Tuesday, November 30, 2004


It’s been a rough week ‘round these here parts. Finbar was in a car accident on his way home last weekend. Thankfully, he’s not hurt, but his car is. The other driver is also being a pain. He was stopped at a stop light, waiting to go straight. The green right-turn arrow came on and the woman behind him hit the gas, plowing right into Finbar. He’s pretty sure that she was on her cell phone, which is against the law in that part of the country. Anyway, he got out of the car to assess the situation and check with the other driver. She immediately started screaming through her car window that he better stay away from her, she’s friends with the chief of police (oh, spare me), he’s being belligerent and she’s calling her close friend, the chief of police on him.

Did I mention that she looked to be in her late 30’s and was wearing a cheerleader’s uniform?

Finbar called his mom (who’s got her own political connections in that small little town) and waited for the police to show up. The report was filed and the police forwarded her insurance information to Finbar. However, it does not appear that she was cited and her insurance company is not returning his phone calls. We had to borrow his dad’s car to drive home in.

Speaking of Finbar’s dad, he’s back in Buffalo and was doing pretty well... until they discovered that their dog needed to be put to sleep. He’s very attached to the dog and the stress of the whole thing put him back in the hospital. He was given some extra drugs and monitored for a couple of days, but is back home again. Sam tells us that he was more active at Thanksgiving than he’s been in years, so that sounds good.

The whole family is taking the dog’s death pretty hard, though. Finbar and Sam are especially mad because his mom just took her to the vet without telling anyone, so they didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to her. I guess she did it that way to spare his dad the agony of making the choice and possibly feeling obligated to take her there himself—which would obviously have been a bad idea, considering his weakened state. But Finbar and Sam are still angry over the suddenness of it all, though.

Sadie Van Meer was 16 years old and lived a very pampered life. She was coddled in every possible way. Back when Finbar and I first started dating, Sam was only 14 years old and she would paint Sadie’s claws with nail polish and made little beaded bracelets for her to wear. The dog had a large wardrobe, including a little leather bomber jacket and a silk smoking jacket (compete with tiny fake cigar in the pocket). She was bathed in the tub in the yellow bathroom—a privilege denied to all the humans living and visiting in their home—and given a small spritz of perfume afterward. She didn’t sleep on the floor or in an ordinary doggie bed—oh, no... she had a wrought iron daybed. Finbar’s mom always made a tiny little plate of whatever they were having for breakfast—eggs and toast, cereal—for the dog to eat. At holidays, the dog was given presents, got to lick the bowls when the food was being prepared, and always got a huge plate of leftovers at the end of our dinner. This lead to the phenomenon dubbed “Bowling Ball Belly”. By 10 pm on Thanksgiving, the dog was usually curled up, snoring heavily as she digested the gluttony of the day. We would always find it funny to open the fridge and crinkle the lunchmeat wrappers while calling her name—an act that normally would get her to come running from wherever she was at top speed.

Not that she was a little angel. The dog was sly, sneaky, and greedy. If food was involved, there was no love. She was also called “Python” and “Alligator” for her tendencies to swallow her food whole and for the snapping noise of her jaws. You could not simply offer the dog a treat. There was an elaborate ritual involved, with the treat being held far above the dog’s reach and being slowly lowered while the human repeated “EASY! EASY!” in a loud, firm voice, all the while keeping a close eye on the dog. You would, ideally, be able to get the dog to gently take the treat, but you always had to be prepared to yank the treat and your hand back at the last minute, just in case. She actually bit me once, when I wouldn’t give her my rib bones before I was finished eating dinner. The dog was also an inveterate beggar. When Finbar and I first started dating, she was still young enough to actually get up on her back legs and hold her front paws in the classic pose—and there was no heart hard enough to deny her when she turned those brown eyes on you. When she got older, she started using her paw to tap you on the leg to get you to look down, whereupon you would be met with big brown puppy eyes that might make you cry. Eventually, she stopped begging and started “threatening”. She would bark loudly, even growl under her breath. If you denied her, she would go over to her water bowl and start slurping up water as fast as possible—an obvious allusion to the fact that she planned to pee on the floor somewhere.

