Friday, January 28, 2005

How to Protest the War in Iraq

Take a cue from this guy and, at baseball games, "[don't] stand for God Bless America [] because [you don't] like the way they tied God Bless America and 9/11 to the war in Iraq in baseball."

Or, as I did, vote for Kerry.

The THL Yeti Meltdown

I may be a day or two late in posting this but the epic saga continues. (Also as reported by The Legal Reader.)

It began with this humorous post wherein THL (The Hot Librarian) related her gym encounter with a yeti-boot-wearing "man" named Roger.

Needless to say, her "incorrect" statement linking yetis to Antarctica (as opposed to the Himalayas) did not go unnoticed by Rufus (of Running With Lawyers fame) who pointed out the error in a comment.

Of course, THL responded in kind, leading to additional comments and additional meltdowns. (By the way, those are all links to specific comments so just read the whole line for the big picture.)

One might assume that by now THL is used to all this lawyerly attention to detail. Obviously not. By the time it's all said and done, one is left with a rather peeved (though hot) librarian. More specifically, a peeved (though hot), artistic librarian.

This of course means a follow up post by THL including some pictures of herself and one of Rufus. One can see THL learning the error of her ways as she thoughtfully includes all the background details that explain the various unique elements of her pictures. Little things such as a beagle named Elvis (decidedly not a basset hound; dog owner previously depicted here) and Rufus' man purse, tiara and knee pads indicate THL's position on the whole yeti-antarctica-polar-bear incident.

Subsequently, THL thoughtfully produced an MS Paint picture of Roger and his yeti boots. The supercharged tan and wrestling shirt certainly illustrate that this gym-goer is a "man's man" (if not a yeti-boot-wearing "man's man").

The icing on the cake comes from Rufus. A post of his formally announces the torrid love affair between him and THL. Thoughtfully, he includes a hand-drawn picture of his own showing himself, THL and their nice doggie. (Rufus is a sucker for the pups.)

At this point, it's difficult to tell who's the better artist, Rufus or THL. While THL seems to favor the computer-assisted pics, Rufus' homeschool drawing certainly expresses the growing love between these two blogophiles. (And his love of nice doggies.)

The latest item in this growing saga of love, redemption and yetis comes from THL's latest post wherein she not only opines on the wedding (date TBA) and her clothing selections for it (a Jurassic Park spitting-lizard-dress and a pair of pink and gray yeti-boots) but she also includes three documents Rufus sent her during their courtship. (And for the record, I'm not quite sure what Dylan did to earn her enmity and wrath. I'm sure he did something, I'm just not sure what precisely it was.) These documents (two short stories and a poem) clearly illustrate not only THL's dedication to her new-found beau but also why she should not be allowed continued access to a computer and/or the internet.

As you can see, this tale is not for the faint of heart. THL and Rufus' passionate affair stretches across the very bounds of civility. From yetis and polar bears to nice doggies, chickens, monkeys and disemboweled genatalia, this truly is a story for the ages. I can only hope that the love and ardor they feel sustains them in perpetuity. I wish them the best in their new life together and humbly request 15% of the gross profits from the made-for-TV movie that is sure to come. The Hot Librarian and The Yeti Lawyer: When Passions Collide.

A Bell Run

That's what we use to call a late night trip to Taco Bell in college. The Bell was open 24-7 and the food there is incredibly inexpensive. ($1 for a normal burrito, $2 for a double decker taco supreme, our favorite value) Since then I have expanded the phrase to include any Bell trip.

Yesterday I had lunch at The Bell. One thought was that this was my second day in a row of having Mexican food for lunch. (Wed. lunch was at the local authentic Mexican restaurant, Monte Alban.) That got me thinking, in what lifetime could anyone ever mistake Taco Bell food for Mexican? Obviously we're dealing with a fast food entity. But how would you classify Bell's food? McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's are all easy ones -- fast food burger joints. But if Taco Bell is not Mexican food, yet it is fast food, what kind of fast food is it? No matter the difficulty, I refuse to use the term "Mexican" in any description of Bell. That would be akin to calling me English merely because I speak English. Just wrong.

The one notable aspect of my Bell run was the chicken quesadilla I ordered and received. Tucked away inside the fold, amidst the cheese and pseudo-chicken, was a long strip of plastic. Yes, that's right, a piece of clear plastic. Shocked the Hell out of me. I briefly considered suing them then promptly discarded that notion and chose instead to merely tell the manager of my find. The sad thing is the story pretty much ends about there. I'd eaten most of the quesadilla and certainly did not want another. No other offer of appeasement was made. I went on my merry way. You can bet that I won't be eating at Bell again any time soon. Not that I eat there regularly or even mildly often but my Bell consumption can now be expressed "as x goes to zero, that being the number of recent Bell runs."

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Snowy Morn'

The good news is that I didn't wear boat shoes while clearing off my car this morning.

More quasi-good news since morning classes were cancelled.

Quasi-bad news in that I forgot to check the snow line and learn of said cancellation before showing up to class. (There were four of us there including the teacher. Then one of us not being me called the snow line. Now none of us are in class right now.) has a prediction of 2-4 inches today. I think it will be more. We've already gotten at least an inch and there's no sign of it slowing.

I'll look outside at lunchtime but I doubt I'll be heading in to work this afternoon. It's not so much the bad driving weather as parking 10 min. away and having to walk to and from the office for 3 hours of work.

Don't forget! A new West Wing episode tonight!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Buying Women's Underwear For Dummies/Men

This story, courtesy of Everything Is Dumb v4, is effing hilarious. I can easily picture the quandary this guy found himself in. Too hilarious.


If the smoker law student sitting near me reads this, please do me and my fellow non-smokers a favor by either: (a) not smoking immediately before class so you no longer come in and sit down amidst a cloud of ill-smelling smoke-odor; (b) find a faster and less smelly way to kill yourself; or (c) rub a pine-fresh deoderant all over yourself after having your cigarette so as to combat the offensive fragrance.

Thank you.

As the Gavel Strikes -- Chapter Three: Coffee

(Chapter One) (Chapter Two)

Laura drove Clark to the local coffee house in her shiny, red Jaguar convertible. Clark enjoyed the ride, the air streaming past, bringing him a bit closer to sobriety.

The local coffee house was a place called Tisane. No one was certain quite how to pronounce this name, whether it should be spoken "Tiss'-Ain" or "Tiss-Ahn'-Ay." To this day, the quandary persists, confusing its new clientele as much as the regulars.. except for those select few who like to think "they are in the know" and have some hidden insight into this mystery.

Neither Clark nor Laura thought they were in the know. If anything, both felt equally confused.

They strolled in through the doors, the warm, coffee-enriched air hitting them like a gentle summer breeze tied to a brick. Clark closed his eyes and took a deep breath, sampling the aroma as if to draw some measure of caffeine off the air itself.

When he opened his eyes, they immediately alighted on Marsha, sitting calmly in one of the plush chairs. She looked to be alone, no one accompanying her, only one cup of coffee on her table. Clark’s heart skipped a beat and his breath caught in his throat.

Laura had already proceeded to the counter and was in the process of procuring coffee for the two of them. When she had the two cups in hand, she turned around only to see Clark walking towards Marsha’s table. "Clark!" she hissed, trying to get his attention quietly. Clark didn’t seem to hear her as he slowly approached Marsha.

Clark opened with "Oh, hello Marsha."

"Hi Clark."

"Fancy meeting you here."

"Yes, fancy that."

An uncomfortable lull hung in the air. The silence between them was almost palpable, the tension as their eyes met disconcerting. It was as if, were you to look very closely, the air itself shimmered from the heat of their gaze, one of them sadly clinging to hope, the other well awash a wave of annoyance.

Marsha tried to move things along. "Well Clark, what is it? What do you want?"

"A second chance. Come on Marsha!" Clark was rather loud, nearly yelling.

Marsha responded in kind. "Is that it? Is that the extent of your argument? 'Come on Marsha?' Surely you can do better than that. You did well in Moot Court if I remember correctly."

