Monday, October 31, 2005

endlessly amusing...

my fave 1L has some brilliant reflections on his halloween:
I went to some pretty sweet Halloween parties. What amazes me is that girls need no excuse to dress up like sluts, I mean, girls were literally strolling out in panties and bras. Don't get wrong, I think that's great. I remember telling my friend, while drunk and looking up at about 5 girls dancing on the bar, "America is great."

I think I saw some military personnel back from Iraq (or, maybe they were just wearing fatigues), in any case, I thought to myself - "Wow, they must love to be back. This party is so kick ass. What a change from shitty Iraq to this place." America is such a great place!
you can't make this stuff up, friends!

walk through the woods...

happy halloween to all!

i'm still not quite what one could call "well-rested", but i'm certainly better than i was yesterday. and it feels fantastic to have my first full draft of this paper done.

to celebrate, and since today was a gloriously beautiful fall day, after administrative law, krista and i escaped the confines of the law school and went for a good, long walk through the trails in schenley park. it had been a while since i got in some good krista time, and neither of us had done any exploring of the schenley park innards. it's really kind of magical there. and today was a perfect go-for-a-walk day -- the leaves are all changing, the temperature was perfect.

some weekend day soon maybe i should pack a lunch and go find a nice, hidden place in the park and hang out for a while...

Sunday, October 30, 2005


draft complete. 24 pages, only 86 footnotes so far. i definitely have a helluva lot more work to do on this monster. but now i think i'll go take a shower and go for a walk or something. i need to get out of this apartment before i start to drown in lexisnexis printouts.

and it may just be the sleep deprivation, but i think i'm getting the jaundice. my hands look really yellow.

end transmission.

ex-boyfriends ruin all the good stuff...

i've got the ipod on shuffle and the current song is stevie wonder's "i believe (when i fall in love...)" which is a truly fantastic song. back when i was with stean, and when i would fall into reverie about my dream wedding, i decided (without really checking with stean) that this song would be the one we would dance to at our wedding reception. it's not really the best dancing-to song, but it does break it down there at the end, and that's the point where everybody would join in on the dancing, kinda like how my whole wedding party is going to do the hustle at my wedding reception.

but now is the song off limits? does the one-time association of a great song with a particular person spoil it for all future use once that person is no longer a part of your life? i know that's at least sometimes true -- mike, the boy who broke my heart in boston, ruined the cars' "just what i needed". well, mike and that circuit city commercial. and my high school boyfriend kinda destroyed jane's addiction's "ritual de lo habitual" album for me.

not that stean could ruin a perfectly good stevie wonder song, of course. i still have mostly good feelings about stean, and i certainly have no regrets about the three plus years i spent with him. but it seems a little creepy if someday i'm with someone and we end up getting hitched and i'm all, "so honey, i have the perfect wedding song for us -- i picked it out when i was with someone else!"

eh, whatever. what he doesn't know won't hurt him.

oh, and is it, like, inappropriate if i steal some lyrics from led zeppelin's "when the levee breaks" for the title of my seminar paper? and if it's not inappropriate, is it just a terrible idea?


hooray for me! thanks to the mystery of daylight saving time, i've just gained an extra hour to work on this paper!

there are two things in this world that confuse me, without fail. one is that whole right/left thing. the other is daylight saving time. i know the cheats and all, the whole hold-up-your-hands-and-the-one-that-makes-the-L-is-the- left and the spring-forward-fall-back tricks. but still, so help me, i cannot keep them straight.

it certainly didn't help that i went to college in the rebellious world of northern indiana, where they refused to play by the DST rules. that is, until next april, apparently.

tick tock tick tock...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

monkey on my back?

i literally have a kitten draped over my shoulder taking a nap right now. she's practically upside-down. and she's purring. what an odd bird.

if only...

my computer were with me now, instead of on a DHL truck somewhere between pittsburgh and dell's repair facility in texas... because i really want my itunes so i can make a seminar paper playlist, full of songs about water and new orleans and stuff...

p.s. i am ASTOUNDED by my inability to get this paper written.

easily distracted, part 2...

goddamn, sparta is a good band. of the two bands that became the aftermath of at the drive-in (the mars volta being the other), i think i love sparta the most (but i do also really like the mars volta, only at times they can be a bit too math-rock for usual consumption).

and according to sparta's website, they're on the lookout for a new guitarist! maybe this is a sign that i should forgo this whole law school thing and pursue my laid-to-rest dreams of being a rock star... or, maybe i should just get back to work...

sigh. back to work...

for those who care...

...but mostly for those who don't, notre dame has this weekend off, so there won't be any boring, nobody-cares-but-me football posts (erm, except for this one, of course) until next saturday, when we play tennessee.

easily distracted...

am currently working on the katrina paper at the tuscany cafe on the south side. i just happened to glance up from my computer to say hello to the nice little sunbeams that are so happily coming in through the windows, and what do i see in the light? cigarette smoke!!! everywhere!!! the girls at the table to my left are smoking. as is the guy three tables in front of me.

the smoke is pretty in the light. all swirly-grey, delicate, translucent. but most of all, i'm so happy to say that as of today, i'm six weeks smoke-free and feel really good about that.

position statement...

i realize i've been doing a fair amount of mild-mannered 1L-bashing here on throckmorton. and i shouldn't. because i don't hate the 1Ls. okay, so maybe there's that girl who never wears a bra or the jackasses who wear the mesh baseball caps down in the lounge, but i can definitely name at least three 1Ls who i genuinely like. wait -- four. yeah. four. nope, five. see? i LOVE the 1Ls!

and i'm not so self-important as to pretend that i don't remember my first semester of law school. it was, in a word, the suck. i remember it taking hours to read cases about parol evidence or promissory estoppel or the UCC; absolutely detesting pennoyer v. neff and international shoe and feeling like i would never get my head around personal jurisdiction; wishing that actus reus and mens rea and causation would all go take a flying leap; sitting there like a bump on a log while conversation about duty/breach/causation/damages or (heaven help us!) proximate cause hung in the air around me.

so, as a good-faith effort, to try to make amends to the fates for having made disparaging comments about this year's crop of 1Ls, i'm now going to e-mail my mentee and see if she wants my examples and explanations books for contracts and crim law, since they're just collecting dust on my bookshelf now.

the scariest halloween party idea ever...

the other day i was downstairs in the law school lounge area waiting for krista and i overheard a 1L on the phone with someone, talking about getting some costume component for a halloween party this weekend. i didn't catch what his costume was, but i did get the important stuff...

the theme for the party? come dressed as a case. as in, a lawsuit.

(so immediately i scanned my brain for the cases that the first years would have covered by this point in their legal education. i imagine there will be a lot of hawkins v. mcgee hairy hands.)

so yesterday i relayed what i had overheard to my friend george. he said, "oh yeah? know what case i would be? i'd be the case of shut the hell up v. i don't give a shit." brilliant!

by the way, want to know what the best idea for a theme party is? well, it's the best idea i've ever had for a theme party, but probably only like three other people will even find it mildly amusing... anyway, it's a come-as-your-favorite-charlton-heston-movie party! think of the possibilities! planet of the apes, omega man, the ten commandments, ben-hur, (my personal favorite) soylent green!

of course, i also at one point wanted to have a "sanctuary" party for my 30th b'day, a la logan's run...

