Thursday, January 31, 2008

Manilow Hell

My lovely wife's and my passion for Barry Manilow started a few years ago when I got a box of cassette tapes my buddy from work, Jose, gave me (I think his friend on the bus gave them to him). After weeding through the Time-Life Swingin' Years tapes and Journey hits, there he was staring at me in a white leisure suite, star necklace and the cocky "I write the songs" smirk.

We were quickly mesmerized by his catchy, cocaine like melodies and lyrics. He had plenty of practice growing up, writing countless jingles for every brand you can imagine...."I am stuck on band-aids, cause they are stuck on me!"...and, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."

After watching his live show on PBS, we decided we had to see him in concert. We had a trip to Vegas planned already, coincidentally staying at the Hilton where Barry has an ongoing show. Of course the weekend we stayed there he took off. The only dark weekend in months.

One day we were riding in the car with my Mom and Uncle when lovely Wife and I spontaneously broke into song...a Manilow song. My Uncle said, "Hey, that's Barry Manilow! We just got to see him last week at an invite-only free show at The Forum."

Apparently, he and my Mom wouldn't think that we would enjoy his music...and that The Forum was too long of a mid-week drive for us, so we didn't find out about it until after the fact.

It also turns out that the trumpet player for Barry's show is a friend of mine from college. Despite all the connections to Manilow, we haven't been able to score tickets, or make the time to get to Vegas and see the show.

Then I had a brilliant plan. Barry is doing a Valentine's Day show at the Staples Center! I decided to go all out (because lovely Wife deserves it!), and bought 2 floor seats to the show. This was back in December. It turns out that her schedule in her second semester Master's classes consists of back to back classes on Thursday nights. After a few weeks I put 2 and 2 together and realized Valentine's Day falls on a Thursday.

Much of her grade in those classes is based on attendance and class participation.

In the past few weeks I've tried unsuccessfully to unload the tickets and salvage some of the small fortune I spent on them. In the meantime, I had to scramble to find something else to do for V-day (note: we normally don't do much on Valentine's Day, but in light of our lack of anniversary plans this year, I thought we could make up for it).

While I can't divulge my backup plans here since lovely Wife lurks, it involved another (not as lucrative) purchase.

If the Manilow tickets don't sell, I'm going to personally call her professors and explain the situation and make her go with me! Add that to the backup plans scheduled for the night before and we're going to have a Valentine's Day extravaganza.

Good thing I'm going to be a lawyer...I might be able to eventually pay for Valentine's Day this year!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Primary Issues and Food

Why is it that by the time I get to vote in the primaries, most of the candidates have left the race?

Thanks to lovely states like Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina (states that certainly represent my interests and concerns living in the suburbs of a large metropolis), my menu choices are limited to steak or shrimp for dinner. What if I feel like chicken tonight?

"I'm sorry sir, we don't serve chicken anymore. Someone in Nevada didn't particularly care for its taste."
With all due respect to our great nation, we have it backwards again. During the November elections, results are withheld until all polls are closed, presumably so a late voter, Mr. Undecided in California, won't be swayed to vote for the guy winning in New York. With the exception of Ross Perot years, there's only 2 candidates to choose from and I would go out on a limb to say that most people don't show up to their polling place ready to flip a coin to choose their candidate, yet we make sure everyone gets a fair vote free from persuasion.

So if we're so concerned with democracy and freedom of choice in that election, why the heck do we spread our primaries, where there are many more choices representing many more points of view, over several weeks? Those states in the early stages get arguably more clout and a much greater selection of candidates to choose from. Could you imagine who might win the primaries if all 50 states went in at once, with only CNNUSATODAYTIMEWARNERGALLUP polls to rely on for predictions?

Thanks to the current system, I can't vote for a candidate who has the potential to represent me, because he or she didn't do well in a few other states. Thanks New Hampshire.

