Monday, February 26, 2007

Déjà Vu All Over Again

I'm going to take another whack at this bar exam thingie again. I don't really feel any better about it this time than I did last time. In fact, I feel a lot worse. My brain seems to see the material as a terrible infection that it must reject as quickly as possible. I don't blame my brain; frankly, that's pretty much how I felt about most of law school. It's not that I don't understand the material*: each individual piece makes perfect sense**, and if I'm allowed to refer to the notes before beginning my analysis, I can rock the IRAC with the best of them (as evidenced by my superb score on the performance exam and my solid performance on the essay portion of the exam). But as soon as my brain is asked to memorize the material, things go all to pot with an alarming speed. This does not bode well for a different outcome on the MBE.

Case in point: I feel better about Evidence this time, despite my continued struggle to apply the concepts behind impeachment properly. I understand some of the concepts that used to be a tangled web of Professor Feedback insanity, and I've made some of the connections to Criminal Procedure that I never saw when Professor Feedback taught either of those courses. But I have more trouble trying to remember which things are non-hearsay and which are hearsay exceptions than is reasonable for anyone who finished law school with respectable, if mediocre, grades. I know that a given piece of evidence is or isn't admissible, but if the question has a choice between "admissible because it's nonhearsay" or "admissible because it is a hearsay exception", I am reduced to the proverbial coin toss, and unless Luck is an extraordinarily kind lady over the next couple of days, that's not a very good strategy for passing.

So I study and I freak out, and today I'm not taking a break as the conventional wisdom advises, but I am going to read through my notes one more time and review con law, which I haven't touched since the summer. That's actually the only subject that worries me for the essays. I'm doing pretty well on the MBE practice questions despite my lack of review, but honestly, Comrade Verne's class is a distant memory and I don't really remember which test goes with which concept with any degree of accuracy. That's easy to fake on the MBE, but not so easy to fake when you've got to write a coherent essay.

Also? For anyone who might stumble across this blog and contemplate taking/ retaking the bar while working full time. Oh. My. God. If you can avoid it, DON'T DO IT. It's been incredibly difficult to study effectively and even to find motivation to study after a long day of work. When I was waitressing, I thought it would be easier once I had a set schedule and wasn't doing such physically demanding work. Then I got the office job and found it difficult to carve out the time when there are so many other things demanding my attention in the evenings and on weekends. I got in a few pages of review here and there, but it wasn't until I took the past week off work that I found myself able to really concentrate and get work done.

And then there is that tiny little matter of no longer really wanting to practice law. I've got a job interview in an hour***, and a couple of other promising leads, and not one of them has "licensed to practice law" as one of the job requirements. I'm torn between really wanting this particular job because it sounds interesting and because it's a job with the federal government (and I'm really kind of in love with the idea of working for the government at least for a little while, while I'm still idealistic enough to believe that I can do some good in the world via government work), and not wanting it because it's not in DC and it's kind of really crappy pay**** for the type of work and the skill set they're looking for. But I think that if I get hired for one job, it will be easier to find another job in a different office, either in the same agency or in a different agency. Or that's what they tell me, anyway.

So, to summarize: freaking out, job interview, bar exam, existential angst over career. I think I need another pot of coffee.

* Except for impeachment. I just don't really understand the practical application of the theories behind it, no matter how many times I review it. I think it's time to just let go and leave those questions to chance.
** Except for impeachment. The explanations in the back of the MBE practice books don't make it any clearer either.
*** Which I almost forgot! Thank God it's a phone interview, so I can "attend" it in my pjs with unwashed hair and no make up.
**** Not that I expect to get rich working for the government. But even for government work, it's pretty crappy pay.