Friday, October 28, 2005

you may be right, i may be crazy...

i'm supposed to be writing about the history of disaster relief right now for my seminar paper (which currently has a working title of "katrina: that racist bitch"), but i'm not. i'm watching the local news and thinking about how i'm dangerously close to being a raving lunatic.

so this post is an attempt to exorcise my demons.

see, it's like this... it's been a rough week and a rough day. i sat on my bathroom floor last night and had a good cry. maybe i'm just feeling a little vulnerable and self-critical these days, but sometimes i can be such an idiot. in particular (this has nothing to do with last night's cry, this has to do with why right now i think i'm a lunatic), there's something i can't understand about myself, something that really pisses me off about me, something that is really kind of inconsistent with my personality--i have this awful tendency, whenever i think of myself in relation to the opposite sex, to turn into a stupid, insecure, self-loathing 13 year old girl. ugh. what is wrong with me?! i shouldn't need someone to tell me i'm pretty. that shit shouldn't matter, right? what matters is on the inside, right? um, wrong.

is this symptomatic of getting older? is this what happens when you're eight months out of a relationship that you at one point thought was "it" in the i'm-finally-done-with-dating sense? (for the record, i don't believe in the concept of soulmates.) do you then start to picture yourself, surrounded by cats and bridge games, riding the alone train to aloneville?

ugh. it's all so stupid. i know that. the sensible part of me knows that i'm still young, that i don't need to be in a relationship, that i have fantastic friends and school and a hell of a lot of other stuff going on right now to keep me occupied. i know that being part of a couple is not the end-all-be-all. but good god, do i miss waking up next to someone. i miss having someone around who looks at me in a way that's different from the way he looks at anyone else. i miss stupid little things like late night phone calls, thoughtful gestures, holding hands.

and it's autumn, which really is the best time to be dating someone. the leaves are all changing, the weather is cooler, coffee tastes better.

i should stop this. i'm being so silly and this is really a pointless and boring exercise (exorcise?). bah, so what if i'm single? so what? the odds are that i won't always be. so this is well-earned downtime. i should enjoy it.

and you know what they say -- the grass is _always_ greener on the other side...

something of which i'm not sure, however, is that if this desire to be coupled off is some sort of compromise of one's insistence on and appreciation of independence? is it possible to be totally content on one's own and yet still want to be part of a relationship? i'd like to believe that the two notions are not mutually exclusive, but i'm not always so sure...

thoughts? anyone? and i'm really only asking about the last paragraph -- i don't need (or want, for that matter) anyone to comment on all the weepy idiot stuff.

do i really need a reason?

nope. but just because i like you, i'm going to share some links to silly sites. enjoy!

staple sauce!

this one's for george and krista!

a glue stick,
some glitter paint,
words cut out
from a magazine,
carved in a tree,
that stands for

a port-o-john
came to life,
put on a play
with so-and-so.
they didn't
get very good

ate staple sauce,
a heaping bowl
of staple sauce.
then crazy learner's-permit-girl
gave me a ride
to babbage's.

you can sing along here!

phone call...

i'm spending my afternoon with andrew and my seminar paper in the law school library. good times for all. my phone rang earlier (it's on silent -- i'm not one of _those_ assholes) and while usually i would have let the call go into voice mail (i am one of _those_ assholes) the call was from my friend bryce, one of my favorite college friends, with whom i haven't talked in many moons. bryce is a poet-turned-lawyer (funny how i seem to know several of those), a japanese kid who grew up in los angeles and who earned the name "white rice bryce" in high school because of his devotion to all things american pop-culture and caucasian (and i do mean devotion -- the kid had a dawson's creek calendar in his hoboken apartment after we graduated from college).

my first thought was that bryce was calling to tell me that he and his wife are expecting. (i guess this assumption means i'm officially an adult.) and i said to bryce, "you're not having a kid or anything, are you?" right as a classmate of mine who is having a kid happened to be passing by. d'oh!

alas, bryce and his wife are not having a kid. but they are buying a "historic" san antonio home. and they have two dogs. and they probably have a combined annual salary well into the six-figure range that doesn't begin with a 1.

and me? well, i've got two cats, i rent an apartment that my loans just cover, and i'll most likely never make six figures a year.

but that's okay. i'm okay.

and it was fantastic to hear from bryce. i love the kid -- he's truly one of my favorite human beings ever. of course, i could have done without him asking "so, you got a job yet?" (because of course i don't, nor do i have prospects, nor do i know what the hell it's all for), but i know damn well that he will certainly not be the last person to ask me that...

my fave 1L muses on legal writing...

my favorite 1L's blog, which has made appearances here and here, has a lovely post up decrying the need for his legal writing class:
What I hate about my class is all the mundane, high school crap we have to do - meet to talk about sources, do a library tour, do a library "run-around" where we find useless sources, sit in class and take notes on the blue-book. I know that all of this stuff helps, but it's just so babyish. My philosophy is just throw us in the water and see who drowns and swims - we are in law school.

Assign a memo, set a date, that's it. If people have questions, they can come and talk to the professor, otherwise, let everyone turn in something. Then grade them, grade them hard, and do it again and again until they learn. I mean, if you think about it, that is exactly what we do in class. The first day, I didn't know torts from my ass, but that didn't mean the Professor was nice to me when she called me out.

I don't blame the Professor, I know she's just trying to be nice and wants to do her job etc., but the tension is that when you on your own for everything, and have this one area that still has "parental" control, you get pissed. And I'm pissed. Now, I'm going to watch Seinfeld.
now, i'll give him that some of the legal writing assignments can be a little on the law-library-scavenger-hunt side, but the very stark reality is that legal writing is not a sink-or-swim kind of endeavor. i came to law school last year assuming that i'd be a naturally good legal writer. i'd always been good at writing, have always enjoyed writing, and can be a real pain-in-the-ass about spelling and grammar.

BUT, what i figured out real quick-like, when all i got on my first semester legal writing memo was a B, was that the writing i was accustomed to doing had little to do with legal writing. when you write in an academic setting, and even for most other non-legal purposes, you can make assumptions about your reader, you can allow your reader to make inferences of her own. not so in legal writing. i was saying to a new friend the other day that in some way, i really think students who come to law school with a mathematics/science/numbers background are better suited than those of us with our liberal arts degrees. because legal writing is very much step by step by step, every crack must be filled in, every foundation must be laid. otherwise, you leave your arguments vulnerable to attack. and vulnerable to attack is not the stuff that good lawyers are made of.

so, while my dear little 1L friend (who is sure to destroy me as soon as he realizes i'm using him for personal gain) may think he's better off being "thrown in the water" on his own, i'd like to see him make sense of string cites or shepardizing or appellate briefs without a little guidance. the bluebook, even its much more user-friendly 18th edition, is best not handled blindly.

if the fates allow...

my fortune today, from lunch with andrew:

"you will be free of the heavy burdens you have been carrying."

here's to hoping that comes true sometime very soon!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

happy birthday to...

...michael! even though he's in portland and probably won't see this on his actual big day. but best wishes and many happy returns nonetheless! i propose celebratory beers at the sharp edge when he returns.

all the cool kids are invited.


you know what kills me? there's this commercial for pillsbury cookies with hershey's kisses in them, and in the commercial, the little pillsbury dough man makes all of these kissy faces, including one where he looks over his shoulder and blows a kiss, and maybe i'm a total dork, but i swear it's the cutest thing i've ever seen EVER! without fail, i giggle like a little kid whenever i see it.

my alma mater in america's finest news source...

it's not every day that a girl gets to read all about her fave college football program in a periodical as classy as the onion! enjoy!
Notre Dame Football Announces Improvements To Its Storied History

October 27, 2005 |

SOUTH BEND, IN—With their football renaissance derailed, at least for the moment, by a current 5-2 record that includes losses to rivals USC and unranked Michigan State, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have elected to improve in the one area where they still outclass all other college football teams: their legendary history.

"Although we have great hopes for the future of our football program, Notre Dame has greater hopes for a facet of that program that is far more important to our university: our past," Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White said in a press conference Monday. "With that in mind, we will be making improvements, additions, and revisions that, like our history itself, have been 118 years in the making."

Notre Dame's history, perhaps the most storied in sports, already includes such legends as Knute Rockne, George Gipp, and Joe Theismann. However, once the program's history has been revised, it will also include Hall of Famers such as Bo Jackson, formerly of Auburn; Archie Griffin, formerly of Ohio State; and Red Grange, formerly of Illinois.

"All these Hall of Fame players are definitely worthy of going down as the greatest in history," Notre Dame coach Charles Weis said. "And since the College Football Hall of Fame is right down the road from us here in South Bend, we can easily make sure that the history they go down in is Notre Dame's."

Weis said that, while he certainly inherited a good history when he took the coaching job in South Bend, he wants to make that history a great one.

"I fully intend to be the primary architect of Notre Dame history's return to prominence and relevance," Weis said. "I inherited a program that had only won 11 national championships between 1924 and 2005. I promise you that, by this time next year, the Fighting Irish will have won at least 10 more in that same time period."

Director White and Coach Weis said that although the improvement of the 1887-2005 seasons will not be finalized until later this year, they have already begun drawing up plans for the historical revision.

