Saturday, June 25, 2005

My books, in pictures.

Earlier this week I was tagged by Chai for a little 'what do you read' questionaire. I am a bona-fide book lover and secretly love to show off my books, even if I don't really have anything unusual or expensive. First, the questions; then, the pictures.

Number of books I own:
Over 200, though it's been awhile since I counted. I acquire books everywhere and I've self-banned myself from the bookstores in the neighborhood because I still own a ton I haven't had a chance to read yet. I also have another 50 or so at my mom's house.

Last book I bought:
Strangely, Just the Facts About Washington, D.C., by Alfred Kennedy. I got it when my family was in town for graduation, at the Arlington Cemetary gift shop. We had taken a few tours and I realized how little I know about this town, and this book has got a bunch of neat facts in it. Plus, it's autographed, though I have no clue who Al Kennedy is - and I'm pretty sure he's not, like, "a Kennedy."

Last book I read:
The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown. I mentioned to my grandmother that I must have been the only person on earth who hadn't read it, so she sent it for my birthday.

Five books that left a lasting impression:

1. Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. I loved these books and read them over and over as a kid. Funnily enough, I can't stand this Harry Potter craze, but freaked out when I saw a preview for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe the other day.

2. Contact and Cosmos, by Carl Sagan. After seeing the movie Contact, I stopped by the bookstore to introduce myself to Carl. I wanted to be an astronomer for a long time, and he creates the most incredible - and realistic - stories about how we might one day find life elsewhere. Cosmos, which is non-fiction, is a fascinating look at intersection of biology, anthropology, and astronomy. A must read. Unfortunately, I seemed to have loaned it out to a mystery friend.

3. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson. I couldn't really tell you why this book had an impression on me, but this haunting story stayed with me for years. In fact, I went on a crazy hunt for it a few years ago, because I could vividly remember reading it, but couldn't remember the title for the life of me. An extensive google search solved that problem.

4. 500 Children's Bible Stories. Someone gave this to me as a child, probably trying to put the fear of god in me at a young age. I actually loved the book and read it cover to cover (it's huge), but it also began my eventual turn to agnosticism. The stories were fascinating, but you'll have a hard time convincing me they were non-fiction, and many of them aren't even that moral. Religion and questions of god have continued to fascinate me, though I don't think that was the intended result of the Children's Bible. :)

5. No Opportunity Wasted, by Phil Keoghan. I know, a little cheesy, but I read it last semester in the midst of a panicky "what am I doing with my life?!" moment, so it was kind of inspiring. It made me remember that I can enjoy life no matter what stupid job I may have, not to mention, how essential it is to see the world and get out of your safe bubble.

Honorable Mentions:
Time's Arrow, by Martin Amis
Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett
The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough
The Gettysburg Address, by Abraham Lincoln

Now for the tour!

This is my main bookshelf. Even empty it weighs like 500 pounds. The bottom shelf are photo albums and law school books I couldn't sell back. Yes, I own a lot of astronomy textbooks, don't ask. As you can see, I ran out of room a long time ago. See that old yellow photo? That's my paternal grandmother and my virtual twin. We look so similar it's down right wierd, except she was 6" and I'm a paltry 5'9".

One of the shelves on my wall. I'm extremely proud because I hung them myself and they're lined up correctly. The book on the bottom is a chemistry textbook writin by Linus Pauling. It's cool if you're a dork like me.

Second bookshelf. The second book down is a first edition of Edwin Hubble's The Realm of the Nebula that my mom gave me a few years ago. The top book is The Origin of Species in Spanish, which I bought in Chile. That sexy Canon was my first real camera.

I love this shelf, it's very romantic-looking, I mean, except for the actual shelf, which is part of the ugliest book case I've ever seen. It's going in the trash the minute I start packing to move. These are many of the books I've picked up around the world, god knows why, because I can speak maybe a little spanish on a good day. Left to right, that's an Oxford Unabridged acting as a bookend, then what I can only presume is a Koran in Arabic, a 150 year old book of Hoyle's cardgame rules that Rebecca gave me, a Bible in Dutch and Latin, Crime and Punishment in French, and Don Quixote in German.
Hoyle's New Home

With no room on my bookshelf, the books I have waiting to be read now queue up on my breakfast bar.
Waiting in line

And this is what I'm currently reading. Sigh.
Bar/Bri library

P.S. I forgot you're supposed to tag people. Rebecca, if she's got time to update her book blog would be perfect for this, and Stag - you're it. And Quinn and Robert, though I doubt either of them will have read this far. :)

I've got your open mines doctrine right here...

