Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh No You Did Not

Here at work, us other attorneys decided to throw a shower for a coworker. We then decided to get his secretary and his boss involved and make it a kind of joint thing. So his secretary sent the email invite to my coworker Tish* to proofread (Tish is pretty much organizing the thing). Tish and I looked at it and agreed that serial commas should be used. His secretary had opted not to use them. Maybe that’s the way that they do things in their “pod,” but as an organization over all, we do use them. It’s even on the list of grammar rules that they hand out to you at orientation.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on grammar and style, but I think you could call me an enthusiastic layman. And as such, I know that there is debate in the “grammar community” over the correct use of these commas. Reasonable minds may disagree on the subject (jes’s boss, for example, does not use them). But I also know that here at work, we use serial commas. So Tish and I added the commas.

I think you see where this is going. When she sent out the invitations, she had taken out the commas.

So right now I’m sitting here just a little bit ticked off. Tish thinks it’s funny, and I guess that’s the right attitude. That’s probably how I should feel about it, and I’m working on it. But darnit, I’m annoyed. I don’t like passive-aggressive grammaristas.

*not her real name

People in Jail

I love my job, but some days it just makes my head hurt. In some way, I can’t wait to be out there doing transactional work (nothing like drafting a commercial lease agreement to make the day fly by) and to not be here carefully spotting and researching every tricky little issue, especially when I don’t get any help from the attorneys representing their clients. It’s hard when you work for the government and have to be impartial and can’t pull one of them aside and say, “look, buddy, you’ve got a good case here, but you’re screwing it all up.” I really just want someone else to spot all the issues and do all the research for me on every case. But then I guess if everyone did that then I wouldn’t have a job, because then what would they need me for? If everyone was honest in their research, then there wouldn’t be a need for people like me to go along behind them and check that they aren’t lying or at least stretching the truth.
But at least this makes me a better lawyer, right? Because it forces me to look at the details, when I’d rather just focus on the big picture.
Speaking of dishonesty, we toured the county jail yesterday. That was truly an odd experience. I had been warned before hand that it would smell just awful, and it did. Like a combination of sweat, fear, and disinfectant. Fortunately we did not tour the old jail that is no longer used, because that’s where the really bad smell is (before we left for the tour, our bailiff, who used to work there, warned me, “don’t lean up against anything”). But I gotta say, the new jail isn’t all that pleasant-smelling, either.
The old jail is supposedly what you would expect a jail to look like. The new jail really wasn’t. In some areas, the inmates were free to move from their individual cells to the common area, they had lots of time to play basketball or workout in the gym, could watch television just about whenever they wanted, had some relative privacy in their cells thanks to the solid doors (with small windows on them), etc. That area is for the inmates who get along with others and can behave themselves. If I had to be in jail, that’s where I’d want to be. I would not want to be in the other areas, where you have virtually no privacy and spend most of your time in your cell. But I feel certain that I’d behave pretty well. Anyway, that area wasn’t so bad, other than the generally over-powering smell of disinfectant and the fact that you are locked up in jail. For the inmates that are in there, jail isn’t so bad. Not fun, and not where you’d most want to be, but not like the movies.
But nevertheless, when we toured the booking area, I felt really, really sad. The people in the holding cells looked totally devoid of hope. We stood within a few feet of someone getting his fingerprints taken, which I thought was a little harsh–give the guy some personal space for these last few minutes before he has none at all. Everyone down there had this look of fright and hopelessness. It was really, really sad.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some bad people out there, and what they do to get put in jail makes me not feel too bad for them, but there are a lot of people who just make very stupid decisions. I’m not saying that they don’t deserve to face the consequences of their actions–they do–but it also doesn’t mean that I can’t feel sympathy and compassion for them for what they are now facing. Anyone who thinks it isn’t a big deal, go down to your local county jail and look in the face of someone who’s getting booked for the first time, then see if you’d want to trade places with him (or her).
I wish we could do more as a society to help keep those people out who really don’t belong there. I think some people out there are just wired wrong, they just won’t follow the law no matter what we do, and those people you really do need to lock up. But there are others who just never learned to make good choices, never learned to see the probable consequences of their actions, never learned that they might have better options than crime. Is it society’s fault? No, not necessarily. But we’d all benefit if we could step in before their lives become lives of crime. I wish there was a way we could reach all those people before they start down that road, but there just isn’t a way to reach them all. It’s kind of heartbreaking.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Somebody motivate me, please.