Some of the highlights of Notre Dame's new history:

1869: The first college football game is played this year, on Nov. 6, between Princeton and Rutgers, with the understanding that the winner will go on to play Notre Dame later in the afternoon for the national championship

1887: University board approves the Athletic Department's request for a new sports team, and Notre Dame football is officially born on the playing fields of South Bend, IN, the same year as future Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is born in West Virginia

1936: The Fighting Irish football squad travels to Nazi Germany to represent America at the Berlin Olympics; ND split end Jesse Owens gains 187 yards and scores three touchdowns in a 42-17 gold-medal-winning rout of the heavily favored Rommel-coached SS squad

1943: With the boys fighting World War II overseas, the women of Notre Dame take the reins of the football team and pummel the notorious draft-dodging Michigan Wolverines to bring home another national title to South Bend

1944: In December, the Notre Dame defense successfully holds off a German advance to win the Battle of the Bulge; meanwhile, in the Pacific theater, the Irish offense invades and retakes the Philippines; the team finishes the season ranked #2 in all polls

1956: Future Notre Dame quarterback and six-time Heisman Trophy winner Joe Montana is on June 11 in New Eagle, PA of a vestal virgin born

1957: Notre Dame quarterback Paul Hornung, in a vote that remains controversial to this very day, splits the Heisman Trophy with the man who is now widely regarded as the best football player of all time, halfback Jim Brown of Notre Dame

1961: 31 points down in the fourth quarter of an away game against highly ranked Ohio State, Notre Dame, led by 12-year-old freshman phenom Joe Theismann, scores 42 points to win in overtime

1970: Notre Dame turns down offers from the ACC, the Big Ten, and the National Football League, electing to remain a Division I independent

1975: Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, an undersized fourth-string transfer student, is allowed to dress for and play in the last and only game of his college career; in the final moments of the game, "Rudy" tackles the Georgia Tech quarterback, forcing a fumble which rolls into the end zone and is recovered for an Irish victory; Notre Dame jumps up 23 spots in the polls for a share of the national championship; Ruettiger is awarded the Butkus and Nagurski trophies

1984: In the last seconds of the national championship at the Orange Bowl, Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie's last-second Hail Mary pass is intercepted in the end zone by Notre Dame cornerback Deion Sanders and returned 106 yards for the winning touchdown

1991: All-time Notre Dame scoring leader Jerome Bettis is given the nickname "The Bus" not only for his great size and reliability, but also for his ability to put the entire Fighting Irish team on his back and carry them to away games as far away as Florida and California

2005: The Oct. 15 victory of the Fighting Irish over #1 ranked USC, 27-31, is marred somewhat when Trojan Matt Leinart, who attempts to run the ball into the end zone in a last-second quarterback sneak, gets hit by the entire Notre Dame defense and is killed instantly as time runs out
Go Irish!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

like painting myself into a corner...

so, the more reading i do and the more notes i take for this seminar paper of mine, the less i feel that i have a thesis. actually, the less i feel like i have anything even remotely new to add to the dialogue of post-hurricane katrina analysis.

i keep hoping that if i write and write and write and write, eventually ideas are going to come forth that i can mold into something worthwhile.

that draft is due in four days... four is not a lot of days.

i am jack's crossed fingers.

enter emily, the book snob...

went to the pitt bookstore today to get pens and highlighters (but only bought one of each, since the prices at the bookstore seem to be set with undergrads' parents' credit cards in mind).

on my way to the register, i passed a new printing of john cheever's "the wapshot scandal". i adore john cheever. truly -- i think he's brilliant. but this particular printing included an introduction by dave eggers. the horror! friends, there may be only one way to ruin john cheever. and that one way is dave eggers.

all i know is he'd better keep his dirty, no-talent-hack hands off cheever's "bullet park".

p.s. there's only one person i know who might take issue with my hatred of dave eggers. so here's my preemption -- moon, don't you DARE try to defend eggers on my blog! he is and forever will be a bandwagony flash-in-the-pan DFW-wannabe who is neither entertaining nor innovative. mcsweeney's is bad pop-literature. bad bad bad.

there. i feel better now.

Monday, October 24, 2005

unfrozen lawyer-to-be...

greetings from the barco computer lab! apparently this year's tuition increase wasn't enough to cover the law school's heating costs because it's absolutely freezing in here! i'm quickly becoming an emily-sicle and it's only the beginning of my time away from my computer. note to self: tomorrow, bring a scarf...and some gloves...and maybe a blanket and a space heater.

and the really good news? my seminar profs want me to e-mail them what i've written so far by wednesday so they can get me their comments (the draft is due to my classmates by sunday afternoon). as of this moment, what i have consists of my two-page introduction, and a whole bunch of sloppy notes...


Sunday, October 23, 2005

technological difficulties...

i got up early this morning expecting to have a fun-filled, productive day with my seminar paper research. my computer, however, had different plans. in the past few days, it's been very stubborn, sometimes flat-out refusing to recognize that it has wireless internet capability. as of this morning, it put its foot down and completely denied my access to the interweb. so i spent a good five hours running diagnostic scans, rummaging through my dell owner's manuals, trying to find re-installation CDs, getting disconnected from dell's technical support service, until finally i spoke with a nice employee named "john" who concluded, based on the lack-of-wireless and my computer's inability to turn on unless i bang on the keyboard (a little factoid that i neglected to share with john, lest it void my warranty), that i need a new motherboard. hooray! a new motherboard!

since i've got to mail my computer to the nice folks who will fix it, this means a couple of things:

1) i'll be spending a lot of time this week in computer labs working on my seminar paper
2) i'm going to be taking notes in class by hand, which should be loads of fun since my handwriting is practically illegible
3) i'll be forced to interact with the world around me, and not just the world reflected on my computer screen. i'm afraid. i'm very afraid.

oh, and i'm not going to be blogging much for the next eight business days (john's approximation). this will certainly impact me more than it does you. i'll miss you all, dear readers. know that i'll be thinking of you fondly.

over and out,

Saturday, October 22, 2005

a REAL example of a crazy cat lady...

in paging through my course materials for my capital punishment class, i saw that the reading for next week includes a article entitled "The Deadliest D.A." from the July 16, 1995 NYT Magazine.

the piece's introduction, which is really too funny not to share, is as follows:
It's local prosecutors, not judges or governors, who most often decide which criminlas live or die for their crimes. Of these, no one is more zealous in seeking the death penalty than Philadelphia's Lynne Abraham. Along with Impressionist art and cats, it's her passion -- and a source of her overwhelming political success.
um, meow.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

it's only a matter of time...

...before i get myself in a heap of trouble, but i just had to include this gem from the current post on my favorite anonymous 1L's blog:
I am going to talk about girls in law school - they still aren't that hot, and the few that are, you end up just staring at them b/c the rest are so bad. One grip I have - GIRLS, you need to start dressing up. Get rid of the damn sweat pants and shit, and wear something solid (as in tight) or something. I have very little to look forward to in class besides getting it over with, it really helps to focus on something else beside the Parol Evidence Rule, or Venue, or Mens-Rea, or Learned "Fucking" Hand. And to that, the Hand formula is gay too.

I try and go to class looking pretty nice, mostly b/c I think it helps you feel sweeter and b/c I know girls want to look at a stud like me - so let's get some reciprocity here. Some consideration! Clearly an offer...acceptance here.
wow! this is so much fun! almost as good as us old folks going to benefit concerts! i'm TOTALLY wearing something solid, as in tight, or something to school tomorrow. true, i don't have any classes with the 1Ls, but i do see them throughout the day, between classes and things. it's the least i can do, right? hello offer, my name is acceptance!

p.s. i need to make sure some folks out there have got my back when this mysterious 1L finds me out. anyone? anyone?

ah, the glory of the internets...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

how quickly i forget...

earlier this week i had to deal with something medical, but very insignificant. it's not even worth going into any details about it, but i'll offer up that it was a teensy bump in the road, an unexpected detour that ultimately has no bearing on the path. is that vague enough? good, because that's all you're getting out of me.

but first, a brief aside: the first funeral i went to after my mother died was my great uncle's. he passed away the summer after my sophomore year of college (mom died the prior november). i had been to several funerals by that point in my life, and never had i been uncomfortable at the sight of a casket or at the viewing of the body. but that funeral, my great uncle ed's, was like visiting the past. i have this vivid memory of my brother and me at the funeral home in hilly vicksburg, mississippi, standing around, awkward and silent. someone said to me, it may have even been my father, that from then on, every funeral would be my mother's. that statement has held true. every death i've experienced since (and in a smaller way, every break-up) has brought me back to where i was the first time i truly felt grief, the first time i knew what it was like to lose someone i loved so dearly.

and here's why the above is relevant:

this week, with its brief phone conversation with my doctor over a very trivial matter, grabbed me by the lapels and pulled me back to where i was in the spring of 2004, when i was going through constant tests and things were so uncertain. granted, what happened this week by no means even compares to suggestions of cancer or life-long disease, but i realized that for the rest of my life, the inside of a doctor's office will always look like the inside of dr. n's office when he told me that my biopsy showed a grade three brain tumor; examining rooms will always look like those at the hospital at the university of pennsylvania's neurology department.

