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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 05:27pm on 20/07/2017
Since I was in Bankruptcy Court at butt o'clock this morning, it only seemed right for me to do some math. (This, notwithstanding that one of our three district bankruptcy judges has admitted on the bench that he's lousy at math.)

When I got out, I saw some birthday posts for Eleanor on my Facebook feed.  She only joined recently, mainly to connect with one art-community friend, and we cautiously friended each other even more recently so she wouldn't get a scad of friend requests from bare past-life acquaintances I still keep in touch with from church and other places.  I always try to post something a little different and unique on peoples' birthday roundups, so this is what I thought of:

Your 32nd birthday I've shared with you. May it be among the best ever. I love you.

A little further math reveals the other "half" of that story. When you add up the years, I now realize that for more than half of the birthdays my beloved has ever had, I have shared them with her. They've had their ups and their downs, they've been shared with relatives and in restaurants, but the one constant has been what our wedding service referred to as "a love which shall endure." 

She's talking with Emily on the phone as I write this, and soon after we will head to a favourite Italian caffe for dinner and dessert.  It's cooled a bit after some monster t-storms came through this part of town (and possible tornadoes hit not far to the south), and tomorrow is the end of the workweek for both of us.

May the next 32 years of birthdays commence. I love you:)
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 08:11pm on 17/07/2017
After a largely off-things Saturday, yesterday began and ended early. Began at the dog park, where we met up, after the second go-round with Ebony and Ursula, with this beautiful grrl:

Well, four, counting Ann on the left and the traces of the pups on the ground

She just hopped up on that picnic table while our friend Dave, whose pup can't make it round twice, waited for us.  That tag is more of a chip, so we had no idea whose she was. Finally, we saw three people coming round with two dogs, and they called her over.... only to leave her at the entrance all over again as they headed down the path just as we were leaving.  Sheesh.

Once home, we turned our attention to things BBCish. News finally reached us of the casting of the first actress to portray The Doctor come next year; she looks like a worthy successor to the title.  Eventually, we got to the previous night's Orphan Black, which tied up some loose ends, opened a few other cans of clones, and of course kept us laughing every moment Krystal was on the screen. (Semi-spoiler: the bearded douche about halfway through the episode is played by Tatiana's IRL boyfriend, and she got to act two separate scenes in which Spoiler spoilered him in the spoiler- once as Krystal spoilering, the other as Sarah watching it.

Again this morning, I needed to be up and out very early for a day in Rochester- which concluded just before 2 with me finally getting one of my crazy real estate deals closed. Although they pushed every envelope, including not getting me the vital "how much to bring to the closing" figure until fewer than two hours remained before it, the session itself was quick and painless, the numbers all balanced, and the documents were all properly completed.  I think.

Rather than go back to either office, I opted for a scenic drive home, with two stops for out-of-the-way process service en route, maybe a 20-minute-south detour on Route 20 with the two about 10 minutes apart. Neither found their intended targets at home (and both were homes, despite the claims being against businesses), but at one, there was a sticker on the front door alerting first responders to be on the lookout for their seven dogs. No sign of them; at least they weren't left out on a picnic table outside:P

----

Before those errands, with little else to listen to in the hinterlands, I "treated" myself to the latest right-wing spin on the disastrous health care proposals now stuck in the Senate.  According to Limpbutt, millennials should be embracing the El Cheapo™ catastrophic plans that Senator Rafael "Dudley Do-Wrong of the Mounties" Cruz insists on being sold in exchange for his vote.  The pitch goes something like this: Millennials hate the cable companies, because they make you buy channels you don't want. They only want to stream the shows they DO want and they cut the cord on the rest. Well, health care is exactly the same. You should be free to buy only the services you want and not be forced to buy things you may not need and might never even be able to use (yeah, asshole, men and maternity care, we get it.)

The cynicism in this equivalence goes beyond meanness and straight into outright cruelty. Because OF COURSE deciding on the logistics and economics of covering yourself in the event of serious or potentially fatal illness is EXACTLY the same as wanting HBO and not SNY on your cable bill.  (Why, just last week Eleanor and I were trying to figure out whether a Roku or an Apple TV would deliver the best dialysis if we eventually need that. ) Oh, and worse? If a millennial does cut the cord but eventually decides he or she does suddenly need to start watching a channel they didn't originally order? The evil cable or satellite company will be more than happy to add it to your lineup for whatever it costs.  Not so under the Ryanide/McConnkill bait-and-switch currently in negotiation: if a healthy young person buys a "stripped down" plan and then discovers they need coverage for one of the "essential benefits" now required by the ACA?  Sorry, Charlie: that doesn't count as "continuous coverage," so you'll only be subscribing to the Pre-Existing Condition Channel as far as Republican Cable is concerned. You'll have to pay for that condition on your own for months or more until Mitch the Cable Guy can come out to your place and Git'R'Done.  (Even though, best as I can tell, he's Doin' his constituents already.)

