"In vacant or in pensive mood..." I am: Bekah; 24; Law Student / Favorite Things: Carbs (so there!), Johnny Damon, Smiling at babies, Grilled cheese, Comfortable silence / Favorite Supreme Court Justice: Brennan / Favorite Wilson: Owen by an inch / Today's Special: Song: Elliott Smith, "Bled White"; Quote: "You know, there's like a butt-load of gangs at this school. This one gang kept wanting me to join because I'm pretty good with a bowstaff." Please love me: firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 September 2005
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Read Between the Outlines
I. In law school, we prepare for exams by making what are known as “outlines.”
A. An outline is basically a student-created summary of a discrete area of the law, usually ranging anywhere from 25 to 50 pages.
B. It may sound innocent, but I can assure you that evil lurks in those roman numerals and bullets—an evil more sinister than most law students are willing to admit.
C. I am here to tell you that an outline is not a mere study aid. It is nothing less than a physical manifestation of the fundamental malevolence that pervades law school.
II. After all, an outline is just that: an outline.
A. The outline is not concerned with:
1. Our emotions;
2. Our absorption of the material; or
3. Our precious “love of learning.”
B. The outline is a cold collection of rules and issues and tiny case summaries. It is completely:
1. Sterile; and
2. Devoid of all
ii. Fire; and/or
III. And yet, sadly, it is this lifeless mass that aids us on exams. Why?
A. Because law school exams are just as soulless as the outlines we frantically create in order to tackle them.
1. They care not about our so-called “understanding” of the issues.
2. They care not about our:
ii. Visceral responses; or
iii. Mild/fleeting inclinations toward ethics and morality.
B. Their only desire is that we write what the professors want to see. And what do they want to see?
1. The outline*
2. As applied, of course, to the “witty” facts that they so graciously provide.
* See numerals I and II, supra. Alternate defining terms include: "putrid carcass" and "collection of meatless, soulless rules."
Exam season is upon us, and I feel dead inside. I am a shell—no, make that an outline—of my former self.
Note: Please excuse the poor formatting. Blogger does not seem to recognize indentations. Blogger does its best not to aid in the evils of outline creation. Blogger has a soul.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Makin' Up is Hard to Do
In the ongoing "Which is better, law school or college?" debate, the law school approach to make-up classes is one of the most enormous strikes against it (as if we're counting). In college, when your prof was out and had to cancel a class, there were two possible responses. The first, and most enjoyable, was to never speak of the missed class again. In this scenario, things just picked up at the next class meeting and everyone kept quiet about "that day." It was as if the prof had just returned from some secret rendezvous with a student, or had been briefly incarcerated as a result of an unfortunate drug/pornography fiasco. That response is known as "Don't ask, don't tell, don't even bring that shit up." The second response to a missed class was the "let's talk about it" approach, which involved the following conversation:
Prof: So, we've missed a few classes. Does anyone want to schedule a makeup?
Students: [avoid eye contact]
Prof: Right. I could bring pizza?
Prof: Well, maybe we can just watch a documentary. Attendance will be optional.
Students: Damn straight.
Those were the days. In law school, there is some sort of mandatory attendance thing where the profs are required to make up any missed days. So a cancelled class is bittersweet: You revel in the fact that you don't have to go that day, but you secretly dread the accumulation of make-ups that you'll have to confront at the end of the semester. There's just no joy in cancelled classes or snow days anymore. Law school has sucked the life out of that too. All we can do is grin, bear it, and, yes...invoke Bon Jovi:
Me: Aaah, I can't sit here any longer. I'm losing it. This is the make-up class from hell.
Friend: Well, we're halfway there. (Several seconds pass). Living on a prayer.
Me: Take my hand....we'll make it...I swear. Oh-oh.
(Conversation immediately followed by silent weeping).
Unrelated Update: Remember the terrible burning incident from a while ago? Well, I returned to the scene (glutton for punishment that I am), and I noticed something interesting. The sneeze guards over the vats of soup were still at the same level, but the ladles had been bent so that the pouring angle was much less awkward. There are only two possible explanations for the sudden change: Either an obscene number of people have scalded themselves at Whole Foods in recent weeks, or the members of the Whole Foods legal department are regulars here at Mixtape Marathon. If the latter is true, I have the following message to relay: "Fine work with the bending of the ladles. Please inform your client that the tofu in the salad bar has been delightfully firm of late, although the freshness of the mushrooms is somewhat debatable. The yams, luckily, are seasoned to perfection. Thank you, and I wish you well in all of your future over-priced organic endeavors."
