Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Too Many Opposite Sex Friends???" Insecure, much?

Even though I'm very happily married, I read relationship advice articles on occasion to see if they're giving sound advice or total garbage. Generally, it's a mix as many things considered traditional advice (for instance, never talking about exes) are counter to what I ever did & I dated quite a bit before meeting a man I partly bonded w/by trading bad ex stories. Some of our stories are SO horrid, you could write a stand-up routine or an interesting TV show.

This article just pissed me off.

First off, I have a fair amount of guy friends. This has been true since middle & high school. Now it seems most of my local friends (acquaintance is probably the better word) are guys. I have my theories on why:

1. I'm in a position of leadership at a young age. Very few women are doing what I'm doing. Guess what gender a lot of the people who can advise me or help me move up are?

2. I'm attractive. The number of people in general who say I'm pretty is considerable. It also seems that attractive women who have intellect & are fun to talk to are hard to come by; one of my exes said that he loved this about me. I'm as far from a flirt as you can get but I'm not going to look like this forever so out of personal pride & b/c I have it, I flaunt it (though tastefully).

3. A lot of women are jealous. I wish I had local female friends who didn't cave to the low self-esteem mentality or get all pissy b/c I can wear something they can't or a guy pays attention to me instead of them.

4. I'll generally talk to people who speak to me. Just turns out most of the people who talk to me are guys. I don't have the patience, time or interest to force anyone to be my friend, invite me to things or get upset when people inevitably let me down.

5. Finally, maybe I'm more logical & that's why I have more guy friends. I don't want to have kids, be a stereotypical housewife or limit my interactions based on someone's gender.

My husband isn't a jealous maniac & I'm not some insecure, bitchy housewife. In fact, my husband dated possessive females before me & said any woman playing this game is not worth it. He had exes try to banish his female friends; he never played that game.

To me, it comes down to trust. We even remarked at how when someone gets married, they NEVER seem to have friends of the opposite sex unless they were there pre-marriage. I think it's due to bitchy housewives who forget that if a man's coming home to THEM, they have nothing to worry about. My husband knows who I'm coming home to & is free to meet any guy friend of mine he wants. Same goes for my husband's female friends. Either you trust someone or you don't. Making restrictions on their friendships means you absolutely, 100% DO NOT.

Some article commenters tried to compare platonic opposite gender friends to exes.

Apples to oranges, sweetie!

Exes share a history w/someone: they've seen your SO naked, kissed them, touched them, etc. You can have opposite gender friends who'd NEVER do any of that stuff w/your SO. I wouldn't be friends w/any of my exes & neither would my husband; there's too much history, baggage, etc. for that to ever work out.* We WOULD leave the other for that or for friends the other was told he/she couldn't meet. Since that doesn't happen in my relationship, though, it's moot.

I think it's part of being separate people w/differing interests & having people to talk to who share those interests instead of boring your mate. Sometimes, it's even about getting the male/female perspective if your mate is doing something you just don't get.

* To clarify, there's exceptions. I'd look at the seriousness of the relationship, how it ended, what happened, etc.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Paranoia is Rampant in This Business for a Reason

I can't believe I saw this ad on Craig's List (NYC Talent Gigs, to be precise). You have to see it to believe it:

"Movie industry and music industry contact list
Date: 2010-01-29, 8:12PM EST
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

I have a industry direct contact list for movie directors,agents,managers,music executives, entertainment lawyers, radio stations,producers,program directors, and much more. These are persons direct numbers, addresse, and emails. I have hundreds of contacts! for more info! contact 9173061644. The list price ranges from 50-250$, depending on what information is wanted.

* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: no pay

PostingID: 1577190154"

Okay, ground rules in this industry are the same as they are in real life: you don't go around giving out people's phone numbers, personal e-mail, etc. Confidentiality is KING!

There's a reason executives, program directors, agents & various big shots don't want you having their personal lines; they get harassed ALL the DAMN time!!!!!! I'm very aware of the possibility of it happening to me in the future since people I've worked w/have had this happen. Maybe not on the scale of mega stars & execs but they definitely have stories to tell. Since I know I'm going to have to deal w/this sooner or later, I'm far more respectful of people's time & not pestering them in this way. You ONLY talk to people that know reliable contacts of yours; you DO NOT try to do an end road by buying names from some scumbag.

If someone gives YOU their info, it means that they trust you enough to have it. Meaning you aren't going to go off & sell it to random strangers. We call people like this "scum", traitors, assholes, etc.

