Tuesday, December 21, 2010

final final of semester

And I am deep in a wave of depression. I did nothing at home, nothing I care to call substantial, anyway, for the last 2 days. I came in to school this morning, breaking my own rule about not being here during finals. But both John and Derek are home and, let me tell you, the kid is not the issue. Not that John is needy or anything, but he is very spoilt when it comes to harassing me. He's not used to leaving me alone and I am constantly waiting for him to get on my nerves. It will be nice to go back to the status quo for a bit where he can bother me any old time he feels like it.

All I want is for Civ Pro to be over so I can go home and collapse into my bed and sleep till sometime tomorrow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

first law school final

Well, this is it. My very first law school final: Torts. I'm so excited I could spit! I've always had a very Zen approach to exams. It's a comfort zone to me and once I know I'm prepared, I'm good to go. It's not like I couldn't have done some more prep by doing some more Q&As, but I'm not sure that it would have made that big a difference.

The thing that did make the most difference was being able to talk about the course with my study buddies. Hearing yourself say the things out loud and realizing you're either sounding dumb or really smart is so helpful. Writing stuff down, too, has always been a good technique to help me remember. I managed to distill some concepts onto one notecard - no easy feat - and I also have to remember not to leave it in my pocket when I go into the exam!

So, here I am, sitting in Starbucks down the street from school. I went over my outlines and my little card and then decided to settle back and read on my Kindle till it's time to head to school. A daddy put his little girl on the seat opposite me and is feeding her a muffin. She has a juice box and looks like the muffin exploded all over her adorable face. It makes me miss Le Pie and I can't wait to see him and the husband tonight. All is right with my world.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Black Swan

So I'm writing this for 2 reasons. One is I loved the movie and just want to write about it. And, two, I need practice typing on Der's netbook because I need to use it for finals. There is no way I'm getting Louisa back in time for December 10.

So, back to Bom.

I heard about "Black Swan" months ago, at some film festival wrap-up. I'd read in passing that Natalie Portman was already getting Oscar buzz for her role as a ballet dancer giving into her dark side. Wow! Natalie Portman? Love her! Ballet? Love it! Darren Aronofsky? Loved "The Wrestler", so why they hell not?

I began to wait. It began to feel like I was a "Star Wars" geek waiting for "The Phantom Menace". I stalked the imdb.com page daily. And the trailer? Twice daily was more like! And then I found this music video and I lost it completely!

If I loved "Swan Lake" before, I was fairly obsessed by then. I found a documentary about 5 dancers in the Kirov Ballet and discovered the amazing Uliana Lopatkina who is the epitome of the dying swan. Pavlova is great and all that, but Lopatkina has the most enviable arms and a grace that was given to her by the angels themselves.

I rented a Kirov performance of "Swan Lake" but was so disappointed in the ending. They made it all happy and shit and there was no dying swan. I felt gypped and almost flung the disc away in disgust. Needless to say, Lopatkina didn't dance Odile/Odette.

Speaking of whom, I've often wondered what a dancer goes through in performing these roles in "Swan Lake". They are polar opposites of each other and Odette looms larger in terms of presence in the ballet. So a dancer spends more time perfecting and rehearsing the White Swan, and then must switch gears for a very physically gruelling dance that exudes more force than the White Swan offers in her entire performance. The White Swan is all grace and fragility and fear and tender love. The Black Swan is lust and passion and cruelty.

"Black Swan" captures the dichotomy beautifully. Portman is allowed to stretch marvelously into both characters. And they are two characters, both in the ballet and the film. Portman's Nina Sayers is everything the White Swan is supposed to be: fragile, graceful, technically perfect. But the Black Swan is none of those things. The White Swan is all internal and the Black Swan is visceral and everything is outside for the world to see.

Nina IS the White Swan. All she wants to be is perfect. She is timid and allows herself to be manipulated by her mother, an ex-dancer who "gave it up to have [Nina]". Nina's eventual rebellion only comes when pushed by Mila Kunis' Lily. It's Lily who gives voice to Nina's mother's actions and, while Nina is coming into slow realization herself, it's Lily's contempt that provides the impetus for Nina to take a stand.

I like Mila Kunis. She's a risk-taker. She fit right into Lily exactly like you'd expect her to. I have nothing bad to say about her performance, but I wasn't surprised the way I was with Portman and Winona Ryder. They aren't exactly risk-takers when it comes to their choices of film roles, so this movie was a revelation.

Lily served her purpose in the story and Kunis subtly moved the character in and out of Nina's perceptions of Lily. It was an excellent performance, just not surprising.

Now, as for Ryder. I think if Judi Dench can win an Oscar for six minutes on screen in "Shakespeare in Love", Ryder should be a shoo-in for a Best Supporting Oscar in next year's academy awards. Ryder is my generation's Ellen Page. "Heathers" is my "Juno". Etc. Etc. But Ryder has never really stepped out of that onlooker's position in her film choices. She's never been anything but lovely, graceful, timid with inner strength. It's always been internal performances, like May in "Age of Innocence". In "Black Swan", she has three scenes and is mesmerizing in all of them, short as her screen time was. It wasn't my Winona Ryder, I thought. She's everything May is not: cruel, hateful, frightened, envious, shocking. All the external emotions she's never shown.

As for Portman, where do I begin? She's Natalie Portman and, for a good chunk of the movie, exactly what you'd expect from a very talented actress. Oh, but not really everything you'd expect, is it? She's got lots of subtlety to play with and she does amazing things with her eyes and neck that make you shudder just as much as the larger actions.

I'm not spoiling anything by saying the movie is about descent into madness. Nina is told by the choreographer, Thomas, that if he was casting the White Swan only, she was a shoo-in. She's ALL White Swan, but he wants a more visceral performance out of her. He's opening the season with "Swan Lake". "Done to death, I know," he says. "But not like this." He gives Nina the part, knowing full well she has a great deal of work to do to become the Black Swan.

Nina is terrifying and terrified. She's sexually repressed and always seems to be in a state of coitus interruptus. Well, I know I'd go mad if I was always on the verge of an orgasm just to have the stimulus pulled away from me. Just saying.

So she throws herself into the role. Thomas wants her to let go, Lily thinks she is going to be amazing, her mother is proud and supportive and turns on a dime to sabotage. Or does she? Is Lily really jealous and pretends to be encouraging and friendly? The movie isn't an enigma wrapped in a mystery but it's a mind-fuck all the same.

To say I wasn't disappointed is an understatement. I loved it with every pore of my being. I'd go back if I wasn't in the thick of finals prep. But that DVD is so mine when it comes out. Mine, I tell you! MINE!

Friday, November 26, 2010

prepping for 1L finals

Talk about uncharted territory. No undergrad prepares you for law school finals. As I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's November and I'm almost done with my 1st semester, I have to cope with studying for finals.

I am not in the same position mentally as many of my classmates. I've been through hell and lived to tell the tale. This semester, while not a breeze, has not been the overwhelming Slough of Despond it could have been. I am truly grateful for the coping mechanisms. I still wish I had not gone through any of the things I went through and I am not one to be buoyed by silver lining bullshit, but there is something to be said for experiencing the real world before coming to law school.

So, having said all of that, and in the grand tradition of posting about methods of anything on a law school blog, here's my 2 cents about finals prep.

- Go to all your classes. 2 of my 3 substantive law classes are recorded, so those were the ones I tried to miss when I needed to deal with my real life. My 3rd class has an active discussion board and a professor who is terrific about responding by email, but I still only missed 2 of his classes. Still, catching up is hard work and wastes time. Listening to an hour-and-40-minute lecture might seem great because you can pause and go back etc. But it turns it into a 3-hour exercise instead. Waste of time.

- If your school, like mine, does the grade bump-up with mid-terms and class participation, take advantage. Profs can increase grades by one-third, if they see fit. They usually have criteria for doing so. They submit the names for bump-ups before you write the exam.

My Civ Pro class is my small section and it's easier to talk in class. Plus, the prof chooses a number of people to call on each class, so it doesn't matter if you volunteer. But you should. Civ Pro is a tough class, for me, and I asked tons of questions and used the class discussion board a lot. She counts that usage as part of the class participation. Also counted were 2 submitted exercises, which I did very well in. Then there was the mid-term, which I got an A in. So I feel much more confident about going into the final with a bump-up in the bag. I also took advantage of her review sessions and the amazing TAs she has.