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
Conversation in Class
Me: Here, I picked up the handouts for you. I didn't know if you had this one--we got it a while ago.
3L Dude: Yeah, thanks...I haven't done the reading for today.
3L Dude: And by today, I mean the semester.
Monday, November 17, 2003
Time to Face the Music
Whenever there's a gathering at a law student's house, attention consistently turns to the one unflagging source of law school-related entertainment: the face book. Yes, that horrible collection of head shots and undergrad information is a constant source of amusement for law students of all stripes. Men do it. Women do it. Nerds, jocks, and indie rockers do it. For some bizarre reason, the face book intrigues us all. You can try to look away, but I promise: you will pick that thing up again, and you will scrutinize it. Don't deny it. We bring out the face book when we're with other law students in an attempt to make it seem less weird and pathetic. It's like Googling people. You don't feel as psychotic if you do it with a group of your friends.
The face book gets whipped out in a variety of circumstances. Most commonly, someone describes a particularly off-putting or questionable person and someone else says, "I have no idea who that is. Do you have your face book"? It's all downhill from there. Done. Or the face book might come out if people are having a discussion about who transferred out of school, or who got married, or who changed their face book picture for 2L year (gasp!). When these pressing questions arise, the only solution is to pour over the pages of the face book, searching for whatever means of classification or judgment can satisfy our nosy lawyer urges. I won't name names, but I've known people to use highlighters to color code various information about people. It's all very technical. Sadly, my friends and I even have nicknames for people. Yeah, it's true.
A stranger passing by a law student's home while a face book examination is underway may hear a variety of exclamations emanating from within. Such utterances often include:
"Oh my GOD, she looks NOTHING like that! FALSE ADVERTISING!"
"That person hooked up with X at the beginning of last year, but now he's with Y. Don't tell!"
"Why aren't there any good looking boys at this school?"
"This is the person I was talking about who WON'T SHUT UP in X class."
"Did you see what she was wearing Tuesday? Dear God!"
"Ooh, It's a profile shot and she's staring off into the distance with a serene expression. How very avant garde."
This might seem petty or snobby, but I assure you that all law students are guilty of these types of comments/criticisms. Law school is like high school--gossip is a law student's main food group. We all need that nourishment to survive. Now if you'll excuse me, it is imperative that I find my face book and see whether or not my friend's 3L crush is in a joint degree program.
Saturday, November 15, 2003
Calm Before the Storm?
2Ls have a strange way of getting stressed out about exams. 1Ls get frantic and panicky and spend 12 hours at a time at the library doing work that will likely have no effect on their exam performance. 2Ls get a glazed over expression and mumble things like "should have started my outlines...500 pages behind...beer." I have to say, it's a much more chill worldview. Whether or not it's an effective mentality for exam preparation remains to be seen.
1. Why is it called a "laundry list" of things? Does anyone ever make a laundry list? What would be on it? A "laundry list" is supposed to be long and exhaustive. I'm sick of perpetuating this misnomer. It should be called a shopping list.
2. Where are these alleged "Creed fans"?
3. What's worse, never being able to recognize movie quotes, or saying movie quotes incorrectly? ("Swan, stop looking funny at me!" Um, no).
4. What's worse, air quotes or air parentheticals?
5. Was Billy Idol cryogenically frozen? How is it possible for him to be that ageless?
Back on the Wagon
For two (2) solid months, I was off the hard stuff. I was clean. That evil and addictive concoction of chemicals known as Diet Coke was out of my life. I was drinking water. Feeling good. Feeling like my stomach lining was reforming after years of being eaten away by caramel color and sweeteners. And then, for no apparent reason, I folded. I just gave in and ordered a Diet Coke like it was no big deal. I relished that sweet Diet Coke. And now I'm back on the wagon, but hopefully in moderation this time. Look, I've just gotta get through exams man, then I'll really quit...for real. I'll get help. I want to be better, but I'm too weak right now. Don't judge me.
Update: I'm drinking a Diet Coke right now, and it's so cold that it has those little frozen Coke shavings, and it is so damn good. Ahhhgh. How can something so wrong feel so right?
