Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new york, so far

i've been a bit delinquent on the blogging in the last couple days...but i have been up to lots of cool stuff since i got into new york city on sunday. sunday night i just lied low, since i was so tired from not sleeping much in DC, and then the bus trip up to NYC. Rob and i watched a lot of beavis and butt-head, though. :D

monday, i went up to manhattan and had lunch with Jammie, which was a lot of fun. i hadn't hung out with her since my trip to new york in august, so it was really cool to sit around and chat and eat tasty bison burgers. i was still pretty tired, though, so i went back to long island after lunch. that night was a deliciously nerdy evening in with Rob...there was a hackerspaces.org conference call going on that night, where people from different hackerspaces and hackerspaces-in-the-works around the world all called in and gave updates about what their spaces were doing, or how far along they were in the process of getting their spaces up and running. since i'm involved with pumping station: one, the hackerspace being planned in chicago, it was really neat being on that call to hear what others were up to, and to say a few words about what we're up to. Rob listened to the call with me, thanks to the magic of headset splitters. :D

yesterday, i spent the day in an actual hackerspace. Matt from nyc resistor, the hackerspace in new york city, was also on the conference call monday night, and invited me to come visit the space since i was in town. it was such an awesome day...it was my first trip to a permanent hackerspace. [the only one i had been to previously was the temporary one they set up at HOPE this year.]

they have a laser cutter there, and we made a pumping station: one logo in it. there's a picture of me with the logo on nyc resistor's site, and i've also got a gallery on picasa of pictures of Matt with the logo, me with the logo, and the logo alone. it took a really long time to get the picture right...at first, all we had was a small thumbnail-sized logo. we tried to do what we each could with that, but we didn't get anything to work really well until Nathan, the pumping station: one member who designed the logo, emailed us a copy of the design which was larger, and in a vector illustration format so it could be sized to twelve inches by twelve inches easily. once that came in, Matt was able to reduce it to just the lines, delete the proper line segments [thanks to the "delete segment" function of corel draw...which is the image program on the computer attached to the laser cutter], and get the design we wanted to cut. then, we could FIRE THE LASERS!!!!



shiny.

i also found an old p5 glove that i adopted out of their trash bin. it's intact, but the company who made it has long been out of business...and the availability of linux drivers for it is rather fragmented. i need to find out how to get this to work on my boxen, and write up some kind of updated information about it. why? because old, crappy virtual reality gloves are cool, of course!

that brings us to today. first off, today's xkcd made me laugh so hard that i'm surprised no one told me to knock it off:

Party

other than that, Rob and i will be going into town for off the hook, which is tonight. that's always exciting...and i love seeing Rob do the show live. [well, it's cool seeing everyone else do it live, too, but i am not ashamed to play favourites!] after that, it's off to the new year's party, which is going to be full of fun outfits...i will need to take many, many pictures.

since this will likely be my last blog post of the year...happy new year, all!

Monday, December 29, 2008

News Crack Smokers Can Use: December 29, 2008

i am on vacation. however, since crackheads smoke crack and do idiotic, crack-related things whether or not they are on vacation, i will scour the depths of the interwebstubes to find the stupidest crack smokers of the week whether or not i am on vacation.

without further ado, i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • savvy automobile-driving crackheads should know that it is not only a crime to drive too fast--but, it is also a crime to drive significantly slower than a safe speed. however, if a police officer pulls you over for driving too slowly, you should pull over, act naturally, and keep your crack and your crackpipe hidden from view. you should not keep driving for a while, finally pull over, start smoking crack, and then stab the police officer with your crackpipe. not only will this lead you to a longer list of charges when you are arrested, but this will also put you on a list with george allen ward of crack smokers who are too stupid to take refuge at the last refuge of the persecuted crack smoker. [a big, persecuted crack smoker thanks to Taryn for this article!]
  • here at the News Crack Smokers Can Use, i frequently talk about bad places to hide your crack. the operative word here is "hide." crack is illegal, and if law enforcement [or some good citizen who is likely to turn you in to law enforcement] sees that you have crack, you're in trouble. i didn't think i was going to have to explain something even more simple than good and bad places to hide crack, but apparently i do. so, i will put it in simple words: hide your crack. don't leave your crack rock somewhere openly in view, like on the passenger seat of your car. this especially holds true if this car is not, in fact, your car--but a car you recently stole. otherwise, you make it far too easy for Officer Friendly to find your crack and take it away from you before you get the chance to smoke it. that's no fun.
  • speaking of being sneaky about hiding your crack, keeping your crack in the privacy of your own home is a good idea. the cops can't get into your house without a warrant or probable cause. if you keep the crack at home, don't draw attention to your home, and stick to smoking your crack at home, you may be able to evade arrest. however, if you are going to keep thousands of dollars of your precious crack in your house, don't smoke so much pot that members of your local constabulary can smell it from outside. as you should know, pot smoking, just like crack smoking, is illegal...and the authorities will follow their noses to your pot supply--and your crack supply.
  • to a lot of people, home ownership is the american dream. buying a home is [or should be, despite what the subprime lenders who helped us get into this economic mess may have said a year or two ago...] the culmination of many years of working hard, saving money, and picking out the perfect house. there is no rush to buy a home. it's good to start planning and saving toward that goal, but if you are fourteen years old, you have plenty of time to start squirreling money away...and to make that money from legitimate jobs. be a paperboy. stock shelves at a grocery store. flip burgers. when you're just a young teenager, there's no reason to be so anxious to accumulate that down payment that you must resort to selling crack.
  • finally, this week brings some News Crack Smokers Can Use in a completely non-sarcastic context. according to a recent study, HIV progresses to AIDS more quickly in crack smokers than in people who do not smoke crack. so, if you are HIV positive, you'll live a longer, healthier life if you learn to lay off the crackpipe. then again, no matter your HIV status, it is a good idea to stop smoking crack, because it will greatly reduce your likelihood of being mocked in a future issue of News Crack Smokers Can Use.

that's it for this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use! as always, if you have any strange or stupid tales of the lengths to which people will go to smoke or sell crack, send me and email!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

travelling...

i'm on the megabus, travelling from dc to new york. this bus has wi-fi on it, which makes me absurdly happy. the megabuses in the midwest never had wi-fi...or, at least, not as of may of this year, which was the last time i took the megabus. traffic hasn't snarled up too badly yet, which is good. then again, i keep feeling that it's only a matter of time before it does, since i'm still a good fifty miles out of new york city.

dc was awesome. i hung out with c4bl3fl4m3 for four days. during that time, there were two parties--a smaller dinner on christmas night, and a bigger gathering last night. both were extremely fun, and i met many interesting people at both of them.

friday night, the two of us also learned a lesson that will serve us well from now on: do not, under any circumstances, turn super mario brothers 3 into a drinking game. sure, getting through the first world or two is no big deal, but when you hit the first really hard level and knock back a shot every time you die, you are going to be very drunk, and very hung over the next morning. bad, bad, bad idea.

alright...i should probably wind this down, since i have been on my computer for a while and the battery is dwindling away. [next upgrade for megabus should be plugs at every seat!] who knows how much i'll be blogging from new york city, but needless to say, i'll be causing lots of awesome trouble with the epically snuggly Rob, and life will be good.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

best crunk parody ever.

this song has been stuck in my head since i heard it last night.



now, if i walk up to you and say something along the lines of "it's called speed stick! it's not expensive!", you'll know what i am talking about.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

:-D

alright...i'm all packed up, and i'm out of here. <3 keep your fingers crossed that my flight gets out on time, so by early this afternoon, i'll be in washington, dc hanging out with c4bl3fl4m3!

