Monday, February 23, 2009

and the envelope please

I confess that....I may very well have a different "ranking" when it comes to the major Oscars.

Traditionally, "Best Picture" is considered the top prize overall. In some years, "Best Screenplay" has been viewed as almost a 2nd place. For me, I think it might actually be the reverse. I tend to like strong, plot-driven movies that rely very heavily on substance and much less on style. Flash and color and the like are all fun, but a strong story wins me every time. I think that may be why I've often picked a screenplay winner as my personal best picture. That's what "works" for me.

I wanted Milk to win last night because of the story and the acting. It grabbed me and I was lost in it...almost forgetting it wasn't more of a true documentary. But, I can admit it wasn't too much for the eyes. The visuals fit the story, but they didn't go beyond it. Slumdog was much more visual...and musical too. Maybe that's part of the difference...a "Best Picture" has more of a balance between plot, acting, visuals, and music. It is a package deal. I'm more of an elements girl.

I remember many moons ago my college roommate and I were debating over email with my cousin about Titanic vs. Good Will Hunting. I still prefer Good Will Hunting, by far. But it is definitely a "simpler" movie in terms of style. So maybe my diagreements with the Academy become an "It's not you, it's me" thing.

Or a difference in priorities.

Or, maybe I'm right and they're wrong...just 'cause. :P

Friday, February 20, 2009

guilt by association

I confess that...I've been pondering the issue of attorneys and clients lately.

In a recent state election, one candidate tried to attack the other by bringing up the fact that he'd represented a pretty low-life of a criminal in his attorney days. This pissed me off. And it didn't seem to work too well. I think that attorneys in particular take the "everyone has a right to a defense" view in general criminal proceedings (i.e. non-"white collar crime"). The general public is a bit tougher on the lawyers (they are tougher on ALL lawyers), but I think they can still be pretty okay with it. Maybe it's all the lawyer shows on TV or something.

But, I'm wondering if we treat the issue the same when it comes to either civil or white collar matters. I saw an article about the attorneys for Madoff having to defend themselves a good bit (aside from potential conflict issues) and their choice to accept the representation. Do we judge these attorneys more harshly on the basis of their clientele?

One factor, among many, in my choice of law firm after graduation was that I didn't like that another one of my options was a firm that did a lot of tobacco work. They did say that you'd never be forced to do those cases, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be part of the firm anyway if that was a big part of their business. I'm not sure how much that was about what I felt I wanted for myself versus passing judgment. I didn't want to defend rapists either, but I was/am glad someone does and my feeling about the tobacco work was somehow different than the criminal work....even though the same principle sorta applies and the system needs advocates on both sides.

I did work on a case for a handgun company at one point. That was hard for me, but I think I was okay because it was a specific insurance matter and not a lawsuit by someone injured by the product. I had to work through that one a bit though some days. I'd have been personally uncomfortable with some other types of representation for that client. And I'm not sure how I feel towards the places that take those cases.

I have nothing in the way of a conclusion for this train of thought but wanted to share it anyway. It's weighing on me in a weird way.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

what sounds easy

I confess that...I feel like I struggle with the strangest things.

For a while now, I've thought about cutting back on my weekly mileage. I'm tired a lot and sore much of the time. I always do take a rest day, but the my mileage has still been high. To be fully honest, when you add in both my workouts and informal walking (i.e. work to T), I've been over 50 miles pretty consistently. I got it into my head to average out to 7 miles a day and then decided 50 was a nicer number than 49. I've told myself there'd be no shame in going to 6 miles a day...42 per week. Mentally, I know that is PLENTY. I'm not training for anything and I'm well over the recommended cardio for health. But it is indescribably hard for me to actually do.

I took an unplanned rest day Monday. I can't recall my last unplanned rest day. I was in a LOT of pain and really just couldn't push myself through. I think it was the right call (Note to me: I do want to muse on the chronic pain and exercise thing is pretty complicated, at least for me). I KNOW it was. But I can't get it out of my mind. I'll still end up with 42 miles, maybe a little more, if Thursday and Saturday are "normal". In fact, I was higher the first two weeks of the month so I'd actually still be over 7/day for February. I KNOW this is plenty. I'd tell anyone else that they are doing MORE than enough.

