Sunday, August 31, 2003

Dot-free dot column today...

DEK points out the real culinary reason why I'm all excited to be back in SoCal. Actually, by emailing me that site, he pulled off the nearly impossible feat of making me ill with a picture of meat and cheese.

Oh yes, and getting your Pro Bowl linebacker shot in the ass a week before the season starts is most definitely FRAUGHT. For that matter, going to the Colorado-Colorado State period may be fraught at this point.

I'm taking on a second LSAT class Tuesday and Thursday nights. Basically it's no more preparation time but a good bit more money. Of course, when I actually sit for the LSAT in five weeks, I'll probably be so sick of the damn thing that I bomb it. OK, I don't rally think that or else I wouldn't be doing this--but if it were six more weeks I'd have my doubts.

Good '70s throwback: VH1's "I Love the '70s" is almost as good as the '80s version (though I'm wary of "I Love the '80s Strikes Back"--not that I won't watch every episode, of course).
Bad '70s throwback: Waiting in a longish line the other night to pay $2.07 per gallon for gas. At Arco, which means it was ten cents cheaped than anyone else.

What ever happened to the Macintosh apple? It used to be basically the good alternative to the horribly misnamed "red delicious" (which, to be fair, is in fact red). Now we have fuji, gala, pink lady, granny smith, and many others, but I can't remember the last time I actually saw Macintosh apples in the grocery store.

The case I'm working on might have some general interest, but obviously there are confidentiality agreements and such, so I need to be careful. Basically there were some murders in L.A. and some murders in Las Vegas, and several people including our client were convicted. We're arguing that he should get a new trial based on various errors. Specifically, we're in federal habeus proceedings (and no, I don't quite know what that means yet) for the Vegas murders. Personally, I think we should be arguing inadequate defense on the part of the original counsel based on their failure to try the "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" defense. But then I haven't actually been to law school yet, so maybe we'll leave those decisions to my boss. I'll just continue making witness lists, doing mail merges, creating databases and whatnot.

Don't forget to check out the second edition of The Average Wright anytime after 10 PDT Sunday night at The Athletic Reporter!

Finally, I was at the laundromat (or, more accurately, lavanderia) today and had the type of experience I truly hate--a possibly homeless and definitely crazy woman just started talking to me for no good reason. Do I exude some sort of vibe that says, "Good listener" and/or "Has never quite figured out how to extricate himself from conversations he doesn't want to be in"? The weirdest moments came at the beginning and end. At first she saw my Ohio Valley Greyhounds t-shirt and asked if I like greyhound races. I said no. She then said, oh, you're one of those people who just grabs a t-shirt from the laundry and puts it on. I said sure. She then says that she does that too, and then as she starts explaining further, I realize then that she's actually talking about doing a Helena Bonham-Carter from Fight Club thing where it's not actually her own laundry she takes clothes from.

Now I'm in this awkward conversation where we've both admitted to petty larceny, but which I didn't actually do, and in addition to wondering how to get out of the conversation, I'm trying to figure out if I should be worried about my clothes if I walk away to play Bust-a-Move, which I ultimately do. I come back 20 minutes later, start folding up my clothes, and the conversation continues weirdly, including a bit about her schizophrenic son's various movie-viewing habits depending on whether he's on or off his meds. Finally, I'm done, and I start to mutter "Nice talking ("listening" was tempting) to you." As I'm starting to leave she asks me if I have pets. I say no, and she's vaguely saddened. She says, "Yeah, we've got over 30 babies at home," and reaches up to her shoulder.

And as I take one last look before walking away, I realize for the first time that I have spent much of the past half hour in the laundromat talking to a disturbed woman carrying around an enormous iguana.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Something about the run-up to the NFL season has been bugging me for years, and it's exemplified by this John Clayton article.

It's a truism that the NFL changes radically from year to year, moreso than any other sports league. And strength of schedule is often cited as a major (in extreme cases, the only) factor for why that's so. But there's a built-in lie there--strength of schedule is always factored, in that analysis, by last year's schedule. But if teams are radically better or worse than the previous year, then it's meaningless to determine strength of this year's schedule based on last year's won-loss record.

Drives me nuts.

Friday, August 29, 2003

One of the cool things about living in L.A. is the cultural diversity and fusion. I know that's a bit cliche, but I do really mean it. When I moved into Pittsburgh for college I thought I had learned about cultural diversity because I finally met some black people. Six years later I came out here and realized that I didn't know the first thing about real diversity.
Now, I'm not one of those people who values diversity primarily because I think that the full spectrum of humankind is embodied by a multiplicity of voices that can come together to share common and distinct experiences in a humanistic way.
No, mostly I'm just interested in the funky-ass shit that happens when cultures come together.
So far in and aroud Koreatown, three things really take the cake:

  1. Two weekends ago, Tim, Dana, and I went to a food festival in the Byzantine-Latino Quarter. No, this is not a particularly convoluted Latino Quarter; it is a neighborhood where a Greek population and a Latino population have come to live side-by-side over the years. It's the first such festival I've been to where spanakopita and margaritas have gotten equal billing.
  2. Driving around about two weeks ago, we drove past a church with two signs. One read, "Hungarian Reformed Church". The bottom sign presumably said the same thing, except in Korean. How that all came together has to be an interesting story, but I couldn't even guess what it is.
  3. At the nearest main intersection to me, Beverly and Western, there's a drugstore whose business is clearly primarily Korean. But at some point they added a sign in English as well. The store is called "Ethical Drugs". I'm not sure exactly what they're trying to get across there, but it's just not working.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

The return of the blog formerly known as The Daily(?) Beallsvonian can only properly return in the form, of course, of the dot column...

