C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, June 30, 2006

    Georgetown University Law Center Faculty Blog

    Check it out here.

    (Thanks for the heads-up, Scooter!)

    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    Good vibrations, folks...

    I need some good vibrations for tomorrow morning. I'm interviewing for a position with a local government entity -- basically, it would be like working for the fed-lite. And I'm pretty excited about it. The experience would be amazing. I'm not sure if I'm what they are looking for. I know I got the interview because of who I know. While that's worth something, it certainly won't get me the job.

    I'll get me the job because who wouldn't want to hire me? (don't answer that... we know there are too many who haven't already)

    Seriously, though, I know that I've got the goods. I just need someone to give me the benefit of the doubt rather than erect artificial barriers to winnow out the chaff. I'm not chaff, dammit. I'm grain!

    So send me happy thoughts tomorrow morning. I would love an excuse to move back to the area where I grew up, and I would love to be on a career track that has real potential to actually be a career.

    I think more than anything, I want this job thing settled. No more uncertainty. No more paycheck to paycheck. Just settled.

    So happy vibes for tomorrow morning between 11:00 and noon on the East coast, please!

    I'm thinking that tales of the Caribbean may not be the story you want to leave on...

    But regardless of how the idiots out there will spin this -- and you know they will -- I will always think the world of Norm Mineta. For many, many reasons, both professional and personal.

    There just aren't politicians of principle like him around anymore. And in this world of self-interested self-promotion, there also aren't many trailblazers like him who climb the ladder of success and at every rung, reach down to bring up folks with and behind him. I've certainly benefited from his generosity.

    And after July 7th, he's not going to be in the public sector anymore.

    Norm, for your years decades of service, unwavering integrity and leadership -- thanks a million!

    I feel old

    But I don't look it. Therein lies the conundrum. People assume I'm about 10 years younger than I am and don't give me credit for my experience or capabilities. It's a Catch-38.

    Why am I saying this? Well, MD Gov. Ehrlich (R) has just announced his running mate. Her name is Kristen Cox, and she's a whopping 36 years old. Two years younger than I am. For lieutenant governor.

    But she looks much older than that, at least to me.

    Is this the key? Look old(er) = experienced so people will take you seriously? I just want to look my age and be judged on what I can do, not through preconceived notions based on my appearance.

    C'mon folks, it's 2006 for crying out loud. Aren't we past this? Sadly, I know we aren't.

    Speaking of which...

    This just in: Government Says Stolen VA Laptop Recovered.

    Details are sparse, but it seems like the data was not compromised. Well, that's something, I guess.

    It was bound to happen

    I have now joined the ranks of those whose personal information may have been compromised. According to this article Identity Thieves Hit NIH Credit Union, customers affected have already been notified... but with all the junk mail I get from them, I'm not sure I would have necessarily distinguished a notice from the rest of the usual crap uninteresting mail I get from them.

    So, anyone who is or was a GW student who had an account with the NIH credit union on campus, look out. The credit union has promised free credit monitoring to those affected and they have fraud/identity theft info up online.

    Small solace for the potential hassle.

    It's not like I have the money for this...

    but I bought it through a silent auction anyway. An investment in art, an investment in the non-profit who sponsored the auction. Too big for my apartment though.

    Here is the story behind the series. Enter the gallery here and click on the character in the right-hand column, third from the bottom. That's mine. The photograph doesn't do it justice. It's lovely in person.

    Guess I need to get a larger apartment.

    Guess I need to get a job first, eh?


    Left the office at 12:15 am... a hefty 14+ hour day (yes, I go in between 9:30 and 10:00 -- slacker!). We're running hard at a filing deadline on Friday, and I'm exhausted -- but not so much as the attorney handling this misery. She's been doing this several days running.

    Of course, HRP went home at 7:30 to spend time with his kid. On his way out, he thanked me for staying late. Yeah, sure thing.

    Actually, I'm more than glad to stay because unlike the attorney managing this filing, I get paid by the hour. Too bad they're only gonna appreciate me and the work I do after I leave -- when they realize how significant my contribution was. I don't say that to be immodest. I really feel bad for the attorney on this case. She's doesn't have enough smart, reliable help, and soon, she'll be minus one more...

    Oh well. Onward and upward for me!

    (BTW, I have an interesting job interview on Friday... fingers crossed that I still think it's interesting after I have the interview!)

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    From fires to floods

    The impact of the past few days of rain is worse than I originally realized... and closer too.

