Jun 30, 2010

Meeting Doodle

Today's meeting; subject matter simply a continuation of yesterday's.

Jun 29, 2010

Meeting Doodle

None yesterday, since I didn't have any meetings, but today's was early...

Cool Photos

Courtesy of Drawn! This guy has a ton of cool images; check out his Flickr account.

Jun 28, 2010

I Always Wanted An AT-AT

I love when friends send me cool animations (or is this puppetry?).

You Should Click This Link

...if you want to live.


It's some pretty cool artwork made-ish of toast.

The End of the Term

Today marks the end of the Supreme Court's Spring 2010 term. As per usual, the Court held off on the most important opinions of the term until the very end. Last week, they released their decisions on the 'honest services' cases, holding that 'honest services fraud' only pertains to kickbacks and bribery schemes. I absolutely disagree with the majority's opinion, though I agree with the holding. As Justice Scalia notes in his concurrence:

[I]t is obvious that mere prohibition of bribery and kickbacks was not the intent of the statute. To say that bribery and kickbacks represented "the core" of the doctrine, or that most cases applying the doctrine involved those offenses, is not to say that they are the doctrine. All it proves is that the multifarious versions of the doctrine overlap with regard to those offenses. But the doctrine itself is much more. Among all the pre-McNally smörgåsbord-offerings of varieties of honest-services fraud, not one is limited to bribery and kickbacks. That is a dish the Court has cooked up all on its own.

The Court desperately wanted to save honest services. It did, but only by concocting congressional intent. The only intent that went into the statute was that of spineless congressmen to be vague, and the Supremes have just abetted that by creating law where none had been. Now, we just have redundancy. If Congress had intended to make honest services fraud pertain to bribery and kickbacks, it wouldn't have already passed bribery and kickback statutes.

This morning's opinions and orders included a few important things to note:

  • First, the Court denied hearing to Holy See v. Doe, determining whether the Vatican can be sued.
  • Second, in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the Court held that when an academic institution has a policy that all student organizations must accept "all comers", religious organizations are not exempt. Basically, the Christian Legal Society cannot keep people from being voting or leading members of their Hastings College of Law chapter because those people won't sign a statement of faith. However, the determination was (a) limited to 'all comers' policies (which are exceedingly rare at universities) and (b) only applicable if the school has applied the "all comers" rule consistently across organizations (where there is evidence that it hasn't).
  • Finally, in McDonald v. City of Chicago, Justice Alito wrote for the majority that the Second Amendment is incorporated into the Fourteenth. However, interestingly, a majority did not agree that this was through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Only Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, and Alito supported that. Clarence Thomas (who concurred in judgement) thinks that it is incorporated through the (basically defunct, since the Slaughterhouse cases) privileges or immunities clause. On that, I agree with Justice Thomas. The other incorporated rights should've been done that way too. It's just a shame that we're saying that on the other end of 125 years of bad jurisprudence.

Jun 26, 2010

Meeting Doodle

Belated, from yesterday! I did this one in court, during a fact witness's testimony.

Jun 24, 2010

Meeting Doodle

My boss, my boss's boss, one of the attorneys, a guy with a mustache, and Boba Fett making an omelet.

Running Animals

Pencil tests are so much easier when you can draw them straight into the computer. Last night, I did a few run cycles, one of a cat and one of a buffalo.

Honest Services

The Supreme Court this morning passed down their opinions for Skilling v. United States, Black v. United States, and Weyhrauch v. United States, the so-called 'honest services' cases. Apparently, it has been held that to constitute honest services fraud, the government must show evidence of bribery or a kickback. I just printed the opinions and will read them today.

Opinion for Skilling
Opinion for Black
Opinion for Weyhrauch

For the record, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy would've voted to fully overturn the honest services statute as unconstitutional. Interestingly, and against my predictions, Alito and Roberts did not join Scalia's and Kennedy's concurring opinions, in which they express that view.

I was right, however, that most justices seemed to take issue with the statute. The ruling was 9-0. My guess had been either 7-2 or 8-1. Stevens, however, apparently joined the fold.

Jun 23, 2010


Sketch from earlier today

Final, colored version

Artus Workus

I did this a month or two ago for my aunt...she was doing a Bible study and wanted a picture, so I took a little centurion action figure and sketched him out.

Meeting Doodles II

Today I opted for chemistry, a platypus, a pig, and the half-filled flour sack.

Super Mario - LIVE

Jun 22, 2010

Meeting Doodles I

Unfortunately, I work a job that has lots of meetings. Unfortunately for those meetings, they are usually long, boring, and/or pointless. To retain the bit of my soul that hasn't been sucked out by the Man, I doodle. I'm going to start posting my daily doodles, assuming I have time.

