Monday, May 31, 2004

We have birds living in our chimney so the apartment is filled with chirping right now as they all crowd in to escape the rain. It's somewhat amusing.

I am having trouble summoning the will to write a statement of interest for a clerkship recommendation. How should one reconcile the partial contradiction of applying to circuit and district judges without making direct reference to the looming specter of grades? What is the best way to explain that I want to work for a judge because I want to be a judge and thus need to know what they do, especially without sounding silly or self important? Ugh.

Tiffany and I went out for deeply mediocre Middle Eastern food for lunch. I must stop eating out. Cooking, however, would require going grocery shopping, and that's even more taxing than typing a page or so of nonsense. Oh well.
Public service announcement: my email has been giving me strange error messages through my antivirus program over the last couple of weeks and apparently some of the messages that Outlook claims were successfully sent did not actually go through. If you have emailed me about anything since exams and have not heard back, please send me another note and let me know; I probably wrote you back and my internet connection ate it.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Shopping blogging, ignore if you please:

This weekend my roommate and I took our lives into our own hands and went shopping again, this time with the goal of using some gift cards we received as a promotion from Hecht's during our last trip. Perhaps I misremember, but it seems that in previous times the experience of going shopping at a large department store held more charm. For example, it's been years since I received helpful, much less cheerful, service from the shoe salespeople in a department store. Instead of asking if you need help and bringing out alternative sizes and styles in the event that your desired shoe is unavailable, the personnel in every recent instance have required a flag-down to summon, even if one has been waiting patiently with your selections and tried to make polite eye contact, and has informed me in a surly tone that they simply do not have the requested size without further suggestions. (It's things like this that make me doubt the economy has not recovered, but then I am cynical.) Is there any reason for the apparent slump in quality of mid-range department store service and selection? Is it competition from discount department stores like Kmart and Target? I'm baffled and have sworn off going back to any May's department store for the near future.

Fortunately, however, we happened upon the Press Building Shops and their Easy Spirit store, which not only brought out several sizes and widths but also checked with another store and ordered the much needed feminine white sandals and permitted me to evade the hated UPS by shipping them to the Metro Center store to pick up on my lunch break. Kudos to the helpful employee there and fie on the entire staff of Hecht's at Metro Center, with the exception of the cashier in the handbag department.

Speaking of handbags, another great store is Fornash Designs in Georgetown. The store permits you to select the shape, size, handles and accents, and inner and outer fabrics and then sews you a custom designed handbag. Mine will have poppies on the outside and leopard print with monkeys on the inside. Every time I'll open my purse to pay for something, that should make me smile. Hurrah for shopping!
For your burning late-night classics questions, MIT provides solace.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Via Unfunded Mandate, online Settlers of Catan.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Normally Wonkette bores me, but I am always happy to see someone tear a strip off Michelle Malkin, the Filipina Ann Coulter.
I am reminded of an exchange between Jay Mohr and Christopher Walken on the set of Suicide Kings regarding the benefits of having a tail.

"Jay, I noticed your dog - eh, your dog was in here a moment ago - that dog had no tail. What happened?"
"You know, they cut it off when they're puppies. It's called docking the tail."
"That's too bad, you know. Think about it; it would be so great to have a tail. People could tell when you were angry. They'd go, 'Get back! Look out! Don't fuck with Chris today; look at his tail.'"
"I think you mean happy, Chris. Dogs wag their tails when they're happy."
"Oh well, maybe you. But if I had a tail, you have to be expressive with that tail, otherwise, what's the point, right. They'd know, they'd know. They'd go, 'Get back, don't bother Chris today. He's having a bad day.' 'How do you know?' "Well, did you look at his tail?'"
(Hours later, it comes up again. Mohr asks Walken a question.)
"What would you rather do: have a tail or the gift of flight?"
Walken responds immediately. "Oh, have a tail! Come on, that's the dumbest thing I ever heard. You can always get on an airplane, but a tail . . ."
Okay, so now I have worked at a law firm for one week. I like it, and it is not as intense as I thought it would be, but this may be because I am not working hard enough. In fact, that is almost certainly the case. My officemate informed me that we are supposed to "shoot for" 7.5 hours of billable and non-billable time. Now the latter category only includes things like official training sessions and adding up your time for the week (yes, they have a special non-billable number just for the time you use to tot up your time!), not staring at the wall, eating lunch, or checking email, so I am in a world of hurt and did not even realize it.

