The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...
Monday, January 31, 2005
CleaningJB approaches me this morning at the coffee pot to give me "the run down" for today. First off, DO NOT TALK TO ME BEFORE I HAVE HAD MY COFFEE. Not only am I from the South, where we actually have a State Coffee, but I am my mother's daughter. This means, I cannot and will not function properly in a conversation until I have had that hot burst of caffeine. Speaking to me before that moment should be done at your own risk. (Much like the time my younger brother did not wait until I had my coffee to ask if I had been 'saved'...that was not pretty either.) Considering I'm pretty terrified of JB, I was not about to stop him from speaking. I just did that smile and nod thing they taught us in the sorority. I do not actually know what he was talking about. After the first sip, my eyes were opened to him discussing cleaning up my desk for me. Hang on, WHAT? "Well, we have clients coming into the office today and I wanted to make sure your desk was clean" he says. Understandable, except that I keep my space pretty immaculate. (How else would I be able to spread out my law school books once I get to work.) He then proceeds to explain how the clients coming in don't like another one of our clients so we need to be careful around them. This is all he needed to say, but for whatever reason, he felt this feud meant that he needed to clean my desk. I probably would have spoken up in protest at this point, but I had coffee:-) To show me why this is important he says "for example, you have a calendar that says 'For Client A'. If Client B sees this, he will get upset." To which I respond, "Oh, that's true. But, that calendar is tucked away in the bottom drawer of my desk." JB says "yeah, I found it. It's a damn good thing, because I was able to take it out and turn it upside down." I am now pretty awake and thinking a bit more logically than JB. However, I do refrain from asking him to please explain to me why he thinks taking something out of the bottom drawer of my desk and placing it face down on top of my desk will make a client less likely to see it. Nah, he probably does not have a logical reason for this other than he felt like it and he can because he is the boss. (Those words ring in my ears.) So, after learning all of his supposed justifcation for invading my privacy and rumaging through my desk, I go to sit down. I immediately notice there is stuff strewn about everywhere. Papers, pens, post-its, crap all over. He walks by and says "yeah, you are going to need to clean up this desk, it looks like hell and we have clients coming in." So starts another day in the office...
Sunday, January 30, 2005
EnduranceAn amazing thing happened yesterday. For the first time in fifty years, freed Iraqi people were allowed to voice their opinions in the form of voting in a free election. These people risked their lives to line up at the polling locations. Hearing insurgent gun shots in the distance did not inhibit them from casting their ballots. The hours and hours of waiting in lines and getting through security only made the anticipation grow. Many Iraqi voters actually dressed up in their Sunday best on this important day. For the first time ever, they did not have to sign in blood to show loyalty to sadam. They were voting in a real election where there voice would be heard. This act was a freedom that most Iraqis never thought they would see. Some cast their ballots in memory of family members they lost to sadam. Some cast them to the loved ones who have died fighting for their freedom. Some did it for themselves. Regardless of their reasons, they voted because they wanted this. Grown men wept tears of joy after casting their ballots. Women rejoiced. This freedom that most of them have been dreaming of for years is a freedom we take for granted every day. Looking back on our election day this year, I had ‘friends’ who actually did not vote because they ‘really didn’t care who won.’ Considering these people were willing to risk their lives to vote when some of our own didn’t want to stand outside in the cold…perhaps the appreciation for this freedom is something we cannot understand. I am not saying that I am happy with the bloodshed and lost lives we have had to endure in this war. But, I challenge anyone to look into the eyes of a single person that stood in those lines yesterday and tell them that nothing good has come out of America stepping in.
Faryid Ayar said. "[Terrorists] directed a message to us: the message of killing. And we directed to them the message of elections and freedom and democracy."
Blog identity crisis...While blogging can certainly be used for comic relief, it can also serve other purposes. I have read a few blogs lately that have brought me to tears in an instant. It may sound corny, but there is something comforting about blogging (both writing and reading other people's blogs.) When I first started doing this, I wondered if it was a cop-out on communicating with the real world. I already spend so much time alone reading law stuff, why would I want to spend even more time alone typing or reading other's blogs? Let's see just how alone I can make myself feel. Today, I realized that reading other's blogs opens so many doors to people and feelings not admitted to in the real world. It is undeniable that the majority of the population is more articulate and honest in writing than they are in spoken words. Furthermore, a journal is for thoughts and innermost fears and feelings. I have written in journals my whole life but this is the first time I have ever ALLOWED anyone to read it. That knowledge has definitely shaped and limited my writing.
I realized that I have been living through my blog the same way I live through my days, using jokes and sarcasm to cover up my real thoughts. While I have no intention of letting go of that sarcasm, I have made a decision to utilize this outlet for the reason I originally intended: for me. I am writing this for me, not you (although I love you:-)
So, I want to give MAJOR PROPS to Energy Spatula for her Epiphany I have always been a fan of E.Spat, as she is one of the more amazing writers I have ever read (especially in the blogging world.) I have also enjoyed reading her because I detect much of the same sarcasm and cynicism that I am way too familiar with in my life. But this post of hers goes above and beyond. To write about your own feelings and thoughts and be able to touch so many people in an instant is a pretty admirable trait. Thanks E.Spat, your honesty and eloquance is more appreciated than you know!
