Saturday, July 30, 2005

This kiss

Now two different people have sent this to me and I am beginning to recover from the bar, so I should post it as promised: The Encyclopedia of Kissing.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Email PSA

For any and all readers of this blog who communicate with me by email: unlike my dinky undergrad, Harvard cuts off email access after graduation. They do deign to provide you with a address in place of your address, but it's still sort of a pain.

Therefore, if you do not want your messages to bounce, please send them to the email address provided on the sidebar. The two changes from my old address are "Amber.Taylor" instead of "ATaylor" and "post" in the place of "law."

UPDATE: sorry if this wasn't clear; my old email account expires this weekend, so if you send me anything to it after Sunday it will bounce.


I'll be at the IJ law student conference this weekend, so if you're going to be there too you should introduce yourself.

UPDATE: I was recognized by a reader from Minnesota wearing a Kelo shirt. Glad to see all those hits aren't just from me!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Check out any time you like

Okay, so . . . I'm done. With the bar exam. Hopefully for the last time. The essays were not nearly as gnarly as the Tuesday ones, although I found it hard to apply as many facts as I should have on the PT since most of them were only marginally relevant to the constitutional question and were all on the other side. I think the whole point of that PT was to fake people out into writing a memo for the wrong side so they could be promptly failed.

I ran into Jaffer today and we were chatting about the passage rates. While the HLS pass rate for first timers was 90% last year, the overall pass rate for all takers is more like 50%. It's sort of sad to look around the room and know that half the people in there will probably fail. It's even sadder to think that you might be one of them.

I saw a few random acquaintances today, some of whom I'll probably never see again unless we both fail and have to come back in February. So I hope I'll never see them again, I guess, although that sounds sort of mean. It's for our own good.

I didn't have any particularly obnoxious earworms today, but after the exam I got in my car to drive back to the hotel and sponge off their wireless signal to check the location of the nearest bookstore "Hotel California" was playing. That didn't seem to bode well for my passage prospects so I hit the next preset and "California Girls" came on. That was better, but it wasn't until "1999" made an appearance that I felt like the radio and I were in synch. Unfortunately, I won't be doing any partying tonight, since I have a red-eye back to D.C. so I can go to the IJ conference this weekend.

N.B. Does anyone have a transcription of the sequence in My Cousin Vinny when they find out he took six tries to pass the bar? I googled around for it with no luck and thought it would the perfect thing to post today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Voices In My Head

These are the songs I have had stuck in my head over the last two days of the bar exam:

Viva Las Vegas, Elvis Presley (first half of Tuesday)
Mercedes Benz, Janis Joplin (last half of Tuesday)
Amanda, Don Williams (briefly, thank goodness)

All day today: the Wheel of Fortune commercial jingle. You know, the "I'm a Wheel watcher!" one. Kill me.

The first rule of the MBE . . .

. . . is you don't talk about the MBE. No kidding; the instructions, both those read aloud and those printed on the test booklets, practically drip with intimidating claims about the liabilities that will ensue if you copy or reveal, in whole or in part, test questions. They make it sound like saying, "Wow, that question on X was really tough, what with the Y and Z issues!" will result in a joint task force of jackbooted members of the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the U.S. Copyright police storming your apartment with guns drawn to spirit you off to an undisclosed location for torture.

So, the MBE. I'm taking the other half in a while.

Handwriting? Wuzzat?

I forgot to mention the one moment of high comedy yesterday. In the afternoon we were required to prove our identities by providing photo ID, fingerprinting ourselves, and producing a short handwriting sample.

This last sparked widespread confusion among the test takers. The proctors (who, like those at HLS exams, are mostly old folks) found this amusing, if frustrating. First the announcer read the directions as provided. When it became clear that some people weren't getting it, he got on the mike again to say we should "hand write, not print" the text of the sample.

Still, the natives were restless. He came back and rambled that perhaps we were so accustomed to using computers that we didn't know how to hand write anymore. The clue, he said, was to do it like we signed our names. Finally, after this last hint went over some heads, he announced that we should write it however and "leave it up to the powers that be to figure out if you are who you are."

A lot of confusion might have been averted had the word "cursive" been used. But maybe not.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


E. Spat's engrossing tale of her first marriage (ongoing; start with Part One and keep checking for future chapters) versus Jim MacDonald on the effect of deployment on military marriages.

Amy's patience with Gregory Maguire's rendition of the Snow White tale versus my utter lack of same. (Snow, Glass, Apples beats Maguire up, down, and sideways.)

O at Opinionistas on the fecundity of female lawyers versus Judge Smith Camp's "sex-neutral" description of pregnancy as disease in her decision mandating coverage of contraceptives. (Page 12 of the PDF, or read below, but the footnotes really add something):
Our typical patient becomes aware that he has contracted the disease when he experiences extreme fatigue, accompanied by nausea and vomiting. These symptoms diminish after a few months, as his abdomen begins to distend. Pressure on his bladder requires that he urinate frequently. He feels hot and sweaty, and has headaches and dizziness. As his digestive tract slows, he becomes constipated and suffers heartburn and hemorrhoidal symptoms. His weight increases by twenty per cent, with most of the gain centered in his abdomen, altering his balance and causing strain and discomfort in his lower back. His breasts, ankles, and feet swell, and his legs cramp. His mobility, his sleep, and even his breathing are impaired as his abdomen expands to twice its normal circumference. Stretch marks appear on his thighs, chest and abdomen. The ligaments in his hips and pelvis soften, and he develops sciatica, causing tingling and numbness. After nine months, he feels the onset of intense, intermittent pain, accompanied by diarrhea and nausea. His pain increases and accelerates over approximately 15 hours as his genital opening, usually the size of a pencil lead, is stretched to a diameter of 10 centimeters. Surgical incisions are used to facilitate the opening of his genitals. His pain may require general anesthesia, but usually can be managed through other methods, such as injections in the fluid surrounding his spinal cord. He is encouraged to reject pain medication entirely so he can remain alert to assist in the treatment of his disease. The incisions and tears in his genitalia are closed with internal and external sutures. His breasts continue to swell, and his nipples become sore. Healing of his genitals takes about six weeks, during which time his pain may be relieved by sitz baths, heat lamps, ice packs, and anesthetic sprays. Finally, he has a heavy bloody discharge from his genitals, lasting several weeks.

One Down, Two to Go

Well, it could have been worse.

True, I read five subjects from the Conviser yesterday before passing out from jetlag and lack of sleep over Community Property and thought, "that's okay, I'll read it tomorrow." True, the first essay question today was on Community Property. But I had reviewed it a few days ago, and I think I did okay on that one.

True, I totally muffed the second question (and before my loyal commenters chime in with "aw, you probably didn't do that badly," yes, I did; missing the entire remedies component is not good). But by all accounts you can fail every individual written component of the bar and still pass the exam, so hopefully I will actually pass a couple of essays, that will average out to a barely-failing grade for the overall essay component, and I won't be back in February.

Not that I mind being back in California; I have eaten two In-N-Out burgers and one Juanita's burrito, the smog is bad but not intolerable, and I love driving everywhere. But I'd rather not have to shell out the dough to retake this exam, so perhaps it's best if I reimmerse myself in flashcards.

But one note: I know this isn't about me, because we are at different test centers (and because I have it on good authority that I am not dumpy). But I did wear my Harvard Law t-shirt to the exam today, because it makes me feel good. I am proud of my accomplishments, proud of going to HLS, and I felt like I needed every bit of subconscious self-reinforcement possible. It was not some kind of psychological warfare to intimidate other test takers. Lots of people wore their school shirts today, and I am sick of feeling like I need to apologize for wearing mine. (This is the same self-effacing sentiment that makes people say they "go to school in Boston" and I am heartily tired of it. Just say you go to Harvard! Heaven knows you went there chiefly for the purpose of waving the name around, so why chicken out?)

UPDATE: it seems the visible reminder that some people have the "unfair advantage," now amended to read "(job market wise)," of having attended a higher ranked school is sufficiently disturbing to others that we should refrain from anything that could be interpreted as braggadocio during the exam. Setting aside whether or not it's unfair in general for people at more highly ranked schools to more easily obtain employment, and whether such fragile flowers as can have their bar exam confidence shattered by someone else's alma mater should really enter the cutthroat world of law . . . there's always someone better, smarter, or harder working than you. Get used to it. I did.

And apparently the appropriate response to any disagreement with this fashion police nonsense is to turn off comments. This is so tiresome.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Logistics Question

For Cal bar takers, former Cal bar takers, or those whose minds are less frazzled than mine: if we are supposed to bring everything in a Ziploc and everything that is not explicitly permitted is forbidden, how on earth am I to transport my laptop, AC adapter, spare battery, and USB floppy drive (plus non-computer related items) to the exam area? This is quite a pile to carry in my arms.

Hotel California

I underestimated my no-name hotel. It has free wireless internet, free cookies at check-in, free breakfast with waffles, and is next door to an In-N-Out Burger. My first stop, of course, was the In-N-Out. (It's better than Five Guys, for those of you in D.C.)

Actually, my first stop was the bank (yay for states with Wells Fargo branches) and then my old office. Only one student I hired was still around to chat with, and adversarial relationships with one of the senior fellows were quickly reestablished, but I would have regretted not stopping by.

But now I'm ensconced in my blissfully well-air conditioned room and can begin the last long cram.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Fasten Your Seatbelts, Bar Takers . . .

I'm leaving tomorrow at the unholy hour of 6:10 AM for California, which should give me enough time to eat at one or two of my old Claremont haunts and get settled in my room in Ontario before starting Tuesday's exam. The low-rent hotel I'm staying in almost certainly does not have wireless internet, but should I run across a stray signal I promise to post on any bar induced panic attacks, horror stories, and amusing fellow test takers (I hear some people run out in tears--that's not going to be me!). But now: packing, sushi, last minute flashcard and outline review, and deep breathing.

Wish me luck!

Subway Search Opponents?

If someone who is not currently preparing to take the bar exam in two days and cares about privacy would take up the slack in this discussion, that would be nice. Although why I care about arguing with the amateur psychologist from this previous interaction is a mystery even to me . . .

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Dinner and a Senator

Tonight's dinner with Will Baude and his mother was marked by good food and moderate excitement. My Cafe Salad inexplicably included beets and the carrot cake came with an undisclosed helping of fig slices and our server was, in Will's words "arrhythmic," but everything was at least tasty, if not predictable.

The evening concluded with a sighting of a blonde and slim Chelsea Clinton, who chatted with the hostess and then trotted outside. I thought we might get to see her and some of her friends, but instead she returned with two Secret Service types and her mother. Hillary was wearing a light colored summery suit which was much more flattering than her usual black suit and pink shirt ensemble and looked lovely (except for her blocky reading glasses, which she wears at the tip of her nose in a rather odd manner). She and Chelsea were accompanied by a casually dressed older brunette woman who didn't contribute to their dinner conversation. We speculated that she might be a relative, although maybe she's a undercover Secret Service ninja.

So: Palena: tasty food, Clinton approved. Between this evening and my near-literal run-in with Bill in the Old Executive Office Building a few years back, I've now spotted all the Clintons. Maybe I should collect Bush sightings next.

50 Book Challenge #36 & 37: Paladin of Souls & The Hallowed Hunt

I tore through the first book in Bujold's Five Gods series without a break. To distract myself from various panicky episodes over the last few days, I read the next two books.

Paladin of Souls I found rather repetitive. It had a fairly predictable romantic element which weighed down the narrative, and which punted on an opportunity to effectively subvert the social hierarchy toward the end. By focusing the narrative on a single castle's inhabitants and then rapidly expanding the story to include international and interdimensional conflict, Bujold whipsaws the reader and makes the repetitiousness of the previous story line less forgivable. More on crazy possessed queens, less on telling person number three the horrible story of a death we heard about twice already in this book alone!

The Hallowed Hunt was better, although I got confused about the precise theology at the end. Why would the souls of the Old Weald warriors want to ascend to the heavens of the Five Gods if part of what they were fighting against was encroachment by Darthacan Quintarians? Was there some kind of postmortem conversion? Or have I misunderstood the religious beliefs of the Old Wealdings? If they did worship the Five in addition to engaging in forest magics, why did they object to Darthacan missionaries? Hmm.

Friday, July 22, 2005

"Who Are These People?"

Jeremy Blachman wants to know:
Who are these people who are really upset about the police wanting to search people's bags on the way into the subway? Why would anyone be upset about this? I want people's bags to be searched. I'm fine with metal detectors, and plainclothes cops, and whatever else they feel like they need to do to make the subway (and the rest of the city) as safe as it can be. What's the big deal?
So I thought I'd stand up and be counted. I'm one of those people. I don't want transit cops digging through my purse and checking to make sure I don't have C4 hidden under my personal hygiene products. The airport security checks are pretty dire, but at least you choose to go to the airport. This effectively repeals the 4th Amendment for anyone who depends on public transit to get to work. That's the big deal, at least for those of us who care about the law and not just (the appearance of) security.

Majikthise makes a good point that this will only result in aspiring subway bombers strapping belts under their clothes instead. Does Blachman want a quick frisk before hopping on the 4/5? How about a strip search? Does he want to add an hour onto his daily commute so everyone can put their laptops through the metal detectors one by one? Bah.

UPDATE: Jeremy's response is here. Money quote:
I trust the government. I trust that whoever is making these decisions knows what they're doing. Or at least they know better than I do.

Juicy Footnote?

I seem to remember reading a footnote in a Supreme Court opinion some time in the last year and now cannot locate it to save my life, especially now that my Lexis and Westlaw passwords died. Relevant half-recalled details:

1. I think it was a Stevens opinion.
2. It pertained to either statistics or economics.
3. The gist was something like "my clerk X, who is actually literate in the field, tells me that the correct mode of analysis for this case would be Blah Blah Blah."

At the time I thought it was sort of funny, but now it's just bothering me that I can't find it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jenn. It's note 5 in the annoying Hazelwood opinion.

Friday Spies: Navel Gazing Edition

The BTQ Boys bring you . . . Friday Spies!

1. Why did you start blogging?

Because reading dozens of blogs wasn't enough of a time-suck? Because I wanted to be able to enter the discourse as more than a mere commenter-wench? Because my old website died and I wanted a new one?

2. Are the reasons you blog now the same as when you started? If not, what's changed?

I think I started out trying to get attention. Now I blog mostly to amuse myself, and out of some sense of obligation to continuity (like a plant you keep watering, just so you don't fail and let it die).

3. What would make blogging better for you?

If I didn't have to spend so much time online to get things to blog about. I'm going to fail the bar and it will be all this blog's fault.

4. Do you have comments on your blog? Why or why not? Do you comment on other blogs? What motivates you to post a comment?

I have comments because I like to have concrete evidence that people are reading and are moved to action (anger?) by what I say. Having comments also seems to drive up traffic, and I'm a traffic hound just like everyone else. I comment on other blogs if they really tick me off, or if they say something demonstrably false and I can show them up, or if I like the writer and want to form a connection. I don't email strange bloggers, as a rule; email is more presumptuous and formal than leaving a comment, and I don't take liberties that way.

5. What is your philosophy of the blogroll?

I don't have a blogroll as such. I used to sort links into law students, CMCers, and other, but now that I'm not a student and most of the CMC blogs went belly up, it's contracted to a mere smattering. The sites on my sidebar are those I read most often, most highly recommend, or which I like to espouse some connection with.

Womyn-Born Womyn: Y?

Denise has a post about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. As a libertarian, it always pleases me to see people responding to discrimination in a way that emphasizes dialogue, persuasion, and protest but which does not use private or state force.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I was interviewed some time back for a story on law blogs which has apparently appeared in today's Daily Journal. If anyone here could forward me a copy of the story, I'd appreciate it.

UPDATE: Thanks to Kimberly Kralowec for passing me a copy. It is actually mostly on Sua Sponte and Nuts & Boalts, and it incorrectly states that I'm clerking for a District Court judge (ahem, Court of Appeals) but it's nice to see my name in print.

Inverse Schadenfreude?

Is there some kind of juicy German word to describe that feeling you get when good things happen to people you hate?

And if not, shouldn't there be?

The Roberts Announcement

I don't have anything to say about the merits of the Roberts nomination, but one thing struck me as curious; last night's television broadcast voice-over included the information that Bush would speak to the nation with Roberts and his family present. The announcer made a special note that Roberts's "wife and his two adopted children" were on hand.

What was the point of mentioning that the children were adopted?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The beating of that hideous heart

I can't stop staring at it. It's sitting on the dining room table. It's not mine. I can't open it. Even if I could, it would be for nothing; not until next Friday will I be free enough to belatedly join the rest of the world in finding out what's inside.

It's Will's copy of Harry Potter 6, and it's driving me crazy.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The World According to BarBri

From the answer to a question in the Drills & Released Questions book:
Sovereign immunity is not a constitutional doctrine.

Unrelatedly, how much is this much-vaunted book return refund for California? They make such a big deal about it but never say how much cash we get back. In New York it is apparently $125, which seems absurdly low compared to the cost of tuition (then again, I've heard it's illegal in some states to resell your bar review materials, so maybe that's how they get away with offering a pittance for returns).

No Gentiles Allowed?

This article's not hot off the presses, but it left me a little hot under the collar: Jewish Day Schools Ban Non-Jewish Prom Dates.

These are all private schools, so they're not breaking any law, but it still sounds questionable. As one mother in the article notes, shouldn't parents be the ones making rules about who dates whom? (And shouldn't Jewish Romeo & Juliets be breaking those rules?)

I've dated Jewish guys before, and I'm aware of the heavy baggage intermarriage has, but it is the high school prom, for heaven's sake. 99% of these kids will not get married to one another. They will probably all go off to college (where their dating lives will be relatively unmonitored-gasp!) and meet someone(s) there, who they also probably won't get married to. The average age of first marriage for American non-Orthodox Jews is 31. So what's the point of ruining some kid's prom because she's dating the Catholic boy next door?

Check it out.

If you're not already aware, Will Baude is guest-blogging at The Conglomerate.

It's All Downhill From Here

Sorry for the lack of posting of late; yesterday was my 25th birthday and thus we were out and about for much of the day. We went to the Phillips Collection, which was deeply disappointing due to the majority of the collection being "on vacation" while they renovate. Two lovely Degas works were on display, and a snowy landscape by Augustus Tack captured my eye for some time, but nearly everything viewable was from the Hiroshige exhibition, which left me totally cold. We stopped by the National Gallery as a bracing antidote, but by the time we exited the cumulative effect of traipsing around so much and the heat had utterly enervated us, so we adjourned to Giant for supplies and made a birthday cake (recipe from How To Cook Everything unfortunately not online).

Dinner was at Bistro D'Oc, as I'd realized at some point that I'd never eaten French food when I was not in France. Their seafood risotto is divine. Eat there now.

Anyway, today marks the first day of the rest of my life, which will come to an abrupt end when I sit down for the bar exam next week and immediately fall over dead from a heart attack. At least I will have had plenty of cake before perishing.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Nanny Gets Dooced

There's been a mini-blogstorm already over this essay in the New York Times by a writer/hausfrau in Brooklyn who fired her nanny after reading the nanny's blog, which revealed, shockingly, that a bisexual 20-something aspiring grad student has a more interesting life than she did.

The nanny has an extended rebuttal as a final post on the offending blog. Bitch PhD has a perceptive analysis and a response from the nanny in her comments. Amanda Marcotte weighs in as well.

Normally I don't get all exercised about conflicts between jobs and blogs. I'll shut this blog down at the drop of a hat if my judge so requests, but until such time I, like Ann Althouse, consider it a useful filter; if you don't like the person you find on this blog, you probably won't like me once you get to know me, either. It looks like the formerly hip lady journalist didn't like her nanny once she got to know her.

But for Olen to fire Tessy essentially because she was unsettled by the honesty of her writing and then use her life as fodder for personal advancement is pretty low, potentially hypocritical, and pretty much guarantees that Olen's not going to get a new nanny anytime soon. This was worse than the average doocing. There's losing a job, and then there's also getting kicked in the teeth by being borderline slandered libeled in a national newspaper by a vengeful old broad who resents you for popping her bubble of superiority.

So, Helaine Olen: "Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo."

UPDATE: Majikthise also has some good commentary on the dustup. It's been MeFi'ed. And Mike at Crime & Federalism points out that Olen's essay marks a return to the NY Times after a nine year absence. Rarely does one get to see such a blatant example of the pursuit of lost glory accomplished at the expense of others.

UPDATE II: Apparently Olen's husband is Matt Roshkow, some schmuck who writes scripts for ABC/Disney TV movies. No wonder he found the nanny so scandalizing! (h/t 15 Min. Hipster) It should be pointed out that Roshkow was the one who actually fired Tessy (and gave her a deceptive justification for doing so) and who was agitating for firing her as soon as he read personal sexual content on the blog. Olen seems to have been less troubled by the sex than by the fact that Tessy was not A) her inferior, B) of the opinion that her job was not real work, and C) always happy to be a nanny.

UPDATE III: Blachman thinks Olen's article is "cool." Sure, if by "cool," you mean "an appalling manifestation of double standards, jealousy, dishonesty, and narcissism." But on the particular excerpt he posts:
I would log on upstairs to see if she was simultaneously posting entries below me on her laptop while the baby was napping. Too often she was.
Too often? I was a nanny one summer. Sometimes the kids are sleeping, sometimes they are in the yard playing, sometimes they are watching TV. When there's no need for direct supervision of them, what did Olen expect a nanny to do? Stare at the wallpaper and trace the patterns? Hover over the sleeping child like a vulture? Would reading a book be permissible (that was the summer I read Gone With the Wind, among others)? Or would knitting or embroidery be more appealing to Olen's sensibilities? Good grief, what an awful woman.

UPDATE IV: I promise this is the last update. Over at Making Light, the commenters have read through the entire nanny blog and documented each mention of work or the Olen family during the relevant period. There's next to nothing about them: no personal revelations or information, and with the exception of two cracks about birth control methods, it's pretty innocuous.

Random Roundup X

Apropos of nothing: I like Kate Litvak.

Adoption agency in Mississippi that receives state funds refuses to consider Catholics as adoptive parents. I think all those charity license plates are stupid (care about manatees? anti-abortion? want to support your alma mater? give money to the appropriate charity and buy a bumper sticker! why do you need the state's imprimatur?) and have been skeptical of the movement toward providing government funds to religiously affiliated organizations, but hopefully incidents like this will provide a wake-up call to less concerned others.

Renaissance dress codes
were pretty harsh.

You can get a custom oil portrait from China.

There is something weird going on in our house.

UPDATE: The something weird is that we are slobs. For now, check out this amazing deer-centric art by Erick Swenson.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Leviticus and Fertility

In the comments to this post, I was discussing Natural Family Planning with Feddie of Southern Appeal. I don't think much of NFP, if only because I see nothing wrong with conventional methods like surgical sterilization (now available without major abdominal surgery!) or hormones. But if you have a lot of time on your hands and don't mind either abstaining or using a back-up method for a third of the month or so (more like one half of your non-menstruating days), then an NFP method like Fertility Awareness might be an option.

All this talk about safe days and unsafe days got me thinking: Leviticus states that women are unclean for seven days following any bloody discharge. if you followed Levitical injunctions regarding sex, would you be more or less likely to conceive?

This is, like so many things, a matter of interpretation. If the initial determination is made on the first day of the woman's period, then she is clean again after seven days: more or less the length of the average woman's cycle. This allows for the maximum number of fertile clean days, since women are generally fertile during the middle of their cycle.

However, if the woman is unclean for seven days from the last day of her period, she will not be clean again until her fertile window has nearly passed.

So: Leviticus: baby maximizer or primitive birth control?

Friday Spies: Living and Dying in 3/4 Time Edition

From the boys at BTQ, Friday Spies.

1. What time do you go to bed? What time do you wake up?

I generally go to bed around midnight or one and wake up ninish. I'm not looking forward to having a real job that starts ninish.

2. What do you want done to/with your body after you die?

Morbid fears of worms (thanks to that pinochle song we all heard as kids) have convinced me that cremation is the smart choice. The ashes themselves are a challenge. Can't scatter them due to aforementioned worm fear. Won't have any descendants to guilt into putting them on the mantel. And paying for a marble box to inter the ashes in seems silly. Maybe I should make myself into a LifeGem instead.

3. Describe your dream house.

I don't want a big house. They are a waste of money and you end up not using the rooms and buying furniture to fill the unused rooms and paying someone to clean the unused rooms . . . so, what my dream house should have:

-a small yard sufficient for two or three flower/gardening beds and a hammock. No grass. I hate grass.
-Two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. The spare bedroom will be an office/library with a small sofa bed in it for visitors.
-a shower stall with glass walls (because I've seen Psycho too many times) and a bathtub
-wood or tile floors
-a living room, a small dining/breakfast room, and a large kitchen with plenty of counter space.
-oodles of built-in bookshelves
-central air conditioning and gas appliances

4. Are you an excellent driver? Do you speed, or drive the speed limit? Ever been ticketed?

I have been told that I can be a scary driver on occasion, but I have never been in a real accident (bumping poles doesn't count). I've never gotten a ticket, even a parking ticket (at least from real cops; parking citations from revenue-seeking campus cops don't count either). Speeding I do if that's the speed of traffic; if you went 55 on the Santa Monica freeway you would die.

5. What is your favorite animal, mineral, and vegetable?

Dog, salt, and banana. Not all at the same time, though.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Conservative Catholics Finish Last

Ross Douthat gets personal:
If you're a 25-year-old nice guy and you still can't get a girl, well, it probably means there's something else wrong with you - you're deeply socially awkward, you're ugly or foul-smelling, or you're a conservative Roman Catholic who tries to pick up women by promising them that they'll never have to use the Pill again . . . oops, sorry, personal tangent.
Goodness, I can't imagine why the highly educated and extremely motivated young women Douthat meets in the rarified circles of Harvard and the D.C. journalism scene wouldn't be bowled over by the prospect of being continually pregnant for a huge portion of their married lives. Career? What career? Although I suppose these are an option.

Maybe these elusive women are members of some new Lysistrata project.

Your five year old is not an intern

Taking a break from bar study, I noticed this jaw dropping quote on Alas, a Blog:
The trouble with being stuck with the whole "women want to be equal" instead of "let's revolutionize this society so it's better for everybody," is that you get stuck, again, with "male" being the norm. So instead of revolutionizing the workplace so we've got onsite childcare, or better, can have kids hanging out acting as interns at the workplace and functioning as members of society instead of subordinates, we just figure, hey, the parents will work and just hire somebody to take care of the kid, like a wife.
I've gone off on how I don't like the idea of an office full of babies before, but that's because I don't have the confidence that some people have that having a bunch of children around would not disrupt the workplace. One preschooler quietly playing with blocks on a blanket may be no big deal, but get a group of them together (because kids like to play with each other, duh) and they'll be tearing around the cubicle farm playing tag and chucking paper around before you can say Jack Robinson. They would have to be secluded in a day care area, and then boom, you've got to pay someone to be the wife--er, child care professional.

But setting aside the terror-inducing prospect of America's Ritalin-popping generation being expected to play quietly at the office while their parents work, the last bit of Ampersand's lament is really what threw me for a loop. Did I just hear a liberal suggest that five year olds act as interns in the workplace? Meaning that whole anti-child labor experiment is a thing of the past? After a hard half day of napping and coloring in kindergarten class, Junior can get bussed over to Mommy's office instead of home or to day care and get to some stapling. How much more does a parent get paid for bringing Junior to help out (assuming having little kids around the office is a value-added proposition, which I doubt)? Does the kid get his own W-2? I look forward to elaboration on this child labor idea.

Stinky Books

I got quite a few books on our trip to Baltimore and read one of them last night. It turned out to be a reread; although by 50 pages in I knew I'd read it before in college, I couldn't remember what happened at the end, so it was not as boring as it could have been.

But the real problem is not my staying up late rereading substandard SF instead of studying. It is that the books I got from the Book Thing smell. They have that peculiar bitter odor that I associate with yellowed acidic paper and garage storage. I had some books on Greece and Rome from a library book sale that I finally abandoned, never read, because they stank.

So, fellow bibliophiles: how does one purge used books of their stench? Baking soda? Dryer sheets? Some sort of cover-up perfume?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Confessions of a bad libertarian

I just read Julian Sanchez's new essay on parentalism. It's good. But it brought out major feelings of guilt, because in some senses I am a secret parentalist.

I wish HLS had never made in-class wireless available, for example. My ability to concentrate in class plummeted after it was extended to all the classrooms and my transcript reflects my lack of focus during those last three semesters. My laptop has an internal wireless card, so I couldn't just take the easy way out and leave it at home, and my self control never lasted very long when the only thing between me and a seemingly vital email check (email was always the nose of the camel in the tent) was a "disabled" connection. Everyone else apparently had more self control, and that's fine; maybe I deserved to be punished for my weak-willed ways. But if there had been some referendum on wireless, I would have voted against it in an instant.

I always hated mandatory P.E. in school, and was delighted to be able to get my college requirement over with by taking the farcical "advanced weights" course, which required going to the gym, signing in, making some token effort at physical activity, and then departing. But I wish I'd had to take aerobics all through college. Now I am a lazy piece of pudding, and even the presence of exercise equipment staring at me accusingly from the living room floor for months was not sufficient to overcome my habit of sloth.

(And don't get me started on Diet Coke. I should really be committed for my own good to some kind of caffeine rehab facility. )

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hollywood free association

I'm on Day 2 of a migraine, so no deep thoughts today.

Last night we watched The Opposite of Sex, which may feature Lisa Kudrow's best performance ever. It got me thinking:

-Why would Christina Ricci become an anorexic lollipop head when she was so sexy in this movie?

-Is Renee Zellweger conscious of the extent to which she is aping Julia Roberts? Marrying a country singer much less famous and attractive than one's self was a weird career movie for Roberts; it seems strange that Zellweger would coincidentally follow suit (Roberts: Lyle Lovett, Zellweger: Kenny Chesney) . Will Zellweger soon divorce and then become a homewrecker like Julia?

