Saturday, July 31, 2004


Sorry all but if I’m going to be a lawyer and you’re going to peruse this blog, you’re bound to run into a few things like this.

I am not a lawyer (yet). Anything law-related discussed on this website is not professional or legal advice and should not be taken as such. Specific laws may vary by jurisdiction, often depending on where you live and what your case entails. If you have any legal questions, please consult a local attorney of the appropriate practice and obtain professional advice from him/her. No communication, either on the website or by other methods such as e-mail, is intended to nor creates an attorney-client relationship.


This website's content is (c) 2004, me. Comments are owned by the respective authors.

Creative Commons License

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That’s it! We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast already in progress. Read on with impunity.

About the Blog

A few things about this blog. Okay, two to be specific. First, the name. The name of this blog, "A Season of Mists," is a tribute (of sorts) to the title of one of the collections (a.k.a. trade paperbacks) of The Sandman series, Season of Mists. I chose the title partially because Neil Gaiman (the writer of Sandman and a wonderful author, though the two are not mutually exclusive) comes up with some wonderful phrases and quotes. I also chose this title because I sometimes feel like I’m living in a season of mists, where the next step, turn or chapter is obscured. I often don’t know quite where I’m heading other than "forward." And sometimes even forward is a guess.

A warm thank you goes out to Neil Gaiman and his illustrious assistant, Lorraine Garland, for permitting me to use the title. In many ways, I feel honored.

The second point. When I first contemplated starting a blog, besides the focus (which, as may now be apparent, meanders between law-related and personal), the other important question in my mind was whether or not to make it anonymous. I’ve been following some very effective anonymous blogs (namely Running With Lawyers and Anonymous Lawyer). At the same time, I’ve been following some equally effective non-anonymous blogs (namely Jeremy’s Weblog). In the end, I decided that I want to share too much for it to remain anonymous. In addition, there really isn’t anything I want to say that I’m not willing to do so publicly, affixing my name and reputation. I try to live an honest life and there’s no reason to keep this blog anonymous when I’m not.

Hopefully the above paragraphs have answered your questions or have provided you with enough background so you can confidently say "hey, [Alan’s] just this guy, you know?" (Can you tell I’m having fun with the links?) If you have any questions, either about me, the blog, babelfish or law, feel free to e-mail me. And thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

ADDENDUM: And where does the phrase "Season of Mists" come from itself? Why it comes from The Sandman Vol. 4: Season of Mists:

"To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." --Jim Pascoe

[Oct. 26, 2006]

Friday, July 30, 2004

Preparing For Emergencies

Neil Gaiman's Journal links to a UK site called Preparing For Emergencies. I think they missed two vital points. In the event of zombie attacks, zombies can be disposed of not only by removing the head/brains but also with fire. Also, if an alien invasion is under way, the first thing any person should do upon meeting an alien is to say "Welcome to Earth!" and extend a handshake in friendship.

Two quotations. Under "Preparing for an emergency - What you can do:"
Look, it's an emergency. How are you supposed to prepare for it? It's in the bloody dictionary. "A serious situation or occurrence that happens unexpectedly and demands immediate action." If you expect it, it's not an emergency, is it? Honestly.
And under "Things to Remember:"
If you are involved in any emergency it is important to: (1) Run like hell, particularly if you caused the emergency. (2) Trample all others in your desperate attempt to escape. (3) Loot on the way out.
Words to live by.

"Catwoman" Can't Hack It

I tend to see a lot of movies (and I mean A LOT) so you can expect a fair number of movie reviews and reports.

I just got back from seeing "Catwoman" starring Halle Berry. Now I'm a huge fan of comic book movies and tend to hold them to higher standards than other movies but "Catwoman," even at that lower standard, was absolutely abysmal. And I mean that in a pretty bad way. The plot was thin, the characters lacked depth and it had enough "Matrix Revolutions"-like CGI parts to annoy me. A lot. A friend of mine said it might be a rental for him (i.e. it wouldn't rate the cost of a movie ticket). I'd say let this one slide, it's not worth the price of a rental. If you get HBO et al. (Showtime, Cinemax, Stars, etc.) and, once Catwoman reaches one of those, it's on, I'd say watch it.. but only if there's nothing else on except "Howard the Duck."

