Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Monday, May 31, 2004

When I went to see "Super Size Me" today -- see two posts below -- the movie was preceded by a whole bunch of previews. I like previews. But previews at theaters that show "independent movies" like this one bring that enjoyment to a whole new level. Among the movies previewed: "The Story of the Weeping Camel." Is that not the perfect independent film title? Could anyone, just from the title, imagine that this movie *wouldn't* be an independent film? Is there any chance the voiceover could ever say, "Mission Impossible's Tom Cruise... Pretty Woman's Julia Roberts... in a film directed by Steven Spielberg. The Story of the Weeping Camel." Not a chance. Another movie previewed was called "The Door in the Floor," which looked for a fleeting moment like a Dr. Seuss (Theodore Geisel) biopic, but it appears not to be. And one of the other movies playing in the theater was called "My Mother Likes Women," which, I'm guessing, is not a big-budget action thriller. Moviefone had an amusing ad making fun of casting independent films. It got me thinking: we have big movies, and then we have independent film. But imagine if these independent filmmakers, instead of making movies, they made ads. I repeated this idea to myself three times (and to the person next to me once) so I would remember it, and turn it into something. So here goes.

Commercials, as created by independent filmmakers:

A boy sits in a crowded hut sewing two leather panels together. He speaks a foreign tongue. The subtitle reads: "My innocence is lost as I sew these two leather panels together." A donkey walks into the frame. "Hello, donkey. Can I ride you to salvation?" A woman in the background wails softly over the strains of sitar music. An elderly woman enters the frame. The boy shrieks. Subtitle: "Grandma, you're alive!" Pan to grandma's feet. She is wearing sneakers. The logo appears. Nike. Superimposed text: "Nike. For all the times in your life."

Jerky camerawork on a gritty Hoboken, New Jersey street. The door to a small bodega swings open, and we enter. A young woman is pushing pins into a rag doll and chanting. A precocious child falls from the sky and onto a pile of dirty magazines. His mother yanks him up by the arm. "Vladimir," she scolds. "No!" We hear thunder in the distance. A horse rides up. A police officer disembarks and enters the store. "I'm leaving my wife," he announces. "She's left me for another woman, played by Hope Davis or perhaps Laura Linney." The precocious child hands the police officer a box. Pan to the box. It is Hamburger Helper. "Makes a great meal," he whispers. A knife hits the boy in the chest and he dies.

A goat lies mangled in a ditch. We hear the soft sounds of a classical guitar. From offscreen: "Henry, don't do this to me." "But I have to Susan, it's the only road to justice." We pan to see it's a small TV, in a dark motel room, where Skeet Ulrich is pasting together a ransom note. "I have your daughter," it reads, "and I've mangled your goat." Holly Hunter enters from the motel room bathroom, cutting herself with a razor. "I've lost the will to live, Mr. O'Malley." She impales herself on a butter knife. Cut back to the highway ditch. Philip Seymour Hoffman pulls up in a pickup truck, removes the cap from a Miller Lite, and takes a sip. The goat stirs, and rises from the ditch. Close-up on the beer.
I think I left my work access card (to get into the building and out of the elevator banks) in the pocket of a pair of pants I took to the dry cleaner. This is not good.
I saw the documentary film "Super Size Me" this afternoon, about a guy who ate McDonalds food three meals a day for 30 days, and -- surprise -- he gained 25 pounds and contracted a whole bunch of health problems, like liver badness and high cholesterol. The film was undeniably entertaining, and looked a lot like Michael Moore's work, in that it was a mixture of bits -- man-on-the-street interviews, sideline investigations into school lunches, and more -- with some cartoony stuff and all sort of put together like it's trying to be entertaining and fast-paced, which is all good, I guess. It's worth seeing, although you probably won't learn a ton. But it's entertaining. What I found especially interesting was his sideline into school lunches and how they're all pretty bad, and come from boxes, and have no redeeming qualities at all. And the school lunch provider the film mentioned, Sodexho, is the company that does the Harvard Law School cafeteria, which is kind of neat. I have nothing especially profound to say. I give the movie a 7.5 out of 10, if I suddenly became the kind of person who ranked movies on a scale of 1-10. One of the people I saw the movie with made the observation afterwards that everyone was taking the escalator instead of the stairs, which was kind of funny.
A couple of days ago, a friend mentioned that she'd read "The Da Vinci Code." Along with what seems like everyone else who reads. So I asked eher what the big deal is, and why it's getting so much media attention. She said something like (I'm sure I'm getting the details wrong, but I'm not that familiar with that testament, so I don't know the baseline I'm coming from) it was because it posits that Jesus was married to Mary and so Mary wasn't really a virgin, and Jesus wasn't really the son of God. I'm sure I've screwed that up in some major way, but just pretend I know what I'm talking about. Anyway, it gets me thinking that if all you need for a best-selling book is to totally turn a religion on its head, I can totally do that. Hence: my book proposal for the fictionalized new interpretation of the oldest testament we've got -- "The Goldberg Code"

1. There's actually seven Gods: a God of the earth, a God of the sea, a God of the animals, a God of the vegetables, a God of bagels with lox, a God of mercy, and a God of reality television.

2. "Kosher" actually doesn't refer to stuff you should and shouldn't eat, but instead refers to pets you should and shouldn't have. Meaning all you need to do is avoid domesticating pigs and lobsters in your house, and you can actually eat them all you want. But you can't feed your cats any milk, because that would be a violation of the whole milk-meat thing. And you can't put yogurt on your dog. Not that you do that normally. But you can't. Because God says.

3. The Jewish New Year can never fall on a Thursday. Sorry. Just the way it is.

4. Jackie Mason is a prophet, and the three wise men are Jerry Seinfeld, Woody Allen, and Don Rickles. Is Don Rickles even Jewish? I have no idea. That's probably a stage name, but I don't know if it's Don Goldricklesberg, or it's something completely different.

5. Shawn Green, Gabe Kapler, and the many, many other Jewish baseball players actually aren't Jewish at all. It's all a communist plot.

6. No, I have no idea if this is even *supposed* to be funny, or what exactly I'm doing with this post here, except apologizing for yesterday's posts that were completely lacking any humor by at least trying today, even if I'm failing horribly.
"Eat (On the Firm)" to the tune of The Pointer Sisters' "Jump (For My Love)"

Call me -- tell me how you want me
To take you on a firm lunch
From noon until about three

Beg me -- make the work around me
Seem unimportant to me

I'm so excited, I can feel the reimbursement
Oh baby

I'll take you out, I'll take you out
Where you have never gone before
And if you want more, we'll order more
More, more.

Eat -- on the firm
Eat it -- it cost a lot
Eat -- you want to taste my chicken, take a bite then

Eat, eat -- on the firm
Eat -- expensive food can make you happy
Eat it -- and save some room
For one more course
Eat -- I'll fill my afternoon with cornish game hen
Eat, eat -- don't throw up

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Someone e-mailed me a few weeks back and guessed my Myers-Briggs personality type (find out yours by clicking the link). I'd taken a Myers-Briggs test before -- at my software company job, actually. They brought in a consultant to go through some workplace analysis. A few weeks later they did a layoff. I didn't make the connection that perhaps the personality test results were used to see who to keep, but when I mentioned it to someone else, they thought that was obvious. I really have no idea. But anyway, I'm pretty consistently on these tests an INFJ. The closest call on the four is the Introverted/Extroverted scale -- I'm relatively uncomfortable in large crowd / loud bar / mobbed cocktail party type things, but I do crave being around people and don't have a ton of tolerance for amusing myself for long periods of time without outside contact. I just prefer more low-key stuff to loud crowded stuff, and don't like being the center of attention, but do like being with other people. So I'm somewhere in the middle of the Introverted/Extroverted scale. But reasonably strong on the other three elements.

I share this (1) just to share, and out of curiosity if anyone who's reading wants to share, and (2) because I wanted to mention the introvert/extrovert stuff to lead up to a brief and anticlimactic anecdote. So I'm relatively shy, especially in new situations, so at these law firm lunches, I'm usually not very interesting, because I'm meeting these associates for the first time and if we don't hit on something I have something to say about, I don't know that I'm really able to get myself into a real compelling conversational mode. It's hard. But sometimes I find myself forcing words out -- knowing I need to say something, and so I say something. But sometimes, in trying to say something in response to whatever, I don't think about what exactly I'm saying. And it's not a terrible thing, because I have nothing bad to say. Usually when I go wrong it's that I'm trying to be marginally amusing, and I'm just failing miserably. Or I say something off the cuff that then gets taken slightly more seriously than I meant it. Like at lunch on Friday, with some associates, in response to something, I mentioned that I didn't think bar review courses sounded all that necessary, since all it is is a video of some guy talking, and why not just buy the books and study from them. And that didn't get a good reaction, and I just felt silly for saying it. Or mentioning I haven't taken Evidence, and aren't signed up for next year, and then discovering most people think Evidence is pretty important and I should take it. I have nothing against Evidence, I just would rather take other stuff. And when I said it, I just said it to say something, and not to make some big point about not thinking I need to learn evidence if I have to deal with evidence. This is all very inconsequential. But I gotta write something, right?
Some days the world seems filled with opportunities. But some days you just can't get yourself doing much of anything. I don't mean can't-get-out-of-bed-sounds-like-you-need-to-see-a-head-doctor can't do much of anything, but just an eat breakfast, surf the Internet and set my fantasy team lineups, shower, send some e-mail, go out to lunch, go to the supermarket, fiddle around with a DVD, write the first verse of a song I'll probably never finish, fold some laundry, watch a few innings of the Mets game, read a half a magazine, make a list of what I'm doing this week, make some plans for tomorrow, fiddle around with an uninspired weblog post, and, oops, it's nighttime kind of day. A where-did-the-day-go kind of day. A boy-I-didn't-get-anything-useful-done kind of day. And maybe doing nothing is useful. But I somehow feel like this world filled with opportunities only gets scarier if I go to sleep no closer to any of those opportunities than I was when I woke up. And I don't even know what I really mean by opportunities. Like I said, some days the world seems filled with opportunities. Of all sorts. But then sometimes I'm just, I don't know, uninspired to go find them. Just for a day. I guess we all have these days. I don't even know what I'm talking about at this point. I just felt like I ought to write something and post it. And now, even though I have an idea for a post that I'm going to write, I hate deleting stuff, so here you go. Rambling without nouns. Oh boy.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

I wanted to just quickly catch up on stuff from the past few days I haven't had a chance to write about. On Thursday, we had our first summer associate event at the law firm -- I think this is the same at most of these places, but basically over the course of the summer there's a bunch of summer associate events -- a Broadway show, baseball game, scavenger hunt, Central Park Zoo, etc etc -- from talking to friends at other firms, there's a lot of overlap in the lists between firms. Maybe they farm it out to some law firm summer associate activity planning agency, I dunno. Probably not. But who knows. Anyway, our event on Thursday was an art tour in Soho (which, for anyone unfamiliar, is an area of Manhattan with lots of art galleries, many just these independent artists showcasing their art, not like museum stuff, but interesting stuff). People who've been reading for a while may recall that I'm not a huge art museum fan... but this wasn't for the art, it was because it was an activity and it's cool to get to know the other summer associates, and it's something cool to do. So we got split up into a bunch of smaller groups and went to look at a bunch of galleries, guided by a tour guide. I'd never before heard the term "installation art," which apparently means you get an offer to present your art in a specific space, and you tailor the art thing to that particular space and build it there. 2 of the 4 places we saw were "installation art" -- one was a piece of art composed of a bumpy floor made out of wood, and the peaks and valleys and contours apparently represented stuff. I'm not very good at reviewing art, sorry. The second was a room that was created by 4 young artists as a representation of a dreamscape bedroom, with wax keys hanging from the ceiling and 12 mattresses piled high and cut in half. Lovely. Then we saw some Olmec masks made by an artist who had a thing for male and female genitalia. And our first one was a guy who takes lots of photographs and pieces them together to make big photographic creations, that were actually pretty cool. That one was my favorite. His web site is here if you're curious. His stuff was actually quite impressive. Then we had a 3-hour meal in a nice restaurant. So much food, the lunches, this dinner, just too much food. And good food all starts to taste the same after a while. At least to me. And I like food. But I'm not a big guy. My appetite can't handle it. I'm still full the next day. It's frustrating. Too much food.

Anyway, then yesterday at work I did some work. If it was really interesting, I probably wouldn't feel comfortable saying what it was; if it wasn't interesting, it wouldn't make for a very good post. So I won't tell you whether it was interesting or not, and you can just use your imagination to go in whatever direction you like... :)

Also, yesterday on the way to work I read Fox News's Greta Van Susteren's book "My Turn at the Bully Pulpit" (my title may be off -- I left it at work and don't have it in front of me). It was very mediocre. There is simply no reason to read it. I mean, it's not a bad book, but it's just useless, it's throwaway, it offers nothing of any value unless you are a huge Greta Van Susteren fan and want to know more about her. I like books that make me feel like I'm seeing some world I don't usually see. This didn't do that. Nothing against Greta Van Susteren. She seems reasonably bright, and well-intentioned. I just didn't get anything out of her book. Like when I listened to Diana DeGarmo on American Idol. She can sing, but, eh, just doesn't do anything for me. Just watched the American Idol finale (taped it on Wednesday). Long. Glad for fast forward. Glad Fantasia won. I guess. Whatever.
I just got home from a long day. Left work at about 4:15 to head down to Princeton and see the Triangle Club (the theater group I was part of) show. They do their big show in the fall but then re-stage it for Reunions weekend, which is today through Sunday. It's my 4th reunion, so not a major one, and not enough people to make it worth a weekend, but I hadn't seen the Triangle show yet, and I've seen every one since I left -- and they do a Triangle Reunion in the theater lobby after the show, and so I definitely wanted to go. Got down there, had dinner with some friends, and then saw the show, and hung out for a while talking to people. I have something to say about the feelings that emerge going back and telling people what I'm up to, and hearing what they're up to... but I don't have it to say at 2:30 in the morning. Tomorrow, I hope. I feel like some sort of young-adulthood expectations-vs-reality piece is brewing in my head, spurred in part by some stuff a friend and I were talking about on the train ride back, in a good long conversation.

I'm tired. And rightfully so. More in the morning.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

I'm a few weeks late with this, but former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines has a lengthy discussion of his tenure at the newspaper, and his visions on the future. I'm only about 40% through it, and it's a fascinating read so far. Maybe because I just read Ken Auletta's excellent book "Backstory" (see my thoughts on that a few days below), which has a lot of related New York Times discussion, but really, if you read the Times, this is a piece worth reading.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Questions and Answers about Legal Research

Q: So I have this retarded research assignment --

A: Don't say retarded. It's not polite. The phrase is "mentally handicapped."

Q: Okay, so I have this mentally handicapped research assignment to go find all of the cases in the 3rd circuit that have to deal with circus clowns and write up a summary of the current law. And I have no idea where to begin.

A: Neither do I, dude. You're screwed.

Q: But you're supposed to be this super research dude. That's why I'm coming to you for help. Dude!

A: Okay, dude, calm down. Let's start with the basics. There's three options when it comes to your legal research. There's Lexis, there's Westlaw, and there's books.

Q: Books, that's funny. Books. Ha! I'm on the floor, rolling around in my own vomit. That's hilarious. Books!

A: Your own vomit?

Q: Yeah, stomach flu. Besides, it's better than rolling around in someone else's vomit.

A: I suppose...

Q: At least your own vomit, you know what's in there. Like I know I had corn, and here it is, in between my toes. But someone else's vomit, who knows if those are nuts, beans, or pumpkin seeds?

A: Pumpkin seeds? Who eats pumpkin seeds?

Q: Dude, lots of people eat pumpkin seeds. I ate them all the time as a kid when I was in Little League. The smart kid's chewing tobacco, we all used to call it. Okay, we never used to call it that, but we should have. I love pumpkin seeds. My mom used to buy a pumpkin each year and scoop out the seeds and roast them. It was awesome. Dude!

A: Did you drag me out of the bathroom to talk about pumpkin seeds?

Q: No, I dragged you out of the bathroom to talk about legal research. What do I do?

A: Call the Westlaw helpline. They'll help you for free. It's 1-800-73-FATTY.

Q: 1-800-73-FATTY? Why would that be their phone number? That sounds like the Weight Watchers phone number. What the heck does the "Fatty" mean with regards to legal research?

A: It's actually 1-800-REF-ATTY -- like "reference attorney" for short -- but it's more fun to say it the other way. And it helps you remember. Or at least it helps me. And they'll totally answer all of your questions and help you set up your search.

Q: On a date?

A: Huh?

Q: You said "set up my search." Set it up on a date? Is my search going to get more action than I get?

A: Could it possibly get any less? After all, it's almost midnight and you're rolling around in your own vomit asking me about legal research. Is this really a compelling picture you're painting of yourself that's going to have people falling over themselves to go out with you?

Q: It will after I drug them.

A: That's illegal.

Q: What?

A: Haven't you been paying attention in law school?

Q: No. Duh. That's why I need your help. I don't even know the difference between a circuit court and a district court.

A: That's easy. A-minus average for circuit court; B-plus for district.

Q: Oh, for clerkships?

A: Yeah, for clerkships. Duh. You applying for one?

Q: Me, no. I don't want to have to move to Idaho.

A: But clerkships are awesome. You get to make up law.

Q: Really?

A: How the heck should I know? I don't have a clue what clerks do. I don't have a clue what lawyers do either.

Q: Aren't you working at a firm this summer?

A: Yeah...

Q: So...

A: I've been there eight days, what do you want? You expect after eight days I know all there is to know about this stuff?

Q: Well, no, but...

A: But what, dude?

Q: But at least you should have picked up something...

A: I think I picked up a fungal infection from my office mate, actually.

Q: That sucks.

A: No kidding.

Q: So I should just call that fatty number and they'll help me out?

A: I think so. That's what they keep saying.

Q: But you've never called?

A: No, dude, that stuff's for losers.

Q: Awesome. Well, thanks for the tip.

A: No problem. See you tomorrow.

Q: Yeah, see you later dude.
Mitch has some in-the-trenches reports as he spends his week doing the Harvard Law Review writing competition. Slate has an ongoing diary this week written by a writer at Late Night With Conan O'Brien. It's really quite funny. Surprised me. That's the two things I've read today that I've liked. Oh, and here's a crappy article in the New York Times that makes people with weblogs sound like morons. Why is writing this stuff worse than playing spider solitaire or whatever crap people do to fill up their time? At least doing this makes me think, makes me write, gives me a bit of an audience, and provides an outlet for stuff. Stupid article. Or maybe I'm just stupid for thinking this isn't a waste of energy. But I like having the audience. And I've made some friends doing this. And it doesn't keep me from doing anything I'd be doing anyway. And it gives me motivation and a reason to write. And who knows who's reading. It gets my words out there. Is this a bad thing? Why do I care what this article says?

