Archive for the 'work' Category


The new summer intern here was telling me about a street cart on 53rd and 6th ave. I wanted to throw him out the window. I refuse to do the age math on this situation but suffice to say its fucking grim GRIM.

The entire episode has me reviewing the employee handbook’s section on permissible forms of intern hazing. It’s very vague, but ambiguity is the playground of my profession. Can’t wait til my assigned mentee starts in the midsummer session.


Well, at least I still have my physical health, and the love and admiration of my peers.

200 hours

200 hours this month, or bust.  And by bust, I mean, bust.

RIP LionLink.   DSA hardly knew ye.

Work trick

I’m slowly learning how to collaborate effectively with having secretarial/administrative staff. My new trick is to wait until they are swamped with work, then give them something even more onerous that’s due tomorrow; wait an hour; and call them to tell since they are so swamped with other work, they can do it next week. Giveth and taketh away.

Boss’ kid

Snow day meant Partner’s thirteen yr old son idled around the office this afternoon. I thought I would interact with the kid a bit, thought it would curry favor with Partner. Let’s see, what did I like was I was thirteen: oh, I know! Programming languages!

“Michael, Michael, do you know SQL?”.

Blank stare.

“You know, databases. SQL, right?”.

Long silence, because I hadn’t mentally prepared for this scenario.

“No? SQL. You haven’t learned SQL yet? S-Q-L. Like MySQL.”

Filling time with an awkward grin.

“Not yet? Don’t you go to school now? I thought you went to some camp for this.”

Partner overhears, intervenes: “hm, no probably doesn’t know that.”

“Oh okay it’s just that I found out our firm website has an SQL injection vulnerability and I thought if you wanted to later we could draft a malformed query to see what can happen maybe cause some hijinks or something yknow if you werent busy. Hey it’s cool no big deal okay gotta get back to go back to work hey slap me five wait what yeah naw dude.”

And so it stands, in ascending order of awkward interactions:

5. Waitresses
4. Middle aged co-workers
3. Small children
2. Children of middle-aged co-workers
1. Animals; pets

Hows work

Anon or not; I might not last the week. I’ve never actually been yelled at like I was a small child. I wanted to throw the phone across the room and cuss: hogshit pissfuck cockshank tithorse jagmule. So worked up, that I got out, drove home, doing 20 above the limit, put on shoes, and ran a few miles. Until it was nighttime, with a darkness unlit by my incandescent frustration.

dream: sysadmin

I just woke up, sweaty and terrified.  I just dreamt– and I am not kidding here– I was a system adminstrator back at AITGOC, and I had wildly mis-configured the servers such that the network is jammed, TPS packets were overflowing, the database is incorrectly formatted in MyISAM instead of InnoDB, and four months of tape backups are lost, due to a typo in an ini file. We were in the machine room,  JLG and Gecko working furiously to undo the damage, alternating turning around to wipe their brow and to scream profanity at me.

Two gentle observations.

  1. That “TPS packets”  do not in fact exist  evinces the fiction of my dream.   More so, it reveals I do not even know enough as a system adminsitrator to conjure a proper nightmare.
  2. System adminstration brands the souls of men with a curious well-formed mark.

career goals

It seems a good way to steer your career is to base your goals on qualifications for jobs you wish you had.  In other words, job listings make good career roadmaps.

Here’s an example. Facebook is seeking to hire a patent counsel.   I have none of the listed preferred skills and experience.  But I’m going to write them down now, but convert them into to-do actions for the next five years:

  • Get 3-9 years of patent prosecution experience
  • Manage an in-house patent prosecution program
  • Identify strategic areas for patenting and patentable inventions
  • Evaluate potential acquisitions
  • Educate employees on patent law issues
  • Improve internal processes

Now I can go to my boss and say, Jim– I imagine his name is Jim, because why not– Jim, I would love to get some experience evaluating potential acquisitions for our clients.  If you hear of any of new deals, let me know and I would be happy to help out.   Check the box.   Jim, can I sit in next time you teach the clients about patent issues?  Check.

After five years, all these to-do items become bullet points on my resumé and I just might get that dream job, economy in a shitter notwithstanding.  What do you think?

exchange: office, comparatively

From: selfish
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 2:43 PM

Happy thursday!

There’s a mouse sneaking around and it has sent the office into a frenzy. The secretaries are consumed by the hunt for this thing. they’re putting cheese everywhere to try to draw it out. Also, today is Bagels Thursday.

how’s it going over there?

From: V
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 2:47 PM
To: selfish crab

A guy just scaled our building! So that’s pretty exciting. I’ve had a busy day. Going to negotiation training soon.

From: selfish crab
Date: Thu, Jun 5, 2008 at 3:08 PM
To: V

show off.

sam i am

I would like to briefly address the rumors of magical virility bestowed by time spent in Hamilton Hall. Yes, it’s true. If you wish to bear forth, work a few days in the basement, close a few bugzilla tickets, and you will have your sons.

