Thursday, April 27, 2006

I Swear I Don't Work for the Chamber of Commerce

So, earlier this week, I had to drive to Ohio to get a copy of my driver's record to submit for my Bar application. I didn't particularly want to do this, but, well...
So of course, I whined and wheedled my girlfriends until one of them agreed to go with me. I figured we'd mosey over, stop in at the BMV, then get "breakfast" at IHOP, and mosey on back. Just a little road trip with good tunes on the radio and a nice conversation.

We headed out mid morning and the weather was nice for the drive: sunny and cool, so I didn't need to turn on my non-functioning AC and the car windows could stay rolled up. We were so busy yapping about selling passports on the black market (not, mind you, because either of us has plans to do so, but rather in the context of illegal immigration and changes to the U.S. Passports in the last ten years to make it more difficult to forge and alter them), that I drove right past the exit, resulting in a twenty mile detour, which wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't need to use the bathroom so incredibly badly. I honestly thought I might have to pull over to the side of the road for a while there. It turned out to be okay, though, because when we finally made to the exit, the first place to pull over turned out to be a Dairy Queen, which meant, of course, that we had to get ice cream.

Back in the car, we headed into town. When I originally talked Death into going with me, she told me that she'd never been to Ohio before and was excited to see it, to which I replied "Honey, we're not going to the nice part of Ohio." (And upon hearing this story, Ash replied "There's a nice part of Ohio?", which prompted me to bite him.) And at first, Boardman seemed to fulfill my expectations. But then we kept seeing more and more cute little shops and interesting buildings.

I stopped at the BMV, which, as seems to be the case across the state, was located in a strip mall. We were in and out in about three minutes, and I was mildly amused that the paper was only half a page long and had no entries on it at all. Not that I was surprised, because I am a very good driver, despite all of Finbar's mouthing. Being the type of people that we are, we decided to duck into the Dollar Store up the way from the BMV. BEST.DOLLAR.STORE.EVER! There was so much great stuff there, I wasn't sure if I could keep enough cash to pay for tolls on the way home. We finally cut ourselves off, paid, and got back in the car, headed for IHOP. And kept passing great store after great store! I'm telling you, there was better shopping there than at the local outlet malls. One funny thing, though, was that there were bridal shops everywhere. I bet we passed eight of them in four miles. We wondered if it's kind of a "cottage industry" for Boardman.

We stuffed ourselves silly with pancakes and french toast, then struggled back to the car just as it started to rain. It was almost like the city was sad to see us go. We're totally planning to go back and spend more money we don't have, as soon as we can get the time to road trip again. And next time the Dirty Birdie can't bail on us.

Why Hotmail Apparently Sucks

Yeah, yeah, I know: this is not exactly breaking news. Still, I never realized the extent of the suckitude until today.

I've got several email addresses: a gmail (which I only give to good friends), a yahoo (which used to be my primary address, but now gets more spam that I like, so it's been relegated to my general work/ school and family email-- because my sister signs me up for all kinds of "contests" that result in my getting more and more spam. Sigh.), and a hotmail that I use to register for things online. This was purposeful, because I don't want to get spam in the email that I use on a regular basis.

This has been my arrangement for the past two years or so, and it's mostly worked very well. However, I've often commented on the fact that I get less spam in my hotmail account, despite the fact that I throw it around the internet all willy-nilly, than I do in my yahoo account (and I've never once gotten spam in my gmail, which is why I guard it so zealously). Apparently, this is because hotmail trashes my mail without even dropping it into the "junk" mail folder.

I discovered this because I've been trying to sell some furniture on craigslist. I've been using my hotmail for the craigslist remailer because this is the habit I have. And up until now, I've never gotten a single response on the furniture I've been trying to sell off and on for a couple of months now. I decided to repost one of the listings because I really need to move the largest item NOW, and I slashed the price on it, thinking I'd been deluded about how much I could ask for it. This time around, though, I decided to use my yahoo because I'm reliant on dial up right now and it takes so effing long for hotmail pages to load that I can't stand it.

