C'est un blague.

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  • Friday, March 31, 2006

    Calling all bloggers...!

    If you blog, I need your advice. Anyone who blogs had to make the decision about how much to reveal about his/her personal identity. I decided early on not to include my name or photo, but I've gradually revealed more and more about myself. And of course, some of my links and readers know my secret civilian identity. And pretty much anyone who reads this regularly can do a google search with a few choice words to figure me out. Because of that, I am thinking about being more open with my personal information. I am not 100% there yet, and that's why I need your help.

    Clearly, some bloggers hide nothing, using their real names and photos on their blogs -- or use a URL that is their name. Some include pictures or use only their real first names. Some give up their city (like I have) or school or place of employment. Some play it all close to the vest and remain an alias.

    What did you do and why? What considerations informed your decision? Why did you originally start blogging (because I think that's inextricably linked to the decision about whether you use your name/identity)? Would you do it differently if you started all over? Had/heard of any problems? If you're in the legal profession, were there any specific constraints that affected your decision?

    Since you made it this far, please post some comments and give me the benefit of your experience and insight. And any help you can give to direct others to comment too would be greatly appreciated.


    Kids these days...

    I've often thought that if I had to compete against kids these days, that I would never be able to cut it. Kids -- and by that I mean high school and college age -- seem to really have their stuff together in a way I didn't until I was in my 20s... or 30s. They are smart, involved, socially aware, politically active. I am often impressed by many (and not at all impressed by some, of course), and when I compare how I was at their age, well, I definitely come up short -- and then exhale with relief that I didn't have to compete against them then.

    But this leaves me incredulous. I am stunned that some kids and their parents are so freakishly competitive that they would resort to dubious diagnoses of learning disorders to game the SAT system. It's just wrong -- not fair to the kids are who do have learning disabilities and not fair to those who don't either. And what are those parents teaching their kids? Figure out the system and beat it? By any means necessary? Take advantage because you can? Cheating is okay? Money buys anything? A level playing field is for everyone else? The ends justify the means? Ugh.

    I am perturbed, deeply.

    Thursday, March 30, 2006

    Quiz withdrawal results in...

    The University of Blogging

    Presents to
    She says

    An Honorary
    Bachelor of

    Majoring in
    Attention Seeking
    Dr. GoQuiz.com
    Blogging Degree
    From Go-Quiz.com

    Peak pink power!

    Today is the official "peak" of the cherry blossoms here in DC. "Peak" means that 70% of the blooms are bursting.

    Flower watch is an annual ritual here in DC, and this year we managed to time the festival with the actual bursting of the blossoms. In past years, we've missed completely (kinda sad to have a cherry blossom festival without cherry blossoms, eh?). In celebration, I wore a hot pink sweater and a jacket with pink and orange flowers all over it (yes, it's loud and no, there's no way I'll get hit by a car because you can see me a mile away).

    The good news is that the peak is supposed to continue through the weekend. The bad news is that the upcoming weekend is the shortest of the year. We lose an hour when the clocks change.

    So that means -- take the time to view the trees! The flowers really are quite spectacular, especially since the magnolias tend to bloom at the same time.

    Pink power!

    UPDATE: Seriously, check them out here
    Painter Margaret Huddy of Alexandria depicts the Jefferson Memorial and the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin. (Arianne Starnes/washingtonpost.com)

    Actions speak louder than words

    Or jokes.

    Josh Kaplan, a second year associate at a prestigious firm here in DC, was sick of all the lawyer jokes at his expense. So he decided to put his "expense" to work -- to undermine the jokes and stereotypes about lawyers -- and established "Give a Little 2006", a site where Josh hopes other 6-figure salaried 20-somethings in the legal profession will share their good -- and growing -- fortune.

    Read more about it here and here, and, if you're lucky enough to be in the position to give a little, why not? Here.

    Wednesday, March 29, 2006

    Way to go, li'l sis!

    My baby sister (she's 16 years younger than I am) is graduating from college in June, and she just learned she has been awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship Grant to go to Germany for a year...

    WAY TO GO SIS! Congratulations!

    When she called -- and after I congratulated her -- I, of course, teased her by telling her that she was well on her way to becoming me. (What's a big sis for, after all?)

    I said this because I did essentially the same thing after college. I taught English in Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme right after I graduated. It was a life-changing experience. The Fulbright program is a bit different, but she'll also be an assistant English teacher. Difference is, li'l sis is natively fluent in German whereas I learned Japanese while living there.

    Ya' see, when li'l sis was born, her mother was working full-time, so daycare had to be found. Her mother (my stepmother) found a local woman who had a son the same age as li'l sis to take care of her as a pre-schooler. So the two of them kinda grew up together, at least for a little while. (Coincidentally, the boy's dad is Chinese -- so the two little kiddies were/are both half-Asian.)

    Well, the woman who took care of them was (is) German. Native German. So she spoke to her son and my little sister ("C") in German. So, by three or four, C was completely fluent (for a four year old) in German. When it came time to send the kids to school, the decision was made to send the boy to the German School of Washington. Well, C was originally going to go to our very fine public school system (I say that because I'm a product of it), but our parents (my father and stepmother) decided to keep the kids, who were best friends, together -- and also to take advantage of the advantage of learning German. So they decided to send C to the German School as well. She stayed in the program and graduated from the school and is natively fluent in German (can you imagine learning math in a foreign language? ugh). The boy, her friend, ironically enough, ended up transferring to the local public high school.

    I like to tease C that women's greater participation in the workforce gave her the great gift of German. My mother quit her job when she had my older brother and stayed home to take care of us until my younger brother was in fifth or sixth grade. Now, don't get me wrong -- I am not complaining, nor suggesting that her choice was anything other than a wonderful gift to me and my brothers (because it absolutely was) -- but it's interesting how one small decision (who to get for daycare) has so profoundly impacted C's life.

    Now C got a grant and is off to Germany in August. I'm a proud big sis!

    Next thing you know, she'll be applying to law school...!

    UPDATE (3/31/06): Too bad that C didn't also hang out with the dad of that family and learn Chinese. What a huge, huge advantage that some families pay huge bucks for.

    A new angle for law students

    I'm impressed. I thought of pretty much everything else, but I just never thought of doing this to aid my studies.

    Just goes to show you how resourceful some law students are (but not me!).

    I was, however, queen of outlines -- both professor-specific and professional.

    What do you think of when you hear the word "apple"?

    The fruit? (really?) Fiona? Gwyneth Paltrow's kid? The computer manufacturer? Or the record label (think Beatles)?

    Exactly. Apple v. Apple.

    No contention of copyright infringement, not exactly... just a beef about the computer label getting into music distribution via iTunes. It seems that Apple feels that Apple is taking a bite out of its apple.

    Too cool!

    Total solar eclipse. Wish I could have seen it in person. Instead, I have to make do with pictures and video of it.

    Pale substitute. Literally.

