"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
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
My hair hurts.
Although some professors at other law schools seem to take my memos to heart, my own professors take pleasure in blatantly ignoring them, or even reveling embarrassingly in complete disregard of their contents. We covered public forum law in 14 minutes this morning. Literally. 14. Minutes.
This semester, I have three exams in a row, starting with the first day of exams. That day is Monday. This Monday. I still have class today. I certainly hope I get to learn something new.
Please accept my apologies for not writing much lately, but I think anything I write (other than straight up whiny complaints) would be illegal threats of some kind, and I really don't have much time for jail at the moment.
At least the air conditioner in my car sounds like gravel in a blender, and I can't find my phone.
For those of you suffering similarly in the bowels of law school, take solace in the before and after shots below. They're all I've got to go on today.
sheep.bmp (Thanks Eric)
sheep2.bmp (Thanks Lisa)
The pictures are actually pretty timely, since several guys are rocking some similar exam beards right about now...
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Your Aura is Purple
There are moments in my life when I truly think I'm on Candid Camera. Tonight J and I went to dinner, and the waiter was stalking us. Although he did refrain from using binoculars or making notes in a composition book, he definitely took "attentiveness" to a whole new level. The really weird thing about it was that he looked like such a stoner, we initially thought that we'd never see him again. He has one of those faces that is only capable of one expression. But he turned out to be quite overzealous as waiters go. After he asked how everything was going for the fifth time, I turned to J and said, "It's like he's eating dinner with us. Should we pull up a chair?"
We returned to the coffeehouse after dinner for a few more hours of Saturday night studying (par-tay!) and, to my chagrin, those candid cameras weren't far behind. We sat down next to two men, one of whom was dressed in elaborate robes. They were speaking about auras and spatial awareness in low, measured tones and making flailing, grand gestures. They were being completely serious.
At this point, because we are 5 years old, J and I proceeded to IM each other from across the table.
J: Nice robe.
Me: "consciously focus your eyes on the space around things"
Me: I wonder if they know how much they suck
Me: Are they focusing on that?
J: I think so
J: I just farted. Let's see them focus on that.
J: It smells.
And then, ridiculous, sleep-deprived laughter ensued for a good 10 minutes until J said, "You know you're going to have to--"
"I'm already writing about it."
The robe guy and his freaky-ass protege are gone now, so it's back to Evidence. [I'm creating the most comprehensive Evidence study guide ever conceived. It incorporates: All of the Rules we've covered (in plain language when possible), my class notes, notes from the Understanding Evidence treatise, and notes from the Law in a Flash flashcards. It's written on a meticulously tabbed spiral-bound yellow legal pad, organized by rule. It is a thing of beauty, and I guard it with my life. Note: Because of this horrifyingly meticulous preparation and all of the time involved, Evidence will inevitably be my lowest grade. It's that thought that gives me the warm, fuzzy feeling that carries me through exams.]
When you hear a new phrase that you’ve managed to go your entire life without hearing (despite your expensive liberal arts education and grudging completion of nearly half of law school), it never fails that you immediately start to hear that phrase everywhere you go. And, if you’re like me, you start to wonder how you could have lived in the world so long without hearing it. Did you happen to always leave the room just before someone said it? Did you accidentally flip by the page of every novel where the authors used it? After the fact, it appears that you’ve done some pretty fancy maneuvers to have so long avoided this phrase that now seems horrendously overused.
A few weeks ago, J and I were watching ESPN and J said something like, “It’s time for Phil Mickelson to finally win a major. He needs to get that monkey off his back.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked incredulously. “A monkey? Who is this monkey you speak of?”
“Uh, Bekah,” J said tiredly, “It’s an expression. You’ve never heard it?”
“Um…no,” I responded brusquely, “I certainly haven’t. I don’t believe that such a ridiculous phrase exists. I think you made it up. Or maybe it’s some weird Midwestern thing. Like ‘Coney Island’ diners.”
Needless to say, I’ve been encountering that freaking monkey every day since I first heard the phrase. Everybody’s got a monkey on their back. It’s like there’s been an invasion of the goddamn flying attack monkeys from the Wizard of Oz. Perhaps the most unfortunate effect of all of this is that King Kong has recently set up shop on my back, and will continue to hang around until exams are over. I think I would have been happier not knowing he was there.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Mmyeeaahh...I Think They Got the Memo
At this time I would like to give everyone an update on the unexpected effects of my April 19th memo to law professors.