    This is my backyard. Well, not literally. However, I grew up in Montgomery County and before law school, lived in one of the neighborhoods cited as evacuated. This is also one of the areas where the two snipers murdered folks back in 2002. It's supposed to be quiet suburbia (not that I'm comparing the actions of two homicidal men to that of Mother Nature... just that things like this don't usually occur this frequently). I used to ride my bike out the trail to the park where the lake is. And my aunt/uncle live in the part of Virginia that is being considered for evacuation (although they're not in the lowlying areas).

    Scary stuff.

    What a load of crap

    Yesterday, the Senate defeated the flag burning amendment by one vote.

    What a ridiculous waste of time this whole issue has been. So much for the high political ideals of lawmaking, debate and consideration. This was petty political pandering, plain and simple. And I don't believe a word that has come out of Orrin Hatch's mouth about this. As the amendment's chief sponsor, Hatch (R-Utah), "disputed assertions that the measure was politically motivated and was an unwise use of the Senate's time in the face of war in Iraq, high gasoline prices and a growing federal deficit."

    Yah, right.

    Or that "Fifty state legislatures have called on us to pass this amendment," Hatch told colleagues.

    I don't think so. I can't see the Hawai`i or California or Maryland legislatures doing that (even though, admittedly, I haven't done the research).

    And it must have really pissed him off that his fellow senator from Utah (as well as member of the Church of the Latter Day Saints), Bob Bennett, was one of the three Republicans who failed to launch this over the 2/3rds bar.

    I'm with Senator Inouye on this one:
    Flag burning "is obscene, painful and unpatriotic," Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), who lost an arm in World War II, said in a floor speech yesterday. "But I believe Americans gave their lives in the many wars to make certain that all Americans have a right to express themselves -- even those who harbor hateful thoughts."
    I mean, a flag is a beautiful piece of symbolism, no doubt. But aren't the ideals -- such as freedom of speech -- that are represented by that flag more important to protect than a piece of cloth?

    Check here to see whether or not your senators get it.

    Small victory in the battle

    but perhaps a really bad precedent in the long run.

    According to the WaPo article on the SCOTUS ruling on the Texas redistricting case, Court Nixes Part of Texas Political Map, "state legislators may draw new maps as often as they like -- not just once a decade as Texas Democrats claimed. That means Democratic and Republican state lawmakers can push through new maps anytime there is a power shift at a state capital."

    This is license for every legislature to redistrict each time the majority flips. That could be really ugly.

    It may be good law, but it's not good policy.

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    My sister wasn't amused

    So when we were out in Arizona last week, we hit the casinos. My li'l sis is now 21 -- and very lucky at the slot machines, too -- so we could all go in and make "donations" to the various tribes.

    Not surprisingly, she got carded. Surprisingly, so did I (once). I protested. C'mon, I'm 38! Sheesh! The guard had a good answer, though. He said he had to card anyone who looked under 30. Hmmm, I can live with that.

    But later in the week when we were at the mall, some woman (who clearly was in need of glasses) asked us if we were twins.


    I chuckled and told her that no, we were 16 years apart. My sis was not happy. But I was amused.

    Best ever silver lining

    So I had found this job that I was planning on applying for, posted yesterday. Well, today the career services office sent it around to the entire job-seekers network. I was bummed because that means I don't have the exclusive line on this job. Rats.

    When I lamented my bad luck (and the good work of the career services people), this is what my friend said: "Well, consider the competition good news --- the more people they see, the more they’re gonna realize how much better YOU are than everyone else!"

    My friend is just. the. very. best.

    She Says, unemployed lawyer

    So I quit my job today. Long, protracted story based on even longer and more protracted negotiations which resulted in zip, zero, zilch. In fact, their offer of continued employment was downright insulting. For a while, I thought we'd be able to come to a deal, but they just dragged their feet on and on, and I've had it. And everyone else who works here except the HR partner is in agreement that the firm blew it and is missing out on a real bargain by not coming to a mutually agreeable understanding with me.

    And this has been going on for so freakin' long that I am well past caring about it at all. Of course, having no job will eventually become problematic, but I am optimistic that I'll get something soon. And if I don't, well, I still think I made the right decision.

    Here, in a nutshell (but not quite verbatim), is the conversation I had with the HR partner:

    SS: HRP, I just wanted to let you know that I've decided it's time for me to move on.

    HRP (suprised): Oh, I see... well...

    SS (surprised that he's surprised because this has been a long time coming): I've spoken with [attorney with whom I work] and she knows. I am happy to stay on to help her with the case (because we have a filing deadline this week) but I think next week is about the right timing for me to leave.

