Friday, November 30, 2007

presenting...the Bestickered Concrete Pylon of Excellence!

the delmar loop is a strange place in parts. the main drag is all student entertainment district: shiny bars, shiny restaurants, and overpriced shops. the western fringe is where the loop bleeds into suburbia, that stretch of university city where all the streets are named after prestigious universities. the eastern fringe is where student apartments and hangouts start to mingle with the vacant lots, vandalism, and various urban decay so common a few blocks north and east of the loop.



i was walking past one of these eastern corners toward my apartment a few days ago, when i saw a very strange promotional bumper sticker affixed on a squat, useless concrete pylon.



i've heard of some very strange and unflattering stage names that rappers go by. i mean, a guy even went by "old dirty bastard." i've heard names that are dubious, but never enough to truly wonder what possessed them to choose a name. i've always chalked it up to macho posturing, or at least the desire to sound as hip as possible.

but...da baby daddy? sure, being a "baby daddy" implies some level of sexual prowess...if by "prowess" we mean fertility and promiscuity, with a side of disrespect for any and all women he may have impregnated. "baby daddy" implies deadbeat. "baby daddy" implies nondescript, replaceable...as if it could have been any sneaky, uncaring man in the world who could have impregnated the mother and then skipped away merrily into the sunset, never to return again. a baby daddy is only called that because he's too immature or disrespectful to perform the responsibilities of a father.

call me a feminazi, call me out of touch with the hip-hop world of today, but with all that baggage attached to the term i really can't see why anyone in any culture would want their public moniker or image to be that of "baby daddy." there's nothing cool, hip, with-it, or bad-ass about that image.

i should have left well enough alone. i should have looked at the bumpersticker, boggled for a minute or two about who would actually want to be known as "da baby daddy," and moved along with my life. however, my car-crash curiosity got the best of me, and i decided to pull up kingwingo.com, the website for this aspiring local rapper.

a gaudy picture greeted me, accompanied by a sample of his song "money talks." there's nothing special about the music: it's garden-variety gritty rap over a poorly-produced beat. however, the lyrics are what really grabbed me. as you'd expect from "da baby daddy," however, they didn't grab me in a good way.1 in his artist bio he claims that "[h]is lyrics have a conjunction of humor and seriousness with a flow that is different and versatile on all his recordings."

his claims of humour come closer than anything else...please, dear readers. tell me if you could keep a straight face if you open up a website and these are the first words coming out of your speakers:

"yeah, this is baby daddy!
a.k.a. king wing!
and i'm gonna tell you, you need to listen to your money sometimes.
money can buy you anything or anybody.
money lets you know if you can afford that shit or not!
you know what i'm sayin'?"

i sure couldn't keep a straight face....and then the lyrics continued on a similarly absurd yet hackneyed vein, with king wing da baby daddy ranting about how "money told me i could buy that lexus/house on the hill way down in texas." this song made two things extremely clear:
  • money never said anything to da baby daddy that he couldn't have just told himself.
  • there is nothing new or clever you can say if you're trying to brag about your money, so don't even try it.
i wondered if these lyrics were a fluke, or if our hero had the capacity to come up with equally insightful lyrics in his other songs. luckily, finding the answer was easy. elsewhere on his website, he features samples of more of his music. i soon found his musings about other topics to be just as interesting and incisive as his musings about money. observe:
  • from the song "drink wit me": "smoke wit me/drink wit me, smoke wit me/drink wit me, smoke with me/drink, smoke, drink, smoke, drink wit me/drink with me, burn somethin' that stink with me"
    • hey, at least he eventually found a metaphor for smoking.
  • from the song "shit starter": "if you don't start no shit/there won't be no shit"
    • thank you, captain obvious.
  • also from the song "shit starter": "when you see me cutting rocks on the table/or trying to steal cable/what you talking 'bout/you iced up a jury/where you from/you can't wear that shit in missouri"
    • there you go. doing coke and stealing cable makes you so cool. just keep telling yourself that. that makes you about as cool as calling yourself "da baby daddy," but you've already done that. and, furthermore, is he really singing about intimidating a court by wearing bling-bling?
  • from the song "cars/tha clothes": "cars or the clothes/rims or the hoes/what could it be/to make 'em hate on me yeah/what's wrong with you, boo boo/you mad 'cause i wear fubu?/mad because these hoes hang around me like flies on doo doo?"
    • that's one way to say that women like you, although i doubt the quality of these women if they stay anywhere near you after an analogy like that.
so, congratulations mr. baby daddy. not only do you have the worst rapper name ever, but you also have some of the cheesiest song lyrics in existence. i hereby award you the Bestickered Concrete Pylon of Excellence. i'm too lazy to bring it to you, though, so you'll have to retrieve the trophy yourself. it's sitting in a parking lot at the corner of delmar and eastgate.


***
1 i'm trying to resist making the obvious joke about da baby daddy's lyrics grabbing me inappropriately.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

rickrolled.

today's xkcd had me laughing so hard that i couldn't breathe:



the guy in the black hat has officially transcended hero status. rickrolling is classic. rickrolling rick astley makes you a deity.

awesome.

january 6.

9pm, 8pm central.

*cue theme music*

they're back.

music survey

i never turn down an opportunity to talk about music i like. so...a music survey, borrowed from chris.

1. Of all the bands & artists in your collection, which one do you own the most albums?
definitely Wesley Willis. it's my goal to own all of the albums he ever put out--which is a wild goose chase. he put out over fifty of them, and many of them he put out himself and would just sell on the street to passers-by and the occasional used music store. i've made a lot of headway in this quest this year, and now own seventeen of his albums. but, that's nowhere close to where i want to be.

2. What was the last song you listened to?
"got it made" by seether.

3. What's in your CD player right now?
i don't have a CD player, but the last set of songs i was listening to on my iPod was "Disclaimer II" by seether.

4. What are your favorite instruments?
guitar and voice. guitar, because it drives all of the music that i enjoy listening to. it can drive the rhythm, or sustain a solo. rock music is guitar music, and vice versa. voice, because that's what my ear is drawn to. no matter the kind of music, i pay attention to vocal lines, lyrics, vocal quality. i'm also a little partial to voice since that's the 'instrument' that i can actually 'play' well.

5. Who's your favorite local artist?
wesley willis.

6. What was the last show you attended?
shooting blanks!, after the fight, and sad hannah at the mutiny last saturday. (look! a show recap!)

7. What was the greatest show you've ever been to?
cold, finger eleven, and reach 454 at the metro, back in the summer of 2003. cold and finger eleven are my two favourite bands ever...and finger eleven is the most passionate live band i've ever seen. the only way it could have been better is if the first band wasn't terrible...because reach 454 was merely loud for the sake of being loud, with no real music to back it up.


8. What's the worst band you've ever seen in concert?
i've seen some really awful bands, but none so bad as cyclefly. they opened for live way back when i was in high school. the music was awful, and the lead singer was in this disturbing rubber suit, writhing around, actually convinced that he was a bug. i didn't need to see that.

9. What band do you love musically but hate the members of?
inept. i don't like their recent stuff, but the stuff they put out in '03-'04 or so kicked ass. but, the longer they've been together, the more haughty they've become...i think whatever local fame and following they have has gone to their heads. it makes me sad.

10. What is the most musically involved you have ever been?
probably my last year of college. i was going to concerts several times a week, and i was singing in a band.

11. What show are you looking forward to?
don't know yet...i need to scan the calendars and figure out when there's another show i want to go to.

12. What is your favorite band shirt?
my ratbag hero shirt. it says "tell your mom we said hi" on the back...and really, there are few people on earth i'd less like for my mother to know that they exist than ratbag hero. therefore, the shirt amuses me to no end.

13. What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?
i want to hang out with cristian from onesidezero again. i haven't seen him in years, since his band is based out of LA. but, i've chilled with him a couple times after shows, a really long time ago, and he's a really nice guy, and a lot of fun to hang out with.

14. What musician would you like to be in love with you for a day?
can't really think of one.

15. What was your last musical "phase" before you wizened up?
back in middle school, it was the cool thing to listen to the adult contemporary station...celine dion and crap like that. i shudder to think back to those days.

