before actually buying it, I discovered that the source for such excellent sound quality stems from a “Passive” resonant bi-membrane which results in an uncompromised big sound with deep bass for a “full-range listening experience”. True that!

Other very cool features are:

• Wireless and super compact size to take anywhere, anytime.
• SoundLink’s range is a respectable 30 feet (9.10 meters).
• The built-in microphone lets you take calls while playing your favorite song, interrupting the song for optimal call quality. When a call is ended, your music automatically resumes through the SoundLink Mini speaker.
• SoundLink’s lithium battery has a lasting period of 7 hours before needing a recharge.  At home, you can listen even longer—the charging cradle lets you listen while it charges.
• It pairs easily with your smartphone, iPad or other Bluetooth devices. It is pretty straightforward and simple to do.
• The SoundLink weighs only 1.5 pounds (.680 kgs!) and its low profile lets you place it on almost any surface. SoundLink ’s low center of gravity makes it nearly impossible to tip over.

Specifications:

• Speaker:2.0″ H x 7.1″ W x 2.3″ D (1.5 lbs)
• Charging cradle:0.5″ H x 6.0″ W x 2.0″ D (1.75 oz)
• Wall charger:2.25″ H x 1.75″ W x 0.5″ D
• Cord:54″
• Wireless range up to 30 ft
• Battery life up to 7 hrs
• Power rating: 100 – 240V

What’s included in your purchase:

• SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker
• Charging cradle
• Wall charger/power supply

Final thoughts…

If you are looking for exceptional sound and portability, the BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker is the right ear candy for you! Its phenomenal, rich bass and crisp, natural sound can be heard and enjoyed in every song, video or game you play. It also pairs wirelessly to your smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth devices, seamlessly and without any fuss. Its ultra-compact, fitting in the palm of your hand, and it’s so light, you can put in your purse or backpack and take it anywhere. I have been actively using it for a bit more than a year and I couldn’t be happier. You will be too!

 

Ultimate Fun In The Sun! My 10 Favorite Summer Songs For 2018.

Time for more fun & sun!

Hey, hey Sentinels around the world! It’s Luis here sharing more content with you regarding all things to do with action water sports, surf lifestyle and ocean awareness.

This week, I want to take it a bit slower, going for a lighter tone on my post. If you have been following my blog, you probably know that the last few weeks I have been writing about serious environmental issues, ocean conservation heroes, and intrepid cave rescues. Relevant and important topics, sure, but hey…

It’s the middle of summer!

What say we all get back to our favorite beach and continue having a great time? But wait, we need to take some awesome tunes with our beach kit, right?

Man, music is SO important to make memorable moments even better.

Why is that? What does music do to us? How does it manage impact our lives in so many positive ways, even after years go by, and still, we are moved, excited, happy? (or sad…but none of that here, please!).

Let’s take a closer look at this incredible and essential part of our lives. In my personal experience, I could not do without music, period. Especially during summer vacations. And I am happy to share with you my 10 favorite all-time summer tunes I never do without. Let’s get started!

But first…why is music so important to us?

It comes down to three factors: “self-actualization”, to “fulfill emotional needs”, and to “fulfill social needs”. Let me explain. When I mention self-actualization, I am referring to “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone”. It can also be understood as:

“The full realization of one’s creative, intellectual, or social potential”.

Music spurs our creativity in so many ways. It releases us from the challenges we face in daily life. It connects with the imaginative part of our brain. Music encourages us to dream and ponder and reflect. It makes you feel good, as mentioned before, by releasing endorphins, the feel-good hormones of our body. When you add to this to sunny days surrounded by friends and/or family in idyllic settings, it can be incredibly powerful, embedding and anchoring unforgettable moments that remain with us whenever we listen to this or that song.

What does music do to your state of mind?