NEEDS MOAR WHIPPAGE OF THE LLAMA'S ASS

i have 1.7 gigabytes of wesley willis on my computer.

all i can think is...sigh. is that all? my collection is still seriously deficient.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

News People Who Put Up With Crack Smokers Can Use

i always get a lot of crack-related searches...this is, after all, the last refuge of the persecuted crack smoker. however, when checking my 100 most recent incoming links, i got two rather lengthy searches that turned up News Crack Smokers Can Use on the first page of google results. here are the search terms--complete with my advice for the searchers and anyone else in a similar predicament:
  • how to catch a crack head and send them to jail: seriously. this is not hard. sure, being a crackhead, per se, is not a crime. you can't get someone sent to jail just for being a crackhead. however, if the person you're thinking of is actually a crack smoking crackhead [as opposed to someone generally stupid who you're calling a crackhead-as-in-numbskull], your best bet is to call the police and tell them that the crackhead has crack. the local constabulary will be more than happy to act on your tip and take credit for removing another crackhead from the streets of their virtuous town.
  • how do you know if you have a crack head on your car?: first, we'll assume that you know that the thing on your car is, in fact, a human being--if you can't figure that out, you're beyond help. the method to use to figure out whether the person on your car is a crackhead or not depends on whether the person is dead or alive. if he is dead, call the cops. the cops will take him in, the coroner will do an autopsy, and the toxicology report should tell you whether he is a crackhead or not. if he is alive, ask him if he wants some crack. if he says yes, he's a crackhead.1 if he says no, he's probably not a crackhead.
hopefully this information will make your life a little easier when you absolutely, positively must deal with a crackhead.

***
1 yes, i know. the astute ones among you are probably thinking that it's a bad idea to ask a crackhead if he wants some crack if you have no crack to give him. it's definitely a risky thing to do, since the crackhead will think you have crack and may get angry at you for not giving him any. but, this is slightly less dangerous than the other alternatives for finding out whether he is a crackhead, such as rifling through his pockets or drawing blood for a drug test. if you do anything that requires contact, he may try to punch, kick, or cut you. at least you can ask him if he wants crack from a slightly safe distance...and get a head start on running away from him if he starts to break into hot, crackheaded pursuit.

one scary vajayjay

Taryn linked me to a name-that-duggar game while i was on the phone with Rob. the conversation meandered to the family's tv appearances, and the following exchange ensued:

Rob: i'm surprised they got her on tv. did they have to haul her vagina in behind her?
me: nah. besides--her vagina got a rest this time. the last baby was delivered by c-section.
Rob: THAT'S what they need to do--install a ziploc on her. yellow and blue make green!

Monday, December 22, 2008

News Crack Smokers Can Use: December 22, 2008

it's monday...and that means it's time for another installment of News Crack Smokers Can Use! each week, i scour the depths of the interwebstubes to bring you stories of the stupidest crack smokers. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a crackhead...you can add them to the list of things not to do, if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

this week, it was extremely tough to pick which stories to feature. it seems that as the weather gets bitter cold, people choose to warm up with their crackpipes instead of warming up around a toasty little fire or space heater. a lot of stupid crackheads got busted in a lot of colossally stupid ways, so i had to pick the best of the best in order to keep this from being five miles long.

so, without further ado...i present this week's [still-rather-lengthy] News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • technology is wonderful: sometimes. if you're selling clothing, pizza, or almost anything else, it's a great convenience to your customers to offer an order-by-phone service. one enterprising crack dealer decided that it would be wonderful to offer this service to his customers. however, my dear crack dealers, there are drawbacks to this business plan. if you offer an order-by-phone service, anyone can call it and you have no idea who they actually are until you deliver the wares. the caller could be a perfectly honest crack smoker who just wants some crack--or, it could be Officer Friendly. my dear crack dealers, you would be well-advised to stick to the old-school, face-to-face method of crack dealing. that way, you don't have to let your prospective buyer know you are selling crack until you know they are a real-live crackhead and not a member of your local constabulary.
  • crack transactions should be cash only. this rule makes life easier for everyone involved. crack smokers: don't buy crack on credit. this will save you the risk of being locked in an apartment by your crack dealer for several hours because you're $1000 behind on your crack payments. crack sellers: don't sell your crack on credit. this will save you the risk of your dissatisfied customer turning you in when you drive her to the bank to withdraw money to pay her crack debt.
  • if you are pissed off at your girlfriend for flushing your crack down the toilet, your best course of action is to break up with her, leave the house, and buy some more crack. your best course of action is not to tell 911 dispatchers that she is flushing your medication down the toilet. no matter what you call it, no matter whether you store it in baggies or pill bottles, it's still crack. the police just might notice that your "medication" comes in the rather suspicious form of little white rocks, and charge you accordingly.
  • my dear crack smokers, if you plan to keep crack around the house, you need to do a better job of hiding your crack. you may think that you're sneaky when you hide your crack in false-bottomed cans of Old Spice, WD-40, and Gunk, but take it from me: the cops are on to you. if you don't believe me, then take it from the nice man at the spy shop i visited a few weeks ago. he sells these cans in his shop--and still warns his customers that police check cans as a matter of course. if Officer Friendly picks up your can of WD-40 and hears tinkling and rattling, he's probably not stupid enough to think that real WD-40 makes that noise. it's your crack rocks, and you're out of luck.
  • our list of Bad Places For Crack Dealing already includes police stations and school zones. to this, we can add the sidewalk in front of the prosecutor's office. if your professional calling is selling crack, you'll have a much more profitable career if you stick to dealing your crack in back alleys, crack houses, and other private places. if you insist on selling your crack on the sidewalk, at least check to see that you're not selling it in front of a building full of people who convict crackheads for a living.
  • if the police come by your house while you are naked, and tell you that you are under arrest for non-drug charges, it is a good idea to put some clothes on. however, if you have a choice between shorts with crack in the pockets and shorts without crack in the pockets, you should make an effort to put on the crack-free shorts. yes, i know: if you're a crackhead, it's hard to go anywhere without your precious crack. but, if you're on the way to the police station, you're not going to get the chance to smoke any crack for a while. you'll be a lot happier if you leave the crack at home, get booked on the other charges, have your friend bail you out, and then come home to your crack supply. this is a far more pleasant outcome than the police confiscating the crack in your shorts and charging you with possession.
  • finally, in quite possibly the most shocking bit of News, a crack smoker actually made an apt observation! after being arrested for possession with intent to distribute as well as possession with intent to distribute in a school zone, our dear crackhead noted, "Granny will be fussing when I get home with this kind of charge." of course she will! if she's not a crackhead, she'll be disappointed that you had crack. if she is a crackhead, she'll be fussing about how you were stupid enough to get caught! either way, Granny will not approve.
so concludes this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use. as always, if you have any stupid crackhead stories i should know about, send them my way!

kill the physicists...

this morning's xkcd is brilliant...and hearkens back to all the guff i gave the chem majors when i was a physics major:

Unless the CS students finish the robot revolution before you finish the cephalopod one.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

winter is here.

right now, it's -5 outside, with a windchill of -30.

guess i'll be bundling up a bit when i leave the house.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

music meme

i've done this meme before...but not in a year and a half, maybe two years...so i'm doing it again. :)

Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing. [or, the first two lines, if the first line is absurdly short.]
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly in the comments.
  1. jesus take me in your arms...jesus where do i belong
  2. a long, long time ago i can still remember how that music used to make me smile -- "American Pie" by Don McLean (insertnamehere2)
  3. i am a good person to the max -- "Wesley Willis" by Wesley Willis (Rob T Firefly)
  4. we drive by their beautiful houses and peek inside
  5. let's put this cat in a bucket...they look so cute in a bucket
  6. once upon a time a man beat the hell out of me in the boxing ring -- "Gingerbread Knocked Me Out" by Wesley Willis [well, technically it was Wesley Willis and the Dragnews, but that was just Wesley Willis...he thought the word "Dragnews" sounded really cool, so he added it.] (Rob T Firefly)
  7. thought i could fake this thing alright...thought it could somehow get me by
  8. what's wrong baby...don't they treat you like they should
  9. can we talk about automatic satisfaction, sittin' back relaxing
  10. it's easier not to be wise and measure these things by your brains -- "I Alone" by Live (cce6)
  11. anyone caught in your mystery...keep it angry, keep it wispy
  12. she's taking her time making up the reasons to justify all the hurt inside -- "To The Moon And Back" by Savage Garden (murd0c)
  13. i hear a voice in my mind...i know her face by heart
  14. i tried to kill the pain but only brought more -- "Tourniquet" by Evanescence (agent_alpo)
  15. i'm trying to keep my feet on the ground...i'm getting to like this feeling i've found
  16. welcome to the station...now here's the situation -- "Better Off Alone" by The Marvelous 3 (cce6)
  17. he used to listen to lit...now david bowie does the trick
  18. and to love, a god...and to fear, a flame -- "Selling The Drama" by Live (agent_alpo)
  19. i am a cocaine addict...i do a lot of drugs -- "I Smoke Weed" by Wesley Willis (Rob T Firefly
  20. don't spit in my face...don't tell me what to do
have fun guessing! :)

clock the planet

what the guy behind me said: i got one of those big beds.
what i thought he said: i got one of those bigbens.

clearly my brain has not yet recovered from the clockers reading at the party last week.

