things i wrote in 2005


Saturday, December 31, 2005

 
Happy New Year!



I spent the last 5 days in South Lake Tahoe. The cold I thought I was developing proved to be short lived. I managed to advance my skiing a fair amount, and had a very nice, relaxing break from my normal routine. I didn't even have to take any PTO to do it. My company gave me 10 consecutive days off over the holidays, although I did end up doing some work, it was definitely not the normal level of stress. Now, no holidays until May.


posted by twisesq  # 10:11 PM

Sunday, December 25, 2005

 
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!


posted by twisesq  # 10:17 PM

Saturday, December 24, 2005

 
Movies I've seen in the last few days:

Brokeback Mountain: Groundbreaking movie. I hope it gets some Oscar nominations. Take that, Pat Robertson.

Memoirs of a Geisha: The book was better.

White Christmas: Hmm.

It's A Wonderful Life: Classic movie... I've seen it many times now, and I'm sure I'll watching it many more.

Wizard of Oz: Seemed much longer when I watched it as a kid. I love spotting the goofs listed on IMDB.com


posted by twisesq  # 10:28 PM
 
I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday. I found myself in the Networking section. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be.


posted by twisesq  # 8:08 AM

Thursday, December 22, 2005

 
Judge Daniel Sanchez is off his rocker. It's really sad to see judges going along with such stupid abuses of the judicial system. I hope he gets de-benched. That's the word, right?


posted by twisesq  # 6:15 PM

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

 
Ski trip pictures.


posted by twisesq  # 10:37 PM

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

 
Yesterday I recorded this show on PBS called Frontline. Last night's episode was a film made by two BBC reporters in North Korea. It's quite clear from their videos that the North Koreans expect the Imperialist Americans to invade their country at any moment (although that didn't stop them from liking American culture). Really guys, we're not going to invade. You can relax.


posted by twisesq  # 10:53 PM
 
Fact of the day: The USS Pueblo is the only U.S. battleship in captivity. It is parked in North Korea.



Calpine files for Chapter 11 protection. It's easier than ever for corporations to file bankruptcy to shed their pension plans and debt, but harder than ever for individuals to file for bankruptcy.


posted by twisesq  # 10:42 PM
 
My grandmother sent me a box of homemade Christmas cookies. It's a big box too. They're very good. I called her to thank her, but got her answering machine.


posted by twisesq  # 1:55 PM
 
Christmas shopping is difficult. Nowadays I try to solve that problem by ordering absolutely everything on Amazon.com. If someone wants something that isn't on Amazon.com, too bad, outta luck. But Amazon.com has almost everything, even clothes, so it's pretty easy to do my Christmas shopping.



Even when I was a kid, Christmas shopping was very difficult. I remember when I was very young, my parents took me to a mall where they had a shop set up for kids to buy presents for their parents, get them wrapped, and then the parents wouldn't know what their kids got them. So my parents gave me $10, and sent me into the store with a store employee at my side. But most of the items were over $10. So I wasn't able to get my parents very nice gifts. I had to settle for two $5 gifts, which were pretty dorky as I remember. I got them wrapped, and surprised my parents with them on Christmas day. That experience left a long-lasting impression on me that we were poor, and couldn't afford gifts for each other. Very traumatic.


posted by twisesq  # 1:41 PM
 
My new refrigerator arrived today. It's about 2 feet tall and one foot deep. Fits nicely under my desk to keep my food cold at work.


posted by twisesq  # 11:26 AM

Sunday, December 18, 2005

 
First ski weekend of the season. Heavenly had about 4 feet of snow, better in some places than others. Most of it was powdery, although there were a few ice patches. Sixteen of us started at California Lodge, up Gunbarrel Express, across Patsy's, up Powderbowl Express, down Monbo to Swing Trail, back up Gunbarrel, down Ridge Run (lower half), up Sky Express, down Ridge Run (and repeat), back to Lakeview Lodge for an expensive lunch, back up Powderbowl to Mombo with Ted, then Ridge Run, followed by a few easy runs. I seemed to pick up my skill level right where I left it off last season, so my goal next time will be to try some black diamonds.


posted by twisesq  # 5:49 PM
 
John Spencer died on Friday. That is shocking. And it leaves West Wing up a creek without a paddle.


posted by twisesq  # 4:55 PM

Thursday, December 15, 2005

 
It's time to go skiing!


posted by twisesq  # 10:17 PM

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

 
I was wondering what happened to these dimwits: "SENTENCING DELAYED FOR COUPLE IN SJ CHILI FINGER SCAM. The sentencing of Anna Ayala and her husband Jaime Placencia on theft and fraud charges for placing a piece of human finger in a bowl of chili at a San Jose fast food restaurant has been continued until next year. ... The pleaded guilty in September to planting the finger in the chili and admitted they were trying to get money from the fast food chain."



It still amazes me how they went on national television claiming that they were being "victimized" by the police because they are Hispanic. Save the race card for real racism. Not for your own dumbass shenanigans. It only hurts your own people when you do stuff like that. I hope they're enjoying jailtime. I've been in the Santa Clara County jails before visiting clients... it's not like it seems on TV.