    Look before you grab?

    I'm talking about answering the phone. But even if you look, it may not help...

    Here's why. I think we all know about spoofing when it comes to email and spam, but this piece describes a new menace to privacy: websites which sell the "service" of masking/changing the phone number which is displayed on caller ID. Basically, someone can buy the service to pretend to be someone else calling, get past filters on the caller ID or to mask his/her identity completely. One site even advertises that it facilitates "100 percent anonymous prank calls". Sounds like an easy way to harassment.


    Apparently these sites are being investigated, according to wired.com.

    I wonder what law would apply? Some interpretation of antiquated wiretapping laws? A fraud statute? I dunno, but even if it's not illegal, it's disturbing how these site have proliferated and are marketing themselves for less than legitimate purposes.


    This is the semaine-iversary (one week) of my whining about starting a diet last Tuesday. I have gone low-carb, and I definitely suffered withdrawal -- craving everything -- for the first several days. And an upset stomach too.

    I am pleased to say that I have made it on this diet for more than a week now with only one slip -- I had a can of ginger ale to settle my stomach (36 carbs... bad!) -- and the cravings are now gone. I didn't even cheat on the snacky candy things that are always around the office. Yay. Small progress.

    My pants aren't as tight as before (phew -- I can breathe, literally!). The pair that I couldn't fit into immediately post-bar are wear-able now albeit still a bit tight, and with a few more weeks of this, I might even be brave enough to *gasp* get a on scale and find out how much I weigh.

    I haven't been on a scale since well before my binge. I gained a tremendous amount of weight my last semester of school and then even more on top of it with the bar study. In fact, since the beginning of law school, I have put on more weight than I care to admit.

    While it's true that most women have at least two or three sized wardrobes ("fat", "thin" and maybe "pipe-dream"), I have those and more. I think the next healthy things to do are... first, exercise. I still haven't managed to work that into a routine yet. Second, go through my closet and get rid of the stuff that just isn't realistic. Lots of it will never fit, and much is also either out of style or just too young for me now. I think it would be better for my mental state (not to mention my domestic state) if I just purged.

    Check back with me in a month.

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    I'm such an idiot

    So, I "auditioned" for graduation speaker for my section for law school. There are only two of us who did for our section. Since we're good friends, we decided to send out a general "get out the vote" email encouraging folks to vote, giving them instructions how to do so and attaching the text of our messages in case folks could not view the video files easily.

    Well, instead of attaching the text of my speech, I inadvertantly attached my current resume. Because the files had similar names. Because I just wasn't careful. Because I'm an idiot.

    OMIGAWD. I just sent my resume to all my friends and classmates -- GPA, job history, personal info, the whole dirty story of my life.

    I am so embarrassed. I quickly sent out a correction email, but that only draws attention to the mistake in the earlier one. (smacks forehead) D'oh!

    Classic, classic, classic. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    And, I just ensured that my friend will win -- because I am now telling everyone to vote for her, instead of the idiot who can't attach the right files!


    "Marriage is for white people."

    That's a quote from a sixth grader in this article by Joy Jones.

    A really interesting read. And a bit concerning for me because it describes a cultural shift whereby young African American boys aspire to be good fathers but don't necessarily want a legal relationship with the mother(s?) of their children.
    "Oh, no," objected one student. "We're not interested in the part about marriage. Only about how to be good fathers."
    Maybe it's just how families are being re-defined. But I worry that it's a shift away from commitment.


    The District Adopts a Seoul Sister -- number 10 of DC's "sister" cities. We're part of a litter!
    With the ceremony March 13, Seoul became the District's 10th sister city and the latest conquest in the Williams administration's campaign to firmly imprint the nation's capital on the global imagination. Since Williams took office in 1999, he has signed seven sister city agreements, including pacts with Paris, Athens, Brussels and Brazzaville in the Congo Republic. Williams has scheduled visits to several previously designated partners, including Bangkok, Beijing and, later this year, Dakar, Senegal.
    Hmmm, that sounds like a fun itinerary for a global adventure tour.

    Sister city arrangements are really, really popular in Japan. It's an excuse for academic and cultural exchanges, and it does facilitate closer relations. It certainly doesn't detract from them. I am really surprised that DC doesn't have a sister city in Japan -- unless I'm missing something??? With the cherry blossoms, you would think that sisterhood would have been established a long time ago. Kyoto would be good -- both are smallish cities with lots of culture and height limits (no skyscrapers), and Kyoto is a former capital. Tokyo, the modern capital of Japan, would be okay but it's such a gi-normous city that it would be more appropriate as a sibling to New York City. Where I lived in Japan -- Shiga Prefecture -- was had a sister-state relationship with Michigan because they both had big lakes in them. Apparently, one of the oldest sister cityhood relationships is between Riverside, CA and Sendai, Japan -- coming up on its 50th anniversary next year.

    Ten is a good start for li'l ol' DC, but we definitely need to add Japan. Still we ain't got nuthin' on Chicago which is in the sisterhood with 25 cities. A set of score-quintuplets?

    Monday, March 27, 2006

    This is for you, Scooter

    One of the many, many things I collect ("collection" sounds better than "piles of junk", doesn't it?) is political memorabilia of Asian American elected and appointed officials. Signatures, campaign buttons, cards, photographs, etc. Scooter asked about my collection, so here is some of it.

    The first is a picture from the Clinton administration -- the President and his Asian American appointees. I got it signed by WJC and a number of the appointees, too. How? I know many of them through my former job. Not Mr. Bill himself, but I know someone who... well, you know. It's DC after all.

    The second picture is a scan of a handful of business cards of Asian American politicans (and one notable exception), signed by them personally. In this collection, Patsy Mink is rather cherished since she passed a few years ago -- and since she was a first in so many important ways.

    I also have several more -- from local pols and cards from others positions these folks have held (e.g., The Honorable Norman Mineta, Member of Congress). It's a decent collection, and I am always looking to expand it. As you might imagine, I am shameless about asking.

    Last but not least is a scan of four campaign buttons. I have maybe a dozen different ones, so this is just a sample. Pols don't make campaign buttons any more -- usually you get stickers -- so these buttons are getting harder and harder to come by. Ebay has become my friend for this. That's how I got the "Mineta for Mayor" button, a prize in my collection.

    You may notice that there aren't many Republicans among this bunch, but the reality is that most of the Asian American politicians on the national level have been and are Democrats. The only two Republicans I have are Senator Hiram Fong (R-HI) and Senator S.I. Hayakawa (R-CA). I'd be more than happy to expand this with a signed business card from Secretary Elaine Chao or a button from Representative Bobby Jindal (R-LA)... anyone got one?

    (but I do have this mug... and what a mug it is!)

    How's that Scooter?

    Two steps forward, one step back.

    That’s what it feels like looking for a fall “I’m a freshly-minted law grad” job in late March when you graduated in February. Progress is hard fought and without much momentum.

