Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Casting, Racism & The Phenomenon of "Sticking to Your Own Kind"

I read this article on Slate yesterday & thought it was definitely one to share. After all, it's about a subject anyone in the entertainment industry is familiar with: breakdowns.

Personally, I thought this article was interesting. In fact, the agent I interned with did tell me that anytime a breakdown role didn't specify ethnicity or say "Open to all ethnicities" that meant only white people should submit for it. As someone working in this business, I wonder where it's going to go.

I'd also like to see what those involved with independent film companies have to say on the subject or how they do casting. Do they go by the same standards or do they simply practice diversity casting without making a big issue of it? Does it matter who is doing the casting?

Personally, when I've written something I never have an image in mind of a character's race. I just think of the personality traits & go from there. If the character isn't based on someone I actually know or there isn't some dialogue related to a character's description or situation (say a business executive who's talking about racism on a subject relevant to what the speaker would look like), it's just not something at the forefront of my mind. In fact, I think if I did do that I think it would screw up the writing process & make your character too boring or common.

Also, I REALLY hate tokenism & diversity for diversity's sake. I think "diversity" should be a natural process, not something you force into the process. Injecting diversity should not be like trying to put on a pair of skinny jeans that are two sizes too small for you.

Perhaps I encounter the whole concept of racism differently. After all, natural redheads are the smallest minority of them all. We're the most disregarded & the most overlooked; I can't even create a Mii that actually looks like me. Only perhaps someone of mixed race or a Native American can also make that claim. Forget about hair products as well. If you're a redhead, that industry is saying "screw you" on a regular basis when it comes to hair clips that are supposed to blend in with your hair.

Even in high school I was an anomaly since I actually had friends who were black (and real friends, not tokens) as well as other ethnicities. This came up when a Twitter follower retweeted some news that apparently the author of a book called Some of My Best Friends Are Black didn't actually have any black friends. It brought up a point on how people still tend to "stick with their own kind" in social situations and their day to day lives.

Certainly hasn't been true for my life; for one thing, how many redheads am I going to find to talk to? I also think being a natural redhead is a bit like being a drag queen (at least if you're me); there's only room for ONE in a group & we aren't into begging for attention from others. I don't think any naturally redhaired woman would want to share her sexiness & specialness with some other woman who looked like her. Or that's just me since I admit to being very competitive on certain things & when you have a unique identity, you get used to being the only one after a while.

The only use I see to having a bunch of friends who looked exactly like me would be the whole having an army or clones so we could all switch places sometime. Overall, it would just freak me out though. Plus, I would never want to live in White Land. I just couldn't see doing that, ever. It weirded me out in college to hear about white people who'd never seen a person of color before.

So it just surprises me that I'm apparently an oddity because I actually speak to people outside my own race & have friendships with them.

Oh, and free advice: if you actually have any friends who are black, you would NEVER in a trillion years refer to or call a black person the n-word (as in, the actual word & not "the n-word"). My mother told us from a very early age not to use it after we'd heard it at our Christian private school of all places (yes, that place was a real bastion of Christian love wasn't it?). I had a college roommate who was a racist & a black person (yes, you can be racist without being white or even an American citizen/illegal/permanent resident) but I never called her the n-word. It never really occurred to me to do it actually, since I'd pegged her as a garden variety bitch & her race had nothing to do with her crappy behavior.

I did hear later on that she had some racist suite mates. The only thing I said at the time was that I generally don't condone racism but in her case, I'd make an exception. She also hated cats & told me about a class she'd taken where she got to dissect them. Need I say any more? She never said she liked dogs instead so I think that tells you something about the type of person she was.

Nor do you have any black friends or other friends of color if I don't see you interacting with them on Facebook or talking to them more than once or twice a year. If you have family members who are black, you sure as hell would not be using the n-word since I know you wouldn't want someone doing that to your family members (at least if you don't hate their guts).

Anyone who uses that word & tells you either of those things is a big, fat liar. Case closed, end of story.

So I wonder if maybe more people in the business had the experience I did that this whole diversity push wouldn't be necessary. If they'd not been exposed to the stereotypes of folks but just knew people of color as regular, everyday folk doing different things. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Armchair Lawyers: How I Want to Kill Them as Well as Anti-Gun Maniacs

Seriously. I read the worst crap coming from anti-gun people on this Credo petition & in a pro-women's Facebook group about how we should not only ban assault rifles but also handguns as well as track every single bullet that goes into a gun, impose draconian measures & basically make gun rights non-existent.

One poster in particular really pissed me off. After she goes on a tirade about banning handguns & how "having guns in society is dangerous," she gets all offended when I present my response.

I said that she apparently enjoys being strip searched at the airport before taking a plane to go on vacation & wants to ban concealed carry permits (since you don't need them for shotguns, the only gun this loon didn't want to ban). I pointed out the corruptness of our government with the pepper spraying of peaceful protestors (Did we forget about the Occupy Wall Street protests & other Occupy protests elsewhere?) & arrests designed to promote censorship of citizens. I said I personally think we have enough invasions of privacy to not have to been regulated on this issue. Furthermore, what next? Are we going to be forced to account for all our bowel movements & what we drank for lunch? Basically, this is the slippery slope argument & is commonly used in legal argument. It is VALID and basically says "Give people an inch & they'll take a yard. Then they take more & more until you're living in total absurdity."

She claims "Oh, I didn't say THAT & I'm not going to respond b/c you didn't bother to READ my posts." I pointed out that it's not my task to try & read her mind as to her intentions, that I have better things to do than read every statement she's ever made on the issue & I believe I even said I don't debate with morons.

Plus, you try that in court & see what a judge says. The judge isn't going to try & read your mind. You have to be fucking CLEAR & PRECISE. If you can't do that, don't debate an attorney.

Then, I didn't read this whole comment but I saw one of those Facebook previews where apparently some member of this pro-woman's group thought I was going to care about being "rude" and was going to cave to this spineless dumb ass who wanted to play armchair lawyer & lost. Hell, no! If you can't stand by your words, don't waste my time.

Before that, I was reading last week's Dear Prudence letters on Slate.com & one of them led to some discussion with yet another armchair lawyer.

The first one generated a lot of debate. I personally think this wife is messed up & the guy should leave immediately since she obviously has severe mental issues and is not capable of that type of love.

However, there came up the discussion of the definition of rape. A guy who claimed to be a criminal law attorney chimed in & was correcting some people on what the law says. This one poster with a female screen name (because you never know gender for sure online) proceeds to get into a war of personal attacks & claims her arguments are more valid than this lawyer's. She then says "we aren't in the courtroom" but yet, she wants to debate a lawyer.

Okay, bitch. If you want your arguments to be regarded & valid to a lawyer, you need to do better than "we're not in the courtroom" to weasel out of a serious debate. You also need to not whine about how the lawyer is ignoring the bullshit spewing from your keyboard. Try making INTELLIGENT arguments & not expecting strangers to read your mind.

Doctors, I'm sure you see this often. Armchair assholes trying to tell you how to do your job & claiming they have more knowledge than you on a particular drug & what certain symptoms mean.

Well, armchair lawyers, psychologists, doctors, any other occupation that requires a professional license: If you want any of us who actually have the training & license to give a shit about what you say, why don't you get off your ass & go GET the education? How about YOU go to law school, take the bar exam and get licensed if you want to be a lawyer? Maybe you could also go to prison & self-teach in the prison law library. I don't notice jailhouse lawyers doing this sort of thing online.

