C'est un blague.

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  • Thursday, August 31, 2006


    This was powerful.

    Spend a few minutes with Keith Olbermann. Whether you agree with this administration or not (and we all know where I tend to stand there), this commentary delivers an undeniable punch.

    Weird dream...

    So last night, I had a typical law school angst dream -- I had a final exam and couldn't get to the school to take it.

    But this dream took on epic proportions when it came to the obstacles placed in front me and between me and that exam. Not only was weather an issue (it was either snowing or raining or both), but so was traffic. Indeed, the dream morphed constantly to place new obstacles in my way.

    At first I was in my office and had trouble leaving on time. But I got out with enough time to get to the exam. Then I had trouble finding the right exit to the metro among the labrynth of choices. Eventually I got out. Then I caught a bus to take me there, but the bus morphed into a reception event/celebration for folks I worked with, kinda a "reception on wheels" (it was a double-decker bus) and no one wanted the bus to stop, plus they were urging me to stay just a little while until the program actually started (but of course, it started late which made me even later). So I tried to get the bus to stop near my law school, and the driver was very helpful.

    In fact, so very helpful. In my dream, the bus went off-road, jumping a pile of gravel and going airborne into a field, Dukes of Hazzard style. It then traversed the field, cut through the rough and back alleys of some neighborhood en route to my school. I even remarked to the bus driver in my dream that I was amazed how she (at first the driver was a woman, but later a man) knew all the short cuts. Then the bus turned and cut across water to get to the school. No, it didn't cross a bridge. We went underwater, and to my amazement, the bus didn't leak despite being completely immersed. We chug-chug-chugged along. It felt like being on some amusement park ride, and I remember being surprised that the bus could move forward when we were completely underwater like that. The reception-attendees weren't very pleased at the detour, and some of the food got spilled but we arrived on the other side of the river (it was more like a bay, actually).

    But was I there yet? Nope. I was off of the bus, but I still had to figure out how to get into the school, which was more like a castle with staircases leading everywhere and no maps. It was like being a rat in a maze -- or a new student at Hogwarts. I kept checking my watch for the time. At that point, it was 6:30... late for the exam, which I thought would start at 6:00. Then I realized that I wasn't too late because the exam instructions would take a while. I also figured that since it was the very last exam I had to take during law school that I could probably arrive late and still get a decent enough grade to graduate.

    But did I ever get there to take the exam? Not in my dream.

    And what exam was it? You'll love this -- professional responsibility.


    You might say, "Yea, but we all had those dreams where we missed an exam or came completely unprepared for it in law school." True. But I'm not in law school anymore.


    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    It's official

    (first seen posted by Dave! -- and thusly snagged. Thanks!)

    Make yourself official by dropping in here.

    To CLE or not to CLE?

    A while ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who has her MD. She was asking me all sorts of questions about the bar, being a lawyer, etc. -- and specifically about the professional requirements for continuing education and testing to maintain as current a license to practice law.

    I told her that continuing legal education (CLE) requirements varied from state to state but that all lawyers have a general duty to keep current with legal developments. That being said, neither Maryland, nor I think DC, has mandatory CLE. Virginia does, if I remember correctly.

    Anyway, she told me she thought that that approach was good and that doctors are required to take proficiency exams for licensing every ten (?) years. From her tone, I could tell that she was annoyed by that requirement. She followed up by saying that she felt it unnecessary because she had already passed her boards (for certification) once, so why should she have to retake them every ten years?

    I told her that I thought it was a very reasonable requirement. Unlike the medical field, lawyers never have to make split-second decisions that will impact someone's physical well-being or life. Sure, litigators have to be on their toes, but it just isn't the same. I know that the height of my legal knowledge was the days leading up to (and hopefully during) the bar. I have since forgotten so much of what I crammed into my brain for that exam (yes, folks, it's only been 6 months, and it's gone already!). I expect the same is true for doctors, to some degree (hopefully a lesser degree), and with the changes in medical technology, the state of science, research and health practices, I think that a once-a-decade exam is completely warranted for physicians. Further, I am much more comfortable knowing that doctors have to stay on top of their games well enough to pass their certification tests every decade. Especially since life and limb are literally at stake.

    She wasn't thrilled with my answer, but she understood the distinction I was making.

    But what about lawyers? Should we be required to take some kind of proficiency exam every decade, as doctors are?

    I don't think so, and I'm not just saying that because I am a lawyer. I'm saying that because I think the practice of law is fundamentally different from the practice of medicine. As an attorney, I don't need to remember, e.g., con law to have a successful tax practice but I do need to know the former to pass the bar. Is it useful to check in ten years down the line, ten years invested into a tax practice, to see if I remember what levels of scrutiny are afforded women, the handicapped, minors, etc.? Probably not. But I do think that doctors do need to have a basic proficiency in things medical so they don't forget. The stakes are too high when you're a doctor.

    Notsomuch (not really, comparatively) when you're a lawyer. For us, incompetence only results in legal error, disbarment, a malpractice suit, charges of ineffective assistance of counsel, etc. -- all of which is terrible but at least few verdicts are truly final, and there is always room for an appeal.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Commuter's revenge

    Woodrow Wilson may be known in the rest of the country as the 28th president, but here in DC, Woodrow Wilson is also a bridge -- and a bottleneck (insert your own political joke here).

    Well, the bridge has been under reconstruction for years and years -- and it's not yet done. However, the construction has gotten to a point where part of the old bridge could be torn down. Or blown up. Which they did last night.

    And who was given the honor and fun of blowing that sucker up? Well, they held a contest for the person who had experienced the worst bridge commute -- and that person got to drop the plunger. But who won?
    If you want to know how bad the drive over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge can be, consider this: In a contest to name the toughest commute, a guy who was driving when a pitchfork crashed through his windshield wasn't the winner.
    Click here to read about the winner and to see the actual explosion of the span, which was pretty cool to watch.

    After all, how many of us who have been stuck in endless traffic jams due to poor design -- in this case, too few lanes and no shoulders on the bridge, so even a minor accident would reverberate across beltway traffic -- wouldn't relish the opportunity to take a bit of commuters' revenge?

    A question for the ages...

    Who is the bigger hound -- James Bond or Captain James T. Kirk?

    Bond because he gets more action or Kirk because he doesn't and that means he's sniffing around more?

    Bond because the chicks he gets have all sorts of interesting names and are fabulously international or Kirk because the chicks he gets have all sorts of interesting skin tones and are fabulously intergalactic?

    Hmmm... I just don't know. This may keep me awake tonight.

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Funny or squirmy?

    Both for me.

    This is kinda funny but it definitely has a certain "ick" factor that makes me go "eeeuw!"

    But funny enough to put up a link to it on my blog. But icky enough that I wouldn't buy it, not even as a joke.


    No, not my car. Not even "double income, no kids". More like -- I got an "unfortunately, we are unable to offer you..." email today.

    But no worries. That job wasn't one I expected to get good news from, so it was neither a surprise nor a huge disappointment. More of a blip.

    Still three more out. However, if I get that particular message from one particular firm, then I'll be in bad shape. But for now, it's all good.

    (except that I just heard on the news that Andre Agassi is considered "old" at 36... yeah, yeah, I know it's all about his tennis career prospects/retirement, but ouch!)

    The summer is over

    DC public schools, as well as some of the suburban schools (but not Virginia), are back in session now. Kiddies are back in class (so drive even more carefully), but not GULC students. They don't start until after Labor Day.

    These kids have it so easy! Never ever ever did classes wait until September when I was at GULC. We always started in August and came back from winter break on January 3rd (man, did that stink!).

    And in my day, I also walked back and forth to school, uphill both ways in 10 feet of snow all year 'round without boots...

    Or something like that.

    Adding a new show to the Tivo list...

    I've been sucked in by a new show. I already record 30 Days and watch the Comedy Central "news" shows (Colbert and Stewart), but this new one, while not new, has my attention riveted.

    The intrigue, the drama, the suffering, the suspense...

    Yes, ladies and gents, it's Meerkat Manor.

    Don't knock it until you try it...

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    I am afraid of my mail

    Pathetic, but true.

