Saturday, April 30, 2011

Z is for ze grand finale

Chuckle chuckle chuckle.  Aren't I the funny one?

Yes, we've reached the end of April and the end of the alphabet, folks, and I for one plan to take a blogging break for at least a few days.  Good times have been had, new blogs have been found, and new friends have been made.

But I am going to take a break.  I had grand plans of writing an awesome final A-Z challenge post, but hey.  Goals are made to be broken.

Right now I'm off to meet some friends for lunch, and then I plan to catch up on The Killing and read David Brooks' The Social Animal.  At times like these, I wish I'd joined the FBI or become a psychologist--but none of that is shocking.  I have an active imagination and am easily persuaded by pop culture.

And speaking of active imaginations, I have a question for you all.  Hypothetically, a classmate of mine just won a $10 million (you read that right--million) verdict for is clients, and his contingency fee is 30%.

Leaving aside the possibility of losing it on appeal, what would you do if you had been out of law school for a grand total of two years and suddenly you found yourself with $3 million?

I'd retire tomorrow.  

Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for yes, I judge myself for this

So I never though I'd do this.  

But there's a first time for everything, right?  And it seems like the A-Z Challenge is the time to do it.

Behold some pictures. 

Kate, Abby/Amy, Hannah and me at the Halloween/Blackout game in 2009.  

Abby/Amy ... sometimes I get my pseudonyms all mixed up.

Oh, we're so stinkin cute.  I had to add another.  Go Utes!

Tri Delta ladies, May 2010 at Destination Wedding.  Yup, I'm the one who didn't get the "take your sunglasses off" memo.

The obligatory bridesmaids-mauling-the-groom at Ryan and Kate's wedding, 2006.  This is also where the infamous chest-bump took place.

Me and Amelia, law school gangstas.  While I have the highest hopes for our future careers, I believe our greatest contribution to the world of academia will have been convincing G-Money that the word "fisting" shouldn't be used in a scholarly article -- without ever having to tell him what fisting meant.

(If you don't know what the word "fisting" means, please don't google it.)

Here's where I would have put a picture of me and Rodrigo at the law school Halloween party, October 2007, except he's dressed as a 300 warrior (wearing only a cape, black boxer briefs, sandals, and a lot of bronzer) and I am dressed as the year 2004 (wearing a trucker hat, and making very little effort.)  He would be less-than-thrilled with me if I put that on my blog.  More importantly, I wasn't at my cutest.

Me and Diego at the Rockstar Party, September 2008.  I normally don't make a fish-face in photos and Diego doesn't really wear guy-liner.  Much.

So if you happen to live in New Denver and run into someone you think might be me, ask yourself first--is that girl wearing abnormally large sunglasses?

Or crooked regular glasses?

Because you may have found me.

Hopefully the sun will be back out before that happens.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for xenadrine

You know what's hard?  Remembering to post every day when you're on a diet is hard.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

W is for woot

I had a different post planned, but I just have such funny friends.  I have to give a shout-out to them. 

Facebook statuses on President Obama releasing his birth certificate - AGAIN:
Big deal Obama. All this proves is that the insidious conspiracy between Hawaii and Kenya runs deeper than we thought. I'm still trying to figure out what the aim of this conspiracy is, but I'm pretty sure it has something to do with fluoride.
Ya right- sure Mr. President. I'll believe it when I time-travel back to 1961 and see it for myself. 
It wasn't signed until 4 days after he was born. Definitely enough time to get there from Kenya and to falsify the document. I think we need to hold congressional hearings on this. We can do them in the room next to the hearings on Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

Monday, April 25, 2011

U is for the ugly, red-eyed monster

Character flaw reveal time: I have a problem with rageaholism.

Now, anyone who knows me personally or reads this blog has probably figured out that a lot of things hit the Annoy Button in my brain.  But very few have met the real wrath monster.

The thing is, she only comes out on very special occasions--and usually, those occasions require going to bat for someone else.  (Not always -- I don't want you to think that Furious Ru is an entirely altruistic entity.) 

There are pros and cons to this bad side of me.  On one hand, she gets stuff done.  On the other hand, she has a tendency to screw things up worse than they needed to be for resolution of any problem.  (Not always -- I don't want you to think that she's just a big lug who doesn't know her own strength.  It's just that there is such a thing as killing a mosquito with a hand grenade, I have discovered.)

Anyway, due to Zen and maturity and a whole lot of other factors, I have mostly gotten my red-eyed monster under control.

Until a few days ago.   

