Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC Protestor Arrests Update

The Quick Background: Yeah, I'm a Democrat (in ideology since I'm not registered with a party). Yes, I'm going to vote for Kerry. Irrespective, here are some things I found with a quick search:

Someone blogging the protesting and arrests at Indy Media.

A CNN article, posted only 20 minutes ago, saying 400 people arrested. I've read elsewhere that it's over 1000 arrested now. I also read somewhere that MSNBC is refusing to cover the protests (or at least not reporting on them). In a cursory glance, I couldn't find a piece on the protests at MSNBC.com.

This one over at the Village Voice has some photos to go with the reports.

Majority Report Radio also has some photos with its reports.

Here's a recent WCBS 880 article on the cops arresting hundreds of protestors. This one states the +1000 mark.

Last, here's a blog called Annatopia that has some additional thoughts and coverage.

What I find difficult to digest is the volume of purported arrests. Since WCBS 880 gave that +1,000 number, I feel more confident believing it. But honestly, the Republican National Convention and the concomitant protests merited the arrest of so many people??? Was there no better way to handle this? I'm sure some of them deserved to be arrested for not following protocol but c'mon! Over 1,000??? Then compare that with the very few arrests that took place outside the DNC. I don't get it.

So is this a sign of things to come? Is protesting, even in peaceful forms, to be considered illegal now? Where's the line?

And before the badgering begins, if it is to begin, I recognize that this is a fairly limited view from limited information. Go ahead, give me a counterpoint if you have one.

Today's Show is Brought to You By the Letter "G"

As in, "gee," Father of the Pride is an awful show. This post is about my TV watching tonight.

Father of the Pride, NBC Tuesdays

This was touted as "the next show." It's completely computer generated and features John Goodman as the voice of the main lion. Unfortunately, it doesn't feature anything recognizable as entertainment or humor. Seriously. A few words came to mind as I was watching it, mind you there were no commercials to break up the tedium, those words including: tepid, tripe, g-d awful and "why am I watching this, again?" I will be flabbergasted if this p.o.s. makes it to the end of its first season. Not even Segried and Roy can save this train wreck. Honestly, avoid this one like the plague and hope you never flip through it for fear of losing your soul.

Scrubs, NBC

In complete contrast, Scrubs is everything I remember it to be. This includes funny, amusing and entertaining. I laughed out loud many, many times. Heather Graham as a flighty psychiatrist is terrific! The show helped me remember not only why Zach Braff is a really cool actor but also why I watch this one.

Nip/Tuck, FX Tuesdays at 10pm
Pretty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is in the soul. You know it when you see it.
Chilling when coming from an attractive blind woman (played by Rebecca Gayheart). The show keeps getting better and better. Julia MacNamara becomes more and more unsettled by her husband's antics with "porn star barbie" girlfriend Kimber. So much so that Julia undergoes breast augmentation. The enigmatic Dr. Troy takes up with the new blind patient who supposedly sees more in him than he is usually credited with:
Maybe you're afraid of finding out you're not the bastard you think you are.
Then again, who'd have expected him to develop into a father? The only thing I'm wondering is why we haven't seen one of Dr. MacNamara's kids, Matt, in a few episodes. Meh, a small detail next to the big picture. Btw, looks like Famke Janssen opted not to put in another appearance yet. Too bad.

Well, I'm not going to go in-depth with Nip/Tuck. Partly because it's a rather shallow show and partly because I really like it and don't feel like cutting through its layers.. at least not yet. One final word, next week's episode looks like it will be pretty strange with Julia dreaming through most of it. Not to say that won't be interesting.

So this guy walks into a bar...

Often, maybe even too often, I end up posting links to other blogs or stories not only as interesting things you may wish to check out but primarily as reminders for myself. Maybe I should standardize the whole thing so I'm not forced (a) to keep coming up with quasi-relevant (or irrelevant) titles for these aggregating posts; (b) errr.. well, really it's that (a) thing but also so you, the reader, may have a subtle clue from the post title as to what the post contains. With titles like the one for this post, there's really no way anyone, including myself, can hope to predict what I'll be writing about. Plus, I could then pull this classification of posts together into another master list. That way if you're ever really, REALLY bored and looking for some Random Bits of Oddity & Interest, you can find some rather easily. Hmmm.. Something to consider...

Enough of the stream of consciousness brainstorming! (For now.)

A Slashdot Post led me to a Wired article entitled "The Giants of Anime are Coming."

I dig anime so I'll peruse that article later today. My all-time favorites, and I highly recommend them, are the Samurai X OVA's (aka OAV's) entitled Trust & Betrayal. There's a director's cut, Reflections, that has the whole thing. Beautiful animation coupled with a compelling romance story and some good 'ole ninja fighting. Doesn't get much better than that! Mind you I also have a soft place in my heart for what I call "the classics," namely Ninja Scroll, Vampire Hunter D, Akira, Armitage III, etc.

Also, two more sites for the links column: brianstorms weblog and the excellent and world famous (check out the Technorati on the site) Will Wheaton Dot Net. (Btw, he's right -- "50,000 monkeys at 50,000 typewriters can't be wrong.")

New G-Mail Address!

With ever so many thanks to Soupie, I have a new e-mail address at which you can contact me: AgtShadow [at] gmail [dot] com

Since I'm putting off bed for a few minutes more, a little background (briefly) about my e-mail name choice. A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... Back when I was in high school, I was really into the whole AOL chat room thing. (This was back before my online gaming obsession.) As the story often goes, I met a girl. In a chat room. As it happens, we were quite taken with one another. And this occurred during Spring break, in March, so I had tons of time to spend talking with her. Her screenname was AgtXXXXXX (where XXXXXX == a well-known Sci Fi female character name). She convinced me to abandon my FIRSTNAMELASTNAME screenname and create a new one, AgtShadow. It was undertaken in similarity to hers. (I still have both AOL e-mail addresses, btw.)

Hence my gmail choice.

As for the girl, well, despite our similarities and growing passion for one another, it didn't survive the scan test. I.e. The test where I scan in a photo of myself the first day back at school for her to look at so she can see what I look like. Needless to say, she didn't like the fact that I wear glasses. As Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. so eloquently put it: "So it goes."

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Catfight Is On!!!

Over at Soupie's THE CATFIGHT IS ON!!! For those not in the know, Soupie runs a feature entitled Just Because. (On a side note, Energy Spatula at will work for favorable dicta bought the JB franchise.) Starting tonight, the voting begins on the first four battle royales. Folks, this is gonna be a tight one with Elisha Cuthbert going head to head with no. 1 seeded Monica Bellucci. Go on over and vote! Don't forget, you only have 24 hours from when each is posted and all votes must be non-anonymous! (E.g. Leave your e-mail or web address.)

On an unrelated note, I'm planning on a "Deconstructing Kill Bill Vol. 1" post some time soon. I'd do it tonight but then I wouldn't do any of my reading for tomorrow's two classes. So you'll have to wait.

It May Take Two to Tango But It Takes Three to Form a Crowd

A CNN article on Kevin Smith's recent announcement of a sequel to Clerks. (I can't wait!)

JURIST - Tillers on Evidence which will probably be in my links column soon. (I'm just a little too lazy to add it right now.)

A post from UCL on "the new reality of civil litigation in the 21st century: most civil litigators at big firms have no opportunities for trial experience." A good read, especially if, like myself, you're interested in trial law.

Avast, Ye Criminals!!!

Most of the posts on this blog have been fairly neutral. I've written relatively little about myself. Part of that has been the fact that it was summertime and relatively little was going on. (You really want to hear about my latest trip to the pub? Unless it involves some surprise ending or involves other interesting people, probably not.)

Well, you're in luck! Today is the first day of classes at UConn Law and I am blogging to you live (as it were) from the first class of Criminal Procedure. Exciting, isn't it??? In Crim Pro we're going to learn all sorts of wonderful things about.. errr.. criminal procedure. We'll primarily concentrate on the 4th, 5th and 6th amendments, or so I am assured. Today we're talking about police as community caretakers. It's about as thrilling as it sounds, believe it or not. But since I think I might be tangentially interested in this class, I'm staying awake and paying attention.. somewhat.

Here are the courses I'm taking this semester:
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Antitrust
  • Business Organizations
  • Forensics
I'm most excited about the Forensics class. In the past, students in that seminar have gotten 1-2 guest lectures by Henry Lee, famed forensics expert of the O.J. Simpson trial. Even if we don't get the guest lectures, I'm pretty sure we get to visit the CT Forensics Lab. And even if not, I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy the course regardless.

