now clogging the internet elsewhere

29 September 2006

Back to your regularly scheduled blawg

It's been a while since I talked about law school, I realize, but I'm back in school for reals now and those funny law school things keep coming if you're only here for stories about law firms, I'll give you a moment to gather your things and go. I'm taking a trial advocacy class, with a mock trial and everything, which sounds kind of fun but in reality is an excruciating exercise in trying to find a copy shop that will make extra large poster-sized copies for less than $20 and training paid actors to act like witnesses. My trial partner and I met with our actor/witnesses last night for our trial on Saturday and oh dear god. "Treat the witnesses like they're in character!" the professors told us. "Don't break character! Just help them with their testimony. They'll know the story backwards and forwards! Just treat them like you would any other witness." Our client is a man who got shot by the police who is seeking civil damages against the police officers and the city. Our witness, who plays the man who got shot, walks into the witness prep room, sits down, and says "So, I'm a cop, huh? Cool! I'm on plainclothes detail and I get into a fight with some wackjob...." "um," I inerrupted, "actually, that's the other side. You are the wackjob." "Oh." he said. "Then I don't know anything about this case. You're going to have to start from scratch." AWESOME. Our actor is a nice person, and really wants to do well, but when he said "you know, it would really help if you'd write me a script with some notes in the margins about what's motivating me at different times in my testimony- you know, whether I'm coming from an angry place, or a sad place?" I wanted to shoot him. What's my motivation? Maybe you could just learn the facts of the case, friend. I'd settle for that. "Oh!" he said. "And do you want me to do an accent? Blue collar Italian, blue collar Irish, something like that?" Oh dear god no. Please don't spend your one day of prep time trying to adopt a blue collar Italian accent. Please just try to learn your lines. Pretty please. Because my trial is going to go a whole lot better if you're able to remember that you owe SIXTY thousand dollars to the hospital, not six thousand like you kept saying in practice. There's a really big difference between sixty and six, and your motivation? Your motivation is to get as much money from these trigger happy cops as you can. So let's just focus on the difference between sixty and six and leave the accents and the invented family histories and all the other method acting techniques for another day. Mmmkay?

27 September 2006

Suggestions welcome

If you were trying to get someone to give you money to work for a public interest agency, how would you respond to the following essay question? State briefly (300 words) your sense of the relevancy of public interest work to contemporary society. Answers I'm considering:

- Public interest : contemporary society :: Oxygen : survival - "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." - It's all relative. I mean relevant. It's all relevant. - One day, all children.... - As Albert Einstein, noted smart guy, once put it: "Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile...." -Public interest makes all of the public interest-minded law students anxious and grumpy as they frantically look for jobs while the corporate law people get to spend their 3L year imagining how they're going to spend that $125,000 a year.
Any other suggestions?

26 September 2006

Usually Edward Norton is all I need to hear, but I'm confused now

A long time ago my dad worked for a company that was in the middle of a rebranding effort. Part of the process was coming up with a new slogan, which is a remarkably time- and energy-consuming process. There were meetings, and focus groups, and sample advertisements. They finally selected something and then, a week before they rolled out the new campaign, a car company launched a new ad campaign with exactly the same slogan. "That always happens!" said my understandably frustrated father. "These things always come in pairs- whenever you come up with something good, someone else seems to come up with it at the same time." It's funny the things that people say that stick in your mind. (I can still tell you in elaborate detail, for example, about the time I struck out at a junior high school softball game and my science teacher, seeing the disappointed look on my face, said "don't worry, you'll never remember this in ten years." Fourteen years later....) But darn it if he wasn't right. I haven't been to the movies in months, and I was thinking that as fall's chill enters the air it might be nice to go out on a classic dinner and a movie date this weekend. Trouble is, I can't decide what I want to see, and I keep seeing commercials for movies that look so similar that it's only confusing me further. First it was these two: Lush visions of old Hollywood! Ingenues! Pretty dresses! Perfect red lipstick! Intrigue! How to choose? (Well hel-LO Adrian Brody! I pick you! And if you could teach me how to use blogger to upload pictures in roughly the same size and in a nice pretty layout, that'd be great!) Now there are these two: Magicians! Sleight of hand! Dark, vaguely sepia-tones images! Intrigue! How to choose? In all seriousness, all of these seem like movies I might like to see. But I can't even tell them apart from one another! And we only go to the movies about five times a year because we are lazy and love Tivo, so I'd better not waste our movie date on a subpar choice. Does anyone know anything about thie movie industry? How does this happen, that movies so similar get released almost simultaneously? I really don't get it.

