December 28, 2004


Who knows if this is too early, but I'm feeling better. I made a new friend this semester, J. He had plans to take off for Thailand before Christmas to go beach hopping. I bit him farewell and best wishes after our last final together and thought nothing more of it. Sure, he was traveling alone for the first time in his life, but I've done it many times, and really, we all survive. We grow. It's good for us.

Unless of course, we're beach-hopping during a Tsunami. When the news of the big waves came to me, I immediately felt guilt. He'd asked whether he should cancel his trip since his traveling companion had bailed on him. In response, I goaded him, chided him, and challenged his masculinity in order to encourage him to go it alone. How horrid would I feel if his decision, which may have rested a little, or possibly even quite a lot (given the fact that my pressures came during finals) on my words, resulted in his injury, or worse yet, his untimely demise. I've been trying to relax and tell myself that life goes on, it's out of my hands and I must wait 'til next semester when surely, he'll arrive on campus with amazing stories of being in Thailand during the aftermath of the big earthquake. But I couldn't help but wish there was a way of knowing that it was going to be okay. I couldn't help but feel guilty that this new friend of mine, whose parents I briefly met, may not be okay and may not be able to contact his parents, and even if he had, it would be uncouth for me, the recent acquaintance whom they don't know, to call and check in on him. I also couldn't help but realize that he was probably one of the best friends I'd made in law school thus far, possibly #2 behind H.

So, you can imagine my happiness when tonight at dinner, F's boy, D, who regularly works in Singapore and had the low down on the waves, told me that very few tourists go to beaches on the West side of Thailand (where the waves hit). For the most part, the tourist beaches are on the East coast. When I heard D's words, I released the air that I had unknowingly lodged in the bottom half of my lungs for at least 24 hours. Why have the news articles neglected to inform me of this? Regardless, I'm fairly certain that J wouldn't venture to 3rd world beaches, and as such, he is safe. Here's to hoping I didn't stoke his adventure-traveling-alone fires too much with my bravado.

Also, and more importantly, here's good thoughts to all in that region who need them.

Happy New Year All. Be thankful for what you've got.

December 27, 2004

Cooler than I will Ever Be

Jeremy outed himself as Anonymous Lawyer.

Rock On J.

Seriously. If I had to guess, I would have pinned it on you or Wings and Vodka

Off to sulk in my mediocrity. On a beach.

The Other Side

Family on two coasts: visited.

Gifts wrapped and unwrapped: yes.

Thank You notes: most written and sent.

Emergency back up gifting for people who surprised me with gifts: tomorrow, a la Harry and David.

Books read so far: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim (Courduroy? Courdoroy? ...), Perdido Street Station.

Books left to read: In a Sunburned Country, The Golden Age, The Phoenix Exultant, and anything else I get my grubby mits on.

Bags lost by Delta: 1.

Bags successfully arrived on same flight: 1.

Number of forms I handed to people in line waiting for baggage claim forms: 7.

Explanations I gave about how baggage claim forms could be filed: 2.

Satisfaction that I am in law school, on vacation, successfully home, and not working for Delta, the day after the Comair debacle (Fortran???): high.

Enjoyment from 2005 summer associate holiday gifts: elation and surprise at the first, a collection of random holiday stuff; serious adoration for the firm who sent the second, a bottle of coveted wine that is already sold out. I'm slightly leaning towards firm two as of now (they've obviously got my number). Stay tuned.

Happiness at the plans for a New Year's sunny beach destination: immeasurable.

December 19, 2004

A year reprieve

Well, I'm done. Federal Courts was one of the more difficult, I-don't-have-enough-time-to-address-everything-here type of exams that I prefer. I walked out, discussed it with a few people, picked up K and drove home. Thanks to working for the judge, I will only have one final next semester, if any. So basically, I don't have to do another finals streak for an entire year.

Like the last one, this episode was an exhausting 18-day push filled with pizza deliveries, flashcards, diet coke, reading 'til I couldn't see, a billion gallons of green tea, stress, and about 16 nights of not enough sleep. In order to preserve my sanity, I ran 38.12 miles and put up with Bryan Kest's philosophical musings for 5 hours of yoga. I think it worked, and suspect I'm still sane.

When K & I got home, L was already here, visiting from Los Angeles, and H showed up shortly thereafter. We all drank wine, told stories, and laughed. I tried to believe that I was actually done, but it didn't sink in.

Then, L drove us to D's birthday party. L was a surprise, and D freaked out, screaming and crying, and all of that good stuff. I joined the real world just in time to hang out with my closest friends (all gathered at the same place, a rarity), have ice-cream cake and champagne, meet B&C's new baby, and watch a videotape of S on college jeopardy. Wow, 80's hair. Of course, after seeing someone on college jeopardy, playing X-box trivia in order to beat him is a moral imperative. Yeah, my team lost. I think I may have sabotaged it. Really, whose idea was it to give me more questions to which I did not know the answer?

Despite all of last night's activities, it still hasn't sunk in that I'm done. L and I went to bed at 3 AM, but my body woke at 8 AM, sleep-deprived, with the foggy morning-after headache, but amped on adrenaline, and ready to get some studying done. Also, I woke from a dream where L was handing me evidence and D was some sort of judge, quizzing me on the proper ruling, in a pseudo-courtroom.

Cheers to normalcy. May it return sooner, rather than later. I could really use some sleep.

December 17, 2004

Truth Hurts

beep, beep

--Yeah, I know, I'm probably going too slow. [bt looks down at the new gadget]

--11:01 mile? This thing has got to be broken. It must not have a good link to the GPS and is missing a data point or something. There's no way I'm running at below a 10 minute pace. [speeds up]


--That's better.

silent for quite some time

--Shouldn't this damn thing have beeped the mile marker yet? I know it's been a mile since I last hit the lap button.

beep, beep

--Oh, good. [Looks down] What do you mean "Speed Up?" Where's my mile time? [Looks again] Really? It's only been 0.85 miles? Huh. I guess this route isn't as long as I thought...

beep, beep

--I know, I know. I'm SLOW today. Stop it already. [speeds up]

beep, beep

--Look, gadget [lifts arm to sky while running in case the extra few inches will help
it receive the signals]. I know I set you to yell at me whenever I dropped below an 11:00 mile pace. But really, can't you cut me some slack? It's finals. I'm new at this. I figured a 9:45 mile wouldn't have many places where the runner was below 11:00 min/mile pace. I see now that I am wrong.


--Thanks. Now, where am I? [looks down] Really, it's only 3.85 miles to this point? I could have sworn it was at least 4.2...

beep, beep

--Right. [speeds up] Thanks so much, you helpful gadget [thinks about "accidentally" breaking gadget].

--So, let me get this straight. I was off on the distance of this route by almost 10%, so then my pacing was off too...

Rad. I'm slower and I run less distance than I thought. God bless technology!

December 16, 2004

And then there was one

Evidence? The 4-hour exam is complete.

The worst thing about it? It was too easy. (Update: the new worst thing is that I've heard through the grapevine that many people thought it was very difficult. Rad... now I'm either the one who missed the complex shit, or the one who's getting screwed by the curve.)

Sound like I'm complaining? I am.

Ridiculous? Maybe.

But given a choice between an impossible exam and one that just about everyone will feel good about, I'll take the difficult one, thanks. Because when everyone else feels good about the exam, I start to feel terrible. Not in the competitive sense, but in the, oh-shit, I've seen what a steep curve does to easy exams sense.

Bummer. If my guess is correct, this exam is going to come down to, who incorrectly read one/some of the multiple choice and who made small assumptions the professor didn't intend from the fact pattern? I'd so much rather lose points because I missed something difficult than because I missed something stupid. C'est la vie, I suppose.

To recover, H, J, and I went for mexican food and margaritas. Then H and I sat on the couch and surfed reality TV for about 4 hours. With wine. Maury and Judge Judy are SMART when you're in post-exam state.

Last night, I refused to start studying again, so I hung out with E and watched the rest of The Conversation. It's an excellent Francis Ford Coppola movie that ends in the form of a question. I went to bed thinking about the movie's plot, the scene ordering, and the nature of the main character's paranoia instead of the evidence exam. It was perfectly unrelated to anything about finals.

After almost 9 hours of Zs (!!), and yoga, I'm going to hit the books for one last subject. 3 days to go.

December 14, 2004


Start with one 4 mile run.
Add 7 hours of federal courts outlining and general confusion over the subject matter.
Top with 6.5 hours of evidence flash cards and evidence discussion with a willing idiot-in-crime.
Back up every important file on the laptop and garnish with 1 hour of downloading previous exams and registering the ridiculous exam software plus making certain that it functions in secure mode to avoid last semester's computer nightmare.

Chill and serve: one exhausted, harried, slap-happy, but still alive 2L.

Key word chill. Only two to go.

December 11, 2004


I hate shopping. I hate crowds. I hate mass consumerism. Ikea is my idea of hell. Yeah, I'm a ball of fun for the holidays.

Predictably, Christmas gift-giving, for me, has turned into an excuse to plan days throughout the rest of the year when I'll visit, cook, take people out, meet up with them in a cool locale or even [if I must] take them shopping (the little sister and mom often go for this option).

Obviously, there's an exception for children. I'll elbow my way through hordes of bitter soccer moms if it means getting the last leapfrog for my niece. (On a side note, they have leapfrog products for high-school students? Cheating never felt so cute!)