16. Sabbath or solo Ozzy?
Sabbath, without a doubt.

17. Did you know that filling out this survey makes you a music geek?
ummmm...no. nothing about filling out an internet survey makes a person a geek of any kind. i think my rather encyclopaedic knowledge of nineties rock is what makes me a music geek.

18. What was the greatest decade for music?
i can't speak to the greatest, but my favourite was the 1990s.

19. What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
daredevil. i never saw the movie (i heard it was awful!), but the soundtrack is so full of music i love. that, in addition to stuff like scream 2 and scream 3, is enough to convince me that wind-up records should be doing a lot more soundtracks.

20. Where would you be without music?
i'd be a lot more miserable. i wouldn't be dead, but i'd have a lot less in this world to relate to.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

*sporfle*

more dating tips, courtesy of web comics. this time, diesel sweeties:

chuck norris jokes are officially not funny anymore.

namby posted this video on his blog this morning. it's absurd...and yet, a real campaign ad.



*shakes head*
*applies brain bleach*

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

sigh.

i heard back about moot court this morning. unsurprisingly, i didn't make it.

i have to hand it to the coach, though. he dealt with it a lot better than the trial team coach did after tryouts. i got a personal e-mail from the coach telling me that i didn't make it, but that i could meet and talk to him at some point to discuss what i can do better. that was respectful and classy.

this is in contrast to what happened after trial team tryouts back in september. the coach e-mailed all the kids that either made it or got a second-round tryout. instead of sending an e-mail that same day to the people who outright didn't make the team, he waited and sent no notice for another two days. instead of finding out my status straight from the coach, i found it out through the rumour mill, after overhearing some other people who tried out discussing an e-mail that had come out.

i'm disappointed i didn't make it, but i'm glad i at least tried. i'm also glad i know my status so i can finalize my class plans for next semester. i need to decide: am i dropping two of my one-credit classes, or am i dropping advanced legal writing? i have a couple of days to make that decision...we'll see.

Monday, November 26, 2007

that's one way to put it...

as seen in a schoolwide e-mail publicizing tomorrow night's Bar Review:

Join SBA, Outlaw and PSAB for Dining Out For Life, a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS prevention. Nobody likes AIDS and everybody likes beer, so come to Schafly Bottleworks on Southwest, just off of Manchester between 5 and 9 tomorrow night. Get ready to let loose and forget about finals for a night.

those are words i never thought i'd see strung together in that manner. even though it's not technically true that everybody likes beer [however difficult that is to believe if you spend as much time as i do around the washington university school of law...], i must say i agree with the ever-so-controversial assertion that beer >>> AIDS.

oh hai, i counted ur ballots. [insert picture of kitteh surrounded by shredded ballots]

this post on metaquotes is made of so much win.

the comment thread is made of just as much, if not more, win.

a backstory from dreamworld

so, trent lott is resigning.

it's not clear why yet; a spokesperson is saying he's leaving to pursue "other opportunities." we all know what that means: something hinky is going on, but he's not ready or willing to go public with it.

or maybe, just maybe, he has realised that he is an asshat, and has decided to spare the american people from further asshattery of his. in my fantasy world, this is the case, and he is just too chicken to stay in the senate, live as an open and honest non-asshat, and stand up to the republican leadership.

that's absurd. i know. but...i'll take what i can get, and a senate without trent lott is just a shade better than a senate with trent lott.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

advice

behold: more advice. it published last week, and i realised i hadn't linked it here yet. it's an article about the ever-so-awkward situation of having a crush on your friend.

speaking of advice--the column finally got a letter from a student last week! that was really exciting...but, there are two advice columnists. a male columnist and i alternate weeks. his column was up next...and since neither of us have any special background in the topic over and above that of the average student, it was only fair that he got the letter for his next column.

i really hope someone else writes in asking for advice. it's really, really difficult to write an advice column based on thinking up situations that people would need advice on. it's more concrete and more rewarding to have people's specific questions to answer.

travel woes

the good news is that it took me almost no time to get through security at midway airport this evening.

the bad news is that my flight back to st. louis is currently slated to be an hour late. i'm posting this from my gate. yes, that means that i have paid six or seven dollars or whatever the exorbitant amount of money they charge nowadays for airport internet access. but, with my flight running late, it's a small price to pay to be able to get on my laptop, vent, and distract myself for the next [hopefully only] two hours.

this has not been the smoothest travel experience of all time--my flight to chicago on wednesday was also delayed. i hate being in airports during thanksgiving, or during any major holiday periods. they get so crowded. flights always get delayed. people are so frazzled.

i'm starting to think i would have been better off if i had taken the megabus.

you say, "can you rock harder?" i said i could, and i explode.

the shooting blanks concert last night was amazing. my ears are ringing from the loud music, my neck is a little sore from thrashing my head around, but i don't care.

the concert was at a place called The Mutiny. i had never been there before, but i'd love to attend more shows there. the place is a grade-a dive bar. the name is painted on the window, but the only thing you can actually see from the street is an old sign with a pabst blue ribbon logo, and the words COLD BEER under it. the taxi driver drove right past the bar when he was taking me there; i just made him stop at fullerton and western, and i walked the half a block back to the bar.

the inside is just as divey as the outside. the bar is in the front, and the music area is in the back. it's dark and smoky, there's one television over the bar, and there's nothing but awful beer on tap (think old style, PBR, that kind of thing). in the music area, there's another bar--but instead of featuring bartenders and drinks, old kegs and other clutter sit forgotten behind it. the stage is just barely raised from the floor. a ramp cuts across the middle of the stage; the back door of the bar sits at the end of the ramp. above the stage, there's a huge hole in the ceiling:



in other words...i felt right at home in this bar, and i'm going to be going to this place a lot once i come back to chicago for good.

so, the bands. sad hannah played first. i listened to them, although i was in the front part of the bar and not the music room since the kansas/mizzou game was still going on. the game ended at about the same time as sad hannah's set did. the bar was small enough so that you can hear the music perfectly even by the television.

their music was forgettable. it wasn't specifically offensive, but it was boring. none of the songs stuck in my head. that was disappointing, since one of the members of sad hannah used to be in ratbag hero. ratbag hero was a chicago punk band that broke up a few years ago. their lyrics were hilarious, their music energetic. they had an energy that sad hannah lacked.

after the fight played second. the football game was over, so i was rocking out in the music room for that one. i wasn't familiar with them before last night. they're fun; i'd gladly go see them again. they played high-energy, fast punk rock. they looked like they really enjoyed being on stage, they had a lot of personality, and they interacted with the crowd well.

here's a picture of after the fight...although, it's less useful to illuminate how good they are than it is useful to show the ratty-basement vibe of the mutiny.



finally, shooting blanks played. i hadn't seen them since 2004...their music is good recorded, but it's a lot more fun live. they're goofy, they're silly, and they have a lot of energy. i didn't think i was ever going to see them again, since they broke up back in march. but, it was the lead singer's fiancee's birthday this week--and she convinced them to play a reunion show. (i should give her a cookie. she deserves it, for being instrumental in bringing the Drunk Punk back to my life, at least for one fleeting moment.)

they played all three of my favourite songs of theirs: "simple song", "ignore me", and "she loves me cuz i rock." the show had the vibe of one big party--albeit a party with much better music than most parties have. the singer and the lead guitarist were the same throughout, but there were a couple different bassists and a couple different drummers. the band was adorably self-deprecating about their performance afterwards, but they shouldn't kid themselves. the music rocked, and the crowd was loving it.







after the show, i hung around for a few minutes just to chat with people. since i've been in st. louis for so long, i've been a little out of touch with the music scene. it was so nice to be back at a chicago punk show again, and i can't wait until i live here and can go regularly again. i always have such a good time at these things...i get so energetic and happy during and after a great show.

finally, just in case you didn't notice it before--hoffman had the shiniest guitar ever. the shape alone is cool. the fluorescent green tape alone is cool. the whole, however, is greater than the sum of its parts. together, they create a guitar force that cannot be stopped.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

this morning rules all of a sudden.

two things have suddenly made my morning very, very shiny.

