January 31, 2004

Oh, that's where the time went

I know where the time went, and I wouldn't change a thing. Reading, class, workouts, and the following are all things for which I'm thankful:

1. E and I drove to my hometown to celebrate my niece's 2nd birthday. It's amazing how quickly children change. I'd just seen my niece on January 1st, and 3 weeks later she's bigger, has more muscle control in her face, and knows more words. While we were there, my dad gave me a garbage bag full of wild duck and pheasant. As a carnivore, aspiring chef, and child of a responsible hunter, I have to gloat. 4 duck breasts (pre-cleaned, to boot) of 2 varietals (different weekends, different migrating birds), and 4 whole pheasants. Happy freezer full of birds.

2. Mid-week dinner with my sister, E and R. My sister made a delicious asparagus risotto. I made the duck in a butter, red-wine vinegar, and pink peppercorn sauce. Perfection.

3. E and I watched two great movies (Netflix is brilliant) this week. First we enjoyed the soundtrack and explosions of the dork coming of age story October Sky (probably should have been named Rocket Boys). And, we finally saw the light and cute Bend it Like Beckham (mmm... now I want some Indian food...).

4. Then, there was the 1L party where I made new friends, played bad pool, and got to know many of my classmates a little bit better.

Now, if only I could get my moot court assignments finished...
Where did the time go?

This semester is more busy than last at this time. I think it's the fault of moot court. There's also more reading than back when they figured we didn't know how to do it. There's also all the cooking I've been doing because I know that there will be no cooking come finals prep time. Under the same logic, I've got a very active social life right now that I'm trying to squeeze in every spare moment. And, of course, I'm suffering from the early semester work-out ambition (a minimum of 4 workouts a week is the goal for the semester...we'll see how that goes).

Add basic house chores, bills, planning the spring break getaway, and I'm slacking in the cyberworld. All the cool kids are either on or moving to Movable Type. Check out Ambulance Chaser's new digs. But, me, I'm just not finding the time. I barely found time to post last week, and I'm way behind on my favorite blog and news site reading.

If you're not behind, and want a good read, I recommend checking out Business2.com's 101 Dumbest Moments in Business.

January 30, 2004

raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

The school sponsored welcome back party was last night. It's not usually my thing to go party like a rock star with a bunch of acquaintances (my classmates), but something got into me and I decided to go check it out. It was a swanky shindig in a top-floor penthouse of an appartment tower (amazing views). I was, underdressed, as usual, but many of my fellow students went all out. There are many pretty people in law school. Many of whom I'd never seen before. Where do these people hide?

The evening was a wonderful success, and I arrived at a very giving friend's house to crash around 2:15 AM. I couldn't fall asleep very easily, but eventually fell into that unrestful I-know-I'm-not-in-my-own-bed-and-I-partied-a-little-too-hard sleep.

Then the construction woke me up at 6:45 AM. I must say, that is NOT one of my favorite things...

Thank goodness it's Friday.

January 27, 2004

Tuesday... off to both a bad and good start

The bad:

Despite leaving 20 minutes earlier than my best time ever on a commute, and well within my "I-can-expect-to-arrive-in-time-to-get-tea-before-class" range, I arrived at school 15 minutes after class began. Stupid Smarch weather.

Yeah, 15 minutes into a 50 minute class is too late to walk in, even for me. What's worse, I gave a ride to my friend T who's never been late or missed a class (yeah... I'm impressed). Until today, that is. I showed up 10 minutes late at T's house because I thought I had plenty of time... First bad judgment call of the day. Here's to hoping it's the last.

The good:

The portion of the Patriot Act that governs charitable gift giving and suffers from some pretty severe vagueness, was declared unconstitutional by a Federal District Judge in Los Angeles. Now that's something.

January 26, 2004

Happy Australia Day

Celebrate Good Times!

Reality Check

I went to the neurologist today. I have minor migraines. Sometimes.

The waiting room was full of parkinsons, MS, stroke, and other things that made me want to go home and quit my bitchin'...