24 September 2006

the generation gap

Actual conversation with my grandmother (age 87):

Grandma: Well, since you don't eat meat I guess you can just cook what you want for yourself and then put a separate piece of meat in the oven for John. Pseudo: Actually, he pretty much just eats what I eat. He orders meat at restaurants sometimes, but at home we don't really cook meat. Grandma (half-wailing): But he's a boy! Boy's need meat! You're his wife! You have to cook him meat! Pseudo: [chokes on tongue in effort to bite it]

21 September 2006


Without getting too political, this is just too perfect. My favorite part:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested 127 suspected illegal immigrants Wednesday morning at a construction site next to Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. Some suggested the raid was possibly the largest immigration bust in state history....The alleged illegal immigrants were working on building military housing for the base.
Hah! Odd, isn't it- the very government that is so intent on protecting us from undocumented workers that it's actually proposed militarizing the border is somehow so careless when it comes to its own contractors. Priceless.

Yet another product for which I am not the target demographic

Somehow, despite my best efforts, my primary email address has become a dumping ground for all manner of spam. Every day I get between 30 and 50 emails offering a GrAEt In*vest OpporTOWNity! or BiGGGGG P*nIs. My spam filter does a pretty good job of catching these, (though a few funny ones manage to get through, including one yesterday with quite a catchy headine: "PRISON," it said. The body of the email said "IT SUCKS." Good point! I'm sold!) In addition to all the spammy crap, though, I seem to have gotten on several retail sales lists. My spam filter does a terrible job of catching these, and every day I seem to get more direct emails advertising books, skinny black pants, slouchy sweaters, and shoes with free shipping. Yesterday, though, I got a direct email that caused me to choke on my coffee. For this product. This product that allows women to DYE their "hair down there." What the hell? The product's website talks cheerfully about how every blonde wants to be a "true blonde," and now, with this product, they can be! (It also covers grays beautifully!) Which makes me wonder: if this product is for the purposes of matching, who exactly is the "Fun Betty" designed for? (Fun Betty is bright fucking pink, and as the website helpfully offers, it makes "the perfect gift!" Ack.) Attention, sellers of pubic hair dye: please leave me off your email sales list in the future. Also, keep me off any lists advertising pubic topiary products or anything involving application of crystals in private areas. Thank you.

19 September 2006


There are things, my friends. Things to blog about. But it is late, and I have been up since 5, and that makes me tired. So I will leave you with a vignette: The scene: in the courtroom of an unnamed law school. Several dozen trial advocacy students, plus the lawyers teaching them, are gathered for a session entitled "Persuasion." A crazy gray haired woman asks us to breathe, center our breath, be in the space. Stand in positions of power! she says. Fill the room with your voice. Then she asks: how are you feeling right now? All of you! Call out your answers! Call out your answers? Is she kidding? She's standing in a room of people who have spent the past two weeks trying not to look like idiots around each other. Chances of someone volunteering "I feel vulnerable"? Slim to none.

18 September 2006

Is there anything better...

...than the first MacIntosh apple of fall?

15 September 2006

Is It Me You're Looking For?

Remember that creep-tastic Lionel Richie video? The one for the song “Hello” where he’s creepily stalking the blind student from his class and singing “Hello- is it me you’re looking for?”

This one 1

I was at the gym this morning, watching VH1 because there’s not a hell of a lot worth watching at 5am (side note: Do I get some sort of wife of the year prize for going to the gym with John at 5am so he can work out and still get to work on time, even though my first class isn’t until 1? Anyone? Is there some sort of free ice cream giveaway for me somewhere? Nothing? Dammit).

Apparently, Lionel is still at it with the creepy videos. His new song is something about “I know that this is love” and “I love you” and “our love is sexy and strong” and yadda yadda (Lionel, you might want to get some new material.) The star of this video? His famously-emaciated DAUGHTER. Because nothing says “romantic love song” like Daddy singing in breathy tones about his little girl. Technically the video seemed to be working some storyline about her being a socialite in love with a waiter, but still. The first two minutes of the video are just shots of her in glamorous dresses with him singing “lovey dovey true love forever my heart etc.”

Let’s just say it did not make me want to rush out and buy the new album.

1 I tried to actually upload the YouTube video to the blog, going so far as to register for YouTube and then register my blog on YouTube, but apparently I missed the essential “sacrifice to the YouTube gods” step because it has refused to work for a day now and I’m giving up.

13 September 2006

Jesus, is she still talking about parking?

