Friday, September 30, 2005

0 for 1 (with 1 pending)

Results are out for the July 2005 Connecticut Bar Exam. I didn't pass. Time to spend tonight at the bottom of a bottle while congratulating my friends (all of whom did pass).

So congrats to the rest of ya! Cheers!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Dentist & Co.

I went to the dentist's today for a check up. I haven't had my teeth checked in quite a while. Although I don't have an official final opinion yet, it looks like my gums aren't in good shape and at least one of my wisdom teeth will need to be pulled. The wisdom teeth in question have broken the gumline so it won't be too bad, no excavating. The gums-thing is somewhat expected though at least I'll finally get them looked at and dealt with. My previous dentist (this is a new one for me) didn't do much to curtail things other than the usual above-the-gumline cleaning. In any case, I have a consultation tomorrow wherein I shall learn all about my various mouth woes.

I'm also off to a bachelor's party tomorrow night in NYC. Should be fun.

Then on Saturday there's the Marching Band Classic. I'm an old bando, trumpet if you must know. I'd like to go to the competition for a few reasons - to support the band, 'cause it was a good time when I was in it, 'cause I may see other long lost high school band friends, and I haven't been to one in 3-4 years. It's about time for another.

Lots of high school marching band memories. Lots.

Congrats to the new Chief Justice Roberts! Caesar is dead! Long live Caesar! (Only substitute Chief Justice for Caesar.)

I need to find my Hartford tv and vcr remotes. Need to tape Friday night's Nip/Tuck along with next week's new episode. (Jewish holidays mean visiting the grandparents and aunt/uncle.)

Not much more here. *yawn* Time for a nap. Or game-playing. Same difference.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

FX is my savior!!!

I forgot to watch the new Nip/Tuck tonight. However, FX is truly my savior. For some reason as yet unknown to me, FX is showing the same new Nip/Tuck episode tonight from 10:00-11:03, 11:04-12:05, 12:05-1:06. Yes, the same 61-minute episode three times in a row. Quite odd but quite helpful to me in this instance.

ADDENDUM: Check that. FX IS THE DEVIL. I could swear the on-tv guide had a 3rd one down for the 12:00-1:00 slot but apparently not. Blasted!!! Guess I'll have to keep my eyes open for a rerun of the new episode on Thurs. night. *grumble grumble* [1:36am]

New Advertising Tactic

I've been watching Adult Swim, the Cartoon Channel's 11pm-__am animation slots, most nights, from 11pm to 1-2am or so. Recently I've seen some new commercials there. One advertises a platform jumping school and encourages viewers to check out The other advertises some institute on three dimensions and tells viewers to go to

Last night I couldn't get either of the sites to load but today they worked. The first is a sham site for a platform jumping school with a few pages. The second is a sham site for The Institute for Additional Dimension Adjustment Therapy. If you click through the various pages and links on either site, eventually you'll find a lin leading you to a promotional page at GameTap. (I would link you mine except it has since "expired.")

GameTap is a gaming service. You pay them a monthly fee and they provide access to hundreds of old games for you to play. The promotion sported a free month of access followed by $9.95/month for the subsequent three months (and $14.95/month thereafter). (Offer expires 9/30/05.)

I just poked around looking for the link and you can find it on the getgoatz site under the class schedules, click on "HEY! Enroll Now!" I also found it on the site - on the Buy the DVDs page click on "PURCHASE THE DVDS" at the bottom of the page.

Ah, I poked around the GameTap site a bit more and found this recent 9/22 press release. Brief quote:
Announced last spring and debuting at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, GameTap offers games-on-demand plus original programming via a broadband connected PC. The service offers a wide range of games from classic arcade to PC to popular console. GameTap will launch with hundreds of titles and then roll in additional titles and programming on an ongoing basis. Original programming will feature an exclusive mix of magazine, reality, and lifestyle shows, interviews with the who's who of gaming, celebrity features, and all-new "game trailers" for the GameTap service. Delivered via streaming video, the programming will celebrate games in the same way that Cartoon Network celebrates animation and TNT celebrates drama.
So apparently this is a TBS (really Time Warner) enterprise still in pre-release. Very interesting.

Ooh! From this 9/09 press release it looks like they're going to carry Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Awesome!!!

What I find most amusing is their recent advertising on Adult Swim. The commercials are downright weird, though certainly well-done and appealing to their target audience (i.e. Adult Swim viewers like me, predominantly geeks and computer-users and game-players). The commercials advertise the sham sites, making absolutely no mention of the actual end product, GameTap. In fact, it's hard to say the commercials even advertise anything. You have to go to the website and click through it for 5-10 minutes to locate the link to the GameTap promotion, all while being bombarded with the sham site's garbage.