    These days, only bad news for me comes in the mail -- bills, reminders of dental appointments, thin envelopes that usually include the phrase "unfortunately, we are not able to offer you..." in them somewhere.

    The mail used to be fun. Catalogs, packages, the occasional card, letter or invitation. Now? Notsomuch.


    And a great time was had by all

    I'm back from Annapolis, the bayside capital of Maryland. It's a beautiful old town with a city center dock (that is, the waterway comes into the old downtown area of the city) appropriately named "Ego Alley" because people parade their fancy and very expensive boats up and down the dock area. Some were beautiful seaworthy vessels which can only be called yachts by this layperson while others were midlife crisis muscle boats -- ya' know, the aquatic equivalent of a Corvette. One owner even acknowledged as much, having named his boat "Hydro-therapy".

    The old part of the city is just gorgeous with all the cute houses and even cuter boutiques. I can tell you that I never went hungry with food choices ranging from the Mom-n-Pop family run deli to the pubs/microbreweries to dining on the dock. Seafood -- yum! I'm still full now. I kid you not.

    Two highlights were walking around the state capital building and seeing the Naval Academy. Who knew the state capital was so close to everything? It felt so easy and accessible, just a short stroll (and I mean, 5 minutes) from the downtown area -- with no barriers or guards, just grass and squirrels (and even a rabbit) and well kempt grounds. I guess I'm used to the security in and around the Capitol where you can't go anywhere without being under lots of surveillance. It definitely felt like being in another era.

    The USNA was interesting too. I learned a great deal about Naval history, "plebe summer", what it's like to become and be a "midshipman", the USNA's involvement in the space program, etc. And then seeing all of the young men and women walking around the town in their summer whites. They looked so fresh and clean and shiny. And I felt so old! I think about what my college experience was -- skipping classes, going on road trips, having a car, freedom -- and I know I never would have had the discipline to do what the service academy students do. And I really respect that choice. It takes a lot of maturity to basically decide your career (or a chunk of it) at 18. Daunting.

    One more thing I learned in Annapolis -- that the ship which brought Kunta Kinte landed in Annapolis where he was sold into slavery. There's a touching memorial in the downtown pier area with quotes from Roots around it. The memorial commemorates the arrival spot of Kunta Kinte but it also urges families to tell their stories, to pass down experiences and history to the younger generations, to celebrate your heritage. Yes.

    We also went to the Banneker-Douglass Museum which " is dedicated to preserving Maryland's African American heritage, and serves as the state's official repository of African American material culture." It's small, but growing, and the exhibit was well done. MD was a border state during the Civil War -- it was not part of the Confederacy but it was also a slave state. Therefore, the Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves in MD. It took until the new Maryland Constitution took effect in November 1864 for slaves to be freed. I didn't know the latter factoid. Frankly, MD has a very checkered history when it comes to African American history and the civil rights movement. I knew a bit about the importance of the clash in Cambridge, MD, but I need to learn more.

    And that was part of the fun of this trip -- a number of "Huh, I didn't know that" moments which also whetted my appetite to learn more. And great food.

    And the water was gorgeous too. An easy day trip from DC. I'm gonna have to do it again.

    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Come sail away... come sail away...

    Come sail away with me.

    Annapolis beckons. Just taking short day trip out there to see the sights and enjoy the end of the summer.

    Annapolis is a beautiful, historic town, and I'm hoping for a beautiful, sunny day to take some historic walks and window shop and see the sights and eat seafood but probably not sail.

    Doesn't that sound soooo good?

    Thursday, August 24, 2006

    Recalled! Or not?

    Apple is recalling 1.8 million battery packs for its iBook and PowerBook notebook computers because of an overheating problem.

    The recall affects iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 computers sold from October 2003 through this month.

    Eeeks, that's me!

    According to the article:
    Apple consumers with affected products should stop using the recalled batteries immediately and contact Apple for a replacement battery, free of charge.

    Consumers should remove the batteries from their notebooks and use the AC adapter to power their computers.

    Apple can be contacted at 1-800-275-2273 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Central Time all week, or customers can log on to its Web site at http://support.apple.com/batteryprogram.
    First my power cord, and now my battery.

    ::sniff, sniff::

    UPDATE... Well, I just extracted my battery, and the serial number falls outside of this recall and barely outside of the 2005 Battery Exchange Program. But it seems to be to be just a matter of time before a defect is found and I gotta send it in.

    20... no, 30 questions

    Snagged from Zuska, who snagged it elsewhere.

    1. In two words, explain what ended your last relationship?
    Selfishness and betrayal (by him).

    2. When was the last time you shaved?
    A few days ago, but only to the "tree line" (i.e., up to my knees).

    3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?

    4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
    Answering emails and generally tooling around on the internet.

    5. Are you any good at math?
    I used to be, but I don't know if I am anymore because (as I suspected in high school), I don't use complex math in my daily life.

    6. What did you do on your prom night?
    After prom? I don't remember, but I got into a HUGE fight with my boyfriend at prom. Oh. what. fun.

    7. Do you have any famous ancestors?
    Not that I'm aware of... maybe my kids will! (JK)

    8. Have you ever taken out a loan to pay for school?
    Yup, last semester of grad school and ALL of law school. Ouch.

    9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?
    I don't have a myspace profile.

    10. Last thing received in the mail?
    A bill. Catalogs.

    11. How many different beverages have you drank today?
    Just coffee. And milk, in the coffee (if that counts).

    12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machines?
    Not many people have answering machines any more. Mom does, though, so yes.

    13. Who did you lose your concert virginity to?
    The Police.

    14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
    I don't go to the beach. I go to the lake. No sand.

    15. What's the most painful dental procedure you've had?
    Getting the shot in the gums for whatever procedure I was going to have. I don't do shots anymore. They're worse than the procedures.

    16. What is out your back door?
    I have no back door. I live in an apartment.

    17. Any plans for Friday night?

    18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
    No. Salt water just makes it dry.

    19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different kinds of popcorn?
    No, but my office has. I like the caramel section.

    20. Have you ever been to a planetarium?
    Yes, as a child.

    21. Do you re-use towels after you shower?
    Absolutely. Ever since I started doing my own laundry.

    22. Some things you are excited about?
    Gosh, I don't know. Job interviews? Sad, isn't that? I got really excited when I found online a piece of furniture that I had been looking ALL over for but couldn't find (until recently). Haven't bought it yet, but now I know where to go.

    23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?

    24. Are any of your great-grandparents still alive?
    No. I'm too old. And I only have one grandparent now.

    25. Describe your key chain.
    Which one? My car keys are on a Georgetown Law keychain (hey, it was free!). The rest of my keys are on a carbiner clip from Barbri (hey, it was free!).

    26. Where do you keep your change?
    In my wallet. I also have a cute pink piggy bank that gets fed every once in a while.

    27. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?
    At a gala dinner in April.

    28. What kind of winter coat do you have?
    I have so many. Where to begin?

    29. What was the weather like on your high school graduation day?
    Hell if I remember. It was indoors, but the pictures from then tell me it was a sunny day.

    30. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?
    I don't have a door.

    Not Spy v. Spy

    But Vet v. Vet (of the current war in Iraq). More specifically, Paul Hackett v. Van Taylor.

    Both veterans. One is a Democrat. One is a Republican. One is running for a House seat. One isn't (anymore). But they both have opinions about what's going on in Iraq.

    But I'll let them speak for themselves, which they do quite eloquently on Hardball with Chris Matthews. I enjoyed this segment very much.

    Check them out here.

    Pluto gets the boot

    Pluto is no longer a planet -- or so voted the International Astronomical Union today.

    Why did Pluto get the boot, you might ask?

    No, it's not size that matters. It's not even shape. It's because Pluto's orbit overlaps with Neptune's. The technical definition of a planet requires that the body must clear the neighborhood around its oribit, and Pluto doesn't (but why does Pluto rather than Neptune get kicked out of the planetary club?).

    Interestingly, Pluto is not the first planet to be demoted. There is an asteriod named Ceres that was considered a planet in the 1800s before it got sent down to the minors -- or "dwarf planet" status.

