Sunday, January 29, 2006

Talking Points
Here are a few rules to summarize the weekend:

1) If I haven't made this clear before, an engaged man being talked up by a drunk law student wearing makeup shoul mention his fiancee within the first 30 minutes or so.

2) It is gauche to clip your nails in other people's cars.

3) When your friend tells you to bring knee pads for snowboarding, listen to her.

Friday, January 27, 2006

This weekend is our annual school-organized ski trip. (The last time there was an organized overnight ski trip, I was in high school; yet another way law school is just like high school.) I didn't go last year. Wouldn't touch it with a ten-foot pole. But this year, I tried to adopt a new attitude, which led me to sign on to this adventure. At the very least, I'll be driving myself and three friends, all the five hours to the resort. I'm quite excited to get away, to not think about work very much, to try snowboarding and maybe cross-country skiing, to get away from my apartment b/c it's 1:30 a.m. and my neighbor must have having some raucous sex b/c she's making my floor shake. Anyways, I might fall behind on my work, including the 20 page draft of my note that's due in a week, but who the fuck cares. Without this break, I might drop out before spring thaw.

I gave a tour to prospective applicants today. All two of them. Trying to sell the school made me remember that I do like this institution. But when I don't have that external reminder, all I do is wallow in how miserable everything is. Wallow on top of wallow on top of wallow.

This weekend, I'm going to try and limit my angst to figuring out where to find my morning cup of coffee. I'm so tempted to bring my own coffeemaker.

I'm thinking of renting a cabin in Maine for my birthday weekend, which happens to coincide with a long weekend in April. It is a long weekend that only this state celebrates. If you're reading this and are interested, you are totally welcome to come. I will need lots of hand-holding as the age-meter ticks up again.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Remember These?
You Are A Blueberry Martini

You are a eclectic drink - liking to change drinks and venues often.
You are usually the first of your friends to find a cool new dive bar or cocktail.

You should never: Drink mystery drinks strangers hand you. Unless you want to wind up in foreign country.

Your ideal party: Is mobile, hopping from party to party.

Your drinking soulmates: Those with an Orange Martini personality.

Your drinking rivals: Those with a Chocolate Martini personality.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Truth
As a research assistant, I get a study cubby in the library. These things are in the basement of the library, isolated, remote, hidden. They abut windows on one side, overlooking the pathway between the law school and the Chapel or School of Theology. The room is about 3 feet x 7 feet and has two desks, facing away from each other. I have the cubby to myself. And ... I've been sleeping in there. No, not overnight. Cuz that'd be weird. But when I get sleepy, I just pull down the blinds, crawl on top of the unused desk and grab a few winks. I scare myself. But tonight, I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep, probably for about 30 minutes. I woke up feeling like I'd been asleep for hours and frightened that I was locked in the library. Out of fear, and sort of shame, I scampered out of the library. But I wasn't quite awake, and the people I ran into, I'm pretty sure I said incoherent things to them. And I was feeling really ill. Nauseous.

I'm kind of swamped with work right now. Professor Summer Research is attending a conference in February and we are prepping his presentation and paper. Seriously. Me. Discussing antitrust and economics with Professor. I'm way out of my league, but I hide my ineptitude pretty well. But this crunch has put a serious crunch on my schedule. I'm busy busy busy. And not sleeping.

Incidentally, I saw the law tower gnome on public transportation. He apparently lives in my direction. Don't know who the law tower gnome is? You've likely smelled him. He's this guy who is always scowling, and rides the elevator one floor and then stinks it up. He's got that musty smell to him. The rumor is that he was a law student who had a total breakdown. A professor felt bad for him and so hired him as a full-time research assistant. Rumors.


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dear Mr Jobs,
Please don't let Disney acquire Pixar. Disney will fuck it up. Disney animated films have sucked recently (although not as bad as Dreamworks'). Stay independent. Stay separate. The increased competition will keep you all honest, keep you working hard, keep you making films like Finding Nemo. That was perfection. I realize that was a collaboration with Disney, but collaborations are not mergers. Nor are they acqusitions. Disney is evil. It's like letting Microsoft acquire Apple. Please don't.

A Fan

Seriously, all this antitrust research is getting to me.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Find Me Tomorrow at the Supermarket

Wonder Bread, the whitest of white breads, is coming out with a 100% whole grain version. With the look and consistency, allegedly, of their white bread. I'm tempted to try. Read the label carefully, however. There's a difference between wheat flour and whole wheat. Wheat flour, I think that's what it's called, can be just as processed as whatever it is that goes into white bread (white flour? duh). Whole wheat is what those south beachers or sugar busters or whatever tout. It's good stuff. Especially for staving off hunger, diabetes, etc.

Besides the excitement of trying new old bread, I was excited by this story because "wonder bread" is an expression I use to describe the whitest of white guys. The guy I particularly called Mr. Wonder Bread was a dude who was on the West Point Taekwondo Team, back in the day when I knew of such things and traveled in such circles. He was ... so white. The chiseled chin, the dirty blonde hair, the patriotic streak that brought him to West Point ... Mr. Boy next door ... who eats wonder bread. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this. You'd have to see him to get what I'm saying. Because I've ruined it already by 1) going on this long about it and 2) saying he did taekwondo, which is about as not white of a sport as there can be.

Oh, to make my case stronger, he even made some National Geographic documentary about West Point students. I remember he was at a tournament with a camera crew. C'mon. It doesn't get more wonder bread than that.

What the hell AM I talking about? My point is, what happens to my "Wonder Bread white" description now that the bread is wheat?

OK. Sorry. I know. What a waste of space and entropy. I would take it back, but that would only increase the entropy...

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Saturday, January 21, 2006

One of the reasons I love to be in nature, in natural surroundings, is because I get this sense that God is real and close. I know God is not limited to undeveloped regions. But without distractions like tv and strip malls, I have nothing to do but face God in all God's glory. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of all the good things God has created for us -- the trees, the rivers, the breeze that gently tousles my hair, as if it were God's hand itself.

I know these thoughts and feelings are not unique. But for one of my classes I am reading a book on environmental ethics. All those grand feelings and thoughts, those feelings and thoughts that have motivated much of my life and my experiences, are suddenly collapsed into a single word: sublime. "[A] concept central to romanticism" that was important in the movement to designate certain parts of the country as wilderness areas. And which, more recently, has been criticised by environmentalists as contributing to the myth of the wilderness.

There is something deflating about having something so big and important and grand captured in a single word. A single word that represents a centuries old movement. Doesn't make it less valuable; just makes it ... commonplace. Used.

I'll get over it. But law school never ceases to make everything seem mundane and blah.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Plans Foiled?
I came to law school to pursue a career in environmental law. I am finally taking environmental law this semester. I am disillusioned. I am not sure I really enjoy the class, but it is too soon to draw firm conclusions.

First, we have been discussing a lot of boring stuff, like economics. Mostly economics is what gets my goat. I learned a lot of economics last semester, in the context of environmental law and in other contexts. I'm afraid it's going to be all economics, and frankly, I don't want to spend my life doing economics if I can help it.

Second, some people are just now going through the realization that economics has a great impact on environmental law. Fortunately, I went through this struggle in a very small class and was able to, very vociferously, air my concerns and scepticism. Some of my classmates in my class of 60+ people, are struggling with it now. And for many people, the environment is a very personal cause. They enjoy nature and they want to protect nature because of, I surmise, feelings and thoughts that seem to be grander and greater than simple dollars and cents. So in a scenario in which the professor put environmental laws next to workplace safety laws, some crunchy girl in the back raises her hand and says, Isn't the environmental harm different because it's permanent? Well, so is losing your arm in a workplace accident, honey. I do not like people who use classrooms of 60+ students to air their personal grievances. Frankly, I probably shouldn't have aired my grievances in a class of 6. So part of the reason why I don't like this class is I fear it's going to degrade into stupid debates. And I have a general impatience with people.

Impatience is probably a generous term. I generally don't like a lot of people. Maybe that explains why I'm keeping to myself. I want to get away. I'm like crawling out of my skin. Maybe I have senioritis, without the rash and without the actually being a senior part.

Except for the hair. For some reason, I decided to do a thorough examination of the state of gray in my mane. Now, I found my first gray hair when I was 12, so I'm used to them. But that, compounded by my age, which keeps getting higher and higher into respectable adult territory, well, it's no fun. To make matters worse, I seem to be currently going gray along my part line, so every time I look in the mirror, I see several gray hairs.

