C'est un blague.

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  • Wednesday, May 31, 2006

    Back from Nashville

    Had a nice visit to Nashville over an extended holiday weekend. More about the trip later... but suffice to say it was a cultural and educational experience for this mid-Atlantic east-coaster. Fun stuff! We did food, Civil War sites, country music stuff, shopping, the Grand Ol' Opry Museum, an agricultural museum and people-watching. Oh, and did I say food? Well, even so, it needs to be reiterated. Because, yes, we ate that much. So much so that. I'm. still. full. Ugh.

    And during our shopping excursions, I saw many homilies and sayings and pithy quotes on stickers and magnets and thingees that you hang around your house or on your door. Among them, these made me laugh:
    "It's hard to be optimistic when your fat pants are too tight."
    "Dogs have owners. Cats have staff."
    Heh, heh.

    Friday, May 26, 2006

    It's all a matter of interpretation

    My friend just stopped by my office, and without saying anything, just stuck her tongue out at me.

    So I told her, "I don't know if that's an invitation or a rejection."

    (Indeed, yes, it must be Friday.)


    Yes, DC drivers are among the stupidest in the country.

    As a pedestrian in DC, I already knew that.

    Take the test here. (Not to brag or anything, but I scored 100%! See? You can take the girl outta law school but you can't take law school outta the girl!)


    So this morning, I got an email this morning from a friend who works on the Hill with the subject line, "in case you've heard..." and with the body message saying that everything's okay and not to be alarmed...

    Alarmed? About what?

    I then proceeded to read in the message that gunshots had been heard in the Rayburn House Office Building this morning and that the whole place had been put on lock-down. Like an episode of West Wing or something. And I have since read the WaPo article about it.

    We've been trading email ever since -- because he's stuck. Rayburn is still on lock-down, the police have gone through checked all the offices in the building and rumor had it that that someone was holed up in the House gym (in Rayburn).


    Now, this is all conjecture and rumor, but this is what he's hearing.

    Anyone who has been to any of the Congressional office buildings knows that there is plenty o' security. Just ask Cynthia McKinney... (but I digress). And those security measures involve metal detectors. So if there is actually a gun inside the Rayburn building (and I am not saying that there is), then how did it get there? Deliveries are screened; visitors are too. The only folks who aren't subject to the metal detectors (as far as I know) are those who come in through the garage -- where you have to show Congressional ID -- and members of Congress (just ask Cynthia McKinney... did I just go there?).

    There are no votes today, so most members are gone -- and let's face it, what are the chances that it's a member? None to zero (c.f., this, however).

    So, if in fact there were gunshots and if in fact they did not come from the practice firing range in Rayburn (whoa! there's a practice firing range in Rayburn??? yup -- and yikes) -- then does that mean a Hill staffer or a friend of one brought a gun into the building?

    I guess we'll find out.

    Like I said before, however, conjecture and rumor. And let's hope it was just a car backfiring, too.

    UPDATE (3:18) -- I wasn't too far off. Law enforcement concluded that the sound thought to be a gunshot was likely made by a mechanic using a pneumatic hammer on an elevator. D'oh. Rayburn just opened. And my friend can now get lunch.

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    Another B word

    So I didn't blog about the finale of America's Next Top Model, but yes, I watched it. And actually, the last five shows went exactly as I had expected them to. And the girl named as the next top model was the one I expected despite UPN's red herrings that led me to doubt myself.

    But if I had blogged about it, this pretty much captures the sentiment of what I felt, albeit in a much wittier post than I could have written.


    This time B is for "blast"

    I had a blast last night with Denise and the blogger formerly (and foreverly?) known as Ambib over beers and pizza/pasta. Sooo much fun to finally meet you, Ms. D! What started as a quick get-together before Ambib packed it up and left town ended up being one of those "Is it really that time???" evenings where we all scramble home before we turn into pumpkins.

    Okay, it wasn't really that late, but it was later than I expected to stay out, especially for this gal on a school night.

    But it was definitely one of those evenings where ya' just chat and lose track of the time -- aren't those just the best? Like dating but without the stress and anxiety of it all. You know what I mean.

    Anyway, Ambib was the first fellow blogger I've met in person and Denise the second. So glad I did!

    Um, file that one under B

    Not for "B actress", but for "bad idea".

    Apparently, Fran Drescher of Nanny fame (she also had a tiny role in Saturday Night Fever) told Howard Stern that she was interested in running for the House or Senate to represent her native New York. And with her voice, who can tell if she's serious...?

    But if she is... Fran honey, remember how much the media and pundits made fun of Hillary Clinton's legs during Bill's first campaign? And the headband? You may have the bod, but... oh, where is your Yale law degree? And the voice? No one would be able to stand your stump speeches.

    Bad idea. Just bad.

    (But, admittedly funny to imagine -- it would be like Legally Blonde (2) meets... I don't know what! But Barbra Streisand would have to be involved in the project, no doubt. But at least it would take the heat off of California as the butt of every actor-wanna-be-politician joke.)

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    Scooter and PTW rock!

    Thanks you two for my most excellent swag! Got it today. My office is duly decorated, reflecting my definite preference for the "blue company" over the "red company". Go blue!

    Blogger friends are great, even if you've never met them!

    Speaking of which, I finally did meet Ambib over coffee yesterday before he begins the long haul westward. Despite the fact that his law school is all of three blocks from where I live, it took a deadline of his blasting outta town to finally arrange it (finals being over helps the scheduling too). Great meeting you, Ambib! It was great fun chatting with you. Good luck with the move!

    And I will also try and get together with Denise too now that she's in town.

    Blogger friends are great, especially when you do meet them!

    Monday, May 22, 2006

    File that under "Holy crap!"

    But make sure it's encryped when you do!

    Personal Data of 26.5M Veterans Stolen
    Personal data, including Social Security numbers of 26.5 million U.S. veterans, was stolen from a Veterans Affairs employee this month after he took the information home without authorization, the department said Monday.
    So, according to the article, if you are a veteran who has been discharged since 1976... you may be affected.

    Like I said, Holy crap!