And oh, my God, the pee. The dog, love that she is, was banned first from the upstairs, then from the basement, then from all areas of the first floor other than the tiled floor of the kitchen and breakfast nook. A baby gate was installed to keep the dog from straying. She was never particularly good about waiting to be let out into the yard, regardless of what training tricks the family tried. But as she got older, she began to flat out refuse, especially in the winter. One can hardly blame her—she was only a little dachshund and they measure snow in feet in the City of Light. In the last year or so of her life, she found it so hard to navigate the steps to the backyard that the family started buying puppy pads for her to use. I will never be convinced, though, that the dog didn’t also use this “gift” maliciously. I remember one morning when Finbar was eating a bowl of cereal and ignoring the barks and growls of demand. After a few minutes of this, the dog trotted over and started loudly schlecking up water, pausing every few seconds to look over at Finbar, as though to say “Sure you don’t want to reconsider that decision?”. She would walk back over and bark, he would tell her “no!” and Sadie would trot back over to the water. I laughed until I had tears coming down my face—she was so obviously ticked off that he would dare to eat something and not give her any of it.

Sadie and I shared a special bond, born of the fact that I like to sleep and she likes to burrow under the covers with people. We spent hours sleeping on the couch in the basement, on the floor in front of the fireplace, in Finbar’s bed. I’ve never known an animal to generate as much heat as Sadie, either. She was like a furry little nuclear power plant. There were times when I would have to throw off the covers and strip down to my tank top and shorts, even in the dead of winter, if Sadie was sleeping in my bed. Sometimes she would have “dackl dreams”, smacking her lips and making little grunting noises in her sleep. Once, she got so bad that I jumped out of bed at 3 am and yelled “Go get a drink of water!” at the poor thing. (Finbar still thinks this is hilarious.)

Sadie and I shared a box of powdery-sweet krusciki every Christmas. I was always the biggest sucker out of the family, giving her half my dinner sometimes, and Sadie knew it. If she wasn’t sitting on Finbar’s dad’s lap, she would make her way to my lap whenever food was in the offing. I think my all-time favorite Sadie moment was during my first trip to the City of Light. It was my last morning there and the whole family was eating breakfast at the table in the breakfast nook—an unusual occurrence. The food was gone, but we were drinking coffee and chatting about this and that. Sadie was on Finbar’s dad’s lap, resting her fuzzy head on his arms. Suddenly, she sat up, leaned forward, and started drinking out of his coffee cup. She didn’t look around to see if anyone was watching or act like she was doing anything wrong at all—she was just drinking her coffee, what’s so strange about that?

It’s hard to believe that I’ll walk into the kitchen in a few weeks and there won’t be any doggie treats on the floor, no smelly pink binky, no puppy pads in the corner... and no toenails clicking on the floor as Sadie trots over to see if whoever just came in brought her any food. It will be so strange to eat dinner without the usual barking and growling in the background. How can we make breakfast without setting aside a little plate for Sadie? Who’s going to eat my pizza crusts and finish the last slurps of coffee in the pot? I’m glad that she won’t have to suffer or be in pain any longer, and she had a long and good life. I’m certain that she’s sitting on Bocha’s lap, eating walnuts right now. But I’ll miss that funny little puppy dog and her evil ways.

Bad Jokes That Make You Laugh Anyway, Part Two

Q: What did the carpet say to the floor?
A: Don't move, I've got you covered!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Motivation: Unwrapped

I don’t know how it is possible to have so much to do and so little drive to do it.

I was always a very conscientious student and my competitive nature usually meant going far above and beyond what was expected. But law school has been a whole different story altogether. I just don’t care. I’m not terribly interested in the things we read (even though I think it’s interesting). I know I’m just digging my own grave and yet, I can’t seem to get revved up and do the work. If I’m not careful, I may end up failing out. In fact, some days I think it might already be too late to avoid that. This, of course, only compounds the problem, as the impending feeling of unavoidable doom feeds a vicious cycle of “well, I’m going to fail anyway. Might as well see what’s on TV” that is slowly causing me to get even further behind.

