to do

December 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ack! I’ve been absent. Sorry. Here’s my schedule for the next two days:

Saturday: Volunteer! Watch El Clasico. I really hope that: Jose Mourinho pokes someone in the eye, increasing my enjoyment of the game by a factor of 167%/Zlatan appears to strike fear into the heart of Pep Guardiola in a giant hotdog costume/David Villa scores three times and tears the shirt off his body to celebrate this feat of valor, thereby setting everyone’s underpants ablaze/Xabi Alonso shakes his head in disgust at the limb-rending fracas on-going in the center of the pitch and retires from the match to pose for GQ and soberly ponder reruns of The Wire for the rest of his life/Madrid wins. Make some food (snickerdoodles? brownies? lunch next week?). Exercise by riding my bike over something unpaved, like my neighbor’s dog (just kidding). Write, you slob.

Sunday: City Lights cruise with friends! Forecast to involve chicken salad (ft. a few dehydrated raisins), dry white dinner rolls, cheap booze, uncurtailed vomiting.

I really want A Naked Singularity, by Sergio de la Pava. GENIUS 24YO LEGAL EAGLE + heist of the century?? + immigration + crime + boxing + damnation of systemic poverty = my tongue is lolling out the side of my mouth.

Thinking of getting the Toshiba Protege for Christmas.

To do:

EXERCISE, register to run, buy white elephant gift. XMAS GIFTS FOR BOBBY!! send ppl holiday cards (inc. sabina!). put together and mail package to esther!

i just got into berkeley law

November 29, 2011 § 3 Comments

OFF A PHONE CALL WITH AN ASSISTANT DEAN OF ADMISSIONS

MOTHERFUCKERS!!

mortality milestones

October 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

1. You guys! I made the first ever donations in my life as a working class adult!

2. Interview with Northwestern law lady is set for November 7th. Puking with nervousness already. As I was saying to a friend, how am I supposed to talk about my passion for PI and my outrage at the appalling income inequality in this country to a partner at the sixth largest corporate law firm in the country? Sheeeee-yit.

3. Now that all us fannish folk are moving on and up, it’s very odd to think that we still have this common background. “Hey, remember when we spent our youths writing fanfic about soccer players and effeminate Korean popstars? And now we’re doctors, lawyers, epidemiologists, professors, and nationally-famous journalists with four-digit twitter followings?” I mean really. It’s delightful and also jarring.

4. Recipes: Slow roasted Turkish lamb stew was unexpectedly delicious. Am excited to try this pasta carbonara recipe and this slow-cooked bolognese sauce.

5. Notes on various books I’ve been reading: Barbara Demmick’s Nothing to Envy robbed me of an entire night’s sleep. After reading the first parts of it I laid in bed for about six hours, feeling aghast that such a regime still exists in the world today. Grim, grim, grim. This book affirms my fervent belief in capitalism and the right of man to free enterprise — tempered by the understanding, of course, that government still has the responsibility of regulating industry and minimizing the costs of capitalism (cf. Karl Polanyi’s Great Transformation). Particularly horrific details: “Kim Jong-il and his father are men too,” a classmate tells one of Demmick’s protagonists, after she (the protagonist) has her looks and grades evaluated by visiting party officials, and was judged unfit to be taken away to live in compounds around the country, where the government was rumored to keep other young girls to whom Kim Jong-il presumably dispensed his favors. Teachers exhorting six, seven year old students to “be grateful for the patronage of their great leader” while the students were starving to death. People picking individual rice grains out of mud to cook and eat.

I also reread Dillard’s The Writing Life and was both encouraged and discouraged to find that all of her neuroses can quite correctly be diagnosed as identical to mine. Now I’m working through the Portable Dorothy Parker and feeling wowed. Parker writes this incredible, stinging dialogue — I imagine sparring with her in real time was like being whipped, incessantly, with a willow switch — and there’s all this other great stuff too, astute commentary, world-enlivening detail, horrible snivelling characters, devastating irony. She is, however, something that I constantly have to take a break from, because the density of the writing and the personality traits that typify her characters tire me out. Unfortunately, Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace is much less compelling.

6. Three-year anniversary! D’awwwwww.

The itinerary in Chicago, which I’m leaving for this Saturday: Second City showing on Saturday night, a belated birthday dinner somewhere or other, a Blackhawks game on Tuesday evening with E., and a showing of 50/50 during one of the in-between time slots.

A creature of distinguished cuteness made itself known to me yesterday night.

“I’m always pretty warm because I’m a sock” — Mr. Sock, 11:36PM, 10/17/11

To the best person I know.

7. Additional reading: How Friends Ruin Memory: the Social Conformity Effect (Wired). A Dirty Business: New York City’s top prosecutor takes on Wall Street crime (the New Yorker on the Galleon Case–thrilling reading). Massachusetts Tries to Reign in its Health Care Costs (New York Times).

why i want to go to law school

October 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

1. It’s a logical step to take. I am good at reading and writing — at generating and taking apart text, in so many words. You could even say that that is the only thing I am good at. And insofar as I’ve been able to tell, the practice of law involves a lot of reading and writing. This takes the form of fact-gathering, marshalling evidence, assembling arguments, attempting to pin down every eventuality and nuance, and trying to anticipate and head-off the arguments and objections of opposing parties.

2. I want to help people. Oh, don’t sneer. Direct-client contact is what legal aid lawyers do. It’s much more dynamic and stimulating a process than accumulating fat rolls in front of a computer screen all day long. Now that I’ve put in time at both types of jobs, I can say with a fair degree of confidence that clinic work is much more likely to keep me invigorated and engaged. Knowing that one’s work has real life application is not enough. After all, these engineers that I work with build bridges, parks, and roads through mountains. Do they think that’s swell? No. To them it’s diagrams and decimals on a screen. So the face-to-face component is crucial. That’s what I think, anyway, as I attempt, with middling success rates, to envision my “ideal job”. (As a corollary to that.)

3. This is a bit more selfish. I think the court-house is a great place to story-gather. Courthouses are, after all, where the bad parts of life come to happen. There is an incredible amount of drama going down in every room, on every day, for every case. I remember walking in on a shouting match in divorce court. “She said she loved me,” the man said to the judge. The judge was silent. The man continued. He began to enumerate the ways in which his wife had tricked, mislead, or maligned him. His voice kept breaking.

A lot of bad things happen to people who don’t deserve it, as well as to those who do. That’s what makes for interesting stories. While I may not have the most time in the world — lawyers of all stripes work long and work hard — I will keep writing. An hour here, thirty minutes there. Seriously! I would forgo a baby for this. (Just don’t tell B. I said that.)

4. “Think of something that you can’t see yourself doing, ever — and then do it.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, LIKELIHOOD OF IMMINENT FAILURE BLITHELY DISREGARDED

All my life, I’ve been much better at writing and reading than I have been at oral argumentation. So I want to go to law school to improve my persuasiveness, my rhetorical skills, my abilities of self-projection, and – yes – my personal charisma*. Granted, 200K is a lot of money to sink into a set of personality and skills make-over courses that may just fizzle. And I have a feeling that I will fail miserably, and that much licking of wounds will ensue.

But the important thing is to try. Sure, you’ll fail. Apply yourself once more. This time, you didn’t fall quite as short. Then, try again. See? You’re well on your way to competence. If not that, at least you’re failing better.

Anyway, the important thing here is that I feel that law school will challenge me to measure up, and hopefully bolster a part of my personality that needs it.

Next up: potential pitfalls, or Law School: You’ll Regret It for the Rest of Your Broke-ass Life.

*currently nonexistent

blocked on all fronts until these cursed apps go out

September 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

“I want to write because I have the urge to excel in one medium of translation and expression of life. I can’t be satisfied with the colossal job of merely living…. Let me think clearly and brightly; let me live, love, and say it well in good sentences.”
— Sylvia Plath

“The work itself, you know—sentence by sentence, page by page—it’s much too intimate, much too private, to come from anywhere but deep within the writer himself. It comes out of all the time a writer wastes. We stand around, look out the window, walk down the hall, come back to the page, and, in those intervals, something subterranean is forming, a literal dream that comes out of daydreaming.”
— Don Delillo

“How to Save the Planet with Van Putten is another class which is actually very practical, with hard work and feedback on briefs, advocacy speeches, etc – I definitely worked harder at that class than any other in law school. I think the name of the class is gonna be changed though, because people complained it looked bad on their resume.”
— A. L. in an email about scumsucking law students

“my sparkle spout is broken :(”
– N. in a message about writing marketing copy

stray thoughts

September 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

1. Wouldn’t it be hilarious if I chose a school for its magnanimous LRAP program, and then watched it lose its entire endowment to the international recession, leaving them unable to pay for alumni who choose to go the PI route and practice in righteous poverty, and leaving me up shit creek without a paddle?

2. I found this article and this article, the first about scraping by in the modeling industry in America, the second about scouts staking out nymphets in Brazil, to be an interesting look into the business’s cogs and bolts. The more glamorous it looks, the more it stinks when you lift the cover.

3. Still working on a few books. A.S. Byatt’s Elementals is ravishing; I read “Cold” with my heart athrob in my mouth, it’s so rich with descriptions of icescapes and glassblowing. James Baldwin’s Another Country is worthwhile as well, although his style has begun to wear to thinness in some places. And Dorothy Dunnett’s Checkmate! Here it is: the long awaited end. Let’s just say that there is mad drama. And that Jerott still hasn’t cried a river, built a bridge, and gotten over his thing for Lymond.

less than fully successful

September 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

“Why? Because the bar exam inevitably inspires dread, regardless of the chance, or lack thereof, that an individual examinee will not pass. At Michigan Law, only a handful of people fail—or, as our indefatigably upbeat registrar puts it, are “less than fully successful”— in a given year.”

— the inimitable Sarah Zearfoss, writing in Michigan Law’s admissions blog

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