"I don’t like to brag but I did get an 'A.' But that’s not the point. Marsha, we didn’t want for love. For kindness. For caring. Why won’t you believe me?"

"I do believe you, Clark. What we wanted for was passion. What you wanted for. And the irony is you only show it now that things are over. Clark, don’t ask again. I’ll not change my answer and you’ll only serve to make this more of a spectacle than it already is."

Clark attempted to surreptitiously survey the onlookers, noting how they immediately turned back to their newspapers, books or computers as his eyes alighted on them.

Lowering his voice a few notches, he responded, "fine, Marsha. But you’ll regret this. Mark my words, you will live to regret the day you tossed me away."

"Clark, at the moment I’m only regretting my choice of venue."

"Goodbye Marsha. Enjoy your coffee."

"Goodbye Clark." After he had turned away and taken a few steps, she muttered to herself under her breath "..and good riddance."

Clark stalked away from Marsha, clearly displeased with how things had gone. Observing Laura’s seat at a small table not too far away, he strode over and sat down opposite her.

"You heard." It wasn’t a question.

Laura sighed. "Yes. I tried to stop you from going over there."

"I imagine Marsha would have been grateful had you succeeded."

"Don’t be mad, Clark. It’s over. I knew that the moment I heard. Why can’t you move on? Why can’t you accept it?"

He leaned back in his chair, sipping at his cooling latte. "I know, but.. but I’m not done."

"Yes, you are. Move on, Clark. Get it together. Lounging around, drinking yourself further into despair, harassing her at the coffee house, none of that is going to help you." Laura drank some of her beverage, briefly pondering her next statement. "You’ve been grieving for three days now. Isn’t it time you start healing?"

Clark knew Laura was right. Marsha would never take him back. That was one of the things he respected in her. She made a decision, for better or worse, and stuck by it come what may. He glanced over at Marsha, seated four tables away to his right facing he and Laura. Marsha was looking down, involved in whatever book she was currently reading. He turned back to Laura, her expression one of patience, interest and some element of hope. Clark looked closer, wondering what the hope represented.

Laura stared quizzically at him. "What?"

"I.." He glanced back at Marsha and saw her looking unabashedly at his table, at him and Laura.

On impulse, Clark turned back, leaned across the table and kissed Laura.

Across Laura’s face various emotions vied. Confusion fled before surprise which retreated from happiness that became anger and resulted in fury.

Laura pulled back from Clark, aghast at his audacity. "The nerve!" Her right hand flew up, slapping him hard, forcing his countenance into one of utter confusion. Laura stood up quickly, nearly knocking her chair over. She took her purse and stalked out of the coffee house in quick, pressed strides.

Clark, still registering his surprise and confusion, glanced back towards Marsha only to see her chuckling to herself and smiling.

Top Ten Law Student Beverages

10. Coffee.

9. Fruit juice.

8. Coffee.

7. Water.

6. Coffee.

5. Diet Coke.

4. Coffee.

3. Alcohol.

2. Blood of fallen comrades.

1. More coffee.

Monday, January 24, 2005

My Take on Ladder Theory & Intellectual Whores

I've been holding off on a follow up post on Ladder Theory (first mentioned here) because I've been trying ot organize my thoughts and reactions. At this point, I'm just going to let loose and see where it goes since I'm still pulling it together.

I know some people are confused about the theory and/or applying it. I don't really have anything else to add on this specific point. Really I just wanted to link up THL's posts and make fun of her for taking the whole thing so damn seriously.

The thing is, I like the theory on its most basic level. Guys and gals having two different scales (1 ladder vs. 2, respectively) makes sense and appeals to me on a very deep level. Soup's post was spot on, guys are interested in women and rank them on their ladder. Accurate statement no. 1. In this regard, specifically about the one/two ladders, the theory is good.

What bothers me are all the other minutae thrown in with the theory on the web site. As a male, I don't have insight into the women's rating system or its suggested breakdown. I simply have no perspective on that.

However, I do have perspective on the most controversial syllogism: Yes Virginia, They All Want to Bang You. Therein, the Ladder Theory author states: "IF A MAN FINDS YOU ATTRACTIVE YOU CANNOT BE FRIENDS." After considering this point, I have to say I disagree. Personally, I'm friends with many women I find attractive. Yes, given the chance/opportunity I would sleep with them, but that's not the exact point of this ism and is where it fails. Just because a guy finds a woman attractive does NOT mean they cannot be friends. I see no precise reason why attraction must necessarily negate friendship. Attraction can complicate, confuse, conflate and destroy friendship but not necessarily rule it out. If that were the case, then, according to The Theory, I would have (almost) no female friends. Since I consider some females I know not only attractive but also friends, I offer this as evidence of the statement's failure.

As Poon put it: "Ladder Theory simply explains why your friends would bang you if they could. It does not mean that they're trying to bang you -- just that they would, if you gave them the opportunity." As I mentioned in a follow up comment to Poon's, "guys will 'take it to the house' barring a few, specific intervening situations (e.g. gay, seeing someone else "higher on his ladder," etc.). Do women think that their 'guy friends' wouldn't?" Therein probably lies THL's confusion (not to mention other women's confusion). Given the chance, your guy friends would probably sleep with you (barring the few exceptions). Q.E.D. Probably the most succinct, and accurate, corrollary to the theory.

[/End Ladder Theory Discussion]

At first I rather liked the explanation for intellectual whores. Now, I'm not so enthusiastic. The concept is predicated on the theory that men and women cannot be friends if the guy finds the woman attractive. Throw that out the window and the intellectual whores concept is gone too. What do you call someone with whom you like to converse and hang out? A friend. Do you "use" them for their mind? Enjoy bouncing ideas off them and discussing topics both of you find interesting? Of course! Does this make them an intellectual whore? Of course not!

I think the intellectual whore concept is only applicable if the guy honestly feels like he's wasting his time since he hangs out with the woman out of interest (i.e. sexual or relationship) knowing full well that she is not "interested" in him (i.e. he's on her friends ladder). In that case, they are not friends. The guy is there for a single goal that does not entail some sort of mutual, beneficial relationship. In that sense, their relationship is more parasitic than mutual and the guy is probably better off ditching things. HOWEVER, if the guys is cool with being friends (and JUST friends) then why not? Why must he be deemed an intellectual whore and feel like a friendship is not enough? That he should forceibly not be friends due to the disparity?

Speaking as a would-be intellectual whore, I can honestly say that if I feel like I can handle being friends with a woman whom I'm interested in but who is not interested in me, then fine. I'll hang out with her and be friends. Friendship is the antithesis of intellectual whoredom. And therein the intellectual whores theory dies a gruesome, but necessary, death.

[/End Intellectual Whores Discussion]

All in all, interesting theories. They certainly spark discussion and criticism. I think they also, in their own way, help illuminate various aspects of male behavior. Not every male acts in accord with every theory suggested but enough do that the theories are noteworthy. I encourage women to at least read and thoughtfully respond to the theories. Chances are, if you don't do so consciously, you'll do so later on when you encounter the theories' counterparts in your life. And you will.

Subway's Jared

It's nice to see that Subway is still using Jared as a spokesperson. I mean, the fact that he lost a ton of weight (or 235 lbs., whichever is less) by eating at Subway never gets old. His zany antics and incredible tale just warm the Hell out of the cockles of my heart (See Dennis Leary's Asshole). How can you fail to be inspired by his story? ...That is unless he's been their spokesperson for so long that it's no longer interesting, amusing, inspiring or worth promoting to death. Not unlike those lame Geico Gecko commercials. Nowadays, more annoying than anything else. Annoying as in I'd-rather-red-hot-skewers-through-my-eyes annoying.

Man, I watch too much TV. But that doesn't include mornings between 7 and 9am, when Buffy is on.

The Morning

My response upon checking the weather and learning it's 1 outside (knowing I'll be walking to school in ~30 min. or so): "Oh f***, it's cold."

I cleaned my apt. for a Saturday night soiree (aka fiesta, party, gathering) here. I'm always shocked when I do so and the place looks clean. Makes me wonder how I let it get so messy in the first place so as to necessitate an extended cleaning. It's also nice to look around at bare carpet and clean tables. It *looks* clean. Shocking! Yeah, so if you were in the Hartford area, I could invite you over now since the place is presentable. Pretty cool to be able to say that.