January 23, 2004

Lost and Found

I'm VERY absent-minded. As in phone in the freezer, milk in the cupboard, "oh, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to steal your pen," where-are-my-glasses-oh-right-my-face absent minded.

So, it was no surprise to E when I realized last night that I had lost a small purchase that I made. Wednesday, I went to one of the boutique stores near the art movie house and bought myself a small trinket that I had been eyeing. I managed to keep the bag with the logo of the boutique through the movie and get it back to school. But then, I lost it. Somewhere.

Not only that, but I didn't even realize I had lost it until last night, more than 24 hours after leaving it somewhere on campus.

When you're me, you write off stupid stuff like this all the time. When it's gone, as a general rule, it's just gone. But, much to my surprise, someone turned it in to campus security and I actually got it back today.

I have the most positive feelings towards my fellow students right now. They really aren't bastards, despite how I may feel on a bad day or portray them in failed comedic attempts. They're nice and good and wonderful. So is friday.

In fact, in celebration of the weekend and the beginning of the semester, I'm spending tonight making food and feeding friends. The menu includes a spinach salad, french onion soup, baked asparagus and a chocolate soufflee (assuming all goes well...). Which reminds me, I need to get a run in before I start cooking...

January 21, 2004

First Time for Everything

I had to get a refund on movie tickets today. {laugh} Yup. Movie Tickets.

My wednesdays suck. 1 hour of class, early in the morning, and then nothing. If I wasn't a commuter, perhaps this would not be so terrible. But, alas, I am. Add the make-up moot court class that was scheduled for late this afternoon and you have a very unhappy BT.

However, all was not lost since H and I decided to go see Monster during the down time.

But, it was not meant to be. Why? Well... you see, the ticket database hadn't been updated. Our tickets said theatre 5. We went to theatre 5. The movie was late starting. Then we sat through the previews. Then we sat through Destino, which was a nice surprise, but not exactly what we were expecting. Halfway through Destino, H got up to ask if we were in the correct theatre, but couldn't find anyone to answer the question (art movie houses...). Smart guy, that H.

Sure enough. After Destino, The Triplets of Belleville started to play.

The guy at the ticket counter, when confronted with our tickets and the fact that we had missed 45 minutes of our movie said, "Oh, I didn't tell you about the theatre switch because the usher was supposed to catch it and tell you. I'm really sorry..."

So, as near as I can tell, instead of watching a movie, I studied, all because the ticket counter guy wanted to make sure that he didn't usurp the job of the under-performing usher/ticket-ripper.

Not Cool.

Oh well, there's more Wednesdays to come. I'm sure it'll be great when I do get to see it. Given the B+ it garnered from the difficult-to-please and discerning Unfashionable Observations, it's got to be worth the wait.

January 20, 2004


So, I was surprised that I came up with "The Godfather" on the "What Classic Movie Are You?" test. Didn't totally seem to fit me, but it's a great movie and well... an internet test. But then I saw that Hani and DG had both gotten movies that I would have preferred.

So, I decided to go the Hani route and try for a world leader that might be a little more on par with how I see myself.

Not so much:

The Best of Law School

Today, an overzealous volunteer posing as a question-asker started with, "I'll help you out." The professor quickly said, "Okay, just try to relax...you've got to leave something for me to do. Let me ask the question first, then you can try to answer."

Finally, a professor said what so many of us have been thinking.

The Worst of Law School

is embodied in a line that forms from the door of the classroom 20 minutes before lecture because today is the day we will be filling out the "seating chart." I missed the fun, but was treated to my fellow students' complaints of the cutting in line, cat-calling, and general ridiculous when I finally arrived (to take one of the only remaining seats in the very back of the room).

What? Who are these people? It's a seat in a classroom, people. For a professor who is generally acknowledged as our section's least cogent lecturer...

I don't get it.

{laugh} oh, and it'll probably happen next class too since the prof forgot the seating chart.

January 17, 2004

Link thanks to nontraditional student.
The Beginning of the Semester

Finals stole my life for almost 4 weeks. Then the holidays kept me captive, and then Egypt. But now, I'm in the beginning of the semester. The time of year when 15 hours of class and keeping up on the reading leaves gobs of free time to enjoy.