    Good speech

    I now have my fancy -- and quite large -- piece of paper saying a bunch of things in Latin that I can't read. Something about Georgetown... something about scholar and law... not too sure. The only thing that makes sense is my name, and if I can remember my Roman numerals, MMVI is 2006.

    Anyway, Chief Justice Roberts gave our commencement speech, the first for him as the dude in the striped robe (he made a joke about that too). He was quite good. Funny, pithy, not too long. And we learned that not only was he first in everything at Harvard, but he was also captain of his high school football team and a pole vaulter. Brains and a jock.

    Being the Washington crowd that we were (with all sorts of cameras there too), we were all listening for signals on how he would steer the court. And he did signal. Seems he wants to work towards consensus and narrow decisions. Sounds good, but as he also pointed out in his speech, it's not so easy to actually do. Especially with this court.

    So, in other words, it sounds like we should look out for no earth-shattering decisions or changes in the law -- the very definition of conservative.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    On pins and needles

    So I was thinking about getting acupuncture treatments for the poor circulation in my leg, general fatigue and weight management.

    Has anyone done acupuncture? If so, what did you have treated and what was your experience? Why did you decide to do it in the first place? How many treatments did you have?

    If not... just ignore all the above questions.


    On the bar

    At today's seminar on professionalism, I ran into several former classmates who I had not known had sat for the bar. Obviously they passed, so I inquired why I hadn't seen them in the prep course.

    It turns out that they, both of whom are fathers of children born during law school, just could not afford the time away from home to attend the evening classes (the only option for the February bar), so they opted for the self-paced program. Same course, just a listen-to-the-lectures-at-your-own-pace set of CDs. And clearly, it worked for them.

    Now, I know I could never succeed that way. I know I needed the structure of classes every night to get me thinking and studying. I did not do all the extra exercises they suggested. I did, however, do gazillions of multiple choice questions.

    But it worked for them. One of them even pulled a 168 on the MBE. So I guess if you have the discipline, using CDs in combination with the books works. But, don't get me wrong, they did take a course; it was just self-paced. I don't know anyone who sat for the bar without taking any kind of course at all.

    Back from B-town

    No, not Boston. Baltimore.

    The professionalism seminar was actually better than I thought it would be. But getting up and out on a 6:42 am train from Union Station was worse than I thought it would be.

    I only got a few hours sleep last night, and I am exhausted. I'm gonna take a nap. Naps truly are one of the good things in life. It's just plain wrong that they're phased out after kindergarten until post-retirement. We gotta bring them back in vogue!

    Thursday, May 18, 2006

    And they're supposed to be the civilized ones?

    Apparently, Arlen Specter (who isn't exactly known for being a nice guy... but rather has a reputation as, well, the polar opposite) yelled at Russ Feingold, who then stormed out after a disagreement in the Judiciary Committee related to the vote on a Constitutional amendment which would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages -- or so discusses this article: Feingold, Specter Clash Over Gay Marriage.

    But the clash isn't over their positions. We all know that good guy Feingold supports gay marriage. Trick is, Specter is supposedly "totally opposed" to this amendment too, but felt it deserved a debate in the full Senate, instead of being torpedoed by the committee.

    So basically, Specter is doing the right proper thing in not allowing his personal politics dictate his decisions as the chair of the committee, instead of wielding his position for political points.

    Oh, wait a minute...

    Parental pet peeve

    Okay, just gotta get this one off my chest... dontcha hate when (often) one of your parents emails you to ask for a bunch of information, you answer by email and then that parent calls and asks the same question again without having checked email? Grrrr. My father does this all too frequently.

    And it's annoying. First, because I already went through the effort to write out an answer by email which, second, that he didn't even bother to look for. Third, then I become either very frustrated for having to go through it all over again on the phone or else feel very small for telling him "read your email!" Because it really seems petty to say the latter, but when your dad makes a habit of doing this, it's. just. plain. aggravating.

    Another favorite trick of his? Ask for info. Promptly lose it (or be too lazy to look for it). Ask again for the same info. Then pull the above stunt with the phone call.


    Wednesday, May 17, 2006

    Our graduation speaker

    No, not the student section speaker -- the main keynote speaker.

    Just found out. It's gonna be Chief Justice John Roberts in what I've got to think is his first commencement speech with the big fancy title and the stripes on his sleeve.

    Pretty cool, actually.

    Speaking truth to power

    Art has often been a beautiful and powerful messenger exposing ugly truths. As we reflect on the creation, the creation often makes us reflect on ourselves and look a bit inward... and then, hopefully outward.

    Roger Shimomura does just that. I've seen some of his stuff before, but I wasn't aware that his collections were online. Thanks to Eric for posting one of his works.

    Celebrate a strong Asian American voice. Check out this exhibition. It's worth it, I promise.

    My latest acquisition

    I know it's not a pinback or a button, but this is way cool to me. I got two of them. Unfortunately, they aren't as in good condition as they look in the picture (discoloration, a hole or two), but I gotta figure they are probably from when he (Spark Matsunaga) first ran for Senate -- and that would be 1976. They just don't make campaign propaganda like they used to! And, not bad for 30 years old, I suppose.

    And speaking of ethics...

    So, I read this article while waiting for my interview this afternoon. The blatant "win at all costs and damn the democratic process" attitude was truly shocking. I think I may have even said an expletive while reading it in the fancy-schmancy lobby of the firm.

    GOP Official Faces Sentence in Phone-Jamming

    Basically the GOP operative in New Hampshire got the bright idea of hiring a telecommunications specialist to jam the democratic party's voter assistance lines on the morning of the 2002 election. A little electronic interference. So anyone who was calling for a ride to the polls or who had a question about anything, well, their calls went nowhere. The phone lines were disabled by this little prank for some two hours during the height of the get-out-the-vote period.

    Some prank.

