Wednesday, August 31, 2005

And in an amended note to my earlier post, I want to wish good luck to D.K. Punzi on her ongoing DWI trial (no, kids, she's the attorney, not the defendant). D.K. is starting a new job with the county on October 1st, but it's good to see that she's still getting a few parting shots in at the prosecutors on her way out the door. I have no idea how that trial will come out, but at least she's still giving 'em hell. Let 'em have it, ankle biter!
Well, things just keep getting worse and worse in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. You know it's bad when even Crackbass is encouraging people to donate their hard-earned money (or in the case of some of my friends, hardly-earned money).
Here's the Red Cross site (although the actual donation page was apparently overburdened and unloadable at the time of this writing):

We had Crack practice last night, and Sigmund and I spent a lot of time staring at CNN and talking about how meteorologists and disaster-assessment experts had been predicting this kind of disaster in New Orleans for years. Unfortunately, any kind of real fix to the potential problem would have cost millions upon millions of dollars (i.e., stronger levees or flood gates and better pumping stations), and no one wanted to spend the money to fix a hypothetical problem. Well, obviously the problem is no longer hypothetical.
Good ol' George W. gave a speech which was something in the neighborhood of 45 minutes long yesterday in order to try to drum up support for one of the dumbest wars in history (see my earlier rant about comparisons between Iraq and World War II), and out of that 45 minutes, he managed to spend about a minute and 20 seconds addressing what is turning out to be one of the biggest natural disasters in American history. The president is, however, cutting short his five week vacation (his most recent since his last vacation in April) by a day or two in order to be available to help address some of the problems created by Katrina. To call this president out of touch is like saying that Marie Antoinette might not have had her finger on the pulse of the French people.

Crack practice was good. We actually did a little bit of rehearsal and worked on one of Andy's songs called "Hey You". We also did some uber jamming so practice wouldn't feel like work. It's nice to have some kind of song structure to fall back on, but Crack's true strength will always be the savant-garde, jazz/punk odyssey.

Not too much else to report. Court this afternoon. My damned ACL tickets still haven't shown up, and I'm starting to worry about them.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Crap. It looks like I may have spoken a little too soon about New Orleans dodging the worst of Hurricane Katrina. The news this morning said that the hurricane had busted a few levees which protect the city, and that the city was filling up with water today.
Let's hope they get that flooding problem shored up so we can all visit The Crescent City next year for Jazzfest without having to rent swamp boats in order to do it.

I had a really nice lunch today with Jennifer at The Clay Pit. It sounds like her new job is going well over in the civil side of the County Attorney's Office. Now she has to do legal writing as a regular part of her job. Maybe she can quote The Adventures of Steanso in one of her briefs and get it worked into an opinion somewhere.

Last night I visited Shaw Manor over in the rarefied atmosphere of Travis Country. Little Meredith Shaw is growing like gangbusters, and her mom is real, real tired (but holding up well). Meredith is a cute kid who does her fair share of smiling and waiving her pudgy fingers, but the thing that really gives my heart joy is knowing that it's only a matter of time before those Shaw genes kick in and she's slipping out her bedroom window to run wild with the neighborhood kids. Oh the stories that her Uncle Jason will have of growing up with her dad!

Crack practice is tonight, so I better rest up for that.

And last, but not least, one more example of how out of touch George W. is:
The man thinks that World War II is the best comparison to Iraq? I'm sure that he wants to think that because the U.S. was attacked first during 9-11, but the 9-11 attacks justified the invasion of Afghanistan, in my opinion, and nothing further. The invasion of Iraq was unjustified, poorly planned, and has left us in a military quagmire in which we are occupying a country against insurgent attacks, many of which are being launched by Iraq's indigenous population. Iraq certainly draws comparisons to one of our prior wars, but who wants to admit that they engineered an invasion which has turned into the new Vietnam? It's truly amazing how little The White House has learned from history, but then again, I'm not sure that George had any understanding of Vietnam in the first place. After all, wasn't he snorting coke off the butts of sorority girls when he dodged that war in the first place? I know that some Republicans would take issue with that comment. If only there were some kind of military reserve records or something that we could look at to see what he was doing during that time...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Monday again.
I had no court this morning, so I've been watching Hurricane Katrina (such a pretty name for a hurricane) churn its way through New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It looks like a lot of damage was done, but New Orleans wasn't washed off the map in the fit of apocalyptic God rage that everyone had predicted (thereby proving to me once again that God likes to party). The news forecasters almost seem disappointed that the city is still standing.
I spent Sunday doing my usual Sunday stuff. I mowed the grass, took Cassidy to the dog park, and had practice with the Mono Ensemble. Our practice was good. We need to play another gig. Of course, now that our band members collectively have four children (amongst three of our members), I imagine that if I want us to play a gig I'm going to have go out there and find a way to get us one. It may be awhile before our next gig.
And it looks like Rev. Sharpton and Martin Sheen showed up at Camp Sheehan in order to lend their voices to the war protest that's going on there.
This confused Steanso and almost resulted in a psychotic break for him, seeing as how Steanso had managed to convince himself for large parts of the last six years that President Bartlett from the West Wing was our actual president, with George W. appearing only as some loveable doofus on a sitcom representation of the White House. The truth hurts. A lot. But the therapy is helping.
Well, that's it for now. Hope everyone is kicking off their week well.

