Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ah hah! BoingBoing ahoy!

I got a quick byline to a comment on a BoingBoing post (Homer Simpson, Drunk Astronaut Pioneer). Woot!

Alan: 1
Internet: 1 billion

If anyone happened to click through from BoingBoing, welcome to the deranged ramblings I pass off as my blog! Feel free to poke around. These days the updates are slow and moderately nonsensical and/or relatively personal. Popular posts include my review of Rock Toxin and my take on the patent bar. I also recommend clicking through to learn about The Dreamfather and a bunch of random Top Ten Lists.

If you feel like it, drop me a line. Otherwise I hope you enjoy your stay! Cheers!~

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Weird Week

It's been a strange one.

My mom was originally scheduled to go in for surgery on Friday, but they moved it up to Wednesday. So yesterday my mom had a hysterectomy. Surgery went fine, the cyst or sample or whatnot was benign. (Yay!) Only issue was with her eye as they didn't tape it properly, leading to a post-surgical eye that was dry and painful. Not good. Fortunately this did not last long.

Unbeknownst to us, and unforewarned as we were, this procedure customarily includes a one-night stay in the hospital. Thus, my mom was discharged today. She's doing fine. Worn out, little pain, doing well.

What this meant for my week was no work on Wednesday or Thursday and a part-time day on Friday. What this also meant was 2 critical applications that have yet to be done and a one-month extension for an Office Action Response, due primarily to my reduced office-time this week.

So yeah, lots to do and.. why am I writing this post? At some point (soon) I'll get down to business.. just not yet.

Incidentally, the new Harry Potter books kicks ass. Great read. I'm on p. 500-something out of 800-something. It will be finished by the end of this weekend.

Also, I finished rereading Stardust in anticipation of the movie release on Aug. 10. I forgot how unsatisfying the end of the book is. I wonder how true the movie will remain.

I've been spending time (and money) in Second Life of late. (Not since midday Wednesday, but "of late.") I'm liking it. It's almost fun to go chill at a rave club. Weird.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Many Things Quickly

As quick as I can because I have a dog urine to clean and a floor to vacuum before I sleep. (I do this to myself, really.)

Friday night I went a-Pottering with movie.girl. We hit up Borders and Barnes & Noble before going to Stew Leonard's. An interim detour for a pint and darts (I kicked her ass) before we snagged book 7 at midnight. Was a good night, fun.

I completely wasted Saturday, or near enough at least.

Today I went to the christening of Captain Kate & SeƱor Pete's daughter. Food afterwards. Nice to see relatives of theirs who I rarely see.

I'm wasting time and money in Second Life. I find it fun. We'll see how long this lasts.

I feel a little guilty about not going into work this weekend. I'm taking Friday off for my mom's outpatient surgery and I have a shit-ton of work today. Literally, a metric shit-ton.

Finished reading Y: The Last Man through Vol. 9 (i.e., to current for the trades). Good stuff. Wonder how many more volumes there will be. The story is running out of gas though it is still excellent.

I'm only up to Chapter 3 with book 7 of Harry Potter. I realize my lack of progress is sacrilegious but I figure I can do some good damage on Friday while I wait.

Must go. Not going to get enough sleep as it is. Gonna be a long four day-week.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Interview went fine yesterday. Nice place. Would require more billables but not obscene. Won't hear back on it for 1-2 weeks or so. I was only the second person interviewed for the position, though the recruiter told me that the interviewing partner liked me.

Not sure if I'm going to participate in the Harry Potter madness this weekend, though I will most certainly get my paws on a copy of the book. I must. So it is decreed.

My mom's birthday is today. Yay mom!

I am both tired and awake at the same time. This is not inherently contradictory though it is.

I've played a bit of Second Life lately. Not entirely sure why. Not entirely sure what I'll do with it, if anything.

Coffee is glorious, as is my iPod.

Got lots of new music recently - 6 CD's-worth. Some of it is insanely cool. More on that another time.