For Contracts, we also have 2 areas of possible bump-ups: 2 VGs on any 2 of your 3 submitted memos and class participation. There are 135 people in K and Torts. In K, we are called on randomly; in Torts, according to the class list. K will probably get through the entire class, but not in Torts. K has a vibrant discussion board and the Prof is very aware of who writes and what she writes. Lots of people have popped up since the 2nd memo has been handed back and I'm pretty sure he's noticed who has never written before and are doing so all of a sudden. I know I would.

We were given no criteria for bump-ups in Torts, so the final is it. Do or die.

- Outline. The word is drilled into your head from even before you get to your first class and it is a confusing road to hoe. It's going to be at least 2 months before you actually begin to understand how outlining works and by then you're pulling out your hair for not approaching the work in a more comprehensive manner. Everyone is in the same boat. Commercial outlines have their uses, especially in separating the forest from the trees. I have several question and answer study guides which I find very helpful in working out concepts I have trouble with.

- Join a bar prep program. BarBri is mine and I cannot love it more. The lectures are amazing outlines in themselves and really gives you a comprehensive overview of the course. Use them, and the commercial outlines. Tailor them to fit your course and professor's leaning. It will make your life much easier. Do not rely on them exclusively. Your professor will have leanings, will not cover some areas etc. Don't be stupid and ignore your class notes.

- Go over class notes carefully. Re-examine all those hypos the prof threw out there. Looking at them again once you have a better grasp of the subject matter, tweak the hypo yourself and look at the outcome.

- Study group. Or even a study buddy. My Civ Pro study buddy has blossomed into a buddy for all the classes. She and I work very well together and very much complement each other. We lean on each other's strengths and help each other over the trouble spots.

- Past exams. My study partner and I have learned so much from these exams, it isn't even funny. And we are getting better as utilizing the time as well. I even got brave enough to ask one of my profs to post more exams for the class, which he did!

- Talk to 2Ls and 3Ls. Not just the A-earners. Many people told me what they thought their mistakes were and how I can learn from them. That was even more helpful than the advice from the A crowd.

- Do not get distracted. By Thanksgiving, you should know where you can study and where you can't. If you're the kind of person people must stop and talk to, don't study in the crowded parts of the library. Tell you family, friends, b/fs and g/fs to leave you the hell alone. They have no idea what you are going through and they don't have to have any idea, they just have to accept it. Don't make enemies, but be firm.

- Don't distract others. Every school will have at least one jerk-off who has to stop and talk to you while you're deep in UCC 2-207, just to break your stride. No joke. He will WANT to distract you by telling you how stressed out he is, how he is never going to cover the material, how he has so much else going on. Learn to spot these fools a mile away. Learn to spot the dude who frames his questions in such a way that milks info out of you that you otherwise would not be willing to give. Make it clear, out loud if you must, that you're not going to talk about X, Y or Z. I'm just staying home.

It is every man for himself at this stage, there's no getting around it. But by now, you will know who to trust, who can help you and who to steer clear of. It's not the greatest way to view your law school world, but Law Review only takes a handful and getting into the top 15% of the class is much harder than it sounds. Good luck.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

me and law school

So in my first semester at university, I was pregnant with my first child. Cool. A nice story to tell the grandkids.

I'm not pregnant now, but am dealing with some health issues that remind me so much of those days. My lecturers at UWI were amazing, my friends really bent over backwards to help me and I managed to rally through without too much trouble. I wrote my exams, handed in all my papers, gave birth and went back to school. No big.

The different thing this time is I feel like I'm missing a lot of school. Or rather, time I should be spending on school work. I managed to get 2 days' extension on both my papers due this week, but I still feel like I should have managed my time better.

I know there is absolutely nothing I could have done differently and I know I'm not in as bad a way as I'd like to let myself believe. I'm halfway through my K memo and broke the back of my research memo in such a way that all I need to do is actually write it over in sentences. I managed to get 2 days' of my K reading done for this week and skimmed Civ Pro, which would make a close reading much easier. Torts is... well... a bit of a neglected puppy but also the subject I'm having the least trouble with.

I'm listening to Law Preview and have started looking at exam questions and have scheduled practice exams for 2 courses with my study buddies. We're doing K this week and Civ Pro next week and will do Torts after Thanksgiving. Luckily, after this week, we won't have anymore assignments to deal with and can focus on dealing with the big picture and course outlines and finals prep.

I have one more appt with the allergist and he said it will be a few more tests and immunization. The PAP device will arrive some time this week and I can only hope it will be on Friday. Then I see the ENT again early in December to make sure everything is working in tandem.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

hypopnea and school

The sleep doctor called me on Tuesday night and told me the results of my sleep study were more serious than he realized when he scanned the results on Monday morning. I am losing a lot of oxygen while sleeping and struggling in my sleep, both to breathe and stay asleep.

I honestly thought I was as tired as I am because of the depression and the new circumstances my body and mind are dealing with. Not so much, apparently. I'm literally not sleeping.

I am going back in tonight for a similar test but with a mask.

I also went to an allergist yesterday. And I am allergic to everything. Even the doctor was surprised when he saw the test results. I had no idea. Pets, tree pollen and all forms of mold were the worst of the lost, but I'm allergic to foods I had no idea I was allergic to: apples, string beans, green peas and spinach. That spinach pisses me off no end. I love spinach and eat it 3 times a week. It gives me that iron and energy I need because I am so tired! Irony much?

I'm going back to the allergist tomorrow for a CAT scan of my face. Sigh.

But I do have the best professors in the world. K prof and LW prof gave me 2 days' extension on my papers due next Monday and Tuesday. They were so great and I am so relieved. Still, I am losing a lot of time today and tomorrow and catching up is going to be tough. Pray for Mojo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

to apnea or hypopnea

So I finally visited an ENT for my sinus, snoring and other horrid breathing issues. He promised me he could fix it. I see my Tort action forming.

But seriously. He sent me to an allergist and for a sleep study to determine if I have sleep apnea. He told me I am very congested. I could have told me that.

The sleep study came first and I went to the facility on Sunday night. The tech was from Guyana and is planning to start law school in 2012. We had lots in common.

Good thing, too, because it took nearly an hour to hook me up to the machine. I had electrodes coming out my wazoo: across my forehead and chin, about 8 in my hair, on my neck, legs and two sets of wires up my nosey. To say I was uncomfortable is the biggest understatement I can think of.

All of the electrode wires were hooked into this brick that had to sit on the bed next to me. So I had to sleep, on my back, with about 50 tiny wires coming out of my head, all attached to me with some kind of white gook and surgical tape. I still have gook in my hair even though I washed it twice when I got home. Uk.

I felt like I woke up every 5 minutes and only fell asleep around 5:30 or so because I asked the tech if I could lie on my side now. Even the doctor said my sleep results from that time showed me so restful that they felt really bad to wake me up.

I was so tired when I went to sleep and I was even more tired when I woke up. I had a feeling it would be rough, so I got excused from my 2 classes on Monday. I was also a little worried that I might hear I have sleep apnea.

The doctor met with me that morning and said while it was unlikely I had sleep apnea, it appears that I have hypopnea. And if it gets worse, it is treated as seriously as sleep apnea.

I do have an apnea that comes in my disturbed REM sleep state. The doctor said that isn't too bad because the apnea is not the cause of the disturbance but a consequence of it. He said the serotonin reuptake inhibitor I take causes that REM issue. I'm going to have to live with that because I cannot come off the Lexapro.

But he doesn't think any kind of device is necessary and that b/w the allergist and the ENT, they should be able to ease my breathing, snoring and the pressure on my face. I see the allergist tomorrow and will find out more about the hypopnea later this week.

Stay tuned. Same bat time. Same bat station.

Friday, November 5, 2010


So the Hwangs continue the tradition of not giving presents on the date the present-giving should take place. As soon as I got home last night, Le Pie barreled into me and told me not to go take a shower (which I really wanted to do b/c I had a huge headache and wanted to wash my hair) because I need to open my presents.

Just before I walked into the flat, I checked the mailbox and one of John's presents was in there. I put it in my bag and closed it, expecting to hide it with his other present, which I managed to get without him seeing the delivery guy.

Then Der comes out of his room with 2 beautifully wrapped presents, which was a shock in itself, because John NEVER wraps my present. I usually get it in the box it was delivered in! And then I found out Derek wrapped his present to me all by himself. Aw.