And in other news, it appears as though reports of a fixed dishwasher were greatly exaggerated. This is bothering me since I don't have any clean plates or silverwear. Plus I'm rapidly going through all my clean glasses. You know, the collection of beer-branded ones I picked up last year at the local pub. (That is, "picked up" as in "purchased as part of specials," not "procured with a five-finger discount.") I may have to start going back on Tuesday nights for more glasses. (Not that I really need them or have anywhere to store them. Then again, that doesn't stop me from buying DVDs or action figures so why should it stop me from obtaining more beer glasses?)

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Happy Birthday Mr. Ross!

Today is Alex Ross' birthday. Happy Birthday!

In Good Company Is In Good Spirits

In Good Company stars Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johansson; with cameos by Marg Helgenberger, David Paymer, Clark Gregg, Philip Baker Hall, Selma Blair, and Malcolm McDowell. Written and directed by Paul Weitz.

[Edited] IMDB Plot Summary:
Dan Foreman (Quaid) is headed for a shakeup. He is demoted from head of ad sales for a major magazine when the company he works for is acquired in a corporate takeover. His new boss, Carter Duryea (Grace), is half his age--a business school prodigy who preaches corporate synergy. While Dan develops clients through handshake deals and relationships, Carter cross-promotes the magazine with [other divisions] under the same corporate umbrella. Both men are going through turmoil at home. Dan has two daughters, Alex (Johansson), age 21, and Jana (), age 16, and is shocked when his wife (Helgenberger) tells him she's pregnant with a new child. Meanwhile, Carter is dumped by his wife (Blair) of seven months just as he gets his promotion. Dan and Carter's uneasy friendship is thrown into jeopardy when Carter falls for, and begins seeing, Dan's daughter Alex.
This is another "controversial" movie in the sense that some people like it while others do not. Me, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The story is reminescent of a middle age crisis. Quaid's character's life is in complete and utter turmoil: his company has been acquired, he's demoted, his daughter wants to switch colleges and live in the city and he has another kid on the way. Grace's character is in similar disarray but at a different stage in his life. The budding relationship with the daughter only serves to emphasize this point and stress the relationships, professional and social, that develop. There's no single, big "gotcha moment" or utter plot resolution but rather a nicely woven story depicting a few months/a year in the lives of the characters. A very interesting, engaging time period that changes their lives forever.

I wish I could place some qualification on my recommendation. Something like "if you like x then you'll like this." But nothing specific comes to mind. It's really just a fascinating tale with well-developed characters. And all I can do is strongly recommend you go see it. Because it's a great movie.

On a side note, it's nice to see Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. Quaid does an impeccable job and really carries the movie. He's going strong, notwithstanding him being 50 years old. Meanwhile, Grace does a great acting job himself. I hope he gets more movie roles as I'd like to see him in more movies. I also hope he (Grace) gets some characters a bit less quirky. He does quirky very well as evident from That 70's Show. Hopefully he can do non-quirky just as well in a leading role. As for Johansson, I haven't seen her other movies yet but she's no slouch herself. I think she still needs one big role, a movie with her as the lead. That might pull her into the spotlight and better establish her Hollywood presence. Lastly, I'm glad Helgenberger (of CSI fame) was in the movie. She's an excellent actress and I hope she gets more roles, too.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Theater-Worthy (if not DVD-Worthy).

Friday, January 21, 2005

Simpson Daughter Arrested

CNN: O.J. Simpson's daughter arrested.
O.J. Simpson's 19-year-old daughter was arrested after she refused to stop yelling at officers who had been summoned because of a fight outside a basketball game involving her old prep school, police said.

Sydney Simpson was charged Saturday with resisting arrest without violence, punishable by up to a year in jail, and disorderly conduct, which carries a possible 60-day jail sentence.
So much you can say about this one. Guess it runs in the family. Maybe she should retain Johnny Cochrane. If the yelling doesn't fit, you must acquit! I wonder if her dad can give her any advice on beating the rap. Will there be any DNA testing involved? So much.

Hypocrisy Rolling Stone Bible Advert

CNN: Rolling Stone refuses to run ad for Bible.
Rolling Stone magazine declined to run an advertisement for a new translation of the Bible aimed at young people, the nation's largest Bible publisher said Wednesday.
[T]he ad features the face of a contemplative-looking young man and includes this copy:

"In a world of almost endless media noise and political spin, you wonder where you can find real truth. Well, now there's a source that's accurate, clear and reliable. It's the TNIV -- Today's New International Version of the Bible. It's written in today's language, for today's times -- and it makes more sense than ever."

Media outlets that agreed to carry the ad include Modern Bride, The Onion, and AOL, Lockhart said. AOL, like, is a unit of Time Warner.
What I find amusing is the line "endless media noise and political spin." To me, the ad appears to be anti-media. Highly ironic given that it is an advertisement being run in a form of mass media. Hypocritical even. The ad is basically saying that modern mass media does not contain "real truth" while the TNIV does. While I find it difficult to argue that modern media does contain "absolute" truth in any form, especially given the various slants and agendas (political and social) of the different media groups, I'm not at all suprised that one of these media groups decided not to run the ad. In fact, I'm surprised the others are running it. For shame Modern Bride et al.! For shame!!!

Gay Sponge Pineapple Christian

CNN: Christians issue gay warning on SpongeBob video.

No, no, they're not saying Spongebob is gay. Rather they're upset that a nonprofit video (from the We Are Family Foundation) designed to encourage tolerance and diversity actually encourages tolerance and diversity.
Christian groups [] have taken exception to the tolerance pledge on the foundation's Web site, which asks people to respect the sexual identity of others along with their abilities, beliefs, culture and race.
Tolerance and diversity for everyone! ...unless they're not heterosexual. ..or Christian.

My favorite bit from this story has to be the caption under the picture of a Spongebob plush:
SpongeBob lives in a pineapple under the sea.
And this crucial nugget of information will help you place the rest of the article in the appropriate context. You know, because living in a pineapple under the sea obviously indicates Spongebob's homosexual nature.

Happy Birthday Mr. Poe!

A belated Happy Birthday to Mr. Edgar Allen Poe! (His birthday was on Wednesday. I learned of this from glancing at my 2005 Sandman Calendar.)

I'm a moderate E.A. Poe fan. Long ago I read a lot of his works and thoroughly enjoyed them. The well-written pseudo-horror style really appeals to me. My favorites are The Cask of Amontillado and Masque of the Red Death.

ADDENDUM: E.A.P. was born in 1809. [6:31 PM, 1/22]

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Afternoon Slashdot Roundup

Do You Want to Live Forever? "This month's Technology Review introduces us to the computer scientist, and self-taught biologist, Aubrey de Grey, who thinks immortality could be within our grasp by 2030. Thinking like an engineer, he's broken aging down into seven specific problems, like cell atrophy and mitochondrial mutation, which he believes can all, in principle, be solved. And he has good reason to think those seven are the only 'bugs' standing in the way of a thousand-year lifespan. De Grey is clearly both a genius and a little nuts, but I'm not sure in what proportion..."

Google Cans Comment Spam: "[T]oday Google announced that, in partnership with MSN Search and Yahoo!, that they have implemented a way to block content spam. Briefly, you just change your blogging/wiki/forum/etc. software so that any hyperlinks in publicly-contributed text have a new rel=nofollow attribute added to any anchor tags. Google, MSN, and Yahoo! will now no longer index any such links, so the motive for content spamming disappears. Especially hopeful is the fact that a slew of makers of blogging software, including Six Apart, have announced they are supporting the new attribute."

Design Updates to MMOG Combat Systems: "A thread has been posted on the upcoming combat upgrade to Star Wars Galaxies, discussing design goals and opening up conversation to the game community. The initial post has been followed up by several other developer posts. Meanwhile, the folks at Blizzard have released the second part of their PvP Battlegrounds Preview. The new preview offers details on win conditions in the instanced areas and more information on PvP questing."

