Saturday, April 30, 2005

I've GOT To Stop Watching CNN

The lead-in for the next update?

"April 30th was a significant date in the life of Adolf Hitler. Why few Germans are marking it, after this break."

The mind simply boggles. Is it even possible that someone thought that this was a good idea? Why Germans aren't marking a significant event in the life of Adolph Hitler??? Gee, let's think this through.

Forgiveness May Be Part of God's Grace...

... but I wonder how God-like her friends, family and fiancee will be. After a five day nationwide manhunt, Jennifer Wilbanks has turned up alive and well in New Mexico. That's the good news. She apparently ran away because she didn't want to go through with her wedding, scheduled for today.

How incredibly selfish and narcissistic. The act of running away would be understandable. The act of staying hidden while your face is plastered all over the national news and your family and friends are worried sick about you, fearing for your life is dispicable.

Is this simply a case of a person who was simply overwhelmed by stress and made a snap decision that ran out of control? Let's see: she left her keys, wallet, and ID at home, but somehow had a ticket and obtained boarding to a plane. I would think that one of the first thing the police did was to check the passenger lists at nearby airports for her name, and her name obviously didn't pop up. So, did she use a fake ID and buy a ticket under an assumed name? She cut her hair short sometime between the time she left "for a jog" and the time that she came out of hiding in New Mexico. When she finally gave up the jig and called home, she fabricated a story about being kidnapped.

A quote from a news conference given by her uncle sums the situation up pretty well: "Apparently Jennifer had some issues that her family was not aware of."

I feel so very, very bad for the fiancee in this case. The poor man was made a murder suspect and now has his personal heartbreak splashed all over the cable news networks. Imagine how he must feel. On Friday night, he gets a call from his missing fiancee-- who he was so worried about that he had not been able to sleep in days-- telling him that she's alive! She's okay! He must have been ecstatic, delirious with joy at her safe return, especially when the common wisdom would have led him to believe that she was most likely dead. By Saturday morning, he learns that it's all a lie, that she ran away, plunging her family and friends into the hell of thinking that something horrible had happened to her and making him the subject of speculation that he was the new Scott Peterson, just because she didn't think she could marry him.

As of right now, the police are saying that they do not intend to press criminal charges. I think this is wrong. At the very least, she should be charged with filing a false police report (in connection with the kidnapping story). Not only did the police in the area she lived waste manpower and money searching for her, but she has done irreparable damage to the public willingness to take missing adult cases seriously. It's not much of a stretch of the imagination to think that the next time the police are pleading for the public to look for a missing woman, people will simply shrug their collective shoulders and say "Well, she probably ran away."

I wonder if she really thought that she could just pop up with a story about being kidnapped and go through with the wedding as though nothing happened. I mean, why else did she choose to call her fiancee first? Why did she choose to resurface the morning of her wedding? The thing is, if she had simply said to him, "I need some time to think, I'm nervous about getting married", then there's every possibility that they might have been able to work out whatever was the underlying cause of her fear. Can you imagine how hard it would be to rebuild the trust necessary to repair their relationship after this debacle?

I can hear the voices now: "You should be more understanding. She was under immense pressure. How could she have called off a wedding with 600 guests? And I say, how much worse is this? What about the people among those 600 guests who flew in from out of town, paying for plane tickets and hotel rooms? I would be very angry at her for doing this. Better to have given them the chance to cancel reservations and vacation days from work and get as much money back as possible. Those non-refundable deposits for hall, caterers, flowers, etc? Still cheaper than a divorce and the lost trust of your friends and family. Worried about being embarrassed in front of your friends and family? Ummmm... well, I think you've increased that factor by a magnitude, and I can guarantee you that people will be talking about this far longer than they would have talked about you changing your mind before the wedding.

I must say that I love the pastor from their church. His news conference was gentle and exuded love, even for Jennifer, while still maintaining a great deal of respect for the jilted fiancee. He kept the focus on the positive aspects of the situation, yet acknowledged the pain that the people involved are going through. A far better man than I. I know it's not really funny, but I was a little tickled that he started his briefing out by saying "The wedding tonight is cancelled, if y'all could help get the word out", to the national media.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Prayers For Haida

My dear friend, Luneray, could use prayers and good vibes for her dog, Haida. Haida has a bone tumor in her leg. The leg needs to be amputated. Following that, the poor thing may also need chemotherapy. No matter how you look at it, the prognosis isn't great and Haida is in pain. For those of you who have pets, I'm sure you can imagine that Luneray and her husband are also in need of comfort. It's a terrible thing to watch your faithful and loving pet suffering from an illness-- and a heavy responsibility to do what's best. So, please keep Haida and her owners in your thoughts. May they all find comfort.

Seriously, Get Nancy Grace Off the Air

OK, technically, this was not her fault. But it happened during her show and I can't stand her, so I am unfairly laying the blame squarely on her shoulders.

Tonight, I was flipping channels when I came to CNN Headline News just in time to see the following caption on the screen:

"Convicted Killer Goes Free Bcz of Sympathy For The Victim"

Bcz? BCZ?? What, in the name of all that is holy, possessed them to use that abbreviation? And it wasn't like it just flashed on the screen and was quickly removed, in which case you might excuse it as the work of a stressed out Krylon operator (did I get the lingo right, Hulio?) who couldn't find the right text on time. No, it just sat there. They cut to other scenes, then back to Nancy Grace, and under her the offending caption, again and again. Maybe they didn't know how to spell it. Maybe they thought it looked kewl.

Have we come so far that even the cable news networks can't caption without the use of l33t-style abbreviations? IT'S SPELLED "BECAUSE"! That's four whole letters longer! Type out the whole word! Jeez!

But I Use That Site All The Time!

I just tried to check the spelling of a word in the previous entry on AND IT'S GONE. Or at least, the normal version where you could actually LOOK UP WORDS is. Now it's just another one of those pages full of links to paid sites.

