Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Two more reasons not to wear flip-flops or crocs to work

Shoes have an interesting history. Too bad it's deteriorated to this:

Style gurus warn that flip-flops, which are worn mainly by younger women, could be harmful to a career.

"Shoes convey the mood of a woman. Wearing flip-flops conveys the mood that you are relaxed and on vacation. That's not a good message in the office," said Meghan Cleary, a style commentator who wrote the book "The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You."

All that, and they get caught in the metro escalator.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Negotiating is not ladylike

I just read this Washington Post article about the salary gap between men and women -- and how women are less likely to negotiate for higher salaries. According to the article:

The traditional explanation for the gender differences that Babcock found is that men are simply more aggressive than women, perhaps because of a combination of genetics and upbringing. The solution to gender disparities, this school of thought suggests, is to train women to be more assertive and to ask for more. However, a new set of experiments by Babcock and Hannah Riley Bowles, who studies the psychology of organizations at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, offers an entirely different explanation.

Their study, which was coauthored by Carnegie Mellon researcher Lei Lai, found that men and women get very different responses when they initiate negotiations. Although it may well be true that women often hurt themselves by not trying to negotiate, this study found that women's reluctance was based on an entirely reasonable and accurate view of how they were likely to be treated if they did. Both men and women were more likely to subtly penalize women who asked for more -- the perception was that women who asked for more were "less nice".

I think that is very true in life, not just in the workplace. Even though my mom always tells me that "if you don't ask for something, you're never going to get it," I'm always hesitant to negotiate out of the fear that I'll be perceived negatively -- too aggressive, bitchy, etc. It's probably why, until this year, I haven't been willing to negotiate my rent increase. I didn't want to seem aggressive, or cheap, or whatever -- so it was just easier to pay more.

I don't mean to imply that men don't worry about how others perceive them. That's clearly not fair. I just don't think that they're quite as focused on it as women. You know, like how women stress out about what they're going to wear -- because they're convinced that everyone's going to notice -- and judge them.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The weekend

For the record, I was seriously considering making an offer on a condo in a high rise building right near the Ballston metro station. I even went to go look at it a second time with the realtor. As much as I wanted to do it, though, after looking at it a second time, I came to the conclusion that it's just not the right place for me.
Plus, in the meantime, I negotiated my rent down -- instead of an 8% increase, they're coming in at just under 5%. Which I can live with until next year, when I've saved some more money for a down payment. I'm hoping that if the real estate bubble is really in the process of bursting, it will have done so by then. And if not, I should earn enough to compensate for the difference.

What this all boils down to is that I'm just not really ready to do it.

So, after reaching this decision in a conference call with my parents, I watched Dreamgirls. And then I went to dinner and went home, intending to read and perhaps go to sleep early, since I was a little tired from all the stress of looking for a house over the last two weeks, and was in a slightly crappy mood. But one of my friends called, and tried to convince me to go out to Georgetown. I said I didn't want to do anything, but he convinced me to let him come over and hang out and watch Legally Blonde, and that maybe, if I was feeling better, we'd go out later.

Of course I relented and we went out. When we got into the parking garage to go walk down to the Georgetown waterfront, we saw that his passenger side rear tire was flat. This, of course, made him grumpy. We tried to change the tire, but we couldn't get the bolts to move.

Lucky for us, my dad gives me membership in AAA every year for Chrismanukah. So I called them, and they came to change the tire -- surprisingly quickly. But still, it was very hot and humid, and by the time they came, I was very sweaty and very uncomfortable. But at least my hair was very curly.

I wound up taking metro home. Since it was late on a Saturday night, I had to wait 25 minutes for the train. When the train finally came, they were doing maintenance on the track, which meant it was very slow. It took about half an hour to go the three stops. And, of course, since it was late on a Saturday night, there were drunk people sitting right near me, complaining about the train. One boy -- who couldn't have been older than 22 -- decided to strike up a conversation with me. He thought he was a really big deal being because he works as a paralegal in a law firm. I thought it was funny to play along. The look on his drunk little face when he finally got around to asking me what I did for a living was priceless.