Does this mean that I am not cut out for lawyering? What am I doing here? What am I doing with my life?

One of the greatest disappointments of life is that becoming an adult doesn’t mean that you suddenly know what to do in any given situation. I was also shocked when I became a grown-up without ever figuring out what I want to be when I grow up.

I used to think that I would figure it out as I went through my undergraduate program. After all, one of the rationales the university offered to explain the general education requirements was that it would give us a broader base of experience to allow us to decide what direction we would like our careers to take. And yet the only thing that my gen eds taught me was that I hate stupid, lazy people with a burning passion like that most people reserve for puppy killers and politicians. The fact that I have a quick temper on top of it meant that I spent most of my gen ed class time putting the verbal smackdown on the girlie-girls who spent most of the lecture chattering at normal volume about the big SAE party last weekend/this weekend/that night and the entitlement-deluded frat boys who thought they should just get an A for showing up within the first fifteen minutes of class two out of three classes a week.

After the first two years, I began seeking ways to fulfill my gen ed requirements without leaving the German department—quite successfully, I might add. I took a German Literature in Translation class to fulfill my upper-level literature requirement, a German History class to satisfy part of the history requirement, German Speaking World to fulfill part of the social science requirement, some course about Expressionism and Naturalism to fulfill the Fine Arts requirement, and so on and so forth. If I couldn’t fulfill it through the German department, I tried to stay in “German-friendly” departments. For example, I finished my social science class by taking a Linguistics course taught by a professor who spoke fluent German and liked to flaunt it in front of the class. For the small price of being called on in German every.single.day—and never about Linguistics, but rather about the weather or music or current events—I bought myself a mostly stress-free A. Plus I had a LOT of fun. One of the best classes I ever took. The professor played bagpipes in class, sang snippets of opera to punctuate his lectures, and gave us a test written entirely in a made-up language.

But I digress. My BA served mostly to qualify me to go to graduate school. It did NOT prepare me to get hired by anyone who wouldn’t have hired me before I went to college. It did prepare me to send huge chunks of my paychecks to the Federal Government in a seemingly futile effort to repay the thousands of dollars that the BA cost me, even after generous scholarships. It did NOT prepare me to make any sort of intelligent or informed decisions about my career.

And somehow I’ve drifted into law school.

What on earth was I thinking, coming here? I mean, yeah, it’s really interesting and I like the subject matter. But I have never been so miserable in my entire life and I certainly don’t know what I’m doing. I’m sure I wouldn’t hire myself as an attorney. And to top it all off, I’m not entirely certain that I even want to be an attorney.

Maybe I should just drop out and start that B & B in rural Vermont. I can start selling twee little packages of the treats I like to make – chocolate covered pretzels, pumpkin brittle, cakes—at exorbitant prices to the tourists. Eventually, someone who knows someone will spend the weekend and become addicted to my cinnamon-honey pumpkin seeds. Next thing you know, Food Network is making arrangements for a camera crew to stop by and film my process (just to annoy Finbar, I’ll make sure to touch things without gloves and not wear a hairnet) for a half-hour special. Sales and reservations will skyrocket. I will hire a staff and spend my days drinking cabernet and testing new recipes. When I open my fourth factory, I will retire from the business altogether to host my own Food Network program together with Alton Brown. John Cusack will be a frequent guest both on the show and in my spacious mansion. Ahem. Sorry, I guess I veered too far into Fantasyland there.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Update on Finbar's Dad

Finbar’s dad is back home at last. He’s cranky and apparently already back to his old habits. Some people never learn, apparently. It makes me want to scream and rail and say things like “Are you completely stupid?!”.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Potty Training 102

We’ve already discussed the fact that you don’t need to hover over the toilet, ladies. Well, let me elaborate that point for you just a little. If you can’t hover AND actually hit the toilet bowl with your bodily excretions, then you have LOST YOUR RIGHT to hover. Sit your precious tush down! There is no reason why I should have just narrowly missed dragging the hem of my pants leg through a puddle of urine on the floor two inches in front of the toilet bowl. Are you an animal or a woman??


“If you think that I care which arrogant 22 year old gets to “lead” [and she made air quotes here] an ineffectual social club masquerading as “student government” [air quotes again], then you’re even more sadly mistaken than 51% of America.”

Wow. Just wow. I would marry you if this state didn’t define marriage as “between a man and a woman”.

Oh, I See...

Apparently he was talking about a case he’d seen on Forensic Files and mentioned in class two days ago.

Non Sequitur

Professor Feedback just walked up to me and said, “I’ve been thinking about it and the victim’s name was Shannon, not Sheila.” As though he was just continuing an earlier conversation with me. I just smiled and chuckled. But seriously, what in the name of all that is holy is he talking about?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Geh Wohin Dein Herz Dich Trägt

After I opened the eighty-second email sending me a link to Canada’s Immigration website, I finally decided to take the self-assessment test. I do, in fact, qualify for a skilled-worker visa with a score of 73.

Not that I’m really planning to immigrate. Yet. I am very, very upset about the results of the election and frightened for the future. I do not trust the Bush administration to keep me or my family safe. I do not trust him to keep enough jobs here to allow me to pay my debt, own a home, and save for retirement. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that one day things could deteriorate to the point of needing to leave the country. But we’re not there yet.

If I were to immigrate now, it would be a lifestyle choice, not a rejection of America or a flight from some horrible danger. Toronto has always been a city that I’ve thought would be nice to move to—the fact that it lies in Canada is just part and parcel of that. Munich is another city I’d love to make my home. And I could probably weasel my way into a visa somehow. I’ve never been to New Zealand, but based on what I’ve read and heard from others who’ve travelled there, I think it could be a good place to go, too. And let’s not even talk about Iceland. You all know how I feel about that.

If we’re changing the scenario to immigration out of necessity of one kind or another, the pool of eligible countries expands. Australia, Ireland, Scotland, England and that old stand-by, Canada jump to mind. However, in such a situation, I would imagine that there would be a tidal wave of people trying to get into other English-speaking countries, so my chances of getting a visa might be better elsewhere. Austria and Switzerland are on my list. I’ve been to all of those places and might be willing to live there anyway, so why not in a pinch? I might even be willing to give Sweden another chance. I’d have to think about Finland, but I did have a fairly favorable impression after my short sojourn there this summer, and if millions of Finns can learn Finnish, I sure as heck can, as well. And if I brushed off my rusty-dusty Spanish, I could add Spain, Ecuador. and Uruguay to my list. I know that’s a pretty random sampling, but it’s not based on any personal experience, so... how could it be anything more than random?

But what to do with my monolingual sweetheart?

He’s been swearing that he wants to learn German for years, but has, to date, learned nothing more than “Tschüß”, “Danke”, “Bitte”, “Katze”, and the numbers 1-3 (except that he always mixes “zwei” and “drei” up). His German grandma also taught him the strange insult “Slabberhans”. I’ve offered to give him basic lessons many, many times. I offered to loan him the “Elementary German” and “German for Beginners” books that I used to tutor from. To no avail—he still talks about it all the time, but always has a reason why now is not a good time to learn.

I don’t know why he doesn’t want to learn just for the purpose of making snide comments without being understood. I know I would, if I were in his shoes. In fact, I plan to learn more and more obscure languages for that very purpose.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Comparative Legal Cultures, the EU, and the Euro

Never have so many people said so much with so little content for so long.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Needs No Title

Sorry, world, for foisting four more years of insanity,lies, and bloodlust on us all

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide

Forget talking about Erie.

Next week, we're expected to actually read it. Again.

And yet, it's still by far the most useful and interesting class I'm taking this semester.

Update on Finbar's Dad

He's responding well to medication--very well, in fact. At this point, it is unlikely that he will need a bypass, but he may still need a shunt. They are still waiting to find out what is causing the problem.

Read 'em and Weep

The poker tournament was a raging success. Which is basically a big, fat “BITE ME” to Miss Daisy Burpee.

Last week, it was uncertain if we would have enough participants to break even on the event. But in the end, we had to turn away a lot of people at the door. We capped the event at 150 and easily could have raised the cap to 200—if we could get that many tables in the room.