    I thought I had some momentum and a great opportunity last week. A legal fellowship for public interest work. It seemed like a perfect fit, and based on the call I got, I was very, very excited about my prospects. Well, the interview was Thursday, and it felt like a gi-normous waste of my time.


    Well, first of all, the woman kept me waiting for the interview. Not too long, not a huge deal, but also not an auspicious beginning. I waited patiently. But then, she wasn’t even prepared for the interview; she didn’t have my resume or remember anything about why she asked me to come in. She was all over the place. Fortunately, I had copies of my resume with me, so I didn’t have to repeat all my credentials.

    Then Madame-interviewer asked me a series of questions to test my imagination and understanding of the law. Ummm, legal questions for an intake interview for a fellowship?!? Okay, I guess that’s fair game – especially if she was trying to examine my analytical skills – but that’s a pretty tough way to conduct an interview with a newbie law grad. Talk about sweating it. I think I gave a reasonable answer, but I don’t think it was what she was looking for. Oh well.

    But the part that really annoyed me is that after all of these questions, she asked me if I had any for her. Well, considering that she didn’t even describe her expectations for the fellowship or how it would work in the organization, I had a few. I started out by asking her what qualities she was looking for in a fellow.

    Her answer? “Smart, good writer.”

    Yeah. Okay, like anyone really wants dumb, poor writers for legal jobs or for any job? Non-responsive, babe. So, I tried going at the question from another angle and asked what has made past fellows successful.

    Her answer? “Smart and good writers.”

    Okaaaaaaaaay. Well, then. Sensing a pattern here? I pushed it yet again and commented that I imagined that the organization was undoubtedly receiving a number a highly competent, well-qualified applications for the fellowship, so there must be some factor for distinguishing among them…

    Her answer? “You know it when you see it.” Or something along those lines.

    Give me a freaking break. I have been on enough interviews in my career to know this was a load of crap. Interviews are an opportunity to develop a rapport – to see whether I was what they wanted and whether this was a position I wanted. If I didn’t have the credentials, I wouldn’t have made it in the door in the first place. But as much as I was willing to explore the possibility of whether the fellowship was a good fit both ways, she gave me nothing. Zip, zero, zilch.

    I don’t usually have any problems chatting easily with anyone, but she just gave off this vibe of complete disinterest and towards the end, was practically dismissive. Doesn’t she realize that I’m interviewing her as much as she is interviewing me? At least fake some interest in me, woman! It’s only an hour! I’m giving you my valuable time!

    I was so put off by her whole manner – so disrespectful to waste my time that way. I walked out of that interview really annoyed. And I don’t even want the fellowship now. Really bad taste in my mouth.

    So, that was Thursday.

    On Friday, I got some good news. My current boss walked into my office and sua sponte gave me a raise. He said it was in recognition of my graduation from law school (a month and a half ago, but I’ll take it), because he had only heard good things about my work, and because I was willing to work more hours (the job was part-time).

    Yay. That was very flattering, and I told him as much. Then I asked him for benefits. Accrual of vacation time and holiday pay? Well, the firm isn’t willing to make me a full-time employee with full benefits, but he is willing to consider personal time off and holidays. Since I don’t need health insurance YET and don’t plan on being there long enough to vest in a retirement plan, I’d be happy with the personal time/holiday pay. It’s not much to ask for, so we’ll see what they say…

    He also broached the possibility, much caveated, of perhaps being brought on as a staff attorney once I pass the bar. Well, I dunno if I passed the bar, but I did appreciate his throwing the bone my way.

    So, two pieces of positive news from my current law clerk job. One really annoying outcome on the job search.

    Two steps forward. One step back. But all in all, forward progress.

    Friday, March 24, 2006

    If Fox news says so, then it must be true

    But in this case, it actually is. In a policy paper issued today, the The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute supported adoption by gay parents.

    The report, "EXPANDING RESOURCES FOR CHILDREN: Is Adoption By Gays and Lesbians Part of the Answer for Boys and Girls Who Need Homes?", includes among its findings:
    * Against a backdrop of increasing public acceptance, social science research concludes that children reared by gay and lesbian parents fare comparably to those of children raised by heterosexuals on a range of measures of social and psychological adjustment.

    * Studies are increasing in number and rigor, but the body of research on gay/lesbian parents is relatively small and has methodological limitations. Still, virtually every valid study reaches the same conclusion: The children of gays and lesbians adjust positively and their families function well. The limited research on gay/lesbian adoption points in the same direction.

    * Though few states have laws or policies explicitly barring homosexuals from adopting, some individual agencies and workers outside those states discriminate against gay and lesbian applicants based on their own biases or on mistaken beliefs that such prohibitions exist.

    * Laws and policies that preclude adoption by gay or lesbian parents disadvantage the tens of thousands of children mired in the foster care system who need permanent, loving homes.
    Pppplllbbbttt, Florida.

    See here for a pdf file of the full report.

    This report arrives on the heels of yesterday's Pew Research Center's findings that opposition to gay marriage is declining. They report "Less Opposition to Gay Marriage, Adoption and Military Service" and that only 34% support the South Dakota abortion ban.

    View the full report here.

    Okay, that number is still way too high, but at least it -- and these reports -- show that discrimination is simply not a mainstream American value.

    BUT, that doesn't mean the battle lines won't continue to be drawn across the country... in Minnesota... in Maryland... and just too many other states.

    Thursday, March 23, 2006

    Wish me luck!

    Today is the day.

    Leaving my office in about 45 minutes...

    See? I'm not the only one

    I'm not the only one who waxes nostalgic for 80s pop culture. In the WaPo, Liz Kelly blogs about "'80s Movies, the Perfect Vintage". I agree with her and really do think the teen movies were much better back then... but I guess I don't have a lot of expertise in contemporary teen movies.

    I alo think she has it right when she says: "In the '80s, I think we paid more attention to the on-screen characters being portrayed by the brat pack than to the gossip surrounding them... The focus now seems to be on the off-screen antics of stars like Lohan and the ever-tabloid-present Olsen twins."

    But I guess that all goes hand-in-hand with reality TV. The more we blur the line between entertainment and real life, well, the more that people's "real lives" will be viewed as entertainment.

    Wednesday, March 22, 2006

    Go Tammy!

    Tammy Duckworth won the Democratic primary in the 6th district in Illinois, the Chicago suburbs. Yay! Go Tammy!

    Why is this significant? More for my collection of political propaganda!

    Okay, self-interest aside, this is the seat being vacated by the retiring Henry Hyde. It has been held by Republicans for 32 years, and this is the first time in decades that a Dem has had a shot at the seat. But does she have a realistic shot at beating the R in the general? I dunno, but she's got a good story: Iraq war veteran; disabled in combat (lost both legs in a grenade explosion); real heart; telegenic.

    Also inexperienced in politics. But no less so than, say, Mary Bono (who has trouble articulating multi-syllabic words) when she was elected to her husband's seat. Check Tammy out for yourself. I understand that she's pretty good in person, although I've never met her.