Too hard for you? Well, then shut the fuck up when you can't do something right. If you can't debate properly, shut your damn mouth! Don't spout garbage & then try to weasel out of it by saying "we're not in court" or "you didn't read EVERY little thing I've ever written on the topic." I actually did read that dumb ass's earlier remarks in that topic & she was pretty consistent on calling for the massive privacy invasions and taking away the need for conceal carry permits. She also had Lisa Simpson as her profile picture & Lisa Simpson's character also annoys the hell out of me so maybe I should have taken that as a sign.

I do not play armchair professional or talk on topics I have no knowledge of. I'm not a criminal law attorney so that whole rape argument wasn't my place, even if I felt inclined to have a log in to comment on that article.

That some of the people who make some of these comments actually exist and live on this planet scares me. I also feel happy to have successfully sheltered myself from that kind of idiocy. At least my mother knows better than to try debating a lawyer unlike these armchair lawyers. That knowledge should scare you as well.

It's probably better for society & mankind that I do shelter myself from that stuff since I would totally annihilate someone for doing that in real life. I'd also be trying to get the person blackballed among attorneys since even lawyers I don't like don't need that kind of aggravation. Plus, I'd rather they not snap & kill us all from the sheer stress the armchair lawyer causes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Networking & Professional Responsibilities

After this evening, I think I'll be spending the rest of my week at home. Just not feeling human interaction right now. Here's why:

Some people have totally gotten confused on the definition and basics of networking. If you're in the entertainment business, particularly if you work with actors & think you're entitled to send me e-mail correspondence I never asked for to an address that's not publicly listed for me you'd better be paying extra special attention.

Networking IS:

* Reaching out to people you think are interesting or awesome for whatever reason; I'm not going to tell you HOW to do it, you just do it
* Showing an interest in that person's life, interests, passions, etc. as they relate to your purpose for talking to him/her
* Learning what you can from this person; don't assume only the pros have knowledge since the newbies to a field also have their finger on the pulse of new & awesome that you might not--those people may also have a unique life experience or story
* Thinking of that person for things if something comes up that might be of interest to them
* Giving someone newer to your field or experience your take over a coffee break or lunch; this is what we call in the business world an "informational interview" since you're getting information that could be practical to you or your experience in a given occupation

Networking is NOT:

* Charging people $ for the privilege of listening to you or giving career advice (especially if you solicited someone through a private e-mail & did not PERSONALLY get invited to send anything or start communicating with the person)
* Communicating with someone in a manner they didn't approve of; note that I'm not speaking of a LinkedIn connection invite or using a Craig's List ad where the person said they'd be interested in talking to people from your profession--I'm referring to using an e-mail you got through a third party with no prior communication to its owner & who has NOTHING to do with the owner; personal assistants are fine but a random business is NOT
* Being an asshole when someone doesn't want to pay $ to talk to you after you've made an unsolicited communication

This is called being a huckster, a douchebag, an asshole, whatever name you want to use. Point is, those acts are a serious violation of business etiquette. As I mentioned before, I get real pissed about business etiquette violations & Jenn Lederer made that mistake before so I'm far nastier about it now.

Encountered the second idiot to forget who she was talking to. This time it was Kerry Donelli of the Donelli Acting Studios. Here's their website.

Their studio recently started sending me unsolicited communications via newsletter. I have no clue how they got my information or who gave it out. Maybe I should thank whoever gave out my private e-mail to these people since now I don't have to worry about them working with my film company & irritating my colleagues. Plus, if they're that dense & clueless then they aren't first class caliber or worth any sane person's time.

When I get a spare moment, I write an e-mail explaining to the person who sent it that A) I happen to do other things in this business besides acting (like being a fucking ATTORNEY & having ownership in a FILM COMPANY), B) she's sending this to a private e-mail address (hello, I have enough shit to deal with without being bothered with all this), C) if there's an interest in networking, I'll consider it (since you should at least investigate if there could be mutual benefit for whoever contacts you in this industry regardless of how communication came about) & D) with their sending information about all these agents & managers, it may not even be relevant to me since I'm not so sure a person in my shoes would even derive benefit from representation (you know, already being a lawyer, having a film company & having contacts could very well make it undesirable for any potential representative not to mention I do have my own will & won't be changing who I am for anyone else).

I also suggested this person look me up online & make her assessments that way (since I grovel to no one & you accept me as I am; you can make your own judgments on my awesomeness or lack thereof since I'm not a used car salesman or someone who feels it's necessary to justify who I am or what I've done). As you can probably tell, I do write longer messages since when I write you I put in some fucking time, thought & effort. It's part of who I am & if you don't like it, I honestly conclude that you're uneducated as well as lazy.

Here's what she writes in response:

I can not read all this. Feel free to call me if you need. Thanks for your understanding.

She could have read it at her leisure & responded at a better time for her. That would have been fine. We all have busy schedules & I usually give folks about a week to respond to my correspondence before getting annoyed.

As a rule, I don't like calling people unless I've had some interaction with them or a lot of time has passed. I also don't like random folk I may not want to deal with at all having my personal phone numbers or bugging me on things. Plus, how do I know she wouldn't have just given that out to others since she somehow got my private e-mail?

I write this in response since it's the simplest statement of all & she obviously has an aversion to how educated people speak:

I'll sum it up as thus: this is UNSOLICITED contact. You can either A choose to network w/me & take a personal interest or B) take me off your list. Simple as that.

I feel it's rude of her to not have bothered reading what I actually wrote & that she's engaging in some serious disrespect. I've had civil discourse & polite conversations with people who are a trillion times busier than she could claim. If she thinks she's busier than the average attorney, especially one who goes to court regularly, she's seriously deluded. I've spoken to various people up & down the food chain of this business, some of whom are 24/7 busy and gotten polite, civil discourse from them via e-mail and/or phone.

So, I'm not about to tolerate this kind of bullshit from some total bitch whose company keeps posting ads for illegal internships on Craig's List.

I can call her a "bitch" because of this response. If you don't think it's bitchy, tell me how it isn't & wouldn't rub you the wrong way:

You want me to WORK WITH YOU after you viciously attack me? lol

you do realize you can unsubscribe at the bottom of the email, yes? welcome
to 2001.

I didn't read this until the next day, though she wrote it seconds after I wrote my response. AND she'd sent out another newsletter to that e-mail, having ignored what I already requested about taking my damn e-mail address off there (I've since removed mine from that list & got to comment on Kerry's bitchiness in their form asking why I wanted to be removed).

Before blocking the e-mail address & ceasing this BS, I wrote this in response:

And YOU choose to disrespect my time & effort in writing when I DO happen to be in fields that could help & benefit you (I'm ALSO an entertainment attorney as well as an exec in an entertainment company, thanks). Guess who handles actor submissions & paperwork for that company?

Guess who's got a LOT of contacts with lawyers in numerous areas & behind the scenes folk? Guess who will be warning these contacts not to deal with disrespectful types who will only cause them problems? I'll let you figure out the repercussions on your own.

The lesson here is to do a Google search or even an IMDB search before you shoot off your mouth to others who didn't ask you to contact them. I'd already heard of this company before & researched them. I didn't recall either of the principles doing anything great & exciting and they certainly never worked with me or mine. For being writers & filmmakers, this Kerry has some pretty pathetic business savvy to go pissing off an entertainment law attorney. Especially one who's got the contacts I have.

