Friday, March 30, 2007

Result of a bizarre teleporter accident?

Using the "Average Images" tool over at Face Research, I've put together a composite photo of eleven different women on whom I have had crushes since about 1996.

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I think she's darn cute, and she can play like six different instruments and has about fifteen college degrees. She might want to look into getting some frames for her glasses that are more than a micron thick, though.

Three unrelated items that weren't worthy of their own posts

1. I'm taking the job in Anchorage. Now I get to break things down into one freak-out at a time: first comes the "How do I get there" freak-out, then the "Where am I gonna live" freak-out, then the "What am I gonna do with my free time" freak-out, then the "Oh hell I almost forgot to freak out about finals" freak-out, then the "AAAAAAAHHH MOSQUITOS" freak-out. But this schedule is tentative.

2. Important lesson I learned today: Before you take a deposition, make sure the person you're deposing knows something.

3. My letter to Rashida Jones was returned with "Moved, No Forwarding Address" stamped on it. Well, there goes my confidence.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

When is a job offer scary?

When it's this one.


Thank you for your interest in a summer law clerk position with the Municipality of Anchorage, Department of Law, and for taking the time to meet with me in Seattle in February. Based upon our interview and your resume, I am authorized, on behalf of the Municipality of Anchorage, Department of Law, to offer you an unpaid, volunteer position, as a 2007 summer law clerk in the Civil Division, under the following conditions:

1. At the time of acceptance of this offer, you provide a copy of transcript of your undergraduate grades, and a transcript of your law school grades – unofficial is acceptable for the law school transcript; and

2. On or before the time your summer position with the Department of Law commences, you provide written certification, as required under Alaska Bar Rule 44, from the appropriate law school official at the University of Idaho, School of Law, confirming:

a. Completion of at least one-half of your required law school courses; and

b. You are a student in good standing at the University; and

3. You are willing to commit to work at the Municipality of Anchorage, Dept. of Law, for 40 hours per week for a minimum of 10 total weeks; and

4. You are willing to commit to the program requirements of the Municipality's summer law clerk program, including:

a. Attending at least one Assembly meeting; and

b. One work shift as a civilian "ride-along" with an Anchorage Police Department officer; and

c. Submission of weekly work journals, briefly summarizing tasks and assignments; and

5. If you are seeking or eligible for grant funds or other federal, state or law school financial assistance, the Municipality will assist as needed to provide information regarding its Summer Law Clerk program to the appropriate persons/entities. Please keep us posted on your efforts in this regard.

PLEASE NOTE: The Municipality is not able to pay stipends, housing or travel expenses. However, the Municipality will provide either (1) a free, unlimited bus pass for the summer, or (2) a free parking permit, if you have access to an automobile in Anchorage, for parking in close proximity to City Hall. All summer law clerks receive authorization for computer and internet access, for work, school and personal matters, while in Alaska. In addition, the Dept. of Law will provide information and assistance regarding appropriate housing, if needed.

This OFFER terminates at the close of business on Monday, April 2, 2007.

If the conditions outlined above are acceptable, please email your acceptance of this OFFER on or before 5:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time on Monday, April 2, 2007. If you are not interested in pursuing a position with the Municipality, or you have accepted other employment for the summer, an email response on or before the offer deadline is appreciated. If you have questions about this offer, please feel free to contact me by email for additional information.

Rhonda Fehlen Westover

Deputy Municipal Attorney

This is gonna be pricey. Plane tickets will cost me about $500, and I'll probably have to shell out another $1500 or so for rent, and maybe $750 for miscellaneous expenses. On the other hand, it'll be a useful experience, and when am I going to get another chance to go to Alaska?

Basically I'm just hoping that you, my blog readers, will give me some last-minute advice. I'm probably going to take the job unless somebody brings up a good reason why I shouldn't.

We come in peace

So when The Future finally arrives and we get to send out starships to explore the worlds beyond our own, what logo will we put on our ships? A national flag would only work if we didn't have a united Earth space project, which sci-fi usually has (and oddly enough, it tends to be headed by people of the same nationality as the author). The UN's logo is ugly and has no place in space after its multitude of failures here on earth.

I humbly suggest that we use a design featuring a trident. Since the trident is traditionally a naval weapon, it will emphasize Earth as the planet with the big oceans. And a trident has three points, emphasizing that ours is the third planet from our sun.