Without going into details, someone has awaken the Rage Monster.  Someone who (here's the most important factor) deserves everything I can throw at him.*  Sure, I may seem like a nice little Lawyer Girl who bakes cupcakes and edits papers for free, but underneath my cardiganed exterior is a vengeful little beast that wants to download viruses on his computer and ruin his credit history.  Drive over to his house, penny his door,** egg his windows, put Nair in his shampoo, and a feral cat in his closet.  Then, for good measure, find a homeless guy, feed him a nice lunch of Molca Salsa, let him spend a few hours telling me his stories, and then take him to poop on a certain someone's windshield. 

All with Carmina Burana playing in the background.

(Ignore the weird imagery ... I have no idea what's going on there.)


I'm probably not going to do any most of that because I like to think I've matured.

* For the record, this person is not an ex-boyfriend of mine.  I'm actually a very nice girlfriend and pleasant ex-girlfriend. 

** For those of you who don't know what "pennying" a door is -- it's when you jam pennies between the door and door jamb so the door will no longer open.  It only works on doors that swing out.  It's a mostly self-explanatory process and incredibly douchey to boot. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

T is for tidbits

A conversation and a disaster

The conversation 

Juan:  journalism job postings are always enlightening
Applicants must: Assist the editors in setting goals and working to achieve them
Me:  Nice
It would be more awesome if they'd just put "work" though.

Juan:  yeah. i don't really need flowery bullet points describing a copy editor job
like if it was
NBA Point Guard opening
Applicants will: handle the ball, shoot, lead the team.

The disaster

You all know I have an underpants obsession, right?  Of course I do.  Anyway, I was putting on one of my cuter pairs (I'd give you a visual image, but believe it or not, the Victoria's Secret webpage is blocked by my work's Net Nanny.)  (NO, I don't draft blog posts from work.  Ummm ....) (NO, you can't have a visual image of the actual pair, I have standards.) (Don't laugh.), a blue-and-white striped number with lacy side panels and little pink bows.  It's like a pair of Gone with the Wind panties, I do declare. 

I pulled them up, and BAM. The lace on one side completely shredded.  Not due to fatness (for the record, though my new diet is newly begun, I've never torn a pair of undies purely through the power of thunder thighs) but due to the pressure of holding on to them by the waist band and pulling them up.

You know.  The way people put on their underpants every single day.

It was most disappointing. 

(OK, fine, I got home and found a picture:

GAAAA, aren't they cute?  So pissed.)

(Yes, this qualifies as a disaster in my life.  If you had a pair of Gone with the Wind-esque underpants, you would understand.)

Friday, April 22, 2011

S is for sometimes I lose my mind

(I previously considered posting this under the title, "I is for irrationality," thought better of it, then circled back.  I kind of like self-destruction.)

I just have to get something off my chest.

I know when an agent rejects you, it shouldn't really be taken personally.  They just don't like your work, or don't think it's a good fit, consider it unmarketable, are currently busy with other projects--there are literally a thousand potential reasons why, all of which are fine.  It's a business.

Believe me, I've been to the Rejection Rodeo before and I've won several ribbons--various jobs, fellowships, friendships, boyfriends, calf roping, etc.  You just hitch up your abnormally sized belt buckle and carry on.

But here is the thing.

While I am sure that the vast majority of agents are super nice people who love their parents and take care of their kids, I do not enjoy reading an article, interview, or blog post where said agent remarks on the ease with which he or she rejects someone.

(Yes, I'm thinking of a few particular blogs/articles/interviews/tweets, and YES, my brain knows that they are likely in the minority of the publishing industry.  But sometimes my brain stops being in charge.  Right now the typing fingers are in charge.)

Because in no other avenue of life or profession would that be ok.  Well, maybe it is, but I'm coming from the genteel profession that is the LAW.

(PS, if you couldn't pick up on the sarcasm encapsulated by my use of ALL CAPS, I'll spell it out for you--if lawyers are more gentlemanly and ladylike than you, you may have a problem.)

A law firm would NEVER post statistics on how many candidates it rejected.

A law school admissions dean would NEVER talk about the attributes of the applicants he or she didn't accept.

And above all--IN THIS ECONOMY--we never talk about how easy it is to reject someone.  Even more than attorney-client privilege, that's the lawyer code of honor right there.

Of course people will be rejected--everyone knows that.  And yes, of course some of those people were an easy no.  But like Scarlett O'Hara worrying about whether she should still wear black in Atlanta even though she's clearly a devil woman, lawyers want people to think that we're a classy bunch.  So it's zipped-lips, all around. 

Every decision is a painstakingly difficult decision--even if it wasn't.   (Shakes menacing fist.)

When I get an email claiming that rejecting me was a difficult call, sure, I'm disappointed--but a part of me appreciates the charade.  "It was a tough decision," I think to myself with a measure of satisfaction.  "Well done, self--next time it will be nigh impossible!"

Then when I see on a blog or interview that, no, actually, it's SUPER EASY to stomp on hopes and dreams, that appreciation dies a slow death. Nice Rejecter and Dream Stomper may even be two different people--but there it is.  (See why it was previously going to be posted under "I is for Irrationality"?)

But like I said--rejection is fine, and I am ok with it.

Still, if the day comes where Agent McSmug Agentpants is having his or her civil rights violated, I plan to be too busy with other clients.

(Yes, I know that would sound a lot more threatening if I were a doctor.  Lucky for us and the universe I am not.)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Rockstar

Our 2L year of law school, my friend Brandon and I drank so many Rockstars that we secretly filled three empty library shelves with them.  Then we (okay, he) made paperclip army men who had battles on top of them.  (My paperclip army men always ended up falling over.)

One day we went back to that section of the library, and it was all gone.  That was a sad day.

I'll try to stop before that point at this job.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for questionable taste

Diego and I have this idea for a restaurant.  What's the worst part of sushi?  You can't eat it on the go.  What's the worst part of a burrito?  The potential for uneven guacamole/sour cream/salsa distribution.

At our restaurant, you have the option of ordering an uncut sushi roll in tinfoil so you can just om-nom-nom away, even in the car, or burritos sliced up for your sauce dipping convenience.

While I initially argued that our restaurant should be called Sushi-Burrito! (ideally, people would pronounce it "Sushi-Burrito-Exclamation-Point!") because I am pro-simplicity, Diego came up with the best name ever:

SeƱor Sushitosan's Sushi-Burrito Experience!


PS - While this is, sadly, a true story, can you tell I'm kinda phoning it in today?  Sorry folks.  Q is a rough letter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

P is for perspective

One of the most interesting things about reading a popular book is realizing how differently some people view the characters.

Take The Hunger Games trilogy, for example.  I always saw Katniss as a strong character who did the best she could under difficult situations--particularly in Mockingjay, where her problems became less about her own life-and-death struggles and more about maintaining her humanity and sanity.

Turns out, some people thought she whined her way through the whole thing -- who knew?

One of my all-time favorite books is The Stand.  With literally dozens of main characters and exponentially more fans, there was bound to be at least one controversial figure.  But color me shocked when I realized the prime candidate for I Love Her/I Hate Her status was little Frannie Goldsmith.  (And I'm not even talking about Molly Ringwald's phenomenally bad portrayal of her in the made-for-TV movie.)

For those of you who haven't read it, Fran Goldsmith is a twenty-year-old college student who realizes she's pregnant about a week before 99.9% of the population is wiped out by a strain of super flu.  She's caught in a dysfunctional love triangle between Harold, a socially inept high school kid she grew up with, and Stu, a 30-something widower from Texas.

I say it's a dysfunctional love triangle simply because Fran is never into Harold--she finds him creepy even before he becomes one of the last men on earth.  He manipulates her, spies on her and is possessive of her.  Keep in mind, all this comes before he develops megalomaniacal, homicidal tendencies.

On the other hand you have Stu.  Stu is kind, respectful and loyal.  He doesn't try to coerce women into having sex with him just because it's the end of the world.  I can't speak for every woman, but I generally consider that a plus.

So Fran falls for Stu and Stu falls for Fran and Harold is left out in the cold.  It's life, in my opinion, and for what it's worth, a pretty obvious result.  Leaving out all of Harold's bad character traits and all of Stu's good ones, would you rather have a grown man or a teenage boy as the new step-daddy to your little flu-orphan-baby?

Yet when you glance over message boards on IMDB, comments on Entertainment Weekly, or other sites, it becomes obvious that there are people who think that Fran does treat poor Harold pretty poorly--and that perhaps if she had not, he wouldn't have (CENSORED FOR SPOILERS).

So there's the other side of the coin--Harold is, after all, a seventeen-year-old kid.  He was bullied in school, not particularly adored by his parents.  He's overweight and plagued with bad self-esteem despite being brilliant.  Everyone he knows is dead, except for his dream girl--his older sister's best friend.  He saves her bacon on more than one occasion, and what does she do?

She falls for the middle-aged, uneducated Texan, all the while making snide comments about Harold in her secret journal.

Now, obviously I did notice these things about Fran as I was reading The Stand, but they mattered less to me than they apparently did to other people.

Not to reduce this down to boys-versus-girls, but I imagine most of the people who are on Team Harold also have a Y-chromosome to their name.