I also have that SRP (Special Research Project) Paper to finish (ugh!) and I plan on sitting for the Patent Bar again (I missed passing on my first attempt by only 9 points). Beyond those, there's the Texas Lonestar Mock Trial Competition (in San Antonio), my involvement in the Student Bar Association (SBA - I'm a class representative), activities with the Student Trial Lawyers Association (STLA - I was Pres. last year), activities with the Jewish Law Student Assoc. (JLSA - I was Treas. last year), activities with Phi Alpha Delta (PAD - I was Treas. last year), activities with the Intellectual Property and Technology Law Society (IPTLS - I was Sec. last year), the online IP Newsletter we're trying to get going, and the web site policy I'm drafting with another student. I also plan on attending State of Play 2 at the New York Law School on Oct. 28-30. (I'll link it later with some more explanation.)

That sounds like a lot but.. ummm... I guess it is or can be. Thankfully most of those things, at least the activity ones, require little attention or discrete amounts of attention for short periods of time. Like the Symposium on Drug Importation (IPTLS) that we're doing with the CT Journal of International Law (CJIL, not CILJ which is the CT Insurance Law Journal). Anyways, I find a way to balance it I suppose. Certainly keeps me busy or at least on my toes.

Since classes are beginning, you can probably expect more intermittent blogging and some posts on classes. Also there will be some posts on activities and happenings with my friends, since those will kick in as well shortly. Hopefully you will find some of this interesting. Maybe even more interesting than my usual posts which often merely cite to other posts on other blogs. We'll see what happens. As always, if you have any suggestions, comments, queries, clean jokes or dirty limericks, please feel free to e-mail me.

I think that's all I have for now. Time to either pay closer attention or surf around to my daily sites and blogs!

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Rufus Strikes Again!!!

A hilarious post at Running With Lawyers on Lawyer Sexual Euphemisms. Very, VERY amusing.

The Top Ten List of Top Ten Lists

(N.B. Not really.) Listed below are the titles (and links thereto) of all the Top Ten Lists to date, most recent at the top. If you have any suggestions, please e-mail me. Cheers!

Top Ten Signs You Probably Won't See On A Law School Campus

Top Ten Reasons Why The Law Student Crossed The Road

Top Ten Signs Things At Law School Aren't Going Your Way

Top Ten Reasons Why The Mongol Hordes Will Not Be Invading My Law School

Top Ten Things You're Most Likely To Misplace or Lose in Law School

Top Ten Most Common Injuries Sustained By Law Students (And What Causes Them)

Top Ten Law School Curses

Top Ten Worst Responses When the Professor Calls On You In Class

Top Ten Companies and Organizations You Are Least Likely To Encounter in Bus. Org. Class

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XIV) -- "Do you prefer to work with others or by yourself?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XIII) -- "Tell me about the worst boss you've ever had."

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XII) -- "What did you get out of your academics?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part XI) -- "How would your friends describe you?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part X) -- "Who are you?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part IX) -- "When could you start?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part VIII) -- "Why did you go to law school?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part VII) -- "Have you ever been in court?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part VI) -- "Were you on your school's Moot Court Board?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part V) -- "What did you do this summer?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part IV) -- "Why should we hire you?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part III) -- "Where are you from?"

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part II) -- "Tell me about yourself."

Top Ten Worst Answers to an Interview Question (Part I) -- "Why do you want to work here?"

Top Seventeen Legal Textbooks

Top Ten Things I Did This Summer

Top Ten Things I Didn't Do This Summer

Top Ten Ways to Celebrate the End of Your Summer

Top ____ Rejected Slogans for Internet Explorer

Top 11 Law-Related Ludlum Books

Top 15 Law School Courses Based on This Summer's Movies

Movie Reviews R Uss

Listed below, most recent at the top, are all of the movie reviews to date. This list will be updated as more are seen and reviewed. If you have any recommendations for movies I should see or review, please e-mail me.

Unless otherwise indicated, the movies reviewed were seen in the theatre. At my discretion, I may include movies I see on television, as rentals or purchases (i.e. DVDs and video tapes). Also, here's a link to an explanation of my movie rating system. Cheers!


The Wedding Date

In Good Company

Blind Date (DVD)


The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Ocean's Twelve

Meet the Fockers

Blade: Trinity

I Heart Huckabees

The Grudge

After the Sunset


National Treasure

The Incredibles

Waxwork II: Lost in Time (DVD)


Betsy's Wedding (DVD)

Team America: World Police

Down With Love (DVD)


Saved! (DVD)

Mean Girls (DVD)

Moulin Rouge (DVD)

The Punisher (DVD)

Torque (DVD)

Shaun of the Dead

Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (An A&E/BBC 6-episode miniseries on DVD.)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Darklight (A Sci Fi Channel made-for-TV movie.)

Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Suspect Zero


Garden State

Without a Paddle

Alien Vs. Predator


Little Black Book

The Village

The Manchurian Candidate


Saturday, August 28, 2004

Of This, That, The Other and Something Else

In this sure-to-be-long post I'm going to meander through quite a few things. Bear with me or don't, at your leisure (pronounced leh'-zhoor).

First off, I need to add more links to my links column. I am sorely missing some sites that should be there (e.g. Sugar Mr. Poon and Interstate Love Songs) and need to reorder some of the ones that are. Apologies to Monsieur Poon for the delayed linkage etc.

Second, I'll be adding master (aggregate) lists for the Top Ten Lists and Movie Reviews.

The Student Activities Fair yesterday. Okay, I don't know why the school has this thing other than it should. I mean, no 1L is going to absolutely know before the semester even begins, the activities and/or organizations, if any, in which he or she would like to participate. In addition, every group, and I mean EVERY, sends out announcements to the whole school. So it's not as if this fair is crucial in any sense of the word. At least the first activity will be announced to the student body at large. Hence, the lists of names collected at this fair are largely irrelevant. Entirely. Anyways, I just had to get that off my chest.

I suppose one good thing is that we get to see some of the incoming 1Ls and some of them get to see some of us. Meh.

One 1L I did see is a guy who was a fellow high school classmate of mine. I'm not going to mention his name (as is my standing policy) but I will say that he and I were pretty good friends long, long, LONG ago, back when we were in elementary school. I haven't seen him for a long time. Kinda cool, I guess, to see a new familiar face.

An interesting observation that makes sense but still surprises me. Quite a few people from my high school have come to UConn Law. It makes sense in that it's in the same state, CT, so we get in-state tuition. Plus UConn is a fairly decent law school in the Northeast. Still, there are at least.. 5 other THS students I know of, besides myself (including 1 who just graduated). Just surprising to me is all.

Non sequitor, a phrase from next week's Nip/Tuck: "porn star Barbie." This should be good. Looks like Dr. Troy winds up with a blind woman played by Rebecca Gayheart of Scream 2, Urban Legend and Jawbreaker fame. Meanwhile, Dr. MacNamara is continuing his escapades with Dr. Troy's way-former girlfriend and now-porn star, Kimber. Dr. MacNamara's estranged wife, Julia, meets with the life coach, played by the enigmatic Famke Janssen.

Let's see, some links I want to remember: Yahoo! Movies - Greg's Previews; Movies.com; Movie-Source; The Music 50 Website; Everything is wrong with me.

Btw, there are tons of movies to be on the look out for. So many that I'm going to mention a few and not link them. If you're curious for more, check out the immediately preceding movie links. Upcoming ones include Sideways, Batman Begins, X-Men 3, Elektra, Fantastic Four, Constantine, Preacher, Sin City, Daredevil 2, Resident Evil 2, Blade 3, Team America: World Police and many, MANY more.

Yesterday night, before the party, I (successfully) made some chocolate chip shortbread. Came out well. Very easy to make as compared with the cake I made this Spring. I like to bake.

My current book: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. This guy pioneered much of the horror genre. E.g. He was the original author of the tale about the creature on the airplane wing. (The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 feet" starring William Shatner.) This guy is an amazing author. Truly amazing. I highly recommend him to anyone who likes Stephen King, Clive Barker or pretty much any horror novelist.

I think that's everything for today or for now. Cheers!

ADDENDUM: Two more sites: Waiting for the Punchline and Life, Law, Libido. [8:55 PM]

ADDENDUM II: And some more: quantum meruit; The Pedantic Pundit; Emily!; ~live through this~; Movie Talk at Rogue Slayer Law Student Movie Fan.

