Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Narnia is one of the movies I really want to see this movie season. I loved the books growing up and I watched the cartoon movie probably a thousand times as a kid. Even though it's been years since I've read or seen it, I was excited about the movie, which promises amazing eye candy as well.

Then I stumble upon this review. Make no mistake, the author loved the movie. But he loved it for the wrong reasons. Now, granted, just because one person gets something out of a movie, doesn't mean another person has to take the same message from it. But. Still. To call what sounds like overtly sexist overtones, "empowerment"? Either this author lives in a different reality, or the director was unable to eradicate the sexism from the story. I don't fault the director, or even C.S. Lewis. Lewis lived in a different time and, like most Christians in that day and age (hell, like plenty of them now), had some strange ideas about women. He also has a cult following to rival Tolkien's, so the director didn't have too much freedom to play fast and loose with the story. The fact that the author of this review bemoans that fact that the director removed a shockingly sexist line, well, it just shows where he stands.

And here's the crazy thing: I don't particularly have these memories of the books being sexist. Granted, that's probably because I read them before I hit the double digits, but my memories of the book were fond and free of political agendizing. This reviewer has now taken it upon himself to attribute a political agenda to Lewis (I don't have the information to say if this is a fair treatment of the work) and point out how the movie furthers his own agenda. Maybe he's misinterpreting, or maybe he's just spoiling the movie for me. But now I'm bummed because he's cast a pall over a movie I was really looking forward to seeing. I can try to keep an open mind, but my feminist-spidey-sense is all tingly now. Thanks to this reviewer, I'm now feeling hypersensitive about whatever the movie may or may not have to say about gender politics. I would just like to take the opportunity to point out to the anti-feminist naysayers that it was an anti-feminist conservative who got the ball rolling on this issue. It wasn't a feminist attacking Lewis or his works out of the blue. Just so I'm not accused of making a mountain out of a molehill.

I still want to see the movie, and I'm sure it's very good. But this dude has just dampened my enthusiasm. Thanks a lot, R. Andrew Newman. PLEASE tell me you don't have daughters.

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Ho hum.

My stats are miserably low -- my fault in large part, since I just took a vacation from pretty much everything, including my blog (though not, to my family's certain relief, from bathing and basic hygiene).

Christmas (which we celebrate) was nice. Mom practically runs my parents' church, so I got to spend a lot of time there over the weekend (it was either that, or stay at home keeping an eye on Grandma). Grandma flew out this year for Christmas -- Granddad died a few months ago and Dad didn't want her to be alone for the holidays. I'm glad she stayed with us, but it really puts in perspective how trying old people can be. Particularly when their kids fuss over them. One of the things I love about being home is that I'm around people and activity, but I'm free to claim my own space and do my own thing when I want alone time. Grandma isn't such a huge fan of the peace and quiet. I seriously couldn't even read the paper without having to answer a question. So while this trip was fun, it wasn't as relaxing as my visits home normally are.

I still don't know what I'm doing for New Years'. Some friends had talked about Vegas -- and it looks like they're going, but it's not going to be the huge crazy group thing we'd all originally thought. So I'm not sure if it will be worth the ten-hour (composite) drive to go. A friend of mine might visit me, which would be fun -- but when it comes down to it, I'd much prefer to hear from [guy I've been dating for a few weeks].

Jeez. I swear to God a teenager hasn't taken over my blog and converted it into a LJ diary.


My yoga instructor called me a chicken today because I can't kick my legs up high enough to do a handstand without his help yet. Dammit. I hate when he's right.

The upshot of this is that I actually got up early enough to go to yoga this morning. It was a really nice class, since there were only about seven people there. Least crowded I've ever seen it (which is really saying something for a 5:15 AM class). Of course, starting next week the gym is just going to be CRAWLING with people. Last year I mostly missed the infestation of Resolution-gymmers, but this year I'm already going pretty regularly. I can already sense it's going to be ugly. Which *really* sucks, because people who don't go to the gym regularly also have no clue what they're doing. Hopefully they'll crash and burn quickly. Yeah, I'm a little evil sometimes.

