I know two people who have won the lottery, and another person who's won a big 7 figure progressive slot jackpot. This obviously means that knowing me increases your chances of winning a fortune. I'm hoping someone I know wins that $640 million prize tonight, and hoping even more than it's someone I like.
Normally, Southern California doesn't burn like this unless we have Santa Ana winds, but the Station Fire is becoming a monster, and now it's threatening tens of thousands of homes, including some friends' homes. We have almost no winds, other than the winds generated by the fire itself, but it has nearly doubled in the last day or so, to 90,000 acres, and it has already killed a pair of firefighters and badly burned some homeowners. This fire season is off to an ugly start.
I'm wondering if it is safe to take a weekender this year. My last two weekenders with the family - to Stanford in 2008 (Freeway Complex Fire) and to Notre Dame in 2007 (Santiago Fire), saw massive wildfires in Orange County that burned fairly close to my house. And in 2007, by "fairly close" I mean within my right leg's punting range. At least the fuel in the hills near my house are relatively light. I'll be wasting some time worrying about this stuff nonetheless.
Since the summer began, it seems like I've been too busy for anything. My clients are demanding, but slow to pay. My plaintiff's cases are time-consuming, and not settling. Stuff around the house is breaking, and getting caught up to take our family vacations sometimes required all-nighters that I am too old to deal with. But I'm almost caught up now. My workload is balanced. I'm behind on almost nothing. My concerts and vacations and reunions are over. I can actually go back to blogging and just playing with the kids again. I'm starting by finishing and posting all the stuff I saved as drafted in July and August. Then whatever comes to mind.
I have a candidate entered in the Register's crazy kids hair contest. Vote at this link. You must be logged in to vote. If you are a new user, go to the registration tab to register for free. If you are an existing user, login above.
Why couldn't God have made it so that sins were like calories, and good deeds were like exercise? Then you could take one look at a person and judge their character. You'd know that someone who looked like Karen Carpenter was a really good person, while someone who looked like Chris Farley would be a bad, bad man. Wouldn't that be cool?
I filled out 6 different brackets, with at least four different winners (Pitt, North Carolina, Duke and Oklahoma - I might have even gone with Missouri in one), but all have the same pick in the first round: #10 USC winning against 2.5 point underdog, #7 Boston College. For the first time in a long time, I did what I bragged (back in 1996) that I would do every year - make sure NOTHING was scheduled for the first two days of March Madness. If I get work done, great. If not, so be it. Today will be awesome, and tomorrow, if the Trojans win, it will be awesome, too.
First thing's first, however. My daughter is getting an Academic Excellence Award at school today. That means straight A's in all of the core academic subjects. Yay, her!
Right now, the hills of Orange County are green and beautiful. It looks like Ireland here as winter comes to a close. Driving through the toll roads this week, you can't help but notice huge bright patches of wildflowers. Most are bright orange. I haven't seen such color since they built the road. The newspaper says they are a direct result of the October fires, and we might be able to expect annual blooms like this for five to ten years, until they get choked out again by the stuff that burned out in October.
Down in the burn areas of Santiago Canyon and Modjeska canyon, a purple flowering bush known as poodle-dog bush is blooming for the first time in years. The flowers are so attractive, some people have been picking them and taking them home, but they have a skin irritant similar to poison oak or stinging nettles. Ouch. I'll just stick to looking at the pretty patches of orange as I make my way in and out of the county on the toll roads.
This is one of the strangest eBay listings I've ever seen. Lot 140204797164 "~ BECOME INVISIBLE & walk UNSEEN among people or CROWDS." Excluding the graphics, it boasts that:
A powerful secret is within your grasp...
Become INVISIBLE! This is not a toy, a magic trick or a scam. This is not an illusion or a Ninja technique. No Lies! Become 100% invisible! The Secret of Invisibility renders you completely invisible. This method is currently used by the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies. Don't Scoff! You can go anywhere without being seen. You're invisible to all you meet... NOT EVEN A SHADOW. This works even when you're completely surrounded by cameras or people. Lets you vanish & reappear as you wish, wherever you may be!
