Tuesday, July 22, 2008

i'm back! sort of...

The Write-On has served me well these past 4ish years. But it's time for a reboot...

Now I'm HERE.

Monday, May 19, 2008

voyage of the yawn treader

I managed to get out and see Prince Caspian this weekend. I enjoyed it.

After spending nearly four hours at a very strange memorial service/funeral type thing, which took place outside in the respectable heat of Modjeska Canyon, replete with hot rods and coolers that runneth over with Bud Light, it was very nice to sit in a dark and air-conditioned structure for another almost four hours and turn my brain off.

And I thought highly of it. Until the next afternoon - which is about how long it took for my brain to turn back on.

I will say this: It is an enjoyable movie. And I might even venture to say that it was worth the price of a couple gallons of gas or so. But I do not expect it will appease the ravenous critical faculties of the average reader of The Write-On.

I haven't read The Chronicles in roughly twenty-or-so years, so I can't speak as to its adherence to the source material. Much has been said of the "kissing scene" that was, apparently, added in. I am not sure this awkward peck exchange and even more awkward hug-thing qualfies as a "kissing scene". Honestly, there was more sexual tension in Finding Nemo.

But here is what I found the most puzzling: Peter and Caspian spend the first half of the movie hacking and slashing their way through hordes of armored extras. Then, after Peter bests King Pointybeard in one-on-one swordness, both Peter and Caspian suddenly find themselves too moral and ethical to kill the guy. Oh no. We are not like that. We don't just kill people. No No. We are unreproachable king-type people. So, after opting not to kill this one guy, the battles resume, and what-do-you-know? Peter and Caspian are back at it - killin' dudes and amassing a body count that would warrant an approving nod from Gimli himself.

And I don't remember The Chronicles being little more than a kid-friendly version of Lord of The Rings, but this seems to be the fate to which it has been reduced by the magick of Hollywood - a Return of the King for the Hannah Montana crowd.

That being said, I guess I recommend it. Assuming, of course, that you've already seen Iron Man.

Friday, May 09, 2008

i used to like al gore...

As of today, I'm pretty sure he's either a loon or a shamelessly self-promoting idiot.

(But I'm still proud to say that I didn't vote for the other guy.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

i'm kinda like w.e.b. du bois, meets heavy d and the boyz

I had an interesting experience in court a couple of weeks ago. While sitting in the gallery waiting for my case to be called, my mind was wandering to and fro amongst a variety of important topics. Particularly, I was trying to remember the name of that giant Transformer that turned into a planet, and I kept thinking that his name was Mogo - but no - that's the Green Lantern that's a living planet - oh wait, it's Unicron. Yes, Unicron. He was in the original Transformers movie - the cartoon - and he was voiced by none other than film legend Orson Wells.

That's pretty sad, really. The guy starts out his career by creating what is widely regarded to be the finest film of all time, and concludes his career by voicing an ill-tempered, planet-devouring robot that transforms into, oddly enough, a planet.

Anyway, that's the sort of thing that was occupying my mind as I waited my turn to go up in front of a Superior Court judge and smarmily represent my client. And then it occurred to me: This particular courtroom looks familiar... the judge looks familiar...

Oh snap! This is the exact courtroom and the exact judge wherein/before whom I had my first ever court appearance almost two years ago! I was struck by the contrast in my demeanor. Lo those two years ago, I was frantically nervous. Sweating, stuttering, flushed - we actually got called into chambers and I thought that I might actually pass out 'n die - - after having been sworn-in for roughly a week. It didn't go what I would call well, and I wrote about it here.

And now, only two years later, I'm slouched in my chair in the gallery, engaging in a spirited inner-monologue on the nature of fictional living planets. Wholly unphased by the prospect of going in front of the judge. Oh yes. How great I art. Maybe the smoothest, ballerest lawyer who has ever lived.

But alas, pride goeth, and all of that.

My next court appearance, I find myself in front of the judge, part of a cadre of lawyers making an appearance at a status conference for a case with a whole buncha parties. The judge has decided to set a date for a mandatory court-supervised mediation. He lists a series of dates, and goes down the line of attorneys, asking us if we will be able to attend on any of those dates.

"Any of those dates will be fine, Your Honor." "We can attend any of those dates." "Any of those dates will work for us."

And it gets to me. And my brain is thinking something to the effect of "All of those dates are good for my clients, Your Honor." But that is not what came out of my mouth. So what did come out of this mouth - a mouth trained by three years of law school, one year of bar studying, and two years of practice? Sigh...

"It's all good."

The other attorneys snap their necks to look over at me. The judge was stunned - mouth agape, peering over his glasses in much the same manner as my bespectacled father when someone says something really brainless.

"It's all... good, counsel?"

"Ahhh, by that I, ahhh... those dates are all good. For my client. Your Honor."

"It's all good. Hmm... I like that."

In case you aren't privy to such things, let me be the first to tell you that a court of law is not really the best place for outmoded urban slang. It is not the place for phrases like word or 'sup or twenty inch blades on the Impala, and certainly not it's all good.

I think this might be the second-most embarrassing thing to ever happen to me in court. Ranking in at Number 1 would have to be Ol' Judge Hatehoov, telling me to go the back of the courtroom, like an irate mother, sending a child to its room.

"Just... go. Go to the back. Sit down. We'll deal with you later."

Which was completely uncalled for, seeing as how I hadn't even quoted any M.C. Hammer lyrics. Clearly, I had not prayed just to make it that day.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

an observation

For every song about the excitement and wonder of moving to the Big City, there's a song about someone equally excited to be moving out of it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

because you can only post about law and batman so many times...

After months of cajoling, I have finally convinced Hawkgirl to contribute a guest post. As a Language Arts teacher at an inner-city middle-school, she has no shortage of outlandish adolescent anecdotes. But unlike me, she doesn't desperately crave the attention of strangers. But when I heard that she was having her students write children's stories... well, that's blogging gold right there. And thus, the first ever 3F/Write-On guest post was born...

"Once upon time there was a lady named Ashley. she got pregnant wit a kid she named it kaeyden. Of course it was a boy."

Thus begins a heart-warming fairytale (aptly titled, "The Pregnant Lady") by one of my sixth graders. It's our end-of-year project, and I’ve gotta tell you that I'm a little bit worried at the end of our first workday.

I'm not sure where I went wrong; it all seemed fairly straightforward to me. Each student is to write a five-page children's story. It must include basic plot elements, dialogue and characterization. Then, during the last week of school, we will be walking to a neighboring elementary school to read to first-graders.

This will be my third year doing this project, and I optimistically believed that I had finally worked out all the kinks. So we painstakingly reviewed the rubric, which details my expectations for their end product. The additional creative limitations are few, and as follows:

a) No cussing. No, not even if you use asterisks for the middle letters. Yes, BS counts as a cussword.

b) No sex, no drugs. OK, seriously? Should I have to clarify this? It's a CHILDREN'S story. Inevitably there is also whispering about the fact that I just said "sex".

c) Do not use the names of your classmates in the story. Especially if you hate them, especially if that character dies at the end. Which brings me to my final rule;

d) No violence. At which point lots of hands always go up. "Does gang violence count?" "What about horror stories?" and "Can my story be about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, if I leave out the bad parts?"

And so on, and so forth. Finally I remind them that there will BE no field trip if they do not get their books done. I try not to let on that this prospect cheers me. So let the writing begin. Laptops are distributed with no major fiascos. About fifteen minutes later I approach Kevin (not his real name—see rule c). Kevin jumps as I lean in and speak:

"I'm pulling for the Spurs." I point to his ESPN brackets. Then I give him my most ferocious teacher look. "I couldn't find Microsoft Word," he says. He seems to think this is a viable excuse for being on the internet, but I disagree.

"I have writer's block?" He tries again, hopefully. I suggest that he get to work, lest I show him writer's block. He takes this as a threat, and asks if I will put him in touch with Hoov, Esq. so that they can sue me.

"Hey, there you go—a story plot." And on I go, to encourage and inspire the next young author.

Many kids just need help with spelling. Because sometimes spell-check just doesn't cut it, like when you spell "turtle" t-i-r-t-l-e. As in, "Mr. Atum the Tirtle."

"How do you spell 'samurai'?" one girl asks.

"How do you spell onomatopoeia Mesopotamia?" another counters. And a game begins in my Honors class. A game called Who Can Think of The Biggest Word that I Would Never Use in My Story?

"How do you spell," (pause... wait for it...) "antidisestablishmentarianism?"

"Isn't your story about leprechauns?" I ask.

"No. Now it's about these rappers who have a dance-off." I peer over his shoulder and glimpse the title. Soulja Boy v. The Get Krunk Sisters.

So, that was the first day. There were also lots of really great work samples and evidence of student growth, but that's way less entertaining. Surely, SURELY, they are learning SOMETHING from this.

And that's what gets me up in the morning, really. Knowing that I'm making a difference in the lives of children, and that if I don't show up the world may never find out what happened to the Pregnant Lady and her boy named kaeyden.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

mk v. dc = awsm

I've always strongly believed that Batman could take Robin Hood, but Sub-Zero? Quite the conundrum for my inner 14-year old.

Addendum: After extensive rumination and analysis, I believe that I can effectively evaluate the outcome of an altercation between the Caped Crusader and Frosty the Ninjaman. As with any true scientific analysis, I would like to submit this exposition to peer review. Mr. Horn, a foremost MK expert, I hope will inspect my findings as regards Sub-Zero. Mr. Taylor whose knowledge of things DC trumps my own (I'm something of a Marvel guy) will hopefully approve of my Batman approach.

The neophyte may be tempted towards an over-simplistic approach: Sub-Zero has super powers whereas Batman does not. Let us not be so hasty. I am not inclined to qualify Sub-Zero as "super-human". His signature ice blast maneuver I believe qualifies him as a "metahuman" (in DC parlance), but I believe nothing more. Batman routinely dispatches of metahumans, as well as super-humans, and anyone who can claim a few rounds over Supes deserves a fair shake in any hypothetical duel.

The primary obstacle to this analysis is the stark variations in the narrative arch of their respective combat patterns. By this I mean thus: Subway deals with his opponents in the span of 15-40 seconds, whereas Batsy might enjoy a more contemplative 4-6 issues. In fighting games such as MK, you've either definitively won or lost after best 2 out of 3 rounds. In comic books, there is a rigorous convention dictating against this sort of thing. The hero commonly goes up against the bad guy, loses, retreats to figure out Plan B, and then triumphs. This is nothing against Batman's combative abilities; it is merely the stricture of his media. So I will account for this as best I can.

I would have to say Round 1 to Sub-Zero. Batman is an expert hand-to-hand fighter, but let's face it - it's not his bread and butter. He's a detective. He's at his best thinking his way out of problems, not slugging them out. However, on a 1 to 10 scale of hand-to-hand combat, Bats is probably a 7.5. However, Sub-Zero is at least 8.5 - maybe 9. So he may get the jump on Batman.

You may be tempted to say that Sub-Zero would certainly get the best of him because of his ice blasts. Batman would be ill-equipped to deal with this, you might say. But, you would be forgetting one of Batman's long-time canonical villain... Mr. Freeze. Ice-based attacks and their ilk are nothing new to Batman. I would venture to argue that he can deal. I don't think he would win the fight, but I'm sure he would escape to fight another day - in the classic comic book style.

So how would he follow up? I believe he would rely on the classic billionaire vigilante solution: rig up some manner of mechanized armor. Batman did it in The Dark Knight Returns (I think... or maybe that was in The Dark Knight Strikes Back... it's been awhile), and even more fabulously, Tony Stark did it in World War Hulk. Hulkbuster armor... 'nuf said. Anyway, Sub-Zero may be a crafty and cunning ninja metahuman, but Bats is freaky smart. He'll throw together some manner of cold-resistant mechanized enhancement, track Sub-Zizzle down using his peerless detective skills, and dispatch him with all due haste.

I doubt all of that will make it into the video game.

And don't even get me started on Yoda and Vader showing up in Soul Calibur IV...