Sunday, April 30, 2006

By popular (i.e.: one) request, here's my Evidence playlist with explanations for tomorrow's exam (note: all references are to the Federal Rules of Evidence):

  • Does Your Mother Know?, ABBA: leading questions are normally only allowed on cross-exam or with a hostile witness (R.611(c))
  • You Oughta Know, Alanis Morissette: attorney-client privilege is lost if either party knows or should have known that someone was eavesdropping
  • I Ain't the One, Allison Moorer w/ Los Straitjackets: U.S. v. Havens and impeachment rules (R.609) arguably make it very difficult for criminal defendants to testify on their own behalf
  • Presence Dear, Blondie: Certain hearsay exceptions (R.804) require that the declarant (a.k.a.: original speaker) by unavailable to testify
  • Boys Don't Cry, The Cure: Propensity evidence is generally disallowed
  • We Both Go Down Together, The Decemberists; Let's Stick Together, Roxy Music: Co-conspirator statements within the course of and in furtherance of the conspiracy are not considered hearsay (R.801(d)(2)(E))
  • Blasphemous Rumours, Depeche Mode; A Well-Respected Man, The Kinks; Bad Reputation, Reverend Horton Heat; Goody Two Shoes, Adam Ant: Character witnesses may testify to their own opinion of the underlying witness, or to that person's reputation in the relevant community (R.608)
  • It's Now Or Never, Elvis Presley: The prior inconsistent statement of a witness may only be brought in while the witness is still on the stand and has a chance to explain (R.613(b))
  • Til I Hear It from You, Gin Blossoms; Somebody Told Me, The Killers: hearsay generally
  • Please Come to Boston, Joan Baez: Government must subpoena and take all reasonable steps to procure a witness before they will be declared unavailable (R.804(a)(5))
  • He Could Be the One, Josie Cotton: Lineup identifications are considered nonhearsay (R.801(d)(1)(C))
  • All These Things That I've Done, The Killers: Evidence of a criminal defendant's prior convictions is admissible for impeachment purposes if they were for crimes of dishonesty or if they were felonies within the last 10 years (R.609(a))
  • The Impression That I Get, Mighty Mighty Bosstones; More Than a Feeling, Boston: Opinion or inference testimony from non-experts is limited to those rationally based on perception and helpful to the jury (R.701)
  • The Jury, Morphine: Finder of fact makes determinations of conditional relevancy (R.104(b))
  • Let The Idiot Speak, Old 97's: Common law limitations on witness competency for mental capacity have been relaxed, and low mental ability is now merely grounds for impeachment--though states may have their own peculiar rules (R.601)
  • Interjections!, Schoolhouse Rock; Excitable Boy, Warren Zevon: Hearsay exception for excited utterances (R.803(2))
  • Under Control, The Strokes: Chain of custody testimony is a recognized method of authenticating physical evidence
  • Add It Up, Violent Femmes; New Math, Tom Lehrer: Juries are not supposed to consider product-rule calculations (i.e.: if it's 60% likely a happened and 60% likely b happened, then it's 36% likely that a & b both happened)
  • Indian Giver, The Cowsills: Because there are a limited number of federal crimes for others, many of the leading federal evidentiary cases involve crimes on Indian reservations, where federal law applies
  • A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left, Andrew Bird: Juries determine witness credibility; this can't help the witness
  • In This Diary, The Ataris: Hearsay exception for records of regularly conducted activity (R.803(6))
  • Deadbeat Club, The B-52's: Under U.S. v. Abel, a witness may be impeached via evidence of organization membership
  • Cover of the Rolling Stone, Dr. Hook: Periodicals are self-authenticating documents (R.902(6))
  • Rocked by Rape, Evolution Control Committee: Evidence of Rape Trauma Syndrome is inadmissible for showing lack of consent, but is sometimes admissible to explain post-incident behavior that may otherwise seem inconsistent with rape
  • Do You Realize?, The Flaming Lips: Positive character evidence can be rebutted with questions about whether the witness knows of specific instances of the underlying witness's behavior, but not with extrinsic evidence of that behavior (R.405(a))
  • People Who Died, The Jim Carroll Band: Many states maintain some version of Dead Man's Statutes, which disallow one side of a transaction from testifying about oral representations when the other party is deceased
  • Johnny Are You Queer?, Josie Cotton; She Has a Girlfriend Now, Reel Big Fish: Evidence of an alleged sex crime victim's sexual history or predispositions is usually inadmissible (R.412(a))
  • Selling the Drama, Live: Evidence professors sometimes sit around debating whether what we really want from jury trials is accurate fact-finding, or a social drama that supports the acceptance of verdicts
  • Divorce Song, Liz Phair; D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Tammy Wynette: Divorce cancels the spousal testimony privilege, but not the confidential spousal communications privilege
  • I'm a Believer, The Monkees: Evidence of a witness's religious belief or lack thereof is inadmissible for enhancing or impairing credibility (R.610)
  • Letter from an Occupant, The New P0rn0graphers: In U.S. v. Bagaric the 2nd Circuit said a letter could be authenticated based on its contents and postmark, even if the author and recipient refused to testify because they were the ones on trial
  • Lie Detector, Reverend Horton Heat: The biggest historical case on scientific evidence (People [CA] v. Frey, 1923) ruled polygraph evidence inadmissible, and this is still generally true
  • Why Does the Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas), They Might Be Giants: Qualified experts may testify on matters where specialized scientific or technical knowledge could assist the jury (R.702)
  • Hey Mr. DJ I Thought You Said We Had a Deal, TMBG: Anything that comes out in plea -bargain negotiations is inadmissible (R.410)
  • Fatal Wound, Uncle Tupelo: Hearsay exception for dying declarations regarding the cause or circumstances of the impending death (R.804(b)(2))
Though I remain skeptical as always, I'm going to admit the above as evidence that I may actually be ready for this thing...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Update: WARNING, if you take the steps below, you may end up staying up until 2:30 a.m. watching old wrestling clips from the '80s on Youtube. Um, totally theoretically, of course.