    HRP: So do you have another job then?

    SS: No, I don't.

    HRP (surprised again, looks down at his desk, avoids looking at me, etc.): I see.

    SS: While I've enjoyed my time here over the past 8 months, I know I am capable of doing more.

    HRP: (really nothing to say at this point)

    SS: Since I don't have a job that I have to get to, I'll be flexible about my last day. I know how much work there is, and I don't want to leave the litigation team in a lurch.

    Etc., etc.

    Basically, they were happy to have me stay and work as a law clerk, but I'm not a law clerk any more. And there's no point in staying if they aren't going to give me any responsibilities or attorney work. I've been working cheap for them, which was fine during law school, but now that I'm actually a licensed attorney, I won't be a law clerk.

    So I'm outta here.

    Anyone got a job for me?

    Okay, so I'm slow in picking this up

    Nationwide Class of BAR/BRI Bar Review Customers Certified

    Let me tell you, based on my experience, the bar review course game is a complete racket. Ever wonder what happened to the little guys? Ya' know, the small companies which do state-specific bar reviews? Well... the Walmart of bar review courses, Barbri came to town. And now it's pretty much the only game in town. The Barbri fees are definitely more than they need to be. Can you say "monopoly"?

    So, I think this case has merit (sounding like a lawyer... but wait, I am!).

    The article says:
    The suit, filed in May 2005 by former law students in California, Michigan and Louisiana, accuses defendant West Publishing Corp., d/b/a BAR/BRI of violating the federal antitrust laws and conspiring with defendant Kaplan, Inc. to prevent competition in the market for full-service bar review courses...

    Plaintiffs allege that, as a result of defendants' conduct, consumers had to pay more for BAR/BRI bar review courses than they should have.
    Sounds about right. And, hmm... come to think of it, I don't think that Barbri teaches about class actions in their civ pro sessions.

    Nature 1 - Nurture 0?

    Changes in the Womb Tied to Homosexuality In Boys With Brothers or so says the WaPo article describing recent research.
    As described this week in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it is the number of boys a boy's mom has already had -- not the number of boys he grows up with -- that best predicts whether that boy will be gay.
    I wonder what my friend Paul, who is one of four siblings, would say? His eldest sister is not gay, but his elder brother and second sister are. He, the youngest brother, isn't...

    Yeah, I dunno about this... What say you?

    Monday, June 26, 2006

    More about internment

    The venue of the convention we "attended" (meaning, the convention was ostensibly our reason for being there, but I went to very few business events) last week was a resort on the Gila River Indian Community reservation. Deliberately so. Part of the reason for going there is the good relationship between the Japanese American community and the Gila River tribe -- and to see the internment camp. Ya' see, when the government removed the Japanese American community from the West coast and parked them in desolate, isolated lands, the tribe understood exactly how that felt. Apparently, back then, they helped each other, and there continues to be a good relationship between the tribe and the local Japanese American community.

    My father and his family were interned in the Gila River camp from 1942-44. Now, that period of American history is well-recognized for the blot on our collective record as a democracy. Now, most -- except an ignorant obdurate minority -- acknowledge the wrong that was done, but it's been a long, hard-fought battle to come to that recognition.

    This is our history -- American history -- and now, 60+ years and a terrorist attack later, most know the basic numbers: approximately 120,000 people interned, 2/3rds of whom were American citizens and a small number of whom were orphans (a real security threat, those orphans). A few know a bit more... like the fact that Japanese Americans in Hawai`i were not interned en masse despite it being ground zero of the attack and that approximately 33,000 Japanese Americans served in the military during World War II. They volunteered from Hawai`i, from all over the mainland and from the internment camps. Many of them served while their families were held against their wills behind barbed wire. They saw combat on all fronts as infantry soldiers and military intelligence interpreters. They sustained enormous casualties. The 442 Regimental Combat Team is today still the most decorated unit of its size in military history. If you ask one of those veterans about their combat record, they'll tell you that they were "cannon fodder", that their unit was viewed as something to hurl at the enemy because they were dispensible.

    Japanese American women served in the armed forces too. They were support staff and nurses and translators. They faced the same discrimination as the men for being Japanese American, but they also faced sexism -- from others in the military as well as from their families who didn't think their daughters/sisters should be members of the armed forces. These young women -- whether in uniform or in camp or working on the outside -- took on new responsibilies and roles and rose to the challenge of keeping their families together in the very worst of circumstances.

