July 5th, 2005

I do not spend much time at the beach, I cannot even say that in recent years I average one trip per year. I did, however, happen to go on Sunday. Ok, so the piece of property termed "beach" was probably a 50ft piece of waterfront on which they dumped a bunch of sand they bought at Home Depot, but that is not important.

I am sure you can guess then, how much time I generally spend with my shirt off in the sun...none. So, having done this on Sunday I needed to be VERY careful in the application of sun block. Needed to be. Wasn't.

The brilliant shade of pink that certain areas of my torso have now turned, though convenient when I need to find something in the dark, have become quite itchy.

It is like one giant mosquito bite. I was fine for most of the morning because I did not touch it. Something has recently set it off and now I am powerless against it. Having such a constant, nagging itch is not pleasant. Nor is it easy to explain to coworkers who happen past at those "awkward" moments.

Factory Outlet

July 1st, 2005

There exists a store in Michigan called something to the affect of The Bible Factory Outlet. How do I know? I, friends, saw a billboard; therefore it must be true. My question for you is this:

If you buy a Bible at said store, is God then mad at you? Is God mad because you do not want a Bible bad enough to purchase it through normal retail means and pay the MSRP?

Or to the contrary is God proud of you for being able to buy the same "good book" at outlet prices? Does he applaud your comparison shopping?

I notice there were no factory outlets for the other religious texts; only the Bible. Does this tell us something? Hey, I just point out the possibility.

Oh the things we wonder while we sit alone in the car for four hours...


June 29th, 2005

In dieting and quitting smoking, as two examples, it is often said that when you vow these things, tell others. This will then hold you accountable and help you psychologically towards achievement of your goal(s). While I neither diet nor smoke, the benefit I seek from bringing this up is to stop cracking...well just about everything.

Many people crack their knuckles. I do not typically crack my knuckles, but I crack my ankles, my knees, my elbows, my back, my neck, my wrists, my big toes and my thumbs.

When sitting for an extended period, sleeping awkwardly, typing at my keyboard too much, or any number of other situations the parts the I mentioned above begin to hurt. Sometimes the hurt is more of an annoyance, sometimes it is downright painful. My relief, though often only temporary, comes in the form of cracking said part. Again, like some smokers, I have "quit" before. Sure quitting means you do not start up again, right? So let us amend that to say that I have been able to stop for periods of time in my past, but before you know it I am right back at it. I can't help it. I can help it. I am going to start...well stop...whichever one means I will not crack these joints/areas of my body anymore.

Though this will most likely be yet another hiatus in my cracking, at least it will be better than keeping it up. If telling a handful of people on the internet does not get me to stop, nothing will...

The Worst Time of Year

June 27th, 2005

Ladies and Gentlemen, please let me welcome you to the worst time of year. I know this post is, as you will see, a few days past due, and for that I do apologize.

Why, you ask, is this the worst time of year? Baseball. In the grand scheme of things, Major League Baseball and I have no beef with each other; it is however, the root of my complaint to you today. As of Thursday, as the NBA season came to such a (poor) end, there is mostly nothing sports-wise of merit to watch until the regular season of the NFL is underway in the fall.

There is the occasional reprieve, but for the most part, the summer has nothing on TV worthy of your attention. Baseball, boring in its own right, can be summed up in three highlight clips the following morning; there is no need to watch an entire game unless you are physically present at the stadium.

So many channels carry sports programming and yet you will be hard pressed to turn one on this (or any) summer and find anything besides baseball. Usually the Stanly Cup Playoffs go further into the summer and buy us a little breathing room before this wave of boredom encroaches upon us. Let us not bring up my thoughts on how much I miss the NHL right now.

Here's waiting for fall...

Wrong Number.

June 24th, 2005

I have one of those fancy (XXX) XXX-XX00 type cell phone numbers. The ability to end with "hundred" when you tell people the number is a wonderful luxury. The downfall is that your number will often be confused with that of any number of businesses. I would estimate the number of calls I receive that are not actually for me in the neighborhood of three per week. That is not really a lot, and the inconvenience is low. The relative frequency did get me thinking about how we handle these phone calls.

I have found myself saying "I'm sorry, you have the wrong number." Why am I sorry that they have the wrong number? Wait, I'm not. So I do my best not to say that anymore. I am working towards saying "You have the wrong number" and omitting the apology. Does anyone else do that?

Why do some people not believe you when you tell them that they either have misdialed or been given the wrong number?
"[I'm sorry] You have the wrong number."
"This isn't Whatever Medical Supplies?"
"No. (Which is why I said you have the wrong number!)"

When they have just been given the wrong number or god forbid it was user error and they wrote it down incorrectly they really get mad at you.
"[I'm sorry] You have the wrong number."
"Is this (XXX) XXX-XX00?"
"Yes, but you must have been given the wrong number."
":utter disbelief:"
As if I am really the person you are calling and will at any minute chime in with:
"Dude, I was kidding. It's me, what's up? I totally had you going on that wrong number thing. I can't believe you fell for it! Now, thank you for calling Whatever Medical Supplies, how may I direct your call?"

Do you ever get the guy that calls you back immediately after you tell him he had the wrong number? Caller id has really turned this into your advantage as you now have options. You may simply answer the phone with, "Still have the wrong number." This will generally prompt the conversation immediately above. You may also employ the changing of your voice or greeting when you answer and tell him he has the number wrong again in hopes he thinks he has now misdialed two times. This is fun in theory, but often will lead to the third call back, so you may want to avoid it all together. The last option that if you get really bored may be attractive is, now that you know who he is trying to reach, just say you are that person. Be warned, this could take you down a path from which it is hard to turn back. Who knows how long the conversation can go before you get backed into a corner and must hang up. Then the resulting phone call is even more awkward when you tell them they have the wrong number.