Friday, November 14, 2003
Insult to Injury
As one of the perks of being on Law Review, I have to take a professional photo for the big fancy composite that they hang in the law school. This means 1) I have to come to school on a Friday, 2) I have to wear a suit when I come, and 3) I have to smile in the context of something related to Law Review. Friends, you could cut the hypocrisy with a knife.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Once something is spoiled, can it ever be fixed? I know that when milk spoils you have to throw it away, but what about spoiled people? Can they ever be rehabilitated? Yes, I will be the first to admit that I am dreadfully spoiled. But hopefully the fact that I recognize this is some sort of indication that I’m not all bad…just partially decomposed. Is there still time for me to amputate the really spoiled parts of me and start over fresh? Or am I past the expiration date?
I am one of the luckiest people in the world. I have never been denied anything by my parents. I’ve been given every opportunity imaginable for education and travel and recreation. I’m not talking about weekend jaunts to the south of France or season tickets to the games of all of my favorite sports teams, but I’m talking about all of the basics and a bunch of extras too. I’ve been able to grow up in total comfort, and now I’m able to do the unthinkable: to go to law school without worrying about having to pay off insuperable loans.
When my parents got married right after college, they had to work for years just to be able to enjoy the standard of living that I enjoy right now as a lowly student who has never held a real job for a day in her sorry, pathetic, spoiled life. They ate cabbage soup for weeks on end, while living in married student housing. And I have the audacity to spend the money they give me to go out to eat and drink with my friends like I haven't a care in the world.
I know that parents work during their lives so that their kids can have it better than they had it, but I’m starting to feel very disappointed with myself for taking advantage of that. I am not going to go on a cabbage soup diet or anything, but I am definitely going to make some changes. I need to stop acting like a four year old, and start acting like someone who may one day need to be able to handle being an adult.
Note: Isn’t it incredible that lots of times when your parents are mad at you about something it doesn’t really faze you, but as soon as they’re disappointed in you, you want to crawl into a hole? The dreaded “We’re very disappointed in you” is like a knife in the heart!
Monday, November 10, 2003
There was an empiricist philosopher I studied in college--I think it was Berkeley--who believed that the building you see when you're far away, and the building you then enter once you get close enough are actually two different buildings. Your apartment from 500 feet away is a different place than your apartment when you're inside. When you're 500 feet away, you can hold your apartment in your hand, so how can that possibly be the same apartment that you move around in? ("How can we teach children to read if they can't even fit inside the building?") Berkeley also believed that every object has millions of versions for all of the different angles from which we perceive them. So my poster from across the room is a different poster than the one I examine while lying in my bed. He also believed that things disappear, or no longer exist, when they are out of our presence. So my apartment ceases to be when I leave for school in the morning.
This is all very disconcerting to me. Most people probably think it's stupid or ridiculous, but it makes me...nervous.
The reason I bring it up now is that I've been thinking recently about the phenomenon of getting to know someone. There are people I've met this year who I only "knew of" last year, and I can't reconcile their last year and this year selves. To me, the people I know now and the people I knew of last year are simply not the same people. They have different personalities and traits and they like different things. It might seem strange, but I think on some level the people I know now really are different people than they were last year. Because can people really be anything other than what other people perceive? Would we exist at all if not through the interpretations and assessments of others? And if we could, would that existence matter? Isn't the only thing that keeps us grounded in the world our ability to form relationships with other people? And if that's the case, do we actually exist through others, and not in spite of them?
On second thought, this might be a little heavy for a Monday morning.
Friday, November 07, 2003
You Do it to Yourself, You Do...and That's What Really Hurts
It's amazing to me that extremely intelligent, rational people can watch a football game with law textbooks in their laps and truly believe that the proximity of the books indicates some type of "productivity." It is equally amazing to me that extremely intelligent, rational people can claim that they are going out for "a drink," and that they really intend to return home and finish their reading afterwards. Delusions, all. But delusions like these are what keep law students sane. And no one can take them away from us.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
I went to the drug store to get gauze and bandages, etc. for my burn (see below). The day it happened, I went a little crazy with the bandaging and my hand looked like a big, white, mummified paw. J was making fun of me, so I naturally hit him...with my paw. Clearly not the smartest response. I yelped in pain, and then heard someone behind me laughing. It was an old homeless man standing beside a trash can. He said, "Heh heh heh, I just broke my collar bone and I'm always turning around accidentally. I know just how you feel. Heh heh." I smiled and moved carefully away. The point is that even the crazy old man thinks I'm an idiot. I'm concerned, because it's usually closer to exams before I start acting like a total moron.
