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Blogosphere [Dec. 17th, 2008|01:47 pm]
[mood |thankfulthankful]

It's been a while since I entered the Blogosphere here. I got the itch to update again.

Things that have happened in the year that noone cared about this blog:

1. My Grandfather died.

I really wish I'd have written about this as it happened, because this was really an amazing event in my life. Grandpa was a great man; someone who really brought people together and let them enjoy life.

When he died...people came together and enjoyed life. I got to hang out with my cousins for the first time in a long time. I don't know why there was such a gap between my cousins and I for a while; we had just drifted apart. Now we're in pretty constant contact, and we're seeing each other once every couple months. It's good to have them back in my life.

2. Obama

This was huge for all of us, and worth noting. I don't need to go into any analysis as to why.

3. Geektopia

We had a giant panda move in with us, bringing the sum total of people living in our house to 4. The house is large enough to accomodate all, and now I've got a D&D group at my figertips whenever I want it. We added a hottub out back, a collapsible above-ground pool in the summer, and basically our house kicks ass now. It has become the Geektopia.

4. Wedding of Doom

I was in the Wedding of Doom. Those of us who lived through this even have considered getting commemoration tattoos. Never Forget!

The one upside to the Wedding of Doom is that it forced a some-time rival of mine and I together. The two of us couldn't be in the same room with one another, but we shared a great many friends in common. Thus, we were both in the groom's party at the WoD.

The battle against the WoD was so fierce that it forced the two of us to combine our powers in a righteous effort against the all-pervasive evil that surrounded us. For the first time, we united against a common enemy, and this union proved to be a powerful force. I am glad that

In short, this has been a year for walls to come down. I've regrouped with my cousins and turned an enemy into someone I am proud to call friend. That's a pretty good year, all in all.
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House [Jun. 12th, 2007|01:24 pm]
..and I'm not talking about some medical doctor, either.

What you've missed in the last month is this: my wife and I have become red-blooded American landowners. Strange feeling, really.

Oh sure, we've ramped up the amount we're paying per month by a significant amount. But the funny thing about owning a house is the way it has driven me to better myself; you know, to really dig in deep and work on the thing. It's strange, really, but it's the way of it. It's a nice house, but we're turning it into a geek version of the Kaaba.

In other news, my brother recently escaped the confines of Colfax High School, and he managed to do it without resorting to violence, which is a plus. He took one look at the storage shed attached to our house and immediately said "I know where I'm living once I drop out of college." I have high hopes for the boy.

Something feels funky with my ear.
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Enabling Parents [May. 8th, 2007|01:18 pm]
Let's talk for a minute about parents, parenting, and what the fuck is wrong with some people.

Here's a hint, folks: if you have a child, and that child misbehaves, the absolute last goddamn thing you ever want to do is to try to get them out of trouble. I'm not even kidding. Your juvenile kid picks up a petit theft charge for shoplifting a Snickers bar at the local 7-11, let his ass rot in the juvy. Do not hire someone like yours truly to pull him out of the fire; demand that the prosecutor flay him alive.

It'll be good for him, in the long run.

Enabling parents are great, for me. Do a good job for the child of an enabling parent once, and I'm guaranteed repeat business. It's that simple. If I do a good job once for one of these nineteen-year-old spoiled brats, I know that they believe themselves to be invincible. They can do whatever they want because mommy will hire an expensive lawyer to get them out of it. This belief in their invincibility will carry on with them throughout the entirety of their long criminal careers, even if later on they end up getting prison sentences. Once the drugs really kick in, they're great for business.

And the parents keep on pouring the cash in, too. Here you've got parents actually paying my firm to make sure their kid keeps comitting crime so that they can pay us more cash. What a gig! What a racket! We're getting paid to drum up business for ourselves.

So, personally, I love enabling parents. I love it when a mother or a father absolutely refuses to believe their child capable of any ill, and I especially love it when that mother and/or father has the money to back up their beliefs.

