Exact Approximations

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I have an aunt who, upon learning this, will come *this close* to giving me an "I told you so" phone call. She made a huge deal about how I needed to rest after last month's surgery or I would pay the price.

She was right. The price is approximately $150, one week of missed work, most of my dignity (shots in the rear are demoralizing) and all of my energy.

5 Reasons Today Stinks

1) I am still sick. One whole week. Apparently, Arizona bugs are three to four times larger and more deadly than the regular bugs I'm used to. Correspondingly, you get three to four times sicker. I have a doctor's appointment at 1:00.

2) The San Francisco 49's suck so bad -- they couldn't even win the Reggie Bush Bowl.

3) I remain perpetually broke. This won't be better until I pass the AZ bar and get a raise, sometime in the 4 month marker. Not so bad - except that I can't make all my required minimum payments in the interim - inviting collection people and high-high late payment and penalty fees.

4) Boyfriend's birthday is in 3 days. And, because if #3, I can't buy him some witty gift that will tastefully rub in his face the fact that he will be a twenty-something for only one more short year.

5) Boyfriend's birthday is in 3 days. Boyfriend is not all that much older than me. This means that I, too, will only be a twenty-something for a short period of time.

Blah. Humbug.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Thinking Like a Plaintiff's Attorney.

I have a cold. Again. That makes it twice this year. Total bullshit.
There must be someone I can sue for this.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Car Tales

I got a smoothie for lunch. Walking back to my car, I hit the unlock button and slid into the passenger seat. Just sat there, waiting for someone to get in and chauffeur me back to work. It took me a good 20 seconds to realize I was alone.

Struck by my own stupidity, I grumbled out and did a Chinese-Fire-Drill. Half-way around, a Silver Mercedes SL 500 Roadster wooshed by. Damn near swiped my arm. Two middle-aged men in super-starched shirts gave smug "oops, sorry" smiles. I responded with the "No Worries" head nod. They sped along another10 feet before slamming the brakes just before a stop sign. SL 500s stop fast. A sea of red light flooded the tail of the car, highlighting the license plate: "BAD F8TH"

Friday, December 16, 2005

Albert Smith's Contribution to my Relationship.

Last night, I brought home a white rose for Boyfriend. Pulled it out from behind the case file I was slated to spend the eveining with and proclaimed that white roses conveyed apology. Burying his nose in the smell, Boyfriend inquired as to why a sorry was in order. I described the guilt I felt for working so much lately and never spending time with the family.

Boyfriend asked where the rose came from and I made some vague comment about there being tons of things available at my work. It's true, there are lots of jewelry and trinkets and cards for sale in our building. More than adequate supply of material items professionals can purchase and give to their disaffected families to substitute for actual relationships.

Anyhow, Two Things:

First: White roses, I discovered this morning, do not convey "I'm sorry." That's yellow.White, turns out, is associated with: Purity, Innocence, Reverence, Humility, Silence, Secrecy and Condolence.

Second: This makes a ton of sense. Especially the condolence part. As demonstrated by the exchange with Boyfriend, I was intentionally vague on where exactly the rose came from. See, I didn't actually buy the rose, so much as it was donated to me. Front Secretary moonlights as a Mortuary Hostess. The late Mr. Albert Smith was viewed and buried yesterday, and requested that his flowers be donated. Front secretary brought a boquet back to the office and I pulled out a white rose.

Now, am I out of line, or just indescribably efficient?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

50 Things About Me

The following began as a 100 Things About Me List that I began writing over the summer after seeing it on someone else's blog. I never finished it. I have been running circles today motion-writing, interviewing, record-collecting.... so I am pulling some stuff off of the "draft" shelf. I would hate to just not post anything today.

This is a more difficult exercise than you would think - I encourage fellow bloggers to steal my stolen idea and replicate

1. My favorite anything ever is my daughter.

2. I have greenish-blue eyes.

3. The green came out with age and the blue comes out with sadness or anger.

4. But I am rarely angry.

5. Small, yappy dogs are one of the few things I really dislike.

6. I've never been to New York City, but daydream about it all the time.

7. The first time I got a 'C' on an exam, all I could think was that my 'C', turned on its side, looked like half an ass.

