Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year. Blogger has been very good to me. But I've decided to make the switch. For new posts, starting today:

Update your links/bookmarks. The archives will stay here for as long as Google keeps Blogger alive, and at some point relatively soon I will do some organization with them and turn this into a useful archive that's easy to navigate.

New site = Better site, I promise. Give it a chance. I'll see you over there.

Evan Schaeffer's done a fairly regular thing where he lists the sites who've mentioned him in the past x amount of time and thanked them. I'll do something similar with the link changes. So drop me a note if you're linking to the new site or posting about it, and I'll make sure to include you in that post. It's appreciated, really. I've been loathe to change for a long time because I worry about people never getting over to the new site. But I'll probably change the title bar here, and hopefully put in some cues to direct people... we'll see. Thanks for making the extra click. Hope you find it to be worth it.
Here's a post by a 2L about grades and exams and jobs that's pretty articulate and interesting. An excerpt:

I am seriously questioning my commitment to the hard work it takes to get good grades. This is not out of laziness. I worked hard this semester but not as hard as I worked last year. Not even close. But I still put in an absurd amount of time, effort and energy. (My wife can attest to that.) Will the time and effort pay off? That's the billion dollar question because it depends what "paying off" means. If it means getting good grades, well, that's nice, but I still don't have a job and that's why I'm in law school--to get a job. (Oh yeah, I'm also here to learn about the law and learn how to be a lawyer, but I can't count the number of times I've heard it said that you learn how to be a lawyer when you get your first lawyer job).

So what do decent grades get me? So far: nothing. So you tell me: Is it worth it?

His commenters have some study ideas there too. So if you still care about law school stuff, you can check that out.

A couple more random links:

Jay Is Games reviews lots of online Flash games and can pretty much kill an afternoon for you if you're not too careful.

And here's a link to an article from the Daily News about a potential 4-way trade between the Mets, Devil Rays, Orioles, and Red Sox. Yikes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sherry has a really interesting post about impatience and group decision making and those conversations where people are deciding where to eat and no one really cares and it goes back and forth forever and no one wants to make a decision.

She writes that she hates those conversations and even when she doesn't care, she'll suggest something just to avoid the pointless conversation. I can't help but think her friends are a lot happier than she thinks they are when she does that. That's exactly what everyone's hoping someone'll do, isn't it?

See, I'm not very often the one to step up and make a decision in situations like that, but it's not like it's something I'm all that happy with myself about, like, ooh, how flexible I am, how exciting. No, I feel like in a way I operate with a low-level fear that I'll do something to make someone upset but they'll be too polite to say anything about it. The where-to-eat thing is trivial, but works okay as the example. It's much more important to me that no one hates me than we eat where I want to eat. I don't care where we eat, if it's somewhere whoever I'm with wants to eat, and I'd rather be the flexible one than the decision maker. But this is stupid, because it's not like if someone picks somewhere I don't want to eat I'm really going to have any bad feelings toward them at all -- I won't care or remember and it's just not a big deal in any way. Plus it frustrates people a lot more when we stand there and no one wants to make a decision, yet no one steps up.

So she wants to be more passive, I want to be more assertive... is there anyone who can even occupy the middle ground here? I guess "You pick this time, I pick next time" (or the reverse) is the right solution for this, even in an unenforced way. It shows flexibility, but also forces a decision to get made. There. I've solved this problem permanently for humanity.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I've spent much of my day futzing around with Typepad. That's right, I may be moving. I'm not entirely sure why, except that I think it would be fun to start from scratch, new layout, new archives, new posts. Of course I'd keep all this live and link back to it on the new site. But there's so many posts here, it starts to feel a little bit like an old and cluttered house, and I'm intrigued by the thought of moving to a new place. Same me though.

I spent a long time today trying to fool around with templates and CSS codes and all sorts of other things I know nothing about, until I decided to just go with the pre-fabricated template that I hated the least.

Nothing's set in stone. Typepad's got a 30-day free trial. I have 29 days left.

You're my beta testers, if you choose to accept that challenge. I have a test post up, over here. That's right, I've also bought my very own domain name. There's comments enabled on the post over there. Tell me what you think. About anything, I guess. About the site, about a better decision I could be making about it, about whatever. I can always delete your comments anyway.

I've set up an About page over there, thrown some links into the sidebar, everything as if I had a real weblog! Except content. :) Comment away over there. I'll probably fool around with it over the next few days and then start thinking about whether it's a move I really want to make or not.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A while back I asked for people's top ten most intriguing people of the year. Got a couple of replies. Here's what they said:

1. Pope John Paul XXIII
2. Rosa Parks
3. General Russel Honore
4. Lance Armstrong
5. Harry Potter
6. Camilla Parker Bowles
7. John Roberts
8. The Chicago White Sox
9. The People of New Orleans
10. The White Stripes (musical group)

1. Pope Benedict XVI
2. Ray Nagin
3. John Roberts
4. Harriet Miers
5. Samuel Alito
6. Gen. Honore
7. Raeed Juhi (judge in the Hussein trial, amazing ability to avoid/survive assassination attempts)
8. Mark Felt ("Deep Throat")
9. Michael Brown (because incompetence that thorough takes real talent)
10. Scooter Libby

Also, I asked about electric toothbrushes. Here were the responses:

"My Dad's a dentist and when electric toothbrushes first came out (mid-late 80s), our family went through a phase where we all had one. He probably got them cheap from some dental supply rep. It didn't last long, we all went back to the normal ones in less than a year. According to Dad, they're not better or worse than regular toothbrushes, just more expensive."

