ilona the pest

insecurity + narcissism = awesome!

Friday, February 23, 2007

the homage

the homage to my club on the final episode of The OC last night was perfect. the cohens finally move back to berkeley, and sandy cohen comes home to boalt hall, to teach criminal law.

the whole episode was great. it almost pissed me off -- 'cause the show has been sucking so bad lately -- to know they still have this kind of quality writing in them. why did they save it all til the end?

but it was really a perfect last episode. moving, funny, believable, and 100% satisfying.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

apology from jetblue

i got this email today from jetblue. i think it's very nice. they set a great example for customer communications. jetblue, i forgive you!

* * *

Dear JetBlue Customers,

We are sorry and embarrassed. But most of all, we are deeply sorry.

Last week was the worst operational week in JetBlue's seven year history. As a customer scheduled to be on one of our flights during this period, we know we let you down. Following the severe winter ice storm in the Northeast, we subjected you to unacceptable delays, flight cancellations, lost baggage, and other major inconveniences. The storm disrupted the movement of aircraft, and, more importantly, disrupted the movement of JetBlue's pilot and inflight crewmembers who were depending on those planes to get them to the airports where they were scheduled to serve you. With the busy President's Day weekend upon us, rebooking opportunities were scarce and hold times at 1-800-JETBLUE were unacceptably long or not even available, further hindering our recovery efforts.

Words cannot express how truly sorry we are for the anxiety, frustration and inconvenience that you experienced. This is especially saddening because JetBlue was founded on the promise of bringing humanity back to air travel and making the experience of flying happier and easier for everyone who chooses to fly with us. We know we failed to deliver on this promise to you last week.

We have begun implementing immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us as part of a comprehensive plan to provide better and more timely information to you, more tools and resources for our crewmembers and improved procedures for handling operational difficulties in the future. We are confident, as a result of these actions, that JetBlue will emerge as a more reliable and even more customer responsive airline than ever before.

Most importantly, we have published the JetBlue Airways Customer Bill of Rights—our official commitment to you of how we will handle operational interruptions going forward—including details of compensation. I have a video message to share with you about this industry leading action.

You deserved better—a lot better—from us last week. Nothing is more important than regaining your trust and all of us here hope you will give us the opportunity to once again welcome you onboard and provide you the positive JetBlue Experience you have come to expect from us.

David Neeleman
Founder and CEO
JetBlue Airways

Monday, February 19, 2007


this weekend i went to tahoe with some friends from law school, and i went snowboarding for the first time. i got a package that was supposed to include a group lesson, but it ended up being a private lesson (with a distressingly attractive brazilian instructor lady).

i picked it up pretty quickly -- my second time down the slope i didn't fall once. but then at the end of the day my bf convinced me to try a slightly harder slope, and when i got off the ski lift and saw how narrow and scary-looking it was i got really anxious, and forgot everything i had learned, and fell down a thousand times.

all my muscles are sore, but most notably my forearms. doesn't that seem weird? it's got to be from the way you have to use your arms to hoist yourself back up from the ground after falling.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


yesterday welcomed the biggest storm of the year so far on the east coast. snow, hail, wind. it was also the day i was scheduled to fly from NY to SF, for valentine's day through the long weekend.

my flight was supposed to leave at 4:50. a lot of flights from earlier in the day were delayed or canceled, so i felt pretty lucky when they told us to start boarding at 5:10. but then a comedy of weather-related errors ensued -- frozen cargo door, frozen engine on the plane behind us thatblocked us in at the gate, switching pilots, ice patch that kept the plane's wheels from getting traction to leave the gate, two-hour line for 30-minute de-icing process -- so we didn't get off the ground until almost 11.

that meant we spent about 11 hours in total aboard that plane - longer than my flight to japan last summer. although it wasn't quite as bad as what some people experienced. i'm just glad our plane left at all.

so much for our 10 pm valentine's day dinner reservations. but we went with a back-up plan of steaks cooked at home, at 2 in the morning, which were perfectly delicious. and tonight we had already planned a post-valentine's dinner at the chez panisse cafe, in berkeley, which is probably my favorite restaurant of all time.

