Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More Venting

Okay, I don't really want to pile on, but I kinda have to get this off my chest and this seems like the most innocuous place to do it. Here is another list of things that annoy me about my office mates:

1. Waaaaay Too Anal.

Okay, I know we're lawyers and we're supposed to strive for a level of accuracy in what we present to decisionmakers, but sometimes my office gets ridiculous about it. I've already blogged about one incident that annoyed the bejeezus out of me. What's one month?

Today, a second incident had me rolling my eyes. We were preparing a Complaint for filing in the courthouse. One of the allegations we wanted to make was that something happened to my client while a bunch of people were heading to a convention out of town. The point being, of course, that something happened. That something that happened? The basis for the lawsuit. Where they were heading? Not so important. And yet my assistant insisted on holding things up just that much longer by editing the document again: she wasn't on her way to a "conference," it was more of a "seminar." Who the hell cares?, I wanted to scream, but I just let her obsess over this stupid little unimportant detail, rolled my eyes, and let her explain to the client why the document wasn't quite ready when she came in to sign it.

2. No Organizational Skills.

Okay, so I know I'm not the most organized person in the world, but frankly, that's what law firm subordinates usually can help you take care of. Not mine. Need to find an Order? We're not sure where it is. What about that motion? It should be filed under there... but it's not.

In addition, the computer files are a mess and a half. Sure, we have a nice folder called "Clients" under which we have subdirectories for each client name. After that, it's rather a jumble. "Pleadings" contains anything that could even resemble a court filing, even if it's much more appropriately filed in "discovery." Not noticing what directories have already been created, I often see a folder for "Pretrial" and another one for "Pre-trial." Motions in Limine, which are by definition pretrial motions, aren't found "Pretrial" or even in "Discovery", but in some random third directory. "Memos" usually only contains one file, placed there by the person who created the directory, while other memos are scattered all over the place. File names are also wildly inconsistent; some have dates in front of them, others don't; some are just called "letter" and others are (appropriately) named with much more detail.

Once I wanted to locate the computer version of a motion to compel (I would consider this a discovery motion thus properly filed under "discovery"), and couldn't find it. I had to ask an assistant where it was, and she told me, "Try the document called 'Amended Complaint.'" Huh, I responded. Go fig. Makes perfect sense. The motion to compel is saved as an 'amended complaint.'"

3. Copier paper.

I have no earthly idea why anyone would ever not just put an entire ream of paper into an empty copier tray. The trays are designed to hold exactly one ream of paper. Literally, a ream of paper fits precisely into the tray. Thus, when the copier indicates that both trays are empty, why is it so difficult to put a full ream of paper in each tray? Why would anyone open up a ream and put just a part of it into the tray? Why does that make any sense at all?

4. General Retardedness.

From time to time, we have to file certain documents in the courthouse. The wording for these documents is fairly standard and is set forth pretty expressly in a court rule. For as long as I can remember, I've been putting together these documents with a minimum of fuss. Then, for some reason, after literally five years of my having put these things together, suddenly a memo appears on my desk. It purports to advise just how these documents should be put together, and what words should be used. It even cites the court rule and attaches a copy of that rule. What's the big deal? you ask? The "correct format" that the memo outlines is exactly what I've been doing for the past five years. You're seriously sending me a memo to tell me how to properly do something I've been doing all this time?

I love my office mates, I really do. On balance, they're great people. But sometimes, working with them requires a hell of a lot of tolerance for some really stupid stuff.

Friday, August 25, 2006


This feature just might end up making a semi-regular appearance here.

Make your own here. [Thanks to Ryan for the link.]

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Even If It Resulted in a Cure for AIDS...."

===== 1 =====

===== 2 =====

"The Rev. Jerry Falwell, citing his belief that life begins at conception, said he opposes stem cell research even though it shows great medical promise." -- Washington Post

Talk amongst yourselves.

Photo Finish

A recent email exchange between me and my friend Jessica, who has recently returned from a trip to Iceland:

=== 1 ===

From: Jessica
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:30 PM
To: Dennis!
Subject: are we on for tonite?

=== 2 ===

From: Dennis!
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:46 PM
To: Jessica
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

dinner tonight? sure. where and what time? i have to meet someone for drinks at around 9.

=== 3 ===

From: Jessica
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:47 PM
To: Dennis!
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

6:30 -- don't care where -- any suggestions?

