C'est un blague.

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  • Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    Warning: completely non-PC post ahead

    Bar review is mostly mind-numbingly boring, intermittently spiked with sharp pangs of terror. Kinda like when you bite hard into a chili pepper that you didn't see in your Chinese food.

    And the review session lectures tend to be on tape rather than live. They are all current -- some more than others -- but it's still an incredibly passive form of learning (I almost fell asleep today). Some of the profs try to keep our circulation going by having us write "fill in the blank" answers in the outlines; others include hypos in the handouts. Most try at least a little bit to be somewhat amusing to keep us awake.

    Some fail miserably.

    But others are very entertaining.

    One actually sang.

    And one told a joke that make me laugh. It's not at all PC, but I don't care. In order to appreciate it fully, read it aloud (albeit quietly) to yourself. It is meant to be heard, not read.

    Here goes:

    Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas and George Bush were all candidates competing in a spelling bee. Who won?

    George Bush. He was the only one who knew "harass" wasn't two words.
    Even funnier to me because it was told by a relatively well known law professor during a bar review course.

    At least I know that I'll get some studying done tonight

    Tonight is the annual State of the Union address by the Bush-ster. Enticing as it may be, I can't stand the sound of his voice, so I won't be watching.

    And since it will be broadcast over every channel, I'll have no choice but to study...

    Hmm, this may be the only time I've ever appreciated anything Bush has done.

    It takes a village

    I'm told that it's an African proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child." We all know it's the title to one of Hillary Clinton's books.

    My version?

    It takes a village to get me up and out of bed in the morning.

    I am suffering old age and law fatigue between working and the bar review and the sheer terror of T-three weeks exactly until the dasterdly bastard of a bar.


    Fashion statement

    Saw this on Nod to Nothing and decided to check it out myself. It's a t-shirt by SnapShirts based on the content of my blog.

    Kinda cool to see law featured upfront. My links to cyberpals are right on top too. The rest is kinda random, but at least Bush was in a small font size -- as he should be.

    The unspoken

    So I was reading what Denise wrote about her grades being finally in (Congrats!)... and her post directed me to her fellow Wolverine, Heidi and her post about the code of silence surrounding grades at law school -- and her feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I completely agree with her.

    For the entirety of his whole law school experiment, I seem to have been waiting for my come-uppance too. My completely irrational rantings while waiting for my final, final grades was a manifestation of my incredility at them. I mean -- if they'd been that good, then that means that something equally as bad would come my way, right?

    Well, it didn't, and I am going graduate.

    And while I jumped with glee and told very close friends what my grades were, I never told anyone in my class. You just don't. do. that. But I'm going to play around the edges here. Now that I'm out of the game, maybe it doesn't matter so much.

    In going to law school, I decided that there were a few benchmarks that I wanted -- and did manage -- to hit, and I'm proud of that.

    First, I wanted to graduate without embarrassing myself or, more importantly, the people who wrote letters of recommendation for me. I think I managed that.

    Second, I wanted to graduate without ever receiving a C. I came close, but I did manage to do that.

    Third, I wanted to graduate with a B+ average. At GULC, B+ is something around the middle to high point of the curve. In other words, mediocrity. I achieved mediocrity.

    And as I progressed through law school and figured out what I could/couldn't do, I started to develop some more goals. In my last year of school, a target graduation GPA started to form. I realized that I was within spitting distance of graduating with honors -- and so I started to think that maybe I should go for that.

    Crazy, crazy, crazy thoughts. But they loomed in the back of my mind, especially after my third year with only one semester to go.

    But I never let the grade game drive me nutz (until this last semester). One of the coping mechanisms I had had was that I gave up the grade race early. You may not believe that from some of my posts, but I decided early on that, within a certain range, I wasn't going to care too much about my GPA. I knew that my GPA wouldn't make or break my career with all my work experience and other achievements. And actually, I also adopted that stance partially because my first semester grades were really. REALLY. bad. Just plain ugly.

    While I know that (most) everyone's first year grades aren't what they want them to be (except perhaps 15%, as noted by Scoplaw), mine made me cry, something I did only twice in law school about school... (but that's another post, too). I was so disappointed.

    Now, on the other end of the law school experience, I am proud of my GPA, and I really think that if I had stressed over it, I never would have been able to achieve it. The consternation would have been counter-productive. Plus, I think enjoying the classes allowed me to do better.

    I'm living proof that grades aren't everything... I'll graduate on Wednesday with a respectable GPA but I still don't have a job!

    (but I will...)

    (and I'll graduate with a GPA that is even higher than I had ever considered I might achieve... yay!)