Is this guerrilla advertising? Admittedly I just coined the term without seeking a preexisting definition but it feels like a good descriptive.

In other news, Happy 7th Birthday to Google!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Magpie Poems

As I rummaged through a few of the piles of stuff(tm) in the playroom, I came across a sheet of paper with the two Magpie Poems written on it. I believe I copied these down while reading one of Neil Gaiman's Sandman trade paperbacks. The paper is silent as to origin and/or more specific location.

I believe the Magpie Poems are an old, English tradition. That is, seeing two magpies together is an omen of good luck, as the poem so suggests. Seeing one magpie is thought to be bad luck. Hence, one thing you can do should you see a single magpie is to cross your eyes so as to bring about the perception that you are seeing two (changing your bad luck to good luck, perhaps).

Well, that's what I recall in any case. I didn't Google this so I can't offer more reliable sources of information. Nonetheless, enjoy!
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,

Five for silver,
Six for gold,
(And) Seven for a secret
Never to be told.
As to the second version, which I will present to you shortly, I vaguely recall a character (Abel I think) in the story saying that it is a secret version of the more well-known version above.
One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a funeral,
Four for a birth,

Five for Heaven,
Six for Hell,
Seven's a devil,
His own sel'.
And those are the Magpie Poems.

I'm still here.

Are you?

More another time. But first, a few words from our sponsors...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


You'll have to excuse me if I write this post piecemeal. I'm watching the U.S. Open as I write (or rather when I'm not writing, since the TV is behind me). Agassi (7th seed) is playing Blake in the quarter-finals. It's an excellent match. Excellent. Agassi, although 35 years old, is playing very good tennis. Andre can bench press 315 (so says McEnroe, a commentator for the match). Even at his relatively-advanced age (by tennis standards that is) he hits the ball hard. (Please pardon all the italics but I feel they're warranted.) Blake, on the other hand, is a wild card from Fairfield, CT. His presence here is nothing short of astounding! And to be playing Agassi in the quarter-finals? Sorry, to be beating Agassi in the quarter-finals? Wow. Just wow. As I write this, it stands Agassi v. Blake, 3-6, 3-5, deuce. Blake serving for the set.

Just wow.

Whoah. Blake won the second set with barely an hour passed. This is gonna be good.

Earlier I watched 2nd seed Lindsay Davenport lose to 6th seed Elena Dementieva. Was a bad match. Davenport just wasn't on her game and it was very obvious. Dementieva won in the 3rd set, in a tie break, by 7-5. Sooooo close, even with Davenport playing poorly. You've got to wonder what's up with her, why she wasn't on her game. Hmmm.

Earlier tonight I had my first of what I call 'incidents.' I knew these were coming. They're like mini confrontations between my mom and I, usually where she pressures or forces me to abandon doing something I'm in progress with that I'm enjoying and that she strongly dislikes or of which she disapproves. Tonight was World of Warcraft. I was in a 20-man raid on the test server with my friends, testing out the new instance, Zul'Gurub, before it goes live. Veeeeeery cool place. And my mom starts up and I leave. Tonight I could. In the future, I can't and won't.

But it's hard. This isn't like 3-4 years ago when I lived in fear of her and did what she wanted when she demanded it. This time I'm trying harder to buy myself slack. I'm also trying to work with her better, to do what I can when I can so she won't lay into me when I can't. In addition, this time she's not pushing nearly so hard. She knows I'm not here permanently and, to be honest, she doesn't want to see me go that soon. I've been helping out with the dogs, taking them out, cleaning up their messes; helping with dinner and the dishes, I've been trying this time. Plus I've been gone for 3 years, not far away but certainly not home. So she's trying not to push me too hard. Yet.

But tonight angered me. And as I typed, this was a time I could let it go. Next time probably won't. And I won't give then. 'Cause I've dug in before and I will again.

I also have trouble blaming my mom for anything. She's on her own. She has the two dogs to deal with and that's no picnic. She wakes up before 6am and gets home after 3pm. She's having semi-elective dental work. She's recently been having trouble with a knee. She's getting old and feeling it. She's worried about the finances. Whatever I can do to help her, I do. 'Cause I know things are rough and she's under a lot of stress. So yeah, how can I blame her?


So far tonight, I've cleaned up dog excrement. Twice. We think one of our dogs is having some urinary problems since he's going on the floor when he normally wouldn't. We're seeing the vet on Saturday.

The little I saw of Zul'Gurub looked wonderful. The 20-man style is very different from Molten Core or Onyxia's 40-man strategies. Plus the difficulty is dialed down a notch, which is a nice change of pace. I'm rather looking forward to the 1.7 patch. It'll probably arrive next Tuesday or the one after that. Good stuff.

