March 30, 2005

Book #8

So, I'm still on my approximately 25-book challenge.

The latest offering is The Runner's Handbook by Bob Glover. At 700-plus pages, it's a doozy. But, it's a good one. I've taken a few exercise physiology courses and used to be an athlete but I've only recently reaffirmed my commitment to exercise, and I'm completely new to running.

This book was full of clinical and academic studies, facts, figures, tables, tests, suggestions, training schedules, epidemiology, and more. Any running related topic you can think of is probably touched upon in this book. I feel like I've got a solid understanding of the current (or within the last decade anyways) science behind running and how to do it well, without injuring myself, for the long haul.

One thing I didn't think about when choosing a few running books to read was history. But I sincerely enjoyed the stories of how various races evolved. Even more surprising to me was the history of women in distance running (did you know that women weren't even *allowed* to compete in many marathons until the 1980's?). The personal anecdotes of running successes, trials and tribulations, cancer-in-remission runners, and even running-related deaths and crimes made this book a much more well-rounded introduction to the sport than I expected it to be. I feel more steeped in the culture than I was just a scant 700 pages ago.

If you haven't put in years on the road and/or haven't been reading Runner's World for the last few years, I recommend this book to give you a solid broad background of the sport against which you can evaluate your own progress, fitness, and balance.

March 29, 2005


I can't complain because I'm way less busy with school stuff than every other law student I know. But, I figured I should inform you that my posting has been lacking because I've been rushing through a decent to do list (and definitely not sitting on the couch, drooling on myself):

- analyzing the course offerings for next fall (already?) against my priority list of
1. classes I can take with H;
2. no classes on Fridays;
3. stuff that's interesting to me;
4. stuff that'll be helpful on the bar; and
5. stuff that'll be helpful in my career.

- narrowing down my list of clerkship judges to bother with hail mary packets

- more wedding crap than I can list, including considering several more venues than originally planned while not having either the date or location solidified

- training and tapering for my second half marathon this weekend, in the Golden Gate Headlands

- finishing up as much work in chambers as I can before I leave

- revamping draft 1003 of my note for yet another meeting with my advising professor

- missing a scheduled meeting with the pro se law clerk because I was in another meeting with another clerk about a patent litigation matter

- attending my second wine differences class and learning that I prefer the slightly shaded bunches of light pruning which result in mildly herbaceous cabernet sauvignons to the extremes on either end (vegetative wine from overgrowth of vines vs. fruit bombs from severely pruned or naturally limited growth of vines).

- And, of course, stuffing chocolate in my mouth thanks to E's mother, aka, the easter bunny.

March 25, 2005

A True Break

I was wrong, I had 13 days of work left in chambers and about 20 days worth of work to complete. Now, I'm down to 10 days left in chambers and about 15 days of work to complete.

Last night, E & I, plus M, K & G all went to the Parkway to watch the cult showing of the greatest movie ever made. It was a long night of laughter, beer, and pizza. Ever noticed how amazingly decadent it feels to do the stuff you did back in college because you didn't have anything better to do?

The dude abides.

March 22, 2005

Public Service Announcement

If you are a law student, pay attention.

Today, I went to the BALSA meeting where a dude from Graduate Leverage spoke. There's a billion things I didn't know about financial aid loan consolidation. And I'm anal with money--I've already got my undergrad loans consolidated with crazy borrower benefits, I'm all about intelligent use of debt, etc.

I had no idea about the single lender rule.

ATTENTION 2Ls: If you have used the same lender for your staffords and undergraduate loans, get a new lender for at least one loan in 3L. It may save you lots of money in the long run by allowing you to consolidate with anyone instead of requiring that your single lender has the right of first refusal.

3L's -- Don't forget to consolidate before July 1, 2005 -- get a lock on your rate before that date. Make them promise that they will allow you to lock the rate before July 1, 2005 (when it'll be pegged to the 90 day T-bill rate for the 3rd week in May, which is almost guaranteed to be higher than last May.) Also, it's too late for you to get around the single lender rule, but you should register with Graduate Leverage to see if you want in on their collectively bargained consolidation program, which given the debt/risk profile of the participants, should be better than anything you can find off the shelf.

