Monday, December 11, 2006

Running with Birds

trail-run, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

I jogged a mile today. Through an enchanted hillside!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Am I the only one upset that I won't get to see the OJ interview?

BREITBART.COM - O.J. Simpson Book, TV Special Canceled

And so, the odd planetary alignment that brought about the most bizarre television special in history has passed, and I for one am kind of sad about it. When I first heard that OJ would be interviewed in a show titled, "If I Did It, Here's How It Happened," I thought it was a hoax of some sort. As I realized it was serious, I became outraged and disgusted. Sure, we all know he did it, but hearing him describe the "hypothetical" murders was akin to spitting in the face of the murdered and their families. This is horrible! I yelled. He is a sicko! I can't believe Fox is running this!

And yet, some small part of me was really looking forward to the interview. It's the Gawker, that part in all of us that slows down to look at gruesome accident scenes. Sure, it's sad what happened to those drivers, but gee whiz, look at how mangled everything is! I was looking forward to hearing OJ describe the killings. I wanted to know just how psychopathic he could really be. And after years of speculating about what really happened, we were about to hear it from the killer himself.

But now, because of Mass Outrage, we never will know what really happened. Well, er, I mean, of course we know what really happened, but we don't know know. Oh well. Guess it's back to the golf course to search for the real killer.

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Friday, November 3, 2006

Cuddly Rudy

Cuddly Rudy, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

Rudy is fluffy and cuddly, basking in the light from the rising sun. Note the sparkles around his eyes! (For best effect, click through to Flickr, and then click "All Sizes" to see it larger.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

God I love Chipotle

IMG_6544.JPG, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

I don't think I've enjoyed Halloween this much since I was a little kid, experiencing the thrill of getting FREE CANDY for the first time. You see, Chipotle (one of my favorite restaurants in the world) has a special Halloween deal which is only known by hard core Chipotle fans who subscribe to their e-mail list: Come in dressed up as burrito, and GET A FREE BURRITO. This is essentially the new Adult version of Halloween; I no longer care about getting free candy, but dangle a free burrito before me and I'll do pretty much anything you want. Want me to dance? I'll dance. Want me to dress up as a burrito? For the love of God, I'll do it!

My tin foil cap facilitated the acquisition of two free burritos -- a steak/barbacoa version from the Dupont Circle location, and a chicken/guacamole version from Woodley Park. At each restaurant, there were very few people in line when I showed up at 5:45 and 6 pm, respectively, and I was the only one wearing aluminum. I was seriously planning on getting a third burrito, but alas, when I drove past the Tenleytown Chipotle shortly after 7, the line was out the door and several of those waiting were clad in foil. Apparently word had gotten around.

Oh well -- I still got two delicious burritos, one of which I had today and the other I will devour tomorrow. I'm already looking forward to next year... I've gotten lots of burrito costume ideas from flickr, and some of them are incredibly inspired.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Happy Halloween from!

IMG_6540.JPG, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rudy versus the Garbage Bag

This is just adorable. Watch Rudy flee as I try to put him back in his cage.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

IMG_0027 3, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

I turned 27 the other day, and invited some friends over for a Poker Party (TM) and some fun. I believe my invitation, sent out to some two dozen people, implored the invited guests to "bring a friend or two, a smile or two, and a bottle or two." Alas, only 5 people responded, none of them brought a bottle or a friend (let alone two), and only 3 or 4 brought a smile.

The party was definitely one of the weirdest parties I have ever had, and I blame this on the low turnout. Six people do not a party make, especially when only 3 of the attendees actually agreed to the $5 buy-in for a good game of poker. Shortly through the game, our resident New Yorker tired of tormenting my parrot with Evil Stuffed Animals, and began strategically placing firecrackers throughout the apartment, including but not limited to in the stove burners. When Anthony and Bekah left to go buy a birthday cake, Rich convinced us all to find out what would happen if we put foil in the microwave. I happened to think this was a Very Bad Idea, but the Vocal Minority usually outshouts the Silent Majority, as seen in the following video...

Alas, the supermarket had closed at 11 pm (not 12 am as the Web site said), so I never did get that birthday cake. But that's okay; before the party, Anthony, Gweepay and I went to Lauriol Plaza, where Mexicans sang happy birthday for me as they presented my Birthday Flan...

Here's hoping Year 27 has a little more structure than Party 27.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

150 Things

The idea for this post was stolen from a friend, who, upon reading her list, I discovered, has never taken a midnight walk on the beach. Unacceptable.

Items in italics are those to which I answer "yes."

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said “I love you” and meant it
9. Hugged a tree

10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight

28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can

32. Held a lamb

33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer

40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends

43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Played touch football

61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain

65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken

69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class

71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party

75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days (not drink)
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music

87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery

120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school

131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Harry Potter Must Die, and other life lessons learned at Jesus Camp

A Film Review by Gweepay

I enjoyed the film, “Jesus Camp,” the other night at one of DC’s premier indie theaters, which I can only identify as the one sort of near Metro Center. Given what I already knew about Christian fundamentalists, based largely on my experiences in the midwest, including their ultimately unsuccessful attempt to recruit me in college, I can safely say I wasn’t overly surprised by anything that I was presented with in this documentary-of-sorts on the manner in which fundies indoctrinate and, quite frankly, psychologically abuse their kids.

Fundamentalism is, you see, the natural enemy of empiricism. The empiricist comes to his conclusions by a) gathering as many facts as possible, b) applying logic and reason to those facts, and c) reaching the logical conclusion. The fundamentalist, on the other hand, starts with the conclusion, which is understood to come from the mouth of the deity himself, and forces the facts of the world into a framework that allows that conclusion to remain true. Fundamentalism involves the absence of synthesis and skepticism; it sacrifices logic and reason on the altar of certainty.

So what does “Jesus Camp” tell us about the predetermined conclusions of these particular fundies? Well, we learn that these sects are first and foremost rabidly anti-science. The thought that the creation stories in Genesis (yes, there are two, and they contradict one another) are anything other than literally true isn’t something these fundies are even willing to consider. We even get to see a video shown to the kids at the camp of indoctrination, narrated by some guy in a really bad dinosaur suit, that explains to them why the earth cannot be more than 6,000 years old. The kids are also taught that sex is bad, homosexuality is bad, ghost stories are bad, and, my favorite, and I paraphrase:

“If Harry Potter were alive during Old Testament times, he would’ve been put to death for witchcraft!”

This is funny because we all picture Harry, donning his big dorky glasses, tied to a stake, attempting to blow the fire out while thinking of the appropriate spell which will turn the fire into party streamers or some such thing (hey, I’ve never even READ Harry Potter! How am I supposed to know what he can do?).

But the Potter quote simply reinforces my point about the fundies.

The bitchy, corpulent cult leader who barked this nuttiness at the kids wasn’t incorrect. It was actually an element of Old Testament law that held, and I quote, “Thou shalt not suffer a sorceress to live,” (Exodus 22:18). This command supposedly came from the mouth of God himself, and came along with a number of other commands, including those littered throughout the OT commanding the Hebrews to take the land that God had given them, and if any of those darn natives made any trouble, to commit genocide against them. As God supposedly said to Saul, King of Israel: “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass,” (1 Samuel 15:3).

