Thursday, November 30, 2006

Nobody move or the monkey gets it!

I'm serious!!!

A fun Onion piece on PS3 vs. Wii.

Judge Richard Posner will be making an appearance in Second Life. (story) Yay Posner!

In his Bill Gates for President post, Scott Adams says:
I’ve always felt that you should pick a president the same way you’d pick an attorney to help you out of a dangerous legal problem. Do you want the attorney who dresses nicely and belongs to your church? Or do you want the attorney who can rip out your opponent’s heart and put it on the hibachi before he dies? Maybe it’s just me, but I want an attorney who is part demon.
And I like this for the tag line:
Bill Gates for president – you could say you have a better idea, but you’d be lying.
And two Offices: One and Two

I'm going to try to put together The Who/The Pretenders post today. It's been a rather busy few days as I'm trying to put in more hours at work.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

A Plurality of Potential Pastry Peccadilloes Passed Pearl Prior to a Pedantic Parade of Perl

Sweet, sweet alliteration, how I do love thee! Let me count the ways...

By the by, a concert post will be forthcoming sometime today, possibly tonight. Incidentally, in addition to The Who, I saw The Pretenders as well (they opened).

Earlier I learned that the inimitable Bruce "Don't Call Me Ash" Campbell has two forthcoming projects: My Name Is Bruce and Bubba Nosferatu and the Curse of the She-Vampires. The former is ostensibly a movie about himself in a fictional story, starring himself. The latter appears to be a prequel to Bubba Ho-Tep. Any way you slice it, there is Bruce-alicious goodness on the way!

"That mantle is heavy with spleen and has a furry trim of ire." -- The Hot Librarian (11/28/06)

I should check out Halfpixel when I get the chance.

This goats birthday comic is effin hilarious!!! I wouldn't mind hallucinations like that. (Well, at least the RW part...)

DS has a Winterview #3 up. What's a little scary is that I recognize the place in the video. I'm half-tempted to e-mail DS's cartoonist and offer to buy him dinner sometime. I probably will do that some point in the near future. (Just not right now.)

gapingvoid has a Ten Commandments Manifesto. I dig it.

Lastly, two Overheards that need to get put somewhere somewhen: One and Two

Some other point in the relatively near-ish future (vagueness + vagueness + vagueness = something...), I want to put together a post about the referrals that get people here (e.g., web searches) and/or the popular posts. I'm posting more often and linking more often and, consequently, this blog is getting more hits from different referrals. Always a good time.


ADDENDUM: Coast to Coast Tickets (for concert tickets) and BeldarBlog (trial lawyer blog). [7:27 PM]

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

La la la... I can't hear you!

Tonight I see The Who!!! Who do you say? No, The Who! Hahahaha! That never gets old. Anyways, I'm now listening to their 20th Century Masters Collection and learning about them over at Wikipedia. Figure I should know a little about who I see (and hear). No, The Who. (See? Never old!) Kind of hard to believe these guys have been at it for over 40 years now.

[Break for more Wikipedia reading]

Good lord. Sounds like this concert could be awesome. I will definitely report back on it tomorrow.

Get a portrait of yourself as a zombie.

The Copyright Office created 6 more DMCA exceptions. Nothing particularly exciting (in my opinion).

Something on Sticker Graphics.

Sudden Gravity, a horror comic, looks and sounds pretty good, as does Hi-Fructose, an art magazine.

Wired has a cool PennyArcade piece with advice on the (current) console wars.

There's a fun Secret Satan thing going on over at by rstevens (and Clango). I definitely need to enter with a good DS post. I love DS and I love my electric sheep & space demon from Pluto shirts. I will put some good ones up for this. I swear it.

That's it for today. More another time. Probably.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Catch Up

Versus catsup, for example. Because the latter would be messy and could stain whereas the former is the result of an extra long weekend.

A new subtitle will be up shortly. I'm going to include attribution from now on, for the sake of completeness if nothing else.

And I am all things tough. Just ask my stuffed bear, Pookie.

No, I don't really have a stuffed bear named Pookie. (His name is Mr. Brown.)

Moving right along, and in general order of discovery, we learn that PvP: The Animated Series will debut in February of next year. If you sign up by the end of this year, it costs $10 less than it will next year. While I have not as yet actually signed up (per se), nor have I had the privilege, nay, the honor of feasting on the preview, I can assure you that Mr. Kurtz will be receiving $19.95 from me in due course (prior to New Year's). PvP is one of those comics that deserves your support and your hard-earned cash. I urge you to check out the preview (of which I myself will partake later on this eve) and subscribe to the animated series. I have that much faith in Mr. Kurtz, his passion and his work. It doesn't hurt to mention that Ryan Sohmer of LICD fame is also involved in this project. (I have faith in Mr. Sohmer too only it's more along the lines of padded rooms and rubber eating utensils. Ever wield a rubber chopstick? Does such a thing exist? Is it patentable? Could I license the patent and retire to England on the profits? Would I be a celebrity? Would I enjoy the traditional immunity celebrities enjoy, such as for legal infractions including, but not limited to, speeding tickets and dead bodies? What if the dead bodies were squirrel carcasses? Could I hyphenate a phrase that includes" carcass"? Would "carcass-like stench" suffice? Is there a perfume that might ever have qualified for such an adjective? If so, why was it made in the first place? So many questions, so little... focus.)

Foxtrot's Thanksgiving comic (11/26/06) is hysterical and oh-so-perfect. Tell me you don't have dreams/nightmares of the same.

Meanwhile, Get Fuzzy (11/26/06) has a surprisingly poignant commentary on apathy, particularly as it relates to foreign events. It's rather accurate, too, and that is incredibly scary.

CAD (11/27/06) has a more humorous comic, expounding upon "the panic meter." I find myself sympathetic to Ethan this time (he's usually a bird-brained, clueless gamer-dolt) as I'm not sure where such a pronouncement would fall on my own panic meter. I imagine it would be slightly below "our internet connection is down" and slightly above "Holy shit, I have a girlfriend?!??!"

LICD's (11/25/06) Rayne has devised a thunderdome-esque online dating scenario. I cannot say the idea does not both intrigue me and make me wonder why I didn't think of it first. It's.. so.. obvious! Alas, reality occasionally has a way of obliterating one's dreams.

Ooh, that's a half-decent quote, perhaps even suitable for the subtitle some time.

Scott Adams asks: Do humans have free will? Personally, I think it's indeterminate either way and/or is definitional. Hmmm... It almost seems to me like Scott's argument (may I call you "Scott?") is more so that free will is indistinguishable from pre-programmed instructions. Again, I think it could go either way and doesn't really matter. Why? Because if you can't clearly settle it one way or another, it doesn't quite matter under which theory you operate so long as you do continue to operate. It's the action(s) that matters. The reason behind it simply provides context and occasional clarity. It's not requisite per se.

That could be an interesting self-discussion. I should make a mental (or physical) note to try and draft a post on that line of thinking. At this point I'm just spouting it out, not really reviewing it to see if I believe it. Huh.

Scott Adams also discusses his stance on the Iraq war. This one I completely agree with. It's the exact same position that I have, based on similar arguments. I wouldn't have phrased it quite as well but it mirrors the reasoning I employ. If the one certainty is that the longer we're there, the more American soldiers will die and the more it will cost our country, why not try to minimize those losses?

If you live in England and read down this far, here's a coupon for 40% off wine and champagne at Thresher. (Courtesy of gapingvoid.) Bottoms up!

Also at gapingvoid: Seth Godin's Unforgiveable Manifesto. "Don't settle. That's unforgivable." It's an excellent manifesto. Go look.

Also at gapingvoid: The Hughtrain Mk II. Hugh's own manifesto. Also worth a read.

By the way, Dunkin' Donuts has cool-looking holiday-themed coffee-filled (third time's the charm!) coffee cups. The "America runs on Dunkin(SM)" logo includes a person wearing a hat, a scarf and gloves.

It's the little things that tend to make me happy to be here.

(Another quote for the quote page, when I get to it.)

And I will continue that Humanism discussion. ...just later tonight, after work.

Heroes tonight. Also Studio 60. Watch them or die. (Or don't die. Whatever.)


A Long Weekend

They are so nice although equally rare. I would wish I had more of them only I'm already behind in my billables as it is.

T'was a nice Thanksgiving. Nothing really special to report. My cousin made up with her brother and parents so all is right in the world (or so I am assured). Went out to dinner on Friday night with relatives, including grandparents. The usual.

On Friday, my other cousin ("her brother") and I hit Best Buy. As friends of mine can attest, when I go shopping, I go shopping. And on a day when there are deals galore, oh yes. I shopped. Snagged some DVDs (Underworld: Evolution, Inside Man, X-Men 3, The Office: Season 1, Boston Legal: Season 2), 1 CD of The Who, two 1GB flash drives, Neverwinter Nights 2 for the PC and Gun for the PS2. Everything I got was on sale except for Boston Legal. Very nice prices. So I feel like I did my part and contributed to the rampant consumerism that currently prevails.

