Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Monday, August 30, 2004
After coming back down to town, I floated in an inner tube in the Vltava River for a bit, then visited a gallery which has Egon Schiele's easel and not much else. I feel like half of this trip has been spent stalking an artist who died of Spanish Influenza. I do like him, but not as much as the sheer amount of Schiele on this trip would indicate. Oh well.
Back to Prague tomorrow, where I will do . . . something. If you don't count drinking as something to do, I have done all the fun things in Prague.
Saturday, August 28, 2004
I had to wear a jacket to go out this morning. In August.
I saw two Egon Schiele exhibitions (one in the Leopold Museum's permanent collection and one in the Wien Museum at Karlplatz).
I have chocolates and candied violets.
Vienna is full of lush green parks and lovely buildings. Budapest would be full of the latter if a squadron of men with power washers was loosed on the city. As it is, the Austro- half of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire is by far more attractive.
I have new reading material (sadly, there are no English copies of Foucault's Pendulum in Vienna, so I will need a new book in a short time or have to reread Don Quixote).
There are few things that could make me more pleased on a day in August in Vienna.
Friday, August 27, 2004
You can tell when you cross the Hungary-Austria border. Everything suddenly becomes more orderly. Tomorrow shall bring the Leopold Museum, a truly fabulous hat store, a replacement for Don Quixote, and more lovely Vienna.
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Wrong. I never saw the place where I had originally boarded the bus, and when the driver reached the end of his route we had a little conference (he spoke no English, I no Bulgarian) about where exactly I wanted to go. Once he realized where I wanted to go, it was no problem, although as penance I served as entertainment for all the regulars on the bus, who got the story from the driver, if apparently in a light-hearted spirit. One large man who looked like Peter Jackson's evil twin did warn me, in English, that I "should not walk around after dark . . . only when the sun is very bright. We Bulgarians are a barbaric people. You, American, Canadian, English, you would not know that."
I told him I would keep it in mind. However, no one in Bulgaria has attempted to cheat me, and their signs are in Cyrillic, which makes me feel smart to be able to read, so yay for Bulgaria, which has super fast internet connections at its telephone office (boo: using telephone office to make international phone call yielded no joy. this was not Bulgaria's fault).
Tomorrow: wrapping up in Sofia, and then onward to Belgrade!
Monday, August 23, 2004
Evidently it seemed like a good idea to some people. And maybe it is, since lots of people paid, including some British fellows who stayed in the same hostel I did. I told them I wasn't paying, and they just called out, "Lady . . . " and let me walk in and out as I pleased. Real cops would have busted my arrogant American butt.
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Tomorrow: recovery from a nasty cold I picked up on one of these pestilent trains, tying up loose ends here in Bucharest, and then onward to Sofia.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
Tomorrow I may go to the old royal residence, or I may just bop around. One thing: Romanian currency is not just uninspiring of confidence because the denominations are so high (33,000 lei to the dollar) but also due to materials; I genuinely think the coins are aluminium, and the notes are made of plastic.
Friday, August 20, 2004
In Prague: tourists, internet cafes.
In Poland: nuns. Never seen so many nuns in my life before. More internet cafes.
Budapest: statues of men with giant mustaches, dirt.
Budapest is like a bad combination of Vienna and Athens. I am off to Bucharest tonight, which should be even less charming, but my second day there will be consumed by a trip to a monastery outside the city.
Note: if there is a local holiday no one outside of the nation celebrates, I will pick that day to be in the relevant country. It is either St. Stefan´s Day or Constitution Day today, depending on if I believe the man at the basilica or my guidebook, and of course everything is closed. I gave in and went to an "American" restaurant in search of some greens, but their idea of a salad involved yellowish iceberg lettuce and chopped up tomatoes. Ugh.
No further extortion attempts, but just wait until I get to Romania. Two words: taxi mafia.
Monday, August 16, 2004
In Warsaw (not sure why); my guidebook's section on Poland is only sporadically accurate about important things like when museums are open, so I spent the day in the reconstructed Old Town and Royal Castle. While it's all very pretty, the knowledge that it's fifty years old makes it a little more Disneyland and a little less appealing. Must, must, must get to Budapest on Wednesday. There is, evidently, only one night train that goes through from here to there, so I am off to harass the railway reservation agent with my bad Polish. (I do make the effort!)