For now I must work. More.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Fun Night

Last night was The Lawless One's bachelor party in NYC. It was a lot of fun. "The code" prevents me from saying much more than that we hit up at least 3 bars and did the usual bachelor party thing. We started at 6pm and partied hard through 4/4:30am. Excellent time. Plus someone had the forethought to have us drink big bottles of Gatorade at 4am so the hangover wasn't bad at all.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Another Day, Another Something

Let's see...

The Lawless One's bachelor party is tomorrow in NYC. Should be an excellent time, plus one of our old law school friends (who I haven't seen in two years) will be there. There will be drinking. There will be frivolity. There will be strip clubs. Hopefully there won't be any arrests. Much fun will be had by all. Oh yes, much fun.

Forgive my lack of outright enthusiasm. I'm a little tired and hazy. A good night's sleep will cure this.

This past week, I spoke with a legal recruiter who called me (one of his people got my name from the PTO website?). There's a position for a firm in Stamford that he's trying to place. I have an interview on Wednesday morning. If it works out, it could mean a nice pay increase. However, I'm a little hesitant because: (a) I haven't been at my current firm for even two years; (b) my current firm trained me into the lean, mean, patent-writing machine I am; and (c) my current firm is short-staffed at the moment. We're down at least two patent agents/attorneys and we're overburdened by the work.

We'll see what comes of this. Honestly, I can go either way. If it works out, great. If not, no big deal.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

And Onwards

This morning I received a reply e-mail from The Lawyer in which she responds: "Being friends would be lovely." And so are accords reached by necessity and agreement. (Necessity being the mother of invention, or so I am assured.) With words and electronic signatures, we are (officially) friends.

Incidentally, one current friendship arose in a substantially similar fashion – that with movie.girl. We first met shortly after the untimely demise of her first engagement. Subsequent to said meeting, we became good friends (and still are). I believe there was a clarifying e-mail involved. I could look it up and confirm such an electronic missive but why pour lemon juice in wounds that are already salty?

It may come to pass that The Lawyer and I meet up for a movie this weekend. Such happenings are not outside the realm of possibility. In true irony, yesterday my average stood at one movie per day for July. The Lawyer had best be sated with Ocean's 13 for there remain few other movies yet unspoken for or unwatched.

Work will consume me imminently. I am currently operating in the neighborhood of 125-150% capacity. This is generally ill-advised, especially when there are ugly things with deadlines looming large. I have hope, nay, I have faith that I will not be destroyed by the incipient conflagration. Unfortunately, there is no light at the end of the tunnel just yet – it remains obscured by files demanding my attention. I think I hear my bookcase groaning under the strain. All of which, of course, begs the question as to why I would compose this post in the mid-afternoon.

I feign dementia. Or disease. Or dis-ease. Or dyslexia. 'Tis all the same in the cavern that passes for my addled head. Or maybe I just like to feign. Of course the sad part to these wild ravings is that they make sense to me. I could probably express them in a non-kafka-esque manner (legitimate triple-hyphenation!), but what would the fun be in such pedantic musings?

A stray thought – the Titanic had a band, I have my iPod. Somehow this seems fair.

More random pondering – I have been accused, in the past, of being too serious, of not laughing. It was movie.girl who levied said accusations a few months ago, if memory serves. Occasionally the accusations have come to mind – am I so bereft of mirth? I think not. Rather, I laugh all the time. I simply do so on my own, either in the absence of friends or in my own mind with little more to show than a wry smile that I fancy rivals Harrison Ford's. (Maybe rivals is a bit strong.)

My head rarely ceases and, since this post is being drafted in a Word document, you are privy to my unbridled half-hazard madness (for varying definitions of the word "unbridled").

"There is nothing wrong with your television. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity - and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to... The Outer Limits. Please stand by." — Opening narration – The Control Voice – 1990s

I seem to be saying "Thank you much" of late. I need to vary my chosen thank you phrase.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Bye Bye To The Lawyer and The Doctor

(In that order even.)

Even though I'm sure this is wrong on a few levels, I'll post it anyways. Why? Because I want to. Because, as sad is it may be, the past 10 days have been among the most fun I've had in the past 2 years. Seriously.

And so, without further adieu, I present to you three JDate e-mails.