    If nothing else, Tammy would bring a fresh perspective to Congress. Yo! Asian American woman in da' House! We need more of them.

    And so, all right... I wouldn't be the first mixed-race Asian American woman elected to Congress then... I'll make that sacrifice.

    Maybe I'll go for the Senate instead?

    Friends, don't let this happen to you

    So, studying for the bar... a painful endeavor. During the time that I was studying, I was also stressing as any logical law student is wont to do. When I stress, I stress eat.

    And I figured that the last thing I wanted to do during this bar press is to put constraints on myself. So, anything that made me happy in the moment or temporarily relieved my anxiety, I indulged.

    I indulged a lot. Stress eating + sitting around all day = pants that no longer fit.

    I don't know how much weight I gained. Enough to limit my wardrobe to a few pairs of pants. And, I actually don't want to know, but now is the time for me to do something about it.

    Other than whine, that is.

    So I am. I started my "diet" yesterday. Cutting out the carbs. And it's hard because I love my carbs. I am also such a wimp about this that every day is a struggle. Day two and hear me whine! I haven't worked myself up to the exercise part yet -- and I know it's the most important key to losing weight. My metabolism is in the crapper, so I will have to get off my big, fat, lazy ass and do more than just walk to work and back.


    I keep telling myself that I'll do more when the weather is better, but I know that's crap too. Any suggestions on how to make exercise actually fun???

    I feel like a loser right now, but I want to actually be one.

    And I thought the bar was my last test...

    Snagged from ambib, I wandered over to Personal DNA and took my first DNA test, which said that my "genetic personality" is...

    Hmmm, I wonder if my brothers would agree?

    And, speaking of personality -- check out Scooter's post on recent personality research. Vely, vely intaresting.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Birthday wrap-up

    Thanks everyone for all of the birthday wishes. I had a great birthday and got lots of goodies -- jewelry, silk scarves, a nice leather jacket, books, flowers delivered to my office, etc.

    But I have to say that this was the one present that made me smile from ear to ear. You can call me a geek, but I just LOVED this.

    Yes, ladies and gentlemen -- it's Darth Tater.

    I had had it on my Amazon wish list since Christmas, but no one bought. Perhaps my disappointment was palpable. More likely I was just really obvious in all my comments. But I got it. No, I probably won't play with it. It just makes me smile. A lot. I'm definitely a goof that way.

    The other really great part about my birthday was all the yummy dinners out. I got to choose, and this year I specifically requested that my fete feasts be at restaurants I hadn't yet tried.

    The first yum meal was here, where I indulged until I could no more. I don't know that I would make a point of going back there, but it was a very nice meal. Dinner #2 was compliments of my parents who took me here. It's a new restaurant (no Zagat rating yet) which I chose. Very mod interior and fusion Asian cuisine. Ooh, yum. Yum. Yum.

    I have to say that having all the lobbyists around ensures that DC has some very fabulous restaurants -- especially if you're willing to drop a few bucks. There are a bunch more I want to try, so it's a good thing that I still have outstanding invitations to celebrate graduating from law school!

    Oooh, where next?

    Impressively aggressive

    So, the ink hasn't even dried on my diploma (not to mention the fact that I don't even have it yet), but I have already received information about an LLM program from a law school. AND the LLM program was very specifically related to my background and work history.

    I wonder what database they are hooked into to know so quickly that I've graduated? I can't imagine the bar sells their information, so the culprit must be Georgetown.

    Why am I not surprised?

    It may sound frivolous, but...

    This is a very sweet story about a local DC high school senior reaching out to help those who lost everything in Katrina by collecting and sending prom dresses to girls in New Orleans.

    Now, prom may be the last thing on most people's minds and others may say that donations are better spent elsewhere, but I think this is a fabulous, not frivolous, drive. It only costs people's time and isn't diverting resources from other worthy causes. And what a great way to help girls forget the devastation of the past year, feel a little glam for a little while and allow them to believe that maybe, maybe things will start to return to normal soon.

    To donate dresses, see here. My prom dress isn't something that anyone would want to wear, but it would make a good set of curtains. However, I do know I've got more than a few cocktail and party dresses in the back of my closet that, despite all my pipe dreams, will never fit again. I think it's time I did a little spring cleaning.

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    A work in progress...

    Here are 100 things about me in random order, randomly written -- but the real question is whether anyone but me will make it through this list?