-Was there ever anyone more constitutionally equipped to be "the other woman" than Angelina Jolie?

-What is up with actresses getting fake tans and bleaching their hair close to the same tone as their skin? Scarlett Johansson looks like a Goldfinger victim.

I should really just get an US Weekly subscription and get it over with.

Bits, Pieces

Things I've learned recently:

-My employment prospects are in danger!

-Grabbing one box of contacts while packing suffices for most people, but not those of us who have different prescriptions for each eye. I'm sure the boyfriend will be pleased to see me in my glasses.

-There's more going on than just "vanity sizing" with the changing sizes at stores like the Gap and J. Crew.

-In France carpooling can get you sued.

-Ted Frank works at AEI.

-My Firefly character is the Captain. UPDATE: Inara, says this less clumsily obvious test.

-One of my college buddies is now some kind of hipster goth.

-The only good movie in theaters now that I haven't already seen is apparently the one about penguins.

-Forcing myself to do more essays and performance tests is practically impossible at this point. But I must.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Plan my vacation

I have some down time between the start of my clerkship (the day after Labor Day) and the bar. I am attending a friend's wedding in Indiana on the 13th of August, but when I fly out on the 14th my schedule is open. The only restrictions are:

-I want to spend a few days in Houston with family before I move to Clerkshipsville, which will probably happen on the 25th or 27th of August or thereabouts (my dates are somewhat flexible).
-My stuff is in two large suitcases, a carryon, and three cardboard boxes. If I go on a trip I can probably take the carryon or the smaller of the big suitcases but will need to ship the rest to Houston. Can you ship a suitcase UPS?
-I have already been to most of Europe, including Spain (not pictured), although Ireland is appealing. I have been to Iceland, but not in the summer. I am not much for beaches when I am traveling by myself.
-I read A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and am somewhat skeptical of cruises, if still slightly curious.
-I have never been to Canada or Mexico.
-My idea of a good time includes art museums, hiking along ancient historic trails, and eating delicious food. It does not include getting a bad sunburn or contracting Third World diseases.

Any ideas, readers?

UPDATE: Lots of good suggestions. Further input from me: I was thinking of about a trip of 5-6 days. I will be traveling alone, so if some places might be uncomfortable for a solo woman traveler who only speaks English, keep that in mind. Baltic cruises sound fun but like they might be too long. I have been to Eastern Europe.
Mexico: I have a cousin in Merida who has been badgering me to visit for a dozen years now, but his wife just had a baby and so he's probably busy.

Sensitive People

Maybe I'm just insensitive. Maybe I just grew up around too many relatives with mysterious illnesses that sounded a lot like psychosomatic sicknesses or wanting attention and not much like actual medical problems. Maybe I still have some deep seated skepticism of junk science. But these people sound like total crackpots to me, just like the MSG and aspartame paranoiacs in this thread. Allergies are one thing; they can be tested. But is there actual science to back up these claims of sensitivity to electricity and magnetic fields? Or are these folks the walking, talking tinfoil hat brigade?

Will Baude points out that the best way for the Snowflake sensitives to cope with the disturbing prospect of a normal family moving in next door would be for them to purchase a covenant from the present owners, which would presumably lower the asking price of the house but be more affordable for the concerned neighbors than buying the place outright. I suppose that would be the legal solution. Then again, it might be best if they all moved to Quantico, although how a bunch of people like these could cope with living next to a huge government facility chock full of scary waves and chemicals that pollute their precious bodily fluids is beyond me.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Never too thin or too rich

I've been thinking about money and such ever since I read Heidi's post on parental support and education. I started working in high school, but my father's family thought I should be able to concentrate on my studies and badgered him into giving me an allowance and paying my car insurance so I could quit my job as a cashier at Petsmart (which, by the way, is an excellent place to work if you're a good test taker; most of the raises and promotions are based on your ability to pass a standardized test on a given type of pet).

In college I got work study money as part of my financial aid and picked up a job at one of the campus research institutes (mostly because my next door neighbor encouraged me to apply since they were looking to hire some women). I kept that for all four years, working there two summers. During law school I didn't work, but I did take a firm job after 2L year to make some money so I wouldn't have to go begging to my family more than was absolutely necessary. I save, pinch, and scrimp. I like shopping at thrift shops. I'd clip coupons, except I don't like paying for a newspaper (when I worked at an office that got the local paper I'd ask for the Sunday circulars and get them that way).

But in many ways my existence has always been comfortable. I've never had to leave school due to lack of funds. I've never gone to bed hungry because I had to, and I've never bounced a check. Hell, I've never even carried a balance on a credit card.

So with that in mind, here are my answers to this web meme about money.

1. How much money is in your wallet right now?

Twenty bucks, more or less. I actually don't carry my wallet; I carry a key case with some money and a debit card. That way I can buy necessities, but I don't have a bunch of cards to charge things on. I also don't carry my license, which keeps me from buying expensive drinks when dining (like the other night at Thaiphoon, which actually really ticked me off. the one time I want a cocktail in D.C., the waiter cards me. Will said it must have been my girlish barrette. hmph).

2. How much money would you need in the bank to feel secure? Rich?

Secure: I feel pretty secure with the amount I have, but I wish it were easier to access and not tied up so much. Rich: I wouldn't feel rich until I had enough in the bank for a down payment on a house.

3. If someone gave you $100, no strings attached, what would you do with it?

I actually gave myself $200 at some point by hiding some "emergency money" in the back of my checkbook and forgetting about it. I found it last month and haven't spent it yet. The reason I have money is that I don't spend it unless I need something, which doesn't change just because someone gave me some money.

With all that virtuous talk put aside: shoes. Fancy Italian leather pumps at Nordstrom.

4. If someone gave you $1 Million, no strings attached, what would you do with it?

I wouldn't buy a house right now because I'm waiting for the bubble to pop. But I would buy a house with it at some point in the next three years, either in an up and coming area of D.C. like the place I live now or in San Diego, so I could have some lemon or avocado trees. I would invest whatever was left over.

5. How much does something have to cost before it starts counting as "real" money, as a purchase to be considered and evaluated, but below which you'll buy without really thinking about it?

Everything is real money. I think about it all. I buy cheap candy, for heaven's sake. You know, the kind on the wire racks that are 69 cents or two for a dollar. Generic gummi bears. You know what I'm talking about. Buy generics and skip the bars and you can afford to treat yourself to a nice vacation. That's more important to me than buying the brand name mayonnaise.

50 Book Challenge #35: The Curse of Chalion

Due to Heidi Bond's impassioned advocacy, I've now read three books by Lois McMaster Bujold. I enjoyed the first, was less thrilled by the second, and am now straining to repress an urge to immediately read a fourth.

This latest was stolen from Will Baude, who had ordered it in response to Ms. Bond's cajoling but was still trying to get through the final convoluted pages of Umberto Eco's latest. I thought having a fun fantasy novel to read on the way to BarBri class instead of listening to PMBR lectures would be a nice break.

Unfortunately, breaking away from the book was utterly impossible. I read it some more during one of our ten minute breaks, then during the second break, and by the end of our trusts lecture was reading the book full time, with occasional interruptions for filling in the blanks in our worksheets (this was the only good thing about the repetitiveness and absurdly specific direction in the lecture: it gave me notice to stop reading Bujold so I could write stuff down). The remedies lecture the following day was composed of similar alternations between fantasy and notetaking.