I should probably sleep.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Dental Things
I absolutely adore going to the dentist. OK, no. I absolutely adore leaving the dentist's office after a good cleaning, armed with shiny new dental supplies. I love the feeling in my mouth, and the thought of trying out some new floss. But because of various circumstances (namely: no dental insurance) I haven't been in about two years. During recent discussions with a friend, we finally decided to try out this
dental office in the neighborhood that sends out fliers. He went first and reported success, so I quickkly followed suit.

Interesting points of fact:

1) The dentist did the cleaning with this like sonic-y drill-y thing. No hygienist scratching and poking around in my mouth with deadly weapons. Under five minutes, we were done. And my teeth look better than ever!

2) For the first time ever, my dentist did not have fat hair fingers and arms. He also went to NYU Dental and graduated while I was there. No, it never came up in conversation.

3) Upon being asked whether I had any concerns, I told him about these zit-like postules in my mouth, under my tongue. They come and go but are really annoying. He takes a look under there and says, let me paraphrase, that the muscle-y thing under my tongue is connected really high. Then he asks, have you ever had speech problems? No, I mean, I say retarded things but I don't think that's what he means. Then he
says, ok, try this: open your mouth as wide as possible and see if you can touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. (OK, you at home try it too.) I don't even come close. I have to close my mouth halfway before I can touch the roof of my mouth. He says this explains my funny zit-like things, and that my two middle bottom teeth have started turning out of alignment, and should be at the root of a speech
impediment. And I'm thinking to myself, is this why I don't have a boyfriend? Ok, not really. But the solution: lasers!! They trim that fleshy muscley thingie back. I'm afraid it will create a speech impediment. But I don't like the idea of my teeth coming out of alignment more. Something to consider ... for when I have dental

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Reading Assignment

From the NY Times Magazine, "What Is A Living Wage?"

An excerpt:
Reich, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, happens to view the minimum wage as a somewhat inefficient tool for alleviating poverty (compared with earned income tax credits, say). But he acknowledges that it has a powerful moral and political impact, in states red as well as blue, and especially now, in an era when workers see the social contract with their employers vanishing. "They see neighbors and friends being fired for no reason by profitable companies, executives making off like bandits while thousands of their own workers are being laid off," Reich says. "They see health insurance drying up, employer pensions shrinking. Promises to retirees of health benefits are simply thrown overboard. The whole system has aspects that seem grossly immoral to average working people." As Reich points out, whatever the minimum wage's limitations may be as a policy instrument, as an idea "it demarcates our concept of decency with regard to work."

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Interpretive Help, Please
We Are Scientists played the Bowery Ballroom the other night, following on the heels of their new album. Here are excerpts from a New York Times review of the show. I've deleted the parts that has to do with the other band because I don't care.

Right now, EMI Music is promoting two New York bands hoping to ride danceable rock into the mainstream. Both released new albums on Tuesday, and both played the Bowery Ballroom this week. On Wednesday night it was Morningwood, the brash and shameless female-led group that just released its self-titled debut album through Capitol Records, an EMI subsidiary. And on Thursday night it was We Are Scientists, the sly and shameless all-male trio that just released its debut album, "With Love and Squalor," through Virgin Records, another EMI subsidiary.


The members of We Are Scientists are just as eager to let listeners know they don't take themselves too seriously: on their CD cover, they are all holding kittens in front of their faces. The music finds a comfortable spot between the neo-wave band the Killers and the disco-punk band the Rapture, all spiky rhythms and yelpy vocals. And while Morningwood took the stage after a long recorded fanfare, the members of We Are Scientists just ambled on and, after a mumbled hello, started playing "This Scene Is Dead," which reduces a complicated night to a pithy refrain: "The night is young/ I'm blacking out/ But it's been fun."

Only 37 minutes long, "With Love and Squalor" is a modest little album that delivers on its promises: it's full of neatly turned-out songs, familiar-sounding but pretty sharp all the same. On Thursday the band played nimbly, propelled by Michael Tapper's skittering drums. During a guitar interlude in "Can't Lose," Chris Cain took a minute to fix a problem with his bass. Keith Murray, the guitarist and lead singer, kept playing but watched his bandmate's progress. "Time is running short," he said with a faint smile, and Mr. Cain finished just in time.