Friday, December 19, 2008

this is officially Duggar Day at the last refuge of the persecuted crack smoker.

Taryn is a naughty, naughty Taryn. she sent me a link to the duggar family website, which i started reading out of a horrific sense of train wreck syndrome. sure, i have been on that website before, but not in a year or two...so, it's probably time go go back on there and see what sorts of things i had forgotten, or what sorts of things had been added.

i clicked on the FAQ and started reading. in the section discussing what the family does every day, it mentions some of their homeschooling rituals:

"Momma & older children gather around the table at 2:00PM for Wisdom Booklet group studies - science, history, law, medicine - part of our ATIA curriculm."

[yes. curriculum is misspelled just like that. clearly they've been spending so much time studying science, history, law, and medicine that they forgot to study spelling.]

i had never heard of the ATIA, although i could only assume that it was some kind of fundamentalist christian homeschooling organization. i started poking around the ATIA website, and found out i was right. i clicked a few links to see what sorts of information they had on their curriculum, and i found the mother lode: one of their wisdom booklets, posted online for all to read.

the whole thing is priceless, but it gets REALLY good at page 43--when they start discussing the rules of cross-examination. some of the rules themselves are actually things you would learn in a trial advocacy class--such as always knowing the answers to the questions that you ask before you ask them, or never making the questions more complicated than necessary. but others? like never cross-examining a witness unless you can prove he is wrong? i never remember learning that one, and in fact i remember learning how effective it is to cross-examine a witness about facts favourable to you--things they aren't wrong about, but just so happen to agree with your side on. however, the reason the cross-examination rules are total gold is not because of what the rules actually "are." it's the explanations that are given, and the suggestions for how you should repeatedly cross-examine your heart.

the "medicine" lesson, which discusses a rather pained analogy between anorexia and getting addicted to mourning, is also brilliant.

if that book is not enough, you can poke around here and see even more exciting "features" of these wisdom booklets. they're all hilarious.

***

but, amusement is not my only response--half of me is cracking up, and half of me is PISSED OFF. they're hilarious in the abstract, and infuriating when taken into the context in which they're actually used.

it's just so cloying--these books just can't present a kernel of knowledge without building some strained analogy to tie it into something biblical. it's such an educational disservice to these children, who have no control over the education they're getting, to be "educated" in an environment where every piece of knowledge has to be so carefully rationed off and so couched in analogies to religion. it doesn't lead to breadth of knowledge at all--it leads to tunnel vision, and leads to the anti-intellectual idea that any knowledge that doesn't fit into the nice little box is not worth knowing.

a spouse!

today's Dinosaur Comic is AWESOME.



this is one of those gags that only the golden rule stops me from doing. it would be so, so, so, so funny to pull on someone else--and only the knowledge of how pissed i'd be if someone did that to me stops me from doing this.

telephone trivia...

useless fact of the day: the word "ethics" and the name "duggar" require the same combination of telephone keys to type them.

this is entertaining, in that oh-so-disturbing way.

galoshes!!

everything's covered in snow!

it's gorgeous and awesome, but it highlighted something that my wardrobe lacks: boots made for inclement weather. i was walking down the mostly-unshoveled sidewalks gingerly, hoping to get as little snow as possible into my work shoes. of course, this didn't work out so well. the street corners were the worst, though--every single one of them had huge puddles of dirty slush, puddles so big that you'd have to walk halfway down the block to avoid them. since the el was running late anyway, i just had to slink through the puddles, hope i picked the shallowest part, and deal with the consequences. sometimes i picked something shallow...and, sometimes, it was several inches deep and my foot was submerged in the muck.

but, next time it snows, i will be ready. ohhhhhh, i will be ready. i will be ready with tall, steel-toed, heavy-duty rubber military-surplus galoshes.

bring the snow on.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

faulty pattern recognition

this article made me think of yet another Bad Argument in the section of bad arguments1 from the Dilbert book The Joy of Work:

FAULTY PATTERN RECOGNITION:
Example: His last six wives were murdered mysteriously. I hope to be wife number seven.

yeah...it's just a hunch here, but it may not be a great decision for your personal safety to get engaged to a guy who is suspected in the murder of his third wife and the disappearance of his fourth. i understand the whole concept of legally innocent until proven guilty--and, yes, no one should have their freedom taken away on little more than a pattern. i'm not trying to say Drew Peterson should be convicted on what's out there.

however, when choosing who you are going to date, much less enter into a long-term relationship with, the standard of proof needs to be a lot lower. it's your life, and no one else has a constitutional right to be in it. if a person gives you a vague sense of the heebie-jeebies, that's enough to justify not dating them, and there's not a darn thing they can do about it to entitle them to dating you.

if a person has a pattern of wives dying or disappearing under suspicious circumstances, that should make them darn near undatable in anyone's book. this prospective Wife Number Five has only been dating him for four months--it's not like they've been together for years and he had the chance to entrap her in a long-term abusive relationship that was impossible to leave before his wives started dropping off the face of the earth. she had the chance to find out who he was, see the pattern on the covers of the newspapers, and run the other way.

in short, if Wife Number Five disappears, i'm not going to have a whole lot of sympathy for her.

***
1 yes, the very same list of bad arguments that led to RogueClown becoming one of my internet handles. :)

the notorious b.o.a.l.t.

if this had existed in the fall of 2005, my Civ Pro grade probably would have sucked a lot less:



and yes. yes he did rhyme "bitches" with "permissive."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

:-O

it is so windy today that the snow is falling up past my office window.

the bisexual quiz

i was watching the llama song this morning, and one of the google text ads below the video was rather ridiculous:

The Bi Sexual Quiz
Are you Bi Sexual? Take the Bi Sexual Quiz & See if you are Bi


ummm...we'll leave the bad grammar aside for now. the last time i checked, i don't think anyone needed to click on any little online quiz to tell them whether they're bi, gay, straight, or any other sexual identity. it's a very personal decision.

then again, if [for some ridiculous reason] i had to write a quiz for the purpose of figuring out if they're bisexual or not, it would be pretty short and simple:
  1. are you sexually interested in both males and females?
  2. are you comfortable with the label "bisexual"?
if you answered yes to these questions, there's a pretty good chance you are bisexual. if not, there's a pretty good chance you are not bisexual.

sigh. internets.

eat them up, yum.

this is one of the few things from the eighties that doesn't suck.

the operative word is crack.

dear blog comment spammers,

yes, i know i am openly soliciting content ideas for News Crack Smokers Can Use. but, the operative word here is crack. leaving me comments advertising some new medicine that will help cigarette smokers quit is not only annoying, but it's not relevant. any attempts to advertise it here will simply be deleted. i'm sure there's some other blog that's all about News Cigarette Smokers Can Use--this is the internet, and you can find just about anything somewhere on the internet.

however, this is not that place.

no love,
the persecuted crack smoker

Monday, December 15, 2008

News Crack Smokers Can Use: December 15, 2008

it's monday...and that means it's time for another installment of News Crack Smokers Can Use! each week, i scour the depths of the interwebstubes to bring you stories of the stupidest crack smokers. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a crackhead...you can add them to the list of things not to do, if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

without further ado...i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • dealing crack is stupid. getting busted for dealing crack is stupider. but, if you are busted for dealing crack, your best course of action is to make sure you cooperate with your lawyer so he can provide you with the best possible defense at your trial. notice the words "at your trial"--that's right, you should also show up to your trial. you are not going to beat your rap by not showing up for trial. if you fail to appear for your trial, they might just convict you anyway and send you to jail for ten years.
  • before you decide to become a crackhead, take a look at your name and make sure that it's not easily mockable. if it is, and you become one of those stupid crackheads who ends up in the paper, people might make fun of you. this week, we had a stupid Newby who got out of prison for armed robbery and pot dealing about two years ago, and decided to get on the straight and narrow path by adopting a new career as a crack dealer. he was enough of a stupid Newby to get caught once...and did he think he'd be less likely to get busted selling crack out of a car with small children in it, compared to his pot dealing days? we also had a crack Head this week...thanks to the freakonomics blog we all know about the power of aptonyms, but i suggest to all of you Mr. or Ms. Heads out there that you become a haberdasher or a wigmaker instead. it's slightly more legal.
  • we all know that you should refrain from breaking traffic laws if you have crack in your car. it will greatly enhance your crack smoking experience if you can get the crack safely home, without police interference, to smoke it privately. but, the average crackhead should also know if this also holds true when transporting your crack by bike. if you are going to ride your bike with crack in your pocket, you should make an effort to comply with the local bike laws. if the law requires that you have headlights and taillights on your bike, put them there. furthermore, whether you are on bike, car, or foot--do not consent when the police ask to search you. of course, this is common sense for anyone whether they are carrying crack or not. but if you are carrying crack, and you consent to a search, the police will find it and be able to use it against you. you will be screwed.
  • and, finally, thanks to Taryn...we have a toothpaste for dinner cartoon about the depths to which crack smokers will fall to get money for their crack. i don't suggest stealing copper tubing for crack or anything else, nowadays...scrap copper prices have been plummeting. you'll have to steal almost three times as much copper as you would have had to steal six months ago to get that crack. copper is big and clunky enough, as is...so i advise you crack smokers to find a new way to fund your crack habit until the copper markets improve.



so concludes this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use. as always, if you have any stupid crackhead stories i should know about, send them my way!

i'm not a fed, but...

i'm now admitted to practice before the United States Distrct Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

yay, federal court!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

reminiscing

reading my really old blog entries messes with my head. i'm reading through stuff in 2003 right now...and, wow, i was an extremely unhappy person in late 2003. i remember being really frustrated with school, but seriously, i forgot how every single blog entry from back in that day was about how awful i felt and how many nervous breakdowns i was having.

thank goodness i've moved beyond that, at least somewhat. i seriously don't know how my friends put up with me five years ago.

EDIT: i just found a post from late 2004, in which i was marveling at the availability of music video code to put in a blog. i forgot that was ever a shocking revelation to me, now that youtube has gotten so big.

also...i bitched about the same song, "be claus i got high" by bob rivers, in 2003 and 2004. that song still sucks, but i can't say that bob rivers sucks--at that point, i had no idea that he was also the guy behind "the twelve pains of christmas", which is one of the very few holiday songs i can actually stand:

i unnderstan...



the answer to this picture is simple--because that computer is an eeepc, and is really, really shiny.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

year in review, part one...

stolen from Rob, murd0c, and the rest of the interbutts:

Look at the posts you’ve made in the past year, and paste the first line of the first post of each month.

january: happy new year!
february: headline news is on in the lounge. most of it is boring...blah blah blah election...blah blah blah weather...so i'm not really paying attention.
march alright, i'm finally back to normal.
april: the preliminary rounds of the environmental moot court competition were last night.
may: wash u released a press release today, naming the six people to whom they plan to confer honourary degrees at commencement this year.
june: i just saw that i have no barbri this friday...or this monday.
july: the nba draft was last week.
september: courtesy of today's xkcd: whoever finds me one of these, or even tells me where there is a store where i can buy one of these myself, will have my undying gratitude.
october: i passed the bar!!!!!
november: after ten minutes of frantic credit carding and five minutes of frantic loading and reloading before it, Rob and i are the proud owners of tickets to Shmoocon 2009!
december: damn you, EBay, and your lack of keytars that cost less than several hundred dollars.

what a weird year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

facebook shakedown

oh, facebook. first you take "pornographic" out of the choices for ad tagging, so i have to type it in the "other" box every time that i want to tag an ad for engagement rings or Oprah's Latest Acai Berry Diet.

and, now, you've moved on from posting ads aimed at getting women to demand engagement rings and promise rings to ads aimed at getting people to satisfy that fabricated demand for fear of losing them:



if this doesn't sound like a threat of "Buy Her Jewelry Or Else", i don't know what does.

although, i guess i have to give facebook a smidgen of credit this time...i was logged in on my own account when i saw this ad, so instead of blasting this dross at just men, they must instead be sending these ads to people, regardless of gender, who list "women" as one of their entries in the "interested in" field. yay progress, i guess?

halp!

i'm going to a party this weekend, and it would be really, really cool if i could pull together something steampunk for it.

given that i don't know jack shit about putting together a fun steampunk outfit...suggestions are welcome. <3

and, if you live in chicago and want to go to the party with me...go to the website and rsvp. there's apparently a steampunk adaptaion of the movie hackers, and they're reading it at the party. it should be hilarious.

:D

after work yesterday, i went to the chicago bar association's young lawyers' division holiday party. on the way, though, i had a very fun detour. on the way to the party, i passed by the Rock Records store, on Washington between Wells and LaSalle. they must be going out of business or something, because everything in the store was 70% off. so, i went in there and did what any good citizen would do: purchased three Meat Loaf albums. the combination of this, and the fact that the back of my debit card is rather worn, led to the following entertaining exchange between me and the record store clerks:

clerk #1: can i see your ID?
me: sure. thanks for checking...it's probably good to make sure it's actually me, and that some random guy didn't steal my debit card and use it to buy an obscene amount of Meat Loaf.
clerk #2: oh, i've seen obscener.
clerk #1: this conversation would have a completely different meaning if we were at a deli.

i can't decide what was more entertaining: that conversation, or the fact that i left the record store with three shiny new Meat Loaf albums for $14.

finally, i did get to the holiday party. i ran into a few random people from law school and met a few new people, but spent most of the weekend drinking wine and chit-chatting with the foof. at the party, there was a raffle for some restaurant gift certificates. it was weird...no one was listening, so they just kept drawing tickets until someone who was not too drunk to notice actually heard their number called and claimed the ticket. thanks to this, they eventually did get to my raffle number, and i ended up scoring a $50 gift certificate--which we immediately took to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba and spent on lots of yummy tapas and sangria. the baked goat cheese was especially amazing, and the next time i go there it's going to be extremely difficult not to just get a bunch of that. also, it had been far, far, far too long since i had just spent a night hanging out with kevin...which is a tragedy, and it needs to happen far more often.

in short, last night was awesome.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

it's like hunting cows.

well played, Jon Stewart. well played.

a question of percentages

i was reading this morning's new york times online, and got to the section of letters to the editor. the times had recently published an article addressing the issue of abortion, so of course there were pointed and opinionated letters on each side of the issue.

one of them, however, made me so mad i can't see straight:

To the Editor:

For some people, abortion is a nonnegotiable issue. A nation that runs out of people cannot perform the activities of a sophisticated society.

We have a shortage of primary care doctors. There are other skilled-worker shortages. You cannot kill the future population of a nation and then wonder why that nation does not have the people it needs to do the jobs it requires to function.

Our nation needs to face up to the 48 million lives lost through abortion since 1973. I think at least some of that number would have become the skilled people we need now and will need even more as our population ages.

Abortion is at the very center of a host of our troubles.

Elinor Hite
Carrollton, Tex., Dec. 7, 2008


come again? is she actually trying to say that we would not have skilled labour shortages if none of the pregnancies that had been aborted were aborted? let's accept, for the sake of argument, that there were 48 million more americans right now.1 sure, some of those 48 million more people would reach adulthood and take up skilled professions and trades.

however, simple math gives me this funny little idea that they wouldn't take up skilled professions and trades at a rate staggeringly different than the rate at which people who are currently alive would take up skilled professions. so, yes, there would be more people to take care of the people now who don't have enough access to doctors or other skilled workers--but, there would also be millions more people demanding their services. if the proportion of skilled workers in this added population remains anywhere close to the proportion of skilled workers in the current population, there will still be a shortage.

in other words, ending abortion is not going to increase access to health care or other skilled services. simply having more people hanging around without changing the culture and the opportunities that surround them will not only continue current patterns of limited access to skilled professionals, but increase already mounting concerns of overpopulation.

the only things that will increase access to skilled professionals are things that increase the proportion of needed professionals in our population. this includes making sure that children are given a solid foundation of educational basics in primary and secondary school, as well as making sure postsecondary and postgraduate education are financially feasible for the students who choose to attend.

