April 28, 2005

Good Use of Power

If I were a headline writer, you can bet your ass I'd have titled this story with the same headline as the Online Sun:

Extinct "Pecker" Pops Up

April 24, 2005

A ton is 2,000 pounds

Yesterday, my neighbor stopped me on the end of my run.

"You've lost a *ton* of weight."

"A ton? Wow, I had no idea I used to look like a 1957 Chevy 1 ton in need of restoration. Thanks for letting me know."

Or, that's what I wanted to say. But, his "I'm the NRA, and I vote" bumber sticker, his wardrobe of rifle club paraphenalia, and the general sentiment in the neighborhood that he's not playing with a full set of marbles kept my tongue in check. Instead, I tried to treat his statement like the compliment he no doubt intended it to be.

So, I silently stared and tried to give him time to reformulate his statement.

He stammered, "I mean, you lost a *lot* of weight."

"Uh, Thanks... I guess."

"I mean, you look good. Really healthy."

Finally! I smiled, said thank you and went into the house. I took comfort in the angry psuedo-whispered earful his wife, who had silently witnessed the whole thing, immediately started giving him when my back was turned.

People -- you have no idea why or what is going on with other people's health. If they appear to have lost weight, it may be because they are *very* sick and do not wish to celebrate it, they may weigh exactly the same amount but are just wearing more flattering clothes, or they may have actually gained muscle and lost fat, thereby weighing *more*. The same logic applies for people who appear to have gained weight--they may be wearing unflattering clothes, they may be pregnant, they may be severely depressed, or they may be celebrating the fact that they are no longer *very* sick.

If you have a compliment, then say it, but make sure it's phrased as a compliment and not a general assumption about something that is none of your business.

April 21, 2005


Today, I went to our school's moot court banquet instead of going to my one class for the week. I did my best to find M, which wasn't quite good enough and barely found him before the banquet started. We had an angle through C, who was getting a text message when the actual awards ceremony commenced (until which time, we were having beers). C made a move and we quickly followed, but apparently, it wasn't fast enough. We missed the announcement of our team.

I was sad. I would have like to stand up with my team all in tow and acknowledge our accomplishments. But, I really enjoyed the beers with M, who is, hands down the best friend I made from my moot court experience. So, how do you weigh that on the scale? I guess you don't. My loyalties were correct -- I would've had less fun standing up without M, but in a perfect world, I would've had our beers and the accolades too.

In the surprising category, my appellate advocacy brief partner, C, and I won an award for the quality of our brief. Thankfully, I was at the ceremony in enough time to shake the judge's hand and accept that one. Later, G told me my eyes were extremely large for the camera flash. Makes sense since I didn't know we'd been nominated. Add the beers with M and you can imagine my confusion...

After the ceremony, I went out for more beers with M & C, but M quickly disappeared. I hung out for a while with randoms who appeared, including S, who reads my blog and in the past has been somewhat insensitive of my desire to be anonymous but today was a rockstar in his pretend-obliviousness of the end of my externship, my trip to puerto rico, etc. Good job S!

Eventually, I ended up chillin' with C and a bunch of people I didn't know. We went to one of their dorm rooms and had a few beers, told some stories, laughed, etc. I felt very much like a normal law student and somewhat sad that I'm so rarely around school for interaction of this type. Typically, I had to cut myself off, buy a diet coke and sober up for the drive home. At one point, one of the girls said, "you're sober, and we're trashed. That must suck." Yeah, but it sucks more when you point it out... anyways...

After I excused myself from the youthful cools I found M--turns out some of the people I was chillin' with were M's friends and he'd been looking for 'em. [laugh] ahhh... the irony. Unfortunately, I left and was halfway home before I thought to call G and congratulate him on graduating, finishing an excellent year of moot court success, etc. He was out at a bar and invited me to join. I, of course, opted to continue home to dinner with E. I made the typical noises about catching up before he's done, but in reality, it's not going to happen and that may be the last time we talk. I'm old. My 3L friends are moving on. Bummer. But good for them.

And now, I have exactly one more class, a ton of reading (since I haven't read a single case for this class), and one final until I'm done with 2L. Add that I've still got one hell of a to-do list, a planned visit to the family, and I'm supposed to start my first summer associateship before I even sit for my final and yeah--I'm busy.

Of course, I don't have too much time to get all weepy over the ebb of lawschool-forged friendships because despite my best efforts, the final draft of my note is only about half-way done. It's a good start, but...

Oh, and the drinking for the banquet -- yeah, I'm sure my immune system is going to eat that up and get over this cold right quick. No way I'm waking up tomorrow AM with the same ugly sore throat I had this AM (think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts...)


