Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Four Party Harmony

I have a lot to be thankful for this year, including my new job and new apartment and the fact that, since my grandmother's health has improved, we won't be eating turkey dinner in a rehab facility like last year.

#1 family tradition for Thanksgiving (besides eating a lot): Listening to Alice's Restaurant Massacree on the radio Thursday at noon.

#2 family tradition for Thanksgiving (besides taking a nap after eating): Singing along with Alice's Restaurant Massacree in Four Part Harmony.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

DV Headlines

Thanks to a lack of space in my judge's chambers, I work in a cubicle that happens to be situated in the Domestic Violence Assistance office in the Montgomery County (Maryland) Courthouse. From my vantage point next to the receptionist's desk, I see a steady stream of individuals and families coming to seek temporary restraining orders or protective orders against the (mostly) men that are abusing them, their children or their relatives. I also have the chance to hear about cases from the House of Ruth attorneys who work in the cubicle next to mine.

The last couple of days, domestic violence has unfortunately made the headlines. In New Jersey, a woman was killed by her estranged husband, against whom she had a restraining order, at the end of Sunday Church services. Similarly in D.C., a woman was killed by her ex-boyfriend, though she had already taken out a protective order against him and had started planning her own funeral because he had threatened her so many times.

Over the next year or so, the domestic violence assistance office will be combined with other services for DV survivors, so that they can seek medical attention, police intervention, legal advice and counseling all in one place. The events of the past few days demonstrate the unfortunate need for such services and the importance of the work conducted by the attorneys in the cubicles next to me.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Make That A Ring For Two

In my law school admission essay, I promoted the idea that both men and women should wear engagement rings. While I believe my idea had merit, at the time I couldn’t figure out a satisfying ritual on the level of the pop-the-question-on-one-knee-and-proceed-to-get-all-teary-eyed custom that we have for when a man proposes to a woman. (From a business perspective, I still like my idea though the diamond industry has looked elsewhere to expand their market by pushing right hand independence rings for women).

Well, a couple of friends may have, unintentionally, come up with the solution to my dilemma for me. Several weeks ago, the then-boyfriend surprised his then-girlfriend by getting down on one knee and proposing with a ring. They agreed however that his proposal and her yes was only half the deal. She needed to pop the question to him (and he had to say yes) and only then would they be properly engaged. A few days later, the then-girlfriend surprised her then half-boyfriend, half-fiancé with a picnic and a proposal. He said yes and the engagement was sealed. (He’s not wearing an engagement ring, but that’s a mere technicality.)

The couple is now on the happy road to marriage and I'm getting all teary eyed at this wonderful idea.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Crazy World of IP Securitizations (There Aren't a Whole Lot of Ways to Make This Subject Sound Exciting)

Check out my recent article published in the Journal of Legal Technology Risk Management:

Making Something Out of Nothing: The Trend Towards Securitizing Intellectual Property Assets and the Legal Obstacles That Remain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bunking Down

This past week I moved out of my parents' house. (Yes, I'm thirty and have a girlfriend and, inspired by Al Franken, affirm myself daily in the mirror: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me!") One of the big decisions I made while living at my parents' place (besides when to move out) was deciding to switch from sleeping on the top bunk to the bottom bunk. I'm a top bunk lifer, so this choice was not made lightly. And, frankly, I still believe in the merits of the top bunk: better view, no risk of the top bunk collapsing on you if someone heavy is sleeping in it or of hitting your head when waking up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and you get the perk of climbing a ladder to get into bed. The bottom bunk won out, however, because I needed to charge my cell phone overnight and was also using it as my alarm clock. The charger cord wouldn't reach all the way to the top bunk and I'm a big fan of being able to press the snooze button a few times in the morning, so, something had to give. And it was the top bunk.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Blog Challenge

In honor of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I'm embarking on my own writing challenge. My goal: To write on my blog every day for the next month - from today, November 19th until December 19th. (Collective gasp). I'll admit that even I'm a bit daunted by this challenge; so, since I'm the creator and sole arbiter of it, I'm taking the liberty of relaxing the rules for myself. After all, everyone could use a day off every now and then. I won't be posting on Saturdays and will be encouraged, but not required, to post on Sundays. I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving by eating a lot and spending time with family, so I also don't anticipate writing Thursday and Friday of next week. Otherwise, however, I'm hoping to write everyday between now and December 19th. By my count that's at least 21 posts.

I have several reasons for taking this project on: I'd like to improve my skills in the art of the "short blog post" - the post that's insightful, witty and brief. I'd also like to get back into the groove of writing more regularly and think this is a fantastic way to wind up the calendar year on my blog, especially since Awake at All Hours will be celebrating its 2 year anniversary in February 2009. And, finally, I want to see if I'm really able to come up with something to write about every day for the next month!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tomorrow Has Arrived

At his final campaign rally before polls opened today last night in Manassas, VA, I stood ten feet away from Barack Obama while he inspired the crowd - me along with 90,000 others - with his charisma and powerful speech. Afterward, I shook Obama's hand and saw him closeup for perhaps the last time as someone altogether human: as a man exhausted on the campaign trail while mourning his grandmother's death earlier in the day, and as a candidate trying one last time to win the public's support before earning the right to be called Mr. President for the rest of his life.

It's amazing that nearly two years of non-stop electioneering and political headlines has culminated in today. As I drove around early this morning through the streets of D.C. and watched lines snake around blocks into polling stations, it was easy to reflect on the most exciting (and longest!) political campaign that I've ever lived through: The riveting Democratic primaries and my own participation in Hillary's campaign; the shifting sands of issues that candidates in the primaries and general election addressed, from Iraq to health care to national security to prejudice to the economy; the death of Tim Russert (where will he be tonight to call the election?); the opportunity to witness history being made at the Democratic National Convention; and, in the last few weeks, the conflicting feelings of election fatigue and hold-my-breath anticipation for an Obama victory as both candidates raced to the finish line.

On my blog pages I've included my own snippets of commentary during this election season and, though I'll continue to write about political issues after its over, I have one more observation. A loss by McCain tonight will increase exponentially the likelihood that no Vietnam veteran will ever serve as President of the United States. Though some Vietnam vets, like Senator Jim Webb of Virgina, may still be involved in politics four to eight years from now, a new generation of political leadership, the vast majority of whom did not serve in Vietnam, stands at the ready. (Exhibit #1: Barack Obama, Exhibit #2: Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana). Remarkably, both John Kerry's candidacy in 2004 and John McCain's campaign this year never managed to escape the negative framing of their valorous wartime service. Indeed, it was "the things they carried" that ultimately may have cost them the election: Kerry never successfully parried the now legendary swiftboating attack ads against him, while McCain failed to shake the public perception that his approach to the war in Iraq and, more generally, to his entire political agenda have been inextricably tied to his mission to win a war that this country lost in Vietnam. Turns out the hippie generation that so stridently opposed Vietnam may have gotten the last laugh.

The line that gave me goosebumps last night came in the middle of Obama's speech. "I have one word for you, Virginia," he said. And then he paused. One word was the core of Obama's message yesterday, and while I waited to find out what it was I thought about the pages and pages of words that could describe this election. "One word," he said. "Tomorrow." A simple way to capture the essence of what was left for the campaign.

That day I've been waiting for - tomorrow - has come. Today is the day that an African American president is elected president and the Democrats take back the White House after eight years of President Bush digging us deeper and deeper into a hole. Today, our legislators, whatever Congress's ultimate composition, will stop worrying about winning their respective campaigns and start focusing on solving the deep and troubling issues facing our country. It's hard to believe, but tomorrow has finally arrived! Tomorrow is today.