The Sports Guy made a reference to a video in his Friday column, and it's crazier than I even expected from the description. For those of us who grew up watching a lot of the '80s WWF, it's really disturbing to find out what the Iron Sheik actually thought of The Killer Bees; ok, he apparently had a lot of respect for Jumping Jim Brunzell, but B. Brian Blair was, shall we say, a different story altogether. Note: this clip is not safe for work, and probably not for anywhere else either. So if none of this has scared you off, here it is.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I've been annoyed about the timing of finals this year, because they're really cutting into my obsessing about the NFL draft time. OK that's a lie, it's actually vice versa. Priorities, people.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that the single biggest reason the Steelers are world champs is the way they've drafted since 2000. Here's a list of their first rounders over that period: Plaxico Burress, Casey Hampton, Kendall Simmons, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller. All have been major contributors, and all but Plax were major contributors to the Super Bowl team. The only one who hasn't fully lived up to first-round status is Simmons, who's had weird health issues. All the other guys, though, would probably be picked much higher if you redrafted their year based on subsequent performance. Over the same period, these solid contributors have been drafted on day one in the 2nd and 3rd rounds: Marvel Smith, Kendrick Clancy, Kendrell Bell, Antwaan Randle El, Chris Hope, Ricardo Colclough, Max Starks, Bryant McFadden. The only first-day picks to have washed out over that time are Alonzo Jackson and Hank Poteat. I'm not going to categorize Trai Essex, on whom the jury is still way out.

Sitting at #32 with no immediate needs to reach for, the Steelers are in the classic "best available player" position. They've said they could go anywhere but QB; leaving aside the obvious positions no one will take in round 1 (P, K, LS, FB), I think it's also a safe bet they won't take a strong safety or a tight end, and probably not a nose tackle. The tight end prospects would be there if they wanted to run even more 2 TE sets, and Leonard Pope in particular has the size to be a real mauler. But I just don't see it.