=== 4 ===

From: Dennis!
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 3:53 PM
To: Jessica
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

Did you like Sala Thai? Cloud had some decent tapas. And, though it's not as fancy, I am becoming a fan of Baja Fresh.

=== 5 ===

From: Jessica
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:22 PM
To: Dennis!
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

i could eat thai -- you know that i don't think tapas is enough food. i do love baja -- but let's go for better atmosphere.

=== 6 ===

From: Dennis!
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:37 PM
To: Jessica
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

let's go with sala thai then. 6.30. see you there. bring pictures.

=== 7 ===

From: Jessica
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:38 PM
To: Dennis!
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

cool. don't have pictures at work -- you have to ask in advance!

=== 8 ===

From: Dennis!
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 4:54 PM
To: Jessica
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

isn't that how this dinner date came about in the first place?

me: "oh my god, you totally have to show me pictures!"
you: "oh, we can have dinner and i can show you pictures. i have TONS of pictures."
me: "okay, sounds great. i'm SO jealous. can't wait to see the pictures! i'm sure they're beautiful!"

=== 9 ===

From: Jessica
Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2006 5:02 PM
To: Dennis!
Subject: RE: are we on for tonite?

i have no memory lately. do you still want to have dinner? i can describe the pictures.

Dinner went fine, even without the pictures, or even descriptions of them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pot, Kettle

The whole "pot calling the kettle black" thing would kinda fit here, except that it's too racist given the context.

As I walked home from the other day, I passed a well-dressed black man on the street outside one of the newly-constructed buildings on the block. He was yelling something in a very thick West African accent.

"Go back to Guatemala or Salvador or wherever!" he yelled, "You don't talk me like that!"

It was a little ironic that the guy with the thick African accent -- presumably, therefore, not born in this country -- was telling someone else who (presumably) was not born in this country to "go home."

I guess the height of assimilation would be when you feel comfortable enough to tell others to "go home," huh?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Hamster in a Cage

Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin'...
-- Journey

My parents own their own business back home. They're up before the ass-crack of dawn every single morning preparing for the day. The space they share isn't private (they have a vendor area in a large enclosed market space); they're usually the first to show up at their spot.

There's some food prep involved, so they need to be sure there's a sufficient supply to last the day well before the doors open to the public. Of course, this also means that the place needs to be cleaned, and cleaned well, at the close of business.

Officially, the market housing my parents' stall is open to the public from 6:00 a.m. to (I think) 4:00 p.m. I say "I think" because everyone in there knows that traffic dies down by 2:30 -- even on weekends -- so most people pack it in much earlier.

Instead of planning ahead and cleaning up earlier, my parents leave the cleaning to the last minute, insisting on keeping their store open for as late as possible. Despite the fact that they complain that traffic is so slow, and it's boring when no customers are around, and they really just ought to pack it in for the day already, invariably they'll just sit around (after everyone else is gone) to finally start the process of packing it in.

Cleaning is a long and arduous task for my parents. It involves hosing down the floor grates and sometimes even the area in front of the vendor area. It involves washing the kitchenware that was used to prep the food. It involves taking out the trash, tidying up the counter, tallying up the till for the day, and doing light adjusting for the next day.

Every time I go back to visit my parents, I invariably have to spend some time with them at this store. And I hate it.

The part that irks me most is when they tell me to pick them up. Usually, they'll tell me to swing by at 3:00. Yet when I do, they're never done with what they have to do. "Oh, just another fifteen minutes," they'll tell me.

But it's never "just" another fifteen minutes. My mother, having hosed down the floor, will stop, move a few items around on the counter... then re-commence the act of hosing down the floor. "Uh, didn't you just finish doing that?" I'll say. My mother will wordlessly nod her head at me in way that conveys the thought: "Yes, I know I just did it, but I'm doing it again. Trust me, I know what I'm doing."

This will suck up an additional half an hour of my time.

Not that I think the place should be left filthy, but when I'm expecting to leave and they're diddling around with what look like pointless additional tasks, my patience wears thin.


I'm working on a document for and with my boss. It's a trial brief; we're supposed to outline all the issues which may come up in trial and advise the judge how we want things done. (The judge will review this and decide whether we get what we ask for.) My boss and I both know that 9 times out of 10, the stuff we ask for will either be denied, or substantially tinkered with at the pre-trial conference.