The first one is just of some random characters that were in my mind:

Today I went to court to watch a trial that's going on before a judge that we have scheduled for our trial later this summer. The lady was the witness on the stand, the guy with the cap is the defendant, and the guy in the black robe is the judge. He was holding his hand in a way that looked like he was thinking/keeping something from falling out of his nose:

I do math sometimes when I get bored. Here is some differentiation (I think I did the arctan one incorrectly...). I also wanted to eat sushi:

And here is integration by partial fraction decomposition:

Fourth of July

This year, I was asked to do the cover for my hometown's Fourth of July program. The theme is 'Crown Point: Built on a Foundation of Caring'. I decided to use it to take my new tablet out for a whirl (work in progress!):

Interspecies World Cup

That would be something I'd watch.


I've been reading Seamus Heaney's brilliant bilingual edition of Beowulf on the train to work every day. Not just because the ladies dig it (the one next to me this morning kept looking at me and sighing as I flipped through my Concise Anglo-Saxon Dictionary), but also because the Anglo-Saxons are awesome.

Heaney does a great job in his translation, managing to both keep true to the intended meaning of the text (or what he thinks is the intended meaning) and the cadence of Anglo-Saxon poetry. Unlike modern English poetry, which, at least in the public's mind, rhymes, the Anglo-Saxons had a big thing for alliteration. So, in each line, you'll see either one or two major sounds repeated across the caesuras.

For example, in the opening line of Beowulf:

Hwæt! Wē Gār‐Dena   in geār‐dagum

you can see that the G and D repeat between Gār‐Dena and geār‐dagum.

Mr. Heaney maintains that very well (e.g. "So. The Spear-Danes in days gone by"). However, I do take issue with his very first word--the indelible hwæt.

Hwæt is a strange word, because in time its meaning has altered. You can easily see how it became our modern 'what' (similarly hwā=who, =how, hwȳ=why, and hwǣr=where). In fact, it is often translated as 'what'. However, at the beginning of a heroic poem such as Beowulf, the meaning is far different.

Epic poetry in the Anglo-Saxon world was similar to epic poetry in the Greco-Roman world, at least insofar as the beginning of the poem was used as a call to attention for the listener. The Greeks used the 'invocation of the Muses' (e.g. "μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος" ("Sing, oh Goddess, of the wrath of Peleus's son Achilles")). The Anglo-Saxons used hwæt.

In his introduction, Heaney describes how he came about translating hwæt as 'so':

Conventional renderings of hwæt, the first word of the poem, tend towards the archaic literary, with "lo" and "hark" and "behold" and "attend" and--more colloquially--"listen" being some of the solutions offered previously. But in Hiberno-English Scullionspeak, the particle "so" came naturally to the rescue, because in that idiom "so" operates as an expression which obliterates all previous discourse and narrative, and at the same time functions as an exclamation calling for immediate attention."

OK. I get what he's saying. It's true that 'so' obliterates previous discourse, an interjection used to move onto the next topic. However, I would disagree with his contention that it is used as 'an exclamation calling for immediate attention.' 'So' is a word utilized, in the sense he is attempting, as an intermediate word. I begin a story with 'so' as either a way to pull someone in from awkward silence or to move to a new subject, having been discussing something different. I don't think that's what the author of Beowulf is seeking here. 'So' does not call for attention; it interjects. Hwæt in the opening of the poem should be bold, loud, and forthright, not timid.

The best translation I've seen of it--just the word hwæt, not the entire poem--is that of "What ho!" I think that it does an excellent job of grabbing the listener's ear and of reflecting the seafaring nature of the culture. Sure, we don't say 'what ho' colloquially anymore. However, we hear it enough to be able to understand its meaning and connotations.

So, below, is the original Old English of the first few lines, the literal translation, Seamus Heaney's translation, and my translation.

Hwæt! Wē Gār‐Dena   in geār‐dagum
þēod‐cyninga   þrym gefrūnon,
hū þā æðelingas   ellen fremedon.

Literal Translation:
What. We [of the] Spear-Danes
(gp)   in yore-days
[of the] thede-kings (gp),
   power heard (2nd pl. pret.),
how the aethelings
   brave deeds did.

Seamus Heaney's Translation:
So. The Spear-Danes
   in days gone by
and the kings who ruled them
   had courage and greatness.
We have heard of those princes'
   heroic campaigns.

My Translation:
What ho! Of the spear-Danes
   in yore days,
of their folk-kings'
   fame we heard,
how the lords did
   daring deeds.

My Morning Idea

I'm proud to say that this morning, before I had even caffeinated myself, I had a brilliant idea for an emoticon. It's my most accusatory one to date:


It's a pointing finger, for use in such situations as this:





[[[O> [[[O>


[[[O> [[[O>

(artistic renderings)

o O
\ /\/

(kids doing Gordon Gecko impressions)

Jun 21, 2010

Egg Tossed

Yesterday, at our church picnic, Emily and I earned eternal glory by winning the egg-tossing contest.

Note the dejected losers in the background, covered in egg goo, wishing they had skills like us.

In our ecstatic delirium, we conjured up grander ambitions. I would run as far as I could, and she would throw the egg. Then I would catch it. We would be invincible--like Boris from Goldeneye.It happened just the way these things are supposed to. I ran farther, farther, farther.

She threw (rendering of actual event)...

..and I got covered in egg.
But, yes, to your question. Our earlier triumph is still just as sweet.