i think the word i used on this blog to describe how that period felt was "hyperreal". because it wasn't as if i were in a dream, it didn't feel as if it weren't really happening to me. it felt too real, as if i had never been more awake, more alert, more alarmed. every moment became an existential crisis, and getting through a day was exhausting because i was so aware of all of the little things that normally occur through auto-pilot (walking, touching, speaking, even breathing).

although those days were truly miserable, there was an odd element of exhilaration about them, a euphoria, a madness. sometimes i wonder how i got through my blog posts from that period without turning into a whiny, paranoid fatalist. maybe i did because i deliberately didn't want to let myself become a whiny, paranoid fatalist.

but i would look at my hands as they would type and think, "these are MY hands, part of MY body, and there is so much i cannot understand contained within me." the delineation between me and not-me was stark. i saw myself as a vessel, filled with organic machinery and secret potions, a lot of which seemed to have been created in a rush -- everything was functional, but not in an optimal or efficient way. i was like an old car with a rebuilt engine, pieced together with spare parts and ball point pens and chewing gum and duct tape. and everywhere i would look i would see people who had been built better -- cleaner, more precise, out of higher-grade materials.

not to say that now everything is back to "normal", in the before-any-of-this-ever-happened sense of the word. things will never be "normal". we never get back the ones we've lost, we can never recapture the past. i suppose that my "normal" has changed, adjusted to its relative ups and downs. i don't always like this "normal" very much. it's flightier, more scatterbrained, a bit of a hypochondriac. but in other ways it's much better. it's stronger, less likely to get worked up over small things, more humble.

when i was a kid, back when religion played a much different role in my life, i had a profound fear of the concept of infinity and eternal life. i would literally lie awake at night and work myself into an anxious fit just trying to wrap my mind around the idea that my soul would live forever in heaven. so, to stop myself from being so scared, i rationalized that god wouldn't take me until i was ready to die, until i had achieved and learned all that i was supposed to achieve and learn in this life. and since the amount of things to learn was so so so much more than i could ever dream of comprehending as a child, i figured i had a lot of years left on this planet. in other words, i've been a procrastinator since my formative years -- why deal with today what i could put off for tomorrow?

and now i'm 29, have an undefined-at-best relationship with god, know a whole lot more than i did as a kid but only a tiny bit of all that there is to know, and i'm still good at procrastination. but i'm pretty sure that the notion that i wouldn't die until some external force deemed i was ready is complete bullcrap. what makes some sense now, though, is that these little common experiences that serve as reminders of the deaths, the uncertainties, the highs and lows, can serve as measuring sticks, excuses to reflect, the chalk with which to mark the path. they're my opportunities to be angela chase from "my so-called life", surmising the life lesson in the final moments of the episode, when everyone has reconciled and right before the credits roll and we get a preview of what's to come next week. only i spill my guts to a silly blog site, that only a few of my friends read (or skim, as they're likely to do with this post).

i dunno. by now not only have i lost any reader's concentration, but i've lost my own train of thought. nobody responds to these posts anyway (that's an observation, not a challenge). they're entirely for me, my measuring sticks. my blog, my world, my organic machinery and secret potions.

and to think that what i originally wanted to blog about was the discussion in today's international law class and whether people should have a right to food (yes, YES!)...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

sweet sweet indie rock...

the silver jews have a new album out. it's called "tanglewood numbers". oh, how i love the silver jews! and stephen malkmus is back with david berman for this album, too! it's like crack for my ears. and my soul. and my chuck taylors. and i only need 250 more lexisnexis points to get the CD from!

caitlin (my sis) also highly recommends the new sigur ros album. she described it as "like the soundtrack to your imagination." i hope she meant "your" in the "general you" sense, and not as in "my". because jesus christ, the soundtrack to my imagination would be one hell of a ride...

Monday, October 17, 2005

doomed to fail...

all of the 2Ls got a letter from the dean in our mailboxes today. this letter says that studies indicate that law school GPA is a reliable indicator of bar exam performance. according to this letter, on the 2005 PA bar exam, the pass rate at pitt law for the top 70% was 97.8%; the pass rate for the bottom 30% was 53.2%.

the letter goes on to say that for the class of 2005, a cumulative GPA of 3.045 and below constituted the bottom 30% of the class. for the class of 2006, the lower 30% had a GPA of 2.950 and below.


so, my GPA is just a smidge above a 3.0. by some calculation of the above statistics, this puts me right at the bottom of my class, with a 1 out of 2 chance of passing the bar exam the first time i take it.


did i mention that i'm a scholarship student? does anyone else find it kind of hilarious that one can be a scholarship student and still in the bottom 30% of the class? does anyone else find it a bit silly that the new dean is spamming our mailboxes with threatening letters about keeping pitt law's bar passage percentage high?

one thing is for sure: i don't care. i mean that. i'm in law school to learn, not to pass the bar. i'll worry about the bar exam another day.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


(a post for andrew.)

i am not a cat lady.


andrew has elevated me to guest blogger status on his site. how sweet! as if he and i don't spend enough time together as it is...

it's not just football...

go ahead, accuse me of being biased. i don't care how you feel about the team or the school, but you cannot deny that there's something about notre dame football that gets people going.

yesterday's game was not just a win for USC and a loss for ND. it was one hell of a game. and the pollsters have recognized that. the AP has kept notre dame at #9 and the USA Today Coaches poll has only dropped us to #12. notre dame is definitely out of national championship contention with two losses, but it's pretty amazing to have an exciting team again.

new coach charlie weis (whom a fellow ND-alum law school classmate of mine said is being called "uncle charlie" by the kids in south bend) is undoubtedly doing a fantastic job. but to be fair, he's working with ty willingham's recruits. i can't help but wonder what willingham would have done with this year's team... okay, i'm over it. no more lamenting the loss of tyrone willingham. or at least not on this blog.

wanna read about the game? okay. go here. or here. or here.

go irish!

at least i'm smarter than the cats...

a few days ago i noticed that one of the wires connecting the speakers that i use with my ipod/computer had been completely chewed through! what the?! there are three of us living in this apartment with teeth strong enough to accomplish such a feat (my plants don't bite and i've seen no evidence of mice), and it's only the little furry ones who seem to like to chew on inappropriate, potentially dangerous items. and since neither milo nor kenobi can either confess, proclaim his or her innocence, or conclusively prove the other guilty, i've decided to blame them both. no, this is not a court of law, this is my apartment. i pay the rent, ergo i get to make up the rules.

so to hell with their wire-chewing ways! i showed them that my reign will not be subverted so easily. all it took was a little wire stripping (a task for which i, erm, used my teeth), a little bit of reconnecting, and enough electrical tape to keep things together. and voila! good as new.

Saturday, October 15, 2005


my beloved fighting irish lost a hard-fought battle to # 1 ranked USC today. heartbreaking. the game was utterly heartbreaking.

i'd say more, but i'm tired and don't really have much more to say. my boys played hard and came so close--i'd even venture to use the term thisclose, even though that term kinda irks me. final score was 34-31. better than the 12 point USC victory that the folks in the know predicted. and USC has some incredible players. i can't feel too bad about the loss, except that it's a loss and a win would have meant so much against this team and for this season.

alas, you win some, you lose some. how apropos.

by the way, the worst thing about quitting smoking is how painfully aware i become of how much my hair reeks of bar and cigarettes when i get home from being out; like right now, after spending my afternoon/evening in a bar watching the game. ugh. i'd take a shower, but i'm too tired. i wonder if it would be really bad if i just doused my hair with febreze...

hell below me, stars above...

broke down and bought a toadies album from itunes today. it's one of those albums that i've tried on numerous occasions to get my brother to copy for me, but he hasn't, because he's terrible with his CDs and gets them all scratched up or loses them, which is somewhat inconsistent with what a music devotee (dare i say music snob?) my brother is. so, whatever. today i just bought the damn thing.

it's fan-effing-tastic. makes me wanna listen to it real loud. and makes me long for the days when i used to be a brooding wannabe rockstar; back when i could justify biting my fingernails because, you know, they had to be short because i played guitar; back when i had callouses on my fingertips from the tautness of strings against frets; back when i would figure out the chords to all the songs on albums as soon as i got them (i still can do it, i just don't ever make the time). sigh...

my one real regret in life is that i never learned to read music. i always had these piano teachers as a kid who would play new songs for me, and i would listen and play back what i heard. i could get by this way. and i was a bratty kid who would rather be climbing trees than practicing "hot cross buns" or whatever the hell on the piano. so as a result, i can sightread melodies well enough, but i'm painfully slow when it comes to playing anything remotely complex on the piano. and as for reading notes for the guitar? forget about it! i do, however, know all my chords, from studying tablature charts and training my hands to feel comfortable in the various positions.