I took the simulated MBE today. The only reason it's really helpful is to simulate the test environment, because it apparently doesn't emulate the test itself pretty well. Six hours is pretty brutal on the body. I can't wait for three straight days of it. Strangely, I finished exactly 40 minutes early each session, so that's good to know time won't be an issue.

Fayza found out the average score last year was 105-106, so with respect to that I did okay - but I was totally in the dark with no way to judge the score I got, since I wouldn't have passed the bar with it.

I really don't know why there would be two questions about property rights over a mine. Honestly, who needs to know that? Ever? Open mines doctrine my ass. I started making a list of the 'topic' for each question I got wrong, but it started to get really, really long, ha, and included nearly every single topic we've learned. I think it has less to do with my not knowing the topic than the stupid nature of the questions. I often have trouble discerning between "degrees," especially the "which one is the least wrong" questions. Oh well, practice practice practice.

Just a note on my insomnia, which often becomes a topic in my posts. People tend to think I'm crazy, or like a teenager who just refuses to go to bed earlier, but usually if I get in bed at a decent time I'll just lie away for hours - and - I could get a good nights sleep and still feel like shit at 7am, it's just the way my body works, I'm totally nocturnal. I do get into habits, when I have a job or whatever, but I still hate it and feel like I've been hit by a truck in the mornings.

Let me tell you what's a volatile combination:

Me and 7am. I'm sitting here in a near complete stupor at the moment. Somehow I need to get myself to class by 9am and take a six hour exam. It's days like this when I know if CA had a morning class here and I had signed up for it, I'd still end up in the afternoon class everyday. A few days ago, I tried to get up early and do some evidence questions. I'd dragged my ass out of bed at 8am, after studying until around 2:30 or so the night before, because I thought, for the millionth time, I should get back on a "normal" schedule. By the time I got to the ninth question and had already missed seven - on a subject I rocked two days earlier, I realized I should just go back to bed.

Where's my caffeine?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Bugs like oatmeal.

One of my few non-bar studying friends says he liked my blog better when it was all sex, drugs and rock & roll, and not "look at my flashcards!" I'm not really sure when that was, but he assures me it was better before bar/bri. I guess he liked my DMV stories. Apparently, I need to stop studying and get laid already. No, kidding.

So, just for him, this is my non-law story for the day: I live in a smallish studio that tends to get a bit stuffy when I'm gone all day and smells a bit like the coffee grounds I brewed in the morning and the banana that's turning brown in my fruit bowl. Bleh. So I cranked open the windows when I got home.

Then, I hear this bug cruising around the room, running into walls and doing fly-bys of my head. I got out my fly-swatter and cornered it in the kitchen, where it seemed to be trapped in something because he kept buzzing on and off but I couldn't see him. I thought about staging a smoke-out, but eventually I let it go and went back to studying.

Later I found it swimming face-down in my oatmeal bowl in the sink. Wasn't that a good story? It's the most exciting thing that happened to me all day, and I couldn't even tell it without mentioning studying.

Anyway, enough of that. I actually do feel better after going over the performance exam today, even though it was severe information overload, with the depositions, interrogatories, wills, prenups, opening/closing statements, jury instructions...etc, etc etc. I have to take the simulated multistate tomorrow, which I've heard is FABULOSO! I'm getting more and more behind the paced program everyday, especially after yesterday. But I'll deal with that.

Sunday I'm getting together with my future roommate to have a meeting of the minds on what kind of apartment we want to get. I'm excited to move, but trying to go apartment hunting while studying for the bar does not thrill me. Luckily he passed the bar a few years ago, so he's taking the lead. Okay, I'm off to relax and get a good nights sleep.

Bart's Kingdom of...WTF?