    Hmm, now I didn't take many criminal law courses in law school, so maybe someone can tell me if perhaps there's a federal or even state statute that might discourage this? Oh, wait, maybe I can figure it out by watching Law & Order or perhaps it's just a matter of common sense...! Bad to maliciously interfere with interstate telecommunications. Yes, bad. And yes, as the article does note, it wasn't a harmless little prank either: "The effort helped John E. Sununu (R) win his Senate seat by 51 to 47 percent, a 19,151-vote margin."


    Even worse? The RNC is picking up this guy's legal fees -- some $3 million -- because "He was accused of doing something in his capacity as an RNC consultant, and we believed him to be innocent," Gillespie (former RNC chair) said.

    But here's the kicker:
    Tobin's lawyers countered that he has suffered enough: "Mr. Tobin is a man with high ethical standards and a deep love for his family and community. Seeing his reputation destroyed, his family publicly humiliated and a profession [politics] he loves made unavailable to him has caused him great pain."
    Ba-ha-ha-ha! Wonder if any of them are MD-admitted attorneys?

    Back from the ethics interview

    I just got back from the ethics interview about an hour ago. It was actually really interesting and enjoyable to speak with Mr. Lawyer-interview-man, so I'll forgive him for keeping me waiting for 15 minutes. And for making fun of my high school (because he went to a rival school).

    Mr. L-I-M basically told me that my record was boringly spotless with nothing that raises even a yellow flag (yay, being a dorky stickler for playing by the rules finally gets rewarded!), so most of our time was spent by him giving me "heads up" about potential ethical quandaries I most certainly will encounter as a newbie attorney and by me asking him questions.

    The gyst of what he told me was that there are two ethics scenarios that are most likely to confront a new lawyer. One, friends and relatives who seek free legal advice -- and we all know it's a no-no to provide counsel to someone who isn't a client. An even bigger no-no when you work for the government. The second scenario was the money issue: that many a good attorney has been disbarred because of that sudden emergency -- a kid who got sick or whatever -- that led the lawyer to "borrow" against a client account. Bada-bing, bada-boom, the rest is history. Big fat no-no to co-mingle personal/professional funds, or, ahem, steal from your clients.

    After our little "advice" session, Mr. L-I-M told me he'd recommend me to be admitted (yay!) and asked if I had any questions. So I asked back. I said that I knew that clearing this ethics interview was a pre-requisite to being sworn in in MD, but then I asked if anyone ever failed at this juncture? That is, graduated law school, passed the bar but didn't get admitted because of the ethics interview...? He said that it does happen. Not often, but it does happen. But then he told me that it's more frequently the case that those who are borderline on the ethics stuff usually fail the bar too, so the issue becomes moot.

    I then asked him what options those folks had... I mean, I can't imagine going to law school, passing the bar but failing the ethics interview -- and then just giving up after all the years of work! I asked if he thought people took other bars to try to be admitted elsewhere. He said that might be an option, but he honestly didn't know what people did.

    I also asked what he looks for that raises the red flags or causes him to recommend against admission, aside from the really, really obvious. Mr. L-I-M told me -- and here's the important advice for those of you in law school -- pretty much anything short of something truly criminal that you do before law school can be forgiven, but things that happen in or after law school will not be overlooked. And that includes speeding tickets, DUIs, anything that gets you an official piece of paper from some authority. The idea is that your actions reflect your judgment, and by law school, you should have a very good idea of the gravity of the consequences of your behavior.

    He also said that he looks for patterns and context. Even in situations that don't immediately jump out as involving ethics. So a speeding ticket for going 70 MPH on I-95 isn't a big deal, unless you get several of them in a short period of time. But getting a speeding ticket for going 50 in a 35 MPH school zone would be considerably more troubling. Because it shows questionable judgment. Ditto drunk and disorderly. Or sanctions of some kind. Or repeatedly being late paying your bills (check your credit score!). Reflects judgment. You get the picture.

    Last but not least, Mr. L-I-M said that someone who is taking affirmative actions to correct or ameliorate past behavior will get some latitude of consideration, but someone who just blows off his or her "youthful indiscretions" as such may not be given the benefit of the doubt -- because that person's failure to appreciate fully the gravity of his/her behavior and its consequences, well, that (and here's the refrain) reflects poorly on that person's judgment. And we don't need any more attorneys with poor judgment.

    Clearly, Mr. L-I-M's basic message was that from here on out (and even from law school on out), it all goes down on your permanent record, and you won't be given any slack in this profession. You worked too hard to become a lawyer, so don't jeopardize your career by doing something just plain dumb. Because it all counts now. And if you do/did mess up, own up to it and take steps to mitigate for it. (/sermon)

    Oh, and the other thing -- he told me that he had a bunch of files for folks who weren't going to be admitted in June, not because they failed the interview but because their references didn't send in the paperwork on time. Lesson there: only use references who will take this as seriously as it needs to be taken. I cannot even begin to imagine how pissed off I'd be if I were delayed being admitted because a friend was too lazy to fill out a form and mail it back within the time requested. I mean, damn!

    It was very interesting talking to him. So all you wanna-be-MD-lawyers, don't slack on paying your credit card bills or get too many speeding tickets before you're admitted. Mr. L-I-M, while a very affable guy, clearly takes his role as gatekeeper very seriously and reviews the files thoroughly (I mean, he knew what high school I went to... and I graduated from high school in 19-freakin'-86!). Luckily for me, I had a skinny file (see above comments about being a dorky stickler for the rules), but he said he's had many, many files which were inches deep and took several rounds for the wanna-be lawyers to clear the ethics hurdle. And not all of them did. So the past can come back and bite you in the ass. Ouch.

    So, yeah, one more hurdle down for me. Phew. Friday: destination Baltimore. Wahoo!


    What would Robert Frost say now that the Senate has voted to build fence along U.S.-Mexican border?

    Good fences make for good neighbors...? Because we want to emulate the situation in Palestine? Because we need a public works project to spend the surplus we have in our budget? I've got it -- because a fence really will solve immigration issues!

    Or maybe it's just plain dumb on so many levels.

    Heels again

    Still pooped from last night, feet still hurt. So tired that I forgot to check my B number this morning. Oh well. It wouldn't have been pretty, so maybe it's just as well.