But if you want your kid to stay away from crime, then don't spare the rod. Make sure that kid gets smacked about and hard by the system as soon as he puts his foot wrong. The sooner, the better. In this way will your child realize that crime is bad, and grow to be an upstanding member of the community.
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Virginia Tech: Lessons to Learn [Apr. 20th, 2007|10:43 am]
It's taken me a week to figure out my position on this thing, so bear with me.

We all know what happened on April 16, 2007, so I don't need to go into the details. A whacko grabbed a couple of guns and killed 32 people, then himself. It was the highest score on a shooting spree yet in America.

This kid left behind those videos wherein he basically reels off every single emo-kid slogan you've ever heard: "I'm in pain, the pain is unbearable, you can never know my pain, you are hedonists and I am pure in my painful deppressive pain." I mean, anyone posting these slogans into your basic internet forum would be flamed as an emo punk until his roasted ass was forced to assume a different login name. Or would be reciprocated with by other emo freaks. Depends on the forum, really.

Now, we hear in the media that this kid was sending out warning signs like a friggin sonar buoy. He stalked a couple of girls, he was found to be mentally unstable by a court, he was constantly writing crazy, depressive shit in English class. There's a big uproar in the media about how people should have seen this coming.

This is, as the saying goes, bullshit.

That's right, this is complete hogwash. The reason I say this is that the warning signals this kid was giving off were lost in the noise. If we did a full on psychological eval on every kid who stalked a girl and then wrote depressing poetry, what little mental health treatment we have in this country would grind to a halt. The fact of the matter is this: writing poems about your depressive painful pain is common as heck. I know I did it in high school and early college (much to my shame), and I'm not the only one.

What's my point here?

Well, there's a couple of them.

1. Get off the college's back

Stop asking why the college didn't do anything beforehand about this kid. All colleges in this country are filled with emo-freaks who try to broadcast their pain in order to receive attention from one another. The jocks get attention through sports, the nerds get attention through intellectual feats, the emo-freaks get attention through pity. Colleges have long since learned that attempting to fix an emo-freak's problems is, for the most part, impossible.

When people enjoy their pain, when pain is the only way they can receive attention from others, then there is nothing that anyone else can do to take that pain away from them. To your basic emo kid, pain is a means to attention, to social interaction. They want to be in pain. Getting them to feel good about themselves is much like getting a heroin addict to put the smack away; they have to want to do it. And they don't. There was nothing the college could have done to fix this kid, and he looked like a hundred other emo kids.

2. Stop Crying Wolf

This one goes out to all the emo freaks out there: knock it off. See what I wrote about you having to want to feel good about yourselves? Start wanting. Realize that pity is a condescending form of attention, and if it's the only kind you are capable of getting, then maybe you are completely worthless.

Being completely worthless is not something to be depressed about so you can get more pity. It is something that you need to fix. Find something you enjoy to do that isn't brooding, and do that instead.

The reason I say this isn't for your own good. Hell with you; I don't really care whether or not you spend your entire life writing bad poems about your prozac addiction. I couldn't care less.

But do you see what I wrote above about the college not being able to do anything because this kid, this truly depressed and psychotic son of a bitch was lost in the noise? Let's take the next logical step from that.


That's right. I blame the emo-freaks who could have taken off their eye liner and lived trying to be happy instead of wearing their sadness like a badge for the fact that nothing could be done about this kid before hand. If you are one of these people, you are the boy who cried wolf. The wolf just ate 32 people because those people, and those in charge of those people, were too busy trying to ignore you. Knock it off before this happens again.

3. Teach your kids to be decent people

This comes after my above rant about the emop freaks, but the fact of the matter is, emo freaks come from somewhere. They learn early that their position in life is on the bottom, and they learn to use that fact to gain some form of power.

This means: stop turning your kids into bullies. Bullies create emo-freaks. They don't necessarily create the kind of chemical imbalance the actual shooter had, but if our society was generally happier than it is, picking this kind of kid out of the mix would be a hell of a lot easier.

