Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fourth of July Recap

In this space I will be posting some pictures and stories from the 7/4 weekend. But for now, I am playing "catch up" with some work. Check back soon for the updates!

You stay classy,


Sunday, July 06, 2008

Who Would Win?

As I was washing my hands in the restroom this evening, just before watching "Get Smart," I overheard a couple guys debating the greatest philosophical question we face today -- Who would win in a fight, Homer Simpson for Peter Griffen?

Really makes you wonder...

You stay classy,


Monday, June 30, 2008

"Let it [flow], let it [flow], let it [flow]!"

Well, it looks like the Bush administration has been working on a short term solution to the oil dilemma afterall. After years of fighting in Iraq, in what the liberals had called a war for oil (before citing personal vendettas Bush had against Saddam), it looks like we may finally see some of that oil. 5 major U.S. oil companies apparently have negotiated behind the scenes with the Iraqi government. Hopefully an influx of new sources of oil will result in an alleviation of the gas prices a bit. Psychologically it should make people feel better, and that's where most of the damage has been done.

You stay classy,


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Updates, Part Deux (that's Part 2 for you non-Frenchies)

So I recently came to the realization that I only have a few weeks left here in Spartanburg. What initially was proposed to be a long, boring summer, in which I would immerse myself in work to escape the mundane small-city life, has turned out to be a great experience that has zipped right by (sorry to end a sentence in a preposition, but I'm too lazy to re-write it). Although I admittedly have not been out and about, taking advantage of the nightlife that I have discovered along the way, I have made a number of wonderful contacts, and have been incredibly productive this summer. I have placed a few new pegs in my places-to-visit map, driving throughout the South and discovering a few famous places along the way (see my previous post on the Beacon, for example).

Yesterday, we had a going-away reception for one of the attorneys. It was held at an unbecoming, local wine store, a true gem that I had not even noticed as I passed it to and from work each day. They have an excellent selection of wines from around the world, and at great prices, too. I returned this evening after work for a wine tasting, where a packed house sampled a spectrum of Spanish wines. I snagged a few bottles on my way out (pinot noir, petite syrah, and a French burgundy table wine). I started on the pinot noir, the safest of the three -- Mark West, from California. This was actually one of the most popular wines at my old restaurant gig, as a server at the Ft. Lauderdale Pan-Asian restaurant, Wild East.

Also, I have put it off long enough, but I'm getting back in the gym. Freshly motivated to regain my pre-law school bulk (when I was working out 5-6 times a week). I've always been cyclical with working out. Between my Sophomore and Junior years, I worked out like an animal. Then, during my junior year I got a girlfriend, and all that training dwindled. After I got out of college, I immediately started working a full-time job. The commute was a solid hour and change, so I often lacked the energy to keep up a routine. After some time, I discovered a Bally's nearby, then the firm packed up and moved from its Coral Gables location to downtown Miami, with no Bally's nearby (the ensuing battle to cancel my membership is a story for another day). After some time off from the weights, while working on law school applications and working a couple of part-time jobs, I joined up at the nearby Shula Athletic Club. Much like the post-Sophomore year summer, I bulked up. Then a minor time commitment called "law school" came around, and the gym has been on the backburner ever since. So, it's about time that I got back on that horse. I have SOME free time now, and as a 3L, I should be able to manage my time and keep it going hardcore for the year (at least until the bar exam and a 100-hour-per-week firm job).

Then again, I'm looking at the Fall courses, and I want to take 8 or 9 classes. Yeah, probably not gonna happen. As it is, I'm signed up for 7 of them. And I'm thinking of dropping arguably the easiest one (Employment Practices) for a personal interest, "fun" course in Securities Regulation (well, it IS what I want to practice, in part). I have to figure out what I'm doing this upcoming semester, class-wise. But all that can wait until August 21, when classes start up. I have several job fairs to attend, and a loooong list of prospective employers to whom I plan to send resumes. Gonna be a busy month.

Finally, for those of you in South Florida, let me know if you'll be around for the 4th of July weekend. I'm planning to head down the day before and to stay through the weekend. And Marta's school seems to hate its student body -- it scheduled all summer term law exams for July 5-7. Seriously? You're gonna schedule exams for the 3 days after July 4th? That's un-American. What the hell is that? In any case, my girlfriend will have her nose in a Real Estate Transactions textbook for 2/3 of my trip down to Miami. So, if any of my buddies wanna hang out, drop me a line.

Until then...

You stay classy,


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Personal Updates

Just wanted to give you an update on a few things. Yesterday, June 23, marked exactly 1 month remaining for my summer position. Time really has flown by! Also yesterday, the dogs got haircuts. See below for the Guapo "before," the Lola "before" and the combined "after" shot.

Clearly, a lot of fur has been removed. I opted to go for the short cuts, rather than the traditional schnauzer cut, since we're getting into the hottest time of the year and all. I figured they'd be more comfortable with shorter coats.

Oh, and I snapped the photos with my new camera:

Gotta love new toys, right?

You stay classy,


Monday, June 16, 2008

Is Drudge Screwing with the Liberals?

Throughout this primary season, I have been surprised to see so much Obama coverage on the Drudge Report. As a strong conservative and regular viewer of the site, it honestly was starting to bother me. Apparently I wasn't the only one to notice, as one article went so far as to suggest that he liked Obama. See this article from the Politico, for example. I cringe at the thought. But I also find it interesting that soon after the Dem primary was wrapped up, Obama coverage was bumped. In fact, just a few hours ago Al Gore endorsed Obama -- seemingly a big news story for those interested in the campaign and supporting Obama. Yet, you have to scroll down to the bottom of the articles to see it. Btw, he usually highlights in red the big, breaking news articles.

Instead, the top of the webpage has links to the recent flooding in Iowa, a positive story about Bush visiting Europe, recent news from the Supreme Court, and news about the Saudis agreeing to pump out more oil.

So, could it be that Drudge was in the plan that Rush Limbaugh famously dubbed, "Operation Chaos"? Rush -- if you recall from the Texas primary / caucus -- was promoting votes for Hillary Clinton once it appeared Obama had locked up the nomination. Perhaps Drudge was the yang to Rush' yin?

Or, maybe Drudge is so convinced that Obama is the weaker candidate (as many Republican genuinely believe), and he wanted to help set up a general election matchup against him.

If so, it was genius, and it got plenty of media attention. Maybe it even caused some Republicans to crossover and vote for him in some of the open primaries.

Whatever the case may have been, now that we are in the general election, I encourage everyone out there to put in your vote for McCain. It is scary to think of all the wrong changes Obama would try to make to this country, were he elected President. We can't let that happen.

You stay classy,


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Practice Makes Perfect

During my first year of law school, it was a laborious task to write a Closed Memorandum (an analysis of legal issues from a "closed" set of sources).

Then, I moved on to an Open Memorandum, where the entire legal universe was up for grabs in my paper. I didn't know where to start, what it was that I was looking for, how to look for it... I was lost. Then, once I DID find some research, I had to figure out how to use it, and how to piece things together into a coherent and persuasive argument. But even then I had some guidance. We had mandatory and optional conferences with our legal writing professor, and we could express concerns and seek help. After much effort, I managed to throw a little something together.

The summer after my first year, I interned with a judge in Miami. My job was to review arguments on appeals the court was scheduled to hear. I would read and research both sides in each case, and then I would embark on additional research. Most of this research was related to Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure (courses I had not yet taken in law school), so I was kind of learning on the go. However, the experience was great, and I began writing memoranda with great efficiency and ease.

Fast forward to the present day.

I've been working about 3 1/2 weeks now, and I've worked on all sorts of legal matters (Employment, Securities, Property, Franchise, Contracts, and many other topics). What I really have noticed, however, is the ease with which I'm pumping out these memos now. Within the past couple days, I threw together a 26 pager, outlining 8 arguments that could win in court.

Although I never appreciated the legal writing experiences I have had in the past, the results are beginning to show -- particularly my skills in analysis and argumentation.

So for those of you about to start law school, or just finishing your first year and dreading having to write memos all summer long... just relax, take it in as a learning experience, and it will pay dividends down the road.

You stay classy!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Proper Respect

So, apparently I'm a little ideological and partisan in many of my blog posts, so I wanted to take a moment to recognize all the good things the Democrat-controlled Congress has actually accomplished. The Democrats have helped this country by doing the following:

Impressive list, huh?

You stay classy,


Monday, June 09, 2008

Energy Hypocrisy (continued)

While listening to the radio on my way back from work this evening, I realized I completely forgot to mention one of the worst offenders in the insultingly high gas prices -- OPEC.

I heard an unsettling statistic on the radio. Although we are buying oil at over $135 per barrel, OPEC's oil production costs are less than $2 per barrel. You read that correctly. OPEC is hosing us for over $130 per barrel in profit. I knew it was bad, but wow... that is really bad. I'm gonna have to bump Congress down to the #2 worst offender spot, now.

OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, is a group of 12 states. These states are:

1. Algeria
2. Angola
3. Indonesia
4. Iran
5. Iraq
6. Kuwait
7. Libya
8. Nigeria
9. Qatar
10. Saudi Arabia
11. United Arab Emirates
12. Venezuela

There are a few thoughts that immediately come to mind, as I peruse this list.

Iraq -- where are our oil revenues? Rupert Murdoch, some time again, predicted that the oil from Iraq would result in $20 per barrel of oil. Yeah, that's really worked out. So much for the liberal claims that this war was about oil. If it was, the Iraqis "ain't payin up!"

Iran / Venezuela -- is it really a surprise to see OPEC screwing us on oil prices with these two countries on the list? They are led by total scumbags, Chavez and Ahmadinejad, who hate the United States and would do anything harm us.

I heard Bill O'Reilly talking on the radio earlier, and he was calling out the group of OPEC "thugs," citing the obvious notion that it's a national security issue to be relying on so many foreign sources of energy.

But he took it a step farther, arguing that government needed to mandate higher fuel efficiency standards and to require all kinds of hybrid and new technology vehicles. Last time I checked, people are feeling the crunch of higher gas prices, and the market already is figuring it out. Just a couple days ago, I heard that a major car maker (I want to say Ford, but I can't recall) is nixing a huge chunk of SUV and Truck sales in favor of more fuel efficient cars. We really don't need government getting into it and screwing around with the market. Market mechanisms are driven by supply and demand, with the largest factor being profitability. Unless you have spent that last few years living in an underground nuclear fallout bunker (I'm thinking that Brandon Frazier movie, "Blast from the Past"), it's impossible not to know that gas is expensive and that fuel efficiency is important. And the market reflects that. Car makers are touting the fuel efficiency of their vehicles, and many now offer a locked-in $2.99 per gallon gas price with a new vehicle.

But I will let you in on a little secret: the math has been done, and when you compare a normal gas-guzzling SUV to one of the new hybrid SUVs, it takes over 3 years for you compensate for the higher pricetag in gas savings. So, is it really worth that extra few thousand bucks? Only if you do a serious amount of driving.

Anyway, I just wanted to throw in that tidbit about those thieves OPEC.

You stay classy,


Friday, June 06, 2008

Energy Hypocrisy

We've all experienced, one way or another, the ever-increasing gas prices. And as people point fingers and look for answers, the most popular target is inevitably... the oil companies. The companies who are making record profits, while the "price at the pump" is affecting daily decisions, making us choose the Wendy's or Taco Bell value menu, instead of spending $8-10 on a better quality meal elsewhere. While it is true that the price has in fact risen, it is hardly the oil companies who are to blame. I'll explain (and please keep in mind that I do not receive any money or support from these companies... this is all me).

Historically, the oil companies have made a percentage profit on every dollar of oil. For argument's sake, let's say 5%. So, if gas is $1 per gallon, the companies get $0.05 for each gallon you pump. If the price quadruples (as it has) to $4 per gallon, that same 5% rate would also quadruple the dollar amount of oil company profit ($0.20 per dollar, in this example). So, technically the oil companies are in fact making a killing off the price of oil jumping, but they haven't changed their "going rate." By the way, neither have the Federal and State governments. Check out this chart, and look at each oil company's profits compared to the total amount of taxes collected:

(click the image to enlarge)

Courtesy of the Tax Foundation

As you can see, the government pockets 2-3 times as much for each dollar than what the oil companies are collecting. Maybe people should start pointing their fingers at their local and federal government instead. Granted, given the huge profits, the oil companies COULD take in less profit to lower the price of gas. But they should not be vilified for making their profits. They are in the business of making money off of importing and selling oil. Last I checked, that wasn't the government's line of work.

It surely wasn't the oil companies that designed and sold all these bigger, fuel inefficient SUVs. It wasn't the oil companies who stand in the way of additional drilling in domestic locations, like in Alaska and off the coast of Florida. It wasn't the oil companies standing in the way of building new oil refineries.

1) Oil companies didn't make and sell bigger, fuel inefficient SUVs

The big car companies banked on the attractiveness of bigger, tougher, better trucks and SUVs. And Americans fully bought into it. Having a big, bad truck or SUV pads our egos and makes us feel bigger and tougher. Hell, the few times I've borrowed my parents' Chevy Suburban and stopped at a light next to a small compact car, I felt automotively-superior (not sure that's a real term, but whatever). On an unrelated note, I recently heard on the news that Hollywood hypocrites stars feel the "in" or "cool" thing is to be seen in a Toyota Prius. Yeah, ok.

2) Oil companies aren't standing in the way of domestic drilling

As the price of oil climbs higher and higher, these companies are pocketing their short-term profits, but they have to have long-term concerns. With the current trend, of oil prices, people will begin making drastic changes to their daily lives, avoiding driving, using bikes, moving closer to work, working closer to home, working from home... anything to avoid having to spend sky-high prices on oil. That's why some of the companies are investing big bucks on hybrid and other new technologies. But if the companies want to stay in business, as they know it, they need to find some more oil. It's in their interest to find and to pump out more of the black gold. So, why aren't we drilling in domestic locations, where we know there are rich oil deposits? Our Democrat-controlled Congress is standing in the way, saying we will ruin the environment by drilling. This is an obvious pander to the liberal tree-hugger segment of the base, but the arguments have no merit.

While Dems complain about how we'll ruin the lives of the caribou in the area, the Alaskans (who presumably would hate such a horrible environmental disaster) are actually big supporters of the drilling. It will create job for the state, and surely will pump money into the local and state economies. So, those concerns are b.s.

How about the oil deposits off the gulf coast, off the western coast of Florida. Well, more concerns about the oil spilling out into the ocean and harming the sea life. However, the reality is that our technology has improved to the point where we can drill safely off the coast while avoiding such disasters. During Hurricane Katrina, not that long ago, nearly 1,000 oil rigs off the Louisiana coast were damaged or destroyed. Do you remember all those stories about oil seeping out everywhere? No, I don't either. That's because not a single one of the rigs gave off any oil. Our technology has improved the risks of potential environmental hazards to the point where they are not a major concern.

3) Oil companies want more refineries

They import the crude oil, and they want to sell it to us. Well, it has to get refined first. We have not built a new refinery in over 30 years, and all of the current refineries are filled beyond their desired capacities. They are prepping that gasoline for us as fast as they can, but unless we have more of them, it's hard to keep up with the steadily rising demand of new drivers in a growing population. Again, these companies want more oil to come in. Limiting the amount that can be processed does not help achieve that goal. I can't recall the state (I'm thinking South Dakota, but I'm not 100% sure) that recently voted in favor of a ballot initiative to build a new refinery. I heard about it on the news, and they mentioned how it would be the first in almost 4 decades. The next comment was, "Well, it remains to be seen what will happen now... the environmental groups are soon going to get involved."

Which creates a perfect transition to my next planned post on the theory of Global Warming... the environmental hoax du jour.

So, you stay tuned. But more importantly...

You stay classy


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Change We Can Relieve Ourselves In

As I sit here watching Obama's democrat primary "victory" speech, I am astonished by the applause and cheers to comments that mean absolutely nothing.

As the audience shouts "Yes we can," I wonder if they know what they propose it is that they can do. Oh wait, I forgot... Change, right? They're going to bring the "right" change, or "change we can believe in," or "change to Washington."

Obama makes the same misleading statements over and over again.

"McCain is a 3rd Bush term" -- this is ridiculous. McCain and Bush practically hate one another, and McCain is best known for pissing off Republicans as a "maverick."

"McCain wants a 100-year war in Iraq" -- Mac actually wants to do the job the right way (the way we should have done in Vietnam before retreating), scaling down the forces as the circumstances dictate, and eventually reducing the presence to that of what we have in Japan or South Korea. A presence of 20,000-30,000 soldiers at a base, who will not be actively fighting or taking casualties.

These are just a coupe examples. I'd add more, but frankly I get upset just repeating them, and I have some work to do.

By the way, nowhere in these speeches does Obama say what the heck he plans to do about any of the problems facing this country. When he does offer up a plan, it's usually a plainly stupid one. And he responds to criticism by tweaking his answer.

Case in point: One of the primary ways he separated himself from Hillary Clinton in the primary was by vowing to meet with our enemies and the leaders of nations that openly hate us "without preconditions." He was clear about it in the debates. Now, after he tied the liberals around his pinkie finger and set his sights on the general, he is saying he would go into the meetings with a strict agenda setting out



He backtracks and tries to parse his words. Do most politicians do such things? Sure they do. But they do not proclaim to be Washington outsiders, bringing a new type of politics. He is using the same old political tricks, and he is proposing many of the same old failed policies of the past: bigger government, more taxes, more regulation, higher tariffs on trade, taking advantage of the segments of the society that feel victimized and offering up benefits galore with no way to pay for them.

At first glance, it may be surprising that so many "smart people" support Obama -- college students, graduates, professors. But it actually makes a lot of sense. College students are very idealistic, thinking they can make such a big difference and change or do anything. The gobble up this "change" message like one of my dogs when I toss them some cheese. And many graduates and professors are in the most liberal block of the democrat party.

Update: Obama just said in his speech that we will look back on history and say that "this was the moment when we decided we would provide for the sick." Right, because before the Dems named Obama their candidate, nobody has cared about sick people.

I am stupefied by how many people chant and cheer along to the empty rhetoric.

And as poor as the political environment has been for Republicans lately, I am anxious to get into the general election debates, where Obama cannot hide from these questions anymore. Let's see if he can withstand the Republican "political machine" and the Mac attack.

Obama's message is like a toilet, and the GOP will do to the former what most people do on the latter, post-Taco Bell.

You stay classy,


Friday, May 30, 2008


So, I am finally starting to get paid, after a bunch of moving expenses and a couple weeks of working, commuting, eating, and paying other expenses. Fortunately, I have a wonderful family that has helped me make ends meet along the way.

As a result of a dangerously low checking account balance and little cash on hand, I had to get creative with my expenses. I would get gas in less than $10 increments, I became a master of the value menus at Wendy's and Taco Bell, and I spent an extra few minutes go up and down all the grocery store aisles to find the best bang for my buck, without sacrificing quality in the process.