It's a horrible experience to be confronted with how amazingly unproductive you are for most of the day. I can't keep to one task for more than a couple of minutes unless I am totally engrossed by the subject matter. Since that's not always the case with things I don't choose to read myself, I stop a lot in mid page to check email or tidy my desk just to keep my brain alert. If I am not multi-tasking, I drift, but that's not conducive to billing. I am used to being able to do the assigned work in less time than I'm alloted and then being able to relax for the rest of the time. That is not the way this job works. There is always more to do, or more to ask for. And what *did* I do for the three hours or so today that weren't billed? Eat lunch? Surf the web? Walk around the building looking for the associate's office where I was suppose to pick up my new assignment? Should I bill for that? Is it "travel?" (I know it's not.)

This leads to the ugly realization that I only do a few hours of work each day and that the firm is going to think this is bad. I've never had an office job before where they actually expected you to do 7.5 hours of work every day. All my previous employment seemed to acknowledge that a significant portion of time is spent doing things like checking email, printing documents and going to get them, waiting for phone calls, and the like. Of course, maybe the real message is that firms think this also and that's why the typical day is more like twelve hours than eight - to allow for the staring into space and daydreaming and still squeeze a full day's work out of you.

Jeremy's humorous musings aside, this billing thing is no fun.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

To add to my list of reunions in DC, my former Rose coworker Lovely Sarah just called me. It looks like we're going to an Aimee Mann concert later this summer. Whee! She's been working as a paralegal and now hates all lawyers. I can't imagine the absolute drudgery of being a paralegal. As I understand it, you get the scut work and horribly long hours of a first year associate, but with a tiny fraction of the paycheck and potential abuse from angry attorneys. (Then again, associates aren't safe from that either; one of my classmates worked at an L.A. firm and saw a partner chuck a stapler at an associate's head in the middle of a tirade. The associate just stood there. If someone threw a stapler at my head there would be a fight, but then I am not trying to keep my head down and pay off student loans of an amount sufficient to buy a large house in Red America.)
My firm recommends that we consult Sars about grammar issues. How strange is that?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I just finished the first (and certainly not the last) lunch at my desk. The firm dining room has a pretty wide variety of food for extremely reasonable prices. Last summer in New York I brought my lunch quite frequently because there was almost nowhere except fast food places that could provide a meal for less than five dollars. Today's lunch: $3.18 (drink provided from training session earlier in the day). Every penny I save is one more left over to spend on decadent pampering and end of summer travel.

While I did not lose my shoe today, I did forget that the beach sandals I cunningly decided to wear on the way to work rub my toes, so my feet are even more sore than they would have been if I'd just worn heels. Bah.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

I am getting a good sense of the office layout and have only become lost twice today. It helps that the building is a trapezoid and thus enables one to orient more easily than a square or rectangular shape. The artwork in the hallways helps, too; it's all extremely weird and thus makes for memorable landmarks. I know I'm close to my office when I see the giant "Silence is Golden/Talk or Die" poster. The conference room where we did most of yesterday's training is helpfully pointed out by a life-sized charcoal sketch of a man contorted in a back spasm.

I just got a giant stack of papers that must be read tonight. Take them home or stay late? It's only the second day and already these decisions present themselves.

Monday, May 24, 2004

After carefully perusing the firm's policy on computer usage, it appears that I can blog from work as long as I do not disparage or defame the firm, its staff, or its clients. I am also prohibited from posting illicit sexual content, but the closest I think I've come to that was the Graves poem about nakedness, so the blog is safe on that score as well.

I really like my firm. They do have a not-very-well concealed plan to make me into a tax attorney (evidently I was one of two summer associates to not put tax last on my interest list, so they have put me in office block with the tax attorneys, given me a tax associate as a senior mentor, and have me sharing an office with the only other non-tax-averse summer), but I can overlook this. I went to my first firm lunch today with my senior and junior associate mentors. I asked the junior associate how she knew the firm was right for her. She said that at the other firm where she'd worked, they had social events practically every night which you were expected to attend and all the attorneys were friends with each other. At this firm, people have a life and friends outside of work and aren't expected to go to frou-frou parties and bar nights all the time; she liked that. So do I. Yay for relatively antisocial professionalism! We do get a Supreme Court tour from one of the justices, horseback riding and a winery tour, and some kind of Monte Carlo night gambling party, so they are not all business all the time, though.