From my perspective, Fran was about as nice to Harold as she could be.  She did not like him. What's more, he gave her plenty of legitimate reasons to hate him.  But even if she had liked him, who says that she still can't fall for some other guy?

But maybe to a boy -- who see things like Harold dangling off the barn roof to sign his and Fran's names so other survivors will know where they're headed as an gallant, romantic gesture -- it seems less forgivable that Fran is cavalier toward Harold's affections.

Or maybe it's not a boy/girl thing.  Maybe the Harold apologists were also bullied in high school, leaving them more sympathetic to why a kid like Harold might snap.  Whereas I just an average girl in high school, much like Frannie---liked, but nothing special.  From where I'm sitting, Fran was just a girl who made some bad decisions, some good decisions, but overall tried to do her best.  (And did I mention how she's pregnant, orphaned, 20-years-old, had to bury her father herself, and is occasionally threatened with rape?  OK, just wanted to be clear.)

Who are some other characters seen as polarizing in pop culture?  Both very popular and more obscure suggestions will be accepted - to get things started, I will add Bella Swan from the Twilight books, Patch in the Hush, Hush series,  Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer and sequels, Mikael Blomkvist in the Millenium-a.k.a.-Girl Who Was Generally Badass-Trilogy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for opples and bononos

I know I say this periodically, but I'm starting a new diet. 

Anyone have a thought about the whole cleanse-detox thing?  Or is that just too Hollywood, and it will work only if I also have a personal trainer and chef on hand to revive me if, you know, I pass out?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

N is for no need to thank me

If any of you out there are thinking to yourself, "Self, I'd like to start a blog, but I just don't know what to blog about!" -- well, I have the solution for you.

The world needs a blog that lets us all know which flavors of frozen yogurt are available at our local Maverick gas stations.

I would drive across town for peppermint froyo, but if I get there and find nothing but pumpkin, I will buy a cup just so I can dump it in a gutter.

Get on that.

Friday, April 15, 2011

M is for moi

You know those "About Me" sections on blogs where people describe themselves with a lot of casual detail?

My name is Cindy and I love my cats, Jane Austen, and junk food!  I'd give up chocolate, but I'm not a quitter!

Admitting to addictions to harmless products: a key component of the blogger biography.  (Substitute Diet Coke, coffee, frozen yogurt, or gummi bears for chocolate and you will also be on target.)

I don't know how you get around this.  Obviously no one (normal) is going to share their real heart and soul on a blog.  So we all look like cheesy lamesters, but at least we're cheesy lamesters in good company, yes?

So hey, I am Ru.  That's not my real name - in fact, a grand total of two people in my real life have ever called me that, but I don't really want to be googlable.  I write stories on my blog about my friends and family, all of whom have also been renamed at this point. I love zombie movies and cupcakes.  I'm a nerdy former sorority girl, ex-Senate intern, lawyer, and aspiring writer.

And while I know I should hate ignorance, unkindness, and arrogance above all, my biggest point of rage in this world is people who insist on saying, "Really?!" multiple times after I inform them of something.


Yes.  Really.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

K is for Kierkegaard

Once you label me, you negate me.

Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes who you are.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

J is for just throwing it out there

So here's a hypothetical for you folks.  (We lawyers love our hypotheticals.)

Let's say you have a day job that you like and pays you enough money that you are surviving happily.

Let's also say you have a secret shameful goal -- like, say publishing a book someday.

Let's say you've written a few books to date, and one of them seems pretty good, in that it's readable and amusing.  But alas, you haven't really got any agenty-takers.

So you've shelved that project and are happily working away on a new one, all the while working at your day job, attempting to exercise daily, form positive social relationships with other humans, maintain shiny volumized hair, and contribute to the good of society.

One more detail -- you have this weird character trait.  Let's call it "obsessive-compulsive disorder."  Or maybe it's just a character flaw -- impatience.  Or maybe it's more philosophical -- "carpe diem, quam minime credula postero," my homies.

Whatever it is, there is a voice in your head that insists today is better than tomorrow, and too much of your life has already been spent on regretting not taking immediate action.

Do you just decide, "What the hell, I'm going to buy an ISBN, format my Word .doc into a PDF, and just e-publish this thing myself.  Charge people $3.99 or give it away for free, I don't care.  I just need it to be out in the universe already.  If it's not as good as I thought it was, so be it."

Or do you keep plugging away, assuming that someday this effort will be rewarded in more traditional avenues?

Want some more details for the hypothetical?  Sure you do, you've gotten this far.