There's two sides to every coin. The emo freaks need to toughen up and drop the act; noone's taking their lunch money now that they're in college. But if you're a parent that spoils and enables your child to be a bastard, not only are you creating an asshole kid, but you're helping that asshole kid create other emo-freaks, and the downward cycle continues.

There. This is a massive problem with society. Was this shooter a victim? NO. This shooter was a crazy fuck who killed a lot of people, and who idolized other crazy fucks who killed lots of people. But the signs of his psychoses were lost in the noise of the professional victims, created by the professional assholes. I'm not saying if people were, on the whole, nicer to each other this kid wouldn't have gone batshit loco. I'm pretty sure that there was a chemical misfire going on in that brain that no societal structure could fix. But he did give out warning signs that he was a crazy fuck. Maybe if the rest of us weren't so busy creating warning signs of our own, someone could have paid attention.
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Probationary Porn [Feb. 1st, 2007|08:51 am]
Here's a thing:

So I represent this guy for sexually abusing a child. He's 20, she's 16, they did some hanky-panky, etc.

Let me say here that I believe that such behavior is bad. Don't have sex with people who are under 18. It gets you into a world of trouble.

But, as far as child-abusers go, this guy really isn't in the top ten, you know? Between the guy I prosecuted down in Elmore County who had raped 6 different girls, the youngest of which was 15 months old, keeping a detailed journal of his exploits, and this 20 yr old who hooked up with a (hot) 16 yr old, I know who scares me more. Sure, it's all bad, but the guy I'm talking about here is a lesser kind of bad. It's the difference between eating brussel sprouts (which I can eat, though they trigger my gag reflex), and drinking raw sewage. Different levels of bad, is what I'm getting at.

Anyways, this guy gets put on probation, and they include in that probation a term whereby he can't have porn or masturbate. At all. He possesses porn, he spanks the monkey, his ass gets thrown in prison. This guy isn't allowed to get his own rocks off for the next three years.

And this got me thinking: Is Porn Bad?

Others have asked the same question, and answered it with a resounding "no." Porn is not something that instigates sexual misbehaviour, it acts as a conduit for the safe practice of such misbehaviour. Basically, statistics are showing right now that a guy who watches porn and wanks it is less likely to bottle himself up, blow his top, and rape someone. Masturbation releases that pressure.

Let's put this into perspective. What culture has the nastiest, rankest, most diverse and most prolific pornography out there? Without a single doubt: Japan (this link NSFW) I mean, these people have every kind of whacked-out porn you could think of, and some that you haven't. If you've got a bizzare, completely whacky fetish, these guys have the porn for you. I'm not even kidding.

Interestingly, almost all of this porn has just started to surface over the last fifty or so years; before WWII, pornography was basically illegal over there.

So with all that porn out there, relatively recent in its release, if porn was a negative influence on society, you'd think that there'd be a surge in sexual misactivity, right? Nope. Just the opposite. Japan, the culture innundated with porn, is actually a low-crime area as regards this sort of thing.

Most notable in that article is the section about offenses against children. What's different about Japanese and American porn with regard to kids? Japan has child porn. That's right, one of the most abundant forms of pornography over there is of kids involved in sex. Only thing is, these kids are created by pencil and by computer graphic, and so no real children are harmed in the creation. And the thing of it is, it would seem that when a pedophile looks at this porn and grabs hold of his wang and goes to town, he relieves those pressures building inside of him; the ones telling him to go fuck an actual child.

So, here's my final question: Can pornography have a therapeutic quality to it? If there's a way to constructively integrate porn into the therapy of a child molestor, to teach him to leave his fetishes at the door, so to speak, isn't it better to let them have the porn so they don't, you know, molest actual kids? Where's the bad? If no kids are hurt in the making, and less kids are hurt as a result of the viewing...isn't it a good thing? Even if the rest of us are mildly nauseated by the concept?
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Dear Sony... [Dec. 14th, 2006|12:48 pm]
[mood |disappointeddisappointed]

Did you really think we were that stupid?

