Friday, June 25, 2004

I noticed that one of the things on my memetracker is "it sucks being a paralegal". I guess you might get that impression from me at times, but sometimes it's really fun, and I will say that both cases I've worked on have been big complex, interesting monsters. Usually when I'm really enjoying myself it's because I'm doing something almost akin to detective work--for instance, putting together a timeline from documents about where our client and other people were on particular days 19 years ago. This is challenging and interesting and is just like the stuff I really liked about being in the archives as a historian--the details, the minutiae--as opposed to the ultimate putting things all together that proved to be my downfall. Also a hallmark of the good times is generally Ed's non-presence.

But today I did something that was brainless and way more fun than it had any right to be. See, we have this document database, and out of it we've compiled some newspaper articles for an upcoming pleading. But some of them were written on, either by our client or by one of his attorneys. Since this material is privileged, we can't include it.

So I got to redact. Specifically, I got to work in our image program, using the highlight function, except highlighting in white--a brilliant solution devised by one of my predecessors here. This may sound like nothing, but it's like photoshopping in reverse, or trying to uncolor between the lines. That, and it's the best I've got folks. But 7 weeks from today is my last day, 8 weeks from today I'll be watching Cardinals-Pirates in St. Louis, and 9 weeks from today I'm moving into the Lawyers' Club. Woohoo!

In other news, I've bee super-obsessively playing with LaunchCast since DEK showed it to me last weekend. It just so happened that my first experience with it coincided with the first two-day period at work when I had access to streaming radio, since I was working in our co-counsel's office printing down cases. If you want to listen to a station featuring a lot of Los Straitjackets, White Stripes, Dead Milkmen, Liz Phair, Bruce Springsteen, and the Flying Burrito Brothers (and where you're guaranteed never to hear Creed, Limp Bizkit, Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews, or "Brown Eyed Girl") then by all means check out mine.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Sorry people, but the time and inclination to blog have not coincided lately. Please keep checking in, because I hope to be back to regular updates in the next few days. Pzrticularly, between DEK and myself we should have a dual entry, a link somewhere, or something to a photobloggish account of last weekend. Also, for the love of god go see Dodgeball--funnier than it has any right to be--and stay to the end of the credits.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

DEK is in town, so we've been out gallavanting. Information about Lake Elsinore, Dodgeball, dodging foul balls (unsuccessfully), and/or the La Brea Tar Pits will be forthcoming soon.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Since my posts have been coming a little too sporadically, I need to make up for some lost time, and what better way to do so than by bringing the dots out of mothballs...

  • Sometimes being the type of paralegal I am means researching interesting issues about our case. And sometimes it means spending weeks comparing two copies of the same document redacted by the FBI, seeing if the redactions are unique or if one is simply less legible than the other, and keeping one or both as appropriate. Let's just say we're not in a glamour phase.
  • I know buying a jersey and wearing it around is something of a financial and emotional investment on some level, but at some point it just says something about you if you don't stop. Yesterday I saw a guy in a #39 Bears Curtis Enis. Dude, just throw it away.
  • Some of the CDs I've been listening to over and over again lately: Add It Up (1981-1993) (still), Pulp's Different Class, Uncle Tupelo 89/93 Retrospective, Springsteen's Greatest Hits (especially Atlantic City and Badlands), The Strokes' Is This It?, and The Refreshments' Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy.
  • Carl's Jr. is advertising this monstrosity as bigger than a Big Mac, a Whopper, and a Jumbo Jack combined. Are they just deliberatly thumbing their noses at Morgan Spurlock?
  • I saw The Day After Tomorrow yesterday, (man that clause doesn't work out loud!) or as I'm calling it from now on: I'm Cold And There Are Wolves. I have two specific bones to pick with what is a serviceable-to-good disaster movie. One is that while I appreciate sticking with the formula of having a small group of disaster victims choose the counterintuitive-yet-wise path while the vast majority choose obviously and unwisely, it's important that we as the audience know all of the people who choose wisely and why they have chosen wisely. We're never introduced to some of our survivors here until after they have chosen, such as the Gutenberg Bible guy and his blonde counterpart. Bad form. Secondly, good Hollywood movies establish why characters are doing things before they do them. So why exactly does Dennis Quaid think physically going to NYC with no provisions or transportation is going to work out? It does, but at the time it's unclear that he's headed off to do anything but freeze or starve with his kid when the time comes.
  • After the movie I went to Cold Stone Creamery. I know it's all petrochemically goodness, but DAMN if the cake batter ice cream doesn't taste just like cake batter.
  • And shouldn't that be the $12 Burger?
  • Is it a bad sign that, since listening to the first track of the Uncle Tupelo disc, I can't stop signing to myself, "I'm going where, there's no redactions..."
  • I recently read PJ O'Rourke's Peace Kills. I generally enjoy him even when we disagree, but he really mailed this one in. Fewer than 200 pages, and a huge font. And some really stupid arguments--like saying "don't you know about Adam Smith?" at the suggestion that anything but maximizing individual good maximizes collective good, to which I replied, out loud, at the laundromat, "haven't you seen A Beautiful Mind?!" Adam Smith needed some revising. (And don't even get me started here about contemporary CEOs throwing around Adam Smith, who saw unmitigated evil in the joint stock corporation.)
  • Finally, Ralph Wiley is dead and that just sucks sucks sucks. Don't take my word for it, just read some of the columns.

