Monday, May 28, 2007

Miss Universe

You know how it is - you never intend to actually watch something like the Miss Universe contest, but if you happen to run into it during the inevitable channel flipping, it's the train wreck you can't help but watch.
We came in at the final 10 stage and at the risk of sounding like an ignorant American - I was initially struck by how similar they all looked. All dark haired beauties with similar eyes and cheekbones. Look here to see how they even do their "sexy kitten" look the same.
The final 10 got to do the evening gown competition, and my all-time favorite moment was when Miss USA fell on her ass. (My second favorite was when Miss Tanzania totally grabbed her boob because she thought that just because she was off the stage she'd also be off camera) Those of you who know me would know that I'd be lying if I said I didn't laugh. I'd like to say that I'm not normally so cruel, but that too would be a lie. However, I can say that I took a little extra delight in seeing Miss USA fall because she insists on linking her identity to a month (out of her entire life) she spent volunteering for Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy. That's great and all, but stand on your own. In the roughly 30 minutes I watched, it was mentioned 3 times! After she made it into the final 5 (shocking since she fell moments before), the judge asked her what moment she could live over and why. There it came again. Yes, I'm sure it really was that magical. Personally, I'd relive the whole walking down the runway thing. I do feel a little bad because she was getting boo-ed when she was picked for the final 5. I share the crowd's sentiment, but that's a little much.
I was happy to see Miss Japan win. I really liked her dress and it seemed like she had a sparkly personality.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

News briefs

Lots of good stuff.
An attorney in our office got a "baby killer" off after the medical examiner changed the cause of death on the certificate after the mentally ill defendant confessed. Here's the story:,1,4757531.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

And, news flash, Russian women are apparently superior in their ability to snag western men. According to the instructor in a "college" that teaches Russian women how to unleash their inner femme fatale, women need to learn how to use their body to give men what they want and also need to "know their place." Lessons include: how to take 10 seconds to unbutton each button in your blouse while cocking your head at a 15 degree angle, how to master the strip tease, and how to say "of course you are right, I will do anything you say" - with a straight face.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2008 Elections

I am very excited about the upcoming elections. It's going to be so interesting seeing history in the making. For the first time, the country will consider whether it wants an African-American, a woman, or a Mormon. There are going to be some interesting issues. In fact, I'm hoping for some good candid discussion.
I'm already a little disappointed in Obama. He was on 60 minutes this weekend, and while many of his points totally matched my own views, he was inconsistent on a point that really bothered and ultimately disappointed me. One minute he and his wife were talking about how, as a black man, he can get shot on the south-side at any time, and how he can't get a cab because no one will pick up a black man. Then, when asked if he thought race would be an issue in the election, he said no and if he loses it won't have anything to do with race. C'mon, if race is a factor in deciding not to pick you up in their cab, how can you expect race not to be an issue in voting for President? Too simple. I felt that all his answers were good answers in isolation but didn't send a cohesive message.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

de Young

On my final full day in Cali, my parents and I went to the de Young museum. It's in a new building, built specifically for the the museum. The building is really interesting and it's sheathed in copper and brass. It's also in the Golden Gate Park, which is always nice to visit - down the street from the bison! The de Young has a fabulous collection of art and artifacts from the Americas. It was really a nice museum. It had a very shi-shi cafe that overlooks the sculpture garden and park with really good (although expensive) egg salad and portabello mushroom sandwiches, and the museum is deceptively big. Once again I'm impressed by how nicely American museums are laid out. With the possible exception of a Picasso museum in Paris and the Munch museum in Oslo, I'm not impressed with the lay-out of European art museums. Their technique seems to be to just put as much up on the walls as possible. I like when museums have interesting placement of furniture and paintings. For example, at the de Young, we were looking at the paintings from American artists and in several places they had placed two paintings depicting the same type of subject matter, that looked like they were painted with similar color palettes and techniques, but they were from different artists. It was interesting to compare the similarities and differences close up.

The funny thing is that my dad didn't really want to go at first. Good thing he did, he helped solve a couple of mysteries for the tour guide who was leading the decorative arts tour.

The museum now know why the tops of the chair looks like it does, and how long it took to bend the rosewood table.

Fun facts: the sideboard has a place for liquor, silverware, and a chamber pot! The guy in the far right of the painting looks exactly like our tour guide at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville.

