Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In Which Two Seemingly Unrelated Topics Are Tied Neatly Together Into One Cool Contest

Here are two seemingly unrelated pieces of information:

(1) I'm going to Las Vegas soon, for a much-needed vacation with my husband and the best man from our wedding, who was actually a woman. She is a fun person; I know we all will have fun - I just hope we all win, too. I can't afford big losses with this economy, so I've set aside an amount of money that I can afford to spend in Vegas. If I lose it all the first day, I'll spend the rest of the trip reading books by the pool or watching television or surfing the 'net... not as much fun as blackjack and craps and slot machines, but still a good time.

(2) I need a tag line. You know, something to write up there under the "LegalMist" blog title. Something clever like Whiskeymarie's "Scaring the Neighbors Since 1971" tag line, or at least reasonably descriptive and interesting, like B.E. Earl's "Life and Decadence" tag line at "The Verdant Dude" blog.

How are these two items related?

By a contest, of course.

I need a tag line. And you guys want to win a contest just as much as I want to win in Vegas. And, I have the coolest swag left over from this year's Arizona Bar Convention. Check it out:

"What is it?" you ask.

Those are chocolate poker chips (much like the chocolate coins often given at Hanukkah, crossed with the poker chips often used in Vegas), and the "dice" are little tins of mints. They were provided by West, which is a publisher of legal materials and is the vendor who traditionally has the coolest swag at the convention (this year was no exception).

The chocolates and mints are yummy - I've sampled a few. But the ones pictured here are unopened and unsampled and have been set aside just for the winner of my tag-line contest.

So, help me out here, dear readers. If you're intrigued by the contest, or just want the chocolate and mints, think of something clever, creative, and/or (accurately) descriptive to add as a tag line for my blog. Submit your suggestions in the comments to this post. Whichever entry is the best (in my subjective and it's-the-only-vote-that-counts opinion) will win a prize: the above swag, plus the honor of having your tag-line posted on my blog for all to read.

You can enter the tag line contest more than once, but remember, quality (not quantity) is what counts here. You won't get "extra credit" for submitting more entries, nor will it necessarily increase your chances to win, unless of course all of your entries are fantabulous covered with awesomesauce.

But wait, there's more! If you want a chance to win a more traditional giveaway, mention this contest in your blog, with a link to this post, and then let me know in the comments that you have done so (along with providing a link to your post). Everyone who does this will be entered in a random drawing for four chocolate poker chips. Your chances of winning depend on the number of entries received. For now, your chances are pretty good because I don't usually have a lot of readers. But if your links generate interest in the contest or giveaway, then the number of readers and potential linkers could go up.

The deadline for blog links is October 21, 2009; the deadline for contest entries is October 22, 2009; and the winners will be announced on October 31, 2009 (Halloween). See below for the "fine print" additional rules. Or not. Your choice, really. But you're bound by the rules whether you read them or not. (Some days I love being a lawyer).

Now go put on your creativity caps and think of something fantastic for my blog!

* * *

The fine print (because I'm a lawyer, that's why):

Contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) will select, using arbitrary, abstract, and ambiguous criteria, a first, second, and third place winner for the tag-line contest. Contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) separately and at a different time will randomly draw - via either a random number generator (if she is able to figure out how to use one) or by putting little pieces of paper with the contestants' names or pseudonyms into a smallish bowl and then mixing them about and then pulling out three of them in order - a first place winner for the giveaway and a first and second runner up, who may win the swag only in the event the first place winner cannot be reached.

The top three winners for the contest will be published here (either by name or by pseudonym, whichever you use to enter the contest). The name or pseudonym of the first place winner of the giveaway will also be published. The first place winner in the contest and in the giveaway will win the swag as described and/or pictured above for the contest and for the giveaway.

Contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) will make a reasonable effort to contact the winners either via a comment on their blogs (if they have one and if LegalMist is able to get to it by clicking on the winner's name in the comment section) or via email (if an email address is provided to LegalMist).

If LegalMist is unsuccessful in contacting the winners via any alternate method, for any reason including complete unexcused failure to attempt such contact, publication on this blog shall be considered sufficient notification of their status as winners.