The links column will soon be sentient. I'll have a birthday present on hand for when that occurs. Gotta run, Vamp movie on the Sci Fi Channel just starting. I love vampire movies and novels, hehe. [9:06 PM]

ADDENDUM III: And Legislating Gremlins (fka Not for Sheep in case that's not apparent from the URL). Btw, the vamp movie was John Carpenter's Vampires: Los Muertos starring Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. Not an excellent movie but good enough for me to enjoy. Yay vampire movies! [12:40 AM, 8/28/04]

ADDENDUM IV: And Biting Tongue. [1:48 PM, 8/28/04]

Suspect Zero Is Not Suspect

Ooh the puns (homonyms too?) run rife in my blood!!!

Suspect Zero stars Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley and Carrie-Anne Moss. I refuse to start linking to movies those three have been in because I don't where I would stop. I will mention the writer, Zak Penn, because, after looking on IMDB, I realized that this is the guy who also wrote (either the story, the screenplay or both) Last Action Hero, PCU, Behind Enemy Lines and X2 (aka X-Men 2). He's also one of the writers for Elektra, a movie I eagerly anticipate.

A quick non-sequitor consisting of a semi-random amusing quote from Mrs. Carrie-Anne Moss: "After The Matrix, I cannot wear sunglasses. As soon as I put them on, people recognise me."

IMDB Summary:
FBI Agent Thomas Mackelway (Aaron Eckhart) has been put on leave for 6 months, demoted, and reassigned to Albuquerque, because he violated the civil rights of a serial killer, Raymond Starkey. Starkey was living in Mexico at the time, when Mackelway brought him back to America in the trunk of his car. Starkey was eventually set free upon the world. Mackelway arrives in Albuquerque, and his first case is the murder of a traveling salesman, Harold Speck, who has a zero mark on his body. The FBI was called to the scene, because the body was in a car located just across the state line. Soon afterwards, he investigates two other murders. Raymond Starkey was the third victim. All the victims had the same zero mark on their body.

At first, the murders looked random, and then Mackelway begins to connect the dots. The victims are all serial killers, and someone is going around killing them. He gets a lead that Benjamin O'Ryan (Ben Kingsley) may have some connection to the murders, and he begins to track down O'Ryan. He finds out that O'Ryan was once an FBI agent with special skills, trained to use 'remote viewing' to see what the serial killer sees. This is a dark movie dealing with the subject of serial killers. Sometimes it is hard to follow the clues that the movie reveals, but it will keep you guessing, and hold your attention to the very end. (Paramount Pictures, Run time 1:40, Rated R)
Btw, I don't feel bad reprinting so much of the story since the preview gives you all of this anyways.

Suspect Zero is a great movie, reminding me in spirit of The Silence of the Lambs and/or The Bone Collector. Suspect is equally dark and mysterious. You learn as Agent Mackelway does concerning the serial murders and O'Ryan's involvement in things. There aren't any gruesome or bloody shots in the film. It's very clean in that respect and I'm not sure if such gratuitous aspects would have helped or hindered. Either way, this is a good movie. I liked the plot, I very much liked the actors and actress(es) involved.

I also particularly took note of the cinematography. For example, the first time you see Ben Kingsley, you only see his distinctive outline through a mostly-glass door. Then the shot is as if looking up at the door from the floor. The door opens and you see a shoe. (So you're actually upside down looking down at the door.) I just loved that shot. So strange and mildly disturbing. I don't know what it was and this was only a few minutes into the movie so it wasn't building on anything per se, but it just seemed so different and unexpected to me. Very typical of the rest of the film.

Anyways, I really enoyed this movie. My only criticism would be that it didn't really explain everything in the end, or at least not sufficiently so as to give me a feeling of "oh yeah" at the end. When I left, I was still digesting what had happened and how it fit together to produce the overall arc of the tale. In all honesty, while seeming somewhat complex as I was watching it, afterwards I realized that the plot wasn't all that thick or complicated. Just a mild warning there.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Theatre-worthy. I don't know if I'll buy it but I definitely recommend seeing it in the theatre if you like suspense movies and/or the actors and actress(es) involved. Quick yay for Ben Kingsley (and Carrie-Anne Moss)!

Hero Will Save You

That's a very oblique reference that only I would think of to a song lyric from The Cranberries. It's from the song "This Is The Day" off their album Wake Up & Smell the Coffee wherein Dolores O'Riordan repeats the line "faith will save you." Gah, too much explanation.

Hero (aka Ying xiong), despite it's recent release in American theatres, is not a "new" movie. The year on it is 2002. Rather, it was released in China (and elsewhere, I assume) before Quentin Tarantino "brought" it to the U.S. (I'm not positive but that's one hypothesis for the meaning of the phrase "Quentin Tarantino presents." I.e. He ponied up some money and name recognition to get it into American theatres, much as it is assumed he did for Iron Monkey a few years ago.) Hero stars Jet Li (probably my favorite movie-making "martial artist" of the past 10 years). The only other actor/actress I recognized was Ziyi Zhang since she played the role of Jen Yu in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. That's not to say there aren't other big names associated with this thing, 'cause there are. Such as the Producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the Director Yimou Zhang. Rather, Mr. Li and Ms. Zhang are the ones I personally recognize and have seen before. Please do not misconstrue my lack of kung fu movie knowledge as insulting or ignoring many people who I should probably otherwise acknowledge.

The story of HERO starts off quite simply, as Jet Li begins to recount his martial triumphs to the Emperor of Qin. The tale is told in flashbacks which revisit and re-evaluate the same events, elaborating on and changing the story as we learn more.
Very simplistic but very true. It begins with Nameless (Jet Li and yes that's the character's "name") telling the Emperor how he defeated three incredible assassins. The story unfolds from there. More I cannot say except that, in retrospect, the trailer is very misleading in the themes and memes it purports to display. If you watch the trailer after having seen the movie, you'll understand what I mean.

I loved this movie. It's Crouching Tiger without all that wishy-washy, nebulous plot thrown in. The plot of Hero is more direct but not without twists and surprises. The action sequences are VERY well done! (I had to bold and italicize that sentence because it's very true imho.) Jet Li does a fantastic job. The sequences are powerful, amazing and beautiful though not necessarily in that order. My only criticism is that the subtitles (yes, it's subtitled) sometimes moved a bit fast. I'm a fast reader and there were times where I barely finished reading the words before they were replaced. There's not too much you can do with that but if that's the worst part of this movie, that ain't bad. (And it's not a huge problem. The movie speaks volumes without any literal words. Seriously.) Anyways, I loved this one and will gladly go see it again with some friends.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy if you're into the genre.

(Thank you Mr. Tarantino!!!!)

The Throbbing Is In My Head

Number Two Way to Drive Me Out of My Apartment: Have the West End Civic Center (located next door) throw a party in the next door parking lot. In celebration, have them play really loud R&B music with lots and LOTS of bass.

I need to leave before the throbbing becomes a deep-rooted headache. I'm only ~10 min. from that point. Thank you WECC. (And this is why the posts on the movie and the fair will be delayed a bit more. Aaarggh. Well, time for another movie - probably Suspect Zero.)

ADDENDUM: Btw, the plus side is that it drove me to get off my ass, take a shower and stop watching Saturday morning television (which only pales in horridness to Sunday morning television). [12:09 PM]

ADDENDUM II: I forgot to mention, the Number One Way to Drive Me Out of My Apartment is to shut off the electricity during the daytime. When thus forced to choose between reading and leaving the apt., I will opt for the latter. [4:47 PM]

ADDENDUM III: The loud civic party had long dispersed by the time of my 4:30 return. In the interim, Suspect Zero and a hickory burger (is there any other?) at the Wood -n- Tap had occupied my attention. (Not to mention a brief stop at Dunkin Donuts to pass 30 min. while continuing to read I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.) [4:50 PM]

Friday, August 27, 2004

"Alcholoism" Reigns Supreme!!!

I'm too tired to post about the movie and the activity fair but not too tired to note that someone found this site by searching for "alcholoism" on Yahoo!. Seriously. It linked them to this post on alcoholism. I'm deliberately not going to correct the blatant typo. Why? Hell, I want that repeat business! (Even if they, and I, cannot spell. Plus I just posted on the typo so it would seem odd to correct it now...)

People also found this site by searching for "SPUDS MCKENZIE" and "making false teeth." (Thank you eXTReMe Tracking!)

"I'm just passing through..."