my mother was brilliant on the piano. you could set a piece of sheet music in front of her and she could play her way through it, skillful both at reading the notes and hearing/anticipating the progression of the piece. i loved when she would play. it was fluid, graceful, reassuring. sometimes she would play the song "emily" from _the americanization of emily_, because of my name (for my brother daniel, it was "danny's song"). i have dear memories of watching her play piano, guitar, singing. she was incredibly talented, but modest in her expression. it was just something she did, like breathing or telling bad jokes.

i've always thought that the first major purchase i'd like to make when i've got the income to support major purchases will be a piano. and i'll resume lessons, because i very much want to be able to play like my mother and my grandmother and all of the various aunts and uncles who are crazy fantastic piano players. i come from one of those wacky music-obsessed families. renditions of "happy birthday" at family celebrations were almost always done in three-part harmony. the choir in my church growing up was and still is practically held together by various members of my extended family. i like that a lot. there's something jubilant and carefree about it, something that i'm not always good at mustering on my own. it feels important, it feels fundamental, foundational. it's all there somewhere, lurking in my soul. but i've yet to tap into it, other than my teenage self with her indie rock ambitions and my current self who seems to think that making up songs about, well, everything is appropriate and funny.

wow. i really got off track with this post. all i wanted to write about was how terrific that toadies album is (it's called "hell below/stars above", hence the subject line). and silly me, it turned into a wistful wandering through memory lane, set to music...

Stars above are shining down
Nothing ever gonna hurt me now
And I slip away happy as a clam
Stars above are smiling now
Ever since you put me down
And I close my eyes, and I can't see your face
Stars above are shining down...

dream dream dream...

i was awoken this morning by a kitten's sandpaper tongue licking my chin. gross. for those at all interested, kenobi has about doubled in size in the two weeks that she's been in my care. it must be the radioactive food...

speaking of radioactive, i dreamt last night that i was working in my mom's office with two of my law school friends, in a file-clerk/typist/bobo-paper-pushing capacity. in the dream, my mom's office was located on the campus of the shipyard that pretty much sustains my hometown.

it was nearing the end of the workday, and all of a sudden we became aware that there was a crazy traffic jam scene outside on the streets. and then everybody came out of their offices wearing oddly glowing sunglasses and took a seat on the grass, the street, the sidewalk -- robot-like bodies sitting indian-style, filling up all the available space. and people in CDC-esque protective suits were running around everywhere. we found a radio to try to find out what was going on, but the radio was no help, so one of my co-workers called the main shipyard phone number and found out that there was some sort of radiation leak in some strange, secretive clinical trial-esque experiment involving estrogen and cancer. and it was causing blindness and dementia and general malaise and everyone had been evacuated from the building so that attempts could be made at containing the leak. we were advised not to leave our building, since it was distinct from the main campus buildings, lest we contaminate ourselves. so we sat in the office, curtains drawn, peering through gaps in the curtains, silent, scared.

after a while, we got a phone call and were told we could safely go home and that all was okay.


my space / your space ...

interesting night this evening. at the very least, it was a welcome change from the usual bar scene. at the very most, i had a good time and my friends offered some very entertaining antics.

i give you the following, in two parts:

part one:

a bunch of us went to the south side to see some bands play. something that law school has managed to completely destroy (pittsburgh itself may be to blame, too) is emily having anything at all to do with the local music scene. this explains why i haven't really been out there developing tinnitus and mad crushes on indie rock boys who play bass and stare down at their well-worn vans and don't have the time or money for decent haircuts. swoon! with the exception of michael, i don't really have any good friends with whom i can geek out about guitar chords and bands and distortion pedals et cetera. so it was nice to see some live music once more, and the bands weren't bad, either.

i wore my hair in braids, as i do every once in a while. this prompted a conversation amongst my guy friends about girls in braids, and the parts that i could overhear ran the gamut from pippi longstocking references to uncomfortable jailbait fantasies. ew.

part two:

my friend anne's birthday was last tuesday, so around 12:30 or so we ducked out of the show at the south side to head to squirrel hill for her b'day party. it wasn't really my scene, but i adore some of the people there and it was nice to be around them. i went outside with my friend jeremy to visit with him while he was having a cigarette. i'm standing on the porch, kinda leaning up against the wall, next to my friend oliver, and this guy walks up to me and grabs my braids in his hands and yanks on them. what the fuck? i had never seen this guy before and i had no desire to make nice with some arsehole who thinks it's appropriate to go grabbing girls by the hair, so i said to him, "hey, i'm kind of offended by that." and he's all joking, ha ha-ing, saying that "he couldn't help himself, he had to do it," laugh laugh ha ha ha. i wasn't laughing. totally uncool. and he made it worse by pointing to my nose piercing and asking if it hurt. ever the smartass, i responded with, "nope. not at all. of course it hurt! i had a needle forced through my flesh." this douchebag then felt the need to show me that his tongue was pierced (tongue piercings are NEVER cool!!!).

and later, the guy has the gall to pretend like he's going to pull my hair again. at which point i got pretty bitchy (but appropriately bitchy) and said, "a word of advice, buddy -- don't ever pull on a girl's braids again. it's not cool at all. you may think it's cute and some stupid trashy girl might think it's cute, but i'm not a trashy girl and i think it's offensive." the guy still thought i was joking.

seriously, sometimes straight men suck. that's why i pretty much spend all of my time these days with andrew.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

trampolines and self-esteem camp...

yesterday in international law i got called on. and i choked. whatever. this happens to everyone. it's happened to me before and it will likely happen to me again. it's all character building, right?

but it destroyed me at the time. i felt like the world's biggest imbecile. several of my friends are in the class with me, and the professor is one of my favorites, one in front of whom i definitely do not want to look like a fool. i don't understand what happens in my head to make me turn into a "fumbling" (thanks, tom) moron whenever i get called on.

i've been giving a lot of thought lately as to what i'm doing in school, as to whether i can cut it, as to what i should do with a law degree. and i don't know the answer to any of those queries. i know i'm smart, if by no other evidence because i have smart friends, and smart people generally tend to befriend other smart people. but as to the kind of smart i am? it's becoming apparent that i'm not the sounds-brilliant-when-called-upon smart. nor am i the straight-As-in-law-school smart. but i just can't (and won't) accept that i'm mediocre. jesus. anything but mediocre.

boo hoo. enough of this silliness. time to read for class.


a word of advice to anyone who has or is considering getting a kitten: don't feed it catnip after midnight. because if you do, you assume the risk of having a roly-poly whirligig turn your bed into a trampoline for hours while you try to fall asleep. and when you wake up in the morning the aforementioned whiligig may still be at it, and she may have brought all of her toys with her. and it won't matter if you try to kick her off the bed or out of the room -- she's small and crafty and she loves you, so she will figure out a way to return.

consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

i, too, can make decisions...

i'm not doing moot court. this is settled. i'm frustrated and disappointed, but my reasons are legitimate and i can still do the competition next year.

here's why it ain't gonna happen this fall:
1. i haven't given myself enough time to get through all the materials and write a brief that i can be proud of. this is really the biggest reason. i'm not happy about it, but it's not like i've been sitting around doing nothing, either. this has been a busy semester so far and i don't want to half-ass my way through just so i can get everything done. there will be moments in my life when that will have to be the case, but not now. not if i can help it.
2. i'm really excited about the paper i'm working on for my seminar. that should and needs to be the priority.
3. administratively, the moot court competition has been a nightmare so far. there are almost daily e-mails from members of the board making changes, adding cases, amending instructions; the set of materials was put on a lexis nexis webcourse site, where not all of the links work to the proper materials, and the whole layout is disorganized. you folks who know me understand that i need clear direction or i just fall apart. i'm way too much of a scatterbrain these days to feel like i've got control over everything. not to say that i'm blaming the moot court board's ineptness for my withdrawal from the competition, but it doesn't do much to establish faith and trust in the process.

and, in a really disappointing aside, on the lexis nexis webcourse site, my colleagues/classmates have anonymously posted ridiculously juvenile and unprofessional comments on the discussion pages, asking about substance and procedure, criticizing the moot court board, criticizing others' comments, basically whining and bitching like a bunch of babies. this pretty much turns me off to the whole ordeal. yuck.

alas, all in all, i do feel some relief at having decided not to do this. i've also decided never to take six classes in a semester again. it's just too much headache.

in other news, i officially took down the garden today. the weather's getting cooler and the plants have been looking really rough. so no more tomato, pepper, pumpkin, and sunflower plants for me. here's what the harvest looked like: 3 (very small) tomatoes (this is totally my fault--i didn't give the individual plants enough space), 15 peppers, and a handful of sunflower seeds. not bad for my first summer. not bad at all.

p.s. a certain kitten is currently sleeping in my lap. and purring. awww...

