• mallorean
  • stiff"
  • pledged"
  • Buffy"

Friday, June 30, 2006


Enjoying NPR

Last summer I commuted 20-30 minutes to work every day. This was not a drive through the taxi dodging hell and backed up traffic circles that I have come to know and hate in the District; my commute last summer was through rolling green farms and quiet, winding streets.

Sometimes when I'm driving, I just enjoy the silence. I'm not someone who throws the radio on the second that they get into the car (although I do love the radio, especially since receiving Sirius satellite radio as a Christmas present). Last summer I found that a nice compromise between silence and music radio was talk radio. I listened to a great deal of NPR.

Whenever I have NPR on in the car with my parents, they throw accusations around like, "What kind of news channel is this!? They just blurt out some headline without any facts to a story!" Really, this was an advertisement for a story that would be on just a little later in the hour. Had this same thing been on Fox News with a more conservative twist, he probably would not have complained.

I felt so smart that summer. I love that NPR gives information about politics, news, art, literature, movies, music, and more. It speaks to all my interests. I even had a brief flirtation with some kind of radio career when I first began looking for a job. This year, with the addition of Sirius which features two NPR stations, I've also discovered the news quiz show "Wait Wait... Don't tell me!"

Again this summer for the job I have before my full-time job starts I have about a 30 minute commute, and again I've been able to flip on NPR at the same time every day. A few days ago I caught a piece called, "The Question of Torture: Rules Should Govern Torture, Dershowitz Says" by Steve Inskeep.

What Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, was saying seemed to stray a little from the usual left of center view preferred by NPR. It was met with quite a bit of skepticism from both Inskeep and callers, but I thought it actually made some good sense. He argued that right now torture is being used and everyone is denying it. But what we should do is set up a system where we outline exactly what is and what is not acceptable in torture and have the President sign off on it in those most dire circumstances when it is used. Therefore the President accepts direct responsibility.

If the president of the United States thinks it's absolutely essential to defend the lives of thousands of people, he ought to be on the line. He ought to have to sign a torture warrant in which he says, 'I'm taking responsibility for breaking the law, for violating treaties, for doing an extraordinary act of necessity.' That's a responsibility only the president should be able to take, and only in the most extraordinary situation.

This is all in his new book, "Preemption: A Knife That Cuts Both Ways." Perhaps I will check it out.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Adorable and Delicious

Yes, I stole this from another blog, but I couldn't help it!

I've made cupcake cones before: where you put an ice cream cone in a cupcake or muffin tray and bake the cupcake batter inside the cone. They're pretty good, but the cone makes it a little dry. This handy invention eliminates that problem!

It's the Ice Cream Cone Cupcake Pan from Williams-Sonoma!


A Job is Born

Dearest Internet,

Last night I accepted a job offer, and now my rough and awkward journey for a job is done!

I will be working for a health care consulting company. They do a lot with bioterrorism issues, drug testing for employers, and promoting work place safety. In the beginning, I'll mostly be training, learning their office equipment and office procedures. Later, I'll be working on some project management and speaking with clients. One of the neat things is that there are many chances to learn, and they seem to really encourage it. You can get CPR certified for free, learn how to use defibrillators and something about blood pathogens. They also have graduate school incentives and good benefits.

So this will be a really interesting twist for me. So many of my good friends are involved in the medical and health care field, so I wonder if I will also have good luck with it. It is certainly something that I have thought about in the past, but I quickly dismissed it from my mind thinking that I wouldn't be good enough at it.

Things are looking great. Of course, I wish that my EX law school would have contacted my loan provider so that my rates wouldn't go up, but that would really be like asking for a miracle.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Jedi Mind Tricks and the Road Away from Law

Someone who is passive-aggressive will typically not confront others directly about problems, but instead will attempt to undermine their confidence or their success through comments and actions which, if challenged, can be explained away innocently so as not to place blame on the passive-aggressive person.

My father has never been one to come right out and say that anything is wrong, a stark contrast from my overcritical, hypersensitive mother. He wages his wars silently, yet occasionally inserting the subtle jab.

When I was making plans to live with my boyfriend, he skulked around but said nothing. Finally on the day that I signed a lease he encouraged me to sit down and then, after several moments of silence, said, "So you're getting married soon, right?"

No, he does not come out and say how he feels. But his feelings are painfully obvious to anyone who knows him. My brother and I, surprised to find something that we actually agree on, call this manuever the "Jedi Mind Trick."

In the Star Wars universe, the Jedi mind trick is a Force power. Jedi who know the power can, by using the Force, influence the actions of other "weak-minded" sentient beings.

The usual appearance of this ability is a wave of the hand accompanied by a verbal suggestion (e.g. "These aren't the droids you're looking for"); if the trick is successful the victim will reply with a statement of the suggestion ("These aren't the droids we're looking for") and will immediately think or do whatever the Jedi had intended from the statement.