    There was also a group of conscientious objectors who refused to serve while their families were incarcerated. Their civil disobedience was way ahead of its time -- reviled then by leaders in the Japanese American community who were intent on proving their community's loyalty in the face of adversity and ended up instead inflicting bitter wounds that are only recently beginning to heal. The veterans, the women who held their families together, the resisters -- all of them courageous. All of them served the ideals of American democracy.

    This was the situation in which my family lived for a few years in the desert. Rejected and branded disloyal outsiders by the American government and divisive community politics (facilitated by government policies). Imagine sitting in the desert in an internment camp and then being asked to swear allegiance to a country that has locked you up without due process and also promise to defend a Constitution which hasn't defended you? Even harder for the first generation Japanese Americans (born in Japan) because they were legally barred from obtaining American citizenship, yet the American government demanded an oath of allegiance and a promise of military service if so asked. How do you swear allegiance to a country which has rejected you by throwing you into an internment camp? And pick up arms for combat when you're 50 or 60 and a grandparent and don't speak English all that well? And if you do take that oath of loyalty and foreswear allegiance to your native country (Japan), then you would be without a country at all. No easy choices here.

    In my grandfather's case, I think he was too old to enlist (being approximately 35 at the time), and his skills as a dentist were needed in the camp. My grandmother was 27 or so and had two young sons, younger sisters, parents and parents-in-law to care for. No easy task. Imagine -- if doing the laundry for a family is an onerous chore now, imagine how backbreaking it would have been then. Hauling it across the block to the wash room, heating the water and doing it all by hand. And they didn't have many clothes -- only what they could bring in one suitcase each -- so laundry was a frequent chore, along with sweeping the dust.

    It was a hard time, not just physically but also psychologically. Being branded a security risk by your country was a tremendous scarlet letter for the adults to bear. And I think it weighed on them heavily. My great-grandfather died in that camp. He came to the United States with the bright, shiny hope to build a better life than what they had back in Japan -- but instead he died believing that he had brought his family to a place of suspicion and distrust, incarcerated as disloyal by his adopted country, in the desert. Deserted. He probably died feeling responsible for the decision to bring his family to those awful circumstances, not knowing if they would ever get their lives back. And he didn't get that life back. My father thinks he died of a broken heart. My great-grandmother wouldn't let him be buried in the desert, so far from anywhere he ever considered home, so she carried his ashes with her for years and years until she could get him back to California for his final rest.

    You may know the numbers about internment, but this dark period in history is the personal tragedies of those 120,000 people. Every single family interned experienced personal tragedy and devastation -- whether it be the loss of face and humiliation of internment or the loss of land, home and family businesses or the loss of American citizenship. Many families lost loved ones in the war during combat or through suicide or (a few) because a guard at the camp shot them. The camp experience defines the history of the Japanese American community. It changed the lives of every one of the 120,000 people. That's a big number, but it represents an even larger collective tragedy.

    So the numbers are important to know, but so are the stories behind those numbers. Here is a little bit more about my family's story.

    From desert to deluge

    One extreme to another.

    It's not raining now (although it's supposed to later), so I'm wondering how we can have almost 100% humidity? You know what I said earlier about not caring that the desert was dry heat? Well, I was just being snarky about the triple-digit temperatures. It does make a huge difference.

    Yesterday, my suitcase was delivered at baggage claim soaking wet, all the way through. The clothes packed on top took the brunt of it but were sopping -- so much so that I could have wrung them out and probably had half a cup of water. Thank goodness I was on my way home and that was dirty laundry, not on my way to DC for a business trip. That would have been truly a joy. My dad's house and garage got flooded out (welcome home, dad!), which was particularly bad news for my sister who just moved her stuff back from New York last week and had been storing it in the garage (no time to unpack... so much for her clothes, bed, etc.!). Folks at the office had wild commutes -- like an evil version of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles". Since the commuter train lines were down, they had to either drive or take the metro or bus. Well, the beltway (major commuting route) was closed (holy cow, countless thousands are screwed) and several metro stops were flooded resulting in single-tracking, over-crowding, and intense back-ups affecting the whole system. Ugly.

    A co-worker of mine told me a man and a woman almost started throwing punches on the metro over space -- or lack there of. And downtown traffic, normally no picnic on a Monday anyway, was just horrendous today. This, despite the fact that many folks are telecommuting because they can't get in. Except one co-worker who I heard was walking to work. That's one thing if it's just across town, but I think she lives about 10 miles out. I guess I'm just not that dedicated to the job!

    So, the morning has already been quite an adventure! Fortunately for me, no trees fell on my car this time nor did I have to worry about a leaky basement or my cable going out (because I have neither).

