Thomas Edison Weekend

There’s a story about Thomas Edison and inventing the lightbulb, and how it took him over 500 attempts. The last three days have been a lot like that – learning things by making a spectacular mess of them.

I was in a three day advocacy training course this week. Most of it I enjoyed and thought I did rather well at. The closing argument I prepared? Not so much… I choked. I managed to recover at the end enough to at least offer some rebuttal, but yeah – spectacular argumentative face plant last thing on a Friday.

Then this weekend, I thought I’d make a batch of Nadine’s amazing pumpkin pie fudge. What I learned after the 60 minutes of failing to reach the correct temperature, followed by too rapid of a temperature change, was I’d forgotten to double ALL the ingredients in the recipe for this double batch. The resulting disaster smelled amazing, but wasn’t even viable as a sauce.

Success and failure are only half of the equation. The other half, the HARDER half,  is what you do when you screw it up.

T Minus One

Tomorrow’s the big day – the first day of my training contract (or “period of recognized training”, as it’s now known). I’m nervous. I’m excited. I’m not enough of either of those things, and too much all at the same time.

Mostly I feel distracted and worried about all the logistics we’re juggling: the move, the visa, etc. I viewed another house last week and applied over the weekend, but of course the referencing and such will take a few days. Part of me knows I’ll be extremely busy (and therefore distracted followed by exhausted) during the coming week, but still… I can’t help but long for things to be more settled than they are right now.

And that’s leaving aside the entire ball of emotions wrapped up in bed-sitting / living apart from Alasdair again. With luck it’ll be short – two weeks, maybe three. If not, it’ll be weekend visits and more house-hunting until we can nail down the move. Doable. Sustainable. Undesirable.

On top of all THAT, tonight is the Parsec Awards – airing at an East Coast time which should see me fast asleep. They’re not a tremendous contributor to the overall emotional rollercoaster, but they’re still a part. It feels like Cast of Wonders is right on the cusp of starting to gain more mainstream recognition. I’ve done a lot more commentary and community involvement recently, and am starting to look at panel attendance in next year’s convention circuit.

Then there’s FantasyCon this weekend to finish preparing. It’s all in very good shape, just a matter of finalizing and printing and such. This weekend while I’ve packed for London, I packed for York at the same time.

One step at a time. Finish one project at a time. No new personal projects this year. And a quiet Christmas in a new house with, if we’re lucky, enough space for a tree. Just gotta stay on target, and remember to enjoy the ride!

Phase One: Complete!

One international move, two years of intense work, nineteen examinations and more applications than I care to count, and it’s all over.

The paperwork has been signed. It’s official: I’ve accepted my training contract with Olswang, and I start September 1st!

I cannot adequately put into works how excited I am. Not just to be moving into the last stage of training, but to be doing so immediately. I had resigned myself to a two year gap, and of course made plans to use the time productively. I’m ecstatic to abandon them.

For the last several months, The Future has been one big constantly shifting order of operations puzzle. When and where do we want to have the wedding, and is that timing dictated by my leave to remain visa application? (It’s not. Whew.) When should I start looking for full-time employment after exams? Are we going to move? Where, and when? What does that mean for Alasdair’s employment? How are we going to schedule all these conventions when I may have interviews and assessment days? On and on and on. Many questions, few answers.

These last few weeks it’s all started to click into place. This will be our third move in three years. Where hasn’t been decided yet, but we’ve got a likely candidate, RightMove saved properties and tentative plans for a scouting trip along with offers of help from friends and family alike. But we’ll make it work. We always do. Not to mention the HUGE job possibilities this makes possible for Alasdair.

But one thing at a time. Nine Worlds this weekend (#DragonLadies! Swordfighting!). LonCon next (US friends!).  Then house-hunting and FantasyCon (Redcloaks!).

Onward, to bigger and better!

Last Big Push

As I lean in for final charge on the 2014 training contract application deadline, here’s a few projects and interesting cases I’ve been keeping an eye on these last couple of months. A more in-depth personal update once they’re done and before the (awesome) August convention marathon kicks off. Enjoy! (more…)

Tanned and Ready to Go

Welcome back, true believers!

As I write this my final beach day sunburn is just starting to peel in the last spots. While outside, we’re being treated to drizzle before the weather is supposed to climb to the perilous upper 20’s later this week. Hoodie and lovely new tea one day, shorts and tank tops the next. Ah English weather, you do like to keep me on my toes. (more…)

Seeing Green

Let’s talk about She-Hulk.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know Jennifer Walters is my homegirl. Superhero, lawyer, socialite and all-around solid friend, Shulkie takes no guff from anyone. She stands up to Doom to defend his son in an attempt to seek asylum and wins. She can match banter with Iron Man and his legal department. Her current run is being written by Charles Soule, a lawyer himself. Issue four has her visiting Matt Murdock, i.e. DareDevil, ALSO a lawyer, for some advice on the aftermath of a case. When Iain and I were mediating, I used Jennifer Walters as my alias. And she’s green, my favorite color.