You'd have to do something truly awful to me before I'd do that to you. Otherwise, you'll be prying my list from my cold, dead fingers or stealing it in some way. That's violating a sacred trust. Profiting off it is the worst betrayal of that trust.

If someone did it to me, I'd either kill them physically, mentally or spiritually by making damn sure they paid dearly for it in reputation. People like this deserve harm to come upon them & in all honesty, I would volunteer to help in the lynching campaign.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why I'm an Independent

I heard about this story today.

One of my biggest pet peeves is anyone caving to public pressure to take back remarks everyone else considers odious. Last time I checked, we STILL had a 1st Amendment in this country that allowed people to say what they wanted.

If you're going to say something that isn't PC, have the guts to stick by your comments. I give Andre Bauer this: he merely apologized for his choice of words.

Let's be serious here: all the people blasting this guy's words know full well that he's right. Welfare, in some cases, is precisely like that. Not for those who just lost jobs or people seeking temporary help while trying to improve themselves.

Any sane person is talking about leeches & families with generations taking welfare i.e. those who've made taking welfare a way of life.

Where's the accountability to society & your children? What about encouraging them to do something better in life? I find it even more telling that Lt. Gov. Bauer benefited from free lunches as a child, meaning he's not some guy from privilege who's talking out of his butt. It's more likely he may know of what he speaks.

I find it courageous & admirable when people call a spade a spade, even when it's "unpopular." Tom Tancredo, another Republican, earned respect from me & my husband because of taking a hard line stance on illegal immigration. I'll save those views for another entry but basically, you need to keep your mouth shut on the issue until YOU live someplace where people refuse to assimilate to YOUR culture, DEMAND you to learn THEIRS & act racist against you when you insist on basic common courtesy.

What I will talk about, besides the fact that I hate people who refuse to stand by their original remarks since we know they meant it if they told the press, is my stance on welfare. It's not going to be a PC viewpoint or one that will make everyone happy but if you were looking for that to begin with, you're in the wrong place. Responses lacking a reason why I should care about what you say will be ignored.

Some background: my family was always struggling w/money. Not enough to get welfare; my mom marveled at how our illegal neighbors would have tons of money for 20 people in a house while she couldn't afford to get the dryer fixed or a mechanic to fix the car so it would pass the state inspection. Government aid would have been a blessing and a curse: a blessing as in more money but a curse in terms of the stigma + the knowledge that you are now one of those "poor people."

My family taught us to get an education & aspire to be better than where we came from. I was told growing up that college was mandatory & we should do better than they did. If anything, they NEVER wanted us to live that way when we grew up. They'd still love us if we did, but they gave me the wherewithal to put pressure on myself to strive for something better.

What do some of these parents do? What do they teach? Do they even bother encouraging their kids to do ANYTHING? Are women just baby machines? If I believed that, I'd have had to kill myself years ago since I know I'd be miserable living that way. Why inflict that on an innocent child?

I won't tell you that it's easy to overcome a lower middle class income & especially not poverty. It's not! You have to be motivated, keep your eyes on the future at all times, make a plan & not let anybody stop you. Recognize those demons, roadblocks, biases, etc. & rail against them.

Sometimes people will help you along the way; I certainly benefited from that. There was the Algebra teacher who said to never let the cost of a college stop you from going there. There was the Dean of Students at my undergrad who got my transcripts released so I could apply to law school, even though there was a balance on my account that wouldn't be paid until after I graduated. There were my parents who refused to let me enter Special Ed. 1st grade & ignored the Special Ed. kindergarten teacher who'd have made me a permanent Special Ed kid instead of the straight A student I became.

And if you're a teenager, for God's sake put off having sex as long as possible. No man is worth throwing your life away & none of you are prepared to be parents when you're living in Mommy & Daddy's house. If you're a child actor with millions in the bank, you might break the cycle of poverty but at best you won't be doing much of the "parenting." I don't necessarily agree with the "be a virgin until marriage" camp but at least finish high school before you have sex, all right? It will also save some of you men the chance of being asked to appear on Maury Povich to take a paternity test for some crazy female.

If I had a child who got pregnant, I'd say "You're old enough to have sex so you're old enough to make your own choices. I'm not raising YOUR child & you're not going to live off me." My cousin was a teen mom & her parents (my aunt & uncle) ended up raising that child. He even called them "Mom" and "Dad." She didn't do anything when he was little. Now she's grown up & matured but as a teenager, forget it.