The first place winners will have three days after publication of the winning entries on this blog to email LegalMist their shipping address (to legalmist at gmail dot com). The publication date is the relevant date for counting the three days, even if the winners learn of their status as winners by some other method. If shipping information is promptly provided, LegalMist will ship the swag soon thereafter.

The three day time limit may be extended for any arbitrary amount of time at the discretion of the contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist), especially if it turns out that she is too busy with work or kids or whatever to chase down winners, but LegalMist is not required to extend a time period for any reason.

If, after reasonable (or unreasonable) attempts to contact the first place winners, contact has not occurred, the swag may be awarded to the second place winner or first runner up, who will then have three days after publication on this blog to contact the contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) with shipping information.

If the second place winner or first runner up does not respond within three days or within whatever arbitary and somewhat longer time limit is set by the contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist), the swag will go to the third place winner / second runner-up by the same method.

After that, if there is no response, contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) will simply eat the stuff herself and call it a day.

The prizes have no cash value, and no prize substitutions are allowed or possible.

Taxes, if any, are the responsibility of the prize recipient.

Shipping Information: Contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) will pack the swag reasonably carefully, will ship the swag via the United States Postal Service's first class or priority mail, and will pay the postage herself. She will not, however, pay for overnight delivery or insurance or certified mail or any other fancy delivery or tracking method. She truly hopes the swag arrives intact. However, contest and giveaway sponsor (LegalMist) is not responsible for any loss or damage that may occur during shipping. So if your chocolate melts or freezes or breaks, or your mint tins get dented, or some other loss or tragedy occurs, LegalMist will extend her heartfelt condolences, but there won't be a replacement.

In a nutshell: this is all for fun. You have no legal rights whatsoever if the swag, the contest, or anything about it fails to live up to your hyper-inflated expectations. Just get over it already.

Are you really still reading this fine print? Congratulations, you are more neurotic than most attorneys I know! Now get back to work already!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fine Parenting Moment Number 1943

At dinner last week, as we were discussing plans for my daughter's 11th birthday:

Husband: You're going to be how old, now?

Daughter: Eleven.

Husband: Eleven?!? Oh, God no, save us.... You're practically a dang teenager!

Daughter: Not a teenager, Dad. I'm a "tween." That's what my friend D says, anyway.

Husband: A "tween"? What's a "tween"? Is that like the stuff that's "tween" my toes?

* * * *

He's lucky she didn't kill him in his sleep that night.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blog Shout-Out - All the Good Names Were Taken

Today I stopped in over at Nan's place, "All the Good Names Were Taken" and, as often happens, got my chuckle for the day - and then (via a link to an article in the Washington Post) my update on the latest heavy duty item environmentalists are tackling - toilet paper.

No, really.

Apparently, enviro's want to ban (or at least convince people not to use) soft toilet paper because it is made from old-growth trees and therefore harms the environment.

Wow. I never knew this. Until today.

Nan writes an interesting mix of political commentary, reviews of national and state parks, and other random musings, with a "liberal" dose of humor thrown in for good measure.

I don't always agree with everything Nan writes on the political front, but I agree with her a good portion of the time, and I'm often challenged to think about a new issue.

And her other items are interesting, fun, and/or funny.

You should definitely check out her blog. There's a link on the sidebar over there.

I think you'll like her.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Happy Blog-Birthday to Me!

One year ago today, I started this blog. I wasn't sure how long it would last, or whether anyone at all would read it. I figured I'd give it a try, and enjoy the writing, and see what happened.

As it turns out, some folks are interested in reading what I have to say. I've come to know (at least a little bit) quite a few fellow bloggers, who read and comment, and who write (and I comment). You guys read my blog! I'm so honored! I read your blogs, too, and enjoy getting to know you all, at least a little bit.

So thank you all for reading and commenting and writing your blogs that keep me coming back for more.

I'm looking forward to another year of blogging, and reading, and commenting, and getting to know you all.

Meanwhile, pull up a chair and have a slice of my beautiful (and delicious) cake. There's lots of coffee, too, if you want some. I made an extra pot of it today!

