28 April 2005

Quick Update & Some Begging

Just finished working through 450 pages of Evidence today. The exam is next week, but considering I never read any of the material for the course except when I knew I'd be on call (yes, that was not a smart thing to do), this was a necessary evil. Brain hurts, but in a good way. Like your muscles are sore after you exercise, but it's kind of nice because it's a mark of your accomplishment. My other big (read: four credit) exam is Saturday at 6pm, so I have all tomorrow and most of Saturday to get it all in my brain. Let's hope I planned this whole studying scheme correctly. If not, I'm...well, "screwed" is the word that comes to mind. But at least I think I'm at a B level of understanding in my classes right now, taking into account curving and everything, so that's good. Hopefully I can make that last push and get it to an A level. And let's not pretend it's arrogant to say that. It's not. I like getting A's. Most people do. How do you study for a B anyways?

Which leads to my next question: how do I study for the class I elected to take Pass/Fail? It's impossible to know how much I need to know. I used my other pass/fail option this last summer (you can only pass/fail five credits total), and found out that I actually would have had an A- in the class. I even left the last essay blank. Seriously, that was not fun to find out. So now I'm thinking: what exactly would a D+ be in Basic Income Taxation? I'm thinking it would mean getting 40% of the questions right. But that really doesn't provide any further guidance. Oh well.

Last thing: the "some begging" part of this entry. PLEASE EMAIL AND COMMENT ON MY BLOG(!!!) Really, it would mean a lot. It clearly takes verey little to please me. I have this nifty site meter thing so I know people are visiting. And you can Google me now, so I guess that means something. Sort of. Those of my real-life friends who are reading: there really is no excuse for not emailing or commenting. At least once a week. I mean, honestly. I'd do the same for you. Obviously, if you only want to say "you suck" then don't feel the need to share that : )

This is a very meandering post, and really offers nothing to the readers (who read but don't comment or e-mail). I guess I'll have to up the content level or something. Maybe revive the comic strip. Maybe start dropping f-bombs, which would be totally out of character. Or, better yet, you can decide: what do I need to write about to earn your comments and emails? C'mon, show me some love....

"In a hole in the ground lived a law student...."

I hear that's how J.R.R. Tolkien started on the Hobbit and whole Lord of the Rings endeavor, except instead of law student he wrote, of course, hobbit. I doubt he would have produced such a volume of material had he actually written "law student" instead. Even David E. Kelley couldn't wring that much material out of the topic.

The title refers to the fact that in about, oh, ten minutes, I'll be going into official Exam Hibernation mode. I call it hibernation, even though I won't be sleeping, and my heart rate definitely won't be slowing. But it feels like a hibernation. A sort of disconnectedness from reality. We could go to war, and unless mid-Michigan gets bombed, I wouldn't know it. Starbucks could go out of business, and I wouldn't know it (I wouldn't anyways...). Nicky on Young and the Restless could become a stripper again, and I wouldn't even know that. All I know is that Victor would be peeved, but slightly turned on.

I'm exaggerating, but only slightly. When studying for exams, its all about getting as much information as possible imprinted on the engrams of your brain. The Temporary File engrams, that allow you to disgorge the information over a three hour time frame and then conveniently forget it. It's about mapping out your time, knowing exactly how much Evidence you can tackle in a fifteen hour day, knowing when to start doing your final leg of studying to make sure it's all sorted out before going into the exam room. Knowing when to eat and how much to maximize your alertness. Knowing how to keep your potassium levels high with strategic Gatorade drinking and banana eating. It's a marathon, people. A marathon.

Again, I'm slightly exaggerating (a lot).

I really don't get that bent out of shape, but a lot of people do. They show up looking like ghosts of their former selves. And they pretty much perform no better than the people who show up looking like they've actually slept and maybe watched some TV recently. But I wonder--what if at some point I just put everything off a little too much (it's been known to happen), or underestimate the difficulty of my classes? What if I start panicking too (at least more than I normally do)? Could it happen to me? Could it happen this semester?

Maybe this will be the semester that during finals I let my cleanly-shaven face become adorned with a full, luxuriant beard, and wind up looking like a used-car-selling Leprechaun. Maybe I will abandon all metrosexual tendencies and arrive at my exams wearing my faded grungy jeans with a nice rip on the right knee and my faded BVD t-shirt. Maybe I'll start a caffeine addiction, or start pulling all-nighters--I wonder if I could pull off the blood-shot eyes look. Maybe I'll start eating only Lean Pockets and whatever snack foods I can find to save time.

Or maybe--nay, probably--not. Anyone reading this who's going more than justifiably spastic about exams: don't worry. It's not worth all that fuss. I understand where you're coming from, I've been there. Bad grades suck. GPAs are important. It's all true. But panicking won't get you anywhere, so calmly clear off that desk you never use, or head to the library. Then, calmly take your textbook, and kiss it goodbye. And then calmly start begging for every outline you can from someone who got an A in that class last year.....

25 April 2005

One Ply, Two Ply, Red Ply, Blue Ply

From the hilarious Georgia Pacific website:

"Tissue: This thin, absorbent paper is made from virgin and reclaimed pulp. It's used to manufacture many of GP's consumer products including paper towels, paper napkins, bathroom tissue and facial tissue." (emphasis added)

VIRGIN!! So that's where they've all gone. How very soylent green, but on the, um, other end, of the situation, if you know what I mean. I hope Jodie Foster's character from Silence of the Lambs didn't live next to the factory:

Clarice Starling: And they were screaming.
Hannibal Lecter: And you ran away?
Clarice Starling: No. First I tried to free them. I... I opened the gate to their pen, but they wouldn't run. They just stood there, confused. They wouldn't run.

Hannibal Lecter: But you could and you did, didn't you?
Clarice Starling: Yes. I took one...and I ran away as fast as I could.

(for all the East Lansing readers: sounds like a night at Harper's, no?)

And then another disturbing heading: "Away-From-Home Products." Apparently we don't use liquid soap, paper towels, or napkins at home. Or toilet paper. "Billy, that toilet paper is for special occasions when we're out with Grandma. Use your hand next time. Or the Wall Street Journal." Financial Times for the rich homes, because it's pink.

And then this!!!: we make the things that make you feel at home -- no matter what room you're in

Um, any room? And written in such scary text, adding to the effect. For those times when you eat oatmeal for breakfast and just can't make it out of the breakfast nook, but the breakfast made it out of your nook. (ok, that's just wrong...).

And what is a "bath cup"? Oh, the possibilities. Maybe a replacement for socks in the worlds of prepubescent girls. Maybe for when the toilet isn't working. Maybe for when you need "just a little shower." Or when Iggy the goldfish needs a bath. Who knows? Clearly, someone at Georgia-Pacific (we hope).

But the best part is this: the names they give to their commercial toilet tissue.

In the "Interfolded Folded Tissue" category (I'm not kidding, really): Acclaim. Because we can't stop talking about it, much less singing its praises. "OH MY GOD!!!! This tissue!!! Gladys! It's the most interfolded folded bliss I've ever experienced!..."

In the "High Capacity Bath Tissue" category (I'm serious!!):

Executive System. Because...oh, hell, insert your own joke.

Micro-twin System. That's a niche market if I ever saw one.

Never-Out Executive System. They would have said "fig leaves for lawyers" but that didn't sound so nice. And those are HUGE rolls. Imagine getting that in the mail room.

And, in the "standard bath tissue, 1-ply" category (Remember, this is one ply. One. The loneliest number in so many ways. Welcome to the land of forced handwashing):

Acclaim: see above, but it's worth a second mention, don't you think?

Envision: Inviting you to imagine how it could have been. I miss two-ply.

Lastly, for your consideration, the "2-ply, mega-ply, and multilayer" category:

Compact: "...for maintaining your professional look." Direct quote, I kid you not.

Preference: In case you prefer to...what exactly? This isn't rocket science, people. Maybe it is...

Quilted Northern: They would have called it "Sewed-up Yankee," but that seemed awfully suggestive. Or "Deep South Comforter"--hey, that seems like a good idea. I'd wipe with it. You would, too. Maybe someone from GP is reading. Presuming they're literate...

those silly bureaucrats....