    I guess Mother Nature is really pissed off at us; she even felled a tree at the White House. And it's supposed to rain more later. Fun, fun. Torrents of fun.

    Sunday, June 25, 2006

    Oh goodie...

    My 8:55 flight was first delayed to 9:50, and now it's been pushed back to 10:30.

    I am not thrilled.

    The flight is also overbooked, so it's gonna be a fun group of grumpy, tired folks. Chief among them, me. All jammed in together.

    So here's a lesson in Japanese for you. Monku. Monku, monku. "Monku" means "complain". "Monku-tare" = complainer.


    More airport blogging

    This time from Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. Yay for public access wireless! No fees!

    I did manage somehow to get up this morning. But I can't really say I'm yet awake, despite the coffee. Lucky me, my flight is delayed an hour. Yippee. (Note the sarcasm?) So getting up early just means waiting longer. And I'm a bit grumpy about it. But one of my friends is on this flight too, so at least I have someone to watch my stuff when I have to go to the bathroom.

    I still don't know if I have the brainpower to process and write about much of this trip -- partially because I didn't get enough sleep and partially because there was so much to absorb.

    As an aside and on a completely trivial note, this is a very nice airport with lots of interesting shops and amenities. If I didn't have to squat my spot for Southwest, I'd explore a bit. (But I do have to complain that I checked in online yesterday at 10:00 am -- 23 hours before the flight, originally scheduled for 8:55 am -- and I still got a "B" boarding pass. That means that within the ONE hour between when you're allowed to pre-check-in and when I did, enough people printed their passes to push me back to the "B" line. What up wit dat? Grrr....)

    But maybe it's all for the best because I have already spent a good chunk of change this trip... bought a mask, some art, jewelry, etc. And I really can't afford it because I'm quitting my job when I get back. More about that later too. But I am soon to join the ranks of unemployed progressive attorneys in Washington, DC. There are too many of us.

    Too tired to blog

    It's been quite the trip.

    Tuesday -- Got up at 4:45 am (East coast time!) to fly out from BWI into Phoenix. Arrived at the hotel just before noon and spent the afternoon hanging around the hotel (which is just gorgeous, BTW) catching up with friends and waiting for my family to arrive.

    Wednesday -- Got up to meet folks at 6:45 am to go out to the Gila River internment camp where my father spent a little bit less than two years between 1942-44. It was hot and stark and sad. And yet, I think the visit allowed my father to somehow come to terms better with the experience of his childhood, the experience which shaped his life. More about this later, but here are some pictures below.

    My dad and a few others walking around the area where the hospital and the block houses used to be.

    The block marker showing that yes, indeed, block 74 was here.

    Remains of the rows of barracks that was the Gila River internment camp (Butte camp).

    After the morning visit, my dad and stepmom were pretty much done for the day; we came back and had a late lunch at the casino, gambled a bit and then went to a "Welcome Mixer" for the convention (yes, despite the fact that I attended almost zero of it, I was ostensibly in town for this convention). My sister and I then walked around Rawhide, the western town and steakhouse (it basically looks like the set of an old western movie; has some shops and a few things to pay to ride). A full day...

    But wait, there's more!

    Thursday -- Up and out by 5:30 am to drive to Tucson to meet a woman from the University of Arizona about visiting a few tribal colleges. It took us about 1-1/2 hours to get to Tucson, from which we drove another hour or so to the Tohono O'odham tribal lands and visited the Tohono O'odham Community College. Again, more about this later because I am too pooped to do it justice now.

    If you thought that was early, we're trending even earlier!

    Friday -- Up and out by 5:00 am. And I thought this was supposed to be a vacation? Don't vacations usually involve rest? Sheesh. We drove up to the Grand Canyon. Yes, ladies and gents, you read that correctly. We drove 3+ hours north to the Grand Canyon. If you think we drove the length of Arizona North and South, you are pretty much correct. We took a helicopter tour of the canyon, and it was one of the coolest things I've done. Truly spectacular. Beyond my capability to describe at this hour. More later and pictures below.

    On our way back, we also drove to see Sedona and Red Rock State Park, which was the only park open because of the fires in the Sedona area. More photos when I download them. On our way back from that, we saw Montezuma Castle National Park... and after that, we drove back to the hotel. And my dad got a speeding ticket. Oops.

    Saturday -- I blissfully was able to sleep in until 8:30 am. Yay! No major treks in the car today; just a trip to the mall for a few things. More casino meals (boy, are they cheap!) and gambling for my dad (who lost a chunk... too bad) and the closing gala dinner for me, which ran until 11:30 or so.

