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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

And other stuff I can't take seriously

If I'm reading a book and a character's name makes me laugh out loud, I can't continue.

Someone recommended a book to me the other day.  But the main love interest's name was ...

...

wait for it ...

...

Brodan.




No, friends.  Just no.

What are the worst names you guys have seen in books?  (And yes, they have to be genuinely misplaced. Amberle is ok if your book is called Elfstones of Shannara, nowhere else.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The most important part of being a good lawyer = not being a dick

When I worked at BIG FIRM back in Fake Austin, do you know how many times I worked on a case where we requested the other side pay our attorney's fees?

Once.

In general, two parties in litigation pay their own attorney's fees.  It's part of the adversarial system.  More times than not, both sides are right some of the time--or at least pretty close to right.  The case where one side is RIGHT and the other side is WRONG is super rare.  Therefore, in the interest of fairness, everyone who comes to the fight has to carry their own gloves, water bottles and towels.

There are some exceptions to this general rule, and I won't get into all of them here.  But one big exception is the "frivolous" exception.

(Note: people throw around the term "frivolous lawsuit" a lot.  Those people watch too much TV.)

When someone is straight up harassing you -- when there is no logical way to explain what they are doing other than sheer maliciousness or idiocy -- when they have pursued their position beyond the point where they could have possibly won anything -- then you have grounds to demand that they pay all the lawyers.

So you can see why my hoity toity firm only asked on rare occasions -- because it's a rare exception.  Proving that someone has been a complete idiot is actually pretty tough.  (Of course, you're not going to say they're an idiot.  You're going to go through the case and point out every time they took a position that was indefensible, and it better have been nearly all the time.)  More importantly, accusing someone -- a fellow member of your profession -- of harassment, maliciousness, idiocy or irrationality is not something one should do lightly. (Again -- you won't say all those things.  But the implication reads loud and clear = YOU, SIR, HAVE BEEN A DUMBASS.)

Which is why I was stunned to find out that in other people's practices, it's "standard" to ask for attorney's fees. Every time.

Friends, country men, fellow members of the various bar associations of Fake Austin and New Denver -- are you kidding me?  I mean, it's rare that you can say this with a straight face, but when BIG EVIL LAW FIRM looks at something, wrinkles their collective forehead and says, "Well, that is just distasteful," we have a problem. 

Do not do your colleagues the disservice of asking for attorneys fees every single time they file a motion, or get into an area of law not called "litigation," because guess what -- it involves filing a lot of motions.

Debunch your panties. Grow up a little.

And remember that we call this a "profession" for a reason.

Monday, August 29, 2011

hey from airport number 1!

signs that you are too into blogging.

you have a dream where you are stranded at sea and fighting super smart sharks. and it occurs to you in the dream that hey, i should blog the heck out of this later.

and then you blog that.

despite being equipped with a phone that will not capitalize or let you use punction that is not a period or comma.

i would add a joke about how i have not used a single conjunction thus far for that very reason, but a rhetorical question without a question mark does not pack much of a punch.

have a good one, folks exclamation point

Saturday, August 27, 2011

thoughts from around the internet this week

I'm a lawyer.  (Have I mentioned that?  Oh yeah, like 50 times.  Got it.)

As a lawyer, I'm a big fan of definitions.

Words have specific meanings.  Statutes have specific meanings.  Legal phrases -- clear and convincing, reasonable person, articulable suspicion -- have specific meanings.

We can argue about whether these words, statutes, and phrases apply to certain situations.  We can even argue about how far their meanings can be stretched. 

But we can't really say that something means something that it doesn't.

The English language is both soft and hard.  You can wallow in the squishy stuff to your heart's content, but eventually there will be a corner.  And once you've turned the corner of definition, that's it.

Over at The Exponent this week, a bunch of craaaaazy Mormon feminists (male and female) took on the subject of patriarchy.

Patriarchy has a meaning. The word "preside" has a meaning. "Dominion" has a meaning.

You can't say these words mean something they don't mean.  You can't ignore half a definition in favor of the half you like.

A few posters took to the comment board to argue that in their mind, the word "preside" means only to "take the lead," without any connotation of power attached, and therefore patriarchy is A-OK.  You can "preside" and be equal with someone at the same time, no problem!  Silly feminists, don't you understand that?

Look.

It's great if you want to think of it that way, but that is not what the word preside means.  And if you only want to mean "take the lead," you should probably just say that. Don't put up a straw man argument where you redefine the word "preside." The sticky reality is that claiming two people are equal but one "presides" does not make any sense. It just doesn't.  You can either be equal, or you can have one person presiding.  You can't have both.

My boss may be really nice to me, but that doesn't make me his equal. He's my boss. He can fire me or assign me to projects I don't really want to do. He could punish me or give me a raise. Because he "presides" over me. And that's fine for at work, but don't get annoyed when a Wacky Feminist like me thinks that's a bad way to run a relationship.

Somewhere else over on the Internet, I stepped in it when I said I was sick of stay-at-home-mothers claiming they are so looked down upon, disrespected, and degraded by others.  (And it's true. I am.)

But I wasn't clear about what I meant (despite my love of words and their definitions) and the next thing I knew I was being taken to town. 

So I have to back up and look at what I said and really try to get it right.

What I should have said was this:

I am sick of people mistaking rudeness or a lack of tact for "degradation" or "disrespect." Yes, I am sure people are rude to stay-at-home-mothers. That is not nice.