"I *love* mine. It's a Braun/Oral-B model. And I can say, without a doubt (my dentist can confirm) that once I started using it, there was a marked improvement in my gum condition. I'm a believer... with healthy pink gums. (I do also floss regularly, though.)"

"Let me put it this way. Now that I use one, I don't floss anymore and my dentist doesn't know the difference. I have a Sonicare."

"my experience is limited to the colgate toothbrush that you can pick up at cvs for less than $10 dollars. It's marginally better, but takes much longer than regular brushing, and it's loud as hell."

I ended up finding a 30-day "tester" Sonicare on eBay for 10 bucks, and figured that would be worth it, to try it out. After 3 weeks of "shipping" (more likely just a slow seller, I guess) it finally came today. I tried it out right away, because I'm seven years old and like to play with toys. What a bizarre feeling. It tickled. It felt like cleaning was really happening. And it produced an unreal amount of saliva in my mouth. It was like when you go to the dentist and they do stuff and stick that saliva suction thing in your mouth and you feel like you're drowning. That was how much saliva. Lots and lots. But it was fun. Or at least as fun as a toothbrush can be. 29 and a half days to go with it, and then I'll decide whether it's worth getting a non-tester one and making the switch.

Monday, December 26, 2005

On Being A Lawyer, and Not Being A Lawyer

A friend introduced me to a friend of hers last night. "This is my friend Jeremy. He's a lawyer." And I kind of shrugged my shoulders and did a sort of embarrassed kind of thing and said something like "Well, not really a lawyer, just went to law school," and it didn't matter and it doesn't matter as it relates to something stupid like getting introduced to someone, but it got me thinking -- not so much about the fact of it, because the fact, I think, is that I'm not a lawyer, because I'm not practicing law -- but about my automatic reaction to the idea of being a lawyer.

When she said it, I kind of felt like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Like, "no, it's not my fault, don't hate me for this, I'm not one of THEM, it was just an innocent mistake." Nothing serious, not like being called a rapist, an axe murderer, or a Bush supporter, but, still, I kind of had the realization for the first time that if I'm being totally honest, "lawyer" isn't a label I want to have attached to me.

That isn't fair and kind of sucks. I mean, I know that among the general population, lawyers get a pretty bad rap. We hear about surveys showing that people see "lawyer" as a pretty negative thing. This Gallup poll I just found with the magic of Google places lawyers, in terms of ethics, down there right below building contractors and real estate agents and just above labor union leaders. Halfway between journalists and car salesmen. Well below funeral directors. Yikes. Lawyers also get into lots of car accidents and rank eighth of nine professions in terms of public confidence.

But law school should have taught me better. I know lots of terrific, ethical, good people who are now lawyers. Doing all kinds of things -- at firms, not at firms, clerking, not clerking. I think most of my classmates from law school want to do good in the world. I don't think, on an individual level, lawyers are any worse than anyone else, certainly.

Yet, taken as a group, law school didn't kill off all the stereotypes for me. Before law school, I think I would have been fine being called a lawyer. Lawyers have prestige, lots of people doing cool and important things went to law school, it sounded nice... and I didn't know any lawyers personally, no one in my family was a lawyer, my only exposure to lawyers was from a distance... but somehow, having gone to law school, and had more exposure...

I don't have a next paragraph for this post. I'm kind of curious what other people think, if this makes any of you think about anything. I'm not sure it will. :)
I love DVD commentary tracks.

Just watched the first two episodes of Season Two of The West Wing, with commentary. Awesome. Awesome awesome awesome.

Had a Hanukkah brunch thing with family earlier today. My cousin has a 6-month-old daughter. It's the first baby in my holiday-celebrating family (what I mean by that are the relatives we celebrate holidays with... although I guess that's pretty clear without this parenthetical) since my cousin, who's 18 now, so it's been a while. Kind of fun. I last saw her at Thanksgiving, and the difference between then and now, just a month later, is really noticeable. Much more alert and seeming like a little person. Very neat. I was a summer camp counselor for a bunch of summers in high school and college, so I've been around a lot of 6, 7, 8, 9 year-olds, and in 12th grade we had a 75-hour community service requirement, and I volunteered at a day care classroom of 3 and 4 year olds, but I've really never been around babies at all, so I have no idea what they're "supposed" to do, like when they talk and when they walk and stuff like that. At 6 months they apparently do neither, but they do like Cheerios and wrapping paper. :)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

There's a Yahoo news story, "Small Groups Observe Tsunami Anniversary." I guess that's fine, but the wording seems funny to me. Tsunami Anniversary. What do you get a tsunami for its anniversary? The traditional 1-year anniversary gift is paper, but that definitely won't work, because it'll get all wet. I hope it doesn't get mad that I forgot the date and didn't get it anything. I wouldn't want to see a tsunami get mad.