So, I opened my bag and gave Derek the present for his Daddy (still in the box it was delivered in! Hah!). Derek was responsible for John no longer having a penknife, so I got a cute little Leatherman one to replace it. Then I pulled out his present from me. It took him a few minutes to get around to mine because he was all over the Leatherman. I got him a Ralph Lauren shirt and he looked gorgeous in it.

As for me, John bought me the Kindle I wanted. It's gorgeous and light and tiny and I love it! Derek gave me the case with built-in light that I wanted! I had to force myself to put it down. Der, always a step ahead of his old Ma, was great about helping me set it up. Before he went to bed, I asked him a question and he helped me again. Then he said, "Before I go, is there anything else I can help you with?" LOL!

I left the Kindle home today b/c I have my Legal Research final today and I would just be distracted by playing with it. And I have a complaint due for Civil Procedure due on Tuesday and I told my group I would send them a first draft to work on as I won't be in school on Monday. I do not need another thing to distract me while I cram for the exam at noon and work on the complaint afterwards.

But I really cannot wait to go home!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

the social network

I just saw the movie and being the FB addict that I am, I rushed into Barnes and Noble to blog about it.

I can see why all my law school chums are raving about it. It should be on the curriculum in a depositions class. Do we have a depositions class? Well, we should.

Jesse Eisenberg played Mark Zuckerberg and I only know him as Hallie Eisenberg's brother and the resemblance was uncanny. Contrary to what Rashida Jones' character tells Zuckerberg, he is an asshole. And Eduardo Saverin was probably blind not to have seen it before. Poor guy. He really got the short end of the stick. The Winklevii also got a bit of a short-shrift and it was unfair for Zuckerberg to claim they were only climbing all over him b/c something didn't happen for them the way they wanted it to. These weren't just Daddy's fair-haireds coasting through Harvard on Daddy's name.

Aside: Hell, Daddy's name cut them no grease with the stupid Dean. Sorry Dean, but you were stupid and I am now reconsidering my life's dream to have Derek go to Harvard. Princeton, here we come.

Back to Bom.

These boys were top students and worked fucking hard to be the racers they are. They got stuff handed to them, I am sure, but no one studied for them or raced for them. I thought the movie got that across very well. The actors playing the Winklevii were great and managed to create personalities that rose above their looks. And it wasn't twins or even brothers playing Cameron and Tyler Winkelvoss but Arnie Hammer and Josh Pence plus a little digital magic.

Andrew Garfield played Saverin and all through the film I knew I'd seen him before. It was in the Red Riding Trilogy. He is a fine young actor and had more to do, acting-wise, in the trilogy, but wasn't shabby here at all. He manged to convey his feeling of betrayal without making you feel like he should suck it up. He really showed Saverin as the only supporter and friend Zuckerberg had and it killed me to watch him duel with Sean Parker.

Ah, Sean. What a dick. Well-played by Justin Timberlake, who did such a good job that my brain didn't do the "it's Justin Timberlake!" jump every time he showed up on screen. It was a very unsympathetic portrayal of a man once hailed as a hero for providing free music online. Timberlake must have had a ball playing someone so arrogant and cocky.

One thing I realized, whether it's true or not, FB was a more collaborative effort than Zuckerberg would have himself believe. Parker seemed to have had the idea for pix sharing and tagging. The Winklevii had the big idea. Even Saverin's crazy ex had the idea of putting Zuckerberg and Parker together.

Other people in the film: Rashida Jones had me wondering what she was doing there until the very nice scene at the end of the movie. She does that kind of get-your-head-out-of-your-ass and-come-back-to-reality scene well. Joseph Mazzello was unrecognizable as Dustin Moskivitz, Zuckerberg's programmer. Who is he? The kid from "Jurassic Park" who gets electrocuted on the fence. He grew up.

I was very curious to see Rooney Mara who played Erica Albright, who may have never friended Mark Zuckerberg, deservedly. She is cast in Fincher's version of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" as Lisbeth Salander, because he was impressed with her. I've seen the Swedish version, and she has to come very very good to even compare to Noomi Rapace, who transformed herself physically and emotionally for the role. She didn't have much to do in "The Social Network", so I guess Fincher saw something that I didn't that screamed "LISBETH SALANDER" to him. The character actually had more presence when she wasn't in a scene with Eisenberg. It's Zuckerberg's reaction to Erica's name and what she might be thinking about him and his poor judgment is what fuels his actions. He makes her out to be more than she is.

About the lawsuits. all through the film, I was wondering what the susbtantive issue was in the claim the Winkelvoss brothers brought against Zuckerberg. It is easy to prove he didn't use their code for setting up FB and there is no copyright or patent on an idea. All the brothers seem concerned with is that their idea was stolen. But ideas are unprotected and I didn't have to be in law school to tell you that. And Zuckerberg didn't appear to sign any kind of contract with the brothers and Divya Narendra, but that didn't mean they didn't have an agreement. The movie didn't address this well and I thank New York Law School and my K prof for being able to fill in the blanks myself. The brothers and Narendra claimed Zuckerberg broke a relationship with them because they had an affirmative agreement from him to work on their HarvardConnection website.

Saverin's claim were a bit more concrete and basic: fraud. He got cheated out of his share through the machinations, it appeared, of Sean Parker and his influence over Zuckerberg.

All in all, a good movie. The editing was crisp and clear and the flashbacks worked very well. Timberlake stood out, but the story was very good and well-told. I haven't read Ben Mezrich's book "The Accidental Billionaries", on which Aaron Sorkin based his script, but the movie stood on its own without me having to know too much about anything, really. I'd even like to see it again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

time to reassess

So we've been hearing about people dropping out of law school. Last week, our K prof said 2 people dropped out from our section. One was this really smart girl who felt law school wasn't her calling and chose not to stay in debt for a whole year to confirm what she already knew. The other did not speak English very well. I heard him once in class, early on in the semester. I couldn't tell if he was unprepared or couldn't articulate his answers in English. Or a combination of the two. Poor guy.

But it seems as though we were the last section to hear about people leaving or even have people leave. A month ago, a friend from another section said her K prof told them 4 people had left. Tough beans.

I've spoken to a couple of people who either entertained leaving at the end of the first week or plan to reassess at the end of the first year. It broke my heart. I admit to not knowing them well enough to see whether they belong in law school, but it looked like they were handling the work ok and it was hard to hear they were thinking about leaving. I can only imagine how hard it was to actually think it.

I do wonder if some people belong in law school. It is a perfect venue to show off. And the cattiness has begun. The things I hear surprise me. There are people who actually say out loud that they are pleased that some difficulty has befallen a classmate, because his attention will be focused elsewhere and that is less competition for them.

I am guarded. I take special care of my things and don't discuss papers if I can help it. I did it once and I still regret it. Not that the other people did anything, I just felt that I should have kept my mouth shut about my own thoughts.

But if it doesn't involve a paper, I am always happy to help. But I am seeing less and less of that as the term progresses. Either everyone is getting it or no one is going to admit they did not. Fine by me. I ask the prof or TAs when I don't get it. They are getting paid for that and I have $40K worth of questions in my bank.

I've been wondering how I would manage if I wasn't on the meds. I don't think I'd be able to keep my temper in check, and that would not be good. I might actually say some of the stuff I've been thinking. Plus, more importantly in my book, I would be very overwhelmed by the workload. It's not easy keeping up with classes, trying to revise what's already been done, dealing with home, the bitching, the moaning and trying to have a life with the friends I care about. I haven't even written home in a while.

On the bright side, I had to talk in Torts the other day and I thought I did well. Someone told me I sounded prepared and like I knew what I was talking about. Did I ever? I prepared the hell out of the reading and was I ever glad I did. I enjoyed it hugely.

This week has been tough. There are so many things going on other than class that I had no time during the week to prepare or study for anything. I wasn't exactly thrilled about staying home yesterday, but I was able to finish my memo and then relax for the rest of the day. But with the one thing after another this whole week, I had to do a lot of work last weekend.

I am keeping next week as free as I can because the Legal Research exam is next Friday and I need to devote some time to it. That also means covering the reading for the entire week over this weekend.

I have the all-important visit to the ENT next Wednesday and I have never looked forward to a doctor's visit more. The warmer weather has eased the sinus pressure a fair bit and I have been more comfortable this week than I have been in a while. Other than that, it's just K prof's celebration thingy and that is the only extra-curricula activity I have going on.