So why can't I LISTEN to that?

Obviously, there's a ton of complicated stuff in that answer. And I'm not going to type it all least not here. I also know I am far from alone in this particular battle. But, thinking about it is making me more appreciative to how much of a struggle other addictions must be. I can be judgmental on addictions...smoking in particular...but I know firsthand that KNOWING and DOING are worlds apart.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I random things....

  • I don't feel sympathy for the guy on my van who struggles to walk up our hill because I think it is his own fault b/c he smokes
  • My legs tell me to cut down my mileage, but that's really hard for me to actually do
  • I expected that I'd marry someone with at least some form of graduate degree
  • Yes, he did a great thing. But I'm tired of hearing about Captain Sully
  • I wish I could find a way to craft a rule that forbids the actions of the "octoplet mom" but still protects the right to choose. I feel VERY conflicted about this.
  • I feel superior to people who don't engage in any sort of exercise
  • I think I'm smarter than most people I meet
  • But I'm utterly clueless about financial "stuff"
  • I'm really afraid sometimes by how much "better" I feel after taking a pain pill. Though I think being aware of this is a good thing too.
  • I chew WAY too much gum
  • I'm debating skipping my college reunion because I'm embarrassed about where I am professionally. But I'd like to show off my weight loss...
  • I think my body is in pretty good shape but still feel really unattractive overall.
  • I consider myself very liberal but think the US needs to take care of "our own" before we take care of people elsewhere and/or illegal immigrants. I am embarrassed by that feeling.
  • Death doesn't tend to make me cry, but a sappy commercial might make me tear up. Which I hide from anyone around me.
  • If I had to pick between a life including red wine & chocolate and one that sacrificed it but was a tad longer, I'd go for the former in an instant.
  • I liked the "25 things" on facebook and read a number of people's even when I wasn't tagged. I also read blogs of a few random people from my past, even though we weren't close.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

bye bye bye

I confess recruiting is really depressing right now.

A lot of really "good" firms are announcing layoffs. Several more today, including the firm that ate up my old firm in Atlanta. I'm seeing people in my office who either have already been on the chopping block or fear they are headed there soon.

Impact on my own bottom line as a recruiter aside, I find this all really depressing. A lot of these attorneys did everything "right". They worked hard in high school and got into a good college. Worked hard in college and got into a top law school. Worked hard in law school and got into a top level law firm. And then devoted way too many working hours to a stressful profession that saps a lot out of you. They played the game perfectly. They may not have been the VERY best lawyer at the firm (let's admit it...they don't lay off number one), but they did a good enough job to keep moving ahead...and that's nothing to sneeze at. And now they find themselves jobless. In a job market saturated with strong candidates and no job openings.

I'd always really thought of layoffs in the manufacturing world or like areas. They are terrible for whomever they hurt, but I guess I just never imagined it would hit this group. And I'm willing to bet they never imagined it either. They were waiting for the rewards of playing the game and got sidelined instead.

I sound pompous. At least to me. I feel bad for ANYONE who loses a job through no fault of their own. Absolutely. It is just that this group of victims caught me by surprise. There have been trickles for a bit now, but recently it just exploded. It is truly part of my job to know what's going on in the market and to monitor layoff news. And it is depressing.

My best to everyone.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I confess....that I'm only "green-ish".

I believe in helping the environment. I unplug my hairdryer, my home laptop, and cell phone charger. I take mass transit (okay, that is not really motivated by the green-ness, but I do like that aspect). I recycle a pretty decent amount (Jason is better about it than I am). I have the washer on "cold" and do full loads. I turn off the heat during the day and add blankets rather than making it a bit warmer when we are home (also a $$$ decision). I use a water bottle rather than bottled water at work.

But, I have my limits. I like HOT showers. During the week, I keep them short but I revel in my longer showers on the weekends. I use paper plates and plastic utensils at work (exception is my water bottle). I buy a lot of things packaged individually b/c that helps me with self-control, even though it isn't the green-est of choices. I make too much trash. I have a few reusable grocery bags but often end up needing a couple plastic ones too during our weekly grocery run.