so i'm feeling pretty content, all things considered. also, the weather in SF is gorgeous - 65 and sunny. the air just smells so good here, too, like the beach and trees and summer. has it always smelled like this? i think of northern california winters as soggy and depressing, but arriving during this rare sunny & warm spell is making me feel awfully nostalgic about living here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

yoga & broadway

yesterday i officially joined the gym! and i went to my first yoga class there, with a friend from work. the class was pretty good. not as spiritually therapeutic as the class i used to go to in berkeley, but a good workout and the right level of difficulty for me.

afterwards, i was like, "so, what are you doing now?" and she was like, "i was gonna go look at the half-price ticket booth and maybe get a ticket to see a musical tonight." and i was like, "i like musicals..." so we got tickets to Company!

neither of us was sure what it was going to be about. my first guess was, like, a corporation, and hers was a ballet company. but we were both wrong. it's about relationships, marriage, & friendships. get it? like, "two's company". some of the humor was maybe a little over our heads - most of the characters were middle-aged and married and debating the pros and cons of marriage. but the music was gorgeous. i really like stephen sondheim.

it was really good. there seemed to be no separate orchestra, and instead the actors played the instruments themselves on stage, in between singing, or while other people were singing. it worked - it was like a unique kind of choreography. and super impressive that they all had the skills to pull it off.

not that i was in doubt, but it made me feel more certain than ever that i want to marry my sweetie. i wish he didn't live so far away and we could just get married right now. i'm very lonely without him.

Friday, February 09, 2007

ad hominem attacks

1 : appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect
2 : marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

yeah, so i called a moron a moron in a recent continuation of the ridiculously protracted debate on the merits of "ebonics" in the comments section of this blog. some noble defender of the intellectually challenged then accused me of arguing like an eleven-year old (the fact that i named my blog "ilona the pest" didn't clue you in?) and making "ad hominem" attacks.

sure, it was a personal insult. but it was completely justified. i DID respond to his arguments, many times, and i just got sick of repeating myself. he's not a moron because of his opposing view in the debate. i can think of a number of reasonable arguments one could make to rebut my points. rather, he's a moron because he apparently doesn't grasp the basic concept of how to conduct a debate: you listen to the other person's argument and then respond to that, rather than shrilly repeating yourself in an effort to win by default after exhausting everyone with your sheer tenacity.

(for instance: i don't think the person who accused me of arguing like a little kid is a moron. although it wounded my pride a little, i think it was an appropriate and clever move. it responded to something i actually said, and made me question what i had said, even though i ultimately still felt that my point was justified.)

i've heard a number of smart lawyers observe that it's much easier, more pleasant, and more satifsying to go up against another smart lawyer, rather than a stupid lawyer. this experience, for me, perfectly illustrates that point.

i know that one of my flaws is arrogance: i'm deeply prejudiced against the stupid. i should really work on that. they can't help themselves. but what they CAN do is stay quiet and not try to engage in public debates that waste everyone's time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

lazy & tired

i think it's the cold weather. lately when i get home from work all i want to do is watch TV & go to sleep early.

tonight i watched an episode of The Daily Show on tivo from last week and watched Saturday Night Live on tivo from saturday. (i pretty much only watch shows on tivo.)

i was too lazy/cold to stop at the grocery store on my way home from the subway, so when i started feeling hungry i ate, for dinner: (1) some leftover rice pudding (i went to Rice to Riches for the first time yesterday), (2) ginger snaps, and (3) junior mints. then i paused the tivo and came in to the kitchen to cook some (4) bacon (not bacon-of-the-month bacon, just regular oscar meyer thick sliced. and it's kind of burned.). i feel pretty ridiculous.

although, to counterbalance my extreme unhealthiness in the food arena, i did take a tour of a gym after work today. (that burns calories, right? watching other people exercise? ho ho ho.) i will probably join, since it's theoretically cheaper than paying for individual yoga classes or whatever if you go regularly. did i mention that i've never been to a gym before? never been a member and never even worked out at one. shocking, i know, in this day & age. it's basically my claim to fame (well, claim to originality). it'll be a little sad to give that up. i'm becoming a boring grown-up who worries about my cardiovascular health and wants a more toned butt, just like everyone else.

Friday, February 02, 2007

italian radio

at work i listen to classical music on this italian public radio station all day ("filodiffusione", found here). i like it 'cause (a) it has no ads and (b) the DJs speak in italian, which i don't understand - so it's all soothing background noise and minimally distracting.

right now they're playing an italian version of Peter & the Wolf. how awesome is that? (although i'm familiar enough with the music & story that it is actually pretty distracting, for once.)