That leaves these possibilities for round 1: running back, wideout, O-line, defensive end, linebacker, free safety, corner. It sounds like there are a lot of corners out there for the end of the first round, but after all the high picks spent on DBs in the last three years (Colclough, McFadden, Polamalu, Hope, plus Ike Taylor with their 4th rounder in 2003), I'd think they'll go somewhere else unless they see someone who they expect to start at free safety by the playoffs. Still, if they're going to let Ike walk after this year and they have any questions about Colclough or McFadden, I guess corner's a possibility here, but I'd think round 2 is more likely.

Wide receiver would seem to be a waste. No one thinks this is a good draft for round 1 receivers, and the 2 that might be worth taking (Holmes and Jackson) should be long gone. I've seen a few people project Sinorice Moss here, but that makes absolutely no sense since he's wee, and Steeler wideouts have to block to get on the field. I'd much rather see a trade down into round 2 or trade up with the round 2 pick to get Derek Hagan, or to stay put in round 2 or round 3 and get a Maurice Stovall or Jason Avant.

As for linemen, the only OL I've seen projected with this pick is center Nick Mangold, who's supposed to be one of the best center prospects in years. To me, that suggests he probably won't be there. More to the point, Chukky Okobi has been the heir apparent for years, and has gotten paid like someone they expect to step in and start down the road. So I don't really see it, unless Mangold or Okobi are going to move to guard. On defensive, the strangest guy I've seen projected here is Rodrique Wright, who sounds from that scouting report like the antithesis of a Steeler-type: underachieving, looks better on paper than on film, sounds like a 4-3 DT, etc. Since Casey Hampton is entrenched and still young (even by nose tackle standards), and because DE isn't really a first-round position in the 3-4, I'd be surprised to see a DL here. I'd also be surprised, though, if we get through round 4 without picking up a serviceable end.

The strangest thing for me in looking at recent draft history is that they've only drafted two first-day LBs since 2000: Kendrell Bell and Alonzo Jackson. Neither has really panned out, although Bell was good enough for 2 years not to call him a bust. Over the past 10 years the team has taken a much better LB crew on day 2 (Earl Holmes, Carlos Emmons, Clark Haggans, Larry Foote, maybe Rian Wallace) than day 1 (Steven Conley, Steeler version of Mike Vrabel, Joey Porter, Kendrell Bell, Alonzo Jackson). This either means that we're due to take a first-round LB, or it's something we just don't do. I'm leaning toward the latter, because here's a list of first-round LBs the Steelers have drafted in my lifetime: Robin Cole, Huey Richardson. That's it, that's the list.

After all that, I am left with what I consider the dream scenario--I am positively giddy about this. I don't pretend to understand it, but for some reason many drafts are projecting LenDale White to fall to the Steelers at #32. I'm no Mel Kiper, but I don't know how he isn't a top-10 pick. You could make a serious argument that he had a more productive career at USC than his backfield-mate Reggie Bush--and I for one am not convinced that won't be true on the next level as well. He's a touchdown machine. I keep reading about how he may have character issues, but the only specifics I've seen cited are that he gained exactly 6 pounds between the UCLA game and the Rose Bowl (where he rushed for well over 100 yards), and that he didn't have good workouts (where, oh by the way, he had a torn hamstring). Also, I've watched a ton of his games over the past 3 years, and he plays faster and quicker than you'd think.

The only downside that I can see to drafting LenDale is that I have no idea how I will get to opening day without exploding out of giddy excitement. Fortunately, we start the season 3 days early, so that'll help a little.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I took my Mergers and Acquisitions exam yesterday, and I've never been so happy to be done with a class and an exam. It was a class I was looking forward to in an area I think I want to practice, and it turned out that I just didn't click with the professor. His style was off-putting for me, I didn't like the structure of the class, and about halfway through I just stopped going. Early in the semester the professor said that this wasn't the type of class where you could do well without showing up, so I planned to pass-fail the course. Then over the last week of preparing with the help of people who did go to class, I saw little evidence that that was actually true. Once I decided I was pretty well prepared, I went back to graded basis. You never know with law school exams since they're graded on a curve, but my hunch is that I'll have the last laugh on this one.