While we're on the topic, Stanley Williams ... founder of the Crips. Killed 4 people, some of whom were elderly and shot execution style. Then he co-authored (whatever that means) some childrens' books. Never apologized or acknowledged remorse. Even if he didn't kill those four people (a notion that flies in the face of overwhelming evidence), I still would have voted for the death penalty just on the basis that he founded the Crips, a gang that has wrought havoc in our inner cities and led to the deaths of thousands of people. Sorry, but you do that stuff, and you get voted off the island, no matter how many childrens' books you "co-author."


posted by twisesq  # 12:40 PM
 
Hmmmm. Hershey Bar + Peanuts = YUM. It's like making your own Mr. Goodbar.


posted by twisesq  # 12:06 PM

Sunday, December 11, 2005

 
As always, George Will has some good points, including this observation: A majority of teachers, parents and students at Jefferson Elementary School in Berkeley favored renaming the school Sequoia Elementary because Jefferson owned hundreds of slaves. Under Chief Sequoia, the Cherokee nation owned more than 1,500 black slaves.


posted by twisesq  # 7:25 AM

Saturday, December 10, 2005

 
It seems like the latest thing in the world of blogging / websites is community based link management and sharing. A few options have sprung up. Yahoo! has its My Web 2.0, and they just acquired del.icio.us. It'll be interesting to see how they integrate the two, if at all, and where this takes community based link sharing. For right now I'm using Yahoo's My Web 2.0, although I may be inclined to switch to del.icio.us once they get their import function working, because I prefer their method of presenting recent links on my webpage. This morning I figured out how to enable the XML feed on my link list, and added XML buttons to my webpage for those feeds.


posted by twisesq  # 9:20 AM

Thursday, December 8, 2005

 
Various quotes from today's scandals.



"There's no slander here, no racism, no nothing," he said. "I don't have a racist, prejudiced bone in my body." -- (Former) Officer Andrew Cohen, SFPD, who seemed to have a bit too much time on his hands at work. Don't bother suing the city, Andy. You were wrong. Take it like a man.



"I think common sense will dictate when you make fun of women, you make fun of gays, you make fun of the African American community and the Asian community, that's wrong." -- Mayor Gavin Newsom



The Police Officers Association president apologized at a news conference Thursday for the "extremely stupid and immature" videos. That phrase also describes the cops who made it. Extremely stupid and immature.



"Clearly out of line." -- Joseph McNamara, Hoover Institute, Former SJPD Chief. Indeed. Joe, as usual, had some good reasons to back up his statement. Cops lose credibility with crap like this, and that results in guilty people getting let off the hook by juries who stop believing cops.



"I would like to apologize to the people of San Jose." -- Mayor Ron Gonzalez, regarding a "deal" that led to an increase in garbage rates for 155,000 households served by the city's largest trash hauler, after months of denying any wrongdoing. Hey Ron, whenever I hear you on KGO radio in the mornings, you always sound like you're lying. Now we know you were. Good thing your tenure as mayor is almost up. Garbage, indeed.


posted by twisesq  # 10:07 PM
 
Sneeze on me. I got my flu shot today, courtesy of my work. I'm innoculated. Inocculated. Inoculated. One of those.


posted by twisesq  # 2:44 PM

Wednesday, December 7, 2005

 
Today's lesson: Remember to take your medications before you board an aircraft.



When I think about our "war on terror," I usually think about our uncertain activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, or the phrase "homeland security". But every now and then something happens that makes me remember why America really is more secure now, after 9/11. It has nothing to do with our military in the Middle East, or whether we are at yellow alert or red alert. It's because Americans think for themselves, and aren't afraid to take action when action is called for. It's in our history, and part of our culture. It's because the next time someone stands up on an airplane and tries to do something stupid with it, American passengers are going to remember the "war on terror" and take that sucker out.



Today, for example, some guy on a plane on the ground in Florida stood up, said "I have a bomb", and reached for his bag. At that moment, a federal air marshal did the only right thing: He took that sucker out.



There are indications that the man had a mental illness (bipolar disorder), and had not taken his medication. If that is true, it is unfortunate, but I don't want to hear anyone claiming that man's rights were violated, or that the air marshal used excessive force. Maybe the man should have remembered to take his medication, if that is what he needs to prevent him from making terrorist threats aboard an aircraft.



Let's be clear about this: If you stand up on an airplane and say, "I have a bomb," you're gonna get taken out. Don't be surprised when it happens. Expect it. Even if there's not an air marshal on board. If you rely on medication to prevent you from saying those words while on an airplane, then you better taken your medication.


posted by twisesq  # 1:44 PM

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

 
My industry (big-4 tax consulting) is infamous for its use of acronyms. We actually had a situation at work where one department was prohibited from using an acronym because it was "claimed" by another department. Today I got an e-mail with this subject: "PC&D Tips for PFF". Holy cow.


posted by twisesq  # 5:32 PM
 
Vegas.






posted by twisesq  # 9:55 AM

Monday, December 5, 2005

 
Kathleen Sullivan, regarded by many lawyers, myself included, as a goddess, failed the July California bar exam. Obviously she didn't visit my website. I'm sure she'll pass next time. Ms. Sullivan literally wrote the book about Constitutional Law, has argued before the Supreme Court, and was Dean of Stanford Law School. She was also rumored to be on the short list of Democratic nominees to the Supreme Court.


posted by twisesq  # 9:26 PM

Friday, December 2, 2005

 
My former law school classmate, Scott Plamondon, made the SF Chron today. He's representing water heater companies in an unfair business practice claim regarding a water heater sticker that I, like many others, received and put on my water heater with instructions for emergency shut-off. Way to go, Scott!


posted by twisesq  # 8:00 AM



Wednesday, November 30, 2005

 
TSA is now going to allow scissors and small tools on airplanes. That's good, because the last time I flew, I really needed scissors and small tools on board with me.


posted by twisesq  # 9:32 AM

Monday, November 28, 2005

 
Very true: "I don't know anybody under 30 who has ever looked at a classified advertisement in a newspaper." -- News Corporation Chairman Rupert Murdoch.


posted by twisesq  # 3:01 PM
 
Today is "Reply to All" misuse day at my office. I now know that certain coworkers are bringing guests to the holiday party, and that someone in our IT group wants to be removed from a mailing list.


posted by twisesq  # 3:00 PM
 
It's so hard to keep track of all the republican scandals lately. I need to make a list:

* Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham pleads guilty to tax evasion and taking bribes in exchange for his congressional duties. Facing up to 10 years in jail.