Finished Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. Good book. Not my favorite of his (that honor belongs to American Gods) but a good book from one of my favorite authors.

Saw Casino Royale in the theater. Review forthcoming.

Watched Inside Man on DVD. Review forthcoming.

Last night's Desperate Housewives was a little eery. Not my favorite episode thus far but unsettling in its conclusion. Makes you wonder. Could be a post on that – maybe, maybe not.

I shall have to locate my old thread topics list(s) and relink those so I don't forget them.

Oh, there was a bonus Boston Legal last night. So good! I was going into withdrawal and now I have plenty. Good episode – sets up Tuesday night's. I always find it inordinately amusing when Alan Shore (excellent first name, by the way) gets to act completely like himself – crude, rude and lewd. It's even better when his foil is a goodie-two-shoes (like Denise Bauer, nudge nudge, wink wink). And there was another "breaking the fourth wall" (whomever came up with that one?) moment when Alan Shore referenced Tuesday at 10 as the time for a trial. I eat that stuff up. Love the show. Woot for Boston Legal!

Hehe, Tuesday night. I'm going to a concert by The Who with my mom and her friend.

I think I'm borderline coming down with a cold. My throat is generally ick in the morning. I don't feel bad, though (yet). And my tongue looks a little funny (patchiness with whiter/lighter spots and normal ones). I can sometimes tell when my body is fighting off the initial stages of a cold/flue/whatever. I'm pretty sure this is it. So I better get some good sleep, maybe get in to work a *little* later in favor of said extra sleep. And just take it a little slower, a little easier. If I can work out this phase, I can avoid the cold/flue/whatever completely. It rarely works like that but it can be done.

Another swig of coffee and off I go!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best wishes for an enjoyable holiday! No new posts for a few days. Google has a holiday logo up.

If you're curious, I'm having a conversation with a fellow named Don in the comments to my Humanism post. Hopefully we can get back into that after the holiday.

I would link to the Butterball turkey page except I think it's all done in java and/or may require a sign-up. You'll have to dig it up on your own if you so wish. In the meantime, here's what Wikipedia has on Thanksgiving.

By the by, the President annually pardons two turkeys on this day. I'm not kidding. I do remember the President on West Wing pardoning one. If I recall, one year C.J. had to choose which, of two turkeys, to pardon. Hilarity and hijinks ensued, of course.

Tonight, I am sure many a flightless fowl will be consumed with much stuffing, garnish and cranberry sauce. Here's wishing you and all your loved ones a Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!~

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


If I mention the word "planet" and the word "Pluto" in the same post (on the same page, perhaps?), my blog gets cross-referenced here. I learned this because my post below titled Dreamscape & More got cross-referenced (and linked) there. Very interesting...

Digital Ghosts: When A Blog Gets Its Wings

Ever wonder about digital ghosts? I'm not necessarily talking about for people per se but rather the remains left behind of no-longer-updated sites, such as this one.

Blogs and other regularly updated sites are now numbering in the innumerable thanks not only to the explosion of the internet but also to the availability of free tools that enable anyone to have a website. In fact, the slightly more professional blogs have their own, independently-hosted URLs, as evident by the lack of "" in the name (for example).

However, as is the nature of the beast, much content eventually proves to be fleeting. People stop blogging, some wampeters die while new ones are born. Old sites die an otherwise non-momentous death while new sites begin their journey. In their death throes, the old sites have a choice: disappear (remove access to or delete the content and salt the earth), stay (leave everything as is with a final 'goodbye' post) or leave a monument (leave only one post, often a 'goodbye' post).

Thus are digital ghosts born.

The vast majority of the time, you will not run across a digital ghost. The site is antiquated and likely irrelevant to modern concerns. It probably won't be one of the top results of a Google or Yahoo search. Links to the site will fade as the referrers discover that the site is dead or as the referrers themselves die out. Without pointers to the site, access becomes moot since no one will find it.

But, in some cases, the site remains.

I don't know the cycle of a digital ghost. I don't know at what point the host removes access or archives the data. I don't know if or when Blogger purges itself of dead content. What I do know is that these sites are out there, standing as testaments to times now-forgotten and people now unheard.

This fascinates me.

Perhaps at another time I will further explore this topic. Something about it piques my curiosity. Maybe an archive of links to the (otherwise) forgotten? I shall have to ponder.

A Few More...

...random things for random times.

James Bond Title Sequences -- The best parts of the movies, no? Well, that's what some have argued. Personally, I may have to go with the names of the Bond girls. (You know what I'm talking about.)

Via BoingBoing: Are RIAA lawsuit damages Constitutional? (Which links to this Texas Law Review paper.)

Via Slashdot: Firefox 2.0 Password Manager Bug Exposes Passwords -- Which could be problematic if you happen to use Firefox 2.0. I don't think I upgraded yet (thankfully).

I want to link this THL post/story because it is absolutely hilarious. Go read it. (It's quick, I promise!)

I did scan a few other reactions to this week's Heroes episode. Apparently I may be in the minority with my negative reaction. So be it. Maybe I just have higher standards when it comes to superhero or comic book products? Or maybe I just missed the boat on this one? Maybe I'll think about it more another time.

I should add WWdN: In Exile to the revised blogroll. Though I've stopped regularly reading it, every now and then it's fun to see what Wil Wheaton, the consummate geek, is up to. Wil rawks.

Incidentally, if I ever try this one out... Actually, sad as it may be, it's definitely not beyond the realm of the possible. Thus I shall shut my trap. On second thought, scratch that. There is one female listed for all of CT (I think). I'll likely skip this site.

Wil also has a post titled Geek in Review: Han Shoots First (updated) wherein he "ponders why Star Wars is so important to a certain generation of geeks, and why we took it so personally that the new movies sucked so hard." Coolness in digital form.

Mental note: Look into this author/book.

Shelby County (TN) Voting Troubles. Scary.

Holy crap. Two senators saving the country $17 billion??!?!? Whoah.

Btw, found some of the above as links from Instapundit.

Electronic Ephemera -- This site (and guy) is awesome.

Just one last note. I've decided to bombard you with a barrage of posts. Deal.

On Humanism

Obsessive Law Student has a post about her religious and personal beliefs and how they reflect (or, more accurately, do not reflect) mainstream ( i.e. widespread) views of her religion (Tempting Faith and the Liberal Disdain for Evangelicals). It's rather hard to describe so you'll forgive me if I instead suggest you skim her post.

I began by wondering if, since her beliefs may not reflect widespread views of her religious categorization, she instead belonged to a different categorization. Then memory *pinged* with the recollection of Humanism and I wondered what exactly it was and whether it tied into this internal conversation. After a little exploration, I found this statement of some core beliefs (from a talk):
1. Humanism is one of those philosophies for people who think for themselves. There is no area of thought that a Humanist is afraid to challenge and explore.

2. Humanism is a philosophy focused upon human means for comprehending reality. Humanists make no claims to possess or have access to supposed transcendent knowledge.

3. Humanism is a philosophy of reason and science in the pursuit of knowledge. Therefore, when it comes to the question of the most valid means for acquiring knowledge of the world, Humanists reject arbitrary faith, authority, revelation, and altered states of consciousness.

4. Humanism is a philosophy of imagination. Humanists recognize that intuitive feelings, hunches, speculation, flashes of inspiration, emotion, altered states of consciousness, and even religious experience, while not valid means to acquire knowledge, remain useful sources of ideas that can lead us to new ways of looking at the world. These ideas, after they have been assessed rationally for their usefulness, can then be put to work, often as alternate approaches for solving problems.

5. Humanism is a philosophy for the here and now. Humanists regard human values as making sense only in the context of human life rather than in the promise of a supposed life after death.

6. Humanism is a philosophy of compassion. Humanist ethics is solely concerned with meeting human needs and answering human problems--for both the individual and society--and devotes no attention to the satisfaction of the desires of supposed theological entities.

7. Humanism is a realistic philosophy. Humanists recognize the existence of moral dilemmas and the need for careful consideration of immediate and future consequences in moral decision making.

8. Humanism is in tune with the science of today. Humanists therefore recognize that we live in a natural universe of great size and age, that we evolved on this planet over a long period of time, that there is no compelling evidence for a separable "soul," and that human beings have certain built-in needs that effectively form the basis for any human-oriented value system.

9. Humanism is in tune with today's enlightened social thought. Humanists are committed to civil liberties, human rights, church-state separation, the extension of participatory democracy not only in government but in the workplace and education, an expansion of global consciousness and exchange of products and ideas internationally, and an open-ended approach to solving social problems, an approach that allows for the testing of new alternatives.

10. Humanism is in tune with new technological developments. Humanists are willing to take part in emerging scientific and technological discoveries in order to exercise their moral influence on these revolutions as they come about, especially in the interest of protecting the environment.

11. Humanism is, in sum, a philosophy for those in love with life. Humanists take responsibility for their own lives and relish the adventure of being part of new discoveries, seeking new knowledge, exploring new options. Instead of finding solace in prefabricated answers to the great questions of life, Humanists enjoy the open-endedness of a quest and the freedom of discovery that this entails.
According to the Wikipedia piece, Humanism can further be subdivided into Secular Humanism (no theism involved at all, seemingly) and Religious Humanism (theism, tying Humanism to religious beliefs and/or a religious community).

