Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's Summer in Chicago -- Crime on the Richest Block in the City

According to the Chicago Tribune, there has been a series of burglaries of businesses in Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast.  In addition:
Authorities also warned of an armed robber who held up people in the 2000 block of North Burling Street and in the 500 block of West Eugenie Street. In both instances, the robber pulled a handgun and announced a robbery.

Police only had vague descriptions for the business thefts, but described the street robber as an African-American man, between 18 and 25, 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-2, with a medium to dark complexion. Police had no clothing description.
Let me tell you a little bit about the 2000 block of North Burling.  Forbes called it the richest block in the city.  I'm lucky enough to live within a few block of here, and it is a beautiful street.  Gawkworthy.  It's  part of my running route.  Here is a link to some Flickr pictures of the area.  For example, this is the tiny 27,000 square foot Parillo mansion:

Another one:

Here is a link to an article discussing some of the mansions in the area, including the Parillo mansion.  (Orchard Street, also referenced, is one block east of N. Burling and similarly littered with mansions.)

In other words, this is a nice area.  I shouldn't be surprised that the criminals may believe they'll have better spoils in a location like this, but hearing about people getting robbed at gunpoint on a street like this -- a street I run on every morning -- is extremely disconcerting.  I had no idea people were getting robbed at gunpoing a few blocks from my house, in an area that feels about as safe as you can get.  The media doesn't report any of this, except in a tiny article that you blink or you'll miss.

Worse, the flash mob problems that were happening last year are happening again this year in the Magnificent Mile area:
Here's how victims describe how the thieves operate:

Several teens walk in, and at first only want to ask for you to contribute money for a cause.

In the meantime, one of them grabs your cell phone and takes off.
But, it gets worse:
[The weekend of June 8-11], a series of "flash mob" attacks were reported downtown. In the first attack on Saturday night, a 40-year-old Michigan man was beaten and robbed by a group of at least eight teenagers on the 500 block of North State Street. Thirty minutes later, near the Lake/State Red Line station, a couple was attacked by an unknown number of assailants. On Sunday, a 36-year-old man walking home from work in the Gold Coast was attacked by 15 to 20 males and females, all believed to be teenagers, according to police reports.

You hear very little of any of this in the media.  Every now and then there is a brief, fleeting article, like the ones I've linked above.  Journalism is a joke in this city.  Where are the demands from the Tribune and the Sun Times for more police?  Or how about accountability from the teenagers' parents?  Why isn't someone bringing attention to these mobs of teenagers who think they can run the city?  The reason is because they feel it will incite a race war.  This is why the Tribune disables comments on any article they run on crime, mobs, and attacks.  It's shocking to me that they actually reported the race of the N. Burling robber in the above article.  Normally they don't.  Frankly, I don't care what race anyone is as long as they aren't robbing, mugging, and attacking people.  It's sad.  Chicago is such a nice city, and it's being ruined.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Great Careers for Women -- Patent Law

This is a public service message.

Somewhere out there, a 17 or 19 or 21 year old girl (woman?) is wondering...what the hell should I do for a living?  How can I do something fulfilling, fun (for work), where I can wear fabulous clothes, and make good money?  I have the answer. 

I give these speeches at events at my undergraduate school, because that's how I learned about patent law.  It's my way of giving back.  When I was 18, I didn't even know what a patent was, much less that you could actually be an attorney if you got a technical degree.  I actually thought you had to get a "prelaw" degree or some such nonsense to go to law school.  I was a little sheltered. 

Ladies -- go into patent law.

How do you go into patent law?  Start out with a bachelor of science degree, preferably in some kind of engineering, but math, physics, biology, and chemistry will also be fine.  Something technical -- a "hard science."  Work for at least two years in that field.  Do not -- I repeat, do not -- go straight to law school after you get your bachelor's degree.  As a woman, you should be able to find a job in a technical field.  You are a minority -- diversity is king these days.  If for some reason, you can't after sending out at least 100 resumes and custom cover letters (no, this is not a typo--100), then I will allow you to go straight to law school.  This should not happen for any of you.

After working for two years, go to law school.  Try to go to a school that has a halfway decent intellectual property program.  Or go to a Top 20 school, if you can get in.  Take patent law, trademark law, copyright law, and any other intellectual property classes your school offers, such as trial advocacy, trade secrets.  If your school offers a "major" (certificate) in IP law, get that.  Take the Patent Bar Exam during the fall of your second year in law school.  (If you study for and take it at the same time as you take Patent Law, you will ACE patent law.  Trust me on this.)

Why would you want to go into patent law?  *I hope to not offend anyone here, but I might.

1.  You will be in the minority, which means its easier to get a job.  I'm not saying you can be a complete dumbass idiot and trip and fall into this field.  Chances are, if you managed to get a hard science bachelor's degree, you are far from an idiot.  What I'm saying is that the majority of people in this field are white men.  Law firms want diversity.  Do the math.  (I know you can, since you likely took two years of Calculus.)  This is a heavily male dominated field.  I can't tell you how many times I've been the only female attorney with an appearance in on a case. 

2.  When you get into the job, the same "minorityish" rules apply.  Certain Judges out there hate it when there are no women on the litigation team.  The law firms know who they are.  I've been assigned to cases randomly after we draw the Judge.  In short, you can get some good work just because you are female.  (Some might ask if I care -- no, I don't.  I work at a place that if I wasn't doing good work, I'd be fired, so I don't really worry that I'm getting special treatment.  I kind of laugh when the guys are like "Shit, do you have time to work on this case?  We drew Judge X."  Sure, sure.)  Further, there are a lot of female federal judges these days.  Law firms want female attorneys on cases with female judges.  Again, do the math. 

3.  If you aren't the type to want to get up in court and speak, you can be a patent prosecution attorney, which means you write patent applications and convince the patent office (in writing) to grant your inventor's patent.  Women are needed here, too, because more women than ever are inventing things.  Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus, women are sadly lacking in the field of patent prosecution.

4.  You will make good money.  Patent attorneys are on the higher end of the pay scale when it comes to lawyering.  It's an amazingly specialized field.  (You should start at close to or over 6 figures). 

5.  Because you work in a largely male dominated field, you can get away with a lot when it comes to fashion.  Men have no idea what is appropriate unless it is wildly inappropriate.  You can follow trends.  Just be conservative for clients, court and depositions.

6.  You get to learn about a lot of different types of technology and how they work.  I know all the best brands of cell phones, TVs, etc. 

7.  You don't have to give legal advice to random people.  Lawyering is one of those jobs that when people find out you are a lawyer, they want to immediately start asking you for advice on any topic.  The problem is, being a lawyer is a lot like being a doctor -- after awhile, you get really specialized.  If I got arrested, I'd be freaking about what to do and calling one of my criminal defense friends.  Likewise, while I could probably write my own will, I'll likely go to an attorney who specializes in that to do it.  Just because you have a bar card doesn't mean you should be willy nilly practicing all kinds of law.  Hardly anyone you ever meet has invented something or plans to invent something.  People talk big about it, but no one really does it.  So, you kind of get off a lot more scot free than, say, someone who specializes in family or criminal law.

8.    It really is a fun job.  If you like writing and researching, you are in a very specialized field.  Patent law even has its own appeals court, the Federal Circuit.  It's a small community of attorneys who practice it.  Almost everyone has engineering or other technical degrees.  You are removed from other types of attorneys.  It's just plain fun and unique.

End of public service message.  Go into patent law, ladies! 

Well, True Blood is Back. And It Sucks.

I can't believe I was even excited for the premiere of True Blood last Sunday.  I actually had forgotten how utterly awful last season was when I saw Christopher Meloni (!) and Alexander Skarsgard in the previews for this season.

I'm going to assume you've seen it. If you want a recap, go over to Television Without Pity.

So, you have Soooookie.  Gap toothed Anna Paquin, who I know can act, yet doesn't show any acting skills at all in this show.  She's supposed to be Sooookie of the magical fairy land, and thank God for that, because otherwise I would have to question why anyone on the entire show would want to be around her, much less fall in love with her.  And yet she's got Bill, Eric, Alcide.  I mean, seriously?  All these hotties of the netherworld are in love with this total dumbass who constantly says dumbass things and makes dumbass decisions?  Oh, but she's really smart and tough.  Yeah, right.

And Tara.  The writers of the show have completely destroyed this character.  I'm surprised people aren't crying racism.  She started out fine, but has worked her way into complete nutbar land.  And now they've gone and turned her into a vampire?  They should've left her dead.  Let's let the actress go find a better role. 

Bill and Eric could lead to some interesting adventures.  Why don't we kill off everyone else and follow them around?  Lafayette is too angst ridden now.  Sam is boring.  Jason is ...bleh.  Jessica...could be fun, but I hate what she did to Hoyt.  Holly and Andy...I could care less about this storyline.  Ditto for Arlene and Terry.  There are too many characters and too many storylines.  This has been a problem for the past couple of seasons.  Why so much?  Why not narrow it down a little bit?   

Hoyt.  I like Hoyt.  I hate that now he's all angsty over Jessica. 

The only saving grace about this entire show is Pam (Kristen Bauer was utterly wasted in a tiny role as Malificent in Once Upon a Time this season).  Maybe the whole show should be about Pam.    

And yet -- I can't stop watching.  I need to see what Christopher Meloni is going to do with this.

The One Where I Decide To Get Healthy!

Yes, I'm now ripping off Friends.

My case settled!  Yay for my client.  Boo for me.  I wanted to go to trial again.  Oh well.  There will be more opportunities ahead.

So, since I quit smoking on March 22 (!!!) and was out of town for three weeks on trial and eating whatever whenever (thank you McCormick & Schmick's), I put on a few pounds.  When I got home from trial in early May, I was stunned to see that I weighed 145 lbs.  Eek!  I'm 5'6", so that is still within the range of healthy, but for me it was too damn much.  I was shocked and horrified. 

To no one's surprise, I began counting calories and exercising immediately.  I'm down to 140 lbs now, and feeling quite good about the whole process.  In fact, I'm not sure if it's because of my quitting smoking or what, but I've now decided to challenge myself to get into great shape.  Like, I want to actually, truly make this a lifestyle change.  This doesn't mean I intend to give up microbrewed beer and cheeseburgers forever, but to do it all in moderation.  I'm in no rush to really lose the weight -- I'm not going to starve myself or anything -- and as a result, it's been coming off rather well, and I haven't felt much worse for the wear. 

And I've started regularly exercising!  IN THE MORNING.

You might not realize that the "in the morning" part of this is huge for me.  I love sleeping, and I love sleeping in.  So, you might wonder, what has gotten me out of bed at 6 a.m.?  (Yes, SIX A.M.!)  Two things.

1.  Couch to 5 K.  I've never been a runner.  I always hated running.  Hated it.  Thought it was the most boring thing on the entire planet.  We used to have to do a "city" run when I was on crew in high school which was an 11 mile run.  I was always last -- and I was in good shape back then!  You see, there is this 5K run every fall called the Race Judicata.  All the law firms do it, and it's for charity and all that business.  My firm does it.  All my friends do it.  I've never done it.  And I got to thinking -- maybe I should actually do it this year?  So, I downloaded the Couch to 5K app onto my iPhone, and started doing it.  Who knew that all I needed was a goal, directions, and beautiful weather to start enjoying running?  The app is fabulous -- it's nine weeks of three times a week, where you basically train to run a 5k.  It tells you when to walk, when to jog, when to cool down, and is only 30 minutes.  See, I can do 30 minutes.  What is bizarre for me is that I'm dying to get out of bed in the morning to go and do this.  I also bought these:

They are Asics Nimbus 13, and are like walking on air.  And they are purple and gray.  Yay for prettiness!  So, anyway, I will finish off week 4 tomorrow, and am well on my way to being able to run a 5k.  Very exciting.

2.  Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred.  On days that I'm not running (or sometimes on days that I am), I'm doing this.  I thought I had done challenging workouts before.  Not compared to this.  The way it works is that there are 3 Levels that are about 25 minutes each.  You do Level 1 for 10 days, Level 2 for 10 days, and Level 3 for 10 days.  All you need is a set of handweights (or something to substitute for handweights.)  It's circuit training, so you do a few minutes of strength, followed by a couple of minutes of cardio, followed by one minute of abs, and you do it three times in three different combinations.  The most awesome part of it all is that it's only about 25 minutes long and I am usually dying by the end of it.  I mean, dripping with sweat.  Typically, the first day I do a new level, I can't even do it.  This is not an easy workout.  But man, you feel like you are working!  I'm digging Jillian.