That’s not to say that there were no bumps in the road to our crowning as the Kings and Queens of Law School Iniquity. We had to rent tables because the group we hired to stage the tournament insisted that the available tables were not sufficient. This was a great part of the reason we thought we might not be able to break even on the event—renting tables is not cheap.

Then we had to hire the union to set up the tables and chairs. For us to set up the event ourselves would apparently be a violation of union rules. Now, I’m not speaking out against unions. My father is union and I am of the opinion that unions can be a valuable tool to give the worker a voice and a modicum of clout in dealing with employers, who otherwise tend to hold all or most of the cards (hee. No pun intended...). However, the fact that we had to pay $20 per hour for them to unfold and set up 11 banquet tables and 150 folding chairs seemed to me a little out of control. That’s $20 per hour, per worker. I wish *I* could get a job doing such work for $20 per hour. And of course, the guys they sent to do the job succeeded in fulfilling every negative stereotype of the union employee. Two supervisors stood around and watched four men take their sweet time meticulously setting up tables and chairs as though they were dealing with precious and delicate antique furniture with deep historical value instead of industrial grade metal chairs and tables that can be replaced from a mail-order catalog.

While all of this was going on, I was sent to put signs on the entrance doors and the elevator lobbies, directing the participants to the event. When I stopped on the first floor to tape up a sign, one of the union boys self-importantly informed me that I better have Dean Sybill’s permission to put up those signs. I assured him that we had been in touch with her regarding the event. He gave me the Look of Condescension and threatened (and yes, he intended it as a threat) that he would just tear down the signs. I told him that if he heard from Dean Sybill that directing people to the event was a problem that she could give us a call and we’d work it out with her. He huffed. I left.

A few minutes later, I passed by the first floor on my way to run another errand and the signs had been torn down. Now really. Let’s get a life, little boy. Besides, I have at least 20 more of those signs and four rolls of Scotch Tape, so all you did was piss me off and give us more ammo to complain to the union about your work. Plus which, did you not see the big letters at the top denoting that this is a “CHARITY TOURNAMENT” while you were ripping down the signs in a petty fit of pique? That means that we’re not doing this for fun or to enrich ourselves. We’re raising money for CHARITY, you dimwits! Cut us a little slack, mkay?

On my way out, I noticed that three of the four employees were lounging around the front door, smoking. This was maybe 15 minutes after they began working. I reported to La Presidente, who called their supervisor’s supervisor and pitched a fit about the way they were wasting our money. Shortly thereafter, we heard one of the supervisors’ cell phones go off. Shortly after that, the three smokers were back downstairs setting up.

In the end it took four men 1 ½ hours to set up 11 tables and 150 folding chairs. Pathetic.

The group staging the tournament (we’ll call them A1 Poker) showed up and whipped through their preparations. In a matter of an hour, the Student Lounge had been transformed from an institutional break room to the Den of Iniquity that your mother always warned you about. It looked fabulous. And the company was very professional.

The main tournament was scheduled for 7 pm, but smaller side tables were started around 5:30. And people were lining up to register or sign in by that time. It hit us in a great rush, standing there at the Registration table with nothing else to do but greet people and keep an eye on the proceedings, that this was actually going to happen. We did it. We actually pulled it off—in the space of three weeks, we staged a huge event that was going to blow all other Fall fundraisers out of the water. The excitement in the air was palpable. LaPresidente, the Masshole (side note to the Masshole—if you want me to change this, I will), and I couldn’t stop saying “This is so exciting!” to each other.

And as 7 pm came closer and closer, and the waiting list to get a spot in the tournament grew longer and longer, the magnitude of what we had done became clearer and clearer. People had driven in from another university that is well over an hour away. The only minor problem was the...caliber of the outsiders with no connection whatsoever to Our Law School that registered.