April 20, 2005

Stupid Body

I'm one of those ridiculously healthy people. As in, Typhoid Mary healthy. I rarely suffer symptoms, and when I do, I just ignore 'em 'cause usually they go away quickly. Or, I end up in the hospital.

So, today was atypical for me because I spent the day nursing a cold (the first one I've admitted to having in a long time, probably at least two years). I HATE being sick. Seems like my body is on strike against me.

I've also been grumpy at my stupid elbow for the last couple of months, because a mysterious pain I developed seems to be getting worse. Which means I'll have to go to the doctor. Which I hate. It appears that I've developed a case of tennis elbow.

This is understandable given the high frequency with which I play raquet sports (NOT!).

In other news, predictably, I knocked off everything on my to-do list except the new draft of my note. I will get around to it. I have to--I need to get those units.

Off to take ibuprofen and ice my elbow. (Sheesh--you'd think I'd have a leg injury or something, but no....).

April 19, 2005

Wedding Fatigue

That's why the Catholic Church is so great! The left hates 'em for the tradition and pomp, the right gets pissed off about their position on social issues, and *everyone* hates 'em for the condom thing.

--bear, on religion

I spent all day doing stuff related to the wedding. I now know that it will be more expensive than I thought. Shocker. Rad. Despite the pain of that realization and the tiresome experience of being led through the latest round of possible wedding locations by wedding coordinators (or planners, I can't remember the difference), I actually may have enjoyed myself a little bit today. Shh. You tell anyone, I'll break your face.

Regardless of how I felt about today, I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I can clean out my files, balance my checkbook, update E's & my joint finance tabulation, get my oil changed, get the car washed, and finish draft 2104 of my note.

Later kids. I'm out the game.

April 17, 2005

I've got a bad case of the Angst

You scored as Sadistic Humour. Congratulations, you scored Sadistic Humour. You find the little things in life to be funny, and have a great sense of humour, whether it's stupid or dark. You're probably young, and older people don't understand why it's all so fucking hillarious. Either way, check out: Clerks, Mallrats, Napoleon Dynamite, Wayne's World.

Sadistic Humour






Romantic Comedy






Mindless Action Flick


Movie Recommendation.
created with QuizFarm.com

Thanks to JCA for the link.
A request for United Airlines

If any of you have any pull with the people who write the scripts for United Airlines--Please ask them to eliminate the phrase "from the comfort of your seat" from all announcements.

It adds nothing except insult to "we'll be walking down the aisle with a menu to give you the opportunity to purchase a snack box from the comfort of your seat." Everyone really knows the addition of "from the comfort of your seat" is code for "don't bother trying to get up, you're stuck. And NO we don't have a meal for you because we lost all of our cargo contracts so we have to try to make up the difference by sticking it to passengers whenever we can. So, if smelling the meals served in first class makes you so hungry that you can't make it to the next stop, we'll happily take advantage of your situation and charge you $5 for a box of stale packaged processed snacks."

"We'll be giving you an opporunity to watch the in-flight movie from the comfort of your seats" irks in the same manner. No shit? From the *comfort* of my seat? Did you have to remind me to think about how *uncomfortable* my seat is? Couldn't you just start the movie politely and let me do my best to ignore my lack of comfort?

Yeah, United is not my favorite company right now. Between the dropped oxygen mask debacle on the way to Australia and the 4 hour delay in ORD on the way back yesterday, I'm not the biggest fan. But, we've still got rebate coupons to use and we've racked up miles, so we're kind of stuck. And they know it.
Tidbits from Puerto Rico

Make no mistake, Puerto Rico, the Free Associated State, does not FEEL like it is part of the United States. I kept referring to it as a "country" and it seemed proper that United Airlines required us to fly on their international arm. Obvious differences include: Language; Beer cans are 10 ounces (but bottles are 12); while speed limits are listed in miles per hour, exits are marked in kilometers; cops and emergency vehicles drive with their lights flashing at all times (I never did figure out how to know if you're getting pulled over or if you need to make way); and of course, all of the major cultural differences including the oh-so-welcome-on-vacation decreased pace of life.

Despite what the guidebooks say, English is not spoken by everyone (particularly once you leave San Juan). Furthermore, it is not that you've warmed your way into their hearts and they're opening up to speak to you in Spanish. It's their primary language (although the dialect is quite strong and unlike any Spanish I've heard before), and if you plan on leaving tourist areas (which I highly recommend) you will be well-served by a basic understanding of and ability to speak at least a few key phrases in Spanish.

I highly recommend taking the $2 ferry from Fajardo on the mainland to Vieques, or La Isla Nena. It was probably one of the more educational experiences of the trip to wait in line for an hour, sit on the boat for 20 minutes, and ride the ferry for an hour while listening to Puerto Rican hellos, goodbyes, family reunions, and complaints about the newly installed computer system and how it takes much longer to get tickets now.