For those of you who will similarly mourn the passing of one of the web's greatest resources, try this: The Merriam-Webster Online Dictonary and Thesaurus.

Book Selling Mogul

I've been listing some old books on and Last week, I sold my first book on Satisfyingly enough, it was the utterly useless book from Professor Marian's class. Today, less than 24 hours after listing them on, I sold my first two books on that site.

I had no idea how cheaply used books are being sold on I may have to file that away for future reference. But then again, part of the book buying experience is wandering through the aisles, smelling the musty smell of books, caressing the spines, leafing through the pages.

Neither of my book sales has made me rich exactly, but it will be enough money to grocery shop for a week with, which is exciting. I was also astounded to learn that a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf for 12 years, ever since it was given to me by a member of the German Parliament, is worth nearly $100.00. I can't imagine why-- maybe because bibliophile though I am, I have never been able to bring myself to read this book. Not even when I was desperate for some German language reading material. Maybe someone will buy it and I will feel flush...until I use the money to buy "Cases in Estates and Trusts" or some other horrible law text.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Some People Just Have Too Much Time

Darth Vader's blog. Get your geek on!

Measure Twice...

So, several weeks ago, I made to lower the blinds on my front living room window at dusk. I pulled the cord, but instead of releasing the blinds, the whole thing came crashing down. After a few shellshocked moments-- I was still holding the cord in my hand--I picked the tangled mess up off the floor and examined it. THe housing is cracked and most of the slats are chipped. I managed to get it jammed back into the frame, but you can't raise or lower the blinds or even open the slats wider. Therefore, it needs to be replaced.

So before a recent shopping trip,I asked a certain someone who shall remain nameless to measure my window for me while I was otherwise occupied with preparations. Standing in front of the blinds at (boo... hiss) Walmart, I questioned the measurements the unnamed person had taken, because my windows don't seem particularly unusual, but none of the blinds in the store would have fit. However, the unnamed person insisted that the measurements were right, or very, very close-- possibly off by 1/2 inch, but no more. So, I bought the closest size, anticipating that I would need to mount them on the inside frame of the window, possibly resorting to the use of a shim to ensure that they would fit.

Today, I attempted to mount the blinds and discovered that they are FAR too big. Now they have to go back. Which means another (shudder) trip to Walmart.

Damn you, Unnamed Person! Do we need to have lessons on how to measure a window?

Current Craving

I would kill for buttercream frosting right now. I'm not too picky about what it's spread on. The frosting is what I need to continue breathing.

Who's Up Next in the Baby Pool?

Still excitedly waiting for Ro's arrival here in Our Fair City. I suppose that even playing by Price-Is-Right rules (whoever gets closest without going over wins), I'm out of the baby pool. So, what's the good word, M-Dad?

Feeling Lonely

Most of the time, the separation from Finbar doesn't weigh too heavily on me. We had it much worse when I was finishing university and he was eight hours away, finishing the work on his second degree. Between my school, his school, my job, his job, and the unpredictability of the weather, we were lucky to see each other one weekend every three months or so. As things are now, we usually manage to see each other every two weeks, give or take. And I'm immensely greatful for that. But for whatever reason, the separation is unbearable lately.

I am so tired of seeing other people-- like the Soulless Evil Goblin and her pasty sidekick, Zombie Girl-- who can fritter away their relationships without separation and without a second thought, while I am struggling through without the presence of my biggest support.

I want to come home to a nice hug and kiss, especially after a particularly long day. I want to go to sleep with the familiar sound of Finbar's breathing and the reassuring warmth of his body (In fact, the day after he comes to visit, I usually have trouble falling asleep.). I want to hear his voice in the kitchen, not on the other end of the telephone. I want to go on one of our hot grocery shopping dates together.

Is this so much to ask?

I keep telling myself that it's only one more year and then there won't be any more long term separations for us. One more year and the hard stuff will be behind us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Progress Report

Two papers and one exam down. Two papers, one take-home, and one in-class exam to go.

Monday afternoon was the deadline for the IDR project. I went to the computer lab at 1 p.m. to print the paper and give it one final proofreading before the 2 p.m. class. So, of course, that was when the computer lab had to have some sort of meltdown. I don't know exactly what the problem was, but people were waiting more than 30 minutes for their items to print out. My first attempt didn't go through for whatever reason, so I had to send it again. That's when things went downhill. One of the printers broke. Then some sort of alarm went off, which the lab tech couldn't shut off. And one of the users had some problem or another with the computer and needed the lab tech's assistance. It was getting pretty silly.

So I started going behind the desk (ooooo, forbidden area!) and taking the printouts from the printers and laying them out on the pick-up desk for people to come and get while the lab tech scurried around trying to get things under control. Eventually, one of the IT "supervisors" came in to "help".

And what a typical manager he was.

Cheap khakis and polyester tie and the attitude that he was the hottest shiz-nit around. He paced back and forth in front of the printers, watching the printouts stack up-- but couldn't be bothered to pick them up and walk the 20 feet to the printout table to distribute them. Then he barked a few orders at the poor lab tech, who was more than occupied with other problems. The tech asked him to please try and fix the broken printer so that they could clear the backlog in the queue, but instead the manager told him to just go in and delete all the large jobs from the queue.

Excuse me? It's the end of the semester. Almost all of the jobs are "large"-- people are printing out term papers and notes. Are you going to delete some person's term paper instead of DOING YOUR JOB and fixing the printer??

Having satisfied his need to prove how "manly" he is, he came over to the print out table-- not carrying any of the stacked up print outs waiting to be distributed to the gaggle of students standing around waiting for important documents to take to class, mind you-- and started fussing at the papers sitting on it, making sure that they were neatly lined up in perfect rows. Did I mention that it was 2:15 and I was now very late for class?