    Today I have my interview with the investigator for my bar admission, which means I'm in a suit. Ugh. In reality, I think it will be less like a formal interview process and more like a 45 minute general conversation because there really isn't anything controversial or potentially red-flaggish in my background or on my application. I have heard from friends that if you've declared bankruptcy or been party to a law suit (and sometimes, a nasty divorce will do it), well, then expect to go through it all, all over again with the investigator. Another hurdle to jump through for the bar... Fun stuff! ::groan::

    Friday is the ethics course up in Balto. Still haven't figured out how I am going to get there. Train, but... I just don't know Balto well enough to know. Thank goodness for the internet. What a pain it would be to make travel plans the old-fashioned way.

    Now I have to try my best to jam my brain out of neutral and into at least first gear to try and get some work done.

    My feet are killing me

    Just got back from a fundraiser dinner honoring (yup, you guessed it) two Asian Americans for their contributions to public service. This time it was Senator Daniel Inouye and Ed Moy. It must be an election year because lots of pols were there -- and it didn't hurt that there were no votes tonight.

    The two highlights of the evening were when Elaine Chao introduced Ed and said that he was very disturbing to get this award. She quickly corrected herself, in the face of the chortles from the audience, to say that he was deserving of the award. It was very funny. Even the Republicans were laughing.

    The second highlight was Jake Shimabukuro on the ukelele. I know that doesn't sound all the enticing, but the man. can. play. Apparently, Jimmy Buffett has called him the "Jimmy Hendrix of the ukelele". That's pretty high praise. The man makes a ukelele just plain cool. Cooler than cool. Hard to believe -- I know -- but it's true. He's awesome. Who else can make a ukelele sound like an electric guitar?

    Anyway, the event was "black tie optional", and I wore these shoes. They're cute and fairly comfy and went perfectly with my hot pink jacket -- whatever makes the outfit, right? -- but truly, no heels are really all that comfy after hours on your feet.

    And my feet aren't happy with me. Which is reasonable because I'm not happy with them either. Ahh, it feels good to be home and outta those heels. Now if only I could wrangle up a footrub...

    ::sigh:: I wish!

    Tuesday, May 16, 2006

    Miami is #1

    Stressed Miami drivers speed, tailgate and cut off other drivers so frequently that the city earned the title of worst road rage, according to a survey discussed in a CNN article.

    DC didn't even make the top 5, which surprises me because there's a pretty intense commuting culture here (although not nearly as bad as Los Angeles, which was a top 5 city).
    Minneapolis, Minnesota; Nashville, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; and Atlanta, Georgia, were rated as the cities with the most courteous drivers, who were less likely to change lanes without signaling or swear at other motorists.
    Unless you're on a bicycle, eh Scooter?

    Another new city

    So I'm going to the Opry, Opry, Nashville, Tennessee (sung in a bad Paul Simon impersonation) for the long weekend.

    Never been but am definitely looking forward to it. Anyone got a few good recommendations of food and fun to be had? I'd greatly appreciate it!

    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Independent, actually...

    You scored as Old School Democrat. Old school Democrats emphasize economic justice and opportunity. The Democratic ideal is best summarized by the Four Freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

    New Democrat


    Old School Democrat






    Foreign Policy Hawk


    Pro Business Republican


    Socially Conservative Republican

    What's Your Political Philosophy?

    But it had me tied new (85%) and old (85%)... does that must make me middle-aged?


    You almost want to think this is another screed on how the liberal left is overspending by feeding a bloated government... but not quite.

    Amazing how minus one "L" restores credibility.

    Am I the only one?

    Am I the only one who thinks that Grey's Anatomy jumped the shark last night with that whole "kill him so he'll get the donor heart" storyline?

    I mean, gimme a break! And I had actually liked the show until then. Now, I don't even know if I'm going to bother to watch the 2-hour season finale tonight.


    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Bad girl

    I'm spending too much money on eBay these days. For me, it's the most addictive combination: competitive bidding + impulse shopping + on credit.

    Very, very bad. But I've gotten some cool stuff.

    Friday, May 12, 2006

    Ya' know...

    If the character Carrie Bradshaw were being written today (for a new show, that is), she'd probably be a blogger instead of/in addition to a being a columnist. Doncha' think?

    And, speaking of SATC, the reason why the show was so popular among women was because we could all relate to it -- the themes, the girlfriend power, the dating debacles, etc. And we all could probably identify with some aspects of at least one of the women.

    As for me, here's what I realized that I have in common with the ladies:

  • Carrie -- I'm also a shoe fiend (but none of my shoes cost more than my apartment). We're both short. Enjoy writing, on a Mac.

  • Charlotte -- I'm a brunette. That's about it. Seriously. Okay, maybe one more thing: I'll probably end up with a man that I didn't expect to end up with.

  • Miranda -- I can also be somewhat of a focused, A-type personality (not always but I definitely have it in me) and a bit of a cynic. I may also end up with a man that I overlooked once before, just as Miranda did.

  • Samantha -- This one is a bit harder for me. Very independent. Skeptical about love. Swears in public. That's about it.
  • WTF? WWJD?

    The House passed a $513 billion defense authorization bill yesterday that includes language intended to allow chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus at public military ceremonies, undercutting new Air Force and Navy guidelines on religion.
    Among the provision's opponents is the chief of Navy chaplains, Rear Adm. Louis V. Iasiello, a Roman Catholic priest.

    "The language ignores and negates the primary duties of the chaplain to support the religious needs of the entire crew" and "will, in the end, marginalize chaplains and degrade their use and effectiveness," Iasiello wrote in a letter to a committee member.

    The National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, a private association of religious groups that provide more than 70 percent of U.S. chaplains, also objected to the language. "Chaplains represent their faith communities and we endorse them to represent that faith community with integrity and loyalty to that tradition, not to the dictates of their individual conscience," the association's executive committee wrote.
    And if that's not meddling -- not to mention constitutionally suspect under that li'l ol' FIRST AMENDMENT -- then I don't know what is.

