Exact Approximations

Monday, May 30, 2005

Go to Arizona, Catch Inhibition Disorder.

That should be the tagline for Arizona's latest 'visit our state' campaign.

I was in Arizona last week, looking for jobs and housing. I finished law school (sorta) and am relocating out of Berkeley, California to a little place I like to call "The P.H.X." I guess Phoenix is not really a little place; it's also not at all similiar weather-wise to my current location. It's funny, I spent 13 years of my life stuck in a desert. And once I realized what else was out there, all I wanted was to get out. I finally did when I got to Berkeley. Who would have ever guessed life would bring me back to a bigger desert? Crazy.

Anyhow, while in the state, I realized a few things. These things support my theory that you can literally catch inhibition disorder in Arizona:

1) Speed limit signs mean nothing to these people. You are officially on Tard Status if you are not at least doubling any posted speed limit under 35mph. This drives me up the fucking wall. I've always hated when cars get all up on me wanting me to speed up. Usually, I daydream about driving super slow and smiling big in the rearview. I usually stop myself from doing this. Arizona freed me from my self-imposed restraint. I did this numerous times. I enjoyed it far too much. Sometimes I flipped them off, if they had a Bush bumper sticker. Lots of them do.

2) Bitter overweight people sometimes take it out on others. I fly Southwest, airline of the poor. As I was boarding, my laptop bag accidently knocked the shoulder of some lady. She gave me the dirtiest look and said in the snidest tone "Why don't people like you check their baggage?!?" Normally, I would apologize profusely and feel super-bad. But, I had Arizona freedom, so my reply was "Why don't people like you buy two seats?" She was so offended. Any guilt I felt over my immature comment was gone by the time I received my complimentary in-flight Coke. Stupid Fatty.

3) "Cox Cable" owns the P.H.X. - Apparently, all services ranging from phone, cable, internet, everything - all come from the same company, Cox. I tried so hard to not be that lame person who busts out laughing everytime some person, the television or the radio, said Cox, which was a lot. But, alas, no avail. I'm that guy, like Beavis. "Huhu. They said 'Cox.'" Everytime.

I need to learn to keep my mouth shut, but this isn't my fault. I deny all allegations and blame it on that state.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

"I'll tell you in another life, when we are both cats."

Sofia Serrano, (Vanilla Sky).

I watched this movie again last night. Generally, I'm not a Tom Cruise fan (Interview with the Vampire excepted), but Vanilla Sky is really good. Similarly, I'm not a Jim Carey fan (In Living Color excepted), but Eternal Sunshine is one of my all-time favorites. I digress...

The movie is fantastic. I highly recommend it.
Some favorite Vanilla Sky contributions:

  • Pleasure Delayers & Proximity Infatuations. (Don't use that last one, it's Brian's).
  • "Intelligence is a tool, not a weapon."
  • Props to Audrey Hepburn, To Kill a Mockingbird & John Lennon's Dakota.
  • "Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. "
  • "The little things. There's nothing bigger, is there?"

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Just Hit My Kid in the Head...

... with a blue waterballoon. I love summertime. Off to go show some 9 year olds how it's done.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Sexual Hygiene + Motherly Intervention = SUPER Embarrassment

O.K., this one's personal and involves sex and humiliation. Entertaining stuff for most, but if you're related to me, you might want to skip it.

As already established, I frequent Adult Stores. I have also been really sick lately, and my mother has been here to visit twice over the past month, helping with Daughter and relentlessly keeping house. Mom cleans rooms for a living, and I am spoiled by her perfect bed-making and starching skills. Today, while I was out running errands, mom picked up my room. When I came home, she pulled me aside and asked very seriously:

"I was cleaning your room and saw a condom. Where did it come from? Who?"

Shockingly severe embarrassment. "Nothing, don't worry about it."

"Oh no, I want to know. Who? Was it Ex-Husband!?" Ex-Husband was over yesterday visiting Daughter; he and I spent time in my room 'discussing issues.' Discussing is a stretch.

"God no! Cheese and rice mom. This is awful. Let it go, I can not believe we are having this discussion."

"Tell me. Who was it?" I was so not getting out of the conversation without satisfactorily explaining myself to my mother. I felt like a teenager.

"Um... I don't think you have the right to demand such information."

Downward brows. Mom's mind was set. Bad news for Lex.

The reality that I had to answer set in, and I resigned myself. I decided to find the humor. If mom wants to get all up in my business, might as well give her all she's looking for.