Saturday, January 29, 2005
What's in a name?I have gotten much better at this 'case reading' thing. However, there are still times in which I pathetically battle to get through certain paragraphs. This difficulty can sometimes be attributed to Judges who favor dicta (that meaningless babble that is supposed to show the world that they are smart, or in the alternative, take up space on the page.) The reading struggle can also sometimes be due to a difficult subject matter. (Especially if it is a split Supreme Court decision...if they cannot figure things out, how am I expected to?) My favorite, however, is when the problematic understanding of a case is merely due to the names of those involved in the dispute. I am sure there are much better examples of this dilemma, but these are from cases I read this morning:
"Officer James Yellow Boy was the first to arrive. He later testified that Little waved down Yellow Boy's patrol car and told him that "[m]y mother stabbed [Belt]."... At the time, Little was crying. Yellow Boy then went to check Belt's body, which was just inside the front doorway. More or less contemporaneously, he overheard Brave drunkenly bragging that she had stabbed Belt. Yellow Boy arrested Brave." U.S. v. Roan Eagle, 867 F.2d 436 (8th Cir. 1989.)What ever happened to names like Mark or Kimberly? That was nothing compared to my favorite:
"Those arrests led ultimately to these appeals by five of the men, Carlos Pagan-San-Miguel, Edgar Gonzalez-Valentin, Raul Lugo-Maya, Rafael Pava-Buelba and Julio Luciano-Mosquera...Oscar Fontalvo arrived in Puerto Rico in January 1991 to organize a scheme to smuggle cocaine into Puerto Rico...Fontalvo enlisted Pagan-San-Miguel and Jose Perez-Perez, who were to be paid in kind with 50 kilograms of cocaine. Pagan-San-Miguel introduced Fontalvo to Luis Soltero-Lopez, who agreed that his boat, the F/V Marlyn, would be used as the mothership. Soltero-Lopez recruited Jonas Castillo-Ramos to be captain, and Castillo-Ramos recruited two crew members for the drug run." U.S. v. Luciano-Mosquera, 63 F.3d 1142 (1st Cir. 1995.)
That speak went on for two more pages and even introduced Columbian watchdog names into the mix. I have no clue who did what, except that some guy was found under a jeep with a gun. At least the names in the second case will help me in an effort to reach the 12 page minimum for my memo due Wednesday.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Hurts to be beautiful...That is all I will say about this. (Make sure to watch to the end.) Thanks, Samer.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
I used to love youDear Mr. Man on the Metro this morning,
While you seem like a very nice guy, I just don't think things are going to work out between us. In the beginning, it was good. I noticed you the minute I stepped onto the train. In fact, we all noticed you, as you refused to step out of the way and let anyone on to take one of the numerous empty standing spaces on the other side of you. That's okay, I am sure you were just busy thinking of the really important things that run through your mind. Even if you had stepped out of the way, I would have noticed your smell. What was that you were wearing? It brought me back to my high school boyfriend's Drakkar mixed with the lemon Pledge we used to clean the house this weekend. What sweet memories. Whatever it was, you may want to purchase some more, as I assume you spilled the entire bottle on yourself this morning. I was somehow lucky enough to end up standing adjacent to your armpit, which is always a turn on for me. Speaking of turn ons...in a normal setting, I may really appreciate a guy rubbing on my leg, however, I did feel that it was a tad inappropriate on the Metro. As you were doing this, you seemed to notice that I kept looking over at you. Perhaps my tightened lips, squinty eyes, and arched eyebrow gave you the wrong impression. In fact, I am pretty sure it gave you the wrong impression, as you kept winking every time I gave you my version of a nasty look. Although you really seemed to enjoy it, I do apologize for bumping into you over and over. You should understand, though, that it is really difficult to keep one's balance without a shiny silver bar to hold onto. You seem to have found yourself one. In fact, you seem to have claimed the entire bar for yourself. I could tell you were serious not only by the way you clutched it with both hands, but the way you wrapped your entire upper body around the pole. I assume you would have wrapped your legs around too, had you not been too busy stepping on my foot. Not wanting to interfere with your alone time with the pole, I attempted to grab onto the overhead bar. Please understand that as a 5'-2" female (with 2" heels on), it is not an easy task for me to reach this overhead bar, much less keep my hold. Every time the train jerked, my arm was pulled further out of socket, so I had no control over where, or into whom, I was flung. Lucky for me, it seemed to be into you every time. I figured you had enough time with your pole and you should learn to share. You apparently did not feel the same way, and in refusing to pry your upper body away, you chose instead to continuously rub your face against my hand. Again, perhaps not a turn on in this particular setting. I decided to turn my IPOD volume up and think about happier times. I noticed that you wanted to enter my happy place with me. In fact, I noticed that you were almost there. I assume you were leaning so close you my face because you were trying to hear Cory Hart's Sunglasses at Night. I highly suggest you invest in some form of music for your own enjoyment. I am not sure if you realize this, but it is a bit rude to attempt to listen in to someone else's earphone while it is planted firmly in their ear. Just a thought. So anyway, while our time together was fun, I bid thee farewell. I am sure there will be many more to come along like you (probably tomorrow morning, in fact), but know you will always have a special place in my blawg.
All my love,
Monday, January 24, 2005
Poor Amtrak LadyFigured it's been a while since you got a glimpse into my workday, so here goes...
Background: Boss and co-worker are traveling from Philly to DC today via Amtrak on a train @ 2:12pm. I get a call at 2:10pm going something like this:
JB: Law-rah, I'm going to need you to change the reservation.
ME: Sure thing, when would you like to come back?
JB: Sometime closer to 3. My confirmation # is blah blah and the phone number is blah.
ME: Consider it done.
JB: Law-rah, please remember that we don't do reservations online, as we do not trust the internet. I need you to speak with a human.***
ME: Yes, JB, you gave me the phone number, I will dial it momentarily.
JB: Law-rah, not sure if I was clear, but it's sometime around 3 o'clock PM not AM.
ME: I figured that.