P.S.- I also stopped by Jay and Anna's house on Sunday and tried a couple of the salsas that Jay makes. I don't know if he won any awards at the salsa/hotsauce contest yesterday, but his salsas were really good (and I'm not even an especially big salsa fan). The corn salsa was my favorite.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

A rare Saturday post from Steanso, but alas, I am tired of watching bad television and I can't seem to keep myself entertained.
Last night I went and saw Billy Harvey and Buttercup at the Hyde Park Theater. It was a good show- an intimate venue with a crowd which was obviously familiar with the band and their music. Billy Harvey, a singer-songwriter who opened up for Buttercup, was really good as well. I hadn't seen him before. Andy F. was in attendance at the show with Rami, and he got quite bent out of shape when the son of Buttercup's bassist won the painting of a squirrel which was created and then raffled off during the show. Andy thinks that the whole thing was fixed, but I kinda doubt it.
We also attended Kim Bloom's birthday soiree after the Buttercup show. Happy birthday, once again, to Kim. It was fun and we drank too much and had to go home.
Then this morning the damn Blooms cancelled the tubing trip after I dragged my sorry butt out of bed for it and everything. I ended up taking Cassidy down to Barton Creek so we could swim and she could play with other dogs, but I'm still bummed about the lack of tubing. It's a summer ritual, and time is short.
Well, that's it for now. There are war protestors squaring off and hurricanes headed for The Big Easy and mice being engineered to live twice their normal life span, but I can't get my head around that stuff. It's Saturday.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hooray, it's Friday! Of course, that means a lot less when you're pretty much unemployed.

Steanso bought a new headboard for his bed a week ago, and took on what would be considered by many to be the small project of staining said headboard and mounting it to his bed. For Steanso, however, to whom such household improvement projects do not come easily, this task provided no small amount of challenge as I endeavored complete these tasks (which included not only the staining, but also drilling holes in the wood, mind you) without ruining my new purchase. One coat of stain was put on the headboard each night for two successive nights and then last night- voila! I mounted the headboard to the bed and felt like I had my first real bed since the time that I slept in a single bed as a kid (I'm not sure why the headboard makes it feel more like a real bed, but it does, ok?). Anyway, it was a small victory, but it felt like a victory to be sure. I tried to impress Cassidy with the headboard by grasping both sides of her head and "encouraging" her to look at it, but she just kept rolling her eyes to plaintively look at me instead, so I gave up.
Anyway, now that I have accomplished this headboard task, who knows what other glorious acts of home improvement lay on the horizon? Maybe I'll build an indoor swimming pool onto my house (with a retractable roof, of course). I think I'm ready.

Not too much other news on this Friday. It's Kim Bloom's birthday, so I send a mad shout out to her for many happy returns. Jennifer Kraber is starting a new job in the County Attorney's civil section, so we wish her luck with that. Sherri Tibbe is returning as court chief to Court 4, so may God have mercy on her soul (just kidding).
Buttercup is playing tonight at the Hyde Park Theater, so go and try to get a ticket if they're not sold out. They're the next best thing, and you don't want to miss them.