In other news: for Christmas, I gave my secretary a gift card to Barnes and Noble, and she sent me an email telling me she was thankful I'm her boss. Which at first filled me with warm fuzzies, and then freaked me out a little, because I'm really just not old enough to be anyone's "boss." It's not that it made me feel old... maybe guilty is the right word? I guess I didn't take anyone's job, but still. Maybe it's that I'm not used to the respect having a law degree gets you -- lord knows I don't get it from my dad :)

Closing remark: Thanks and shout-out to lak for the gorgeous silky drawstring bag and goodies to go straight to my hips, and to Micah for the awesome Christmas mix CD (anyone who wants to buy me a belated Christmas gift or early birthday present will also receive a public thanking). Of course, now, thanks to you, Micah, I have "What are you doing New Years' Eve" stuck in my head, which is made all the more painful by the fact that I don't know!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More Air-Travel Joy!

I made it to Colorado in one piece.

No thanks to United, though.

United delayed my flight for no good reason. I'd made sure to leave work early to give myself plenty of time in case of traffic and other potential problems. Of course, this meant once I got to the gate I had tons of time to kill. So I took a seat at the bar right across from my gate, which had no information even displayed yet about my flight. I got to chatting with some girls at the bar who were going to the same place as me. At one point, a gentleman nearby mentioned to us that our flight had been moved to the next gate over. No big deal -- 83 to 84 is not a huge walk in LAX.

I glanced again at the screen on 83, which said San Antonio. When it was time to board, I looked at the departure board, which said my flight was boarding out of gate 84. I walked to the gate and asked the woman there if the flight to Colorado Springs was boarding yet. No, she said, they're going to board the San Diego flight first. I noted that the departure board said my flight was boarding. She shrugged and said we weren't boarding yet.

I took the opportunity to duck into the ladies' room. When I emerged, they were nearly finished boarding people for San Diego. The woman announced that they would shortly be boarding Flight 6496 to Colorado Springs. I had a moment of panic.

My ticket is for Flight 6494.

I rushed back to the departure board, only to see that my flight was listed as "closed," having boarded at gate 84. Confused, I ask the woman at the gate what's happened. She looks at my ticket and tells me my flight boarded at gate 83.

Excuse me??

My plane was literally sitting out there doing nothing and they wouldn't let me on. Bastards! The agent at gate 83 even had the audacity to say she'd told us they were boarding and that it was my fault for getting a drink at the bar. Right. I'm so irresponsible that I get here HOURS early for my inexplicably delayed flight and don't want to sit around in perpetual boredom, opting instead for a less boring location a whole 20 feet from the boarding area.

I started to panic. I've been kicked off of United flights before and it wasn't an experience I cared to repeat.

Fortunately, the gate 84 agent was nicer. I think she felt bad because she realized she'd made a mistake when I asked her if my flight was boarding. She got me a seat on the next flight to Colorado Springs, leaving in about 45 minutes. So, instead of getting home at an early enough hour to spend some quality time with my family, I got home late and went straight to bed.

At least I don't have to hound them for a free ticket this time. Last time it took them like 6 months to give me one.

I want a transporter beam.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I've been road-raged!

So I'm driving to work this morning and I'm sitting at a stoplight, and out of nowhere a projectile comes hurling toward me and hits my window, leaving a milky-brown liquid dripping down my driver's-side window and windshield. WTF?

I look over to see a psychotic blonde woman rushing back toward her car. I flip her off and she reciprocates and starts yelling stuff I obviously can't hear, since (thank God) my window is up.

What? Am I sleeping with her ex or something?

Weaker sex, my ass.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Five words

The Bob Loblaw Law Blog.

This, my friends, is comic GENIUS.


Just in time...

I've discovered the real reason people still get Christmas off, even though it's increasingly un-PC to recognize it as a national holiday.

All these parties will wear you the hell out.

I've only been to two, but one of them was my own, and Oh My Gosh how tiring. Don't get me wrong, it was great fun -- but in my quest to play Awesome Hostess I somehow blocked out of my mind all of the cleaning up I'd have to do after the party was over. Sure, tidying the place up and baking cookies and digging up drink recipes was work, too -- but it was fun work. It held the promise of making for a fabulous party. But the clean-up afterwards is a total buzz killer.