I lived in San Francisco and environs for several years before moving here. There were several things about San Francisco that were good:

  • The hills and the ocean
  • Nice progressive people
  • Burritos
There were, however, some things about San Francisco that were bad:
  • Parking
  • That time I almost stepped on a hypodermic needle in the park
  • Parking
As much as I would love to exist solely on public transportation, I am fairly regularly struck with city clausterphobia, wherein I feel the need to flee on short notice and go into the woods, or on a road trip to Carlsbad or something. Having to rent a car every time I want to go on a hike, or have a yearning to visit the last state in the union I haven't been to? 1 Not so much. I really like having a car. So parking in San Francisco? Awful. This is no secret, but it is really true. I was glad, when I moved away from the Bay Area, that I had finally left the days of “we don’t really need to go grocery shopping today do we? Can we eat ramen for two more days? Because we have a really great parking spot and I’d hate to lose it” behind me. At least I thought I’d left it behind me. After my (ahem) encounter with the university parking assholes a few days ago, I’d resigned myself to another year of fairly easy, if slightly annoying, street parking. What the parking assholes had failed to mention, however, was that the insane amount of construction currently taking place on campus has decreased the number of available street parking spaces. Dramatically decreased. As in, there used to be eight blocks where you could park your car near-ish to the law school and now, thanks to huge construction equipment and stripped streets and open manhole covers, there are two. Two blocks. From eight to two, people. It’s fucking San Francisco all over again. Thing is, if I have to circle and hover behind people who look like they might be leaving and all the rest of it, just to get a parking spot to go to class, it’s going to be awfully tempting to just turn around and go home. I can wear sweatpants at home. I do lots of things at home- cook, eat, sleep, read- no reason I can’t complete my third year of law school there, too, right? 1 West Virginia

12 September 2006

Constantly Craving, That's Me!

Is it a compliment or an insult when your professor says to you: "I totally see you as a k.d. lang type!" I'm thinking insult. But she said it with such enthusiasm, I can't be sure.

11 September 2006

September 11, 2001, was my first day at my first post-college job. At 8am, before we knew anything, I set up a table in the student union at the East Coast boarding school where I had gotten a community service teaching fellowship. For half an hour or so, I cheerfully encouraged sleepy students shuffling through on their way to breakfast to sign up for the various community service projects that I was running or organizing. Then the news hit, and suddenly we were all very very awake, and all the televisions in the student union got tuned to the news and stayed there for three days. There was a debate about whether to have classes or whether to have an assembly but it was all still so new and so jumbled that what would we say at an assembly? Then the second plane hit and we knew that this would not be a day of classes, that there would be an assembly, and a candlelight vigil, and a non-denominational prayer service during which I’d go to church, by choice, for the first time in years. Word traveled quickly around campus about the several kids had just lost a parent or an uncle or a sibling who worked for a bank or a law firm. We all knew about the one boy who, on his first day of his first year of boarding school, his first moments living away from home, lost his father. I cried, hard, for that little boy, for the bewildered, lost look on his face when his mother came to pick him up and bring him home the next morning, on what would have been his second day of high school. I cried at my own stupid independent streak that had taken me to this place, far away from my family and my friends and anyone who I loved whose hand I could hold while we watched hour upon hour of news coverage showing, in painful detail, what we had lost. Today, I happened to be at the gym when the memorial activities in New York started. I watched, astonished, as one by one the people on the treadmills and stairmasters and the guys lifting weights stopped what they were doing, paused their machines, and without prompting, at the precise time when the first plane hit the first tower five years ago today, all of us who happened to be in my little gym in Chicago observed a moment of silence. More than any angry political rhetoric, more than any war mongering or peace protesting or shouting on Sunday morning television or smirking through a speech to the nation, more than any flag-waving, or flag-burning, that moment in the gym this morning reminded me how we are all, clearly, still reeling.

07 September 2006

Oh my god please let me do something other than laundry and financial aid forms today.