Well, that's it. Have a great weekend, ya'll!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thursday. The best thing about Thursday is that it's almost Friday. Tomorrow night I will go see Buttercup, get down with my bad self, and then go to K.B.'s birthday throwdown. Saturday I hope to go tubing (also a Bloom event). This may be my last chance for the summer.
Last night with Crackbass and Jackbart I watched a Korean movie called Oldboy which was directed by Chan-wook Park. It was kind of a twisted spin on the old Count of Monte Cristo story with really cool cinematography and some crazy plot twists. It was a pretty good movie, I guess, but the ending was pretty unsatisfying. I guess the movie fell more in the realm of a classic Greek tradgedy than an action or revenge flick. The movie also contained one of the best fight scenes that I've seen in a movie in the last few years (it was done all in one shot, and was the most realistic depiction I've ever seen of one guy taking on like 15 guys in a fight- the scene actually makes it look believable that the protagonist could manage to suffer through such an event and come out victorious). My enjoyment of the movie was also vastly enhanced by the fact that The Pea served us yummy brownies with vanilla ice cream. Jackbart was treated to a short and terrible version of "Happy Birthday".
And how about Austin, kids? This may be just the way that I view our fair city through the lens of my own experience, but it seems that we sure do manage to produce some crazies.
Although Austin doesn't have a particularly high crime or homocide rate, Colton Pitonyak falls in with a long line of Austin nutcases who were not simply content to kill their victims, but felt the need to destroy them in especially macabre and violent ways. Having worked here as a defense attorney for almost seven years, maybe my view of the city has become a bit warped, but it almost seems that there's a bit of a dark side to the "Keep Austin Weird" mantra. Austinites pride themselves on their ability to "think outside the box", and maybe it shouldn't be that surprising that this carries over into the criminal arena as well.
My own, personal experience with some of Austin's stranger crimes came during my time working for Patrick Ganne, a fairly well-known local attorney who had a reputation for handling some particularly notorious and violent clients. During my tenure with Pat, I worked on a case for David Waters, the man accused of dismembering and burying Madelyn Murray O'Hair and her family before turning on his own accomplice and dismembering him in order to make the body less identifiable. Justin Thomas, another one of our clients, was convicted of similarly mutilating the body of his victim, Regina Hartwell, before coercing his girlfriend into helping him take Regina's body to Bastrop and then burning it in a jeep. Another one of our clients, Ahmad McAdoo, along with an accomplice, Derrick Williams, killed Juan Cotera and Brandon Shaw by locking them into a car trunk and sinking the car into Town Lake with the two victims inside it (and that one especially sucked because I had known the victim's brother as an acquaintance from our time at Trinity together). And then there were the Yogurt Shop Murders, which I worked on only in an indirect capacity, helping Jim Sawyer and Berkley Bettis's defense team try to pour through nine years worth of offense reports and investigative notes as they tried to prove that Robert Springsteen didn't help kill four girls and burn down the entire store around them.
The stories go on (I can think of a stripper who went nuts and killed one of her co-workers at a massage parlor with a baseball bat, but believe it or not, I can't even remember her name, and a twenty-something kid who bludgeoned to death a deaf woman who he had picked up in a bar with a tire iron, although I can't remember his name, either), but my point is that lots of weird stuff happens in Austin that isn't just your typical robbery or carjacking stuff or gang members shooting it out. It's not even your depressingly typical out-of-control family violence scenario (although we have some of all of these, as well). Some of the stuff that happens in Austin is just weird. We had Whitman up in the UT Tower in the late '60s and Bob Kleason chopping up Mormon missionaries with a band saw back in the early '70s (which was, incidentally, another Pat Ganne case, but long before my time). I guess this stuff has always gone on.
I'm not sure what the point of that whole little speech was, except to say that as I've been walking around this week listening to people talk about this whole Pitonyak/Cave case and asking, "Can you believe this?", in the back of my mind I keep thinking, "Yeah, I can, man. This is Austin..."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Well, it's hump day.
Steanso had an interview today, and he thinks the interview went well, but he's not sure whether he'll get the job, primarily due to budget constraints and other things beyond his control. Oh well. You just gotta keep slugging away, right?
Can someone tell me what kind of world we're living in when the members of Iron Maiden get pelted with eggs and booed off stage at Ozzfest, and then their manager chastises the audience like some kind of out vengeful soccer mom while the band hides behind his apron for protection?
I mean, this is Iron Maiden, the crafters of such kickass albums as Powerslave, Number of the Beast, and 7th Son of a Seventh Son. They're supposed to be badasses, man, not whiners. See, this is why the members of Crack start out with an adversarial relationship with our audience right from the get go. We're the music world's revenge against crappy audiences. In Crack we believe that if you start out thinking that the audience is out to get you, they can't catch you off guard. Sure we may take a few lumps when people start throwing stuff, but you can bet your arse that we'll get a few licks in, too. Not to mention all of the mental and emotional scars that we dole out. Viva la Crack!!
What else? Pat Robertson is backpedaling like crazy after saying that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated.
Ol' Pat now says he was misinterpreted, but his statement sounded pretty unambiguous to me. I'm just not sure why this is such a big news story. Anyone who was basing their political beliefs on the preachings of Pat Roberts ought to have their head examined in the first place. I kind of quit listening to him after he said a few years ago that the feminist movement was all about destroying western democracy and the American family and that homosexuality seemed to have a direct correlation to satanism. Anyway, the media is having a field day with this. To me, it's just another big distraction from the war and domestic issues like soaring gasoline prices and America's failing health care system. Pat Roberston is a crazy old cook who needs to be put out to pasture, but people keep sending him money. That's why I love this country. If you're genuinely sh*thouse crazy enough, you just might find some group of people out there who want to make you a millionaire.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I have to admit that as I'm listening to this, I'm listening to Arcade Fire's Funeral, an album which I orginally kind of panned on this very blog, but which I am now starting to like more and more. I pulled the album out because Arcade Fire is playing at ACL Fest, and I've read a couple of really good reviews of their live shows, so I wanted to give them a second chance. And I'm glad I did. I think I rejected them at first because I thought they were just trying to ride the wave of bands who were rehashing the sounds of '90s bands (or even late eighties), and to a certain extent I still feel like I can hear some kind of Canadian Siouxsie and the Banshees thing going on in there, but they've got their own thing going on besides whatever influences they've got, and it's pretty interesting. Definitely worth a look at ACL, anyway.
Speaking of ACL, have I mentioned how pumped up I am that ACL Fest is coming up? I know it's not until next month, but I truly do look forward to it with all the excitement and fervor of an Austin-based vacation. For those of you who haven't really looked at the lineup, do it now. If your friends haven't heard of a band or two from the festival that you think is worth seeing, burn them a copy of the band's CD or play it for them so they'll be interested in hearing the band when they come. Say a prayer to the weather gods and dust off your old blanket or camping chair. Make a silly banner to hoist above your spot so your drunk ass friends can find Camp X-Ray in the crowd. Three days of music. What can be better than that? Hooray!

In other news, I've been watching the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip without saying a whole lot about it because, frankly, I haven't really had any strong opinions on it.
On my drive back from Houston this weekend, though, I was listening to some jackass, right- wing pundit on one of Houston's talk radio stations, and he got me thinking (usually right-wing talk radio pundits always get me thinking- I listen to their public policy ideas and just imagine the disasters that would occur if their ideas were implemented, and it helps me to immediately recognize the wrong answers to a variety of issues). Anyway, this guy was going on and on about how Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and the citizens of Israel were showing nothing but foolishness and cowardice by withdrawing from the Gaza strip- how they had done nothing but show the Arab world that terrorism had served as an effective tool in achieving Palestinian political objectives.
I strongly disagree with that statement. Of course there's been violence, inflicted and received on both sides, but I see Israel's withdrawal from Gaza as an act of strength. They are willing to be the bigger party and be the first group to show a willingness to compromise and make concessions in the interest of reaching a peace agreement. The violent stalemate which has occurred for so long between Israel and Palestine has occurred in part because of fear- a fear that any willingness to make sacrifices on behalf of peace will be seen as weakness and exploited by the enemy. Bravery and strength have been displayed during the nonviolent evacuation of the Gaza Strip as Israelis demonstrate their commitment to peace to the entire world. It's easy to sit back and accuse anyone who shows a willingness and ability to make sacrifice in the name of hope as a fool or a coward, but it takes an act of courage to be the first one to lower your weapon.
Anyway, the guys who keep telling us that we're better off hiding behind our guns piss me off. Sure, you've got to use common sense and recognize when someone is trying to do you harm, but sometimes (especially when your enemy also claims to be interested in peace) the brave thing to do is being willing to put your gun down first. So lay off the poor bastards who are getting kicked out of their houses for a shot at peace. These people are not weak, and they're not cowards. They're willing to take risks in order to give their country a chance at peace, and at worst, they're putting too much faith in the human nature of their enemies. Even if they get burned and the Palestinians turn on them, I still think that Israel has shown bravery this week and acted for the right reasons.
I gotta stay away from Houston talk radio.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I know that I don't normally make two posts in one day, but hey, I'm unemployed. Also, I thought that this small bit of history should not pass unnoticed:
Robert Moog, creator of the Moog keyboard, and largely credited with the invention of modern day synthesizers as we know them, has passed away. A lot of rock musicians have kind of a love/hate relationship with synthesizers, but they're definitely here to stay, and the synthesizer has come a long way since suffering through the growing pains of the 1980's when a large number of musicians were impressed with the technology of the synthesizer, but clearly didn't know what to do with it.
Today's synthesizers produce sounds that are frequently indistinguishable from "real world" instruments or sounds, and in addition, synthesizers allow today's musicians to modify or blend existing sounds in order to create new tones which couldn't be born without digital experimentation.
As one of my old friends, Frank Birchak, from my college band, The Stray Toasters, once said, most musical innovation occurs when new instruments are designed and developed (I think Frank was referring to the Chapman Stick at the time that he said this). Robert Moog helped to develop in instrument which forever changed the face of music, and in the hands of people like Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, it has been used to do some pretty amazing things. Kudos to Moog. Hopefully there are more people like him out there who are waiting to change the face of music.
Happy Monday, you miserable, fully employed SOBs! Steanso has to go to court this afternoon, but nothing this morning.