I hooked up the television in the playroom, the one sitting behind me. This will allow me to listen to TV while on the computer. Unfortunately, in my packing madness I packed the TV remote somewhere I have yet to encounter tonight. I'm positive I put it somewhere I thought I would remember or know to look. I wonder where that is.

Next up will be the Playstation 2 and the VCR. Then I can watch movies up here. Yippee.

Even though I slept in to 10am, going to sleep at 2am, I'm tired right now. I used to be tired at school unless I got 9-12 hours of sleep. Some weekends I'd wake up "early," after only 7-8 hours of sleep, and be tired for the day. I hate that feeling. It more or less destroys the majority of productivity potential. See I have a problem. I'm a night owl, I like to stay up until at least midnight, 1-3am preferably. But then I want 8-10 hours of sleep. So I like to wake up 10am-1pm. Then my day is shot, especially because my most productive hours are ~11am-4pm.

See the problem?

The likely answer is to not be a night owl. When I worked, I would go to sleep early, wake up early, and be okay. It's just not my preferred modus operandi (m.o.) without some intervening cause to force it.


Neat thing in World of Warcraft. There are two player factions opposed to each other - the Alliance and the Horde. The Alliance are the humans, gnomes, dwarves and night elves. The Horde are the undead, tauren (cow-like creatures), trolls and orcs. See the clear division? (Blizzard's page on the races.) Each faction has one language which they use to speak with each other - common for the Alliace, orcish for the Horde. But here's the cool part - Alliance can't understand orcish and the Horde can't understand common. The "only" way to communicate with the enemy is by pre-programmed emotes, like /wave which reads "Belic waves at Orcking." No other communication. Anything in /say or /yell or such translates as garbage.


Players, being the devious players they/we are, have figured out some phrases that almost translate over. For example, I know that if I see a Horde "say" to me "kek" then it means they typed in "lol," a customary online abbreviation for "laughing out loud."

I've also found some phrases that I can type in to "say" something to the Horde. My favorite ones thus far have got to be "go gsdg b puck" which translates to the Horde as "me ruff e nuff" and "go as sd d a p" which they see as "me lo ve y o u." Too funny.

So that was today in a nutshell.
Vanessa: Always wanting to have fun, that's you in a nutshell.

Austin: No, this is me in a nutshell. (Austin mimes being trapped in a nutshell.) Help! I'm in a nutshell! What kind of nut has such a big nutshell? How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell?
(link) Because this is the way my mind works. (Eery isn't it?)

ADDENDUM: Holy shit! Agassi just took the 3rd set (to Blake taking the first 2). This is one good tennis match! Damn! Best. Match. Ever. (Comic book guy from The Simpsons.) (Because I doubt all of you will get the reference.) (Yes, I think that little of you.) (No, I don't hold it against you.) (Yes, you can have some ice cream.) (Damnit.) [post time & date]

ADDENDUM II: Agassi just took the 4th set, 6-3, pushing the match to a 5th set. He has come back with a vengeance!!! /rawr

I'd like to play WoW right now but for 3 things. I'm tired. Anything I'd want to do, i.e. instances, would take over 2 hours (including formation time). I can't stop watching/paying attention to the tennis match. [12:27am, 9/08/05]

ADDENDUM III: At 12:35am, USA stops coverage and I'm forced to hunt for it. CBS has it. Sheesh. Blake just broke in the 5th to be up 3-2 and serving the next match. (!) [12:41am, 9/08/05]

ADDENDUM IV: But Agassi breaks back and holds his serve to take the lead, 6-5! THE DRAMA!!! [12:57am, 9/08/05]

ADDENDUM V: AGASSI WINS!!!!!!! In a 5th set tie-break, Agassi wins by 8-6. SUCH A GOOD MATCH. Blake is excellent. After this, his name should become a tennis household name. He's that good, to go toe-to-toe with Agassi and not give an inch. Damn good! He's young. We will see James Blake again. Congratulations Andre Agassi!!! And good luck in the semi-finals!!! [1:10am, 9/08/05]

Monday, September 05, 2005


  • Bruce Campbell's movie, Man With The Screaming Brain, premieres next Saturday, Sept. 10 at 9pm on the SciFi Channel.

  • Nip/Tuck season premiere on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10pm on FX.

  • Some new comedy series, My Name Is Earl, starring Jason Lee premieres on NBC on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 9pm. (Regular time slot for it unless until it's cancelled.
I'm positive that all three of these will be watched by varying groups of people. Bruce Campbell fans for the first (seeing as he wrote, directed and stars in it). Nip/Tuck fans for the second. And Jason Lee fans for the third. The first will probably not receive much press. The second will pick up with Christian Troy's unknown fate at the hands of The Carver. The third will probably be short-lived.