8. Eight is my lucky number, because, turned on its side, it looks like the infinity sign. The concept of infinity has fascinated me since childhood. Infinite things - like numbers, absolute truth or the blackness in space... these things stand out from most other things in life . Most things, like kindergarden, last weekend and Family Guy - they all have a beginning, middle and end. They are wonderful but temporary, with only blackness in space lucky enough to be part of it all. 8.

9. I believe that when a tree falls down and nobody hears, it does make a sound. If it didn't, the infinite things would notice immediately and freak the fuck out. That's right. The existence of the number 8 proves that a tree does make a sound even when no one hears it.

10. Number of times I've already been asked what the two previous things mean.

11. Lists look long when listing lengthily.

12. Since leaving California, I think about the beach every single day.

13. Age I last saw my father. This one was longer, but there is a dedicated post about Dad coming down the pipes. More on him later.

14. Age I met the first and greatest romantic love of my life. Empathetic, intelligent, gentle... many of the core ideals I live by can be traced to his influence.

15. Age I spent the greatest summer of my life in a little town called Sullivan, Missourri. During a few short months of symbolism and imagination, I learned what life could be.

16. Age I got a whole lotta crazy out of my system. Removed any need I may have later had to join a sorority or become an alcoholic.

17. Age I gave birth to Daughter. Correspondingly, age at which I learned that perfect things really can exist. The freedom this knowledge allows is powerful.

18. Age I started getting carded for cigarettes for the first time in five years.

19. Enough age things.

20. I love leather and support animal research. Humans won. We get to exploit cows.

21. I felt differently when I was younger. My mom tells a story about how, at age 3 or 4, I broke down at the table upon learning dinner was once a cow. Mom never forgets to add how I went on to accuse her of feeding me the foot.

22. I became a vegetarian when I was 8 years old after my step-father dared me into it.

23. The actual reason I still don't eat meat is ridiculously simple. It grosses me out. To imagine consuming something that was moving around, all stinky, eating off the ground and crapping everywhere. Eeeewww. The way Fear Factor people feel about eating bugs is the way I feel about eating meat

24. I have two older brothers and a younger sister. I have an older sister somewhere that I've never met. Pretty sure she doesn't even know I exist. She's about as old as my brother. I don't deny that my father was a punk, but back in the day, he was a pimptastic punk. Maybe I'll be able to find her someday. So far no luck.

25. I can say the alphabet backwards no problem. Even when drunk. I taught myself how to years ago, figuring it it might come in handy some day.

26. It never comes in handy, except at a winding down party, when the revelers are trying to determine who is incapable of driving by giving eachother field sobriety tests. Drunk people are seriously impressed when you sing the CBA's flawlessly. It's a party trick. I have three.

27. The second is that I can make an origami dog. "Oh, see this napkin? BAM!! Now it's a dog!"

28. The third is that I am a Cuber; master of the Cube of Rubik's. Om.

29. Recently, I conquered an image-cube, which is hard because it has pictures instead of block color, and the center pieces get oriented all wrong. Props to My Banker for providing me the best toy I ever had.

30. There is also a Professor's Cube, which is 5x5 instead of the standard 3x3. I've never seen one in person, but I wish I had a Professor's Cube so bad.

31. When counting sexual partners, girls only get 1/2 point. My best friend and I rationalized this as a necessary adjustment for the penetration-difference factor among boys and girls. We decided this when we first hammered out the details of our point-keeping system in the seventh grade, but we're stuck with it now for evermore.

32. Let's just say my number is not a whole number.

33. Neither is hers.

34. Isn't that gorilla Koko, the sign-language one, just too cute for words!?!

35. The difference between Northern California and Southern California is that people from Southern California are real about being fake, and people from Northern California are fake about being real.

36. The above was hijacked from an old friend who I miss. He was a primary friend of Ex-Husband's though, so I lost him in the divorce.