Hope everyone had a good weekend. Steanso went to Houston to celebrate the 59th birthday of his dad. It was a pretty good time. We went out to eat with some family friends on Friday (the Magsig clan) and ate some ice cream cake at their house afterwards. On Saturday we floated in the pool (listening to the new Willie Nelson reggae album, which I gave Pop for his b-day) and went to the Woodlands new, small scale riverwalk for dinner (we ate at Landry's where the food was really good and it was a nice night sitting outside, but there was some guy playing acoustic guitar who kept asking the audience for requests, but then he invariably didn't know how to play them). Sunday we went to an Astro's game and watched them beat the Brewers, and then I drove home. All in all, it was a nice weekend.

I watched CNN Presents last night, and the whole thing was like a documentary about the lies regarding weapons of mass destruction, and how the White House ended up relying on that bullsh%t when justifying our invasion of Iraq to the United Nations. In the end, George Tenet, the director of the CIA, ended up falling on his sword and taking the blame for the assertion that we would find WMD in Iraq, but it was clear from everyone involved that the White House just cherry picked the intelligence that they were given and tried to use little bits and pieces of it to justify the policy that they were seeking to implement. Tenet, however, did tell Colin Powell that he was going to stand behind the assertion that Hussein definitely had WMD, and since he was willing to be the person who allowed George W. to wrongly justify the decision to go to war (you can see him sitting right behind Colin Powell during his meeting with the U.N. security council), I'm glad that Tenet got the boot. The problem is that W. never really got any fallout from the whole thing (except the practical considerations of getting the U.S. embroiled in an unjustified conflict where our troops are going to be stuck occupying a hostile nation for the next decade or so), and George W. was the man who created an atmosphere in which no evidence would be heard unless it supported the decision to invade Iraq. Shame on Colin Powell, as well, for failing to demand greater proof before going to the U.N., especially in light of the fact that he apparently had doubts about the WMD, even as he took the floor at the U.N. to argue for war. If more people were willing to resign on principal, it would make it much more difficult for the administration to railroad people and push the country into insupportable positions.

I gotta run. But I'll be back. Maybe.

Oh yeah! I almost forgot to send a belated shout out to Jackbart for his birthday (which was actually yesterday, the 21st). Happy birthday, Jackbart! I hope you enjoyed those three strip-o-grams that I sent you (actually, I had Jeff place the order, but I'm sure that they showed up with no problem, right?). Many happy returns, and congrats on another successful trip round the sun.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Short blog today because now (after many changes of plans) I have to get ready to roll to Houston for my dad's birthday. I've been spending the last 3 days in a long, protracted email argument with Roundball and Weedo about whether or not Superman is actually a tool of "The Man" and whether or not we would trust him if he showed up in real life. I tend to be a Batman fan, myself. I just relate more to a guy who's generally good, but has had a few run ins with the cops. One thing is sure- we have all spent way too much time in email chains arguing about this topic.
Not a lot else to say. I'm still keeping a close eye on Judge Roberts as more and more stuff keeps trickling out about him, but I think his confirmation is all but inevitable.

I sympathize with Cindy Sheehan for her loss, but I'm not sure that pulling out of Iraq right now is the right thing to do. I mean, I was totally against going to war (I even went to a war protest at our state capitol before the invasion), but now that we're there I think we have an obligation to see this thing through rather than just leave Iraq's dissenting extremist groups to tear the place apart the moment we leave. We made the mess, so I think we have an obligation to clean it up. This woman should have been protesting before the war because it was the wrong thing to do, but I don't think we can pull out now just because of the danger to American lives (after killing so many Iraqis in our poorly planned attempt to bring them a new government).

That's it. I gotta run. Everyone have a good weekend.

p.s. - Check this out.
I think that this is a good piece and I pretty much agree with this guy. The Republicans are really screwing up a lot of things right now (and they're much better at campaigning than governing), but the Democrats are failing to offer any kind of cohesive, alternate plans (to the Iraq War, the sagging economy, medical care, etc.). I've bitched about this before. I remember being able to get really excited about Clinton when he ran in 1992 because he had firmly established plans which were laid out to deal with almost any issue that would come up during the campaign (I even had a little campaign poster with Clinton's proposed solutions for different issues in a side by side graph next to the weak ass Republican proposals, and it really highlighted how much stronger Clinton's ideas were than those being put forward by the Republicans). Now it seems like the Democrats do nothing but bitch and whine. They need some plans, and preferably someone with the charisma to sell them to the people. And I'm here to tell you right now that Hillary ain't gonna cut it (unless the Republicans run someone who's even weaker, but I don't think that's gonna happen). Anyway, read the article.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Some bastard stole my garage door clicker. I know I had it this morning when I left for work, and the only place that I drove during the day was to lunch with D.K. When I got home, I noticed that it wasn't there when I tried to reenter the garage. I drove back to my parking garage and even checked the parking lot of our lunch location, but it wasn't there.