Friday, February 23, 2007


Thailand. From extemp topics in high school to funny internet quizzes, Thailand keeps popping up in my life. I think it might be a sign or something. If I lived there, I would probably starve to death trying to avoid rice and nuts-- in fact, one of our favorite restaurants here in Our Fair City is our favorite not just because the food (and the martinis) are deeelicious, but because the offer Thai food without rice in it, making it the only Thai restaurant we've found in the area that I can actually eat at. Anyway, except for the bit about my promiscuity and disease, the assessment isn't too far off. I know it's really just a version of the old carnival fortune teller tricks, but it still amuses me to no end when these little internet quizzes come up with some applicable result.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Why, Yes, I WAS The Spelling Bee Winner In Jr. High School

I love Craigslist. I know I'm not alone in this; I don't claim to be unique. I browse the ads regularly, even when I'm not looking for something specific. Recently, I found an ad for a fledgling massage therapist offering a craigslist special-- a 1 hour massage for $45. I thought, "Hey! That might be a doable splurge after the bar!" and clicked over to the webpage for her massage business, where I discovered that she offers "sweedish" massage... or salt "scub" to open your "poors"... hot stones to "enhace" your relaxation.

I guess it makes me a bad person, but when I see so many glaring errors in something that purports to be a professional document, it makes me think that the person is at the best, too lazy to be good at whatever it is they do, or that they're very stupid, or both. I mean, how hard would it be to run a spellcheck? It's not a perfect system, but it certainly would have saved her from the most egregious of the mistakes. And part of me thinks that if you don't know enough to take such a simple step before publishing a professional document, then you are probably cutting corners and making mistakes in areas that matter even more, like, say, hygiene. In fact, when we were looking at the catering menus for the reception hall, my instinct was to discount off the bat the vendor whose menu was littered with similar spelling errors. Luckily, the other vendor's food was so delicious and she was so kind and easygoing that we happily handed her a deposit and threw the other vendor's menus in the recycling bin.

Then the nice part of me thinks to myself, "Well, maybe she let someone else put the website together for her and has no idea that her services are being advertised in such a sloppy manner. Maybe I should email her? And then the realistic part of me speaks up and says, "Don't bother. She'll probably just get her panties all in a wad and won't bother to change anything because 'normal people don't care about stupid stuff like that, anyway'." And then the snarky part of me comes here and blogs about it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Expression on His Little Toast Face Sells It For Me

I want this T-shirt sooo bad. I've already requested that my size be reprinted. I did this once before, for this shirt, and lo and behold, five or six months later, it was reprinted! Of course, the promised email notifying me of said reprint never materialized, but all that really matters is that the shirt ended up in my possession. I wore it yesterday, in fact. So now I'm hopin' and wishin' and prayin' that Threadless will take mercy on me and reprint this one, too.


Happy Year of the Pig!

"In all the places where the pig is not honored as a symbol of fine living, a remarkable number of earthquakes, floods and other natural catastrophes have occurred lately."-- Miss Piggy

Saturday, February 10, 2007

If All Else Fails, Fall Back on Grammar

"In his argument under the point, appellant notes that the Board's conclusion was stated in the conjunctive rather than in the disjunctive as set out in art. 4551h. As a result, says appellant, the Board must demonstrate that his prescription of dilaudid (1) was not necessary or required and (2) would promote or further addiction."

(Taken from Bowman v. Texas Board of Medical Examiners

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Since I Know You're All on the Edge of Your Seats

We found another place to hold the reception, and in the grand tradition of "door closes, window opens", it's actually a better fit for us. And I owe it all to Craigslist.

I've been watching for wedding dresses on Craigslist, and I saw one that I really liked, so I emailed the girl and we set a time for me to come and see it. I mentioned in the course of the conversation that we were looking for a new place to have our reception and she promptly suggested that we try the place she had planned to have her own reception before she and her fiancee decided that they'd rather elope. She sent me a link to their website, and I was very happy with what I saw. It's in a park in the north of Our Fair City, and the prices are definitely right. I called right away to make an appointment to see the place.

A week ago Sunday, Ash and I drove out to the park through the snow and ice. We waited and waited, walking all the way around the building and peering in the windows, growing more and more impatient, incredulous, and angry with each minute that ticked past our appointment time. We liked what we could see through the windows quite a lot-- it's kind of a faux lodge with a fireplace and hardwood floors and a shiny wood bar. But more than half an hour past the appointment time, with numb feet and hands, we were not feeling particularly... inclined to engage their services. As we walked back to the car, we noticed a poster advertising an upcoming Monte Carlo Night with a phone number for their office on it and promptly dialed it from Ash's cell phone, not really expecting to reach anyone (seeing as we were actually there and could see that no one was in the office). We were grimly delighted to find that the Event Coordinator's voicemail also gave us her cell phone. Ash left a message on the office voicemail and I called the cell number, leaving a polite but somewhat acid message along the lines of "We're here... we've been waiting more than half an hour... wondering where you are."