A few more minutes of pacing go by and he decides that he might as well deign to give us our print jobs. But first, he comes over and informs me that my bags are taking up too much room. I refused to move, letting him know in no uncertain terms that I would remove them in exchange for getting the papers that I had printed out almost an hour earlier and for no other reason. He puffed up and started yelling in the snottiest voice ever:

"I advise you not to underestimate the usage of the lab in the future. Don't blame me if you can't be bothered to allow enough time..."

I jumped right on that, advising him that an hour and a half should be sufficient time and that if he could be bothered to do his job, maybe none of this would be a problem for any of us. I thought I would smack the pencil moustache right off of his supercilious face right then and there. Luckily for both of us, my prints were the next on the stack. I ripped them out of his hand, barely suppressed a hearty "F.U.", and tore down the hall to the law school, where I crashed right into the room just in time for the second half of class and gave a 10 minute presentation on my paper with no time to prepare.

Then I sat around in the public interest office, waiting for one of the grant recipients to show up to claim a check for an additional amount of money-- significantly more than the original grant, mind you. And of course, for the third time, she didn't show. This burns my buscuits because she lied on her grant application, taking credit for work that I did-- and I couldn't prove it, so she got the grant anyway. I was furious.

My adoption law paper was due at 5 p.m. and I finished making corrections while I waited, then I dashed up to the law library where I paid to use the printers and print out my paper, knowing that I didn't have time to deal with the mess in the free lab next door. And the printer didn't work. So I got to run to the IT office and beg for help, which is always an adventure, since the techs are usually angry that you're interrupting their gaming or IMing or general websurfing and try to give you the ol' blow off. I got it printed after much sturm und drang and slid it under the door at 5:06 p.m. Hopefully there won't be a detriment to the grade for that.

Yesterday was my "study" day for EU law, but I was upset by a financial crisis and didn't get a lot accomplished.

Tomorrow I think I'll have to start the memo for Prof. Marbury. I just picked up my last memo and it got a much better grade than I expected. His one comment was "I'm a little confused about who the direct infringer is" and I'm all like "Yeah, you and me both!" So, that's good. Here's hoping that this stupid memo is very leniently graded so that I might actually pull off a good grade in the course.

The only debate is whether I will do Family Law on Tues. or Wed. next week. I'm really dreading it.

Friday I take the Spanish exam, which I don't think I'll actually study for, seeing as it's OPEN BOOK! What the heck is the point if I can just look it up in my Spanish-English dictionary?

And at some point, I have to write an essay for Swedish as well. I'm allowed a little leeway with the deadline on it because I don't actually get a grade, just comments.

May 6th is circled in red on my mental calendar. Then I will be 66% lawyer. And 100% done for the summer.

Conflict of Interest

My favorite singer is in town the same night as the Harry Potter release party. How can I possibly be expected to choose??

I Think It Was a Trick Question

I just finished the EU Law exam and there is no possible way that the question was really able to be answered by copying the information from the Powerpoint slides in the exact order in which they were presented in class. Is there?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Coolest. Referral. Ever.

At least if you're as obsessed about Iceland as I am.

Really Stupid Commercials That I Like Anyway

The Old Navy Tunic ad. I really, really wanted to hate it. But I'm afraid I've had to give into the cheesy goodness of a clever jingle.

The Lime Coke commercial. I think the thing that sells it for me is the stewardess giving an exaggerated demonstration on adding a lime to the Coke (you nut).

If I Ignore It, Maybe It Will Go Away

My EU law exam is tomorrow. I am supposed to be studying for it right this moment. I cannot even begin to imagine what the professor might ask, seeing as he didn't actually *teach* anything.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Just For You, Death

I hate law school

And that's all I have to say about it.

Get a Backbone

We just received the following email from the Associate Dean (with identifying information removed, of course):

Dear Students:

I am dismayed that a small minority of students have sought my intervention with regard to the use of laptops to complete final exams. My intervention would be unnecessary had students complied with what I have determined to be a clearly stated deadline. As more than 95% of you know, the Registrar notified students (via the
[list of announcements], email, and various bulletin board notices) of the requirement to make your desire to use laptops known to the Registrar by a certain, clearly stated deadline. Nevertheless, some students failed to comply with the deadline and now assert various reasons why they should not be held responsible for their failure. Before addressing those arguments and stating my disposition of this matter, I should inform you that the deadline was not arbitrarily set nor was
it without purpose. The Law School has limited space and personnel and must therefore make prior plans to accomodate all exam takers in a fair manner.

I have listened to all concerns carefully. Frankly, I find the reasons given for some
students' failure to meet the deadline frivoluous and designed only to deflect personal responsibility. The excuses include (1) that notice appeared in the [list of announcements] but only on the second page, (2) that notice was given in an
email attachment that students decided not to read, or (3) that notice was given in
insufficiently bold print. One student argued that the Law School's need to enforce simple clear deadlines should not outweigh the need for academic success. Of course, meeting deadlines is perhaps the best way to ensure success in any endeavor. I shudder to think that these excuses might ever be presented to a supervising attorney, law firm partner, judge or client in the real world. If anything, I fully expect the excuses would be met with sanctions in the real world, particularly if it could be demonstrated that the vast and overwhelming majority of persons to whom
the notice is directed had no trouble whatsoever understanding and complying.

Having said that, I now inform those students who wish to use laptops during their exams, but who failed to meet the deadline that if they wish to use laptops they wish to use laptops they must appear in person at the Registrar's office between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, Tuesday April 26, 2005 to make their desire known.

Failure to do so will result in consequences and repercussions.

Dean MacPherson


That last threat might have meant something if the entire email preceeding it didn't reek of extreme lack of cojones. "Consequences and repercussions"? Like what? You won't give in and let them take their exams on laptop after all?