    Can you see why I'm tired? Yikes.

    Tomorrow we have to be out by 6:00 am to catch our flights. Ugh. I am not an early-morning person, so if the things we saw weren't so incredibly spectacular, I would have been grumpy about it. As it was, I wouldn't have traded any of the experiences for more sleep. No way!

    Another thing, Phoenix is three hours behind the East coast because the state doesn't have daylight savings time... so look at the time stamp. I've got to be up and ready to head to the airport at 6:00. Even I can do that math. Ugh. I'm gonna be one tired lump on the plane.

    UPDATE (6/25): Oh, and this too...

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Live from Arizona...

    I found out (after being here for three four days already!) that I have wireless in my room. Yay. Now I can post a bit about this trip, if I can find a few minutes!

    The two biggest highlights -- dare I say "once in a lifetime" events? -- were visiting the internment camp where my father and his family lived for a few years during World War II and seeing the Grand Canyon by helicopter. Both were just breath-taking, albeit for very different reasons. I've got photos of both, too, so I'll post them later.

    Also interesting was our trip to see various tribal colleges and learning about the opportunities and challenges facing the students of the various tribes.

    And surviving triple digit heat everyday. I mean, we're talking 107 usually and up to 110. Holy cow. This DC girl just ain't used to that! And don't tell me it's dry heat. It'll melt you whether it's dry or not! I've never been much for air conditioning, but I can't imagine not having it here. Ouch.

    Gotta run now. More later.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    Airport blogging

    I'm at BWI, also known as Baltimore-Washington International, also known as BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport. For a number of reasons, I'm glad to be flying out of here rather than DCA, also -- and always to most Washingtonians -- known as National, but officially, it also bears the name of that president who served after Jimmy Carter. You know who.

    And while I wait, blogging. I was really surprised to find out the wireless is free in this airport. Another good reason to fly out from here. Freeriding is a good thing.

    I'm flying Southwest Airlines which means I'm currently sitting on the ground lined up to board. Yup, free-for-all seating. I'm in the "A" line, near the front, so I may even get an exit row, if I'm lucky. I'll certainly have my choice either way. It's a non-stop to Phoenix, and we get in at 10:00 am or so. I haven't figured out what I will be doing when I get there since my parents won't arrive until dinner time. I could just go to the hotel or go into town and sightsee or... probably go to the hotel. Who am I kidding? I had to get up at 4:45 to get here for this flight. I'll be going to the hotel.

    That's the downside of BWI. National is literally a ten minute cab ride from my apartment if there's no traffic, which there isn't at 6:00am.

    Oooh, looks like we're gonna board soon. Yay! I'm pretty excited about this trip. I have never been to Arizona before, and I will have enough time to actually get around. And it doesn't hurt that my dad will be there with the rental car, so I can do some more freeriding!


    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Announcing myself

    This is me, announcing myself to the justices of the Maryland Court of Appeals (the highest court in MD) in Annapolis on the motion to accept the group to be admitted to the bar.
    I wonder if anyone has ever thought about objecting to that motion? Needless to say, none were voiced that particular day.

    So we went straight to the speechifying. During our swearing-in ceremony, we heard a bit o' history from the chief judge -- that the MD courthouse is the oldest continuously functioning one in the United States; that the red robes and tab collars they wear are the traditional robes sans wigs; that each judge represents a different county -- with two women: one from Montgomery County, which is where I'm from (yay!) and one from Howard County (the one looking at me) and at least two African American men (one of whom is the chief judge); that a number of historical events such as treaty signings took place in the room (but again, sadly, I don't remember which they were); when people of color were first allowed to practice in MD; when women were admitted; etc., etc.

    I was lucky because I was among the 15 newbie-attorneys who got to sit in the front row. Because of the height difference between the chairs and the bench, however, it was kinda like sitting in the front row of a movie theater, leaning back and squinting up. But we had a huge advantage, those of us in the front row. We had leg room. One drawback of historic rooms is the seats and spaces are definitely of historic proportions -- that is, less roomy. The chairs were set up seat to seat, touching. No space in between them. And even though the chair backs and seats were on the smaller side, not all of ours backsides were. The one woman on my left was quite thin, but the woman on my right could have filled two chairs on her own. And I was probably part of a butt cheek over my share too (or at least, filling it). Yes, the seats were that small. So we sat at angles.

