Monday, January 30, 2006

Scout has a new favorite treat

Yes. We left a half-full bag of Hershey's Kisses on the floor yesterday, inside Hillary's school bag. She bought them as treats for her kids at school, but Scout couldn't stand to see all that chocolate wasted on human children. While we were at the store, he managed to eat every single chocolate left in the bag. He didn't bother to unwrap them first, either. Foil and all, he swallowed dozens of Hershey's Kisses.

I was pretty worried at first, because I heard that chocolate can be really bad for dogs, because of the theobromine in it, which apparently dogs can't metabolize. I looked it up on Google, and the first result seemed to say that we should immediately panic, light our pants on fire, and run screaming into the night. The second link was a bit more reasonable, and said that milk chocolate isn't nearly as harmful to dogs as darker types of chocolate, such as baker's chocolate.

I ended up calling my vet, and she said that the smaller the dog, and the darker the chocolate, the worse it is. Scout is huge, and the Kisses are Milk Chocolate, so she said he should be fine. He's been ok so far. His ears did perk up when he heard me eating some Hershey's Kisses tonight though. Apparently he hasn't learned his lesson.

But he probably will when the foil works its way out.

Things are looking better in Lawrence

I'm listening to Bill Self right now on the radio, talking about how KU is turning it up. I'm pretty impressed.

We're now in second place in the Big 12. That's good. Of course, we could be #1 if we wouldn't have lost to K-State and Mizzou, but then again, that's kind of a BS way to look at it. I think we're doing much better, and I'm glad to see it. I was a little worried about putting too many guys in the rotation, but it appears to be working out as they get used to things.

I do hope Brandon Rush stays around for at least one more season. I'm not naive enough to think that he will stay four years, or even that he should. He needs to hit the NBA at some point, but man, I hope he sticks around long enough for us to make a tournament run, which will be at least one more season after this one.

We've got a lot of games ahead of us, so it's not time to celebrate, but I like to see us win games like this, even if it is against a tired Texas Tech team.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My New Laptop

I'm picking this guy up from CompUSA for $1499 after I worked out a deal with a manager. It retails for $1999, but I had a creative purchase plan that allowed me to get it for $300 below cost. Win/Win situation for me and the manager. I just have to wait until CompUSA gets them in stock, which will hopefully be sometime before February is over. Hopefully someone figures out how to dual-boot Windows on these guys in the meantime.

The real beauty is that I'm paying for it entirely with giftcards that I got for free from the AOL/CompUSA debacle on Black Friday, and will have about $1200 of the gift cards refunded to me in cash at a 1/1 cash/credit ratio. Then I get to sell my 12" Powerbook, and keep whatever I get from it. Basically, I'm getting paid to get a brand-new, top of the line laptop. Gotta love it.

I almost forgot. I plan on claiming both laptops as business expenses for my eBay operations. I'll have to look into whether I can claim the full amount, the depreciation, or both, but in any case it should work out well.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Mistrials and tribulations...

This was an unusual one. Today was supposed to be my first jury trial that I was handling myself, but it ended in a mistrial. We had jury selection, everything was going smoothly, we took a break, but right before opening statements a big issue came up. Our officer, the first and only witness for the State, was the best man for one of the jurors, and it never came out during jury selection.

The judge felt he had no choice but to declare a mistrial, and reset the case for March, when we'll do the whole thing over again. I'll have to skip class if I want to do it, but I should be able to swing it.

On another note, our office purchased one of the new iMacs for video purposes, so we wouldn't have to farm out our redaction work before trial. I spent a significant amount of time today trying to get it to do what we wanted to do. iMovie doesn't allow you to import directly from DVD discs, even unprotected ones, which was a big surprise to me. I used a third party program called HandBrake, which appears to work, albeit very slowly. It's not intended for Intel based Macs, and has to run in an emulated mode, but I just noticed they have a beta version which might do the trick. I'll check that out tomorrow.

I really need to make sure this setup will work. I pushed for it with a couple of attorneys in the office, and while they probably have some credibility to burn, I'm in a different situation being an intern. I'll probably go in tomorrow and try to get it going. Hopefully it will work better than it has been.

Early to bed tonight, I think. I'm pretty beat after today.

Edit: It works like a champ. So does the printer we picked up. I think it will be a good deal for the office.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Must See TV

I'm not a TV guy. Used to be, I would just as soon have the thing off than watch pretty much anything. I still don't watch that much, so most of my assessment of quality comes from a general vibe and what I catch here and there, so I might not really know what I'm talking about, but I think the consensus is that TV is pretty good right now. I must say, if you told me three years ago that TV was going to reach a pinnacle in 2005-2006, I wouldn't have believed you. Back then we were stuck in reality TV hell. Every network had 5 new reality shows a season, and they left as quickly as they came.

n. pl. re·al·i·ties
  1. The quality or state of being actual or true.

I think that most reality shows are more surreal than real. What's realistic about eating live goldfish, and bungee jumping from helicopters on Fear Factor? And how many people pick their wife from 20 random women all competing to marry some guy they've never met a la The Bachelor? Whenever someone would come up with a new bad idea, someone else would rush to rip it off, and release an even crappier knockoff before the original idea even aired. Wife Swap and Trading Spouses are two prime examples. I knew a backlash was coming, but I wouldn't have thought it would get us where we are today.