Vieques is a smaller island with a higher density of Ex-pats, gorgeous beaches, and a relatively low tourist population. It is also home to one of the coolest things I've ever experienced: night swimming in the bioluminscent bay under the stars.

On the way back from Vieques, we splurged on the $76 flight from Vieques to San Juan International instead of returning on the ferry and renting a car or finding a publico to drive us back to San Juan. Those 22 minutes in a 10-seat Cessna give views of Puerto Rico that are unavailable from any other vantage point. It also saved quite a bit of time over the ferry plus drive from Fajardo to San Juan.

The food was amazingly tasty. Many of the offerings are fried in lard, which explains the tastiness, but unfortunately knocks them out of the "I can't wait to add this to the list of regular recipes" category. In particular, I could not get enough Mofongo--fried mashed plantains stuffed with various meat offerings. I also would have liked to have more Asopao. E took advantage of the island's availability of octopus and had approximately 7 octopus-based meals. All in all, we sincerely enjoyed ourselves, and it was an excellent adventure. Also, just like after all the "truly" international travel I've done, I'm happy to be home and more appreciative of the benefits of my life than I was before I left.

April 8, 2005


Today was my last day in chambers. Bittersweet, really. I hugged all the clerks and staff, and I said goodbye to the judge with a firm handshake and a very nice conversation where she thanked me for my help and claimed they couldn't have gotten along without me (how very nice and obviously untrue!).

It was the best job I've ever had. But I didn't get paid. Rather, I was paying for the privilege and therefore, I only signed up for a 12 week gig, so I savored every moment, because I knew each experience could be my last, or my one-and-only. I don't know if I'd have enjoyed it with such fierce fervor if I was a normal job where I was getting paid and didn't know when it would all end. Ahhh... the human condition. How silly that I'd enjoy the job I paid to have more than any other. And how typically human. Sure, we should all try to live every moment as if it might be our last. But, no matter how hard we try, we don't. Sleep calls. Laziness calls. And perhaps if we were truly omniscient that's what we'd do with our last minutes anyways. Clearly, I digress.

In other news, I called the airline to check in on our rebate coupons (the "sorry we dropped the oxygen masks while you were asleep over the pacific" compensation). I didn't see any place where they cleared on our tickets to Puerto Rico. Turns out they did, just in the bizarre code world of airlines where a $75 credit becomes a certificate valued at $0.00 and an entry in the line calculation of $34.88 each direction. Yes, I'm aware that $34.88 X 2 does not total $75. But, it's hard to be upset about the lost $2.62 on each leg when my call netted the surprise information that the fare on the flight had lowered since we booked and they are going to send us *another* voucher for the difference, in an amount of almost $50 each.

I'm not complaining. But I am amused. Obviously, we were willing to pay the original fare. We booked it. But if they offer to send us a refund so that we can buy it at the current market price, of course we will take it. Either this is goverened by statute, or, it's no wonder the airline industry is constantly battling bankruptcy (or both). Seems like if it's governed by statute we (as a country) should just admit that we've hamstrung the industry into constant bailouts and bankruptcy that makes 'em more or less public utilities supported by taxpayer dollars. I doubt anyone would really have a problem with that (okay, them's probably fightin' words...). But, seriously, it seems to me that the honesty about their status would have to result in some efficiency gains. Perhaps I'm naive.

The other discovery I made is that while we may have quite a few airline miles, we don't have close to the amount we could have. Many of the restaurants in our area give airline miles at rates of 5 or even 10 miles per $1. Damn. We could have easily earned first class upgrades to PR if we'd been taking advantage of this over the last couple of years. Oh well... such is life. Next time.

April 6, 2005


Soy Estoy listo ir a Puerto Rico.

Okay, maybe not. I don't really speak Spanish. I know the sentence above is somewhat approximating what I'd like to say. But it's probably grammatically wrong in some terribly obvious way (listo a ir? listo por ir?).

Regardless, I can freely think about vacation now because I just finished helping E prepare a few tax forms (read: doing the entire filing from scratch) and today, I turned in drafts of my last two assignments from chambers. From here on out, it's smooth sailing--E's just got to verify that I can copy numbers into blanks and e-file. I've just got to sit around waiting for clerks to get back to me with edits. So, needless to say, I'm checkin' out mentally and focusing on more important things like which classes to take next year, what I'm going to do in puerto rico, etc.

It's not that the orders I wrote are worthy of being so mentally done, it's more that I know everyone is so overworked that it'll be a miracle if either of the clerks can get back to me with edits they'd like me to make before my last minute, Friday at 2:30.

So, cheers to finishing things. And big tax refunds (too bad E didn't get one...).

April 5, 2005


I walked by the judge in the hallway today. She was walking some guests out of chambers as I returned with my carne asado burrito with chips.