But that is all it is -- behavior on par with idle gossip and being cut off in traffic.

I am annoyed when people say, "I don't know how you stand being a lawyer, I would find it so boring!"  But only a little, because I understand that to a lot of people, IT WOULD BE BORING.  Hell, I sometimes find it boring.  No one is saying I am a boring person. (I hope.)

So why is it so different when someone says, "I don't know how you stand staying at home with kids all day, I would find it so boring"?  Sure, it's more rude, because stay-at-home-mothers command less societal prestige, but at its core, the statement is merely tactless in its delivery. Some people WOULD find that boring, why is that so awful?

(Here's a secret, boys and girls -- I suspect a lot of stay-at-home-mothers also find it boring. Guess what? They aren't doing it because they expected to be intellectually stimulated every five minutes.)

A snotty comment at a party is not "degrading."  No one stripped you of rank or honor, brought you into low honor or disrespute, dragged you down into moral or intellectual character.  Think I'm being hyperbolic?  I'm not--THAT'S THE DEFINITION OF "DEGRADING."  Buck up, people.

If a person is comfortable with his or her choices of profession, political opinion, religious affiliation, or lifestyle, an off-hand comment or even deliberately rude statement should not be considered "degrading."  It should be considered tactless.  Thoughtless.  Immature.

We do not get on our soapboxes over immaturity, I would hope.  We blow off immaturity.

(And if you're not comfortable with your choices ... well, maybe you should make different choices.)

When stay-at-home-mothers insist that they are "disrespected" on a daily, personal, institutional level, they aren't helping the so-called culture wars. They're adding fuel to the fire, because what they are really saying is that anything other than fawning adoration is disrespect. (If I can "degrade" you on accident, what level of behavior do I need to display to avoid degrading you?)

Here's another secret -- most people in our society DO respect stay-at-home-mothers.*  But for some reason, we love perpetuating this myth that we don't. Why?

Because society enjoys a good catfight, of the intellectual or Jello pudding variety.





* Does this mean "respect" translates into actual policies that don't hurt stay-at-home-mothers or working mothers?  (Divorce laws, administration of retirement benefits, the tax code, limited maternity leave, etc.?)  Jeez, of course it doesn't.

But respect for firefighters and school teachers hasn't earned them any extra money either.  We live in a strange world, and that's a topic for a different day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

BCRA*

It's campaigning time!

Rachael Harrie is hosting a "platform-building campaign."  Yes yes, I know -- it's a little weird to build a platform when I'm not selling anything.  Sue me.

(For reals, someone please sue me.  I'm getting rusty.)

Now, I've got to admit: this is bad timing for me.  While I would love to find new fun blogs to read, and have other people find my blog, I am going out of town for a week (which also results in a lot of crazy-busy-ness this week as I try to wrap up some projects).  So anyone who finds this blog because of the "campaign," I promise you -- I will find your blog.  I will respond to comments.  I will eventually catch up. 

Or curl up in a ball on my couch with a Cafe Rio salad while catatonically watching Jersey Shore and whimpering softly.

But one of those things is going to happen.

In the meantime, let's all hope I figured out how to do that "scheduled blog post" thing correctly! And everyone else out there thinking, "Oh hey, maybe I should do that campaigny thingy too" -- DO IT.



* A GAZILLION points to whoever figures out why I titled this post "BCRA."  You're going to have to be pretty nerdy (or should I say wonky?) to figure it out.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favorite summer read


Cherie Reich is hosting a blogfest (I know! When did that become a word, right?)  (Sidenote: So! Many! Blogfests! I need a break.)

I am a big re-reader.  Ever since I graduated from The Babysitters' Club, which realistically probably began my journey of re-readership,* I have tended to re-read my favorite books over and over again.  This is probably why every summer I read The Stand, Fight Club, Pride and Prejudice, and at least one Harry Potter.

But I don't only re-read.  This summer my Kindle and I have become quite close ... you could say we've taken it to the next level, in fact.  So for anyone out there looking for a few more books to tear through before the summer is over, I'd recommend the following:

1. A Game of Thrones (George RR Martin)
2. A Clash of Kings (George RR Martin)
3. A Storm of Swords (George RR Martin)
4. A Feast for Crows (George RR Martin)
5. Supernaturally (Kiersten White)
6. The Fifth Witness (Michael Connelly)
7. Full Dark, No Stars (Stephen King)
8. John Adams (David McCullough)

(Yes, I read more than this. These are just the ones I'm telling other people to read.  I'll be honest - I chose a few strike-outs this summer.)

And on my To Be Read While On Vacation Next Week list:


Any others I should put on there?  Don't be deterred at the 1,040 historical fantasy novel in the third spot, I'm a reading machine and I need suggestions!





* While I never technically "re-read" a BSC book, anyone who was ever a nine-year-old girl knows that once you've read one of Kristy's, Claudia's, Stacey's, Mary Anne's, Dawn's, Mallory's, Jessi's, Logan's, Shannon's, or Abby's (yes, those were all members of the Club at one point of another) adventures, you've read them all.  Anyone remember the format of Chapter 2?  Because it's burned into my brain.

Random fact about me? I pronounced Janine "Ja-9" for probably two years before anyone corrected me.  In my mind, the older Kishi sister is straight up gangsta. 