Monday, October 10, 2005

all things in moderation...

friday night, to celebrate three weeks of being smoke-free, andrew and i decided to go out to dinner. and rather than enjoy one of the many fine eating establishments in pittsburgh, we drove out to the south hills to go to outback steakhouse. good god! it was a total lame-suburban-couple-in-the-sprawl thing to do. awful. the place was full of kids and bad music and large portions and all that is evil in the world.

no sooner had we placed our drink orders did i look across the table at andrew and say, "hey, let's promise each other that we will NEVER do this again."

andrew responded, "okay. or at least, not until next year."

good call! this is one of the reasons i love andrew and know he's a lifetime kindred spirit. because as much as the sprawl is evil and gross and bad chain restaurants should pretty much go the way of the dinosaur and the cassette tape, there's something secretly pleasurable about the occasional indulgence. it's like a field trip, a nice little sociological venture, bolstering my conviction that i have become and will henceforth be a city girl.

kittens will even chase cornflakes...

...and i'm bad at hiatuses.

on sunday at lunch with andrew, i got a fortune cookie which told me that my day was to be filled with luck. so i bought a powerball ticket. if i win, my friends are all getting free tuition and i'm buying a computer that will start up without needing me to bang on its keyboard.

the good part is that the luck seems to have spilled over into today: i had a good meeting with my seminar professors about the outline i've drawn up for my paper; the cute boy who i decided last week wasn't cute anymore is cute again; i ran into dave's friend brandon, whom i hadn't seen in a while; joshua bought me dinner; i had a good visit with krista over coffee while she was waiting for the bus.

but most notably, i figured out a way to beat the socratic method! it is my greatest subversive tactic to date! here's how it works -- when a professor calls your name to give an answer in class . . . just don't respond. it's too simple to be anything but brilliant! the whole system of american law studies will fall. viva la resistance!

okay, here's really how it worked... it was the beginning of administrative law and my professor started things with one of his characteristically enigmatic questions about something that no one was really ready to deal with. he doesn't use his seating chart to call on people, rather he picks names off the roster. so he says, "is emily mcnally here?" and rather than own up to the fact that i wasn't ready to answer his question, or even to say that i didn't understand what he was asking, i just sat there like a bump on a log, eyes on my computer, typing away. no emily mcnally here. so my professor moved on to the next name on his roster.

this was seriously weird. the whole situation. because:
1. i sit in a row with seven of my friends...and not a single one of them gave me up. nobody pointed, stared, laughed. (although, tom, who sits to my right, said, "mick, he's got everyone's pictures." which translated in my mind as, "mick -- put on your reading glasses so he won't recognize you." glasses -- check.)
2. i've never seen this happen before. i'm sure that i'm not the first moron law student who played possum, but in my own experience, you just don't not answer. you fumble through and look like an idiot, like everyone else. but not answering? unheard of!
3. i really didn't intentionally not respond. it was more like something in my brain decided that i had the option of not responding, and there was nothing wrong or unusual about exercising this option, so i just sat there silently.

i really wonder what's wrong with me sometimes. i can't remember half of what i read, i'm a constant ball of mania, i'm generally in my own world, i raise standing defenses to landlord-tenant complaints. who the hell am i? and i'm going to be a lawyer in 2 years? heaven help us all.

oh well, here's to the little 1L in me and the 1L in each of us -- may she get over her stupid fear of sounding like an idiot (and may someone please remind her that, at least in my case, she sounds like an idiot by default).

Sunday, October 09, 2005

i'm nothing if not consistent...

notre dame had the weekend off, but due to tennessee's loss to georgia and ohio state's loss to penn state (thank FSM! i couldn't care less about PSU, but OSU is for the birds!), we've moved back into the top ten!

the AP and the USA Today Coaches' Poll have ND ranked at #9. next weekend we play #1 USC at notre dame. USC may be top-ranked, but they've yet to face any formidable opponents this season. a notre dame victory is very possible.

okay, i'm really on hiatus now. i mean it. no more posts for a while.

don't know what i'm talking about...

here's an excerpt from the paper i just posted to the course website for my capital punishment class. it's neither well-written nor well thought out--i wrote it very quickly, and pretty much at the last minute. it was a response to other students' thoughts on the reading assignment for this week's class (effectiveness of defense counsel in capital cases). basically, my response paper is just more proof that i'm a crazy liberal who doesn't trust the system.

The standard for juries in capital cases exists to ensure “justice”. In this sense, however, justice is applied as a means to make sure that verdicts can be handed down without regard to an individual juror’s personal views on whether the death penalty is right or wrong. The death certification process binds a jury to the requirements that statutes impose on capital sentencing. In other words, through this process, a “just” verdict is one that is not in conflict with the requirements of sentencing statutes; a death-certified jury poses no threat to what a legislature—and by extension, a democratic majority—has defined as being an appropriate rendering of a death sentence.

But what becomes of justice in terms of effectiveness of counsel? Is it inconsistent with the policy behind death-certifying a jury to insist that a defendant bear the burden in showing that his or her counsel was constitutionally ineffective? Justice in the death-certification process is concerned with enabling the criminal legal system to function unencumbered by a juror who may be unwilling or unable to play by the rules. But does this insistence on the system go too far when applied to the standard outlined in Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984) for proving ineffectiveness of counsel?

. . .

the point of my response paper actually didn't focus on death-certified juries (i.e., getting rid of any jurors who would not consider a death verdict), but the whole notion goes against how i understand "jury of one's peers". on some level, i understand that the death penalty is legal and juries must be unanimous and whatnot, but a lot of state sentencing statutes are very explicit as to how death sentences are to be rendered. many of them say that a sentence of death MUST be given if aggravating circumstances are found that are not outweighed by any mitigating circumstances. how does this leave sentencing in a jury's discretion? granted this can be very subjective, but i read it as very restrictive. perhaps it functions in a socially desirable way, allowing jurors to wash their hands of any guilt that may result from sentencing a human to die. but to me it seems to create a process that allows for the death penalty more often than may be "necessary".

i'm silly for even starting to write about this now, as i don't have the time to get into it, but i wanted to put something up here nonetheless. perhaps more on this later...

for now, back to work.

function before fashion...

few things make me happier than creating something useful. back in the days before the law took over my life, i kept myself out of trouble by taking ceramics classes at the fleisher art memorial, this tiny community arts school in south philadelphia. and i wasn't bad, either. all of my pieces were made on a pottery wheel. i worked exclusively on the wheel for the following reasons:

1. i'm not an artist. to be really good at coil pots or slab building or any of the more manually dexterous ceramic applications, you've got to have some pre-vision of your finished product. i prefer to throw a lump of wet clay on a wheel and turn it into whatever symmetrical vessel seems to work out.

2. i'm impatient. on the wheel, i could make an average of three or four pots/plates/cups per class. and i also had time to trim the pots from the week before. so, i ended up with a lot of pieces that i was happy with and i had the volume to just toss the ones that i didn't like and still end up with a lot of work.

3. i'm messy. and i think dirt is fun. by the end of every class, my shirt, pants, arms, and even sometimes my face and hair, would be speckled with clay. you just don't get nearly as messy when you're making pinch pots.

4. i really really like math. i know it comes as a shock, but i'm a nerd. if i can find some nerdy/geeky/mathletic aspect of something, it automatically becomes dear to me. when you make something on a wheel, there are all sorts of calculations you have to factor -- you've got to get your clay perfectly centered or your piece will be a wobbly mess; when you make your indentation in the center (to make it a container/vessel/what-have-you) you don't want to go too deep or your floor will be too thin, nor do you want to be too shallow or you're going to end up with a heavy, clunky base; as you pull up the walls, you've got to be even and pull from inside and outside or things won't be consistent; if you find an air bubble you've got to get rid of it or it could cause the piece to explode in the kiln; and you need to learn at what point to stop because the clay has had enough. and depending on what you're working on (plate/bowl/cup), how you move the clay is very important.

it's so tritely eye-roll-inducing to say, but ceramics is very zen-like for me. it certainly has its moments of frustration -- sometimes the clay just doesn't want to cooperate and sometimes you end up sending a piece flying across the room because you didn't secure it properly while trying to trim it -- but for the most part it has been really gratifying. and you get to make something useful. i'm a total function-before-fashion kind of girl (almost to a fault) and i love the efficiency of creating something that serves a purpose.

why am i writing about this now? i just had my dinner -- vegetable soup -- in a lovely blue bowl i made all by myself.

the soup, however, came from a can.