“To fulfill emotional needs”…it’s a chemical thing. It goes back to the release of endorphins, as mentioned above. But what exactly are endorphins? What do they do to us and what are they really for? Take a look at this informal, but very helpful video. Endorphins are SO important and this is why:

So basically, Endorphins (and their close relatives, Enkephalins) are responsible for triggering that euphoric, feel-good emotion whenever we listen to an awesome tune, have sex (yay!) or do something that is pleasurable (like eating chocolate!). And this can affect our state of mind in so many positive ways. That’s why exercise can be so addicting when done regularly. “Runner’s high” is a good example of that.

“Stoke” is another good example and one more close to home.

“Fulfill social needs”…music integrates us, makes us come together, from love songs fro the love-struck couples to colossal music social events like Lola Palooza and beyond (think Pink Floyd or Bruce Springsteen concerts). Music gives us a feeling of belonging to an idea or concept expressed by these artists that we ourselves sometimes cannot express very well.

We rotate around “our tribe”, whether that be classic, metal, jazz, reggae, pop, rap, or an eclectic mix of all these. I personally find it an awesome moment in history where you can find so much musical wealth out there, and, most of all, it is so easily accessible, it blows my mind.

Where can you find the best music downloads?

So now that chemistry and sociology 101 are over, let’s get into the fun stuff. Where to get the best music downloads? As you may imagine, the answer, in this case, is: it depends. Have a look at this informative video from Android Police and you decide:

In the end, there are really two real choices here, although, honestly, I’m not much of a techie and gadgets person, so my personal favorite remains Apple Music.

Should you get a portable sound device?

Of course, listening to music can be a very personal thing. But come on, it’s summer, you are with friends and family. It’s beautiful out and the water is just perfect. You have got to share this moment with everyone! So, although mobiles are great for every day listening (commutes, workouts, standing in lines, etc.), portable sound devices are also an essential part of your summer kit. Whatever device you decide to get, I suggest you keep two main features in mind:

  • Sound quality
  • Portability

There are many portable speakers out there but it really is a matter of personal choice. For me, shelling out a bit more money for these two features is well worth it.

And the BOSE SoundLink Mini Bluetooth speaker has been, hands down, one of the best investments I have ever made. It’s not only the brand, which I’ve been a fan of for several years now. It’s also that Bose hits the features mentioned above right on the nail. If I sound excited about this product, it’s because I am.

In fact, as I am writing to you right now, I have my little speaker sitting unassumingly on my desk and the sound quality coming out never ceases to amaze me. If you want to check it out, here’s a review I wrote about his little wonder speaker.

So should you get a portable speaker for this summer? Definitely! It will make a huge difference in your vacation experience. Trust me on this!

So who is your go-to performer out there for this summer?

Man, this is a hard one to answer. I will confess that I am no longer on top of today’s current music trends. I guess I gravitate towards rock, big time. Not to say that there are some pretty awesome indie and rap bands out there, but again, it’s old school for me.

There, I said it!

So I try to watch out for new bands on Itunes, Spotify, Youtube and even the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I know, I know, borderline lame, right? Also, Later…with Jools Holland keeps me pretty much up to date with the European scene.

Lately, these are the bands that have made me stop and listen:

  • Florence and The Machine
  • Steep Canyon Rangers
  • Jaden Smith
  • Billie Ellish
  • Chris Lane
  • Card B (really!)
  • Five Seconds of Summer
  • Rex Orange County
  • Sting & Shaggy
  • Arctic Monkey
  • Foster The People
  • Christine and The Queens

There are so many more! It’s one of the highlights of the evening, and a perfect way to end my day.

My summer playlist!

And finally, we come to the nitty-gritty. Without further ado, here’s my top ten 2018 summer playlist

 1. Better Together (Jack Johnson).

This is such a soulful and mellow song. It’s one of my all-time favorite love songs. Great to play it with a beautiful sunset and a warm summer breeze!

2. Out In The Open (Steep Canyon Rangers).

I have been listening to country lately and found some pretty awesome bands. Steep Canyon Rangers sort of remind me of Eagles with their vocal range. This song is perfect for any summer road trip. Play it loud!

3. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley).

‘Nuff said!