Now, does the notion that God, this infinite being who put into motion the countless number of complex processes that led to the development and maturation of the universe, would instruct his followers to commit genocide seem a bit, well, illogical to you? It certainly does to me. And as an empiricist, I can question the Bible and choose not to believe any or all of it depending on the conclusion I reach after applying reason to the facts that I know about the world. And as I learn more about the world, I can synthesize and change my mind. But the fundies, you see, can’t do this. If they admit that a single word in the Bible isn’t literally true, their entire worldview collapses. So to them, God really would’ve preferred that poor Harry Potter be put to death had he lived among the Hebrews at Sinai, provided that he couldn’t turn into a seagull and fly away as the angry mob shook its collective fist.

So now do you see how destructive fundamentalism can be? And remember, this entire movie demonstrated how the fundies were indoctrinating children with this mindset. Not adults, but children. Despicable.

That said, I did have one problem with the film, a common problem that I tend to have with all indie films that attempt to point out the evils of the extreme right. The problem is that generally speaking, the only ones who will put the time and energy into taking on extremists are other extremists. We see this in all the Michael Moore movies, where Moore cleverly shows us the idiotic nature of many on the far-right, but then attempts to indoctrinate us into embracing the ideologies of his own far-left. The answer to crazies with assault weapons becomes the repeal of the Second Amendment. The answer to the Bush foreign policy becomes pacifism. The answer to the military-industrial complex becomes to burn all our weaponry, retreat from the world, and let “men of peace” like Hugo Chavez, Kim Jong Il, and Iranian leader Ahmenagiamdifdidad run things. Please.

In “Jesus Camp,” the leftist message was all too clear: the dangerous way in which the fundies were conflating religion and politics would result in such “evils” as the advancement of the pro-life movement or the appointment of more dastardly Justices like Sam Alito to the Supreme Court, who dare to view the courts as something other than an Olympian superlegislature through which the imposition of leftist policy should be a given. Again, hand me a barf bag.

The conflation of religion with politics is always dangerous. There’s a reason the Founders inserted the Establishment Clause into the First Amendment. And seeing the cult leaders in “Jesus Camp” drag onto the stage a cardboard cutout of George W. Bush, complete with smirk, bordered on the absurd. All of that said, there was an impled message in the movie, at least in my view, that supporting judges like Alito or viewing abortion as something a bit more morally complex than a standard medical procedure is just as irrational as believing in Creationism or stoning gays or offing Harry Potter. And that view I cannot accept.

The fundies are wrong to marry their particular, corrupt brand of Christianity with political conservatism. And secular conservatives should resist the temptation to ally with these types in exchange for votes, as the result will end up being bad for somebody, and, as usual, that somebody will probably be the American people. But the makers of “Jesus Camp” were equally wrong to attempt to marry views such as a respect for life, for federalism, for judicial restraint, and for separation of powers with nutty Christianism. The two are not one and the same. And, God-willing, they never will be.

Matt's thoughts

I generally agree with Gweepay. I already knew that crazy people were teaching their kids crazy things, but the thing that troubled me the most was that these kids were smart. They weren't white trash with 80 IQ points; they were inquisitive and well-spoken. With a proper education, they could grow up to be scholars, working at universities and helping humanity to figure out Why Things Are. Instead, they are getting indoctrinated at tender ages, and will grow up to be Preachers, trying to convince the next generation that everything in the Bible is true, Jesus is really the savior, evolution is a total joke, and that kids can close their eyes and open their minds and speak in tongues to praise God. ("Ooooh-lakalakalaka-mejaaaamba!" Yes, I'm serious, people were actually doing this in the movie.)

In short, some very smart kids are being completely hoodwinked, and in the process We, the rest of Society, are being robbed of some of our Nation's intelligence.

One last thing: I found it quite ironic that the people at Jesus Camp would have Harry Potter put to death for dealing in spells and sorcery, while at the same time their own descriptions of how the world was formed essentially boils down to Magic. You can't have it both ways. Or can you? Is God the only person who is allowed to perform magic? Is that why little Harry would be put to death?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

First Thing I See in the Morning

So, the incredibly bright sun woke me up this morning, just as it does most every morning here at The Brandywine Apartments, and guess who or what was staring me in the face from about two inches away on my pillow?


That's right, my parrot! This was at once unnerving and adorable, but soon my brain kicked in and asked a very important question: Just how did Rudy get out of his cage and up on my bed? As my brain awoke, it then realized that Rudy had, in fact, broken out of his cage by pushing the food dish away and crawling through the resultant hole. Freedom!

I got up and fixed the food-dish-hole, and by this point Rudy was so excited to see me up and about (God knows how long he'd been staring at me -- sometimes he does it for hours from inside his cage), he took off and started flying circles around my room without stopping. Flap-flap-flap-flap-flap-swoooooosh! went Rudy, circling the perimeter of my room twice before landing on the top of his cage. As I went to go pick him up, he did it again! Flip-flap-flip-flap-whoooooooooosh! went the orange bird flying two fast circles around my room yet again.

When I plopped back in bed, he started squawking. Very Loudly. At 8:45 in the morning. What a way to start a Saturday.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Anthony's Crazy Theory of Justice

Do you think that it is constitutional (and/or a good idea) for a court to give a convicted rapist the choice between life in prison, and surgical castration with ten years' probation? Discuss.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Help edit my profile!

Have you always wanted to know what it was like to create a "" profile but been unable to act on the impulse due to fear and/or shame and/or your significant other? Do you secretely wish you could peruse Internet dating sites while your lover is away, with only that wily Internet history function thwarting your plans? Well friend, your pal Gweepay feels your pain. And that's why I've decided to give you an excuse to both visit America's premier web-based dating site AND take part in a fun project by helping me, Gweepay, edit my profile.

You see, my profile has gone through a number of iterations, with each enjoying varying levels of success when it comes to luring in Match girls. Indeed, this latest profile has been far more successful than most of my previous ones, generating at least a few electronic "winks" from females, as well as an email or two. But generally speaking, my conversations with these women are all for naught, as the vixens who do choose to correspond with me usually fall off the face of the earth after nary a few emails, apparently changing their minds irrationally, as women are wont to do. And in the unlikely event I DO convince one of these girls to accompany me for coffee or equivalent, the result is almost always an utterance of my official BeforeISleep catch phrase: "What a bitch!"

So, gentle reader, here's your opportunity to give your old pal Gweepay a hand. Help me help you help me.

The profile can be found here.

Some common critiques include the following:

1) At least two individuals have questioned my sanity for including anything relating to "September 11th" in my profile. Apparently, this is sort of like having a "Pearl Harbor. We remember." coffee table book as a conversation piece at a party.

2) At least one person thinks that much of the implied humor is only effective if one already knows my personality, and that without that foreknowledge, many of my tongue-in-cheek remarks could cause me to come across as an asshole.

3) A number of critics have suggested that instead of using the "what you do for fun" section simply to amuse myself, I should probably include activities that women could imagine doing with me. I'd prefer simply to amuse myself. Hmm, maybe it's not so surprising that I'm single.