37. Which is too bad, because I always did think he was hot in a smart, under-cover asshole kind of way. Actually, he was pretty hot in the regular way too.

38. I'm think my personal statement got me into Boalt Hall. It was post-prop 209 in California, so race was technically not supposed to be considered. However, my personal statement discussed discrimination I have encountered and the block of immigration and African-American Studies classes. Any thoughts on whether this might imply the race of the writer? You may say no, but one thing is certain, I was the only white kid I remember seeing in those classes, which I always thought was such a shame.

39. My all time dream vehicle is a 1949, 2nd series 3100 Chevrolet. This would only be a show and hobby truck though, since I would like to drive hybrids. Then I could express my disgust with all cars instead of just the SUVs.

40. I don't usually have good luck, but I think that's because my mother stole it. I've never seen anyone with a better gambling streak than this woman. She probably made a deal with Satan.

41. Once, while Ex-Husband and I were shadow-boxing, I aimed for his shoulder and he blocked with his neck. He was off the emergency room quick-like. I stayed home because Daughter was sleeping. The entire night, I stared out the window waiting .... for the police to come arrest me. The previous day, I learned about mandatory domestic violence reporting laws. I was way more worried about that then Ex-Husband's well being.

42. I often wonder what the answer to life, the universe and everything is.

43. When I was four years old, I woke up in the middle of the night to find that my house was on fire.

44. I ran to my parents room, where I found not only the two of them, but an extra woman in their bed as well.

45. No conclusions drawn from that one. Psht. Go mom.

46. Extra woman was my step-mother within three years.

47. When I was five (maybe 6) year's old, my mother caught me trying to breastfeed my Cabbage Patch doll.

48. Another thing that happened when I was five was my brother got a Gremlin toy. He followed me around the house all day, telling me he was going to throw water on it and feed it after midnight. I was so afraid that I went in his room after he fell asleep and stole his Gremlin. I then broke off its head and limbs, presumably rendering it incapable of reproduction.

49. I went skydiving because I believe a unique experience is worth unecessary risk.

50. I went tandem because I don't believe in needlessly maximizing unecessary risk.

For those making it to the end - I wonder - what are the most striking Things on the list?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Heads Up

If you need a good, loyal legal secretary to help you operate a smooth practice...

... try not to rub one out on her face

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Think My Day Just Got a Whole Lot Better

Today, I am rockin' my B-Game. Slept for only 2 hours last night. And it's not even like there was substance abuse involved.

Anyhow, rushed to get here because I needed to clean-up a motion that must, must, must be filed by 5:00. I figured I could knock that out by 11. In the meantime, The Boss is deposing a defense witness. By my math, he would be done by a half hour ago and we would be pow-wowing on the remaining legal issues as I type.

But then the if-factor came into play.

Things are going differently than anticipated in the deposition. We figured we wouldn't get too much useful information out of the medical support staff in a pending case. We were wrong. There are few things I love more than Chatty Cathy in a nurse's uniform. Positive information unexpectedly gained during discovery is like 70 degree Arizona weather in the middle of August. You don't expect or believe it is coming, but it sure is nice when it does. I also thought the case law confusion in the motion was something I could resolve relatively quickly during my research. Not so. The applicable law still fails to make good sense. Apparently, courts love to issue ambiguous tests on a random ass issues. Not just law school exams. Huh.

Now, this should all make my life hell, because now The Boss is caught up longer than time-budgeting permitted and the work I need him for will take longer than my previous estimate of 5 minutes for read, review and signature.

But that is ok. It will be rushed and I will tear my panty hose on the stapler (again) - but the chances of things going awkwardly with The Boss are significantly diminished. 5 bux says The Boss will be high on the unexpected 70 degree weather for the rest of the day. Correspondingly, my B-Game will appear A- through his rose-colored glasses of good fortune.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Questions of Fault

Paralegal and Front Secretary are out sick today. I have gotten more work done than possibly any other day since I started. I have guesses as to the association between these two facts. I am not clear, however, as to whose fault that makes it.

