June 24th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] captainsblog_lj_publ_feed at 12:21am on 24/06/2017
Five days. Seven hearings. Three road trips. Back in town before 3 today and home just after 4.

Three of the four before today were easy. The fourth was postponed until September. The rest of my week before this morning was just assorted running-around on other matters in between this wire mesh of commitments, plus preparing for the final three, all in one place out of town, with one of today's flagged for "issues" and all of them assigned to a Grumpy McGrumperson of a court official.

I know his schtick. I can virtually repeat it to my clients before they even hear it: "Zero tolerance." "I've never lost a motion if you don't cooperate." Yada yada yada.  One at 9 this morning, the other two at 10. But I left one of the three files in my office on the other side of Rochester, so I was out the door before 6:30 to pick it up and print out the needed useless forms that nobody else this week asked for.

Two of the three had significant-enough-to-discuss issues. We knew what they were, we were prepared for them, we will work through them. But the third: move along, nothing to see here. The client owned nothing, earned nothing, was entitled to nothing worth a piss and a half about. So naturally G McG got testy with him.

You have to list your bank accounts when you file bankruptcy. We did. You also have to list, and in most cases get to keep, the money in those accounts under various permitted "exemptions." Which we also did. But I've tired of the drill where you list, a day to a week before filing, what you think is in the account. I know, everybody knows, that the only figure that matters is what is on the bank statement(s) as of the date of filing- which, by definition, is unavailable until after you file. So I now list those assets as of an "unknown" value, that value properly and by official form permissibly determined as exempt as "100% of fair market value, up to an applicable statutory limit.” This option was expressly permitted by the Supremes in a 2010 case which allowed it, and was expressly incorporated into the current bankruptcy forms.

The trustee is still entitled to check on how much was in such accounts as of the time of filing. I ask clients for that information as soon as they receive it. Unfortunately, some banks, particularly credit unions are (and this is a technical term) dicks when their members file for BK.  This client had his credit union checking ("share draft," technically) account closed when they got notice of his filing; they essentially said, "Take your $75 worth of toys and go home." And they shut off access to his account information so he couldn't provide the needed proof of the amount of his toys. So Grumpy got grumpy: he stared my client down, and asked him to state, "on the record, under penalty of perjury, that he did not have more than $3,000 in his accounts in the 90 days before he filed bankruptcy." The client gave it some brief thought, then confirmed that this was the case. (PS: He could have had closer to $10 freaking thousand in that account before it would have exceeded his exemption, but let's not go there.)

I finished my one case after his, with minor but resolvable issues, did a few other things in the office near there, and got out of Dodgechester by 1:30. I was on the drive home when the email came in: OMG am I going to jail? The credit union finally deigned to send him a paper statement, and for one brief moment, his balance was about $60 above the $3,000 he'd testified to. My crest fell: my one easy case of the day, suddenly kiboshed by FACTS.  I would've emailed him asking for the statement information, but:

(a) I was driving, and THAT WOULD BE WRONG (not to mention how unlawful texting would've conflicted with the new labeling on my car)-

- and (b) my stupid new Speculum internet provider won't send emails from my phone if I'm using cellular data, only if I'm connected to (most, not all) wifi networks. So I had to wait until I got back to the Buffalo office to see his actual attached statement- which showed, conclusively, that client's illegal perjorous deposit didn't occur until about two weeks after he filed his case. Which, in bankruptcy terms, is "nunya bee-yai-business."  So his case will close out without any issues, and Grumpy will have to commiserate with the other six dwarfs about cases other than mine:P


Next week: another four straight days of hearings, but only one on the road, and while it, too, is with Grumpy, I know exactly what to expect out of him. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho,....

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1494068.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
June 22nd, 2017

Humpday is done. Three down, two to go in this marathon. Each of the past two days brought a tale of someone I know, at least one of whom could stand to be wished into a cornfield:

Yesterday was my one court-free day this week, but it turned out to be far from stress-free. The lawyer for owners of a $500,000 house, who have a contract to sell to new clients of mine, dropped at least one F-bomb on me in telling me where his people want my people to go. A government agency questioned the bona fides of a client whose teen-early-20s kids live in a property that she owns and who, amazingly, are not reliable in making payments on her mortgage on that property.  But the worst actor of the day was not a client, but someone I sued, and have judgment and a pending contempt motion against. Our office's new tenant (who's also been chasing the guy) reported yesterday morning that the local US Attorney indicted and perp-walked the owner for not paying his income taxes, and for hiring illegal immigrants to work on his construction jobs.  This put me in a bind between client loyalty and personal schadenfreude- because I knew, from my past interactions with the guy, that he was a major Cheeto supporter, with a lifesize mockup of 45* in his showroom, and who's also posted pro-MAGA slogans on his business's marquee over the past year.  Having him hiring the very workers who'd be turned away and/or prevented entry by The Alleged Wall? Seems a lit-tle hypocritical- but certainly par for the (Mar-a-Lago) course for this crowd.


Then, today. A 9 a.m. bankruptcy hearing in Rochester, where all the trustees administering these hearings seem determined to outdo each other in scaring the assembled petition filers with threats of the FBI knocking on their doors if they're not completely honest.  Many of them repeat their favorite war stories: one reminds debtors of "the guy in Rochester who didn't disclose that he owned an ostrich farm." Another regales them about the truck in the back lot that turned out to be a classic. Today's, though, was from one of the newer trustees to be appointed, which I hadn't heard before.  His VERY bad woman was the subject of what many of these trustees warn about as the "X factor"- the ex-spouse, ex-neighbor, ex-business partner, who's pissed that their former beloved is asking for a release from his or her debts. In his cautionary tale, he explained, D only listed $250 of costume jewelry in her case, but an anonymous tipster sent a letter asking the trustee to look into her actual jewelry box containing a $30,000 diamond engagement ring.  D didn't get away with it, the trustee warned, even though he had to go to Syracuse to get a court order denying a bankruptcy discharge to her.

My client, with no such issues, got in and out quickly; but my curiosity was piqued.  Syracuse, New York may as well be in Sicily as far as local bankruptcy practitioners are concerned; it's in a different federal district and has completely different rules, customs and "legend and folklore," lowest on the official protocol of court practice but in reality among the most important. So it was easy to use court searches to identify the case in which this misbegotten soul had lied to a bankruptcy trustee.....

And as soon as I saw the name of the case, of course I knew who she was.

D (not her real initial) was a receptionist hired in my original law firm in the 80s, not long after I started practicing. She was a (insert ethnicity here)-American Princess; was drop-dead gorgeous, although not quite as DDG as she thought she was; and dressed to the Nine Wests with heels to match and kept the then-partners quite happy as she typed whatever little she was expected to type.  Until one day, I think after my mentor's unexpected passing, she pissed off the successor senior partner by engaging in the following exchange with him:

D: says something on the phone that P didn't like.
P: "You might have handled that phone call differently."
D: "I didn't do anything wrong."
P: "Now now, you don't need to get defensive."

P sent her packing on the spot- the only employee I can remember to be fired for anything in the almost ten years I was there.

D's case with this trustee was only a few years ago. In addition to tracking down her Bad Behavior case, I found her current Facebook page, which mentions none of it, confirms her happy marriage, and notes that their teenage daughter is now on the pre-Dancing with the Stars circuit.  I wish better things for her than I ever will for P, and just hope that she learned more from the bad experience than P ever would have (or the contractor guy ever likely will).

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1493958.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
June 20th, 2017
It was kinda refreshing tuning out the social media machine for a whole day.  (Okay, I peeked when the NHL put out the protected lists for the expansion draft- late, as usual.)  I also saw a message from someone who didn't understand my aversion to the Paternal Promos. 

To be clear: I have no issues with, and am quite proud of, being a father. (I also got a call from Emily during the day which validated and celebrated that.) No, it's the day's focus, especially on the timelines and blogs, about having a father, or at least good memories of one. Some years, I've simply adopted a Ran-dad from someone else's post as the one I channel my good thoughts to. Sometimes, it's been the father of a friend who I remember from the wayback; other times, it's just a good man with a good kid. But this year, I made the best of ignoring these particular demons, and kept mostly to my word about staying away. 

Ebony had her Sunday morning bark park trip; I broke up the final sledgehammered chunks of bricks from the front planter; we watched the previous night's Doctor and Orphan Black; and I finished Graham Nash's memoir while listening to portions of the CSN(Y) box set which were timed to the final chapters of the book. (Fun fact from Wild Tales: while recording CSN in the mid-70s, Graham finished a late-night recording session, then went down to the beach to score drugs.  His dealer bet him $100 that he, the fancyass singer-songwriter, couldn't write "a song before you go." The resulting lyric became their biggest all-time single, and the scrap of paper he won the bet on is now in the Rock Hall.)  The day's early humidity yielded to late-day rain and a cooler night, even nicer now, which we spent outside for dinner.