"See mom, it's like this, I have these jelly-rubber toys, which are porous. Covering them with condoms minimizes absorption of bacteria, keeping toys cleaner and increasing safety. You know, there doesn't always have to boy present in order to..."

"O.K., O.k.!!" Mom walked away, quickly. I'm guessing she was off to ponder her much desired answers.

Pretty awful. But pretty funny in hindsight. So, for anyone looking for a free laugh, this one's on me. Takin' one for the team.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars III Has Officially Arrived

I know because I was stuck in an incredibly long line at a coffee shop today. Coffee Shop is near a movie theater - a movie theater playing only Star Wars on every screen. Resultingly, there were long lines in all nearby stores - like the weekend before Christmas. I experienced something I have only ever felt once before in my life: the eerie feeling of entering into a public space and hearing everybody talk about the same thing. This happened to me on 9/11 and it absolutely blew my mind.

Anyhow, today wasn't eerie, so much as completely weird. I glanced at a middle aged man dressed up as a Jedi. Down to the boots and all. Wow. Out of hand. There were Leah buns everywhere. The fans surrounded me; I had to try so hard not to overhear anything about the movie plot. I mean, I usually love Star Wars as much as the next guy, but not as much as the guys next to me at that very moment.

So - there it is. Star Wars has arrived. This is related to my life personally because I hear the Star Wars theme music when I get in The Zone. I remember walking into 1L Moot Court... It starts slowly in my head... first, the intro music [dun, dun, dun.... dun... da-dun.... dun... da-dun.] It gets louder and louder as go time approaches and then busts out, full force, super-loud. In my head. All in my head. [DUH-DUH-DUH-DAAAAAA-DUN]. I also heard the Star Wars music in my head before finals, interviews and divorce negotiations. When I was in the dumps earlier this semester and talking to the Doctor about it, I said "I just can't hear the Star Wars music anymore." Doctor thought I was nuts, but the point got across. I've had a hard time getting myself in the mental place required of the Star Wars Music Motivation - I'm hoping that with advertising and coffee shop experiences like today - I won't be able to avoid my musical muse much longer.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Boalt's Grading System and other Reasons I May Actually Pull it Off

I took my last law school exam this past Friday. Assuming I passed Intellectual Property, which is not certain, I may actually be damn near finished with law school. I went through the graduation ceremony on Saturday (mom made me, I hate such displays of pomp and circumstance) - it was kinda weird because I still have school-things to do before I 'graduate,' like write two papers. And I need to have passed that IP exam that went so, so horribly...

I'm banking on the Boalt Hall grade inflation system - it basically allows every student to appear as if they are in the top 50% of the class. In summary, here's how it works, everything is anonymous and based only on the final exam: the top 10% of the class get "High Honors," the 11 - 40% get "Honors," and the bottom 60% are awarded "Pass," "Substandard Pass," or "Fail" - the distribution is completely at the Professor's discretion. In practice, this means that any time a student receives a "Pass", they could arguably still be in the top 50% of any class. Some professors do not give any grades below Pass, provided you show up for the final and draw a diagram, preferably labeled with Latin words. It's a matter of practice. Other Professors will actually give Fail grades when your final is really, really - just inexcuseably awful. BlueBooks with 3 pages of outlined answers for a 4-question essay final that lasts 3 1/2 hours. Writing from a student just hoping that the Professor will give the benefit of the doubt and assume there are some correct answers in that scribble. Bad stuff.

For the most part though, if you do really awful and the Professor cannot in good conscience give you a regular "Pass," there is a "Substandard Pass." It is my understanding that a Substandard Pass shows up on your transcript as you having been a dumbass who does substandard quality work - but you still receive credit. Thus, even if IP Professor gives me a Sub-Pass, I still graduate. Sweet. So long as I find employment before grades come out, I should be fine. And write those papers that my professors have been so nice about that I am seriously having feelings of guilt, likely recovering catholic relapses.

Cheese and rice. For someone who just graduated, I sure am caught up with school.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Playing Favorites Update: ugly kids get less loving?

I stumbled across this article and my fascination with whether parents secretly have favorite children was rekindled.

I have been too interested with the question for awhile, and have yet to hear any parent admit to having a favorite kid. Arbusto theorizes that parental expectations and attachments may vary from child to child, suggesting that each relationship is too complex and unique for meaningful comparison. To Arbusto's credit, that sums up what most parents tell me, except they take it further and swear that comparison of one's children is literally impossible. As if the brain has a built in thought-regulator that censors urges of kid-comparison. Swear to God they love them all the same. Shah.

