archives

[This is probably duplicate stuff, but I'm cleaning out some old files and want to make sure this is preserved - archives from the early 2000's]


Travis A. Wise > Weblog Archives 2000


11/14: This may come as a shock, but there is no federal right for citizens to vote for president.  Nowhere in the Constitution nor United States Code does a right exist for citizens to cast a ballot for president.  Only the state legislatures are given the power by the federal government to elect the president, through the process of selecting electors.  All states have chosen to delegate at least part of this selection process to the citizenry, but there is no federal law requiring them to do so, nor prohibiting them from rescinding that grant of power.  Yet another reason why the Electoral College needs to be eliminated.  No reasonable person, at least none outside of Florida, would call it an "error in vote tabulation" or a "rejection of legal votes" when the voting machine performs exactly in the manner designed, and fails to count those ballots that are not marked in the manner which the voting instruments explicitly and prominently specify.  In the aftermath of the catastrophe that was the 2000 presidential election, a Florida woman was shown on the news crying, "I was raped! My vote was stolen from me, and I was raped!" Her comments were representative of many other Floridians. Their anguish is understandable: Many of these voters are Jewish, and the media was telling them that they may have accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan, a man who has publicly stated his admiration of Hitler. The root of the problem was a ballot that some said was confusing. Of course, some people find traffic lights confusing. In fact, this ballot did not seem to cause any confusion until after the election. Republicans and democrats both signed off on the design before the election. The ballot was even published in the newspaper, so that people would understand its format.  No one alerted election workers to any confusion about the ballot during the election.  Indeed, nothing about the ballot was novel - it is a design that has been successfully used for one-hundred years.  Yes, it is unfortunate that some people were not able to properly use the ballot and vote as they intended.  Ballots, including this one, are designed for the lowest common denominator, so that even the village idiot can vote.  But when the village idiot can't figure out how to use the ballot, he shouldn't blame other people.
10/29: When Anthony Dwain Lee, a black man, was shot by LAPD officer Tarriel Hopper, also a black man, there was an outcry that the shooting was racially motivated. I don't buy this for one minute. Hopper shot and killed Lee, in accordance with standard police procedure, because Lee was intentionally pointing a gun at Hopper, a uniformed police officer. It later turned out that the gun was a toy, but Hopper had no way to know that. Race had nothing to do with this shooting. When a person points a gun at a police officer, the police officer is trained to defend himself by shooting the person wielding the gun. This only makes sense. If the gun later turns out to be fake, but the officer had no way to know that, it is not the police who should be blamed - it is the person stupid enough to point a gun at a police officer who should be blamed. If we accept that this shooting was racially motivated, then any time a black person is shot, it must be a racial incident. This is not logical. A racial incident is not caused by the mere fact that one of the people involved is not white. A racial incident is caused when the intent behind the incident is racial. Hopper did not shoot Lee because of Lee's race. Hopper shot Lee because Lee was pointing a gun at Hopper. I would expect any police officer to do the same.  People need to take responsibility for doing stupid things.
8/25: Notwithstanding my belief that less government is better, when the private sector wholly fails to act in the best interests of the public (its customers), I do believe an argument can be made for government interference.   Such is the case with the airline industry.  Regulated until the late 1990's, the airli0ne industry has had incredible difficulty becoming deregulated.  And for that reason, I think the government should step back in and assist the industry in deregulation, rather than let it "fly" willy-nilly.  Anyone who flew on United Airlines in August of 2000 understands what I'm talking about.  I have flown United dozens of times, and never had a problem.  But in August when I went to Ohio to visit relatives, I nearly had to turn back and go home.  The flight from San Jose to Chicago O'Hare was fine.  But upon arrival in Chicago, my next flight, from O'Hare to Dayton Ohio, was cancelled due to mechanical problems.  Their mechanics were refusing to fix the planes.  The only remaining United flight to Dayton that day was nine hours later.  I was booked on that flight, and proceeded to wait in the terminal.  Two hours before my new flight was to depart, it too was cancelled for mechanical problems.  I was booked on an American Airlines "express" (small plane) flight to Dayton, which was delayed an hour due to mechanical problems.  My luggage didn't make it to Dayton until the next day.  Were there apologies?  No.  No explanations, no food vouchers, no complimentary upgrades.  Nothing.  Just a shrug of the shoulders - as if this was the normal course of events in modern aviation.  Customers should expect more, and they should demand more.  I called United from Chicago, expressing my extreme frustration and displeasure with being treated this way after paying quite a bit of money for my airline ticket.  The customer service representative sympathized, but of course is mostly powerless to truly help me (i.e. give me a refund).  This is not acceptable.  Because of our reliance on air travel, and the lack of any meaningful competition in the industry, airlines can get away with abusing air travelers.  They have for years, and in my view, until the government steps in and demands change on behalf of the public, such treatment will continue.
7/30: One of the defining points of my adolescence was when I was 15 years old, flying on an airplane from Ohio to California, seated next to a businessman in his 50's.  I was minding my own business, reading a magazine, when mid-flight he turned to me and asked, "What do you do?"  I thought that was a silly question.  "I'm in high school" I answered.  He responded, "Yes, but what do you do?"  It then dawned on me that just because I was a high school kid didn't mean that I didn't do important things.  I told him about my interests and hobbies, and what I wanted to do in the future, and he seemed genuinely interested in talking with me.  His interest in what I "did" showed me tremendous respect.
5/16: The recording industry is up in arms.  People are able to exchange digital music (MP3s) on the internet, for free.  Walkman-type listening devices, with prices falling daily, will soon replace portable tape players and CD players as the listening device of choice.  People will no longer buy CD�s in droves, and that scares the recording industry, because it jeopardizes the artificially high profits that the industry receives on the sale of CD�s.  The recording industry has threatened legal action against distributors of MP3s.  Whether they will be completely successful in court remains to be seen.  But rest assured:  MP3s are here to stay, and even with Napster shut down, the recording industry will never again be the same.  The only answer to this problem is for the recording industry to find a new business model.  CD�s will not disappear over night, just as cassette tapes did not disappear when CD�s were introduced.   But unless the recording industry develops a business model which includes an effective way to harness the trade of MP3s and use it to their advantage, they are going to be up a creek without a paddle.  The recording industry is not alone.  In just a few years, you will access the internet by wireless interface, and your telephone will plug into your computer.  Your voice will be carried by same technology that allows you to see this text (internet protocol).  Once that happens, the phone companies, as we know them today, are out of business.  Phone companies, like the recording industry, is in desperate need of a business model which allows them to profit from the internet.  And since right now, very few companies are profiting from the internet, that business model will have to be a new one.  One of America�s oldest brick-n-mortar establishments is also in danger.  Car dealerships are fighting like mad to get states to pass laws which would restrict our ability to purchase cars on the internet from anyone other than a brick-n-mortar car dealership.  The technology and business interest is present for on-line car dealerships to sell customized cars directly to you over the internet, cutting the price by as much as 20% by eliminating dealer profits and costs.  It won't be long before new business models are developed to accommodate these new economies.
4/30:  The United States repeatedly assumes an obligation to interfere with the governance and disputes of less powerful sovereign nations, claiming various self-serving justifications.  The U.S. government lies to its own citizens by using propaganda to rally Americans into supporting these "conflicts".  If the roles were reversed, I suspect we would not be long tolerating Japanese troops on our street corners, Iraq controlling our economy, and China boycotting our products because our Constitution violates human rights due to its foundations in slavery of an entire race of people.  When the South refused to integrate, and the National Guard was sent to force integration, Russia didn't send aircraft carriers to drop bombs on our country to protest our use of force against our citizens... nor would we have tolerated such actions, which we have repeatedly done in other countries.  What if bombs were dropped on America every time a different political party came into control of our government, as we did to Vietnam and Korea? Not every economy is the same as ours.  Before condemning businesses for setting up shop in foreign countries and paying their employees wages which are less than that to which we are accustomed, inquire about the economy and standard of living of the foreign country, to determine if the company's presence presents an opportunity or detriment for the employees.  We should not assume that a foreign government is incapable of establishing the same regulation and control of minimum wage and working conditions that our own government has bestowed upon us. The U.S. likes to tell other countries that they are violating the human rights of their citizens.  Russia was a popular target in the '70's and '80's.  The '90's saw our focus change to China and some of the Middle-Eastern countries.  Aside from the problem I have with one country telling another sovereign nation how they should govern themselves and organize their society, what I find particularly disturbing is the U.S.'s own human rights record.  Let's examine: Native Americans.  When our country was discovered, the explorers infected the native inhabitants with deadly diseases, and then swindled them out of their land and possessions.  Those who didn't peacefully leave their land to make way for the Europeans were forced out under threat of slavery or death, and countless numbers were exterminated.  Those who survived live on lands designated for them by the government.  The government continues to take away these lands, which were never suitable for self-sustainment in the first place.  As a population, Native Americans are among the most impoverished minority in our country.  The institution of slavery.  Quite possibly the worst human rights violation ever, slavery was practiced from the day settlers stepped foot on our soil, and we continue to feel the effects today.  Slavery is enshrined in our Constitution, and was legally practiced for several hundred years on our soil.  We are now in the midst of the after-effects, more than 150 years after slavery was finally prohibited.  The race which was enslaved faces some of the most severe discrimination seen in the world, and there is no end in sight.  Certainly there are other examples of human rights violations in America.  These are but two examples which disturb me the most.  Until we clean up our own act, we should not be telling other countries how to behave.  Another example of our messed up foreign policy was the Vietnam War.  I think Vietnam vets are owed our complete support, and I think the government and society has really treated these people poorly.  It wasn't their choice to go to war.  However, I think the war itself was wrong, and the politicians who got us into that war were not very bright.  Let's admit one thing to ourselves:  We lost the war.  The Vietnamese won.  58,000 Americans died, for absolutely no good reason.  The Oval Office tapes of President Johnson tell us that he knew we would loose the war, but he sent our troops in anyhow.  And to get America to go along with his plan, he lied about an American ship being bombed in the Gulf of Tonkin.  Another lie:  South Vietnam was never a democracy.  It was a totalitarian state led by a puppet leader who we installed after we helped assassinate the former leader.  We were supposedly fighting the spread of communism, a political system which we thought was evil, but no one ever told us why. In the 1940's, during World War II, a Vietnamese leader named Ho Chi Minh sided with America and the Allies to defeat the Japanese and Germans. After the war, he came to Washington in the hopes of convincing the President and Congress to back his people's struggle to be free. He was certain that the Americans, whose own country was founded through a revolution against a foreign king, would back his efforts to create a free and democratic Vietnam. He was not a "Communist" then. His hero was George Washington. The Vietnamese Constitution he proposed was based on the U.S. Constitution, which he thought to be a profound document. The Congress and the President turned him away.  Ho and the Vietnamese were forced to look for help elsewhere. And the rest is history.  Over two million Vietnamese died in the war.  John McCain, who lost the bid for the 2000 Presidential election, killed some of them.  In fact, when his plane was shot down, he was on his way to bomb innocent children in Hanoi. What a hero.
4/25: If you ever wanted an example of a stupid idea with good intentions, 'zero tolerance' is that example. Despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Education reports that crime on school campuses is down by as much as 30% in the past decade, school administrators are instituting zero tolerance as a way of showing panicked parents that the schools were taking action against what they falsely perceived as out-of-control violence.  The result? Kids who take plastic knives to school to spread peanut butter on bread are expelled for bringing a weapon to school. Asthmatics are suspended for taking their prescribed medication. And these students must disclose this punishment on college and employment applications.  Of course, these laws are completely ineffective at preventing violence: Students who carry guns to school, such as the shooters in Littleton, Colorado, could care less about zero tolerance policies.  Students should not be suspended for having aspirin in their backpack. If that is what the war on drugs has come to, then it's not just the zero tolerance laws which are stupid, it's the politicians, parents, teachers and school administrators.
4/22: For months in early 2000, the headlines carried the latest updates about Elian Gonzalez. Millions of dollars were spent trying to figure out what to do with the kid. Well, I'm fed up with it. I don't care about Elian Gonzalez, and I think he should have been shipped back to Cuba the day he was released from the hospital.  If I were Janet Reno, I would have sent the S.W.A.T. team into into that house the day after he got there, get kid, put he and his daddy on the first boat to Cuba, and frankly, anyone who wants to protest that can go with them as far as I'm concerned.  With one exception, the United States policy on immigration is that if a non-citizen comes to this country illegally, they will be deported without due process of the law, and without any regard to what may be in their best interests.  The one exception is Cuba. Because of our country's illogical hatred for Fidel Castro, we encourage Cubans to risk their lives to try to make it across the water to America, just to make Fidel mad. Their reward, if they successfully complete their journey, is the right to stay here.  Elian Gonzalez does not meet this exception because he was rescued at sea, and therefore under US immigration policy should have been returned to Cuba immediately.  Of course, there are countries other than Cuba which have communist dictators, such as Vietnam and China, but illegal immigrants from those countries are sent back without any due process. The difference between our treatment of Cubans and illegal immigrants from other countries reflects our racist and hypocritical immigration policy.  We have based our entire foreign policy in this hemisphere on one thing -- eliminating Castro. We tried to assassinate him. We sent "troops" to invade at the Bay of Pigs. We prevented medicine and food from being shipped to Cuba. We almost blew up the world over Cuba and Castro. And we've stayed that way for forty years. Last year, we fined an American citizen $10,000 because he went down to Cuba to tune pianos! It's illegal in this "free" country to travel there. We've been driven crazy because we can't get rid of Fidel Castro.  American propaganda tries our best to make Cuba look bad, but it is difficult to do so. Cuba simply is not a bad place to live: The schools are excellent, and their literacy rate is 100%, something few other countries can claim. Health care is free, and their infant mortality rate is lower than that of America.  The U.S. immigration policy should be no different for Cubans than for Haitians, Chinese, Mexicans or Europeans.  Anything short of consistency is racist and hypocritical.  One of the reasons our immigration policy towards Cuba is so screwed up is the Cuban community in Miami.  They left Cuba in the 1960's to escape Castro and come to a better place. They have a lot of money (that's how they could afford to get out of Cuba), and they have bought a lot of political influence.  But now they're breaking our laws, waiving their Cuban flags, and criticizing the US government for trying to implement our immigration policy. Folks, if you don't like it here, no one is forcing you to stay. Maybe Canada or Mexico will put up with this nonsense. Or heck, go back to Cuba. But if you're going to stay here, you're going to follow our laws, or work within the system to change the laws.  Americans find it difficult to enforce our immigration policy against a cute little white boy. They want to rescue him from evil Cuba, and call him their own. They treat him like a celebrity while the Attorney General, the President, Congressmen, federal court judges, talking heads and presidential candidates publicly pondered for months if the boy should be returned to his father in Cuba.  But the press doesn't give us the full story. Maybe with the full story we could have made up our minds much sooner as to what the fate would be for this cute little white boy. Let's examine some of those missing facts:  Elian's father was awarded legal custody of the child, who was conceived after the father and Elian's mother divorced. Elian's mother didn't like the custody decision, so she kidnapped Elian, and died doing so. She abused him, and place his life in unconscionable danger of death by putting him and eleven other people on a boat that could only hold six.  The mother's boyfriend was the owner of the boat, and charged people hundreds of dollars to ride on that death trap.  Elian's "family" in Florida has milked the press and the government for months to demand due process. First of all, illegal immigrants do not have due process rights. But we gave them to Elian anyhow, because he's cute, and lest we forget, white. Elian's family said that they would rely on the judiciary to vindicate what they thought was Elian's right to stay in America. But that judge said Elian had to be sent back. While Elian's family grasped for another straw, they refused to follow standard U.S. immigration policy. The straw they finally selected was to argue that sending Elian back wasn't in his best interests, and that a family court should decide Elian's fate.  The "best interest of the child" test is one which is used in custody battles between two persons with legal custody, such as when parents of a child divorce. In Elian's case, of course, only one person has legal custody: His father. Therefore, the "best interests" test is not applicable. Additionally, Elian is nothing more than a routine immigration case - something family courts have no power to hear. But "the best interest of the child" is a phrase that sounds so good when it's said on national television, and something the public can quickly rally behind and demand for our friend, Elian.  Fortunately America is growing weary of Elian, and the PR campaign isn't working.  Even if the "best interests" test was the proper legal standard, it's doubtful that Elian's relatives in Miami would satisfy the test. First, they are hardly what most of us would consider "relatives." He lived with a "great-uncle" and a "second cousin." In our country, no "relative" replaces the parent. A brother, cousin or "great-uncle" who holds a child against the will of the parent is committing a major crime.  Second, their criminal history alone is grounds for denying custody. Elian's uncles each have two DUI's. Two of Elian's cousins, who are frequently at the Miami home where Elian is hold up, have multiple felony arrests, including assault on a tourist, robbery, burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, failure to pay child support, grand theft, and petty larceny. That's in Elian's best interest?  And his "surrogate mother," Mariselysis, has emotional problems that repeatedly cause her to be hospitalized. She also displays a complete lack of concern for Elian's emotional well being by allowing him to be subjected to the media, and watch his own fate unfold on television.  While the debate about Elian's future raged on, hundreds of black and Asian immigrants were returned to their equally if not more oppressive communist countries to face certain persecution. Hypocrisy breeds racism, and racism breeds hypocrisy.  I completely support Janet Reno's much delayed decision to use force to rescue Elian.  Some people said that Janet used too much force - I say she didn't use enough.  If I had a six year old child, and he was being held against my will for five months, I can guarantee you that I would be coming at his kidnappers with a lot more firepower than a puny gun and a woman carrying a blanket.  And I sure wouldn't be negotiating.  You do not make a "deal" with the kidnappers of your child.  When someone illegally holds a child who is not theirs, there is no "deal."  Maybe these Cubans didn't understand the rules we play by here in the States:  In America, when a parent asks for his child to be returned, no matter how nice the kidnappers were to the child, the child must be returned to the parents.  The child's desires about custody are absolutely irrelevant - 6 year old children do not call the shots in America - parents do (if this is confusing to you, consider your 6 year old's desire to put a knife in the electrical outlet, and whether the child's desires should be entertained).
4/4:  I do not understand the arguments in favor of a constitutional amendment prohibiting flag burning.  Our country was founded on the principle that people could express their disillusionment with the country without fear of the persecution which those who founded the country faced in the United Kingdom.  Much blood has been shed to defend that right.  The Supreme Court has held time and time again that symbolic speech, including flag burning, is without a doubt included in free speech.  After all, what better way to symbolize one's disillusionment with one's country than to burn the country's flag?  The ultimate irony of the proposed amendment is that one would be free to burn the American flag in a foreign country, but would lack that freedom here in the one country that is supposedly built on the principles of freedoms and free speech.  The argument often used in support of a flag burning amendment is that our veterans didn't fight in wars so that we could burn the flag (implying that the flag is intrinsically tied to veterans, and they would be deeply offended by the burning of the flag).  No question about it, our veterans have sacrificed much to defend our country.  It also may be true that many veterans would be offended at the sight of someone burning the flag. However, those facts are insufficient justification for amending the Constitution to water down the Bill of Rights.  The reason why the First Amendment is so important is not because it protects speech that is inoffensive. To the contrary, its importance lies in the fact that it protects offensive speech because speech that is inoffensive does not need protecting.  I would think that the proposed Nazi speech in Skokie was much more offensive to the Jewish residents there then any type of flag burning speech would be to veterans. Should there be a constitutional amendment to outlaw Nazi speech?  What about generally anti-American speech? Where do you draw the line? If the line is drawn at the place where speech is offensive to a politically popular group like veterans, then what you end up with is no freedom of speech at all. Our veterans did not fight only for our country. They fought for the ideals behind our country, which include the right to speak politically unpopular thoughts in politically unpopular ways.
3/30: Remember the story of the boy who cried wolf?  He wanted attention, so while he was guarding sheep he cried "wolf!" to get the adults to come running.  Then one time, a real wolf came, and he cried, and no one rushed to help.  There have been two instances of "crying wolf" locally in early 2000 which really ticked me off.  In the first case, a gay Morgan Hill man claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in order to cover up an affair he had with another man, so that his boyfriend wouldn't find out.  Now, when someone really is the victim of a hate crime, people will be hesitant to believe the victim.   Not long after that event, the evening news carried a story about two elderly Mexicans who traveled on a Greyhound bus from Mexico to spend their 34th anniversary in San Francisco. They had dreamed about it for years, and their 5 children scrimped and saved $3,000 for the journey.  As soon as they got here, their suitcase, with all the money, was stolen. And there was the couple on TV, crying about how their children had sacrificed so much, and how they were looking forward to spending their honeymoon in The City.  The police department set up a fund to help the couple.  Marriotts donated the Presidential Suite of their nice Oakland hotel to the couple, and lots of community organizations were pitching in to make sure the couple's anniversary trip was a success, and that they would home happy.  Two days later, the police announced the entire story was a hoax.  Now, the next time this happens, and it's NOT a hoax, people won't give money or support because they will say "last time I did this, it was a hoax, I'm not going to get burnt again."  Idiots.
3/28: Jury Nullification:  I've never sat on a jury, and as an attorney I probably never will.  I don't doubt that the job of a juror is very difficult, and it is easy to second-guess the decisions jurors have made.  Not wanting to be left out, there are a few decisions I would like to second guess:  1. O.J. was found not guilty not because he didn't kill Ron and Nicole (the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that he did), but because the prosecution and what they had to work with was an incompetent match for the Dream Team.  I would have voted "guilty."  2. What is it with white police officers shooting and beating unarmed people, and the juries who find them not guilty?  Amadou Diallo was shot at 41 times by four New York City's finest for doing nothing other than holding his wallet.  What more did the jury need to find the police officers guilty?  A life sentence seems appropriate to me.  The Emasculation of the Judiciary: About once a month, some court hands down a decision and radio talk show hosts get upset at the court for issuing the decision, which they view as the wrong decision.  They blame the judge for the decision, which they say defies common sense.  But more often than not, the judge has no control over the outcome, because our state legislature has passed so many laws which bind the hands of the judge.  Case in point:  Thomas and Denise Rossi had been married in California for 25 years.  They shared everything, even their toothbrush.  That is, until Denise won $1.3 million dollars in the California Lottery, and didn't tell her husband.  Instead, she filed for divorce, and kept all of the money.  When Thomas accidentally found out about the winnings, he sued her, claiming she withheld community property.  In In re Marriage of Rossi (1999), the judge ruled that Denise violated the fiduciary duty which married couples have, and awarded Thomas 100% of the earnings.  The irony is that had Denise disclosed the lottery winnings, she would have been able to keep 50%.  But because she acted with malice, oppression and fraud, she lost it all.  Some people, mainly feminists, were up in arms!  "This judge abused his discretion," they claimed.  Wrong - the judge had no choice.  The legislature, in Cal. Family Code �1101(h) mandated the judge to award all of the lottery earnings to Thomas.  Those who opposed his ruling should complain about the legislature, not the judiciary. And, by the way, feminists, that law was passed to protect wives from fraudulent actions by husbands.  You can't have it both ways.  The Death Penalty:  I support the concept of the death penalty.  There are some crimes are so bad, the criminals who commit them have severed their ties with society, and revoked their right to remain in our society.  However, the present administration of the death penalty is so perverse, it should be abolished:  A black man who kills a white woman is twelve times more likely to end up on death row than a white man who kills a black woman.  We call that justice?  Intolerable.  Money Buys Justice:  If you don't recognize that money buys justice, you should take your blinders off.  The evidence in the murders of Ron Goldman, Nicole Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey overwhelmingly points to O.J. Simpson and Patsy Ramsey as the perpetrators of the respective killings.  Yet those suspects have been able to drive a Mack truck through the legal system, because they have the money to do so.  There can hardly be a doubt that a poor black man from south-central would have been forced by his P.D. to plea guilty to either crime, regardless of the exculpatory evidence.  Is there a solution to this?  No, there isn't.  Our system is far from perfect, but it's the best thing going.
3/20: The bankruptcy code should be repealed.  If you don't have the money to spend, don't spend it.  If you spend money you don't have, you shouldn't be able to rob your creditors simply by virtue of your stupidity.
3/15: HTML, the language in which web pages are authored, is a cross-platform publishing medium. A web page should look and function the same regardless of the browser or platform which you use. Web page authors who include "Best viewed by [browser name]" on their web page do not understand HTML or the concept of cross-platform publishing.  I fundamentally believe in the right of the people to own guns, even though I do not personally own a gun nor support the NRA. The right to bear arms is a right we are guaranteed in the Constitution, and a right we should enjoy under the basic doctrine of freedom and individual liberty. When someone abuses this right and infringes upon the freedoms of others by use of a gun, the perpetrator should be consistently, swiftly and harshly punished, and much more so than is presently done.  However, I am now questioning my belief in the Second Amendment and the ability of our society to handle its freedoms properly.  Just a few weeks before I wrote this, on February 29, 2000, a 6-year old boy brought a semi-automatic gun to his Flint, Michigan elementary school and killed 6-year old Kayla Rolland. The gun belonged to his uncle, with whom he lived.  His father was in jail. He lives in an impoverished area, and goes to a school where the majority of the students' families are well below the poverty line. But that is beside the point, and by way of background only, not in any way as a justification for the shooting.  The statistics I feel are relevant are that in 1999, 16,000 people were killed by people using guns in the US and 15,500 of these were killed by someone they knew (husband, boyfriend, neighbor) or by someone at work. Approximately 500 were killed by a stranger who broke into their home and 300 of those were killed by their own gun. By way of contrast, Great Britain, a nation of 60 million people, in 1999 experienced a grand total of 12 murders by people using guns. Handguns are totally banned in Great Britain, as in Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, and most of New York City. In New York City, the number of murders by firearm there has dropped from 2,200 a year to 600.  I have a difficult time maintaining my faith in the ability of society to function with the right to have firearms under a libertarian system based on freedoms and rights. This difficulty comes as a result of the tremendous amount of violence that is occurring in America by people wielding guns. I don't have the solution any more than the politicians do, but each act of violence like the Kayla Rolland murder and the Columbine massacre pushes me towards further towards the side of stricter regulation.  I have no doubt that the people who wrote the Constitution believed the Second Amendment was vital to the security of the nation. After all, it was second only to freedom of speech and religion. No doubt most of the citizens, almost all of whom were gun owners, did as well. But reliance on the Second Amendment is wearing thin with me, especially in light of what I view as an increasing abuse of that right. Rights are not absolute, and when society abuses a right in the way that the Second Amendment is currently being abused, it is time to reexamine and reevaluate that right.  Times were different 225 years ago: There was no army or police force to protect the people, so guns were the only defense the people had against domestic and foreign intruders. The guns themselves were unrecognizable compared to modern firearm technology. And the people who used and owned them treated them much differently than we do - resulting in none of the gun violence that we are presently experiencing. Additionally, I'm not convinced that handguns provide much benefit to us, while the harm is increasingly obvious.  It's easy to criticize the status quo, and hard to come up with workable solutions. The only way to reverse or amend the Second Amendment is by constitutional amendment, and that would be nearly impossible given this country's divide on the issue. Therefore, we need to find other solutions, including education and regulation.  The Second Amendment does not prohibit states from regulating guns, and they should.  If I were put in the position of power to come up with a solution, I do not know what that solution would be. But I would probably start by requiring public education, licensing and training, akin to what is required to drive a car. A more extreme measure is to ban handguns, as in most other countries, but I am sure that the effects of prohibition would be worse than the existing problem.  Prohibitions don't work in America - they never have, and I doubt they ever will. But we have to do something to stem the bloodshed, and by doing nothing, we look like a bunch of idiots.
3/6: Making people wind through queuing lines, such as when you go to an amusement park and are in line for a ride, makes no sense when no one else is in the line.  Organizers should use ropes which can be moved to re-shape the queue so that people do not have to wind their way through permanent barriers to reach their destination.  The purpose of a tip in a restaurant is to show appreciation for and reward quality service.  In the United Kingdom and in Hong Kong, restaurants automatically add a 10-12% "suggested optional service charge" (tip) to the check.  While this saves me having to calculate the tip, it's nearly impossible not leave an amount other than what they have specified, for example if the service was particularly horrible (as it often is in the U.K.).  I find that this system discourages the staff from being courteous, because they will get the same amount of money regardless of how they treat the customers. Unlike in America, there is no true economic incentive for the staff to treat the customers well (and usually, they don't).  I do not understand companies who allow their cashiers to be unable to change a $20 bill.  I have gone to a restaurant or store and handed the cashier a $20, and they tell me they can't change a $20.  The cashier should be equipped with enough change to handle the day's customers, and if they are not, someone (probably the manager) has failed to perform their job.  Along these same lines, one of my pet peeves is businesses who will not accept a charge card as payment for an amount under a certain limit.  This violates the merchant's contract with their bank, and is very inconvenient for people like me who, for the sake of convenience (and frequent flier miles), charge everything.
Undated commentary:
Customer Service:  Many business establishments operate under the assumption that they are doing me a favor by providing me with goods and services, in exchange for my money.  Their employees and policies avoid the possibility that I may have a choice when it comes to deciding which establishment to patronize.  Because of this,  oftentimes customer service is arrogant and impolite, and the product or service they deliver is substandard and overvalued.  These business owners then wonder why it is that they are unable to attract and retain customers, and why their company is in constant economic despair.  They need to be reminded of a basic rule of capitalism:  They are not doing the consumer a favor by offering their services.  The consumer is doing them a favor by giving them the opportunity to serve the customer.
