Moving: Days 16-18

26 October 2007, Friday
6:00 am: wake up to roommate MaryLou BLASTING NPR
7:oo am: wander out of bed
7:50 am: thinking it probably won't rain, decide to wear my Favorite Black Cashmere Hat
8:00 am: drive Josie to doggy day care (i.e. Geran's house to play with Arlo)
8:36 am: pick up a friend I spot wandering down 15th Ave. on her way to work
8:45 am: breakfast at Snow City [fn1]
9:30 am: work on Voting Rights Act case
10:00 am: raining
10:02 am: Jose Gonzalez' cover of Teardrop
10:06 am: Voila by Michael Tolcher
12:15 pm: 35 degrees. rain. ice.
12:16 pm: drive to storage unit, unload car
12:23 pm: cold. wet. Faovrite Black Cashmere Hat not keeping head dry
1:30 pm: sun!
1:45 pm: AK Supreme Ct issues opinion in one of our cases
1:46 pm: begin reading 52-page opinion
1:46:10 pm: we won!
2:07 pm: call T to semi-gloat about victory
2:14 pm: 40 degrees, sunny, feels like Spring
2:30 pm: load backyard furniture and firewood into car
3:20 pm: step in ten-inch-deep puddle (unintentionaly)
6:10 pm: MY3SNZ [fn2]

27 October 2007, Saturday
12:40 am: why am I still packing and lugging stuff around with a broken hand?
1:02 am: 34 degrees. icy. fog.
1:04 am: somehow manage to back my car down steep narrow driveway in between a van and a light pole without being able to see out the rear window
1:06 am: for the first time today, Kanye West's Stronger is not playing on the radio! [fn3]
1:07 am: Cecilia, you're breaking my heart, you're shaking my confidence daily...
1:34 am: start to think about upcoming surgery. nervous. scared.
1:35 am: decide to hold off on surgery-related nervousness until moving is finished
1:38 am: slam on brakes as moose darts in front of car
1:48 am: walk outside with hood over my head (i.e., no peripheral vision). hear rustling. stop. look to left. see a moose chomping on a tree less than three feet from me. walk away s-l-o-w-l-y
2:05 am: I fear inflatable mattress technology has forever changed the concept of crashing on someone's couch. Though right now I am happy to reap the benefits.
10:00 am: meet Hank, MaryLou, ten of our friends, and two U-Hauls at our house for The Big Move Out
1:00 pm: it's amazing how quickly moving goes with 13 people helping
1:30 pm: pizza party
3:30 pm: one more trip to the storage unit
6:00 pm: use Coinstar machine to cash in my jar of change: $76.85. Coinstar would not accept: 7 Rand, 1 Kwacha, 20 Pence, $1.24 Canadian, 1 bent US quarter, 1/2 a toothpick, 1 small red pill of indeterminate origin.
8:00 pm: hand hurts. exhausted. nap.
9:00 pm: Geran's home costume shop:

11:08 pm: Halloween party
11:40 pm: Ian Shenanigan Sheshunoff is dressed as Wonder Bread (The Bun in the Oven)

28 October 2007, Sunday
1:37 am: Overheard in Anchorage: "I snorted ecstasy once--it felt like my head was going to fall off."
2:16 am: some guy refuses to walk his date home because he is eating baklava. "I'll ride my bike and catch up with her." She was complaining about him earlier in the evening. This night is going to end badly for him.
3:08 am: front row seats as another relationship ends. very entertaining.
4:30 am: sleep
11:17 am: awake
6:15 pm: take last car load of stuff to storage unit. moving is complete.
this is my current home:
these are my neighbors:

6:45 pm: need coffee
6:50 pm: the dude ahead of me in line just ordered a 20 ounce sugar free raspberry skinny latte. the fall of our civilization is very near.
7:40 pm: The Darjeeling Limited
9:59 pm: eh. Wes Anderson doesn't break any new ground with this one. Of course, the music was great, and the film looked beautiful--Anderson's attention to detail is remarkable. Much like The Life Aquatic, he continues to perfect the "Wes Anderson Style," but I was disappointed. However, I really enjoyed the companion short film, Hotel Chevalier. And Natalie Portman is..., well, words escape me. "Hot" just doesn't cut it.
[fn1] I have recently been quite partial to the oatmeal at Snow City Cafe. It is light and fluffy, as far as oatmeal goes, and it comes with a mini-fixins' bar of granola, dried cranberries, raisins, and brown sugar. It is a generous portion of oatmeal, and if you add a lot of granola to it (as I like to do) the portion swells to nearly double its size, meaning you have breakfast for the next day as well (if you can stomach reheated oatmeal with mushy granola). Sometimes I will order "The Steiner", which is the aforementioned oatmeal served with a side of bacon. I giggle every time I order it because it is named after a friend of mine. A friend who (in addition to eating bacon and oatmeal so often that a restaurant named that pairing after him) I once witnessed order (and eat) bbq chicken at a strip club on St. Maarten. (I had some too--it was good chicken--and not just for strip club chicken.)

[fn2] I am beginning to recognize personalized license plates that I have seen before. This one was still just as lame as it was the first time I saw it. I need to get out of this town.

[fn3] I spent almost two hours in my car listening to the radio today. I heard that song at least 6 times. Though, I did listen to it and sing along each time...



UPDATE: Variety is now reporting that it is official: "Paramount, MTV take 'Bong hits' "

I finally have some of my own Hollywood gossip! This is what I know (and it's not much): a screenplay is in the works and a "major" studio has purchased the option for, get this, Bong Hits 4 Jesus: The Movie. This in no way guarantees that such a film will ever be made, but it's still fun to think about. So, who's going to play me? [fn1] One of the Sklar Brothers, perhaps?


Close enough. You think K-Starr will play himself?
[fn1] The role of B-Dice will surely be highly sought after as the scene where I sit in the Supreme Court and say absolutely nothing (but also, and more importantly, don't spill anything) has Oscar written all over it.


The Winter Of My Discontent

I was supposed to arrive in Eritrea today. Instead, I'm still in Anchorage and am celebrating Alaska Day. Alaska Day is one of my favorite state holidays (the other being Seward's Day), but even with the day off, I'd still rather be in Africa right now. Mostly because it is For Real Cold these days (though as Myster explains, just how cold depends on where you are in the city). It is only mid-October, but my trusty old down jacket has already made its season debut and these things have shown up occasionally as well. The temperature has been dropping about 5 degrees every week, and we are losing 5 minutes of daylight every 24 hours (daytime temps are in the low 40s and it is dark at 7:30). There is frost on my lawn every morning and on my way to work I see ice covering patches of Westchester Lagoon. A few days ago it was snowing at my house--just little itty-bitty pieces of snow, and just for a few minutes, but it was still snow.

It's hard to get too upset, though, when you get to go to parties wearing an ascot:

And when you get to add a captain's hat to the ensemble and hang out with girls wearing outfits like this:



10.27: Move out of my house
10.30: Fly to Seattle
11.01: Surgery
11.22: Fly to Scottsdale for Thanksgiving
11.25: Fly back to Seattle
11.27: Fly back to Anchorage
11.28: Depose state election officials for Voting Rights Act lawsuit
11.29: Id.
11.30: Id.
12.01: Move into new house


