Friday, April 28, 2006

Did I miss the memo....

telling me that Friday was canceled and that today is really Saturday? I realize I came into work late, because I'd planned to take a half day, and I realize that the three attorneys I work for are all out of town for one reason or another...but there is no one here. No one.

There was no one on the elevator. No one in the lobby on my floor. No one in the kitchen, copy room, or bathroom. I literally have not seen a single person in over two hours. It's like I'm trapped in a much more entertaining version of Vanilla Sky. Oh well. I'm leaving now anyway, since I'm feeling the need to contribute to the emptiness.

I'll be MIA most of the weekend as well, since two of my good friends from my old job in Ohio are coming to visit. Drunken debauchery is sure to follow. Or, you know, wine sipping in my backyard gossiping about old friends. One or the other.

Update: Drunken debauchery. Um. Check.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Made-for-TV Disaster Movies: "Unmerry" or Effing AWESOME?

I just read this in the WaPo and have a bone to pick with this 'Lisa de Morales,' or so she calls herself. She reports that TV in May will be "wrist-slittingly gloomy-doomy," to which I say, what in this doomsday era of television does she usually get excited for? Brand new episodes of According to Jim? An evening snuggled under the blankets watching 20/20 on Friday night, pining away for dreamy John Stossel? The re-running of The Presidents series on The History Channel over Labor Day Weekend (of which I swear I haven't seen every single episode...twice)?

From the article:
An ABC flick about a bird-flu mutation about to wipe out the population of the United States; an NBC miniseries about the mother of all earthquakes, which could obliterate the Western Hemisphere unless FEMA saves a seismologist trapped in a Las Vegas casino; an "unspeakable horror" beastie thing posing as a small-town cop in the Nevada desert and terrorizing the locals and the local insects.

Are you kidding me? Pandemics! Major natural disasters! Beastie things! And all done on a made-for-tv budget, c'mon Lisa, could May sweeps get any better than that?? They're terrorizing local insects for goodness sakes! I'm not a soap opera lover, but even this sounds kind of hilarious: "Joan Collins trying to hang on to her whole slutty kitten thing at 72 in a 'Dynasty' reunion." I'll tap that. Er, tape that.

The only thing wrist-slittingly gloomy about May will happen sometime in the first week when I inch that much closer to the old-folks home. So get the popcorn and clear out the TiVo. I've got some awesome television to watch.

Won't someone think of the children?

Yes, I thought of them last night, as I was escorted to my seat in the very last row of the theater to see Tony Kushner's A Bright Room Called Day. Occupying every other seat: An entire class of 8th graders on a field trip. Giggling convulsively. Hollering to friends on the other side of the theater. Beating each other with programs. My $80 depo shots have nothing on this shit. The tickets were traded for today's showing and the adults duly fled.

Then, on the way to work this morning, I ran into a poor, poor woman who was either a Super Nanny or a severely underpaid daycare worker. She was pushing this enormous plastic stroller - straight out of the rental caddies at Disneyland - that seated six children. Six! Not to be outdone by the mighty stroller, she managed to hang onto three more who were walking. That's nine, for those of you too lazy to get out the calculator. I do have to admit, the two-year olds were all just the tiniest bit adorable when the six in the stroller all turned to watch me walk by with huge giggly grins on their faces and outstretched hands, but the cuteness factor was curbed as the Nanny was forced to stop and yell at one of the walking children who kept detaching himself. As I walked by she looked up at me and gave me a knowing laugh, saying, "How're you this morning?" Heh.

In the "my neighborhood is a crime scene" news of the morning. Read this. Except I heard more than four, more like five or six. Rumor is one of my neighbors saw the car, which is not the one they describe in the article, so I think he's going to call in. (Cue call from my mother in 3...2...)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Someone in the copy dept has been waiting for this day...

Perfecting the Elevator Speech

If you've ever risked your sanity by going to Career Services for job-seeking advice, at some point you've probably heard about the Elevator Speech. The idea is that you should be able to explain all pertinent information about 1) who you are and what you can offer and 2) what you're looking for in the time it takes an elevator to go from the top to the bottom floor of a building.

This is surprisingly hard, especially for someone like me who 1) has had eight-hundred different jobs in the law alone and 2) has no fucking idea what she wants. However, I've been given the opportunity lately to perfect the Elevator Speech and I must say I'm getting quite good at it. I'm working at a Big Firm right now that occupies most of the top floors and the basement of a building, so I frequently run into people in the elevator lobby. Not only that, but everyone here is quite friendly, so when I run into someone new they invariably introduce themselves and ask me who I am and what I'm doing. When they find out I'm a lawyer and a temp, the Elevator Speech is duly requested.

The trick, I'm finding, like with almost any communication, is knowing your audience. Are you talking to a fellow attorney? A paralegal? A receptionist? The paralegals really don't care about your lack of a job. They've got their own ladder issues to deal with and are strictly making conversation and/or assessing the competition (remember, I'm actually a paralegal here). Attorneys are often in a position to help or give great advice, but they also like other people needing their vast knowledge, so you have to discern if the attorney is just putting a power play on you. Receptionists are the wild card. They might be like your grandma, just wanting to make sure everyone's doing okay, or alternatively, might have contacts up and down the eastern seaboard just waiting to be tapped into.

Another trick is timing. Although the Elevator Speech is just a euphemism for any short meeting you might have with someone, I am actually frequently doing this on elevators. And forget going from the top to the bottom of the building; I usually have to give this spiel between floors 8 and 10. The most important thing to remember is don't get interrupted. You don't have time for it. That means you need to talk fast and - heaven forbid - don't pause to think. It's better to keep running your mouth than let your audience get a word in edgewise and break your stride. This also means you have to end at exactly the right time. If you keep talking once the doors start to open, you open your own door to being brushed off as the person walks away. Own the conversation by ending smartly as the door dings (or in other situations, being acutely aware that your debate buzzer is being activated somehow - someone else entering the conversation, your audience's microwave lunch finishing).

There are a few other tricks, but those are the most important, and I have to run off to some lunch meeting I really, really don't want to attend. The Elevator Speech will be featured prominently, I fear. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


So all that talk about me going to the Katzen last night was apparently just that. I ending up falling asleep and missing most of the show. When I woke up, realizing that it would still take me about an hour to get there, including a good 20 minute walk from the metro, I decided to bail. Just as I made the decision, it started pouring outside, so I'm glad I didn't go and get soaked. I'll just have to take a long lunch Tuesday and check it out.

Also, turns out I was right about my old driver's license number being on my Cal Bar application, so I'm all signed up for Zip Car. Pretty soon I'll be zipping around picking up groceries and visiting Home Depot like I'm a regular suburbanite or something.

Speaking of transportation issues, I checked out flights to Columbus last night and even though the reunion is a month away still, the prices are ridiculous. The minimum price I can find is $250 and that's for times that aren't ideal. If I want perfect time (leaving in the evening on Sunday) the ticket skyrockets to over $600. Hell no. I'm considering just renting a car, which costs $100 and will probably be a little over 200 after gas. It takes about 5 and a half hours to drive, but I'll be able to leave when I want, and the rental car place is near my work which means I can easily pick it up there Friday and return it Monday morning. Eh, I don't know. I'm going to have to think about it.

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