I finally got home at about 3:30. I've been exhausted all day, and I didn't really accomplish anything. And now, I'm just trying to stay awake long enough that I won't wake up at 4 am. To do this, I'm watching The Two Coreys. (And for more on all things Haim and Feldman, read this.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Michael Vick

I haven't written anything about Michael Vick because it seemed too easy. I mean, anyone who knows me knows how I feel about dogs. Anyone that can be involved in something so vile deserves way worse than losing to Florida State -- led by Chris Weinke -- in the 2000 National Championship game.

I'm kinda hoping that, in addition to suspension from the NFL and jail time, his fate involves paying lawyers to defend against more frivolous lawsuits filed by crazy prisoners, just like this one:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Absentminded Obsessing

This morning, I told my mother/real estate advisor that I'm not used to obsessing about anything nearly as much as I've been obsessing over the potential purchase of a condo. She laughed when I said, "Usually when I tell people I have OCD, it's the compulsive part that I'm talking about."

Of course, it's the confluence of both tendencies that would explain the spreadsheet I made of every single condo that I've looked at over the past week.

This morning, I was so involved in my obsessing that I got on the wrong train on the way to work. I figured it out pretty quickly, though -- but by that point it was easier to ride all the way to Metro Center to change to the red line, rather than backtrack to the Pentagon. Of course, then I got lost in my own thoughts again, and at Metro Center, I got on the train heading in the wrong direction.

I've been taking the metro to work for one week shy of seven years, and I've never done that before. Never. Not even when I changed jobs, and started having to go in the opposite direction from what I had been doing for over five years.

I was 45 minutes late for work because of my absentmindedness. (Normally, I'm only 15 minutes late, ha ha.)

The good news is that I'm narrowing down my decision. The bad news is that, no matter what I wind up doing, my next obsession is going to be over my finances.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Things to think about

I'm too distracted by the whole housing situation to write anything of significance. So, in the meantime, read an interesting New York Observer article on law firm economics by David Lat (from Above the Law).

This is my favorite paragraph:
It’s a noteworthy shift for the legal profession, whose denizens like to think of themselves as intellectual types—and view their Wall Street cousins as money-obsessed philistines. Many angst-filled attorneys suspect they should have gone into something more tweedy and creative than relocating commas within merger agreements. As Clarence Darrow said, “Inside every lawyer is the wreck of a poet.”


Monday, July 23, 2007

Rock of Love, Episode Two: It's not pretty

I watched last night's episode of Rock of Love, and I have to say, I'm still digging it. Forget about all the drinking, the stripper pole dancing, or any of the normal reality show competition crap: What I learned was that actual physical violence doesn't translate as well as a good round of creative name-calling. Then again, I think watching fake tanned, fake breasted, fake blondes turn on one of their own and refer to her as having "giant clown boobs" is hysterically funny, in a "pot vs. kettle" kind of way. And the retort of saying that her face was "meth-scarred?" Classy.

Last week, I thought the girls looked harsh. This week, they looked way better than the featured rock star/prize/man slut:

Dude, for the love of God, keep the bandanna on! Or the cowboy hat. Heck, even a motorcycle helmet would be an improvement.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I remember that my mom took me and the siblings to see The Princess Bride in the theater. It's hard to believe that it was twenty years ago.

It's still one of my favorite movies.

Since then, I've always had a soft spot for Wesley Cary Elwes. Alas, he hasn't aged well. (Not as bad as Val Kilmer, though. Yikes!)

Actually, most of the cast hasn't aged all that well. With, of course, the exception of Fred Savage, who surprisingly turned into a normal-looking grown up.

Anyway, on a related note, here's a Princess Bride quiz. I am:


Which Princess Bride Character are You?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The economics of public defenders

This weekend, the New York Times ran an article about a study showing that indigent criminal defendants represented by a public defender generally received better results than those represented by a court-appointed attorney.

