Tuesday, October 31, 2006
After using Yahoo! Pictures for so long, I finally activated my Flickr account which I'd forgotten about. Much better for organizing pictures online. Here's the link to my Flickr site. I've only got about 6 pictures up so far but will slowly add all the others in. (Don't worry, no pictures of me)
Monday, October 30, 2006
Well. It's here. B-Day (not the album...my birthday).

I'm (sort of) over the anxiety of turning 24, but what the actual depressing part of the day is being away from family and friends. I know it's childish, but not being home for Eid and my birthday has left this whole month pretty bleak.

But, I am here for a specific purpose (I guess...[see? More bitterness]). I feel like I'm having a Gilmore Girls moment - though I've never watched the show (only the ads) - and am thinking about what the future holds and how this next year will be very different from the last. I'm staying positive and though I know that no matter how many candles I blow out, all my wishes won't come true, I'm just praying for the best.

What did I learn this year? That I have a the love and support of a lot of good people. That it's not as scary to move away from home as I'd thought. And that it's not that hard to cook (I'm happy and proud to report that
I made a cheesecake today. ME. BAKE. It was fantabulous.). I'm sure there were more small lessons learned, but the good thing about those are that you adapt them to your life in such a way that you don't even realize you're doing it.

So I know this won't be the best of birthdays, but I'm going home this coming weekend and my favourite aunt from California is coming down too so it will be good to spend time with everyone then. And at the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, I think now is the point in your life where you realize the it's not the day itself, but how you celebrate it. Right now I'm celebrating having everything I'm fortunate to have and being on the path I'm following.

Wow, I sound so grown up.

Damn it.

[Update 3:47pm -- I thought I had a harsh case of denial to the point that I refuse to acknowledge my age until the actual time I was born (5:15pm), my father took it one step further and said that since the nurses didn't come out to tell him about me until 5:30pm, he'll hold out until then to accept I'm 24 - now you all know where I get it from. My mom on the other hand called about 11pm last night and said that if it hadn't been for Daylight Savings just a couple days ago, it would already be my birthday so she was just wishing me at 11pm because she was sleepy and didn't want to wait until midnight and it was pretty much my birthday and I was now 24. My brother took after her. There's still time to mold the little one to accept my view; 7 year olds have no set dispositions.]
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Warning: The follow is not for the queasy

David Blane freaks me out.

I am convinced he is not of this world. Or at least the normal part of it. I've come to believe there are people on this earth who are special and have "talents" (I'm not talking about the show Heroes..thought it's an awesome show) and David Blane must be one of them. I haven't seen much of David Copperfield and I know he's a talented magician, but his tricks usually consist of tricking the mind's eye and things like that. David Blane is on a whole other level. It's not only his public stunts: living in a cube of ice for a week, standing on top of a freestanding beam for I don't know how long, and then his latest stunt of living 7 days in a sphere filled with water.

I've seen (on TV) him LEVITATE. I don't think that was the magic of TV; there were real people freaking out in the different places he did it. Then one time he took this lady's watch, made it disappear and then reappear after about 5 seconds BEHIND a glass window of a jewelry store that was closed.

Just now I saw him PULL OUT two teeth from a girl's mouth WITH HIS HANDS - the girl could put her tongue in between the spaces - and then he just blew a puff of air at her AND THE TEETH WERE BACK IN HER MOUTH. This was all at a Las Vegas casino with tons of people around. Ok - maybe the girl was in on it somehow. I'll give you that. But how did the teeth get back in her mouth when he blew at her!?

Oh. My. God. The man just put a sewing needle THROUGH the middle of his hand.

I couldn't find that video since the special is airing on TLC right now. But here's some other clips of him.
The chicken one (the last of the three) is sick, fascinating and freaky all at the same time.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Normally, I'm all for any campaign that brings to attention the problems in the world in a way that attracts the attention of the public. The popular silicone bands that come in a rainbow of colours representing different causes were a good way to do this (LiveStrong [the yellow bands], Make Poverty History [white band], breast cancer [pink band] etc).

There's a new, pop
ular campaign started by Bono (who else?) of U2 called (PRODUCT)RED
where a number of popular brands are selling red versions of their product - a re
d iPod Nano, red American Express card, a line of clothing by the Gap and Armani and so on. A portion of the profits will go to anti-retroviral medicine for women and children in Africa to prevent the spread of AIDS.

It's a commendable effort. Whatever the intention of the many celebrities involved (everyone from Steven Spielberg, Kanye West, Oprah and Christy Turlington... they've even got Dakota Fanning) - whether for the attention or for the actual want
to help the cause, the campaign itself is gaining attention. People want what celebrities advertise and buying the Red products shows they're in with the current fad and have the latest merchandise.

I do have a few problems with this though. The whole idea behind "portion of profits" - how much is that exactly? Would it not be better for the company to simply make a donation? Not only would this get more medicine, but it will also get where it's needed faster. When you consider the cost of designing, producing and promoting the special red-ified products, it would make for a hefty donation.