    It's nothing personal

    It's just that I've felt kinda down lately about my job prospects (bar results aside) -- and when I'm down, I don't write much. Thus the promises of "more details later" and the not-so-personal blog posts lately. Like Lizbeth, I seem to have lost a bit of my blogging mojo. It will come back, I have no doubt. But I think I need to get in a better headspace first.

    So that's why I'm spinning a meme from E. Spat -- 'cuz I got nuthin' original right now. Here goes...
    I AM: frustrated that I have a law degree, a whack-o-debt and no permanent job yet.
    I WANT: to travel in South America for three months instead of doing the responsible thing of self-flagellation on the job market.
    I WISH: I had a house with lots of space and big closets, a lawyer job, more patience, things to be really excited about, that I could find my missing iPod...
    I HATE: uncertainty.
    I MISS: paid vacation/sick days.
    I FEAR: I'll still be in employment limbo in another month after I am sworn in to the bar.
    I HEAR: nothing. Silence is reverberating through my head.
    I WONDER: what I'll be doing in two months.
    I REGRET: not much. I'm not the type to carry regrets. I figure -- what's the point? Either do something about it to rectify the situation as best as possible or let it go.
    I AM NOT: going to let others devalue my contributions or undermine my self-esteem and pride.
    I DANCE: best to 80s pop music -- my era, man!
    I SING: as rarely as possible because I can't carry a tune, even if it's written on paper.
    I CRY: at maudlin television shows and cloying commercials. And I then I feel like a complete dork.
    I AM NOT ALWAYS: this much of a downer.
    I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: pottery, arts/crafts, a mess in my apartment.
    I WRITE: like I speak -- in babbling, meandering, run-on sentences.
    I CONFUSE: Minnesota with Missouri all of the time. St. Paul, St. Louis? Never been to either. Who can blame an East coast girl!
    Detect a theme? Yah. I gotta effect some change in my life.


    That's how many prom dresses were gathered and donated to New Orleans girls as a result of this drive by a local DC high school senior.

    Another example of how one person with an idea, energy and follow-through can positively impact scores more. Hats off to Marisa West. I am damned impressed.

    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    More republican shenanigans

    Grand Jury Indicts Kentucky Governor

    Hmmm, notice that both gRaft and coRRuption have Rs in them?

    JD = just done

    No longer a student, not yet a lawyer. Underemployment stinks.

    Wednesday, May 10, 2006

    Positive news

    Because no positive on my weight. No negative either. Actually, no change from last week. I'm still at B+1, but considering the tremendous amount of fattening food I ate in Puerto Rico, hot damn, this is good news!

    Back on track now...

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    Surprise congrats

    So I got a surprise email congratulations on passing the bar from one of my classmates (with whom I took the bar prep course). I hadn't spoken to him about it and wondered how he had heard.

    It turns out that the Baltimore Sun has a link to an online database of those who have passed the MD bar since 2001. My classmate just looked me up. So I looked myself up -- and several others, too. You know I did!

    So far, I only know one person who took the MD bar and failed. Sadly, this person has failed twice in a row and is quite demoralized. I can't even imagine how hard it must be to pick yourself up after failing twice. It takes a great deal of mental energy and courage to psyche yourself up for this beast, especially after it has bested you not only once but twice. But to my friend's credit, my friend has already submitted the paperwork for the July bar. Got my fingers crossed for the thumbs up next time!

    Metro Weekly celebrates APA heritage month

    Even if they don't know it. There's only one mention of May being APA heritage month in the cover story -- sadly ironic since the article is all about pride, heritage and identity.

    Too bad.

    Ooops, I've been remiss

    With the bar angst (and frankly, no longer being in a job where this is important), I completely forgot to mention that May is Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage month. Happy APA May!

    So, what exactly does this mean? Well, not much to most people. But it does give the federal government and the schools the opportunity to sit back and plan educational programs about the contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in history.

    In honor of my APA heritage, here's my contribution to celebrating APA achievements... Did you know that:

    Patsy Mink was the first woman of color to be elected to Congress? Yup, she arrived in DC in 1965, beating Shirley Chisholm by four years (= two Congresses). Mink was a peace advocate and was an early objector to the war in Vietnam, such that she was given the moniker "Patsy Pink" for her liberal views. She was the mother of Title IX (thank you, Mrs. Mink!), and she gave voice to the needs of overlooked and underserved communities. Mink's career was marked by firsts, and she was a remarkable woman.

    Another "first" whom I greatly admire is General Eric Shinseki, the first Asian American to become a four-star general and to serve as the Chief of Staff of the Army. He is epitome of a true officer and gentleman and a leader of integrity and tremendous dignity. (We all know what I'm talking about here.)

    Or how about Dalip Singh Saund? He was the first Asian American to be elected to Congress, where he served from 1957 to 1963.

    I think most people now know about the internment of the Japanese American community during World War II -- and the lessons that history holds for contemporary society -- but do folks know about Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West" where Chinese (and other Asian) immigrants were detained and interrogated before being admitted to the US or denied entry (and sent back to China) or being held indefinitely? That era in American history is all about the Chinese Exclusion Act (and subsequent amendments) -- the only chapter of the 15 chapters in Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) that is completely focused on a specific nationality or ethnic group.

    And knowing that, it won't surprise anyone that another often and grossly overlooked historical factoid is that Chinese laborers built the trans-continental railroad. Without them, it simply would not have happened. But whenever you see those historical photos of the golden spike being hammered at Promontory Point, do ya' see any Chinese? Hmmm, I don't. They just didn't get no respect.

    And that's one of many, many reasons why it's important that there is an Asian Pacific American Heritage month -- and that we celebrate it.

    Monday, May 08, 2006

    Blue pantsuits, fundraising and rolling eyes at the State of the Union

    Senator Hillary Clinton takes a jab at herself for the New York Legislative Correspondents Association Dinner on May 6th. Check out the video here. It's kinda amusing.

    But for all his love of the limelight and time in front of the cameras, you'd think that Senator Chuck Schumer would be a better actor...