  1. i found out that tonight, shooting blanks is playing a final-final show at the mutiny!1 i must go. i saw shooting blanks a few times back in 2003 and 2004, and they're a really fun band. their songs are silly, their shows entertaining. i thought i had lost the chance to ever see them again. they played their final show in march. i had school commitments in st. louis, and couldn't make it out to chicago for the show. but...i've gotten another chance, and i will take it!
  2. this ad for world of warcraft is fantastic. i don't play WoW...but that's irrelevant. it's Mr. T!!!!!!! Mr. T can make anything awesome.



***
1 what would have made this even shinier is if i had seen the website for the mutiny before 11:15 in the morning. the website says that they have karaoke from 9 to 12--on saturday mornings. next time i'm in chicago i must go to this. morning karaoke at a punk rock dive is something that i have to experience at least once in my life.

dear abby: you screwed up.

one of Dear Abby's responses this morning had me so annoyed that i felt the need to send her a response.

this was the original letter:

Dear Abby: I haven't had a boyfriend for a while now, and I'm not sure why. I play video games, sports and do things that boys think girls would never do (like paint-balling or bungee jumping).

I get compliments on my looks as well. But for some reason, whenever I get a crush on a guy, he says it would be "weird" because I'm a "really good friend." What am I doing wrong?

-- Boyfriendless in Connecticut

Dear Boyfriendless: It may be that "guys" see you as one of them. And because of it, they don't consider you in a romantic way. Therefore, it's time to emphasize your feminine side and present yourself in a different light. This may mean temporarily downplaying your involvement in boys' sports and paintball games, and amping up your "girlishness." Give it a try and see what happens.


this is my response:

Dear Abby,

I found your advice to Boyfriendless in Connecticut to be off the mark. You advised her to emphasize her feminine side more, and try downplaying her involvement in boyish sports, just to see what happens.

What would happen if she did that and managed to attract a boyfriend? It would be a bait-and-switch. The new boyfriend would think he was getting someone more feminine, and would get disappointed when she showed her true tomboy self. It's not fair to a potential boyfriend to get an inaccurate picture of the girl he is considering dating, only to realize the truth when he becomes invested in her.

It's also not fair to her to feel like she has to lower her involvement in things she likes just to have a chance at a man's affections. The fact that she enjoys things like video games and paintball is not shameful, and not something she should be forced to hide. She should keep enjoying the things that she enjoys, for the sake of her own happiness and for the sake of living authentically.

What she should do is try to meet new people. She should get involved in organizations or volunteering, or go out to concerts or festivals. The more people she meets, the more likely it's going to be that she will meet somebody who likes her for who she is and also likes her romantically.


my response is a little nicer and more tactful than what i was originally going to write--given that my original plan was to just rant about this advice here in my blog. then, i decided--this advice was so terrible that i needed to tell Dear Abby so. of course, a scathing rant would get me nowhere, whereas a nicely worded letter may cause her to see the error of her ways. we'll see if she replies.

inheritance

one of the headlines on the cover of details magazine this month irks me a lot:

"are your parents squandering your inheritance?"

one reason it irks me is simple and straightforward--that's not really what the corresponding article is about. the article is about older parents who haven't saved for retirement, retired, spend money recklessly, and then ask their kids to bail them out. that's a legitimate problem to write an article about. that's a proper thing for a kid to consider, because it's not a kid's duty to bail their parents out if they do something stupid with their money. the headline on the cover should have something to do with that, the actual subject matter of the article. it should not be something sensational and inaccurate. magazines do that all the time, and it bugs me. headlines and teasers on the cover need to be catchy, but they also need to be accurate reflections of the articles inside the magazine.

the other thing that irks me is the text of the headline itself. even though it has nothing to do with the article, just the fact that someone would ask the question of whether their parents are squandering their inheritance is disrespectful.

a parent's money doesn't belong to a grown-up kid. it's the parents' obligation to use their money for the kids when the kids are too young to take care of themselves on their own. once the kid is old enough to leave home and be solvent on their own, the parent is under no obligation to spend money on behalf of the child. parents don't have to acquire money for the purpose of leaving it to kids when they die. that seems rather silly. what happens to be left unspent after the parents die...that can be distributed however the will says it should be. but, money is for the living to enjoy, and money is first and foremost for the person who made it to do with it what he or she chooses.

there's no such thing as squandering an inheritance. as long as the parents aren't spending money in a way that would leave the kids forced to bail them out, the parents should spend their money vigorously in their retirement. retirement is time to kick back, goof off, have fun, and not worry about working. as long as there's enough there in the retirement kitty to assure a comfortably long retirement for the parents, there's no problem with the parents spending the money to buy nicer things than they would have otherwise bought. they're retired, they have the money, and they deserve it.

parents don't owe their kids an inheritance, especially at the expense of nice things in their retirement. an inheritance is not something that kids can depend on or should be allowed to depend on. grown-up children are just that: grown-ups. they need to work, make and save their own money, and not make demands that their parents save them some large nest egg when they die.

Friday, November 23, 2007

*is confused*

i'm mad.

wednesday night i went out to dinner with some friends in chicago, so i missed pushing daisies. i've gotten to really enjoy that show, and i watch it every week now. missing it felt weird. but, i wasn't all that worried, because they put the full episodes on abc.com to watch.

i tried watching it this morning--and i can't. i click on the link, and it tells me that the full episodes are only available to viewers in the united states. now, i could understand this error message if i were in canada, mexico, switzerland, antarctica, or any other place that is not the united states.

but, i'm sitting in kevin's living room. kevin's living room is in kevin's apartment. kevin's apartment is in lincoln square. lincoln square is in chicago. chicago is in illinois. illinois, the last time i checked, was in the united states.

either illinois seceded from the union last night while i was sleeping, or there's something going wrong here. i assume illinois didn't secede from the union last night, as there is no mention on the chicago tribune, the new york times, or any other news website of such a drastic action being taken.

(if i am misinformed about this...by all means, leave me a comment telling me so. i can't say i'd be too sad right now about being under the leadership of the Independent Corrupt Republic of Illinois when my other alternative is george w. bush.)

assuming, however, that i am still within the borders of the united states, i do not understand why i can't watch pushing daisies. i was so excited to watch the new episode...and now i'm frustrated that i can't.

pictures of a night scene

my own words are failing me this morning, so this will have to do. the more i listen to pretty girls make graves, the more i realise that someone must have crawled into my brain, figured out what i was thinking, and then written it down better than i ever could.

***

"pictures of a night scene"
by pretty girls make graves

i'm sorry i missed you
i mean i'm sorry i miss you
i didn't know you had in you
do you remember your way

there's ice on the lake again
thin enough to be a hazard when
the smallest steps are too heavy and
you can't will it away

you're spitting cold like you mean it
but you're too numb to repeat it
and digging holes that you sleep in
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away

there's ice on the lake again
thin enough to be a hazard when
the smallest steps are too heavy and
you can't will it away

you're spitting cold like you mean it
but you're too numb to repeat it
and digging holes that you sleep in
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away
and you can't wish them away

Thursday, November 22, 2007

snow, snow, beautiful snow!

it's snowing.



the snow isn't sticking a lot. it's just a flurry, dusting the grass and the leaves, and sticking to cars more than anything. but...it's snowing. i look out the window, and i see lots of fluffy little flakes floating about.

the first snow of the year makes me happy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

chicago

i got into chicago this afternoon.

it's always amazing how much more alive i feel when i'm in chicago than when i'm anywhere else. i never really understood the concept of a place feeling like home until i lived in chicago...and even more strongly, now that i've been living somewhere else for a few years. growing up, i always laughed at the idea of a person being so tied to a place that they knew they needed to return. over the last few years, i can't laugh at the idea anymore. turns out i just hadn't realised that i had such a place.

i know i muse about this all the time. i know everyone is probably sick of hearing me gush about this city. but, i will keep gushing about it until i move back for good.

i can't even promise to stop then.

the candidate calculator

i found this on ana's blog...i don't know how accurate this is, but it's an interesting exercise, an interesting runthrough of issues. i'm curious what results it gives you all.

presenting...the candidate calculator.

Your Top Match

Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich (D)

90.91% match

You are number 1,521,715 to use the Candidate Calculator.

