Thursday, March 30, 2006


I bought the fancy mac and cheese for dinner tonight, instead of my usual 34-cents-a-box Tar-jhay brand mac and cheese, in an attempt to make up to my taste buds a little for subjecting them to the horror that is Robutussin several times a day. Man, that stuff is good, even with a slightly diminished sense of taste (thanks to the world's worst cold). It's not as good as homemade mac and cheese baked in the oven until it gets those little toasty brown spots, but for a quick dinner, it was darned good.

For dessert, I'm going to preview the cinnamon rolls I made for breakfast tomorrow. They were made from that thaw-and-rise dough, which I've never used for cinnamon rolls before. I have used it to make rolls for Thanksgiving dinner and they were pretty darn good, so I have high hopes for these.

Man, that's a lot of calories. Running a fever and coughing burns calories, right?

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I Am Just Full of Good Ideas

Someone should suggest this to next year's SBA.

Instead of subsidizing the Law School Prom, how about if they take just a fraction of that money and hire someone to clean the refrigerators and microwaves? Say once a week, maybe twice. Institute a policy of "Fridges will be emptied on Saturday at 12 p.m. (for example), then let that person come in, dump everything that's left over the weekend, wipe it all out with some antibacterial cleaner, nuke a couple of bowls of vinegar in the microwaves, wipe out the softened gunk, then clean them our with the same antibacterial cleanser. There's surely some student desperate for money who would be willing to do it, and if someone took care of it on a regular basis, they wouldn't get to the toxic conditions (and I only wish that were hyperbole) that they stay at now. Say $25 a week, times 34 weeks (15 weeks per semester plus two weeks of exams) would come to $850 a year. Surely SBA could come up with that kind of cash for something that would benefit the entire student body?

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Is That ALL?

You Are 28% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

The Product of a Fevered Mind

The only good thing about being this sick is the fever dreams. Yesterday, I dreamed that I was on some show that was apparently a cross between America’s Next Top Model and The Amazing Race. First, we were going to hang glide and at first, I was all excited about it, but then all of a sudden I remembered that I am afraid of heights (which I really am, though not to the level of a real phobia) and I panicked and started to scream to the pilot to let me down. Then we were supposed to catch a plane to Japan, but we had to hurry (because we were in a race—against whom, I haven’t the vaguest idea, but we were racing), so we were running in these ridiculous get-ups—kimonos and crazy hair and wild makeup (because we were on America’s Next Top Model). We got to the top of an escalator and everyone started to run down (because we were racing), but all of a sudden, I got dizzy and started to fall, so I grabbed on to the rail and called out for help, but all of the other girls kept running (because we were in a race) except Asako—the paralegal I shared an office with last summer was apparently also a contestant on this American’s Next Top Amazing Model Race—but she couldn’t get back up the escalator. Then these two thirtysomething ex-sorority types came up behind me and started to shove me down the escalator because I was blocking them from going down, and I was angry that they woudn’t help me, so I grabbed the bouquet of flowers that one of them was inexplicably holding—though I knew somehow that they were very, very important to her—and as I fell down the escalator, I shredded them into a million pieces and threw them at her.

Then the phone rang and I woke up. Man, am I glad my dreams aren’t normally so crazy. Though I must say, it’s better than anything I’ve seen on TV lately.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006


There is someone sitting on the back corner of the room typing with her fingernails. Is there anything more annoying than the tchik tchik tchik of acrylic on a plastic keyboard? I want to stand up and scream.


Is This Place Still Up to Code?

The elevators still are not working properly. The heating and cooling system seems to do the exact opposite of what the appropriate response to the weather would be. Now the wireless—always spotty in some parts of the school, but normally reliable in the library—isn’t working. Oh, and my last class was cancelled due to a foul odor in the classroom. No one from the administration seemed to be too anxious to locate the source of the noxious smell (and boy howdy was it nasty). What in the hell are they spending my tuition money on? Apparently not maintenance.