Wedding Album

I'm a little late in posting these, as Howard and Holly's wedding was over a month ago. Most of the pictures were taken at SeaCrest Estate, which was the site of the rehearsal dinner, the wedding reception, and the after party. There, for four days we lived in a different world: in a mansion, on a cliff, overlooking the sea. The website provides some details (but doesn't mention that the property is owned by John J. Donovan, who sounds crazy, has a giant portrait of himself in the house, and who, according to local lore, was the inspiration behind Mr. Burns from the Simpsons):
This spectacular 4.2 acre estate on Manchester-by-the Sea's lovely Smiths Point offers the ultimate in oceanfront luxury and surroundings for your wedding, special event or family holiday, if you require the absolute best. The "main house" is a 21 room (12,424 square ft) mansion with 8 bedrooms/7.5 baths, a large indoor lap pool with ocean views, and a basketball court complete with viewing gallery. The main house easily sleeps 14 and boasts two full kitchens plus an additional caterer's kitchen. The beautifully appointed "Carriage House", perfect venue for a band/DJ and dancing, also comfortably seats. If the indoor pool is too tame, enjoy privileges to a private sandy beach, a few yards from the house. Also in the main house are a billiard room, game room, multiple wet bars, ocean front patios and decks, and a grand piano. There is a tennis court available for use that is shared by guests of the estate. Manchester-by-the-Sea is a quiet oceanfront community convenient to Boston, Myopia Hunt Club, Manchester Yacht Club, the antique centers of Essex & Newburyport, and America's oldest and most colorful fishing and whale watching communities, Gloucester and Rockport.
Even aside from the ridiculous yacht club-ish fanciness of the location, it was a fantastic trip--I spent about 10 days in Massachusetts, most of which was some much-needed just-kicking-it time with Howard and a lot getting-to-know-you-better time with Holly. I was also able to engage in all sorts of hijinks with Ian, which was long overdue, play with his two little girls (one of whom I had never met), and meet his fiancee, Erin. It had been years since I had seen Chris, Ari, and Jay, so it was really nice to see them again. It was also B-Dice family hour, as my mom and two younger brothers came to the wedding. Photos:

Worth A Thousand Words

The ceremony rehearsal was wrapping up. As they would the next afternoon as husband and wife, Howard and Holly walked down the brick-laid path that led out of the park, followed by Becca and Maddie, the flower girls. Jen, the maid of honor, and I were next. Trying to remember our cue, we linked arms and started down the path behind them.

Howard and Holly had stopped walking just beyond the park gate. As we approached, Jen poked me to make sure I wasn't missing it: They stood still, holding one other, eyes locked. They weren't saying anything, but they didn't have to. We could tell they were scared, excited, and in this, and everything else, together.

It seemed the reality of the big step they were about to take had hit them that instant, as if one had just said, "Holy shit, we're really doing this," and the other replied, "Oh my god, we are."

Planning a wedding, especially when handling the vast majority of the details yourselves, can become an aggravating, difficult, magic-less, and hardly romantic process chock full of details, arrangements, schedules, plans, and scores of problems to solve. But in this brief moment--one of the few they had to themselves during those hectic days leading up to The Big Day--all of the romance and magic had returned. And I had my camera.