Lo and behold, I got ten responses in two hours, including two that said they'd emailed me in the past and never gotten a response.

Now, I did, in fact, wonder if Hotmail was spamming responses out, so I checked the junk mail folder as well as the inbox. Where the heck do the messages go when they don't end up in one of those two places?

Whatever. Hopefully one of these people will come and get my furniture and get it the heck out of my apartment. I'm so sick of looking at it and I can't wait to see how the place looks when it's not overfilled with furniture. I'm also very excited about getting my new-to-me stuff this weekend (upgrade!). And I will never use hotmail for the craigslist remailer again.


Monday, April 24, 2006

Over. Done. Finite.

I have just completed my last official bit of law school classes.

It's freaking me out, man.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Because I Need More Pudge Around the Hips

Right now, I would love to eat some cake batter. Yellow cake batter. I don't know why, but that's what I want. Maggie Moo's has a really yummy cake batter ice cream, but we don't have a Maggie Moo's here.

I Bet I Would Be Good At It, Too

I've been watching the first season of "The West Wing" on DVD lately, one episode after another. I didn't start watching this show until fairly late, probably in season three or so, but I became an instant addict. It almost always made me cry at some point during an episode, and often took my breath away with the idea that government could actually do some good in the world. I was waitressing when I started watching, and I used to devote my limited television time to a group of shows that I taped every week and played back a half hour or so at a time, in between classes and work. Basically, it was the NBC Wednesday night and Thursday night lineups: The West Wing, Law and Order, Friends, whatever the 8:30 show was (Scrubs being by far my favorite over the years), Will and Grace, whatever the 9:30 show was (though I often fast forwarded through this and sometimes through the 8:30, if it sucked, as it often did), and ER. At the end of the West Wing episode, I always felt like calling Hulio and screaming "I'M MOVING TO WASHINGTON TO BE A WHITE HOUSE STAFFER! I'M GOING TO SAVE THE WORLD!". Sometimes, I actually did call her and say that (but I didn't scream, I'm a good friend that way).

It's funny how much things have changed since this show started, and I don't just mean the precipitous decline in the quality of the show's writing after Sorkin's cocaine-fueled departure. For example, in one of the episodes they go on about a budget surplus and how it should be used at length, and I had a little jolt as I thought to myself "Ohhhhhh, yeah... we used to have a budget surplus. Damn, I miss the Clinton era."

And in the vein of plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, Everytime the theme song starts to play, I lunge for the remote to fast forward through the commercials, even though I know full well that I'm watching a DVD and there will be no commercials. Then I feel a little foolish, even though I'm the only one there to see.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Giving Whole New Meaning to Play Dough

The disturbing thing is that it comes from the official Pillsbury website.

I love the kisses he blows at the end of this one.

You can also make your own dance.


More Red State Madness

I am so tired of being embarrassed by my hometown.

But more than that, I'm also frightened that this could be the future.

Even if you yourself would never have an abortion, you should think long and hard about how these bans could impact your life and your freedom. Making abortion a felony? Making it a felony to give a woman a ride to another state so that she can have an abortion (presumably still legally in that state) a felony? How on earth do they plan to enforce that? Allow the police to stop and detain any pregnant woman on an interstate?

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More Changes

Hulio got a new job. She’s leaving me to move back to our hometown in six weeks.

Ash asked me how I felt about it and I didn’t quite know how to explain it. Hulio’s wanted out of her current job for a long time and she’s not particularly happy living here, anyway, plus I know she’d like to be able to spend more time with her nieces and nephews, who all live back in our hometown. The new job, though not exactly her dream job, is definitely a step up for her, and it should enable her to move up within the company in the future. So I’m really happy and excited for her.

