Thursday, December 29, 2005

Keepin' It Perl

Yo, knitta, what up?

Now I know what I should do with all of my swatches and unfinished sweater pieces.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Post-Christmas Shopping Binge

Well, for my Verhältnisse, anyway.

I got a lovely new coat from my parents for Christmas. The coat is a beautiful shade of plum, which is a huge change from the red coat I had last year and the camel coat I had for several years before that. That means that I need a new hat, scarf and gloves to match. The scarf is not muy importante because I can eventually knit one exactly like I want (HA! If I ever get caught up on my knitting for people's birthdays...), but gloves are too fiddly for my taste and I can't find the exact hat pattern I have in mind. Luckily for me, there are winter wear clearances almost everywhere now, and I found the cutest hat ever at TJ Maxx. Best of all, I think I can duplicate the pattern, or something close enough to count, fairly easily to knit a scarf that matches. And I'm not terribly fussed about the gloves, since I lose them every time I turn around-- the ones I already have that don't match will get lost soon enough and I can replace them with matching ones at that point.

Then it was on to the local crack dealer, uh, I mean Bath and Body Works, where they are holding their semi-annual Big Sale at which they bring back their "classic" scents. I found Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin stuff, which was a thrill, since I've missed it in its limited Fall run for the past two years. I also bought some Hot Cocoa scented bubble bath that is scrumptious. I mean, a part of me wants to taste it, just to make sure that it doesn't, in fact, taste as divinely chocolate as it smells.

I also poked around Tar-jhay, but didn't find anything except a small box of ornaments for next year's tree. The Swarowski stocking holders I covet are still too expensive, even at 50% off. When they hit 75%, we'll talk. That is, if there are any left at that point.

Tomorrow,I'll be heading to the international supermarket to indulge in German jams, yummy Korean potato noodles, and whatever else strikes my fancy. That's likely to include a few bottles of wine, especially if they have such good specials as they did over the summer. I'm still a little bitter that Finbar kept all of those bottles of wine. That South African Cabernet was MINE, dammit! After I spend an obscene sum on food packaged in languages other than English, I plan to stop by Half Price Books to sell some of the stuff that didn't go on Amazon. Sigh. And YES, I'll likely spend more than they give me on new acquisitions. Shut up. Just shut up.

Then, I must stop. It's likely that I will have used all of the discretionary cash from the relatives who couldn't pick out a gift for me and used the old "money in an envelope" trick by that point and all the good stuff will be gone from the clearance racks anyway. Plus, I'm getting a hair cut and hopefully seeing my college roommate (who I haven't seen since I was a 1L) for a quick visit. My sister's birthday is this week and I am working on a scarf for her, but I sincerely doubt it will be finished before I leave. I will, however, give it the old college try.


Taking Stock, 2005 Edition

More money or less?
Less. Dear God, less. I wonder if I’ll ever get to answer this question “more”.

Biggest way to waste time?
Reading “Best of Craigslist” and watching re-runs of ER, Judging Amy, and Law and Order on “TNT’s Primetime in the Daytime”.

Best use of time?

My summer job. I learned more about law in the first two weeks than in the previous two years of law school. Plus which, the work was incredibly rewarding. Who wouldn’t love a job where you make people’s dreams come true every single day?

Best movie?
Boy, if I thought I hadn’t seen many movies last year, I was in for a bit of a rude awakening this year. I didn’t see enough movies to count on my fingers and use them all—including rentals. Harry Potter #4 was a fun movie, though not great Art, and... yeah. I didn’t see anything that I really want to rave about, to be honest. Maybe 2006 will be a bit better on that front.

Listened to?
I rediscovered my love of Björk, fell deeper in love with Patty Griffin, and expanded my collection of music in languages other than English.


More law crap than I can stand. God, I hate the law.

Of course, I also read a lot of non-law stuff over the summer, methodically working my way through quite a few books that I’d bought and then let sit on a bookshelf. A couple of them turned out to be wonderful and made me sad that I’d waited so long to read them (Memoiren eines mittelmässigen Schülers springs to mind). A couple of them turned out to be Terrible (Doomed to Repeat It—what a misleading cover and synopsis!). And after culling those Terrible books, I just turned around and added more books to the shelf that I will need to read in 2006.

Fatter or thinner?
Thinner. I’ve already talked about this quite a bit, so I won’t dwell here.

Smarter or stupider?
You be the judge: I got up, put on a sweatshirt bearing the logo of Our Law School, and went to breakfast with Ash. While freshening our coffees, the chatty waitress asked me “So, are you studying to be a lawyer?”. I was flabbergasted and for a very long moment, I could not figure out HOW she knew (!), so I just goggled at her in disbelief, before the voice in my head whispered “Your sweatshirt, idiot...

I thought law school was going to make me smarter, give me a chance to flex my intellectual muscle. Apparently, I was sadly, horribly mistaken.

Best buy?

My oh, so delicious ice blue silk comforter. Well worth every penny. No wonder I’m broke.

Best bargain?

My cute little mp3 player. Thanks, Lexis Nexis!

Stupidest purchase?

Ten pounds of butternut squash. What on Earth am I supposed to do with it all?

Drank the most?
Coffee. My consumption of this sweet, sweet nectar of the Gods has reached epic proportions in the past year. In fact, the last time it was this bad was when I was on the speech team in high school and we would have to leave for competitions at 5 or 6 in the morning. I was constantly trying to get adults to bring me coffee from the teacher’s room. Hulio is about to have me involuntarily committed to a detox program.

Best drink?
Pumpkin Ale. I bought the last case in the store and am looking forward to enjoying it when I get back home. Oh, and the bubble tea from that sketchy little shop in the strip mall in Maryland. God, that was good. I am so glad that I didn’t get food poisoning from it.

Ate the most?
Pumpkin everything. Pumpkin crème brulee for my birthday. Pumpkin muffins. Pumpkin cake. Pumpkin Spice coffee. Pumpkin granola (from Whole Foods—which was very exciting, not just for the sake of the pumpkin, but also because it’s very difficult to find granola with neither rice nor nuts), Pumpkin crepes, Pumpkin pancakes (and yes, those are two different things), Pumpkin pie...

Worst food eaten?
The chili I made with a pre-packaged spice mixture. It was so awful that I just threw it out. Then I was cranky all night because it had smelled so wonderful as it was simmering on the stove, filling my apartment with a tantalizing aroma that did NOT match the actual taste AT ALL, and I ended up eating something utterly unsatisfying after anticipating a big yummy chili dinner on that very cold Fall day.

Best food eaten?
Easily the Ethiopian food we had at the Horsewomen’s Birthday Bash.

New friends found?
Oh, yes, indeed: the lovely Miss Tink has found a warm place in my heart. I spent many a good evening with the very quiet but oh-so-clever Caleb. The sweet and wise Asako impressed me with her calm and deep aura. And of course, the old friend regained, which was one of the sweetest parts of the year.