Just got something in the mail from the State of Michigan. But the return address is to somewhere in Boston, Mass!?!?!? I suppose that would be the ultimate form of outsourcing. Disturbing and amusing all at once, just like our Governor. I guess this means our Secretary of State is some 3L at Harvard (wonder who... :)) Does this mean I need to become a Red Sox fan?


Top Ten Ways to Tell Exams Are Coming...

(10) That guy who IM'd and played TextTwist during the whole first year and barely passed has now moved to the library to...IM and play TextTwist (what matters is that it feels productive, we all know that)

(9) The fourth floor lounge area is now a shantytown of pup tents. It smells like someone tried to roast some small game (well, it always sort of smells like that)...

(8) The Student Mental Health Society's membership is ballooning

(7) A group of 1Ls has begun praying to an ancient Mayan god of wisdom, and are looking for a sacrificial virgin. Yeah....good luck with that!

(6) The drinking fountains now serve Jolt and Red Bull.

(5a) For ladies needing a sugar fix, a Pez dispenser dispenser has replaced the tampon dispenser in the women's restroom. Too bad no one put up a notice about that first...

(5b) For ladies needing a "sugar" fix, I will be in library study room 5 all day tomorrow. [Bring a healthy dose of optimism.]

(4) A misplaced period on the school-wide exam instructions resulted in this: "Bring plenty of Number Two. Pencils." Students were seen in the cat and dog park yesterday with pooper scoopers. (ok, that was just bad :)

(5) Just wanted to see if you were paying attention...

(3) Stall Two in the third floor bathroom has the entire Gilbert's Outline for Contracts written on a wall but disguised as graffiti (example: We promis(sory estoppel) a good time! Call Ricketts (v. Scothorn), or Greiner! Amazingly, no one has caught on to this.

(2) You can only get in Stall Three of the same restroom with a pass and $20. A guy who looks too much like Gollum (and keeps saying "precious," which is just creepy), can answer any question about anything. [So that's what happened to that one guy who didn't have a good relationship with career services. Duly noted.]

(1) The gunners have hooked themselves up to IVs and catheters (available at Starbucks).

Well, that was a good use of the last 15 minutes. Back to studying...


I wanted to get down for posterity the piano pieces I'm working on currently. I still play about 90 minutes a day on average. Even during exam times, because nothing provides a better break than some Bach or Chopin. So, here's the list:

Chopin: Ballade in A-flat major (Op. 47); Etude Op. 10--No. 12 (aka "The Revolutionary Etude"); Etude Op. 25--No. 1 (aka "The Aeolian Harp"); Etude Op. 25--No. 12 (that has another name too---maybe the storm etude or something, I can't remember); Nocturne in F# Major Op. 15--No. 2; Nocturne in C# minor (posthumous)

Beethoven: 3rd movement of Sonata in C-Sharp minor ("Moonlight Sonata")--the fast one that they played on the Smurf's cartoon sometimes

Bach: Prelude and Fugue in C minor; in C# major; in D major; and in D minor (all from Book One)

Debussy: Passepied, from the Suite Bergamesque.

Liszt, a transcription of Wagner: "Isolde's Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde (this piece is just---wow. My still unrivaled all time favorite. Maybe someday I'll be able to master it. Listen to Horowitz play it sometime--it's transcendent. how often can you say that about something?)

I'll probably have the same list at this time next year, because those aren't the kind of pieces you learn in a couple months...




24 April 2005

Posting by email...

Let's see if this works. Testing....testing....(Bueller?)


For Elvira (at least, paragraphs 3-5)

You know, writing that last column was like taking a huge breath and just letting it all out. I guess things build up like that sometimes. Maybe that's why it's called venting. I sure seem to be doing a lot of it these days.

What I need to remember is that I've got another year of this law school gig. Actually, more than a year. Probably more like 380 days. 380 days to have fun, have new experiences, meet new people, and just generally enjoy life. From what I hear, being a 3L is great. Like Tony the Tiger great. I've sort of lined up my course schedule, and that looks pretty okay. I've avoided anything really awful, and Thursdays and Fridays are basically empty for me. Very cool. So why am I stressing about all this going into the real world stuff? I've got plenty of time to just relax. I think I might even make some time to learn golf this summer. It's good that I have another year.

There are many people I know, though, who don't have another year. Who are taking the big plunge. I wanted to take this moment, because I know I'll forget if I wait on it, to offer a big CONGRATULATIONS to all those people I know who are graduating. It's a big moment, whether from high school, college, law school, or something else. It's not every day that you get to wear a gown and hood or mortarboard. At least, I'm assuming that's not part of your everyday wardrobe. It's not that comfortable, really. But there's something about wearing that get-up and shaking hands with the deans of the school and getting a diploma (even if it's not real and you get the real thing weeks later). Or draping your arms around your family for pictures and feeling a little taller tahn usual. Maybe because dress shoes do that, but I'd like to think it's more spiritual.

But of all the people I know graduating from this or that--and there are many--I wanted to most of all congratulate my sister. Good going, for want of a better expression. I know exams are still coming up, but you know you're gonna nail those, and then you'll be graduating. Graduating. No more waiting. No more transfers. No more credits. No more bad survey classes. At least until you get to graduate or professional school, but that's not really as tough as everyone makes it seem. Just enjoy these next couple weeks, because it really is an accomplishment to get your bachelor's degree. You may not have taken the conventional path in getting there, and it all may have taken a little longer than I know you would have liked. But think of how much richer your experience has been. Think of the people you've met, the places you've seen, the things you've done. Think of how much more ready you are to face the world than most people are when they get their bachelors. Because you've been living with one foot in that so called real world for years now. I've been able to share most of it with you, so I know just how hard you've worked, and I'll never let you forget it. Sometimes, the twistiest paths are the most interesting and the most unforgettable. I think, when you look back on this time, you'll realize just how true that is.

So, congratulations. With a capital C, in size 72 font. I'm more proud of you than you probably know, but I guess now you do. Good going :)

Before I go all stream of consciousness on you, a moment for product placement. This CD by Jem (Finally Woken) has one of the higher replayability factors of any CD I've listened to lately. If you get it, I highly recommend Tracks 2, 6, and 11. Especially Track 11, which is the closest modern pop track I've heard that comes close to evoking the warm fuzzies of love. Awwww. [The all time love song favorite of mine, though, for anyone wondering, is the second track of the second disc of Billie Holiday, The Lady in Autumn: "Come Rain or Come Shine." Hands down, at least among what I've heard in my life.] Tracks that are skippable: 3 and 7. They just feel disingenuous, even though 3 is the title track. Go figure. There are many other CDs I really love (see my profile), but I have a studying playlist on my laptop, and one of her songs just came on. Figured I should give a shout out. If you want to know how I would describe it...maybe an upbeat version of a cross between Dido and Sarah McLachlan.

Now, on to the substance. I'm in a major funk today. Major. The journal is publishing, and I don't feel like it's up to par. It's clean, I'll grant you that. But it lacks quality articles, except for one. Starting a new journal and convincing reputable authors to sign is nearly impossible. Can't imagine why. We even lost one article to our own Law Review. Ouch! I guess I just feel like only a handful of the people who decided to get in on the ground floor of this thing actually put in the requisite effort. Actually, it's not just a feeling, it's fact.
Deep down, I guess I know that I, too, didn't do everything I could have either. A lot, but probably not as much as I could have. And now I'm in the middle of a research project for the Dean. The Dean of the whole law school. I was called today (Sunday!) by his assistant, and he wants to meet tomorrow morning. I turned in my initial work Friday, and I got the distinct feeling that it wasn't good enough. Not even up to what he expected. The worst part is that I know it wasn't my best work. Good, but not great. I put in a lot of time, but I can't say my heart was in it.

Exams are quickly arriving too. They seem to get closer by the day. Obviously, they are getting closer by the day. That was retarded. I elected to take the Basic Tax class pass/fail instead of for a grade, just to give me more hours to prep for the four-credit classes (the ones that are known to eat GPAs for dinner). When exams are all done, I'll probably have a job to go to at the Tax Tribunal, presuming they want me (which is definitely not a sure thing) and in the week or so I'll have off between this semester and the start of the summer semester (because I'm taking classes this summer too), I'll get to grade about 1000 pages worth of 1L appellate briefs.

Why do I constantly do this? Every semester, I vow that I won't get so caught up in everything. That I won't constantly be everyone's "yes" man, that I won't pile so much on my plate that I dont' even know where to start. I like to think that it's because I'm at a not-great law school. I mean, I like it here, but it doesn't jump off a resume and scream credibility. It's third tier, so maybe I'm just compensating by beefing up my class rank and extra-curriculars. Or maybe it's just that I've suffered from golden boy syndrome since grade school. I'm used to winning this, and achieving that, and doing all those things that are supposed to mean a lot to academically motivated perfectionists.

But that's not what I am deep down. And lately, it doesn't mean that much anymore. At most, it yields a short term high. Which is nice at the time, but later on it feels insignificant. Certificates and plaques and ribbons and compliments only make you feel one thing: pride. And pride is a very hollow emotion in the long run. What it's being replaced by now is fear. That's right. For the first time in my life that I can remember, I'm afraid. I'm afraid of the real world. Afraid that once I leave this bubble, I'll be a fish out of water. That I'll fail, and that I will realize too late that by doing what I thought was practical and smart my whole life, that I forgot how to do what was meaningful.

And I'm deeply afraid of being lonely. Not alone, but lonely. I'm afraid that my family and circle of friends will dissipate, and sooner than I want to admit. Friends are getting married, others are moving across the country. My sister will, despite her protests, be married soon and have her own family. My parents are older, and neither is in great health, and I'm acutely aware of that. And that's the natural order of things, and I'm honestly happy to see the people in my life move on. But I'm still a little selfish, that can't be helped. And I know that when everyone has gone their separate way, that still leaves me. A guy who has never been in love, not really anyways. Not really at all. A guy who has friends, but none that can't live without him or that he can't live without. A guy who is afraid that one day he'll wake up and wish that he hadn't insisted so much on being independent.

I'm not sure if there is a point in me writing all this. Everyone probably gets into these moods at some time or other. Maybe it's the fact that it's snowing, or that I just need a break. For once, it's not something I'll be able to figure out, so I guess writing it out was the next best thing...

22 April 2005

Another reason why I will not, under any circumstances, ever live in Florida. Especially if I ever have kids. I'm not sure how recently this happened (considering I watched it on FNC, so you never know). Apparently, a five-year old girl was arrested by police because she was creating a disturbance by not participating in her kindergarten math class. Whoa. No knives or guns or other menacing things. Rather, a felony arrest for committing a battery against a member of the support staff. I think they said biting and scratching. Really dangerous, you know. And for this, she wasn't just arrested, but cuffed on her hands and feet. The whole thing was videotaped, too, so that administrators could learn from the experience. Which I guess means this is something they were planning on doing again sometime. Because we need to start sending a message, and as early as possible. The next time you want to throw a spitball at teacher, beware: the SWAT team might be called.

There is so much wrong with this and with every person involved. I can't believe that at least five adults (probably more) actually had the conscious thought that this was an okay thing to do. I don't even know what else to say, and so I won't. It all pretty much speaks for itself. A five year old. In cuffs.

Hello God, It's Me, Margarine

If you grew up in the 80s or earlier, you should get the joke in the title. If you're younger than that, then you probably don't get many of the things in my blog. I really should try to be more inclusive. Maybe have some stuff on here about Lindsay Lohan or Hilary Duff, even the Rugrats--and I only know those names from reading Entertainment Weekly, really. I could have a whole tween demographic for my readership, and then I could get emails that say things like "U R 2 kewl!" Or "U R sooooo not kewl."

But I'm going far afield again. Back to the topic: margarine. I don't like margarine. My Mom was in middle school when the very first kind appeared on the scene--no doubt of its own accord, sprung wholecloth out of the procrustean depths. Or just the result of 1950s post-war consumer trends. She talks about how you would snap this little red dot inside the margarine lump, purchased in a plastic bag, and then she and her friends would throw it around in the backyard, to incorporate the coloring throughout. Yummy. After all, you wanted it to look like butter, and be nice and soft and yellowy. All I can think of is a little kid proudly bringing in this ratty old plastic bag covered in dirt and grass and leaking oily residue--I feel the need to bathe just from writing this. Mom's family never ate that, but they did have imitation ice cream when it first came out. Imitation. Ice cream. Even she isn't sure what that was made of. Maybe it was the Splenda of its day: "Made from ice cream, so it tastes like ice cream." ?????? (Which makes as much sense as having 2006 law school rankings in 2005--what if the school blew up? Would it still be #8?) Mom also witnessed the first store-bought pizza and macaroni and cheese. Of course, rural Ohio didn't exactly have a burgeoning Italian population, so I doubt the demand was high for anything like that.

I was relieved in the last few years when all that artificial stuff seemed to have reached its saturation point. Stores were no longer adding aisles devoted entirely to candy and/or cookies. The pop ("soda" for some of you, "cola" for others) aisle miraculously remained one aisle, and the Great Cereal Proliferation, sparked by the arms race between Kellogg, General Mills, and Post, had arrived at detente. Because chocolate marshmallow sugar crusted shredded wheat biscuits in the shape of elmo just weren't selling.

But then, every once in a while, I'll be flipping channels and notice Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Show. While the Food Network has created such gems as Everyday Italian, Paula's Home Cooking, and Barefoot Contessa (I watch too much Food Network), the Sandra Lee show was a mistake. A bad mistake. Right up there with designing men's bicycles with the straight bar.

The concept behind the show, if the title didn't tip you off, is to take store-bought stuff, and then add something to it to make it even better. Funny, I thought that was what most cooking involved. I don't exactly get my eggs and flour from the farmer down the dirt road. Anyways, the hardworking Sandra will take something like a store-bought angel-food cake. Decent start I guess. But now we need to make it "fabuluuusss!" So let's add some apple pie filling out of a can into the hole in the center. God forbid some crevice goes unfilled with sugary fabulousness. And then let's take some store-bought frosting (which, if you read the ingredients, is sweetened, flavored, colored Crisco basically--that's right, it's lard, people). And let's mix that with cream cheese (that's the "homemade" part I guess). And then slather it on the poor angel food cake in an inch thick layer. By the way, it's brown icing. I'd guess chocolate, but chocolate and apples? Ewww. And then stick some big sparkly green candles in it. Lovely. I'd be proud to serve it. At a mortician's convention, judging from the way it looks.

My teeth hurt just from watching this, like that first time you eat a Peeps against better judgment. I feel heavier just from watching it, but, amazingly, Sandra is super-skinny. Which means she either has super-high metabolism, is smart enough to not eat her own creations, spends the other twenty three hours a day doing Yoga Booty Ballet (or tossing margarine around in the backyard), or....isn't human.

You'll be comforted to know that she is described as a "lifestyle professional with a devoted worldwide following." I need to get myself a worldwide following...

Glad that's off my chest....

Just wanted to say: don't read the blog entry below this one. It's just me being justifiably p.o.'d about something from today. I want this blog to sort of be a journal for me, as well as be somewhat enjoyable for whoever reads it. I think those two goals conflict a lot, though, and that last entry is clearly an example of material that is good for a journal but definitely not entertaining. Unless you're working in your own life on not being a pushover....and even then, not that entertaining. Not at all. Don't read it. But I'm still leaving it up : )

So now I feel obliged to be funny and compensate. Well, the other day in Evidence we learned how the Best Evidence Rule requires an "original document." Now, when I was young, I learned that "original" meant....um, original. I'm short on synonyms. We all know what it means, though. But in the magical world of law school, you learn that "original" also includes a copy, a duplicate, a carbon, a print-out. Everything in the known universe, basically. Under that guise, something patently not original is called "original." I guess that's funny. Sort of.

On the not-so-funny but interesting side of things, here's an interesting article on blogging and the implications for businesses.

Blogs are different. They evolve with every posting, each one tied to a moment. So if a company can track millions of blogs simultaneously, it gets a heat map of what a growing part of the world is thinking about, minute by minute. E-mail has carried on billions of conversations over the past decade. But those exchanges were private. Most blogs are open to the world. As the bloggers read each other, comment, and link from one page to the next, they create a global conversation..

Ooooo. I had this image of an evil corporate boardroom with a huge infrared map, like they always have in the villain's lair in every action movie with world domination as its theme (so, basically 95% of action movies). Timmy (a very popular kid) in Iowa writes that his pet gerbil, named Molasses, just died. Friends respond about the deaths of their own gerbils, and how sad that was. Others want the back story on why he named it molasses. The feed starts coming out of the ancient looking computer back in the boardroom. "Sir, we have activity in Iowa. People are really talking about...." "What, man, what can we bring to the masses in Iowa?" "Sir, it's hard to tell, but apparently they want dead gerbils and molasses."

Clearly I'm warped.

19 April 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

Yes, as a Catholic, especially one who still attends Mass every week, I should really have more on my blog about everything going on in the Church.

But, first, because I'm also a joker, a couple random funny thoughts on the topic, and you should appreciate the risk of being struck down by lightning I'm taking here:

When the Pope goes out for breakfast (hey, it could happen), the following might happen:
Waiter: "And how would you like your eggs, Benedict."
Pope: "I thought there was only one way to have them."
Waiter: "No, there are many ways to have eggs, Benedict."
Pope: "I'm confused. What I want is two eggs and Canadian bacon on an English muffin with Hollandaise sauce."
Waiter: "Oh, I see. So you want eggs benedict? I'm sorry, I thought you just wanted plain eggs, Benedict."
Pope: "That is what I want."
Waiter: "So that's a 'no' on the eggs benedict."
Pope: "I'm confused."

Headline next day: Pope's Mental State Declining

One more funny thought (I'm just full of it lately). To better acquaint the American public with the idea of a conclave, develop a television show on it, based on one currently on.

"The C.C." (*for "College of Cardinals")--A brooding young bishop from the wrong side of the tracks (America, maybe the Netherlands) becomes a stand-up guy at the Vatican and is appointed a Cardinal. He doesn't talk much and is always involved in fist fights. Work with me here. No one goes binge drinking in Tijuana (much), but there's this one crazy nun who likes to throw pool furniture.

"Vatican Idol"--Fox would greenlight anything with the word "Idol" in it, right? Gregorian Chant week would be a welcome change from Disco Week.

"SuperConclave XXXVI"--This isn't really about the conclave or even the Catholic church, but you were just watching for wardrobe malfunctions and the commercials anyways. You'll be sure to find out who became Pope so you don't look dumb the next morning at the water cooler.


"Lost"--Hey, that Vatican looks pretty big, you know. And I suspect the Korean guy has trouble fitting in there too. We might have to go without the polar bear. Might. It would make for some unforgettable moments, though:
Cardinal George: "We only need a couple more votes, Cardinal Francis."
C.F.: "Okkaaayy, I guess in that case I'll vote for......AAAHHHH! The bear got me!!!!"
C.G.: "But who were you going to vote for?"
C.G.: "Sounds like 'Ratzinger' to me."
Cardinal Edwards: "We're still one vote short though."
C.G: "Can the bear talk?"

"Desperate Cardinals"--All is not well on Wisteria Lane (I told you, that Vatican is big, it's even got streets inside!). You know what, I just can't work with this one. Anyone out there have any ideas? Not as easy as it looks, is it? Besides, the title makes it sound like an Audubon special on PBS.

That's all for now, and unfortunately I never got to the serious stuff. I'll add that in the next entry--I know you all love the serious stuff anyways!

18 April 2005

Once again, commentary on someone else's post

I'm not big on the whole piggy-backing thing, but see that link to the right that says "humorous law school blog?" Yup, I'm too lazy to remember the magic code right now for embedding a link in here, so click on that, and find an interesting post on an article in the New York Times. Here's an excerpt of what Jeremy wrote that I found interesting:

But the author of this piece -- which is a really interesting piece -- hits it on the head, I think, in the very last sentence of the article.

"We should have no trouble admiring what we do admire -- depth, complexity, aesthetic brilliance -- and standing foursquare against depression."

And, yeah, that makes sense. It makes sense that depression isn't the same thing as being able to tap into that side of the emotional continuum, as being perceptive or sarcastic or deep or thoughtful. And it really isn't depression that's interesting and compelling, but those other things.

That pretty much stands on its own, but it also got me thinking about how quickly people are willing to designate as depression the things that are simply part of being human. I'll note first that I'm not an expert on clinical depression, that I've never had it or even known anyone who has been diagnosed with it, so I'm not saying it doesn't exist. For example, creative people are often thought of as having suffered from depression. We read journals written decades or centuries ago and make a modern day diagnosis. "Oh, yes, X was clearly clinically depressed because he wrote about being sad a lot." Obviously, some of this is just us trying to understand our great historical figures on a more intimate level. And I find it interesting knowing, for example, that maybe Van Gogh suffered from epilepsy, based on descriptions of his life. But when people write in journals, or talk about their feelings to a therapist, or even a counselor--or just talk things out in general--it's because that's when they're typically frustrated, or sad, or angry, etc. We don't talk about how happy we are. Ok, sometimes, I do. Sometimes someone asks me how I am and I launch into an entire thing about how great life is. But usually, you'll just know because I'm smiling. I'm a pretty happy guy, but it doesn't mean I'm not in touch with all those other feelings. Those other feelings are what make the happiness even tangible. The happiness you feel after having been sad over something is acute and real and wonderful on a different level than just day to day contentedness.

If you read some of my journals from when I was younger, however, you'd probably think "wow, let's get him on some meds stat." Well, maybe not that much of a reaction. But there's some pretty heavy stuff in there. It's part of who I am--it's part of who we all are. And maybe for some people, it lapses into a real medical condition, but I think this is comparatively rare. What I think is more common are people who feel bad about their life or themselves, even just a little. They see a commercial on TV with a little detached head bouncing around looking all mopey and then suddenly looking all chipper and bouncing over butterflies. Or they go online and take an "Are you depressed?" survey, and find out that, yes, sometimes they have trouble sleeping because they had a bad day at work. Or some doctor tells them they're depressed. It's not like many people go to the doctor feeling just fabulous.

I've known way too many people who went through a low period in their life and reacted to it by starting on Prozac or Zoloft or another medication. People who I just would not call clinically depressed, who were experiencing far less "depression" than even I probably have. These are medications we're talking about, and it's serious. They're around for a specific reason and for a specific group of people who really need them, but they're not some magic cure all for the general population. We all go through bad times--really bad times, even. But a big part of life is struggling through some things so you can grow as a person and know how good it is in the good times, and really appreciate it.

Something Borrowed, Something....ewww

Don’t worry, this won’t be a commentary on the single life. I think I pretty much wore out that topic for the time being with my “Marriage Bug” entry below. So if that’s what you wanted, look there.

One of my better friends is getting married in about five weeks. I still sort of thought it wasn’t really happening, but then I got the invitation in the mail a couple weeks ago and realized it was true. I have to tell you, there’s something a little intimidating about all that lace and calligraphy. Another one of my totally irrational gut reactions, but we all have them. Like fear of clowns. Or ducks. Seriously, I know someone who’s deathly afraid of ducks.

Anyways, the invitation also gave the requisite gift registry instructions. Which is fine, I guess. Definitely convenient. I suppose if you’re having one of those huge weddings, it’s the best way to avoid getting a dozen sets of bed linens. But honestly, I just don’t like the whole concept. It’s part of the whole dumbing down of gift-giving, and I find it depressing.

When you know someone well enough to be in the position to get them a gift, you shouldn’t have a problem putting some effort into it. You shouldn’t need a registry to tell you what to get them. People will probably object that a registry makes sure the new couple gets things they need and want, not stuff they’ll just be stuck with. You know what? Yuck. Where’s the surprise? Where’s the sincerity?

As a child, I did the thing that all kids do and dropped not-so-subtle hints about what I wanted for my birthday and Christmas. More often than not, I would get it. But it would be just that one thing, not a whole list of get-me-this and I-want-that. The rest would be a surprise. Along with a homemade card from my sister and a homemade cake from my Mom. Thankfully, I never had the type of parents who gave up when I reached teenage years and just gave me money or gift certificates. How wretched that would have been. “Oh, when I was 17, I’ll always remember, I got $200 and a gift certificate to Marshall Field’s.” Yeah right. Some people have told me that my family is unusual, that birthdays just stopped being important at around age 16, and that Christmas is just not a big event as you get older.

Well, I’m glad they’re “unusual.” I’m glad I’m unusual. If that’s unusual, bring it on. If it’s unusual to eschew gift certificates and registries and wish lists, then that’s really sad. Here’s a perfect example: our Journal was blessed with a great faculty advisor in our inaugural year, one who helped us achieve our goals and even move beyond our expectations. So when I mentioned that we should get him a gift, everyone said that was a good idea. And then the usual: “a gift certificate to a nice restaurant would be cool.” Yeah, real cool. “But we don’t know him!” Well, you know that he’s a good person, that he likes sports, that he’s sincere and funny and has all sorts of memorabilia in his office. We’ve all spent hours with the man, but “we don’t know him” well enough to get him more than a gift certificate. All I can say to that is: gee whiz, people.

Do we really know people so little that we can’t even think of things to give them as gifts? Apparently, yes. The result is that we try to err on the safe side, which basically means bland. But I refuse to succumb to the malaise. So you might get a really awful gift that you hate from me. I doubt it would happen, because if I’m coming to your wedding, or helping you mark some other momentous occasion in your life, then that means I know you. Maybe not as well as I could, but definitely more than on a superficial level. But so what if you do get a gift that maybe isn’t perfect? The point is that, I think, there really is no such thing as an “awful” gift, so long as someone put some thought into it. There are gifts that you will never use, that will collect dust and perhaps never again see the light of day, but they mean something, and that’s what matters.

16 April 2005

Don't even ask how this idea popped into my head, but it did: imagine law firms named after presciption medications, and what kind of catchy slogans they'd use on their literature. This is probably really stupid, and at times very crass, but note it's being written late at night.

(1) "Cialis, Viagra, and Levitra, P.C."

"We'll stand up for you."

"Put a big firm to work for you."

"We'll go in swinging."

"You'll know that we're standing behind you."

"We're in it for the long haul--well, at least, the next four hours."

"Eighty years of experience in your hands."

[I'm sure there are more, but I'll show some restraint. And sorry for the last one....]

(2) "Celebrex & Vioxx"

"Time to die, sucker."

That's all I could come up with. Guess I'm not as familiar with prescription drugs as I thought.

14 April 2005

Fahrenheit 87

That was a totally uncreative title to this post. I wanted to do a quick blurb on how ridiculously poor the climate control is on the fourth floor of our "modern" law school building (it was built in '96 for crying out loud! And not 1896, but 1996. I think HVAC technology was fairly advanced by that point). I was feeling rather flip for my evening class tonight anyways--flip meaning I lose that little barrier in my brain that prevents me from being a total smartass--and so, while doing the class evaluations for Professor Jacobs (who is AWESOME--seriously, an outstanding professor and human being), I discussed with the girl next to me the need for a classroom evaluation. She almost passed out (heat + laughter = not good), so I thought I'd share.

[I realize this is borrowing format somewhat from someone else's blog, you know who you are, and sorry in advance for that]

Please fill out the following survey. Dishonesty is strongly encouraged, since we don't even want our own bureaucrats knowing how you've suffered. Comments will not be read, but feel free to include them, since the time taken to write them eats into precious minutes of class time you've paid for.

(1) To what extent did the classroom contribute to your learning?
To the extent I skirted the edges of suffering a heat-induced aneurysm, and avoided passing out from the pungent aroma of my peers after 100 minutes. Note to girl in front of me: lavendar body lotion does not prevent me from figuring out you just came from the gym.

(2) To what extent did the technology in the classroom enhance your learning?
Enhance? Well, being able to IM is nice. Worrying about dying of electrical shock because my hands are literally dripping wet while typing from the unbearable heat? Not so nice.

(3) Was any element of the classroom environment distracting?
During the winter, no: I was able to focus on IMing and typing useless emails. As soon as it hit 70 degrees outside and the heat was still going on, many things were distracting: the professor's pit stains, the radii of which would be best captured with an exponential function; the various states of undress of classmatets who should not be in states of undress; my own state of undress; the fact that I became delusional and befriended an imaginary life-size Furbie in the empty seat next to me(although he was great about sharing notes); the fact that I had to drink the equivalent of two Big Gulps to avoid dehydration but couldn't afford to leave to use the bathroom because the professor talks so fast. Having your bladder explode is not as painful as you'd think. Loud and annoying, but no worse than a cell phone going off.

(4) What would you like to see added to the classroom, within reason?
Do you really want me to go there? This could take a while. Any view of the outside world would be nice (this is not a casino, last time I checked). In lieu of that, a mural of a happy forest. Think Bambi. Think woodland sprites. That, or a depiction of a Bacchanalian orgy, since by the last ten minutes we all looked like we must have participated in one. See references to EXTREME HEAT in above answers for more on this. And since it feels like we're in the equivalent of the Biosphere's rainforest zone, let's go all the way and get some waterfalls and poisonous tree frogs. And yes, I consider this all "within reason."

(5) Were you regularly prepared for the classroom?
Well, as prepared as anyone can be for staying in a sweltering death hole. My time in that Georgia penitentiary helped.

"Come for the pool, stay for the friendly rodents."

You like humor, and I know you haven't been getting it here lately, so my advice is to head here. Many of you probably know about apartmentratings.com already, but for the few of you who haven't experienced the joy of rental housing searches, here's some excerpts from a few mid-Michigan locations. I haven't altered spelling or grammar, because that adds to the humor in some cases.

Overall, this is not somewhere i would recommend to live: the office is terrible especially management, apartments are poorly maintained and they have rats.

[I think saying "they have rats" would be adequate, don't you? But in case you're comfortable with rats, the bad management will keep you away.]

Mgmt, only cares about the grass, and fines. They will fine you (or take out of your deposit) for walking funny, if it offends then. Rent elsewhere unless you are an attorney and can hanlde the legal stress.


randomly one day we found an ant hill in our apartment dinning room. if you don't mind insect infestations this is the place for you

[I normally don't mock misspellings, but a "dinning" room just sounds so great. If I was an ant, that's where I'd go. And eat lots of sugar...]

Maintenance used own towels to clean up mess. Had a huge ant problem for a few months. Strange men beating up people with guns. Grill stolen. Would rather live in a box on Grand River. [emphasis added]

[Oddly, this complaint was titled "ant problem." The strange men were just a minor inconvenience.]

I have 2 dogs (under 10 lbs) which I was allowed to have. The neighbor constantly complained about me and even called the cops on me because she said she expected silence and didn't think dogs should bark...EVER!!! She would rentlessly bang on my ceiling at all hours of the day and scour at me in the parking lot.

[Yeah, those brillo pads can be painful.]

we moved into the "worst apartment in the community"- direct words from the grounds manager. Beware the balconies, they do tend to shake after 3 people are on it. Its fun to party at, but not to live at. Weve had problems from the crews they hire, such as paint all over my stereo equipment from the people who were doing our ethernet, and we also had our ceiling cave in from the people who were "repairing" the roof. The parties are non-stop, and that means unless you LOVE techno music, which I and most sane people don't, its not a good place to live.

[Not so funny, but included because I know we read constructive eviction cases in Property last year that were less serious than this.]

The toilets backed up and all the basement apartments were covered in raw sewage. It is definetely the ghetto apartments of East Lansing, but a very fun place to live. Watch out for the bums though... I saw a fight in the parking garage because one bum was digging through another bums garbage disposal bin. [emphasis added]

[The sewage was just simply "fun"--it was the garbage duels that made it "very fun."]