----

Staying close to home, jiggity jog, the next three days. Only oddity of tomorrow is a meeting with a new referral who has the exact same name as one of my recent co-workers. 
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I had three court appointments today. The clients proceeded, over the preceding 24 hours, to outdo themselves in stretching my patience and imagination into territory where it was hard to keep my CONTROL;)



In order of receipt of their excuses (and for ethical reasons, there will be some obfuscation here):

- Mother of Client 1, scheduled for what would have been a routine hearing in Buffalo late this morning. Called to tell me Client 1 would not be able to make it.  I checked with the guy running the hearing, who had already reviewed Client 1's file, knew it was no-brainer easy, and pretty much would have allowed something resembling a Weekend At Bernie's appearance if I could only get a body in the chair and a right hand raised in the air. Nope, didn't happen. We reconvene a week from next Wednesday if things have improved by then.

- Client 2, scheduled for an early afternoon hearing in Buffalo this afternoon. Not coming, either- death in the family.  Out of town arrangements.  Suffice it, the funeral is likely to be closed-casket. Yum. I attended that one (the hearing, not the funeral) with Client 2 in absentia. It did not go well, but at least we could take solace that it went even worse for the deceased.

-  That brings us to Client 3, who had the earliest (9 a.m.) and furthest (Rochester) of the three scheduled for today. That one sent an email after 6 last night to ask for a postponement because a car would not be available.  Having already gotten the other two bits of news, I insisted on going forward, even offering to provide the transport (since Client 3's residence is on my way into town and actually close to a place where Emily used to live).  We worked this out, and the hearing went fine.  It wasn't just a flat tire or some other inconvenience, but the sign of a marital breakdown. Making that worse, I'd also consulted with Client 3's spouse about a similar case- who I will not now be representing. It's not a technical conflict of interest but a visceral one- you don't treat people the way Client 3 got treated.  I got up stupid early, picked up C3 in plenty of time for another easy hearing, and even provided return transportation, given the circumstances.

The rest of the day was spent mostly on driving and on three separate real estate cases. Because I keep taking them on even though I work with people far more experienced at them and inherently draw cases with hosts of problems.

Sorry about that.
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 07:57pm on 11/07/2017
* In our living room, yesterday morning:



The perils of online ordering; she's tried and tried to find a pair on zappos that fits, but they're always almost as big as she is;)

After that photo, I left for the first of what promised/threatened to be three weekdays this week in Rochester. Met two clients; missed a third; connected with a fourth after discovering that I'd been an idiot last week and not signed the check to him that was sent in payable to me late the previous week. Just as well: I needed to drop off a thank-you and gift card for the installer the client sent to our house last Friday.

----

* Hop hop!

Last night, I turned in a little earlier and slept in a little later (although Evil Cat-erwauling woke me up round 0300 and got her tossed in the garage until just about six). When I did leave, I had company on  our side lawn:



He barely moved while I zoomed in for that photo, or even after I began backing JARVIS out.  By day's end, we were joined  by a mama Oriole on our birdfeeder- lateish in the season for the likes of her, but lovely to see.

----

* Beasts at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Who shot JR? Himself, in the foot. By confirming the veracity of the Times' reporting of the email threads between him and Soviet agents, he essentially confirmed that Daddy was offered damaging oppo research from a foreign power and did nothing to deny or report it.

Their only reply? But her emailllllllssssssss!

But his impeachmmmmmentttttt!
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 08:10pm on 08/07/2017
When I awoke this morning, Eleanor had already installed all of the bulbs along the track light that was finally powered up yesterday. It's a beautiful thing.

Less beautiful was what I had to work on once sentient. Clients waited until the 43rd of 45 days to send me simple documents- in a mishmash of unprintable pdfs and nearly unreadable photo files.  I spent most of my first awake hour trying to open/print/save all of the above, then scan them into a form I could upload to the court on Day 44.

This did not go well.

