Mixtape Marathon

"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: mmbekah@yahoo.com

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, September 28, 2004
Fan Mail

Yesterday I got a nice little letter from a prominent law firm informing me coldly and condescendingly that there is simply not a place for me in their Firm Family. One line hissed, "Your background and credentials appear impressive." I like that choice of words. It's like they're making a thinly veiled accusation that I somehow fabricated or misrepresented my background and credentials. Like I actually suck, but I sneakily concocted a resume that makes me appear moderately qualified on paper. Well, I can see right through their sleazy lawyer talk, and I'm not going to let it get me down. And to prove it, I'm going to apply to lots more law firms where I'm guaranteed more letters of this type, just to show how well I can take rejection. It will be a fun little demonstration of the toughness of the human psyche.


Friday, September 24, 2004
Monosyllabic Assessments

1. Silver City: Bad
2. Jon Stewart: Stud
3. Time at which I'll likely purchase America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction: Now
4. Loud cell phone talker in coffeehouse: Douche
5. Outline progress thus far: Slight
6. Run this morning: Blech
7. Saturday classes due to Ivan: Poop
8. Last night's bizarre, Salem-style witch hunt on The Apprentice: *%&@#?
9. Football tomorrow: Blue!
10. Confidence in getting a clerkship interview: None

Monday, September 20, 2004
Festival Diary

I'm back from my Hurricane Vacation, and I'm definitely not excited about starting school again. Austin was great--J and I both loved the city and everything associated with it. We couldn't get over how clean and organized everything is there, and how well-run the festival was. We were so upset that we had to miss the last day of the festival to get back home (No Elvis Costello or Cake, sadness!), but we're already making plans to go back sometime soon. And next time we'll go at a time where a 8-9 hour drive won't take us 25 hours because of inept and ridiculous evacuation gridlock. I'm not going to go into the details of that drive, because I think J and I are permanently scarred. A little piece of our sanity and a large portion of our dignity were lost somewhere in that 9th hour when we'd only gone about 50 miles. So instead of dwelling on that disaster, I'm going to give a quick rundown of all the bands we saw/heard at the festival. Keep in mind that this list is only 2 days worth--if we had the means, we could have seen a lot more.

First, a quick note about the festival itself. The mechanics of it were very well thought out (shuttles to the park, easily accessible food area, maps of the grounds and stages), but the sheer volume of people (between 70 and 100,000 per day) made things a little bumpy sometimes. There were a lot of port-o-potties too, but J and I never had to use them. Not even once. We must have drunk 60 ounces of water each every day, and we still never had to pee. This is because it was 100 degrees and sunny and between the hours of 11:00am and 9pm everyone was covered with a film of sticky Texas sweat that trickled relentlessly down backs and shins and fingers. Men were drenched. Women were horrified that their cute little tank tops were getting soaked. The heat forced some of the most impressive beer guts I've ever seen to come out and enjoy the sunshine. J and I just rubbed coagulated sunscreen on ourselves every few hours and tried to find a little shade when we could.

And now, the music:

Tucker Livingston: Folksy stuff; we sat for a while before we got our bearings on Friday.
Louque: Interesting New Orleans musician mixing funk and blues and a little hip-hop. We liked it, but were on our way somewhere else.
The Killers: Now, I love The Killers. J does not love The Killers, but we went anyway. And as fun as I think their music is, I had to agree with J that the live show was just nothing special. The lead singer had the stage presence of a corpse (although I must give him props for not sacrificing fashion in the face of extreme heat: he kept his indie shirt/vest combo ON baby), and he churned out "Somebody Told Me" like a death rattle. But I still think the cd is awesome.
Electric Church: Some sort of crappy organ-infused dance/gospel/reggae spritual music that made me want to laugh and then cry. We left.
Bob Schneider: Eh, ok. It's hot--want to go get something to eat before Blind Boys?
Blind Boys of Alabama: Highlight of the day. These guys have been playing together since June 10, 1944 and they were amazing. Great gospel/blues, and if you don't think a cute little 80-year old blind man jumping around on stage and then being led through the crowd is a wonderful thing, you don't have a soul.
Neko Case: Nice voice. Where are the New Pornographers?
Sloan: J likes these guys. I think they sound like bad Classic Rock. We didn't stay long.
Broken Social Scene: Fun indie jam band--lots of energy. They put on a good show.
Ryan Adams: I'm sorry, I love Whiskeytown and some of his solo stuff, but this guy is an asshole. He was condescending and annoying and didn't take anything remotely seriously. He played "La Cienega Just Smiled" and messed it all up. I know it's his song and he can do what he wants, but that song is important to me and he ruined it by being obnoxious. Ass.
Franz Ferdinand: Heard like one song. I don't know what the fuss is about.
Mason Jennings: Heard a little on Saturday morning. Sounded good.
Slightly Stoopid: Not just a clever name.
Cat Power: Beautiful voice. Serves as a nice complement to snoring. Ah, I kid...she was good. Just a little...down...tempo...
Josh Rouse: Waiting for Old 97's so only heard from far away, but sounded good.
Old 97's: Best ever. Rhett Miller was like the anti-Ryan Adams. He was so appreciative of the fans and the festival and Austin and the music. He was so excited to be performing, and he put on a great show. Plus, he's dreamy.
The Gourds: Only heard a little, wasn't too excited about it. No "Gin and Juice" while we were there.
Modest Mouse: Good show. Lots of new stuff, which I actually liked. J thought there should have been a wider selection from their portfolio, but all in all it was a good time.
G-Love & Special Sauce: Heard that one song, the "she got sauce" song on the way to The Pixies. That's about all I needed.
Walter "Wolfman" Washington: Heard the end of the show. Sounded awesome.
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown: Tie with Old 97's for favorite show of the day. Little 80 year old black man with long skinny fingers rockin' out on his guitar and fiddle. He was so adorable and great. Sang a lot about women treating him wrong. I wanted to hug him.
The Pixies: We saw THE PIXIES! We weren't very close to the stage, but we heard everything perfectly. Great show, great set, fun way to end the festival.
Wilco (At after-festival concert): This was almost a disaster for us. By the time The Pixies' show ended, we were already late to the concert and the shuttle line was over 2 hours long. So we speed-walked to one of the main streets praying for a miracle, and we somehow found what must have been the only cab in town that wasn't at the festival. Got to the show and only missed 5 minutes of Wilco. Great show. Lots of Summerteeth and lots of new stuff (still need that album). Two encores, and the second one included Mermaid Ave. songs, "Jesus Christ for President" and "California Stars." Hooray!

And now I'm waking up from this glorious dream to the harsh reality of 3L. Better to have loved and lost, I suppose. Gotta go to school.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Emergency Evacuation to the City Limits!

J and I are fleeing Ivan. And by fleeing Ivan, I mean we are driving to Austin for Austin City Limits this weekend! Classes are cancelled for the rest of this week, so there's just no reason to stay even if the hurricane does miss us. Basically it's an excuse to make a fun trip, so we're packing up now and then getting on the road as soon as we can. Then there will only be The Pixies and Ryan Adams and Old 97's and The Killers and Modest Mouse and Cake and Wilco and Spoon and Neko Case and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown and Elvis Costello and so very much more. If anyone knows Austin or will be in Austin or can give me any fun advice, please email! Ok, time to go West! So long, suckers!

Monday, September 13, 2004
Ivan Schmivan?

Hurricanes are the great equalizer. People try to act all hard and claim they're not ever leaving, but then all the public schools close and that little voice in their head starts chiming in every so often with a "You really should make sure you have flashlights just in case..." or a "Having no water would definitely suck, right?" I mean, on the one hand, you don't want to stick it out and end up like that redneck on the Weather channel in rolled-up Huck Finn pants standing in the lake that is his front yard using a battered flamingo yard ornament to fish out the remnants of Aunt Mae's Thomas Kinkaid Spiritual Snow Globe collection. On the other hand, you don't want to look like an ass for stocking up on plywood and canned corn if the hurricane ends up going 300 miles east. It's a real issue of pride.

J and I were having our own little conversation this afternoon about people overreacting, just as we passed several gas stations full to the brim with cars and slightly frazzled people. We were quiet for a second and then both decided that, even though it was definitely ridiculous and clearly overly cautious, we should probably fill up just because you never really know, you know?

Ah, we are all such sheepish sheep at heart. Anyway, if and when my school buckles under the pressure of the city counsel, I'm going to make my way West, you know, the way of Horatio Alger and Davy Crockett...the Donner Party...various other barrages of imagery...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

More Weird Baby-Having Dreams

My friend Josh just sent me the following email:

Your recent post about the Emma Thompson baby reminded me of a recent dream [M] told me about that I thought you would derive amusement from. Her story went something like this: “Last night I dreamed that [my sister] had triplets, but after a few days the babies turned into puppies. The worst part of the dream was that I thought two of the puppies were really ugly.”