* * *
Footnotes (because I'm a lawyer, that's why):

1: Cake photo by Cake Girl by Hyeyoung Kim at flikr.com, used under a creative commons license.

2: No, I'm not going to do a "100 things" post for my blog birthday. I did one of those already for my 100th post, so you can click here to read it if you like. I also have done a few "random things about me" memes, here and here and here. So you have lots to read if you're really that interested in knowing dumb random things about me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Movie Review - Julie & Julia

I went to see Julie and Julia this past weekend, in between working all day Saturday and Sunday and trying to clean the house so it will be ready for my daughter's birthday party and the corresponding visit this coming weekend from my Dad, Stepmom, & nephew (my sister & her husband are staying home & just sending the nephew with my Dad).

SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to talk about the movie as if you've seen it, too, and so if you haven't seen it, I likely will spoil some of the fun of the movie for you. So stop reading here if you want to see the movie and be surprised by everything in it.

I enjoyed the movie, although it was a little longer than it perhaps needed to be. Meryl Streep did a fantastic job as Julia Child. She got the voice just right, and I almost believed she was Julia in some of the scenes from Julia's cooking show, which I used to watch when I was a kid - long before the "Food Network" made cooking shows a staple in our entertainment pantry.

Amy Adams was good, too, although there were a few scenes I thought she overplayed - she was too obviously "acting" and not "being." However, I loved the scene where she dropped the chicken she was stuffing and then had the meltdown on the kitchen floor and was flinging food in the air and then lying in it while crying -- haven't we all felt that way at some point? I don't mean necessarily over a cooking mishap, and I don't mean we've all acted on those feelings, but haven't we all felt that tantrum-y desperate, flailing, utter sense of hopelessness over something that just wasn't going the way it was supposed to go?

I thought the film was a little harsh on women and their relationships. If Julie the blogger's friendships in real life really are like the ones pictured in the film - complete with huge amounts of backbiting, backstabbing, one-upmanship, and petty jealousies, then I think the poor gal needs some new friends. (And no wonder she's having meltdowns on the kitchen floor - she has no girlfriends she can call for support without risking being cut down even further!) I, for one, don't tend to hang around with folks who treat me the way her friends treated her in the movie.

A warning to anyone who wants to have lunch with me: If you grab a breadstick out of my hand and tell me "no" like I'm a two year old the way Julie's friend did to her in the movie, I'll grab another breadstick and smack your head with it.

And if you spend most of the lunch alternately chatting on your cell phone and bragging about your million-dollar deals, you can expect me to (1) duck out before the end of the meal while you are chatting on your phone, without paying for my portion (leaving you stuck with the bill), and (2) never have lunch with you again. If you want to have lunch with me, great, have lunch with me. If you're too big and important and/or busy and/or self-absorbed to turn off the stupid cell phone for half an hour, then don't do me any favors by pretending to dine with me!

I'm a little more forgiving of the strain portrayed in the relationship between Julia Child and the two women she worked with to write her first book - after all, it was primarily a business relationship, not solely a friendship, and so some amount of friction is to be expected. In spite of the friction, though, Julia and her business partners appeared to treat each other more kindly than Julie and her friends did.

Similarly, Julia and her husband appeared to treat each other more kindly than Julie treated her husband - although to Julie's credit, she recognized this and tried to change her behavior.

I think these contrasts were supposed to be a comment on the decline of modern society and our increasing tendency to be rude, but I wonder if it is merely portraying an idealized version of the past. Were people really that much kinder to each other in their personal relationships in the 1950's, or do we just think they were?

Overall, the movie was good, if you like the sort of movie that explores the characters and their relationships, rather than focusing on action, adventure, and explosions. And if you're a Julia Child fan, it's a must-see. It contains quite a bit of information about Julia that I, for one, never knew before and which appears to be reasonably historically accurate.

Has anyone else seen it? What did you think?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Welcome to my new followers! (I'm so confused).

So I am still coughing, still weak and exhausted, and still behind on all of my work. I have not written anything on this blog for an entire week. I haven't written anything interesting for at least two weeks. And yet...

I notice at least 5 new followers over there on the side bar. There are 4 more, numerically, 'cause I lost one, too (*sniffle* ... so sad... ), but 5 new faces. Thank you all for coming to my pity party! Apparently, I throw a good party, 'cause you all decided to stick around for more!