    1. My middle initial is the same as my last initial. When I was born, my parents assumed that I'd get married and lose my last name, so they wanted to facilitate the "switching of the names" -- that is, if I wanted to keep my "maiden" name and make it a middle name, it would be easier since the initials were the same.
    2. So far, they have been wrong about my getting married.
    3. They are definitely wrong that I'll lose my "maiden" name if I ever do marry.
    4. I grew up a middle child. That explains a lot, doesn't it?
    5. I grew up with an older brother and a younger one too. That explains even more, eh?
    6. I cannot seem to drink take-out coffee without spilling it. Every time. No kidding.
    7. I lived in Japan for almost four years.
    8. No other adult has my name with my spelling, although there are at least four near-misses.
    9. I graduated from college with a double major in Sociology and Anthropology.
    10. During the Bush, the elder, administration.
    11. Because of my majors and the other programs I pursued as an undergrad, I had only one elective after my first year.
    12. And I stupidly used it on calculus.
    13. Because my dad wanted me to.
    14. Even though I had taken calculus in high school.
    15. I don't do everything my dad tells me to.
    16. Or my mom.
    17. And I liberally ignore my brothers too.
    18. I am and have always been a registered independent.
    19. But I caucus with the dems.
    20. I spend way too much money on cheap shoes -- quantity over quality, man!
    21. I don't eat mammals (read: chicken, seafood and fish = dinner, but no pork, beef, venison, mutton, etc.).
    22. I haven't eaten mammals since I moved back from Japan in 1994.
    23. I watch Nightline.
    24. I also watch Oprah.
    25. I don't have -- nor ever have had -- cable.
    26. I have ABBA on my iPod.
    27. My favorite color growing up was green.
    28. I no longer have a favorite color.
    29. In fact, I don't have favorite anythings.
    30. I am allergic to alcohol.
    31. I have never seen a full episode of Melrose Place or The Apprentice.
    32. My hands are so large that I can reach more than an octave on the piano.
    33. My left foot is bigger than my right foot.
    34. I can swear in Arabic.
    35. I prefer Coke over Pepsi. Diet Coke, definitely Diet Coke.
    36. I was born in Washington, DC -- really!
    37. I collect masks from around the world. Someday, someone is going to make a ton of money off of them on Antiques Roadshow or eBay.
    38. I own more hot pink jackets than anyone over ten rightfully should.
    39. Every once in a while, I Google lost friends and ex-boyfriends.
    40. I once voted for a Republican -- Connie Morella -- but she doesn't really count as an R.
    41. I have never done any illegal nor illicit drugs.
    42. I have never cheated on anyone, but I have been cheated on -- and I was once the "other woman".
    43. I don't know which is worse -- being cheated on or being an accomplice to it. Both suck.
    44. I collect memorabilia of Asian American politicians (buttons, campaign propaganda, signed business cards/photographs).
    45. I can wiggle my ears.
    46. I have been known to have ice cream for breakfast.
    47. I have travelled to more foreign countries than I have U.S. states.
    48. I remember life before VCRs, personal computers and remote controls.
    49. I have a Master's Degree in International Affairs.
    50. That degree is, essentially, worthless.
    51. I can eavesdrop in Japanese.
    52. I play canasta online. More often than I should.
    53. I am the worst housekeeper on the face of this earth. Or on any other planet.
    54. I dye my hair to cover the gray.
    55. The first real piece of furniture I bought was a bed for $500 in 1996. Until then, I had hand-me-downs and gift furniture.
    56. I still have that bed, but I have gotten rid of the hand-me-downs.
    57. I own way too many clothes that I am likely never to wear again, but somehow can't manage to get rid of them.
    58. I graduated from law school with a 3.51 GPA -- and I am very proud of that accomplishment. However, it's not something I can or do brag about except when buried in a list of 100 things about me.
    59. I look very good in purple and red. Not so good in yellow or pastels in general.
    60. I am incredibly lazy.
    61. "Procrastination" and "rationalization" are my confirmation names.
    62. No, I was never confirmed. I only made it as far as being baptized. That didn't require any work on my part.
    63. My mother grew up Catholic. I grew up skeptical -- and obnoxious.
    64. I was a breech birth. My mother actually delivered me. Go mom!
    65. Despite my law degree, I seriously doubt that I'll achieve a standard of living that exceeds my parents'.
    66. I am the first woman directly up the matrilineal side to attend college.
    67. My mom was the saludatorian of her high school class but didn't have the economic means to ever attend university. Instead, she went to "B-school". In those days, B-school meant "secretarial school".
    68. My mother's mother was pulled out of school after the mandatory eighth grade education to work on the family farm.
    69. To the best of my knowledge, my grandmother's mother was uneducated. However, she came over from Croatia on a boat with her two young daughters, not speaking any English but knowing that she would probably never see her homeland or the rest of her family again. I can't imagine doing that and admire her courage tremendously.
    70. My father and his family were interned during World War II in Arizona.
    71. No, they were not spies. They were and are Japanese American. Perfectly innocent.
    72. That makes me CroAsian American(tm).
    73. I have now provided enough information about me to figure out my identity. But don't bother. Nothing too exciting to learn.
    74. I lettered in three sports in junior high school. I didn't do any sports in high school.
    75. My first car was a Datsun. Yup, ya' know -- before the company became Nissan? It was bronze.
    76. I talk back to the television. But not to movies in the theater. I get really annoyed when people do that.
    77. I can drive standard and parallel park just about anything.
    78. I prefer public transportation or walking to driving.
    79. Fortunately for me, I live in a city where all that is possible and one doesn't need a car.
    80. But I have one anyway.
    81. I keep it out in the 'burbs.
    82. It's a Toyota. 1988.
    83. If I were to buy a new car, I'd get a hybrid.
    84. Because I'm ridiculously pragmatic.
    85. Both my parents drive hybrid cars (the same one in fact, in different colors).
    86. If I were a soccer mom, I'd buy a Plymouth PT Cruiser.
    87. I will never buy an SUV unless I live out in the woods. They bug me.
    88. I have no intention of ever living out in the woods. Maybe the 'burbs. With a lakehouse in the mountains.
    89. I once googled myself and among the results was a porn site.
    90. It wasn't me on that site.
    91. One of my greatest peeves is smokers who throw their butts on the street. Selfish, rude litterbugs!
    92. I prefer the aisle seat to the window on plane trips.
    93. I am quite vocally opinionated... as if you didn't already figure that out.
    94. I am the oldest person in my family to remain unmarried... ever. I do this to take the heat off my younger brother. My grandmother used to lamant my single status, but now I think she's just given up. My mother has never hassled me about this, but I think it might be because so long as most of her kiddies are single, she can remain in denial about how old we (and by implication, she) are.
    95. I am my mother's favorite daughter. I am also her least favorite daughter. I am, in fact, her only daughter.
    96. John Stossel drives me batty. So does John McLaughlin. I steadfastly refuse to watch them or even hear their voices. I change the channel whenever they come on.
    97. I buy Christmas and birthday presents all year 'round but have been known to "lose" them (because I put them in a "safe place") such that I end up having to buy something else.
    98. My middle name means "beautiful, blessed child" in Japanese.
    99. I have five tattoos. None of them are readily visible unless I am wearing a tank top or open-back shirt.
    100. I am considering getting more. Shh, don't tell my grandmother!

    UPDATE (7/4/06):

    Another notable quotable

    This comes from the MD debate of gay marriage. Jamie Raskin, who is running for state senate in district 20, testified on Wednesday, March 1st before the Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:
    At the end of his testimony, Republican Senator Nancy Jacobs asked, "Mr. Raskin, my Bible says marriage is only between a man and a woman. What do you have to say about that?"

    Raskin replied, "Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible."

    The room erupted into applause.
    Very nice.

    Saturday, March 18, 2006

    Go Google, go Google...

    Google wins favorable ruling: Search engine company told to reveal Web sites -- not search terms -- to government.
    A federal judge on Friday denied a U.S. government request that Google be ordered to hand over a sample of keywords customers use to search the Internet, but required that the company produce some Web addresses indexed in its system.
    Phew, now all my searches for... um, never mind.

    Yay for privacy.

    Friday, March 17, 2006

    Me? A shopper?

    You betcha!

    Your travel type: Travel Yup

    The Travel Yup likes exotic and adventurous travel, but prefers big cities with fast paced life. She has a keen interest in other cultures and always brings home a few souvenirs.

    Shopping in Bangkok, getting a tailor made suit in Kuala Lumpur, that's the kind of thing the Travel Yup is into. Even though she likes to get away, she prefers her travels to be comfortable.

    top destinations:

    Hong Kong
    New York

    stay away from:

    Ciudad Perdida
    Darien Gap
    get your own travel profile

    Travel? Yup!

    I have been to Hong Kong, New York City, and Bangkok -- several times to each city in fact. Good shopping all three places. I would love to go to Alaska, Darien Gap and any lost city.

    And for the record, I travel with a backpack and stay in traveller's lodging. Oh, I don't turn down opportunities for more luxurious accomodations when available -- because who doesn't like a hot shower? -- but I'd rather spend the cash on souvenirs or covering more ground than on hotels with matching towels.

    Speaking of which, I'm off to conquer the sprawling jungle of Houston, TX this weekend. Well, actually, I probably won't get to see too much of it given my time constraints BUT I will definitely shop, see and eat, eat, eat (and shop).

