Thursday, July 31, 2008

Biking

I know I've mentioned this before, but I've got no particular aversion to redundancy, so here goes:

I've started biking to work on occassion; pretty much whenever I don't need to wear a suit, I've got enough time to bike into the office, I don't have too many things to bring into or home from the office, there isn't anything going on after work, I've got enough energy, and it isn't rainy or too hot or too humid. So like three times.

But still.

It's about a five mile trip one-way, and it can be a really good workout. My bike is quite heavy, and so is its rider, so I get plenty of exercise. Throw in the fact that all of the little dips and rises seem to be just steep enough that they require a lot of work, but not so significant that the declines give me any momentum, and that makes for a good ride. And by "good" I mean "demanding". I'm sure most bikers would have no problem with this ride, or most reasonably fit people for that matter, but for me, personally, it seems to be an appropriate challenge.

One of the things I really like about biking to work is that most of the ride is along the Potomac, and it's quite pretty. There are usually ducks floating around on the water in the morning, and in the afternoon there are invariably geese on the path. Geese and their inveitable "accompanyments". I do my best to avoid that.

Today I got to see a heron. Or an egret. Identifying waterfoul isn't really my area of expertise. Come to think of it, that might just have been a funny looking bush. (Those have been common in D.C. for the past 7 years...)(rimshot!).

I also got to see a police boat pull someone over. I didn't see what the offender did that got them pulled over, but I did notice that they had tinted windows and an out of state license. My guess is the cops were just profiling.

And that's all I've got for this entry. Not stellar. But who are you to judge?

I wonder how well that line would work in court...

Fat bottomed girls they'll be riding today
So look out for those beauties oh yeah

Monday, July 28, 2008

Phickle Thoughts

I finally saw The Dark Knight. [Possible spoilers ahead.] I was duly impressed with the film, particularly with Heath Ledger's performance. He managed to turn the Joker into a believable character, and that's just impressive. I also like that it was, for the most part, a self-contained story, and any subsequent sequel will have to stand or fall on its own plot.

Overall though, I liked Batman Begins better. That story was superior to this one, and the execution felt cleaner and more concise. There were parts of The Dark Knight that didn't add anything, like the whole "spying on the city" bit. And there were parts that made Batman bigger than he's supposed to be, like the "flying to Hong Kong" bit. But most off-putting of all was that climax with the Joker was anti-climatic.

The previous showdown - that led to him being imprisoned with Dent and Rachel hostage - was so beautifully orchestrated that I felt he had to have more up his sleeve than just standing around in a building with some dogs. But he didn't. There was almost no fight in that last sequence, just the dogs and then the Joker pinning Batman to the ground, before Batman flipped it around. And then the Joker was just left hanging there, with his monologue about bringing the white knight down, and that was the last we saw of him. There was no carefully orchestrated plot. The plan to get the boats to blow each other up wasn't constructed with the kind of no-fail certainty of the Joker's previous machinations. As the Joker's plans fell flat, so did the movie. And ultimately, it just didn't have the climax a movie like this deserved.

But Ledger was brilliant. And deserves the Oscar. I hope he gets it.
-----------------------------------
So the question is now, if they do another Batman movie, especially in this more realistic style, who would be the appropriate villain? We've got to assume the next film would be about Batman's redemption in the eyes of the city, right? So who could hold the entire city victim? Or would they have to go away from that type of plot? Who could be a believable villain?
-----------------------------------
We went to the see The Dark Knight with a couple of friends from law school. These were the ones who had the amazingly opulent wedding in New York. As we found out when we met up with them, it was even more opulent than we had realized. You see, since we had to duck out early, we missed out on receiving one of the wedding favors. So they brought one of the extras along to the movie for us. It was a pretty sizable package, wrapped, and decorated with the bag of candy that you get as a favor at most weddings. Inside the box, and mind you, everyone there got one of these, was a freaking footed serving plate.

That's right, this wedding was so ridiculously awesome that two months after it happened guests are still receiving gifts from the couple and their families.

Wow.
-----------------------------------
The other day I was put on hold, and I could swear the elevator music playing was "El Shaddai".
-----------------------------------
A few years back, before I ever knew her, one of my co-workers was in a terrible car crash. She had severe injuries, including an almost-complete shattering of her leg. We were discussing the long-term effects of her accident the other day.

"My feet aren't the same size any more. One of them is at least half a shoe-size smaller than the other, maybe even more than that."
"That's kind of strange."
"I think when the doctors replaced my heel they shaved too much off of the cadaver bone," she explained.
"Hold on a second!" I said excitedly, "You mean to tell me you've got a cadaver bone in in your body right now?"
"Yeah, in my heel."
"So then, pretty much, your foot is a zombie? That is so cool."
"Isn't it though?"

She seemed to like the idea that her foot was a zombie. What can I say? I've got some pretty cool colleagues.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Crazy People

Two quick stories for you today, regarding people you always hear about but rarely ever encounter.

When it's nice outside I frequently walk to a metro stop a little further away from my office on my way home. It's a nice walk, cuts down on my time spent underground (though usually increases total commute time), and puts a little extra activity into my day.

