Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I like being busy. Being busy makes me feel alive. For example, today, I got up early and went to orientation for the 1Ls. Helped some people find their way. I was posted near the ID card office at first and a lot of freshmen came by to get their ID cards. Then they would ask me, "Where's registration?" or some such thing. Then they looked at me like I was an idiot for not knowing. I wish the front of my t-shirt said "____ ____ Law School" instead of the back. During my breaks and after the day was over, I did work for Prof. Summer Research. Finally finished at 5:30; what a long and exhausting day. Then I went for a swim. On the way home, I just felt so good. Maybe it was the endorphins from the work out. Maybe it was just the endorphins from being busy and active all day. I hope I can keep this up during the year.
I also long very much to work in academia. I would love love love to be a law professor, but I don't go to Yale/Harvard/[insert name of other top 5 law school], so my chances are pretty slim. But, I think there are ways. I could work for a long time to gain cred. Or I could land a super huge famous case, like the litigation against the tobacco companies. Or I could run for public office and then some school would hire me as a PR move. (But me, public office? I think I have far too many skeletons for that.) Oh hell. I don't know.
I picked up a few of my books for my classes this semester and it felt so good to be in the bookstore and to think about all the facts/thoughts/ideas within the pages of the books that are waiting to be learned by me. Mmmmmm, what a lovely thought.
I'm very garrulous when I'm in a good mood. I'll talk to anyone and SO not get offended when someone asks me whether I'm Korean.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I feel really accomplished today so I'm going to post about the mundane.
Today was our volunteer service orientation day. (I'm not sure what it's called officially, but it's some iteration of those four words.) Our project was to weed along the river, removing invasive species. We did. In the rain. It was cool. The most impressive part was how trooper-like the other volunteers were. I was so proud of them. They just plugged away in the rain. I swear, if we were given better weather and more cookies, we could have cleared the entire river.
The one gross thing: while picking up garbage, I found a hypodermic needle. Eew. The coordinator just said to leave it. And I did.
Now I'm working because I have to because I'm an idiot and told the professor I research for that I could meet with him today. I'm having a hard time staying awake because that was some hard labor we did and my body is weary yet satisfied and really wants a disco nap.
Tonight is our volunteer orientation service day (see!) social. I am so broke it's not even funny, but somehow I will scrounge up a few bucks to get watered down coors lite at the bar. I like the newbies who were on my project, and a lot of my friends are also leaders for other projects and it will be fun to see them tonight. So I guess I should go get my work done so I can get the rest of the day going.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Today was the first day of orientation activities, for both freshmen and 1Ls. The complete deluge of new students has not happened yet -- the undergrads are doing some service project and today was our law school minority orientation. I got to school at about 10:30 (after cleaning out my checking account to rent a parking spot; ouch) and my heart and stomach started doing somersaults when I saw the minority orientation going on. And then I giggled when I saw the new students later in the library. I guess it's better than being the only person in the library, which I was today, for several hours. Library staff to student ratio was 13:1 or so. I guess I'm getting my money's worth.
The 1Ls looked shiny and optimistic. Eager. The freshmen looked...embryonic. Sitting there opening up accounts with Bank of America (oh how they will rue the day they did that).
I'm not sure what is freaking me out about school starting again. I'm bored out of my skull so I know having school work and more people around will be nice. Maybe I'm afraid of the interviews and how hectic it's going to be and how busy I'm going to be and how I have to pay $170 in dues for my journal -- essentially I'm paying to work my tail off for them. Something doesn't make sense there. But whatever. I don't know. I could ramble on for hours theorizing why I feel the way I do. Maybe it's just one of those anticipation things. I've never been good with anticipating -- I freak out more than when I actually face the challenge or event or whatever it is that's giving me palpitations.
In other news, I'm in love with The Killers. How did I not hear of them before? Mr. Brightside is on perpetual repeat.
I had even more news, but I forget so I'm going to go now. Tomorrow is volunteer service day. We're supposed to go do some beautification projects by the river. Uhh...yeah, in Hurricane Katrina. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, I've been washed away down the river. Or eaten by my pile of laundry that I'm sure is about to grow a consciousness and start looking for a source of nutrition.
I hate that I just looked in the mirror and looked for wrinkles and other signs of aging.
I hate that I just got junk mail from "Thirty Plus Singles".
I'M NOT THIRTY YET!
I hate that when I look in the mirror, my gray hairs, which I've had since I was 12 or so, are becoming more obvious.
I guess I should be grateful that I've always had somewhat saggy boobs so those aren't exactly falling.
I guess I should also be grateful that in my mid-to-late 20s, I've been in the best shape of my life.
And I plan to stay that way.
Oh wait. Law school starts next week.
Your word is CRAP. You come across as sweet and
innocent, yet underneath it all there is a
quite nasty streak. Gossiping and being
critical of others comes a bit too naturally to
you. And people will begin to see through the
sickly sweet exterior soon.
Which Swear (Curse) Word Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
(Thanks to frequent citations.)
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I haven't been to church all summer. My church of preference moved locations in May, requiring me to take 2 trains and walk 10 minutes. I did that walk once. I got lost. Needless to say, I haven't exactly been rushing to go back. I was just on the church website, however, and I found that yes indeedy, they do run a shuttle bus. And where is the pickup location nearest to me? Around the corner. I kid you not. I will have exactly ZERO excuses for not going to church this year. I'm grateful, because really, this is the first church I've ever really liked. I usually max out at three attendances before someone does some interpretive dance and I walk out in the middle of the service. Seriously.
While I had the most fabulous of fabulous times in LA last week, I realized when I got back to Boston that I was feeling incredibly insecure the entire time I was there. That I was fat and ugly and disgusting and walking on the street made me feel awful. When I got back home, I felt more ... average. That is not to say that people here are uglier than Los Angelinos. Maybe they are. Maybe they are b/c they get less plastic surgery. But the point is, even if it's retarded, I felt fat and disgusting in LA.