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Rain, Rain Go Away

So there I was, sound asleep in my bed, and I was dreaming of rain. In my dream, I thought to myself, “Self, this is a dream and this dream means you must need to pee. Wake up and go to the bathroom.” And a few minutes later, I woke up. It’s funny how you can do that—wake yourself up from a dream that way—isn’t it? I use a similar technique to handle a recurring nightmare that I’ve had sporadically for years and years. In that nightmare, I’m being chased by someone who is going to kill me, but either my legs refuse to move at all, or else I can only run in slow motion. Whenever I have that dream now, I think to myself “Self, this is just a dream. You can do anything in a dream because it’s not real. So just fly away if you can’t run.”, and then I push off from the ground and fly up and away from the danger until I wake up. This happens every time I start to have that nightmare, which, in classically Freudian style, usually pops up when I’m particularly stressed out by something.

Anyway, on this night, when I first woke up, I had one of those moments where you know you’re awake, but it’s taking a couple of minutes to get your mind and your body in sync. I was laying there, waiting for my body to catch up to my brain so that I could go to the bathroom when I realized I could still hear the dripping rain from my dream, and it was right next to my ear.

Now, I am particularly easily confused when I’ve just woken up. Sometimes I have real trouble with language (I’ve been known to address Ash or Hulio or my mom in German and not realize it), and if you ever need to tell me something important, you simply cannot do it when I first wake up because I will not remember it later—in fact, I probably won’t even remember having a conversation with you at all. So this mysterious noise in my room really threw a wrench into the works.

I tried to reason it out: My radiators can be noisy. But they make hissing and bumping noises, not dripping. That can’t be it. Maybe it’s raining in real life. But that noise is definitely in the room, very close to my ear, absolutely not outside. That can’t be it. Hmmmm... The cat must be up to something. Yeah. It’s usually her when you hear strange noises in the night. Stupid cat.

And so I yelled “KNOCK IT OFF!” without opening my eyes or moving. Ash awoke, startled. And my brain took note of the fact that no pitter patter of scampering paws had resulted from the yelling and that the dripping noise hadn’t stopped for even a second. That was definitely strange. So I turned on the light. The cat was nowhere in sight. I looked wildly around and suddenly realized that the dripping noise was coming from my ceiling, where a large bubble had formed just below where my upstairs neighbor’s radiator must be.

My head was instantly filled with visions of a burst radiator flooding the upstairs apartment. That tenant tends to be gone for long stretches of time, but I happened to have seen her in the hallway earlier that evening, so chances were that she was at home. Still, given that it was 2 a.m., chances were also that she was fast asleep and had not a clue that her apartment was (possibly) being flooded. I grabbed the phone and dialed my landlord’s number... and got his voicemail. I left a message, but Bob’s not always super fast about returning my calls, so I wasn’t certain that he would check his voicemail first thing that morning. I walked upstairs to my neighbor’s apartment and knocked on her door, on the off chance (though given the fact that I’ve heard her walking around at 3 a.m. on more than one occasion may mean that it wasn’t such a slim chance after all) that she might be awake. No dice. Now what? I walked out the front door of the building to see if her lights might be on and instead I saw that the guy downstairs had his lights on and I could hear his TV on, too. I also happen to know that he had a similar middle of the night plumbing issue last year, and so thought that he might possibly have a magic emergency maintenance number that I was missing... and I knocked on his door instead. Great logic, but not so hot results. I got another voicemail.

At that point, I didn’t really know what the right course of action to take might be. The drip wasn’t too heavy and I’d caught it almost immediately, thanks to my tiny bladder (I really did have to pee, which is why I didn't just sleep through the noise.).Still, what if it only looked like a little leak and was really about to turn into Niagara Falls? Should I call a plumber? What if Bob refuses to pay for it? I got out a copy of my lease to see if there was anything mentioned about emergency maintenance there. No dice. Being a betting woman at heart (and having no money to pay for an emergency plumber), I stuck a bucket under the drip to catch the water and Ash and I went back to bed on my fold out.

