Monday, February 28, 2005

Welcome, loyal readers (and disloyal readers, as well, I suppose).
The weekend went by in a flash.
I went and saw San Saba County on Friday night at Ego's. Those boys put on a damn fine show, and I'll tell you what- their music will inspire a man to do some serious drinking. Anyone going to see San Saba would be well advised to arrange for transport home ahead of time. Saw Judge Crain there, Trey Collins, Sandra Ritz, and Mark McCrimmon, to name a few. The bar was packed and the crowd was a dancin'. The wee hours of Friday night were spent with Reed Shaw. This period of time is a little hazy for me, but I seem to remember listening to some vinyl and watching Starbuck wrastle with the Cylons...
Saturday night I did nothing but stay home and hang out with Jeff Wilson. In a salute to the late, great Hunter S. Thompson, we watched Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and drank ourselves silly. Wild Turkey, Crown Royal, and a bottle or two of red wine led to a very late night and the alcohol-fueled scribbling of lyrics to a new song, tentatively entitled "Kick Me in my Jimmy."
Sunday night I had practice with the Mono E, and then I went out for a birthday celebration with Mandy "The Pea" Wilson. Happy birthday, Pea!!!! I'm not sure what came over everyone last night, but we stayed out way too late for a school night and closed down two bars. I also won $8 dollars by betting on Mandy and Rami against the worst two pool players ever- Jeff Wilson and Andy Sensat.
I also learned that Ryan procured a new family member this weekend- a squirming, wiggling ball of fur by the name of Lucy (she's a black lab). For those of you who don't know my brother particularly well, he may be one of the world's most cynical men. He is critical of television, movies, fashion, fads, books, and just about anything else that he can take a shot at. Being a curmudgeon is one of life's little pleasures for him. It is fascinating, therefore, to see all of that come to a screeching halt when you put him in the same room with a puppy.
Ryan is a TOTAL sucker for dogs. Ryan will watch the television with a scowl upon his face for hours, deriding each and every piece of programming that comes along, but when a dog comes on the screen, he'll start smiling like an infant with gas- nothing will turn his attitude around about a movie or show faster that a plotline that involves dogs (this also is true of shows that involve unexpected musical numbers, but that's a story for another time). The guy is just silly for dogs, but for that matter, so am I, so maybe it just runs in our blood. Maybe someday the Steans men will retire to their hill country dog ranch and just raise happy dogs. I can think of much worse things...
I've also heard a buzz along the grape vine that my father may have purchased a new BMW this weekend. I'm not sure what to make of this, so I'll have to investigate further. On the one hand, I think it's kind of a silly thing to get, but on the other hand, it's probably a pretty cool car, and the man certainly deserves a BMW if that's what he wants.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Well, yesterday I went to visit the client I had mentioned in my previous blog. It was actually good to see him. I haven't seen him for about 7 years (he was in prison for 6), and he still had a big smile and a hearty handshake for me.
He told me that he'd been diagnosed as bipolar while in prison, and he had been given prescriptions for lithium and several other drugs whose names I can't remember. He said that the drugs had done wonders for him, and he felt clear headed, maybe for the first time in his life, once he had started taking his medications.
When he got out of prison he went to see a doctor at MHMR (Mental Health and Mental Retardation services) who concurred with the prison's bipolar diagnosis, but could not supply him with medication. My guy couldn't afford to buy his meds, and he couldn't land a steady job because he was a recently released ex con. He worked some odd jobs doing painting and construction, but couldn't hold down anything steady. He couldn't afford his treatment.
Anyway, the guy goes back to doing coke after he's off his meds for a couple of months because he says that the coke makes him feel better. I'm not saying that doing illegal narcotics as a substitute for prescribed medication is either a good idea or that it's completely justifiable, but I do think that it's understandable, especially in the absence of other realistic options. I gotta keep this guy from going back to the pen for another 6 years.
Ooops. Christian is here, my office playmate, and he needs to use my computer to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Crap. One of my clients just called and told me that her boyfriend came over and beat up her and her sister. I told her to call the police, and she said, "But I don't want him to go to jail."
I told her that he needs to go to jail. He's an asshole. He's a superasshole.
She kind of laughed and said she would call the police to make a report, but that if her boyfriend asked her why she called the cops, she's gonna tell him that she did it because I told her to. Great. Bastard'll probably burn down my office.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Word. Not a lot of time for blogging today. Got to run out to Del Valle in a minute.