..on my way to other things. I just got back from seeing Hero at the theatre. Write up on that can be expected later. I have a 4-5:30 Student Activities Fair I'm late to and I'm baking somethign tonight for a party. The something is a chocolate chip shortbread. Should be fun. Gotta run. More posts later.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Without A Garden State Paddle

I took in a double feature today. Actually I just saw two movies in a row but I'm calling it a double feature because. Fyi, and not 'cause you care, the most movies I ever saw in a 24-hour period is 5. I was in Edinburgh at the time. Don't ask. There really isn't a story to accompany that punchline. Onwards!!!

Garden State Smells Better Than The Garden State

Although that's not a very difficult feat. Garden State is written by, directed by and stars Zach Braff. You may recognize him as the main character of NBC's comedy Scrubs. (I love that show.) His main co-star is Natalie Portman although Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm are there too.

IMDB Plot Summary:
Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is a struggling Los Angeles actor living in a zombified state due to anti-depressants and his icy family (Ian Holm), who reside back in New Jersey. When news comes to Largeman that his disabled mother has drowned, he returns to his home state for the funeral, reconnecting with his mostly deadbeat friends (including Peter Sarsgaard) along the way. Experiencing his first weekend of a chemical-free life since he was a child, Largeman stumbles into the world of Sam (Natalie Portman), a young epileptic, who helps Largeman confront his feelings toward his family and himself.
I really enoyed this movie. It's difficult to "classify" but I would call (am calling) it a dark romantic comedy. It's probably funnier than it should be since it deals with some fairly dark, weighty topics but that only serves to lighten the mood from the otherwise suicide-inducing sense. Well, most of the movie isn't dark, really, but the story twists into that jet-black region with unfamiliar abruptness. Can you tell it's hard to describe?

Anyways, I really liked it. The mix of off-beat moments, comedy and romance intrigued me. After seeing Garden State, I'm anxious to see the next movie Zach Braff writes. By the way, the comedic elements reminded me of the humor in Scrubs. Not that off-the-cuff style but certainly the same off-beat, odd inclinations.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy if you like the darkness (which I do).

ADDENDUM: I forgot to include my favorite phrase for describing this movie - existential angst. That's probably the best two-word summary there is.


Without a Paddle is Without a Clue

Without a Paddle stars Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dex Shephard as 3 friends trekking through the wilderness. Burt Reynolds makes a cameo appearance along with a bear named Bart.

The IMDB Plot Summary:
The plot is simple. A Goonies-esque trip to find the "lost treasure" reportedly left behind by the infamous D.B. Cooper while overcoming a number of obstacles along the way.
Yeah, you can tell this is a complex movie rife with numerous intriguing plot twists. Right. All in all, this isn't a bad movie if you go in knowing it won't be a good one. Five years from now, this is not going to stand out as one of the great comedies a la Mike Myers' Austin Powers or Old School. I saw this movie because I'm a fan of Seth Green (Buffy's Oz, Austin Powers' Scott Evil) and Matthew Lillard (Hackers, Scream, Summer Catch, Thir13en Ghosts, Scooby-Doo). To be honest, it was a nice, light, fluffy comedy with absolutely no redeeming value as a movie.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Cable-Worthy or Matinee/Rental-Worthy if you're willing to shell out the dough.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Top Seventeen Legal Textbooks

17. Property (And How To Legally Obtain It From Other People)

16. Torts for Law Students Dummies

15. Uncivil Procedure

14. The 25 lb Book That You’ll Have to Carry to School Three Times a Week (d/b/a The Tax Code)

13. Ethics for Unscrupulous, Lying, Cheating Bastards Lawyers

12. Legal Crimes

11. Illegal Crimes

10. Tax Evasion Made Easy

9. Things You Shouldn’t Do As A Lawyer (But Will)

8. How To Represent Other Dishonest Weasels

7. Constitutional Law Made Easy

6. Copywrong

5. Conflicts of Lawyers

4. Influential Lawyers In History (Ones That Weren’t Caught and Burned at the Stake)

3. Evidence You Don’t Want Used Against You

2. Administrative Agencies That Are Actually Productive

1. How Not To Get Caught

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

AvP: Whoever Wins, You Lose

Just got back from seeing Alien Vs. Predator at the local theatre. Written and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (who directed Event Horizon and wrote, directed and produced Resident Evil). Starring Sanaa Lathan and Lance Henriksen (whom, in an interesting twist, you may recognize as Bishop from Aliens).

The movie. Not bad. About what I expected but better. In all honesty, I'd watch it again. It didn't wow me but it also didn't make me roll my eyes. So I say kudos. Not the best but not the worst. I'm not sure what else to say. This is one of those movies where if you're gonna see it, you'll see it. Else you won't. If you do go see it, I'm just saying it's not a waste by any stretch.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Matinee-worthy if you'll like it. I'd try to avoid full-price admission.

Return of the Living Dead Lawyers!!!

A comment here led me to a brief article here announcing the casting for a new Sci Fi series, Dead Lawyers:
SCI FI Channel has signed Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham and Sean Patrick Flanery to star in Dead Lawyers, an hour-long pilot for a supernatural drama series. Flanery (The Dead Zone) stars as lawyer Jimmy Quinn, who awakens after he dies to discover that he must undo injustices he committed during his life before he can reach the afterlife. Abraham (Amadeus) co-stars as Thomas Whitelaw, Jimmy's afterlife mentor.
I'm a big fan of sci fi but I mean c'mon!!! This series gets +1 for incorporating lawyers into its fold, +10 for potentially being an interesting series AND -50 for painting lawyers in a bad light. So, apparently all lawyers are scum and should repent since after we [ignoring the fact that I am not but will be a lawyer] die we'll have to undo the "injustices" we committed as lawyers. Wow, gee thanks for the update. While we're at it, why don't you just come out and say ALL LAWYERS ARE SOULLESS CRETINS AND DESERVE TO BE SLOWLY ROASTED ON A SPIT IN THE FIREY DEPTHS OF HELL.

Yeah, as if our profession doesn't have enough public image problems as it is that we need them reinforced by shows like this. Just wonderful. (Anyone up for a letter writing campaign, a protest or a lawsuit?)

Monday, August 23, 2004

Today's Roundup

I ran into 5 mildly interesting things. Before I go into them, I'd like to let you (what readers there are) that at some point soon I'll try to incorporate more humorous items into the blog. For some reason, those few comments I've received thus far have been on mildly amusing points or serious ones. Okay, that made no sense. Pffft. I've rarely let logic slow me down, I see no reason to start right now. That also makes little sense. ::Sigh:: Can you tell it's a Monday morning?

Btw, I may or may not post again later. I'm going to the eye doctor (I think he's a retina specialist -- no ordinary ophthalmologist for me since my bout of optic neuritis 1.5 years ago) this afternoon so there's a good chance I'l be blind or, at the very least, unable to see clearly for much of the rest of the day (after the appointment). These things are always such fun. As much as the field vision tests. Y'know, the ones where I feel like I have ADD.

News Bites (Rabies Sold Separately)

Apparently there are new overtime pay rules in effect. The CNN article mentions that some lawyers are upset since they'll lose work. It also mentions that it's going to take some litigation before these rules are sorted out, not unlike Blakely. So, in essence, as it relates to lawyers, some will lose work while others will gain work. Good to know.

In other not-quite-news, here's an Astronomy Picture of the Day (courtesy of NASA) showing what the Earth looks like at night. The picture is a composite of satellite photos. Very cool. I'm the pinprick of light in the middle of Connecticut.

Here's a User Guide to Using Linux. Personally, I haven't played around with non-Windows OS' yet (e.g. Linux). When I get my next computer in a year or two, I'll start monkeying around on my old machine. Until then, I need it to work without complications or reserves. Not reserves of jam, reserves as in, oh nevermind.

Jeremy has 10 pieces of advice for the first week of law school. Good stuff. "What's this? You're wearing the shirt of the band you're going to see? Don't be that guy." (link)

Last but not least we have a Slashdot post on robotics news. The one that particularly interests me is: "A Californian counselor has just patented the ten ethical laws of robotics." I'll have to see if I can find that patent. Could be fun reading, could be a good patent. Who knows!

That's what I've got thus far for today! Don't forget to tune in to Lessig's Blog as Judge Posner begins his blogging stint. Cheers!

