DC’s Post-Osama Party

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Published on: May 3, 2011

As mentioned in the prior post, GF and I decided to jump up and rush out to the White House to catch some of the energy with the thousands of college kids that congregated in front of Obama’s house to drink themselves silly.

Here are some pics from that glorious/disrespectful (depending on which side of the matter you fall on) party of patriotism:

Support Staff Morale Boost

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Published on: April 29, 2011

So, in recognition of the work horses that we paralegals are (as well as the secretaries and other extraneous, non-lawyer staff), the firm has been throwing us a big hoo-rah the last few days for Administrative Appreciation Week. Although this really only last three days and not an entire week, I’ll cut them some slack, nobody in our firm can keep their attention away from work for long periods of time.

So, the first day, it was free breakfast. The net day, we got cupcakes. But, honestly we were all actually surprised when we received our “surprise” at the end of the festivities. Our firm gave us swag. Now when you think swag, you think envelope openers, USB drives, or styrofoam stress balls with a company’s name on it. Some object that was thought about in a hurry that would put your firm’s name out there but consequently never made it to the marketing department. How many people are going to see my new Tweedle Dee and Dum LLP staple remover? Oh, that’s right. Me.

However, we were all very amazed to see that they shelled out a good amount of money on some pretty rocking fleece vests. Now, everybody on the team is wearing them, which is kind of funny since it completely goes against the whole “please dress like you would if by chance you happen upon a client on the way to the restroom” mentality of the firm. But, if it goes against corporate conformity, then hell yeah.

So, I came up with a fantastic idea. Since I’ve never really noticed much of a teamwork-building atmosphere here, I suggested that we should try one concerning our new swag. I sent an email out to the paralegal team saying that we should start earning flair for good deeds and begin to put them on our vests so we can wear them with pride around the office. Not only will the attorneys visibly see how hard we work for them, but I think it’d make our team have a *terrific smile*.

 

Don't find yourself having a case of the Mondays, now!

 

One Random Note: In order to get that pic, I had to go through some trouble because my firm has specifically blocked all searches for the movie “Office Space.”

Always One Day Too Late

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Published on: April 21, 2011

I REALLY wish I had seen this earlier. I would have printed and posted it anonymously on our bulletin board in the main copy room yesterday (4-20-2011). Or the day before, I suppose…

 

Best Office April Fools Ever

 

 

 

Now YOU Can Do the Purgatory Crawl, Too

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Published on: April 11, 2011

Some of us paralegals whom you might have spotted on the web have gotten together and decided the best solution for the greatest good was to build a forum for ALL paralegals, legal assistants, support staff, hell, even attorneys. And, yes, even those that have nothing to do with law are welcome, too. 😉

Come on over to the Purgatory Panel and speak up!

Out of the Fishbowl

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Published on: April 11, 2011

Okay, hold on tight and get ready for this one. I actually saw Mr. Clean outside of the law firm. Yes, I speak of the first year associate who I believe beyond the shadow of a doubt plugs himself in to recharge every evening upon returning to his “domacile.” I SAW HIM outside of his natural habitat! Outside of his comfortable and warm womb and out in the cold and unknown world!

Today, I was called into the office (as I think is becoming the norm) for a fun-filled Sunday of completng near-impossible-to-complete-in-the-time-given rush jobs.  As I walk up to the office building, I realize I didn’t get my caffeine fix before leaving. Like every other establishment in the civilized world, our building is less than fifty steps to a Starbucks. I treated myself (like how I said “treated myself” to coffee?), getting a triple grande mocha and one of those stale squares of coffee cake that look so much more delicious behind the glass than in their initial bite.  In line — and there is always a line at Starbucks — my mind shifts into gaze mode. I start looking at the peripheral merchandise Starbucks has to offer. I wonder what kind of person is the customer who throws down $25 to purchase a CD of Village Chants from some tribe out somewhere in the Sahara.  I then get interested in how many people come here to sit and work on there computers in pairs. Are they trying to show the world that they are pretending to be screenwriters? Well, since this is DC, maybe policy wonks? God, it is taking this damn barrista forEVER to make a simple mocha. I glance behind me and I notice something familiar. Not necessarily someone familiar, something familiar.

It’s those glasses. Those fucking, horned-rimmed, Barry Goldwater eyeglasses that nobody has worn since 1980.

My focus materializes and I begin putting the pieces together. Horn-Rimmed Glasses, check. Completely inappropriate sporting of prep school looking blazer (a la Max Fischer,) check. Meticulously combed hair, so that there is not one stray strand out of place, check. And body unnaturally stiff while eyes darting around but unable to focus on anything, like a pigeon anticipating a predator attack, check. Now, remember, this is Sunday. Even if he is working, which obviously he is, since he is 46 paces from the front door, no one else is at the office. So why the hell does he look ready and set for work. I’m in jeans, a tee, and my Converses.