4) At least one individual suggested that it was a clear and blatant lie that I exercise "1 to 2 times per week." I suppose this is true, but show me a relationship that's not based on massive amounts of deceit and I'll show you a, well, a functional relationship I guess.

I think my single biggest problem when writing such a profile is striking just the right balance regarding humor. Considering that my quirky take on life is integral to my personality, it's probably important to try to display as much of that as possible in my profile in order to accomplish the twin objectives of weeding out women who would be turned off by that as well as reeling in those who find my sense of humor the ultimate aphrodysiac. The problem is, most clever commentary by nature has a double-meaning. There's the intended figurative meaning, which is funny, and the unintended literal meaning, which is often downright offensive. Knowing women the way I do, I suspect many of them, when faced with this double meaning, will naturally assume the worst, especially without being able to analyze it against the backdrop of my personality and temperment. But the only alternative is to write a completely mundate, boring profile that will simply blend in with all the others.

So, what are your thoughts on all of this? Feel free to comment in the, er, comments section. If the revised profile ends up generating a great deal of success for the Gweepmeister, you'll be rewarded with a glossy new holiday card this December!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

The Surprise

The Big Surprise of the week: I am shorn. That's right. As you can see from the picture to your right (and the several scary LittleMatts hovering above), I have not only shaved several months worth of hair off my face, but also several years off my appearance. Instead of the manly early-30s look I was pulling off, I am again a victim of my patented BabyFace(TM), appearing to be 20 or 21 at best. My goal is to be carded when I go to my next R movie.

It's interesting how few people noticed the change. My roommate notice instantly, of course, but at work things were different. Only three people noticed that the beard was gone; several more (including the head of the legal department) had the sneaking suspicion that "something" was "different," but they couldn't quite place it. Once I told them, of course, they hung their heads in shame and disbelief that they could miss such a huge change.

The general consensus is that it was a good move, though I looked fine with the beard. Part of me now feels like, "It's good to be back!", but I know I'll feel much better once I drop some pounds.

Monday, October 2, 2006 has a new feature -- contributors!

Special announcement: There will be CONTRIBUTORS to

Sunday, October 1, 2006

CC-riding at Eastern Market

09302006(002).jpg, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

Since I was introduced to it several months ago, Eastern Market has become my favorite Saturday morning destination in DC. There are always fruits and vegetables to sample, paintings and jewelry to admire (and hope to someday have the cash to purchase), and Clinton the Fourth to ride like a wild bull. Clinton (known to his college friends as CC) works at Uncle Brutha's Hot Sauce Emporium -- one of my favorite stores in the World -- and never shies away from providing a wild ride, either through several pepperrific concoctions he doles out from behind the counter, or through piggy-back rides through the Market. Highly recommended.

Creepy Curmudgeonly Congress-Critter Caught Communicating Crudely

This ain't Mr. Smith's Washington, that's for sure.

Veteran Congressman Mark Foley (Pedophile-Florida), who had amassed a dozen-year tenure in the House and who had been considered a potential candidate for the U.S. Senate as late as 2003 resigned in shame just days ago after a 16-year-old male congressional page went public with accusations of sexual advances by Foley. The page, whose name is being withheld by the media, and who I will thus refer to as, "Cute Buttcheeks," became quite understandably creeped out following a number of emails and internet chats with Foley, in which the legislator somehow morphed into Austin Powers' evil pedophile twin, inquiring regularly whether or not the youth was indeed "horny" at any given time and discussing other unsavory topics such as self-pleasure and fetishes. Buttcheeks proceeded to do what any of us would do: save the IM conversations and emails and forward them to congressional staffers, who, after laughing non-stop for at least 27 consecutive minutes, alerted the powers-that-be to the situation, culminating in a quick resignation by Foley.

A couple of thoughts on this whole incident. First, I remember what it was like to be 16. It was pretty darn cool. I didn't have to work, my parents paid for stuff, and I hadn't experienced any actual relationships yet, meaning my soul was still intact. In retrospect, 16 was a pretty nice age. But I digress. The point is, I tend to agree with Bill Maher's statement about teenage boys being "victims" of sexual predators, and that is that these 16-year-old boys who are taken advantage of by hot, blonde, leggy, thirtysomething teachers trying to re-live their glory days aren't really victims of anything, and are basically just living out every teenage boy's fantasy, which is to sleep with the hot teacher. It's harder for women to understand this dynamic, because I suspect that a 16-year-old girl taken advantage of by a 36-year old male teacher would actually be quite the victim in that circumstance. A lot of it has to do with the natural and innate ability of males to divorce and compartmentalize sex from emotion, something that has spawned generation upon generation of bitter females. The point is, I remember being 16, and if a hot female teacher had come on to me, I'd still be recounting the story every chance I got with male compatriots.

But how does this all relate to Foley and Buttcheeks? Simple. If Buttcheeks is not just a 16-year-old, but a gay 16-year-old, I suspect he wouldn't exactly be traumatized by an older male figure coming on to him. I suspect it would be a lot like what straight male 16-year-olds feel when an older woman comes on to them, which usually leads to a round of high-fives with their friends. I'm not saying this to excuse Foley's behavior in any way. None of this changes the fact that Foley acted in a manner that was grossly inappropriate and that involved abuse of power to the extreme (trust me, you don't get much more of a power differential in life than that between a United States Congressman and a 16-year-old page). But what I am saying is that there are many more things we have to know about Buttcheeks before we can make the blanket diagnosis that he will need years of therapy to overcome all of this. It's possible he will; it's equally possible he and his friends are laughing about all of this right now.

My only other thought on the matter has to do with one of the bizarre subtopics of the Instant Messenger conversation between Foley and Buttcheeks involving fetishes. For some reason unbeknownst to me, Buttcheeks decides to share with Foley the fact that he has a "cast fetish." Foley, who may be a pedophile but is no weirdo, is confused, and asks Buttcheeks to elaborate. Buttcheeks goes on to explain that for some strange reason, "casts" turn him on. People wearing casts. The thought of wearing a cast himself. And so on. Buttcheeks then goes on to attempt to redeem himself with a lame embrace of the whole "Catholic girl" thing (something I think we can all agree on). Foley seems unimpressed.

The point is, I think the worst part of this whole ordeal for Buttcheeks is that now everybody knows he has a cast fetish. His mother knows. His siblings know. His grandparents know. ALL of his friends know. His teachers know. EVERYBODY knows. And you know what that means. That means whenever anyone sees this guy for at least the next few weeks, if not months, if not years, they're going to have two words running through their mind: Cast. Fetish.

At this point, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "come on Gweepay, a hotshot correspondent like you just HAS to be able to produce the transcript of the IM chat between these two clowns!" Friend, I've done you one better. Attached to this post is an audio re-enactment of the real, actual IM chat between Foley and Buttcheeks. Listen to your heart's content. In the re-enactment, the part of of Foley will be played by Yours Truly, the part of Buttcheeks will be played by Editor, Matt, with sound effects provided by Rudy the Parrot. Enjoy!


Monday, September 18, 2006

Pope insults Islam as a violent and evil religion. Muslim extremists call for Pope's assassination. Irony nods approvingly.