After reading about it, Humanism felt like a good match with my own beliefs. I'm Jewish by upbringing, heritage and beliefs, but I subscribe to my own personal brand of Judaism. It ties in belief in G-d with less adherence to the stricter tenets of the religion and more freedom of person. I consider myself religious even though I do not attend services or always observe every holiday. I would rather place more emphasis on living a "good" life by one's own personal standards than on fulfilling ancient mandates from a time long past. (And I secretly suspect that G-d would want that too.)

I further looked into Christian Humanism (to guess whether it applies to OLS) and Humanistic Judaism (to see whether it applies to me). As for the latter, I do not think it a good fit as Humanistic Judaism is extremely secular and actually strives to place importance on the non-belief in G-d, which directly contrasts with my own beliefs. As for the former, I cannot say for sure but I suspect it might be a fair match.

Whenever it comes to religions and basing societal activities on religious underpinnings, I have personal issues with what is generally (or at least often) said and done. It's perfectly fine to have your own set of beliefs, just don't try to "inflict" (i.e. impose) them on the rest of the country or world. Some of the worst atrocities in humanity's past have been perpetrated in the name of religion. Live and let live, but respect always.

Back to the point, I like Humanism. The broad reach and potential application to or cohabitance with multiple, different religions appeals to me. I think the beliefs and theories Humanism encompasses are admirable, particularly as goals that can be translated to lifestyles (i.e. ways of living). And so I think I shall consider myself to be a Jewish Humanist. This is merely a categorization as Humanism appears to reflect my pre-established beliefs - it is in harmony with them. In addition, in a small manner, Humanism reconciles theism with science and, with no trace of irony, I believe in both of those. I think it's one of those things that's interesting to consider and I'm glad I have (briefly) examined it.

Various Varieties of a Veritable Voluminous Volume of Vocations

Well, not really, but the alliteration was just screaming at me and the end of the whole phrase just didn't want to stay on topic, per se. I tend to be a sucker for alliteration when I can sneak it in. Granted, the above does not actually qualify as "sneaking it in" since it is so un-subtle in its approach, but I am content with the non-sneakiness of it as, in fact, its mere presence comforts me.

Yes, I am mildly crazy. No, you cannot have a slice of pie. Now go to your room.

Side Note: It looks like much below is presented in the atypical-blog format of "paragraphs." (*GASP*) That is, instead of the otherwise-employed short bites ( e.g., one-to-three-sentence paragraphs). Too bad. Read or scan it if you like, don't if you don't.

Moving on... I have a varied multitude of items for presentation. There are common themes and interlinking, but they served merely as a jumping point for the explorations. That is, I began by clicking to a first thing. Then I clicked to the second thing in the list. Then I had a quasi-random thought about the second thing which took me to a plethora of other things and further introspection and consideration. Then, when I finished that, I clicked to the third thing, and so on. Only replace 'thing' with 'site.' "Actually, replace 'accidentally' with 'repeatedly' and 'dog' with 'son.'" (!!!)

It's been a while since I last visited UCL and it's a rather a shame too since it's an excellent blog by a lawyer (not lawyer blog). One post of his (A word about this blog) rang true for me. The post responds to some critical comments he's received about his blog and the nature of it:
I don't maintain this blog for commercial purposes or to advertise anything about myself to anyone. I'm not purposely trying to maintain a regular readership. I do thoroughly enjoy being able to interact with total strangers on things I find interesting about life, the world, the law, whatever. So I appreciate what readers I do have and enjoy getting feedback from them. But what I won't do is change the format of this blog from what I really like using it for, which is to basically serve as my soap box.
There's more, but I leave it to you if you're so inclined. I want to applaud UCL for both his blog and the post. One reason I used to regularly follow his posting (and probably should again) is because it was open, honest and him. No apologies, some holding back but not based on honesty or the truth, just the usual reservation or delay for personal items. Bravo, UCL! Bravo!

I was looking at BTQ for the first time in a long time (I can even remember when Fitz-Hume posted there and when he left) when I discovered two other blogs via comments.

The first is Still Angry, authored by a fellow named Dylan. I was rather excited to discover this one as I used to read Dylan's posts on his old blog. He always struck me as an interesting fellow who was worth listening to and conversing with. So it is with no small amount of joy that, when I do finish redoing the links column to your left, his new blog will certainly be included among the higher-up categories, possibly the one corresponding to you-should-read-this-damnit or this-is-good-damnit. I'm sure the word "damnit" will be employed in some manner or other. It is something of a shame that his old blog (which I shall let remain nameless) is gone as the posting there was worth reading. (Though I understand and appreciate why it is gone, as I can picture that, one day, this blog, too, may similarly disappear for the same reasons.)

The second one is Obsessive Law Student. Though her posts are interesting and honest (two qualities I look for in personal blogs I follow), what sealed the deal was a post of hers about her religious and personal beliefs and how they reflect (or, more accurately, do not reflect) mainstream ( i.e. widespread) views of her religion (Tempting Faith and the Liberal Disdain for Evangelicals). It's rather hard to describe so you'll forgive me if I instead suggest you skim her post.

I have a whole other post in the works responding to OLS' post. Look for it in the very near future. Originally it was included in this post but, upon further contemplation, it grew beyond the reasonable limits of inclusion.

OLS also had a post about Any Soldier which looks and sounds like something I'd like to do. I'm no soldier and I won't be serving my country by fighting in a war any time soon, but I have tremendous respect for those that do. This seems like one of those genuine ways to support them (and not the government or the Republicans or those who want(ed) to go to war but the soldiers themselves) in some small way that might actually count.

Another site I found is Between Lawyers which, although apparently posting infrequently, looks to be interesting.

Also, in The Dilbert Blog, Scott Adams discusses Comic Asses. You have been warned. (Though monkeys are occasionally involved.)

And I can't recall if I've already linked to Legal Mojo before. Good starting place for finding a law job. Excellent starting place for finding an IP law job. (Must remember!)

Dreamscape & More

I vaguely recall a dream I had last night. I was at a friend's law firm (somewhere I've never been before so it was a made-up setting) interviewing for a position. The only part I can remember right now is that I was interviewing with my old trumpet teacher, back from my high school (or middle school?) days. He was questioning me and I was contemplating whether I would leave my current job for this new one if they made me an offer. I also vaguely remember that he was reviewing my resume or record or such and was stating (for the record?) that it looked like my record wasn't very good. Or some such.

I don't have a lingering impression that the dream was good or bad, per se. It just was.

For the second week in a row, no Boston Legal. I am now going into withdrawal.

I am tired this morning, even though I got a fair amount of sleep last night (6 hours, which, for me, is average).

Good News: I have Thursday and Friday off, as most Americans do, for Thanksgiving.

Bad News: I'm spending Thursday through Saturday with my relatives. While it's nice to see them, it's certainly not relaxing.

Good News: Thanksgiving may be interesting this year as my cousin butts heads with her parents (my dad's sister and her husband).

Bad News: Thanksgiving may be interesting this year as my cousin butts heads with her parents.

Those four news bits are all tied together so they don't really count for much more than one small paragraph (equivalently).

I think that, after posting this post, I shall post something I drafted on Monday (but did not then post immediately). It's a little strange but I'd like to share it. Hopefully no one finds it terribly disturbing. Then again, I was aiming for "mildly disturbing" and it's rather hard to precisely peg shades of gray. If all else fails, remember that I can be rather odd when (a) I want to, or (b) when I let a bit of my guard down. It happens.

Otherwise, I have things to do, as is the norm.

By the by, anyone out there ever use the term "vanilla" when referring to something plain or ordinary? As in "that's vanilla" or such. I used the term in that manner when speaking with movie.girl over the phone last Sunday and she expressed surprise with the term. Albeit she liked the concept of it, I'm just curious whether it's a novel concept or not.

I think I'm here though my mildly sleep-addled head may be orbiting the non-planet Pluto (slightly). This may be a long day.

ADDENDUM: I posted that post but it's below this one due to some funky time-accreditation. I could reverse/fix that but I'm going to leave it as is. I'd rather have this post be the top-most one instead. Cheers!

Something True

I want to write something true. It's not that I generally write or say or do false things. Rather, it's that I almost never share anything wholly true.

Sometimes a friend will see what I've written here and chastise me for what I write. Say that I shouldn't have written it or that I'm treading all too close to a line I should not cross.

But I write these things because they are the edge of truth. They are not the whole truth. They are not the thoughts I think in-between the things I do and don't do. They are not the true story, though they pass for it and make for occasional conversation. They are the almost-truths, the edges of my life that are more easily visible and more easily contemplated, the shadows of the rest.

The rest of what? The rest of me, of you, of the things that go unsaid and unwritten. Some are known but never consciously acknowledged or never verbally acknowledged, at least. Some are faint sounds on the wind – that almost-annoying almost-heard conversation that lingers as whispers and shadow. And some are the true truths, parts that may never be known, even to oneself.