One note: I had not fully internalized, when Geoffrey described it to me after his travels last summer, what an abomination is the German toilet. Platforms for waste examination are just unnecessary. They keep popping up, with no rhyme or reason. At least they are better than the Turkish toilets Angel and I experienced over spring break.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Spent the entire day at Wawel Castle, which is absolutely fabulous. I cannot believe the amount 15th and 16th century art has been preserved. You would have thought that someone would have stolen or destroyed it in the course of an invasion/partition.
Internet access in Poland is insanely cheap (about a dollar per hour, half the price of the least expensive I found in Prague). However, George W. and his weak dollar policy are really cramping my style. Somehow the zloty went from 4.00/dollar when I checked it a while back to 3.55/dollar now. The Euro is kicking butt. All prices are quoted to me in Euros.
Bonus: I am actually more likely to get English signage here than in Prague. There most things were in multiple languages but typically only German and Russian. However, far fewer people speak English, leading to my humorous pantomime at the post office today. By the time I get to Bulgaria I'm going to be drawing for people again. Why traveling for me inevitably devolves to Pictionary is anyone's guess. Stupid useless three semesters of Russian.
Random aside 2: did you know that Poland has a Hooters equivalent? It is called Restaurant Rooster. Ah, capitalism.
Hopefully off to the salt mines tomorrow.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Mexican food: Prague's is better. Shame on you, Boston. Shame.
Smell: the Charles may give you a rash if you fall in, but it's otherwise inoffensive. Prague smells funny. I blame the floods of 2002. Advantage: Boston.
Commie stuff: due to the Russians invading their country, the Czech propensity to celebrate Soviet culture is confined to fleecing college tourists. Boston, and more specifically Cambridge, caters to a local audience for its Communist themed bars. Advantage: Prague.
I went to the Torture Instruments museum and the ossuary in Kutna Hora today. Yes, I am morbid. Off to Krakow tomorrow (not going to the concentration camp, though).
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Monday, August 09, 2004
Snack foods to tide self over during layover in Paris and short flight to Prague: check.
Reading material: check and check.
Reservation for shuttle ride to airport at ridiculously early time due to Orange Alert security measures: check.
AOL service cancelled after much argument with customer service: check.
Temporary custody of Settlers of Catan board determined: check.
The next post will be from a former Soviet bloc nation. Keep checking for updates here and at Crescat!
"If there is a hell to which disputatious, uncivil, vituperative lawyers go, let it be one in which the damned are eternally locked in discovery disputes with other lawyers of equally repugnant attributes."
-Krueger v. Pelican Prod. Corp., No. CIV-87-2385-A (W.D. Okla. Feb. 24, 1989) (Judge Wayne E. Alley) (order denying motion to dismiss action).
Sunday, August 08, 2004
You're Pale Fire!
by Vladimir Nabokov
You're really into poetry and the interpretation thereof. Along the
road of life, you have had several identity crises which make it very unclear who you
are, let alone how to interpret poetry. You probably came from a foreign country, but
then again you seem foreign to everyone in ways unrelated to immigration. Most people
think you're quite funny, but maybe you're just sick. Talking to you ends up being much
like playing a round of the popular board game Clue.
Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
*whistling* "Darwin help!"
If I were a pale shadow of Wil Wheaton with no career to speak of, a Rodney Dangerfield movie as my biggest hit, and my most memorable role as the friend of a talking dolphin, I might consider suicide as well.
The summer ends and we wonder where we are
And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car
And you both look so young
And last night was hard, you said
You packed up every room
And then you cried and went to bed
But today you closed the door and said
"We have to get a move on.
It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead,
We push ourselves ahead."