Let's say you know a few graphic designers.  A copy editor or two.  Hell, maybe you yourself even had some copy editor training back in the day.  You know how to set up an LLC, just so everything can look classy and on the up-and-up.  At the very least, you can be sure it won't look like crap.

It gets more awesome -- you know people in marketing who at the very least can suggest ideas to keep it from taking up the very last spot on's sale list.  Your embarrassing dream will at least be able to make a respectable showing ("respectable" is in the eye of the beholder). 

And, perhaps most importantly -- at the end of the day, you do not mind one teeny, tiny bit if no one ever buys the damn thing.  It is enough for you to know that people can.   

But ... and here's the big but.

You don't want it to come back and haunt you someday--or worse, jinx you--should the "more traditional avenues" ever pan out.

Given that getting published via traditional means is unlikely ... is the "big but" actually even a concern?

Thoughts, feelings, jokes you would all like to share?

Monday, April 11, 2011

I is for it's a fun dating world out there, people

The following things have actually been said to me on dates:

My dad works at Wells Fargo.  It's a banking institution. 

My favorite part of going to BYU-I was the Honor Code.

(After walking me to my car.)  Well, good luck on finals!  (Finals were 6 weeks away.) 

(After walking me to my door.)  Well, can I call you when I get ready to apply to law school?  (It was May.)

Any fun lines you all would like to share?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Baaaaa! Doing the song thing and A-Z thing is surprisingly difficult

A song that makes me laugh: "Online," Brad Paisley.

A song I wish I could play: "Angels From The Realm of Glory."  Actually, that one requires not just being able to play an instrument, but being able to simulate a giant choir, orchestra, and bell choir.  

But as long as we're asking for things.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

H is for hands

When I was little, I loved sitting next to my Grandma in church.  She would do this thing called the "tickle rub" where she'd lightly brush your skin with the tips of her fingers.  It was pretty much the only thing that could keep me awake during Sacrament meeting.

I also liked sitting next to my dad, though that was mostly because he'd play hang man with me.  It definitely wasn't his church back rubs, which were somewhat subpar, and more often than not, he'd want me to massage his hand with the permanently broken thumb.  I used to tease my dad that he had lobster-fisherman's hands.  Thick, beefy hands with fingers like sausages.

I never really liked my hands as a kid.  My hands and feet are disproportionately small for my body, which may sound good at first, but really just serves to emphasize that other parts of me are disproportionately large for my hands and feet.  On top of this, my fingers are kind of stubby.  My mom and sister have delicate fingers, which led me to conclude that I had inherited my dad's hands and soon would have thick sausage fingers of my very own.  Yay.

Skip forward a few years and I am 18 and leaving for college.  My dad has loaded up all my things into the back of his truck, and I can see my Grandma waving to me from her bedroom window.  She hasn't been feeling well, otherwise she would have come next door to see me off.  I am running late and my parents are losing their patience with my disorganization, so I wave back and don't go next door to say good-bye myself.  After all, I am only moving 30 miles away.

Roughly two weeks later, my Grandma has had surgery, and what initially seemed to go well has turned out to have gone very badly indeed.  On Sunday, family members went to McGrath's to celebrate, and on Friday afternoon my cousin Abby is picking me up at my dorm room so we can be there when the hospice company brings our comatose grandmother home so she can pass away in her own room.

It took until Sunday morning.  My father and Abby's father, who hadn't spoken for about six years, spent the weekend doing a lot of hugging.  Abby and I, who had been inseparable as kids but who hadn't hung out much as teenagers due to the awkwardness our parents' disagreements, sat in our grandmother's kitchen chatting just like we had when I was ten and she was twelve.  A cousin who lived on the East Coast, and whose wife was due to have a baby any day, was there nearly all weekend.  I can't even remember why he happened to be in town that particular week.  People took turns sitting by my Grandma's bedside and keeping my Grandpa, who looked lost for the first time in more than 90 years, company. 

Around midnight on Friday, my dad, his siblings and their spouses all decided they needed chocolate-banana milkshakes, including my diabetic uncle, who promised his wife he'd only eat half.  (I'm pretty sure he ate the whole thing.) So Charlie and I were sent out to get them.  Until that point, my parents had rarely let me drive their cars, partly because they're bizarrely over-protective, and partly because I was (and sometimes still am) a terrible driver--facts which were overlooked or forgotten that night.

The mood in my grandparents house would swing between somber and cheerful, a really depressing and yet oddly enjoyable family reunion.  And on Saturday afternoon, while I kept my dad company as he sat by his mother's bedside, two of my aunts began bickering over which one of them had inherited Grandma's hands.