* Republican Tom DeLay of Texas had to step down as majority leader after he was indicted in a campaign finance scandal

* A stock sale by Senate Majority Leader Republican Bill Frist is being looked at by regulators

* Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby was indicted in the CIA leak case



Okay, now that list is down on paper, I need to make another list... holiday gifts. That list is harder.


posted by twisesq  # 11:31 AM

Thursday, November 24, 2005

 
Happy Thanksgiving!


posted by twisesq  # 1:23 PM
 
Frontline (PBS) had a great show on last night about Katrina, and all of the failures that led to the disaster being much worse than it should have been. The show makes it clear that there were failures on all levels, and plenty of blame to go around: FEMA, the President, the Mayor, the Governor, the National Guard, and the residents themselves. But it sure makes the president and his administration look completely disfunctional and like a bunch of idiots sitting around while people died. They also made comparisons to how George Bush (senior) responded to Hurricane Andrew, and how similar the problems were: FEMA was run by a political appointee with no emergency management experience, and the president failed to respond. Clinton learned from that, and put a true emergency management person (James Lee Witt) in charge of FEMA (the first person with direct emeregency management experience to be in charge of FEMA). He streamlined the agency, and filled it with people with actual emergency experience. Even Bush Junior praised how James Lee Witt ran FEMA. But Bush Junior made the same mistake as his father, and used FEMA as a dumping ground for inexperienced political appointees. They gutted FEMA, particularly (and ironically) after 9/11, and the leaders lacked the experience to respond to a disaster. People died because of that. And the country realizes it and correctly places blame on the administration, as reflected by Bush's record low approval ratings.


posted by twisesq  # 6:57 AM

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

 
It's time to ressurect the Dumbass Award!



Today's nomination is from right here in San Jose, where "a 2-year-old boy was struck and killed by an Amtrak train today as his baby sitter was leading him and two other children across the tracks at a point not designated as a railroad crossing."



Let's just pause right there and think. Now, just for leading three children across a train track at a point not designated as a railroad crossing is sufficient for the dumbass award. To do so in the path of an oncoming train makes the nomination even more worthy. But to do so in a way that resulted in the death of one of the kids virtually guarantees the award.



"Investigators said it appeared a woman babysitting the toddler and his 4-year-old brother led the boys across first, then went back for a stroller carrying her own infant. The toddler apparently tried to follow her and was struck while standing on the tracks, they said."



"No charges have been filed in the case."



Well, goodness, let's whip out our book-o-charges and see what we can drum up for this babysitter. I'm thinking voluntary manslaughter, and at least two charges of reckless endangerment. You have to feel sorry for the train conductors... knowing they are about to kill a little baby, with absolutely no way to do anything about it. I hope Amtrak has a counseling program. As for the babysitter... well, she's a dumbass.


posted by twisesq  # 4:16 PM

Monday, November 21, 2005

 
When plans go awry ... the catering people deliver cheese and crackers to a cubicle instead of an office.




posted by twisesq  # 4:43 PM
 
My friend Andy posted this on his weblog. I guess it's true for all of us who left small towns for big cities. :)



Break Away



Grew up in a small town

And when the rain would fall down

I'd just stare out my window

Dreamin' of what could be

And if I'd end up happy

I would pray



Trying hard to reach out

But when I tried to speak out

Felt like no one could hear me

Wanting to belong here

But something felt so wrong here

So I prayed I could break away



I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly

I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky

And I'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change

And break away

Out of the darkness and into the sun

But I won't forget all the ones that I love

I'll take a risk, take a chance, make a change

And break away



I want to feel the warm breeze

Sleep under a palm tree

Feel the rush of the ocean

Get on board a fast train

Travel on a jetplane, far away

And break away



I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly

I'll do what it takes till I touch the sky

And I'll make a wish, take a chance, make a change

And break away

Out of the darkness and into the sun

I won't forget all the ones that I love

I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change

And break away



Buildings with a hundred floors

Swinging round revolving doors

Maybe I don't know where they'll take me

But, gotta keep moving on, moving on

Fly away, break away



I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly

Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye, I've got to

Take a risk, take a chance, make a change

And break away

Out of the darkness and into the sun

But I won't forget the place I come from

I gotta take a risk, take a chance, make a change

And break away



Written by Avril Lavigne for Kelly Clarkson


posted by twisesq  # 2:34 PM

Monday, November 14, 2005

 
Quick, run outside. Are pigs flying? The Supreme Court ruled against Special Ed parents, saying that that parents who demand better special education programs for their children have the burden of proof in the challenges. Sandra Day O'Conner said that when parents challenge a program they have the burden in an administrative hearing of showing that the program is insufficient. I'm sure my mom is very happy.


posted by twisesq  # 9:40 PM

Sunday, November 13, 2005

 
It's not just the athiests who think religion shouldn't be part of our government and schools. I wonder if Pat Robertson ever heard of this quote from some guy named Jesus: "Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God what is God's." Indeed. And the people of Dover, PA agree.


posted by twisesq  # 9:30 AM

Thursday, November 10, 2005

 
Pat Robertson does a very good job of making organized religion look foolish and silly. It's fun to sit back and watch him make a fool of himself. Today, he warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town not to be surprised if disaster strikes there because "you just voted God out of your city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching "intelligent design." Robertson is the same fool who made headlines this summer when he called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. He has also said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."


posted by twisesq  # 6:09 PM

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

 
Travis: "Hi, I'm Travis Wise, nice to meet you."