NO mumbo-jumbo or hocus pocus NO spells or potions NO burning candles or magic wands NO alchemy or hidden symbols NO hype or Bull. You get exactly what you need NO danger. You can't be hurt in any way NO disappointment. You get just what we promise No astral 'trips' to other worlds or dimensions. You walk the earth No trouble. You're either visible or invisible as you need & desire
As a special bonus, you also receive:
The Wizard's Book of Animal Secrets: Amazing animal secrets! Have you ever wished that you could control & command wild animals? Here are the secret methods used to rule & command birds, insects, mammals & reptiles... even fish found in lakes & streams! This compilation vividly illustrates how to control animals for your pleasure. These secrets have been guarded forever against disclosure to the public. Here's just a sample of what you get:
How to command flocks of birds wherever you go Controlling snakes, bees, gnats, houseflies Teaching your dog to walk & dance on stilts Commanding your cat to use the bathroom toilet Quickly tame wild horses when others have failed The quiet world of frogs & toads Keeping a squirrel in your pocket Bringing dead creatures BACK TO LIFE! Much more!
If you missed out on LSD or magic mushrooms before they became illegal, and you really feel like you missed out, you might have a chance, for just a few short months or years, to try salvia divinorum, a natural sage hallucinogen that is illegal in six states, before it gets banned in the other 44 states. Shortest fuse at the moment: Alaska.
For the past few years, we have sublet space from another Orange County law firm. They have interesting hires. One of their hires last year turned out to be a star witness in the Phil Spector trial. Pretty interesting stuff there, but probably not a topic I'm going to blog about. Anyhow, they have a new law clerk who is awaiting bar results next month. The new hire is a guy named Mike Tran. It's been a busy couple of weeks for us, so I hadn't had much of a chance to get to know him even though his office is literally right across the hall from mine. We can hear each other's telephone conversations. He curses less than I do. Until today, that's about all I knew about him. The firm doesn't formally introduce their new guys to us. We get to know them when we get to know them. Eventually, however, we say hello and make small talk.
Frequently, the small talk, particularly with the new lawyers and law clerks, doesn't get rolling until Friday afternoon. College football is a great source of small talk, especially on a Friday afternoon, and today, the talk turned quickly to USC, UCLA and Notre Dame. Mike explained that he was both a UCLA and a Notre Dame guy. My brother laughed and mentioned how there was a USC and Notre Dame guy whose blog we read all the time, and that I sometimes post to, called the Irish Trojan. Mike knows all about this Irish Trojan fellow. A few moments later, we've figured out that he is that Mike Tran, the friendly nemesis of blogger Brendan Loy, who sometimes wins bets with him and makes him wear USC sweatshirts. He won a 220 guy NCAA basketball pool that I finished in the low teens. Same guy. That's funny. I feel almost like I've known him for years. Like Brendan's, my impression of him is that he's a quality guy, even though he's a f**king bRuin.
Next week, we will be sure to try to coax some wagers out of him as USC travels to South Bend and UCLA takes on Cal. I'm calling it a Perfect Day in the making. For now, though, we are thoroughly amused by what a small world it really is, and how the six degrees of separation have once against turned out to be more degrees than we really need.
Sometimes, I'm very easily amused. For example, in this Livescience.com article about ten unexpected results of global warming, the #1 unexpected result is an increase in forest fires. To illustrate the effect, they post a photograph, shown here on the left. I recognize that photo, however, and global warming has nothing to do with it. That is a very famous photograph of a house in Kalapana burning down as a result of a lava flow from Kilauea Volcano on the island of Hawaii.
The 41st annual Sawdust Art Festival opens today in Laguna Beach. It runs until September 2. The festival is near the end of Laguna Canyon Road. the Sawdust Art Festival draws more than 200,000 visitors from across the country each year. Visitors are invited to shop along sawdust-covered paths through a hand-crafted village of fine arts and superb craftsmanship. The Festival also features demo booths such as glass blowing, complimentary hands-on art workshops, a children¹s art booth, refreshments from three restaurants and a saloon, live music and more. Check it out.