First of five- just one court appearance, worked out in advance.  Only one brief client meeting, where we surmised (and by late afternoon had conclusively established) that the opposing party had fucked up its filing, rendering it meaningless and giving me nothing to do in response for at least the time being.  Unlike most Rochester days, when I seem unable to break free of its gravitational pull until past 3, I was back in my office here just past 2:30, and got in some cardio (and my first of the newer Sense8 episodes I'd planned for tomorrow) before coming home.  Tomorrow is court-free- my only one of those all week- but it begins with yet another run to Mercedesland, and will include at least one client meeting, processing the six orders that came in from Bankruptcy Court this afternoon, and getting ready for the six remaining appearances coming in this week's final three weekdays.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1493729.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
June 17th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] captainsblog_lj_publ_feed at 06:05pm on 17/06/2017
Foot's fine. May have been just a strain or who knows what. I'm still hydrating and we'll see if it stays okay.

I'm probably going to spend tomorrow off the grid- partly in anticipation of the hell week ahead, partly because I/we have plenty of media things to catch up on, but mainly, for me, to avoid all the happy and cheerful pictures of fathers who will be flooding the Face for tomorrow's holiday.  I have no such memories, and today's news -that the author of Fatherhood has escaped punishment for his crimes- makes it even worse. 

This rubbish with the Cosby investigation has been going on for going on three years, with this mistrial as the only thing to show for it. I first recalled the connection to that book of his when I posted this in 2014, about how my mother gifted me that book on the occasion of Emily's christening with this inscription:

I kept the picture, tossed the book.  Doctor Huxtable can die in a fire.  See you Monday.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1493253.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
posted by [syndicated profile] captainsblog_lj_publ_feed at 12:21am on 17/06/2017
We switched cars again today. Also, in a way, feet.

I should explain.

Our doctor is in the adjacent county, beyond the electric Smart car's comfortable round-trip range. So when Eleanor goes, she takes mine.  Today's appointment was early (7:45) and necessary; for months now, she's come home from work as often as not with excruciating pain in her left foot. Its origins come within her twenty-odd-year career in Buffalo retail, many of those early years forcing her into 7-hour days on concrete floors in heels.  Wegmans allows, even encourages, her use of sneakers, but it's still a load-bearing burden.  So today it was diagnosed as a bone spur, confirmed by x-ray, and with the prognosis involving surgery.  We think we know by who; where and when are, as the Mets tenuous rotation is, TBD.

I was more-or-less asleep when she actually left sometime before 7, but I had plenty of insomnia before that- much of it coming from one of my own feet. Not the left, Daniel Day-Lewis as that would've been, but some lovely shooting pain all over my right foot and particularly in the vicinity of the big toe.  We've seen this movie, repeatedly if intermittently over my same twenty-odd-year career in Buffalo. I was diagnosed with gout in my early 30s, and it flares up, unexpectedly but suddenly, every few years, usually in the spring and summer months, judging from posts I can find.  This could be that, and I'm treating it as such; with a bottle of anti-inflammatories dispensed in 2013, with several liters of dihydrogen monoxide to flush shit out, and with trying to restrict alcohol intake (the only trigger I can think of which has been above normal in recent days).  It's better now than it was when I woke up. Past experience has been that this course of treatment beats it down for good after a day or two.

Yet it's also occurred to me that there are psychosomatic things which go on. When Eleanor was pregnant, I'm pretty sure I presented at least some sympathetic-pregnancy symptoms.  I doubt I'll need surgery, but I'm certainly more empathetic about her pain than I was a day ago.


I left early today for a mental-health hour or two (a day being out of the question).  Next week promises to be killa; I now have commitments every day of the week, three days of them in Rochester, and few of them being easy or peasy.  We'll see how well these feets get us moving through it all.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1492998.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
June 15th, 2017
posted by [syndicated profile] captainsblog_lj_publ_feed at 04:35pm on 15/06/2017
I know, the third one is coming out. But we only gots two, both of the Smart variety, and those have had me playing a lovely game of Service Department Deja Vu this week.