And it was cloudy in the morning
And it rained as you drove away
And the same things looked different
It's the end of the summer
It's the end of the summer,
When you move to another place
And I feel like the neighbor's girl who will never be the same
She walked alone all spring,
She had a boyfriend when the summer came
And he gave her flowers in a lightning storm
They disappeared at night in green fields of silver corn
And sometime in July she just forgot that he was leaving
So when the fields were dying, she held on to his sleeves
She held on to his sleeves
And she doesn't want to let go
'Cause she won't know what she's up against
The classrooms and the smart girls
It's the end of the summer
It's the end of the summer
When you hang your flowers up to dry
And I had a dream it blows the autumn through my head
It felt like the first day of school
But I was going to the moon instead
And I walked down the hall
With the notebooks they got for me
My dad led me through the house
My mom drank instant coffee
And I knew that I would crash
But I didn't want to tell them
There are just some moments when your family makes sense
They just make sense
So I raised up my arms and my mother put the sweater on
We walked out on the dark and frozen grass
The end of the summer
It's the end of the summer
When you send your children to the moon
The summer ends and we wonder who we are
And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car
And today I passed the high school, the river, the maple tree
I passed the farms that made it
Through the last days of the century
And I knew that I was going to learn again
Again, in this less hazy light
I saw the fields beyond the fields
The fields beyond the fields
And the colors are much brighter now
It's like they really want to tell the truth
We give our testimony to the end of the summer
It's the end of the summer,
You can spin the light to gold.
Saturday, August 07, 2004
The packets are mailed. Leaving for Europe forced me to get it done early (they don't have to be at HLS until August 18th) and allowed me to send the 16 pounds of paper via FedEx Ground instead of overnight, saving me a pretty penny. I will be so glad when this is over.
I also had to finish boxing up my life in D.C. and packing my tiny backpack for Europe. I will be blogging from internet cafes just like I did for my spring break trip to Turkey. My posts will appear at another blog also (three guesses where) so you can get your dose of Bamber in two ways.
Friday, August 06, 2004
1. The return labels are supposed to have the faculty services address on them instead of my address. Why? I don't know. But if HLS wants to FedEx my packets to judges for free, I won't argue. Going back to Kinko's to create new labels sucks, though.
2. My manila envelopes are non-regulation size (9x12, not 10x13). I guess it's back to Staples for more envelopes. I threw out the receipt, too. Damn damn damn.
if you don't have the motivation to just sit down and take some practice tests, what are you doing signing up for more years of school?People are motivated to do specific things, often because they enjoy them. I enjoyed my 1L course reading, so I did it all (okay, I didn't derive much pleasure from CivPro or Dersh's many books and essays, but the generalization is true). The LSAT does not test the law. It has little to do with what you learn in law school, even if it does accurately predict law school success or sort out people who lack the necessary analytic skills. I don't think a lack of motivation to do dozens of practice problems for the LSAT/GRE/etc. indicates that you're not cut out for graduate education.
I come down in the middle on the question of the utility of a course such as the Princeton Review. I signed up for the class and paid my $1000, but after one session and a diagnostic test I realized that I was not the target audience for this class. However, I always do very well on standardized tests, and for someone who was trying to get from, say, 145 to 160, I think such a course could be beneficial. I cut my losses and got nearly all my money back. However, I did get to keep the course materials. I think these were worth the non-refundable 200-300 bucks.
My two cents: you can overstudy on the LSAT. I know someone who did; she obsessed over it for more than a year and then ended up scoring lower on test day than she had in some of her first practice tests because she was burned out. You can also under-study. I was cocky going into the first online diagnostic I took junior year. The unfamiliar format and types of questions threw me for such a loop that I spent a significant amount of time considering a career in library science. But after some additional practice, my scores came up to the percentile level that is typical for me on standardized exams.
My suggestions would be to take a class if you have practiced a bit and don't seem to be making headway at increasing your score. You might also consider it if you do really badly in one section (like games) or would have trouble keeping yourself to a study schedule on your own. It is not necessary to take a class, though: working through 2 practice exams (use real tests!) per week for a couple of months prior to the LSAT should get you accustomed to the format without burning you out. Don't obsess, don't feel guilty when you aren't studying (that way madness lies, especially if you carry that behavior over into law school), and do what works for you. How did you study for the SAT? Do that, but more intensely. How your brain works has not changed since then. It takes a year of law school to warp your mind.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
-The guy who asked Mieville if he liked Piers Anthony (Answer: he enjoyed them when he was ten or so, but upon rereading the Xanth books he found them "terribly mysogynist." No surprises there.)
-The journalist from Locus who wanted to know if the riot in the scene from Chapter 6 was influenced by violent nature of British society and politics, because "we don't do that here." Response: "Oh, no, Americans never fight."
-Mieville on his coolness: "It may come as a shock, but I'm a total geek. . . . it's tragic, really."