As usual, part of my preparation included making a playlist of class-appropriate music to get me in the mood for the exam. I went a little overboard this time, so I've repurposed the list as a post, with explanations as I deem necessary:

  • Shitloads of Money, Liz Phair (obvious)
  • Come Together, The Beatles (obvious)
  • A Matter of Trust, Billy Joel (you have to develop some trust in merger negotiations, plus the whole thing can be derailed by anti-trust issues)
  • All the Small Things, blink-182 (due diligence requires a thorough review of the company to be acquired)
  • Hanging on the Telephone, Blondie (where most M&A lawyers spend their days)
  • One Way or Another, Blondie (often a hostile tender offer follows a failed bid to acquire a company in a friendly negotiation)
  • I Will Survive, Cake (merger documents must specify the surviving corporation)
  • Shake It Up, The Cars (mergers generally lead to a reshuffling of management of the acquired company)
  • Love Me Tender, Elvis Presley (cheap tender offer pun)
  • Make Me Lose Control, Eric Carmen (a poison pill provision can be used to disrupt a potential control bloc of stock)
  • The Wrong Company, Flogging Molly (a bad merger can lead to serious problems)
  • Bizarre Love Triangle, Frente (for tax purposes and to get around transfer restrictions on certain contracts, M&A lawyers often employ reverse or forward triangular mergers)
  • Found Out About You, Gin Blossoms (young M&A lawyers spend most of their time on due diligence review)
  • Basket Case, Green Day (indemnification clauses often contain a "basket" such that liabilities must exceed a certain minimum before the clause kicks in)
  • Take It Or Leave It, Jet (negotiations often come down to a last best offer)
  • One Piece at a Time, Johnny Cash (acquiring companies can avoid some of the consequences of mergers by purchasing assets individually instead)
  • Every Time Two Fools Collide, Kenny Rogers and Dottie West (mergers that make it into casebooks often weren't a good idea to begin with)
  • Change Your Mind, The Killers (tangential negotiation reference, mostly I just always like hearing it)
  • Charm Attack, Leona Naess (negotiation involves building strong people skills)
  • Everybody Knows, Leonard Cohen (when a merger is impending, SEC and NYSE rules require extensive public disclosures)
  • You Don't Own Me, Lesley Gore (a target corporation can walk away from a merger at any point up to the closing)
  • A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You, The Monkees (negotiation requires give and take, as does integration of merged companies)
  • What Do All the People Know, The Monroes (the SEC will investigate trading shortly before a transaction is announced to make sure no one traded on non-public information)
  • Sharks, Morphine (not all deals or M&A lawyers are the friendliest)
  • To Be With You, Mr. Big (the ultimate goal of merger talks)
  • Why Don't You Get a Job, The Offspring (mergers are often considered for efficiency reasons, which is a euphemism for cutting workers)
  • Opportunities, Pet Shop Boys (the ultimate business purpose, of course, is to make lots of money)
  • Gigantic, The Pixies (mega-mergers)
  • Half Day Closing, Portishead (signing all those final documents takes time)
  • Sell Out, Reel Big Fish (entrepreneurs may seek to have their closely-held companies acquired by large public companies so they can cash out and do something else or retire)
  • Failure is OK, Robespierre and His Reign of Terror (sometimes the best deal is the deal you don't make)
  • Hard to Explain, The Strokes (try reading a merger agreement and you'll get this one)
  • Falls Apart, Sugar Ray (lots of deals break down in the end over all sorts of issues, big and small)
  • Take This Job and Shove It, Johnny Paycheck (always appropriate in any corporate context)
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money, Warren Zevon (ditto, but for law in general)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

It's probably the most amazing thing about contemporary life that you can find anything that pops into your head within 7 seconds using Google; today's example? The complete lyrics to Letter B.

The email Lauri sent said: Okay, so if I can be the focus of an article in the Times' Style section you know the world is a funny place indeed

Indeed. But pretty cool nonetheless. Here's her new site; Tres Chicas has apparently shuffled off its mortal coil

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Died unexpectedly. It's a powerful little phrase, absolutely suggestive of something dark, secret, embarrassing, and it hints at a life snuffed out "before its time" as they say. It's a way of communicating something without really having to communicate it, of suggesting closure when all it really does is open up more questions.