Oh, and another thing....what about those poor Democratic folks in Florida who got the proverbial middle finger from the DNC when they were told their delegates don't count. Yet people still voted.
"We thank you for your patronage, however, since you showed up an hour early for your reservation, you can only view the menu. Please remember to tip well and we hope you choose to eat here again in November."
The Floridians do get to vote in November with the rest of us. Sort of like eating desert in the most popular, highly regarded, wealthiest, diverse country....errr...restaurant in the world.
"Sir, let me show you our desert tray. We have a wide selection of either cake or Jello."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Choices....choices

Who'd have thought 6 months ago when I started studying for the LSAT that 1) I would actually be accepted somewhere, 2) I would have a choice of schools, and 3) I would be offered money to go to school?

I haven't heard back from my super top picks (Yale & Harvard), but their impending rejection letters aren't enough to get me down, knowing that I have a place to go to school next year and those schools are just as excited to have me as a student!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Photoblogging Monday!! (barely)

Just eeking by the deadline, I present to you Photoblogging Monday.

This one is taken of our newest addition to the family, Garfunkel (or, G-funk for short). We adopted him just after Christmas. He's around 2 years old and upwards of 15 pounds.

Garfunkel's story is quite remarkable - he was turned into the pound in California City (look it up, it does exist), by an old lady who couldn't care for him anymore. No one picked him up because he wasn't neutered, and apparently California City is one of the few places that doesn't automatically fix their animals. He was scheduled to be put down, but the vet didn't have the heart to, so Garfunkel sat in his way-too-small cage for 3 weeks. Again, no one would adopt an older cat with balls so he was within hours of being put down a second time. That's when a rescue group called Halfway To Home picked him up. We first met G-funk at our local Petsmart a day later when they were doing pet adoptions.



G-funk

Friday, January 25, 2008

Oh...and another thing....

I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but....

This new economic stimulus plan makes me laugh.

The economy is in trouble because we overextended ourselves by taking frivolous loans and borrowing against inflated home valuations to feed our greed, among other things.

Now that market forces are correcting the situation back to a natural, healthy state, the government's response is to give us more money to spend. The same government that has overextended itself and is in enormous debt. So our government is 'fixing' our problem by doing the same thing that got us into the trouble in the first place.

What's even scarier is the fact that the 150 billion dollars ($150,000,000,000.00, looks bigger that way) will undoubtedly be funded by treasury notes (read: debt) sold primarily to our biggest investor - China (read: communists).

And where are most people going to spend their $600? You guessed it, buying crap imported from China. They are the real winners here, not us, or our economy.

I've decided to spend my tax refund supporting a different communist regime by smuggling in some Montecristos from Cuba.

Snowed In

I have a lot of things to write about, but no time to write it down. Usually the opposite is true.

Thursday morning we got snowed in. I had to wait till 9am for the ice and snow to melt before I could leave to work. I've also spent close to 10 hours in the car over the last two days.

Some quotes from my recent outing to see Cloverfield:

Box Office Girl (after I had already bought my tickets): "Oh, by the way, this movie may cause motion sickness."
Me: " Great, thanks for the important safety tip."

(I almost added Egon to the end of that, but I realized the poor girl on the other side of the window wasn't born when Ghostbusters was released)

Teenage Kid Behind Me: "That movie was gay. It was the best movie ever!"

Me, along with a dozen or so people leaving behind me, while stepping over powdered vomit at the entrance to the theater: "Eeeewwwwww!" (apparently, Box Office Girl didn't warn everyone).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Could It Be?

Got home last night from a Kings game (my first hockey game ever!) and was met by the largest stack of mail I've ever received.

It was sort of like Christmas, where there are too many presents to comprehend, yet you can make out some of the shapes and sizes, realizing that some things you really wanted were sitting there under the tree.

In my stack of mail there were two large, thick envelopes, the same type of envelopes that my Loyola acceptance letter came in. Not wanting to be greedy I methodically worked my way through the stack of bills, wedding invitations, magazines (all my frequent flier mile subscriptions decided to show up on the same day), and junk mail.

When I finally got to those envelopes they ended up being from other law schools inviting me to apply.

I've gotten hundreds of letters and pamphlets advertising this and that law school, but to send out a large acceptance package size envelope this late in the application season when applicants are nervously checking their mailboxes daily is pure evil.

