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, November 30, 2004
Finding a Happy Place...

It's amazing when all the forces of the universe align for one spectacular moment. Like when you don't want to take any of the classes offered by your school, but you wake up at 7:00am to register anyway, at which time your computer decides that it doesn't want you to take any classes offered either and promptly stops working, so then you call the registrar to register over the phone, at which time you realize the school doesn't want you to take any of the classes offered because the entire registration system isn't working. So you've spent over an hour trying to register for classes you don't even like, and now it's too late to go for a run.

I understand that technical issues are impossible to completely control, but it would help if a law school that takes hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars from its students every year could have some accountable person ALIVE and AWAKE during the registration period to do a little bit of damage control. A lot of my friends are really pissed because they couldn't get into classes they wanted to take. I don't really have that problem because the "caring" switch in my brain has been flipped off for the duration of exam time, but I'm outraged on principle, because that's what I do.

Now I'm sitting in a coffeehouse trying to outline and watching a man bathe in front of me. (He disappeared into the bathroom for about 20 minutes, after which period he emerged holding reams of paper towels and sat down in front of me). He is now rubbing said paper towels all over his body. This process results in loud scratching and grunting sounds, but does not result in the cleansing of his person, largely because there is no soap or water involved in this process. Just a lot of grunting and staring at me.

I will miss this city.

Sunday, November 28, 2004
Today's Worries

That the old woman who constantly wanders around my neighborhood picking up leaves and trash out of the gutter will break into my apartment and attack me in my sleep. Morbid, I know, but you haven't seen this lady. She really freaks me out. I had a nightmare about it.

That the recent surge of totally random childhood memories I've been having (coming to me without any provocation or triggering event) is evidence of some evil plot that my subconscious is concocting without my knowledge.

That the new REM album has this gorgeous song with some really beautiful imagery--it's track three if you want to listen--but at the end of it, just when the music should be fading out, rapper Q-Tip makes a most unfortunate appearance for absolutely no reason and ruins everything by making me either laugh, squirm uncomfortably, or, worst of all, fear for Michael Stipe's musical judgment.

That Felicity Huffman may be the one to die tonight on Desperate Housewives. Not that I think the producers would ever pick her to be the one to go, but the option is there and it worries me.

That Morris Bart is going to read my blog and sue me for libel. Note to all: the post below is a joke. Morris Bart was never actually Joe Bob's attorney, and I don't know anything about his professional life. Luckily he is a public figure so I definitely have some leeway under the First Amendment. Side note: I went to the Bartman's website just for fun and discovered that in addition to "One Call, That's All!" he also uses, in the internet context, "One Click, That's It!" Catchy, right? Unfortunately, it doesn't rhyme. I may contact him and tell him that "One Click Does the Trick" would be better. Easier on the ears.

Thursday, November 25, 2004
Thanksgiving Day Race Relations

This morning I ran the 5 mile Turkey Day Race with my dad, who is in town for the holidays. (I should make it clear that my dad is an actual runner who used to race quite frequently. His PR for a 5 mile race is 27 minutes. Twenty. Seven. Minutes. That's what you might call obscenely speedy. So needless to say I didn't really run the race with him, so much as in his dust). It was actually very cold this morning and made for great race weather. I was the 91st woman, with a time of 42:38. My dad ran it in 35:42--not bad for an old dude, huh?

The best part of the race was my celebrity encounter. I was running along in mile two, not pushing it too hard, and suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw Morris Bart. For those of you who aren't from around here, Morris Bart is the lawyer who holds the license to the phrase "one call that's all" for this particular area. He has no fees or expenses unless he collects for you. He got Joe Bob $500,000 for the stubbed toe he suffered while robbing your aunt Mae's house. Anyway, I saw him run up next to me and immediately said, "Oh no no...I'm a 3L in law school--I can't let you beat me!" He just laughed and we chatted for about five minutes about where I was from and what kind of law I was interested in, and then he sped up and was gone. He was actually quite nice. Good runner too.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
What I Thought About this Morning on the Drive to Campus to Drop off J's Time Sheets at the Student Employment Office Because He Forgot to Drop them off Before he Left to go home for Thanksgiving and I Am Nice