Old friends lost?

Yes, I suppose, though in hindsight, the person of whom I am thinking was really more of a “frenemy”. In other words, no great loss.

Resolutions not kept?
Yes. I swore I was going to do ALL of the reading for my classes, but that just didn’t happen.

Missed chances?
I lived in Washington D.C. and hardly ever went into the museums.

Losing Finbar forever. Then it happened and I survived, though it was rough going. Now I’m terrified that I won’t find a job that I like, or that I won’t even find a job at all. And I’m working up to being really freaked out about taking the Bar.

Biggest success?
Getting an offer from my firm in D.C. I take that as a validation of my work and hope I made the right decision when I turned it down.

Biggest failure?

Not being able to stop procrastinating. I will never, ever learn. Ever.

Heathier or Sicker?

Healthier, much healthier. I don’t remember the last time I felt this good.

Best spontaneous fun?

Calling Ash for a date to Rahere’s party. I had no idea what would come of it.

Learned the most?
That I am stronger than I ever imagined.

What I definitely don’t want to see in the next year?

The kind of heartbreak that defines this entire year for me. If I came out the other side stronger and more resilient, it’s only due to the amazing group of women who are my friends.

TV puke?
The whole screaming-as-debate, shrill belligerence CNN lineup.

Monster House. I wish they would put it on at a consistent time slot so that I can actually watch it. I would love a Viking House with a flame breathing dragon deck.

Biggest change?

Not having Finbar in my life. Again, this was the defining event of 2005 for me, and I am still working my way through some of the repercussions. Although it was a keenly painful experience, it’s brought about some positive results for me. I am discovering and rediscovering things about myself that had gotten lost somewhere in the effort to take care of Finbar's needs and make a difficult set of circumstances work for us. I wonder if those things would have stayed lost, or if I could have found them eventually.

Biggest loss for mankind?

The continuation of the War in Iraq and all of the other attendant bits of the War on Terror.

Biggest Disappointment?
Our continued inability as a nation to make the connection between actions and results.

Preach It, Brother

Immigration judges have too much discretion and not enough oversight. The lack of a meaningful appeals process and the removal of judicial review for many, many of their decisions has bred abuses that ought to outrage us-- but they don't because for most of us, it's something that has no impact on everyday life, and because many people have the knee-jerk reaction of "well, just go back where you came from, then" without giving any thought at all to whether the results are fair or just. What this says about us as a nation, I am afraid to ponder for too long.

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Sunday, December 25, 2005

Peace on Earth, Good Will To Men

Merry Christmas!

Here at home, it's spring-like weather and the house is full of people. My cousin's children are here tonight, too. She's an ICU nurse and her husband also works in the same hospital, and they both have to work this weekend, so the whole family on both sides is pitching in with child care. Her boys are 11 and 8 and her daughter is 4. The eight year old fixed me with an eagle eye at Thanksgiving and announced that he couldn't talk to me because he didn't know me-- I am a stranger. We all laughed at that, and I told him that I wasn't a stranger, I'm his cousin. He looked at me skeptically, claiming never to have seen me before in his life.

"Dude, I was there when you were born. I changed your diapers when you were a baby."

"Nuh uh."

"Deny it all you like, but your mom will back me up when she gets here. And if you don't want to wait for her, go ask your grandma."

"Don't need to. I know you're a stranger."

Repeat ad nauseum. Then he suddenly switched tactics, insisting that I am from California. No amount of talking could dissuade him.

So, when we pulled up in front of the house after Christmas Eve services, he jumped out of his mom's car, where they had been waiting for us to get home, and yelled for the whole neighborhood to hear, "HEY! THERE'S THAT GIRL FROM CALIFORNIA!!"

I love kids. They are pure entertainment.

Speaking of Christmas Eve services, this year's pagent as (unintentionally) hilarious. The schtick was that the youth minister was "interviewing" people at the Nativity. Joseph was a fifteen year old boy who kept making gestures like he was starring in "Yo!Bethlehem Rap!" or something, the Angel of the Lord wore jeans and high top sneakers and said "Duuuuuh!" in response to one of the minister's questions, and the Wise Man's accent wandered from Yiddish to French to Spanish to German to Japanese to British. Hi-lar-i-ous. And very cute.

All night, Portia (the four year old) kept asking me how Santa would get in to my parents' house if we didn't have a chimney. I told her that Santa is magic and doesn't need a chimney. She asked again and again, and each time, I told her that Santa could visit any good child, even if they don't live somewhere with a fireplace or a chimney. Sunday morning, I came out into the living room and she ran over to me, yelling "Santa came! He IS magic!". If that doesn't get you right in the ol' soft spot, you're made of stone.

All through Christmas services at church, she sat on my lap and moved my arms so that they were wrapped around her in a tight hug, leaning back against my shoulder. When the choir sang an especially cheerful song, she clapped along softly, turning to grin back at me with excitement. As soon as the service was over, she jumped into my arms for a huge kiss and hug. I was in heaven. What a sweet child!

We played with her new toys all afternoon and she made up story after story about her new dolls. She's an especially articulate little girl and a most vivid imagination. I was constantly cracking up at her little snide remarks (So sarcastic for one so young! It runs in the family...) and she was thrilled with the attention.

Christmas was... different this year. I knew that it would be; after all, I've spent almost every Christmas for the past eight years with Finbar and his family. I miss his mom especially deeply. And the traditions in his family are so different from the traditions in mine that I was worried that it wouldn't feel like Christmas. But having Portia here really saved Christmas for me. I was able to see Christmas for its magic and dreams; instead of seeing the things I am missing, I felt the things I can have, if only I will reach out for them.

The story of Christmas as told in the Gospel of Luke is one of the most moving pieces in the English language. "Fear not! For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy!" And that's the essence of what Christmas should be, regardless of your beliefs. Peace on Earth, good will to men.

May the season bring you a joy so deep and profound that for even one night, you feel no fear, only peace.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


How could a girl not glow when she gets a phone call that starts with the words "You are so beautiful! I miss you!"?


Friday, December 23, 2005


Second best Law and Order dialogue ever:

"What can I say? What's his name was a better time than the Rule Against Perpetuities."

"Who isn't?"

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Dereliction of Duty

Emptying the lint trap on a dryer is the most difficult job in the world. I base this conclusion on the fact that I am the only person of at least ten adults in my apartment building who is capable of doing so. Now, normally, I don’t expect you mere mortals to measure up to my superhuman abilities, but I sort of thought that emptying the lint trap was something you puny humans are capable of.

Obviously, I was wrong. And I apologize for my unfair expectations.

In the future, I will be certain to do my duty and check the lint trap on a regular basis to ensure that everyone will be able to dry their clothes in an efficient manner that will not raise the threat of a fire that could burn the building down. (I’d just put the fire out, but when they were handing out super powers, apparently, I got stuck with “cleaning lint traps”. I think I got screwed.)