JB: Have you called yet?
ME: Nope, still on the phone with you.
JB: And don't forget, I don't travel regional. It can only be express, because those extra 11 minutes are crucial in my life!
ME: Sure thing.
LADY: There's nothing around 3pm. There is a 3:30, but it is booked solid. How's 4:09?
ME: (making judgment call) That's fine - rebook the two tickets. (Pretty smart seeing as how they have already missed the 2:12)
(Contact JB and give him the low-down. I do this via Blackberry in an effort not to have to speak on the phone)
JB: I got your blackberry, thanks.
(I recieve email from JB asking about 2:30 trains and I immediately get onto Amtrak.com. The Lady on the phone didn't mention any 2:30, but perhaps that human was wrong.)
JB: Did you get my email?
ME: Yep, checking on it now.
JB: Wait, how are you checking with a human if you are on the phone with me?
ME: Um, uh, I left her on the other line...gotta go!
(Call his cell)
ME: There is nothing at 2:30. In fact, there is not an available seat until the 4:09 which I have booked you two on.
JB: I don't believe that. What about first class?
ME: They told me nothing available.
JB: Call back and ask about first class.
ME: (grinding my teeth) Okay
JB: Wait-I want to be on the 3:09 train!
ME: You mean 4:09?
JB: No, my friend sitting next to me right here has a seat on the 3:09 train. I want to be on that one! (Much like Veruca Salt whining about that golden egg.)
ME: JB, I have spoken with Amtrak twice now. The next available place for your ass besides a park bench is a seat the 4:09 train.
JB: You call them back and tell them I want on the 3:09 train. First class is fine.
(Blog a little out of fear that I will forget the absurdity of these conversations.)
ME: I realize that you just told me that there were no other trains in the 3 o'clock hour besides the 3:30 that is booked solid. However, I need you to check again.
LADY: Are you kidding me?
ME: You have no idea how much I wish I was. Is there a 3:09?
ME: No train 2113 at 3:09?
LADY: Only the one that was cancelled.
ME: Fabulous, leave them on the 4:09.
(Call JB cell-leave message with above info.)
JB: I got your message.
JB: Can you call Amtrak and upgrade us to first class?
ME: On the 4:09...right?
JB: Yes, I feel it may be crowded and don't want people touching me.
(JB then bursts into singing a song about 409 that I have never heard.)
It is now 2:25pm and the ringer has officially been turned off!
***great story for another time
UPDATE: Sneaky little JB. He called NB's direct line and asked him to transer it to me. He wanted to tell me that they got to the train station and I was right, the 3:09 had been cancelled. NO SHIT!
Pretty BlueOooo, look what I did this morning instead of reading 60 pages of Contracts! Thanks to Not That Ugly for a template I could start with. There are still a few kinks to be worked out, but for now, I need to go read. Not that I have an abundance of comments or anything, but if anyone knows how/where to get them back, please email me!
Sunday, January 23, 2005
GradesIt’s funny the spike in readers I received Friday and Saturday. Could it possibly be because grades came out? Seriously, did you really think I was just going to blurt it out to you?
This past Tuesday, we had our 1L second semester orientation. It was your usual ego-boosting "you are the cream of the crop, you should be so proud of yourselves for coming this far, and this is what you will have to expect this semester" speech. In reality, there were more like ten speeches. To make things seem uber-important, they held this panel-style discussion in one of the other campus buildings in a really fancy dimly lit theater. Each Dean/Professor/Student sitting at the “important people table” gave their own talk about grades. We heard a variety of pieces of wisdom and advice from the aforementioned individuals including: "grades are not the world"; "it is more important to pay attention to your significant other or dying grandparents than your Civ. Pro. grade"; "if you don't do as well as you think, there is always next semester"; "those coming from a different undergrad background may have a difficult time adjusting their first semester"; "grades are no indication of your intelligence or what caliber of lawyer you will make"; "one three hour exam to determine your grade is not necessarily a fool proof system"
I thought it was a very re-assuring pity party, but surely all of this discourse was not aimed at yours truly. I mean seriously, law school is something that I was destined for. Everyone who knows me says "you just have that thing about you...you think like a lawyer." I have an impressive future as a top attorney and my grades will surely reflect that, right? (Okay, so perhaps my thought processes were not quite so self-inflated.)
I got my first grade Friday and to my absolute dismay and utter shock, I DID NOT get an A+ in Civil Procedure. In fact, I am much closer to being just...oh I cannot say it...average!* I know, I know...complete shock to me too. To quote my brother's favorite movie: The Horror. The Horror. I cannot be just average. My mom always told me I was the smart kid in the family. What the hell do I do now? My starting salary (2.5 years from now) just plummeted $10,000. Wandering the streets of DC aimlessly, I have no reason to hurry home. I lack the motivation to study, because it appears that I am dumb. I should just drop out now and go back to being an architect. Oh my gosh, the smart people panel was talking to me! (Okay, so perhaps my thought processes were not quite so self-deprecating.)