If there's a reason for the rule, then the rule should be enforced. Of course, a good administrator knows how to enforce a rule while allowing for real emergency, for example, an extension of a few days if you're hit by a truck on the way in to sign up. Not being bothered to read the announcements-- which are available to students in at least four different ways, including copies posted in the student lounge and in front of the Career Services office-- does not constitite an emergency. Furthermore, in addition to announcements in the normal methods of communications, there were large signs posted on the Registrar's office window :SIGN UP FOR LAPTOP USE HERE!!!

If you can't be bothered to read announcements, then your academic success can't matter much to you. So why should it matter to the Dean?

And you, Dean MacPherson: GROW A PAIR. Or go back to wherever you came from and give your job to someone who will actually *do* the job.

Happy Birthday, Finbar

I love you. Plain and simple, but quite possibly the truest thing in the entire universe. I wish that we were not celebrating yet another birthday separated by hours of highway. Here's to 31 years of funkadelic grooviness and chocolate chip freckles. I'm saving extra big birthday kisses and a particularly massive dose of snugglebunnies for you and I'll deliver them in person after exams.

In the meantime, go see Bobby at my "favorite" bar and have a birthday Guinness. I'll be hoisting a virtual White Russian in your honor.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


I want a Hershey's chocolate bar more than anything in the world right now. In fact, I think I would sell my mother for it. I don't even like Hershey's chocolate bars. So while I have a cabinet full of high grade dark chocolate goodies from Valentine's Day and Easter (thanks to my sweetie pie, Finbar), none of it will quench my desire.

I know, it's a hard ol' life.

The Consequences of Carelessness

If I had borrowed a rare violin worth almost 1 million dollars, I would not have left in in the car. Heck, I don't even leave real CDs in the car for fear that they could be stolen (I make copies and keep them in the car). What on Earth was she thinking?

White Smoke Over The Law School

The search is over. A new dean has been announced for Our Law School. [cue voice from Citibank identity theft ads]A girl dean.[end voice from Citibank identity theft ads]

I know nothing about this woman beyond the biographical information they passed around yesterday, and I put zero stock in that. Going to Law School X tells me nothing about what kind of administrator you're going to be.

So here's hoping for greater attention to the needs of the students, less attention to the desires of large corporation, and a dean who actually cares about public interest work.

*By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I stole the title of this post from a guy in my Copyright class.

The Consequences of Desperation

This really pisses me off.

Those who know me personally know that I have a personal problem with artifical fertility treatments. I know that my view is extreme, but I feel very strongly that given the number of children who need loving homes, no one should be spending tens of thousands of dollars to create "their own" child. And I also have a VERY big problem with the attitude that a child can only be "your own" if the DNA comes from you. Aaaaand then there's the issue of the leftover eggs/ embryos. What do you do with them? Should they be disposed of after you give birth to a child? (And incidentally, this is one of the most annoying hypocricies about the religious right: they tell you that it's murder to destroy these leftover embryos or to donate them for medical research, but they don't come out and tell you that these treatments are immoral for creating these wasted "lives"-- while at the same time claiming that birth control pills are the same as abortion. How do they keep from exploding from the volume of hypocritical thought???)

Anyway, despite all this, I don't put too much blame on the surrogate mother. And if it's true that the biological parents did not ask or pressure the doctor to implant numerous embryos, then I lay equally little blame on them. The doctor, however, should be strongly censured. If the AMA -- or whichever board governs in vitro procedures-- does not already have rules against this practice, it should. And doctors who insist on implanting more than two embryos against recommended practice should be liable for malpractice and subject to fines or possibly even temporary suspension of license. It's bad for the babies (and again, where's the religious right on this one?), who suffer from far higher rates of premature birth and birth defects. It's bad for the mothers, who suffer far higher rates of complications and whose bodies are not meant to take the rigors of five developing babies. And it's bad for society, which has to bear the extra costs associated with medical problems (either directly because the parents can't afford the medical care and the hospitals have to absorb the cost-- which gets passed on to everyone else-- or indirectly because the insurance companies pass the higher risk on the the rest of the insured pool. Who wins in this scenario? No one that I can see, not even the doctor. It's not like his success rates will be any higher than those doctors who follow the rules.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Silver Lining

I have long experience of Pope Benedikt XVI, nee Cardnial Josef Ratzinger, and the only thing I have to say about his election to pope (aside from complete disbelief that he was elected pope) is this:

At least he's 78 years old.

I have a feeling that we're really going to miss ol' JPII pretty quickly. Next to Ratzi, he was a flaming liberal. The best analogy I can come up with for my American readers is that Ratzinger is the German James Dobson.

It Pains Me To Say It

But I really dislike Professor Marbury right now. He just sent us the final memo assignment and I've never seen anything so asinine in my life. It's not even a proper memo-- it's a three page opinion essay masquerading as a memo. I'm so disappointed in him.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Prof. Marbury: John Cleese is the funniest human ever born. A sweeping statement, but I stand by it.

Student: Wellllll... I guess he's funny, but I don't think he's the funniest human ever.

Prof. Marbury: [incredulous] You guess he's funny?! You don't think John Cleese is funny?!

Student: He was the teacher at the bad dojo in Karate Kid, right?

Yes, of course he was.

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You Know It's Going to Be One of Those Days

...when you start off by spilling your coffee on your pants leg while unlocking the car door, and you don't have time to go back and change.

Then you get on the bus and end up in front of some American Idol wannabe who can't keep tune, but enthusiastically sings the entire way into town.

Then you find out that you must have mismeasured the coffee when you made it this morning, because the stuff in your mug is watery and therefore nasty.

Then you have to suffer through an hour of astounding ignorance masquerading as a lecture on adotpion in Professor Louis's class. Eeediot!

So... here's hoping that this day will start going uphill.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Pocky Monster

So I was shopping at WalMart (boo, hiss-- but they're the only place that sells ultrapasteurized parmalat milk in the area) and I came across Pocky for only $0.79 and I know how much Pie Ling and Eep like Pocky, so I bought a couple of boxes for them and a couple for me. I'm good that way.