This doesn't stop my boss from offering up perfectionism at its finest -- thereby driving me absoltely batshit.

"We need to provide a jury instruction for this proposition," he tells me, indicating Count IV of our Complaint. I draw one up for him, but of course, it takes six drafts before he's satisfied with it. Never mind that the judge will have something to say about it too, meaning what I've just finished will not be what the jury hears. And never mind that the instruction that I wrote may be perceived as too biased in favor of my client (duh!) and it will likely be changed accordingly. No, we must submit something that would only be used in a utopian world.

Similarly, I work up a proposed verdict form. In most cases, it's not too difficult: "Do you find for Plaintiff or Defendant?" followed by "If Plaintiff, how much do you award?" It's never that easy with my boss. We go into backs and forths about how much needs to be in there, what the jury needs to find, how the words need to be tweaked, how the words need to be consistent. Again, I am 98% certain that the form we submit will not survive unscathed before it reaches a jury. If we're lucky, it'll serve as a starting point for the butchering process that the judge will undertake. And if opposing counsel has anything to say about it, still more butchering will take place.

Yes, it's good and fine to have a decent product at the get-go... but oftentimes I feel like I'm spinning my wheels in the ultimate search for a wholly unattainable goal. The day that I walk into a pretrial conference and have the judge accept without question every single word I've committed to paper is the day I sprout wings and fly off into the horizon.


Ever notice how the Flintstones characters always hover for just a moment before they dash off at high speed? They're in the air, legs working away, but they're not moving. Sometimes they even have the time to get in several parts of a conversation before they achieve critical velocity and take off.

Sometimes I feel like I'm perpetually in that early startup stage. Are we going anywhere yet? No, let's keep talking while you hover there and work your legs.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Perfection in a Smelly Package

Maybe it's just my particular friends, but I've noticed that a vast majority of the women whose homes I have the opportunity to visit are exceedingly clean. On top of that, women just seem to have this innate need -- and, more importantly, ability -- to ensure that things are clean and neat and orderly.

For example, whenever there's a party at someone's house, there generally seems to be a female guest who compulsively makes sure things are clean along the way -- picking up stray cups and bottles, and removing bits of trash like wadded paper towels and empty paper plates. I don't mean to sound sexist, but that just seems to be the case. Men don't give a crap. Empty bottles and wadded up napkins just remain where they are, to be tidied up later when the room magically returns to a state Martha Stewart would be proud of.

Women just seem to have this gift for making sure things look good. I mean, some ladies I know can almost literally just throw some pieces of tissue paper together with minimal effort and come up with a wonderful decorative effect. Others don't seem to have to work very hard to make their apartments tastefully and neatly decorated. Men, on the other hand: slobs. There's some merit to the notion that a bachelor's apartment "could use a woman's touch."

Why, one might even surmise that some women can even make throwing up an art form.

Well whaddya know? (What a segue!)

The other night, some friends and I went out for drinks after work. Drinks turned to, well, several drinks, after which we decided to stop off for some food. We dined al fresco in a wonderful patio area at a Thai restaurant downtown. After some scintillating conversation and several tasty curry dishes, rice, and drunken noodles plates* (ordered by various people, not all by me), my friend Lily calmly stated, "I have to go now."

[* I should say, ordering drunken noodles after a night of heavy drinking was quite genius.]

The bill had not yet arrived, nor had we actually ordered dessert yet as we had planned. It was unclear why she suddenly had to leave.

The lack of clarity lasted for only about a minute.

Lily made her way to a piece of shrubbery about ten paces up the sidewalk and, unable to control herself any longer, bent over and began emptying the contents of her stomach. Her boyfriend, thankfully, had picked up on her several hints before she got up, dropped some cash on the table, and had followed her. Here was his very own "hold her hair" moment.

[Aside: This is the same girl who once picked up a cute boy at Dewey and actually brought him back to the house we were all staying at... where she started the reverse peristalsis process in the upstairs bathroom. Embarrassed, she refused to let anyone into the bathroom to help her or even rub her back or whatever people do. Left to deal with the cute boy she had brought home, I asked what he wanted to do given the circumstances. "I don't think she's going to let you in while she's, uh, unloading," I told him. "It's okay," he responded, "she's so cute even when booting I'd hold her hair any day." It was strangely sweet. I felt bad for the poor guy. I eventually got him into a cab, even though he was planning on spending the night. Part of me would have offered to share a bed with him and make some advances on him, but I don't think that would have been cool.]