Jennifer Smith Fuller died on Friday. It's hard to describe my relationship with Jen, but I'll try to give it a go...

When I was in first grade I was sent to a second-grade classroom for reading, because I'd learned to read at home and was way ahead of the curve. I was also one of two first-graders in our school's burgeoning gifted program. Both of those statements were true of Jennifer as well. In second grade the school got smart and put us together in the same class, so that we could have a reading group all to our own. From that point on, we were always in the same class through elementary, in the same pullout gifted program, and we had most of the same junior and senior high classes together too. We would clash a little bit at times because we were really each other's only competition throughout elementary school.

Later on, I got to be the sole alpha geek and others caught up and passed Jen, but only because she was better-rounded and because she started having problems. Jen had an artistic temperment, and she was one of the prettiest girls in school. She also had a lot of problems at home, although I didn't so much know it at the time. Toward the end of ninth grade she disappeared and rumors flew--pregnancy? illness? mental hospital? Sadly it was the latter, for the first but not the last time.

She came back strong, though, and she became class president and a cheerleader. We had drifted apart somewhat in junior high and into high school, but toward the end we drifted back together for some reason. I think we were both aware on some level that the small towns where we grew up couldn't make us happy, though I acted on it sooner than she did. She got married shortly after high school and tried to settle down, but she didn't wear it well.

Shortly before I left for California the first time in 1998 I ran into Jen, and it turned out she was living very close to me in Squirrel Hill. She was divorced at this point and struggling a bit, but she had made the leap into the city and into a career-track marketing position. I found out that she was still writing poetry and was into big Russian novels. Unfortunately, she was also well into a string of abusive boyfriends and self-destructive behaviors.

We were in touch occasionally once I moved out West--a phone call here, a chance meeting there when I was home, leading to a lunch or drinks. We saw a little more of each other the year I was back at home, especially summer of 2003 when I was working in Pittsburgh. A couple of times we'd be out with the boyfriend du jour, the one that was different this time, and inevitably I would start getting chilly signals from him when it became clear that I knew his girlfriend better than he did, that we shared the type of wavelength you can only share with someone you knew when you were 6, someone who you went on long field trips with, someone who was a little bit out of place in the same way you were a little bit out of place. Eventually Jen and I would be the only ones at the table of 3 or 6 or 8 laughing. One time someone else's boyfriend even got a little too drunk and wanted to fight me because I was brazenly flirting with yet another dude's girlfriend. Jen and I laughed it off because that wasn't it at all.

And then again, maybe it was a little. I don't want to make too much of this, but a little part of me probably always was in love with Jen. Nothing ever happened and I think it would have bene downright weird if it had. But yeah, on some level I was a little bit jealous of those guys who had body even though they couldn't ever get that corner of her mind that was mine.

In the last several years, accounts got sketchier and progressively worse. When I'd hear from Jen it would turn out that the boyfriends sending the chilly signals really weren't any different from all the others, and that they eventually did turn violent, but now there was a new one who wasn't like that at all. Except of course that he was. My dad ran into Jen's mom one time when I was home visiting and she asked if I could go see her, because she was in the hospital again, and maybe I was the one who could get through to her. I didn't go--partially for selfish reasons, partially because I didn't want her to see me as her mom's lackey, and partially because I knew damn well that you can't talk a person into being sane.

The last time I saw Jen was the day after Christmas, 2003. She and the current bad boyfriend (I think this one was a drummer) had a party that I somehow got invited to. It may have been the strangest party I've ever attended. Jen was going on about whatever new brand of mysticism she was into and was talking about setting up shop as a medium. She had surrounded herself with a bunch of druggies and hippies and stoners and "musicians" and weirdos--and while I normally mean those words in a good way, this was not a good crowd. I tried to fit in as best as I could--I even smoked up for what may well be the last time, and I drank Jen's sangria and who knows what was in there. I sat in a lounging chair with Jen and made her promise to call me when she needed someone to talk to and promise that she'd see better guys. I don't think either one of us believed either promise, but I suppose it was comforting to hear anyway. I never heard from her again.