Riiiiight. I just tried to do that performance exam. I read the materials pretty quickly and made notes and thought, "okay, this is doable." Until I starting writing, which pretty quickly became garbled nonsense. I quit halfway through because I need to get ready for class - and I think I'll feel a lot better after I look through a sample answer and see what they really want here. I was writing forever on the first section, but I didn't know when to stop. I got a hang of the essays after doing a few and looking at the sample answers to see what they are looking for, so hopefully the same can be said for the PEs.

This week flew by...

There's no way it's Friday already. The beginning of the week was fairly productive, and I was starting to think I was going to be able to make up some time on the bar/bri assignments and begin to think about doing some extra essay work, like making generic outlines for each subject.

Then, yesterday my friends insisted we get together for dinner, since we're all taking different bars and haven't seen each other in awhile. I finally said okay, but only because we were going to meet at 7:30, which would give me a good two hours to review property and do a couple of outlines after class. I'd barely gotten through half an outline when my friends surrounded my table and insisted they were hungry and we had to leave now. Actually, they walked up with all their bags and put them on the table on top of my books, and I continued to work while they yakked it up, until one of them said, "Heather, why are you still holding your pen like you're going to work, we're leaving." I swear, my friends, though I love them, are the most self-absorbed people I've ever met, and though I've told them that early evening is the only time I can get real substantive work done, I'm sure it didn't matter to them, cause, hey, they'd been able to study since noon.

Anyway, I probably should have just decided not to go, but no, I went. We went to some new sushi place in dupont, which was good, except they mixed up our orders and gave me the hot HOT tuna instead of the mild. I was going to have just one beer to ease the tension a little, but one person ordered for the table and they brought us these huge 24oz cans of the Japanese version of amstel light. Seeing as how I haven't had a drink since graduation, and haven't been drunk since god knows when, I was completely tipsy by the time we left. Which means I did nothing - NOTHING - yesterday! Including the f-ing performance exam we're supposed to have ready for class today. Which means I had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn today to do it. And, being a total insomniac - try to guess how well my brain is functioning right now... coffee is ready. Wish me luck, and at least slightly flickering brain cells.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Flashcard update!

I do this for my own amusement. This is the closest I come to substantive learning:
The leaning tower of...
Just kidding. I totally did a friggin evidence essay today.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

CalBar: Douchebags of Uselessness

So I called today to get a new admittance card. The woman I first got on the line was rude and dismissive, as usual. She said I could use the San Diego one in Ontario - but let me ask my readers - how many of YOU would feel comfortable bringing the wrong admittance card to your exam and expect the Cal Bar people to say "oh, that's totally fine" and not, "I'm sorry, you're registered in San Diego, maybe you should be down there right now" ??

That's what I thought.

I asked if she could send me a new one and she said, "Okay, you can write in and request one." Me: "Why can't you consider this my request?" Douche: "Because I don't do that, that's another department - hold on" - click! She didn't even let me answer before she transferred me to some ho's voicemail. What the f?

Anyway, I left a message which I'm sure will be immediately deleted. Let me tell you how much I've loved leaving my social security number all over the place with these people. I guess I'll send in my "written request" so they can take three more weeks to send me a new one.

There's no law against using poo as flag-stands...

The picture alone is worth a click over.

Maybe they towed it.

I can't tell you how heartwarming it is to wake up to the sound of helicopters flying in the airspace ten feet above your apartment building.

Maybe they're looking for Chief Ramsey's stolen car.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

I vote: not helpful

Duffy: "I'm not going to explain number 12, because it's complicated."

Me: "Well thank you. I had no idea it was complicated. I mean, I only drew a graph and a list of names to make sure I had all the facts. And I got it wrong. Maybe you should take three minutes and just EXPLAIN IT!"

Take a picture, already.

This is to the girl who sits across the aisle from me in bar/bri:

You have a staring problem. Do you see the giant video screen we are watching? It's in the other direction from where I'm sitting, which means you have to turn around in your chair to stare - stare - at me and my neighbors.

Do you have any idea how distracting that is? And everytime I catch you staring at me, you keep staring, as if you caught me staring. You have a problem. I might even go so far as to say a "social disorder."

No, the video isn't action-packed, so occasionally I zone out on the back of someone's head, but they don't know that. I don't, alternatively, turn to the girl next to me and stare at her until she starts to creep away.