For a few days I've been thinking that maybe working in LA next summer wouldn't be a good idea. Who wants to feel fat and insecure all the time? Can't be good for my self-esteem. But then I realized today, well, that'd be a retarded reason not to go to LA. Because by that logic, I should go to Dallas b/c I think that's the fattest city in America and where I would likely feel the best about myself. (Although I've been to DFW more times than I care to count and nothing about that place makes me feel good...) This realization was affirmed tonight when my friend, who loves LA, told me his friend's philosophy on the city. You have to find the fabulousness in you and affirm that and work on those features. So yeah, I will never be super model hot, but there are definitely fabulous things about me. So yeah, I could probably live in LA. A lot of my close friends live there so it'd be silly not to, frankly.
I kinda just wanted to write something b/c I can't believe that last post is taking up space in this universe.
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Felt like doing something productive so I thought a post on this here ole blog would suffice. I'm kind of a waste today. Went to a friend's party last night -- he sort of got evicted from this sweet pad in the South End (oh evil, evil gentrification) and had one "Last Hurrah". I haven't done very much drinking lately (especially compared with the start of the summer) and got kinda (really) drunk. Walked home. On the way home I decided it would be a very good idea to take my bra off. Yes, on the street. WTF. I totally thought I was alone until a cough from the dark startled me out of my delusions. I ignored it and thought, well, this is a city after all. I'm probably never going to see that person again.
It's now 3:30 and I haven't done anything really productive except send out a few emails to people who are on this volunteer orientation project thingie. I'm going to try and go to the gym. I hope my hangover doesn't make me throw up in the pool. I hope this idiotic entry doesn't make you throw up either.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Idle Brain Invites Dementia
Researchers say daydreaming may cause changes that lead to the onset of Alzheimer's disease
BY JAMIE TALAN
August 25, 2005
Scientists have scanned the brains of young people when they are doing, well, nothing, and they found that a region active during this daydreaming state is the one hard-hit by the scourge of old age: Alzheimer's.
"We never expected to see this," said Randy L. Buckner, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Washington University in St. Louis. He said he suspects these activity patterns may, over decades of daily use, wear down the brain, sparking a chemical cascade that results in the disease's classic deposits and tangles that damage the brain.
The regions identified are active when people daydream or think to themselves, Buckner said. When these regions are damaged, an older person may not be able to access the thoughts to follow through on an action, or even make sense of a string of thoughts. The study appears this week in the Journal of Neuroscience.
The scientists used a variety of brain-scanning devices in more than 760 adults of all ages. Usually, scanning is done when volunteers carry out a particular mental task, such as remembering a list of words. This time, they were scanned without anything to do.
What emerged on the images was what Buckner and his colleagues call the brain's "default" state. The brain remains in this state when it's not concentrating on a task like reading or talking. It's the place where the mind wanders. This default region lines up perfectly with the regions that are initially damaged in Alzheimer's.
"It may be the normal cognitive function of the brain that leads to Alzheimer's later in life," Buckner said. He suspects the brain's metabolic activity slows over time in this region, making it vulnerable to mind-robbing symptoms.
The scientists say this finding could prove useful diagnostically - a way to identify the disease early, even before symptoms appear.
"You have to get to this pathology before it has its biggest effect," said William Klunk, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and a co-investigator in the current study. Klunk developed an imaging tool that tracks amyloid plaque deposited in the brains of living Alzheimer's patients.
The next step will be to see whether the sticky amyloid-filled plaques are dependent on the brain's metabolism. If so, there could be novel ways to attack the disease.
The latest thinking among Alzheimer's scientists is that the underpinnings of the disease may be decades in the making. About a decade ago, David Snowdon of the University of Kentucky Medical Center published what has become a classic study of health and aging. He followed 678 nuns, ranging in age from 75 to 107, and analyzed journal entries and essays written when they joined the order as young women. He identified an association between the writing and the risk for Alzheimer's far into the future. The richer the detail in the essays, the less likely the writers were to develop Alzheimer's.
Others have confirmed these findings, including a study by Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers. They recently published a study using high school records from the 1940s to identify nearly 400 graduates. They tracked their health status through adulthood into old age. A higher IQ in high school reduced the risk of Alzheimer's by about half.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
I ran into my TKD instructor in the library. He's an alum of the law school and teaches the TKD classes for the university. I trained with him for a few months last year. He was very kind to me today and extended the invitation to train with him again -- something he didn't do the last time I ran into him at the gym. I think it may have had something to do with him running into my master from my last school, who said some things about me and how I was too busy to train. It's true; last semester I was too busy to train -- and too busy to poop, practically. But part of it was that I wasn't very motivated by the training. Maybe it'll be different in the new gym -- which is closer to campus and my home. I'm considering coming out of my temporary retirement. I think the classes meet Tu and Th nights; that's a lot of exercise for Tu and Th, as that's also when my swim class meets. But ... I do miss it. I think about the muscles in my legs and abs deteriorating and the structure and the discipline ... maybe I will give it a shot at the start of the semester. I was also depressed last semester and having a breakdown, and hopefully I won't have those this time.
Why does the sight of freshmen, even undergrads who probably aren't freshman b/c I don't they've arrived on campus yet, make me cringe?
Oh man. I passed out last night at like 10pm. I didn't sleep at all the night before because eastward jet travel makes me super jet-lagged. Woke up this morning to the sound of the garbage truck in the alley outside my bedroom working. Passed out again. Then woke up to the recycling truck and two recycling-people having what almost sounded like a lover's quarrel.
I am incredibly lonely right now. The library is even more deserted than usual as the other summer RAs aren't around -- they're probably all at the same party and I'm not invited. No, I think they've all made end-of-summer travel plans. Orientation starts the 29th. I'm so utterly depressed and lonely and not sure if I'm going to be able to stomach this place. First of all, I've essentially been here all summer. Second of all, this place is a lot more unbearable when there are swarms of students around, getting in my way. I think my brain is ready to learn (more), though.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I'm in a coffee shop in Santa Monica, trying to get work done but really just surfing the internet. I thought I'd post a quick update before I leave this afternoon. And to procrastinate from working.