Tell me the first one doesn't look like a Klingon betleH. The next is a spirit suit, and the final is a form that the spirit of your evil ancestor can be tricked into inhabiting instead of haunting you.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Superbowl down

Chicago was so hopeful for a good superbowl outcome. We all know how that turned out. The next day was full of criticism for Rex Grossman and the Bears in general. This struck me as kind of funny given the whole "Christian Coach" thing at the game. Apparently, that sentiment ends there. Okay, yeah the Bears didn't pull through, but let's give them some credit for getting there, and for stopping the Colts from scoring more than they did. You have to admit that the Colts played a good game. Their defense was always there on our guys!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Benicia, CA - the capitol on wheels

Obviously it wasn't all work when I went home for the interview. My parents actually took time off (in our travels we discussed how many days vacation time they each had - unbelievable) and took some trips. After my interview we went to Benicia. Benicia is a cute little town on a bay in the bay area. It's east of San Francisco Bay on the Carquinez Strait. Benicia has an interesting history - full of politicians, bordellos and a serial killer. Going in reverse chronological order, the Zodiac Killer made his debut near Benicia. For those of you who don't know, the Zodiac Killer "hung out" in California - seemingly favoring Northern California. He wasn't active when I was in high school, but that was where I first heard of him. It was reported that he killed young teenagers while out on a date. In fact, his first victims were two kids out on their first date - one of them a first date ever.

In Benicia's more ancient history, Benicia was founded in 1847 and is the first city in California to be settled by Anglo-Americans (as opposed to Spanish missions, forts or trading posts). For 13 months from 1853-4, Benicia served as the third state capitol. It was one of the four locations known as the "Capitol on wheels." It is the only pre-Sacramento site to survive. This was also during the rough and tumble gold rush days, so literally right down the street from the capitol, "entertainment" abounded. You can pick up a pamphlet from the historic train station (pictured above) and go on a walking tour. The main street isn't that long, and boasts two surviving buildings that used to be bordellos, two additional hotels (one of them said to be haunted by Disappointed Mary), and lots of old bars - one of which was later frequented by Jack London. (Jack London worked on the Fish Patrol and wrote "Tales of the Fish Patrol" and "John Barleycorn" there.) After much lobbying (by the wives of the legislators), the capitol moved to a more refined location at Sacramento.

One more additional note: in the 1850's and 60's, the US military decided on a new pack animal - the camel. The Camel Barns housed 77 camels for the purpose. When the Civil War broke out - they dropped the project. As far as I know, they let the camels go, and years later they were still finding camels in remote areas.

Two of the bordello sitesThe old state capitol buildingThe outhouse next to the capitol. It's a double seater!Some of the original buildings. The last one is now a tea house.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I bet misdemeanor convictions don't feel this good

I got my decision on the last case I argued. Murder conviction overturned! It's a published decision, which is great, and I made good law on an issue of law that hasn't been expressly held before. They only reached 2 out of the 7 issues they could have overturned on, but they were the two issues I argued at oral argument. Some of the things they say sound like they come right from my briefs too. I can't tell you how hard I worked on this case and how excited I am to have this under my belt! It's also a drop in the bucket toward restoring my faith in the system. A lot of things went wrong in this trial and I'm glad two problems were recognized.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Do I really want to start all over?

I went to my interview. It was a little odd. More hypotheticals and they also wanted to know what each of my siblings and parents did for a living. (?) Once again, who knows how I did. Lots of ethical and evidentiary issues. I don't know if they appreciated my answers, but I was happy with them. I had to do a closing argument on the spur of the moment on a retail theft case. That could've been a little more dramatic but then again, when would that type of closing argument be spectacular? Anyway, I'll know in a couple of weeks.
I made an unplanned stop at work on my way home from the airport. It just popped in my head to do it even though I'd only been out of the office for 3 days - not long enough for anything urgent to come in. Anyway, it struck me that even though I get annoyed at the people and sometimes I get a boring case, I have a kickin' office in a major city and I'm doing interesting felony cases. If I took this job, I'd be in the courtroom more which would have its own charm, but I'd be doing misdemeanors. In a lot of ways, it'd be like starting over in my career. I don't know if I'm interested in that at this point. So, the upshot is that I don't expect an offer, but I'm not really sure I'd want it anyway..... It's a shame because I've been trying to go home for 10 years now, but I'm just now sure this would be the best way to do it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

midwesterners do talk

I was in the elevator today and pressed my floor. The other person, a man, in the elevator says to me, "Oh, that's the highest you can go." I said, "yep." We stopped on another floor and another woman got in. The man says Hi to her and she greeted him back. He then says, "Oh, so people in the Midwest DO talk" and he looks very pointedly at me. He then claimed that Midwesterners aren't as friendly as people from Oklahoma. Apparently Oklahomans can also actually have a full conversation about how high someone is going in the elevator.

Comment away!