4. Love Will Find a Way (Eagles).

Notice a pattern developing here? Yeah, mellow love rock is big for me. This song, though, is so special. Eagles bassist Randy Eisner’s voice is so incredibly heartfelt and true, it never fails to amaze me. That and the band’s impeccable vocal harmony makes this song an instant summer classic. Add to that a side order of Tequila Sunrise and Desperado and see where the evening takes you!

5. Free Bird (Lynyrd Skinnard).

The live version at Oakland Coliseum Stadium in 1977 – c’mon…you know you want to hear it all!!  (and yeah, Sweet Home Alabama also rocks!).

6. Bad to the Bone (George Thorogood).

If there is one song that conveys “badass” to me it is this song. I first saw the “Bad to the Bone” video on MTV back in the 80s. It immediately blew my mind away. Hey, anyone who can beat Bo Diddley in Pool is a total badass!

7. Thunderstruck (AC/DC).

So many jewels and so little time! Highway to Hell, Back in Black, Shoot to Thrill…all of them awesome. But  Thunderstruck is my other ultimate road song. Especially when I’m feeling a bit sleepy!

8. Funky Kingston (Toots and The Maytals).

Happy, uplifting and unabashed. I just heard this reggae band a few days ago and I just had to add them to my official feel-good summer playlist. Whenever you want to get in a happy groove almost instantly, just play a few of their Jamaican, sun-drenched tunes!

9. No Tears Left To Cry (Ariana Grande).

Yep! Pop’s cool too! Especially coming from such an incredible talent as Ariana Grande. She is also hilarious…a natural comedian and performer. And did I mention she has an unbelievable vocal range? Grande can sing pop, country, gothic rock and many other music styles with such ease and grace it’s scary.

10. Girls Like You (Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B).

I confess I wasn’t much of a fan of Maroon 5 (the whole high pitched voice thing just didn’t rub on me the right way), but this song is an extremely catchy song and, hey, Cardi B features in it…pretty cool collaboration.

11. Don’t Make Me Wait (Sting & Shaggy)

Holy crap!! Talk about an unlikely collaboration working beautifully! The entire CD is amazing and so “beachy”. It’s perfect for blissfully swaying along with palm trees as the sun is setting…soft, warm ocean breezes gently blowing by…so cool! And also check this Shaggy classic, also with Sting…so fun!!

12. Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole (Somewhere over the Rainbow).

Hawaiian music has always been a favorite of mine. That includes traditional music, including songs from Dennis Pavao, Amy Hanaiali, George Kahumoku, Jr. and Keali’i Reichel, as well as more modern contemporary island artists such as The Brothers Cazimero, Makaha Sons, Hawaiian Style Band and  Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole.

I have two additional favorites which I am going to include here which I can pretty much listen too, not only during summer, but all year long: “Live a Little” from Hawaiian Style Band and “ Ku’u Home O Kahalu’u”, interpreted by the Brothers Cazimero.

Sorry for going Moana on all of you but I honestly think I have some Polynesian in my blood…I just love island music! If you want to find out a bit more about Hawaiian music, here’s a couple more artists which I can recommend:

In conclusion…

So there you have it. My 10 favorite songs for summer 2018. Some are not so well known, I know, especially the ones from the islands. But, hey, I’ve learned that keeping an open mind can lead to pretty amazing places (musically speaking).

So get out there, give free rein to your musical likes and start making memories over this summer. Because, in the end, memories are the one thing that remain and become truly priceless

What are your ultimate summer songs? Which your memories or moments have been influenced by songs during your summer vacations? I would love to hear your stories, anecdotes or memorable accounts. Or simply share your favorite song or songs in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and let’s all continue listening and making unforgettable memories this summer. See you in the water!!

Faith, courage and ingenuity: The Tham Luan Nang Non Cave Rescue

Reporting on what really matters…

I thought I would take a moment and look back at last week’s events. And no, I’m not talking about the World Cup or, heaven forbid, the Helsinki summit fiasco!

No, what happened last week, in my view, supersedes by far an large these and many other media-crazed events. A week ago, on July 10, a miracle of human faith, courage, and human ingenuity happened on the other side of the world.

