Sunday, September 30, 2007


I don't know if it's available in all areas, but there's a new thing around here called Redbox movies. Basically, there's a kiosk outside certain stores that let you rent a movie for 1 buck a night. I've only seen them at McDonalds around here, but I'm sure they're elsewhere too. I was a bit skeptic at first, but then finally gave it a shot after a trip to the video store cost me over 5 bucks recently. Basically, the concept is easy. You pick your movie, insert your credit card, and then it vends the move. You return it to any location you want, and if you keep it an extra night, you pay another buck. If you keep it 25 nights, then you stop being charged and it's yours. Not that it's the easiest or cheapest way to buy a movie.

Anyway, all that setup for this comment. I saw a story on the news the other night that one town is wanting to pass an ordinance to prevent these kiosks from renting R rated movies. The argument was that since there is no attendant, any kid can come up and rent any movie without someone checking ID. I'll ignore that this presupposes that the attendants are really checking ID. Instead, I simply point out that these machines do not take cash. They only take credit card. Last time I checked, you have to be 18 to have one of those. So the only way the kid is going around renting R-rated movies from McDonalds is if you've given him the credit card. Which, you get what you enable there.

I guess the other possibility is that the kid can use a debit card at the machine. But again, if I had a 13 year old kid, there's no way in heck I'd let them roam the streets with a debit card that can drain my bank account.

I just don't see the big deal here. Aren't parents supposed to parent children and not the government? And we law abiding citizens should be able to McRent R-Rated movies instead of limiting us to G and PG ones. What will they restrict next?


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emmy Post-Mortem

Wow. I did an impressively bad job and only got 3 out of 11 right. Luckily I didn't put any money on this.

While I enjoyed her acceptance speech, Katherine Heigl annoyed the bejeezus out of me this season on Greys. Appropos that she would win. And I was shocked that Terry O'Quinn took home a deserved award. Full shut out for the Sopranos actors? Did not see that one at all. Steve Carrell was robbed again, but if it had to go to anyone, it might as well go to the creator of the whole Office realm.

Did not like the circular stage. Also, did not like that they barely showed any of the nominees all night. No reaction shots, no nomination shots. It was pretty bland. Had I not known it was on Fox, I could have guessed it based on the look of the show. Blech.


Emmy Predicts

With the Emmys about 5 hours away, I thought I'd be remiss if I didn't actually give a shot at Emmy Predictions. I mean, I do watch a LOT of TV. Granted, most people won't read this post until well after the Emmys. You'll just have to settle for laughing and pointing when I'm completely wrong on my picks. (Though, I have been pretty good with the Oscars the last couple of years, but that may not necessarily translate here.)

Series, Drama
Boston Legal
Grey's Anatomy

Should win? Heroes
Will Win? Sopranos

House is a good show, but not it's best season. Grey's Anatomy suffered the 3rd season fizzle. Boston Legal, a drama? Please. Heroes, is arguably, one of the better shows on TV this last season. I didn't give it a shot until about halfway through the season, but enjoyed it when I did. It's different enough, but, unlike Lost, it actually gives answers and doesn't drag out for episode after episode. The Emmys do have a habit of rewarding the good new shows (see Lost), but the overhyped, overplayed swan song of the Sopranos is going to make this the most predictable category of the night. It's won almost every award it's been up for the past decade. And, don't forget, since it's on cable and not network TV, it's obviously better quality *eyeroll*.

Series, Comedy
The Office
30 Rock
Two and a Half Men
Ugly Betty

Should win? The Office
Will win? Ugly Betty

My love for the Office knows no bounds. After a shaky part of the second season, (even though it won the Emmy last year), it really grew this year into the smartest comedy on TV. I don't care what you say, I'm not going to believe otherwise. The combination of the writers, the actors and the directors are all heads and shoulders above any other group on TV. But I don't expect a repeat. I have tried to watch episodes of the other shows, but either hated them (Entourage, 30 Rock, Two and a Half Men) or didn't care enough to make it appointment TV (Ugly Betty). And, in fact, the second funniest comedy on TV, How I Met Your Mother, was grossly overlooked. I expect the hype that is Ugly Betty (see previous comment about Emmys loving new cult shows) to carry it to this win.

Actor, Drama
James Spader, Boston Legal
Hugh Laurie, House
Denis Leary, Rescue Me
James Gandolfini, The Sopranos
Kiefer Sutherland, 24

Should win? Hugh Laurie
Will win? James Gandolfini

Even in it's less than best season, Hugh Laurie still shines. He is House and no other actor could pull off. He's witty, caustic, American-accented, and perfect in the role. Sadly, though he deserves to win, he's going to suffer through watching this one go, one last time, to James Gandolfini. I've watched the Sopranos. I wasn't impressed. I haven't seen 24 or Rescue Me, so I can't really comment on that. But James Spader? Again, that show is not a drama and it is not quality television. I like James Spader, but he needs to go away and give his spot to Matthew Fox or Chris Meloni, again, other grossly overlooked actors.

Actress, Drama
Sally Field, Brothers and Sisters
Kyra Sedgwick, the Closer
Mariska Hargitay, Law and Order: SVU
Patricia Arquette, Medium
Minnie Driver, The Riches
Edie Falco, The Sopranos

Should Win? Kyra Sedgwick
Will win? Kyra Sedgwick or Edie Falco

Admittedly, I don't watch any of these shows, save SVU. Mariska got her due last year and she's not going to be close this year. Kyra Sedgwick completely carries The Closer, which is highly rated by my parents and critics alike. She should pull this off, but given the exit of The Sopranos, you can't count out Edie Falco. If I were forced to pick between the two, I say Edie Falco takes it by a nose.

Actor, Comedy
Ricky Gervais, Extras
Tony Shaloub, Monk
Steve Carrell, The Office
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Charlie Sheen, Two and a Half Men

Should win? Steve Carrell
Will win? Steve Carrell

I'm going out on a limb on this one. Steve Carrell was robbed last year by Tony Shaloub, and everyone knew it, including Tony Shaloub. Those things are not easily forgotten. I'm holding my hope for him this year. A lot of people are calling Alec Baldwin claiming that he's going to take it, but I'm not certain his off camera personality and the fact that his show is a ratings underdog won't hurt him. Plus, though I don't watch the show, a lot of people seem convinced he should have been in the supporting actor category. Monk is past it's prime and Two and a Half Men is not funny. Ricky Gervais has a small shot, but I'm not certain he's mainstream enough to swing this vote.

Actress, Comedy

Will win? America Ferrera

I'm not even bothering to type out the other nominees, because if America Ferrera doesn't walk away with this award, I'll eat my computer. This one's not even close.

Supporting Actor, Drama
William Shatner, Boston Legal
T.R. Knight, Grey's Anatomy
Masi Oka, Heroes
Michael Emerson, Lost
Terry O'Quinn, Lost
Michael Imperioli, The Sopranos

Should win? Michael Emerson
Will Win? T.R. Knight or Masi Oka

Michael Emerson's Ben is the only redeeming quality of a poor season of Lost. He's perfect in that role. But, given how Lost was shut out in many other categories, I don't expect many votes thrown his way. Michael Imperioli should have the backing of the Sopranos exit, but I don't think they'll take this category. T.R. Knight has dealt with a lot of publicity and may get a sympathy vote. I sincerely don't think the show was up to par this year, but he did have one or two shining moments. Masi Oka is the standout on a new cult show. I'm going to give this to Masi, by a nose. I've heard he's a great guy, as is T.R. so either walking away with this will be fine with me.

Supporting Actress, Drama
Rachel Griffiths, Brothers and Sisters
Katherine Heigl, Grey's Anatomy
Chandra Wilson, Grey's Anatomy
Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Aida Turtorro, The Sopranos
Lorainne Bracco, The Sopranos

Should win? Chandra Wilson
Will win? Sandra Oh or Lorainne Bracco

Again, I'm getting redundant, but the Sopranos could carry this one too. Sandra Oh is about the least talented of the suppporting Grey's actresses. Her performance is so one note, but for some reason, people love her. It will be a crime if either Heigl or Oh take this over Chandra, the true star of that show. At least Ellen Pompeo's smarmy performance wasn't nominated in any category. Sandra Oh should easily have been replaced with Elizabeth Mitchell, who gave an outstanding performance on an otherwise dying Lost. I'm giving the nose to Emmy darling Lorainne Bracco in this one. I just feel the record setting Sopranos will exit taking 3 of the 4 acting awards.