So, let us step back and put this in all in context...the bulk of students at my law school (including myself) are extreme over-achievers. This is how they got here in the first place. They come from diverse backgrounds with extreme levels of intelligence and tremendous achievements. They really are the cream of the crop. At least that's what they tell us. Seriously, to look at the resumes of some of my classmates is quite intimidating. Lot of Ivy Leaguers, lot of Ph.D.s, lot of determined people. (And me:-) When you have a situation with so many whiz kids, the bar is inevitably raised. All of the sudden, each of these intellects is doing everything within his/her own power to attain their extremely high self-set goals. Not surprisingly, everyone cannot meet at the top. The main problem with this subjective measurement of grades is that from day one, we are taught that your 1L GPA is all that matters. Despite the pep talk from our panel earlier week, it has been ingrained in our heads that you unquestionably must be at the top of the class. We are to understand that firms will not even consider interviewing someone who is not at the top. Well, um, if my math is correct, there is about 85% of the class that will not be in the top 15% of the class. (Damn, I’m good.) I fail to believe that only eighteen students in my section at a Top 20 law school will get jobs. So, it seems that for the second time in my thus far short law school career, I am being reduced to numbers. After only one semester, all of the “you are extraordinary and we only take the best” speech is translated into a number on a scale falling somewhere between a 1.67 and a 4.33 (assuming they give no D’s or F’s). What does this mean to me? Not a damn thing. No one can honestly look me in the eye and convince me I cannot achieve my life goals because of a grade on a Civ. Pro Exam. They tried to look me in the eye and tell me that my GPA and LSAT were supposed to be an indicator of which schools will take me. I called bullshit on that and got in anyway;-)
Off to study so I can get my A+ in Torts this semester!
*Do not pity me, as the GW definition of ‘average’ is well above the well known average of a “C”.
Friday, January 21, 2005
I no longer walk aloneNo, mom, I have not gotten past that fear of committment. I am referring to the masses of Rebulicans that have taken the city. At the risk of pissing off half of my readers (which is probably only about 3 people), I want to tell you about life in Washington D.C. this week from a different perspective.
Four years ago this February, I came to Washington DC on a trip for some interviews. I was still in college and had no idea what I was in store for. I had voted for Bush in the first election (hell, most of Louisiana did) and had just missed the Inauguration. I did, however, purchase a shirt from a vendor for $5 in honor of the Inauguration and my President. This year, I got to be part of it.
It has been amazing to have lived four years in the same city as such a great man. His gentle words comforted me on September 11, 2001 when I sat alone crying in my apartment. His anger inspired me and his tears made me see him in a different light. His desire to better our world was shown to me through emails from friends in Kuwait who are now safe to walk their own streets. His strength and resolve was a bright light to me in this past election. I lived through it in this city, and I assure you, it was not easy. If it was that difficult for me to stand up for the beliefs that are contrary to 95% of DC, I can only imagine how he does it!
This week, I finally got to celebrate. We all did. For the first time since all of this has started, there was a day that was not about the dissidents and the anger and the hatred. The protesters were out, but for once, it was not about them. It was a day to celebrate my President being elected again. I have so appreciated the people that came from all over the country for this. (Of course, there may have been a few more Texans than any other state, but I love those Texans.) It makes me feel so much less alone in my beliefs. The last time I saw this much Bush/Cheney paraphanalia was when I drove through the deep south this summer. Living here, I had almost become convinced that the whole country did hate Bush. I realize now, that it was a narrow looking glass through which I have seen this. I saw so much happiness and hope this week. I saw so many supportive people. This was such a historic event and I am thankful to have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of it.
So, I want to thank some people:
To my dear friend, Holly, thanks for being my co-hort through all of this:-)
To the two fellow Bush supporters in my law school class who got all decked out in their Tux's for the Inaugural ball, I had a great time!
To the Texas man who asked the Starbucks guy for some whiskey in his coffee, thanks for the laugh.
To the 200 Texans in the food court at the Pentagon City Mall, I loved the hats!
To the news stations for actually focussing more on the moment at hand than on the protesters, I appreciate that.
To my boss for giving me crappy tickets to the Inauguration itself, I stayed in bed and watched it on TV.
To the men that noticed the IRATE DC lady flipping out about too many people on the Metro, thanks for turning to her and saying "calm down lady, I think another one will come."
To the lady who did my hair and to my roommate who did my make-up, thanks for that since I know both of you were big Kerry supporters.
To the Democratic Lobbyists I work for, thanks for asking about and understanding how much this meant to me.
To the tons of people who came in town for this, thanks for spending your time and money in our city. We needed the tourism boost.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Wanna know how to find me?Forget the phone book, or GW roster thingy...
Apparently, you can just type "she got a camel toe" into Google. I'M #1!!! (Along with a bunch of sexually explicit websites that I will not provide synopses of below:-)
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Related? Really?To follow NDC's lead, I decided to check out my Bloglines to see what blogs they feel I would be interested in. There was the usual: Class Maledictorian, Sua Sponte, Buffalo Wings & Vodka, Life Law Libido etc. tells me that I should waste even more time reading the constant ramblings of law school students all over the country. As if I don't waste time on my own rambling. (I don't need Bloglines to point me to any of the above blogs. The fabulous Blawgosphere is weaved in such a way, that I have already encountered each of them.)
Speaking of weaving, what I DO NOT UNDERSTAND, is the 35 links to knitting blogs that Bloglines felt the need to relate me to. Yep, that's right, knitting! First off, I don't know how to knit, nor do I have the desire to learn to knit. I am the most non-domesticated female I know. If a button falls off, I borrow a safety pin from someone to keep my pants from falling down. But what is even more disturbing, is this apparent obsession with knitting. No kidding, these people are serious business. It's like the next Texas Hold 'Em. (Don't know if the World Series of Knitting would make it to ESPN, though.) Anyway, here are some example knitting blogs:
Queer Joe's Knitting Blog - Joe is a little disappointed that "KnitList" is apparently "now irreversibly overrun with some of the most boring knitters on the planet". Um, as opposed to...?