Tuesday Night Random II

  • There is no word for e-mail in Yup'ik, they call it "spacemail."
  • This afternoon I very narrowly (by inches and about one second) avoided what would have been a bad car accident. I was (unintentionally--it kind of sneaks up on me) listening to the Christian Rock station at the time. Did divine intervention save me? Perhaps--a few minutes later I saw this license plate: GODCENT. [fn1]
  • As far as I'm concerned, if a candy bar has nuts in it, it's a meal.
  • My office received a complaint about police "malpheasants."
  • How do you tell if it was a date or not?
  • Different perspectives:
Nate's e-mail: Great news--our budget for 2008 was approved, so we can go ahead with the Kenya, Sudan, and Malawi school building projects.
Rob's reply: Awesome! When are you going to be in NYC? Let's meet up and party.
Simon's reply (Simon is in Kenya and had recently sent an email explaining how excited he was about the well that was just built that will for the first time bring fresh water to the school construction site he is supervising): That is wonderful news. We are very blessed. Let us give thanks.
Rob to me at a bar a few nights later: I feel like such a jerk.
  • Overheard in Anchorage (because one of my friends said it): "Oh my god, I'm dating Dwight Schrute. Actually, he's a cross between Dwight and Napoleon Dynamite." That relationship ended shortly thereafter.
  • In one night last week Hank learned how may weeks are in a year, Viv learned that "the big circuit with all the courts on the west coast" is the Ninth Circuit, and I learned why south-facing windows get the most light.
  • I recently interviewed for a job working on national security litigation. I didn't get it, but I was told I was one of the finalists for the position. However, now that I know about the woman they hired, I'm amazed they even called me back, let alone took the time to interview me: She was the acting director of a major human rights organization, and before that was their deputy director and senior counsel. She has extensive expertise in international human rights law: she authored or co-authored several reports about interrogation, detention, and rendition; monitored the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay; served as co-counsel in a case against Donald Rumsfeld concerning the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan; and is an oft-quoted expert on a wide array of national security issues. She also was a writer for the NYU's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and was an associate at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. How do you compete with that? Also, I feel like an idiot for suggesting "cooler t-shirts" in response to an interview question about how to improve their public education efforts.
  • to think it would be so much better if she was there. But I wasn't sad, and I couldn't make myself so. And it wouldn't have been better if she was there--it was perfect the way it was.
  • T-minus 18 days until I have to move. Packing has begun. Some highlights: I have two full boxes labeled "costumes." I organized all of my camping gear--how and why do I have four headlamps? trashed: 3 years worth of Adbusters magazines; saved: Grandma Sylvia's leather cigarette case (now my digital camera case); trashed: Josie's tags from 1268 Guerrero St., SF, CA 94110; saved: Peter Gabriel 1993 tour t-shirt; trashed: 2007 Alaska Oceans Festival volunteer t-shirt; saved: Dan McCarthy print that I got as a present but have yet to hang up.
  • Is it rude to describe someone as having "unfortunate hips"?
  • Alli and David got married yesterday. That could have been me, but I wasn't in love with her and I knew I never would be. So she went back to David when I said no. To the happy couple I now only have this to say: mazel tov.
  • I haven't eaten any, but somehow my breath tastes like jelly donuts. I wish it did every day.
[fn1] I also saw this license plate today: CLGFND. Clog Fiend? Craigslist Girlfriend?


Hook, Line, and Scissors

Six weeks ago Lea got a fishhook stuck in her leg. Dr. Meghan had to perform emergency surgery on the side of a creek to remove it using nothing but a pair of scissors. I finally got around to uploading the video to YouTube. You can watch all four short clips here.

Be warned: there is some blood. And note that this video is in the "how-to/do-it-yourself" category. But that doesn't mean you should.


Tuesday Night Random

  • Really? Are people this into angels?
  • A prosecutor friend of mine committed what could be the ultimate Freudian Slip: she accidentally filed a motion to oppress rather than a motion to suppress.
  • Lost and Found:
    • Lost: digital camera case (missing for six weeks)
    • Lost: grey silk/cashmere v-neck sweater (missing for approximately 18 months; possible location: a girl's house)
    • Found: my fancy iPod headphones that don't fall out of my ears when I run and don't freeze when the temperature dips below 32
    • Lost: dog leash, black, 6' (missing for 17 days [Note: this item has been replaced])
  • Why is it that Europeans can smoke constantly and yet never smell like cigarettes?
  • What kind of a person spells out "Rad" off-center and in duct tape on the rear window of their beat-up 1987 Red Nissan Sentra and then drives 15 mph under the speed limit?
  • This is satire, but it wouldn't surprise me if it happened.
  • To the douchebag in the teal '91 Corvette who found it necessary ride up my ass on A Street earlier this evening: well, there's really nothing insulting I can say, after all, you're a douchebag with a '91 Vette with vanity plates that read "POOF."
  • Was 1984 the best year ever? Bill Simmons makes a convincing argument.
  • Kim: "Owning a house is great and makes you feel mature until you go to Alex and Sarah's place and then you think, 'Oh, this is how adults live.'"
  • I've been spending a lot of time working with Nat on our voting rights case--the Elder Statesman and The Dude (the more experienced attorneys working on the case) being otherwise unavailable, incommunicado, or bored. Thus Nat and I, the "Kids," are being sent out without adult supervision. It is a lot of fun, her office is much nicer than mine (she has stunning views of the mountains and the inlet, as opposed to my usual view of the front of my car, a dumpster, and an alley which is periodically interrupted by drunk yelling homeless people)), the experience is invaluable, and spending time with Nat leads to all sorts of fascinating anecdotes about her family, like this story about her Chickasaw grandfather who was in a Japanese prison camp during World War II: The guards tried to kill him by stabbing him twice, but he didn't die. When they threatened him again, he looked them dead in the eyes and said, "Go ahead. If you kill me, my soul will leave my body and enter yours and then I will haunt you for the rest of your life." Wow; That is intense. I am so going to use that line someday.
  • Another anecdote from Nat: a feisty old Alaska Native woman we know was threatened with arrest for helping non-English speakers vote. Her response: "Go ahead. I don't know nobody but lawyers."