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    A class act

    At GULC, Dean Aleinikoff was a very popular prof, and the student body was very supportive of his being named Dean.

    This illustrates why. It's a simple statement on the recent speech made by the Attorney General at the Law Center and the attendant protest.

    Clearly, he knows what it takes to be a good law school dean -- a fundamental fluency in the law and a real understanding of the function of educational institutions. Ya' know, the Tinker case.

    P.S. you should also read Scoplaw's take on the protest and the aftermath. He was actually in the room, unlike most who had to sit in the "overflow" room.

    What I'm looking forward to most

    Not always having to carry around a backpack that weighs more than my two year-old nephew. Seriously.

    After three and a half years of almost-everyday-hauling casebooks and my computer to work and then to school for class and now doing pretty much the same for bar review everyday, I can. not. wait. to stop the schlep. I just want to carry a cute, little, totally impractical purse -- and nothing more.

    That's what I'm looking forward to most.

    (at least in the short term)

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Good news and bad news...

    Good news first: I got my ticket to sit for the MD bar.


    Despite the length, breadth, depth and pain involved in filling out the application correctly (under threat of non-admission, I might add), it seems I crossed all my "Ts" properly such that I can sit for the bar in a few (holy cow) weeks.

    It's actually quite a relief to know that. The application was a bastard.

    Bad news: I didn't get my first choice of examination locations, the one close to DC. I have to travel up to west Baltimore to sit for this sucker. I know nothing about Balto geography, so telling me "Westlawn" is like saying it's in "Peoria, IL" -- meaning, I've never been to either but can -- and will have to -- Mapquest it.

    Made the hotel reservations last night. There goes another $200 bucks. When this is all over, maybe, maybe I'll tally up the cost to figure out exactly how much this bar adventure cost me in fees, classes and miscellaneous expenses like the hotel.


    Another reason

    This is another reason why Virginia is a completely foreign land to me, even though I was born in DC and grew up (mostly) in Maryland.

    So, the government can ban smoking in public buildings but not restrict the carrying of loaded, concealed weapons? What's wrong with this picture?

    (and before anyone screams "Second Amendment", let me forestall the argument by adding that I am not saying "guns, bad" and that they should be banned but rather that it is not unreasonable to place a restriction on the carrying of loaded weapons into a place with as much security -- and as many tourists -- as the Virginia State Capitol building...)

    Thursday, January 26, 2006


    Anyone out there who is a Mac-xpert, I need some help. I have a PowerBook and an iPod, and I'd like to transfer some audio files to another iPod which is used with a PC.

    Does anyone know how I can do a direct transfer between Pods or what softward/plug-in I can install on my Mac to let me move the files to the PC Pod without messing up the iPod or erasing all my stuff?

    I appeal to the greater wisdom of ... frankly, anyone. Please gimme a shout if you know how this can be done.


    Well, whaddya' know...?

    Thomas got a make-over for the new year.

    Pretty spiffy!

    First ladies

    One topic on which I've started blog entries several times -- but never quite managed to finish -- is the number of women who have been elected as a head of state around the world. I have wanted to write something about this for a while, and even now, I wish I had more time to write more, think more, do more reading and research on it...

    But something is better than nothing, so here's a little something.

    With the recent election in Chile of Michelle Bachelet as president and Liberia (Liberia!) electing Africa's first female head of state, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (she just took office a week or so ago), it just makes me wonder when the heck will this country be progressive enough to seriously consider the possibility of a woman at the top of a major party's ticket?

    No surprise that some of the more left-leaning countries have had a woman at the helm: Canada (Kim Campbell), Norway (Gro Harlem Brundtland), New Zealand (Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark), Iceland (Vigdís Finnbogadóttir) and so on. More surprising (to me at least) is that the first female head of state was in 1953. Where? Brace yourself... It was Suhbaataryn Yanjmaa of Mongolia. And then, the list of countries which are not exactly known for their progressive politics but which have already seen a female head of state/head of government... well, it's impressive. Below is a non-exhaustive list of countries that have seen a woman running the show, not including monarchs:

    Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia , Burundi, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Finland, Georgia, German Democratic Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Liberia, Malta, Mongolia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, San Marino, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, the U.K....(I'm sure I missed many)
    [Check here for a list of female presidents (they use the term as the country did -- so no guarantee that a democratic election was involved) and here for women elected or appointed heads of state/government.]

    I have to admit that the list was longer than I had expected and certainly than I knew. It's painful to note that the United States has only come sorta close -- but even that was such a landslide defeat that I don't know if it counts as close by any measure. I know we can do better. There are so many smart, ambitious women who could do the job.