    Pluto is only the latest to be pushed out. Definitions have long been used as a yardstick to include and exclude. In some situations, such classifications makes sense. Standards and criteria are often necessary to create boundaries. In other cases -- like gender or race or marriage for example -- definitions have been used to deny people their dignity. We recognize now that race is a social construct inflicted on society and scientifically irrelevant. And this has been an evolution in thought -- and definition.

    And that's exactly my point. Definitions are fluid. That isn't to say they also aren't legitimate. Just to be clear here -- using definitions is a perfectly valid exercise. There is nothing wrong with defining things. We rely on definitions all of the time. But in doing so, let's all recognize that definitions only work if there is a social consensus on the meaning and that value-judgments are inherent in creating definitions. Some definitions may be based on scientific data, but ultimately, how the definitions themselves are arrived at and used are a social construct. Add to that the tendency for people to "normalize" that which meets a definition and view as defective that which does not and that's where the discrimination comes in.

    So not only are definitions value-laden (i.e., created through choices that involve value-judgments) but they are also often the basis for creating values (i.e., X does not meet the definition of Y, so X must be excluded and is therefore somehow inferior to Y).

    Pluto could have been a planet if the Astronomical Union had chosen a different set of criteria for planets. Its inherent nature has not changed just because a group of scientists have said it's no longer a planet. The definition -- or how it was applied -- changed. There are thousands of brave men and women who would serve in our military if the criteria for service did not include a value-judgment on sexuality. Their ability to carry out the functions required to be good military personnel is not contingent on their sexuality. My parents' marriage would not have been illegal in Virginia until 1967 but for a value-laden definition. Their marriage was no less so because a group of VA legislators thought it unworthy of legal sanction. So definitions can change -- as a result of a decision to change the underlying criteria which collectively create the boundaries (thus changing the definition itself) or because societal consensus has shifted away from the construct such that a term loses meaning.

    So the mnemonics you learned as a kid to remember the planets must be trashed. Pluto is out.

    But what about Goofy? (Don't worry -- Goofy is a live and well, as evidenced by the silliness of that question... which is my way of getting off my high horse now.)

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    Introducing Myrtle

    Who is Myrtle? Myrtle, my Myrtle. Well, Myrtle is a guest who appeared while I was studying for the bar -- and stayed. She hasn't yet taken off and keeps hanging around. And I'm increasingly unhappy about it. In fact, it's getting downright ugly.

    Ya' see, Myrtle is my pet gut. Yes, my belly. My abdomen. My pudge. My flab. You get the picture...

    At first, I didn't mind Myrtle so much. She was unobtrusive, undemanding and didn't make herself noticed. In a way, she was comforting. I've known her for years. She's an old friend who visits from time to time -- although at much more frequent intervals and for longer periods in recent years. But she always went away before. This time? Hmmm.. she's still here, and now it's getting old. And tired. Now, she's started taking my clothes so that I can't wear them anymore and generally overstayed her welcome. She has gotta go. Myrtle must exit the building. She is no longer my pal.

    Anyone who has any ideas about how to drop Myrtle -- your thoughts would be appreciated.

    And for those who might wonder "Why Myrtle?" Well, I think it's always best to know your enemies and confront them face on, in whatever shape they may be. Some folks name their tumors to focus their energies towards vanquishing them. I've named my gut.


    Rhymes with "girdle" -- I don't want either of them strapped around my midsection.

    Kinda weird, kinda good

    This is the first August in four years that I didn't make sure I made it to the law bookstore to pick up my casebooks during the DC salestax-free week.

    This is the first August in four years that I haven't half-dreaded and half-eagerly anticipated the start of another school year.

    This is the first August in four years that I haven't been a student.

    I'm a lawyer.

    Still trying it on for size, but it's kinda weird, kinda good.

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Annoy someone you love

    or just want to pester with this.

    (okay, so maybe I'm slow on the pickup with this, but I've got the excuse of my current hermit-like existence... pooooor me!)

    When the news is the news

    Swedish state broadcaster SVT has admitted a "huge blunder" after a porn film was accidentally shown in the background of a news bulletin, reports BBC News.

    And the resulting bru-ha-ha? According to the article:
    While no viewers complained about the incident, he admitted there had been "enormous interest from media."
    Toto, that ain't Kansas, that's for sure.

    It's officially the loud season

    The candidates for the DC mayoral race are on the air and going negative (already!), and I just saw my first Michael Steele ad (he's the republican candidate for the senate seat that Sarbanes is vacating in MD). The MD state's attorney races are up on the air and running. So are the Montgomery County (MD) county executive campaigns. The Virginia senate race ads have been on the air for a while, and so have two of the contenders for the democratic nomination for the senate seat from MD.

    Get out your earplugs.

    Monday, August 21, 2006

    When you're bored

    What can the internet offer? Just search engines, not aggregators like Search.com or Dogpile.com.

    Google returns
    Yahoo suggests
    Ask.com answers
    Alta Vista says (did ya' even know that Alta Vista was still around?)
    Lycos knows

    Can you tell I'm bored? Maybe it's time to hit one of the above links... or maybe enter the search "how to procrastinate"?

    A question asked off-line on the side-lines

    One of the readers of this blog asked me a question in a private email, and with his permission I'm posting it here:
    "You're a highly-qualified law job applicant - you have years of work experience, some firm experience, a high GPA (3.5) from a highly-ranked law school. If you're having to struggle to get a job in a pretty large area of law (labor/employment) in a major metropolitan area, is there any hope for those with less stellar credentials?? Why do you think you've been having a bit of a struggle, I'm curious. If I'm getting too personal, please tell me so. It's just that I would have assumed that you would have gotten a position some time ago, and I'm trying to get a handle on the nature of the legal job market. It seems so very quirky. Someone with your equivalent credentials in another field would have job offers coming out of his/her ears."
    First, thanks for the compliments. Always a good shot in the arm to hear from others that they think my qualifications look pretty good... and that I'm not completely self-deluded about how competitive a candidate I think I am.

    But on to the question at hand... why do I think I haven't yet been successful in my job hunt?

    1. Let's get the easy explanations out of the way first... One, maybe I don't interview as well as I think I do. Perhaps I am doing something really bone-headed that turns off potential employers. Or maybe I'm completely inarticulate and come across as incapable or arrogant. That's one possibility. Hard for me to know, but I've been employed continuously until now and have lots of interview experience, so I don't think it's that... but who knows? Another explanation may be that my references are torpedoeing my chances by talking trash about me. I doubt it, but who knows? Either could be the case.

    2. I am seeking work in a very narrow field -- employment law and civil rights, plaintiff's side. In DC, there are certainly jobs in this area, but there are plenty more in intellectual property, patent law, corporate/real estate (and general transactional work). So my chosen field has opportunities but it's still narrow, especially when excluding defense work. And there are lots of folks seeking these jobs. So I think I've hurt myself by being so exclusive. In retrospect, it might have been smarter for me to just get some general litigation experience, regardless of the field, and then move towards the exact work I wanted to do. This is what most plaintiff's side employment lawyers have done. The lesson here is to get the experience and then start refining it. I started off working in the field I wanted (which was great) but it has closed off options for me very early in my career.

    Of course, I could just go and try to find a general litigation job, but as much as I want the experience, I also know that most of those situations wouldn't be satisfying for me. It's also harder to explain your career goals when you jump around jobs in a manner that isn't immediately apparent and logical. Right now, my resume reflects a continuum of experience. It's a narrow path, but at least it's not disjointed... so I'll keep trying to get a job in this field until I feel I have no more options.

    In keeping with this, I should have pursued more various jobs -- clerkships, fellowships, etc. -- early in my search. I did none of this until recently, mainly because I thought things would work out at the firm where I was working and partly because I didn't think that I needed that experience. I was wrong on both counts. I should have cast a wider job net earlier on in my search. Now, most of those options are closed off to me. That was, in retrospect, a mistake (although it wouldn't have been if things had worked out differently... but it's always best to keep your options open, and I didn't).