"so old"...

okay, so i know i'm supposed to be on hiatus, and i really am, it's just that i was reading through some pitt law 1L blogs (thank you, google blogsearch), and i came across the following excerpt from a schoolmate of mine, class of 2008:
This weekend, I hope have fun at some bar and then the usual deal. It's funny because I am pretty young for school, and the average age here is like 25. Those people are so old. Not that 25 is old, but that they want to just "chill" get "wine and dinner" go to "benefit concerts" and shit. Shit that old people do. You'll have 40 years of your life to be old as a lawyer and when you are married. Right now, I just want to get wasted and try and hit on undergrad girls - it's a simple formula. Is that too much to ask?
wow. benefit concerts? i actually laughed out loud when i read the above. i'd be offended, but it's just too silly!

okay, back to doing the "shit that old people do" (which for me right now is writing a short response paper for capital punishment).

Saturday, October 08, 2005

school-induced hiatus?

sooooooo, i'm taking a break from the blog for a few days. of course, having said this, i'll probably blog about a billion times. but i've GOT to get this moot court stuff done by next friday and i think that blogging may be a bit too much of a distraction. so i'm trying to be responsible (ha ha ha ha) and eliminate distractions.

see you soon!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

mail call...

each of us students has a mailbox in the ground floor of the law school. mine is pretty much always empty, save for the all-student lexis nexis fliers or memos from my seminar professors. but today i had a package in my mailbox...sent to me, but at the law school's street address. the return address was that of my friend and co-worker from back in the days when i worked at the philadelphia museum of art. we both quit the museum at the same time. i took another job in philly, she married her french fiance and began a fantastic life in washington, DC. i haven't talked to her in about a year and a half or so, and then only over e-mail. i.e., this package was totally out of the blue.

so, the contents of this package were:
1. a whatchamacallit candy bar (which she and i, back in the days when we were co-workers, had agreed was a superior candy bar)
2. a silly novelty ring that lights up, disco-ball style
3. a wonderful birthday card
3a. included in the birthday card was a picture of beth (my friend), her husband christophe, and JUSTICE BREYER in (as beth called him) "stevie b."'s chambers!!!

justice breyer! see, christophe works for him. how much more do we love justice breyer knowing that he's got a frenchman in his employ! justice breyer! hooray!

and another example of how fantastically fantastic beth is--
for my birthday a couple of years ago (while i was still in philly), i had a party at my house. i invited beth, but didn't think she'd be able to make it, as it was a random september weekend and she lived in D.C. so, midway through the party, there's a mad, loud knocking on the door. i look through the peephole and all i see is some green craziness. so i open the door and there is beth in a DINOSAUR COSTUME!!! i love this girl! she's brilliant and beautiful and has the greatest, silliest sense of humor! and she knows i love dinosaurs, too, hence the costume (which she borrowed from her sister, who is a grade school teacher). brilliant!

viva la beth!

this is what i signed on for...

this kitten is a MANIAC!!! i'm trying to have my dinner, and she won't stop jumping on the table in front of me. i must have scooped her up to toss her back on the ground at least a dozen times. she's nuts. i haven't had such a maddeningly interrupted dinner experience since a certain fat white cat in my life was a youngster.

but she has brought lots of laughs into my regular routine. for example, in the mornings i turn on the shower and let the water run for a couple of minutes so it will warm up (i live in an old house). well, this morning, after turning on the shower, i walked into the kitchen. a couple of moments later, in comes a very wet kenobi. good times.

milo is very funny with her. sometimes he'll play along and they run back and forth and back and forth all willy nilly through the apartment. and sometimes he wants nothing at all to do with this tiny ball of energy, so he just swats her upside the head. either way, hilarity.

this is why i have pets -- they're so goddamn entertaining!

Monday, October 03, 2005

why even bother...

so, bush has picked his nominee to replace justice o'connor on the US supreme court. i honestly know nothing about this woman except what the linked NYT article says, but here's why i'm feeling a bit sick to my stomach about it right now:
Ms. Miers, 60, a longtime confidante of the president's, has never been a judge, and therefore lacks a long history of judicial rulings that could reveal ideological tendencies. Her positions on such ideologically charged issues as abortion and affirmative action are not clear.

. . .

In choosing Ms. Miers as his nominee, Mr. Bush once again signaled the importance he places on personal loyalty and familiarity. Ms. Miers has served in a number of posts for the president, and at one point was his personal lawyer. . . .
wow. our president is an idiot! i'd wager a dollar that he can't even spell "nepotism".

and then there's this little bit from the same NYT article that i have to include in this post, in full tongue-in-cheek mode:
The president had signaled his desire to name a woman or a member of a minority group to the Supreme Court last week when in response to a question about how close he was to choosing a successor, he said "diversity is one of the strengths of the country."
diversity is one of the strengths, eh? except when it comes to class diversity or racial diversity. good one, dubya. good one. i don't know about you guys, but i remember the post-katrina debacle as if it were last month.

i'm throwing up a link to SCOTUSblog. maybe more for my own benefit, but it's now there nonetheless.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

a little bit of legacy...

i just talked to one of my landlords about taking care of the dog while he's out of town this week. he told me that a few days ago they had to have grace, their darling old cat, put down because she had two cancerous tumors in her lungs. she was the sweetest kitty and i'm very sad to hear that she's moved on to the scratching post in the sky. you can read a story about her here.

in honor of my landlords' kitty, i'm changing kenobi's name. henceforth she shall be called kenobi grace daniel mcnally. with a little bit of luck, the combined force of her namesakes will make her the bestest cat ever. well, next to milo, of course.

doesn't god have better things to do?

check this out. apparently alabama state senator hank erwin has figured out why hurricane katrina has happened! he had this to say this week:
"New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast have always been known for gambling, sin and wickedness," Erwin wrote. "It is the kind of behavior that ultimately brings the judgment of God."
well, good thing somebody figured it out. but, geez, where's flying spaghetti monster when we need him???

weekly notre dame football post...

hooray! the irish won last night! ND beat purdue 49-28 at purdue. the AP top 25 has got us ranked at #12. we've got next weekend off, but then face #1 USC at home on october 15th. i smell an upset coming on!

cleaning up the shitstorm...

i have a general policy for this blog that i do not take down posts under any circumstance. this was particularly important when i was going through all of my misdiagnosis/diagnosis stuff because the purpose for this blog was to be a record of ALL the stuff that i was going through -- not just the pretty parts. but today i seriously considered taking down this post. i fear that its potential for being misunderstood may outweigh the importance of its message. but censoring myself (a little ironic given the nature of the post) seems all-around bad, so i offer the following in an attempt to calm the waters:

here's something that i left out of the original post -- until friday night, when somebody finally did an internet search to find out the definition of a "hot carl", the definition that we were all told and that was the subject of all the jokes was that a hot carl is when a man ejaculates on a woman's face and then punches her in the face. i don't remember the "true" definition, but it involves feces and saran wrap, and it really is irrelevant. and yes, given the above definition, it can be a man being ejaculated on and being punched in the face, too. but given that most of my male friends are straight, the man-on-man possibility was not the discussed relationship.

so, for a moment, put yourself in these shoes -- you're a woman, sitting at a table with a bunch of men, who find this idea of ejaculating and punching in the face VERY funny, funny enough to keep bringing it up repeatedly, you've protested this joke but it keeps being told. the joke involves degradation and violence and your reaction to it is to feel silenced and outnumbered. what are you gonna do? and you have a conversation with your best friend and find out that she, too, is not cool with the jokes and you realize that there are reasons why the jokes are not cool and you have a blog and so you decide to use your blog for some good and articulate your position. your motivation is not to start a fight, not to solicit apologies, not to accuse people of being sexist, but to cast light on the reality that sometimes we need to consider what it is we're "saying" when we think we're just making a joke.

i'm in a weird place with this. yes, i could have been much more vocal in making my protests heard. i could have outrightly said that the jokes are offensive and should stop. i'm sure that if i had taken a hard-enough line about it, my friends (who aren't assholes) would have dispensed with the hot-carl-talk. and yes, on friday night, when out with about seven or so women and only two men, the jokes did come up again and i (after drinking martinis like shots, because i am an idiot) laughed and really did nothing to stop them, i even partook in the telling of these jokes. but it wasn't until this weekend, away from the bowels of the law school and away from any influence of alcohol, that i realized how potentially disastrous the conversation topic was. so perhaps my timing is off? if i had realized sooner just why i found the conversation to be so disgustingly juvenile, maybe it wouldn't have gone on for so long. or maybe the reaction of my friends would have been to tell me to suck it up and grow a thicker skin.

and who would be right if the latter were the case?

andrew and i had lunch together today. part of our lunchtime was spent discussing our blog comment conversation of earlier. i told him that my struggle in this is that i don't advocate the censoring of speech. but i don't advocate speech that has harmful effects. and so how does one truthfully and consistently reconcile these two stances? there doesn't seem to be a clear answer. and that's incredibly frustrating for me.

i don't consider myself one who is easily offended. i have a pretty strong stomach for a lot of things (except scary movies -- good god i get creeped out, but that's a story for another day). however, sometimes i encounter things that i find incredibly offensive. does this make me a prude? were my former co-workers right? and how does one respond to that which one finds offensive? is it better to just smile and celebrate the marketplace of ideas? or should we try to drown out the bad by raising the volume of that which we find subjectively better?

all i know is that i didn't mean to create a big giant mess with all of this. i'm not angry. nor do i feel threatened. i don't want anyone to apologize. i just want us all to stop and think about why we find certain things funny. does the humor somehow mask something sinister? does the humor allow us to express ideas that we know are not appropriate in a serious setting? do we truly find the subject material humorous?

for example, here's a joke that i think is hilarious, told to me by tombelina --
Q: what do you call a fish with no eyes?
A: "fsh"


and here's a joke that i don't think is so funny:
hot carl

we're smart people. i certainly don't believe that any of my friends would actually punch a sexual partner in the face with malice aforethought. so then, why do we make jokes about it? how different is what's going on here from what a certain classmate of ours did with his website last year?

and a final note -- goddamn it, if any of you people who know me feel that you now need to restrain what you say around me, i swear to god i'll kill you. seriously. if anybody interprets this as meaning that emily is a little sensitive baby who can't take a joke, well, then you totally suck and you're failing to see that there are many levels at which to respond to "jokes".

so yeah. no apologies. no comment wars (although of course i welcome the comments). no censorship. let's just not be a bunch of jerks.


a good religion is hard to find...

andrew's got a link to this article up on his blog today, so i checked it out. here you go:
(Rome) Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who legalized same-sex marriage in their countries, and about a dozen American politicians who support gay marriage - including San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom who issued marriage licenses last year to same-sex couples - could be refused the sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church under a proposal being considered by the Vatican.

Catholic bishops meeting in Vatican City at the first synod led by newly anointed Pope Benedict XVI are expected to consider refusing communion to politicians who pass laws that violate church doctrine.

to say that this pisses me off would be the understatement of the year. amid all of these stories about how the vatican is conducting exterminate-all-the-brutes-esque sweeps of seminaries to rid itself of gay priests, i am dumbfounded by the hypocracy of an organization that prides itself on forgiveness and acceptance.

hell, jesus hung out with lepers and prostitutes. what puts any of us in a position to judge? and last time i checked, politicians are liable to their constituents, not their personal religious beliefs. and hello? the establishment clause???

and to pretend that gays and lesbians "choose" to be gay is just plain stupid. i don't know a single gay person who, if given the choice, would actually opt to be gay in the world that we live in.

because we should know better...

gentle readers, consider yourselves warned -- this post is to be a rant.

so, for some reason lately at school, several of my guy friends have taken to making jokes about such things as the "hot carl" or the "donkey punch" or other disgusting frat-boy-esque examples of sexually deviant behavior, all of which involve some sort of hitting or ejaculating-on or going-to-the-bathroom-on, generally performed by men on women.

frankly, i don't see the humor. it all seems incredibly gross and horrible and ridiculous. yesterday, while on the way to target (where i was to mysteriously spend $100 on stuff that i apparently "needed"), krista and i had a fantastic conversation which began like this:

e: so, this whole 'hot carl' business? can i just say how absolutely annoying it all is?
k: yes -- of course you can. and can i just say how enraged i am at the whole thing because of how sexist it is?

and she's absolutely right. all of these stupid sexual acts are violent, humiliating, and demeaning. they all involve some circumstance where a man is acting against a woman, with the (perhaps unconscious but nonetheless obvious) intent to assert some sort of dominance. in a world where we censor our statements so that we don't offend race, religion, or sexual orientation, why is it that intelligent, professional adults still find humor in something so blatantly harmful to women?!?

krista (whose sensitivity to this is much more heightened than my own) pointed out in our conversation that if our strong, brilliant, female criminal law professor, whom everyone pretty much thought was fantastic, had been around, none of the our guy friends would bring up these jokes. so why is that she should be given more respect than us, the women who actually interact with these men every day? or, if there had been some equivalent joke about racial minorities, no one would dare say it out loud, for fear of being branded a racist. so why are we going to allow this sort of sexism to run rampant?

the thing that is most frightening to me is that i consider the people with whom i spend my time to be brilliant, progressive, idealistic, hard-working, fantastic. and none of them realized how harmful and offensive these jokes are. nobody saw how sexist it is. even my own distaste for that line of conversation had not been rationalized in my head -- it just existed as a general repulsion and disgust. it took krista to present it in a way that made sense for me. so, if smart, educated individuals don't see how unconscious this sexism is, what can that mean for the world at large?

call me some sort of crazy feminist, but i'm of the opinion that healthy sex is something that is 100% consensual and affirming. i don't care what you do or who you do it with, but jesus christ, don't publicly perpetuate a conception of sexuality that involves brutality, defecation, defilement, or degradation. my friends, the only term for that kind of behavior is sexual assault.

end rant.

and thanks to krista, for being one of my heroes.

the right stuff?

last night krista came over and we had a girls' night, consisting of wine, ice cream, and the season premiere of saturday night live, hosted by steve carell. because, well, who doesn't love steve carell?

after SNL was over, we channel surfed for a bit and finally landed on showtime at the apollo. we marvelled at the bad 80s hairstyles for a while, and then the most glorious thing happened -- showtime at the apollo gave us a performance by none other than the new kids on the block! whoa. whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh.

friends, it was TERRIBLE. both krista and i are reformed new kids fans. we've both seen them in concert. we've both had crushes on various members of the all-singing-all-dancing crap of the world band (my crush was on jordan, hers was on danny, because he was the ugly one and krista just had to be an oppositionist). and we've both gone through the shame and therapy sessions about learning to love yourself despite your terrible one-time obsession with a boy band. and we've lived to tell the tale.

and most importantly, we lived to see just how bad the NKOTB are, courtesy of showtime at the apollo. man. we're talking terrible choreographed dance steps, blatant lip-synching, awful music -- the works!

it was the perfect ending to a girls' night. for krista and me, at least. some girls may prefer strippers or random hook-ups. but not us -- we're totally fine with little reminders that at least in one point in our life, we were much much less cool than we are now.

ta da!!!

i am officially a sucker. yesterday afternoon i brought home a tiny, white with orange and brown tabby markings, 11 week old kitten! and (of course) i LOVE her!

her name is kenobi daniel joseph mcnally (as planned). i had been charmed by her brother last weekend when i went to the animal shelter, but this time i played with her for a little bit and she seemed... more affectionate? less of a holy terror? and i did originally want a little girl, anyway... but the BEST part about her, the part that really won me over, is that she's got these markings on her face, these black lines that run from the outside of her eyes all the way back past her cheeks, and it looks like she's wearing glasses! a nerdy girl kitten! how could i refuse?

the part that i feared, though, was introducing kenobi to milo. i'll be honest -- there are all these rules as to how you introduce a new cat to your already-at-home cat, and i didn't follow any of them. you're supposed to keep them separated for a week, gradually incorporating their two worlds. but i live in a one bedroom apartment and the door between my living room and my bedroom doesn't ever stay closed because milo is used to coming and going as he pleases. so what did i do? i brought kenobi home in her carrier, and let her loose in the living room. and so far, the two cats are getting along just fine. kenobi loves milo--she wants to be with him and do what he's doing. milo hissed at kenobi once, but for the most part has been interested and friendly.

so there you have it. i now have two cats. currently, the big one is sitting on the windowsill, gazing outside, and the small one is curled up on the floor in a patch of sunshine, taking a nap. i will enjoy these peaceful moments when they present themselves to me -- the big white jerk and the little crazy kitten will surely not often allow such quiet.