Wednesday and no having to go to court. We still haven't been called off for the week, I still have to call in tonight, but it's looking like no jury service for Beanie. I'm glad that I went, and glad that it's over. There some question as to how long you're off the hook once you serve, but I know it'll be for a while. If nothing else it gave me a lot of time to read. I've knocked through two books and started a third this week. The first, Hottentot Venus by Barbara Chase-Riboud was a sad but interesting story of a Khoekhoe woman who left South Africa to sail to England in 1810 only to be put on display in a freak show. Her body is not returned to South Africa until 2002. The second, An Embarrassment of Mangoes by Ann Vanderhoof makes we want to drop everything and sail for Grenada. Ann and her husband drop everything and sail for the Carribean for two years. And it's as glorious, romantic and fabulous as it sounds. No Perfect Storm here. The third, which I actually started in court was The Runaway Jury by John Grisham. I thought I had read this before, but it turns out I hadn't. The irony of reading about jury selection while waiting to be selected for a jury was not lost on me. As a result I found parts of the book terribly funny that just shouldn't be funny. I haven't finished it yet though so we'll see how I feel about the rest. Until next time...this is Beanie's book report.
Today was jury day. It was eye opening to say the least. I can now understand why normal people get so pissed off about being called to serve. It's a royal pain in the ass. No parking. Metal detectors. The possibility of ruining a holiday weekend. Hurry up and wait...hurry up and wait. I had to fill out a civil jury questionnaire only to be put into the pool for criminal trials. It's amazing how the mob mentality works. One person raises a question about their impartiality and the next thing you know two or three more people jump on the bandwagon. Whether it's trying to get out of service or truly believing what they say, it was annoying because the judge had stated early on what standards would need to be followed. Everyone had agreed that they'd follow along with his fundamentals. When the defense attorney brings up the same fundamentals (i.e. not favoring one type of witness over another), people openly question what it is the attorney is trying to do. Call it semantics, call it selective hearing...it's a dismissal all the same. No, I didn't question anything. No, I didn't get selected. It's not over yet though. I'm on the hook until at least Wednesday.
Tomorrow I get to experience the judicial system as a particpant rather than an observer. I hope it is a good experience. I figured I should post tonight, since tomorrow will not be mine. It was a heck of a day here though. The deck was finally deconstructed once and for all, but not before nearly taking out my spouse. I had asked earlier about the main support beams at the far side of the deck and what would happen if all the braces were removed. Would it stand on its own? Surely it was buried in the ground if not cemented in place. Right? Wrong. Seems that they were sitting on the ground. No holes, no cement. Take away the stringers and gravity takes over. One crushed aluminum step ladder later it was down. My spouse was on the ladder at the time. We estimate the weight of the structure at around 300 pounds. A little shaken, but uninjured. Who knew that being a homeowner could be this dangerous?
He's working as an assistant manager in an athletic shoe store. He sees a spider. Does he grab a nearby shoe and squish it? No! He sets it aflame! Havoc ensues. Yup, that's why he's management material.
After the rush of the grades, I've been at a loss to come up with something catchy to put here. I'm sure when jury duty starts Monday I'll have something far more entertaining. I haven't even been apoplectic about my driving lately save this comment. If you are stopping off at a Dunkin Donuts/Krispy Kreme/7-11/convenience store on your way to work for a cup of coffee or a paper, great for you. Glad to see you have given yourself extra time on your way to work. Oh, you didn't? Too bad. I don't have to let you out in front of my car. See, I have been waiting in line in traffic patiently. Now that you've been fed and watered, that doesn't give you the privilege to try to force your way out in front of me. Not putting on your directional doesn't help either. I'm not normally psychic. You just sit there in your SUV and wait your turn. Or even better, make your coffee at home. Heh, just when you thought I had gone soft on you...I always have a rant or two in me.