For one thing, my ol' reliable home printer decided yesterday that its carriage would no longer carry, and it set off a cascade of errors every time I tried to print copies of anything. I tried mightily to figure out where the phantom "carriage jam" was, eventually replacing all four of its ink cartridges in case their hooky thingies were blocking the path, and trying to clean out an apparent oil slick of ink under the cartridges' resting place at the end of the carriage.  None of it worked, and the missus and I got pretty grumpy about it as I left ink stains all over my path.  I finally quit, switched to her printer at the other end of the hall (once I remembered that my HP7110 driver wasn't going to do shit since we switched that one out with Emily a few months ago), got mine to at least scan the resulting funky products, and uploaded the wholly unholy mess. Hopefully they'll allow me to redo it on Monday, aka Day 46.

I then went off to a workout, ran some other errands, came home and geezer-napped, and finally tried again. Found an even oilier spot of oil slick, cleaned it out, and I think the carriage is no longer jammed. At least I'm not pushing my luck about it until I need to.

It's been a nice late-day since. We ate out in the back yard, both watched things we wanted to before turning in, and I have a morning of plans involving one dog (playing), several track lights (returning) and some Wegmans items (buying) already planned for tomorrow.
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 08:42pm on 07/07/2017
Yesterday was a blur. It began with me covering a City Court arbitration hearing for a friend of mine who had a last-minute conflict. Twenty-odd years ago, this was my bread and butter: get notice of the hearing a few weeks ahead, send a letter to the client contact telling them that their "witnesses having personal knowledge of the facts in this matter should appear at the [hearing location] at least 45 minutes before the scheduled start of the arbitration; they should have in their possession all original documentation in support of the claim."

(I still have that form letter in my collection. Just haven't used it in an age.)

This one, same shit, different year- only I didn't get the notice until late the previous day, got a half-dozen panicked emails before 9 yesterday morning about whether I'd received the file electronically (half I did, the other half not until just after 9), and I didn't meet my witnesses for the 9:30 hearing until minutes past 9:30. It went,... mmmkay. One did NOT have original documentation in support of the claim, while the other was a good witness but was completely contradicted by the equally good witness from the other side. So, he-said/he-said.  I don't miss this shit.

From there it was on to Rochester for two scheduled appointments and hopes of resolving two other matters. Met them, didn't resolve them.  By the time I got home, it seemed I'd just left. At least the second client who met me is also the client who promised to send an electrician to our house to finish the track lighting job- promised by 8 this morning.

----

Okay, it wound up being after 8:30, but no matter. The tech, who's been here before for other work, was kind and professional and prompt- explaining exactly why Eleanor's professional installation of track lights hadn't worked without being demeaning or mansplainy about it. Took him under an hour to get power in the whole track.  Tomorrow, she will order the remaining parts for the job from Home Depot- and a gift card for Spencer to thank him personally (in addition to whatever the invoice is from his company).

Once he finished, we headed off for a Friday that was shorter than usual for me and moderately annoying for Eleanor. While she is still happy about avoiding foot surgery, she's still having reaction to the cortisone shot, and to other meds she's taking for other conditions, so we made tonight a Chill and Chinese Food evening.

Next week will bring at least three mornings for me in Rochester, likely with at least one overnight involved- and I got a mix of news on pending cases today that will bear on those days.  But at least we can see what we're looking at as we head down the hall to sleep at the end of each day:)
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Since I'll always be among the first here to bitch about things, when a day distinguishes itself for goodness and niceness all (okay, most) of the way around, I should be just as quick to acknowledge it.

It just doesn't happen all that often.

The day began with nervousness. I had a 10 a.m. court hearing scheduled- or rather, not scheduled. I'd done all the work, sent the papers where they needed to be sent, but waited a day or so too long to upload them to the court computer.  I'd forgotten that Bankruptcy Court took Monday off- so come my check of the online calendar, it wasn't there.... and it was fitting, since the filing was a favor for a friend who'd forgotten something, as well.  I called in as soon as the court opened, and not only did I get it put on the calendar (and approved once called), they took it in its usual place near the top of the docket; they go in order of original case filings from oldest to newest, and this one was pretty old, but they could have just as easily stuck it at the bottom. Thanks to that kindness,  I was back in my office close to 10:30, even with stops for Timmys and traffic.

By then, I also got Eleanor's good news. She had her consult with the foot surgeon today over her bone spurred left foot, and he has ruled out surgery, at least for the time being. He gave her a cortisone shot, prescribed insoles, and even taught her a trick for tying sneaker laces so they don't bear down on the aggravated part of the foot. She (we) can breathe a little easier knowing there's not an extended period of layup in her immediate future.

The rest of the workday went as close to "as planned" as they ever do.  The client who was supposed to show up and pay, did. The filing that had to get filed (the old-fashioned way), got. While I did not get my Closing From Hell (Circle Five) scheduled, at least no new roadblocks came up toward it, and I could now be reasonably confident that tomorrow would be free to schedule things, which were. A new bankruptcy client in Rochester, two longtime ones coming in to sign things there, and a chance to help out another friend covering a last-minute court hearing for him here before I leave tomorrow.