While perusing the daily list of published court cases in California yesterday, I came across this one, NMSBPCSLDHB v. County of Fresno. The case was uninteresting. But that name....
I'd love to have sat in on the meeting of the board where they decided what to call their company.
"I like NMSB" says one investor.
"I prefer BPC" says another.
"But I want to call us LDHB" says a third.
Then, to make everyone happy, they string them all together and call it NMSBPCSLDHB. That's probably not how they did it, but I haven't been able to figure out what it really means. I'm just glad it doesn't have anything to do with man boy love stuff.
Some self-proclaimed hacker claims to have obtained a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He says he did it "by following the precious words of the great Pope Benedict XVI when he still was Cardinal Josepth [sic] Ratzinger. He explained why Harry Potter bring the youngs [sic] of our earth to Neo Paganism faith. So we make this spoiler to make reading of the upcoming book useless and boring." The method allegedly used was a "usual milw0rm downloaded exploit delivered by email/click-on-the-link/open-browser/click-on-this-animated-icon/back-connect to some employee of Bloomsbury Publishing." Here's how he says it ends.
Ng gur raq bs gur fgbel Untevq jnf xvyyrq ol Fancr va na nggrzcg gb nzohfu Urezvbar naq Eba. Eba naq Urezvbar syrr qbja gur cevirg qevir ohg Ibyqrezbeg, fhecevfvat gurz, ratntrf va n zntvpny qhry jvgu Eba naq Urezvbar.
You can reduce the amount of advertising mail you receive by contacting the following organizations to request removal of your name from mailing lists:
Mail Preference Service Direct Marketing Association P.O. Box 282 Carmel, NY 10512-0282
Trans Union LLC Name Removal Option P.O. Box 505 Woodlyn, PA 19094-0505
Experian Consumer Services 901 W. Bond Street Lincoln, NE 68521-3694
Equifax Inc. Name Removal Option P.O. Box 740241 Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Almost 90 percent of mailing lists come from these sources. It takes about one to three months to get your name off all the lists. If you receive junk mail under more than one name, or names with spelling variants, list all such names.
I got an email from someone who works on the Geico caveman commercials. He told me about this website: The Caveman's Crib. I dig it. The Caveman's iPod has a bunch of songs on it, including the version of Remind Me that was used in the commercial.
It's so true. I do not speak with much of an accent at all, EXCEPT that I did spend some formative years blabbering on in a mix of SoCal surfer and Valley Dude talk, even though I lived nowhere near the San Fernando Valley. As a result, I periodically slip into a slight southern drawl, mostly when I drink and get a bit inattentive to my speech. Here is the result of my American accent test:
What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West
Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.
Here is the Redondo Beach Pier. To the left, in what looks like a seaside shopping center, sits the Redondo Beach Court House. The judges there are pretty hard, but the scenery makes up for it (unless your case is worth a fortune and the judge shafts you.)
UC Santa Barbara has some student housing with location, location, location.
An oceanographer would tell you this is the boundary between Northern California and Southern California.
This is Pismo Beach, home of the pismo clams, which you can hardly ever find there anymore. Nearby, Dinosaur Caves at Shell Beach sounded like a little boy's dream beach, but there were hardly any shells and not even a single freaking dinosaur fossil to be found.
Santa Cruz has the coolest boardwalk in California. Second only to Atlantic City in my experience.
This is the shoreline at Maverick's. A few hundred yards offshore and they break like monsters.
San Francisco isn't know for its beaches, but they are nice, albeit cold. Golden Gate Park is a great place to get buggered, according to this one blog that I read by accident once. Here, of course, is the signature spot of SF. This one time, a guy told me he was going to Agate Beach near San Francisco, and I thought he said something else, and it turned out to be pretty embarrassing.