When I walk to this stop I invariably pass a particular woman on the street, begging for change. She's always got a milk crate set out with a sign on it announcing that she has three children and whatever other particular hardship she's advertising that day (and she cycles through a few of them). In the beginning I pitched in from time to time, but as I discovered that she was a regular my donations quickly tapered off. I'm not sure why, but I find it much more difficult to give to the needy people I know are out there every day than the needy people I just happen to have a chance encounter with. There's obviously some sort of barrier for this woman and her family, that is keeping her from getting/keeping a job with a livable wage. It could a health issue, a competency issue, a social issue, a financial issue, or even just a laziness issue. I don't know, and I've got no basis for speculating.

But apparently someone else felt they did have a basis for speculating as to her issues, because when I walked by the other day there was a guy who had stopped and was talking to her - no, make that arguing with her - about her issues. He had actually stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, on his commute home for the day, to argue with a panhandler.

I didn't catch much of the conversation, but the little I heard as I sped past made it very obvious that this would be a fruitless discussion. The fellow was simply scolding her for being irresponsible when there are (he alleged) so many place right around her panhandling spot where she could find a job to support herself and three children. She started to explain to him why that wouldn't work for her, but he was having none of it. That was all I caught of their conversation, but it was enough to make me wish I had had a couple bucks on me at the time. I would happily have handed over my change to the lady, just to see the look on the guy's face.

And maybe I would have even given him a little too; handing him my dollar I'd pat him on the head and say, "I hear the county has a really wonderful program for those with mental disabilities."

------------------------------------------
I spent part of my day today in one of our other offices. One of the attorneys there got her sister an "internship" with our organization. I was just being nice, making conversation, and since the intern looked quite young I asked if she was in law school. She told me that she wasn't, and that she was in college. I continued to be nice, and asked where she went to school. That was when she told me that she wasn't in classes yet, but would be going to a community college in the fall for a semester or two before applying to George Mason. She couldn't got straight to Mason, it turns out, because she had "left" high school.

That was when I stopped being nice.

"You mean, you're a high school dropout?"
"No," she replied proudly, "I'm a high school dropout with a genius IQ."
"No. You are a high school dropout. Your IQ doesn't matter. You dropped. Out. Of. High school."
"I didn't need high school, I have a genius level IQ," she said.
Came my witty (though obvious) retort, "Some genius, if you couldn't get through high school."

At that point, she tried to explain why she dropped out of high school. It turns out the reason she quit was no better than, wait for it...

She hated high school.

"So what?" I challenged, "That's high school. Everybody hates it."
"No, you don't understand. I was miserable."
"Yeah, I get it. That's high school."
"But I was miserable and depressed."
"Yeah. You're a teenager. That's the universal experience."

I was fascinated. I actually met a "genius" who dropped out of high school. I just wish I could be there to taste the sweet schadenfreude when George Mason formally rejects her undergraduate application. Or when she's sitting on the sidewalk with a milk crate and some jerk decides to tell her why she should get a job.

They call me 'Quiet Girl'
But I'm a riot
Mary Jo Lisa
Always the same

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brilliance

Anyone who hasn't heard about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog should immediately go check out this website.

It doesn't appear to be free any more, but the download is worth well-more than whatever they're charging for it. I promise.

Heck, if you download it and don't honestly love what you're seeing, you've got no taste, and I'll gladly reimburse you the cost of the download.* Consider it my contribution to the "Help __________ (your name here) Develop an Awareness of Greatness Fund."

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. This is all you're getting today, but I'm working my way back into the habit.

*Does not constitute an actual offer to reimburse you the cost of the download. I do not in any way promise to give you any sort of remuneration. If you think I'm giving you any of my precious money, you've got another thing coming, mister.

We're not done with you yet Mr. Horrible
You have to try on these pants so the Ugliness Men
Can decide if they're just as embarrassing as we think

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Phickle Thoughts

Obama has started to woo us centrists with his promise to continue/expand Bush's faith-based programs. It's a good start. (At first, I accidentally typed "it's a god start". I suppose that is also accurate). I'm just not sure if I believe him or not.
--------------------------------
I've started biking to work a couple times a week. Basically whenever I don't need to be presentable for clients and/or court. Washing up in the bathroom is a bit awkward, but the exercise is worth it.

I also like that it cuts down on my metro time. The metro system is terrific, but sometimes it gets to be a bit obnoxious. A nice quiet bike ride gives me a chance to be alone with my thoughts in a way that metro doesn't. True, on the bike ride my thoughts are pretty much restricted to "Another hill? I'm... not... going... to... make... it."
--------------------------------
One of the younger attorneys at Legal Aid left our organization this week for a job with the DOJ. She was hired a couple months after I was, and now is leaving before I am. It's kind of weird to think that in a couple months I'll have been at this job for two full years. And though we're working on building an escape plan, getting away from D.C. is proving kind of difficult.
--------------------------------
With my last post I made it up to 11 in the last month, more than I've posted since April of 2007 (also 11). I've been trying real hard to post more often, and it seems to be working out.
--------------------------------
Speaking of posting a lot, I'm off to vacation for the next week plus, so there won't be any posts. See you the week of the 14th!

You said I must eat so many lemons
'cause I am so bitter.

I'll be gone the next week plus on vacation.