The next morning, in a perfect display of Murphy’s Law, the maintenance crew showed up just as Ash was in the shower and I had just stripped down to nothing so that I could get dressed. I threw my robe back on and grabbed a pair of pajama pants so that I could let them in. Laurel and Hardy came in, looked up at the ceiling, and asked me “Wow! What do you suppose that is?” I DON’T KNOW! ISN’T THAT WHAT THEY PAY YOU FOR? One of them asked me for a broom, then used it to poke at the bubble. He muttered something under his breath about plaster and drywall, then they stomped upstairs to look at the problem from that angle. Ash and I scrambled to finish dressing before they came back. When they returned, they said something about problems with the radiator (pronounced so that the first syllable rhymes with “bad”), then announced that they’d be back in a day or so to fix it.

Now, I realize that based solely on my description in the previous paragraph, one might get the impression that the maintenance crew is incompetent or that I just don’t like them. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are two very nice men, very friendly, and I’ve never seen any evidence that their work is anything other than wonderful. So, even though it seemed like a major issue to my untrained eyes, I figured if they weren’t too concerned about the whole thing, then I probably didn’t need to waste too many more of my brain cells worrying about it. Right?

So a couple of three days go by and the leak stays at a slow drip while small pieces of the ceiling crumble away from the edge of the hole the water is leaking out of. Then, I come home from school one day and Jenna meets me at the door, meowing anxiously and generally acting all freaked out, as though to tell me that strange men had been there! And they came in! And they chopped a hole in the ceiling! And now there are pieces of stuff all over the ground! I spent most of the afternoon sweeping up the mess and wiping plaster dust up in my bedroom. And I keep wondering why this wasn’t a priority repair for Bob? I called a few months ago because my toilet was running all the time (and, no, jiggling the handle didn’t help) and the guys were there to fix it in maybe two days. So apparently a running toilet is a more urgent repair than a leaking ceiling? I mean, sure, it’s possible that they got to the toilet super fast because it was a slow week or something, but seriously, what on earth could have been on their agenda that was more important than the water coming out of a ceiling?

No harm, no foul, I suppose. I rolled up my rug and the water didn’t do any damage to the floors that I might have to argue over when I move out. They’ve installed a patch and once it dries, they’ll be in to paint over it. But I tell you, I’m starting to get a funny feeling in my gut about Bob. Between the new tenant (who removed the original laundry, but keeps replacing it with new piles of dirty laundry—I’m considering dumping it in front of her door whenever she leaves it there), the overdue-shut-off-pending water bill (which was resolved in a timely manner), and the mysterious disappearance of my February rent check, I’m starting to wonder if Bob might not have landed himself in some sort of financial trouble that he’s trying to pass on to his tenants.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Introducing the concept of guardianship, the professor explains how the concept came about. This involves a quick summary of feudalism. This particular professor has been on a bit of a creative kick lately, drawing intricate stick figures on the board to illustrate his lectures, and crafts a chart showing Kings and Queens, Barons, Dukes, Knights, and Serfs, then comments:

“There were even worse people than the serfs.” Pause. “They were called “Irish”.


All Set for the Bon Jovi Concert

I would give my right arm for a bottle of hair balm today.

I stayed with Ash last night, which means that I took a shower at his place this morning. Normally, I let my hair air dry and since I shower as soon as I get up, it’s usually mostly dry by the time I leave in the morning. If it’s a particularly cold day, I may give it a quick shot with the blow dryer before I leave, just to make sure that I’m not standing at the bus stop with my hair hanging in long icicles around my face. For some reason—maybe because we slept later (though I don’t think that’s true), maybe because it was particularly humid this morning (though it didn’t seem like it), maybe because the water is heavier or wetter at Ash’s place (note to self: “heavy water” means something else)—my hair was still sopping wet fifteen minutes before we had to leave.

