The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Dear Summer Time Property Professor,
I heart you. No, really, I do. I mean, aside from the fact that you absolutely remind me of Miranda's on-again-off-again-boyfriend/husband/father-of-her childSteve. That's not the reason I heart you tonight. Nope, I heart you because as you looked out at all of the pathetic "blank stares" (as you call us) of the evening you didn't get mad. Instead, you said "wow, you guys are so hard working and brilliant and after all it is summer and tomorrow is Law-Rah's birthday, so why don't we take a break on Thursday." Okay, that was possibly not your exact quote, but I knew that's what you meant. As the summer trucks on and we get less and less responsive to your jokes and snarky property related comments, I just want you to know that it's not you, it's us. Seriously, I, for one, didn't mean to come across as un-interested as I sprinted for the exit while you were still talking. Please forgive me and understand I still heart you!
Saturday, June 25, 2005
Day of One-Liners......where you get the benefit of anything that pops into my head while I read Property:
Does it make me a bad person if every morning, I wake up to the little birdies chirping outside of my window...and I want to shoot them?
Does anyone know what happened to Dwayne? My little cynical Aussie friend...where are you???
I pulled a muscle/pinched a nerve/just plain messed up something in my neck. It hurts really bad to look downward and reading is not so easy when you have to hold the book up in the air.
The bird shut up.
The corn rows in my hair are making my head hurt.
I am spread so thin right now with work and school and moving that I am forgetting things. For instance, my best friend came over last night and it was the first time she saw a picture of my new niece. She asked what her name was and I had actually forgotten. That's my GodChild and I forgot her name!
Since law school started, I didn't realize how much I miss my (other) friends until last night.
In an art class I took in undergrad, we had to spend an entire week drawing a binder clip. It was a lot easier than the time that my professor brought in his dog for us to draw.
I came to a disturbing realization this week...I quit being "fun" when I went to law school.
I am so lucky to have the bestest friends in the whole wide world:-)
Thursday, June 23, 2005
New RTPIn light of our upcoming move (at work) we received a memorandum to all D.C. Attorneys and Staff regarding the "Restroom Trip Policy" of the new offices. My first thought is of the current policy which is only that they lock the doors after 6:30, so bring your key. I am staring at this paper wondering why they need an entire page typed to tell me the new policy. And then I read on:
In our current quarters, [firm name] employees are permitted to make trips to the restroom under informal guidelines. In our new offices, a Restroom Trip Policy (RTP) will be implemented to provide a more consistent method of accounting for each employee's restroom time, ensuring equal treatment of all employees, and reducing costs by decreasing the duration of restroom trips.
According to the memo, basically, at the beginning of every month, a person is given a "bank" of restroom credits, each credit being worth 4 minutes of restroom time. The entrance to all restrooms will be linked up to a voice activated system to log use. There are repercussions to not using your time wisely:
If an employee's bank reaches zero, the restroom will not unlock for that employee's voice until the first of the next month. In addition, all restroom stalls will be equipped with timed paper roll retractors. If the stall is occupied for more than three minutes, an alarm will sound. Thirty seconds after the alarm sounds, the roll of paper will retract into the wall, the toilet will flush, and the stall door will open.
The names of employees who have had the stall door open automatically will be posted on the bulletin board in the seventh floor lunchroom. Anyone whose name is posted three times in a calendar quarter will be required to seek counseling.
I cannot begin to describe the influx of firm-wide "reply to all" emails that resulted from distribution of this memo.
UPDATE: Yes, they are joking:-) um...I hope!
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Blue Line connectionI wonder...could there be a connection here and here?
"You know what else made today good? I got to see New Metro Girlfriend. I’m so happy that I met NMG last week. Today was only our second metro date...to my surprise and delight, she exited the car with me."
"So, I don't know at what point I realize some guy is intentionally getting in at the same metro car as I am, but I notice this guy repeatedly making a b-line for the car I get onto, and it gets creepy...Next day. Repeat above scene where [he] steps in after me to sit next to me..."
Sunday, June 19, 2005
My momentI had "a moment" this week. I love having moments. This was one of those moments where you stop dead in your tracks and think "if someone would've told me 10 or so years ago I would be here, I would have never believed them." And then, you take a deep breath and you just take it all in.
My moment occurred standing on the Speakers' Balcony of the United States Capital with a former Member of Congress looking DOWN on the area that Presidents are sworn in. For four years now, I have battled with what is my favorite view of this city. I shall never change my mind again. Standing there, at the apex of the Washington DC Axis, I watched Pennsylvania Avenue cut the grid to my right and Maryland Ave. to my left. What a breathtaking city.
Just wanted to share my moment with you.
