Thursday, September 10, 2015

10 Things for Thursday

So many draft posts lingering in the drafts folder.  Some are completely written, and waiting for pictures.  Some are completely written, but are excessively wordy and waiting to be edited down.  Some are outlines.  Some are a mix of text, pictures, and outlines, such as my Salad Roll Tutorial that I started after a summer solstice party, to which I brought salad rolls that were such a hit that I felt I should share just how easy it can be to make them.

So, I thought perhaps if I gave myself permission to write up what's going on in the form of short list items, without the pressure of a fully developed and illustrated post, I might actually get some content published and get back into the habit of writing again.

1. Why blog at all in the first place, especially when law school and managing a home and garden makes me so busy?  Because every time I made time to blog while in school, I found that it improved my writing.  I was able to write more clearly and even more quickly for work and school.

2. Which leads to my other blog.  Intermediate Scrutiny is up!  For real!  We have content!  Why write a law blog (I refuse to write "blawg"...that is an unfortunate word that sounds like onomatopoeia for feeling ill) when I have so much actual homework to do, and real work; why give myself more homework?  Because it's good practice researching and writing about legal issues; I'm really enjoying doing legal research and writing on topics I picked myself (although my co-blogger actually picked our first issue), and I bet it will make me a better researcher for my real job after law school.  I think part of our delay in publishing is that we are really concerned about being accurate and precise with our facts, and conscientious with our legal analysis (that last one in particular, I think we're all concerned about, because we're still students and don't feel like we know as much as long-time-practicing (I'm sure there is an actually adjective for that, but I'm writing pre-coffee) attorneys.  But while not many people are writing approachable analysis, accessible to the layperson, of legal issues that affect people's rights, while not many long-time-practicing attorneys are doing it, we may as well.  A podcaster I like always says that if you have something to say, you should podcast--in this case, we are blogging.)  Oh, would you like a link to this blog I keep writing about?  Ok!  Here it is!   It is only a matter of time before I pick up the bad habits I see in so much legal writing, such as starting sentences with conjunctions.  Considering that I see this in Supreme Court opinions, I may be the only former English major bothered by this.

3. Which leads me to the social media thing I'm currently really into--Facebook's "On This Day" feature.  For all the complaining I do about Facebook, I have to give them credit for this.  I love going to my Gmail and doing date searches, to see what I was doing on September 10th on different years.  Today's included a Facebook comment exchange about how I was REALLY MAD at the feminist websites I followed and relied upon for updates about legislation affecting women's rights.  I hated its incomplete presentation of facts and even more incomplete (if present at all) explanation of the legal issues....which are pretty pertinent to things like legislation and judicial opinions.  While I didn't tell anyone at the time (or at least not post it to Facebook), this was when I started to have the idea for Intermediate Scrutiny.  Someone should write a website that presents these same important issues, particularly the ones that mainstream media aren't covering, with a breakdown of the legal background that's accessible for non-law-school-educated readers, with meticulous attention to the facts and coverage of all relevant facts that the writer can track down, with sources properly referenced and with an attempt to exclude their own bias or at least acknowledge it--with the goal not of preaching to the choir, without alienating anyone who might be on the fence, so that readers can make up their own minds and, if they want to do something about one of these issues, have the appropriate understanding of it to act effectively.  The article that apparently pushed me into a Facebook comment was this one.  That surprises me of 2015, because this isn't a terrible article.  What I was so annoyed about on September 10, 2012, was what I saw as an incomplete presentation of facts--did the woman appeal the unemployment decision?  What happened if she did?  (I could have learned this by just clicking the link to the New York Post article referenced by the Jezebel article, which still doesn't tell me everything I want to know about the story, but does clarify that yes, she appealed and won.  But why did she only get compensation for a few months?  I want to know!  And why didn't the Jezebel article mention that?  It's relevant that the state to some extent had her back when her employer flat out lied and said she quit.  If the state went along with that narrative, that seems to tell a different problematic story, one I want to know more about!)