And That's a Wrap

Cue the Hallelujah Chorus: with one final insult of an exam, this semester is over. Nearly 2/3 of the exam this morning was on a topic that we literally (literally!) spent one hour of the semester on. Luckily, it was one of the things I studied. I sincerely hope they find someone else to teach this course next year, or else that they don't offer it at all.

But, now it's over, and I can finally get back to normal life. I'm going to have a good long bubble bath, then a nap, then I'm going to read a book that has nothing to do with law. Maybe I'll even watch some mindless TV-- after all, Dog the Bounty Hunter is on tonight!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Inching Closer to the Finish Line

Officially 71.4% done. So tired I feel dizzy. May write complete nonsense on this afternoon's exam. Thank God it's mostly multiple choice; that limits my ability to spew nonsense ever so slightly. None of these exams would be so bad if I could just get a teeny little break in between for sleep and rest-- two entirely different concepts as evidenced by my night last night.

This is much like I imagine a marathon would be. My body and my mind are completely done and it's only sheer bloody-mindedness coupled with necessity that's keeping me going. When does my runner's high kick in? And how much caffeine can I ingest before my heart actually stops and/or beats out of my chest?


Monday, December 19, 2005

More Than Half Way There

After a marathon weekend of studying, I have my final three exams in the next three days. If I ever have the brilliant idea of taking this many credit hours in one semester again, someone should really sit me down for a good talking to. None of the exams is particularly overwhelming, but all of them together is just too much. The good news, though, is that I've finished 57% of the semester's exams and that's more than half way to the finish line.

Today is for the Ethics exam, a 24 hour take home. I anticipate that it will be detailed and require meticulous drafting, but that it will not attempt to trip the student up or pose trick questions, based on my experience with this professor as a 1L. In between spurts of activity on that front, I need to finish reviewing for the exam I have to take tomorrow afternoon, which is closed book. I would be completely unconcerned about this exam if it were NOT closed book, but I am afraid that I will not be able to bludgeon my hippocampus into cooperation after the strenuous schedule of the past two weeks. At some point I also have to cram in more studying for my final exam, which is also closed book. I would be worried about this exam even if we were allowed to bring in every possible note, book, or outline because we didn't cover much substantive material this semester at all. I can only come up with a handful of possible short answer-style questions from the material we covered in class, but it just doesn't seem like enough to call an exam, which means the professor-- another adjunct, and let me tell you, I've had enough of them after the crap classes this semester-- will have to make something up from whole cloth to test us on. [sarcasm]Hooray.[/sarcasm]

If I make it to Thursday alive, I plan to sleep for a year. Well, maybe only for part of the afternoon plus an early bedtime. There are other things I want to do before I head west for Christmas and not much time to do them in, as well as a handful of things that I simply MUST get done-- like, say, my dishes-- even though I don't really relish the thought. Where are the monkey butlers when you need them? I am also looking forward to running on my parents' treadmill every single day. I miss my regular gym schedule and can't wait to get back to it. That 5K isn't going to run itself, you know.

I still have a handful of Christmas presents to buy, mostly for my immediate family. I wish my parents were a little more technologically savvy, because an Amazon wish list would make it so much easier to pick something out for my dad that he might not return. Or not: he's notorious in the family for returning everything, usually for an item that is almost exactly the same, but not quite. For example, trading the dark blue button up for another button up in the same shade of blue, but with grey buttons instead of white. And what he doesn't exchange, he tends to put away "for a special occasion", then never use. It's quite maddening. I have a hard time shopping for men, anyway, because I think I have a fundamental inability to appreciate masculine taste in some ways. What I mean is this: with women, I have some general understanding of what generic types of things would be seen as a sweet gift. Not that this doesn't vary from woman to woman-- Hulio would likely be utterly at a loss of what to do with a basket of teas and coffees, no matter how high quality, but Luneray would probably have the teakettle boiling minutes after tearing off the wrapping (mentally, if not actually). But I have no concept, despite years of gift buying for men ranging from my dad to my boyfriend, to my boyfriend's dad, to a man assigned as my "Secret Santa" in the office gift exchange, of what types of things are the good generic guy gifts. (I have the same trouble, by the way, with boy names. Girl names generally evoke strong feelings or have some strong connotation attached to them for me, and there are many that I love or hate. If I were to wake up tomorrow with the responsibility of naming a foundling on my front doorstep, I could come up with a girl name no problem. The poor orphan boy left on my step would have to be named by someone else because boy names, with a handful of notable exceptions, don't really click with me on the same primal level.)

Anyway, back to the dungeon... I mean, to the library for me.


Friday, December 16, 2005


Having just finished her French exam, War produced three small bottles of champagne and a bottle of Californian Syrah. Together with Anoush we've already demolished the champagne and are most of the way through the Syrah. Have I mentioned that we're sitting in the Student Lounge? The sight of the open bottles seems to have amused the 3Ls and frightened the 1Ls in the room, and I have to tell you, this is the most fun I've had in weeks. Yes, my life is sad. War, would you like to add something?

War: Having had the worst exam schedule known to man, frustrating my attempts to transfer any of my exams, I am fleeing the country. Enough said.

Like hell! You are done with exams, I have three more! And I've already taken four! We should totally go get some more potato chips. And you should take me with you when you flee the country.

Hey, look: it's the Dirty Birdie!

DB: For the record, I am not a dirty bird . Nor naughty doctor. -.-

Don't you have anything more... insightful to say, on this the day that you finish the first semester of your last year of law school?

DB: I haven't accomplished anything for this year. And I dont' even know what you guys were talking about before i got here. hm.. My exams sucked, My love life -non-existing,what else? Therefore, i got nothing insightful to talk about.
And stop flirting with Spring Fling - War. You are even smiling at him. Surprising.

Yeah, she should totally just, you know, grab him and like, do something drastic. Like take Wellington's advice. I bet he wouldn't be adverse to that.

War: Du weisst ja schoen, dass ich dich liebe. Aber dass hilft mich nicht. Auf jeden fall, ich habe viel zu viel spass in diesem moment....

Aber du koenntest doch viel mehr Spass haben, wenn du mit Spring Fling zusammen waerst...

And now DB is all irritated because that was in German and she can only say "Ich liebe dich". But that's too bad because frankly, the wine hit my head about ten minutes ago.

I want to go to H&M and buy things I don't have the money for. And plus, I don't have the time

DB: And war is constipated and flirting with #2

Haha, that's totally true. But he's too nerdy even for me. And you know how much I like my nerdy boys.

War: well, you are more than welcome to the shoulder-less type. I have other priorities...

Well, apparently not, or we wouldn't be talking about your lack of action in regards to Spring Fling, duh.