I need a new topic. I could opt for something along the lines of Ryan's, "Dames in the media who I once dug," or maybe, since that's already been done, I best try something else (a few obvious examples, nonetheless, would be Angie Harmon from Law and Order, Julie Newmar- who played Catwoman on the old Batman TV series, and, of course, both Pamela Hensley and Erin Grey who played Princess Ardala and Colonel Wilma Deering, respectively, on the old Buck Rogers TV show. Those last two women came to represent so many aspects of the good girl/bad girl, ying/yang relationship of my warped childhood mind that there's no telling what lingering effects they may have on my current psyche).

On a completely different note, the Palestinians have sworn in a new cabinet which will hopefully make one of its top priorities peace with Isreal. I find it ironic that the Palestinians, who are largely considered to be a backward, barbaric, violent people by many westerners (well, they have resorted to suicide bombings as a primary method of protest), have put a cabinet in place which is comprised largely (over half) by people with doctoral degrees (PhDs). God only knows what kind of changes would take place in our own country if we placed that much emphasis on education in our leadership. Although our president did graduate from the Ivy League, it seems like he only got there by nepotism, and people seem to praise his leadership for being "folksy" rather than discerning or intelligent. I hope these Palestinian cabinet dudes do some good work.

In other news, researchers have found evidence of prehistoric giant pandas which used to cohabitate with humans in ancient China. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/02/23/panda.skeleton.reut/index.html)
I believe that with the use of modern cloning technology, we can make these giant pets a reality again. I want one. Sign me up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I watched Napoleon Dynamite for the second time last night, and hot damn that's a fine film. Makes me wanna practice my dance moves and hurl pieces of steak at my little brother. As I was discussing last night with The Pea, Napoleon is such a brilliant character not just because he's a nerd or a geek (actually, I'm not sure he demonstrates enough brain power to be put in the geek category), but because he's just so freaking weird. Whoever wrote that movie had a strong feel for the freak undercurrent which exists at every major high school in this country- kids who are pretty much living on a different page everyone else around them and connecting with other people only in a tangential way. Napoleon's victories come in establishing friendships and convincing other people that his bizarre worldview has something to offer.

OK, enough overanalysis of Napoleon Dynamite.

Sorry about the sort of downer posting yesterday re: Hunter S. That guy has just always been a teensy bit of a hero to me, so I was bummed and a little angry to hear about him shooting himself. On the other hand, Thompson got to choose how he was going to go out, and may have saved himself a lot of pain. His remains may apparently be disposed of via a method which my brother has long sworn to adopt at his own funeral:

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/books/02/23/thompson.death.ap/index.html

Of course, if they do this with Ryan, they're gonna need a bigger cannon.

Given the recent rains out in Cali, I'm a little worried about long time friend and former classmate Erin Boyd (formerly Stewart) who may or may not have been washed out to see by mudslides or avalanches. I would like to think that if Erin was washed out to sea, she probably befriended some hyper-sentient sea cucumbers and/or starfish who gently deposited her, unharmed, back onto the beach (following a lovely undersea gala, thrown in her honor). Either that or Erin's lying face down in a tidal pool somewhere. Hopefully not.

I am supposed to go visit a client out at the Del Valle jail that I helped represent (along with Pat Ganne) on a murder case 6 years ago. We beat this guy's murder rap, and then Judge Perkins turned around and revoked him on a drug possession and had him locked up for 6 years. That was a pretty chickenshit move by Perkins, in my opinion, but then again, there were a lot of allegations that our little probationer had been out running around with the Texas Syndicate and waving guns at people.
I felt ok about helping this guy on the murder case because: 1) it was never clear that he was the one who shot anyone (the shooting took place at a party that was full of gang members) and 2) the guy who got shot was carrying a gun himself, and had apparently showed up at our client's party (our client being a member of a different gang than the victim) prepared to use it. As Pat said in his closing, "The State's so called victim in this case was the architect of his own demise."
I'll never forget that trial. The State called about 20 witnesses to the stand, all of whom had been at the party and had been standing not 10 feet away when the shooting occurred. Every single one of them said they didn't see who fired the gun. Some of them said they were facing the worng direction, and some even said they saw the gun in the shooter's hand, but never looked up to see his face. I just couldn't believe that all of these people were willing to face possible contempt and/or perjury charges (which Perkins admonished them on, repeatedly) in order to avoid possible gang retaliation. It was an important lesson learned, though- people are a lot more afraid of having to deal with repurcussions on the street, causes and effects which they have seen in their day to day lives, than they are afraid of the abstract possibility of legal punishment. The guy in the black robe is ultimately less scary than vengeful neighbors who know where you sleep at night and who your kids are.
At the same time, I don't think that all twenty to thirty of the State's witnesses were cowards. I think that they felt justice had been done, albeit not through the court system. Some jackass showed up looking to start a fight at the wrong party and got what he deserved. I'm not sure, but I tend to think that if this had been a case of a bunch of thugs jumping some innocent old lady, the witness testimony might have been more truthful.
Our client told the prosecutor from the witness stand that he had joined a gang for protection, and that membership in the Syndicate was the only reason he was alive today. He told them that the police were never around to protect him, and now they were prosecuting him for doing what was necessary to defend himself and his family. I don't know if all of that was true, but it sounded pretty damn convincing, and I respected him for calling them out on their hypocrisy, if nothing else.
Well, it's quitting time, and I need to go see that guy tomorrow. He's got two new drug charges. I guess prison didn't reform him very effectively. Who'd have guessed that?
This post is too long already. Toodles.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson is dead. Long live Hunter S. Thompson.