"Died unexpectedly" is a polite way to say that we don't want the name of the particular vice or combination of vices--the bad boyfriends, the strange mysticisms, taking the bad drugs, not taking the good drugs--that was the proximate cause of death to be printed in the local newspaper. I don't know if I'll find out which one was the real cause, and I don't know if I want to know. Here's what I do know: I got 4 calls, 2 emails, and an IM yesterday telling me something had happened. Bill was the one who finally got me directly to break the news. The news was heart-breaking, soul-crushing, depressing, tragic, and a million other things that I'm feeling now or haven't even begun feeling yet.

The saddest part, though, is this: it was anything but unexpected.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

I grew up as an occasional church-goer, with my parents falling in and out of the habit periodically, but always going without fail on Maundy Thursday, Christmas Eve, and Easter. To this day I still feel like I'm getting away with something by not going to church on those days, even though I haven't been to church in years, and haven't been to church and meant it in a whole lot of years.

Still, I will say that Easter was always the day I least minded going. Part of it was that it seems like the whole town showed up that day, so it was more of a social event. Part of it was that it was a really happy day to go--because it was symbolically the start of spring, because of the Easter Bunny's visit, and because the message of the day was also the happiest of the Christian calendar. Mostly, though, I think it's because it was the one time of the year that the Beallsville UM Church was guaranteed to play my favorite hymn, "He Lives" (words, music). For some reason or no reason, I got to thinking about that song for the first time in years today, and it still makes me feel really happy, maybe because of nostalgia, or because of the music itself, or for some other unfathomable reason. Unfortunately iTunes doesn't have a version that does the song justice in my mind, but maybe it's better that I still think of a small choir and a small congregation grown large for one day a year, belting out a song of affirmation, joy, and uplift.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

For some reason the appeal of these things goes up exponentially the more I try to get into study mode. And for the record, I love the American version, and I'd probably like the British version if I could figure out what the fuck they're saying even occasionally...

the Wit
(57% dark, 38% spontaneous, 15% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm
talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

- it rules -

If you're interested, try my latest:
The Terrorism Test

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 62% on darkness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 30% on spontaneity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 5% on vulgarity
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I'm headed into Detroit tonight with my friends Pennie and Tara to see The Editors and Stellastarr*, two bands I don't know much about, at The Magic Stick. This indicates at least two things about me:

  1. I am not sufficiently into finals panic mode.
  2. Cute girls who I have no chance with can talk me into just about anything.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

This is counter-proof to the maxim "you are what you love," since it's pretty much the only way I don't drink the stuff:

You are a Black Coffee

At your best, you are: low maintenance, friendly, and adaptable

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you can get your hands on it

Your caffeine addiction level: high

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Well, my month and a half-long obsession with finding summer housing (or, as I'd taken to calling it: Playing Russian Sublette) again seems to be over, as I have (as the sports agents say) accepted in principle an apartment in Koreatown. The major plusses are that I know that part of town, I'll be a 5-minute walk from two kick-ass bars, the place will be cheaper than I was expecting (by a bunch), and I was able to have a friend take a look to make sure it was an ok place. (And here I'd be remiss in not thanking Tom O'Donnell; if you go here and click on "About TIAA-CREF," "View our TV commercials," and "Professor," you can see his national TV debut. He's the student.) The minuses are that I don't get to try out life on the Westside, where I'll probably live permanently, and it's going to be a little farther from work than I'd like--but I should have a nice straight shot down Olympic Boulevard.

Mostly, right now, I'm just glad to be done with the goddamn process, so that I can get back to not doing my school work.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

One morning about five years ago I sat blot upright at about 6:30 a.m. with this super-scary pain running through the left-middle of my body. Was I having a heart attack? Something equally bad? I had no idea. When I realized I was basically OK other than the pain, I calmed down, waited, and went to student health when they opened. They told me I either had a pulled muscle in my chest or back, or maybe I had a pinched nerve in there somewhere. The bottom line was that regardless of what was wrong, they were just going to tell me to rest it and take some ibuprofen, so it was pointless to do any tests.