Also, prompted by the new faces in the sidebar, I thought I'd check Google Analytics. I don't usually check it often, and I almost never check it when I haven't written anything good, because I don't like to see the "page visits" decreasing with each day that goes by ...

Surprisingly, I'm "up" 11% over last week's statistics. Is that because it's better to write nothing (as I've done so far this week) than to write about a pity party? Or is my pity party post attracting more than the usual number of viewers? Perhaps it was so thrilling that word is getting around about how awesome my site is, and bloggers are telling other bloggers to come visit? (Yeah, apparently I'm delirious now....)

I don't know what's going on, but I am very happy to have you all stopping in to say hi, offering me juice and tissues, and sympathizing with my sorry-ass sick self.

For what it's worth, the archives do contain some fun stuff to read. Feel free to click around a while.

And for what it's worth, I'm hoping to be back in the swing of things by next week. By then I should have some more interesting stories to share. And when I'm no longer feeling contagious, I'll be out visiting and commenting around the internets some more, too!

Meanwhile, thanks to my loyal pals who haven't abandoned me while I'm recovering, and thanks to the newbies -- I'm so glad you decided to come in and stay a while!

Now, all of you go click on those little avatars over there, as well as the links in my sidebar, and go visit my friends. They have awesome blogs, and will surely entertain you very well while I am "under the weather."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Welcome to my pity party

If you don't like pity parties, you should leave right now. Come back after the party's over. You can help clean up after it, if you're feeling nice.

* * *

Ugh. Another day of coughing, sneezing, feeling light-headed and dizzy and possibly feverish, and being so exhausted.... and taking the cold / flu medicine and still feeling light-headed and dizzy and exhausted, although with slightly less coughing and sneezing....

...when will this end?

I hate being sick. More importantly, I don't have time to be sick. Everything in my life just keeps chugging along whether I'm ready for it or not.

Kids still have to get to school, and home again. They still need breakfast, lunch, and dinner; transportation to their various lessons, activities, appointments, and events; homework help; and supervision so they won't kill each other.

Court pleadings still need responses. Hearings still happen.

Clients still need to be billed. My bills still need to be paid.

The nail in my car tire had to be removed. The oil is due for changing.

Classes I'm scheduled to teach still need to be taught. Lesson plans and lectures must be prepared. The students show up, ready and waiting for me to teach them everything they need to know to be successful law students and lawyers.

And so I keep on keeping on, but I am so exhausted and I just have to sleep.... and so the laundry has piled up and the papers have piled up and there is no milk for lunches because I haven't made it to the store that sells the little cartons of lunch milk and the homework papers for my class remain ungraded and my mortgage payment is late and I haven't done the monthly client billing so there is no money to pay it yet and I've asked opposing counsel for another extension of time on a disclosure statement and I just hate owing the opposing attorney any sort of favor and I need a nap and I need some coffee but I don't have time to sleep and I'm too exhausted to make the coffee....

Oh, when will it end?!?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Loser

I was browsing photos over at Mr. C's Photography and saw this photo (click here).

It made me laugh, because I was driving around town recently and saw a car with a personalized license plate that said "Loser." No, really! My reaction was "What? Who would pay extra to put *that* on their license plate?!?"

Turns out the person who owns the "Loser" car works with my husband (! - what are the odds?!) and pronounces the name "Lojher" ... or should that be "Lozhier" ...

... how *do* you spell that soft "j" or "g" / rough "z" or "s" sound in the middle of a word? Like in vision?

... Lozier didn't seem to capture it -- seems like that z would be pronounced as in "zoo" and you'd say it "Low-zeer" or perhaps even with a french-style accent, like "Low-zee-aay," and that isn't it. We're looking for the "ur" sound at the end. Maybe "Lowzhur"? That seems like too many consonants in a row...

...bear with me here...

Ok I looked it up, and phonetically spelling it requires some weird greek symbol. I give up. I guess that's why she hasn't bothered to try to change the spelling of her last name...

Still, I'm thinking that if I were her, I wouldn't put it on my license plate!!