The Spark: Wrapping Up

So I've talked about how I first got it into my head that I could or should try a writer.  But now I'll switch to a different question posed by the Spark Blogfest:

Is there a book or author that changed your world view?


Little known fact - the film The Shawshank Redemption was based on a novella in the Stephen King book, DIFFERENT SEASONS called "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption."  (Like how I used three different styles in that last sentence? Me too.)

If you haven't read it, I recommend it, and then go ahead and buy the film as well because you'll want to watch it as soon as you've read the last page. 

I don't want to give anything away, in case you haven't read it or seen it, but suffice it to say, it caused me to look at the criminal justice system in an entirely different way.  There are guilty men at Shawshank Prison and there are innocent men at Shawshank--but none of that is as important as the fact that there are men in Shawshank Prison, and they all deserve as much dignity as they can be afforded under those circumstances. 




(PS - Do you know what signing up for three blogfests, all with overlapping dates, gets you?  A boatload of posts in one week, which is truly unfortunate, since (a) I haven't had much of a chance to explore other blogs this week and (b) will be somewhat MIA next week.  But never fear!  I will catch up as soon as I'm able.  Thanks to all the new followers, I'm super stoked to go check out your blogs as well.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Spark: Part 3

So which writer really lit my fire (as you will) on the writing front?

As I suspect is the case for many people ... Stephen King.

I know, right?  Those of you who have seen my overly pink! green! orange! high heels! cardigans! wardrobe, my yellow-and-mint house, my CUTESY WOOTSEY puppy are probably thinking ... "Huh?"
I just realized - there haven't been enough Spenner-Baby pictures on the blog lately.  (Gasp!)  Here's Spence at Rodrigo's cabin two weekends ago at LAWYER RETREAT 2011!  Let's hope it becomes an annual thing, because there's nothing quite like spending the weekend with old friends, little pups, funny client stories, and those ridiculous chocolate donuts from Costco.
But it's true, and anyone who has gotten into Stephen King understands why he could have this effect on a young mind.  (And a 27-year-old mind, because really, I'm still obsessed.)

A friend once showed me a video on Youtube where the world's biggest nerd dissected all the problems with Star Wars: Episode I. The biggest problem he identified (and I agree) is that when you tell random people on the street that they're going to have to describe a character from Star Wars without saying who played them or what they look like, this is what you get:

Han Solo: dashing, reckless, rebellious, kind of a shady character but ultimately pretty loyal

Queen Amidala: (cricket noises)

As they say, the devil's in the details, and Stephen King provides a lot of details without bogging down his story. When you name a Stephen King character, people KNOW who you're talking about.  (Provided they've read him, of course.)  What's more interesting is that I submit they usually will not be able to say what the person looks like.

Take Louis Creed, for example.  Anyone who has read Pet Sematary is probably going to remember that he's a middle aged doctor with a wife, two kids, and he grew up poor. He wants to provide for his family, he still resents his in-laws. He's a hard worker who put himself through school. He likes cheap beer and loves his neighbor, who is like the father-figure he never had.  He's agnostic bordering on atheist. He resists believing in the supernatural until presented with overwhelming evidence.

What hair color does he have?  Hell if I know.  But who cares?  If I had to choose between remembering that Dr. Louis Creed once worked after school in his uncle's mortuary and whether he's a blond or brunette, I know what I choose every time.* 

That's important for characters, but it's also important for setting, which is really just your silent character.

Even though Stephen King usually writes in a contemporary setting, he still goes to the effort to make his "world" come alive.  Some writers just think, "Hey, everyone knows what small towns are like," but with Stephen King, you know what THIS small town is like, which is just as important as knowing the geography of Westeros or where in Diagon Alley you would go to get some really great ice cream.

Think about it.  If you've read Harry Potter, you can visualize Hogwarts.  If you've read A Song of Ice and Fire, you can picture The Eyrie.  Why should it be different if it's not fantasy?  I had a picture of Shawshank Prison in my head before I saw the movie, I know which roads lead out of Chester's Mill, Maine, and I know I don't want to set one foot in Derry, Maine for any amount of time, EVER.  And I know I want people to feel the same way about the towns, businesses, and high schools I tell them about in my writing.


So there's that.  Check back tomorrow if you want to find out what story changed my world view ... bonus points if you can guess it with just these clues:

1. I'm currently a lawyer
2. This blog post happens to be about Stephen King, not John Grisham
3. I said "story," not full-blown book




* Now that I've made this claim, I'm curious if I can back it up.  Everyone who has read some Stephen King, let me know if you can describe the following characters from memory (I'll do my best to only list big ones):


1. Bill Denbrough (IT)
2. Garraty (The Long Walk)
3. Jack Torrance (The Shining)
4. Dolores Claiborne (same title)
5. Harold Lauder (The Stand) (yes, some physical description of Harold is OK.)
6. Larry Underwood (The Stand)
7. Annie Wilkes (Misery)
8. Chris Chambers ("The Body" in Different Seasons)
9. Rainbird (Firestarter)
10. Bobby Garfield (Hearts in Atlantis)


Or list your own examples.  Fun times for all!

For another, less scatterbrained explanation of why Stephen King is the cat's pajamas, go here.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Spark: Part 2

For better or worse, I am a contrary person.

Throughout my childhood, various people encouraged me about my writing, mostly my pops and teachers.  Because of that, I always knew I was a pretty good writer, but it never occurred to me that I ought to pursue it in anyway. 

