November 30, 2003

Exam Tips from Posner

Posner's responses (see below) to Howard's questions are accessible.

So really, he was talking about written briefs, not exams. But it struck me that if I could keep them in mind while writing my exams, I'd be much better off.

My advice for lawyers practicing before me and my colleagues is threefold:

  • always explain the purpose of a rule that you want us to apply in your favor, because the purpose of a rule delimits its scope and guides its application;
  • always give us practical reasons for the result you are seeking; and
  • don't overestimate the knowledge that an appellate judge brings to your case, because we have very little time to prepare for argument in depth, and the breadth of jurisdiction of the federal courts is such that we cannot possibly be experts in all or most of the fields out of which appeals arise.

I shall try.
More Procrastination

I can hardly wait.

Howard will be adding Posner as a new addition to his very cool 20 questions for the appellate judge.

Okay. Off to burritos and then to study. I swear.
Stupid Patents

I did this as a kid. Didn't you?

What happened to "known or used by others"? How hard can it be to ask your friends, parents, etc. if any of 'em used a swing like this? Ugggghhh....

Okay, now I'm really going to study.

And the beat goes on

Friday and Saturday, I followed the advice of the career center, and DG & Transmogriflaw. My resume is back to 2 full pages, with less specific tech details than it used to have, and no listing of "Skills." All told, I put in over 10 hours of resume editing, firm research, cover letter writing, hand-feeding the nice resume paper into the printer one page at a time, mail-merging letters and labels, editing the letters to make them more "personalized", and envelope stuffing. I've got a nice stack of job packets to show for it. They'll be gone tomorrow and then I get to wait-and-see.

Today is more contracts outlining. H is coming over to sit at the table with me, just like yesterday. We studied 'til 12:30 AM. On a Saturday. I'm so amused at my commitment to only study 1 weekend per month. I'm glad I took advantage of all of the free time in the beginning of the semester. I probably could be taking more free time for myself now, but the problem is, I've never sat for law school exams. I have no idea of how much I need to know. So, I'm going to err on the side of too much. Which is why my life isn't so interesting these days. Oh well. At least I still like the subjects I'm studying. I couldn't imagine doing this much work if I hated it.

Although, there is one thing I hate. I'm definitely out of balance right now. After the big family blow-out, my priorities are now school, school, and a reasonable amount of exercise to keep myself sane (and from turning into an amoeba). It's a conscious choice, but it does have some shitty results.

Yesterday, I talked to J, one of my best friends, and my college roomate of 3 years. We usually get to hang out with at least once every 2 weeks, often much more.

J: So, when's the next time I'm gonna see you?
Me: Probably not 'til after finals.
J: Huh, so when are those over?
Me: December 18th.
J: Shut up! You're going MIA for a full month?
Me: [tired] Yeah...

That's the shittiest part of all this. Friends? What? Oh well, back to the grindstone.

November 28, 2003

Paying the price

Turkey: every moist bite was worth the 5-hour wait
Mushroom-bacon stuffing: as good as it gets
Garlic-cream cheese mashed potatoes: creamy
Ginger-orange cranberry sauce: tangy
Gravy: fatty and delicious
Candied yams: probably not necessary
Dutch apple crunch pies: 3 pieces, definitely not necessary
Family, fun, and food: the day was exactly as it should be

Just woke up with acid reflux. Probably should have avoided at least one of the slices of pie. Oh well. The first Turkey-day at our house was a huge success, so I'm not complaining. Besides, I have crazy leftovers for finals. I hope to not overstuff myself again. Ouch....

November 27, 2003

Family Rocks

Or, at least, my family does. Now that I'm finally old enough to appreciate them.

My papa (grandfather), who is deaf with hearing aids, has close to a liter of fluid in his lungs, but can't get them drained again until he has 1.5 liters, and had to walk very slowly from his hotel to the restaurant in the same parking lot. However, he found the strength to fiercely grab my arm as we sat at the dinner table and quietly yelled at me, "Papa is getting this check." Right. No arguments here. You'd think I hadn't seen this argument a million times by the look in his eyes. Besides, why would I make a fuss when my dad is going to make one before he lets papa get it. Clearly, my place would be to make a fuss to my father, not to papa. I've fought that fight enough times. I know the rules. Birthdays and father's day are the only days where it's appropriate. And, if there are non-family members around, then even pretending that I might want to contribute is some weird insult.