Recruit: "Nice to meet you too. I'm ______, a student at Santa Clara Law School."



[50 minute recruiting dinner]



Travis: "It was nice to meet you, here's my business card, call me if you have any further questions."



Recruit: "Oh my god, you're Travis Wise, the guy with the website? I used your outlines all through law school! Thank you so much!"



Partner: "Oh not that again. Wait, he didn't ask for your autograph? You're losing your touch, Travis."



I love recruiting. It's always fun.


posted by twisesq  # 6:25 PM

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

 
Voting Day.



California's initiative system is democracy run amuck, and nothing close to what the founding fathers envisioned for our democratic republic. It will soon be time to move to Canada.



I was talking with a fellow lawyer at work today about how neither she and I can understand what most of these propositions would really do, and we like to think we are rather educated folks who should be able to read and comprehend confusing language.



The only one I could truly understand and knew immediately how I wanted to vote on was 73 (abortion notification). The others were more confusing. 74 (teacher tenure) and 75 (union dues) were probably the next easiest. 76 (budget) squeaked in at "comprehensible". I understood 77 (redistricting) just fine, but didn't really know how it would affect politics as we know it today. But, I'm generally in favor of old retired white guys making decisions for me, so I voted "yes." 78 and 79 (drug programs) confused me, and I'm still not sure if I voted in line with my beliefs or not. I voted yes on 80, because I generally believe that in 2000-2002, the energy companies [censored] us, so I am in favor of re-regulating the utilities, although I generally don't like mandating that a certain percent of energy come from renewable resources, because that may lead to inefficiencies and its own disasters (let's just put everything on nuclear reactors and we'll have all the power we need for the next century).


posted by twisesq  # 1:09 PM

Friday, November 4, 2005

 
Michael Brown's e-mails about his fashion taste during the Katrina disaster (he called himself a "fashion god") are obscene. It just confirms the level of his ineptitude and stupidity, and the stupidity of the Bush administration for putting morons like him in positions of power. It makes me sick to think that people died because he was more worried about the color of his shirt on his Good Morning America appearance than how to get water and food to the people in New Orleans. As Martha would say, "Michael, you just don't fit in. Goodbye."


posted by twisesq  # 9:34 AM

Thursday, November 3, 2005

 
Shocking news from the SJ Mercury News: "There's big trouble over at Mercury Interactive. Three of the company's top executives, including CEO Amnon Landan, resigned Wednesday after an internal probe into stock-option grants raised troubling questions about the company's accounting practices. According to the investigation, Mercury incorrectly reported the date of at least 49 stock-option grants, often selecting days when the stock price was lower than on the actual grant date. Landan, along with Chief Financial Officer Douglas Smith and general counsel Susan Skaer all profited from the manipulations and resigned when they were uncovered. News of the trio's misdeeds sent Mercury shares tumbling. 'The fraud is ugly, the perpetrators are gone, and this is an embarrassment in a huge way,' Richard Williams, a Garban Institution Equities analyst, told Bloomberg."


posted by twisesq  # 10:44 PM

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

 
Commander In Chief is growing on me fast. The first few episodes were rocky in my opinion, but the characters are coming together nicely.


posted by twisesq  # 10:14 PM


Monday, October 31, 2005

 
I have a good view of 280 out my window. If I stand up, I can see 87. Maybe I'll supplement my income by doing traffic reports for KGO. At 11:50am, both 280 and 87 are flowing well. No accidents or incidents to report. Back to you, Ron.


posted by twisesq  # 11:46 AM
 
"Texas Pastor Electrocuted During Baptism" Not a good sign.


posted by twisesq  # 9:31 AM

Saturday, October 29, 2005

 
Happy Halloween!






posted by twisesq  # 5:26 PM

Thursday, October 27, 2005

 
The Five Fears:



1. Fear of death, for yourself or your family. And the need for safety.

2. Fear of strangers. And the need for a common bond with other people.

3. Fear of an uncertain future. And a matching need for a clear direction.

4. Fear of utter disorder. Or what could be termed a need for solid order.

5. Fear of unimportance. And a need for respect.



The One Thing You Need To Know, Marcus Buckingham


posted by twisesq  # 8:27 PM

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

 



posted by twisesq  # 9:27 AM

Monday, October 24, 2005

 
I got a new office at work, with a window facing towards South San Jose. It also faces the oncoming flight path for SJC. So every five minutes, I see an airplane coming directly at me, about 200 feet above my window. I can actually see into the wheel-wells.






posted by twisesq  # 3:38 PM
 
Overheard. "I just wanted to socialize that issue."


posted by twisesq  # 2:14 PM
 
I went to a garage sale. A woman and her three kids lived in the house. The father had recently died, and they were selling a lot of his stuff. I bought peanut butter, and admired their huge fish tank. Then I woke up.