When my father uses this method, it is unfortunately very successful.

His latest burst of passive-aggressive behavior is to let me know how upset he is that I have left law school. He'll make subtle comments here and there, off-handedly saying that he doesn't think I will be able to find a job or something about how difficult it will be to support myself. He has made it very clear that he will not be contributing any money whatsoever to this "fall from grace."

This week his method is to e-mail me endless articles from his favorite publication, the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journals. I have received:

The 2006 Summer Associate Diary
Each summer law students get a taste of law-firm life in summer associate programs, where wining and dining is as prevalent as legal research. The Wall Street Journal Online's Summer Associate Diary, updated weekly, tracks the journeys of four law-firm newbies.

Logging in Long Hours In a Bid to Get Ahead
June 28, 2006
Laya Sleiman knew in law school that she wanted to work at a big, corporate law firm in New York when she graduated. But the 27-year-old, now a first- year associate, had no illusions about what it would take to get ahead at a prestigious firm once she arrived.

Yes, articles on young attorneys. Judging from past experience, I believe that this is an attempt to get me to feel guilty and possible even reassess going back. I already know that he thinks I would have been fine had I attended a different law school. Perhaps he's right. But you have to play the cards you're dealt, don't you think?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Flooded, Frazzled

Perhaps you've seen the news by now. Yes, DC is readying itself for Noah's second coming.

This makes travel difficult. And I sat in the worst traffic I've ever seen, making myself late for an important appointment and thoroughly aggravated.

But remember that job interview I mentioned with the somewhat clueless interviewers? The offered me the position last night. I guess I should be really happy about my offers, except they're just not the ones I'm really hoping for. So I have another interview this morning with a company that I'm really hoping for, and I really want it to go well. So well that they call me with an offer the very next day.

Hey, it could happen.

Friday, June 23, 2006


Pittsburgh in the Time of Cholera

I was just talking with some people earlier today about how Pittsburgh, while attractive, geologically unique, and multi-cultural, gets a bad rap.

Maybe it's because every time you go to a Pittsburgh news website you can see the most ridiculous headlines and stories. I felt pretty safe while in the city, and that's really saying something. So maybe Pittsburghers just have an insatiable appetite for death, gloom, and doom?

"A man charged with cutting off his wife's arms with a machete during their children's birthday party was taken back to New York City for prosecution today after he was discovered in a Pittsburgh jail."

"The owner of a pizza shop who was Tasered during a police stop last summer sues."

"A 20-year-old woman is clinging to life this morning after Pittsburgh Police say her ex-boyfriend shot her in the back of the head and then turned the gun on himself."

"A Beaver County man lying in bed with his girlfriend was killed when a bullet smashed through a window and into his bedroom."


Hey, Cabbie

Leaving Northern Virginia today the bus decided not to come at its scheduled time. Rather than waiting one hour for the next bus, I called a cab.

The cab driver informed me that he did not know how to get to DC, and he did not know where anything was in DC.

Keep in mind that my own knowledge of DC isn't winning any awards... so it was a fun journey, indeed! The driver was really nice, new to the job, and had already been in an accident this morning. I felt sorry for him, therefore
his complete ignorance did not irritate me at all. It probably helped that I was not rushing to get back anywhere.

Hey, it still ended up being shorter than waiting for that damned bus.

I was also informed today that I can not wear any "Death Cab for Cutie" t-shirts to my summer job because it's not a positive image.
I don't have any of this band's shirts, but I found it pretty hilarious.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Currently Enjoying

100 Awesome Music Videos... some of these are oldies but goodies and some are newer. The only prerequisite is to be awesome. I saw A-Ha's "Take on Me" and I got excited... and apparently I mention the early 90's and 80's quite a bit.

So while I'm at it,

Haim and Feldman Reunite for Comedy Show
Former teen heart-throbs Corey Feldman and Corey Haim are teaming up to star in a comedy series based on fictional versions of themselves. The Coreys picks up with Feldman living the comfortable suburban life with his wife Suzie and their son, until circumstances bring his old pal Haim back into the picture. Episodes would follow Haim - who is single and the total opposite of Feldman - as he shakes life up for his more conservative namesake. RFD USA vice president Greg Goldman said because Feldman and Haim have been friends on and off screen for several years, the chemistry between the two "just pops off the screen." He explains, "Everyone feels like they know the Coreys." Feldman and Haim met on the set of The Lost Boys and appeared in several movies together, including License To Drive, Dream A Little Dream and Blown Away.


Caribou Coffee

After seeing quite a few Caribou Coffee shops around town, I was wondering if stores such as this have had an impact on Starbucks.