In his Newcomer's Rules, Joe let's all of his readers know that he will, in fact, edit comments he finds inappropriate such as "Hateful comments that are irrelevant to the current or recent topic. Good example: Only a flaming faggot would wear that color combination. Bad example: All faggots deserve to DIE" Good Stuff! So, fellow bloggers, please ensure that your comments to pertain to the topic at hand!
blogdogblog - Knitting with dachsunds. This is the most extensive (and terrifying) list of knitting blogs I never knew existed!
Curls and Purls NYC - a curly haired knitter speaks from NYC. Cause you know, we straight haired folks suck at knitting.
Knitting the Blues - to quote her "I'm a knitblogger baby, I'm bound to blog all over you." She did a post entitled 100 Things to bore you. (This being opposed to domesticated tasks.) On this list were: "36. Here is a big pet peeve: Any chewing or smacking noises coming from the mouth.37. I mean, it really drives me out of my mind.38. From the moment my little babies were taking food by mouth I sat in front of them, in their high chairs, over-emphasizing chewing with my lips together and lightly holding their lips together so they got it." Although I do not know this person, I have a pretty disturbing image in my head.
Froggy Knits - "Cause some days you're froggin more than you're knittin" Does she mean catching frogs and cooking them? Frog legs taste good:-)
Okay, now that I have officially wasted two hours of my day, I shall go prepare for class this evening. If I come across anymore good knitting sites, I shall be sure to pass them on!
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Conversations with a teenagerGrowing up, I always wanted a little sister. I am a middle child with two brothers and I always wondered how different my life would be if I had a sister. Yesterday, I got to find out. I spent the day with my 16 year old cousin. Her older brother was leaving for college and I knew it was going to be rough on her. I took her shopping, to lunch, and then she did my hair. We were discussing make-up and pretty dresses and she was telling me that she has never been to a formal and really wants to get all dressed up. She menitoned that prom was coming up and there is "this senior". I asked just who was this senior and said "ooo, tell me the story." While this may not be word for word, tt went something like this:
Well, we like flirt a lot at school and stuff. And he's like really cute. And like all my friends think he's cute. So then, this one time, we were hangin' out and talkin' after soccer practice. Then, he was like "wanna go for a walk" and I was like "yeah". So, we walked and ended up just sitting in the bleachers at the baseball field. We were still flirting and just hanging out. Then, I like sat on his lap. It was really cold outside, so we were just sitting there like hugging each other. Then, he leaned over and kinda, um, kissed me. Then we were just sitting in the bleachers and hugging and kissing. So, then, we hang out at lunch all the time and all of my friends keep asking what's going on and I don't know what to say. So, I asked him "are we like boyfriend/girlfriend or what?" He told me that he doesn't see us as a couple and that I am like his best friend. I said "okay, that's cool." But, Law-rah, I really don't understand why he kissed me. I'm just confused now. Why did he kiss me if he doesn't like me like that?
Um, I think It is at this point that I am supposed to answer my pseudo younger sister. Well, tons of things are racing through my head. What in the hell were you doing with this "senior" in the bleachers at night? being at the top of the list. I was that age once and I know what goes on in the world of a "senior" boy. Hell, I know what goes on in the world of a 16 year old girl! Anyway, I am playing big sister role not the mother role here. So, do I tell this child that this is only the beginning and she's going to see a whole lot more of this in her life? Do I explain "friends with benefits", or will she need a few years to fully appreciate that one? Do I tell her about the most recent book? Do I tell her that in her youth and innocence she has just stumbled upon an age old question that no one really knows the answer to? Nah, I stick with "Boys suck. Besides, you can do much better than him anyway." I guess in the long run, it is better that I do not have a younger female sibling relying on my guidance and wisdom when it comes to the male species!
Friday, January 14, 2005
First week wrap up"Welcome back. Okay, enough of that. Miss F, what gave rise to the claim in Swift v. Tyson?"
That is how CivPro II began last night. No "hope everyone had a great holiday." No "in grading your exams, I was impressed by the amount of knowlege you were all able to retain." No "damn, it's hot in this classroom, we should call maintenance." No "well, over the break, I read about a case I wanted to share." Nope. This man hit the ground running...rather, sprinting to the Erie Doctrine. One may think this makes for a scary situation. Prof. is picking up where we left off, including with the folks on the seating chart he has not yet called on, which includes yours truly. I must say, I felt more at ease in his class than some others this week. Don't get me wrong, he can be an absolutely terrifying little man when he wants to. But, we spent all of last semester figuring out this socratic facilitator. We know his quirks. We know his moods. We know his exams. We almost know his family. It is kind of refreshing to have a familiarity to the class and to already know what to expect out of something in my first year of law school.
On the other hand, for Torts and Crim. Law, we are just getting started trying to figure these guys out.
So far, all we know that Prof goes in alphabetical order when calling on people to describe some theoretical ramblings about punishment. I am not sure anyone in the class has yet to really "get" what he is talking about. I could be wrong, as I say this based on his lack of facial expression or response on his part when anyone speaks. He asks a question and we all write it down. People raise their hand to answer. Someone is called on and starts off their comments strong. Halfway through, when he isn't budging, they change course. Still no nod or smile, so they scramble to actually make a point. Then, he says "okay", calls on someone else and repeats that process. After a few rounds of that, he asks another question that is fairly unrelated to the conversation. After class, I looked at my notes, and a I have 26 questions. Umm...no answers. Maybe the task here is for US to write the exam. If so, I am golden. Mine will be fill in the blank!
