Sunday, October 31, 2004

All Your Closings Are Belong To Us

Courtesy of a post at a friend's blog, comes this story:
On February 26, 2004, we had a snowstorm here in Raleigh, and all the news channels posted the businesses and schools that would be closed the next day. One of these fine news organizations, Time Warner Cable's News 14 Carolina, chose the most convenient but least secure method to allow businesses to report closings: the Internet. Well, it wasn't long before members of The Wolf Web, an NCSU message board, exposed this flaw. They went crazy, as you're about to see. The best part of the whole thing was once a closing was accepted, it could be edited on the Internet and would go straight to TV without having to be reviewed again, so a fake closing that seemed plausible the first time it was shown could be outrageous the next time.
What follows that explanation are a number of photos of a television, showing the various closing messages. Too hilarious. My favorite has got to be the All Your Base one. (For the uninformed and because the official site isn't loading for me, an unofficial site and the very comprehensive Wikipedia entry.) I'm a sucker for an AYB reference (as you could probably guess from the title of this post).

Top Ten Things You May Not Have Known About Me and Never Thought to Ask

In a valiant effort to delay beginning a first draft of my Forensics paper (which, incidentally, I need to e-mail to the teachers before the end of tonight), I shall provide you with this pseudo-Top Ten post. It won't be cross-referenced with the Top Ten Lists since it's not so much humorous as informative.
  • I really like to travel and see foreign places. To date, I've been to Mexico, England, Scotland, Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany. I'd really like to go to Greece, Italy and Eastern Europe (e.g. Prague, Russia).

  • I did a semester abroad in York, England during college. I absolutely love almost all things English, including English accents and humour. Once I am able, my goal is to spend one to four weeks in the Spring in York. Make that my vacation getaway. I'd sit around all day reading books for fun and drinking tea. At nights I would hit pubs. T'would be Heaven!

  • I'm a dog-person although I tend to get on very well with most animals. I've had good experience relating to women's pet cats. That is, the girl will say something like "but she isn't very friendly" whereupon I will hold out my hand and the cat will come over and sniff it and act friendly to me, much to the girl's expressed surprise. It's like a form of verification.

  • My mom has two dogs at home, both Bichon Frises (small, white, furry things with teeth). The dogs' names are Austin and Benz. The former is named after a street near where my grandparents live. The latter is named after the make of my mom's car.

  • You won't hear (see) me talk about my dad. He passed away from heart-surgery complications about 3 1/2 years ago. I've vowed not to let myself get too out of shape or overweight.

  • I love the Northeast. It is difficult for me to imagine, at this time, living elsewhere. When it comes time for the Bar Exam, I'll sit for Connecticut and New York. My ultimate goal is to also be licensed in Massachusetts and California.

  • I "collect" action figures (have over 150 I think, maybe more) and DVDs (over 300). Once I can afford it, I'd like to get back into comic books too. I have a lot of trade paperbacks as it is (over 50).

  • My apartment is a disaster. It's time to clean the kitchen, the bathroom, the bedroom, vacuum the leaf-strewn carpet floor and generally organize things. I hate living in it when it's so messy but often lack the energy or sheer desire to spend energy on cleaning it.

  • I keep forgetting (and/or not wanting to remember that) The Girl and I are just friends, especially when we hang out for extended periods of time and get along famously. This could kill me though I doubt it will.

  • I'm a PC/Windows computer-user and advocate (sort of). My two complaints with Macs are that the good computer games don't come out for the platform and I don't know how to play with them. (I can fiddle with a Windows-based computer and might get it to work whereas with a Mac I find there is less to fiddle with. Macs hide their innards better.)

That's a brief glimpse into the madness that is me. Let me know if you have any burning questions you want answered. I'll try to catch up on my overdue posts (which now number five) tomorrow, but no promises. Time to now find another procrastination method!


(And, if you see this today, check out Google for a Halloween logo. Old Google Holiday Logos here.)

Ooh! Que Suerte!

Said goodnight (good morning?) and dropped off The Girl about 5/10 minutes ago. We saw Saw in the theatre and Waxwork II on DVD.

Quick quote from the latter: "If we can reanimate dead flesh, the prosecution's case is out the window."

Upon looking at my computer, I see it has adjusted for Daylight Savings Time. Extra hour of sleep!!! WOOT!!!!! (Note that the time displayed below has been turned back in accordance with said hour-switching policy. Damn it's late.)

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Quote from Two Minutes Ago

"My computer is this little, flat thing that I hug." -- The Girl

Friday, October 29, 2004

Betsy's Wedding Not-Quite Bliss

I'm striving to catch up with my posts for the week. I have this movie review, a post on my Forensics Class Lecture by Dr. Henry Lee and one on today's (Friday's) drug importation symposium. I'm setting this down now because I'm tired and may not get to the latter two yet.

I caught Betsy's Wedding on DVD Tuesday night with two friends, Captain Kate of the 5th Armed Bucket Brigade and Captain Kate's Fiancee. (I don't have a cool pseudonym for him yet though I undoubtedly will be given one by the Captain once she reads this.)

Alan Alda wrote, directed and starred in this film. It also features Joey Bishop, Madeline Kahn, a young Anthony LaPaglia, Catherine O'Hara, Joe Pesci, Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Burt Young, and a young but unchanged Dylan Walsh (of Nip/Tuck repute).

Not-quite-brief IMDB Plot Summary:
Offbeat fashion student Betsy Hopper [Ringwald] and her straight-laced investment-banker fiancé, Jake [Walsh], just want an intimate little wedding reception, but Betsy's father, Eddie [Alda], a Long Island construction contractor, feels so threatened by Jake's rich WASP parents that he blows the ceremony up into a bank-breaking showpiece, sending his wife, Lola [Kahn], into a financial panic. Pressure from Betsy's extended family to include their joint Jewish and Italian-Catholic heritage in the ceremony doesn't do much to assuage the title character's worries, nor does the lovelorn bitterness of her older sister, Connie [Sheedy], who's single, her parents assume, because she has the audacity to pursue the unfeminine profession of police officer. With all of his funds tied up into the money pit of a house he's building, Betsy's dad has to turn to his crooked brother-in-law, Oscar [Pesci], for financial assistance, and soon a soft-spoken but menacing young mobster named Stevie Dee [LaPaglia] is supervising Eddie's construction project and casting his romantic aspirations toward the clueless Connie.
Yes, the plot outline does sound like a lot but it's pretty easy to follow and no small amount of fun, too. This is a nice, light comedy. It's not heavy at all and is moderately predictable though not overly so. The plot isn't very thick though the story is involving. Overall, I found it to be an enjoyable movie though certainly not one of my absolute favorites, must-see's or top-ten's. Really not much more for me to say other than I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see so many excellent actors and actresses involved in a fine movie. Makes me wish Alan Alda (who has an excellent first name, by the way) had written more movies. T'would have been cool.

Also, quick shout-out to Stevie Dee. Captain Kate was swooning as we watched the film and I couldn't rightly blame her. Stevie Dee's lines are sincerely perfect and very sweet. I searched high and low for some movie quotes (to illustrate this point in particular and the film in general) but couldn't find any decent ones. Maybe someday I'll watch the film again and jot down the quotes myself.


America! F*** yeah!

Admittedly, the censoring in the title is a bit unnecessary, especially given the language that will undoubtedly follow. But it's my post so, to quote Bill the Cat (though I believe Opus also uses this idiom): thppfft!

ALSO, if you might be offended by crude language, sexual references, sexual marrionette references and/or vomit, I suggest you not read any further.

I saw Team America: World Police on Monday night with The Girl. It's from South Park geniuses Trey Parker and Matt Stone. It also has some famous producer or other whose name IMDB won't cough up. Too bad. Wait, I just remembered - I think it might be the guy who did The Matrix. Ah ha! After some searching I was able to find out that Bill Pope, who worked on The Matrix and Spider-Man 2 among others, was the Cinematographer. Excellent work, Bill!

(Modified) IMDB Plot Summary:
Team America, an international police force dedicated to maintaining global stability, learns that terrorists are threatening to use weapons of mass destruction. The heroes embark upon a harrowing mision to save the world. To infiltrate the terrorist network, Team America recruits Gary Johnston, a rising star on Broadway to go undercover. Although initially reluctant to sacrifice his promising career, Gary realizes that his acting gifts is needed for a higher cause. With the help of Team America (Chris, Sarah, Lisa, Joe and Spottswoode), Gary slips into an arms dealer's hideout where he discovers that the terrorists' plot has already begun to unfold.
First off, this is a hysterical movie. Absolutely, positively, side-splitting funny. If I'd been drinking milk at the time, I would have snorted and laughed it out my nose. (So it's a good thing I wasn't drinking milk as the reaction is probably not terribly endearing, especially were it to occur in the presence of The Girl.) Well, to be fair, it wasn't always funny and always roaringly hilarious, but the two of us were laughing out loud (LOL in AIM-speak) regularly.

Why did we find it to be so funny? 'Cause it's a funny movie, damnit! No seriously, it was funny but not to everyone. We found it damn amusing for various aspects that were not funny on their own but only funny if you were willing to suspend all seriousness and just take them for what they were. E.g. Early on there's a death scene. That in itself isn't funny. But what is funny is the way it's shot, the way the woman kneeling over the body looks up to the sky (the shot then switches to one looking down at her, as has been done many times for many death scenes in many other films) and screams "NOOOOOOO!!!!" while crying. Just funny for its.. mocking of those types of scenes. Lots of things like that. Including a computer whose screen looks like a modified smiley face. See!!! Funny!!!!!

Granted, there's a lot of political mumbo-jumbo thrown in. Things like the organization F.A.G. (the Film Actor's Guild) headed up by "the best actor ever," Mr. Alec Baldwin. Then the numerous cameos including an irate Michael Moore and a Matt Damon who can only repeat his name in a voice that sounds like he's a special ed. student. (I'm too P.C. conscious to just say he sounds retarded. Though he does.) Okay, well those aren't political so much as petty, vicious and terribly amusing but the political items are there too. The movie isn't outright for or against "the war" though it does tend to lean, overall, towards a message that sometimes you need to wage war to secure peace. Mind you Team America destroys all of the world's treasures (e.g. the Sphinx, the Eiffel Tower, Pyramids, etc.) and incurs the wrath of foreign nations and peoples in the process. See, irony! Fun! Humor!

Also, as you should be aware, the whole movie is done with puppets. Very complicated, electronicly-endowed puppets. And lots of puppeteers. As compared with Parker and Stone's previous work with South Park, the puppets work MUCH better than animation. The movie comes across as more serious, more realistic, more.. believable. There's no complete and utter suspension of disbelief, just a setting aside of any acceptance that the movie may accurately reflect real life. The puppets work. Though that gratuitous puppet sex scene is just gratuitous. Which, of course, is probably why it's in there. The audience really does not need to watch 3-4 minutes of really poor puppet porn. Not tasteful.

Which dovetails into one of my final remarks. At times, Team America is strikingly South-Park-like. Certain events or aspects just feel like the TV show in its humor, uncouthness or sheer impropriety. The easiest example is an extended vomiting scene. Completely uncalled for and unnecessary. Completely South-Park-esque. Utterly.

And yet despite the puke, swearing and puppet sex (or perhaps because of), I liked this movie. It was fun! It was entertaining! It's been a bit since I saw a movie this funny, that had me (and The Girl, too) regularly laughing and/or groaning and/or sighing in disgust. If you're a South Park fan, enjoy that kind of satirical humor or are interested in a comedy commenting on the war in Iraq, check this one out! (And if you think you may be offended by some part of this film, don't waste your time or mine.)


Here are some amusing quotations, courtesy of IMDB. Note that I'm including the one about dicks, pussies and assholes. Why? 'Cause it's damn funny, especially when presented seriously (as it is in the movie). And it shouldn't spoil anything. And if it does, too bad.
Spottswoode: There's no "I" in "Team America!"
Intelligence: Yes there is.

Gary Johnston: A flying limo? Now I've seen everything.
Spottswoode: Have you ever seen a man eat his own head?
Gary Johnston: What?! No!
Spottswoode: So you *haven't* seen everything.

Sean Penn: Last year I went to Iraq. Before Team America showed up it was a happy place. They had flowering meadows and rainbow skies and rivers made of chocolate, where the children danced and laughed and played with gumdrop smiles.

Terrorist: You have balls. I like balls.

Lisa: Promise me you'll never die.
Gary Johnston: You know I can't promise that.
Lisa: Promise me you'll never die and I'll make love to you right now.
Gary Johnston: I promise I'll never die.

Song: [Song] America, fuck yeah! Comin' again to save the motherfucking day, yeah! / America, fuck yeah! Freedom is the only way, yeah! / Terrorists, your game is through, 'cause now you have to answer to / America, fuck yeah! So lick my butt and suck on my balls! / America, fuck yeah! What you gonna do when we come for you now!

Gary Johnston: We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes. Assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate. And it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves. Because pussies are an inch and half away from assholes. I don't know much about this crazy crazy world, but I do know this. If you don't let us fuck this asshole we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit.
Lisa : [to Gary] You had me at "dicks fuck assholes".

Doggone It!

A dog is not just a man's best friend but a woman's savior as well (CNN article).

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Top Ten Reasons Why The Law Student Crossed The Road

Thanks go to Captain Kate of the 5th Armed Bucket Brigade for coming up with the topic! Without further ado, the list!

13. To get to the casebook.

12. To get to class.

11. To get to the coffee.

10. To avoid being called on.

9. To get to the library.

8. To escape the subpoena.

7. To get to the highlighters.

6. To take out a contract on a law student or professor.

5. To get to the cell phone.

4. To flee the country.

3. To flee from campus security.

2. To get to the injured person who obviously requires counsel to represent him/her in a tort (for negligently failing to provide a safe walking space) against the business outside which he/she slipped and sprained his/her ankle (and presumptively incurred emotional distress).

1. To get to the law degree!

Down With Love Not Quite Down or Lovely

I watched Down With Love on DVD last Saturday night. It stars Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor along with Sarah Paulson and David Hyde Pierce. Putting in cameo appearances we have Rachel Dratch, Jack Plotnick, Tony Randall, John Aylward, Jeri Ryan, Ivana Milicevic, and Melissa George.

IMDB Plot Summary:
Barbara Novak (Renee Zellweger) has just come down from Maine to New York after writing a book called Down With Love. The book instructs women to have sex the way a man does, and to detach oneself from love completely. Catcher Block (Ewan McGregor) is a successful journalist tapped to write a cover story on Novak. He blows her off at every opportunity to cuddle with flight attendants. However, when Novak's book is a complete success, Catcher finds himself being blown off by her! So he starts to write an expose and disguises himself as a naive astronaut named Zip Martin. But he can't imagine what happens next!
I wasn't terribly impressed by this movie. It's billed as a romantic comedy, and is one, but, well, it's very non-traditional in that regard. Very up and down, a lot of role reversal, and not a few surprises thrown in for good measure. It's not bad by any means, just.. different. I'm a fan of the more "traditional" romantic comedies so that may be why this one didn't quite catch my fancy.

I did like the setting, old (60's?) New York. And IMDB informed me that this is a remake of an old movie so it works. Kind of cool for that.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental-Worthy if you like the stars, Cable-Worthy otherwise.

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

10. The professor starts referring to you as “old stinky.”

9. Your professor sends you thank you e-mails when you miss his/her classes.

8. Your paper comes back without a grade but with the word “GUILTY” scrawled along the top.

7. The computer games on your laptop have become so boring you refuse to play them in class when not taking notes.

6. You attend class for the first time in a while and wonder what the Hell the professor is talking about.

5. You decide that you really like lawyers and cannot wait to begin working with them.

4. Your friends file for a restraining order, preventing you from coming within 100 feet of any of them when not in, going to or leaving class.

3. You seriously consider dropping out to begin a career in birthday party entertainment or the priesthood.

2. As a day/evening student, you wish law school were four/five years long instead of three/four.

1. You compose Top Ten Lists in class instead of paying attention.

The Class Selection Winning Streak Continues!

Today, 3Ls got to fill out the rest of their schedule. Somehow I managed to sign up for my first two picks, Fed. Income Tax and Right to Privacy. I'm stoked! My last semester at law school looks pretty good right now - Copyright, Fed. Tax, Privacy and Art/Public Culture. Classes on Tuesday 2-5, Tuesday 6:15-9:30, Wednesday 9-12 and Thursday 2-5 (in the order listed immediately above). I have Mondays and Fridays off. Chances are I'll go into work on Wednesday afternoons and all day Fridays. That's about 9-10 hours a week (in theory) and gives me a LOT of "free time" (not that I always effectively utilize said "free time"). Plus, unlike this semester in which I have 7 separate class periods (3 classes at 2 sessions a week, 1 at 1), next semester I'll have 4 big sessions, primarily with material in which I'm (hopefully) interested. (The odd one out being Fed. Tax.) I think I'll toast my temporary good fortune tonight!

Btw, I'm late again with the Top Ten List this week. Don't blame me, my Bus. Org. professor went and cancelled this morning's class, effectively eliminating the usual time slot in which I compose these things. I'll see what I can do this afternoon. (Hopefully I can put together at least 2 lists for ya, to try and make up for last week. No promises though. Unless you want me to promise that I'll have a beer tonight after my evening class. That I can promise.)

Also, a quick congrats to the Red Sox. In 86 years, I have never seen such as occurred last night! (Of course I've only been alive for a little more than 1/4th of that time period.) For the record, I'm a Mets & Yankees fan, in that order. (Not very die-hard for either team though.)

And last but certainly not least, a hearty Happy Birthday (albeit delayed) goes out to a good friend of mine, LT! Wishing you much Health, Happiness and Prosperity!

ADDENDUM: I'd forgotten I was meeting up with my 1L Mentee at the pub tonight. How do I now remember this appointment? I ran into him in the lobby of the library where he confirmed that we're still on for tonight. I'm pretty bad with things these days. Definitely not a good sign. [12:43 PM]

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Strange Dream

I remember my dream from last night. Involves some pretty strange things. Were-rats, a white tiger, a man (who in the dream I recognized or had previously met, though not a real individual) who was pretending to be a zombie or such though wasn't, me, my mom and some other people taking refuge in a house that was like the one in Trumbull (home) but with a different entry way. All of it took place in daylight. I'm not going to write down the whole story, partly because it's fuzzy and partly because I'm tight on time. Let's just say that it may be a good idea for me to cut out the pre-sleeping reading of vampire novels. (Most of the stranger content, read: creatures, were pulled from the book I'm reading.) Rather odd dream though.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Enrolling in Classes for the Last Time

UConn Law's enrollment for the Spring Semester is taking place this week. It's really a battle to get the classes you want and Lord help you if the computer or the system fails on you. Here's the premise:

Third Years (3LD, 3LE), Fourth Years (4LD, 4LE) and International (LLM) students may, at their discretion, opt to sign up for 1 class on Monday. If they do so, they may waitlist 1 class as well. If they do sign up for a class, they may not sign up for any other classes until Thursday.

On Tuesday, Second Years (2LD, 2LE) enter the fray. In this enrollment period, 2LDs and 2LEs may sign up for 1 class. Any 3LDs, 3LEs, 4LDs, 4LEs or LLMs who did not utilize Monday may sign up for 2 classes.

On Thursday, everyone can sign up for classes and fill out the rest of their schedule.

The enrollment periods run from Noon or 12:30 until 11:59 PM of that day.

What all of this means is that there's a frenzy on Monday to sign up for clinics and "popular" seminars. On Tuesday, the majority of seminars (especially any remaining slots in "popular" ones) are filled. On Thursday, everyone signs up for the bigger classes (the 36, 48 and 70 student ones). The seminars are most sought after since classes with 20 students or less do not have the B-median requirement that the rest of the classes have. (Usually students get better grades in seminars.)

Why do I mention all this? Because I signed up for two seminars today. Thanks to my fast internet connection, healthy computer and fast typing, I managed to pick up one of the most popular seminars, Copyright, and a second intellectual property seminar, Legal Regulation of Art/Public Culture. I am VERY enthusiastic and happy with my results!!! I got the classes I wanted!

YAY, WOOT and YIPPEE!!!!!!

Votergasm Ahoy!

Courtesy of a link at Interstate Love Songs, we have Votergasm.

There's not much I'm going to say about it other than the front page is work safe. Other pages may not be.

Acid Reflux Strikes Again!

A continuation from yesterday's Ashlee Simpson story -- according to this CNN article she now claims it was due to acid reflux:
Monday night she told awards show host Carson Daly in an off-stage interview that acid reflux disease had made her lose her voice four hours before her "SNL" appearances.
Earlier Monday, Simpson's manager-father told radio host Ryan Seacrest that his daughter used the extra help because acid reflux disease had made her voice hoarse.

"Just like any artist in America, she has a backing track that she pushes so you don't have to hear her croak through a song on national television," Joe Simpson told Seacrest on Los Angeles radio station KIIS-FM. "No one wants to hear that."

He said she's never used the extra help before.

"This is your brain. This is your brain on [one hour of sleep]. Any questions?"

It's about 2:45 AM. I said goodnight to The Girl about ten minutes ago. Dinner at Agave, caught Team America at Buckland Hills (my first time there, believe it or not), an espresso martini at Tisane (Mmm!) and a beer (Sam Oktoberfest) at my place. I haven't finished my Antitrust paper yet. In fact, I have one or two paragraphs and an outline down and I have to have it with me for class at 9 AM today (Tuesday). Gonna be a fun day. Time to set my alarm for 4 AM 4:21 AM so I can wake and finish the stupid thing.

And the best/funniest part: I do not regret at all having stayed up this late.

"I do not regret the things I've done but those I did not do." -- Empire Records (my mantra)

Monday, October 25, 2004

"Once again, things that could have been brought to my attention YESTERDAY!"

(Title from The Wedding Singer.)

I got a notice under my apt. door today from the management. Apparently within 6 days of my receipt of the notice, personnel will be working in the common areas of my building. What, pray tell, will they be doing?
[The Contractor's] personnel will be abating all items identified during a risk assessment completed... in July of last year.
And what will this abatement entail?
The results of the post project testing and the specific nature of the work will be provided to tenants after the work is completed.
Sooooo they won't tell us what they're remediating until after it's done. Hmmm, sounds fishy to me.

Of course the punchline is the next sentence after the one I quoted above:
The Contractor will be following a strict plan, which has been approved by the local, state and federal agencies regarding lead-based paint abatement.
So management won't tell us what the "personnel" will be doing but they will tell us that the "Contractor" will be following established guidelines for lead-based paint abatement. Nope, no clue here! I wonder what ever they will be doing.

I think I'll check the Connecticut statutes regarding lead-based paint abatement. Shouldn't they have warned us, the tenants? Then again, what am I going to do? I live here. Besides, isn't lead-based paint only hazardous if you breathe in the chips/dust or touch it a lot or some such? (None of which I hopefully do or will do.) Anyways, I'll probably check the statutes just for fun, see what they say. Maybe this will help me when it comes time to think about renewing my lease. (Plus, management should expect such anal retentiveness. There are a few law students living in their buildings, after all.)

And in retrospect, guess I shouldn't have been licking the walls of cracked and chipping paint in the basement, eh?

Taco-Flavored Kisses!

(With nods to Larry at Lonestar Expat and South Park for the title.)

Courtesy of CNN, Will the World Series feed America?
During game three of the World Series, if players from either team hit the 12' by 12' Taco Bell target, everyone in the U.S. will win a free Crunchy Beef Taco.
Sounds good to me! (Even though I would prefer a double decker taco supreme to a crunchy beef taco.)

Ashlee Simpson Hoisted By Own Petard

Really I just felt like using that idiom.

From CNN, 'SNL' gaffe exposes Simpson's 'help'. Apparently there was some technical error during Ashlee Simpson's second song on SNL. I mention this for a few reaons. I'm trying to avoid beginning (and then finishing) my Antitrust paper that I must have done by 7pm tonight (as I am indisposed thereafter for dinner and a movie with The Girl). I kind of like Ashlee Simpson's CD, Autobiography. Not the best nor my favorite, but not bad at all. This incident lends some credence to the "Ashlee Simpson is a tool" theory. The report is hardly clear. Having not seen the snafu live on TV, I can't quite put together what happened. The explanation seems disingenuous and a bit odd. This post will serve as my one for the day if tonight's activities (as innocuous as they are) last as long as previous experience indicates, that is into the 'morrow.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Peter Griffin For President

"Fighting For You Is His Doody!"

(Courtesy of Adult Swim.)

A Haunted Hayride of Madness!

On Friday night, I went on a WLSA (Women Law Student Assoc.) trip to a Haunted Hayride in Simsbury. It was a good 30 minute drive and the last 4 miles were down a questionable, country-like road in the woods of Simsbury, but we ultimately arrived at Flamig Farm (see link above).

The Hayride was quite enjoyable! I didn't find it to be very scary but I was probably in the minority, judging from the screams around me. Of the 20-25 people who went, much less than half, probably 6-9 of the people, were guys. The rest were all women. Hence the screaming when anything jumped out at the cart or such. It was a well-done Haunted Hayride with all sorts of spooks and creatures, ranging from vampires to home surgery to a chainsaw-wielding mass murderer to clowns. (Who isn't afraid of clowns?) The ride was also moderately long, you certainly get your money's worth.

So if you're interested, I say give it a shot. Only if you're a guy, I recommend going with some women. It makes it much more interesting and fun when you have people reacting around you (i.e. screaming, shrieking, sitting in the middle of the cart...). T'was a fun time!

Wimbledon is Smashing!

I caught a matinee of Wimbledon Wednesday afternoon. Stars Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany (though Sam Neill and Bernard Hill put in appearances).

IMDB Plot Summary:
In just two summer weeks, a British tennis player who was ranked 119th in the world (Bettany), and generally considered to be on his last legs as a professional player, gets his one last chance to win both the All-England Lawn Tennis Championships on the grassy courts of Wimbledon... and the heart of the rising star "bad girl of tennis" (Dunst) as well...
Why did I go see this movie? The reasons are many and varied. It's a romantic comedy (and I generally like that class of movies). It features two popular stars (Bettany and Dunst), both of whom I enjoy watching in movies. I love tennis. Absolutely - it is my favorite sport of all. I think that sums up my motivations pretty clearly. They're enumerated so you have a better context in which to consider this review. (And in retrospect, they're not so much "many and varied" as "three.")

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Completely and utterly. Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst give very nice performances as the lead characters. While Dunst has had some experience with romantic roles (e.g. Bring It On, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2), I don't know of any comparable ones in Bettany's past work (though I could very easily be wrong). You'll notice I use the phrase "very nice" as opposed to "excellent," "amazing" or "stupendous." While they do well, there's no real spark between the two of them. It still comes across quite well and neither of them are slouches or to be faulted in their performances.

Btw, as opposed to some other romantic comedies, this one is from the man's perspective. Not unheard of but not very common.

I have to say the setting for the movie, namely Wimbledon and England, was terrific! You get plenty of English accents and colloquialisms, all of which I find to be wonderful and enthralling. Bettany's English accent is excellent! (Granted he's a native.) This aspect of the film just amused me to no end.