I thought that something in the "upgrade" to the new version of blogger was making my comments disabled and that it would resolve itself. Ha.
I haven't been able to check my code and locate the problem - or if there is one. In the meantime, I have changed my template and the new one seems to allow for comments.
Now Simba's mom can yell at me for rooting for the Saints!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Going home

Well, in a couple of days, I'm off to go home and interview with the prosecutor's office. Should be interesting at the very least. I'll keep you posted.
I've been trying to think of what I miss most so I can make sure I do it. I actually miss all the little independent coffee shops. I don't drink coffee, but I miss the non-Starbucks options for places to hang out. I have a secret dream to open my own one day (I'm not sure where on the list that is in comparison to my secret dream to have a hobby farm) and they have good models back home.
I hope to get a book for the trip out, North to the Orient by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Maybe I can get it from the library before I go.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Whoa! Midwestern Super Bowl!

I'm not a huge sports fan, but I did watch most of the two playoff games today. To show you how not a sports fan I am - even when it would be very exciting to see the home team go to the Super Bowl, I always have to root for the underdog. I figure since Cowboy was rooting for the Bears, I can even out the universe by rooting for the Saints. After all, what a year they've had! Watching the Colts game - I rooted for them too; partly because it would be cool to battle it out with a neighbor state, but more because they were really not the favorites to win. What completely different games. I have to say, the Colts game was more fun to watch - even down to seeing the coach of the Patriots grumble at losing (what a sore loser). Probably for the first time ever, I'm actually looking forward to, and will watch, the Super Bowl.

Friday, January 19, 2007

My new mentor - whether or not he wants to be

I've elected myself a mentor. He is an attorney in my office who is ALWAYS excited about his cases and always seems to go the extra mile on behalf of his clients. Plus, he actually seems like a decent person. This kind of attorney is hard to come by in general, much less in a person who is not really your friend but is just someone you admire and can learn from. Of course, I'm probably dragging him down by associating him with me - while my mind painfully grinds its gears in figuring out the basics of d.u.i. law (hey, there IS a lot to cross-reference for a misdemeanor), he is debating whether to go up on a mandamus in a case involving judicial misconduct on top of police torture. I've decided to seek him out whenever I think Justice needs a good kick in the pants.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I guess I did okay

So, the results of my examination came back - they actually tell you what your score is and the number you ranked on the list. It's a little odd. I now have to decide whether to fly out for an interview. I get to combine it with a trip home, so that's not bad....
New things I tried this week: Forrest Yoga, which kicked my butt, and the Green Eggs and Ham at Kitsch'n. Hello Kitty had the fried chicken and waffles - they do go surprisingly well together, and Cowboy had the coconut crusted french toast - the only french toast I've ever enjoyed. All in all, yum, yum, yum!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

More world news, less news about Trump and Rosie

Are you freakin' kidding me? I turn on the news and catch the tail end of yet another round of the whole Trump / Rosie brawl. This is the news? Thank goodness for BBC and PBS.
BBC had a story about cell phone technology innovation brought to you by a company in Kenya. Soon we'll be able to send people money by cell phone!
Bankelele, a blogger in Kenya, has a detailed post that tells ya all about it.
I simply love that Kenya gets to export intellectual property!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

it's been a while...

I had my first job "interview" in over 3 years. To be fair - it wasn't really an interview - they called it an "examination" and that's a pretty good description of it. It lasted less than a half an hour - and they stuck to the time frame. During that time, they asked you several questions, with several subsections to each one. There was no give and take - no discussion, no ability to ask questions. I felt like I took a test without being able to study for it. Zoinks!
The position would be as a prosecutor, which would be a switch, but not an unreasonable one for me. I believe in my work as a defense attorney, but more because I am interested in policing the system - something I should be able to do as a prosecutor. I am not sure this position is going anywhere, though - I am afraid I come off as too even handed and not like I'm interested in a conviction at all costs. True, I don't want to work somewhere that doesn't pay more attention to ensuring a fair trial than they do to getting convictions.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

One of my resolutions this year is to try new things. My goal is to try something new each day (although I will consider the goal met if I try 3 new things a week). Today, my list includes some intentional and unintentional effort to try something new.
1. putting my workout shorts on backward and not even noticing until I tried to put my keys in my pocket
2. leaving the gym after my workout with my barn door wide open.

Intentionally, I tried treats from the middle east. I have no idea what they were called, so I emailed the girl at work to ask her. As I was telling Cowboy about this delicious new treat that I found, and how I emailed the girl, Cowboy started to laugh. He reminded me about a similar email I sent to a different girl praising her with a "Yum, yum, yum" for her banana chocolate chip coffee cake. Cowboy correctly noted that I only seem to talk to a couple of people with whom I am friendly - and people who bring in treats. Maybe I am one of the very freaks I complain about.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Great gift for newlyweds

How cool is this? I don't think I've ever bought my own Christmas tree, and I know I've never had one in an apartment in Chicago. This year, we got a nativity scene to add a touch of Christianity to Christmas at the Cowboy-Betty household.