But I think I know more of myself or at least I know some of the hidden parts, the unsaid parts, the shadow parts. What can be maddening, sometimes, is knowing that the shadow parts cannot be revealed. Those secret impulses, those hidden thoughts, the ones that if known or made public would almost certainly be injurious. And so they languish in shadow, in the in-betweens.

But I want to write something true and therein lies the dilemma of openness and consequences.

I would love to write about my fears, for although they are not exceptional, they are part of the shadow-me and often delineate the edges of action. I would love to write about my hopes and dreams, for although they are not unique, they are of me and by me and define me. I would love to write about my shadow thoughts, for although they can be dark or mischievous or scary, they can also be bright or productive or hopeful.

Not surprisingly, what I have written here is not the truth. Not the whole truth. I have not told you anything you did not know or could not have guessed. I have phrased the issue and identified factors but I have not revealed a truth.

And I shall not. For all the reasons above and for many, many more, the shadow truths remain as they have always been, shadows. You are permitted the merest reflections of self. And that has to be enough. It always has been and must always be. For if someone wrote what they really think, what paths through their mind during the in-betweens, when no one else is looking or knows, no one would want to know what was written. They might want to read it, to see it, to realize it, but not to know it. There are places within each of us that no one else dare tread.

That is a true truth.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Heroes Is Going Downhill

Last night I watched my weekly doses of Heroes and Studio 60. While the latter was humorous and entertaining as usual, the former was rather disappointing.

The previous 7 episodes of heroes had the series building to a crescendo:
Save the cheerleader, save the world!
Chances are you've seen the tagline in their commercials. There are a series of paintings painted by a guy who can see the future, detailing the attack on her and when and where it would occur. Peter, one intrepid would-be hero, was more or less meeting other heroes and trying to get them to help the cheerleader, to save her.

So last night the paintings came true. The scenes they depicted unfurled. She was attacked, Peter was there, presumptively she was saved.

And that was it.

No other heroes came to her rescue. Not. A. One. The attack could have been bad, easily, but she survived without too much trouble and there you go.

So what the fuck was the big deal?

Why make that your tagline, build up to it with ominous messages and paintings and foreshadowing and meetings when it turns out to be fuck-all for the series? Granted, the ending was a little interesting since there's obviously something going on – some cabal of nefarious evil-doing anti-heroes (a.k.a. villains) who will undoubtedly destroy the world if not opposed by the heroes. But don't make the crescendo the cheerleader then merrily skip over it on your way to the real end-game which you have cleverly failed to suggest or foreshadow.

Good lord.

The first episode was so right and yet the series has been diminishing ever since. It makes me want to cry, to weep from pent-up rage and frustration at a concept that was perfect and initially well-formed but has now devolved into endless nothingness of not-progression and trickery. Oh how the mighty have fallen!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Congrats to the Lawless!!!

A big congratulations goes out to The Lawless One & Jo! They just got engaged!!! (Woohoo, Woot & Wahoo!) Their wedding will be next August, here in CT.

And now for the other strange part – I'm in the wedding party. (*shock*)

I am extremely happy for the two of them and also very thankful to The Lawless. I have no brothers or sisters. I wasn't in the wedding party for my nearest cousin when she got married and it's equally unlikely I'll be in it for my other nearest cousin when he eventually ties the knot. This is pretty much the only time in my life that it could (and will) happen. I have few very close friends and probably none as close as The Lawless.

I truly consider it an honor.

Me? I'm just a friend of his at his wedding. And that is unimaginably cool.

Congrats again, my friends! May love, happiness and health be your companions. Cheers!~

Just A Few

I've added a bunch of quotes to the Random Quotes page. I've also changed the blog subtitle. (Okay, these two are on the way. Coming up, right after this post.)

Hugh reminded his readers of the blog cards he sells. One of these days I'm going to order some. I'm not entirely sure why since I don't really need them per se. And I wouldn't put my blog on them. I'd probably just list my name, some new e-mail address (one exclusively for quasi-random contacts who would be the likely recipients of such a card) and my cell phone number. E-mail is usually the best way to reach me, although not the fastest. Hmmm... Maybe I should order two sets – one for professional or social contacts and one for blog contacts or such. Hrmm.

I also stumbled across a Wired article: Very Short Stories. The article has a number of six-word (Science Fiction) stories from famous people, including Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Kevin Smith and William Gibson. Very good reading.

That's it for today. Cheers!

Eating, Bowling & Scene It With A Friend+1

Yesterday I hung out with movie.girl and movie.girl's.fiancée.

By the way, when the Hell did 11:20am on a Sunday become too early to call someone? I mean, I never condoned such "early" calls back in college, especially since I often woke up between 11am and noon on a Sunday (and occasionally I'd sleep in until 3-4pm), but this isn't college any more. Don't "normal" people wake up by 11am or am I now so abnormal in my timing that I'm off by so much?

Similarly, isn't it okay to plan on meeting up for a Sunday lunch (for around 12:30pm-1pm or so)? I didn't meet up with them until 4:15pm and that, apparently, was pushing it a little. I would generally consider 4pm and after to be later in the day, especially for a Sunday. Hmmm.

I just don't get it.

Anyhow, I met up with movie.girl for the first time in over 9 months and got to meet her fiancée. It was a rather odd time. I was fairly mellow, having been awake since 8:45am (that's almost sleeping in for me), and the two of them are moderately quiet-like themselves. Add in that I was just meeting mr.fiancée and, well, it was odd. (To be honest, none of us were very comfortable, at least initially.) He's a nice guy, really, and I'm happy for her but... the dynamics between the two of them are strange. For one, he's only now moving in with her. Since they've only been going out for 9 months, I suppose the timeline for moving in is cool, although it conflicts a little with the whole engagement thing (i.e. getting engaged before living together). And at times it felt like... like they were still getting to know each other or like they were discovering aspects of the other's personality. As if there were still things about each other that they were either learning or were not completely settled with yet. It's hard to describe and I could easily be completely wrong but it wasn't that comfortable coexistence vibe that I've gotten from other couples who are friends.

In any case, we snagged an early dinner at the Wood 'n Tap (we all shared a few appetizers). Then we went bowling in East Hartford (2 games). Then we went back to movie.girl's house (i.e. their house) and played 3 games of Scene It. It was fun but... it wasn't comfortable and it wasn't that old kind of relaxed hanging out that movie.girl and I used to do. Were we (all of us) waiting for the other shoe to drop when there was no other shoe?

Everything changes.

I don't know if it was that I was uncomfortable or that I sensed it or that I caused it. From one meeting, I cannot deduce anything more. I don't know if it would be easier with repetition or whether it would never be easier. I don't know if I completely misread things or if I'm spot on. I generally trust my judgment and senses but these impressions may easily be colored by things I want to see and not things that are there.

Regardless, it was nice to see her again and I'm glad I got to meet her fiancée. I hope things work out for them. (I also kind of hope I get an invite to the wedding, though if it's in Mexico and I'm single, I'm not positive I'd go. But I'd really think about going. You don't miss weddings if you can help it.) I probably won't see her/them again in a while (e.g., 6+ weeks).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Departed Is A Rush

A week ago I saw The Departed. It's directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Vera Farmiga.

Years ago, a powerful Irish mafia figure [Nicholson] placed a small selection of his youngest, brightest men into the Massachusetts Police Academy as cadets. Their purpose is to eventually rise within the prestigious ranks of the city's police department, to serve as the eyes and ears of their boss. While somewhere else, a young cadet [DiCaprio] was assigned with an equally dangerous task: infiltrate the Irish syndicate headed by the man sending in his own to the Boston Police. Now, one cadet [Damon] is an up and coming police official with a torn allegiance to his job and to the criminal mastermind that put him there. While the other cadet is the trusted number two of that man, only finding his professional duties are becoming blurred with his current state. But new clues have lead to unfortunate discoveries, when both sides realize they're being watched by the enemy. It's now all just a matter of time before the men assigned to find out whose the infiltrator, could come to a bloody end when someone's identity may be revealed.
I really dislike this plot summary but it's close enough to serve. For the record, Damon isn't really torn but DiCaprio is. The movie focuses on DiCaprio as he infiltrates Nicholson's cadre to try and take him down. Meanwhile, Damon is on the other side, having infiltrated the police to stymy their efforts against Nicholson. Both sides are looking for the traitor within their midst and it's only a matter of time before things come to a head.

This is an excellent movie. It's tense and, at times, bloody, but it's a great look at the pressures of undercover work. DiCaprio lives in constant fear of being discovered. Damon often fears that he might let down Nicholson. It's a fascinating game that goes round and round right up to the end. I rather enjoyed it. I recommend this movie to anyone not turned off my excessive violence and/or bloodshed. I mean, c'mon - this is from the same director who brought us Goodfellas, Casino, Bringing Out The Dead and Gangs Of New York. (I'm not mentioning Taxi Driver or Raging Bull because I haven't seen them. I know, heresy.)