posted by twisesq  # 8:19 AM

Friday, October 21, 2005

 
I dread it when people give me big projets to do on a Friday afternoon. I just found out I'm giving a presentation on Section 199 on Tuesday morning. Given that my entire current knowledge of Section 199 is that there are 198 sections before it, I may need some good jokes to kill time during my presentation. Maybe I'll start with my favorite:



After traveling through the desert on there quest to see the Christ child, the three wise men finally arrive at the stable. The first two wise men, being fairly short, breezed right through the low door. The third wise man, being much taller than average, didn't quite make it through the door and slammed his head against the top of the frame. He staggered into the stable holding his forehead, screaming, "Jesus Christ!" Mary turned to Joseph and smiled, "That's a much better name than Irving."


posted by twisesq  # 2:11 PM

Monday, October 17, 2005

 
General Motors pays more for health insurance than for steel. $1600 of every new GM car is for health insurance costs for employees and retirees. There's a crisis coming. Bigger than education, bigger than anything our government has dealt with in recent decades. It involves health care, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and the Deficit. In related news, Bush has proposed cutting taxes. Why?


posted by twisesq  # 2:02 PM

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

 
NY Times reports that President Bush's tax advisory commission indicated on Tuesday that it would not propose replacing the income tax with a national sales tax or a value-added tax, but would recommend limits in the popular tax deductions for mortgage interest and employer-provided health insurance.



Doubtful that will fly. Too many people like their deductions.


posted by twisesq  # 12:24 PM
 
Holy skyrocketing profits, batman. Apple introduced the first Video iPod today. A-ma-zing. Sign me up.


posted by twisesq  # 11:28 AM

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 
It's a week of announcements. Tomorrow Apple will announce their "next big thing." Will it be a video iPod? Who knows. Yahoo and Microsoft are also set to announce they are integrating YIM and MSN Messenger, to allow people on one platform to send messages to people on the other platform. Now, if only we could get AIM in on the pact also.


posted by twisesq  # 11:18 PM

Friday, October 7, 2005

 
10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

From Best of Craigslist



01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.



02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.



03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.



04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.



05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.



06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.



07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.



08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.



09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.



10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.


posted by twisesq  # 11:23 PM

Thursday, October 6, 2005

 
I gave a presentation today to about 300 people. I'm so glad that's over.


posted by twisesq  # 4:42 PM

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

 
"The attorney general is looking into whether six hospitals and 13 nursing homes mishandled evacuations of patients, abandoned them during Katrina or put them to death to spare them further pain." (report) Put them to death? Oh dear.


posted by twisesq  # 1:56 PM

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

 
Apple to introduce the video iPod soon? If it integrates with my TiVo, that will be just amazing.


posted by twisesq  # 9:53 PM

Monday, October 3, 2005

 
Today we had an all-hands meeting for both audit and tax (all 1,500 of us) at the Fairmont. The firm brought in Cynthia Cooper to talk to us. She was the Worldcom VP of Internal Audit who was blew the whistle on the Worldcom fraud. Very interesting speech. It's really quite interesting how Worldcom was covering up the fraud, and how they hid it from their auditors.


posted by twisesq  # 9:56 PM
 
My ideal president is one who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It doesn't matter to me if s/he is a Republican, Democrat, or independent. Lately, Bush seems to be the opposite: Fiscally irresponsible, and socially conservative. But I have to give him props for his two Supreme Court picks. Would I have preferred two justices who were more liberal? Certainly. But we all knew that wasn't going to happen. The question was, how conservative would they be? Would they be another Scalia/Thomas? We could have done much worse. Both John Roberts and Harriet Miers are conservatives, but both have been described as being very fair and balanced, and following the law rather than their personal ideology. And it leaves the conservative right asking, "where's our Scalia/Thomas?" Bush had an opportunity to pack the court with ultra-conservatives. He didn't. I think those of us who favor moderates on the court dodged a bullet.


posted by twisesq  # 9:11 AM


Thursday, September 29, 2005

 
Word of the day: "catastrophize".



And yes, the bacon wrapped snacks tonight did say "(Bacon contains Pork)", once again. I didn't have post-it notes with me to write "duh" next to the sign.


posted by twisesq  # 5:26 PM

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

 
Sign at breakfast: "Bacon (contains pork)"



Sign at dinner: "Pecan Pie (contains nuts)"


posted by twisesq  # 4:33 PM

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

 
From the "only at a tax event" bag: "Ok everyone, tell us your name, where you're from, and your favorite tax code section."


posted by twisesq  # 11:29 AM

Monday, September 26, 2005

 
I'm in Orlando for the week for work. It's quite hot and muggy here. I looked out the car's window for Disneyland, but didn't see it while going to the hotel. But a sign near the hotel indicates that Disneyland is nearby. I've been there several times, but not for over 15 years. I flew TED on the leg from Denver to Orlando. My first flight on TED. It was completely indistinguishable from my flight from San Jose to Denver, on United.


posted by twisesq  # 8:37 PM

Thursday, September 22, 2005

 
"[The pilot] joked that he was sorry he put the plane down 6 inches off the center line." -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.



