Tuesday, February 28, 2006

For sooth, what hath more levity?

Nothing like a good procrastination post.

The Amazing Race is back on, and with my participation in a pool, I'm now financially invested in the show as well. It's some sort of irony that I was randomly dealt the lawyer of the contestants, Ray, or as he says, "like the sun." (Not to be confused with Lake, or as he says - I kid you not - "like the ocean.") Ray went to law school to turn upside down stereotypes of "the hood." As an Albertan, oh how I relate.

I'm also glad Count Trumpula was back on the airwaves, if only that I now have a bit more perspective on the city. He makes it seem as if the traffic parts wherever he walks, when in reality, even his hair doesn't. I was actually a tad ashamed in New York atop the Empire State Building in that the Trump Tower was the first building I recognized. It was taller than I expected, looming there like some obsidian beacon of evil.

I also recently began reading The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, a book that only a few pages in is surely in contention for being the funniest book I have read, up there with Catch-22. (Longtime devotees of this site - ye brave few - will remember that is a book I have never finished, but it is indeed the funniest.) Anyway, read the first couple pages of Tristram for yourself. It is also handy if you find 18th century wit amongst the heights of comedy.

Finally, for those people who have not yet discovered Ricky Gervais' whipping boy, Karl Pilkington (no doubt soon to be simply K.Pilk) watch thusly.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Hot and fresh out tha kitchen

At the risk of revealing how I'm blogging late on a Saturday night, and thus not - as law students are wont to do - partying till the sun comes up, I had to share mention of a great musical find. One of my favorite artists, and quite honestly Canada's best - the Joel Plaskett Emergency, is finally releasing their DVD, Make a Little Noise mid-March.

For those who don't know Joel, this here site has some mp3s where you can learn fast.

Judging by the tracklist, Joel has made at least one oversight in the otherwise comprehensive disc: it's missing his concerts' magnus opus, the 10-minute honky-tonk medley where he incorporates the Stones, Led Zeppelin and, naturally, the remix of R. Kelly's "Ignition."

Anyway, for superfans, you'll appreciate this news. If you're not a fan, please leave the premises of this blog immediately.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Avoid all of April

If I hadn't read Shakespeare and someone told me to "beware the Ides of March," I would assume they were referring to that period during law school about a month before exams where you know you have to start studying because, if you keep putting it off, you know that doomsayer has an even worse catchphrase for April.

Being this the end of February, I'm trying to get a headstart on all this madness, but still leave room for the odd diversion. Here are some things I have to look forward to in the next week:

Two essay outlines: for an international law ethics class, I'm doing a sort of "would you rather?" approach to torture, whereby I compare two sides of a moral dilemma to argue which is the lesser of two evils. Then for Charter I'm preparing a think-piece, if you will, on Canadian search and seizure laws. Yup, torture and illegal search and seizure - I sure know how to pick the fun ones.

For a refresher on international ethics, I'll be tuning into next week's episode of the White House's favourite show, 24. This new President Logan is, if possible, even more fun than Jack "Dammit" Bauer. This guy couldn't sound more unsure of himself if he tried. When the terrorists called him directly in last week's episode, he acted like a little girl at a slumber party who didn't want to talk to a cute guy calling: "No, YOU talk to him!"

Then, there's more reading to do. I try and stay on top of the readings for each class, but for Evidence, this basically includes reading every case since... I don't know... the dawn of time. I suppose it's worth it when you read a case like Rothman v. R., where, in order to elicit a confession on drug charges, the cops send in an undercover agent to share a jail cell with the accused. The accused's first words? "You look like a narc."

I also figure I haven't seen a movie in theatres in a while. When I came across the trailer for Tristram Shandry, a period-piece Adaptation, I knew I wanted to see it. Plus, it has Steve Coogan who you know (or should know) as Alan Partridge.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Starting to spread the news

Ah, New York City. It's frightening how much of my knowledge about Manhattan comes from the Spiderman 2 video game and Die Hard with a Vengeance - scarier still how accurate those guides are. Thankfully, for the first time, I got a real tour around the city courtesy of some friends. This was a far better way of seeing a city than just dutifully checking off items in a list of tourist spots - not that there wasn't some of that.

Some things I learned: taxi cabs are freakishly easy to come by. They're cheaper than you'd expect (relatively speaking of course). Garbage trucks run almost daily to every neighbourhood. The city and subway really are clean. And if Jerry Seinfeld really lived at West 81st Street and George Costanza really lived in Queens, there's no way they'd be friends across that distance.

There's really too much to say about the trip, so here's a quick list of the best places I saw around town:

Mandarin Oriental, a high-rise bar with high-cost cocktails and a view right out of Lost in Translation, minus the Tokyo skyline and a scantily clad Scarlett Johansson.

Pastis, a Parisian-style brasserie that has the best French toast I've ever had. Considering the decor, maybe this shouldn't have been a surprise to me.

Rue B, a low-key neighbourhood bar with great pizza located on Avenue B in the East Village that also shows New Yorkers are not above a good pun.

Rosa Mexicana
, an upscale Mexican eatery famous for its guacamole that they make right in front of you from scratch. Tomatillo sauce is the new salsa as far as I'm concerned.

Magnolia Bakery, every bit as gloriously delicious as you'd think it was from watching SNL.