I hadn’t brought a hair dryer with me and lord knows Ash, being male and all, doesn’t have one. Had it not been so cold, I would have just left with really wet hair and not bothered to worry about it. Faced with this predicament, I engaged my Super Powers of Deduction, honed to a fine edge during the previous three years of rigorous legal training, and decided to lay my hair across the radiator.

The radiators in Ash’s apartment get particularly hot, which is a bit ironic, really, since his apartment is constantly cold. I was concerned about burning my face or my neck, and took care to protect them. I didn’t realize that my concern was misplaced: What I really should have been concerned about was frizz.

My hair is huge today. Ash summed it up thus: “You look like New Jersey 1989.” Everytime I walk past a reflective surface, I am seized by the urge to run to CVS and buy a tube of some hair product, any hair product, that might tame the enormous mane. And of course, I also have no hair band with me, so I can’t even sweep it up into a pony tail.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Apropos Malaprop

During a discussion on Medicare, the talk turns to the philosophical reasons behind the creation of the Medicare system. One member of the class posits that it is complementary to the employment based system of providing health insurance for younger workers:
“Otherwise, they would be extruded from the system when they leave the workforce.”

Sounds painful. And also seems like a very apt description of our method of doling out health care to anyone who isn’t lucky enough to get health insurance from his employer.


Monday, March 20, 2006

The Age Old Dilemma

I don't know why I thought this semester was going to be easy just because I'm only carrying three classes. I've spent more hours at school this semester than last, when I carried twice the courseload. First, there was the auction. Now, we're getting ready to award this year's grants. I started my unpaid research assistant position just before the auction, and it's taking a lot of my time. And now I've also accepted a paid research assistant position with a japanese professor who is doing some comparative work. It sounds like a fascinating project, and I'm actually really excited about working in it, but man, I am busy!

Plus, it's time to start looking for a job in earnest now. I've sent out some half-hearted feelers and a couple of shot in the dark applications to places that I knew wouldn't hire me, but had no real luck so far. I have no desire to work in the large law firm setting, so I knew I'd be waiting until late in the Spring to do the bulk of my search and also that it wouldn't be easy. That doesn't make me feel any less anxious about finding work. See, the thing is: I don't just want any job. I want a job that I can be happy with. Oh, and I also want to be able to, you know, pay for my student loans at the same time as I pay rent and buy groceries. Yes, yes, I know I'm asking for the moon and the stars, but really, don't I deserve it?

To be perfectly honest, I don't want to work in a law firm at all, small OR large. I don't even really want to do something related to the law. I don't know exactly what I would like to do, though. I kind of thought that going to law school was going to solve this dilemma for me. I'd also be happy to start out with a contract position or a temp position, just to kind of get my feet wet and build my resume a little.

I have to keep reminding myself of all the reasons why I didn't accept the offer from my summer firm-- and there were good reasons for it-- so that I don't keep second guessing that decision. It was the right decision. I know that. But I'm still nervous about finding work, nervous about ending up in a job that I hate, nervous about getting locked into a field that I hate, nervous about finding myself locked out of a field that I could love.


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Thanks For the Heads Up

They've posted signs at all of the elevators today, announcing that one of the two elevators is undergoing "major repairs" and that there may be long delays due to the fact that only one elevator will be in service. Which makes me ask: how, exactly, is this different from nearly every other day of the past three years?

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Preach It


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mars vs. Venus

I love how men will unabashedly pick up a book or a magazine or a newspaper and take it into a public restroom, essentially announcing that they plan to be there for a good long time, while women will try to mask any possible sound or movement that might give away to other occupants of the restroom that they might actually have bodily functions, ever, as though they'd just come into the ladies' room to, you know, sit down for a spell.


Belligerent Breakfast Foods

I recently bought a box of Apple Strudel Poptarts and this morning, as I was packing my lunch, it struck me that an Apple Strudel Poptart might really hit the spot. I put my brown sugar and maple oatmeal back in the cabinet and opened the box of Poptarts. I did not notice any cartoon characters on the box, such as one might expect if a promotion for a movie or tv show or something is underway.