Addendum: A post on PHOSITA clued me in to this Scientific American article on that most famous of patent clerks, one Albert Einstein. As I was a physics phreak (forgive the leet-speak spelling), it's always interesting (for me) to learn more about Einstein and his legacy. As for you, my faithful readers, I recommend starting with F = ma and p = mv and if you remember what those two mean, you should be ashamed of yourself unless you were a physics major or minor. For shame!!! [11:32 AM]

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Pop Rocks Not Just A Candy

While flipping between the Olympics (NBC) and Who's Line Is It Anyways (ABC Family), I learned of a mildly interesting new show in September (starts on the 10th at 8pm) on ABC Family. It's called Pop Rocks and stars actor Gary Cole of Office Space Lumbergh fame ("Milt, we're gonna need to go ahead and move you downstairs into storage B. We have some new people coming in, and we need all the space we can get. So if you could go ahead and pack up your stuff and move it down there, that would be terrific, OK?" - link) as a former rock star who is invited to reunite with the other members and perform one final concert for a heap of moolah. The catch? None of his family or friends knows about his secret past. (Production Release here).

The show probably wouldn't have caught my eye except for Lumbergh, I mean Gary Cole. Because he's starring in it, I might just tune in for the first episode or two. It's Lumbergh!!!

ADDENDUM: My reaction to/review of the movie can be found here. Cheers! [12:16 AM, 9-11-04]

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Alcoholic Lawyer

Larry the Longhorn (of Lonestar Expat) has a post (in which he sites this post from Dave!) on law students and substance abuse.

In my Legal Profession class (aka Ethics for Lawyers, an oxymoron that isn't), we're told that lawyers, as a profession, have one of the highest rates of substance abuse. A 2001 article claims:
A study in Washington and Arizona found 19 percent of lawyers suffer from alcoholism, and another 3 percent are addicted to cocaine and other drugs—a cumulative 22 percent rate of addiction.
Here's an excellent 21-page article by Brooke Meredith Budde on this topic. Here's a New York Lawyer article. Here's a Law.com article.

Here's a paragraph from a Michigan Bar article:
An often-quoted Johns Hopkins University study measured the prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder within a number of occupations and found that of 28 occupations compared statistically, lawyers were most likely to suffer from depression and 3.6 times more likely than average to do so. Studies also show that one of the leading causes of premature death in the legal profession is suicide. Lawyers also suffer unusually high rates of substance abuse and a variety of mental and physical problems.
The same article quotes the ABA Commission on Lawyers Assistance Programs as saying:
Reports estimate that while 10 percent of the general population have problems with alcohol abuse, anywhere from 15–18 percent of the lawyer population battles the same problem.
That same Michigan Bar article ends with:
In Michigan, preliminary 2000–2001 statistics from the Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program show that calls for help increased 21 percent over the previous year. Seventy percent of those seeking help were men, 30 percent women. About 43 percent of the clients sought help for alcohol addiction; 27 percent for mental/emotional problems (bi-polar, adult attention deficit disorder, depression, and relationship problems); 3.5 percent for gambling addiction; 3 percent for sexual addiction; and 2.3 percent for work-related conflict and performance issues.
Originally, when I first began this post at 7:25 PM (I've taken a few, long breaks since then, btw), I envisioned something on law students and alcoholism or lawyers and the culture of alcohol or such. After searching for and finding a few of the numerous articles on this topic, I'm not sure what else to say or write.

I know lawyers tend towards substance abuse and alcoholism in general. I know that I and a lot of my friends drink somewhat often. Not often enough that I perceive it to be a problem or affect our law school work but enough that, someday, it could become a problem. And yet, I don't see it changing. I for one am unwilling to renounce alcohol and I wouldn't ask my friends to do so either. So what else is there for me to say?

Posner to Guest Blog at Lessig's

Thanks have to go out to Inter Alia for alerting me that Richard Posner (yes the Richard A. Posner of Seventh Circuit fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame...) will be guest blogging at Lessig Blog (the blog of one Mr. Lawrence Lessig) next week.

Man, I've enjoyed his opinions so many times I can't wait to see what he types. You can probably (read: hopefully) expect to see a few posts here next week about his posts. I mean, c'mon!!! It's Posner!!!

RIAA Suits in Repose

A Slashdot post pointed me to this boston.com article on the RIAA mp3 lawsuits. A few quotations:
The campaign has also produced worries, even from one federal judge, that wealthy record companies could trample some of the 3,935 people across the country who have been sued since the first such cases were filed in September 2003.

"I've never had a situation like this before, where there are powerful plaintiffs and powerful lawyers on one side and then a whole slew of ordinary folks on the other side," said U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner at a hearing in Boston. Dozens of such lawsuits have been filed in her court.


"It scares me," Plank said. "For anyone fighting any of these lawsuits -- unless they have nothing to lose -- the only thing to do is settle. You have no power against these people."
Personally, I don't think the suits themselves are wrong per se but that the tactics and methods employed by the RIAA have been less than admirable. If the suits are truly lopsided, something's not quite right here. There has to be a better way, both legally and from a public relations standpoint, for the RIAA, and the U.S. legal system, to handle this.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I Can See You[r] Pretty Colors

Well, the title is a combination of "I Can See You" and "Ooh! Pretty Colors!"

As you may have noticed, which I hope you would unless you're color blind, I've changed the coloring of the blog. I tried for a blue theme, not terribly unlike the old version of Jeremy's Weblog but.. different. Anyways, if you strongly dislike it or it hurts your eyes (it may cause blindness in household pets) leave me a comment. In all honesty, the previous "sand" thematic was giving me constipation.. or headaches.. or both.. but not at the same time 'cause that would just be cruel.

ALSO, I've registered with three site trackers: Extreme, Sitemeter and Blogpatrol (as linked in the linking column). "Why three?" you may ask. Well, truthfully, 'cause I felt like it. Untruthfully, so I can see you more clearly. MWAH-HAH-HAH!!!

The Blogpatrol counter I chose to display is rather gauche. (I was never a fan of counters with numbers displayed on the website.) But I'm leaving it there because the number it displays means nothing since it increments whenever I reload the page. It's there more as a humor device than anything else. So that someday, when I'm really bored and sitting around in my apartment with nothing to do, I can post that I sat for three hours refreshing the site so it could hit the 250,000 mark by dinnertime.

If you have any recommendations for anything, including a recipe for a really nice chocolate bunt cake (not that I'm terribly sure what separates a bunt cake from a non-bunt cake), please let me know! Otherwise -- Enjoy!

ADDENDUM: When I looked at the referrals to see how people got here, the results were very strange - lots of blogs that didn't have links to me. Then, after 15 min. of wondering and clicking, I remembered the new "misc. blogger blog-jump" button in the upper right. Clarity is refreshing. Give it a click if you're curious and/or feeling adventuresome. Cheers! [11:48 PM]

FCC Does Not Find Buffy Titillating Or Indecent

The Technology Liberation Front has a short piece discussing the FCC indecency guidelines and how a recent decision from the FCC on an episode of Buffy the Vampie Slayer (BTVS) had this to say:
The November 20, 2001 episode involves a scene depicting Buffy kissing and straddling Spike shortly after fighting with him. Based upon our review of the scene, we did not find that it is sufficiently graphic or explicit to be deemed indecent. Given the non-explicit nature of the scene, we cannot conclude that it was calculated to pander to, titillate or shock the audience. Consequently, we conclude that the material is not patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium.
I remember that episode. (I'm a big fan of BTVS. Excellent series!) In all honesty, it wasn't anything racier than you'd see in the soap operas or reality shows that plague modern television. Really, what possessed the Parents Television Council to go after this episode as compared with anything else shown on television at 8pm? (Including the Olympics.)

I do have to agree with the TLF commentor, though. The reasoning behind the FCC's ruling is bizarre at best and arbitrary at worst. (Not unlike the indecency guidelines themselves.) Another interesting tale in the saga that is the FCC vs. Indecency.

Porn is Good For You (But Not in China)

Dan Drezner reports on an Australian study finding that pornography is good for your health. As Mr. Drezner observes: "The Understanding Pornography in Australia web site does not have any research results posted" so it's impossible to gauge the "accuracy" of its conclusions or of the methods employed.

In other news, The Technology Liberation Front notes:
[T]he Chinese government is going to get rid of all Internet pornography in the country by October 1st, in what it's calling a "people's war against electronic pornography." As if the futility of that wasn't funny enough, the name of the man tasked with leading the porno crusade, China's Information Industry Minister, is Wang Xudong.
Maybe someone should tell Wang about Australia's findings.