It spread like wildfire. So what if we don't see people every day during the summer, or that we don't work in the same places, the word was out. Grades were in the mail. For people like me nothing strikes more fear in your heart than the knowledge that there might be an envelope in your mailbox upon returning home from work that holds the promise of ruining your summer. And, by how some people react, ruin your life. I had been told that they were being mailed Monday, setting up for a Tuesday arrival, but then the panicked phone calls started. Word on the street was that people had them Friday afternoon. This started the rollercoaster prematurely. Stomach in the throat, I walked gingerly to the mailbox Monday. (I say gingerly, not because of the weight of the moment, but rather I was still hobbled by over eager calf raises.) Inhale, open the door and...nothing. A credit card offer, a misplaced postcard and no grades. The adrenaline ebbed and I was left with a dull headache. I headed indoors for Advil. Tuesday, the cycle began anew. The theory had been edited that in fact only first years had received their grades Friday. Why this is, we're still not sure since during our spring semester we did not receive grades until late July. Either way, the moment was upon us and the time bombs were planted by well meaning postal workers. I happened to have a lunch date with a fellow student who was unlucky enough to get mail delivery by lunch. The phone rang and another person called with the news that she was saddened by her Trusts and Estates grade. The floodgates were open. The only thing keeping me from my appointed destiny was the drive home. My spouse beat me home and grabbed the envelope, I had to follow it up the stairs. Did I go to the gym and let this dwell in my consciousness while arguing with the elliptical machine? No, this was the time, this was the place. Honestly, knowing that I was in good standing did cut down on any nausea I might have had. A stunned silence descended as I looked at the sheet. Not only did I have the best semester yet, I actually had grades that made me want to dance. So I did. I whooped and hollered and danced. So what if I'm not the top ten percent, or top twenty...I'm alive and ready to fight another day. I aced a paper that was the bane of my existence. This has made my summer. Compared to some, these grades may not be seen as success, but to me it's sweet sweet music. Care to tango?
I checked out the soda machine this morning and to my surprise there was brand new bottles of C2, Coke's new experiment. I have to admit I had flashbacks to "New Coke." Being the bold soul I am, I insisted on buying a bottle and trying it out. It's Coke-tasting. I'm not fully convinced that it has all the taste of full blown Coke, since that super sweet syrupy taste just isn't here. I think I need one of those blind taste tests that they used to do with Pepsi. Give me two cups with no labels and make me choose which is which. It's not bad though, at 45 calories for 8oz. Makes me feel better than chugging a 20oz of Mountain Dew, though none of that crazy sugar/caffeine buzz that I love so very much. So try it, you might like it. Of course, if they stocked Caffeine Free Diet Coke, this would be a moot point since I would just drink that instead, but the world isn't perfect.
Summer is now upon us. For those of you in hotter climes, this is the point where you laugh hysterically and say, "Where have you been?" I have the freckles to prove I've been outside. I also am working on a lovely tan line under my watch. But this is okay, it's the summer. Summer is for relaxing and reading books. I've taken the latter to heart. So far I've read The Slippery Slope, Paper Chase, DW: A Lifetime Going Around In Circles, Angels and Demons, The Radioactive Boy Scout, and am currently working on Poison: A History and Family Memoir, and Cannibalism and the Common Law. Yes, DW is about Darrell Waltrip the NASCAR driver, and it's an interesting but poorly dictated autobiography about his time as a racecar driver. Unless you're a diehard, skip this one. Angels and Demons was particularly good, and I would have to agree its better than The DaVinci Code. However, I'm glad I read DaVinci first, because the patterns in style from Angels and Demons would have made DaVinci even more predictable. The Radioactive Boy Scout is a mildly creepy book about a creepy geeky kid who had a preternatural obsession with all things chemical. Poison is interesting yet conflicted. It can't seem to decide whether it wants to be a book about poison or a book about her grandfather who happened to be a poisoner. It could have been two full books, instead it's a mishmash of both. And as for the last, Cannibalism and the Common Law, I picked it up because it's on a pre-L reading list somewhere. I remember the case from Crim Law, but the book is too dry and scholarly for my tastes. I was a history major, but do I need a blow by blow of yachting in the 19th century to understand the case any better? Nope. And so ends Beanie's Book Reviews for this week. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know. I'll read nearly anything.
It's been an interesting week. I submitted my bids for fall classes, only to find at the rate that I'm going I'd only need 7 credits in the spring. I need 10 every semester regardless for residency requirements, so I'll probably cut back my current 16 credits scheduled. As it stands currently I'm looking to take Evidence, State Practice, Estate Planning, Criminal Procedure Survey, and Matrimonial Law. One of the two last ones will probably get dropped, but we'll see. Nothing too crazy, just standard Bar fare. You may say, "But Beanie, isn't this presumptious by predicting what you'll be doing in the fall as well as the spring?" Prior to yesterday I would have agreed, but I found out from the Registrar (who seemingly takes pity on me and my panic) that I'm in good standing! I'm coming back for round three. I'm sore from working out, pleased about school (until I get the actual grades) and watching Formula One. Life is good.
