May 17, 2021

Pick-ups, Pop-Its, and Playoffs


Episode 27 of Thank The Week for 17 May 2021
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Transcript
Announcer:

Thank The Week, with your host, Craig Williamson.

Craig Williamson:

Hello, and welcome to Thank The Week. This is Episode 27 for the week of the 17th of May 2021. This is the positive news podcast where we get thankful for what happened last week. And we're all excited for the great things that we've got coming up this week. And there are so many things to be thankful for lots of COVID news this week, lots of great things going on. We've got some exciting burger news that has been extremely, extremely excited, lots of sports to look forward to not only this week, but some great things to look forward to in the autumn two, we've got a tech event coming up from Google. So we'll have a little speculation about what might be coming up there. I'm going to talk about this and explain what that's all about. And you get another update to my webcam story. How exciting is that? So let's get to it.

Announcer:

News

Craig Williamson:

Huge changes to our daily lives here in the UK from Monday, the 17th. All sorts of announcements from the different countries. So England has a big easing starting on Monday. So things are gonna change, people can start to meet outdoors in larger groups. Some people can meet indoors in smaller groups, things like pubs and restaurants are actually going to be able to open indoors too. So lots of big, big changes, things similar to that going on in Scotland and Wales as well. And there Yeah, it's just getting close to things being opened and back to normal. We're also told that we can conservatively hook people. And there's been several items of guidance on how to hook someone safely. One of the things we're told is try not to hug face to face. Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not quite sure what a hug looks like that does not put your face very close to the other person's face. But anyway, there are diagrams out there if you want to know how to hook safely, have a look on the internet and get some advice. But yeah, that's good news for us in the UK. And in the US things are getting a bit more back to normal to in that there was a statement last week from the centre for disease control. That said anyone who's fully vaccinated can go without a mask in most places, both indoors and outdoors. And with some exceptions, such as planes and trains and buses and that kind of thing where it's particularly crowded. The message is essentially, if you're fully vaccinated, you are pretty much protected. So they're advising you to go about your daily lives as before. Now, I think some of the states have been catching up on their guidance to make sure that they meet that. But yeah, really big statement that vaccines are the way out of this, and really encouraging people to go out and get their vaccines. Now I did tell you about incentives, shall we say, in different US states for vaccines. And there was a new one out this week that that is even crazier than the ones you saw before. So some states were giving money, if you remember, some gave a free beer, which seemed reasonable, now or higher, is giving $1 million every week for the next five weeks. It's essentially if you go and get your vaccine in Ohio, you're going to be entered into a lottery. And every week, they'll do a draw and someone will win a million dollars. And that's going to happen for five weeks. So that starts on May the 26th. So if you're in Ohio, seems a bit strange to me, because surely you're not going to go and get your vaccine right now you're gonna, you're gonna wait till this lottery starts in Ohio. But anyway, encouraging people to go and get their vaccines. Also something I mentioned last week that Pfizer were looking to get their vaccine approved for ages 12 to 15 in the US, and that did happen last week. And we have news here in the UK that they're also looking to get it approved for 12 to 15 year olds, and we're hoping that will be in place by the summer when all the adults will have had their doses here in the UK. So lots going on in COVID, which has given us cause for a smile or two. And this other news item really did get me smiling. This is a burger chain that's coming to the UK or I think returning because they did use to have some branches here. So this is Wendy's which is very famous in the US for having square burgers. And I have enjoyed Wendy's in the past. And I am thrilled that we are getting a new burger chain here in the UK. They're talking about opening up to 400 outlets across the country. McDonald's already has about 1300 just to give you a feel for the scale. So that's still pretty significant. So they're looking to open their first ones later this year. And yeah, I'm excited for that. So if there is a Wendy's going on near me, I will be there to check it out.

