Thursday, June 29, 2006


I love food. Eating it, cooking it, baking it, these are things I like to do. I'd say I generally make dinner at least 4 nights a week. It makes me happy, especially when I can feed other people. I wasn't always such a good cook though. When I was younger, in my teenage years, my mother was constantly trying to get me to learn how to cook. She told me that it was a useful skill, as she wouldn't be moving to college with me and I would eventually have to learn how to feed myself. I'm pretty sure that she also wanted me to learn so that she wouldn't be the only one making dinner for us every night. For years, I fiercely resisted. My parents would go away for the weekend, and I would find myself living on peanut butter crackers, grilled cheese sandwiches, and pizza delivery. This wasn't so bad, but it wasn't exactly gourmet either. So one day, I decided to give in and make my family dinner. I chose mac and cheese for my efforts, not the Kraft kind, but the real kind. Having gotten all of the ingredients together, I shooed my mother, who was trying to help me, out of the kitchen. Didn't matter that I could barely boil water, I was going to do this on my own. So I putzed around the kitchen, mixing cheeses and milk and whatever else went into the recipe, dumped the whole thing in a big baking dish, and sat down to wait for my noodle and dairy masterpiece to come out of the oven. A little while later, having made a salad, and set the table, I pulled it out of the oven, and my family and I sat down to eat. I was loving all the praise coming my way, as everyone was thanking me for making dinner. That is, until they actually took a bite of it. It was weirdly crunchy. Trying to figure out what I had done wrong, my mother started going over the recipe with me, asking had I done this or that, and the answer was yes every time, until she got to the part about boiling the macaroni before putting them in the dish with everything else. See, I had followed the directions exactly, but apparently this was one of those advanced mac & cheese recipes, where they assume that you know to soften the noodles. In my uneducated mind, I had assumed that this would happen naturally when they were in the oven. Instead, it just served to make them a little toasty around the edges. It wasn't completely inedible, but it wasn't exactly what I'd call good either. However, to my family's credit, after they had finished laughing, they did eat it. They even said it was good, probably to encourage more helpful, dinner-making behavior on my part (with ample supervision next time). After that, I did started cooking more, and I think I've gotten rather good at it. But to this day, I haven't attempted to make mac & cheese again that isn't of the Kraft variety. However, when my mom came to visit me over the Memorial Day, I did cook a number of dinners for her, and even sent her home with recipes. Hopefully, this went a little way to help make up for the fact that my first dinner attempt could probably have chipped a few teeth.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

This is a starting to feel a little too third-world

It is less than 48 hours before my last final and my power has come back on after having died for the second time in the last 18 hours, and for what is probably the thirtieth time since January (really). After calling Entergy (our local monopoly, whose number I have now memorized), I was snippily informed that it might be another 8 hours before it was turned back on, and that no, customer service agents are not able to tell me why it is out (even though, last I checked, the sole job requirement for a customer service rep is to provide customer service). I am pleased to report that it did not, in fact, take a full 8 hours, and thus I am spared the happy task of replacing all of the food in my refrigerator, as it seems I must do every two weeks or so. I'm now convinced that the higher-ups at Entergy have decided that it should be my lot in life to make endless trips to the grocery store to replace spoiled food with the money from my apparently never-shrinking bank account.

I'm fully aware that I'm whining right now, and that it might seem a little obnoxious seeing that there are still areas of the city with no power at all. However, it seems to me that after upping their rates over 100%, my idiotic power company should be able to supply me with some actual power. Other neighborhoods don't seem to have this problem (the ones with electricity restored), and while I realize that mine isn't very high on the tourist-trade list, this is getting slightly ridiculous. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the only reason that my electric clicked back on after only a few hours this time is because parts of the Quarter were out too, making it much more of a priority than usual.

On the plus side though, I do seem to have developed some odd sort of electricity-related ESP, since I just bought candles this morning, sensing that last night's power outage was soon to be followed by another. This may not be a really marketable skill, but in a city like New Orleans, where things like clean, running water and working lights are not to be taken for granted, it might actually come in handy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Is there such a thing as being gainfully unemployed?