Fan of Irony that I am, I feel it necessary to direct your attention toward Muslim response to the Pope's anti-Islamic comments. The Pope quoted a 14th century emperor who called Mohammed "evil and inhuman" and generally denounced Islam as a violent religion. In response, Muslim extremists have called for the Pope's assassination, and protestors have carried placards reading, "Behead Those Who Insult Islam," thereby proving the very point that the Esteemed Pope was trying to make. Hey, to hell with Mohammed and Jesus; I'm worshipping the God of Irony! (For the record, I'm pretty sure He is Jewish.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A tale of speed dating -- HurryDate on U Street, or, Hurry Up and Get Me Out of Here!

"So, I went speed dating last night."

That statement has provoked several reactions: amusement, confusion, laughter, and most of all the question, Why??? Well, I went because I wanted to get out of the house. I wanted to meet some people in real life as opposed to just clicking through them listlessly on I wanted to dip my toe in the Dating Waters. I guess -- if you wanna look deeper -- I wanted to find a Soulmate.

What I found was more like a Krispy Kreme donut: a creamy center of 2 or 3 genuinely nice girls, surrounded by a boring and pedestrian cushion of cardboard cutouts with no personality to speak of, and covered with a sprinkling of Total Bitches.

Speed dating is supposed to let you figure out in 4 minutes whether you're interested in seeing someone again. Although it does perform that function, I'm not sure that's how I would phrase it. Let's try this: Speed dating lets you figure out, within 1 minute, who you absolutely NEVER want to see again.

I know that's rather a negative construction, but it's accurate. The girls for whom I circled yes, I can't say for sure whether they're a "match." All I can say is that I wouldn't mind hanging out with them to find out. But it takes a lot longer than 4 minutes to open up, lose the nervousness, ignore the absurdity of the 4-minute date, and really start to get to know someone.

But 4 minutes is PLENTY for figuring out who you never ever for the rest of time ever want to talk to or see again, ever. Period. Ever. Some people are so humourless, so devoid of spirit and playfulness, so fundamentally evil and bitchy, that their very existence is an affront to all that is Fun and Just and Good. These are the kinds of people who could scare a puppy simply by looking at it, or who kill plants and drain all the color out of flowers just by walking past them.

It's time for some examples! And for help recounting the evening, I hereby introduce everyone's favorite ne'er-do-well, the jolliest man you'll ever sit next to on the Metro, it's none other than the Earl of Gweepshire, the El Senor Gweepay himself, in the flesh!

Dave, why don't you get us started.

Thanks Matt. Direct from Alabama was the woman I like to call the Stealth Bitch. I give her this moniker due to her initially sweet, fun demeanor that evaporates upon any sort of male contact. But don’t just think this girl is a man-hating feminazi; oh no, it goes much deeper than that. Nay, this particular female falls into that rare but seemingly all too frequent category of individuals who possess the uncanny and likely diabolical ability to suck all of the energy, fun, and goodness out of a person, situation, or room. It’s the Midas touch with a twist, and to say it’s not pleasant would be an insult to unpleasantries.

Unfortunately for me, Stealthy was my last “speed-date” of the evening, meaning I had to end things on a bad note. I had high hopes for the Stealth One --- she appeared relatively cute from afar and seemed fun if a bit demure. As Ursula the Sexy Sea Witch blew her whistle-of-sorts, indicating that it was time to move to the next table, I happily took my seat across from Stealth. I introduced myself and shook her hand. She smiled. Then she dropped the bitch bomb.

“So, what do you do for a living?” said I.
“Oh, I’m a math teacher,” she said.

I then attempted to impress her by telling her all about the magnet program that they had for smart kids in the crappy part of the crappy state which I hail from, and how I was placed into that magnet program in high school, and how I was good at math, but I ended up hating it. Naturally, I thought this story would accomplish two objectives. First, it would allow us to develop a connection based on a shared experience: she teaches math; I had a neat story about being taught math. Secondly, it allowed her to learn more about me, where I’m from, and so forth.

Bitchy’s response? A look. A sort of bitchy look that communicated to me: “Stop trying to pretend we have things in common.” She then moved on to another topic. I tried to soften her up by pointing out that I could read her subtle accent, and that she was obviously from somewhere down south. For a moment, she let her guard down. She was from Alabama, she reported. I told her I was from Michigan.

“Yeah, you have a northwestern accent,” she replied.
“Northwestern? You mean like Washington and Oregon?” I said, knowing that she misspoke and really meant “midwestern,” and trying to add some joviality to the situation.
“No! NORTHWESTERN!” she said, defensively.
“So…Washington and Oregon?” I asked again.
“Oh, I meant midwestern,” she said dismissively, almost offended that I dared to point out her mistake, even in a fun way.

Now contrast that with the many more pleasant vixens that were present, all of whom may or may not turn out to be less than perfect for the Dynamic Duo of speed dating, but all of whom brought a certain sort of charm to the speed dating experience. Like the second grade teacher from Baltimore who was as inquisitive as she was perky, asking all sorts of interesting questions that made one pause to think and ponder.

Oh, I liked the second grade teacher. Of everyone there, she made me smile within the first ten seconds of talking to her. There was just something about her demeanor that radiated friendliness -- requisite, I suppose, when dealing with little kids all day. I can tell you this: If Bitchy McBitchBitch had to deal with 2nd graders all day, there would be no 3rd graders. The 2nd graders would all die from lack of sunshine.

Let's keep talking about the Bitch for a few more minutes. I asked her for three words to describe herself, because, you know, we've only got four minutes and I'm trying to figure out what makes people tick. Now, I've had problems in the past with this question -- a few years ago, someone's three words were "honor, duty and loyalty." Somehow I didn't think that Marine answer would go well with my "creative, musical, curious." The next few minutes were spent in near silence. Ugh!

Hoping for the best, I asked what her three words were. "Loyalty," she said. I started having flashbacks to the Marine. "Feistiness." Coming from the 2nd grade teacher, that would have been great; coming from this one, it didn't bode as well. "And I'm not going to give you a third word."

Me: "Why not? Too many to choose from?"
B-McBB: "I'm just NOT. It's just those two." No smile.
Me: "Okayyyyyy..... well, um, explain a little. How are you loyal?" I say, in my best grin-and-bear-it style.
Her: "I'm very loyal to my friends and family."
Me: "That's great. But let's test it..." I say with a mischievous grin. "Let's say your best friend got into an argument with somebody, and things got chaotic and she ended up somehow pulling out a dagger and--"
Her: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."
Me: "Okay okay but let's just say--"
Her: "No, I am not going to answer your question. My friend would never pull out a dagger."
Me: "Okay, then let's say it's just a regular knife, not a dagger."
Her: "I am a mathematician," she says with an icy stare. "We don't speculate about things that would never happen." I didn't tell her that as a law student we speculate about this stuff all the time.
Me: "Well, as a mathematician surely you study probability, so what if, though it's improbable--"
Her: "I'm NOT talking about this."
Me: "Well I sure see the feistiness."
Her: Icy stare.
Me: Shudder. "Speaking of loyalty, did you hear about the homeless guy in Dupont Circle and his dog, Precious? Apparently they used to be there all the time and the dog was very friendly. Well a couple days ago he was chasing squirrels in the Circle and a cop came to the homeless guy and told him to put the dog on a leash. The homeless guy hesitated and the cop started shouting, going ballistic. So Precious is curious and runs up to see what's going on. She stops a few feet from the cop, who by this time has pulled out his GUN, and suddenly shoots the dog!" This really did happen a few days ago. I was trying to see if she was at all sensitive, or if she would feel any remorse for the dog or his bum master.
Her: "I'm not surprised," she says coldly. "It was a police officer."
Me: "I always thought police are supposed to help."
Her: "They DON'T. They just harrass. I was harrassed three times this year by police!"
Me: "Wow, what happened?"
Her: (Very angry.) "The first time, I was driving and a cop pulled me over for NO reason, and started HARASSING me. Just because my registration had lapsed or something. The second time, I turned when the sign said not to, and again a cop came up and started YELLING at me and TOTALLY harassing me. I didn't do anything! And then..."