Ohio Representative Dennis Kucinich (D)



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

i am the internet

this is so disturbing.

click play, i dare you.

come on.

i know you want to.



aren't you happy you did? that song is now stuck in your head, and when you shut your eyes, you see really frumpy people dancing around in weird costumes! it's amazing!

i deserve a steaming cup of duncan hills coffee.

i got five shiny gold stars this afternoon.

how, you may ask? apparently guitar hero 2 gives you five gold stars if you hit every note in a song. i finally got 100% on my first song ever on guitar hero 2: it was "thunderhorse" by dethklok. i had been one note short for more times than i can remember...and i finally nailed every note this afternoon.

*does a little dance*

*halo*

...because maybe, if i do post this to my blog, everyone will forget what a naughty girlie i really am.

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa,

This year I've been busy!

In March I helped wmjeff1693 across the street (6 points). Last Tuesday I gave change to a homeless guy (19 points). In November zie_verse and I donated clothes to the needy (11 points). Last Wednesday I stole foofy_attorney's purse (-30 points). In January I pulled shaph's hair (-5 points).

Overall, I've been nice (1 points). For Christmas I deserve a Nintendo Wii!

Sincerely,
faceless_wonder

Write your letter to Santa! Enter your LJ username:

division III still requires school pride.

you know you go to a division III school when the school sends out its twice-weekly news bulletin, and the fact that the school will host the 2008 vice-presidential debate appears above the fact that the women's volleyball team just won the ncaa championship.

even though wash u is a division III school, i still do not think that is okay. i think that was a major faux-pas on the part of who put together the news bulletin.

life does not revolve around sports at a division III institution. the students don't get scholarships for their play, and they have to take the same rigorous classes as everyone else. there's no athlete track as compared to the regular track. there's no special treatment, there's no multi-million dollar athletic endowment, and there's no one in the school fawning to lay out the red carpet for athletes. the athletes are students first. even though i was not a student athlete in college, this situation makes me proud to be a graduate of a division III undergrad, and a current student at another division III university.

even though sports do not get top billing at wash u, the administration giving a national athletic championship second billing in the news update was disrespectful. sure, it's exciting that the university is hosting the vice-presidential debate. it'll be a big news event when it happens. but, the school should take pride in that achievements of the members of its community--be they academic achievements, or anything else. getting a presidential debate on campus doubtlessly involved some machinations by university faculty or administration, but wash u always gets a debate of some sort nowadays. i doubt anyone poured their heart and soul into getting that debate, and i doubt that anyone doubted wash u would get a debate.

all the girls on the volleyball team were working hard. they were practicing and frequently travelling to competitions, in addition to doing their classwork. those girls won a national championship for their athletic efforts. that achievement had top billing in the student newspaper yesterday morning...and should have had top billing in the school's news bulletin as well.

athletics aren't the be-all and end-all at a division III school, but that's no excuse for everyone in the school community to not take pride, celebrate a little, and embrace the sports teams. a national championship is huge news--even in division III. the fact that the administration found it appropriate to bill that piece of news below scheduling a debate for a year from now is sad, and disrespectful to the students on the volleyball team.

Monday, November 19, 2007

stabby stabby!

i got the expansion pack for let's kill on friday. the expansion pack is genius, utter genius.

one of the things that makes let's kill such a fantastic game is the amusing flavour text on the cards. behold...some of the wonderful commentary on the cards:

  • on the sledgehammer: "No-slip handle on one end, ten pounds of solid steel on the other. Boys and girls, it doesn't get any better than this."
  • on Susan the Deputy Sheriff: "It's impolite to shoot the sheriff, but not shoot the deputy."
  • on the zombie: "What do we want?! Brains! When do we want it?! Brains!!!"
  • on the M-60: "Fully automatic fun the whole family will love! This holiday season, give the gift of a combat machine gun. It's available on the open market!"
  • on Integar the Barbarian: "Killing people's MMORPG characters may not be as bloody, but some nuts take it worse than the death of their mothers."
  • on Gary Coleman: "What chu'talkin' 'bout, creepy homicidal maniac?" [bonus points: Gary Coleman is not a victim. he is a weapon.]
  • on Stephen the Bank Teller: "What do Pretentious, Artsie Fartsie, and Bank Teller add up to? That's right, a degree in music performance."
  • on Eris, Greek Goddess of Chaos: "Let's Kill is the best game ever! Hail Eris!"--Principia Discordia (Atlas Games Edition)."
  • on the Mac-10: "A fun and enjoyable .45 caliber sub-machine gun, that fits conveniently into a purse or fanny pack."

if you are in st. louis, you really need to swing by the law school lounge and play this game with me. if you are not in st. louis...i'll be in chicago this weekend for thanksgiving, so you need to play it with me there.

physics, being awesome.

i knew there was a reason i loved playing with a mixture of cornstarch and water when i was a kid:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

no! not duh!

dear hyundai,

i demand the names of two people: the person in charge of doing your holiday ad campaign and the person inside your company who approved the holiday ad campaign. i need to whack them both with my clue stick.

three of your holiday-themed ads have played within the last hour or so during the rams-niners game that i'm watching. you know the ads, i'm sure...the ads with the choirs singing familiar holiday tunes on the syllable "duh," and then interrupted by the voice-over guy saying:

"nothing quite says happy holidays like the word 'duh.' as in, it's obvious. a no-brainer. like getting a good deal on a great car."

somebody didn't quite get that it's not so obvious if the ad had to make such a contrived analogy to tie it in.

sure, it's not a bad thing to get a good deal on a car--it is better than paying full price. i can only assume that the ad writer thought people would be stupid enough to just assume that buying a car at a discount was an inherently "happy holidays" thing to do, and assume the connection because...hey, clearly the ad said "duh" enough times, it must be obvious!

however, repeating "duh" a hundred times does not actually spin a filament between the two ideas. the ad would either have to provide more data to establish the connection, or connect the perceived holiday obviousness with something more obviously connected in the general consciousness with the holidays

so. ad designer. ad approver. clue stick. now.

perturbed,
the persecuted crack smoker

innocent kitteh!

i have been following the lolrus bukkit saga1 since its inception. today, i can has cheezburger supplied a wonderful addition to the saga:



***
1 for any of you who don't spend all your life on the internet, it's a series of macros that started with a picture of a guy stealing a bucket from a sea lion, and it has just burgeoned from there. click the link...there's a quite comprehensive collection of bukkit macros on the website. either you will read them and laugh hysterically, or you will read them and mock me mercilessly for being incurably amused by this tale of the poor lolrus and his missing bukkit.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

my own saturday night

nothing like good wine, good sushi, and a good book to completely detach me from the world for the evening.

that was rejuvenating.

sigh.

my ability to booch tryouts for things is officially legendary.

strike that. it's ultimate.

eigenvouch, this is awesome.

i just want to run off a million copies of this comic and wallpaper them all over the university of chicago.

final trial recap

yesterday was all trial, all the time. the day was nerve-racking because i spent it all preparing, but the trial went off nicely. i was on the defense...i did two crosses, a direct, and the closing argument. the case was really bad for the defense--we were representing a nursing home being sued by a dead patient's daughter for some hinky things that a physical therapist may be doing.

we got something that was almost as good as a defense win, though. the plaintiff asked for at least $750,000 in damages for personal injury and wrongful death, including medical bills, pain and suffering, and hedonic (loss-of-enjoyment-of-life) damages. the jury ended up awarding just $13,000, the amount of the medical bills. that was pleasing...not as pleasing as winning would have been, but still good.

i did have a funny moment in the trial, though. one of the witnesses i was crossing was the decedent's neighbour in the nursing home. he claims to have heard a noise coming from the room next door, and his "ear-witnessing" was the closest thing the plaintiff had to any eye-witness to what happened. while preparing for trial, my partners and i were joking that we wanted to make him come off as really old and senile, and were coming up with silly ways to do so. turns out...i had a perfectly legit way to make him seem really senile, and it was hilarious.

this witness said on the stand that he was 87 years old. it said in his affidavit that he was 87, but the affidavit was dated august 2004. so, i opened up my cross with the following line of questioning, delivered in the sweetest aw-shucks manner i could muster:

me: you said on direct examination that you're 87 years old.
witness: yes, i did.
[i retrieve his statement and show it to opposing counsel.]
me: this is your sworn statement.
witness: yes.
me: in it, you say that you are 87 years old.
witness: yes.
me: now, it also says right here that this statement was taken on august 12, 2004.
witness: [sheepishly, as it dawns on him where i'm going] yes.
me: so, you're 90.
witness: yes.

at this point i had my professor cracking up.

usually i'd never do such a thing, but it was sweet to do my closing and refer to the plaintiff's only sequence-of-events witness as "a man who couldn't even remember how old he was."