No comparative fault / contributory negligence jokes from the library-bound 1Ls taking a blog-reading break from their torts outline. You know who you are.

Death Penalty

The Governor's Statement Re: Stanley Williams

Now, whatever the weight of the case against Williams' may be, I have a hard time swallowing the fact that Gov. Shwarzie's statement denying his clemency references the "Dedications" this man chose to name in a book he wrote:
"The dedication of Williams’ book “Life in Prison” casts significant doubt on his personal redemption. This book was published in 1998, several years after Williams’ claimed redemptive experience. Specifically, the book is dedicated to “Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Malcolm X, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt, Ramona Africa, John Africa, Leonard Peltier, Dhoruba Al-Mujahid, George Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the countless other men, women, and youths who have to endure the hellish oppression of living behind bars.” The mix of individuals on this list is curious. Most have violent pasts and some have been convicted of committing heinous murders, including the killing of law enforcement."
Williams also got pinged for failing to admit guilt for murders he has always maintained he was innocent of committing. Again, I have not devoured the evidentiary details of his case, but it seems to me that he should be able to maintain that he is innocent of the guilty-verdict murders and, at the same time, claim to be reformed from an admittedly violent lifestyle.

I guess the lesson to be learned:
1) If in prison, only dedicate publications to white folk. Way better chances all the way around with that.
2) If you want clemency, you better be guilty.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Secret Admirer (Um, Someone Else's)

I got this email in my Berkeley Boalthall email account today. I'm not the right person this guy is looking for, but I have a relatively common name, so I bet many people got this mail. For a minute there I thought it might be me - I am blonde -- but you would have never seen me in Domestic Violence Law.... I think it is sweet. I hope he gets to steal her from that other one guy she is always with. I hope this guy finds this girl, wins her over and gets to tap it. Then, after that, he'll get an email telling him that he AmJur'd Contracts. Go library boy! I'm totally gonna mail him back and wish him luck. Tell him to put some Sanford Highlighters in her locker or something.

Hey, I'm looking for this person in my class, domestic violence law. Her name is [Lex], she's blonde and normally hangs out with this one guy all the time. So if you're not her, then please disregard this email. Otherwise, I wanted to say to you that I always had thought that you were pretty,but when you passed by me in the library today, holy smokes, I thought you were something else. And I was still at a loss for words when I saw you again walking up the stairs. That's all I wanted to say. The moment was pretty darn cool,and I was really taken away for that time.

Friday, December 09, 2005

An Open Letter to My Banker:

I know what you're getting for Christmas. Nah, nah, nah - nah, nah - naaaaaah.


I am a Bad, Bad, Stereotyping Liberal.

And so mad at myself for it. Learned recently that an attorney who leases office space at our firm is a Republican. This came about brilliantly, at the office Christmas Dinner, when The Boss made a toast:

"I just want to say, thanks to Leasing Attorney, the only conservative in the office. Dinner is on him. Way to use those tax cuts. Cheers."

I was impressed by The Boss' clever shit-talking. I was also completely in shock, because I just couldn't believe that a Republican was doing plaintiffs' work against BigLaw and BiggerInsuranceCompany.

But really, why should this shock me? There are plenty of Republicans who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. And there are plenty of conservatives who support people's rights to recover for injury. It just hit me and I was totally surprised. I am such an asshole. You don't have to be a liberal to want to fight corporations. My bad. God Damn you Boalt Hall and your cookie-cutter, single-minded liberalese. This is a lesson I would have learned sooner had I not gone to school in the People's Republic of Berkeley.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Calling All Inventors

Ok, strange request.

Nephew, an eight year old firecracker, lives with me. He has an upcoming school project where he has to invent something with a potato. The potato can be cut, added to, colored, whatever. Unfortunately, with 4 adults in the house, we have only come up with the following:

1) Potato gun / canon / other weapon that might get Nephew suspended.
2) Spud-Spectacles - sticking potato slices in glass-frames and cutting small hole. Similar to early glasses.
3) Potato Helmet - cut potato in half, attach to baseball cap. Maintain safety while you ride to the store to buy real helmet.
4) Potato Ninja Suit - gather potato skins, sew them together, create super-cool ninja-costume suitable for camouflaging oneself in potato patches.