Even the horrors have had their humour in them. The Interwebs have mocked the shit out of Chris Christie's Beached Whale routine from the other day, and other Republicans have taken stupid to a comical level- getting mad at NPR for tweeting out the Declaration of Independence on Independence Day because they mistook the Madness of King George for the Madness of Orange Numpty.

Then there was one oddity I can't decide on whether it's good or not. Remember the photo of my sister that occasionally appears here?  I got an email from a guy from a website called Artsy, who must've picked up the Winogrand references in some kind of webscrape and wants to share links between his site and mine.  I don't know if this is a scam, but if you've had any contact with them, or just want to look at the site (it's dot net, not dot com), you'll see a lot of his other works- not the one with Donna that I could see, but many in the same style.
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We kept to the "no plans to speak of" promise for today's holiday, but it was a gorgeous day and we did something short of All The Things:

Eleanor did some draw, did some weed (of the pulling-up-outta-ground variety) and did some cook of a half-organic chicken.

I did some bookkeeping, got roughly halfway through the final-ish season of Sense8 (Netflix has reconfirmed its cancellation, but last week promised a two-hour streamed finale next year to tie up its loose ends), and mid-afternoon, decided to give Ebony a bonus Bark Park trip before the unofficial fireworks started blowing up all over the general vicinity. We took the electric Smart car, since it was already in the driveway and was fully charged.

The Park was much busier than it usually is at our usual 8 a.m. Sunday hour. She seemed a little disoriented with her usual two-dog pack not being there, but plenty of new friends came up to greet her (usually from the hind end) during our two laps round the main drag.  Didn't see any offensive Cheet-shirts as I did the Sunday before; they probably boycott the Fourth in honor of Hitler's birthday, anyway.

I then ran her over to Wegmans for some refreshing beverages, only to be stymied by (a) the dog bolting from the car despite me leaving it on with the AC running for her and (b) me realizing that I'd forgotten my wallet. So we just came home by a slower route, but one which actually increased the charge on Ziggy's battery by a point or so. 

We're both turning in early for early days tomorrow; Eleanor has her foot surgery consult at 9, and I need to call Bankruptcy Court as soon as they open because I didn't upload a file in time for a hearing tomorrow morning and I'm hoping they will respect that it's an errand of mercy on my part in letting it be heard at 10 a.m. anyway.
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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 11:05pm on 03/07/2017

Slept in until almost 9. By the time we were both sentient, Eleanor was back up on a ladder trying to finish a project that she assembled and we mostly she tried to assemble yesterday. This was a track light to replace a single aged fixture at one end of our hallway, which did nothing to provide light for our hall closet-turned-CD/DVD cabinet.  By mid-Sunday morning, she'd fired me from helping.  While she circuit-tested and troubleshot this morning, I was sent outside with a simple task: fill the birdfeeder and clean/refill the birdbath.

But first, there was this:



Several hundred thousand of these guys decided to re-enact a beloved DMB ant-hem in the general direction of the sprinkler hose across our front entry sidewalk. So I drowned them- which, Eleanor thought, was probably what they wanted all along, being thirsty and all. Within an hour, the whole mosh pit was gone.

----

I then ran over to my half-ish day of work for the first of two trips. No mail or email worth mentioning, but a text from home, saying that my beloved had surrendered to the Edison/Tesla collective. Which was fine: I have an electrician client, who I'd already called to put on standby in case this happened. He will have a guy here Friday. She was liberated and appreciative that her effort, though not complete, was still good and fine. Which it will be.

----

We both had separate plans for late afternoon, so I booked Wonder Woman tix for just past six, and we both headed off for geezer naps. Mine was joined by the most evil companion we've ever housed, who in a moment of weakness allowed me to get the quintessential photo of her in her native condition:




That's Michelle all over: the evil eye, the exposed fangs, the just-trimmed claws nonetheless ready to strike. She's been better the past week- only one wee-small trip to the garage to shut her up- but this reminds us just what we're up against.

----

Second office trip didn't accomplish much of anything- although a 3:55 email just after I left did narrow down one pile of BS on my desk- and we were both ready to head over to reserved recliners for the 6:30 WW show.

Awesome.

The casting, the action, the story, the faithfulness to its varied roots in DC comics and other adaptations- pitch perfect.  Eleanor reported being more riveted to a story than in anything we've seen in quite awhile.  I failed to fall for the Who-He? diversion about the Major Bad Guy, but missed totally on who MBG really was (a well-respected performer perhaps too old to be such a Baddie, who happens to be four years younger than me #getoffmyParadiseIsland).  We will love to see the Gadot/Pine outtakes from many scenes, which they must've been busting their guts over.