Near the end came one of the best songs, "It's a Hit." It's not, thank goodness, a smarmy joke about the record industry; it's a half-remembered story about a drunken encounter. "This was going so well, but I don't know what I did," Mr. Murray wailed "All I really can tell is, I've been hit, I've been hit, I've been hit." While Morningwood tries frantically to start a party, the members of We Are Scientists act as if they're already at one, and almost ready to leave.

What does "skittish" mean?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

One of my classes this semester is Federal Indian Law. In it, we study the federal government's policy towards the Indian tribes. (And yes, we say Indian, or at least the book does, political correctness be damned.) This is the most depressing class ever.
E.g. "If there were 50 million Indians in North America when Columbus arrived, and there are about 2 million today, where did they go?" Professor asked on the first day. "They died." And then we proceeded to discuss all the ways they died.
E.g. "I only teach this class every other year because I don't have the emotional energy to do teach it every year," Professor said on the first day.

I'm either going slit my wrists or get really fat because the depression is going to drive me to the food.
Dark Materials
I first heard about Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy in a New Yorker article in 2003. A playwright had adapted the books into a musical playing in London. Pullman's books were essentially billed as the anti-Narnia. An intellectual book of self-determination and such, aimed at kids. Well, I love kids books and such, so I went out and started reading. I made it through two before I threw my hands up in defeat. I found the anti-religious slant obvious. I found the story to be kind of stupid. I think what bothered me, in part, was that the characters made stupid decisions. I cannot stand it when people make stupid decisions. And it's not just one, it's like, multiple. Case in point, the film Little Black Book, in which the protagonist not just peeks at her boyfriend's Palm Pilot for info on his ex-girlfriends, she contacts and meets them in these contrived situations and lies repeatedly to them. Sometimes in hurtful ways. When the protagonist couldn't get out of the spiraling lies, I thought the movie was awful. Why doesn't she just walk away?! In the end, it all made sense, but it was pretty miserable in the middle.

I don't really remember enough details about the Dark Materials to recount to you the specifics of the narrative that annoyed me. But the story's other weakness to me was that it was exactly what it was not. I mean, I loved the Narnia books, in part, because of the sweeping emotion that the Christian allegory evoked. By the end of the second Dark Materials book, I felt low and hopeless, even as the protagonist struggled with her own will and self-determination.

The final shortcoming, I think, is that I did not read the Dark Materials as a child, whereas I stumbled onto the Narnia books in 3rd grade. I would often just stroll through the aisles of the modest library at the small Catholic school I attended at the time. I ended up finding many magical books using this tactic (a great King Arthur book I've never been able to find). And also some bad ones, as one day I randomly pulled Moby Dick off the shelves. I didn't get past the first page. Anyways, I found the Narnia books, and the randomness of the discovery added to the magicalness of the find. I've come to the Dark Materials because the intellectual snob in me was compelled by the New Yorker.

Well, here we go again. The New Yorker has recently featured another story on the Pullman books. And the intellectual snob in me wants to try the books again, perhaps with a more critical eye. The books have won many awards and Pullman said something to the effect that he was trying to write a literary kid's book. (Where as LOTR and Harry Potter certainly are not.) Perhaps the key to liking the books this time around is to approach them intellectually, instead of hoping for the same magical reaction I had when I read the Narnia books the first time around.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Congrats, Friends!

For those in the know who want more, click here

Saturday, January 07, 2006

"I'll taekwondo your ass..."
Last night, I dreamt that:

1.) My brother was gay;
2.) I was being chased around this building by vampire-like creatures, who turned out to be my property professor from last year and old high school classmates. There was this Sidney Bristow-like character in my dream, who was also a former high school classmate, and while she was being distracted by talking to one of these said high school classmates, these other vampire-like creatures started to converge around me and one pinched my wrist. I then executed a taekwondo-ish maneuver ... and woke up as I was ferociously karate-chopping my pillow. It's a good thing I sleep alone.

This is what I get from going to bed at midnight.