Seriously, this one bummed me out. (http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/books/02/22/thompson.death.ap/index.html)

I truly hope that Thompson took his own life in an attempt to avoid physical pain (from his recent hip problems), as opposed to checking out simply because the world was getting him down. Suicide can be an attempt to end things on one's own terms, or it can be a self-centered attempt to escape the shitty side of life. I hope Thompson was escaping incurable physical pain, because otherwise I feel like he turned his back on a lot of people who thought of him as a four star general in the war against the intolerance of the squares.

In other news, my weekend was pretty good. I saw Constantine, which was much better than I expected, and I saw Anacondas 2, which was not better than I expected. The lawn got its first spring mow (well the front yard, anyway), and Cassidy got lots of play time, some of it with Hobbs. I hung out at the Broken Spoke on Friday with Jeff, Gary, "Nervous" Eddie, and the always effervescent Jackie. Conversation topics included The Letdowns, body hair, Jewishness, and drugs. Mono E had a good practice on Sunday, and Crack sans Rusty had a good practice on Friday. I also bought some new vinyl, which is always fun.

Well, it's past my work hour, so I'm going home. I love all of you beautiful people. By the way, congrats to the Thweatts on kid #3, John Edward (aka, Juan Eduardo)! Those Thweatts love to make babies.
Thanks to those of you who helped Rosa with couchquest '05. Peace, out.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Hey kids! Happy Friday!

On a follow up note in the ongoing Adventures of Steanso, I am now planning on actually going on a vacation to Jazzfest in New Orleans with the Wilsons, Blooms, and Jackbart Mitchell. I am really looking forward to it, and I hope none of us gets arrested. Many sincere and heartfelt thanks to The League of Melbotis and Reed Shaw for inviting me on other trips. I wish I had the money to just rent a beach house somewhere and just invite all of my friends (and select family)to come and stay for awhile. Maybe next year.
What else....? The lovely and talented Rosa Theofanis is shopping for a sofa, and is apparently quite picky (some might say too picky, but I would never disparage Rosa in such a way). If anyone has any leads on the most badass sofa they've ever seen, preferably at a low, low price, go ahead and post a comment on here, and I will forward it to Rosa.
Crack is practicing tonight, and The Amazing Letdowns are playing as well. Crackbass wants us to go see the Letdowns after Crack practice, but I have mixed feelings about this since they are playing without the talents of our friend and musical colleague, Gary Meyer.
Seeing the Letdowns play without Gary is like seeing Van Halen without David Lee Roth or (more fittingly) Spinal Tap without Nigel Tufnel. It just doesn't seem right. Anyway, I hear that Gary is going to watch the Letdowns show, so maybe we'll go and check it out and buy him a beer. I don't know.
I would also like to comment on the fact that my brother is apparently being considered as a speaker to present some opening comments before a screening of the Superman films in Beaumont, Texas. Ryan has already told me that if the invitation is formally extended, he will be presenting his remarks in a carefully crafted Jor-El outfit (for those of you who don't read funny books, this was Superman's father who died on Krypton after sending his son to live on Earth. He was played by Marlon Brando in the original Superman movie).
To Jim Dedman or whichever member of the blogosphere who mentioned this possibility to Ryan: I beg you on behalf of the entire Steans clan and all of our ancestors to please reconsider. The sight of my brother, hair bleached and clad in a poorly modified white bathrobe with a giant "S" stenciled on the front, hollaring at and deriding audience members who don't know the difference between red and green kryptonite will be enough to set back the reputation of the Steans family for at least another decade or two, and frankly, given our general lack of coolness, we can't afford to take the hit.
Oh crud. Client here to see me. I'll see if I can post more later.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Truly no time for a post today, loyal readers, but I promise that I will try to do better tomorrow. It's too bad I didn't get to write today, too, b/c I'm in a good mood and I feel good. I wish I felt like I do today more often.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Last night, following a tasty dinner at Maudie's, Mandy "The Pea" Wilson inquired as to what had caused the death of Ninjaboy, my goldfish, roommate, and ally. In truth, in order to understand Ninjaboy's death, you have to understand Ninjaboy's life.
Ninjaboy was not always the quiet, unassuming goldfish that many of you have come to know and love. Ninjaboy was purchased out of a Washington D.C. pet store in the late eighties and trained for almost a decade in the tradecraft of American espionage, sabotage, and assassination. In 1991, Ninjaboy enjoyed tremendous success on his first covert field mission- the assassination of Jesus Hernandez, a Columbian cartel leader and avid collector of goldfish and betas. Recently declassified documents indicate that Hernandez was found strangled in his office, locked tight behind heavy security in his mountain compound. His death was declared a great mystery at the time- the only evidence in the case consisting of a wire garrote found lying next to the bowl of one of his prize goldfish.
Ninjaboy's espionage work continued successfully and unabated (most of his work remains classified at this time) until he suffered a nervous breakdown in the summer of 1993. Countless enemy operatives breathed a sigh of relief at the news that their most feared nemesis had finally fallen. Haunted by the horrors of his murderous career, Ninjaboy could not continue his work, and the Company had him placed in protective custody so that he might peacefully convalesce until he was ready to serve his country again.
Sadly, Ninjaboy would never again return to the field. As he slept last weekend, a band of highly skilled operatives entered mi casa and killed Ninjaboy after an extensive hand to hand battle in my living room. I woke to the sight of samurai armor and swords scattered about my floor...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Crap. It's almost quitting time and no blog entry.

I had lunch today with Jennifer at the Ranch and it was good.

It seems like a bunch of the clients have been a little whiney lately, which is confusing to me since I feel like I'm working as hard as ever.
Two of my clients ran into some harsh reality today when they found out that the DA's office isn't really as cool about starting a marijuana farm in your apartment as High Times or the NORML website might have led them to believe. This kind of thing seems to come up more and more frequently lately- well-intentioned hippies running aground upon the shores of a legal system which is much less forgiving than their lifestyle allows for. I'm trying my best to help these dudes out, but their case is WEAK (here's a hint folks, if you're growing pot in your apartment, try to avoid parties, arguments, or any other activities with excessive noise which might draw the cops. once they show up and they want to come inside, you're going to have problems- warrant or not).
I hope tomorrow is less stressful than today.

Monday, February 14, 2005

You ever have one of those weekends where you're pretty disgusted with yourself come Monday morning b/c you did absolutely nothing constructive with the free time you were looking forward to the entire week before? That's how I am today. I was a complete slug all weekend and scarcely ventured out of the house. I watched B movies and played video games and read a little, but mostly I just wasted time.
I didn't work on writing any songs or taking Cassidy to the dog park or practicing my drumming or working on writing the great American novel or reading any books or watching any films of great literary importance or even working on the yard. By Sunday evening, even the dog seemed to have succumbed to my fit of lethargy and seemed unwilling to move much.
I did have Crack practice on Sunday night, and that seemed to go pretty well. Hopefully Crackbass will soon make us some CDs to listen to of our recordings from the last two Crack practices.
It's pretty amazing listening to Crack's slow, but sure transformation into a real band. We are locking into discernible grooves now, and the members of Crack seem to be getting a real feel for their instruments.
Reed inquired as to what possessed me to play drums with Crack (along with a host of other topics), and the answer is simply that Crack needed a drummer, and I had a drumset in my house (albeit not my own). The general idea of Crack was to let some people play "music" who had never been in bands before, and to do this with as little judgement and as much patience as possible, I decided that I needed to try to play an instrument that I had no experience on.
Although all bands grow organically to some degree, most of the time the process of putting together a new band involves bringing together a bunch of musicians who have already been playing and who already have well-established playing styles and influences.
Although the members of Crack are avid music fans, they don't really have any experience creating music. They're smart guys, though, and I knew it wouldn't take long before some kind of melodies (and I use that word loosely) began to emerge. Listening to see exactly what would emerge has been the fun part, as I believe the music of Crack has been shaped far more by personality and sheer force of will than by musical influences or playing styles.
It's been a fascinating process watching the band in its infancy, and I hope it continues for some time to come. As much fun as we've had with Crack, I still feel that we've barely learned to walk, in a musical, metaphorical sense.
In a final, kind of sad note, Steanso wishes to bid a fond fairwell to Ninja Boy, my goldfish. Ninja Boy was a good fish who never wanted to hurt anyone and who seemed pretty happy in his tank in my kitchen. It's not clear what got NB in the end, but he seemed to die of natural causes. Ninja Boy will be missed, and it's gonna be a real pain in the ass cleaning his tank out if I ever want to put new fish in it.