Anyway.... Tonight I went to see some stand-up comedy, for no particular reason. Well, sort of. There's this comedian who I saw on Comedy Central doing something a few months ago, Mike Birbiglia (the link is to his web site), and he just came off as extraordinarily likable. His material was funny, nothing amazing but solid funny stuff -- but just as a human being, he seemed like a really nice person. Most stand-up comics don't. The bad ones come off like bad stand-up comics, and just do bits and you don't get a sense of their personalities other than they're not very good stand-up comics but probably don't realize it. Or some have great material, like George Carlin, and come off as smart, gifted, talented, funny, all good stuff. But I don't know that George Carlin comes off as a particularly lovely human being. I think he'd be thrillingly interesting to talk to -- but I have no idea whether he helps old ladies cross the street. But, anyway, Mike Birbiglia came off as this earnest, decent, pleasant human being, self-deprecating, not taking himself too seriously, just a really genuine nice person. And maybe it's all an act. But I checked out his web site, listened to the clips... all solid... and then was reading New York magazine this morning (which I've been reading since Adam Moss, former editor of the New York Times magazine, moved over to New York -- and it's turned into what the New York Times magazine was, in a lot of ways -- something that's pretty much guaranteed each week to have some stuff I'm really interested in reading. Which the New York Times magazine doesn't since Adam Moss left, so I have no choice but to believe that Adam Moss, whoever he is, is the reason, and he and I like similar kinds of subjects. Which is cool, I guess. He has a fan. I mean, I subscribed to New York entirely because he became the editor. He should read my weblog. Anyway. New York has comedian listings, and I saw that Mike Birbiglia was at a comedy club in NY tonight, and so I convinced a friend to go check it out with me (actually didn't take much convincing, which was good, because I'm not very good at convincing people to do stuff they don't want to do -- I cave in too easily). And, again, he came off as a really nice person. And he was funny, not like rolling on the floor hysterical, but funny, consistently. It was a small audience and a pretty bad audience, since it was relatively early in the evening, and the other comics who preceded him were pretty dreadful, especially the MC, but they're always dreadful. Birbiglia has this innocence about him, that you want to root for him. It's weird. I can totally see a sitcom being built around him. He'd either be a junior high school teacher or a young marketing executive. Single but dating. Always bad dates. Which make good "B" stories in the episodes. Jason Bateman could do guest spots as his older brother. He lives in the basement of his parents' house, with his parents played by Edie McClurg and John O'Hurley, who own a travel agency. But he wants to get a place with his best friend from college, who he's always hanging out with, played by Rider Strong, and the girl he has a crush on but who's always dating the wrong guys, played by Kirsten Dunst. See, I've got the pilot already written in my head. Mike Birbiglia: I want to help write your sitcom. This is my plea for the fates of the world to intervene. Please. Intervene. Anyway, check out his website, check out his shows tomorrow night and Sunday. I don't why I'm pimping him on here -- I don't know him, I've never met him, and maybe he's not actually a nice person but it's all an act. But he seems really nice. And he does jokes about panda bears. And what's not to love about panda bears?
From an ad on the subway this morning for a law firm I made fun of about a year ago for having ads with a fighting leprechaun on them:

"We fight for kids' with brain damage."

Well, "I make fun of lawyers' who don't know how to use proper punctuation!?;*#,.?"
I had an hour of Lexis training today. I was tempted to sign into Westlaw on the Lexis training computer, just to see what would happen. The trainer kept saying stuff like "there was big demand for that feature, Westlaw doesn't have it, only Lexis does." Yeah, it's like drop-down menus, or automatic pdf conversion, or something so marginal. Don't get me wrong -- I actually prefer Lexis to Westlaw (Note to any Lexis reps reading: Can I get points for publishing that? Note to any Westlaw reps reading: I'm just kidding). I like Lexis better because it has more magazines, and reading Variety and the New York Times archives, and Newsweek, and Entertainment Weekly, and Sports Illustrated for free -- well, knowing I can, not that I actually do -- is pretty cool.
This is an underdeveloped idea at this point, but just to write it down so I don't forget it. Princeton has a bunch of alumni e-mail lists, about all sorts of things -- princeton-writing, princeton-career-networking, princeton-new-york, princeton-lawyers, etc. But I think they should get even more broad. princeton-bored, princeton-tired, princeton-angry... or even more specific -- princeton-addicted-to-painkillers, princeton-root-canal, princeton-likes-fish-better-than-chicken, princeton-contemplating-buying-new-socks. There's a kernel of funny in this idea I'm doing a bad job of eliciting this morning. Maybe this is a song parody waiting to happen; maybe it's a sketch; maybe it's just this, and it's just not that funny; maybe I use too many semicolons when I write.

Time to get ready for work. Five days a week of going to work is a lot.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

There's that moment of panic when you realize you've messed something up, and it's totally your fault, and there's nothing you can do about it. In a way that's a cool feeling -- in the same way that sometimes any feeling is a cool feeling, better than no feeling at all, and just gets the adrenaline pumping in a way that feels kind of invigorating every so often. And I guess I'm talking needless panicking -- because panicking about real, actual, serious mistakes (oops, the scalpel shouldn't have gone that deep!) is not cool on any level, and even mistakes that aren't life or death, but fire-able offense kind of mistakes -- I don't know what that is at a law firm... falsifying information? I don't know enough to name a laundry list of these things.

All this is to lead up to a silly little anecdote about a stupid mistake I made this afternoon that at the moment I realized it felt pretty disastrous, but that was just the adrenaline response, and then I realized it was just a stupid little mistake, and I'll probably survive. Basically, I was working on the fourth draft of something, and accidentally e-mailed the initial rough draft out as the "latest version" reflecting all corrections -- I'd saved it in a different file and clicked on the wrong one to attach -- and then got back a whole set of comments that were in large part repeats of comments I'd already seen -- because the old draft didn't have them corrected like the new draft did.

So when I got it back, I panicked. "So now the partner must think I'm too stupid to make the changes he wrote on the last version, and must be wondering why I would ignore his comments like that, and be pissed off that I was forcing him to write the same comments all over again, wasting his time, and just being stupid." That was the basic gist of the story I started to tell myself. And maybe that's completely the case.

But probably my explanation that I attached the wrong file will make sense, and instead he can just think I'm too stupid to attach the right file. Which is less damning than being too stupid to make the changes I've been asked to make. So I'll take that.

I'll find out in the morning whether this is a fire-able offense. I'm guessing not. But, hey, you never know. Stay tuned... :)
"Movants" comes up in spell check as "mutants." That's funny. I almost clicked "change" just for fun. "The mutants requested an extension...." Ha. [This isn't actually funny, is it? I'm just grasping for anything, aren't I? This isn't a good sign.]

In a building I can see from my window, there's what I thought was a putting green on the rooftop ledge. But in fact, the building is farther away than it looked, and so today, when I saw people there, and saw how small they were, I realized this was closer to a small soccer field than a putting green. Although they probably don't play soccer there because if they did and the ball went over the wall, it would probably kill the people 30 stories below on the sidewalk. It may be some sort of outdoor exercise facility. I'm not completely certain. There are orange cones though. So maybe football. But same problem as soccer with the ball. Maybe nerf football.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Check out "Blogger Survivor" at De Novo. I have no idea if this idea will have legs or not, but we're trying. It could be pretty cool. I think.
Fancy-restaurant-lunch today included a dessert that was known on the menu as "Exotic Asian Fruit Tower." Any guesses as to these exotic Asian fruits? Guess. I'll wait.

Okay, those were some good guesses. All of them. Even yours. But the dessert? Apple pie standing up inside a crispy pancake. Really. Or if it wasn't, it was doing an awesome job pretending. I mean, it was good apple pie. Really was. But I didn't taste no exotic Asian fruits.

Oh well. It was still worth the $9.50 I didn't have to pay for it.

And if the desserts cost $9.50... well, you can only imagine what the main dishes cost.

I'm currently reading "Backstory" by Ken Auletta, which is a collection of the author's long-form pieces mostly from the New Yorker about the business of journalism, behind-the-scenes at the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Post / Daily News wars. It's quite, quite excellent. I wish the postscripts on each piece were longer and didn't try so hard to connect one piece to the next in what ends up feeling like a very forced fashion, but aside from those minor quibbles, it's at times a can't-put-it-down kind of book, and even when it's not, it's a worth-knowing-and-feel-like-I'm-learning-something kind of book. So it's good. Of course, I might just be more interested than most in this stuff, as evidenced by this site being one of my few must-read sites at least a couple of times a week.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

I have a side project I'm exploring -- am just beginning to explore -- but if anyone who reads this happens to (a) be thinking about filing for bankruptcy, (b) have filed for bankruptcy or had parents who filed for bankruptcy when you were a kid, or (c) have some expertise in this stuff, and might be willing to helping me out with something (an e-mail for more details invokes no commitment at all on your part for anything whatsoever), shoot me an e-mail. Thanks.

("Side project" is not a code word for "I am thinking about filing for bankruptcy," although it would be a pretty interesting experiment to put up a donation box and see if implying I'm bankrupt got me any contributions -- but, no, this isn't what this is about -- it's related to the third-year-paper requirement we have at school, and I'm trying to get my wheels spinning on an idea I've got.)
I watched the Mets game on TV today, and saw Tom Glavine almost pitch the first no-hitter in Mets history, only to have Kit Pellow hit a double off the wall with 2 outs in the 8th. So close. But a one-hitter ain't too bad.

Clearly it was a productive day. But it's hard to get motivated after a week of work. I'll adjust. Next weekend I'll cure the common cold or something like that.

I feel like doing another "all-request day" for the next 24 hours or so. E-mail me a question, comment, concern, song parody prompt, whatever, and I'll see what I can come up with.
Earlier in the week I mentioned the elevator entertainment -- the video screen with scrolling news, sports, weather, and more for people with attention deficit disorder who can't go unstimulated for 45 seconds. What I didn't mention yet is that each day there's a "word of the day" on the screen. On Thursday, the word was "defenestrate" -- to throw someone out of a window. I think someone at the elevator-screen company has a sense of humor. Here we are, in an elevator heading up a 50-story building -- and you've got to assume a building's gotta be pretty tall for them to bother paying for this system -- and the "word of the day" means throwing someone out a window? I'm just about on the fortieth floor! This is not what I want to be thinking about on my elevator ride! I'm waiting for next week's words -- blackout, terrorism, nerve gas, anthrax, and random shooting. These are not things I want to think about while I'm trapped inside a tall building. Sorry. And with that...