So yeah, in our family, the oldest man at the table gets the check. Or, the person with the most respected power. I'm not certain how it'll work when the oldest or most respected person is a female. The older generations are certainly sexist, or more entrenched in their gender roles. Or, something like that. Anyways, I'm not really sure I get of all of the cultural crap that goes with the check-getting, but it's there, and I've accepted it. Free dinner. I'm a law student. It's cool papa, you can fight with dad (who's also the oldest son) about it. But not me.

My brother, the father of my adorable niece, the smartest most wonderful 22-month old on the planet, also happens to be one of the funniest guys you've ever met. He's my reality check. He embodies so much of Zen without trying that it's frustrating. I doubt I'll ever have his serene laughter in a seemingly unfunny but actually hilarious moment.

He's a young father, a high-school dropout, a construction worker, and one of the least stressed people I've ever met. He's got to support a whole additional life-form while working in a notoriously undependable field (a few months ago, his boss at the time decided to get married, so he gave him 3 hours notice that there would be no work for 3 weeks, and after that, well, he just wasn't sure). And yet, he's way less stressed than I am, living this ridiculously cush life where the governement gives me cheap money to learn cool shit. Sure, I try to keep myself relatively chill, and do a fairly decent job when compared against law students. But really, that's like saying I'm doing a good job of keeping my carnal urges in check when compared with John Holmes.

So, tonight, my brother told work stories about fires, missing fingers, tearing things down, and what-do-you know, turns out he's the only English speaker on his crew, and his Spanish is pretty damn good. I never even knew. I knew he could affect accents pretty well. I knew he took a couple years of spanish in high school. But, dude, the guy actually speaks Spanish really well. He's so different from most of the people in school. He's brilliantly intelligent but doesn't care. He feels no need to show how bright he is, what he's accomplished, or where he's headed. He just wants to chill, have a few beers, tell jokes, trade stories, and have a good time. He really is the epitome of cool. He's a great dad, a good boyfriend to his baby-mama, and an awesome brother who turned down a free (dad's paying, same principal) hotel room at the Sheraton to stay at our house so the siblings could all bond.

My sis, as I mentioned, is having fun and figuring out who/what she wants to be. She showed up early, helped with food prep for tomorrow, and gave up her ridiculous architecture student schedule for a full two days to be here. Given that she often pulls multiple all-nighters in a row and will be paying for this holiday with her sleep, I'm honored and impressed.

My gran, bless her heart, made my papa stop at the Madonna Inn on their way here for pies (mmm...dutch apple crunch, you have NO idea!). She also pulled at my brother's hair and complained that it was too long. She corrected the hilarious stories my aunt told about my dad to be sure that the details were exactly true and not exaggerated. She's cranky and stubborn and sharp and hiding parkinson's in a fiercely brave way. (Much like the check thing, the hiding ugly truths thing is another weird family issue. Used to piss me off. Now it's quaint and endearing.)

My aunt sat in 3 hours of traffic to meet us at the restaurant and made hilarious jokes at my father's expense which is always a fabulous thing. Earlier, she made the hotel reservations, got the directions to my grandparents, called them every 4 hours to make sure they were cool, and generally, made it possible for them to be here.

My dad sat in traffic for 4 hours and showed up with a case of eye of the hawk for the "kids" to take back to our house after dinner.

More people arrive tomorrow and the feast will be wonderful. On the day for giving thanks, I can't believe how much I have to give. Because, like I said, my family rocks.

November 25, 2003


Last weekend, I spent an hour culling my 2+ page resume down to the career-center mandated size of one page. This meant that all non-legal experience was left for inference from job titles.

Today, in my meeting with a career center counselor, I was told that given my technical background, I really should have a two page resume with bullet points for each job to show what I've done.