So when DC’s new it-director David Goyer calls her a “a giant green porn star”…

Goyer’s claims are as disgusting as they are mired in the ancient and erroneous All Boys Club of comic history. “An extension of the male power fantasy” and a sexual conquest for the Hulk – her cousin?! Please.

The backlash was immediate and from all angles. Even the grandfather of the Marvel universe, Stan Lee, put Goyer in his place. The Scriptnotes episode host, Craig Mazin, attempted to row back from his Goyer cheerleading / slut-shaming with this non-apology.

Marvel’s Phase One and Phase Two have made it abundantly clear that the modern world of superheroes has stepped firmly away from its white-washed origins. Three out of Nick Fury’s right-hand agents, between the movies and the television series, are women. The Bechdel Test is passed consistently.

Meanwhile over in Goyer’s DC camp, we hear the claim audiences won’t connect with a female lead, which is their excuse for there not being a Wonder Woman anything. She’s been announced as a cameo in the Justice League movie, should it actually ever take the screen around yet ANOTHER Batman / Superman project.

Marvel, meanwhile, offers us a gun-totting raccoon, a black Spiderman, and a young, female, Muslim Ms. Marvel.

The defense rests.

Published in: on May 25, 2014 at 12:51  Leave a Comment  
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Wrong Kind Of Burn

I would happily trade all this delightful near-burnout on revision for some toasty pink skin. The weather has turned GORGEOUS and here I am, studying away. Le sigh. Just one more exam to go.

This is me, at 0:55.

Here’s a few news articles from the tech legal world to keep you entertained while I bang my head against competition law:

-Google faces the EU music in the recent “Right to be Forgotten” decision (full text here), and is reportedly already hard at work on an opt-in scrubbing tool.

-Amazon Technologies has been awarded a patent on… a plain white room? Perhaps a green-screen alternative for digital motion capture, but the claims appear to be for a fairly standard photography set up of surround lighting. I’m curious to learn what the commercial significance is behind the filing. Unless, that is, Amazon plans to get into the patent troll business…

-Rock legend Led Zepplin is finally, officially being sued of the opening riff to Stairway to Heaven by the last surviving member of Spirit, a contemporary rival. We’ll have to wait and see if the Wayne’s World prediction comes true.

Stay On Target

Another week, another six days of revision.

-I took one day “off” this week to attend an Open Day with a local firm. Their group exercises were creative and designed to reduce tension – a welcome and fun change from the usual fare.

-I’ve finished one of my three subjects (Private Client) and I’m about half way done with the second (Advanced Commercial Property). This week I have those two exams, followed by the final push for Commercial Law on the 21st. I won’t be able to take a full-day off this week, but I’m taking two half-days after each exam to unwind and go see a movie with Alasdair: The Wind Rises on Wednesday and Godzilla on Friday.

-Eurovision last night was the usual fantastic spectacle, made all the better by Austria’s well-deserved win. Conchita Wurst is a fearless inspiration. She and the song, “Rise of the Phoenix” would make a perfect pairing in the next Bond film, perhaps with the rumored casting of Idris Elba? One to-camera bow tie shot, that’s all I ask…

-The Cast of Wonders rebuild continues. I’ve reconstructed the Camp Myth Phoenix Watching episodes as well as 2014’s Parsec-eligible stories. An hour or so every day makes for good revision breaks.

-After exams and vacation I’m thinking of starting a book club devoted to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s list of 8 books every intelligent person should read. I’ve read seven (all but Gulliver’s Travels), but none recently. Maybe a Google hang-out arrangement for flexibility. Let me know if you’re interested in joining up.

-And finally some more legal news. There’s another article on the Washington state AG’s consumer protection suit regarding an Kickstarter. And on May 15th the Jack Kirby Marvel suit gets its day in front of the Justices as the US Supreme Court takes oral argument. Lower courts have consistently agreed with the Marvel position of Kirby’s contributions as work-for-hire, so this is the court of last resort for Kirby’s family. More news after the hearing.

Published in: on May 11, 2014 at 13:45  Leave a Comment  

Eighteen Days and Counting

“I should be revising” will be my constant refrain for those next 18 days, but in the meantime here’s some tidbits from the Geek Legal world this week:

May the Fourth Be With You. Which is about all I need to say on that subject, not being the world’s biggest Star Wars fan. Expect announcements today. And if there ISN’T a female lead role casting announcement today, expect commentary on its absence.