Friday, February 11, 2005

I'm not supposed to write about politics today. Crackbass says my blog site is too political, so I am looking for new topics.
Not sure what to write, though. I don't think I'm feeling up to it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Hey gang. What is up?
Another banner day today for Americans living under the careful guidance and leadership of the Bush administration. North Korea, claiming that the U.S. poses a threat to their country and their way of life, has admitted to having nuclear weapons in their possession and has walked away from talks regarding nuclear nonproliferation. Who could have seen this coming? Ummm... probably everyone.
We've known that the North Koreans have been experimenting with nuclear power for a long time, and we know that they are a paranoid, isolated country with a militaristic mindset.
Combine that with an American administration that tags North Korea as part of the "Axis of Evil" and then severs diplomatic relations with them, throw in an unjustified war against Iraq for good measure, and you've got the makings for a brand new cold war at the very least, and quite possibly a full blown military conflict. As if that weren't enough, we've got the Iranians rattling sabres at us following some tough talk from Condy Rice and the Bush gang about their nuclear weapons program. Meanwhile, the bulk of our military is tied up in occupying Iraq, a country which never had weapons of mass destruction in the first place. U.S.A.!!!!
Here's the thing. The Bush camp ain't so good at foreign policy. Their idea of foreign policy seems to be, "If you don't do things our way, we'll kick your ass." Negotiation and diplomacy are not their strong points. This strong arm mentality might have worked back in the 1950s, but nowadays I would say that a large number of countries are probably on the brink of gaining WMD, whether they be nuclear, chemical, or biological. It will become increasingly difficult to police the distribution of these weapons, and it will be almost impossible to keep an eye on them if we sever diplomatic relations. Furthermore, our moral standing in the world community has been terribly eroded by the Iraq war. We have misled the U.N. regarding WMDs, been caught red handed engaging in acts of torture at Abu Ghraib, held prisoners of war without fair trials (in violation of the Geneva Convention) at Guantanamo Bay, and now we are occupying a country for an indefinite period of time, when we supposedly came to liberate them.
In short, we need much better dialogue with other countries and less macho bullshit from our own administration. We need policies of inclusion which provide incentives for other nations to provide positive contributions within the global community. This isn't to say that we need to bribe other countries or buy them off- it means that we need to convince them that it's in their own best interest to get along with everyone else.
Once again my rambling monologue has gone on too long. There's a client here to see me.

Client is gone. Looking back on me previous writin', I fear that the ol' blog has become too political. I never used to obsess about politics, but then again, I didn't used to think that my country was slowly becoming evil.

Maybe I should comment instead upon the fact that I watched Python in its entirety last night (a feat which Jeff Wilson seemed to think that I would never accomplish). Python is a modern B movie with all of the trimmings, including B list celebrities like Will Wheaton, Jenny McCarthy, and Robert Englund. Throw in a few gratuitous boob shots and a giant, poorly animated reptile which eats people, and you've got yourself a hit. The movie scores a few points by playing some of its stereotypical characters against type, but it's basically just what you want it to be- stupid and funny. I, for one, eagerly await a viewing of Boa vs. Python at the Wilson house.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Tired of winter. Tired of people being sick, long nights, and overcast, chilly days. I'm tired of people being hunkered down in their hidey holes, waiting for the winter to pass. The holidays are but a distant memory, and winter has nothing left to offer us. We need spring to rejuvenate us and make us come alive.

I dreamt of this university built in my head where Kim and Sigmund Bloom keep an apartment that is adorned with Christmas lights. They've got good things to eat there, and cushions on the floor where we can relax.
The university is populated by cyborgs who don't speak aloud unless they are directly questioned. It is a very quiet place.

