May 2004 Archives

Nerd World Collisions


I got tired of just playing through King's Quest II, so for some reason I wrote a King's Quest II Walk-Through for no discernible reason. I tried to make it independently entertaining but failed miserably when I realized how long it was taking. Have fun with either or both or (more likely) neither.

Also, I urge everyone to check out the new Homestar-They Might Be Giants collaboration over at Two things I love, coming together to create something that isn't too terrible.

Insert Obvious Yoo Pun Here


There's currently a petition battle being waged by opposing factions of the Boalt community. The controversy arises out of a memo written by Boalt Professor John Yoo when he was a Deputy Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, concluding that certain detainees in the War on Terror were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. The anti-Yoo folks have put up this petition, which "does not constitute an attack on academic freedom" in exactly the same way that Catherine Ahn's anti-Squelch bill* did not constitute an attack on freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, the not-necessarily-pro-Yoo-but-pro-academic-freedom-nonetheless camp have this thing going, which is currently making the e-mail rounds under he painfully uncreative subject line "Got Rights?". I almost didn't sign the damn thing out of disgust for the use of "Got _____?"

Anyway, I urge you to sign either or both petitions as you see fit, regardless of your Boalt affiliation or lack thereof. The Anti-Yoo petition has a strong lead, but if you look at the comments a lot of signatures are sarcastic/ironic/otherwise insincere.

People have been posting on other blogs about the merits of the petition, but I'm not going to link to those other blogs because they're lame. For the record, I don't think that advising someone of a legal conclusion constitutes aiding and abetting a war crime, and I support the hiring of mouth-breathing conservative professors at Boalt as long as their qualifications are otherwise in order.

* The online version of the Daily Cal is as shitty as the print version, so the website isn't up at the time of posting.

Business Cas Usual


My summer of fake lawyering began yesterday. I'm still figuring out the dress code. I realize they're trying to be nice to us but I can't shake the feeling that life would be simpler if they'd just make us wear suits every day.

Yesterday was the big office tour, and I learned that the Menlo Park office of the law firm has a complete cafe, showers, an exercise room, and a place to drop of laundry and dry cleaning. What does this say to me? "You'll never have to leave the office!" All we need are cots. Or maybe couches. Big enough to hump on.

Since I've been unable to take my vitamins every day, Molly bought me a jar of "Gummi Vites," which are vitamins in gummi bear form. I'm supposed to take four every day, which I can handle. Unfortunately the jar that's supposed to live in my desk at the office spent the day in the trunk of my car, so by the end of the day I had a big melty gummi blob. This wouldn't be an issue if I wasn't supposed to eat exactly four each day, but as it stands I'm going to have to eyeball it and pull off a chaw of gummi once a day.

Anyway, the actual work begins tomorrow afternoon. Time to get out my competition-crushing pants.

Palm Springs


Meli and I just got back from a three-day trip to Palm Springs, the only real vacation I'll have this summer (not counting the many working vacations the old law firms will be foisting upon me). Unlike most Elliott family vacations, this trip was profoundly relaxing. I spent a great deal of time swimming and napping, though not at the same time. And, despite slathering 45 SPF sunblock all over my disgusting pasty Irish skin several times a day, I got just a wee bit burned by the desert sun. A few highlights:

Garbage frontwoman Shirley Manson was behind us in line at the Starbucks in LAX. She was both taller and greasier than I would have expected. She was with a guy who looked like one of the guys in Garbage, but I couldn't be sure it was him.

We had dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse the first night there. The way it works is you have an all-you-can/care to-eat salad bar followed by fourteen different offerings of meat. They bring out a different meat every few minutes on a big stick and cut you off a chunk. Then you eat too much and get sick, and the waiter yells at you because he needs to close his till, because everybody in Palm Springs eats dinner at 5:00 in the afternoon.

My brother in law taught me how to swing a golf club, which is one of the most complicated tasks I've ever attempted. I pretended not to notice Mike, who was captain of his high school golf team, Happy-Gilmoreing his balls out past the horizon as I chipped my sad little shots just a few yards onto the driving range.

We had a cat sitter while we were gone, but I kept imagining that we'd come home to find Ruby with blood all over her mouth and Pepe half-eaten in a corner. Fortunately we found both cats alive and well, but extremely hyper.

And tomorrow, I start work as an official fake lawyer.