Now, on the broad spectrum of party-goers, I have to say that my guests rank pretty high up on the politeness end. No spilled red wine sullying the carpet; no broken beer bottles on the kitchen floor. Not even a random plastic cup lying on the ground. The few paper plates left scattered around were all face-up. All in all, they did good.

But the dishes. Ugh.

I bought this gorgeous new punch bowl before the party and used it for my real egg nog (a hit, by the way). I made mulled wine in a large stovepot. I heated cocktail weiners in a crock pot. And then, of course, the obligatory martini shaker and ice bucket, and the numerous plates of other foods and cookies. Plus, I didn't think to ask my guests to remove their shoes, so I have bits of dirt all over the carpet and wood floors.

I cleaned some of it yesterday, but I spent the bulk of the day watching television and recuperating. This morning left no extra time, either, as I had to rush off to work after yoga class, for which I amazingly was able to rouse myself.

So, as much as I enjoyed throwing a party, I'm ready to go home and let my Mommy play hostess to me for a while.

Oh man. I guess moms never get holidays.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Law as Life, Part Four

I may work for The Man, but I can still be a good person.

My firm, like many larger law firms, strongly encourages pro bono work. I've had a hard time attracting billable work (ahh, first-year life) so I'm jumping on the pro bono bandwagon. I've already been to one training session (to aid foreign women with their immigration petitions under VAWA) and today I'm going to another (to help families process their adoptions). This is the best of all possible worlds for me: real client contact, real work experience, thin staffing (basically, me and a supervisor if I have tough questions), helping make someone's life better and STILL getting paid. And there are a fair number of people in the firm who do this regularly. To me, it's just cool that a big, rich law firm is willing to give up big chunks of its resources to help disadvantaged people. Go my firm!

Even though law schools also try to give students real work experience with things like legal aid clinics, my experience this time is vastly different. The people in charge of the pro bono work on the firm side are responsive, efficient and helpful. If I have a question, I get a prompt response to my phone call or email. I'm given explicit and detailed instructions from the start on what I'm expected to do and reassured that questions will be answered (which, as I just mentioned, they are). When I worked at my law school's legal aid clinic, my experience was completely different. It was poorly run, my supervising attorneys, if they were ever around, always had more important things to do than answer my questions and often didn't even know how to answer them. They didn't respond to emails or voicemails. After just two quarters I got fed up and quit. It wasn't worth the frustration (on top of this, at my year-end review they blamed ME for not logging enough clinical hours, when I had been telling them I didn't have enough work and they never responded to my requests and questions). On the flip side, my firm's pro bono contacts have already set me up with clients who need help.

To me, it's an interesting dichotomy and yet another illustration of why, although I miss student life for many reasons, I like my firm better than my law school.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Law School War

I guess I've been commenting enough over at the UChicago blog that I may as well write my own post about this.

Professor Stone argues that Chief Justice Roberts' point about government funding proves too much. To say that the government can condition grants of funding on certain actions would certainly in some cases violate the Constitution. If, for instance, the government required law schools to periodically post banners proclaiming "The U.S. government rocks my world!" in order to continue to receive federal funds, this would be obviously unconstitutional. I'm not quite sure that Stone's argument fits here, though. The argument presupposes that requiring the law school to host the military violates a constitutional right. It's probably true that the government can't condition receipt of federal funds on the surrender of constitutional rights, but first you must prove that such a right is being surrendered.

In addition, there's another point to be explored: government employees often have their constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech and religion, limited to the extent it could interfere with their jobs. Public school teachers, for instance, aren't allowed to say whatever they want in their position as teachers. Judges aren't allowed to post the Ten Commandments on their walls. Regardless of whether this is a good thing (and there's a fair argument that it isn't), constitutional jurisprudence holds it legal. If law schools can be likened to government employees in that they receive federal funds, their free speech/free association claim could fail with a "thud," as it by all appearances seems likely to.