Some Self-Indulgent Self-Pity (even though I realize things could be much worse, and that people who are being ravaged by hurricanes and various other atrocities will probably want to kill me for my unjustified whining, but I'm a law student and I'm allowed to have a little bit of exaggerated self pity because I am emotionally abused by my professors and I don't have a job and the first and only letter I've gotten acknowledging receipt of my clerkship application was addressed "Dear Mr. Nowack")

This weekend has been interesting. Not interesting like the safe word you would use to describe a remotely compelling article you read in the paper or US Weekly. That kind of blandly interesting weekend would have been welcomed with open arms. No, this weekend has been interesting like the word you would use as a kindergarten teacher to describe little Tommy's crude rendition of the decapitated bodies of all of his classmates buried under his front porch. Oh, how interesting Tommy. Do you happen know your Mommy or Daddy's office number?

It started out on Friday morning with a really exciting heat rash that made a grand appearance on my hands and arms and caused those body parts to feel itchy and tingly and awful until a very nice and pretty young doctor gave me a shot of cortisone in my "hip" (why do doctors always say "hip" when they're giving you a shot in the ass?) and some lovely and not too smelly prescription cream. J had a lot of fun taking advantage of my insecurity in that leprous state. I had this rash that I thought was totally disgusting, and the shot that was supposed to make me better initially made me jittery and paranoid and even more worried about looking like a freak. To make matters worse, I haven't been able to run for three days because of the possibility of aggravating the rash, so I am feeling very unfulfilled and lazy, not to mention the fact that my Jewish grandmother of a conscience is very very disappointed in me.

Then on Saturday we had some people over to watch football and grill. Things started out ok until the fridge stopped being cold. We made a frantic trip to the gas station to get bags of ice for the bath tub so we could save our precious Miller Lite and Icehouse, and upon completion of that task the fridge started working again. Then, just for kicks, the AC gave out. People noticed that it was "getting a little warm" in the house just as Michigan started getting completely killed by Notre Dame. By the third quarter, emotions were high and the temperature in the apartment was a cozy 95 degrees. We were sweaty and pissed off: we had an unbelievably pathetic Michigan loss and about 5,000 pounds of extra meat that no one felt like eating. And my hands were itching again. So we had to spend the night at our friends' apartment. On our way back home this morning to get books for today's coffeehouse expedition, I saw a homeless man pushing a shopping cart. And then I felt even shittier for thinking that being put out of my apartment for 2 days was the end of the world.

It's funny, but I think I'm writing so vehemently about all of this mostly because I've been neglecting my blog lately. When I actually think about everything rationally, I know that I'm not even that annoyed or upset. I'm just too tired and resigned to care about heat rashes and broken air conditioners that much. I really just want to go for a run, so hopefully I'll be able to do that this afternoon. And then take a nice cold shower.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004
The Telepathic Method

Law professors all have different teaching styles, and I think I've been exposed to most of them. I've had professors who like to just lecture, and then sometimes call on a few eager students who like to throw their two cents in. I've had professors who run down the class list, call on students in alphabetical order, ask one terse question, answer it themselves, and move on. And I've had professors who employ that thing we like to call the Socratic Method, which basically involves speaking only in questions and trying to squeeze answers out of students like dirty water from a mop. I promise, it's even more fun than it sounds. But I've never had a professor quite like the one I have now, who has developed his own version of the Socratic Method which involves the expectation of telepathy.

This is what happens. The Professor asks a question--a broad question, with many possible interpretations--and about 14 students raise their hand to answer. Then, one by one, he picks off their answers with "Weeell, not exactly," or "hmm, I suppose that's one way to look at it...anyone else?" This goes on for a painfully long time--like a movie where there are like 5 plausible ways to end it, but it keeps going and going until you forget what the plot was to begin with. And the end of this period of questioning is always the same: no one gives him a satisfactory answer, and he finally lets everyone know what he's driving at...but only after making a few people feel like asses along the way.

You may recognize this method as a variation on "hiding the ball"--a teaching tool that law professors use as part of the Socratic Method to make the students come up with the answer on their own. Except he doesn't "hide the ball," he buries the ball 6 feet under and then lets students set off land mines by trying to dig for it. I wanted to raise my hand and ask, "What color am I thinking of right now?" Or better yet, "There are 37 yellow monkeys dancing in my head--what song are they dancing to?" I mean, come on! If you are a law professor, the students already know that you are a brilliant person. You don't appear more brilliant when you concoct elaborate questions with answers so specific and nuanced that only your brain could come up with them. The only good part about it is that some poor annoying bastards in the class keep stepping up to bat like 6 or 7 times a class, only to be shot down each time. Maybe I'm a sick person, but sometimes that makes me feel good.