The Curse of Chalion
is another psychologically perceptive and well-plotted exercise by Bujold. Her conception of religion is not as obviously derivative as some, and the magical happenings are slowly introduced and build to an effectively mystical climax. There is one rather improbably coincidence, but Bujold plays this as a literal deus ex machina and thus evades the bulk of criticism. I want to say I can't wait for Paladin of Souls, but it must come after the Bar; I don't think my prep regime can take another such interruption.

UPDATE: Someone didn't like it. I wasn't bothered by the sex roles, if only because I like fantasy too much to only read the feminist stuff. But if Twisty had made it to the end, she'd have seen a remarkably egalitarian union of souls and kingdoms, a snarky twist on the granting of fair maidens as reward for the service of old retainers, and a well done portrayal of the divine feminine.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Wonders Never Cease

My second box of books, sent via Media Mail on June 11, has finally arrived, exactly four weeks after I first entrusted to the the care of the U.S. Postal Service. I'm happy to not have to replace my treasured copy of Poetry Out Loud and to have my long bar outlines for reference and, hopefully, to sell after passing the exam. But the delay really threw a monkey wrench in my plans to study Latin, since my Teach Yourself Latin, my Wheelock's, and my dictionary were all in that crate.

What I Ate This Week

Although this is really Raffi's bag, not mine, I wanted to share the recipes for one of the more delicious meals cooked up on Westminster Street lately. Critiques and suggestions for future food experimentation are encouraged.

Pork Fajitas

The old owners of Rancho Grande used to tell me as soon as I came in whether or not pork fajitas were on the menu that day, since it was guaranteed that I'd order them whenever possible. In an attempt to recreate the deliciousness of yore, Will and I made some improvised pork fajitas the other night.

Boneless pork chops were marinaded all day in the following mixture:
Juice of two limes
1 splash each soy sauce, vinegar, and olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Mexican oregano
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder

Will sauteed onions and jalapeno peppers in a skillet indoors while I played with fire outside.
The chops were then grilled over a charcoal fire for some indefinite period until we realized the fire was not hot enough and they were not going to cook before the Apocalypse. Then we chopped them into strips and threw them in the aforementioned (very hot and now empty) skillet until they browned nicely.

Tortillas: the hands down best way to heat up tortillas is over open flame. I use the gas stove and flip them with my fingers if they are big and tongs if they are small. They should be turned more or less constantly and are ready when air pockets puff up inside.

Accompaniments: we made this tomatillo salsa, although we used serrano peppers instead of jalapenos and increased the amount of lime juice. It was the most tangy, hot, scrumptious salsa ever. I highly recommend it. (It goes well with cheese quesadillas the next day as well.) We also put sour cream on the fajitas.

In the future, I think I'll just skip the grill and saute the pork from the beginning.

Friday Spies: Better Late Than Never Edition

1. Tropical Storm Cindy and Hurricane Dennis are causing trouble in
the Southeast this week. Share a natural disaster story.

When I was little, Hurricane Alicia hit Houston and knocked a tree onto our house right on top of the bedroom while I was sleeping. Did I wake up? No.

2. What is your favorite work of art?

Toughie. I really love Modigliani, as you may have noticed from my profie picture. But no single painting of his really has become my favorite. I love de Lempicka, Friedrich (especially this one), this Gerome depicting Pygmalion and Galatea, which sadly was not on display the last time I was in New York, and this painting from the National Gallery by Rembrandt Peale, which looks exactly like someone I know.

But my favorite single painting must be The Bather of Valpincon by Ingres. There's a small framed version of it next to my bed, and I love seeing it first thing in the morning. The play of light on her skin makes me feel fresh and clean.

3. Do you squeeze the toothpaste tube from the middle or the bottom?

The middle, but then I use the handle of my toothbrush to mash all the bits from the bottom up once it starts to get empty. I just finished off a tube of British toothpaste left over from one of my European vacations. It's no wonder British people have the stereotype of bad dental hygeine (thus necessitating campaigns like National Kissing Day) since all their toothpaste tastes like vaguely minty paste instead of American-style super fresh mint goodness.

4. What is your favorite "cult" film?

Well, I am obsessed with Rushmore, but don't know if that qualifies as a cult film since it was popular among mainstream audiences. Ah! It shows up on a list of cult films, so it must qualify. All hail Max Fischer.

5. Would you go into space if given the chance? Where would you go?

I would go into space. I'd like to go to the moon and write my name in the dust. Currently Richard Nixon is the only person whose name is on the moon, and I think I am cooler than Richard Nixon.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Force Feeding

Wah, the big bad market is making me buy Double Whoppers with Cheese! Jesse Taylor wonders where the healthy fast food is. He admits that most chains have some fairly healthy options, but then says
Even restaurants which are technically "better" for you, or at least have a healthier image, still undermine any health they promote by giving you meal options that force you to consume hundreds more calories than they should.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but how does McDonald's offering the Big Mac force you to consume it? I've eaten at fast food joints plenty of times when I am in a hurry or just have a jones for grease, and never has my order of a sandwich with no fries or kids' meal request been met with the barrel of a gun and the injunction to accept their upsell or meet my maker. Likewise, how does Subway's inclusion of 12 inch meatball subs on the menu force you to buy them instead of a 6 inch veggie or turkey sub? Does Jesse Taylor live in an area subject to some new, deadly-force-based marketing campaign for fast food?

What utter hogwash.

And by the way, this
people see a lot of vegetables on something and assume it's healthy. Oddly enough, a pound and a half of food is still a pound and a half of food.
is just silly. 1.5 pounds of sauteed onions and peppers is not the equivalent of 1.5 pounds of steak. (Apparently the real stealth calories are in the tortilla: see here.)

Disempowered Italians

Dave Kopel posts on the shocking nature of Italy's soon-to-be repealed self defense laws. From his previous article on the issue:
"The courts insist that the defense must be 'proportional' to the aggression -- so that if a man is using his bare hands to commit rape, the woman cannot fight back with a gun. Likewise, if your home is invaded by a gang armed with knives, the courts will not allow you to use a firearm against them."
So the physical force of a much stronger man is proportional to that wielded by a smaller, less strong woman? And one guy with a knife is proportional to a gang of men with knives? Can these judges count? I cannot express how much this appalls me. Hopefully the new statutes will redefine proportionality to have some relationship to the level of potential danger (although they apparently will not condition use of deadly force on the person being under "immediate threat," of which I am skeptical).

Rare Praise

As a libertarian, I'm normally pretty mistrustful and leery of dealing with government. My interactions with the Postal Service are often pretty dire, and my total confusion re: my own tax forms militated against my summer firm's intention to make me a tax lawyer. But in marked contrast to my series of horrid experiences dealing with BarBri, I just had the most wonderful interaction with the taxing authority of my clerkship state.

I am buying a car in State X and bringing it to Clerkship State. I wanted to know if that meant I had to pay any kind of Clerkship State tax on the car or if whatever sales taxes and registration fees paid in State X would be sufficient. I am still legally a domiciliary of State X and have a State X drivers license. I was transferred (without being hung up on! learn from the masters, Postal Service!) by one polite woman to another polite woman. The second one gave me her guess about what would be required, went to look up confirmation, and then came back to say she needed more time to look up the exact citation so I could prove her original guess was correct and would call me back. And then she promptly called back within half an hour and let me know that I should register the car and pay tax in Clerkship State.

That's some fine customer service, and being a non-resident of Clerkship State, I'm not even really a customer.

Super Freak Out!

Okay, I have officially hit the freak out stage of bar prep.