Lily and her boyfriend left after that, and the rest of us stayed behind (we all knew that Lily would not have wanted us to help her out -- she gets quite embarrassed by this, which is odd, because despite her embarrassment it does seem to happen a lot). We had dessert, chatted some more, paid the bill, and headed out.

On the way out, I couldn't help stopping at the shrubbery Lily had so recently encamped herself at. I even mocked her a bit by bending over (at the waist, to make sure I didn't get too close) and saying to my friends, "Hey, look! Who am I? Who am I?" At first, I couldn't spot her deposit at all... until I realized that I was looking right at it. (Three guesses as to what gave it away, and the first two don't count). It was a perfectly hemispheric mound; the only thing setting it apart from the rest of the area was the fact that it was a different color. Otherwise, I kid you not, it looked like a mini pitcher's mound. Nicely rounded. No spatter. No uneven edges. (A very very small) Charlie Brown could have tried to pitch from it. It could have been a giant piece of flan. It looked as if someone had taken a bowl of oatmeal, turned it over in the dirt, and removed the bowl, leaving a perfect shape.

Yes, my friend Lily even puked into a perfectly neat little pile that betrayed no hint of the messiness that one normally finds inherent in the act of upchucking.

It was a marvel to behold.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Dear Tony,

I was surfing around on WaPo's site today, checking out the Live Online discussions were that taking place (and which ones I missed), I noticed that Gene Simmons was scheduled to come on to hawk his new reality show.

And I thought of you.

And a part of me wanted to email you to tell you about it, because I knew you'd be incredibly excited about a KISS-related reality television show. Your love of KISS was unrivaled.

A part of me thought maybe calling you would be faster, to make sure you got to a computer to read the chat. Or at least to tell you that the show was making its way to the airwaves.

I wanted to hear the 30-year-old man/child-like excitement in your voice at the prospect of getting to see your idol strutting stuff and showing off his obscenely long tongue on TV. I remembered how much you love Detroit Rock City, and how I teased you endlessly for that even though I've never seen it. Perhaps we would have started debating the relative merits of Gene's upcoming show to Ozzy Osbourne's. If I were really lucky, I would have been the one to tell you about the show, and you would have heard it first from me, and your excitement would be just this close to orgasmic.

But no email will reach you. You are nowhere near a working telephone. And you are certainly not reading this blog. No matter how much I would want to talk to you or communicate with you, I'm not able to. Because shortly after I wrote this post back in November, you lost your fight with cancer. The last time I saw you was in the hospital bed, thinner than I've ever seen you, a shell of your former self, barely a hint of the jovial, friendly guy I used to work with.

I don't even have a freaking picture of you to upload to this post.

Even though we lost touch after I left that job, I still miss you, my friend.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Office Vents

I almost blew up at a colleague at work this evening. Not fair, I know; I was just being a little -- okay, a lot -- grumpy. But several issues started taking their toll on me.

What happened tonight? I had taken pretty much four whole days to finish a particular motion. It was due today and really, I just wanted it done and out of my hair. I knew there were likely some mistakes in it, but by this point (it was getting close to 9 pm) I really just wanted it done.

Besides, we had both spent all day on this project on administrative shit. Basically we had to manually reformat a large document to attach as an exhibit. It went much faster for me than for her, for some reason -- part of my frustration with this office is some of my administrative staff simply isn't as good at secretarial stuff as I am. It had taken her all day to get her part of this document finished. I guess a part of it was also that I had kinda wanted to bail early from work to meet some people, and that was basically tossed out the window because this damn proejct was taking so long (and it shouldn't have).

As the requisite copies were coming off the copier, my colleague started reading through the document. Usually this is a good thing, but like I said, I was in a bad mood for some reason I don't know. "Oops, a typo," she says. "It says 'Plaintiff has no received no consideration.'" Of course, she's right. And there's no way I could just let that go. Thankfully the document was thick enough that I wasn't stapling them anyway, and the change was small enough that I just had to substitute that one page.

Then she started nitpicking more substantive stuff, and for some reason this just got to me. "You say here that the documentation goes back to April, but don't we have stuff dating back to February?" she asks.

"I don't think so," I tell her, but a part of me just doesn't care anymore. The combination of her question and my own perfectionism started to frustrate me. I checked the documentation, and it turns out we had paperwork starting in March, not February or April.