Congrats to everyone. And, yes, I have some good name ideas.

protest or visit

NY Times profiles Columbia University as a travel destination. I guess the Ahmedinejad incident put us on the map. Don’t miss the Sundial shoutout near the end.

Also, from its recent ‘College Issue’ , some loving memories from Daniel Alarcon CC ’99 in trying to create positions for ethnic studies, including hunger strikes and building storming.


Glad to hear there was a good ol’ fashioned PUTSCH! in the old stomping grounds. So now this means there is a job opening. Which is nice timing because I am looking for a job too. Firms are having trouble seeing that I am a bright person bursting with wit and creativity, an earnest, honest creature actually pleasant to work with. I’m not saying I am giving up on the Great Crab Law Quest of 2007, but at what point amidst the mounting rejections does a guy stop asking girls to the prom, and realize that he is probably spending Prom Night at home with a deck of Magic cards…

This is me, putting the ‘scour’ in ‘discouraged’ .

last day

This series of emails on my last day summarizes half of my summer experience fairly well.

Read the rest of this entry »

last softball game

In my last week at Dickerson & Dodds, we had another softball game. Donald Dickerson (the DICKERSON in Dickerson & Dodds) had flown in from the LA office, was visiting, and decided to participate.

No, I did not bean the named partner of our firm, thank you very much. I did hear him mutter to the other partners, “Who is that emphatically un-athletic young man on our team?”

Cross your fingers for an invite back next year.

coffee hypo

Let’s say you happen to be in your firm’s break room, getting a cup of coffee from the coffee machine. Allow me to describe the coffee machine. This coffee machine is leased directly from Starbucks. It is grey, free-standing, and as tall as the fridge. The machine has two top-loading bins, each storing a different type of whole coffee beans. Upon the touch of three mere buttons, the machine will grind beans, clack-clack-clack, whirl, rumble, pause, and then dispense caffeinated nectar in 8 or 12 oz dosages. Its brew is strong and true, and its importance to the firm cannot be overstated. Good machine.

Now let’s say you are a thoughtful employee and you notice, after receiving your cup of coffee, the bean bins are running low. You decide to refill the coffee machine. You retrieve a bag of Starbucks beans from the pantry, open the bag, and take a deep whiff. Mmm.. coffee. I am one fine summer intern, you think to yourself, yes indeed

As you stand on your toes, reach up, and pour the bag into the left bin, two things hypothetically happen: (1) You notice that oh my god you are pouring an entire bag of “decaf” beans into the “medium house blend” bin; and (2) Two partners and a senior associate walk into the break room, carrying mugs. Congratulations. You have just diluted an entire week’s worth of coffee with decaf, and the partners are right behind you. Now, reader, what do you do?

  1. Close the bin, hide the empty bag, and pray for a placebo effect;
  2. Go back to your office, close the door, and sharpen your resume;
  3. Come back to the break room later, and try to mix in a bag of regular beans with the decaf beans, using a plastic knife as a spoon, hoping for only a slight average decrease in caffeination; or
  4. All of the above.

softball III

Game day arrives. And so do we to a nearby public school diamond. Our spirits are high. The secretaries bring drinks, peanuts, crackerjacks, and fill the bleachers with cheers. We warm up. We have partners, attorneys, clerks, accountants. The other team arrives, boisterous and slightly younger.

5:30pm. Our team takes the field. I take the mound. I stop and think, Hm, this mound is a bit farther than it was in practice. I pause. The batter takes practice swings. I look behind me; my team looks back at me. I turn to the bleachers; they cheer my name. I pause again. Nothing happens unless I start. ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod, i am literally, geographically, thematically the center of this game. all eyes are on me, a giant burning ball of attention on my back. what the fuck am i doing on this field i have never played on a baseball field in my life i have no business playing any team sport let alone this one.

I gulp and let a pitch fly. Wild pitch. Another pitch: way overhead. Another one: bounces on the ground. Another, overhead. Way outside. High. Outside. Beans the batter. Actually. beans. the. batter. holy fuck this is still the first batter.

I try to dispel the tension. “Heh heh I think I could use a beer, ” I call out. Chuckles abound. yes yes a beer joke. everyone likes those. “Must be my nerves. Heh heh.”

One pitch finally goes over the plate. Hit. Batter takes a base and a new batter approaches. More wild pitches. The crowd quiets. They must realize that, holy shit, this isn’t a joke, this fucker cannot pitch underhand over 10 feet. Partner Coach realizes something must be done.


He calls out a secretary in the bleachers.

“Feel like pitching?”

“Sure!” she chirps back, grabs a mitt, and replaces me on the mound.

“Hey, don’t worry, [crab], you can still bat later.”

And there I am, at 5:40 pm, sitting alone on the bench.

softball II

During practice, I followed the plan and made obvious my ignorance of baseball (“okay where do I stand. okay which base is second”). This must have led Partner Coach to find a Position Of Least Harm for me:

“Do you want to give pitching a try?”


“Get up there.”


Five underhand slow pitches later and I was pitcher. Later, batting practice revealed my hitting style akin to Ichiro. I left practice feeling good, feeling useful, feeling confident.