DNA Collection Dissent Dialogue

Eugene Volokh (The Volokh Conpiracy) comments on Judge Kozinski's dissent in a recent Ninth Circuit case.
As I mentioned below, a Ninth Circuit en banc panel has just upheld the collection of DNA from people who are on probation after having been convicted of a crime. Judge Kozinski was one of the dissenters, and one of his arguments was that the majority's result could lead to requirements that the DNA of everyone, not just of convicted felons, be kept in a government-run database.

Institutionalized at Last!

By the way, I'd like to point out that I am now a church.

Grok this RIAA & MPAA! (Induce it as well!)

Decision came down on the Ninth Circuit Grokster case upholding the district court's grant of partial summary judgment in favor of Grokster et al.

First the links: Slashdot post and one at The Importance Of... The latter includes additional links to coverage of this decision everywhere in the known universe. Also a link for those who argue that the Ninth Circuit is not the circuit whose decisions are most often overturned.

I'm glad for the decision but wary of its consequences. Yes it's good for Grokster & Morpheus et al. Yes, thank you Ninth Circuit for explicitly following binding precedent as opposed to a more expansive reading. Yay for the file sharers of the world and take that RIAA/MPAA!

BUT, and this is a big, BIG BUT, there are a few things to remember. The decision specifically notes that it is the province of Congress to alter Copyright law. And Congress is working on doing that with the Induce Act. For those who haven't been following, the Induce Act is intended to specifically combat such things as P2P networks. It would make it illegal to "induce" copyright infringement. As it stands, hearings are (were?) being conducted on this potential legislation. It's also worth noting that the legislation, again as it stands, is overly broad and capacious. It has all of us internet RIAA/MPAA-hating liberal crazies up in arms. And the kicker?

The Grokster decision could easily push Congress to adopt the Induce Act.

Yep, you got it. A beneficial decision here could influence those copyright lovers up on the hill to *gasp* pass the Induce Act.

Now what about the Supreme Court you may ask? Might they not grant certiorari and hear this case? Well, yes, they could.. but why? If Congress is currently considering a law specifically intended to address this point, why would SCOTUS grant cert. on the same issue? If I were SCOTUS, I'd wait to see what Congress does.

You may also be thinking: "Yeah, but they're not actually crazy enough to pass this tripe... are they?" Maybe. Let's not forget that these are the same people who brought us the Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (aka the CTEA; whose constitutionality was confirmed by SCOTUS) and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (aka the DMCA; which has been used in questionable circumstances, albeit not always successfully). If Congress has seen fit in its infinite wisdom to produce two such wonderful pieces of legislation, what's to prevent it from producing another such as the Induce Act?

Don't forget that someone may have influenced Congress' enaction of the CTEA. Can we expect to see similar influences on the Induce Act from other groups? Could this become the next Mickey Mouse Law?

It's difficult to tell and only time has all the answers. While Grokster and Morpheus can breath easy, they certainly shouldn't be counting their chickens.

No Fly List Snags a Senator This Time

A Slashdot post mentioning that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) had been put on the TSA No-fly list. Don't forget, there's an ACLU lawsuit pending on the constitutionality of this infamous document and its effects. Here's one article (of many) on the David Nelsons of the world and their common plight.

John Gilmore Interview

Courtesy of Greplaw. He comments on a number of issues including secret U.S. laws and airport ID requirements (and his suits relating to those), copy protection and inflight activism, among others.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Let's See What Happens... (More Haiku Madness)

Can I produce a humorous haiku in 12 minutes? Let's see!

First deposition:
Where were you on July fourth?
Hah! Killing again!

Law school starts again.
Who are all of these people?
Ignorant 1L's.

Civil Procedure:
It is really important.
Really boring too.

Torts is a fun class.
You learn how to sue people.
For fun and profit.

Okay, I have seriously mixed feelings on the results of this quasi-experiment. Unless anyone out there protests, I may end up scrapping this feature in favor of something more amusing. Remains to be seen. Post a comment if you feel strongly.

State of the Blog

Just a quick bit. Lately the majority of the posts have been links to interesting stories I've found elsewhere. The actual amount of original content here has been dwindling and that's something I don't want to happen. Although I'm going to continue providing links to interesting things I encounter, which was actually a conceived but unvoiced aspect of this blog, I'm going to do my best to provide more original content. It may take me some time to figure out a good balance or even a balance but I want to put you, the reader, on notice. It was not my intent for this blog to function solely as an aggregator.

Also, I'm going to try for another haiku later today. If I can make a funny one, maybe this will become the second weekly feature of this blog. Maybe I should call it Thursday Haiku Mania? Any suggestions?

Two TerraNova Pieces

TerraNova has two very interesting discussions taking place concerning the "code let me do it" argument for online infractions and a recently issued patent to Nintendo for an online console system. Both are well worth reading. (And partaking in the discussion.)

Spuds McKenzie Move Over!!!

This bear is looking to give you some real competition!
A black bear was found passed out at a campground in Washington state recently after guzzling down three dozen cans of a local beer.
And how did they finally catch this guy?
They set a trap using as bait some doughnuts, honey and two cans of Rainier Beer.
In an ironic twist, those are the same ingredients used when laying traps for college students.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Top Ten Things I Did This Summer

Won't somebody think of the children!!!

10. Finally visited a comic book store.

9. Spent the time (all 15 minutes of it) to learn how to make mp3s from audio CDs I own. (The mp3s are for private-fair-use so bite me RIAA.)

8. Continued to work at the law firm. (And continued to get paid for it.)

7. Went to the Half Door every Tuesday for 15 weeks in a row. And, in so doing, obtained (i.e. bought as part of a weekly special) 15 pint glasses of varying denominations (e.g. Bass, Hoegarden, Carlsberg, Smithwicks, etc.).

6. Bought and played (am playing) Doom 3. (The people at id Software are G-DS!)

5. Religiously watched every episode of Nip/Tuck.

4. Learned the names of more waitresses at the Half Door. (I now know 3 names as compared with 1 at the beginning of the Summer. And, sadly enough, this was a legitimate goal of mine.)

3. Saw a lot of movies. And I mean A LOT. [Ed: To date, 24 in the theatre since my last final.]

2. Went to Georgia, by car, and (barely) didn't get a speeding ticket.

1. Started this blog.

Top Ten Things I Didn't Do This Summer

The weekly Wednesday reign of terror continues!

10. Go on a real, vacation-like trip. Y'know, to Timbuktu or Albuquerque.

9. Decrease my internet usage. (More like I tripled it.)

8. Finish my SRP (Special Research Project) paper. (Yet.)

7. Watch Titanic or The Blair Witch Project. (Okay, I never intended to see either of those but since I didn't, they meet the criteria for this list.)

6. Save the whales.

5. Save the cows. (Moo!)

4. Go to Boston for the ATLA (Assoc. of Trial Lawyers of America) Annual Convention.

3. Learn to speak Swahili. (See Titanic comment above.)

2. Much that was actually productive in any real sense of the word.

1. Read for a law school class.

Reach Out and Touch Someone (NOT REALLY!!!)

Because that could potentially get you in trouble. BIG trouble.

Courtesy of a link at PHOSITA comes TouchGraph GoogleBrowser. It looks really cool!

Iran/Israel Still Don't Get Along (Olympics Item)

I found this over at Trivial Pursuits. Why am I not surprised? What does surprise me, however, is that this hasn't been getting (at least as far as I've seen so far) much news coverage. Although I can't confirm that right now since the computer I'm on is slow, decrepit and pig-headed (and not loading the Sports Illustrated Olympics page).

Clarifying My Position -- I Love (IP) Law. Do you?

Despite the fact that no one (else) has brought this up or inquired, I would like to clarify (or, more accurately, state) my position with regards to lawyers and the law.

Alright, so I'm not a lawyer yet. But I worked for some (albeit as a receptionist/"Legal Aide") for a year before coming to law school and I've been working in this firm (albeit as a Legal intern) for approximately 14 months now and, having also survived 2 years of law school with a 3rd looming large, I have formulated an opinion.

I honestly enjoy working with the law. Specifically, intellectual property (IP) just floats my boat. Research tasks that, in other fields of law, I might find onerous or insane are actually fun for me since they involve IP. Seriously, this is a category of work that, thus far in my "career," I enjoy.