I joined a gym in January. I have since gone to the gym to workout a grand total of two times. On neither occasion did I stay more than 20 minutes.

My reasons are multifarious but can be boiled down to a general assertion that I’m l-a-z-y. First let’s take the geography problem, a/k/a the amount of energy required to get to the gym. I have to drive past my home to get to the gym, which means to get there I would have to expend more energy than is strictly necessary to get through the day. Back before law school, I joined a gym that was very close to my job and on my way home. I went to that gym all the time. Now I’ve joined another gym, but I have to put in much more effort to go, not to mention that, in passing my house, the desire to be in my own home acts like a tractor beam, making it almost impossible to go anywhere else by home. So that’s reason #1.

The second problem has to do with energy expended to prepare to go to the gym. I have to find clean and not-too-wrinkled gym clothes, put on the clothes, make sure I’ve shaved my legs that day, find matching socks, find my shoes, and find my gym i.d. That takes a lot of time and effort. I mean, I’m perfectly willing to look like a slob at the gym, but I don’t want to look like a homeless slob. No offense meant to the homeless.

The third problem is the energy I have to expend working out once I get to the gym. On my first trip to the gym, I got on the elliptical machine. I had my eyes glued fast to the timer the whole time, and after about 2 minutes I was exhausted. I made myself go all the way to 5 minutes just as a matter of pride (rr was with me, and she didn’t seem to be having any problems whatsoever), but then I had to give up and walk on the indoor track. The second time I went I managed to go 20 minutes, the effort for which about killed me. Plus, I was bored out of my mind, and although I know it’s self-defeating to look at the clock, my gaze just kept going back to it, while in my head I counted down how much longer I had to stay there before I could leave without embarrassment. Just thinking about how much I hate that stupid machine and how much every second feels like an hour and just how hard I have to work to keep going, I get tired.

So I really need something that will get me to go the gym. But neither paying for a gym that I don’t go to and nor getting too fat for my clothes motivates me, so what will? Well, I know what will, but they don’t have it there. I need a t.v. with cable attached to the machine so that I can watch whatever I want and can change the channel when annoying commercials come on. That’s what I need. That worked for me at school and at the local rec center near where I used to work. The YMCA needs to work on that. ‘Cause then it wouldn’t interfere with my t.v. schedule and it would distract me from the agony of the elliptical.

Does anyone know a gym that offers that?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Comment and a Link

A Comment:
I just want to say that I'm so glad that my blogger password is something that I can remember. I have taken a lot of flak from certain people in the past because of the ridiculously obvious passwords I used. Ok, but seriously, if I have a lycos email account,* is anyone really going to think my password is "lycos"? Anyway, in an effort to "beef up" security, I have taken to coming up with very random passwords to change all my accounts to. These passwords consist of random parts of words from books open on my desk and random numbers in my direct line of vision (serial numbers, page numbers, whatever). Unfortunately, although you now need some kind of computer program to figure out my passwords now, it makes it hard for me to login to anywhere because I don't have that program, and my memory is nicht so gut. So then when stupid blogger made me switch to the new blogger, I went with an old gmail account I had (for which fortunately I had written down the password), and I was terribly afraid the password would be something like "se78cof*!92" It's not. And no, it's not "gmail," either. It's something from that phase where I was making the passwords more difficult but not obscure. So it's something I can remember if I think about it. So I don't have to hate the new blogger anymore than I already do.