I think I am golden here too, as apparently, Prof. has a thing for co-eds...kidding. I am sure all of you have already read about the story of the first night of Torts so I won't go through that again. This man is pretty funny. I think he really wants us to like him and be his friend. I appreciate the lack of "I am Prof. and that means I am smarter than all of you combined" attitude. He is all about positive re-inforcement. If someone says something intelligent, he will tell them they made a good point. He will also admit if he doesn't know something, which is strange to me, as I was under the impression all law school Profs knew everything there was to know! He's also a bit on the spastic side. He likes to throw his leg up on the desk and move around a lot. He also has a thing for throwing stuff around the 145 person classroom to prove his point. That's okay, as long as he does not hit me, because that would surely be an external manifestation on his part.
Prof. here did an amazing thing for us. He specifically set aside the first 30+ minutes of class to discuss something he felt was extremely important. He did a "it's time to start thinking about your career" speech. (Even had a power point) This is somthing that the Career Developement folks or someone should take the time to do for us. I am not talking about some noon luncheon that the evening students cannot attend. I am talking about coming to us and bringing us the info at a time convenient to us. He did just this. He spoke of his experiences, what worked and what didn't, advice from a practicioner, etc. THANKS CONTRACTS PROF! Other than that, not much changed from last semester. I think he may be brushing his hair in a different direction.
So, that sums up my first week of my second semester of law school! Things are quite different and believe it or not, much more intense! This may be due to the fact that two days a week I have 6 hours of work, then 6 hours of class, back to back. (Add in two hours of transportation to, from, and around the city) So, if you notice a mood shift on Wednesdays or Thursdays, you can see why!
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Didn't take longThis week is kicking my ass! All the prepping and organization-gone. Someone explain to me why working and going to law school full time seemed like a good idea!
Will write when I can collect my thoughts...and after the Erie Doctrine (tonight)!
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Torts class embarrassmentLast night was our first night of class (Torts). One would think that it would not have been very different. Oh contraire, mon frère. We had a different teacher. I sat in a different seat. The book and cases are different. Did I mention that for the first time since all of this started, I was embarrassed to be in that class! Those feeling climaxed when Prof. actually asked "What kind of law school is this." This was not the typical "one kid getting called outand humiliated for not reading" scenario. This was the whole damn class getting called out! He did this right before he had to give us 5 minutes of "reading time" to read the cases that apparently almost no one in the class read. You should know that in context, his statement was made with a smile. He was actually MUCH more lenient then he should have been for such an outward display of "slackerism" on our part. (By the way, I was not the only dork in the class who had in fact read ahead of time. Looking around, I realized that the folks in my study group were all prepared. I think I got a good one!)
For a much better synopsis of last nights events, check out Idlegrasshopper. Oh, and grasshopper, after last night, I sadly admit to the inaccuracy of my earlier statements.
Random note: I think it is very funny that Blogger has a spell check function that does not recognize the word "blogger" or the word "blog".
UPDATE: Did I say I was most embarrased by MY section? Correction, I think Section 14 now gets that prize! (Neil, et al, you guys rock!)
I present a picture of the guys after their first annual moustache contest:
Titled "Dateless Wonders"
Monday, January 10, 2005
ImaginationSome Beach! I've been typing on this blog all morning, just for blogger to swallow it up and spit in into oblivion. Starting over...
When reading cases for law school, you really must fully immerse yourself in the reading at hand. There is no such thing as laying down with a good casebook before bed. In actuality, you are sitting upright at a large desk or table with at least 5 distinctly colored highlighters, a pen or two, a Black's Law Dictionary, and a cup of coffee. You have to read analytically, much like you did when studying for the LSAT. You must constantly take notice of things such as procedural history, issues presented, caselaw and reasoning, dicta, etc. You have to tune out the world and focus only on the words you are reading, what they mean, and how they fit into the larger picture of the class. This can be a grueling task for someone who spent 5 years in undergrad playing with sticks, cardboard and super glue. (Not quite as fun as it sounds, either.) Last semester, I tried changing reading locations, varying pen colors, even tried new coffee flavors. Nothing seems to make the task any less difficult. It also didn't help that there is a lack of "interesting" cases in the two classes I took. Contracts is all about "uhhh, that's not fair, you promised you would...no i didn't...off to court." Our focus in CivPro was more about where to try a case. Who knew it could take almost an entire semester just to decide what court to file a suit in? I did get much better at reading the cases by the end of the semester, but at the same time, they got much longer. As you can tell from last Friday, picking up where we left off is proving to be a tad difficult.
However, I have two new classes added to the mix this semester. Criminal Law and Torts are thus far much easier reading. I am ecstatic that the books are much smaller ("only" a thousand pages each). Also, since we are starting from square one, there is an introduction in each book that is simple reading and the cases are all about one page. More important than the above advantages, I find the reading much more interesting. Granted, I do watch way too much Law & Order, but I am reading bizarre, morally repugnant, socially degrading cases. Fun Stuff. Over the weekend, I read about three men who killed and ate another; the lady who spilled McDonald's coffee on her lap; a man found to have committed "battery" by blowing smoke in another's face; and a guy who purposely had unprotected sex with HIV.
After numerous hours of reading about such awful life circumstances, my imagination began to get the better of me. Living in a four story house built in 1946 can lead to many strange noises. Being in that house alone all weekend can lead to many mental concoctions. On Sunday afternoon, I was reading at the kitchen when the doorbell rang. I peaked out of the blinds to see no cars or people around. The stranger rang the doorbell again, this time more repeatedly. I yelled out "who is it?" to which I got no response. I then went and sat back down. Now, the stranger opened the screen door and began knocking. I again went to the door to inquire as to the identity of the stranger. Still nothing. As I turned to head back to read, the drama queen got the better of me and I did actually begin to mentally quote The Raven* (Hey, it fit!) Anyway, I decided I would not answer the door and pray that this crazy person would just leave. I had my cell phone in hand and was crouched down low to peak out of the blinds. Suddenly, I saw an old man appear in my yard and heard him yell "come on sweetheart, they must not be home." At this point, the little Girl Scout left my porch. That's when I knew I needed a reading break. I didn't need any cookies anyway.
*Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Law student dialogueLast night was my last night of freedom before I crawl back into my hole and cover up with the 1L blanket. I went to a bar with some friends and when I first got there, I saw a guy in my class. We had that akward "I should say hi to this person, but I don't know this person on a social level so don't know how to act" moment. (Which, by the way, floors me, as I am not used to having anyone in my life NOT on a social level.) Anyway, first question out of his mouth "So, you finished the reading yet?" To this, I respond "Nope, you." He says "Nope, haven't even started." Mind you, both of us were full of it. Not only have I finished, but have begun to read for classes that didn't assign reading. And I can assure you that the Versace model has too, as he is one of the 'always prepared' folks in class. Why, then did we both feel the need to play it off? Law School is not like high school where it was "cool" not to take school seriously. It seems to be that competitive thing coming back. Maybe no one wants the next person to know what they have done, for fear that person will go and do more. Either way, it's strange!
Friday, January 07, 2005
Reading woesYou know what I love? I love when someone asks how much homework I have and I say on average about 30-40 pages of reading a night, to which they respond "That's it? I read that much every night easily." I'm sorry, was I not clear that this is LEGAL READING. Not trying to sound pretentious or anything, but there is a pretty big difference. (Compare the difference between reading Dr. Seuss and Shakespeare.) I am not saying that I am smarter because I read more difficult jargon. On the contrary, for the most part, I don't understand half of it. I have been on this ONE SENTENCE for 15 minutes now. Allow me to give you a glimpse into my reading:
"Whatever contradiction or confusion may be produced by a medley of judicial phrases severed from their environment, the body of adjudications concerning equitable relief in diversity cases leaves no doubt that the federal courts enforced State-created substantive rights if the mode of proceeding and remedy were consonant with the traditional body of equitable remedies, practice and procedure, and in so doing [*107] they were enforcing rights created by the States and not arising under any inherent or statutory federal law." Guaranty Trust Co. v. York, 326 U.S. 99, 106-107 (U.S., 1945)
If anyone has any clue as to what that means, feel free to let me know:-)
Things to do...done!Plugging away nicely at Things To Do list!
Registration is complete (oops-they had lost my paperwork)
Tuition still questionable (said they are sending another bill)
Reading assignments (partially done, will hit Erie Doctrine today)
Grades (not thinking about it)
Checkbook is balanced (as best as it could be)
Budget is done and ready for this semester
Bedroom is spotless
Last semesters LRW endless paperage is in the recycle bin
Other last semester stuff has been filed away (translation: thrown into a box)
New books purchased (happy to say they are tiny compared to last semester's monstrosities)
Clothes are washed and ironed
Groceries will be stocked up on this weekend
Bought doubles of everything I own to keep in my gym locker
Purchased a few birthday gifts for people this semester
Caught up on my reading of old "Student Lawyer" magazines (I get them once a month and read my first from last year yesterday)
Had dinner with two friends this past week and have Friday and Sat. plans with two other groups (to say my goodbyes)
When reading the above list, one may think I am perhaps going on a long vacation. Or, I could be preparing for the end of the world. Maybe, I am going into hiding for some unknown yet embarrassing reason. Obviously, I could have some terminal illness and am getting everything in order for the end. Perhaps I am preparing for an IRS audit. Nope, I am going back to law school! (Although this can easily be confused with any of the above.) I figure I can at least START OFF on the right foot. I will be taking wagers on how long this will last. Keep in mind, it did take me the full three week break to undo the mess that had become of things by the end of last semester. And this go round, I have added two classes to the mix.
Thursday, January 06, 2005
News StoriesThere are a couple of things in the news right now that aren't sitting too well with me.
First off, I got a CNN Breaking News Alert the other day to tell me that 36 Americans are presumed dead from the Tsunami. Are you kidding me??? Don't get me wrong, death is never insignificant and my heart feels for their families. However, I really think that the US needs to take a back seat on this one. Can we really justify that as 'breaking news' when over 155,000 died overseas? That number is pretty unfathomable to us. That is over fifty times the people that died on 9-11-01 and we all know how terrible that day was. Imagine the fear and hurt we felt and then multiply that by FIFTY with no one to take your anger out on. In some areas that were hit by the Tsunami, one in every four people died. Do you realize what a devastation that is? That would be one person from my office, one of my roommates, one person in my family, 30 people in my class and 143,000 people in Washington DC. If the tsunami had hit our country, and we lost what Banda Aceh lost, we would be living with 7.5 million less people in the United States. I cannot imagine how my I would get through life with such drastic upheaval, assuming I was a "lucky" one and made it through. (Note: The Washington Post has some amazing photographs on line to help better understand the devastation. Go go to this map and click on "Click For Satellite Images" near Banda Aceh. As you scroll from photo to photo, you can see the overwhelming destruction.)