Renting an Apartment: For a year-and-a-half during law school, I worked at a legal aid office advising tenants of, among other things, their housing rights.  Some of my clients were treated unlawfully and extremely unfairly by their landlord, such as when a landlord discriminated against a tenant because of race, or didn't keep the apartment up to minimum habitability requirements.  We advocated on behalf of those clients, and took some of those landlords to court.  However, some if not most of our tenants were treated lawfully, but their eyes, unfairly.  I frequently heard "It's not fair that the landlord can evict me with just 30 days notice after I've lived here for 5 years." or "It's not fair that she can raise my rent that much in one year." or "It's not fair that my landlord can kick me out - I'm on subsidized housing!" or "I don't pay much in rent, but this place is in bad condition - it's not fair." or "The rules my landlord has are ridiculous!"  I could appreciate my clients despair, but I had a hard time sympathizing with them.  They live in the most expensive housing market in the country, and rent rather than own a home.  They therefore sacrifice the legal securities that come with owning a home.  The fact that they can't afford a home here doesn't make my heart bleed:  There are plenty of places that I can't afford a home, so I don't live there.  I live where I can afford a home.  Moral of the story:  If you don't like living under the rule of a landlord, buy a house.  If you can't afford a house where you live, move somewhere less expensive.
Blind Nationalism: Many Americans think that the United States is the best.  That we have the best technology and the freest press.  Wake up!  Hong Kong, Japan, and most of western Europe have more advanced consumer electronics than we do.  Their cell phones and TV's are at least a year ahead of ours.  And we will never have the incredible public transportation system that they do (let's talk about BART, which runs from Daly City to Fremont, completely skipping three major international airports).  As for a free press, our news media treats our government with kid gloves - heaven forbid they would be critical of the government and do an expose on some of the waste and cover-ups that take place.  The foreign press, specifically in Hong Kong and the U.K., is much more adept at uncovering corruption in both their government and ours ... but we will never hear about it, because our media doesn't want to upset our government officials. If you think America is #1, take a trip overseas to the U.K. or Hong Kong, and you'll find that we have an undeservingly big ego.
The Fallacy of the Gateway Theory:  A Lesson in Logic. Just because a lot of X did Y doesn't mean that Y results in X.  This type of logical error, called post hoc ergo propter hoc (after which, therefore because of which), is often employed in the failed War on Drugs.  Part of the propaganda employed in this "War" is that using marijuana leads to using cocaine and other harder drugs (the often heralded "gateway drug" theory).  This has been used to fight the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, and to counter the scientifically proven arguments that marijuana is a relatively benign drug. The logical fallacy is that just because a lot of cocaine users once used marijuana, therefore using marijuana results in using cocaine.  I'll use an example to illustrate:  A lot of people who have been in car accidents have eaten french fries in the week preceding their car accident.   Using the same logic as the "gateway drug" propaganda, it therefore follows that eating french fries leads to car accidents.  Of course, this is utter nonsense!  A second example:  A lot of people who use cocaine regularly drank alcohol before using cocaine.  Using the "gateway drug" fallacy, it should therefore follow that regularly drinking alcohol leads to cocaine use.   Of course, this is wrong.  There is no statistically significant correlation between eating french fries and car accidents, drinking alcohol and using cocaine, nor marijuana use and cocaine use.  Until such a correlation is found to exist, the "gateway drug" theory is pure propaganda, and completely illogical.
Bullying:  The initiation of the use of force, whether by a person or a government, against another person or another government, is impermissible.  Individuals have a responsibility and a right to defend against the infringements of their rights, and when asked, to assist others in similar defenses.  The primary purpose of the government should be to ensure that the rights of its citizens are not infringed upon by neither internal nor external threats.  The government should also, when able and willing, assist other sovereigns in similar defenses upon request.  Bullying should not be tolerated, in any form.  On the school playground and in the workplace, bullying is a form of subrogation which assaults the self-esteem and spiritual psyche of the victim.  Schoolyard bullies should be expelled, and adult bullies should be stood up to and silenced.  Her name was Heather Davis. I owe much of my hatred and resentment of small-town Ohio and the people who live there to her. Heather was a classmate of mine in the fifth and sixth grade. For a number of reasons, she was an incredibly insecure person.  She dealt with her emotional problems the same way that her parents dealt with theirs: By being a bully. Every day I went to school knowing that she would be there to yell names at me and physically harass me. I often went home in tears. After almost two years, I told my mom I had enough - I refused to go back to school, and if I was forced to, I would kill myself before facing the wrath of Heather Davis again. The next day, my mom intervened with the school and most of the bullying stopped.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have sued the school district and Heather Davis for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault, and battery. I trusted the school to protect me from physical and mental abuse, but they failed to do so, despite knowing that the abuse was present. Bullying is not normal childhood interaction. It is no more normal in children at school than it is for adults in the workplace. It commonly exists in both situations, and schools as well as employers should not tolerate such behavior. Bullying is an abnormal way for people to deal with their emotional problems. It is not acceptable, and must not be tolerated.
Decriminalization of Drugs:  Assuming, for the sake of argument, that illegal drugs are a problem in our country, the present course of action in combating that problem (the "War on Drugs") is a failure, and as history has shown, will continue to be a failure.  Can we not learn from our mistakes and move on?  Apparently not.  Legalization or decriminalization of drugs would not stop the use of drugs.  But why is that our goal?  Illegal drugs are relatively harmless compared to alcohol and tobacco, and hey, if someone wants to fill themselves up with a mind-numbing product, that's not my concern.  Decriminalization would remove the criminal element from the cash flow equation, and allow the government to realize revenue from the taxation of the sale of drugs.  Rather than following the path of curtailing the supply, which by all accounts has failed, spend resources on health programs for drug users and education programs designed to diminish the demand for drugs.  The AMA says that drug addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.  Maybe we should listen to our country's finest doctors and treat this problem, rather than listening to the military (not known for their medical expertise), who wants to "declare war" on every problem our country has.  Prohibition should have taught us something.  Our drug policy is a mess, and seriously in need of a basic reorientation.
Victimless Crimes:  Victimless crimes do have a victim: the person convicted.  Crimes which have no victim, including personal drug use, possession and prostitution, should be decriminalized and persons convicted of those crimes set free.  It is intolerable that we have to bankroll "wars" to fight activities which have been ongoing and unstoppable since the beginning of humanity.  Those efforts, time, money and jail space should be focused on crimes with victims.
Freedoms & Personal Responsibility: You should be able to do whatever you want without interference by society or individuals, so long as you don't infringe upon others' right to do the same, and you are willing to take complete and total personal responsibility for your actions.  I should not be required to financially support someone who has made conscious choices to lead a lifestyle that they are unable to support themselves.  I may choose to help someone in need of charity, but I should not be forced to do so.  Similarly, others should not be required to financially support me as a result of my lifestyle choices, and I am working hard to make sure that my family and I will always be self-sufficient.
Stereotyping Minorities:  A Lesson in Logic.  Just because a lot of [ stereotype ] are [ minority ] does not mean that a lot of [ minorities ] are [ stereotype ].  Examples:  Just because a lot of criminals are black does not mean that a lot of blacks are criminals. Just because a lot of engineers are Asian does not mean that a lot of Asians are engineers. Just because a lot of bigots are white does not mean that a lot of whites are bigots.  For this reason, racial profiling should be prohibited as a means of law enforcement.
Middle Stoppers:  You are not the only person in the world.   This applies when you are driving, walking down the sidewalk or walkway, exchanging ideas, and meeting new people.  People who drive slowly in the left lane, fail to get the hell out of the way of an emergency vehicle, or walk in the middle of a pathway, get what they deserve if they get run over.  Don't stop in the middle of the grocery store aisle.  Don't stop in the middle of a busy sidewalk.  Don't stop in the middle of a busy walkway.  There's other people behind you who don't want to stop and watch whatever it is you are doing, so move to the side!  If you don't know how to drive, or you learned how through a correspondence course (these don't really exist, but some people drive as though they do), please, find someone who knows how to drive and get them to teach you.
Problems People Have:  We all have problems and struggles in our lives.  Mine are different from yours, but that doesn't mean they are any less valid.  Former criminals, drug users and alcoholics should not be congratulated nor rewarded for their reformations, unless people who have never been criminals, drug users or alcoholics are similarly congratulated and rewarded for their abstinence. When I was in the sixth grade, the school I attended would reward "problem" students with a candy bar when they had gone one week without receiving any reprimands.  I asked my teacher why I didn't get a candy bar, when I had gone the entire year without any reprimands.  The response was that the purpose of the candy bar was to reward problem students for not engaging in problem behavior.  But what I learned was that it paid to be bad, because then and only then you would get a reward for being good.  I can't blame my teacher though - she was a victim of narrow-minded thinking.
The First Amendment:  Violence is not caused by the free access to information.  Watching violent movies or knowing how to make a pipe bomb does not cause violence.  Censorship will not decrease violence - quite the contrary, history shows us that prohibition and censorship has only increased crime.  Parents and teachers must do their jobs in order to reduce violence. When I was a kid, I used to watch the Dukes of Hazard TV show.  That show featured more car crashes than any other show I've ever seen!  Now that I'm an adult, I drive a car.  Did watching that show make me want to crash my car?  Never!  Not even as a child watching the TV show did I expect cars to crash like that in real life.  We should not presume a causation element where there is none. Schools which ban the wearing of certain colors or symbols, such as the Star of David (misunderstood by some as a gang symbol) or clothing with the word "hemp" on it have completely missed the boat on curbing gang violence.  Restricting the rights of non-gang members empowers gangs.  The only way to solve the "gang problem" (and I'm not talking about peaceful assembly or drugs here - I'm talking about physical violence perpetrated by groups of people) is to strictly, consistently, and when justified, harshly punish the people who perpetrate the crimes.
Organized Religion:  This section is bound to offend many people, including some of my friends.  But some of my friends have religious beliefs that offend me.  The feeling is mutual, but I hope that we transcend that and focus on what we have in common.  By doing so, I have been fortunate enough to know many very wonderful people, even though they have religious beliefs which I disagree with.  I haven't let that stop me from having valuable friendships with them, and likewise I hope that my beliefs have not stopped them from pursuing friendships with me.  Some of my best friends fall into this category, and I'm thankful for knowing them, even though we do not see eye-to-eye on all issues.  Now on with the offensive part.
In addition to being ignorant and hypocritical, I think organized western religion is a fraud.  Churches use the fear of death to defraud otherwise ignorant commoners of a disproportionate amount of their income.  Of course, it is a brilliant business scheme, but still a fraud.
The Mormon Church was once a big proponent of bigamy.  It was only after the government prohibited bigamists from practicing their "sinful" acts that the Mormons told their members to stop practicing bigamy.  And it was not until the late 1970's that the Mormon Church allowed African-American Mormons to enter the church's temples.  Nowadays, the church is spending tens of millions of dollars to prevent gays from getting equal civil rights as straight people enjoy, claiming that being gay is immoral and unnatural.  And they don't think that bigamy is also?  Why is it that one man marrying five women is just fine and dandy, but two men or women in a committed relationship causes the church so much grief?
I find it ironic that the Mormon Church was spending millions of dollars to prevent gays from getting married, while at the same time they said not a word of protest when FOX aired the TV show "Who Wants To Marry a Millionaire?" - where a live marriage ceremony was performed on nationwide TV, only to be nullified by the "husband and wife" when they realized they entered into the marriage just for publicity.  Whose marriage is the Mormon Church protecting?  These televised sham marriages?
Your interpretation of a religious dogma or ideology, such as the Bible, is purely subjective, and completely meaningless to me.  Please do not presume to tell me that your interpretation is more valid than mine, or that my life should, in any way, be restricted or guided by your interpretation.
If someone has made a conscious choice to believe in God or Jesus, that's fine. But I resent anyone who tries to convince me that I should share in their belief. I also resent those who brainwash their children (or other's children) with a specific religious affiliation. Let the person decide for himself when he is old enough and knowledgeable enough to make that choice.
I'm not a biblical scholar, but I know enough about Christianity to know that Jesus was a rather compassionate fellow.  He didn't shun the sick or the prostitutes; he took them under his wing.  It is hypocritical that so many of his so-called followers fail to follow his example.  The Mormons, Jimmy Falwell, and Fred Phelps, just to name a few, tell us that "God Hates Gays" and that gays are evil.  They used similar propaganda against racial minorities in the 1950's and 1960's.  That hardly seems compassionate and Jesus-like.  Of course, the church's racist interpretations of the Bible were reversed when racism was no longer in vogue, seeming to reinforce my view that religious dogma is not handed down by the Almighty, but rather selectively adopted by the church to further whatever their present agenda is, be it racism, bigotry, or invading other people's privacy.  It therefore seems that the church has little to do with furthering the stoic goals and principles of Jesus, but more to do with advancing a flimsy agenda created to suit the whims of the Christian leaders.
Conservative, fundamental groups tout family values, yet they repeatedly fail to practice what they preach.  Newt Gingrich having an affair is one example.  Another example is Mike Trout, a top official and announcer for Focus on the Family.  He resigned from the conservative Christian group in October of 2000 because he had an extramarital affair.  These people spend so much time, effort, money and hatred attacking those who do not fit within their definition of "normal" or "moral", and yet frequently, they themselves aren't living up to the standards that they are setting for others.
"Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."  John 8:7.
Elected Officials:  Elected officials who are exposed as hypocrites should be banished from public office by the voters.
Newt Gingrich screamed for family values and the Defense of Marriage Act, all the while carrying on an affair behind his wife's back with a girl half his age.  He told his wife he was divorcing her while she was in the hospital receiving treatment for cancer.  What kind of family values are those?  And where were the republicans and their family values when Juan Miguel Gonzalez wanted his little boy, Elian, back?  They wanted to hold investigatory hearings ... until they found out the American people supported the reunification of Elian with his dad.  Such wonderful family values.
Senator Bob Barr, who wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, has been married three times.  Which one of his marriages is he defending?  Bill Clinton signed the act in the very room in which he received oral sex from his mistress.  What's so great about these marriages that deserve defense?
When the nominee for Secretary of Labor is found to have violated labor laws, and is criticized for that, it is not "politics of personal destruction."  It's called "exposing a hypocrite."
Homosexuality: The U.S. military doesn't want gays to serve in the armed forces.  All other western countries allow gays to serve in the military, but the U.S. has yet to be enlightened in this regard.  Canada and Israel report having none of the problems with having gays serve in the military that the U.S. fears:  There has been no demoralization, and no privacy problems.  It seems that once again, the United States is behind the times in the area of bigotry and discrimination. 
If the military wishes to discriminate against gays by not allowing them to enlist in the armed forces, then I do not see any reason why gays should be subject to the draft.  Gays should also be exempt from registering with the Selective Service System, until they are allowed to voluntarily enter into the military.  After all, if "unit cohesion" is the reason why gays must be excluded from the military during peacetime, how would that change during time of war?  If anything, I would think unit cohesion would be more important during time of war.  So let's be consistent:  No gays in the military means no need for registration with the Selective Service.
Much of the following was taken from an essay by Nathan Sanders.
Homophobia is generally found in two arguments:  The Choice and The Bible.  The Choice is that a gay person has chosen to be gay, and therefore should make the choice not to be gay in order to avoid moral destruction.  Apparently, believers in The Choice think that gay people wake up one day, decide that their life is boring, and choose to make a drastic change to a lifestyle which is the target of hatred.  To believers in The Choice, I ask:  When did you chose to hate broccoli?  When did you chose to be attracted to red-heads, or tanned skin, or blue eyes?  And why on earth would anyone chose to persecuted and hated, to be a target for beatings and murder, and to be ostracized from society?  Whatever causes sexuality --- genes, environmental influence, the food the mother eats during pregnancy --- does not matter.  Gay people are who they are, and they cannot change it, and most would not change it.
As for The Bible, Jesus himself never once said anything about homosexuality, and you'd think that if homosexuality was as big of a sin as Christians make it out to be, the very Savior of Christianity would have said at least one passage. But nope, not a single word.  It must not have been that important to him.  You have to be just a bit worried when the central figure of your religion doesn't mention something about what you believe to be a major sin.  In fact, none of the four Gospels mention homosexuality --- the messages therein are concerned with acceptance, love, and not judging others.
From the Old Testament, you have the Holiness Code from Leviticus, which bans many acts such as wearing clothes made from two clothes, planting fields with two seeds, eating pork, etc. as well as same-sex intercourse. Of course, many Christians ignore these restrictions, and there does not seem to be any reason other than fear or hatred to single out particular sins from the Holiness Code. 
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is typically used as an example of how God punishes homosexuals. But read your Bible carefully, in particular Luke 10:10-13 and Ezekiel 16:49-50. Their sin was not homosexuality--- it was inhospitality and failure to take care of the poor (sins many Christians commit indiscriminately today). 
And what of the remaining passages in the Bible that "condemn" homosexuality (Romans 1:26-2:1, I Corinthians 6:9-11, and Timothy 1:10)? For starters, they were all written by one man, Saint Paul. Seems kind of hard to believe that centuries of hatred and loathing are based on the writings of one man, in a religion based on love, forgiveness, non-judgementality, and acceptance of mortal flaws (remember when Jesus said in defense of an adulteress: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"?).
And Paul wasn't the best person to take advice from: he believed that government authority was not to be questioned; he believed that women should wear veils; and he was anti-Semitic. What makes Paul's views on homosexuality more valid than his views on government, women, or the Jewish people?




Travis A. Wise > Weblog Archives 2001


12/30: There is a big debate in Utah about whether the Olympic organizers should put gun lockers outside the venues.  The local people want gun lockers so they can take their guns to the Olympics.  The Olympic organizers decided not to install gun lockers, saying the people could leave their guns in their cars when they attend the events.  Why are we even having this discussion?  Who in the hell brings their guns to the Olympics, unless they are part of the skeet shoot competition?  Jesus.  Leave 'em at home.  Flying out to SLC from SJC was ridiculous.  Got to the airport on the 26th 2 hours early, and still had to be rushed through security to make the plane on time.  Took 1.5 hours just to get to the ticket counter, and the security line was at least 1.5 hours long, so the ticket agent took let us bypass the line.  Flying back wasn't nearly as bad, although I did have my shoes x-rayed in SLC.  All of the airports have now added a "random" security search at the boarding gate.  They seem to somewhat haphazardly pull people out of the boarding line for a wand check and pat-down and going through the carry-on luggage.  I'm not sure what kind of profile they're using, or how effective it is to have untrained gate agents acting as security experts.  Who knows what they would do if they actually discovered a bomb in someone's bag.  The Chronicle reports that India is camouflaging the Taj Mahal so that Pakistan won't be able to bomb it.  Brilliant.  It's so clear in hindsight that we should have camouflaged the WTC towers.
12/24: Today's home improvement project was replacing the kitchen faucet with one of those nifty models that has a pull-out handle.  It took about 45 minutes, and it works really well.
12/23: Time Magazine has named Rudy Giuliani as Person of the Year for 2001.  I don't know a whole lot about his political views, or what New Yorker's thought of him before 9/11, but this guy has my vote for anything.  If he wants to run for president, I'd vote for him, no questions asked.  He's a good guy.  And Time Magazine did the right thing by making him Person of the Year (as opposed to bin laden).
12/22: Let's be clear about why fighter jets escort planes like American Airlines Flight 63 this week.  It's to shoot down the plane if it goes off course.
12/21: Last night I went shopping at Valley Fair (second night in a row - new record for me).  Parking and traffic isn't bad at all ... compared to last year, you can really tell the change in the economy.  I was looking at the different tester bottles of products at Bath & Body Works, and noticed they had a tester of deodorant ... ewww.  And a half-used tester of shampoo.  Think about that.  Restoration Hardware has a clever little yellow book called something like "Surviver Guide" or "Guide to Surviving Almost Anything."  I feel like I should buy it and read it, so that I'll know how to survive things.  But then again, if I ever need to know how to land a 747, or what to do if my parachute doesn't open, or how to escape from the clenches of an alligator, I've probably got bigger problems than the book can help me with.  For those who are concerned about my recently broken tooth (mom) - I'm going to the dentist this morning to have it fixed.
12/20: Here is a very interesting reflection on who died in the WTC collapse, and why:  http://www.usatoday.com/news/acovwed.htm  If you are a military reservist who has been called to active duty, you may qualify to have your interest rates on loans (i.e. mortgages, car loans, etc.) reduced to 6%.
12/17: I think our main switchboard receptionist came in drunk today.  She keeps calling our firm "PricewaterhouseCooper" (there should be an "s" on the end), and whenever she pages people over the intercom, it's almost completely incoherent.  It's really very entertaining.
12/15: We now have a wireless broadband network in our house.  It allows me to access the desktop computer, print to the laser printer, and use the broadband connection, all from my laptop computer, from anywhere in or around the house.  Here's what the system consists of:  Our broadband connection comes in from an antenna on the roof, into the modem.  The modem has an ethernet output, which connects into a Linksys BEFSR41W Cable/DSL Wireless Ready Router 4-port Switch.  That router has an optional Linksys WPC11 PCMCIA Wireless Network Acapter plugged into it.  That transmits the connection to my laptop, which has a similar WPC11 card in it.  The desktop is plugged directly into the router via ethernet cable.  The router is configured via a web interface to work with our ISP, and the two computers plug-n-play configure themselves to communicate with the router.  It's a very nifty system, and I recommend it for anyone with a laptop.  The coverage is a bit less than what I had expected.  The software on my laptop shows me the signal strength and link quality on a dynamic bar graph, and the signal is usually in the poor (15%) to fair (60%) range.  That results in a speed that seems faster than a 56k modem, but not quite the same as being directly connected to the broadband modem.  The updates to the California Bar Exam Primer are coming along smoothly.  It's been almost a year since my last major overhaul, so it's in bad need of an updating.  The new version will be posted around the end of the year.  It's hard to believe it's had 45,000 hits since July of 2000.
12/11: Broadband is back!  Yippie!  It's so fast!
12/9: Good news - my broadband connection should be back up on Tuesday.  My old DSL provider, Rhythms, went bankrupt a few months ago, and Pac Bell doesn't provide DSL service to my block.  Sprint Broadband wanted to put a 10 foot pole on top of my roof, which wasn't an option, and then of course they stopped signing up new customers all together.  But Reality Networks came along, and they are providing high speed access to Campbell, from an antenna on the Pruneyard Tower.  So on Tuesday they will come and install a funky cone-shaped antenna on the chimney, pointed at the Pruneyard, and supposedly that will give me high speed access.  I have given up on trying to make coconut rice.  Banana Leaf gets the patent on that.  I tried to make it three different ways yesterday, and finally gave up.
12/2: Last night I watched Waiting for Guffman ... hilarious movie.  Same cast as Dog Show.   (Rich, you might want to consider this for your Netflix queue).  Wow, I'm "Cool Link 1" on David Chen's Yahoo! Profile.  Thanks, David!  (whoever you are...) Ever wonder why the Cow Palace is called the Cow Palace?  The building was proposed back in the early 1900's as a place to show animals, like a fairgrounds.  Then the depression hit, and critics wondered aloud why the city was spending so much money on a palace for cows, when there were people who were starving and living on the streets.  The name stuck ... Cow Palace. If you use AT&T Wireless Services a lot (you know who you are), you can set up your own address book with people's numbers in it.  That makes it a lot easier to send text messages, without having to type in the person's phone number each time.  Here's the link:  Messaging Services.  Once you get your address book set up, just go back to that link and *walah* ... there it is.
11/29: I don't recommend using FTD.com to order flowers. I ordered a wreath, to be delivered to someone on the 27th.  Today they received a centerpiece, with a dented candle.  Sheesh.  We'll see what customer service says about that.  I wonder if reality television has reached its apex?  I watched Survivor III and Temptation Island 2 tonight.  Neither really captured my fancy.  The characters don't seem to have very deep personalities, and the tricks are repeats from prior seasons.  It will be interesting to see if next season there are more or fewer reality shows.  I'm going to see Charley's Aunt (the play, not the person) on Friday in Palo Alto, and going to the bird show at the Cow Palace (what an oddly named building) on Sunday.  Oh, and getting the Christmas tree on Sunday also!
11/28: Last night I listened to someone give a speech about the "The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993."  The problem was that every time she said the name of the Act, she called it "The Ominous Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993."
11/25: Last week's West Wing (just watched because of vacation) was great ... I love it when the President called the Butterball hotline for cooking tips.  I wonder if the real president ever makes phone calls like that?  Last week's Amazing Race was also very good.  As much as I initially wanted Team Guido to win, but the past two weeks have started to make me think otherwise.  Two weeks ago they were so arrogant about being in the lead that they dilly-dallied and got to the check-in point last.  That meant they were last to leave on last week's episode, and last to arrive at last week's check-in.  Normally that would mean boot, but it was a no-boot week (ugh).  I'm secretly hoping they get booted next week.
11/20: Obscure fact for the day:  Tax Code Sec. 1240 (now repealed) was put into place solely to benefit Mr. Louis Mayer, of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 
11/18: Went to see the new Harry Potter movie.  Having read all four books, the movie was a letdown in my opinion.  After the quiddich game, the movie just seemed to drag on.
11/16: My new phone works really well, and the calling plan is so much better than Cingular.  I'm seeing Harry Potter on Sunday.  Today is the day bar results come out ... my friends who took the July 2001 exam are very nervous.  It brings back a lot of memories about how scared I was a year ago today.  Thank goodness that's over.
11/13: OK - I finally bit the bullet and got a new cell phone plan.  I didn't like to change, especially since it involved a one-year commitment, but I really did get a good deal though PwC's corporate plan with AT&T.
11/11: The line for the metal detector at SJC was 45 minutes long on Friday, and 20 minutes on Saturday.  They have national guard troops patrolling SJC and LAX with big guns.  Clearly their only purpose is to reassure travelers that we are somehow protected.  The Southwest Airlines cockpit doors now resemble a bank vault ... very impressive.  And no more lining up at the lavatory.  Flower Drum Song was .... interesting.  Lion King was amazing ... Disney really pumped money into that thing.
11/9: Pho Saigon is so much better than Dac Phuc.  They really shouldn't be both placed in the same category of "restaurants."  I've been limiting my list of lunch restaurants to too narrow of a geography.  I need to venture out beyond downtown San Jose more often.
11/7: If Dac Phuc would just improve their customer service a tad bit, they could make a boatload more money than they currently are.  The restaurant is always busy, packed even, but they won't hire more employees to bus the tables and seat the customers.  Table turnover is slow.  And I wasn't impressed at all with that lemongrass chicken daily special ... ugh!  I worked for a legal aid type organization (Community Legal Services, now Bay Area Legal Aid) for a few years during law school. For about a year, I worked on the housing unit, and handled all sorts of landlord/tenant problems, evictions, Section 8, discrimination, etc. I have to tell you that the worst problems were the folks in the mobile homes. I could fix almost any problem with someone who was renting an apartment - negotiate with landlord; sue landlord; get code enforcement involved, etc. But when someone called with a mobile home problem, nine times out of ten the answer was, "I'm sorry, but you are just out of luck." Evictions were the most common problem ... as you can imagine, they are disastrous ... what the heck do you do with a double-wide, owned by an elderly woman who just got evicted for nuisance because she has 10 cats? After a while, I noticed a pattern in the demographics of mobile home owners. These people existed in what I thought of as a no-man's land. They weren't poor ... they owned a unit, paid a mortgage, and paid the land charges. But they weren't middle class. Nor would most of them ever be. They viewed mobile home ownership as a stepping stone to home ownership, but I doubt many ever make that jump. They were overwhelmingly white. A poor Asian, Hispanic or Black family would never go from living in a slummy apartment to owning a mobile home. In most cases, they would pool money with other families and buy a house to share. But white folks would buy a mobile home. Why? Because they could claim it as their own, and not have to share it with the family. It makes sense culturally. 
11/6: Subash Bahadur Gurung was arrested on felony charges for trying to board a UAL flight with nine knives, a can of pepper spray, and a stun gun.  He claimed he accidentally packed those weapons in his carry-on instead of his checked luggage.  How do you accidentally pack nine knives in anything?  Why would anyone carry nine knives on an airplane, given what's happened in the past few months?  I can imagine accidentally putting your contact lens solution in your suitcase instead of your carry-on luggage, but nine knives, a can of pepper spray, and a stun gun?  I don't think so.  And he is in the country illegally.  Goodbye, Mr. Gurung.
11/4: I had a fun day at Cost Plus and Target.  And at Home Depot, of course.  I got a new idea for landscaping the back patio area with plants (hard to do with a brick patio).  Thanks, Rich, for telling me how many cubic yards of dirt I'll need for my little project!  This coming weekend I'm seeing Flower Drum Song, and quite possibly The Lion King, if that ticket frees up.  That's two theatre shows in one weekend, which for me is a record.  For Kenny it's considered a slow weekend.  Yesterday I saw "Car Man" up at Cal.  Good dancing, but there was no dialogue (i.e. a silent show), so it was kind of hard to follow for the first fifteen minutes until the action really started.  Parking is expensive up there!  $16 for 3 hours!  We ate at Banana Leaf in the Ranch 99 complex ... what great food!  It was so flavorful.  So far the West Wing is kicking butt on the much delayed and much rescheduled Emmy's.  Ellen is trying her darndest to be funny.  There is no better drama out there right now than West Wing.  I used to be a big ER fan, but lost touch with the show when I was studying for the bar.  I think I'll try and watch it again this Thursday after my class, to see if I still like it.
11/1: Is there any team that better deserves to win the World Series than the New York Yankees?  No, not this year.