-Mieville on Tolkien: "I told myself I'd stop talking about Tolkien about a year ago . . . I would be at sci fi conventions and people would say, 'China, do the Tolkien thing.' (mugs) . . . Let him rest."
-On whether The Scar is more gruesome than Perdido Street: "Well, it did have a slick of pus. . . . They're equally gruesome."
-On his relationship with mythology: It's "piratical" and "an act of epic point-missing. . . People tell me, 'So, the khepri symbolize rebirth,' and I'm like, no - people with beetle heads: cool!"
Volokh even soft-pedals the actual harm involved here; unlike many victims of sex crimes, Fualaau was not anonymous. At age 21, he has no job and no high school diploma. He had two children by age 16, although his mother apparently cares for them. Is it likely that he would be similarly unsuccessful had he not been a father of two before most kids get their driver's license, the center of a media circus for years, and engaged in an on again/off again relationship with a disturbed woman 22 years his senior who was in prison? At this point it's his right to engage in relationships with whomever he wishes, and it appears he will again reunite with Letourneau. But he should not have been the target of sexual advances from his sixth grade teacher, and no matter how much they may love each other now and how much joy he may take in being the father of two children (perhaps now that both parents can be together, some burden can lifted from their long-suffering grandmother), his potential for success and happiness was almost certainly squandered as a result of the choice of one grown woman. Even if that weren't illegal, it should still be wrong.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
UPDATE: Saved by the Bill: Tiffany's fiance is a jolly good fellow. He is sending me my chip.
Would you eat whale? Dog? Dolphin (you probably have already)? I don't know if I'd eat dog, but I have eaten horse and am a horse owner (again, in Iceland - those cold hearted islanders love to eat strange things).
UPDATE: For your viewing displeasure, I present Proposition 6. The voters of the great state of California succeeded in banning the sale of horsemeat for human consumption because "horse slaughter is not and never will be part of our culture." Bah.
While unisex bathrooms were the bugbear during the ERA debates, they seem less threatening now, having made appearances on Ally McBeal and in many other locations across America. The separation between men and women in the lav was never that strict; boys have been accompanied by their mothers and (less frequently) girls by their fathers for years. We've more openly acknowledged the presence of male caregivers (and thus the increased likelihood that fathers will bring children into the men's room) by the recent installation of changing tables in both bathrooms instead of only the ladies' lav. Although the unisex bathroom experiment at HLS may be coming to an end, my experiences with them were uniformly positive (unisex bathrooms mean no line for the ladies'!). That said, how can we create an unisex bathroom that will please everyone, or at least minimize offense? How to deal with segregated bathrooms that we already have?
I think the ideal government bathroom would have be T shaped with a single entrance: on one side of the T could be a wall of urinals. There should be partitions for privacy and so they can't be seen be everyone entering. Then just put a line of stalls on the opposite side of the T. Sinks can be facing the stalls and urinals or centrally located near the entrance hall. At the very least sex segregation should not be enforced by law (don't retrofit already-built bathrooms but do not punish people who use the "wrong" bathroom). Nearly all of us share bathrooms at home with people of the opposite sex, so why not at work, too?
UPDATE: Inspired by Spencer, a relevant poem.
Monday, August 02, 2004
Enjoy. No, really, enjoy, dammit.
Sunday, August 01, 2004
-There was only a small core group of elders who founded the village. The population at the time of the movie appears to be 60-100 people. If they continue to be isolated for another two or three generations, there's going to be some serious inbreeding. I'm talking flipper babies, people.
-So red is the "bad color." Nothing in the entire town is red. There's no technology and it's apparently an agrarian society that relies heavily on human power to get work done - a state of affairs that privileges physical strength. How many generations would it take for women (cursed monthly with manifestations of the "bad color") to be utterly subjugated? They appear to have political equality at present (which struck me as anachronistic when we first saw the elders' meeting), but how long can that last?
-The photography of Sally Mann
-The fiction of Sherri S. Tepper
Random demographic factoids: one of every three white non-Hispanic residents of Manhattan is Jewish. About one of every eight residents of the five boroughs is Jewish. This is the first time in 50 years that less than 1 million Jewish people have lived in New York City.
You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every
book ever published. You are a fountain of
endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and
never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any
question people ask, and have thus been
What people hate: You constantly correct their
grammar and insult their paperbacks.
What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Guilty as charged. (The book referenced by this post title is an interesting read as well.