I'm Not the Only One

...who enjoys a good round of peanut allergy humor. Clearly, there's a staffer on The Onion who's allergic to peanuts and managed to slip this in past the eye-rolling objections of his colleagues:

Apparently Werewolf Was Allergic To Peanuts
NEW ORLEANS�The werewolf who died while attacking a young woman Sunday must have been allergic to peanuts, experts said Tuesday. "The wolfman crashed through the intended victim's front window, but before the accursed beast could tear her apart in a savage fury, he stepped in a bowl of honey-roasted peanuts," said Dr. Alex Price, professor of lycanthropic studies at Tulane University. "Within seconds, the hellbeast's face began to swell, and he collapsed into an anaphylactic attack, unable to breathe." Price said that, had the werewolf not been more animal than man at the time of the attack, he likely would have used the epinephrine injection pen paramedics found in the breast pocket of his shirt.

Oddly enough, Meli had to remind me this morning to take my own shots with me, in case any peanuts attacked me at the Men's Wearhouse.

And while we're on the subject, Gabe from Penny Arcade is also allergic to peanuts, which is part of the reason I've dressed as him for Halloween three years in a row.



I just printed out my God damned Copyright & Entertainment Law Final. Now that my second year is over I can focus on my big summer project: Canceling my Citibank credit card.

As anyone who's ever tried to cancel a credit card knows, the task involves getting past a smarmy account representative who will get paid a handsome bonus if she convinces you to stay on. This beast is a formidable opponent, so I've been coming up with possible responses to the inevitable question: "Why do you want to cancel your Citibank Platinum Select Dividend Card today?"

"I'm joining a religious cult, and we consider credit cards to be a form of avarice. I'm sure that your identity theft detection and credit protection plans are very impressive, but we're talking about my salvation here."

"I'm being hunted by an evil robot from the future, so I can't use any credit cards or else he'll be able to find me in the telecomm grid. I really shouldn't even be using the phone. Oh, shit. Here he comes! Cancel the damn card! Do it now!"

"I only have room in my wallet for one credit card, and my other card vibrates."

"I'd be happy to discuss all the reasons why Citibank Platinum Select Dividend should be my choice in consumer credit. How about dinner tonight? Where do you live?"

In response to each of her pitches, say: "Really? That sounds great. Cancel the card right away."

2999 Words

Sixteen hours later, Matt learns that he hates word limits exactly as much as he thought he did.

Two years down, one to go.

I Hate Belle and Sebastian


"But how can you hate Belle and Sebastian? They never even get played."

"Back in my heyday on the Squelch, whenever there were at least three Squelch people together, Belle and Sebastian was playing. It didn't matter where we were or what was going on. All it took was three. In fact, if two Squelch people were walking down Telegraph and ran into a third Squelch person, Belle and Sebastian would start playing. That's all it took.

"So yes. I really, really hate Belle and Sebastian."

My New Favorite Crime


I really feel for this guy. I had Verizon Wireless for two terrible years and on many occasions I found myself at least fantasizing about demolishing Verizon Wireless stores and employees. Verizon Wireless employees are among those rare customer service personnel who are all at once (1) surly, (2) dismissive, and (3) profoundly unhelpful. They're like CompUSA employees on a bad day. I'll never forget the time I went to the Santa Monica VW store to pay my wireless bill and was told that I couldn't pay it there because my plan was issued in Northern California. Apparently this telecommunications company hasn't advanced to the point where different stores in the same state can communicate with each other.

But even more entertaining are the crimes the guy is charged with: "Felony criminal mischief" and "misdemeanor simple assault." I love the fact that assault is the misdemeanor and mischief is the felony.

According to the North Dakota Criminal Code, a person is guilty of criminal mischief if that person: (a) Willfully tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property; or (b) Willfully damages tangible property of another.

And let's not forget the Notes of Decisions:

A defendant who, being pursued by police, drove into and through a bean field in an attempt to escape, could be convicted of criminal mischief for the damage to the bean field. State v. Erdman, 422 N.W.2d 808 (N.D. 1988).

Do I love North Dakota? Yoooo betcha.

Unforgivable Laziness

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Yeah, I know.

But it's finals, and at least there are no saggy/wrongly-sized breasts or affronts to Mexican heritage. You take the bad with the worse.

Obligatory Finals Kvetching


I just handed in my 24-hour take-home exam in Legal Ethics. The fact that it was an ethics test made me want to do something unethical with it, like post my answer on the Internet or make a bunch of copies of the test and hand them out willy-nilly. Then I realized that these things would help other people to my own detriment, and such altruism has no place in anti-ethics. So I contented myself with almost killing a maintenance worker on my way into the computer lab.

Finals season started off on a bit of a sour note, since my final trial in my Civil Trial Practice class didn't go very well. Apparently the best way to win a trial in the class is by introducing extraneous facts that nullify key points in the hypo. Despite the fact that this is explicitly outlawed by the rules of the course, a few sneakier students have pulled this off with varying degrees of success. It ended up being outcome-determinative in my final trial. Fortunately it was a hung jury rather than an actual loss -- the opposing counsel merely confused the jury to the point where they couldn't reach a verdict in 20 minutes. It'll be nice to see how these students fare in the real world, where they won't be able to win trials by altering the fabric of reality. But enough of my bitching.