Pray for Mojo.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

js meme... how i've missed you

If I were a month I would be: June

If I were a day of the week I would be: Tuesday

If I were a time of day I would be: morning

If I were a planet I would be: mars

If I were a sea animal I would be: a blue whale

If I were a direction I would be: West

If I were a piece of furniture I would be: a bed

If I were a sin I would be: lust

If I were a liquid I would be: rum

If I were a stone, I would be: a bloodstone

If I were a tree, I would be: a mango tree

If I were a bird, I would be: a hummingbird

If I were a flower/plant, I would be: an iris

If I were a kind of weather, I would be: drizzly

If I were a musical instrument, I would be: a Spanish guitar

If I were an animal, I would be: a meerkat

If I were a color, I would be: green

If I were an emotion, I would be: overwhemlmed

If I were a vegetable, I would be: a potato

If I were a sound, I would be: a scream

If I were an element, I would be: fire

If I were a car, I would be: a mini

If I were a song, I would be: calypso

If I were a movie, I would be directed by: gurinda chadha

If I were a poem, I would be written by: t.s. eliot

If I were a food, I would be: cookie

If I were a place, I would be: a temple

If I were a material, I would be: cotton

If I were a taste, I would be: tasty

If I were a scent, I would be: lavender

If I were a religion, I would be: Pagan

If I were a word, I would be: crazy

If I were an object, I would be: a hammer

If I were a body part I would be: knees

If I were a facial expression I would be: an eyeroll

If I were a subject in school I would be: physical education

If I were a shape I would be: a hexagon

If I were a number I would be: seven

Friday, October 22, 2010

thick and thin, sick and sin

So the Hwang family has been married for almost 5 years and Mr and Mrs Hwang never thought we'd make it this far. Baby Hwang has already decided that he will go live with his Aunties when we divorce. We're staying together for Jess and Bri's sake!

Joke and fun aside, five years is a long time to be together and it's the longest relationship either of us has ever had. So, I say, kudos to Ma and Pa Hwang.

I laid down the law last year that I am not going to tell John what I want as an anniversary present. I wanted him to look into my soul and get me something that, preferably, comes in a small(ish) robin-egg's blue box and I better be surprised.

Well, I caved about 2 weeks ago and blurted out I wanted a Kindle. Sigh. I did try. I dropped hints but I chose to believe Mr Hwang was going through one of his denser phases and just said it. Turns out, he was going to buy me a diamond. To which Derek said, "Get her the diamond, Daddy, and then we can get aaaanything we want!"

To explain: Whenever John comes up with one of his outrageously expensive desires, which are mostly just outrageous in my book, I say he can get it if I buy a diamond. One day he said he is going to buy me a diamond and then buy himself whatever he wants and I will just have to lump it. I might have mentioned before that Derek is turning into his Daddy.

Anyhoo, the Hwangs have decided that the fifth wedding anniversary is electronica (which is good because the traditional gift is wood!) and Der already has a netbook and I am expecting a Kindle, since I clearly drowned the diamond idea! AND I caved and have decided to let John get a PS3 or X-box or whatever-the-fuck. But he will get that later on, maybe closer to Christmas.

Friday, October 15, 2010

conquering that first semester

Have I? I don't know, but I do seem to bitch less than everyone else, or at least a large chunk of the class, so that counts in my book.

The one thing I do complain about is being in a class with so many young people, barely out of their teenage habits. I'm beginning to feel like I'd like to be in a place with grown-up who are serious about their lives. My closest mates are over 30 and if we have nothing else in common, we share this frustration.


However, there are a couple of saving graces that manage to save the side. My study partner is a gem who actually understands I have shit going on and she is wonderful about making herself flexible for me. I am half in love with her sometimes, she is so great. There are a couple of women who I treat like daughters, but they just bring out my silliness more than anything. They laugh at my dick jokes and are grosser than a couple of guys I know. There are women who are so sweet to me and drop me line on FB chat just to say hi or that we haven't spoken in few days. I always smile when I see their pix pop up.

Why no boys, you ask? And why do I say women and not men, but boys? The boys are so pretty that I cannot think of them as men. I also have 2 sons, so all boys are babies. Plus, they are the most immature. I'd take the entitled princesses over them any day. Two boys sit behind me in one class and puss-puss the whole time. I have more than once turned around and asked them to stop talking. I don't even say shush or ask politely. I'm a hair away from calling them stupid fuckheads.

I could go on. It's my blog, and I could. But I am so fed up of them all.

Back to Bom.

Assignments are piling up and it's getting challenging trying to not spend all the time doing them and forgetting to prepare for class and keep revising. I take advantage of the TAs as much as I can and I can feel a couple of Contracts concepts slipping away from me, so I've been using office hours like a muthafucker.

Civ Pro midterm was last week and exactly what I knew was going to come, came, and I still wasn't happy. My study partner and I did an almost-exact question the day before and it all slipped away. I got the larger concepts in and matched the fact pattern to them but there were still things I left out. I could have done much better, I know. But I know 12(b)(6) inside and out and I can only pray that comes in the final.

My second Contracts paper is due on Monday and I pounded out a first draft and edited it as tightly as I could tonight. I'm not sure I want to take another look at it on Sunday, but I'll see how it goes. It's very hard for me to go over what I've written. I actually have a "done" point in my mind, which I find it very difficult to get past. I'm not sure what I'm not seeing. I find a first draft to be vital in anything I write. I can fool myself that it's not finished and just jottings, but it's really quite comprehensive. I find that I need to go back to using pen and paper, cross out and rewrite. I usually get three drafts that way, but can fool myself into thinking it's just one. One means it's not done. Three means it's almost there. It works for me.

Legal writing is getting interesting. There's an awful lot of bitching in that class and I find myself going later just to avoid it. I actually think the class is getting better and am kinda liking it. I'm definitely in the minority. I also like Legal Research and am learning stuff there too, despite popular opinion. There are only so many ways to make these two courses interesting and I think the teachers do try, especially in LR. I've always believed that school is like the Forest of Arden: it gives you from what you bring to it. If I schlep into class late, don't read ahead, moan about the professor, I know I will get nothing out of it because there is only so much self-motivation I can do under those circumstances I put myself in.

It's when I think like that I remember that being older has its advantages. I feel sorry for my very young classmates who won't know this for years, if they ever do at all. I wouldn't want any of the things that happened to me that got me insight to happen to them. Not even a little bit.

Ok. Back to Bom.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Wed, October 6, 2010
Alarm goes off at 6 and I hit the snooze twice until 6:20. Roll over on the husband and drag myself off the bed.

Feed pets, make coffee, ablutions, drink coffee, dress, check weather and MTS on NY1 and leave by 7:15.

First class is at 9 a.m. Till 10:15.

Then class at 11:00. Have time for coffee or yogurt and Coke. Class ends 12:40.

Civ Pro group meets with TA at 1p.m. Till.

Meet with study partner to do Civ Pro practice exam under exam conditions and then discuss.

With any luck, all that Civ Pro-ing can end by 5 so I can do my Legal Research HW and start my LR assignment.

Thursday, October 6, 2010
Alarm goes off at 6 and I hit the snooze twice until 6:20. Roll over on the husband and drag myself off the bed.

Feed pets, go upstairs and drag Derek off bed, make coffee, ablutions, drink coffee, dress, check weather and MTS on NY1 and leave by 7:15.

Drop Le Derek off to school and try to get to school before 9.

9-11 Civ Pro review session

12:45-2 Writing seminar

2-3:40 Torts

4:30-5:45 LR

Chances of me doing anything b/w classes on Thursday other than trying to eat and put books in and take books out of my locker is very slim. Mercifully, I am all read up for Torts this week.

One class on Friday morning and then Civ Pro for a good chunk of the day and more work on LW in the afternoon. Pick up Le Derek and come home.

Saturday, go to school and spend morning on Civ Pro questions and LR.

Sunday, spend day dividing up reading for K and Civ Pro.

I have a couple of movies at home to watch, much tv to catch up on and a husband and son to see and spend time with. Things are gettin' good!

Monday, September 27, 2010

a house for mr biswas

The other day, I needed to grab a book to read on the train and picked up "The Mystic Masseur" and when I was done, I had a hankering to read "Biswas", although I can quote large chunks of both books by now.