I ate part of one of my boxes while watching "Dog the Bounty Hunter" one night and put the remainder into the candy bowl that I keep on my coffee table for enjoyment while watching A&E on another evening. A few days later, I was cleaning up the living room after using it to stage a clean out of a box of junk from my closet. While in the process of said clean out, I had put the candy bowl on the floor to use the coffee table for making piles of stuff. I now picked it up and put it back. Then I was picking up some paper scraps so that I could run the vaccuum, and I started finding little pieces of Pocky. I followed the trail and discovered that a certain little cat had taken the entire box of Pocky, chewed it open and eaten the cookie part at the bottom, leaving the chocolate part strewn under the coffee table.

The little beast. Stealing Hostess Apple Pies is one thing. But Pocky? I thought cats were supposed to be carnivorous!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


"Don't call women "gals". Chicks hate that."

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Am I Asking Too Much?

If I didn’t know better, I would swear that the administration is purposely out to screw me. The exam schedule is printed quite far in advance for in-class exams. Take home exams are usually scheduled a little later in the semester, and they usually have a window of time in which you can choose to complete them. I took lots of classes this semester with no in-class exam—instead, we have one or more papers to write. Therefore, it was no big deal to me when I was asked to start my summer job immediately following the exam period. I figured that I would have a good block of time during the exam period in which Finbar and I could take a planned trip to Florida.

Then Prof. Marbury decided to move his last paper to the exam period. And the EU Law class had no fixed exam date. We asked and asked and asked and got no answer. So Finbar and I cancelled the Florida trip. But I thought that I might sneak up to the City of Light to see him for a couple of days between the last day of classes and the first scheduled exam (a take home that I planned to take at the beginning of the first full exam week), because his birthday is the same day as our last day of classes..

Well, they finally got around to scheduling the exam and it’s the very first possible exam period. So... no time to see Finbar for his birthday. Now I have exams on the 27th, the 2nd, and the 10th, plus a nice long paper to write in-between. I start my new job on the 16th and will need to move down on either the 14th or 15th. Please tell me exactly when I am supposed to be able to fit a birthday trip into that?

I’m looking into the possibility of taking the take home exam on the 4th instead of the 2nd, which would possibly let me visit over a long-ish weekend (Fri- Mon, for example). It would help if Prof. Marbury would give us the exact guidelines for the final paper so that I would know that he isn’t going to insist on having the paper finished at the first half of the exam period. (All of the professors who give take home exams seem to think that this gives them the right to demand that we turn in our exams early so that they can grade them early and go home – or, technically, go research-- for the summer.)

The thing that really gets my goat about the whole thing is that we’re still waiting for these kinds of answers just two weeks from exams. How on earth are you supposed to plan your study schedule and decide when to take your take home exams if they can’t get a schedule settled at a reasonable time in advance? And I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up for a vacation before starting my job if I had know that the schedule would look like this.


Just a Small Tip

If you are planning to give a presentation on law governing assisted reproduction, you really ought to be aware that the first syllable of the word “surrogacy” does not rhyme with “air”.


Become a Ray of Darkness In an Unbearably Sunny World

MadDog gave me a handy guide to my future career as a belated birthday present. The fact that he handed it to me with the comment “I saw this and I immediately thought of you” makes me wonder about what my friends think of me. But it’s very thoughtful of him and certainly more helpful than anything Career Services has done.

New Additions to the Errant Apostrophes Family

You may have noticed that I've been updating my lists of links. One of them is the very funny and all-too-true Waiter Rant.

Oh, the joy of a job waiting tables.

No, really. I loved waitressing. It was challenging and fast paced. I met lots of people and enjoyed the interaction. Think you're a good multitasker? Try waiting tables in a busy place and let me know if you still think so. I made good money and enjoyed my job for the first time in my life. In fact, there are times even now when I consider tossing law school and going back to waitressing. And I'm only sort of joking about it.

Then I remember the parts of waitressing that aren't so joyous. The people who talk to you like you must be a moron if you work in such a "lowly" job. The people who just can't be pleased no matter what you do. The people who run you ragged, treat you like crap, then don't leave a tip. The people who take their frustration over the fight they just had with their wife/boss/best friend out on you. The people who try to cheat you. The managers who don't take care of their employees, who try to squeeze the extra .004% profit from the waiters, who are actually abusive to the staff.

I could tell stories for hours on end.

There was the woman who sent her poached eggs back to the kitchen five times. After the second, I came to the table and asked her to please describe exactly how she wanted the white and the yolk to look-- sometimes people would say "sunny side up", but mean "over medium", but most people could say "Whites and yolks cooked ALL the way through", thus enabling me to give the order to the kitchen in a way that would enable the kitchen to cook their food the way they wanted it. Everybody wins! This woman wanted NO part of it and just kept screaming "POACHED! I WANT THEM POACHED!". And of course, after refusing to help me fix the problem (and sending the eggs back again and again), she complained to the manager that she didn't get to eat her meal together with the rest of her party. Luckily, the manager had cottoned on when he passed through the kitchen on my third or fourth go-round with the cooks, and he was having no part of it.

Then there was the guy who would send his coffee back because it was "too cold", every single time. Even if you literally held a cup under the coffeemaker while it was brewing and carried it right out to him, he would send it back. Then I discovered that if I filled the cup with boiling water (for hot tea) and let it sit while I put his food order into the computer, then dumped the water out and filled the hot cup with coffee, he would rave about how great it was. For that little trick, he became one of "my" regulars and would regularly tip 30% or more when I waited on him. Bless his little heart.