Go see this movie.

Stranger Than Fiction Is Thin

A week ago Saturday I saw Stranger Than Fiction with Capt. Kate, Husband Pete and Sister Sarah. The movie stars Will Ferrell, Emma Thompson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Duston Hoffman and Queen Latifah.

Karen Effiel [Thompson] is an author writing her latest novel about an isolated man named Harold Crick. What she doesn't know is that her fictionalized character is real. The real Harold Crick [Ferrell] is an IRS agent who has lived a dull existence and one day begins to hear Karen's voice as she narrates what she puts on paper[]. Because of this Harold [enlists] the help of a literary professor [Hoffman] to find out what is happening and ends up changing things about his life including beginning a relationship with his IRS client, a government-hating bakery owner named Ana Pascal [Gyllenhaal]. Harold, however, finds trouble when he hears that Karen plans to kill him.
It's not a bad movie. The story is interesting and the characters are very well done. It's probably an excellent book. The really bad part is that the preview(s) give so much away. You could watch the preview and the last 10-15 min. of the movie and see more than enough. The actors and actresses are fantastic! I only wish there were more to the movie, to the story. Some deeper plot to engage the viewer. I will observe that the story is rather moralistic and somewhat upbeat. "Live every day as if it were your last" and "no regrets," that sort of thing. Maybe rental-worthy or cable-worthy. Probably not worth the price of a movie ticket.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Borat! Borat! Borat!

I saw Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan last night with a coworker, the coworker's wife, a friend of the coworker and the friend's girlfriend. Borat stars Sacha Baron Cohen and Ken Davitian.

Kazakhstani TV personality Borat [Sagdiyev] is dispatched to the United States to report on the "greatest country in the world." With a documentary crew in tow, Borat becomes more interested in locating and marrying Pamela Anderson than on his assignment.
Of course the real plot of the movie is that SBC portrays a backwards-ish character named Borat who films Americans doing and saying some extremely off-color things, often times having tricked the person by stating the documentary would not be shown in America. Some of the criticism people have for the film is that people were tricked into doing and saying what they did. Personally, I have no problem with it since you should never do or say anything you wouldn't do or say. Yes, alcohol can push those boundaries but c'mon!

I thought the movie was hilarious!!! I loved it! I would start listing quotes from the movie but a lot of them are contextual. That is, the context within which things are said and done is of great importance to fully appreciate what is said and done.

In other words, if you think you might like it, GO SEE THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW. On the other hand, if it seems like it might offend you or you have a problem with the trickery involved, don't go see it. Peoples' reactions will likely run hot and cold like that. There's no middle ground when it comes to this one. (But I thought it was great! I can't wait to see what SBC comes up with next since Borat was such a success.)

Friday, November 17, 2006

Too Much!

Bear with me. (Or else.)

Transmetropolitan #1 as a Free Download: Transmetropolitan is an excellent comic book/graphic novel series. I highly recommend you check out no. 1. Yay Warren Ellis!

Second Life Struggles With Copying: I played SL for a bit a while back. Interesting problem though not wholly surprising.

Bank of America loses $50 million from customers upset by false arrest: Wow. BoA screwed up and is going to pay for it, big time.

Best Buy claiming prices copyrighted: So wrong. Bad use of copyright law and/or the DMCA really pisses me off.

Dolphins taught to sing Batman theme: Sweet!

Tycho of PennyArcade relates his PS3 woes. I did the whole waiting-in-line bit for the PS2. Eventually got mine when a friend didn't want his preorder and I did. I'll probably end up getting both a PS3 and a Wii, just down the road when it's not nearly so insane. (Did I really just say "a Wii"? Yeesh!)

Ctrl+Alt+Del has its own dig at the PS3 line-waiting hoards. Hoards. What an excellent word.

Brad Guigar of Evil Inc. had some comments about one entrepreneur's thief's attempt to sell book-publishing for $469.00!!! Years ago, maybe. But now? Overpriced by some factor like 30 or so. Hence, a thief.

Drunk Australian Threatens Police With Snake: "I'm not afraid to use it!"

Judge Rules Burrito Is Not Sandwich: Well, I was confused...

Scott Adams contemplates memory and aging:
To compensate for my inevitable mental decline I am already doing triage on entire categories of my memory. Anything I don't need will be purged to make room for new stuff. I already got rid of the category I call "who wore what." If I see you in the gym wearing a full chicken outfit I will remember that as "saw you working out." Luckily I'm male, so it didn't take much work to purge that category.

Eventually I plan to release all knowledge of complicated explanations for the world whenever simpler ones will do the trick. Evolution has to go. That's way too complicated. I plan to remember only a few dozen species anyway, mostly the cute ones. I think we can all agree that there are too many unnecessary animals. I can't be expected to remember them all. My long term objective is to remember nothing about animals except that the political party with the donkey symbol exists only to raise my taxes.

I'm also going to start lumping things together in my mind based on their similarities just to save space. From now on, stem cells are babies, and Iranians are Arabs. And they all live in North Korea with Osama.
Truer words were probably spoken somewhen and somewhere by someone but I forget...

Ever wonder why "somewhen" isn't used more often? It's apparently a real word (thank you Google search), even though MSWord fails to recognize it as one. Hmmm. I think I shall henceforth adopt its usage (and/or make up such usage as I see fit). VICTORY IS MINE!

And various quotes to be added at the appropriate place somewhen:

"Victory is mine!" -- Family Guy

Kiss my awesome! -- diesel sweeties (11/17/06)

"One-handed naked Tetris it is, then!" -- diesel sweeties (11/17/06)

"Why can’t I control the weather?" -- Ryan Sohmer, LICD (11/17/06)

"Society would show wisdom if it let me run things." -- Ryan Sohmer, LICD (11/17/06)

"My mind is a dark and scary place." -- Ryan Sohmer, LICD (11/17/06)

"Never bring a snake to a gunfight, I think the saying goes." -- Lowering The Bar (11/16/06)

I'm somewhen or somewhere or something or some combination thereof. Cheers!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

more, More, MORE!!!

Of what, though? No clue. Just more!

Late-Night Political Jokes

"Is this a 'neener-neener' situation or more of a 'Who's your daddy?'" -- Dilbert (11/16/06)

LICD has a mildly amusing Heroes comic.

Evan Schaeffer relates a new ABA ethics opinion on metadata. Well worth looking into this if you're involved in litigation. Metadata in documents produced for discovery could be significant and potentially harmful.

Scott Adams explains how he was hypnotizing his readers yesterday. I don't think it worked on me. Seriously. I didn't actually imagine or mentally respond to the suggestions. Plus, at the end I didn't "wiggle my toes" or even place any emphasis on the "knot in your back" phrase. *shrug*

And yesterday was only an "okay" day. Not excellent, not terrific, not great, merely "okay." Very few of my days are much better than that.

BlawgSearch, you know – for those times when you have an overriding compulsion to search the legal blogs... it might happen... Mine isn't listed there and I'm not submitting it. I may have graduated from law school and I may be working in a legal-esque job (Patent Agent), but it's somewhat rare that I actually write about anything legal.

A Mildly Interesting Yesterday

Premise: Yesterday was mildly interesting. (Yes, I know the title gives it away!)

The IP meeting last night was okay. Good food. Got to see 3 former coworkers and 1 former co-law student. The presentation was okay. The speaker was Japanese and, while his English was pretty good, brevity was not his strong point. He took 45 min. to say what could otherwise have been said in 10-15 min. Still, learned a little bit and had a generally good time. Chances are I'll go to the next one of these in January.

The more interesting story of the day is that I spoke with movie.girl (I'm renaming any girls I am or was at least slightly interested in as [descriptive].girl). If you've been reading this blog for a long time, you may recall various nonhappening misadventures with movie.girl (f.k.a. The Girl or "O" or "Ophelia", as in Oct. 2004).

Nonsequitor: In rereading the posts from Oct. 2004, I saw that I then obtained my grandfather's '98 Buick Park Ave. with only 24,500 miles on it. The odometer is currently around 250 miles shy of hitting 40k miles. That's 15.5k miles in a little over two years. Whoah.

Apologies for the interruption. I briefly scanned the Oct. 2004 postings and made the aforementioned observation.

IN ANY CASE, I sent an e-mail to movie.girl (I'm trying to meet up with almost-lost friends) and she called me back. We spoke for an hour and will hang out this Saturday, possibly with her fiancé.

Did you catch that? Fiancé!

You may recall, or not, that movie.girl has been engaged before (twice I think, and both to the same guy), with one of those times (the first) entailing the purchase of a wedding dress. These prior "engagements" (Haha! Pun! ...Well, almost, kind of, sort of, at least.) were one of two reasons I decided not to pursue said movie.girl when I eventually (thought that I) had the chance. Basically, it seemed to me that she was occasionally hypocritical in various not-so-minor ways and that she committed too soon or without full appreciation for her commitment or some such. I wouldn't call her "flighty" but rather that she occasionally exhibited symptoms of such an adjective? Something like that. (And I'm not going to give reason no. 2.)