Announcer:

Sport

Craig Williamson:

A huge week of sport. So much exciting action going to be on this week. I just wanted to quickly preview a couple of things that are coming on later in the year that were announced this week. So the boxing matchup between Anthony Joshua and Tyson fury, the heavyweight fight that everyone's been talking about is going to happen and the debt for that has been set as the 14th of August. So if you are into your boxing, then look forward to that on the 14th of August. If you're into American football, the NFL released its fixtures schedule for the new season. And that's always a great time just to see who your team He's going to be playing, what weeks you got who maybe what's going on Thanksgiving week. The first game is going to be September the ninth. That's Thursday Night Football in September. And that is a big one to look forward to. It is the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay being the Super Bowl champions and Dallas Cowboys with their quarterback Dak Prescott back from injury and with a huge contract under his belt as well. So really interesting to see how the new season goes something for all NFL fans to get excited for coming up in September. And also on that note, it's been announced that there will be two NFL games in London in England this year. So that's going to take place in October. We've previously had several games in the season, some at Wembley Stadium. Tottenham Hotspur have got the new stadium but obviously due to Coronavirus, last year's games in England were cancelled. But there are two scheduled and these are going to take place in October. So there's going to be Atlanta Falcons against New York Jets on Sunday, the 10th of October. And then Jacksonville Jaguars against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the 17th of October, and both those games at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. So that's something to look forward to in the late summer and autumn. But this week, there's so much to look forward to so much great sporting action. And across a whole host of sports as well. It is NBA playoff time. So if you're into the NBA, new thing this season, so as well as the playoffs they're having a play in, which is effectively a last chance saloon. So whereas Normally, I believe the top eight teams would get through from each conference. Now there's an additional little tournament. So where effectively 789 and 10 have a little playoff, and they can get through from that as a little mini tournament. So that tournament is on this week. And it begins on Tuesday, May the 18th and then the playoffs proper start on Saturday, May the 22nd. So if you're into the NBA, lots of basketball action coming up, and now it really means something we've got to the business end of the season, you can share on your team, San Antonio Spurs who I notionally follow they did make it through to the plane tournament. They are the lowest ranked team there. So interesting to see if San Antonio can squeeze into the playoffs. So that's the NBA Playoffs coming up this week. We also have the start of the British Speedway season and I've talked about Speedway before, if you don't know what it is it's motorbikes going around an oval shale track. Very exciting, very high octane, very dangerous sport. If you go to thank the week.com slash Speedway, you'll see a little quick video clip which shows you what Speedway is and how exciting it can be. The entire season in Britain was cancelled last year due to COVID. So this is a huge event. And the fact that they're able to get fans into the stadium is why it's beginning on Monday as these government rules relax as well. So if you fancy trying a new sport and you live in in England or in the UK, then why not give Speedway ago There are clubs all around the country. So I'll just give you some of the names so you know where there might be some action near you. We've got a Bellevue in Manchester, we've got Ipswich, King's Lynn, Peterborough, Sheffield, Wolverhampton. Those are the teams in the Premiership. And then in the championship, we've got Berwick, Birmingham, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kent, Leicester, Newcastle, Plymouth, Poole, Redcar and Scunthorpe. So if you live even remotely near to some of those places really encourage you to have a look into going to Speedway could be your new sport, very family friendly, and there's going to be action on TV as well. So it's going to be televised in the UK on Eurosport this year. On Monday evening, we've got Bellevue against Sheffield, and that's going to be on Eurosport, two in the UK. So if you want to see what it's all about, that's maybe a good way to dip your toe in the water, and then get on down to your local club and support some Speedway action. Also this week, because if we can tolerate any more excitement, it is the climax of the Premier League season in football. And fans are going to be allowed into the stadiums, which is just terrific news. Only home fans, but really significant that we're going to get fans back there. I cannot wait to listen to or watch a football match with real cheering in the background and get rid of that artificial stuff that's everywhere. So we've got two full rounds coming up this week of Premier League action. So every team plays on either Tuesday or Wednesday. So we've got four games on Tuesday night, and we've got six games on Wednesday night. The pick of the midweek games for me is Tuesday night we've got Chelsea against Leicester that has huge implications for Champions League qualification. top four get through to the Champions League next year. And there's pretty much a couple of spaces up for grabs Chelsea Lester going for it Liverpool is still in the mix. And there's a few other teams that could sneak in as well. So lots at stake there. And then the final day of the season is Sunday, the 23rd of May. And it's unusual in that every team players on the same day and they all kick off at the same time. So the pick of those games for me I'm going to have to go for Liverpool Crystal Palace. I've got my fingers crossed, we've got two games before that one if Liverpool win both those games, then they can possibly seal a Champions League place by winning that last one If they've lost in the interview, then that game will not mean very much. But we'll see. But anyway, really exciting to get finished to the Premier League season this week, and all sorts of have fans back in the stadium, such good news