Similarly, one stylistic aspect stood out as interesting and well done. When Bettany is serving, you hear a voice over of the various thoughts running through his head. It's a subtle touch but it is dead-on for the sport. You get up to the baseline, get ready to serve, and random thoughts, some about the game and your performance, start floating through. A rather unique thing to portray in the movie. But it works very well and I liked it.

Wimbledon is a nice romantic comedy. If you like the genre, don't mind some English accents and can stand a movie centered on tennis, check it out. It's a nice story.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD Worthy (if you're a romantic comedy fan like myself; else Cable Worthy).

Saturday, October 23, 2004

South Park is so perverse.

I've been watching a two-episode story line on Comedy Central. All of the kids started attending Cartman's church after they caught the minster from their original, real church doing something with a woman in the confessional booth. They stop attending school and only go to church and confess their sins in an extreme attempt to ensure they go to Heaven when they die. Then, according to his plan, Cartman starts taking money, not unlike real world televangelists. Not until Jesus explains things do the kids let it go.

Any why do I say this two-episode arc was so perverse? Here are some tidbits from the story line.
  • You're shown the recent arrivals in Hell. The orientation guy, responding to one man's statement that he's been a good Protestant, says nope, sorry, wrong religion. And the right one? The Mormons.

  • G-d states he's a Buddhist. Shortly thereafter, like a frog, he sucks down a fly.

  • Satan talks with G-d about his relationship issues.
The entire story was an excellent commentary on following religions to their extremes. I'm not going to go too far into it other than to say that, as I think the story suggests, I am not of the belief that there is a right and a wrong religion. If you stay true to yourself and do "good things" then bully for you. Then again, my religion doesn't believe in Hell so I'm not really concerned.

And for the record, I believe they were episode numbers 11 and 12 from Comedy Central's Top 27 South Park Episodes.

Oh yeah? Well, well.. my cable company gave me a puppy!

I just watched a Comcast commercial (the local Cable provider). In it, an employee of theirs and two customers talk about how the driver saved them when their house was on fire. And this is a direct reflection of Comcast's values and training program? Eh? Yeah, so I now hold cable providers to a higher standard. I expect that they will wash my car, cook me dinner and give me CPR should I need it. Yes, these are new facets of the services they provide. I anticipate the world will soon be run by cable providers. The firemen, the police, the ambulance drivers, none of them will be needed. All we'll ever need is our friendly, neighborhood cable provider!

Okay, so I lost the thread somewhere along the line, in the middle of my rant. But you have to admit, that commercial says absolutely nothing, and I mean NOTHING, about Comcast's capabilities as a cable, internet and phone service provider. Sheesh.

A Sign!

As I was 10 minutes into an X-Men Legends playing session (that I took up again after taking a break to watch Down With Love-watch for a review-and dinner-frozen chicken parm with spaghetti), my PS2 gave me some strange green screen o' death. Something wasn't quite right or such. If that's not a sign that I've played enough X-Men Legends today, I don't know what is. Time to get back to reading my book, Laurell K. Hamilton's Circus of the Damned from the Anita Blake series, once I put the leftover chicken parm in the fridge.

X-Men Legends is Eating Me Alive!

Or eating up all my time, at least. I would have put up new posts (e.g. The Top Ten List, a review of Wimbledon, a review of the Haunted Hayride I went on last night, etc.) except I've spent the vast majority of my waking hours today playing X-Men Legends for the PS2. That is, as opposed to working on the Antitrust paper I need to have for Tuesday morning.

Not only am I a huge X-Men fan but I love RPG's so this game is the best of both worlds for me. I've put over 9 hours into it (at least 5 from today) and I'm not even close to being done or bored. (I just got Gambit about 1.5 hours ago!) So far my favorite group is Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey and a random 4th whose slot may go to Gambit if only I didn't need Iceman for all the special power use points. (Don't ask.) If you like the X-Men and RPG's, GO OUT AND BUY THIS GAME. (Unless you don't want to spend hours on end in front of your TV playing it.)

Thursday, October 21, 2004


A late night of watching the Yankees lose to the Red Sox has further delayed the Top Ten List, a movie review of Wimbledon and any other posts. (That and my apt. being trashed from the 5-hour long party/hang-out. And a mild headache.) I'll put posts together when/as I can.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Pumpkin Beer

Earlier tonight I picked up a 4-pack of bottles of "Dogfish Head Punkin Ale." This is self-decribed as "[a] full-bodied brown ale brewed with real pumpkin, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon & nutmeg." It's not very good. I think I might like this pumpkin beer if only it had only pumpkin and not the rest of that description. The extra spices (e.g. brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg) really over-flavor and kill it for me. Hopefully my friends will finish off the other 3 beers. I'll just work on the 12-pack of Yuengling tomorrow night, instead (of which 8 or less remain).

Strange Happenings at the Pub

I hit the pub (the Half Door) for a pint tonight, just because. The place was more empty than not and all of the pub staff who weren't working that night were hanging out there. In an odd twist, one of the waitresses working tonight approached me (as I sat by myself) and struck up some brief conversation. The first time I was a bit surprised and not a little tongue-tied. The second time I was more prepared. But it struck me as ever so odd. I've been going to this pub for over 2 years and that's the first time a woman, let alone a waitress, let alone one of the blonde, good-looking waitresses, has struck up a brief conversation with me. Quite strange. I think I'm a little disconcerted.

Saved! Won't Save You

I caught Saved! on DVD tonight. It stars Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, Heather Matarazzo, Eva Amurri (daughter of Susan Sarandon), Martin Donovan, and Mary-Louise Parker.

IMDB Plot Summary:
Mary (Jena Malone) is a good Christian girl who goes to a good Christian high school in Baltimore where she has good Christian friends, mainly Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore), and a perfect Christian boyfriend, Dean (Chad Faust). Her life seems perfect, until the day that she finds out that Dean may be gay. After "seeing" a vision of Jesus in her pool, she does everything in her power to help him turn straight, including offering up her virginity. But none of it helps because Dean's caught and sent to a "degayification" center (Mercy House) and Mary ends up pregnant. It's during her time of need that she becomes real friends with the school's set of "misfits," including Cassandra (Eva Amurri), the school's only Jewish girl; Roland (Macaulay Culkin), Hilary Faye's wheelchair bound brother, and Patrick (Patrick Fugit), the skateboarder son of the school's principal, Pastor Skip (Martin Donovan); whilst Hilary Faye turns her into a social outcast.
This movie was.. a bit odd. It's entirely about Christians and Christianity and dealing with the more gray areas of the religion. On a broader view, it's about any religion and dealing with the ambiguities inherent in some of its conflicting doctrine. E.g. To paraphrase Christian doctrine in an entirely unfair way: Everyone can be "saved," except homosexuals and single unwed mothers and those of other religions and... (I name those three since the movie specifically names and confronts them.)

I can't say that anything in this movie surprised me. The plot, the characters' reactions, the ending, none of it. It was almost funny at times because one of the characters (Mandy Moore) is a straight up, strict Christian while so many others (Jena Malone, Macaulay Culkin, Chad Faust...) are conflicted and/or "impure" Christians. The stark contrast between these two categories is what drives the characters, the plot, indeed, the movie.

Throughout the movie I was waiting for the punchline, the moral of the story so to speak. And, as expected, the movie delivered one. One of the reasons I liked this movie is because I agree with the moral - Namely that religion is not black & white, that no one can follow it entirely, 100% of the time, that's it's not and cannot be the end all of everything. And I think that's a good message. That if you believe, personally, that you are religious and following whatever doctrine you subscribe to in as religious a manner as you feel you should, can or must, then you're doing fine.

This movie also had me revise my opinions of Mandy Moore and Macaulay Culkin. They can act! And I was rather surprised to learn that they can act well. I may actually seek them out, and Jena Malone, in future movies. Because they really do an excellent job in this film.

Overall, I enjoyed it. It's not a bad movie but it's very predictable and unsurprising. The plot is rather thin. But the themes and theological underpinning were interesting. Those and the acting kept me interested in the movie. If that might be enough for you then I suggest you catch this one when you can. No rush but it's not a bad film and is worth a viewing.

A few quotes:
Lillian : When Jesus closes a door he opens a window
Mary : Yeah, so we can jump out it.

Cassandra : What's the only reason a Christian girl comes downtown to the Planned Parenthood clinic?
Roland : To plant a pipe bomb?
Cassandra : Okay, two reasons.

So everything that doesn't fit into some stupid idea of what you think God wants you just try to hide or fix or get rid of? It's just all too much to live up to. No one fits in 100% of the time. Not even you.

Why would God make us so different if he wanted us to be the same?
ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental or Cable-Worthy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Funny/Not Funny in Game 6

Funny: A-Rod's knocking the ball out of the guy's glove.

Not Funny: The police in riot gear lining the field, next to the stands.

For a Good Time, Call...

Under the category of things that will make you blind: link

And the category of things that will give you nightmares: link

Whoah! Animation Ahoy!

I just realized (as I watched it) that the animation in Linkin Park's video for Breaking the Habit was done by the same person(s) who did the animation in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (Oren Ishii's story). Excellent! No wonder I love that music video!

Confused About Wine?