Just What I Needed

Winston (a friend/colleague/fellow Mets fan) and I engaged in an e-mail volley of dismay over the disaster that is now synonymous with the 2007 New York Mets. Winston forwarded our dialog to his significant other, and I cut-and-pasted her response below. Though it was not written to me, it is exactly what I needed to hear and it made me feel a lot better.

She obviously cares greatly for Winston, and she quotes one of the best baseball movies of all time; if Winston does not marry her immediately, he is a fool. But my perspective is slightly warped on this topic: I'm a sucker for a woman who appreciates baseball--or one who understands the obsession, or at least feigns interest. [fn1]
My Dearest Winston,

I write to offer my condolences for what I know must be a truly heartbreaking loss. You have invested so much time, energy and unconditional love in the Mets that I imagine you must be feeling the pain of their demise more than most fans (with the exception of your friend Jason in Anchorage, Alaska). It is a dark time indeed, but you will get through it. Though I cannot promise victory for the Mets, and I can promise another season. Remember: "The one constant through all the years, [Winston], has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, [Winston]. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again."

Though my (admittedly pilfered) words can neither change the fate of the dearest Mets nor completely alleviate your deep suffering, at the very least I hope that you can find some solace in them. Please know that I am here for you - you need only yelp, whimper or squeak and I will do my best to provide you with emotional comfort and beer.

Keep your head up, Winston, and I will keep both you and the Mets in my thoughts.

[fn1] A couple of years ago a certain young lady asked me about baseball on our first date and she actually seemed interested in my answers, not bored when I explained that the reason that I, like her brother and father, fawned over baseball statistics was because baseball statistics are more than just numbers--they have, in the words of pioneering baseball historian Bill James, "acquired the power of language," which makes them endlessly fascinating since they tell stories as much as they reflect accomplishment:
When numbers acquire the significance of language, they acquire the power to do all of the things which language can do: to become fiction and drama and poetry…And it is not just baseball that these numbers, through a fractured mirror, describe. It is character. It is psychology, it is history, it is power, it is grace, glory, consistency, sacrifice, courage, it is success and failure, it is frustration and bad luck, it is ambition, it is overreaching, it is discipline. And it is victory and defeat.
And of course I rambled on about the smell of fresh-cut grass and of a leather fielder's mitt, of the cracking sound of a ball coming off a bat, about the fact that there was always time for daydreaming in baseball, and that the formal ballfield itself is technically infinite. Physics, the limits of human endurance, and domed stadiums aside, there is really no barrier as to how far a batter can hit a ball, no end to how far a fleet outfielder might run to retrieve it. The foul lines run on forever, constantly diverging so that no place on the planet is actually not a part of one baseball field or another. Every other sport is beset by boundaries, but not baseball. There is no limit to the size of a baseball field or what might be achieved on it.

Well, I don't think I said that much--I do know somewhat how to behave on a date and I didn't want her to think I was absolutely crazy when we had only just met. But that's what I would have said if I had time to think about it and if I had my copy of W.P. Kinsella's The Iowa Baseball Confederacy handy to paraphrase from, as I do now. Still, the fact that she at least seemed interested resonated, and I never forgot--that's definitely one of the reasons why I was so hung up on her for so long. Apparently it takes very little for me to get attached.