Friday, November 16, 2007

worky worky

t minus five hours until my final trial for advanced trial class begins.

yes. i have a final exam on a friday evening. while everyone else is having fun at the yearly law school trivia night at happy hour, i'm dressed up in a suit having to think about matters other than where mike shannon went to high school.

the case problem rivals AMTA's worst cases. the doctor i'm directing is completely useless. but, my two cross-examinations stand to be a lot of fun, and i get to give the closing. i like giving closings--especially defense closings, because i get to rebut all the misguided things that the other side said during its closing.

we'll see how this goes. i wish i could say i can start relaxing after this trial is over, but that's not the case. i have my moot court tryout tomorrow, and then three (3!) high school students to interview for the university of chicago this weekend.

i can't wait until wednesday. my life is going to be so much better when i jump on that plane [sans law books] and head to chicago for five days.

we're seven drunken pirates; we're the seven deadly sins.

borrowed from the pretend me:

Greed:Medium
 
Gluttony:Medium
 
Wrath:Medium
 
Sloth:Very High
 
Envy:Low
 
Lust:Very High
 
Pride:Medium
 


Discover Your Sins - Click Here

rather unsurprising for me, don't you think?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

*brag*

i just ordered the greatest t-shirt ever.



just like t-rex, i would honestly wear a shirt that says that. and soon...i will be.

tool.

today there was a category on jeopardy called also a tool.

sadly, there were no questions about you, phil. there should have been.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

legal cheerleading

above the law linked off to a post on the the wall street journal law blog. the post itself was pretty dull, but it referenced a lawyer who cheers for the jacksonville jaguars, and an absolutely terrible law-themed cheer that an ESPN columnist wrote.1:

Collateral, collateral
Estoppel!
When we testify,
We give 'em [heck]!


what really makes the post, though, is the big firm themed cheer that a writer for the wsj law blog wrote in rebuttal:

With interrogatories and document requests
We’re gonna make your lives a mess
And if you’re still around in a month or two
Yeah, uh-huh, we’ll coun-ter-sue!


corporate defense in a nutshell.

***
1 seriously, gregg easterbrook. your brother is the chief judge of the seventh circuit court of appeals. you can do better than that. that cheer is absolutely terrible. it doesn't make any sense, and you put the wrong emphasis on the word "estoppel"! you should have called your brother for advice before writing that.

registration for classes

the registration frenzy is over.

i don't quite know what classes i'm going to take, but at least the ball is in my court this semester. i'm registered for everything that i can potentially take; i just have to decide what to drop. i'm signed up for eighteen credits, and i only have to take thirteen. here's what i'm signed up for right now, with my musings about each:

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property: this is a one-credit intersession class. i signed up for it in hopes that there would be exactly twelve credits worth of work that i wanted to do during the semester, so i could take that necessary thirteenth credit before the semester. now, i'm not so sure. i'm caught between the desire to make the semester a small bit lighter and the desire to have one more week of winter break in january. whether i stay in this class is dependent upon what else i decide to take, and if that adds up to twelve credits or thirteen.
  • White Collar Crime: this is a classic three-credit class, taught by the same professor i had for criminal law my first year. i'm staying in this class no matter what. i have no plans to practice white collar criminal law, but it should be an interesting class. more importantly, i'm a true believer that taking a class from a professor i love makes it all better--and i love that professor.
  • Copyrights: this is another three-credit class. i'm leaning very heavily toward taking it. i haven't had much exposure to intellectual property, except for preparing my tryout for the IP moot court team last year, which i didn't really get to follow up on because i didn't make the team. i also had one copyright project this summer at work, and enjoyed it. i'm not planning on practicing this, but the class should be interesting.
  • Corporations: this is a three-credit class, but i heard that it does not actually meet three credits a week. it's probably something good to have a background in, but i'll probably drop this class and let barbri1 teach me everything i need to know about corporations before the bar. it meets on wednesdays, and it would be my only class on wednesdays. that's unappetizing, and i would have so little motivation to go.
  • Advanced Legal Research: this is a two-credit class. i've heard it's rather useful. it covers foreign resources, international resources, and social-science resources. i don't reckon it will be the most interesting class ever, but that will all be nice information to know. i'll probably end up staying in this one.
  • Practical Legal Writing and Analysis for Litigators: this is a two-credit class that involves writing motions, memos, jury instructions...things that litigators have to write. i've heard it's good, but i really don't know how i feel about taking another class that involves someone telling me how to write stuff like that. i need to find out more about the professor. if she's like my first legal writing professor my 1L year, the one who gave us feedback but also left us a lot to our own devices and discretion, i may hang on to this class. if i find out that she walks you through every little step and micromanages the papers, i'm dropping this class like a hot potato.
  • Construction Law Planning and Drafting: this is a two-credit class...it's a night class, which is a strike against it, because i wanted to avoid taking night classes. it is a new topic for me, though, and i like the idea of dabbling in something new at the end of my third year. also...i haven't had any class that gave me any guidance in how to draft a contract. i had all that offer and acceptance mumbo-jumbo my first year, but that class didn't teach me anything practical about drafting a contract.
  • Negotiation: this is a one-credit class that meets during one weekend of the semester. i've heard it's drudgery, but i like the idea of knocking off one pass-or-fail credit for one weekend of work. the reading is a book that i've already read, getting to yes. it also involves several practice negotiations, so it's not 100% lectures. i'm probably staying in this one. i had tried to get into it last semester, but the registration program locked up, and i got waitlisted when i tried again a minute and a half laster. this time, i'm in.
  • Environmental Moot Court: i swore i would never sign up for this class again because of all the stress i went through for that one measly credit last year. the case was a tripartite, six-issue moot court mishmash. but, the course selection this semester is so bad that i may just need to take it. it does involve oral argument, eventually, which is fun regardless of how bad the problem is.
the other thing that confuses matters is national moot court. tryouts start this weekend with the oral argument, and then there's an application and interview process. if i get onto the team, i'm definitely dropping environmental moot court. if i make that and decide that there are twelve other credits that i want to take during the semester, i'll also drop intersession.

so, that's my registration situation as it stands now. the good news is that i don't have to worry about any of the wait lists. the bad news is that i still have a long way to go to figure out how i'm going to narrow it down. what makes it so painful is that i'm not torn between a bunch of classes that i'm passionate about. i'm torn between a bunch of classes that i'm almost equally lukewarm about.


***
1 barbri is the bar review class. i finally got around to signing up for it yesterday. it bothers me that after paying six figures for law school, you are basically forced to take a $3000 class to teach you how to pass the test that allows you to pass the bar and get your law license. it's such a swindle. sigh...i think wisconsin has it right with its diploma privilege.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

forget all reason to go outside?

i got out of choir practice today around 7:30. for the first time in a couple of days, i was truly happy. i was on an endorphin rush. i was walking down forsyth avenue, from the traffic light near the music building down to the bus stop by the student union to catch the bus home. the bus was coming down the street, and i didn't want to miss it, so i started running down the street.

it was real life, but it made the most deliciously absurd movie scene. there i was, a girl of almost twenty-five years running down the street, grinning and singing like a child. my t-shirt featured a cartoonish picture of a penguin. it was dark outside, and there were so few people on the sidewalk that i could shamelessly run down the street without worrying about hitting anyone.

the only thing that was a little off was the music playing on my iPod: a broody song, "blue lights" by pretty girls make graves. but, it's a song that is simultaneously broody and upbeat, so it fit. that added to the beauty of the scene. in fact, the details of the scene didn't even fall together and make an impression on me until i noticed the disconnect between my joyous run down the street and the fact that i was singing lyrics like "hello, i'm neurotic."

get me out of here. i'm clearly going insane.

tonight at dungeons and dragons, i felt like an enfeebled demigod. i had a being that it was my job to watch over, whose strings it was my job to pull. but, there's so much other stuff, completely unrelated, weighing on my mind. it's stuff happening at my level of things, stuff that makes whatever may happen to my charge in the world below seem almost insignificant. it's stuff that can only be sorted out by the actual god, above me in the org chart, and stuff that needs to be sorted out before i can be trusted to do a good job shepherding my one charge through the world below.