A Link:
I'm still laughing about this old post on Beyond the Pale. It's cracking me up, because it is so like a conversation that might be had, in total seriousness, between rr and myself. I love that other people have conversations like this. I love that as I was reading it, I gave quite a bit of thought to how successful I would be at this activity. I also love the simple brilliance of the premise. So if you haven't read it yet, go read it.

*I just want to go on the record as despising lycos.

Monday, March 05, 2007

I don't know about you, but my weekend flew by. I did get a long done, though, and the weekend had good things and bad things about it.

Bad things:
  • My mother and I had a long talk about how she is totally stressed about money and we are both totally stressed about certain other family members. The talk wasn’t bad, but the stress is. And all of the problems we talked about would go away if people in my family would just frackin’ listen to me. I know, I know, be a little more sure of your self there, JLR, but on this, I know I’m right, because I have been down the exact road they are going down. But unfortunately I have a big mouth and am always telling people in my family what to do, so none of them listen to me at all. Ever. My own fault, really, but still.
  • RR and I saw a man standing on the sidewalk of a shopping center holding a sign that said “I need a job please.” He looked like he was in his 60s (at least), and he was wearing a dress shirt, slacks, and a tie. I hope someone gave him a job. If I had anything at all that I could hire him for, I would, but I don’t. Please keep him in your prayers.
  • RR and I spent too much money on stuff at a new coffee place by my parents’ house. We really want to be supportive of local coffee houses, but we are also on a budget. Also, those muffins? Very yummy but not on the diet.

Good things:
  • I had time to do my nails and give myself a pedicure. I bought one of those things for your feet that look like cheese graters. My feet had become completely hobbit-like, what with me no longer needing to wear shoes because of all the dead skin. That has been addressed. I feel like a human being again.
  • I finally put all my law books for sale online. Finally! Now I just hope that someone buys them so that I can get them out the house.
  • I finished my taxes. Normally I get them taken care of in early January, but for some reason I just hadn’t gotten around to it. So now they are finally done. Yea!
  • The long scrape on my leg does not look as angry as it did. This scrape I got from a metal shelving unit, and for a few days it looked like I might have an infection to deal with, but now it just looks ugly instead of angry.
  • RR and I checked out the church we are going to go to next Sunday. We always like to scope these things out in advance–how’s the parking situation, whether people get there on time or not, how are people dressed, etc. So now we’re good to go, and I’m super excited about the idea of getting back to church on a regular basis. I’m not excited about the fact that this church’s website says it uses “the latest technology,” which to me means “we do skits and play really loud music over which you cannot hear the singing,” which I cannot stand. But we’ll see how it goes.
  • I slept all the way through the night both Friday and Saturday nights. That’s the first time in a long time that something hasn’t woken me up.
  • Got my haircut. Yea for haircuts.
  • Brought work home and actually worked on it. So now I’m not quite as behind as I was.
  • RR made a low-sugar oatmeal bar thing that, although it doesn’t stick together as it should, tastes fabulous.
So that was my weekend. I got a lot done, and that makes me happy. Nothing too terribly interesting happened, but I don’t need that. So how was your weekend?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Insert Creative Title Here

My brain is too tired to come up with anything engaging to write about (hence the post title).

I haven’t blogged for I guess about two weeks now. I really haven’t had much to say, and then this week I’ve been feeling kind of like I’m in a funk, so I didn’t have the energy to say anything. And then I kept not getting enough sleep, so I really didn’t have the energy. Last night I was so tired that I couldn’t even form coherent sentences. Luckily RR was able to understand what I was saying, because the wrong words just kept coming out. Often they were even made up words, so it was really fortunate that she got what I meant.

I still don’t have much to say.

I hate the Rooms to Go commercial with that Destiny’s Child song. Hate. So.Much. Never shopping there (at least, not for as long as I remember that I decided I wasn't shopping there).

I have given up candy and cookies and all things of their ilk for Lent. That, and laziness. It’s hard to say which one’s harder to go without.

That’s all I got. The other day I was thinking of things to write about when I mustered up the energy, but now I can’t remember them. Typical.

Oh, and it’s official, I’m stuck with the new blogger. Hate.