My sojourn to LA is coming to an end and I've had a fun relaxing time. Perfect for the end of summer before year 2 of 3 starts.
On Thursday, I landed and lost my free will and freedom when I got on this airport shuttle. I told the dispatcher I was going to Little Tokyo, and he said, oh that's near Koreatown, so I got on this shuttle with people going to Huntington Park and stuff. Turns out, it was totally the wrong shuttle and I spent the next two hours riding around in this van during rush hour. The driver and I yelled at each other but then made peace when we realized that it was the dispatcher's fault.
On Friday, I met up with other friends and we hung out. We had coffee and read the paper at Buzz Coffee, had a two-martini lunch, did some other stuff then we went to the King Tut exhibit at LACMA. It would have been much better if we didn't pay $30 and weren't herded into the exhibit like cattle. Mummies are creepy. And mummy paraphenalia is shiny. Then we went to a fancy dinner with an administrator from our alma mater. Rule: no treating him like a rock star. But it was kinda weird socializing with someone who played such a big role in my attending my alma mater...
On Saturday, we read the paper. There was an article about a police raid on a shop in Santee Alley, where there are a lot of vendors of imitation luxury goods (e.g. "swap meet Louis" handbags). The article included a handy map, so we cut it out and headed downtown to do some of our own shopping. (Stay tuned: this will not be the last time the LA Times comes in handy...) I needed a new suitcase b/c the one I used to come out here was in all sorts of bad shape. I budgeted myself $20. The first store I went in, I found a lime green suitcase for $15. With the leftover money, I bought myself a pair of giant, obnoxious sunglasses. I liked to pretend for the rest of the weekend that when people stared at me in my sunglasses, it was because they thought maybe I was a movie star and not b/c the glasses looked absolutely ridiculous on me. I'm not sure what we did the rest of the day, but we ended up at a Korean BBQ restaurant for dinner. Yumm.
On Sunday, we drove all over the city and went to open houses. I cannot believe my friends are looking to buy. I cannot believe the real estate prices here. Then we watched Super Size Me. It was good, and I appreciate what Morgen Spurlock did to his body in the interest of an entertaining film, but some of his insinuations (e.g. healthy lunches will cure what ails troubled teens) were somewhat farfetched. Oh, we also went for a hike in the hills when we got up in the morning. I got a funny sunburn.
On Monday, my friend and I went to our alma mater, had lunch at the coop, gawked at the infantile-looking incoming first years, gawked at the new buildings that have all been erected or renovated since we attended. It was hot. Much hotter than on the Westside. Then we went to dinner at Farmer's Market at the Grove and met up with other friends and happened upon trivia at this bar in Santa Monica. We were totally getting our asses kicked because apparently Steven Hawking was playing too. We were bringing up the rear, in 8th out of 12th place, when we came upon the last question. It was one of those where you bet from 2-20 points, and if you're wrong, half the amount you bet is deducted from your score. The question: In which S. American country is the highest peak in the western hemisphere located? Argentina, baby. I knew the answer because it was in the LA Times that morning, in an article about a climber who died on Yosemite, whose father convinced the Argentine army to spread his ashes on the Andaluccas... The newspaper does make you smarter. So we were the ONLY team to get that answer right, and we swooped up from 8th to 3rd place, and got a $10 gift certificate to the bar, which we promptly used to pay our tab. Or not so promptly because our waitress was having a seriously hard time.
Tuesday is today. I'm going back to beantown. Not before a trip to In-n-Out, though. Yumm.
Oh, and somewhere along the way, I went to a gay porn shop. Shudder. (Hey, I'm not homophobic. All things sexual kinda make me shudder. But seeing a ginormous butt plug in person...) I was kinda drunk and made my friends leave before the buzz wore completely off.
I guess this isn't really a short post. I am looking forward to going home and watering my plants -- I'm sure they're all shriveled up by now; I should really make friends with my neighbors -- but I'm not looking forward to what going home will mean. This whole summer, I was looking forward to this trip to LA, in more ways than one. It was something that was planned for the end of the summer, as the closing bracket to my 1L summer. Now it's over, and I have to go buy a copy of the new Blue Book, get my suit altered, all this stuff that needs to be done before my 2L year, which promises to be busy and hectic and crazy and probably a little exciting (oh, gym boy...). But ... there's still something ominous and impending about the whole thing. Ahh well, here we go ...
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Ok a quick update. One of the best things about LA is the food. And I will have and have had plenty of it. Japanese ramen, a three martini lunch, a fancy mediterranean dinner, in-n-out, sushi, mexican, korean, tapas, and lots and lots and lots of coffee. Why don't I live here? It's totally getting me excited about being a corporate sellout here next summer, if all things work well. Oh wait, my friend here is giving me tips. It's not being a corporate sellout. It's working with the smartest and most talented people in the business.
OK, off to dinner!!!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
I think my parents kinda miss the point of cell phones.
My parents want me to help them find a place to repair some DJ equipment that got short-circuited in an accident at the club involving large quantities of water. So they've been trying to call me for two days to give me the brand name of the equipment. But when they call, I've been in the library or underground on the subway or hanging out with my friend, who I haven't seen in two years but who came up from NYC for a last minute, surprise visit.
They just got a hold of me this morning and said, well we just wanted to see if you were around, but we're out right now and can't give you the name. Are you available later, they ask? I say, maybe. Then my dad makes some snide remarks about how busy (yet lazy?!) I am. So I say, why don't you just leave the name on my voicemail? Oh...voicemail, ok, he says.
I mean, I could have found what they're looking for days ago if, instead of harassing me and leaving like 3 frantic voicemail messages telling me to call them back, they just left the name of the company.
They have a shock coming to them when I start working full time as a corporate sellout attorney.
I have never been a very dutiful obedient Chinese daughter.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
August 16, 2005
Have You Heard? Gossip Turns Out to Serve a Purpose
By BENEDICT CAREY
Juicy gossip moves so quickly - He did what? She has pictures? - that few people have time to cover their ears, even if they wanted to.
"I heard a lot in the hallway, on the way to class," said Mady Miraglia, 35, a high school history teacher in Los Gatos, Calif., speaking about a previous job, where she got a running commentary from fellow teachers on the sexual peccadilloes and classroom struggles of her colleagues.
"To be honest, it made me feel better as a teacher to hear others being put down," she said. "I was out there on my own, I had no sense of how I was doing in class, and the gossip gave me some connection. And I felt like it gave me status, knowing information, being on the inside."
Gossip has long been dismissed by researchers as little more than background noise, blather with no useful function. But some investigators now say that gossip should be central to any study of group interaction.
People find it irresistible for good reason: Gossip not only helps clarify and enforce the rules that keep people working well together, studies suggest, but it circulates crucial information about the behavior of others that cannot be published in an office manual. As often as it sullies reputations, psychologists say, gossip offers a foothold for newcomers in a group and a safety net for group members who feel in danger of falling out.
"There has been a tendency to denigrate gossip as sloppy and unreliable" and unworthy of serious study, said David Sloan Wilson, a professor of biology and anthropology at the State University of New York at Binghamton and the author of "Darwin's Cathedral," a book on evolution and group behavior. "But gossip appears to be a very sophisticated, multifunctional interaction which is important in policing behaviors in a group and defining group membership."
When two or more people huddle to share inside information about another person who is absent, they are often spreading important news, and enacting a mutually protective ritual that may have evolved from early grooming behaviors, some biologists argue.
Long-term studies of Pacific Islanders, American middle-school children and residents of rural Newfoundland and Mexico, among others, have confirmed that the content and frequency of gossip are universal: people devote anywhere from a fifth to two-thirds or more of their daily conversation to gossip, and men appear to be just as eager for the skinny as women.
Sneaking, lying and cheating among friends or acquaintances make for the most savory material, of course, and most people pass on their best nuggets to at least two other people, surveys find.
This grapevine branches out through almost every social group and it functions, in part, to keep people from straying too far outside the group's rules, written and unwritten, social scientists find.
In one recent experiment, Dr. Wilson led a team of researchers who asked a group of 195 men and women to rate their approval or disapproval of several situations in which people talked behind the back of a neighbor. In one, a rancher complained to other ranchers that his neighbor had neglected to fix a fence, allowing cattle to wander and freeload. The report was accurate, and the students did not disapprove of the gossip.
But men in particular, the researchers found, strongly objected if the rancher chose to keep mum about the fence incident.
"Plain and simple he should have told about the problem to warn other ranchers," wrote one study participant, expressing a common sentiment that, in this case, a failure to gossip put the group at risk.
"We're told we're not supposed to gossip, that our reputation plummets, but in this context there may be an expectation that you should gossip: you're obligated to tell, like an informal version of the honor code at military academies," Dr. Wilson said.
This rule-enforcing dynamic is hardly confined to the lab. For 18 months, Kevin Kniffin, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin, tracked the social interactions of a university crew team, about 50 men and women who rowed together in groups of four or eight.
Dr. Kniffin said he was still analyzing his research notes. But a preliminary finding, he said, was that gossip levels peaked when the team included a slacker, a young man who regularly missed practices or showed up late. Fellow crew members joked about the slacker's sex life behind his back and made cruel cracks about his character and manhood, in part because the man's shortcoming reflected badly on the entire team.
"As soon as this guy left the team, the people were back to talking about radio, food, politics, weather, those sorts of things," Dr. Kniffin said. "There was very little negative gossip."
Given this protective group function, gossiping too little may be at least as risky as gossiping too much, some psychologists say. After all, scuttlebutt is the most highly valued social currency there is. While humor and story telling can warm any occasion, a good scoop spreads through a room like an illicit and irresistible drug, passed along in nods and crooked smiles, in discreet walks out to the balcony, the corridor, the powder room.
Knowing that your boss is cheating on his wife, or that a sister-in-law has a drinking problem or a rival has benefited from a secret trust fund may be enormously important, and in many cases change a person's behavior for the better.
"We all know people who are not calibrated to the social world at all, who if they participated in gossip sessions would learn a whole lot of stuff they need to know and can't learn anywhere else, like how reliable people are, how trustworthy," said Sarah Wert, a psychologist at Yale. "Not participating in gossip at some level can be unhealthy, and abnormal."
Talking out of school may also buffer against low-grade depressive moods. In one recent study, Dr. Wert had 84 college students write about a time in their lives when they felt particularly alienated socially, and also about a memory of being warmly accepted.
After finishing the task, Dr. Wert prompted the participants to gossip with a friend about a mutual acquaintance, as she filmed the exchanges. Those who rated their self-esteem highly showed a clear pattern: they spread good gossip when they felt accepted and a more derogatory brand when they felt marginalized.
The gossip may involve putting someone else down to feel better by comparison. Or it may simply be a way to connect with someone else and share insecurities. But the end result, she said, is often a healthy relief of social and professional anxiety.
Ms. Miraglia, the high school teacher, said that in her previous job she found it especially comforting to hear about more senior teachers' struggle to control difficult students. "It was my first job, and I felt overwhelmed, and to hear someone say, 'There's no control in that class' about another teacher, that helped build my confidence," she said.
She said she also heard about teachers who made inappropriate comments to students about sex, a clear violation of school policy and professional standards.
Adept gossipers usually sense which kinds of discreet talk are most likely to win acceptance from a particular group. For example, a closely knit corporate team with clear values - working late hours, for instance - will tend to embrace a person who gripes in private about a colleague who leaves early and shun one who complains about the late nights.
By contrast, a widely dispersed sales force may lap up gossip about colleagues, but take it lightly, allowing members to work however they please, said Eric K. Foster, a scholar at the Institute for Survey Research at Temple University in Philadelphia, who recently published an analysis of gossip research.
It is harder to judge how gossip will move through groups that are split into factions, like companies with divisions that are entirely independent, Dr. Foster said. "In these situations, it is the person who gravitates into a intermediate position, making connections between the factions, who controls the gossip flow and holds a lot of power," he said.
Such people can mask devious intentions, spread false rumors and manipulate others for years, as anyone who has worked in an organization for a long time knows. But to the extent that healthy gossip has evolved to protect social groups, it will also ultimately expose many of those who cheat and betray. Any particularly nasty gossip has an author or authors, after all, and any functioning gossip network builds up a memory.
So do the people who are tuned in to the network. In one 2004 study, psychologists had college students in Ohio fill out questionnaires, asking about the best gossip they had heard in the last week, the last month and the last year. The students then explained in writing what they learned by hearing the stories. Among the life lessons:
"Infidelity will eventually catch up with you," "Cheerful people are not necessarily happy people" and "Just because someone says they have pictures of something doesn't mean they do."
None of which they had learned in class.
Making mountains out of molehills is your specialty. Then you sell tickets for people to ski down the slippery slopes of said molehills. What you lack in elevation you make up for in syrupy sweetness to those around you. It has been noted that perhaps you are too likely to stick to others, and thus become a nuisance to those you hoped to sweeten. In your wardrobe at home, you have more than just great coats.
Take the State Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
You're a Mongoose!
Famous and fabled, you are well-loved by those around you, especially those above you. You rise to many challenges, and your speed and agility allow you to outwit those you don't like and others hate. While you don't appear vicious, your unassuming appearance helps draw people into underestimating you. You really like the name Rikki.
Take the Animal Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Tonight, I came out of the gym and though, hey, this city is kind of okay. I could see a mile down the road to part of the downtown skyline. One of the tall buildings was reflecting the rosy sunset. The moon was in the sky high above CVS. The traffic was sparse b/c the city was starting a construction project and had blocked two of the four lanes and had towed away all the parked cars. The air had a hint of autumn -- I was comfortable in pants and a long-sleeved shirt -- and it was especially refreshing after days of stifling, suffocating humidity. For the moment it seemed that I could bear the prospect of two more years in this city.
But then as I was getting off the T, there were these people clumped in front of the door and wouldn't let me off. So I pushed my way through; didn't even turn sideways. Why did I have to do that? Why couldn't I just be humble and not bitchy about it and not try and teach a lesson that wasn't my place to teach? Why did I have to be that bitchy girl with the headphones in her ear, caught up in her own little world and not caring about other people? Bah.
Maybe the endorphins wore off and the other hormones set in. Maybe it was the thought of all the undergrads coming back that made the good mood wear off early.
Anyways, here are some interesting links:
* Cool Japanes Goods. I guess there are some dirty items, but the t-shirts and other goods are neat.
* Ever wonder, "Is it called duck tape or duct tape?" Here's an explanation.
And finally, yesterday, I was out with some friends drinking martinis at 2pm, throwing a mini-going away get-together for an old friend of mine who's moving to Filthadelphia. She moved here with me last August. Another friend, who is fabulously funny, came up with a nickname for my little undergrad crush. Now, he is known as "my embryo." Har har.
Oh yeah. When I got home, I got a random surprise email from an old college friend who graduated the year before I did. She got married a year ago. And the most recent email announced, doot doot doooo! SHE'S PREGGERS! That would be three friends with babies in the last year. I guess those 8 weddings I went to in 12 months are catching up with ... life? I feel old...yet so immature.
YEAY FOR TASTY BABIES!
You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy! by Douglas Adams
Considered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible, often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble, but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.
Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.
okay, i think i'll stop now.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
My best friend moved from Boston at the end of May, after dropping out of law school and breaking his lease two or three months early. Luckily, the landlord was able to re-rent the apartment, so my friend and his partner only had to pay a few days' rent until the new tenants moved in. Before leaving, my friend did a walk-through with a rep from the management company, and she signed a paper saying there was no damage. Two months later, my friend still had not received his security deposit back and called. It turned out that the woman who was dealing with his case left the management company, but someone said they'd take care of it. A few weeks later, my friend finally received his check. Out of $1550, he got only ~$400 back. Half was for a re-rental fee (to pay a broker), and seemed reasonable. Then there were ~$300 in "redecorating fees". We scoured the internet and looked up statutes. The redecorating fees didn't seem legit; there definitely is a statute on the books that says such fees have to be itemized in great detail. But even better, there is a statute that says the landlord must return the security deposit within 30 days of the termination of the lease or s/he must forfeit the money. So my friend wrote a very straightforward yet stern letter pointing out the statute and enclosed the uncashed check.
Two weeks later: CHA CHING, a check $1550 arrived in the mail.
Law is fun!
Today is a day for steaming vegetables in my shorts. Thankfully I spent it at the gym -- there were about five of us and we were there for about 5 hours, climbing, hanging out, playing volleyball. Then we ate burritos and chips and salsa and drank soda. Yumm. What a nice day. I'm pooped, though.
Friday, August 12, 2005
I leave for Los Angeles in 6 days. I can't wait! Unfortunately, it means I'm all the closer to the start of school. This morning, I bought tickets to a King Tut exhibit at LACMA. I saw a Diane Arbus exhibit there the last time I was in LA, which was pretty cool. I hear the King Tut exhibit rocks. At $30/ticket, it'd better.
In other travel news, I got three interviews for the LA job fair. Haven't heard about SF yet. I'm leaning towards taking the interviews, if for nothing else, then to practice interviewing, show off my brand new suit, and go to LA during the school week. Yeay!
MANY DADS UNKNOWINGLY RAISING OTHERS' KIDS
THURSDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDayNews) -- Calling it a Pandora's Box with broad health implications, British researchers say genetic testing is informing about 4 percent of fathers that a child they are raising is not their own.
The implications are huge, the study authors noted, because such revelations often lead to divorce and increased mental health problems for both the man and woman involved, including the threat of violence by the man.
In addition, children whose lives are changed by this genetic information can struggle with low self-esteem, anxiety, and increased antisocial behavior, such as aggression.
And the problem will only grow more serious as genetic testing is used for more and more purposes, including screening for organ donations and checking for genetic-based diseases such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and heart disease, the researchers said. In addition, such testing is becoming more common in police investigations.