The only downsides: they have put me on an international arbitration project, which I know nothing about, and my officemate can see everything I do on my computer monitor. That will keep me in strict compliance with the firm computing policy (or at least discourage solitaire). I think he is peeved to not have the entire office to himself anymore. Oh well. Life's tough all over.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Tomorrow is the first day of my summer job. After selecting an appropriate outfit, assembling the necessary paperwork to prove I am legally able to work, and ransacking the apartment and my email for the letter telling me the initial place and time to assemble, all is ready.

I was pretty confident that this firm will be a particularly good place for me to work - as I have mentioned, my interviewing strategy involved minimal concealment of my actual manner, so it might be argued that any firm that didn't give me an offer was a bad fit in some way, personality-wise. But then I read things like this and realize it's all a crapshoot; for all I know, I blew it with a firm that might have perfectly complemented my career ambitions because I crossed my legs temporarily at the knee instead of the ankle or pulled a silly face while thinking about a question. Bah.

(I do not consider someone thoughtlessly leaning on his hand a datum from which one can reasonably extrapolate carelessness or poor social skills. I'm sure if the interviewer in question were as closely observed as her subject during the same period, she would have made some awkward gesture or poor choice of words at some point. Maybe the person really was twitchy and strange in a way not conveyed here. As it stands, this is prime paranoia fodder.)
Blogging as news aggregation: others acknowledge its insidious spread.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Starting to get antsy about the new job. Today was a shopping odyssey with my roommate and another HLSer from her firm to buy work clothes. They got to buy suits while I was diverted to sassy skirts and dresses. Hmph. However, there was also good news today; both boxes of stuff that I mailed to myself arrived, if in extremely battered condition. Now I have cookbooks and board games. We just need a third for Settlers of Catan (Tiffany and I are cutthroats).

Random cool thing about my apartment: the loft bed is located under the peaked roof in an alcove. In a thunderstorm like we had last night, the cupola becomes a cone of sound, booming and rattling. It's excellent.
Bars: why do I hate them? Is it because I don't drink much? Because paying ten bucks for a drink galls when you know the bottle only costs twenty? Because bars are full of loud, drunken, obnoxious people blowing smoke in your face and bumping into you every ten seconds? Maybe it's because it is impossible to carry on a conversation in one without yelling at the other person because at some point in the evening some inebriated fellow decided that using his inside voice was unnecessary, starting a vocal arms race that ends in mutual eardrum destruction.

All I ask for in an evening spot:
- You should be able to hear the person you are with if she is speaking in a normal tone of voice.
- There should be a place to sit down; this may be in a quieter part of the establishment. It should not be covered with unidentifiable liquids or piled with handbags.
- The degree of crowding should not be such that you are constantly being body-checked if you are standing.
- Mixed drinks should not cost ten dollars. There should be a professional and knowledgeable bartender on staff who will not look at you like you have two heads if you order an obscure but delicious drink. Absent these things, have some cider.
- Smokiness in the main space should be minimized, although a separate cigar area is encouraged.
- The other patrons should be a mix of professionals and young people.
- Music, if any, should not be too loud, and must never be by request (drunks have no judgment).
- Easy access to taxis or transit for the trip home.

Is this so much to ask?

Friday, May 21, 2004

Weird DC bar encounter 1: my roommate's friend introduces me to a drunk guy who looks very familiar. We shout at each other and figure out that we worked at the same office in New York last summer. He asks me where I am working.
Me: "I start at [my firm] on Monday."
Him: "That's a Jewish firm."
Me: (relevance, counselor?) "Really? Er, I'm not Jewish."
Him: "Oh, all the lawyers who work there are Jewish. But it's good to know who you're working for - you've gotta work for somebody, and there are worse people to work for." (in sort of chummy co-conspirator tone)
Me: "hmm, ah, sure." (backs away slowly)