She went on to talk about another time when another cop "harrassed" her for "not doing anything," but by this time I was so fed up with this bitchy girl and her warped sense of reality and her inability to be playful or funny or even SMILE at all, I was wondering how the laws of physics had inexplicably altered so as to turn four minutes into four YEARS, and I was wondering why I had shelled out $35 for this.

What a bitch! But there were some good ones... like the spunky architect, also from Baltimore, who had a quirky temperment mixed with a no-bullshit attitude, which your humble correspondent loves, because that means she’ll do all the stuff in the relationship that requires confrontation (which I hate), but also won’t be a bitch to me personally (which I also hate). In that sort of relationship, everybody wins! And by “everybody,” I mean me.

And who could forget the Italian minx from Long Island, who now lives in Baltimore, who was sweeter than, er, something incredibly sweet, and who loved San Francisco. And then of course there was the Asian architect, and she too was from Baltimore, who was a proud INTJ. Once again, is it too early to say whether any of these girls would be even a halfway decent “match” for our Heroes? Absolutely. But were they eons and eons more pleasant to chat with for four minutes than Bitchy McBitchBitch? You better believe it.

I really liked the Asian architect. I didn't know she was an INTJ, but as a fellow INTJ, I'm not surprised we clicked. I met her by the end of the evening, and after two hours of meeting a bunch of random girls, I was done with it. I told her as much. I told her I'm an introvert and I really would rather be somewhere else. She asked why I would come to one of these speed dating things, being an introvert and all. I explained that my introversion gave me even more of a reason to sign up -- it would force me out to meet people! All in all, we had a good chat and it was a pleasant way to finish the evening. She was a definite Yes... I wonder if she said Yes to me too? But wait a sec -- even if she did say yes, she's in Baltimore! What's up with that? Am I going to have to drive all the way out to Baltimore??

Why were there so many girls from BALTIMORE present? Look, I got nothin’ against B-More. It has a certain charm to it, if charm can be measured in gunshots and drug deals, and I’m sure it’s a fine city. But come on, Hurry Date, do you know how FAR B-More is from DC??? Me? I’d have to take the Metro, and then switch lines, and THEN take the “MARC” train for an hour, and then, once in B-More, take a cab to my damsel’s place. That’s too many transfers for me to even calculate.

I don’t want a girlfriend who lives in another city. Because, as the guy, we all know that I’d be the one having to sacrifice and go up to friggin’ Baltimore every friggin’ weekend. At that point, the only way to sustain the relationship would be to talk on the phone for an hour or two a day. I run out of things to say on the phone in 7-10 minutes. This is all very upsetting.

In any event, with just hours to go until I find out which of our fine Hurry Daters selected me as a match, I am being realistically optimistic. I’m hoping for 2-3 mutual matches. I predict that the following girls will select me:

1) One of the three quirky architect girls from Baltimore. Hopefully that spunky gal, but probably not.
2) One of a) Long Island chick or b) inquisitive 2nd grade teacher, but not both.
3) One random girl who I haven’t thought much about, possibly even someone I marked “no” to, like the girl from Nigeria named after a brand of shoe.

I said no to the shoe also. Overall, I marked yes for seven of the 14 girls we met, but a few of those were pretty borderline. I am also hoping for 2-3 mutual matches -- actually, I want the same ones as you! The 2nd grade teacher or one of the architect girls. They seemed to like me. I went up to them after the event was over and said, "Now, I know you're all friends. And I just want to tell you: Please don't fight over me."

But ultimately, if no one picks me, I won't be too down about it. After all, HurryDating, SpeedDating, FrenzyDating -- whatever you wanna call it -- is fundamentally unnatural. I much prefer to meet my women the old-fashioned way: On the Internet.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What I look like at work

Here's a scan of my work ID (identifying marks re: my place of employment removed). Word has it it's one of the best looking ID pictures in recent memory.

Compare it with my summer ID from the University College of London. What a difference lighting makes!

Monday, September 11, 2006

The joys of talking beneath the surface of the earth

I don't need to be able to use my phone in the Metro, I told myself as I was comparing cell plans. Why pay a lot extra for Verizon when I really never have a need to talk underground?

Ahh! Beauteous "theory," thine fair academic reasoning that seems so convincing within a vaccuum. What I failed to realize was that I do a LOT of phone talking on the Metro. That I often call someone as I'm leaving work or class, and I like to continue the conversation as I descend into the subway. That when I'm standing on the platform and the sign says I'll be there for another 6 or 9 or, God forbid, 16 minutes before a train arrives, that's the PERFECT time for a quick phone call, to let someone know where I am and when I'll be back, or to order SuperPanda and have it ready by the time I get there.

What I failed to realize was that, in my two years here in DC, I became very accustomed to being able to make a call on the Metro, and having that ability stripped away now feels almost like a violation of the 8th Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. I don't like circling the Metro entrance for five minutes, waiting to go downstairs, because I'm still on the phone.

I want my underground freedom back!

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Monkey Bird

Did I buy a bird or a monkey?

Monday, September 4, 2006

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

Done and Done

  • In the past 2 days, I submitted my indecency paper to about 65 journals, including all 32 law reviews in the Top 50 that accept student submissions. You can see the final draft here: Beyond Broadcasting: The Constitutionality of Indecency Regulation on Cable and Direct Broadcast Satellite Services. Hopefully, someone will bite. If not, I'll wait a few weeks and then submit to the next tier. Lather, rinse, repeat as desired.

  • It's interesting -- exactly one month ago, I really went all out and made this paper my life. Before I started this final push, I would have never thought that, within 30 days, I could A) DOUBLE the length of the paper, B) make it much better, and C) actually finish it and send it out. The paper is so much stronger than it was when it got an A-, and in the process of revising it, I actually had a lot of fun and came up with several new paper ideas. I dare say, perhaps someday I may become a professor? To have several hours a day to think and research and write... seriously sounds like a blast. :-)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Would you have refused to fly with these men?

Some of you may have heard about this interesting development in Interactive Racial Profiling aboard a European plane -- apparently, several passengers refused to fly with these two men, going so far as to walk off the plane. There was no commotion, no yelling; just fear and a quick exit. Ultimately the pilot had to ask the men to leave so he could take off (they were later cleared of everything except looking like terrorists).

Well, what do you think? Can you see why the passengers thought these two were terrorists? For God's sake, they theoretically fancied themselves up for this picture, and they still look shady! Imagine what they might have looked like as passengers on a sweaty, stuffy plane...