    3. Right now, I'm in this weird place of having some experience but not a lot. I don't have enough experience to apply for 3rd year associate positions (which is what most firms are seeking, at least 2 years of experience) but I'm not a complete newbie grad either. So I don't fit into etiher box easily. Add to that my substantial other work experience, and I definitely don't fit the mold of a brand-new-law-grad. So I don't have enough experience to go for most associate jobs, but I have maybe a bit too much experience for the right-out-of-law-school jobs. Nevertheless, I am applying for both and letting them tell me I'm over-/under-qualified (unless the description clearly articulates X years of experience, which is something I cannot fudge). Unfortunately for me, there aren't a lot of employers looking for junior associates with less than 2 years of experience, so mostly I am looking at entry-level positions.

    With all of my work experience, I also have professional confidence which may be intepreted by some as arrogance (honestly, it's not!). I am more than willing to give my opinion and make suggestions and speak up. And maybe that's seen as pushy? Or inappropriate for a junior associate (I don't do it all of the time, only when I think it's appropriate)? Or unwilling to learn (which it isn't) and set in my ways? I dunno. But it definitely puts me outside the "box" of what most recent grads bring to the table.

    4. Finally, age. I do think my age has something to do with my lack of success in securing a legal job. My age and experience can make for a weird tension where I interview with senior associates and partners who are my age or younger. I don't mind, and it doesn't bother me -- but I don't know how comfortable interviewers are with the idea of having a contemporary or someone older as their junior in the tremendously hierarchical society that is a law firm. The dynamic isn't as clear -- when someone is a contemporary in age but has less legal experience (and is under your supervision), how does that affect the work relationship? Contemporaries but unequals? Some might think it could get weird and just not want the potential hassle. Like I said, I don't have a problem with it, but I do understand that many folks get uncomfortable where there is a bit of grey (and we're not talking my hair here!).

    My age is also a factor because employers are often looking for a blank slate to train as they want to train (and then work them hard). While I expect to learn from everyone I work with, I have already developed professional credentials of my own and a work ethic of my own. I have balance in my life and don't want to work crazy hours to launch my career -- although I will certainly do whatever it takes to get the work done by the time it needs to be done. But there again, I don't fit into the "newbie lawyer" box, i.e., whatever it is that firms expect a recent grad to be.

    And finally, I think some employers may do the math to figure out my age and make the assumption that I am too old to put in the years of work that they hope they'll get from other recent grads (that is, as someone in her late 30s, I have ten fewer years potentially to invest in a job than someone who is in her late 20s). I don't know if they do or not. I don't look my age, so I don't stand out as being "old" at first glance. But I do think it's true that many firms dismiss as extraneous (or even a curiosity?) rather than value my previous work experience. In DC, you would think that policy experience is directly relevant to the legal work done here, but not-so-much. At best, interviewers tell me that my resume is "interesting" because it's much longer than most recent grads' resumes, and often they ask why I left my old work to become a lawyer, usually said in a tone which implies that they don't value my previous experience. Maybe they think that because I switched careers (I prefer to think of it as a transition supporting my legal career) once to become a lawyer that I'll do it again after working in the law for a while (which, of course, completely ignores the reality of the investment of training, time and expense involved in becoming a lawyer). Mostly I get a vibe that they don't know what to do with someone who has tremendous work experience but next to none as a lawyer.

    Anyway, I have thought about this a bit. It sucks to go through law school, pass the bar and take the risk of giving up a good job for the uncertainty and frustration of unemployment. I don't know why I don't have a job. A combination of bad luck and bad decisions? I do think I made some mistakes in the process, but I also think I have good credentials and a proven track record of getting the job done, which should make me an attractive candidate. I suppose that if (when?) I were to widen my job search to defense work or all litigation, I'd have more luck. But then again, I have pretty much gotten an interview every time I've sent in a resume for a job (excluding federal jobs). I can think of only once where I didn't get an interview, and based on the rejection letter I got, I think the job may have been filled, close to filled when I applied for it.

    I'll continue to mull this over and post more if any lightbulbs go off over my head. Or if I get any feedback on my interviews... or anything. Anyone who has any thoughts about this, I would welcome your feedback. What has your experience been? What do I need to do differently? Any tips on how to approach this or recommendations of people, organizations, job boards to contact?

    Who knows -- it may just be my interviewing style...


    But I still have four more "not yet rejected" possibilities. And then, after Labor Day, more opportunities should pop up. FIngers crossed!

    I won't be voting for Fenty

    For all of the negative reasons cited in this article, as well as a few of my own.

    I see him a grand-stander who seeks to grab the headlines -- not a leader -- and I don't think he'd be effective as mayor.

    I don't think he has the political experience, savvy or relationships to work with the city council or Congress.

    I think he's more flash than substance, hugely arrogant and egotistical and more exclusive than inclusive.

    I am annoyed that he uses his council member plates to park his SUV illegally every time I've seen him in my ward.

    No, I won't be voting for Fenty.

    Did I just say that?

    So earlier this summer, I was at a meet-and-greet for a local politician (running for state office in MD), and as usual, I asked a number of tough but hopefully not overly obnoxious questions. Even though I am inclined to support someone, I don't let the candidate slide on mere credentials or a recommendation someone else has made. I always want to hear how the candidate handles my particular pet issues and questions.

    Anyway, after my second or third question, this candidate said something like, "Tough question. Are you a lawyer or something"?

    And for the first time evAH, I said, "Well, actually, yes."

    Not a law student. Not waiting for my bar results. Not even passed but not yet admitted. No caveats at all. Just a straight-forward "Yes I am a lawyer" answer.

    And it felt weird because the disclaimer has been a part of my life for the past four years. Like losing part of my identity... taking off the "training wheels" as it were -- a happy event but still an adjustment.

    I really don't have anything to add anymore

    But I just couldn't resist drawing your attention to this. Just couldn't resist.

    Now I'm done. I promise.

    (until the next time, that is)

    No more

    No more mane, that is. I till have relatively long hair (relative to others, not to me however; I feel somewhat sheared) but no more swishy, down-my-back ponytail. In fact, I have a very wimpy ass ponytail now. That kinda makes me sad -- 'cuz I like a good ponytail -- but I've traded it in for a more sophisticated style. And that's good.

    Yes indeedy, I got my hair cut for the first time in over a year, and spent a pretty penny (yeah, many pounds of pennies) on it. I now have a gazillion layers, and I even have bangs, although you can't tell from the way it's styled today. Who knows if I'll be able to style it like the woman in the salon, but that's okay. I'll figure it out. And if I don't like the do, it will grow. I have a lot of hair, and it grows very quickly. So, no worries.

    It's remarkable how losing inches and inches of hair will make your head feel lighter. It's gonna be weird when I wash it, and there's so (comparatively) little there...

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Whatcha' think?

    So, my blog template is boring and reflects nothing of my personality. When I started, I chose this template and went with it because it was the one I liked the most out of those available at the time. I've wanted to change the look of my blog for a while, so I've been looking for a nice template to pull the switch. I didn't find anything I really liked, however.

    I still haven't.

    But since I first put this blog up, I've learned a bit -- but not all that much -- about posting. I've learned enough to switch the template, but not enough to trust myself to do it well without most likely losing all my edits. However, I do know how to switch out elements of a template.

    So I did.

    The new background is a scan of a scarf made out of kimono material that was given to me by a Japanese friend. Yes, I own this scarf. Pretty, ain't it? The background behind the text is another Japanese textile, but one I snagged online (lightened sufficiently to allow the text to be readable).

    Better than before, but I still don't know how to change the color of the line surrounding the text. Oh well. Eventually.


    Well, today I got a thin envelope -- never a good sign -- from one of the firms where I interviewed. Bummer. This was a job I wanted and had felt I had a shot at. Sadly, it was not mutual. My interest was unrequited.

    Oh well.

    But there are still four more to hear from, at least one of which was a good, upbeat, positive interview. We'll see.

    In the meantime, this sucks.

    News from the weird -- and icky.

    Judge jailed for exposing himself during trials -- i.e., the not-so-honorable...

    I'm not exactly sure what law he broke because I don't know enough about public exposure statutes, but I guess if one person saw him, it's public. Particularly loathesome, this evidence:
    Foster told authorities that she saw Thompson use the [penis pump] device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of a man accused of shaking a toddler to death.