What's needed, the researchers said, is clearer guidance on when and how to disclose such information. They believe individual and family support services and counseling should become part of paternity-testing procedures.
"At the moment, people are often receiving the results of paternity testing through e-mail and post," said lead researcher Mark Bellis, a professor of public health at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.
"People are receiving what can be pretty dramatic information without being linked into health or counseling or support services," he added. "In addition, people are coming forward in more and more numbers each year to have paternity testing done."
The report appears in the August issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The authors said they based their findings on international published scientific research and conference abstracts released between 1950 and 2004.
The study found that rates of "paternal discrepancy" range on average from less than 1 percent to as high as 30 percent, depending on the group of people looked at. For women, those who are younger, poorer or have multiple sex partners are more likely to bear a child who wasn't fathered by a long-time partner, the researchers said.
An average paternal discrepancy rate of 4 percent means about one in 25 families could be affected, the researchers said.
To determine the extent of the problem, Bellis and his colleagues collected data on increasing rates of paternity testing in North America and Europe. For example, in the United States, rates more than doubled to 310,490 between 1991 and 2001, they noted.
In Great Britain, about one-third of pregnancies are unplanned, and about one in five women in long-term relationships has had an extramarital affair, the researchers reported. These are similar to figures in other developed countries, they noted.
Yet there is a lack of support services to help people who find out about a parental discrepancy from a paternity test. "Finding out a child does not belong to them [the fathers] can have effects in terms of breakup of families and issues of safety and well-being of the child and women," Bellis said.
Bellis believes that giving counseling and support to these families needs to be considered. "We need to think about how that can be delivered," he said.
He added, "In genetic testing for health conditions, in police investigations, all these can identify discrepancies in family genetics, but there is no consideration if it is a good thing or a bad thing to let the families know about those [discrepancies]."
One expert thinks the study highlights the social downside of emerging technologies.
"Not surprisingly, the disclosure of information about unsuspected paternity comes with potentially devastating effects," said Dr. David L. Katz, an associate clinical professor of public health and director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.
"But does that mean such information should be concealed when it is a byproduct of testing for other reasons? When should paternity testing be permissible, and at the request of whom?" he added.
New knowledge means new power, but not necessarily the power to use it correctly, Katz said.
"Bellis and colleagues suggest that genetic testing has provided the power to lift a lid off Pandora's Box," he said. "As they rightly point out, it will take something other than power -- namely wisdom -- to respond productively, fairly and compassionately to all that comes flying out."
Thursday, August 11, 2005
i cannot concentrate. i'm going to drop out of law school and get married and stay home and make babies and be barefoot in the kitchen, pining away for my husband all day. because thinking and pining away are apparently all my brain is good for. BAH! who cares about the essential facilities doctrine. or noerr-pennington sham exception. i can't even get the two straight in my head right now! i am so useless.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
August 10, 2005
Why Baghdad Must Make Do With Takeout
By CRAIG S. SMITH
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Aug. 6 - Things were looking up for Chen Xianzhong, proprietor of Baghdad's first authentic Chinese restaurant in the new Iraq, until a suicide car bomber blew up outside the place less than two weeks ago. The deafening blast shattered the windows and spewed body parts into the dining room. A foot landed on the pavement outside and a tire landed in the restaurant's second floor.
"There were small pieces of flesh all over, even on the roof," Mr. Chen said. Now, he does takeout only for the few loyal customers that continue to call.
Chinese restaurateurs turn up in the unlikeliest places, but Mr. Chen, 53, is a remarkable study in the tenacity that plants Golden Palaces and Hunan Gardens in cities and towns around the globe.
Born to a minor railway official in China's northeastern Jilin Province, Mr. Chen joined the army in the waning days of the Cultural Revolution and won a spot at Beijing University. Many people were studying English, but Mr. Chen, ever swimming against the tide, picked Arabic.
"There were only about 15 students studying the language there at the time," he said between sips from a screw-top tumbler of steeping green tea leaves. Though he says he converted to Islam during the Persian Gulf war in 1991, a statue of the Chinese god of fortune grins atop a bookshelf. Mr. Chen eventually got a job as a Baghdad-based representative for Norinco, China's military trading conglomerate, selling everything from milk powder to antitank missiles across the Middle East.
He spent the first gulf war in the United Arab Emirates, but returned to Iraq in 1999 to trade for China under the oil-for-food program. He quit his job in 2001 to start trading on his own, and was doing pretty well until the war came.
Mr. Chen left Iraq just three days before the American bombing started, with a $1.5 million shipment of his Chinese textiles nearing Iraq's southern port of Umm Qasr. The payment to Mr. Chen had not cleared by the time the invasion began. So, just two weeks after the fall of Baghdad, he was back to get the money. He eventually did.
Flush with cash, Mr. Chen smelled opportunity in the war's aftermath and opened a Chinese emporium selling cheap Chinese goods on Sadoun Street, Baghdad's main shopping thoroughfare. Next, he opened Dragon Bay Chinese Restaurant near the National Theater, outfitting it with high-backed emperor chairs and round Chinese banquet tables. Then he opened a smaller branch of the restaurant and a small hotel next to his trading emporium last year.
Some other adventurous Chinese citizens arrived by car from Jordan when travelers needed nerve, not visas, to get across the border. They set up a restaurant after his in what has become the high-security Green Zone. But Mr. Chen dismisses them as amateurs, saying that the place doubles as a massage parlor.
The few Chinese restaurants in Baghdad's hotels, meanwhile, were never very authentic and, now staffed by Iraqi cooks, offer only a semblance of Chinese food.
"I wanted to open the best Chinese restaurant ever in Iraq," Mr. Chen said, adding that he imported four containers of powders, sauces, roots, pickled vegetables and other Chinese culinary supplies - enough to keep his 400-seat restaurant serving kung pao chicken for three or four years.
As Baghdad tried to return to normal, his business thrived.
