this learning curve is ugly and shallow

This is a closer view of the ambiguous signage at juvenile court. Unfortunately, it was as dark and gloomy today as last week was bright and sunny. The Treo was getting rained on.

The latest report on TimeMatters is that my database is functional, but wounded. I'm still in trial, so not able to devote the time this matter requires quite yet. Stay turned for further disaster reporting.


learning curve: ugly but steep

After a week or so of wrestling with my Treo 650, this is what I can do with it:

(1) I can take lousy pictures (as previously documented);

(2) I can receive email four different ways;

(3) I can send email under my work alias;

(4) I can surf the Internet with images turned off;

(5) I can customize ring tones for individual callers, and include a (lousy) picture of them that displays onscreen when they call;

(6) I can make telephone calls;

(7) I can place and answer telephone calls using my Bluetooth wireless headset;

(8) I can do all the usual PDA stuff; and

(9) I can send and receive text messages (this was actually the first thing I figured out).

Not only that, today I (9a) figured out how to adjust the clock on my car CD player. It has been driving me wild that the dashboard clock and CD clock were two minutes off.

What I haven't quite mastered yet is the MP3 player portion of the Treo, since my desktop RealPlayer won't recognize anything above a Treo 600 as a device to burn MP3s to, although I have the appropriate software on my 650. I also have a full album of downloaded Tibetan monastery chants waiting on my desktop that I am yearning to experience.

Now, I may well have completely trashed my TimeMatters/BillingMatters database in the last twenty-four hours, and taken down our fledgling firm network with it, but at least I'll be able to listen to music when they come to put me in a rubber room.

no deposit, no return?

Now I've seen everything in family law.


ambiguous signage

Unfortunately, I am no better with a digital camera than I am with a conventional one.

I am in trial up at Juvenile Court this week. It's not a Juvenile Court case, the judge is just temporarily assigned to a courtroom there.

The first day of trial I parked by these two signs. The top sign says "Two Hour Parking." The bottom sign says "Tow-Away Zone."

Nope, I didn't get towed, but I moved my car at the first opportunity.


digital bling

I want digital jewelry, because I'm living in an ethereal world, and I am an ethereal girl.


the dark goddess, a corporation sole

It's official. I received my certificate of incorporation from the state of Washington in the morning's mail (my paralegal bowed to me when she presented it) as a corporation sole.

It was only a few weeks ago that I learned (by reading my local newspaper, an endless source of amusement) that Washington state is one of the few in the nation that provides a mechanism for creating a legally recognized corporation consisting of a single person heading a religious organization. I can only ask, why?

Corporations sole, for those of my readers not familiar with this particular ridiculous anachronism, have their foundation in the mists of antiquity (Roman law). Both the King of England and the chamberlain of the City of London were, at one point at least, corporations sole. Over the centuries, the corporation sole has largely been the secular corporate entity that the Roman Catholic church uses to, for example, take title to land holdings. This particular legal entity has always got me reflecting on the scriptural passage about serving God and Mammon both, but I digress (or perhaps not).

In modern times corporations sole have been seized upon by the Posse Comitatus crowd and other hucksters as a way of evading taxes. Frankly, if the Catholic Church is going to be mixing it up in the secular world with secular institutions, it ought to be using regular corporations and not special entities created for its own benefit by the State (be it Washington or any other).

Indeed, the fact that I can obtain a corporation sole at all for my Internet persona shows how ridiculous the statutes are. Parody remains dead, and irony is still firmly in its place.


from my inbox

A plaintive postcard from my law school: "Each year we write to you in the hope that you will make a gift * * * . Perhaps we have been asking the wrong question."

The mail-in portion of the card asks if my "choice not to support the Law School" stems from:

Financial reasons?
The direction of the Law School?
Experiences while at the Law School?
My support of other charitable causes?

The mail-in card alone uses the term "alumni" (that is, masculine-only plural) three times. A few deans ago I had trained them out of that for a while.

The school also expects me to provide my own stamp to send the mail-in card.

Yep. They are asking the wrong question.


yestertech redux

In which it is discovered that Moore's Law applies to car audio equipment.

I can hardly be accused of rushing into all of my technology decisions. Until this weekend my car, which I bought new seventeen years ago, still had its factory sound system installed. The cassette deck died a few years ago, and I have been mulling over replacing the sound system ever since. No need to rush into these things.

Research revealed a plethora of aftermarket audio receivers for the car with CD players rather than cassette decks as a supplement to the admittedly fine radio stations we have in this market.