Let's Colour!

The Let's Colour Project has a great idea: turn gray spaces into 'vibrant colour'. It's active in Brazil, India, France, Turkey, and the UK. It should move to America, too!

My Take on TS3

OK, so due to Father's Day and a church picnic and grilling with friends, I didn't follow through on saying that I'd post on Toy Story 3 yesterday. So, I'll do so today.

First off, I'll say that it was excellent. Second, I'll mention that it's not for young children; this Toy Story is far scarier than the past two.

Now, the movie really runs the gamut of emotions. Somehow, in the span of two minutes, Pixar can take me from laughing hysterically to crying like a baby.

The opening ten minutes were brilliantly done--a way to remind us how abundantly creative the mind of a child can be, and how immersive the imagination is when you're young. We discover that a ridiculous battle between Woody and Mr. Potato Head is all a game in seven-year-old Andy's mind (not ruining anything...it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on)and that his mom is videotaping everything. This then slides into a home-movie montage, itself very sweet and sentimental. Both Andy and his toys are in heaven, and things are the way they should be.

We are then transported ten years on, into the present day. Andy's room is now covered in posters, his old toy box has been closed for years. The toys are desperate to be noticed again and to regain what they had when Andy was younger. But times have changed, and Andy is moving away. All the toys can hope for is to be put up in the attic, where they can live with the knowledge that someday Andy's kids might play with them. Woody holds a staff meeting--similar to the one at the beginning of the first film--except now, instead of a few dozen toys in attendance, there are fewer than a dozen. The core group is all that remains, and they're determined to stick together.

Now, as the trailers show, Andy's mom accidentally mistakes his garbage bag filled with toys for the attic as garbage, so she places it out by the curb. Through luck and happenstance, the toys end up at Sunnyside, a daycare center that seems like a dream come true. They soon find out, however, that it is more of a prison. The rest of the movie deals with their attempts to escape.

The last few minutes will have you tearing up, both because it is so sweet and because you know that it's the end of the long Toy Story road. As we say goodbye to the friends--both old and new--we know that happier days are ahead for them and for Andy. It's a fitting finale for one of the most original franchises in the last few decades.

Oh, and audience favorite? Definitely the Ken/Barbie romance. Even in the darker moments, the comedy of that bursts through.

Be sure to enjoy the new short film, Day & Night--far more abstract than past Pixar shorts, but very, very well done.

P.S. Opening weekend numbers are unofficially $109 million, giving Toy Story 3 the highest opening weekend for a Pixar film since The Incredibles opened at $70.5 million in 2004.

Jun 20, 2010

Just Saw Toy Story 3!

It is past 1 a.m, so I'll post more on this tomorrow, but what I will say right now is that the movie is excellent. It's superb. It's a great ending to an incredible story. I laughed many times and got teary-eyed at the end. Saying goodbye to characters you love is like saying goodbye to old friends.

But now, I'm turning on the A.C., reading a little, and going to sleep. Like Ken said to Barbie (spoiler-ish, verbatim-ish)--"I'll see you in my dreams."

Except it's funny when he says it. It's creepy when I do.

Jun 19, 2010

This Makes Me Want to Die...

What a beautiful view...from the inside.

...of happiness. It also makes me drool. It also compels me to write heroic couplets:

To drool and yet to die. Yea, the longing
to be amongst the din with pen drawing.

What am I talking about? The tour of Pixar Animation Studios from the Pixar Blog (very delayed...backblogging!). Both of the inside (you have to look at it, since there's a picture of Nick Pitera (yes, that guy) who works at Pixar) and of the outside. They also have pictures of the new construction going up.

Oh, and additionally, Toy Story 3 just raked in $41,000,000 on opening night. Wow.

And one more thing, it scored a 99% of official reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That gives it the second highest ranking in the history of the site behind...wait for it...Toy Story 2.

Jun 18, 2010

Something Left, Something Taken

Cool video, including After Effects animation, traditional animation, and puppetry, courtesy of Drawn!

Something Left, Something Taken from Tiny Inventions on Vimeo.

This Was Their Finest Hour

Seventy years ago today, Winston Churchill announced to the British people that the Battle of France was over and lost and that the Battle of Britain was about to begin.

"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties," the prime minister said, "and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour."

Toy Story 3 - The Big Day!

Toy Story 3 opens today, and to celebrate that, here are two excellent articles from Slate:

A review of the film ("Toy Story 3 is the best Toy Story of them all")


an article/slideshow on why John Ratzenberger is in all the Pixar films.

Jun 17, 2010

Anatomies of Cartoon Characters!

Courtesy of James Gunn--what a brilliant idea!

By South Korean artist Hyung Koo Lee:

Bugs Bunny

Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey, and Louie

Tweety Bird


Tom and Jerry

Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote

Sketches by Michael Paulus:



New Design (...or something like that)

Apparently, during the span of my absence, blogger decided to make a fun easy-to-design template widget. I'm playing with it, but given that I'm not on my home computer at the moment, the changes I have made are but a work in progress. Bear with me.

You Know, It Kind of Does...