10/30: The Justice Department warned today that terrorist activity is likely in the next few days.  As a result, Dick Cheney has been moved to a "secure location," (i.e. under a mountain) and his security is being evaluated on an hour-by-hour basis.  On the other hand, President Bush will be sitting in a seat at Yankee Stadium tonight for the third game in this year's World Series, before tens-of-thousands of people, in what is obviously a huge target.  I think it's clear where our priorities lie.  The news keeps reporting that traces of anthrax are being found in mail facilities and government offices.  What they aren't reporting is if that is normal to find traces of anthrax in buildings, or if that is abnormal.  So far it doesn't sound like the quantities they have found are lethal, and since anthrax grows naturally in dirt, it seems like some of these findings could just be normal anthrax.
10/28: Tonight was the fifth annual Wise-Hom pumpkin carving.  For the first time in five years, I didn't use a template and instead drew the design myself.  It turned out considerably worse than when I use a template.  Kenny used a template, and his looks like a professionally carved pumpkin.  It should - he spent a few hours on it. My coworkers will be very happy to learn that I bought a bag of 480 tootsie rolls to fill the pumpkin on my desk.  They have been complaining about the lack of chocolates in my selection.  Tonight I finished reading Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress.  Great story.  It's on the best-seller's list.
10/27: "Timothy Near" isn't really a good name for a woman.  "B. Modern" isn't really a good name for anyone. On the other hand, "Ctrl-Alt-Delete" was a good show at the San Jose Rep, about the creation and collapse of the dot.com stock market in 1998 and 1999.
10/26: CNN headline:  "U.S. decides to issue anthrax vaccine."  Oh, wait, there's a vaccine?  Yesterday the audit department decreased itself by 10% (about 100 employees).
10/25: The Pro Bono Project, an organization of attorneys serving the public, has misspelled the word "attorneys" on their webpage... "attornies".  "If your plane was hijacked, who would you rather sit next to?  Righteous reverends who will sit back and say 'This is God's punishment for gay Teletubbies' or the gay rugby player who lays down his life to save others?" -- NPR Commentator Scott Simon, comparing the Rev. Jerry Falwell with openly gay Flight 03 hero Mark Bingham.  I had dinner last night with my best friend from college, Diane (note to mom: she's getting married).  As we're walking through Willow Glen back to her apartment, she points out a huge house where "some guy named Garcia from the 49ers lives."  Yea ... that'd be #5, Jeff.
10/24: If you could choose any career other than your present one, and money was not a factor, what would you choose?  My coworkers and friends have been asking that a lot lately ... I think it's a reflection of increasing discontent with work (in general, not just at my company).  I would be a teacher.  Probably high school history.  Sometime around September 15, all of the networks stopped airing the video of the planes crashing and the WTC collapsing.  That video hasn't been on the networks since.  Compare that to the Challenger explosion, which repeated for months, and still appears occasionally on TV.  I'm glad the networks pulled that video - kids (and adults) don't need to keep seeing those images.  But I wonder how much of a role airline advertising dollars had in getting the networks to stop the footage?   
10/23: We seem to be bombing a lot of hospitals and nursing homes lately.  Is our intelligence that bad, or is Afghanistan putting civilians in military buildings?  The pentagon briefing for last Friday's ground attack disclosed that we considered taking prisoners at the military base that we overtook, but we decided to shoot them all instead during the attack.    This Thursday I'm teaching my high school mock trial class how to prepare opening and closing statements.  I can't get over the irony that I'm teaching this stuff, but I've never really done it myself.
10/22: I overhear so much good stuff in the hallways.  Like today, I learned that a hoodrat is like a mallrat, but they hang out in the hood.  That's good info.  One of my coworkers asked me today what my favorite [Internal Revenue] code section is.  Ummm... yea.
10/21: Some people have e-mailed me asking what that broom looking thing is in the background of my webcam.  It's a broom. Last Halloween I dressed up like Harry Potter, and never took the broom home.  So many people commented on it that I just hung it up on my wall.  On the stick it says "Nimbus 2000".   The thing that seems to be dangling from the left hand side of the broom is a yo-yo.
10/20: It's Oktoberfest in Downtown Campbell.  Traffic is bad.  Street parking is bad.  I finished weatherproofing a door leading to my garage, and put those foam insulators on most of my electrical outlets and light switches.  Last night I saw Iron Monkey.  Paid $44 for a haircut today.  That's about four times my normal price.  The reviews will be posted Monday. 
10/19: Survivor Africa is plodding along.  The challenges are less interesting the third time around.  The only pressing problems are the water supply, and coalition building.  The contestants appear to be living in a desert, and yet for the cow-drinking contest it was set next to a rushing river ... where did all that water come from?  New bookmarks:  Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN - 29 USC 2101), Angry Little Asian Girl, angry media watch, Big Bad Chinese Mama, monolid magazine.
10/18: People haven't been taking my halloween candy that I put on my desk nearly as much since I put the "Free Anthrax Candy" sign on the candy bowl.  My manager did request that I stock chocolates though ... I'll bring those in when the current supply of peanut butter taffy is gone.  Amazing Race is getting weird.  Team Guido is pulling punches that are good strategy wise, but I think they are almost crossing the line ethically.  I wouldn't have the guts to do what they did last night - cutting in line and trying to stop the other players from getting to their plane, and pushing Emily's mom.  I think they will win because they have the skills and they are being aggressive, but like Big Brother's Will, I don't think they really deserve to win.  Some of the departments at PwC SJ are really underutilized ... the folks are just sitting doing nothing.  I don't think that can last very long before something has to give (or go).  My group has pretty good productivity though, relative to the others at least.
10/17: You'll never learn earth shattering news of general importance by e-mail.  When you receive an e-mail that has a story in it, and you wonder why you didn't read about it already in the newspaper or see it on TV, it's because the story isn't true.  Don't forward it on to other people.  Especially if the message has racist overtones (i.e. war against Afghanistan).  Or check one of the many urban legend databases.  This week's TV Guide has an interesting article on the effect of the media on presidential decisions.  What if JFK had the media pressures during the Bay of Pigs that Bush had on September 11?  JFK would have had to made a decision and a statement within an hour if not minutes after the Bay of Pigs escalated ... not the hours that he took to make the decisions.  The result could have been vastly different - rushed decision making could have led to a nuclear war.  But he was able to take the time to make a rational decision.  Which reminds me - thank goodness Cheney is hidden in a mountain somewhere.  They're keeping Bush out in public, kind of a visible target, but the real brains behind the operation is safely tucked under tons of concrete.  Good idea.
10/16: Darn - they put The Mole II on hiatus.
10/11: Wow - it's been a month since the WTC was attacked and collapsed.  My company organized a blood drive as a result of the attack, and it was today.  I tried to donate, but they had too much A+ blood, so they sent me away.  The Red Cross is in desperate need of O type blood.  If everything goes as planned, I get my new Windows 2000 enabled laptop on Monday, and the webcam will be on much more during the day than it currently is.  Survivor III premiered tonight!  Ooooh.
10/7: Only a six year old can (or should) get away with wearing a leather coat with flip-flops.
10/6: My neighbor told me where I could find a store with full size (3x5) flags in stock ... the army surplus store on Bascom.  So I went over and bought two.  I don't have anything to hang the flag on, but when our next national emergency or holiday comes, I'm partially prepared.  I could hang it in the window.
10/5: You might have had trouble viewing this website or sending me e-mails this week.  I moved the domain name to a new server, hijinks design, and whenever you move servers, it takes a few days for the internet to readjust.
10/4: OK, here's a SAT-style test, from last night's West Wing:  Islamic Fundamentalists : Islam :: ______ : Christianity?  Solution:  Islamic Fundamentalists : Islam :: KKK : Christianity
10/3: I hope I never get sick, so that I don't have to deal with insurance companies.
10/2: Need website hosting?  I strongly recommend hijinks design.
9/26: Right now it looks like about $500,000,000 (half-a-billion-bucks) has been raised for charities related to the WTC attack.  If we assume there are around 6,000 victim-families out there (between the WTC casualties and Pentagon casualties), that comes out to $83,333 per family.  Of course, that doesn't include those who were injured, who lost their jobs as a result of the WTC collapse, or the consequential damages to travel agents, airlines, etc.
9/25: Got more than $100,000 in net worth?  Call your insurance agent and buy an umbrella insurance policy.  Today.
9/23: Fun With Your Dog Science Kit  In Cincinnati, race riots broke out several months ago when a white police officer shot a black man.  In response to the riots, the police severely cut back patrols of the black neighborhoods.  As a result, the murder rate has increased dramatically in those neighborhoods.  Not everyone in Cincinnati sees a problem with that.  It will be interesting to see if the police officer is found guilty or innocent.
9/22: The news has reported that the WTC attack is the first time America has been attacked, apart from Pearl Harbor.  I guess they forgot about the War of 1812.  Bush has put a bounty on the head of "terrorists."  Can I turn in other Americans?  We did the same thing to Native Americans that modern terrorists are trying to do to us.  We did the same thing every time we colonized another sovereign nation (i.e. Philippines).
9/21: My third grade teacher, Mrs. Monroe, is still teaching. America's new vocabulary: "Ground Zero" "Resolve" "Sikhs" "Homeland Security"  And of course, the phrases the news channels use:  "America Under Attack" "America Rising" "America On Attack" "America Attacked" "America Rebuilds" "America's Resolve" "Attack On America" "America on Alert" "America the Vulnerable" "American Answers the Call" "America United" The list goes on...
9/20: I flew to Ohio today to visit my family. The images of planes crashing into buildings were hard to suppress, for everyone. I arrived at SJC the proscribed 2 hours before my flight, prepared for lengthy security lines. Fifteen minutes after entering the airport, I was ticketed, through security, and sitting in a chair at my gate. So much for 2 hour delays. The only increased security I noticed was that all passengers had to be passed over with the metal detector wand, and our ID's were checked at the gate while boarding. The metal knife on the lunch tray was gone.  The pilot on my second flight welcomed us on board and acknowledged our (and his) nervousness. He suggested we introduce ourselves to the people seated around us. No one did. Then the plane took off over downtown Chicago, right next to the Sears Tower.
9/18: No one ever believes me when I tell them I'm allergic to melons.  From the National Institute of Health website:  "Another interesting example of cross-reactivity occurs in people who are highly sensitive to ragweed. During ragweed pollination season, these people sometimes find that when they try to eat melons, particularly cantaloupe, they have itching in their mouth and they simply cannot eat the melon."  I'm highly sensitive to ragweed.  That explains the melon allergy.  So far I've only run into two other people who have melon allergies.
9/16: This article urges us not to just bomb the hell out of Afghanistan.
9/14:  Five PwC employees died in the hijacked airplanes, and the 3 year old son and partner of one of the employees also died.  It appears that no employees were in the WTC.  Next Thursday I am scheduled to fly to Ohio for the weekend.  It should be interesting to see how the airport security has increased. As of this morning, all three major networks were still doing no-commercial coverage.  I wonder how long until they stop for the first commercial?
9/12: The most amazing video I have seen of the attack is the shot of Plane #2 going into the WTC, shot from the WTC plaza (below the building).  The plane enters from the left side of the screen, and enters the building as if the building just opened up for the plane, and then a fireball comes out the other side.  I have heard that at least one person who was on the floor the plane came in on survived by locking himself in an office.  Somehow he survived the collapse of the building.  Several employees of my company were aboard the airplanes that crashed into the WTC.  No doubt many other employees were in the WTC - we have over 20,000 employees working in Manhattan.  On another note, it's tax return season, with the corporate deadline being 9/17.  I just gave our processing guy a tax return that is six inches tall.
9/11: I woke up this morning at 6:15am to see the aftermath of Plane #1's hit on the WTC.  Then I saw live as Plane #2 hit the WTC.  Then the Pentagon, and then the collapse of the towers.  The only other thing like it was watching the Challenger explode.  I know there will be thousands of horrific stories, however this poor man that worked at WTC Tower 1 was on an NBC audio feed and told of his escape, running down the emergency stairwells. He then broke down as he blurted "I hope someone helped those poor people in the wheelchairs. They were just sitting in their wheelchairs, hoping someone would carry them down because they couldn't use the stairs."
9/8: CBS's The Amazing Race is really a good TV show, as far as reality shows go.  The race starts with 11 contestants racing around the globe.  At each checkpoint, the last team to arrive is eliminated from the race.  The personalities of the contestants are very interesting, and the producers did a good job of editing the show.  Tonight I watched NBC's competing "Lost" and I got lost just watching the show. 
9/6: From yesterday's Campbell Times:  CAR IS CULPRIT IN ACCIDENT  Witnesses of an incident on August 27 at Home Depot told police they thought a man was intentionally trying to run his wife over with a car, but the whole thing turned out to be just a bizarre accident, caused by a mechanical problem with the car  "We got a call of a person who was ramming other cars in the parking lot at Home Depot," [the police chief said]. "Contrary to what all of the witnesses said, it was an accident."  A middle aged couple was having severe car problems that afternoon. The man, who was driving a four-door Mercury Tracker, first backed into a car, then pulled forward two aisles and struck another car. At this point, the man's wife got out of the car, supposedly to check to see if they'd hit anything else. He backed up again and hit her, pinning her against another parked car. One more time, he pulled forward and hit another car, causing that car to hit two more cars. Then the folks from Home Depot got him stopped and got things under control.  The woman sustained a broken leg, the man was taken in for questioning and released, and two of the seven damaged cars were towed.
9/4: Today was my one-year anniversary with PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Nothing vested.  But I'm still happy there, and I don't want to leave... so that's a good thing.
9/1: Today I finished Gone With The Wind - right on schedule (2 weeks).  I also finished watching the movie, which was very true to the book, except in the book she had 3 children, and only one in the movie.  Now I can start on The Wind Done Gone.
8/29: I'm now a cubicle dweller.  I gave up the office which I occupied for a year, and moved into a three-walled cube.  I think I like it better.
8/29: Almost done reading GWTW.  And I'm a little over an hour into the movie.  When this is all done, I can read TWDG. So Frank Brady, a member of the Hell's Angels and drug producer/dealer, got himself charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of two firefighting pilots whose planes crashed fighting the fire that Frank started, supposedly with his meth lab.
8/26: On my server logs I can see what search terms people have used on search engines like Yahoo! to get to my website.  Sometimes they're amusing ... for example, "usps proof of service by mail divorce".  I guess that person is getting a divorce by mail.  Or "contingency fee divorce california" ... no, you won't find that in California.  Here's a funny one:  "women don't belong in the military".  That's more of a statement than a search, I guess.  "what does a person do after passing the bar exam"  ... most of them get drunk.  "community property vs joint tenants" ... it's a hot debate.
8/25: Over half-way done with Gone With The Wind, and Scarlett still hasn't married Rhett.  After a year of sharing an office with my office mate (who is very nice, by the way, and we get along fine), this Friday I'll be moved about 10 feet from my current office to a cubicle.  I'm looking forward to the move, because I'll have more wall and desk space.  The trade off is that I'm giving up my privacy - my phone calls can be overheard, and more people can see what's on my computer.  Still, I'm looking forward to it.
8/24: "God's nightgown" is such a strange phrase. Gary Condit is acting the way Bill Clinton acted before he was impeached.  He has chosen to be cagey and evasive, and use body language and words that have "guilt" written all over them.  Why can't these people get better advisors?  Mark my words, a year from now Gary will be sorry.
8/22: One third of the way done with Gone With The Wind.  It's a darn good book.  Poor poor spineless Bunky.  He cries when someone looks at him strange.  Not the best gay role model out there.
8/18: I wanted to read The Wind Done Gone, because it's been in the news lately and got good reviews.  But after 10 pages, I realized I needed to read Gone With The Wind first, to understand where the heck the wind done gone.  So I checked Gone With out of the library today... 1,000 pages.  We'll see how long that takes to read.  I'm betting 2 weeks.  It's the longest book I've read in at least seven years.  Once I'm done with Gone With I'll read Done Gone.  I'm going now.
8/17: It's such a pleasure to deal with competent customer service representatives.  Our electric bug catcher vacuum broke, and the company is shipping me a new one, no questions asked! There's this guy in the East Bay who killed a home invasion burglar with the burglar's own gun.   The guy is being called a hero for saving the lives of the other people in the house.  But now he's in jail ... turns out he was on parole, and violated his parole by holding the burglar's gun.
8/13: Today was Black Monday at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
8/12: Vehicles must yield to pedestrians who are either crossing with the light in an intersection, or crossing in any intersection not controlled by a light.  Vehicles stop, pedestrians go. Always.  Cal. Veh. Code Sec. 21950(a).
8/10: Reuters Headline:  Elderly Couple Dies Off Florida Keys in Sex-Plane Hijack. If you have Federal student loans, now is the time to consolidate!  Lock in the current 6.x% interest rate for the life of your loan!  Do it before September 30 and get a .8% interest rate reduction!!  You can't beat that.  And you can apply for the consolidation online.
8/8: Never mind.  The ABA voted against changing the model ethics rules.  Too controversial.
8/6: Today the American Bar Association changed the model ethics rules for lawyers to allow lawyers to divulge confidential client information if "reasonably certain" to prevent death or substantial bodily harm.  The old rule was "imminent".  This rule change was prompted in large part by the Goodyear tire lawsuits, in which many lawyers knew the tires were killing people, but were unable to sound the alarm to the press because of the confidentiality rules.  The settlements with Goodyear included confidentiality clauses, so for nearly a decade no one knew that the tires were exploding and killing people.  Now, those lawyers would be able to tell the proper authorities and the problem would hopefully be fixed earlier.  Interestingly, this rule change has no effect in California, which has the most strict confidentiality rules - I cannot divulge confidential client information for any reason, even if it means someone else dies.  In other legal news, today the California Supreme Court held that gun manufacturers could not be held liable for deaths caused by their guns.  Gun control advocates are already blasting the court for the decision.  But in order for the court to hold the gun manufacturers liable, the manufacturers have to be found "negligent."  The California legislature passed a law saying that as a matter of public policy, gun manufacturers are not allowed to be held negligent for deaths caused by their guns.  Therefore, the California Supreme Court could not legally find the manufacturers negligent, and therefore liable.  The courts only interpret the law.  If you don't like the law, complain to the legislature, not the courts.  
8/5: My Big Brother predictions, in order of getting booted: 1. Will; 2. Kent; 3. Bunky; 4. Nicole; 5. Krista; 6. Hardy; 7. Monica (winner)
8/2: 99% of the time when I call a business, all I want to know is their closing time.  It is such a pleasure to call a business who answers their phone, "[name of company], we close at 9pm".  I don't have to ask anything - I can just say "thank you" and hang up.  The Home Depot in Campbell answers their phone "Thank you for calling Home Depot, where we close at 9pm tonight."  The Walgreens in Campbell answers their phone "Walgreens, open 24 hours."  What a great idea.
7/28: Brian Palmer Gilbert of San Jose has been charged with two felonies in connection with the death of his 5-month old baby boy.  The baby died after Mr. Gilbert left the baby in a hot car last week for 2 hours.  Mr. Gilbert has told investigators that he "simply forgot" the baby while he went inside a friend's house to watch a movie.  He forgot the baby?  I can understand forgetting your cell phone, or your wallet, or your car keys, but how do you forget your baby?  Mr. Gilbert should be put in a hot car and forgotten as a way to weed out the stupid people from this world.  Why do people who do bad things always have three names?
7/26: The further east you go, the worse the Chinese food gets, and the more strange the people get.  At least it seems that way.
7/19: The question is not why did these companies go public, because any company can go public, but rather why did people buy stock in these companies?
7/17: The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported today that they are have lost track of 449 weapons and 184 laptops.  You'd think they could ...... investigate ...... that.
7/13: Jennifer Daughenbaugh, an investigator for the Santa Clara County Probation Department, was assigned to write the pre-sentence report for Judge Kevin Murphy in People v. Andrew Burnett.  Jennifer failed miserably in her duty to serve the public by recommending that Andrew Burnett, who threw Leo the Dog to his death, serve no jail time but rather be placed on probation.  She had the nerve to suggest that the community would "benefit" by placing him on probation (as opposed to placing him in jail).  She said that Burnett has shown "remorse for the victim and accepts responsibility for the death of the dog."  Really?  It didn't look that way to me when Burnett was interviewed on 20/20 two weeks ago and acted very smug about the incident.  Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy, an all-around bright guy, choose to ignore Jennifer's recommendation, and instead sentenced Burnett to three years in jail (the maximum allowable sentence).  Usually judges follow the pre-sentence report, but Judge Murphy clearly recognized the danger Burnett poses to society.  Three cheers for Judge Murphy.
7/12: The ultra-conservative "Alliance For Marriage" has proposed a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage.  I guess these folks don't have anything better to do, since there is no chance of the Constitution ever being amended about something so controversial.  Merely officially proposing such an amendment requires the approval of two-thirds of the House and two-thirds of the Senate, as well as two-thirds of the legislatures of the states.  The final amendment must then be ratified by the legislatures of 75% of the states.  There's no chance in hell they can get that many people to agree on anything, let alone something even remotely controversial.  Let's look at the last few amendments that have been approved:  #27: Compensation of Senators and Representatives.  #26: 18 year old voting age.  #25: Order of succession to the presidency.  #24: Qualification of electors.  Those are all boring!  There's no chance of ratifying an amendment about anything controversial.  That's why flag burning and abortion (and heck, even women's rights!) failed.
7/10: law.com published an excerpt from my California Bar Exam Primer, titled Bar Exam Diary (PDF format).
7/9: Rep. Gary Condit made the same mistake Bill Clinton made.  He thought that if he denied it, it would go away.  That didn't work for Bill, and it didn't work for Gary.  Bill found out that when the truth finally came out, the repercussions were worse than if he had been truthful up front.  For Gary, I think he's in deep shit no matter what.  It was clear from the beginning that something was improper about Gary's relationship with Chandra.  Politicians like Gary don't have 24 year old female "close friends".  They have affairs with 24 year old females.  And this one is missing.  Fingers are pointing to Gary, as well they should.  I'm putting my money on Gary or his wife. 
7/7: Oregon outlaws self-serve gas.  Apparently it's part of their state employment program to keep everyone employed.  I overheard this from employees of the Department of the Interior:  "That's freakin' weird." (explaining Darwinism); "Big birders" (describing people who watch birds).
6/30: The AT&T Cable repairman who came to fix my HBO bragged about all the great services AT&T would be rolling out to my neighborhood in the next 18 months.  Cable modems, local phone service, more channels.  My experience just trying to get cable T.V. with AT&T has been so painful I cannot imagine getting any other utilities from them.  If I had a choice, I would prefer to get my cable tv from someone else (maybe the water company?), but AT&T has a monopoly with the city.  All you white guys who married Asian women, tell your wives to check out Monolid Magazine
6/28: Today the Supreme Court ruled that states may not specifically ban tobacco advertising around schools and in businesses, because such a ban violated the First Amendment.  In related news, a poll released today shows 40% of Americans think the First Amendment goes too far in the rights it guarantees.
6/25: Headline: "Texas Mother's Mental State May Be Best Defense".  That's an understatement.  When she opened up the door to her house and told the police officer, "I just killed my children," that pretty much closed the doors on any other defense.
6/22: On June 19, Andrew Burnett was found guilty of felony negligent cruelty to an animal, which resulted in the death of Leo the Dog.  He will be sentenced on July 13.  He could be sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison.  I think a more appropriate sentence (if it were up to me to write the sentencing guidelines) would be to drag him out of his SUV and throw him into the path of an oncoming semi.  Maybe then the smirk on his face would disappear.  Speaking of dogs, what is it with people keeping pit bulls as pets?  Shawn Jones, currently clinging to life in Oakland, has had his two ears ripped off his head, and his face, head and arms have been permanently mutilated by the dogs.  This happens far too often.  The government should sponsor a program where they exchange cute little beagles for each pit bull dog that gets turned in, kind of like those "cash for guns" programs.
6/18: My bar of soap lists "soap" as the main ingredient.  Oh.
6/14: At my bus stop in the morning, there is usually a woman who gets on the bus with me who is not a native English speaker. She has told me that she is taking English classes during the day. Occasionally she asks me to explain an English word or phrase to her. Today she had an e-mail with her which contained a bunch of redneck jokes. So I had to explain each joke to her, and try to help her understand why they are supposed to be funny. I think we both learned that if you have to explain why a joke about marrying your cousin is funny, its not funny any more.
6/11: I don't know ... I'm not really satisfied that executing Timothy McVeigh was the best thing we could do.  I was (and continue to be) all for executing Richard Alan Davis, for killing Polly Klass, but I lacked the same enthusiasm for executing McVeigh.  I'm not sure why, after all, McVeigh inflicted much more carnage than Davis.
6/10: The religious protesters at the corner of Market and Santa Clara streets were so ... annoying.  Can't they just let people be happy?  Who gave them the authority to tell other people what is right and wrong?  Amazing Grace as an amazingly appropriate response. 
6/7: I walked around the neighborhood this evening.  It was humid, but not hot.  A fan in the window would have cooled a house down nicely.  I couldn't believe how many people had their air conditioners on.  One house even had its outdoor holiday lights lit up. I wonder if those are the same people who are saying, "we're doing all we can to conserve electricity, and our PG&E bill is still through the roof!"  Holiday lights in June?
6/4: Got this e-mail today:  "This is not a SPAM. You are receiving this because you are on a list of email addresses that I have bought."  Oh, ok, I guess that isn't SPAM.
5/30: Headline: "Bush Kids Tried To Buy Booze."  For the second time in a month, Jenna Bush was caught by the police trying to buy alcohol, this time with a fake ID.  My goodness, can't someone control these kids?  Hasn't anyone told her that her daddy is the president, and she needs to be on her best behavior?  Didn't she learn anything from her arrest last month?  These are not the signs of an intelligent family.  If Chelsea Clinton got in this much trouble, the media would have been all over her like jam on toast.
5/27: The State Bar released the results of the February 2001 California Bar Exam on Friday.  One of my classmates finally passed the exam ... after taking it four times over a two year period.  He is an inspiration for everyone who has had to retake the exam.  I am so thankful that I passed the first time.  It's really a horrible measure of how good of an attorney a person will be, but I guess it's the best system they've got.  If you ever get a burning desire to replace a door in your house ... fight the urge ... it's not quite as easy as Steve makes it looks on This Old House.
5/21: I was in the bathroom at work today and I heard the beeping sounds of someone using their PDA from one of the stalls.  That just seems weird.  Although, if it had wireless internet access, you could e-mail the facilities people if you ran out of toilet paper.
5/20: I went to the Campbell Prune Festival this weekend, just a few blocks from my house.  There weren't many prunes there ... hardly any.  Lots and lots of people, though. 
5/16: Nathaniel Brazill, age 14, was sentenced to prison for 25 years today for second-degree murder.  Testimony in the trial showed Brazill was sent home early from school last May for throwing water balloons. He retrieved a gun, returned to the school and shot his teacher in the head at the classroom door.  Defense attorneys argued he made a "mistake," and that he should be found guilty of manslaughter, not murder.  I haven't thought much about whether it's good to try teenagers as adults or not, although if they're going to be engaged in adult activities such as carrying guns, then it seems logical to hold them to an adult-level of responsibility.  If it were up to me, I'd put Nathaniel's parents in jail for 25 years also, for completely failing as parents.
5/13: Target stores in California sell a lightening bug catcher that is supposed to act like a lantern. Only problem is that we don't have lightening bugs in California.  Leave it to the FBI to screw things up. Timothy McVeigh all but volunteered to be executed, and the FBI couldn't help but withhold over 3,000 documents related to his case. This could conceivably drag things out for 10 years or more. Good going, FBI. Between this and their spy problems, they're looking mighty incompetent.
5/11: I get on the bus to work near an elementary school, and the kids these days are pulling around their books and supplies in airline luggage - the carryon kind with wheels.  What the heck is in there?  Why do elementary school kids have so much crap to lug around?  I don't think I even had a backpack when I was in elementary school. 
5/9: Goodbye, Mrs. Landingham.
5/8: The California Supreme Court yesterday outlawed jury nullification - the process by which juries vote what they feel should be right, and not necessarily what the law requires them to do.  Jury nullification has been around ever since the invention of juries, and I'm sad to see it go away, because there are a lot of cases in which I would have voted my conscience and not with the law, although I think juries will still vote their conscience, only now give different reasons for it.
4/30: My facts for the day:  Did you know that sharks are the only interauterine cannibals in the world?  The fetuses prey on each other in the womb until just one remains.  What do tennis courts have in common with lungs?  They both have the same surface area.
4/28: So one of President Bush's daughters got cited for underage drinking.  I'd hate to have been that police officer ... I mean, can you imagine, giving the president's daughter a citation for anything? I'm now beyond the point of no return for getting a Palm.  I know, I've got to be the last person getting on this bandwagon, but I didn't realize how much I needed one until now.  I've been using Desktop 4.0 for a week now, and I love it.  The calendar and phone book are super - better than any other PIM I've used before.  It's too bad there isn't built-in e-mail, but hey, I can't ask for everything.  A week from Monday I'll get the Palm Vx. 
4/26: Did you know that it is illegal to ride a bike on a public road while wearing headphones?
4/24: Captain Scott Waddle, the former commander of the USS Greeneville, is a good man.  Yes, he was in command of a submarine that collided with a Japanese fishing boat full of high school children, killing 9 aboard.  Nothing can diminish that.  But Captain Waddle did something that few public figures have done in recent years:  He took responsibility for what he did.  With no concern for his own considerable legal exposure, Captain Waddle has repeatedly and frequently made heartfelt apologies for what happened.  He takes full responsibility for his acts, and insists that the buck stops with him.  He does not blame others - not the crew, not the civilians on board, and not the Navy.  He takes full, undiluted personal responsibility.  Bill Clinton didn't do that for his sexual escapades, and George Bush didn't do that for his DUI and drug use.  This captain is someone to respect, and he is a good man who made a mistake and fully owned up to it.  My dental insurance (MetLife Dental) has an 800 number for me to call to verify benefits, but the customer service representatives consistently give out wrong information.  I'm always amazed what we allow health insurance companies to get away with.  