I was amused, but not surprised, to discover when I strolled into my local car sound emporium that I was apparently the only woman in the building and quite possibly the only person over the age of forty. The bravest salesperson accosted me and I discovered that the exact product I had in mind for my rig was ninety-nine dollars plus tax, installation included. He made one feeble attempt to sell me upgraded speakers which ended when I looked over my reading glasses to point out that I have no ambition to pump bass vibrations into the night air. Wrong demographic.

My new unit now says "hello" on the digital display (more realistically, "07734" upside down) when I turn the car on and "see you" when I turn the car off, an unexpected bonus to my commute. The face plate also comes off so no one is tempted to steal it. Cool.

My first thought upon learning of the pricing was, "I should have done this long ago." My second thought was, "If I had done this long ago I would not have found a deal like this." And this is why being a late adapter of technology is not always bad.


heavy metal

I pass through metal detectors several times a week. I've been doing this for years. This has created a subtle pressure on the way I dress and the way I organize my personal effects.

First of all, I never carry any change in my coat pocket. Concealed weapons--other than a sharp wit--are no longer an option. I do carry an odd assortment of toys for the children in my pockets that have to be emptied into the bins for the guards. I simply am not willing to give that up.

Second, hair ornaments and clips that appear to be solid plastic always seem to have a metal spring or wire somewhere. I only have four fillings, so it's not my teeth. Part of my "look" is to wear stuff in my hair, so I have become accustomed to having my head hand-wanded.

Third, belts are simply not part of my working wardrobe anymore. It feels creepy to me to start peeling off clothing at the courthouse door. I'll put on my armor there, thank you very much.

But the most metallic part of the style I've developed over the years is my penchant for elegant high-heeled shoes with or without fun stockings. Years of dancing have given me the confidence to call attention to my legs, and my years of a mail-order budget are long gone. Not surprisingly, when you think of it, sometimes what appear to be the flimsiest of pumps are built on a foundation of steel springs. In my experience, Ferragamos are built like a brick house, whereas Marc Jacobs shoes have no metal reinforcement, and demonstrate this by falling apart on my feet within a season. The guards at the courthouse, a fairly small crew who know me my now, have their favorites among my shoes because they have hand-wanded them so frequently.

They particularly like slingbacks.

A side note: Michael Jackson does not know how to dress for metal detectors.


new vocabularies

Partnership in a law firm has introduced me to some new categories of vocabulary. I am still learning words in rafts and batches these days, but now I am paid to be a professional student.

A few years ago I was learning commercial leasing jargon because my joining the partnership was coincident with our negotiating a new ten-year lease.

This year is the Year of the Server. One day, I'm minding my own business, puttering along peer-to-peer with my faithful paralegal. We upgrade to a file server which turns out to have not quite enough juice and wham! I'm up to my ears in VUP CALs and residential gateways.

At least now I know what a "decently-spec'd file server" is now. Even if I don't have one yet.


solar laptops

Definitely wouldn't work here in Seattle because of the relative scarcity of sunny days. Some companies will ship to developing countries only. Other companies tout the advantages of a long cord (so one can sit "under a tree at the beach," presumably with resort staff to bring drinks with tiny umbrellas in them).


the joys of yestertech

My oh my. While I wait to turn my Palm into a Treo 650, an activity made more complex by the merger of my wireless carrier into another carrier, I started fiddling with my humble Nokia 3560. I'll be damned if I can't already send and receive email with it. That amused me for the better part of an hour when I was running errands at lunchtime. Eventually, I even figured out how to store email addresses in this phone.

Similarly, in discussing the upcoming upgrade with my spouse, the Nordic God, he allowed as how he really would like to have a phone that could be dialed by speaking to it. This is actually a great feature which really increases safety when driving. Although the Nordic God is truly an expert driver, a goddess worries sometimes, you know? Further investigation into his current phone disclosed that his phone (hint: it's the one on the right) already has this capability. I just need to enable a five-dollar feature on our phone service, which I can do, naturally, by Internet.

Point one: it's amazing how often we long for new technology when we haven't fully exploited the old technology yet.

Not only can I do emails (and chat, for that matter), I could--if I had a wireless internet provider--actually surf the Net with the telephone that I already own.

I could surf the Net, that is, were I willing to do so with a screen exactly one-and-one-quarter inches by one inch.

Point two: just because something can be done doesn't mean it should be done. And that's why I actually do need that Treo.


sic transit gloria mundi

Well, heck. The judge I clerked for, upon quick research, proves to have died about six months ago. I wouldn't have known that without Google.

At least Google will let me confirm his widow's address so I can send the sympathy note that, I now know, is long overdue.