So she's now engaged.. to her now-boyfriend of 9 months, wedding scheduled for Spring next year, possibly in Mexico.


On the one hand, I'm happy for her. On another hand, I'm hoping for a wedding invite. On still another hand, it reinforces that it was a good thing I did not get involved with her (romantically). And on still another hand, it'll be nice to see her again and hang out.

That was always the tough part. We "get" each other for the most part. We're on the same wavelength and understand each other fairly well. A little eery to be honest, but it makes for good conversation and fun times.

So a rather interesting bit. Should be a good Saturday. And in the meantime, I hear the siren lure of patent work unfinished. Cheers!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

'Cause This Is How I Roll

How do you roll? Me, downhill if given the choice.

I'll be attending a CT IP Law Assoc. (CIPLA) meeting tonight in New Haven. I shall wine and dine with other IP professionals, wining & dining, dining & wining, until we have wined, dined, supped and snacked. Realistically, we'll have dinner while listening to someone (presumptively) interesting. I am ecstatic. In non-sarcastic terms, I actually am looking forward to this thing. Chances are I'll see one or more old coworkers from my previous IP job.

"If the price matters, you're not a true gamer." -- User Friendly (11/15/06)

Delicious Monster: Catalog, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. (Although it looks like it may be a Mac-only product. Haven't really looked at it yet.)

Foxtrot (11/15/06)

xkcd (11/15/06)

"Depriving the American public of my talent is letting the terrorists win." -- Get Fuzzy (11/15/06)

I will require a mindless drone to do my chores and free up my genius. -- Get Fuzzy (11/15/06)

"Fire in the poop hole!" -- Ugly Hill (11/15/06)

As read on Lowering the Bar (and elsewhere), O.J. is going to explain how he hypothetically would have murdered his ex-wife and Ron Goldman. *sigh* I couldn't make up shit like that if I tried.

Sohmer over at LICD briefly contemplates the one thing he fears. Without making an entire blog post about it, I think the one thing I fear is not finding my place in the world, not finding somewhere I "belong", where I should be. 'Cause right now, it's not here and I don't know where it is.

Scott Adams suggested his readers take time to reflect on their own small pleasures. I would love to take more time and respond to such a suggestion, as with a medium-size list of my own, for example, but, alas, I have not the time to engage in such activity right now. In the stead, I'll provide only a few off the top of my head:

I enjoy sitting with my dogs.

I like to read something I enjoy, such as a good graphic novel or an engaging novel.

I absolutely love to play tennis.

I like figuring things out and understanding things.

I enjoy traveling, though, so far, my favorite company for traveling is myself.

I thoroughly enjoy taking the time to sit at a coffee/tea bar and, while sipping a hot/cold beverage of choice, watching the world.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Of Lunch, Mathematical Superiority & World Domination

Today, my friendly, neighborhood coworker and I dined at the cafeteria one floor down, as we are wont to do... well, pretty much every day. Lunch comprised a grilled chicken wrap with mustard, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and green pepper. After it was assembled and placed inside a suitable Styrofoam container, the wrap safely nestled between a small quantity of pretzels and two pickles, I proceeded to the cash register to part with my hard-earned money.

The wrap cost $4.87. Being the infinite smartass that I am, I handed the cashier $10.02, since a $10 bill was the lowest I had and figuring I'd get rid of some pennies while preventing the coppery troublemakers from accumulating and, thus, taking over my pocket (for pennies, too, have their aspirations).

The cashier was completely flummoxed. Completely. I ended up having to defend my payment and explain why I deserved $5.15 in change and not $4.15:
Pretend I gave you $5.02. Then you'd only have to give me back $0.15. But I gave you $10.02 and that's $5 more, so...
My eloquence was astounding. Thus, in concert with my powers of persuasion and backed by indisputable mathematical superiority, I managed to convince the lady at the cash register that I was owed my $5.15 in change. (Honestly, I think she just gave up.) I shall have to remember to load up on $5 bills so that I can avoid future numerical miscalculations while purchasing lunch. And no, I have no idea why she didn't use the cash register to figure it out. Perhaps the cash register is in on the conspiracy.

One thing I think I learned today is that I need to figure out how to leverage my strong mathematical talents into world domination. I'm sure it's possible and I'm confident that, if it is possible, I could achieve it. I just need a plan. Something along the lines of:
Pinky: "What are we doing tonight, Brain?"
Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!"
Kneel before Zod! Okay, okay, kneel before Pythagoras? (Please?)

The Prestigious Prestige

On Friday, I saw The Prestige. This movie stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Michael Caine, with appearances by Piper Perabo (of Coyote Ugly fame), Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie. Directed by Christopher Nolan (of Memento and Batman Begins fame).

Plot Summary:
A mysterious story of two magicians whose intense rivalry leads them on a life-long battle for supremacy -- full of obsession, deceit and jealousy with dangerous and deadly consequences. From the time that they first met as young magicians on the rise, Robert Angier and Alfred Borden were competitors. However, their friendly competition evolves into a bitter rivalry making them fierce enemies-for-life and consequently jeopardizing the lives of everyone around them. Set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-century London.
That's the plot but this is the background (a quote from the movie):
Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called "The Pledge"; The magician shows you something ordinary, but of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn"; The magician makes his ordinary some thing do something extraordinary. Now if you're looking for the secret... you won't find it, that's why there's a third act called, "The Prestige"; this is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you've never seen before.
I rather enjoyed this movie. The actors and actresses are top notch. Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine all put forth excellent performances. The story is very compelling, especially since it is told in a discontinuous nature. That is, it begins with Christian Bale in jail, having been accused of murdering Hugh Jackman. Much of the story is told in flashbacks from that point, showing the audience how things began and where they went. You get to see Hugh Jackman suffer a devastating loss that instigates the ongoing feud between the two master magicians. And you also get to see what happens when obsession leads down a dark and dangerous path.

I particularly enjoyed how the unfolding story showed the evolution of the characters. Hugh Jackman proves unable to let go, unable to move past his horrible loss. Meanwhile, Christian Bale proves unable to move forward with his life, or at least certainly not in a forthright manner. The Tesla plot twist is interesting and serves to highlight the depths of Jackman's desperation. (Although it is a bit odd given the otherwise realistic setting.) There are a few slick plot twists, some of which you may see from a mile away but some that will (hopefully) surprise you. All in all, a very entertaining movie, though perhaps a bit dark. Then again, what is magic if not mysterious?

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Midday

Nothing much today. Work, work, work. I'll likely crank out the previously-mentioned blog posts at nights. They would take too much time to do as midday breaks.

One passing mention. I found this Websnark post about Least I Could Do. I've really come to enjoy my daily comics and LICD has turned out to be an excellent addition to them. The Websnark post briefly discusses the kind of humor you'll find in LICD and why you may or may not enjoy the webcomic. Worth a quick read, and check out LICD if you like.

I'm changing the subtitle today. Already added a few memorable comics and one random quote.

I've been reading more at home of late. Some graphic novels I'd bought (Pathfinder, D.C.'s Identity Crisis, Spiderman: The Other, some Peter David one whose title I can't remember) and my current book (Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi Boys'). (Yes, I know I should underline book titles but I don't feel like doing that right now.) Excellent book from an excellent author, though I would recommend his 'American Gods' before this one. I think AG is his best novel, at least thus far.

This may end up being a relatively busy week for me. Going to a CT IP (intellectual property) group meeting/gathering on Wed. night. Probably going to see a movie (possibly 'Borat') on Friday with a coworker, his wife and two other friends of his. Hopefully I can get blind date no. 2 going before Thanksgiving. I hate having things "hanging" over me. I'd much rather see them occur so I can figure things out a bit and know or not know. It's the indeterminacy that bothers me so. That's probably what makes me a little O.C. as I was/am/can be – indeterminacy.

Tonight is Heroes and Studio 60. Tomorrow is NCIS and Boston Legal. I may give up on Nip/Tuck for now. Haven't seen it in a while and I feel no overriding compulsion to do so.

That's it. Stay safe, be well & don't let the chimpanzees get you down. Word.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weekend Update

I had Friday off and pretty much took the whole weekend off from blogging. The recent former frequency should return up until Thanksgiving at which time a holiday visit with family will likely intercede. But tough.

This weekend was rather fun. I saw three movies, each of which will comprise the topic of a forthcoming post (see end of this post for more information), hung out with Capt. Kate, her husband and her sister, and generally had a nice weekend. Which is to say I did not go into work as I probably should have. But it was a nice weekend and I caught up on sleep so bleh to the work for once.

Also of note this weekend, Cinemax ran a weekend-long Star Wars marathon. On the main channel, they played Episodes 1-6, in order, back-to-back, from Friday night through Monday morning. Wow. I would turn on the TV to Star Wars. Every time!!! It was a like a dream come true! I truly enjoyed it. Makes me wish there was a cable channel that played all six movies, end-to-end, ad infinitum. T'would be delicious!

Speaking of delicious, I've taken to watching Desperate Housewives on Sunday nights, ever since I first watched it in Texas. Very good show! I highly recommend it!