But then, sometime in junior high, I read a book (no, I won't name it, but yes, I can remember which one it is) and thought -- I can do better than this.

And for the first time, it occurred to me that I should think about trying to be a serious writer.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Spark

So when did the Adventures of LawyerGirl start being the Adventures of WriteyGirl?

It's hard to say.

But I think it's when my dad made a big deal over something dumb.

When I was probably 5 or 6, I created my own picture book, complete with illustrations.  The story was ... not good.  The art was worse.

But my dad paraded the thing around like I had written a Pulitzer Prize winner, and at six, I was too little to be embarrassed.

For more information, check back tomorrow ...




August 23rd Update: I'm also going to be doing another blogfest (holy crap, ANOTHER ONE?), but I'm going to talk about it in more detail later in the week, so as to not take away from The Spark.  Click here to find out more!

Not gonna lie, super impressed with myself right now

But I'm MORE impressed with the fabulous Emily King, who interviewed me for her blog today.

I'm a "blogging mentor," guys!  I sincerely hope this turns out better than that time I was a law student mentor, and all the advice I gave to new 1Ls had to do with good parking spots and cheap lunch options.  (Sono Express, friends.  It never fails.)

Go over to Emily's blog and read my interview -- and then read some of Emily's fantastic posts, because she is just fabulous.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Getting to know you

I've been writing this blog for a little over two years, and recently I've begun thinking that I don't know you all as well as I'd like. 

So if you're a follower, casual reader, or lurker of this blog, would you mind doing me a favor?  Of course not, you also want to waste time on a beautiful Friday day! 

Leave a comment on this post telling me the following:

1. Your name (or InternetName)

2. Where you're from (but don't get too detailed - this is the Internet, people. Stranger danger!)

3. Your three favorite books.  (And no lies!  I liked Heart of Darkness too, but let's be real. No one REALLY picks it as their favorite book, and no one will judge you for being lowbrow.)

4. You three favorite movies.  (Same rules apply.)

5.  If you could have this afternoon free of all your obligations and money was no object, what would you do with it?

6. (Optional) Why do you read this blog?  Or perhaps, how did you find it and then decide to keep coming back?  Are you an aspiring writer too, or maybe an aspiring law student?  Did you find me from some feminist rant or nerdy dissertation I left on someone else's blog?  OR - so exciting - will I finally find out who googles CORN HUSK DRESS every single week???

(Friends of mine who were bullied into reading this blog - you don't have to answer number 6.)

This info will not only help me get to know you better, but hopefully visit your blogs as well since sometimes the links under the "followers" tab don't work.  (If you have a blog, that is.  No worries if not.)  And other people will get to know you as well!  What great fun blogging can be!

(I'm sorry for all that enthusiasm, but I now have The King and I soundtrack stuck in my head, thanks to that dumb blog post title.  RUN ELIZA RUN!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ruh roh (times a billion this time!)

(How bad is it that I've already used "Ruh Roh" as a blog post title?  Clearly I need to work on expanding my reference repertoire.  Goal: Bring up Blossom's ridiculously sized hats within the coming weeks.)

Over at Writeon Con, Leisa Abrams posted an interesting essay on Online Etiquette that got me thinking.

It seems like every profession has certain standards for how they want members of their ranks to behave online.  Why do you think I pretended I lived in Fake Austin and New Denver?  Because a lawyer's greatest skills are research and revenge.  I had to thwart my colleagues somehow.

And in general, I like to think that I've played it safe here at the crossroads of Lawtopolis and InternetLand, never naming an employer or talking about a client, keeping everything general even when I complain.

But when it comes to my writerpants goals?

Ms. Abrams' post got me thinking.

What kind of things do I write?  I just realized I may have never mentioned this.  I definitely skew into heavily into young adult territory.* 

And when I look at my blog, facebook, and twitter, do I think -- is this appropriate behavior to display before impressionable tweens, teenagers, and their over-protective parents?

Gulp.

Well, for one, I do love "controversial topics."  (Though, I'll be honest -- the fact that feminism is controversial in 2011 pretty much makes me want to stab a TV, and you all know how much I love TV.) 

And swearing is a pretty important part of my life. 

And there are a lot of jokes about binge-drinking while studying for the bar on here.  (For the record, those were merely puns based on the word "bar."  Oh, I'm so clever.)

But on the plus side, I've never shared overly personal stories about my family, dating life, or health.  That's got to count for something, right?  Or at least make up for the fact that I've got at least 5 different posts about my underwear?

As I did a mental inventory, my fingers were itching, wanting to go through my archives and delete anything that could be a potential turn-off to agents, editors, buyers, or readers.

And then I got a grip.

I'm not published.

Odds are, I never will be.  (It's ok, I'm a big believer in avoiding self-deception.)

So I will continue to curse and generally behave badly online.

Should the day ever come that I luck out in the world of publishing, I will gladly attempt to sanitize my image as best I can, because Ms. Abrams makes some excellent points.

But until that day, this blog helps keep me sane.  And if I can't fill it with swears anymore, it's not doing its job.







* Here's the official breakdown, if you want it:

Throughout elementary school, I wrote and drew some pretty terrible picture books.

In junior high, I finished my first full-length project, a young adult fantasy novel.

In high school, there were a lot of short stories, and one massive -- and yet unfinished -- young adult paranormal thriller.