Top Ten Pieces of Information A Law Student Would Like to Keep Private

As I sit in my Right of Privacy class... I leave it to you to determine which of these might be true and which might not. (And I assure you, some are true.)

11. I hate coffee.

10. The best form of government is an enlightened dictatorship. (With no written laws to interpret.)

9. Highlighters are a tool of the Devil.

8. On the weekends I like to dance with monkees while wearing one of those old powder wigs and singing about the Constitution.

7. I find Ruth Bader Ginsberg to be "one hot mama."

6. I am illiterate.

5. I don't actually want to be a lawyer. In fact, I hate "the law."

4. I have the attention span of a fish.

3. I didn't do the reading for today's class. Or last week's class. Or, for that matter, any of the classes.

2. I've made a deal with Satan to get good grades in law school. (It's okay, I read through the contract very carefully.)

1. I occasionally *gasp* enjoy law school.

Right of Privacy Seminar

This class rocks. Our prof. (Attorney Daniel Klau) is an adjunct prof. with extensive practical experience in the field. We've spent the first hour of class talking about privacy in general, aspects thereof, expectations, what constitutes privacy, etc. The prof. is extremely knowledgeable and very capable of leading discussions. A nice, refreshing change from some other classes I've taken.

Here's a brief summary of the Syllabus:
  • Common Law Right to Privacy: Private Facts and Intrusion

  • Constitutional Privacy: Informational Privacy (4th Amendment, Beyond the 4th Amendment), Decisional Privacy

  • Statutory Privacy: How Can Governments Best Assure Privacy, ECPA - Statutory Protection for Conversational Privacy, Privacy and the Internet, Privacy and Health Information

  • Privacy in the Employment Context (if time permits)

  • Philisophical Perspectives on Privacy Law
The coverage looks to be pretty broad and comprehensive. Although I probably should have expected as much when I signed up for the class, I didn't. Honestly, I didn't know quite what to expect but I was hoping for some emphasis on technological aspects of privacy. That looks to be a very minor component of the course, though now that I've met the prof. and sat through a portion of the class I'm not in the least bit upset or annoyed about my misconception. This one is probably in the running for "my best class of the semester."

Morning CNN Roundup

Hacker read Secret Service e-mails: "A hacker broke into a wireless carrier's network over at least seven months and read e-mails and personal computer files of hundreds of customers, including the Secret Service agent investigating the hacker."

Texas sues major spam operation: "Texas sued one of the world's largest spam e-mail operations Thursday, seeking millions of dollars from two men it says are responsible for sending illegal messages on the Internet, the state's attorney general said... The [civil] suit charges the operation with using misleading subject lines in e-mail messages and making misrepresentations in the body of the e-mail. [No criminal charges have been filed.]"

eBay fee changes spark revolt: "San Jose, Calif.-based eBay (Research) said Wednesday it would raise several fees for eBay Stores sellers Feb. 18. Among other things, the cost of a monthly subscription for a basic eBay Store will go up 60 percent to $15.95. The cost of 10-day listings will double to 40 cents, and final value fees that are assessed when a sale closes also will rise."

GPS hide-and-seek: "It's called geocaching, and all you need to play is a portable Global Positioning System, access to the Internet and a sense of adventure."

Rupert Murdoch's new game: Media mogul is looking hard at the video game industry. Is that a good thing? "[C]ould the future of the gaming industry be traditional media companies? ... Would this be a good thing for video game makers?"

IBM to give away 500 software patents: "U.S. patent leader IBM said late Monday it plans to donate 500 patents for free use by software developers, marking a major shift of intellectual property strategy for the world's top computer maker and a challenge to the high-tech industry... The 500 patents cover areas such as storage management, simultaneous multiprocessing, image processing, database management, networking and e-commerce."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Reasons I Need to Install a Fireplace (Or Start a Fire Without One)

I return to my apt. after class only to find a notice stuck in my door:


My car reports the outside temperature as 3 Fahrenheit while says its 5 but feels like -8. The temp. in my apt. is down to 61-62, colder by the windows.

I think I'm going to hide under my fleece blanket. Possibly make a mug o' tea. Possibly start some fires when the temp gets a bit lower. No?

The Blogroll

[Which is not a new sandwich bread but rather that column-thing to your left. Well, it's probably an actual "column with links in it" rather than a "column-thing" but it's definitely to your left. Unless you're reading this upside down. Or are drunk. Or terribly confused. If in doubt, smash monitor with forehead and all will become clear. Or broken. I lost the thread here, if indeed there was one to start with. If you happen to locate this wayward thread, please let me know. I shall pay you a handsome reward. Well, maybe not but I will be forever in your debt. Okay, maybe not that either. I'll provide a mystery reward. Maybe.]

I redid it a bit (the "column-thing"/"column with links in it"). Moved things around. Some up, some down, some sideways. (Hah! Just kidding.) Added the four I mentioned earlier. (And here I'm too lazy to relink them, especially since they were linked in an earlier post as a reminder. If you're really curious, either scroll down, look in the archives for last week or start clicking!) If I moved your link up, congrats! If I moved it down, rot in Hell. Well, I don't actually mean you any ill but I suppose "too bad" shall suffice. If it's of any consolation, I tried grouping like-minded links together in a better manner.

"Jury Pool from Hell"

Attorney meets the 'jury pool from [H]ell:'
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) -- Defense attorney Leslie Ballin called it the "jury pool from [H]ell."

The group of prospective jurors was summoned to listen to a case of Tennessee trailer park violence.

...[O]ne man got up and left, announcing, "I'm on morphine and I'm higher than a kite."

When the prosecutor asked if anyone had been convicted of a crime, a prospective juror said that he had been arrested and taken to a mental hospital after he almost shot his nephew. He said he was provoked because his nephew just would not come out from under the bed.

Another would-be juror said he had had alcohol problems and was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover officer. "I should have known something was up," he said. "She had all her teeth."

Another prospect volunteered he probably should not be on the jury: "In my neighborhood, everyone knows that if you get Mr. Ballin (as your lawyer), you're probably guilty." He was not chosen.

The case involved a woman accused of hitting her brother's girlfriend in the face with a brick. Ballin's client was found not guilty.
Only in Tennessee.

"I'm the tax man."

I'm sitting here in my Fed. Tax class listening to The Beatles' song: Taxman. Too amusing.

ADDENDUM: To clarify, my Fed. Tax Prof. had the song playing while he set up for class. [9:47 PM]

My Spring Classes

For my last semester of law school I will be taking the following:
  • Copyright Seminar

  • Federal Income Tax

  • Right to Privacy Seminar

  • The Legal Regulation of Art/Public Culture
As you can see it's a pretty IP-heavy schedule. The Copyright Seminar is one of the more popular classes on campus and should be fun. I feel like I already know a fair bit about Copyright, from my past classes and from my work experience, but I figure more can't hurt. (Can it?)

I'm taking Fed. Tax because I think I should. It would probably be good for me to know something about taxes and how to do my own tax return should I ever wish to do so. (Not that I do so wish or am inclined to do so.)

The Privacy Seminar is another one I'm not to sure about. I've already taken Media and the Law which dealt with some privacy aspects. Similarly, I don't imagine there's much one can do with privacy in the home, i.e. the bedroom, since it's a moderately stagnant topic. I'm hoping the course will hit some more technological areas since those are the emerging, controversial topics (in my opinion, at least).

The Art/Public Culture Seminar looks interesting. The books appear to cover such diverse topics as the National Endowment for the Arts, IP "ownership" of cultural aspects and technology. Plus I've had this professor before so I have a vague notion of how the class will be. Should be *very* interesting.

As you can see, I managed to take 3 seminars. I actually haven't had many before and I'm looking forward to them. My class schedule is nice, I only have classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I figure I'll work 3 hours on Wednesday and then all day Friday. That still leaves a three-day weekend, four if I cut Friday short. I'm afraid I'm going to need the days, though, since I have tons to do and a relatively short span of time in which to do them (the tons).

Today I have Copyright and Fed. Tax. Judging from the classroom assignments, it looks like I'll be able to post in Fed. Tax. Depending how stressful that class is, you may see a post from me tonight.