Further complicating the process is the fact that I have such a limit "kitchen" area here. As you can see in the pictures from my previous post, I have a small fridge, a microwave, and small coffee maker. I experimented with different ways of flavoring up some otherwise plain oatmeal, from a dash of salt to picking apart granola bars and sprinkling the contents throughout. I also found ways to make a some stir fry and low mein, cooking different ingredients separately then tossing them all together. And I quickly realized how easy it was to near-boil and poach chicken.

Just a few days ago, I heated up some black beans, cooked some brown rice and a few chicken strips, and threw in some salsa. I found some inexpensive whole wheat tortillas at Food Lion, and with all the cooked items I had a makeshift taco bar. I enjoyed a few burritos (between lunch and dinner), and it barely cost me anything. Rice and beans are super cheap, the salsa was a store knockoff version of tostitos salsa, and the chicken was one of those "manager's specials" -- the food they drastically mark down when it's within a day or two of the "sell by" date on the packaging.

On Thursday, I was looking to pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store -- great buys, since you get the whole chicken for a cheap price. I noticed the freshly cooked ones going for about $7-8, but the ones from the morning had been placed in a refrigerated area and were only $4. Brought that sucker home, immediately got to work on it, stripping every ounce of meat from it and nearly filling a large tupperware container. I also picked up a rice cooker from CVS for about $12, so making the rice will be a breeze. I remember in my freshman year of college, I had a roommate who would cook some rice, and after the rice began to soak up most of the water, he would toss a few Taiwanese sausages on top. These are kind of red, and they have a distinct and pleasant sweet flavor. I saw an Asian market on the way back from work the other day, so maybe I can find the sausages and some other goodies at the market.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Lola and Guapo also have enjoyed some of the goodies. I've been breaking off chunks of colby jack cheese (that I've been eating with crackers, like a typical Cuban), and they helped me finish a chicken burrito just a couple hours ago.

Next up, I have a package of ground turkey, and I want to see if I can make a decent chili without a stove or crock pot / slow cooker. I'll let you know how that works out.

You stay classy,


Sunday, May 25, 2008

My Summer Home

After much delay, I thought I should post up some snapshots I've taken in Spartanburg. Please forgive the poor quality -- the pictures were taken with my camera phone, so they're not exactly 8 mega pixels or anything too precise.

Here are a couple shots from our luxurious Motel 6 room, when we arrived after midnight a week and a half ago. Nothing too exciting, but you can see the dogs hanging out on the crappy bed and the rest of the tiny room is visible, as well.

We stay there for 1 evening and we're gone by noon, and somehow we managed to get locked out of the room twice in that less-than-12-hour period! I left the dogs in the room early that morning, and took off to run some errands. I passed by my new job to pick up some paperwork, and then I had to go pee in a cup to prove in an annoying, but necessary, drug test. After that was out of the way, I set out to visit the first of a few potential housing arrangements. After briefly visiting with the landlord at Campus Place, right by USC Upstate, I figured the accommodations were good enough, and the location is very convenient. Most importantly, however, the rent was the cheapest of all my potential options. So, I signed the lease on the spot.

Once I got all of my stuff moved into the room, I started rearranging the furniture and tried to get the converted hotel room to feel somewhat like an apartment and bedroom. Here are the results.

Here is the king size bed that came with the place, and Lola wasted no time making my 1 pillow into a dog bed:

The stud, Guapo, immediately claimed the lazy boy recliner. I can almost hear him shouting, in his Borat voice, "King of the Castle, King of the Castle!" from the seat:

There were no closets with the place, but there was a rack with some hangers by the front door:

Notice the bathroom to the left, and the front door to the right

For non-hanging items, I was able to stash them in a drawer somewhere, or one this table by the front of the room:

And since this used to be a hotel room, there isn't a kitchen. Fortunately, the room came with a fridge, microwave, and coffeemaker. Here's my "kitchen" for the summer:

Finally, since I moved to Spartanburg for a job, it is only appropriate that I set up my "office" somehow:

Here are a couple wide shots of the room, so you can see how everything is arranged:

And this is my humble abode for the summer months. I'll be here through late July, until road trip vacation with my dad, following by a month of legal job fairs and traveling.

For now, I'm going to take advantage of this long weekend to get some work done. So, I'll be hunkered down in my "office" - see the picture above.

I hope everyone has a happy, long Memorial Day weekend. Be sure to pay your respects to the veterans.

You stay classy,


Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend

As most people look forward to this particularly long weekend, looking forward to getting some extra time off of work, and taking advantage of a long weekend to go on a fun trip and/or visit with family, I will have a slightly different experience.

1. My summer job is paid by the hour, and being a temporary, hourly employee, I don't get compensated for the work-free Monday holiday. I also don't get a dime for the half day at work yesterday. Fortunately, my boss said I could bring some work home and clock some additional hours to compensate for the time off. That definitely should help.