    Life in DC

    In DC, it's pretty much routine that residents will get a summons for jury duty every two years. Because it's the federal city, there are more courts per capita here than other jurisdictions, and the percentage of those eligible to be selected for jury pool may be smaller (although I don't know that for a fact). I got called twice while in law school -- once second year and once last year. It was basically a two-year interval.

    And then this -- I got another summons to serve on a jury in June. But, but, but my last summons was in October -- that's only six months! What the heck?

    It's not that I am trying to escape my civic duty, but getting called again so quickly is just too quickly. If I scowl the entire time, maybe I'll get dinked from being chosen. Hey, it worked once before!

    Sunday, May 07, 2006

    Doesn't matter that it's raining in DC

    I'm still glowing -- from the sun in San Juan and from my good news on Friday. And actually, the results are official because I already got the "pleased to advise you" piece of paper from the State Board of Law Examiners with my MBE score and more papers to fill out and more money to pay. Yay!

    As for San Juan, I have to say that I had a fabulous trip, and I am so glad I escaped the city to learn my bar fate from afar. Puerto Rico was a terrific distraction that kept me from obsessing about my results, and had the outcome been the other way, I think being away would have saved me from a very, very dark weekend. I thoroughly encourage everyone to get out of town -- even if it's just a short road trip -- when the bar results are to be posted. Breaking the daily routine kept me sane.

    Some highlights of the trip included walking around old San Juan, the artesan market, eating/drinking (travel hint: the main tourist info office in old part of the city has complementary run rum drinks -- yup, free booze for all those who stop by for the free maps), the gorgeous water, sunny skies, colors everywhere...

    I'll blog more about it later. Just got in a few minutes ago, and I'm pooped. And reality check -- back to work tomorrow... And my B number on Wednesday is gonna be ugly. But it was worth it.

    Saturday, May 06, 2006

    Sunny San Juan

    Now that the bar results are yesterday's news, I can focus on my trip to San Juan, PR. We've only been here less than 24 hours, but we have made the most of our time.

    Visiting the artists' market and shopping, hanging out to witness the workers' protests at the Capitol, getting some color (and that color would be bright pink) and most importantly, eating our faces off!

    More details to come... but this is definitely going to be a trip of the "wahoo" variety.

    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Well, hell...

    After checking my seat number, re-checking it, asking my friend to read it too and then crying uncontrollably for a few minutes... I can say it looks like I may actually become a lawyer after all.

    The verdict is in: unofficially, I PASSED THE MD BAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So this is a WAHOO celebratory trip!!!!! The waves of relief may drown me.

    Thanks, all for the positive wishes and good vibes -- they really helped me get through the studying ordeal and the aftermath of waiting for the results.

    I cannot express how happy I am! I may fall over.

    P.S. I just did the math on the pass/fail rate as posted on the MD General Bar exam results website. 650 people sat. 287 failed, 363 passed. That's a passage rate of 56%. Yikes.

    That noise you just heard was me exhaling another sigh of relief...

    Thursday, May 04, 2006

    To invite or not to invite...

    So my "walking" graduation is May 21st. My "official" (as in the date is says on the fancy Latin-inscribed piece of paper) graduation was February 1st. I will be walking for the obligatory snapshot with the dean later this month because I figure that finishing law school IS a big deal. It is certainly the most expensive education I've received. In fact, law school is more expensive than my education has been cumulatively -- undergrad at a state school (including an out-of-state tuition) plus a private graduate degree combined.

    Besides, I know my mom and dad and probably grandma would like to attend and see me, purple cow outfit notwithstanding.

    I'm lucky (and my guests aren't) because GULC's graduation is outside, so there is no limit on the number of invitees per graduate -- unless it rains and then we are all screwed. With my combined family (divorce and remarriage) and extended family (the entirety of my dad's family lives in the area), I don't have to play the political game of who to invite to park it in a coveted and counted seat. The seats are unlimited, although Darwin will surely be at work.

    My question is to whom should I send the announcements? I've been thinking about this, and I'm not sure what to do.

    I look at it a coupla' ways. First, I am proud to be graduating, and I am happy to announce it. I would be happy for anyone who wants to attend the ceremony to come. But I also realize that sitting through a large law school graduation outside in May in Washington, DC may not be tops of everyone's chart for thrills a second. So the balancing act comes in deciding if I should send the announcement to everyone who might be remotely interested in the estoteric fact that I finished without disgracing myself (e.g., aunts, uncles, people who wrote letters of recommendation for me, employers, etc.) or to those with whom I share major life experiences (that would include out-of-town friends) or just to those whom I expect would realistically be interested in attending?

    The reason I'm concerned is because I don't want the out-of-towners (who would not make the trip for my graduation) to think this is a devious and disquised attempt to get gifties. I really don't. But I also don't want them to feel left out, like I wouldn't want them there if they could make it. And just how do I avoid the appearance of pandering for presents?

    Hmmm... it's like wedding politics, sorta -- but on a much less expensive scale.

    I think what I am going to do is send the announcements to everyone in my circle of friends with whom I share "major life milestones". That would include a bunch of out-of-towners but exclude a few in-town relatives that haven't expressed an interest in me in, oh say, a decade or so... (that way, they won't feel like it's a ploy for presents).

    Does that sound snarky? Should I just send them to all the local relatives and extended family? What do you think? What should I do? Ack!!!

    Life just isn't the Brady Bunch.

    And, oh yeah...

    The other thing going on right now is that I am waiting to hear from the lawyer who has been conducting the investigation to interview me to make sure I'm ethically sound enough to be a member of the Maryland bar. All my paperwork is in; we're now in the "my people will call you" stage of scheduling.

    The funny thing -- and very commonly the case for me -- is that this guy, a partner at a DC firm, is younger than me by a bunch of years. I know because I looked up his bio on his firm's website. ::sigh::

    Because of the dissonance between our ages and experience, these kind of situations can be awkward at first. I am (was?) well-established in one realm of DC life -- the civil rights community -- but I'm a complete newbie at the law. When interacting with folks who are well-established in the law but younger than I am, those people often treat me as junior to them because I'm a newbie to the law thing whereas I am more inclined to treat them as colleagues because I consider myself a professional and I am used to interacting with other professionals in this manner. This situation can be awkward, but I'm used to it and don't get offended (usually) when folks do this. Hopefully my interviewer-guy isn't the type to pull hierarchy. Because that's annoying.