    Return address trepidation

    There is no other return address that creates such anxiety for me as that of the MD State Board of Law Examiners. Not credit card bills, not invoices for my school loans, not even those little postcards telling me that I am due for a visit to the dentist...

    Despite knowing that the bar results aren't due until May, I definitely view those envelopes with trepidation. My brain runs crazily creative with thoughts about what materials I didn't file and how my omission will disqualify my application to the bar...

    So far, I haven't had any news like that, but I have to say that these letters are particularly cold and harsh. They keep telling us how we will be disqualified and our results will be voided if we don't do this, that and the other. Every letter feels like a scolding. It's no wonder I almost break out into a sweat whenever I get them...

    Of course, this is nothing compared to how I'll feel in May.

    Happy St. Patrick's Day!

    Is this what people mean when they say "show your Irish"?

    But, but, where is their green?

    Happy St. Patty's Paddy's Day!

    Thursday, March 16, 2006

    But she isn't even a good writer!

    HBO is plowing ahead with a sitcom based on "The Washingtonienne," the D.C.-set novel inspired by Cutler's blog of same name in which she discussed her exploits with a boatload of men around town in such glorious detail.
    This just goes to show the world that American television executives prefer the prurient to the profound, the salicious to the substantial, the tawdry to the tasteful, the crass to class. You get the picture.

    I just have to object.

    This is the worst example of voyeurism gone cable. Folks may compare Washingtonienne's sexcapades with Sex and the City, but I beg to differ. SATC was about the tight relationship of four single women, as they steered their ways through the Gotham jungle. It was smart, witty, and fun (if a bit unrealistic -- but we liked that escapism too). Sex was definitely an integral part of the story line, but it was only one facet of these characters.

    Washingtonienne, on the other hand, was really not much more than a call girl looking for an easy buck (as well as that word that rhymes with "buck"). Folks read her blog for shock value, to try and figure out who was giving her the big bucks. Tabloid trash. What's so interesting about that? She put all the incredibly hard-working, grossly underpaid Hill staffers who are serving in the public -- not pubic -- interest in a bad light. And on behalf of my friends on the Hill, I resent that.

    Really, why, why, why would anyone want to develop it into sitcom to glorify her antics and send more cash her way?

    I'm sorry

    but this made me laugh out loud. AND, I couldn't think of anything to top it...

    Double points for creativity, Scooter!

    Instructions on how to eat Asian

    John Patrick over at you don't have to read has a very interesting rant/post (re-posted) about how to eat at Asian restaurants. Demystification about Asian dining habits and tradition. Eating Asian 101. Good stuff for the novice who'd like to appear as the sophisticate. I find this post instructive, but I'm guessing it was born out of frustration. So, help spread the good word, the gospel of JP...

    In addition to being amusing (as read from my Asian Pacific American perspective), JP's post makes some fine distinctions about different Asian cuisines (e.g., chopsticks aren't Thai). One truism that ya'll should know is that rice is the core of the Asian meal -- absolutely, 100% correct. Most Asians (and many Asian Americans) will tell you that it's not a meal if there isn't any rice. In fact, in Japanese, the word for "rice" also means "meal".

    However, I beg to differ on part of his post. In his section on Japanese dinners, he says that the rice bowls are not meant to be picked up. This is patently wrong. The rule is that any bowl or plate with a foot with some elevation (as opposed to sitting pretty flat on the table) is meant to be picked up and eaten from directly. Anything flat on the table should stay on the table. Almost anything that is hand-sized is meant to be lifted from the table. Other than that, I think he's dead-on about eating Asian.

    Also, it is also true that Japanese wait for everything to be served before eating, and then everyone waits for the guest or most senior person to start before the rest of the table eats. This was a huge problem for me in Japan because it was often the case that I would be a guest -- and everyone would be waiting for me to start before they would -- but I didn't know how to eat the food because much of it was new to me. I wanted to wait to see how others ate the food and then follow suit (so I'd know, for example that you unwrap the rice in the leaf and not eat the leaf itself). But everyone was waiting for me to start, so what to do? I solved that one by taking a sip of a drink. Once I sipped, everyone else would start eating, and I could watch them to see how to eat the various dishes (like what went with what, etc.) Phew!

    And one thing he didn't mention that often confounds non-Japanese who visit Japan: it's perfectly acceptable to slurp noodles noisily. The men do it with zest. The more slurp, the better. Women tend to eat more quietly.

    But in my book, these are words to live by: the more slurp, the better.

    Wednesday, March 15, 2006


    This is worth remembering and repeating:
    "He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin."
    -- South Park co-creator Matt Stone on Isaac Hayes's decision to leave the show after it ridiculed Scientology, the church that Hayes follows.
    And for further context, here is an interesting WaPo blog discussion about it.

    Gee, what a bargain

    So I just rented my tam, gown and hood for graduation. A mere $56 with tax, only about $30/hour that I'll be wearing it. Such a glamorous outfit too. So stylish. So unique.

    Yes, I'll look like a big, black and purple cow. No, no mortarboard where I can sell advertising space to offset the costs. And in this thing, black just ain't slimming.

    And if I don't return it? A mere $700 replacement charge. $540 for a gown that has been worn by countless before me and will be worn by countless after? I guess the only way the school/rental company gets out from under of charges of monopoly is that this nifty little get-up is "optional".

    Sure it is.

    In theory, in practice...

    You Have Your PhD in Men

    You understand men almost better than anyone. You accept that guys are very different, and you read signals well. Work what you know about men, and your relationships will be blissful.

    Which probably explains why I'm single.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2006

    Happy thing

    Happy news for me today: I got an interview for a job that interests me tremendously. Yay. It would be a terrific fit in terms of allowing me to apply what I know about policy and civil rights advocacy and then learn about the practice of law in the public interest. I'd be able to work as a lawyer -- which is what I want to do now -- rather than a policy wonk but still do it for issues that are important to me. Lousy money, but I don't care so much about that.

    The thing that's really exciting for me is that I only mailed my application yesterday, but I already got a call today. That bodes so. very. well. Or at least, I choose to interpret it that way.

    I have also applied for another job, working for the federal government. I'm not holding my breath on that one because it's a long-shot, but it would be great, great if I got it.

    Do I sound desperate? Well, not exactly, but I have to admit that I feel great anxiety over not having a permanent position despite having graduated last month. But then again, I am not willing to take just anything. I want the job to be meaningful. That isn't helpful in getting a job, however; it only limits my opportunities..! But, I tell myself that most people who are graduating this year already have jobs, so among those who don't -- my competition for the jobs I am going after -- I think I am a fairly competitive candidate.

    I hope so. The phone call today suggests that I may be.

    Yay! Fingers crossed on this.