No doubt you will hear and read about lawyers unhappy with their lot and disgusted with their job but I'm not even close to that point. In fact, I doubt I'll reach that level of contempt if I keep working with IP. As it is, I also enjoy litigation based on the minute amount of experience I've had with it. Being in a court room is fun. My definition of "evidence" is screwing over the other guy before he can do it back at you. That's fun!!!!!

So if my previous post about lawgeekgurl's comments and the 5 Hour site seems a bit negative or a little too persuasive, don't be fooled. Some lawyers enjoy their job.

Btw, I plan on being one of those "good" lawyers, in case you had any doubts on that. At least that's what I tell people after having told them I'm going to be a lawyer and after they have consequently sighed, sneered, frowned, coughed, spat at me, threatened me or attacked me. It doesn't always work but that's why g-d invented Nike sneakers. (Note that I wear New Balance sneakers, not Nike. And that is not intended so as to cast any dispersions on Nike or to endorse New Balance sneakers in any way, shape or form. Really.)

Asbestos Litigation Science Questionable

A link to a post at The Volokh Conspiracy entitled "Junk Science in the Asbestos Litigation." I'm a science fan (not quite a fanatic though I do plan on getting my Masters degree one day, probably in a subdivision of Physics like optics) and I really like litigation (I love being in the court room) so this caught my eye.

The Pre-Law School Advice Recap (Sort of)

Cerulean Blue (aka lawgeekgurl) has a post entitled "So, you want to be a lawyer?" She cites to The Slightly Newer 5 Hour Law School which offers this:
5 Minute Law School Summary: Born ----->genetic defect ------>desire to be a lawyer -----> take LSAT -----> accepted into law school ------> three years of torment ------>rest of life in torment ------> Die
and this:
The first year of law school is the hardest. The whole point of the first year is to frighten you to death (very similar to the house of horrors at an amusement park but a lot more expensive). There is nothing like being called on by your criminal law professor. You are required to stand up in front of 180 complete strangers who would like nothing more than to see you crash and burn so they don't look as stupid when they get called on. The professor will then play a game with you called I, the professor, am always right and you, the student, are always wrong. This is like "three card monty" played on the streets of Times Square. The person dealing out the three cards lets the chump betting win a couple times and then you lose from there on out. The main difference is the chump only loses his money, the law student loses his soul.
This is a frighteningly accurate portrayal of first year classes. Frighteningly accurate. Seriously. Replace that "180" with "74" and I was there. Occasionally I have nightmares from my Civ. Pro. (Civil Procedure for the uninitiated) or Torts classes. The nightmares aren't about anything that didn't take place. They're more like repressed memories that surface while I sleep to torment me all over again. Like that day I was called on in Civ.Pro. and I had fallen asleep for one of my 5-minute cat naps. Yeah, 8:45am classes don't agree with me (though, surprisingly, 8am work does).

But I digress. Lawgeekgurl's post is pretty informative and links to other informative sites. I know a lot of other blogs and blawgs have done "What is law school?" and "How You Can Prepare For Law School" and "How to Rent Your Soul in Increments of 1/10th of an Hour" so I'm not going to rehash all of that. I'll just link to lawgeekgurl's post which I think is pretty good. Also, that 5 Hour site above is pretty amusing. Here's another quotation from there:
What other profession has one of its own members hired to fight off another member of the profession? This would be similar to hiring a plumber to fix your sink and the plumber's union hiring another plumber to keep your sink broken.
and another:
I did forget to mention one other option. You could become a criminal and be a lawyer at the same time. We call this job Congressman.
and another:
If you want to make a lawyer look stupid (and who doesn't) ask them to clearly explain the "Rule against Perpetuities."
That last one is true, btw. This one is just funny:
The class [Legal Writing & Research] was similar to the scene in Lawrence of Arabia in which Lawrence sits with his troops on top of a hill looking down on the retreating Turkish troops and screams "NO PRISONERS, NO PRISONERS" to his men, just before charging down to wipe them out.
And this one is pretty accurate:
Law school is filled with competitions. It is like being at a shark feeding frenzy, except there is no food to feed on and the sharks are feeding on each other
After all of these amusing quotations, I have to say that The Slightly Newer 5 Hour Law School site is actually very informative. I wish I'd read it back when I was a budding 1L and had all sorts of questions. Now I'm a budding 3L and that site won't answer my questions any more. (Questions like "Where will I work after law school?" and "When am I going to sit for the Patent Bar again?" and "Shall I eat out for dinner tonight?")

A Very Civil Uncivil Litigator

Yesterday, The Uncivil Litigator put up a long post detailing an amazing story. His and his wife's tale as it were. As one comment put it, the anecdote really is a beautiful story. I highly recommend you give it a read if you haven't already. (Cheers UCL!)

Google Logos Unite!!!

The comments to a post at the Curmudgeonly Clerk brought this previously unknown region of Google to my attention. It's a compendium of Google Holiday Logos. On some holidays, Google displays a different logo from their traditional one on their main page. In fact, if you surf on over to Google right now, you can see one of the Olympic-themed ones. As the Curmudgeonly Clerk inquires:
So am I the only one who experiences pure, child-like joy whenever Google alters its logo for special occasions?
Nope, I love those suckers too.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I've got some updates in mind for the blog when I get around to them. So be on the lookout for the following and try not to act too surprised:
  1. A better commenting system. Not that I'm ungrateful or anything but I much prefer the Haloscan system. Easier, less involved to post, more fun, etc.

  2. A different color scheme. Because shades of orange, yellow and brown that remind me of carpet samples and stains thereon just don't do it for me.

  3. A site counter (or multiples thereof). Then I can perform some government-like operations and see where y'all (if y'all) are. I may also see if anyone found this by a mis-worded search. Possibly resulting in scary outcomes but I can be adventurous.

  4. A recent comments section for the link bar. As it is now, I have no way to see if anyone has left any new comments. Wish I did.
That's all I have for the moment. If you have any recommendations, by all means please e-mail me or leave a comment. I'm pretty open to moderately reasonable (as defined by yours truly) suggestions. Cheers!

P.S. I updated the links bar. Moved a few around and added a few.

UPDATE: Well, after playing around with things while half-watching "Nip/Tuck" and not-watching "Rescue Me," the site is now switched to Haloscan for commenting. Unfortunately, this means the old comments are relatively lost. Fortunately, there was a sum total of 3 comments to date so I don't feel too bad about it. (Apologies to the 2 commentors whose posts have been lost!) Unfortunately, I learned that creating a "Recent Comments" section with Haloscan may be either quasi-impossible, extremely difficult or very-mildly difficult. I have yet to come across a solution I like and, hence, this will probably be the last item tackled.

UPDATE PART II: I've also finally completed my registration with Technorati and can now see which other blogs have linked to me. Many thanks to you brave souls! Next up: The site's color scheme &/or the site meters. But now it's time for bed. (11:55 PM, not 8:08 PM, it is.)

Oh the randomness of it all!!!

Not sure if that counts as a real word but I'm going with it so suffer in silence.

A link to a post at Waddling Thunder, mach 2.0 about the author's experience over the Summer and his take on "BigLaw." (I love capitalizing that word and putting it in quotation marks.) It parallels my thoughts and sums it up in a very compelling anecdote.

A link to a post at Falling Grace wherein the author, Neil, provides a paragraph-by-paragraph critique/commentary on a keynote address presented by Rob Enderle on August 3, 2004 at SCO Forum entitled "Free Software and the Idiots Who Buy It."

I link to and mention the latter not because I necessarily think it's a worthwhile read, either the keynote address or the commentary/critique, but rather because I think the critique is ill-formed. The author comments on almost every paragraph in the address, including those paragraphs that obviously mean nothing. Why does this bother me? Because if the author of the critique were interested in critiquing the speech and making some points about the logical errors and inherent fallacies being spoken, he should have concentrated on the quasi-substantive matter of the address and ignored those portions which neither help him nor aid Mr. Enderle.

It would be akin to commenting on: "Hello, my name is Alan. I'm an Aries, 5' 7" tall and 175 lbs." by saying: "Well, his full name is X and although he claims to be an Aries, his birthday is right on the line and he's not really 5' 7", he's actually right at 5' 6" and he's now up to 180 lbs. wlthough he used to be at 175." It adds nothing!!!! It actually detracts from his otherwise meaningful critique!!!!!

Sorry, but sometimes it just pains me to see good ideas poorly implemented, containing obviously avoidable faults. ::Sigh::

Monday, August 16, 2004

Google's Gmail(not-quite-TM) in Trademark Trouble

Articles, articles everywhere and too many to read! Not really but that's what floated through my mind a few seconds ago.