"Thirty-Third Floor, Please"

[Two older women get on an elevator. There's a video screen in the elevator. RUTH stands near the buttons. SARA stands on the other side.]

Can you press 33 for me?

Sure. I'm on 31. You work for the law firm?

Yeah. You work for the consulting firm?

Yeah. I'm Ruth.

What? Sorry, I was distracted by the screen. 13 children dead in a licorice accident. It's quite a tragedy.

Oh, the screen. Yes, it's quite something.

Isn't technology amazing. They've even got the weather. Apparently it's 62 on the ground, but 59 up where we are. Well, 59 on 33. Maybe it's 60 on 31. I don't know.

I hate the screen.

What? Sorry. The Dow is up 14 and a half. It was only up 14 and a quarter when we got on. Banner day on Wall Street.

I had all my money in tech stocks. Lost a bundle. Good thing my husband left me a nice chunk of change after the sponge cake accident.

What? Sorry. The word of the day is chlamydia. That's interesting.

My daughter has that.

Your daughter? What floor does she work on?

She doesn't work here. She lives in Idaho. She's a seamstress.

What? Sorry. Betty White turns 79 today. I loved her in that chicken commercial.

This isn't much of a conversation. You keep distracted by the screen.

Sorry. What? I'm distracted by the screen.

Yes, that's what I said.

The dollar's down against the Yen. Shocking news from the world markets.

The elevator's slow today.

Time flies when you read the screen. And look -- the animal of the day is the salamander. I love salamanders. They're so cute.

Is everyone on 33 as friendly as you?

What? Sorry. The latest poll shows kidney beans are twice as popular as chick peas. I never would have guessed.

[The elevator rings. RUTH gets out.]

Have a good day.

What? Sorry. Milk can feel pain. Fascinating.


Saturday, May 22, 2004

On Friday I repeated socks. Really. It's not my fault. I just didn't have enough pairs of dress socks to get me through the week. I had two. I borrowed two. And then on Friday... well... it was Monday all over again. I'm sorry. It won't happen again. I just bought more dress socks. And a gray pair of pants, since I was alternating navy and tan (not the same pairs -- I have a bunch of each) and needed some variety. And a cool-looking wrinkle-free blue shirt on sale that I liked, so I couldn't resist. It was really cheap. I didn't need to resist. I got a paycheck yesterday for the first week of work. My shirt cost about 1.5% of my weekly take-home pay. That's about 45 minutes of work I guess. Actually, that makes it sound like lot. I'd rather go home 45 minutes early one day than have the shirt. Uh oh. Did I mess up? Whatever. I can afford the shirt. Barely. But I can. I also bought a new toothbrush, since I was almost due for one, a magazine, and a smoothie. My shopping spree. Extraordinary, really.

And then I went to the public library for some books for the daily subway commute, since I'd finished what I had lying around. Early in the week I read "Live From New York," the 600-page history of Saturday Night Live that came out about 18 months ago. Solid. Enjoyable. A bit too long. But good reading. And then I read "Count Down," which is like the movie "Spellbound" but about the International Math Olympiad and the 6 kids on the U.S. team. It was a little too quick, actually -- I could have enjoyed another 100 pages or so, and some more depth. Too lightweight. I recommend, but only if you think it sounds like something you'd like even if I didn't recommend. It's not a must-read. Then on Friday I took with me a book of essays about Paris by 1920s journalist Joseph Roth that a relative recommended. It was a little too literary for me. Didn't grab me, at least not on the subway. Just didn't do it.

So, I got 6 books from the library. Nothing I'm really, truly excited about reading, but all things I think will be decent enough for the commute. I need to find a better library. I will report as I complete. Probably up first on Monday will be Ken Auletta's "Backstory" about the business of journalism. We'll see.

Friday, May 21, 2004

We just got a brochure titled "43 Exclusive Westlaw Features," including:

4. Commitment to accuracy

21. Links tab

31. Quickly return to your research

41. Fast two-click printing

And 39 other marginally useful featurettes mixed with vague, unsupported claims.

This is just screaming for a parody. Loudly. Look for it this weekend.
Just a quick note: if anyone's ever considered sending me e-mail but hasn't, you get extra special bonus karma points if you do so between the hours of 9:30-5:30 Monday-Friday, because there's nothing better than taking a quick e-mail break, clicking Refresh, and actually having new mail. End of message.
Billing time has been interesting so far. We bill in 6-minute increments (tenths of an hour) here. Not my time log, but we all can dream, can't we?

0.1 -- Adjusted my eyes to the light in the office (Nonbillable)
0.2 -- Read headlines on (Nonbillable)
0.1 -- Daydreamed about stuff (Nonbillable)
0.1 -- Called partner who gave me assignment (Sort of billable?)
0.1 -- He didn't pick up his phone (Nonbillable)
0.2 -- Recorded timesheet for first 0.6 hours of the day (Nonbillable)
0.1 -- Went to bathroom, thought about case (Billable)
0.1 -- Washed my hands (Nonbillable)
0.1 -- Reviewed billable hours from yesterday (Nonbillable)
0.3 -- Proofread something I wrote yesterday (Billable)
0.3 -- Proofread it again (Billable)
0.3 -- Proofread it a third time (Billable)
0.3 -- Proofread my billable hours log (Nonbillable)
4.5 -- Lunch
0.2 -- Bathroom
0.4 -- Talk to other summer associates about lunch, compared notes, decided what restaurants to seek out in the near future
0.2 -- Bathroom
0.2 -- Bathroom
2.5 -- Lunch II
[end of day]
On the subway this morning, I noticed an advertisement. It was for a community college of some sort, but the words in the ad were arranged poorly. They were sort of on a diagonal, but at first, as I read from left to right, something seemed wrong:


Which is fine advice, and perhaps speaks to the state of opportunities in this economy for people with degrees from community college. But I thought was a poor market message. Read top to bottom instead:


Somehow that seems to make more sense.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Okay, yesterday's sketch was part of a decision I made to exercise my sketch-writing muscle a little bit more. So there will be more for the next little while, along with the usual randomness, and they will hopefully get consistently funnier and better. Last night as I was falling asleep I scrawled down a few ideas.

Excerpts from new FOX shows featuring Simon Cowell as judge

"Birthing Idol"
[Lights up on a woman in labor, pushing and screaming.]
SIMON: I just don't like the head on this one.
SIMON: I've never seen anything so dreadfully ugly.
SIMON: That was a dismal performance. And your gown is hideous.
SIMON: You're bloody covered in blood. Awful.
SIMON: One baby is simply not enough to win this competition. I'm sorry.
SIMON: A boy, a girl, and a sandwich. This is what this competition is all about.

"Homeless Idol"
[Lights up on homeless people.]
SIMON: You stink. Quite literally, you stink.
SIMON: I wouldn't give you a nickel for that performance, I really wouldn't.
SIMON: That performance makes me want to find all of the other homeless people homes, because there's no way any of them can actually be worse than you.
SIMON: Your box isn't even staying together. Pathetic.
SIMON: You are literally freezing to death. This is what Homeless Idol is all about. Congratulations.

"Simon Cowell Judging the Special Olympics"
SIMON: That was special. Specially horrible.
SIMON: If your IQ were any lower, you'd be Paula Abdul."
SIMON: Did you really come here thinking you were the best handicapped child in the country? Because if you did, then maybe you're in worse shape than it seems.
SIMON: Can't walk? Forget it. You're awful.
SIMON: You are drooling on my shoes, but you have star quality. YOU are a special child.

"Simon Cowell at a Nursing Home"
SIMON: Shouldn't you already be dead?
SIMON: I just aged ten years waiting for you to get out of the bathroom. Eighty more and we'll almost be even.
SIMON: I hope you're close to the end, because otherwise that was just terrible.
SIMON: I've seen better talent in the morgue.
SIMON: No teeth? But you can sing regardless? You are why this TV show exists.
I just did a law thing. I mean I had an assignment, and I wrote what they asked me to (I hope) and sent it to them. My first law thing. Isn't that exciting?

OK, maybe not that exciting. But sort of exciting!

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

"You Working On Anything?"

[Lights up in a young lawyer's office. Computer, lots of paper, nice window view, perhaps a rotting corpse in the corner. Lawyer is playing solitaire. You can tell it's solitaire because he's transfixed on the screen and clicking the mouse. And because he's alone. Let's call him Fred.]

Come on, black queen. Give me a black queen.

[LAURA, a slightly older lawyer, is suddenly in the doorway.]

Looking at interracial gay porn again?

No, just solitaire.

You working on anything?

Billing code 4123-dash-8.

What's that?


Oh. I billed an hour for that this morning.

Bored too?

No. Mexican.


SO you want to help me out with something?


Great. You're gonna hate this. It's what we gave paralegals until they unionized and demanded we stop in their latest contract negotiations.

I heard about those. Is that why the paralegals make more than I do?

No. They make more than you because they get overtime when they stay until midnight.

I just get free take-out and a car home.

Not anymore. Cars only after 2 AM. And take-out's only breakfast.

Great. So what's the job?

Well, I've got fourteen cartons of paper that were just delivered from the paper factory. Imagine, a paper factory getting sued and the case demanding a document review. A paper factory.

Like an electric chair manufacturer getting sentenced to death.

I hope you do a rotation through the punchline department this summer, because that one died.

Did you mean that to be a pun?

If you're asking, I guess I need some continuing legal education classes myself.

So you want me to go through the cartons looking for relevant material.

That's the second step.

What's the first?

Translating it all from Arabic.

It's in Arabic?

You think they speak English in Minnesota?

Yeah, I thought they did.

Not at this company. They make paper. They speak Arabic. And they used these cartons as spitoons for their chewing tobacco. So you might want to wear gloves.

Wouldn't it make sense to get someone who speaks Arabic to do this?

Does anything we do make sense?