    This whole blog isn't meant to be an editorial pushing for a female presidential candidate or anything, but wouldn't it be nice if the US could be as progressive as, say, Bangladesh or Pakistan or Turkey or Indonesia?

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Proud to be an (almost) alum

    Damn, I gotta say how proud I am of my fellow civil liberties-minded law students who demonstrated quite civilly how criminal they think the policies of this adminstration are when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came to defend the domestic spying program at my soon-to-be alma mater...!

    Here's what the AG's prepared remarks were. Here's a link to the webcast of what he actually said. And here and here and here and here (among a zillion other sites and the blogs, oh the blogs!) is how the media covered it. The students spoke volumes with their silence, and these pictures say it all.

    During my time at the Georgetown University Law Center (GULC), I have participated in a number of student-organized efforts, of which I am very proud. For example, GULC took the lead on preparing the law student amicus brief for Grutter v. Bollinger (which I was very excited to sign -- how else would a first year law student get to participate in an amicus brief???). We protested the Solomon amendment, and a number of folks I know worked on the strategy and the amicus brief.

    And this. I love that these students stood up and (about) faced the AG on this issue.

    Beautiful. Brilliant.

    The students will probably all have FBI files as a result of this protest, and I so admire their courage.

    UPDATE (1/26): Let's see if this technologically challenge gal can do this. I am trying to upload the feed...

    Hmmm, after fiddling, it looks like I don't know what I'm doing (no surprise). So here's a direct link to Gonzales's address and the panel discussion following it.

    And... a friend of mine who was at the event, told me it made The Daily Show (click on the "Tap Dancing" segment) and sent me this.

    Sad state

    A sad state of affairs: Va. Senate Easily Passes Gay Marriage Ban.

    The article notes that following the Senate vote, the measure will be sent to the House "where easy passage is also expected."


    Ickily compelling

    Who knew whale puke commanded such a dollar per pound price? Just goes to show you that you learn something new every day.

    For the life of me, I can't think of any other excrement that is a highly valued commodity. And I don't know that I want to.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    February 1st

    That's the day I graduate law school. It's also the day I cease working until after the bar.

    In other words, just another day in the life -- but I'll probably have a bit of a skip in my step, especially since I'll be able to sleep late that day in celebration and preparation.

    Ohh, this made me mad

    When I heard this story on Nightline, I was sooo angry. It's about how Ameriquest actively swindled low-income homeowners out of their savings, their homes and well, maybe their trust and some dignity. Corporate greed at its very worst.

    But then the white hats...

    State prosecutors and lending regulators in 49 states and the District have reached a wide-ranging $325 million settlement with Ameriquest Mortgage Co.
    Cynics will say that it was just lawyers going for deep pockets to line their own, but these were not-in-it-for-the-bucks government lawyers who got this settlement, and it sounds like the homeowners will get some real money -- not a lot, not enough but more than just the usual crappy deal born out of really frivolous lawsuits -- like a month of free service (Netflix) or a 15-minute long-distance telephone card.

    And ya' know what? It makes me proud to be a lawyer (Can I say that? maybe, to be safe, I should say "makes me proud of my chosen profession.") Some people might say less regulation is better, but I think this case illustrates that there are plenty of people willing to take advantage of the little guy, and we need a big guy (although not necessarily big brother) to watch out for them.

    (okay... I'll hop off my soapbox now)

    Monday, January 23, 2006

    The end of a political era

    NBC announced that it has decided to cancel The West Wing next season because of declining viewership. Too bad. It was the only progressive administration around, and even if it's fiction, I don't mind living in a fantasy world for an hour a week.

    But some say The West Wing already jumped the shark, and I agree to some degree. I mean, really, how many administrations have to deal with losing a VP to scandal, the president's daughter being kidnapped, an assassination attempt, nuclear disaster, internal leaks of classified material, unplanned pregnancy, etc., etc.? That just kinda screams "Hollywood!" (although come to think of it... hmmm, attack on NYC/WDC, invasion of Afghanistan/Iraq, VP with serious heart problems, daughters drinking underage, internal leaks of classified material...)

    Anyway, it was a bit much, so maybe after the upteenth crisis, it jumped. But I still generally liked the writing and the characters. After Aaron Sorkin left, the show definitely lost its edge, but I thought, at least recently, it had started to regain some of its former timing and momentum. It certainly didn't hurt to have a cutie like Jimmy Smits added as a regular character (the irony here being that he played the first Latino presidential candidate while Martin Sheen, a Latino himself, played an Anglo president).

    And even though some of the story lines were over the top, I do very much like that it was based in historical fact, e.g., President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet (yes, only one "T" at the end) was supposedly descended from Founding Father Josiah Bartlett from New Hampshire. And the show often pulls from real life events -- so maybe that's why it's compelling?