Have you ever wanted to be Lord of the Dance? I can't say I have, however if you do enough arm exercises you are forced to keep your arms by your sides as a default. No swinging the arms, no raising the arms above my shoulders. So either I could pretend I was an Irish step dancer or else pretend I'm a much younger John McCain. Either way they still hurt. Washing the hair became another exercise unto itself. Yes, I went to the gym. Yes, I worked out. Am I out of shape? Horribly so. But today is the first day of the rest of my life, right? As long as I don't have to move my arms it will be.
From the light a fire under my butt department...
I took the opportunity last evening to join a gym. Both the spouse and I aren't getting any younger, and we both sit at desks every day and veg at night. This is leading to Butterball-ness. So, after eating at the Chinese Buffet, we stopped in to the gym next door to see what the facility was about and to see what their rates were. (And yes, they said they do get a bit of foot traffic from the buffet.) I got a deal as a law student which was also offered to my spouse. I'm sure there are better deals in town but it's convenient to the house and wasn't too crowded after work. Call it inspiration from Teahouse Blossom and her stories of running marathons, call it fear of mortality, call it adulthood, we're gonna get fit dammit. Woo.
Wow, nothing like losing a day due to being horribly nauseous and dizzy. I want to blame this on a salad I had from Wendy's, but who knows. All I know is I spent far too much time in both the bathroom and in bed. Wanna know what else I got last night? Jury Summons. Yessiree bob, Beanie's gonna be a juror. The long arm of the law finally caught up to the county I'm living in. I had been called/questioned twice before, both times I was not actually living in the county I was called. I'm the second person I know from my class who has been called this summer. I suppose it's better to get called now and getting it over with than trying to weasel my way out of it during the school year, or worse, next summer during bar review. Anyone wanna take bets to see if I make an actual jury?
Yep, it's Monday alright. As I ranted late last week about traffic, I will not regale you of the hatred I had for a Miata this morning. Instead I am left with what I did this weekend. Nothing too terribly exciting. For those of you who pondered the twins, we live about 1500 miles away, so we won't be seeing them anytime soon. We did however buy them bonds as their gift. We hear they're doing well and should be leaving the hospital sometime this week. Other things I did this weekend: made a dozen deviled eggs, attended a graduation party for my cousin, pulled a bunch of weeds until I gave up, pondered the price of baby trees, wondered why we can't grow our own, watched way too many auto races, did laundry, and grocery shopped. Did you know I'm invisible in the grocery store? Far more so than on the road. I'll be looking at a shelf trying to decide something, and on three separate occasions, a person stepped in front of me to ponder something else. I began to take it personally. I pondered beating them senseless with my bag of mesculun mix. Instead, I just walked away. Perhaps I should go dressed in safety orange like a road cone. That'll get their attention. Or else, pummel them with pomegranates or something.
Yesterday was not terribly successful for me. I spent a good portion of the day asleep with a migraine. It caused me to lose a few hours from work as I couldn't stand to be in a room with any modicum of light. On a better note, my sister-in-law finally had her twins last night. I think my in-laws were underwhelmed with our reaction, but hey at least we're off the hook now as far as producing offspring.
That brings me to this morning. I wrongfully assumed with the amount of businesses and governmental authorities closing for the state funeral that I would have an easy if not downright blissful commute. So wrong. I now bring you Beanie's rant for the day:
If you are from out of state...or heck even out of town, you should not take it as an opportunity to lose all common sense behind the wheel. If you wouldn't make a bonehead move in your own town, don't do it in mine. Do not take a left hand turn from the middle lane. Do not make a u-turn in the middle of a major intersection. Do not stop on an interstate to ponder the choices for exiting the highway. Do not back up an off ramp...or an on ramp for that matter. If driving in a city setting, do not stop at each side street so you can read the street signs. I will blow my horn at you each and every time you do, no matter how much you glare in your rearview mirror at me. Pull over and let the rest of us by you. Thanks.
From the "And now you tell me..." department:
Seems that those university students who are lucky enough to have regular sexual activity pass their exams and get better grades. It's not clear whether this just holds for Germans, but doesn't it seem worth trying anyway?