A Class Conversation I Would Like To See

[N.B. I found this while rifling through computer files. I don't think I posted it.]
Professor: Bob, what can you tell us about the next case?

Bob: I’m sorry but my lawyer forbids me from commenting until after the trial.

P: What?

B: I can’t talk about that case. Until after the trial that is.

P: You can’t talk about a search and seizure case relating to a murder weapon?

B: Right.

P: Because you have a case pending on that topic?

B: Yes.

P: And your lawyer forbids you from commenting?

B: Correct.

P: [Stunned silence.]

P: Okaaaaaay… Ummm… Sally, do you have a case pending on this topic?

Sally: No, my case settled.
Happy first day of Spring Semester Classes UConn Law!

Monday, January 17, 2005


Classes start tomorrow. Wow. Later I'll post what I'm taking. Right now I'm trying to get out of my apartment asap. Why am I posting? Good question. What is the sound of one hand clapping? Does a bear shit in the woods? Where is my pen? If you can answer all of those, you're good at answering questions.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Cattiness About Catwoman

Now hear this! Catwoman is coming out on DVD this Tuesday. If you are a masochist, purchase the movie and watch it repeatedly. (Note however that this blog will not be held responsible for any injuries sustained in the process. E.g. Gnawing one's arm or leg off, uncontrollable spitting and flatulence, hairballs.)

That is all.

Blind Date Is Blindly Hilarious

A few days ago I purchased Blind Date on DVD. This is an 80's Comedy (1987) starring Kim Basinger, Bruce Willis, and John Larroquette.

Modified IMDB Plot Summary:
Walter Davis is a workaholic. His attention is all to his work and very little to his personal life or appearance. Now he needs a date to take to his company's business dinner with a new important Japanese client. His brother sets him up with his wife's cousin, Nadia, who's new in town and wants to socialize. However, Walter fails to take seriously a warning that Nadia tends to lose control when drunk. Needless to say, what begins with a bottle of champagne ends with a night that Walter, and Nadia, is not likely to forget.
I really liked this one. It's absolutely hysterical! A true 80's comedy complete with Bruce Willis and Kim Basinger. John Larroquette as the ex-boyfriend is perfect! And Kim Basinger as an out-of-control, wild brunette? If you have to ask, you shouldn't bother. All I can say is that this is truly a hilarious 80's comedy and well worth a viewing/rental if you like the genre.

ALAN'S MOVIE REVIEW: DVD-Worthy if you like 80's Comedies.

Closer Is A Close Call

Closer stars Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owen. Directed by Mike Nichols.

IMDB's Plot Outline stinks but I can't come up with anything better:
An intriguing story of passion, drama, love, and abandonment involving two couples, which only gets more complicated when the man from the first couple gets acquainted with the woman from the second coupling.
Personally, I liked this movie. I liked it a lot. Some people are very vocal about not liking it. Seems as though there's a sharp schism in peoples' reactions so know that though I like this one, you may not.

It's difficult to discuss without giving anything away but I'll try. The movie and characters are rather complicated. I think the running themes throughout are questions like: What is love? When are you "in love?" Do you need truth for a relationship to work? And what happens when you don't have that truth? Even those questions are pale imitations of the movie's efforts.

If nothing else, I can say that this is a movie that makes you think. Coming out of it, it had me thinking about relationships, truth and trust. Could I knowingly enter a relationship when the other person has cheated on a former boyfriend? What if that person cheated in order to be with me? Or does that destroy any lingering trust that might be? Tough questions with no good answers. And you'll notice I'm not discussing the movie so much but rather the effect it had on me. Just as I describe Garden State as a "dark romantic comedy" that had me laughing and thinking, Closer is a "dark romantic drama" that had me laughing and thinking. Not to say the two are really that similar but they certainly had a similar effect on myself.

Two quotes from the movie:
What's so great about the truth? Try lying for a change - it's the currency of the world.

Lying is the best thing a girl can do without taking her clothes off. But it's more fun if you do.
ALAN'S MOVIE REVIEW: DVD-Worthy (for me).

Life Aquatic Doesn't Sink But Doesn't Swim

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is from Writer/Director Wes Anderson who's brought you outher such films as Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums. It stars Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Bud Cort, Seu Jorge, Robyn Cohen, and Seymour Cassel.

IMDB Plot Outline:
Internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou and his crew--Team Zissou--set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly non-existant Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure. They are joined on their voyage by a young airline co-pilot who may or may not be Zissou's son, a beautiful journalist assigned to write a profile of Zissou, and Zissou's estranged wife and co-producer, Eleanor. They face overwhelming complications including pirates, kidnapping, and bankruptcy.
As with Wes Anderson's previous movies, this one is incredibly quirky and very reminescent, stylistically, of The Royal Tenenbaums. I wouldn't quite call it a downer or depressing but it's that same sort of middle-ground between happy and sad. Very tragic at times and very hopeful. Also very funny. You'll note, however, that I mention funny after the other attributes.

One small thing I want to mention. The movie uses CGI (computer generated images) for the various sealife you see, fish, horsefish, sharks, etc. I rather liked it. It looked surreal and fake but it fit very well. Made the movie itself seem surreal at those times, which I believe was the intended effect.

I don't think I really liked or disliked this movie. It falls into that rare "neutral zone" in my movie preferences. Humorous but also dark. Hopeful but very tragic. A meandering plot that barely resembles a plot at all. A goal without direction. All things that detracted from a truly enjoyable experience yet didn't make it "bad" or "awful." The best I can say is that if you liked The Royal Tenenbaums you *might* like this movie. Otherwise it's a pot shot.

ALAN'S MOVIE REVIEW: Rental-Worthy or Cable-Worthy.

Ocean's Twelve Is Only Eleven Plus One

Because I couldn't think of a better post title.

Ocean's Twelve stars everyone. Namely: Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Andy Garcia, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Shaobo Qin, Bernia Mac, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Elliott Gould, Vincent Cassel, Robbie Coltrane, Eddie Izzard, and Bruce Willis. That enough for ya? Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

IMDB Plot Outline:
Set three years after Ocean's 11, this sequel shows us Danny Ocean gathering up his complete gang of con artists and thieves from the first film in New York City before they all jet off to Amsterdam, Rome, and Paris to pull off three seperate heists. All the while, the boys must deal with increasing pressure from a very mad Terry Benedict, a dedicated Europol agent with a link to Rusty's past, and a mysterious French rival known as the "Night Fox." Will Ocean's crew reach their full potential and become the greatest thieves the world has ever known, or will they fall victim to Benedict's revenge? All bets are off.
This is going to be a quick review. Partly because I saw it about two weeks ago or so and partly because it's not deserving of much more. If you liked Ocean's Eleven, you'll probably like Ocean's Twelve. Nothing terribly new or exciting. Another caper, another plot, this time with another person, Catherine Zeta-Jones. It kept me awake and following but not too interested or involved. Just like the first movie, there's an "oh" moment at the end where everything is revealed, based on information you, the movie-watcher, were not provided previously. This one really just left me waiting for more. And it's no more than Ocean's Eleven so it disappointed me some. There you are.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental-Worthy or Cable-Worthy.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

A USB 2.0 External Hard Drive

It's so nice when new computer equipment installs and runs as it is "supposed" to.

A week ago I visited Best Buy, 10% off coupons firmly in hand. One was used purchasing a 160 GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive. I've been meaning to procure one for a while now to back up my desktop machine. (Its CD-RW Drive hasn't worked in a LONG time. Pretty much since I installed Windows XP on it over a year ago. Fortunately the DVD Rom Drive works just fine.) Yesterday I stopped by Best Buy again and purchased a USB 2.0 Card (since my desktop only has USB 1.0 on it -- USB 2.0 is 40x faster than USB 1.0).

Last night I installed the card and connected the hard drive. Hot damn if the computer didn't sense everything and have it up and working within minutes. MINUTES!!! Truly amazing. To think that computers have evolved to the point where they actually work as they are supposed to.