I do have faith in the American legal system. (I should hope so, as this is what I want to do with the rest of my life.) I also admit that the legal system is not without it's faults, as with any system so complex. Then, there are situations that come along that really make me question what in the hell is wrong with this picture. This Andrea Yates thing makes my blood boil! I cannot believe that a woman can murder her five children and then have her murder conviction overturned because some quack doctor thought he was a movie star. Now, the system has to start all over with this woman again. On the other hand, at least the system is set up so she will not be back on the streets like another time the system failed.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
New Year's ResolutionMy NY Resolution this year may seem simple on the surface, but after last semester, I can assure you, it is not! I resolve not to go crazy this semester. Yep, that's right, just want to keep my sanity. For those of you who were reading my blog during the final days (exam time), you have probably already realized I got a bit loopy in the end. The problem is, it wasn't just a comedic loopy. I was really annoying. I was depressed, and lonely, and sick of reading, and rude to the people around me and obsessive about every little thing! I really spent about two weeks mad at almost every person in my life. The minute the break came, it was back to happy me. I cannot tell you how many people have said to me lately "I like you much better this way." So, I decided to try and keep it up. In order to achieve my goal of sanity, I will need to do two important things:
1) Keep my routine. I am borderline OCD when it comes to being organized in life. When I find things becoming in disarry, I feel like I am losing my grasp on sanity. This semester, I have to keep up the work-out, work, school, occasional breaks, etc. routine. Since roomie is doing her Thesis this semester, we are going to force each other to have break times! Last semester, I began outlining on day one. Then, later on, I lost the motivation and had a lot of catching up to do during exams. This time, I am going to stay on top of it!
2) Don't sweat the small stuff. Seriously, I was getting so mad at my roommates thinking they were way too loud coming up those stairs and that was absolutely unnecessary while I was trying to study. (Don't get me started on the time I cried because they watched The OC without me!) I attribute all of that crazy overreacting to stress, as those sort of reactions aren't typical of me. To quote Garrett "You people need to learn to choose your battles and not worry about things which you can easily see arent going to matter in the long run." (By the way, I love this kid's blog. He is writing about the trials and tribulations of high school, but listening to him, I would swear he's in law school...we even have lockers!)
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Grades & Only in LouisianaTwo unrelated posts rolled into one:
NO, I DO NOT HAVE MY GRADES YET! It's funny how that is everyone's first question. "Well, how'd you do?" Just fine, thanks! (I assume they wanted more substance in the reply like "I got a 4.25") I received word that grades will not be out until AT LEAST January 21st. This is good for a few reasons. First, I have a bit more time before my fate is actually sealed. Second, I am not obsessively checking the website for my grades...yet. Most importantly, I have some time to formulate a good response to the "so, how'd you do" question. I may just take Lawschoolinsider's line: "I will not divulge my grades, lets just say I faired better than most, but still did not meet the expectations I had set for myself."
So, I have spent DAYS gathering music and organizing my IPOD. I love this thing! It is the most ingenious way in which to tune out the world. (I formerly thought that title should go to being deaf, but then you don't get to listen to music.) Anyway, I have acquired so many songs from CDs and friends that I have not actually had the chance to listen to all of them. This makes things really interesting when I am somewhere in a crowd, a funny song comes on, and I can't help but laugh aloud. Good thing half of DC is crazy, so I fit it. This morning on the Metro, I came across one of the songs off my Cousin's CD. He sings Zydeco down in LA and I got his first CD as part of my Christmas present. I don't have the songs named yet, so it stands as "Track 17". The song starts off really nice...drums...accordion...then Drew begins singing. Wait, what the hell did he just say?
"She's pretty but she got a camel toe,
she's pretty but she got a camel toe,
she's pretty but she got a camel toe,
buy that woman a skirt-woo!"
It goes on to say "take those Wrangler's off yo' ass" and more. I was laughing so hard on the Metro, I know everyone was wondering what I was doing in that seat all by myself. Only in Louisiana would someone write a song about a "genital affliction". Now, I can't get this one out of my head (and it's worse than the llama song) Note...that was for those that missed it the first time!
Monday, January 03, 2005
Prepping for schoolThus far, everything is going according to my grand plan. I have had a wonderful break with a bit of relaxing time (which is nice). Aside from the fact that LSU managed to ruin my relaxation time on the first day of 2005...everything else is going smooth sailing. I made it through the holidays in one piece and actually did have time to get gifts for everyone. My travel was actually quite nice: no delays, no lost luggage, even got bumped to first class once. So, Christmas...check! Catching up on everything...check! Relaxing...check! This leaves prepping for school. OH CRAP...SCHOOL STARTS IN ONE WEEK!
Couple of problems here:
1) I am still not registered for the right classes. This is something beyond my control, as the school registers us automatically. As One Ls, we have no say. We are put into a "section" and take all our classes with the same people for the first year. My section was split in half: some staying put and some who will be tranferring into the full time program. That would be me. Um, except that they still have me registered for part time. Easy fix...I'll just show up for those extra classes:-)
2) Although they were mailed out weeks ago, I still haven't gotten my bill for tuition. It's not like I actually have $16,000 laying around to pay it anyway, so I'm not stressing too much, although I probably should be. While on the subject of money, I haven't received any loan info either. Perhaps they just keep everything the same? I guess I should make a few phone calls today.
3) I keep reading other law school blawgs about everyone having finished their first week reading assignments. Well, I did get most of my books out of my car this weekend. (It's a good start) However, my school still has not posted the assignments on our "portal." I may be missing some other method of knowing what I am supposed to have read and be prepared for, but I think not. I think I will just watch the Sugar Bowl tonight. I do need to go buy my books for next week, but since I haven't pinned down my new schedule, I don't know what books I will need. I guess I need to figure that out.
4) This one is good. I haven't received my last semester grades yet. Apparently, this is normal and I will not be receiving them until February. So, can I assume then that I did not fail anything? Of course! This is law school. They told me at orientation that "the hardest part of law school is getting in". That would mean that as long as I got in, which I apparently did, then I will always pass, right? YAY! (I did have a NIGHTMARE last night that I got a "C" in Contracts.)
So, now after putting it in writing, I realize I have no more time to talk today. I must go make sure I will still be a law school student next week!