AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Monday, May 31

NBC.com - Last Call with Carson Daly

The Show with Brooke Burke, comedian Dane Cook, my friend Virginia, and I appear airs Friday, June 11th on NBC. Check local listings for show times.


Brooke Burke, so beautiful

Thursday, May 27

Viva Las Vegas

After numerous delays, Time Warner Cable finally got around to fixing our damn Internet. Thus, I can now give my Vegas report:

The impetus for the trip was Fran Scott's wedding (sister to Virginia, daughter to Catherine). Gambling, hanging out with the aforementioned, as well as Murphy and Riekert provided any necessary additional incentive. We stayed at the beautiful JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort. I don't think that I've ever slept on a more comfortable bed; however, sleep was in short supply because we had so much to do in so little time.

The reception was lovely, although owing to my work schedule I wasn't able to get there until right after the bride and groom had departed. Still, that didn't stop the fun. There was some dorky white-people dancing and phenomenal karaoke: Murphy with a stirring rendition of Barry White's "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" and Joseph doing Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On".

Then we hit the casino. I started at the $5 blackjack table. Quickly, I went up $15 before losing $40. Then because Murphy was winning big, he gave me $25 in chips, which I immediately lost at three-card poker. Tired of hemmoraging money, I moved to the video poker at just 4¢ per deal - and lost another $2. Finally, at 4 am Vegas time, after waking at 6:30 Houston time, I slumped off to bed.

Day 2 began at the pool. I suppose it is because so many people come up from Southern California, but I have never seen so many fake breasts in one location. It was fascinating. I burned, but only slightly.

Then it was off to the shows. Without tickets, Virginia and I made our way to a taping of Last Call with Carson Daly. Before you give me crap for seeing Daly, let me say that I was only there to see comedian Dane Cook and sex-kitten Brooke Burke, who is hotter in real life. Daly's dancers, especially the stunning blonde, are nice, too.

From the standby area, Virginia's good looks quickly got us seated up front. As the music blasted before the show, we exchanged Carson Daly jokes, like Jimmy Fallon's "Hi, I'm Carson Daly, and I'm a massive tool." Well, thankfully the music was loud. Because we were sitting right next to Daly's mom and dad. We ended up talking with Mrs. Daly, who is a lovely person.

Dane Cook was awesome. The performance he did should be on his Website in a couple weeks.

Not having laughed enough, we went to Mandalay Bay to see Dave Chappelle doing standup. He was great, but even dirtier than I expected. He reminded me of early Eddie Murphy.

After the show, two girls almost got into a fight. A couple of douche bag guys tried to take control of the situation. A crowd gathered, junior high style, as people were climbing up on stools to watch. Then one of the guys threw a punch and tried to run for it.

What kind of moron thinks he can hide in one of Las Vegas's biggest casinos?

I thought on Sunday I would be bored because everybody's flights left so much earlier than mine. But then Murph missed his plane. We worked the "we're just dumb guys who overslept" routine and were able to get back our rental car. So we made our way to the strip.

Now, last time was great. So expectations were high. But the Sunday Brunch at Paris sucked! I'm not exaggerating when I say I had to pinch a loaf 5 times before heading to the airport at 6 - and I fear public restrooms.

Anyway, that's how it was. Sorry for the long post. I hope at least the Carson Daly anecdote was alright.

Summertime

This Blog lauds Paul's Blog for finally making posts on consequtive days. One can only assume that the school recess has freed up some valuable Internet time.

Wednesday, May 26

JohnKerry Is A Douche Bag

This is an actual Website: JohnKerryIsADoucheBagButImVotingForHimAnyway.com.

[Thanks Riekert]

Tuesday, May 25

AJ Ericksen's Blog World

As I mentioned in an earlier Post, I drink a lot of Dr Pepper at work (although I'm trying to drink more water and, sadly, even a little Diet Coke now and again to stay trim). Naturally, this means I make frequent pitstops at my "other office." What I've been noticing is this: a remarkably high percentage of gentlemen in the other cubicles bring reading material. This strikes me as a bit odd for a public men's room.