I have spent the better part of my afternoon trying to help out some baby whom I have never met. One of my clients got his girlfriend pregnant and then proceeded to get into a brutal fight with her and her new boyfriend (who is, coincidentally, her ex boyfriend or ex husband or something like that). During the fight my client may or may not have been hit in the head with a shovel and he may or may not have kicked his pregnant girlfriend. There may have been a knife involved as well. I can't really figure out who's at fault, but the good news is, neither can the prosecutor. It was, by all accounts, a wild, redneck melee.
Anyway, this baby's been born now, and apparently it has some major health problems. It's in the neonatal intensive care unit, and the doctors need to get a blood sample from my guy in order to do some tests for genetic diseases. Of course, my guy is convinced it's a trick to get a paternity test, and he'll be damned if he's going to pay child support so she can run away with her ex and the baby on his dime. So I'm spending the afternoon navigating my way between phone calls from doctors, nurses, the women's advocacy center, my client's family, the district attorney's office, and my client. Needless to say, the female prosecutor who's handling this case for the D.A.'s office is going to fry my dude if he doesn't help out this sick baby. About five minutes ago I finally talked my guy into at least going down to the hospital to see this baby in the morning. I'm hoping guilt and human kindness pull us through, but I can't force him to give a blood sample, and the baby may be in really bad shape before they can get a judge's order compelling my client to give blood. Dude's supposed to call me back when he gets back from the hospital tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.
That's it for today. Random blog, perhaps, but c'est la vie.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

'Ello, kids! How's it going?

Not too much to report on today. Mandy "The Pea" Wilson has been feeling under the weather, so let's all wish her well. Jennifer Kraber and Kim Bloom have been absent from work, and I suppose that they may actually be sick as well, so let's go ahead and wish them a speedy recovery as well, just as a precautionary measure.

Does anyone besides me wonder what George W. Bush is up to on these attempts to reform social security? He must be getting kickbacks from some kind of Wall Street investment groups or something. Maybe he thinks that dumping all of that investment money into the markets is going to invigorate the U.S. economy (which it probably would, in the short run). Even if social security is broken (and I'm not at all sure it is- or at least I'm not sure it's as bad as he's making it seem), since when did George W. give a shit about the little guy or about fiscal responsibility? He sure hasn't shown it through health care reform or through any attempt to stop the budget hemorrhaging which has led to his record deficits.
Anyway, I actually do understand the impulse to privatize social security. I understand people's desire to control their own money. The problem with Bush's new plan (at least as it's presented) is that it doesn't seem to provide much actual security. Realistically, what are we going to do with those aging retirees who have invested poorly and have no money left to provide for their income in their old age? Are we going to throw these people to the wolves and let them starve to death if they make some poor investment decisions? Maybe we can set up free range ranches for old people where they live off the land after a lifetime of poor investing.
Anyway, unless there's some kind of safety net, I don't understand how this system is going to work, and if we do provide a safety net, aren't the tax payers just being asked to fund someone's gambling (ok, investing) habit? I just don't get it. Oh crap. Client needs to see me.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Well, the weekend has once again left me more tired than the work week. The parents came into town Saturday morning, and I had a decent time visiting with them, although some of the predicted nagging did, in fact, occur.
The Williamson Law Office Superbowl Extravaganza was a success. Lots of tasty Mexican food, cerveza, and margaritas. Jason is quite exhausted and headachey today as a result. On the up side, I won $35 dollars in the betting pool, despite having absolutely no clue as to what I was betting on. I think that everyone had a good time.
Thanks to the people who have extended travel invitations to me in light of last week's blog. It was only after receiving these invitations that I realized how needy I sounded. Thanks for the generous invites. I have some things to think about.
We're supposed to have Crack practice tonight, but we're short a trombone player, and I feel pretty crappy. We'll see.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Well, the weekend is almost here. Yeah!

I need a vacation folks. Jason has not been on vacation in a long time. We're talking years. I did go on a lovely trip to the coast for the 4th of July last summer with the Wilsons, Andy, Rami, and Ellie, but it was more of a long weekend than a real vacation. It's just really hard to get away when you have cases set and you work in a perpetually frantic law office.

Also, I just have a difficult time making travel plans. I'm a creature of habit and kind of a homebody, so it's difficult for me to get organized for trips. I love being in other places, but I hate having to travel to get there. I hate airports, and I hate the little seats in economy class which don't allow for 6'6" travellers. Then there's the issue of wrangling someone into going with me, b/c travelling to other places by yourself is just not as cool as going with other people.

My friend Ray used to say that it's a good thing if you don't long to travel b/c that means that you're comfortable with your normal life. There's a great deal of truth to that, but then again, I don't feel like living my whole life without leaving Texas.