My personal favorite though, is taking a message. This only works when it is a personal call and said caller is not attempting to make contact with a business. I once was able to take messages for a woman for nearly a month. I kept telling the caller that I was her cousin visiting from out of town and she was out running errands. She had to run to the bank, she went for a walk, the movies had to be back at the rental place before midnight...you name it. I wonder whatever happened to that guy.


June 23rd, 2005

There are words, phrases, accents, idioms, and customs that vary from region to region, even family to family. Growing up in this great state of Michigan, I of course developed the correct and complete set of these different items, right? (Not funny? Ok, fine.) Having spent my glorious college years on the East Coast I began to see what things that seem so normal to me can confuse Philadelphians and New Yorkers so easily (well most things can confuse New Yorkers easily, but that is another post entirely).

Back east I was the outsider. I say "tennis shoes" while they refer to their "sneakers". If I wanted a piece of candy, I might enjoy a "sucker", while they would have a "lollipop". There weren't too many differences, but those that were did not go unnoticed. But, like a good stubborn kid from a stubborn family, I stuck to my guns. I still say tennis shoes and sucker and will continue to do so though those were small potatoes.

The big, glaring difference that has even been the topic of entire episodes of programming on some television channels is the pop/soda debate. I am now and will always be a member of the pop camp. Many tried to convert me while I was at school. They said it was just easier to order what I wanted if I would just say soda. What are we without our principles?

So early already in law school I face another of these challenges. This may not be industry specific vernacular, but in a law environment is the first time I have even encountered the use of the term "hypo". Hypo is just a truncated version of saying hypothetical situation. If you present a hypo to someone you are asking them to apply knowledge to a scenario that was created in your mind. In class we will read a note or a question after a case and then we are told how similar this is to the hypo we just discussed. Or a student will pose a question to the professor to see how a rule or law applies to a different situation for increased understanding; this is another way to use a hypo.

As I vowed on the drive to Philadelphia those few years ago that I, on my death bed, would be able to go in peace with understanding that I never wavered from saying pop, I vow to you now that I will do everything in my immediate power to not use the term "hypo". I find that using "example" or "scenario" or when I am feeling crazy even "hypothetical situation" is not difficult to say.

I harbor no ill will towards the originators of this abbreviation, nor towards those that promote its use today. All I am saying is that I do not expect it to enter into my limited vocabulary.

On that note, in my tennis shoes, I will now go have a sucker while drinking a pop.

June 22nd, 2005
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
- Andre Gide

Batman Begins

June 20th, 2005

A darker movie about the darker side of Bruce Wayne's life as he transitions into his role as Batman. After the first two Batman movies (starring Michael Keaton) Hollywood took a two movie hiatus giving us garbage instead. What they got away from was the dark cloud that Batman wears like a, well...cape.

Batman Begins takes us back to the beginning and shows us where Bruce Wayne first became afraid. It is this fear that he then turns to anger; an anger which he desires to use to rid Gotham City of the crime now rampant.

Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman have always been portrayed as well polished and expert at their crafts; Bruce as head of a business empire and Batman as hero to Gotham City. What was nice about Batman Begins was how they showed how Bruce is just learning how to do both. He has a few growing pains and trips a few times along the way, but you see how he will improve over time into the gentleman hero he becomes.

I had initial doubts about Christian Bale starring in this movie, but he proved to be a worthy Batman. When I saw Liam Neeson and learned of his part in the story I was hesitant again, but he was great. I like both Bale and Neeson. Katie Holmes plays the now grown up version of Bruce's childhood playmate. She, like most if not all other roles she has played, brings nothing to the table. Luckily there is no depth built into her character so we did not have to deal with her often.

My one real complaint with the movie was how Batman acquires the toys that allow this hero with no superhuman abilities to do the amazing things he does. I rationalize how they did it by saying that, in the interest of time, it was best.

I also liked the following things:
1) They showed Gordon as a Seargant...so you don't only see Batman's rise to power.
2) They used a bad guy that Batman had not faced in the four previous movies made.

The things I wonder after having seen it:
1) The young boy who pops up twice while scenes take place in the Narrows, is his name by any chance Dick Grayson?
2) At the end of the movie there are many things left unfinished and when Gordon hands Batman the "calling card" of this other villain you have to wonder: Are they setting up to make more new Batman movies? Or are they simply helping to catch up to where Michael Keaton began?

This movie was done well overall. I was entertained throughout. I would like to see more done in the same style, even if it means a Batman/Joker battle involving neither Jack Nicholson nor Michael Keaton (especially if we get a special appearance from Harley Quinn).

I liked Batman Begins a lot. Go see it and hope with me that they make more.

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Movie of the Month - July, 2005

June 20th, 2005

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindFrom acclaimed writer Charlie Kaufman and visionary director Michel Gondry comes Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. An all-star cast shines in this comical and poignant look at breakups, breakdowns and breakthroughs.

Joel (Jim Carrey) is stunned to discover that his girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), has had their tumultuous relationship erased from her mind. Out of desperation, he contacts the inventor of the process, Dr. Howard Mierzwiak (Tom Wilkinson), to get the same treatment. But as his memories of Clementine begin to fade, Joel suddenly realizes how much he still loves her.

Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo and Elijah Wood co-star in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- a memorable firm that The Wall Street Journal calls "a romantic comedy unlike any other!"

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Book of the Month - July, 2005

June 20th, 2005

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange - Anthony BurgessA vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare version of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. And when the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?"

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