In college, more short stories, one full-length completed chick lit manuscript.  Also a bazillion opinion columns and unsigned editorials for my student newspaper.

Law school was a half-dozen started and unfinished projects, some contemporary fiction, some young adult.  There were also a lot of papers (shocking, I know, law students write papers), editing two books for G-Money, and the script for one short film.



(Amazing, right?)


Post-law school was more short stories, more half-started projects (again, a mix of contemporary fiction and young adult), and the current unnamed project which will be finished, or my brain will rue the day it messed with me.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pep pep pep

So guess what I realized (thanks to the stats function on blogger?)  It's RUSH WEEK, boys and girls!

For any girl who googled "Tri Delta recommendation letter" and found my blog (isn't the Internet so weird?), I figure I can offer the following advice:

Be yourself. If you are a legacy, get your letters in sooner rather than later. If you aren't a legacy, don't sweat it because it's not necessary. Yes, the Rho Chis (or "Recruitment Counselors," depending on your school) will seem a bit crazy, but go with it.  And keep an open mind. Just because your mom, aunts, and sisters were all Alpha Chis doesn't mean you wouldn't make a great Kappa.  (Why yes, I was on Greek Council.  How ever did you know?)

Oh, what the hell am I saying.  You know you just wanna pledge Tri Delta.   

(Unless you're headed up to the Blessed U.  In which case, pour one out for the tragically shut down Tri Delt house.  That was a total injustice, I tell ya.)

I am a T.


I am a T-R.


I am a T-R-I-D-E-L-T-A!  (Wa-hoo!)

We are the B-E-S-T best of the all the R-E-S-T rest,



I am a T-R-I-D-E-L-T-A!

(They'll teach you the dirty songs after initiation.)

With that, I will leave you with a little anecdotes from the life of Ru:

My friend Sam texted me awhile back to chat about law school dilemmas.  He and I were on Greek Council together (wait for it ...) SEVEN years ago.  (Jeez I feel old.)  Anyway, this is our exchange:


Sam: Testing, testing. This message is to see if this is still Ru's phone number. If it is, please reply with a derogatory comment about Pi Phi.


Me: Pi Phis are skanky sluts! :) How are ya?


Sam: I'm doing better than all the Pikes with their beer guts and early stages of AIDS.


Me: That's what we like to hear!

(Yes, all of that was a joke.  Yes, people in different houses ALSO become good friends and stay friends.  Mind-blowing, I know.)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A rule to live by

It is hard to offend me.

Actually, it's almost impossible.

Because of that, I tend to not understand when others get offended.

I try to be a courteous person, but I'm probably pricklier than your average bear.  Some people consider this a charming character quirk. Some people, not so much.  It's definitely possible for me to give offense without intent, and when that's brought to my attention, I'll apologize.  (Unfortunately, it's going to sound a lot like one of those non-apology apologies -- "I'm sorry you were offended."  Double unfortunately -- if I didn't actually intend to offend you, that's all you're going to get out of me. I'm not one to apologize just for kicks and giggles.) 

But for the record.

If you read something I write on this blog and think, "Hey! That's about me!" -- it almost certainly is not.  (You can go ahead and get your panties in a twist, however, since I would never deny anyone that experience. Righteous indignation, it's a helluva drug.)

If I specifically name you - Diego, Hannah, Lulu, or one of my many other pseudonyms - then yes, it's about you.  If I refer to another blogger by name - Mormon Child Bride, Gurrbonzo, Boob Nazi - again, it is about you. When I say "Sarah Palin," I mean Sarah Palin.  When I say "Ashley from The Bachelorette," I mean Ashley from The Bachelorette. When I say Spence, I mean exactly that darling pupperlup.

But if I just write, "Sweet mother of mercy, what is the deal with people who use their iPhones as a hymnal in church?" Or, "people who cut you off in traffic?" Or, "the boring?" it's just because I've noticed enough pretentious idiots, bad drivers, and lamesters behaving the exact same way to call them out en masse

So ... long story short, if you find yourself thinking that this biotch Ru has specifically dedicated an entire blog post to you and you alone ... eh, probably not. 

(Except for this post. Though to be fair, while this is about one person* specifically, it's about Internetland generally.)

For the most part, I don't believe people intend ill will toward others.  More than that, I think that coincidence is always more likely than conspiracy. I don't spend much of my time thinking negatively about others, and I imagine the same goes for you.   

I know the Internet makes paranoid freaks out of us all.  I even once emailed Mormon Child Bride (notice how I'm naming her directly?) to double check that I hadn't accidentally stolen one of her jokes.  (I hadn't.)

So when in doubt, remember this: No one is talking about you.

It was true in junior high. It's true now.

Do you know why?

Because we all have better things to do with our time.  For reals.

And if telling yourself that doesn't work, and you remain completely, 100% convinced that it is you someone else is talking about -- just email them and ask. I guarantee that you're going to be reassured that they had no idea that their words were going to be taken that way and no offense was intended. There may be even some nice chuckle times. I can't guarantee it, but it's likely.



***




* In this one case, I won't name that person, but she knows who she is, since I have (a) tried to clarify my joke on my blog; (b) offered three separate blog comments on her blog trying to explain the misunderstanding, all of which were promptly deleted; and (c) emailed her in an attempt to mend fences, though she is determined to believe I was deliberately rude.