2. I am in Spartanburg, South Carolina, about 7 hours from my dad and 10 hours from my mom. So, I probably won't see any family members this weekend. I still don't know if I'll be able to grill out a bit on Monday. We'll see.

3. I have a research position for the dean of my law school, so I'll be putting in a good amount of work for that over the weekend.

Basically, since I haven't been paid for either job yet, my balance is running a bit low at the moment. So, my travel options are quite limited, and I'll probably just sit tight. It gives me a good excuse to stay in and put in a good amount of hours, though, so it should pay off in a couple weeks.

At least I've got L & G keeping me company. Maybe we'll have our own little Memorial Day BBQ.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back to Work

I knew I was out of shape, but damn... I just went up 12 flights of steps, and I got pretty winded. As soon as I get outa work, I'm going for a long run!

You stay classy!


- Posted using Pocket Watch Software Mobile GBlogger.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

PETA is an Attention Whore

So, I went to my company's shareholders' meeting this morning, and the otherwise dry and uneventful hour-and-change had memorable moment. At the end of the board's presentation, the forum opened up for comments and questions. Aside from the groups of men and women in pricey, formal business attire, was a single young woman. She stuck out like a sore thumb. Sure enough, when the time came for questions and comments, her she thrust her right arm straight up in the air. I could almost hear her thought, "Oh! Oh! Me! Me! Please, call on me!" She introduced herself as a representative of PETA, and proceeded with a 5 minute speech on how certain practices of slaughtering chickens are more humane, and wanted to know if the company would do anything to encourage and to promote this PETA-preferred method. It seems this appearance was not a surprise to the board, as a generic, prepared statement was read in response. I thought it particularly humorous and ineffective that PETA would waste resources to send a representative to a breakfast restaurant board meeting, given the nature of what food products are typically offered at a breakfast. I don't know about you, but I usually don't ask for chicken in my omelette. Now, if they wanted to protest the killing of pigs, that might make a bit more sense.

All this talk of pigs and breakfast made me think of ham and bacon. Man, I am such a carnivore. I don't know how anyone could get by as a vegatarian.

For some background information: Coming into this event, my supervisor / boss had mentioned the interruptions and protests of PETA in years past, and he hoped history would not repeat itself. They have had incidents where individuals showed up and protested outside the corporate headquarters wearing a chicken suit. Fortunately, the sole representative from PETA conducted herself in a respectful manner, sitting quietly through the presentation, and making her timely comment and question at the end.

That story reminded me of an incident last year, when I was visiting my father for the Christmas season. It was a Saturday afternoon, and we all went to the local mall to eat at a Chili's restaurant. Outside the main entrance to the mall stood about 15 PETA protesters, one of them dressed up like a fox. The animal... not an attractive woman (I mention that because PETA has drawn attention by sending young, attractive females to events in their bikinis to attract attention). In any case, this bunch of PETA folks was protesting the sale of fur and leather goods, citing the cruel and unhumane treatment of the animals from which the materials are "harvested."

I found this spectacle to be silly, but what I witnessed soon thereafter elicited a "laugh out loud" response. About 10-15 minutes after we sat down to eat, we observed through the window a group of people setting up something directly across the street from the PETA bunch. At first, we could not determine what it was that they were up to, immediately assuming they were affiliated with PETA as well. However, within a few minutes it was quite obvious that they were there not to protest fur and leather, but rather the PETA protest, itself. This mostly-male group pulled out a BBQ, and started grilling ribs and burgers and chicken, with a breeze sifting what must have been a delicious scent of grilled meat in the direction of the presumptively-vegan PETA protestors. Such moments make me proud of this country's protection of free speech.

So, I got to wondering... how many leather jackets did PETA prevent from being sold? And going back even farther, how many cows avoided slaughter because of PETA protesting in front of a shopping mall? I'm pretty the number is pretty close to a whopping zero.

Which brings me to my point, a natural conclusion: PETA is an attention whore. Maybe the organization was founded on some sound principles. Hell, I have had many pets and I am all in favor of treating animals with some dignity. But these loonies have gone overboard a bit. These protests and spectacles probably do more to HURT their cause that they do to convince people to change their consumption - be it food or shopping.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back to Work

So, I had a pretty relaxing weekend, unpacking the rest of my stuff and getting settled in. I drove around a bit, scoping out Spartanburg and seeing what it has to offer.

One thing that immediately stood out was that everything shuts down Sunday afternoon. I went online to find a mass schedule for a nearby Catholic church, but the latest mass was at noon. Oops. Well, now I know.

Another thing that became obvious to me was the fact that I spent all my money in the move up here. Correction: my money AND the money my parents spotted me for the move. Sheesh, I can't stand being broke. I need this 3rd year of law school to zip by, so I can start racking up my billable hours! =)

Anyway, I just got back in from work a few minutes ago. I'm going to heat up a microwaveable dinner (no stove or oven, just a fridge and microwave!), kick back, and watch some of the news and political coverage. Then I need to do some more work for my research position.