Good point. So where should I start?

Probably with the box marked "1".

At least they use our numbers.

That's looking on the bright side. At least you've got a good attitude. That's one of the things we look for.

What are the others?

Intelligence, drive, and an inability to say no.

I said no to twelve other firms to come here.

Then it's out of your system.

When do you need this by?


And then you'll have something rewarding for me to work on?

Probably not, but you can always hope.

Except on Tuesdays.

Right, I see you read the rules.




It means good luck in Arabic.

No it doesn't.

Are you sure?


Okay then. Phlegm.


[Laura exits. Lights out.]

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Today I had computer training, which is about how it sounds. Despite hopes for something disastrous and/or uproariously funny to happen, just to make the day more interesting, it was all pretty normal. Thus I'm forced to think outside the box for something to write about. This, I'm sure, has nothing to do with the firm, but the elevators in the building have little screens that show news, weather, sports, etc while you're riding up or down. It strikes me as a little bit sad. Not that it's not nice to have something to read, but is 45 seconds in an elevator really too long to go without some sort of stimulus? I don't mind 45 seconds of contemplation in the elevator, solitary thought or reflection... but apparently society doesn't have time for that anymoe and we need elevator entertainment. Gosh.

5 strange people I saw on the subway yesterday or today:

1. Woman with big visible neck tattoo
2. Man with fluorescent blinking cell phone lights
3. Woman with Slim Jim sticking out of her purse.
4. Man reading math textbook and mouthing the words to himself as he read
5. Woman who kept had both of her hands on the pole and was rubbing them around -- as if the pole was not something to be avoided at all costs.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Hello (perhaps) to the one person in my summer class who mentioned he's read this; and, who knows, of course hello to anyone else in my summer class who reads this, although I'm guessing it's probably just the one.

Today, really, the firm did nothing but validate that I made a perfectly reasonable choice when choosing between firms. I met lots of people I think I like, real lawyers and other summer associates, and none of the forms we filled out or things we saw on our tour threw up any red flags like "this a cult," "these people are monsters," or "evil is lurking everywhere." My usual concern about these first-day things -- in any context, not just this one specifically -- is that I'm usually awfully quiet at first, that I take a little while to get comfortable and adjust, and fear that it comes off as unfriendly or something, when really I'm just nervous and shy -- but I feel like, for me, I did relatively okay today, and ended up talking to a bunch of people and at least trying reasonably hard to be outgoing and meet people and engage. And I met a bunch of nice people. I honestly have nothing but positive things to say about the day, within the confines that the first day of work is never really going to involve more than adminstrative stuff, anywhere, and so how thrilling can it really be. But that's nothing unexpected, and I have nothing but nice things to say.

First we filled out forms. Here's a mix of forms we filled out with forms I'm making up:

1. I-9 immigration form
2. W-2 tax form
3. Denial of liability in case of nuclear attack
4. Emergency contact form
5. Prohibition on insider trading
6. Prohibition on sexual harassment
7. Prohibition on tank tops
8. Prohibition on misplaced commas
9. Prohibition on surfing the web for porn
10. Prohibition on surfing the web not for porn

Then we got offices. I have a nice view.

After lunch we took a tour of the building. Here's a mix of things I saw and things I'm making up:

1. The elevator bank
2. The nice view from the reception area
3. The records office, which has automatic stacks of shelving that can crush someone to death.
4. The library, which has manual stacks of shelving that can crush someone to death.
5. Bruno, the security guard who can crush someone to death.
6. Petty cash
7. Petty theft
8. Deceased race car driver Richard Petty
9. The office that coordinates the secretary pool
10. The indoor swimming pool
11. The pool table
12. Word processing
13. The stapling center
14. The Staples Center
15. The center of a gigantic stapler
16. The cream-filled center of a gigantic Oreo
17. The Taxicopter, which is a tax form combined with a helicopter. Use your imagination.

Then we had a reception, which had food that I couldn't imagine eating since lunch was big and recent.

64 more days!

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Expectations for the summer, before the job starts:

1. I expect to learn just how many shades of blue there are. I don't mean sadness. I mean blue like in dress shirts. I expect to see lots of blue shirts, all similar but subtly different from each other. I expect it will be a real education. In blueshirtness. I own 4 blue dress shirts right now. If I were to give each of them a name, they would be "Shiny Blue," "Textured Light Blue," "Dark Blue," and "Blue I think is blue but a bunch of people told me it was gray." But I expect to also learn what "Bright Blue," "Powder Blue," "Electric Blue," "Striped Blue," "Pinstriped Blue," "Blue with white collar," "Used to be blue but ended up with the whites in the laundry and got bleached," "Wishes it was blue but is really sort of pink," "Stained blue," "Sky blue," "Hole in the collar blue," and "Magic marker blue" all look like too. I'll be keeping a list.

2. I expect to be able to more fully articulate the differences between Lexis and Westlaw, what one has and the other hasn't, which one gives better free assistance over e-mail, the pricing differences, which one has a more enthusiastic sales rep, which provides better training, which is more likely to lead me on wild-goose-searches where I end up finding interesting news articles about people I went to elementary school with, which is the more "sensitive" legal research service, what the difference between a Boolean and Natural Language search is, how many digits of my Westlaw password I can memorize without my brain exploding, which is more forgiving of rookie mistakes like selecting the wrong court system to look in, which loads faster, and which smells better.

3. I expect to participate in a lot of summer associate events, in fact probably the same number and exactly the same type as my friends at other firms around the city. In fact, I expect to see large packs of summer associates from other firms leaving Wolfgang Puck's "Le Hamsterie" right as my firm's group is entering; sitting next to us at the Yankees game (where Gary Sheffield will have been expressly instructed to hit a foul ball directly into our section so that one lucky summer associate gets to go home with a souvenir. Yankee tickets bought by the law firm: free; Concessions bought by the law firm: free; Gary Sheffield hitting a foul ball right into your section: $100,000 check from the law firm to Gary Sheffield; if that really happens: priceless); down the row at Wicked: The Musical; three lanes over at the bowling alley... oh, wait, lawyers don't go bowling. Bowling is a blue-collar sport. Lawyers, despite wearing blue shirts, only play white-collar sports, like accounting.

4. I expect to get tired of eating in nice restaurants, since I hear I will end up having a lot of nice lunches. Which will actually be a shame, since eating in a nice restaurant should be a treat, not necessarily an everyday activity. But it will be a nice shame, sort of. Part of me thinks this all may be overblown and I'll actually get to make some lunch plans with friends in the city and not be "booked" every day with work-lunching. But obviously until I start I have no idea. The perfect business meal for a nice blue shirt: soup, pasta with red sauce, something parmagiana, and liquid chocolate raspberry spinning gyroscopes of staining liquid for dessert. Or perhaps I'll just order the dry cereal with white rice, so even if I pour it all on my lap, I can still walk back to the office clean and ready for an afternoon on Lexisicing.

5. I expect to like it. I mean, everyone says it's a lot of fun, I'll get to meet some students from other schools, meet some lawyers, figure out what it is lawyers do, go to some cool events and activities, eat in nice restaurants, see some things besides the inside of a classroom, really what's not to like. Except for the sense that I'll be becoming "one of them." But I suppose I did that when I sent in my law school deposit. I don't know. I guess I'm hoping that not all lawyers live up (down?) to the generic lawyer reputations, although really many of the people I met during the interview process seemed like very nice people, so I don't really think I should be concerned. But I don't know. And not knowing what to expect kind of makes the anticipation fun. A little bit.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

I saw "Mean Girls" tonight. I didn't much like it. I thought I'd like it more. UPDATED SUNDAY MORNING: Okay, why didn't I like it? Well, it didn't feel particularly grounded in any sort of reality. Every character was enough of an exaggeration of what the actual "type" might be that, to me, they ceased to be human beings and there was no thread with which to relate. So there were all of these caricatures populating the movie, each with a goal of his or her own, and the interaction just wasn't there. It touched no emotional place, no genuine nugget of feeling. And so all these caricatures existing in their own little worlds limited the potential for funny. The laughs were on one-liner jokes thrown in, and not the more satisfying laughs from situations that are funny and build on the character funny. It just wasn't a satisfying movie, on really any level. I can't imagine the book off of which it was conceived is as shallow as the movie, and says, basically, just that some girls -- The Plastics -- are the royalty of the high school and everyone else is in awe of them or hates them. There had to be more. And I thought the movie was going to do more -- a little while with The Plastics, and then some time with the Fat Girls, or whoever... but it never got away from its first step. So, just not satisfying. I feel dumb for having wanted to see it. That's not a good feeling to leave the theater with -- dumb for having wanted to see the movie. I think Tina Fey is better than this movie, but that something must have gotten derailed along the way, where someone wanted one movie and someone else wanted another movie, and it ended up like this. I don't know. It's not an utter disaster, there's some moments that are entertaining, but it just hangs together as a bunch of disconnected exaggerated characters that don't do anything worth watching.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Okay, so you're going to law school in the fall...

...and this is your last summer of freedom. I know I've posted about this stuff before, but since the academic year is over, and there are all sorts of college grads now looking forward to wasting three years of their lives and $120,000 just so they can work 20-hour days in white-collar sweatshops, I figure now is as appropriate time as any to try and formulate some sort of summer-before-law-school advice, all wrapped up in a neat little bow. Ten tips for law students-to-be. Not to be taken completely seriously, because maybe I'm just trying to be funny. Maybe I'm serious. I don't even know anymore.

1. Come up with a neat little 90-second answer to the question, "Why are you in law school?" Whether it's real or invented doesn't matter, it's just that you're going to be asked this question eight hundred times for the next three years, so you may as well figure out something to say. "I want to help people" will get you laughed out of orientation. "I want to help people who are fairly rich become moderately richer" is a little bit better. "I want to help myself" is probably the best one of all.

2. Write yourself a note. I've seen this advice before, but I can't remember where. So I'm stealing it. But my conscience can live with it. Write yourself a note all about the high-minded goals you've got going in. "I'm going to use my law degree to work for Greenpeace and make sure evil politicians don't burn down all the forests and dig for oil in all of the nation's public housing projects." Whatever your dreams are, your idealistic reasons for joining some of America's most successful standardized test takers, write them down, put them in an envelope, seal the envelope, and give it to someone you trust. Then, three years from now, you can look back and cry.

3. Stop imagining that law school is so different from everything else you've ever done before. If you're going to law school, you probably didn't completely screw up college. Law school's a lot more like college than, say, a job is. If you survived college, you'll survive law school. Heck, if you enjoyed college, you'll probably even enjoy law school. Yes, you need to read a bunch of stuff every week. No, this will not be the most grueling three years you've ever experienced, it will not require you cut off contact with your family and friends, it will not require you radically change your lifestyle and force yourself into a miserable existence because you don't think you'll pass Torts otherwise. It's school, you know how to do school, just put in the hours you end up needing to out in, which will probably be fewer than you fear, and you'll be fine. This is not some sort of radically different paradigm.

4. Go on your school's website and look at the extracurricular activities. Find some you're interested in. If you're really interested in them, track down someone involved in them and shoot them an e-mail. They'll be happy to know you. Thinking even broader, find out some stuff in the city you'll be in that you might enjoy doing and see if you can lay the groundwork for getting involved in that too. Even if you do nothing and just keep some ideas in the back of your head come fall, it'll keep you from feeling like there's nothing outside of the classroom, your dorm room, and the library. To stay sane you've got to do stuff you find fun and rewarding and fulfilling and satisfying. Classes may be all of those things. But you'll probably need more. Don't be afraid to find more. This is three years of your life. You don't get any extra credit for being miserable.

5. Write a resume. It will feel like it's much, much, much too soon in the fall when people start frantically looking for summer jobs. If you already have a resume -- and maybe even the start of a cover letter -- it'll just be one less thing to have to deal with. Plus everyone's going to ask you forty times a day if you wrote your resume yet, and this way you can say yes. Anecdotal evidence indicates to me that what you do your summer after 1L year does not impact your 2L job search much if at all. So don't worry if you don't get a law firm job and you're stuck working somewhere you'd rather not be. You'll survive. And, if faced with a choice between two jobs that won't have radically different impacts on your future, choose the one you're going to enjoy more even if it's the one you're more uncomfortable telling your classmates you've accepted. They don't have to live your life, you do.

6. Resolve not to lose touch with everyone you know outside of law school. Whether this means pledging to write e-mails, planning visits in advance, setting up a weekly dinner, starting a weblog... just make sure you have some sort of way to avoid getting so wrapped up in law school that you have nothing else. Even if you like law school. Because at some point law school isn't new anymore, and you're going to feel lonely, and want to reconnect. So why lose touch in the first place. The 3 years goes fast, and then what? Don't lose the life and friends and hobbies and passions you have just because you're going to law school. It's not worth it.

7. Buy big fluffy pillows, a comfortable desk chair, a working alarm clock, a bunch of highlighters, and a t-shirt with the name of your school on it. The first four things are to maximize comfort and productivity. The last is so that when you wander off in a law-induced stupor, someone will know where you belong and lead you back.

8. Ignore anyone who tries to tell you that some sort of week-long law school preparatory class is going to be anything more than a waste of money. That includes ignoring the voices inside your own head that are telling you to go. You won't get a "leg up" and, at worst, you'll be the jackass who keeps raising his hand because he knows the answer and everyone will hate you. If you really want to get a head start, find a 3-page summary on the Internet of all of your classes, and read it. You'll be more prepared than you need to be, but it won't turn you into "one of those people."

9. As soon as you find out what casebooks you're going to be using, go on or Amazon used and buy them there. They're much cheaper. Also, befriend some law students and they'll give you their old study guides. Not worth buying new. Not worth buying at all, really (the study guides I mean -- your casebooks, unfortunately, really are worth buying, and reading, and even occasionally highlighting), but if you can get them for free, why not.

10. Have fun. This is probably not your last summer of freedom, and it may not even be a summer of freedom at all, but it's still important to take advantage. Law school may dull your personality, quash your creativity, and silence your passions. So this may be the last time you're really you, and not some defanged, exhausted, and soul-less version of yourself. So you should do the things you're afraid you won't ever do once you're in law school. Write a novel. Take a pottery class. Make the world's longest paper clip chain. However your spirit moves you. Good luck. And godspeed.
I woke up this morning, and I can't believe I've finished two years of law school. It seems like I just started. It goes by quickly. Especially the most recent semester, because by now nothing much is new, and so you get into a routine and time just flies.

I'm contemplating a post here, and I'm not sure exactly what I want it to say. On Monday I start my summer job, which hasn't gotten much attention on here since the fall recruiting season, mostly because once they hire you, there's not that much to do until you start working there. I've already mentioned I'm in New York. So that limits the universe to about 4,000 places I could be. I have no idea if anyone at the firm I'll be at reads this already, or even knows it exists. I've got to believe someone has seen it -- if not someone at the firm, then someone in my summer class. Regardless, obviously I write as if they're reading every word. Which, and maybe this is naive, I honestly don't think changes anything, since most of the things I think about and find myself wanting to write about are riffs on reality, and on the insignificant details, not to write Ron Suskind's "The Price of Loyalty" and try to bring down an administration. Frankly, lately I don't feel I've been writing tons of things that are particularly relevant, and interesting, and thought-provoking, and insightful. Maybe I never have been, but I didn't notice it. And hopefully you've enjoyed what I've been writing regardless. I hope you have. But part of me, perhaps naively, feels like this summer gig, at least by being something new and different and interesting, will give me lots of neat new things to say, and breathe some exciting new life into this weblog thing. Two years ago, when I started this, there were not nearly as many law students with weblogs as there are now. People can find out what life is like... pretty much everywhere. But I'm not sure I've seen a ton of summer associate stories. So what I'm saying is that I want to give you something cool here. I want to be a destination. I want to offer something no one else is. So I will try. I may not succeed. But I will try. I've read a decent number of weblog posts that say people are writing for themselves. In a way I'm writing for myself. In a bigger way I'm writing for an audience. In a way, this whole thing has been an experiment to see if I can build an audience, and if I have interesting things to say. I've built a little bit of an audience. This, to me, feels like the point where I say: stick with me. Not because I'm asking you to, but because I'm going to make this worth your three minutes to read it every day. Or at least I'm going to try. I don't what the point of this whole post is. But one of the interesting things about weblogs is the potential for every three days to be a meaningful moment of some sort: it's either your birthday, your weblog's anniversary, your 1000th post, your 100000th visitor, the end of a semester, the beginning of a festival, or the demarcation of some other significant life event. And everything feels worthy of a self-reflective, 800-word creation. Ah, isn't it beautiful. I think I have some never-before-written law school advice posts churning in my head for the weekend. But on Monday I step into a law firm office for the first time not as one seeking a job, but one, uh, seeking a job? I honestly don't really know what to expect. I've heard stories, but do I really believe them? Do I really think they take us out for 2-hour lunches every day? I kind of hope they don't, since I'd hate for a good meal to become such a habit that I can't enjoy it.

If you've gotten all the way down here, you deserve some links. If you're still taking exams, or even if you're not, read Waddling Kitchen for some ideas about what to eat. He writes about food well. If you want to know my pre-law-firm conception of a good supervising attorney, see here. For a bad one, see here.
All done. 2L year's over. And I'm back in New York. And I'm annoyed that I threw away my Tax code-list, because it was going to make my odd idea for a post really easy to write. I'm going to try anyway.

Conversation Between Tax Lawyers At The Watercooler

1: I'm sorry for your 165.
2: Thanks. Although it had really been a 129 for a while.
1: I heard she was a real 74.
2: Maybe. But she had a real problem with 40.
1: 163ing. I never heard that.
2: We kept it quiet. She was in and out of 111.
3: Hey, hey, hey! Guess who had a date last night?
1: Thought it would be a nice day, and 63s you.
2: Yeah, you're 61.
1: That girl was probably just making a 170.
2: I bet she needs 104 after whatever you did to her.
1: Yeah, because spending time with you is a 183 for sure.
3: Hey, hey, at least I had a date and wasn't getting 73.
1: That's 61!
2: Yeah!
1: I wish 101 on you.
2: That goes double for me.
3: Sorry, sorry. I just came by to get some milk for my coffee. Have you seen the 67?
1: All we have is skim.
2: Try the 125.
3: Thanks. [he exits]
1: It would be a 132 to lose him.
2: Definitely.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

This is becoming a pattern, isn't it? The early morning post about my exam in just an hour and fifteen minutes. Well, this is the last one. I have a marvelous idea for a post all about Tax, but not the energy to write it yet, so look for that later today or maybe tomorrow. At some point in the next 24 hours I head back to NY for the summer, now that the weather has turned nice here in Cambridge. There are people from my tax class without earshot in the library puzzling over something I should be puzzling over but instead am writing a weblog post. Oh well. We have 4 hours, I have the tax code, I have my notes, if I can't find it and figure it out during the exam, well, then I deserve whatever grade I get. Like that excuse as to why I'm not puzzling over the interaction between 1231 and 1245 and 1221? Yeah, me neither. I think I'm going to press "publish" and start puzzling.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Diary of an Exam

Tuesday, 3:00 PM -- I was born as the 23rd photocopy in the basement of the law school and was added to a large stack. I'm a twin! There are 132 of us, plus one who's missing his back page (birth defect) and a few who are lopsided.

Tuesday, 4:00 PM -- Overwhelmed by the smell of toner, I passed out. I awoke to find myself still in the same pile.

Wednesday 7:45 AM -- An elderly gentleman put me and my brothers in a box and carried us somewhere. He smelled like sour milk.

Wednesday 8:30 AM -- The box was put down in what seemed to be a classroom. Nervous students gathered around me, as I waited for the elderly gentleman to give me to my new owner. This must have been what the slaves felt like.

Wednesday 8:36 AM -- My new owner is treating me badly. He's abusive. He folded me in half. It really hurts. And I'm being crushed by his laptop computer in his backpack. This isn't fair. I miss my box.

Wednesday 8:44 AM -- We have arrived at his apartment. It smells like sour milk. He burned me with coffee. I hate him.

Wednesday 8:52 AM -- He's writing on me. I hope it's not permanent. Mom told me I should never get a tattoo because I'll regret it when I'm old and wrinkled and grayish-white.

Wednesday 10:15 AM -- We've been here a long time. I don't know what's going on. He's looking at other papers. He likes them better than me. I tried to get his attention by making myself fall on the floor but he ignored me.

Wednesday, 10:42 AM -- I'm still on the floor. He hasn't noticed.

Wednesday 10:50 AM -- OUCH! His chair just ran over me. That's gonna leave a mark. And no medical attention. Crap.

Wednesday 11:15 AM -- Okay, he just picked me up and he's reading me again. His palms are sweaty. It's kind of disgusting.

Wednesday 12:02 PM -- More writing. It doesn't even look like English.

Wednesday 1:12 PM -- He RIPPED me! He TORE a piece from me! And wrapped his chewing gum in it and threw it out. That was my spleen, mister!

Wednesday 3:30 PM -- I'd heard the rumors but I never thought it would actually happen to me: I've been STAPLED to some fresh-out-of-the-printer exam wannabes. He calls them his "answers," whatever that means. Mom told me never to get my ears pierced. This must be what it feels like.

Wednesday 4:30 PM -- Box, sweet box. I'm back with my friends. We've all been stapled. I hope we're not being taken to a concentration camp now.

Wednesday 7:21 PM -- The room is dark; it smells like feet; in comes an older man with an unkempt beard and unmatching clothes. Must be a professor. He takes the box. I am apparently going on a trip somewhere.

Wednesday 9:11 PM -- The professor has a nice house. Hope he leaves the TV on. Porn.

Wednesday 9:49 PM -- No porn, but there's a whole ream of paper in the corner -- NAKED! And posing just for me. You look sexy, blank paper. Although it's a little too thick for me. I prefer 12 lb and this is 15.

Friday 1:12 PM -- Touch me, professor! Touch me! Oh, how I long to be touched!

Six weeks later, Friday, 4:07 AM -- Touch me, professor! Touch me! It's been so long since anyone has touched me!

Saturday, 11:12 AM -- Finally, my needs are being tended. Yeah, scratch right there, by the staple. No, a little bit to the left. Yeah, that's it, that's it, don't stop.

Saturday, 11:14 AM -- Why are you writing on me with RED pen?! What do I look like?? Who do you think you are??

Saturday, 11:19 AM -- So the rumors are true. I've just been thrown down a flight of stairs to see where I land. Apparently I'm a B+. So is everyone else in the box.

Sunday, 10:01 PM -- It's been a long and fruitful life, but I am at the point of no return. The Hefty Bag on the curb. There's no turning back. I'm ready to go with God. Take me when you're ready.

Monday, 6:02 AM -- He's ready. Garbage truck approaching.


Monday, 8:13 AM -- I am nearly dead. A first-year law student approaches, picking through the McDonalds' wrappers and empty tubes of hemorrhoid cream. He picks me up. He wipes me off. I am now -- I believe -- a study aide. My parents would be so proud.
Here's an article from Monday's Boston Globe about webloggers getting press credentials for the Democratic Convention. It mentions Pandagon, which is a pretty cool site for political news and views (and I'm not just saying that because they linked to my Democratic Debate Parody a while back), and which I didn't realize was written by a 21-year-old and a 19-year-old. Gosh. I feel old.
Okay, exam #2 is over. One more to go, and that's Tax, and it's tomorrow. 21 hours until I am finished for a while. Well, until Monday, when I start my summer gig, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here... still got to figure out what section 1045 recapture means. As I was walking over to pick up the exam this morning -- 8:30 this morning -- I passed about eight or ten different people, also on their way to get exams, all drinking Starbucks Frappucinos. At 8:30 in the morning. With the whip cream and caramel syrup and everything. Caffeinated breakfast of champions I guess. I had an Odwalla Carrot/Apple/Orange juice, which is awfully tasty, and a donut, which wasn't so much. That was my entire intake until I gave in the exam and went to grab a sandwich. At 10:30, 2 hours in, the fire alarm in my building went off. Again. (It went off last night too.) So I went to the library for the rest of the exam and did it there. Didn't notice much of a difference. 8-hour exams aren't any fun no matter where you take them.

Top Eleven Beverages of Choice (although not my choice) Preceding An 8-Hour-Exam

1. Starbucks Frappucino
2. Dunkin' Donuts Iced Latte
3. Red Bull
4. Protein Shake with Wheatgrass
5. Wheatgrass Shake with Protein
6. Mountain Dew with two tablespoons of sugar added
7. Mountain Dew Code Black
8. Mountain Dew flavored Starbucks Frappucino
9. Mountain Dew flavored Starbucks Frappucino mixed with Red Bull, extra whip cream
10. Cookie Dough (I'm stealing the joke from an old SNL commercial parody -- Cookie Dough as a sports drink.)
11. The Blood of a Young Child
8-hour exam starts in 25 minutes. Communications Law.

On the way to the student center, I passed a stray flier on the ground. "Summer Jobs for the Environment." I thought it was ironic, lying on the ground. Maybe not.

See you in 8 hours.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I love the vaudeville routine after every exam -- the "I really want to talk about the exam, but I really don't want to talk about the exam" act that everyone puts on that leads to impossibly vague conversations that do nothing but raise questions.

1: "So... not, uh, terrible, right?"
2: "No, no, it was, uh... not terrible."
1: "On the long one---"
2: "No, no, no substance."
1: "No, just, the long one was not obvious, right?"
2: "No, I didn't think it was obvious."
1: "And the practice exam didn't really..."
2: "I don't know, I don't want to talk about it."
1: "But for the one with the clown... did you use up all the word limit?"
2: "No, no, not even close."
1: "Good, good."
2: "There were a bunch where you had answers that were pretty much the same, right?"
1: "I don't know about a bunch, but more than one, sure."
2: "And you were pretty confident about that?"
1: "Reasonably, I guess."
2: "There was quite a bit of... reading... in the second part."
1: "Yeah, and I was kind of amused by the little trick."
2: "The little trick?"
1: "Yeah, on the third... oh wait, you didn't see the little trick?"
2: "What little trick? No, don't tell me."
1: "It wasn't-- It wasn't that big of a deal, just the way the statute--"
2: "No, no... you opened the statute?"
1: "Yeah, a couple of times."
2: "I just used my notes."
1: "I was going to just use my notes, but then that question with the apricots, and there was nothing--"
2: "The hypothetical from class--"
1: "I don't know. Stop, I don't want to know."
2: "Okay, okay. But certainly the moral of that whole exam was Rule 92. Rule ninety-freakin-two."
1: "92? What? What in the world is Rule 92?"
2: "Nevermind. I didn't mean to--"
1: "Yeah, I don't want to--"
2: "Let's get some lunch."
1: "Okay."

Monday, May 10, 2004

Exam this morning was... reasonable. Two more to go. I've written before about proctors, the elderly folks who hand out and collect the exams. Today, however, was a first. One proctor announced, as he began to read the instructions, "Good morning, my name is John [something]. I am the HEAD proctor for this exam. My two ASSISTANT proctors will be handing out the exams as I read these instructions verbatim." He emphasized HEAD and ASSISTANT very much so. This guy was on a freaking power trip because he was the HEAD of the three-person team assigned to hand out law school exams. Insane. At one point, he said, as if anyone cared: "You may notice that the green attendance cards, if you have the new ones, ask for your last name first now. Note the change." Maybe he got appointed to the HEAD proctor position by taking note of details like that. "I will write the time on the board at regular intervals, whenever I remember." Thanks. He really said that. "But, as always, the time will be kept officially by the clock." By the clock? But you're the HEAD proctor!?!?! Shouldn't the HEAD proctor keep the OFFICIAL time? Okay, clearly I've gone insane. I'm in the library right now, and there's a sign right by the computers:

Please be advised!!!

The computers in the library are experiencing random rebooting. The issue is being worked on.


5-02-04 Library Automation Department
A few questions raised:

1) What in the world is the "Library Automation Department"???
2) Why can't they spell-check??? ("Fequently")
3) What in the world makes computers randomly reboot???
4) Why so many exclamation points???