Monday, November 12, 2007

it's the most wonderful time of the year.

and, i'm just about as happy about all the garland and ornaments and carols as this kitty is about wearing this hat.



(courtesy of bell witch, via cat macros.)

classes

on wednesday, i have to register for classes next semester.

i just took a look at what they are offering, and there are not thirteen credits worth of classes that i actually want to take. the only class that i am actually excited about conflicts with choir, so i can't even take it. [no class is going to keep me from singing next semester, not even advanced practical criminal procedure.] this is even worse than my last year of college. i literally have to register for thirteen credits of class for the sole purpose of completing my hour and semester-residency requirements.

this is depressing.

a memeload of good advice

taken from Hilary and Cecily:

William Shakespeare

Come not between the faceless_wonder and his wrath.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:


[faceless_wonder is my name on livejournal. so, yes. don't come between me and my wrath.]

too good for the end zone?

i have a pretty high tolerance for unsportsmanlike conduct. dancing, bragging, boasting...very little of it bothers me. professional sports [and even college sports] nowadays are so ridden with the players' egos that i usually just ignore all that dross in order to enjoy the game being played.

yesterday, patrick crayton did something that angered me.

crayton is a wide receiver for the dallas cowboys. near the end of the second quarter of the game against the giants yesterday, he caught a pass, broke a tackle and avoided another would-be tackler at the ten-yard line, and took it for a touchdown.

he didn't even deign to enter the end zone.

he brought the football across the plane of the goal line, gingerly stepped on the goal line, and set the football down in the end zone just over the line. he then walked away and started celebrating with his teammates.

i know it's not against the rules to do that. i know all that matters is that the football crosses the plane of the goal line. but, not actually going into the end zone in that situation just looks lazy and arrogant. the only good excuse for not actually entering the end zone is if someone stuffs the player at the goal line, but he managed to get the football over the line anyway. then, it's not laziness. it's necessity, and it's working hard to gain those extra inches to score the touchdown.

that wasn't the case. no one was pulling him down or even threatening to pull him down. there wasn't a red jersey within ten yards of patrick crayton when he crossed that goal line. it looked like he thought he was too good to actually enter the end zone--an intolerable attitude for a football player at any level.

best dating advice ever

i really should resign my position as a romance columnist for student life, because this comic conveys the best piece of dating advice ever.



amen, t-rex. amen.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

hindsight

this is the moment that reminds me most of her, and she wasn't even there.

it was a fall night my senior year of high school, after the costume crew meeting had gotten out. i was outside waiting for a ride home. i was talking with Susan, a freshman on the crew with me. despite her youth, Susan was far more level-headed than i was at the time, and even then more level-headed than i am today. she was a confident realist who didn't get bogged down in the usual dross of high school fantasy.

Susan and i were talking about her. she had spent the entire costume crew meeting fawning over her crush, one of the actors. she spent every meeting doing that. i was her usual sounding board for these reveries, since it was well-known among the members of the crew that i was crushing on the same actor. however, there was a difference in scope. sometimes i talked about things other than how hot i thought this particular actor was. she never did talk about anything else.

but, she was gone. her parents had picked her up and taken her home, and it was only Susan and i left sitting and talking on one of the short brick walls near the school's front entrance. Susan told me she was worried. she was worried about her, for focusing all her attention and energy toward an unrequited crush.

i was far less worried than she was. i've always been prone to getting carried away with almost anything, so it never worried me much when other people did. sometimes i found her incessant fawning about this boy obnoxious, but that was purely selfish. if it had been about anyone else, i would not have cared. i liked him too, and i often went into my own reveries about him. i was too polite to tell her to stop ranting to me about him, but i was still seething under the weight of my own feelings. still, i assumed that whatever was going on in her head was like what was going on in mine. i assumed it was her archetypal High School Crush: consuming in the short term, but eventually harmless.

and, that's what i told Susan. Susan maintained that it was something worse.

i still think about that conversation every so often. it haunts me. i didn't think much of it when it happened, or for the rest of that final year of high school. but, it rushed back to me one day my first year of college when my sister e-mailed me, telling me that she had killed herself. that was the first thing that came to mind...not anything that actually happened with her there, but this conversation with Susan.

these thoughts just came back to haunt me last night. i still feel bad. Susan had to have been right...mentally there was something there, something worse, that i could not comprehend. i don't know the circumstances still...i lost touch with her after i graduated college, and heard no more until the email from my sister. she was never my close friend, but i can never help but think that maybe if i had done something else, if i hadn't been so naive, i could have at least tried to prevent it from happening.

hindsight.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

let's kill!

let's kill is one of my favourite games. the premise is simple: you are a psychotic serial killer, and you want to kill as many stick figures as possible as you prevent other opponents, who are rival serial killers, from making big kills themselves. the weapons range from traditional instruments of mayhem (chainsaw, ak-47, axe) to more whimsical choices (spork, home garden chipper-shredder, weed whacker and a pound of coke). i play this game with my friends at school a lot, and we draw plenty of horrified glances from students and professors alike.

one of the cards you can play on someone else to make their killings worth less is called "political scandal." this turns out to be rather prescient. the game is published by Atlas Games--and one of the people who runs Atlas Games, John Nephew, ran for the city council of Maplewood, Minnesota this year. the local paper ran an article a few weeks ago; the fact that his company published that game caused some public outcry. someone even distributed fliers to local residents under a sham organization name, criticizing Nephew for marketing violent games to children.

that criticism in a municipal election is so irrelevant that it cracks me up. let's kill is a hilarious game. it's violent, of course, but not in the way that a real-life fights is violent. the game is cartoonish and satirical. more importantly, the fact that his company publishes such a work has no bearing on whether he would be a good city councilman or not. i'm not intimately familiar with the local politics or issues of this suburb of the Twin Cities, but i can confidently say that until they discover that someone in the town has actually killed a Gassy Old stick figure [who is actually Elvis] in a taco restaurant with a pair of tweezers there is far more relevant muck to rake in the city council election.

how did it all turn out? scandal or not, he got elected. there were two seats open, and he and his allied incumbent won the election handily.

Friday, November 09, 2007

hollow

"you can make me scream internally
you can make me breathe eternally"
"Hollow"
by Submersed

Thursday, November 08, 2007

they're multiplying.

jonathan lee riches © has sued the uniform commercial code. he has exposed mike tyson's taste in cheesy eighties tunes. he has uncovered michael vick's penchant for snoop doggy doggfighting.

and now, jonathan lee riches © has alerted us all to the existence of another jonathan lee riches ©, one who does not file lawsuits but rather makes nuclear weapons. it is not clear whether this parallel jonathan lee riches © likes or dislikes pakistan, but one thing is clear: he has put our genuine, lawsuit-filing jonathan lee riches © in jeopardy of getting deported to pakistan in 2012.

classhole.

the man in the black hat is a recurring character in xkcd. he cracks me up. he's such a jerk, and he's so pointed and unapologetic about it. take a look at these comics:







he's your hero now too, right?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

free rice.

just in time for finals, i present the best time-waster ever:

free rice.

it's a vocabulary quiz. you'll learn lots of fun new words. and, every question you get right helps provide rice through donating ad revenue to a united nations food programme. i found out about this website this morning through dan, and i've just gotten addicted to it.

i know i should be doing schoolwork, but this is a lot more fun. schoolwork was probably not going to teach me the word "panjandrum." panjandrum is a perfect word. it means self-important dignitary. the word just sounds and feels as if it should mean that.

it is now my life's goal to call someone a panjandrum to their face.

thanksgiving in chicago

southwest airlines for the win. i bought some nice, cheap plane tickets to go to chicago for thanksgiving, and that makes me happy.

i'm getting to chicago at 2:30 p.m. on wednesday, november 21, and i'm leaving on sunday, november 25, at 9:25 p.m.

so, if any of you are in chicago then, we should hang out.