The driver's side door on my car doesn't lock when you hit the automatic lock button (a mechanical flaw caused, I think, by having to have the Pop-a-Lock guys shimmy it open one too many times when I locked my keys in the car), so I probably left the car inadvertantly unlocked either in my parking garage or at our lunch restaurant.

But who would steal my clicker? What a dick move! It has no value to anyone but me.

I searched the car carefully several times, thinking that maybe it had fallen from its perch upon my visor, but to no avail. And I would think that I would have heard it if it fell out onto the cement. I even thoroughly checked my briefcase on the odd possibility that I slipped it in there through some kind of subconscious slight of hand- but nothing.

Why would they take my clicker? There were several cases of CDs in there, sunglasses, and even a Pioneer car stereo with the removable face still on it, but no- this jackass takes my freaking clicker. What's he gonna do- drive around Austin all night quietly clicking at houses, hoping my garage door opens up so he can steal some bags of fertilizer?

I don't get it. I've already managed to reprogram my spare clicker (which I thought was broken, but now it's working), so I feel a small degree of triumph over this thief, but I'm still baffled. Why?! Why?!!!!

Also, my dad just called and he got Astros tickets for this weekend, so now I won't get back in Austin until late Sunday night. Oh well. It'll be fun.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

OK, so I promised KB that I would write a blog today clarifying some of the things in yesterday's blog. It turns out that they weren't holding my guy for his actual parole hearing yesterday, but for some sort of "preliminary" hearing. His parole didn't get revoked yesterday, and it's not clear what the purpose of that hearing even was, but it screwed us on the chance to get our pretrial hearing, because no matter what they were doing, the parole department prevented my guy from being in court, which prevented his pretrial hearing, which meant that in order to reschedule that hearing for another day, I would have to reset the case for another two weeks (so the prosecutors would have time to send out a new batch of subpoenas). The parole department had already told my guy that if this case took more than another week to work out, they were just gonna revoke him anyway and send him off to prison, so we worked the case out today (my guy having received an informal promise from his hearing officer that his Class B marijuana case wouldn't get him revoked if he pled to it).
Also, in keeping with my promise to the head prosecutrix of Team Bloom, I will reluctantly add that the prosecutors in this case were just doing their jobs, and not being especially sneaky or unethical in their attempts to screw my client. Whew.
What else? Did anyone else see Tommy Lee Goes to College last night? It was awesome. I'm not really a Motley Crue fan, per se, but I laughed and I cried while following the misadventures of Tommy Lee as he embarked on his academic sojourn at the University of Nebraska. I'm telling you, this show has it all, folks: the crusty dean, the hippie English professor, the sexy chemistry tutor, the wacky academic advisor, the goofy roommate, and our protaganist, Tommy Lee, who seems to oscillate between genuinely wanting to take school seriously and remembering that he's already a playboy millionaire who doesn't really need to give a sh*t. Mostly, the show relies on a lot of clever editing to produce a plot structure which I'm sure has no corrollary in real life, but it's pretty darn funny to watch. I'm pretty sure that ol' Tommy was genuinely frustrated and embarrassed when he couldn't keep up with the marching band drum corps kids on the quads. Sure he can rock out in a fully rotating drum kit that hangs him upside down during concerts, but Tommy didn't really seem able to read sheet music or march, let alone combine the two, and for some reason he seemed to think that such a feat should come easily to him.
Anyway, the show will probably get old pretty fast, but it was funny to watch on a first viewing. I think, strangely enough, that the viability of the show is going to depend on whether Tommy decides that getting a degree is something that he legitimately feels a need to pursue. Of course, if he actually wanted to get a degree in order to prove to himself that he has the intelligence and perserverance necessary to complete a college education, he probably wouldn't have brought a film crew with him.
Lunch today with D.K. I ripped my pants.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

So here's another little diatribe on the petty injustices of misdemeanor criminal representation.

I was appointed to this guy's case over two weeks ago at jail call (which is like a big clearing house for low level misdemeanor cases for people who are in jail) and my guy has a tiny little possession of marijuana case. I look at the police officer's report in the guy's file, and the first thing that I notice is that the search of the guy's car (in which the drugs were found) is completely illegal. The cops came across this car parked on 51st Street near a working construction site with the windows cracked (in the middle of summer) and the keys clearly visible on the center console, so they immediately (supposedly) determine that the car is probably stolen. They report that they run the plates and find that the car hasn't been reported stolen, but nonetheless, they proceed to not only open up the car and begin digging around under the seats, but they go into the glove compartment (allegedly to find out who owned the car, although their report indicated that they had already run the plates to check ownership and see if it was stolen before they began their search). In the glove compartment, along with the insurance, they find a small bag of marijuana.
At this point, and only at this point, it occurs to one of the officers to go ask around at the construction site next door to see if this car belongs to anyone there. Of course, this car ends up belonging to my client, who is not only on parole for burglary, but who is also being investigated as a suspected gang member. It's funny how the officers decided to look into the car to checkfor ownership information after initially running the plates, getting the name of the owner of the car, and then apparently realizing that the car belonged to someone who was suspected of having gang affiliations and who was presently on parole.
Anyway, I get this case assigned to me at jail call, and I approach the prosecutor, hoping for the Travis County standard Class C (ticket and fine) deal for Class B possession of marijuana. No way. My client is a bad guy. He's been to prison. He might be a gang member. And now he's smoking pot! Jail is clearly the only appropriate solution for him (which, incidentally, more than likely means parole revocation).
I plead that the search was undoubtedly illegal, but the prosecutor doesn't want to hear it (and rightfully so, probably- her job is not to make apologies for police screw ups). So I set it for a pretrial hearing so that I can try to prove to the judge that this evidence was obtained illegally, through police misconduct. My guy sits in jail for about two weeks, which is twice the amount of time that the prosecutor was asking for in the first place, but we can't plead him to back time or his parole will get revoked. Then, when I show up for my client's pretrial hearing this morning, they tell me he isn't going to be brought over from the jail because his parole hearing has also been scheduled for this morning. What a kick in the jimmy. The stupid parole board didn't even bother to wait to see if my guy was convicted. And I still had other issues to bring up at trial (such as whether my guy even knew the pot was in the glove compartment- my guy wasn't the only person who used that car and it sounds like there might have been another family member who like smoking pot a lot more than he did).
Anyway, I don't know what happened at the parole hearing, but I'll bet it wasn't good, and it just annoys me that they didn't even wait to let my guy defend himself in court before going ahead and having his hearing. I mean, we didn't even get a chance! This guy was on the receiving end of an illegal search by the cops, prosecutors who were ready to string him up for a minor crime on the basis of past convictions, and a parole board who apparently didn't even feel the need to afford him his day in court before reaching their decision.
It pisses me off, but like I said, these are the kind of little injustices that go on in the courthouse every day, and for the most part, go unnoticed.

