October 2008 Archives
I've been a bit AWOL this week. I must blame Fallout 3 a bit. I've been pretty much playing it every spare minute, and I have to say, it's a really fantastic game. Guess what's on my plate for this weekend?
Speaking of weekends, have a great one!
The first part of the move to our renovated building is complete. Basically, all my furniture is there, but none of my boxes. Basically, this allows me a level of basic productivity—while I use my books (reporters, digests, and especially statutes) a lot, I’m fine with exclusively online research for now.
Today, everything else should be arriving, so I can unpack my books during those quiet moments.
The temperature is dropping here in Wyoming. The leaves are almost completely gone, and I am soon to be robbed of the simple pleasure of feeling them crunch under my feet as I walk to and from work. But with the turning seasons comes subtle changes in cat behavior. Witness the following:
I'm between books right now, having read the second Dexter book and Neil Gaiman's fantastic The Graveyard Book in the last week (both very quick reads--2 days each, max, even accounting for my other obligations).
Have a great weekend! For me: carving pumpkins!
Well, it’s happening. The Wyoming Supreme Court building renovation is nearly complete (with the exception of the law library). We’ll be moving to our new quarters on Monday. This means that as of right now, my office is completely packed up, with everything except a couple files and my computer
dumped carefully placed into boxes. They’re ready for the state movers to take them from our temporary digs across the street to our new/old permanent home.
This is cool—I haven’t worked at the Supreme Court building at all during my time here, so I’m happy to get some time in that building. The offices are a huge improvement, especially for the administrative staff, who’ve had to endure a lot before and during the move. But my favorite part is the new courtroom, which looks amazing, with new marble columns and real wood paneling, an appropriately sized and spaced bench (not too high) and a plethora of technology improvements. It’s really impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing oral arguments there, but the first official business will be the swearing-in ceremony of the new lawyers on Oct. 31. That seems appropriate.
What may be the worst-kept secret in gaming is out. There will be a Star Wars MMO set in the time period of the Knights of the Old Republic games. This is not a time period that is probably familiar to the general public because there haven’t been any movies about it. But it is the setting (and, not incidentally, the developer) that have made some of the most beloved Star Wars games. I’m not generally an MMO, but this sounds like one I might be willing to try. We’ll have to see what the reviews look like.
In other news, I finished reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. I enjoyed it a great deal, as I do just about everything he writes. It’s been sometimes described as a children’s book, and it is, but in a way that requires a modestly mature child, and that adults can appreciate. I highly recommend it—and in fact I may be sending some copies to some kids I know.
Here are a couple things I’ve been sitting on.
- My perfect partner would come out of the pool laughing. Or at least would show up at the reception with some hastily-procured water wings.
- I love Apostrophe Catastrophe. And here’s the worst one yet—A tattoo. Oops.
- I’m disappointed about Terrence Howard being replaced in the later Iron Man movies. I thought he did a fine job, and would be great in the later films. Don’t get me wrong, I like Don Cheadle a lot, too, but something about this deal smells like a studio who just wants a bigger name.
- I’ve finally moved to importing all my MacknzieMail into gmail, then using Outlook to fetch them. This is my way to get more mobility. Gmail just makes it so easy!
- Too many games! The only one I was planning on getting has been Fallout 3, which I’m very excited about. But the talk about a few others is getting my attention. First, there’s Far Cry 2. I really liked the first game, which allowed me to indulge in my sneaking and sniping tendencies. The preliminary reviews on the sequel seem to be pretty good, so I’m optimistic. Then there’s Left 4 Dead. It’s a zombie apocalypse-themed online co-op game. I’m not generally much for online play, but all reports of this one are very favorable. Plus, I do like to play a touch of TF2 from time to time—just not enough to be that good at it. So we’ll see how it goes, between the time and money involved in these purchases (though the latter two do have pre-order discounts).
- The cost aspect is not trivial. This is particularly true since I’ll need to buy a license for my Windows Home Server pretty soon (which I love, but hate the cost)—and maybe a new hard drive to make it run decently. Feh.
- I’ve been watching Fringe, and I have this to say: I’m just not that into it. It’s a bit too much “procedural” and not enough cool plotline and overarching sense of the world. We’ll see if it gets better, but I’m not that into it.