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Kevin Dillon, Entourage
Jeremy Piven, Entourage
Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
Rainn Wilson, The Office
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men

Should win? John Krasinski. What, he wasn't nominated? Seriously, NPH
Will win? Rainn Wilson

Ok, I think Rainn Wilson's character is so one note and over the top and really think this nomination should have gone to John Krasinski. I'm more a fan of the straight man as it were. But hopefully he'll get his due. The Emmys do like over the top performances in their supporting actor cast (see Sean Hayes, David Hyde Pierce) so I'm giving him the edge. However, I'm really pulling for Neil Patrick Harris. NPH carries that show and gives it the funny. He's over the top, but not in the same way. And for all the fear in the media that his coming out would ruin the character, NPH's Barney is the greatest womanizing character on TV. I probably care more about the supporting comedy categories than any other. I'll be OK, with a Rainn win, but since How I Met Your Mother is always facing possible cancellation, I wish NPH would get his due this year. Also, don't count out a possible repeat of Jeremy Piven. But I'm thinking he won't carry it this year.

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Jaime Pressley, My Name is Earl
Jenna Fischer, The Office
Holland Taylor, Two and a Half Men
Conchata Ferrell, Two and a Half Men
Vanessa Williams, Ugly Betty
Elizabeth Perkins, Weeds

Should win? Jenna Fischer
Will win? Elizabeth Perkins

Again, Emmy voters love cable shows. Jenna Fischer really stood out this season on The Office, but it's too much to hope that she would take this one. I also think Jaime Pressley may have a shot, because, again, see the over the top discussion from above. The others are pretty much interchangeable. As long as either Perkins, Fischer, or Pressley win this one, I'm ok with it.

Writing, Comedy

Should win? Anyone from The Office

I don't know who the nominees are, but I'm pretty sure than 2 of them are teams from The Office. And they will be well deserved.

Interested to see how I did? We'll check the scorecard tonight.

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Random Bits

Now, I know I have a pretty commercial taste in movies. But I do like to give other, more artistic movies a shot, even when I think it's not going to be my cup of tea. I used to watch the Sundance channel religiously and catch all of the movies that never got picked up for mass release. That will come as a surprise to some of the more refined movie goers out there who think that I only ever watch rom-coms.

I'm not really a fan of the fantasy movies. I think it shows my limited imagination as a child. Though I'm left handed, I am definitely not right brained when it comes to that creativity. I must say, I'm happy that I gave the Harry Potter movies a shot, as I do enjoy those (but not in 3-D on an IMAX screen, I must say. It gave me a hangover worse than any alcoholic beverage could have).

K and I watched Pan's Labrynth tonight. It's Spanish and subtitled for those of us who are not as fluent in our Spanish as we should be. That doesn't bother me all that much. I like a good subtitled movie. But I did not like this movie at all. The acting was ok, but I just didn't care for the random fantasy bits. And it was way more graphic than I care to watch. I got online and checked and the movie got rave reviews everywhere. Also, K seemed to really like it. I must just be in the minority on this one.

Tonight I was painting my toes and my cat came up to rub on my legs. He bent his head and did a quick sniff of the polish and immediately went into a gag reflex. It was like the cat version of one of those TV shows when someone discovers a dead body. I know cats don't like certain smells, but I didn't realize smells triggered the vomit reflex in them the way it does in humans. He settled in on the far corner of the bed and has just been glaring at me for the past 20 minutes. I'm just glad no actual vomit came with the gagging, since I've had my fill of cleaning up feline bodily fluids this week.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

The element of surprise.

Last night, I crawled into bed half asleep. All of the sudden, I felt something at my feet which made me start questioning whether I had just washed my sheets and didn't get them all the way dry. When I realized I hadn't, I then wondered if the sheets felt cold because of the windows being open. I decided that wasn't likely. After closer inspection, I discovered that one of my cats had left me a nice wet present. Yeah.

Now, I honestly couldn't get too upset with him. He's had a urinary infection/bleeding bladder for about 4 months and this is the first time he has ever went outside the box. Stress makes it worse. And I'm partially to blame for stressing him out. But the only reason I'm partially to blame is that my apartment complex is almost entirely to blame. As those of you who read the post from a few days ago can remember, any day now the complex is going to open my door and weather strip it. So I have to keep the cats locked up. Yesterday morning, Frosty was hiding under the bed in my room and I couldn't get to him. I didn't want to be late for court, so I made the decision to lock him in my room. I had anticipated coming home after court and working from home. So he would have only been in there 4 hours. But my 4 hour day turned into 10.5 hour day, and his little bladder couldn't hold it. No wonder he didn't run for the door when I came home.