But, the last few years, I've noticed that I've gotten better about shopping. Growing more tolerant with age? No. Getting sucked into the American way? Perhaps. But really, it's the magic of the Interweb. On-line shopping was designed for people like me. So much of the reason I don't buy crap (other than the fact that most of it's crap) is the whole process of buying crap. The lines, the crowds, the stupid stores, the noise, the huge selection of a bunch of stuff you couldn't pay me to take home... you see where I'm going here, right?

Last year, I completed much of my Christmas shopping before I arrived in my hometown and actually gave out material presents, I even wrapped them. Granted, I had some of them shipped to my Mother's house and all I had to do was show up, pick out a roll of wrapping paper from her selection of 1 billion and I was good to go. But I call this efficiency, not laziness.

Anyways, the point I'm oh-so-slowing getting to here is that the timing of finals before the holidays has made me a better Christmas shopper. On-line shopping for family and friends is preferable to studying for the 14th straight hour. So far, I've taken care of my dad (even recruited some siblings, so I'm up on the Karma scale), several friends, E, and I also managed to order some books for myself for the break, as well as a self-indulgence I couldn't resist:

A GPS timer and trainer for my running escapades. It is the coolest gadget I've acquired in the last few years. Tonight, as a study break, E and I took it outside, allowed it to sync up with the satellites and walked around the yard, laughing at the 23-40 minute mile pace it desperately tried to average into a useful metric.

Oh, and studying is going well, thanks for asking. I'm meeting and surpassing my goals. No. Really...

December 10, 2004

Two down

Two to go.

The 24-hour take home is a cruel joke. Extending the stress of an exam into a 24-hour marathon is not a gift. I'm way more wiped out than I would have been had I taken an in-class exam (for starters, I could have slept the other 20 hours...).

It does have one benefit: the time period after the in-class exam, where everyone (or at least everyone like me) spends a few hours mulling over the exam and slapping themselves on the forehead, thinking, "oh shit, I forgot that point" is actually included in the 24-hour window. By the time you turn it in, there's no point you can claim to have forgotten.

For example, I woke up this morning at 6:30 after about 4 hours of sleep to realize I'd forgotten an important portion of the analysis on one of the questions. If it had been an in class exam, I would have been long finished and I wouldn't have had the "opportunity" to make good on my realization. But, I also would have stayed in bed.

C'est la vie.

December 8, 2004

Finals Snapshot

Rained all night. I know because I had too many ridiculous stress-induced dreams and woke about 8 times--each time shaking my head at the hilarity of my subconscious and the continued downpour.

Now, after 7 hours of studying I have an over-caffeinated buzz that threatens to become a headache. My stomach is threatening to strike and it must have recruited my tongue because food is tasteless. My eyes are exhausted from all the reading and my body is exhausted from the high work-out/low sleep ratio.

It's 4 PM on the day before my first exam and I am torn by compulsions to sleep and work maniacally at the same time.

Yup... sounds about right.

December 7, 2004

Reality Check

Finals suck. But really, it could be much worse.

A friend of mine, L, recently was screwed out of a promotion by one of the members of her group, T (who has lots of friends higher up in the company). Oddly, T somehow always manages to end up with the credit for L's work. Anyways, L wasn't promoted, but to keep her from quitting, they promised her a project to "prove" herself, which she needed to complete in the next 3 months. Of course, a couple of weeks later her manager's manager gave her a "fire" to put out which would take 2 months and wouldn't allow her to complete the project in time to meet the 3 month goal for the promotion. When she talked to management about it, she was accused of not being a "team player," and it was hinted that she didn't deserve the promotion anyways if she didn't know how to put the team needs first. Rad.

Just another reminder of why school really is better than the real world in many ways. At least grades just randomly screw you over--it's nothing personal.

I wouldn't choose L's work crap over the month of vacation I've got coming to me. Who would? (oh, right, except people who don't want to die with $1,000,000,000 of school loan debt...)

December 6, 2004


Engineering is not a good prep for Con Law. I'm in class with people who knew lots of useful crap about American history before they showed up, including several, like my friend D, who took Con Law in undergrad at very prestigious schools from very prestigious Con Law scholars. Today, D came over and we busted through two old exams from the prof. I feel better about my chances on this exam now.

In other news, I pulled off a 6.2 mile run with no pain, and I don't hate everything about college football anymore. Things are looking up.

December 5, 2004


Texas, college football powerhouse that it is, is going to the Rose bowl.

Guess I've got some good karma coming my way for finals.

December 4, 2004

Elk Bolognese

My father recently gave me 3 packages wrapped in what looked like brown butcher paper labeled "dead elk stew." (Yeah, Pa's a little bit of a redneck...) Turns out, the brown butcher paper was actually a brown lunch sac (the french spelling adds class, you see...) and my dad had wrapped the meat himself in celophane inside the bag. So much for being thankful that he'd finally started taking his game to the butcher. (Okay, maybe a little bit more than a little redneck.)

I've never cooked with Elk, but given what I know about venison, buffalo, and other big game, I figured it would be, well "gamey." And, a little tough. So, what better to use it for than a bolognese sauce?

Impressed with my brilliant idea, I figured Google would save the day with a selection of recipes, but I was wrong.
What? Only 3 mentions on the whole Internet for Elk Bolognese? I tried "Elk Lasagna" and found a similar dearth.

At this point I figured I must have made some horrible mistake--how could I be one of the first people to think of elk as a substitute in this country-style italian recipe that has more variants than just about any other recipe I learned in Italy? So I looked into the nutritional properties of Elk. I decided that not only would it work, it would be the lowest cholesterol, healthiest lasagna I've ever made (not that this means anything except on the lasagna scale since I still use butter, pork, mozzerella, ricotta, and parmigiano).

Anyways, the moral of the story is, Elk meat chunks, buttressed with a little more ground pork than normal used as a replacement for veal, prosciutto, and chicken livers in a bolognese sauce--DELICIOUS!!!

The lasagna won accolades for the best I've ever made, which is particularly impressive because I used the no-boil barilla lasagna sheets instead of making the noodles by hand (my procrastination does have limits). The meat chunks fell apart in people's mouths and were flavorful but not gamey.

Okay, I really must study now.
Proceeding Apace

My ankle seems to be better. I ran an easy 3.27 miles this AM and it's not in pain, so I proclaim myself healed. I'm hoping to hit the books by 10 AM today for the earliest start on a study day during this finals period. I'm really having trouble motivating, which is unfortunate, but I feel like I'm starting to get the requisite level of stress that will allow me to get up at 7:30 after today.

Yesterday, for example, it was the best I could do to do roll out of bed in time to go grocery shopping and do Power yoga 3 by Bryan Kest at 11 AM (If you are an experienced yoga student looking for a great yoga workout, I recommend this DVD for the workout but warn you that Mr. Kest talks TOO MUCH and his philosophical sound bites combined with his jersey accent are a bit much to take.) I finally hit the books after noon--not exactly awe-inspiring commitment.

Add the fact that we had guests over for elk (thanks dad!) bolognese lasagna last night and you can imagine that my study day was not particularly long.

Here's to my study days getting longer and my efficiency going up. I've got an entire Fed Courts Outline to create, all of the cases in evidence to make flashcards for, about a billion evidence practice problems, and oh, yeah, that hairy ball of a mess called con law, where my outline is ostensibly complete, but I feel completely unprepared...

December 3, 2004

Guess I'll have to switch to macs

IBM is getting out of the laptop business. After the troubles I've had with cheaper laptops from lesser vendors, I finally got myself a thinkpad. It rocks. I guess I'll have to drive it into the ground and hope there are quality replacements in 7 years or whenever I finally admit that it's dead.

In other news, yet another mistake has created a new favorite recipe. Last night while emailing back to professor Con Law about a dormant commerce clause question, I forgot about the soup on the stove.

Accidentally Roasted Carrot Soup

1. Dice 1/4 onion and 4 cloves of garlic.
2. Sautee in a large pot with olive oil 'til the onions are clear.
3. Add 3 cups of baby or chopped carrots, briefly stir.
4. Add 4 cups of broth.
5. Allow to boil until the broth has entirely boiled off and the carrots are stuck to the bottom of the pot.
6. Add 3 cups water. Stir and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
7. Remove the carrots with a slotted spoon and puree them in a food processor.
8. Return the puree to the liquid in the pot and stir.
9. Serve immediately.

December 2, 2004


I was doing all right. Finished all of my reading. Almost done with the con law outline. Not too stressed and feeling like I had a decent schedule planned out for the next few weeks.

Last night, we moved up another notch on the gift-sushi ranking and received fried hamachi head as the chef's addition to date night. Seemed like a good omen.

Today, after a leisurely morning of studying for a bit, I left for a 6 mile run. At mile 1.5, I veered off the path to avoid two soccer mom-type women who were walking and talking abreast, taking up the ENTIRE path. Immediately after passing them, I rolled my ankle on the uneven terrain.

I stopped and must have grunted in pain because they turned around to ask me, "oh, are you all right?"

"No, I'm not all right, my ankle hurts, my running schedule is going to be all messed up for finals, and now I have to go home instead of finishing my run. I can't help but feel that this is partially your fault for not understanding trail etiquette--if you see someone coming, go single file 'til they pass!"

Okay, so I didn't really say that. But I wanted to. Instead I told them I was fine, tested it out, and decided to run the 1.5 miles home to try to beat the swelling.

Now I've got ibuprofen in my system, ankle wrapped for swelling, and I'm off to H's for a day of studying. Any pull you have with the healing gods would be much appreciated over here.