For the record, I know I'm just asking for some wonderfully cosmic irony to be lobbed in my direction now that I've lauded the ease of installation and functionality of my new toys. However, I already backed up the desktop to the hard drive so I'm moderately confident and a bit more secure about the desktop. I don't want it to crash but if it does it's not the end of the world. (Perhaps a more suitable response would be to say: "Please don't crash? I'd like to play more World of Warcraft.")

Thursday, January 13, 2005

A Few Quotes To Start

[N.B. These are excerpts from e-mails I've trolled through. Now down to 98 pages of e-mails in my Inbox.]

I may start to develop "new," nonsensical quotes for fun.  One I just thought of:  'Confusion is in the eye of the beholder.'  Perhaps it would be considered a pun if it confuses someone?

Karma or no karma, beer remains.

"If it didn't end badly, it wouldn't have ended." -- Tom Cruise in Cocktail

New Year's Resolution (Plus)

I know it's a little late for this but I figure I'll give it a shot. Usually I don't bother with New Year's resolutions, partly because I don't like to promise things, even if only to myself, and not do them. Partly because I rarely have something so pressing to be done that I haven't already otherwise considered acting on it.

During breakfast this morning, I had a thought. The cleanliness or organization of my apartment appears to run in cycles, going from "actually clean" to "slightly disorganized" to "piles here and there" to "messy" to "downright very messy" to "refuse to invite other friends over any more" to "man, I really need to clean this place up" to "man, I really need to clean up this Hell-hole." (By the way, the point-of-no-mother-entry occurs between "piles here and there" and "messy.") At the moment, its current state is hovering around "man, I really need to clean this place up" with dips into the lower zone. In other words, it's time to do something.

My New Year's Resolution is to keep my apartment clean and presentable. (Of course this coincidentally entails cleaning up the damn thing in the first place, something I am not looking forward to and-obviously-have been putting off for quite some time.)

As an aside, this year looks to be particularly interesting, more so than the previous two. Find a job. Sit for the Patent Bar (again). Finish/write the SRP. Classes. Possibly a Spring vacation. Class exams. Law school graduation. The Bar Exams (planning on CT and NY). A vacation of some sort. Work begins in earnest. At least two weddings to attend in the Fall (and I'll probably need to find a date/dates for those).

Looking at that list, it's 2 weeks into the year and I haven't even begun to work on anything yet. Not good. I need to get my ass in gear pronto. Actually, I'm not sure if I want to put my ass anywhere in close proximity to any gears or other mechanical components. Wonder where that idiom came from. Maybe it's just time to get a move on.

As Tom Petty so elegantly put it:
It's time to move on, time to get going
What lies ahead I have no way of knowing
But under my feet, baby, grass is growing
It's time to move on, it' s time to get going.
So it is armed with this "new" goal for the year that I confidently step forward into another Season of Mists.

VH1's The Surreal Life: Season 4

On a side note, I usually abhor reality shows. Absolute hate and loathe them. I watched The Real Gilligan's Island, partially out of morbid curiosity and partially because it was a short run. The exception to the aforementioned preference is VH1's The Surreal Life. I don't know precisely why but I find this particular "reality series" to be interesting and watchable. Maybe it's the fact that celebs are involved. Maybe it's because although they're human, they're not quite the same humans you would meet on the street. I don't know. What I do know is that I'm oddly drawn to watching this one and continue to do so when I get the chance.

I caught the first episode of VH1's The Surreal Life: Season 4 last Sunday night. My past history here includes watching the entirety of Season 2 (which had Tammy Faye Baker, Ron Jeremy, Tyra Banks and Eric Estrada among others) and the vast majority of Season 3 (Flava Flave, Bridgette (sp.), Dave Couliea (sp.), Charro and Jordan Knight among others). [For the record, I enjoyed Season 2 much more than Season 3. The interactions between the stars were much more compelling and interesting.]

Season 4's Cast
  • Joanie Laurer: The former WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, nee WWF -- World Wrestling Federation) wrestling star known as Chyna (who subsequently posed for Playboy).

  • Christopher Knight: aka Peter Brady.

  • Shawntae _____: aka "Da Brat." Apparently she's a (if not the first?) female solo Rap artist.

  • Jane Wiedlin: From the Go-Gos!

  • Adrianne Curry: America's Top Model Season 1 Winner.

  • Marcus Schenkenberg: "The" Calvin Klein model.

  • Verne Troyer: Better known as Mini Me! (35 years old and 2' 8" in height.)
This looks to be another excellent collection of miscellaneous celebs. Joanie likes to drink and get her way. (She's also not terribly bright though she could easily kill anyone else in the house.) Peter Brady looks like he's going to be playing the "father" role, helping everyone sort things out and work together. Da Brat is a cold, distanced b*tch. Jane is very bubbly and easy-going (and apparently into S&M, as will be explored in a future episode). Adrianne is incredibly beautiful, not shy at all about being beautiful (or without clothes) and it looks like she'll be falling for Peter Brady as things progress. Marcus was pretty quiet so nothing to say there. Verne was, well, out there. He gets drunk *very* easily and is pretty much a pig (mostly towards Adrianne). In the first episode not only did he get completely and utterly wasted, he also drove around on his motorized cart naked before urinating in a corner.

The first episode was the usual meet 'n greet along with a special dinner. The news magazine arrived proclaiming that "dinner would be on Adrianne." I have to say, I immediately picked up on the subtext there. None of the celebs did, though. So when it came time for dinner, they found Adrianne lying on a table, a few leaves strategically placed on her otherwise naked body and sushi resting on those leaves. (From my understanding, an unusual but high-class Japanese practice of having sushi served on the body of an otherwise mostly-naked woman.) Afterwards, Adrianne and Jane went skinny-dipping in the hot tub while Chris (or should I keep calling him Peter Brady?) and Marcus lounged around. Verne showed up later, drunk as a skunk, and then even later on he undertook his "streaking" and "relieving."

I need to check when new episodes of this will be shown. I think the season will be very interesting. The celebs are, for the most part, pretty easy-going, with Da Brat, Joanie (not supposed to call her Chyna) and Verne being the exceptions. I'm going to try and stay tuned in. If there's an interesting episode or event, I'll post about it. (Translation: I don't plan on posting about every single episode as I almost did with Nip/Tuck.) If you have any thoughts or comments, please sound out!

Mental Note

Sites to add to the blogroll:

The Hot Librarian

Zen of Design

Easily Distracted

Online Alchemy

I also need to tidy it up a bit. Reorder things and such.

I'll be cleaning out my school e-mail account sometime soon. Expect a flood of miscellaneous things that I e-mailed to myself (links and stories and such). I'll probably put them up in separate posts/batches as I go through my Inbox. What finally instigated this "Spring Cleaning" was a notice that my e-mail account had been closed due to its enormous size. I deleted all my Sent Mail so that I could at least receive new e-mails and reply to them. Time to comb through 110+ pages of e-mails (with 25 on a page, I think).

Tuesday, January 11, 2005


While it may not be a "winter wonderland," we definitely have snow. Looks like it's going to be a good night to huddle around my television, DVD player (aka PS2) or computer with a mug of hot chocolate.

Male Behavior Partially Dissected

Last week over at Will Work For Favorable Dicta, E.Spat asked
"for all [her] favorite male bloggers to take one aspect of male behavior and explain it in depth."
Admittedly, part of me was tempted to give it a go at addressing some part of this but that was until I read Soupie's response. (For the record, Mr. P[oon] had some excellent things to say in the comments to Soupie's response.)

There's not much more I can offer. While I disagree on some of Soup's lesser points (me not being a huge fan of wings, for example), I cannot argue with his overall conclusions. Pretty much spot on.

Soupie's response led me to a definition and a theory, Intellectual Whores and The Ladder Theory respectively. More on those another time, another post.

A TIME Story, Pending Posts & A Wow Update

But not [I]n that order.

An article in TIME: 10 Things We Learned About Blogs.