"Well then, shouldn't it say March?" she suggested. She's a little passive aggressive sometimes; she'll phrase things in the form of questions like "wouldn't it be better if...?" and "but don't you think we should...?" to suggest her way, and if you say no, you feel the need to justify it and she'll still give you a look that screams, "I'm worried about not doing it the way I suggest...."

"It doesn't make a huge difference if it says March or April," I told her. "The point is the same; 'several months' is 'several months' whether it begins in March or April."

"But it could be seen as misleading," she goes on.

"How is that materially misleading?" I'm ready to scream at her, but I don't; I just ask the question in a clearly annoyed way.

"Maybe not materially, but still, it's not 100% accurate. Do you really want this judge to sieze on that?"

"The point of that paragraph is that there's several months covered there. Which specific months are irrelevant. Can you really see the judge saying to himself, 'You were wrong by a matter of one month in "several months," so I'm going to deny you the relief you want'?"

I didn't actually say that last paragraph, though I thought it. Instead I made the change to accurately reflect the paperwork we had (even though it was immaterial), and did the page swap again. I had to make certain that the change I made didn't impact on the pagination of the 40-page document.

She could tell I was annoyed, and I genuinely felt bad for that. She apologized: "Don't be mad. Sorry. Okay, I'll stop reading now." Technically this is a bad idea, since, of course, I'd rather have the mistakes corrected than not, but I really just wanted to go home. So I let her stop reading.

Eventually, everything got assembled and was sent off to the courthouse, and I peeled off and went home.

I'm gonna have to apologize to her tomorrow. I do feel bad for snapping.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Political Support

I stepped out of my apartment building (take note: apartment building, i.e., multi-unit dwelling) yesterday afternoon and saw something somewhat surprising: a Linda Cropp for Mayor sign.


How did we come to conclusion that my entire building, en masse, has decided to support Linda Cropp?, I wondered. Actually, I didn't really wonder that, because I knew there was no way that was possible. The sign was inappropriate to the extent that it implied that an entire apartment building full of people supported one mayoral candidate for the office.

I asked the woman at the front desk when that sign made it up there, and got an even more fascinating story in response. "I saw some people getting out of their van," she told me, "and I guess they put it up. I wish I had seen that they were doing that, because I would have told them it was inappropriate, but then they took off after putting it up."


So according to this woman -- whom I have no reason to distrust -- Linda Cropp's supporters are busy running around town putting signs up on private property to make it look like people are supporting her? Without the permission of the property owners? Are you kidding me?

This afternoon I went with a friend up to Rockville to run some errands, cutting through parts of northwest DC along the way. From time to time, I spotted Linda Cropp signs in the ample yards of these large homes, and I couldn't help wondering whether the homeowners themselves actually put them up. At one house, for example, the sign was conspicuously placed pretty far from the front door and far from any path that leads to the door. Instead, it was placed near a tree closest to the street corner, where conceivably people -- for example, I dunno, people who jump out of vans putting up signs on lawns without permission -- would be able to put them up quickly. Could it be, I wondered, that the supporters planted that sign there too? Could it be that the people in that house don't necessarily support Linda Cropp at all?

I guess now I'll never really be sure.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Jiggle TV Rose-Colored Hindsight

As a kid, I had a strange obsession with television shows featuring hot women. Go figure that before growing up to become a gay man, my favorite television shows as a kid included Charlie's Angels and Wonder Woman.

So, of course, I've jumped at the opportunity to purchase the DVDs for these two shows once they became available, as they became available. (In fact, I'd been patiently waiting for Wonder Woman to come out for years now.) Upon receiving each set, I'd dutifully conduct marathons of each, generally lasting the entire weekend. (Back then, one season included some 26 episodes.)

Unfortunately, of course, it's never the same the second time around. It's incredibly silly as I watch these DVDs what horrible acting and plots passed for exciting television back then.

Here are some of the funniest highlights as I recall them:

In Wonder Woman, some of the editing is frighteningly bad. In one episode, Diana Prince changes to Wonder Woman and continues twirling to reveal a Wonder-Wetsuit (*snicker*). After emerging from the ocean (which looked shockingly like a very shallow pool), we are treated to the rare occasion of seeing her transform from her Wonder-Wetsuit back to her standard costume -- except that it's freakishly clear that all they did was run the tape backward to create this footage.