Occasionally, in dire moments of most insane stress, I believe that I would like to be a Woman of Leisure. I would spend my days sleeping in, getting highlights, and developing a taste for sherry. My biggest decision where I should lunch and whether I should take my tea in bed or on the verandah. "Summer" would become a verb- though the decision between summering on the Cape and in the Hamptons would be challenging. My skin would, of course, be flawless. Truth is, though, I would make a really awful Woman of Leisure, because when I don't have a structure or point to my days I become listless and grouchy. When I don't have school or work or anything to give me a little kick in the tush to get up and do something, I start being unreasonably grumpy with those around me, helpfully reminding my husband things like "I did two loads of laundry today!" and "play with me I'm bored!" He just loves these little episodes. All this by way of saying: not much to write about here. I could tell you about how I saved $800 on our car insurance by consolidating our policies. That was pretty exciting. Or how I tried to get an internet writing job that I was kind of excited about but which didn't pan out, inspiring me to scour the craigslist listings for nanny jobs because I have, oh, I dunno, FOUR DAYS until I start school which seems like plenty of time to start a new career. Ooh! Ooh! How about the fact that I spent this afternoon pulling wedding photos out of our album of proofs and driving them over to the photographer because I have broken down and decided to pay them the extra $200 to put them online because dammit, I've been married for almost a year and not one single print has been ordered by anyone, so it's become pretty clear that having me organize the photo ordering for the 47 California relatives is not so much working out. I do get to go hang out with Samantha tomorrow, though, and I did get a new digital camera last week, so if you're lucky, I might have photographic evidence of actual fun being had to share with you soon. If all else fails, I'm back at school on Monday, which is always good for some ridiculous stories. Oh, and go check out Will's blog. He seems to believe that a conversation he had with me four years ago planted the seeds of inspiration for this little trip around the world he's taking, so now I feel obligated to give him free advertising to make up for all the money I've caused him to spend on bus tickets.

05 September 2006

No parking

Dear University Parking Swamee: Please accept my apology for my disgraceful behavior this afternoon. I came into your office to pick up my parking pass for the new academic year. In my hot little hand I carried a check for two hundred and seventy dollars, an amount equal to the thirty dollar monthly fee multiplied by the nine school months, and the exact amount I was told I would owe by the Law School Parking Liaison. Yes, she actually calls herself that. No, I'm pretty sure she's not kidding. So you'll have to forgive me for my reaction when you told me "that will be $480." Because $480 is more than TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS MORE than I was expecting to pay. When you explained to me that the price for a month of parking had been raised to $40 a month, I accepted that, but was still confused, see, since 40 x 9 = $360, not $480. When you explained to me that because the law school had "reserved the spot in my name I would have to pay for the full twelve months" even though I am GRADUATING in June, I exasperatedly asked you to repeat that because seriously, what? Because I reserved a parking space, (as all law students are required to do if they want a parking pass,) I have to pay for three extra months? What? So when I told you that I was no longer able to afford a parking pass because OH MY GOD ARE YOU SERIOUS ALMOST FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS TO PARK?, and you sucked your teeth and sighed audibly and told me in an irritated tone that I should not have come in there if I was just going to "flake out" and "waste your time," I admit it- I rolled my eyes at you, sighed loudly, and walked away in a sort of defiant manner, muttering under my breath words like "ridiculous" and "rip off" and "bitchy-ass annoying customer-service deficient assholes." That was rude of me. Please accept my apologies. Sincerely, pseudo

03 September 2006

It wouldn't be any other way

Jonas, I hardly knew ye. We hardly got a chance to bond or anything, because approximately 24 minutes after I learned of your existence, I got a phone call from a woman named Peak! (who said her name, Peak!, with such enthusiasm that there's no way to write Peak! except with an explanation point,) who cheerfully informed me that she was a friend of the original leaseholder of the apartment I was subletting (no, I did not sublet from the original leaseholder, I sublet from another subletter because I AM A FUCKING IDIOT) and she would be by at nine o'clock that evening to pick up all the furniture. Oh. Like, ALL the furniture? Like the dresser and (more importantly) the bed and (most importantly) the television? Yes! I managed to talk Peak! into waiting until the next morning to pillage my apartment so I could have one more night of sleeping there. "No problem!" said Peak! "I have keys anyway so I can just come while you're at work tomorrow!" Ahem. You have keys anyway? Yes! Turns out the original leaseholder was very generous with her promises of furniture to all of her NYU LLM friends, and there were several other people who also had keys to the apartment, and Peak! told me helpfully that they, too, were planning to come by at different times to pick up other pieces of furniture. REALLY glad to know that I've been living in an apartment where, at any given moment, an international law student could have barged in and requested that I please let them take the microwave now. So after talking to Peak! I put my stuff in my suitcase and moved to Murphy's place on the upper east side. After that, the rest of my time in New York went by in kind of a blur. I got drunk at pub trivia, worked my tail off for the last two days of my job to try to impress them, had an exit interview during which I got both a job offer AND an offer to write me a stellar recommendation whenever I need one, picked myself up off the floor (where I had fallen from the shock,) stayed up all night on Friday so I could get in a cab at 4am to catch my 6am flight out of LaGuardia, and got home to Chicago on Saturday morning. Where I promptly realized that, since John is on a business trip and I didn't bring my keys with me to New York, I was locked out of my apartment. Figures.