Alan's Movie Rating: Won't see it again. (Unless someone pays me money. And no checks. Cash only. I don't trust you deadbeats...)

Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary

Underneath Their Robes, an excellent source of news, gossip, and colorful commentary on the federal judiciary run by the ever-enigmatic and anonymous Article III Groupie, recently held contests to crown the Male and Female Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary. The results came in with the Hon. Alex Kozinski (9th Cir.) taking the title for the men and the Hon. Kimba M. Wood (S.D.N.Y.) beating out the other ladies. Keep your eyes on UTR for further irreverent (yet revering) stories on "the 'rock stars' of the legal profession's upper echelons."

Current Legal Issues

As indicated elsewhere, this blog (probably not qualifying for status as a "blawg") will touch on various legal issues of interest. Although there are a lot of legal issues floating around at the moment (e.g. the SCOTUS Blakely decision, the pending Induce Act, the This Land Is My Land parody/satire JibJab controversy, anything Microsoft related, etc.), nothing really catches my eye. (And please excuse me for not providing more links but a few clicks into any intellectually-oriented legal blog and you'll find more to read than you can shake a stick at.)

Sure, the Induce Act is pure evil and just another means of inherently unbalanced copyright extension. Yes, the Blakely decision left many issues about sentencing guidelines unresolved. Okay, there's a controversy about JibJab's fair use defense in creating their politically-oriented parody/satire. But in all honesty, there's nothing I have to say on any of those points that hasn't been hashed out twelve times over by twelve times twelve other individuals. So if you're looking for more discussion on those issues, feel free to wade through the blawgs.

In the mean time, here's an excellent post by Eugene Volokh describing Copyright Remedies over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

And in non-legal news, here's a wiki at The Red Ferret Journal with 1 Million Free & Legal Music Tracks and a link to one online posting of the uncopyrightable 9/11 Commission Report so you don't have to buy the paperback bestseller over on Amazon. (You can download it, legally, for free!!!!!)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

"This must be a Thursday..."

"I never could get the hang of Thursdays."

Welcome to "A Season of Mists!"

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Welcome to the [revised] inaugural entry of "A Season of Mists: The life and times of [a patent agent]."

Contrary to popular opinion, the purpose of this blog is not to increase global warming or bring about the next revolution, neither of which I have any interest in seeing (yet). This blog exists for the sole purpose (well "sole" might be a bit strong but we'll see) of an outlet. I would like to share some of the happenings one would experience if one were, well, me. The entries will reflect things happening in the law, things happening in intellectual property law, things happening at my [former] law school, things happening in the surrounding area, and things happening to, around, with or involving me.

[N.B. from Oct. 25, 2006: At this time, the relative directionless nature of this blog shall remain.. errr... directionless. At some point I would like to find a nice, definitive focus but it won't be coming any time immediately soon. If you have any thoughts, drop me a line.]

Which brings us to me. Who am I? I am Alan. (Nice to meet you!) More specifically, I'm a patent agent currently working for a local patent firm in Connecticut. (I've been with the firm since Winter '05.) Before that, I attended law school in CT for three years. Before that, I worked for a small group of lawyers in Fairfield, CT for a year. Before that was four years of college in Pennsylvania. (Go Dips!) And before that, four years of high school (replete with llamas, golden eagles and an award-winning marching band).

As for non-academic and non-work related things, I love tennis, collect action figures and graphic novels, like to read books (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror), listen to music and play the odd computer game (ex-WoW junky). I'm currently living at home with my mom and two dogs (two bichon frise - small, white, fluffy things with teeth that bark too much). If you'd like to know anything else about me, ask and ye shall receive (probably).

Hopefully the blog will be updated. Hopefully it will be updated with substantive content. Hopefully some of it will be funny or, at the very least, amusing to people other than myself. Hopefully someone other than myself will read it. That's a lot of hope but hey, I'm relatively young and still more hopeful than cynical (I think). Just remember to bring your towel with you. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

ADDENDUM: Top Ten Things You May Not Have Known About Me and Never Thought To Ask [Oct. 31, 2004]

ADDENDUM II: This post has been revised. It was originally drafted and posted over 2 years ago - a little tidying up was inevitable. As I once read in a computer magazine so many eons ago, "the only constant is change." [Oct. 25, 2006]

ADDENDUM III: Cross-link to Why I Became A Patent Agent.