In the summer we had a huge centipede problem and a rolly polly problem in the fall, our drain would always overflow in the kitchen with old smelly water in the winter...

["To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn....."
Spring wasn't mentioned, so I'm guessing it's reserved for the ants or the rats. Or beatings from strange men.]

DONT MOVE HERE! first of all nick the maitenance guy does drugs all the time, beats his wife, and his kids run around everywhere. Hes a drug pusher.

[There was no "second of all." I guess Nick is a hard act to follow.]

Don't you dare move here! At any point in time during the day or night you will most likely hear children screaming at the top of their lungs, stereos blasting, or white trash couples yelling at their kids. Sometimes I wonder if this is a crack house or an apartment complex.

[Note to marketing: in brochures, add "close to local entertainment."]

I can hear every word from the bedroom below mine, and its even worse when their not talking.

[Please explain, because that was subtle.]

Live in the dorms, live in a house with twenty people, live in a dumpster, but don't live in Crossing Place. At least the rats in the dumpster won't charge you rent, unlike this place.

[But they'll nail you with the security deposit...]

I'll update this as needed.

13 April 2005

Fun with a Corpus

"Highlights" magazine afficionados will appreciate the title of this blog. Everyone else...won't. I actually briefly thought about how funny it would be to swap the words "corpus" and "porpoise," but the "power to invade porpoise" and "distribution of porpoise" are more wrong than funny, so that concept died.

But now on to the matter at hand. The following are quotes that may or may not have been heard at an estate planning career panel* yesterday, with three real-life practitioners. Can you pick out the real ones? [*Thanks T.S.--the panel was actually really useful, and convinced me that I'll go into that area of practice if I in fact do become a lawyer.]

(1) "One thing I'm constantly amazed at is the high percentage of marginal mental illness in our society."

(2) "If you're going to start your own practice, the single most important thing to do is buy a really good printer. Next, a really good computer. And malpractice insurance is the third thing. It also helps to have a respectable looking office."

(3) "I charge a flat rate first, but typically move to an hourly fee if I'm doing more work than the flat rate is covering."

(4) "I charge a flat rate unless I think the client is well-off enough to afford the hourly rate. You can kinda tell if someone's jaw might hit the floor when they hear $300 an hour."

(5) "I literally had a woman client last week who's IQ was maybe 70. Maybe. And I didn't really like her. So not only do you have to dumb down these complex legal ideas, but you're stuck spending extra time with someone you don't like, pretending like you care."

(6) "I had this guy for a client who obviously had a thing for me, but he was paying an hourly rate, so I figured if he calls and wants to chat for a couple hours on a Thursday night, no problem for me. He's happy, I'm happy, everyone's happy."

(7) "Let's be honest, there are two, maybe three hours a day when your mind is actively engaged with your clients."

(8) "Let's be honest, the third year of law school is a joke. Play a lot of golf, go to parties, do basically what you want, because that will be the last really good year of your life. I'm serious. It kind of goes downhill from there. Obviously, this advice is a little late for any 3Ls in the audience."

(9) "I'm close to retirement now, so I'm really cutting back on my hours. That is, unless I'm appointed to a district judgeship in a couple months by the governor. Which is really like taking a step back, because then I'll have to punch a clock. But, I mean, I still would want to be a judge."

[Ok, obviously they're all real. And these were successful lawyers who graduated from top twenty schools. I will note that the one guy was genuinely interesting and insightful, and none of the above quotes is from him.]

11 April 2005

Taking Naps

Remember how awful naps were when we were young? In kindergarten, we always had graham crackers and apple cider and then took a half hour nap, and oh how I hated it. Sleep in general just seemed to be so uninteresting. It involved things like laying down and not doing anything--and for hours. Of course, I loved daydreaming, but that's an entirely different matter.

I was also amazed for years at my parents' ability to fall asleep in minutes. While sitting up. Right in the middle of watching a television show. I would sit there, listening to them snoring in unison, vowing to myself that I would never be that old. Not that I thought of my parents as old, and I still don't, but sleeping in a chair--that was definitely a more aged thing to do. I remember actually sitting in a chair once with my eyes closed, trying to fall asleep. After a good forty minutes, I gave up. Obviously, I was just not the napping type.

Or so I thought. Now, I can nap anywhere. It's disturbing really. Part of me hates getting into the habit, and the other part says "but it's just a few minutes, and it's so nice." Guess which part wins. Last year, around final exams time (I no longer recognize December and May as months, it's just "final exams time"), I started falling asleep while reading in the comfy chair in my room. I wasn't pulling all nighters; I've never been that type. Just five or ten minute power naps. At first I fought to stay awake, but after a while I gave in. I've even learned how to do it in public. Right in the middle of the library lounge: nap. In the middle of Sparty's cafe: nap. In the law school lobby. On the steps outside the law school. In class (ok, not intentionally, and only twice--but if I could figure out how to do it with my eyes open, I'd be there). Even when waiting in the reception area while waiting for my car to be repaired. Nap, nap, nap, nap.

What's the point of this? I would have hoped by now you'd have realized I don't always have points, but this time I do. Becoming an adult isn't about the big changes. It's not about getting the right to drive, or vote, or drink. It's not about getting a bachelor's degree, or living on your own for the first time. It's not about your first "real" job or first "serious" relationship. Ok, maybe it's about all of those things a little bit; I mean, those are obviously social milestones. But for me, it's the little things. The subtle changes in everyday habits. The slight change in how you view something or someone compared to how you would have not so long ago. The things that occupy your mind. The things you appreciate more. The things you understand better.

I hear people all the time say things like "I'm just not the same guy I was a couple years ago." Honestly, I'm not sure that I'm so drastically different from the guy I was in college, or high school, or even kindergarten. And I'm not sure that whoever I am in thirty or forty years will be much different than I am now. I can look at photos of my Mom from when she was only a few years old, and she still has the same expression, the same presence. It's my Mom. And at that moment in her life, she certainly wasn't thinking about how she'd have that title of "Mom" one day. No, her biggest concern in that photo seemed to be how to squint hard enough to block out the sun. Often, she'll still comment on how she truly feels like she was only just going to college herself. In ten years, she'll feel the same way.

So I take naps now. My hair is receding. I have debt, and people mail me things all the time like I'm suddenly one of the important people. Somehow, I ended up in law school. Yes, at some point, I became an adult with responsibilities. For a while, it was scary, this realization that I had crossed that invisible line. But it's still me inside this sort of new packaging, living inside this sort of unfamiliar world. And suddenly it doesn't seem so bad, this whole adult thing. I'm certainly a little bit wiser, which is certainly not bad at all.

10 April 2005

Random Doodads

With finals just around the corner and everything starting to pile up in a seemingly coordinated effort (more likely just because I'm a procrastinator), expect posts like this. If I survive the next three weeks, things will improve. Promise : )

On the late news tonight: “Some junior high students spent their Saturday in downtown Lansing learning about child abuse….” Nothing like a bad field trip to scare you straight.

Then later, from the world of anchor to anchor jokes: “Lisa, why are you still here? Basketball is over.” I was hoping for the conversation to continue, actually. Maybe a brief scuffle later.

In other field trip news, this time from a vet school expo (slow news day apparently): “Clothing is one of the major mediums for disease….” I always knew clothing was a bad idea.
While surfing through some AM talk radio stations (which I maybe do….once a month), I heard a story about some research going on regarding the ability to grow one’s own breast implants.

That’s right. Apparently, someone (hopefully a licensed physician) harvests some cells from that area, then takes the cells off to be grown and nurtured. Kind of like cabbage patch kids, though I presume the end product wouldn’t look the same. The resulting mass is implanted, just like a silicon or saline implant. Apparently, the only sticking point is getting blood supply to the new flesh.

Obviously, getting enhanced by adding more of “you” would be a lot safer. It’s not like you’ll reject yourself (at least not in the biological sense), and you’d have no risk of leakage (unless you’re just super-excited with your new look).

But I can’t shake this image in my head of commercials on television, with some slogan like “it’s you, just more” or “the world could use a little more of you....” or “give a gift to yourself: yourself.” A home kit would be developed.