I read "Biswas" at least once a year and every time I do I write a post about it. I should have given the book its own category on Journalspace, I read it so often!

But I love it. I have always held close Biwas' feeling "to have lived without even attempting to lay claim to one's portion of the earth; to have lived and died as one had been born, unnecessary and unaccommodated."

As much as the book makes me laugh out loud, even after multiple readings, it always fills me with deep sadness. I always feel so much like Mohun Biswas and reading this book is like when Bipti bathes young Biswas and rubs open the sores on his legs. I feel so red and raw and in pain. It passes, just like his: "... in an hour or two the redness and rawness of the sores had faded, scabs were beginning to form, and Mr Biswas was happy again."

I'm not sure I'd say I get happy again, but it does get better. And Biswas is a small boy in that scene and he is happy playing with his sister and discovering a pond.

And I miss home when I read it. It's funny, I own the house with John I live in but it has never felt like mine. It does feel like home, but not like my house. Of course, the former is better, but it's not like I don't know where Biswas is coming from. I used to plan to buy my own house and it thrilled and terrified me at the same time.

But I miss Trinidad. I miss everything I thought I didn't like and everything I truly loved. It pains to think about Annabelle and Anu when reading "Biswas". I miss mango chow and a good goat roti and sada with bhagi or bodi. God, I miss bodi! I miss Paramin seasoning and Machel's "Soca Santa" and stupid-ass crowds in Chaguanas and Hi-Lo cake. I miss making a special trip to Long Circular Mall to "see the decorations" and eat Mario's pizza in the food court. I miss Chinese food like a motherfucker.

I miss cricket in the Oval and sno cones and iffy palette from the iffier palette man. I miss doubles with chadon beni and slight. I miss the lady I used to buy papers and salt prunes from every Saturday morning. I miss the 'Nade and the corn soup truck. God, I miss corn soup. I even miss the Nagar and Emancipation Village.

I miss the newspapers and the news reports on tv. I miss 97.1 FM. I miss mas on tv and the old Breakfast Shed. I miss pepper shrimps from Town Center Mall and Lucky's Preserve Plums from Disdrugs. I miss Excellent City Center.

I am not even a third of a way through "Biswas" this rounds.

Friday, September 17, 2010

success, please

I've been taking some academic success sessions offered by the school. They are very informative and I've discovered I've embraced a lot of the tips that they are giving us. In the tradition of law school blogs everywhere, here is what I think is useful to getting through the work.

1. Keep your syllabus with you at all times.
Sounds dumb? I've found that referring to my syllabus has been enormously helpful in guiding my outline. I also have two professors who have written very comprehensive notes in the syllabi. Going back to them can give you real insight into stacking your blocks.

2. Keep stacking the blocks.
Huh? No class is in a vacuum. Every one builds on the one before it and will help put up the next one. It's not a stop-and-start but a continuous flow of information that you have to assimilate, even if your professor doesn't seem to teaching that way. No exam is just going to have an essay question based on the application of one rule. They will all be ambiguous enough to discuss many.

3. Don't get carried away with what other sections are doing.
I often ask other large and small sections what they are covering in class but I try to be careful not to stress out over whether they are ahead or we are in a totally different planet. Other sections' perspectives are good, and talking about rules and issues is helpful. Just don't let it get to you. Your professor has a method to his madness. Trust it.

4. Brief.
Try to brief every case, not just the main ones, but ones in the notes as well. I don't have time to brief every citation in an opinion, but I look it up and try to pull out where the judge is coming from. Sometimes, just reading the quote the judge pulled out is not enough for me. I need to see what the facts and defenses were in order to understand why an opinion is going the way it's going. I've also learnt that opinions cam pull out just the bit they need and slant it, which might be the original intention of the case being cited. It's a lot of fun.

5. Ignore people
Everyone has an opinion, but opinions are like assholes. Everyone knows one.

6. Listen carefully to what your classmates are saying in class.
At this stage, people's comments aren't terribly insightful and some are dead stupid. But. They can be helpful in guiding your thoughts away from a bad idea or to something useful. If someone is being asked a question, make sure you can answer it.

7. Answer the question being asked.
It is so easy to just chuck it and say what you know. Don't. Listen to the question being asked. If you're in a Socratic dialog, the professor isn't going to just stick to the case. Listen to him ask you something slightly different and answer it. Not knowing or being wrong is not an issue. I've noticed that people get stuck on the original question and anything that comes after it is dead air as far as they are concerned. It's a tough situation when you're cold-called but you must focus.

8. Get proper sleep.
I've phased out in a couple of classes because I have been so sleepy that I couldn't focus. Also, don't expect anyone to feel sorry for you if you went out and then came home at some late hour and had to study for class the next morning.

9. Try to stay one class ahead of your schedule.
It doesn't always work. As the semester progresses, it's tough to maintain that pace when assignments begin to rear their ugly heads. It helps not to put things off. Schedule time for the assignment in increments rather than all at once. It helps to be able to go back to it with fresh eyes over a 3-day period that frustrating yourself by doing nothing else but that one thing all damn day. Also, it means that you aren't giving up time needed to prep for classes.

10. Do something non-law school related.
EVERY SINGLE PERSON tells you this. It's a fact of life. Don't become a workaholic or one of those people who always has his head stuck in a casebook and only takes a break to ... hopefully shower. I used to work at a newspaper and it dominated my life. It was all I ever did. I did not schedule anything into my life. I hung out with my colleagues only and spent very very little time not thinking about or doing work. Now, I take a whole day off and hang out with my kid, sleep and watch tv. On the train to and from school, I read a non-school book. Hell, I spend so many hours in school that even there I pick up my novel or watch something online just to take a break. I find these things relaxing and they take my mind off school. It's good to be indulgent every now and then, otherwise you'll begin to resent being here and nothing good will come of that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

in a fine castle

Two of the law school blogs I read regularly have issues. One shut down completely, mostly because I think he lost his anonymity and is now applying for jobs and took the safe way out. Another is contemplating shutting down because he's too busy to write.

Deciding on making this blog public wasn't easy. I really thought about a separate blog to get into law school drama. But I've named my blog "A Look Inside My Mind" for a reason, and I chose not to shut that bit out, even as I have to censor my thoughts on here. I accept that.

Law school seemed very natural. I feel like I've been doing this forever. I really love it here. I love studying. I'm sleepy like heck, but I'm coping. I've managed to get out a few times with friends, spend time with Le Pie and even get to see my husband every once in a while. We saw each other every damn day for almost 5 years. Law school might be doing us some good. He's a funny guy and he makes me laugh.

I'm not particularly overwhelmed by the work, or the juggle with work and home. I do feel guilty about not seeing Derek and John, but they don't make me feel too bad about it and I appreciate that.

I have my first writing assignment due a week from tomorrow and I've been trying to deal with it as objectively as I can. However, I have no idea how it's going. I haven't fallen into talking about work with people and for fear of inadvertent copying, I definitely try to stay about from talking about the substance of the assignments we get. I'm all for helping people with the format and even join in collective moaning, but I'm very wary of mentioning direct issues. It's not easy, because I'd like to talk over case law with someone else, but I'd rather err on the side of caution for now. I really don't want to unconsciously absorb someone's ideas or vice versa. I've seen "Inception" and I understand it!

But working on the assignment has been fun. I enjoy Contracts a lot. Civ Pro is tougher, and I HAVE a study partner for that one. Those assignments don't jones me up the way Contracts' does.

Hmmm. How scary am I?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

you don't know me, muthafucka

You have to say that header like Ken Jeong. Sadly, that is a joke only my husband might get. Which is probably why I married him.

On 3 different occasions today, I was told, in some form or fashion, that I was being thought of as a gunner. Not the book-hiding, page-cutting kind, but basically still the nuisance kind. They were joking. They were nice boys. They had no malice behind it. But I still found it odd that in one day, 3 different men would josh with me about my work ethic. Each time, I took it no further than their statement and just changed the topic.

Someone who was with me when it happened asked me if it bothered me. I said yes and no. It doesn't bother me because I've heard worse about myself and came through very unscathed. It doesn't bother me because I can't do anything about it, so I let it go. What does bother me is that I feel it's a tiny logical leap from "she's always prepared" to "she's going to graduate when she's 40 so her life cannot possibly be like a 22-year-old."

I consider myself very lucky. I had a long time to prepare for this. I've had this in my conscious mind for years and it got to really gestate and take form with no competition for brain space. I asked my friend, who came straight from college to law school, if she had that luxury and she said no.