What else? I had a nice lunch with Jennifer and Jeff. I'm still underemployed, but I'm working on it. My parents are coming to town this weekend for my dad's birthday. Anyone ideas for birthday gifts?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Hey guys. Monday 'tis here again. Unfortunately, I guess I need to start with a small housekeeping matter. It's been brought to my attention that there has been some nastiness going on in the comments section of The Adventures of Steanso, and Steanso is hereby asking everyone to knock it off. Although Steanso enjoys picking on people like Crackbass and Roundball as much as anyone else, it's all just in jest, and no one gets hurt. Personal attacks or insults are not in keeping with the spirit The Adventures of Steanso (no matter why you're doing it), so please don't post them, because I don't want ANYONE feeling bad as a result of anything that's posted on this web page (except maybe George Bush, but that's what he gets for starting a pointless war). You can bitch about situations and how things make you feel, but don't attack specific people (politicians and celebrities aside), no matter what the reason. Got it? Ok then. Sheeyat.

The weekend was pretty good. Friday night I had dinner with the Wilsons, Brent Doty (sp?), and his girlfriend, Martha. It was a good time (except for a disturbing story that Brent and Crackbass had about desecrating someone's expensive BMW when they were in college- you'll have to ask them about it).
Saturday I took Cassidy to Barton Creek so she could get her weekly swimming workout. It was fun and very, very tiring. Saturday night I went over to the Wilsons for dinner with Hannah and Chris and Ellie. Hannah is pregnant (that seems to be public knowledge now), so we toasted them with a little champagne. We had some great food and then sat out on lawn chairs in the front yard watching the johns show up for the weekly Saturday sex party at the brothel on our street (and no, Steanso does not live in a ghetto- some rich jackass and his wife have bought a house in our neighborhood which the guy's wife is using to drum up business for her escort service- it's a long story). We called the cops and managed to get 3 patrol cruisers to show up, but I'm not sure that it slowed things down much over there. Still, the brothel does provide some entertainment. Stupid sex house.

Sunday I was planning to go back to Barton Springs, but I woke up and mowed the yard, and it somehow prompted a massive allergy attack that I still haven't fully recovered from. My eyes swelled most of the way shut and I couldn't stop sneezing for the better part of an hour. I took some allergy pills and a nap, and although I feel a lot better now, my eyes are still swollen and puffy. I watched some TV with Crackbass, took a nap, and then had Mono Ensemble practice (which was good).

That's all for now, but maybe more later. You guys be good to each other out there and play nice, ok?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Just in case all of you readers thought that Steanso was just a rabid, mad dog liberal who will support any ridiculous claim or allegation that is made by the left, I offer this as a counterexample:
Let it be known that Steanso definitely does not believe that Judge Roberts actually supports terrorist action on the part of anti-abortion activists. The people over there at NARAL must've been on crack when they ran this ad, because their attempts to tie him to violent anti-abortion extremists appears to not only be patently untrue, but it undermines other, much more legitimate arguments whcih need to be made on behalf of the pro-choice movement (such as the fact that Roberts has indicated that he may very well want to overturn Roe v. Wade). When people like NARAL make these kinds of claims, it only feeds the pervasive conservative belief that liberals are a bunch of rabid, illogical fanatics who will resort to any kind of smear campaign in order to advance their goals. Steanso is here to say that most liberals are smarter than that. Rabid, illogical smear campaigns should be left to the people who do them best. Like Carl Rove.

Anyway, despite the amount of fun that you can have while doing it, unsupportable fanaticism doesn't do a whole lot to advance the cause.

And here's another thing that may make people think I'm going soft. I'm not sure that Roberts is going to be such a terrible choice for Supreme Court. This staement will undoubtedly come back to haunt me, but given the fact that there is DEFINITELY going to be a conservative appointed to the court under Bush's watch, maybe Roberts isn't the worst of the bunch. I mean, given some of Bush's other appointments (e.g., Bolton for U.N. ambassador and Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General), I think that maybe the pick for Supreme Court could have been a lot worse. Of course, like I said, this claim will probably come back to haunt me, but let's face it, we're going to end up with a conservative, so let's just hope for someone who's fairly moderate and willing to be reasonable when interpreting the constitution. That's the best we can hope for, kids.