It's exactly two and a half days before my last final of my first year of law school. Part of me, actually 99.9% of me, is thrilled to be done. It will be nothing less than spectacular to finally see the light at the end of the year-from-hell tunnel. The other part of me, however, is getting a little worried. I still don't have a job. Not a law-related job, not any job, not summer abroad (the only good justification I know of for not getting a job). I fear interviewing for next summer, when I'll have to explain to Mr. Hiring Partner why I was such a slacker this time around. Somehow I doubt that drinking daiquiris at the levee qualifies as gainful employment. The thought makes me happy, but doesn't look so good on a resume. So, about a week ago, in a last-ditch attempt to ascend from the ranks of the unemployed, I sent an email in response to call for volunteers to help with the backlog of criminal cases that have piled up since last August. At first I heard back, via mass email, that I could start this week if possible. Unfortunately, that's not possible, as I'm still bogged down with finals. So I sent another email, proclaiming that I was ready, willing, and able to start next week, as soon as finals are over. I haven't heard back. I've checked my email every day, several times a day, hoping to find out that I was needed. So I'm watching TV last night, finished studying for the day, and there's a news story about this particular problem with our court system. There are literally thousands of people that haven't even seen a lawyer yet. People are practically begging for help...but still no email. So now I'm slightly worried. Maybe it's just me, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't spend this much to spend the next 30 years saying "Do you want fries with that?

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm getting soft in my old age

My stepsister recently had a baby. My mom called me from the hospital the other day to tell me that I was an aunt, and my response was less then enthused. I believe I said "Oh, okay." This didn't really go over well, but I have a well-documented dislike of children. I'm actually rather fond of saying that I have the maternal instinct of a rock. They're small, they smell funny, and as I don't speak baby, I can't understand them until they reach about the age of five. Also, the sound of babies crying causes a rather strong stress reaction in me. I spurn commercials featuring talking babies. Plus, they're always so sticky. Case in point...I was at the laundromat recently and there were two little girls there, who of course had some sort of peanut butter & jelly like substance all over them. Their mother seemed to be nowhere in sight, so I was forced to defend myself for the next half hour against their grubbiness. I was so disturbed that I actually went home and took a shower.

So, imagine my surprise when my brother sent me some recent photos of the new baby. It's actually cute. I was all prepared with my normal reaction, which is usually somewhere along the lines of thinking that babies look kind of like alien worms. I must be slipping. It was all tiny and happy-looking and I kinda couldn't help but smile. I actually felt bad about my reaction to the news of its arrival. Most people consider this normal, but I'm totally out of my league here. I was IM'ing with my friend Ann at the time and told her about my reaction to the new baby. She told me that she secretly suspected that I would make a good mother. This, of course, is blasphemy. However, maybe I'll reconsider my former opinion a little. I still don't like babies, but maybe I could be okay with being more like a pebble than a rock.

Friday, June 23, 2006

My school is sinking

It seems like such a very long time ago that I decided it would be a good idea to do an accelerated year of law school to make up for that stupid hurricane. There I was, hanging out in Memphis with my friends, going to Graceland, eating Doritos for breakfast, attempting to refuse to go home to Pennsylvania to placate my parents, got cancelled, not for the week that was originally planned, but for a whole semester. So, I finally give in and go back to my farming-happy hometown, where everybody and their mother attempts to force me to go to a different school for the semester. Columbia? No thanks, I'll pass, even though it was my first choice. Penn, Pitt? Nope, uh-uh, not going. I know! I'll go to Hawaii and hang out on the beach all semester while interning. Not only will it look good on my resume, but everyone will leave me alone and I can go swimming! And get a tan! So, perfect plans in motion, I jet off to Oahu, and go swimming, and get a tan, all the while thinking that doing law school in 6 months when I get back will be no big deal. I mean, I did the accelerated courses before when I decided that I was sick of being in college, so how hard can it be? Reallly hard, apparently. And and by hard, I mean mind-numbingly-I'm-so-burnt-out-I-could-sleep-for-a-week difficult. But, that said, I think if I got to rewind and go back to last August, I'd probably do the same thing. That doesn't mean that if the same thing happens again, I won't visit. I'll be off to another school for the semester faster than you can say "2L." But for now, I'm feeling optimistic...and will be until I get my grades back.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Stick with what works

Apparently the abject terror I felt last night at the thought of my con law exam wasn't entirely unfounded. That's right, I just got beasted by my first exam. See, I didn't think it would be so bad. Our professor told us that case names weren't really important, for example. Okay, I thought, so I'll just make sure that I know the key facts, and the significance of the case, and so on, and I'll be just fine, right? Right, until I saw question 3, worth a third of our exam grade, and realized that I was well and truly screwed. What the hell were you thinking Con Law Professor?! Oh, I know, it's like our Crim Law exam last semester, the one the teacher made "just for us." Please, no more favors, we've been tormented enough. If you have exams on file dating back to 1991, and they all follow the same format, why not stick with it? It obviously works. Instead, I'm now having random bouts of rage, thinking "how could that have gone so badly?" During the rage parts, I have this almost uncontrollable urge to drive to the Supreme Court building and bitch slap pictures of old justices, which actually kind of amuses me and makes me feel better for a while. When I stop giggling/fuming, I realize that I have another exam the day after tomorrow. So, anyway, pray for me, and in the meantime, I guess I should stop drinking margaritas and get back to studying.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Finals-induced ranting