Weird DC bar encounter 2: I see a young woman as we are leaving the bar. Now normally I just ignore people who look sort-of-but-not-really like people I know, because chances are it's a coincidence. However, this time I shout the name of a girl I knew in high school (so much shouting! I hate loud bars). She turns. It is Lori, who once helped me make a flying pig out of papier mache. We trade numbers. She, too, is drunk. I am in full sober-girl anthropologist mode and can appreciate how weird this all is. It's time to go home. I stop at a bookstore full of hipsters and buy a book to curl up with in the loft.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Things our apartment has:

A piano
A stereo
Two fireplaces
Spices galore
A large Modigliani print, which is staring at me right now (its presence makes me indescribably happy)
A living room and a sitting room
A rockin' loft (where I sleep!)
Air conditioning (aah)
A whirlpool bath
An eclectic assortment of art all over the walls

Things our apartment mysteriously lacks:

Towel racks
A medicine cabinet
More than one set of sheets for the small bed in the loft
A television (we shipped one from Boston, but my laptop screen is bigger)
More than one phone jack
High speed internet (sob!)
Closets in the bedroom or loft
Food (partially rectified now)
Books that are not about dance

It's a strange place. I meant to go out exploring the neighborhood today, but it was overcast and gloomy, so I ended up staying in and finalizing my clerkship application list. Work starts on Monday, at which point I may blog about law again - that is unless they won't let me blog from work. If blogging is at night only, I'll probably forget half the funny things by the time quitting time rolls around.
Maria at Crooked Timber is rereading George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series in preparation for the release of Book 4, A Feast for Crows. Like everyone who reads these books in isolation, she is formulating theories about where Martin is going. The central source for all your ASOIAF needs, however, is here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

While flying, I was pondering the value of reading books that lie. I'm not speaking of misrepresentations or unreliable narrators, but of books that are objectively false or deceptive. This was precipitated by a resurgence of my desire to read Robert Graves's The White Goddess, which my classics professor specifically instructed us not to read due to its taking such a great degree of poetic license with the source material. I can understand why he told us not to pick it up; there is always the tendency to remember something you've read without recalling its origin, which might lead one to remember fiction as truth (especially if it was represented as truth by the author!).

A similar problem came up after historians had attacked Michael Bellesiles's Arming America; some suggested that copies in libraries should be corrected in some way, or at least marked to indicate that the sources had since been discredited. Does such a work have value independent of the facts it represents? Should it remain in libraries as an artifact of its time and culture? While Graves's book almost certainly has artistic merit apart from its theories about pagan cultures, a book like Arming America probably does not. Where, though, is the line? When do such books become worthy of reading, despite their inaccuracies?

And should I read The White Goddess? Anyone who has can vote in the comments thread. A warning: my memory is abysmal, so I am quite likely to absorb some nonsense he's made up and regurgitate it years down the line as gospel truth, so it better be very good to compensate for my future of humiliating corrections at the hands of others.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Pack or watch My Fair Lady? Decisions . . .

Monday, May 17, 2004

While I'm home, I always end up renting lots of movies. Tonight's picture was Dirty Pretty Things, with Audrey Tautou as a lovely woman who escaped Turkey in search of a better life (I can certainly sympathize!). I am always leery of renting indies while staying at my grandparents' house (the great Atanarjuat scandal of 2003 will never be lived down), but even my grandmother grudgingly admitted that this one wasn't too bad.

We start out by following Okwe, a Nigerian immigrant with no papers and two jobs who never seems to sleep. A doctor reduced to driving cabs and answering phones at the desk of a hotel run by a seedy Russian, he catches a few moment's rest each day on the couch he rents from Senay (Tautou). Okwe discovers that an organ sale ring is operating out of the hotel, preying on the desperate illegal immigrants by offering passports for kidneys. We follow his agonizing decision over whether to involve himself, the increasing degradation and desperation of Senay, and finally the bittersweet spectacle of their love. I feared at first that the last act of the film would be as relentlessly downbeat as the first two, but for better or worse we are treated to the more emotionally satisfying sight of villains receiving their just deserts and Senay and Okwe's eventual escape from purgatory. It's worth a rental, I suppose.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

There is some area, deep in the reptilian part of the brain, perhaps, that contains the route to your high school best friend's house. I have no sense of direction (the number of times I've missed the exit for downtown and ended up turning around in the parking lot of the Fifth Ward Baptist Church: unknown) and the area around here has grown so much that every time I come back a new subdivision has risen up and the landmarks changed, but somehow I instinctually navigated my way to the house where I had so many slumber parties and gossip sessions. She's a schoolteacher now, though, and we've grown apart. We spent a significant portion of time talking about where people are now (scattered to the winds), what they are doing (so many promising individuals burned out and underemployed), and then talking past each other about our present lives and their cast of unfamiliar characters. I'm not sure how I feel about the evening. It made me melancholy.

Driving around today made me more alienated. I used to be from a small town outside Houston, but now it's a huge suburban sprawl of concrete and shopping centers. I am not a New Urbanist, but it still makes me sad when I hardly recognize the place where I grew up and the field where my father took me to shoot off fireworks is now a Burger King and a car wash.

I do love driving, though. I almost took my Ipod with me, until I remembered that people in the rest of the country have another way of listening to music on their way somewhere: the radio. Zooming across the mercifully smooth highways and being able to count on finding free parking when you get somewhere is wonderful. I'll miss that, even if I don't miss the rest. D.C. isn't so bad for cars, I suppose, but I don't have one. Alas.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

Back in Texas, full of quality Mexican food, and one page further along in the paper. Life is good, or at least better.

Tomorrow morning I am going out to acquire some books. If you have any suggestions, leave a comment and I'll put your idea into the system at step five.
I've created a category for CMC blogs. If you are an alum and have a blog or know of one that's not linked, send me an e-mail and I'll add it. Bonus points for Rose Institute blogs!

In the spirit of celebrating the Rose, some quotations from S. Bedford Frates, who taught us all a lot about local government finance and more than a little about life:

“We’re bringing consumerism to government.”

Frates: “Absolute values in relative terms.”
Student: “What?”
Frates: “Absolute values in relative terms.”

“What you need, young man, is to join the Marines.”

“We take the budgets and we dip them in acid.”

“You know it’s winter when the lamb stew comes back on the menu [at Walter’s].”

“Let’s talk about life and reality.”

“I don’t have much aesthetic sense, but I have great taste in wives.” - (Explaining that the tie for which he had just been complimented was, in fact, purchased by Mrs. Frates.)

“My train of thought left me at the station, then backed up and ran me over.”

Friday, May 14, 2004

I leave for Texas tomorrow. We have no subletter. I have written a pretty good ten page final paper for my discrimination class, but the syllabus stubbornly requires a fifteen page paper instead. I have been running around since 8:30 this morning doing various errands. Why can't this school year just end?
You know what would have probably been a good idea when mailing huge boxes of clothes to myself and giving out my summer address to people? Providing an apartment number. Oh well, it's not like the postman in D.C. is going to do anything but dump my stuff in front of the mailboxes in the building anyway.

Edit: once again, I survive through the kindness of others; the post office had not sent the parcels yet and the clerk agreed to scrawl the omitted number on the boxes. *sigh of relief*

Thursday, May 13, 2004

It's things like this in my visitor logs that worry me. Whitman, advice?
A strategy (and philosophy?) of book acquisition:

1. Hear about book. Some variation in steps below depending on vociferousness of recommendations.
2. Try Harvard library system. If available, check it out. If not, see if local library system has a copy. Recalls may be in order. If you can get a library copy, go to 4.
3. The library has disappointed you. What to do? Mull over what you’ve been told about the book by others. Could the proselytizer lend you a copy? If so, go to 4. If not, reassess your priorities. Could this be a situation (gasp) where you buy a book you’ve never read? If curiosity overwhelms you, go to 5.
4. Read the borrowed book. Are you in love? Go to 5. If not, return book and remember it with pleasure. If you want to read it at some point in the future, check it out again.
5. You want to purchase this book. Check local used bookstore for copies, then local retail shops and finally BN/Amazon/Ebay. The book is located. But you may be faced with a choice: softcover or hardcover? If options are available, go to 6. Otherwise, buy the damn book already (if it's not too expensive).
6. Now the calculus. What are you buying this book for?

a. A journey? In that case a trade paperback may be appropriate, although it will take quite a beating. Prepare to have a battered addition to your bookshelf. This is okay in the travel scenario; each dent and spill has a memory of a foreign place, new friends, humorous mishaps. If the journey is likely to be a particularly risky one, you might minimize your investment by going so low as to buy the mass market paperback. Avoid this if possible, though, as books that accumulate memories of important trips are likely to be something you want to keep for a while.
b. A class? Will you be highlighting it? Hardcovers should not be highlighted.
c. Pure pleasure? How do you see yourself reading this book?

i. Curled up with it before going to sleep? Carrying it with you to read in fits and spurts as you go about town? These militate in favor of the trade paperback.
ii. But (there is always a but): is this book an investment? That is, will having this book be a permanent assertion of identity? Will you want to read this book (perhaps once a year, perhaps whenever you need a pick-me-up) repeatedly for the rest of your life? When you are old, will you still wish to read it, and doing so think of the many times you read it before and how things were then, how you’ve changed? A hardcover is suggested, nay, required.

I strive to have each permanently acquired book be a carefully chosen manifestation of a particular desire. The bookshelf tells a story: what is most important in life? Where have I been? What is worth returning to? The shelf reflects the self.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Books should be shelfworthy.

Edit: Do not misunderstand, I am the proud owner of many a paperback book. They provide less risk when reading in the bath, and are easier to snuggle up with in bed, and, more importantly for nearsighted folk, to hold next to the pillow. However, the ease in shipping Will mentions highlights one aspect of paperbacks I find unappealing: their transience. A softcover has less sense of permanence to it; a beloved and battered paperback held together with tape and prayer exists at the margins, in a constant battle to keep itself together. The weight and solidity of a hardcover emphasize that it will always be there for you to enjoy.

Update: my college friend Chris, a self proclaimed "amasser" of books and movies, comments. He is correct that I am exceedingly picky about what books I choose to purchase, but this is less aesthetic snobbery than extreme frugality.
I think I was born too late. Surely in the bad old days at HLS they didn’t have these eight hour take homes, did they? You had to go into a classroom, sit down with a bluebook for a couple of hours, and write as fast as you could manage about whatever tricky trapdoor filled issue spotter the professor’s deviousness could produce. None of this extra time or (gulp) policy question nonsense.

I’m just bitter, because my work product is subject to serious diminishing returns over time. I can crank out tons of mostly coherent legal analysis in the three hours of an in-class exam, but give me all day and I end up typing out my answers in the first four or five hours and then spending the rest of the afternoon staring at them and wondering how to polish them up. There is too little time for me to gain sufficient mental distance from my writing such that they are dramatically improved, and meanwhile the slow and steady thoughtful types are plugging away in the next carrel, writing better answers than mine. I consistently get lower grades in classes with take home exams. It’s a real pain.

The only thing worse than the eight hour take home is the any day eight hour take home, because then you get all the drawn out agony with bonus procrastination opportunities and the knowledge that your classmates could be cheating. Ugh.
Tossed and turned all night long. I woke up this morning possessed of the deep dream-conviction that my exam had actually been distributed on Tuesday and I was going to walk up to the registrar and they would laugh in my face. Fortunately, this could not possibly be the case, since Crim Pro prof was still exchanging emails with students about confusing issues yesterday afternoon.

This means, though, that today is my eight hour take home exam for Crim Pro. No blogging, no email: consider me to have fallen off the face of the earth, along with my GPA.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

This site is the only Google search result for "cheap unsharpened ninja swords under 25 dollars." Sorry I can't help you there, friend.
Is there a better feeling than getting something good in the mail?

Monday, May 10, 2004

New CMC blog: Chris Hutchison, fellow Rose Institute survivor and current Hill rat, has set up shop at Unfunded Mandate. I look forward to many (deluded) posts about the virtues of St. Louis.
National security threat from fonts (via Boing Boing). I always knew Times New Roman was evil. Garamond is more pleasing, but smaller; I have fond memories of Bookman Old Style and Book Antiqua (similar looking to TNR, but larger, for those page-filling paper needs). There's a nice looking new Yale typeface, but it's only available to a select few.
Victory! I have defeated all the other Amber Taylors and am now the number one Google result for the name. Next step: world domination.
With apologies to Chris: St. Louis sucks. Specifically, the Hazelwood School District and its standardless discretionary hiring policy during the 1970s and the St. Louis City School District's affirmative action policy for teacher hiring. I hate them both. They make my life difficult with their nonsensical policies that get dragged into Title VII litigation. I hate you, St. Louis, even if you do have delicious Italian eateries. Your relevant labor pool is blurry and confusing, your teacher population ill-distributed, and the arch is not that great.

No comments on the substance, please. I'm writing a paper on this. If you feel compelled to jump to Missouri's defense, be my guest.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

So I finally finished rereading all my Crim Pro assignments (well, the highlighted parts anyway) and thought I'd take a break and fool around with the new Blogger stuff. I hate it, but then I was comfortable with the old stuff and am too technologically incompetent/lazy to figure it all out right now. The new templates all look like LiveJournals, though. Phooey.

Cross your fingers for my little sister, who tried out for college Jeopardy today in Tennessee. The girl is on a roll, between this and getting into Rice.
Yet another blasted book I have to buy: Dorothy Parker: Complete Poems. This decision called my attention to the fact that many of Ms. Parker's poems were not present in her three published collections, and thus my obsession with completeness requires the purchase of this volume. (Even if it is in paperback - augh!)

At this rate, my entire summer salary is going to be spent on books, sewing machine/patterns/fabric, and a trip to Eastern Europe. *sigh* So much for savings.

Edit: link to the opinion via Howard Bashman, who just linked to CM! With work, perhaps I can make this an "Especially Appealing Blog."

If it's not obvious, I'm back from my guest blog stint at Crescat, but due to looming exams and papers blogging will still be lighter than usual.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

If you ever had a secret desire to be a carnie, here's your chance. Guess their ages!

You can also add your photo and see how old people think you are. The average guess for my photo (which is from a hiking trip, so I'm not deceptively made-up) has varied from 19 to 26. (Via Metafilter)
Notes to self:

- Brand new four inch heels should be brought in a bag and put on at the event, not worn during the walk between home and the Faculty Club (0.7 miles! no wonder my feet hurt).
- If someone casually remarks about the pornography industry AIDS scare, do not reveal the extent of your knowledge of the prices of sex scenes in Brazil versus America, the procedures for voluntary quarantine, and the interval for HIV testing. Even if you have totally innocent, non-industry news sources for all this data, just shut. up.
- If you are speaking after another person and basically get to talk about whatever he does not cover, and that person is writing his speech as you eat dinner, that is trouble.

Friday, May 07, 2004

Christiana Dominguez, another former Rose Institute type, is currently blogging at Phoblographer. Hi there, boss-lady!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

For the time being, emergency contraception will remain by prescription only; the FDA has rejected the recommendation of its own expert advisory panel that EC be made available over the counter.

A spokesman for the Family Research Council declared
"The morning-after pill is 50 times stronger [than regular birth control pills], and yet over-the-counter access would have allowed women and girls to take this dangerous drug without any medical oversight."

Setting aside the obvious mathematical error in this statement (EC is not fifty times stronger than regular BCP; in fact, many birth control pills can be used as EC if taken in multiples), I eagerly await the FRC's lobbying efforts against permitting minors to purchase more than a single dose of any medication without a doctor's oversight. After all, we allow children to purchase 100-count bottles of Tylenol, which is of course potentially fatal if misused!

Seriously, claims that people will misuse EC are ill founded. As any woman who has been on BCP can tell you, taking more than the normal dose of hormones makes you feel really bad. Taking a quadruple dose as EC, by all accounts, makes you feel like utter crap for at least 24 hours; in fact, one of the major causes of EC failure is due to its causing such severe nausea that the pills themselves are vomited before they can take full effect. If any teenage girl gets the idea in her head that she doesn't need to go on the pill and can just use EC every time she has sex, she will be disabused of that notion in short order, and it will probably only take one lesson. If people are worried about overdosing, the danger is equally present with other over the counter drugs. Damn the FDA.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Congrats to Geoffrey on passing his generals and getting a shiny new master's degree!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A poem that came to mind while I completed a Fed Lit opinion dealing with the right of privacy:

The Naked and the Nude
Robert Graves

For me, the naked and the nude
(By lexicographers construed
As synonyms that should express
The same deficiency of dress
Or shelter) stand as wide apart
As love from lies, or truth from art.