By the way, I'm pretty psyched about tomorrow. I get to sit in on a shareholders' meeting at 9AM. That should be an interesting experience.

All right, I'll try to get back on here for a new post tomorrow evening.

Until then, you stay classy


Thursday, May 15, 2008


So, I get to my new internship at the legal department of corporation best known for its breakfast, and all is going well. I go from office to office, meeting all my new co-workers and superiors, shaking many hands and exchanging many pleasantries. Then I make arrangements for my parking and security passes and get a short tour of certain parts of the building. After all that, I get right to work in my quasi-cubicle -- more of an artificial room than a typical cubicle.

Shortly after I get to work, I am overcome by a sudden, strong sense of exhaustion. I was quite anxious the night before, so I got to bed kind of late and had trouble sleeping. But I thought the solid 5-6 hours that I DID sleep would've sufficed. "Man, I feel so incredibly tired," I remember thinking to myself. I made several trips to 17th floor, the top floor of the building and the site of the free fountain beverage station -- serving only Coca Cola products. After downing Diet Coke and Coke Zero like my very life depended on it, I was still struggling to make it through the morning.

Around 11:30, the company had a big meeting, somewhat resembling a high school pep rally, to talk about new initiative for the upcoming summer months. They unveiled, among other things, some new breakfast ideas. As I sat there listening and watching, and thinking to myself, "Man, those items look good," I barely managed to stay awake. Since they were unveiling three initiative for May, June, and July, they chose a baseball for the event and called it their "Triple Play" plan. Going with that theme, they provided us with a baseball-themed lunch, including hot dogs, big pretzels, popcorn, and chips. The only thing missing was the beer -- which really would've sealed the deal, but probably would not do much for employee productivity!

"Oh boy, being as tired as I am, having lunch will be like the 'nail in the coffin,'" I remember thinking to myself. But I concluded that it would be difficult to make it through the rest of the day without having a bite to eat, and since I spent all my money in the move up here (gas, snacks, rent, etc.), I couldn't pass up a free meal. So, I snagged a couple hot dogs, had about half a pretzel, and a couple mini-bottles of Dasani water. As I sat at a table by a window, overlooking the Spartanburg area, I suddenly began to emerge from my sluggish state. Within minutes, my energy level soared, and I felt like I had taken a serious power nap. This was a bit confusing, since I am accustomed the post-lunch "crash" that I have experienced so many times before. Then it dawned on me... I hadn't eaten any breakfast. The last I had eaten was a delicious meal at my friend Jonathan's home the night before. So, I had gone about 18 hours without a bite to eat. No wonder I felt so weak and tired! Marta (my lovely girlfriend) constantly nags me about eating breakfast, harping on how it's the most important meal of the day -- which we've all heard many times over the years.

Thus, the irony: I struggled to stay awake and alert all morning at my new internship, working for a popular breakfast joint... all because I didn't eat breakfast.

You stay classy


Day 1 at the New Job

I had a great time getting acclimated at the new job today, but it's been such a long day that I hardly have the energy to write a blog post -- plus, I need to get to bed already. But I have a story coming up, so be sure to check in tomorrow evening for a story of great irony.

Until then, you stay classy!


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Beacon Drive-In

As I was getting settled in, and waiting for the dogs to adjust to their 4th bedroom in 2 weeks -- the 3rd in 24 hours -- I received a phone call from Patrick (the student who had recommended the Denny's job and "Campus Place" to me), inviting me out to lunch with his wife and daughter. We opted to check out the infamous Beacon Drive-In (beacondrivein.com), a local burger spot where you almost get as much meat as you do grease. The menu is huge, and they have some delicious burgers. As I approached the blind gentleman standing at the front of the ordering line, he shouted, "Caaaaaall It!"

As we attacked the orgy of beef, fries, and onion rings, Patrick's daughter nibbled on some peas and chick peas (brought from home). She is the most adorable thing I've ever seen, at only 10 months old. I offered her a french fry, but since she didn't know me, she looked it over and held it for a few minutes before hesitantly nibbling on it. After that, she wanted nothing to do with the peas and beans, and she demands more fries from her mom. They joked that I had "created a monster" by offering the fry.

The Beacon also touts it famous sweet tea, which I had no clue was this popular in the South. I have friends from Georgia and South Carolina who would always order sweet tea at restaurants, but I had no idea it was such a big deal to have really good sweet tea. And boy, was this tea tasty! All in all, I had half of an amazing burger, a few fries, a few onion rings, and two cups of tea, for about $7. It was very tasty, but incredibly filling (and guilt-inducing).