Instead of becoming a lawyer, you should mark out your own niche on a New York subway car. Get yourself a beige hole-y sweater and frizz out your hair. Then when people get on the train you can take the seat next to them and stare until they freak out and give you some quarters just to make you go away. You could be a millionaire.

Stop doing it. Or I will embarrass you in front of everyone by telling you in class tomorrow. I'm serious.

The blonde in the sixth row.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Chalk another one up for CalBar:

Good news! My request for a test center change to Ontario got approved, so now I only have an hour trek on Monday/Thursday nights, instead of a three hour drive to San Diego. Secretly I was kind of looking foward to being in SD, but I don't know why, it's not like I'd get to enjoy it. My mom seems to think I'll want to stay in the hotel Thursday night to celebrate, but I'm not sure with whom. I suppose I'll meet my test neighbors, but what are the chances I'll want to get beers with them? Are any of you staying Thursday night in your hotels?

Okay, so why am I "chalking another one up" for the bar examiners? Because right next to the envelope with my test change approval, was another envelope containing my Admission Ticket for, you guessed it, San Diego. Sigh. Am I going to have to call them to get a new one, or do you think once the computer figures out I've changed centers, they'll send me a new one?

Yeah, I'll call them tomorrow.

Mathematical formulas can be "unconstitutionally vague"?

I think this guy totally has a right to be pissed, but his complaint, in which he's suing the California Bar Examiners for $43 million, is downright hilarious.

Via JD2B.

Apple Cares. No really!

I spent the large part of my afternoon on the phone with Apple again. Like I've mentioned, they still didn't fix the overheating problem, and I just ran into an old friend who said Apple has sent him two brand new computers because of the problems he has had. So, I decided I had enough, because I can't keep sending it in for repair. (Please note: The logic board, hard drive, optical drive, cd-burner, and fan have been replaced over the past 2.5 years.) So I called in, prepared with a monologue to tell them why they should send me a new computer.

As usual, a completely different problem presented itself when I called, namely, they said my warranty was up. Well, it's not, in fact I paid a healthy sum of money so that the iBook would be warranted until August of this year. The guy knew it was incorrect, but it took him 25 minutes talking to other people to figure out what the problem was. Apparently they had attached my warranty to the iBook's manufacture date, rather than the sale date. So anyway, they fixed that.

Then he transferred me to a higher-up sales guy who, after confirming my repair history, told me that I can go to an Apple Store and have a guy at the Genius Bar confirm that I'm having a hardware situation, and if he does, they'll send me a new computer. But if he doesn't, then obviously I'm screwed.

I told the guy on the phone that it's hard to tell the computer is overheating by just a half-hour of use, and that you've really got to feel it after 3 hours of runnning Word and iTunes and Entourage to realize how burning hot it gets. So he said I might have to leave it there overnight. I don't know, I mean, I've sent it in twice to get this problem repaired and the boys have had problems "duplicating" it. Arg.

I'd like to point out to you, dear readers, that as I write this, my computer has ground to a halt so badly that the cursor is dragging literally a sentence behind the rate that I'm typing. Fuck. My applications start crashing like Dale Earnhard by the time the sun goes down.

My other problem is that we don't have handouts for the next two days of bar/bri lecture, so I don't think I'm going to the store until Thursday, but I guess that's okay, since the problem will only get worse, right? If they do give me a new computer, that's GREAT, but I'll have to wait a week, which I won't complain about, except it's another week (that's 3 weeks in the past 6) I'll be without it. I can live with that. Cross your fingers guys.

Dick was high on quaaludes.

Wow guys, I hate to bust up the "I suck" party I've been having lately, but I just challenged Evidence to knock-down in the park, and guess who went home with his tail between his legs? He zigged and I zagged. He punched and I blocked. He said, "Objection," and I said, "Overruled, bitch!"

Let's not get out of control, it was only the introductory set of 77, but let's just say my batting average this go around was a substantial improvement, though I think it had to do more with evidence questions being more obvious than say, contracts q's. At any rate, I'm moving onward to property, where the odds are less in my favor. Will I show or place? Stay tuned.

You know what's a weird sound to wake up to?