    Sunday, March 12, 2006

    Breathless Over the Blooms

    The cherry trees here in DC are predicted to hit peak bloom between March 27 and April 1. Every year, bloom watch is heavily anticipated and well reported because of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It's a beautiful (and expensive) time to be in DC.

    I look forward to it every year because the cherry tree festivities celebrate the gift made by the Japanese government and the Japanese culture, my heritage.

    I also lamant it every year because it heralds the onslaught of hayfever season! I am tho thtuffy right naw. I had a record six sneezes in a row yesterday and actually woke up in the middle of the night sneezing. Four sneezes while writing this post.


    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Biggest congrats to Wendi and Danny!

    Biggest congrats to legal powercouple Wendi and Danny on their marriage last month. I'm so thrilled for them. They are just wonderful together. She's brilliant, beautiful, warm, kind and with a personality that just sparkles. He ain't no slouch either.

    Best wishes for every happiness in your lives together!

    Friday, March 10, 2006

    Houston Hobby?

    Got one? A Houston hobby or two?

    So, I'm going to Houston next weekend for the first time. And I'm looking forward to seeing a bit of the world that is new to me.

    Since I've never been and since I only have two half-days (not two and a half days), I'd like to solicit recommendations for things that I must do on such a short turn-around. I want to make the most of my brief visit. What would an east coast girl like me enjoy? How should I eat, drink and be merry?

    Please, anyone who has spent any time in Houston, send words of advice and tourism my way. I will have access to a car.

    Thank you, thank you!

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Could be... or maybe not...

    You Are 32 Years Old

    30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

    Happy Birthday to me...!

    Because I'm shameless when it comes to self-promotion. Because I think all birthdays should be celebrated to the max. Because it's my blog...

    Officially, I wasn't born until 7:19 a.m. (mumble, mumble) years ago. Typical for me, I announced myself and demanded special attention. I was a breech birth. Landed butt first. And nope, no C-section. She delivered me. THANKS MA! And thanks for the (mumble, mumble) years since.

    I don't have any special plans for my birthday, and I kinda doubt that anyone at work is going to do anything (after all, this is the group that let me pay for my own lunch during my "congrats on graduating law school" celebration -- hrmph), so I may buy myself some flowers for my desk to brighten the day. But nope, not feeling sorry for myself because... it's my birthday!

    And I did just get my first "Happy Birthday" email. Yay! And I do have dinner plans for Friday and family plans for Sunday. Yay! And I did get my first card on Tuesday. Yay! So I guess my birthday already started... but officially, it's today.


    More bits and historical pieces

    Today is also Julia Mancuso's birthday (gold medal winner in women's giant slalom). She's 22.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    And I can read upside down too!

    I snagged this from Jami over at not THAT different:

    Can you read this?

    Spupsledoy olny srmat poelpe can.

    I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? And Iawlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

    (And since I'm such a sucker for a freebie, I am snagging this entry from her post, but credit where credit is due. I didn't write any of this!)

    FREE Phone Number

    Cell phone companies in the U.S. are charging $1.00 or more for 411 / information calls when they don't have to. When you need to use 411 / information to get a phone number, simply dial 1-800-FREE-411 (or 1-800-373-3411) without incurring a charge at all except for the minutes required to make the call. It works on any phone, too. The only catch is that sometimes - but not every time - you have to listen to a 15 second commercial before you get the number you ask for.

    (Thanks, Jami!)

    Coming to a small screen near you

    Perhaps even in your kitchen...

    The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress -- reportedly a "scathing documentary" on how "the Republican-controlled state Legislature redrew the congressional districts at DeLay's request" and other juicy tidbits and goodies of the extensive graft and political ploys of the Hammer.

    The Rs are already slapping labels on the film:
    Dick DeGuerin, DeLay's attorney, said the film offers little in the way of balance.

    "I think it's about as fair and balanced as Michael Moore's stuff or Fox News," he said.
    Heh. I wonder how the folks at Fox News enjoy that analogy -- or even being in the same sentence as Michael Moore?

    Also, any bets whether the attorney has even seen the movie (yet still somehow is able to make these assertions)?



    This had better not happen with the bar.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006

    Wasting time online...

    But it's so much fun to tool around and take these quizzies!

    What Your Face Says

    At first glance, people see you as warm and well-balanced. Overall, your true self is reserved and logical. With friends, you seem dramatic, lively, and quick to react. In love, you seem mysterious and interesting. In stressful situations, you seem cheerful and optimistic.

    Hmmm... looks a bit sunburnt to me.

    Same day, same page

    Very different stories:

    Hood College lesbian defeats three men for honor of being named Homecoming King. I have to admit that I'm not sure what I think about this story. I'm all for people being whomever they are, but I don't think that being a lesbian = being a man. Unless she is. Otherwise, it's just perpetuating some kind of butch stereotype, isn't it? I suppose, however, if Jennifer Jones wants to be King, then okay by me. Kudos to the student body to be open-minded enough to elect her!

    Dodge City showdown at funeral. I absolutely know what I think about this one: disgusting. This is a story about the vigilante Phelps family, which has "picketed and heckled military families at more than 100 funerals since June. They say the soldiers are fighting for an army that represents a country that accepts homosexuality."

    I am sputtering with anger and disgust over this. How can anyone with an ounce of decency pile such crap on top of a family's suffering and pain? The Phelps family claims to be defending American values, but all they are doing is defiling them.

    Eyes on Texas

    I will be watching the political page of The Houston Chronicle today. Why? Because today in Texas are the primaries, and for the first time in 22 years, Tom Delay is facing a serious challenge from his own party. Yippee!

    I don't expect the others to beat Delay, but at least take some wind out of his sails. Even though he's no longer Majority Leader, Delay is still a powerful guy (sitting pretty on top of the appropriations committee) and a big, ol' mean-spirited bully, which are the least of the accusations that have been hurled at him recently.

    I mean, doesn't it speak volumes that the man is spending election night with lobbyists at a fundraiser (because he assumes he'll win) rather than with his, oh say, his constituents? or campaign workers? Hmmm, more connected to and concerned with the interests of the K Street gang (lobbyists) than the people of Texas District 22?


    Monday, March 06, 2006

    But if I did...

    We all know that my technological proficiency when it comes to making this blog mildly interesting and spiffy is nil. As Schultzy would say, "I know nothing!"

    But if I did and I could put a countdown clock on this site, I'd copy ambivalent imbroglio and tick-tock the time until George Bush is no longer president. And then I'd speed it up.

    Too bad I don't know that trick.

    I think I've decided

    I think I've decided that this year my birthday donation will be to sign up as become a literacy tutor for adults. There is a very well established program here in DC, and I've sent in an application to sign up for training.

    It's a year commitment, once a week. At first it seemed like a lot, having just gained my freedom from law school, but then I realized that it really isn't that much time and that it won't really affect my schedule much at all.

    I think this is gonna work (if they want me). It's a good fit for my personality and feels right. I may not start until the fall, but I'm getting excited about it. Having enjoyed beeing a teacher for a few years in Japan, I think I might be good at this.