Then, as this CNN article suggests, you may want to keep your eyes open for John Cleese's new Food Network show (special?), Wine for the Confused.

I tried looking for it on The Food Network's website but I had no luck until I resorted to a Google search. Here's the Food Network's page on this show (although I can't get it to load yet) and Daily Olive's observation that suggests it may have been on TV this past Sunday.

Quick woot for John Cleese! (Woot!)

Monday, October 18, 2004

Mean Girls Rock

I rented the DVD of Mean Girls and watched it this morning. It stars Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried.

IMDB Plot Outline:
Cady Heron has never known what "high school" truly meant. She lived her first 15 years in the African jungle, home-schooled, living life with only her parents and the animals of the wilderness, knowing all of the rules of survival. However, when she moves out of Africa, she has to learn the rules of high school, a jungle in itself. She instantly makes friends with two sweet teenagers, Damian and Janis, who, in the terms of the high school, were in the "out crowd." Soon she meets the Plastics, the three crude, beautiful, popular girls, consisting of Regina, the unofficial leader, Gretchen, Regina's full-time follower, and Karen, "one of the dumbest people you will ever meet." They immediately let her into their group, but Cady, wanting to keep her first friends, is unsure. The two convince Cady to keep her relationship with the Plastics, only so that they can know their dark secrets. However, events turn for the worse when Cady falls for Regina's ex-boyfriend, Aaron Samuels. When Regina finds out, she seeks revenge of Cady by taking Aaron back. When Cady finds out, what began as a game to discover secrets turns into a plan to destroy Regina. Now, Cady, Janis, and Damian plot together to bring Regina's status down. However, as Cady spends more time with the Plastics, she, too, begins to become one.
I'll admit, I was curious what this movie would be like and, to my surprise, I liked it. The actresses (since there aren't that many actors) do an excellent job portraying high school students in the midst of high school society. Every high school has its various groups of students, e.g. the nerds, the A/V kids, the burnouts, the jocks, and the ever-popular "Plastics." I found myself cheering for Lohan's character as she vied to put the head of the Plastics in her place. The changes in Lohan's character come through rather well as she hangs out more and more with the Plastics, becoming one herself. The plot, what remained of it, became rather interesting. My only complaint, and it really isn't much of one, is that the ending is rather happy-go-lucky. It's not perfect-perfect but it's pretty optimistic. Then again, this is a fluffy comedy about the throes of high school society so what should you expect?

All in all a funny, entertaining movie about high school society. I liked it.

A smattering of quotes:
I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me, but I can't help it that I'm popular.

There's a 30% chance that it's already raining!

Homeschooled Boy: And on the third day, God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that Man could fight the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals.

Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant and die! Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up, just don't do it, promise? OK, everybody take some rubbers.

And evil takes a human form in Regina George. Don't be fooled because she may seem like your typical selfish back stabbing slut faced ho-bag, but in reality, she's so much more than that.

But if you do touch each other, you will get Chlamydia... and DIE.

Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George's life definitely didn't make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.
ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental or Cable-Worthy. (But I'm going to buy it on DVD used when I can since I rather liked it.)

Moulin Rogue

Last night I finally caught Moulin Rouge on DVD. Directed and written by Baz Luhrmann, starring Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, and Richard Roxburgh.

I was informed that this is the third movie in Baz Luhrmann's "Red Curtain Trilogy." The first was Strictly Ballroom and the second was Romeo + Juliet. I was also told that all 3 are love stories only the first movie tells it through dance, the second through language and the third through song. An interesting trilogy if their ever was one.

IMDB Plot Summary:
It's Paris in 1899. Christian, a young English poet, comes to Paris to persue a pennyless career as a writer. However, he soon meets a group of Bohemians who tell him that he should write a musical show for them to be performed at the Moulin Rouge, the most famous underworld night club in Paris. The night they arrive at the Moulin Rouge, Christian meets Satine, the club's star and a beautiful courtesan. He falls head-over-heels in love with her and though it takes a bit of convincing, she falls for him as well. Meanwhile, the club's owner, Harold Zidler, invests in a wealthy Duke to help pay for the club, however, the duke will only pay if Satine is his. This crazy love triangle twists and turns. And little does Satine know that she has a deadly secret that could end everything.
The movie is a combination movie/musical. The music in general is phenomenal! There are musical numbers throughout the film that highlight the story, its characters and their feelings.

The sets and film style are very outlandish. The idea (imo) is to create another world, another universe in which this story takes place. (Granted the real setting is France at the Moulin Rouge club.) To that end, the style is very successful. The environments feel surreal, as if this is another world with its own rules and customs.

Two interesting features. One is the use of anachronistic things. For example, some of the music used is quite modern such as Nirvana's song Smells Like Teen Spirit. The second item dovetails into the first. When the movie uses some songs, it uses them to new music. That is, the old lyrics with similar-sounding but different music. To wit, there's a whole sequence centered around Madonna's Like a Virgin lyrics only with different music.

I got pulled along a tangent somewhat since I have thus far failed to describe the movie as a romantic tragedy with comedic elements. There's a fair bit of comedy there though the main themes are of romance and tragedy. It feels rather Shakespearean at times. A very nice, engaging story.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and have already ordered the Red Curtain Trilogy from Amazon. As a friend put it, people are likely to either love or hate the film. If you think you might enjoy it, then you very well may. And vice versa with hating it.

Some choice quotes:
Love? Above all things I believe in love. Love is like oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love.

Never fall in love with a woman who sells herself. It always ends bad.

We're creatures of the underworld. We can't afford to love.

My gift is my song. And this one's for you. And You Can Tell Everybody That this is your song. It may be quite simple but now that it's done. I hope you don't mind I hope You don't mind That I put down in words... How Wonderful Life is Now you're in the world.

You're going to be bad for business. I can tell.

The French are glad to die for love. They delight in fighting duels. But I prefer a man who lives... and gives expensive... jewels.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy or don't see it. No in-between.

Of Guns & Ammo & Forensics

Last Thursday in my Law & Forensics Class, we got the gun lecture. That is, we went to the Henry Lee Institute in Meriden and learned all about guns and forensic investigations thereof from a very knowledgeable fellow. It was a fascinating class and I learned quite a bit from it. What follows are some of my observations.

We handled a revolver (a .35 I think, maybe a .38?). It was heavier than I anticipated and had a strong pull to cock it. Also, I learned what "double action" means. Single action is cocking the revolver (pulling back the hammer) then firing it. Double action is one in which you can simply pull back the trigger to fire it. There, the action of pulling back the trigger automatically cocks the gun. If you use the single action and do it yourself, the trigger is automatically pulled back the majority of the way so it takes very little additional pull on the trigger to fire the gun.

We also handled 2 semi-automatic pistols, both .22 caliber. I'll just discuss the "normal" size one. Again, it was harder to pull back the slide (?) than I anticipated. That actually took no small amount of effort. The semi-automatic action comes from the fact that you only need to pull back the slide (which automatically pulls back the hammer) for the first bullet. Thereafter, the force of the gun firing causes the slide to retract and the gun to cock, all on its own. Interesting that it's based on the force of the first bullet firing. Also, there were a few safety features on the gun, including one thing on the back of the handle. Unless you applied pressure to that piece, the gun wouldn't fire.

Bullets in a fire do not fire. They do not explode. The instructor was telling us that they've found bullets after a fire where the bullet is right next to the casing, having only come out enough to allow the escape of the gases inside.

Gun powder burns, it does not explode. However, it does burn very well and very fast.

You cannot silence a revolver since the sound, unlike with a semi-automatic pistol, additionally escapes through the sides, the gaps in the revolving action.

99% of the sound (the bang) is from the primer cap, NOT from the gunpowder.

If the bullets leaving the gun travel greater than 1,060 feet/sec, you get a sonic boom and cannot silence the shot.

After the class, I think I can own a gun. Not for anything serious per se, just to have and go shoot at a shooting range. That's not to say I necessary will own one. Merely that I could.

All in all, a very interesting class. I'm glad I took this course.

Sadness and Tragedy

Albeit pale imitations of the real deals, tonight I finished reading and watched two of the most sad and tragic works I've ever read or seen. I saw Moulin Rouge with a friend. Excellent movie, I may post a review. I finished reading an Orson Scott Card book, Lost Boys. A good book though not action-packed, just well-written as always with OSC. Both are horribly sad and tragic in their own right. I would attempt to elaborate more except for fear of ruining them and except for my words being incredibly ill-suited to convey the depths of the two. Although I don't recommend Lost Boys other than for die-hard OSC fans, Moulin Rouge was truly amazing. I don't recommend both in one night though the resulting residual feelings of depression and cheerlessness do drown out my customary sense of frustration. And I didn't even have to drink myself into a stupor.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Promoting Yourself to Death

That's what I feel Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studio are doing with The Incredibles (IMDB). I've seen a number of commercials and trailers for the film but that's not what bothers me. Rather it's the Energizer products and the adverts for SBC Yahoo! DSL. Now, don't forget, the movie is about two weeks from hitting the theatres. Yes, BEFORE THE MOVIE IS EVEN CLOSE TO BEING RELEASED, THEY'RE MERCHANDISING OTHER PRODUCTS WITH IT!