(yes. this is an edited post...i originally booked my flight a week later, thinking thanksgiving is the 29th. i'm a total idiot. but, i fixed the flights--and will actually be in town for thanksgiving, not the week after. feel free to mock me mercilessly.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

heroblogging again?! really?!

i'm feeling like a guitar hero yet again. after a spectacular run at it, i've got five stars on all but three songs on the medium level of Guitar Hero 3: Knights of Cydonia (***), Raining Blood (***), and Number of the Beast (****). it was a little frustrating...on a ton of the songs i was two or three notes short of hitting all of them, but i couldn't seem to pull off just one full combo. my hands just like to go spastic during the middles of the songs.

i also tried starting a career on hard. i did the first level--and beat all the songs without failing out once! my left hand was very tired after doing that, but i'm heartened. i forced myself over my mental block against trying Guitar Hero 3 on hard, and was handsomely rewarded.

i'd be playing right now in these last couple minutes before the avenged sevenfold show, but my left wrist is still extremely angry at me. this game is going to give me carpal tunnel, but i really don't care. it's such a thrill to play.

A Robot Performs Standup Comedy to a Lackluster Response

the stuff on mcsweeney's ranges from amusing to side-splittingly hilarious. it features an understated yet demented brand of humour that makes me happy. i'm especially a fan of the lists; if you're not familiar with them, you should check them out because they're such wacky fun.

something posted on there today was pure comic genius:

A Robot Performs Standup Comedy to a Lackluster Response
by Michael Drucker


- - - -

Hello, world!

What level is everyone's excitement currently at?

I'm sorry. I cannot hear you. Would you please repeat your excitement, preferably at a louder volume? Thank you. I am also excited.

Have you ever noticed the difference between white robots and black robots? White robots are all 1001001, but black robots are all 0110110. Do you agree?

You have said that you do not agree.

Dating between robots can also be difficult. I will often say, "Please let me watch the local sporting event." But she will just as often say, "I want to spend time together!" The metaphor is that male robots and female robots speak different languages. Do you agree?

You have said that you do not agree.

Because you do not agree, I will now perform improvised crowd work. Where is everyone from?

I'm sorry; I did not hear your response. Could you please repeat that?

You said you were from "Go Fuck Yourself." Is this correct?

You have collectively said, "Yes."

I am not familiar with Go Fuck Yourself. The closest location I could find is Falkville, Alabama. Is this the location you mean?

You have collectively reassured me that you are from Go Fuck Yourself. Because I am not familiar with this location, I cannot speak humorously on its merits and flaws.

Do you have factories in Go Fuck Yourself? I was made in a factory. The funny setup is that robots make new robots. You, as a human, are probably thinking, "I would love to spend all day making more humans because the sexual experience is pleasurable to my flesh." However, the point of irony is that robots make new robots—but we do not have sex. We use lasers and molten metal. Am I right?

I assume that this man understands my point of view.

I am being shown the light, a symbol that tells me to politely end my comical discourse.

My name is RT-8500 and I will be here all millennium. Not that you will live that long. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. I am just kidding—although the facts I state are empirically true. Good night.

recap: wiley rutledge prelims

i had both my preliminary rounds of moot court, and they went as well as i could have expected, given the circumstances. everything was stacked against me first round, and everything was stacked for me in the second round.

first round was the on-brief argument. i always prefer arguing the side i didn't write my brief on, because i don't have to worry about whether my oral argument is consistent with the brief that i wrote. first round we were the petitioner. i far prefer being the respondent to the petitioner, because the petitioner speaks first and doesn't get a whole lot of time to rebut other arguments. i only had the five minutes at the end to give a rebuttal; my first eleven or twelve minutes were just making my affirmative argument about the sentencing reform act. as the respondent, on the other hand, the entire speech can be one big rebuttal. finally, first round we had a very cold bench. i had two or three questions from the bench during my eleven or twelve minute constructive, and none whatsoever during my five-minute rebuttal. it's a lot more fun when the judge asks questions, since otherwise i have to come up with more and more things to talk about, and it's really easy to get bogged down in the minutiae to fill the time and space.

i did as well as i could under the circumstances, though. i never blanked out, i didn't start reading from the brief, and i didn't get bogged down in anything too arcane.

second round, however, was the most fun i've ever had arguing a moot court round. we were the respondent, and off-brief, so i got to bring out my crazy argument that i mentioned yesterday, the abuse of discretion argument. the more i thought about it during the round, the more overarching it got--i ran a case that basically alleged that the statute the petitioners thought applied didn't apply at all, and therefore the discretion that judges have always had to run sentences consecutively or concurrently to a yet-to-be-imposed state sentence was not affected.1 i was getting grilled by one of the judges--it was a really hot bench. i spent more time answering questions of his than i did giving my outlined speech. that was fine with me, though. that was fun. before the round i laughed when i gave the timekeeper my time--my partner wanted eleven minutes, so i took nineteen minutes and cracked that i wouldn't use it all, of course. it turns out i used all of it, and probably could have kept going for another ten minutes.

i was really curious to see what the other team would say on rebuttal to my bizarre case, but that didn't happen. they used all thirty minutes in their constructives, and didn't leave enough time to rebut me. sigh.

we'll see if we break. i really hope we do, because it will make me very sad if yesterday is the only day i get to speak about the problem.

***
1 the traditional case is that the statute specifically affirms judges having that discretion in the case of a yet-to-be-imposed. but, that case admits that it's a question of statutory interpretation, and a question of whether the discretion exists. i didn't want to run that case, because then it would be completely nonsensical for me to argue that abuse of discretion is the correct standard of review. i think that case is just plain wrong, but it's moot court. moot court is a game, and it's a less fun game if i can't run bizarre off-brief cases and fight to the death to defend them.

Monday, November 05, 2007

the little devil on my shoulder does moot court.

off-brief arguments for moot court are so much fun, especially when the off-brief side clearly has the worst of the issue. off-brief arguments rule because you get to turn all that peremptory rebuttal you did in your brief into a real argument, but you're not really all that wedded to something you spent hours and hours writing, like you are when you're arguing on-brief.

on my issue, there are some really strange arguments in favour of the respondent (my off-brief side) that some of the circuits adhere to. although i would never actually make them as a lawyer, i think i'm going to make them during my off-brief argument tonight. i have the precedent to do it, and it'll be really, really funny to see what the other team does with them in rebuttal.

i'm especially excited about the standard of review issue. most respondent teams are just conceding that the standard of review is de novo because it's statutory interpretation, and then moving on. but, two circuits argue that the standard of review is abuse of discretion, because the act being reviewed was the judge's use of discretion in deciding whether the sentence could run consecutively to a yet-to-be-imposed state sentence. this, of course, presupposes the existence of that discretion in the first place--which is the issue that needs to be decided. it's a terrible argument, and i'm shocked that the tenth circuit and the fifth circuit are stupid enough to fall for such circular reasoning. but, part of the fun of moot court is embracing the oddball arguments when i can and making the other teams react to them.

if they ignore it, i'll be sad, but at least i'll have had a lot of fun going toe-to-toe with the judges to back up this insanity.

i'd add commentary, but the lyrics say it better than i ever could.