Let me make that abundantly clear: The law-firm lawyers taking case assignments did worse jobs for their clients.

The Times suggests several reasons for this difference, including that the salaried defenders have more experience -- both in general and in dealing with the prosecutors -- which informs their ability to negotiate an advantageous settlement. But I'm sure those are not the only reasons.

I've been thinking about this in the context of my own career, first as an intern in a Public Defender's office, then as a government litigator, and then as a law firm associate. And based on my observations, I think I understand why there's such a dichotomy: It's a matter of law firm economics.

See, the court-appointed lawyers are paid by the hour. Therefore -- while it's always in their best interest to do things well -- it is in their best interest to take their time doing it. Government lawyers, however, aren't billing by the hour, and they generally have a large docket of cases that all need attention. Therefore, it's in their best interest to get things done, and get them done fast. This, of course, supports the study's findings that the court-appointed lawyers "let cases drag on."

But even that's kind of inaccurate. The time discrepancy is not just motivated by self-interest. To a large extent, it's because of a difference in resources. Generally speaking, the full-time salaried government lawyer is probably somewhat of an expert in the field, and they work in an office where everyone does some version of the same thing. So, either the lawyer has personally seen the same type of case before, or someone in their office has -- so the case is almost always routine. On the other hand, while the court-appointed lawyer probably works in an office with a lot more in the way of monetary resources, and might even have some lawyering experience, his or her experience is not necessarily in the exact same area, and therefore, might not translate. Plus, as the study suggested, they're more likely to be young and relatively inexperienced. So, if they haven't seen the case before and there's no one in their office that they can turn to for advice, it's an entirely new ballgame for them. An inefficient new ballgame.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I think the Washington Post is secretly conspiring against Barack Obama.

If this is the best picture the Post could run of Mayor Fenty endorsing Barack Obama, how bad must the rest of them be?


Ignore for a moment how Mayor Fenty is clearly pulling back from Senator Obama with a look of sheer terror on his face. Focus instead on how wrinkly Mayor Fenty's head looks. I didn't think that was humanly possible. In fact, he somehow manages to look exactly like a Shar Pei.

Update: Man, the WaPo online just isn't having a very good 24-hours. Check out this screencap, courtesy of DCist. It seems someone forgot to consult the Urban Dictionary.

Look what the cat dragged in!

When I was a kid, I liked hair metal. A lot. (Heck, I still have some tendencies.) My room was covered in posters:

And, yes, Poison was one of those bands.

So it stands to reason that I would watch the first episode of the hair band equivalent of Flavor of Love -- Rock of Love, featuring Bret Michaels. Heck, I might even be their target demographic. (And if you were too, check out this interesting "Where are they now?")

This episode scared me. First of all, our featured rock star looked kinda old and tired, although I do wonder how he manages to keep his eyeliner looking so fresh after what had to have been a long day dealing with the bimbos ladies. And that's really the problem with the show in a nutshell: The contestants. Ninety percent seem to be strippers with giant fake boobs, fake blonde hair, and the IQ of a small child. (The other ten percent are wannabe rocker chicks.)

In short, their highest and best purposes might actually be as flotation devices. Sure, that's probably more indicative of Bret's type than anything else -- but dude, if you're claiming that you're on a reality dating show so you can meet the love of your life, then perhaps you should at least pretend to be trying to find a girl that's different. (Then again, Poison does have a new album out, which leads me to question whether the timing of this show is mere coincidence or clever marketing strategy?)

In any event, while I am fairly sure that none of the blow up dolls girls will be reading any reviews on the internet because that would mean that (a) they could read and (b) they knew how to use the computer, here is my attempt at some helpful advice:

  1. Leave a little to the imagination: Showing someone your giant fake boobs should probably wait until the second meeting.

  2. Rock stars don't really want smart girls -- they want slutty, hot girls. And quite frankly, monopolizing the conversation doesn't mean that you're smart.