- On the other hand, True Blood has gotten a bit more interesting since the premiere. It’s still a bit melodramatic, but melodrama is pretty in line with the gothic tradition, so that doesn’t bother me too much. It has moved up on my list from “meh” to “vampire show with a bit of merit.”
- I’m sad to see that the film version of Max Payne seems to be terrible. The game was excellent—even if only for the fantastic storyline. Apparently, the filmmakers went for something else with the film, not trusting that a movie-going audience would be able to handle the game’s plot. I think that was a mistake (and apparently the game’s developer is mystified at the movie). But what do I know? I’ve never made a gazillion-dollar-grossing movie. Of course, I’ve never lost a gazillion dollars, either.
- This controversy, or lack thereof, is interesting to me. For those who don’t want to click through, the basic idea is that there’s a game out there that got delayed because some of the background vocals in a musical bit used words that were a direct quote from the Qur’an. The article’s focus is on how the game should not have been delayed. I myself have no horse in this race: I am neither Muslim nor was I planning on getting this game—it appears to not be my cup of tea. (Seldom has there been a more hotly-anticipated title in the gamer community for which I could muster less enthusiasm.) But I think the public discussion on this topic is very interesting.
That’s all for now.
I have to say, I did rather well with my “list of things to get done” yesterday. The biggest thing is my garden. I’ve had a bunch of turnips, and not much else, growing for some time. My big project was to clear out the old plants (there was also some underdeveloped broccoli and one lettuce plant that escaped the great razing) and create a sort of slightly raised bed. I did it.
Surprisingly, a number of the turnips actually had decent roots, roots that probably could be eaten. I didn’t save any of them for two reasons. First, they were old enough to be pretty darn tough turnips, and my little testing of them seemed to confirm that they were pretty woody. Second, I am already getting at least as many vegetables as I can handle—occasionally more—through the CSA. I’m sure there are a few ways to preserve turnips, but I really didn’t want to mess with them.
So they went to the compost pile.
But once all the turnips were done, I was able to make a nice little bed, with a wood plank border.
Once I created the bed, I engaged in the true goal of this whole exercise: planting garlic. (And I do mean exercise--I'm a bit sore this morning, but it feels good.) One of my Co-workers ordered a mass of garlic from a little mail-order garlic place in Colorado, and I got myself about three dozen cloves. As of now, they’re in the ground. There were quite a lot of varieties, so I had to label them carefully:
I also planted a few rows of radishes, thinking that the cool weather we’re getting is perfect for them. We’ll see how they do. I’m a little skeptical, but the worst that could happen is that I get no radishes. And believe me, I have no shortage of seeds—if anything, I have more than I could possibly use.
I also turned and rehydrated my compost pile, which was a bit dry from the lack of any moisture. Really, I should have been keeping it watered, but I fell a bit behind.
Once all that was done, I made a batch of Borscht, which was excellent, and got to enjoy that before going to a practice for the high school mock trial team, which I’m helping to coach. When I got home, I put some salted/peppered/soy sauce marinated beef in the dehydrator, so I have some jerky as of this morning.
Overall, a very full day.
Jupiter investigates my breakfast:
Who knows if he likes it—I didn’t let him have any. But he was curious.
I've been reading the next Dexter book and I have to say, I’ve been enjoying this one much more than the first, though the same criticisms apply—just less severe. I’ll have more when I finish.
I'm Currently Reading:
Dearly Devoted Dexter
Have a great weekend!
So I got this weird thing in the mail the other day. The envelope was hand addressed to me, and there was no return address. Inside was a sticky note with something like, "Mackenzie, check this out! -J" on it. The note was attached to a single page of newsprint that was folded up to fit inside the envelope.
It's the newsprint that I have a problem with. The first page was dated October 12, displayed a page number of D-5, and the headline reads "Cheyenne Dealer Refuses to Suspend Upcoming Event." The rest of the page is in larger print than standard newsprint, and is basically about the sale at this local car dealership. Here's a photo:
It is clearly not an article from any newspaper. There's no name of a paper on it and, in the bottom right, there's a copyright dated 2008 by "The Premier Group." (This seems like it's probably the same company.) Plus, to avoid consumer confusion, reputable publications will put a notice on full-page ads that might be confused with editorial content that clearly state "Advertisement." I'm sure you've seen that.