I've borrowed this sample logo from a British engineering firm. It could use some work, but I think it's a good start.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I'm not the kind of guy who should go about making fun of somebody else's looks (pot, kettle, glass house). But I feel comfortable saying that if I were this guy, I would use a different photo of myself on my firm's web site.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Thursday, March 22, 2007

My respect for Georgetown just dropped a little

Stephen Glass is among the alumni of Georgetown University Law Center.

He was admitted to the school after he was sacked from The New Republic for fabricating at least 27 stories for the magazine. Granted, it's frequently up to the state bar associations to determine if someone is morally fit to practice law (and this article says the New York Bar isn't willing to let Glass in), but you'd think that an admissions director would be more than a little hesitant to let in somebody who carried out such irresponsible behavior, and who would be so unlikely to get admitted to the bar.

The Alford plea

Rumor has it that Hawkeye basketball coach Steve Alford is on his way out the door to New Mexico.

Normally I would be upset that one of our coaches was leaving us for such a... minor school, but I'm not really sorry to see Alford go. His teams were inconsistent and undisciplined, and I don't know why they always lost to Northwestern.

It's unfortunate that two of the obvious candidates, Greg McDermott and Bruce Pearl, have recently found new jobs, so we'll have to look elsewhere. Bib Guy suggests Lon Kruger, but I'm not sure how long he'd be willing to stay in Iowa. I'd be OK with most of the other guys he suggested. Maybe also Kevin Stallings (2 Sweet Sixteens in eight years at Vanderbilt). And, y'know, Kevin Gamble just won his second straight conference title at Illinois-Springfield...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

As if ordinary psychics weren't bad enough

I enjoy much British television. They brought us "Monty Python," "Red Dwarf," "The Office," "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and several other classics of entertainment. Plus they talk funny.

But I'm going to have to mark the British TV industry down one point for introducing the Baby Mind Reader.

(Audio is not safe for work.)

I guess the telly gains back a half point for letting Charlie Brooker deliver a scathing critique of said Mind Reader.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Enough of all the marriaging!

It looks like this guy has just got engaged. I don't feel like doing another theme post for the occasion, so just go back and read this one.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

You can tell from my post count how non-eventful my spring break was

Anyhow, before I start classes again, I thought I'd recommend ArtRage, the best painting program I've ever seen. The "trace" feature is fantastic. With a little effort and a good source image, even an inept artist like myself can turn out pictures like this.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

The name on the blog was Salieri, Private Investigator. The gun on my desk was a .44 Magnum.

Somebody over at NBC is on a noir kick, and two series they're debuting this spring reflect it.

Raines stars Jeff Goldblum as a police officer with a gift. Well, sort of. His gift is that he's bonkers. He has an overactive imagination and finds himself talking to dead people. Unlike other "cop talks to dead guys" shows, though, this one makes it clear that Raines isn't communicating with ghosts: he's talking with figments of his own imagination. They only know what he knows, and he bounces ideas off of them.

The pilot was fairly strong for a pilot: it showed off the cinematography tricks that will probably recur a lot (example: Raines speculates about the victim being involved in blackmail, there's a pan across his body, and suddenly the victim is there, dressed like Kathleen Turner in Body Heat), there were a few good laughs (I know you've always wanted to hear Jeff Goldblum say "hot monkey love") and the initial victim did a good job of adapting acting styles as Raines discovered more about her. On the other hand, some of the plot twists were heavily telegraphed, the fast-talking noir style requires you to pay close attention to the dialogue, and there were two egregious CSI-style "zoom and enhance" moments. (Of course, since this show has an unreliable narrator, there's always the possibility that Raines just saw a normal, grainy picture and imagined the better picture.)

Overall, I'm reserving judgment until I see a few more episodes. It's on Fridays at 9/8 central, so if you don't have anything else to do on Friday nights, it's worth a look.

On the other hand, you can watch Andy Barker, P.I. any time you want: NBC put the first eight episodes online for free download. Starring Andy Richter and written by much of the Conan O'Brian staff, Andy is an accountant who finds himself working as a private eye. The cast also features Tony "Buster" Hale. Another non-laugh-track-sitcom, this one will slide into the slot after Scrubs on Thursday nights. The humor here is based on the old fish-out-of-water premise with a dose of awkward situations and bizarre characters. It picks up around episode 3, and I'm giving it my tentative approval.