So here's my apology for all of InternetLand to see: "I'm sorry you were offended.  When I say 'Cathy comic strip wannabes,' I mean those who are two-dimensional enough to only talk about chocolate, weight gain, and dating on their facebooks, twitter, and blogs.  Like Cathy, from the decidedly unfunny comic strip Cathy. I definitely don't mean people who like drawing comics in general."

I'm also sorry-- but a little more impressed -- that I managed to offend you, even though you acknowledged you didn't understand what I meant by the statement "Cathy comic strip wannabees."  Internet hat trick, friendos -- a misinterpretation SQUARED.

(In case any of you all were wondering, yes, it does kind of blow my mind that after ranting to a ridiculous degree about twitter, the only thing I managed to do was offend someone who likes to draw comic strips. C'est la vie.)

As a final note -- I don't need to be told that my posts are negative.  Jeez, what about me ranting in the last two years about bad dates, Sarah Palin, annoying Mormons, True Blood, pet owners, parents, Ayn Rand, Project Runway, writer's block, billable hours, ABC Family, anti-feminists, censorship, bar exams, and contractors gave anyone the impression that I wasn't a negative person? I am super negative. I aspire only to be funny as well.

Truth in advertising, my homies.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Did you think I forgot about the contest? Well, I didn't :)

So who won that contest, you might be wondering?

According to my handy-dandy random generator (That I googled - no, I don't have my own random number generator. All in time, Iago ...), the winners are ....

LINDSEY SINE!

ABBY!

DI!

If you ladies want to leave a comment and let me know which of the three prizes you want, though I'm pretty sure Abby called dibs on the MYSTERY PRIZE. 

And everyone else, please go support Sweatin for Sarah if you can, it's a great cause!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Overwhelmed

(I'll have you know, I resisted the urge to title this post, "Overwhelmed with a**h****."  I debated whether "with" or "by" was funnier, and then I realized, "Oh hey, that's kind of vulgar, isn't it?"  As you can tell, cooler heads prevailed.  Sort of.  I mean, I did include this parenthetical explanation.)

Look, things are not going well for me right now, for no particularly good reason.  Problems that once seemed commonplace ("Oh damn, the check engine light is on") now seem catastrophic ("NOT THE CHECK ENGINE LIGHT!").  Throw in enough little, normal problems and you have the situation in which I've currently found myself -- whimpering behind my desk at work.

BUT HERE'S THE THING.

I go to blogs and facebook (and now that behemoth Twitter, brought by the foulest wind off the Great Salt Lake on an icy winter's day, a stinking abscess on my soul, an all-around plague upon the children of men*) and I am completely blown away by sheer lameness.

You made a smoothie?  Oh, really?  Was it nummers?  Was it nummers to your tummers?

I am happy!

I am annoyed!

I am mildly constipated! 

What?  A friend with whom I have a troublingly codependent relationship has said something??? *Snuggle!* *Giggle!* *Frown!* *Gulp!* *Gasps!*

(Question: Can you *litigates*?  *philosophizes*?  *establishes political foundation by which our future republic shall be run*? *thinks dirty thoughts while pretending to pay attention in church*? *feigns enthusiasm*? *sucks up*? *represses urge to pee*? *regrets life choices*? *ignores funny taste in mouth*?)

I think I would like Twitter better if it were more like Survivor, The Bachelor, and American Idol -- once you have proven yourself useless, ugly, or untalented, you have to leave the twittersphere in a slump of shame.  NO CONFETTI OR MONEY OR ROSES FOR YOU!

Granted, there will always be someone who was in the Top 3 all season long and then suddenly sends  a model down the runway wearing nothing but neon pink string and washers (DAMN YOU, EMILIO! RT: @emiliosmodel: I'm gonna straight up murder that douche) but the possibility of being called the weakest link would forever force people to try their hardest be on their A-Game.  

(Mixed metaphors = mark of tired Ru. *slowly dies inside* #needssteak&aDietCoke #existentialcrisis)

NO MORE FAILURE, INTERNET.  Let's all commit to reaching beyond the easily grasped standard of mediocrity, and remove this specter of asshatism from our collective generation. Together, we shall move forward with all means of valor, casting false self-deprecation in the form of announcements of "failure," exclamation points, and any mention of chocolate by the wayside, knowing these things to be mere crutches of the intellectually untaxed and Cathy comic strip wannabees, and striving for a reduction of lameness and oversharing, which is the truest mark of honor and glory we may hope to achieve.

Try outdoing that in 140 characters, bitches.






* I'M SORRY, I FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT TWITTER, OK?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

View from my porch

So every day when I come home from work and free Spence from Puppy Prison (it's always either the bathroom or his crate, don't worry), I ask him a simple question: Is it a good day for puppies?

As it turns out, it always is. 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

650 posts Batman!

That's kinda wacky, amiright?

So for today's monumental post, I have only two things to say:

1. Go enter the the contest here.  Are you sick of me harassing you yet?  Sigh, me too.  Never fear, it's almost over.  And realistically, with less than 48 hours to go, your chances of winning are still SUPER GREAT.

Gift card!

50 page line edit or critique!  (OK, maybe you don't want my "critiquey" help, which is A-OK.  But trust me when I say, I'm much gooder at the English than this blog may at times imply, so a line edit may be what you want ...)

MYSTERY PRIZE!

You know you want them.