Weekends are crazyTomorrow begins catching up on all of the stuff I have been slacking on in this world-wind of a social week! I think there is something about DC in the summer-time that makes everyone in the world want to just party. Let us reflect for a moment:
Tonight was a going away shin-dig for a friend. She (and the bulk of her company that got laid off) has decided to "find herself" and in K's case, this means moving to San Francisco. It's hard to tell people good-bye even when you know they are chasing their dreams. Enough mushiness. K's party brought a random assortment of folks. Let me prelude this by telling you this party was not in a part of DC that I would normally be...like EVER! Theme of the evening: Law-Rah is so sheltered. I knew the night would be interesting when I saw my first ever drug deal on the way to the party...in the damn Wendy's parking lot. I so do not think Dave Thomas would approve. Continuing on (at a more rapid pace) my friend laughed at me as I said "hit the deck!" when I heard what sounded to be gun-shots. Of course, when he told the story later, he said it was those little white popper things, but whatever. K is one of those girls who knows everyone, so everyone showed up. There were, in fact, people who showed up that no one knew like that woman in the skort who kept turning the stereo up and dancing in the middle of the room by herself. It took everyone a while to figure out that they may have taken a wrong turn, and were probably just there for the free food and drinks. I was especially partial to the very short Mr. Miagi looking hairdresser man named Milan who ran up to K reading the sign saying 'bon voyage', emotionally told her how much he was going to miss her...and then asked if she was going somewhere. He rocked! Plus, after enough drinks, he totally did the wax-on-wax-off thing!
Another funny "this shows just how different males and females are" moment arose soon after. I asked hostess just how many gay guys were at this party (they seemed plentiful to me.) She said only B. Then, I asked B how many and he said "girl, this place is crawling!" B and I then became instant best buds and he taught me how to "work the gay-dar." We spent the next hour on the sofa watching the guys in the room dance because that is apparently the best way to determine a gentleman's sexual preference. The entertainment factor in that room was beyond description.
As for Friday, I feel a little late to the game, but I should absolutely succinctly re-cap last night. On the phone today, a friend asked what I did last night and I said "uh, I met a few friends for drinks and, uh, it's kinda hard to explain. Uh, okay, I feel like such a dork, but I went on a blogger meet." She laughed at me. Seriously, though....good times. E.Spat is in town for the summer, as are Matt and Coob, so they all put together a happy hour to meet. (Jack, Idlegrasshopper and L-Cubed were there as well.) This is the first time I have ever done this. We all discussed it was a little strange, but at least it's not like a match dot com meeting or anything. A couple of drinks later, we were discussing who in the blogging world looked like George Costanza and who is totally psycho. Although blogging is becoming mainstream, I think there is is still a reserved element of dorkicism to it. At the same time, when you read someone's inner thoughts and feelings daily, you somehow have this bond or connection with them. I also must say, their looks and in-person personalities absolutely matched the way they write and portray themselves online.
So, perhaps tomorrow I shall pick up a book to read for the class that I paid $5k for this summer. Why, yes, that sounds like a good idea!
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Second Annual Red Line Pub CrawlThe evening began at Capital City Brewing Company at 5:30pm. Roommate and I showed up at 5:34 and already had two reprimanding messages for being late. It was at that moment we knew these people meant business. After all, the integrity of the pub crawl was at stake. Instantaneous respect flowed amongst those who showed up at the beginning. We were the committed ones, determined to make our co-organizers proud. (Or perhaps we were just terrified of the consequences of not heeding the implied warnings about showing up late or bowing out early.) There was a so-so law school showing at this point. The evening moved on, as did our crowd of thirty or so, via the Red Line Metro. One $6.50 all day Metro pass would handle our transportation for the evening.
The organizers had this down to a science. Every detail meticulously considered. We would continue on the red line to each stop from Union Station to Bethesda and return to end the evening at Dupont Circle. One glass of ale (or bottle of beer) was to be consumed at each place we halted the party and "rested" for half an hour. Although we would loop back in the opposite direction from which we began, we were not hit the same metro stop twice. Furthermore, since some stops have less than desirable choices for pubs (i.e. none), we would have to double up at the stop before or after.
The pubs for the evening had been predetermined and hand selected by our well-versed bar hopping co-organizers. There would not be a cover charge all evening and the timing was perfect to avoid the crowds. In fact, we were the crowd! It was the perfect mix of people to come together and wreak havoc on DC. And you thought the tourists were obnoxious on the Metro! Try having a bunch of 20 and 30-something year olds spinning on the metro poles and see if that does not conjure some strange looks. Some people showed up later and we lost some along the way because they just could not hang. The evening came complete with laughter and tears, a passed out metro-sexual on the Metro, a molestor-stache, a bar that smelled like sh*t (apparently due to some problem with the facilities), a political debate, an Irish man singing a Cajun song, a lot of peanuts, and best of all...many drunken "i love you"s.