Clearly seeing the Farrelly Brothers movie about the Special Olympics yesterday made me extra-stupid. Sorry.

Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah. I have a Hanukkah thing with my family on Monday, which should be fun. I found a box of little marzipan candies in the shape of Jewish things -- menorahs, jewish stars, hebrew letters -- to bring to my uncle's house.

My grandma asked me for a movie recommendation, to go see with a friend of hers today. She didn't want to see King Kong, so I recommended she see what I saw yesterday. It was that or Chronicles of Narnia, and I'm pretty sure she won't like that (despite the funny rap about it on last week's Saturday Night Live). Not sure if she'll really like "The Ringer." But I'm curious what her reaction will be. I expect, "Was the guy starring in it [Johnny Knoxville] really mentally disabled, or does he just seem that way?" to be her first question. "Why did you tell me to see this movie?" will probably be her second.

I hear President Bush is planning to throw out the first pitch at the Special Olympics. Nevermind. I'm still stupid today. There's probably a funny digital short in there somewhere -- the President digitally added to some scenes from The Ringer, I don't know.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Movies 2005

I expect I might see another couple of movies before the year is officially over, but I figure I'll post this now. The past couple of years, I've listed the movies I saw that year in some sort of rank order by how much I liked them. Last year I saw 28 movies. This year I've seen 23. There are a few big ones I didn't see, like Wedding Crashers, 40-Year-Old Virgin, whatever numbers Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings are up to by now, and King Kong, which I guess I should want to see, but I'm not finding myself all that drawn to it. I'll probably end up seeing it, but I won't be too upset if I don't. Anyway, here's what I saw in 2005, ranked by how much I liked.

1. Little Manhattan
2. Fever Pitch
3. Proof
4. Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang
5. Prime
6. The Weather Man
7. Crash

8. Good Night and Good Luck
9. Hitch
10. In Good Company
11. The Baxter
12. The Ringer

13. The Aristocrats
14. Bewitched
15. Batman Begins
16. March of the Penguins
17. The Producers

18. Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
19. Monster-in-Law
20. Palindromes
21. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
22. Last Days
23. The Woodsman

I've chunked them into 4 categories. Movies I really liked, movies I liked, movies I thought were OK, and movies I really didn't like much at all. A few notes... Prime was a terrible name for the movie it was -- it's the comedy with Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman where Meryl Streep is the therapist and Uma Thurman is dating her son. I couldn't remember the name of it without googling. That's not good. But I liked it a lot. Little Manhattan was a really sweet romantic comedy that hit the right notes for me. I liked Fever Pitch a lot more than most people did. I think Jimmy Fallon's character was really engaging. And the baseball thing. That probably affected my opinion a lot. Proof was smart. I really liked it. Everyone else who saw March of the Penguins liked it more than I did. I didn't hate it, but it didn't really do great things for me. Same with Batman Begins, undoubtedly a fine film, but I just thought it was okay. And The Aristocrats may have been funnier in a packed theater than where I saw it -- I just thought it got old really quickly. Sarah Silverman's movie was a disappointment -- I thought it would be much funnier; a lot of the content was given away in the articles I'd read beforehand. Good Night and Good Luck is a fine movie. Something didn't grab me though. Still liked it, just not enough for it to be in that top tier. I recommend any of those first 7 if you're looking for something to rent.

I want to see Woody Allen's new movie, Match Point.

UPDATE: Saw "The Ringer" this afternoon, the Farrelly Brothers movie about a guy who pretends he's mentally challenged and fixes the Special Olympics. It's not as offensive as it sounds. I guess it couldn't be as offensive as it sounds. It's actually sort of sweet. I liked it. Added it to the rankings, right there in the middle at #12. It's pleasant and light, if you're looking for something relatively mindless.
I just sent 75% of a second draft to my editor, to get him something before the holidays. Hoping to get to 100% of that draft by the New Year, if I can. Not sure this is post-worthy, but it's a better post to have up top than the computer whining. Thanks to the readers who e-mailed tech support ideas though. Useful maybe. It's been working since I posted that, so it's okay for now.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Any computer experts out there want to try diagnosing this for me...

My setup is cable modem / wireless router. Monday morning I was getting an IP address but not connecting. Called cable company, they had me take the router out of the loop and it still wasn't working, so they said it must be my Norton Antivirus. That didn't explain why my roommate wasn't getting anything through the router either, but I went with it. Spent an hour dealing with the Norton help person, and got it working on my system without the router, but still wasn't working when I added the router back in. Reinstalled the router Monday night, and it worked. All was fine until this morning, when it suddenly died on me, completely. Again I took the router out of the system. Still didn't work. I took the power cord from the cable modem and put it back in, and this got it working without the router. For about an hour. Then it died again. Did the same thing. Worked for 10 minutes, then it died again. Tried putting the router back into the system. Didn't work. Tried it again just the cable modem, unplugged everything for a while first. E-mail worked, but the web browser didn't, and Norton froze up every time I tried to send outgoing mail. Seemed all screwed up. So I unplugged cable modem again and then plugged it back in. And it's working again, for now. But I have no idea what the problem is.