Hate it when I cross something off my to-do list only to have it reappear later.

Oh well. I can add un-shrinking my resume, to the weekend's tasks of outlining contracts, writing cover letters, and stuffing envelopes in time to get them in the mail with the rest of my classmates' entries in the December 1st blitz.

Thank goodness for the break from legal montony that Turkey Day will provide. Last night, we pulled off $257 worth of grocery shopping at 9 pm. God bless 24-hour grocery stores. Tonight's fun consists of finally finishing my property outline and the very last reading of the semester (only 10 pages of contracts and I'm in the clear...) with study breaks for cleaning, and hiding all dangerous-to-little-people objects.

November 24, 2003

Survey of the Good Stuff

This weekend was predictably boring and full of studying, outlining, and updating the old resume. I feel good because I'm on track and not over-doing it (yet). I've never actually been this prepared for exams this early in the game, it's weird. I'm actually annoyed at my discipline. My weekend was devoid of most of the stuff I look forward to M-F. Now it's Monday again. I'm still outlining property, I have 8 cases left, and hope to finish the entire thing before it's time to go to school.

Good Stuff from the Weekend:

  • Friday night with E, a friend D, and her husband, talking, drinking wine, eating pizza, and consoling her because she did not pass the bar. Shitty. What else are friends for but to make you laugh when crap like this happens?
  • Saturday Morning Sex
  • Bike ride to the last 30 minutes of the GAME to cheer for the TEAM from the tailgater's parking lot (With E).
  • Dog Day Afternoon (With E)
  • Sunday Afternoon Burritos (With E)
  • Hot Tea (With my books)
  • Knowing that Turkey Day will mean a house full of good food and family

Okay. I guess my weekend wasn't that lame. In fact, I'm batting 1,000 on the relationship end. I just miss being a bum.

But, there's nothing like knowing unemployed JDs, reading people's comments on the 2L job market, and knowing a couple of people who didn't pass the California Bar, to motivate me to study at the expense of my usually chill weekends. At least reading period won't suck. I'm going to be well rested and get to work out regularly. I'm also going to know my shit. Shoulder to the wheel.

Interesting note, in D's class at her law firm, the kids from lower tiered schools all passed. Only 20% of the kids from top 10 schools did. The Civ Pro Review of Clarity was taught by a professor from a nearby "lower tiered" school. Despite the legal prestige rule of thumb, there are good things about being away from the ivory-tower theory-heads.

November 23, 2003

Dog Day Afternoon

Watch It.

A young Al Pacino holds up a bank in order to get money for his transvestite wife's sex change operation. 1970's, Comedy, Drama, Directed by Sydney Lumet (also responsible for 12 Angry Men).

A highly recommended break for your brain.

November 20, 2003

Did you know

That there was once a Justice Frankfurter?

When you're living my current life, you've got to take your amusement where you can...

Basically, I'm still alive, and my life is ludicrously boring, hence the dearth of postings [as opposed to my oh-so-exciting life when I'm posting]. I've finished the reading for the semester in property, and I'm one page short of finishing Civil Procedure. I've attended every study group this week--but they are hit and miss, some are amazingly on target and helpful, others are taught by frenzied 2Ls who haven't read the cases for the week. Unfortunately, it's not predictable. Last week, Professor Together's study group was an excellent hypothetical exercise that taught me a ton. This week, I wanted to yell at the 2L to stop bull-shitting--we could all tell he hadn't read the cases, it's not like a spade can't call a spade.

A few weeks ago, I took advantage of the "scholarship" offered to students and registered to attend an intellectual property conference near school this week. This morning, I went to school an hour early in hopes of signing in, picking up my badge and attending the sessions between classes. Did I mention that the people who told me the conference center was "around the corner from school," were extremely optimistic? There is a corner involved. There was also an $8 cab ride back to school since it took so long to walk there that I took my badge, bagel (can't forego the free food), listened to about 10 minutes of lecture and then left to go to class. I didn't go back and will not be doing so. Kind of a waste of a "scholarship" but I'm sure they'll send me marketing materials about CLE until I puke, so it's a fair trade.