It's the weekend, and I'm kicking it off by going to pick up Crackbass's law mower from the repair shop. Kickass.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Let this serve as a cautionary tale for Griegor and Jackbart (and to a lesser extent, Weedo):
So this guy dropped dead after a mere 50 hours of playing video games? Amateur. Seriously, though- this is what happens when you don't take some time out to do the little things that are so important to your mental and physical health. Like drinking beer. Or frequenting strip clubs.
Steanso is still on the job hunt, but there MAY be some glimmers of hope on the horizon. Keep thinking of me (prayer, finger crossing, and non-superstitious/secular well-wishing are all being gladly accepted).
I watched Fox News this morning (because CNN only wanted to spend time on that stupid fugitive case from Tennessee), and they must have said 10 times in 10 minutes how great the economy was doing (in exploring the question of why President Bush wasn't getting more credit for our triumphant economy, among his many other startling successes). Is the economy really doing that great? Well, here's my viewpoint- I'm unemployed, and gasoline is $3 a gallon. And the fed seems to be planning on raising interest rates. Of course, the weak little liberal pundit that they put on their show tried to point out that most of the economic gains that the country has made are affecting only the wealthy and haven't extended to the middle or lower classes, but Fox glossed over that point and moved on to examine whether or not the war in Iraq was still popular. Who are these people at Fox News? Is that really a question? Is the war still popular? Can anyone even remember a time when it WAS popular? (tolerable or necessary, perhaps, but popular?) I wish that the Bush administration would go ahead and just subsidize Fox News and rename it "The Ministry of Information" so that at least the role that the network is playing would be more clear. Fox News- bringing you what the right wants you to hear since 1984.
Gotta run.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Can anyone tell me what the hell we're doing in Iraq? At this point it seems like we're pretty much just playing Pop-a-Mole with insurgents (beating them down when they pop up, only to have new groups or reorganized groups of insurgents popping up somewhere else). Meanwhile, even more "normal" Iraqis (who have helped to maintain law and order in some parts of the country) are practicing politics the only way they know how- at the barrel of a gun.
The mayor of Baghdad gets deposed and no one seems to really take notice? Of course, he was ousted by a Shiite political group which wants to play a major part in the "legitimate" government of the new Iraq. Which leads once again to the question of what the U.S. is going to do when the Iraqi people vote leaders into power who are, by American standards, religious zealots who are more interested in enforcing God's will than in implementing our version of democracy. I'm NOT standing up for the man, but did anyone ever stop to think that maybe Saddam Hussein's rule of Iraq lasted so long due to the fact that intolerance of dissension and a great deal of ruthlessness are (unfortunately)necessary methodologies (for maintaining order) in a country where political disagreements tend to end in gun fire rather than with people talking things out? Yup, Iraq's ready for democracy. Let's pull the troops out. Except the ones who are guarding the pipelines and oil refineries. They'll stay behind and guard our oil while the country tears itself apart around them. Everyone go out and buy a new SUV. Or a minivan (God help you).

Monday, August 08, 2005

In the interest of not always just "bringing everybody down" with my rants here at The Adventures, I offer up some good news:
I'm really happy to hear that this Russian submarine crew was able to make it out safely. Not only is it nice to hear about countries pulling together to save a bunch of poor sailor schmucks who got all jammed up while just trying to do their job, but the thought of people suffocating at the bottom of the ocean just gives me the heebie jeebies, so I'm glad THAT didn't happen.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Well, it's Friday on my first week of unemployment, but it really hasn't felt like unemployment so far. Maybe underemployment is more correct. I've been going to court quite a bit and picking up a fair number of court appointments (thank god for all of my friends at the courthouse who heard about me getting canned and felt sorry for me- lord knows I'm not above accepting some charity in a pinch), but I know that eventually the number of appointments I'm receiving will dry up (and they really don't pay very well in the first place), so the job hunt continues, unabated.
Crack has practice shceduled for tonight, and maybe we'll record it. Our last two practices actually sounded pretty darn good, but of course we didn't record those (actually, that's not true- Andy claims to have recorded those sessions on his coomputer, but the problem is that we never hear any of those recordings again once Andy makes them). Anyway, we need to either make some new recordings or learn some new songs so that we can try to play some things more than once. Also, ladies- we're still accepting applications for our background singer group, The Crack Hos. Don't be shy. All applicants will receive a fair hearing followed by a fair, up or down vote carried out by the members of Crack.
Did I mention that I went with Crackbass et al to see Buttercup play at the Cactus Cafe, and that they were really good. My friend, Charlie Roadman, is kind of managing this band and his brother plays drums in it. They're from San Antonio, so you know they have to be good, because people who try to play in bands in that city who don't have a true love of music usually don't last very long. Buttercup is kind of a tasteful folk-pop-rock quartet who sing good harmonies and like to do quirky things like take their audience Christmas carolling with them during holiday gigs.
Anyway, they're playing tonight at Momo's and at The Hyde Park Theater on August 26th, so go see them because you will have fun.
I also wish that Charlie's band, F4Fake, would play again, but that's another story.
Well, that's it for now. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Well, the terrorsits keep making threatening videos, and Bush keeps rising to the bait, giving the terrorists greater and greater publicity by continuing to shoot back retorts and argue with them publicly.
Then again, Bush seems to gain a great deal by making sure that the terrorist threat looms large in American minds, and that Americans see Bush as their only opportunity for real safety.
Bush continues to publicly denounce the ideology and methodology of the terrorists as though it were an issue that were in question and up for debate. Here's a news flash George- even the liberals don't like terrorism. But we don't want to hear you argue with the terrorists and fuel their fanaticism with your rhetoric. We just want these people treated like any other criminals- we want them captured or put down because they hurt innocent people. We don't, however, need to wrap ourselves in the American flag in order to accomplish that task, and we're not sure that doing so is a good idea, especially given the fact that we have invaded and occupied Iraq under false pretenses or bad intelligence and given the fact that half of the planet sees us as an imperialist country in the first place (which wants to impose its values and culture on other sovereign nations). We need to just limit the argument and the fanfare, and round up the bad guys. It feels like every time Bush opens his mouth he's just adding to the Al Qaeda recruiting efforts by talking about how much better our country is than theirs.
Also, I found this article kind of interesting in that it mentions Bush's pledge to the Columbian president regarding our continuing efforts to help in the Columbian war against drug trafficking and narcoterror (which, as I understand it, is mostly the intimidation of government leaders and local people in ways that benefit the drug cartels). Anyway, there's a long article in Rolling Stone this month about how Bush has actually had to greatly roll back cocaine and heroine interdiction efforts in order to divert those troops to the war in Iraq. War against the cartels has been put on the back burner in order to fund the war in Iraq, but in order to try to make up the difference in public perception, the federal government (and some state governments) have significantly stepped up their prosecution of marijuana and other "soft drugs". The users and distributors of these drugs are local (in the U.S., mostly), and the cost of prosecuting them is a lot lower than sending troops to attack coca fields in Columbia. Yet, as the conservative theory goes, putting your local pot smokers in jail helps to boost the overall arrest and prosecution statistics in the "War on Drugs", thereby making Americans feel that we're still doing a good job in fighting the drug war while at the same time making progress in the war on terror. But we've substituted hunting cartel militias for putting Uncle Willie in jail because he got caught with a joint. Meanwhile, according to the Rolling Stone article anyway (and I've seen no evidence to the contrary), the prevalence and purity of hard drugs such as cocaine and heroine (which carry far greater physical and mental health risks than pot)remains at an all time high.
Anyway, it's interesting. I'm not sure that quoting Rolling Stone does a lot to enhance the credibility of my blog, though. Oh well.
Gotta run. Stuff to do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

