Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflecting back on the year that was

Everyone else is doing it -- and like last year, I'm a little late to the game -- so, without further adieu, here are my first lines for each month of 2007:

January: Maybe this is me being hypercritical, but would it have killed the folks in my leasing office to use spellcheck?

February: Over the past year or so, I had completely forgotten that most people get out of work at a reasonable hour and then -- here's the important part -- go do other things.

March: Remember how I said I'm in New Jersey for work for the rest of the week?

April: Or, "Toto, I don't think we're in Nigeria anymore."

May: I'm bummed today.

June: Memorial Day marks the start of summer -- and the start of the summer associate stories.

July: A trip to the beach would be nice.

August: I think my summer would have been so much more awesome if I had read the AV Club's Hater's Guide to Summer Fun before today.

September: Florida State plays Clemson in less than two hours, and I can already feel my heart pounding in my chest as if the game is tied with seconds left in the fourth quarter and FSU is attempting to win by kicking a field goal.

October: I just finished watching Moonlight on the DVR.

November: One of these Novembers, I will actually write a novel.

December: I almost never drink at work happy hours.

Happy New Year! Here's to hoping that 2008 is even better than 2007. And this goes doubly for Florida State's football team.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


I had ideas of what to write about tonight, but instead, I had yet another late night at the office trying to negotiate my way through a pile of work, and then came home to a pile of dishes to put away, a pile of laundry to put away, and a third pile -- one of mail to go through -- all before my cleaning lady comes tomorrow.

In retrospect, I am exceptionally glad that MadHaiku recently posted a link to Catalog Choice. Here's to hoping that my mail pile will grow smaller and smaller, and that the environment will benefit in the process.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

How D.C. and New York are really different

In today's Washington Post, we see an article about how the various candidates are trying to get Al Sharpton's endorsement. In The New York Times, there's a similar article -- only theirs is about Jon Bon Jovi.

Pot vs. kettle

This year, my brother did not find his Chrismanukah presents -- a pooping snowman candy dispenser and Dysfunctional Family Therapy Mad Libs -- particularly amusing.

Of course, this is the same boy that sent me this in an email.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas

The low point of my Christmas weekend was working 10 hours on Saturday. But the highlights were many:

  • Getting to wear hair band t-shirts to my office
  • Reading up on the weird origins and weird traditions of Christmas, courtesy of Cracked
  • Good hair
  • Catching people making out in the front of the Volkswagen parked behind mine
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Ratatouille
  • Juno
  • The episode of Entourage with U2
  • Watching part of a marathon of The Hills
  • Double-Chocolate muffins
  • Good vodka
  • Having someone understand that I say I'm grumpy when I'm really just hungry
  • Winning the PH4H fantasy football league
  • A fast and furious text message exchange to wish my sister a happy birthday
  • Getting to tell a boy drinking light beer that "Real men drink vodka."
  • In response, being told that I "look like trouble"
  • Responding that such an assessment usually takes years -- and years of therapy
  • Talking about crappy American beer with a Scottish guy
  • Dancing
  • 80's music
  • Being inadvertently wished a Happy Christmas, and being aware enough to say, "That's awfully British of you."
  • Telling my friends, "I may be drunk, but I'm not that drunk."

All in all, the positives outweighted the negatives - which I guess is the point.

Friday, December 21, 2007

A fan letter

Dear Johnny Depp,

I loved you as a pirate and strangely-pale cookie-hearted guy with bladed fingers. Today, I can say, without hesitation, that you are the absolute best serial-killing barber ever. The movie was even better than when I saw the play in London.

And, not only do you wear guyliner better than most, you sing surprisingly well.

In conclusion: You are absolutely perfect. I could probably be convinced to buy a ticket to watch you reading the phone book -- particularly if Tim Burton directed.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

For the office party

I started out by making snickerdoodles, but I didn't like the way they looked, so I made gingersnaps too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Guns and commas

I stumbled across a New York Times op-ed piece parsing the grammar of the Second Amendment -- a comma, in particular -- in relation to the case overturning DC's gun ban.

According to the court, the second comma divides the amendment into two clauses: one “prefatory” and the other “operative.” On this reading, the bit about a well-regulated militia is just preliminary throat clearing; the framers don’t really get down to business until they start talking about “the right of the people ... shall not be infringed.”

The circuit court’s opinion is only the latest volley in a long-simmering comma war. In a 2001 Fifth Circuit case, a group of anti-gun academics submitted an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief arguing that the “unusual” commas of the Second Amendment support the collective rights interpretation. According to these amici, the founders’ use of commas reveals that what they really meant to say was “a well-regulated militia ... shall not be infringed.”

This is like porn for lawyers and grammarians.

Monday, December 17, 2007


While watching the commercial for the DVD of Balls of Fury, I noticed that Christopher Walken looks an awful lot like Jon Voight:

I'm not that wrong, am I?