…I can’t believe I forgot where I parked my car last night after class. Legitimately forgot. I mean, I actually got to the spot where I thought my car was parked and panicked because I just knew it had been stolen and I was standing there for an entire minute before I put it together. Man. It’s not even exam time yet...Maybe I need to take some vitamins or something. Garlique perhaps. Wait, isn't that like Beano? So Echinacea then…or the Flintstones vitamins. Or did they stop selling those in the 80’s? Are the Flintstones even on TV anymore? I can’t remember ever watching the show really, but I definitely took the vitamins because I remember liking the orange ones best….Orange flavored things have a storied history with me. I liked those orange vitamins, but then I went through a period where I hated orange juice, but now I like it, even the pulp, if it's not too chunky....and I think I always liked the orange tootsie roll pops...Hey, nice blinker, ass. Thanks for the warning there. And nice W sticker, too...figures...Yeah, I am really liking this posthumous Elliott Smith album. Track 7 is good. And 3. Some really atmospheric stuff. Poignant. More so because of that article I read that said the coroner ended up ruling his cause of death inconclusive...Everyone just assumed suicide because he was a sad person but there were two stab wounds and although they say that suicide by stabbing often involves hesitation wounds, the angle of these wounds was inconclusive. Creepy…Ugh, why won’t that image of the U2 iPod commercial get out of my head…I don’t get U2 worshippers. I want all of these people to clear their minds and really think about “Vertigo.” The song is mindnumbing. Trite, boring, and loud…I don’t get it. Oh, and they were really gross on SNL the other night—Old Bono gyrating awkwardly and shaking his greasy hair—this is Rock and Roll? Still, they were probably the highlight of the show because it really is almost impossible to watch SNL now. It’s completely reduced to the “let’s take one thing that isn’t funny and do it 50 times in a row” motif...not effective...and Horatio Sanz is still not funny, only fat, and while fatness can sometimes be paired with comedic talent, it is never, ever, indicative of it on its own…oh, and to make things worse, U2 and Macintosh are forming the evilest of the evil corporate conglomerates known to man and it is terrifying…personalized U2 iPods? The world is ending…but I feel guilty because I really want an iPod anyway, just not the U2 one because that is fascist...you know, I think I should have read Madame Bovary at this point in my life, but I haven't…I wonder if it's any good…I don’t read enough. I am stupid, and getting stupider by the day. I can’t have intelligent conversations with people anymore, about Chaucer or Heidegger or Mary Kate's latest struggles and heartaches...Law school is sucking my will to live…I think Tom Wolfe looks a lot like Mr. Burns...I wonder if that's on purpose...not on purpose like Tom Wolfe is trying to look like Mr. Burns...but maybe on purpose like Matt Groening has something against Bonfire of the Vanities...another book I haven't read all the way through...and...yes, it is in fact raining now just in time for me to get out of the car...

Sunday, November 21, 2004
Apology to the Haiku Gods

First let me just say for the record that I was not really trying to compose legitimate poetry about the MPRE. I used the words "poop" and "trench foot" for God's sake. But, to appease the Haiku devotees out there, I will submit this brief statement of evaluation referring to each of Michael Dylan Welch's (what a poetry-drenched name!) 10 tips for writing Haiku:

1. I was wrong to use only the "Western convention" of 3 lines, 5-7-5 separated, 17-syllable formation. It's what I remembered from 4th grade. I think the ones I wrote then were probably better, though equally stifled, choppy, and Westernized I'm sure.

2. I didn't include a reference to the "season or time of year" in any of the "poems," so that's bad. Although they are all about MPRE time, so maybe that counts.

3. Only four out of five of my "poems" were written in the present tense. I now know that, for the sake of immediacy, haiku should always be in the present tense. Thus, the fourth one should read:

A pencil gently taps in autumn
as my brain

4. I think I might have gotten this one: I wrote about common, everyday events within the context of the MPRE. I never attempted to answer any questions about the meaning of life. But then I never raised any questions about it either. This is a failing.

5. I wrote all of these poems by channeling my personal experience. My personal experience with the MPRE. It doesn't get more viscerally personal than THAT.

6. This rule requires one to present what causes one's emotions, rather than to present the emotions themselves. Let's see...is trench foot an emotion, or the cause of an emotion? How about judges pooping? Hmm. No dice.

7. Haiku are supposed to be made up of two images together creating "harmony or contrast." Ethics and trench foot. Love and poop. Pencils and exploding brains. That's all I've got.

8. A continuation of the previous rule--one image should be in one line, and the other image in two lines (not three separate images). See above, I guess. This is getting a little deep for me right now.

9. No titles or rhyming. Check.

10. No awkward and unnatural line breaks. Yeah, I did some of that. Choppy, unnatural, even unfortunate run-ins with semicolons and question marks.

So, in conclusion, I must admit that none of the five "poems" I wrote is really a haiku. If I had to venture a guess as to which ones might pass for the most haiku-ish of the horrendously bad haiku below, I'd have to say:

Poem #1: Haiku-ish. No punctuation. Some imagery. Contrast. One of the better attempts.
Poem #2: As noted above, love and poop are two images that create an undeniable contrast in one's mind. Although not seasonal, the flow of this haiku is somewhere between distressed and disturbed--a much better effort than some of the others. What is more natural than judges pooping? Haiku-ish.
Poem #3: No imagery, no flow. Just a question that I've often asked myself split up in three lines. Not haiku-ish.
Poem #4: Would probably be somewhat haiku-ish if written in present tense to reflect the immediacy of the exploding brain in nature. See revised #4 above.
Poem #5: Also, just a random 17 syllable musing of mine. No imagery, seasonal emotion, contrast, or flow. Not haiku-ish.