    Friday, August 18, 2006


    This one ain't goin' away anytime soon, but hopefully, he is.

    This is kinda interesting

    I'm just tooling around the internet -- fiddling online instead of going to bed -- and I found this. A site with something for everyone.

    That's it.

    Signing off now.


    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    This looks delish!

    Described on the Ben & Jerry's website thusly "We've no idea how many Ben & Jerry's fans might also be beer enthusiasts, but we suspect that once you've tasted this incredibly heady blend of real cream stout and chocolate ice creams, you'll soon be raising more than a few pints of Black & Tan – and more than a few brew-aha!'s, too. Enjoy!"

    But, it's leaving a bad taste in some folks' mouths. I just thought a black and tan was a "mixed drink" -- that is, half a glass of pale ale and a stout. I had no idea of the history behind "black and tan".

    So there ya' go. But it still looks absolutely yummy.


    Who knew? Several Members of Congress and Senators maintain blogs.

    Well, okay, their staffers maintain the blogs, but who knew that any Congressional offices were blogging? Actually, some people did know, but I didn't.

    So I did some digging to find individual members' official Congressional blogs -- as opposed to blogs for the office (such as Majority Leader or Democratic Caucus blogs) or guest blogging elsewhere or their campaign blogs.

    They aren't all current (presumably, these offices have more important business to keep them busy), but here's what I found:
    Marion Barry (D-AR-1)
    John Boozman (R-AR-3)
    John Carter (R-TX-31)
    Mike Conaway (R-TX-11)
    Bud Cramer (D-AL-5)
    Phil Gingrey (R-GA-11)
    Katherine Harris (R-FL-13)
    Steve Israel (D-NY-2)
    Jack Kingston (R-GA-1)
    Mark Kirk (R-IL-10)
    John Linder (R-GA-7)
    Ed Markey (D-MA-7)
    Cathy McMorris (R-WA-5)
    Barack Obama (D-IL)
    Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6)
    Mike Pence (R-IN-6)
    George Radanovich (R-CA-19)
    Silvestre Reyes (D-TX-16)
    Tom Tancredo (R-CO-6)
    Lots of Republicans, and only one Senator. If you know of any more, drop me a line, and I'll put 'em up.

    Smells fishy

    and that's not just because they are located in Georgetown near the canal.

    Read this article in the WaPo about the Legal Services Corporation, an entity created by Congress "as a nonprofit corporation run with federal money to provide legal help in civil matters for Americans who cannot afford lawyers." In other words, they serve underserved communities.

    But this articles makes it sound like the corporate headquarters is just self-serving with seemingly unnecessary perks for the board members (like extra meal allowances, limo rides and meetings in hotel conference spaces rather than the headquarters) and administrative decisions that place the comfort and convenience of the board over channeling funds to the neighborhood programs which provide legal services to the needy. They've been subject to Congressional scrutiny, but it sounds like they need a little more accountability.

    Of course, the administration of Legal Services Corp. justifies all of their decisions, but I'm not buying. When you work for a community services organization, the focus is supposed to be providing those services. When you volunteer on the board of such an organization, shouldn't you also have the spirit of volunteerism and maybe suck it up a bit and deal with less fancy food and conference space which is available for free, not a fee? I don't think it's appropriate for the board members to be taking limos to meetings at the expense of services to the needy, even if the cost is the same as taking the train. It just looks like an irresponsible, gross excess and is insensitive to the needs of the community which the organization is supposed to be serving. Even worse to be taking those limos while at the same time crying poverty and having to turn away more than 50% of those who seek help because of a lack of resources.


    Inquiring minds want to know

    I wanna know, in this post-9/11 environment of security checks and double-checks, just exactly how did those snakes get on the plane? Is that little detail explained in the plotline?

    I hope so for the sake of the integrity of the cinematic experience.

    I'm just saying...

    I stink

    or, more precisely, my suit jacket stinks. Wore it to two more interviews today, on top of the two interviews I wore it to on the same day the week before last. Time for some dry cleaning. I don't expect any more interviews to be scheduled (because I don't have any more stray resumes out...), so off it goes to be cleaned and pressed and de-stinkified.

    Hmmm, now that I think about it, my pattern is when I have an interview, I have two that day. That's happened three times now. Six interviews over three different days. Weird, eh?

    Anyway, interview first was with a smallish civil rights, plaintiff-side employment discrimination firm. I wasn't too gung-ho about this firm because I think they spend more on their monthly rent than annual salary for their junior associates. Yes, they do have a very nice space, but it's not too large nor in the most expensive part of town; their junior associate salaries are that low.

    Now, having worked for the civil rights community and in non-profits for most of my career, salaries are not the most important factor in my job-hunt. However, salary is not irrelevant either. I don't put any stock whatsoever in firms or organizations which believe that they carry enough prestige to make up for whatever they won't pay in salary. Like it's such an honor to work for your organization that I should consider myself lucky to get any salary at all when I have the priviledge of listing the name on my resume! Yeah, right. My worth and value-added to your organization is not measured by your ego or delusions of grandeur. It's not a trade-off that I'm willing to make. I'll take a lower salary for a good opportunity (e.g., I think the job would be really great or lead to interesting stuff) but not because X, Y, and Z are on the letterhead. Nope, not gonna do it. Sorry.

    And that's why I wasn't so excited about this job before the interview. However, having met two of the lawyers in the firm, I am finding this opportunity more attractive. I really liked the two lawyers. We had the usual chit-chat interview stuff, but then we just joked around and told stories about our various travels. It was fun. Like, the kind of "hey, let's go grab a drink and hang out for a few hours" fun. I could see working with these folks -- and then doing social things with them as well. And that's a good thing.

    So, we'll see on that one.

    The second job interview was for the clerkship. The "judge" (not yet sworn-in) was a mile-a-minute-talker who clearly spends much of her life in fifth gear. Well, no doubt that's true given her upcoming transition (and her current high-level job). As a result, the interview was fast, fast, fast. I didn't feel the same "click" with her as I did with the two attorneys at the firm, but it was a nice compliment that she invited me in for an interview within half a day of my submitting my resume (especially since she told me she was only interviewing a few folks).

    So, yeah, I'm good on paper -- but do I get a date?

    I'm not counting on an offer... well, from anyone. But I don't think the judge will make me an offer. And that's okay. I don't know about the firm, but I think I have a better shot there.

    So right now, I have no more outstanding resumes out (I've received responses to all that I've submitted). I've been to six interviews in the past month or so, and five are still pending. I didn't get an offer for the clerkship in VA -- which is fine because I didn't want the job. No, really. I didn't want to move three hours south of here for that job. And I had decided that even before I found out that the Justice Department has initiated a law suit against that particular city's police department for racial discrimination (yeah, no kidding -- great community to raise kids, eh?). It seems that if you're African American or Latino, well, your chances of getting a job working on that city's police force ain't so great.

    Anyway. Five still out. I should start hearing from some of them soon. Like I said, good on paper... but so far, only the bridesmaid and not the bride.

    Or something like that.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    More doofus asshole

    Not only did he make the morning shows, but Georgie's gaffe is also a story on Nightline tonight.

    That's not just 15 minutes, that's not even just a news cycle. If you're Georgie Allen's campaign manager, it's forever.

    UPDATE (8/18/06): AND, this incident has already been immortalized by Wikipedia. Read all about it here (it's a pretty good read). The article discusses Georgie's fondness for offensive symbols, his history of being a bully and the fact that it seems fairly certain that he did actually know that "macaca" is a racial epithet.

    No more benefit of the doubt for him. Not only a doofus, but an asshole too.

    Donate to the WEBB CAMPAIGN here.

    Gonna do it

    Cut my hair, that is.

    It's been more than a year since I last cut my hair -- any haircut at all. Add to that, recent events and Zuska's encouragement, and I've made an appointment for this weekend at a fancy-pants salon -- ya' know, the kind of place where they'll look at me like some kind of freak for coloring my hair at home, for wearing such unhip clothes, for going for a year without a haircut... Ahh, what fun to pay for the pleasure of feeling uncool.