Then, the trouble began. A group of Chinese workers were kidnapped amid the wave of abductions and beheadings that swept Iraq in 2004. They were eventually released, but two of his four chefs went back to China. Selling liquor at the restaurants also became increasingly dangerous as Shiites and Sunnis both sought to impose Islamic rules.
This March, while Mr. Chen drove his green Mercedes to a vegetable market in town, a beat-up Volkswagen lurched to a stop in front of him, he said, blocking his way. Three men jumped out, waving guns, and tried to force him into the back seat.
"Take my car, take my money," Mr. Chen shouted. But the gunmen said they did not want his car; they wanted him. He fought back and was cracked on the head with the butt of a gun, sending blood pouring over his face. Fortunately, he was known in the neighborhood for shopping there. Several shopkeepers came out with guns and opened fire.
His would-be abductors jumped in the car and roared away, dragging him a dozen yards before letting go. He spent two days in the hospital before returning to China for a month of rest and medical tests. But by May, he was back. Now he never goes out without an armed guard. Just weeks after Mr. Chen was attacked, one of his Chinese employees was carjacked while delivering a payroll to some of his workers. Gunmen took the car and the $50,000 in it.
Finally, on July 30, the suicide bomber struck near the National Theater. The force of the bomb blew out the restaurant windows and brought down much of its ceiling. No one was inside at the time. Through the restaurant's gaping windows, Mr. Chen's emperor chairs with their silk Jacquard cushions now sit empty at the dining room tables.
That was enough. "I'm afraid of these crazy people," he said, running a hand over his unevenly dyed crew cut. He closed both restaurants and the hotel. He still has two chefs, who have retreated to a small kitchen atop the emporium where they work at a four-burner propane cooker.
But Mr. Chen has invested nearly $500,000 in his ventures and has earned back only about two-thirds of that. He wants to move to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where it is safer, but the roads north are too risky to move his goods there.
At night, he, his chefs and four other Chinese workers barricade themselves on the upper floors while Iraqi guards keep watch below.
There are guns in almost every room, he says. He pulls an AK-47 from beneath his desk and then takes a Colt .45 revolver out of a desk drawer. "There's no safety on it," he says, spinning open the Colt's chamber, "so at any time I can ..." He finishes the sentence by pulling the trigger: click, click.
He speaks with the conflicting emotions of man who professes not to care about money, but who cannot bring himself to walk away.
"I'd leave Iraq, but I can't just abandon all of this," he said, motioning to the inexpensive suits, teddy bears and teacups for sale. One of the chefs prepares lunch but the electricity dies midway during the meal. As the air-conditioner sighs into silence, Mr. Chen goes off to start the generator, but he returns sweat-soaked to announce that the generator's battery has been stolen.
"But I like this country," he insisted, as if to convince himself of why he is still here. "I saw my first U.S. dollar here."
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I got this from my non-law grad school listserv thingamabob:
Freelancers can obtain additional compensation for past articles because of a class-action suit that is entering the final stages of settlement. The suit is called "In Re Literary Works In Electronic Databases Copyright Litigation." It's a case brought on behalf of freelance writers of works that were reproduced on electronic databases without the author's permission. Basically the compensation is about $25-$60 per article that you have not copyrighted (the compensation is considerably more for copyrighted works).
The details and forms are at:
The deadline for claims is September 30. The form is not complicated to fill out, even if you've written many articles. Also, you can simply enter in the information as best as you remember, even if you don't have the original contract or even the date of the piece. However, you can probably look up the dates and titles of some of your pieces via several databases that are accessible from the site.
this is unacceptable. my schedule for the first 2-3 weeks of school is already filling up. and i haven't even heard back from firms for interviews yet! (i'm optimistic.) ack! oh, the summer of fun and blogging is coming to an end. i'm feeling kinda nervous! or maybe it's just the coffee coursing through my veins. incidentally, i checked, and no coffee grounds in the bottom of my coffee maker today!
Monday, August 08, 2005
ok, i've deleted this post because it was just too damn long. lemme summarize.
1) the day started out crappy. a mouth full of coffee grounds. i'm considering getting a new coffee maker b/c a mouth full of coffee grounds is unacceptable.
b) had surprise number 1 of the day, see previous post. this city is kinda small. but it's not as big as some people like to think it is.
c) but my day really started to pick up after i did my good deed for the day. i helped this stranger whose books had fallen out of a crate on her bike and into the crosswalk. i can't believe two people walked by her before i stopped. the point of this is not to pat myself on the back, but to say, hey, wtf! it was also kinda a lesson to me that i started to feel so much better afterwards. maybe there's a point to being nice. i don't mean to sound self-serving it's just ... when you start to look at the world as a happier, hey let's help each other kind of place, then maybe you start to feel that way inside, too.
4) soon after the books in the crosswalk incident, ran into a friend at the gym. she's been in the phillipines all summer, so it was good to see her. we made plans to go out tomorrow night, so this was a pleasant surprise.
ok this is the abbreviated version.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
i can't believe there are three weeks left in the summer. classes start september 6. back in may, the summer seemed so expansive. i thought i'd have all this time to do all these things. get in shape, travel, go to the beach, read a hundred books, see friends, etc. i guess i've done a lot of that. i think i've gotten into some sort of shape -- not quite oblong not quite oval. i've been camping in new hampshire. had some beers. played some pool. i even played some soccer! who knew!
it is beautiful today. but there's sort of that waning heat in the air. it's hot, but ... maybe my body or my mind is telling my body that autumn is on its way. there's a feeling in the air that it's not going to last much longer. maybe because it's post-solstice. maybe it's just because earlier this week it was so disgustingly hot and humid i could steam vegetables in my shorts. (eew, i just grossed myself out there.) maybe it's totally mental b/c i know that pretty soon i'm going to be busier than i could ever imagine. again.
to recap, the first semester of law school last year was challenging but i managed to have some semblance of a social life, to work out, to cook dinner instead of just eat out all the time, to see something besides the inside of the library and the glow of my computer (like the inside of my eyelids, for one). a lot of the challenge was just rewiring my brain to think like a lawyer, or law student, or just learn how to brief cases. second semester, i don't know what happened but it all fell apart. no working out, not seeing my best friend for several weeks at a time, blowing through my loan money by mid-april because i was eating out all the time, officially retiring from taekwondo. eh. i'm not sure if that last one is a product of how busy i was or other factors.