War: Because it's not like I have other thing, such as finals, to worry about. Spring Fling, aka Eye Candy, will just have to await my return...

You know, you might just find that the Window of Opportunity has closed if you procrastinate. Maybe you should go find him RIGHT NOW before it's too late! And you are TOTALLY cut off, since you can't even spell "fling" right!

War: So I can't isn't like English is my first language. In any case, even if my window of opp is closed, it doens't matter, because I already said that he is more my eye candy than my spring fling.

What freaking ever. "English isn't my first language..." bla bla bla.

DB: You cannot steal my only defense, War!

Yeah, really, plus which, you should have brought more wine. That bottle didn't last nearly long enough.

We totally got all this stuff free from the vending machine, because it kept saying "Make Another Selection" and I did, but it only gave it to me free if it was from the same Fach and so now we've all these Funyuns and I don't even LIKE Funyuns. And no, I don't know what the English word for FACH is. So there.

Ich bin jetzt voll betrunken. Zu viel getrunken. Aber i mog ja a bisserl mehr haben.

Ich schaffe es zum Restaurant nicht.

War: Ich auch nicht...

Helmet Head totally hates us. You know that, right? She should totally share pizza with us. Or else tell us to fuck off. Either one is fine, so long as she does it to our faces.

Scheisse. Keine Funyuns mehr. Und der Wein ist auch alle.

War: Stimmt's ja aber gibt doch mehr funyuns...aber auf jeden fall du bist ja aber betrunker..find ich es doch lustig, weil ich es niemals vorher gesehen habe...geh mal pinkeln...

Ja, kann ich leider im Moment nicht. Da ich Angst habe, aufzustehen. Gehen wir mal zusammen.


Why Brown Makes Me See Red

I harbor a deep seated hatred of UPS. It started as a minor annoyance back in the days when I was living in a semi-shady neighborhood near the university and had trouble getting packages delivered because they would not under any circumstances leave the packages unless you signed for them in person, not even if you left a note telling them that another tenant in the same building was authorized to sign for packages (our unofficial building manager, Mitchell). Nor could you request a window of delivery narrower than 9 am to 7 pm OR find out a window of delivery when the driver would be expected to be in your neighborhood. But I just figured it was the price I paid for living close to the university. Of course, the U.S. Post Office had no problems delivering packages to our apartment. And Fed Ex was quite happy to leave packages with Mitchell even without written authorization from the intended recipient.

Then I went to work in a national service center for a Fortune 500 company. One of my tasks there was to take calls from sales representatives whose orders didn't arrive as scheduled or whose orders arrived damaged. Over the course of nearly two years there, I took a steady stream of these calls. We offered four choices for shipping: USPS, Fed Ex, UPS, and private carrier. Not every option was available in the more remote areas, but everyone had at least two choices. My very unscientific estimate is that at least 70% of the calls I took for missing and damaged packages involved UPS. Now hang on, you say: perhaps that's because UPS handled most of the deliveries. However, our default shipping-- the cheapest option-- was USPS supplemented by private carriers. UPS shipping cost extra, and most of the reps only used it if they needed something especially quickly or if a customer requested (and paid for) the extra shipping. So the high incidence of problems with UPS shipping can't be traced to that.

Even if the rate of problems was no higher than for the other methods, UPS still would have earned my hatred in those two years for their complete and total lack of customer service. Problem? Too bad. UPS doesn't care and certainly won't take responsibility. Boxes left on the porch in the pouring rain despite a "Signature Required" sticker on each and every one of them? Sucks to be you. Boxes ripped open? Must have happened before it reached UPS. Boxes obviously torn open, then re-taped shut-- and items are missing? Must have happened before it reached UPS? Boxes that were shipped a week ago and for which we had tracking numbers not showing in their computer system? Call back tomorrow and see if it shows then. No, there's nothing else I can do for you. Call back the next day and the boxes still don't show? Please call back tomorrow, maybe they will show then. No, there's nothing else I can do for you.

Ever since then, I've gone out of my way to avoid using UPS, even paying extra to use Priority Mail or Fed Ex. It's worth the extra money to avoid the inevitable hassle. And there's almost always a hassle. Even though I've moved into nicer neighborhoods, I still have trouble getting my packages delivered. Funny how Fed Ex and the Post Office have no problem finding my house. When I had my laptop repaired last year, UPS left it in another building on my street, despite the huge orange "Signature Required" sticker on the box. I knew that delivery was scheduled for between 2 and 5 that afternoon (according to the InfoNotice they left on my front door the previous day), so I was there, waiting anxiously. When I called at 6 p.m. to find out where the package was, I was told that I had signed for it. You can imagine my panic at that.

But every once in a while, I get stuck: A merchant only uses UPS, and my choices therefore boil down to "suck up and deal with UPS" or "don't buy from this merchant". On occasion, I've gone with the latter (and written to the merchant to let them know that this was the case), but usually I go with the former, since it's usually an item that I can't easily get elsewhere. And almost inevitably, I end up having to drive out to the UPS center to pick up my packages (which irritates the crap out of me, since part of the point of buying online, especially at Christmastime, is that the stuff comes to ME and I don't have to take the time and gas to go out and get it), or I end up wasting an entire evening waiting for the UPS driver, since he comes anytime between 2 pm and 9 pm, especially at Christmastime.

Don't get me wrong: I have every sympathy for the long days these guys put in at this time of the year. But there's no excuse for claiming to have attempted delivery when you didn't even ring the doorbell. And there were two of us here, so don't even give me this crap about "Maybe you just didn't hear the doorbell", Miss Customer Service Chick. Yes, my doorbell works. I tested it to make sure before I called to complain. No, I can't arrange to be here tomorrow all day. I'm sorry that your delivery volume is so high, but that doesn't change the immutable fact that I have other obligations that preclude me from scheduling my life around the UPS man. And no, I have no intention of driving over to the UPS center to pick it up. I don't have the time and I especially don't have the time during the hours that you are open.

And we haven't even touched on the ineptitude of their customer service hotline. Again, I have every sympathy. I've been there and done that and I know how frustrating the job can be. In fact, I suspect that it's not that the customer service agents themselves are inept-- with a few notable exceptions-- but rather that UPS does not train them properly or has a poor system for them to use. There are a handful of their CSRs like the one who told me that was only for big companies to use and that it was illegal for me to use it (Yes, she said "illegal". I almost lost it, but wasn't really sure whether to laugh or scream.), so I should not expect to find the information I was looking for on their website. This after I'd spent ten minutes on hold listening to a voice extolling the virtues of using to track my packages (which is what I was trying to do, but it kept telling me my tracking number was invalid) and get information about other UPS services. But usually, they seem like they're perfectly happy to help, they just don't know how. Or they think they're not allowed. What I really hate, though, is when one person does something and the next one claims that it's impossible, can't be done, no way, no how, and acts like it's simply impossible, even though I know from personal experience that it's not.