Gasoline Woes

OpinionJournal carries a nice piece about gas policy. The crux of the argument is that America needs less regulation (e.g. specially formulated fuels for certain markets and ethanol requirements) and more refining capacity. More importantly, it highlights the facts: 1) that gas prices aren't really that high and 2) that we have more, not less, oil reserves than in previous decades.

Wednesday, May 19

Culinary Mistake

Last night, I had a steak prepared "Black and Blue" (or "Pittsburgh" style). I didn't know what that meant, so to shed light on it, black and blue means it's seared on the outside and rare (practically raw) on the inside. Although tasty, it is more difficult to cut with a steak knife, and I don't think I've recovered from the experience.

Tuesday, May 18

Perk

I failed to mention earlier that there is a Dr Pepper fountain and an ice machine roughly 23.5 feet from my office door. In this sense, I'm in my Eden.

A Footnote to Big Firm Life

Unlike many public restrooms, the toilet paper at the office is pretty nice.

Monday, May 17

Working Stiff

Today I began my six-week clerkship at a large Houston firm. It was a heady experience. There were a few hours of orientation, followed by lunch at Quattro, thankfully nobody wanted to order dessert. I met my section sponsor, and he graciously pulled me out of the afternoon session early to sit in on a conference call. Almost immediately, I was grateful to taken an oil & gas course; it really helped me with the lingo.

I have a pretty nice office on the 35th floor, but I'm a bit isolated from the rest of my section.

Apologies to all that I am unable to check my outside email accounts at work. Ergo, responses will be slow. I hesitate to give out the work address.

Anyway, off to dinner ...

Sunday, May 16

Investment Tip

This Bed Tray has been one of the best <$10 purchases I've ever made. I can play on my laptop all I want, yet my lap never gets too hot.

An Interesting Defense of Homophobia

From John Derbyshire, in National Review Online:
My personal bet is that homosexuality will disappear before homophobia does — possibly quite soon, in a generation or so. Here's my logic: One of the least controversial things you can say about homosexuality is this: Practically nobody wants his kids to grow up homosexual. Some people mind the prospect more than others, but practically nobody welcomes it — not even, I should think, homosexuals. (One of the rare exceptions is Sharon Osbourne, who recently remarked: "My only regret in life is that none of my children are gay." I doubt any very large number of Americans take Mrs. Osbourne as a parenting role model, though.)

Now, the trend in current research on homosexuality, if I have understood it correctly, suggests that the homosexual orientation is indeed mostly congenital — the result of events in the mother's womb, or in early infancy, with perhaps some slight genetic predisposition. The thing is, in short, mainly biochemical — part of a person's physical make-up.

Supposing this is true, let us conduct a wee thought experiment — admittedly a fanciful one. A young woman in the late stages of pregnancy, or carrying a small infant, shows up at her doctor's office. "Doctor," she asks, "is there some kind of test you can do to tell me if my child is likely to become a homosexual adult?" The doctor says yes, there is. "And," the woman continues, "suppose the test is positive — would that be something we can fix? I mean, is there some sort of medical, or genetic, or biochemical intervention we can do at this stage, to prevent that happening?" The doctor says yes, there is. "How much does the test cost? And supposing it's positive, how much does the fix cost?" The doctor says $50, and $500. The woman takes out her checkbook.
In any event, it is an interesting hypothesis. I've never heard a similar argument, but this seems at least somewhat plausible.

Killer Job

Police in Italy have purchased a new Lamborghini Gallardo to patrol the highway and transport human organs. How phenomenal would it be to drive such a car (although not as good as a Ferrari) and have the freedom to open it up on public roads?