Ariela Dubler and John Witt of Columbia Law School have an interesting argument about a potentially successful approach for law schools challenging the controversial Solomon Amendment. They point out that there's an argument to be made, from the text of the Solomon Amendment itself, that they're absolutely giving equal access to military recruiters: following the rule of Washington v. Davis, equality only requires equal opportunity, not equal outcomes. If, for instance, a test administered to whites and blacks resulted in different median scores for both races, as long as the test itself was identical and administered in an identical manner, the law deems this "equality." Thus, applying equally a rule to recruiters that they not discriminate does not run afoul of equality concerns just because some recruiters are thereby excluded. The reason, they hypothesize, that schools are not taking this approach is that they fear the federal government could simply rewrite the statute to require on its face that law schools permit military recruiters on campus.

To solve this problem, I would take their argument a bit further. If, by virtue of their receiving federal funds, the law school becomes to some extent an agent of the government, then the law school is thereby obligated to uphold the Constitution. Any action the law school takes to infringe on its students' constitutional rights is thereby actionable under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Therefore, if a law school actively participates in the recruitment activities of an employer who openly discriminates against homosexuals, it could in effect be infringing on the constitutional rights of its homosexual students (this, of course, presumes either that such discrimination fails rational basis muster, which unfortunately the court will find it doesn't, or that Lawrence v. Texas subjects discrimination against homosexuals to at least intermediate scrutiny, which it probably does). Thus, the government cannot require it to allow military recruiters on campus.

Similarly, the law schools could argue that, by forbidding military recruiters on campus, they're not discriminating against the military or infringing its rights to free association. Rather, they're meeting the standard rule of neutral reason, neutral manner for incidental freedom infringement. The Washington v. Davis test requires both facial and underlying equality -- that is to say, if an action is neutral on its face and doesn't have an insidious motive, it's permissible. The Lemon test for religious freedom requires a law to be neutral on its face and to have no particular motive pro- or counter-religion (it also has an effects test, but it's inapplicable here largely since people aren't as terrified of issues dealing with discrimination as they are of those touching on the subject of religion). Even limitations on speech are permissible if they're neutral as to content and viewpoint and have as their purpose some other legitimate goal. The law schools' exclusion of the military would meet any of these tests. Surely something analogous should be applicable here?

There are, of course, problems with this approach, since law schools probably participate in some other activities for which they certainly don't want to be considered agents of the government. It's possible that legal scholars and researchers more brilliant than I could devise a way to limit this characterization to help the law schools prevail in their counter-Solomon argument but not prevent them from carrying on other typical law school activities. I do think, however, that it could be a plausible way to defeat the Solomon Amendment on grounds that don't require the law school to say it's trying to disagree with the government through its actions. You can't burn a draft card on these grounds, and the law schools look likely to fail here too. I personally would like to see them win this one. The military's policy is baseless, outdated, archaic, and immoral. If there's any way to stick it to 'em that doesn't bastardize our constitutional jurisprudence, I'm all for it. What strikes me as particularly disingenuous is the military's bemoaning its inability to recruit sufficient troops, yet its hardline stance as to "just who" is acceptable. Look, guys, beggars can't be choosers. And excluding gay people is just homophobic, sexist, and retarded.

My mom, from whom I inherited my wacky sense of humor, argued with me about whether law schools should be forced to accept military recruiters. I pointed out to her it wasn't simply a matter of giving them a room on campus: law school career services offices are fundamentally integrated into the mechanics of the recruiting process. I argued that requiring them to allow a certain recruiter on campus requires them, on some level, to perform a service for those employers, implicitly or arguably explicitly conferring approval of these employers as suitable for the student body. It's the only real self-help measure available to the schools to demonstrate that they consider the openly gay members of their student body to be just as important and valued as the non-gay students. How else, I asked, were they supposed to change things? Mom thought about it for a minute before answering: the law schools could start up their own militaries!

Boy, that gives new meaning to fighting The Man.