Right now, on TV in America, we have some of the most well done programs ever in the history of broadcasting. Maybe not all of them are classics, but the production values and acting are very good, and several are very unique, as well.

Here's a rundown:
Boston Legal (My personal favorite. Shatner and Spader are flawless in that show.)
Lost (really should have gotten on this boat from the beginning.)
Desperate Housewives (I thought I would hate it, but I actually like it)
Gray's Anatomy (Same thing.)
Commander in Chief (Even though I hate it, many people like it)
Law and Order (times 3 or 4, however many shows they have)
CSI (times 3)
The Office
There are a ton of shows that are just starting that I can't think of off the top of my head, to boot. And this is just on the Networks. There are probably more quality hour-long dramas than at any other point in television history. It seems like the production values have really started going up, too. The sets look very realistic. Nothing seems as cheezy as it once did.

And when you start getting into cable channels, and the Sopranos, Entourage, Nip/Tuck, the quality is there when it seems like it just wasn't in the past. I think that must be the reason TV in general is doing so well. Competition from the cable channels meant that the networks had to finally come up with something good for people to watch. Capitalism wins once again. Here's hoping the movie studios have the same thing happen to them.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Not much to take pictures of lately, so I went to my backyard...

...and found this. It's far from fine art, but it's interesting to me. Sure looks a lot more interesting in the photo than it did on the ground.

I guess it's encouraging. I don't have to live in Scotland to take interesting photos. (Check it out. The whole site is worthwhile.) I'm sure some better terrain would help though. Not very many castles in Kansas.

Jury Trial, continued.

A couple of posts down I mentioned I was having my first jury trial on January 17th. As it turns out, it's not going to happen. Witness unavailability is the official reason. However, this does have a silver lining to it. Last summer in my previous internship I was supposed to have a DUI jury trial, but it ended up going to someone else at the last minute. I've always regretted not being able to do that trail.

Because the one scheduled for Tuesday has to be continued, I'm now on deck with a trial on Wednesday, and sure enough, it's a DUI refusal. It's a much more difficult case to win than the one I was originally scheduled to do, but I'm up for the challenge. I'm in this internship to learn, and I'd rather lose a tough case than win an extremely easy one.

I've been told by several attorneys that do DUI cases that cases where the defendant refuses to take the breath test are very difficult to win at jury trial, unless there is something strong showing that the defendant was not safe to drive the vehicle. I'll give it a shot, and we'll see how it works out.

I think I'm prepared for the attorney. I get along really well with her, and I don't think she'll pull any dirty tricks. I should be ready for her after yesterday. An attorney was ripping me in court about how I didn't know what I was talking about, I'm an intern that needs to figure out how things are done, etc. As it turns out, I was right, the judge agreed, and it worked out just fine.

Anyway, wish me luck.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Another cool item.

You gotta check out this keyboard. If you notice in the pic, that's not paint. It's a tiny, backlit OLED display inside each key. It is programmable, so if you want to change the keyboard into Cyrillic (Russian) characters, it will display those characters. If you want it to display the functions in any program, such as Photoshop or a video game, it will display an icon for that program. It is a REALLY good idea. If it's less than $200, and gets some solid reviews, I *might* pick one up, even though I already have a very good keyboard/mouse setup. I'd really rather wait until they release a newer revision and the price drops a bit. Gotta love progress.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

First post of 2006

I've been pretty flaky with the posting lately, so here's an update.

-My grades came back for the semester, 2 A's, a B+, and a B. Best semester yet.
-I have a jury trial scheduled for January, 17th. Should be a good experience.
-I had some photos printed for my relatives 16x20, for free w/ $5.00 shipping.
-I now have Hillary's iPod playing songs in my car, thanks to the iTrip.
-Speaking of iPods, I'm hoping to get a free one before I graduate from WestLaw.
-Sold the last of my 2005 inventory on eBay. I did almost $100k in business this year.
-Picked up a couple leather chairs for Hillary for Christmas.
-Went to Lake Leelanau, MI with Hillary's family between Christmas and New Years.
-Scout came down with some type of conjunctivitis at the kennel during our MI trip.
-I suspiciously came down with a similar ailment once Scout came back. Dr. time for us both.
-I'm finally finishing up the Dark Tower series. I'm a good chunk of the way into the last book.
-Due to a generous gift this Christmas, I now have 1TB (terabyte) of storage space, in addition to what's currently in my PC. I'll have to figure out what to do with it all.
-I'm now attempting to lose weight again. I tend to fluctuate pretty badly over time, but I'd like to get to about 175 lbs again. I'm on my way there, I've already dropped about 5-10.
-I'm getting ready to buy a new Powerbook that will (hopefully) be anounced next Tuesday at Macworld San Francisco. And I'm going to get it for hundreds below cost due to some wheeling and dealing I did, starting on Black Friday. I have a bad feeling that MWSF will come and go without a new 15" Powerbook.

That's about it for now. Have a good New Year.