Oh, and let's also talk about the periennial favorite: the tables of churchgoers. I don't know why people who are on their way from or to church are so incredibly nasty to wait on and such bad tippers to boot. One would think that it would be the other way around. This was actually the number one reason why I HATED working Sunday brunch-- not the fact that I had to be there by 8 am after working until anywhere between 2 and 4 a.m., not the lower than average tip percentage, not the cranky kitchen staff (NO ONE ever wanted to work brunch)-- it was the holier-than-thous on their way to or from one of the churches down the street from the restaurant who would run you back and forth with one request after another, talk to you like you're a moron, let their kids run (literally) wild in the restaurant (thereby endangering themselves and the staff), get upset when you couldn't immediately accomodate their party of eight in the middle of the 10 a.m. rush, fuss about the amount of butter on the toast and the flavor selection of the jellies, then leave you an 8% tip. What would Jesus do? He would be polite to the hard working server and tip appropriately. Luckily, I was not the victim of the "My Tip For You: Eternal Salvation" pamphlet in lieu of tip on too many occasions.

My days as a server ended when the manager of the run-down, wishes-it-were-fine-dining restaurant I'd been slaving at for no tips (because they wouldn't seat my section, THANKS, SHELLY!) snatched a rag from my hand and proceeded to berate me in front of the entire (full) dining room for "not knowing how to wipe a d*mn table", calling me a stupid cow. I left my name tag on the bar and refused to tip out the nasty bartender who would conveniently "forget" my drink orders all the time so that my already meagre tips shrank even more. I haven't spent a day in the industry since and probably never will again.

But I kind of miss it.

The Junkie Needs Her Fix

For the first time I can ever remember, no one came to me or to my parents to sell Girl Scout Cookies. And I did not see any of them selling in front of the Horribly Overpriced Chain Store. So I did not get my Girl Scout Cookie fix.


No Thin Mints, no shortbread cookies (whatever they call those now-- used to be Trefoils), no lemon bars... I used to love the Hoedowns, but can't eat them anymore (thanks, autoimmune overreaction!), but I still like to look longingly at the boxes.

Where did all the Girl Scouts go?

I'm So Proud

If you Google "Karol Wojtyla shirtless", my blog is the first hit.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Fun With the USPS

Some people just have too much time on their hands


I Can See You!

You know, I can see you picking your nose. You are not invisible to the rest of the world just because you’re leaning over close to your laptop screen.


A Modest Proposal

The biggest reform I would like to see in the curriculum at Our Law School is the addition of a required first year course in Logic. I am so sick of hearing one argument after another-- or reading papers written by my collegues, which is even worse if you ask me-- that contain glaring logical fallacies. Not that I am naive enough to think that a single course would fix this problem, but it would surely help at least a little. Plus, for those who actually pay attention to these things and care about them, it would enable you to write stronger and more persuasive work. Given the amount of judgement by analogy we're called upon to do in the course of writing a memo or brief on any given topic, one would think that the advantage of a little training in syllogistic logic would be patently obvious.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Occupational Hazards

It's not easy being a japanese teacher. I've been reading these in the library and Death just asked me why I was turning red. Very funny stuff.

Warning: some of these are not entirely work safe-- nothing too bad, but if you have a particularly sensitive filter at work or a particularly sensitive boss, you may wish to save it for home. And definitely don't click some of the pictures. No nudity or anything (sorry, boys), but some are slightly... not something I would necessarily want my boss to catch me looking at during business hours.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bad Jokes That Made You Laugh Anyway, Part IV

Q: Why do ducks have webbed feet?
A: To stamp out fires.

Q: Why do elephants have such huge feet?
A: To stamp out burning ducks.

I Think I Saw The Devil Shopping For a Snowblower at Lowe's

I feel sorry for Dragonbreath.

Not in the "he doesn't know what kind of trouble he just bought" kind of way, either. I feel real, honest to God sympathy. You are surely asking yourself why, given that he's been been such an annoying little worm?

The 3L class is having a party tonight in the lobby. I walked past on my way to Spanish class and as I did, I saw Dragonbreath standing all alone on the edge of the crowd, shoulders slumped, looking into his glass of punch. It was one of the saddest sights I've ever seen.

So, then I went to class, and Dragonbreath toddled in a few minutes later. We (once again) conned the teacher into cancelling class (which, on a side note, should be scheduled for a different day and time, as it constantly conflicts with lectures and social activities-- which are all held on Thursday night for whatever reason. But that's another rant.), and the 3Ls went to their party. I'm up in the computer lab, taking advantage of the Internet and killing a little time so that I'm not so annoyed by the fact that I drove all the way back in here for NO REASON when I could have been at home watching re-runs of Gilmore Girls. Dragonbreath is here, too. Not at the 3L farewell party. He's here, alone, in the computer lab.

It's one of the saddest things I've ever seen.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I am on a mission to cleanse my bookshelves. This is very, very difficult. I love my books. I cannot bear to part with them. I re-read them over and over again. And yet I recognize that things are out of control. I have three very large IKEA bookshelves, approximately 6 feet high and 3 1/2 feet wide with five shelves in each. I also have a smaller pressboard shelf about 3 feet high and 3 1/2 feet wide with two shelves. These bookshelves are stuffed to overflowing. There are books piled on my bedroom floor because I have nowhere else to put them. Something has to give, and until I have a home of my own where I can indulge in my biblioholism without fear of needing to pack and move them all in the (semi-)near future, that means periodic purges of the shelves.

I started with some old law books, which were relatively easy to part with. Then I managed to talk myself out of some old paperbacks that I didn't particularly enjoy the first time I read them. This did not create much space, though. So now I am on a mission to discover which books I actually still like. So I'm re-reading some of the old books of which I have fond-ish memories, but no real recollection and I've found that some of them have NOT withstood the test of time. Others were as good as I remembered and I felt better about keeping them. I'm also trying to read some of the books that I have sitting on my shelf and have never read for one reason or another. Then I can decide if they're worth keeping around. I've found one truly horrible book that way.