That pretty much sums it up.


posted by twisesq  # 9:30 AM

Monday, September 19, 2005

 
I've been watching a lot of a PBS show called Imagemakers, which is short independent movies. One of my favorite shorts so far are Tower of Babble, three stories intertwined by the same dialogue. And it features Kevin Spacey as the narrator. My other favorite short is a movie from Belgium called "Romance," featuring three women sharing a room in a nursing home. One woman has a clear view out the window, so she narrates a daily play-by-play of the goings-on outside. The ending is one of the most surprising, tearful and romantic endings to a movie I have ever seen.


posted by twisesq  # 9:17 PM
 
My office made it on Overheard In The Office today!


posted by twisesq  # 6:34 PM
 
I was tempted to send this one in: "We are going to have a pre-audit so that we can have an internal audit which will then be audited externally."


posted by twisesq  # 3:28 PM

Sunday, September 18, 2005

 
Apple released a new iPod recently, the Nano. It's got all the features of my 4 gig Mini, but with twice the battery life, and a color screen. Amazing. As soon as my Mini breaks, I'll replace it with a Nano. On the other hand, the iPod phone (RAZR) does not impress me. Storage space is too small.


posted by twisesq  # 11:01 PM

Thursday, September 15, 2005

 
"It took you three months to screw this up. Don't expect me to fix it in one week."


posted by twisesq  # 11:30 PM

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

 
"With billions of dollars to boost disaster preparedness at all levels of government, 'we would have expected a sharp, crisp response to this terrible tragedy,' said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. 'Instead, we witnessed what appeared to be a sluggish initial response.'" Sluggish indeed. Where did those billions of dollars go? Airport security screeners?



Here's an interesting OpEd piece saying that donating to charity is a bad idea, and just lets the government off the hook. I've donated to the Red Cross. But the article does make me wonder why there are "cracks" for people to fall though. I don't like big government, but I do like government big enough to make things right when disasters strike.


posted by twisesq  # 11:06 AM

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

 
I bought a Tivo recently. 140 gig model. Holds 60-140 hours of video, depending on the quality setting. I finally joined the 1990's.



The good:



- Easy to set up. Very intuitive. Easy to use.

- Remote control was easy to set up to control my TV. I wish it could also control my VCR and A/V system (this is possible but not with the features I want).

- Software v.7.2 allows all sorts of multimedia sharing: I can move shows from Tivo to my laptop and back, and watch them on my laptop when I'm not at home. I can download shows to my laptop from my Tivo via my home network, or remotely across the internet.

- I can program my Tivo to record shows remotely via a website.

- I can use my TV/multimedia center to look at digital pictures stored on my laptop and play music (MP3's) stored on my laptop. This content is streamed from the laptop using Tivo's server software (part of Tivo Desktop). The software was very easy to install and set up.

- It plugs into my home network via 10baseT or WiFi, eliminating the need for a phone line connection (phone line is required for intial setup).

- It makes watching TV much more efficient in a number of ways: Easily skip through commercials. Easily sort, search, and find shows that match one's interests.



The bad:



- It's not cheap. $299 for the unit, less $150 rebate, plus $300 "lifetime" (of the unit) service (alternative: $12.95 a month). Alternative is to buy a computer and run Win XP Media Center, which has a higher one-time set up cost (buying the computer and necessary components to handle video), but no monthly service fee.

- Apparently it takes several days for the unit to update the software (free) from v.5 to v.7.2. That is silly. Presumably future models will ship with the updated software.

- Requires v.7.2 software to use most WiFi adapters.

- Requires a phone line for the first connection (new models shipping with v7.2 won't have this issue)

- Medium recording quality is ok for some shows, but not impressive. Best recording quality is good, but uses a lot of space (meaning that the 40 gig Tivo won't store many shows, and the 80 gig model is on the border).

- Watching live TV through the Tivo degrades the quality of the image, because the TV is showing a Tivo-ized (digitized) image rather than a true live-feed image. This enables Tivo's "pause live TV" function. But the image is noticeably degraded.

- Hooking the Tivo up in a way that gives you lots of viewing flexibility is a bit cumbersome: I wanted my VCR to be able to record off the Tivo, and play back into the Tivo, to be able to move shows back and forth. This took some creative wiring. I also wanted to hook my TV up to three inputs: the Tivo, my VCR directly, and the cable system directly. This also took some creative wiring (fortunately my TV allows three device inputs). My entertainment center is now a tangle of coax, S-video cable, and component wires.

- The Tivo is constantly recording either a programmed show, or live TV feed, and constantly generating heat. I wish I could tell it not to record live TV unless I told it otherwise.

- Tivo supports DRM/Macromedia flags. I don't know exactly what that means, but the end result is that they can flag certain shows to either (1) not record on Tivo, (2) self destruct after a certain period of time, or (3) not be able to transfer to laptop or DVD. They claim they will only use this for pay-per-view shows, but word is that the flag has appeared on some recent syndicated shows (supposedly by accident). If they do start flagging syndicated shows, that may well be the end of Tivo.

- The ability to program the Tivo remotely through the Tivo.com website is very sluggish. The website does not always work, and when it does it seems to often be very slow

- Who knows how long Tivo will be around to provide the Guide service (TV listings), without which the Tivo is a boat anchor, unless the service is acquired and maintained


posted by twisesq  # 9:56 PM

Monday, September 12, 2005

 
I was interviewed today by a reporter from the Daily Journal (a legal publication) about a class action lawsuit against BarBri. BarBri is the largest bar preparation company, and considered a near monopoly in the bar prep. business. I am not too familiar with the lawsuit, but I understand it has something to do with unfair business practices related to its monopoly status, and the high price they charge law students. I have no affiliation with BarBri, but my experience with them was generally positive (I passed the exam, after all). We'll see what quotes the Daily Journal uses, if any.


posted by twisesq  # 6:05 PM
 
I achieved one of my long-term goals this weekend. I learned how to drive a stick shift. Still not sure I would buy a manual transmission car, but if I did, at least now I know I could drive it.


posted by twisesq  # 7:02 AM

Sunday, September 11, 2005

 
"I woke up when the phone rang. It must have been sometime between 6 and 6:30 am. I picked it up... it was my mom. 'Turn on the television, quick.' Clearly, something bad happened. We turned on the television. There were the WTC buildings, one on fire. A minute later, an object went into the other building, and now both were on fire. No one on TV knew what was happening. As we prepared for work, I watched on the television as the two buildings disappeared into a thick plume of smoke and dust. No one knew what happened initially, but then the realization struck the broadcasters (and us) that something had happened structurally to the buildings. Maybe they had partially collapsed. I remember thinking that tens of thousands of people could be dead, and what difficulty it would be to repair that much structural damage so far up in the air. But there was nothing I could do, so I went to work.