Kermit says it ain't easy bein' green. Is it "okay" to take a middle ground and be greenish? Where am I compared to the average folk? If everyone took my path, would that be a good thing or a bad thing? What is the right answer for balancing comfort etc. and environmental concerns?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

wherein i rant a bit on a sociopolitical matter

I confess that....I'm about to get a bit political.

There are a number of issues out there that I care about, generally tending more toward social issues than other types. But there are few that I react as strongly to as the gay marriage debate. And it's been on my mind lately...both because of the Cali events last year and the "news" that the couple whose lawsuit led to the MA court ruling is getting a divorce.

I have a great deal of trouble understanding the arguments against gay marriage. Tradition is a lovely thing, but it can't be the sole justification for continuing a policy...not to fall back on an old analogy, but slavery was a tradition, as were laws against interracial marriage.

I think sometimes "tradition" is cited as a substitute for a moral or religious judgment. That's a judgment that I just don't see as being the government's decision to make. I would never say every church must be required to perform and recognize gay should be up to them to decide if it fits their belief system. And if an individual chooses not to attend or praise gay marriages, so be it. That's their right. They can marry outside their gender. But this isn't a value judgment that should be written at the government level. My husband has sometimes pondered whether the state should get out of marriage altogether and have it all be civil unions on that level. That'd be okay with me. It's the equality of opportunity before the government that matters.

It seems to me that banning gay marriage is gender discrimination. Sally can't marry Lucy because she's a woman. If she were a man, no problem. We aren't talking about children here, clearly another matter. Or even polygamy...which I feel a bit torn on but often involves an element of coercion and power issues. Two consenting adults shouldn't be limited in their legal options because the happen to share the same "parts."

The argument that gay marriage somehow erodes the institution also baffles me. I think fly-by-night marriages (a la Britney and the Vegas hubby) are more insulting to the institution. There is nothing more celebratory of marriage than two people truly in love and committing to each other. Especially when they had to really fight for that commitment to be "approved" (which they will, even if it is legal everywhere). Gay marriage has been in MA for a bit now. I don't think the world has fallen apart. In fact, I'd guess more people here would support gay marriage now than would have a few years back because they've seen that no big crisis occurred. I do worry though that the story about the couple divorcing will somehow become a weapon in this fight....even though they faced the same odds all of us who marry face.

I also think that ultimately this decision needs to be made on a national level. I understand the idea of having states call the shots...and that such a policy can let people "vote with their feet" if they so choose. But it really leads to quite a mess. Sally marries Lucy in Massachusetts. Sally and Lucy move to Virginia. Things sour and the marriage fails...not because they are gay but because that just happens. What is their recourse? They can't divorce in Virginia, because the state doesn't recognize the marriage. They can't divorce in Mass because states tend to have residency rules on divorce. Where does that leave them? They are married, but not married. Can they remarry in Virginia (maybe they are bisexual....)? What would happen if they then moved back to Mass?

In my post on Obama, I mentioned hoping for a day when we don't need to talk about a candidate's race. I hope for that same day with gay marriage...when it is "just" a marriage, no extra label.

Rambly-ranting done. For now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

when you care enough to send...something...

I confess that....I have issues with Hallmark.

It does seem like card selection has expanded vastly since my younger days. There are often a few choices for step-family cards and even "like a parent" cards. Clearly, Hallmark has seen that the branches on family trees have gotten a bit more crowded.

But, I always still have trouble finding some of the cards I need. I do love my father, but he really wasn't much of a Dad for most of my life. The cards going on about "being there" and all that simply aren't right for me. Even the joke cards make inappropriate references...he never mowed the lawn where I really lived and we never fought over the remote. I don't like resorting to a totally generic card (like I did when I stopped this morning), and I'm okay with some level of sentiment since that's the card game, but I don't want it to be almost laughable when looked at in context.

Where's my "Well, you weren't really there but I know you are trying to be better and I know you love me and I do still love you but I can't pretend I ever relied on you or wanted to be you" card?