***
1 of course, i doubt there would be 48 million more people if abortion were not legal. there is dispute over whether the 48 million figure is accurate. furthermore, aside from that, 48 million abortions over 35 years would be highly unlikely to result in a 48 million person increase in the population. some of the pregnancies would have been terminated illegally. some of the pregnancies would have miscarried. some of the pregnancies would have gone to full term, but the people who had been born would have died already. some of the parents would have chosen not to have children that are now the people who currently exist, since they already had their hands full taking care of the child who resulted from the pregnancy that otherwise would have been aborted. in short, i'm using a sort of summary judgment standard here: as the one trying to dismiss her argument, i'm looking at her premises in the light most favourable to her argument that not having aborted those pregnancies would provide relief of any shortage of doctors and skilled workers.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

a hackerspace? in chicago?

i went to a meeting for pumping station one tonight. i'm psyched. there are good people on the project, and hopefully we'll get even more on board in the near future.

there's a lot of work ahead of us, but it will be interesting and rewarding work...and soon, chicago will have a hackerspace.

no more Rod For Us?

yes, it's all over both the mainstream media and the blogosphere--my governor is a dumbass. he has already been under fire for corruption. he has been under investigation for corruption. he knew he was under investigation, since it has been all over the front covers of the newspapers for months upon months. and, while he knew he was under investigation for political corruption, he tried to sell a senate seat.

i didn't think people could be quite this stupid. i was wrong.

the criminal complaint is a hoot. it's long, but it's such a funny read. it goes into all kinds of detail about the threats, extortion, and bribery schemes Dear Old Rod thought he could get away with. the most entertaining thing about the complaint is the fact that his name is in all capital letters every single time it pops up. the more his name is repeated in all capital letters, the funnier it gets. consider this choice excerpt:

Later in the May 12, 2004 recorded call, Cellini asked Levine “did he tell you, too, that the big guy said Rosenberg means nothing to him.” Levine testified that he understood Cellini to be stating that Cellini had been told by Rezko that ROD BLAGOJEVICH (the “big guy”) was aware of the extortion, that Rosenberg meant nothing to ROD BLAGOJEVICH, and that Cellini was asking if Levine was told something similar about ROD BLAGOJEVICH.

and, seriously. "the big guy"? they still do that in real life? if i didn't know any better, i'd assume this pleading was, in fact, a script for a trashy mob movie.

Monday, December 08, 2008

"aid for women"? really?

crisis pregnancy centers offend me. they hold themselves out to be places where women can figure out what to do when they're pregnant, when in fact their agenda is simply to stop women from getting abortions, no matter what.

in an entry he posted today, foofy attorney discusses the danger and tragedy of these places more eloquently than i ever could.

\O-O/

i had my annual eye exam today. i always love getting a fresh set of contacts...and, even more awesome, i got new glasses this year as well! i hadn't had new glasses since 2002. they broke last year, but i never got around to getting them replaced. i finally got sick of having to wear my contacts whenever i wanted to Not Be Blind, so i sprung for a new pair of glasses this time as well.

they're adorable. i'm waiting for them to finish making the lenses; that should be in about fifteen minutes. i'll post pictures of them soon. :D

*squee*!

what?

in today's chicago daily law bulletin, there is an ad for a filing and paperwork procesing service with the following headline:

With the high cost of gasoline and summer congestion starting let The Attorneys' Clerk do your road work...

did anyone bother to tell her that it was December, and that gas in Chicago was down to between $1.69 and $1.79 a gallon?

News Crack Smokers Can Use: December 8, 2008

i've decided to make News Crack Smokers Can Use a regular feature on this blog. this is, after all, the last refuge of the persecuted crack smoker.

what does this mean? it means that every week, i'll entertain you with the stories of that week's dumbest crack smokers. if you're not a crackhead, take pleasure in the fact that you're not as stupid as these people. if you are a crackhead...you can add them to the list of things not to do, if you don't want to get busted for being a crack smoker.

without further ado...i present this week's News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • if you are running away from the cops, do not eat your crack. it may seem like a good idea at the time, but it's really not. if the cops catch you when you've got crack on your person, you are probably screwed. if you want to attempt to slip away, you can try to slickly drop your crack into a thicket, a sidewalk drain, or an open garbage can as you run away. it's not a slam-dunk, as the cops may see you, or see it when they search where you ran. but, it's better than eating it. not only may the cops see you eat the crack, but your body may have a bad reaction when you eat an entire crack rock. imagine how embarrassing it will be if the cops catch up to you, you're trying to explain to the police that you didn't have any crack, and then you puke your crack right back up onto the sidewalk. not only is that gross, but you'll be arrested for crack possession in short order.
  • don't sell crack in school zones. just, don't. this holds true, even in the middle of the night. police are rather picky about what goes on near schools, and if you sell crack in a school zone, they'll probably bust you sooner or later. take my word for it, and find another place to peddle your wares. you'll be a far more successful crack dealer.
  • remember how i informed you last week that prosecutors should refrain from the crack? this also holds true for narcotics officers. if you're a cop charged with seizing drugs, you should promptly record all of the drugs you find and lock them in the evidence lockers. you should not keep the crack for yourself. you should not smoke the crack. you should not sell the crack. it may sound like a sneaky way to score some dope or to make a quick buck, but the boss is going to get a little suspicious if you made a nice little drug bust...and then some of the crack didn't quite make it to the evidence locker. my advice is that you should choose one calling: crack or police work. don't try to combine them. it won't work out. still, though, if you are that intent on being a crack smoking cop, please at least try to refrain from smoking crack at the police station.
  • in case my previous advice to lawyers and cops has been far too specific for your tastes, i'll state it in general terms: if you're any kind of public servant, please stop smoking crack. this includes you, mail carriers. your mail delivery route is just that: a mail delivery route. it's not a crack delivery route. and, it's not going to help your case if the cops find you smoking crack in the back of your mail truck soon after seeing you delivering the precious gift of crack to your daughter.

alright...those are the dumbest of the dumb crack smokers i've found for the week. tune in next monday for more News Crack Smokers Can Use. i'll keep an eye on the crackheads, but if you find a stupid crack smoker story that you think should be included in next week's News, send it my way!

a paean to clippers

i am never getting my hair cut with scissors again.

when i go to the salon, i always have the same thing happen over and over again:
  1. i ask the stylist to cut my hair to somewhere between .5" and .75" all around.
  2. they cut my hair with scissors.
  3. it's still too long, so i tell them that, and they have to cut all my hair again.
  4. after another go-round with the scissors, it's still too long, but there's not a whole lot else that they can do with scissors, and i feel bad making them try to snip away at my hair a third time.
  5. i leave the salon disappointed that my freshly-cut hair is still not short enough for my liking.

yesterday, i had a revelation. the stylist buzzed my hair with clippers. my experience went a little something like this:

  1. i ask the stylist to cut my hair to .5"-.75" all around.
  2. the stylist pulls out the clippers, and suggests a #4 (.5") on the sides, a #6 (.75") on top, and a #5 (.625") to blend the sides into the top.
  3. the stylist cuts my hair once around, with the proper settings on the clippers.
  4. i look in the mirror, and notice that after one cut with the clippers, my hair is nice and short--looking exactly how i wanted it to look all along.
  5. i leave the salon with a big smile on my face.

now i know why my guy friends often opt for the clippers and describe their hair lengths in terms of the numbers on the clippers. there's no room for guesstimation or variance in hair length--the stylist puts the proper clipper length attachment on, the stylist buzzes off the hair, and the hair is the proper length.

verdict? hair clippers rule.

holiday travels

alright, to any of you in DC or New York, this is your lucky day!

well, maybe not today...but soon. and, it's only "lucky" if you enjoy such oddball things as "hanging out with me." :)

however, i'm going to be in washington, dc from Dec. 24 through Dec. 28, to hang out with CableFlame, and then i'll be taking the bus up to New York City to ring in 2009 with Rob from Dec. 28 until Jan. 4.

if you're going to be in either of these place during those times, and want to hang out with me, leave me a comment or send me an email!

doctors for jews for jesus

i was reading the new york times this morning, catching up on all kinds of SRS BSNS NEWS, and i encountered the strangest ad i've seen in a long time.



has Jews for Jesus finally decided that they're going to go for respectable-looking ads instead of those crudely hand-drawn pamphlets that the people were always handing out next to the University of Chicago bookstore back in the day? if so, that may help the perceived legitimacy of their cause, but i doubt that claiming that Jews for Jesus is "more important than a cure for cancer" is going to help much.

i'm not saying doctors shouldn't be religious. what i am saying is that showing a doctor proclaiming that Jews for Jesus is more important than a cancer cure is unnecessary hyperbole that delegitimizes both the depicted doctor and the movement for which the doctor is shilling. i think the ad is trying to say that finding religion is an extremely important thing, and that Jews for Jesus isn't as crazy as they get a rap for being, because respectable, professional people have turned to them. that's not quite how the ad comes off, though. it sounds like the ad is saying that it doesn't really matter whether cancer in this life is cured or not, as long as people find Jews for Jesus to save them in the afterlife.