I am lucky because my husband has some practical experience in handling a partner in an intense academic situation.

I have always known I cannot bar-hop and drink till 2 in the morning, stumble home and try to brief cases. I knew I had no intention of giving up my sleep. I have a child who needs me and whom I need and spending a Saturday with him is the thing I look forward to the most. It's how I get through the week. I know I have to make up for that day somehow.

I also know I've done the scene. I have my legendary drunks, fucks and parties under my belt. And I also know that I was over it when I was over it and I knew, even then, I wasn't going back to that. I killed it and it was over. And it's not any different now than it was then. The drinks are the same, the dudes still lie and the parties should still be over long before the last lime leaves. Only condoms are more expensive.

I am not doing anything more than I am supposed to. I have no secret answers in my pocket. I read until I understand. I ask or email a Prof or a TA or a 2 or 3L if the work is getting the better of me. I'm assigned the same work as everyone else. I'm just operating with different motivation. I want this. I want my kids to be proud of me. I want them to see that they can change their minds, choose to be different, to see they aren't trapped by life. It's hard when it's hard, but sometimes you get opportunities. Mine is called John.

By the way, while writing this, 2 people came to ask me for help on an assignment. It was the same way at UWI. The same people who accused me of rubbish and talked behind my back used to come to me for help. I never said no or gave anyone halfway help, even though sometimes I wanted to. I thought I didn't know them in the same way I believed they didn't know me and it cost me nothing to say some words. I didn't get any less smart and explaining something always made me understand it better.

I'm not saying these 2 people fall into that category, but the irony is still inescapable to me.

Friday, September 3, 2010

blog blues

It's not that I don't have things to post about. I do. Many, many things. But I don't feel comfortable putting them down here. I barely even talk about them. Shit that really gets on my nerves, I call Anu and Skype-rant at her for 20 minutes and come away feeling better. It's out in the world but no where it can come back to bite me in the professional ass.

God, but it's hard. I am easily pissed off and I cannot take my pissiness to FB or my blog. I've given up on Twitter. I know it seems perfect: 140 words to just state my irritation? How perfect can you get? But, I got some personal character and moral fitness shit to think about and the censoring has begun.

Not that I haven't censored myself in the past. I don't put my sex life on here. Not because it wouldn't make for interesting reading (trust me!) but I do have someone else to think about in that regard and I have to afford him some privacy as well. As Pie is getting older, I am more careful what I say about him, because he will (hopefully) read this someday and I don't need to have to foot the therapy bills for causing his dysfunction. I don't even mention Chris more than in passing. He's way to old to want to me to do that and I respect his privacy as well.

But I liked having the outlet to say that people pissed me off because of so and so. But I have made this blog public and the school is aware of its existence. That puts the responsibility on me. I accept that. I do miss Journalspace, where I could have made posts private or friends only, so at least I can put my grief out there.

For now, Skype-ranting will have to do.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


So nearly all of the law school blogs I've been reading have a post about cold-calling. So why not me?

I'm very okay with being called on. I go to class prepared as hell and want to be called on. I have no issue with speaking in public and knowing I'm prepared as hell gives me even more confidence.

But, I'm 36 years old and faced my public speaking demons way back in high school and emerged victorious. My high school was an all girls Presbyterian high school in Trinidad, one of the best. While it had long since given up Home Economics and how to lay a table, it held on to 2 important things a young lady should know how to do: properly lift a chair and speak in public.

The former was taught on the very first day to your class by an older student and never discussed again. There was no need, because no one ever held a chair any other way ever again. Ever. Again.

The latter was a bit trickier. You really had to want to speak in front of people to get much out of it. But I think everyone had to speak out in class and did their best to overcome the fear. For the braver and talkier, there were 2 avenues open to you: debate competitions and taking assembly.

I was all about taking assembly. I lived for it. From 2nd form (about 13-14) and up, each class had to take assembly at least once for the term. There were 4 assembly days in every 6 and it a was supposed to be a different pair of girls at the podium each time. The entire class chose the topic and worked on it together (in theory) and the 2 girls taking the stage would do the final speech and present it.

My first one was so scary. I was still 12 and never stood in front of a huge crowd like that. 700+ girls, all of the teaching staff sitting on the stage to my right and the principal sitting next to the podium on my left. I don't remember what I spoke about, just that I loved it.

By the time I left school, I was taking the stage 2 or 3 times for my class, which I am sure my classmates appreciated because they didn't have to stand next to the P for 15 minutes while she checked out your shoes, nails and uniform belt. That was really the scary part: is my uniform exactly as it should be?

Those years were such a good foundation for me that even though years would pass before I ever had to speak in public again, I was always ready for it. I always write what I want to say and that helps no one.

I have no issue reading from the notes I made for myself when I get called on in class. I am not a memorizer so I write that shit down for a reason. I think a lot of people feel they need to sound off-the-cuff and not rehearsed. I am more eloquent with the written word and have no issue reading what I wrote. They are still my words.

I think I have some of the best 1L Profs. If you tell them before class you aren't prepared, they won't call on you. They will make a note of it but you get 2 free passes before it begins to affect your standing. One of them said just a note with a name will suffice, a reason isn't needed.

Another problem is many of the young'uns haven't had any kind of public speaking experience in undergrad and getting called on for the first time can feel like death. The thought of getting called on makes them start to shake. And the Profs don't just ask one question. If they start with you on one case, they keep at you, or keep coming back to you even after volunteers are called on.

It's pretty clear who likes to talk. Most people have something to say, so Profs take volunteers a lot. It's still early in the semester, so I don't know if Profs are going to recognize the talkers and call on them a lot when they volunteer and cold-call the ones who don't. They don't know most names-to-faces as yet, so sometimes a person who has volunteer several answers or points gets called on in the same class. I kinda wish the Prof would give that person a break and call on someone else. Not because she's not brilliant, but just to hear someone else's point of view. I'm sure no one agrees with me on that point. If that person is being called on, it lessens the chances of someone else being called on!

I know at least 2 of my Profs knows my name and my face. I am making sure that one of them is going to know my face real good. I have to find a way to get the 3rd to know me but I'm not really having a problem in that class, so I might have to make one up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

stroking myself

Since this is my blog, I am going to indulge in some serious onanistic behavior.

I am super fucking smart and am loving being in law school. I feel exactly the same way I felt as an undergrad. Fucking brilliant.

Not that I am not surrounded by some stunning brilliance as well. There's a guy in my classes who I am dying to ask to be in a study group with me, but I don't like the guy he hangs out with and I'm afraid if I ask him he might want to ask his friend and I can already see we will get away. His overinflated sense of superiority cannot co-exist with mine. It's that simple. I'm the king.

So I'm in K and the Prof is asking his questions and I'm answering a few and he just moves on after I answer. So... dude, am I doing it wrong? Give me some feedback here! But, then I begin to notice that it's the people who aren't hitting the nail on the head that he's on, and the case we're discussing is one of my favorites, I realize that he's not hanging around to stroke the people who are hitting the nail on the head. And who's an accurate nail-on-the-head hitter. MOI! Boo-yah!

It truly helps that I love that class. What is it about contracts that gets my blood pumping? I have no idea. I loved dealing with them at The New Press, I loved the class at LP and I'm loving this. I'm a little concerned that I might wind up spending a disproportionate amount of time on this class, but, then again, it's 3 days a week and is 4 credits. It needs the extra time.

Civ Pro is cool. I just found out that I don't need to memorize the entire rule book, that we will get one on the day of the exam. Whew. But I am trying to climb all over Rule 8, 11 and Rule 12(b)(6).

Torts, I just love. I thought it would be my toughest class b.c of all the elements required to bring a case: you have to satisfy every element and who can remember them all? But, I'm liking this Prof's teaching style and I've exercised some brilliance in his class as well.

So here's where I gripe. And if you don't like it, go read someone else's blog. I dislike people who answer the question they want and not the question they hear. Why do people do that? It was pounded into my brain since Common Entrance to answer the question in front of me. That kind of shit just keeps everyone back and I start to lose interest.

I'm torn b/w helping people, getting into a study group and other social mores. I don't always feel very social. This morning I got off the train actually thinking that I hate people. I'm not always thrilled to be sitting by myself in the cafeteria, but I'm not 12, so I cope. I manage to get a lot of work done and I do enjoy my own company. Always have.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

library day

I spent my first Sunday at the NYLS library. I don't think I can be any more prepared for tomorrow as I am right now. Will law school be over tomorrow?