It would be the Chia Pet of plastic surgery. I’ll leave it to someone else to write the catchy jingle.
So we all know that a movie version of Dukes of Hazzard starring Jessica Simpson as the pulchritudinous sister is due out this summer. This got me thinking about Daisy Dukes, logically. And then: what if other famous Dukes had clothing items named after them?

This summer, Senior Gap (hey, the population is aging after all), introduces “Doris Dukes.” Mid-thigh cut-offs, scrubbed in tobacco for a weathered, vintage look, and made of linen so they’re nice and wrinkly. Instead of “Juicy” emblazoned on the back, it would say “Chew. Spit.”

My brain stopped here, fortunately never making it to David Duke.
The Masters started today, advertised for weeks on CBS as “A tradition unlike any other.” I’m presuming the unspoken response was “sexism?”
Also on the golf theme, sort of: Those awful (AWFUL) commercials for natural male enhancement, that look like something out of a 1950’s suburban utopia, complete with argyle sweater vests. A variety of unsubtle symbolism is used to represent Happy Joe’s new and improved, um, well you know, including a scene with him swinging a huge driver on the golf course. If anyone ever comes up with a program for natural golf enhancement, don’t use this marketing analogy.

09 April 2005

Interesting entry...

This post over at jeremy's site got me thinking, oddly enough, about friendships. This is in rough form, and I might not edit it later, so pardon any lack of flow.

As you have general practitioners and specialists in law and medicine, so you have the same thing among the people you know in life. You have the person you call the "family lawyer" or "family doctor" (coming from a small town, these were actual, real concepts), and this analogizes to the traditional "best friend." The rare, hard-to-find ones. The always there ones, with whom you just click really well. The few things they don't know about you, they can probably take a good guess at. They offer good advice, never abuse the relationship, etc. Mutual trust, in it for the long term. You get the idea. Honestly, when writing all that out, I realize I have never had what I would call a best friend. Two people who would come close, but as Dad always says, "close is only good in horse shoes."

Everyone else--the dozens and dozens of people I've called "friend" at one time or another--falls into the specialist category. You only need the tax lawyer at tax time, or the cardiologist when your ticker is acting up. Estate lawyers and rheumatologists become more important as you age, typically. Similarly, you have friends for certain needs in life, and friends for certain times in life. Most of my high school friends were just that--friends for a certain age, to get me through all those adolescent ups and downs. In fact, I even moved through friends pretty fast in high school. My fifteen year old group of friends was totally different than my seventeen year old group. That probably is the norm (right?). And then there were the friends I had while majoring in music, and the smaller subset who were in piano performance. As soon as I changed majors, the common thread was lost with both groups. But when I changed to polisci, I didn't start to hang out with the polisci majors. Obviously, the friends you have is not purely a result of environment, though I would guess the correlation is strong.

My current friends are more likely, I would wager, to stick a little better. Only because we've gone through so much together, and will be pursuing similar career paths. We speak a more or less common language, and share a more or less common experience. But wait--wasn't the same true of my friends from music school? And high school? Yup. So a month after graduation, after all the "let's keep in touch" talk, will any of us really keep in touch?

I guess my point is that I've yet to find my general practitioner (that sounds so corny). And I think this is totally different from finding the person you want to wake up next to in bed the rest of your life--or maybe not, I wouldn't really know, to be honest. So I mentioned this to a couple people I know, to see if I was just a freak; while some gave the usual responses ("you think a lot, don't you?" or the simple "what?"), others candidly admitted to experiencing the same thing. This didn't really make me feel good about it, it just made me wonder why that is. Oddly enough, I think there is a best friend out there for everyone, but many (too many) people never get that lucky. Instead, we go to the friend who can make us happy, or the friend who's a great helper-outer, or the friend who is there during that first year of college, like we go to whatever doctor can fix that unique problem, or whatever lawyer knows how to get us out of that once-a-decade tough luck situation.

I guess that should be good enough, right? Well, maybe it's a good bare minimum. Besides, if you're going to get anything more than that, you can't exactly force the issue. It will just happen when it's supposed to.

Now I'm in this deep-thinking mode before bedtime, which means I'll lay there restless for another hour.

08 April 2005

Where, oh where, could my little blog be...

Here, obviously. Although it wasn't, for several days. I wasn't aware blogger could go non-functional. And it's too bad for you, because I had some great ideas for posts--brilliant stuff, and laugh-out-loud funny. All forgotten, just because I refuse to carry around a notebook for my ideas. Maybe I fear becoming some middle-aged guy who scribbles in an old book while mumbling to himself. Don't ask me where this image comes from, I have no idea.

Instead, I'll just spend some time telling you about my day. I'm not sure if it'll be funny, I guess you'll have to be daring and hope it is. Chronological order makes the most sense, so as Fraulein Maria would say, "let's start from the very beginning, a very good place to start..."

(1) Woke up.
Generally, this is the best way I can think of to start the day. I have this really good habit going of waking up every day, and this morning was no exception.

(2) Hit the snooze button. Had really weird (but cool!) dreams for nine minutes.

(3) Repeated steps one and two. Many times. Many, many times. Pondered how this might permanently damage my biological clock.

(4) Rolled out of bed and into the shower. Took a shower.
This was actually several steps. I don't have my shower adjacent to my bed, though the convenience of that is enticing. I'll spare you the details on shower-taking, because it's really quite boring and non-creative, and besides that I'd be amping up the EWWWWW factor of my blog. I'm finding that the whole shower thing is a necessity if you actually want a social life. I wish I had known that before junior high (just kidding). But if you love your personal space, by all means, don't shower.

(5) Got dressed.
Again, if you love your personal space, skip this step too. That being said, I like being able to leave the apartment without fear of being arrested, so I almost always get dressed after taking a shower. I especially avoid nude-apartment-guy syndrome if I know I'll be (a) ironing anything (b) cooking anything that might spit (c) eating anything hot and drippy (d) blowing glass (e) folding laundry (f) sitting on anything with fabric upholstery (g) sitting on anything made of steel (h) dancing in the room I keep my cactus collection.
I realize you've probably lost your lunch by now....

(6) Cooked and ate my own breakfast.
Had a two-egg omelette. Three-egg is too big, plus it's really hard to get my pet chicken to lay more than two in a day. On a side note, I know they call it Extra Virgin Olive Oil supposedly because it's the first pressing, but in reality it's because they need an extra virgin to stomp around in the olives.

(7) Went to the law school library. Accomplished things. Yeah, that's right.
Library + Friday morning = peaceful and serene quiet time (read: boring as hell). Do you really want to know what I was doing there? You do? Wow, um, okay. Well, this author of an article that our journal was trying to get decided last minute that he would not be going with our publication and would not, after all, be signing the contract. This means a pared down, intense, one week cite-checking of another article to meet our deadline of April 30th. This means my whole morning and afternoon were spent pulling the roughly 70 sources cited in the article (which had one foot in our rejection pile grave but is now resurrected, Lazarus-like). This means that all the reading, outlining, and blogging I had expected to do earlier today gets pushed into the weekend. This means I will not, under any circumstances, be doing a joyful Snoopy dance in the near future. And that's too bad, because I do a mean Snoopy dance. Not literal "mean," as in malevolent, but colloquial "mean," as in hilarious. If you saw me do it, you'd get why. But now you won't.

(8) Went home to eat lunch and channel-surfed.
I get three PBS stations, which means I can even get educated while couch-potatoing. That reminds me: please....no....more.....Charlie....Rose.....interviews! Or anything put out by the Annenberg CPB project. Please.
During lunchtime, I also get Mister Rogers! I only watch when I need a quick childhood fix, but today seemed really funny to me, on a double entendre kind of level. I mean no disrespect to the show or the man, which I loved as a kid. But on four hours of sleep and after a morning of journal work...well, you read it:

(cue macabre Debussy-esque piano music)
Lady Elaine: "It's in the P room. [awkward pause] P is for package." [uh, ok]
Fred Rogers dressed in a bear costume that may have been purchased in North Halstead, Chicago says something about how he wants the package, and a black woman who looks like she must be the bear's corporate counsel chimes in. Then:
King Friday: "Bring on the package!!!!"