Announcer:

Tech

Craig Williamson:

We have a Google event this week, what excitement is Google i O. And it's their developer conference, which happens every year. So it starts on Tuesday, May 18, goes through Friday. And it starts off with a keynote speech, which goes on that Tuesday. I think it's 10am. Pacific time. And normally, you can watch those live online. Now this is a virtual event. So there's no in person component. But significantly, as well as being really for developers, this keynote speech that kicks off the day will inevitably announced new products. So hopefully some new consumer products that we can excited about. And yeah, a couple of things to look forward to, we think there'll be a bit more information about Android 12, which is the the next version of the Android operating system. And also, there is a sneaking suspicion that there might be a new phone announced, which could be the Google Pixel five air. So they currently have the pixel five, which is actually the phone I have, and the pixel for air, which is a slightly lower spec, but still extremely well performing phone. And the rumours are that they're going to announce the update to the foray and get this fibre announced. So something to look forward to. They're also thoughts on updates to the Google Assistant, maybe there might be some new Google Pixel birds, which are their little in ear earphones as well. So something to get excited about in terms of new technology and new software. So look out for the Google i o event coming up this week. Another event to get excited about on Wednesday, if you like your cars big and beefy, and maybe you like pickup trucks who doesn't like a pickup truck that just looks so rugged, in just so versatile, you can haul loads, which you know, we all need to hold the Lord now and again. So Ford have an announcement on May the 19th, where they are announcing their electric f 150. Lightning EV truck. So this is a pickup truck, that's going to be 100% Electric, which just is staggering when you think electric cars were pretty much these small little cars. And now we've got to the stage where you can have a huge pickup truck that you would normally think of as not being that environmentally friendly. But they are launching this f 150 Electric version, they've said it's going to be available from spring 2022. So it is a little while before you'll be able to get your hands on it. But look forward to that some nice details of an electric car coming up this week. Finally, in tech, I wanted to briefly mention these air tags that Apple announced back a few weeks ago, I think it was. And these are little devices that help you find things like your keys. So you could attach a little one of these to your key ring. And it will connect to your phone via Bluetooth and ultra wideband which allows you to find where it is in the house, or it will show you on a map where you last saw it or where your phone last had a connection with it. One thing I didn't quite realise, which I think is extremely clever, and makes these a lot more useful than I thought was that they are able to connect to other people's iPhones. So they can anonymously check in. So for example, if you dropped your keys in the streets, potentially people walking past with iPhones, the air tag attached to your keys could ping those and anonymously send that. So you would still be able to find them even if you're nowhere near them with your own iPhone. And I thought that was a really interesting aspect. And this has been pushed to the limit by someone here in the UK, who actually put an air tag in an envelope and sent it to his friend across the country and managed to track it on its journey. Because every stage of the journey, there were tonnes of people who had iPhones in the pockets, this air tag, kindly connected to them and told him where it was. So effectively, he tracked his package travelling across the entire UK by having an air tag in it, which I just think is just an amazing use of the technology. I think there are a few privacy concerns about that. And I know Apple are doing a few things to address that. But yeah, really impressed with that technology certainly takes it to the next level above kind of a simple Bluetooth Finder. So if you are in the apple ecosystem, you've got iPhones and iPads, maybe consider these Apple air tags, I think there are a lot more clever than perhaps they appear at first sight.

Announcer:

Entertainment

Craig Williamson:

After the dizzying sophisticated heights of last week when I talked about a book that I listened to. I didn't read it but I listened to a book you know, very sophisticated. I'm going to think peppering things down just a little bit. This week, we've got the Eurovision Song Contest to talk about. And if you don't live in Europe, you may wonder what on earth This is all about. But this is a long running competition every year in May, where the whole of Europe and several countries who are not even in Europe, so I'm not quite sure how it's it's nice to keep the title Eurovision actually come together and sing songs and have a big competition to see who's got the best song for that year. So all the nations fought I think in the past. It's been can have a jury votes or musical experts in each country will vote on all the other countries. And they end up giving points for, I don't know, the top five or top 10 according to their view, in a lot of countries, now it goes to a public vote. So here in the UK, I believe we will get to vote on all the other countries, you can't vote for yourself, unfortunately. And then at the end, they reveal slowly and sometimes a little painfully, all the scores from all the countries to all the other countries, you add all the points up and you see who the Eurovision Song Contest when it is, and it ends up being a song that you really didn't like, and you really don't understand. And then you realise there's some political reason why certain countries voted for it, and he got more marks and it gets all a bit sinister, but it is quite good fun. And so if you are into a Eurovision Song Contest, then it is on all this week, they have now preliminary rounds, it always used to just go straight into a final, but they have preliminary rounds, so other countries can get involved. So that's taking place on Tuesday and Thursday. And then the big event itself is on Saturday night the 22nd of May. So tune in wherever you are in Europe, and I'm sure you can probably find it even if you are not in Europe, and the website is euro vision.tv. If you want to learn more about that the British entry this year is and this is kind of revealing my lack of current knowledge, a guy called James Newman. If you know him, congratulations. I hadn't heard of him before. He's a multi Platinum selling Brit Award winning and Grammy nominated songwriter, and he started singing some of his own songs. So his song is called embers and that is our entry. Now, Britain notoriously do not do well in the Eurovision and we always say it's political because of Brexit. People don't like us people are not voting for us. You know, we never admit that. It might just be that the songs are not that good. Anyway, on the Eurovision website, which I will link from the show notes at thank the week.com slash 27 you can look at all the different entries. And it's got lyrics for each of them as well, which I think is a bit unfair. If you just read lyrics you don't really get get a feel for the song, but I will be unfair. Let's read out the first lines of embers by the British entry James Newman. Sometimes I know my fire burns law. But as long as you're with me, I'll never get cold. Day and night. through darkness and light. I'll never worry when you're by my side. Yeah, I'm inspired. So hopefully, Britain will be destined not to come last that does seem to happen quite a bit. But tune in to the Eurovision Song Contest to final on Saturday night to find out where we finish up. Now I teased this at the start. Do you know what this is? Let us start the week last week, I'd never heard of this before and I had no idea. So I set out with with your interest in mind to educate myself. And so hopefully I can educate you. You may have heard of these before. These are called pop its. Now, you can't mention them without mentioning fidget spinners in the same sentence. fidget spinners were all the rage a few years ago. And my son certainly had more fidget spinners than than he could, he could count at one point. And these are just little sensory toys that people can play within their hands. And pop its are apparently all the new rage. So I read an article on BBC News round this week about puppets never heard of them before. So I thought you know what, I'm going to go out and buy one. So I managed to pick one up from a local shop, it was only three pounds. So let me describe it. So it's effectively a silicon desk or square, which has lots of dots in it, which are designed to look a bit like bubble wrap. So basically, you push them in from one side. And then when you pop them from the other side, you get a satisfying pop sound. And these are I say disks or squares, they do come in different shapes. Lots of different bright colours are about the size of a drinks cost and maybe a bit bigger. Again, you can get bigger and smaller ones, but it's essentially just a little fidget toy. So you pop all these discs through one way. And then on the way back. You get that satisfying sound as if you're popping bubble wrap. Yes. So that's that's it, you know. So I wanted to say I've learned what pop its are. What was strange was having never heard of them before. I got this one. And I showed it to my kids, both of them instantly. Like, Oh, you got a pop it. Like, what did you know about these? Oh, yeah, everyone's got them at school. Yeah, everyone's got them. It's like, Well, yeah, I guess. I guess I'm not. I'm not that down with the kids. So that is a puppet I've educated you. There are other things similar to this out. There's one that I just really liked the name of it. Harper told me about. Some people have something called a simple dimple, which is I think it's on a key ring and it's effectively just two of these on a little bit of plastic and you just pop them in and out. I guess it's a bit easier. Just doing it with one hand whereas this is quite a large thing. And it takes quite a bit of time actually to pop them all through. There is also a little game you can play. So they are divided. into rows. So looking at the one I've got, it's got six rows. So you can play a game with two players where you can pop as many as you want in your turn on a single roll. And then the other person goes, and the person to pop, the last one is the loser. So it's a bit of a strategy involved as to how many you leave open, on which line. So I played that game a couple of times with my kids, I popped it a little bit, I think it will be going back into the cupboard. But yeah, now I know what a pop it is, and you do too.