So, I decide to turn around and say, “Hi, Mr. Clean.”

Mr. Clean not only did not saying anything but did not even acknowledge me. Now, I understand if you see someone on the street and you wave but don’t say anything, you can prrroooobably let that slide if they don’t reply to you. But to be five feet from someone you work with five days a week is just weird, man. So, I wasn’t about to attempt another let-me-get-your-attention, so I just turned around and waited for my coffee, picked it up, turned and left without looking. I mean, I wasn’t pissed or anything, I just felt I better leave before we made our scared little bird even more skittish.

WTF? Seriously. WTF? Dude has a JD degree from an Ivy League, he’s barred in like 25 states, AND he’s working for The Big Un! The only thing I’ve got on him is two years. There’s no way a normal person would have that low of a social ability.

Oh… Wait. Did I just say normal?

My bad. So, I get into the darkened office, which is a little creepy when you’re the only person there. Think about the hallways in The Shining. So I start getting to work. Two minutes after cool down, my mocha is drained. Five minutes after that, I need more caffeine. So I start walking to the all-powerful Flavian machine, hoping I don’t choose the one creamer cup out of the bowl that turns out to have gone sour. I always choose the sour one. To get to the coffee maker, I must pass Mr. Clean’s office. I suddenly imagine his confidence restored from the mighty aura of the law firm. He would call me into his office and give me a good thrashing. Yes… Mr. Clean would certainly go with a thrashing.

As I took a deep breathe, I walked past his office. In the corner of my eye, I noticed no human in the always spotless office. I turned my head and absolutely nothing was there. Sometimes, Mr. Clean will leave the brief he is working on his desk, in a parallel fashion to the desk’s edge. It would also normally be closed with a bookmark.

But, the important piece of knowing Mr. Clean was not in the office was, obviously, that his computer was off. Now, I just saw him not but 15 minutes ago. He was dressed for success and  it was 8:30 in the morning. The only reason I could at the time think of was that he had just pulled an all nighter. That’s why his computer was off. He just left the office and is probably on the way home to hit the hay. But to stop and get coffee? And not look disheveled? No 5 O’Clock shadow? That’s just not natural.

So, after much consideration, I’ve come up with my own conclusions about our Mr. Clean:

  1. He lives nearby, which is just plain weird. K Street is not really thought of as a ‘residential’ area. Most of the employees live far far away. And do not want to cruise around the office for shits and giggles during the weekend. We get that enough 5/7th of our life.
  2. He lives in the office, which is even weirder but more likely. He probably has nothing else to really live for and does not want to disappoint. So, what better way than to always be on call and always be the first one to the office? No wonder I always thought he had halitosis.
  3. He is a robot. He plugs himself in. He was created by the senior partners to be the most efficient legal A.I. known to man. ‘Nuff said.

This will evidently need more investigation…

You Wanna See Something REALLY Scary?

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Published on: April 8, 2011

Last night, GF was tossing and turning again. This has happened for the third night in a row. Normally she’s dead weight, which can be good or bad. Good if she’s to the side, bad if she’s laying over my carotid artery. However, when she literally horse kicks me in the middle of my rapid eye movement sleep, I just can’t say it is pleasant, for myself or my little dream-friends. After talking it over with her, it seems she’s been having really bad dreams because of the content of the films I put on right before we fall asleep recently.

After reading Paralegal Hell’s recent post about the movies everyone would probably only watch if they caught them on TV, it seems only right that I dive into the reasons I’ve been terrorizing my girlfriend’s subconscious. For one, I should mention that I retain a degree in film & video production. Which is ironic, considering I work as a paralegal and normally find no common creative ground with anyone else in the firm. I may have proof nobody here listens to music produced within the last two centuries. Another is that my father did not care less about covering my eyes from on-screen violence during my formative years. In fact, I think he willingly approved of having me, all before I made it to the age of 8, sit through Rambo gun down an army of Vietnamese, Robert de Niro break a baseball bat over one of his flunkeys’ heads in the Untouchables, or an alien rip out of a space marine’s ribcage.

Rambo: Bad Ass
Al Capone: Big Slugger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I should’ve said ‘Cover Your Eyes’, huh?