    Even less comfortable, however, were all the folks in the rows behind us. Whoever set up the room left no leg room between the rows either, and there were more than a few men (and women probably) whose knees just had nowhere to go. Completely squashed, side to side and front to back. Worse than a bad airline or old bus. Getting cosy with the neighbor! Good thing it was a short ceremony. But I bet the standing up to announce yourself part was tough -- no room to maneuver!

    The other advantage I had was that we did everything in seat order, so being in the front meant I got to be in the front of the line to sign the book and get my fancy piece of paper. Yay. Mom, Dad and I were outta there before some folks even got out of the hallway. That was very nice. Because it was hot in there. In our suits and close proximity. I just got lucky there because the ceremonies (5 of them that day) are grouped by alpha order, 70 or so at a time. It just so happened that the cut-off worked in my favor...

    So, I now have one week of being a lawyer to my credit... Wahoo!

    Belatedly, Happy Father's Day...

    to Pop Says and all my friends, both online and off... Eric, Denise, Scooter and all the dads of all my friends -- because, sappy as this is, I feel lucky to have such truly wonderful people in my life and they wouldn't be who they are without the men and women who raised them.

    So Happy Father's Day all around!

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    How dull am I?

    Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. Things with work have been in flux (update next week), and that has been sucking up much of my energy. The one fun thing I did this week was see Spamalot.

    OMIGAWD was that outrageously hysterical, and I'm not even a huge Monty Python groupie (maybe a small fan, but definitely not groupie). If you like over-the-top humor, men dancing around in tights or riffs on Broadway shows... well, this is a must-see. The original cast with Tim Curry, Hank Azaria and David Hyde Pierce must have been a complete scream...! We saw the touring cast, but it was still chock-full of talent.

    More happy news for me is that next week I'm off to Arizona for five days. I've never been to Arizona, so this will be a bit of an adventure for me -- and fun. And I'm going to attend an event related to my former job, which also means I'll be seeing lots of folks I used to work with and that whole extended network of friends and colleagues -- but I won't have to work! I'll just be there to socialize and enjoy myself and blissfully, sleep late.


    Tuesday, June 13, 2006

    She Says, Esquire

    As of 1:30 this afternoon, I am an attorney-at-law, a lawyer admitted to practice in Maryland -- but you can just call me counsel.

    Hot damn! No false modesty here. I am freakin' thrilled!

    Saturday, June 10, 2006

    Baby names

    I have had baby names picked out for years and years. If I ever have kids -- and who knows if I will? -- I want to name my daughters Kyra (pronounced "Kai-ra") and Daria. A son would be Ryan.

    Yeah, I like the "R" and "Y" sounds.

    And they would all have my last name as one of their names too. And I'd probably give them Japanese names too.

    (Seriously, no, I'm not pregnant, even if I look it.)

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    Found in my fajita

    A chicken bone.

    Now, if I were truly a litigator at heart, I might jump immediately to thoughts of products liability, etc.

    But I'm not.

    I am just glad to know that the damned thing is actually made of real chicken. Phew.

    The greatest thing since...

    freeriding a highspeed wireless connection is the imminent arrival and opening of Trader Joe's in my neighborhood.

    Oh happy day!

    I am giddily gleeful that this will be my local grocery store! No more special trips to the 'burbs to load up on their goodies. I will be able to walk there. Wahoo. I am geekily excited.

    July 25th is the new Christmas around here. I can't wait!!!

    Thursday, June 08, 2006

    I just don't get it

    I saw these all over Nashville when I was down there and have seen maybe a pair or two here in DC as well.

    They are just hideous. They look like shower shoes -- ya' know, the kind you wear so you won't get athlete's foot? Or maybe for gardening. No self-respecting urbane woman would be caught wearing them in the city.

    It had to have been a tourist sporting them here.

    (yes, I AM a snob...about certain things)


    This is the message I got earlier this evening when I tried to post something. It encapsulates my current state exactly:
    Down for Maintenance

    Blogger is temporarily unavailable due to an unexpected technical problem.
    Our engineers are working hard to fix Blogger. We will be back up as soon as possible.
    Uh-huh. Me too.

    Monday, June 05, 2006

    I wonder...

    So we had Chief Justice Roberts for our commencement speaker, and we got CNN, C-Span and other coverage. (It was pretty cool to see clips of him on the news and pundit shows... yes, I'm a beltway geek that way.) That school in Utah booked Jon Stewart when they thought they were getting Jon Stewart (read the link), and that story was all over the news magazine shows.

    So when I heard that Stephen Colbert had been the commencement speaker at a school in Illinois, it made me wonder... is it for real? Or another Jon Stewart incident? If not, which Stephen Colbert showed up? Reprise of the guy who showed up for the 2006 White House Correspondents' Dinner? Or someone funny?