    Right now the mane is long (to the middle of my back) with long, grown-out layers. I'm thinking I'll have her chop off four or more inches and give me bangs. That will be a big change.

    Okay, enough. Now even I am bored with this post.

    But I'll give you the post-mortem next week.

    The macaca is hitting the fan

    Well, Georgie definitely stepped in it with his doofus remarks the other day. The WaPo is editorializing about it; the blogs are wagging about it; the community groups are issuing statements; I've since seen the video clip countless times on the news.

    So I'd say that Webb's hay was spun into gold.

    And more aricles in the Post: Allen on Damage Control After Remarks to Webb Aide... This is the kind of nightmare that all campaign managers fear -- a stupid, insensitive, bullying comment (giving doofus a rather generous assumption of the benefit of the doubt that no racial overtones were intended) gaining the national spotlight and staying there for a day.

    And you know you're in trouble when a National Review editor notes that incident shows that Georgie "has a mean streak."


    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Hot damn!

    Got another job interview. Sent in my stuff last night and just got an email now asking me to come in for an interview tomorrow (so now I have two interviews tomorrow). It's for a judicial clerkship for a newly-appointed judge in here DC. Nothing too prestigious, but it could be interesting because I would be the first ever clerk for this judge.

    Maybe I will actually get a job after all. Yay!

    Coffee conundrum

    So, I poured my morning cup of coffee and low-and-behold, little clumps of milk floated to the top. I have floaters, ladies and gentlemen.

    Now, I smelled the milk first and checked the expiration date -- and all seemed well -- but floaters? Bad sign. So what should I do?

    1. Drink the coffee anyway. A girl needs her caffeine.
    2. Throw out the cuppa joe, go to the local CVS and buy more milk. Come back and start anew.
    3. Abandon the coffee concept entirely. Buy some at the local *$.
    4. Drink the coffee sans milk. And just deal.
    5. Spoon out the milk chunks. They weren't that big anyway.
    6. Pour another cup and use sugar instead of milk to cut down on the bitter factor.

    What would you do?

    Doofus apologizes

    In today's WaPo: Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology

    I think this article makes several good points.

    Depending on how it is spelled, the word macaca could mean either a monkey that inhabits the Eastern Hemisphere or a town in South Africa. In some European cultures, macaca is also considered a racial slur against African immigrants, according to several Web sites that track ethnic slurs.
    I doubt Georgie knew that, but calling a person of color a monkey is serious business. And that is something he would know, being born of Virginia politics. In this case, it looks like he was just being juvenile and making fun of an easy, defenseless target in front of a supportive crowd. Picking on someone because that person is different... That's not leadership; that's a bully.

    Allen said that by the comment welcoming him to America, he meant: "Just to the real world. Get outside the Beltway and get to the real world."
    I don't doubt that's what he meant. And I even believe that he might have said that to a person of pallor. But he didn't, and he has to appreciate the context and consequences of his comments. The apology needs to be more than a throw-away "I'm sorry if I offended you" -- especially given his history with nooses and Confederate flags.

    "I think he was doing it because he could, and I was the only person of color there, and it was useful for him in inciting his audience," said Sidarth, who videotaped the event for the Webb campaign. "I was annoyed he would use my race in a political context."
    I agree. He's a bully. And probably a bigot.

    Virginia Commonwealth University politics professor Robert Holsworth called Allen's comments a gaffe that probably wouldn't change the Senate race but could hurt his presidential ambitions.
    Let's hope so.

    In a word, DOOFUS

    George Allen is a doofus. His most recent stupidity is making fun of a volunteer for his opponent, Jim Webb, by welcoming him to America.

    So you're thinking "Gee, that's friendly. What's wrong with that?"

    Ya' see, the volunteer was of South Asian ancestry -- born in Virginia -- but good ol' George had to go there, had to slap this guy with the "perpetual foreigner syndrome" and assumed that because his skin color was a bit darker that he must be an immigrant. Apparently, in Virginia, only white folks are American. And as you can see by the video, the whole thing played very well to his audience (and I'm not even going to mention the fact that after welcoming "Macaca" to America and to Virginia, he immediately segues to terrorism... hmmm... not going to mention it).

    I'm thinking Georgie has a very, very narrow campaign trail and an even shorter memory. Apparently he has forgotten all of his American -- or even Confederate -- history. Tsk, tsk George. As your colleague from across the aisle and the river would say... Civics lesson number one: America is an immigrant nation. Also, being from the capital of the Confederacy and having earned a law degree, you might have heard somewhere about slavery... and the 14th amendment? If not, that's civics lesson number two. I guess EHN wasn't teaching at UVA the year you took Con law...

    But I digress...

    Anyway, the Webb campaign is making hay out of it. I got an email about it from the Webb folks as well as from an Asian American political grassroots group.

    According to the Webb folks:
    S.R. Sidarth, a volunteer with our campaign of Indian descent, has been following George Allen with a camera. During an event in Breaks, Allen singled our volunteer out:

    "This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. We're going to places all over Virginia, and he's having it on film and its great to have you here and you show it to your opponent because he's never been there and probably will never come."

    "…Lets give a welcome to Macaca, here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia."

    We would like Senator Allen to tell us exactly what he means by his comments. Sidarth was born in Fairfax. What does he mean, “Welcome to America?” And by Macaca, is George Allen calling Sidarth a species of monkey in the Eastern Hemisphere?

    Sidarth has a name. George Allen’s efforts to demean him, to minimize him as a person should not be tolerated.
    (Editorial note: macaca is the genus for the macaque monkey -- which I didn't know until I looked it up.)

    Now, we all know I'm Asian American. We all know that I care about stuff affecting my peeps. So is this worth making a big deal out of?

    Yes and no. This incident demonstrates, once again, exactly what I said above: George Allen is a doofus. But we all knew that. His vision is also so narrow that I'm surprised he can see at all. Clearly, only white issues are glaringly bright enough for him to discern. Issues of color aren't merely overlooked; they are invisible to his eyes.

    As for the "Macaca" name thing. I'd bet money that Georgie doesn't even know what a "macaca" is. At best (and giving him a huge benefit of the doubt), he was being a typical elitist politician and not remembering the guy's name. A more sinister interpretation is that ol' Georgie was being racially insensitive and making fun of the volunteer's name with ethnocentric ignorance (or some might say he's a racist, plain and simple)... Clearly, he was playing the name for yuks from the audience. How charming.

    So, yes, it's worth it for the Webb campaign to make some hay. An email was about right. Get it out to the bloggers and the listservs. Maybe an article in the WaPo. Any free publicity off of this stupidity is worth the energy. It's definitely worth the time to spread the word about Georgie (and that word would be "doofus").

    Is it worth making a really big stink? No. Spending any real money on this is silly. We all know George Allen is an insensitive clod. This kind of issue will rile up the folks that were going to vote against him anyway, and the ones that were going to vote for him won't even be able to figure out that he said something stupid and insensitive -- and they'll vote for him anyway with a slap on the back for the good ol' boy. It won't change anyone's mind, opinion or position on Georgie. They will vote as they will. So save the real money for issues that will affect the election.

    And in case I wasn't completely clear: George Allen is an intolerant, insensitive doofus who spews crap. I think what he said was wrong on so many levels, and he should be held accountable for his prejudiced views. Spread the word so folks know how ign'ant this boy is. We as a nation can do much better. Georgie is one of the worst examples of our elected leadership, and Virginia would have a smarter, more articulate and better-looking Senator if the state did in fact elect a real macaca to office instead of this joker.

    Any questions?

    Monday, August 14, 2006


    The chair!

    This is "ta-da" for two reasons -- first, I redid a chair. Yay! And it doesn't look too crappy. Yayay! If you look at the back, you can see the cording. Underneath is where it's not-so-neat-as-I'd-like. Oh well. The upholstery is actually much nicer than you can see in this photo. It has a very attractive but subtle design on it, but the resolution here is too low to pick it up. And if you saw a "before" picture, you'd appreciate this chair even more. Imagine bare wood with a light varnish but not stained -- turned almost black in some places from grubby usage -- with the seat and backrest covered in orange vinyl (ditto about the grubby factor). With that in mind, not too shabby a re-do, eh?