We had opened the tournament to the mailing list for A1 Poker because the low registration numbers at the law school left us concerned that we wouldn’t have enough participants to cover the expense of staging the tournament. And boy howdy, the people who came from the list were interesting. Most of them were either under 25 or over 60. All of the young guys think they’re Chris Moneymaker and showed up wearing reflective wrap arounds and ball caps and carrying bottles of “Gatorade”. Once word got around that, while we weren’t serving alcohol (so as not to attract the attention of the State Liquor Control Board, much as the low level Imperial troops might try to avoid attracting the attention of Darth Vader), we were turning a blind eye to those who might choose to pack a hip flask, all pretense was dropped. This actually kind of burned my biscuits. I mean, all we asked was for people to be discreet about it. Somehow, in my tiny little mind, “discreet” does not equal “Run across to the 7-11 and return with a bagful of 22 oz. cans of Bud Light”.

The other oh-so-charming thing about the “extras” was that they were a bunch of pigs. Those cans of Bud Light? They would put them on the floor under the table, end up kicking them over (because apparently they are also none too bright), and then instead of doing the normal person thing and either cleaning it up or letting someone know that a cleanup was needed on Aisle 5, they would just leave it pooling on the floor and open up a new can. This is mind boggling on so many levels to me. I went through miles and miles of paper towels over the course of the evening, mopping up Lake MGD. Disgusting. It made me feel like I was back in undergrad, waitressing my cute little tush off, only I wasn’t making bouku bucks in tips.

That was, however, the only real downside to the evening. The vast majority of the participants were our classmates and their family members, and they were having a blast. We even had a professor playing at one of the tables. Actually, we were expecting another professor and his entire family: Professor Feedback. The closer it got to 7 pm, the more we started looking for him. He had seemed very excited about the tournament and even agreed to sponsor a student in each of his classes. We were so touched by the support that he was showing for our organization. But he didn’t come and he didn’t come and finally the tournament was starting, so we were forced to give his spots away to people on the waiting list. More than half an hour after the tournament got under way, he came wandering in and was very shocked to find that he was not able to play. We felt horrible, but we really didn’t have any other choice.

It turns out that it was his daughter’s fault that they didn’t show up until long after the begin of the event. She is a member of our organization and has been involved in the planning of the event. In fact, she even signed up to work a shift later in the evening. But apparently she didn’t grasp the concept of the tournament because she told him that they could just show up whenever. He said to me (and I swear, I’m not making this up) “Well, Phoebe’s a little scatterbrained. She gets it from her mother.” I think my eyes must have bugged out of my skull. From her mother? If that’s even close to being true, it’s a miracle that she survived to adulthood!

The tournament started moving pretty quickly as many of the less-experienced poker players were eliminated along with others who just had bad luck or took a risk that didn’t pan out as desired. As players were eliminated, the remaining players were consolidated into a smaller number of tables. Then the newly open tables were converted to smaller winner-takes-all games that people could buy into for an additional amount of money. The process continued as more and more players were eliminated.

The biggest and best shocker of the evening was Neala. She showed up with small “cheat sheets” that she’d printed out online, showing each hand and what it would be worth. She didn’t really know how to play, but she figured she’d at least have some fun. In fact, she ended up being one of the last law students left in play and made it to the last elimination before they roped off the final table! It was so cool that someone who didn’t have any experience made it that far.

The biggest non-shocker of the evening was that Daisy Burpee showed up late, stayed less than an hour, and spent the entire time she was there whining to anyone who would listen about how she couldn’t believe that we’d turned the law school into a “den of iniquity”. I wanted to scream. A den of iniquity. Seriously, is Prohibition still in effect in her world? It’s not like we were selling bathtub gin out of the Ladies’ Room and providing hookers in the Faculty Lounge. The local synagogue is holding a Texas-Hold-‘Em tournament as a fundraiser in January, the Catholic Church holds Monte Carlo night, for Pete’s Sake, get a grip! Of course, her moral rectitude didn’t keep her from trying to claim credit for the event in front of the Deans...

The tournament ended up being won by a 1L, who took his trophy and his money and hightailed it out the back door before we even had a chance to take his picture. I was so relieved that one of our students won the tournament—it would have sucked to have to announce that one of the A1 Poker ringers won.

And there we were, 1 am, picking up the trash and basking in the afterglow of having pulled off a phenomenal feat of fundraising. We done good, y’all. We done good.