Unfortunately for us 2Ls and later grads, everything is up for reauthorization, so we won't actually know what the law is that governs our consolidation program 'til it's passed. If you've got a diety on your side, I suggest you ask for some help...
Big Wheels Keep On Turnin'

Damn, I'm a busy cowboy this week.

E & I spent the weekend on a whirlwind, excuse me, tornado, 47 hour trip to NYC. Oh, and we get extra-insanity points because the 47 hours included the flights from SJC to JFK and back. We visited E's grandparents and took a very informative tour of brooklyn where I was treated to stories about Sheepshead bay, Coney island, and the neighborhood where E's great-grandparents, grandparents, and uncle all lived within 1 block of each other. We attended a surprise 30th birthday party for one of my friends that started at Dylan Prime and ended up at Tribeca Tavern (where they have matchboxes with camping worthy matches, not just matchbooks that wilt in the rain). We also met friends for brunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery, which was one of the best brunches I've ever had, hands down. Service was a little slow and blah, it was crowded, but the food... yeah, perfectly poached eggs, an amazing chocolate chip bread pudding, caloric overload and happiness.

Today, I realized I only have 8 days of work left in chambers. I've got about 10 days worth of work to do. Right...

I also hit a financial aid seminar, planned some more social events, scheduled some more wedding appointments, continued planning future travel ('cause that's what I do in my spare time for fun), started a new book while walking between speed intervals on the treadmill, and attended my first wine differences class.

I'm exhausted. But in a great way. Life is good.

March 17, 2005

El Super Burrito

Going to the taqueria immediately before civil law and motion?

Not smart.

I did the head nod thing 4 or 5 times and then actually fell asleep for what must have been 30+ seconds before jerking awake in a panic. All while watching oral arguments from the jury box today. I hope the judge didn't see me.

March 16, 2005

Making the most of my time out of the clink

In an effort to raise my score, I decided to start studying.

So, I registered for a 3-night course on wine differences that covers soil, weather, varietal, crushing, fermentation, lies, bottling, rootstock, picking, pruning, and more. Unfortunately, this won't help my beer or liquor score, which is apparently where I'm sorely lacking.

Oh well... what can you do...
I'm a Loser, Baby

Thanks to Beanie, I took the greatest web quiz yet, the alcohol knowledge quiz. I kicked bean's ass on beer and wine, but then got FLATTENED on liquor to lose overall. Looks like I need to do a little studying.

Congratulations! You're 130 proof, with specific scores in beer (80) , wine (150), and liquor (60).

Screw all that namby-pamby chick stuff, you're going straight for the
bottle and a shot glass! It'll take more than a few shots of Wild
Turkey or 99 Bananas before you start seeing pink elephants. You know
how to handle your alcohol, and yourself at parties.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
You scored higher than 64% on proof
You scored higher than 92% on beer index
You scored higher than 99% on wine index
You scored higher than 85% on liquor index
Link: The Alcohol Knowledge Test written by hoppersplit on Ok Cupid

March 14, 2005

Controlled Neurosis

I don't not meet goals I set for myself. Unless I'm in the hospital. Which is why I've refrained from joining the crew of cool bloggers who've all buckled down for the 50 book challenge. Sure, it sounded like something I'd enjoy. But, when push comes to shove, if I'd committed to reading 50 books, and it was, say, for example Decemeber 8th, and I had only read, like, 38 books. Yeah, I'm the kind of ridiculous "I follow through on my commitments" freaks that would read 12 books instead of study for finals. Or, rather, I'd try to identify 12 books that would help me study for finals that would also count, but I'd fail to find enough, and I'd feel guilty for cheating, so I'd just read pleasure books (because they are like crack to me) and my entire law school education would take a turn for the worse. Have I mentioned that I learn quite a bit of what this education is supposed to be teaching me during the cramming period each semester?

So, to date, I'm at 7 books for 2005, which leads me to believe that my self-restraint on joining the 50 book challenge was a good idea since at least 4 of the books were read over winter break. But regardless of the eventual total for the year, I've got a book related dilemma right now.

The problem?

Faced with a dearth of suggestions, I ordered Let's Go Puerto Rico, Lonely Planet Puerto Rico, The House on the Lagoon, and Boricuas. I can't wait to read them and enjoy Puerto Rico on our vacation.