"At work, everyone was huddled around a few computers reading cnn.com or watching the initial streaming video of the airplanes. Then, sometime around 10:30, the fire alarm went off. My building was directly in the flight path to San Jose airport, so we took it seriously. Maybe someone saw a plane headed for our building, and pulled the alarm? We raced down 17 flights of stairs, even though we realized it was unlikely an airplane would target the PricewaterhouseCoopers San Jose office. Out on the street, most of us decided to go home. Austin drove me. I sat at home for a few hours and watched television.



"My car was stuck downtown, so around 1pm, I took a bus to the light rail station, and took light rail downtown. On the light rail, the woman next to me had a home-made necklace made out of a postcard of the twin towers on a string around her neck. There was complete silence on the train. I retrieved my car and computer, and came back home, and camped out in front of the TV to watch the news. Some people avoided it. I couldn't.



"The next day, I learned that five people from my company died in the airplanes, including one man who was a partner at PwC who I knew, along with his domestic partner and their child. That was my closest connection to a 9/11 casualty.



"It's hard to imagine how we got from that morning [four] years ago to the current situation we are in in Iraq. The president says they are linked. And I agree that Saddam is a bad guy who needed to be taken out. But the expense, loss of American lives, and lack of exit plan make me question how much our leadership has thought this through."


posted by twisesq  # 6:37 AM

Thursday, September 8, 2005

 
IRS creates interesting program to allow employees to donate unused vacation time for Katrina victims.


posted by twisesq  # 11:56 AM
 
This is a great example of how our government failed us:



A Canadian search-and-rescue team reached a flooded New Orleans suburb to help save trapped residents five days before the U.S. military. The Canadians beat both the Army and FEMA to St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans, according to Sen. Walter Boasso. "Fabulous, fabulous guys," Boasso said. "They started rolling with us and got in boats to save people." "We've got Canadian flags flying everywhere." The Canadian rescue team "chartered a plane and flew down," Boasso said. "Why does it take them seven days to get the Army in?" Boasso asked.



Why, indeed.


posted by twisesq  # 11:23 AM

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

 
I ordered a digital video recorder today. The prime time season starts in the next few weeks, and I need to be prepared for time-delayed TV watching. I rewired my bedroom entertainment center to accommodate the recorder. I'll set it up this weekend.


posted by twisesq  # 7:24 PM

Monday, September 5, 2005

 
Finally, the government is doing something that makes sense. Distributing seized knock-off items out of the U.S. Customs Dept. warehouses. "Rolex" watches for everyone. I wonder if anyone will return to New Orleans? I read today that most of the homes and buildings will have to be bulldozed. Many of the refugees are starting new lives in new areas. I think I would just walk away and start fresh. My new emergency kit is taking pretty good shape. Next weekend I'll finish most of the shopping for supplies.


posted by twisesq  # 4:32 PM

Friday, September 2, 2005

 
How great is America? One of the shining cities of the world's only superpower has descended into complete anarchy, and the official government response has been "our efforts are good enough." Good enough? No. In the words of the mayor of New Orleans to the federal government, "get off your ass."



Foreign nations are watching in amazement and saying that the chaos in the south has exposed flaws and deep divisions in our society. The images of gun toting looters roaming the debris-strewn streets while others wait for the government to provide food, water, and health care are shocking to Americans and foreign nations.



They look like scenes out of third world countries. In fact, they look worse. The response to the tsunami in southern Asia last year was far better organized than our government's response to this disaster.



A quote from the news: "Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."



And it is obvious from looking at the faces on TV that most of the victims of the hurricane were African Americans, too poor to flee.



As an American citizen, if I was ever involved in a disaster of this magnitude, such as a massive earthquake, I would expect tanks to be rolling within hours. Airdrops of water and food. The Army Corps of Engineers setting up tent cities in the parks. And not five days after the event. It's disappointing to be an American and not see that type of response happen.


posted by twisesq  # 3:23 PM

Thursday, September 1, 2005

 
We need to send the military into Louisiana. I'm not talking the National Guard and Boy Scout Troup 54. I'm talking the fifth infintry division. The Army. The Marines. The Navy. NASA. Batallians. Platoons. Squads. Airlifts. Airdrops. Whatever they call it, send them in. Drop a million MRE's and drinking water pouches from helicopters. Drop large rafts for these people baking the black rooftops. Set up tent cities on dry land. Set up massive generators to get the hospitals powered up. Use military convoys to get people out of that god awful Superdome and into someplace safe. Set up the military medical ships just offshore to care for the injured. Declare Martial Law, and put an armed soldier on every street corner with orders to shoot-to-kill looters. With our military might, this could all be done in a little over an hour. Oh wait, all our troups are in the Middle East. I forgot. Bummer.