they say first year they scare you to death, second year they work you to death, and third year they bore you to death. well, on-campus-interviewing starts the same day classes start, so i could see myself falling behind on reading before i've even started. and then playing cite-checking slave. and possibly continuing my summer position through the fall because i have no idea how we're going to get everything done in the next three weeks without me going way over my allotted 30 hrs / week and losing my sanity to boot. part of me is looking forward to the discipline of a schedule and classes and schoolwork and the joy of learning. i love the freedom of summer but i gotta get on with my life. this is not how i want to live my whole life. i need to be somewhat more productive than this. so let's get on with it, if we must.
oh, but not before i jet off to LA on 8/18! yeay!
it was too good to be true. i'd been feeling really good for about a week or so. i mean, all things considered given the funeral, etc. but i was feeling really good inside aside from that. but in the last 12 hours or so, this sort of mellow, somber, reality feeling has set in. i know what it has to do with (read: boy). i think i've hit the point in my crush, as i do with all of them, where being realistic starts to outweigh the happy, joyful feeling of liking someone new. the new feeling manifests itself as a little voice in the back of my head telling me the crush is ridiculous, it would never work out, etc. etc. etc. just as a new crush makes me happy, the prospect of having to give up the crush, or having it not work out, makes me sad. usually, i can get out of my head, out of this cycle, by going to the gym. unfortunately, i think that will only exacerbate the situation here. ahh, gym crush makes me go to the gym more, but then in the end, may only bite me in the ass. good thing we'll all be on new schedules soon.
Friday, August 05, 2005
after weeks and weeks of drinking well liquor, it's paid off. i've finally won free drinks at this bar! i felt like everyone else had won except me. they pretty much had. oh my patience and perseverence have paid off (read: sitting on my ass and waiting). i wonder if anyone will go. we've been winning so often that it's become expected and ordinary and routine. whatever. *i won!*
there it is. that feeling in my stomach. the feeling that has made me unable to eat for the last week+. that topsy turvy i think i want to puke or poo or both feeling. i can't believe a boy is doing this to me. a boy i'm not even dating, but am going to see. how did i become this person?
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
a. is this what my new jersey life has come to?
b. fixed my car mirrors with daddy-o. freaking ford focus. i don't think it's just me b/c i've now had to replace four side mirrors. temporarily thwarted in our attempt to fix my car when daddy-o dropped the bolt into the door. and no, they don't sell those bolts at home depot.
c. i'm a groupie of we are scientists! they've toured in the UK, and here is their first OFFICIAL video, with their first single, the great escape, due out in october. yeay for friends making it big(gish)!
d. maybe i didn't work out today, but i sure did sweat enough to make up for it.
e. the funeral was today. the family is catholic, so the service was held at a catholic church in town. i've lived here on and off since i was 10, and this was the first time i've set foot in the church. i was kind of amazed b/c through the liturgy and ceremony, i was able to experience god. it was kind of amazing. i've been somewhat cynical about the catholic faith. i believe that catholics can have legitimate religious experiences. and i'm not one of those christians who thinks that catholics aren't true christians. but in my personal experience in the catholic church -- i went to catholic school for two years and that many masses -- and in protestant/non-denominational churches, i've found my experience of god to be much more vibrant and real in the latter. of course, i'm not a very formal person -- i'll use the word homoerotic at a funeral; i scoff at tradition and all that rigamarole. but today really was a new and amazing experience.
f. i was reading over my blog the other day, sort of looking for foot-in-mouth-entries, and was reminded...when i lived with my parents last year, working and waiting for law school, i started to become interested in this boy who worked at the gym i worked at. umm...until he turned out to be 18 and an almost-high-school grad. HA! he's probably just turned 19 now ... OY VEY.
g. i was talking to a friend on AIM last night and i told her i was on dial up. she said, welcome to the 90s. and i thought, no, for a big chunk of the 90s, i was in college and on ethernet. welcome to the stone age!
1. got an email from an old college friend, two years my senior, who is starting law school somewhere in cali in the fall. my stomach siezed and a very loud "nooooooo" escaped from my lips.
2. emotions are less intense here in NJ. at least, emotions as they relate to people in Boston.
3. dial up, particularly doing a job search on dial up, sucks.
4. it's hot.
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
jewish funerals tend to be closed casket. catholic ones, at least the wakes, tend to be open caskets. the only other funeral i've been to in my life, besides the two these last two weeks, was my grandmother's. that was a cremation. and her casket was open, then closed, then very quickly, suddenly and forcefully shoved into the kiln/oven whatever it is you call it. very scary and traumatic.
i'm off topic. i went to the wake today. open casket. he looked ... weird. he had so much makeup on. he looked like a wax sculpture. i don't know why they do that. make them look so ... weird. would he look really dead otherwise? well, that's ok. better than looking ... unreal. i'm pretty sure this is the first time in this man's life that he's had makeup on. why?
enough with the dying business, ok, god? can we go this weekend without someone dying, particularly someone's father?
this is what i did today:
* woke up at 10:30 (latest i've woken up in over a week)
* went to school and did some work but was very distracted by internet and thinking
* went to swim class
* rode the horrid 57 bus
* went and checked in on a friend's cat
* scooped kitty litter
* had an allergy attack
* rode the horrid 57 bus again
* bought dinner at store24
* ate dinner and made myself sick
* watched tv
* did more work
* wrote this
* try not to get struck by lightning
* go to bed
this is what i might do tomorrow:
* go to gym (that's a big fat maybe)
* take the 57 bus
* scoop kitty litter
* drive in my car for four hours, if the traffic in CT cooperates
* sing along to music at the top of my lungs
* listen to NPR
* go to a wake
* hug my parents -- or at least be very very nice to them
* do a peremptory job search for on campus interviews -- boooo