Well I can safely say what ever ambition I ever had has left my body. Short of not breathing and not actually coming to work I can't think of anything that can get me out of this funk. In the mean time I'm trying to live vicariously through others. For instance, this week we've learned that Transmogriflaw is having a baby, Mike is getting married, and DG shouldn't water the plant in her office. Now, if I can only get in on Jeremy's lunches I'd be a truly happy person. In the meantime, give me a few more books to read, I'm only getting through one a day here!
Summer is ephemeral. You only have so many days to do whatever it is you're going to do...and I've tried to waste no time in this regard. If you're like me, you do little to no outside reading while in classes during semester, since you have no true free time in which to do it. I stay caught up in my reading for classes but nothing else. This leaves spring break, winter break and the summer to do as much reading as possible. I take this duty seriously as proved by my foray to the library last evening. I planned on picking up some interesting stuff, and being that it's a library, if I didn't like it I could return it! No money wasted. When I left the library I had 10 books. My requested books are already coming in and they hadn't even had time to call me yet. I wasted no time in reading either. I polished off The Slippery Slope and Paper Chase last night before bed. Honestly, I enjoyed The Slippery Slope far more than Paper Chase. So what if it's a children's book. I also started a book that spoke to me as a blogger. It's called Join Me. It's about a guy named Danny who decided one day to start a collective. He set out ads in the local paper asking people to join him by sending in a passport photo. That's was it. It's now a phenomona. It's worldwide. It has a website. The book is a hoot. It's amazing what a group of people can and will do if put to the task. Oddly enough, I feel compelled to join him.
After watching a weekend of tributes to the late President Reagan, I've tried to reconcile how I feel about it all. I grew up in the 80's. Being a precocious child I was well aware of what was going on in the country. I lived in a blue-collar union family with a stay-at-home mother who thought Carter was one of our most intelligent presidents. It's funny how time proved her right. Reagan was an actor. He was charismatic, well-spoken, and surrounded by good people. He's what Dubya wants to be. Sadly, he has neither the presence nor the humor to pull it off. However, given the timing of all of this I fear for what the campaign may turn into. Dubya is going to try to raise the dropped banner of compassionate conservativism, trickle-down economics, and a new day for America. Hopefully, Kerry doesn't crumble like Mondale did. One of my most vivid memories of childhood was watching the election returns the night Reagan won his second term and watching the election night map turn one color from coast to coast. I had this sinking feeling of dread for my family. I didn't even know why. I was 9. I am not going to say Reagan was a horrible president, the man is dead. However, his legacy is not nearly as glorious and glossy as the press is reminding everyone. Just ask all the air traffic controllers who lost their jobs because of him, and worse, the Iran-Contra affair. Time tends to allow you to forget the bad in place of the good. My memory is a little better than most, and I try not to forget.
It's the spouse's big 30th birthday today. Sadly, we're not having a big bash but rather a quiet day at home. My sister-in-law has told her soon to be born twins that they can't be born today since it's my spouse's birthday. I said that this will probably bring the babies sooner since kids just don't listen. Nothing really new to say other than it is supposedly no different to be thirty than it is to be twenty-nine. I won't be able to corroborate that until December. So raise a glass and celebrate...Beanie's spouse is 30!
Seems the school has had a reduction of force. There are different ideas as to what exactly this means, especially in lieu of the large tuition increase that's being thrust upon the students. Perhaps the Dean needs a new car. Perhaps the graduation was a bit too grand and now we all have to pay. Perhaps we have turned to the Dark Side and as a result there has been a disturbance in the force. Where's Yoda when you need him? Also it seems they've gotten rid of a warm body at the front desk. What do we need with security anyway? It's a school community that effectively lives on campus 24/7, with unlocked doors everywhere. Given the close proximity to the psychiatric hospital...I say we're all set. But that's okay, we have the force. Oh whoops, it's been reduced. Sorry.
The trailer debuts tomorrow in theaters, but if you want to see the trailer for Fahrenheit 9/11 now, look here. If it doesn't give you chills, you haven't been paying attention.
