6.30.2008

I'm That Guy

Three times in the past week I have accidentally "replied to all" when I meant to respond only to the sender of an e-mail message. Fortunately, my not-intended-for-group-distribution messages did not contain any scandalous or sensitive information. But still, it was an embarrassing technological faux pas, and especially so for someone who considers himself somewhat e-mail savvy. And three times? What is wrong with me? You'd think that after the first time I would have been more careful. I must be in a slump.

Thanks to all of my friends and the people at Brendan's party on Saturday night who brought these issues to my attention.

6.28.2008

"It's okay, he's a doctor."

That's what I said to the onlookers as my brother tended to Geoff, who had just passed out on the floor of a Russian bath house.  I'll elaborate on that story and post some more pictures from my trip to Seattle for Andrew's medical school graduation shortly.  In the meantime, here is a picture of my little brother giving the commencement speech to his class. And yes, like my parents, I'm kvelling.

6.12.2008

Making A Federal Case Out Of It

The biggest difference I have noticed between the state and federal court systems is the rule regarding cell phones/PDAs. The feds' building security is much tighter (though my keys did not set off the metal detector) and cell phones are not permitted in the building at all. They must be left with the US Marshalls at the building entry security checkpoint, unless you are an attorney. Attorneys, because we are so important and have so many pressing calls to make and emails to read, can bring phones into the building. But they must be turned off before going into the courtroom or they will be confiscated and put in "cell phone jail", as the Marshalls described it (not sure what the appeal process is when your phone is in cell phone jail, but this decision should help).

Upon entering the courthouse yesterday morning, I told the Marshalls I was an attorney and they asked for proof. Fortunately, I had my Alaska Bar Assn. membership card, but I didn't reveal that until after this conversation:

Marshall: Do you have anything identifying you as an attorney?
Me: Ummm, I can argue with you.
Marshall: Paperwork or an ID would be better.

As for what I was doing in the Federal Courthouse, I was arguing this case. As usual, you can count on the ADN comments for enlightened discourse.

6.06.2008

"Flip-flops are not your friend."

So said my doctor after diagnosing me with a two-ligament moderate lateral right ankle sprain and posterior medial shin splint syndrome.

I don't even know how I hurt myself.  I woke up one day and found my ankle swollen and too painful to walk on.  Three days prior I played tennis.  Two days before I played softball.  And the preceding afternoon I went for a short run.  I don't recall injuring myself during any of those activities, but I must have--I can't accept the fact that I sprained my ankle in my sleep. Nevertheless, I've got three-plus weeks of taking it easy and wearing supportive shoes ahead of me.

6.04.2008

On Allison Road

Son Volt is playing two shows in Anchorage this week: tomorrow night at the Bear Tooth and Saturday at the Oceans Festival. I like them a lot, and I'm planning to go to both shows, so I was more than a little intrigued when Hank e-mailed and asked if I wanted to drive the band to their show in Talkeetna on Friday, hang out with them for the night, and then drive them back in time for the Oceans Fest gig. Apparently, there would be some sort of van involved. But the initial thrill quickly gave way to the more mature and boring rationales of "I don't have a commercial driver's license" and "I have too much work to do to go galavanting all over the state with a rock band again." [1] Hank and I conferred and agreed: We would be much more excited if this offer came in 5 years ago, or if it were Wilco needing a ride.

[1] I'm exaggerating. I have never galavanted around Alaska with a band. I did, however, get to go on Matisyahu's tour bus last summer to participate in a late-night-though-still-light-out religious ceremony with him after a concert. I was asked not because I'm religious, but just because I'm Jewish and a minyan, or quorum, of Jewish men was needed. Never have so many dorky Jewish guys been backstage at a concert and in such close proximity to a horde of blonde groupies (the rest of the band doesn't share Matisyahu's convictions). Here is a sample of the interaction:
Groupie: So, are you with the band?
B-Dice: Yes.
Groupie: Really? What do you do?
B-Dice: I'm Jewish.