Monday was mine. Nothing wrong; just these cars expect to be serviced every 10,000 miles at the Mercedes dealership, und you vill LIKE it! I made the appointment last week, and I rolled in first thing Monday.  The first oddity of service here is what greets you in the driveway of the reception area:

A pristine '66 Corvette. What that has to do with the Benz brand, much less little putt-putts like mine (other than the red color), I've no clue.  Once you get past that conundrum, though, you are brought into their German world of ruthless efficiency. Check in here, sign there, move to the waiting room-slash-pro shop where all your branded Beastie Boy Medallion merch is on offer while you wait.  Wifi secured, Starbucks from a military-grade Keurig machine, you do what you do: a little work, a little internet, you finish the Handmaids Tale episode you'd been meaning to finish.  And you people-watch.  Dropping Smart car owners in amongst the Masters of the Mercedes Universe is a sort of reverse slumming; you get to see the Stepford wives in their SUV panzers, the graying duffers bringing in their penis cars, the millennial kids who can't parallel park a luxury car to save their lives; and the Help, who stepin fetchit to the owners' every whim.

So naturally I got to do it again this morning.


Eleanor's Smart car popped an airbag idiot light the other day. It's been intermittent, but it's nothing to trifle with, especially after I spent the better part of last year tooling around in a 2010 Honda Deathtrap. This is my light week for court and such, other than yesterday when I had something like seven different hearings in four separate cases, but fortunately all at the same time and place. (It did run longer than expected, so for the first time I used the "add time" feature of Buffalo's cool new parking-meter app:)  So when she scheduled Ziggy for his checkup this morning, I volunteered to meet her there and wait for him.

Same drill, different day. Maw cawfee, maw work, and the newer (and final of the season) Handmaid's Tale to catch up on. Same Corvette; same parade of people to watch.  Unfortunately, no resolution; the airbags are fine, but one of the seatbelt sensors needs to be replaced. Which means it's Cars 3 after all, as I'll have to bring him back next Tuesday, the only day next week I don't have court.

And given the diagnosis, I guess I'll resume watching Sense8 over there.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1492930.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.
June 11th, 2017

These blog posts are getting fewer and further between. Life just gets like that sometimes. The past week was about as busy and stressful as I expected it to be- no more, maybe even a little less- yet each night, in my traditional before-bed writing time, I didn't have the words or the energy to sum it up.

So here you go, some pictures at an exhibition of the past week. Some with even actual pictures;)

Two days on the road for work this week. Neither had court in the morning, so I didn't have all that much stress on the drive. Tuesday began with me making an overdue appointment for JARVIS to be serviced. To get to service, you of course have to go through the Smart showroom. And there, never before seen by these eyes, was my mid-life crisis car:

The Little Tykes ragtop.  I freely admitted it wasn't much of a life or a crisis, and of course a wag immediately replied, Or much of a car.

I then took a detour a few miles south before making the eastbound run on the 90- onto old US 20, which in pre-interstate days was the main route from Boston to Buffalo and beyond.  I just get tired of the same old sights every day;  there was a certain comfort in passing through the forgotten fourlanes of generations ago, from Alden to Alexander and past Attica before rejoining modern roads just south of Batavia.  (Two mornings later, when I did take the 90 eastbound, I just missed a major crash in the westbound lanes which killed a 45-year-old UB Nursing School professor.)


Wednesday was best remembered for what I didn't have to do: I got out of a drive clear across town at 8 a.m., then another downtown at 9:30.  I did eventually take that latter trip around lunchtime, but it was on my schedule, plus, you know, lunch- and I also broke in the Buffalo Roam app on my phone to use for onstreet parking.  No more fishing for quarters or fussing with receipts that fall into JARVIS's hungry dashboard: you click, you pay from an enabled online account, you walk away- and you can even add time remotely if your business takes longer than expected. The convenience fee for this is a modest 10 cents per use. 

Eleanor had a doozy of a day at work herself Wednesday, so we kept things relatively quiet.  Other than keeping up with Doctor Who, we haven't been watching all that much of late, and haven't gotten out to see Wonder Woman yet, although that will likely change this week.