I will strive to watch all three. Which will you watch and why?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Oh the humanity! (Again)

Because I've already used the first part as the title to a previous post.

So I am now living at home. With the 2 dogs. And my mom. To be fair, it's not like there isn't precedent for this. After my dad died I spend a year living at home, working as a receptionist/lacky (aka "legal intern") for an office of 3 lawyers in Fairfield. Ever since I learned that my law firm wasn't going to extend me an offer I knew this was coming. And now I'm finally here. Okay, again to be fair and because I haven't been blogging regularly *ahem*, I've been "here" for about a week.

It's not too bad. I like having the dogs around. I remember my mom saying long ago that there's a special connection between a boy and his dog. I think she's right. The dogs are friendly to me in a way completely unlike their friendliness to my mom. Granted I like to sit and play with them more often and I'm more forgiving. Even so, it's kind of neat.

So yeah, I'm living at home. With my mom. Last time I did this I was 22 and had just graduated from college. At the time, I wasn't ready to face the real world, nowhere near ready. This time, I'm 26 and I just graduated from law school. If it weren't for the comfort factor inherent in living at home, I'm ready to do something in the real world. What exactly I as yet do not know.

I do my best here to help out my mom with small chores and picking up after myself. Much more so than last time. I figure it will help ease things along, buy me some buffer zone to work with and spend. Even so, she's already attempting to assert her point of view as to various things of mine. At least since high school and college, my mom has made it clear that she dislikes some of my inclinations. Namely comic books, action figures, my artistic preferences (e.g. H.R. Giger, personifications of death), DVD purchasing, computer and video game playing. She's already getting bent out of shape by my few World of Warcraft late night gaming sessions. And I know it'll only get worse.

My response is going to be the "purchasing" of additional buffer zone. To wit, there are various things I need to accomplish. I have to submit the remaining items for my Connecticut Bar Exam Application. I have to organize all the crap I brought home and deal with it. I have to find a job. As I accomplish pieces of these, she will in turn be more forgiving of the things I do and own that she so dislikes.

I have been playing a bit of World of Warcraft. In WoW, once you reach level 60 there are currently 3 (soon to be 4) end-game dungeons to explore. One is a 40-person single-enemy encounter, Onyxia (Ony), with a 5-day cooldown. One is Molten Core (MC), a 40-person zone with 10 monsters, the last one being *very* difficult to kill. The third is the newly-released Blackwing Lair (BWL) and is a 40-person instance with *very* difficult bosses. The raid group I participate in is an organized late night raiding group called Late Night Raiders (LNR). LNR raids Ony and MC. The raid starts forming between 10:30pm and midnight. The MC nights go to 3-4am or later. Fortunately the raid is now fairly successful and can clear 4+ MC bosses in a night. This week we cleared the first 4 one night and the second 4 the next night. Ony makes 3 nights a week. There is at least one more night, now working on the 9th MC boss, Majordomo Executus. My limit is probably 3 nights a week if that.

As you can see, raiding MC with LNR messes up my schedule but good. Fortunately 2 of the nights are Friday night and Saturday night so those following days I can fudge.

--Shit. Mom is calling for me. Goddamnit.--

--Okay. Dog was whining, he's just annoyed about being gated off for dinner. She's not feeling well. We'll save the chicken for tomorrow night.--

Anyways, the WoW LNR raiding schedule is harsh. But it's fun 'cause the people are cool and we all know what to do and do it so we're also successful. We gets the phat lewt and so on. But it takes place late at night for me and pisses my mom off something fierce. *sigh*

There's also some question of finances. My mom, who is often apt to cry wolf when in fact no wolf is within the township or even the country, is concerned about things. We have a big house and lately she's been dropping hints that she plans on selling it in the distant future and moving to a condo complex. Problems abound with this mere plan, including ye 'olde attic o' stuff and ye 'olde basement o' stuff not to mention ye 'olde garage half-filled wit' stuff. Plus me moving back home and bringing stuff *into* the house doesn't help. Not to mention things like the mortgage and credit card bills. And the risen property values in the town that don't help us sell so much as create trouble purchasing. So I have no clue what's going on here but at some point I'll pointedly ask her why she thinks things have gone South when I've had little indication of such in the past 3 years. (Granted I have my head in the sand but y'know.)

So that's things for now. I'm unpacking. Working on my applications. Under pressure to find a job that I'm not sure I'll want when I find it. Etc. The goodness just abounds these days. At least I'm slowly losing the weight I gained in Italy, though I should get more exercise too.


Oh, and in happy news, 2 of my friends got engaged during their vacation to Italy. A warm and heartfelt congratulations go out to LT & JB! May you both find the contentment and happiness that surely awaits you in the future! Cheers!