    The Supreme Court upheld the Solomon Amendment

    I understand the legal reasoning behind the decision, which was unanimous. The federal government can attach strings to its funding. But still -- to put it succinctly -- what a bummer.

    Sunday, March 05, 2006

    Never left the apartment today

    I'm hermitting... but I did manage to clean my apartment a bit, re-arrange the dust and cook. My back tells me that I got some good work done, so I can just enjoy the watching the Oscars.

    So far, my batting average on picks v. wins for the Academy Awards is okay (I've gotten two out of 5)... and I'm really rooting for Dolly Parton's best original song for Transamerica, Travelin' Thru. The words are really very touching. And a sentimental favorite for Star Wars (for make-up... that's all they got).

    Ohhh, the commercial is over...!

    UPDATE (3/7): Well, I ended up doing okay with my Oscar picks. I actually did get all the top awards right except for supporting actor (I chose Matt Dillon over George Clooney), including best picture. So I wasn't too disappointed about those outcomes. I was, however, disappointed by best original song. I didn't actually see Crash, so I wasn't familiar with the song's context or subtext until reading this article (a very interesting discussion of the song and black culture, among other things). Even so, I just liked Travelin' Thru. much better. Oh well.

    A confession

    So I was watching Cash Cab the other week (no, that's not the confession), and there were two separate "red light bonus" rounds during the show. One asked the contestant to name all five Simpson characters (the duo playing couldn't do it); the other bonus question was to name the five freedoms guranteed by the First Amendment (the woman got them right).

    Apparently, this is the exact opposite of what most Americans can do, or so reports MSNBC:
    Americans apparently know more about “The Simpsons” than they do about the First Amendment.

    Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

    But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.
    I am embarrassed to say that I, a law school graduate, like most Americans, can name more Simpson characters (all 5) than First Amendment guarantees (I only got four! I forgot the bit about petition for redress of grievances...).


    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    What this year?

    As some readers who have been hanging around this blog for a while now will know, every year around my birthday, I try to do something to benefit a charity. Kinda my way of celebrating my good fortune to have made it well through another year to another birthday.

    In the past, I've donated my hair to Locks of Love (twice); I've organized cell phone donation collections for domestic violence resource centers; I've organized "clean out your closet" drives for welfare-to-work women, donating business attire for those transitioning into office jobs.

    But I don't know what to do this year. I thought of donating blood -- which isn't a big deal to most but it's highly traumatic for me (I threw up the last time and almost passed out) -- but that doesn't feel right. It has to be something meaningful to me, something that takes more effort and less money, something that has reverberating impact...

    I dunno. Volunteer legal services after I get my bar results (or not!)? Maybe become a "Big sister" or a literacy tutor? Hmmm, that's closer. Where would my time and energy be value added? Where can I make a difference?

    I dunno.

    Sad thing...

    I dented my pretty, shiny PowerBook. Tripped on the metro escalator, snagged my bag, embarrassed myself and dented my computer.

    ::sniff, sniff::

    I guess the upside of this is that if this had been any other laptop, I might have cracked the plastic (or done no damage at all!)... but now my computer isn't quite as pretty and shiny and new-looking.



    I finally saw a movie last night, for the first time in months and months and months...!

    And what was the first movie I chose to see? I saw Transamerica (not to be confused with the financial services company Transamerica), and I really enjoyed it. It is definitely worth seeing. And, even though the theatre was one of the smaller ones (our independent movie house), it was completely packed.

    While I knew the general plot before seeing it, I didn't appreciate the double-entendre of the title -- that it is also a "road movie" as the main characters travel across the country -- until afterwards. I thought Felicity Huffman and the costumers did a fantastic job of developing her character from someone who comes across as almost pathetic in the beginning to someone of great dignity at the end. And she did a phenomenal acting job. Her performance truly does merit an Academy Award nomination.

    Now I just have to see -- oh, all of the rest of the nominated movies and actors. Hmmm, probably not before the Oscars tomorrow, but I do hope to see at least one more tonight.

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Law school prom?

    In my three years of law school, I never went to the "Barrister's Ball", which was in reality the Law School Prom, but worse because, unlike high school, now all the folks are legal to drink. Which they do. To excess. And stupidity.

    There just isn't much dignity surrounding the event, despite the exhalted name. I've never regretted the decision to miss out, and never thought I'd missed much. I did prom... half a lifetime ago. No need to revisit that! (although, hmm... I still have that dress somewhere... might consider making curtains out of it...)

    But now that I've graduated and am walking this May, there is the "Graduation Gala". And I've decided to go. How is it different from the Prom? Well, I do actually think this will be a classy event. First, it's more expensive and in a nicer venue, The National Building Museum rather than some downtown hotel. Second, it's a "graduate and family" event -- meaning that parents are invited. And it's semi-formal.

    So, I think it won't be a slop-fest the way the Law School Prom tends to be. I think it will be more grown-up and befitting the magnitude of the achievement of surviving and graduating law school. At least, I expect so since lots and lots of proud mammas and pappas will be in attendance.

    And I decided that I wanted to bring my parents as my guests to thank them for all of their support throughout these past years -- some financial, lots of emotional and then generic parental backstop kinda stuff. The only problem is that the ticket sales are limited to 4 guests -- which means if your parents are divorced (as mine are) and have either remarried or have a significant other (as mine do), then either someone gets left out (like your own date!) or creativity in securing the extra ticket comes into play. Ahh, the collateral costs of divorce!

    Also, the museum does not have sufficient capacity to reserve four tickets per student, so those who don't buy early will lose out completely, which would be terribly disappointing.

    Got my tickets a few hours after they went on sale. Phew. Don't know if Mom can make it since she's in Australia at the moment, but I secured the tickets anyway. Since this event invariably sells out, I can always sell them to someone else down the line if Mom decides not to attend. But I hope she does. Dad already said "Yes" as did my date.

    And I'm looking forward to it. Ahh, basking in the glow of parental love and pride! A bit embarrassing but generally a warm feeling, even in your late 30s!

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    "The Heimlich maneuver heard round the globe"

    This story sounds like a Hollywood plot, but nope. It's a few minutes out of a day in the lives of two MD politicians.

    This incident adds a weird angle to the campaign strategies. I mean, how can you go negative on a guy who saved your life?

    UPDATE (3/2): This incident is not only getting a lot of attention in Annapolis, but also CNN, the morning magazine news shows and, apparently, Miss Manners? Here's an interesting follow-up by WaPo, The Political Impact of Doing a Good Deed for Your Opponent.

    Geeky enough

    I admit that I'm geeky enough to think it's cool how much information can be culled from the internet. Like copyright holders and how old people are and whether there's someone else out there with your name. And of course, Thomas is a fabulous gateway for all kinds of goodies.

    Fun stuff to fiddle around with when you should be working. But also useful.

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