That Monday, the missing woman called me back and apologized profusely. I guess her excuse was pretty good: one of the other idiot drivers in this city went through a red light and t-boned her car on her way to the park. She, luckily, was unhurt. I must say, I felt really guilty about the voicemail message. I told her that and apologized when I met her in person a few nights later. She was very gracious, laughed and said that it was nothing less than she would have left herself and a good deal nicer than a lot of messages she gets for far lesser "offenses". Anyway, after meeting with her and getting the contract and such to look over, we were very happy and decided to book with them.

That means that the new date is September 21st-- still a Friday. Much like other locations we've called, this one is booked for Saturdays well into the next calendar year. In fact, this was the last Friday date available from September through the end of 2007. A handful of spring and summer dates were still available, but that was too soon to get everything done without killing ourselves. So, it's a September wedding for us!

Next on the list, I'll be meeting with a photographer soon, and Ash and I are going to a tasting at one of the caterers used by the site. The girl whose dress I wanted to buy gave them a rave review when we stopped by this past weekend to try on the dress-- which, unfortunately didn't fit. Now that we've got the hall and the church locked in, I feel much better about this, much less stressed over the planning. I'm actually starting to look forward to it a little! It's turning into bit of a game: find the things that will make it a nice wedding that will reflect our values and personalities for the least amount of money possible. Can we hold a traditional wedding for 100 people with the major trappings for less than $12,000? I do believe we can.


Blogger, You SUCK

Why did you FORCE me to switch to your crappy beta version?? WHY??

And why can I no longer get my Haloscan comments to install???

This, I suppose, is the perfect example of "You get what you pay for".


Probably Not What the Ad Agency Was Going For

The new Dr. Pepper commercial tells you that if you "want it all", then you'll "love the 23 flavors" crammed into Dr. Pepper. This makes Dr. Pepper sound like the soft drink version of a bar mat*. It makes me think that Dr. Pepper was invented when the food scientists at Ye Olde Soft Drink Factory** decided to mix all of their leftover experiments and submit it to the boss as a prank... and the boss was too Pointy Haired to realize it, so he presented it at the next board meeting and the executives, eager to score the next big hit with the youth, raved and sent it into production.

*Urban dictionary defines this as a "Jersey Turnpike" (a term which I would search only with caution, as it apparently also has another more... NSFW meaning), but we called it a bar mat at the place I worked in college. Essentially, the bartender picks up the bar mat and pours all the stuff that slopped over while they were pouring drinks into a shot glass. Popular among drunk frat boys and ex-frat boys as a way to prove their "manliness" or something. Also popular among cheap alcoholics, since most bartenders will give it to you free.

** Yes, I know that Dr. Pepper wasn't invented by a corporation.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Road Rage

Man, I hate to drive. I really hate to drive. So it's unfortunate that my lovely job is nearly 30 miles each direction. The first few weeks were really bad, and I struggled to get into the swing of it. I've never really liked driving at all, not even when I first got my license. In fact, I was less than a month shy of my 19th birthday before I got around to taking the driving test, and the only reason I bothered then was that my mom was moving to a day shift job and I couldn't take the school bus for some reason (I was still in high school at 19 because I'd been gone in Germany for so long, just in case the math was throwing you off there. Try to stay focused, okay?). In college, I rented apartments very close to campus and let Finbar drive me around everywhere else except back and forth to work, really. When I lived in Buffalo, I worked something like 4 or 5 miles from home and let Finbar drive me around most of the time on the weekends. The whole time I was in law school, I rode the bus back and forth, driving only for things like going grocery shopping or to the mall, with the occasional long-distance trip to Buffalo to see Finbar, or back home to see my family. I've had my car for eight years, and before I started this job, I had only 61,000 miles on it. Because I hate to drive and try to avoid it when possible. Which makes it oh, so delicious that I've taken a job nearly 30 miles away from home.