So in my spare time, I've been blissfully doing normal stuff. Cheerfully, I filled my car with gasoline at my regular station. Grinning, I picked up and dropped off stuff at my dry cleaners. E and I sleep in the same bed, talk about nothing, watch the Simpsons, and have already put in an appearance our favorite pho joint (after a record breaking absence of 2 full months!).

Ecstatically, I made a grocery list and went food and wine shopping. With my spoils, I made bolognese sauce from scratch and froze 2/3 of it for future use.

With the remaining 1/3 of the bolognese sauce, I made lasagna. I took a risk and tried the newfangled barilla no boil lasagna noodles. The noodles worked fairly well. Next time I use them, I'll go heavier on the sauce, since it appears that they soak up more liquid than boiled noodles (in hindsight, this seems fairly obvious...). Unfortunately, the last lasagna I made, I made the noodles from scratch and the memory of that lasagna put this lasagna to shame. But, we still had company over for lasagna, wine, and conversation that night and we've been living off of lasagna leftovers.

And last night, a group of E's friends and their significant others went out to celebrate birthdays, weddings, etc. Eleven of us sat around a table at Maggiano's and socialized while eating family style. I got to order the wine, because people are kind and like to indulge me. What did I do? Giddily, I ordered a magnum of Querceto Chianti Classico.

Magnums are cool. 12 glasses of wine in one bottle. It's even better when they are reasonable priced and you get both a huge cool-looking bottle at the table as well as decent dinner wine at $4.50 a glass. My selection was a hit and we ordered a second magnum to go with the second course.

So, other than this crazy waking up early thing I've got going on, my life is back to normal with chores, friends, activities, and food. I'm happy.
On Grades

It's undeniable that a huge part of the law school experience is grades. I, like most of my classmates was disappointed. Not terribly, but enough to be knocked down a few pegs. That's probably not a bad thing. Humility is not exactly one of my strong points despite my oh-so-desperate wishes to the contrary.

Coming from an engineering program with a steep curve prepared me somewhat for the letters I would see. I was happy to have already experienced the shock-and-awe that mediocre grades after working your ass off can be. I did not envy my fellow students who were experiencing that emotion for the first time.

However, there is one fundamental difference between an engineering curve and a law school curve. With engineering exams, you can see the model answer and you can see where, exactly, you fell of the train. Step missed here, arithmetic error here, forgotten factor of safety here, modeling error here. Even flaws in your overall approach are easy to understand when confronted with the simplicity of the "real" solution. You get the satisfaction of the slap on the forehead and the knowledge that if you were confronted with a similar problem in the future, you would do it better than the one on the exam.

I had heard the standard wisdom that law school exam grading was arbitrary. But, like most of my fellow students, I suspected it was sour grapes from people who just didn't understand how to take exams. It wasn't going to be arbitrary in my case....

Only, guess what. It really is fairly arbitrary, at least so far in my case. There is no "real" solution. I look at the tick marks all over my essays and I read the model answers and I see that there are a million ways you could approach the answer. There is the professor's way, which she thinks is best, but you may not agree, another professor may not agree, and the professor may not even agree with herself in a few months. After getting your exam back, there is no certainty that if confronted with a similar fact pattern you could approach it in a manner that was better.

With a steep curve at a school where most people are ridiculous over achievers, it's not enough to know all the rules, spot every issue and apply legal analysis correctly. It's not even enough to spot the tricky forks in the fact pattern and analyze where things could turn in either direction. You have to do all of that in the style that the professor wants to see. Knowing the material really well and applying it is a B. B+, A, those are reserved for the people who both know the material really well, AND have a lucky day whereby they organize their responses in a way that the professor likes, plus they write in a style that the professor enjoys.

I make these comments with my statistical sample of 2 grades, an A and a B. I haven't met with any of my professors but I've received two exams and the model answers. I examined them both with a level of detail that betrays my attempted "I don't really care about grades" attitude. I applied the rules/cases etc. in both exams with the same level of proficiency. I missed no major cases or rules. In one, I had enthusiastic comments with exclamation points. In the other, merely tick marks and no happy notes. If you had asked me which exam I performed better on, I would have picked the B.

So, what's the point I'm trying to make here? I've been through enough crap to know with certainty that my grades do not define my worth. And the point is fairly trite: people need to learn that they can't depend on external validation, yadda yadda yadda. My amazement is founded on the fact that a grading system which causes this much strife for thousands of students every year is actually that arbitrary. Sure, some students talk about it, but it's not a well-understood norm about the law school experience.

Perhaps the arbitrary ridiculousness is unique to schools like mine, which suffer from the wannabe excellence complex of a non top-10 ranking while admitting students who desperately believe they belong in the top ten (and probably do, if they'd had a luckier day on the LSAT). These amazingly intelligent workaholics are then placed on a steep mandated curve. From what I understand, employers really care about grades. I'm curious how they can when the difference between average and excellence in a pool of amazing fish is merely luck and style. 3 of my 4 professors spoke on this point, and yet, it seems that the real world is in another dimension where small variations in grades actually do measure something. I suppose employers and judges need something by which to differentiate people, but why not roll dice? Okay, now I've gone a little far with the analogy. I don't doubt that at the far ends of the curve, it is easy to spot the differences, but when you're talking about the middle of the continuum, I suspect that the gradient is minute and unique to each instructor on each given day.

In short, before I received my marks, I thought grades were a useful tool that too many people took too seriously. Now, I'm fairly certain that law school grades are a much less useful tool than I suspected and yet, too many people still take them too seriously.

Oh well, here's to wishing I was luckier and being thankful that I was as lucky as I was...
Jet Lag

Every night since my return, I've woken at some point and been unable to sleep for approximately one hour. Initially, it was 3 AM, then 4, then 5, until today, when I woke at 5:55 AM and was unable to sleep until now. The light is coming in the window and I doubt I'll be able to fall back asleep at all this morning. It's the beginning of the semester, the time when I can sleep in and relax and socialize. But no, my body disagrees...hopefully it'll fall into line soon. This Sucks.

January 15, 2004

Game On

Vacation is officially over. I showed up for class today without an ounce of information. I relied on my classmates for briefings on the assignments, textbooks, room numbers, and more. I couldn't believe that there are actually students who would willingly give up days of their vacation to come back to school early in order to take care of bidness. But, I'm glad that they exist. They certainly make my life easier.

The new players in my life are:

Professor Kind -- Criminal Procedure, it doesn't seem fitting that the instructor should be someone who seems like such an all-around GOOD GUY, but that's how it worked out. 4 hours a week of rape, murder and theft, all brought to me by a fellow who went out of his way to talk about his personal life and then took about 10 minutes to disparage the grading system, telling us to buck up if we got Cs and to stop thinking we're cool if we got A's, because really, it's all about how good you were on that given day. I like his approach.

Professor Tax -- Federal Income Tax, he's dry, as expected. He's also very big on efficiency and won't be calling on students to give the facts of the case because, "why? when I can do it faster and we can get on to interesting discussions..." The math is a welcome addition to my life, but he claims it's only arithmetic. Bummer...

I fell asleep in contracts today, which provided two of my section-mates with plenty of entertainment, or so they told me afterward. Happy to help. I think I'm on the last bit of my jet lag. So, I'm off to watch simpsons and make an early night of it. Here's to hoping tomorrow I'm less tired.

January 14, 2004

Best Memory From Egypt

My favorite memory from Egypt comes from our last day in Siwa, despite suffering with a ridiculous bout of intestinal pain and unpleasantness. We walked about 2 Km from our hotel to the base of the Hill of the Dead late on a Friday afternoon. Slowly, because I couldn't move very fast, we mounted the steps and walked around the front of the mountain, examining the exumed tombs which were cut like perfect rectangular prisms from the sides of the mountain.