4/22: What is it with people who don't follow the "every other car" rule when there's a traffic jam in a parking lot?  I hope they get hit by a big-rig.  And these folks who have $400 electric bills this month ... mine was $32, and that's for gas and electricity ... what are these people doing with their electricity that causes them to use 10 times more than me?  I can't imagine.  How's that war on drugs going?  Last I heard, the CIA just managed to score a big hit by shooting down a plane with a missionary family, killing a woman and her baby.   Good job.
4/19: I'm getting ready to join the 21st century and buy a Palm Vx.  I compared it to the Handspring Visor Platinum, but the Handspring just seems too plastic.  Plus the Palm has an upgradeable OS.  So now I'm converting most of my stuff - calendar, address book, etc. over to Palm Desktop to upload to my Palm Vx, which I hope to get next week.  Palm's Desktop 4.0 impresses the heck out of me as a PIM.  I'd use it even if I wasn't getting a Palm.
4/15: Today is the day that countless Silicon Valley dot-comers who were once millionaires when their stock options went through the roof, but have since tanked, will learn about the Alternative Minimum Tax.  Those folks will be paying taxes on stock that once was worth something, but now is worthless.  The IRS never intended the AMT to apply to people in this situation, but it does, and all over the Valley people are waking up, wondering how they will pay their tax bill.
4/13: Finally, justice is being served:  I couldn't help but smile this morning when I heard that Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel got evicted from their apartment last night.  And they have no money to pay for a private attorney.  Maybe they should just stay in jail to get the free food and shelter.   Andrew Burnett has been arraigned on felony charges in connection with the killing of Leo the Bichon Frise last year at the San Jose Airport.  Maybe someone should yank Mr. Burnett out of his car and throw him in front of another car and see how he likes it.  Today is Friday the thirteenth.  It's also Good Friday.  Doesn't that seem like an unlikely combination?
4/12: No, we didn't apologize, nor should we have.  We expressed "sincere regret over your missing pilot and aircraft" and that "we are very sorry for their loss."  We then said that "we are very sorry the entering of China's airspace and the landing did not have verbal clearance."  That language merely expresses our sorrow for their loss and our sorrow that the aircraft and landing did not have clearance.  The language does not acknowledge responsibility for the loss or the lack of clearance - it merely says that we are sorry that the events happened.  I can be sorry that the stock market went down, but that doesn't mean I had anything to do with it, or that I am apologizing for my role, if any.  An apology would have been, "We are sorry that we caused your pilot to die, and your plane to crash.  We are sorry that we did not get verbal clearance to land our plane on your island."  It's like when Dr. Laura said, in reference to some comments she made, "I deeply regret the hurt this situation has caused the gay and lesbian community."  She wasn't saying that she was sorry she caused the hurt - she was merely saying that she was sorry the gay and lesbian community was hurt by her words.  It's two different things - one is an apology, one isn't.
4/11: Channel 5 news reports that the car belonging to Marjorie Knoller was vandalized.  The 1969 Mercury Cougar was spray-painted, its tires were flattened, and the windshield smashed.  Well, Marjorie, what goes around comes around.  Moved here from some other pages on this website:  Why aren't there any female game show hosts on TV?  I have never seen a game show, including ones from the 70's and 80's, with a female host, other than shows from Great Britain.  [Mark correctly pointed out that Weakest Link, a British Import Millionaire-like game show which debuts next week, does have a female host, who is also a British Import].  There is a new study that shows joining an online community of more than 50 million people globally is causing increasing loneliness and depression. Doesn't that seem odd?
4/9: Remember the TV show Murphy Brown, where the running joke was that each show Murphy had a new secretary?  That's kind of like where I work.  Every week, we have a new receptionist.  I guess they're from a temp agency or something.  Anyhow, today's receptionist answers the phone "PricewaterhouseCooper."  Every time I come down the stairs or out of the elevator, I hear "PricewaterhouseCooper."  I must have heard it 20 times today.  The problem is, the name of the company is "PricewaterhouseCoopers."  With an "S".  Anything less is terribly annoying.
4/5: The good news was announced this week:  The TV show First Years was cancelled.
4/3: George Bush is handling his latest foreign / military mess by telling the Chinese government that they had better not be snooping around in our spy plane that made an emergency landing in China.  So ... it's ok for us to spy on them, but we're supposed to be outraged when they spy on us (if looking at a plane that landed in their country can be considered spying)?  What a hypocrite!  Of course China is going to look at the spy plane.  We would do the same thing if a Chinese spy plane landed in America.
3/28:  Hurrah for the grand jury indictment of Robert Noel and Marjorie Knoller!  These two people are some of the scummiest lawyers I have ever heard of.  For example, trying to blame the dog attack on the perfume that Diane Whipple was wearing.  As far as I'm concerned, even if Diane did wear perfume that attracted the dogs, that in no way mitigates Noel and Knoller's fault for having such vicious dogs in that apartment building.  I think the prosecutors will have a difficult time proving second degree murder for Knoller, but I hope they are at least found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, and disbarred. 
3/27: Power is expensive in California.   Gas for cars is expensive.  Gas for heating is expensive.  Electricity is expensive.  When the PUC raised rates 40% today, the newspapers and evening news was full of interviews with people saying that they were paying close to $200 a month in electricity bills now, plus the 40% increase next month.  The question I think needs to be asked is, "Why are you using $200 of electricity each month?"  My electric bill for February was $26.  That supplied enough electricity for two people to live normally, in an average sized house.  I think people who are using $200 a month in electricity aren't doing their part to conserve, and we shouldn't feel much sympathy for them. I tried to watch First Years again last night.  I turned it off after 15 minutes, when one of the "first year" lawyers asked another, "What does TRO stand for?"  It is inconceivable to me that a lawyer, fresh out of law school and fresh out of the bar exam, would not know that a TRO stands for "temporary restraining order."  It's like a doctor asking, "What does ICU stand for?"
3/22: How many more high school shootings will it take before we get the guts to take steps to end this embarrassment?  This is not what the authors had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment.  It's no longer acceptable.
3/19: OK - I'm going to try this again. I just watched the debut of First Years, a TV show about a bunch of lawyers in their first year of practicing law at a big law firm.  Let me just say that there are not that many good looking people in law school.  And there is nothing exciting about the first year of practicing law for a large firm.  This show is destined to fail.  Why did they ever think it would succeed?  What demographic are they going after? I did my pro bono work tonight at Lawyer's In The Library.  Yes, it's true:  If you run up a lot of debt on the credit cards, eventually they're going to want their money.
3/5: Some people think that they have a First Amendment right to free speech on the internet, i.e. in chat rooms or message forums.  They don't.  Unless the chat rooms or message forums are run by the government (including a public school), or the government is trying to shut down the forum, there is no First Amendment right to free speech in that forum.
2/22: The 2001 Grammy's was not without much controversy.  Rapper Eminem, well known for his homophobic lyrics, sang a duet with Elton John, the well-known flamboyant gay singer who was one himself well known for controversial lyrics.  The media did its part to stir the controversy by interviewing people who said they were offended by Eminem's lyrics.  But even more pronounced were the interviews with musical celebrities who supported their colleague and defended his lyrics with the First Amendment.  On the days leading up to the Grammy's, it was hard to turn on the TV and not hear some entertainer discussing the merits of the First Amendment.  Of course, it was no surprise that the entertainers are not experts on Constitutional law.  The First Amendment had no relevance to Eminem's duet with Elton John.  There was absolutely no threat of the government interfering with the Grammy's.  Eminem's right to speech free of government restriction was never threatened.  More interesting than this display of Constitutional ignorance was the fact that the First Amendment was the only defense the entertainment industry had for Eminem's lyrics.  Since that defense did not apply to Eminem's performance at the Grammy's, one wonders what defense is left for the lyrics.
1/16: Western Appliance: I bought a washer, dryer and refrigerator from this chain of appliance retailers. I choose a delivery date, and stayed home from work to await delivery. My purchases never arrived. They explained that the shipping paperwork got lost. So a new delivery date was chosen, and again, I stayed home from work. No delivery. This time, the shipping paperwork wasn't the problem - they simply forgot to put the appliances on the truck. I vigorously complained, and they dispatched a special delivery truck to bring me my purchases later that day. It shouldn't be that hard.  AT&T Broadband: This company is the sole provider of cable service where I live. Believe me - if they had competition, I would choose the competition. All I needed was for AT&T to switch the cable account from the previous owner of my house to me. I'll spare you the details, but the bottom line is that it took over nten phone calls to their customer service people, putting up with sales pitches that rival used car salesmen, and finally reaching a manager to change the account. It shouldn't be that hard. I then made an appointment for them to come out and install a new outlet in my house. The first visit was unsuccessful because the installer lacked the proper key to access their cable distribution box. The second visit was unsuccessful because the installer disconnected my cable, rather than connect it (and this in turn took two additional visits to remedy). The third visit was never scheduled, despite promises by the manager to do so. I finally gave up and installed the jack myself. The nightmare finally ended when I wrote a nasty letter demanding my money back. Who ever thought that utility monopolies were a good idea?




Travis A. Wise > Weblog Archives 2002


6/30: Aww, crap, lost the last few days worth of entries.  I'll try to recreate it.  I really need a better backup system.  I went to IKEA this morning and bought a bunch of stuff - that was fun.  I should go more than just once a year.  Got a really nifty WTC photo that I put upstairs in the guest room, and a bunch of lamps, candles, and a big rug for Lacie so she doesn't poop on the expensive carpet any more.  BBQ'ed some burgers on the new Cost Plus clay grill tonight... tasted much better than last year's Webber grill burgers.  Man struck by lightening at church BBQ - can't be a good sign.  Wrong ShuiGG Bridge Toll goes up.
6/29: Went to SF with Kenny, Aus and Cindy for the DP ceremony - that was cool.  Should have done that earlier.
6/28: PwC rented out the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for our annual company "fun in the sun" day.  So we invaded the beach and had unlimited ride passes, a huge BBQ, and all sorts of events like horseback riding, sailing, kiaking, etc.  Last year was more fun though.  Bush cedes power to Cheney for a few hours while he gets his butt examined.  That's so funny, but I'm trying to keep this website PG-13 rated.  I can't keep up with the corporate scandals.  Enron.  Andersen.  Martha Stewart.  Worldcom.  Xerox.  Who's next?
6/26:  Team lunch at the Fairmont's The Grill restaurant.  Delicious.  $500 can buy a lot of food for 10 people.  We won the money because we recruited more new employees than the other teams.  Not sure why we're hiring, since we just brought on 50+ new folks from Andersen, but hey, they don't ask my opinion.  Pledge of Allegiance declared unconstitutional.  Guy who won that lawsuit now suing claiming money violates constitution ("In God we trust").  Yea, I agree, although I'm sure the Supreme Court will overturn the decision.  Really folks, do your religion stuff in private ... let's not mix it with government.  Too many different religions, some of which don't believe in a god.  For the nuts out there who somehow think the government should be about God... you know what?  You're just wrong.  Crematory burns; bodies survive.
6/25: Worldcom.  Hehe.  Dumbasses.  Serve's 'em right.  Their customer service and billing systems were horrible.  Attorney bills 44 hours in a day.  Ooops.  SF cops have enough spare time to bust people for drinking coffee, but not to solve real crimes, so people have to catch their own criminals.
6/24: Went to Cost Plus and loaded up on all sorts of wonderful stuff, including a new clay grill for the back patio.
6/23: Back from Seattle.  Read the review under my Travel Reviews page.
6/21: Sea lion breaches security at SFO.  Who Wants to Be A Millionaire violates the ADA?
6/17: Why we are so enthralled with the dog mauling case, and the Hannibal connection.  No rights need to be read on a bus.  That doesn't mean you don't have any rights, it just means they don't have to be read.  And in other news, those wacky Jehovah's Witnesses can't be made to get a permit before they do door-to-door solicitation.  Just stay away from my door.  Speaking of the dog mauling case, Judge James Warren threw out the murder conviction.  Damn.  Congressman on plane can't wait for bathroom, pees in cup.  I have two disturbing stories about Starbucks, both of which are true:  First, look at this advertisement that Starbucks was running, and note the word "collapse" ... isn't that ridiculous?  Then, read this article about how Starbucks charged NYC EMT's $130 for some water on 9/11 immediately following the WTC attack.  Good corporate citizens?  I know, you'll still go buy your coffee from them, but come on ... that's just nuts.
6/16: Went up to Stanford for the commencement - my friend Cindy graduated today.  National Security Advisor Dr. Connalezza Rice was the commencement speaker.  Some protestors, but nothing big.  She gave a good, short, speech, not really discussing much about current events.  Chief Supreme Court Justice reminds us that we have less civil liberties during war.  Happy father's day, dad!  This has been around for a while, but I'll mention it anyhow: The Bill of No Rights.  U.S. Forrest Service Employee sets Colorado fire because of domestic dispute, gets arrested.6/15: Anderson guilty!  Went to a graduation dinner for my friend Cindy, who graduates from Stanford tomorrow.
6/14: I'm working on a "What's New" archive.  In the meantime, some funny high school names:  The Hoopeston Cornjerkers, Freeport Pretzels, Fisher Bunnies.  Oh, and the Cobden AppleknockersFunny newspaper police logs.
6/13: Hi to Dave, my friend who just moved to SF, who wanted desperately to be mentioned on my website!  HI DAVE!  Should the Constitution apply to U.S. citizens who get caught doing bad things in America?  I think so.  But this guy who was carting around a nuclear bomb is being held in jail, indefinitely, without access to a lawyer, and without any due process rights.  I'm sorry, but that's not the way the system was designed to work, even for people carrying around nuclear bombs.
6/12: Before work I went over to the SJ main jail to visit my CYA parole mentee.  That was quite an experience.  The jail looks like a relatively normal building from the outside, but on the inside it's like something out of a prison movie ... I guess that makes sense.  Anyhow, it was an experience.
6/11: The Amicus Brief I have been working on for a few months has been filed with the U.S. Tax Court.  The Mole II is on tonight.  Colorado is on fire (the state).  Today's Bar Exam question comes from a SCU grad:  Q: Did you take time off during your studies?  I'm burning out already!  A: Yes, there were certainly days that I just "wrote off" and said screw it. I reallocated the Paced Program's assignments to other days, to clear out that day's work. I always took one week off each week. But I don't remember taking 2 days off a week very often ... it was usually just one. Hope that helps!
6/10: PwC Consulting now named "Monday".  And it cost us $110 million to come up with that name.  No, I'm not joking.  Just think of the 6 other names that were rejected:  Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.  Geez.
6/9: Back from a great trip to L.A.  Stayed with my friend Clifton in Beverly Hills; spent some time at a Malibu beach house next to where Steven Spielberg and Dustin Huffman have their beach houses, and had a great dinner at Chart House with the Chung family before hanging out in Santa Monica and the pier.  Then saw my friend Joe off to Beijing, where he'll be studying and playing for the next 2 months.  Bye, Joe!
6/7: Off to L.A. for a few days.  My friend Scott Bakalor redesigned his website.  The sentencing of our favorite local dumbasses Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel has been put off for 10 days - a week from Monday.
6/6: The Primer has been endorsed by the Santa Clara County Bar Association as "A Must-Read Resource for Preparing for the California Bar Exam."  Only one person in Norway has password to on-line cultural documents; he dies; hackers enlisted to crack into system.  Spitball kid gets let off early.
6/5: Had dinner with Dr. Tony last night - learned all sorts of fascinating things about medicine that I never knew.  I couldn't really tell him any fascinating things about tax law, because I don't think there are any.  I'll keep looking though.  OK, this has been getting a lot of press, so I'll mention it here:  Supreme Court allows retrial for dufus who let his lawyer sleep through his trial.  I'm not related to the victim in the underlying case.  Those of you lawyers who read this page - if you do civil cases, or specifically medical malpractice, please contact me - I have some questions.  Oh, same for criminal law (no, not for myself!).  What does the Queen carry in her purse?  Patrick got booted from The Mole last night - good riddence!  He turned into a nut quickly.
6/4: 55 Andersen employees start work at San Jose PwC today. Chaos erupts.  Continuing on yesterday's cow theme, the CHP gunned down 6 loitering cows yesterday.  One less terrorist threat in this crazy world.  I had no idea that my ADR paper was so popular until I removed it ... I'll put it back up tomorrow - in the meantime, here's the Google cache of it.
6/3: Napster declared bankruptcy today.  Raise your hand if you're surprised.  Oh!  No hands up.  Ok.  So we're finding out how we basically knew about the 9/11 terrorists being in the country before 9/11, but because our intelligence community was sitting on its asses, we weren't able to do anything about it.  Wasn't George Bush (Sr.) the director of the CIA around the time Osama Bin Laden was setting up his camp?  Did I mention yesterday that Bachelorettes in Alaska and The Hamptons was really bad TV last night?  If you didn't catch Hamptons, it's on again tonight.  Watch it, just so you can tell your kids how bad reality TV finally got.  Tomorrow is our big day at work that the former Andersen people start working in our office ... I was tempted to write into Scott Adams and give him material for Dilbert (oh, do we need computers for these people?!) but then I realized he wouldn't believe the craziness.  Woman wants to go to San Jose.  Ends up in Costa Rica.  Ooops.  Kenya just learned of 9/11 attack; gives U.S. 14 cows (most prized possession).  In related news, the E.U. is now taxing cow flatulence.  Got this very nice e-mail today ... I get a lot like this ... I'm really happy that I'm able to help so many people pass the bar exam:
I am certain that I would not have passed the February 2002 bar exam without your assistance. I carefully reviewed your site in preparation for the exam. It offered encouragement, especially when I wanted to give up. I am sure that I am not alone in sending you my thanks. I know that you have helped many people before me and will continue to help many people in the future through your site. Thanks again for assisting me in passing the bar on my first try.
6/2: I went biking on the Los Gatos trail, and noticed that the Forbes Mill Museum, at the base of the Lexington Reservoir trail, was open. Went in and looked around - they have some old maps of the valley that are interesting to look at - I found where my house is, but I couldn't read who used to own that land in 1910.  Caught part of Bachelorettes in Alaska and The Hamptons on TV tonightWhat horrible shows.
6/1: Clergy Abuse Tracker.  Overheard in SF from a homeless person:  "It's good to have a little bit of alcohol in your system all the time - it helps the body absorb oxygen."  Uh huh.  The SF public library in the Civic Center is just amazing - talk about a great library.  Why does SF need so many city government buildings?  It's certainly not to take care of the homeless problem.
5/31: Ok, due to popular demand, a hybrid weblog will continue in this space.  No archives though, until I can figure out some better system than what I had before.  Army buys $1,800 pillow.  20% of brides "mortified" by best man's toast.  Chron ran an article this morning on the front page about how SFO airport security refused to let this 'war hero' take a medical device on the plane with him that he needed for an injury he sustained fighting in Afghanistan - lack of common sense cited as problem; Fox News also runs story.  Some companies require employees to stay in touch during vacation. This "Stripper Mom" just doesn't have a clue - poses nude for Playboy.  Poor English translations are always fun.
5/28: Controversy about the new PwC Consulting unit's place of business. The Mole 2 returns tonight on ABC, rerunning the first two episodes from last season, back to back.
5/27: Happy Memorial Day.  This morning I rode 14 miles round-trip to the end of the paved Los Gatos trail and back ... not much excitement there.  I did figure out how to turn on the "auto" function on my bike's speedometer - that was cool - it starts and stops the timer and the "average speed" function when I start and stop riding.  Looks like the Pope fell asleep at some performance.  Guess he's been up too late worrying about molestations.  Updated the restaurant review listing today.  That was exciting.
5/26: My friend Julie To found out she passed the bar exam on Friday!  Way to go Julie!!
5/25: Last night I went to the Stanford Senior Formal Dance (at the invitation of Cindy, who graduates next month).  It was held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I did not know until last night that the Aquarium rents itself out at night to the tune of $25-$30k per night to host dances, meetings, etc.  With all the loud music they had there, I'm surprised the fish aren't affected.  But they seemed happy.  In other news, I found out that you can in fact get four people in the back seat of a Lexus.
5/24: Gunderson was one of the first law firms to boost lawyers' salaries into the $130k range.  They just did another round of layoffs this week. The company Andersen used to shred documents also shreds documents for the FBI.  I'm not sure why that's of any consequence. Work can literally bore you to death.  I think that may happen to me.
5/23: My good friend Tony Quang became "Tony Quang M.D." last weekend.  Yea, Dr. Tony!  Didja see West Wing last night?  It was the season finale.  I knew someone was going to get shot (my guess had been C.J.), and of course we knew that Arab defense minister was going to get knocked off.  The stuff about the Posse Comitatus Act. I didn't get the part about why the proposed replacement for Mrs. Landingham was fired because she hired Charlie??  If you got that, e-mail me.  Quote of the day:  "In a post-Sept. 11 world, this pre-Sept. 11 information is chilling."  Second quote of the day:  "I told everyone that something bad would happen to America in 2001. I even said the letter 'A' would be involved. But did they listen?"  Both from The Onion.  Headline:  "POPE FORGIVES MOLESTED CHILDREN".  Hehe.  Turns out the White House was the target of Flight 93.  Can you imagine the chaos if the plane had made its target?  Krispy Kreme profits exceed expectations.  In related news, Americans are fatter than ever.
5/22: Chandra Levy has been found.  Dead.  In a park.  That she regularly jogged through.  I'll go out on a limb and guess that Gary Condit probably didn't have anything to do with her death, given where she was found.  If that's the case, Gary really got hosed.  We all (myself included) blamed him for her disappearance last year.  His political career was ruined over it.  And in the end, he probably didn't have anything to do with her death.  Ooops.  The presentation I gave last night at SCU about the bar exam went very well.  28 people showed up, and it was mainly myself, a bar exam grader, and the Barrister's people talking about the exam. Most of the students said it was a very beneficial presentation.  I made three main points:  (1) Follow BarBri's Paced Program; (2) How to prepare study materials; and (3) How to deal with the stress of preparation and the exam.  The grader's main points involved the vital importance of using headers and sub-headers - I wish I had heard what he said before I took my exam - would have made it easier.  I also got some very good feedback about the Primer site and some additional information I need to put up there.
5/21: Brobeck ousts former chairman Tower Snow.
5/20: So yesterday's news carried the report that Dick Cheney said something like "There will be another terrorist attack on the U.S.".   Well, that was totally predictable.  The administration got beat up in the press for not disclosing the reports they received pre-9/11 about possible terrorist attacks, so now they've issued a blanket warning covering all possible calamities.  As dumb as George Bush is, he shouldn't be blamed for not responding differently to the intelligence reports he received pre-9/11.  Can you imagine how many "potential threats" the CIA and FBI receive every day?  How can they possibly guard against every one of those threats.  They can't.  And blaming them causes them to issue these asinine statements like what was issued yesterday.  They should issue more similar statements to cover all their bases, so that the media can't criticize them later on.
5/19: Busy night on TV:  Survivor finale; X-Files series finale; and Cosby Show reunion.  We watched Survivor - I wasn't real happy with the options between Ve and Naleha - the Bible thumping was annoying - but in the end I'm very happy Ve won for a lot of reasons.  And Rosie did a good job on the 1 hour reunion.  Asinine website of the day:  The U.S. Navy's official Hispanic website.  My friend Joe Chung is setting up a Sigma Chi Sigma fraternity at his school, Johns Hopkins University.  Today was the Bay to Breakers run up in SF... my friends Andrea and Susan ran the race.
5/17: 8 year old Antioch boy drives himself to school; gets ticket. The street I live on is the 11th most dangerous in Campbell in terms of speed. There will be less of the racially controversial Jar Jar in the new Star Wars. This was my department that worked on this: Network Associates restates earnings.  Oooops. Kathy voted for Sean last night on Survivor, and because she was the swing vote, out Sean went.  Very interesting tactical moves ... I didn't think Kathy was smart enough to think that far ahead.  Finished watching Catfish in Black Bean Sauce.  It's a funny but important movie about a Vietnamese brother and sister who were raised by an African-American family, who meet their birth mother.
5/16: The East Palo Alto Community Law Project has to close it's doors after 18 years of service due to a lack of funding.  The Project has been the nearly exclusive provider of free legal services for poor people in East Palo Alto.  I guess those huge, rich law firms in Palo Alto couldn't afford to chip in a measly $500k to keep the project open (less than half of a partner's salary). Amazing Race 2 finale last night... I am SO GLAD Tara and Will didn't win the million - they were both such jerks.  The Amazing Race 1 "Rob and Brennan" clones, Chris and Alex, won the million bucks, just like Rob and Brennan.  Does this set a dangerous precedent that only two strong men can win the race?  I don't know.  The finale was very good. West Wing was also great - although not quite as action packed as last year at this time.  I think the season finale will involve assassinating that guy who is coming over from the middle east, and something involving C.J. and her secret service protection (assassination attempt?).
5/15: West Wing is on tonight - only 2 more episodes.  And the Amazing Race 2 finale!!! Bar exam results from the February bar come out very soon.  For those of you who are waiting, I refer you to my experience of getting the results ... which seems like just yesterday.
5/14: Vigilante justice, Catholic style.  Don't the Catholics believe in the "Eye for an eye" crap?
5/13: Happy birthday, Phil! Someday when I'm retired I'll write one of those "For Dummies" books called "Creative Billing for Attorneys".
5/12: Happy Mother's Day, mom!  We went to eat at Stoddard's in Campbell for dinner. The Mole II is making a comeback later this month, after getting put on hiatus last year.
5/11: This morning I noticed the Campbell police herding up the day-laborers who had taken over the Home Depot parking lot on Hamilton Avenue.  Last I saw, they were being herded west on Hamilton Avenue towards the Rotten Robbies gas station.  "The families of 11 immigrants who died illegally crossing into Arizona from Mexico have filed a $41 million claim against two federal agencies, saying the government's refusal to put water out in the desert contributed to the migrants' deaths."  Once again, America gets taken advantage of ... please, come to this country, violate our laws from the moment you step foot on our soil, and when you realize you're too stupid to figure out how to stay alive, sue us for your own stupidity.  Dumbasses.  How else may we help you break our laws? 
5/10: This is interesting:  How to create your own tribute to 9/11 with a $20 bill.  Dan Quayle was making some comments that he admires Ozzie Osbourne for his family values, and ranks them higher than Murphy Brown.  Good god, do you realize that this man was just one step away from the presidency?  What a dumbass!  My old school, Santa Clara University, tried really hard to reject a grant from Lockheed-Martin, as a protest against war.  The school ended up taking the money, but is forming a policy for dealing with "objectionable" grants in the future.  Only rich schools get to reject grants... everyone else takes every dime they can.  Maybe Lockheed-Martin should protest Santa Clara's policy and just give money to public schools who won't create a big fuss.
5/9: The Primer counter hit 60,000 hits this evening, in almost 2 years of being on-line.  That is just amazing.  Doh!  Danny and Oswald were eliminated on last night's Amazing Race 2.  They gave it a good shot, but weren't quite as competitive as the other three teams.  Next week is the 2-hour season finale.  Last night's West Wing was great ... the story line with C.J. being the target of death threats and having to have Secret Service protection is good.  I can't wait to find out what the season-finale cliff hanger will be.  Headline:  Mailbox Bomber planting bombs in smiley-face pattern.  Geez.  Oh, and Senator Clinton has a domestic violence problem.
5/8: The dumbass of the month award goes to Shannon Moss of Portland, Oregon, who was "rescued by divers when she was unable to escape from a submerged car while filming a news segment on how to get out of dangerous situations."  Santa Clara County has a new website for their parks, including a site just for trails.  Eric Yoon has created a website, Barexamstudyaids.com, that is somewhat similar in purpose to the California Bar Exam PrimerHe has very well written advice, and has made his outlines available (for a small charge).  I saw part of the Ozzie Ozborne show last night on MTV.  Since I like reality TV shows I thought I had better check it out.  I'm not quite sure what the attraction is to this show (not that I understood Temptation Island either...).  From what I saw, it was mainly Ozzie's escapades trying to catch a cat in his house, and then him eating dinner (served by the ubiquitous household help), talking about how normal he is.  The kids seemed pretty messed up, and the mom was doing her best to appear normal.  I can't believe they're getting paid $20M for next season for that stuff.  And who were all those other people milling about?  Servants?  Production crew?  I don't know.  Amazing Race 2 is on tonight.  At the end of tonight's show, there will only be the final three teams left.  Danny and Oswald are currently in 4th place, so they stand a fair chance of getting booted, but then again, anything can change during a show.  I do hope they make the final three.  West Wing is also on tonight.
5/7: If there was any doubt that the Republicans are in power, here you go.  Info on the Vasonna Light Rail Extension, which will go through downtown Campbell.
5/5: Happy Cinco de Mayo. 
5/4: Just got around to watching Amazing Race from last week... I was so bummed Danny and Oswald were last, but then it wasn't an elimination round!  Yea!  That got me thinking... what if Survivor did non-elimination rounds?  Still go to tribal counsel, vote someone off, but then that person returns to camp with the team... that would stir things up a bit!  Went to see Spider Man last night.  Opening night wasn't too bad ... parking at the Century on Winchester was horrible ... but the lines weren't terribly bad.  I guess enough theatres are showing the movie that the people are more spread out. The movie itself was very good - I enjoyed it a lot.  San Jose passes legislation requiring residential landscaping.