Announcer:

Life

Craig Williamson:

I mentioned last week that over half martham coming up, and at the time of recording, I haven't been out on it yet. So it is tomorrow it is on the Sunday. But what I'm going to do for you is I'm going to take my little handheld recorder and straight after the run, if I'm in a fist here to do so, when I'm back in the safety of my car, hopefully in the dry cuz I think it's gonna be a very wet race. I will tell you all about the run, which is the hullavington half marathon, I'm running. And what I'm going to do is insert that audio at the very end of this podcast. So even after I say goodbye, and the music dies away, there's still going to be some bonus content for you. So if you're interested in how I got on in the hullavington, half marathon, please stick around at the end of this podcast. And I'll put a little update for you there. I've been having more webcam from this week. Now. Is it Part B? That is it the conclusion? I'm not too sure, I don't think it is quite the conclusion. But I did receive the Poly P5 Studio webcam, which was this little webcam from Poly, who are a very well established video conferencing company. So I have very high hopes for it, I thought they do a really good job. And on the whole, I'm pretty impressed. It's a nice little package. Really cute little webcam, got some really thoughtful features, you can twist it round to close the shutter, and that turns red. So it kind of shows everyone that the camera switched off. If privacy is a concern for you, there's a little light on top as well, which shows when it's active again, another another great privacy feature there. The image quality is pretty good. So I compared it to my Logitech C920. Which I've I've complained about that. But I think the more time goes on, the more respect I have for the Logitech C920. It is as a technology around 10 years old. I haven't had mine for 10 years, but they've been selling that model for around 10 years. And it's incredible that you can't get anything that is head and shoulders above it. Yeah, I just think that's ridiculous. Especially when smartphone technology is coming along. And everyone's got such a good camera in their smartphone. But I have talked about this before. Anyway, the Poly P5 does beat the C 920. For image quality, I found it really sharp colour rendition was reasonable. It depends on your lighting. But yeah, generally I thought it was it was reasonable. The Poly P5 is about 100 to 120 pounds depending on where you find it. So it is a little bit more than the C920, which you can still buy today. And it's about 70 pounds at the moment. So I'd say if if you've got a low budget and if you've got good lighting in your room, the Logitech C 920 is probably the way to go. If the lighting is not quite as good, and you just want to step up that next level, then I think the Poly P5 is worth it. Certainly if you use the microphone built into your webcam, I really recommend the Poly P5 because the audio from the built in microphone is so much better than the Logitech so if that's a concern for you, definitely go for that. So is that the end of my webcam journey? No, it's not. It's not. So what I set out to do next was to think Well, I'm not that thrilled with this Poly P5 either. So what is the next step? Now if you look online, everyone is using digital SLR cameras to do their YouTube videos. So these are the big handheld cameras with interchangeable lenses. Now, as well as filming YouTube videos, they can also be used as webcams and a lot of the big camera companies Sony Nikon canon, released utilities for your computer, whether it's Mac or PC that would allow you to connect that digital SLR to your computer and use it as a webcam. So I thought well, what can I do there? So I found a used digital SLR is the Canon EOS 1300 D, I think in the US it's called the Rebel T6. And I got it used with a lens for less than 200 pounds. So this is stepping up the cost a little bit. I think one of the other webcams, I looked at the Cisco WebEx desk camera was 150. So this is a little step up to 200 pounds. And it doesn't give us high resolution the way that they process the image through these utilities. If you're into your resolutions, a normal webcam hopefully you'll get 1080p, which is full high definition. Through these webcam utilities, you get 720 p so it's it's high definition but it's a lower version. It's not full high definition. But my word the quality of the image is incredible. Considering it's got about a quarter of the number of pixels of the Logitech or the Poly P5. The image quality was just outstanding when I connected this SLR to my computer. Obviously it's got a huge lens, you know it's a normal camera. So you look at any way webcam, it's got such a tiny lens to so little light that can get in there. Whereas, you know, this thing has a huge, you know, huge lens that's bring in lots of light in there, it's got massive sensor at the back as well, whereas these webcams have a tiny sensor, but I didn't expect the difference to be so incredible. And the other nice thing is with with the way that lenses are and the focusing, and if you can get into it with with the aperture, then you can actually blur out your background, which looks really professional as well. And I know you can do that in software like zoom will, it will artificially blur your background. But this is a proper blur of the background that doesn't break up when you move your hand in front of it and that kind of thing, which the zoom ones can be. So I think a proper digital camera is the way to go. But I'm not too impressed with the EOS 1300 D, obviously, I went cheap I went second hand. And now it's got me yearning for something a bit more high tech, a bit more advanced. So I'm kind of going back to the drawing board now. And I'm thinking, yes, I do want to stand up on camera as my webcam, because the quality is just incredible. But what that camera will be or Time will tell I'm looking at some Sony compact cameras. So still a fairly large sensor, still a fairly large lens, but just a bit more portable. And I think I might get a bit more use out of that away from the computer as well. So I could have it on a little tripod. And then take it away to us is worth saying there is a bit of complication by using a camera because you do need a tripod or some means to hold it, it doesn't handle the clip onto your monitor. So there's a bit of extra expense there. You also need to think about powering the thing while you're using it as well. So some modern compact cameras, you can power from USB, so you can have it powered while it's been used. But these slrs don't do that. So you're either swapping batteries, or you're having to put in what's called a dummy battery and plug it into your man. So there is an additional expense. It's not just a 200 pounds for the camera. But my word the quality is awesome. So if you do have a digital camera lying around in your house, really recommend have a little Google See if you can use it as a webcam, and just try it out and see because yeah, the results just really staggered me. So that is kind of a conclusion, maybe not of my webcam journey. And maybe I will report back once I do decide what to do in terms of a digital camera