 

I just want to let you know that I never grew up torturing little animals or plotting shooting sprees. I seriously do not believe in the idea that watching something violent will lead to the urge to act out violently. Sure it gets your heart rate up because you don’t know what’s gonna happen next and it’s the same thrill you experience when you get on a rollercoaster, but the people in the news who claim that video games and Marilyn Manson were the reasons behind Columbine need to have their own heads checked. It has nothing to do with the environment one is brought up in. No, not at all… It’s fundamentalist propaganda, if you ask me. It’s like the crazy author who wrote the book in the 90’s telling parents that their children’s toys were demonic and heretical and they should be thrown out or their entire family would burn in Hell for eternity.

Aside from that, I grew up pretty normally. In fact, I had a wide appreciation for movies. As I mentioned, I went on to go to school for movies. So, take that, Mothers Against Violence In Films. Then again, having a career in law is kind of like self-mutilation, so I’m at a quandary there. Throughout my life, I guess you could say that horror flicks have kinda been one of my guilty pleasures. And, honestly, I treat them as comedies, because 95% of them are just goofy plots with bad acting and stupid special effects. The bad part these days is that GF really doesn’t like scary movies, so I have to get my fix in long after she goes to bed. Unbeknownst to me, these movies REALLY seem to seep into her dream state, because she’ll have nightmares the rest of the night.

Last night, I found The Twilight Zone: The Movie.  For those that have not seen this, you may have seen a lot of pop-references to it in other things about a guy seeing a creature on the wing of a plane. In any case, I had forgotten how messed up this movie is. It’s actually pretty scary, even for it’s time. And GF’s sleep pattern can well verify the horror-factor of this, too. When a movie is rated PG and creeps you out that much, you know you have a good movie.

Another scary film I watched recently – one I had also forgotten how scary it was – was Candyman. This flick is terrifying. I think it was Tony Todd’s first film and his voice alone from that movie is still in my head.

So, there are my horror film recommendations. Maybe once I’m finished with my scary flick run,, I’ll give you some good foreign film rec’s. I mean, if you’re in the legal field, I’m sure you’d be jumping up and down to get off work only to have to read more by focusing on the subtitles…

Space Monkey’s Nugget of Advice for Friday

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Published on: April 8, 2011

If you really want your coworkers (whether colleagues, team, lackies, etc.) to read the attachment in your email, do not make your subject:

New Article! This is 429 pages.

Just sayin.

TODAY in Continued Legal Education!

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Published on: April 6, 2011

I am supposed to be learning about Civil Litigation right now. That’s what I got my firm to pay for. I have the headset on. I am listening to the teacher. I have the slides up on the screen. But, in reality, I am playing Tower Defense. Yes, it’s a great time-waster, especially when my conference-call instructor is rambling on about the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, describing her five cats and giving us subsections that don’t match up with the specific rule we are supposed to be discussing.

“Now, Rule 3 says that when you file a complaint, you’ve started a civil action. So, remember that subsection (d) here says you must send it through first class mail, accompanied with another copy and an stamped envelope with the return address on it.”

Evidently, she’s mixing up the rule on commencing civil action with the procedures for a defendent’s waiver regarding a summons. It’s interesting how the legal association I picked to take these courses has marketed this lady as being a member of four separate state bars and the president of some prestigious school in the early 1980s. I’m not really sure how much of this is true, but I try to believe it all. Perhaps time has just worn away a once great mind. Maybe she was an incredible litigator in her day. It’s hard to imagine that at this moment, because I have this PowerPoint presentation both on my screen and in my hand. And I know she’s looking at the presentation at the same time we all are, but suddenly she’ll just randomly veer off topic and start talking about a completely different subject that doesn’t even enter into the realm of necessity.

“I remember all those years ago, when I was just starting in the legal field, there was a clerk in the courthouse named Beth. You didn’t want to cross Beth. She even scared me once, because I gave her too many copies of the brief I guess. So its important to remember here that you need to always go by the rules of the court. But, then again, Beth had some sort of nervous breakdown and now I think she’s in a mental hospital somewhere… So, let’s continue on to what different types of counterclaims there are.”

I swear, I’m relaying what she’s speaking. Verbatim.

This woman kind of reminds me of my mom… One of those ladies that makes you really wonder what color the fireworks are in their head. The other day, my mom was trying to make me feel better about my next oral surgery and very matter of factly tells me:

“Last time I went to get my bridge worked on, they took the thing out of my mouth and this terrible smell came out. I mean, JUST terrible! They then pulled a piece of meat out. Then I remembered we had filet Mignon for dinner last week.”

Yeah, I know. Gross. But, that’s my mom. I think with age, people (and in my estimation, women especially) gradually lose control of their verbal filter. After 60, communication is straight up stream of consciousness… or maybe unconsciousness. I’ve seen it happen with my mom and it’s evident this woman is well on her way. It looks like we’re all on the verge of a Chatty Cathy pandemic..