    The second "ta-da" is that I took this picture on my camera phone and bluetoothed it successfully to my laptop. That little feat of technology may actually be more of an accomplishment for this Mac newbie here who also doesn't have a clue about most of the functions on her phone.

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    Chair update update

    It looks cool now. Black form, purple upholstery. If you look closely, you can see where I mangled the stapling of the fabric and cord, so don't look too closely.

    Also, don't bother sitting on it either because it's not all that comfy. Needs more padding on the seat. Oh well. But it is a mighty spiffy-doodle little chair.

    So chair #1 no longer lives in the 1970s and can now play nice with polite company. Yay. Any bets how long it will take me to do chair #2?

    I watch too much TV

    and specifically too much Trading Spaces recently.

    Why do I say that? Well, I decided to refinish two rather ugly -- but quite nicely shaped -- chairs that were probably born in the 1970s and existed in my former office as third-hand-me-downs well beyond their natural lives. I bought a really nice remnant of upholstery fabric and matching cording today. And I removed the grungy, old orange vinyl upholstery and all the staples off of one of them. I sanded down the varnish and painted the wood black, not just once but twice.

    But I didn't sand enough of the varnish off because the paint is cracking a bit in some spots. It just refuses to stick. And I don't have an air pressure staple or nail gun to attach the new material. Or a trained carpenter and a resourceful designer advising me. So I'll be painting the chair again at least once more tomorrow and hoping that the third coat sticks. But if it doesn't, I'll slap on another coat and force the damned thing into submission by sheer force of will, although clearly not skill.

    But either way, the chair looks much better without its orange skin. And I can see that once the paint decides to stick that this chair will be really, really nice.

    It looks much easier to do on TV -- and that's the problem with TV. It makes you think you can do all sorts of things that you really have no business even trying... like solving complicated personal problems in half an hour, getting the "Rachel" haircut, redecorating your livingroom in two days all by yourself or saying things like "that color really pops". Those things look and sound cool on TV, but do them in real life? No problems are simply solved in half an hour, and then you're left with cracking paint.

    Or something like that.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Nightmare scenario for every woman with long hair

    But it just happened to me.

    So, I'm driving home from the store with my windows and moonroof open to get a breeze when I feel a tickle at the collar of my shirt. Thinking it's just a stray hair fallen down my shirt and into my cleavage, I brush at it to push it away. Because I have long hair, 99 times out of 100, that odd tickle on my neck or shoulder or whatever is exactly that -- a stray hair.

    Well, to my horror, I hear a buzzing sound and when I look down (while driving), I see a yellowjacket hovering in between my shirt and my boobs.

    Eeks. Still driving, I grab at my shirt, pulling it out away from my body and trying to get the yellowjacket out of my shirt and out of the car. More buzzing and then silence, so I thought it flew out the window.

    All was quiet, but then I felt something itchy on my stomach. So I went to scratch it (still driving). To my utter horror and digust, I felt a small lump under my shirt. Yes, the yellowjacket, instead of flying out of my cleavage, flew down it. Farther into my shirt. And it stung me on the stomach.

    So now I'm experiencing an intense feeling of "ick, ick, get it away". I flip up my shirt, fully exposing my midriff (and half my bra) to ensure that the damned thing is gone. The folks in the SUV next to me got more than an eye-full. But I had thought it was gone before, so I start pulling at my shirt and waving it around and everything -- while still driving -- in the vain hope of seeing the yellowjacket fly out. But no. No such confirmation or closure on this little incident.

    So I get home and once I'm inside I pull off all my clothes to make sure that nothing is still crawling on me -- and then immediately indulge in therapeutic chocolate.

    Now every tickle I feel has me paranoid. But I think the yellowjacket is gone. All but his sting. And the corresponding welt.

    Good thing I'm not allergic. But ick, ick!

    Ah, the dangers inherent in having long hair. Sort of.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Times, they are a-changing...

    Cynthia McKinney lost to a primary challenger. Not shocking. She's been down this road before. Unfortunately, it was a two-way street and she came back. But maybe this means the voters in her Georgia district have learned a lesson.

    But... Damn (not in a disappointed way but in a "holy cow" kinda way) -- with 94 percent of the precincts reporting, newbie Ned Lamont led Joe Lieberman 52 percent to 48 percent. Lieberman has already conceded.

    Let's hope this little wind of change portends a huge gust that blows the republicans out of office in November.

    It could just happen.

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Just when I was thinking that I should take an out of town trip

    I got another interview, next week. Yippee!

    It's August in DC (a town which shuts down in the summer and when Congress goes out of session), and I have an interview. I am not a complete loser after all. Just a thoroughly unemployed loser. But I'll take it.


    Referendum on the war?

    Eyes are on Connecticut today for the democratic primary. Three-term incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman is facing a credible and serious challenge from Ned Lamont.

    Definitely worth paying attention...

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    It's amazing what brings folks in for a visit

    Traffic to my blog has increased quite a bit because of my Colbert v. Norton post. The one about the spanking attorney seems to be the focus of a number of searches too. There must be something about lawyers behaving badly that commands attention...

    Was that blatant pandering for more hits (but not spanks)? LOL. Nah, but that particular post has certainly garnered much more attention than my whining about looking for a job or my post about the easiest turkey bacon-pesto pasta sauce ever.

    What a girl won't do for a little (more) attention...

    Sunday, August 06, 2006

    Random bizarre references

    Twice in as many days, I've had different folks mention to me that Driscoll's strawberries are the best.

    I have an aunt who grew up in Watsonville, CA and because she wants to support the economy of her hometown, she only buys strawberries from Watsonville. So I started doing the same. The other day, she told me that I should buy Driscoll's because they are the best berries and the company is headquartered in Watsonville.

    Then the next day, a friend/colleague told me in a discussion about strawberries (I don't have a clue why we were discussing them) that, yes, indeed Driscoll's is the brand to buy. Not only do they have all sorts of scientific research behind and to develop their berries, but apparently they also have patented the strain -- and the company even tests the DNA of other brands' berries to protect their intellectual property.

    So there you have it folks. The last word on strawberries.

    Told ya' it was both random and bizarre.

    Lazy Sunday mornings

    No demands. No deadlines. Nothing but really good coffee and all the time in the world... ahhh!

    Folks have told me to enjoy my unemployment, but that has been tough to do because I tend to stress over money. No job, no income. Also, I tend to be really practical about things, so quitting my job without another lined up was hugely risky and definitely out of character for me... and the result has basically been one huge ol' bundle of stress, sometimes lurking in the background and sometimes exploding all over me. (Now, if I were Moral Turpitude, I'd do a really cool drawing showing my alternate realities of stress lurking and it exploding... but alas, non).

    This morning, the stress didn't mug me. In fact, it remained completely in the shadows and didn't even threaten to pounce.

    So this is progress that I actually just enjoyed the morning.

    Saturday, August 05, 2006

    I am such a bachelor

    Old pizza box in the kitchen, dirty dishes filling the sink, a bunch of empty cans (albeit, diet coke cans in the recycle bin), stack of laundry that needs to be done...

    I'm not fit for decent (or indecent or otherwise) company!

    D-I-E-T is a four-letter word

    But I swear sometimes it feels like my gut is sitting on my lap -- like some kind of small pet... and there's no comfort there. It's a very unhappy realization to have a pet gut.

    So if it gets to the point where my gut sticks out farther than my boobs, then, well, it will be a very, very bad day here in She says land.

    Either way, gotta do something about it.


    Make them stop!

    One of my peeves is when people modify the word "unique"... ya' know, as in "very unique" or "especially unique." I hear it all the time, in conversations and on television. Television ads are a particularly strident offenders.

    Look, I know I don't necessarily use every word properly and that this is incredibly geeky of me, but the way I learned the word, something is either unique -- one of a kind -- or it isn't. It is not super unique just because it's extraordinary. So I wish that stupid Honda commercial would shut up about how its car is very unique. It grates on my nerves. It sounds uneducated, and makes me less likely to buy the car. It's like when I see a spelling mistake in an advertisement (or even in the news). I can't help but think how stupid the company is to allow that mistake to get past the copy editor, not to mention whoever has final approval before publication. Same thing here.