    However, seven years is a long run for any administration, and I guess with the passing of John Spencer, the issues became insurmountable.

    Any bets on how the writers deal with John Spencer's death? My guess? I wouldn't be suprised if Leo McGarry dies in an airplane crash while out on the campaign trail.

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    The downside of finishing law school

    My student loans have already started to come due. Since I consolidated to lock in the lower loan rate (under 3% -- yay!), the trade-off was losing the 6 month deferral grace period.

    Apparently, I am already behind a payment.

    The thing is, I haven't technically graduated yet, so how is that possible?

    The student loan folks will be getting a call first thing tomorrow morning. My loans don't go into active status until after I graduate. That's February, not December. I need all the extra breathing space I can eke out!

    More like eeek! ouch!!!

    UPDATE (1/23): called the student loan company and had to put the loan into deferral (or whatever it's called) until after the bar. I was easily accomplished, and the woman who handled it assured me that I would suffer no penalties for pushing back my active status a month (just that interest would continue to accrue). Phew, 'cuz that's the last thing I need to worry about now!

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    And now to Hawai`i politics

    Two-term Dem Congressman Ed Case will challenge veteran Democratic Senator Dan Akaka.

    As I told my friends in an email, Holy sh*t.

    That's a huge deal. And in my mind, political suicide. When any youngster challenges an incumbent, it's a big deal. When it happens in Hawai`i, it brings up questions of whether that person really lives the "aloha" spirit (in other words, did his mother raise him right?) -- a question which comes into stark relief when you consider the age and ethnicities of the candidates.

    Senator Akaka is a beloved figure -- an elder -- with a vast and diverse constituency and support base. He's the only Native Hawaiian ever to have served in Congress; he has tremendous political and community experience (he came to the Senate from the House after appointment and special election when Senator Matsunaga passed away in 1990); he's a WW2 veteran; he is an educator; he is a golfer. He says he doesn't feel betrayed, but I think that a lot of voters in Hawai`i might be offended.

    That's just informed speculation on my part though.

    Especially in Hawaii, I imagine that this move is seen as confrontationally ambitious, but Case is couching it in terms of a platform of leadership transition, young blood and all that. Read: he doesn't want to wait until one of the 80-something senators dies, and he knows that neither have plans to step down. Also read: age and health will be issues. A senate term is, after all, six years. What's not being said here is that Case doesn't want to miss his shot if one of the senators passes on in office (which would allow the Republican governor to appoint the first R senator since Hiram Fong in 1977), so he isn't waiting but rather grabbing the bull by the horn, being quite aggressive -- and aggressive just ain't Hawai`i. Clearly, Case knows he really wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in Honolulu against Senator Inouye, but I just can't see him winning against Akaka either. He has bucked the system in Hawai`i... and pissed off a few folks along the way.

    It will also get the Republican party jazzed because the number of dems who will be vying for Case's seat may provide an opportunity to seat an R in the delegation.

    Makes for some interesting analysis and speculation.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    I have just two words for this

    I have just two words for this: Jerry Falwell.

    Actually, three.

    Add to the above: Pppplllbbbbttt! (if that's a word)

    Go Maryland!

    Judge Rejects Md. Anti-Gay Marriage Law

    A Baltimore judge ruled this morning that Maryland's law banning same-sex marriage "cannot withstand constitutional challenge..."
    Ooooh, the politics are gonna burn over this one with the gubernatorial elections just around the bend... fodder for both sides.

    But, having grown up in Maryland -- and being very proud of its (mostly) progressive politics -- I just gotta believe that a referendum for a Constitutional amendment will fall flat on its face. I don't think the voters would support it. Despite being below the Mason-Dixon line and just across the Potomac from the former seat of the Confederacy, MD is neither a Southern state nor anything like Virginia.

    Both states are definitely purple, but MD is definitely more blue than red -- lavender, perhaps?


    UPDATE (1/25): Uh-huh. Politics are already starting to boil over this. Sad but predictable. One of my friends said he thought the controversy cut in favor of galvanizing the R conservative vote in the next elections. WaPo seems to agree. And at least one R delegate is trying to impeach the judge who made the ruling. Trying to impeach a judge for doing his job? Damned activist judges! What is this world coming to?

    As always, Denise has some thoughtful insights. Indeed, I guess I would add that in an ends v. means discussion, one must remember that sometimes allies think they are focusing on the same goal, but often they aren't. E.g., is the goal here complete equality in marriage rights now (and damn collateral issues) or is it to build the infrastructure to ensure that MD won't discriminate against the LGBT community (and sacrifice the rights of the community in the process in the short term?)? How about both?