Over the past several days I've had the exact same pain. I know it's nothing worse, largely because I was able to do the treadmill as usual yesterday with nothing out of the ordinary. Or, rather, I know intellectually it's nothing worse; the deviously paranoid part of me brain cannot stop thinking heart attack, even though to my understanding heart-attack-type pain doesn't go on as a dull throb for 5 days, doesn't allow you to do cardio, doesn't occasionally shoot across to your opposite shoulder, etc.

The practical upshot of this is particularly annoying--I'm fine all day, but when I lay down to sleep my mind races. I can probably count 10 nights in my entire life where I've had the legitimate , up half the night for no good reason kind of insomnia; unfortunately, four nights ago that estimate would be seven. So if you encounter me in the next several days, the odds that I'm going to be cranky and/or distance are exponentially higher than usual. Fair warning.

Monday, April 03, 2006

OK, most of you probably knew this three years ago (most of you with iPods anyway), but I discovered last week how to listen to samples on iTunes. I then spent a shockingly high number of hours listening to playlists called things like, "250 [actually 239] songs from 1988, about 125 [actually 119.5] of which you haven't heard since then," and realizing that if I browsed after a few beers I might accidentally download the entire list. OK, since I've never given the fine people of Apple any credit card info, that won't happen. But I do keep getting these free downloads from my Lexis-Nexis account, and I suspect that one day I'll wake up to find "Heart and Soul" by T'Pau, "No More Lies" by Michel'le, and something by Me'shell NdegéOcello on my hard drive, alongside who knows how many other artists whose names contain an apostrophe but no letter "s".

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A few quick hits as I enjoy my newfound access to Watusi Rodeo...

  • I've been out of commission from the gym for the last several days, and in a fair amount of intermittent pain to boot, since injuring my neck while doing crunches on Wednesday. The details are not important, but here's the thing--I've been receiving regular emails from my former gym for a couple of years with fitness, nutrition, and safety tips, and they never have useful information along the lines of: if you're in the stretching room doing crunches and out of the corner of your eye you see a super-hot undergrad doing something that looks more like a simulated sex act than an actual exercise, you need to either stop what you're doing or wait until you complete your current set before turning your head to stare, rather than doing it mid-rep.
  • I don't know how long it will be up, but for now you can go to the Indie 103.1 homepage and download "Start Wearing Purple" by Gogol Bordello for free. If you've ever wondered what the crazed intersection of punk and gypsy music would sound like, I daresay this is your opportunity to find out.
  • I love Ben Howland for what he did for Pitt's basketball team, and even though rooting for UCLA goes against everything I believe in (as a USC fan and a dynasty-hater), I genuinely wish him and his program well. Especially since they won me my pool.
  • For the first time in my life I have completely given up on going to a particular class, which is getting the pass-fail treatment. The professor is part of it, and the time slot is part of it. Another part, though, is this weird phenomenon where it seems easier to meet your obligations when you have more of them. Ever since my accelerated class ended I've had a lot more time, and yet I can't get as much done for the 12 leisurely credits I have now than I did when they were accompanied by 2 more very intense credits in January. I don't understand why, but it seems to be inevitable for me. Odd.
  • Another reason I haven't made it there lately is that I've picked up this bad habit of staying out until very late on Monday nights. There's a bar I really like that has a Monday night karaoke night I really like, and I can't resist it. Yes, this is the townie adventure bar I wrote about a while back, and I continue to enjoy my Mondays away from the law quad. Relatedly, any success I have with the opposite sex seems to happen there, and if anything really good happens on that front between now and the end of school, I expect it will start there. For that reason among others, I'm not going to stop going, Tuesday morning class be damned.
  • Oh, and last Monday I finally found a karaoke song I can actually sing (as opposed to rap, which I can pull off ironically) half-decently: Add It Up by the Violent Femmes.
  • I have most of May off after finals and before starting my job, and I'm starting to think that I should spend 7-10 days of it in Mississippi or Louisiana volunteering. But I'm worried about heading into the disaster area with my car full of my stuff as I move across country for the summer. Anyone have any suggestions for what I should do (with stuff, time, etc.)?