Well, I'm open to suggestions for travel plans. I gotta get out of Austin sometime this year for an occasion other than Christmas or just to visit family. Maybe I should go visit the homeland, up in Michigan. I've had worse ideas.

Travis is hosting a team meeting in the conference room right now, I've just realized. No one asked me to attend. Maybe that's a good thing. Sounds like they're arguing about mail and calendaring and court dates. Yuck.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Just got back from lunch with Gary Meyer and Jeff "Crackbass" Wilson. Lunch at the Ranch 616 is always a good time. Jeff and Gary are a couple of dudes who have managed to parlay their law degrees into part time jobs with something resembling full time incomes. They float around town during the day, occasionally checking in with their office out in Westlake, going to lunch, visiting with friends, and sampling michiladas from various food and beverage establishments. There's something "Krameresque" about the whole lifestyle, and it's often something to be envied, although there seem to be intermittent moments of panic when the cash doesn't flow quite as predicted.
Anyway, lunch was good. Got to hear the "Behind the Music" gossip on the Amazing Letdowns from Gary. We also discussed the new economy created by Ebay.

Oooops. Gotta run back to court.

I'm back. Woo hoo!! Dismissals for 2 pot smokers! Sometimes I even amaze myself...

What else.....? The Williamson law firm's superbowl party is this weekend, so the preparations are under way. The invites have been sent out, the caterer hired, and the booze purchased. All that remains is to anxiously wait and see if people show up. I think there will be a decent turnout, although the "no kids" provision on the invitation may cause some problems for people who have to find babysitters.
Also, my parents are coming to town this weekend. I think it should be ok. They're only coming for about 24 hours, arriving late Saturday morning. Still, there's always that little twinge of stress when I know they're coming, knowing that the house needs to be really clean and that I'm likely to be interrogated about my life and career over the course of the visit. I feel bad for even feeling stressed b/c they always say that's the last thing they want, but I think it's unavoidable. The parent/child dynamic is never going to change. Maybe I can just get 'em drunk.
That's it for now. Touching scene last night during the State of the Union between the family of that serviceman who had been killed in Iraq and the Iraqi woman who got to vote for the first time. Somehow, though, I bet that soldier's family still wants their son back.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sometimes being honest blows up in your face, ladies and gents. One of the attorneys who formerly used to work for this firm used to promise clients the moon just to get them to sign up with us. You got drunk and crashed into a busload of nuns? Sure, we can get your case dismissed. You chopped your girlfriend's head off and buried her in your backyard? We can probably get you probation. Now I am dealing with the clients this attorney used to represent, and some of them are not happy when the deal they end up with doesn't match what was advertised.
One kid, in particular, has told me that he was promised that his DWI would be reduced to a lesser charge, and that a trial would not be necessary in order to make this happen. Well, his case is strong, but not perfect, and the prosecutors in his court would rather go to trial on the case than reduce it (they think their case is winnable). So the kid calls up and fires us today and tells me he's hired a new lawyer. And he wants a refund.
I've been to court with this kid like 7 times, spent a ton of time tracking down his videotape and cornering the prosecutors into watching it, and now he doesn't think we should be paid for our efforts. I'm annoyed, to say the least.
My crime lies only in having negotiated with the prosecutors, gotten him the best deal they would offer, and conveying this to my client. If he wants a shot at a better outcome, he needs to go to trial. Client doesn't want a trial, though. He wants the imaginary offer that our former attorney made on the day that client contracted with us.
Grrrrrr....
Sorry.
In other news, I spent 20 minutes earlier writing a blog which detailed why I was happy for the people of Iraq (b/c they got to vote), but why I still thought the Bush administration was a bunch of lying, cheating, no good villains (basically b/c establishing a Democracy for the Iraqis was nothing more than a happy collateral consequence of the invasion for Bush). I am still pissed that our reputation in the world community has been ruined (see torture, Guantanamo Bay, weapons of mass destruction, Bin Laden, etc.).

Anyway, this blog got erased due to an "internal server error". Probably one of the NSA's attempts to prevent the dissemination of "unAmerican" literature.

Well, I gotta get out of here and go home. I need to get my appetizers prepared and my VCR set up for the State of the Union Address. War is peace. Ignorance is knowledge. Slavery is freedom.
I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this thing, but I will proceed to blog on.