in other words, i see what the person(s) responsible for crafting the ad campaign were trying to do; they just didn't do it very well.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

math-matic

do you have a spare UNIVAC lying around your home or office? are you curious how to program it?

today's your lucky day.

even if you don't have a spare UNIVAC lying around, it's a pretty fascinating read.

an introduction to lock picking

yesterday was awesome. i spent the afternoon picking locks in a spy shop in skokie.

we've got a pretty healthy lockpicking contingent at our 2600 meeting here in chicago...in fact, the meeting is concurrent the chicago meeting of toool, the open organization of lockpickers. i had tried picking a lock at a previous meeting, but never really done much with it--and got very frustrated, because i could not get a supposedly easy lock open to save my life. i didn't pick any locks at the meeting friday night, but i overheard that one of the lockpickers at the meeting worked at u-spy, a store in skokie that sold spy gadgets and lockpicking equipment. i had been batting around the idea of getting some lock picks for a while, since i thought there'd be no way i'd ever get decent at picking locks if the only practice i got was at the 2600 meetings. i didn't have anything planned for yesterday, so i decided to go up there and see what they had.

even the ride to and from skokie was awesome. if it had been a weekday, i would have been able to take the train, but the skokie swift does not run on weekends. however, there were buses that got me to within about half a mile of the store. the bus rides were gorgeous. snow was falling. i saw snowy houses, snowy shops, snowy parks, snowy groves of trees...i highly recommend taking a long bus ride on a snowy day, because you'll see so many breathtakingly beautiful scenes.

i had a blast at the store, as well. i was in there for an hour and a half. the guy from the 2600 meeting was there, and he gave me a detailed tutorial about how locks worked, and some basic techniques for picking them. it turned out the biggest reason i couldn't get the lock open a few months ago was that i was pressing down really hard on the tension wrench--if you put any more than the lightest pressure on it, the pins inside the lock will get stuck in weird positions, and the lock will never open. i got the hang of how little pressure to put on that, and then i started to see some success. i was playing with a board of four locks: two easier ones, and two harder ones. i got the two easy ones open several times in rapid successsion, which made me feel good. even one of the harder ones i got open several times quickly, which gave me a boost of confidence. one of the hard ones took me about forty-five minutes to figure out, but i eventually got all four locks on the board open.

i was having interesting conversations with people in the store while i was picking, and i even taught a middle-school-aged kid who came into the store the things i had learned about locks that day. after i explained all of that to him, he was able to get the two easier locks on the board open. that felt pretty good, that i was able to explain what i had learned well enough to teach someone else how to do what i was doing.

i finally left after about an hour and a half. it was a long way back from skokie on the buses, and i wanted to get back to chicago before it got too dark. i bought a set of lock picks, and he gave me a lock to practice on. [yes, i have managed to open it several times...yay!] i want to pick up a few more practice locks today at the hardware store around the corner.

my goal is to be able to pick my apartment lock. it's probably going to be tough, since it's hard enough to get open with my key. however, it would be awesome to figure my own lock out...not to mention convenient, if i am an idiot and leave my keys at home.

Friday, December 05, 2008

chicago 2600

i'm at 2600 right now. it's a small crowd this month, but cool people are here, and it's probably the most fun meeting i've been to since i started attending 2600 meetings.

i'm frustrated because i can't ssh into my box at home. it's my fault for being stupid--i should have made sure the port was still open, and that the dynamic ip hadn't reset itself. i hadn't checked that in about a month, because i hadn't had the need. i should have checked. i didn't, so i can't access the data on my main computer--which means i cannot access the program i wanted to work on from here.

[what kind of program? that's for me to know and you to find out...maybe...if i decide to tell you.]

however, all kinds of awesome has transpired, enough that i can almost get over my idiocy and my inability to access my program.

first off, i found out about unetbootin, which is a program that makes bootable usb sticks of linux distributions. this is awesome, because the process of manually making bootable usb sticks is a royal pain in the ass. i've killed several perfectly good usb sticks while trying to make them live...and, even if i didn't kill them, i still couldn't boot from them. in other words, i was full of fail. apparently i'm not the only one who finds that process to be a total pain in the ass, so it's exciting to have a program to help me make them now.

secondly, it turns out that planning meetings for a chicago hackerspace have started! i knew there were rumblings about it when i was at 2600 two months ago, but it's actually happening. meetings are tuesday evenings at 7pm, at mercury cafe...i know what i'm doing on tuesday nights from here on out!

on karaoke

there was an article on the new york times website today about karaoke rage. there was recently a guy who was killed in a karaoke establishment because someone else thought he was hogging the mike. every so often, there will be news articles about people who are severely beaten or killed because they butchered someone else's favourite song, or because they just plain sucked at karaoke.

maybe this is because i'm american, and americans don't take their karaoke quite as seriously, but--don't you expect people to suck and/or try to get as much performance time as possible at karaoke? that's kind of the point.

you don't have to be any good at karaoke to go and sing. there's no vetting process--anyone who shows up and signs up gets to sing. some people are really good. some people are really bad. most people fall somewhere in between. the point is, they feel like doing it. if you're in the bar, and you don't want to listen to any old joe off the street pick up a mike and sing--then don't go to the bar on karaoke night. there are a million other places to get your Drink and/or your Socialization on. so, if you don't feel like listening to people who suck at karaoke, don't go to a certain bar when it's karaoke night and start beating up or killing the singers that suck. just find another bar that doesn't have karaoke that night.

and, if a guy hogs the mic, it's not necessarily the guy's fault. i get the feeling that a lot of people who sing karaoke want to hog the mike. karaoke singers, especially the hardcore ones, are attention whores. karaoke bars should know this, and have the karaoke host make a proactive effort to manage the requests to sing, and mix the new singers in with people who want to sing multiple times. most good karaoke bars get a rotation going, and insert new singers accordingly, so no one person hogs the mic. at bars that just let people sign up on a sheet and sing in the order they sign, be prepared to see the hardcore karaoke freaks come up to the stage frequently. if you don't like mic hogs, ask the management to institute a rotation, or find another karaoke bar that regulates its rotation well.

luckily, i've never seen a particularly egregious episode of karaoke rage. i've seen a little grumbling and jeering at times. the closest thing to karaoke-fueled violence i ever saw was at Tom's, this really shitty karaoke bar in st. louis that i went to a few times, as a last resort. i was there with the foof, and he was up there singing. he wasn't quite in his best voice that day. some old guy at the bar picked up his oxygen tank, lugged it across the bar with him, and started chucking popcorn at foofy. one of the bartenders quickly noticed, made him stop throwing popcorn, and escorted him away. although it's definitely not a nice thing to do, a doddering old guy chucking popcorn is a far cry from actual karaoke-related violence; if that's the worst i've seen after all the karaoke i've done over the years, i feel safe in saying that it's a lot safer to be a karaoke singer in america than it is to be one in a country where they take it far more seriously.

***

also, in that article, they reference a comment made by malaysia's information minister, putting down karaoke singers by comparing them to bloggers, and stating that they "take pleasure in their own singing but have no influence." that's true, but what's the harm in it? as someone who avidly blogs and avidly sings karaoke, it seems obvious to me that i like both blogging and karaokeing for similar reasons.

i'm not good enough at singing or at writing to do them professionally, but i still really like doing both of them in public. at karaoke, i have an audience of whoever happens to be in the bar that night, and if someone finds me good or entertaining, cool. if not, it's no big deal. it's the same thing with blogging. this blog is on the internet, and i have an audience of whoever stumbles across it from a link or a google search. if they come across it, like it, and start to follow it, it makes me happy. if they come across it and think it sucks, no harm done.

i can think of few less bothersome ways to indulge the fact that i'm a self-important asshat than karaoke and blogging. i'm not forcing myself or my delusions of grandeur on anyone in either case. at karaoke, the only people who have to listen to me are the people who willingly walked into a karaoke bar. on my blog, the only people who have to put up with what i blather on about all the time are the ones who choose to follow my entries on their link lists or rss feeders.

no harm done.

i generally don't like salty things, but this is an exception.

dear Chicago Transit Authority,

i love you, but we really need to talk.