The best thing I've done this week is attend a review session for civil procedure taught by an alumnus. He boiled down everything we've covered into a lucid, clear, and well-organized 90-minute lecture. He also gave us useful advice about what each of our professors actually want to see on exams. Before the review, I was certain Civ Pro was my biggest stressor. By the end of the lecture, people were asking him why he didn't teach at our school. In other words, staying 'til 8 pm when class got out before 4 pm was a good call on this one.

So, yeah, other than class, study groups, reviews, outlining, and finishing the reading, I'm trying to hit the gym or do something physical at least once every third day. I was right to enjoy my spare time while I could.

Oh, and H is cooler than I thought (which is hard to imagine). My concerns about H not understanding the need for anonyminity were clearly unfounded. Today, he referred to my cast of players by asking me repeatedly who I had been "talking" about when I mentioned someone was conservative (like daddy). It took me a while but eventually, I caught his drift. Given that other law students were involved in this conversation, I was happy and impressed with his skill. I think perhaps he's more capable of subterfuge than his all-american-as-apple-pie image lets on. I admire that.

November 17, 2003

When I'm Free (aka procrastination)

I think I'll put my creative writing skills to use by baiting a scam artist.

For now, I'll just post Michael Bako's email address in hopes that some spiders will pick it up and spam him with some equally stupid Nigerian 419 fraud.

I'm particularly impressed with these details:

I was the account officer to one Mr. Ali B. Ashraf who died along
with his family on the 7th of November 1997 in an BAC 1-11 3005 plane
crash at Engirin River,near lagos. All 141 passengers on board were


Unfortunately from the day of his death till the time of this letter
none of his relation or friends has come forward for the claim. The
bank's policy stipulates that if such fund remained unclaimed after a
period of five (5)years it will be transferred into the bank treasury
as unclaimed funds.

I received the email on Thu, 13 Nov 2003 03:33:23. As in, 1 year 6 days too late to take part in the scam. Bummer.
Want to laugh?

Put competitive 1Ls, a couple of weeks before their first set of finals, into a damages negotiation exercise.

Make sure that there aren't enough details in the hypo so that to accomplish anything they'll have to agree to common versions of the facts before they even begin negotiating.

Watch them go for blood. As in, my client wants at least $1 million dollars for the horrific laceration and resulting pain and suffering that was the result of your client's gross negligence in purchasing the dangerously sharp paper. People came in ready to fight. There was little to no agreement about the basic material facts that would be a necessary part of even attempting to negotiate.

The whole point about negotiating and coming to an agreement seemed to be lost. But, boy, were a lot of people having fun pretending to be bull-dog lawyers.

It was a nice diversion from the reality of approaching exams.

November 15, 2003

Nothin' but the Rent

Still alive. The current standing is outlining, reading, eating, sleeping, talking to E, with working out coming in dead last. Despite the event's success, my commitments to the do-gooder club are not over. Also, somewhere in the next two weeks, I need to get to the career center, get them to tell me why my resume sucks, write cover letters, and send out about 20 packets to the various firms I'd like to work for this summer. Add general crap like bills, keeping the food supply stocked, and preparing for the holidays, and well, you can see why the blog is suffering.

I'm in countdown mode at this point--two weeks of class, 3.5 weekends, 4 finals, and then freedom.

I was happy to see that The Onion has made light of bloggers getting found out. Granted, I think it's particularly funny when people post under their real names and are surprised to be found out. But, it doesn't really matter how it's written, it is funny--we expose ourselves on the internet, the stuff that people like to read is the stuff people like to hear. It would breed schizophrenia to keep track of what we say where and avoid telling good stories in both spaces. Why are we amazed when people connect our online selves with our flesh ones? [Laugh] Even though we know it's futile, that doesn't stop many of us from pretending we're anonymous and free. Bless those who have us figured out and honor our wishes.

November 11, 2003

Misread Words

Redound. Not Rebound. Redound. Somehow, the first time through the passage, I saw rebound. The second time I looked it up. What do you know, according to the 4th definition, I didn't need to do so.