All I want is to get my package. I want it delivered with a minimum of hassle to me. I don't want to have to pick it up at a UPS center that's a half hour away in the midst of a rat's nest of one way streets. Is that so much to ask?

Now That's More Like It

I just rocked that exam harder than The Stones in their prime. Harder than "Thriller"-era Michael Jackson. Harder than Barry Manilow singing a duet with Cyndi Lauper.

Too bad it's only two credit hours.


Note To Producers of Christmas Music

Having someone sing a Christmas carol, any Christmas carol, very sloooooowly does not make it sound solemn and holy, it makes it sound like a funeral dirge. Very depressing. And changing the accompanying music to long sustained chords is not beautifully minimalist, it only heightens the dirge-like effect. Way to spread the joy of the season!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What's the Worst That Could Happen?

What do you suppose would happen if I just... didn't go in and take my exam this afternoon?

It's not that I'm afraid of this exam (it's probably the second easiest class I took this semester) or that I'm not prepared for it. It's just that I don't want to get dressed, haul myself in to school (though at least we didn't get the snow that was predicted for last night), and go through the motions of taking the stupid exam.

Will I get an F? An "incomplete"? Will the Registrar hunt me down and beat me with a stack of course selection forms?


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Take a Chance, Play Your Part, Make Romance, It Might Break Your Heart

I love the commercial that's on the air right now for Dockers. Two street cars travelling in opposite directions stop next to each other. A young man looks out the window and notices a young woman in the other train, who looks up, sees him, and smiles. He hestitates for a second, then grabs his stuff and runs out of the car. He sprints around to the other train and bangs on the door to be let on, but the heartless driver doesn't let him on and the train pulls away. You can tell by the look on his face that he's disappointed and also a little mad because his own train pulled away at the same time and now he's going to have to find another way to get wherever he was going or else wait for the next train. As the tail end of the train pulls away, we see the girl, looking similarly disappointed and mad. She looks up, sees him, and breaks into a huge grin, just as he also looks up and sees her and breaks into a smile.

It's cute. It's sweet. It's romantic. But it's not treacly or obnoxious. It makes me smile everytime I see it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


"I never said you're not nice. You're just not nice to me."

P.S. According to Blogger, this is the 500th post on Errant Apostrophes. Woo hoo!

Give Me an A, Or I'll Roundhouse Kick You In The Face!

Courtesy of War, who claims to have gotten it from John, but failed to specify whether she means Wellington or London, bringing her credibility into disrepute. But it's funny, so who cares.


1. Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

2. When Chuck Norris plays Oregon Trail his family does not die from cholera or dysentery, but rather roundhouse kicks to the face. He also requires no wagon, since he carries the oxen, axels, and buffalo meat on his back. He always makes it to Oregon before you.

3. Rather than being birthed like a normal child, Chuck Norris instead decided to punch his way out of his mother's womb. Shortly thereafter he grew a beard.

4. Chuck Norris recently had the idea to sell his urine as a canned beverage. We know this beverage as Red Bull.

5. Chuck Norris built a time machine and went back in time to stop the JFK assassination. As Oswald shot, Chuck met all three bullets with his beard, deflecting them. JFK's head exploded out of sheer amazement.

6. Chuck Norris's girlfriend once asked him how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. He then shouted, "HOW DARE YOU RHYME IN THE PRESENCE OF CHUCK NORRIS!" and ripped out her throat. Holding his girlfriend's bloody throat in his hand he bellowed, "Don't fuck with Chuck!" Two years and five months later he
realized the irony of this statement and laughed so hard that anyone within a hundred mile radius of the blast went deaf.

7. Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

8. To prove it isn't that big of a deal to beat cancer. Chuck Norris smoked 15 cartons of cigarettes a day for 2 years and aquired 7 different kinds of cancer only to rid them from his body by flexing for 30 minutes. Beat that, Lance Armstrong.

9. The original theme song to the Transformers was actually "Chuck Norris--more than meets the eye, Chuck Norris--robot in disguise," and starred Chuck Norris as a Texas Ranger who defended the earth from drug-dealing Decepticons and could turn into a pick-up. This was far too much awesome for a single show, however, so it was divided.

10. Chuck Norris was the fourth Wiseman. He brought baby Jesus the gift of "beard". Jesus wore it proudly to his dying day. The other Wisemen, jealous of Jesus' obvious gift favoritism, used their combined influence to have Chuck omitted from the Bible. Shortly after all three died of roundhouse kick related deaths.

11. Chuck Norris lives by only one rule: No fat Chicks.

12. When Chuck Norris's wife burned the turkey one Thanksgiving, Chuck said, "Don't worry about it honey," and went into his backyard. He came back five minutes later with a live turkey, ate it whole, and when he threw it up a few seconds later it was fully cooked and came with cranberry sauce. When his wife asked him how he had done it, he gave her a roundhouse kick to the face and said, "Never question Chuck

13. Chuck Norris once shot a German plane down with his finger, by yelling, "Bang!"

14. A man once asked Chuck Norris if his real name is "Charles". Chuck Norris did not respond, he simply stared at him until he exploded.

15. Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

16. Chuck Norris can make a woman climax by simply pointing at her and saying "booya".

17. Chuck Norris once went to a frat party, and proceeded to roundhouse every popped collar in sight. He then drank three kegs and shit on their floor, just because he's Chuck Norris.

18. Before each filming of Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris is injected with five times the lethal dose of elephant tranquilzer. This is, of course, to limit his strength and mobility, in an attempt to lower the fatality rate of the actors he fights.

19. Chuck Norris took my virginity, and he will sure as hell take yours. If you're thinking to yourself, "That's impossible, I already lost my virginity.", then you are dead wrong.

20. Chuck Norris found out about Conan O'Brien's lever that shows clips from "Walker: Texas Ranger" and is working on a way to make it show clips of Norris having sex with Conan's wife.

21. The chief export of Chuck Norris is pain.

22. Chuck Norris doesn't have normal white blood cells like you and I. His have a small black ring around them. This signifies that they are black belts in every form of martial arts and they roundhouse kick the shit out of viruses. That's why Chuck Norris never gets ill.

23. Chuck Norris frequently signs up for beginner karate classes, just so he can "accidentally" beat the shit out of little kids.

24. Chuck Norris once tried to sue Burger King after they refused to put razor wire in his Whopper Jr., insisting that that actually is "his" way.

25. One of the greatest cover-ups of the last century was the fact that Hitler did not commit suicide in his bunker, but was in fact tea-bagged to death by Chuck Norris.

26. Filming on location for Walker: Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris brought a stillborn baby lamb back to life by giving it a prolonged beard rub. Shortly after the farm animal sprang back to life and a crowd had gathered, Chuck Norris roundhouse kicked the animal, breaking its neck, to remind the crew once more that Chuck giveth, and the good Chuck, he taketh away.

27. Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

28. After much debate, President Truman decided to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima rather than the alternative of sending Chuck Norris.His reasoning? It was more "humane".

29. If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you can't see Chuck Norris you may be only seconds away from death.

30. Chuck Norris ruins the endings of Harry Potter books for children who just bought one for the hell of it. When they start crying Chuck Norris calmly says, "I'll give you something to cry about," and roundhouse kicks them in the face.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Ways My Brain is Trying to Trick Me Into Not Studying For Exams

1. Trying to convince me that I’m hungry.
I can tell it’s not real hunger because a) I just ate about 5 lbs. of eggs and meat for breakfast less than three hours ago, and b) I’m hungry for things that I don’t normally eat, specifically potato chips and Twinkies.

2. Making me obsess over the cleanliness of my apartment.
I’ve actually had to leave my apartment for the weekend because I could tell that otherwise, I was going to clean the holy crap out of it. It’s in dire need of a top to bottom scrubbing, especially in the kitchen. I actually had to go out and buy paper plates and plastic cutlery because I don’t have time to do dishes. In fact, after putting food on the stove and then utterly forgetting that I had done so twice in one day, I’ve banned myself from all cooking that involves anything other than the microwave until exams are over.

3. Developing a taste for low-brow comedy and other things I don’t normally enjoy
If it’s on TV right now, I’d probably not only watch it, but I’d enjoy it, even if it’s something starring Tara Reid, whose very existence makes me want to vomit a little in my mouth. Even if it’s the Lord of the Rings. Even if it’s the second evening in a row I’ve watched parts of the Lord of the Rings on TV to avoid studying.

4. Remembering all sorts of little things I need to get done.
Christmas presents not yet finished... must buy for Dad and Sister... must get new copy of transcript... must buy yarn for Nicole’s scarf... must do laundry before I run out of underwear... must back up files from this semester... must get haircut, maybe I should see Donna when I go home for Christmas... must decide what to take for final class this semester... must pack for trip home... must dig suitcases out of closet to pack for trip home... must return backpack to Mary... must send Christmas cards... must write Christmas cards to send...

5. Making me obsess over certain foods
This is closely related to number 1, supra, but not exactly the same. For example, I cannot at this very moment stop thinking about chocolate. It’s not so much that I’m hungry as it is that I want to nosh on a little bit of dark chocolate. And I can practically taste it, feel it melting on my tongue. So my mind keeps wandering back to my backpack, wondering if I still have a couple of pieces of chocolate left, but knowing that it’s a moot point anyway because my backpack is at home and I am not.

You know what else would be good right now? Pancakes. With blueberries and whipped cream. Fresh blueberries, though, not like blueberry pie filling or blueberry flavored syrup.

6. Instilling in me the urge to go out in the snow.
I hate snow. Why on Earth do I want to go out and catch snowflakes on my tongue or tramp around in the new snowdrifts? Because I don’t want to study for exams, that’s why.

7. Causing me to overestimate the amount of time I have for preparation and underestimate the amount of material I have yet to prepare.
I am dead for the two closed book exams. Dead. And that’s only if I don’t die of the first take home exam.


Relentlessly Marching Onward

What’s a girl got to do to stop time from moving forward? 48 hours from now, I’ll be finished with my first two exams for better or for worse. I am already looking forward to a very, very long nap 49 hours from now.


Saturday, December 10, 2005


Less than 48 hours from now, I take my first exam. This exam period is going to be like running a marathon. If I make it through without losing the vestigal remains of my sanity, it will be a miracle. Which saint do I approach for intercession here?


Friday, December 09, 2005

The Most Important Meal of the Day

I am looking forward with great relish to a breakfast at First Watch when I visit my family over Winter Break. In particular, I am looking forward to a Turkey Dill Crepegg. One of the few things I truly dislike about Our Fair City is the lack of good breakfast/ (not-just-on-Sunday) brunch places. There are a handful of local diners that are... not bad, even good. But for a girl who spent a large chunk of her college years meeting friends for brunch at any of a long list of places (since a Tuesday morning might be the only time that all of us were neither working nor in class), it’s like being an avid skier, then moving to Kansas. Sure, you can learn to enjoy cross-country skiing, but there are times when all you want is to hit the slopes, just like old times. That’s how I feel about my breakfast/ brunch options here. And those of you who know me know how important breakfast is to me.

I would love to try and hit the place I waitressed at, but they only serve brunch on Sunday morning, and this time, it just so happens that the only Sunday I’ll be there is Christmas Day—which is also one of only two days that they are not open at all, the other being New Year’s Day. I remember when I first heard that we were open on Thanksgiving, I was of the opinion that it was a) criminal and b) stupid, because I figured no one would come in. Boy, was I wrong. It turned out to be not so criminal, since we didn’t open until 8 pm, and only the bar was open. And wow, were we busy! Mostly regulars—i.e., the people we actually liked and enjoyed waiting on-- and they all wanted to get away from their families for a while after a full day of togetherness. No matter how much you love your family, I think you’ve all felt that way at some point or another. The same thing happened when I was scheduled to work Christmas Eve (a shift I actually volunteered for so that other people who maybe lived a little further away or had kids could have the evening off): it was probably our second-busiest night of the year (second only to the day before Thanksgiving). People were in high spirits, the kitchen wasn’t open except for pub grub (wings, nachos, etc), and everyone felt sorry for us that we had to work (which translates into sympathy tips). I had more fun working that night than almost any other night in all the time I worked there.

But I digress.

Everyone hated working Sunday brunch. Except me. I LOVED working Sunday brunch, and it had nothing to do with proximity to brunch food. I especially loved being one of the two openers. You had to be there at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. (made ungodly not so much by its innate nature as by the fact that anyone high enough on the seniority ladder to get one of these shifts instead of the dreaded Sunday mid was also high enough to be working the bar on Saturday night, meaning that you probably got home between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning and had to get up three hours later to make it in for the opening shift), but your side work was to get the dining room ready and slice the English Muffins. That was quick and easy, and if you got finished with it efficiently, there was enough time to eat your own made-to-order breakfast with the guys from the kitchen. And if you were senior enough to be working this shift, you were already friends with the guys in the kitchen, so they would make all kinds of fantastic stuff for you. The added bonus was that when your shift was done, it was over—no crappy side work to keep you there when you’re bone tired and just want to get out of there. The other great thing about working Sunday brunch was that the shifts were short and sweet. Unlike a Friday or Saturday night shift that might go for eleven or twelve hours and was certainly never less than eight (without a break!), Sunday brunch shift were maybe five hours long. Six and a half on a bad day. The downsides of brunch were the cranky staff (because half of them were hungover and the other half was just plain tired), the incredibly fast pace, and the lower than average tips. If I took home an average of 18% or 20% on any given Saturday, I would take home only 14% or 15% on Sunday. The high table turnover on brunch shifts compensated for that somewhat, so it wasn’t a total wash.