    I once had an associate (who was younger than I am) at a firm tell me in not-so-many-words that I had it easy as a law student because the real world is much harder. To which I wanted to respond, "FUCK YOU. I have been working my ass off in the 'real world' for more than 15 years AND I worked full time throughout law school, unlike your pampered little ass that didn't have to juggle both work and class at the same time. So shut your condescending little trap because I know what hard work is in a way that you don't. Bitch." But I didn't. Obviously. But I thought it. (Also obviously.) Grrr...

    Anyway, this ageism thing is an issue that I confront all. of. the. time. It's not always a problem because I look about ten years younger than I am, but when it happens, it does get tiresome to be spoken down to. Also, I think the fact that I have a longer resume than most newbie law grads has actually hurt me rather than helped me in my law career, despite the lip-service I get about my "interesting background" and "fantastic experience". I'll post more on that another time, but suffice to say, it hasn't yet helped to have 15 years of non-legal (but still relevant) work experience. I remain sans job for the fall.

    But I'm also sanguine. Tomorrow, I'm off to avoid reality in Puerto Rico. Interview with lawyer-guy soon. If I pass the bar (fingers crossed), then I have to trundle up to Baltimore for a professional responsibility class on May 19th. May 21st I walk and get my piece of paper (which will read that I graduated February 1st). And everything is official.

    Then what? Find a job.

    A chance to travel

    So, remember that speech I gave last month at the gala dinner? The one I wrote the night before*? Well, apparently, not only did it go over well that night, but it reverberated. Meaning, the non-prof continued to receive positive feedback such that they want me to make the presentation again in December.

    In Hawai`i.

    Cool. The only problem is that this non-prof doesn't have the budget to actually pay my way or stay there. I'm happy to give them my time, but I cannot go if I have to pick up any expenses. I simply don't have the extra cash right now. So the non-prof is looking for donations of frequent flier miles, etc. to get me there. And since my dad is a past chair of the board (which is partially how I got wrangled into doing the speech in the first place... long story), they hit him up for the "help". Now dad is more than willing to give me/them the miles, but, like me, he doesn't want to be out of pocket for cash on this (and I don't blame him).

    So I may be going to Hawai`i in December. Not bad for a speech written at the last moment.

    *I wrote the speech the night before, but I spent countless hours preparing the accompanying slideshow over the weeks leading up to the dinner.

    Wednesday, May 03, 2006

    Gotta go

    to the Capitol City Market. Omigawd, it sounds amazing:
    Within a short walk, shoppers can pick up fresh rice noodles and moo shu pancakes at Far East Noodle, buy Indian and Pakistani seasoning mixes as well as halal goat meat at Caribbean Crescent and choose between Argentine- and Mexican-style sausages at Don Pepe's Cash & Carry.

    At Mexican Fruit, stacked, open boxes of produce form aisles along the sidewalk and into the street. On a recent morning, and of particular interest, there were three types of ripe mangoes scenting the air, as well as walnut-size Central American and Key limes and stacks of three-foot-tall, spike-tipped blue agave leaves that can be used to flavor a meat stew or to make tequila.

    For traditional as well as Asian greens and fruits, there is Sam Wang, where regular patrons head right for the cold storage room. Nothing is priced. "You don't find out until the checkout counter," says a man who was picking okra one by one. "But it's really cheap here."

    The best place to grab a bite to eat at Capital City is Young's Deli & Carryout. The sidewalk out front has a knee-high buckle and the doorway is dingy, but the food is surprisingly good. Yun Hoon and his wife Chun Young Yun, the owners, serve both Korean and American fare.
    And there's more... Yum. Yum. Yum. I love markets, especially authentic ones (not the overpriced yuppy ones)! My biggest problem tends to be spending too much and then having too much to carry afterwards.

    But yum!

    A new one one me...

    This is a warning I pulled off of the website of one of the major credit card issuers.
    As an example of phishing, please note that some of our customers reported receiving the following pop-up screen while logged into our secure site. The pop-up screen is known to be a hoax and contains the following information:
    Approximate date of the hoax: 3/29/2006 - present
    Title of Pop-Up Box : Security Measures
    Information Requested: Social Security Number, Mother's Maiden Name, Date of Birth
    One would think that no one would fall for something like this. It seems too simple and obviously fraudulent. However, I can imagine that some people who are already logged into their credit card accounts might think this is extra security on the site and fill in the info. And give away the bank.

    Another good reason for pop-up blockers...

    Adult literacy tutoring + a request

    So I did my first tutoring session as an adult literacy tutor -- this year's birthday celebratory donation. I am participating in a highly organized program, and it is a year-long commitment. So far, I've gone through two Saturdays of training and observed one lesson -- and now, taught one lesson. I still don't know very well what I'm doing (because the program is very structured and each lesson consists of steps), but my student does, so we get through it together.

    Originally, I had been assigned a woman named Goddess, but she had to drop out of the program because of scheduling conflicts. So I got Mr. C instead. Mr. C is a fantastic guy. He's African-American, Southern, retired, church-going and an entrepreneur. He owns his own lawn care business and is generally very cheerful and easy-going. And he can actually read books or a newspaper. So why is he in a literacy program? you ask? Well, he can read because he's memorized gazillions of words, but when he's confronted with a new one, he is not so good at sounding the syllables out. As a kid, he wasn't taught the letter-to-sound relationship, i.e., the letter "E" can be long or short, etc. Mr. C has since learned this stuff through the program, but he's still a bit tentative and spelling continues to be a challenge. And he wants to do better.

    I am amazed by his dedication. He's been in this program on and off for about 7 years. Every time we go over something he got wrong, he is grateful for learning something new. And he's never embarrassed by or defensive about getting it wrong or not knowing something. What a difference between teaching adults and kids. We've only done one lesson, but it's really very rewarding for me.