Following my first class, I sat down on the couch in the library to drink my coffee and eat my Poptart. When I pulled the silver wrapped toaster pastry from the bag I noticed a strange little cartoon woman printed on the label, asking me "Wanna arm wrestle?"

Why is my breakfast food threatening me? Isn't the saturated fat and sodium content in these things threat enough?


Monday, March 13, 2006

Difficult Choices

Now, if we were talking about buttered toast, it would be a nearly impossible decision. I love toast.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Hoch soll sie Leben!

My darling little "niece" in Germany recently turned 1. As usual, I am far behind schedule in buying and shipping presents. That's 90% due to procrastination, but 10% due to a total lack of a clue as to what I should get for her. So, I turn to you parent-types for some advice: what's a good idea for a present for a one year old? Obviously, she's too young to be the main "target audience", if you will, for the gift, much as the gifts I sent when she was born were bought to please Bettina, not sweet little Milena. My base criteria is that it be a)light, b)easy to ship (not fragile, not perishible, not illegal), and c)not too expensive. It would also be really nice if it were sort of "American"-- that is, something that Bettina can't just run down to Karstadt to buy. Bettina herself spent a month in the US when she was at Gymnasium and has very fond memories of it, so she would appreciate something that seemed especially "American", if that makes any sense.

I'll also throw in a little something for her stepdaughter, who is, if memory serves, 15 years old. Last year, it was a really cool journal with a matching picture album. This year, I bought some different flavored lip balms in a cute box and a dreamcatcher (it just seemed like the kind of thing she'd like), and it seems like there was something else, but now I can't remember. Hopefully that's good, since I have equally little idea how to buy for a 15 year old girl who I don't really know at all.

My God. I just realized that Gela is as old now as I was when I stayed with Bettina. I am so old.

Homeland Security MUST Have a File On Me Somewhere

This referral has been inducted into the pantheon of my all-time favorite referrals to my blog. What makes it especially funny to me is that it came from Saudi Arabia. Wouldn't looking at this kind of stuff be, oh... illegal in Saudi Arabia? Wouldn't it be funny if my blog somehow ended up being inaccessible from Saudi Arabia?

Whoever this was must have been so disappointed.

On a more literary note, someone researching a paper for their lit class also wandered by. It sounds like an interesting topic.

Searches for porn and literature, both in the same 24 hour period! I must be doing something right.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring Break By The Numbers

Days I did not leave the apartment: 4
Hours per day, on average, spent asleep: 12
Days I ran a fever of at least 100 degrees: 3
Boxes of Kleenex used: 3 1/2
Gallons of Orange juice consumed: 4 1/2 (Ash helped with that)
Cups of tea consumed, on average, per day: 6
Pages read for pleasure: approximately 4200
Amount of left over indian food consumed: seems like at least 5943 pounds
Loads of laundry I will do today to rid my room of germs: 3
Hours spent studying for the MPRE as of 3 p.m. today: 0
Hours left until I have to take the MPRE as of 3 p.m. today: 42
Bags of potato chips eaten due to intense craving for salty foods: 4
Flavors of potato chips eaten to satisfy craving: Salt and Vinegar, CheezUms (if a dairy product is spelled with a "z", you know it's good!), Plain (and they were gross).
Temptation to eat the ice cream in the freezer without waiting for Ash: very high
Things I forgot at the grocery store this morning: 2 (milk and whipped cream)
Times I tried on shoes today, excited because they were exactly what I want and in stock in my size: 5
Times those shoes actually fit: 0
Piles of dirty laundry, including underwear, left on the communal laundry table, presumably by the new tenant (based on content of said laundry and knowledge of other tenants in building: 3
Plastic grocery bags of garbage left in the laundry room with rotting food in them: 2
Level of irritation at inconsiderate behavior in a communal area: very high
Probability that I will call the landlord to complain if the situation doesn't improve sharp-like: high

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Good Morning

It didn't start out auspiciously: the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m.