Main Entry: re·dound
Pronunciation: ri-'daund
Function: intransitive verb
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French redonder, from Latin redundare, from re-, red- re- + unda wave -- more at WATER
Date: 14th century
1 archaic : to become swollen : OVERFLOW
2 : to have an effect for good or ill (new power alignments which may or may not redound to the faculty's benefit -- G. W. Bonham)
3 : to become transferred or added : ACCRUE

November 10, 2003

Sigh of Relief

Well. LWR is officially over. I turned in my memo, had a few beers with my classmates, and came home breathing easier. Man, I hated that class. I'm very happy that I only have to concentrate on my substantive classes for the next few weeks. That will most certainly be enough to keep me busy.

In other news, H found me out. I'm no longer a fully anonymous blogger. It was only a matter of time. One of the more interesting side effects of H's discovery was fascination.

"Why do you blog?"
"What do you write about?"
"Am I in your blog?"

I tried to explain why I started and couldn't come up with a good explanation. It's just something some of us do. We're odd. For me, I guess it's a desire to be part of the community that's helped me out so much, and also just a desire to leave proof of my existence. In high school I had an English teacher who had a sign on the wall that said, "If you want to be remembered when you are gone, either do things worth writing or write things worth reading." Clearly, I'm not really doing either right now. But my heart is in the right place.

Also, I don't feel so lonely simply because I blog and I know that people read it. I don't separate blogging from reading other blogs, so I guess another plus is that participating in this world is immensely practical: I'm often the 1L who has the down low on journals, interviewing, exams, life-in-school, and other basic stuff that you could easily learn by doing. Thanks to those that have gone before me, I've already vicariously lived through many of the trials and tribulations of law school. Given how easily I could have blown off class, reading, my memo, outlining, etc. and not buckled down for the long haul, I'm very grateful to my predecessors for their stories. I'm in it for the good fight, and I owe much of my dedication to my comrades.

November 9, 2003

The Score

Last week was rough. Each of my professors gave at least one mini-lecture on the topic of exams. They claim these lectures are to calm the fear of the 1Ls, but it seemed to me that they just heightened everyone's jitteriness. I kept up on the reading, went to class, studied late most nights, and went to the eye doctor (note: law school is not so nice to soft contact lens wearers, not enough blinking while reading==scary bloodshot eyes). I completed yet another draft of my LWR memo only to get yet another "suggestion" for organizing the content (mouse on a wheel, that's me). I went to discussion group for a class or two and attended yet another professional panel of practicing attorneys. I also completely bailed/forgot about lunch with a very busy friend/client and showed up late to my first class on every day but one.

I'm still fitting my real life in the cracks of law school, but the available spaces are decreasing. E's birthday was yesterday. We had a blast with roughly 20 friends, some of whom we hadn't seen in several months. We stuffed our faces on some of the freshest and most reasonably priced sushi I've ever had in the city at Judah Ozaku Ya. We were both VERY glad it was over when it was. Too much. That is my life in two words these days.

Speaking of too much, holiday and winter break plans are shaping up, including plans for up to 17 people at our house for Thanksgiving. People say I'm crazy for hosting Thanksgiving during my 1L year, but they don't have my family. It's the first year in the new house--it's not much of a question. My dad's parents are both in their 80's, married over 50 years, and able to drive the 3-hour trip to our new house. How can you say no to that? They are awesome, hilarious, cranky, smart, and wonderfully old people. Every time I see them I'm reminded that my time with them is limited. I'm not letting law school fuck up my priorities that much.

In the I-don't-know-if-that's-necessary-right-now-category, I bought plane tickets for my trip to Egypt over winter break. I also bought arabic CDs to listen to on the commute and a few books on arabic as well. I am trying to learn the alphabet when I need a break from law school books. So far, I can recognize 4 letters. I have a couple of weeks after finals to learn as much as I want, so I'm not trying to jam it into my study schedule like an idiot. It's just relaxing to learn new letter forms after staring at the same damn latin letters for hours on end.

This week promises to be much worse. H is coming over to start outlining property today. It's unlikely that we'll finish, so it'll have to be continued on Monday and Tuesday. The final draft of my LWR memo is due tomorrow. The fundraising event for the do-gooder club I'm in is Thursday. I'm shocked out how poorly the event is managed. There are at least 10 major tasks left and the head of the committee hasn't assigned them. I suspect this will devolve into a ridiculous frenzy on the day of the event...

The light at the end of the tunnel is next weekend. I already bailed on an acquaintance's 30th birthday bender on Saturday--which would have been fun, but the price of time is too high. I plan to do nothing but hang out with E, study, sleep, eat well, work out, update my resume, and catch up on any lingering real-life issues from the week.

November 7, 2003

Made My Day

My little sister, who's generally quite the goody two shoes, got her drunk ass ejected from a club last weekend.

I'm so proud.

The best part? She was too drunk to remember even going to the club and had to hear about it from her friends.

Everyone needs to have at least one night like that--it's a common human experience that makes us all understand each other just a little bit better.

November 4, 2003

Amazing conversation from the gym

Two Women:

W1: Well, you know, it's just so bad for you... all the toxins.
W2: Oh, definitely. You know, if you're really concerned, in addition to the seaweed wraps, you can go down to LA and get a colonic.
W1: Yeah, I'm thinking about it. Autotoxicity is really getting to me. I've heard if you cleanse yourself of those toxins it's great for losing weight, your skin, everything. It's just so good for you.
W2: You need to be sure not to abuse it though. Only like once every 6 months.

Ugggghhhh.... there are so many things wrong with this conversation. Why is the most popular medical farce of Victorian times making a comeback? At my gym? Near me? Just in response to this, I'm thinking about not renewing my gym membership... I'll just run, get some weights, maybe a road-bike and trainer/rollers for when it rains.

P.S. To the person who found this blog via 1L memo bad grade. We all feel you, dog. No stress. The writing grades are by far the most arbitrary, 'scool. It'll all work out just fine. Keep on keepin' on, and all that. Peace.

When Catholic School Girls Attack

Yet again, I have proof that DitzyGenius is the bomb. I'm Laughing my ass off thanks to her link, and very happy to hear that someone else in law school gets the concept of headphone etiquette. Actually, I'd prefer it if people actually got the concept of, "I'm working, please don't bother me," regardless of my accessories, but that's probably asking for too much.

Law School Books

After so much time in each of their company, I've come to think of my books as people.

Torts is preachy, really bad at math, and doesn't seem to have a full grasp of science, although this doesn't stop her from making the oh-so-popular horrible quantum or grand-unification-theory analogy. Her heart's in the right place, but she often presents a slanted perspective--it almost always seems that her hypos are geared to make your heart bleed for the plaintiff. I'm doing my best to put up with her in the professional sense, but we wouldn't spend time together unless it was required.

Contracts is very proper. He's got lots of old english, citations to the restatement and UCC immediately following the cases, sections on background and history, a very sober serif font on cream-colored textured paper (instead of the youthful glossy white of his fellow comrades). Plus, he has the propriety to put his own comments (rhetorical questions, things to think about, etc) in short, concise paragraphs, in italics. He seems to respect the tradition of the law more than my other books.

CivPro, well, she seems to be too busy to actually give me the time of day. She throws a ton of information at me and expects that I'll go elsewhere for elucidation if I'm confused. She seems experienced, a know-it-all, and very well aware that what she knows can not actually be taught in two short semesters.

Property is a geek. He's quirky. He's got all sorts of oddness and details that exist for good reasons but he's not interested in spelling it out for you. He'll show you the way he derived the solution, but he's certainly not going to just GIVE you the equation.

And that, my friends, is a quick look at my exciting social life these days.

November 2, 2003

The Long Haul

H and I decided that if we outlined one subject a weekend, starting this weekend, we'd be on target to use the last weekend of classes to finalize the last few weeks on our outlines. Mind you, this is in order to be on target. Not ahead. Simply on top of things. I think November is the reason most people hate the 1L year. I've done a decent job of not sacrificing my weekends to the law school gods, but this month will be a different story.

In an unfortunate bit of foreshadowing, we both seriously underestimated how long it would take to outline Torts. We figured 6 hours of work on Saturday and we'd be home free. Well, we did work for about 6 hours yesterday, and we're halfway through the syllabus. Today will be more of the same.

More fun this week will include getting another draft of my LWR memo in to my TA for feedback, which I may choose to take with a grain of salt. My meeting with the LWR prof was VERY enlightening. He is looking for very different things than the comments I had been getting from my TA. Which explains why my last memo didn't do so hot--TA told me it was great, Instructor had a different definition of great. I'm very glad LWR isn't a GPA class--I don't have to be so upset about the unfairness of having the rough drafts graded by someone with different standards than the final grader--talk about lack of useful feedback. (Some of the TA's suggestions actually lost me points on the instructor-graded memo. Sheesh.)

I'm guessing all 1Ls are all in the same boat--last couple of weeks of LWR, which makes up more than 50% of that grade, panels of professionals all over the place (which are important to attend since most of us have no clue of what there is to do, much less what we want to do), all the summer job stuff to do before December 1, and the long haul of finishing out the semester: keeping up on reading and going to class when it's the last thing you want to do, outlining, and just when you think you've finished learning everything you need to know--there are sample exams to write.

I'm glad I took advantage of the free time I had earlier in the semester, because I suspect the next 5-7 weeks are going to be boring. My goal is to maintain my sanity: to make time for workouts at least 4 times a week, and to have a fun night or weekend afternoon at least twice a week. Other than that, it's me and the law.

I'm guessing that many of my fellow students don't need as much time as I do to maintain their sanity. They'll be able to cram more work into the last few weeks than I will. Age does have its disadvantages: I need sleep, I need to spend time with E, I need to workout, I need to eat healthier. Then again, maybe I won't get sick after finals for the first time in my life--my younger MO was to cram like Hell, take finals, and then spend the next week in bed. It would be nice to start enjoying the break immediately after the last exam...maybe acknowledging my needs is wise...I guess I'll have to wait and see.

November 1, 2003

Twas a Happy Halloween

Man. Things were magical last night. You know how sometimes things just fall into place and you feel like the world was made for you to enjoy? That was last night. I thought we would be handing out candy to the kids alone, ordering pizza, and going to bed early. Which would have been fine.

But, friends decided to come join us--so the four of us sat outside, drinking wine, laughing and handing out candy to the adorable children who were directed to our non-decorated house from the neighbors' extravaganza (which included a petting zoo of jello molds of brains, dyed udon noodles, radishes with fake eyeballs glued on the front, several dry ice experiments, a smoke machine, music, the mummies, strobe lights, spiders, spider webs galore). Another friend showed up after he left work, and then we were five.

When it was too dark for kids, we decided to go get "7 courses of beef." Yes, there is such a thing, it's a traditional Vietnamese meal, and it is wonderful. E and I always laughed about seeing it on the menu at our favorite South Bay Vietnamese restaurant. One day, we ordered it when out with one of our friends who is a huge eater and always up for a dare (okay, E & I were up for it too... who wouldn't be, it's 7 courses of beef?). Turns out the courses are smaller than you'd think, it's actually almost a light meal, and DAMN, are the courses good: a flash fried beef salad (awesome), beef in vinegar and onion fondue to be constructed (by you) into rice paper rolls with veggies (a gift from the gods), 3 different types of small beef rolls, beef/vermicelli/spice meatballs on rice crackers, and a rice-based porrige with, you guessed it, beef. Dinner was long and full of laughter. Plus, there's the drip coffee into condensed milk.

We tried to find a friend's housewarming party and failed. Mainly because I looked at the start of the mapquest map instead of the end and we drove around our own neighborhood looking for his street. Didn't happen. We didn't really want to go anyways, but we felt good knowing that we tried, and it just didn't work, we didn't even have his new number.

We came back, lost one of the friends, played some video games and called it a night. That was exactly what I needed after this week of school.