    I am also learning the rules of spelling in a way that I never did as a kid. For example, one general rule is that words in English do not end in "V", so there's an "E" after the "V". This explains why "explosive" is a short "I" sound when according to the vowel-consonant-E rule, the "I" should be long (the "E" at the end makes the vowel long -- think "game", "tube", "hide", etc... remember that stuff?). So I'm learning the rules too. It's actually kinda fun.

    The other great result of my participation in this program is that it got me to the public library here in DC for the first time ever (aside from voting). Mr. C and I meet at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library. It's a cool place. And I got my first DC library card. Tres cool. What fun to rediscover (non-law) libraries. They're like bookstores, but everything -- books, CDs, tapes, etc. -- can be borrowed for free! What a concept!

    So here I was thinking that I was donating my time for someone else's benefit, but in reality, I'll probably benefit more. Dontcha' love it?

    And here's the request... Part of the lesson plan involves reading aloud. During the tutor training, we are told that many adults who cannot read have never experienced been read to out loud, and hearing someone read facilitates learning. I asked Mr. C what kind of book he'd like to read, but he didn't really have a preference. One of his former tutors was reading The Hobbit with him, but I got the impression that Mr. C didn't care for it too much. Plus, that's hard stuff!

    So I am looking for a book that would appeal to Mr. C... He told me he's a Christian, so I think anything with sex or highly controversial topics might make him uncomfortable. I'm thinking history or historical fiction. Any thoughts or suggestions for books which are a good read (level isn't so important) and which would be G or PG-rated if it were a movie..? Since I haven't read a non-law book in eons, my novel vocabulary is quite limited these days... Thanks for the help!

    Pavlov's dogs would have been very confused

    B+1 which is -2 since last week (shaking her head in bewilderment). There's no logic here... Time to think outside of the box.

    So maybe Hershey's kisses promote weight-loss?

    Tuesday, May 02, 2006

    I agree

    with Edward Albee -- Easter Island: The Dream at the End of the World.

    Easter Island is definitely worth the trip, no matter where you're coming from. Definitely. I hemmed and hawed about it when my friend proposed the journey, but I'm so very glad I went. However, this article makes me smile sadly because I really miss the opportunity to travel now...

    But I am going to Puerto Rico this weekend, so I shouldn't complain too much.

    I guess what I really miss is the adventures. Ya' know, four weeks crossing a country? That's what I miss. Freedom. Discovery, in the non-litigation sense.

    Jumping the shark

    I think the phrase "jumping the shark" has been sufficiently absorbed by pop culture that everyone knows what it means and where it comes from. Those who don't need to tune into re-runs of Happy Days to see Fonzie do some waterskiing in his leather jacket.

    Or, alternatively, check out the website of the same name by the guy who wrote the book.

    "Jump the shark" -- that's the catchphrase for television shows which have peaked and are on the decline (and use silly stunts like jumping a shark, trips to interesting places or introduce a child character to the show in a vain attempt to save viewership and prop up interest).

    But what about celebs who too often use their publicity machines to proselytize their personal beliefs? When their acting is overshadowed by their antics, and we're just sick of hearing from, of or about them? Ya' know, like Tom Cruise lately? I think that would be "jumping the couch".


    What would Couric say?

    Katie Holmes is changing her name to Kate now that she's become a mother. Explains poppa Tom: "Katie is a young girl's name. Her name is Kate now – she's a child-bearing woman."

    It's no wonder that mom and dad Holmes are concerned about this relationship.

    Also, according to a WSJ article yesterday, "Viacom Inc's Paramount Pictures is having a hard time selling its upcoming action-movie sequel 'Mission: Impossible III' to women, many of whom appear to have been put off by the antics of the film's star, Tom Cruise."

    Yaaa. I agree. While I never had any plans to see the flick in the theater, I would have gone if someone else had wanted to see it. Now I won't. I have no desire to support TC's publicity machine or his burgeoning bank accounts. And apparently the same goes for WaPo readers who participate in silly online celeb polls.

    Move over, Michael Jackson and Joan Crawford. The whacko celebrity parent club has a new member.

    Escapism, literally

    So, this Friday is the projected announcing of the Maryland Bar results. I have no confidence that I passed, but I guess I'm pretty much in the same boat as everyone else on that. Anyone who is confident that s/he passed doesn't have sufficient respect for the beast.

    My consternation is compounded by the fact that I currently work at a law firm as a clerk, and everyone here blithely dismisses the bar and assures me that of course I am going to pass. It's easy for them to say from where they are sitting on the other side of the bar, but I appreciate their votes of confidence. It's great to know that they all think I'm smart enough to have passed. But we all know that smarts have very little to do with passing the bar. A little, but not much. There are lots of stupid lawyers out there, and there are lots of smart lawyers who had to take the bar more than once.

    And my colleagues' assumptions that I knocked the bar outta the park worries me... What will they think if I failed? Their complete confidence in me places me under even greater pressure because their expectations are high -- so if those expectations aren't met, does that mean they'll reassess their opinions of me? Of course not, but that's the fear. Also, there is the unstated possibility that if I were to pass the bar, then this firm might make me an offer to stay on as an attorney. If I fail, I think I'll have to quit because I don't know how well I'd handle my own humiliation. I'd be the clerk who failed the bar... And I admit that it would be tough for me to handle. Better to start fresh somewhere else.

    So, my escapism is that I am going to Puerto Rico for the weekend. I leave very early Friday morning. This trip will be either my "Wahoo, I passed the bar!" celebration or my "hiding my face and licking my wounds far from home" escape. I will have access to the internet to check my results in the evening, but the idea is to thoroughly distract myself in the meantime. I've never been to Puerto Rico. I think it should work!

    Monday, May 01, 2006

    Seen in the lobby

    This magazine.

    (double-take) Wa-hut???

    It turns out that it's an abbreviation for a travel association or something -- or so it said on the magazine in my lobby, although not anywhere that I could find on their website.

    Of course, that ain't exactly what first came to my mind when I read it.

    There is also the Ohio Milling & Farming Group (they are the dot-org) -- but they wisely decided to spell out their full name.

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