Friday, March 16, 2007

On the other hand I am completely confident in my ability to retain a TV girlfriend

So she's French, she has a silly name, and she's not going to do American television. Is that enough to prevent Ludivine Sagnier from becoming my new TV girlfriend?

Non, non, absolument non!

Je t'aime, ma belle.

Hollow assurances

I realize that I am probably stepping on Lindsey's toes by doing this but I'm going through a bit of single angst at the moment, and I'd like to express my dissatisfaction with a sentence I hear frequently from well-meaning friends.

"You'll find the right girl eventually."

There are two major flaws with this statement.

1. The phrasing of this statement implies a belief in Destiny: that the universe runs like divine clockwork and that there is no element of chance. If you believe this, then go back to Communist Russia or Calvinist Switzerland, you damned pinko or heretic! My experiences listening to prog-rock have convinced me that I have free will, for good or for bad. I am no more destined to be happily married than I am destined to taste of the Salmon of Knowledge and liberate the people of Eire from the tyrant Balog.

2. The phrasing of this statement implies a belief that there is one and only one Miss Right. Again, a product of magical thinking. The correct number of women who are potential Misses Right can be determined using this simple formula:

W = S x F x C1 x C2 x G x T x E1 x E2

S = single women I meet within the correct age range to be potential dates
F = percent chance that we will become friends
C1 = percent of women that I will find sufficiently attractive to date
C2 = percent of women who find me sufficiently attractice to date
G = percent chance that one of us will have the gumption to ask the other to date
T = percent chance that said proposal to date will occur at a time when we are both emotionally ready to date each other
E1 = percent chance that I will not commit errors that will ruin the relationship
E2 = percent chance that she will not commit errors that will ruin the relationship

Based on experience I believe that C2, G, T, and E1 are lower for me than for many other men. W may still wind up being greater than 1, but I can't be certain.

So what should you say to reassure me when I am bemoaning my outcast state? Try something like "I have confidence in your ability to attract and keep a good woman." Or, even better, "I have a friend who would like to date you, and her name is (insert name here)."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Fridge Largemeat! Bolt Vanderhuge!

Minor League Baseball is currently running a contest for the best name in the minor leagues.

Two of the nominated players ply their trade for the Cedar Rapids Kernels, but sound like they'd be at home in the wrestling ring as well: Flint Wipke and Brok Butcher.

The Veteran's Committee has nominated Wonderful Terrific Monds III, Orval Overall, Urban Shocker, and Razor Shines.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

They say you can still hear him scream

When I die someday, all that will be left of me is memories, so I want to make sure people remember me. One easy way to do this is for my grave to become a spooky local monument that scares pre-teens, like Iowa City's Black Angel.

Here are some ideas I had for making my grave creepy. Some of them will require you guys to help me out by spreading rumors, so if you could do that, that would be great.

-In front of the headstone, put a sculpture of two hands holding the book of the dead. If you go to the grave at midnight (1 AM if you're on Daylight Savings Time) and read the book, you'll see that your name is the last one in the book and the hands come to life and they strangle you to death!

-Write a secret message in voodoo code. (I know all about voodoo code because I beat Gabriel Knight.) The message should say something cryptic like "He is waking".

-Put a secret lever in front of the grave. When somebody steps on it, a skeleton hand pops out of the grave.

-Put a picture of a skeleton on the headstone, but where the face should be... there's a mirror.

-Carve "NAME UNKNOWN" on the headstone and mention that I spent forty years in the Old Asylum.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Is it bad that I reminisce about advertising?

Today I read a bankruptcy case about a car dealership. The dealership in question, after bankruptcy, was bought out by Bob Rohrman Auto Group.

"Bob Rohrman?" I thought. Sure enough, the case was out of the Northern District of Illinois, and the Bob Rohrman was the Bob ROOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRRRman I'd seen running commercials on WGN Back In The Day.

"You can tell just by looking at me that I talk funny!"

I also have a distinct memory of early exposure to Empire Carpets on WGN, probably during a commercial break on M.A.S.K. 800-588-2300, Empire.

I have had no luck in hunting down the name of the company that used the dramatic shots of industrial machinery with the slogan "This is the big one. Make no mistakes." I think it might have been Jaeger, but my memory is less than reliable: while researching this blog entry I remembered Boubin Auto ("That's the bear facts, folks") as a Chicago firm when it was actually based in Cedar Rapids.

