Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Where's your head at

I am the architect of my own discontent.

That is the idea I had been reflecting on before I left for DC. The specifics aren't so important, just the idea that through my own choices and my occasional inability to foresee ultimate ends, I have created situations that have lessened my happiness. With a little more time, I see how the opposite is also true: I very much engineer my bliss. The times that I am able to see the small beautiful things that go on around me, the occasions where I place my interests first - there is sometimes seemingly endless joy.

And now I've found another corollary: I can't make someone else happy. More specifically, I can't lessen their discontent, as I was trying to do. I thought that it was a simple see-saw, and that if I gave more and sacrificed some of what thrills me, that they in turn would be happier and more at peace. But, it doesn't work like that. I gave it away, and it didn't benefit anyone.

Lesson learned - you can't always help someone else, even by foregoing what you want. I guess this is just another look at the idea that we all have to find our own way.

Friday, November 24, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Bjork edition

Friday will be watching you.

The convenience store, its aisles full of moldering cough syrup, Cheez-its and condoms, where you pick up your daily paper; your favorite coffee shop with the killer sticky buns; even your old yoga studio. I go to the places you used to frequent, even though I don’t know what I’d do if I found you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

blood makes noise

Links to things that I find interesting/worthwhile:

  • I'm slowly being converted from Bloglines to Google Reader. I find it a little slow, but I like some of the features.
  • Plus, it turned me on to Quote of the Day. With such gems as ""Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." - L. Tolstoy, how can I resist?
  • I've been thinking about how engaged I am in my community, and how I can increase that. In light of the recent Nobel Peace Prize recepient, I've also been reading more about micro-financing, and this this is quick resource on a few organizations dealing in micro-loans.
  • My latest blogcrush: BrooklynMasala (aka Ganesh.) Go now, enjoy - but remember, I saw him first!
  • I'm in the middle of an ardent, pasionate love affair with words ..... but sometimes, they still escape me. You know, when you're trying to find that word - the one that has to do with that thing? How much help would a reverse dictionary be?
  • I've been thinking about how our attitudes and beliefs shape our experience. This post from Scott Adams (i.e. the Dilbert guy) is thought-provoking.
  • As you know, when it comes to technology, I'm what one could call a "late-adopter." Although I have an iPod, I don't really do the podcast thing. SO, I found Chai's list of podcasts very helpful. Are there others that you'd recommend?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I'm not sure which pricks me more: things changing or things not changing.

I remember returning to my alma mater the year after I graduated to find a new crop of students. They were doing all the things that I had done: trooping up and down Princess Street, grabbing mobile lunches at the Pita Pit, living it up at my bars, etc. I knew it was self-centered and foolish, but it bothered me that nothing had really changed. I didn't expect that there would be a me-shaped hole on campus, but I felt swept aside and, to top it off, foolish for having an unspoken expectation that things would be different with me out of the equation. Like the ex we hope/expect to pine for us forever even as we move on with our lives, though I had formed my own life in a different location, I wanted Kingston to long for me.

Perhaps because DC is my "hometown", I want things to not have changed. I want the intricate systems of road, parkways, highways, toll roads etc. to be just as I left it. And it's not. I want my favorite restaurants to be just as I left them - menus, servers, ambiance, etc. intact. And they're not. All areas, but especially urban ones, are embodiments of the Phoenix - they cannabalize parts of themselves to create the new and different. Since I'm feeling pouty, I'll point out that new and different does not necessarily mean better.

I always say that we don't ever get beyond 7th grade. Well, maybe the set-point is actually even younger than that. Logically, I know how ridiculous it is to expect everything to stay the same - how self-centred, really. But emotionally, I want DC to be my home place. I want it to be dependable and unchanging, comfort food like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I'm happy to be back in DC, but it's also bittersweet. It's not the place I left a year ago. It doesn't fit me like it once did.

And all of that, well, that's just fine.

Monday, November 20, 2006


"Can I get your phone number? You're so fun! We should get coffee sometime, or something."

It was just how I had always wanted to be asked out. Sigh.

But, um, maybe by someone who is not gay.* And maybe without his hand clamped on my ass.

* Not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's the way you are.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Some days, you feel like you connect with everyone. It just flows so naturally. Telling my eyebrow artiste about the film I saw at the 3rd i Film Festival led to a discussion of gender roles in diasporic Indian communities. My dentist kept me in stitches with stories about his mom trying to set him up with nice Iranian girls, while his iTunes pumped Nigerian rock and Swedish trance (?) through the speakers in the chair. Gia and I met the cat sitter: Gia was her normal charming self, and the cat sitter was duly charmed (winning points with me!)

I leave for DC tomorrow evening and I'm really looking forward to it. This could be called the Thanksgiving compromise - because I'm going to India over Xmas, I headed home for nearly two weeks to spend time with Mum. But, there are other upsides - I get to hang out with DC peeps. AND, because I'm there for more than just the holiday - people will actually be around! I've been hornswaggled into organizing an unofficial happy hour for law school alums - so I'm taking my social butterfly wings on the road. I get to see Sapner.

I get so excited before trips that I actively put things off so that I am rushing around the night before. It lets me work off the nervous energy. It's 11 pm and I am doing laundry while carefully constructing my packing list. I'm listening to Lily Allen's "Smile" on repeat and watching the clock tick by.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I've been conducting a little experiment.

I love music. It energizes me, touches me, depresses me, and moves me. But what happens when you turn the iPod off? For example, I usually use the "Cardio" playlist to power me through treadmill time. For the past two weeks, I've braved running without tuneage! It's been interesting - my workouts now channel my inner-Mathlete. I spend the time calculating splits, pacing, etc. This is exactly what I used to do during marathons. (The race rules forbid using headphones.) You'd be amazed how much time goes by calculating estimated finishing times at different paces.