over the last week or so, the weather has turned decidedly wintry. the temperature has rarely been above freezing for longer than a couple of hours at a time. snow has fallen, melted, and refrozen into ice.

it's this that we need to talk about: the ice. yes, it's bad enough when there is ice on the sidewalk. i'm careful when i step, and i try not to fall. if i fell, it could hurt a bit, but life-threatening consequences of slipping and falling on the ice are extremely unlikely.

even so, most of the businesses and landlords around dear old wrigleyville are doing what they can to make my life a little easier--or, at least, to avoid getting sued by someone who slips and falls on their portion of sidewalk. i know it's a new concept at the forefront of accident prevention, but i would like for you to listen carefully: they went to the hardware store, bought a bag of salt, spread the salt on the sidewalk, and got rid of the ice.

as icy as the sidewalks were before the salt was applied, they were not nearly as icy as the platform at the southport brown line station still is. this has turned my morning commute from a joyous indulgence of my public transit love into a scary, scary experience. if i slip on the ice on the el platform, i face the same possible consequences as falling on the sidewalk. i could rip my clothing, scrape my knee, or break a leg or an arm.

however, i face also face the additional dangerous possibility of slipping and falling off of the platform onto the train track. once that happens, i have two wonderfully transit-geeky ways to shuffle off this mortal coil: either getting shocked by the third rail, or getting run over by an oncoming train. as much as i love your trains, i'm not quite ready to die prostrate before one of them simply because i'm a klutz who slipped on a patch of ice.

in short, salt the platform. now.

if you don't have the money to do it now, i question the priorities espoused by whoever writes your budget. but, i know there are fare increases kicking in for the new year. you can at least use some of that new money coming in to buy some salt for the el platforms. it'll make me feel a lot safer during my commute, and will be a lot less expensive than the inevitable wrongful death lawsuit when someone slips on your unsalted el platform, gets shocked by the third rail, and is then flattened by an oncoming train.

love,
the persecuted crack smoker

we know we've all been there, and we know it never works.

so true: today's xkcd.

even truer: the alt-text of today's xkcd.

Friends with detriments.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

massages and strange phone calls

it's only two thirty, and it has already been a weird day at work. not bad weird...just weird weird.

i've had quite a bit of work to do today, which is good. i can't go into more detail than that for obvious reasons, but things have been getting busier, which is making me far happier at work.

this morning, the fitness centre in the building [which i've still been too much of a lazy-ass to actually join...] had free massage day. it kicked ass...you could go down there and have a five-minute chair massage, just like that. i didn't even know it was going on until they circulated an email about twenty minutes beforehand, but i signed right up and had an unexpected back massage. my back has been really tight these last couple days, so it definitely helped.

i got back from my massage, and i had a voice-mail. as a new attorney, i don't get all that much voice-mail, so i was on alert. i listened to the message. the message was appropriately vague, and i wasn't even sure it was for me because the person leaving the message was speaking so fast that it sounded like "hello, garbled." still, i took down the number, and set it aside to call them back [and figure out who it actually was...] in a little while, when i wasn't quite so busy with the project i was working on.

it turns out the call was from a headhunter.

i had always read about getting calls from headhunters. be it in dilbert comics, legal profession blogs, or other such places, i was familiar with the concept of getting cold-called by legal recruiters. still, i assumed it wouldn't happen for a while, between the fact that i'm a brand-spanking-new associate and the fact that the economy is in the toilet. lawyers are getting laid off everywhere--not placed. but, despite this, i am already getting calls from bankruptcy lawyer headhunters.

i was cordial. they asked me if i was content at work, and i made clear that i am. the conversation did not last very long, because i made it quickly obvious that my head is not currently interested in being hunted by anyone but my current employer.

still, i would be a liar to say that i don't find it hilarious that i'm already getting called by legal recruiters after just three months on the job. i bet it'll get annoying after a while, but right now i'm thoroughly entertained.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

say hello to mr. bolt gun!

i put this together to post on wtf_stupid, but decided to put it here as well. it's something from the onion a long time ago--i know it's at least eight and a half years old because it existed when i started college. it was a running joke among friends of mine in the dorm back then, and we posted a copy of it on the wall in the hallway, next to our "quote wall."

it's still one of my favourite things the onion has ever run, and i noticed that it's not actually in the onion archives anymore. hence, i must do my part to make sure that this little bit of humour does not disappear from Teh Interwebstubes.

**********


Here's our friendly little fellow, who we'll call Mr. Oink. He sure looks happy on Farmer McDoodle's pasture, where he can eat grain, scraps and concentrated hormone pellets to his heart's content. He sure is a chubby little guy, that Mr. Oink!


First, our little friend is stunned with the help of Mr. Mallet or Mr. Bolt Gun by Mr. Meat Packer. Pleasant dreams, Mr. Oink!


"Sticking" Mr. Oink severs his cartoid artery while he's still dazed! A pan is used to gather the blood for some delicious blood sausages! Mmm!


Ker-splash! Nothing like a good hot bath especially when it loosens pesky and unwanted dirt, hair and skin. Hold your nose, Mr. Oink you might be down there for a while!


Snicker-snack, how swiftly Mr. Butcher slits open Mr. Oink's belly. Bet that tickles! Now it's time to remove Mr. Oink's viscera and separate his liver. But don't throw any of it away; it'll all make the yummiest hot dogs!


Mr. Butcher then goes to work on Mr. Oink, slicing up choice parts like ribs (yummy!), chops (tasty!), loin (mmm, good!), and yes--everyone's favorite--bacon!


Mr. Oink sure likes his new home at the supermarket, but he won't be there for long! If you ask your mom nicely, maybe she'll "bring home the bacon!"

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

why are you running away?

i can now play "there's a hole in my bucket" on that toy concertina i bought last week.

i'm cool.

More News Crack Smokers Can Use

today, i have for you not one, but two items of News Crack Smokers Can Use:
  • don't peddle cookie dough and claim that it is crack. first of all, an amalgam of cookie dough and orajel sounds downright gross. i can't think of a reason that anyone would want to smoke it, eat it, or have anything to do with it. maybe i just don't understand, since i don't use crack. could it be that if you've smoked enough crack in your life, you can deal with some cookie dough and orajel every once in a while? secondly, the police will not be very happy. if you look like a crack dealer, walk like a crack dealer, and talk like a crack dealer, cops will probably think you are a crack dealer. and, even if you tell them that it's not crack, the cops will arrest you, test the substance, and charge you with "intent to deliver a counterfeit substance." [yes, it is apparently a crime in some jurisdictions to sell fake drugs.]
  • if you are a prosecutor, you should refrain from smoking crack. if you can't refrain from smoking crack, you should at least refrain from carrying your crack in public. if you can't refrain from carrying your crack in public, you should at least refrain from snorting cocaine in public while you are carrying crack in your pocket. otherwise, you will be ridiculed on the internet, and you will lose your job as a prosecutor.

selling herself

utterly brilliant: this woman is looking for a job, and she ironed excerpts from her resume onto her t-shirt.

i would totally do this if i were unemployed...i need to remember this little ploy if i ever find myself in that position. sure, it probably wouldn't snag me a law job, but it would start some interesting conversations, and give people a laugh.

thanksgiving week picspam <3

so, i took a few pictures during the time Rob was in town. :) wanna see?

it's not a real visit unless we take snuggly pictures on the train.


see Rob plot.


see nicky plot.


see Rob and nicky plot to dissect cow eyes.


aren't we cute tumbling around in the plane engine?




my favourite hacker in the whole wide world is plotting something again.


57th street metra underpass rickroll!


i took Rob to his very first karaoke night, at the Hidden Cove, on Friday night!


they had legos at cafe neo. Rob made a computer out of his. clearly, this is VERY SRS BSNS.


of course, these aren't nearly all of the pictures. if you want to see the rest of them, they're all in this album.

