Monday, February 28, 2005

A brief repose

Well, as SCU's break comes somewhat earlier than that of most other schools, I am now free for the rest of the week, but I have nothing to do. Of course, most of my friends have already entered the "real world" that I'm always hearing so much about, so they don't have a break at all.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Ex Parte Milligan

"Time has proven the discernment of our ancestors; for even these provisions [ <-- The Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution], expressed in such plain English words, that it would seem the ingenuity of man could not evade them, are now, after the lapse of more than seventy years, sought to be avoided. Those great and good men foresaw that troublous times would arise, when rulers and people would become restive under restraint, and seek by sharp and decisive measures to accomplish ends deemed just and proper; and that the principles of constitutional liberty would be in peril, unless established by irrepealable law. The history of the world had taught them that what was done in the past might be attempted in the future. The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism, but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false; for the government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it, which are necessary to preserve its existence; as has been happily proved by the result of the great effort to throw off its just authority."

71 U.S. 2

Friday, February 25, 2005

The one that got away

Quite by accident, I started thinking about the first girl I ever liked. I've never said anything about it before, but as I haven't so much as heard her name in twelve years, I think I can talk secure in the fact that nobody cares.

The first crush I ever had was on a girl named Veena Narayan. She went to the same elementary school as I did, and she was in my class pretty much every year. What's more, if she wasn't actually in my class, being the same age we had pretty much the same friends. I'm not really sure what it was about her that I liked. She was tall, I think, but as I was (and remain) dismally short, everyone was tall to me. I seem to remember her as nice and a little quiet, though I think she held one of those meaningless student body offices at one point.

I never saw her again after elementary school. I went to a different high school than my elementary buddies, and I've got no clue where she is now. But wherever she is and whatever she's doing, for old times sake if nothing else, I hope things are going her way.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

A More Perfect Union

We bloggers are, in a sense, all in this together. We make up this nebulous thing called the blogsphere, where we all try to muddle our message across as best we can. With this in mind, I humbly submit a small list of suggestions that, if followed, I believe would greatly improve our little union.

Now, in offering these suggestions, I in no way mean to stifle anyone's creativity or otherwise offend their blog. Anyone willing to put themselves out in blog form has my respect, if for no other reason than that they've put something out into the world. Nor is it my intention to dictate to people the proper way to blog. I am unwilling and unqualified to undertake such an endeavor. Nevertheless, I do offer these suggestions, and I do it from the standpoint of someone who enjoys our new medium.

1. No more of this: It Is ReAlLy AnNoyInG aNd PrOlOnGeD ExPoSuRe MaKeS yOuR eYeS bLeEd!

2. Please, do not include crappy midi files of your favorite songs. Not only, in all probability, will your musical tastes completely and totally blow, but even were you broadcasting a masterpiece it would be of such poor quality and subject to the vagaries of the internet as to add nothing save frustration. If a particular piece of music is that crucial to understanding your blog, note the title on the side. I promise I'll play it if I have it.

3. Skool. 1337. Cuz. @. b4. These are not words!

4. Can you read this? Not very well. Neither can anyone else in the freaking universe! Please keep in mind that if you are using a design with tables that the text will often be smaller than usual.

5. Paragraphs are your friends.

This is just a modest list of suggestions. But if we all took them to heart, we'd be five steps closer to a more perfect blogsphere.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Peak of Human Performance

So it turns out that a bunch of baseball players are doped up on steroids. Big deal. In my opinion, every drug ought to be legal in professional sports. It's time to get our money's worth from these grotesquely overpaid genetic misfits. Baseball is boring enough; without steroids there wouldn't be as many home runs which, Jumbotron antics aside, are pretty much the sole source of excitement in that dismal "sport".

What's more, just think about how much better the other sports would be. Football players loaded on PCP would be far more entertaining. Junior leaguers jacked up with speed would make for a better hockey season than the striking whiners could ever provide, and golfers on crank might actually find an amusing use for their clubs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Ten songs that really should be more popular

In no particular order.

1. Novio by Moby
2. 700 Mile Situation by Res
3. Gymnopedie by Erik Satie
4. Arabesque #1 by Claude Debussy
5. Let it Rain by 4 Strings
6. Maybe by Ink Stains
7. Into Dust by Hope Samson and the Warm Intentions
8. Witness by Sarah McLaughlin
9. Ready or Not by the Fugees
10. Very Little Wishes by Yoko Kanno

Monday, February 21, 2005

Once again, I'm temporarily exiled to the real world

Spent the weekend at the DunDraCon gaming convention. For those of you who aren't familiar with them, they're essentially a four day gathering of gamer geeks, left alone to revel in the company of their like-minded associates. We play all sorts of games, ranging from RPG's (like D&D) to board games (both serious and not so serious) and even including computer and video games. It's four days of non-stop playing and socializing with the most eclectic bunch of people you'll ever find outside of a sanatorium.