----

No plans for tomorrow to speak of. So I won't speak of them.

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posted by [personal profile] captainsblog at 07:43pm on 02/07/2017

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

So I will. Donald John Trump is a fucking moron.   Each week brings further, deeper and more dangerous evidence of his unfitness to be a member of polite society, much less in charge of the largest military arsenal on the planet. But the chances of getting 218 of his cronies in the House and then 67 members of the Senate to remove him from office- the only option until 2020? About the same as the odds of him grabbing Rosie O'Donnell by any body part. 

Military coup? Massive civil disobedience? Not bloody likely. (Or I should say: not likely. Quite probably bloody.)

No court will convict him. None of law, nor of public opinion. He's already at the lowest ratings of any incumbent and dropping them week by week, but his base, many of who really are just as deplorable as Hillary Clinton said they were, double down and back him up at every turn. And while there are fewer of them than there are of us, they are smart, they are internet-savvy, and they are meaner than anything I've seen since the second-grade playground.

But there is one thing that can be done to at least limit the damage we face in the next seven-eighths of our time being stuck with him. I thought it as soon as he was elected, and after events of the past week, I think it even more:

Twitter needs to ban his Terms-of-Service violating ass.

----

To figure this out, I was ready to voluntarily commit myself to the 140-Character Insane Asylum- the one social media platform I have completely avoided and the one perhaps singly the most responsible for getting us into this mess. Fortunately, I did not have to: Twitter's Terms of Service are readily available for review, as are the Twitter Rules,  "which are part of the User Agreement and outline what is prohibited on the Services."

His ass is grass less than two screens into the Rules:

In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.

Any accounts and related accounts engaging in the activities specified below may be temporarily locked and/or subject to permanent suspension.

    Violent threats (direct or indirect): You may not make threats of violence or promote violence, including threatening or promoting terrorism.

    Harassment: You may not incite or engage in the targeted abuse or harassment of others. Some of the factors that we may consider when evaluating abusive behavior include:
        if a primary purpose of the reported account is to harass or send abusive messages to others;
        if the reported behavior is one-sided or includes threats;
        if the reported account is inciting others to harass another account; and
        if the reported account is sending harassing messages to an account from multiple accounts.
    Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease. We also do not allow accounts whose primary purpose is inciting harm towards others on the basis of these categories.

The sum total of the last six months should be more than sufficient. Then there's this:

    Multiple account abuse: Creating multiple accounts with overlapping uses or in order to evade the temporary or permanent suspension of a separate account is not allowed.

Dude has been using not only his primary account but the @POTUS account and, according to many sources, other online names. The terms above make clear that multiple accounts can lead to the banhammer. (There's a @whataboutism about this, which we'll get to.)

Moving right along:

You may not use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone. What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers. Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:::snip::
    if a large number of people are blocking you;
::snip::
    if you repeatedly create false or misleading content;
    if you are randomly or aggressively following, liking, or Retweeting Tweets;
::snip::
    if you post misleading links (e.g. affiliate links, links to malware/clickjacking pages, etc.);
    if you are creating misleading accounts or account interactions;
    if you are selling or purchasing account interactions (such as selling or purchasing followers, Retweets, likes, etc.); and
    if you are using or promoting third-party services or apps that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising "more followers fast", or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).


It's well-established that the Cheeto has millions, if not billions, of autobots who are following him to bump up his numbers. These along should bring him in for an interview with the Twitter TOScops.

----

There are any number of alleged defenses to this action. They have been well documented and debunked on, where else?, Twitter, by a NoCal commentator named Mike Monteiro. He gathers them in a series of tweets labeled Why Twitter should ban Donald Trump.

A-one:



And-a- two:



(This is also where he gets into noting that he still has, and uses, the @POTUS account and gets into THAT as a basis for the banhammer on account of double-posting.)

Ah, the @whatabout: "But Obama!"



Three and four:




Five, six, seven (there's no eight. Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Citizens United Incorporated!)


(BTW, "@jack" is Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter who could end this nightmare with a single click; and "the frogs" are the alt-right assholes who've adopted Pepe the Frog as their iconic/ironic Latinx mascot.)

So there you have it. A premise, a conclusion, a debunking. We may be subjected to 3½ more years of shit, but we don't have to endure reading what he puts out at 3:15 in the morning on Shitter- if only Jack Dorsey will man up.

You might send him a card.

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