But, I had previously ordered The Guns of August and it currently sits on my bedstand, waiting to be read. It isn't in the lower shelf, where my half-read copy of Ulysses rests, but it has been sitting there, biding its time politely for a good couple of months now. And then these upstart beach-going bikini-clad books arrived. What am I to do?

It's the serious book now and the fluff on vacation, or the fluff now and the serious book on vacation when I can spare all brain cells to focus on it. Oh, the glory of what passes for a reading-related conundrum this semester! Can you tell which way I'm leaning?

Yeah. So, if my reading for the year qualifies as bloggable, it's something along the lines of an "approximately 25 book challenge." Only it's more of a symbol of decadence than a challenge: It's a way of saying "I have more than enough time to pleasure read, but I'm not going to dedicate it to reading so much that I have to miss out on things like enjoying netflix, date night, or the cult cinema presentation of The Big Lebowski."

Oh, and I have no fear of failure. None at all.

March 13, 2005

The San Francisco Bay Area: It's a great place to live

E and I were stereotypical bay-area-phytes this weekend.

Friday, after leaving chambers, I stopped by a friend's house and we went for an invigorating walk in the surprisingly warm weather. At home, after a relaxing early evening of catching up with one another and sipping on some Nua Dair sangiovese, E and I tried out a new Italian restaurant and found it to be delicious, with an excellent wine list (mmm... barolo by the glass), while fairly swank but not too-cool-to-be-that-cool.

Saturday, I got up and busted out 6.3 miles at a blazing 10:39 pace. Despite my best intentions, it was my first outdoor run since the race and I didn't want to push it, so I lollygagged along and made it home in decent condition. Then, E and I drove up to Thomas Fogarty to check out their event facilities. Very nice. Unfortunately, the fog was not so nice. So, add that as another wedding detail to consider.

We skipped wine tasting at Fogarty in favor of lunch at Alice's Restaurant. It's a highly recommended experience, and you are guaranteed to enjoy the trip and the meal if you're 1) a motorcyclist, 2) an INSANE cyclist, or 3) into driving to the tops of mountains for great views, enough nature to trick you into believing you are much more than 30 minutes away from highway 101, cool motorcycles parked to show off their hardware, and a good hearty meal. Across the street from Alices is the mountain terrace, so we made a quick visit to that venue and put another check on the to-do list.

From there, we drove down scenic skyline boulevard--Highway 35, which was sunny and clear until we reached Los Gatos. Unfortunately, that's where the fog kicked back in and proceeded to grow thicker along the many curvy roads to Byington Winery. Okay, so E informs me that fog is a big previously unconsidered detail to consider for the wedding.

Saturday night, we headed to Evvia, in Palo Alto for a sumptuous greek feast in celebration of H's 30th birthday. The food was excellent, although I was surprised at the strength of the cinnamon in the dolmathes. H, who's greek, informed me that real greeks go crazy with the cinnamon in everything. Learn something new every day... The wine list was very impressive and our server was a fellow wine geek (he approved of my selection of Baron Phillipe de Rothschild Paulliac for H, which is a good second labeling, but hard to find in the U.S.) So when the cellar was out of the Willamette pinot I ordered, he upgraded us to a Pommard at no additional cost. Good guy.

Dessert was a choocolate molten cake with candles and singing, plus what seemed to be every offering on the menu, shared by the group. And of course, I sipped a medium-sweet greek-style espresso. Overall, the meal was excellent and well-worth the sticker shock.

Sunday, I woke to run 9.32 miles, again at a slow pace, although not quite as slow as Saturday. Then, E and I headed out to lunch on the water in Redwood Shores at the diving pelican before E went to the toyota dealer to pick up the long-awaited Prius. Apparently, one of the options is leather seats. Amusing, no? (Pay more for a car to save the environment, and hey, while you're at it, kick down some extra moola for the soft seats, it's only a cow, you know you're a red meat eater...)

So, yeah. Long drives in nature, wineries, exercise, food, wine, and a purchase to make one more crack at being environmentally friendly -- It's distgustingly bay-area-riffic, and y'all, it was fun.

March 12, 2005

Ever Wonder

Why the State Department and the U.S. press insist on referring to Iraq and Iran as "eye-rack" and "eye-ran?"

I'm fairly certain that the people who live in these countries pronounce the words something closer to "EE-rock" and "EE-rawn."