4. Which brings me to my rant of 2015: New Google.  Or Newgle.  Noogle?  Whatever.  I hate it.  The only Google product I know of that has a "Complain to Google" button in the corner is this here Blogger which I am using to write this here blog post, and it takes some restraint, sometimes, not to click that button to make my complaints about unrelated Google issues.  I can't think of any problems I have with Blogger.  There are features I'd like--such as having the Stats broken down by post, rather than just being able to see, "Here are the posts that were popular this week" and "Here are the search terms that brought people here"; rather, being able to see "Here are the search terms that brought people to this specific post" but I digress, and in the middle of a sentence no less!--but for the most part, it's not Blogger that I want to complain about.  It's Google Maps.  It's the loss of Google Reader (I know that's like, a 2011 problem, but I know I'm not the only one who's still griping about this.  There is to date no replacement that is half as good as Google Reader, particularly if you want to read the archives of a blog that has been around for many years--or even more than thirty days).  In general, it's the way Google--going down the path of all computery businesses that Google was supposed to free us from--has become less customizable and more bossy.  The reason I don't like my husband's iPhone is because I feel like Apple thinks they are smarter than I am and are trying to tell me what I want.  Sometimes, yes, entrepreneurs and technology geniuses do know what people want, that they didn't realize they want.  But sometimes I really know what I want.  I used to feel that Google understood this, that it was intuitive, helping me figure out how to do what I want, that it did not try to think for me and boss me around.
     No more do I feel this way.  For example, this morning, when I was trying to search on Google for that September 10, 2012, Jezebel article about women getting fired for being pregnant, I knew that I wanted an article from Jezebel.  But when I searched for "jezebel pregnant woman fired" and change the date range to be September 2012, Google gave me a bunch of results for other websites, with a little note under each search result showing me "Missing: jezebel".  Every single search result had "jezebel" crossed out.  That was the main search term I was looking for.  THAT WAS THE ONE THING I WANTED, GOOGLE.  WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO DICTATE WHAT I WANT?
     Luckily, I know some advanced search functions and was able to revise my search to "site:jezebel.com: pregnant woman fired" and get what I wanted.  But why do I have to do this?  I feel like Old Google would not have done that to me.

5. Back to what Facebook told me happened On This Day.  It's the two-year adoption anniversary of our cat, Kokusho!  Two years ago the little black cat who found her way from a parking lot into the hearts of someone allergic to cats, found her way into our home and hearts.  She immediately went into heat, before we could get her fixed, and kept us up all night meowing and crying and throwing herself at the back window where I guess there was a male stray cat lurking around.  It was the week my first (ungraded) legal writing assignment was due, and I was sleep-deprived and a little stressed out.  Here is a picture of her then:

and now:


It's not always easy to photograph a black cat.

One day I will take a video proving that she knows commands like "sit."

6. Also On This Day, five years ago, I wrote about going to Broder.  Broder is a Swedish restaurant in Portland, and it was one of my favorite Portland restaurants.  Around Labor Day 2010, they started serving dinner, on a sort of experimental basis with paper menus written the day of.  It was charming.  I've been having a lot of nostalgia for 2010 Portland lately, the year I became close with one of my best friends and the year I met my now-husband, a period in which I had a lot of free time to explore the city, go out with my friends, read, write, try new recipes, and secretly fret about having no purpose in life.  Now I have the latter and feel nostalgic for the rest.

7. I also keep thinking about September of eight years ago, when my purpose seemed to be continuing my study of botany, getting a PhD, and becoming a researcher and professor.  I've been doing a lot of useless "what if?" thinking.  There's really nothing useful to say about this.  Just that I've been daydreaming about places and people from the past.  I wish I could have a dream picnic where my friends from all of the places I've lived were in attendance, as well as my friend in Germany and her family, and everyone could make friends and play board games and ladder golf and it would be a potluck, it would be sunny and not humid, there would be no mosquitoes, we'd have a fire pit when it got dark out, and I wouldn't feel sleepy at 10:30 and be able to stay up waaaaaay past my bedtime.

8. I'll save most of this for the law blog--I don't write much about school or work because I want to keep my work reputation separate from anything silly I write here (like that time I thought a stranger going through the recycling was my now-husband and called him "Handsome Man"), and because there's a danger, when I get talking about such things, that I will drift...nay, plunge rapidly, into a loud, all-caps, table-overturning rant about something controversial.  That's not what people come here for.  People who come here at all come here for the bad stick figure drawings (those need to come back) of my dumb adventures (why isn't there a stick figure account of the time I thought the trash-sorting guy was my boyfriend?), accounts of my dumb adventures (see: man looking for returnables not my husband), pictures of cats and flowers and vacations, and rambles about cooking, crafts, and gardening. We don't need to talk about legal personhood or sad current events here.
      What I wanted to announce (blog-official!) was that I currently feel very committed--botany-nostalgia notwithstanding--to a career in civil rights and constitutional law.  I've spent my summer and part of this school year doing just that, and I don't want to give it up for something easier or more practical.  I really love it.  It makes me so happy, as happy as I was leading garden tours, doing herbarium research, or conducting research to track people down at my first law office job.  A year ago, this was what I wanted to do, but wasn't sure if it was a realistic dream.  But the only way to make it a realistic dream is to invest in it, so I'm fully invested (but not letting go of other issues that I think connect to people's rights and things that are important to me, such as consumer protection and land use.  In my dreams I will do what I am doing now plus things like fair housing and environmental justice work.)

9.  On a lighter note--banh mi!  I learned how to make it, and all components of it from scratch, and Handsome Man and I have been eating banh mi almost every day.  This deserves its own post.

10.  Along with the partially-drafted salad roll tutorial post and a partially-drafted post about buying new herbs for the garden at the Asian market between my house and my office.

No comments: