Tuesday, September 30, 2008


If anyone knows of a convenient and reasonably priced place to get a massage in downtown DC, I would be grateful for the information.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More like a song and less like it's math

By all rights, today should have been terrible:

- Having to go to two different hardware stores and still not getting what I need for a task: -1
- Walking in the drizzle for about 6 miles total: -1
- Giving the cat a bath: -1
- Giving the cat a haircut: -1
- Breaking two CFL bulbs and scattering broken glass and toxic substances all over my dining room: -1
- Getting whistled at by dudes outside the car dealership and called a puta when I didn't respond: -1
- Finding out that new couch will not be delivered for 10-12 weeks: -1
- Coming home to a beeping smoke detector and running around looking for fire, only to conclude that the humidity must have set it off: -1

However, it was completely saved by an unbelievable chain of awesomeness:

- Two successful home repairs: +2
- Rocking out with new stereo: +1
- Chai latte at Murky: +1
- Fun time at new knitting group: +1
- Brisket sandwich: +1
- Random street festival: +1
- Nice compliments from strangers on my shirt: +1
- Ordering new couch: +1
- Serendipitous encounter leading to stimulating discussion about law, internet privacy, and fantasy novels: +5
- Anticipation of Sunday morning quiche and a return trip to Chicago, where I will probably consume another meatball sandwich the size of my head: +1

Life is good.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I give this a low pass for timing.

Harvard Law School abolished grades. Why they couldn't have done this while I was there, I have no idea. If this means that students will take their regular classes as seriously as they previously took legal writing (the only course with HP/P/LP grading prior to this), it doesn't bode well for the level of classroom discussion.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Things that are making me angry (non-exhaustive):

1. I keep getting bounced from the doc review website so I can't look at the relatively small set of documents I need to have reviewed by tomorrow morning. AUGH.

2. What the heck is this SmartBenefits voucher thingie? Why would I want a voucher that can't be loaded onto a SmarTrip card? Isn't that Dumb? Can you add cash to it to eke out those last pennies? Do you have to scan it through the reader for paper cards on the turnstile, slowing everyone down? Why doesn't the website tell you anything useful? What was wrong with Metrochek?

3. There is a special circle of Hell reserved for those who send out announcements that invite queries and then immediately go home so nobody is there to answer when the inevitable calls come in. The all-time champion of this is the California Bar, which posts passage results on their website on a Friday night at about 5:59 PM, but they are not the only offenders.

4. Taxi lines. I hate them. I hate having the little taxi line dude flag 5 cabs away from our line for every one he allows to stop. I hate having to go through the dude at all to actually get a cab. I want a free-for-all. I would rather be body-checked by a grandmother from Indiana as she steals my cab than wait in line, watch cabs drive by, and have every cabbie/passenger encounter require a flapper. And this is Reagan National Airport! Reagan would not want us to queue up like communists waiting to buy toilet paper. I should be able to buy my way out of the line. Market pricing!

5. Craigslist is full of flakes. Just buy the darn mattress already, people.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lit Crit, Politics, and You

Assume that you actually agree with everything in this post about the intentional fallacy and the objectionability of certain types of statements. What, then, of this?

Kiki: Sarah Palin is stupid!
Karl: That is a sexist statement.
Kiki: No it's not; I wasn't even thinking that.

Is Kiki being:

(a) disingenuous;
(b) sincere;
(c) it doesn't matter; the assertion that a female leader is stupid, given the history of aspersions against women's intellectual equality with men, is a sexist assertion.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No violin, but the Wes Anderson makes up for it.

People who have known me for a long time will understand why this fills me with sick glee.

They shoot proofreaders, don't they?

Whoever read my library's copy of The Masque of the Black Tulip has added all these corrections in the margins. It's not just spelling and typography; some of them call out the author for anachronistic dialogue or historical inaccuracies. Did they really not have lump sugar in Napoleonic times? This is why I always disliked buying used books in college; sometimes you couldn't tell if the previous owner was stupid or not.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So familiar.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


The mattress I bought is so, so, so hard and uncomfortable.

ETA that the several pairs of shoes I bought all rule. I am singlehandedly supporting the U.S. economy. Spend for the greater glory of the homeland, my friends!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Boss me around.

I am going to have to buy a new laptop, I think. Which of these computers should I get?

ThinkPad T-61
ThinkPad T400
ThinkPad T500

IdeaPad U series

ThinkPad X300 ($$$!)

I am going to buy one of these computers. It will be my only personal computer.

Things I will want to do on it: play Spore, watch downloaded TV episodes (smaller displays therefore deprecated), and surf the net.

Things I will not want to do: carry something 5+ pounds unless absolutely necessary, buy a dock, or buy ANY other brand. I get a discount on ThinkPads, my previous ThinkPad is 5 years old and has only needed one minor repair---stick to the list! Which one will be mine?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I have never gotten as many compliments on an item of clothing as I have today for this dress. Old school structured fashion, how I love thee.

False Premise: I don't like what you like, therefore I have contempt for you.

This seems like a fairly important thing to note as we fight micro and macro level battles in the culture wars:
You've got people who see themselves as part of the 'conservative' tribe (middle-class white people who don't live in Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic or West Coast cities, and didn't attend 'elite' colleges) complaining about contempt directed their way from what they see as the 'liberal' tribe (white urban professionals who do live in those cities and did attend 'elite' colleges). A fair number of the specific references, though, are to the fact that 'coastal'/'liberal' people just lack the cultural markers of 'conservative'/'rural' people - they don't hunt, or watch NASCAR, or whatever - and that the lack of those markers is in itself evidence of the contempt they're complaining of. John Kerry making a tin-eared comment about NASCAR is proof he had contempt for red-staters, because the only two possibilities with regard to NASCAR are being a sincere fan, or feeling contempt for anyone who's interested in it at all.

This makes the claim that 'liberals' generally feel contempt for 'conservatives' absolutely irrefutable. As a member of the identified 'liberal' tribe, I, in fact, don't know jack about NASCAR, have touched a gun once in my life (my father-in-law had a .22 with which a whole bunch of us were trying to shoot an old wasp's nest out of a tree. I missed.), don't go to church other than for weddings and funerals, and don't know much about evangelical Christianity firsthand, and so on. If not 'getting it' with regard to those cultural markers means contempt, I'm guilty. But that's crazy - in the real world, everyone is a member of some cultural group, and has the markers of that group, and doesn't have the markers of groups that they don't belong to. Turning evidence that some person isn't a member of your group into support for a belief that they despise your group leaves you feeling personally aggrieved by everyone who doesn't share your cultural markers, and refusing to trust anyone who isn't just like you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sandefur FTW!

Via Mike: The Ninth Circuit strikes a great blow for economic liberty:
[M]ere economic protectionism for the sake of economic protectionism is irrational with respect to determining if a classification survives rational basis review.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I also used to sing in the shower. Be afraid.

I used to be a night showerer, but that was because my hair was so long that it needed the whole night to dry. Once I cut it short, I started showering in the morning because going to bed with wet, short hair was a recipe for appalling cowlicks. The rationale for night showering still makes more sense to me, though.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not a jest.

Pomona professor David Foster Wallace has committed suicide.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Every Move You Make?

At the risk of alienating my dear Belle, I found this article more off-putting because it classified some very mild (if annoying or disturbing) actions as stalking than for any other reason. Calling one journalist writing about another journalist, even in a semi-obsessive way, "stalking" sort of dilutes the term.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Insert some sort of tired "groove back" line here

In Maasai culture, touching a woman's head is demeaning. But female sex tourists and urbanites in Kenya love Maasai warriors and their funky hairstyles. The result? Taboo-busting hairdressers.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


If one wrote a screenplay based on the life of a historical personage, under what circumstances would one need to obtain permission from the author of the definitive biography of said personage, given that use of that book as source material would be unavoidable?

This will be appealed.

My former employer succeeds in stopping publication of the Harry Potter Lexicon.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weekend Bake: Lemon Pudding Cake

I made this with Belle when I visited her last weekend. It was much appreciated by her other guests despite the unintentional addition of an extra ingredient. I'm sure that it would be even better if you don't accidentally pour a dollop of boiling water into the batter.

2 tbsp unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
3 tbsp flour
2 - 3 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup whole milk
4 large egg whites , at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease your pan. (We used a 9 inch square pan, but you could use other shapes or custard cups.) Lay a folded dish cloth in the bottom of a roasting pan and put the greased pan inside. Boil a large kettle of water.

2. Mash 2 tablespoons butter together with sugar and salt until the mixture is crumbly. Beat in the yolks, then the flour, mixing until smooth. Slowly beat in lemon zest and juice, then stir in milk. Beat egg whites to stiff, moist peaks. Gently whisk whites into batter just until no large lumps remain.

3. Immediately ladle (do not pour! I don't know why, but this is important!) the batter into the pan. Set the roasting pan on oven rack. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the pan with the batter. Do not pour any water into the batter or that side of the cake will be decidedly more pudding-y than the other side. Bake until the cake center is set: 25-30 minutes. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the cake stand in the water bath for 10 minutes. Serve and devour.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Heathen's question

Both parties' candidates have been attacked for being present in church while particularly offensive or controversial sermons were being given. As a non-churchgoing person, I have been puzzling over exactly what this is supposed to mean. Do you know the content of a sermon in advance (beyond a title, perhaps)? If you find it deeply objectionable, are you supposed to walk out? Does anything like that ever actually happen? Or do you just sort of fidget uncomfortably and then talk trash about the minister at brunch?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

iPhone's Lament

Guess whose laptop doesn't have USB 2.0 and can't sync with her new iPhone?

I have ordered a PCMI card as a stopgap, but it is beginning to look like I should replace my laptop soon.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Don't Blow on This

Advocates for Australian aborigines argue for pulping a book that encourages girls to play the didgeridoo, a "male instrument" that females shouldn't touch.

I always enjoy a callback to previous posts. Could compliance with indigenous peoples' preferences regarding the treatment of didgeridoos ever violate antidiscrimination laws?

Leaving on a jet plane

In a few hours, that is. Some people claim that if you have never missed a flight you spend too much time in airports. I am pretty sure that spending the night in SFO reviewing documents cancels out several instances of sitting in the departures lounge.