Seems like it can't be the router, because troubles even without the router. And can't be Norton, because troubles even when I disable Norton, and because my roommate wasn't able to get a connection through the router either. So it seems like some sort of weird intermittent problem with the cable modem. But they told me it wasn't them. Am I not thinking of something obvious? Any ideas what it could be, or is it definitely the cable company? Or maybe the physical cable modem? Or is this not what would happen if either of those were the problem and it must be my computer?

Thanks. :)
There's an article in today's Boston Globe called "BlackBerry: A high-tech ball and chain for lawyers." An excerpt:

"They are not just accessories or collectors' items," Brian D. Bixby, cochairman of the firm's private clients group, wrote in his memo, which became public after being sent anonymously to Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. "They are not to be used only when you feel like sending an e-mail. They are supposed to make you more accessible for receiving e-mails after hours and on weekends."

..."while you are awake and breathing and not entirely engrossed in something else, there is no harm in having the BlackBerry on."

The firm draws the line at asking lawyers to keep their BlackBerries activated while they sleep, according to managing partner David P. Rosenblatt.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I bought a blueberry-plum-bran muffin at a bakery, walking back from going to get some lunch, and it's terrible. It's stale, and flavorless, and terrible. Terrible. It sounded good, but it's not.

But, on the bright side, I did read something terrific while I was eating lunch. I got Brooklyn Boy out of the library last week. It's a play by Donald Margulies about a novelist from Brooklyn whose father is dying and wife is leaving him at the same time as his quasi-autobiographical novel is becoming a bestseller. It's a terrific, terrific piece of writing. Delicate and poignant, and just seems to capture the way people talk and think really nicely. There's nothing forced about it. I really enjoyed reading it. I remember I have a friend who saw the staged version earlier this year -- I was up at school so I couldn't see it -- and liked it. And my mom had a friend who saw it and liked it and I think passed along an article about it for her to give to me but I don't think I ever read it. But, anyway, it's a wonderful little play, and comes across very vividly on the page. Haven't enjoyed reading something as much as this in quite a little while.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Johnny Damon leaves the Red Sox for the Yankees. $52 million for 4 years. Johnny Damon was on my fantasy baseball team a few years ago, when he was on the A's and had a lousy season. He's not allowed to be on my fantasy baseball team anymore because of that season. He's banned. Along with Moises Alou and Luis Gonzalez, for similar reasons. I'm sure Damon's a lovely person, but I don't like him because of the season when he screwed my fantasy team.

There's similar reasoning behind the fact that I don't eat halibut. When I was in 4th grade, I was in the district spelling bee, and I got out on the world halibut. How many 9 year olds have ever been to a fish store? How was I supposed to know how to spell halibut? The moderator pronounced it like hal-ih-biht. So I spelled it h-a-l-i-b-i-t. And I was out. The winning word, as it turned out, was refrigerator. I could spell refrigerator. Stupid fish. So I don't eat halibut. I think I've had it a couple of times, by mistake or out of menu desperation (nothing else looked good). But I've hated it each of those times and generally try to avoid it. Stupid fish. Stupid moderator. Stupid spelling bee.

Things like this linger in my head for a while, especially when they involve food. Last week I had a milkshake in a restaurant for the first time since I was about 12. Last time I'd had a milkshake, it was at a diner near my house, after I graduated from middle school. The night of graduation, I think. I got a chocolate milkshake. As I type this, I'm reliving the moment. I found chewed up food in the milkshake. At least it felt like chewed up food. It came up through the straw. I vomited. All over the table. It was pretty disgusting.

When I was 14 I found some hard plastic inside a black-and-white cookie. I don't eat black-and-white cookies.

When I was about 16 I was eating a mozzarella stick and it pulled apart and I was holding onto one end while the other end was dangling down my throat somewhere. That was kinda frightening. I don't avoid mozzarella sticks, but I'm really, really careful with them.

After college I went to Europe with some friends and we were at a hotel buffet breakfast in perhaps Vienna. From a metal tin, I took a piece of flatbread with oats and seeds on it. As I took a bite I noticed one of the oats was moving. Then they all looked like they were moving. The flatbread was infested with maggots. My friends didn't believe me at first, if I recall. I had to poke at it with my knife a few times to prove this wasn't my imagination. I had taken a small bite already. I brushed my teeth for about 10 minutes and rinsed my mouth out about a hundred times. Luckily avoiding flatbread is pretty easy, although I don't actually think I avoid flatbread. I am very, very, very wary of hotel breakfasts now, and avoid anything that looks like it was sitting around in a container for any length of time.

In college, the theater group I was in toured around the country over winter break. We got to stay with alumni most nights, in small groups. One morning, the story going around when we all gathered back on the bus was that at one house, the alumni had put some snacks on the table. People were eating them and one girl made a comment about how good the apple chips were. "Those aren't apple chips," the host said. "That's the potpourri." Since that wasn't me, I haven't developed any sort of avoidance of apple chips. Or potpourri, for that matter.

I don't know why all these food stories tonight. How did Johnny Damon signing with the Yankees lead to me emptying my mind of traumatic eating experiences?

Monday, December 19, 2005

I woke up and my Internet wasn't working. Had an IP address but not connecting. So I spent a half hour on the phone with Roadrunner, my cable provider. They went through a bunch of stuff and determined it's my Norton Internet Security, and as soon as I disabled that, it worked fine. They told me to call Norton. Norton's phone message told me to do Internet Live Technical Support Chat for better service. So I just spent a half hour chatting with Kiran, who fixed my problem. Because not posting this would mean I wasted the past half hour, here is the transcript of my Internet chat with Kiran. I meant to ask him where on the globe he was chatting from before we signed off, but I forgot. I am guessing not his first language was English, although he did pretty good and got my Norton working again. Perhaps it will be of some use to someone who's having a Norton problem similar to mine.

Kiran: Hi, thank you for contacting Symantec Live Technical Support. My name is Kiran. How may I help you?
Jeremy: My Internet wasn't connecting late last night or this morning. I was on the phone for a half hour with Roadrunner, my cable company, and nothing was working until she had me disable Norton, and now it works fine. She said to contact Norton because it must be a problem with that.
Kiran: Hello Jeremy.
Kiran: I gather that you are unable to connect to Internet with Norton Internet Security (NIS) enabled, am I correct?
Jeremy: Yes
Jeremy: I was getting an IP address but the connection wasn't connecting
Kiran: When did this issue started to occur?
Jeremy: Last night at about 11PM
Kiran: When did you install the product?
Jeremy: about 3 weeks ago
Jeremy: it was working fine until last night
Kiran: Okay.
Kiran: This issue can occur if the firewall is not configured properly.
Kiran: Shall we check the firewall settings?
Jeremy: okay. how do i do that?
Kiran: Open NIS now.
Jeremy: ok
Jeremy: NIS is open
Kiran: Double click on Personal firewall.
Jeremy: i don't see that icon
Jeremy: oh, now i see it
Jeremy: click on configure?
Kiran: Yes.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Click on the Programs tab.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Do you see a list of programs there?
Jeremy: yes
Kiran: Is any of them configured to block there?
Jeremy: no. most of them say automatic. a few say permit all.
Kiran: How many programs are listed there?
Jeremy: about 30
Jeremy: I just counted. 24.
Kiran: Okay. Are you chatting from the same system?
Jeremy: Yes
Kiran: In that case, you need to restore the default firewall rules and check.
Kiran: Shall we proceed?

Jeremy: I guess. What do I click on?
Kiran: Open the link below:
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Did you open it?
Jeremy: yes
Kiran: Download the ISRIRstr.exe file from there.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Did you download it?
Jeremy: it won't let me save it where the page says to save it. it says i don't have permission
Kiran: Save it to Desktop.
Jeremy: ok
Jeremy: ok. it's downloaded
Kiran: Now, in NIS , click Options > Norton Internet Security.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: On the General Tab, under Protect my product, uncheck Turn on protection for my Symantec product.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Click on Ok.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Close Norton Internet Security.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Now, copy that file from Desktop and paste it in the Norton Internet Security folder.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Did you do paste it in Norton Internet Security folder?
Jeremy: yes
Kiran: Now, double click on that file.
Jeremy: ok
Jeremy: i ran the program
Kiran: Okay. Now close all windows except this chat window.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Open NIS now.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Double click on Personal firewall.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Click on Programs tab.
Jeremy: no programs appear in the list anymore
Kiran: Okay. Click on Program scan button.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Just run the scan and let me know when the scan detects all the programs.
Jeremy: it's done. it found 194 programs.
Kiran: Click on Check all and click on Next.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Click on Finish.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Now, enable firewall and try to access links.
Jeremy: what do i click on?
Kiran: Go to the main window of NIS.
Jeremy: ok
Jeremy: turn on internet security?
Kiran: Yes.
Jeremy: ok
Jeremy: it is on
Kiran: Did you do that?
Jeremy: yes
Kiran: Now, open Internet explorer and try to open
Jeremy: the internet is working
Kiran: Thats great!
Jeremy: ok, great
Kiran: Is there anything else I can help you with?
Jeremy: nope
Jeremy: thanks
Kiran: Jeremy, before we end the session, I wish to inform that you will be receiving a customer survey form in the next 2-3 days through email, where you can rate my performance on this session. Please spend two minutes of your valuable time to fill out this form. This will help me in improving my performance and gear-up my customer support skills.
Jeremy: ok
Kiran: Thank you for contacting Symantec Live Technical Support. It was a pleasure assisting you.
Jeremy: thanks.
Kiran: You are welcome.
Kiran: Bye.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Funny McSweeney's Piece. I know the writer. She's even funnier in person. I love randomly stumbling on things involving people I know. It's fun!