My apartment is a giant mess. There are clothes everywhere, dishes on every available surface, remnants of pizza boxes, diet coke cans, and laundry that has been in the bin since Katrina. Yes, since Katrina, 10 months ago. I realize this is disgusting, but dammit, my dryer’s broken and I’m trying. Besides, every time that I go to the Laundromat, which is 100 degrees due to the lack of ventilation, I get attacked by little kids whose mothers don’t seem to care that their children are attempting to sit on the lap of a complete stranger who’s just trying to do her reading in peace. Normally, this utter mess would bother me in some way, since I’m practically obsessive compulsive in my neatness, but finals start tomorrow and my abject terror has rendered me unable to do anything but stare disconsolately at my books and try to keep my brain from jumping out of my head and drowning itself in the Mississippi. Really, who thought that it was a good idea to base an entire semester’s grade on one exam? Or better yet, on one question, as my corporate law professor has done? It’s like some kind of weird hazing ritual. I was never in a sorority, as they weren’t really a big deal at my school, but I’m starting to think that being made to drink until I pass out or smear a mixture of mayo and Vaseline in my hair (as one of my good friends had to do) might be a nice change.

Spare Me

After yesterday, I’ve decided that I’m not going to review sessions anymore. When the professor gives the review, it's generally helpful, but when the class is allowed to ask questions, it quickly deteriorates into a contest to see who can come with the most ridiculous hypothetical.

For example, my Contracts 2 review session was yesterday. Rather than do anything that would have been even mildly helpful, five people babbled for an hour and 45 minutes about every possible scenario they could come up with. Even the professor seemed confused after a while, saying “Well, that’s not really relevant…” and then launching into an explanation anyway, the whole time looking as though she wasn’t really sure how this had gotten so off track.

Of course, this behavior isn’t limited to review sessions. One girl in particular spent an entire fifteen minutes one class period talking about frozen horse sperm. She only stopped when the professor mercifully asked “Why are we even talking about this?” We've also, on occasion, spent 45 minutes talking about capitalism versus communism and how it relates to furniture stores. I’m pretty sure my notes from that day actually include the words “blah, blah, blah.”

Now, if something is actually relevant to the class, doesn’t involve a fifteen minute explanation, and might help your classmates, I’m all for raising your hand and asking the question. But if you just want to hear yourself talk, for God’s sake, go visit the professor on your own time. Better yet, just buy a mirror and talk to yourself, because really, no one else cares "what would happen if..."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Is that really necessary?

The Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale started today, which means that I am constantly bombarded with commercials featuring women 6 feet tall that probably weigh less than I do. My boyfriend, of course, loves these commercials. I, on the other hand, could do without and frequently change the channel whenever I hear their soft-core porn music start. Now, I love Vicky’s, and I generally feel just fine about myself, but really, who the hell are they marketing to? Most women are aware of the fact that buying a particular bra isn’t going to make them look like Giselle, and looking at these girls makes a lot of women feel like trolls. So are they marketing to the men in their lives? A lot of guys I know don’t really buy lingerie for their girlfriends. If they buy it a size too big, this is problematic, whereas if it’s a size too small the girl might assume that they’re trying to give them a hint. So while I’ll probably drop a fair amount at my friendly neighborhood Vicky’s over the next year, I could do without the commercials. Unless of course I wake up tomorrow morning weighing 110 pounds and having grown 5 inches.

Road Rage is so unbecoming

Open question to the police force: Would it be so hard to post signs saying that you are planning to close off an entire street so that I can adjust my plans accordingly? Because I just sat in traffic for an hour, a half hour of which was spent watching you direct one lane of traffic, while leaving the other lane, my lane, to sit and stare in disbelief as your partner chatted away and ignored us. I didn't have too much road rage before moving here, but for some reason driving to school and back every morning makes me want to throw something. Maybe it's the fact that cars in Louisiana don't seem to come with turn signals, or that I cringe everytime I pass a side street, hoping that the car approaching me will actually stop at the stop sign this time. Or maybe it's that my car has been hit in the past month. Twice. While it was parked. It could have something to do with the fact that speed limits seem to be taken as merely as suggestion. Going ten miles per hour in a 35 zone...not acceptable. So, anyway, Mr. Policeman, the next time that you decide to stop traffic for no particular reason, try to actually direct it. Otherwise, I might just give in to my urge to rip off my steering wheel and throw it at you. Thank you.

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