1. My Dad dispersed the memo to the faculty at his law school, to favorable reviews. Some profs completely agreed with my sentiment, opining that perhaps there should be a reading week at the end of the semester. Some commented that the memo was "funny" but that they would "still present new material today." (Kind of an "up yours" from the more ambitious law profs, whose syllabi will bow to no man). Dad forgot his book in the hall this morning, and was rushing back to his class when he passed another prof in the hall who inquired as to the reason for his hurry. After Dad explained, the prof retorted, "But Bill, they DON'T CARE." See, they're learning!
2. My Dad read the memo to his class, and it seems that the students responded favorably to my views, voicing their support through a laughter not often heard in law school classrooms. They laughed, you see, because they too feel my pain. And because they're sleep deprived and slightly loopy. So that was good times. The problem is that, mere moments after reading the memo, my Dad covered a completely new topic in 30 minutes. But, he stammered, he "was apologetic about it..."
3. Despite the kind words from a few profs, and the laughs from a few students, I have to say that the most wondrous effect of the memo is as follows. One of the law profs at my Dad's law school--an esteemed presence; well-loved and venerable--also read my memo to his students. He read the memo, and then he cancelled class.
This is nothing less than a revolution, people. The voice of the students will be heard. Change is imminent.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Can I Get My Certificate in Retail?
Disgruntled Student: It's so frustrating. After law school, we'll be over-prepared for so many jobs, yet still under-prepared for so many other ones. We just fall into the gap...
J: No, we really do fall into the Gap. All we can do is sell chinos.
Thoughts I've Had This Morning
1. It's funny that there's a Bush/Cheney trucker hat because it's so fitting. Trucker hats are so five minutes ago. (Thanks to Scott)
2. If you're ever at a red light and start to get tired of waiting, try to put your hair in a ponytail. The light will inevitably turn green in the middle of that operation.
3. Last night on American Idol, the unthinkable happened: John Stevens made a Barry Manilow song more boring than the original. I used to like that kid, but now I just want to punch him in the face.
4. If you're in law school and are feeling overwhelmed by the ensuing exam season, go buy legal pads, index cards, and tabs. The mere possession of these materials has stopped my heart from exploding in my chest.
5. My friend Elliot told me to do this game, but not "until you are home and your law books are away from you. It would be really tragic if you did it in the law library or something":
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
So I went home and did it (making a concerted effort not to cheat and dig through my bookcase for a "cool" book like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or something--but that one is in my car anyway, where J left it after promising to read it), and the first book I picked up was Far From the Madding Crowd. But the sentence was something about Bathsheba thrusting her head into a bush if she was put in a lowcut dress, and that didn't seem right. So then I picked up Jane Austen's Persuasion, but that sentence was something about how "Admirals" sound much more distinguished than "Misters," and how Misters always need some sort of explanation in society. But that sucked too. So I gave up on the game. Until I was in First Amendment, where I tried it again. So it's probably cheating, and it still sucks, but here it goes:
"Thus the accused is to be punished, not for attempt, incitement, or conspiracy, but for a step in preparation, which, if it threatens the public order at all, does so only remotely." The First Amendment, by Steven H. Shiffrin and Jesse H. Choper
Man, that's deep.
Monday, April 19, 2004
To: Law Professors
From: The 2L Community
Re: Friendly Advice
Dear Law Professors:
Greetings! It has been a while since last we corresponded, and, to be honest, I've been feeling a little guilty about the terseness of my prior communications. Let me begin by saying that I owe you an apology for those early memoranda; when I told you to stop making asinine jokes on exams ("Exams aren't funny. Chances are neither are you."), I was simply unable to see the big picture. I was too caught up in the stress of 1L year to see that many of you take pride in making exam hypos based on original topics like "Ben and Jen's unmarried cohabitant property distribution (complete with a determination of the fate of the pink engagement ring)" or "confidentiality issues surrounding insane kidnapper who buries girl in desert and then attempts to convert his lawyer to Christianity through scripture-infused ransom notes." I can see now that law professors have to get their kicks somehow, and I can't fault you for trying to do that at the expense of tired, pissy, sleep-deprived law students--especially 1Ls. They are so fun to torture, aren't they? I try to trip them in the hall whenever I get the chance.