Second, I don't understand how ethical it is for a company like the Gap, notorious for its sweatshops, to exploit one group of people in a Third World country and pass along money to others in similar conditions. The Gap, if anything, is sustaining, if not increasing, the gap between current conditions and those which are hoped for.
  • I know the Gap has, in recent years, attempted to become more responsible. They've supposedly put monitoring systems into place in many of their 3000 factories, spread over 50 countries, to make sure conduct is up to the standards of the Calvert Group and other anti-sweatshop organizations.
  • However, the Gap refuses to provide information on specific factories and the "monitoring systems" are actually people employed by them to be full-time inspectors. These inspectors are only found at factories that are independently unionized, which only a tiny fraction of countries have.
  • In economies that are paying poverty wages, when people have no rights and no power, what you end up monitoring are well-run prisons. Sure, factories will be cleaned up. They'll have bathrooms where the water runs. But when it comes to wages, when it comes to having a democratic voice on the shop floor, monitoring and codes of conduct are a dead end.
Back to my point. The Gap, Armani and many others still have questionable practices. It's difficult to monitor with a blind eye.

Lastly, my biggest problem is with the people. Rather than push the issue itslef at people, they're pushing a red Motorola RAZR phone. Or slogans on t-shirts such as "INSPI(RED)", "HAMME(RED)", "BO(RED)" and "DESI(RED)" - I get the first one, but the last three have nothing to do with AIDS or the actual issue of helping reduce the spread of it through medicine. The average teen may not understand how anti-retroviral medicine can help someone halfway around the world, but that doesn't make an excuse for not educating them about it. How is a kid supposed to gain knowledge if it's not accessible?

In the end, the Red products are just a way for the participating companies to pimp their already well-known products back into the market as a new item by slapping a new coat of shiny paint on them, just in time for the fast approaching Christmas season.

This brings it back to the age old question: Do the ends justify the means?

Maybe so. Despite the rogue intentions of the corporations and the glazed minds of most of the buyers of the products, aid will be getting to those who need it. Aid, which sadly, may not have gotten to them before, will now reach those who need it because more of the w
orld's eye will be focused on the troubled areas to see if the goal of PRODUCT(RED) has been reached.

My verdict? Get inspi(red) on your own and take step you think will best support your beliefs.

If you want to keep up-to-date with the campaign, they even have a blog:

(Though I have to say, I really love this spoof...)
Friday, October 20, 2006

I feel old. My birthday is in exactly 10 days and I'll be 24 (though a friend did try to expedite my aging process by one year and thought I'd be 25...scared the bejeezes out of me) and though I know in technical terms I'm not old, it's that point in life where you feel you alone are carrying the weight of the world alone on your frail shoulders.

Quarter-life crisis? Probably. I'd hate to admit that I fell face-first into it, but I think it's just a rite of passage you have to go through, consciously or unconsciously. It's the worst feeling to be so restless. I thought it would settle down once starting law school, but it's only gotten more complex. Or am I making it complex? Or...maybe, it's gotten complex and I'm only making it worse. Each day that you experience tends not to make you wiser but more aware. Although, Confucius say that greater awareness makes for a wiser man. Yes but Confucius also said:
At 30, I took my stand;
At 40, I no longer had doubts;
At 50, I knew the will of the heavens;
At 60, my ear was attuned;
At 70, I follow all the desires of my heart without breaking any rule
So he was either asleep, or high on Chinese herbs while in his 20s. I guess, had he been willing to part with an opinion, he would say that in your 20s, your forming the character that will serve you through the rest of your years (great, add more stress to my already stressed state of mind).

Forcing myself to look on the positive side, I would think it's good for us to be aware that this is the time to build your character, regardless of how old we feel doing it. The more conscious of it that you are, the better you can tune in and out the qualities you want in yourself.

But rather than looking to a 6th century BCE Chinese philosopher, I turned to the age-old trusted source for guidance. Rock stars. In the words of John Mayer (a genius, I tell you).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10. Begins every sentence with "Well, as Ally McBeal once said..."

9. He keeps citing the legal case of Godzilla vs. Mothra.

8. Just before your trial starts he whispers, "The judge is the one with the little hammer, right?"

7. He thinks he'll win your case, "because there's a first time for everything"

6. He once failed to get a conviction of O. J. Simpson.

5. Whenever he says, "Your Honor" he makes thos elittle quotation marks in the air.

4. Sign in front of law office reads "Practicing Law Since 2:45"

3. Begins by telling jury, "You all look like you should be on Jerry Springer"

2. Giggles every time he hears the word "briefs"

1. His phone number: 1-600-SHYSTER

[Source: Late Show with David Letterman, June 03, 1998]

Monday, October 16, 2006
Who doesn't like bubblewrap? I do! Even though it scared the pajamas off of me when I first moved in to my apartment and stepped on some while unpacking and immediately went into a crouched position thinking it was gunshots - it's Michigan folks, they're notorious for crime aren't they?? (Wipe that smirk off your face).

True, I'm on the 7th floor, and there's no other building across from me, so it would be
near impossible for anyone to shoot into the apartment from outside (but it could happen...you never know), but being alone for the first time and it being 1am threw my nerves into the orange zone. And I didn't over-react did I? I'm sure any of you would have done the same. I'm just the only one to admit it.