Today, I go climbing for the first time in months! Yippee!

Oh, and Jon Stewart was picked to host the Oscars. Nice choice. But, I may be the only one, I think David Letterman did a good job. I never understood why he got so much flak.

Friday, January 06, 2006

I Am a Useless Pile of Turd
Last night, I went to karaoke night at a gay club. It was good fun. Five G&Ts later, I went home. It's a good thing I was paying attention on the way over because the last time I was there, on New Year's Eve, I was lost and couldn't find my way home and walked in circles before finally getting in a cab. The walk home was not very pleasant. Why you ask? Because I was wearing these:

I'm trying to rotate the picture but I can't. Anyways, they're like three inch heels with the pointiest toes I've ever worn. That's my phone in the picture for reference. I had a blister as I left the bar for home, and by the time I got to my street, it was unbearable and I had to take them off. Yes, I walked on the icy sidewalk barefoot.

I've never been a fan of pointy shoes. But these fit well, and I guess watching countless episodes of "what not to wear" during finals finally got to me. Pointy shoes and thin heels make your legs look thinner and longer, so say Stacy and Clinton.

Who am I?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

There are, if you don't know, two major legal database services: Westlaw and Lexis. You can use these databases to search for caselaw, research topics of law, etc. As students, you get to use them for free -- the idea is that when you go to whatever big firm you go to, they'll have already cultivated brand loyalty. As part of the gimmick, you can earn points. Take a quiz, take a tour, take an online class -- you earn points. Well, on one of these services, I have earned 10,545 points. For 10,800 points, I can get a free digital camera. So what did I just do? I ordered my textbooks through that service's publication division, earning 250 points. 5 points short? I'm gonna go run a pointless search right now, good for 10 points a day. Ooh, the digital camera shall be mine!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Back At It
I'm in the library, doing what I should have done last semester, working on my note. So I bloggeth.

We Are Scientists was on Letterman last month. The video clip is available on their website. Windows Media Player needed. The album comes out January 10. Yeay for Scientists!

6pm tonight, I'm going swimming. Here's hoping that the gym is as desolate as it was over the summer. Sans gym boy, which is all good. Because I spent some time thinking about that recently, and decided that the whole situation annoys me to no end. Or annoyed me to no end. Off to an optimistic start of the year!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

McSorley's Old Ale House
Over break, I got to drink at McSorley's, my favoritest bar in NYC. There's a waiter there -- umm, waiter is a generous term; he makes you drink faster if you're too slow, and plunks drinks in front of you and grabs money out of your hand before the beer stops sloshing in their glasses -- his name is Tommy. Tommy always gets me a table, no matter how large my party. One time, I asked why he never sat down and enjoyed a drink with us. He called my bluff, his own words, and in his lovely Irish brogue asked me out to a steak dinner. Tommy is at least old enough to be my father. It's been over two years since I've seen Tommy, yet last night, he remembered me lickety-split and had me in a seat before the warmth from his kiss on my cheek dissipated. Oh, Tommy.
I tried to drunk dial someone last night. Thankfully, I have a ghetto cellular service and the call did not go through. None of my four attempts did. This morning, I removed his number from my phone. This is going to take a few weeks to get out of my system and there is no need to rock the boat. As there is guaranteed drunkenness to come in the near future, what with fat loan checks and minimal pressure on the horizon.
New Year, New Resolutions
Happity New Year!

Here are my resolutions:

1) Drop a pant size. So cliched, but so necessary.
2) No more meaningless hookups. Not really a problem this past year (or two), but see below.
3) Stay in better touch with friends -- I do NOT use nearly enough of my monthly minutes.
4) More studying. Or better studying.
5) No mixing drinks. If I start with beer, stick to beer.

Recent events have made me realize that I've, erm, matured. (So much better sounding than "aged".) Just a few drinks and I'm drunk and hungover (and quite stupid) for a whole day. And I want more than anything to settle down. And last night I declared that I WANT BABIES. This is a big deal for me. Unabashedly, without exception, I want to get married and settle down. Transient fleeting "relationships" are unsatisfying to the extreme. I inappropriately think about imitating couples, injecting emotion and sincerity where they are not welcome, or just not expected. This was needed. This was overdue.

And here we go into 2006...