Congratulations Are in Order

In addition to being a lawyer, I have been represented by several lawyers over the course of my adult life—sometimes for reasons I would have rather avoided, sometimes for purely cautionary reasons, and sometimes for good reasons. A lawyer who helped me with some business startup matters (which I’ll call one of the good reasons), Elizabeth Copeland at Strasburger & Price in San Antonio, has been nominated by President Obama to the U.S. Tax Court in Washington D.C.

Tax Court sounds like a place I never, ever, ever, ever, ever want to go, but it’s a great career opportunity for her, so my congratulations!

Of course, she still has to be confirmed and all that. Ugh.


New York Travelogue 2015, Part III

Friday, the second full day of our NYC adventure, began with the sort of intense muscle soreness that only those who live in commuter cities and don’t exercise enough can truly understand. For my part, I understand if your cup doth not run over for our plight. Stiff legs aside, we set off for Brooklyn via the bridge of the same name.


After marveling at a truly impressive feat of 19th-century engineering (seriously—they used glorified diving bells to put the supports in place under the East River, which is really hardcore), we descended into the subway system again.

After the previous day’s subway (mis)adventure, I figured I had this whole public transportation thing down. I was wrong. For reasons I still don’t understand, it was announced that our train would be skipping our intended station, which led to a sort of circling around the stop we wanted. I hope one day it will seem funny.

On the plus side, the Brooklyn Museum has some amazing stuff. Continue reading


New York Travelogue 2015, Part II

Picking up where we left off yesterday, let’s talk a bit about the New York City subway system. See, you might think that you are pretty adept at navigating a city’s rail system, based on the fact that you had no problem with the metro systems of Washington, D.C. and multiple European cities*, not to mention the bus systems of Washington, D.C. and Reykjavik. You might think that, but you still might not be prepared for the rainbow-hued, alphabet-soup, spaghetti-like clusterf*ck that is the New York City subway. See, from the map, it looked easy: hop on at the nearest station in Queens, about five blocks away, take the only line running out of that station (the purple one) to Grand Central, then take the green line going towards Brooklyn for 2 or 3 stops (I forget at the moment), and presto! You’re two blocks from your new hotel!

I didn’t account for two words, because I had no idea they were an issue: “local” versus “express.” We did eventually get to the hotel, and were able to reflect on how this was, on the scale of vacation f***ups, pretty close to the bottom.

From here, we began the walking. Oh, how we walked. I kept expecting my exercise tracker to ask who I was and why I stole an exercise tracker from a guy who takes an average of 3,000 steps a day. Continue reading


New York Travelogue 2015, Part I

I’m a life-long Texan who has never lived in a city with fewer than 1 million or more than 4 million people. My wife is a Midwestern girl from a small college town. We are off on an epic adventure to New York City, where the same number of people that live in Austin probably live in one city block.

So far, all we’ve managed to do is take a cab from La Guardia to a nearby hotel, eat some extremely Hunan-style food, and sleep. This morning, I wandered around until I found a place that sells decent-looking breakfast (it didn’t take long), noticed that the lounge on the top floor of the our hotel remains accessible even when no one is on duty there, and gotten kicked out of the lounge on the top floor of our hotel.

Today, we venture into “the City”—for my fellow country mice, that means Manhattan—for more adventures. All of this will culminate in (I shit you not) the ICCA Finals, as seen in the movie Pitch Perfect. That’s on Saturday.

Here are a few photographic highlights from my Flickr album-in-progress: Continue reading


Follow Your Passion!!!!!! Or Don’t. (UPDATED)

Remember kids, you too can follow your dreams! All you need is drive, determination, and $250,000 in seed capital!!! (h/t Thax)

It all started with a high school assembly on the first day back from winter break. The guest speaker was the founder of an Austin-based company with a positive message about following your dreams. But what was supposed to be a motivational speech turned into a war of words between high school students and staff and Kash Shaikh, the founder of #BeSomebody, that played out on blogs and social media.

On January 5, Shaikh spoke to students at Austin High School, at the school’s invitation. According to his Twitter, his talk at the high school was similar to his talk at a recent TEDxUWMilwaukee event, which was produced independently of the famous TED Conferences.

In his speech, Shaikh said he’s tired of people being all talk.

“I called myself out 19 months ago and walked away from everything I once thought was important: money, title, lifestyle, things, a career that started at Proctor and Gamble, the largest consumer products company in the world, and started to blossom at GoPro, the fastest growing camera company in the world,” Shaikh said. “I called myself out to go all in on my passion.”