On Saturday, I went up to Hartford/Bristol/Plainville and hung out with Capt. Kate, her husband (Pete) and others (her sister and her aunt). I had a great time. After seeing a movie (Stranger Than Fiction), the four of us (no aunt) went to a local bar and had drinks and dessert. Some time in there, I looked around and thought: "Right now, there is nowhere else I would rather be." For me, that's about as peaceful as it gets. Well, it does get more peaceful but not right now, not these days, and not where I am. So that was very refreshing, to pause and think that then & there, I was content. It's an extremely rare moment for me, indeed.

And to that end, I do want to toss a thank you out into the void to Capt. Kate, husband Pete and sister Sarah for hanging out. I was a bit snarky that night, for which I apologize, but I had a good time and that's pretty rare for me these days. I enjoyed it.

Friday, I slept in. Sunday, I repeatedly napped on the couch. Not much more to say, really.

Well, lastly, below please find a list of upcoming posts. I'm going to try and get these done this week. I may not hit every topic from that list I made in September, but I want to give it a good shot.

Now it's time for some reading before sleeping. Cheers!~

The Prestige
Stranger Than Fiction
The Departed
Ones From The List
Detailed Texas Trip/Wedding Post
A MTGO Post (Decks & Links)
Aly & A.J.
What do I want to do?
The Veronicas
The Art of Christopher Shy/Studio Ronin
Early Sunsets
Another Planet (& Hear The Sound)

EDIT to add post topics. [11/13/06 4:38 PM]

EDIT II to add post topic. [11/14/06 10:40 AM]

Thursday, November 09, 2006


From around the globe!!!

Last night I spoke with Capt. Kate again. I related to her the non-happenings between me and a.f.girl and she in turn will work on setting up blind date no. 2. (Until I learn more about the subject, she gets no moniker.) So sometime in the next week or two I will likely have a second blind date story to share.

Fyi, blind date no. 1 with a.f.girl was my... third first date in the past... six years or so? Granted, that's a 50% increase in the past month with blind date no. 2 being a total 100% increase in the previous month. Those are horrible averages. If things don't work out, I will make further attempts to obliterate them.

One of my goals in that regard is to not spend New Year's Eve alone. If that doesn't pan out, another goal is to not spend Valentine's Day alone. I think I've remarked elsewhere that I have yet to spend either of those holidays with a girlfriend. (Longest relationship I was in was in college and lasted from March to October.)

But enough about that! Randomnosity ahoy! (Yes, that's a word of my own creation. No, I am not terribly proud of it.)


Ever look at the lyrics to Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska"? I've listened to his album Nebraska, on and off, for the past decade or more. Only recently did I stop humming along to the song and really pay attention to the lyrics. Man, is that a messed up song! Check out the lyrics, if you like. I guess I've always known the song was weird, but I never really put it together until this year.


Every "normal" day I eat lunch at the cafeteria downstairs with a coworker friend. He and I talk about this, that and the other, rarely anything work-related per se. Today? I brought up Schrödinger's Cat and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Hey, check these out:
A "Schrödinger's Date" is a meeting between two people that may or may not be a date, and whose status cannot be determined. Only the odds of it being one or the other can be estimated.

Cartoon: You see a picture of a refrigerator with a post-it-note saying "I'm out of town for a few days. Please be so nice and feed my cat. Thanks. Schrödinger".

The theory of Schrödinger's cat has been extended in colloquial humour. The contents of the box are undetermined to such an extent that the cat is neither alive nor dead nor definitely a cat. It could in fact be a badger.

The average cat has nine lives. Shrödinger's cats only had 4.5.

Schrödinger's Cat is NOT dead. (UF)
From this Wikipedia page.

Is it sad that I found those to be hilarious?

Awww, it looks like that last one might not work. (See this - it works, just in certain browsers.)


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My Grandmother (Oma)

I keep forgetting to blog about this. I only learned of it last night (I think) but if things aren't happening to/with me in the here and now, they tend to fade away into that mysterious batch of locations known as "elsewhere."

We'll preface with a general description. My grandparents, forever known to me as Oma & Opa (which are not-uncommon, familiar German terms for grandmother and grandfather), are old. Opa is in the 92-93 range while Oma is a brisk 89-90 or so. (We are generally a long-lived people, at least on my father's side.) Due to their advanced years, health problems are mildly prevalent, ranging from Opa fracturing his hip in a fall to what I consider the average gamut of health issues the elderly often face (e.g., blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.).

But Oma has something a little different. She has some sort of skin cancer.

I don't know whether or not it's malignant or metastasized or what-not, though I don't think so. She has been to see an oncologist so at least she's seeing a specialist. (They live in upper-state NY and I consider health care in their area to be rather iffy.) Thus far, from what I've been told, it's just a series of white bumps. But it's cancer so it's serious and Oma is far from the spring pup she once was.

To some degree this reminds me of what happened with my father. He went in for open heart surgery during my Senior year of college. But since he and my mom were over 4 1/2 hours away, it was happening to someone else in some distant land. I went home a few times but I never appreciated the severity of what was going on, nor how truly dangerous it could be. Even at the end, when I was told, by a friend of my mom over the phone, to rush home with my suit, I didn't grasp what was going on (though to be fair, no one told me until I got to the hospital).

I feel something similar here. I don't know exactly how serious this is. I don't think anyone knows right now. (By the way, the doctors told this to my aunt. Oma, herself, has not been told yet since she really is unable to handle this just yet.) But one reason I'm writing this post is to remind me that it is serious. Even if it is occurring over 200 miles away, it's my grandmother and it's cancer and that's never good.

So, when I go to sleep tonight, I think I shall say a small prayer for her. I know my grandfather would like that (he's very religious) and, I think, I would too.

A Conglomeration of Nonsense

Hmmm... that could make a pretty decent album title. Almost. Conglomeration would need a synonym instead, like assembly or assortment.

A whole mess of things today! Randomness now arriving at Gate 42A in the concourse.

Viper Comics. I need to add a link to them.

Scott Adams has a nice commentary on his (irrational) fear of Tipping (as in tipping a limo driver tipping). Summary:
I watch the husband and after some hesitation, he coughs up a few bucks. The driver thanks him and heads quickly back to get in the van. NOW I HAVE TO TIP HIM, AND FAST, BEFORE HE MAKES HIS GETAWAY! But a pile of luggage and four bell hops are in the way. I hop over the smallest bag, elbow a bell hop and yell to the driver. He turns with a “fight or flight” look on his face, expecting the worst. I thrust five bucks at him and said something that may or may not have been “Take my frickin’ money! Make my guilt and ambiguity go away! Buy another kite, you magnificently interesting bastard!” Or it might have been “Thank you.”
Tipping madness!!!

Need to add two quotes to the Random Quotes page:

"Sometimes all you want from life is a cup of coffee and to hold the hand of a certain special someone." -- Hugh MacLeod, gapingvoid

"It amazes me, the will of instinct." -- Nirvana, "Polly"

I don't feel like doing it right this instant and so it serves as additional clutter for this post.

Lastly, an incomplete list of songs whose lyrics I like:
"I Don't Sleep, I Dream" by R.E.M.
"Strange Currencies" by R.E.M.
"Do You Love?" by Natalie Imbruglia
"Larger Than Life" by The Backstreet Boys
"Tonight, Tonight" by Smashing Pumpkins
"The Sweetest Thing" by U2
"Center of Attention" by Guster
"So Long" by Guster
"Bleed Like Me" by Garbage
Why did I list those? No specific purpose. If you have a minute, take a look at one or more of them. It can be fun to read/learn the lyrics behind nice songs.

The Mornin'

Woot for Democrats taking the House! Even though the Senate is too close to call, at least we won't have two more years of Republican-dominated policy-making. Yay!

I love ThinkGeek. Today I checked out their USB Snowbot:
There is a chance that the artificial intelligence which created the robot armies of the future originated from a massive connection of small USB desktop devices plugged into computers connected to the Internet. Please don't blame us if, by attempting to find a way to save humanity, we have inadvertently doomed it. Thank you.
There's also an AYB reference in the advert. True geekish excellence.

I also looked at their Despair, Inc. 2007 Calendar. Some of my favorites:
January - Wishes. When you wish upon a falling star, your dreams can come true. Unless it's really a meteorite hurtling to the earth which will destroy all life. Then you're pretty much hosed no matter what you wish for. Unless it's death by meteor.

September - Cluelessness. There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots.

DecemberIdiocy. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
I may have to get one of these calendars. Mmmm... more geekish goodness.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Is it just me or are those four horsemen riding towards us?"

Another day in the life of me.

I ran into quite the catch-22 today. See, I had a question about the ultimate deadline for filing an Appeal Brief with the USPTO so I called the PTO, thinking (foolishly, as it turned out) that they might be able to answer my question. A gentleman from OPLA (Office of Patent Legal Affairs, aka The People Who Supposedly Have The Answers To Difficult Questions) listened to my question then stated he would call me back with an answer, which he did a day or two later. His version has the Appeal Brief ultimately due 7 mo. from the filing of a Notice of Appeal, regardless of the Pre-Appeal Brief Conference Program and a decision therefrom.