I also usually do a little bit of Wii Just Dance 1, 2, or 3 each day also -- talk about a good cardio burn.  If you do Just Sweat mode, do the songs with the three sweat drops for the biggest workout.  From my measurements on my heart rate monitor, 10 sweat points = 1 calorie burned.  What's fantastic is that there are songs where you can burn over 500 sweat points, so 50+ calories in about 5 minutes?  Not bad.  I also still like to do the Super Hula Hoop on the Wii Fit. 

I'm also, of course, watching my calories.  And, in addition to the 5 lb weight loss, I feel so much stronger, healthier, and better. 

And I've decided that I'm going to do Insanity.  You've maybe seen the infomercials?  It was either that or P90X, and since the Insanity workouts were shorter, the timing is only 60 days, and you don't need any excess equipment, I decided on Insanity.  I don't know why I'm doing this except to challenge myself.  I'm going to start it in the next few weeks -- probably once I finish Couch to 5K and 30 Day Shred.  That should be interesting.  You may find me laying in a puddle of sweat in my basement.       

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Slutty Wednesday -- And The Country Cries

When I was in high school, we wore harem pants (a.k.a. M.C. Hammer pants), acid washed jeans, sweatshirts, flannel shirts, and rugby shirts.  Hardly any girls ever wore dresses, skirts, or anything skimpy.  Oddly enough, no one complained. 

Times have changed.

Apparently some of the girls at Stuyvesant High School in New York are tired of their school's "conservative" dress code.  It prohibits the exposure of shoulders, midriffs, lower backs, bras and undies.  Can you imagine the nerve?  No wonder they are upset.  As a result of this outrage, nearly 100 girls dressed in a risque manner yesterday, in honor of "Slutty Wednesday."

Listen to this genius:
“We work our asses off here, and school is about learning. Clothing is not important,” said ninth-grader [omitted name], who said she has been sent to the office 10 times this school year for showing off too much cleavage, midriff or shoulder.

This is a kid who has absolutely no concept of the real world, respecting authority, respecting herself, or considering why there might be such a dress code.  I'll use that excuse with the Judge, how about that?  "I'm working my ass off here, and court is about litigation.  Clothing is not important."  And I'll wear my thigh high boots, low cut top with no bra, and miniskirt.  I'm sure that will go over well.  Because you know where else prohibits the exposure of shoulders, midriffs, lower backs, bras and undies?  Pretty much every job on the planet, unless you are working at a bar or strip club.

Here is another outrageous rule:
Shorts, dresses and skirts are not permitted to end above the fingertips when students extend their arms down at their sides.
I think my high school had the same one.

Here is what else the above genius had to say:  “Sometimes, the teachers will call you out in the hallway, [but] I like what I wear. I want to have my own style in school,” she added."

By calling this event "Slutty Wednesday," her argument about "style" becomes a nonissue.  It isn't about style if you are applauding dressing like a "slut."  It's about dressing like a "slut."  On a side note, it's hilarious to me that women will get so outraged when people use the word "Slutty," but then they go and use the word themselves.  I don't find it empowering to use a derogatory word -- I think it only encourages other people to use it.

God, I can't wait until these kids have to face the real world. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Well, I Can’t Promise It’s Going to Get Any Better

I’m terrible.  I’m not blogging, I’m not tweeting!  I am pre-trialing and post-trialing.  This is really the strangest situation.  I’m coming off one trial, so we are doing all the post-trial work for that (because we won, the other side has started the process of arguing that the jury was wrong), and I have another trial starting in three weeks, so I’m doing all the pretrial work for that one. 
So, needless to say, things have been a little busy.  I don't even have that much to update on because I've mainly been working.  I'm relieving my stress by running in the mornings before work.  I've never been much of a "get up early to work out" person, but the weather has been so beautiful that I've kind of been bouncing out of bed in the morning just to be outside.  (Especially considering once I get to work I am sitting in my office all day long until it's dark out, so I don't get to enjoy any of it.) 
For now, I'll leave you with the song that makes me run faster each morning!  It's a fun one.  And I'm not kidding -- it makes me want to dance and sprint! 

I will check in when I can, but it is going to be sporadic for the next month or so -- unless this case that is supposed to go to trial settles in the meantime, which is always possible.