Anyone else find this to be a disturbing trend?

Reflections on Jimmy Fallon

Last night, SNL was playing a Best of Jimmy Fallon. (New episode next week, Ashlee Simpson as the musical guest, Jude Law as the host.) My first thought was "yeah, but he hasn't been with the show for that long, has he?" Then I watched a 5-minute collection of clips, mostly of Fallon's impersonations of famous figures. And he was damn funny. And any lingering doubts rapidly evaporated. Jimmy Fallon is very talented and well-deserving of a "Best of," even if he is "new school" and has much, much more left in him. T'was a good show from what I saw.

Mental Note II

Remember that when parking the new car in the private parking lot I have a permit for, I have to put the sticker in the window or they may tow the car. As they have. Damnit.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Pimpmobile is Ready for Action!

(And in more ways than one, hah!)

The primary purpose of my trip this weekend was to trade cars. I'm selling my '95 Buick Park Ave. and now have my grandfather's '98 Buick Park Ave. Essentially I've traded up 3 years and about 44,000 miles. The '98 only had ~24,560 miles on it when I took possession. (It was my grandfather's and he doesn't do much driving these days. He's 90.) The only thing I dislike is the coloring. The '95 has a dark green exterior, beige leather interior. The '98 has a white exterior, dark blue leather interior. It truly is a "pimpmobile."

Now I believe it's time for me to hop in, crank up some kickin' tunes and go cruzin' for hot babes. Who can't help but be drawn in by the alure of the "pimped-out" Park Ave.? (If any hot babes in the area are interested in a ride, please let me know. Cheers!)

Mmm... Smells like ashtrays.

I am a non-smoker. That is, I do not shorten my lifespan on a regular basis by inhaling noxious clouds of ill-smelling, burning material. That is not what I choose to do with my life. However, both my aunt and uncle do so choose. And it stinks (both literally and figuratively) as a non-smoker to stay in their house, as I did Friday into Saturday. Your clothing reeks. You reek. And the second-hand smoke helps shorten your life, too.

To wit, I traveled to Iceland with a law student friend of mine whose name rhymes with lawless. He's a smoker. Not a chimney but enough that it was exceedingly annoying. And, since we were in Iceland, there was no limit on where one could smoke. Out of kindness to me, he did not smoke in the hotel room. However, that only saved my clean clothing as he could, and did, smoke whilst we ate, walked, saw things, shopped, etc. I came back from the trip abolsutely reeking of smoke, even as he smoked in the car on the drive back. (Granted it was his car and he was driving, for which I am thankful.) Upon arriving in my apartment, the first thing I did, and I mean THE VERY FIRST THING, before anything else, was I stripped down, grabbed a hot shower and put on some clean, SMOKE-FREE clothes. (I thereafter isolated the trip's garments such that they would not smell up other things in my apt., such as the apt.)

I don't really, usually mind the smokers. (As long as I'm upwind of them, that is.) And I do occasionally have a cigarette myself (albeit it's on the order of 6-10 per year and only during heavy drinking). So please don't hold any of this over my head the next time I bum a cigarette but I wish the smokers out there would do one of two things. A) Figure out that life is worth living and kick the habit. OR B) Find a quicker, less painful way of killing yourselves that does not also adversely affect my health. Please?

Bambi Must Die!

I've got 3 posts from this weekend (Friday/Saturday that is) coming up! I went up to my aunt/uncle/grandparents to swap cars, but more on that later.

On Friday, I joined my uncle and a friend of his on the upper floor (attic really) of my uncle's barn. Before I answer that burning question of yours ("What, pray tell, were you three doing in that attic?"), I must set the scene a bit more. My aunt, uncle and grandparents live in upper-state New York, not too far from Lake George. If you've never been up there, it's a nice area if not a bit touristy and a bit.. "out there" in nature. For example, my aunt and uncle's property is over 3 acres in area, very woodsy and primarily untamed. They have a garden in which they grow squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, potatoes and other assorted garden-grown things. My uncle owns easily over 20 rifles and at least one bow and assorted arrows. Again, upper-state New York.

So, the burning question: "What, pray tell, were you three doing in that attic?"

We were sitting, looking out from the upper regions of the bar for some hapless woodland creature to kill. Yes, you heard me right. "We're on a mission from God." (And that mission is to find a new source of venison for the family.)

Some of you that know me may well attest to the fact that I am no hunter. I do not own a gun, a hunting bow/arrow nor any other reasonable hunting apparatus with which one might terminate the life of a hapless woodland creature.

So what was I doing up there? Me, I was sitting looking out the window into the wooded area, learning what my uncle does every night as it gets dark. What were the two of them doing? Much the same except with cigarettes and beer and some occasional whispered conversation.

And as I sat there, I asked myself the $64,000 question. If I saw a deer out there and my uncle and his friend didn't, would I tell them? Would I inform them that Bambi had unwittingly strode into her final glade? I honestly didn't know. I probably would not have said anything and just watched the deer and/or my uncle and his friend as they killed it. But would I have told them first? I don't think so. I'm not positive but I don't think so.

After about 30 minutes of sitting there and inhaling second-hand smoke, I left and went back to the house.

So that's what my uncle does as dusk decends 'oer the land. He sits and waits to kill things. Not my choice of hobby but apparently it works for him. Although I'd like to wish him luck in his future hunting endeavors, I don't think so. I'd rather the hapless woodland creatures not be turned into tasty dinners. Then again I brake for squirrels so what do I know?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Punish This!

I caught the DVD version of The Punisher Thursday afternoon. It stars Thomas Jane, John Travolta, Will Patton, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos, Ben Foster, and John Pinette. I'm probably missing some but the movie, and hence IMDB, lists the names by appearance rather than importance.

The quick IMDB summary:
Special agent Frank Castle had it all: A loving family, a great life, and an adventurous job. But when his life is taken away from him by a ruthless criminal and his associates, Frank has become reborn. Now serving as judge, jury, and executioner, he's a new kind of vigilante out to wage a one man war against those who have done him wrong.
If you've ever heard of the comic book upon which the movie is based, some of the above phrases should be familiar to you. For reference, the comic book character's background is very similar except I believe it was just his wife & son that were killed by a car bomb meant for him. The rest of it is dead on though, a man who's lost everything and now fights crime on its own terms, with no regret, remorse or mercy.

Here's a quote that gives you a good idea of the themes involved:
In certain..."extreme" situations, the law is inadequate. In order to shame its inadequacy, it is necessary to act outside the law. To pursue... natural justice. This is not vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive, it's an emotional response. No. Not vengeance. This, is punishment.
Btw, I think the quote is bullshit. It's vengeance straight up. If no emotions were involved, he wouldn't be exacting his revenge. Now if it were upon generic criminals, ones not connected to the death of his family, that might arguably count as punishment. Of course that's where the character goes in the comic book and, presumably, after this first movie.

The movie wasn't bad. The plot is dead on, the acting pretty good, the scenes well-constructed, the fight scenes nicely played. Not too over-the-top and definitely not subtle. Thomas Jane did an excellent job as Frank Castle, playing the role of the dark hero. John Travolta did well in his usual role of bad guy. If anything, the writing on the bad guy's character was a bit weak but then the entire plot was weak. Not unsurprising though, given the direct nature of the story.

One cool part was an extended fight scene set to opera music. Pretty cool. One bad part, and this isn't giving anything away, was the brief instant when the main character considered suicide. I was so pissed off by that scene that I was yelling at the TV. IMO, The Punisher would never, never even think of suicide. A brief lapse in an otherwise decent, and faithful, movie.

One other small beef. In the movie, The Punisher eventually makes friends (sort of) with his neighbors (at their insistence). That was one of the odd dichotomies in the comic book - that he's a vigilante and yet a fighter for the underdog. Like a cracked out Robin Hood almost. So when he makes these friends, they really help him and champion him in their own way. It's almost a commentary on.. I don't know, something. Maybe group mentality or the plight of the underdog. But it is a facet of the comic book character they do bring out in the movie. My beef is just that it was done in an odd manor. I liked its inclusion but disliked its implementation. It would have been better, IMO, for The Punisher to get into their good graces by doing something substantial. Granted he does stand up for them to a bully but it felt week, contrived. That's all.

Part of me is glad I didn't catch this in the theatre while part of me wishes I had. But that division in my sentiment probably indicates I didn't miss all that much by waiting. I'm glad I own it on DVD and I will watch it again, many times.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy if you think you'll like it. Else probably not worth your time.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Torque It Up a Notch

I'm going to make a concerted effort to catch up on my un-watched movie pool. (I now have 45 more to go after this afternoon.) So expect some movie reviews as I catch up on my DVD-watching.

Torque stars Martin Henderson, Ice Cube, Monet Mazur, Matt Schulze, Max Beesley, Jay Hernandez, Will Yun Lee, Jamie Pressley, and Adam Scott. I know, a lot of names listed, but next to the first 4 names, everyone else is supporting.

A modified version of IMDB's summary:
Biker Cary Ford is framed by an old rival and biker gang leader for the murder of another gang member who happens to be the brother of Trey (Ice Cube), leader of the most feared biker gang in the country. Ford is now on the run trying to clear his name from the murder with Trey and his gang looking for his blood. In addition, Ford has to clear the air from his previous run-in with Henry James (Matt Schulze) when he took two of James' bikes. The FBI became involved and raided Ford's girlfriend's, Shane's (Monet Mazur), shop, necessitating his flight and eventual return.
A mouthful but the IMDB version left out the other element pulling on the main character, meaning I had to add it above.

The movie itself is pretty much what I expected. Lots of motorcycle driving over a thinly-veiled plot. There are no big holes in the story but it does feel.. incomplete. Sure, there are plenty of action sequences involving bikes, cars, chases, bike battles, non-bike battles, etc. Plenty of action. But action alone does not a good movie make. It kind of felt like we were being brought into the story in the middle as it were. Granted plenty happens in the movie but a large portion of it is based on past problems and events. Not usually a big deal but big enough when those count as the major motivations behind the main characters.

My one BIG gripe would be the final bike-fight sequence. Beyond even the mere absurdity of its choreography, the fact that it was done entirely by computers, and obviously so at that, really pissed me off. I was yelling at my TV when it started because it just looked patently fake. I hate it when a decent build up is ruined by a poorly executed "final" scene. It makes the entire previous portion of the movie almost worthless.

If you think you might enjoy a relatively light plot with lots of bikes, bike chases and such, then I'd say give this one a shot. It's worth a few dollars but not much more.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental or Cable-worthy if you want. Otherwise, skip it. You won't be missing much.

New Brewing Method Means Faster Beer, Less Waste

And ANOTHER Slashdot post, this time on a much more important topic.
A brewmaster in Germany has invented a cylinder that fuses yeast to the sides, allowing the yeast to do its fermentation job faster. A process that normally takes 10 days now takes a few hours. Also, yeast that normally has to be changed out after three brews can now last up to six months to a year.

"No more Power Point for you!"

Still ANOTHER Slashdot post, this one on whether Power Point unfairly prejudices juries. From my limited mock trial experienceand background, trials are always influenced by presentation. That's half the trick, that trial attorneys have various tactics and strategies, beyond merely legal ones, to employ in an attempt to sway the jury. My take is that Power Point is merely another tool in the toolbox. Why disallow this particular tool if you allow other, equally effective methods and tools to remain? And if Power Point is so "powerful" such that it should be forbidden, then perhaps we should reexamine our system and see whether or not this is merely a symptom (as I fear it is) of a more deep-rooted problem.

Mmm... Infringing Microsoft Patents...

Thanks to Slashdot again for this:
Do you use drop-down menus, alphanumerical input boxes, check boxes, radio buttons or sliders to allow client side-processing of data? Utilize SQL, HTML, ActiveX, Java, Perl, JavaScript or JScript to do so? Employ arrays, stacks, queues, linked lists, or decision trees to organize things? Well Bunky, you might be infringing on Microsoft's new patent for Dynamically adjusting data values and enforcing valid combinations of the data in response to remote user input, which the USPTO granted Tuesday after 6+ years and two rejections.
Another fine patent from the people who brought you.. errr... Windows.

Iranian Bloggers Arrested

Thanks to Slashdot for linking to a Reuter's piece on this.
Iranian authorities have arrested at least six Internet journalists and webloggers in recent days, colleagues and relatives said on Wednesday, in a further blow to limited press freedoms in the Islamic state.
They will face charges of "propagating against the regime, acting against national security, disturbing the public mind and also insulting religious sanctities," he said.
Kinda scary as a blogger. Fortunately I live in the good 'ole U.S. of A. where I have nothing to fear but the FBI & Dept. of Homeland Security. [Insert PATRIOT Act rant here.]

Why I Play Games

An interesting Slashdot post leading one to an article at the Windows XP Site entitled The Seven Games of Highly Effective People. I wish I played games for these reasons rather than these effects being a subsidiary benefit. Really it's just fun!

This Can't Be Good

I'm not entirely sure what this CNN article means, but it doesn't sound good, especially given the statement:
Congress has already raised the debt limit twice during the Bush administration's tenure, in 2002 and 2003.
Disconcerting to say the least.

Can anyone explain this to me and whether my general sense of fear is misplaced or not?

Low prices on everything from mayonaisse to human remains!

A CNN article discusses a newly-opened Wal-Mart in Honolulu and the protest over it.
Wal-Mart opened a store in Hawaii on Wednesday with hundreds of eager shoppers rushing past a handful of protesters who accuse the giant retailer of desecrating ancient gravesites.

Customers lined up hours ahead and then poured into the discount store after a traditional Hawaiian blessing and the untying of a lei at the main doors.

Native Hawaiian groups had tried to stop the opening until 44 remains of Hawaiians unearthed during construction could be reburied at the Wal-Mart site.
Excellent publicity for Wal-Mart. Reminds me of BJ's selling caskets, though at least BJ's didn't "slash graves" as Wal-Mart has been accused.

"What a lovely prison cell!"

We needed a news piece to tell us that Martha is planning a book on her prison life? I'd have thought that was obvious from the get go.

A Republican West Wing?????

Surely you jest! According to this CNN article, that's not outside the realm of possibility. I'm a big West Wing fan (so much so that I'm tempted to start a letter-writing campaign against my cable provider for not including Bravo, and the concomitant West Wing reruns, in my package). I wish Bartlett was our real president. (Not Martin Sheen, mind you, given his radical politics.) Given that this is the end of Bartlett's administration, it will be interesting to see where the show goes. Half the reason I watch it is because of the excellent actors and actresses involved. Remove them from the equation and I don't know if I can get behind the show.

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

Thanks go out to my friend Captain Kate of the 5th Armed Bucket Brigade for her help in coming up with Top Ten List Topics. (And apologies for the day delay!)

15. Since they're not "Native Americans," they know they can't use our campus to establish a casino.

14. Don't want to sully themselves by having contact with "lawyers."

13. Their Articles of Incorporation forbid it.

12. We've already filed a restraining order against them.

11. They're afraid of our campus security officers.

10. They're afraid of our librarians. (Roar!)

9. It's not worth the hassle of the inevitable resulting lawsuits.

8. Since we're a state school, they know we could and would call in the National Guard.

7. We have nothing they want. (We're not high-priced attorneys yet.)

6. They think Hartford is too much of a dump.

5. They fear our mad legal writing skillz.

4. They'd be breaking the Mongoloid Peace Treaty of 1922.

3. They know we would win. (Motivated law students hyped up on coffee and armed with case law and sharpened pencils are a fearsome bunch!)

2. They've already had their lawyers write us a strong letter.

1. They pity us.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


After consulting my counsel, henceforth I shall no longer provide additional posts concerning Ophelia. (Granted I did not inform counsel of the existing posts but judging from counsel's reactions, this would be in line.) As it is, I have probably written too much. Nonetheless, I refuse to withdraw any of it. Barring actual legal problems, I will not remove content (i.e. previous posts) from this blog. As such, this is the last post one can expect in relation to this topic (given various caveats I will not enumerate, e.g. good fortune).

Why is it that upon recognition of a truth, especially a hard truth, I resort to drinking as a form of absolution? For some reason, I have come to associate getting rip-roaring drunk as a form of cleansing and passage. A way of accepting something I truly do not want to accept. Immediately prior to my break up with H, I knew it was coming. Some part of me recognized this fact. I spent 3-4 nights in a row getting completely and utterly smashed due to said subsequent break up. Alas, I fear tonight is moderately similar. Two beers down, more to go. Time to get started, I feel myself slipping down the slope of sobriety.

ADDENDUM: Go Yankees! [10:08 PM]

Shaun of the Deadly Amusing

Last night, I saw Shaun of the Dead with Ophelia. This is British film, replete with British setting, British cast, British style of filming and British humour. (Note "humour," not "humor.") Hence, I recognized only a few of the actors/actresses, namely Bill Nighy. The other, main characters are played by Simon Pegg, Kate Ashfield, Nick Frost, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran and Nicola Cunningham.

Plot summary from CJAD 800:
On Friday, Shaun (Simon Pegg) is in a rut. At 29, he's coasted through life -- and still hasn't gotten very far, usually winding up at the local pub, the Winchester. His roommate Ed (Nick Frost) looks up to him -- when he can take his eyes off the TV, that is. His girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is re-evaluating their relationship, particulary after Shaun fails to do something special for their anniversary on Saturday. That day, there are train delays, people fainting in the streets, TV news reports of unexplained calamities -- and did that homeless man just try to eat a ...? No, it can't be... But, it is -- the dead have risen. Saturday's isolated incidents mushroom into a full-on zombie assault and, once daylight breaks, it's Sunday bloody Sunday. As manners and flesh take a beating, it's time to separate men from meat, humans from zombies, and the living from the undead. Shaun and Ed grab whatever is at hand (cricket bat, shovel, LP) to repel the attacking zombies, summoning reserves of strength they didn't know they possessed and straining muscles they forgot they had. Rounding up friends and family, they press on towards the sanctuary of the Winchester. All that stands (or lopes) in their way are hordes of the flesh-eating undead...
I have to say, I really enjoyed this movie. I'm a sucker for British films. I like the setting, the cast and the humour. Shaun was no different. Yay for the British!

In an interesting twist, although Shaun is billed as a comedy, it has elements of other genres as well. Don't be shocked, should you find yourself watching it, when things take a very serious turn and the comedic aspects are left by the wayside for a little bit. Although Ophelia found this aspect odd in many respects, I think it helped. By shifting between seriousness and comedy in the blink of an eye, both were set off ever so much more. Had Shaun been a comedy through and through, it probably would have been too much and I might not have liked it as much as I did. Hence, I think this stylistic treatment worked for the movie.

As for the comedy aspects, Shaun was fantastic! Utterly hilarious at times, especially when it comes to highlighting the various character flaws and/or faults of the main characters. On the whole, the movie doesn't take itself too seriously and it shows through in most of its sequences. From when Shaun and his roommate mistake the first zombie they see for being drunk (and Shaun's roommate grabs a camera to photograph the zombie attacking Shaun) to Shaun using a cricket bat to beat away the zombies (and then some). Just an amusing, funny movie.

One downside, and this is something I feel is inherent in just about any zombie movie I've seen, would be the ending. Granted, Shaun makes it more amusing than I've seen in the past but it still seems too trite, too cliche, too.. expected. It would have been a heckuva lot better had the ending been a true surprise (not unlike the rest of the movie).

My only caveats to this positive review is that you may not enjoy the movie as much as I did if: You're not a huge fan of British movies, film style and humour. Although you appreciate British humour, you're unwilling to look beyond the violence and absurdity of the situation to find the latent humour hiding in the wings. I know, odd caveats, but worth noting.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy if you like the Brits.

A Question I Should Probably Not Ask

Anyone ever wonder why Blogger is a free service from Google? I can't imagine that the perceived benefits (ad exposure, name development and service usage) balance out with the resources expended (servers, software, blog retention and archiving). I can understand Google's search engine driving its ad revenue but Blogger? Can anyone help me sort out this perceived conundrum?

The Not-Quite-So-Short-As-The-Short-Version Version

(The story to date.)

Well, hung out with "O" last night. (Btw, from here on out, I shall refer to "O" as "Ophelia" instead since a name may help memory retention more so than a letter. Again, this does not necessarily bear any relation to her real name whatsoever. Also, I couldn't think of a non-associative, better female name beginning with "O" to use. So deal and please do not read in any of those associations as they are entirely inapplicable.) So I hung out with Ophelia. We caught Shaun of the Dead (see review) as that was the planned activity. Afterwards, a pint and a snack at a local pub (the Wood -n- Tap) followed by an episode of Briscow County, Jr. and hanging out back at my apt.

I’m encouraged because I feel that I met one of my goals - to find common ground with Ophelia that does not involve movies. I am moderately well-versed while she is a veritable walking encyclopedia regarding movies, old and new. My goal was to find some other topic or topics by which we could relate and have a discussion. Not a difficult task, thankfully, and hopefully encouraging by its facility alone, let alone the conversations and so forth.

I can't help but say that I enjoyed last night and had a great time. (Why else would I willingly stay up to 3am, knowing full well I have a full day the next and would wake between 7 and 7:30am?) As for minor details, and I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but Ophelia paid for dinner (for the both of us at Ruby Tuesday's) last time. This time everything was split, dutch. Though I told her that I owe her and will eventually buy her dinner. One last, brief observation (and I know we're only friends, atm, and that she may read this at some point - but whatever). I can't help but mention that I like her laugh. You ever notice how a woman's laugh can make or break one's impression of her? (Think of Chandler's old flame, Janice, on Friends and her incessantly annoying, and distinctive, laugh.) Ophelia's laugh is excellent.

As for the next, my prediction is that we'll trade e-mails this week before figuring out that we'll hang out again next Sunday or Monday. She's incredibly busy and I have various things of my own to take care of. (E.g. I'm getting a new "used" car from my grandfather next weekend. Upgrading my Park Ave. from a '95 to a '99.) Plus our schedules are mildly incompatible Monday through Thursday given my free day is Wednesday and hers is Thursday (my busy day). Perhaps she and I will make Monday evenings a movie night. That would be nice.

So, in summary, it was a fun night. I'm glad we hung out and hope we do so again in the near future!

What Makes Today Oh So Nice

Standing up at the end of your 9-10:20 Antitrust class and having a fellow student observe that "at least we don't have Bus. Org. today." (The 10:30-12 class.) Take the newfound time, go get a nice breakfast over at A.C. Peterson on Park Ave. and go to work early. This ensures that one can leave work early with few qualms. As an added bonus, have the evening's activity, namely a label-sticking party for the International Journal / IP Society Symposium, be rescheduled for Wed. Hence, tonight is free, I'm taking an early leave from work and, should I feel so inclined, I may opt to attend a Salsa Dancing Lesson at the law school tonight. Not bad. Not too bad at all. Days like today make me ever so slightly happier.

Quick Morning Report/To Do List

No time right now to post all that I want to. Will put up more later. The short form:

Saw Shaun of the Dead last night with O. Ended up hanging out with O afterwards for a total thing of 7.5 hours (including 1.5 hour movie), ending at 3am. That equates to ~4 hours sleep today since I'm actually going to my Antitrust class. Was fun. Good time.

Btw, I'm disappointed no one other than Richard commented on the As the Gavel Strikes feature. Even so, too bad. I like it so it's here to stay. (At least Richard liked it!)

Anyways, gotta run. Near literally. Cheers!

Monday, October 11, 2004

How NOT to Save Your Marriage

(From CNN) Police: Man staged robbery to impress wife.
EDMOND, Oklahoma (Reuters) -- An Oklahoma man desperate to save his marriage by appearing like a hero to his wife ended up in police custody on suspicion of staging a crime. He hired "burglars" and foiled their fake robbery attempt, police said on Friday.
Police said Spencer attacked the two in a choreographed fight, even hitting one with a board that he had cut to break in half. The plan was going well until his wife freed herself and called police, something Spencer did not anticipate, police said.
Too funny. A+ for effort, C- for implementation.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

As the Gavel Strikes -- Chapter One: The Saga Begins

Picture your average state courtroom, seal on the wall, judge's bench, tables, banister, seating for spectators. Court has just recessed for the day as lawyers and non-lawyers alike clear out to grab a bite to eat.

Marsha, an Assistant District Attorney, stands over her table as she sorts through the various papers and files, putting them in order. She has clearly had a rough day. Her close friend, Kim, is waiting to meet her at the local diner for some much needed sustenance.

Clark strolls into the emptying room and pushes through the swing doors, approaching Marsha. He walks to her side, flashes one of his more dazzling smiles and begins "So babe, want to get some Vietnamese? I hear that new place downtown is rather nice. Apparently their pho is amazing!"

Marsha knew he was coming. Anticipating this moment had made her day ever so slightly worse. She turned to face him, letting out a nearly inaudible sigh. "Not tonight, Clark. I've got plans."

"Oh c'mon! Let's go get a bite to eat and relax over some martinis."

"Clark, I.. I can't. Look.. I've got something to say to you.. and you're not gonna like it."

"..What? But Marsha, we've-"

"Just let me say it and.. you can do what you have to, alright? Just let me say my piece." Marsha paused and took a deep breath, knowing her next words would forever change things. "Clark, I've been seeing a third party. You know, things have been rocky. You put together that horrible brief, you were sanctioned, heck you even lost your appeal. We were never going to last and I can't wait for you to file your motion any longer. So here, my sua sponte grant of summary judgment."

"Marsha, I-I don't know what to say. I always thought we had a chance, that we could work things out. I know my case is a little weak but there's such hopeful precedent. I'd thought it would be more persuasive.. more helpful than it turned out to be, apparently. But honestly, who is this guy? Really, what forced you to seek independent counsel? Come on!"

"Clark, I don't want to talk about it. What's important is that we're through. It's over. The jury came back, the verdict was not favorable, you lost. I'm sorry."

"Well I'm sorry too, Marsha. I thought you saw the larger constitutional issues. I thought you appreciated the nuances behind my analysis. I thought you saw my arguments for what they are, not what you hoped they'd be. I'm sorry too, Marsha."

"Look, let's just let it go and.. that's it. So it goes... but, if you want to, I'd really like it if we could stay friends. I mean, the good parts were good, they just weren't enough. Can we stay friends? Tell me."

"I don't know, Marsha. Your petition is falling on deaf ears. You've hurt me. I made my case and you ignored all of the supporting evidence to rule against me. It's going to take me some time.. time to review, reflect.. time to think about it. Look, I've got to go. My client is waiting for me outside. I'll see you.. around."

"Al-alright, Clark. Have a good night."

Clark turns away from Marsha and walks out of the courtroom trailing a broken heart. Marsha for her part finishes putting her papers away, picks up her bag and slowly walks out, thinking not of her dinner with her new beau, Kim, but of Clark's parting words.

As the Gavel Strikes -- Chapter Selection

As the Gavel Strikes is a tale of suspense, intrigue and the lives behind the law. I recommend you begin with the earlier chapters first for the requisite background though each chapter should stand on its own. New chapters are added at the top of the list. As noted earlier, thanks go out to Richard for the suggestion. Enjoy!

Chapter One: The Saga Begins

Chapter Two: The Depths