A blurb about Caribou, incase you're not familiar with them:

Since opening, the chain has expanded to 415 locations in fifteen states and Washington, D.C., making it the second largest operator of non-franchised coffeehouses in the United States, after Starbucks Corporation

A Consumer Report article from November 2004 said:

Caribou, a pricey brew from a coffee-shop chain, has topped 41 other regular and decaffeinated Colombian and Kona coffees in tests performed for the December 2004 edition of Consumer Reports. Inexpensive Eight O’Clock and Dunkin’ Donuts placed second and third respectively, beating brews from Starbucks and Seattle’s Best.

Also interesting, I found that there has been quite a bit of Caribou controversy. Caribou Coffee was started by two newlyweds at a time when Starbucks had only 116 outlets. Eventually they ran into money trouble:

So, in December 2000, Caribou Coffee Company, Inc. announced that it was selling a 70% stake (later to become an 87.8%) to Atlanta-based Crescent Capital, a deep-pockets investor backed by First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain for $80 million; founders John and Kim Puckett left the board, but CEO Don Dempsey stayed on to run the company for the new owners.

People got concerned about the Islamic affiliation, especially because Dr. Al-Qaradawi, the chairman, said some rather shady things about hating Americans and the benefits of wife-beating. Snopes reassures us that these things are no longer a concern.

In July 2002, the First Islamic Investment Bank announced that they had severed all ties with Dr. Al-Qaradawi, so the issue is now moot. First Islamic also hired Washington, D.C., law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher to review its charitable donations, and they have certified that no charitable contributions from Caribou's coffers go to groups banned under U.S. law.

Thus, it seems pretty safe to support Caribou Coffee. Look at all the good things they've done:

Through its partnership with Rainforest Alliance, Caribou is committed to agriculturally, environmentally, and socially responsible coffee. By the end of 2008, half of all the green coffee Caribou buy will be Rainforest Alliance Certified.

Caribou Coffee is the first coffee company to volunteer itself as a sponsor of the Specialty Coffee Association of America's Producer Support Fund. Caribou donated at the highest level to the fund established by SCAA to assist coffee growers who are association members and farmers who do not have the funds to attend SCAA functions.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Evening Miscellaneity

  • Slate recently celebrated its 10th Anniversary. I enjoy that they posted quite a few critiques about their style/writing/etc, especially because I share some of those complaints.
  • I'm still forever unsure how I feel about this hot potato. But I enjoyed the essay.


You may have noticed the new white template. Love it? Hate it?


The Bizarre, The Irritating, and The Ugly

I love to embellish as much as the next guy, but some things you just can't make up. This describes my latest interview.

The interview was with a small company, and my interviewers are probably younger than I am. But the best part is that they were total nerds who asked me ridiculous questions.
These 'kids' had no clue how to interview. They started it all off by asking if I had an "opening statement." The very first question they asked me was "What was your rank in law school, if you don't mind my asking." He wasn't even asking for the purposes of the interview, just curiosity because he will be attending law school in the fall (good luck, CHUMP). First, grades aren't all out yet. Second, whoa! That kid has some balls!

I was asked if, being left-handed, do I feel that I am truly right-brained? What was my favorite part of philosophy class? What is philosophical anarchism? How much did you pay for law school? What are your short term goals, long term goals, and "super long term goals"? What do you like best about gmail? I see you used to work for the court system, how often are cases decided in victims' favor?

At the end of the interview one of them gave me his business card. He said not to flash it around because he made it himself. Under his name is says "Lord of Law." It really should have said "Dungeons and Dragons Master." Yeah, he'll have a great time this fall.

The founder/old guy/head boss interviewed me for awhile, too. He seemed to like me. I think nerds have a nose for other nerds, even if I'm not of the D and D variety.

Then I came home to play the great law school loan game. I had an amazing time bouncing back and forth from calls with the school (fin aid put me through to the registrar, the registrar put me through to the law school, the law school put me through to the registrar, the registrar put me through to the Dean's Office, and so on and so forth) and my loan provider. No one knows what's flying.

Basically, I need to withdraw by July 1 to lock-in the low rates and get a six month grace period before repayment starts. But, I can't withdraw until all the grades are in on July 1 or else my entire year of pain is incomplete and all for nothing. Are we seeing the problem? I wanted to scream at the loan provider, "My school is completely ineffectual and incompetent!"

I bet the Lord of Law would know what to do...

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


One Man's Ghetto is Another Man's..... ?

My parents think that I am moving to the ghetto.

Keep in mind that they have not only never been to this city, they have never been anywhere near it.

You decide...


Hodge Podge

In about 3.5 weeks I will be moving. No more living in three locations! I couldn't be happier about it, but damn, moving is so much work. Sometimes I just can't wait to settle down in one location for a little while.

For example, yesterday I set up the electric, internet, and cable utilities and also reserved a U-haul for the weekend. If I hear one more awful pronunciation of my name, or a question about where it could possibly be from, or even a stupid exclamation of how they've never heard that one before, I will bring ultimate doom to them. Why is it that each person thinks they're saying something new, that I haven't already heard it before.... about 18,000 times?!

I also realized again how lucky I was in Pittsburgh last year. I paid around $12 for basic cable. Where I'm moving, I'll be paying $51. Apparently people tell me that's normal, but I still don't understand how they can be so different.

I read a magazine that I got at a yardsale called Budget Living Home Cheap Home : A Room-by-Room Guide to
Great Decorating. It gives a few interesting ideas, but I think it's mostly for people who don't have a lot of stuff and want to make their place cooler. Not having stuff is not my problem; I have too much stuff. And the apartment I'm moving into is probably smaller than my last one (the damn cost of living is so high that it's the best I can do). I have furniture and random decorations all over the place. But I don't want to clutter up this apartment like I do every other place I've ever lived. I want it to have a clean, bright look about it. Yet I know it will be covered in books, computer paraphenalia, and my random salt and pepper shaker collection that I wish I never took an interest in.

Several times I've tried gathering together belongings that I no longer want but seem too nice to throw away. I put all these things in a bag, thinking that one day I'll have a yardsale of my own. But who really wants my old Lisa Frank tin box? I think the answer is a resounding, "NO ONE."

So then what happens as you get older and move around constantly? What do you do with all the odds and ends collected throughout the years? The ceramic bears your Aunt got you every year for your birthday, the straw parrots you bought at the beach when you were 16, the American Girl series starring your friends Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly... nothing is wrong with these things; they're in good shape. But how long are they supposed to follow you around? You don't want them anymore. Probably someone does, but it seems like a lot of work to find them.

In today's world where we move around every year until we're thirty, there is no room for pack rats. And I have no idea how to keep my new apartment from turning into just another den of clutter and mess.


Shout Outs

A special thank you to a certain someone who gave me a Barnes & Noble gift certificate for my birthday.

Today I ordered:

Hints and Pinches: A Concise Compendium of Aromatics, Chutneys, Herbs, Relishes, Spices, and Other Such Concerns

A heap of food facts;
A pinch of folklore;
A dash of humor - mix well.

Why is cinnamon good for chasing away the blues? What kind of seed can cleanse your breath? This award-winning compendium of herbal recipes, history, legend, and anecdote will answer these questions and more. Among its entries for over 150 herbs, spices, chutneys, and relishes and more than 125 recipes, you'll discover:

* How to prepare rose geranium leaves for fruit pies
* The history of gin
* How to make hellfire mustard
* The ingredients of chinese five spices
* What parts of the day lily are edible
* Why medieval magicians put celery seeds in their shoes
* How to cook with beer

With sparkling illustrations by the author, this entertaining and often irreverent alphabetical reference to the flavorings that make all the diference in fine food is a must for every kitchen library.


Ultimate Beer

Ultimate Beer is a lavishly illustrated exploration of beer from its historical origins to the present day. Jackson writes about the various brewing methods and distinctive characteristics associated with all beer types. Why do certain beers taste the way they do? What does a stout, ale, or pilsner taste like? What is the best time to enjoy a specific beer? These questions and countless others are answered as Jackson reveals fascinating aspects of beer history while guiding readers to more than 500 individual beers.

Ultimate Beer is a complete guide to every aspect of beer. Just as any wine can be consumed at any time, so can any beer, but like the grape, the grain has its favored moods and moments including the right beer for every occasion. Written for the novice as well as the connoisseur, Ultimate Beer elevates beer to the lofty status of wine and cigars. Encyclopedic presentation of more than 1000 beers from around the world. Includes sections on beer and food and cooking with beer.

More than a novel, right now I'm looking forward to learning more about particular things I enjoy... not quite a connoisseur, but having some specialized knowledge about things. Any other recommendations from the floor?

Monday, June 19, 2006


The Secret Lives of Massage Therapists

Nine hundred and ten miles of driving later, I am feeling pretty good. Apt 2 to parent's house, parent's house to Apt 1, Apt 1 to parent's house, and parent's house back to Apt 2.

For my birthday earlier this month, my boyfriend's mother gave me a massage appointment (no, no, not with her... that's gross, Internet). So I scheduled the massage for this past Friday. Massage is amazing. I recommend it to anyone, stressed and tense or not. There's something very spiritual about massage; it releases me.

Perhaps I should also say that I am fascinated by my massage therapist. She's tall, skinny, probably in her early 40's (I'm horrible at guessing age, though), has super long hair, is married with three kids, gives off that earthy/hippie vibe, and is always wearing an incredibly reassuring and genuine smile. In my wild imagination she and I are great friends, and we talk about growing vegetables in the backyard and home remedies for aches, pains, and just whenever. I don't know if she has an interest in any of these things, but my wild imagination does not take her feelings into account.

I don't know why it never occurred to me before to do this (as it is a favorite past-time), but today I googled her. Today I found out that my massage therapist is in a "vintage country/honky tonk" band.

