Grill 23 & Bar - Boston, MA

June 3rd, 2005

Located at the corner of Berkeley and Stuart Streets in Boston's Back Bay area, Grill 23 & Bar is a premier dining experience. Executive Chef Jay Murray prepares a fine menu that is highlighted by their signature Kobe Beef cap steak. Again, it is highly recommended that you do not order your Kobe Beef warmer than medium-rare. It is nice to know that in a city full of Seafood restaurants there are still places to get a great steak. But don't worry, Grill 23 & Bar has a full menu of seafood items as well. It is a very versatile dinner destination.

The meal is more expensive than some places, but the food, wine, wait staff and experience were worth it. The meal will be >$50 per person if you do drinks and appetizers and the dress is business casual to business professional. It is a good setting for business dinners, dates or even a good meal with friends.

The next time I am in Boston I will have a hard time struggling between going back to Grill 23 & Bar or trying someplace new.

The restaurant was suggested to me by the front desk at my hotel when I asked for a good steakhouse to which I would take a client. When travelling anywhere, for any reason, I always recommend you ask the concierge where to eat rather than picking something out of the air.

Jarrod & Becca

June 2nd, 2005

I was not in Texas for very long this past weekend, but the time I was there was more than worth it. Based on the fact that I knew I would not be able to spend much time there, I was actually contemplating not attending this wedding to which I was invited.

Becca and Jarrod are my brother's friends from Wake Forest whom I have had the pleasure of knowing now for many years. Honored is a great way to describe how I felt when I opened my invitation.

Jarrod & Becca

I landed in Houston at 11am on Saturday and flew out from same at 4pm on Sunday. Like I said, it was not a long trip, but how could I pass this up? The answer is simple, I could not; so I did not. It was great to see such a beautiful wedding (complete with commentary that will remain an inside joke probably until eternity) and so many friends.

I want to thank Jarrod and Becca first and foremost for allowing me to be a part of this special weekend. The ceremony and the reception were great. It was one of those weddings where details you would never consider as details to cover in a wedding were taken care of twice over...and now you realize they were important details and that everyone else should pay more attention to them (that make any sense? I didn't think so). There was a lot of time and love put into the entire weekend and I just wish I could have flown in earlier.

Secondly I want to thank the entire group, primarily the Luter Basement crew. I have been able to hang out with you all for 7-8 years now. Never once have I felt like an outsider. You have all been so welcoming of me and I hope you all see how appreciative I am of that. I cannot thank you enough.

But enough about those guys, this is Jarrod and Becca's post, so back to them. You compliment each other so well and are so much fun to be around. I guess it is only a matter of time before the pitter patter of little uber-intelligent feet...

Congratulations to you!

(Pictures available HERE)

June 1st, 2005

You are the master of every situation.

Mystic River

June 1st, 2005
Mystic RiverWith Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Friends torn apart by tragedy are reunited after one loses a daughter to murder. Oscar winner for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

After my review of the book Mystic River, one friend said he would be curious what I would think about the movie once I had finally seen it. I have now seen it. Please, read on.

Here you have an incredible cast working together to portray a story based upon a book that received relatively high praise. Take those two pieces and mash them together. What results is a movie that falls short on plot and even shorter on acting.

First allow me to clarify how short it fell on acting. EVERYONE in this film with the exception of Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn did an absolutely terrible job. The dialogue was forced and raw. Nothing seemed natural from them, any of them; especially the Savage brothers. Kevin Bacon is generally solid in any role he is given. Sean Penn absolutely blew me away. The passion he brought to this role absolutely sold me on his being Jimmy, not him playing Jimmy. Maybe to the chagrin of the rest of the cast his performance made them all look like amateurs.

The casting of Laura Linney (of whom I'm a huge fan. who knew?) and Tim Robbins in the roles they played was poor in the eyes of someone who read the book. I understand now more than ever why authors say that they do not want to option their novels to production studios. They have an idea of the characters in their head that cannot be translated into the best available big name actor. I had a picture of Dave Boyle in my head, Tim Robbins was far from it.