Then there's the fact that there are many action scenes (mostly involving running and jumping) where it is pretty darn clear that there's a body double involved. Including in the opening credits!

And the reuse of stock footage! I guess no one ever noticed this because the show didn't rerun too frequently. One scene -- where Wonder Woman is purportedly jumping from her own bedroom window after changing in her own apartment -- is reused at least four times, including times when the sun is too high in the sky for it to make sense in the context of the scene.

In the end, I've come to realize Wonder Woman didn't really do all that much that was kick-ass. She mostly jumped a lot. And ran a little. But beating up people didn't happen all that often. The first season was frightfully full of "let's just be good to each other" moments meant to prevent any actual ass-kicking. And many times, she'd actually just stop and look wistfully after a fleeing car (which she should have been able to catch up to) instead of actually chasing after it. WTF?

Charlie's Angels featured gorgeous chicks, but despite accolades that it represented women's liberation by showing three beautiful, intelligent women who were doing "men's work" on their own, man oh man some of the plot lines were stupid. On more than one occasion, the sum total of the girls' plan to get into the heads of the Big Bad Guy was to walk into a bar where he was known to frequent. And indeed, all she had to do was walk in, and Big Bad Guy would walk up to her, hit on her, and spill all his secrets. Yeah. As if.

And importantly, how feminist is it to have three chicks working for a man they never ever see? Doesn't it betray a fundamental lack of respect for the women that you refuse to show your own face? And worse, doesn't it show your desire to maintain a power trip over the women? How does that make the show about "female empowerment"?

All that being said... yeah, these four chicks were hot.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sorry, Wrong Number

My phone rang at around 10:15 p.m.; the caller ID showed a 918 telephone number. (I did a search: it's in Oklahoma).

"Matt?" a young woman's voice greeted me.

"Uh, excuse me?" I said.

"Is this Matt?" she responded.

"I think you have the wrong number," I chirped. I was in a good mood.

For any other person, the conversation would ended nicely there. But because we're talking about me, it didn't.

"Could you tell me what number I reached?" she asked.

Huh? You dialed it, woman.

"Uh... what number did you mean to dial?" I asked. As a child, someone once taught me not to actually recite my phone number to wrong numbers. Something about it being somehow unsafe. (I forget the rationale now, frankly). Best to have them tell you what number they tried; you can confirm that they misdialed, or that they've written down your number as someone else's.

She started copping an attitude on me. "Uh... okay. I was just trying to see if I have the wrong number, but I guess you can't help me." Her tone of voice conveyed a clear disdain. Whatev.

"Guess not!" I piped back, and hung up on her.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Porn and Sex: Ruminations on the Target Audience

Background: I recently decided that I was paying too much for my digital cable service, so I called to cancel the digital subscription, intending to just stick to basic cable. The woman's response to my request was, "Are you sure you no longer want Showtime, Cinemax, Starz and the Movie Channel, including OnDemand?" Fact is, I had no idea that I had all these channels, so lately I've been going crazy watching these channels just to justify the added cost. OnDemand is particularly awesome -- I get to watch a certain cache of movies whenever I want, including some original programming. Last week I took in the entire first season of Weeds.

Also included in these OnDemand packages -- and on the regular programming late at night -- are the "adult-oriented" programs: soft core porn. In the interest of blog fodder research, I have taken it upon myself to watch a sampling of these films just to see what they are all about. As I type this now, a totally naked woman is dancing lustily in front of fire for no apparent reason. Oops, she has now been joined by two other naked women. Three totally naked women dancing in front of the fire. Earlier in this movie, entitled Alabama Jones and the Busty Crusade, the women, who claim to be seeking some sort of treasure in a jungle, also had sex with surprisingly clean and hunky "jungle men" as well as with each other. Thankfully, none of them had sex with the cheesy guy in the gorilla suit. I mean, seeing as he was supposed to actually be a gorilla.

Aside: The closing credits were running just now, and the women were being interviewed while the credits ran. One of them was asked about the accommodations where they were kept during the shoot. Trying to describe how luxurious they were, one woman compared them to "Versailles in Italy." Uh, okay.

I've also sampled Busty Cops 2 (trifecta of female law enforcement types who are summoned, like Batman, by a giant lighted image in the sky... of a giant pair of boobs), Hollywood Sexcapades 13 (about some couple running a dating service on Valentine's Day), and Sex Games Cancun 13 (actress hired to play a psychic at a party, but it turns out she can actually see the sex acts of the people whose hands she touches -- including her own tryst).