Apparently Google made a BIG mistake. Although Google released news about its upcoming Gmail service on March 31, 2004 (link), Google didn't actually file a U.S. Trademark application for the term until April 7, 2004. This put Google as the fourth entity in line filing for that term. In a system that's first-come first-serve, this could pose a substantial problem for the burgeoning e-mail enterprise.

(Internetnews.com article here and Phosita article here.)

Honestly, I wonder how this could possibly have happened. Fer cryin out loud, Google must have a bevy of beautific bodacious blood-thirsty bonsai-growing beauticians lawyers [minus one point for excessive alliteration] at their beck and call! How could those lawyers not have thought to trademark the term "Gmail" before announcing it. Good lord! This just reeks of either poor corporate management (or communication) or complete ineptitude. Maybe Google will be looking for some fresh blood, errr.. I mean maybe they'll have some positions opening soon. Hmmm... time to work on the 'ole resume!

Don't forget, Google has run afoul of legitimate preexisting uses before with Google & Froogle. Ugh-oogle! [Minus one point for a genuinely horrible pun.]

Addendum: A clarification as the March 31st date is slightly inaccurate. News was leaked on the 31st while the Official Google Press Release was issued on April 1. (Odd choice of dates, there.)

Anonymous Lawyer Please Step Forward

In a post over at Notes from the (Legal) Underground, Evan Schaeffer opines on the author of Anonymous Lawyer (AL) and the veracity (or potential lack thereof) of the posts.

My take on AL is one of interested disinterest. The stories are often interesting and usually compelling. It's rare that I don't read the latest post and either have a visceral reaction (what a @#$%*&!!) or a moment of quiet contemplation about some aspect of the installment. And the disinterest in my take? That comes from my not caring whether this tale is true or not. It doesn't matter. In this case, actually knowing could possibly ruin the allure and social commentary. If it's real, it's almost unbelievable. If it's not, you know that somewhere, in some law firm, some partner is acting out a piece of the post. Either way, what AL says in his posts is far less important than what he's saying about the profession.

If we (and I include myself even though I am a puny law student) as a profession are producing these environments, complete and replete with the various horrors AL describes, what does that say about us? What makes this any different from a sweat shop, brothel or mafia outpost? (Yes, those are exaggerations but I can think of arguments that illustrate the undesired yet all-too-real similarities between the foregoing and practicing law at "BigLaw.") And that my friends is another reason I'm still holding out hope that one day I don't give in to the pressures and sell out my soul for the chance to work in "BigLaw."

Liechtenstein Lives!!!

The first of 3 today...

A hearty congratulations goes out to Crown Prince Alois, the new ruler of Liechtenstein. (CNN Article) I'm not sure why this article appeals to me. Maybe it's the repeated use of the word "Liechtenstein." It just sounds dirty. (No offense, to any Liechtensteinians who happen to be reading this.)

Excellent quotations from the article:
Despite its diminutive size -- just 160 sq. kilometers (62 sq. miles) -- Liechtenstein has a thriving industry centered on making false teeth and a successful banking sector.
Because we all know how profitable the false-teeth-making industry is these days. (Apparently it is very profitable?) And:
"Many people do not know what Liechtenstein is. Is it a person? Is it a vegetable?"
And we also all know that Liechtenstein is neither a person nor a vegetable. It's obviously a type of radish. (Oh, wait...)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Alcohol Industry Under Attack!!! (Stock up while you can!)

A CNN article about lawsuits against the alcohol industry. The article specifically compares these class-action suits to the ones brought against the tobacco industry, questioning whether the alcohol companies will fare as poorly as big tobacco.

The article explains that the class-action suits against the tobacco industry met with such success (or at least results) due to the arguments put forth by the plaintiffs, that the tobaccoists were targeting America's youth. The CNN article suggests that the alcohol plaintiffs will use that same tactic:
This pinstripe army is being assembled by the trial lawyers in an attempt to convince the American public that alcoholic beverage manufacturers are engaged in an evil mission to turn the country's teens into alcohol-dependent adults.


These warriors against all things evil, including alcohol, are now engaged in a massive effort to regulate and limit alcohol advertising. One target of the lawsuits they have started is magazines containing alcohol advertising that they say appeal to young males (specifically, those under 21 years of age).

In fact, it's plain that the same advertising which appeals to young males -- beautiful young women dressed in alluring outfits -- necessarily appeals to older men as well. (Indeed, because sex sells, and beauty sells, it's hard to think of a field of advertising that does not employ beautiful young women -- including cosmetic companies that themselves market to young women.) But that fact either doesn't occur to these crusaders, or is simply ignored by them.

Laudably, the alcohol companies, clearly mindful of the fate of their tobacco brethren, are not caving in; the economic stakes are too high. They have raised strong and appealing First Amendment defenses. They are also seeking to have the cases removed from state to federal courts -- where the rules are somewhat less favorable to class-action plaintiffs.
I gotta tell you, I'm pulling for the alcohol companies, myself. Despite my inclinations, however, I doubt this industry will fare much better than tobacco. Frankly I can't see how if a court (or courts) found tobacco ads to be targeting youth, like-minded courts would not find alcohol adverts to be tergeting youth. In my mind, they're very similar. I can think of at least 5 different advertisements by various beer and liquor companies that could easily be misconstrued as targeting young adults.

One of the questions is what differentiates an advertisement that targets the appropriate audience from an advert that targets underage individuals. And I don't know what the answer might be since the line between those two categories, while black & white in the law, is very gray in the real world. I defy you to produce an advertisement for beer that targets young persons of ages from 21 to 25 while avoiding those youth ages 18 to 20.

I'm also unsure that these advertisements or the industry itself is to blame for underage drinking. "There's a time and a place for everything. And it's called college." The collegiate atmosphere, and greek life in particular, often promote and encourage underage drinking. Until that is addressed, changing the advertisements in magazines and on television will have little, if any, effect.

Plus this litigation may drive up the price of beer. You'd think these lawyers would know better!!! After all, our profession has an abnormally high rate of alcholoism. Surely this will drive up their (non-professional) expenses as well! Geez, what are these guys thinking?????

Thanks to Doom 3, the World is Doomed!!!

N.B. Thank you very much MaTT for the guest blog entry yesterday!

As you probably are not aware, I am a semi-avid gamer. Some of my past favorites include Dark Age of Camelot, Final Fantasy VII, FFX, Diablo, Diablo 2, City of Heroes, Star Wars Galaxies, Starcraft, Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight, Soul Caliber II, and the list goes on. If you don't recognize these titles, no worries, game knowledge is not a prerequisite here.

However, I like to think that I was part of the generation of computer-users that grew up with the first person shooter (FPS) genre. These are three-dimentsional games that put you in the role of a guy (or gal) with a gun (or other weapon, e.g. a chainsaw) and provide you with floors or levels which you are to explore and find the exits from, annihilating all the baddies in the process, whether they be misguided soldiers or alien creatures from Hell.

Ostensibly, the first of the FPS games was Wolfenstein 3D. Then came Doom, which revolutionized the genre with its advances in graphics and gameplay. A few years later, Quake did much the same, providing a truly 3-D environment with layered floors and non-rectuangular corners. On August 3rd of this year, id Software released Doom 3 upon the world, another revolutionary title in what has increasingly become an aging and unprogressive field of games. (Here's a Slashdot post offering a history of the DOOM franchise in the words of the folks at id Software.)

Doom 3, quite frankly, scares the shit out of me. The environment you play in is creepy. There's no other way to describe it. After Hell breaks loose (literally) in the game, you turn to a security monitor only to watch a monster rip up some of your comrades. Then, as you start fighting your way out, you hear com-chatter over the radio, things like "Holy shit! What is that thing?" followed by gunfire, screams and gurgling noises. Tack on the fact that the rooms you move through are very, VERY dark. Yes, you have a flashlight, but you can't hold the flashlight and a gun at the same time. Then the occasional monster pops up in front of you as your slowly exploring and, well, you get the picture. For an amazing and accurate video showing Doom 3, check out the PC trailer (under Media) at the Doom 3 Official Site.

Traditionally I haven't been a huge fan of FPS games. I've played some Quake III Arena but not that much nor that often. Doom 3 is just too good. I'm thoroughly enjoying it so far. If your computer is able to run the game (the system requirements are VERY high), I HIGHLY recommend you check it out. At $55, this one's a steal! Kudos to id Software for producing the next big thing.