But I’m really sad for me. I like being able to show up unannounced, knock on her window, and propose a trip to Target. I like the fact that our long, long, long talks are a local call. I like being able to go see Patty Griffin together every time she comes to town. I like just knowing that she’s there. Who am I going to give my spare keys to? Who is going to stand in the IKEA parking lot with me, figuring out a way to fit a very large dresser into the trunk of a Toyota Corolla?

Hulio thinks that this might be the last time we ever live in the same city. I don’t know if that’s right: Lord knows, I never thought I’d live in Buffalo, yet... If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past year, it’s that you never know what might happen or where you might end up. Besides, I’ll need a roommate when I finally land a job in some exotic location:

Ring ring!



“Hey. What’s up?”

“Nothing. What’s up with you?”

“Nothing. Wanna move to Toronto/Paris/Uruguay with me?”


Besides, I also know that it doesn’t make a lick of difference where we live. Who else is there that can crack me up just by saying certain words?



“Bob. Socks.”


She knows all of my dirty secrets, has seen me at my worst, and calls me out when I’m being ridiculous. She also knows all of my secret hopes and dreams, helps me be my best, and encourages me when I feel doomed to fail. We get each other into trouble and help each other out of trouble. Over the years we’ve developed our own way of communicating, a language of our own that feels completely natural to us, but often mystifies everyone else (“Toward me or toward you?”). Distance is nothing in the face of that.

So, I suppose the answer to Ash’s question is: I’m so happy and not at all sad. I mean, I’m probably 98% happy and 2% sad. And I mean, what's 2%? That's nothing. Okay, I'm 90/10. Totally.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The End is Near

This is my last week of law school.

One week is all that’s left. One week, then finals, and I’m ABB (All But the Bar). I can’t really wrap my mind around that.

I didn’t join in the registration madness. I haven’t been cruising by the Registrar’s Office eighteen times a day to check for course changes or to look at enrollment numbers for the classes I’m considering adding or to ponder what alternative would be the best between two horrible sounding classes that fit my schedule when nothing else will. Several of my 2L and 1L friends asked for my advice in selecting classes, which was fine—after all, I begged for advice when doing my own registration, but it was strange to be giving advice and not asking for any for myself. Several times over the course of the past few weeks, one or another of them has glanced up from an elaborate chart showing times and days of meeting times or a long list of options for scheduling their semester and absently asked me what classes I’m taking next year. (I usually answer “The Bar”, even though I’m actually taking the Bar this year.) (Maybe I should stop saying that before I jinx myself into failing and end up actually taking the Bar next year, too.) It’s very strange to me that Ash and War and Death will all still be here, doing the school thing, going to classes, eating lunch in the student lounge, taking off in the middle of the day to get coffee at Caribou... and I have no idea where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing.

How strange is it that I am already leaving law school? The past three years have gone far, far faster than my time as an undergraduate went. The four and a half years that I spent at University seemed to take an eternity; I felt like I would never, ever finish. Instead, I would go straight from living off the government via Stafford Loans to living off the government via Social Security. Law school seems to have barely started yesterday.

Maybe it’s because of the major changes that have occurred in my life since I started. Looking back at who I was and what I thought was true and what I wanted from life back in August 2003, I barely recognize that person as being me. I’m much, much happier on the whole, but I’m also much angrier. It’s a wonderful world, yes, but there are some really crummy people running the show and a lot of people live their lives like brainwashed sheep, just so long as the really bad things happen to someone else. I feel both a little disillusioned about my ability to make an impact and optimistic about making the world a better place. I’ve reconsidered my views on a lot of things: the role of the courts vs. the role of the legislature... love and marriage... where I want to live... abortion... health care... parenting... how important owning a home is to me... what kind of life I want to lead... Some things I've changed my mind about, some things I've become more firmly convincced of, some things I've shifted on just a little.

I thought that law school would teach me to think more effectively about the big issues, but to be honest, I don’t feel like that happened. Maybe I just can’t see it because it was so incremental. I don’t feel anymore able to understand the intricacies of health care policy or foreign affairs than I did before I started law school. I joke with my friends that law school has actually made me stupider, that reading case law has caused me some sort of brain damage. Maybe I just feel stupider because now I’m more acutely aware of how complex some of these things really are?