Okay….. It seems a bit…..interesting to talk about walking away from “money,” “a career,” and other such things to a group of people who haven’t even started their adult lives yet, but let’s see where he goes with this. Continue reading


The Ickiness Subsides

I’ve been battling a frustratingly-mild cold of some sort all week. By that I mean it has been just bad enough to incapacitate most of the creative part of my brain, but not enough to render me incapable of daily life functions. I only just now realized that nearly every blog post from this week has been formulaic stuff that I actually scheduled to post weeks ago.

I realize that if I apologize too much for infrequent blog updates, I risk becoming the Least Interesting Man in the World, but it’s a chance I’ll just have to take.

The last time this happened, I was able to buy your forgiveness, dear reader(s), with an Olivia Munn GIF. I see no point in trying anything different now. Continue reading


Where There’s a Will, There’s a May

We’ve begun to take some pretty extreme measures to keep the dogs in line. Our latest innovation involves using the dining room chairs to block their access to the living room sofa when we’re not around.

I really don’t give May enough credit for her problem-solving skills, though. A sideways ottoman and a set of chairs isn’t an obstacle for May. It’s a challenge.



Confessions of a Digital Hoarder

I am something of a virtual hoarder (or digital hoarder, either will do). By this, I mean that I am constantly bookmarking things I read online, saving funny memes and other pictures into vast directories, accumulating animated GIFs that I may never look at again because I think they might be useful in a Facebook thread some day, and so on. I’ve mentioned before that I have amassed a sizable collection of unpublished blog post drafts, some half-written, some entirely unwritten, and some that are nothing more than a title and a note to write something with that title.

By TheDoctorMo (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

Not pictured: My blog dashboard. This is a metaphor.

Among those drafts are several accumulations of links to major news stories of the past couple years, which I accumulated through hours upon hours of reading time-wasting on the internet. I have no reasonable expectation that I will ever take those giant lists of URLs and spin them into written gold, but I want to do something with them. I proclaim this to be blog-cleaning season! Continue reading


Your Own Private Ball Pit

I wish I had thought of this back in my Rice University days:

When U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials learned that Rice University senior David Nichol had imported 26 fairly large boxes containing 13,000 plastic colored balls from China, they decided to investigate the contents due to the sheer bizarreness of the order.

“There are a lot of things about importing I didn’t know that I do now – about how you need to fill out certain forms and how you need to pick them up from (the Houston) ship channel,” Nichol said.

“I actually didn’t pick them up from the Port of Houston,” he said. “They were taken to (U.S.) Customs and Border Protection to be tested to make sure they were certified balls and not something else. I’m sure it was kind of sketchy to have 13,000 plastic balls shipped to Texas.”

Nichol’s excuse was pretty straightforward: He wanted to create a ball pit in his dorm room at Rice.

(h/t Sheila, via Texas Monthly)

I can’t tell which dorm this is, so it must be one of the new ones. Now I feel old. This totally would’ve worked at Lovett, had anyone dared. The closest thing I can remember from Lovett in the ’90s was the tower of Mountain Dew cans, which simply required superglue and a crapload of Mountain Dew cans (and, I guess, a lot of stomachaches from drinking all that Dew). There were also the two guys who never cleaned their room, to the point that you couldn’t see the floor at all by March or April. That’s not something you want to jump and roll around in, though (I hope). Continue reading


“It’s always right now”: A Few Thoughts on “Boyhood”

About three days into my college orientation, one of our advisors (a sophomore who had the perhaps unenviable task of shepherding about fifteen of us into university life) suggested we make a run to Target to get any supplies we might need for our dorm rooms. This event sticks out in my memory because it marked a “moment of realization” that might be common for college freshmen, and young adults in general. Or it might not—I’ve never asked anybody. I have now lived more years since that evening than I had lived up to that point, so the moment may seem sort of pithy now.

Kelly Martin (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, the places we went! (Actual store we went to not pictured.)

As we piled into the advisor’s car at around 9 p.m., though, I had this sudden realization that I never could quite describe. It wasn’t freedom, exactly, even though part of the realization was that I hadn’t had to ask anyone’s permission to go to Target late in the evening, and that no one was monitoring my bedtime (aside from basic social conventions between roommates). A better word might be possibility. If nothing was stopping me from going to Target at 9 p.m.—aside from not having a car and living in an unfamiliar city with spotty public transportation—what else was possible for me? Like I said, it seems pithy from the perspective of being 40 years old, but to an 18 year old from the quasi-suburbs who had never been away from adult supervision, the possibilities seemed endless. This brings me to the movie Boyhood.


I saw Boyhood in the theater about six months ago, and like most people, I was astonished by the ambition of the project and the story that it told. As you probably know, director Richard Linklater shot the movie a few weeks at a time over the course of twelve years, from 2002 to 2014. The movie follows the life of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from elementary school to his first moments of college. The final scene of the movie is what really stuck in my mind, because it captured that feeling of possibility better than I could ever describe it with words. Spoilers ahead… Continue reading