I didn't say anything, since it was clear to me, at least, that both of them had inherited their father's hands--graceful hands, with long, slender fingers.  My Grandpa had played piano all his life and paid for college during the Depression by performing in dance halls.  I sometimes wonder if he had groupies.  (Nice, upstanding, pin-curled groupies, of course.)

At some point, the two of them got up to get something from the kitchen.  My dad, who hadn't said anything during the argument, turned to me and smiled.

And without saying a word, he picked up my Grandma's hand and held it up to his own.  Then put his other hand on his knee, palm-side up.  I put my hand over his.

A perfect match.

Friday, April 8, 2011

G is for golly, gosh darnit, and gee whiz

I sure did forget to schedule the post for Friday, didn't I?

Rest assured, there was one, but considering I'm cheating with this one (shhhhh!) I figure I will save that story for a day when I am actually on the ball.

Sorry, arbitrary goal.

A song I want played at my wedding: More Than Anyone, Gavin DeGraw

Thursday, April 7, 2011

F is for farraginous and finger tag me back, Jack

I love the word farraginous -- it just means random, mixed up, assorted.  As someone who uses the word "random" a little too much, it's nice to have some high-falutin adjectives to thrown down on occasion.  (Particularly when you are engaging in an attempt to write one blog post per alphabet letter in the month of April.)  (Does it matter that I'm not entirely confident that I know how to use this word?  No, because I'm 80% sure that no one is.)

So I bring you a precious farraginous moment from my life.

The other day my dad said "You know, I think you and Tim Lincecum would make cute kids."

You know what, Dad?  I agree.

Parents are so cute.  They get the wackiest ideas sometimes.  For example, a friend's mom was kind of legitimately convinced that she would marry Kyle Korver.  It wasn't the most far-fetched idea, since at least this girl and Kyle Korver were residents of the same city at the time.  And they had oddly, shall we say, coinciding careers, and therefore meeting Kyle Korver was not exactly out of the realm of possibility. 

(For a cute basketball player, I'm somewhat surprised that this is the best picture of Kyle Korver I could find.)

And another f-word: following.*

I just want to say, first, yay for new friends!  Second, I have every intention of visiting your blogs and making nice comments as well, it's just been a bit cray-cray lately.  Third, if you have left a nice comment, know that I either went awwwwww or chuckled (depending on the context), even if I didn't respond.  I struggle. 

* Is it embarrassing that I care so much that I suddenly have a bunch more readers?

Meh.  Probably. 

Song I listen to when I'm happy: "Show Me What I'm Looking For," Carolina Liar.  (Is that basically their only song, PS?)

Song I listen to when I'm sad: "Thunderstruck," AC/DC

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for economic flirting

I have a few pet peeves that are difficult for me to get over.

Using "gay" as an synonym for "stupid" or "lame."

BYU football fans who think that a victory from 1984 can make up for any other failure.  (Actually, just about all BYU football fans.)

Pioneer treks.

Twenty-somethings that go into "business" for themselves.  (C'mon ... you know it's not really a business.)

Girls who complain about how hard it is to plan a wedding.  (Kids, curing cancer is hard.  Picking flowers is not.)

Born again Red Sox fans.

And right there at the top of the list is guys who flirt because they have an economic relationship with you.  

You know what I'm talking about.  You're taking snowboarding lessons, and your instructor keeps telling you you're the prettiest girl on the mountain, even though you're not wearing any makeup and your hair is knotted up under your beanie.  And oh, what's that?  He flashes a wedding ring when he takes off his gloves to fix your bindings?

Or the waiter who offers compliments along with a list of daily specials?

The guy at the frozen yogurt place who flirts indiscriminately with you -- a grown up -- and high school aged gigglers looking to spend their allowances on kiwi.

I find this all very irritating partly because it's disingenuous, but also because it's a little insulting.  I mean, really -- is the easiest way to get a girl to shell out more money REALLY to just compliment her hair?  (Ok, if you're a hair stylist,  then yes.  That is a good tactic.)

I mean, if you want more money out of me, lie to me about how you have exploding lung disease or a box of homeless puppies you need to care for.  That I might fall for.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

D is for dermatology

I really dislike going to the doctor.

It's strange, really, given that I am so pro-doctor when it comes to other people.  Feeling depressed?  Go to the doctor!  Stomachache?  Go to the doctor!  Doctors can fix anything, don't you know?

My greatest source of doctor-anxiety definitely comes from the dermatologist.

Thanks to growing up in the '80s and '90s with terrifying after-school specials, made-for-TV movies, and lots of nanny-state educational experiences ("And that's why if you even touch a rusty nail, you will get tetanus and DIE!") ("And that's why if you ever go to Africa, you will catch ebola and DIE!") ("And that's why if you hug someone who has ever smoked, you will catch emphysema and DIE!"