Someone washing your door. Seriously. I mean, they vacuum the hallways in my apartment building everyday at 10am, which is still a bit early for me on the weekends - especially since the outlet in the hallway is on the wall directly on the other side of my headboard, so I can hear people fooling around with electrical appliances eight inches my ears. Occasionally they do come around and wash the windows, but this is the first time I've ever heard someone wash my door. I guess they didn't like my greasy little handprints all over it? I wonder how many people are going to surprise the cleaning lady by whipping open their door to investigate?

Speaking of doors, does anyone else live in an apartment that has a doorbell? I have this strange push-bell thing, like an old school doorbell my grandma might have on her house. It's not electrical, but it's loud as fuck in my little studio. I didn't even notice the button at first, because it's just a small circle on this mirrored plate that masks the eyehole, but every single delivery man insists on using it. Even when I hear him coming down the hallway and I'm expecting it, the sound still makes my skin crawl. I've thought about putting a sign out there, but I don't want to have to look at it all the time, and I'd just forget about it when I ordered food. Why can't they just knock? It's not like I'll be back in the conservatory and unable to hear him.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

"Dude, they're nihilists."

I've been feeling a little nihilistic about the bar exam lately. Like it doesn't matter how smart or stupid I am, or how much or little I study, I'm going to fail this exam. I don't want to turn this into the blog of despair, so that's why I didn't blog all day yesterday, when I sat around paralyzed by how behind I am and yet, still found someway to avoid work nearly all day.

So, I'm going to break this down once, partly because I think I have a valid point, and then leave it alone. I feel this way about the bar exam, becaue its exactly what law school taught me about the results of my hard work - a large portion of the time, they will be completely arbitrary. Let's take an example (this will also be the last time I ever disclose my grades, since I usually hate that, but it works well here). Last semester I took Antitrust Law and Sales/Secured Transactions. I loved antitrust; I thought the material was interesting, I read every single page that was assigned and took copious margin notes whittling down the facts and synthesizing the cases so I could really understand the rule of law (there are no brightline laws in antitrust), and my outline kicked ass. I know with honesty that I knew enough to get one of the highest grades in the class, so what did I get? B. Not a B+, but a B.

Okay, so I took S/ST. I skipped at least a third of the classes (it was a 9am), I skimmed the cases if I read at all, since he only called on each person once a semester, and the material was so boring I wanted to die. I hated contracts my first year, and this was no better. I barely studied, didn't make an outline, and didn't do a single one of the hundreds of "problems" that were in the book. And that, apparently, adds up to "A" work. (My school doesn't give out A+, fyi, so an A's the ceiling). Well good for me, if I actually knew anything about sales or secured transactions.

Pretty much every single class I've taken in law school has been exactly like this. I don't think I've ever checked my grades where, for better or worse, my reaction wasn't "Huh?"

Just to really bring this home, I had an internship from May 2003-May 2004 with a really great organization. I really respect the work they do, and the professor who brought me into it. I worked for that entire year writing what amounted to a thesis (~85 pages) on a real-world topic, so that the big-guns could use it for consulting work. I worked in a group of 10 people who each had a different topic but for the same client. I worked my ass off on that thing, doing more research when needed, editing, reoganizing, whatever they needed to be done; not to mention letting my classes slide, staying up all night, and generally stressing out to my limit, because I was also waiting tables during this year, as well. But the real-world situation changed so much over that year, that my paper became completely irrelevant. Every single person in my group worked as hard as I did over that year, but to this day, mine is the only paper that hasn't been published, just because I happened to work on this particular topic. I worried that it was my research skills, so I went to the head honcho and said I would understand if he felt that way, but maybe he should tell me straight-out because he's one of my references. He assured me that had nothing to do with it, and that I just happened to be unlucky.

So, you can see how law school might have turned me in a nihilistic fool. I think the fates have been telling me for years that law school was not the right path for me, as if I didn't know, and the bar exam will just be the final straw, no matter how much I study for it. Maybe that explains to you why I'm so sure I'll fail, no matter how much I may know about any particular subject.

But, like everything else this past three years, I will put this behind me and continue to study my ass off, even though someone in the back of my head is yelling, "don't bother!"

And that's the end of my rant for today. I happen to like posting funny stories and random observations in this blog more than this ridiculous stuff, so hopefully we'll be back to normal tomorrow.

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