After more than two weeks of unimaginable anguish and uncertainty, rescue divers were finally able to extract 12 children and their coach from the depths of the Tham Luan Nang Non cave in Thailand.

But somehow, with all the World Cup madness and the last week’s international diplomacy hype, most news media giants have literally dropped the ball on an event that should continue to be reported and talked about as feverishly and constantly as the media events filling last week’s news channels.

You see, what transpired before, during and after the Tham Luan rescue operation was nothing short of remarkable and awe-inspiring.

The media have called it “miraculous”, using this word, in my humble opinion, very lightly, giving it free reign to bring ratings and drama to an incredible event that has been too easily forgotten already.

It is clear to me that many of the reporters that were present at the time of the actual rescue, broadcasting back to their respective networks, although doing it in a very professional manner, braving long hours and difficult weather conditions, absolutely had no idea of what the rescue attempt would mean for the kids and their rescuers on an emotional level.

And even though experts were invited to weigh in on their personal experience, it would have been adequate that at least one of the reporters would have had cave diving experience, to convey to the public exactly what these kids and their coach would be going through once the actual rescue got underway. Let me explain.

Putting it all in perspective…

Riviera Maya, where I have been living now for 10 years now, has a vast underground cave and river system, courtesy of a 10  to15 kilometer diameter asteroid impacting on earth during the dinosaur age.

This extinction level event forever changed the geology of the region, giving way to one of the largest underground river systems in the world.

The waters flooding this system are said to be sacred to the Maya. When you traverse one of these caverns, you can easily see why. The visibility and beauty of the place always take your breath away.

But there is also a dark side to this beauty. Danger and risk are always present when exploring these waters. Going through narrow crevasses, in deep, dark places, even with extraordinary visibility, is an experience not suitable for the faint-hearted or for the claustrophobic.

To safely journey through this system, even under ideal conditions, takes years of dive experience and a healthy set of stones.

If you have ever been in a broken elevator or a closed bathroom (and you can’t get out), you have a close sense of the emotional urgency and immediacy of that “Let me out!!” feeling. It’s creepy being trapped, without knowing how long it will take to be “rescued”.

If this has happened to you, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that the wait ALWAYS seems to take forever, right?

And that’s in dry ground, with ample lighting and resources for your eventual rescue.

Now take that same feeling of being trapped and place it deep inside a pitch black, wet cave, 4 miles from the entrance, where your only sustenance is water.  Add to that water levels threatening to drown you at any moment.

Sort of puts things in perspective, huh?

Here’s how they all pulled it off…

What these kids, their coach and their rescuers faced was probably one of the most terrifying experiences that anyone could endure. And they faced this not for one hour, or one day or one week. They endured it for nearly 17 days. In such dangerous and adverse conditions that Saman Kunan, a 38-year-old former Thai Navy SEAL, died of asphyxiation on 6 July on his return to the cave entrance after delivering supplies of air to the interior.

On the danger scale, 1 being safest and 10 being the most dangerous, The Than Luan cave was flat-out 10. Not only for its natural geological configuration, a huge challenge in itself, but also for the difficult weather conditions which the cave system experienced during the actual rescue.

Bittersweet endings…

In the end, however, through incredible faith, courage, skill and human ingenuity, the 12 children and their coach were rescued last Tuesday, July 10. And after a week of rest and recovery, they have made their first public appearance, forever grateful for the support and dedication of everyone involved in their rescue.

Saman KumanEspecially Saman Kuman, whose sacrifice speaks volumes of the better side of human compassion, dedication, sacrifice, and selflessness.

In a world so full of hatred, anger, and conflict, it is comforting to know that mankind can still shine a very brightly, even in undeniable dark and uncertain times.

Let’s pause for a moment and revel in the accomplishments of these real heroes and take their example whenever we, in our daily humdrum, face adversity and challenges. Their unwavering spirit and resolute attitude should be an inspiration to us all for years to come.

For another account of incredible heroism and grit, you can also check out one of my all-time heroes right here…

In conclusion…

What makes someone a hero? What characteristics do you think make them stand apart? Forget the Avengers! These divers and these kids and their coach…they are the real deal.