And that's why I spend 25% of my life convinced that I have cancer.

The weird lumps in my neck (that I have had my whole life)?  Definitely cancer.

Bouts of dizziness?  Cancer.

Constant fatigue?  Totally cancer.  (I saw A Walk to Remember, I know what it looks like.)

(PS, after relating all these symptoms to a doctor, you know what the recommendation was?  Drink more gingko.)  

And so whenever a freckle or mole starts looking suspicious and out-to-get-me, I immediately go into, "Oh shit oh shit oh shit!" mode.  (Grey's Anatomy, with its skin-cancer-turning-into-EVERYTHING CANCER storyline certainly didn't help.)

I call my dermatologist, just like we were taught in all those "and DIE!" lectures and explain to him or her my concerns.

The dermatologist will inevitably look bored and ask, "Do you have a history of skin cancer on either side of your family?"


"Are you over 45?"


"You don't have skin cancer."

But the weird mole!  And the after-school specials where a girl got in a tanning bed ONE TIME and DIED

"It is extremely unlikely that you have cancer."

Ok then, here's a better question: Why have you people spent my life scaring the bajeebers out of me if it all comes down to genetics and age?

"It is important to remain vigilant regarding your health, but it is extremely unlikely you have cancer."

But can't you do a biopsy or something to just be sure?  What's so bad about being sure?  And what is the point of having health insurance if you aren't even going to run any tests?  Because I can have someone tell me I don't have cancer for free!

At which point the dermatologist will finally glance irritatedly at my troubling knee, arm, or shoulder blemish and say, "It's not cancer."

(Three times.  Three times this has happened, and if another doctor stares at me like I'm a hypochondriac, I swear I'm not going back until my skin develops a blistering black spot the size of silver dollar and sends me an email saying, "Hey friendo, just wanted to let you know I'm a melanoma and I've moved into the neighborhood!"  At which point I hope those doctors remember all those lectures from med school that end with, "and you find out you've been SUED!")

I've always kind of wondered why doctors and lawyers seem to have such a natural antagonism toward each other, and now I know.  When a lawyer is presented with a potential problem, he or she researches the hell out of that problem.  (Even the things that seem SUPER unlikely.)  If a lawyer is presented with sketchy-looking freckles, a lawyer orders a biopsy for cancer and the tests for ebola and hanta virus, just to be sure.

You never walk into a lawyer's office to have him or her shrug and say, "You know, I'm just spit-balling here, but I'm pretty sure you don't have a case." 

No.  It's, "Let me ask you every single question I can think of, spend a week researching, email you some more questions I couldn't think of the first time, and then I'll get back to you, because even though I kinda-sorta already think you do or don't have a case, I MUST BE SURE."

And yes, this is why lawyers cost so damn much, but frankly, I would rather pay someone X amount per hour to ensure that I don't have cancer than shell out a $25 co-pay to sit around waiting for a doctor who will pop in for five minutes just to tell me I'm crazy.  So take your tort reform and smoke it, MDs.

Excuse me, I've got to go tanning now, since it doesn't really give me cancer.

A song I listen to when I'm angry: Anything Britney Spears. Currently, "Til The World Ends."

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for childhood fantasies

What is it about marine biology that kids love so much?

I submit that every kid (after he or she grows out of the fireman/princess stage) eventually wants to be a vet, then marine biologist, then back to vet, then back to marine biologist by high school -- just because it sounds smarter.

The appeal of puppies and dolphins, I guess.

A song from my favorite album: "Eyes Like Yours," Shakira, Laundry Service

Saturday, April 2, 2011

B is for billables

So here's the thing about billable hours.

There are pros to the billable hour requirement, for both lawyers and clients.  (I won't get into them here.)

And there will always be firms with a worse billable hour requirement than yours.  I know someone who has to hit 2000 billable, 400 nonbillable every year.  That's a total of 2400 hours, for those of you who are bad at math.  I know someone who had to keep track of all his time, even "Went to lunch" and "Surfed the internet" for a minimum of 7.5 hours every single day.  I know people who have an unstated requirement.  Believe me, it could always be worse.

(Of course, it could be amazingly easy, like a 1700 billable requirement.  Oh 1700 billable requirement ... how I lust after thee.)


If you're a lawyer, complaining about billable hours is a fact of life.  The trouble is when people think complaining equates to laziness.

Believe me, if you made it through college and law school, if you passed the bar and got a job with a firm, you are not a lazy person.  You probably like working, which is why you've been working your ass off for quite some time now.