But as long as I'm being honest, I just have to level with you: Anything you attempt to teach during the last week and a half of the semester is virtually impossible for students to take seriously. All we want to do at this point is to come up with some semblance of an understanding of your course as a whole. No. No, strike that. I'll be even more frank. All we want to do is figure out how to do well on your exam. We have no interest in starting a new unit; we have no interest in careful reading or understanding of new topics; and we certainly have no interest in attempting to read ahead when we know that your ridiculously optimistic projections about syllabus coverage will inevitably fall short.
I'll be blunt: A week and a half before exams, just stop trying to teach us anything. Any knowledge you attempt to impart to us will bounce off our ears like contestants bouncing off the walls on Spike TV's Extreme Elimination Challenge (best show ever). There is simply no more room in the brains of law students at this point in the semester. And even if that wasn't the case--even if we did have endless amounts of empty brain space in which to store your last, flailing efforts to cover every inch of the subject matter--the plain fact of the matter is that we just don't care anymore. We don't care that imparting knowledge is your life. We don't care that you spend day and night curled up with the Federal Rules of Evidence writing love letters to the Advisory Committee. We. Don't. Care. We love you--you are good people--but we don't care. Sorry. You're pretty.
Pleasant exam writing,
The 2L Community
Saturday, April 17, 2004
J and I went to Blockbuster last night in an attempt to dull the pain of a day of outlining. We were browsing the movies (in our usual meticulous, alphabetical fashion, making our usual sarcastic comments about whether or not we should rent Rodentz or Under the Tuscan Sun, in that order), when we heard the Blockbuster guy at the front of the store say in a very loud voice, "We do not have Kill Bill. No Kill Bill in stock. Again, we do not have Kill Bill." He sounded pretty pissed. After a depressing scan of the selection, we grabbed Owning Mahoney as a last ditch effort (which, incidentally, turned out to be really boring), and got in line.
When we handed the Blockbuster guy the movie, I noticed the tension veins poking obtrusively out of his forehead as he stared at the computer. I saw the twitch in his tired eyes, and became acutely aware of what had to be done. I took a moment to prepare, and then, I said it.
"Hey, do you have Kill Bill?"
I've never seen such a range of emotions come over one person in such a brief amount of time. A split second after I said the dreaded words, he looked up with a flash of the most intense annoyance and hatred imaginable. In the next moment, however, upon seeing the gleam in my eye and J's obvious amusement, he let out a sigh of relief followed immediately by unexpected laughter. "Oh, that's a good one," he admitted. "That's very good." The security guard was loving it too. I think he was glad I was kidding, because if I hadn't been, he might have had a murder on his hands. Anyway, I like to think I saved that poor boy's sanity last night. And he dropped our late fee in exchange, so I guess we're even.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Notes from the (Evidentiary) Underground (nods to Evan and the 1Ls)
Today I did something totally unprecedented for me (though totally unremarkable for most) and overslept. It was awful and great at the same time. Keep in mind that I almost never miss class, and when I do it is almost always for good reason. I think it's mostly a respect thing--my parents being professors and all. But today I slept through Evidence, and there was nothing I could do about it. At that point I realized that I wouldn't be able to make my next class either. So I impulsively decided to go for a run for the first time in a while, and it was brilliant. An uncharacteristically cool and breezy morning. People out with their babies. Bakery smells wafting into the park. Me being able to reserve a small portion of my day strictly for moving and breathing and watching kids feed ducks.
When I got to work and checked my email, I found notes from both of the classes I missed waiting for me. (I can only attribute this phenomenon to the fact that I have the best friends in the entire world). I've been going over Elliot's Evidence notes, and I just have to share some excerpts. Because I think they may be entertaining to students and slightly informative to professors. Here are some highlights:
These rules are the first that came directly from Congress, w/o going thru advisory committee, etc. Here we have the only example of Congress unilaterally changing shit, though they have this power.