5/3: 70 year old man robs bank at gunpoint.  Claims there was a misunderstanding, and that he is actually the victim.  Not the first time.  I've promised myself every time I go to an opening night movie not to do that again.  But tonight I'm doing it again:  Spider Man.  I used fandango.com to get the tickets - that was pretty handy.  Six guardsmen removed from bridge patrol after it was discovered they didn't know how to shoot their guns.  National emergency declared after pigs trample garden.  Ten commandments ordered removed from courthouse.  OK ... let's make this really clear.  Religion.  Government.  Two different things.  It's a really really really bad idea to mix them.  Heck, even the Catholic Church has stopped obeying the ten commandments.  The federal judge said the nation's founders' "made a conscious decision" to separate religion and government, which "has served us well."  "Experience tells us that there is perhaps nothing more divisive than the interjection of religion into our government. The controversy engendered by this commission action is proof of this," the judge wrote.  Amen.
5/2: My company has announced that it is IPOing its consulting division for $1 billion.  The new company will temporarily be named PwCC Ltd.  (I don't work for the consulting division, so I'm not affected).  Today is the National Day of Prayer.  Marking the occasion, Bush called the nation "a country of faith."  No great surprise that the White House ceremony did not include any remarks by people of any religious faith outside of Christianity.  We should call it the "National Day of Christian Prayer," since Christian groups are the only ones who wanted a national day of prayer.  The other religions seem content with not getting the government to interfere with their praying activities.  Or maybe we should call it "National Day of Religious Child Molestation", since the Catholic Church doesn't recognize the problem with letting rapists and child molesters serve as priests.  Or the "National Day of America Screwing Up Other Countries," since we're cluelessly interfering (big surprise) with people and cultures we don't understand in the middle-east.  Speaking of which, here's the best solution I've read so far to the middle-east problem: God refloods middle-east; solves problem.  The more news that comes out about good old Cardinal Law, the more I think we need to form an alliance to vote Him off our little island.  He's not really serving a useful purpose any more.  Doesn't "Cardinal Law" sound like a great title for a TV show?
5/1: Arthur Andersen lawyer Nancy Temple may very well have single-handedly collapsed a financial empire with one e-mail, dated October 12, 2001, reproduced below in its entirety:  "Mike, it might be useful to consider reminding the engagement team of our documentation and retention policy.  It will be helpful to make sure that we have complied with the policy.  Let me know if you have any questions."  Referring the engagement team to the "documentation and retention policy" (i.e. when to shred a document) was probably not the brightest idea in the midst of Enron's corporate meltdown.  Nancy is now under federal criminal investigation for obstruction of justice.  One partner in the Portland, OR office had the brains to not follow Nancy's bad advice, and refused to shred documents.  The newspapers report that Andersen employees have gone from "loyal employees" protesting the criminal investigations, to employees who are looking out solely for themselves.  Happy May! Booooo:  Animal Right's Activists Slam 'Happy Cows' Ads.  Yes, we know the cows really aren't that happy.  That's why it's not false advertising.  Survivor 5 will take place in Thailand. Deep Throat to be named.
4/30: TV Guide compiled a list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time.  Seinfeld is number one, followed by I Love LucySoprano's is number five.  Roseanne beat out West Wing?  I don't think so.
4/29: The Chandra Levy case is now one year old.  The police don't have a clue who did it.  Gosh, I wonder. I read this Tupperware spam excerpt on our bulletin board at work:  "The above "parties" entitle you to FREE TUPPERWARE based on the amount of retail TUPPERWARE sold and the number of parties booked. Let me put it in another way, at my party in January I received over $250 in FREE TUPPERWARE based on the sales and 4 parties booked!"  What the heck would you do with $250 in free Tupperware?  That's got to be like 100 little tupperware containers.  I have had a hard enough time trying to figure out what to do with my box of extra-large Zip-Lock freezer bags that I've had for a year.
4/28: Fredericksburg, Virginia newspaper publishes photos of woman killing herself by jumping off bridge, after passing motorists yell at her to jump.  Saudi Prince Abdullah requested that no female air traffic controllers direct his plane as he flew over the United States for his visit with Bush in Texas.  Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the L.A. riots which left 54 people dead, more than 1,100 buildings destroyed or damaged, some $1 billion in property damage.  Last night I watched Pearl Harbor on DVD.  Yea, it's an awful movie.
4/26: Did you catch The Bachelor last night?  Talk about your horribly bad television.  His parents were the only sane people on the show.  At least he didn't propose marriage ... I would have just cried at the inhumanity of it all.  My prediction is that The Bachelor and his blonde hussy won't ever see each other again.
4/25: Everything gets all f@#$ed up when you invoke the the name of god:  The Pope has issued a statement that priests who molest children are likely "criminals".  Really?!  Well, at least the Pope is now on board with what we here in America have thought for decades.  Talk about a day late and a dollar short.  The Pope decided that the Catholic Church will only defrock "serial predator" priests.  So if you're a priest and you're going to molest someone, it's ok as long as you only molest one.  Great.  Would any other profession stand for this?  Can you imagine such a rule for elementary school teachers?  "Oh, it's ok ... Mrs. Johnson only molested one girl."  Forget it!  One strike and you're out.  Police officers?  Librarians?  Social workers?  Counselors?  Would a "one free bite" rule be acceptable for any of those professions, especially given a previous track record of rampant molestations?  Of course not.  Then why would we accept a "one free bite" rule for priests?  If anything, priests are in a much higher position of power over children because they are invoking the name of God in what they do.  No other profession that interacts with children has that kind of power.  No, I'm sorry your Holy Pontiff, but the "one free bite" rule is not acceptable to us in America.  Let's send that message by adopting a zero-tolerance policy ... force the churches to turn over the names of the people they know have molested children, and send those "priests" to jail, along with anyone who helped cover up those crimes.  And for the misguided priests who think this is somehow related to homosexuals in the church, get a clue:  Just like rape, molestation is not a sexual thing, it's a power thing.  There are priests molesting both girls and boys, apparently in equal numbers.  Keep whatever dumb-ass policies and beliefs you want, and be as hypocritical as you want, but our society needs to send a clear message that if you touch the kids, you're going to jail.  Don't try to deflect blame and responsibility to others.  Headline:  "Church stolen as couple prepares for wedding."  That's a bummer.
4/24: One more observation on the Israel/Palistine thing.  Whenever the U.S. gets involved in redrawing boundaries, bad things result.  Korea is still fighting itself some fifty or so years later.  Vietnam is still not a happy place to be.  All those Latin American countries where the CIA set up puppet governments are still in the economic toilet.  The USSR (which arguably we destroyed) is in economic chaos.  We wrote the Japanese Constitution and set up the post-war government there, and their economy is a disaster.  We screwed around in the middle east 50 years ago setting up Israel, and that has been nothing but a disaster.  Why on earth would we think that we can fix it now?  We're really bad at this.  We should stop.  Look at it this way:  If Indiana got really upset with Ohio and started sending troops across the border, how would we react if Nigeria started sending in troops and redrew the boundaries between Indiana and Ohio?  Do you really think we'd stand for some random country sending in troops to settle a boundary dispute?  Yankees go home.  Hoo rah.
4/23: "We got hosed, Davey.  We got hosed."  Pat "the hypocrite" Robertson doesn't see a conflict between his condemnation of gambling and the fact that he owns racehorses.  The California Supreme Court ruled that local governments may ban gun shows from public property.  Think that violates the Second Amendment?  It doesn't ... the Second Amendment does not apply to states, so states can pass any laws they want restricting firearms.  It's got to take some extra special incompetence to run two trains together headfirst.
4/22: eBay has pulled the A&F shirts, because they violated their policy against racist products. I accidentally saw The Bachelor tonight.  *shudder*  Didn't we learn our lesson from Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?  Shockingly bad television.  Women everywhere should be protesting this garbage. Today the news reported that Israel is most likely committing war crimes against the Palistinians.  It is clear that Israel, being an armed sovereign state, has the power to defend itself if needed, and if they need support, there are people in the U.S. who are pro-Israeli who can help support the state.  All of that leads me to a revised view of our involvement there:  1) The U.S. should do what we should have done in Vietnam - pull out, and stop military support of either side; 2) Encourage Israel to defend itself against attack, but discourage them from taking over land that was not originally granted to them; 3) Get a non-partisan think-tank together of the country's smartest religious, cultural and political leaders, and try to come up with an intelligent way for the Arabs, Palistinians and Jews to coexist in a limited geography, and propose this as a solution to all three.  If the three reject it, then fine, let themselves blow themselves to smitherines.  But we have no business forcefully (directly or indirectly) redrawing national boundaries. On the heals of his success with the Abercrombie & Fitch protest, my friend Phil, aka Minsoolove, has spun-off Angry Asian Man onto its own domain.  Former molester-priest now frat house advisor.  Cool:  President Bush executes a "J-Turn" at Secret Service training.
4/19: I'm off to San Luis Obispo for the weekend.  All the news channels last night covered the A&F protest in SF ... that was cool, and it's really neat to know the guy who started it all ... Phil, aka Minsoolove, even if he is the unwilling catalyst.  John got booted off Survivor last night.  No surprise - he was the loudest, and most powerful.  I didn't really enjoy the immunity challenge - too many coconuts, not enough substance.  The reward challenge was just one big Snickers commercial, but the kite flying was cool.  I would have been one of those people running along the beach with my kite dragging behind me!  Al DeGuzman, the DeAnza College Terrorist, wrote to the woman who turned him into the cops.  That's weird.  How exactly is it that DeGuzman had hundreds of weapons and bombs in his bedroom and no one in his family thought that was strange?  Robert Blake was arrested yesterday for the murder of his wife.  Is anyone surprised?  I mean, his alibi was that he had to go back to the restaurant to get the handgun he accidentally left there.  Who takes a handgun to a restaurant, and accidentally leaves it there?  There's a guilty verdict waiting to happen.  Top-ten list of funny headlines.
4/18: The A&F thing has just exploded.  Yahoo, Reuters, KTVU, San Jose Merc, SF Chron, ... stuff I probably haven't heard of.  I even had to call in the ACLU for some advice about the protest tonight in SF ... they helped out a lot. Yee haa!  The story made it on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle!  Good job, Austin! Whit passes along George Costanza's Rules to Working (condensed):  Never walk without a document in your hands.  Use computers to look busy.  Have a messy desk.  Very true, Whit.
4/17: Now a protest has been organized at A&F in SF, Thursday at 5pm.  Holy cow.  You know the shirts I mentioned below?  A&F started selling them last Friday.  The shirts really pissed off my friend Austin, so he called up the San Francisco Chronicle and their business retail reporter is now doing a story about the shirts for the Business section.  The story will hopefully run in tomorrow's Chron.  I talked to the reporter on the phone and gave her my comments, so we'll see if I get quoted.  Don't you at least pay attention to the news when you travel?  You'd have to be a dumbass to travel anywhere near Bethlehem right now.  Nothing like a good, old-fashioned protest against fundamentalist Christians.  Ha!  Phil found some additional Abercromie shirts.  Downtown parking rates to rise. Why do we accept a a major clothing retailer promoting such blatant racism?  Would it be acceptable if the shirts were about black people?  Give their customer service number a call and let them know that our society has progressed beyond this point.
4/16: Pilot's Wife was on last night - made for TV movie on CBS.  I read the book a few years ago - excellent book.  Skipped the movie, because it was up against Six Feet Under.  Boulder Colorado is voting to ban the outdoor use of indoor couches.  Rednecks are protesting.  The White House is revising history by scrubbing transcripts containing Presidential bloopers.  Shame on them.  The White House should not be covering up the fact that our President is a functional illiterate.  Yesterday the Supreme Court granted cert in the case of Victor's Little Secret v. Victoria's Secret Catalogue, Inc.  A family-owned adult bookstore in Kentucky (Victor's Little Secret) is being sued by Victoria's Secret for violating its trademark.  So why did the Supreme Court take the case?  To determine the issue of whether Victoria's Secret has to prove actual damages.  Victor's Little Secret contends they choose the name not to copy off of Victoria's Secret, but because the store is owned by Victor, and he didn't want his boss to find out about his "little secret."  No kidding.  Walked to work at 7:15 this morning next to some guy practicing his flute.  That's just a bit too early in the morning for flute practicing on a public street.  My voice is slowly recovering.  Very slowly.  The Supreme Court struck down the virtual child pornography law (CPPA) that was the topic of last week's First Monday TV show.  The law was too broad - it encompassed art from Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) to Academy Award winning shows (Traffic and American Beauty), as well as graduate level medical books.  The portion of the law banning alteration of pictures (grafting the head of a teenager onto an adult body) was not challenged.
4/15: Former Justice Byron White died today.  He was appointed to the Supreme Court by JFK, after serving in JFK's administration for 2 years.  Kennedy thought White was a liberal, but White was one of the more conservative members of the Supreme Court, writing the dissent in Roe and and the majority in Hardwick.  Today is tax filing day ... you can extend the filing of the return, but not the payment.  Today is my first day on "rotation" in the TMPS group.  What does that mean?  Apparently nothing ... I'm still doing the same stuff I was doing before.
4/14:  Santa Clara County may soon require law firms with county contracts to do pro bono work.  Not only should Cardinal Bernard Law resign from the Catholic Church, but he should really resign from society also.  We don't have any use for him.  Goodbye.  The latest events with Marjorie Knoller  - replacing her attorney, and her old attorney's comments to the press - are not nearly as surprising as the news has made it seem.  A criminal defendant would be crazy to use the same trial attorney for the appeal.  In fact, most trial attorneys will refuse to handle the appeal, because appeals are a very specialized practice of law.  So it's really quite routine for a criminal defendant like Marjorie to replace her trial attorney before she files the appeal.  Nedra Ruiz's comments to the press, "Perhaps my mistakes contributed to a false understanding of the evidence," is not as much an admission that she screwed up as setting the stage for an ineffective assistance of counsel appeal.  But such arguments are very hard to make, and they are rarely successful.  As Jim Hammer said, "The defense has to prove that if a different attorney had done this case, Marjorie Knoller would have been found not guilty, and that's weighed against the enormity of the evidence."  There's no way.
4/13: Got an e-mail from Dr. Mary Campbell Gallagher, author of Scoring High on Bar Exam Essays.  That book really helped me with the bar exam, and I plug it quite a bit on the Primer. I believe that you are performing a great service by explaining to other bar candidates how you prepared for that exam.  Thanks, Mary!  I'm still waiting for an e-mail from Scott Turow ...
4/12: Survivor 5 will be shot this summer on a small island off of Thailand.  That will be the third Survivor to take place on a tropical island.  Last fall, I was sitting at my desk at work, and the phone rang.  I answered it.  It was a lawyer named Walter, calling from a large mid-western city.  He had seen the Bar Exam Primer page, and wanted my assistance.  He had failed the California bar exam numerous times, and was about to take it one last time.  I hate these calls, because it's almost impossible for me to stop my work and help people over the phone.  But this was an older gentleman, and a rather prominent attorney, so I spent some time talking with him on the phone, and followed-up with some e-mails.  I didn't hear from him again after that, and I assumed he failed the exam again.  But then I got an e-mail from him last week:  Thanks to your website and coaching I passed the July 2001 California Bar
Exam. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!  You're welcome, Walter.  It's my pleasure.  Last night's Survivor was a lesson for future contestants:  The squeaky wheel gets booted.  Rob was such a loud-mouth, blabbering about all his alliances and strategies.  Thank goodness they booted him and not Kelly.  Not that Kelly is all that great - she should probably be next to go.  But Rob was just plain old annoying.
4/11: The house is amazingly quiet with these double-pane windows installed ... it's hard to imagine how noisy it used to be, because now even when the garbage truck comes by it's totally quiet. 
4/10: The news is full of reports of more and more priests being convicted, reported, or accused of being criminals.  Yesterday, one priest committed assault and battery against a reporter covering his criminal molestation trial.  The hypocrisy just amazes me ... here we have a group of people (the Catholic Church, and other religions) purporting to tell the rest of us what is moral and immoral, how to lead a "good" life, and what bad people we are for not doing as they say, and yet they've got a bunch of pedophiles on the loose.  Clean up your own act first.  Neighbor from hell ... this is hilarious.
4/8:  What do Andersen and the Catholic Church have in common?  The lesson that it's not good to hide evidence.  The window replacement finally begins tomorrow ... double pained, aluminum (per condo association requirements), with sound suppression.  Yee-ha!  Andersen finally announces the layoffs ... 25%... mainly from audit.  Glad I didn't accept their job offer.  Dan Gilmore (SJ Merc)'s weblog.  He wrote a good article about stock options today.  Weblogs.com  Phil reports that the Peppermill in Cupertino closed down.  That's sad.  As Phil noted, "I will definitely miss those velour red seats, the weird lighting and mirrors, fake plants, and of course, the (un)attractively dressed waitresses."  The Peppermill and downtown San Jose's Original Joe's are the two most likely venues for mafia deals going down.  Last night's Six Feet Under was a bit of a let-down, but the aunt character was really good.  Before SFU, I watched Sopranos - the most recent one I've seen so far - it was good.
4/7:  Haha - this guy got what he deserved.  What the news report doesn't tell is that when he jumped out of the van, the van was on a bridge, and he fell off the bridge and died.  I don't see how there can be any long-lasting peaceful solution to the current (and ongoing) middle-east problem so long as three of the world's largest religions are disputing ownership of one relatively small piece of land, which is equally holy to all three religions.  But I'm sure that won't stop our government (and President Bush) from doing everything possible to screw up the situation even worse.  The squeegee that saved 6 people on 9/11 enters the Smithsonian. Last night I watched The Dish, a really funny Australian movie about the moon landing.  Good movie.
4/6: �I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks" Even the President can't figure out if Taiwan is an independent country or not. Armadillo Willy's just couldn't quite figure out how to get the cheese on my cheeseburger.  It was just too difficult. Now Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony himself is under investigation for child molestation.  Our pal Roger, of course, was the guy who refused to turn over the names to the police of the three priests who were being investigated internally for molestation.  Bad decision, Roger.  Interestingly, that decision lead to a First Amendment question (lower in the news report). I just don't get it ... these priests, and the church as a whole and religions in general, spends millions of dollars and a ton of effort telling other people how it is bad to sin, how we're all going to hell, and how immoral our society is.  And yet these same people are doing things far worse than what they are condemning others for.  It's not just the Catholic church.  "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone."  John 8:7.  In other words, stop this holier-than-thou bullshit that things going on in society are immoral until you clean up your own act.
4/5: An article about the E.T. re-release flop. There was a big fire on Hamilton Ave @ 3rd Street in Campbell (next to McWhorters) on Thursday morning.  It's now being investigated as an arson.  That's scary. Don't forget to get your free Jamba Juice smoothie. For many years, my law school, Santa Clara University, was a 3rd tier school.  Not embarrassingly bad, but not exactly prestigious.  This year it got bumped up to 2nd tier!  That is cool, because now I can say I went to a 2nd tier law school.  That puts it ahead of Pepperdine, Southwestern, USF, McGeorge, and poor Golden Gate down in tier 4 (all of which were my back-up law schools).
4/4: Looks like Andersen is splitting off its tax practice from its audit practice, and selling tax to Deloitte.  They are expected to announce a 25% layoff next week.  All that will remain with Andersen is audit.  It is unimaginable to separate audit from tax ... it's the end of Andersen.  Holy cow.  Deloitte and Touche just acquired a "significant" number of Andersen's U.S. partners and staff.  That formally signals the beginning of the end.  Last night's Amazing Race saw the demise of Pastors Cyndi and Russell.  Jesus didn't do as good of a job of guiding them to their destination as they had expressed.  Did you catch Blake's statement at the car-burning shrine?  "God, help these kind people, they know not what they are doing, they are idol worshipers."  Oh my.  And I think some of those cars accidentally got tossed into some guy's trash incinerator. It's now safe for first cousins to marry and have children. Except in parts of the rural south, where your first cousin is also your aunt. Here's the best solution I've heard so far to the Catholic priest pedophile problem. OK - I'll get off my religion soapbox.  But it's been in the news a lot lately. Last night's West Wing was very good ... written by Dee-Dee Meyers in fact.  The last scene with the President calling the aid's elementary school teacher was great.  Reminds me of when the President called the Butter-Ball hotline.  And the cracks about the $300 tax "rebate" ... that was classic West Wing.
4/3: The head of our national H.R. department is trying to make our company a "great place to work" to get us on the Fortune list of "100 Best Companies to Work for in America."  That e-mail came out less than a week after H.R. sent out an e-mail telling us that they are eliminating the tuition reimbursement benefit for employees who already have graduate degrees.  You're not doing much to get my vote. It's just a dumb idea to mix religion (whose?) with the government.  Erecting a seven-foot stone monument containing the Ten Commandments on the state capital is a dumb-ass idea, Governor.  I'm glad the Supreme Court agreed.  Rachel Cate is absolutely right. Then again, we shouldn't have high expectations from a state whose motto is "Sounds good to me."
4/2:  Tonight I get to play judge for the Santa Clara University School of Law 2002 Honors Moot Court.  It's a civil rights / ADA claim.  I did this last year, and had a lot of fun helping the competitors. ... The Moot Court competition was great.  I got to play Justice Wise, on the Supreme Court.  Tonight was a preliminary round for the competition, and I was one of three judges in my courtroom over at the SJ Superior Court.  We heard two arguments, with 4 lawyers per argument.  The contestants (all 2L's at SCU) were really quite good - I wish I had their abilities.
4/1: Happy April Fools!
3/31: Well, it's come time to change web servers again.  I was with Hostsave.com until December 2001, when I switched to hijinksdesign.com.  Now I am in need of Frontpage extensions again, and tried to go back to Hostsave, but they haven't responded to my requests for reactivation.  So I found another hosting company called Omnis (use referral number 4y7l8gd), which is actually cheaper than Hostsave, and has basically the exact same features (arguably better features, since they have webmail support).  So tonight I put in the DNS change request with NetSol, so this week the twise.com web and e-mail servers will be all screwed up until the DNS propagates through the internet.  The end goal is to (1) better manage e-mail while minimizing reliance on Yahoo, and (2) make it easier for me to do weblog updates.  Here's updated pictures of the back patio.  Since the last photos a few weeks ago, I added some more plans... that's about it.  You can't see it from the photos, but I also painted the step right outside the sliding glass door.  I painted it off white, which is very white, but I think it looks ok.  I wanted to paint the rest of the concrete (over by the dart board) a wet-darky color, but the guy at Home Depot talked me into this sealant stuff ... it really didn't do what I wanted it to do, but it'll be ok.  Aus, Cindy and Cindy's sister Annie came down for lunch ... we all took Lacie outside to the back patio - she really liked the sun, and standing in the fountain.  I took her out later in the afternoon and she sat with me while I read some court cases for this week's honor's mock trial, which I'm a judge for.  Lacie even made a few new noises to the other birds in the back yard.
3/30: Went to see the 20th anniversary release of E.T. tonight.  There were so few people in the theatre - I was amazed.  I figured more people would go see it.  The first time I saw it, in 1982, I was so scared my mom had to carry me out of the theatre.  This time it wasn't as scary.  This afternoon I played soccer with Derrick and his friends, and another coworker and her family - that was a lot of fun.  Our team lost, which brought back all sorts of memories from 8th grade.  Hopefully we'll do that again soon.  Wow, the Queen Mother died today.  She was old.  Last night we ate at Buca Restaurant on Winchester (not to be confused with Buca De Beppo).  It was really good.  Mom liked the atmosphere.  Home Depot recommended that if I want to get the "wet look" for the back and front concrete, rather than using concrete paint I should use sealer, which is advertised to give the wet look.  So I primed the concrete this morning, and I'll put on the sealer on the back concrete this afternoon to see how it looks.
3/29: I finished painting the concrete on the back step today, and tomorrow I'll start on the larger slab on the patio and the front porch.  This is the coolest billboard ever (on 101 southbound in San Mateo).  Update on the Fightin' Whites.  Last night's Survivor was totally rigged.  And I'm not just saying that because my pick to win, Gabriel, was booted.  The reward challenge was rigged so that Maraamu would win.  They producers hid the 14th piece of Rotu's totem pole in a hard-to-find location, so that Rotu would loose the reward challenge, and Maraamu would raid Rotu's camp.  That would give Maraamu the supplies they needed to build a superior distress signal for the immunity challenge.  Thus ending Rotu's winning streak.  Last night I washed down the concrete portion of the patio that is right in front of the sliding glass door, and this morning I applied the concrete primer.  Tomorrow morning I'll put on the concrete paint ... and see how that looks.  My neighbor stained their concrete front porch last summer, and it looks really nice.  Back to the story of Pedro Calderon, the guy who was evading police while driving a stolen BMW, who was shot last week while trying to injure a police officer in Palo Alto. At his funeral this week, one of Pedro's friends, Sharlene Moreno, was quoted in the Mercury News as saying, "They shouldn't have just shot to kill."  Sharlene, the police don't shoot to kill. They shoot to disable.  Aiming a gun is far from an exact science, even for those with extensive weapon training. And when you're protruding from a vehicle that is moving, and your body is about to be pinned up against another car (as was the case of Officer Perryman), aiming the gun at the right body part of the attacker is pretty damn hard to do. Frankly, I think we should be admiring Officer Perryman's ability to stop Pedro from injuring or killing innocent people on Stanford Avenue or law enforcement officers, as he was apparently attempting to do.  Sharlene, the answer to your question does not lie in criticizing the police for their less than idealistic abilities to aim a gun under high stress situations. It lies in getting people like your friend Pedro to stop doing dumb-ass things like stealing a car and evading the police, then then attacking the police in a manner that requires the use deadly force. Place the responsibility on the person whose actions caused the consequences, not on those who are forced to respond as best they can.  I don't normally defend the police, but in this case, I just don't see how the police could have responded any differently. And I resent the family and friends of this criminal who are trying to shift the responsibility for Pedro's actions from Pedro to the police.
3/28: San Jose cop arrested for felony elder fraud after he robs person he is sent to help.   U.S. to seek death penalty against Moussaoui.  Do you think he cares?  If he hadn't been detained by the INS, he'd be dead already ... we're just helping him accomplish his goal.  If we really wanted to punish him, we'd stick him in a very small cell for the rest of his life.  Doh!  My picks to win Amazing Race 2, Shola and Doyin, were eliminated last night after getting stuck in the sand and getting lost.  I'm so upset.  Survivor will have a fifth season, at a yet to be determined location.  This is so bad.
3/27: Have you noticed less traffic in the Bay Area?  I caught a little bit of The Court last night on ABC.  What a horrid show.  Casting Sally Fields to play a Supreme Court Justice was the first mistake ... she was completely unbelievable.  It's impossible to imagine a Supreme Court justice being as dumb as her character is.  Of course, the reason they have to portray these people dumbed-down  is so that they can explain basic legal concepts ad nausea to the TV viewing public.  This show won't be on very long.  First Monday (which airs on Friday) is better.  I think we should just let Israel and Palistine blow each other up, and not get involved.  There's just not going to be an easy solution to a religious war.  And the U.S. really isn't so good at resolving these types of conflicts anyhow.  Other than to recognize the hypocrisy inherent in the enormous number of killings and huge amount of hatred that take place in the name of organized religion.  My dumb-ass award of the day goes to David W. Wilson, who was charged last week with misdeameanor drunken driving and hit and run.  David is the head of the California Highway Patrol's Protective Services Division (similar to the Secret Service).  We should expect more from our CHP chiefs.
3/26: Today I met with a Special Investigator for the United States Air Force.  He is a former Secret Service agent, who is now retired and works part-time doing background checks for classified government positions.  I've never met someone like that before - it was pretty cool.  I could say why I had to meet with him, but then I'd have to kill you.    How to file a complaint with the FCC.  There's a guy talking about his colonoscopy outside my cube.  Great.  The Weather Channel has this really cool toolbar application that tells you the weather.
3/25: Here's a funny story about chili cook-off's - good reading for Texans.  The family of Pedro Calderon is protesting his death.  He's the guy who was shot by the police in Palo Alto last week on Stanford Ave.  They are "demanding justice."  Pedro, a convicted criminal, was shot while he was trying to kill a uniformed police officer.  At the time, he was trying to evade the police, and driving a stolen BMW.  He used the stolen BMW to pin the police officer against her patrol car.  She shot him in self defense.  Pedro's mother said, "I don't feel the cop felt threatened."  Really?!  I think any reasonable human being would feel threatened when someone is gunning a car at them and pinning them against another vehicle. Pedro's father is quoted as saying "I just want to know why he died."  Here's the answer:  Your son died because he's a dumb ass.  He used a stolen car to run over a uniformed police officer.  The police officer did what anyone would have done - she fought back in self defense.  Other protesters said that they felt the shooting was a racist act, and would not have happened if Pedro had been white.  Really?!  I think anyone, regardless of race, who intentionally tries to run over a police officer is likely to get shot by that police officer in self defense.  The fact that our friend Pedro was not white does not automatically convert the incident into a racist act.  And calling it a "racist act" diminishes incidents that truly are racist.  Pedro, when you steal a car, evade the police, threaten a peaceful neighborhood and an elementary school with your actions, and try to kill a police officer, you got what you deserved.  If anyone should be protesting, we should be protesting dumb-asses like Pedro who threaten our safety.  Derrick has created a picture of the day page for funny pictures ... today's is especially good.  I'm now using server side includes to update the weblog ... please let me know if you see any problems.