    Gimme and google a break

    This is utter. and. complete. crap.

    Um, ever heard of the First Amendment? Privacy? The fact that porn is actually legal? That the statute that the feds are trying to enforce was stricken by the Supreme Court as unConstitutional, only two years ago?

    There are so many things wrong with this that it makes me sputter and spit.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    It's official

    I finally, finally got my grades in today... and it's official. I will in fact actually graduate law school next month.

    PHEW! I am jubilant, thrilled, perma-grin, jazzed and also exhausted.

    I can't believe I made it. Wow.

    UPDATE (1/20): So when I shared this news with my little sister who is in college, she responded, "Congratulations! (and duh)"



    Don't like her (Michelle Malkin). Don't like her at all. Don't respect her. Won't put the link to her blog up here because I don't like the idea of even cyber contact. And I tend to think she's one of those who mouth off for the sake of boosting her own ego.

    One thing she does very well, however, is get attention. This commentary -- and its comments -- about one of her earlier antics is an interesting read.


    12:20 pm -- still nothing. No grades, no updates. Nothing. This is clearly entering into the "WTF?!?" category. The deadline was Tuesday. WTF?

    Clearly, I'm fixating. And obsessing. Like someone who recently got dumped and has to know everything about what's going on with the "ex" to feel a sense of balance, even thought ultimately the frenzy of needing to know has the opposite effect.

    Okay, I'll try to abstain.

    So, how 'bout them Broncos, Steelers, Seahawks, Panthers? None of the teams that I have a connection with remain in the Super Bowl chase, so the games are all entertainment at this point. No emotional investment. I guess I'd have to root for the Steelers though because I remember their powerhouse days in the 1970s... and because my mom is from the Pittsburgh environs.

    Or, I could choose who I want to win based on how cute the team's quarterback is...

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    And I thought DC politicians were surreal

    I've always thought that a doctoral dissertation in public relations was in order to analyze Mayor/Councilman Marion Barry's political career. He is, after all, the chameleon of DC politics -- from grassroots activist and SNCC leader, to button-down stuffed shirt corporate executive officer to ethnic man of the people and friend of the underworld, hustlers and the like. Those who were paying attention -- either due to outrage or the fact of being a constitutent -- will remember his conviction for cocaine use ("The bitch set me up!"), being caught "in the act" in jail, graft, re-election as mayor despite the aforementioned, allegations of tax evasion, more cocaine use, etc., etc. He is, by the way, still serving as councilmember for ward 8 and unquestionably a man of unending persistence and belief in himself (one might even say "ego").

    Ah, what fun. The soap opera writers could take a page from his story.

    I've always thought that Mr. Barry alone made DC politics the be-all and end-all of electoral news from the weird, but there is no accounting for taste... which naturally brings California to mind. California, of course, has the distinction of having elected not one but two otherwise only lightly (and that's being generous) qualified actors-cum-politicians as governor (not to mention a few as mayor and at least one as a Member of Congress). Some may say that being a good actor is the best qualification for being a good politican. If only they all had been good actors...

    And Minnesota. The land of Governor Jesse "the bod" Ventura. What can you say about his unabashed political experience... as a Navy Seal, actor and professional wrestler? I have to admit that I don't know enough about MN politics to know how his constitutents feel/felt about him, but enough folks liked him enough to elect him. If nothing else, he was certainly a breath of fresh air. No b.s. about the man. And he probably saved the taxpayers some money in bodyguards' salaries...

    But that was just the beginning, nay a warm-up, for the MN electorate. Here's one to take the "David Duke award for excellence in politics" -- Mr. Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, candidate for Governor of Minnesota, 2006.

    I don't know if he's exactly qualified or electable; that's up to the MN folks (and I'm guessing that they aren't buying, at least according to Scooter). I do know he... how shall I say this?... knows how to grab headlines, in a "I can't help but stare at the traffic accident" kinda way. While I don't adhere to his religious practices, I do believe in the First Amendment free exercise guarantees -- and I'll say this for him: Mr. Sharkey certainly facilitates discussions of the good and evil in politics today.

    P.S. I don't want to sound like I'm giving MN politicians short shrift, so let me add to this post that one of my all-time favorite pols is from MN. No, not Paul Wellstone or Walter Mondale. Both incredibly accomplished and admirable men. But the pol I'm thinking of is a woman, an attorney, a mother, and a damned smart all of the above -- her name is Mee Moua, and she is State Senator from St. Paul. I am fortunate to know Mee personally, and she is an inspiration. Truly. She is the only -- and I mean only -- politician who ever got me to write a check then and there to support her campaign after hearing her speak the first time. And that's saying a lot for this jaded inside-the-beltway gal. She's amazing on so many levels and is truly a credit to her community.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Is a kiss just a kiss?