We rested and enjoyed the view of palm trees, mesas, desert, the town of siwa, and the farther away mountains upon which we'd visited Alexander's (supposed) tomb and the temple of Ammon. A lanky boy came running up the steps--he was in a white running shirt and shorts and barefoot. I clapped for him and shouted encouragement. On his second run up the stairs, he stopped and we exchanged names. I took his picture as he stood there and showed it to him on the digital camera. He asked if I would take one of him running. So, I did. I tried to explain that I would send the photographs to Ali who had promised to distribute them, but my neither my Arabic nor his English was good enough to get the point across.

After the boy left, several Italian women from the previous night's dinner came down from the top of the mountain. They asked if we had seen the locked tombs and if we knew any of their history. I explained that there was some in the Rough Guide and tried to hand it to them. They asked me to translate instead, and although I succeeded in a round about way, I was shocked at just how much my Italian has fallen into disrepair over the last 2 years. One of the women took over translation from me at the end and quickly breezed through the last few paragraphs. I contented myself with a reminder of how much easier it is to translate back into your native language as compared with out of it.

After the women left, we followed the keeper of the Key towards the tombs and passed a man crouching over a fire in one of the caves. He invited us for tea after the tombs, and we accepted. We followed the key-keeper into the four locked tombs and marvelled at the murals of a Grecian-looking merchant, the crocodile, and heiroglyphs. Real mummies and skeletons were in two of the tombs, including a skull with hair still attached (which had later been dated to be roman, not ptolemic or 26th Dynasty). Seeing mummies in the actual tombs as opposed to in a museum was somehow more real and also, more overwhelming. We were silenced as we tried to get our heads around age of the tombs, the multiple uses that had been made of them over the ages by the Ptolemic empire, the 26th Dynasty, the Romans, the Siwans, the Italian troops in 1940...and now us, tourists, visiting with a man who lived nearby and following up our visit with tea.

The tea man carefully laid out clean mats and pillows for us in the cave. He unwrapped a blackened metal boiling pot, a white porcelain serving pot, and four shot glass sized glass tea cups. Slowly, he performed the ritual of making the tea, with each step gently and carefully undertaken as he smiled and smoked. The tea smelled wonderful and we looked over the horizon as we awaited both the sunset and the tea. He offered us cigarettes, oranges, tangerines and bananas. We accepted some of his offerings and relaxed near the fire. Finally, the tea was ready. He poured sugar into the white tea pot and added the tea. Repeatedly, he poured a cup of tea in a long stream and poured the cup back into the tea pot to cool the liquid. The sun kept descending and the sky moved from yellow to orange to pink. Finally, he served us our tea and we sipped on the strong concoction as we watched the sun make its final descent.

I would have liked to stay longer, but unfortunately, my stomach had other ideas, so I had to leave. R stayed behind and talked with the men a bit more. One of them invited us back for native Siwan whiskey, but later, after the cop who had been waiting nearby was gone. R smiled, said no thanks, gave baksheesh to the tea-maker and the key-keeper and walked down the mountain to meet me.
Egyptian Food Revisited

Hani pointed out my very stupid mistake of mixing up fu'ul which is NOT bread, but rather native beans, and shami which is the word for the bread I was disparaging. He also pointed out that shami's a uniquely delta culture bread and it's got a lot of history on its side. Apparently the recipe and manner of making it are older than the ptolemic tombs I saw in Siwa, and older than most of the things I ogled in the antiquities museum. So, that's actually really cool. I think I was perhaps too hard on the stuff because I was more than just a little annoyed with it after the last couple of days of the trip, where it was all that I could eat due to the stomach bug...

Hani also asked for a quick rundown of what else we ate since he doesn't normally hear of people complaining about the food. So, here goes. For the most part, we subsisted off of granola bars, and random sandwiches/pizzas/croissants at cafes. But, we did intersperse a few more memorable meals into the trip, including:

Aladin (inside the Sheraton Cairo Towers) morrocan food. Shami. Grilled chicken/fish with couscous. Good, but nothing to write home about.