Warner Brothers may be shelling out millions to Tess Gerritsen, author of “Gravity”, the novel she claims the recent hit movie copied. Her lawyers claim there’s substantial evidence not only of copying, but of overlapping staff and a lapsed option contract.

-Kickstarters beware: AG’s are looking your direction. Washington state’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson has initiated a consumer protection suit on behalf of 31 residents of his state who have yet to receive any of the rewards promised them by Altius Management’s 2012 pledge campaign to print a deck of “retro-horror”-themed cards designed by a Serbian artist. Kickstarter has suffered criticism in the past for being unable to take action against deadbeat pledge campaigns. It’ll be interesting to see how this suit progresses and if other jurisdictions follow suit.

Back to administrative clauses for me, catch you in 7.


Grab Bag

Update: The Get Published interview is now live. Link below as well.

Five things makes a blog post! Well I’ve got more than five, so I win. Or something.

This Week In Geek Law

-Last week of classes starts tomorrow, and then just revision and elective exams to go. I can’t believe it’s almost over, and more so that I’m starting to feel sad it’s gone.

-And just in time for me to graduate, the SRA is considering changing all the rules about training contracts. So far this is just a report following consultation and there’s no detail about implementation or even a timeline. But hopefully they’ll address “sandwich” students like myself who’ve finished their education but are still subject to the traditional training model. Watch this space.

-Speaking of awesome law suits, look at this doozy: SpaceX wants in on the surveillance satellite tendering process. They’re running with an anti-competition position, claiming the Boeing-Lockheed joint project ULA was awarded the contract without tendering. It’ll be interesting to see if the Air Force pushes back with any security concern arguments.

-And finally, Comixology has pissed off it’s loyal app-using fan base by removing the ability for in-app purchases. It only impacts the Apple version at this point, leaving me to believe it may be a Amazon using it’s latest big ticket purchase to distance itself further from other distribution platforms. Not to mention Apple’s hefty 30% fee. Some independent comic creators have claimed to heard from Amazon the cost savings will be passed down the chain, but customers haven’t received the same. More annoying to your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Reader was the complete lack of transparency regarding the change taking place the very same weekend as C2E2, the Chicago-based E3 trial-run. Me, I’m sticking with my Nexus 7, thanks.


-After four weeks of hair-pulling Cast of Wonders is finally back up and updating. I’ve got a LOT of work to do reconstructing the missing back-catalog and support features. But it’s also an opportunity for a ground-up consistency pass, so mixed blessings and all that. First priority is getting this year’s Parsec-eligible stories up.

-I narrated the delightfully chilling Her Face All Sharp for Pseudopod. Tell me the story doesn’t put you in mind of Morrigan. I dare you.

-I was also interviewed on the delightful Get Published podcast about Cast of Wonders. The episode should be live in the next week or so, link to follow.

-And speaking of podcasts to follow, The Legal Geeks have asked me to appear on a show with them! I’m hoping the topic will be the current Charles Soule’s current legal-tastic She-Hulk run.

 Everything Else

-Thirty days and counting until the post-exams US trip. West Coast again this time, spread between Vegas, LA, Seattle and the Bay Area.We have long layovers in both New York and Chicago this time, so we’ve nicknamed the trip A Tale of Two Pizzas. Next year we’re aiming for the East Coast trip: a road trip from New York down to Florida with plenty of stops along the way.

-My summer dance card is full. Between placements and the US trip I’m booked until the end of July. Which will make job-hunting problematic, but when has having too much to do ever stopped me? Case in point: it’s 8 p.m. as I write this. I’ve been working solid since 8 a.m., and I’ve still got a lecture to review and a distribution agreement to critique. Y’all have met me, right?

-I now have a Marvel Movie playlist. The only place you’ll ever see Blue Swede opening for AC/DC and Blue Oyster Cult.

-Dragon Age. I’ve got the bug. Inquisition releases October 7th, which is convenient. I can spent Alasdair’s birthday with him before I crawl into my Thedas Cave, emerging only for sleep and sustenance. I rolled the dice and submitted an audition for their Take Your Place In The Inquisition contest because why not, right? Someone has to voice all those quest givers, and there’s no Bucket List item like voicing a Bioware character.

-In the meantime, there’s Bioshock: Burial at Sea and Shadowrun’s Berlin expansion to play while Alasdair finishes up Assassin’s Creed.

-Finally, I’ve discovered what my “English accent” is. It’s the inability to let participles dangle when I speak. Which sounds like it should be more fun than is implied. See! Like that! I sound like Professor Elemental, only Californian. Dude.

Published in: on April 27, 2014 at 20:29  Leave a Comment