    I'm talking Hershey's kisses here. For the longest time, they were these cool chocolate things in aluminium foil that you could unwrap by pulling the paper banner poking out the top.

    Then, the kisses adopted multiculturalism and "Hugs" came along -- ya' know, the milk/white chocolate striped ones?

    And thus began the onslaught: with almonds, dark chocolate, caramel filled, peanut butter. All yummy.

    But I really have to say, this is going too far.


    Note to Hershey's: we've already been there, done that. They're called M&M's.

    Not virtuous

    Patience is a virtue, right? Well, then I am not virtuous.

    Grades for grads were due today -- which means they won't be posted until tomorrow -- but I am chomping at the bit to know that I'm officially done with law school.

    I mean, really, there may have been all of two dozen of us graduating now, right? Even if we all took 5 classes, how long could that possibly take to post...?

    Any bets nothing is up by lunchtime?

    UPDATE (1/18):
    9:45 am -- nothing
    11:15 am -- nope (told ya' I was compulsive)
    1:48 pm -- grrr! (and this is me being restrained!)
    4:04 pm -- dagnabbit
    5:06 pm -- all I can say is "PPLLBBTTT" to the registrar

    Telling all our stories and showing all our faces

    The Golden Globe Awards this year were a fantastic, fabulous celebration of diversity. And the dresses were pretty cool, too. Not to mention how yummy George Clooney looks in a tux...!

    I was over the top when Felicity Huffman won for her portrayal of a transgendered woman in Transamerica. And how way cool that Brokeback Mountain was accorded such accolades?!? And let's not forget Philip Seymour Hoffman winning top honors for Capote!

    So cool that Ang Lee won for Best Director and Sandra Oh for Best Supporting Actress in a TV series. I'm very excited to see more Asian faces in the awards (even if not Asian American...).

    I love that Hollywood is telling more quiet but important stories, ones which reflect more and more of our experiences.

    I choose function over flash

    Today I finally got my replacement adapter for my laptop. Definitely function over flash, rather than flash (or shall I say "sparks"?) over function.

    As gorgeously designed as it was, the original PowerBook powercords are well known for their outstandingly poor durability.

    My new one ain't purty, but it works.

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Observation of a Yalie

    One thing about taking the February bar is that the review courses are much smaller than (I expect) the summer class enrollment. It's either those of us who just finished, those who failed the first time around or those who for one reason or another (e.g. a clerkship or this is the second bar they are taking) are picking up the MD bar now.

    In that latter category is a woman in my bar review who went to Yale. She did a clerkship and now has to buckle down to get through this laborious and tedious process even though she graduated in 2004. Anyway, she asked me if I had gone to Yale, to which I responded something snarky like "Nah, no way I'm that smart."

    Anyway, that launched a chit-chat about Yale. I knew that they had no grades first year, but it turns out they have no grades ever. Just a P (pass), H (honors) or F (fail). The first year, they don't even get that. She also told me that this system made for some interesting characters at Yale (of which, she was definitely one), and that many of the students are only in law school while their true passions lie elsewhere -- they're writing the great American novel or finishing their PhDs or something. (Hmmm, wish I had enough extra brain power to be focused elsewhere and have law school as a side-gig!)

    And then she made a comment which amused me. In conjunction with the comments about the students having diverse, broad and sometimes distracted interests beyond school, she said something along the lines of "Yale is so small that every year is an experiment."

    Hmmm. That's interesting. There are so many ways to interpret that observation... I wonder if the converse (one of the many possible meanings) is true for my school -- that it's so large that creativity is precluded?

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    So sorry!

    I don't know enough about blogging technology to do this on my own, so I had Haloscan automatically add the trackback function. Unfortunately it obliterated all my old comments... I can't tell you how sad I am to lose all the feedback!!!

    I really loved the comments and didn't want to erase them. Big apologies to everyone.

    Please keep the comments coming!!!

    And note to self: learn how to spruce up this site without sacrificing notes from friends...


    UPDATE (1/14): It appears that only the recent comments have been obliterated. The archive still has comments attached. Yay!

    commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

    Looking back

    Using my 20/20 hindsight on law school, I am very pleased to say that there aren't too many thing which I would have done differently had I known then what I know now. Of course, there are the few -- very few -- classes that I wish I had NOT taken (mainly because of the professor), and the student organizations and activities (like moot court) that I wish I had had more time for, but all in all, I'm good. I still would not have transferred to the day program to get it all over with more quickly. I would not have joined a journal. I would not have changed my decision to quit my full time (real) job to try out the summer associate thing. I am very glad that I did these things, even if some of them did not turn out as I had expected.