Would you have walked out too?

Gadgets that make you skinny! on the next Jerry Springer

At one point during my latest run (well actually a walk/jog/run, but let's not quibble over semantics), I was running at 7.5, 8 mph! Made it two miles. Haven't done that in like a year. Felt great. Yaaaay iPod + Nike! :-)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Bluebookin' like a Maniac; Sweatin' like a Maniac

  • So, I'm done with that paper I've been talking about for a couple months -- "done" in the sense that all I have left to do is check my cites and submit the thing. I'll hopefully complete the cite checking today and then submit it to a dozen or so communications law journals. Over the next few days I will submit it to the several dozen public policy journals. Hopefully somebody will bite.

    In any case, I am already excited about various future papers. Ideas:

    • The Obscenity Paradox: If obscenity by definition has no value, and yet some people want to watch obscenity, doesn't that give it value to certain people?
    • IP as PII: Are Internet Protocol addresses "personally identifiable information"?
    • Grumpy Old Men Syndrome: When old judges meet new technologies

  • In other news, my mom and I are spending countless hours at the gym. It's awesome. I've lost a few pounds over the past couple weeks and I feel great! Highly recommended.

PS - Rudy is flying. Updates soon!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Three Men in a Cabin

IMG_0004 7.JPG, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

I have spent the last few days relaxing at Mark's parents' cabin a few hours northwest of Detroit. For those who don't know, Mark is the gentleman sprawled on the ground, sucking on a breadstick. Poised above him are myself and Donnie. We have wiled away the days throwing frisbees through the woods and forests, throwing oranges at each other, playing the piano, sight singing motets, and generally engaging in youthful tomfoolery. You wish you were here!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Last Night in London

I got out of London just in time, didn't I? I flew out Wednesday morning; the next day, all hell broke loose. Now I am safe and sound at home in southeast Michigan, but here I offer you a chance to see what I did on my last night in London. For one hour, Georgetown Law paid for free drinks -- "only beer and wine." Ha! Is there's any thing G'town law students love, it's a challenge. After about a half hour, we started figuring out that the bartender let us put entire bottles of wine on the tab. And then I realized that the wine menu also listed "champagne" as a type of wine. So I tried to order a glass... and was told they only came in bottles... G'town confiscated a $300 activity fee from me, of which I had used next to nothing, so I figured, why not? I will take a bottle of champagne! "Maaay allllll acquaintance beeee forgot da da daaa da da da daaaa!"

IMG_0019 1.JPG, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

FYI -- Andrea Biondi, an Italian professor who usually teaches in the UK, taught me European Union Law this summer in London. Regardless of whether or not I actually did well on the final, I can say without pause that this man was one of the best teachers I have ever had. He makes entertaining what could be an incredibly dry topic. He is teaching EU Law in the spring of '07 at G'town and, if you're a student there, I strongly recommend you make space in your M/W schedule and take his class! Biondi today, Biondi forever!

Friday, August 4, 2006

Wan Fine Day

Wan Fine Day, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

I pose with Wan, the kindly Bangkok-born owner of my favorite Thai food restaurant here. He feeds me dinner, on average, every other day. The restaurant is family-run and everybody knows me now. When I walk in, I almost feel like I'm on Cheers!

Wan is a classy guy. He's the owner and doesn't normally cook, but he personally made me beef pad seeiu even though it wasn't on the menu (the normal chef didn't know how to make it). Wan is impressed by the fact that I can handle very spicy food. "It's the red hair," I said. "Redheads love spicy food!" He laughed.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Mad Dash to the Finish Line

  • I am putting my indecency paper on hold for about a week. I have made amazing progress -- going from 27 to 57 pages in just under two weeks! -- but now I have to focus on my classes. My European Union Law exam is on Monday at 9 a.m., and my International Criminal Law exam is Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Frankly I'm not aiming for an A on these (a B+ will suit me just fine), so a few days prep on each course should be sufficient. I'll probably spend half the day studying EU Law and half studying ICL on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and then do EU Law exclusively on Sunday and ICL exclusively on Monday. Or something like that. I'm not too worried -- EU Law is pretty straightforward and a friend gave me the outline for my ICL class. :-) The biggest problem is that we're not allowed to type our exams -- they have to be handwritten, and I haven't done that since undergrad! Five years ago! Blech. I don't think I still know how to write......

  • I tried jogging today. I made it about 2 minutes before I collapsed and had to walk. Walked for a couple minutes and then jogged another 2 minutes... all in all I maybe jogged for 5 or 6 minutes total. By the end my pulse was up to 180. 180! I am SO damn out of shape! Three years ago I was jogging for 50 minutes without stopping; now I can barely make it around the block. Just imagine what that means: If a tiger were chasing me, I wouldn't be able to get away. I would be eaten. Let me repeat that: I would be eaten by the tiger. I can't be eaten by a tiger! What a horrible way to go! Thus the only solution is to keep jogging 2 / walking 2 / repeat.

    The neat thing is, for about a minute -- mostly toward the beginning of the run -- I felt free. It was exhilarating. To be moving so fast, feeling the cool wind rush past me. It felt liberating! And it reminded me of the feeling I used to get many years ago when I jogged for 20-30 minutes every other day. I want to recapture that feeling. Oh, and the most unexpected part was that about 90 minutes after the 5 minute jog, I felt unexpectedly happy and I didn't know why. Like someone had given me some really great news, but then I forgot it, but still felt happy for some reason. Hannah says those are the endorphins. I'll have to take her word for it -- she is pretty experienced in exercise, after all.

Reason #845 BigLaw is Not for Me

    5:39 PM EST
    Matthew: sup, you're home early
    Jake: i got home last night at 12:45 pm today
    Jake: so its more like i'm home real, real late yesterday

Monday, July 31, 2006

My Starbuckian Existence

Bechaied, this is what I do for hours each day. I hope it pays off.

Starbuckian Existence, originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

I've gotten in the habit of downloading cases into Word and then making extensive use of the "Comment" function. I'll highlight some lines I want to quote, and then "comment" in a manner that closely approximates what I'll write in the paper. It's a very efficient system. Too bad I didn't figure it out until 3+ years into law school.

Touch to make it grow

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lessons Learned from July 29-30, 2006

  • When doing anything that stimulates my mind -- such as writing a paper I'm very excited about -- never work on it all the way up to bedtime. Doing so is a recipe for a busy mind that won't shut the hell up and let me sleep. Always try to leave a few hours between extended analytical activity and sleep.

  • If a "Video / DVD" shop has totally blacked out mirrors and requires you to walk through two hefty doors to get in, it probably doesn't sell used copies of It's a Wonderful Life. This can be confirmed by looking around the cramped room to see whether you are surrounded by pictures of naked people having explicit sex. If this is the case, slowly back out of the shop and don't look back.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Security guards and special treatment

  • Well, the residency requirement for my new citizenship status at Starbucks is almost complete: Today I have begun to befriend the security guard, who spends pretty much all day just sitting in a chair waiting for something interesting to happen. I know I've really become accustomed to a place when I start befriending the security guard.