Just for that, DeVry Institute School of Law, I won't even consider applying to your school.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

NAMM Show

For those of you who think Rock is dead...spend 5 minutes walking through the NAMM show, the annual convention or music merchants.

I don't know what is more odd, seeing old guys dress and act like they are 16 and showing up to a Megadeath concert, or, seeing them during daylight hours somewhere outside of the Sunset Strip.

If you haven't been to a NAMM show it is worth going for 10 or 15 minutes just to watch the parade of smelly, tattered Motley Crue tour shirts, designer jeans and boots, and black crushed-velvet jackets with some rock star design on the back. Oh....I also forgot the signature headbanger mane and eyebrow piercing.

There was a huge line snaking through the booths. I thought John Lennon had been resurrected or something. After approaching a pink haired lady about it, she said the line was to meet the drummer from Queenryche. Hmmm....ok.

My favorite part of the show had to be the Zildjian booth. 500 cymbals set up on stands with just as many drumsticks flying. Now, I'm not a drummer, but how in the world to you test a crash symbol with 499 other drummers testing their's at the same time?

The answer is easy....you hit the damn thing harder!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Photoblogging Monday!

Back again with the photos. This one was taken in paradise down the trail from Poipu Beach on Kauai.

For your viewing pleasure.....


Shipwreck Beach at Sunset



Thursday, January 17, 2008

Double Post Thursday!

To make up for my lack of posting and because this really irks me I'm doing my first annual double-post Thursday. Look for my next one in 2009!

There is a lot of complaining on both sides about the lack of content regarding real issues coming from the candidates. While these complaints are certainly justified, can we take aim at the media for a while?

Candidates live & die by their image, not their take on issues. As much as I would like this not to be true, it is. Where do candidates get their image from....the media.

During the Republican debate a week ago, the moderators went down the line asking a different question to each candidate. Mostly Iraq and illegal immigration stuff. They get to dear old Ron Paul.

Congressman Paul, many of your supporters call themselves 9/11 Truthers. They believe that the U.S. government was in some way complicit with the 9/11 attacks or covered it up. Are you tonight prepared to either embrace that rhetoric or ask those supporters to abandon it, or divorce themselves from your candidacy?
What does this have to do with anything? Does Mit Romney have to answer for those in his religion (and undoubtedly support him) who live on compounds and believe in plural marriages? What about the bands of ultra-conservative militia types who support the other candidates...are we going to dig those up and find who they endorse so we can confront the candidates with this?

I turned off the last Democratic debate in Las Vegas, not because of the candidates, but because of the schlock coming from the moderators.

A question to the white male Senator Edwards:
Why should I, as a progressive woman, not resent being forced to choose between the first viable female candidate and the first viable African American candidate? What is a white male to do running against these historic candidacies?
This was followed by a bunch of questions about Hillary's New Hampshire tearfest (a la Tom Hanks - "There's no crying in politics!), and the apparent tag team Hillary bashing by Edwards and Obama.

I think Fox, MSNBC and everyone else are trying to dump Kucinich and Ron Paul from these debates because they actually think for themselves, are not tools of some right- or left-wing agenda, and in turn, get in the way of the media's manipulation of the images of the remaining 'electable' candidates.

I'll end with some uplifting news - it looks like there is a strong chance our next President has taken Public Speaking 101...much to the chagrin of daily calendar makers and stand-up comedians.

I Love You, Time Warner Cable

I'm dripping in sarcasm right now.

Note to anyone calling Time Warner Cable (and this may be true of other subscription services) - if the endless voicemail prompts say "Press 1 for billing questions, press 2 to add services or upgrade, or press 3 to move or cancel a service," always press #2!

I had a billing question so I naturally pressed 1 and was put on hold for 5 minutes. I had a simple question - "Why did my cable bill go up $30.00 this month?" This seemed like a easy, read-from-the-script answer for the customer service agent. When I got a live person, she told me to hold momentarily to review my account. Apparently, she went to lunch because I sat on silent hold for 30 minutes without a response.