  3. Drunken, belligerent slurring is not going to win friends and influence people. If that's what you think is sexy, girl, you should probably watch the video and then check yourself into rehab, pronto.

  4. Whining about how you're not getting enough attention from the rock star is not really going to endear you to anyone. Why would he put up with your nagging when 20 other equally hot, yet less needy girls are around?

  5. Talking like a baby is annoying to everyone -- except, perhaps, babies. And I'm not really entirely sure about that, either.

  6. Forget about more plastic surgery: It's not helping you look younger. Just get a facial. While you're at it, lighten up on the bright red lipstick -- it clashes with your orangey fake tan.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

To move or not?

Yesterday, I finally mustered up the courage to look at the note that the leasing company left for me last month that set out what my rent increase is going to be in September.

I think I finally know what highway robbery feels like. Suffice it to say that the number is right around $2.50 per square foot. And, while the apartment is nice -- and my neighbors are professional athletes -- the service isn't that great, and the closet is too small. Plus, there was that one incident with the mouse . . . .

At the same time, one of my friends is looking for a roommate. On Friday, he broached the subject with me, to which my response was essentially, "Seriously?"

Of course, now I'm starting to reconsider. Is 31 too old to be thinking about having a roommate?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Concert t-shirts

Admittedly, I have a lot of clothing. I have a particularly large collection of t-shirts. And when Pop Candy ran an article about favorite concert t-shirts, I realized that I had a lot to choose from. And since my cable box is busted -- I won't get the replacement until Saturday -- I had some time to think about it.

This one's my favorite, hands down:

Go figure.

This is a close second, though:

And those aren't even my only U2 t-shirts:

I even have a U2 crew t-shirt that I bought for my brother, back when he was going through a phase where he liked to wear employee shirts from places that he did not work. But I never did give it to him.

The second-largest number of t-shirts are from the Goo Goo Dolls. But that makes sense, considering that I've probably seen them the most of any band. Heck, I saw them four times on the same tour -- but I only bought one t-shirt then, and it's the one I cut up:

I'm pretty sure that I had another one -- a white t-shirt -- but I can't find it.

Next, I have two Beatles shirts:

Admittedly, I wasn't around to go to these concerts. But they still count, right?

After that, in alphabetical order, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, the Doors, Pearl Jam, and Poison:

So, that's my collection of concert tees. It's only a small portion of a vast collection, though. Maybe later I'll post pictures of my four different CBGB's t-shirts.

Update: I sent the picture of my favorite in to Pop Candy, and they posted it.

I am S-M-A-R-T


Monday, July 09, 2007

Letters from home

As most of you have probably deduced, my grandfather died last week. It's been kind of crazy and stressful around here, but we're getting through it. And my Nana is remarkable.

On Tuesday afternoon, my mother called me and told me that it was imminent. So I quickly made a reservation to fly down, and got in Wednesday, late morning, and rode with my sister to the hospice, where the family sat with him all day, and then most of the next day, too.

He died early Thursday evening.

We had the funeral yesterday, and have been sitting shiva since then. (No Jewish burials on Saturday.) My uncle, two of my cousins, and my brother all spoke at the service. I couldn't do it -- I probably wouldn't have been able to get through an entire sentence without crying -- I would have looked over at my mom or my Nana and completely lost it. (My sister says that she wouldn't have been able to get out an entire word.) But the boys were strong, and spoke through their tears, sharing some wonderful funny family stories, and letting everyone know exactly how fantastic my grandfather was. There wasn't a dry eye in the house when they were finished.

If I had been able to speak, though, I think I would have told everyone about the letters.

My grandfather wrote to me approximately once a month while I was away at school. Usually the letters were about a page long, back and front, and were his way of letting me know that everything was okay at home. He would tell me the news, always in a completely humorous way, and he would always sign them "Everybody here sends their love, especially Nana and Pop." They always made my day, and I still have most of them. Along with a letter that my dad wrote me when I was twelve, they are one of my most prized possessions, and are probably the one thing I'd try to save in a fire.