In other music news, the Gin Blossoms and the Rembrandts are playing the Alaska State Fair this summer. As a point of reference, this is what I looked like around the time Hey Jealousy (still a great song) hit the charts:

That's Howard in the picture with me. He's come a long way.

Hello, And Welcome To Moviefone

People flock to theaters in the summer to escape the heat. Not so in Anchorage, where we go to the movies to escape the sun (after a while the constant daylight can make you a little crazy). I hadn't been to a movie in a long time, and I've had a couple of Netflix discs sitting in my house for over a month--the Netflix slacking due largely to my DVR's (not my) decision to record a couple of Law & Order marathons (a 12 episode set highlighting the best of Detective Green? Yes!). So it was definitely time to catch a flick and sit in the dark for a few hours. During the past week-and-a-half I've seen six movies.

Over Memorial Day Weekend I joined a horde of friends going to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It sucked. It was awful. I wasn't expecting much, but it is saying something when you consider that 65 year-old Harrison Ford portraying an action hero was not the worst part of the movie. The storyline was absurd (even by Indiana Jones storyline standards). I'm sorry if this spoils it for anyone, but I think resorting to aliens as an answer is a huge cop-out (unless the whole premise of the story is based on aliens, like the X-Files, or ET, or...Alien). The previous three Indiana Jones films, heavy with religious supernatural themes, never even hinted at space/little green men, and I was disappointed that they went in that direction in the finale--or what will stand as the finale until Indy's new sidekick/son, played by Shia Lebouf, takes over the franchise. I've read several reviews, but Brendan, who watched it from just a few seats away from me, put it best (with just a hint of sarcasm): "I'm really glad they waited 20 years until they had the right script before making it."

The next night Big Poppa and I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go to a late showing of Iron Man at 10:30. And while it was no cinematic masterpiece, we really liked it (and I'm a sucker for movies based on comic books). It was everything IJKCS wasn't--it was fun and exciting, Robert Downey, Jr. was cast perfectly, and it had a plausible (by superhero story standards) script. And even when you knew something was going to happen, it still worked. That was the biggest problem with IJKCS--it wasn't just cliche, it was painfully cliche.

Two days later I watched Charlie Wilson's War. It was great. But I'm worried that all of this talk about restoring ethics in politics will make things insufferably boring. The antics of Ted, Don, Vic, et al. keep us constantly entertained, and I hope that the days of boozing, philandering politicians with, say, situational ethics, like Congressman Wilson, are not over.

Two other movies I saw also involved political intrigue. Recount is an HBO film recounting the recount in Florida after the 2000 presidential election (pardon the pun). As anyone who followed that clusterfuck as it was going on remembers, it was a complicated and confusing time. I've since read a couple of books about what went on behind the scenes, and Recount did a pretty good job of telling the story. It also had a great cast. If you have HBO, you should check it out. Vantage Point was also pretty good. It was about an assassination attempt on the president in Spain told from five different points of view. This storytelling technique was reminiscent of Timecode and Memento with a dash of 24 thrown in. Plus, Dr. Jack was in it.

Planet B-Boy was billed as "looking at the history of breakdancing and its vibrant resurgence in urban cultures around the world." But there was very little on the history of breakdancing--maybe only about five minutes of screen time was devoted to it (and most of that time focused on the breakdancing scene in Footloose). Rather, it was a 45-minutes-too-long documentary on the international teams competing at the Break Dancing World Championship in Germany (Would any of you have guessed that the driving force behind the International Break Dancing World Championship was a skinny, pale, German guy with stringy blonde hair and a penchant for wearing cargo shorts? Didn't think so.) I found the lack of a historical perspective disappointing, but that is mainly because there was no mention of my all-time favorite movie: Breakin' II: Electric Boogaloo. (Here is a link to the trailer. The unintentional humor is off the charts.)