The thing that I liked most about law school was the interaction with lots of other smart people around my age. This was a new experience for me, and I’ll really miss that day-in, day-out dialogue (and I really struggled to find a less buzz-wordy way to put it, but I’ve failed). For every blowhard talking over everyone else in the room to make sure that we all know how expensive his fancy mountain bike (that he can’t possibly ever use) cost, there’s someone who makes you laugh hysterically over a dryly witty commentary on the latest stupidity propagated by our esteemed legislators, or someone who knows you’ve had a bad day and brings you a piece of chocolate to cheer you up.

What I won’t miss is the constant one-upmanship. (Though I suppose I shouldn’t expect to leave that behind). I hate that ultra competitive crap.

There’s a lot to get done in the next week, and I’m feeling the stress of it. But it still doesn’t seem real to me. How is it possible that I’m going to walk across the stage and get my J.D. in just a few weeks? And how on Earth am I going to get my apartment cleaned up before my mother gets here for Graduation?


Question for Katia

So, Ash and I were watching the episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus that includes Mosquito Hunters this weekend, and now we have a question for Katia or any other Aussie who wanders in.

The intrepid hunters are shown wearing a hat with one side of the brim rolled up, sort of like this, or like this. Why is only one side of the brim rolled up? Was there a reason why people did (or do) wear a hat like this? We hypothesized that it might be because it would be easier to shoot a gun or a bow and arrow, but then it seems that a similar style would have evolved in the United States, especially in the West. Yet this style of hat is something that we (and obviously also the British audiences Python was originally intended for) identify as "Australian"-- though I suspect it's about as Australian as Lederhosen are German.

I tried Googling, but didn't come up with anything helpful. I know you pop in here every once in a while, so I thought I'd ask you directly. What's the story with the hats?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I Told You I Was Cranky

Any woman who calls another a "feminist" as though it's a very nasty insult should have her right to vote taken away, be excluded from the protections of laws such as the Federal Medical Leave Act (including the right to take a maternity leave and still have her job when she's ready to come back), and lose the right to own property.


Danger Zone

I am entirely and completely on edge today. In fact, I feel a bit like I'm on the verge of either exploding with anger or breaking into hysterical tears. I can feel how thin the layer of calm in my life is right now, and I don't like the feeling at all.

I think it's time to get back to the gym en serio, as El Guapo would say.

I've been whining idly about a little pudge that's been gathering around my middle since I stopped working out regularly in the midst of the preparation for the auction. First my time was sucked up by that, then I got sick, then I made it to the gym about twice before I got sick again and all of a sudden, it's been almost two months since the gym was part of my routine.

Part of the problem is the fact that my group of gym buddies has broken up this semester. We just can't seem to get it together to go in anymore. And I haven't found anyone new to go with yet. I don't know why it matters so much to me, since it's not like we take neighboring treadmills or ellipticals and talk while we're there. In fact, when I'm fifteen minutes in, I probably can't really talk anyway-- I'm not there to socialize, I'm there to kick serious butt (specifically my own). Yet I can't seem to motivate myself to walk over to the gym alone and do the same thing.

Now that it's getting warmer and nicer again, I'm also planning to start running in my neighborhood again. I've had to push back my 5K goal in light of the beating my lungs have taken in the past six weeks, but I'd really like to finish a 5K before I take the bar. Just because. And my neighborhood is a nice place to walk. But I'm not sure how great it will be for running, since the many leafy trees lining the streets have buckled the sidewalks in several places-- in some places raising the slate blocks by several inches. But I think I'll give it a whirl.

Wish my knees luck.

A friend of some of my friends is going through a very rough time right now following a break up. I think she feels like we think she's being overly dramatic or silly or something because some people commented about their lack of surprise when the breakup happened. I guess people don't realize how much a comment like that can hurt. I know one of the most painful things that happened in the breakup with Finbar was when his mother -- who I loved dearly and thought of as part of my family (and who I still miss, even today)-- commented that she always knew we'd never get married.