Everyday people doing extraordinary things. Do you know anyone that inspires you and is your hero? Please share your experience in the comment box below. I would love to be inspired by your story!

Tks for reading and talk soon!

 

9 ocean conservation organizations that defend our planet.

Hey Sentinels! I hope you are having an amazing week, the first of many more to come of fun and sun!

Summer’s just started and I hope everyone is enjoying a well-deserved rest, surfing your dream beach break, point, reef (or ranch!). It’s only fair that we unwind after living through the harshest months of winter.

And believe me, I know how bad that can get. I lived a few weeks in Toronto during the month of February and that was not fun.

So, as you paddle out on your board, waiting for the next set to roll in, surrounded by glassy, emerald green or turquoise waters, and letting your body have its fill of  friendly, warm summer days (no wetsuits please!), take a look around you and breathe in the wonders that Mother Nature has blessed us with.

Now more than ever, it is so important that we take the time to do this.

And as our planet gets more populated by the day, facing awesome environmental challenges that threaten our very existence, know that out there, beyond the horizon, there are efforts being made by environmental and ocean conservancy heroes that have taken the mission of being a Sentinel to a completely different level.

There are many environmental efforts being made around our planet, but the following ocean conservation organizations have set the standard for ocean conservancy and protection of our planet’s fragile biodiversity.

Here’s a quick look at each organization (if you wish to know more about any of them, click on the organization’s name below and you will be directed to their website). They all have volunteer programs if you wish to participate in their ongoing efforts.

Sea Shepherd.

Officially known as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, this organization, established in 1977, is a great example of innovative, direct-action tactics held in high seas. Sea Shepherd operates all over the world, and some of the best known environmental operatives have come from this no-nonsense, scientific OCO, among them the tainting of 2,000 baby seals in the Arctic to prevent poachers and pelters from killing them for profit.

Sea Shepherd is committed to the preservation, protection, and balance of the biodiversity found in our planet’s oceans and their mission is “…to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species”.

Surfrider Foundation.

Known for their well researched and organized campaigns, as well as championing policy and fighting legal battles for coasts around the world, Surfrider Foundation is committed to awareness of issues that threaten our planet’s oceans. Their 50 member staff work tirelessly to raise money to support their powerful activist network. Surfrider Foundation’s approach is based on the following strong tenet:

“We ensure beaches are accessible, keep our water clean, protect our ocean, preserve our coasts and keep plastic from polluting our waterways. The Surfrider Foundation has a proven model for success—a playbook and a team—that transforms passion into protection”.

Oceanic Preservation Society.

Through focused efforts using social media, film, photography and joint collaborations, OPS are able to bring awareness of “complex, global environmental issues”. Some of their exemplary projects are:

• Racing Extinction – The Biggest Story in the World
• Projecting Change – Shining a Light on Endangered Species
• The Cove – Taiji, Japan: A Little Town With a Really Big Secret
• A Covert Mission

International Marine Mammal Project.

IMMP is committed to the making the oceans safe for whales, dolphins and marine mammals around the world. 

One of their most famous rescues involved the release of Keiko, the orca whale that inspired the movie, Free Willy.

Additionally, IMMP is responsible for bringing the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji island in Japan to the of world stage throughout their Academy Award-winning movie The Cove.

It is reassuring to know that they are also involved in banning aquarium and circus owners from utilizing marine mammals for entertainment purposes.

American Cetacean Society.

Founded in 1967, the American Cetacean Society (ACS) is the first whale, dolphin and porpoise conservation organization in the world. Their mission is to bring education, relevant, current research and critical conservation topics about cetaceans and their environments.

They have chapters in San Diego, Seattle, Monterrey, Orange County, San Francisco and Los Angeles. ACS also provides volunteer programs and organize science projects involving cetacean education.

They are the definitive source of information for cetacean research and conservation.

Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Imagine a world where dolphins and whales are safe and free. This is WDC’s vision. They are leaders in charity projects involving protection of whales and dolphins around the world.