Once arriving in Rochester Thursday, things went quickly, and when a 2:30 appointment stood me up, I was able to get home a little sooner to run some post-work errands in advance of an important-for-me exercise of both body and soul. For several years, local religious communities have sponsored a Walk of Abraham during Ramadan, uniting the three faiths sprouting from that Biblical tradition and any others who care to tag along. It begins at a Presbyterian church quite close to home, proceeds near (and in prior years stopped at) a reform synagogue a few blocks to the east about a mile up, and ends at the town's Islamic Center, 4½ miles from the point and place of beginning.  I wasn't there in time or in clothes to begin at the beginning, plus they asked for canned-food donations, so I came home first, changed, grabbed some cans from the pantry and found a parking lot just short of the halfway mark, planning to walk back when the post-walk programs were under way.

I didn't know a soul- yet- but got to know several of them on this part of the walk- and others who joined  at the designated one-mile-to-go spot for jumping in.  The throng was bigger going in to the mosque-

-including the minister from my most recent congregation, back in town after a one-year exile in the wilds of Wayne County, now retired from Methodism and entering new connectional ventures.  I sat with him for the speakers and presentations in the mosque's equivalent of Your Church Or Synagogue Here's Fellowship Hall, ordinary and traditional middle-class American in every respect except one- better food:

Our hosts did not formally break their fast themselves until the 8:54 p.m. moment of Ramadan sundown, but they were gracious about letting the hungry start a few moments before that. We stayed longer than I'd planned, and Rich wound up giving me a ride back to where my car was.

Yesterday, Eleanor and I continued in that spirit of inclusiveness.  There's a Muslim family two doors away from us- we've seen them coming and going, and their daughter waiting for the bus, in at least partly traditional dress.  There are some Trumpernutters in this neighborhood, and on days like yesterday when small bands of crazies were mounting Anti-Sharia Law protests in cities (some attended in the tens), you can't be too careful. So we went over, introduced ourselves, gave the husband our names and phone numbers and emphasized that we welcomed them and would do anything we could to make them feel welcome and safe.  It was a little slow going, maybe due to awkwardness, but we ended with smiles and handshakes and I felt we were carrying on the best of the three faiths, even if neither of us is particularly connected to any of them at this point.


On Friday, I got this computer back. Did I even mention its brief absence?  It needs some periodic cleanings to keep cat hair from overwhelming the fan and overheating the damn thing.  A month or so ago, my friend Lisa rehabbed my backup laptop, in part by baking its motherboard, and it worked well enough so she could take her time and do the best she could at the repair of this one.  I'd backed up all needed stuff to my trusty external drive and/or to the cloud, so I wasn't worried about it.... until Twobor was home, his data all restored, and that very external drive decided yesterday that it didn't want to work anymore.  So I got a new one.  Probably should back everything up to it again before I start putting too much more data on this one, huh.


The drive wasn't the only thing to break on Saturday.  Eleanor went out for a bike ride, and while I was puttering around trying to get the old external drive to work, in came a call and a text: could I put the rack on the car and come get her?  The derailleur on hers had ground to a halt and there was no getting home on it. 

Did I mention we'd never put the rack onto either of the Smart cars?  We wound up getting it done without instructions, but some of the connections are a little tenuous, and it's not exactly centered on the back, but it went on fine. The bike itself, not so much; since women's bikes lack the higher crossbar (for no reason other than Victorian tradition), the bike store sold her a brace that duplicates its function during transport.  Which, naturally, I forgot. So on the second trip, we got the bike onto the frame, and she got it to Bert's, where "derailleuer suicide" was promptly diagnosed and promised to be repaired by 10 this morning.

That worked perfectly with my usual 8 a.m. run to the dog park, except we usually don't stay there for two whole hours. Despite fine weather and plenty of company from old friends and new, we were out by 9:15. Silly to come home, so we found us a second park- one more for people, although Ebony was still welcome on a leash.

I grabbed my breakfast later than usual and ate it under a tree while the dog just took it all in:


The breeze was delightful (even though I think it blew a bug of some kind into my eye- it's been Visined and looks and feels much better now), and we got to the bike shop just in time to wrestle the Townie back onto the rack and safely home.  Since then, I've mowed the back yard, we've caught up on the Doctor, have an Orphan Black warming up in the clone pen, and the Mets are three outs away from their third straight win.

There. All put in the books.

This entry was originally posted at http://captainsblog.dreamwidth.org/1492491.html. Please comment here, or there using OpenID.


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