3/24: Watched the Academy Awards from my friend Peter's house tonight.  Halle Berry is only the second African-American to win the best actor/ess category - her speech was very good.  She thanked her lawyer.  Denzel (number three) did a good job too.  The OSH How-To Fair was interesting ... got three free buckets and a few plants.  And a portable bird stand from the bird show, for Lacie.  Today the San Mateo County Expo Center has two good events:  The OSH How-To Fair, and a bird show.  So we're going up for both events.  Academy Awards on tonight!  Audited by ... yup ... PricewaterhouseCoopers
3/23: Tonight Austin and I went over to Campbell's new Stoddards for dinner.  Service was much better this time than last time.  Food was good too.  Updated privacy policy.  The Catholic church is now facing racketeering charges for covering up the sexual abuse.  This whole molestation problem is so funny because it just goes to show how hypocritical these organized religions are.  Lacie had a very good day today - she took a bath in the sink this morning (very stressful for all involved, including her).  She spent the rest of the day on her gymnasium.  Happy birthday, mom!  Last night we went to see A Beautiful Mind.  It was a really good movie - it should win best picture on Sunday.
3/22: I've occasionally been asked about my experiences at Santa Clara University School of Law.  Here they are.  Some of this responds to specific questions, and some of it is just general advice.  I went to Santa Clara in the full time program from 1997 through 2000.  The professors and courses have changed quite a bit since I was at Santa Clara, so I won't be commenting much about specific professors or courses.  But I will say that I have a very deep respect for professors Neustadter, Wright (both Eric and Nancy), Armstrong, Russell, Carbone, Uelman, Goda.  I think they are good professors, and good people.  The three years I spent in law school at Santa Clara were some of the best years of my life.  The learning experience, both learning how to "think like a lawyer" and the substantive material itself, was a wonderful experience.  The people could not have been better classmates, friends, and colleagues.  The professors really do care about the students, and will do anything they can to help the students out.  The administration is not the best - many think Dean Player is ineffective, and I tend to agree.  But the Law Career Services department, law records office, and student services departments are all very well run, and the people in those departments are wonderful people.  I used Lexis and Westlaw for research so I didn't spend much time in the library, but I never heard of any instances of books being stolen or any sort of unprofessionalism on the part of the students.  Similarly, I always had positive experiences in sharing notes and collaborating with students, and catching each other up when we had to miss class.  In terms of the professors, I think pre-law students have a fear that the instructors will be very scary and make life hell.  In general, the professors want to make your life in law school a positive experience, and will go out of their way to help you.  Many of my professors became close personal friends of mine.  The fear comes up in class, when you get called on.  Everyone has that fear of not being prepared, of not knowing the right answer, etc.  Some professors are heavy users of the socratic method, others just lecture and don't ask questions.  For the professors who are intimidating in that they do use the socratic method, you can identify who those professors are early on, and learn to be prepared for that class.  Also, the fear of the "wrong answer" goes away quickly ... they aren't looking for the right answer - they're looking for your reasoning and analysis.  Your classmates won't look down on you for not having the right answer, as long as you have a well thought out answer.  But if you are not prepared for class, you will feel like a fool.  Be prepared.  Do your reading, and brief the cases (this gets much easier as time goes on).  In terms of returning students and part-time (full time working) students, they are a minority to be sure - the majority of the law students are straight out of undergrad.  Since I was not a returning/part-time student, I can't address exactly what goes on for these students, but I took a lot of evening classes with the part-timers, and they seemed to be doing just fine.  If I was in this category and considering law school, I would definitely ask the law school to put me in touch with a current student or alumni from this category.  In terms of preparation for law school, my poli sci major (and knowledge of how to brief cases) gave me an advantage for about a week, and then everyone is evened out.  No one really has a true advantage coming into law school, and there is nothing that I recommend pre-law students to do prepare for law school, other than becoming as familiar as you can with the processes and what to expect.  Take a nice vacation.  Read a few fun books.  Do something relaxing.  That's what I recommend.  If you overprepare before it even starts, you risk burn-out.  In terms of comparing SCU to other schools, I didn't go or even consider any other school so I really can't make that comparison very well.  But SCU is not Stanford.  It is not Boalt.  There will be a difference in education levels.  But that's not really a surprise.  In terms of other schools at the same level (McGeorge, Golden Gate, USF, etc.), I think Santa Clara is much better than those schools.  But that's just my biased opinion.  First Year  The first semester is traumatic for everyone.  You're learning a new way of thinking, and entering what you perceive to be a very difficult and stressful process.  It's a hard few months.  There are a number of books that have been written which address the adjustment law students must make, and I recommend that all pre-law students get and read at least one of these books, to help prepare for the impact of the first semester.  As far as SCU goes, all first year students are assigned to a section, and you will spend the entire year in that section.  Everyone in that section takes essentially the same classes, so you get to know your section-mates very well.  Some of my section-mates have become life-long friends.  We all helped each other out during finals, and in studying for the bar.  How you relate to your section-mates will have a large impact on your success in law school and afterwards.  Switching sections is not allowed.  Part time students are also put in sections, but there are generally only one or two part-time sections.  After the first year, the section classification disappears.  I did not work during my first semester, but after the first semester I found that I had enough spare time that I could work about 10 hours a week, and I did for the remainder of law school.  Having said that, I did not do mock trial or law review - if I had, I doubt I would have been able to work.  There is some pressure in your first year to find a law-related job that first summer, but that is almost impossible.  Unless you have connections, it's unlikely to happen for all but the best students.  Rather than even try to find a "real" job, I headed to Hong Kong for the SCU study-abroad program.  Like most 1L's, I doubted my ability to stay in law school, and feared getting booted out.  SCU boots very few students out.  A number of students (i.e. 3-5 from each section) don't return by 2L, but many of those are people who voluntarily drop out - either for financial, personal, family reasons, or for grades.  One or two from each section are asked not to come back.  They are by far the exception, and my personal belief is that you have to really be misguided to get that bad of grades at SCU.  The law school certainly does everything it can (and professors too) to try to keep those people, and give them the support they need.   Second Year  In the second year I focused on what electives to take.  Rather than specialize in IP or another field, I choose to get a general, broad legal education, because I was not certain what field of law I would be practicing in after law school.  I'm very glad I did a broad-based education, because now I know a little bit about everything, which is enough for me to be able to do issue spotting and referrals.  That's very useful in helping family members and friends with legal problems, and for doing pro bono legal work.  My GPA wasn't stellar after 1L, so I choose electives in my 2L and 3L that I knew I would enjoy, and therefore I studied more and my GPA improved tremendously.  During my 2L summer, I was not able to find a job with a law firm, so I clerked with Bay Area Legal Aid, and had a wonderful and very educational experience there.  Yes, clerking for a law firm in the 2L summer is an important way to get your foot in the door for post-law school employment.  But if that option is not open to you, make the most of it, and do something interesting and educational.  Third Year  The third year is the home-run, and time to focus on finding a job after law school.  It is also the time to finish taking any bar-prep courses that you need, and any last electives.  I also went through the OCI (On Campus Interview) process at the beginning of 3L.  Generally OCI's are only for the top 25% of the class, but I was fortunate enough to be in my 3L when the economy was booming, so I was able to get a number of interviews.  PricewaterhouseCoopers interviewed me and offered me a job, and that's how I got my first post-law school job.  Once the economy cooled off, OCI's weren't quite as successful or lucrative of a means of finding jobs.  But be prepared to go through OCI's right after 2L and 3L starts - work on your resume during the summer, so that you have it ready to go.
3/21: If you watch the video of the verdicts, you will learn that as most people suspected, it was Count #1 (second degree murder) that wasn't decided until today.  During the reading of the verdicts, Nedra The Amazing Wonder Attorney seemed to take about five pages of notes... what was she writing?  The appeal?  Sheesh.  Now at least Marjorie and Robert will get to spend some time with their adopted son.  In a letter from Robert to his adopted Aryan Brotherhood son, he wrote "Neighbors be damned.  If they don't like living in the building with her, they can move."  Well, Rob, look who's moving now.  Dog Mauling Case Verdicts!  Marjorie Knoller:  Owning a mischievous animal (1-3 yrs): GUILTY!  Involuntary manslaughter (2-4 yrs): GUILTY!  Second Degree Murder (15 yrs-life): GUILTY!  Robert Noel:  Owning a mischievous animal (1-3 yrs): GUILTY!  Involuntary manslaughter (2-4 yrs): GUILTY!  Those of you who have been reading my weblog for a while know that I think Marjorie and Robert should be found guilty on all charges.  The defendants weren't very sympathetic, and their attorneys didn't help.  Survivor was interesting last night - the teams got mixed up, so that brought out some new personalities.  Maraamu still sucks - no surprise.  Amazing Race was predictable - Gutsy Granny's got booted.  How did they end up as the only team going up to NYC to get to Africa?  Oh well.  They gave it a really good shot, and they should be VERY proud.  I spent most of the day at one of my client's offices.  They aren't really a tech company, which is rare these days in this area.  They make a product that a large number of people have a use for (it goes in your mouth).  I learned how they make the product, and distribute it around the world - very interesting stuff.  Happy first day of Spring!  Yea!  Here's a plant zone hardiness map.  Go plant something.  And Amazing Race and Survivor are on tonight!  What a great way to celebrate spring.  On Amazing Race, the previews say that the Gutsy Granny's oversleep their departure time, which is really sad.  I think they'll be booted tonight.  OTOH, they've made it past 2 eliminations already, which is probably further than they thought they would make it.  They should be proud.  This Nedra Ruiz woman (Knoller's attorney) is a NUT!  If I were her, I would be embarassed.  I wonder where Knoller dug this woman up?  She went to Hastings, and works up in SF.  From the Mercury:  Nedra Ruiz just doesn't get it. She may be the first lawyer in history to try a case involving a fatal dog mauling by behaving like a rabid animal. Several times during her defense, she howled and almost foamed at the mouth. She got down on all fours in front of the jury. She had to be muzzled by the judge.  And she made no sense.  Ha!  What a good article.
3/19: I went to law school with John Thompson, who started his own law practice.  Speaking of faces ... draw your own here.  Strange faces in the WTC smoke?  Oh look, there is a professional services firm with less clue about morale than PricewaterhouseCoopers:  Baker & McKenzie has eliminated vacation and sick time.  The jury is expected to get the dog mauling case sometime today.  I wonder how long it will take them to reach a verdict?  I think it would take me about 30 minutes.
3/18: My next PDA and cell phone will be a Handspring Treo.  Text-based pong.  I got my car back, after a two-and-a-half week absence.  The total repair bill came to a whopping $6,300, plus $700 for the rental car, or $7,000 total. Insurance paid all of that except for the $500 deductible, which I paid. They said if there had been just a little bit more damage, they probably would have totaled the car.  "Instead of 'guilty by reason of insanity,' the jury should declare Andrea Yates 'guilty by reason of drowning five children in a bathtub'." -- The Onion  My friend Derrick put up a picture of the World Trade Center light display.
3/16: Banana Leaf was good last night, but not the best.  Joe, Kenny and I went to Stacks this morning for brunch, and that was delicious.  Kazoo Sushi tonight.  OK, here are the long awaited patio pictures.  The long-term strategy is to get the ivy to grow around the edges of the patio, and a combination of ivy and other vine-type plants going up the walls in a somewhat controlled fashion.  I haven't yet planted anything in the hanging baskets or some of the pots on the ground.  Here's a list of the plants I have put in so far:  Irish moss (ground cover), Hedera helix needlepoint & english (Ivy), Baby tears (ground cover), Ice plant (potted), Gazania - trailing (potted), Improved meyer lemon tree, Pink bower vine (potted).  I extended the drip irrigation system from the back yard, through the furnace closet, through the garage, and to the front of the house where I have a new plant (replacing one that died this winter from lack of water).  It's about 50 feet of hose, but the water pressure seems to support it.  I think the whole system is now up to twenty or so drip points.
3/15: The official newspaper of the Boston Archdiocese is recommending an end to the Catholic Church's celibacy policy, in an effort to curb the molestation problem that priests seem to suffer from.  In related news, 224 counts of molestation were dropped against Patrick O'Shea because the statute of limitations had run.  Maybe these priests and the Catholic Church needs to stop being hypocritical and learn to behave according to what they are preaching?  I get my car back on Monday.  It took two and a half weeks to repair it from the accident.  Andrea Yates will spend the next 40 years of her life in prison.  That sounds good.  I doubt even if they had sentenced her to death that she would have actually been executed - the appeals on her mental state would have taken too long, and may have overturned the sentence anyhow.  Next up, Knoller and Noel.  Tonight we're taking our friend Joe from Seattle out to my favorite restaurant, Banana Leaf, at Ranch 99 in Milpitas.  Yummmmy.  Today is the corporate tax filing deadline, which makes it a very busy day for those of us in the tax business.  I'm so glad I didn't take the job Andersen offered me.
3/14: I've ventured in to the area of growing my own food, with the purchase of a lemon tree and some herbs for the back patio.  I think I'm going to wait to plant the tree until after the windows get replaced (hopefully next week), so that it doesn't get damaged by the construction.  Andersen just got charged with obstruction of justice.  Holy cow.  Terror widows.  Last night's Survivor was ho-hum.  No surprise that Maraamu lost another reward and immunity challenge - that team has no cohesiveness and strength.  Rotu is such a strong team, that after the merger they'll vote off any remaining Maraamus.  My prediction for Gabriel to win stands.  I'll put up the official Amazing Race 2 review below.  Amazing Race was really good last night.  The Gutsy Grandma's have no chance of winning, they're just clinging on to 2nd to last place.  But boy are they clinging!  I think they'll be the next to get booted.  My picks to win, Shola and Doyin, are still in first place, and despite some injuries, still going strong.  I'm going to make another prediction:  By next Monday, Andersen will file for bankruptcy to protect its partners from liability.  So far they have denied that they are planning to do this, but based upon the Justice Dept's actions and the failed merger attempts with E&Y and D&T, that's my prediction.
3/13: Philip Hwang, who used to be my boss at Bay Area Legal Aid, is one of the attorneys, along with the ACLU, who is suing the U.S. government on behalf of the luggage screeners who are being fired because of their immigration status.  Phil's a really neat person.  I learned a lot from Phil.  Amazing Race is on again tonight, followed by Survivor!  The INS accidentally issued visa approval letters this week to two of the (dead) 9/11 hijackers.  What a bunch of dumb asses.  I took Lacie to the vet this morning, and he removed the cast, x-rayed her foot, and determined the bone had 100% heeled.  It did regrow at a bit of an angle, but when she remolts her bones in about 6 months, the bone will regrow straight.  Her muscle in the formerly injured leg is a bit atrophied (normal), so we are limiting her range of movement for a few days by putting her in the carrier cage.  She should be back to normal in one week.
3/12: A Texas jury agreed that Andrea Yates is guilty of killing her children.  All the other links to the Wise and Brumbaugh genealogy file seem to be broken, so here's the link.  Amazing Race was as good as I expected last night.  The last 15 minutes were tense as the seniors and the mom/daughter team were racing for the last position.  I expected the seniors to loose, but they won!  I felt so bad for the mom ... she seemed crushed, but her daughter handled it so well, much better than last season's Emily.  So far I'm rooting for Shola and Doyin.
3/11: After nine years of being a registered Libertarian, I've switched my voter registration (online!) to independent.  The libertarians just weren't doing it for me any more.  Can you figure out what's wrong with this picture?  Takes about 30 seconds to figure out out... The new season of Amazing Race starts tonight at 10pm.  None of the contestants really capture my attention, but we'll see tonight when it starts.  Work is so boring today.  None of the projects I'm working on are even slightly interesting.  Looks like the Big-5 will soon be the Big-4.  Ok, obviously I've done some moving-around of stuff.  Etc. is being beefed up, and the travel reviews page and reality TV reviews page are getting integrated into Etc.  Here's the preface off of the old reality TV shows page:
3/10: To quote Jules, "Holy Shit."  The 9/11 show was really amazing.  No doubt that footage ranks up there with the footage of the Kennedy assassination and the Challenger explosion as the most powerful footage of a live event ever shown on T.V.  The story was written and edited really well.  The story was told through the eyes of the two French cameramen who were on scene on 9/11.  They were documenting the life of Tony, a rookie fireman.  The first 30 minutes was background, presented chronologically, starting in the summer of 2001, and the story of Tony.  The rest of the show was minute by minute, footage of what was going on within the WTC, and poor Tony who was left back at the firehouse.  Looking at the firemen (they were all men) in the WTC lobby, I don't think they had a clue what to do.  The walk up the stairs would have taken 80+ minutes to get to the scene.  Impossible.  The look on their faces is that of impossibility.  And during all of that, there is intermittent crashing sounds.  Very loud crashing.  Those are bodies, landing on the floor.  The most memorable quote, which I think we all wondered 6 months ago, was "How bad must it be up there that the better option is to jump."  It was really an amazing show.  Gretchen wrote in to tell me about No Boundaries, a reality TV show on WB with roughly the same premise as Amazing Race.  Her nephew Matt is one of the contestants!   Wow - I kinda sorta know someone famous!  I'll be sure and check out the show.   Tomorrow is the 6-month anniversary of 9/11.  Tonight is the special 9/11 show on ... NBC I think.  It's footage that was taken inside the WTC during the collapse.  The SF Chron said the footage contains audible sounds of people hitting the ground after jumping out of windows.  Some of my friends are watching it, some aren't.  I definitely plan to. This weekend on CNN they replayed some of the footage of the planes hitting the towers, that really hasn't been on TV at all since a week or two after the attack.  My personal theory is that the airlines pressured the networks to stop showing the footage for fear the replays would completely wipe out all airplane travel.  Woke up this morning in Tahoe to a small blizzard outside my window.  It obscured Lake Tahoe, which was only 20 feet away from our cabin.  After breakfast we left the cabin in a 5-car caravan headed home.  After two hours of "driving", we had gone two miles.  Traffic was that bad.  Finally it cleared up, and we made better time, getting home in about 7 hours.  Despite the snow, we lucked out and chains were not required.
3/9: The Enron bankruptcy makes me wonder what it is that Enron did in the first place.  The company has gone belly-up, and yet my electricity and natural gas both work just fine.  We aren't hearing about any crises in the power-delivery business.  No problems getting the lights to work.  Not even a hint that we are facing the type of power shortage that we faced a year ago.  So what exactly is it that Enron did that was so vital to the power grid?  Maybe the employees and investors who sunk their millions of dollars into Enron stock should have questioned that before they lost all their dough.  Then maybe they wouldn't have put all their eggs in that basket.  We made it up to Tahoe just fine, and went skiing today - that was fun, although not quite as much fun as my December ski trip to Utah because the skis I used today weren't as good as the ones I used in Utah, and the place was much more crowded.   So the 9/11 victims families are going to get nearly $2 million in government grants.  On top of the charitable donations.  That's good - you can't begrudge them that, and the families will need the money to make up for the loss of the income.  But what happens the next time 3,000 people die in an attack?  What if it's 10,000?  100,000?  Where will the money come from?  Already the Oklahoma City bombing victims are asking for their fair share, as well they should.  Where will all this money (billions and billions) come from?
3/8: I'm going skiing this weekend with a group of friends, so no more comments until Monday.  Bye!  OK, let's review:  When you are going to a job interview, find out what style the office wears (business formal / business casual / casual) and match your wardrobe accordingly.  I'm doing intern recruiting today.  (that means "free fancy lunch" for Travis)  Last night's Survivor was good!  Typical second-episode food challenge, but with a twist - no more spin the wheel, which was getting boring.  That fish they had to eat was absolutely disgusting.  I had to look away.  I felt bad that Mom got booted, but she was really being a pain in the ass with all her yammering.  I was serious yesterday when I said that this woman should be excused from the human race.  The story made national news last night and today.  She was DUI and on extacy, when she did a hit-n-run, and left the guy to bleed to death in her windshield in her garage.  She came out and apologized to him several times while he died, over a two day period.  No, I'm sorry, put her through a trial, and when she's found guilty, just hang her right there.  She's no longer needed in our society.
3/7: Can't wait until the HP-Compaq proxy vote is done so the newspaper doesn't have these big full-page ads in it any more.  Here's a place you can vent your frustration about the vote.  This woman should be excused from the human race.  We no longer have a need for her existence.  Goodbye!
3/6: My friend and coworker Derrick now has his website up and running.  Way to go D!  Gave blood today.  The cookies weren't that great.  Last night we moved all of Lacie's perches and food bowls back up to the normal height.  She had some difficulty getting used to the change, but she seems to be doing just fine now.  Her mobility is really quite good.  Yea!  Gary Condit didn't get reelected!  It would have been so embarrassing for him to have been arrested for the murder of Chandra Levy while he's sitting on the floor of Congress.  Who were the nuts who voted for Condit?  What were they thinking?  Every day I review the news stories which list my company in them, and it's amazing how many news releases these days are about companies replacing Andersen with PwC.  I guess that's good for us.  Andersen is very small in San Jose, so I doubt my office will see much effect of that.I'm giving blood today at my company's blood drive.  Mainly for the free cookies afterwords.  I'm removing the Palm OS Notepad files from the website, because they were very rarely if ever viewed.  If you want copies of any of these, let me know and I'll be happy to e-mail them to you:  Blue Book Citations, Hearsay Rule & Exceptions, U.S. Constitution, California Franchise Tax Board EFT Tax Type Codes, Corporate Tax Codes - Frequently Used Sections Summary, Corporate Tax Codes - Reorganization Summary, Depreciation (MACRS), IRS Filing Addresses, Stock Option Guide, Tax Code (U.S.C. 26) Table of Contents, Westlaw Tax Databases, Postal Abbreviations, Restaurant Tip Calculator.
3/5: Lacie is doing really well.  Last night she was signing along with Mix 106.5, and using her leg as if it wasn't broken.  The only thing that inhibits her is the cast.  She is also very clearly flexing her claw as much as she can given the limitations the cast has, so her nerve in her leg is clearly doing better.  In another week or so we'll take her back to the vet and possibly have the cast removed for good.  My friend Lee finally got his website back up and running.  Yea, Lee!  Don't forget to vote today!
3/4: I came home from work early today because I was feeling really bad.  I'll make some chicken soup before I go to bed.  I'm not sure why people do that, but we'll see if it works.  Tonight I had to go to Lawyer's In The Library though, since they don't have substitute lawyers.  There were so many people there - this was the first time we've had to turn people away.  Usual range of problems - employment, contracts, housing, etc.  The forecast for rain this week has changed to "cloudy" - yea.  Tax break for the owners of the famous 9/11 flag?
3/3: I'm getting a cold.  Today was such a nice day, I spent most of it working on the back patio.  I finished installing the drip watering system.  The system now provides irrigation for around 20 groups of plants.  I also removed three sections of bricks from the patio, and the underlying sand, filled the holes with dirt, and planted plants in them.  One of the holes is pretty big, so I'm going to put some sort of small tree or shrub in there.  I promise, photos coming soon.
3/2: Tonight Paul and I ate at the new Stoddard's in Campbell.  It was uneventful.  The food took forever to come out - they served one of our dishes to someone else, so we had to wait for them to re-cook one dish.  I think it was Paul's, because mine seemed kind of stale.  The service wasn't very good either.  I'll chalk it up to being a new restaurant and still working out the kinks.  The place was pretty full though - they're getting a lot of customers.  My response to Minsoolove's 3/2/02 comment about Jay Leno's clearly racist joke that speed skater Kim Dong-sung "was so mad he went home and kicked the dog, and then ate him:"    You're right, Leno never would have made that joke about blacks or Africa.  But the reason he would not have made the joke about blacks is not so much about respect (I have my doubts that Leno respects blacks any more than he respects Asians), but because blacks have a forty year history of mobilizing against that type of racism, and they are very good at fighting back against it a variety of avenues from grass-roots efforts to the mainstream media.  If Leno had made that comment about blacks, Jesse Jackson and dozens of other black leaders would have been on television the next day fighting back (as well they should).  Asians have yet to mobilize in that way.  There are no leaders in the Asian community to mobilize the people and run a well-coordinated grass-roots and media response.  And I see a lot of apathy in the Asian community that would prevent that from being terribly successful.  Until that happens, Leno's type of comments will continue.  Why have we not seen leaders come forward in the Asian community, as we did in the black community 40 years ago?  Maybe because the racism is too subtle these days.  Blacks had it really hard.  They were oppressed in ways minorities of all types today cannot remember.  That immense economic and physical oppression gave them something to rally behind, and they did.  The closest thing Asians have had to that is Wen Ho Lee.  And that's peanuts.  That's true about all of the minority groups (racial and otherwise) today.  The apathy is high, because there isn't a high enough degree of oppression to cause people to feel the need to react in the strong ways that we saw forty years ago. I had a very productive day with the back patio area.  I went to Home Depot and bought two planter boxes, and put some ivy plants in them.  I also got a second large glazed pot and put some ivy in that.  I screwed trellises into the fence above the planter boxes for the ivy to grow up the wall.  I know ivy isn't good for wood, but it's really the only thing I can do with that space to make it look a little more lively.  At Target I found a nice concrete birdfeeder for $60 that I placed on top of the drain.  Water can still drain off the patio into the drain, but at least it doesn't look nearly as ugly as it used to.  The next project will be to get a replacement climbing plant for the one that I'm about to declare dead in one of the pots, and two tall plants for the two empty pots.  Once spring arrives, I'll put flowers in the five hanging moss baskets that I got at Home Depot last weekend.  I'll post a picture on here soon of what it looks like.  Oh, and this evening, for about $25, I installed the majority of my new 15-station drip watering system.  I'll finish tomorrow.  The way it works is really quite slick. In other good news, the wireless LAN we put in a few months ago is working so well, I am able to surf the web and put this entry onto my website from the back patio, where I am right now.  That's nifty.  This season's Survivor is so much better than the previous season ... probably the previous two seasons.  The people have more character, and the location is amazing!!  I finished watching the premier tonight.  Did you know (most) people have seven holes in their head?  The things you learn from that show...
3/1: The dual-pane window replacement will begin in about two weeks ... that means the utility bills will be lower, and more importantly, the noise will be reduced.  We choose to have all 11 windows replaced, plus the sliding-glass door, with dual-pane insulated windows with noise-reduction technology (god only knows what that is).  There were a few different installation methods, which ranged in price from $6,000 up to $15,000.  We went with the $6,000 "collapse and remove" method.  That involves breaking the glass out of the window, collapsing the aluminum frame inwards, and removing it.  The replacement window gets inserted into the hole, and ... well ... I'm not sure what happens after that.  It is now apparent that I do have an injury from the car accident. My left forearm is getting worse and worse. Yesterday I only noticed it once, but today whenever I clench my fist, or use my index or middle finger to type, my tendon in my arm hurts. That is the arm I was driving with, and had to use to fight with the steering wheel when I was trying to control the car. I called a friend of mine who is a doctor, and he said I probably strained my tendon. The pain isn't bad, it's just uncomfortable. The best Halloween costume ever.  Survivor got off to a good start last night.  I was watching it while doing something else, so I taped it, and I'm going to rewatch it tonight.  The location looks wonderful, and the people seem to have more character than Survivor III.  Last night I started planting some ivy and ground cover in the back patio.  My goal is to make the back patio look better than it did last year (that won't be hard).  I think I will continue with the ivy and ground cover this weekend, as well as remove some tree limbs that are dangling over the fence.  (I also replaced the two back yard light fixtures this week, which used to be these ugly white globe things, and now are spiffy Home Depot fixtures with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs).
2/28: Lacie Update:  Kenny took her to the vet this morning, and the vet changed her bandage to a tighter one (so she'll walk funny for a few days until she gets used to it).  He didn't take an x-ray.  We'll take her back in 2 weeks, and then he'll x-ray her and possibly remove the bandage for good.  She hasn't been drinking her calcium supplement, so we have to now force feed it to her.  Car update:  I took it in for the estimate this morning, and they went ahead and kept it.  Around $3k of known damage, possibly more hidden.  It'll take them 2 weeks to fix it, and in the meantime I'll be driving a white, 4-door Ford thing.  The convictions of the police officers in the Louima torture case were overturned.  That's a shame.  Apparently some of the convictions were overturned because of one of the lawyers had a conflict of interest. Survivor IV starts tonight!  Woo hoo!
2/27: There's an election next Tuesday.  Here's a good voter's guide to help you decide who to vote for.  If you're like me and you always vote absentee, you can now request a "permanent absentee ballot application" by checking a box on the absentee ballot.  That saves you the trouble of sending in the application every single election.  "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?" Adobe Acrobat Reader for the Palm OS. Today did not get off to a good start.  I was on Hwy 17 northbound, when two motorcyclists cut across my lane from the lane on my left, through my lane, to the lane on the right.  They were going fast, and changing lanes without a turnsignal.  I had to swerve into the right lane to avoid them, but swerved too hard and lost control.  My car spun 180 degrees, and slammed against the guardrail on the left side of the freeway.  My door was pinned against the guardrail, so a passer-by stopped and called 911, and helped me get out of my car.  I inspected the car, and it looked drivable, so I pulled it up just a few feet and away from the guardrail.  A few minutes later, the CHP arrived, stopped traffic on Hwy 17 so I could turn around, and then we both pulled over.  There was no need to take a report since I was the only person involved (thank goodness there were no cars to my right, otherwise I would have taken them out).  I called my car insurance (GEICO), and they are handling the claim.  I have rental car reimbursement, thankfully.  Tomorrow morning I'll take the car to the fix-it place for them to get their estimate.  The damage is mainly in the rear driver's side, but it looks like about $3,000 or so (based on my prior accidents).  I know my rates will go up, but the damage is pretty bad, so I have to use insurance.  It was sheer luck that there weren't any other cars around me when that happened, otherwise I definitely would have hit other people as I spun through the right-hand lane.  The car is drivable though, and I wasn't injured... the collision against the guardrail was at a relatively speed because I had been braking during the spinning.  Kenny told me that as he listened to 106.5 this morning, he heard them give a traffic report for a "solo spin out on Hwy 17 north" ... that was me!  I made it on the radio.  I was supposed to take Lacie to the vet for her new x-ray and cast change, but that's been delayed to tomorrow morning.