Pending/Upcoming Posts (and these will be up within the very near future, damnit): Movie Review of Ocean's 12, Movie Review of The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

WoW Update: Belic the Human Paladin is up to level 46.2 and is a Weaponsmith with 253 skill. When he hits 47, I'll strongly consider grinding his smithing up to 260 and farming ingredients for a Truesilver Champion 2h sword. I'll also consider working on the 6 Mithril Order Quests. Lymirae the Night Elf Priestess is up to level 12. I'm debating whether to continue playing her or switch to a Warlock. (I probably won't switch. Or maybe I should.)

Blogging About Work (& Other Similarly Controversial Things)

The Hot Librarian has a post entitled Legal Ramifications of Blogging about Work based on a BBC News article on the subject.

As a budding law student/eventual-lawyer, I'd like to think that law students and lawyers (in particular) would know better than to blog about specific incidents occurring at work. Besides the confidentiality issues, there's always defamation and the like not to mention random acts of firing on trumped-up charges based on questionable content. (That is, we're firing you for "x" although it's really becuase you posted blog entries saying the company/firm stinks like a rotting fish carcus laying out in the Georgian sun.)

By the way, a misconception I want to clear up briefly. The truth is not always a defense. In my Media & The Law class second year of law school I learned that one. About 90% of the time, yes, truth is a defense. However, where specific knowledge would render the revealed information defamatory notwithstanding its veracity, truth is not a defense. Example: "Margaret Jones is pregnant." Appears to be non-defamatory, right? However, suppose that Margaret Jones is a Sister at the local church. Suddenly the statement becomes defamatory based on this extra knowledge. I don't remember any other specifics for this point but I do remember that much (example included).

In any case, I don't actually have anything substantive to relate on the work-blogging topic. It's not something I ever anticipate pursuing, in either an anonymous or non-anonymous setting, and it's not something "smart" bloggers will undertake. Blogging about work in a controversial manner is rolling the dice. You hope nothing you say will come back and bite you in the ass, possibly ousting you from your job. Why are people surprised when it happens?

Perhaps the one thing I can comment on here is that blogging is starting to retain stronger ties to real-world influences and effects. As a blogger, this is certainly something you need to consciously remember every time you post. It's the reason I stopped posting about The Girl or, for that matter, any of the girls. (At one point I identified them by a random letter. I laugh at that now. And, for the record, "them" constitutes two women, I believe.) Those are definitely an example of something that could come around and hamstring me at a later date. That's not to say I won't do the same thing at a later time since, well, you know, no one ever said I was smart enough to take my own advice. And it makes for good blogging-fodder... as long as "she" doesn't read it...

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

eBay Shuts Down Ultima Online Charity Auctions

Slashdot showed me this FileFront article.

The idea was to collect gold in UO, either by in-game sales or donations, and then resell that gold on eBay. The resulting money would then be donated to the Red Cross for their tsunami relief efforts.
“Crazy” Joe Harden started his eBay auctions with the best of intentions, giving all the proceeds to the Red Cross for the tsunami disaster relief. Unfortunately, his plans went awry because of eBay’s safeguards.

“One-third to half of the auctions had bids on them,” the Stratics forum administrator said. “I was sitting on roughly $1500.”

The auctions were for in-game gold in Ultima Online. What Harden did was set up places within Ultima Online where players could come and either buy “junk,” as he called it, or simply donate gold to be auctioned off on eBay. After setting up 43 auctions, things were running smoothly until eBay pulled every single one of them off of their site.

“What we don't allow is for a regular individual to hold auctions in the name of charities,” Chris Donlay, eBay spokesperson, said. “There's no guarantee then that the individual is going to send them [the proceeds].”
Basically, Harden failed to follow express eBay policy regarding private management of "charitable" auctions. So eBay pulled the auctions.
What this means for Harden is resubmitting all of the auctions over again, but this time deleting any references to the Red Cross, or his own site which mentions the fact that his proceeds are going to go to charitable causes. “I purposely left a few tidbits in the very vague "new" auctions that hopefully will perk some eyebrows and buyers can investigate why this Auction mentions my name, the Tsunami, and Stratics,” he said.

Despite this setback, Harden was surprised and delighted at the success of his efforts. He said when he thought of the idea on New Year’s Eve while finishing up some accounting work, he never thought it would get so big.

“If I received $500, I would be speechless—if $1,000 I would… how to put it eloquently... "Crap Bricks,” he said.
Hey, I give the guy a lot of credit. This is an excellent and novel way to raise money for a wonderful cause. Personally, I like how it integrates MMORPGs with a real world cause, allowing the former to help support the latter. Very nicely done.

Revenge of the Google

Richard's Electronic Ephemera directed me to this humorous post on the Google Blog.

Apparently someone wrote in criticizing one of the recent Winter Google Doodles and the Google Blog Team responded in kind. Very amusing.

RPGs of 2005

Slashdot pointed me to an RPGDot article on The RPGs of 2005 (Part 1). Worth a quick look. I'm mildly annoyed they failed to mention World of Warcraft, especially given WoW's huge player/fan base and immense popularity.

It's Snowing!

Some nice light snow falling this morning. The best part is the temperature. has us at 34 F. Cold enough for it to snow but warm enough that we shouldn't see much if any accumulation. The worst that means is I may have a little to clear off my car later. (And the roads may get a bit wet and sloshy.)

Personally, I love snow. I grew up in Connecticut so snow has always been a part of my life during the Winter months. It was always fun to run outside and play in it, shovel it, do whatever. I think I'll always have a lot of strong, vivid memories attached to snow. Even nowadays when I don't play in it so much, whenever I see snow falling, some part of me silently thinks to myself "yay!"

Another Strange Search

Apparently, if you do a Starware search for free naked picture's of porn star candy samples, this site is the second result. Whoever got here by that search, I can assure you that you will not find "porn star candy samples" nor "free naked pictures" thereof, at least not here. I recommend you go ask this guy [NDC]. He probably either has samples for you to view or knows where to get them. (I'd be shocked if not.)

ADDENDUM: Same recommendation for whoever got here by this MSN search. [10:37 AM]

ADDENDUM II: Who are you people? [10:43 AM]

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

typoGenerate This! (But am I infringing a copyright?)

Introducing typoGenerator!
typoGenerator is a random generator for 'typoPosters'. a typoPoster is a poster, created from images and letters/text that doesn´t have any sense, just to look good.

the user types some text; typoGenerator searches for the text and creates a background from the found images, using randomly chosen effects. then it places the text, using random effects too.
I know I'll spend hours (or at least many, many minutes) playing around with this thing at a later time.

In the FAQ, here's the response to "may i use generated images on my website?"
you may use images generated by typoGenerator on private websites, but NOT for any commercial applications. the images used for generating may be subject to copyright.
Interesting question/issue. Since typoGenerator admittedly searches and uses what it finds to create the resulting.. image, does this impinge or otherwise implicate the original author's copyright in and to the original work?

My gut reaction is a resounding "no." Fair use would seem to protect the resulting work, notwithstanding its basis on a preexisting one. An example of this sort of protection might be the sampling cases, wherein a rap artist "sampled" a preexisting musical work and used very small portions in the new song. Here, the program takes content available by and uses it to create a wholly new work. Granted fair use is never that cut and dry and also granted I'll be taking Copyright next semester. Maybe the class will shed some clearer light on this particular example.

Thanks go to The Hot Librarian for introducing me to the generator!

Admitted Weakness No. 1

Chocolate Milk. I love the smell, the texture, the taste of chocolate milk. When I make it myself from syrup or powder, I inevitably add either too little or too much of the chocolatey goodness, occasionally rectifying said error by the addition of more non-chocolate milk to the concoction. Today it's a store-bought, small plastic bottle. I have to force myself to extend the consumption, else I would guzzle the entire beverage in a matter of seconds. 'Tis a testing time of strength of will. And yet, it tastes better while cold if not while mildly chilled (the best I can manage from the store-bought without additional cooling). After my initial purchase and removal of the plastic seal, I repeatedly smelled the outside of the dispensing end, taking in the heavenly aroma. Chocolate Milk.

Meet the Fockers Focking Hilarious!

Meet the Fockers (sequel to Meet the Parents) stars Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, and Teri Polo with a brief cameo by Owen Wilson.