Scheherazade has an uber-cool post about interviewing a new lawyer for a job at her firm and how young lawyers, without even knowing it, run the risk of becoming "one of them." I may be grossly mischaracterizing her post. Go read it and find out for yourself. I need to post fast, before the computer randomly reboots or the HEAD proctor finds me and cuts off my HEAD.
Stream of consciousness one hour and ten minutes before corporations exam

Why did I think I needed an hour to eat a danish, check my e-mail, and set my fantasy baseball lineups before my exams, when I really only needed ten minutes, and I could have done it after the exam anyway? I know rule 14-e-3 applies to tender offers only, but I'm not sure what it applies to tender offers only. I hope it doesn't start raining, since I left my umbrella home. Should I go to the bathroom again before my exam? Is there any way to get the song stuck in my head out of my head before the exam? Did I forget anything? Will my disk work? Should I have eaten more than a danish? Should I check again which room my exam is in? I could have read it wrong, I suppose, although I did just check this morning. Should I really be writing a weblog post an hour and six minutes before my exam? Is there any more corporations I can possibly learn? Should I abbreviate business judgment rule as BJR on the exam to make it seem like I'm more comfortable with this language than I really am, or should I just write the whole thing out? Should I just play it by ear based on how close to the word count I am? Is this post funny? If it isn't should I post it anyway? I feel like I'm wasting time, but don't know how to actually be productive doing anything an hour before my exam. I like Blogger's new interface. That was random. I think I know the person sitting down the row at the computer cluster but I'm not sure. Does it matter? He's probably wasting time before an exam too. Do Revlon duties apply if he board doesn't actually want to sell but thinks it's being forced into it? I'm yawning. Did I not sleep enough? Was watching the first half-hour of Charlize Theron's episode of Iside the Actor's Studio really worth sacrificing a half-hour of sleep? Has Charlize Theron really done enough to merit an episode of Inside the Actor's Studio? Are they running out of actors? Is there actually an apostrophe in Actor's on the show, and if there is, is it after the S instead of before? Actors'? Actor's? Actors? We used to call female actors actresses anyway, right? Was there some definied point where that switched? Like the defined point where we switch to Revlon duties? That just sort of fell together, that returning back to corporations seamlessly thing. I didn't plan to make Revlon relevant again after my little Inside the Actors' Studio bit. Hmmm. Interesting. Yawning again. Not good. Glad the exam is only two hours. And starts in 59 minutes. Maybe I should go to the room it's in and stare at my outline. That would be more productive than this. Yeah, that's what I'll do. Okay, stopping now. Really, I am. Done. Done. Done. Done. Done!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Saw the end of the Survivor finale, and the reunion show afterwards, even though I hadn't seen any episodes of this season's Survivor. But it was still sort of interesting. Made the season seem pretty interesting, though I hadn't seen any of it.

After the break: a new twist. We'll be decapitating one of the 18 Survivors on national television... and Amber will get to choose who it is. Come on Amber, you've got ten seconds to make your choice!

Amber: I choose Rob, since I only said yes to the proposal because I thought he was going to win the million dollars. Now that I've won, I don't want to share it.

[audience cheers]

[end of Survivor stuff]

Had a conversation with a friend today about potential law firm orientation activities, like if they do stuff like play "two truths and a lie" with the summer associates. Bad ideas if they do:

>>Making racist comments. ("I'm actually Chinese!")

>>Admitting awkward personal stuff. ("I was raped!" "Last night!" "By the guy next to me!")

>>Saying stuff that makes it sound like you don't really want to be there. ("My goal in life is to be a stripper!")

Exam in 11 hours. Corporations. The practice exams all have fact patterns based on old movies -- Casablanca, Alfred Hitchcock, etc. I'm hoping this year's will be based on Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ. "A bystander learns of Jesus's impending crucifixion and buys stock in the local wood plank and nail companies. Is he liable under 10-b-5?" "A corporation is started by The Jews. Aren't they all?" "Jesus buys stock, dies, and then, within 6 months, is resurrected, and sells his stock at a profit. Has he violated Rule 16-b?"
The Yahoo Fantasy Baseball interface is fine, but this year they eliminated the "are you sure you wanna..." dialog box... and I just accidentally dropped Juan Uribe instead of Rafael Furcal. Clicked the wrong button. Not a big deal, since Uribe's about to lose playing time with Valentin off the DL, and Furcal is sure to get back to health soon, but... wait, you don't care. Sorry.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

I am back in Beantown. My computer, sadly, isn't. This morning it imploded before I left. It had been doing weird stuff, but this morning it wouldn't boot. Was able to borrow a laptop from a family friend to take back with me for exams this week (Thursday night I head back to NY for the summer) so I don't have to handwrite. But computers, aren't they something. Seems like everyone at Harvard has computer problems -- I'm not clear if that's the network's fault (everyone seems to get viruses) or what. I have no idea. But my borrowed computer stays off the network, and I'm e-mailing and blogging and all that jazz from the library for the week. Which, actually, will probably make my studying at home a lot more productive, so I don't know that I'm complaining all that vociferously.

Anyway, enough about my computer! On the Chinatown bus this evening, I was sitting next to a guy reading a book called "Survival in a Time of Crisis." Frightening. Not sure what crisis he was anticipating.

I saw "Avenue Q" on Broadway with a friend this afternoon before heading back up here. Loyal readers will recall I wrote about the soundtrack a bunch of months back. I liked the soundtrack. The show was better than the soundtrack. It was thoroughly entertaining. Thoroughly. I would say more, but if I say more, it will be all about me, and how seeing bad theater/TV/movies makes me feel better about my own skills and possibilities than seeing good theater/TV/movies. But it's getting late, and I want to go watch Saturday Night Live so I can feel better about myself.
I am disabused of the notion that I would get as much studying done at home as I would have at school. Nonetheless, I'm really glad I came home for a few days, because it's been awesome seeing some friends and the two shows I've seen. And if costs me a third of a grade in Communications Law, I think I'm okay with that. So there! :)

Friday, May 07, 2004

/Includible/ or /Includable/ ??
/Excludible/ or /Excludable/ ??

Maybe this bothers me more than it should, but my tax casebook can't decide, and neither can I. I like them with the /a/ not the /i/, but I'm not sure if that's just personal preference, or I'm actually correct.
Random thoughts on the "Friends" finale, which I just finished watching, thanks to the magic of videotape. Keep in mind I haven't seen an episode of friends in at least two years, maybe more.

1. I wish they would have explained that Erica was a surrogate mom, because it took me the longest time to figure out who she was -- when Phoebe told Ross he was going to be an uncle, I guessed she was Chandler's sister, but I still didn't know why she was there and pregnant. But then I finally figured it out.
2. Is Courteney Cox Arquette pregnant? All of her shirts were untucked, and she looked normal-sized, but last time I saw her on TV she looked emaciated, so I'm guessing someone either did an intervention and forced her to stop throwing up, or she's pregnant. Hopefully she's eating while pregnant or she's going to give birth to a skeleton.
3. Who's the dude who wants to get Phoebe pregnant? I know in real life he's Paul Rudd, and was in "Wet Hot American Summer," a very funny movie, but I have no idea why he's on "Friends" and how he's related to Phoebe.
4. The second "muffin" line -- very predictable.
5. Who puts their boarding pass in their bag and buries it in there when they know they're going to have to show it in just a minute? Of everything that didn't ring true in the episode (Ducks in the foosball table??) that was the biggest, and it was totally unnecessary too.
6. For about ten minutes before Phoebe called Rachel on the cell phone I was wondering why they hadn't called her -- why not right when he decided to go after her, like "stop the cab, where are you, I'll meet you there and we'll talk." Stupid.
7. After the article I read yesterday about the lawsuit against the Friends writers I kept wondering when the scene with the [deleted for children's eyes] was coming up, and it never happened.
8. Why does Joey get a spinoff? Watching Monica and Chandler raise those kids looks more interesting to me.
9. Wasn't there a funnier word than "flange" for the plane part?
10. Why couldn't they run into Frasier and his brother and they could all just say goodbye together?

Thursday, May 06, 2004

A reader wrote last night telling me that his law school section put together a list of "section superlatives" -- Most Likely to Become a Supreme Court Justice, Most Likely to Make a Billion Dollars, etc. Here's a few ideas if you want to put together a list of your own...

Law School Section Superlatives

Most Likely to Fail the Bar Exam
Most Likely to Suffer a Nervous Breakdown
Least Likely to Smile
Most Likely to Steal Books From The Library
Most Likely to Die Alone
Most Likely to Shoot a Professor After Getting a Low Grade
Most Likely to Get Really, Really Fat
Most Likely to Become Infamous
Most Likely to Be Raped In Prison
Most Likely to Let His Mother Die In a Fire
Most Likely to Bill 72 Hours in a Day
Most Likely to Be Beaten Up in a Dark Alley
Most Likely to Have a Heart Attack before Age 40
Most Likely to Work for the IRS
Longest-Winded Appellate Briefs
Most Likely to be Shot by a Client After an Unsuccessful Defense
Most Likely to Run for Office
Most Likely to Run for Office Repeatedly, Losing Each Time
Most Likely to Become a Legal Writing Instructor
Most Likely to Forget the Names of His/Her Children
Most Likely to Default on Student Loans
Most Likely to Have A Trophy Wife
Most Likely to Be the Motivation Behind a Loophole-Closing Piece of Legislation
Most Likely to Somehow Cause the World to End
CNN has an interesting article about the sexual harassment suit filed against a bunch of writers for NBC's "Friends" by a former writers' assistant. The complaint, which you can read here at the Smoking Gun website, talks about how the writers would discuss "[Courteney] Cox's fertility and love life, [David] Schwimmer's sexual preference... [and] how several writers spoke of their secret desire to turn the character Joey (played by Matt LeBlanc) into a serial rapist, discussing 'full scenes of how he would rape the women.' "

The argument being made by the attorneys for the writers is apparently that "the conduct was justified by 'creative necessity' " and that these stories were all part of the creative process in the TV writers' room. "Context" is key, say the attorneys. The CNN article, written by Hofstra Law Professor Joanna Grossman, says that context is often considered in these types of cases, and is "what differentiates a coach's slapping a football player on the behind after a game, from his doing the same thing to his secretary back at the office" but wonders if there really would be any need in the writers room to talk about what they'd like to do to Jennifer Aniston, complete with diagrams and demonstrated motions.

To me, it's hard to conceive of a television writers room as a normal workplace with normal rules about what ought and ought not be said, but I guess it is a workplace, and this stuff does matter. I guess, despite thinking that the writers' conduct was probably inappropriate, I don't have much sympathy for the writers assistant suing over it. What damage could it have really done, and why not just quit and get a different job if she didn't like it? There are people who would have killed for her job -- and... I don't know... I know the right answer is what they did was stupid and inappropriate and no one should have to work in an environment like that, and it's bad and they should be punished. And I believe that, really I do... but did they *really* do anything so terrible? Haven't we all drawn lewd pictures of Jennifer Aniston...?