2/26: Pet ID microchips have been adapted for humans.  Underage drinking accounts for 25% of all alcohol sales.  Is it any wonder the alcohol companies want to encourage teenage drinking?
2/24: I cleaned up the back patio today.  That was exciting.  Maybe next weekend I'll go to Home Depot and start buying plants to put back there.
2/23: The vet gave Lacie a clean bill of health yesterday - the leg looks like it should be at this point, and all her blood tests came back fine (except for high cholesterol).  Next Wednesday we'll take her back for her splint to be changed.  Yesterday's trip to Fresno was something of a fiasco.  Getting there was fine, and the recruiting event at CSU Fresno was fine, but getting home was an unmitigated disaster.  Hwy 99 is the north/south freeway that connects Fresno with the rest of the world.  Leaving Fresno, I arbitrarily choose southbound Hwy 99 because for some reason that seemed logical.  120 miles later, when I pulled over to get more gas, we realized something was amiss when we saw signs that said "Fresno - 120 miles".  It took about 10 minutes to figure out that we were south of Fresno, when we wanted to be north.  So 120 miles later (at about 2 a.m.) we pass through Fresno yet again, and then we're on our way in the right direction.  I finally get home at 4 a.m.  Oh, and somewhere in the middle of nowhere between Fresno and San Jose I got pulled over for speeding, but the guy was on DUI patrol so he let us go without a ticket.  From the little that I saw of Fresno, it seems to have one main street - Shaw Ave - with more restaurants per block than any other city I've ever seen.  We choose the Black Angus, near the hotel and CSU Fresno.
2/22: I'm off to Fresno for recruiting.  Thanks to everyone over on talkinbroadway.com who voted me as being cute.  The fosse.com domain was accidentally redirecting to my site, so lots of people saw my page, and wondered who the heck I am.  One person said:  You know it's a slow day at work when ... you find yourself incredibly entertained by Travis' page for Lacie, his pet parrot.  You also know it's a slow day at work when you have enough time to create a web page for your pet parrot Lacie.  They also said I must be the world's first 12 year old lawyer.  Hmmm.  Want to hear something funny about Enron?  Call this number:  1-510-809-4466.  It's a voice mail system that is really funny.  Condoleezza Rice, our National Security Advisor, was on Chevron's Board of Directors for many years, and Chevron named a 150,000 ton double-hulled oil tanker after her, the S.S. Condoleezza Rice.  Lacie returns to the vet late today for a brief check-up.  We'll know her status tomorrow.  She has been a very active bird, eating very well, pooping just fine, and generally being a very happy bird.  All signs point to her recovering just fine.  I think "protesting" should be a new Winter Olympic sport.  I don't know anything about short-track speed skating other than what I saw in the past 7 days, but my bet is that if the rolls were reversed between Ohno and Kim (i.e. Ohno had blocked Kim from crossing the finish line first), that Ohno would NOT have been disqualified as Kim was.  Ohno was the crowd favorite, and I don't think the judges can dismiss that in their judging.  And then last night!  I felt so bad for Kwan, with all the hype around her and all the money hanging on her getting a gold, but she just could not compete with Hughes... she was wonderful.  I think this shows the danger of putting so much financial pressure on a figure skater like Kwan.  But Hughes genuinely deserved to win.  The Russians should stop protesting and just go home. 
2/21: Study Finds Utah Leads Nation in Antidepressant Use  Andrea Yates husband has created a website, yateskids.org, dedicated to the children his wife killed.  West Virginia is considering a mandatory seat-belt law.  With an exception for fat people.  Any doubt remaining that this is a backwards state?
2/20: Here's an article on how lawyers play a role in keeping the Olympics running smoothly, and how lawyers are lining up to go after billions of dollars from soon-to-be-former-big-5-firm Andersen.  From the "40 Unwritten Rules to Live By": It is more important to have good health insurance than good health.  Most people are operating on a very condensed version of the 10 Commandments: The part about murder.
2/19: The Peruvian government denied Lori Berenson a pardon.  She has been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a Peru prison for being a terrorist.  Americans are of course outraged that this young woman would be considered a terrorist.  I don't see much of a difference between her situation and that of John Walker Lindh.  Both were involved with terrorist groups.  Both were accused (at least initially) of treason.  Both were (are being) tried by military courts.  Neither denounced the terrorist group they were affiliated with.  Both were in the foreign country under suspicious circumstances.  What about Lori Berenson makes her not a terrorist, but makes John Walker Lindh a terrorist?  Opening statements began today in the Diane Whipple murder case.  Whipple died after a five-minute attack, as she was crawling into her apartment, covered in blood, her clothes ripped off her body, and her throat ripped out of her neck.  Knoller was hiding in her apartment, and never called 911.  The maximum possible 15 year sentence for Knoller and 4 year sentence for Noel isn't nearly long or painful enough.  Here's the Yahoo! News Full Coverage area for the Diane Whipple murder case.  It's sad that they had to have a hearing to decide if Whipple's partner Sharon Smith could be present in court for the trial.  And here's the dogbitelaw.com site that has become so popular and provides a lot of great information, including this background paragraph:  On January 26, 2001, shortly after 4:00 PM, San Francisco police and paramedics responded to calls from a Pacific Heights apartment building, and found a naked woman lying in blood, barely alive, her body bitten everywhere, bloody handprints covering the walls, and blood extending 4 feet up the walls and 30 feet up the hallway. Bits of clothing littered the floor, and a blood-soaked green nylon leash for a dog was lying nearby. The victim was Diane Whipple. She died that night at 8:55 p.m. at San Francisco General Hospital.  California law provides for strict liability for dog bites.  In other words, no "one free bite" here.  In other, but unrelated, animal news:  Lacie likes sleeping and perching on the highest perch in her cage, which last night was Cocoman.  So I moved up another perch about an inch higher than Cocoman, and she slept on that.  She seems to be doing just fine - her cast lets her use her left leg for some support and climbing, but we need to keep that to a minimum.  My company has announced its intention to become listed on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list.  Of the Big-5 firms, Deloitte and Touche and Ernst & Young are the only two on the list.  Sorry to say, but my prediction is that PwC will not be on that list in the near future.
2/18: We brought Lacie home from the vet today.  The vet and their staff said she is doing really well - eating and pooping a lot, and acting like a healthy bird.  She runs all over her cage (even though we have all the perches set very low), and chirps a lot.  She is able to put some weight on her left leg, but the bandage (same color as her feathers!) prevents her from being able to bend the leg or grip with her claw.  The vet said her medical diagnosis is a fracture-L metatarsus.  For the past week, she was given Neo-Calglucon Syrup to give her extra calcium for rebuilding her bone.  The vet gave us an ounce of the stuff to give to her at home - 1 part medicine, 3 parts water.  She doesn't drink much water though, so we'll see how much of it she actually ingests.  We'll take her back to the vet on Friday for a check-up, and then she'll have a bandage change next week.  She's spending a lot of time standing on her Cocoman, which is the highest point in the cage.  I added her swing to the cage, but she hasn't figured out how to use it yet.  Can you believe this Georgia crematory thing?  They're saying there could be hundreds of bodies in there, from as much as a decade ago.  How hard can it be to get your crematorium fixed?  Good god.
2/12: Olympics Update:  I'm leaving for the Olympics first thing tomorrow morning.  I'll be there until Sunday.  I should be able to post updates while I'm there.  For those who are wondering, I'm seeing:  Figure skating, luge, biathlon, Olympics medal ceremony with Smash Mouth.  Here's a good article on PwC's role in the Oscars.  I'm happy that Moulin Rouge got nominated for Best Picture... it was a great movie, albeit with a rocky start.  Kenny visited Lacie this morning:  Lacie looked good. She was busy stuffing her face as usual. The leg has this big wrapped-up bandage. The accommodations were good. It looked like a kennel. I think there were 9 of them, all full of dogs and cats. There was another room that had empty kennels except for a lovebird that looked like she was in a fishtank. Her pad looked warmer. The doctor said Mika took dibs to take care of Lacie. There wasn't anything mentioned about taking her home, so I assume Lacie will continue to stay at the vet. Mika said Lacie cleans out the bowl. She said she likes their brand, Harrison's. That's good because we have a bag of that too. The doctor said she likes standing on her bowl.  That will probably be the end of the Lacie updates until we return from the Olympics next Sunday.  The plan is to pick Lacie up from the vet next Monday (2/18) and bring her home to convalesce.
2/11: 11:55am:  The vet (Dr. Littlehale) called.  They have put a splint and bandage on Lacie's leg, and she is doing well.  The purpose of the splint/bandage is to stabilize and reduce the swelling.  The Dr. who caused the injury (Dr. Lawrence) is not sure how the injury occurred, but said the band removal was a little more difficult than normal.  One option is surgery and inserting a pin, but the vet recommended against that, and Kenny and I agree with that recommendation.  On Wednesday or Thursday they will take off the bandage, check her progress, and put on another tighter splint/bandage once the swelling has gone down.  The bone will probably regrow a little crooked, but within 6-12 months the bone will "remodel" itself (according to the vet) and be normal again.  His technician, Mika, has an affinity for pionuses and will be taking Lacie home with her while we're at the Olympics.  We are going to meet with Mika tomorrow morning and give her the food and some toys.  I asked what the chances are Lacie will return to being a normal bird, and he said it's 90%, "really good."  Potential complications are circulation problems and nerve damage, but he said based on his exam and touching/pinching her, she does have some feeling, and the nerves will regrow.  And as you all know, I'm a lawyer, so I was concerned about making sure he's comping this for us, and he explicitly said he is.  Dr. Littlehale really does sound like a nice guy, and I'm happy with what he's said and the way he has responded.  9:45am:  Bad news from the vet.  Here is the update I posted on the Pionus newsgroup:  After Lacie's condition did not change over the weekend, I took her in to the vet  this morning and the x-ray clearly shows her leg is broken, right where the band was. The vet is bandaging the leg to reduce the swelling, and then they will decide if that will be sufficient to let the bone heal, or if she needs to be anesthetized and a pin inserted. They are going to board her there for a few days to do this work, and monitor her condition. Needless to say, if I had known that a broken bone was a possible result of having a band removed, I never would have considered it.  And Kenny's update:  The current update  is that Lacie's leg IS broken at the point where her band was. It is without a doubt the band removal caused this. We did return to the same vet (Santa Clara Valley Pet Hospital), but Lacie is being seen by the most experienced avian doctor in their staff. Some of you asked why we agreed to removing the band. We are inexperienced and made a hasty decision. When you hear advice from a "doctor," you believe she knows what she is saying. In hindsight, she may have been trying to sell her microchip device.  The vet offered boarding for Lacie for the next week while we'll be away in Salt Lake City. I'm going back tomorrow and demand inspecting the facilities. What "dangers" should I look for in their boarding? Speaking of inexperience, I've followed this group for a few months before purchasing my pi. However since you guys live all over the country and world, it was harder to get information about local resources (e.g. quality vets). So is there anybody out there lurking who lives in the Santa Clara valley, especially Campbell?  More updates to follow.
2/10: Lacie isn't doing too well... her foot is still injured.  We're going back to the vet tomorrow morning first thing.  I had breakfast this morning (at Stacks, of course) with Dave, who has the distinction of being my only friend who rides a Harley.
2/9: Lacie's webpage now has more of a photo gallary, and a new News section.  I'm packing for the Olympics!  Just a few more days.  Look at this screen capture from ABCNEWS.com ... news report of an American Airlines plane going down ... next to an advertisement for American Airlines.  Lacie had her first trip to the vet today, and so far she has a clean bill of health.  The blood tests will come back next week.  They removed her ID band from her leg, and that was very traumatic, so she is currently hopping around on one foot.  The vet said she'll get better in the next 24 hours.  The vet bill was $300!  Thank goodness we only have to do that once a year.  [Later that day]  Lacie's foot is not getting better.  She's holding it kind of crooked, and can't put any weight on it.  I'm not impressed with our vet.  She should have warned us of the dangers.  We are hoping it isn't broken... she's a pretty much active parrot other than the foot.  If it's not better by tomorrow, we have to call the vet and have them fix her.  I did my taxes today - that was fun, since I don't owe anything.  There's a new restaurant in town:  Stoddard's is opening up tonight in downtown Campbell.  It's the largest business establishment in downtown.  Hopefully people will go to it and they'll stick around.  I'm sure when light rail gets put through, lots of people will go.
2/8: Lacie's new friend Austin came over and taught Lacie how to stand on a human's hand.  There are more U.S. troops in Salt Lake City for the Olympics than there are in Afghanistan. The Primer counter hit 50,000 sometime yesterday.  That's 50,000 visitors in 18 months.  We'll see how many the next 18 months bring.
2/7: Some spam service is using the twise.com domain to send out their spam, so the bouncing messages are going to my inbox.  Great.  Last night I read West Wing (closed-caption while I was on a conference call with a client in India - doesn't that sound neat?) anyhow ... one of the storylines in the show was a reporter from a big-name newspaper who got kidnapped by a foreign government ... just like what's going on with the WSJ reporter.  They did a good job of tying the show in to current events.  The ending was really interesting - "how much money?" (does the U.S. government have to give to get him released).  I wonder if we really do fork over ransom.  Someday after I'm no longer working for PricewaterhouseCoopers I think I'll write a book called "The Art of Billing."  Or maybe "Charging Time for Dummies."  I'm hoping to leave work today around 6pm.  Lacie is doing well.  She has mastered the ability to climb around her cage, and seems to enjoy spending time on top of the cage with the gymnasium we've built up there.  Sometimes she falls off the roof, and tries to fly to the ground, but she can't fly, so she kind of does a controlled fall.  Saturday we take her to the vet for a bird physical and blood test. Cellular phone bashing movie clips.
2/6: The power of consumer vocalism:  On Feb. 4, Phil Yu posted an article about the Mandarin Juicer, a product used to squeeze juice out of an orange sold by Chiasso that was shaped in a horribly offensive way like a Chinese person.   Two days later, my friend Austin of Monolid Magazine reports that this morning, he talked with Chiasso's president, and they had received 11 e-mails in the last 24 hours and decided to pull the product from their website and store shelves.  Unfortunately there is another retailer selling the same product: Unicahome.
2/5: Unicom won!  Well, sort of.  The judge granted the motion for summary judgment based on his opinion that the court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendant.  Therefore, the victory is temporary at best.
2/4: The work on the closets is done (at least for now).  To recap:  We gutted three of our closets, cleaned up and painted the walls and ceilings, and installed modular closet shelving from Storables.  The whole process takes about two days per closet.  Kenny did his first, then the downstairs entryway closet, and then we did my closet, and finished it yesterday.  They look good, and they're very functional.  If we decide to do another closet, it will be the office closet, where we could use some more shelf space.  Today has certainly been an ... entertaining ... day at work.  We got a "happy Monday" e-mail from the head partner telling us we are now expected to charge 55 hours a week (normal is 35).  Then an e-mail from the same partner inviting us to buy his daughter's girl scout cookies.  Then this afternoon, when word of low morale must have hit the top, an e-mail telling us they're having a "fun Friday" this Friday at Dave & Busters.  No explanation of how we're supposed to make up the hours we loose by attending this "fun" event.  This is the company that wanted to be in the top 100 places to work in America.  Headline:  Enron Execs flying to bankruptcy hearings in private jet
2/3: Introducing the newest member of our family, Lacie!  Visit her webpage so she doesn't get lonely.  Last night we celebrated Austin's birthday at Bangkok Cuisine in Palo Alto.  It's a good restaurant.  Afterwards, we went to Night Market hosted by the Stanford AASA group.  The Wusoo (sp?) performance was very interesting and entertaining.  The Super Bowl is today - let's see if I get home from work in time to watch the half-time show.  Tonight Soprano's is on, then Sex in the City, then Project Green Light.  I talked about PGL last week - it's a quasi-reality show about the making of a low-budget film that was shown at Sundance.  PGL is interesting to watch only because the personalities are so disfunctional.  I am going to go ahead and add PGL to my reality tv page.  Tonight is the last episode of Sex in the City for the season, so I think we'll cancel HBO until City returns, or Sopranos starts its new season.
2/2: Brobeck Boots 54 Associates, 85 Staff.  The legal profession has really been hard hit, but after passing out all those $135,000 a year salaries plus "guaranteed" bonuses, it's not really that big of a surprise.  The Primer is at 49,300 hits, which means it will hit 50,000 hits sometime this next week.  I had predicted it would hit 50k at the end of February, so it's a bit ahead of schedule.  By the July exam I'm predicting 60,000, based on last year's statistics.
2/1: Today at work Junior Achievement is bringing in a bunch of high school kids for us to talk to about the accounting profession and working for a Big-5 firm.  I had a really hard time understanding why high school kids would be interested in a boring job like accounting.  But once I met them, I found out they go to Oak Grove, where they have an accounting track, and these kids really want to go into accounting, finance, business, etc.  They were really interested in PwC.  I think the "glamor" of a big firm's office building and conference rooms got to them also.  It was a nice experience - I had a good time talking with them.  It's sad that they all will be going to JC's, and not four year schools, but I guess they either can't get into 4 year schools, or can't afford it.  The closet de/constrution continues.  Kenny did his closet first, and then the entryway closet, and now he's doing my closet.  It involves gutting out the interior, spacking and putting on a fresh coat of paint, and then installing a customized modular closet system that we got at Storables.  Costs about $175 or so per closet, and it's well worth it.
1/31: Janet Reno's gubernatorial campaign just ... collapsed.  PwC has announced that we are spinning off our consulting arm in an IPO.
1/29: 15 year old high schooler represents self against school district drug charge and wins in WA Supreme Court.
1/28: Mandatory sentencing "guidelines" are a bad idea, just like zero tolerance.  Our IT department has advised us that we have over 143 gigabytes of MP3 files on our shared drives which are going to be expunged.  Wow - 143 GB ... that is a lot of space.  Kenneth Lay's wife says her family is broke.  The poor woman!  Where can I send my donation check?  One inch of snow fell on the Santa Clara Valley mountain tops last night.  In related news, today was a horrible traffic day because of all the drivers who aren't used to driving on dry freeways with snow on the mountains.  The first of the lawsuits to hit Andersen has been filed.
1/27: Well, this will be an interesting week.  In the group I work in, the Integrated Tax Group, about 50%-60% of the associates are being temporarily "rotated" to another department to move the labor to where the work is.  I'm one of the associates remaining (that's a good thing).  So theoretically, I'll be absorbing a lot of the work that the rotators were doing.  I've also been told that the partners are expecting us to charge 50 hours a week.  That's so funny.  Project Green Light on HBO is pretty interesting.  I don't have enough comments to make it into a reality show entry, but it's interesting.  If you've never seen it, and you have HBO, it's worth a look.  And it's on right after Sex In The City.  There's a lot of talk in the news about whether the prisoners in Camp X-Ray are being treated fairly and decently.  Who cares?  At least they have Froot Loops.  The government is maintaining that the prisoners are not POW's, which would give them certain rights under the Geneva Convention.  Let's see - they were captured during a war ... that would make them ... POW's!  KRON's programming is so sad now that they've lost their NBC affiliation.  I might have to add KRON next to Andersen in my list of companies that I don't think will be around at the end of the year.  Denny's is running a commercial bragging about how much money they are giving to civil rights groups, including the Martin Luther King Foundation.  What they aren't mentioning is that they were forced to do so by a racial discrimination lawsuit settlement.
1/26: It's been a year since Dianne Whipple was killed by the dogs owned by Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel.  Marjorie and Robert are both still active dues-paying licensed attorneys.  I guess that brings a new meaning to the term "jailhouse lawyer."  Watched First Monday that I taped on Friday.  The show lacks something ... it's just not as intriguing as it should be.  But one neat thing they have is when they have guest appearances by famous people - Johnnie Cochran was one such appearance on this week's episode.  That's a twist.  The wife of a Supreme Court Justice should be a bit more understanding about conflicts of interest.  Updated the restaurant reviews page.  Current count is 111 restaurants.  Saw 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors last night with Cindy, Austin and Kenny.  Good show - second time I've seen them.  They performed "The Last Bling Bling."  It's basically a SNL skit type performance, by all Asian-American actors.  We ate at Gordon's in SF - good restaurant.  Today (Saturday) my work is requiring me to sit through 8 hours of research training, along with all the other tax associates.  Never mind that I went to law school for three years, which is just one big fat research training.  What a great way to support employee morale.  They're supposed to supply breakfast, but so far, it's no where to be seen ... the caterer got lost.  From Fark:  Stevie Wonder in palimony suit. His defense: 'I've never seens this woman before your honor'.  Ha!  Companies line up to hire Arthur Andersen.  I've posted this one outside my cube.
1/25: Funny site:  Fark.com  "Travis has captured the feeling of what is essentially a lawyer's rite of passage, and he does it marvelously."  -- Rick Umali  Bar exam time has come again, with the exam about a month away.  So it's that time of the year when I start getting a lot of e-mails about the Bar Exam Primer.  This time around they are falling into two categories:  (1) "Thank you very much, I relied a lot on your materials to study." and (2) "I have a great business idea I'd like you to join me on."  Let me address both of these.  First, I caution people several times in the Primer not to use my materials to study from.  I explain in the Primer why I caution people about this - but the bottom line is that if you use my materials as your knowledge source, you are doing yourself a tremendous disservice.  About item 2, business opportunities, I have no interest in commercializing what I've done.  Many people take advantage / rip people off / profit from students taking the bar exam, and it's generally a very sleazy industry.  I have no interest in doing that.  But thank you for sending me e-mails saying that you've read the Primer and it helped you.  I'm sorry that I don't have time to reply to all of them.  Sometime next week the Primer will have its 50,000th visitor.  Holy crap - the Enron Vice Chairman just killed himself.  Clinton must have been involved.  When is First Monday on again?  I didn't see it in TV Guide this week.  They really should put it on Monday nights, or change the name.  [Oh, ok, it's on tonight - Friday].  I caught a glimpse of Temptation Island (II?) last night.  I see that show hasn't improved any.  Does anyone care about this whole John Walker Lindh thing?  The news is sure talking a lot about it, but I don't think the public cares.  What exactly did he do wrong, other than being strange?  There hasn't been any reports that this guy was actually doing anything against America, other than sitting around in a dessert.  The Hockey Dad got 6-10 years in prison.  Good.  So Enron got run into the ground.  Lots of people lost lots of money because they were too stupid to diversify their investments.  Instead of passing laws restricting ownership of your own company's stock in your 401(k), maybe people should just realize it isn't a bright idea to sink all of your money in ANY one stock.  As for shredding documents, that was a pretty dumb move by Andersen and Enron, but that isn't what caused the company to go bankrupt. 
1/24: I did my first Freedom of Information Act request today.  Restaurant inspection reports.  Apple Computer, Inc. v. Commissioner, 98 T.C. 232 (1992) was a landmark case in the world of stock options.  In that case, the Tax Court held that the income generated upon exercise was deductible wages to the corporation, and qualifies for the R&D tax credit.  It's a case I studied in law school, and which is cited frequently in the stock option arena.  Eric Ryan, then Director of Taxation for Apple Computer was counsel for Apple.  Eric is a partner in my office, and is a very nice guy.
1/23: Read about the Unicom.com domain name fight..  "OSLO (Reuters) - An American woman had no need to fasten her seatbelt on a flight from Scandinavia to the United States after a high-pressure vacuum flush sealed her to the toilet seat of the transatlantic airliner.  The woman filed a complaint with Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) after her ordeal on a Boeing 767 flight last year. She got sucked in after pushing the flush button while seated, activating a system to clean the toilet by vacuum, the airline said Monday.  "She could not get up by herself and had to sit on the toilet until the flight had landed so that ground technicians could help her get loose,'' a SAS spokeswoman told Reuters. ``She was stuck there for quite a long time.''"
1/22: Sample form:  California Advance Health Care Directive.  This is the new way to create a power of attorney for health care.  Here's a nicely formatted PDF version.
1/21: Ooops.  Accident, or racist?  It was supposed to be "James Earl Jones."  Now scientists are reporting that the Antarctic ice sheet is thickening, not thinning.  I always thought that global warming stuff was just a bunch of crap used to get more funding for scientists.
1/20: Wil Wheaton from Star Trek has his own web site:  WIL WHEATON DOT NET
1/19: Moulan Rouge is a really good movie.  After nearly four years, I finally updated the photo on the main page.
1/18: I watched the Olympic Torch pass in front of my building today.  That was very exciting.  A whole entourage of vehicles accompany the torch. 
1/17: I watched First Monday last night (a Tuesday).  This show won't last through the end of the season.  Too much like First Years.  I thought the show was interesting from a legal perspective, but also silly from that same perspective.  The law clerks would explain very basic legal concepts to each other, and to the justices, which they would clearly already know.  Obviously this is for the audience's benefit, but geez, it makes it look silly.  It's like a doctor explaining what a syringe is on E.R.  I also found the show to be preachy - the whole juvenile death penalty thing.  Obviously that was how they got Barry Scheck to agree to appear.  I did think the reenacted "events" that they flashed back to were a nice touch.  But no, this won't last the season.  Too bad.  West Wing was good as usual, but I'm sorry they gave up on the cancer cure storyline so fast.  My prediction is that the Big-5 will become the Big-4 by the end of the year.  Andersen is about to get hit with massive lawsuits, some of which its insurance won't cover because of the intentional acts of its partners.  We'll see if the partnership survives.  Or if they have any clients left at the end of the day.  How stupid do you have to be to start shredding documents after the SEC sends a document request?
1/16: 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors, the world's most psychotic asian american comedy group.
1/12: I've always thought that people who brush their teeth in the shower are a bit odd.  So are people who have huge self-portraits in their bedroom.  I watched the three-hour tape of the Survivor finale.  Eh.  We'll see if Survivor VI is any better - it starts in late February.  I don't have high expectations.  There are two new shows on TV that I'm looking forward to:  That 80's Show, and First Monday, a TV-show about the Supreme Court, which airs on Tuesdays (despite the title) on CBS.
1/11: Thomas Juanta, the "Hockey Dad", was convicted of involuntary manslaughter today.  He faces up to 20 years in prison for killing Michael Costin in an argument at their children's hockey game.  I hope Juanta gets the full 20 years (i.e. out in 10).  Juanta looks to be twice the size of Costin - it wasn't even remotely a fair fight, even though Costin's father has forgiven Juanta.  Here's a quote from the CNN news release:  A medical examiner called by the prosecution described "a lot of trauma" on Costin's body, saying that he suffered deep hemorrhages on the left side of his neck and a torn artery in the brain, a form of stroke.  Dr. Stanton Kessler said Costin's "brain was shaken so badly" that small blood vessels ruptured, resulting in extensive bleeding in the brain and spinal column.  Restaurant updates:  Fuel closed down a few weeks ago, and today the downtown Togo's shut its doors.  Today I ate a really good lunch at Pasta Pomodoro today.  My friend Joe cut his arm in December.  Those pictures are disgusting!
1/8: Dave Thomas died today.  One of the first stocks I owned was Wendy's.  Are you supposed to eat cream corn with a spoon, fork, or spork?
1/7: Here's some free legal advice:  If you've been accused of a crime, and you're poor, our legal system provides you with an criminal defense attorney (the public defender).  Public defenders are good attorneys.  But don't think that you're going to get the same quality of defense that O.J. got.  You aren't.  People with money can afford to hire good attorneys, who have the time and resources to prepare a good defense.  Public defenders usually have large case loads, and the government does not have the resources to spend tens of thousands of dollars for each defendant to have expert witnesses and investigators.  If you have the money, spend it.  If you don't have the money, try to get it.
1/5: Last week two of my coworkers were layed off from PwC: A manager in the state group, and an associate in my group.  We've been told that Monday will be the big layoff day, nationwide.  No one knows what to expect.  I am very happy to say that today I completed my editing and revising of the Primer.  This was the largest edit since that site went live in July 2000.  I've updated all of the dates, updated all of the fees, and cleaned up a lot of the text.  I'm averaging around 110 visits a day to that site.  Tonight I'm going to see Beauty and the Beast on the Tech Museum's IMAX.
1/4: Phil Yu has done a low-bandwidth redesign of minsoolove.com.  I admire the simplistic design.  His observations are especially good:  "People who work sitting down get paid more than people who work standing up"; and "Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege."  It was mid-October of 1993 that I first saw the web.  There were no graphics back then - just the Library of Congress.  I remember the day I first surfed the web, because it was the night Polly Klass' body was found.  'Course, if I had been smart, I would have reserved as many domain names as I could, because none of them were taken back then.  Oh well... hindsight. 
1/3: I deal with both the IRS and Revenue Canada quite a bit on the phone.  The IRS astounds me with their incompetence, lack of technical knowledge, and long hold times.  If you call the IRS twice and ask the same question, you will almost always get two different answers.  Their people are rude and abrupt on the phone.  In contrast, Revenue Canada is a pleasure to deal with.  I look forward to calling them because their people are so wonderful.  They are knowledgeable, they have short hold times, they are friendly, and consistently give the same (correct) answer.  Their tax system also treats domestic partners the same as married people, and they include this information in the tax advice they give, unsolicited.
1/2: I upgraded my Palm to OS version 4.1 today.  The software was around $40, and I don't think it was worth it.  The most notable improvements are a Memo Pad that lets you scribble, and some improvements to security. 
1/1: Happy New Year!