posted by twisesq  # 9:27 AM



Wednesday, August 31, 2005

 
25,000 Katrina refugees are being shuttled from New Orleans to Houston for temporary shelter. "The Astrodome's schedule has been cleared through December for housing evacuees." December! Living in the Astrodome until December. What a disaster. And this could happen anywhere. Massive tornados in the midwest. Massive earthquakes in California. I know I am not prepared for this type of disaster, but I'm going to be.


posted by twisesq  # 10:03 AM

Monday, August 29, 2005

 
My former employer, KPMG, agreed to a half-billion (with a B) dollar fine today, to avoid criminal prosecution that could have destroyed the firm. The fine was for tax shelters sold by the firm to wealthy individuals in the late 1990's. Two of my favorite quotes that came out of the internal e-mails publicized in the investigation:



"We are dealing with ruthless execution, hand-to-hand combat, blocking and tackling. Whatever the mixed metaphor, let's just do it." and "My own recommendation is that we should be paid a lot of money here for our opinion since the transaction is clearly one that the IRS would view as falling squarely within the tax shelter orbit."



Of course, all of the Big-5 firms engaged in these shenenigans (PwC called them an "institutional failure"). The difference between how the firms handled them was the key to the fallout.


posted by twisesq  # 11:12 AM

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

 
RSS is now enabled.


posted by twisesq  # 8:54 AM

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

 
Linguistic disaster strikes: "Here's the take-away: Right size the comment field, and then repurpose the information into the form." -- Fremont Street, San Francisco.

My response to the nuts on Larry King's show tonight: Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. Stop trying to hide religious dogma in the drapes of science.
If a foreign religious nut (say, an Islamic extremist), called for the assassination of the U.S. president, we would call him a terrorist, and send in the Marines to take him out. Today, Marion Gordon ("Pat") Robertson, a religious nut and extremist, called for the assassination of the ruler of a sovereign nation. I wonder when the First Marine Division is going to march into Virginia and remove this terrorist threat?
Not only is he a terrorist, but he's a liar too:
  • Original quote: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it."

  • Now he says: "I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out.' And 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping; there are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted by the AP [Associated Press], but that happens all the time."
And one million American's think he's is a great religious leader?


posted by twisesq  # 8:46 AM

Monday, August 22, 2005

 
I'm staying at the "W" in San Francisco for a few days for work. It's one of the nicest hotel rooms I've stayed in. I'm not sure what to do with the Etch-A-Sketch on the desk though.


posted by twisesq  # 8:46 AM

Sunday, August 21, 2005

 
I put $2.00 in the 2 cent slot machines in Vegas this weekend, and won $24. That was the extent of my gambling. No one offered to comp my room. I guess I need to spend more than $2.00 to get a free room. Maybe $10 next time.


posted by twisesq  # 8:46 AM

Friday, August 19, 2005

 
My car is continuing its gradual decline into retirement. The other day I hit a boulder on the freeway. Solution: Three new tires, and one new wheel (the wheel is different from the tire, I found out). I needed new tires for this winter anyhow, so no big deal. Maybe next spring it will be time to retire my trusty Honda.


posted by twisesq  # 8:45 AM

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

 
I was reading a news story when I came across this quote: "The project began in 1995, when researchers at the federal Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, noticed that..." Now, not to be cynical, or unpatriotic, but we have a federal Sheep Experiment Station? Maybe we should put some federal resources into alternative fuel vehicles instead of giving oil companies tax credits and experimenting on sheep. Unless the sheep qualify as alternative fuel vehicles, of course.


posted by twisesq  # 8:45 AM

Friday, August 12, 2005

 
I was somewhere recently when someone said, "I drove 4 hours to get to the Arctic Circle. The only thing there was a sign and an outhouse. Not even a gift shop!" That is surprising. Capitalism has spread to the Great Wall of China (you should see the crap they sell there), but not the Arctic Circle.


posted by twisesq  # 8:45 AM



Wednesday, July 20, 2005

 
Someone used the word "craptastic" in connection with the bar exam. I couldn't have thought of a better word.


posted by twisesq  # 8:45 AM

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

 
I was driving down the street in San Francisco recently and the hatchback in front of me had two dogs and a goat in the back. I knew it was a goat because I grew up in Ohio, and all kids who grow up in Ohio can instinctively identify barnyard animals. It looked very out of place for San Francisco. And it takes a lot for something to look out of place there.


posted by twisesq  # 8:44 AM



Thursday, June 2, 2005

 
"I'll never hire someone with an AOL.com address. It screams that you're at a very basic stage." -- Peter Shankman, founder of New York City marketing firm Geek Factory. And on that topic, why do people put the year in their e-mail address? Like "bobsmith1998@aol.com". That's such a bad idea.

"Wilbanks, whose disappearance before her wedding in April created a nationwide sensation, was wearing a black outfit and running shoes as she arrived at the Gwinnett County courthouse Thursday to make her plea." Running shoes, to a courthouse?


posted by twisesq  # 8:44 AM



Friday, May 20, 2005

 
"There are times in life that you just do not want to miss a chance to shut up." -- Dr. Phil.


posted by twisesq  # 8:44 AM

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 
Probably my favorite quote from a judge: "The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch bitch "hoe." A "hoe," of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden's response. We have taken the liberty of changing "hoe" to "ho," a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps "You doin' ho activities with ho tendencies."" -- Judge Terence Evans, in a footnote in U.S. v. Murphy, 04-2032, May 5, 2005.


posted by twisesq  # 8:43 AM



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