I want so badly to tell her that it will get better, it really will, even though I know that it doesn't feel that way. I want to tell her how it was for me, how I woke up some days and thought I'd die from the ache and sadness and loneliness and grief, and other days I wished I would die, or at least that I could just go to sleep and not wake up for a very long time. I want to tell her that it's her heart, and if she cared-- and still cares-- deeply for the person who hurt her, that's okay and it's normal and it's not something that is silly or unworthy of respect. And I want to tell her that it's going to get easier to pull yourself through each day, but that when the bad days happen-- when you wake up long after you thought you'd passed the raw, overwhelming hurt and moved into a dull ache of missing and feel just as bad as you did when the pain was fresh and new-- it's okay to be weak and to cry with your friends and to mourn. It's okay to take whatever measure you have to take to get your life back in balance. I want to tell her that one day it will be okay to hear the song that describes your relationship on the radio, that one day you'll be able to cry tears that don't feel like they're being ripped from the deepest part of your soul, then you'll be able to feel like crying, but the tears won't come, then you'll feel a twang of your heartstrings, then you'll feel a distant ache, and eventually, it won't be the dominant part of your life and you'll even find that you've gone days and days without even thinking of it.

But I'm just a friend of a friend, so it feels like I'd be butting in where I don't belong. I don't want to make it worse; I don't want to be just another person saying "You'll get over it" when I know that she feels like she never will (even though, probably, she knows in her head that she will-- feeling it in your heart is something entirely different). I want to hug her and make it feel better, but I don't know if that would be what she'd want. How do you reach out to someone you don't really know, when such a personal matter is involved?

Monday, April 10, 2006

My Mom Will Be SO Proud

I just got my MPRE scores-- and I PASSED! In fact, I did far better than I expected to do, well enough that I could take the bar in New York if I so chose.

I just cannot tell you how relieved I am by this. All of my friends warned me that they left the test feeling certain that they'd failed, but then passed anyway. I knew that. But some part of me was still certain that I'd failed. It wouldn't be the end of the world to fail the MPRE, really. I'd just take it again in August and study harder than I did before this administration. But it would still have been really, really embarrassing to have to tell my mom that I failed the Ethics Bar.

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"I'm not evil. I just have a very short attention span."

Holy Cow!

Every once in a while, Luneray sends me a link to a (semi-)random news story that blows my mind a little.

This was one of them.

For some reason,that reminded me of something we'd learned about in my favorite undergraduate gen ed course. Isn't the world a crazy place?

Behold the Cute!

My belated birthday present from Ash!*

You know I love a pair of shoes when I'm planning my wardrobe around the shoes instead of matching my shoes to my wardrobe.

*It's not belated due to any fault of Ash's, it should be noted, but rather because I couldn't make up my mind what I wanted, and then I couldn't find them in my midget-foot size.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Devil is in the Details

I went to the post office to mail a package today. As I was standing in line, waiting with my forms in hand, I idly read the following in the fine print on the "Insured Mail" form:

"NOTE: To File a claim for damage or loss of contents, the article, container, and packaging must be presented."

Honesty Is The Best Policy

We're holding officer elections today, and each candidate was expected to give a speech to the membership body. The candidate for treasurer was running unopposed. During his speech, he said:

"I like money, I'm good at working with money. Plus, well, you don't get much of a choice, so basically you're stuck with me."


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Practice Tips

My professor was rather generous in doling out the tips for practicing law in the real world today:

"A trust terminates at the death of the principle. Usually. Zombies are kind of a grey area."

"If you go into this field, one day you’ll find yourself at a hospital, pounding out a will for someone. This is why you need a portable printer: your client may not have time for you to go back to the office and come back with the printed document. Just plug it in and grind it out, right there in the hospital room."