I also want to throw some visitors over to a food blog written by someone else I know! I got to try the food listed in the most recent post. It was very good. Avocado wrapped in prosciutto is the next miso-glazed cod. Trust me on this one.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Just remembered something I wanted to post. I was walking down the street a couple of nights ago, and in front of me was a family with a young child. There was a homeless man singing Christmas songs trying to get people to give him money. He was singing "Santa Claus is Coming To Town." There is something menacing about a homeless guy singing, to a young child, these lines:

I know when you've been sleeping / I know when you're awake

If I was the child, I'd be having nightmares.
Oh, also... Sherry is having a virtual blog birthday party, where she's asking for photos of her readers to post on her page. So if you read her blog, you should do that. I sent her a photo. It's not that recent. :)
Saddened about the death of John Spencer of The West Wing. He came across on screen as a really good human being, I thought. Maybe it was the writing, and maybe he was that good of an actor. But it seems to me it's quite difficult for an actor to portray characters with real humanity if they don't have some of that themselves. I'm not sure if it works in the opposite direction. I don't want to assume someone like, I don't know, Jason Alexander, is a terrible person because the characters he plays tend to lack an essential goodness. But, yeah, sad about that. He was only 58. That's not old.

I had lunch with a friend yesterday and we were talking about whether you'd want to live if you lost your limbs. I don't know how this came up. I was more okay with it than my friend was, I think, which tells me maybe I should be doing more stuff with my limbs. Uh... obviously it would be terrible to suddenly lose all your limbs, but if your brain's working okay and you can communicate and think and interact, I kind of feel like that's more essential. Maybe not. But faced with losing limbs vs. losing mind, I vote for losing limbs. Losing your mind and you've lost yourself. Bizarre topic. Sorry.

This afternoon my improv comedy class has its "graduation show." So I get to spend 25 minutes or so on a stage trying to act, which is sort of fun in small doses, especially in the pressure-less atmosphere of a "graduation show" for an audience of hardly anyone.

This blog is going to change very soon. I'm in a holding pattern right now, with regard to things to talk about. I don't have that much to talk about, because I'm deep into my book revisions and besides my book I do fun stuff with friends or read stuff or watch stuff or eat stuff. So there's not much else happening in my head. But here's what's exciting to me, and hopefully will be worth writing about and worth you reading about. I don't know what happens once I finish my book. I mean, I have some sense of the process -- there's marketing stuff to do, there's things like picking a cover, there's choosing a font I guess. I don't really know. But that's the cool part. I don't really know, but I sense that there'll be all sorts of new things to think about, and I'll want to write about them, and share that process, because I don't think there's too much out there about what it's like to do this for the first time. In effect, I want to write about my experiences with my book, like I wrote about my experiences with law school. But I have no experiences yet to write about. So instead you get random stuff in this holding pattern until I have more to say.

I saw "The Producers" movie last night. I've never seen the Broadway show. It seems like the movie is really a carbon copy of the Broadway show, put on the big screen. So if you're watching for content -- that is, if you want to hear the lines and hear the songs, and watch the actors, it seems like a pretty faithful experience. That said, watching a theatrical performance on the movie screen is a little weird and not as exciting as watching live theater. I thought, as a movie, it dragged and wasn't all that thrilling. As a recording of a musical, up close and with nice sets, it's a better experience. I enjoyed having seen it, but didn't love every minute while watching it. I would have cut a third of it, including a third of the songs. There's some nice stuff, but the middle gets slow. Just my opinion.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I'm very excited about the potential New York City transit strike on Friday.

That sounds like a terrible thing to say, and, sure, I don't really want people with urgent things to do that require public transport to not be able to do them, like get to hospitals or go to work or find the best dim sum in the city. But I think it could be cool to see what happens to the city if there's no bus or subway service for a day. I say this as someone who doesn't need to go anywhere urgent on Friday, and if I'm really dying to get to my friend's holiday party that night, I could probably figure out a way. It would be a long walk, but it would be worth it to see what happens if there's really no public transport.

I'm sort of kidding, and don't really expect there'll possibly be a strike. The goodwill lost would be too great, on both sides. I expect they'll solve the problem at the eleventh hour and at least come to an agreement where they don't strike on a work day. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This is a somewhat bizarre request, but I figured I'd try. One of my challenges as I work on the revisions to the Anonymous Lawyer book, and really try to fill in the gaps and craft the scenes I need to put everything together, is that it's been a while since I've been around lawyers in a work setting. I'm not sure how to solve this, except to find those kinds of situations.