For those of you who (somehow) don't know what's happened, Sony hired marketing gurus Zipatoni to launch a "viral" marketing campaign for the PSP. The idea behind viral marketing is basically this: make consumers do your advertising for you. Start a website, post a youtube video, throw a couple of links out on the internet, and "poof," instant notoriety. It's one of the most powerful forms of advertisement, but it's really hard to do right.

Zipatoni did it wrong.

For one thing, their site was obviously not genuine For another, gamers hate really bad rappers rapping about gaming. And finally, had all of this been branded with the Sony trademark it could have at least been passively ignored. Heck, some of the gimmicks on the blog could have even been successful, but gamers (and all people) hate it when you lie to them. The last thing a gamer wants is to be portrayed as someone who would enjoy the phony-ass marketing scheme you're doing.

What has this earned Sony? Mockery from some of the true leads in viral marketing.

Let's take a look at what happens when viral marketing is done correctly. I use, as an example, possibly one of the greatest viral marketing campaigns for a video game, ever. If you missed the fun and the paranoia that was I love bees, then you missed the most fun an ad could ever give you. Here's how the Microsoft folks did it right:

1. Honesty.

The "I love bees" game opened with mail from Microsoft to certain individuals containing a gift of honey and a link to the "I love bees" website. It also opened with a trailer for Halo 2 MS was very up front about it; this was a promotional gimmick made by Microsoft for Halo 2, and everyone knew it.

2. Subtlety.

And that's the only reference to Microsoft or Halo 2 that was ever made mention of throughout the entire game. The game involved e-mailing Dana, the main character of the drama (who blogged like a real character, with emotions and feelings and confusion and hesitation and the whole nine yards). Eventually, the game included an AI trying to reconstruct itself actually calling players at various payphones across the nation at pre-listed times and locations; the gamers were encouraged to be there, get the code, and send it in to the AI so it could re-construct itself.

Sure, we knew it was a gimmick; but it was a cool gimmick with a really intricate storyline. And the effect it had was much more powerful that Sony's website. It drew you into the Halo Universe and made you want to play Halo to right the wrong you'd done in reconstructing the AI and sending the signal to the Covenant as to where the earth was (come and destroy it; the I love bees website to this day features a countdown to the day the Covenant will attack earth). You were a part of the storyline of the game; that made you want to own the game.

Sony, on the other hand, tried to present themselves as "just normal gamers," but filled their blog with blatant ads for Sony. It didn't really matter who was actually rapping or writing; by simply being exposed to the media your instincts immediately said "ad." With the "I love bees" gimmick, your instincts told you it was not an ad, it was a story; even though you already knew it was, in fact, promotional material. The emotional response to an ad is everything.

In short; Sony got whooped on all the net forums (I had to get my own licks in here), but there's a lesson here for companies. Gamers prefer intricacy to blatancy, honesty to pure fronting, and interaction to blatant advertisement. Sony has shot themselves in the foot, and basically insulted their entire fanbase, by slapping this together. I was, eventually, going to get me a PS3, but after being slapped around like that, I'm thinking a 360 or a Wii might be better.
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Did anyone get..... [Nov. 27th, 2006|08:46 am]
.....the number of that four-day weekend that just smacked me backside the head?
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Beauty [Nov. 17th, 2006|05:55 pm]
[Current Location |Office (but I';m leaving now)]
[mood |satisfiedsatisfied]

Ok, I'm male and I love the look of a woman as much as the next guy, but it's time to talk about the true feeling of beauty. Not this whole superficial hormonal-response beauty, but that feeling you get when you know that you've completely superseded yourself.

We used to, back in the day (sharpendyaks will doubtlessly remember this) run what we referred to as the "artist of the week" award. It was given, typically unbeknownst to the recipient, to a person that took their job to a new level; to someone who truly raised their work to a form of art. You can see these people, occasionally, and you know that they are feeling beauty. Someone who makes good coffee? Nice. Someone who makes good coffee, but does it while flipping the bottles and singing scat? Awesome. Humanity responds to this sort of thing. The trick is not only to approach perfection with what you do, but to do it with style.