It fell short on plot as any movie will in regards to the book upon which it is based. There is so much detail in a book, detail that as a reader you consider important to the story. Director Clint Eastwood and I do not see eye to eye on which details should have made the movie and which should have not.

The movie was good. The book was better. Yes the disproportionate majority of the time, that will be the case. I was challenged to consider Mystic River as one that may fit in the minority, or at least do the book justice. I will say it did that. I recommend this movie anyway, but more so if you have not read the book.

P.S. There was a question regarding the ending of the movie in the forum thread linked below that was not given enough attention in the movie. The book does a much better job of explaining it, though they do elude to its explanation throughout the movie. You just have to dig a little deeper to find it. I will reply to that question there to avoid leaving any spoiler information in plane view.

P.P.S. Another complaint about the movie is regarding Sean Devine's (Bacon) wife. In the book he receives the same voiceless phone calls yet you are never sure it is his wife calling as he speculates to his partner. In the movie, the possibility that he is simply living too much in the past is destroyed as there are cut scenes to a woman on the other end of the phone apparently trying to gather the courage to speak to the husband on whom she walked out.

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Finding that elusive cell phone signal.

May 31st, 2005 people may be my favorite people in the world. I want to say that people like this exist in every country that has a cellular network, but I think I am giving my fellow Americans too much credit if I insist we are not alone in our gestures.

You're in someone's basement. You're in a movie theater. You're out in a field in the country. You're in a parking garage or structure. You could be anywhere and where you are at that moment, your cellular telephone does not receive a signal from the closest tower. You are without service. What do you do?

There are two schools of thought on this matter; even with a population that meets in the middle. School the first holds their cell phones out like a water stick in the desert leading them to drink. They follow the cell phone slower at first then gradually they pick up the pace as if they are hot on the trail to a reception.

The second group is more creative....right? How could you be wrong to figure by holding your cell phone a full arm's extension towards the sky your signal has to improve? Again, walk around the room with your phone over your head, perhaps stand on a chair; any means necessary. My only question for you, oh cell phone signal sleuth, is what are you going to do with your phone when you find service near the ceiling? How will you then get your head to the phone? I have never quite understood that part.

How am I affected? I thought you would never ask. My dilemma is do I point out the common sense of the situation where these people will not be able to get a signal and if they do will not be able to reach the single pocket of service without aid of a stool? Or do I just watch and let them amuse me? Call me crazy, but for right now I think I will opt for the latter.

May 30th, 2005
It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
- Harry S. Truman

Poodles. I don't get it.

May 27th, 2005

On my drive to work this morning I saw a woman out walking her poodle. My first thought was, "My that is an ugly little creature." This was not as much about her poodle specifically, but more about the breed in general. There is nothing cute about these dogs.

Let's go ahead and clear up a point you will all find important. I am admittedly not much of a dog person. There are those who are and those who are not; I fall as much in the middle as possible, but closer to the "not" side. My overall perspective is that other peoples' dogs are cool. Having a dog is just not for me. I very much respect your right to have and enjoy dogs and it makes perfect sense to me up until the point where you say you want a poodle.

Why would you want a dog that looks like this? Is it a joke? Is it the scenario where you ran with the "ugly crowd" in high school to boost your self-esteem? Do poodle owners have some inflated sense of self worth because, "Hey, at least I'm better looking than my poodle"?

Or is it some deranged control issue? Because poodle owners do things that to my knowledge most other dog owners do not do. Were you brought up in a strict household and so you have repressed feelings of contempt for others? Maybe your boss is a jerk, how will you let your anger manifest itself? Why not shave stupid patterns into the dog. That'll show 'em!

And from what I hear, poodles are quite nasty. I guess we could speculate until we're blue in the face as to why these animals have a reputation for being mean. But then again maybe it isn't such a hard thing to figure out after all...