Seems to me like that's just plain rude. I don't even bother pretending that I'm educated enough to have any useful opinion on foreign affairs in the middle east. Certainly there are very complicated power struggles and cultural crap to take into consideration as well as the world economony, oil and general political stability. I'm really unqualified to comment on most of that stuff, and even if I was qualified, I don't currently have access to much of the information that I'd need to form an opinion. But I do know a little bit about manners.

I'm of the opinion that much of society functions because people agree to be polite to one another. It's not against the law to cuss at and be rude to everyone you see on the street, but most people don't do it because it's rude, it would make for a bad society, we'd probably have much more violence, and it's stupid. Seems like some of the same basic logic would apply in our relations with other countries as well. Honey catches more flies than vinegar and all that.

As a possible historical explanation, it may have started with the Brits when they carved up the middle east back in the day. They have a bad habit of bastardizing all languages--I have one British acquaintance who claims to enjoy Pro-squeet-o ("prosciutto"), and he's not trying to be funny. As far as I can tell, food often takes the brunt (perhaps because it's one area where the British Imperialists were in no way superior...). I heard quite a bit of it in Australia, in particular when referencing Italian sauces that have come to resemble mayonaise in spelling and pronunciation, ("I'd love some spaghetti with bolognaise."). And, of course, there's my personal favorite "claret," ("Can I offer you a nice glass of cla-rette?").

But, we Americans have actually overcome this problem, we have Bolognese and cla-ray. Why not ee-rock and ee-rawn too?

[/off soap box]

March 9, 2005

Happiness Is:

25 pages, 157 footnotes, 73 paragraphs, 496 lines, 6356 words, or 39,331 characters (with spaces).

Emailed to my prof for a one week reprieve while she rips it to shreds.

Good night.
New Stuff To Read

The Manolo, he really is the super fantastic. Fashion is nowhere near the top of my hobby list. But, I, like the majority of people, do feel good when I look good. The manolo, he knows much about the fashion, but dispenses the knowledge in a manner which is practical and not super-annoying. In fact, it's down right funny...

Now, the Manolo he realizes that the poncho it is the evil incarnate.

It is the loathsome seducer of the womens. It calls in the sweet voice, "I am the poncho, if you wear me I will help you conceal your flaws. I promise, your hips, they will disappear under my protective cover of man-made fibers. Look, darling, you can even make me yourself for $1.49 in the material. Choose the aqua yarn. It is pretty no?"


Manolo says, it is not ironic that this is the man from whom thousands take their advice of the fashion? [go here for the accompanying picture]

Yes, the Carson, he is the sweet, funny man, but he has the fashion sense of the Slim Whitman.

March 8, 2005

Anonymity: comments after 22 months

In the beginning, I tried to maintain some semblance of anonymity. This was a futile exercise, but that never stops me from doing anything.

This morning, I woke to find more supportive comments on my blog about my wedding post than I expected. Those comments are probably the best thing that's happened to me since I started blogging. This wedding stuff--no matter how much you pretend otherwise, it's a big deal and it makes you face some of the uglier stuff about yourself and your relationships with your spouse-to-be, family, friends, and the oh-so-uncomfortable-subject of money.

While the comments were awesome, an email I got from a law school acquaintance/friend who's also getting married was even better:

> i just wanted to tell you that i really enjoy reading your blog, and I
> have for quite some time, but I have never commented b/c I think other
> people at school read it, and my name is rather
> distinctive, so I didn't want to have any hand in outing you.

Yeah. I've been outed for a while as far as I can tell. Random people at school started talking to me about details of my life that I never told people at school and I figured they must either read it or talk to people who read it.

I think I made a choice somewhere in the middle of 1L to post enough details that people could figure out who I was because it was just too hard to write anything cathartic while sensoring myself enough to stay anonymous. My only goal now is to keep my physical persona separate from my online persona in google (so I can keep blogging as a grown-up with a job, if I so choose). In order to do that, I try not to discuss my blog with anyone at school, but with my non-school friends--it's not any type of secret. Rather, when funny shit happens, they say, "Oh, you HAVE to put that in your blog..." The longer law school goes on, the more some of my law school friends approach the status of non-law school friends and the lines get blurred.