Announcer:

Harper.

Harper Williamson:

So last week, it was Mental Health Awareness Week. And so this week, I have a quote, I'd like to tell you, and

it is:

You don't have to contro your thoughts, you just have t stop letting them control you

Announcer:

Random

Craig Williamson:

Tuesday, May the 18th is no dirty dishes day. Let's get this right, no dirty dishes day. What does that mean? It could mean many things, it could mean just don't eat, you know, if you don't want to make your dishes dirty. I think the real purpose is to encourage people to go out to eat and therefore not having to wash dishes themselves. But then they still do the dishes aren't it's just that someone else's washing them. So I'm not too sure how to get behind this. One suggestion is and I do not encourage this is to use disposable plates and cutlery. Now that's wasteful. We're told not to do that kind of thing these days. So please don't do that. So anyway, maybe you just want to go and eat out certainly here in the UK. Restaurants are now going to be open and pub sub Tuesday might be the day to sample their wares and go inside and let someone else do the dishes or no dirty dishes day. Wednesday, May the 19th. It is May Ray Day, May Ray Day. And that's to celebrate the sunshine that's coming for May. And looking out the window right now. I'm really hoping the sunshine is coming because it's quite wet here in England at the moment, but it's about the seasons changing. And it's about getting out into the sun and getting excited for the summer coming up which I think we can all get behind. So May the 19th is May Ray Day. Thursday, May the 20th is Be A Millionaire Day. What Why are we wasting our time Let's just be a millionaire. And unfortunately, you have to wait till Thursday to enact this plan. But everyone has permission on Thursday to become a millionaire. I think there's a bit more of a serious meaning which is you know, we can't all become millionaires but it does encourage us to think a bit more about our finances. So Thursday May the 20th is Be A Millionaire Day. And we finish with a lovely summer activity thinking about May Ray day, if the sun is streaming out. Then Thursday May the 20th is pick strawberries day and I haven't done this for quite a few years but it is a lovely feeling of summer. May strawberries in the UK are delicious. This is the time we should be out there picking strawberries. There are many pick your own fruit places out there. So yeah, maybe I'll look into that and find somewhere nearby and go and pick some juicy ripe fresh strawberries, Henry enjoys strawberries as well. So Harper is not so keen, but at least three of us would enjoy that. And yes, just kind of a nice way to get out hopefully in the May Ray sunshine, and pick some strawberries on Thursday, May 28. pick strawberries there. Thank you so much for listening. Links to all the stories are in the show notes at thank the week.com slash 27. Please do tell a friend about Thank The Week and help to spread the positive message. And I look forward to seeing you all again next week. Goodbye!

Announcer:

Thank The Week. Discovering positivity and excitement in every week of the year.