I think there should be a screening process implemented to weed out people with the potential to humiliate themselves and their animal. Or as a society do we promote this and encourage poodle owners to manipulate the animal for the enjoyment of others? Some may refer to this as cruel and unusual, but I guess that only applies to people. Screw with your ugly dog all you like!

Analogies are fun.

May 26th, 2005

Cell phones are to law school as oil is to water.

Does that take you back to the SATs? Anyway, in class last night a cell phone rang in the middle of discussion. The mobile device in question belongs to the person who sits to my left. He quickly fumbled around to pull it from his bag and cease its siren. His "fun" downloaded ring tone only sounds once, but that was more than enough; the damage was done.

Some law schools have different methods by which they call on their students, but many use their right to call on the students at random. Typically you will not be called on more than once in a particular class period, though the possibility exists under the system, or as we'll see here, or when your phone rings.

This student to my left, we'll call him "Stan", had arbitrarily been called upon to help us with the first case discussed last night. After his phone rang, he had the pleasure to brief about four more cases as well. Our Wednesday night professor is a lighthearted person. She has conducted class with authority, but while allowing us the ability to have fun while we learn. You could almost feel the room get colder after that cell phone went off; her entire demeanor had changed.

When a student is called upon to discuss a case, in the rare event that they are unable to answer a particular question, it then becomes open to the floor. Any student may raise their hand at that point and offer an attempt at the answer. It just so happened that the student who had the pleasure of the case in discussion as the phone rang was unable to recall a particular point about the case.

"Stan, you want to help her out?" asked the professor, without even surveying the room for volunteers.

It was at this precise moment that most of the air in the room was sucked out as each of the rest of us in our seats gasped then stared wide-eyed at our notes, hands in our laps. Stan, I would say, does not exactly have the best track record for having completed all of the assignments. This is not necessarily something that is brought to light in front of the professors, but you can often tell from pre-class discussion. Luckily last night he appeared more prepared than ever. He did well answering the questions posed to him and never wavered from being called upon. I think he expected it. To tell you the truth, I did not know what to expect.

Through orientation and even into each class, everyone tells you to be sure and turn off your cell phone or at least place your ringer on vibrate when you enter class. Professors all have horror stories of Judges who have imposed ridiculous penalties upon members of their audience who fail to observe the "turn it off" guideline. The atmosphere in law school is one where we have been fully warned.

That said, I feel Stan got off relatively easily. He escaped rather unscathed. I am not saying that he should have been punished to a greater extent, we are after all in this together are we not? It was not long before the professor's lighter side resurfaced and her smile returned.

Who knows, maybe this is now a cross he must bear for the duration of the term; stigmatized as the outcast, rogue student who disobeys the turn-off-your-cell-phone "advisement". Then again, maybe he has been punished to the full extent of his crime. Only time will tell.

Kiki's Delivery Service

May 23rd, 2005
Kiki's Delivery ServiceWith voices of Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Matthew Lawrence and Debbie Reynolds. A young witch must learn to survive on her own in a new town. Created by acclaimed animator Hayao Miyazaki.

Kiki being thirteen years old is of the age when young witches leave home. It is customary for them to leave home for a year and find a city where there are no other witches to focus on their training. On a date unexpected by her parents she sets off to find a city by the ocean.

Kiki, off on her own, struggles with her self-confidence. This being a universal conflict for children around this age, and not just witches, I think it would be a good movie for younger children. The movie is rated G, so it was not exactly a movie for which I would be considered the target audience. That does not mean that I could not enjoy it. That does not mean more specifically that I did not enjoy it. By no means was this the best movie I have seen, but it was cute. What I took most out of it was the animation. Miyazaki continues to impress. I have liked other movies he has directed and plan to see as many as I can.

Miyazaki has wowed audiences with many films, including Spirited Away. You can learn more about this film and others from Hayao Miyazaki at

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Buy Chappelle's Show Season 1

May 22nd, 2005

Chappelle's Show Season 1Great deal from Amazon to get Chappelle's Show Season 1 for only $13.50.