In talking to my brother the other night (that's Roundball to the uninitiated), the point was brought up that the existence of my blog, or more specifically, the expression of certain viewpoints on it, could potentially be detrimental to my job search during my current period of unemployment.
"No way!" I replied to my brother's concerns, "No one reads The Adventures of Steanso, and even if they did, I can't imagine that anyone would take it seriously."
My brother, who works in a university setting, but who is often more attuned to the workings of the outside world than myself (the criminal defense community being the insular, incestuous little community that it is) pointed out, "Well, we Google all of our applicants when the applications come in. You know what pops up when I Google your name, Dude?"
I held my breath, hoping the search engine had been mistakenly tying my name to some kind of Nobel prize candidate forum.
"Your name produces the Adventures of Steanso and a link to NORML."
"Hey, NORML is ok! A few of my clients were in it and they got me signed up in order to fight harsh sentencing standards for marijuana convictions, and also Willie Nelson is on the Board of Directors and..."
"Totally missing the point."
"Which is?"
"The Adventures of Steanso is going to pop up as like the first thing when you get blogged, and ten seconds after that, your potential employers are gonna be reading your rants about left wing politics."
I chewed that over for a moment before saying, "But is that gonna matter? I mean, I would still hire someone if they were qualified and seemed cool even if their political views were different than mine."
"I don't know, man. All I know is that when I had my last interview, like the second question that the guy asked was, 'So tell me about this blog of yours...'"

And there you have it. There's the problem. Will potential employers read my blog and be offended? If they are offended by it, are they the kinds of people I should be working for anyway? (I mean, I try not to make any personal attacks against anyone on my blog, so if they're going to be getting mad, it's a safe bet it's gonna be because of my politics or other opinions I've expressed on the blog, which are my opinions, so in a sense, if they don't like the blog they probably won't like me)

I see several potential options:
A) shutting down the Adventures of Steanso until I have a job (or even thereafter, if the whole thing is gonna be a problem)
B) toning myself down and limiting the blog to noncontroversial topics (although I gotta say that this isn't a very appealing option, because the whole thing that's kept this blog going in the first place is the catharsis that I get out of venting about things- or at least talking things through- on The Adventures)
C) carrying on and hoping that employment people either: 1)don't see the blog, 2) like the blog, or 3) can manage to agree to disagree with me about what's on it

I guess that the whole issue bothers me because I feel like there ought to be a place out there where people can express their opinions without being sanctioned for it. I never asked everyone to agree with me on the blog, and in fact, I wish people would express their opinions or disagreements more often. It makes for better reading. Hell, if people could learn to deal with each other in better ways when they're in disagreement, I think it would make for a much better country. Can't we talk about things that we don't agree about without constantly becoming offended? I don't want people to get offended by what I put on here, but I do want to have the freedom to be able to say what I please (as long as I'm not just using the blog as a staging platform for personal attacks). And I was serious when I said that I would never turn someone down for a job just because their political, religious, or philosophical beliefs differed from mine. Can't we all just get along?

So, anyway, I'm in a bit of a conundrum. Mostly, though, I just have a hard time believing that enough people read this thing to cause me significant problems, but let's also hope that those people who do read the blog are happy readers. Maybe happy enough to want to give me a job.

p.s. Bolton gets confirmed for U.N. Ambassador. Bush and crew give the global community the finger one more time. Kickass. Not.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Well, it's my second official day of unemployment (and I don't think I'm going to be keeping an official count very long, because it's bound to become depressing), and so far things are kind of... uneventful. I've got one or two leads, but mostly I've been just spending A LOT of time on the computer looking at web sites and searching for job postings. All you readers (or at least the one or two of you who might be glancing at this when you don't feel like working)out there keep your eyes and ears open for Steanso, too, and it'll all come together.
If there's anyone who's definitely come out on top by Steanso losing his job, the lucky winner has got to be Cassidy. I think it's safe to say that Cassidy has been the happiest three legged dog on the block for the last two days. It feels awkward for me to be home when I'm supposed to be working, but the dog just thinks that things have finally fallen into their natural order. I am now available to cater to her every wish.
I want to go outside. I want to come back inside. I think I'd like a belly rub now. May I have a treat please. I will now sleep on the sofa, but you may sit in the chair if you like. If you are going to drive somewhere in the car, I will take a window seat, please.
We may have to renogotiate the terms of this roommate agreement.
Well, I truly have nothing new to post about. I watched a terrible "horror" movie named Funhouse (which, I would like to point out, had a picture of a scary clown on the front of the box, although there was no scary clown in the whole movie) with Crackbass and Jackbart on Saturday. The Mono E had practice on Sunday, sans Eric, our fearless leader, but we still managed to hold our own with a respectable bit of rockin'. I also went and saw Meredith "Quickdraw" Shaw on Saturday, and boy is that kid growin'. Admittedly, I don't really have a lot of valid points of comparison, but she seems like a good baby. Not a lot of cryin' or whatnot. And she likes music. And flashing, dancing lights. Like her dad.
Well, that's it for now. Back to job huntin'.