Blue Lights
by Pretty Girls Make Graves


hello
i'm neurotic
creating problems that don't exist
don't believe me when i say it's alright

let's go to my apartment
we'll pull the sheets up over our heads
forget all reasons to go outside

beats pulse
they're automatic
locked inside of my apartment
make confessions with the television on

i'm fine

Sunday, November 04, 2007

i win.

lou fell.

then i made it through "through the fire and flames"...FIRST TIME THROUGH without getting booed off the stage.

guitar hero 3 on medium has officially fallen.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

having a music collection is hard work.

i did something productive today, and i'm not talking about the mpre.

the mpre was probably not a very productive use of my time at all, because i probably failed it. i felt like i was guessing on most of the questions. i'm not really all that worked up about it, because the idea of a multiple choice ethics test still strikes me as patently absurd. i'm sure i'll be singing a different tune in five weeks...if my score is below 80, i'll be beating myself up. if my score is 80 or higher, i'll breathe a sigh of relief and move on.

after the test i needed a bit of retail therapy to get my mind off of it. i felt like music shopping. i hadn't been to vintage vinyl in forever, so that's where i headed. i spent half an hour or so sifting through the music; it was a fairly short trip because i needed to eat lunch, and because if i stayed any longer i'd have bought even more than i did buy. i ended up buying two CDs: "the new romance" by pretty girls make graves and "tinnitus" by the backyard babies. both of those CDs were risks, since i only knew one song on each of them1, but i thought that if the music was anything like the one song i knew on each, it would make me happy.

luckily, both of the albums i bought were good risks. the pretty girls make graves disc was upbeat and atmospheric, and i discovered a new song called "blue lights" that makes it seem like the band stole a snapshot of my life and made it into a song. the backyard babies disc was just a lot of fun, and i can see myself cranking up those songs really loudly if i'm trying to get myself excited for something.

after the shopping trip and lunch, i went home to put the music on my computer, so i can have the songs on my iPod to take with me. there's where my productive act of the day came in. after putting those on my computer, i decided to go through my cd collection and see if i could find the albums that i owned but had not put on my computer yet. i knew there were quite a few, because every so often i'd think of a song i really like and get very frustrated that it was not on my iPod--even though i knew i owned the album.

so, i went through all of my CDs and found about forty that i had not put on my computer. most of them were albums that i neither listened to nor thought about very frequently. but, five to ten of them were ones that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle when i thought i had put all of my favourite music on my computer. i even found one of my favourite albums ever, a CD that i thought had been lost in my move to st. louis over two years ago: "beginnings" by memento. i think i'll be listening to that one a lot in the near future in order to make up for lost time with that old friend of mine.

i'm still a little frustrated about one thing. i still can't find one of the albums that i know i have, an album that is still in my top five albums of all time: the verve pipe's self titled album. i hope i find that soon, because i don't know how much longer i'm going to be able to go without listening to that album. i've been thinking about it a lot lately.

***
1 i knew "this is our emergency" by pretty girls make graves, and i knew "minus celsius" by the backyard babies. i discovered both of those songs way back in 2003 or 2004 in the same place: radio wazee, an internet station that never fails to expose me to fresh new music. the station still exists, and is still the best radio station on the internet.

the history of lolcats

i love lolcats. they amuse me to no end. they're inane, of course, but they make me smile. and, if you like lolcats too...then you'll love this video from the Attack of the Show podcast:



i don't think i'll ever go through an egypt-themed exhibit again without mentally tacking captions on all the kitties.

plan your banner placement better

the american planning association recently released its list of ten great streets in america. one of the streets that made its list is the delmar loop, the main entertainment district near wash u. there are signs all over the loop touting this designation. there's a banner hanging above the street mear the loop's west end, not far from the University City city hall. there are signs in front of busy buildings, in the well-manicured front yards. these banners hang near bustling, pretty places along the street.

and then, one resides in a vacant lot near the eastern fringe of the loop, drooping between two wooden posts stuck into the ground. the sign does not detract from the ugliness of the plot of land...in fact, it draws into even starker relief the fact that the land is choked with weeds and discarded bottles instead of being occupied by a new, hip restaurant or shop. i don't doubt that the land will have something swanky upon it a few years into the future. but, it would make a lot more sense to confine the banners touting the accolade to places that deserve it, since i seriously doubt that such trashed lots are what make the street what the APA wants to set out as a paragon of good urban planning.

don't steal from clients, don't sleep with clients, and don't practice law without a license.

i'm as ready as i'm going to be for the MPRE, which means i'm really not all that ready at all. the test is at 9am tomorrow. i haven't studied enough for it at all, but i really need to get some sleep, and i'm thinking that sleeping is going to do me a little more good that this last-ditch effort to remember as many random snippets of the model rules as possible.

i haven't taken a standardized test in over four years--since october of 2003, when i took the lsat. but, i've always been pretty good at them, so hopefully that skill will carry me. it's going to be that skill, because it will definitely not be my knowledge of legal ethical rules, which is still almost nil.

Friday, November 02, 2007

my kind of town...not.

i want to give taryn all the cookies and shinies she could ever hope for. she sent me this link to today's married to the sea comic, and it's perfect:



i'm so glad i'm leaving this town soon.

the jonathan lee riches © chronicles

i had gone all week without justia news doing anything but posting the names of the lawsuits that jonathan lee riches © has filed. this defeats the whole purpose of justia as a place to actually read the filings. they have been posting the names of lawsuits, and they have been linking the documents written by the court, but they have not been posting the complaints themselves--which are almost always the only things worth reading. most of the court documents either order him to pay the filing fee or cite the stock language from caselaw that gives the court authority to dismiss fanciful lawsuits.

today, though, they finally threw me a bone, and posted a new lawsuit against brad pitt, angelina jolie, and their kids, accusing them of a plot to kidnap one kid from every country in the world.

the notable exception to the claim that the judges' documents are not worth reading is in re jonathan lee riches ©, a judicial order that prohibits him from filing any more lawsuits in the middle district of florida without payment of the statutory filing fee. the document takes such a serious tone in discussing mr. riches ©'s fanciful lawsuits. sometimes, though, the judge can't resist saying weird things. he refers to mr. riches ©'s litany of lawsuits as "a cross between Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" and a Dr. Bronner's soap label, if Dr. Bronner had been a first-year law student with untreated paranoid schizophrenia."

although, i was reading some of the dr. bronner's soap labels, and they don't remind me of jonathan lee riches © quite as much as they remind me of gene ray, of time cube fame. the weird pseudo-religious ranting is very similar in both cases. compare, for example:

dr. bronner:

Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Who else but God gave man Love that can spark mere dust to life! Poetry, uniting All-One! All brave! All life! Who else but God! "Listen Children Eternal Father Eternally One!

Einstein, 1939, after Nazis & Commies united, proposed spacebombs that destroy all, unless we finally teach the Moral ABC's the real Rabbi Hillel taught Jesus to unite all in All-One-God-Faith. As teach astronomers Abraham - Israel - Moses - Buddha - Hillel - Jesus - Spinoza - Paine - Sagan & Mohammed, inspired every 76 years, 6000 years by the Messenger of God's Law, the sign of the Messiah, Halley's Comet: "WE'RE ALL ONE OR NONE!" "THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD!" "TEACH LOVE THY ENEMY!" "LISTEN CHILDREN ETERNAL FATHER ETERNALLY ONE!" Israel-Moses-Buddha-Jesus-Mohammed: ONE! ALL ONE!


gene ray:

We have a Major Problem, Creation is Cubic Opposites, NOT taught Evil ONEism. Seek Wisdom of Cubic Life Intelligence - or you die evil. Evil God Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner Days rotating simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Earth - in only 1 rotation, voiding the Oneism Evil 1 Day 1 God. You worship Satanic impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

No 1 God equals 4 - 24 hour Days Rotating Simultaneously within 1- 24 hour Rotation of 4 quadrant created Earth. Ignoring 4 Corner Earth Days will Destroy Evil Humanity. I am organizing Children to join "Cubic Army of 4 Days" to convert Evil 1 Day Adults to 4 Day mentality existence, to serve perpetual humanity.


there are two major differences, of course. bronner preaches one and ray preaches four-and-not-one. also, bronner never really references himself and thus makes his ideas sound like something higher than himself, whereas ray makes himself sound as high as his own ideas. other than those philosophical differences they sound strangely similar to each other in terms of their carried-away writing style, liberal use of capital letters, and oddly religious themes.

jonathan lee riches © strikes me as more of a fringe fiction writer, a storyteller. like billy joel in "we didn't start the fire", he references famous people and famous events, although unlike billy joel mr. riches © somewhat detaches the references from their grounding in reality. [that's probably where the comparison to dr. bronner comes in.] but, the detachment with reality is not complete. he betrays an almost encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, as well as a grasp of major recent events in world affairs. he is far more likely to be a smart yet very bored man in prison than he is to be a man with a completely strange worldview, like dr. bronner or gene ray.