On a Dubuque-based advertising aside, if anyone knows the last few words of the Skate Country jingle, please inform me. For years I have heard it as "Skate - COUNTRY! It's a great place to (mumble). Skate - COUNTRY!"

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A critical mass of gossip

Truly, we live in interesting times. So interesting that news of Rosie O'Donnell's therapy and Britney's rehab and Tom Brady's misadventures in birth control can drown out the news that Richard Jeni's killed himself.

Well, actually, it doesn't surprise me much that the suicide news wasn't front-page stuff. Jeni is really only known to huge fans of stand-up comedy. The rest of us ask "Was he one of those guys who was on Dr. Katz once?" (For the record: yes, he was.)

But it is remarkable that Charlotte Church, who brought millions joy when she recorded those classical albums and brought millions more joy when she did this, is reproducing.

Looks like that's not gonna be enough to bring you back into the spotlight, dear. Now if you did something foolhardy to endanger the baby, then we'd all pay attention to you again.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Faint praise

Having just seen His Girl Friday, I would like to commend Howard Hawks on his ability to make a successful movie which doesn't have a single likable character.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Some paper of record you are

I don't talk politics much any more. I'm a uniter, not a divider.

But I will always take the chance to prove that I am smarter than the New York Times.

From an unsigned editorial, March 8:

That disturbing tale is one of several revealed this week in Congressional hearings called to look into the firing of eight United States attorneys. The hearings left little doubt that the Bush administration had all eight — an unprecedented number — ousted for political reasons.

This is a curious use of "unprecedented." Perhaps there has never been a previous time in history in which exactly eight U.S. attorneys were sacked at once. But there have been times in which more than eight U.S. attorneys were fired at once. In fact, it should be noted that Bush's predecessor fired every U.S. attorney except one upon taking office.

Of course, there's little point in debating facts any more. We have all entered our own personal Rashomons, in which we may pick and choose from a smorgasbord of information to construct the realities we wish to see before us. If the Times has decided that the firing of eight U.S. attorneys is "unprecedented," then they are free to believe it.

Making dreams come true

Last night, I had a dream in which I was going to write a letter to actress Rashida Jones. Unfortunately, I couldn't find an address for her, nor could I think of anything to write about. It was another one of those dreams I tend to have in which I am trying repeatedly to do something relatively simple and failing every time. It's symptomatic of my lack of self-confidence.

But I'm a year and a half away from being a lawyer, and it's about time I gained some self-confidence, if only a shred.

So this afternoon, I tracked down an address for Rashida Jones, and I wrote her a letter. I told her about the dream, and then I wrote a little about myself and about some of my favorite things I own (my 1922 world atlas, my Devo hat). The letter went out with today's mail.

I don't expect her to respond, but I proved to my subconscious mind that I am capable of writing fan letters to television stars. And it made for a good story.

(Well, I thought it was a good story, at least.)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

This groom actually is as skinny as a broom

Looks like Nearly Any Jedi and Toadless Boy are getting married. Good for them. In preparation for their nuptials, I've scoured the web for some ever-so-useful wedding clip art.

Here's a bride who has too much attitude to enjoy her special day.

Is that Zack Morris?

I think this is what it's like to get married while on acid.

"Psst... the DJ hasn't shown up yet, so try to stall."

Jesus visited his stylist and decided to go with a new look.

The rare Ypres Dove makes its nests within the twists of barbed wire.

First Episcopalian launches its giant ninja star to defend against Westminster Presbyterian's missile attack.

A beautiful heart, conveniently dithered for 16 colors, perfect for use in Paint Shop Pro or Kid Pix.

Angel or face card?

Creepy FTD guy, at your service!

In conclusion I think that Mr. and the future Mrs. Sanderson should use all these items in their wedding program. I AM SUPER SERIAL.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Welcome, my friends, to the show that never ends

On my old blog, I spoke eloquently about the sparklyfication of horses.

Now, I find that someone believes that guitars are too masculine, and has dolled them up in a terrifying manner. I have no idea if they are meant to be ironic.

Still, I wouldn't particularly mind playing the seafoam green Retro-H De-Luxe. (That is, if I could play guitar.)