But then, this evening, I walked past a large poster for P.S. I Love You, which, from a distance, looked like it was starring Sandra Bullock, but apparently it's Hilary Swank -- who looks an awful lot like Jennifer Garner:

So, to all the casting directors out there, next time you're looking for people to play siblings, I have some suggestions.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Bah humbug

Even though the mass media would have you think this time of year brings out the best in people, my personal experience is that it does exactly the opposite. Everyone is rushed and busy and striving for some kind of perfect holiday, and in being that way, they inevitably wreak havoc on everyone and everything that gets in their way.

I'm not any different.

Take last week at work. We're planning the office party, which happens to be reviving an old tradition -- the gag gift secret Santa. The tradition had been all but extinguished because at various times, feelings had been hurt by insensitive and occasionally inappropriate gifts. But this year, we got the go-ahead to try again -- a probation of sorts. Everyone wants this to work, to keep the tradition from dying out for good.

One of my friends decided to be in charge of the process, but it became clear that he didn't have some of the organizational details down -- such as how participants have to both give and receive gifts, and that it's not "secret" if you are both on the list and making the list. So, in a way that was probably less than diplomatic, I interceded and said that I'd be in charge of the list. Admittedly, the way I went about it was undoubtedly bossy and overbearing, but in my head, I just was trying to help.

I sent an email announcing that I'd be in charge of the list. In a joking way, I referred to it as a "bloodless coup." Another co-worker got offended by my tone and, apparently, the fact that I took over in a bossy manner. So, she cornered me and proceeded to lecture me about how horrible I was. At first I thought she was joking, and then, once I realized that she was, indeed, serious, I got offended by her tone -- which I would later describe as "essentially calling me a bitch without actually using that word." I did, however, understand her point that I might have stepped over the line. So, I apologized to my friend. At the end of the day, I thought it was over and done with.

The next day, the coworker who lectured me came into my office, purportedly to apologize. Of course, she did this by first telling me that we're still friends, then by telling me that she never actually used the word "bitch" to describe my behavior, and third, by telling me how wrong my behavior had been. She repeated the third point four times. The first time, I said, "I got your point. I was offended by your tone yesterday, but I got your point. And I apologized, and it's over now, so let's move on."

The second time, I said, "Alright, I get it, it's done. Can we stop now?"

The third time, I just said, "Can we stop? Please."

When she continued, I said something offensive, taking her lord's name in vain and using a very bad word, one that's not allowed on television. She then said, "Now I'm offended" and stormed out of my office.

Clearly, I shouldn't have gone for the nuclear option. But I was pushed.

Damn holidays.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

'Tis the season for ignorance, I suppose

I am often astounded by the stupidity of others. But nowhere am I more aware of it than when I'm riding public transportation and I am subjected to other people's conversations. Sometimes I chuckle to quietly, sometimes I shake my head -- but I never ever say anything out loud. Because, like my rule about not honking at people while driving on highways in places where people are known to carry guns, you never know what people are going to do next.

For example, on the New York subway, some people got the crap beaten out of them for responding to a "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Hanukkah." According to the CNN article:

Two women who were with a group of 10 rowdy people then began to verbally assault Adler's companions with anti-Semitic language, Hellerstein said.

One member of the group allegedly yelled, "Oh, Hanukkah. That's the day that the Jews killed Jesus," she said.

When Adler tried to intercede, a male member of the group punched him, she said.

No, you idiot, Hanukkah is something completely different -- and, according to Slate, totally misunderstood. But I digress.

For the record, Jews don't celebrate the birth or death of Jesus -- except to the extent you're talking about Jews for Jesus, who are not really Jews. Plus, you have the seasons all wrong -- the Jews purportedly killed Jesus on Good Friday, and he was resurrected two days later, on Easter. You know, in the spring. Heck, I'm a Jew and I know that much.

So, maybe you should like learn your own religion before you go making uninformed comments about others. Or at least watch the Mel Gibson movie.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eighth night of Hanukkah

When my siblings and I were kids, my mom always varied the way we got our Hanukkah and/or Christmas presents. Sometimes there was a big pile, and every night we got to take something off the pile -- or there was a bag that we weren't allowed to look inside, and we had to reach in and grab something. Other times, she had what we would get for each night mapped out, and the presents were all hidden away out of sight -- and each night she would hand us the gift that she wanted us to open.

Sometimes the big gifts were for Hanukkah, sometimes they were for Christmas; some years there was more than one major present, sometimes the major present was something that we had to share; and sometimes the biggest and best present came in the tiniest of boxes. The only things we knew with certainty were that there would be a tangelo in our stockings on Christmas morning, and that at least one of the gifts would be something VERY SPECIAL.