So yeah, if it wasn't already apparent to anyone reading this, I am in fact a geek. Or, at the least, I have geeky interests and plenty of nerdy friends. Lately though, conventions have really been the only places where I can game, and they are few and are far between. From time to time some friends can scrape a gaming group together, but because we are subject to the peculiarities of scheduling, and none of us are the most organized to begin with, many such plans simply fall through. Accordingly, I look forward to these lengthier diversions with great interest.

Ironically though, even when I get there, I rarely actually play anymore. Most of my time is spent socializing with "con buddies", people I had met in previous years and who I see only at such events. Still, I did manage to get in a few interesting games.

On Friday I played in a Stargate role-playing game. I was a blind scientist guy who got possessed by some alien thingy called a Tok'Ra (at least I think that's the spelling. I don't watch the show). The bad guys killed my seeing-eye dog Oppenheimer, but aside from that I managed to emerge relatively unscathed and return to Earth.

On Saturday I played the Babylon 5 miniatures game and the Game of Thrones board game. I lost both games. B5Wars went particularly badly, as my Hyperion crusier was completely annihilated by the enemy spacestation. Still, fun was had all around.

On Sunday I GM'd a game of Twilight Imperium, and I got to try the Game of Thrones board game again, finally securing a win. I also jumped into the closing stages of a Man O'War game, but our side was pretty much out of contention by the time I joined.

Finally, earlier today I ran a Star Wars role-playing game to close out the convention. It actually went longer than I expected and still wasn't technically finished, but we had to call it on account of the time situation. The convention was set to end in a few minutes, and we were all exhausted from the last three days of gaming. Still, it was good fun.

That was this year's DunDraCon. Looking forward to next year. Until then, I guess I have to live out my exile in the real world. Until Kublacon, that is.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


On a whim, I decided to do a vanity search on google for LeperColony and interestingly enough, the first result is my blogger profile. I have been seen, and I like it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Idle Ides

Well, I skipped class today. And, just in case I haven't done it enough here, I'm going to take this opportunity to complain about just how boring law school really is. People are often somewhat impressed to hear I am currently engaged in such studies, though I make the admission only with a little embarrassment. For my part, and I'm sure this could be repeated with near universal agreement by any other such student, I find the entire regimen exceptionally dull. This is not commentary on the law itself, which is a subject replete with marvelous complexities, but rather a reflection on the manner the powers that be have dictated we must take to complete a legal education.

On a more profound level though, I will admit to a certain amount of dissatisfaction with law school simply because it is, at current, my professional responsibility. People ask me if I'm excited to start as a lawyer, as though they didn't understand that I will likely be obliged to continue the work for the next forty years. The irony as I see it is that my position at current, somewhat less than affluent as it may be, is infinitely preferrable to demanding professional obligations almost regardless of whatever compensation they may bring. I will have to struggle over the course of the next four decades simply to get back to where I am now; idle and poor.

Something about that doesn't seem fair, but I guess that's life.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Here's five dollars Hallmark isn't going to get!

Well, the day has come when anyone in a romantic engagement must now line up at the Hallmark store and wait to get milked.

Cards: $5

Roses: $60

Dinner, Jazz show: $200

Days until you have to do this again: 365 - (closest of Anniversary/Birthday/CPA certification...)

Unlicensed and hardly original parody of national advertisment campaign: Fine not in excess of $100,000 and no more than three to five years in pris... I mean, priceless.

If money doesn't buy it, then that means you're single. For everyone else, there's Mastercard.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Revisionist History

Sometimes comments will appear, seemingly out of nowhere, despite the fact that it was the case that no entry was posted for a particular date on the day in question. There's actually two explanations for that phenomenon. First of all, my blogging habits are extremly fickle, and I require a certain level of motivation before I can overcome my lazier inclinations. Thus, I typically jot down just some notes and save the draft. Then, later, I come back and type up a title and entry. That way I can record ideas as I get them, but wait to post until I've written something approaching readability.

The second answer is somewhat less inoculous, but understandable in its own way. When I began blogging I knew that it would be a project worthy of pursuit only if I treated it like a more traditional journal. That is, I would benefit the most if I discussed those things that are particular to me. However, the nature of blogs being as they are, it is the case that some things I would rather consider in private are available for anyone bored enough to read. Therefore, in a kind of compromise between ego and principle, I occasionally bury entries by backdating them. This is not the most intellectually honest practice, I know, but it is currently the extent of my comfort level.