My Plot Summary: In preparation for the upcoming wedding, the Byrnes family (along with Greg/Gaylord and Pam) heads down to Florida to meet the Fockers. With them comes their grandson, Little Jack, and the ever-loveable Mr. Jinx (the toilet-flushing cat). The notoriously uptight and straight Byrnes, Jack and Dina, meet their match in the free-spirited Fockers, Bernie and Roz.

This movie is hilarious. It carries the same kind of humor and delivery as the first one only with an added dose of personality and wit. Hoffman and Streisand are *perfect* as the Focker parents. Absolutely perfect! The casting was dead on. Not just Jewish and free-spirited but eccentric like you won't believe! For example, Streisand's character, Greg's mom, is a sex therapist for the elderly! You can imagine how that plays with Dustin Hoffman as her husband and the straight-laced, ex-CIA father in law. Too too funny.

I also loved the few parallels between this and the first movie. I don't want to elaborate on this, partially because I don't want to give anything away and partially because it's a bit difficult. Suffice it to say that they exist and are noticeable if you keep your eyes open.

I really don't know what else to say. There are so many hilarious points in the movie but I don't want to give any of them away because you really should go see this. It's a funny movie. In this day and age, no small feat. Of course it almost goes without saying, make sure you saw the first movie before you see this one. And I can practically guarantee that if you liked the first movie then you'll also like this one. As for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will get the DVD when it comes out. I'll watch it again and laugh even more, only with a beer in hand instead of a water.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy. Hands down.

WoW Update

In between movie reviews. Paladin up to level 43 and 232 (soon to be 234+) Blacksmithing, specialized as a Weaponsmith. At 235 I can make The Shatterer, The Phantom at 245 (req. level 44), Blight at 250 (req. level 45) and the Truesilver Champion at 260 (req. level 47). Last night I learned that Badlands + Mount = Mining Paradise. I harvested 13 Iron, over 40 Mithril and 7 Truesilver over an hour or more. Easy. Also got my mining up to 254+ so I can now mine and (once I train it) smelt Thorium. Fun!

Soon (maybe) I'm going to have to start working on my Priestess. She's only level 10 right now with Alchemy at ~100. I'm going to need her at 40 and with Alchemy 225+ so she can transmute metals for me when I get there. Granted that's a bit down the road but not all that far. Too bad my guild doesn't have another Alchemist (or an Alchemist to be frank).

We now return you to your regularly scheduled movie reviews already in progress.

Blade: Trinity Sharper Than The Second But Duller Than The First

The third in the series, Blade: Trinity, stars Wesley Snipes, Dominic Purcell, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds, and Parker Posey with cameos by Kris Kristofferson, Triple H (yes, the wrestler), and Natasha Lyonne.

IMDB Plot Summary:
Wesley Snipes returns as the day-walking vampire hunter in the explosive third and final film in the Blade franchise, Blade: Trinity. When the Vampire Nation hatches a plan to frame Blade in a series of brutal killings, he must join forces with the Nightstalkers, a clan of human vampire hunters, in an extreme battle in which the trail of blood leads directly to the notorious vampire legend, Dracula.
Here's the thing, you know this isn't going to be a masterpiece. The first one, Blade, is a classic. The second one, Blade II, is pretty much a bust. This one, at least in quality, falls nicely between the two. It's much lighter, even going so far as to include humor. (Pretty much every time Ryan Reynolds is on the screen I was laughing at something he said or did.) It's also nice to see Blade get some help. One tenet of this series has been Blade's isolation. He works alone and that's the way it is. Seeing him have some company, some fellow hunters, is nice. Seeing him have Jessica Biel as a fellow hunter is very nice.

My initial reaction to this movie's trailer (way back this is) was that it looked to me like Underworld only with Jessica Biel instead of Kate Beckinsale. Blade:Trinity is a bit more than that, and a heck of a lot better than Underworld. It has a better, simpler plot and a better feel to it. Underworld just seems too dark and pale in comparison, making the comparison a poor one. Then again, if that was my first reaction upon viewing the trailer, they needed to redo that trailer and get me to not immediately compare it to Underworld.

As for criticisms, I have a few. The movie didn't really reach me or draw me in. Throughout I felt like I was watching a movie. I wasn't very involved with what was going on and it didn't pluck any heartstrings or command my rapt attention. It just didn't. But then, as I initially stated, you know this isn't going to be a masterpiece. So if you're just there for the ride, so to speak, to have a good time, relax and enjoy whatever they have to present to you, it's a pretty good action movie.

Something or, more accurately, someone else -- Parker Posey. I am not a huge Parker Posey fan, though I do not dislike her either. In my book she falls under the "alright" category. Seeing her "vamped out" and goth was pretty cool but she just doesn't strike me as a vampire. She just doesn't. I would have been much happier with another actress in that role. I had trouble taking Parker Posey seriously as the head vamp (second to Drake of course). I don't know if that's just me bringing my preconceived notions to the movie or her failing to impress me as a powerful vampire leader. I can't distinguish between the two. All I can say is that I wish someone else had been cast in her role.

By the way, continuing in my favored wrestlers-turned-actors category (e.g. The Rock, Rowdy Roddy Piper), I liked Triple H as a vampire. He didn't have all that much screen-time but what he had was good. He fit in. Him I could believe as a vampire minion. Easy. Plus, when he has a fight scene with Ryan Reynolds, he throws in some wrestling moves. I thought that was hysterical and excellent.

Last gripe, and I'll be deliberately vague here. The ending annoyed me. Given what happened at the end, I'm not sure if there's anywhere else to go with this series. Granted someone somewhere said this was the final in the series but should they wish to go on, it seems like they've painted themselves into a corner. Maybe that's deliberate. Who knows.

All in all, a good action movie. Nothing to write home about but certainly worth a viewing if you like action movies, vampire movies or the first Blade movie.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Rental or Cable-Worthy.

Would you like some movies with that?

As some of you have undoubtedly picked up by now, I am a big movie fan. I try to see a lot of them in the theater (mostly matinees) though I also purchase quite a few DVDs. This weekend's purchases included Garden State, Wimbledon, King Arthur and the Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century Collection.

Last night I watched Garden State with three friends. I still love it. Of the movies I've seen this year, the only one I would definitely place above it is Spider-Man 2, with Sideways coming in at a close tie (with Garden State I mean). Sideways and Garden State, like I Heart Huckabees, had things to say, messages to pass along. Where Huckabees crams them down your throat with an unhealthy doseage of confusion and frustration, the others give you a nice story to follow with interesting characters and let you pick up on their message(s) as they arise, as they are presented, at a calm pace.

When Sideways comes out on DVD, I'll pick that up and watch it again. I'm sure I'll be similarly impressed, again. That's my measure of a truly excellent movie. If I saw it once and thoroughly enjoyed it then I see it again (on DVD) and almost equally enjoy it, again, it's a safe bet that the movie sparked something in me or for me. The best thing of all is that unlike years past when it took well-done action or Sci Fi movies to interest me, these days I'm also open to more of the artsy, message-laden films, such as the ones mentioned above. Almost hopeful.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


Fyi, I'm trying to catch up on my movie-theater watching as I have been rather delinquent for the past month. Last night I caught Blade Trinity (review forthcoming). I hope to see the following in the next week or so: Closer, Meet the Fockers, Spanglish, and Ocean's Twelve. Quasi-optional viewings include: Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Christmas With the Cranks. Coming up there's: In Good Company (Jan. 14), Elektra (Jan. 14), Alone In The Dark (Jan. 28, optional), Hide and Seek (Jan. 28, optional), and Constantine (Feb. 18). I may have missed a few but these were the ones that caught my eye thus far.

As for non-theater movies, I am, as ever, hopelessly behind. I do have one review to post for Red vs. Blue. That too falls under the "forthcoming" category. Unlike some other forthcomings, Blade Trinity and Red vs. Blue *will* be posted. (Over my dead, lifeless body if need be... Or at least over a World of Warcraft-free time period, same thing.)

[Btw, my WoW Paladin is up to level 41.7 and 223 Blacksmithing.]