So I'm looking for people, basically in exchange for my gratitude and perhaps, if you want, an acknowledgement in the back of the book, who might be able to invite and/or sneak me into a firm event, whether a holiday party or a recruiting function, or anything at all where there'll be lawyers to watch. I'm just trying to reconnect with the atmosphere -- I'm not looking to get stories or characters or event descriptions -- not trying to spy on things or anything like that -- just general tone and atmosphere that it's been long enough since I've seen that I'm starting to forget. And that's not good.

So if anyone has any ideas, shoot me an e-mail...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Just some random stuff:

1. Reading lots of news articles that say the Red Sox may bring back Theo Epstein in some capacity. Cool. (see this article, if you're curious)

2. Read a book called "Saturday Night," by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad about the beginnings of Saturday Night Live -- basically a history of the first 10 years, with emphasis on the first 5 -- that was absolutely terrific. Bill Simmons recommended it in a recent column. It's great.

3. A reader e-mailed me asking why 1Ls get so stressed about law school. He posted his question and my answer on his blog. I checked out his blog and really liked it, so I figure instead of just pasting the Q&A here, I'll send you over there. It's nothing too surprising -- I figure you could probably come up with most of my answer without even reading it -- but in case you're looking for a 1L blog to read, his isn't a bad choice.

4. I got an e-mail to my Anonymous Lawyer account from a blogger over here writing as a 13-year-old ghost who's part of a "ghost family" in Maine. Interesting concept. Executed nicely. The writing makes me seriously doubt it's a 13-year-old writing it -- if it is, he's pretty darn talented -- but I was interested enough to scroll a bit down the page, so I figured I'd link.

5. And while I'm being generous with the links, Legal Affairs has a cool article about whether baseball owns its player statistics or not.

6. And, finally, if you can beat 232,000 on the addictive Frosty Flips, you've done better than me.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My e-mail server seems to have been down, and bouncing e-mails, for about an hour this morning. So if you e-mailed me and it bounced, try again and it should be ok.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The other day I was passing a Circuit City and there were people handing out coupons for $15 off your next purchase of $100 or more on Before I throw 'em out, I figured I'd offer 'em to anyone reading who needs 'em. It's a code you type in at checkout on the site. So, first two people to e-mail me and I'm happy to give you the code. Says each code can only be used once. But, yeah, 15 bucks is real money, except pretty useless since I have no plans to spend $100 at

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Why didn't anyone ever tell me how easy this was? I was in the supermarket this afternoon, just getting some turkey and some cheese so I can have nice cheap lunch the next few days, and I was walking up the produce aisle and saw a whole display with bags of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries. I like cranberries. So I looked on the bag, and there was a recipe for cranberry sauce, and it just looked too ridiculously easy to be the case. Take a cup of water, mix it with a cup of sugar, boil it, throw in the cranberries, let them cook for a few minutes, and, amazing, cranberry sauce. So I was inspired to try this, because cranberry sauce is awesome and who would ever have guessed it could possibly be this easy to make? So I just did it, and, amazing, cranberry sauce. Just like that. It took like 3 songs on the CD I'm listening to (Amos Lee's self-titled album, which is very good, not that you asked), so, like 8 minutes, 9 minutes, nothing. Cleanup was easy, just rinsed the pot out. Why do people buy the cans of this stuff? This takes no time at all.

I'm getting into a bad habit where I'm making tiny impulse purchases the past few days, just to make my life exciting. Like the $2 bag of cranberries today, and, last night, I bought a tin of Thinking Putty online. It's like Silly Putty, but this site has it in 30 different colors. I bought the glow in the dark "Ice" color. I'll let you know if it's as much fun to play with while sitting at my desk trying to write as the site claims it will be, once it arrives. Tomorrow's impulse purchase is going to be a new umbrella, since my current umbrella is no longer operating properly, and I fear being caught in an umbrella-necessary situation. I guess that's less of an impulse purchase than a necessary real purchase. I'm bad at spending money, it all feels wasteful. Anyway. Back to my cranberry sauce.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Cool cool cool article about Wikipedia and its potential problems.

ACCORDING to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, John Seigenthaler Sr. is 78 years old and the former editor of The Tennessean in Nashville. But is that information, or anything else in Mr. Seigenthaler's biography, true?

The question arises because Mr. Seigenthaler recently read about himself on Wikipedia and was shocked to learn that he "was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John and his brother Bobby."

Neat! If someone's going to make up stuff about me, I hope it's about my direct involvement in someone's assassination too! I think that's really funny. I am saddened, however, that further down in the article, it talks about how the guy thought about suing. Is this really seriously lawsuit-worthy? I mean, maybe if I was older and the Kennedy assassinations felt to me like real events instead of history book events I'd be more outraged. I suppose to me this is about on the same level as someone writing in my biography that I started the Peloponnesian War. So I think it's hilarious. I guess to him it wasn't. Oops. I like Wikipedia.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

There's a New York Times piece today, entitled, Are Lawyers Being Overbilled for Their Test Preparation? about Bar/Bri and whether it violates the antitrust laws. Interesting stuff.