As you can see, we are coming up short. I would love any great ideas.

Office Turmoil

Office Manager and Paralegal seem ansy lately. Don't know about Front Secretary, because she is on the phone all day and geographically separated from the rest of us, so she doesn't get involved or matter much. Unless she breaks out in handcuffs - and then I will be all over that shit.

Co-workers are begining to share gossip. I am learning why past attorneys left, what past bonuses have been, and what the ballpark ranges of everyone else's salaries are. Good news for me. I am sort of sitting back and watching the madness. Maybe it's the holidays. Maybe it's because this year hasn't been the best for the office, since most of the major high-damages cases are still pending. There is also a general frustration-consensus that The Boss has way too high of a tendency to come in 2 hours before we close shop and keep people around to complete projects that could have taken 1/2 as long were there better planning.

What I think is happening, at least for Paralegal and Office Manager, is that they have both been here for 5+ years - but last year, a chunk of the office staff was cut, leaving increased duties for both. I wonder (but don't really know) if both are feeling increased pressure to up their game - and then weren't accordingly awarded increased compensation. The Boss doesn't strike me as particularly cheap, but my standards are low. It's nice to know that everyone has issues with office life. For instance, my issue is that I am the Office Tard. See yesterday (apparently, twice).

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


This post has been deleted. By me. Because I posted it twice. Because I am retarded. This is clear given the previous content of this post (see above for exact replica).


There is nothing worse than disappointing someone when you so badly want them to deem you a RockStar.

The Boss had me working on two motions. This morning, I placed two drafts on his desk. He calls me in to talk about the first. Feedback received included: "Not your best work" "convoluted" and "confusing."

Sting, sting, double-double ouch ouch. Now, in fairness to me, I was never quite clear on the grounds for requesting the relief included in the motion. But the part I fucked up the most was a relatively straight-forward factual background.... and that should have been the cleanest portion of the document. The Boss was nice about it. All very constructive criticism. All taken very close to my heart. All written down in my "get better" notebook. And all of which will stick with me during every painful moment of every day for the next week. He ended the meeting by telling me the second motion was well-done. That helped, but the raging sense of failure remains. I loathe myself.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Almost Forgot

The best line heard at the office Christmas Dinner:

Lex: Noticing Front Secretary has water in her wine glass. "Do you drink?"
Front Secretary: "Nah, I'm allergic."
Boyfriend: Sympathetic bummer face. "What kind of reaction do you have?"
Front Secretary: "Whenever I drink, I break out in handcuffs."

Which Rule of Federal Civil Procedure Are You?

You are Rule 20, an important part of the Federal Rules' policy of permissive joinder. You are designed specifically to allow as many parties in an action as can be tried efficiently, and you'll include someone as long as there is some factual overlap between a claim involving them and the rest of the case at hand. You are popular, out-going, and are never far from friends. However, your overly gregarious nature and magnanimous approach do make things a bit crowded--you're the reason that lawsuits are often cluttered with innumerable parties and even more numberous claims for relief. Still, despite the crowds that you attract, you can't argue with the efficiency of getting everything done at once!

Which Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Are You? brought to you by Quizilla

Found this over at
Lack of Scienter ~~ Maybe a fellow Boaltie?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Blah Day

Crazy weekend. On top of endless running around, the office Christmas Dinner was held on Saturday. Boyfriend and I dressed to the nines and headed out to a fancy restaurant that we are not even high-class enough to work at. It was on The Boss and consisted of really good food, lots of wine and my missed opportunity for conversations with my superior and holder of my future. Unfortunately, topics included: sports, hunting and gun ownership. The only sport I like is ping-pong. I don't believe in hunting unless you eat your kill (and I'm a vegetarian). And finally, I personally believe the whole 2nd amendement right to a gun is a big misunderstanding and hand-gun ownership should be illegal. This didn't leave me much in the way of interest or participation in the conversational topics. Instead, I listened to the The Boss' wife, talking about home-remedies, bar studying, and her Woodstock adventures. I really like The Boss' wife. Even more surprising, The Boss really likes The Boss' Wife. I'm fairly certain the two are madly in love, weird because they've been married for a long, long time. And, well, he's incredibly successful. He could be affairing it up all across the country if he felt like it. But when The Boss is away... well, he's missing his wife.