Monday, December 01, 2008

grrr.

damn you, EBay, and your lack of keytars that cost less than several hundred dollars.

and, no, toy keytars sized for a child do not count.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

flights, revisited

looks like Rob is on his way back to new york.

i hope he's having a safe flight...and i can't wait to see him again for new year's. <3

flights

Rob has left...maybe.

his flight was running on time when he went through security and i went home. by the time i got home, his flight had been delayed. they boarded the plane, taxied away from the gate, and then went back to the gate and deplaned. they think it'll be an hour, maybe two. there's also a possibility the flight will be cancelled.

if it's cancelled, there aren't any flights out tomorrow.

i'm conflicted. a part of me feels terrible, since the flights are all messed up and he's going to be either really, really tired in new york tomorrow or he's going to have to explain to his boss that he's stuck out of town for a couple days, and miss some more work. another part of me would really love to have him here for another day or two, since i absolutely love being with him and i won't be seeing him again for another four weeks.

either way, this is exactly why i'm so annoyed that friends can't go through security and accompany passengers at the gate anymore.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

lowered expectations

Above The Law is trying its hand at matchmaking.

despite the fact that i've given up on dating lawyers, i'd totally do this if i weren't dating Rob. yeah, it would be a massive train wreck, but it would make such a funny story.

above the law? the legal gossip blog? matchmaking? i hope someone else in the blogosphere picks up the slack here, because this could be hilarious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

*flushes money away*

Student Loan Payment Day is always bittersweet.

it's happy in that i know i'm chipping away at the mountain of debt i incurred as a result of seven years of postsecondary education, and it's nice to see the balances of my loans go down little by little as i log in to pay them each month.

it's depressing just how much of my money goes toward the loans. yet another one of my law school loans went into repayment for december, and the last one goes into repayment in january. i added it up, and just minimum payments on my loans equal twice my rent.

i know i'm not in nearly as much of a position to complain as many people. despite the fact that the economy sucks, i am employed, and i can pay the loans down with no problem. still, though, it's an expensive burden to have hanging over my head for the next several years. i think about it pretty frequently, and i dread the one day a month where i have to go into my bank account and part with most of the money in my checking account.

i can't wait to have these damned things paid off.

Monday, November 24, 2008

fingering: ur doin it wrong.

i've been completely underwhelmed with bankruptcy bill so far, but have been giving it a shot since it *is* a comic that lampoons something well worth lampooning: specifically, my job.

today's, however, made me cackle. a lot.



[and, for the record, i *do not* get off on my regular fingering of BAPCPA1 provisions.]

***
1 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act--a bunch of amendments that were made to the bankruptcy code in 2005. in short, they're all kinds of fucked up, and precisely zero kinds of sexy.

i'm officially the most annoying person ever.

Rob and i were talking about Rob being a clueless n00b tourist here in Chicago, and the following exchange ensued:

Rob: is that the Space Needle? next to Mount Rushmore?
me: no...that's one of the rainbow-coloured boys town pylons, next to the drag queen supply store. and remember, we've already been to the drag queen supply store. that's Beatnix.
Rob: you've already deprived a drag queen of his concertina.

yes. that's right. yesterday, i found a little concertina in a drag-queen-supply-slash-thrift store. a concertina is basically a small accordion, with note buttons instead of piano-style keys. and, to the eventual chagrin of my dearly beloved and ever-so-foofy roommate, i bought it.

i'm a strange one.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

<3

the bad news: my bloggity-blogging is going to be spotty for the next week or so.

the good news: Rob is in chicago!!!! :D *squee*

Friday, November 21, 2008

move to the beat

my printer hums along in 5/4 time.

the machinery makes a quick "ONE-two-three-ONE-two" with each sheet that it spits out. it's mesmerizing...as i stand there waiting for the entirety of 11 USC 1521 jurisprudence to come flying out of the printer1, i just keep standing there, bobbing my head along to the rhythm.

ONE-two-three-ONE-two...ONE-two-three-ONE-two...ONE-two-three-ONE-two...ONE-two-three-ONE-two...ONE-two-three-ONE-two...


***
1 no, i'm not exaggerating--but it's a three-year-old statute, so it's a fairly abbreviated jurisprudence.

I AM RIGHT

it's not that often when you are reading a case where a judge is discussing the intent of a legal definition, and then footnotes to the fact that he helped write the statute in question.

is it just me, or does footnote 3 of this case just seem like Judge Lifland's nice way of saying, "FOOTNOTE: I WROTE THE LAW. I AM RIGHT."?

needless to say, this case was affirmed by the district court on appeal.

poop!

generally, i do not enjoy reading about children or babies. i don't like children, so i prefer to spend my internet-surfing time reading things that do not pertain to children. makes sense, right?

so, i was extremely skeptical when taryn linked me to a blog entry where a webcomic writer was talking about her baby. i started reading, though...because things that taryn sends me are usually funny, and taryn knows that i like babies about as much as i like broccoli. i decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

i'll be damned. i was laughing so hard that tears started running out of my eyes...and that was even before the pictures and the brilliant caption to them.

lesson of the day? my enjoyment of poop-related humour just might trump my hatred of small children. sometimes.

cohesion? what's that?

foofy attorney makes a great point about DRM. go read.

in other news...well, there isn't a lot of other news. i've been busy, and neglecting this thing the last couple days. it's been the good kind of busy, though; i've had interesting work to do.

today is going to go by SO SLOWLY, though. i can feel it. tomorrow Rob is coming to town for NINE DAYS, and i can't wait...so, of course, time is going to participate in its conspiracy to make me feel like these last twenty-five hours before he comes in will drag along as long as possible.

can it be saturday, now?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

ode to a useful book

dear collier,

i love you. i love you. i love you.

love,
the persecuted crack smoker

screeeeeeeech

slow as it is running, at least lj is back up.

i hope the slowness just stems from the fact that everyone is frantically trying to catch up on lj after the last couple of hours of it being down, and not because the new server is a piece of shit. if it's the latter, i'm going to have to find a different way to read all my blogs, because if it keeps grinding away this slowly, i'm going to have to find a new blog feed aggregator.

that will not make me happy, as i've been reading journal entries and other feeds on my lj friends list for so long that i really don't want to find a new aggregator. i'm used to lj. it's cozy.

chocolate giggles

hmm. i just realised my last post was the 2500th post in the last refuge. how about that?

in other news, i'm drinking my first warm mug of hot chocolate this season. thanks to a story i heard at work last summer, i can't drink hot chocolate with a straight face anymore, especially at work. there's always a little smirk on my face as i sip the chocolatey goodness.

...a smirk, and a silent thanks to the higher power that gave me enough common sense not to steal drawerful after drawerful of delicious hot chocolate.

Monday, November 17, 2008

be busy, leave happy

i had a fairly busy day today. it's quite a wonder, what a positive effect that has on my mood.

computer geeks

wargames-related successories for the win.

my favourite among them?



:)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the weekend

i've had a pretty busy weekend.

***

friday night, i went out with jabberwockeyes. we went to exquisite city, a really cool urban-themed art exhibit. it has various city blocks and window scenes, mostly made of cardboard. we spent over an hour in there exploring, looking at all of the interesting details in the scenes. here are some of my favourite pictures from the exhibit:













the rest of my pictures are in this album. most of them are pictures from the exhibit, although the last few are some cool shots that i got when we walked back down belmont from western ave. back into lakeview.

exquisite city runs until December 12 at the viaduct theatre [3111 n. western ave.], and i suggest you go if you get a chance.

***

saturday, i attended the protest against proposition 8. it was amazing when i arrived...the plaza around the picasso sculpture at adams and dearborn was full of people...people in rainbow flags, people with signs, people who just wanted to show their support for everyone's right to get married, regardless of gender or sexuality. the speaking was what you'd expect from a protest, but that really wasn't the point. the point was the fact that the issue is something important enough to fill that plaza and the streets around it with people who were passionate enough to care, passionate enough to show up on a cold saturday afternoon. the sea of people moved me to tears.









i didn't take as many pictures as i hoped to, because my camera battery kicked the bucket pretty early. however, the rest of the ones i took are all in this album.

however, even more exciting than the actual planned rally was the march afterwards. after the speeches were done, we marched. we marched north on dearborn to monroe, then east to michigan, and up to michigan and madison on the sidewalks. then, we took over the streets. we walked on the streets east to lasalle, north to randolph, east to clark. we were at the state of illinois building for a short while, but then went north to wacker, east to michigan avenue, and then all the way up michigan avenue to oak street, and back south again to wacker, down to state and lake again. it was amazing to see stuffy old michigan avenue on a prime shopping saturday, full of people chanting and carrying signs about the right to equal marriage. what was heartening was when people on the sidewalks and in the cars smiled, waved, and signaled their agreement with the cause. that was heartening.

***

today...well, today wasn't all that busy. i don't have any pictures, because that would be boring. i was asleep until after 1pm, and i went to target this afternoon. now i'm doing laundry.

every day can't be interesting, i guess.