Saturday, May 15

In Houston

Well, we (Paul & I) had a pretty good drive to Houston. I got my stuff unpacked, and we made our way to Ikea. I picked up the Daselv bed and a matching nighttable, an ultra-light quilt (because it's Houston), some hipster sheets, and some new bath towels. I also snagged a pretty cool lamp on clearance. When I brought things home for assembly, I quickly realized they'd given me a futon instead of the bed I bought. Fortunately, the store is only about 8 minutes away. (It took much longer to find a grocery store.) Also, I picked up a cool plastic TV tray to put over my lap when I'm typing on my laptop in bed or watching TV - I decided I'd endangered my ability to have future children enough.

The apartment complex I'm in is juxtaposed between the downtown towers to the east, the ghetto to the west, ritzy River Oaks to the south, and decent parts of the Heights to the north. The contrast one experiences traveling one or two blocks in any direction is pretty staggering.

My new roommate seems like a pretty nice guy. He, Paul, and I are going to try to take in an Astros game tomorrow. My only other errand for Saturday is to pick up a wireless router. Right now I'm free-riding on a neighbor's signal. We got a pretty good package deal for digital cable and Internet. The package was to include one premium channel, so I picked HBO because Deadwood and The Sopranos. Fortune was kind, however; somehow we ended up with al the HBO channels.

Thursday, May 13

"Dennis Miller" on CNBC

"Dennis Miller" is one of the most-entertaining conservative programs on TV. Here is a great review of the liberal response to Miller. The author gives a taste of Miller's humorous and pragmatic Weltanschauung:
He had a preemptive crack ready for those who complain that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. "I wish there was a country called al Qaeda and we could have started the war there," Miller said, "but there wasn't. And Hussein and his punk sons were just unlucky enough to draw the Wonka ticket in the a**hole lottery."

You can't get much clearer than that. And indeed the air of disapproval among the assembled reporters was so thick that even a couple of Bush haters in the room later told me they thought it was a bit much.
Check local listings for showtimes.

Wednesday, May 12

Keep Austin Weird

From The Onion, May 12, 2004:
Bathroom Too Disgusting To Shit In
AUSTIN, TX - The men's bathroom at area rock club Emo's was declared too repulsive for the emptying of concertgoer Max Risdy's bowels Saturday night. "The floor was covered with water, there was toilet paper and garbage everywhere, and it smelled disgusting," Risdy said, wincing at the memory Monday. "It was really not the kind of place you want to leave a big pile of digested food matter after squeezing it through your rectum from the depths of your bowels." Risdy added that the area near the music venue's stage was too loud and crowded.
This is an interesting piece because everything is true. The place is disgusting.

Putz

Help with Self-Esteem

Similar Results can be obtained by visiting Mexico or a prison.

Stick a Fork in Me

Because I'm done.

I took my last exam for the semester today. I think it went well, but it'll take a few weeks to know. Here's hoping for a 3.70 or above for the semester.

Monday, May 10

Higher Education in Germany

The New York Times reports on a program to make elite German universities elite again. It is an interesting article about a cultural decline. In particular, I found the last two paragraphs telling:
But Mr. Wolfrum and others, including Mr. Hommelhof, agree that another element in the picture was a dilution of the old German culture of discipline and hard work. The dilution was a perverse byproduct, they say, of the country's extensive welfare system, its idealization of the 35-hour workweek and its collective yearning to work until 60 and then retire to the Costa del Sol.

"Most people in Germany have forgotten the classical tradition that it's hard work to be good," Mr. Wolfrum said (emphasis added).
For more on the consequences of welfare, despite its good intentions, see George F. Will, Kinder, Gentler We're Not, Washington Post, May 9, 2004.

Friday, May 7

Terrible Injustice

German goddess Heidi Klum just had a baby with This Guy. Previously, she'd been married to This Other Guy, a hairstylist.

And women would have us believe that money isn't (at least almost) everything?

Jon Stewart on the end of Friends

Source: "Can I tell you something honestly?" Jon Stewart said on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" on Thursday. "I never watched that show - and I'm sick of it."

Amen. Although I do think Courtney Cox is hot.