Final Thought: It just occurred to me that the Law of Haiku may be too rigid in its application. As with Trademark Law, there is no real room for parody, or joking around, or being generally flippant. Any joking haiku-ish things are judged against the same strict statutory requirements as real haiku. This seems a little bit unfair, and a little bit dogmatic. Perhaps if the letter of the law will not pardon me, the Bard Review Board will come up with a remedy in equity?

Monday, November 15, 2004
Some hastily written, fake haiku-ish rubbish inspired by the MPRE.

It's unethical
To create an ethics test
That's worse than trench foot.

My mother loves me
Even though I'm just not sure
Where a judge may poop.

If the Model Rules
Are printed right in a book,
Why memorize them?

The guy on my right
Started tapping his pencil.
My brain exploded.

It is funny when
Test questions have no answers;
Wait, no it isn't.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Mental Blocks

One of the most interesting things about human beings is that we can learn from our experiences and change our habits based on new knowledge. But it's so strange to me that there are some things that, no matter how often they happen, always come as a surprise. For example, there's this familiar line of thought: "Wow, my stomach really hurts. Ouch. I don't feel good at all. I'm kind of irritable, and I've been snapping at people a lot. That's just not like me. Also, I've got a little bit of a headache. That's weird. I didn't think I was getting sick. What could this mean? I don't think I've eaten anything funny. Let's see...well, it's the second week of the mon--ah yes, right. Got it." Now, girls will agree with me, many of us go through this line of reasoning every month, despite the fact that we experience these symptoms 12 times a year, pretty much right at the same time. So strange. (Any guys who are offended or grossed out by this need to chill out. It's a beautiful, natural thing).

I was reminded of this phenomenon again yesterday. I strolled into Office Depot to get printer paper and cartridges (in preparation for the mass outline printing that is looming in the not so distant future). While there, I came upon those highlighters WITH THE TABS INSIDE. Glorious miracles of modern science! I picked up a pack. I then went to the coffeehouse to do the reading for my Tuesday night class. As I was doing the reading, I noticed that I was more interested in the material than usual. I was paying close attention to the cases and highlighting thoroughly. I felt slightly motivated (as opposed to overwhelmingly uninterested). I wondered what brought about this sea change in my world view. My gaze fell to the table and I caught a glimpse of the highligher out of the corner of my eye. The highligher! At the end of every semester, I always forget how easy I am to manipulate. All I need to be transformed into a good student is a new batch of school supplies. And still, the fact that tabs and highlighters are the key to my scholastic mental health always ends up surprising me. Very odd.

Ok, that's all. Anyway, people's brains are funny things. Sorry about the random reference to women's troubles.

Monday, November 08, 2004
Seasonal Survey

I bitch a lot about it, I know, but when the weather is nice in this town there really is nothing like it. Based on the brisk 77 degree weather today, I'm feeling very seasonal. So in the spirit of the season, I'd like to pose a question to you all: What is your favorite thing about fall? Answer promptly and creatively. And no, you can't use "the smell of fireplaces wafting over the tops of red and yellow trees" because it's trite. And because that's my favorite thing, and I get first dibs.

[On a related note, I went for a run today (I'm taking it slow, don't worry) around 11:00a.m. and people were wearing sweatshirts. Sweatshirts. Now, when it is under 80 degrees outside and the breeze is not hot, I would think people would want to actually enjoy that relatively uncommon occurrence by not wearing clothes that turn them into human ovens. Wearing a sweatshirt on a day like this actually makes your experience worse than it would be if you were running in normal New Orleans heat. But, then again, it's not like people in this state are known for making rational choices.]

Sunday, November 07, 2004
On The Election, November 2, 2004

Shall I compare this country to a tree?
We are more flimsy and more changeable.
Rough winds do shake our dear democracy:
And like a leaf we tremble 'neath their pull.
Yet other times we are far too steadfast,
And cannot budge despite the facts at hand,
Even a tree’s fall colors do not last;
For leaves know when to cling, or fall to land.
But maybe this steadfastness helps us too,
For we will plant our feet in protest down,
Americans know well what we must do:
We’ll make a forest on the White House lawn.
The trees will grow and so will Dubya’s fears:
For he will come to know—these trees have ears.

That's not a threat, that's a promise. I love the smell of Democracy in the morning.