  • Okay, this is just too strange. I have been here for about 5 hours today, and just now the guy behind the counter walked over and brought me a free venti iced chai tea latte! They know my drink! They're treating me like an Important Person who deserves to be brought chais! Nevermind the fact that it was probably just a screwed up order that they figured I would drink because, "Hey, that redhead American guy likes chais, doesn't he?" Nevermind the fact that I've already had TWO iced chais today, just finishing the last one about 10 minutes ago, and I am officially stuffed. The point is, they're treating me like a High Roller! A High Roller, Jerry! I feel like I'm at the Bellagio!

    PS - I am so caffeinated, I won't be able to sleep until Tuesday!!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Does having a beard make one look thinner?

  • The results are in... and the answer is a resounding YES!

    These two pictures were taken within days of each other. I did not gain any weight. The results are conclusive: I look about 20 pounds heavier without the beard. I looked svelte! And now I just look pudgy.

    Of course I will try to get back in shape. But it will take me months to get back to unbearded svelteness, while it will only take me 4-5 weeks to get the beard back. As I haven't shaved in over a week, I am 25% there. By the time I get back to Washington, my beard will be back to the precise length I like.

    This concludes our test of the Emergency Beard System. We will now return you to normally scheduled programming.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I have enthusiasm, on paper

  • Is it odd that as soon as class lets out for the weekend, I rush to Starbucks and eagerly proceed to work on the paper I'm trying to get published? Is there something wrong with me, in that I am actually excited about working on it, and I would rather do this than watch a movie or go sightseeing? Should I be worried that when I find something in my research (a quote, a fact, a statistic, etc.) that really bolsters my claim, I become practically giddy?

  • I worked on the paper for five hours today. The problem is, Every time I think I'm nearing completion, I'll feel compelled to write a sentence that opens up at least another hour's worth of research to verify what I just said. Everything I say has to be cited -- and the research I do to cite it leads to a lot more work.

    For instance, I wrote, "They repeat oft-used explanations, note that new technologies built into cable and DBS services give users the power to deal with unwanted indecency, and that’s that – a few pages at most.[1]

    "[1] See, e.g. ___________ [LIST THE RECENT CABLE/DBS INDECENCY RULINGS]"

    And then I had to do another Lexis search looking for all the indecency rulings having to do with cable and satellite. So I put the search words into Lexis ["indecency & (DBS or satellite or cable)"] and limited my search to FCC decisions, and I got 260 results, at least some of which I had to skim to figure out what they're about. And then in skimming one, I'd see a title like, In the Matter of Complaints Regarding Various Television Broadcasts Between February 2, 2002 and March 8, 2005, and see that it's 97 pages, and realize that I have to read at least some of it. And that document will no doubt lead to at least another few questions, each of which have to be researched, beginning the process again.

    Or I'll re-read the paper and realize that I have left out some incredibly elementary (and therefore important) stuff. For instance, what's the TEST for whether something is indecent?

    Research papers are like plants, blossoming and sprouting new leaves every time you ask another question. It gets very unwieldy very quickly. The good news is that it leads to a lot of potential new paper topics. :-)

  • I've been having an amusing back and forth with somebody at the FCC, using the web "contact us" form. I'm trying to find out if the FCC can sanction obscenity on satellite radio. Obscenity is different from indecency; indecency has some limited First Amendment protection, while obscenity has none at all. The FAQ on their web site says yes, but the law they cite to only applies to "satellite television." So I'm trying to find out what the actual law is.

    The customer service rep writing back has only limited mastery of the English language, and probably no training in the law. I mean, try to parse this for an actual answer:

    Thanks for writing the FCC again. The information we sent you states the FCC has no authority to regulate programming on satellite radio. This also applies to sattelite and cable tv. No complaint received at the FCC remains unanswered. The Enforcement Bureau reviews complaints received and takes appropriate action when necessary. There´s a difference between not having authority to regulate programming and having authority to impose sanctions on obscene programming. I am enclosing our Fact Sheet on what constuitutes Indecency and Obscenity.

    As you might imagine, the "Fact Sheet" was just as helpful.

  • Okay, I'm pissed at the English language. Rereading this post, I realized that I wasn't sure if I had used the word "sanction" properly when I said that I wondered if the FCC could "sanction obscenity on satellite radio." I meant punish. Turns out, it can mean punish OR condone! You're supposed to determine the meaning contextually, but look what happens when it could go either way. Heh. I'm going to stop using that word.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Uncle Stu Goes to London

Originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.
After two weeks of exploring London solo (read: hanging out at Starbucks), I finally saw a familiar face this past weekend -- Uncle Stu! He made the 6,000 mile trip across the Atlantic to see the sights, visit his old stomping ground, and frolic with pigeons in Trafalgar Square. Together, we saw the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, went to Westminster Abbey, took in a couple shows in the West End, and of course, played with the pigeons. The picture was taken in front of Buckingham by a technologically savvy Asian boy (when looking for tourists to take your picture, I recommend young Asians). Plenty more pics on Flickr. And the pigeon video is seriously the most fun I've had in a long time. Enjoy!

Drinking with Uncle Stu
Originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Starbucks: Full steam ahead!

  • I can't even begin to tell you how elated I am that I have found a comfortable spot to work in London, and how pleased I am that Starbucks is so comfortable all around the world. I used to do a lot of my law school work at Starbucks as a 1L, and I'm sure I owe a rather large chunk of my academic success to their comfy plush chairs and relaxed atmosphere. I love how everywhere you go -- in the entire world -- you can find a pleasant, peaceful, familiar place to "mingle and mix and be."* Critics of corporations be damned; I'm glad Starbucks is taking over the world.

    This is all made better by the fact that I signed up for one of those T-Mobile HotSpots, which gives me a reliable high-speed Internet connection at about a billion locations around our Pale Blue Dot. Add Skype and an inexpensive high-quality headset to the mix, and I've got worldwide phone power at about 2.7 cents per minute.

    And when I'm done surfing, I can pull out the books and read.

    Highly pleasant existence, indeed!

  • JOE (on the television): I sell cheap books. Sue me.
    KEVIN: That's what you said?
    JOE: That's not all I said! I said -- I can't believe those bastards -- I said we were great, I said people can come and sit and read for hours and no one bothers them, I said we stock 150,000 titles, I showed them the New York City section. I said we were a goddamn piazza where people could mingle and mix and be.
    KEVIN: A piazza?
    JOE: I was eloquent. Shit.
    --You've Got Mail

Friday, July 21, 2006

Technology will help Matt complete his nanoruns

  • The Wall Street Journal reviewed the Nike+iPod jogging pedometer thing yesterday, and I am quite smitten. You put the tiny transmitter in your shoe, hook the tiny receiver into your  iPod Nano, and it measures everything about your walk/jog, including your speed, pace, calories burned, etc. But the coolest feature is that when you sync your iPod, all your run data gets uploaded to the web site in very cool visual form. So you can see a graph showing all your past runs, showing improvement over time; and you can see a graph of each individual run, which will show when you sped up and slowed down and how far and long you ran. This last feature is incredibly useful for people on the Body for Life system, as it will let you quickly visualize whether you're correctly implementing the HIIT (high intensity interval training) pattern on cardio days.