[Update: Check out the latest Sports Guy column on Page2. Bill Simmons delivers a masterful explanation of why Friends was completely unwatchable to anybody with a pair of testicles. I was trying so hard to hold back the laughs reading it in the library that I almost choked on my Dr Pepper.]

Thursday, May 6

Annual Report

My Gmail Invitation sold for $31. Hats off to Sorens for selling while the market was really high. Not that I'm complaining about the windfall.

But it was stressful for me when I realized, with 3 minutes left on the auction, that I had no idea if I was even capable of receiving a PayPal payment. I was worried that I might be screwing somebody over, or that I might have to contact the buyer and give him the invite without receiving payment. The account was inactive, but I got it good to go just in time.

Also, contrary to my explicit instructions, the buyer's message through PayPal did not type his email address twice. Ergo, I'm waiting, expectantly refreshing my Gmail inbox, to see that that he received the Invite.

So, I may be getting an ulcer in exchange for $31. Ah, the things poor students will do.

Kudos

My brother Rick (pictured Here, back row center, standing next to me, the youngsters are his) took his last final to finish his bachelor's degree at the University of Utah today.

Planning on Voting Kerry?

This, although not surprising, should at least make you think twice. At least Steve Martin and Jerry Seinfeld are keeping out of the fray.

Wednesday, May 5

Life is Grand

Items of good news:
1. My secured credit exam is done. Only two to go.

2. A check for $300, won in the category of "Best Ethics or Professional Responsibility Note" by my Paper, "Blame the Lawyers: Examining the Ridiculousness of Model Rule 1.13's New Disclosures," arrived today. Thanks King & Spalding, LLP.

3. This week is "Kids' Week" on Jeopardy. Player bios today include "at the beginning of the school year, he worked on a project about dinosaurs" and "he wants to be a professional soccer player when he grows up because he likes soccer and he trains hard." It is hard to watch without feeling smarter.
Yes, life is good.

More Hate for SUVs

A nice Article for people who hate SUVs, love Hondas, or both: important statistics on vehicle safety and fuel economy.

Tuesday, May 4

On John Kerry's Fitness to Lead

OpinionJournal features a great opinion piece by the man who took command of John Kerry's Swift Boat after the latter requested early departure. In it, he questions the fitness of the Senator to serve as Commander-in-Chief after he was instrumental in turning Americans against soldiers by fabricating and exaggerating atrocities against civilians in Vietnam. Of note, Kerry has suppressed republication of his book, The New Soldier, in which he makes these claims.

[Note: this story may require you to login. But don't worry because (1) you're a savvy web-surfer with an email account specifically for junk mail and (2) you can trust the Journal.]

Monday, May 3

Life Imitates Fiction

In a happening that sounds straight from Reno 911!, a Milwaukee Deputy was robbed and stuffed in the trunk of his car while trying to pick up a hooker.

Thanks for the Tip

Thanks to Sorens's Tip (and his description, which I took), I am also selling a Gmail Account Invite on eBay. Money for pizza and beer. . .

Musings on Roadtripping in Montana

Torry is very kind to acknowledge the caliber of friends that drive 1,600 miles to a wedding in remote Alberta, Canada.

Each road trip needs a good album; I recall, for example, Grant Lee Buffalo's Mighty Joe Moon on the trip to Moab. For Torry's wedding, it was Radiohead's latest, Hail to the Thief.

Of course, the kinds of things that will always stand out are making the late night run to Albertson's for various fake beers and ice cream treats. Perhaps only to Mormon guys like us would something like that pass for an acceptable last night of bachelorhood.

And let us not forget how fun it was to drive Don's car well over 110 mph while he slept in the passenger seat. (This following his admonition to keep it under 75.) Or playing Twenty Questions over the walkie talkies as we descended through Idaho along I-15. (Paul: "Is it driftwood?")

Good times.

Saturday, May 1

In Re Scalia

The New York Times carries an interesting, and suprisingly balanced, look at conservative hero Antonin Scalia - whom liberals views as a cousin of Satan.