I am twitchy, nervous, and unable to sleep most nights. I need to relax. But most of my anxiety centers around the idea that I have not been working hard enough, so the benefits of sitting down and watching a movie with my boyfriend or zoning out blissfully at my computer are completely cancelled out by the subsequent panicky feeling that I was already behind and thus should have spent that time catching up. Time spent working just produces a "spinning the wheels" sensation, although I must say that the far more manageable California essay topics do give something of a sense of achievement after completion in a way that the awe-inspiring voluminousness of the MBE topics never could. And my essay writing may finally be hitting the mark (I'll see when I get some grades back), as I have pared everything down to the most boring and repetitive IRAC formula possible.

On the bright side, I didn't get an auto response to my Community Property submission, so maybe they've fixed that little glitch.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Things you find while Googling your own website: this blog was mentioned in the Chicago Sun-Times Quick Takes column on Sunday.
Name game

You may be disappointed to know that the Class Maledictorian weblog has changed its name to Prettier than Napoleon.

Or you may not.
Somehow I think this has something to do with Pejman.

V for Vendetta

Another terrorist attack, purportedly in retaliation for military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Mayor of London had an angry response (now in full).

How sad this is.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Today is International Kissing Day!

July 6 is National Kissing Day in the U.K. The United States apparently lacked such a holiday, so last year I began a one-woman crusade to establish Kissing Day in the U.S.A.

The idea behind International Kissing Day is that adult Americans may have forgotten the simple pleasures associated with kissing for kissing's sake, as opposed to kissing as mere social formality or prelude to other activities. Kissing can be an enjoyable experience in and of itself, an expression and experience of intimacy, and just plain fun. This is not some some kind of overcommercialized Valentine's Day/Sweetest Day duplicate. You don't have to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything to celebrate Kissing Day. All you have to do is:

-Post on your blog or tell friends via email that today is International Kissing Day. Write a kissing-themed post or share a sweet kissing story.
-Kiss! This doesn't have to be a big romantic face-sucking episode. Kiss in whatever way is socially appropriate. Kiss your partner, eskimo-kiss a friend, get a big wet one from your dog--whatever! Or fondly remember your best kisses and use this day as motivation to recreate them. Kissing in all its forms is what's being celebrated, and all that's asked is that you take a moment to stop and reflect on the kiss, not just what it signifies.

UPDATE: I'll add links to any and all kissing posts kissing story posts brought to my attention. This post will stay at the top of the page for the rest of the day, but additional bloggy goodness can be found if you scroll down.

The Kissing Post Round Up:
sunny side up: you must remember this, sometimes a kiss is not supposed to be a kiss
Curtis offers a song with kissing lyrics.
Coincidentally, International Kissing Day is also Barbara Sanders's anniversary.
Sherry Fowler kissed a cowboy musician.
Here's the story of a kiss that wasn't.
Biologist Joe Behrmann tells us why kissing is addictive.
The Ethical Esquire has some kiss-themed haiku poetry.
Daniel in Brookline has a kissing tale involving two girls.
Judith at Kesher Talk points out the American specialty of auto necking.
More kissing poetry via Doctor Weevil.

Do the BarBri Bounce

I don't know why I care (except that I paid their inflated antitrust violating fee and damn well expect service in return, or maybe because I actually thought I might not have failed this essay because I understand Civ Pro), but I was immediately thrown from a happy Kissing Day mood to violent rage when I received this email:
To: Amber
The last date for submitting the Civil Procedure essay for grading has passed. Please review the sample answers in the GAA book. If you have any further questions regarding the essay pelase [sic] call 1-800-995-5227 and ask to speak with a staff attorney.
Thank you,
The Bar/Bri Staff
The deadline is today, you lazy bastards. Just because the California class schedules are a few days ahead of ours (which is, I suppose, what permits us to view their taped lectures) does not mean that the essays are all due on the same date. How could they be?

I called and left an enraged message, but of course they won't call me back. They didn't the last time. I hope whoever is responsible breaks out in angry, painful boils.

UPDATE: In a totally shocking instance of customer service by BarBri, I received a phone call (noon on Thursday) from an actual BarBri-employed human to say that all essays will be graded if timely submitted, regardless of their stupid auto response emails. Why the auto response is not simply turned off is anyone's guess.

50 Book Challenge #34: Pilate's Wife

I have always been a fan of the crisp imagery of Hilda "H.D." Doolittle's poetry. So when my local used book vendor offered a hitherto unknown volume of Ms. Doolittle's fiction, I snapped it up. Imagine, then, my disappointment to find that such a powerful poet could be such a dull, uninteresting writer of prose. As an exploration of the longing for the divine feminine, it fails; as a portrait of aristocratic ennui, it succeeds without being memorable or innovative. The characters lack individuality, the spirituality lacks focus or depth, and the fragments of beautiful imagery are wasted by being scattered willy-nilly throughout the boggy narrative.

If you must read something about Pilate's wife, try Charlotte Bronte's version.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against BarBri

Maybe I'll be getting some money back.

(Via fellow sufferer Tiffany B.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

BarBri Agrees to Fulfill Its Contractual Obligations

After many angry calls from members of my class, BarBri has allegedly agreed to grade our timely submitted essays. This is after giving everyone who called a different answer about what to do (they told me I needed to forward, not resend, my submissions so they could check the time and date they were sent. *eye roll*). Such unrepentant jackassery only stokes the fires of my resentment. The best reason to pass the Bar may be so I don't have to take BarBri again.


At some point last night I was given the tour of my friend's new apartment in D.C. and I noticed her framed diploma from HLS waiting to be hung on the wall. Like the diplomas from Sua Sponte's undergrad, our law school diplomas are in incomprehensible Latin (unrelatedly, shipping my Latin books via Media Mail was a horrible idea; it's been three weeks, and my phone call to the Post Office today produced only a statement that Media Mail arrival is hard to predict because sometimes it just will "sit somewhere" for an indefinite period). However, I noticed that my friend who graduated from the Ed School had her diploma in English. How does Harvard (or any other school, for that matter) decide who gets the impressive yet impenetrable Latin diplomas or the more conventional English diplomas?

*Wouldn't it make sense if a discussion about diplomas could be called diplomacy?

International Kissing Day is Tomorrow

Just a reminder: tomorrow is International Kissing Day, the holiday first appropriated from Britain last year for the purpose of reminding Americans of the pleasure of kissing for kissing's sake. I hope others will join me tomorrow by creating a kissing-themed post, sharing a kissing story, or just plain kissing someone.

Monday, July 04, 2005

BarBri Can Kiss Off

I just emailed my Crimes essay to the BarBri graders. I then received a form email stating that the essay would not be accepted for grading. Our class calendar lists tomorrow as the deadline. I have received grades for other essays that were actually turned in late. What the hell is wrong with these people?

UPDATE: Those bastards just bounced my Performance Exam also (deadline: today). They are so getting an ugly phone call from me tomorrow.

BarBri Graders Hate Me.

Okay BarBri graders, you win. I am in fact the dumbest woman alive. How could I not understand that putting in three layers of subheadings is necessary to pass? At least you've quit docking my grade for not underlining the subheadings in my plaintext email submissions. How could I not understand that failing to follow the answer outline you've given me is a sure fire way to lose points? Discussing hearsay out of order will certainly make me fail. And while I may think that it actually makes me look stupider to bring up issues that don't actually apply when there's a perfect fit with another hearsay exception, obviously throwing in a bunch of irrelevant crap is proof of my encyclopedic knowledge, not of a total failure to be able to apply law to facts.

Is anyone getting passing grades on these essays? They keep telling us all we need to do is pass, but then it seems impossible to actually get a passing grade on the damn things.

UPDATE: There's not even an issue list? WTF?