There are no comments obviously, just some legislative materials. It is “breathtaking” apparently.
Constitutional challenges to 413 et seq have all failed. Poor rapists.
We have a rule that bars character evidence, but then we are faced with rule on habit and routine practice. [Prof Evidence] waxes for minute after minute about the nuances of his personal habits.
I think I should miss class more often if it will get me more documentation like this. (Just kidding Dad).
Ok, RSS has been fed, I think. I clicked a few buttons in the "Settings" department, and it looks right to me. Professor Smith, let me know if this is adequate.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Fun With Instant Messenger
My friend Micah and I just had a conversation that, though brief, managed to cover a variety of important topics. I regret to inform you that none of the topics was even remotely law-related, so consider yourself forewarned if you’re legally-inclined and are planning on reading what follows. It should also be noted that there was a little bit of adult content involved in the actual conversation, but I’ve tried to make my recap as tame as possible. I mean, some of my former campers read this stuff, and lord knows they are sweet and innocent children who know nothing of prurient interests…
On to the recap. First, Micah and I established that we both consider Chris Parnell to be the least funny SNL cast member ever, only barely surpassing Horatio Sanz, who may be fat, but is not funny because of or in spite of that fact.
Second, we discussed our various tastes in “older” actors and actresses. Micah contended that Rene Russo, Kelly Preston, and Susan Sarandon were the hottest among the ladies. I explained that Dennis Quaid would always be the love of my life, and that, while Johnny Depp and John Cusack are of course included in the “love of my life” category, they probably wouldn’t be considered “old” by male Hollywood standards. I stifled the urge to rant about that.
Third, we determined that the one interesting thing we took away from the movie 21 Grams was that there is definitely something strange about Naomi Watts. I don’t feel comfortable writing about it, but if you’ve seen the movie, there is no way you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Our Naomi Watts determination finally led to a discussion of nudity, and how the female body is inherently more aesthetically pleasing than the male body (which, let’s face it, is a little bizarre). I concurred in this generalization; I do think that straight men fantasize more about the female body as a whole, whereas in my experience straight women generally find specific aspects of the male body appealing (like, oh, I don’t know, basketball players’ arms).
I told Micah that, for me personally, hands are very important. The conversation then continued as follows:
Micah: Just so I’m clear on this—you fantasize about hands?
Me: Not fantasize, but they’re important.
Micah: I picture you picturing John Cusack taking off a glove very slowly…
And then I almost spit Diet Coke all over my keyboard. In fact, it’s been almost an hour and I still can’t stop laughing. The image is so ridiculously glorious. Provocative glove removal. That is hot.
And Janet Jackson's breast was damaging to the poor, unadulterated children? Jesus Christ!
Thanks to Josh.
Friday, April 09, 2004
This is an Automated Response
Thank you for contacting me. I am committed to serving you to the best of my ability. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond my control, I am forced to be out of the office for the weekend. I will be somewhere cold, somewhere shaped like a hand-warming garment--somewhere where I may be able to take part in all of my "favorite things" listed on the sidebar. If all goes well, I will be up and running again on Monday. Of course, by that point finals will be around the corner. But it is Friday morning, I have a plane to catch, and Monday is light years away.
P.S. I will spend my plane ride contemplating whether or not to hug J's parents at the airport. I'm an affectionate person, but still. Too weird? Tough call.
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Quote of the Day
"'We're trying to explain how things are going, and they are going as they are going,' he said, adding: 'Some things are going well and some things obviously are not going well. You're going to have good days and bad days.' On the road to democracy, this 'is one moment, and there will be other moments. And there will be good moments and there will be less good moments.'"
--Maureen Dowd, quoting Donald Rumsfeld's glistening press conference oration
Rumsfeld concluded, "Zippedy doo-dah; One fish, two fish, red fish, George Bush...Old McDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O. "
A Call to Arms
A little birdy just informed me that there is a blog contest going down over at venturpreneur. Apparently some other blog is stealing the show, and I need your help! Tinkerbell will disappear without your clapping, so if you're so inclined, go here and cast your vote.