Dazed and Confused

I did not witness this myself, but this story was gleefully repeated to me on at least 8 or 9 different occasions by different people with almost no variation in the detail, so I feel confident that I am about to post the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

First, a little background: Professor Feedback’s class meets three days a week. The first two days, we meet in classroom 4. On the third day, we meet in classroom 3. The classrooms are next to each other and laid out similarly, but there is a sort of atrium in between the two and it is not particularly easy to confuse the two.

Now, the story: On the third day last week, Professor Feedback walked into Classroom 4 ten minutes earlier than the scheduled start time for his class. Another course takes place in that room at that time and the students were already assembled, waiting for their professor. He walked to the front of the room, greeting several of the students by name on the way, and started drawing one of his insane diagrams on the chalkboard. The students watched in stunned silence for a moment, then started to snicker, as it dawned on them that he didn’t realize that he was in the wrong room. One of the students was kind enough to point this small fact out to Professor Feedback, who was momentarily confused. The chorus of voices eventually convinced him that he was, in fact, in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he wandered off to the correct classroom, where class began a few minutes late.

Monday, November 08, 2004


“I’ve never been to Baltimore recently”

Hmmm, maybe you should review the meaning of never.

Bad Jokes That Make You Laugh Anyway, Part One

Q: What’s yellow, smooth, and dangerous?
A: Shark-infested custard

I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing

I am ashamed of myself. My actions during a tour last week directly contributed to the myth of diversity at Our Law School. It’s well known among the students that the administration at Our Law School goes out of it’s way to depict the school as a haven of diversity, despite the fact that we are 86% Caucasian. When they hold Open House for prospective students, the evening’s activities always include a Q and A session with a panel of current students—and every minority student in school is invited to join the hand-picked panel. This means that the face of the student body as presented to the prospective students is the perfectly balanced racial blend of an ABC Afterschool Special. Even more blatantly, the new recruiting brochure is filled with pictures of every minority member on faculty and many of the minority students, all looking studious and serious and full of hope (and just as cheesy as an ABC Afterschool Special). It’s practically false advertising. One of the 1Ls who I’ve gotten to know this year says that after attending the student panel and perusing the recruitment brochure, her reaction on the first day of class was, “Where are all the other Asians?”

So last week, I was giving a tour to a woman from Virginia. We were meandering through the student lounge when we ran into Pei and Dami. The two of them seem to derive an insane amount of amusement from the fact that I’m a tour guide despite my bitterness, so running into me doing a tour was cause for a great deal of giggling and squealing. But nothing too out of control and they said hello and we parted ways. I continued working my way through the law school from top to bottom and the tour was going well, with lots of questions and interest.

By the way, did you guys know that the mural in the courtroom includes the phrase “The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” in Morse Code? It’s true! Look at the bottom of the big sphere and you’ll see the top row of dots and dashes.

At the tail end of the tour, we climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. Almost immediately after we came through the doors from the stairwell, we ran into Ella—the aforementioned first year. I met her through Pei and Dami, who met her at the Asian Law Student Association. She greeted us and I told her that I was taking Dixie Chick on a tour. Dixie immediately started asking Ella questions about her experience, which I thought was pretty cool. A few minutes later, Pei and Dami came around the corner and immediately started snickering. They joined in the conversation with Dixie—and seriously, no joking, I really thought that was great. Dixie happened to arrive at a day and time when she wasn’t able to observe a class, so the one-on-one (well, OK, one-on-three) interaction with other students was probably welcomed from her side. As the five of us stood there, me off to the side, it occurred to me that Dixie had observed the following interactions with my fellow students: me talking to one of the African-American students, me talking to two of the Asian students, me talking to a handful of white students, me talking to a different Asian student, Asian students talking to each other—a perfect blend of racial harmony straight out of an ABC Afterschool Special.

Dear Lord, I’ve become a tool of the Administration. Heaven help us all.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I'm Still Standin'...

...yeah, yeah, yeah!