    Judge for yourself. Here. Sadly, no video. But I bet he would have been amusing as a commencement speaker, especially as an undergrad.


    So I am scheduled to be sworn-in next Tuesday at 1:00. And we only get two guest tickets for the ceremony. That translates to one for mom and one for dad. It's a damned good thing that I don't have a significant other who really wants to attend. Then what would I do?

    But I am facing a conundrum. My parents are divorced, and I have to snub my step-mother and grandmother if I can't wrangle any extras... It really stinks, and I feel terrible about it (especially regarding my step-mother). Dag-nabbit!

    I understand that the ceremonies are done in alphabetical groupings, so if there is anyone out there in the middle of the alphabet (M-P?) who has any extra guest tickets for the ceremony and is willing to give them up, I'd be so. very. grateful. Or if you know anyone who might have extra tix for the 1:00 event... please forward my plea.

    Email me at dicta (dot) chick (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Aack! Near miss!

    So, I heard from BettyJoan that she had already received information about the admissions ceremony -- last week. I, as of yet, still have nothing. The board of admissions website indicates that if you haven't received all the requisite info within two weeks of the ceremony date (which is, BTW, next Tuesday), then you should give them a call. Um, it's next week. Um...?

    So I did. And they said I was cleared for admission, but that I needed to call the court to find out if I was scheduled for admission.

    So I called them. And left a message.

    Fortunately for me, they promptly returned my call and told me that I had been cleared for admission next Tuesday... cleared only this MORNING. Yes, the bar examiners office faxed over my clearance this morning for admission next Tuesday -- or as the lady on the other end of the line said, "Just in time."

    Dang, I had no idea that this was even something I should be concerned about. As far as I knew... graduated law school. Check. Passed the bar. Check. Passed the ethics interview. Check. Paperwork submitted in time. Uhhh. Check?

    Just in time? With just a week to go? When I had assumed -- based on various assurances -- that everything was okay all along? Who knew that I had completely missed out on a potential point of stress and anxiety! So yes, bar takers, this is one more thing to worry about -- that all your paperwork is submitted to the bar examiner in time for the bar examiner to transmit the clearance to the court in time to participate in the swearing-in ceremony.

    Check. I mean it -- double check to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

    Being a lawyer doesn't get you out of jury duty

    But having your swearing-in ceremony in conflict with the trial schedule does.

    Phew. Got called for jury duty today, but when I told the judge that I was scheduled to be sworn-in to the MD bar next Tuesday, he told me that he wasn't about to prevent me from attending it -- and then he dismissed me completely. Yay.

    In all honesty, I would have liked to have served -- it would have been really interesting to be on the jury for this felony murder case -- but not at the expense of my career as a lawyer or my swearing-in ceremony. Clearly, that's not hard for a judge, two prosecutors and defense counsel to understand, right? After all, they've been there. And I guess the last thing anyone wanted was a really pissed off almost-attorney on the jury. You know what they say about a little knowledge being a dangerous thing, right? Yeah, havoc could have ensued. (Not that I would have done anything to undermine the proceedings. But I would have been resentful of the missing the ceremony and delaying my career as a lawyer.)

    Aside from that, however, being an attorney is meaningless when it comes to serving on a jury in DC. It wasn't my attorney status that got me dismissed. After all, there are gazillions of attorneys here in DC, almost all of whom have more experience than I have. In fact, when I was in the courthouse, I saw pseudo-celebrity attorney Eric Holder being sent off to be considered for a jury panel. This is a man who served as an Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (yup, the very courthouse we were in), the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, Deputy Attorney General (the number two position in the United States Department of Justice), and Acting Attorney General. And, yup, he was there as part of the jury pool doing his civic duty.

    Of course, I'd bet any amount of money that he was dimissed from serving almost immediately. But he was called, and he was there.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    This has got to be some kind of record

    I am embarrassed to admit this, but I just returned two DVDs to Netflix today.


    I had had them out for a year. Literally.

    This is not hyperbole.

    I received one of them June 3, 2005 and the other June 15th. And didn't manage to watch either of them in the past 12 months.

    I don't want to think how many times over I could have bought those DVDs for the monthly membership fee I paid to have them sit gathering dust in my apartment.

    Children, do not let this happen to you. I am prime example #1 of how companies like Netflix make money. This is why I don't belong to a gym. Same pattern of paying but not playing.

    And, the movies were also unwatched.

    So I have to remember to put them back on my queue. Or not.

    I'm an idiot.

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