Sundays were also the only days that staff was allowed to drink at the bar. On other days, the rule was that if you were scheduled to work a shift that day, you could not drink at the bar either before or after that shift. You were welcome to come in on your day off, but if the owners (who were actively involved in running the place and great people to work for) caught you at the bar on a day you were on the schedule, you were fired. You still had to wait until your shift was over on Sunday, but if you worked Sunday brunch, that was no problem. You could sit at the bar with the rest of the staff and the regulars, drink bloody marys, talking and joking. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant, you know how the line between work and social life often gets blurred. The people you work with are often the people you go out with and maybe even the people you date and/or sleep with. This restaurant was especially tight knit. Many of the waitstaff had been there for years and the turnover rate was remarkably low. There was remarkably little backstabbing and infighting. People were generally good about covering each others’ asses and helping out when you needed someone to take a shift from you and someone with a dead section would run drinks or trays to a busier server’s station, or do someone else’s side work while waiting for the next wave of customers, knowing that they would do the same for you the next time the situations were reversed—and don’t think that it didn’t get around pretty fast if you didn’t. I remember a meltdown one girl had the night that two of us had done everyone’s side work but hers and the entire staff except the manager and bartender walked out the front door before she’d even had the chance to cash out. None of us felt the least bit sorry for her, given that she not only didn’t volunteer to help, but would refuse to help if asked. Not a great attitude to take when your success at your job depends on the cooperation of the kitchen, the bar, the bussers, and the hostesses. Be nice and help out, even if the job is technically “below” you-- bus your own tables if the bussers are busting their asses and can’t get to you right that second, help the hostess put up the chairs at night, haul bottles of wine up front from the cooler so the bartender doesn’t have to leave her post—and you’ll find that the bussers notice your table first, the hostess seats the rude people in someone else’s section, and the bartender gets your drink orders in record time. It was great preparation for a “real job” in that way.

Of course, any Sunday that you weren’t assigned to work a Sunday brunch was also a good Sunday. They didn’t come very often, especially not if you expected to get good shifts the rest of the time because the manager who did the scheduling didn’t take too kindly to too many requests for Sundays off. When they did come around, it was common practice for groups of us to get together and eat brunch at another restaurant before heading in to drink bloody marys at the bar. Years later, I’m still in contact with a girl who was almost always scheduled to work the same sets of shifts as I. We’ve both moved to different states and work in other fields (or, in my case, ended up back in school), but we still write and email a couple of times each year. I remember sitting on the patio of a restaurant just around the corner from our place of employment one morning in May, just a couple of months before I packed my bags for the City of Light. We were both graduating and neither of us had found a job in our field by that point, so we were tossing around ideas of what to do. She mentioned in passing that she thought it would be cool to work at a resort for awhile, or maybe on a cruise ship. Not the kind of thing you’d really want to do forever, but a few years when you’re young and unattached would be great: a little adventure, a little fun, a little money while you figure out what the next thing to do is. I think she thought I’d laugh, but truthfully, I’d been getting more and more serious about the idea of just tossing it all and moving to the City of Light to be with Finbar while I puzzled out what I was supposed to do with my life. I mean, I was going to be waitressing if I stayed where I was, so why not waitress in a new place until I got some direction? Somewhere in between the laughter and wild ideas, we started to see these as valid plans for the interim. I’m not sure how much we really needed it by that point, but the two of us gave each other the boost we needed to take action.

It’s that kind of chance relationship that can change your life in the most unexpected ways. You sort of expect the important people in your life to have an impact on you: your parents, your best friend, your siblings, your spouse. But sometimes the impetus to action comes from someone that you don’t even know their last name. Maybe that’s because they still have enough distance to see things as they are, not as they’d like things to be for us, or because their own hopes and fears don’t get in the way. Or maybe it’s because the fact that someone who doesn’t love and care about us in a meaningful way is willing to get involved in our lives or to let us get involved in theirs, however limited that involvement might be, is a statement in and of itself.

Some of my fondest memories my college years happened across the breakfast table from someone. Claudia asking me for the twentieth time how to say “Wasserhahn” in English when we met for our weekly muffin and coffee after she moved in with friends of a friend as an au pair. Emily and I stuffing ourselves with cherry crepes and cheese blintzes and chatting with the waitstaff at a diner more than half an hour away from our restaurant on a slow weekday morning, only to discover that a regular customer known as “Creepy Greg” at our place was known as “Creepy Norm” there. Stopping at Cracker Barrel on the way out of town with Finbar. Granny omlettes at midnight with Hulio—who knew that Perkins back home isn’t open 24 hours any more? Waffles at Alice’s apartment while we quizzed each other on the list of mixed drinks for the “bar exam” at work and we tried to get her cute neighbor to come over and join us. Studying for the final in our Survey of 19th and 20th century German Literature class with Jens and Therese and that strange girl from Romania, and every time I said “Brecht”, Jens would snicker at my Bavarian Rs and growl “Say it again!”, like Puumba in the Lion King until I could hardly write the exam because I would get the giggles every time I thought about Brecht. Stopping at IHOP in Indianapolis just to prove to Finbar that a) they did SO exist and b) Country Griddle Cakes are far superior to the stuff served at the Original Pancake House. Eating greasy egg sandwiches in the basement of the student union with Jen between German classes, then groaning the whole way through Professor Böhmert’s class with bloated stomachs.

It seems to me that there’s something so quintessentially young about meeting for breakfast. The older we get, the more obligations we have, the less able we are to carve out that time, especially once the demands of working life set in. Going out to the bars on the weekend is still feasible for most of us, at least until we start having children, but it’s not the same. The breakfast table has a nearly magical power to loosen tongues and open minds. The conversation comes easily, whether it’s superficial talk about the people in the booth across the way or deep conversation about whether to stay in your hometown. The pressure is off, and everyone feels better with a cup of hot coffee at hand. Unlike a night at the bar, breakfast has an easy end—when the server brings your check and the hostess keeps looking over to see if you’ve gotten up so that she can seat the next group, it’s time to get up and go. If you want to and have time to continue things, you can always go somewhere else, but otherwise you’ve got a graceful way to exit. And who doesn’t like crispy bacon and hot buttered toast? That’s a tip for Jelly Belly. Mmmmm, bacon jellybeans...


I'm So Excited

Ramona is coming to the big screen! I hope they don't mess up my childhood memories here...

Scary,scary stuff. Landing at Midway is very scary.

For a brief period of time just after Finbar moved back to the City of Light when I was still finishing college, there was a budget airline that connected our two cities and I flew over to visit on a regular basis. The flight connected through Midway and I remember how terrified I was the first time we landed there. You drop fast and the houses and streets are right there and then the plane hits the ground and the pilot basically slams the brakes. Even after a few times flying into Midway, I still found myself gripping the armrest tightly and holding my breath a little each time.