The first is from The Lawyer to me in response to a voicemail I left her earlier tonight:
Hi Alan,
I just got your message, thanks for your call. While I've enjoyed hanging out with you, I've realized that I'm not ready for dating just yet. As I had mentioned, I've only been on jdate for about 2 weeks. The reason is that I broke up with someone about 3 weeks ago whom I had been dating for quite a while, and I thought I was ready to jump right back in, but I'm not. I've taken my profile down and am going to lay low for a while. I wish you the best of luck with your search.
[The Lawyer]
The second is my reply:
I'm sorry to hear you say that. I've enjoyed hanging out with you too. It's been a lot of fun, truly.

If you'd like to hang out as friends, that'd be fine (he says with relatively little pretext). Or look me up when you're ready. I can appreciate that now may not be the best/right time for you.

It'd be a shame to meet someone as cool as you and never hear from you again. Even if it's as friends, please call/e-mail ([me] sometime.


-- Alan
And the third is the e-mail I sent to The Doctor:
Hi [The Doctor],

It's been nice meeting you and hanging out, but I don't think we're a good match. I wish you the best of luck!

-- Alan
Honestly, I tried to think of more to say (to The Doctor) that wouldn't be a lie, but I couldn't. So I left it short. I'm also a little ashamed that I wimped out and did it by e-mail but obviously I'm not that ashamed.

The Lawyer one is somewhat interesting. (Maybe explains the weird vibe I got at the end of the second date?) I can't say as it doesn't sadden me a bit, but it was only two dates. *shrug* Like I said to someone recently, I tend to fall hard and fast. Which means it also tends to hurt a bit when things don't work out. But ah well, it's how I know I'm alive.

My friends are well acquainted with this (or should be). I'm also a minor spaz about dating so it tends to go hand in hand.

That said, if anyone (friends *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink*) has anyone they'd like to set me up with, please give me a call. My week is wiiiiiiide open.

(Edited for minor thing. 4/11/08)

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Why I Became A Patent Agent

I just caught this question in an old, old comment (here) to the Why do I blog? post.

Why did I become a patent agent?

Funny enough, it's a rather simple answer. I majored in physics in college (math minor too). What does one do with a physics major? Well, I figured there were two primary tracks - teaching and research, both of which would involve getting a Ph.D. I had almost no interest in getting a masters, let alone a Ph.D. Plus I knew that the college teaching field, at least for physics, was pretty difficult. And I didn't want to do research. I also wasn't ready to get a job and enter the real world just yet.

So what do you do? Well, I'd heard of patent attorneys. I kind of liked "the law" from some limited experiences, including the mock trial team in high school. I figured law school was a good step, and it was. In law school, I got a little experience with an intellectual property firm and had a brief idea of what the work was like.

After law school, I was looking for anything in intellectual property. I happened to get a job with a small patent firm, writing and prosecuting patent applications. I think I enjoy it and, coincidentally, I think I'm pretty good at it. The good news is that I don't need to pass the state bar to do my job. Since I've passed the patent bar, I am fully credentialed.

It's often interesting work. I see lots of new inventions and technology. Some of it is engaging, and the work usually requires a mixture of thinking, analysis and writing skills. It works for me. The jury is still out whether this is what I do indefinitely, but it may very well be. It becomes harder to argue with the salary and benefits. Plus my current firm is absolutely fantastic. For now, for the foreseeable future, this is what I do and I do it well.

The Doctor - Date #2

I met up with The Doctor yesterday afternoon to see Sicko in Fairfield. Afterwards, we got dinner at an over-priced bistro in Fairfield. (She didn't want Mexican and my fallback Italian place was temporarily closed.) I dropped her off at her car at 9pm.

I made a solid effort to relax more and be "more of myself." For her part, The Doctor was much as before, which is to say reserved. We talked about some interesting things, but on the whole it was a rather boring time. The Doctor is nice enough but not very outgoing or talkative. We don't have much in common (at all). The conversation between us is somewhat dry.

I guess I'm glad I went on the second date. It ended somewhat early but I didn't want to extend it. I think I'll end things with The Doctor in the next day or two. I don't feel that there's anything there.