Yes, I am still working...and finally escaped from the copy machine. When I came back to the office after lunch yesterday, I was taken off my gigantic research/writing project for a "copy job." I thought hey, what's a few copies...nearly 2.5 hours later I still wasn't done. Being left to your own thoughts while violating the copyright act over and over again makes for one angry Bean. I got to come back this morning and start it up again. Luckily I was able to finish up in about an hour. Total paper used, 4 reams. I think my aura had begun to damage the copier, because by the end it was copying spontaneously without provocation. I got to watch the unpaid undergrads doing meaningful work while I, paid rising-3L law student was a copy jockey. I stepped aside for everyone else who needed to make one or two copies, as not to impact their important lives. I was accused by an attorney of ignorance of the copyright act. And the kicker? There might be more...this afternoon. What's land use and zoning research when there are copies to be made!
I've been killing time left and right now that I have free time to kill, and I must tell you about the recurring spot they've been running on VH1. Remember spongmonkeys? Remember Joel Veitch? Seems someone at VH1 is also a fan, and has tapped him to do a number of songs in his own style. The most recent one features singing kitties, Viking kitty, giant crabs, and what looks like a cousin of a spongmonkey. All set to the tune "Run To The Hills" by Iron Maiden. While that ad isn't on the web yet, the rest of Veitch's VH1 spots are here.
Yesterday was the first that I actually felt like second year was done. I felt like I had possibilities that I didn't have before. I went to the library and took out real live fiction books. I picked up around the house not in a vain attempt to procrastinate. And so I now feel compelled to write the 2L wrapup that I promised earlier. Here goes:
2L both went the way I expected and in a way it didn't. The old saw of "the second year they work you to death" definitely holds. However, that line comes with the caveat that you bring that work on yourself. If you want control of your destiny you take every thing that comes your way and try desperately to juggle it all. I went the moot court route instead of journaldom and as a result my experience varied from my friends. You take courses that you hope serve you well in the future...but can be damn hard. The fall semester had me looking at Admin Law, Privacy Law, Labor Law, &c. six courses in total. At one point I was told I took too many by administration. Nothing like lighting a fire under me by telling me you shouldn't do something. It in fact was symbolic of the 2L experience, do what feels right...damn the consequences. And the consequences for once weren't bad. It was the best semester I've had. I tried a couple interschool competitions, and failed miserably at both, which actually became a running gag for me the spring semester. Come, join Beanie in the competition, you're guaranteed to get into the next round. The spring came and went with another failed competition and the bombshell that the adminstration is tightening the screws on the bottom feeders, without a GPA of 2.5 you won't be doing jack squat next year. No competitions, no journals, no nothing. It'll be a fun atmosphere come fall, I can feel it.
The second part of the equation is that the second year is supposed to be better than the first. This too comes with caveats. If you became cynical about the experience in the first year, that will probably hold for the second. You see how it works, and for the good or the bad it effects how you deal with everything...course selection, dealings with classmates, your homework, your papers. You now try to game the system. Of course there are some darlings out there who found the first year a fabulous experience and go blissfully through the next two years without a care because they unknowingly fit the superstar role from the get go. This can be one of two types of people. One, the uber-annoying gunner type who eats the professor's words for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are satiated, or two, the person at the top of your class who seems aloof and on a different level than the rest of us mere humans. They don't have to prove themselves because they've got the concepts down to a science and can make gold from straw. You know who these people are.
At this stage of the game I see the light at the end of the tunnel...and I hope to hell it isn't a train. I want the poofy hat, I want the doctoral robes and I will do anything to get to the end. My place on campus and in the minds of my fellow students is secure and there is little I can do at this point to change that. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I'll pick my classes, do my reading, ingratiate myself to the professors I don't already know and hope for the best. That's all you can hope for. Am I regretting my choice to go to law school now? Nope. I can't see myself anywhere else. Maybe this is myopic to the point of blindness, but really...it's for the best. I just know it is.
When I bought my Palm nearly two years ago, I hoped it would last all through law school. I should have bought a more expensive model. I started looking at a new one a few months ago, and thought about possibly buying a Sony Clie. Now I'm glad I didn't.
I may actually be done now. The paper is in a form that can actually be seen as an attempt at academic excellence. I was able to finish up in time to start work this morning. I'm working on a project that might even be interesting, if I can get some peace and quiet. While I'm happy to have a place to work and actually use my laptop, I seem to be in the exact spot for every conversation in the world. I've been here for 2 hours, I know what everyone did over the weekend, what everyone else's projects are and seen one set of interns walk past me no less than 5 times (it's amazing how well undergrads can dress if put to the task). When I was a secretary I didn't see this much foot traffic. I'll be finding myself a new spot tomorrow. With a window. And headphones.