A kebab joint in khan el khalili (but unfortunately not the Khan el Khalili cafe, which were were trying to find, but couldn't). The lamb was a very dry mixture of ground meat and spices. R was the only one who ordered lamb and decided to skip it because it scared him. The chicken was good, but not amazing by any stretch. Shami, hummos, vegetables and rice were average.

Cafe Riche (Midan Talaat Harb, Cairo) - good tehina, average to forgetable shami and main courses of chicken over rice and moussaka. The history of the place and collection of intellectuals all discussing politics and philosophy made it a memorable cool experience.

Al Dabke (Inside the Sheraton Heliopolis) - Lebanese food. Good food according to R, I was too sick to eat...The belly dancer was awkward, seemed to have about 5 moves that she kept repeating in various orders and was not very adebt with her hips (believe it or not). But the musicians accompanying the dancing were amazing, particularly the drummer and singer.

Denus (Alexandria) Greek Restaurant, excellent meals of fried perch and fried calamari, pommes frites, tehina, shami and tomatoes/red onions. The staff was wonderfully friendly and insisted on complimenting my Arabic, which was obviously a ploy to be nice to the tourists (that worked!) since my arabic literally consists of 8 words (one of which is not "bread," in case you couldn't tell).

Aethenos (Alexandria) Greek Restaurant, the fish wasn't as good as denus and the same style of meal didn't come with the tomatoes and red onions, but the ambiance, view of the corniche and dedication of the servers was better.

Alexander (Siwa): shami and good native siwan boiled green vegetable dish, flavored with garlic that started with an m/mim. The texture was somewhere near cooked cactus or boiled okra.

Restaurant on top of the Shali Lodge (Siwa): shami, vegetable couscous, grilled chicken, rice, tehina-cucumber-tomato salad. One of the better meals of the trip, both the chicken and the couscous were mildly spiced.

In ground barbeque hosted by palm trees hotel (Siwa): shami, barbequed goat that was dry and unseasoned, tomato/cucumber/red onion salad that was average, and yellow rice that was undercooked. Worst meal of the trip. We agreed before we knew the price and ended up paying way too much. The meal immediately preceding my night of intestinal hell, and most likely to have caused it (although no one else who went got sick... so who knows?)

January 13, 2004

Quick Recap

I'm back in the USA. Egypt was difficult, amazing, beautiful, scary and wonderful. Classes begin in 2 days and I'll be stuck in early morning classes 5 days a week. Given that I'm not over jet lag or the egyptian version of montezuma's revenge that I caught, I'm not excited for school to start. Oh well.

The short version of the Egypt trip:

  • Cairo is huge, full of smells, districts that are VERY distinct from one another, and many, many, many people. The basic tourist sights of the pyramids of giza, the antiquities museum, the citadel, Islamic Cairo and Khan El Khalili are all overwhelming and worth visiting again.
  • The smog in Cairo is actually as bad as I had read it to be (approximately 30 cigarrettes a day)
  • Downtown Cairo has the safest feeling streets of any major city I have ever visited. I had no fear of violence, theft, or any of the other nonsense of which I am usually apprehensive when in a major city like London, Paris, Rome, or New York.
  • Egyptian food, on the whole, is really quite terrible. Their bread is an amazingly coarse pita-like thing called fu'ul. Greek pita bread, lebanese bread, Italian bread, so many nearby countries have much better bread, but the Egyptians have not yet gotten the memo. The same logic applies to spices, sauces and meat. The best food we had was at Greek restaurants in Alexandria (We highly recommend Denus, where you select your fish from the platter of fresh/frozen kills and I had the best fried calamari I've ever tasted.)
  • Alexandria is a picturesque city on the mediterranean sea, a looser and more open younger sibling of Cairo. It is more common to see women in western dress, and young couples of opposite sex actually interacting with one another, perhaps because of the University of Alexandria and its proximity to the areas we visited. Upon arrival at the downtown train station, we managed to leave out the wrong exit and get lost on the other side of the peninsula in the working class neighborhoods--people were wonderfully friendly and helpful in helping us to get a cab back to where we were staying despite the lack of any common language other than us pointing to Midan Sa'ag Zaghloul in the rough guide. Our first night there, we stayed at the Union hotel on the 6th floor, in a room overlooking the Corniche. The view of the eastern harbour and the walks provided along the Corniche were amazing.
  • Our second night there, the Cecil Hotel was a grand experience, which provided a much needed input of western water pressure and toilets during my bout with an intestinal bug.
  • An intestinal bug, which comes upon you in the night at a $2 hotel in an oasis in the middle of nowhere, is not fun. Neither are fever and chills in the desert night and getting up every 30-45 minutes to run down the hall to the shared restrooms.
  • The Siwa oasis is worth being sick with an intestinal bug. The Siwan people are wonderfully friendly and the culture is still locked into its past although how far back the hold goes is slowly slipping with the onslaught of tourists, factories, automobiles and other trappings of the modern way of life. Additionally, the local sights are some of the best that Egypt has to offer. We chose to go to Siwa over Luxor and Aswan and didn't regret our choice one bit. Luxor and Aswan will be there in the tourist-trapping splendor the next time we go, but Siwa may have completely altered itself by then.
  • My trip would have been significantly different had I not been reading Palace Walk while in Cairo, Alexandria, Siwa, and on trains and buses surrounded by Egyptians. The book gave me a rich cultural and historical background against which to appreciate current Egyptian culture. I highly recommend this book to Westerners looking for some cultural perspective on Egypt. I had rented a few Egyptian films prior to going and none of them gave me even a tenth of the insight that the character development and stories in Palace Walk did.