After a minor snafu, the Office-Manager-Partner stopped by my office to set me straight. He says the Appeal Brief is ultimately due either 6 mo. from the Notice of Appeal or 6 mo. from the Decision on the Pre-Appeal Brief Conference. His closing line was: "Don't trust the PTO." Sage-like advice under normal circumstances but troubling to me here.

OPLA is supposed to know or be able to get "the answers." But OPLA is wrong. But neither position is actually supported by statute, rule or any other documentary evidence. Let me rephrase that last part. There is no publication that provides guidance for this minorly contentious point.

Realistically, a practitioner would never come close to the 6 mo. date from the Notice of Appeal or the Decision. Still, I just want to know for my own edification.

So what shall I do? That's rather easy. I know who signs my checks and so, of course, I shall follow the Partner's directive. Besides, if it turns out wrong, then I did nothing wrong since I simply listened to him. In addition, I think I shall hide in a corner, curled up in the fetal position.

Minor Things

A new comic, Looking For Group by the LICD duo.

As per a notice from Evan Schaeffer, I need to update my link to Crescat Sententia.

In the immortal words of LICD's Ryan Sohmer, I'm still here.

"The Kiss of Death" or "When Patent Agents Get All Worked Up Over Nothing"

So. I finally checked my voicemail this morning on the new phone. 'Lo and behold, there's a message there from a.f.girl in response to my Sunday message, probably left sometime yesterday. Was nice to meet you, I don't think I'm going to date right now, I hate leaving a message, etc.

So there went that.

All I can say is two things (probably more, but two more important ones):

(1) I think I'm going to take "I don't think I'm going to date right now" to mean "I don't think I'm going to date you right now." Who knows if that's the right interpretation or if that's what she really meant but it's what I'm going to go with.

(2) I wish I had gotten a second date, a second chance. (That's another good lesson from this. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. I knew that but I forgot it.)

(3) Leaving me a voicemail when she had my home phone? Okay, she probably called during the day but she knows my works hours, she knew when she could reach me at home. Voicemail goodbye, any way you slice it, is not cool. (Except I think I had my phone on during the day yesterday. She purposefully missed me, I think. Grrr...)

(4) So, leaving the first date she said "let's meet up again, call me" and then 1-2 days later she decides she's "not dating"? ...


So far, from this, I've learned that I can suck at first dates, or at least blind ones. Okay, good to know. Be wary and be prepared (to some extent). I've also learned, or relearned, that I get all worked up over nothing. Also good to know. Probably should try not to get worked up at all. Clearly I misread everything. I know it wasn't the date from Hell and I also know it wasn't the perfect first date, but I didn't think that I did that poorly, all told. Or maybe I did.


I hate second guessing myself. I almost never do it. Choose a course of action and commit to it. Be prepared to change plans or alter direction as needed, but be decisive, even if it means choosing the wrong thing.

*le sigh*

Slowly, in an agonizing limp of a gate, the lonely patent agent skulks away, retreating to his fortress of solitude. Surely he will emerge again, some day, to have his hopes raised high and later dashed against the craggy rocks below. But if he does not jump, he does not fall, nor does he fly. And some day, some day he will fly.

Yeah, I'm not really that depressed right now. I'm more defeated or discouraged. But that should only last a day or two tops, maybe less. It's hard to kill hope and I am still hopeful.

And if this is what's going to happen each time I go out on a date, whoah. I think I've got to train myself to not do it (get all worked up, I mean). But I have problems being completely carefree. I'm just not. Or it's rather difficult. Ugh.


Don't forget to vote today.


The friend who set me up on this one, Capt. Kate, has another blind date for me, someone who probably actually has something in common with me. I think I'll inquire more in a few days. Or maybe next week. I don't want to simmer but I do want to be fresh, renewed as it were, for when I try again. And I will try again, as many times as it takes.

Which is also to say, if you're a friend of mine out there and you're reading this and you know a single woman who you think *might* (for any meaning of the word *might*) be a match for me, please, please help me out by setting me up on a blind date.


Monday, November 06, 2006


Added two to the Memorable Comics link somewhere to your left (hopefully). The Dork Tower one is particularly relevant for the single gamer. (My law school apartment once qualified for that strip. *shudder*)


Also added a *ton* of movie quotes to the Memorable Quotes page. Some of those will show up as blog subtitle header things. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to change the current one. I may try to remember to do this every Monday or two, just to try and keep it "fresh".

You'll note that many of the recently-added movie quotes are from Meg Ryan movies. I got in a rut as I was looking for the first ones. Bite me.


Shamelessly taken from Evil Inc.:
BLC's Dave Kellett needs your help. He's moving his daily strip, Sheldon, to tomorrow.

He's leaving United Media to go completely independent... which means he needs help spreading the word to as many people as possible. The majority of Sheldon readers currently get the strip via “”, or via United Media’s e-mail delivery. And when the strip moves, these readers won’t have any way of know where the strip went to (Dave tried putting a notice in the strip…it got edited out).

Are you going to let those jerk-offs do that to Dave?

Hell no. Not when fighting them is so danged easy.

Right now, while you're thinking about it, take two minutes and post this infomation on your Web site, in a forum you visit, or on your personal blog: Dave Kellett's Shelon is moving to .

Why are you still reading? Go do that Right Now. When you come back you can read about the cool new site features like:
- Free access to 5+ years of Sheldon strip archives
- Larger-sized Sunday and daily comics
- Faster loading times
- Free daily delivery of Sheldon by e-mail
- Free RSS feed
- Free “Send This Strip to a Friend” feature
- “Jump to a Random Strip” feature
- No pop-up/pop-under ads
- Daily blog
- Direct links to the forum, store, and more
- … basically, everything the strip didn’t have at
(I have to support this guy based on Evil Inc. & Ugly Hill.)


Left a message yesterday afternoon. Calling again tonight.

Also getting a new cell phone tonight. (Keeping the same cell phone no., of course.)

After a first date or meeting, there's a period of in-between time that messes me up but good. Due to perceived stress and anxiety, I tend to eat less and lose a little weight. I get a bit less sleep as it's not terribly uncommon for me to lie awake in bed, contemplating this, that and the other (where one of the three revolves around the woman in question and another one of the three concerns my general dating/relationship proclivities and/or past). In other words, I get all out of whack. At the same time, I also tend to focus more on school/work, churning out better results with increased effort.

It may have something to do with my being a little bit O.C. about these things.

And the less sleep bit also involves my occasional tendency to concoct what-if scenarios and repeatedly review prior relevant events. I.e. Going back over the first date with a fine-toothed comb, looking for various things (both good and bad).

Throughout this process, I get a little worked up and often start painting the first date (or past events) in a slightly more favorable light. More or less, I'm interpreting it in the best light. I'm also dreaming up "the next step" and attempting to imagine what the other person is thinking about. In such a way, I begin to fall for the person (and fall hard) even before there is much substance upon which to land. I become a bit invested before even being positive there is something in which to invest.

It can be a sad, sad process to behold.

On the other hand, when it comes to the second date, I'm infinitely more likely to be relaxed, to be more of myself. To have a good time and just generally have my eyes open a bit more. I've mulled things over and I'm ready to.. I don't know, to.. to see what we have, maybe? *shrug* Maybe I'm just more "ready," period.

The good news, in my reviewing, is that in my life, I've had at least two first dates where both she and I could easily tell there was nothing there. Saturday night wasn't like that. Not at all. It wasn't fireworks and stars and orchestral music, but it wasn't a disconnect either. It was.. open. Hence, I suspect, an upcoming second date. I don't know if we have anything and I don't know if we could be a something, but I think there's the possibility and that's all that's needed right now. That gets a second date.

And one other minor observation from Saturday night. I know a hug at the end of the date isn't anything fancy per se. It's not a kiss and it's not a "Nice shoes. Wanna ____?" But I'm not looking for or expecting either of those. A hug is fine. (Beats a handshake?) Especially an honest, earnest hug that lingers just a second longer than it must and feels just right.

(N.B. I kind of wish I had been more eloquent at the end. I was tired and confused and completely off-balance. My sentence consisted of two words "will do." I'm honestly a bit ashamed of that. During the date, I wasn't sure if it would work since we have little in common by music and movies and such. But at the end, I didn't say no. I.. I want to see.)

See how I can get all worked up over nothing? It's a talent, I swear. Or maybe a curse. Or a boon? Or a tragedy. What if it's all of that and more? Yep, the tragedy of the overeager patent agent. I should sell tickets. Would you pay $15 to watch this unfold?

And now I'm just blathering.

Ooh! One more. I've decided that on the second date I need to challenge her. I need to find some contentious point or other and argue with her. Nothing too intense per se, and not something just for the point of arguing, but something to stand my ground and not be a pushover. Because I can come off that way sometimes when I'm definitely not.

Enough. This post is 20 pages long. Cheers!