So basically, if you know who I am and have been respecting my wishes for anonymity by not posting: the gig is mainly up. I'd love to have your comments, just please-oh-please-oh-please don't connect my real name to this blog in any permanent medium (paper docs, web docs, recordings, etc.). Oh, yeah. Have I mentioned I'm generally paranoid?

March 7, 2005

Things the Wedding has done to me (post #1)

When E and I got engaged. I didn't really think too much about the wedding. In fact, the night after the proposal, we stayed up talking about the honeymoon and the bar trip and whether we'd be combining them. Travel: that's our focus. We didn't even discuss the wedding: other types of people focus on that, we were too chill to worry about those details.

Only now, about a month or two into planning, I'm learning all sorts of stuff about myself, my family, E, E's family, tradition, society, culture, and history. And it's all coming from planning the wedding. I'm slowly realizing that despite having no ideal wedding, the fact that we're having one means we're falling into step with a rich cultural tradition. Everything we choose that's against cultural norms (synthetic ruby engagement ring, best friend as the internet ordained officiant, etc.) has to be explained in delicate terms so as to assure family, friends and others that we aren't judging society, we aren't judging them, and we do plan to be committed to each other with the same level of sincerity as the "normally" married couples they know. Not only that, but we do want them to attend, be involved, and approve of our commitment to each other. It's much more complicated than I ever imagined. In a wonderful way, it's actually not too stressful, but rather, educational because it tests my commitment to the "alternative" ideas I had about getting married.

On several occasions, I've had sympathy for how much more difficult this process must be for same sex couples. Because, when the push comes to shove, I can just abandon any one of my "alternative" ideas when I realize that it upsets those I love more than it's worth.

Elope? Turns out there would be too many hurt feelings by older family members who would probably never forgive us, so it's definitely not worth it. Destination wedding? Sounds great in practice, but it's really hard to knowingly choose to filter the guest list by ability to afford and take vacation. Wedding party? I didn't want one, but E did, so I compromised. Small wedding? Well, what about this relative and that old friend of your parents? They will be so hurt...

While E & I are very independent thinkers, I find myself crumbling on some of the smaller issues--particularly when I look to E for support in my ideals and I hear, "all the details are irrelevant." It's not worth the fight with my father to exclude his friends that I don't know from the guest list. It's his wedding too, in a weird way. His polite requests for his friends' inclusion have broken down more barriers than I could have imagined. This event is important to him. It's important to my mom. It's important to E's mom and dad. And it's important to our friends.

All of a sudden, I'm feeling a hell of a lot more normal. Getting married IS a big deal. Every invitation sent does matter, both for continuing relations between families and for future friendships.

Perhaps the biggest change of opinion for me concerns registering for gifts. Previously, I saw it as a tacky request for STUFF, and figured that it was even tackier when done by more mature couples like E & me who live together and have a fully stocked kitchen. I've realized that the wedding is more about society celebrating and accepting the union and less about the couple defining their own union (for we have our entire relationship to do that). E doesn't care if we have a registry. In fact, E said, "I don't know, I always thought they were pretty cool. They sure make stuff easier." And, I'm coming around. I'm realizing the list is actually appreciated by people who want to give the bride and groom something they can appreciate and use for the rest of their lives together. I'm seeing the other side. I may not fully appreciate the other side, but I'm starting to understand why it exists and feel that I don't need to stand up in defiance of it.

Most of you don't know me well enough to comprehend how large of a paradigm shift this is for me. But I do. And I'm telling you, it's huge. I'm accepting cultural norms I previously protested for the sake of my family, my friends, and the ease of fitting in and making people comfortable. Oddly enough, it feels good. I feel less selfish. Weird.

March 6, 2005

More Important than Working on My Note

Ditzy Genius is back.

Go check her out before the black squirrels get to her again.

During the race and the weekend of fun that followed, E2 and I had time to talk through quite a few interesting topics. One of them was planning.

Generally, I'm a planner. I feel safer, comfortable, and less stressed when I have an idea of what is going to happen when, even if it's completely and totally wrong. I get a perverse sense of happiness from a todo list. So, I don't regret time spent planning that eventually is wasted due to changed circumstances. I'm also a goal-setter. I rarely just do something on the spur of the moment. Rather, I DECIDE to do something on the spur of the moment and then plan how to follow through.

E2, on the other hand, is not a planner. She hates the act of thinking about doing stuff when she could just be doing it. While we were talking about planning, she mentioned that she would be much more efficient if she were more organized.

This got me to thinking about the difference between spatial organization and temporal organization. Temporally, I'm German. But, spatially--I'm Italian. I lose my keys at least once a day. I put the phone in the fridge and the laundry in the freezer when I'm not paying attention. I lose my car in the parking garage by school so often that the parking attendants know me by name and often point my car out for me when I get off the elevator. It annoys the people who have to deal with me but it's just not important to me at all. I can't imagine anything more boring than putting together a plan for where stuff should go. And I probably wouldn't follow it all the time anyways. So why bother? I suppose that's how people who aren't planners see the numerous lists and date-blocking plans I make.

E2 and I are both reasonably successful in our own realms. But we have completely different approaches. When it comes to planning, she's a satisficer and I'm an optimizer. Certainly, we both fall prey to the pitfalls of our extremes: I will overplan in my desire to do things the best possible way, and in doing so, I'll miss out on actual "life." She will settle on a plan that is acceptable to her and just do it, but in doing so, will miss out on steps in the process that are better for her needs and wants. Except, generally, she'll finish quickly. I don't mind wasted time spent planning because I consider it an investment in the enjoyment of the thing being planned, she prefers the spare time to be spent doing other things she enjoys.

Someone once told me that satisficers are happier, overall, than optimizers. I think that's probably not true. There's probably some inherent value judgment that makes us each choose our way with respect to various topics. I'm not always an optimizer. I detest shopping. And when it comes to shopping, in stores, I'm a satisficer. I will buy the very first thing I find that meets the minimum necessary constraints (color, fit, and price, generally). Then I get out of the store and go home and plan my next vacation, or read a book, or plan a list of books to read. E2 is much more of an optimizer when it comes to shopping. Needless to say, she's better dressed than I am.

Quite a bit of this thinking took place instead of work on my note. This weekend was so perfectly enjoyable, with the weather, a race, a party with friends, and relaxation that I couldn't bring myself to spoil it with the note. And that's not an optimal decision for time management because it will bring me more misery later tonight and tomorrow. But, it was a decision that optimized my sense of instantaneous happiness. And, pushing the work off to a big time crunch will still satisfy the requirements. So, I acted like a satisficer when it came to working on my note this weekend. And I'm happy. Talk to me tomorrow, though...
The Agony of The Feet

Half marathon? Check.

Even though I was probably under duress when I committed to it, I trained for two months and ran my first half marathon yesterday.

My legs woke me up last night at around 5 AM--they just wanted to check in and let me know exactly how much pain they were in.

See, turns out, the Santa Cruz Mountain range, yeah--there's some elevation gains out there. I did all the recommended mileage for a half-marathon, but, I didn't do ANY of it in the hills. Oops.

Thankfully, before the race, I ran into M, a friend from law school who's a bad ass runner.

"Have you run this race before?" She asked.
"No. This is my first half-marathon, actually." I proudly replied.
"Oh." She grimaced oddly, "It's a hard one."

She then warned my ignorant self about the elevation (apparently, experienced runners look into the profile of a course before they show up) saying, "I finished as the first female in this race last year and I had to walk up the last hills. My advice to you is to take it easy on the first half, you'll need it at the end." It was VERY good advice, and I'm very thankful for having run into her.

E2, the friend I've been friends with the longest (18 years!) and I ran it together. Somewhere around the top of the biggest hill, I decided E2 should DEFINITELY be in my wedding party. It doesn't get much closer in terms of friendship than staying in touch for that long and going through torture together. I asked, E2 accepted. We ran at a decent pace over the straightaways, walked some of the uphill sections (although we should have walked more, since those that did just passed us on the downhills following the uphills we ran), and basked in the first warm day of sun this season as we enjoyed the view from the trail of woods, green mountains and valleys.

D, B&G, and H all came out to support us and M stuck around after finishing 6th to cheer us on as well. So, we finished the race covered in mud to cheers from our friends. We had hoped to finish in around two hours, but it took us 2h26. Given the course, we were very happy with the result and spent the time after the race excitedly planning our next one.

I guess I didn't need to be worried about losing my desire to run.

Overall, I'm only mildly in pain, and in exchange I have great memories plus a ridiculous sense of pride. I can see why B complained that this sport is addictive.