Sunday, October 25, 2009

Interoffice Communications

Early this afternoon, an email went out to all employees in my company. It stated simply, "CPI for the period in question is less than 1%." Some puzzlement, followed by a brief period of wondering what it was supposed to mean consumed perhaps five or ten minutes, then we all went about our business.

An hour later, a second email went out to all employees:

"As much as I’m sure you all care deeply about the Consumer Price Index, the e-mail was meant for the Syracuse office. Sorry."

Thirty seconds later, the entire floor rang with laughter.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Notes from CLE

* A woman just walked in, sat down at my table, took a can of nuts out of her satchel, and has spent several minutes struggling to open it. Having finally succeeded, she is now eating them with the steady intensity of a chain smoker.

* It sure seems that there are a lot of weird lawyers. Do you think it's because the practice of law
attracts weird people, or do you think that the practice of law makes people weird?

*The lecture started 90 minutes ago, yet the microphone has already stopped working four times. I would be totally irritated if I were the lecturer.

* The speaker has mentioned several times that he lived in Germany, yet he pronounces "Daimler": "DAMM- ler".

* "As a lawyer, I don't get myself worked up about 5%, right? I mean, I work 8 hours, times $500, that's $4000. But I get only $160, well, then I think to myself maybe I should just go to McDonald's and work." Okay, first, huh?? And second, I somehow doubt you've ever worked a day at McDonald's in your life if you think switching from being a lawyer to cleaning the fryers and assembling Egg McMuffins is desirable under any circumstances. And finally, you are also insane if you think that a McDonald's worker is going to earn $160 in 8 hours.

* The speaker tells a very long story about this Louis Vuitton handbag his wife wanted and the whole point of the story is: "HOLY CRAP, those things are expensive." For this, I am getting CLE credit. What this has to do with the practice of law, I don't really know, but I am getting CLE credit.

* The guy a few rows up keeps scooting around in his chair, whipping his head around to see who's behind him in the room, whispers to his neighbor (who, by the way, doesn't seem to be very happy about it), heaves giant, dramatic sighs, leans his head alllllll the way back, and generally is acting like a bored eight year old. This would be irritating enough if we were watching a videocast or if this were a taped session being re-broadcast. However, this is a live speaker, and it's not like we're in a giant lecture hall where he might (MIGHT!) escape notice. How very rude.

* Another anecdote uses the example of Target and Macy's, with the claim being made that Target is able to offer its wares for a lower price than Macy's because "Target doesn't spend money on fancy advertisements". Dude, do you get the same TV channels as I do? Because Target is constanty airing these sleek, cool-looking advertisements, and I can't even think of the last time I saw a Macy's commercial. I'm sure they exist, but I haven't seen one recently, and I have seen a whole bunch of Target commercials.

* The Nut Nibbler has apparently finished the entire can of nuts, because now she's taken out a nail file and is giving herself a very thorough manicure. Every few minutes, she stops to brush the nail dust off the table in front of her. And still, it doesn't seem to occur to her that a) that's incredibly irritating to everyone around her, and b) it's also completely disgusting.

* Oh, we've moved to subprime lending now. "A McDonald's worker walks into a bank, makes about $26,000 a year..." OK, now I know you've never worked at McDonald's.

* You know, way back at the beginning of today's lecture, they asked that everyone turn off their Blackberries and cell phones. We've been here two hours so far, and of the 17 people sitting in the four rows ahead of me, four are openly playing on their Blackberries, and one woman has hauled out a laptop and started typing away. Another woman is sleeping. Another woman is working on a very large needlepoint project. A man in the corner is paging through a book of crossword puzzles, and another man has hauled out a very large file that he appears to be working in. Cell phones have rang at least five times so far. The owner stands up and hurries through the room toward the door, but doesn't quite reach it before answering, "Hello?" By the way, since I started writing this down, the number of Blackberry users has increased by two.

* Actually, I think I should have said that there are a lot of gross lawyers earlier. Nut Nibbler has finished her manicure, but the guy in the row ahead of her keeps scratching his head, then checking to see what's under his fingernails.

* I just love it when a shop posts a sign announcing some inconvenient policy by claiming that it's for your convenience. For example, the shop in the lobby of the building-- a sort of deli/ newstand/ convenience store combo-- has a sign on the cash register stating "For your convenience, we accept only cash. Credit cards and debit cards are accepted under no circumstances." I can't possibly be the only person who uses her card for everything and rarely carries cash. I use cash so seldom that I can often go weeks at a time without having any in my wallet. Nothing whatsoever about your "Cash Only" policy is convenient to me at all. I'm sure it's convenient to you, since it means you don't have to pay the card company fees-- and I totally understand that and support your decisions. But don't try to frame it as though it's just one more service you offer to your valued customers. Also, just so you know, since I now have to leave the building to get cash, I'll probably just buy my drink and snack somewhere else where I can use my card.

* Back in the lecture. Mr. Iswearidon'thavelice has stopped scratching his head and is now tapping his finger against the leg of his chair very hard, producing a small metallic clank each time.

* Did you know who bears the whole blame for the mortgage crisis? Alan Greenspan. And in the future, everyone will curse his name because of the evil he has caused. Wow, that is some hyperbole.

* Whoops
. He must have realized that it's not pronounced "DAMM-ler". Now he's pronouncing it "DAMM- lear"

* The woman with the needlepoint finished the first project and started another.

* The longer this lecture goes on, the less attention the audience pays. Another twenty minutes and someone's probably going to take a cell phone call sitting right at the table.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Not Something You See Every Day

Walking down a busy street near the university, I pass a group of six monks walking on the opposite side. I wonder where they are off to, in their brown robes and sandals. I wonder where they came from.