Friday, June 11, 2004

So a few months ago the plan became that Jeff's girlfriend would be moving in June 1, after she graduated from Berkeley and went on a brief trip with Jeff to Idaho and Oregon. This was basically a good thing, if for no other reason than splitting expenses into more, smaller pieces. Then cracks started to emerge in the plan, as it seemed the relationship might not last the trip. It did, but the result was a mutual decision that moving in together was premature. But in the meantime, she is living here while she searches for a permanent place.

There is one major plus, being that Sara's presence raises the number of people in the apartment who cook to one. So we're eating some meals with actual ingredients, actually combined and heated right here in our own apartment. Good stuff. The downside is all the stuff you'd generally associate with adding a person to an apartment without subtracting one--a tighter bathroom schedule (at least concern over such), more competition for the DSL and TV, etc. But also, I've always found it psychologically difficult too to spend a lot of time with a couple when I'm single (which has been basically always). Yes, I understand that lots of people out there are doing it, even when you aren't, but that reality is a little more salient when it's happening in the next room. I'm not saying I want my friends and roommates to be losers who aren't getting any either, but yeah, I guess deep down I actually do. (Note the mentality that doesn't even stop to consider the converse. Very healthy, I know.)

On a totally separate note, I've been reading McSweeney's again lately. I'm not sure why I ever stopped. Don't make the same mistake. When I get time, I'm going to work on my Open Letter to a Sestina.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I've got limited online time tonight, because we are still three in the apartment (I'll explain later) and everyone has things to do. Suffice it to say that Houston was fun--more on that later. I will say that every time I get on a plane lately, I end up mad at people with peanut allergies. Thanks to you, one of the few pleasant things about the airplane experience has been replaced with my least favorite snack food: freakin' pretzels. Horrible. That's the worst snack food in the history of carbohydrates. (Sorry. Luke Walton's 1st-half explosion is apparently rubbing off.)

UPDATE!: Since many of you know that I've been waiting anxiously to hear about housing for the fall, I thought I'd let you know that I got my lease in the mail today for the Lawyer's Club. Yay! Back to communal showers and a meal plan! Um, I mean...Yay! Back to rolling out of bad and being in class 10 minutes later!

Friday, June 04, 2004

Oh yeah, I was listening to best of The Ramones yesterday (because who doesn't occasionally need to hear The KKK Took My Baby Away or Needles and Pinz-uh at work?), when I realized that DEK and I both missed the "Beat on the brat with a baseball bat" joke last July 9th. I apologize, and I imagine he does too.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I'm heading out of town this weekend for the national high school quiz-bowl championships in beautiful downtown-ish Houston. If it's anything like The Sports Guy suggests, I'm sure a good time will be had by some.

I have about 3 months left before I start classes, so I'm looking to read some diverse stuff before then. Any suggestions? I'm more likely to take them if they're under 300 pages. I'm also more likely to read something neatly divided--stories, essays, or short chapters. Beyond that, I'm open to whatever.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

OK, the aforementioned "more later".

Tim was in town this weekend, which traditionally means hitting all our favorite restaurants, and hitting Eddie Brandt's for disaster movies. We've pretty much exhausted all the titles you've heard of, so we're down to things such as this weekend's fare: Rollercoaster, When Time Ran Out... , and one of the 4 or 5 most famous movies named Virus.

Rollercoaster is somewhere between disaster movie, detective flick, and thriller, and it features some of Helen Hunt's finest pre-Quarterback Princess, pre-throwing herself out a second story window because of angel dust work.

Virus is a movie about a virus that wipes out the entire population of earth except for the people at Antarctic bases, who are then wiped out by nuclear weapons triggered by a Doomsday Device-type of system that is activated by an earthquake. Except it's not quite as upbeat as that makes it sound. But it does feature George Kennedy, so it qualifies as a first-rate disaster movie on that criterion alone.

When Time Ran Out... is The Poseidon Adventure, except the boat is a resort hotel on a remote island, the tidal wave is a volcano, priest Gene Hackman is oil rigger Paul Newman, and former swimming champion Shelley Winters is former vaudeville high-wire walker Burgess Meredith. Unless you have a compulsive need to see mediocre disaster movies or have always wondered what an Alex Karras-Ernest Borgnine-Jacqueline Bisset-Red Buttons-Pat Morita movies would look like, feel free to pass this one up.

As for the near nervous breakdown at work on Friday, it was a combination of a depressing lack of movement on some personal matters meeting a sudden revulsion at my boss's wackiest obsessive-compulsive tendencies (specifically, an hour spent on 5 drafts of the covers for binders that are for internal use only--don't ask), plus trying to squeeze a few too many hours in Wednesday through Friday. A long weekend seems to have done wonders for my mental health though, as has focusing pretty hard on the number 10.5 weeks--the number I have left at my job.