The State of the Union address is tonight. In light of the elections, W. will undoubtedly proclaim that the invasion of Iraq has been a tremendous success. I wholeheartedly agree that the elections have been a good thing in Iraq, but whether or not the entire invasion and occupation have been a success remains an open question.
We invaded Iraq in order to stop the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction- weapons which were never found to have existed. We began the invasion in direct violation of United Nations security counsel resolutions and against the advice of U.N. weapons inspectors who had serious doubts about whether any WMD remained in Iraq. Subsequent to the invasion and the overthrow of Saddam, we have held enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay in violation of the Geneva Convention and international law. We have engaged in torture in Iraq as well as at Guantanamo Bay (and possibly in the U.S.), a course of action which has left U.S. troops and personnel open to similar treatment at the hands of our enemies in the future. Our stature and credibility in the global community has been indelibly stained by the invasion and our actions thereafter.
We entered Iraq without an exit strategy, and, paradoxically, now that "free elections" have been held, the Bush administration seems more reluctant than ever to discuss any concrete plan for troop withdrawals from that country. We have proclaimed victory by bringing democracy to the Iraqi people, yet it's not clear that we will allow their elected leaders to be installed if the individuals whom they chose turn out to be right wing imams or other religious fanatics. We have proclaimed victory by vanquishing Saddam, when the pretense for the invasion of Iraq was the protection of Americans from terrorists and WMD. It now appears that terrorists from all over the middle east have flooded into Iraq in order to undermine our nation building and to wage war on Americans and their allies. It's not at all clear that Americans are safer as a result of the invasion, and we may have created as many enemies as we have defeated.
We entered Iraq for reasons which may or may not have been racist, but with logic which was surely flawed- one group of Muslims attacked us, so we visited retribution upon an unrelated group of Muslims which had nothing to do with September 11th, but which made an easier target than Al Qaeda and Bin Laden (which have proven to be remarkably skillful and resilient adversaries). And all of this at the cost of (as of today) over 1400 U.S. casualties and untold Iraqi civilian deaths (5,000 at a minimum, but possibly 2 to 3 times that number).
At any rate, it's undoubtedly a good thing that the Iraqis may attain a greater degree of self government, but if the U.S. is in the business of nation building for democracy's sake, then the list of governments which need to be overthrown is a long one, and we must be just getting started with our work. Maybe we can take North Korea next, and save China for later, when we've had more practice.
Bush will undoubtedly try to claim that the economy is on the rebound (which he'll try to take credit for, even though a look at the unemplolyment numbers show there hasn't been much change in the last year), that Social Security needs to be overhauled (which he'll want to privatize), and that benefits for military families need to be increased. I doubt that Bush will comment on the insane deficit that his administration has racked up (after Clinton left us with a budget surplus) or his inability to make any substantial improvements to the healthcare system.

Damn. All that typing has got me tired of politics. Just wanted to say my piece before the president got to say his.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

I have a meeting with a client in just a minute, and although I've never met him and I know nothing about him, I bet- I am truly willing to bet- that he has some kind of sad story. I will also bet that he is going to endeavor to convince me that he's really a good guy who has just gotten a bad rap, and I will further bet that he is either out of work or between jobs or has some other reason why paying us for legal services is going to be a problem. This unknown client will probably also want his case dismissed, or at least reduced to a lesser charge, although he will be reluctant to go to trial or to enroll in whatever counselling that the prosecutors require.
OK, the secretary has brought me his stuff....

Well, the kid was only 17, so he's still too far into the tough guy stage to realize that he needs to prove that he's a nice guy. His offense? (and this is the kind of shit that's just comic gold) He and some buddies were arrested for throwing rocks at a cop. Throwing rocks at a cop. Let that just roll around in your head for a minute and try to imagine how young and stupid you have to be to think that throwing rocks at a cop is a good idea. Of course, my client didn't throw any rocks (it was only his friends), and, of course, this kid has dropped out of school and also doesn't have a job. The client's dad will be footing his bill (although I told client that he needed to get a job in order to impress the judge- which is kind of a lie. I think I just want this little shit to have to pay his own way on his case). Oh yeah, and client thinks the case should be dismissed b/c he knows some kids who were juveniles who threw rocks at cops and their cases got dismissed (this is one of those recurring themes of criminal defense work- no matter what you do for your clients, they've always heard of some dude who got a better deal. "Well, there's one guy I knew from when I was in the county [jail], and he cut some guy's head off, and he got probation, man.").

Anyway, I'm hoping that the cop didn't actually see which kids threw the rocks. Three years of law school, ladies and gents.

It's raining. I'm sleepy. Again.