But in this case, they clearly went out of their way to make it look like it was taken from a newspaper. Check out the reverse side:
That's right, stock quotes. That's very crafty--it's a very newspaperish thing to have in there, and papers sometimes don't have any ads on their stock quote pages. Plus, it's free content, so there are no copyright concerns and they don't have to spoof their own content.
I'm not sure if it qualifies as a deceptive business practice, but it sure walks like one and quacks like one. What do you think?
While I’m loving the show, I thought I’d read the original series of books that it is based on. I just finished the first one last night. My conclusion: meh.
The first book loosely tracks the plotline of the show’s first season, but—and here’s the problem—it is far more simple. The show has much more depth, characterization, plot, and, well, just about everything else. I hate to say it, but the TV show is far better than the original book.
This seems to illustrate some comparative strengths in the media. A TV series is just better able to devote more time and attention to its subject than is a (very short) novel. Of course, the book could have been written better, but it wasn’t. The genius of the show producers is that they took pretty mediocre materials that nevertheless contained a kernel of genius and built up that kernel into something fantastic.
This also seems like an opportune moment to mention that I think TV is sometimes better suited to various types of storytelling. For instance, imagine what the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith movie could have been as a TV series. There would have been ample opportunity to explore themes and characters, and to make the fall of the Jedi a slower, more intriguing experience. But they went with a quick two-plus-hour movie. Sad.
On another note, I made myself an omelet for breakfast, and used some leftover ratatouille from dinner last night. It was awesome—I highly recommend it.
I opened my cupboard the other day to grab a mixing bowl. Here’s the condition of my clear Pyrex (inside a giant yellow bowl):
That’s quite a bummer. I’ve never had anything Pyrex break like that, and I have some really old pieces.
Oh well, it’s back to the store at some point to get a new one, I suppose.
I’m happy to report that I am taking a hiatus from my job searching. That’s right, I’ve accepted a position for the 2009-10 clerking season in federal district court. It will be really interesting to view the system from a new perspective—trial court rather than appellate. It’ll also be interesting to see how the pace of the work will differ from what I’m doing now. And now I get to stop looking for a job until next summer at the earliest, which is nice. I’m looking forward to focusing on my current work without distractions.
Breaking news—this photo was taken only moments ago, after a very satisfying canned breakfast. Which he is now returning to as I post this.
In other news, I’ve finally finished the book on Traffic. Very interesting. I’m moving on to a little light reading.
Have a great weekend!
Our movie (for the film series) tonight was Bottle Shock, a film about a California winemaking family (in a way) leading up to the Judgment of Paris in 1976. I knew a bit about the Judgment—what half-assed wine geek doesn’t?—but I wasn’t really that aware of the people involved. The film is, of course, a dramatization, but it’s a modestly good one. It isn’t great, but it is a fun movie. I recommend it for anyone with even a passing interest in wine.
Besides, I love Alan Rickman.
Next week: American Teen, a documentary. Based on the reviews, I expect it to be a somewhat mixed bag. On one hand, it’s an interesting subject. On another, I tend to doubt that teenagers, in this age of Facebook and Twitter, can ever really act natural when the camera is around. We’ll see.
Sebastian has taken quite a shining to the CSA farm basket we get each week. He especially has an inexplicable love for corn husks. It would be more funny if he wouldn’t chomp down on them and promptly vomit.
A little late—I’m afraid I forgot it was Friday until I got to work. Oops. [Update: Actually, this was supposed to be posted last Friday, but I had—you guessed it—trouble with my host. It’s a long story, but it’s fixed now.] In any case, here’s Sebastian:
Still on that Traffic book. I might finish it this weekend, but there’s an awful lot going on (including planting about three dozen garlic cloves for the winter), so we’ll see.
Have a great weekend!
As if you need another reason not to eat at McDonald’s.
In other news, the film in the series last night was In Search of a Midnight Kiss. I recommend it. What really struck me was how dense it was—there was an awful lot going on besides the basic main storyline. That gave a nice sense of depth to the characters and the film as a whole. Rather than feel like this was a thing that happened, you feel like you’re peeking in on a little slice of lives already in progress. That’s sadly unusual in movies, but very welcome.