I have mixed feelings about this, mainly because it doesn't fit into my scenario of us being friends with herb and vegetable gardens. After some further googling, she and her husband are also listed on a gardening website as a "new nursery," thus, perhaps my vision may still stand after all.

Her husband is also in a 20-year old band, described on one website as "surfy-swampy-poppy." I will now always have the image of my massage therapist in a cowboy hat and tank top holding a guitar. How dare she have a life! A word to the imaginative, never google your massage therapist.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Action Shot - A Little Friday Humor

I promised that I would post the picture I took of two flamingos doin' it at the National Zoo when I got my cord for my camera back.

I hope you enjoy it. Animals are awesome.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Maybe it was all a Dream

Mentioning the 'L word' (i.e. law school) in my last entry made me realize that it's been over a month since I've been law school free.

Yesterday while filling out a job application I had to put down my LSAT and SAT scores. First of all this was strange because why does an employer want these scores? Yet it was also strange because I could not remember the scale of the LSAT. My score was what out of what? I had no idea. I finally had to google it. 180... the LSAT is out of 180.

Also humorous, as I am typing this I received an e-mail from my ex-Property Professor. She posted the grade distribution for the class. I haven't checked any of my grades online. I don't think they're all up yet, but I'm not sure that I want to know. There's probably nothing to be gained by it. Of course, it would be funny if I did really well; since I knew in February that I was leaving, my effort dwindled as the semester progressed.

I'm also astonished at how much the class size dropped. 67 people took the final - I thought our class size started out at 85 or 88. I guess it was a steady stream of leaving throughout the year, and I was too shell-shocked to notice. I just can't stop staring at this:

Grade Distribution Fall Midterm

Created: Mon, 1/23/2006 3:35 PM EST

Edited: Mon, 1/23/2006 3:35 PM EST


Number of As




Number of B+s




Number of Bs




Number of C+s




Number of Cs (minimum Professional Competence)




Below Professional Competence








Grade Distribution

Created: Thu, 6/15/2006 12:40 PM EDT


























C (minimum Professional Competence)

















Seeing this chart and seeing grades are the only things that make me feel like any of it was real. Sitting here in the sunny south makes it seem like a dream. A largely painful and debilitating dream, but also formative.


Stay Calm?

Have you ever gone to a job interview hoping not to get the job?

This is how I feel today as the time ticks closer to my 3:30 p.m. interview. I know I shouldn't "waste" the interviewer's time, but I am somewhat curious, and the interviewer can just sit there and shut up!

This is the oldest and biggest company that I have applied to so far. I first submitted my resume in February, or so I thought. I realized about two months later that I had only created a profile and had actually not applied at all. Damn these online application forms.

My first round interview with this company was May 2. May 2 was quite some time ago. Quite some time ago means I want it over, done with, and out of my life!

They told me the interview process is five months long. Who has this kind of patience? Or, better yet, who has the kind of money that allows them the ability to wait it out for a job for five months? Sure the pay is good, but that's only if you make it across the impossible five month long obstacle course.

I applied during one of my application frenzies. These frenzies generally occur when I get a glimpse of my future living out of a box or standing on a street corner, after which I apply to as many jobs as I can find in quick succession, not looking really at what they are. Whenever I get a call from one of these companies wanting to schedule an interview I have to mask the "huh!?" noise I make - sometimes I have no recollection of having ever applied.

I will probably have another frenzy soon, as the job I was really looking forward to wants someone who can start immediately. They keep using the term immediately, yet the process has taken almost one month. So naturally, when a short term project came to my attention I didn't think it would cause a problem. I do need to put bread on the table, people! And even though I've said the hell with law school, law school loans would never say the hell with me. Nope, law school loans are hot on my tail. I never thought that a company wouldn't be willing to wait three or four weeks, but I guess that when you're an entry-level recent college grad sweat shop you can just roll in the next monkey.

Don't worry, Internet, I'll be sure to let you know how this one goes. It should be a riot. A laugh riot.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006



When did Hanson go from old and busted to just plain OLD?

I read that the youngest one just got married. He'll always be five to me.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


We Have a Rooster in the Hen House

Any female reading this blog will quickly see that I am a sham of a female.

For starters, I don't and never will wax my eyebrows or go tanning (ah, a glorious subject for another day), I don't enjoy glaming it up for the bars, small talk and gossip make me cranky and irritable, I hate shopping... especially for shoes, when on a date I never order a salad, I'd rather play video games than watch romantic comedies, and I didn't know who or what Louis Vuitton/Kate Spade/or Coach were until about three years ago.

Let's face it, I took a serious fall out of the girl bandwagon quite some time ago. This is why it shouldn't shock anyone that when a bridal shower invitation came for me yesterday I said, "what's a bridal shower?"