Phone fun

I got a notice the other day that my phone bill is late. I've had it for a while and meant to pay it, but first I wanted to call them and point out that they've overcharged me, AGAIN. Which is just no fun, because they have limited business hours, meaning I have to call while I'm at work. And even though lately I have no work to do, I just don't like having to call the phone company while I'm at work. It's just WRONG of them to make me do that. And then they make me wait on hold forever, which means getting a sweaty ear or having to close the door and turn on the speakerphone. But I already closed the door once this morning to take a nap (I'm not lazy, I just didn't get much sleep last night. Hehe) and my firm generally has an open-door policy. Someone definitely noticed, too, because they slid an envelope under my door when the mail people came by this morning. But it looks like I'll have to do it since the bill is due tomorrow and I really don't want to lose internet for what would surely be a week or so (once they cut you off, it takes them FOREVER to hook you back up).

Sigh. Stupid Verizon.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Open letter to bureaucrats

What more do you want from me? I emptied my savings account for you, I took your stupid little tests, I hounded old college professors and neighbors to vouch for my moral character, I passed your stupid bar exam, and I went to your little swearing-in ceremony to which I apparently could have sent any female I knew, since you weren't checking IDs or even checking to ensure that everyone there verbally swore to the oath.

So why haven't you listed me yet as an active attorney? Haven't I waited long enough? I just want a goddamn bar number! I mean, everything was completely, one hundred percent done on Tuesday.

It's never enough with these people.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Random thought for the day

Can brain-dead people hang themselves? Or does this article contain a typo?


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

For great justice.

Well, that's that.

As of this morning, I am officially a real live lawyer. I can sign pleadings and everything. I took the oath, I turned in my information (all of which, apparently, is to be made public -- wheee!), and now I'm legit. The ceremony itself wasn't too bad. At first I balked when I saw the list of 7 speakers. Gah! Fortunately none of them took too horrifically long. Before 11 AM Pacific time, I was sworn in and ready to do the devil's work. Mwahahaha!

And, now, for our pro-lawyer joke of the [whatever]:

My loyal readers know I've written about my dad's love/hate relationship with lawyers (he hates lawyers, but he loves me) and how I take great pleasure in teasing him about the similarities between doctors and lawyers. My mom and I derive great fun from reminding him that I am a "doctor." Most recently was my visit home for Thanksgiving:

Me and Mom: [something that involves calling me "Dr."]

Dad: Yeah, well, you can't write prescriptions!

Me: Can too. I can write a prescription... FOR JUSTICE!!

I love making Mom crack up like that.

And so, off I go to prescribe justice for the citizens of the great city of Los Angeles...

Law Fairy, Esq.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Important stuff!

As it turns out, my Inner European is Russian.

Your Inner European is Russian!

Mysterious and exotic.
You've got a great balance of danger and allure.

That one actually makes sense, since I am about one-fourth Ukranian (as one guy once told me, "Ukranian girls are hot." Boo-yah!).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Saturdays used to be fun


My apartment is surrounded by construction projects.


Both of the adjoining lots to my little townhouse-type complex are being built upon. Not only has this caused me to leave my curtains perpetually drawn, it's also meant lots and lots and lots of noise.

Starting at 7:00 AM every day.

Including Saturdays!!!!

This morning as I lay in bed, trying to sleep, I noticed something slightly off from the usual construction noises. They were playing a radio at full blast. And not just any radio -- it was some kind of Spanish-language channel. Look, I have absolutely nothing against Spanish-speakers or whatever they want to listen to, but with the possible exception of country music, that Spanish-language folk-polka-sounding music (you KNOW what I'm talking about!) is THE MOST ANNOYING MUSIC IN THE WORLD. And it was blasting into my bedroom at 7:00 AM ON A SATURDAY!!!!!!

I really need to complain to someone. I awoke in a foul mood.

Adding to my frustration: Southern California Gas Company is retarded. You can't pay your freaking bill over the phone! You have to enroll in some "simple pay" program that you can only enroll in by mailing in your signature. Which doesn't help me one bit because my bill is due on Monday. They have an option of using some third party service to pay with your debit card, but they don't accept my bank. Of course. The woman on the phone (who I spoke to after waiting on hold for an interminable period -- interestingly, their hold muzak was actually not half bad, but it was punctuated every 7.5 seconds by a woman with an annoying voice reminding you that you were waiting for your call to be answered. Very helpful of her) was in no mood to be helpful. At least they don't have late fees :P


And now, off to buy a Christmas tree!