It just got me, I'm sorry. Really.

06 April 2005

(again, click to make it bigger) Posted by Hello

I'm amazed that I actually got around to doing another one of these, and only a week after the first. The fact that I'm willing to devote three or four hours to this when (1) it provides no income (unless someone out there wants to donate?) and (2) as far as I know, I can't use it for resume building (perhaps career services has a handy brochure on the topic).

I'd write more, but I'm in class and the prof just gave me one of those "man, I know what you're doing and am just itching to ask you a question out of the blue since I know you're not gonna be able to bs your way out of this one."

Overheard today (maybe fodder for another comic strip?):
1L Guy: "So in this forfeiture case I'm reading, the family car gets taken away because the husband screwed around in it with a prostitute and got caught."
1L Girl: "I'll just never understand how someone can do that."
1L Guy: "I know, I mean getting with a prostitute...that's just nasty."
1L Girl: "No, I meant doing it in a car."

Five minutes later, the girl was advocating for how awful this must have been for the man, and saying that the wife must have not been providing what the husband needed in the bedroom. The guy kept sticking up for the wife, wondering how his Mom would feel in the same situation. People are just never predictable...

As for my reaction: someone will be getting that car at one of those auto auctions advertised on late night television (Ron Popeil inventions, Christie Brinkley and Chuck Norris exercising, and foreclosure sales--the glory of after midnight programming). And then that someone will be driving around town in presumably a vehicle that is very nice and very unique (they always look nice on the ads), so that the wife and everyone she knows will be constantly reminded of what happened. Probably an eggplant hued PT cruiser with leopard upholstery. Even more ironic: a minivan with all the bells and whistles that finds its way into the hands of the reigning soccer Mom queen. And then I thought how said soccer Mom probably owns several Ron Popeil doo-dads, and rotisesserie chicken is on the menu for the fourth time this week. And how she's probably like the one wife on Desperate Housewives (the pale red head with the noticably pronounced bone structure), and is compensating for a loveless marriage by preparing lavish three course meals. And how her husband in a moment of weakness seeks companionship from a lady of the night--while driving the minivan. The vicious cycle continues. [Wait, what if the minivan itself is cursed? Please don't read too much into this thought process. I'm really debating about posting this one, but I'm sure there's worse on the internet...]

02 April 2005

The Great Side Dish Personality Evaluation

I feel guilty posting another entry about food, because computers cause munchies anyway, and now I'm exacerbating the problem. Sorry to put you in a pickle...(haha)

Anyhoo, enjoy the following waste of time, whether you're a foodie or not. I hope it's enlightening for you.

Instructions: Please select the side dish that you feel most represent you, then read the corresponding explanation provided below. (If you need help choosing a side dish, simply ask a friend to choose for you. Then again, if you need help with something like this, you probably don't have any friends.)

Baked Potato
Mashed Potato
French Fries
Pork & Beans
Dinner Roll
Cole Slaw
Cottage Cheese
Fruit Cup

Baked Potato--You're only worthwhile in late afternoons. Everything good about you is piled on the surface, and isn't really the essence of who you are. When people do get to know the real you, they're usually disppointed, but they keep coming back anyways, and even you don't understand your appeal. Your appearance is kind of nasty. Generally, a good scrubbing helps. You look best in silver or gold. People of Irish descent are drawn to you for some some reason.

Mashed Potato--Ditto on the Irish thing. You get along well with babies and the elderly in particular. You can take hours of abuse, and still come out no worse for wear. While others steal the spotlight, you prefer blending into the background, although you do make a decent first impression. You've been known to wear out your welcome in long term relationships, though.

French Fries--While you're thin and attractive, all your friends suffer from obesity. You also play well with others, but are just as likely to be enjoyed for your own unique qualities. You tend to leave your mark wherever you go. Increasing your salt intake may be bad for your health, but trust me, it will make you a better person. You find yourself constantly drawn to the color red.

Pork & Beans--You're enjoyed in private but generally shunned in public, though you seem to do well where others would fail (like at church picnics). While a relationship with you is often a fabulous experience in the short term, people find themselves in pain afterward, and avoid others until you're out of their system.

Soup--You're all screwed up. With you, it's anyone's guess what you might be like. Unable to maintain a consistent quality, you're destined for a lifetime of love-hate relationships.

Dinner Roll--Could you be anymore boring? It seems you're invited to everything, but are always the one left behind at the end. And it's not that you really make an effort. You just...sit there, looking full of potential, only to disappoint in the end.

Cole Slaw--You move through people faster than you should. Anyone who endeavors to get to know you wil quickly find that you're risky business.

Salad--Everyone loves you, and it's doubtful your popularity will ever diminish. Even when loaded down with emotional baggage, you still find success. All your friends are skinny.

Cottage Cheese--I don't care how many people like you. I won't. You're probably that nasty guy or girl in college that everyone hooks up with at a party at least once out of sheer curiosity. Sorry.

Fruit Cup--Women love you. Men find you disturbing. This will never change, so just stay your sweet self and quit worrying.

But Mr. Man, I don't identify with any of the side dishes on the list!--
I'm terribly sorry. Please write yours in the following blank _________________. Here's your custom evaluation: get a life. Kick yourself for taking a personality quiz in the first place. Now do it again for comparing yourself to food.

I'm a "baked potato" and find your comments offensive--
I'm terribly sorry. Wait...you're a sentient baked potato!!!! Oh my God!

I'm "cottage cheese" and find your comments offensive--
Yeah, but you know deep down I'm right.

Went to Big Boy (a popular Michigan restaurant) to eat some breakfast for lunch. Wondered: "What if Big Boy really does make you say 'Ohhhh Boy!'like the placemats claim? If it doesn't, what if I did anyways, and loud, and repeatedly? Could they make me leave, or could I accuse them of not being faithful to their own marketing?" Clearly, I needed sustenance at this point.

On a side note, I think said marketing team needs some help in other areas. A little flyer next to the table advertised "senior specials." For just $6, you can get "senior pork chop," "senior spaghetti and meatball" (just one!), or, my favorite, "senior meatloaf." As I thought about the phrase "senior meatloaf" I noticed that none of the older waitresses and cashiers were around. Hmmmmm......maybe it was just their day off (yeah, permanent day off!!).

On another (totally) unrelated note, the chili on the soup and salad bar looked unusually chunky.

01 April 2005

Mommy, look what I made...

click me, I get biggerPosted by Hello

...and all by myself, too. I've often been a fan of comic strips, so I've made the bold decision to start my own. I'm pleased enough with the first attempt. I figure that I like drawing as much as writing (well, almost--certainly one is less time-intensive), and rather than segregate these two parts of my personality, I'd combine them into something hopefully worthwhile. The above creation took three hours using Microsoft Paint; three hours that could (okay, should) have been spent outlining for my law classes, or cite checking, or thinking through my latest bout of law school malaise. I suppose this isn't the best sort of investment in my future, but who knows. Maybe I'll get good at this comic strip endeavor, and be "discovered" (all at once now, "ooooohhhhh").

Or not. Remember, my subtitle says I'm only 8% totally incurable dreamer. Whatever. I still feel like breaking out the champagne, or at least some sparkling white grape juice--I'd even settle for CapriSun and club soda--because I can't remember the last time I did something completely creative of this magnitude. I'm hoping the work product will mature eventually, and that I'll be able to post about once a week. It still needs its own distinct "voice," which I imagine is simply a function of time and energy.

And last, I'd like to thank Jeremy Blachman, whom I've never met. But I've linked to his blog on my site (see "humorous law school blog" link), and anyone who is marginally human can read it and gain two benefits. First, uncontrollable laughter. Second, the epiphanal realization that who we are and what we become is definitely not a function of where we are at a given moment. Is it sad to have this knowledge at age 25? Probably not. I figure that I still have a few whiplash-inducing 180's ahead on my lifepath before I have to become worried about any detriment to my retirement savings. So, thanks man.