Every year, between 35,000 and 40,000 people graduate from the nearly 200 law schools approved by the American Bar Association, and many take a BAR/BRI review course. In New York alone, according to the company's Web site, "more bar candidates trusted BAR/BRI to prepare them for the New York bar exam than all other bar courses combined."

The course is not cheap: next summer's eight-week review for the New York bar exam given in July costs more than $2,600. Given the relatively low costs of providing the courses - while some students attend live lectures, many gather in hotel conference rooms and simply watch videotapes of professors, meaning BAR/BRI's cost is primarily the hotel room, television set and VCR - it is clear that BAR/BRI's business is highly lucrative. Thomson does not break out BAR/BRI's contribution to its revenue or profits, but Stanley D. Chess, a former top executive at BAR/BRI who left to join a short-lived competitor, said: "Bar review is a very profitable business."


BAR/BRI advertises its bar review course heavily at law schools and hires law students to serve as its on-campus representatives (they pay no or reduced tuition for the course and have sometimes received cash bonuses). Students who sign up in their first year of law school pay less than students who sign up later, and the sooner a student puts down a deposit, the sooner that student locks in the final cost of tuition.

It is hard to overstate the anxiety the bar exam provokes. Over all, it can take more than 12 hours over two days. The multistate portion of the exam is required by nearly every state and is the same in those states; it consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. Each state's exam, typically the second day, usually consists of essays and multiple-choice questions that focus on the law in that particular state. The kinds of questions often require knowledge of topics that some students might not have learned about in school, adding to the allure of a review course aimed precisely at the topics on the exam.

My favorite line of the article: "'You absolutely have to take a bar review course to pass the bar,' said Lisa M. Gintz, who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and is now practicing family law in Baton Rouge, La."

Uh, no. I'm not disputing it can provide value. But you can do everything Bar/Bri does, for a tiny fraction of the cost, if you're willing to put in the effort and time. And you can do less than that and still pass. It's scare tactics like that --"you absolutely have to" -- that cause law student panic and make everyone pay $2600 to Bar/Bri. If a law firm is paying for it, sure, why not? If you don't think you can pass without it, then, yeah, take it. But buy some books, read them, do some practice tests... even ignoring my own experience I can't fathom that Bar/Bri has somehow found a way to teach people how to pass the Bar Exam that cannot be replicated by anyone on their own, and is more efficient than a more customized study plan someone can come up with by him or herself.

Bar/Bri's a schoolyard bully. That's basically what the article says.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I got a mass e-mail the other day from Lee Eisenberg, who edited Esquire for 20 years and is also one of the founders of Rotisserie Baseball (it is frightening that I knew that without looking it up, so carefully I read the first few editions of the official Rotisserie League Baseball books, and it is even more frightening that, still without looking, I can name 4 other original founders -- Glen Waggoner, Dan Okrent (of NY Times Public Editor fame), Rob Fleder, and Peter Gethers). I mean, it was obviously a mass e-mail from his publicist, but, still, his name was in the From: line, so whatever. The e-mail offered a free preview copy of his new book, "The Number." The book is all about people's struggles to come up with the amount of money they need to have in the bank in order to retire. That amount being "The Number" in the title.

Clearly, this wasn't a terribly carefully culled list of bloggers who got sent this e-mail, because I shouldn't have much interest in retirement, and probably most of my readers don't either. So I expected the book to be pretty boring, but I'll take anything that's free, so I gave him my address anyway. The book came 2 days later. And I figured I'd read the first few pages and then put it in a pile somewhere, next to a firefighter memoir I got free a year ago and haven't yet touched. But Eisenberg's a terrific writer. His writing has a real voice to it. He comes across as a smart, wise, good guy. I can't put my finger on exactly why, but the voice really comes through. And I read the whole book. It's not really a finance book. It's more about how Americans are reluctant to talk about money, but need to save more and be smarter about how we invest or we're never going to be able to comfortably retire, especially given how long we're all living nowadays. It's a pop sociology book a la David Brooks with a little bit of finance thrown in. Just enough finance to make me think about re-evaluating my own financial stuff, but not so much that it gets bogged down in numbers. Great book. I liked it so much more than I expected to, and so much more than I reasonably should have, given my almost-complete lack of interest in the subject.

See, send me a free book and I'll write about it. :)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Sherry's got another great post about career/life satisfaction. Worth reading.

I may write my own take on this soon, but not right now.
Terrific post by Sherry Fowler about being a writer. Just terrific.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Are electric toothbrushes worth it? That is, do they do a better job?
What's next?

Lots of articles about weblogs recently. Mainstream media outlets all have weblogs. Weblogs feel like they're jumping the shark. So what's next?

I feel like it's probably not podcasts, since it takes so much time to listen to someone talk about stuff, and it's a lot easier to read a weblog at work than listen to a podcast, and there's not that much you can do with a podcast that you can't do with a weblog (play music, have real-time debates, probably more cool stuff I'm not thinking of, but it's not making me excited about them, yet). So I feel like there's some other new form of communication out there that I just don't know about yet.

If you know what I don't know, and there's something out there I should know about, I want to know.