In my rage, I called back to cancel my service and switch to satellite (which I had been pondering for a while anyway). This time, I took option 3. I sat on hold for 15 minutes (this time not silent), with no sign of picking up. They didn't even have the "Your call is important to us/We are experience unusually high volume" messages every 2 minutes. I surmised that I was funneled into a virtual holding room with other pissed off customers by Time Warner where I would sit endlessly until I a) cool down a bit and succumb to the persuasive techniques of their CSRs, b) give up and wait to cancel on another day, thus earning them a few extra bucks and a few more days that I may reconsider, or c) demonstrate to them that I am so upset that I will sit on hold till the end of time and making me wait at the end of the cue makes little difference anyway.

I went for option (b) - I'll cancel another day.

Fast forward a few days. I called again, and in my brilliance I decided to press 2. I didn't get through 3 measures of whatever smooth jazz tune was playing before someone picked up....coincidence, I think not.

I'm going to try that from now on. Whenever I have to call a large company for customer service, I'm going to always tell the automated voicemail that I'm adding a service or what to give their company more money; I don't need to be manipulated by evil corporations!

If you're curious, I never got a straight answer as to why my bill went up...only something about grandfathering in old Adelphia codes and receiving a letter that looked like a flyer that warned of this many months ago that I probably didn't read. Part of me wanted to really get into it at this point, then I felt bad for my poor CSR Miranda who would be on the receiving end and decided it wasn't worth my time or her awkwardness.

I didn't cancel my service (their evil plan worked!) mainly because I didn't want to jeopardize my viewing of the Trinidad v. Jones Jr. fight this Saturday. However, I did lose most of the channels that I rarely if ever watch.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Batting .500

This blog started to help my writing for law school applications. Most of them were completed and mailed by early November. The last two months have been slow, somewhat scary, and full of hypothetical conversations between my lovely (and anonymous) wife.


"What if you get into here, and we have to move?"
or
"What if you get into this school, but this school offers you a scholarship?"

Much like people talk about what they would do with the money they won during the period between the purchase of the $1 lotto ticket and finding out they really didn't win. The problem with our talks were that neither of us really had any idea if or where I would get accepted...even from my list of 'probables'.

I found it odd that the day I decide to start blogging again, there were two decision letters waiting for me. The first was a standard business envelope from Berkeley (hippie bastards). They didn't find a spot for me in the class of 2011, but I tell you, it was the most feel-good rejection letter I have ever read. They regretted having to informing me, then hoped that I got into another top school of my choice followed by an invitation to apply as a transfer student if I really had my heart set on matriculating there. They did everything except for offer me a hug and a shoulder to cry on. I'm not bitter or surprised, in fact, they were on my 'shoot-for-the-moon' list of schools.

The second was a package from Loyola. Somehow they found something about my application that they really liked and offered me a spot in their class next year. They were on the top of my list of probables, so I am a) really excited, especially since I know others who haven't been so lucky and b) extremely relieved. Now I can relax knowing that I have a good school to go to next year. If a better offer comes along from my 'you should have spend the $70 application fee on lotto tickets because you'd have a better chance there' schools, great, but in the meantime I can kick my feet back and enjoy the last 8 months of my freedom.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Back At It

After almost a month hiatus, I have decided it's time to get back on the bandwagon, get the ball rolling again and move forward full-steam ahead. I'm doing so by trying to use as many tried and true clich├ęs as possible.

Have any of you seen the previews for the new (used loosely) Knight Rider show?

It's a 15 second teaser that doesn't show much, but in those 15 seconds it gives the show 2 strikes against it:

  • There is only one spoken line from the show in the preview and it is "Hello, Mike." You'd think if there was one line they would get right, it would be "Hello, Michael." Come on....
  • Did I mention that KITT is now a freakin' Ford Mustang!!!! No thank you.
Because they still have 1 strike left before I write the show off completely, they can make up some ground by ensuring that the new Michael (notice that it's not 'Mike') Knight has more chest hair than The Hoff.