    Heck, that's life, right? I learned along the way, and enjoyed the journey.There's a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that.

    There is, however, one thing that I do wish I could have done -- and would have changed if I were to do it all again: a clinic. I never had -- no, I never MADE the opportunity to participate in a clinic and get that real, in your face, somebody's butt is on the line legal services experience. My school offers a number of clinics that would have been really great to try, but I never did work it into my schedule (for various reasons), and I wish I had. Everything that I have heard from friends who are doing them now only reinforces my regret (albeit only a slight one).

    So that's one thing I missed in law school. Not a huge deal, but a missed opportunity. I guess I can always volunteer at a clinic down the line.

    A coupla' things I learned? Never take a class with an adjunct who is a partner in a busy firm. Such profs often make their teaching activities a lower priority than their obligations to their clients (not all, but mine did). Another thing: get to know one or two profs as people, on an individual basis. This is good not only for career reasons but I have also found that law profs can be among the most interesting folks to have a coffee/beer with. Advice given to me by others? Keep in touch with the friends that stick with you through law school. You'll have a lasting connection with them that is unlike other experiences.

    This is going to sound slightly sick, but in some ways, I already miss law school!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Just a smattering

    Of news from the bizarre...

    Carry a condom, Colombian town tells men

    Vengeful mouse sets house ablaze with the follow-up: Man's flaming mouse story questioned

    And the interesting, if only to me...

    NY Times:
    Why Rowling Made Harry an Orphan

    California Parents File Suit Over Origins of Life Course

    I suppose I should be reading about the Alito hearings, but nah...

    Not a math major

    After getting my first grade in for last semester (my last semester of law school), I am not only compulsively checking my grades, but I have calculated every single possible scenario affecting my GPA. This is it for me and law school. These classes determine what my final, graduating GPA will be.

    Ya' see, with this one grade in, I still have two out. One is a three-credit course and one is a two-credit course. The two-crediter was pass/fail. The way the system works at my school, if I pass with an A- or higher (the grade I designated), it counts towards my GPA. If it's lower than that but still passing, it won't count against my GPA. The school does this to provide us with incentive to take classes outside of our comfort zone by giving us a safety net (protecting our GPAs). This way, we can take classes which may stretch our experience without fear of pummeling our averages -- but only for up to 6 credits during our law school careers and not for any required courses. I took two tax classes this way. The most recent one this past semester? I think I was the only JD student in the class. The rest were LLM students. Thank goodness for the pass/fail option!

    But I digress. Anyway, basically, I did the math for what effect a B-, B or B+ would have against my existing 78 credits of law school. I didn't bother with a C/C+ or an A/A- because I don't think my performance on the exam was in those particular ranges.

    And I figured out which grades will allow me to make Dean's List this year and which will take me out of or firmly install me in the running for graduating with honors.

    Obsessive? Fixated on detail? Outcome-oriented? Oh yea. No question. Fairly typical law student. But believe it or not, I was never a gunner in school. Just obsessive/compulsive about certain things.

    Like grades. But ironically enough, not studying.

    Physical or physics?

    Ahhh, I knew it was more than just laziness on my part. There's a physics reason, not just a physical one behind my daily battle against the morning. It seems that one reason why I feel like I'm swimming through molasses when I get up every day is not simply attitude or dread of the day -- but rather it's inertia. Real inertia, not just my usual mental inertia. And addiction. Sorta.

    Well, that's what the docs are saying -- that sleep "inertia may affect cognitive performance for up to two hours" in the morning. That would include the ability to stagger out of bed and get dressed. Caffeine is the answer. This, in a nutshell, is my life.

    Some may say it's a load of something, but this study's findings sound better than any infomercial to me. Sleep inertia? Coffee! Where do I sign up? I'm a willing and eager consumer of this one... the story and the coffee (which "they" tell me may make me smarter ).

    Let me have another cup to wake up and smarten up enough to figure that out.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    My nightmare?

    Okay, I am still a number of years off from this fate, but I definitely recognize that this could be my future.


    Monday, January 09, 2006

    A gift

    I got my first grade back today. It was the 4-credit course, the exam which I had thought that I had completely, utterly and hopelessly tanked. This exam was so tough that I was shaking my head in complete distain for my answers during the exam. Even I couldn't believe the crap I was writing. I was really depressed after that exam...

    I don't have a clue how this happened, but as it turns out, I actually got a grade which helps my GPA rather than taking it down a notch. I am gleeful. I am joyous. I am overwhelmed. I am incredulous. Yayayayayayayayayayay!

