matt's weblog . . .

  matt's weblog . . .: June 2005

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

someone's idea of what is next . . .

Last night I semi-rhetorically asked what could possibly be next. This morning -- less than 12 hours later -- Lynell presciently answered by commenting with this link: 2014 Museum of Media History. Thanks Lynell, I feel much better now.

what could possibly be next?

If you want to be frightened -- I mean truly frightened -- about the development and availability of mapping and imaging technology and the future of the internet and convergence of previously-unrelated technologies, download and play with Google Earth. You will need a broadband internet connection and a fairly new computer to make it work at faster than a snail's pace, but if you've got that you're in business.

Google Earth

Unbelievable. And two months ago I was in awe of Google Local and Google AutoLink; this brings it to a whole nother level. Google is advancing the ball nearly every week it seems like; I wasn't sure what they wanted with Keyhole, but that question is answered now. They are simply not leaving me enough time to be properly impressed before they move on to the next thing. Play with Google Earth for awhile, then think about Google Maps, Google Search, the proliferation of GPS devices, city- and region-wide wi-fi, and THEN think about where this is going (or don't if you want to avoid driving yourself to becoming a luddite). It'll be pretty neat to stand outside a strange restaurant, look at it, look at my phone, and see a Zagat's review without having to ask for it. At the same time, I can't help but feeling that this is either really cool or really scary, and I'm currently undecided as to which I think it is. No matter what I conclude (or you conclude for yourself), there's no denying we're living in an interesting period in history.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

tough gig . . .

In the event you ever ask yourself, "self, what's the toughest private sector legal job to get?", I'm fairly certain I've found your answer:
Goldstein & Howe, P.C.

first court appearance

Well, I made my first court appearance today. I went to Muskegon to cover a debtor's exam for Matt Seyffert. When the appointed time arrived and the debtor failed to show for the grand inquisition I had planned for him, I began to get a little worried that I might actually have to do some lawyering. When he was officially 20 minutes late, the Clerk suggested that I go talk to the Judge b/c in her experience if the debtors are that late, they ain't showin'. Seyffert had suggested I give the guy 40-45 minutes and that was fine by me. So I waited, but of course, now I know that my first appearance is almost a certainty, so I began feverishly scribbling down some notes and an argument for why he should bypass the show cause order and issue a bench warrant for this guy. Well, they weren't so much notes as it was a script. Anyway, when the time came, the conversation went something like this:

Me: Matthew Van Dyk for the Plaintiff . . . .

Judge: Let me review the file a minute. You had a debtor's exam scheduled for this morning @ 11:00?

Me: Yes, sir.

Judge: And it is now 10 to Noon and he has failed to show?

Me: Yes, Your Honor.

Judge: Would you like me to issue a bench warrant?

Me: Yes, Your Honor.

Judge: Alright.

Me: Thank you, Your Honor.

That's not a verbatim transcript, but it's reflective of the way the conversation went. You'll notice the extent of my argument. Pretty good, eh?

father's day weekend

Well, for my first Father's Day Weekend, I have to say that it was quite an enjoyable experience. Steve Bennecke (the husband of one of Steph's friends from high school and the son-in-law of my father-in-law's business partner) -- a man who's life to date has tracked remarkably similarly to my own considering the sheer coincidence that put us in contact -- took me to New Comisky Field (a.k.a. U.S. Cellular Park) for the evening game of the Dodgers/White Sox. I, of course, am a huge Dodgers fan, and Steve is a pretty big Sox fan; since the Dodgers have cooled off somewhat after their 12-2 start and were coming off of a sweep by the Royals, I didn't have high hopes -- that's a good thing considering Mark Buehrle pitched a gem of a complete game shutout and the Dodgers anemic offense was shut down completely; oh well, at least I appreciate good pitching when I see it. We went with one of Steve's childhood friends (no longer a child, but rather, mid-30s w/ 3 kids; when you think of Irish Cop in Chicago, this guy is it -- straight out of Brothers McMullen -- and a funny, stand-up guy), his brother, and his brother's nephew. Anyway, after the pre-game beers, the game beers, and the post-game beers, we hit a couple bars and took full advantage of the late bar-closing time in and around Chicago. Although I was paying for it the next day on our drive back to GR, it was a great night which didn't end until the sun was coming up. How I used to be able to do that more regularly, I don't know. It was a great time, but once or twice a year is about all my body can handle these days.