Having seen now more than my fair share of breasts and coochies -- and not nearly enouch corresponding male genetalia -- I feel like I can make the following observations. This is soft-core porn, so no penetration was visible. Heck, the men were barely visible.

Each of the movies seems to follow a rather set pattern which rarely varies (except when two women were involved, with our without the presence of a man):

1. The two participants awkwardly find a reason to be alone together.
2. Suddenly, Woman's breasts would become exposed.
3. Man starts some combination of manhandling said breasts and putting his lips to them.
4. Man works his way down for some cunnilingus action. It's never visible, but you get interesting angles: her leg is up, and his head is clearly on the other side of it; back of Man's head positioned squarely in Woman's nether regions; Man doing the deed under Woman's skirt). In any event, she clearly enjoys what he's doing.
5. Presumably, intercourse. Again, you can't see it, but you presume with all the bouncing and thrusting going on, it's happening. Again, the camera angles are determined to focus as much on Woman as possible, almost ignoring Man: they're horizontal and on their sides, so that you see all of Woman with just a bit of Man peeking over her body; Woman's on top and sitting bouncing while bolt upright minimizing the need to show what she's bouncing on. Even if Woman is bent over while Man taking her from behind, the camera angles focus on her face and ginormous breasts and never on Man.

I know these movies generally are marketed to straight men, hence the focus on the women's bodies almost to the exclusion of the men. The women run around completely naked, yet the most you see of the is a torso (surprisingly nice-looking guys, actually; I was expecting more Ron Jeremy types) and maybe a nice butt. The men for whom these movies are made don't want to see the men, however attractive they may be. They want to see women having sex, and they get it.

I've often heard that men and women take different things away from porn. Men just want to get their rocks off, so they're looking for hot ladies; it's almost irrelevant what they're doing as long as they're doing it naked. Women get more turned on by intimacy or connection; it's less about the carnal act itself than the mutual satisfaction of the partners.

It strikes me, then, that these movies walk a fine line in terms of their target audience. Sure, the overwhelming majority of people who watch porn at all are men, so they need to emphasize the woman's bodies above the men's. But in so doing, these movies also end up highlighting the women's feelings as well. She's the one moaning and contorting their faces demonstrating how much they're enjoying themselves. No one even cares whether the men are having fun at all. It's all about the women enjoying their bodies -- thus appealing to a decidedly female demographic.

It's rather genius, really. Lots of naked women for the men; naked women enjoying themselves for the women. Go porn.

But don't even get me started on how all those fake boobs can't possibly feel good for either participant.

(No Google image search results for this post.)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Up, Down, and Across the Floor

I got back from lunch today and waited in my lobby for the elevator to arrive. Three of us got in after letting the elevator's occupants out.

As we waited for the doors to close, one of my fellow elevator occupants noticed two women coming through the front door of the building, and proceeded to hold the door open for them.

These women continued their walk through the lobby, then got into the elevator, never once breaking their conversation for any reason at all.

This conversation ensued when only door-holding guy and I were left in the elevator:

Me: Don't you hate it when you hold the door for someone and they just continue to walk at their normal pace? Like without even trying to speed up for you?
Guy: [chuckles] Yeah...
Me: Or when they don't even bother to thank you for holding the door for them!
Guy: Yeah, that bugged me more than the walking to the elevator. Bitches.
[We both laugh.]

I'm glad I'm not the only one who still thinks there's a protocol to be followed when it comes to elevators.

** UPDATE: (6:56 pm) So I just noticed that Wonkette linked to this post, driving an unprecedented amount of traffic here. Yay. Thanks. But then when I went there the blurb of me was quite snarky. Harumph.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Loopier Than Usual

I was on Q Street NW the other night, heading home after dinner with a friend, walking toward 17th Street.

At some point, the guys in front of me turned around and one of them, with an unfortunately (you'll see why in a minute) thick accent asked me: "'Scuse me, do you know where Loopy Girl is?"

"Uh... no," I reply, because, sure enough, I have no idea where "Loopy Girl" is.

We get to the light at 17th and Q and the guy who asked me gets a little more animated. "There!" he tells his friend. "There it is!" He's pointing across the street.

He's pointing to Le Pigalle.

I'm just gonna say I totally heard him wrong.