When everyone comes in the house to sit with us, my Nana tells them how lucky she is -- and Pop was -- to have all of us -- specifically, my mom, my aunt, my uncle, and the six grandchildren. But I keep telling her that it's not her who is lucky.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Not talking about it

There are some words that I just can't say. I can think it, and while it's sad, I can understand and process it just just fine -- but once the particular words escape it's real, and you can't take it back.

That's when my eyes fill up with tears. And I know that, despite everyone's assurances, crying is a sign of weakness. But I'm not fond of showing weakness. So I'm not going to cry -- at least not in front of anyone. Which means that I'm not going to talk about it, at least not now.

This is how I cope.

It may be quiet here for a while.

This blog is not suitable for young children

Online Dating


(Thanks to Arjewtino for the link.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Eight Things

Ryane tagged me. And, being a good sport, I'll play along.

The rules:
1. Post the rules, then list eight things about yourself.
2. At the end of the post, tag and link to eight other people.
3. Leave a comment at those sites, letting them know they've been tagged, and asking them to come read the post so they know what to do.

Here goes:
#1. What Greg said is true. Other than hairstyle and fashion choices, I look pretty much exactly the same as I did in high school. (Well, I have a little more gray hair . . .) Anyone who knew me then would be able to recognize me.

#2. I have CDs of 33 different U2 concerts. Legally obtained, of course.

#3. My idea of love goes something like this:
I read bad poetry
Into your machine
I save your messages
Just to hear your voice
You always listen carefully
To awkward rhymes
You always say your name,
Like I wouldn't know it's you,
At your most beautiful
At my most beautiful
I count your eyelashes, secretly
With every one, whisper I love you
I let you sleep
I know you're closed eye watching me,
I thought I saw a smile

Every time I hear it, I melt a little.

#4. The last CD that I bought has both R.E.M. and U2 on it. (Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.)

#5. I am currently looking at a poster of Real Genius, featuring a very very young Val Kilmer.

#6. I have a scar on my right knee from an incident involving a metro escalator on the way to a Nationals game during the 2005 season.

#7. I laugh out loud every single time I read this blog.

#8. I sent this e-mail to several of my friends (and my sister) this afternoon:
So, last night at around 7:45, I was walking through my apartment building, having entered down by Noodles and Company, when I saw a very large man in a suit, carrying a small suitcase, entering an apartment right down the hall from me.

His suitcase had the word "Nationals" embroidered on it, and his bag had a tag with "#21" on it.

I looked at him again, and indeed, it was Dmitri Young. Who, moments later, was officially announced as a 2007 All-Star.

Conclusion: My apartment building is awesome.

My sister's response was excellent -- and predictable: "It would be better if it were Javy Lopez!"

Bonus: I hate tagging people, and I wasn't even sure I could come up with eight. Sure, I would like it if folks like Justin, Evil Spock, Scarlet, Beakerz, Honeykbee, Joe, Poofygoo, and Mad played along, but they don't really have to do it. After all, it's just a game.

Bong Hits 4 Jesus, the game

What, you didn't see this coming?

Per CNN: Bush commutes Libby's prison sentence.

Bush was under great pressure by Libby allies to pardon the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a written statement issued hours after that ruling, Bush called the sentence "excessive." But he also rejected calls for a pardon for Libby.

"The consequences of his felony conviction on his former life as a lawyer, public servant, and private citizen will be long-lasting," Bush said.

But he said Libby was given "a harsh sentence based in part on allegations never presented to the jury."


The conviction remains on Libby's record and he still has to pay a $250,000 fine.


It means that Libby will still have the conviction on his record -- unless he is able to overturn it on appeal, which he will likely continue to pursue.

A pardon is a complete eradication of a conviction record, making it appear as if the person has never been convicted. It's possible that Bush could still grant Libby a full pardon.