But I definitely will be back... particularly if my girlfriend, Marta, comes to visit -- she's very conscious of what she eats, always opting for healthy options when we go out (though she'll pick at my food without a problem). I can't wait to see her reaction when we enter the restaurant, with the aroma of fried onions permeating throughout, and the blind guy at the beginning of the line shouting "Caaaaaaaaaall It!" It was an experience I knew was inevitable, so I am glad I got it right away. For those of you who are from the Atlanta area, or at least have been there long enough to check out some of the local and well-known burger joints, think of this town's version of Atlanta's "The Varsity" (thevarsity.com). Apparently, the place is so well known that Guy Fieri from Food Network, did a feature on the place for his "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" show (Diners A-Plenty, Episode DV0111).

If you're ever in town, or want to pay me a visit here in the 'Burg, this is definitely a place to check out.

You stay classy,


Spartanburg -- Day 1

I arrived in Spartanburg last night, around midnight, where I begin my internship with the legal department at Denny's tomorrow morning. Getting in so late, I opted to stay as the cheapest option possible -- Motel 6 for $32. Lola and Guapo (shown below) came along for the trip, and they were noticeably uncomfortable with the new accommodations. But after about 20 minutes, they settled down and started playing on the bed. I did notice that the sheets and pillow cases had not been washed, or if they had, they hadn't been bleached, because there some nasty reddish-brown smudges left behind. So, grabbed some new sheets from the front desk, tuned in to Conan for his opening monologue, then I turned in for the night.

I woke up this morning at 7AM, to my obnoxious-yet-quite-effective alarm on my phone, set to the infamous "Hello Moto" ringer, where a male voice loudly says the aforementioned words, followed by some techy music for a few seconds. I have found the more obnoxious the sound, and the farther it is from the bed (so you have to get up), the more effective the alarm.

I usually shower just before going to bed, so as to avoid dirtying the sheets and getting my hair gel all over the pillow sheets. But since this was the first time I've been up this early for a couple weeks -- since my last exam at W&L this semester -- I figured I'd save my shower for the morning, as a soothing, relaxing way to ease my way into the day. Yeah, not happening. I turn the knob and a fire hose of a shower head zapped the opposite wall of the shower. I looked for a knob to adjust the straight-ahead, "fire hose" setting to more of a spray, but I came up empty-handed. I did wake me up, though.

After walking the dogs for a few minutes, I was off to check out Spartanburg, and I had a number of errands to run. First thing's first -- I had to take a preemployment drug test. It was nearby, and it only took a few minutes. Then I made a stop at the bank and was off to check out some housing that was recommended to me by a fellow W&L Law student (Patrick), who also had recommended the Denny's job to me (and subsequently interviewed me).

When I arrived at "Campus Place" -- advertised as an off-campus student housing alternative to the dorms for USC Upstate students (as well as student from other local schools), I thought I had reached the wrong destination. I saw a sign that read "Hotel Parking Lot" and thought I had made a wrong turn. But sure enough, a student unloading grocery bags from her car assured me it was the right place. Once inside the lobby, it was obvious to me that the building once was a small hotel. When I went to scope out the room, which looked like an obvious hotel room , I immediately noticed the little plastic "channel list" sitting on the nightstand. It prominently displayed "Days Inn" atop the list. Yes, this building used to be a Days Inn. That explains the little ice bucket in the room, and the cable tv channel list, and the 2 yellow phone books and bible in the nightstand drawer. However, there also is a refrigerator, microwave, and coffeemaker. Sadly, there is no kitchen in the room, but I may procure a plug-in single burner stove top at the nearby Walmart. That way, I can at least make my Cafe Bustelo in the mornings, too. American java just doesn't quite cut it after 26 years of potent Cuban coffee.

Anyway, I just received a phone call from Patrick, and I'm gonna head out for lunch with him, his wife, and his little daughter. I hope to keep up to date with my Spartanburg happenings, so be sure to check in again soon!

You stay classy, Miami (and my fellow future lawyers in Lexington)


Monday, May 05, 2008

Global Warming?

Following up on my previous post from two weeks ago, I just saw on the news that South Dakota got 4 feet of snow two nights ago. I understand South Dakota is way up north... but it's May. As in Summer. I'm back in Miami, and the temps are hanging out in the upper 80s to lower 90s range.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Getting hot...

As we get closer to summer, it's inevtiably warming up. Strange to say this, but I wish I were in Minnesota, where they're still getting some snow in April!


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

So much for the arrival of Spring...

I definitely just had to scrape my windshield and defrosted the car.

From the wintry mountains of VA,


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UPDATE: overnight low temperature was a toasty 24 degrees...

Now I'm Mobile

It's been quite some time since I've updated this blog, but with my new mobile gblogger software, I hope to get back into the swing of things.

Stay tuned for updates!


- Posted using Pocket Watch Software Mobile GBlogger.

- Posted using Pocket Watch Software Mobile GBlogger.