    This grade, however, is just further evidence of the capriciousness of law school. That exam was so bad that I would have believed that I had written "C"-worthy essays. Turns out, thank goodness, that I didn't. But as my friend told me, that's what hard exams are for -- to set up a curve: if everyone does well, it makes it harder to distinguish between the grades.

    I cannot explain the relief I feel, but this news just about made my week. The other grades almost don't matter because this was my only 4 credit class. YAY!

    UPDATE (1/10): So, I went back and re-read my exam (the electronic copy I have on my computer), and I was surprised at what I wrote. More insight than I had remembered and more coherent legal/policy arguments than I had realized. One of the questions was on the area of law that I knew the least, so... I guess I felt so overwhelmed during the exam, so anxious and wanting to do better that I gave myself short shrift. I guess it was so traumatic that I blocked it out of my mind. All I can say is "Phew!" and cross my fingers that I did half as well on my other exam.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    One of my classmates

    One of my law school classmates will be not be graduating until 2008. Huh? He did indeed start with us in 2002 in the evening section with the ordinary trajectory of a four-year tour of duty, but in addition to having a second child during law school, he also had a major detour. He was a major (now a lt. colonel) in the Army, and he was also deployed to Iraq for a year during our third year of school.

    His name is Grant. And Grant is someone that EVERYONE in our section knew. It wasn't just his uniform -- because we have lots of servicemembers among our classmates. It wasn't just his age -- because there were quite a few of us within a few years of 40. It wasn't just his outspokenness -- because we all know that law school attracts the gunners and loud-mouths. It was his truly unique perspective and insight that made him stand out. A really interesting, thoughtful guy.

    This is the perspective he brought in a Washington Post editorial.

    As I told him in an email, "Grant, you rock."

    UPDATE (1/12): So, because of my link to Grant's piece "I'm a Soldier, not a Spy", my blog is now listed in the Washington Post's trackback. Kinda ironic. For the record, I am neither a soldier nor a spy.

    Another ugly truth

    I never thought I'd find myself in this situation, but here I am: done with law school and no job.

    To be precise, I am working as a law clerk now -- which is giving me great experience and flexibility for studying for the bar -- but I have no offers of a full time legal job. I don't even have the prospects of one.

    This hurts. It hurts my financial situation, my plans, my ego. Mostly my ego. I'll cop to that.

    I did a big law summer associateship which did not pan out for many reasons, mine and theirs. I applied to federal sector honors programs and made the final cut -- just not the final, final cut. I have a GPA that will probably (fingers crossed) allow me to graduate with honors -- or a near miss -- from a top tier law school. What I don't have is employment. Yet.

    I've done a lot of thinking about it, and I know that part of the reason is my age and experience. No, no overt discrimination. I just don't fit into the typical "newbie" lawyer box. (more about this in another post) And you may be thinking that it's something more personal about me that is keeping the jobs at bay. That may be true, but it's impossible for me to know. However, having been continuously employed for the past 15 years, I tend to think, hope not.


    Anyone got a job in the DC-metro area for a very smart, cute wanna-be (momentarily feeling slightly sorry for herself) lawyer like me?

    Too much Pat Robertson

    More evidence that Pat Robertson is truly beyond the fringe. Is no one safe?

    Robertson may think he is hearing the word of God, but I think the voices in his head are altogether something else.

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    This piques my interest

    I'm not someone who knows when events the like the Superbowl or the Oscars or the State of the Union are scheduled until the media starts hyping them (usually the week or a few days before).

    But this is a reason to watch (the Oscars)...!

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Bar review review

    Cramp room. Not enough seating. Poor lighting. Small television screens for viewing the videos. No live lectures. No one to answer substantive questions.

    In other words, not an ideal atmosphere for learning all that I forgot and never learned in law school.

    BARBRI being a monopoly, they can get away with this... (and don't get me started on how they're screwing the students who want to also take the PMBR course -- grrrr!).

    The only thing this whole racket -- and it is indeed a racket -- has going for it is the very precise and practical approach to the exam. They break it all down for you in terms of what is tested with what frequency and what you need to know to answer correct. We are learning how to pass the bar, and it is a vastly different experience than law school. Complementary, but vastly different.

    Oh, one other good thing -- since few of us know each other (and the environment is not competitive), people are generally really friendly. I'm also finding that many of the Feb bar folks are older, "non-traditional" students like me! That doesn't quite make up for the rest, but it's something.

    New legal precedent

    Mooning Deemed 'Disgusting' but No Crime in MD

    Well, thank goodness for that.

    Wonder if there will be anything on the bar about it?

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