Complaining about the billable hour is more complicated than that.

Every lawyer knows the "Company Man" lawyer.  The guy or gal who defends the firm and its policies to the bitter end.  And that person makes complaining very difficult, because they generally turn the discussion into something it is not.

So let's get a few things out of the way.

I like working.  I am glad that I am not unemployed.  I'm glad I never had to deal with more than four months of unemployment--believe me, that was bad enough.  It's just that I think gratitude for my job should not have to equate to slavish adoration for policies that dick me over.

How does an associate get billable hours?

By working for partners who give them assignments.

What happens when partners have no assignments to give?

The associates are screwed.  Note that there is nothing the associates could have done about this situation.  Good and less-good associates alike suffer when there is no work to be had.  And this is true at every firm with a billable hour requirement.  Just because your firm might have a friendlier corporate atmosphere than most does not mean your firm ever stopped being a business.

What happens when there are assignments to be had, but it's all mind-numbing work ... like X many months of document review, for example?

Well, then the associate has something to do, and will continue to earn his or her paycheck.  However, the partners' incentive to find new and diverse work for the associate -- to participate in the associate's development as a lawyer, in other words -- is dramatically decreased.  Because the associate is "busy."

This is a double-edged sword.  Sure, you aren't becoming a better lawyer, but no one really knows that.  Furthermore, your comeuppance is a long way down the road since you're packing in your hours now. An associate might be a total crap lawyer (which I suspect may have been true in my case), but no one will know for months, since it's kind of impossible to screw up crap work.

Why was I able to take off two weeks last December, and other lawyers work on Christmas?

Well, it helped that a huge part of my main case last year ended mid-December, but the primary reason is that our year ran January - December.  Some firms run October - September, meaning you can take off time during the summer after you've built up your hours.  This is something I never knew before coming to work at a firm, and something I never would have thought of asking about when I was interviewing.

Did I love my two week Christmas vacation?  Hells yes.

Did I love that I could just take weekend trips, knowing that there was an almost-endless supply of work that would await me upon my return?  Of course.

Did that ever make up for my growing resentment of document review?  Unfortunately, no.

My first week at awesome new job was literally like a breath of fresh air.  If not for the unstated open-door policy, I would have done a "No-More-Billable-Hours!" dance to Mumford and Son's "Little Lion Man" for roughly twenty minutes on my first day.  The unedited version.

Since then, I have realized there are some benefits to keeping track of your time in six-minute increments.  It does help focus you and guarantee that you do your best to remain efficient.  There are times here at new job when I could use that, and sometimes I catch myself wondering if that took me 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 42, 48, or 54 minutes.

But is it worth the anxiety of wondering, "Did I spend too much time?  Not enough?  Will they cut my time when they send out bills?  Will that hurt me?  Will I ever even know?  If I take more time next time, will they wonder what's wrong with me?"

Now, I just get my job done.  When it takes me a long time, I stay late and finish.  When it doesn't, I email my friends.  Or I read.  Or I surf the internet. Or I work on a short-story.

And that doesn't make me lazy.

That just makes me happy.

A song I hear often on the radio: "Forget You," Cee Lo.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Wait! Did I forget about that song thing?


"A song that describes me" is almost impossible to pick.  My former standard go-to was "Loser" by Beck, but that makes me sounds more gangsta (and therefore cooler) than I really am. 

"Sexy Bitch" (David Guetta) would be funny, but an arrogant choice.

I love "Not Ready to Make Nice" (Dixie Chicks), but it makes me seem like I'm really angry about something.  I mean, I'm generally mildly angry about a lot of things, but there's no specific underlying anger.

"The Underdog" (Spoon) is a good choice, because it's talking to someone who is underestimating the underdogs about the underdogs.  I kind of fit both categories, but it's still confusing.

So I will ultimately go with "Last Dollar" by Tim McGraw, even though my song list is OFFICIALLY country-heavy at this point.

And a song  I used to love but now hate?  "Haven't Met You Yet," Michael Buble.

A is for adventure

So we're really doing this "26 Alphabet Posts in April" thing, are we?  Yes, we really are.

That, in and of itself, is kind of an adventure.  But there are also some other adventures (read: actual adventures) I am going to work on having in April.

1.  Taking a trapeze class
2.  Night skiing
3.  Run a total of 100 miles

... and that's about as far as I've gotten.

I IM'd my friend Jose for advice on this very topic.

J: Is there some sort of flora or fauna that makes its spring debut in spectacular fashion?

R: Probably.  But I want a bigger adventure than tulip festival.

Anyone have some suggestions?