Apparently my fears were not so far-fetched after all. I wonder if people who drive on the streets that border the airport ever feel nervous about the planes coming in overhead?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

And You Wonder Why I'm So Obsessive About the Purell

Kim is creating a bit of a stir in Estates and Trusts this morning: we’re all sitting here watching her pick her nose, then rub the resulting material between her fingers until it falls off onto the floor. A grown woman, about to graduate from law school, sitting in the front of the room (so almost every person in the room can see her!), enthusiastically engaging in an activity that most of us learned not to do before we started Kindergarten, if not sooner. There are several people in the section surrounding me whispering about her, and I’ve seen a couple of people elbow the person sitting next to them to point over at her mining expedition. The worst part of the whole thing is knowing that other people are going to have to sit in that seat—and good Lord, am I glad it won’t be me—and touch the desk that her booger-y fingers have been rubbing on for the past 41 minutes.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

At First, I Thought I'd Finally Gone Insane

There is a man I've never seen before wandering the library in a kilt, sweater vest, and tam-o'-shanter, complete with thick woolen knee socks and flashes. What on earth is that all about?


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Night the Bed Fell

My bed has been broken.

I'd love to pretend it's for that reason, but the fact is that it's because a piece of the bed frame that keeps the slats that hold the box springs and matress in place has broken off and is missing. The slightest movement makes the slats on the left side of the bed fall off the track and takes the box spring and mattress on that side with it. Ash and I had fixed the bed several times only to have it fall apart immediately before we finally figured this out. The bed is less than four years old, but it has been taken apart and put together at least three times because I’ve moved so often. In addition to the missing piece, the metal track is pulling away from the particle board frame at one point.

It was with this frame of mind that I read this hysterical post to a new blog which features Megarita as one of the contributors. Thank God I was at home when I read this and not in class, because I laughed myself sick.


Slice of 3L Life

The clock on the toolbar of my laptop said 2:56 PM. I looked across the table at War and whispered “It’s drinking time.” With no further ado, we packed our bags and walked swiftly out of the library. In the elevator, we bumped into a fellow student and her friend, speaking Albanian to each other. We all greeted each other, then War and I went back to our conversation in German. At the next floor, a member of the staff got on, looked from one pair of people speaking a language other than English to the other pair of people speaking yet another language other than English, and got off at the next floor after that.

After grabbing my coat and wallet, we sped off to the bar directly across from the law school, which was almost empty at this time of day. The waitress who works this shift is at least my mother’s age and a little addled. She was confused by our appearance at the door, confused by our request for a table in the non-smoking section, confused by the fact that we ignored the lunch menus she gave us. We ordered two White Russians, and I asked for separate checks, knowing that I wasn’t carrying enough cash to pay for drinks and not wanting to be the annoying customers who ask for separate checks at the end when you may or may not be able to recall who ordered what. The gears of her mental clutch ground sharply and she launched into a lecture about how they don’t usually do separate checks when it’s busy, and we goggled at her for a moment, cueing her to segue into the extended remix of “but I can do it for you now, since it’s not busy”. As the chorus came around on the guitar again, I interrupted to point out that it says right on their menu that they don’t do separate checks for parties of six or more, but that there were only two of us, which didn’t have the desired effect of stopping the encore of “The Separate Checks Blues”, but instead introduced the Dance Mix 05 remix of “it messes up the cook times and people’s food comes out at different times” (which, BTW, is patently false: this place uses the exact same system as the place I waitressed at in college and all you have to do is send the food order to the kitchen before you separate the checks. It takes about 30 seconds and 5 or 6 brain cells to do.), so we assured her that this wasn’t going to be a problem for us, since we were only having drinks, and she finally wandered off to the bar to get our White Russians.

Meanwhile, the couple from the elevator came in and joined us, which probably made the waitress cry a little from the confusion of having her section double. She took their drink order without giving them any sort of guff, and we launched into a lovely conversation that wandered from language to language. An hour later, it was time for our final class with Professor Strap. We probably should have hit on this technique at the beginning of the semester: with the warm glow of White Russians surrounding us, class was actually bearable (though still completely useless as far as actual knowledge goes). Professor Strap stuck to lecture, studiously avoiding looking to our side of the room, thus preventing us from taking over class with discussion or questions about actual issues or anything more in depth than a commercial outline. He was out of luck when it came time to discuss the exam, though, because War had prepared a list of questions about the material. He was not well-pleased when the answers to those questions required him to have some actual working knowledge of immigration law and finally resorted to “Well, I’ll talk to you about that after class” (which, BTW, he did not—he was busy giving legal advice to his favorite student, Olga) and “But you don’t have to worry about that, it won’t be on the exam” (because, of course, the only reason anyone would want the answer to a question is to be able to regurgitate it on the exam).

And by then, it was cold and dark outside. I boarded a bus burdened with bags of commercial outlines, picked up at the bookstore earlier that day, heading for home and a nice spot of tea before delving back into the mysteries of Estates and Trusts.


Monday, December 05, 2005

Pretty Spot On

This is amazingly accurate, considering it's a one question personality quiz.

(courtesy of Jill, who I knew I like for a reason.)


Friday, December 02, 2005

"Needs Improvement"

Instead of doing professor evaluations at the end of the semester, I think we should give fellow student evaluations. The professors are tenured and set in their ways for the most part. I have no illusions that my writing “This professor’s lectures are disorganized and he regularly tells students they are stupid if they cannot answer his questions” will have any effect whatsoever. But there are some students here who desperately need to be told exactly why they are so annoying and how they can improve. So, in the spirit of the end of the semester, I hereby open my comments for your fellow student evaluations.

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The Violent Femmes Had it Right

A great way to start your morning—better by far than getting your daily intake of 8 vitamins and minerals from the whole-grain goodness of General Mills cereals (part of a complete breakfast)—is standing on a street corner in the snow and cold wind and watching bus after bus drive right by, the driver waving at you to “take the next bus”. Especially when it then results in your arrival in class 15 minutes late, meaning that I missed part of the continuing background (a.k.a. “Learning What I Missed as a 1L”) lesson on future interests, which I really wanted to attend. On the bright side, it means that I ended up on the same bus as Ash (as Certain Member shall henceforth be known in this blog), so we got to ride in together.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Lawyer Jokes (An Ongoing Series)

Q: Where do vampires go to learn how to suck blood?

A: Law school

What Might Have Been

If Professor Cameron had taught my first year Property class, I could have most likely avoided the complete mental breakdown and accompanying hysterics (I had to be literally put to bed with a stiff bolt of single malt scotch) that preceded my exam in said subject. If what I’ve heard about his grading is true, my grade probably wouldn’t have turned out any differently, but at least I would have understood the material.



How am I supposed to concentrate on future interests when he’s directly in my line of sight, looking all delicious and stuff?