If you're going to have a baby, you'd better be doing what's best for that kid & not expect other people to rearrange THEIR lives so YOU can continue to "be a young person." Those days are over for you, kiddo. Welcome to being a grownup! If you want to be a carefree teen, then DON'T have a baby. I know people who whined about losing their freedom when becoming moms & ditched their kids with grandparents to go "hang out"; if they'd been my friends, they'd have heard it from me.

My sister has admonished friends of hers for that kind of thing. She's the best mom I know & her son has never taken a backseat to her whims. Anywhere she went, her son went. She never did drugs in front of him or exposed him to anything remotely harmful when he was little; she'd never even do that stuff in the first place. He's a very lucky kid & I'm glad that at 6, he has dreams and believes he can achieve them.

You know what? I really don't see myself as special or different from anyone else in my shoes. Being a lawyer does NOT make me special, okay?

I think anyone could improve themselves & move up if they believe in themselves + don't cave in to low expectations. Go defy people's worst expectations so you can take them down a few pegs later on. Enough said.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Teen Years are Today's Norm?????

I read this story on MSN today.

To establish some background on why I'd have an opinion on this, I got a driver's license at 20. This was after failing the road test twice at 16, being told I'd have to get glasses for driving b/c of my cruddy vision (damn genetics) & the rise of graduated licensing laws in NC.

When I turned 17, I was required to get a Level 1 graduated license (w/more restrictions than I had on the Learner's Permit I had at 15). Under the law, they'd have to give me a regular license when I turned 18. Everyone I knew, including my LITTLE sister, got a driver's license before this law change.

After all this indignity, I decided that since I was going to college in Atlanta, I wouldn't need a driver's license & could just use public transit.

I'm not a fan of the DMV today but I wanted the one closest to my house to be blown up, I hated it that much. Oh, I should also mention that the first time I took the road test at that DMV I was driving a car I had driven all of once & the instructor told me to clean the windshield. I also wasn't told I'd be required to back up in a straight line so this was just another curve ball thrown at me.

Needless to say, my experience with driving was not fun. My sister got a brand new car (our parents paid) & had to drive me around when I was a senior. Know how humiliating that is, especially when you're supposed to be the more mature, intelligent kid? Granted, she got into a few accidents but it was irritating for me to be in after school activities & have to wait around 2 hours for my mom to get off work so I'd have a ride home b/c most people didn't care if or how I got home. My school was over 2 miles from home in an area without sidewalks + my mom would not let us walk that by ourselves. Taking the bus to go to AP classes off campus was also a pain in the butt since I had to wait around at least an hour before my first class started & had to return to sit around at school until 2:20 when I returned on that bus, despite my class ending at 1:50.

In college, I made my own choice to get a license but I did it after getting my own car & getting sick of taking wheeled suitcases to go to the grocery store + walking to the bank to deposit my work study paycheck. Things were fine after that.

So I have to wonder WHY, in God's name would some teenager not living in NYC or someplace with great public transit NOT want to get a license? The "too busy" excuse is weak since I knew people who were in AP classes, extracurriculars, held part-time jobs & "prepared for college" who STILL had licenses (and many times, cars).

Maybe cost would be a factor but it's never been cheap. I never even got to go on dates w/my high school boyfriend since neither of us drove & parents driving you on a date is intrusive. His parents driving us to the prom SUCKED, especially b/c we didn't get to stay out all night.

Do these people have stay at home parents??? My parents worked until late so my being in any after school activity was a pain unless a bus could get me home or I got a ride--that almost never happened. My mom was also alone later on in my high school years so I was stuck.

Do these parents just take their kids ANYWHERE?? Mine wouldn't have done that. There were limits & punishment in my home.

To put some perspective here, I'm not some old fart. I graduated high school in 1999 so there was some Internet & such at the time, though not at the levels you see today. If anything, social networking would have inspired me to get a car quicker so I could see friends living outside my hometown.

So any insights on this? I'm really stumped unless some college kids haven't had to get their own groceries yet or had the transit system shut down or close routes on them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Continuing the "How to Sabotage Yourself in the Entertainment Industry" Series

Let's establish one thing about me: I'm not the person to bring in if you want to maintain niceness w/people. I'm not an ass kisser & I'm not a pushover.

But when it's time to be a hard ass or you need someone who will tell someone to "fuck off," I'm the person you call.

One of the things I love about my day job is that I don't have to take crap from people. When you work in retail or a restaurant, you have to be polite & smiley at all times, even when a customer's dead wrong. In a law firm, you have to put up with abuse from support staff, management, judges & even high paying clients. My own husband has to put up w/some impoliteness at work & doesn't get to tell people off. This fact is also a reason I love working w/my film company. In one scenario, I'm management & in the other, any management I have to answer to has a BRAIN!

Guess what? If you're an actor, you have to put up with a lot of BS. Schedules change, essential people have other things to do & you have to sign legal paperwork. You'd better be a team player & someone who can roll w/the punches or you'll fail miserably.

Top things an "Actor" should NEVER do if they want to get anywhere:

1. Show up to an office WITHOUT an appointment. Two former actors w/my day job did this; one of them had the gall to try getting my boss to hand out my PERSONAL phone number yesterday when barging in on my birthday.

2. Demand things you aren't entitled to. Our refund policy is ONLY for those not placed within 90 days of your audition date. If yours was in November, you DON'T get to come in January & demand your money back. Being a pussy who can't handle the fact that acting is HARD & takes PLANNING doesn't entitle you to a refund of the registration fee that says "I'm serious about doing this & will be a team player."

3. Expect sunshine & light, especially from a lawyer. The fucker who barged in yesterday & whom I spoke to today DARED to call me unprofessional b/c of my "tone of voice."

Haven't met the talent agent I interned with, have you? She once told an actress to lose weight & stop doing theater. She was also quite rude to some people & certainly wouldn't take shit from wannabe actors. I've also heard the CEO of my film company go off on people & it's not pretty.

Bluntness, cursing & so forth are standard in this business. If you want people to be "nice" to you, go to Friendly's. Don't expect it from film executives, television producers, talent agents, managers & especially not from entertainment lawyers. I don't give a damn what show you've been on or what unions you're in; give me attitude or do things you KNOW you're not supposed to & you'll live to regret it.

4. Getting pissy when I put you on hold when you decide to yell at me then call back accusing me of hanging up on you. Guess what, fucker? The world DOES NOT revolve around YOU!!!!!!!! We're a business & have OTHER calls to take. We're not YOUR personal party line.

5. Violate confidentiality agreements. Who the FUCK do you think you are???? Obviously you think the legal system is a game or contracts don't apply to you. Wrong, wrong, WRONG! Enjoy being sued or having an injunction placed against you.

6. Threatening to bring in lawyers for us not kowtowing to your pathetic ass. Lawyers charge well over $50 an HOUR on cases & would ask for a good $500 in a retainer. So spend to your heart's content: you'll probably be counter sued for FAR more than would qualify for Small Claims court.

Oh, and would you like to be known as the actor who SUED a television company where the principals have been in the industry longer than YOU'VE been alive?? Go ahead & brand yourself as a difficult, lying, litigious moron. You just saved us the time & energy of having you blackballed.

Same thing for going on TV to complain ala "Help Me, Howard": NO ONE'S going to give you an acting job when you've trashed a company w/industry standing. Instead, you'll be an outcast or everyone's favorite punchline.

I will definitely remember the names of these wannabes & reveal them to people I know in this industry so they don't waste their time, energy or passion on these pathetic, lazy, tactless losers. One of these people claims to have an agent; I think that actor is lying or working w/some mega-newbie since no legit agent would put up w/someone who doesn't show up to meetings, bitches & moans about not being contacted when THEY make zero effort to move things forward + barges into people's offices. I know of GOOD actors who have problems finding an agent.

Oh, and people worthy of a reputable agent's time AREN'T non-union wannabes who piss & moan b/c an entertainment company has other things to do than put up with them. Even the mega famous know better than to expect sunshine & light from producers, execs, agents, etc. I don't think ANY of them would expect a LAWYER working in this industry to patronize them or kiss their feet.

In conclusion, I simply give as good as I get. If you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. We start w/civility & go from there. If you claim that you're being polite when you've barged into my workplace & lied about having an appointment, don't expect kindness.

I guess the best rule for aspiring actors is "Don't be an asshole."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Douchebag Move

Okay, kids. Rule #1 of the Entertainment business:

Never, I repeat NEVER, make someone an enemy unless it's absolutely necessary.

If the person has stolen from you, flaked out multiple times or done something else completely unprofessional, go right ahead.

Rule #2: It's not only your prerogative but your DUTY to tell everyone you know in the business about that person's crappy treatment of you.

Just like in other industries, we can & will tell people when you behave like a douchebag or do something so outside business norms that it deserves to be called out. It will affect your career. Remember, you don't know who is friends with who or who is someone else's relative, classmate, etc.

Go STARTING trouble & bad mouthing people, though & pretty soon you'll be branded as a liar/moron + petty instigator. Most of us call people out on that shit too; only an idiot wouldn't.

An entertainment lawyer who contacted me with interest in participating in the TV network's attorney reality show said during my conference call with him that if we "needed an attorney to help us out, I'll be happy to help." This guy KNOWS that this is a network that is getting ready to launch & doesn't have buckets of money to shower on people. Sounds an awful LOT like volunteering, right?

So b/c I've only done film contracts & have been asked to do a lot of the in-house legal documents since I can write them simply & not make them overly burdensome to our beginning actors + other creative people who hate dealing w/this stuff, I have a feeling I'll be the one doing talent contracts. Like any rational, responsible person I've been trying to do my homework & not assume that film contract=TV contract.

Since this lawyer so generously makes this offer, I figure I can ask about the nuances of these contracts since no one's given me an answer yet & it's harder to research this stuff.

Now, there are MANY lawyers in this profession who will gladly pass along a sample document if you need it & help you if you ask for advice w/out demanding $. These are the people who are forward thinking & realize that they have a duty to help people coming up in the profession since they're going to need to know how to do things once the experts retire/die/go insane.

This douchebag asks to be co-counsel & wants a fee. Even though I'M being paid a very low amount since this is pre-launch & DOING the actual work. He also put a smiley at the end; now as I understand 'net speak, that means "I'm kidding" or might be "joking" w/you. I wrote back that I hoped it was a joke since I'm not making much & I'm doing the work. NO ONE is going to steal MY show, thanks. I'M also the one people are trusting here, NOT YOU.

Apparently, despite what was said, he wasn't. That warranted me mentioning that I've got the memory of an elephant. You mess w/me, especially when I'm starting out, I'll make damn sure you don't get my help on anything. I'll actually go & tell people NOT to work w/you b/c you're a money grubbing douche who spits on up & comers (with a retelling of the story so people come to that conclusion all by themselves). Believe me, word travels & can go anywhere. My contacts AREN'T small time, let's just leave it at that.

I'm still appalled by this considering that in this business, there's more "pay it forward" than you might think. I've told actors I know about auditions w/the TV company & told lawyers who wanted to get into the business about opportunities. I don't expect anything in return, their success will make me happy. I know what it's like to be miserable & upset b/c things aren't happening for you + I feel like it's my duty to help the dedicated & true talents if I can. I'm definitely NOT the only person in this business who'll do it. You just have to convince people that you have something, are 100% dedicated to what you're doing & that nothing will stop you; I wouldn't help someone who didn't believe in themselves, take opportunities that could help them or do a damn thing to get closer to what they claim to want.

In my book, professionals in any field have the SAME duty to up & comers. Eventually, those people will be gone & if you don't teach the up & comers how to do things, how do you expect your industry to continue once you die or retire? The up & comers could also surpass you & will remember who helped vs. who didn't. This is very true in entertainment & a HUGE reason why I think most interns aren't treated like crap; most higher-ups know better. Maybe some lawyers should get THAT memo.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Racism & the "Censored 11"

Even though I'm working at a TV production company, I actually don't watch many current shows. The most recent thing I've seen is "United States of Tara," a program on Showtime that I must say is quite innovative not just b/c of the main character but b/c of the civilized treatment it gives to homosexuality as seen in Tara's son, Marshall. I can't wait to see where it goes. A few others I'm looking forward to are "Breaking Bad" and the next season of "The Boondocks."

There are a lot of earlier shows that I like but one of the things I've watched since I was little was cartoons. Particularly Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc. from the pre-1948 era. My husband's also a cartoon watcher; we've actually gotten EVERY SINGLE Golden Collection DVD & will probably get the next Bugs Bunny & Daffy Duck sets in April.

If you've got a smart remark about my watching cartoons, kiss my ass!!!

If you watch "Family Guy," "The Simpsons," or "South Park" you definitely have NO credibility here. The Looney Tunes shorts were originally for grown ups, NOT kids.

Since these cartoons were made back in the '30s & '40s when racism was a-okay, there are a number of shorts where characters were in blackface or that featured black characters who were caricatures/stereotypes. This should give you a context about the Censored 11.

What is the "censored 11?" Read this.

Allegedly, Warner Bros lives in fear that there will be some massive backlash if they ever released these censored 11 cartoons. People believe that society has gotten WAY to PC for these shorts & others to ever see the light of day.

This is something I have a SEVERE problem with. I think the shorts should be released if:

* They are in a package labeled for "adults" or "adult collectors"; basically making clear that stupid parents don't get to whine & moan if their kids see them

Now despite the best efforts of the Man, you can find these shorts online for downloading if you know where to look. I have personally seen the "Censored 11" cartoons; they are VERY offensive & completely non-PC.

BUT....if you wanted to teach someone about the conditions black people faced in that time, it's a very stark and hard-hitting way to do it. I think it's far more effective than saying "We were segregated." It's just like a classroom experiment where the blue eyed kids are treated as 2nd class citizens by the brown eyed kids.

Despite the offensiveness of these cartoons, there's two very good reasons why they should be released:

1. Historical: Censoring these shorts & trying to bury them is like denying racism existed. How do you expect to avoid the mistakes of the past by pretending they didn't happen? Not to mention the effectiveness of these shorts as a classroom teaching tool. Those & the Spike Lee movie "Bamboozled" could be the foundation of a wonderful course on how black people are portrayed & the pervading racism of those times and today. I think things are better but racism still exists. Many of us weren't alive to see those shorts or portrayals & denying they happened doesn't allow society to progress.

2. Giving a Pass: To me, censoring this stuff is like giving a pass to the old white guys who created it (maybe women had a role but considering the lack of women bosses at the time & utter sexism of the day, I assume men are to blame). Hiding it is the same as saying "It's okay that you created it. We aren't going to call you out for it." You know what, though? Regardless of the times, you should have to face the fact that you had a hand in promoting racism. I'd hope some of these people would own this fact & regret it today. How would you feel about creating that stuff if you had black friends or family members to answer to? I'm sure the media would LOVE to shirk its role in keeping black people down but if you're committed to equal rights for all, should you join in? I don't think so. I wouldn't let someone get away w/racism in my presence so why would I encourage someone to deny their actions by censoring something despicable that they did?

My mom, who was alive to see this stuff, also says that it's not the cartoons that's the problem. It's the parents & their attitudes about race. I'm fortunate that I never lived in White Land & had parents with close friends who weren't white. People being different was never considered a bad thing at my house since there was never that initial shock; there wasn't an "us vs. them" since we never really knew a world w/out people of color. My own mother is the one who told us never to use the "n-word" & taught us not to be bigots, unlike some of the kids attending the private school we were at. To give you an idea, the man who was principal at the time openly said he wouldn't let black children attend. Oh, and this was a religious school. I was 100% happier in public school.

I was shocked when I went to college in Atlanta & how much of an issue race IS down there. I couldn't conceivably deal w/a racist (and I mean someone who is an ACTUAL racist, NOT a person who is branded that by someone for not letting the person of color break rules or walk all over him/her). I HATE that stuff & won't give blanket $ to my undergrad b/c of their attitude about it. If I wanted to support racists, I'd give my money to the Ku Klux Klan. Don't hold your breath for that contribution.

For all this talk, my main point is that I'm anti-censorship & personal mores should have nothing to do with what the public can see. This goes regardless of how heated the topic is.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There's a Reason I've Been Called "The Avenger"

I saw the story about this initially. Here's the follow-up, though I'm VERY skeptical about the actual follow through.

Here's one I just saw about the city destroying clothing that could easily go to the poor.

A co-worker & I were talking about situations of waste by big business because of asinine, arbitrary factors. Mainly, we were discussing how food places waste their food by throwing it out instead of giving it to the homeless (the rationale is fear of lawsuits but I read a comment from one Yahoo user that claimed a corporate restaurant chain didn't want to "diminish the brand"). Personally, I think homeless people have bigger fish to fry than filing lawsuits. What kind of advocate group for the homeless would FILE that suit? The bad publicity would kill any credibility it had.

Oh, and some of these restaurants do a fine job of diminishing their brand WITHOUT donating food to the homeless. I don't eat fast food & I'm better at making lots of stuff than many of the chain restaurants I could go to regularly.

I think some lawyers seriously dropped the ball in advising these companies considering the negative publicity they're getting right now. ESPECIALLY in this economy. If it were me, I would advise any major business to donate to charity for 3 very good reasons:

1. Being a good corporate citizen leading to,
2. Good PR/publicity AND
3. To satisfy the more conscientious stockholders (especially those who are outspoken about this--every company has this group)

As for the city, does Bloomberg need MORE middle & lower class people to hate him? Isn't outsourcing jobs that used to be performed by city employees enough? Didn't that narrow win to the Mayor's seat teach the man a lesson in popularity?

So, you enterprising but unemployed lawyers in're seeking experience, right? Well, maybe you should look for the injustices going on around you & get involved. You might not get paid but you could find clients who appreciate your efforts (just drop those who don't), other lawyers would have to respect you for taking on grievances they wouldn't deign to take & maybe you'd even get some publicity that might help you down the road. Some people fall through the cracks of legal aid or bar association efforts; they might not qualify, know where to go or just be too proud to go there.

And if you don't have the drive or motivation to stand up for yourself or others when being kicked around, I have to ask why you call yourself a lawyer in the first place. That's what we call a slave mentality & it's unhealthy.

One day when money's not an issue, I figured I'd go into public interest work since my experience is far less removed from the average clientele than that of the average lawyer. I know what it's like to live without a phone, have a car repossessed, a relative in jail, etc. and figure my story could inspire someone else to make things happen for themselves (after all, you have to MAKE life happen NOT sit back & let it happen).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Growth Experiences & Fashion

Well, the 12th Night show went really well & our guest of honor apparently enjoyed it. I was told by multiple people that we did a good job & that I personally did very well. It made me happy to be able to act on stage again after a long absence & know that I've still got it. Considering they made me feel like one of them, I'd love to do it again sometime.

One of the best things about being on this committee is that some of these luminaries of the legal field have become more human in my eyes. As a younger lawyer & someone who likes hearing about those things that make one a human being, it's an eye-opener to get to know people on the other side of the table & to be seen as a peer instead of some underling trying to impress them. Hearing Evan Davis talk about cats or trying to represent himself in court as a college student was a great contrast to his being counsel on the Watergate case & knowing all these high power politicians and Court of Appeals judges.

One blog that I have taken to reading in order to learn how to be an effective head of HR & manager is Punk Rock HR. The blog's author gives some very practical advice & makes many authentic, non cookie-cutter suggestions.

One post I found of interest was this.

The major point of this was the issue of corporate wardrobe & costs to women vs. men. Reading this triggered a view I hold near & dear.

Here it is: Being fashionable DOESN'T = Wearing Designer Labels!!!!

Any moron can put on a Versace outfit or a suit from Ann Taylor. Lots of people in NYC's corporate world spend a TON of money on office wear & strive to meet the dress codes, spoken & unspoken.

Yet when you go onto the ABA website or read little stories about lawyers, you'll read a lot of comments about how women lawyers lack a sense of style & can't dress properly in an aesthetic sense.

As a person who's received a LOT of compliments on clothing over the years but doesn't have the money or wherewithal to spend crazy amounts of money on business clothes, I strongly believe a woman in her 20s can dress tastefully WITHOUT dressing like a 60 year old. Let's not rush into old age, all right?? I also choose to work in a field where creativity is an asset, not a liability.

Despite that, I generally take the view that since I'm going to stand out anyway as a redhead I may as well wear something that deviates from the boring uniforms of the world while being tasteful & within the spoken dress code. It just takes an eye for fashion, knowing what flatters you & picking something YOU like + look good in. Can you tell I didn't really work in "uniform" type jobs?

The idea of trying to dress like a 60 year old when I'm in my 20s also bothers me since I think your clothes represent your mindset. The mindset that would give me is "I'm old" & the happiest people are the ones who never think of themselves as decrepit. In fact, they've still got a childlike spirit/curiosity/what have you. Some people just look like they're playing dress up since it's such a mismatch; is it just me or has anyone else noticed that too?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Vegetarians Who Eat Meat???

Okay, let's just say that's not possible. It's like calling yourself straight when you've at least made out with someone of the same gender & you enjoyed it (to differ from playing a gay character or faking homosexuality to get out of a draft or give some hated relative a heart attack).

Or for that matter, saying you're bi when you are married to ONE person & NOT sleeping w/people of your gender on the side. Or for that matter, not having a same gender SO. That just means you're not picky when it comes to who you sleep with. No harm there: just stop calling yourself a "bisexual" when you're merely "non-discriminating." A true bisexual needs BOTH to be happy; many might call you slutty for that but "non-discriminating" is the best term I can come up w/for "I'm not picky."

Lois Griffin of "Family Guy" comes to mind here. Remember the episode when she was against Jasper getting married to his boyfriend in her home? Yet she talks about doing sexual stuff w/other women in multiple episodes, kissed Meg's lesbian friend & the show infers that she might be non-discriminating. I don't know about you but I found that hypocritical & if I knew someone doing that in real life, I'd totally call him/her out on it. That's what we call a "hypocrite" in my neck of the woods.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2nd Post of the Day

Aren't you lucky?? You get to see 2 posts from me. The first I just did b/c it was a notable story & one I have an opinion on. Plus I'm performing in the NYC Bar Association's 12th Night show this Friday & I'll have rehearsals most of next week so I probably won't have time to write any entries. I got nominated to the Entertainment Committee by its President & if you know about this association, you know that getting onto a committee usually involves applying for open slots.

If you're going, you'll get to see me act & sing; also my first foray into musical theater & the first time I'm in a show where people are paying a lot of $ per ticket ($75, so I couldn't in good conscience invite most people I know since I wouldn't be going if I weren't in it).

Anyway, something I really feel strongly about is the "who pays for a 1st date" issue.

Here are some links to check. And another.

So where do I weigh in??? I'm in the "guy pays" category (though guys always invited me since I was too shy to ask anyone out--so glad I'm married). Many reasons for this but I think there are some major factors most people ignore in the argument.

1. The woman in question: How desirable is this woman? Are a lot of guys chasing after her? Is she particularly smart, pretty, entertaining, etc.? Guess what, buddy? If you want someone who is quality, you're going to have to step up & be better than the rest. Hairy women smelling of BO don't get to date the school hunk, do they? If WE'RE expected to maintain standards, then so are men.
Think of it like a business or a freelancer. If you're a profitable business w/a ton of paying clients, are you going to take jobs from some schmuck who costs you money to work with? If you're a famous actor commanding millions of dollars to work, are you going to work for free in a student film or for a total stranger? Answer to both is a resounding "Hell no!"
Then, why do some men expect a woman who gets asked out all the time by guys who NEVER make paying an issue to date THEM, when they are going to demand them to pay??

2. The financial positions of each person: When I was a college student, I dated a few guys who had their own jobs & were long out of school. One was 14 years older than me; another was 8 years. I also had NO ONE giving me allowances or anyone to rely upon but me in life. It's not only tacky but insulting to expect a college student to pay when the other person has a career & lives somewhere without roommates. Basic fairness. The 8 years older guy had the nerve to invite me someplace once & expected me to pay for it even though he KNEW I was trying to save $ + couldn't afford it.

3. Where you want this interaction to go: For me personally, I never did "the reach" since I'd have had no right to get mad if someone took me up on it. However, if you'd have wanted me to be more than your friend, having me pay would guarantee you'd never get past that. I just expect to pay w/friends but if a guy asked me out, I expected to be treated as a date and accorded the proper respect.

Is my Southern upbringing showing here? Maybe, but it was always an issue of numbers and economics with me. For me, paying is an admission that you're an ugly girl who doesn't deserve better from a guy. The women I knew who paid weren't with highly desirable men. When I dated, it also showed me that X guy would never be around in the bad times. Oh, and my husband NEVER made this an issue or gave me grief about it & he's a Northerner.

Lest anyone dare to label me a gold digger or ungrateful, I'm a hell of a cook, ALWAYS said thank you & never led anyone on or acted as a typical, bitchy girlfriend.

Apparently, City Governments ARE Being Cognizant of the People

I know a bit about the Dell situation since my family lives in that area & I grew up in Winston Salem. I'm not sure whether my oldest friend's mother is still working at that Dell location but I know the threat of layoffs was looming when I was in NC last April.

If I saw this happen in NYC, I'd die of shock. I'd also like to see this happen to Wal-Mart considering its status as community destroyer in many places.

Just b/c I'm a business owner & moving up the economic ladder doesn't mean I don't have a heart or understand the lives of average people. The day a person loses that kind of humanity is the day that person tempts karma to kick his/her butt in a painful way.