Next on the horizon is an in-class MC/Essay Evidence exam. This particular professor had a line out the door at the Dean's office after his exam last semester, with numerous students (many of them 3Ls) claiming that it was the single worst exam they had taken in law school. At the beginning of the semester this time around he owned up to the fact that his previous exam was terrible and vowed to try and correct himself.

The final final will be another 24-hour take-home, but instead of the usual 5-7 page fact pattern it'll be an 80-page case file. So over the course of a day we'll have to read the 80 pages and write a memo based on the case file, the other seventeen 80-120 page case files we've worked through this semester, and a textbook from another course.

To summarize, whenever I start feeling down about the fact that I only have a year of school left before I start working 60+ hours a week until I die, I comfort myself with the knowledge that absurd assignments like these will be much more palatable when the checks are coming in instead of going out.

To the flashcards!

A Shadowy Flight


On the radio this morning they were talking about the upcoming Knight Rider movie, which David Hasselhoff is apparently producing. Which of the following pre-production antics do you find the most disturbing?

1. The purported casting of Ben Affleck as the main character (note: Internet sources say it's actually Ashton Kutcher).

2. The fact that Hasselhoff is reportedly having a tough time convincing the fucking studio to include a talking car in the movie.

What the hell is Knight Rider without the damn car? Without an artificially intelligent Trans-Am, Michael Knight is just another run-of-the-mill young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law. How is he supposed to do that without Mr. Feeny?

It'll also be interesting to see whether the film includes KITT's evil twin, KARR. And whether they explain how KITT is able to drive onto the ramp of a moving truck.

In other news, I reported before that I want the world to end the day after my funeral. I came up with another morbid selfish thought: If I'm ever on death row, I'm going to request a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as my last meal.



Feliz Cinco de Mayo, amigos.

I'd like to spend the day tomorrow getting drunk on colorful margaritas and eating my weight in nachos, but I'll probably be celebrating Mexico's freedom by studying for Legal Ethics. Maybe I'll swing by the I-House for a nacho lunch, but I doubt there'll be beer involved. But I will get buzzed for the Legal Ethics final. There's just no other way to fly.

FEMA Prepares for 'Friends' Finale


The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making last-minute preparations for the upcoming series finale of Friends, predicted to strike U.S. cities nationwide on Thursday at approximately 8:00 p.m. In addition to stocking local authorities with extra supplies of tissues, hot chocolate, and margarita mix, the federal government will be stationing volunteer grief counselors at strategic locations across the country.

"It's difficult to imagine a world without new episodes of Friends," said FEMA director Beth Freeman. "We really don't know what to expect. This is going to leave a gaping hole in our national landscape."

Disaster experts have been working furiously for weeks to try and determine what impact the finale will have on our nation's television viewers. Staffmembers have been analyzing NBC's interminable promos for the finale in an attempt to extrapolate what the finale will entail. Analysts have also looked to prior seasons for additonal clues.

"It looks like your standard airport climax," said one scientist. "There may also be a birth involved. This isn't surprising, considering the fact that almost every season of Friends has ended with either a wedding or a birth. With that kind of patently uncreative history, it's expected that they would close things up with a predictable yet tear-jerking 'Please don't go' airport scene."

In order to minimize the effects of the termination of new episodes, the FCC has doubled the number of network and cable stations showing syndicated Friends reruns, and required each affiliate to designate no less than four hours of daily programming to the quirky lives of Ross, Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe. But even that, some fear, may not be enough.

"Let me just say this," Freeman told reporters at the end of her press conference. "If Ross and Rachel don't end up together, we're bringing out the firehoses."

No Baby Baby


Meli and I went to the doctor's office today to put an end to a brief pregnancy scare. She'll no doubt be reporting on it more thoroughly over at her blog, so for now I'll just say that her uterus is bare, and relate a story about what happened in the waiting room.

An attractive sixteen-ish girl was seated two seats down from Meli, and she interrupted us at one point to look at Meli's rings. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, Meli has a platinum engagement ring with four quarter-karat diamonds, and a larger center diamond that I could never afford. The center stone was a family diamond that came to us inter vivos. She has a matching wedding band with five quarter-karat stones. The ring is not paid for, and a significant portion of my salary this summer will go to fixing that problem.

Anyway, the girl took Meli's hand and admired the rings. First she said they were really really pretty, and asked if they were diamonds. When Meli told them they were, she looked at me for the first time with a look in her eyes the likes of which I've never seen on a woman's face pointed in my direction.

In response I grinned and said, "Date the nerds, sweetheart." Actually, I made that last part up. But that's what I should have said.

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