Speaking of The Boss, I get to work this morning and The Boss is one the phone. He asks me to find an obscure medical literature article. I went online, on the horn and the email network attempting to find it. Turns out, not only is the article not in English - it's also only held in three libraries. Throughout all of the U.S., Canada and Europe. Apparently, none of these three holdings locations are in Arizona. Surprise, surprise. So..... unfortunately, I am going ot have to tell The Boss that it is impossible to obtain this particular article, have it translated, and get it to him by the end of the workday. To make up for my failure, I found 10 other articles on the exact same subject. Those will be faxed & forwaded along with my apologetic letter of incompetence.

In other news, I don't think I'm getting a Christmas Bonus. This is bad, bad, bad - seeing as I have about $50 budgeted for the holiday absent a bonus. I think the dinner was the Christmas/ Holiday Gift. Lame. Totally lame.


Friday, December 02, 2005

Clean Dreams & a Communication Breakdown

I recently got clean - quit doing drugs. Pain Meds you loadies. I would never even think to do marijuana or any other Godforsaken activity. Anyhow, I think as a result of this (and b/c I had cheese in my salad before bed - props to Ann's insight), I have been having vivid, creepy dreams. Last night's involved catastrophe and death and Boyfriend building a skatepark. Not terribly interesting to others, but it is all I can think about this morning.

That and the fact that I got a "Lets Talk" email from The Boss yesterday just before he sat down to meet with an expert witnesses. I waited for over an hour and a half. Impatiently, I told Paralegal I was leaving, and that if The Boss wanted me, he could call my cell phone. I walked out the door, down the elevator and to my car. Turned the cell phone off and drove away. The Boss is a great guy but sufffers from a propensity to hold off on discussing things he deems important until after 4:45p. Why do older lawyers do this? Aside from the fact that they almost always come into the office after 2?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Rosa Parks

On the way to work this morning, I heard repeat after repeat that today marks the 50th anniversary of Rosa Parks' refusal to get off the bus. An amazing moment in history for sure - but I wish there was discussion of the other things Ms. Parks did aside from her infamous bus arrest.

First of all. Rosa Parks refused to get off of the bus many times. So did many others. The December 1, 1955 incident gets so much attention because it was after this event that Ms. Parks went to the NAACP and volunteered to become a test case. She was already an activist, at the time serving as secretary of the local NAACP branch. She had recently attended a training course for civil rights campaigners, where she met and gained inspiration from Ella Baker. Another tidbit: Ms. Parks had been commanded to get off of a bus driven by the very same driver nearly 12 years prior to her infamous 12/1/55 stand. Or, well, refusal to stand.

Days later, on December 5, 1955, Rosa Parks was found guilty of violating segregation laws and refused to pay the fine. That same day, the Montgomery Bus Boycott began. 381 days later, the Supreme Court ruled that the Alabama bus segregation laws were unconstitutional.

All steps in a long, unfinished journey.

Recently, I was asked why I am so fascinated by African-American history. The fact is, I never cared much for history until I transferred to UC Berkeley. I was a junior, and had no seniority in terms of getting into classes. But I needed an elective. I opened up the course book. There were no openings in Aeronautics. But African-American Studies 116 had open seats. The course was taught by Ula Taylor, who inspired me more than any other teacher I have ever had. The following spring, I enrolled in AfricAm 117. You cannot understand American history without understanding America's greatest mistake. And the people who carry that burden by demonstrating America's greatest strength. Learning history from this aspect taught me about perseverance, faith and belief in what is right - despite all odds and with enemies outnumbering allies by the thousands. I don't have that sort of dedication, but I am a better person for knowing it exists.