2. If you, like me, sometimes find yourself with hours to kill at work, go here.  Rachel McClellan is posting the first 500 words from writey-aspirers for the whole of Internetland to critique, and it's grand fun.

Did I enter?  I dunno ... maybe.  (Shuffles feet awkwardly.) 

Anyway, go read some entries and tell people what you think!  Feedback is the best thing a writer can get.

(Aside from money.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Clarity of thought

A lot of problems could be resolved on television or movies if characters were a little more succinct.

Take 28 Days Later as an example.  Hey scientist guy, when confronted by animal rights activists, don't dicker around saying things like, "To cure you must first understand!"

And when they ask what the monkeys are infected with, say, "Ebola.  Really, really bad ebola."

If you want to be honest, then say, "Zombieism. F'reals.  I know it sounds weird guys, but seriously, you should see this grant we got."

Saying, "Rage," while technically true, will not stop anyone from freeing the monkeys.

Do you guys have any examples of characters being too honest--or not quite honest enough?  (I'm thinking all those romantic comedies that begin with a really awful premise that would lead any real person to think, "You're a sociopath," but in movie land at least could have been rescued by a simple declaration of, "Hey, so I lied to you, made a bet with my friends and/or coworkers, etc. and so forth, but I really do think you're bitchin?  Please don't stomp off for the duration of the second act."

Because while I love me some 28 Days Later, I have never been able to stop screaming at the scientist in the opening scene, "For the love of Christmas! Try a little persuasion, dumb ass!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pet-owners: The Judgiest A-holes Around

I used to think parents were bad.

Not my parents -- just anyone who has ever bred, and specifically those who still have children under the age of 8.  In general, you are all kind of smug jerks.*

At the very top of the Douche Parent Food Chain you have the neo-hippie parent.  You know, the people who will tell you that crib bumpers, brie, and epidurals will sentence your kid to a lifetime of mediocrity at best, HORRIBLE DEATH at worst, and oh by the way, I lost the weight three months out because I breast fed and Mother Nature rewarded me with a tight ass AND a genius baby?  Yes, those people.  They're pretty horrible (and boring).

But I have found their match.

PET OWNERS.

I may be one of them now, but I have to say, you all put the anti-bumper/brie/bottle people to shame.  Crate training is cruel. Not crate training is cruel. Buying from a breeder is immoral. Don't let them eat anything that has corn as an ingredient. Don't use retractable leashes. Do use retractable leashes. 

Single people shouldn't have pets.

People in apartments shouldn't have pets.

People without kids shouldn't have pets.  People with kids shouldn't have pets.

If you have a job where you can't take your dog to work, you should find one where you can.  (I imagine showering is also probably optional at such workplaces.)  In fact, if you have a career at all, you should never have been so selfish to get a job in the first place.  THE DOG IS EVERYTHING.

And if you can't abide by these precepts, you should give your dog away to someone who can so the dog will not live in such miserable conditions. (Ignoring, of course, the fact shelters and rescue groups are already overflowing with pets.)

I'm not saying I disagree with all of the above (the corn one is actually pretty true), but with the strident, cray-cray tone some people use to dispense their wisdom.

Here's a bit of wisdom I think we can all live with -- you know how sometimes the line between right and wrong is really fine? This is not one of those cases.

The line between child abuse or animal abuse and not-child abuse and not-animal abuse is HUGE.

You could run out of room on all the notebooks in the world writing down all the behavior that does not constitute abuse.

And the conduct that constitutes abuse? Generally pretty clear.  You can sum up that conduct in a few paragraphs -- like in state or federal criminal code.  

So please, give it a rest.

For other info on my hatred of animal people, see here, here, and here.



*You know it's true, get over it. Who else but parents can make laundry sound like a monumental achievement, or worse, the failure to do laundry somehow a virtue? The reason birth rates are falling is not because people don't like kids, it's because everyone is tired of being told about how VERY HARD it is to do something people have been doing since before we discovered fire. I never saw the movie, but I believe that the moral of I Am Sam addressed this point: literally, an idiot can do it.

This is another reason why I love older people - specifically, old people who themselves had kids a few decades or more ago.  Ask one of them for parenting advice, and do you know what you'll get?  A smile, a shrug, and a, "Oh, it's not that hard."  Ask a 29-year-old who has been a parent for like three days, and you'll get a dissertation.

OLDIES FOR THE WIN!


PS: Go enter the CONTEST.  I'll be honest, my self-esteem is suffering due to the fact that no one wants my mystery prize.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

MEMBRANES!

This is why I will adopt (with a slight revision)*:

Kate: So the nurse called and said I have to come in to get my cervix softened.

Me: Ewwww!  What does that even mean?

Kate: I don't know!

(Time passes)

Kate: Oh, I guess it just means they put some sort of pill up in there.

Me: Well, that's not as bad as I thought. I was picturing a tiny masseuse.

Kate: Ewwww!  Ha, what if I had shown up prepared for a spa day? Where are my cucumber slices, bitches?!

Me: What happens after that?

Kate: Well, if it turns out I'm "ripe" ---

Me: Ewwww!

Kate: I know!

Me: No offense, but you should go have a spa day. All this baby stuff is kind of vile.

Kate: You're telling me. Last time they told me about stripping membranes.

Both: Ewwww!











* Kate emailed me this afternoon to use the word "ripe" three times.  I can't believe I forgot about it the first time I posted this. Anyway, THINK RIPE THOUGHTS, PEOPLE!