WDC’s mission is:

“…to amaze people with the wonder of whales and dolphins and inspire global action to protect them”.

Ocean Conservancy.

There are approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean.  269,000 tons of this waste floats on the surface. What’s even worse: there are about four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer that contaminate the oceans at depths.

Ocean Conservancy works with international organizations that are committed to the reduction of plastics in our oceans. OC is a volunteer force currently has over 600,000 members.

This organization bases their efforts in strong science, clear policies and involved associates. Ocean Conservancy is well aware that their efforts will yield results in the long term.

And that’s just fine by them.

Their focus is on solutions that are long-lasting and transformational, advocating for “healthy oceans, abundant wildlife and thriving coastal communities”.

One of their major global events is the International Coastal Cleanup, an ongoing project that they have been actively organizing and doing for more than three decades.

The Institute for Ocean Conservation Science.

The IOCS is headed by Executive Director Ellen K. Pikitch, Ph.D., an acclaimed marine fisheries scientist. Dr. Pikitch sets the scientific tone and moderation for IOCS’s efforts in advancing ocean conservation through science.

Her organization is also part of the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

These accolades are certainly worth noting, but it is Dr. Pikitch’s approach to world-class scientific research that has increased awareness of grave threats to the world’s oceans and the marine wildlife that inhabits them.

Her heam provides the foundation for smarter ocean policies, always aiming for new parameters for responsible conservation of marine and ocean biodiversity, always based on strong scientific fact.

Oceana.

Oceana is an organization whose sole focus is on oceans.

Until recently (1999), less than 0.5 percent of all resources spent by US environmental non-profit organizations went to ocean conservation. Up to that time, there had never existed an organization that focused their efforts exclusively on the protection and restoration of oceans on a global scale.

Fortunately, that all changed in 2001 when Oceana was created. This organization was made up of four foundations deeply committed to this cause:

  • The Pew Charitable Trusts.
  • Oak Foundation.
  • Marisla Foundation
  • The Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

Oceana’s international manifest is dedicated to “achieving measurable change by conducting specific, science-based campaigns with fixed deadlines and articulated goals”.

To date, Oceana has nearly 200 victories under their belt and have been successful at protecting 3.5 million square miles of ocean.  Oceana also made The Ocean Law Project part of its legal structure in 2001, followed by a joint venture with the American Oceans Campaign, lead by actor/environmentalist Ted Danson.

The objective of the merger was to increase the range and effectiveness of Oceana’s mission to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.

Blue Ocean Society.

Founded by whale watch naturalists Jen Kennedy and Dianna Schulte, Blue Ocean Society was started in 2001 and became a non-profit organization in 2002.

Constrained by the lack of information not available to the general public, Jen and Dianna decided to start their own database, working hard to translate their on-water research into comprehensive programs for schools and people who were interested in whale conservation, but who weren’t scientists and who could do without all the scientific jargon.

ORCA (Ocean Research Conservation Association, Inc.)

ORCA’s environmental efforts are unique in that they are responding to improving the quality of water which marine mammals and other wildlife need for their existence.

ORCA’S mission is based on the combination of three foundational pillars:

  • Innovative technology
  • Applied science
  • Community involvement

Their efforts have led the way in protection and conservation of coasts, estuaries, and oceans, safeguarding these habitats for future generations.

Inspiration through positive action…

So there you have it! Nine ocean conservation organizations that truly walk the walk. Their combined efforts have made a difference in preserving and bringing global awareness to our embattled marine mammals all over the world.

Ever thought of volunteering for a good cause?

Consider any of these organizations. They are always ready to receive Sentinels into their ranks. We are the best line of defense for the indiscriminate onslaught our planet is currently going through (remember… 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, and counting).

Thank you so much for reading my article. I really hope you found it useful and informative. Please leave your comments below if you have any ideas or thoughts you would like to share with me below.

And if you know of someone who may benefit from this information, please share it with them.

Keep having an incredible summer and enjoy our beautiful blue planet! Talk soon!