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Party Hearty

Today I had my first experience with grilling on a charcoal fire, my first meeting with Steve Sachs, and my first opportunity to introduce a friend as someone who "used to go to law school with me." How sweet that sounds.

In which I rent a car and explore the neighboring states

Yesterday the boyfriend and I took a trip to Baltimore. I quite enjoyed both the seedy parts of the city and the more tourist-packed harbor area. His complaints about not being allowed to ram boats are exaggerated; I did not exercise any sort of control over his boat ramming capacity, and if my importunements to respect the apparently prevailing boat usage norm of non-ramming were taken to heart, it must have been because his guilty conscience acknowledged that they were unwanted but true.

The crabs at Obrycki's were everything promised, and my next project is to reverse-engineer the black pepper and mustard based seasoning they were slathered with. It looks unsettlingly like mud but is delightful to the tongue. My only regret was running out of crabs at just the point at which my hammer and knife skills had hit their peak.

I also broke my longstanding boycott of Virginia for our trip to Wegmans, which may be the best grocery store of any kind, ever. Zabar's is pretty good for specialty foods, but give me Wegmans access and I might never go anywhere else again; it's like Wal-Mart for food, except not trashy or evil. The staff is unfailingly cheerful and volunteers assistance to gobsmacked customers lost in the sea of delicious and low-priced merchandise. This store is a triumph of capitalism. Wegmans should take over the world.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Sure, they're not really more than sea insects, but they're delicious sea insects. I'm off to Baltimore for the day. I leave you with two truths and a lie (inspired by PG's interest in hearing more bizarre childhood stories).

1. My father went to jail for stealing corn.
2. My mother used to try to set me up with teenage patients at her hospital.
3. Our home was prominently featured in a television ad for a dog poop removal service.

Friday, July 01, 2005

50 Book Challenge #33: Cloud Atlas

It's been too long since I read a book in white heat, unable to put it aside for much more than the minimal necessities of sleep and food. Cloud Atlas, the second of David Mitchell's books to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is a genre-bender obviously inspired by the structural hijinks of If on a winter's night a traveller, but with more lofty themes. Mitchell's series of interlocking stories speak to contemporary hot button issues like genetic modification and corporate power, but are more concerned with the constant tension between human progress and improvement and human greed and lust for power over others. Historical fiction, epistolary novel, thriller, wry social commentary, sci-fi dystopia, post-apocalyptic lament: Cloud Atlas is bigger than the sum of its parts, but each part is to be savored.

I don't want to give too much away, as much of my enjoyment of this book was based on the unfolding of surprises both structural and narrative. But run, do not walk, to your nearest library or Barnes & Noble for a copy of this book.

More Surveys

Because I have little to add to the O'Connor retirement commentary, I took a survey instead. Instructions for taking the test and spreading the meme appear below.

Age: 24
Gender: Female
Location: Washington, D.C.
Religion: None
Occupation: Law clerk
Began blogging (dd/mm/yy): 03/04/04

Political Compass Results
Economic Left/Right: 5.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -4.87

Friendliness: 2
Gregariousness: 14
Assertiveness: 34
Activity Level: 2
Excitement-Seeking: 11
Cheerfulness: 0

Trust: 0
Morality: 0
Altruism: 1
Co-operation: 0
Modesty: 55
Sympathy: 1

Self-Efficacy: 1
Orderliness: 41
Dutifulness: 27
Achievement-Striving: 0
Self-Discipline: 0
Cautiousness: 53

Anxiety: 99
Anger: 97
Depression: 99
Self-Consciousness: 93
Immoderation: 30
Vulnerability: 99

Imagination: 42
Artistic Interests: 6
Emotionality: 47
Adventurousness: 12
Intellect: 35
Liberalism: 34

Track List:
1. Philosophy, et cetera - - pixnaps97a2
2. Majikthise - 6ea37d10-e9b9-11d9-8cd6-0800200c9a66
3. Prettier Than Napoleon - 451bc1e0-ea5f-11d9-8cd6-0800200c9a66

Overview: This post is a community experiment with two broad purposes. The first is to create publicly accessible data about bloggers' personalities, which may have sociological value in addition to being just plain fun. The second is to track the propagation of this meme through blogspace. Full details and explanation can be found on the original posting:

Instructions (to join in the experiment):

1) Take the IPIP-NEO personality test and the Political Compass quiz, if you have not done so already.

2) Copy to the clipboard that section of this post that is between the double lines, and paste it into your blog editor. (Blogger users may wish to use 'compose' mode to preserve formatting and hyperlinks. Otherwise, be sure to add hyperlinks as necessary.)

3) Replace the answers in the "survey" section below with your own.

4) Add your blog information to the "track list", in the form: "Linked title - URL - optional GUID".

5) Any additional comments should go outside of the double lines, including the (optional) nomination of bloggers you wish to pass this experimental meme on to.

6) Post it to your blog!

Friday Spies: Fitz-Hume Falls Down on the Job Again Edition

1. Is Tom Cruise correct that we're not alone in the universe?

I hate to agree with a Scientologist, but it seems probable that there are other places in the universe with life. Whether that life is sentient, has space travel, or at one point blew up the earth in a volcanic holocaust is debatable (okay, not that last bit--that's just silly). But if there is life on other planets, it is probably not humanoid with funny ears (thanks, Trek).

2. What is a fashion trend that you would like to see go away, and what is a fashion you would like to see come back in style?

I am tired of tans being in. Whatever happened to the good old days, when pale skin meant you were part of the upper class and never had to sully your skin by laboring in the sun? Someday overworked office monkeys will install UV lamps in their cubicles so they can tan and collate at the same time and then the pendulum's gonna swing my way, you melanoma-contracting weirdos.

3. I was going to ask what city will win next week's vote on the host of the 2012 Olympics, but everyone knows it's going to be Paris, so I decided to tweak it: What city that you have visited (or lived in) would be a good Olympic host city, and why?

I don't think there's such a thing as a good Olympic host city because I hate the Olympics. Why athletic competitions must all be held simultaneously in one venue is beyond me. Any city that wants to take a gamble on bringing a massive security risk and potential money loser to their city that will leave them with a bunch of useless arenas for the forseeable future is welcome to it. Losers.

4. Happy Canada Day to our readers in the Great White North! In light of that holiday, and our own upcoming Independence Day, tell us your favorite Independence Day memory. (And yes, those of you in other nations can use whatever national holiday you celebrate.)

I used to set off fireworks every July 4th with my dad. He was usually drunk and had little respect for the law, so his idea of a festive time was buying an armload of explosive and incendiary devices from some toothless wreck in a trailer on the roadside, driving until we saw an empty field with as little dry grass as possible, and blowing them up. Ah, childhood memories.

5. The Supreme Court ruled this week on one set of commandments, but we want to hear yours. What are the Ten Commandments of [X]? Pick a topic and reveal its ten most important rules. Phrasings with "shalt" appreciated but not

The Ten Commandments of Law School Blogging
I. Thou shalt not post about your exes by name.
II. Thou shalt not post about your professors by name.
III. Caveat: if thou hast a famous professor or classmate, thou shalt compile juicy lists of quotations and post them.
IV. Thou shalt not write anything under thine own name thou wouldst be ashamed to hear read back at a confirmation hearing.
V. Thou shalt not make sweeping statements about which group of D.C. interns has better love lives because people get really touchy about that stuff.
VI. Thou shalt not post detailed accounts of debauchery. Save this for thy"Brush With the Law" style tell-all.
VII. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's GPA, nor his law review position, nor his position with Wachtell, at least in print.
VIII. Thou shalt not post drunk.
IX. Thou shalt not lie to the prelaws.
X. Thou shalt use thy blog to pick up hot lawbloggers.