  • The proudest moment of my trip across the country? Probably in Utah, where I managed to surpass the magical hour mark--62 minutes on cruise control without touching a pedal. I probably could've done at least two hours on I-25 in Wyoming if it weren't for road construction.
  • When you're on a two-lane state route in the middle of Wyoming and trying to get somewhere, the next-to-last sign you want to see is "Road Construction". The last sign you want to see is the follow-up: "Pavement Ends". Doubleplus ungood.
  • A quick list of the restaurants I've been very happy to finally get back to: Kouraku in Little Tokyo, Nyala in Little Ethiopia, Philippe's the Original in old downtown (alleged creator of the French dip sandwich), the Coffee Table in Silver Lake, La Taquiza near USC, In 'n' Out Burger, and Fatburger. So far the best new find? The pupuseria two blocks from the new apartment. Mmmm, the great taste of El Salvador.
  • I went in for some special training last Wednesday at the Leading Test Preparation Company that I sometimes teach for and they said, "Oh, you teach LSAT. Would you like a class in Pasadena that starts tonight?" I didn't have to go Wednesday night, which was just a diagnostic exam, but I am teaching LSAT every Wednesday night and Saturday morning from now until the Saturday before I actually take the LSAT. Should be a good way to prepare.
  • South Dakota is a fairly boring state to drive across, but the Missouri River crossing is really nice, and Wall Drug was fun. I have to admit, though, that I wasn't expecting to be served a malted milkshake by two Belarussian teenagers there, however.
  • We're very pleased with the apartment--nice carpet, plenty roomy enough, and each bedroom has a nice little balcony. It's definitely Koreatown, which is fine; most other tenants in the building are youngish Korean families. They're quiet, except someone runs a vacuum cleaner or possibly a loud juicer at 7 a.m. But I'm dealing. Oh, and not to be ovely stereotypical, but there are clearly several piano and violin lessons going on.
  • I saw the third Steeler preseason game and everything seems to be in order for the season. We shall see. It looks like I'll be watching games at the Shark's Cove in Hermosa Beach rather than Gabe's in West LA, at least early in the season, because that seems to be where my Steeler buddies are watching games nowadays. It's a nicer bar but a bit less intense--although playing the '70s polka fight song before the game and after touchdowns and victories is an excellent touch.
  • There's certainly more to come, but that's enough for now. If you need more Joe, though, I guest edited the weekly column in this week's Athletic Reporter and will be doing so again next Monday.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

The Beallsvonian at large is on day three of the cross-country trek which, in answer to a previous comment, does not go through New Mexico. I am in Madison with the Infield-Harms. Madison appears to be exactly the type of crunchy granola place everyone always says it is, mostly in positive ways. I got something today I wasn't expecting on this trip: cardio! Paul and I went for a 4-to-5-mile bike ride along Lake Minona this morning. I'll be off for South Dakota and points west at the crack of dawn tomorrow, or maybe an hour or two after the crack if I sleep well.

The best part of the trip to date? No smash and grab on my car. Someone breaking into my car would be bad. As bad as losing the list.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

You are now leaving Beallsville, population 511, 510

I'm really excited to be plopping down in California just in time to watch that hot new reality show Who Wants to be Governor? Should I be worried that Arianna Huffington is currently the candidate I like most?

Still shoe-horning stuff in the car. I just keep thinking of that story about all the animals who crawl into the glove to stay warm, but then it breaks when one more ant tries to squeeze in.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

It is equal parts reassuring and annoying that my life does not fit particularly well into a 1998 Honda Civic. Yay! Grrr!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I had a fun, crazy weekend. Part of the crazy is described here. Much of the fun is described here. Things that qualified as both were watching the 1978 Battle of the Network Stars and seeing Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Debbie Boone as teammates; and eating burgers the size of your head served by crazed Macedonians in Columbus.

I'm working on packing up, and I'm starting to feel the time crunch a little bit, so I won't ramble. For those who may be interested here's the itinerary:

  • Friday morning: Leave Beallsville around 8 a.m.
  • Friday evening: Stay in Chicago with the Kevin Bacon of Ironic Football
  • Saturday noonish: Drive up to Madison to stay with the Infield-Harms
  • Monday: High-tail it westward, hopefully with a stop at Wall Drug, and ending up somewhere in the Rapid City/Spearfish/Belle Fourche metroplex
  • Tuesday: Skeedaddle southwestward, with a fraught bit occurring when I leave interstates for a while to cut across U.S. 287 in Wyoming, and finishing somewhere in Utah depending on how long all that takes, most likely Nephi or Cedar City.
  • Wednesday: Scoot (I'm out of Western-ish action verbs) mostly southbysouthwestward, arriving at 4840 Rosewood hopefully sometime around 6 p.m.
  • Thursday: Drink heavily.
  • ????: Get Internet connection up and running and resume blogging, probably under a different name, but same URL