In the grand tradition of silver linings, there's one small thing that I just love about my morning commute and it makes me super cranky when someone screws it up. I live close to the highway on ramp, which seems like it should be really convenient. However, due to the fact that crack-addled monkeys were in charge of designing the highways here in Our Fair City, actually getting to the highway is not as simple as merely cruising up the on ramp. Oh, no! The fun part is that there are three consecutive merges on the ramp itself plus one merge onto the highway. You enter about 1/4 mile before the entrance to a tunnel, which is sufficient in and of itself to cause inexplicable traffic jams at odd hours, like 7 p.m. on a Sunday night. I hypothesize that the natives here believe that a monster lives in the tunnel, or else that they think that there's a possibility that the tunnel entrance might shrink unexpectedly, much like a carnival fun ride or the door to a Bond villain's lair. Anyway, each spur of this mess of merges has a yield sign, so that once you're on the on ramp, you should be able to zip right on along while traffic entering from each of the spurs yields to you.

In the morning, that system, followed to the letter of the law would result in the traffic on the spurs being utterly unable to enter the on ramp because there would never be a break in the traffic on the main spur. As it happens, I live closest to the first, main spur. My first morning, I almost had a heart attack when I came around the corner and saw that the traffic was backed all the way along the on ramp, onto the street and back more than a block. And it didn't seem to be moving. As I sat there watching, it became clear that it was moving, just at a snail's pace. And as I approached each spur, I was pleasantly pleased to find that zipper traffic was in full effect.

Now, realize that this is not a place where people really get traffic laws or ettiquette. In fact, I am of the firm opinion that this place has some of the worst drivers in the country. I would rather drive the Beltway at rush hour than deal with Saturday afternoon traffic at the local mall. And this is a fully-informed opinion, people: I've driven the Beltway at rush hour! In my boss's car! For which I wasn't entirely certain that I was actually insured! In fact, the drivers here are so bad that the state department of transportation posted a sign near a construction site that says "Merge here. Take your turn." "Take your turn"! Like they're dealing with preschoolers fighting over a slide. So I was feeling all grateful for the fact that I start right out on the main spur, feeling sorry for the poor suckers who had to try and merge... and I was utterly flabbergasted to discover that every morning, zipper traffic is the rule. People are polite and everyone takes a turn, so the traffic moves slowly but you don't feel impatient because you know that no one is going to keep you from merging or cut you off.

Nothing ruins my morning coffee faster than the occasional oblivious jerk who doesn't get it and doesn't let people over, or muscles his way (or her way, though it's almost always a man) into the line of traffic instead of waiting his turn like the rest of us. These are, as far as I can tell, the same people who used to shove other kids off the ladder of the slide so that they could slide down without waiting their turn. Just like you, Kelly M.! Thanks for the concussion! Kindergarten wouldn't have been the same without it!

I am also constantly astounded by the new heights to which drivers in this city take rubbernecking. I can sort of understand the impulse to look, the train wreck phenomenon. But. People! There are fenderbenders almost every single day. And most of the time, all there is to see are two cars pulled over in the emergency lane with little or no visible damage. So there is no need to do more than just notice it as you drive by at a reasonable speed. There is no need to, say, come to a COMPLETE STOP to try and get a good gawk at the fender bender in the opposite lanes, especially when there is a great, hulking concrete barrier blocking most of your view anyway! You don't get to see anything "worth" seeing, and you are causing a traffic jam several miles long. I kid you not, people were coming to a dead stop, and you would see their heads turn and their necks stretch, then they would realize that they could see nothing and hit the gas, resuming normal speeds. This particular instance of nonsense made my 45 minute commute stretch to 1 hour and 35 minutes the other day. I wasn't sure whether I wanted more to cry or scream.

God forbid that a few snowflakes fall.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007


I've been told on several occasions that I remind someone of Sarah Silverman. I can never really decide if it's a compliment or not... and now, sitting here and watching her sing "And pull it out and stick the doody in her eye!", I feel even more uncertain, but in a strange way, I really want it to be a compliment.