I took Pie to breakfast at a neighborhood diner. It was our special little birthday breakfast because I won't be seeing much of him on his actual birthday, this coming Thursday. I'll be home for cake and see him open his present from me and John, but that's about it.

He ate the middle of one chocolate chip pancake and all the bacon. He also made me get him a Coolata from Dunkin Donuts, which John says tastes like cough syrup, but Le Pie loves. I forewent a taste.

I've been craving banana pancakes for weeks and I finally got some. They were delicious.

Then I dropped Der back home and headed off to school. It was so quiet today. From tomorrow, classes start for the entire school, so the place will be jumping, in a pleasant way until finals, when they might have to scrape people off the walls. The caffeine consumption alone in that place is scary. People drink huge coffees with a side of Mocha shot or Red Bull. I'm not exaggerating. This was on the 2nd day of Orientation! I've never had a Red Bull in my life and I do not intend to start now. My sleep is fucked as it is.

I managed to get through my entire week of K classes today. I'm up to 2 classes for Civ Pro and Torts, so I decided to head home. It was a very productive day. I'm hoping to be able to take Saturdays off and not have to sacrifice my sleep too much. I don't plan to go to bed much later than 11, since I have to be up at 6. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I hardly ever write about celebrities and mostly keep my opinions about those I admire b/w me and my husband. However, I have to put down somewhere how disgusted I am by S*pencer P*ratt (I'm hoping to avoid him coming here when he Google's himself while he has his morning whatever).

He describes himself as a "fame whore" but there's got to be a worse word for him. There are ways to use your celebrity (such as his is) to be famous without resorting to the steps he's taking. Just ask Paris Hilton. He says he is Christian, but he's shopping his sex-tape around? Is it any wonder his wife (no great brain there either, but clearly realized his shit stank worse than most) left him? Living with him must have been exhausting.

This kid is the worst representation of celeb-reality there could be. Not than any of the others aren't trying to catch up. The only reality tv show I watch is "Dancing with the Stars" and even though the "Stars" are somewhat fallen, at least they are working their asses off at something physical. And there is no on-screen drama b/w the players. It's about the dancing and the love. Mostly. I refuse to mention her name here, but we all know who I mean when I say, "poor Tony Dovolani".

But back to this brat. Shopping around a sex tape he made with his wife? How low can you get? Doesn't he have parents? Or a conscience? I once saw an interview with him (I forget on what channel but I think Wendy Williams was on the panel) and his wife over the Al Roker drama. His wife honestly said she had no control over him when Williams pointed out that she had some responsibility for his actions. He agreed. He listened to no one.

He is truly sickening and the media, will claiming to be equally sick of him, still write about him and show clips of his antics. It's not often I wish for a media blackout on someone, but I wish he would just disappear.

Friday, August 20, 2010

that recap i mentioned

So, as I was saying before I got all side-tracked, Wednesday and Thursday of this week were pretty good.

I had my first official class on Thursday: my small section Civ Pro met. It's so great when you can walk into a class knowing you know the material and when you raise your hand, something intelligent comes out. I had a great experience and we have a terrific prof. I heard some people in a small section Torts class had a brutal experience with their prof. Yikes. I am kinda expecting that with my K prof, so I am doing my best to be super-duper prepared for his classes. Plus, it helps that I love reading the K cases and doing the work. Ask me again at the end of next week if I still feel the same way.

After Civ Pro, we had the convocation ceremony in the auditorium. Basically, it's a ceremony that officially welcomes you to law school and no one actually tells you that you can't ask for your tuition back after that! I guess I'd keep that a secret as well.

I was exhausted during that thing and struggled not just to stay awake, but not fall asleep. That I found more brutal than my Civ Pro class. There were short speeches by the Dean and the head of the Student Bar Association. However, the next speaker went on and on about why we came to law school and NYLS in particular. Um... I know why I came. I certainly know why I picked the school. Was that the best you could have done with your time? It wasn't unhelpful. by any means, it just seemed out of place for a convocation ceremony.

The President of the Board of Trustees was a NYLS alum and been in the biz for 51 years. They should have let him speak earlier, because he I wanted to hear. Honestly, I cannot remember much about his speech right now, but I tried to pay attention because, hey, 51 years as a lawyer is some serious staying power.

Then I stood in a rather chaotic line (I use the word loosely) for tiny cupcakes and fruit, and only because I was starving. I figured I would grab a bite to sustain me and then head home. I was so tired I could hardly stand.

I had almost reached the top step, when I think I might have dozed off. Seriously. I closed my eyes and they jerked open when my slipper hit the edge of the step and I went crashing down. I heard someone ask if I was all right and I think I said yes but looked up for the help. Not a body moved. I was stunned. If I saw someone fall, I'd at least stand up and make sure they were moving on their own steam and not just immediately go back to my chatting because she mumbled something. I was even more stunned because I actually needed the help. I hit my knee pretty damn hard on the step and I had to drop everything in order to hold on to the rail to stand up.

I began to make my way to locker sub-zero when I felt some breeze around my left knee. I looked down and saw a tear in my nice new black skinny jeans! Grrr. I rounded the corner by the student organization offices' when both the pain hit and the realization there was something wet running down my shin.

I walked into the Stonewall office and Rachel, who amazingly went to nursing school, managed to stop the bleeding and dress the cut without making the tear in my pants any bigger. It was truly a feat. I heard someone ask how do people in other law schools make out because Rachel goes to NYLS. I heartily concur.

The adrenaline from the whole experience managed to get me to the curb of 185 Broadway and into a cab. And that's when I realized exactly how sleepy I really was. I made it home in mostly one piece, redressed my knee and went to sleep. When I woke up, my leg from the knee down was in agony. Today is a bit better, but I decided to stay off of it for a while.

Derek has not had an easy time with Mummy doing this law school business, as I've been home late every night, only able to put him to bed. I'm so tired when I get in, that he reads me a story from his Iron Man book. I can't be picky. Tomorrow, we take him to Victoria Gardens, and if I don't go he will disown me and buy a new Mummy at the Mummy Store. Plus, I want to get to the library on Sunday for a few hours to go over my K and Civ Pro notes for Monday's class. Despite the trials (no pun intended!), I am liking my new life.

bringing my perspective to law school

It's been a pretty memorable week, to say the least.

Wednesday was much better than Tuesday, depression-wise. I met up with some FB friends and I think I spent most of that day just laughing. So not a whole lot of studying! There was a Legal Process class, a library tour and an Alumni event, all of which was surprising fun.

After LP, the 2 profs stuck around to chat with some students. I stayed in my seat to see if my neighbor could get into the portal or use my access to get her info. Another FB friend came up and introduced himself and we just stayed there, chatting. The profs thought we might have been waiting to speak to them, so they came over to ask. We wound up talking about the amendment to the 14th Amendment re children of illegal immigrants born in the US no longer automatically being citizens.

I told them that, as an immigrant, I carry around a great deal of guilt that I don't throw my lot in with immigrant issues across the board because I did things the right way. I married for love and my husband adopted my biological child out of love. We had a lawyer, filled out the right forms, produced what we needed to produce and survived the hearings and interviews and the CIS bureaucracy.

But, in spite of that, I feel the same way any person who comes to live in the States, especially NY, feels: lost and alone. I flailed along for years trying to figure this place out, learn trains and buses, walking on a different side of the street, etc. And that's just logistics. Trinidad is a very different place, with a very different atmosphere. I felt like I was learning a new language.

Aside: this is one reason I feel so ready for law school. I'm not sure I conquered NY, but in the almost-five years I've been here, I've come a long way. Law school IS a whole new language and set of experiences, but they very much parallel my way since I moved here and I don't feel like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not as unprepared as I could have been, hence, I feel more confident in my approach to everything. Plus, being older has its perks.

However, because I did everything the right way and I didn't come to the US looking for a "better life" (although, God knows, I have one) and never had any desire to come here, I don't feel as strongly about the rights of illegal immigrants as the illegals do. I'm not sure I feel, as a group, they automatically deserve the rights of naturalized citizens or permanent residents: the people who did it the right way;, who waited years for their paperwork to drip its way down the channels like molasses on a hot day; who paid the ridiculous sums of money at each stage of filing; who sweated out interviews with the CIS.