The game was on Friday (I knocked off work a little early to get down there in time) and Saturday was spent either driving home or recouperating on the couch. Once I had sufficiently recovered, we drove down to K-Zoo to spend Father's Day with Steph's family. It was a good time. Relatively uneventful, which is how I like it; and between naps I got to watch that guy (I've already forgotten his name) play some seriously clutch golf to close out the U.S. Open. I also got to take my father-in-law's new C6 for a spin around the backcountry/farmland of Southwest Michigan on a beautiful Sunday afternoon with the top off. I was probably gone for an hour to 1-1/2 hours, but there's something about sitting 4 inches from the pavement in a car that is really little more than four giant wheels, a massive engine, and a well-thought-out cockpit, on a sunny Sunday afternoon that made it feel like about 5 minutes. Taking my driving style out of my own car and pairing it with a car built-to-suit is an almost spiritual experience. The g's through the corners and off the line, and the noise, oh that noise, the note the car hits when shifting into 3rd (and a little bit when going to 4th) is really something -- one of those throaty, American-made engine noises suggesting that it's got more to offer than you can take (which is true; particularly when you're being a bit conservative with your father-in-law's sports car). I love that car. Anyway, although the day was capped off by watching Rasheed Wallace leave the single best clutch 3-point-shooter in NBA history wide open beyond the arc when the Pistons were only up by 2 with 5 seconds left in overtime in a must-win game 5 and the predictable result, it was, all in all, a very good day.

Monday, June 20, 2005

feedmap .net (BETA) : Where Blogs Meet Maps

This is a pretty sweet site. It shows registered blogs in geographic distance from my house. You can also get here from our home page by clicking the "Neighblogmap" button at the bottom. Just thought that was pretty neat. Anyway, had a good Father's Day and weekend overall (went the the White Sox/Dodgers game with Steve Bennecke on Friday), but I'll write more about that tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2005

perhaps i spoke too soon

Well, I guess the Justice's clerks read this blog because not one day after I complained about having to wait, we got our opinion. Oh, and we won.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

waiting on our opinion

As most of you probably already know, I had the chance to work on and help draft the brief for a case being argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. It was quite a fun and intellectually-challenging experience. It was also quite an honor considering I'd had my license for about 6 months and this was the first pleading I'd ever put my name on. What was the case about? Well, if you're not a lawyer, it couldn't be more boring (and even if you are, it's admittedly a little dry and esoteric), but the issue was whether the Federal Courts could exercise subject matter jurisdiciton over a case in which the plaintiff filed in state court alleging a state law cause of action, but where the resolution of a significant question of federal law was outcome determinative of his claim (that is, if federal law waw interpreted to mean one thing, he'd win, but if it was interpreted to mean another, he'd lose). Believe it or not, this is a ridiculously more complicated question than it appears and recent (i.e. past 20 years) Supreme Court decisions had only helped muddy the waters. There's more info (and the pleading bearing my name) here. Anyway, we're still awaiting a decision, but in keeping with Supreme Court tradition (and the justices are nothing if not respectful of tradition), we should hear one of the remaining mondays in June (@ around 10:00am). While we wait, though, I thought I'd post some of the pictures from the trip. This first one was snapped as we came around the corner from the capitol and is the first time it really hit me that this was really going to be decided by these justices in this Court -- pretty sobering, really -- that's me in the black walking up the steps:

This next one is of the son of one of the attorneys who helped work up the file. He was really a riot, but I think this picture will give you a better sense of scale:

And this last one is of all of the attorneys who worked on the file and came along for the trip:

Clockwise from the top left, that's Tony Pearson, John Lichtenberg, Greg Timmer, myself, Mary Tabin, and Mike Walton. Anyway, so now we wait, I'll post again when we hear what happened. By the way, late last week, Mike Walton -- they guy who argued this case and standing in the front left of the above photo -- gave us laser-etched copies of the cover of the brief as a momento of the occasion. While I hope this is not my last Supreme Court adventure, in the likely event that it is, this sure is a nice keepsake:

Saturday, June 11, 2005

baby furniture shopping

We went shopping for baby furniture today at the only baby store in GR not owned by Toys'r'Us because they were allegedly having a one-day-only sale at which furniture was between 30-80% off. I have to tell ya, if that's 30-80% off, this is not going to be an enjoyable buying experience. Don't get me wrong; I don't want to cheap out on furniture my child is going to be in contact with every day for the first several years of his/her life, but on the other hand, I see no reason why a solidly-built crib and dresser/changing table/hutch combo unit should run in the $1200-$2000 range. I mean seriously, is that necessary? This is furniture that's going to have a limited life cycle. I just thought that was ridiculous. Anyway, we've narrowed it down to two sets for the time being (although we haven't gone to Tot to Teen in Kalamazoo yet, which apparently has good stuff). Which one do you like better? This one:

or this one:

Friday, June 10, 2005

welcome . . .

evidently blogging is the hip thing to do these days and we all know how hip I am, so really, I'm left with no choice. seriously though (like the "no caps" thing? that's also "hip", or so they tell me), here you will find random thoughts of mine as they occur to me and/or as i have a chance to put them down. you'll also find my take on the things that are happening to and around me as i plug through life. doesn't that sound interesting? anyway, hopefully this will turn into a way for people to keep track of us; if not, well, at least i'll have entertained myself.