Luckily the little present only hit the sheets and didn't soak through to the mattress. I think he was embarrassed and held it as long as he could based on the location and the splatter pattern. So I've forgiven him. Unfortunately, my the kink in my neck from sleeping on the couch has not.

Here's hoping I have no more presents awaiting me tonight.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Christmas Come Early

Being a government agency, my office is scarce on supplies. In particular, the person in charge of supplies tries to reuse everything to save every dime. Ever since my first day there, I thought that it was a little bit over the top in stinginess. When I asked to order a stapler, I was told they would check around the office first and I ended up getting a janked up one that barely gets the job done. When I wanted folders with the prongs built in, they had the receptionist punch holes in regular manilla files and put clips through them as makeshift pronged folders. It was great when every time I opened the clips to put something in, the clips fell out and all the papers went scattering. Or, every time I tried to file in my filing cabinet, one folder would get stuck on another and I couldn't get anything in the drawer. I also didn't have any of the standard office supplies such as a staple remover, tape dispenser, or scissors. When a coworker left, I immediately ransacked her office and upgraded and took over the dispenser. But every time I have to cut something, I track down a pair of scissors from a coworker.

The other day, I ventured to the supply closet to get a notebook. I've asked for yellow, letter sized notebooks with 2 holes punched at the top. It's been 2 months and I still haven't seen them and have been told that since they are not on the approved order list, I can't get them. Instead, in the bountiful supply closet, I found one half used white pad of paper buried under mismatched folders. In the entire closet, there was one half empty box of paper clips, 2 binder clips (not boxes, single clips) 2 pads of post-its, 3 boxes of pens, 2 boxes of staples and a bunch of the mismatched folders. For 18 people in the office. That's it. It's really pathetic.

Today, I was at my other county which I visit less frequently. I'm the attorney in 2 counties, but I spend 90% of my of my time in County A. Today, while in County B, I was jumping between offices (because I don't actually have a station there) and ran out of paperclips. The staff directed me to the supply closet and told me to help myself. (Incidentally, they're already working on getting me the "special" notebooks, even if they have to stop at Office Max and pick them up). When I opened the closet, I thought I had struck gold. There were stacks and stacks of staples, boxes of binder clips (in 3 sizes!), pads of paper, 4 different kinds of pens, 6 or 7 extra staplers (new in the boxes), 5 scissors (new in the box), post it notes of every color and size, and much much more. They even had 30 bottles of white-out, as opposed to the 1 half used tape white out in our office. I literally gave a yelp of happiness at all of the stuff.

Then of course, I proceeded to stock up. I checked with my secretary at that office just to be sure, and she said to help myself. She also told me that if there was anything not back there that I wanted, she'd run down to the store and get it for me. How lucky could I be?

Later in the day, I was sitting at a coworker's desk using her docking station with my stash of stapler, scissors, post-it notes, white-out, pens, etc, when my director walked by. She looked at me over my towering stack of supplies, shook her head laughing, and walked on.

I'm now going to have to make sure I find the key to my desk so that I can lock up my stash from the jealous coworkers in my other county.


You can lead a witness to Court, but you can't make them testify.

Several other attorneys have imparted to me the well-known addage that you never ask an opposing witness a question you do not know the answer to. What's worse? Asking your own witness a question you do know the answer to but they apparently do not. I'm not talking about run of the mill witnesses, but client witnesses where the only reason I know the information is because the client told it to me 5 minutes before walking into the court room. There are only so many ways you can phrase your questions to push the line of leading the witness and avoid the "asked and answered" objection. And, since it's my client-witness, I want to avoid having to bring up, "well you just testified" or the like because then they look like they're either lying or don't know the answer. Typically, it will go something like this: (Note, not actual testimony)

Me: After you showered and dressed, what did you do before you came to work?
Witness: I got in my car.
Me: Ok, did you do anything else before you left your house?
Witness: No.
Me: Have you eaten anything today?
Witness: Yes.
Me: What?
Witness: I had cereal for breakfast
Me: Where were you when you at this food?
Witness: At home.
Me: Was this before you came to work?
Witness: Yes.
Me: So, between when you showered and dressed and when you got in your car to leave for work, did you do anything else?
Witness: No.
Me: Well, it's my understanding that your testimony indicates you ate breakfast that morning at home.
Witness: Well, yes.
Me: So you did eat at home?
Witness: I guess.
Me: What did you eat for breakfast?
Witness: Toast.
Me: Did you not also have cereal? (like you just answered 2 minutes ago and now I have to fend off the leading objection)
Witness: Yes.
Me: What kind of cereal?
Witness: Wheeties.
Me: Um, are you certain it was Wheeties?
Witness: I don't know?
Me: Could it have been Cheerios?
Witness: Oh yeah. It was Cheerios.