According to the article, some researchers in Canada claim ugly kids just aren't getting their fair share of Quality Parenting. They discovered this by following 400 people around 14 Canadian grocery stores, and recording parenting behaviors. Then they determined each child's attractiveness, on a 1-10 scale. I'm guessing the last part was where they put these ratings and observations into SPSS and had themselves a correlation search party.

Anyhow, here are some of the "striking" findings:

Ugly kids were less likely (1.2%) than pretty kids (13.3%) to have cart safety buckles snapped. Egad.

AND, not one male shopper buckled up an ugly kid! Good God.

Plus, get this, ugly kids were allowed to wander further from their parents! Cheese and rice.

AND, they were more likely to be allowed out of their parent's sight. Something must be done.

No word on how the magical attractive scale was conceived, unless Canada has a national standard I'm not aware of. I wonder if things like name-brand pimp gear got ugly kids bonus points. Think maybe people who spend chunks of time making kids cute for the grocery store might be more likely to buckle kids up and make sure they don't get un-cute? We seriously trust researchers to decide who has a pretty kid? I don't know how it is in Canada, but I saw these kinds of people all the time as a Psych undergrad, and I have serious doubts about their ability to guage attractiveness. Also, if some group of whitecoats was watching and writing stuff down, I would make damn sure I was looking like an A+ Mommy. You just never know what power a whitecoat may possess. Plus, and maybe this is just me, when a kid gets all out of hand at the store, they suddenly look kinda ugly. Obviously, I'm too lazy to get the article and see whether any of these concerns were dealt with. Whatever, I'm already sold on parents having favorites, so it fits for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I've been sick lately, at the doctor, back from the doctor, keeping lab-techs employed and what not. This sucks because it is law school finals season, and I never worry about law school until finals season. This worried me a bit, particularly since I'm a 3L and there are lots of things I put off until now. What can I say, I like going to the beach and hanging out with my kid. After first year, law school felt like an endless parade of sitting in class listening to hand-raising liberals trying to convince me of obvious shit. I should have thought harder about the benefits of going to a school dominated by people sharing my political beliefs. I love their passion, but just can't give that much of my life hearing them work on the delivery.

So, I was all freaked out I might not make it to graduation. Turns out some people are flexible when you are sick and quite willing to reschedule things. Now, it all comes down to whether I can manage to pull it together enough to pass two exams for two classes, neither of which I have been to, read about, or studied for all semester - over the next three days.

Seems like I should be able to go in there with the permissible materials and find enough correct answers to pass... If I can't do that, maybe I really didn't get much out of law school.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Today is the perfect day...

... to visit Espertantina, Brazil.

The town has declared May 9th Orgasm Day, finally making it an official municipal holiday. Many of the 38,000 residents have celebrated for years says new mayor Felipe Santolia. He points to research showing correlations between proper sexing and the quality of a woman's other relationships. Santolia added anecdotal evidence, noting "from what I've seen, women have more trouble achieving orgasm than men, especially in marriage."

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Aside from Firefighter Shirts Being SOOO Three Years Ago...

... it should be illegal for any teenager to rock a "FDNY Tennis" t-shirt.

It's social suicide for that age group. Let's codify reality and save lops like the one I saw today thousands of dollars in therapy and multiple beatings. Don't give me any of this "what if it's the only shirt he can afford" crap. Those fancy Fire Department shirts cost just as much as the super-dope "Strictly For My Ninjas" t-shirt I bought last month. I'm guessing the overhead in this particular situation is even more, given the special Tennis Team designation. That last part is conjecture. The rest, however, is a matter of law; I won't be accepting disagreement on those points.

Anyhow, this is all especially true because said "FDNY Tennis" t-shirt was tucked into the super-tight shorts of a super-short boy. Even truer because the super-short boy's super-short shorts are all the way up in the small of his short little arm's pits. It just looks weird. Plain weird. Weirder than I can express.

I felt bad for him as I drove past, he looked uncertain and insecure, and the outfit could only contribute to his sad state. I found myself staring, the way you look at a lost puppy you feel bad for but don't have the dedication to help in any meaningful way. When he noticed my gaze, he quickly looked away, like he might suddenly gain power of invisibility. Continuing with the canine analogies, I went on to think he was much like those dogs that wince when you walk towards them, because they get beat all the time and now expect it from everyone. That thought made me sad, so I winked at the poor sap. All sexy like. I hope he went home and told all his Dungeons and Dragons friends and FDNY Tennis Team buddies and is feeling a little less dorky for even one day. I am hopeful I helped his self-image just a wee bit. I'm oblivious to the fact he may have sensed my pity. I like trying to do my part.