Renaissance people have uncommon, unusual careers; you can't afford to make assumptions about them or be nasty to them. They can fuck you up in serious ways. If you think all people doing acting work are peons, you're dead wrong & if you're nasty to me it's going to cost you big time. My rage and blackballing is as hard core as that of any insider or behind the scenes person. I'll also tell my contacts if your name comes up since why should they have to suffer your bullshit; I'd want them to do that for me.

Incidents like this show me your true colors & most definitely paint a picture of stupidity, laziness, lack of innovation, disrespect, just all sorts of bad things you don't want attorneys or your industry peers thinking about YOU. Particularly if you care about advancing anywhere or doing something great.

How someone uses my info is their business but as a business owner & as a lawyer, it's my responsibility not to endorse or stand for the bullshit from someone else in this business.

Yes, doing what I do means you've got responsibilities. One of them is warning others about scumbags & making sure your contacts (and in some cases, simply innocent parties) aren't being taken by some asshole. Another is alerting people to the bullshit if you personally experienced it or get it on good authority that someone's bad news. The responsibilities as a film executive & as a lawyer are not identical but both are significant and important, at least in my book.

One responsibility I take seriously as an attorney is speaking out against society's bullshit, which is why I felt compelled to write about my childfree experiences. I felt that problem deserved acknowledgment & non-attorneys should know that even an attorney (whom doctors tend to show some modicum of respect & professional courtesy towards, maybe as part of an unofficial code of assholes or something?) went through it. Attorneys are supposed to protect the little guy & make sure private enterprise, culture and any other outside force isn't stomping on their legal rights.

Sounds like superhero stuff, huh? Well, I have been called "the avenger."

Plus, despite all the stuff you hear about the law school scam, I've observed and seen that attorneys do have some duties and responsibilities to society at large. Why would we have an ethical code if we didn't? You do also get treated differently if you're a lawyer & I feel in some situations my mentioning it does affect the kind of regard or treatment I get from people. Usually, it comes up in casual conversation or if someone's screwing me over/gives me a sense that my voice means shit to them. Perhaps I also give off some sort of vibe.

Anyhow, one responsibility I feel I have as a volunteer lawyer for Monday Night Law is to give the client some sort of self-efficacy. Since I can't take on full time responsibility for anyone coming in & I can't give out names of attorneys I may know who work in a particular area, I feel anyone I deal with should leave feeling like I did give a shit about their issue and tried to help. To me, you should try to help & at least ask questions to get a sense of where the client has been, what the client wants and if you can make that session useful to the client.

I came in today to get paired up with someone I simply couldn't work with. Apparently, the person was newer than me & I came in during the middle of a client session.

Here's what happened:

1. No real friendliness or sense of trying to be nice w/this person toward me. That already puts you in the hole with me.

2. I get no idea of what's going on or what's been said since, again I'm in the middle of all this.

3. The person I'm working with makes ZERO effort to do anything other than say "You need a lawyer" and give out information the person already has. I probe further & ask about the things the client is saying like about paperwork the person has or proof of what we're hearing there.

I also attempt to give this client some attempt at self-efficacy by asking if she'd talked to anyone at the office for the self-represented since they're supposed to help you with procedural matters & making suggestions to get this evidence for an upcoming proceeding.

4. The person tries telling this client that all law school legal clinics are non-existent for help at this point since none operate in the summer. Having worked in one myself during the summer, I outright refute this in the client's presence.

The person argued with me & I said "That's that ONE clinic (listed on a piece of paper the client had already gotten & showed to us). You can't say that's true for ALL of them." I said to talk to the people at other clinics that handle such matters & see what they say. I also said they might have resources to suggest even if they can't help. The other counseling lawyer also made it sound like the clinics were second rate, which I didn't particularly like.

We never know about things in life if we don't make any effort.

5. I felt like this person was doing ZERO counseling, just handing out info & saying "you need a lawyer." I even said "There are a lot of people who need lawyers & sadly they don't always get them. That's the reality of our legal system." when I got shit over trying to suggest some practical self-help measures like getting evidence & having your witnesses in order. Any attorney working with you on a trial would ask you to do this already & if someone does that, it hurts nothing. You'll either make the attorney's job easier or you'll be able to help yourself if you get caught in a situation where you need a lawyer & can't get one.

I did tell the client she did the right thing in coming to us when she did & not when the proceeding was next week or something since that would help her in getting a lawyer.

6. After the client leaves, this person proceeds to get in my face over the statement on legal clinics. I pointed out that they do have work study students working there in the summer, at least in mine & that she couldn't make a general statement like that based on ONE school clinic's policies. After more words are exchanged, seeing we're at an impasse, I'm low on water & not wanting to be near this person at all, I get up trying to get more water after finishing my last little bit.

Then I decided to take that time to go to the bathroom & in case I want to leave, grab all my things (which I was able to do somewhat inconspicuously since that consisted of my purse, which I sure as hell wouldn't leave unattended, and a small bag I'd carried something I mailed at the post office in).

I wasn't sure how I wanted to handle the situation. Did I want to leave? If I left, how would I do it? Would I just slip away? Would I sign out & make up an excuse to go? Would I talk to the organizers & say I can't work with this person the whole evening?

Took me some time to contemplate this. Part of me leaving a conflict situation is so I don't resort to violence, yelling or whatever else I may feel like doing that wouldn't be appropriate for a particular setting. I did think "I'm not putting up with this bullshit." I was also annoyed I had no one I could talk to about the situation at the moment to advise me on what to do.

Ultimately, I decided to return since I felt it wouldn't be fair to the organizers if I bailed out without saying anything and that it wouldn't be fair to the clients coming in. Plus, I'm probably one of the few attorneys who's personally lived some things & personally knows folks who've gone through some of the issues I've seen. Why should I let some stereotypical attorney asshole chase me out & perpetuate negativity to the clients?

I though to myself about how I do have a distinct style & that someone might bother listening to me since I'm not bitchy to folk and try to make sure I offer something even if it's just an apology because I can't provide what they need. I know how I'd want my family, friends & acquaintances to be treated if they met with a lawyer so I try to give that treatment to others.

Thankfully, the problem sorted itself out. This dreadful person got another partner, I told the organizers what happened (after they told me they presumed it wasn't an issue that this person was working with someone else & I confirmed it) & I got someone else to work with (apparently, that person also had personality issues w/their original partner). That went slightly better though I didn't appreciate the attitude I got over not having precisely XYZ experience in THIS particular area of law in THIS particular state.

I think that's a determination for the program organizers to make, don't you? There's a little thing called "general knowledge of procedure" that's certainly better than knowing zero about something.

Plus, in a prior session when I mentioned what I did & that I felt incompetent in doing sessions, my partner said that "nobody knows everything" and not to worry about that.

Recently, I was asked if I want to do this program again. I said "maybe" but now I wonder. Perhaps I should start counseling on my own since maybe I have a better manner & might be able to sound semi-competent or at least direct someone to the right resources.

When I relayed this tale to my husband & my mother, they agreed with my actions. My husband in particular said if he'd been this client he would have lashed out at this attorney stereotype for not being any help. Some clients, though, don't have that wherewithal or the strength to speak up. Those people need self-efficacy & empowerment more than anyone. They sure as hell don't deserve to be patronized & given zero counseling by an attorney who's supposed to be COUNSELING them! You can give information but unless you're handing out something new to them, you're not being helpful & you are wasting the client's time. I personally feel you need both if you're going to counsel legal clients; that's just my feeling.

I'd hope there are some attorneys who agree with me on this.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Viacom/DirecTV Battle

As a long time DirecTV customer, I have a stake in this. However, I'm not taking the side you'd expect me to take. I'm with DirecTV on this one & here's why.

1. I don't really watch anything on Viacom. I HATE the reality shows that have taken over MTV, VH1 & the music channels. Save new Futurama episodes & the occasional True Life I manage to see when they bother playing it, I don't watch any of the new content. I just watch older shows that I have seen plenty of times & either were cancelled by some dope or haven't been in production for over 10 years.

In other words, Viacom isn't AMC.

2. We have this little thing called downloading. Smart companies would embrace this & set up platforms where there are affordable means to see programming. I recall Cartoon Network having streaming versions of their Adult Swim shows available a day or so after the initial airing; hubby & I watched The Venture Brothers that way when we didn't have cable (if you're attending law school, you don't want cable or special programs in the house since it will be a distraction from studying).

Maybe if these networks did that, people would watch the shows legally. Even something like Hulu has limitations & I like the idea of having the option of streaming content after a few days.

3. DirecTV has done pretty well by us. They've given us free promotions & the executive customer service team is top notch. In other words, they have shown some loyalty to the customer in our situation.

Plus, their service is extremely reliable. We rarely lose our signal & only if it's pouring down rain outside. I know people who lost their service when there was even the smell of rain in the air.

They were also here the very first full day we lived here to install our service & the tech was very polite, accommodating, etc. despite us having to unpack things to get to the TV and allow him to do his job.

4. I doubt anyone I know who works at a Viacom network is going to be getting any piece of that 30% increase Viacom wants to impose on our monthly bill. If they actually were, I might be more sympathetic but since I'll bet it's just going to overpaid, gluttonous executives and vice presidents with more money than God already, I really don't give a shit.

I hope DirecTV sticks to its guns & tells Viacom just where to get off. I was on AMC's side in the dispute with Dish Network but that's because AMC is actually producing good programming that's not more reality garbage. Breaking Bad is so good, you'd think it was an HBO show in style, production values, etc. I also hear good things about Mad Men, though I've never actually seen it myself.

What does Viacom have? Dropping ratings. No music videos on MTV (which really should be called something else) or VH1 (you have to go to VH1 Classic for those, though now they're even doing fewer videos). Programs having zero to do with the channel's content on MTV & VH1 (Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, Mob Wives?!?!, other bullshit reality shows I don't give a damn about & that don't even feature actual musicians along with movies that aren't even music related like Pretty in Pink; I'll watch my movies uncut on DVD, thank you).

Comedy Central showing a bunch of movies & occasionally a decent South Park episode to go with Futurama. My husband wouldn't even miss Tosh.O & he likes that show.

BET, which a lot of people feel is exploitative to women & insults black people by only parading out stereotypes.

Centric, which I'm not sure what the hell its purpose is except to show older black shows that haven't gotten airings in a while like 227 & In Living Color.

Logo, which used to show Rick & Steve and The Big Gay Sketch Show but since then hasn't really done anything I give a damn about. They cut up the ending theme for Daria so they can go to Hell.

Wow, I can watch people throwing hissy fits on the subway. I can probably also throw a much better hissy fit if provoked into one by lack of air conditioning or incompetence by a service professional who should know better. Why would I watch reality TV featuring this crap? Why not just air bum fights next? How about a show called "I'm a Whore?"

Funny but in the normal workplace when you ask for more $, you have to have some kind of justification for it that's not "I've been here for XYZ number of years." You have to show RESULTS. What results has Viacom shown to justify this extortion attempt? Try and answer that one, guys. We'll wait.

Oh, and here's another essay you might be interested in. Yep, they asked me about this! Cool, huh?

What the Holy Fuck?!?! Craig's List Ads, Part 4

This is mostly the shitty businesses & law firms edition though one of these is an "I can't believe someone wrote THAT." Oh, here goes:

paralegal / attorney (lwr manhat)
Date: 2012-05-07, 6:31AM EDT

Reply to: kpjt3-2993555389@gigs.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

minority ssolo needs a paralegal / attorney to draft motions / pleadings / research, reply with your areas of experience

Location: lwr manhat
it's ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: no pay

PostingID: 2993555389

I felt compelled to respond to this. Here's what I said:

Do you mention being a "minority ssolo" b/c I'm supposed to feel sorry for you? How is that detail in any way relevant to this type of work?

Writer also doesn't = attorney or even paralegal. Too many people post those ads there thinking they can pay a professional, licensed individual like an attorney the same rate they'd pay a Wal-Mart cashier or a minimum wage worker. If they don't want to pay market rates, maybe they should be asking that Wal-Mart cashier to do the work. It's unauthorized practice of law but seems these cheapskates don't really care about being professionals anyhow.

I also have zero sympathy for someone offering "no pay" for this kind of work. Plenty of solos have to do things THEMSELVES & don't expect total strangers to serve as slave labor. Maybe you should get off this "minority" thing, offer a fair wage (or at the very least travel expenses) & maybe then you'd be taken seriously. Otherwise, expect derision & anger from strangers who don't care about your practice + have their own bills to pay.

Don't forget that you get what you pay for & quality costs money.

Do you think my company posts ads for jobs touting women & minority ownership or mentions the ethnicity of the CEO, COO or other members of the leadership team? I don't think that's relevant unless your company's projects relate to that in some way. A law firm should NEVER post an ad like this, misspellings aside.

Seeing this in an ad in such a fashion feels to me like you're trying to get freebies & favors b/c of your minority status. Don't we have enough problems with negative stereotypes & things like affirmative action without people doing this to themselves? I don't personally need a handout, thank you. I also don't have a high opinion of others who beg for them when I know so many worse off individuals who never asked for a thing from anyone or had an entitlement complex because of their life circumstances.

Now, let's talk about the people with unrealistic expectations who are couching slave labor as internships. A prime example:

Graphic Design Intern (West Village)

Date: 2012-06-27, 5:58PM EDT
Reply to: fmpjb-3105241104@gigs.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

LOOKING FOR AN AMAZING GRAPHIC DESIGN INTERN. Need a simple logo and business card design for an amazing company! Also need flyers designed. Send your portfolio, references and a resume. Tell me why you are out of the box.

Potential growth and future projects available. Tell me what your about. And How I can help! :)


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

PostingID: 3105241104

I also responded to this asshole. Here's what I said:

So, you want a portfolio & references from an INTERN and have no words about teaching anybody ANYTHING. And you have the gall to demand "ORGANIZED, ATTENTION TO DETAIL and MEET DEADLINES?!?!"

This just sounds like you want a slave.

How about paying a PROFESSIONAL designer a market rate? Creativity in this arena has a value & it does have a price just like any other skill. Would YOU want to do this for some company where you will not receive a damn thing or even equity? No?

Then go fuck yourself & either pay a professional a fair wage or do it yourself! You get what you pay for & Craig's List strangers do NOT give a shit about you or your problems.

And, no I as a stranger do NOT care about your business or your problems. I've got plenty of my own & so does everybody else on this planet. Before I care, you're going to have to actually be nice to me. Or (gasp!) treat me with some basic respect. That goes for plenty of other people as well but especially me.

Who wants to bet these jerk-offs have no friends? If they did, they sure wouldn't post ads on Craig's List gigs & jobs sections asking for freebies. A friend might actually take pity on you & do it or give you a good deal.

Then, more lawyer/law firm fails. Here you go:

LAW STUDENT INTERNSHIP (Midtown)Date: 2012-06-07, 10:15AM EDT

Reply to: ntvpj-3062816424@job.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Well known midtown law firm seeks an intern for its litigation department. Interns at our firm will learn all about litigation in New York through hands on experience. You will NOT be filing or making photocopies! Our firm's areas of practice are employment law, personal injury, real estate, medical litigation. Each intern will have the opportunity to attend depositions, court proceedings, and even trials. Although it is an unpaid position, you will gain real legal experience. This is a true learning experience!

Hours M-F 10-4:30

Please email resume and be ready to interview and start immediately!

Compensation: Unpaid
This is an internship job
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 3062816424

Here's what I said in response:

I think you're full of shit when you claim to practice employment law & when you claim to be a "well known midtown law firm." Are you well known for VIOLATING labor laws since that's what you're doing with this ad?

Add up the hours you list: that's 32 & 1/2 hours a WEEK. That's NOT an "internship," that's a cheap exploitation attempt. Most internships are about 20 hours a week. Even law schools don't allow students to work that many hours during the school year. I also see NOTHING about school credit or even travel reimbursement.

Do you think that because you're some "well known" firm that you are exempt from state & federal labor laws? Do any of your managing attorneys even HAVE licensing in NY state because this sounds like an ethics violation to me. Go read up on the attorney ethics rules & how attorneys don't get to violate state or federal laws.

Here's hoping you get shut down real quick. If you can't afford travel reimbursement or to take on multiple interns to avoid violating the law & their abilities to make a living (most law students don't live in dorms or have trust funds), don't waste the time of Craig's List readers posting such insulting crap like this. I'm surprised you don't also require the intern to shine your shoes & wax your cars considering the hours are tantamount to slavery. Oh, and you may want to consider the fact that business owners DO read things & are taking notes on how companies treat their staff. After all, if this is how you treat your prospective staff, I'd sure as hell not want to be your client.

The next law firm fail (these only get worse):

Date: 2012-07-08, 7:03PM EDT
Reply to: hgt7m-3126909185@job.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

A litigation law firm located in Brooklyn seeks 2 summer interns, who are current law school students. This internship is unpaid. Full time preferred. Interview this week and start immediately.

Excellent learning opportunity and many interesting projects to work on. Most work involves legal research and writing briefs for motions.

Please send an email with the following:

1. SUMMER INTERN APPLICANT in the subject line.
2. Say what year you're in law school.
3. Say your current law school GPA
4. Say whether you're on a journal or moot court
5. Give reason why you have not been employed this summer prior to employment, and if employed or otherwise doing something now, explain.
6. State your availability to start, whether you can work full time, and your last day of availability this summer.
7. Relay your relevant experience that could help you handling assigned tasks when it comes to NY/NJ civil litigation.
8. Attach PDF documents of your resume and cover letter with the above information.

Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Compensation: Unpaid
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
PostingID: 3126909185

My response:

Wow, it seems your law firm is run by hipsters living off a trust fund. You also aren't very bright considering full time internships are illegal under state & federal labor laws. Oh, and the department of labor has been cracking down locally & nationally on employers doing illegal internships.

You DO know that the ethics rules bar attorneys from engaging in unethical conduct such as breaking the law. How do you think some full time intern is going to pay bills & eat? How will they even get there when I see ZERO mention of reimbursement for travel nor anything for clothing costs or dry cleaning since I'll bet you don't let people show up in shorts & T-shirts (items that can be washed in a machine)? Student loans don't cover living expenses in the summer; are you just looking for trust fund babies or people leeching off Mommy & Daddy?

My job is about a million times more interesting than I'm sure most of your cases are but I don't have the balls or the temerity to hire someone to be a FULL TIME intern & make that person PAY $100+ a month to work for me. Maybe I also have more ethics & care about my karma; clearly you don't.

I hope you get reported to the state bar for this & that you get what's coming to you for this garbage. I'm sure your little trust funding leeches will be wonderfully productive workers who exhibit loyalty to you; except they'll probably have zero work ethic & not give a damn. After all, why should they? Would YOU give a damn about this offer?

Would YOU be willing to do this? If not, get your head out of your ass & come back down to Earth.

Signed, A Lawyer Who Isn't an Egotistical Prick

I couldn't resist calling them hipsters because of the Williamsburg thing. It also seems like something a hipster would do, considering there is that company selling "Bottled Brooklyn."

Then, I read this ad:

NYC Law Firm Seeks Law Student for PT/FT Internship (get experience!) (Downtown)

Date: 2012-07-10, 11:58AM EDT
Reply to: xjb6p-3130301856@job.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

New York City based law firm seeks a motivated law student intern to help with day-to-day tasks. We are a young, growing firm with offices in Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn. The practice is geared towards civil litigation and debt relief. This position will offer you the opportunity to learn nearly all facets of a small practice and will include regular interaction with clients and attorneys, research, drafting, clerical work and negotiations. Our office works as a team, we are willing to train you. Must be computer literate and comfortable speaking on the phone. Join our collegial environment and learn how law is practiced at the ground level. You will have the opportunity to obtain a great amount of practical experience.

Our line of work is very fulfilling and our clients tend to be grateful for our assistance. If you seek personal satisfaction in addition to great hands-on experience, then this may be the internship for you.

The internship is unpaid, however, school credit may be issued depending on your schools requirements. There is a possibility of this internship turning into a paid position in the future.

Applicant MUST be available for the duration of the summer AND continue during the upcoming semester. Part-time or full-time.

-Email us at the address above with the subject "Internship Application"
-Attach your resume to the email in .doc or .pdf format
-Write a brief cover letter in the body of the email stating the following:
1. Which school you are attending
2. What school year you are entering
3. Your interest and goals in seeking an internship
4. Indicate the extent of your availability for this summer and the upcoming semester
5. Indicate any relevant experience

We thank you for your interest in the firm and look forward to speaking with you shortly!

Compensation: TBD / Internship
This is a part-time job.
This is an internship job
Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
Please, no phone calls about this job!
Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

PostingID: 3130301856

My response?

By law, you can't solicit for FULL TIME internships. Go read up on state & federal labor laws; there have been crackdowns on illegal internships on the state & local level.

Plus, you're supposed to be lawyers & should know better than to violate the very laws you're supposed to be using to HELP people.

AND, you have the nerve to charge people $ (transit passes DO cost $; NYC travel ISN'T free) to do this. Who the hell do you think you are? I hope you get contacted by the grievance committee on this since exploitation should certainly be a grievable offense. Even law school work study programs for PUBLIC INTEREST work pay $10 an hour. You are NOT a public interest organization so it also sounds like you're trying to steal from those programs b/c you're too cheap to pay $104 a month for a monthly MetroCard.

Really, go to hell & stop living up to the negative attorney stereotypes. This epitomizes just why people hate lawyers.

Not to mention if you read the labor laws, you can't even say you might give someone a paying job in the future if they do an internship.

I swear, if I knew who any of these firms were or the people there, I'd be reporting them to the ethics committee in a second. We don't need to be standing for this shit & it makes the rest of us look scummy by association. Do we need MORE reasons for the public to hate lawyers as a whole? I have no loyalty to a group of scumbags who are just hurting my reputation as a lawyer as well as that of my lawyer friends who aren't entitled douchebags, exploiting new workers & if they're publicly posting these sorts of ads on Craig's List, doing God only knows what else. I don't associate with scumbags who'd do something like that & have never heard of a legitimate law firm soliciting slavery in such a blatant fashion.

Those pricks need to be publicly castigated & get what's coming for this mess. EVERYONE was new once & I'm sure people helped THEIR sorry little asses without forcing them to pay to work someplace or engaging in outright exploitation for ZERO dollars. Pay it forward, bitches!!! Pay it forward.

This doesn't just go to lawyers but for everyone in the working world. You aren't going to be there forever & you won't have all your mental faculties forever. Don't be a hoarding, jealous asshole to up & comers. The entertainment field is much better with its faster career trajectory.

Perhaps more respect for attorneys would lead to fewer ads like this one:

Need a small business contract revised. (Bronx)

Date: 2012-07-10, 1:34PM EDT
Reply to: nsbwr-3089680758@gigs.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

I have paper copies and have somethings to be edited&added. I would need it done asap. So serious inquries only and must have referance's.
Location: Bronx
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $60

PostingID: 3089680758

My response, though I still see this prick posting the same damn thing:

This is an ATTORNEY thing (meaning it's against the law to get a writer to do this if you expect it to protect you from legal liability; a smart writer wouldn't touch this if they had any aspiration of ever being a lawyer).

Plus, no sane person is doing this for 60. Attorneys charge over $100 AN HOUR for their work.

Have some respect for trained professionals or do it your damn self. You get what you pay for.

Want to keep encouraging this shit, attorneys?

To lighten the mood a little, here's that "I can't believe you posted THAT" ad:

~Masculine men 20-26 for upscale male execs~ (NY NJ)

Date: 2012-06-27, 6:52PM EDT
Reply to: 4pdsq-3094214438@gigs.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

In search of masculine males 20-26 for male for male executives and people of influence.
Interested? Do you have what it takes? Look good dressed and undressed? Comfortable with male for male interaction?
Masculine? Discreet? Sane? Open minded? Hot? Good oral skills? (understand?)
Interested and qualified...send e-mail with pictures - face, shirtless chest, body and brief description of why you are right for this opportunity.
No Pictures will get no response.

Location: NY NJ
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: Per opportunity

PostingID: 3094214438

Apparently, the Craig's List Talent Gigs section in my area has become a section to solicit prostitution & hire for adult work. Now in fairness, I think the adult film work & things that aren't illegal in this state but that I don't care to see in "talent" or have associated with my company's business/work as a mainstream entertainment company should get a separate adult section even if it's under a new name.

I don't even intellectually have a problem with escort ads & this sort of thing (which are solicitations for prostitution) but it's illegal in this state so they shouldn't get a forum in the Craig's List "Talent" section which is supposed to be for mainstream entertainment folk. What next, ads asking to buy drugs or offering them for sale? If drug dealers & users can't do that, why should escort services get to? Plus, I'd rather not see it in the talent section; it belongs in the personals since it's "personal" services after all. I believe that's also where you find those ads in the Village Voice.

For me, it's more enforce the laws for everyone or enforce them for no one. The directness of it just made me laugh.

So, it's not just law firms doing appalling internship/slavery ads but apparently a bike shop in Williamsburg (more damn hipsters) also has screwy ideas. Consider this:

Bicycle Start up needs two summer college interns (Williamsburg)

Date: 2012-06-27, 2:43PM EDT
Reply to: tdhhd-3099726729@gigs.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

We are looking for two college interns to work at a fast paced bicyle start up in WIlliamsburg. There are two different roles. One is to help build the actual bikes and requires a techincal background, you should know your way around bikes, cars, motorcycles and understanding of basic tools is required. The second role is for a junior SEM/SEO position which will have your managing posting ads and managing emails and responses for sales. Both are paid postions. Please email a resume and picture to sales (at) spcarbon.com Be sure to check out www.facebook.com/spcarbon and www.spcarbon.com to have an idea of what we do. This is a big opportunity which lots of room for growth and we can also help you to get school credit. Thanks

Location: Williamsburg
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: Hourly pay.

PostingID: 3099726729

Growing bike company needs its summer intern (Union Square)

Date: 2012-06-27, 2:37PM EDT
Reply to: tmvr8-3099782056@gigs.craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Growing company needs its summer intern !!! Take this opportunity to create website content, edit videos, work on professional pictures, give your ideas and opinions, be a part of a real creative project building high end bicyles in WIlliamsburg off the L train. We need two interns that can do some of the following: Be creative, willing to learn, follow instructions, know some HTML, web design, graphic design, video/photo editing. creative writing, photoshop and illustrator, facebook, pinterest, social networks. Nobody is perfect so we know you will probably not fit each and every of the criterias above. If you are creative and knowledgeable, please send resume and picture to sales (at) spcarbon.com

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: hourly pay

PostingID: 3099782056

Did you read these carefully? Notice what they asked for that's illegal? Personal photographs of their applicants. That prompted this note:

Are you seriously asking intern candidates to send in personal photographs? Are you on crack?

That's a total violation of EEOC & you're just asking to get sued for unfair employment practices. Why do you think there are no job ads that say "black people need not apply" or "no white people will be considered?" You need to be getting some legal counsel ASAP since you're going to get sued for this. I'll laugh my butt off when you get fined or lose your little company after getting hammered for violating labor laws.

Not to mention this sort of thing tells your potential clients & vendors a LOT about the type of company you are as well as your total lack of ethics, sense of fair play, etc. If you're looking for fuck puppets, try the personals section.

Yes, to me a business asking for applicant photographs is = to "I'm looking for someone to have sex with and will abuse my power as an employer/person paying your bills to make that person you. I don't give a shit about your personal relationships to anyone else."

I think people like that need to be shot & emasculated, male or female. Perhaps they should patronize one of those escort services if they want to get laid & are too repulsive for any decent person to even consider kissing on the mouth. I wonder if legalizing prostitution would reduce the number of people using the guise of a job to get sexual services from some unwitting victim who just wants to earn an honest living.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Instituting the "Reasonable Person's" Dress Code

One thing that stinks about the East Coast is the craptastically hot weather. During a portion of my freelance gig (which recently ended), we had a heat wave in NYC. Let me break down my commute on a hot day for those of you having the benefit of traveling in a bubble of flowing air conditioning for your entire lives:

1. Wake up in an air conditioned house & get dressed.
2. Walk outside in the heat to the nearest subway station.
3. Go to subway station located underground.

Note about the subway stations in NYC: about 95% of them do not have fans of any sort in them & very few are located outside. There is NO air conditioning at ALL in ANY of the NYC subway stations that I have been in (mostly in Manhattan & Brooklyn but if there's no A/C in Manhattan, I guarantee there is none in the outer boroughs where tourists aren't visiting). Most of these stations are underground, where the heat is worse than it is outside.

4. Get on an air conditioned train. If there are lots of people on it, as tends to happen in the morning commute, the effects of the air conditioning are reduced. Sometimes, this is reduced to a minimal degree particularly if you have to carry anything with you like a laptop or a purse.
5. Switch trains at another sweaty subway station. In fact, the one I had to switch at was so hot on the other train's platform you could feel heat rising off the platform and cascading over you.
6. Get on another air conditioned train. Remember though, if there's lots of people on it you will not be feeling much of it.
7. Get off the air conditioned train and traverse out in the heated subway station to go outside, where there might be a breeze but where it could very well be sticky outside.
8. FINALLY, get into the air conditioned building where you are working.

Two more pertinent details as related to me:

1. I have sensitive skin. If you look at it weird, it will turn red. If I get too hot, I get sweaty. If I'm sweaty, I get zits. Those zits are usually in uncomfortable places & hurt like Hell. I HATE getting zits. Zits also aren't good for your skin.

2. I'm from the Southeast. If the people I knew down there are any indication, Southerners are hard core when it comes to their air conditioning. Any place you go in the South will usually have central air conditioning or at least have booming cold air anyplace you go, including in a Southerner's car (this was the case in my hometown & Atlanta, at least). I don't know a single native Southerner of my generation who was too cheap to have air conditioning in the summer & it was actually a factor for me in deciding where to go to undergrad (the school with air conditioning in all the dorms won out). Even the ones who were older & didn't have the same access to A/C as us would take advantage of it or use it themselves.

Based on this, I've concluded that Southerners are hard core when it comes to air conditioning. Not having it for a Southerner is asking for trouble. Remember also that Southerners are known for being more aggressive than Northerners, particularly when it comes to protecting their families (per sociological studies); I wonder if anyone's determined that hotter temperatures & more humidity might be a factor. Heat does make people more irritable & I tend to be much meaner if it's hot outside. I might get into a fist fight with you if you give me shit on a heat wave day over my attire.

Keeping those factors in mind, I thank God that I'm not some typical attorney in a law firm. They don't have reasonable person dress codes & demand their attorneys to show up in uncomfortable & stifling clothing in triple digit heat for the sake of "the clients."

I had a horrible experience wearing a business suit for a job interview in NC. After I graduated from college & was deciding what to do, I tried to get paid employment in NC.

I had a job interview for a position with the Department of Social Services where my interview was in the summer (early July, in fact). When I showed up for that interview in my long sleeved business suit (Have you ever seen one with short sleeves, by the way? I haven't.), their air conditioning was out. Since I didn't want to make a bad impression in my tank top I was wearing underneath, I had to leave on my stifling jacket in a room with ZERO air conditioning. It was torture. I was thrilled to get back to my car when the interview was over. No one offered to have me take off the coat & no compassion for the situation was shown.

Despite all that, I thought I turned in a decent interview. However, they took forever to get back to me. The guy I'd been dating before graduating had invited me to go to Florida with him the same week as the interview so I was also irritated about missing out on that (though he was visiting his family & based on how he acted later, it was probably better I opted out). This guy had offered me a place to stay if I returned to Atlanta, which prompted me to leave at the end of the month.

I didn't hear back about this job until I was working a couple weeks at the law firm, only to learn I didn't get it. This was only one in a series of jobs I didn't get in my hometown so perhaps I made the right choice to leave, huh? Shows that not everyone should be staying in their hometowns. I knew I wasn't going to be happy there & it felt like all this failure with job searching (back in 2003) was a sign from the universe that I didn't belong there. I got my law firm job in two weeks while I didn't have a job in NC after 2 months, despite my best efforts looking and applying for work.

It was at that time that I came up with my "dumb ass" theory on employment. I still stand by it today.

So I have sworn that when my company has an office, we're instituting a reasonable person's dress code. It seems many of these businesses haven't bothered to consider legal ramifications of someone getting heat stroke trying to get to work b/c the company made them wear something too stifling for 100+ degree heat & they had to wait in a hot subway station for the next train (I did have to get off at a hot subway station once to get a different train when the train I was on had problems; it was crowded & there was no other train to transfer to nor any breeze of any kind in that area).

The first basic rule of a reasonable person's dress code is that the employees must be adults. I'd rather not employ little children myself considering if I wanted them, I'd go adopt some or have them myself. I don't know why more companies haven't followed suit.

My basic stance on a reasonable person's dress code is to dress reasonably for the weather without showing your private parts with equal opportunity for both sexes. If men get to go shirtless, then women get to wear bras or bikini tops; if it's too horrid, they can also go shirtless. The men also get to wear shorts.

This dress code would also state that everyone gets to wear comfortable shoes. You DO know that high heels cause collapsed arches. Personally, I'd rather not have collapsed arches. If that's not enough to scare you, watch Sheila E.'s episode of Unsung. She talks about how she ended up losing height & having all kinds of health problems due to her touring schedule & how her footwear was a contributing factor.

Of course, this dress code would be optional. If you want to die in the heat or get collapsed arches, be my guest. You just won't get to sue my company over it since you made the voluntary choice to dress that way. If the air conditioning is blasting, you need to bring a sweater for the office; I always do that in case I get cold & will wear it as needed.

As for clients, a free tip: you want people to be comfortable & in a good mood when you meet with them. You do NOT want to meet with me when it's triple digit temperatures outside & I've been forced to endure stifling train platforms and gotten super sweaty on my way to the office. There are certain environments I make sure to stay clear of since it would be a disaster for all concerned such as working in small confined spaces on hot days.

Court would also be a place that should be doing this but we all know that's never going to happen unless we get some much younger judges who don't like dying in the heat. We CAN, however, start setting this up in private businesses. If the tech people were able to get casual dress into the corporate/office workplace, then we can surely get a reasonable person's dress code in there as well. Especially in light of global warming & the documented long term damage of high heels to women's feet, legs and general health.

Honestly, I think higher ups in companies not instituting this stuff go to work in NYC via cabs, personal drivers, any method not involving the subway & live in a cocoon of constant cold air since only a sadist piece of garbage would demand someone to show up in sleeves on a heat wave day. That person should be forced to wait at the 4/5/6 downtown bound platform in Union Square during morning rush hour during every single hot day in NYC for 3 of the hottest summers. That would teach a lesson.

Also, if you are a bus driver & you don't cut on the air conditioning at full blast when it's over 80 degrees, prepare for me to loudly comment on how you're going to cause a lawsuit against the MTA b/c of someone getting heat stroke (and I will make sure those aggrieved people get to sue the pants off you by finding them a lawyer & informing them of how quickly they have to file the proper paperwork). If it's a heat wave day & you have no air conditioning on, be prepared to die a slow & painful death. If the heat doesn't get you, I will.

I wonder if my theory on Southerners is true. You'd think every single business in NYC run by a Southern transplant would have A/C & then some but I don't know for sure if that's the case. I'll tell you this: I would deal with that expense if I were one of these business owners since I'm not spending time in an unbearably hot space. Society as a whole doesn't want me doing that either & the lawsuit will probably cost more.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some Raves & a General Movie Viewing Etiquette Guide

First off, I must give some credit to some retailers. Some of it's a little overdue but I now have free time for it so time for some shout outs.

The first one goes to Big Skinny Wallets. I got a wallet there from a Groupon deal. While I'm never wild about paying for shipping, this is the real thing when it comes to skinny wallets. Around the time that Groupon deal came up, I was looking for a thinner wallet. I traditionally have had the problem of smaller handbags & big, fat wallets since I carry more stuff in mine. Recently, I got the black leather handbag I'd been looking for since high school. Seriously, I saw one when I worked at JcPenney and was kicking myself for years for not getting it when I did. I was into carrying much funkier bags then; I still am to a point but I also like classic black leather done in a basic, modern style.

Basically, as a creative type I like a diversity in clothing & accessories to cover whatever mood I'm in or whatever look I need for a given event/activity. I've also been having problems recently with cheaply made things falling apart, including handbags so when I saw a sale on the Macy's website I figured it was time for an upgrade. As I may have mentioned before, we've been on a quality push. Basically, pay for quality if you can get it while keeping to a fair rate/taking advantage of sales.

I'm seriously happy with the one I got since I could finally get a little more in my purse. Plus, I don't have to put my check stuff in separate places & that's a great thing. I'm considering getting another one & my husband's even considering buying one off that site. I've also made sure to tell people about it, especially women since I know women generally love being able to carry more with the least amount of bulk possible.

Another site where I saw some cool stuff is Shabby Apple. Now I bought two silk dresses on there, including one I'm going to wear for a friend's event on the 4th of July (the Liberty Belle Spectacular, where if you want to see great burlesque performers and get a generally high class experience without pretension you should go to if you're in NYC; I swear, seeing their burlesque performers ruined us seeing other burlesque performers). I'm also not just saying that stuff b/c of my friend being involved in it; my husband liked going & he's not big on dressing up or even really socializing with people. He's hard to please when it comes to events, let me tell you. You'll also see some really great outfits if you go.

One word about Shabby Apple: I had to get their smallest size (XXS: What is a short way to say that? -2X?) but it does fit me. If you have your measurements, their sizing guide is accurate. The dresses weren't even super tight & if you like a more modest length, they're a little pricey but it is the place for you. I've read reviews on their products & I've read they are hit or miss with their merchandise but I will be reviewing the dress I got that has zero reviews at present. It was one of those dresses that seems like a perfect staple for my wardrobe. I may buy more on the site but haven't decided yet.

I don't like that you couldn't at least exchange their sale merchandize if the size was wrong & being a first time customer who usually has to try on a size or two to determine what size I wear in a particular store/brand, that bothers me but at least this was a useful $150 instead of being a total waste, right?

So, with these shout outs done (and I encourage you to check out these links & see if you find stuff you like on the sites) it's time for a lesson in movie/theater viewing etiquette.

I went to a film screening as part of a festival yesterday & read a status today from a friend who apparently went to a screening of "Magic Mike" where some woman brought a baby. This is a movie about a male stripper. So, for those of you not in this business or trying to get in here are some ground rules for movie viewing whether you're at a festival or in a big chain theater:

1. Don't bring children to a film that's not appropriate for their ages! When my sister & I were little, my parents saw National Lampoon's Vacation in the theater. We did not go; they left us with a sitter. I also can't see my sister taking her young kids to an R rated movie nor any other parent I know of, in fact. Who the fuck are these people to bring their children to this stuff?

For one thing, people paid good money for their tickets. I'm sure some of those people are parents who left their kids with a sitter & didn't come to the movies to hear your child (spawn might be more appropriate here) screaming, talking and causing a disturbance. None of the rest of us did either & if you don't enact some discipline I promise you someone in that audience will. Don't forget about that guy who got into a fistfight with a parent who wouldn't quiet their kids or adults who have hit other people's children over crap like that. If you want to be beaten or have your kids beaten over that, don't say you weren't warned. Oh, and the audience won't be siding with you; they will probably cheer for the person who hit you or that noisy child.

Now even if your child is well behaved, I still don't think you need to be bringing it to an R rated film. No filmmaker wants to be responsible for your child having nightmares because you were too shitty a parent to exercise some parental discretion & say "No, you can't watch the tear-jerking movie where the little kid dies. End of discussion." I'm sure some of these parents would try filing lawsuits against the theater chain, the major studio who put out the movie or in the case of a film festival, the festival organizers or the festival itself for accepting adult content.

2. Film festivals are generally not child friendly. Do not assume all the content in one will be child friendly because let me tell you, there's lot of indie film that's not appropriate for kids. When we were screening Cookies & Cream, I did tell someone I'd invited who had kids that unless she wanted to have to explain to her kids what a web cam girl is she might not want them to see it. There was no graphic content, no sex scenes in the film but indies do cover topics that parents may not want to discuss with young children.

You could probably take well behaved teenagers to most film festivals (heck, I think you may as well let them see R rated films at this point since they could get porn online just like that) but I wouldn't take a kid under 10 unless you knew about all the films & their stories. It's not fair to filmmakers to have to censor themselves & it's not fair to parents who do have some sense of what is or isn't appropriate for their kids to be exposed to. There are bound to be festivals somewhere covering films specifically for the child audience & if there isn't, someone could probably start one.

3. If you are in the midst of a program, don't leave until the entire program is over. Would you want people to walk out in the middle of YOUR friend's film? It is 100% disrespectful, just as disrespectful as walking in in the middle of the film & being noisy, whether you are sitting or standing. Of all the places you don't do this, a film festival is one of them. People are judged by the company they keep & if you want your filmmaker friend/family member to be liked, you don't need to make him/her look uncouth, classless and rude by doing this. You have to remember that you're being watched at all times and in all settings, especially in the entertainment business. Plus you never know where the next talent is or who might have a really good project if you're not giving other people's work a chance.

Many performers I know outright said not to leave when your friend's performance was done when they were doing shows. This is an even bigger offense in theater and live stage shows. I'll tell you this: had I not hung around for the roast of the head of the studio where I did my improv classes, I wouldn't have gotten to see an example of how a roast should be done. If NYC Bar did their "Twelfth Night" shows as this roast was done, there'd be a lot more accessibility & I'd personally have a lot more fun there.

You'd definitely better not do this if you're an actor & in general, it will endear you to no one. It's also considered snotty & that's not the foot you want to be showing folk when they don't know you or the person you're supporting.

4. If you're new to the entertainment business, you'd better be networking your little heart out. I still network and I've been doing this nearly 5 years now. Most people who have been in this field for decades even still network with people in the field since they know the up & comers have different mindsets and ideas that could be beneficial to them. There's also that whole guidance & mentoring aspect and most people like to feel appreciated as well as competent. There are many times when you don't in just about any sphere in life. You network EVERYWHERE (remember how people are always watching you?) but especially at a film festival.

Why should you network so hard if you're new to a business (especially entertainment)? Because it can make or break you. If you've got a good & unique brand, people start remembering you. These days, people have heard of me even if I don't know them and are initially talking to them. That gets interesting. If you are an ass, however, people remember that as well & it can hurt you. Most people I know in this industry don't want to deal with assholes: I sure don't & have never met anyone who wanted to deal with that.

If no one knows who you are, you are NOT going to win out on a job or consideration for work over someone a company/higher up there already knows is reliable, trustworthy, pleasant to be around, etc. So this means you need to be sticking around, talking to people & at the very least, not being a jerk to anyone since they might be working with a more established company or have a TON of useful contacts you aren't aware of.

If you don't want to do this, then don't pursue the entertainment field professionally. Simple as that. You will just crash & burn if you can't network effectively in it or at least get a partner who can do that stuff. There's no shame in having someone else network for you as a business owner if it's not one of your strengths but you will want to develop it so your partner doesn't end up getting all the contacts if you get into a dispute & that person decides to set up a competing shop.