    This is what dictionary.com, whose source is The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, has to say:
    Usage Note: For many grammarians, unique is the paradigmatic absolute term, a shibboleth that distinguishes between those who understand that such a term cannot be modified by an adverb of degree or a comparative adverb and those who do not. These grammarians would say that a thing is either unique or not unique and that it is therefore incorrect to say that something is very unique or more unique than something else. Most of the Usage Panel supports this traditional view. Eighty percent disapprove of the sentence Her designs are quite unique in today's fashions. But as the language of advertising in particular attests, unique is widely used as a synonym for worthy of being considered in a class by itself, extraordinary and if so construed it may arguably be modified. In fact, unique appears as a modified adjective in the work of many reputable writers. A travel writer states that “Chicago is no less unique an American city than New York or San Francisco,” for example, and the critic Fredric Jameson writes “The great modern writers have all been defined by the invention or production of rather unique styles.” Although these examples of the qualification of unique are defensible, writers should be aware that such constructions are liable to incur the censure of some readers.
    Censure, definitely censure of this reader/listener.

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Crackberry culture

    So, I sent an email about that last post to a friend on the Hill.

    This was the response I got:
    Thank you for your email. Not only am I out of the office, but my blackberry malfunctioned just before I left. Seriously.

    Therefore, I won't be accessing email until Friday, August 11. I'll get back to you as soon as I can once I am back in the office.
    I wonder how many Hill colleagues were aghast to get that "out of office" reply message? Clearly, the expectation is that these guys are available 24/7. Ouch.

    Who said all policy wonks were nerds?

    Snagged from Asian Provocateur, this is kinda amusing.

    See? Just because you're a policy wonk doesn't mean you don't want to be in the popular crowd too.

    Funny. Too funny.

    PDA... public dismays and afflictions

    Okay folks, I know it's hot out, but that's no license to behave badly.

    To the couple making out on the metro: I don't mind quick hello/good-bye smooches. I don't mind that there seems to be a very significant age difference between you. I do mind, however, that you were giving each other extended tonsil exams while blocking the car door. That is simply not acceptable metro etiquette. The afternoon commuters just don't wanna see that. I don't wanna see that. I just want to get on and off the train in peace. It was also kinda creepy that you looked like father and daughter.

    To the woman who thinks wearing much-too-tight jeans below her gut makes her waist look smaller: it doesn't. That bulge that is your midriff on public display just isn't sexy. I don't want to see your gut hanging over the jeans (and no, she wasn't pregnant). In fact, no one wants to see anyone's gut spilling out over the waistband of their pants. And not to deny you your freedom of fashion choice, but folks, tuck it in, suck it in... whatever.

    To the left-standers on the metro escalator: move over. Look around you -- notice that no one else is standing on the left side? Get a clue. And no, I'm not in any particular hurry so don't imply that I'm impatient. I'd appreciate it if you could get outta my way when I say "Excuse me" and not give me some kinda of snarky comment. Thankyouverymuch.

    To the cab driver who told me he had no change when I tried to get a ride: I know you're lying. I know you just want a longer fare than across town, but guess what buddy... I'm a good tipper. You missed out. In this heat, you could have easily picked up two fares in the time you'll be sitting there waiting for that trip out to Dulles. Idiot. And here's a piece of advice: don't piss off an attorney. We are among the most obnoxious creatures on the earth, maybe second to some cab drivers.

    I guess the heat is making me cranky.


    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Help me, I'm melting...

    Okay, so I'm not quite the Wicked Witch of the West, but damn if it ain't hot. Heat index of 108 here. Wilting Washington. Eeeks. What a day to be interviewing for jobs.

    Morning: took a cab to the firm. Normally I would have walked -- but the combination of the crazy weather, heels and a suit put me in a cab for what would have been about a 20 minute walk in other circumstances. I spoke with 4 folks at the firm (ahem, that would be all of the lawyers there) for 2-1/2 hours. I really enjoyed speaking to the two partners and felt we had a good rapport. The other two attorneys were interesting as well, but we didn't quite "click" the same way. I liked the place, and I think they liked me. And the work sounds good -- and a good opportunity for me to learn.

    So what had been an "ehh" job prospect is now something much more exciting.

    Afternoon: then I took another cab to job interview number two. This one was on the Hill. I met a friend for lunch there. We chatted. We ate. He splashed tomato sauce all over my shirt.

    Lovely. Just friggin' great. What a nice accessory to go with my top for my interview.

    Fortunately, I had had my laptop open, which took the brunt of the splat. Still, I got two good blobs on my boobs. I dabbed it off (but, how much does tomato sauce really come out of anything?), and made sure my jacket was pulled closed. Grrr. Not the greatest start to interview number #2.

    But it went well. The interviewer asked a number of tough policy questions. Eeeeek. I think I fielded then well enough, but who the heck knows? We chatted for about 45 minutes, which is pretty good for a first Hill interview... I think? I didn't have the same click with him as I did during the earlier interviews, and frankly, my substantial knowledge set is probably not as good as some of the other candidates. But I think a number of my other skills, experience and contacts were quite good. Again, who knows... I didn't blow it, but I don't know if I'll get a second interview. But then again, I always knew I was a long-shot for this job. Getting the interview in the first place was something of a personal coup for me.

    So, I've got a coupla good possibilities in the air. Need to keep getting the resumes out though (which I've been slacking off on doing).

    Fingers crossed.

    And no more suits this week. Yay.

    P.S. Jami reports that fries are French again in the Capitol (or so says the WaTimes, according to MSNBC), but I gotta tell ya' that they were still "Freedom Fries" in the Rayburn cafeteria when I was there today. And the whole thing is just plain stupid, if you ask me.

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Thumbs up.

    I finally saw the new Morgan Spurlock show 30 Days, and I thought it was really well done. Thumbs up from this reviewer.

    The episode I saw was about a Minuteman border patroller (who is a Cuban immigrant) who moves in with and lives the life of an undocumented Mexican family in East Los Angeles for a month. The show pulled no punches in terms of portraying the political views of each side. Maybe it was more sympathetic towards the family, but it was an exercise in portraying the perspective of those who come into this country seeking a better life.

    Like I said, it was well done. Of course, my politics lean heavily towards immigration reform (and screechingly away from the Minutemen militia mentality), but I'm hopeful that the show will make people think. And understand that national policy debates are ultimately about people.

    And I'm looking forward to seeing what else Spurlock presents.

    Good vibrations

    Two interviews tomorrow folks. One I really want. The other, I'm ehh about. But either way, I need good vibes to finish off this job-hunting thing 'cuz I don't think I'm going to get many more interviews before September. Ya' see, DC rolls up its sidewalks for the summer, and no one is in town.

    I am tired of being a lawyer in waiting. I'm needing a job. And good vibrations. Please.

    It's 10:00. Do you know where your kids are?

    Takes on new meaning here in DC.

    I'm not so sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, there has been a sharp increase in juvenile crime, and this is a means of keeping kids out of trouble (or safe from trouble). Plus, I do think parents should take greater responsibility for their kids. On the other hand, it's summer. Ten o'clock is too early for even something as innocent as a movie. Is this an unfair punishment of all because of the antics of a few?

    Of course, there are a number of exemptions to the curfew, and it only applies to kids under 17, but I remember being in high school and driving downtown to Georgetown to go out at night into the wee hours of the morning. I'd like to see how this rule is enforced and against whom.

    P.S. Here is what the WaPo had to say...

    The Chinese fortune cookie gods are spying on me

    So, after my usual dial-a-dinner of Chinese food tonight, I cracked my fortune cookie. Given my not so great fortune with jobs lately, I was hopeful for a sign, any sign that bodes of better things to come...

    Instead, I got "Beward of little expenses. Small leaks will sink great ships."

    Holy crap. Given my recent tendency towards retail therapy (NOT recommended when you are unemployed) and playing on eBay, I just wanna know -- is the cookie manufacturer in the basement of the DOJ or DHS or something? Maybe the delivery guys are taking their tips to the man...

    Oh my.

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