Other than that, I'm happy to be home and almost recovered from my stomach bug. Now, I've just got to keep myself awake today and beat this jet lag before school begins...

January 1, 2004

Phase Two: T minus one day

Now that I'm relaxed and rejuvenated, I'm ready for the hard core portion of my vacation. Tomorrow, R and I leave for 10 days in Egypt. Should be fascinating, difficult, educational, and full of great stories. It didn't seem real to me that I was actually going until this morning when I was practicing Arabic phrases. Laughing at myself for my shower linguistics (some people sing, I speak in tongues) I realized that in less than two days, instead of having to repeat after CDs in my car, speaking in the shower, and babbling at friends who politely pretend that they are interested in what I'm trying to say, I would be able to practice these phrases with actual people who might understand me.

So, yeah. I'll be MIA for a while, doing cultural things, eating food, seeing sights, and hopefully, making a few friends.

Another bonus is that while I'm bummed to be away from E for so long, I'm over the hump. More than half of our time apart has passed and the remainder should fly by quickly as I'm traveling.

I'll collect the best stories from my trip for a monster post when I return.

Phase One: Complete

I survived and thoroughly enjoyed the first half of my winter break. A whole month of vacation! I'm back in love with law school again. Sure, finals sucked, but they were worth the entire month off.

The laziness, relaxation, and social life of the first phase included many wonderful things. I am fat and happy.

1. Read great brain candy books that had nothing to do with law:

  • American Gods by Niel Gaiman. I grabbed it just before finals because I saw that it won the Hugo, Nebula, Locus (I used to subscribe, cool rag) and Bram Stoker Awards--I figured with that list of accomplishments, either the book was really good or there was a huge sci-fi/fantasy award conspiracy I should know about. It was really good. Fast plot, tight writing, excellent historical tidbit droppings, all the makings of fine brain candy.

  • The Passions of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland. Italy. Art. Hints of the Italian Language. The drama of a difficult and dedicated life. All the things that are so sorely lacking from my law school experience.

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I figured I should at least know what everyone is talking about. Yup, it too had all the great trappings of an escape. Everything I've ever read about using the device of plot and managing the flow of a story was pulled off perfectly in this book. I read most of it on the last day of last year and I started the new year by waking in a post-party-daze and finishing the last 4 chapters.

2. Attended 2 parties and a psuedo-party where a bunch of alumni met up to watch our alma mater win a bowl game at my dad's favorite local deli/bar (we sang, yelled, drank, and celebrated, it was glorious).

3. Caught up with old friends.

4. Ate too much rich food.

5. Attended a wedding.

6. Slept, a lot.