I am not thrilled at the move to amend the 14th Amendment either, especially if the thinking behind it is to control the influx of illegals: your kids born here are as illegal as you are, so don't born them here. I do realize my perspective on this is not the same as I am here legally, from the minute I stepped off the plane. I am also going to seek citizenship next year, with help from my immigration lawyer. How can I identify with people who left their homelands to look for a better life for their children? I'm not sure I can.

I didn't get into all this because I have an interest in immigration law. Constitutional Law, yes, but after going through the immigration stuff, I had no desire to get any further into it. But one of the professors suggested I talk to another professor who is big in the immigration law dance, and I think I will. It definitely couldn't hurt keep my options open, even if it's just to offer advice to friends down the road.

I intended this post to be about Wednesday and Thursday of this week, but it took on a life of it's own. I'll post about the rest of orientation week later.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

welcome to law school blogging

I don't think I like the word "blawg". Two law school blogs that I read on a regular basis use that spelling, but I been blogging longer than them 2 fellas born, so I figure I can spell it right and overlook the foilbles of today's youth.

Yes, I felt my age today. I have many things to write about but the problem is that when you write a blog that you hope people read is that people might actually read it. After hearing a lecture today about moral fitness and personal character, I choose to err on the side of caution and not bad talk people.

I do have to say though that I did have one disappointing experience today with someone who agreed to meet me and never showed up or apologized. It hurt me that I showed up an hour before I was supposed to and had to sit down like a mooks. I could have slept later and left home later. It made me oddly stressed out when she didn't show or call or email. Thankfully, I took my Contracts books with me and managed to get some work done in the hour. I choose not to have that one stain tar a school I actually love. I'll get over it and I think it's because I'm tired and every nerve is sitting at the surface, all raw and red, that I am stinging from it more than I should.

I also feel like I am too old to deal with shit. I have this weird notion that I have only so much time in which to do the things I want to do and even though I have the same 3 years as all my classmates I feel the need to get more out of it or something. That's not explaining it well. I just feel like the attitude I had at 21 isn't in me anymore.

Come to think of it, I was a pretty serious student at 21. And me at 21 didn't feel like I had the world at my feet. I felt pretty constricted by my circumstances. Now, actually, I feel like I have more open to me.

But I am 36 years old and I want to be able to take my career where I want to take it. I don't want to settle. Not with this. I've decided I don't want to cut corners or make compromises in this thing.

But, I digress. I meant to write about my day, my first day, at law school. It wasn't an easy day, in the sense that I felt very alone in a room full of people. I felt that way all day. I tried hard to shake the feeling, shake the hand crawling up my throat but I could feel it closing and squeezing. It's been such a long time since I've had to fight that particular feeling. It contributed to the feeling of exhaustion, along with the heat and the heavy bag. Oh, and the shoes that gave me blisters. You know who is wearing her slippers tomorrow!

But, oddly enough, I was happy to be there. I was happy when I was studying. I am looking foward to classes starting next week. Bring it, motherfuckers!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

gettin' ready

I woke up at 6 this morning. Actually, I was already awake when my alarm went off. I felt sick, stuffy and was coughing. I really hope it's just an allergy and not a cold. Miss Kayrein is coming tomorrow and I don't need to be sick now.

I decided last night, in between this toss and that turn, that I should move my books and stuff downstairs to my desk. I cleaned everything off my desk except the sexy beast. I'm not sure what to do with it so I'm leaving it there for the time being. Louisa is more mobile, and the desk has a pull-out drawer, so there is space to use it there.

I put the books in piles by course on a shelf. I managed to use the space as a temporary storage area for them until better can be done.

I'd actually much prefer to be upstairs, but the layout of the flat really prevents that. Plus, my office chair is more comfortable than the sofas and I can always lodge myself on the bed. I'm really hoping I won't have to bring work home, but, like I said, I've seen the size of the lockers at NYLS. I'm not sure it can hold what I plan for it to hold!

I vacuumed the living daylights out of the downstairs living room when I was done. I threw out a lot of paper: so much that I had to bring a recycling bin liner downstairs to stuff everything in! I'm going to deal with upstairs in a while. I'm tired now and I'm hoping to get some Contracts work in today so I can relax tomorrow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

took a tour

NYLS offered a tour for students' friends and family this afternoon, so I took John and Pie. Pie's been before, so he was all over the place like an old hand. You'd think he was a student there.

I saw another family with little kids, so when Dean Perez divided the large group into 3 I sidled up into his group, thinking Der could have a little company. Well, I never saw those kids again and since Derek was walking around so confidently, I didn't have to worry.

Dean Perez came to tell me hi and that he read my blog. I immediately wanted to say that I'd take it down! But he said it was great and I was so embarrassed that I forgot to introduce John! Being singled out in a crowd was a little unnerving. It's easy to say and do stuff over the Internet. I didn't even recognize anyone I've been chatting with on FB.

The tour went great and this time I got to see where the lockers are (Lord, help me to find them again). I was a bit disappointed in the size. They are the size of a gym locker and I was hoping for bigger. If only to hold my winter coat! That fucker is huge! Ah well, if that's all I gots to complain about, so be it.

We also got taken from the new building over to the old one, which I'd not done on any other tour. I toured the old building over a year ago, when I was looking at law schools in the City. I loved NYLS even then.

The whole tour got me so excited to start on Tuesday. I forgot the days I just gave up to read and do assignments and just wanted to be in that beautiful building. I am going to have to go deep underground in the liberry to study, because if I sit anywhere else, I am going to just gape out the windows.

John liked the place a lot. He said it was beautiful and commented on how welcoming the atmosphere was in the school.

Then we went to check out the bookstore. There were also lots of people from the tour who came to get their books today, so it was really crowded. I been there so often, I was actually able to help. I might have to start charging this school! Anyhoo, I found a couple of books I missed and saw all the Legal Writing books were out, so I bought 'em. I spent nearly $500 in books this afternoon.

I think I am going to take a break from studying tonight. Tomorrow, I return to the salt mines.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

the son luck club

I was reading the latest post over on Dooce.com and thanking the good God I have 2 sons. Yes, Chris is a teenager and we have our issues that go way back, but I love him and respect the hell out of him for being the kind of man I know I wanted him to be.

Unless I bite the big one, I am going to have to deal with Le Pie's teenage years. So far, he's still my little boy. Too much so, sometimes. Last night, I was watching Eddie Izzard on Netflix and he came and sat on the stool in front of me and just stared at me. For no reason, he said. He just wanted to be near me. I had to tell him that he has to give me some space when he sees me doing something that doesn't involve him.

Even as I was saying the words, my heart was breaking. He's been like a limpet attached to me for weeks, months now. He told me yesterday that he won't see me again for 3 years when I start school. I laughed and told him he'd see me every day. But I know what he meant. It won't be me and my little guy any more.

I've tried to make our time together this summer fun and memorable, for both of us, but it's been a double-edged sword. I've always liked liming with Pie, the same way I loved liming with Chris when he was small. I love the conversations we have, how they talk to me about stuff that I have no clue about but they think I do and just like talking to me about it. Chris was a riot at 7 and so is Pie.

Pie is so much fun to be around when we go out. He makes the most mundane task way more interesting just by being present. He's learning to give me my space when I am studying and pretty much leaves me alone. He goes downstairs and parks his butt at his Daddy's computer, turns on the tv and forgets all about moi. The main distractions at home are the tv and fridge! And when John is working from home, b/c Pie cannot be downstairs and gets bored.

The first year of law school is going to be the hardest, and most time-consuming. I need to do well and I need to be away from home to achieve that. Leaving John to single-parent it out when I have papers, midterms and finals is going to be tough. Not seeing Derek will be tougher. I need my piece of Pie to get through my life.

School starts in exactly one week. I need to get ahead of my reading at least by a week, which means that this week is devoted to Civ Pro and Contracts and not much else. I really want to kick the cooking and laundry to the curb. I'm happy to eat Crix and cheese (or the US equivalent, whatever that may be) and buckle down. But I simply cannot ignore John and Derek.

Plus, Kayrein comes to visit this weekend and I need a dose of home before next Tuesday. Which means that I have to finish the work I set myself by Thursday. And today is Tuesday. And the Pie has had no breakfast yet. Sigh.

And he just came to ask me if we can go to Coney Island this weekend. Double sigh.