Where am I going with this? Well, let's just say that I have had me a damn fine day.

It started with a DUI case; in case you didn't know, these are a right bastard to defend. We're doing a motion to get the source code to the Intoxilyzer 5000 machine, which is a tricky motion but really necessary. Basically, my job is going to be to (1) tell a right geezer of a judge what source code for software is, and (2) why we need the source code for the computer that analyzes your breath when you do a DUI test.

But that's for later.

Today I moved to continue the trial so that we could do the motion to compel. Of course, I've submitted my discovery request back on August 14th, but the prosecutor didn't admit that the source code existed until this morning, so I figure I'll give her time to respond to my motion to compel, and I move to continue the trial. No big, right?

Oy. The prosecutor goes through the roof, and tells the judge my request is "frivolous." This woman only found out that the source code existed a half-hour ago, and she's accusing me of violating ethical rules by using discovery to delay the trial!

Here's my moment of beauty. She has her rant, and the judge looks at me, and I simply say "May I approach?" You see, in anticipation of this, I've downloaded a PDF copy of a Florida decision compelling this very discovery. Then I've printed it out in triplicate, and in this moment of complete courtroom silence, I hand the judge and the prosecutor a copy.

Read that decision; it goes over in detail why the source code is important for a defense case. Florida law is not, of course, binding in Idaho, but the very existence of the decision made the prosecutor's claim that my motion was "frivolous" turn on her and make her look like the worthless idiot that she is. Then I concede that the case is not controlling in this court, but ask the court for a continuance. Bam. The court's turned on her, I get the case continued until March, she's stuck having never made a discovery objection (because she didn't think source code existed), and she looks like an ass, and I come off clean. Beautiful.

On my way out of the courtroom, I get a buzz from the bossman telling me that he's in trial and needs three issues pocket briefed. Of course, I'm in Coeur d'Alene, and the office and all my research/writing gear is in Spokane. It's 11:30, and I have court back in Couer d'Alene at 3:00.

I love doing work under the gun like that. There is very little on this earth that makes one feel more alive, more in tune, than the absolute necessity of a deadline that's measured in minutes and not days. When you kick yourself into your highest gear and start turning out your mental RPM's, you really feel like you're something above and beyond yourself. I'm no Buddhist, but the concept of ZanZen is not lost on me. When nothing exists but you and your job, you can really become amazing.

OK, I'm bragging. But hey, that's what I do. And it's better I do it here than go home and tell it to my wife, who probably has had a piss-poor day and will make me sleep on the couch.
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Kicking Ass and taking names! [Nov. 13th, 2006|04:29 pm]
[mood |predatorypredatory]

I've just about had it with the County. Seriously.

For the last two weeks, I've gone over there with my balls basically hanging out, getting myself pumped up for a week's worth of trials. I've gone in with the mentality that the prosecutors are being irrationally harsh, and that I'm going to be having me some trial this week.

For the second week, the prosectution over there has caved on me. Absolutely rolled over and played dead; presented me with offers that were too good to be true, offers I had to jump on. Two prior DUI convictions? No problem, have an inattentive driving plea. I mean, come on...where's the fight?

The thing is, I've come to the realization that this is how one gets good deals. Don't go over there hoping for one; that will never happen. Instead, go over there thinking that you will kick their ass and why don't they just bring it on and try it. If you actually convince yourself of this, it's surprising the number of other people you convince.

Of course, actually having followed through and done said ass-kicking a couple of times previously helps immensely.

Anyways, another week that I thought would be filled with trial is instead filled with monotony. My enthusiasm to get back in front of a jury seems to be the very thing keeping me away from one. Oh well, I'm sure one of these bastards will eventually grow a pair and try me again.
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Child's Play [Nov. 6th, 2006|02:24 pm]
[mood |optimisticoptimistic]

Donating toys to children's hospitals; my charity of choice. I give every year and I encourage you to do so as well.
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