 

 

Symptoms May Vary

 

Huzzah! (Blog Update)

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Published on: April 6, 2011

Well, look at that. The email subscription widget finally works. Doesn’t that make you happy? I know it makes Space Monkey happy. Now, get to it, peeps, and hit that subscribe button!

Also, please mind the dust and debris. Make sure to wear a hard hat and perhaps a hazmat suit while tweaks are being made to the blog, because Space Monkey is like a child playing with a chemistry set and Dad’s business things…

Cheers, and of course, feedback is always welcome.

 

@SM@

‘Tis the Season

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Published on: April 5, 2011

It started out like this last year, I remember it quite well. Well enough that once it was over, I immediately began fearing it’s coming for the next year. I am on my morning Metro train at 9:40am. Any other day, I’d have missed the morning rush and would be one of about five people in this car: four of us being the late-comers to work that will soon be chastised by their coworkers for their tardiness; the other one being the unmistakable window-licking tourist. Today, as it will be for another 89 days or so, I will be sharing my once peaceful train ride with an extra 200 window-licking tourists.

This is because at the dawn of civilization (circa 1900,) the Japanese were invited to come plant a bunch of cherry blossom trees all around Washington, DC. Fast forward a century and they are all over the place. And, my my my, they make our country’s monuments even better to check out. Which is why tourists from other nations decide DC is the best place to take their vacation. From about April until June we will roughly receive a billion tourists to our town because the trees just make our monuments so much more damn beautiful. It’s also inevitable that during this time, I will cross paths with each of these billion lost and confused tourists.

Today, I am surprised to find a seat on the train. Well, perhaps not as surprised as the large, amorphous tourist whose girth has overflown from “it’s” side of the seat onto the vacant side. I made no hesitation to make my seat on half of it’s leg. Curiously, though, it didn’t seem to mind, since there was no movement or reaction, not even a twitch. It just continued to stare out at the budding cherry blossoms surrounding the Tidal Basin around Jefferson’s Memorial. Something made me think it may have been salivating and I really wanted to tell it that the trees in fact produced no cherries. But, I didn’t want to ruin it’s trip.

It’s this time of the year that actually makes me want to be at work as quickly as humanly possible.

Now, the problem with living in a town frequented by tourists is that there is an overwhelming feeling permanent residents get that we plainly do not exist or that we are a pseudo-attraction at a zoo or something. Almost like we all are frozen in one of those dioramas the tourists would find in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and we depict human life, but, in reality, we really aren’t there.

Many towns seem to revolve around their tourism. Their economic heartbeat comes from the money brought in from visitors. I’m not sure if DC would necessarily be subjugated to the same live-or-die scenario if suddenly tourism fell off. After all, it is the seat of American government. However, I am probably not alone in thinking that most residents of the District would have no qualms in seeing one less group of bass-ackward tourists all on their Segways with that one son who just can’t figure the dang machine out.

Click to See Stupid Segway Tourists


So, if you come to DC, here’s a small list of things that YOU can do to not beleaguer the actual people who live in the city:

  1. When using public transportation, traveling through a mall, going anywhere, do not become an ESCA-LEFTER: One who stands to the left side of an escalator, not realizing that the right side is for standing, the left side is for walking. We could give two shits less if you and your chum are having a fascinating convo about that neat-o IMAX presentation you saw on Black Holes at the Aerospace Museum, other people have shit to do and you’re blocking them from being able to do it.
  2. If you really think you’re part of the cool crowd, wearing one of those CIA or FBI hats you just bought at one of the ten thousand sidewalk carts in DC will prove to us all that you are not. Take it off and keep it in your bag until you get home and can surprise Cletus and Krystal with your mad talent.
  3. Do NOT bring a whistle to round up your troops. Our eyes are already blinded by the fact you make your group of middle-schoolers wear matching neon-green t shirts so you don’t lose them. I’m sure you don’t know how to pronounce ‘collateral damage’, but that’s what you’re doing to us every time you blow that thing.
  4. Fanny pack. Don’t. Just don’t.
  5. We actually keep this place pretty clean. See that trashcan? I know you do, because there’s one within ten steps of where ever you stand in the District. Put your soggy chili cheese dog wrapper in that. Not on the sidewalk.
  6. If you see us walking faster than you, don’t ask for directions. And if you ask for a picture, we’ll take your camera and keep on walking. Seriously.

In sum, I want to give you the message of my rant:

doing overtly obvious things like these will not only aggravate the piss out of everyone around you, but (and I think you would have really thought about this before you bought two dozen bright orange TEAM SALVATION GOES TO WASHINGTON! t shirts,) you become an easy target for crime. Even if the crooks don’t pin you out at first, perhaps your already annoying nature will make them think twice about what ever it is they do.

 

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