I realize writing this post could perhaps direct attention to the entries I have tried to obfuscate, thus defeating the purpose. However, not only do I assume that nobody actually cares enough to bother going through old entries, but also I know that ultimately I wouldn't post anything I couldn't live with someone knowing, so it all just sort of evens out.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Pro Forma

Japanese dramas, like all formuliac television, relies on certain time honored precepts. Although when first encountered they appear somewhat unusual, eventually you become accustomed to them to the point where you expect them in domestic shows. Anyway, a short list is included below:

1. No Japanese woman is capable of running more than 100 feet in any direction before falling down. Why this is I'm not really sure. Of course, in many of these shows the female leads have fatal but visually undetectable diseases.

2. If you're a highschool student then either
A - Your parents live overseas
B - Your parents are dead
C - One of your parents died. The other has remarried and you now have a devistatingly attractive stepsibbling.

3. The female lead must be slapped at least once, and possibly many more times. It seems to still be en vogue to resort to a little light abuse in order to keep your woman in line. It really is somewhat curious how common slapping is in dramas. Watch for it, you'll see it every time.

4. Despite the fact that Japan is an exceedingly homogenious society based, in large part, on communal precepts, the surest way to achieve ultimate success is to buck the system. Yeah, things will be rough at first, but then you'll find the one teacher/boss/client/boyfried/girlfriend who understands you and then it's just a few short episodes to becoming Prime Minister.

5. Ryoko Hirosue is gorgeous, especially with red hair*.

*= Of course, it's almost a given that Asian women with red hair are going to be irressitable.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pointless Factoid VI

Dictator was a Roman office used during the Republic in times of great crisis. The title was held for six months, during which the appointee's authority exceeded even that of the annually elected consuls. The office of dictator today is primarily related to Julius Ceasar, who was appointed dictator for life.

This entry brought to you by someone with too much time on his hands.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Red Envelopes: The real reason for the chicken's road crossing

Today is the Lunar New Year, better known as Chinese New Year. As is customary among Asians, my father's family distributes red envelopes to mark the occasion. All in all, not a bad way to celebrate a holiday. Of course, as a single man, I *get* them rather than give them, which may have something to do with my view on the practice.

We actually never celebrate the New Year as a family on the real date, delaying instead until such a time as we can all assemble at one place, typically on a day of the ensuing weekend. This year it looks to be a lunch on Saturday. Lunches are good because, holiday obligations aside, my father's family is rife with all the kinds of division common to affluent Asian families. Many of us can barely stand the others, for reasons both petty and significant. Thus the more time efficient lunch setting is typically to be preferred over the more demanding formalities of dinner.

I'll talk more about my dad's family another time. For now, in honor of the holiday, it's enough simply to wish you all a happy New Year.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Eat your heart out, Alan Smithee

For my part with Japan-TV I've managed to work on the following titles:

Japanese: Beautiful Life; Great Teacher Onizuka; Yanpapa; Koukou Kyoushi; Kimi wa Petto; Gokusen (done with SARS fansubs); Stand Up

Chinese: Monkey King; A Step into the Past; Take My Word for It

Of those, I can recommend BL, GTO, KwP, Gokusen, and Stand Up. They're all available for free download here, so check them out. If you find an error on something I've edited, let me know. Chances are I already know about it, but getting razzed for them is excellent motivation to avoid such mistakes in the future.

Monday, February 07, 2005

I'm back, and it's like I never left

Well, I'm back. It was a good trip, even though I lost money. I had actually written off all the money I was going to gamble with anyway, attributing the loss as an entertainment cost. That's really the way to plan for Vegas; bring what you can afford to lose and assume you'll lose it all. If you end up, then it's just a bonus.

We stayed at the Luxor, and while I was there I also visited Binion's, the Four Queens, Sahara, Fremont, Excaliber, and Mandaly Bay. There were lots of games, and I played eight of them; craps, roulette, hold'em, blackjack, carribean stud, the spinny wheel thing, some slots, and pai gao (the one with tiles). All in all, a good trip.

Unfortunately, the way we'd planned our time, I had to jump right back into the business of school work almost the minute I got home. Not exactly the best way to adjust from having been on vacation, but them's the breaks.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Viva Las Vegas

Off to Vegas. Leaving in a few hours, getting back on Sunday. If they let me leave at all, that is. I've heard that things that go to Vegas stay there. Hopefully they'll be satisfied with a few hundred of my hard borrowed dollars and let the rest of me return to the real world.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Columbia Resplendent

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

- Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses