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Monday, December 21, 2009

Tripping to the airport

I took public transit to the airport today. It's nice that portland's
light rail goes straight to the airport's doorstep. Another nice thing
about portland's light rail is that it uses a calm, gentle voice to
notify you when the doors are closing after boarding. "The doors are
closing." Very well. Salt Lake's light rail, on the other hand, uses a
very shrill beeping sound to notify you of closing doors. And the
worst part is that they don't tune the different doors to the same
pitch, so you are left with a very dissonant, shrill sound like the
call of a bird beast from hell. I much prefer the human voice. When I
stayed in Berlin for a month, their transit system had a similar set
of pleasing voices to guide its passengers. Einsteigen, bitte. Please
board. Zurueckbleiben, bitte. Please stay back. Much more civilized
than shrill, untuned beeps.

On the train ride, I was asked to sign a petition to obtain a vote on
the ballot on legalizing marijuana. I don't sign anything I don't
research first, so I politely declined.

Then I had to listen to some crazy crack whore call everyone in her
cell phone and tell about how she had just gotten out of the clink.
Apparently she had been arrested for attempted prostitution. ("How can
you attempt a blow job?! You either do it or you don't!") and the
tragedy is that they also found her stash and she only had 20 days
left on her 3 year probation. Life's a bitch, ain't it? If I had been
feeling less ill (I have a head cold), I might have asked her to
conduct these pathetic conversations elsewhere, but I also wasn't
looking to get slapped by a crazy bitch who isn't afraid of going to
jail. So I tried to tune out her little saga.

I'm waiting to board my flight now. Once again, the flights to Salt
Lake have been severely overbooked (when will they learn?) so
hopefully I actually have a seat. If not I may be a little pissed,
cause that would mean I have to catch he train full of crazies again.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chili Cocoa, E. Coli, and other things to ingest

Let me tell you about one of my current obsessions: Hot cocoa with chili powder! It's one of the most miraculous flavor combinations ever. The way it simultaneously sweetens your tongue while eliciting a delicate fiery sensation to your soft palate is such a delight! Ian started making some homemade hot cocoa from scratch using the baking cocoa he bought to make brownies from scratch (which, I might add, he flavored with orange extract -- don't I have the best househusband ever?), and he added a dash of chili powder to the top of the delicious homemade hot cocoa.  I've been hooked ever since, and I recently found a mix of "organic fair trade" chili hot cocoa mix here in Portland, so I can make some myself (not being very domestically oriented limits my propensities for coming up with such concoctions unless all I have to do is add hot milk -- that I can handle).

The chili hot cocoa is very soothing to my somewhat troubled throat that crept up on me yesterday.  Unfortunately, it does little to quiet the nausea in my stomach, which introduced itself in the middle of the night last night -- the night before my final final exam.  (I was seriously concerned this morning that I might barf during my contracts final, but I managed to make it out with no such embarrassing incident.  And, again, not counting my unhatched chickens, I think I might have slain contracts today. Booyah.)

After two hours of trying to fight the nausea that refused to allow me to sleep this afternoon, I was finally able to have a three hour nap to rest my tired body and mind (yes, that's five hours in bed -- another delight).  I still feel a wee on the vomitous side.  Maybe I ingested some of that E. coli-infected water they had here in Portland recently. (I didn't know that I had moved to Panama, and not the United States of America. Welcome to reality, I suppose.)  I'm just hoping it all works itself out before I fly out to Salt Lake on Monday. Airplanes and nausea are not a good combination.

And thus begins my three week break! I'll take a little nausea in exchange for a three-week respite from legal reading any day.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

3/4 and Mew

So, I took my third of four law school exams today. My last exam is this Thursday. I was trying to write something nice and interesting about the process here on my blog, but my brain is a little too fried for aesthetic writing. Suffice it to say, I was terrified before my first exam, and everything after that has not been so bad. And, very strangely, this past week has been the slowest week in recent memory, but in a nice, relaxing way. 

Exams are stressful, sure, but I think it's the last month leading up to the exam period that is the worst, because you are trying to synthesize a semester's worth of dense material for 3-4 substantial classes, and that's a tall order on top of your already heavy reading load. You make course outlines, take practice exams, bounce ideas off of friends, and neglect your loved ones.  Once the finals period actually gets here, you pretty much have the knowledge you need to succeed on the exams. 

The anxiety of that first exam is pretty bad.  I had a serious case of my usual tremors last monday, when I took my civil procedure final.  That class has been my nemesis all semester, and it was the only test which was not open book (not that you have time to consult your book anyway, but notes can provide at least a sense of security, and we weren't allowed even that). But when the exam came, I felt like it was nowhere near as bad as the class itself.  Then, after the exam, I started to think about all the things that weren't covered on the exam, and I started to fear that maybe they had really been on there, and I had just neglected to talk about them. But I don't think that's really what happened, and even if it is, what's done is done and it can't be undone. I'm not going to get my grades until mid-January-ish, so I might as well relax about it.  So far I have felt ok about my performances on the exams. They say that if you think an exam was easy, you probably did poorly, and if you think it was hard, you probably did fine. We'll see about that. I don't have a normal person's sensibilities, so I'm not sure whether my thinking an exam is easy or hard is any indicator of my performance.

As a nice little exam break, some friends from Salt Lake were here in Portland on Saturday, and together we went to a concert by Mew, a Danish experimental prog rockish type band, for lack of better genre classification. They are weird, and that's what got Ian and I to notice them a few years ago. They don't tour America very often, and so it was a treat to see them. They are just as fantastic live as on album, if not better. Here's a video of my favorite Mew song. Enjoy the androgyny.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Classes end. Finals begin.

Today was my last day of classes. (HURRAY!) I have two informal review sessions to attend tomorrow and Thursday, so I still have to go to school this week like usual, but the classes themselves are al fine.

I am so glad classes are over, especially Legal Elements, a most heinous course that the school created especially for my class (and that no other 1L has to take at any other law school). It was so bad that the school has decided to discontinue the course for next year's class, because it is seriously just way too heinous. It might constitute cruel and unusual punishment to make someone read the coursebook for that class. Right after Legal Elements ended today, I promptly posted the coursebook for sale on Amazon. I almost feel bad that some poor sucker out there might end up with a copy of the Worst Book Ever Written.  I mean, this book is so bad that I would rather buy another copy of The Time Traveler's Wife and finish reading that piece of author-indulgent tripe than ever crack open Strauss's Legal Methods EVER AGAIN!

I am also glad to be done with my arch nemesis course -- Civil Procedure. You wouldn't think that rules for litigating civil lawsuits would be very complex, but, oh my god, they are. I'm kind of traumatized by it.

The biggest obstacle in the course, besides the fact that it is a very difficult subject, is that I just don't understand the way the professor teaches. Her teaching style doesn't work with my learning style at all. I'm a pretty bright person, and I've always been more than competent at school, but when she talks, I have no idea where she's going, or why she's talking about what she's talking about, and I usually ended up getting more confused in class. So long ago, I stopped listening in class unless it was a day that I was going to be called on to answer questions. Well, I shouldn't say I stopped listening altogether. I had my ears perked to pick up the big take-away points and exam tips, but I just couldn't abide her obtuse method of leading discussion in circles until we finally got to the point 30 minutes later.

Today, for instance, we were discussing joinder of claims and parties to lawsuits. There are quite a lot of really specific rules for what kinds of claims and parties you can join in what circumstances. It confuses a lot of people, but I have been spending a lot of time studying Civ Pro over the past couple weeks, and particularly this joinder business, so I have it down pretty well.  So at lunch, a friend was asking me about cross-claims (a claim that a defendant brings against another defendant, or a plaintiff against another plaintiff). In about 5 minutes, I told him everything he needed to know about cross-claims.  In class this evening, our professor imparted the same information in an hour, and got everyone (including herself) a lot confused in the process. "If ever there was a class to skip, it was this one," a friend said to me during our 10 minute class break. "Stop listening," I said, "It helps."

So I have been most concerned about the Civ Pro exam, but I have been doing so much studying for it recently (even in my sleep -- last night I took a complete Civ Pro final in my dreams. no rest!), that I feel like I have finally built a pretty good big-picture view of the subject, and I will be ready to tackle the test on Monday confidently.

After that, I will do a pass-fail exam that a monkey could pass for Legal Elements, then a Torts exam -- which I feel pretty good about, and finally on December 17, a Contracts exam, which I am not ready for yet, but I will be by the time it comes. Then, I will get drunk, and then spend days lying around watching stupid tv shows and reading trashy novels, and basically doing anything that requires very little of my mind until the new semester starts up in January.

I can't wait.

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