Man, I feel dirty now.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
A Tale Told By an Idiot
Last week, I had a little bit of a breakdown. I guess it wasn't so much a breakdown as an epiphany (although that sounds too dramatic; maybe "feeling of ickiness" is more technically accurate). Anyway, the terminology is irrelevant. All that matters is that I realized, in one terrible flash of self-awareness, that I couldn't remember what I'd done the day before. Or three days before. Or the week before. It scared me. I thought, "If my memory is failing me this drastically at the age of 24, it must mean that there is nothing worth remembering." Since then, I've started getting generally panicky. My stomach hurts a lot, and my back and neck are starting to get tense again. I feel like my entire life has become a blur of going to class, eating, fulfilling mindnumbing tasks for law review, trying frantically to maintain connections with the people who are important to me, and sleeping (theoretically). (Even now I can tell that writing about this stuff makes it sound much more dramatic and troubling than it is. I am not having fainting spells, or hiding in the dark scribbling by candlelight into some scary journal, or staring at the wallpaper waiting for it to come to life. I'm just having a slightly not-OK time right now).
I understand that these are hardly novel feelings. It's normal for people my age (especially those of us in law school) to have thoughts like this. I've heard all the pep talks (law school is a rite of passage, it gets better, you're moving toward a goal, suck it up and make sacrifices now so you can be happy later), and yes, they helped at first. They lulled me into believing that studying 12 hours a day or more during exams was really no big deal in the grand scheme of things. But they just don't do it for me anymore. Because sometimes I feel like I'm fulfilling a rite of passage for entry into a place I don't even want to be. I don't have the love of the law that some people have. Or the drive. Or the desire to "make it" as a lawyer who spends her life in the same cycle I'm stuck in right now.
I know that at this point it's too late to back out. A good deal of time and money and pride is at stake. But I think it's just wrong to tell people in my position that what we're doing right now is important preparation, that we should suffer through it, grin and bear it, in order to succeed in the future. MY LIFE IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW, AND I'M NOT EVEN AWARE OF IT. THAT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD JUST BE OK FOR ME. In the next few weeks, I'm going to have to start putting lots of energy into studying. But to get through that ordeal I'm going to have to use most of my energy to combat the resentment I feel for having to read Evidence when I want to be writing or reading real books or being. This is not the first time I've felt or written about this kind of thing. This is also not healthy. But what can I do?
When I was trying to articulate all of this to my dad this afternoon, he quoted Macbeth. I should have remembered that, even when I have what I think is an epiphany, Shakespeare will have always said it best:
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Now Shakespeare and I will be in the corner, sulking. But I'm sure I'll be back soon. After all, I won't remember any of this tomorrow.
Friday, April 02, 2004
Random Law School Dean's Message #1
It is my distinct pleasure to inform you that U.S. News and World Reports has ranked our school 10 points higher this year than last! This sudden ascention can only be the result of the hard work and amazing accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff, and dean. All of the money that I put into shrubbery around the law school and bulking up our "Law and the Fast Food Industry" curriculum turned out to be a great investment. No one really seemed to notice that our percentage of students with jobs 9 months after graduation is precipitously low (that will be our little secret)! I would like to emphasize the importance of this jump for everyone involved with our esteemed institution. Alumni should be especially pleased with their enduring legacy; entering students should be thrilled at the opportunity to become part of our high ranking family. U.S. News and World Reports, God of Gods, we salute you!
Yours in excellence,
Dean U. S. Newsrocks
Random Law School Dean's Message #2
Congratulations on being a part of one of the best and most underappreciated law schools in the country. U.S. News and World Reports, an evil corporation without any understanding of what it means to be a good law school, ranked us 10 points lower this year than last. As we all know, U.S. News Rankings are completely meaningless, comprised of statistical blips and unfair assessments which are only marginal indicators of the quality of any given institution. Even though this is the case, we remain shocked and outraged at this year's rankings, and will put lots of money into organizing a task force to help us understand why we took such a plunge. I know one thing: it has nothing to do with any actual identifiable problems in my, I mean our, faultless law school. This year is an unfortunate statistical aberration; it is nothing that a little bit of number crunching and bribery won't fix. For now, relax and enjoy being underappreciated, much like Van Gogh was underappreciated during his lifetime.
Yours in shared incredulousness,
Dean U. S. Newssucks