Lovers without reproach will gaze
On bodies naked and ablaze;
The Hippocratic eye will see
In nakedness, anatomy;
And naked shines the Goddess when
She mounts her lion among men.

The nude are bold, the nude are sly
To hold each treasonable eye.
While draping by a showman's trick
Their dishabille in rhetoric,
They grin a mock-religious grin
Of scorn at those of naked skin.

The naked, therefore, who compete
Against the nude may know defeat;
Yet when they both together tread
The briary pastures of the dead,
By Gorgons with long whips pursued,
How naked go the sometime nude!

(How much more appealing than the facts of the case, which deal with insane criminals being filmed in an institutional setting)

Monday, May 03, 2004

Posting here will be light this week, as I am guest-blogging at Crescat.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

In defense of rabbits: Watership Down has come under attack. Now Heidi Bond has leaped to its defense, but it really bears pointing out that Watership Down is not only a rip roaring good read that should change your opinion of rabbits as creatures forever (it is quite well researched; do check out The Private Life of the Rabbit for supporting evidence of the warlike tendencies of bunnies), it is also an artful retelling of the founding of Rome. A group of refugees, fleeing the destruction of their city and led by prophesies, encounter many strange adventures before arriving in a new country. Their lack of women forces them to conduct a raid on a neighboring city, er, warren, and bring back brides, culminating in the establishment of a great city on a hill. Sounds pretty familiar to me . . .
(My housemate demands that he be credited as the source of the Watership as Roman retelling theory. Very well.)

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Jeremy notes a story in the Crimson on the lack of gender neutral bathrooms in undergraduate classroom buildings. Not only does the law school suffer from a similar deficiency, it is, according to the word on the street, going to re-gender all of its unisex bathrooms in the law school dormitories. I'm not sure if this is due to resident complaints about what one man described as the affront to women's "natural modesty" such bathrooms cause or dissatisfaction with the cleanliness of mixed used facilities. Either way, it's a step backward for the law school and and several steps upstairs for the many dormitory residents who will lack an appropriate bathroom on their floor.
Congratulations to my little sister, who just transferred into Rice University!
I never could follow the diagrams in printed ASL dictionaries, but this is something anyone can learn from. (Requires Quicktime)
In that state between sleeping and waking, when you are conscious of your surroundings but are unable to muster the strength to actually leave the bed, a lot of extremely useless contemplation can happen. This morning I was thinking about blogging. Why do it? Why read it? Why am I increasingly dissatisfied with the blogs that turned me onto the medium?

A wise man named Mike Judge once declared, in the movie Office Space, "People can get a cheeseburger anywhere, ok? They come to Chotchkie’s for the atmosphere and the attitude." Well, you can get news anywhere. The blogs I used to like that have tended more and more toward news aggregation over creative expression and discussion have slowly begun to drop off my radar. However, blogs that have something unique about them (the blogger's job or area of expertise, for example) will hold my interest as long as the content relates to or takes advantage of that specialty. But blogs that have something special about their authors that could provide an interesting slant to the discussion therein but which consistently refuse to do so in favor of water cooler arguments about the latest headlines really irk me, and reading them feels like a waste of time.

I like blogging because it lets me communicate, to old friends and strangers, my personal ideas of the good, by which I mean both philosophy and ridiculously cool stuff I find online. My personal opinion is that the War on Terror ruined a lot of blogs and put a weird spin on the blogging community's development. But then who am I? I'm just a blog reader since 2001 and blogger since March with too much to say.
So the goal for today (besides shopping for a killer dress) was to finish a draft of my opinion for Federal Litigation. How much do you think I have written?
A) The entire three page draft, of course - I had half the day!
B) About half, but it's on its way.
C) One paragraph, but, er, I did read all the student briefs and case materials and . . . well, now I know what to write. When I do write it. Which will probably only partially take place tonight.

What I did accomplish: cooked a tasty roast chicken for dinner, modeled dress with shoes and jewelry to confirm that ensemble works, and did I mention that I read a lot?

My group members are going to have my head.