It was called "Condemned to Repeat It" and by the description on the dust jacket, I thought it would be about moments in history where the failure to heed the lessons of the past had dire consequences for Ghengis Khan/Alexander the Great/Louis XIV/[insert famous historical figure here]. Instead, I found it to be a pithy collection of "historical" anecdotes used to illustrate a bunch of Successories-style hoo-ha. It was like Steven Covey meets a poorly researched college history project. It's a nice hardback book, so I've listed it on my inventory on -- and I must admit that I feel a little guilty about it because the book was SO awful. But then, there's no accounting for taste, so maybe whoever buys it will just love it. I am relieved to have it gone from my shelves. Next up: Frost on My Moustache. Looks like a charming british travel story. Hope it doesn't turn out to be another pithy disappointment.

Victory is Mine!

I finally found a place for the summer! It's a little further out than I wanted, but not too bad-- I'll be about 5 1/2 miles from the office and the house is close to a Metro station on the same line as the office. The roommates are both older and one of them speaks German (!). The rent is also reasonable, though not as cheap as I might have dreamed. But that's okay.

The only downside to the place is that I can't bring my cat with me. I still have to come up with something to do with her over the summer.But I have a place to lay my head, so that's one obstacle down!

It's Funny Cause It's True, Part 2

Finbar sent me this article today. Oh, Onion, you speak the truth yet again!

Look Out, The Grammar Police Are Coming!

One of my language pet peeves is people who misuse the word “whenever”—specifically, those who substitute “whenever” for “when”. ATTENTION! The sentence “Whenever the child has been placed for adoption, the records were sealed” imples that a)the child was placed for adoption on multiple occasions and b) each time the child was placed for adoption, the records were sealed. Technically, this set of facts could happen. However, they DIDN’T. The child was only placed for adoption ONCE. Therefore, the condition set forth in section a) has not been met. Your sentence is WRONG.

To recap:
Whenever is not a synonym for when. “ ’s ” does not denote a plural. Quotation marks are not for emphasis, and if you advertise “Fresh” Produce on your store windows, I will have grave doubts about the purchase of comestibles from your establishment.

Thank you and goodnight.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Schlange Stehen

Ahh, registration season is here again. My favorite time of year…not! (Or as we used to say in Jr. High School: SIKE!) And this year, the wondrously wise powers that be have eliminated the waitlists.

So, here’s how it works: you fill out a course selection form, ranking the classes that you want in various categories. Then you turn it in to the Registrar’s office and wait. A week or so later, you get a paper in your mailbox telling you which classes you got into. In the old days, you would also have a list of the classes you tried to get, but didn’t (and were therefore waitlisted for).

In the old days, the next step was that you would go up to the Registrar’s office, where there were lists of courses with slots still open along with posted copies of the waitlists. You could look to see where on the waitlist you were and judge what your chances of getting a spot in the course might be. Then you filled out an add/drop form to drop any courses you’d changed your mind about (or maybe you got into two classes that conflict with each other) and remove your name from any waitlist you no longer wanted to be on, and add classes with open slots—or add your name to the waitlist for a closed course. As slots in a closed (waitlisted) course were dropped, the next person on the waitlist was automatically added to the course. At the end of each day, the Registrar would put little slips into the mailboxes of those who were added to courses from the waitlist telling them that they’d had good luck.

Nowadays… well, no one’s really sure what’s going to happen now. I am, for example, currently enrolled in 13 credit hours for the fall. Two two credit hour classes conflict with each other, so I’ll have to drop one, leaving me with 11 credit hours. I need at least 14 credit hours of classes, so I’ll need to add myself to a three credit hour course or two two credit hour courses. There are two three credit hour courses I wanted to take, but did not get into. In the past, I would have waited to see what happened with the waitlist. Now I’m not sure what to do. No lists of open courses have been posted, so I don’t know what my options are.

I foresee a huge issue when add/drop starts. People are going to be lined up at the Registrar’s Office all day every day, trying to get a spot in a certain class. One will have to make multiple trips trying to get a spot in the most popular classes, as you never know when someone might have just come by and dropped the class you want to take. I foresee lots of fighting and ill-will. I also foresee lots and lots of “grey market” practices. People are going to try and barter with their spots (“I’ll drop business organizations if you drop Secured Transactions”)—the only way to be certain that you will get a spot in a certain class is to be in line directly behind someone dropping that class. Given the level of immaturity demonstrated by the current 1L group as a whole (we are talking about people who defaced a collection box with pictures of professors on it during the public interest society fund-raiser—devil’s horns, pirate patch and all.), I also foresee a rise in “credit hoarding”, that is, people who register for classes that they have no intention of taking, but wants to have a stronger bargaining position come add/drop. Given that this is one of the reasons expressed by the administration for scrapping the old system, I find this particularly ironic in a very bitter way.

Anyway, I don’t know anyone signed up for the courses I wanted, so that option isn’t really open for me. And I don’t really relish the idea of lining up at the Registrar’s office multiple times a day, especially given the fact that I have class during the first hour that the office is open, so it’s not as though I can get there early, get a good spot in line, and be done with it. I’m also trying to decide if I should wait to drop the course that conflicts until I see if any of my friends want to take it or if I can “trade” it with someone else. Again, running contrary to the whole purpose of the changes. And just think: I’m not even particularly bloodthirsty in comparison to my other classmates and colleagues. If I’m considering playing this type of game, think about the rest of the student body. Most likely, my innate laziness will win and I’ll end up dropping it in the first day or two—whenever I see a particularly short line at the Registrar’s Office.

The system here was broken. But the current changes don’t seem to patch the cracks or mend the holes—it seems to me that the administration is trying to break the system even more. But then, most of what I’ve seen of the Administration would best be classified as “Not Student Oriented”.

Paying My Respect

Friday night I turned on the TV for some background noise while cleaning the bathroom. I had left the channel turned to MSNBC the last time I turned the TV off, and was immediately seized by the “Flash News” headline: The Pope hovers near death.