She winked hello at me.

She's a very formal, judge-like person, who up until today has kept a seemingly pre-measured social distance from me.

So, the wink was odd.

What was weirder, however, was the giddy sense of acceptance when I saw the wink. It reminded me of being asked to Ginny Loraine's birthday party in 3rd grade. I'd never been cool enough to go to one of the parties where Ginny, her brother Bill, or any of the other cool kids hung out. Later, I realized that Ginny's and many other invitations arrived because I was considered the "poor awkward kid" that parents loved but children my own age hated. Rad. So, yeah, it was cool to get the wink, finally.

But really, whatever happened to Ginny Loraine?
The second half marathon: ummm... interesting

I think the first one spoiled me. It was ridiculously well run with an overabundance of trail markers, volunteers, snacks, supporters, and a super-high tech timing mechanism. I couldn't appreciate those perks then because I was a newbie. But now, well, now I know that Redwood Trails puts on a very professional, organized, type-A run. They manage to do it in a non-meth-head way that makes the studiously non-competitive type-A's feel comfortable (of which I am one--can't be competitive type-A about this sh*t, I'm too damn slow...).

This weekend's race, however...Well, it was just mediocre. But, then again, any run in Golden Gate National Recreational Area can't really be mediocre. So, it was awesome, picturesque, and great, but just not as well run as my first half-marathon. What can you do? Nothing ever tops the first time... or so they say.

First, my Garmin told me the race was 1.3 miles short. I'm willing to give 'em 0.5 to 0.75 miles that I may have lost in the trees and behind the hills. The gadget beeped a few times to remind me that it couldn't see the satellites for the trees. But, it didn't lose contact for 1.3 miles. I know this mainly because I walked up more hills than the last race and still finished 14 minutes faster.

Second, the finish was "along the beach." Sounds great at the start line. But when the last 0.5 to 1.0 miles (depends on who is telling the story...) is on unpacked gravel-sand, it's not so much "along the beach" as "over the god-damned beach, ever-so-slowly."

And third, the start was not organized by time. Given that the first couple of miles were uphill, including some steep stairs, allowing the fun-walkers to mix in with the pseudo-wanna-be-runners like myself meant that there was no running up the stairs or the steep hill. This is probably why I feel a million times better after this race than the last one, but at the time it was frustrating as hell.

My theory is that the folks at envirosports are less precise, type-A, and organized than the folks at Redwood Trails. There was a higher ratio of hiker-walker types to ridiculous hilly-marathon types than at my last race. Basically, the enviro-folks seem well-balanced and not very neurotic, so of course I have a hard time relating and feeling at home. This mellow attitude was best demonstrated during initial announcements, where they offered to take any amount off of your time that you attributed honor-system-style to sight-seeing at the top of the mountain.

In short, this race wins the award for the views, but that's it. It'll probably be the race where I actually buy the sponsored photograph (since E, my sister and I slowed to a crawl so we could triumphantly run through the photo station at the same time).

On a different, but equally interesting (and how very uninteresting it must be...) note, the "walk-more-at-the-beginning" approach of Jeff Galloway was forced upon me by the single-file-stairs being oh-so-slowly climbed by the not-so-fast. I think it may have helped me. At one point in the race, I surprised myself by busting out a 7:47 mile. I didn't know I could run that fast and still maintain enough endurance to continue in a long race. Perhaps it's because I took walk breaks on the uphills in the beginning.

Regardless of why I was able to run fast, I'm happy I was able to go for a 10 mile walk this evening with K. And, more importantly, I'm thrilled that I don't feel like the complete and total excuse for a human that I was two days after the first half-marathon.

So, perhaps I'll try to implement the take-walk-breaks-early-to-save-your-legs plan in my next half-marathon, which by the way, will be flat, praise Allah, Yaweh, and Dog. It should be a good time since it's in the middle of summer heat, my first chip race, in wine country on a Sunday (will BT be able to resist the sweet siren call of the dehydrating vino the night before the race?), and, of course, let us not forget it's in the middle of both summer associate season and barbeque season which will be collaborating to add 10 pounds to the tortured BT frame.

Stay tuned.

April 1, 2005

Runners are Insane

Tomorrow, E and I have our second half marathon. To psych myself up, I read a bit from my second running book and came across the story of Horace Ashenfelter, the first American to win the Olympic Steeplechase.

Yeah, that's right. The steeplechase. An equestrian obstacle course.

Only, now I know that it's also human track and field event as well. For this, we owe a thanks to Halifax Wyat, an Exeter student who claimed he could run the race faster than a horse.

I'm certain he was sober when he made this promise. And, you know his friends were very gracious about letting him back out if he realized his lunacy.


(Me Too!)