Then, of course, inevitably after their testimony, they will come up to me and say something along the lines of, "Were you wanting me to say x when you asked me those questions?" and following my affirmative answer, "well I thought you did, but I wasn't sure so I didn't want to say it."

It would be much easier if I could shorten the whole line of questioning to "Did you eat Cheerios that morning?", but of course, I can't.


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Daily Annoyances

1. I hate those commercials for Visa where they show everyone zipping around so smoothly using their credit card only to be halted when someone wants to pay with cash. Those Visa people must not have visited the stores near me where when I want to use my credit/debit card, I have to enter either my pin or my zip code, answer whether my cashier was friendly/store was clean/visit was pleasant, enter if I have any coupons, enter if I want cash back, check yes for amount OK, and then sign. Yeah, worlds faster than handing over a $10.00 bill and getting change.

2. I was behind 2 cars today with their "In God We Trust" license plates whose drivers were doing the godly thing of littering. One was throwing trash out on the interstate, and the other was cleaning her car while in the drive-thru. She managed to throw a receipt, straw wrappers, kleenex, napkins, and the paper bag right out her window and onto the pavement under the drive up window. If I were ballsier, I would have gotten out of my car and picked up the stuff that was rolling my way and dropped it back into her car through the open windows. But then I figured I'd probably be slapped with some civil suit or charged with intimidation or battery.

3. At Wal-Mart in the 20 items or less line, the lady in front of me had 3 orders of over 20 items each. She may have had more, but I only saw her do the 3. And each one she did she used a Wal-Mart credit card, which of course meant she had to go through all the steps I just mentioned in number 1. She also was apparently working for a nursing home or something and using a corporate card. The back of it instructed the cashier to check for ID. She didn't check until the 3rd order, at which point the woman said the only thing she had on her was the card and didn't have ID to show. So the cashier just asked her if she had authorization to use the card. To no one's surprise, the lady said she did. The cashier did the responsible thing of telling her next time she needs to bring ID or a letter showing she's authorized to use the card and then let her walk away with 3 orders each totalling over $150.00. Glad she was looking out for the true card holder there.


Monday, September 10, 2007

The never-ending remodel.

3 weeks ago my apartment complex put a note on my door that informed me that they would be painting our doors, which includes opening them and removing the weather stripping. Ergo, we need to make sure the pets are secure and not fleeing from the building. The note said this process would take up to 2 weeks.

We learned earlier this summer that they have no control over the paint crews. When repainting our buildings, they would paint one floor, or edge another and then come back about a month later. It was so bizarrely done.

But I faithfully locked my cats up each day for the last 2 weeks. At the end of the 2 weeks, they had painted the outside of my door but had not returned to open it and weather strip it. Thinking that perhaps they had changed their minds, I emailed the management to check. Nope, they're still planning on doing it. Then I got a note on door a couple of days later (after continuing to lock up the cats) telling me that they would begin the weatherstripping process today. And it could last up to 2 weeks.

Of course I have no idea when they may possibly make it to my building. It could be tomorrow. It could be October 1. But now, I'm expected to be able to lock my cats up all day every day until it's fixed. Which would be fine if my cats didn't have 2 brain cells. They've wised up, and by the time I wake up in the morning, they're both in hiding under my king sized bed where I can't reach them. I've tried locking them up at 5 a.m., before my shower, after my shower, etc. The only thing I haven't tried is locking them up at night before I go to bed. But I don't exactly want to listen to them whine all night.

So now I'm officially up a creek. If no one hears from me tomorrow, I'm either still chasing them around the complex or I've gotten myself stuck under my bed.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Overheard in a dressing room.

"Do you have this in a smaller size? This size two is just way too huge on me and keeps falling off."