Back to my original reason for posting. VIRTUAL BUBBLEWRAP!!!!!!! The coolest thing since...well, actual bubblewrap. I know it's not as good as the reall stuff, but until my fear of plastic-air-filled-bubbles doesn't die down, this will have to do.

P.S. Try manic mode. And make sure to turn the volume up high, otherwise it doesn't work...
Friday, October 13, 2006
Umm, excuse me? Mother Nature? Sorry to bother you. I understand this is a busy time with all the changes that are going on with the climate everywhere. But I hate to point out that you sorta skipped a season.

It's not that important, really. It's just, one day I looked out and there was bright sunshine, calm breeze and all-round pleasantness, then many days of rainstorms, which I adore. But then, as I drove home yesterday I noticed all the leaves were yellow - no green to red to orange then yellow, it was a green to yellow. I must admit my shock. True, I have been holed up in my apartment for the last two weeks studying for mid-terms, but I have occassionally looked out the window, for instance when I sneezed and lost track of where I was in my Contracts book, and even though that moment was brief, I didn't see any signs of fall.

And I will also admit that fall is my favourite time of year, and it's not because my birthday is during this season (though, yes, it is a big factor - coming up in 2 weeks, thanks), but everything seems crisp and ready to change that it's just beautiful.

But this year MN (can I call you that?) we seemed to have skipped from later-summer weather to winter - there was a blizzard of FLURRIES today MN. FLURRIES. And not the rain, wet-snow type flurry. The type of flurry that collects and builds up on the car windows. That, MN, is full-out snow. The type that made me get out my touque. And I rarely get that out.

Is this a Michigan thing? Or, has the US skipped on the season of fall when they decided to change day-light savings? Is it to economize? Is it because it's the most volatile of seasons? I understand the government here doesn't like that.

Whatever the reason MN, I really do love fall and was very sad to not see it come and go. I don't mind the winter all that much. Except for the freezing rain. We have to talk about that. It's not helping anyone really, so why? And I ain't mad at cha - I know mistakes happen - I just wanted you to know how I feel.

Maybe next year?
Sunday, October 08, 2006

This is just to show up alllll the people who told me I was nuts and gave me flack (you know who you are - everyone except my BFFs Sarah and Roohi...much love) when I tried to bring back the word "swanky" (as evidenced in this post last year). Y'all didn't believe in my vision, but now you know I'm right...behold:Yes, you heard it from me first...then the Fortune 500 company came along and stole it (how very like them). You can have your flack back...Jack...

I know...I've got too much time on my hands...stop looking at me like that...seriously....stop.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
People who know me often ask why I want to be a lawyer. They're actually more interested in how they think I'll manage to be a lawyer. I don't blame them. Mention a lawyer and you picture a suave, fast-talking, sly person - something I'm told I never am or could be.

In most settings, classroom or otherwise, I'm normally the quiet girl who sits in the corner only speaking when spoken to. Even in most group settings that's me. Why? Don't know. Possibly because I'd rather observe and listen to what people are saying and how they're saying it. This won't make me a bad lawyer, but a better one. I know lawyers have a bad reputation, but it's always the bad ones that stick out more. The good ones are those who acutally take the time to listen, formulate a good argument and win for the sake of the person they're defending. Yes, most are after the money, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to do well in terms of money. I don't want to trample over people in the process of doing it, but use as much of my skills possible to get me there. I know may one day eat my words (many people telling me that all people start off like me, but eventually end up corrept and money-hungry) but for now I'm tired of defending not only my choice of profession but myself.

I'll always be an introvert - it's just who I am. I have learned to come out of my shell more and more as years pass by. Working in a bank helped that a lot (when you have to argue with people twice your age, it happens). And I'm sure soon I'll be comfortable with myself enough to be more forward. Right now I shrink back from a lot of things because I'm overly self-conscious.

Today I had a mini-breakthrough (baby steps folks) - I actually raised my hand in class to make a point during a case. Of course I fought with myself in my head for awhile before doing it. The professor had called on someone else to brief one of the cases from our readins and after discussing it he paused to ask if anyone had any questions. That's when I surprised myself by shooting my hand in the air. It took me by surprise when the professor called on me - I had to look at my arm to make sure it was mine that was up. I could feel face blushing (that's got to be the most annoying reflex humans have) and I quickly blurted out my point.

The prof, who's a really great guy all around, smiled and thanked me and said it was really good and started a different discussion on it. He even later came back during another case briefing to the point I had brought up (it was about liability of the city to maintain the installed waterpipes in the city...not the most earth-shattering stuff). If I were in kindergarten, I'd have a gold start on the board next to my name (they should really continue that through university - I totally think it'd motivate people! It's a GOLD star for crying out loud!).

I know to many this whole scenario seems pointless. And maybe it was in the big picture. But it's just relieving to know that we don't stay the same person. There are always small changes happening in our every day lives, some we may not notice for months and some which others may call us out on. Obviously, change is good and bad. But as much as I've ranted on how much I hate change, it's slowly seeping in that it just may have a positive side.