Thursday, November 04, 2004
Every Cloud

Today was glorious, weatherwise at least. This morning it was in the low 60's, sun shining, low humidity, birds chirping. A generally perfect day. But I couldn't go for a run because of horribly debilitating shin splints (of the medial tibia persuasion, or something) that have made it painful to even walk since Tuesday morning. I think that 12 mile run might have had something to do with it. It felt great at the time, but my longest run before that had been 10, and I'd been maxing out at 8 for weeks in terms of my long runs, so I think my body rebelled. Anyway, I felt like everywhere I went today I saw people joyfully jogging around with a brisk autumnal bounce in their steps. And I wanted to strangle them all. Because I am just a bundle of roses lately. So there's that.

Has a Silver Lining

But...we all knew that even in the face of bitter defeat we couldn't wallow in humorlessness for long. Here are a few lighthearted sites to bring smiles to those Eeyore frowns.

Marry an American! (thanks, Kate!)

Revised Map (thanks, Eric!)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I've been on the verge of tears all day. Granted, it's partly because I'm tired. But it's mostly because over the past months I truly came to support and care about John Kerry as a candidate, as opposed throwing myself at the mercy of "anyone but Bush." Kerry's personality really started to come through, and I began to understand what a principled and fundamentally kind person he really is.

I watched part of his concession speech in the law school lobby earlier today, backpack on my shoulders, straps gripped tightly. There was only one other person in the lobby with me; a boy I didn't know passing through on his way to class. We both stood there listening to Kerry's eloquent words and everything started to sink in. My eyes filled up uncontrollably. I looked over at the boy next to me and saw the same look of disappointment and compassion in his eyes. They were glassy too. We stood there in silence for several minutes and then went our separate ways.

It is going to take a lot to pull us out of the rubble and get us to feel optimistic again. I don't think it's a lost cause, but I definitely feel a different mood among Democrats now. Suddenly, when I think of the "You Forgot Poland" website that I jokingly linked only days ago, I can't even crack a smile. Luckily we can rest assured that people tend to see things in black and white, and the pendulum of public opinion that's all the way on the right will have to swing back sometime. It's only a question of when--and how much damage will be done before it heads back our way.

I am ill. Literally. I don't feel like I know this country at all. After seeing everything that's happened and knowing all that's at stake, people are still willing to have a truly ridiculous person in office--a person with despicable motives that have nothing to do with the welfare of the American people--just so they don't have to worry about "the gays" getting married or about someone taking their guns away. This country is more socially conservative than ever, and the gap between Democrats and Republicans is impossibly wide. I honestly don't know what's going to happen. It's almost 4 in the morning, and I am in complete despair.

Update: I am still in shock. Not in shock about losing necessarily, but in shock because it had never really clicked with me how willfully blind people in America can be. A man can show steadfastness and reason, win every debate he entered, make his opponent look incompetent, and still not get the popular vote for President. This is not the popular vote for the better beer bonger. It's the popular vote for President of the United States. And it went to Bush.

That said, I realize that many Democrats won't like this kind of talk. "Don't mope, mobilize," and whatnot. But this is going to be hard to shake.

Monday, November 01, 2004
Editorial: Mixtape Marathon Joins Legions of Periodicals Endorsing Senator John Kerry (Gasp!)

At the risk of compromising this publication's dedication to evenhandedness and impartiality, we here at Mixtape Marathon have made the almost laughably easy decision to endorse John Kerry for President. Along with The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Gainesville Sun, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Miami Herald, The Detroit Free Press, The Day in New London, CT (hometown of my alma mater) and literally hundreds more newspapers and magazines around the country, I am giving Bush a resounding "hell no."

Why? Because the "one fingered victory salute" scares me (thanks Scott), and that is not what a President should do. Because I don't want a President who I can "relate to" or who is "just like us" or who can sometimes "speak English;" I want a President who is more intelligent, more capable, more articulate, and more informed than the general population. Because I care about the future of women's reproductive rights and, relatedly, about the makeup of the Supreme Court. Because I think gay people are human beings with human rights. Because I don't want a President who considers the elite to be "his base." Because I want those children who aren't left behind to also have money and textbooks and a realistic chance to improve their standardized test scores. Because I want a President who is principled, yet not dogmatic. Because I agree that the President's job is to "win the peace." And mostly because I am not buying the Bush camp's war cry that everything is just fine in America and that Bush's plans are "working."

The discontent in America is thick and only getting thicker. People want a change. Some people are willing to move to Timbuktu if they don't see that change. I personally believe that this country is in dire need of inspiration. This does not inspire me. I am inspired by intelligence, integrity, activism, reason, compassion, idealism, perseverance, dedication, service, and strength. I want to see John Kerry as the next President of the United States.