I've turned off the radio in my car on my drive to work (all 2.5 miles of it.) When there is no music to mask them, my thoughts are scattered, varied and ... loud. At first, it was a little frightening. I'm getting used to it - it's like meditation, the more you try to clamp down on your thoughts, the more they careen recklessly.

After two weeks of listening to my inner cacophony, I sat down with a brand new notebook and gel pen (you know how I love school supplies) and just funneled everything I had been thinking - thoughts, ideas, goals, dreams, anxieties - on to the paper.

You'd be amazed how much quieter my head is now. And how much more "in the moment" I feel. And how peaceful I feel having this list/brainstorm of things to reflect on, and ideas to put into action. All told, an experiment with surprisingly pleasing results.

Friday, November 10, 2006

55 Fiction Friday: Retail Therapy edition

Friday hits the mall.

There had to be something she could buy. A big slouchy purse, a pair of black heels, something. There had to be something she could tell herself she was enjoying. There had to be something she could purchase that would block out, at least temporarily, the loneliness, the ennui, and the sameness of it all.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


You can take the girl out of D.C., but you can't take D.C. out of the girl.

On Tuesday, as the polls started closing on the East Coast, I launched my own personal "Election Watch" , which consisted of doing the circuit of CNN, WashPost, Crooks & Liars and Talking Points Memo. I thought that having left D.C., I would be less into it - how wrong I was. Eventually, I left work because I was driving myself nuts AND not getting any work done. After puttering around my apartment, I ended up .... doing the circuit again and chatting with DTG and LB2 re: the Webb-Allen Senate race vote count as it was updated.

Maybe this is how gamblers feel - the raised pulse, the slightly sweaty palms, the attempts to work off some nervous energy. Upon closer examination, the other big reason that I thought I had left it behind is that politics flat-out broke my heart. No, no it's more than that: have you ever been infatuated with someone and then it passes, and with time you begin to wonder how you ever thought that person was even remotely compatible? How the warmth you felt towards them turns into distaste, tempered with an edge of "what the hell was I thinking?"

For me, it's not simply a matter of which political party is in power. It's the erosion of the separation of church & state. It's the dismantling of habeas corpus. It's the careful and calculated unraveling of checks and balances. It's the disenfranchisement and intimidation of voters. These assumptions I've had about my country, what I thought was bedrock and dependable - gone or heavily damaged.

Now, with regime change, I'm taking another look. The saying goes once bitten, twice shy. That's how I feel: tentatively hopeful. Please do a better job. Please return some of the things we've lost. I'm rediscovering myself as a political animal after years of hardening my heart. I'm hesitant. I'm joyful.

Monday, November 06, 2006

5-7-5: heretofore, pertinent, and apposite

As y'all know, I love me some haiku.

As part of some random, alcohol-inspired rambling with Chai, I decided to try my hand at summing up key legal decisions in the traditional 5-7-5 format:

Separate is not equal
Segregation sucks
"parties are advised to chill"
says Judge Kozinksi

I invite the J.D.s, the wannabes, and the syllabically-inclined to have at it. Korematsu, Lawrence, Miranda .... so many options!


Decided to write a few IP ones (actually Barbie Girl is also IP - has to do with parody, copyright law, etc.):


Key patent law case:
Diamond v. Chakrabarty
Can you patent cells?

But not really cells….
Fine – microorganisms
Supreme Court says, “Yes.”

Trade Dress:

Taco Cabana
Seminal case in trade dress?
“Mexican” food fight!


Sony Betamax:
Copyright infringement claims,
Held for defendants

“Non-infringing use”
Non-commercial, ‘time-shifting’
Fair use defense works.

Controversial case:
Vicky’s Secret v. Moseley
Trademark dilution?

Yup, sometime the geek just LEAPS off the screen, doesn't it?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thoughts on training

Whenever anyone says "your analysis," I giggle.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ocean Breathes Salty

Friday. I hustled our clients out the door and dropped them off at the CalTrain session with juuuuust enough time to run a comb through my hair, pick up Jay-Z and head to the city for a co-worker's bday party. This means I didn't get to put my Halloween outfit together. :(

We had a late dinner at a restaurant in North Beach. Albona specializes in Istrian cuisine - actually, I'd say the place specialized in poking fun at people. Bruno, the owner, took great care of us and kept us all in stitches. The food was phenomenal and I will make a return visit.

The crowd continued on to Suede, but Jay-Z and I had planned to make it an early night, so we hit the road.

Saturday A day of delicious nothingness. Oh wait, this is the day I watched porn: at some point, I added all the Best Picture winners to my Netflix queue. Somewhere in my list, I have Drugstore Cowboy. So, you can imagine my surprise when, instead of drugged out Matt Dillon, the movie opened with Jon Voight, circa 1969. Whoops - Midnight Cowboy. Watching Angelina's daddy in a movie that was X-rated when it came out was not what I expected, but surprises are .... good.

Sunday More do nothingness - much of it occurring in the papasan chair on my balcony. Drifting in and out while reading Barrel Fever with the sun warming my toes = just about perfect. I headed into the city to meet brimful for dinner and our weekly viewing of Lost. Our dinner of Korean barbecue was marred by The. Worst. Music. Known. to. (Wo)man. Unspeakably bad. No, no - in fact, one step removed from unspeakably bad: these weren't just hideous songs, they were covers of hideous songs! I would be trying to focus on what b was saying, and there would be this horible crescendo, a rising wave of awfulness that would just tear me away.

In other news, and I'm not the first to say this, I think Lost has jumped the shark. The show is now annoying the crap out of me. It is possible that b will convert me to something else, maybe Friday Night Lights.

Crappy music and infuriating television programming can't ruin an evening with la brim. I had a great time (and a lemon bar, too.)