Not that I'd never heard of them before, I have. But I never understood exactly what it was or why they exist. Baby showers I understand; bridal showers I do not. Wikipedia says,

The custom of the bridal shower is said to have grown out of earlier dowry practices when a poor woman's family might not have the money to provide a dowry for her, or when a father refused to give his daughter her dowry because he did not approve of the marriage. In such situations, friends of the woman would gather together and bring gifts that would compensate for the dowry and allow her to marry the man of her choice.

Ok, that's great and all. But I don't think that this woman's family is poor, nor do I think that there is any disapproval going on. So why do we have to pamper the bride more than she's already being pampered? Weddings require gifts, travel, new attire, and hours and hours of sitting attentively. Why the bridal shower, too? Isn't enough enough?

Googling around for more information on bridal showers I really found some gems:

All of the guests brought their favorite bottle of wine and we served fruit and crackers and cheese for the appetizers, everyone loved it. We also had all the guests write down their "recipe for a happy marriage" on recipe cards and put them in a recipe box for the bride.

That's a great idea! Always take advice from other people on what's best for you and how to relate to and communicate with your spouse! Trusting yourself leads to making your own decisions. Clearly, other people always know better than you. In fact, they know so much that you should make a big deal out of having them write their advice on a fancy little card mimicking recipes. When in doubt or, God forbid, a fight, quickly run to your handy Happy Marriage Recipe Box and certainly the answer will be inside.

Also, I typed up and framed cute sayings, quotes, and stories about marriage and put one on each table. The bride got to take these home to use the frames as she wished.

If there's one thing I know, it's that cute sayings and quotes about marriage are always accurate and precious. I hope that on my lucky day I receive several of these in a frame. The frame is important; it makes the little saying just hard enough to chuck at unsuspecting guests.

Gift Ideas: Teddies, Nightgowns, Underwear, Bathrobes

In all seriousness, I approve of teddies and underwear well enough. Do I want them as gifts? Sure, they're ridiculously expensive. Do I want to open them in front of 40 of my closest female friends including relatives? Jesus, no. Do I want to watch someone else open them? Again, no... no....

But aside from showers, here's the advice you really need when planning your wedding. I'm glad that someone as ignorant as me could find it - I wouldn't want to make a faux pas!

If you don't want children at your wedding, you have 2 options:

* When addressing your invitations, leave the children's names off it and also don't mention them in the invitation.
* Have friends and family pass the word around that you don't want children there.

Thank God there's a civil way to deal with those pesky kids. I wouldn't want them messing up my special day when I'm supposed to be pampered, worshipped, and fawned over. Well, it's really more than a day.. there is also that shower business, of course.

Monday, June 12, 2006


Space Invaders and the Mating Ritual

This was my first weekend in quite some time where I was not traveling. I actually got to stay in the same place and do some exploring.

Saturday I went to the air and space museum. I really enjoy learning about space - especially about the possibility of other life out there (see Eureka, Europa!). But for some reason I just started to feel really crazed. We don't even know what's out there, and it's simply amazing that with all the crap floating around out there a meteor hasn't completely pulverized us yet.

When some people look up at the night sky, seeing the millions of twinkling stars and bright planets, they feel at ease. They believe that they are not alone. They are comforted by the many unknown things that may or may not exist there; it gives them some hope believing that we can't be alone, or that there must be some greater meaning to it all, or that our problems are so insignificant in the grand scheme of it all, or that all we really have and all we know is right in front of us - and it's love, compassion, and kindness.

In the past I have agreed with that stance. Yet on Saturday something just felt different. I felt intimidated by everything out there that I don't know now and will probably never know, lost amidst all the other things that are bigger, brighter, and vastly more important than my little life, uncertainty about how quickly it can all end and how if a meteor was to crash into us we probably wouldn't be able to stop it, discomfort about how my college major (liberal arts) is so worthless towards accomplishing anything real - what would I do to a meteor racing towards us, talk it to death?, loneliness, hopelessness that nothing in my life or anyone's life really matters, and of course, a little fear about death.

I'm not sure if I still feel that way now, or if it was just a fleeting spasm of discomfort. It's always interesting when you spend so much time nurturing yourself, and then you suddenly look up and realize the presence of everything else in the room. It's good not to be too much inside oneself, I think.

I had another odd human experience Saturday night. It was someone's birthday, so a bunch of people went to dinner and then a bar. I guess it was the first time that I've been to a bar that didn't consist mostly of college or graduate students.

My boyfriend went to the bathroom at one point, and a guy came up to the table where I was standing with some people. He didn't say anything, he just started dancing. It was like the discovery channel when the male bird sticks out his chest to reveal colorful feathers and does a mating dance or bird call (see From Poop to Riches?). Just like that. I don't think I'd ever seen such blatant 'shopping' for women.

Obviously, I don't get out much.

At dinner some people were talking about playing Cranium instead of going to bars. My heart skipped a few beats. I love to drink, but I'll pick Cranium over bars anyday. Drinking-Cranium would be a nice blend. I enjoy drinking games, and I miss pre-parties. I miss sitting around in someone's apartment drinking, playing the Wild Zero drinking game, Kings (by the way, I love that the rules are on Wikipedia), and Chug for Chug/Sip for Sip. Just give me my damn Hurricane and I can amuse myself for hours; it always tasted good to me! I like to start drinking at 8pm and be in bed by midnight.

So why oh why do we need to go to bars. BARS... it's like standing in line at the sausage store. And, one Hurricane for $1.50 drank quickly will give you a good four hours of intoxicated glory; one Miller Lite at a bar will set you back at least $4 and give you no glory at all. Playing Cranium at someone's apartment while doing a little preparty drinking means places to sit, good conversation, good laughs, not screaming to be heard, no obnoxious drunkards slobbering all over (well, if there are some, then at least they're your friends), and no forking over your entire wallet. At bars, no one really ever even looks like they're having that good of a time (unless they're smashed, and at that point they don't really know much of anything)!

When I move into my new apartment, there will be a festive little gathering. There will be refreshments and board games, and people will forget why they ever went to wallet-stealing, std-melting-pots like bars anyway!

Friday, June 09, 2006


Input, INPUT!

I don't know if it's the weather, the fact that it's the first time I won't be starting classes in the fall (no more college, no more law school), or if it's that sometimes I feel I'm just waking up to things that really interest me, but lately I have had an unquenchable appetite for information.

Searching for jobs is taking a tremendous amount of time, much more so than I had expected. There are so many places to search, jobs to sift through that just aren't the correct match (or have the possibility of being scams), cover letters to write, and the dreaded sites where you have to enter your resume and educational background into separate fields - even though you just want to upload the damn thing.

But when I can turn my guilt off about not having a job yet, I'm almost overwhelmed by the amount of things I want to do and have begun doing. I'm sure it sounds crazy to an avid reader like you, Internet, but in some ways higher learning really stunted my reading. I used to read constantly, but then in college there was always more reading to be done. If you finish one thing it's time to move on to the next. And in law school, just forget about it. The only time I read for pleasure during law school was when I discovered Should you Really be a Lawyer? (and
what a joyous day that was).

For my birthday recently my boyfriend gave me some amazing gifts, eager to provide me with the tools to figure out what I really want to do. Cooking, art, yoga, graphic design, or learning Chinese... where do I begin? I've been so happy these last few weeks, despite all the bad news concerning my loved ones. I know that I am in a good place, and so I am better able to deal with all of these challenges. I am a better friend and a better person. I have not once regretted my choice to leave law school. Of course sometimes I'll think, "was it really that bad?" Now that I'm not caught up in the moment of it all it's easy to forget just how unhappy I was and what a bad fit it was.

So, despite how long this job search and interview fun (ha, HA) might last, I am really doing quite well with it. I'm taking reading, travel, and recipe recommendations... or anything else you would like to throw my way.

Ah yes, and a good friend of mine and I are updated my
dinosaur of a desktop computer. Here is my new case; it is most excellent.

Thursday, June 08, 2006



Dearest Internet, today I was almost SCAMMED.

A few days ago I was doing my usual job search. There are several methods that I use to find potential jobs, but on this particular day I was using Monster.com.

The words 'entry-level' caught my eye, as most things seem to want at least five years of experience. The webpage said they were started five years ago by a graduate of James Madison University. I support young business ventures for the most part, so, without much thought, I sent out my resume into the internet abyss and towards a company called The Marketing Group.

Within a few hours I had already received a call wanting to set up an interview for the next day
. This seemed pretty quick, but my 'look at me! jobs want me!' ego had already kicked in. I scheduled my interview for the following day. She asked me to call if I needed to cancel, but the way she said it made it seem like maybe this happened a lot. They sent me a confirmation email, reminding me to 'dress professionally.' I also thought this was odd, isn't that common sense at an interview?

I didn't even get lost on the way there, surely this was a good omen. The office park in which the company was located was nice enough. Yet opening the door to the suite was a little surprising.

There were three other people waiting to interview... clearly also entry-level recent grads hoping for their own slice of pie. The guy interviewing us worked quickly, people were in and out. When it came time for me, I still wasn't sure what to make of the place. There were two doors off the lobby, one led to the office where the guy was interviewing, and the other one was closed but appeared dark inside.

During my interview, the guy only asked me one question. He spent the rest of the time talking about how great the company was going to be. He smiled at inappropriate times and gave me compliments that didn't make much sense. "I like your business style," he said. And he talked about how I would be groomed for management.

The interview lasted between five and 10 minutes. After which time he told me I was to come to a second interview the following day from NOON to 7:30PM! I had to ask him to repeat that, of course I had heard him wrong. But no, it was actually 7.5 hours long. He didn't ask if I had any questions, and I was quickly shown the door.