(PS - Go enter the contest below, biotches.  Good deeds are nothing to sneeze at.  Good deeds PLUS the opportunity to get a $25 gift card, editing help from someone with mild OCD, or a MYSTERY PRIZE?  That's like philanthropic nirvana.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A good cause and a giveaway (for reals)

In general, you won't see too many giveaways on this here blog, mostly because (a) I have no hookups whatsoever and (b) I feel oddly icky about buying followers.  (But more power to you if you do have the hookups and don't have my hangups.)

But I have changed my policy for this one time only for a very special cause.

My sister Echo is working on getting donations for Sweatin for Sarah, a 5K organized to help Sarah Hays Shurtz with her medical bills.  A little over a year ago, this 29-year-old marathoner and sonographer was diagnosed with cancer, and along with that came some enormous bills.  Someone fighting cancer should have to worry as little as possible about money, too.  Do the universe a solid and lend her a hand, folks. 

Here's where you all come in.  I am offering the following prizes: (1) $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble or Amazon, your choice; (2) a 50-page manuscript critique or line-edit for any aspiring writer who wants the judgment of a non-published, one-time college newspaper section editor/current lawyer (is that enough disclaimers, do you think?); and (3) a SUPER MYSTERY PRIZE, to be determined.

And there are many ways to enter this here contest of mine.  You can do one or as many as you'd like.

1. Register for the Sweatin for Sarah 5K.

2. Volunteer to help with the Sweatin for Sarah 5K. (Information available on the website)

3. Donate money or prizes to the race.  (Even a $1 donation will enter you in my sweet contest, though maybe don't tell me the exact amount.)

If you want to do this one, email me with the details and I'll hook you up with Echo's contact information.  A prize could theoretically be anything: photographers could offer photoshoots, sculptors a giant pot, etsy people their elaborate newborn-sized headbands shaped like the Blue Australian Lizard Eating Orchid.  Think outside the box, my homies!

If you finagle your employer into donating, that counts, too -- and may result in awesome brownie points for you when the company's logo gets put on the awesome 5K shirts. Mmmm, brownie points ...

4. Blog or Tweet about Sweatin for Sarah or this contest.

Then, once you've done one or all of these, leave me a comment telling me what you did (register, volunteer, donate, blog/tweet, or all of the above -- holy balls, FOUR ENTRIES FOR YOU, FRIENDO!), your contact info, and which of my three super sweet prizes you'd like to claim, should the Random Number Generator call your name. 

The race is on August 27th, so you have to enter my contest by midnight, Mountain Standard Time, on August 11th.  (Of course, you can still register or volunteer after that, but Echo needs to know the prize donation situation well before the day of the race.)

On your marks, get set, go!

Love songs

So as I was watching The Bachelorette finale the other day, I was feeling annoyed with our intrepid gal Ash.

We were supposed to be sympathetic because Bentley treated you so badly, right? Right.

And yet you let Ben get through his entire proposal before dumping him?

How bad is her self-esteem that she's like, "You know, I'm not going to marry him, but I kind of want to see where this is going."

Anywho, I was feeling annoyed, but then REO Speedwagon came on.

Everyone knows that heals all wounds.

I have a penchant for cheese.  Let me rephrase.  I swoon over ridiculous, over-the-top ballads sung by 80s bands. I even felt a little faint watching "Captain Jack Sparrow."



I always kind of wanted to engaged to Asia's "Heat of the Moment."  Or Eddie Money's "Take Me Home Tonight."  Or Survivor's "I Can't Hold Back."  (I'm a believer in options.)

If I ever have or adopt a kid, I want to welcome them home with Scorpion's "Rock You Like a Hurricane."  When I die, I want Journey's "Wheel in the Sky" played at my funeral.

Don't act like it's weird, I know other people plan big moments around bitchin* songs too. My friend Lulu once said her ideal wedding would be arriving at the church in a helicopter while "Highway to the Dangerzone" played for her guests.

The fact is, some bands get it right.

What are your personal power ballads?





* "Bitchin," as a word, was basically invented to describe songs like "Take Me Home Tonight."  Just so you know.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Thanks friendos :)

Just two shout-outs this fine morning:

1. Thank you Karen for making me your Blog of the Week.  I try to kinda-sorta stay away from the Internet on weekends so I don't someday get Gollumified by the lure of precious megapixels, so I didn't really know what was going on when I started getting email alerts on my phone that people were leaving me comments and adding, "Came over from Karen's blog!" at the end. 

But it all became clear this morning, so thank you very much.  Compliments are the very best thing anyone can ever give me because I'm shallow like that.

2. Robin gave me an award, wootiewoot!

The award is the Leibster Award, which spotlights up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Display the award on your blog.

So in no particular order, here are my picks:

Nicole at http://nicolemariewhite.blogspot.com/
 
Emily at http://getbusywriting.blogspot.com/

Chandara/Elizabeth at http://chandarawrites.blogspot.com/

Gina at http://writersblog-gina.blogspot.com/

Delia at http://delia-moran.blogspot.com/


(PS? It was surprisingly difficult to sort out who did and did not have over 200 followers, so that's why there isn't a sassy explanation of each blog.  I've got to get work at some point, kids. Just trust me that these ladies are all clever and fantastic and you could do worse than go over and follow them.  :) )