Ash is off to the Moot Court competition, and I'd agreed to take him and his partner to the airport for their very early flight. Neither of us wanted to get out of bed at all, but Ash dragged himself out from under the heavy duvet. I went back to sleep, given that I didn't need to shower and put on a suit before leaving. The next thing I knew, Ash was calling my name and it was already 5:30. I dressed and brushed my teeth quickly, and in only 15 minutes, we were rolling out the door.

Turning onto the main street by Ash's place, wheels zzzzzisssshing on the pavement still wet from overnight rain, that same strange, melancholy joy I always feel when I'm out and about at this time of the morning washed over me in a wave. I hate to get up so early, but I love to be out in a city that's still mostly asleep. Things are calm and quiet, but not in the frozen way of 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. Somewhere in the short span between "the middle of the night" and "the crack of dawn" is a magic realm.

As we climbed the hill, heading toward the airport, the sun started to peek over the horizon. It was still overcast and misting, so there was no real moment of sunrise, just a gradual lightening of the sky. By the time I'd waved Ash and his partner off at the airport, it was full daylight, and my stomach was growling.

I pulled into the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel and found it nearly empty. Inside, it was quiet and clean and I was seated right away, with a cup of hot coffee appearing nearly simultaneously. Only three other parties were there, and the manager had built a large fire in the fireplace at the front of the room. That surprised me-- I'd always assumed that it was decorative, not functional. He came by every now and again and stoked it, so that it crackled merrily and smelled perfectly lovely. I ate and read my book for a while, enjoying the hot coffee and crunchy bacon. The soft hum of conversations wasn't enough to drown out the crackling of the fire. It was cozy and warm and not at all what one thinks of when one thinks "Breakfast at the Cracker Barrel".


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Friday Five-- Delayed Due to Illness

1. Describe the condition of your keyboard:
The letters are wearing off some of the keys (good thing I can touch type), which just goes to show how much work I do on this laptop. Also, for some reason, the "7" key keeps popping off. It pops right back on, no problem, but I can't figure out why it keeps popping off in the first place.

2. Can you sing, or are you always out of key?
I sing fine if I really try to. If I'm just belting out a song on the radio, or goofing around with friends, I'm terribly out of key.

3. What keys do you carry with you?
My apartment keys, keys to the PLISF office, my car keys, the key to my parents' front door and Ash's keys. I was carrying Hulio's keys as well, but they are on a separate key ring now. I also used to carry Finbar's parents' key, but took it off back in the Fall. However, I've never gotten around to sending it back to them, and frankly, I'm not sure where the "safe spot" I put them in is anymore.

4. What is the key to personal happiness?
Give and receive generously. Live responsibly. Make time for your friends. Always take the opportunity to say "I love you" to your loved ones-- and listen for the silent ways your loved ones say it back without ever opening their mouths.

5. What gets you keyed up?
Unfairness. Injustice. News reporters who can't use proper grammar. Superficial drivel masquerading as "news coverage". Bad coffee. Willful ignorance.


Now Is The Time On Sprockets When We Dance

My neighbor below-- who is really quite nice-- is currently listening to some sort of Europop with a very heavy bass beat at rather loud volume. I feel like I've suddenly been transported to a disco in some small German backwater.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Pity Party

Just so you know, I'm sick. I fought valiently against it, but the stupid thing just caught up to me. Posting to resume as I feel more up to it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Intellectual Theft Deterrent

They must have reset the sensors at the doors to the library and chosen a much more sensitive setting, because they're sounding the alarm almost every time anyone goes through them. Not that there's anything remotely obnoxious about the repetitious beep beeeeep beeeeep beeeeep while I'm trying to wade through this stupid cite and source. I bet the aides at the front desk are ready to pull their hair out.


Definitely NOT Made For Walking

How many muppets were killed to make these shoes?