My red flag, which was up from the first moment this place contacted me, was now waving and flashing emergency lights. At this point I did not think it was a scam, just that it was not my type of environment whatsoever and that I did not want to go to this interview.

After talking about it with some friends, most people seemed to think it would be "good experience" and that I "had no reason not to go." So around 10pm I decided maybe I will check it out.

Thus, as I would do before any second interview, I began researching the company. I had tried to do this before the first interview, but since The Marketing Group isn't a terribly unique name I wasn't having much luck. This time I got more descriptive, using names and locations.

This is how I found scam heaven, and at about 10:05pm I was beating my boyfriend on the head to get him to wake up and come look at my mysterious and freaky findings.

The first link I found was shocking just for the fact that the company was listed on a website called 'Rip Off Reports.' The page itself was mostly someone ranting. Later links got more indepth.

The Marketing Group... Scam artist pyramid scheme sales organization that disguises itself as a marketing or advertising firm. Misleads job applicants and interviewees about pay structure and benefits. Changes its name constantly to avoid detection.

A little name changing isn't suspicious at all. My favorite page of all was this.

They have changed their name to The Marketing Group after 20 people quit in a 1 week period.

The deal from people who have been through it:

Here's what happens:

After you get called in for an immediate interview. You arrive and realize that another 10 people are also there to interview. Then you get called in and meet with a tough sounding woman named X or a tall guy named X. In 5 minutes tops, you are invited for a second interview that will last all day. During the 2nd interview you go door-to-door trying to sell something, in my case it was Verizon phone stuff. You may even start to feel a little undignified when you are shooed out of a doctor's office or a pet shop. At the end of the day, you go back to the office to "hear their decision". Chances are you get the position. First few days, you are riding all around MD or VA with your "leader"(the person you shadow, until you are ready to go out on your own). You find out your leader's only been their a few weeks. You think, "huh"? Then chances are at the end of the week you are ready to go out on your own. You get a territory(which 10 people have already covered) and run around all day and go back to the office @ 6PM for some sort of Pep Rally, ring/run around the bell crap. At appx. 6:45 you head home, only to have to show up @ 8AM the next day, and the next, and the next. Then you find out once you b/c a leader you have to get there an hour earlier. So you end up working on average an 11 hour day.

So, yes, I'm glad that I didn't go to that second interview. I also saw this posting about the guy who interviewed me:

I was once employed with The Marketing Group. My reason for leaving was a little different then the rest of you. If any of you guys were employed in the last 6 months, you might know of a manager named X. Well, to make story short, he was taking a team down to New Orleans to start his office. I had just started there, less than a week when he asked me to join him and his team in New Orleans. He pitched it as a great opportunity to grow and climb the ladder faster. So, I accepted. The week before we were to leave for training, he disclosed to me that the only reason why he wanted me to go down to New Orleans is because he couldn't bare the thought of not seeing me everyday. He said that he thought we were meant for each other and that I could just quit the job once we got down there and he would take care of me. Mind you, I had told him I had a boyfriend who was very upset that I was leaving and I had known him for at most 2 weeks with very limited contact, only at work. He told me he was falling for me and that we should be together and he doesn't care that I had a boyfriend. If this isn't sexual harassment, I don't know what is. Worst of all the president, his boss, knew everything about it and even encouraged it. I have seeked legal actions. This is NOT how a business is operated!

Thus, beware of things that don't seem quite right. I can't claim that all the above quotes are factual, and I'm not sure if what they're doing is illegal or just unethical, but either way it doesn't seem like you want to get mixed up with them. This page and this also warn about similar Multi-Level Marketing scams.

They called me this morning to confirm my second interview; they are certainly interested in getting new players. The postings are everywhere: Monster, Washington Post, Careerbuilder, etc. I sent some e-mails out about it just incase. At worst they'll ignore my complaint, finding that the company is merely unethical and doing nothing illegal. But at best, maybe I'll help bring down some giant assholes.

I enjoy bringing down giant assholes, or at least publishing allegations of wrongdoing concerning them online. I understand that fellow 20-somethings out in the job market must seem extremely vulnerable to these marketing predators; we're young, inexperienced, ambitious, and trapped in a haze of post-graduate egotism and naivete. But unfortunately for them, inexperience and naivete don't translate to stupidity. And many of us are more than familiar with googling anything and everything, especially interview situations which seem shady.

(Perhaps Career Track Live by Mary Ellen Slayter on Washington Post could do an article on how to watch out for scams while looking for jobs? Her recent article titled Dream Jobs Provide Respect, Independence and Appreciation could certainly pull some things from this experience if what the people above said is correct. How about common phrases scammers use to entice recent grads? How to find great companies that are also legit (like Washingtonian's article on Great Places to Work)?