Tonight, I got my special present. I was a little bit bummed that I had to buy it for myself -- but it was something that I knew that I really truly wanted the moment I read about it. My siblings or my friends -- or heck, or any regular reader of this blog -- probably could have walked into a store and seen it and wondered whether I had gotten it yet.

So here it is:

The 20th Anniversary of The Joshua Tree box set -- with remastered CD, bonus CD, DVD, book, and 5 pictures. Of course, this makes the fifth edition of this album that I have owned in my lifetime -- the first tape that I wore out, the record, the second tape, the first CD, and now this new CD. It really is the small things that make me happiest.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Seventh night of Hanukkah

Today's gift was U2 videos.

In all honesty, this is something I had bought -- and promptly forgot about -- some time ago. I'm hoping to get to watch it soon.

As for the leftover cookies, well, I brought them in to work, and next thing I knew, they were all gone. I'm kind of surprised by how fast four or five dozen cookies could disappear.

And finally, this Twitter is for my dad.

It's thoughts like this that make him proud.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sixth night of Hanukkah

For Hanukkah tonight, I got the new Killers CD. More importantly, earlier today, I finally got a new space heater for my office -- with a remote control.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Fifth night of Hanukkah

Tonight, there was no present, but there was a party with a white elephant gag gift exchange.

And, as noted yesterday, I made five different types of cookies -- gingersnaps, snickerdoodles, oatmeal chocolate chip, shortbread, and chocolate star cookies -- I even drizzled white and milk chocolate on top of the last two.

Ultimately, it was cookie overkill -- and now there are way too many cookies in my apartment. I guess I'll have to share them with the folks at work.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Fourth Night of Hanukkah

Today's Hanukkah gifts aren't so much presents as they are utilitarian. You see, it's that time of the year -- Chrismanukah cookie time. So I got me some Hanukkah cookie cutters, a new (and heavy!) rolling pin, and a pastry mat.

In addition to making the usual this year, I'm trying out two new recipes. (If they turn out well, I'll post them over the weeekend.) That'll make 5 (five!) types of cookies in 24 hours. I've already started some of the dough; I'll be waking up early tomorrow to get a head start on the baking before the party.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Third Night of Hanukkah

Tonight, for Hanukkah, The Underachiever's Manifesto and a pooping snowman, to go with last year's pooping Santa and the pooping reindeer from the year before that.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Second Night of Hanukkah

Today's present to myself is a South Park Christmas ornament -- Kyle holding a menorah -- and three volumes of Adult Mad Libs.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

First Night of Hanukkah

Tonight, for Hanukkah, I got a Goo Goo Dolls CD and a call from my Nana.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Good news, bad news

Today was kind of a good-news/bad-news day. Actually, it was the very definition of a good-news/bad-news day.

Exhibit A: You won your motion! Now you have to go to trial!
Exhibit B: Remember how you asked for a trial date of January 28? Nope, that's doesn't work. How about January 15?
Exhibit C: You get to be out of the office for at least three weeks! Holed up in a hotel in Newark, NJ.

So, that's the sum of it. Three weeks (or more!) in Newark in January. At least it's not somewhere really cold -- to go along with the crappy.

This afternoon, my coworker sent me a lovely e-mail. In sum, he told me that I get to be the quarterback for the trial team. Of course, I took the metaphor too far. "Great," I wrote. "Hope I don't get intercepted too often -- or sacked." Heh, heh.

So, that's the sum of it. It's a good thing I'm Jewish, because otherwise, my Christmas plans would totally be screwed. I've got a ton of work to do between now and mid-January. And, despite leaving early tonight, I brought work home. It's going to be that kind of winter.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Things you should never do after drinking

I almost never drink at work happy hours. I have a number of reasons for this general policy, but really, they all boil down to one: By not drinking, I can curtail (somewhat) my ability to say or do something stupid.

Yesterday, for some reason, I decided to have a beer. Just one, mind you -- not even enough to be close to drunk -- and yet, the conversation still managed to veer dangerously towards the embarrassing. But that's not really the problem.

The problem is that I got back to the apartment, changed into a t-shirt, went into the bathroom, and cut my hair. All before dinner.

Yep, I gave myself bangs.

I had been thinking about it all week, mostly because when I was at my parents' house, I found some cute pictures of me, as a kid, with bangs. Maybe, I thought, my mom was right for all of these years, and I really do look cutest with a little pixie cut.

Apparently, Katie Holmes's new 'do didn't dissuade me. And neither did all of those years of bad school pictures -- especially the ones where I had cut my own hair, much to my mother's chagrin.

At least now I can cut straight, mostly. And, thankfully, I cut them dry, so I didn't cut them too short. And, as long as you don't really look at it, it doesn't look that bad. What it does look like is that I'm going to have to go to a professional to see what she can do to fix it.