In case you are wondering...our stops for the evening:
Capital City Brewing Company at Union Station
Fado Irish Pub at China Town/Gallery Place
Shelley's Back Room at Metro Center
Mackey's at Farragut North
The Madhatter at Farragut North
The Barking Dog at Bethesda
Chadwick's at Friendship Heights
The Dancing Crab at Tenleytown
Four Provinces at Cleveland Park
Nanny O'Briens at Cleveland Park
The Big Hunt at Dupont Circle
A great time was had by all!
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Communication is keyLast night was the "Second Annual Red Line Pub Crawl" (which I attended for the first time). I have no intention of even attempting to re-cap my evening through my own recollections. I will, however, allow you to re-live my night through the text messages I found in the 'Sent Items' on my phone this morning. This is my side of conversations with four different people:
5:37pm: "Just got here"
10:19pm: "Where are you?"
11:47pm: "I luv you"
12:37am: "You f-ing left"
12:40am: "Where are you?"
1:20am: "Where am I?"
There were only a few of us who were able to keep the integrity of the pub crawl through the end!
Hopefully someone else will write about this for me and I can just link to them, or copy their words here...hint hint!
Saturday, June 11, 2005
The past and the future while enjoying the present.Yesterday was a day of "firsts". I took my first steps into a completed building I designed, I spent my first day in court listening to oral arguments and I took my first riverboat cruise along the Potomac.
My morning was about the past. When I chose to leave the profession of architecture, it was a hard decision to make. Not only is it hard to turn your back on such an expansive time period in your fairly short life, it is also difficult to know you are walking away from things you put your own blood, sweat, and tears into (and a hell of a lot of 'em). I worked on two commercial building projects in the area of the courthouse and for some time have been meaning to check out their progress. In heading over to the courthouse, I arrived a little early so I could mull around the neighborhood. To my excitement, I noticed that the parking garage for Carlyle Place was open. After maneuvering a parking garage I knew pretty well, I took the elevator and ascended into the lobby. I will admit that it was a pretty surreal experience to step out of the elevator and see the fruits of your labor for the first time. As I looked around the lobby, I saw elements of all of my old co-workers and their style. I saw Michael in the atrium lighting, I saw Amy in the canopy out front. I saw James in his signature curved wall. I did not really see myself. Perhaps it is hard to see through your own eyes. Or, perhaps I just was not there. Either way, I realized (as I have many times this past year) that I did the right thing by leaving. While this was a nice moment in my morning, it could not overshadow my excitement to spend my day in court. Although some may disagree, that rare passing moment of pride in my design contribution was not enough upon which to build my career.
My day became about the future. I got to the courthouse early to hear some of the criminal proceedings before our cross motion for summary judgement would be argued. I knew which judge was hearing our argument, so I found his courtroom and found myself a seat. The courthouse itself is beautiful, which I had to notice as the former architect. I was also intrigued by the people gathering inside. I wondered where they came from and how they fit into the system. I had just enough time to people watch before the "Oyez, oyez". I lost track of all of the cases I got to watch, but the ones in the morning were criminal hearings and sentencing. I learned a lot, as often times, the judge would have to explain to the defendants what decisions he was making and why. In doing this, he got rid of the "legalese" that lawyers and judges tend to use to muddify simple situations. It was nice to hear it laid out simply. (Wait, did I just put myself on an intellectual level of some of the criminals I saw yesterday?)
I was surprised by the amount of defendants that did not know English. At ALL! I saw a gentleman who had stolen (from the mail) and activated and sold credit cards raising debts to the tune of $401 million. When judge asked if he had anything to say, he elaborated on how difficult life in his country had been. To this, judge responded that we all know America brings freedoms but you are not going to come into our country and take those freedoms away by messing with our postal system. Judge discussed the policy reasons for imposing a strict sentence. He talked about a person's need to take comfort in a system by which they can put a $0.37 stamp on an envelope and send it across the country without fear that it will be intercepted and used for other purposes.
I also saw the government attempting to deport a woman, which her attorney says was solely because they could not get to her husband and therefore, wanted someone to pay. Regardless, since it was a statute of limitations issue, the whole argument turned on the exact point at which a person becomes "naturalized." The woman had allegedly falsified information on her naturalization papers. However, the government argued that this is not a crime until the person actually becomes naturalized. Since the ten year statute of limitations begins to toll when a crime is committed, they needed that "crime" to be later. If the crime was when she lied, it was too late to charge her. This unraveled a bundle of questions and explanations of the process of naturalization to decide at which point it is legal (receipt of a certificate, signing of a paper, the ceremony, etc.)
The most "emotional" case on the criminal docket was that of the convicted sex offender. This man had been found with child pornography on his computer. His attorney really did seem to be fighting for him. (It was one of those "I could never do that" type of moments.) Anyway, his attorney provided pretty weak arguments in an attempt to lessen his sentence. On the other hand, I am not sure a strong argument exists for that situation. It was surely a plea to the judges emotions. It was the "he's a changed man and regrets everything, it will never happen again" argument. Attorney also brought TWENTY of his closest family members and friends into the courtroom to show that he has a support system. (Might have helped more had he also told them how to dress for court...i.e. having a character witness don a halter top and spike heels may not be the best bet.) The judge gave him the opportunity to speak, which I don't think helped or hurt his case. This was surely a case of judge already having decided the sentence with no possibility of being swayed. Furthermore, attorney's argument rested on the levels of sex offense. He kept pointing out the difference between "merely" looking at pictures on the computer or being the one who took those pictures, or even going as far as to act on those impulses. He begged the court to take into account that his client fell into the first category and therefore deserved leniency. Judge simply said "yeah, if he fell into any other category, he would be here on different charges that had different sentencing guidlines." Judge never looked him in the eye as he went on about how disgusting and reprehensible his actions were.
The civil cases were interesting to see how the rules are put into play. I was most surprised by the number of BAD lawyers. I felt like being one year into law school I could have done better than some of those guys. I will sum up the civil proceedings with my favorite argument of the day: "Well your honor, you know we are not here today because we want to be. We filed in state court and they removed here to federal court. Under Erie Railroad v. Tompkins (yes, he did actually bring this up), you have to apply Virginia state law even though we are here in federal court. Personally, I think that it makes much more sense for state courts to apply state law." Judge interrupts: "Sir, I believe I am more than capable of hearing this case and applying the correct law. That IS what I do for a living."
My evening was about the present. A friend of mine invited me to go with his firm (and their summer associates) on a river cruise along the Potomac. I have wanted to do this for four years now and it was worth the wait. It was a very relaxing enjoyable evening (helped that everything was paid for.) Watching the sunset from a boat with the various monuments and memorials all around really made me realize how lucky I am to be here. It was the perfect ending and reflection on a great day.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
CoolThings have been so busy, I barely had time to look at the date. Today marks the two-year anniversary of the day I quit smoking. Yay!
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Call me Perry MasonI sent my mother a heartfelt email today about my current life situation. Since this summer has been so overwhelming, she only gets bits and pieces (admittedly edited bits and pieces) of the story. Anyway, I just really wanted her to know how happy I am and how well things are going. To this she replied, "good, because judging from your blog, I was beginning to worry that you are going to become a fat alcoholic lawyer." Such faith my family has in me:-)
Saturday, June 04, 2005
VC Happy HourThink I could get my professor to cancel class for this?
Welcome dinnerLast night was our big summer associate welcome dinner (not to be confused with the welcome happy hour, welcome reception, or welcome lunches.) A group of about twenty (five of us summers) went to Zaytina for dinner and drinks (or perhaps drinks with a little dinner.) We had a good mix of partners, associates, and us young-uns. More importantly, it was all the fun people. Of course, everyone is fun in their own way:-) But I'm talking about 'partner who has a few glasses of wine and starts talking about dancing around poles' kinda fun. It is always easier to get to know people when there are multiple bottles of wine involved.
The design of the restaurant includes one long table down the center of the first floor to hold larger parties. I have been to Zaytina a few times and every time I have noticed the obnoxious folks at that table. Last night, we were those obnoxious folks. Partially due to the wine, partially due to a table of 20 lawyer types, but mostly due to the rotation of summer associates. They wanted each of us to get the opportunity to chat with everyone at the table, which meant every so often, we had to rotate. Talk about annoy the wait staff! We actually would pick up our plates and drinks and move over a few seats. About three rounds in, so much alcohol had been consumed that we gave up on that. (Rather, we told partner-in-charge that we had already rotated everywhere and she just didn't notice.) I admit that the rotation did serve its purpose, as we got to have conversations with others we would not have otherwise.
Once dinner was over, all the summers went out drinking and dancing. One associate came with us, which was nice...mostly because she brought with her the approval of partner-in-charge for the firm to continue picking up the tab for the rest of the evening. I've never had so much fun bar-hopping. We asked associate what was our budget and she said "I was told to use my judgement." Good times...did not take long for her judgment to become a bit impaired. I have to say that the funniest part of all of this is that I just read this post last week and thought it was a joke!
Thursday, June 02, 2005
He was named after a porn starDo you think they will put his picture on the wall as a distinguished alumni at my school?
(Woodward wrote a great article in the Washington Post today about Deep Throat through his eyes.)