There will be much blogging from the confines of Professor Marian's course this week on various topics, including but not limited to the recent election (keep your pants on, vesna!), turning the law school into a den of iniquity, updates on course registration for next semester-- now with more drama in Swedish!, Professor Feedback and his daughter, gay marriage and my mother's "concern about my views on religion and life", immigration to other countries and how my linguaphobe dork of a boyfriend is limiting my options, the impending doom that is the final exam period, and anything else that pops into my noggin. I've had almost a week to stew and dinner is almost ready to be served.

On a more serious note, Finbar's dad was taken to the hospital in FL with Congestive Heart Failure. He was down there to make repairs and renovations to the house they just bought and was therefore alone. I'm still a little fuzzy on the details, but the neighbors got him to the hospital and he's been stabilized and is feeling a lot better (especially the ease of his breathing). Finbar's mom had a flight booked to FL on this coming Wednesday and right now the doctors are telling her that she doesn't need to change that, that she can wait and come down Wednesday. I guess that's a good sign, in a way. They're going to keep his dad in the hospital for at least the next week to run tests and he may need a bypass. We're basically in a holding pattern, waiting to see what the tests reveal. He hasn't been taking care of himself the way that he should and has steadfastly ignored all pleas to eat better and get more exercise. Hopefully this will be the kick in the pants he needs to finally start. Please keep him in your prayers, or for those of you who are not religiously inclined, please send good vibes his way.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

T Shirt Philosophy

"Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and taste good with ketchup"

Words to live by, my friends, words to live by.


By now, you should all know my feelings on the subject. There is NO EXCUSE for any eligible voter not to get out and vote. It's a privilege that the majority of people in this world don't have. It's upholding part of your half of the social contract that makes democracy work. It's the only way to put the people who run our government on notice that we're paying attention and we WILL NOT ACCEPT shoddy leadership.

I don't care whether you end up supporting the candidate I want to win. I just care that you vote. There is no reason that less than half the eligible voters in this country should turn out, especially in an election where so much is at stake.

Don't make me hunt you down and smack you. VOTE, DAMMIT!

Now, If You'll Just Follow Me...

As of last Thursday, I am officially a tour guide for Our Law School. My first tour is this week.

It’s all very exciting, really. I get the chance to be a voice of truth in the wilderness of law school admissions. While I have no intention of trying to scare anyone away, I won’t lie or whitewash what I see as the downside of Our Law School.

I received a packet of information, including a “FAQ” and a list of interesting facts about the school, including a decoder for the deep meanings behind the mural on the mock courtroom wall. Some of the FAQs are illuminating (the student body is 12% minority), others are blatantly false (rents range from 350- 600 per month—ha! Try “rents start at around $500 if you share an apartment, $600 if you want to live alone”). There’s a lot to remember, but luckily I don’t see why I can’t take the cheat sheets with me.

It’s difficult to put my motivations for doing this into words. I think that Our Law School has its good sides and its bad sides. Some of the bad sides are really, really bad. And I think that prospective students have a right to know about those. But I’m mostly happy here and I think that prospective students also deserve to hear about the good stuff from someone who has no personal stake in “snagging” their acceptance. It’s no skin off my nose if they decide to go elsewhere, and I don’t get a reward if they decide to come here. I wish I’d been able to get a completely unvarnished report on everything before I made my decision.

If I knew then what I know now, I don’t know that I would have come here after all. After two years of almost 10% tuition increases with no corresponding scholarship increase, non-existent help from Career Services, and a far softer job market than I expected, I think the factors that weighed so heavily in favor of Our Law School would carry far less weight now. I know I joked a lot about it last year, but now I’m starting to seriously regret not choosing Cornell. Frankly, if I’m going to end up $80,000 in debt despite the scholarships to attend a lower first tier school, then I should have just gone $150,000 in debt and had an Ivy League degree. I'll never be able to pay off the $80,000 because I won't be able to find a job when I'm done, so what difference would it have made if I'd taken on twice that amount? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Zombie Want Ads

Overheard During a Lecture

"This is a case about traffic lights! It's not a case about wife beating!" Said with all the indignation of Sam Waterson taking the moral high ground against the D.A.

And it didn't make any more sense in context than it does posted right here.