CAUTION: SPOILERS--DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU'VE SEEN THE MATRIX
SUBCAUTION: DO NOT SEE THE MATRIX, FOR IT SUCKS ASS
The Matrix: Revolutions was one of the biggest theatrical disappointments I've ever witnessed. The problem with the movie boils down to this: It is cheesy, campy, and heavy-handed as all hell (which is sometimes ok in a movie), but it thinks it's brilliant, intellectual, and provocative. It takes itself so seriously that it comes off as a farce. A few illustrations are in order:
1. Keanu's eyes get burned out. He wears a blindfold for about half of the movie. Oh my, could this be SYMBOLIC of the BLINDNESS of the human condition? How we stumble through the world, not knowing WHY or WHAT IT ALL MEANS? Surely that can't be what the subtle, intelligent screenwriters were trying to convey!
2. Trinity's dying proclamations of love to Neo are the most trite, sappy, and predictable lines to which I've been subjected in quite a while. Something about wishing she'd said the only important thing...the only thing she wanted to say...that she loves him...that she's always loved him...(excuse me, I'm feeling some chunks rising, I must stop).
3. Keanu "dies" splayed out like Jesus. Come ON.
4. Smith keeps asking Neo why he keeps fighting, why he keeps trying, if he knows he will only fail and that everything will ultimately be for naught. Neo's response? "Because I choose to." I'm so glad that the THEME OF FREE WILL AND SELF DETERMINATION WAS JUST BEATEN OVER MY HEAD LIKE A GODDAMN FRYING PAN. Yeesh, can you give the viewer at least a tiny bit of credit?
5. The ONLY cool fight scene is at the end. I must admit that it is really cool--especially the totally awesome slow motion punch in the rain--but it was just too little too late.
Monday, November 03, 2003
A Penis and a Third Degree Burn...I'm Not Generally Superstitious, But that Combo Can't Be Good
Halloween. A time of tricks. A time of treats. And, yes, a time for crude renditions of penises by drunken undergrad vandals/man-apes. When I walked outside on Halloween morning, I was confronted by a large white line-drawing of a penis spanning the two windows on the driver's side of my car. In the interest of accuracy, I can assure you that your greatest fears are confirmed: there were testicles involved as well. Thankfully, after a good scraping job with a razor, only a few indicia of the dreaded phallis remain. But I am most certainly scarred for life. My one consolation was being able to tell my mom the news, who then proceeded to relay everything to my sister: "Oh dear. Oh my goodness. There is a drawing of a penis on Bekah's car." Glorious.
So the whole penis thing was kind of a downer. One might even speculate that the experience was the low point of my day. Unfortunately, however, things only got worse from there. After all of the scraping and scrubbing associated with the earlier fiasco, I went to Whole Foods to obtain a salad, some soup, and a brief respite from the trauma of the day. You see, there is an incredible salad bar at Whole Foods, as well as a selection of delicious soups. In the interest of sanitation, there is a sneeze guard located above the seemingly innocuous vats of soup (which are actually boiling cauldrons bubbling with wrath and evil intention, but more on that in a moment). In addition to the sneeze guard, there are long soup ladles with which consumers are supposed to serve themselves. Unfortunately for me and an untold number of others, the sneeze guard is very low, and the ladle is very long. If you have a good imagination, you can probably get a feel for the awkward situation resulting from such a setup. In my zeal to procure some yam and ginger soup, I failed to take account of the lowness of the guard or the longness of the ladle, and instead dumped a steaming, boiling, clump of yamminess onto my innocent hand. The burning was indescribable, and the pain, combined with the mingling smells of yam and burning flesh made me feel a bit faint. I will not force more sordid details on you; suffice it to say that the skin on the middle and pointer fingers of my left hand is, how should I put this delicately...nonexistant. Not to worry: I have been dressing my wounds with gauze and neosporin, and my hand now looks only moderately repulsive as opposed to grotesquely disfigured, which is a definite improvement. A few people (law students, obviously) suggested that I at least write a letter to Whole Foods in complaint. And honestly, I do think the way they have that soup station set up is a liability. But I'm not out for blood. My wounds will heal soon enough. And besides, the soup was really tasty.