I am not Catholic and I do not believe that the Pope is God’s Representative here on Earth. I have grave doubts as to great chunks of RCC theology and a massive issue with the Church’s stance on birth control in light of the AIDS crisis in Africa. But I have a great respect for those men and women within the church who have chosen to dedicate their lives to the service of God and the church. I feel that those who serve God to the best of their ability and honestly strive to understand the will of God, then live their lives in an heartfelt attempt to fulfill that will, should be regarded with reverence, even if you disagree with their belief as to what God’s will is. That’s why I join the Catholic faithful in mourning the passing of Pope John Paul II.

I was touched by the stories told by men and women whose lives had been touched by this man. I learned about the Pope’s early life, gaining a newfound respect for the young man who tried to find God among the destruction and evil of WWII. I saw the obvious joy in his face as he met with children and presided over one youth rally after another. Regardless of your faith (or lack thereof), the fact is that the Pope has an effect on your life—for better or worse—by dint of his political and social influence.

In the local paper, they carried a special pictorial section documenting the life of Karol Wojtyla. The mischievous grin of the nine year old could still be seen in the 84 year old. One photo showed the Pope together with a couple of other men in a labor camp—and the (future) Pope was shirtless, which threw me for a loop. I mean, those are the Pope’s nipples! And the pictures continued right up until just a few months ago, when the smiling, kindly-looking man had become stooped and unsteady—his expressions stunted by the progression of Parkinson’s.

Two of my favorite things about the Pope were not included in the documentary. The first is last Fall’s audience with the breakdancers. I don’t remember where they came from, but I was so tickled by the smile and thumbs-up that the Pope gave at the end of the performance. I loved the idea that he might see the love of God and the joy in the performance instead of jumping to the default position of many older church members who would find the idea of breakdancing for God outright blasphemous.

The other is the 1983 meeting between the Pope and the man who tried to kill him in the 1981 assassination attempt. Can you imagine what strength he must have needed to not only be in the same room with a man who tried to kill him, not only to shake his hand, but to call for God to bless him, to show him love, to spend the afternoon alone with him talking. This, for me, is the very definition of forgiveness.

“Be not afraid!” These were no empty words, but a life line to the faithful in Poland, a rallying point for opposition to Soviet rule. “They are with us tonight. They are us.” – a recognition of the great suffering of the Jewish people in the Holocaust and a declaration that we are all human and that the suffering of one is the suffering of all.

The statements issued from the Vatican brought me to tears several times. “Christ opens the door” Indeed, I hope and believe that Christ did open the door for Karol Wojtyla. “Do not weep for me” he said to the men gathered at his bedside—and to us, waiting and keeping vigil here in the world. And I am struck by the beauty of the ceremony surrounding events. There are those who would say that Catholicism is spiritually empty because of its reliance on ceremony—and I’ve certainly know individual Catholics who are “going through the motions”. But I think that the ceremony can also be a conduit for spirituality, providing you with a sense of connection to others who share your faith and with those who came before you (and those who will come after you). It is also full of powerful and moving symbolism.

Be not afraid—the message he left behind with his dying, but all the more with his life. I honor his courage and his devotion to his faith. There are certainly valid criticisms to be made of both his papacy and the church he led—evidence that he is just another man, I suppose—and issues that will need to be addressed by his successor, but today I want to focus on the goodness to be found in the 26 years of Pope John Paul II. May he rest in peace. May his church choose wisely in the days to come.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Hazardous Dining

Saturday night we went to a local restaurant, one of those places where neither the décor nor the menu have changed in 20 or 30 years. This place is all built on an open floor plan with balconies and stairwells creating multiple levels of seating within the same large space. There are lots of mirrors and exposed brick and the whole thing was set off by four gigantic paintings of food. I don’t mean still lifes—these were each of one particular food item painted in close-up on a gigantic scale: blueberries the size of basketballs and five-foot long pea pods.

I ordered chicken soup with matzo and it was good and hot when they brought it to the table. I sipped the broth for a while and took a few small bites of matzo. Then I cut a spoonful of the matzo to eat and when I put it on my tongue, it was nuclear reactor HOT and I tried to chew it, but my mouth was having no part of it and my brain was confused about what to do, so it tried to swallow, but my throat was equally unwilling to accept a piece of the burning hot matzo meteor that it was being asked to rescue the mouth from, but by then it was too late because the lump of molten matzo was already part of the way down the throat, which was starting to spasm in an attempt to eject the chunk of incandescent matzo, or else to shove it on down, making it the stomach’s problem. Somehow, I choked it down and proceeded to chug most of my glass of ice water in a futile attempt to soothe the burn and stop the excruciating pain—thereby compounding the problem with a fierce brain freeze (a.k.a. “Ice Cream Headache”).

My throat still hurts today.

Scalia is His Own Punchline

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was greeting law students after a speech a few years ago when one particularly enraptured student came up to him and said, 'I've named my pet fish after you.' 'Oh, you've named him "Nino"'? the justice said. 'No,' said the student, 'I've named him "Justice Scalia."' Later, a professor who'd overheard the conversation asked the student whether he had other fish named after justices. 'No,' the student replied, 'Justice Scalia ate all the others.'

Friday, April 01, 2005

So Sorry If I've Disappointed

Apparently, someone got here by searching for Hello Kitty Pantyliners.

If you google "errant apostrophes", the blog doesn't show up at all. Search for Hello Kitty Pantyliners, and I'm the third hit on the page. Go figure.

Hey Pei!

Did you see this?

Coming Soon to a 7-11 Near You

April Fool's!

The folks at Google are having a bit much fun today. Infinty+1 storage, indeed.

By the way, if there is anyone left out there who still needs a gmail address, leave me a comment because I have 51 invites to give. On one of my gmail accounts, which probably means that I have sufficient additional invites on my other accounts to hook up the entire student body at Our Law School. Which kind of ruins the whole "invite only" mystique and waters down the viral marketing aspect of things. Why don't they just open it to the public?

A mystery for the ages, I'm sure.