Travis A. Wise > Weblog Archives 2002


9/23:  I was in Ohio for the weekend, visiting my family.  Let's see ... Survivor Thailand premiered on Thursday night. Team selection, reminiscent of grade school PE class, was painful to watch. But the show got off to a good start.  Lots of good, interesting personalities, and the challenges look good (and sufficiently different from the previous 4 Survivors).  Jason was booted from Big Brother, leaving just Lisa and Danielle competing for the big prize.  I wouldn't have minded seeing Jason win, although he's a bit sappy.  Between Lisa and Danielle, I'm rooting for Danielle. The jury of this season's contestants will decide.  There's been a lot of controversy about two pieces of artwork that were placed in NYC.  The art was of people jumping from the WTC.  The art (both sculptures, I think) was finally pulled, due to "bad taste".  Duh.  Who thought it would be acceptable to display in the first place?  Talk about bad judgment.  Also from the bad judgment department, it was big news in the midwest about this Toogood woman beating up on her kid in the minivan.  She's part of the Traveler's cult, a modern day gypsy movement that makes money by lying, cheating and stealing unsuspecting people.  She was attempting to return stolen goods for cash at the store where she was caught on tape.  Apparently her frustration at being refused and escorted out of the store led her to beat her kids.  Her attorney and family says it was just an isolated case of poor judgment.  Hogwash.  If she beats her kids that bad in public, she does it ten times worse in private.  She's not fit to be a parent in our society.  License revoked.
9/19: No updates for a few days.
9/18: How to survive in jail.  Look what pops up as the first entry when you do a search on "Go to hell" on Google.
9/17: Overheard in the hallway: "I had kim chee for the first time last week.  It's like cabbage fermented in ammonia."  David Westerfield, the killer of Danielle van Dam, and Cary Stayner, the killer of three Yosemite tourists, have both been deemed by juries to be eligible for the death penalty.  Dave and Cary, you've been evicted from the island.  Please get your things and leave.
9/16: TV premiers start this week.  Tonight on my line-up: 7th Heaven (season premier), and Everwood (series premier), both on The WB.  7th Heaven was kind of corny; Everwood was better - I like the idea of dropping everything and moving to the middle of no-where.
9/13:  Three days to the deadline.  It's nuts at work.  Here's the Friday the 13th, history.  Did you see the NY lottery numbers that were drawn on 9/11?  9-1-1.  Here's the video and screen shot.  New York, Lotto, 9-11.  I wonder how many people picked those numbers on that day?
9/12: The corporate tax filing deadline is 4 days away.  West Wing and Survivor premier in the coming weeks.  Can it get any better than that?  Tonight Marcellas got booted from Big Brother ... sigh ... he should have used the veto ...
9/11: It must have been around 6:15am or so. The phone was ringing.  I fumbled around trying to find the handset.  It was my mother.  "Turn on the TV, quick!".  Click.  I found the remote, and turned on the TV.  There was a tall building, with a lot of smoke.  And a banner at the bottom of the screen that said "Airplane Hits WTC".  I stood there and watched for what seemed like 10 minutes.  I remember wondering how on earth they would be able to repair all that damage, so far up.  I thought they might have to shave the top off the building to repair it, or conceivably tear the whole thing down and rebuild.  The networks didn't have any new information, so I set about getting ready for work.  About twenty minutes later, I heard the TV say something about a fire at the Pentagon.  "What are the odds?" I wondered.  "How could there be two major news events going on at the same time?"  Then they said they thought it was another plane.  I thought they were talking about small, single-engine type planes.  Soon it became clear that these were big planes. With people on them. I had made it downstairs, and was watching on the larger television in the living room.  Suddenly, the amount of dust and smoke on the screen got much larger, and I couldn't make out the WTC building.  I ran upstairs, saying, "Oh my god, I think the building is gone."  We stood in front of the TV, squinting at the smoky images, trying to find the building.  It had to be in there somewhere.  I wanted the smoke to clear, so that we could see how much of the building was left.  Then it dawned on me that the building probably wasn't there.  We would be able to see it through the smoke if it was there.  The newscasters were just as confused.  The screen was split between the WTC and the Pentagon, and the anchor was overwhelmed.  Over the next thirty minutes, it became clearer what had happened.  The networks really didn't have much new information, so I went to work.  Everyone was crowded around the computers, watching the CNN website, and viewing some of the early video clips that had made it to the internet.  Not a lot of work got done, despite being just days before our biggest deadline at work. Around mid-morning, the fire alarm went off.  We had been having trouble with the fire alarm recently, so that wasn't terribly unusual.  Except that our building is in the final approach flight path to San Jose International Airport.  With that in mind, people piled into the emergency exits.  I found my coworker Austin, and we headed down the stairs, seventeen flights up.  I couldn't help but realize that I was making the same trip that the people in the WTC had made.  Austin drove me home, and I spent much of the rest of the day watching television.  Later in the day I took Light Rail back to work.  The woman next to me on the train was wearing postcard of the WTC on a string around her neck.  Over the next few days and weeks, three elements of 9/11 stood out to me that I will never forget.  The first was the jumpers, and the realization of the horror they must have been witnessing that made jumping the best alternative.  The second was the story of the people who escaped the buildings, and said that there were people in wheelchairs sitting in the stairwell, unable to get down the stairs.  The third was the Canadians, and their small-town generosity that they imparted to the stranded travelers who were on flights diverted to Canada.
9/10: Freedom Ship - a floating city.
9/9: Fun shockwave put-put golf game.  The reviews are in after the first week of using Covad DSL provided by SpeakEasy instead of RealityNetworks wireless service.  The DSL isn't quite as fast as RN, but it's always on... RN was having trouble provisioning bandwidth to us in the evening and weekends.  The ten decisions that shaped the internet.
9/7: There's this organization ... afghans for Afgans.  They're sending toaster cozies over to Afghanistan to people who don't even have a house to live in.  The West Nile Virus has made it to California.  There's this guy in Hawaii who got meningitis and went into a coma back in 1995, when the murder trial of OJ was still going on.  He's been sleeping away, in his coma, for the past 7 years.  He woke up this month.
9/6: The raccoons like our neighbor's fig tree.  Big raccoons.  Just to clarify - my illness this week wasn't caused by the Indian food I ate over the weekend.  Didn't want the restaurant to get a bad rap!
9/5: Today is my two year anniversary with PwC.  They sent me a nifty letter telling me how much money they've spent on my continuing education in the past year, and how much they've paid into Social Security for me.  I think I'm supposed to feel good about that.  In related news, IM takes off in the corporate world.  Greedy Associates has gone from being The Place to talk about the law firm salary wars of 2000 to the place to talk about where to send resumes to.  Mark your calendars!  The Campbell city-wide garage sale is October 12.  It's too ghetto to pass up!  Big Brother eviction night tonight.  Roddy got evicted, which was a big surprise.  Amy the Alcoholic needed to get dumped.  They showed the preview ad for Survivor, with one of the guys talking about wanting to sleep with a woman, and then cut to the Asian woman laughing.  All the more funny because she's lesbian, at least according to the reports coming out of Cal.
9/4: Feeling better today. I plan to be back at work tomorrow.  In the meantime, Bill Simon goes out of his way to prove that he's an idiot, by not knowing what he supports and what he doesn't support.  Some guy robbed a bank in San Jose today.  The bank he picked was in the downtown federal building complex - home to hoards of federal marshals, with lots of guns.  Needless to say, the guy wasn't very successful.
9/3: At 1:30am I headed over to the emergency room of Good Sam hospital, where they hooked me up to an IV, and gave me anti-nausea medication.  Not sure if it's food poisoning or stomach flu.  I hope to be back to normal by the end of the week.  The folks in the ER were very nice.
9/2: We had dinner at Passage to India last night in Mountain View with Curt and Gary.  Great dinner buffet - probably the best buffet food I've had at an Indian restaurant.  Today Scott, Andy, Tim, Curt, Gary, Charles, Bryan and myself (had to give everyone a mention) went hiking in Big Basin State Park.  11 miles, 5.5 hours, around 1,000 foot elevation gain.  My legs are exhausted.
9/1: Over on San Tomas Aquino Road at Campbell Ave, there's a doughnut shop next to Weight Watchers.  No good can come from that.  Had dinner at Furu-Sato in Campbell last night. Good restaurant, good food.  Went to Ikea this morning and bought a car load of stuff.  It's hard to leave that place under $200.  Updated the photos page.  And the Bar Exam Primer now has an index!
8/30: Bulldozer starts wrecking wrong house.  Couple still inside.  Grey Cary lays off 22 associates; 33 staff.  Sometimes democracy in a corporation isn't good.  Last night my department voted to rename our "Fun Friday" event to "Take It Off Thursdays" (with reference to the song by Nelly).  I feel sorry for H.R.  Oh thank goodness the baseball strike has been averted ... I was getting so concerned about these millionaire players not being able to go to work because the big bully baseball teams wouldn't pay them their fair salaries.
8/29: Earlier this week I went to WalMart (I know, so ghetto) to get some stuff, and it seemed like all of Milpitas reeked of fish.  Here's the explanation.
8/28: Good hiking website.  Judge Rodney Stafford, a friend of mine from almost a decade ago, was reviewed in today's CalLaw.  I've folded the old hiking trail reviews into the Travel page, and I'll be adding to it.
8/27: Satellite tracker tracks goose to Eskimo's freezer.  Employee web surfing = stress reliever.  San Francisco makes it to the semi-finals for 2012 Olympics, along with NYC.  Man missing since 9/11 found in hospital with amnesia.
8/26: Study finds 25% of employees spend an entire day a week surfing the web at non-work-related sites.  No!  Get out of here!  Woman carries handgun onto plane -- good indication of how much progress we've made in airline security since 9/11/01.
8/25: Obese woman fined for eating while driving - using knife and fork. Church group may be fined for stealing snails, and then lying about it.
8/24: Great diagram showing the links between all of the recent wall street scandals.  I hiked Angel Island today with Tim and Leland.  That was a very good hike, and a nice little trip.  Afterwards we ate dinner at Citizen Cake on Grove Street.  You don't go there for the entrees - you go there for the dessert (although the entrees were very good too).
8/23: We have officially given up on RealityNetworks wireless broadband.  They told me yesterday that they have no solution in sight to the bandwidth bottleneck that is causing us to have no access in the evenings and on weekends.  Unfortunately we live too far from the Pac Bell central office to get DSL through normal channels, so we have to go with SpeakEasy.  You know all the hoop-lah about global warming and how it's destroying the earth?  Ever think maybe it's just a hoax by the environmentalists?  Turns out the Antarctic ice sheets are actually increasing in size. Take that, Greenpeace.  Speaking of protests, remember ALF?  Why didn't anyone protest that he ate cats?  Justice Rehnquist gets a speeding ticket.
8/22: Trade-secrets dispute puts Coca-Cola secret formula at risk.  Australia federal court allows $220k tax deduction for drug dealer whose loot was stolen.
8/21:  Reality Networks wireless broadband service in Campbell, which is my high speed internet provider, has been horrible lately.  Weekend and evening bandwidth is nonexistent.  They say they are working on the problem, but in the meantime I'm back to dial-up.  Geez guys, not a good way to win customers or referrals.  So the media attention on the Santana Row fire has turned to (1) the possibility of arson, with a $5k reward for info being issued this morning; and (2) focus on why the SJFD response time was so long to get to the apartments that burnt.  One of my coworkers lost his home in that fire.  From what the papers have reported, it does seem that the resources were sent first to Santana Row, and anything left over was sent to the apartments, as much as an hour after they caught fire.  In the meantime, the mayor is touting how "we'll help Santana Row rebuild."  Gee, Mr. Mayor, Santana Row is fully insured ... most of the apartment dwellers aren't.  Bob Barr, a real jerk of a person, has been ousted from Congress. Yea!  Want to buy a Boeing 747 for $82 million?  You can at this website, where Enron is selling their corporate jet.  Wag the gassed dog - what really happened on the tape.
8/19: The largest fire in the history of San Jose erupted this afternoon just one mile from my home.  Santana Row, a huge retail and housing project that was still under construction, caught fire, and a one-city-block building burnt to the ground.  One of my law school professors, Herman Levy, is suing Santa Clara Law School for disability discrimination.  Prof. Levy is one of the nicest people I have ever met.  The school deserves to be sued if they treated him the way he claims.  Trader Joe's has been having a big sale on wine lately.  Turns out that American Airlines had to dump all of its First Class cabin wine, because it was corked.  And they can't have corkscrews on the planes any more.  So they sold it to Trader Joe's.  Now first class passengers get twist-off wine.
8/17: Got my 30k service done on my Civic today.  Nearly $400.  My car does seem to run better though.  Went swimming over at the Santa Clara International Swim Center again today with Austin and Cindy.  Pool was almost empty - very nice.
8/16: Deadly toys from the past.  How many of these did you have growing up?  We had dinner tonight with a friend at Hardy's Bavaria, a German restaurant in Sunnyvale.  Delicious food.  Then we went to National Comedy Theatre (FKA ComedySportz) for some laughs afterwards.  I was surprised how poorly attended the show was... used to be the room would be packed, standing room only.  This time barely half the room was full.  I guess it's a product of the economy.
8/15: Wilson Sonsini lays off 11% of staff.
8/13: I've done a redesign on the California Bar Exam Primer website, incorporating frames for faster loading time, and some shameless requests for donations to offset the hosting expenses.  Fascinating article about a Korean airliner that was nearly shot down over Alaska on 9/11.  Woman forgets to turn off cell phone, 911 dispatchers hear her murder confession.  Bush: "Times are kind of tough."  Really, George?  Is that what your MBA degree taught you?  Geez.  Today's quote comes from Andy Ford, credited with coming up with a new motto for PwC employees: "Live the dream."  Phhht.  Miami installs black benches; too hot to sit on.  My letter to the editor of the Campbell Reporter made it in today's edition (scroll down about 1/2 way).
8/12: US Airways files for bankruptcy, citing 9/11 travel drop-off.  Has nothing to do with overpaid execs or bad business decisions, of course.   Bill Simon has asked for another extension to file his 2001 personal taxes.  Guess he can't figure out the forms.  It's not that hard, Bill.  Here's the website of a photographer who was killed in the WTC collapse... they found his film, and developed it.  Some of the pictures are amazing.
8/11: Yesterday a friend and I hiked Sanborn trail in Saratoga, off of Highway 9.  7 miles; 1000 foot gain.  My friend is getting ready to hike Half Dome, which is 17 miles and 4,000+ foot gain.  Ugh.  Apparently even the Brits get lazy sometimes.  You might be aware that almost every good radio station in the bay area is owned by Clear Channel Communications.  Here's their history.  Tim pointed me to Trillian software, which is a IM client for Yahoo, AOL, MSN, IRC, and ICQ.  It's really, really nifty.  And free.  Wow - bird creates tool to get food.
8/9: Saw a letter that my company got in the mail from the City of Calexico (in California).  Addressed to "Price Water Hose".  Uh huh.  Today was the last day at work for our interns.  They're off to Disneyworld in Orlando for a week of fun.  The two I worked with this summer, Garrett and Charlie, were amazing.  
8/8: Updated the restaurant review page.  I've only used Priceline.com a few times, but today I was able to book a room at the Courtyard by Marriott in Dayton Ohio (where I'll be in September) for $35 a night.  Not bad.
8/7: The Mole is over, and it was Bill!  Last night's finale was very interesting - seeing how Bill managed to thwart the games, and the clues that I missed.  Dorothy walked away as the winner of $636k.  Good show.  There's been this really big strange man in our lobby, with a bulge that looks like a gun.  Word is that he's security for our firm.  That's ... interesting.  Surgeon has to stop surgery because nurses can't speak English.  Surgeon gets fired for complaining.  Florida State criticized for using Let's Roll as football slogan. Tyco's CEO bought a $6k shower curtain with company money.  $6k for a shower curtain?  Remember the court case this week where the judge said a woman could have an abortion despite the protests of her boyfriend?  She miscarried, hours after the decision.  Redneck lawn furniture law passes first hurdle.  Rep. Bob Barr, long recognized by most level headed people as a bigot, womanizer, and hypocrite, accidentally discharged a firearm at an NRA reception held in his honor.  "Nobody was in any danger."  Right, Bob.
8/6: Additions to the Spoiler's page are tapering off, so I'm guessing there will be very few updates after tonight.  I have one more round of updates that I'll put up by 7pm.  The season finale of The Mole is on tonight - 9pm.  The person who is The Mole will be revealed.
8/5: Ok, due to overwhelming response, the spoilers page will remain for future exams.  I've never had as much reader feedback from when I mentioned I was thinking of taking it down.  For future reference:  I'll keep the spoiler's pages running, but with a stronger caveat that it is impossible for me to say whether or not the issues spotted are (1) legally accurate, or (2) valid issues to spot on the exam.  Thanks to everyone who wrote in with feedback.  I have some more spoiler material to post - it'll be up by around 7pm pacific time.  I also need to work on a way to separate spoiler submissions, so that it doesn't just look like one rambling thing.  Apparently in New Jersey I'm known as the "Wizard of Oz of the Bar Exam" ... I should work that into the Primer somehow.  ;)
8/4: Bush bumps head on Marine One.  Mark your calendars!  The finale to The Mole will be shown on Tuesday night!  Who is the mole?  I've consolidated a few pages into a new Frequently Asked Questions page - law school outlines, why I'm a tax attorney, and job interviews have been consolidated.
8/3: So they found that 12 year old girl from China ... she seems to have defected to the East Coast, with relatives.  I can't help but wonder how long until we start ignoring the child abduction alerts?  Seems like we've had about a dozen in the last two weeks... some legit, some not legit.  It was really windy today - tree droppings all over the back yard.  I played soccer this afternoon with Derrick and Michelle from work.  I'm increasingly disgruntled with the bar exam spoiler's page.  I read through the submissions, and in a few cases, the substantive law is just dead wrong.  Since I didn't take the exam, I can't screen the submissions for correctness.  And then since it's a compilation of every issue anyone spotted (correctly or incorrectly), people write in asking if they will still pass if they didn't find all the issues reported (this is covered in the intro).  I think this exam is the last for the spoiler's page.  Yesterday we tried the new ice cream place in downtown Campbell.  Wasn't that impressed ... especially with Cold Stone Creamery just down the street.  But it's convenient.
8/2: Many changes at work.  It's been in process for a few months now, but it's now official - I've been promoted to senior associate at PwC.  Today is hectic - brunch this morning for the whole office, then a promotion lunch for the people who got promoted, then a celebration after work at The Agenda.  I'll now spend most of my time giving the work I get from the partners and managers to the associates, and supervising them on those projects.  I have one person to thank for the promotion - my manager and coach for the past two years.  She's been wonderful, and taught me that the key to success in any situation is having a great mentor who you can go to for help.  I'll miss her.
8/1: Safeway has these things called Tofu Dogs which are really great.  $2.50 for a pack of them.  Look and taste pretty much like hot dogs, but made out of Tofu.  Al DeGuzman's sentencing was postponed - he may get off with time served because the law he was charged under has been interpreted to preclude separate charges for each weapon.  Wouldn't that be silly.  Lots of kidnappings of little girls going on lately.  Two got snatched this morning down in LA.  I read somewhere a few weeks ago that 91% of kidnap victims are killed within the first 24 hours.  After working for two years at PwC, I just discovered that we have free dry cleaning service here.  Charlie The Intern pointed it out to me.  Thanks Charlie!
7/31: Work has been busy lately.  When I retire and write a book about my experience in at a Big-4 firm, I have to remember to put in a chapter about the subpoena I got from the SEC.  The interns will go home in another week, so I've been busy coming up with stuff for them to do.  And promotions are announced on Friday ... stay tuned ... I can't say anything yet!
7/30: Went to Great America last night for a little shin-dig for our interns.  Man, is that place over priced!  I spent a good 20 minutes standing at the bottom of the Drop Zone watching people come crashing to the earth.  They're nuts to do that!  I don't think I could ever go on a ride that I know someone died on.  PwC Consulting, temporarily known as "Monday:", has been sold to IBM for $3.7 billion.  I'm not in that division, so I'm not affected.
7/29: Drunk WTC clean-up crane operator topples 35 ton crane.  Ooops.  Fascinating article on what Bush did in the days following 9/11, from the Washington Post.  Gives a really interesting insight into our emergency defense plans.  Thanks to everyone who sent in some Napster substitutes for me to look at!  Hey - tomorrow's the first day of the bar exam - good luck everyone!  Remember, don't panic - remain calm, and it'll go well.  To "Sane Man": Apparently you didn't study quite well enough for the MPRE if you think I can't practice law. :)
7/28:  Amazing!  All 9 miners were rescued alive!  Last night we went to see Austin Powers at the new Camera theaters in the Pruneyard.  I used to go to the old UA theaters there, and every single time something would go wrong - film would break, sound wouldn't work, etc.  Tonight was no exception.  The audio was absolutely horrible for the entire movie, and no one did anything about it.  What a joke.  Qwest Communications is restating financials.  Yet another Andersen audit client.  What were those Andersen auditors doing, sleeping on the job?  Geez.  I finally caught up with the times and bought an external, USB CD-ROM writer.  It's a shame Napster is shut down - otherwise I could burn some music CD's.
7/27: The baseboard remodeling continues.  Finished the entryway, and part of the family room.  The rest will be easier (I think) because there's less corners and less funny angles in the rest of the house.  Went up to SF today to see the SF Mime Troupe perform their parody on the current situation in Afghanistan - Mr. Smith goes to Obskuristan.  Very good show.
7/26: Swam at the Stanford pool today - very nice facilities.  If you can get in (it's private), it's very nice.
7/25: Pope visits kids in Canada.  Kids call Pope "youthful."  Oh please.  When I was a kid, all three networks broke into regular programming and covered the rescue of Jessica and I watched it unfold.  I don't think this situation in Pennsylvania is going to end quite as well.  Remember the guy in Georgia who ran a crematory but disposed of over 350 bodies in his back yard?  He's claiming his prosecution is because of his race.  Yes, that's it.  Race.  Not the 350 bodies in his back yard.
7/24: Today was my good friend Derrick's last day at PricewaterhouseCoopers.  He taught me a lot.  Two years ago today was the first day of my bar exam.  It was ridiculously hellish.  Click here to live the experience.
7/23: Economic indicators are now showing that consumer confidence is down, as is the confidence in the President.  If the economy doesn't improve, Bush may have a very hard time getting reelected.  He keeps insisting the economy is "sound".  Really?  Free show up in SF this weekend:  Mr. Smith goes to Obskuristan.  This guy should get the death penalty.  So sorry, but being drunk isn't an excuse.  Useless TV channels.  Stock market was up nearly 500 points today!  Yea!  Cantor Fitzgerald's website, a memorial to the huge number of people they lost on 9/11.  I donated blood today at my workplace blood drive through the Stanford Medical School Blood Center.
7/22: Lawyers buy evidence off of ebay.  Bill Simon, the ultimate dumbass, finally releases his tax returns to reporters.  For 2.5 hours.  No copying or CPA's allowed.  U.S. bans fish that is already in 7 states. Do ya think that ban is going to have any real impact?
7/21: Worldcom files for largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy ever.  Customer service still sucks.  Bush wants to rescind the Posse Comitatus Act (from West Wing a few months ago).  Top 100 executive salaries. Big Brother contestant due in court for DUI.
7/20:  Went to see Champion's on Ice tonight, starring Rudy Gallindo and Michelle Kwan.  Good show; Arena was half empty though.
7/19: Sopranos heading for the big screen?  Lucky Charms creator died. Ohio weatherman falls asleep on the air; begins snoring.  British doctor killed 215 people.  That's a lot of people to kill!  geez.
7/18: My team had their team building exercise at Campo de Bocce this afternoon.  I've played a few games of bocce ball in the past, but geez, do they have to use red and green balls?  Don't they know 5% of men are colorblind (myself included).  That game was almost impossible.
7/17: My little town of Campbell has three weekly newspapers:  The Campbell Times, The Campbell Reporter, and one other whose name I've forgotten.  They all report pretty much the same thing.  Bribs got booted from The Mole last night.  Now we're down to 4 contestants.  The race is getting tight.  Government launches Operation TIPS to tattle on your neighbors and coworkers.
7/16: Guess someone stuck a lit cigarette in a trash can in the PwC building over the weekend, and the trash can erupted into flames.  That made for a pretty funny "no smoking" memo that got distributed this morning.  San Jose finally making some progress on getting cable modems.  Why is it that Silicon Valley is the worst wired large city?  I can't get cable modem access where I live.  I also can't get DSL.  So I have to use wireless broadband.  And these days, it hasn't been working too well.  Stock market continues to go nuts today - down 200 points, then down not so much, then down a lot again... ugh.  Here's an article from way back when when Down 36,000 seemed conceivable.  New CA law protects right to display flag despite HOA rules.
7/15: Man, there goes the stock market  ... down to 8390 this morning.  It's going to hit zero at some point, right?  Marjorie Knoller gets 4 years in jail for the dog mauling.  She should stay away from large dogs when she gets out of jail ... it'd be ironic if she got bit.  Not that I'm suggesting anything, of course.
7/12: Southwest boots overweight family off plane.  Family ends up taking Greyhound.  They were returning from their mother's funeral.  Southwest apologizes and refunds fare, but apparently keeps policy.
7/11: Night two of BB3.  It's ok - I don't think any of the houseguests are really very interesting though.  It's really hot here in San Jose.  I spent the day in an air conditioned hotel, but gosh, once I got home, it was hot.
7/10: Big Brother 3 premiers tonight on CBS.  Sorry to see Darwin get booted from The Mole last night.  He was a nice guy.  Phil Matier used my quote in today's Chron:  "AIR WAVES: We heard from plenty -- and we do mean plenty -- of readers after we told you Monday about a local woman's claim that she and her fellow Southwest airline passengers were asked to "volunteer" for security screening before boarding a flight out of Burbank. And they were right to say we erred in reporting the flight was to San Francisco -- after all, SFO hasn't had domestic Southwest service for more than a year. The flight was to Oakland. But for any doubters about the tale, South Bay attorney Travis Wise told us he had a similar experience -- people being asked if they wanted to volunteer to be searched -- when he boarding a Southwest flight from San Jose a few weeks ago. Wise said it happened again on his return flight from Seattle. "This completely defeats the purpose of having that screening step," Wise said. "I think this is an example of good intentions gone awry.""
7/9: Got a call from Phil Matier (SF Chron reporter) this morning.  He's "probably" going to use a quote from me re: Southwest Airlines (see bottom of yesterday's entry) in tomorrow's Chron.
7/8: Black twins born to white couple.  IVF mixup.  Ooops.  Light Rail is slowly but surely expanding towards Campbell.  The twise.com Dumbass Award Of The Day goes to Hala Mohammed Sadeq El-Awadly, wife of LAX shooter Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who is quoted in USA Today as saying, "My husband didn't do such a thing. This is nonsense."  She also said he was being blamed because he was Arab and Muslim.  Well, no, ma'am, in fact, your husband was shot dead while carrying two handguns and a hunting knife inside one of the nation's largest airports.  He killed two innocent people before he was shot.  Thank goodness someone did shoot him, because your husband was in the process of There's really no clearer case of guilt.  And that isn't nonsense.  The fact that he was Arab and Muslim didn't have anything to do with it, and your claim of racism is a slap in the face of people who are in fact wrongly accused of crimes because of racism.  Oh, golly, we have to have a second Dumbass Award Of The Day:  Inglewood police officer Jeremy Moore got caught on videotape beating a black teenager at a gas station and using the word "nigger" during the beating.  The teen didn't break any laws, but somehow ended up in handcuffs, getting punched and beaten by Officer Moore.  Moore appears to have a history of such racist actions.  It must really suck to be a stupid bigot like Officer Moore.  I would think it would be so hard to be that way, living in a diverse state like California.  My response to today's SF Chron Matier & Ross column:  Phil and Andrew: Thanks for the section on Southwest Airlines in Monday's Chron.  I flew SWA out of San Jose a few weeks ago, and they did a similar thing, asking for volunteers at the gate for the security screening.  Same procedure in Seattle on my return flight.  This completely defeats the purpose of having that screening step.  If I want to take down the plane, I just get a bunch of cohorts to volunteer to be screened and fill up the airline's quota, while I walk on the plane.  I think this is an example of good intentions gone awry. Travis Wise
7/7: Back home from spelunking near Murphys.  Saw Minority Report this weekend - pretty good movie.  Better than MIB II, I've heard.
7/3: Have a good Fourth of July everyone!  No new updates for a few days.  Sometime this weekend, the Primer will hit 70,000 hits.  That's just amazing.  It was two years ago about now that I put it up.  West Wing rerun tonight was an interview show with actual White House staffers, and Clinton and Carter.  Very interesting show.  You don't see TV like that very often these days.
7/2: Last night was Lawyer's In The Library night for me.  The other attorney didn't show up, so I was it.  Saw about 20 people or so.  A few overriding themes:  When you buy a car, there's no return period.  So think about it long and hard before you buy the car.  And if your car loan falls through, you're probably hosed unless you can whip up a new loan.  Someone owe you money?  Less than $5k?  Head over to your local small claim's court and sue them.  There... that covers most of the advice I gave last night.  Last week I ate at a delicious restaurant in Campbell, Chez Savon.  Cambodian food, very flavorful, reasonable prices, and great decoration.  2425 S. Bascom Ave (south of Campbell Ave), 408-371-7711.  San Francisco bans urinating in public.  It used to be legal?  The Aquari-ass.  No, I don't know what happens when you flush.  Parking in downtown SJ is getting more expensive:  Meters go to $1/hr soon, and several lots jacked up their prices on 7/1, including the $1 Caltrain lot.  So I've finally broken down and bought the $60 monthly parking permit under Hwy 87.
7/1: America West airline pilots arrested for DUI right before plane takes off.  My company's budget cutbacks have eliminated any new requisitions for ergonomic office equipment.  That'd be a good Dilbert strip.  Man struck by lightening at hospital; goes home to call paramedics.  Federal judge rules federal death penalty unconstitutional.




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