    Body for Life HIIT plan:

    NikePlus Graph:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Routines, potential, and happiness

I am always at my happiest when I have a routine to follow. I don't know why. Perhaps having a comfortable routine reassures me that I am actually doing something useful with my day. When I don't have a routine, it means that I constantly have a wide array of choices of what to do next. But a lot of times, a wide array of choices can be debilitating. I can't be counted to always make the right choices -- I might just decide to do what is comfortable, and lay in bed or surf the net or eat all day.

But when I have a routine, it means I'm not just floundering about. It means I have come up with a plan. And if I've come up with a plan, it means that most of the plan has got to be worthwhile -- I mean, I wouldn't put something in the plan if it weren't worthwhile. And having designed a plan means that I've probably designed into it something that's good for me -- for instance, time to do homework or read or perhaps work out. And in limiting my choices, it curbs my sense of confusion. I know what I'm supposed to be doing right now, and I know what's coming next. It gives me a sense of order, which I desperately need because my mind is inherently orderless. It gives me a sense of purpose. It gives me a structure which allows my otherwise incredibly disorganized (yet powerful) mind to actually accomplish something. Routines allow me to establish and fulfill purpose which I have set. It gives me a comfortable framework to help me reach my potential. And reaching my potential makes me happy. :-)

What I'm trying to say is that I have started to develop a routine to help me conquer the vast metropolis that is London, and I think this routine is going to work out just fine. Here's how it goes:
  • Wake up
  • Grab breakfast
  • Walk to school and spend 4 hours in semi-interesting classes about newfangled "international" law
  • Go to Starbucks, get a venti iced chai tea latte, find a nice comfortable spot, surf the Internet and do my law reading for the next day
That's all I have so far. I'm sure "see the sights" will tend to fill the rest of the void, and I still have three weeks left to see the sights (two if you consider that I'll spend about a week superstudying for the exams). Part of this routine also implies that I have paid for an Internet access plan at Starbucks. Okay, so I have. I know, I know, it's insanely expensive (40 pounds for a month), but it really helps me feel comfortable and "at home." I debated with myself endlessly about getting it, but then I just went ahead and did it, and I could not be happier.

So that's it. I have been here enjoying my latte and doing Internet things for about an hour, and now I am going to read for an hour or two. When I am done, I will feel like a productive person who has fulfilled some portion of my potential. And I will be happy.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Hello Mister Winston!

Because nothing too exciting has happened to me in London in recent days, I hereby present: Mister Winston dancing! Yes, before there was Rudy, there was Winston. Named after the good Winston Churchill, this bird carries both the poise and the good humour of the original.

Ever seen a Quaker parrot dance?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

American tourist felled by British nano soldiers

Under Attack
Originally uploaded by CaseWriter21.
From staff and wire reports

LONDON -- In a stunning blow to transatlantic relations, invisible British nano soldiers on Tuesday launched an airborne attack against Matt, a visiting American student.

Matt, 26 years old and a native of Washington, DC, is in town for a month to study law and see the sights. At least, that was his plan. In recent days, he has found himself barely able to stay conscious, let alone study or see anything.

"It's not fair!" Matt said in a recent interview conducted over Skype. "All my flat mates are out dilly dallying at the pub, and where does that leave me? Alone in my room with a box of tissues and an empty memory card on my camera."

When a reporter reminded Matt that he traditionally abhors pubgoing, Matt ended the Skype communique.

It is not known why the invisible British nano soldiers chose to target the student. Experts say it likely has to do with his girlish American immune system, whose defenses have been down due to the transatlantic travel and other recent emotional blows.

"It's a shame anytime something like this happens," remarked Ben Kepple, a foreign affairs expert based in Manchester, New Hampshire. "Sorry to see him go. Now, let's talk about something interesting, ooh, like that headbutt! Are you the son of a terrorist whore too? OWW! Wait just a minute!"

At recent count, Matt has spent approximately 20 of the last 24 hours sleeping. This is markedly up from his normal 18 hours sleeping. According to analysts, if this behavior continues, Matt will only have enough waking hours remaining on his trip to see one more sight. Most observers believe he will choose the Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


  • "Why am I not surprised that you made it both to the largest Apple store in the world and the sex district on your first day in London." -Uncle Stu

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lost in London

Today was a day of firsts. I ate my first English breakfast, visited Platform 9 3/4 for the first time, and took my first trip on the Tube! Oh yeah, I was also accosted by my first prostitute. I had wandered into the sex district of Soho (by accident!), and a beautiful woman approached me. "Excuse me," she said in her sexy British accent, "do you ever talk to ladies for sex?" Alas, I told her no. "Are you sure?" she prodded. Some small part of me was curious, maybe enough to engage in a little dialogue -- but I feared if I talked to her at all she'd end up tricking me into following her to her lair, and then what hope would I have? I am reminded of "Lovely Ladies" from Les Miserables -- "Old men, yong men, leaders of the land! See 'em with their trousers down they're never quite as grand!" I thanked her and moved on.

Some of my experiences are in the videos to your right. I guess I can sum it up in one word: overwhelmed. This INTJ doesn't much care for large throngs of people, and today I had my fill. It was fun, but I'm looking forward to more peaceful adventures over the next four weeks. I bought a guidebook of London and a great pocket map book today, and soon I'll start seeing the famous sights. (For a second I thought about saying "famous sites," which would also work, but I think "sights" is more fitting.) :-) Enjoy the videos, and be sure to take a look at the photos!

Self. Waving. Flag.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Friday, July 7, 2006

Goodnight my love

  • "A bird may love a fish, but where will they build a home together?" -Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Yeah yeah

    Discussion with the Little Sister
  • Elizabeth: "Would you be upset if you were in a case and your attorney didn't call you back or return your e-mails for 2-3 weeks?"
    Matt: "Well you have to understand that attorneys--"
    Elizabeth (cutting me off as though she has heard my 'attorneys are very busy' spiel before): "I know."
    Matt: (silence)
    Elizabeth: "Would you be upset?"
    Matt: "Probably."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Case dismissed

  • Amusing holding in a 1944 case about whether a cosmetic company was liable for burns: "That the plaintiff would sprinkle nail polish remover on his clothing and ignite himself was not an event that the defendant could reasonably have anticipated."

Monday, June 26, 2006

What Sweetie Watches on her Summer Vacation

  • "I watched a show called 'Plastic Surgery Disasters' on HBO, and this woman went in for gastric bypass surgery and somehow she got both her legs amputated! ... I also watched a show called 'Cancun Sex Adventures.' Because I can't sleep!" -Sweetie

Saturday, June 24, 2006


CC and Donnie are the baddest ass thugs I ever did meet. Right after we took this picture, they went out dancing together. Yeah boooeey.

Zingerman's Roadhouse

I spent the day in Ann Arbor yesterday, hanging out with Josh, CC and some other friends heretofore lost to the mysteries of time and distance. But now found!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Parrot Fight

Old parrot Winston loves me. New parrot Rudy loves me.
Does that mean they will love each other?
Click and find out...

Father's Day Remembered

In honor of Father's Day, I present a timeless classic:
the video of our Father's Day party from 2005!
No fathers are honored here,
but we sure do have a lot of fun.

Rudy Cuddles

Some people look surprised when I tell them Rudy loves to cuddle.
They don't realize how loving these little birds can be...
but now I have proof!