Among the other awesome, but more conventional sites I saw: the Met, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Central Park, Times Square, SoHo, the meat-packing district, the Brooklyn Brewery, a Broadway show (Spamalot, with David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria and John Cleese) and the list goes on.

Then I had what I suppose many people have in New York, a celebrity encounter. I heard from friends who had seen Drew Barrymore and that shaggy Stroke Fabrizio Moretti. Others had seen Donald Trump. Me? I saw a greatly dishevelled and weak Nick Nolte, using a cane to get into an elevator. I wasn't so much dazzled by celebrity, as I was sad for it.

A big thanks to the friends who made the trip worthwhile, residents of a cool apartment in the East Village that was way more fun than any hotel - but I'm willing to bet just as pricey. A funny note about the picture - it looks like it was taken at an off-kilter angle, until you realize the fridge is level.

Monday, February 13, 2006

'Twas internet connectivity that killed the beast

A year ago I compiled a list of sundry items that I wished to do over my reading week. Well, that annual break from law school, which paradoxically, makes you more paranoid about the progress of your studies, is back and I've compiled another of this site's ever so famous lists... (having yet to read comment's to the contrary).

1. Author a DVD. We ran an ad for a DVD during the Law Revue advertising such features as director's commentary, deleted scenes and what have you, and (maybe it was the accompanying whimsical Kanye West tune) but I was amazed at how many people thought it was a joke just like everything else. You make a half-assed Tin Man costume out of random cardboard and torn tin foil and suddenly people think complex DVD production is out of your league. Tsk tsk.

2. Scale the Empire State Building. Kong had it wrong. He could have spared himself the embarrassment of being at the end of the line to buy tickets and forced to climb the exterior if he had just done it online.

3. Stroll through Central Park - or alternatively, if that recent frosty weather continues to the end of the week, have a brisk jog through Central Park. Yes, as you can gather from the last two items, I am off to New York City. It'll be my first trip there, and I'm cutting of the tourist-y visits at these two, because hopefully I'll be back in that city again. It's not like many European places, where you race around to see every last monument you can because you won't ever again have the lackadaisacal college days when you can just go travel. I miss those days.

4. Coming in low on the list is work on essays. I've got three essays to complete before April, one little ditty about the ethical employment of torture in the international community, another on the validity of an objective reasonability test in regards to the Charter's search and seizure clause, and finally something about Federalism. Need help with that one.

Expect photos from NYC soon. Expect more panic about essay writing as well.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Not a fun, sexy time

Tonight occurred that wintry event that happens on television once every couple of years... a network unjustifiably cancels another amazing show. Four years ago it was Andy Richter Controls the Universe, a show about a guy who worked writing the manuals for atomic weapons - and now Arrested Development.

After seeing how the series ended tonight, I don't doubt that it will become a cult hit for generations, but it's still utterly puzzling to see how quality writing is so low on a list of television's priorities.

So, a tribute to my favorite AD character, George Michael Bluth:

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Plus Revue Legale

Law Revue had its second and final night last night, and while the crowd took a while longer to win over than the first night, it still ended a success. I'll throw up some pictures here. Later when I'm working on the DVD, I'll post some captures and videos from the actual performance.

The stage and screen where we projected our slideshows and short videos. Those corn stalks were left over from some show in November, (what, I do not know) but they proved useful for our Wizard of Oz sketch with Scarecrow, artfully played by Thom.

Backstage. Where are props were stored, actors hastily learned their lines, and where I had to constantly tell my actors to be quiet during the show...

... to wit. We actually ran an ad for the DVD during the show which proved to be almost too funny, as some audience members were later surprised to learn that the product did, in fact, exist.

The props table. Look closely and you can see parts of Tin Man, a devil costume, Dracula's cape, and a polish sausage. I'd rather not describe how the latter prop was employed.

I tried to document all parts of the process. Here's our sound setup, which our technician described as using up all available cables in the building. How's that for low-budget theatre!

Downtime before the show.

The theatre. Ironically, you have to speak extra loud to properly project your voice, but when a joke falls flat, you can hear crickets dropping pins.

The set list. I don't know how many times this changed around before the actual show. As directors, you have to try to figure out which sketches are the weakest and allocate them appropriately. You can't just do like SNL and throw all the bad stuff near the end, because our audience doesn't have the luxury of being able to turn off a TV and go to sleep.

Our amazing cast. Includes all three years of law students, including some that had factums due the next day. That's dedication.

The after party. That beer on the right actually turned out to be the worst tasting stuff I've ever had. And I lived in England.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Revue Legale

Had opening night of the Law Revue last night - the annual law school comedy show - and things went surprisingly well. I say surprisingly, because after months of writing and rewriting scripts, and three straight, long days of directing rehearsal, you naturally start to doubt if people will find anything funny.

Tonight is the second and final performance, and should boast an even bigger crowd that last night. I'll post more photos after it's over.

In the meantime, I'll just post this hilarious link which made up for me missing 24 last night.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


My first article publishes today for The Tyee, an independent B.C. paper home to many great writers whom I'm proud to be published alongside.

The article is about Survivor and its connection to Lord of the Flies. It's a show where I've managed to catch every season apart from that one time where I lived overseas. Of course, living in the middle of nowhere in Southern England, with its notoriously inclement weather, is a sort of survival lesson in itself.

So read up folks, I didn't just draw tenuous connections between a literary masterpiece and a reality show for nothing.