Monday, January 31, 2005
Friends and Bloggers - Fun with Anime
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Liza with a Z!
How annoying is Dakota Fanning? She's like the kiddie meal version of X-Lax; just seeing her in a film makes my bowels turn to liquid. I actually felt sorry for the kidnappers in "Man on Fire" when they nabbed her. I am surprised they didn't throw her out of the car and instantly surrender themselves.
Instead of studying for the bar, I have spent the last week trying to secure the film rights to the musical "Mame." I envision Liza Minelli to play the title character, though a friend suggested Bebe Neuwirth. Alas, no luck, either in securing the rights or signing Liza, and that tramp Bebe won't return my calls.
Studying for the bar is, guess what, a pain in the butt! A little over three weeks to go,and the pressure is on. The roomie, who is a med student and knows a thing or two about big exams, asked me tonight, "Were you just in the bathtub for over an hour listening to a bar review CD?" Yes I was, and I also had an avocado and oatmeal facemask on while I sat in my bubble bath, but I left that little fact out. Don't want to seem TOO gay. But open, yet tiny, pores feel so good.
I had to listen to the most horrifying lecture on corporations last week. As if the subject matter was not enough to make you want to bring out the machete, the speaker was horrific. I won't mention his name, because I wouldn't want you to think he was the Majority Leader of the Indiana House of Representatives. No, it wasn't him. Really.
Anyway, this guy kept inserting "witty" hypos into the lecture notes. Then, when the audience at the time (it was a taped lecture, taped last summer) wouldn't laugh at his puns, he would stand there mystified. "Did anyone get that?" he would ask. Over and over again. Sometimes, people wouldn't get it, but mostly they didn't think it was funny or they didn't care. Here are some examples:
"Phoebe, Monica, and Rachel decide to go into business together. Do you guys know how they are?"
"Opie decides to sell his stock in Mayberry Corporation to Aunt Bea. Does everyone know who they are?"
"Here's a little ditty about Jack and Diane. Jack and Diane form an LLP to sell furniture. As an aside, I really want to thank everyone who knew who Jack and Diane were. For those of you who didn't, they were from an 80's song."
After this last one, a huge groan came from over half of the people in my room. It was painful. Then he would ask if he needed to update his examples, because we apparently weren't getting it. We got it, but unless Aunt Bea is going to be on the bar, we don't give a rat's patoot. And to top it off, he ran over time, mainly due to his asides, pleas to get his "jokes" and losing his spot because of his asides and pleadings.
As if this wasn't bad enough, I was hungry and cranky because his ramblings made me late to pick up Kelly for lunch. We finally got to Palomino, and Kelly was in fine form. She was looking hot in her tan business suit. A cross between a young Kathleen Turner and Julianna Marguiles. "Body Heat" meets Nurse Hathaway. Her dress made up for her wacky behavior.
"You've waited tables before. If you order your food out of order, do the waiters judge you?" she said.
"I didn't really care, but what the hell are you talking about?" I said.
"Oh, I just always think if I make a mistake they are judging me."
"Trust me, every mistake you can make in the course of the meal is forgiven if you tip well."
"The waiter didn't offer to put any pepper on my salad."
"Do you want me to get you some?"
"No, I didn't want any. I just want you to know that I am judging him right back."
But it was a great lunch, full of tales of woe, humor, and good food. I really needed a nice break from everything, and it was the perfect antidote.
But back to bar review. This weekend, I got to attend class from 9-4 each day. Saturday was a mock MBE, three hours and 100 questions in both the morning and afternoon. Some people got the book and took it home, but I thought it was important to do there. I needed to work 100 problems in strictly timed conditions with all the distractions that come from a room full of people. I had no problem with the time, and had twenty minutes left in both the morning and afternoon session. I didn't go back over any problems, because I find I just overanalyze things and change right choices to wrong ones. Before we started the afternoon session, the guy next to me asked me if I thought he really needed to attend the Sunday session, where all the problems are gone over, and tips are handed out. I noticed when I left the morning session with 15 minutes to go, he had 20 questions to go. I told him he needed to decide that for himself, because what do you say to someone like that.
The scantron sheets are mailed into BARBRI, who will grade the tests from all over the country and in ten days, give you a scaled adjusted score just like the MBE folks do. However, we were also to grade our tests before the lecture today. I got home, and had around an hour before I had to meet some friend who were in Indy for dinner, so I decided to do a quick tabulation.
After grading the exam, I lost my appetite. My score-a 116. 132 is passing in Indiana, but it is important to get above that, since the score carries over to your essays and gives you breathing room to get the final point score of 264. I went to dinner, studied Commercial Paper for two hours, and went to bed, feeling very frustrated and a little depressed.
Today, I showed up to go over the first half of the test and figure out why I missed the questions. However, in going over the test, the lecturer tells us last year, the average score of the test before scaling was 104. They deliberately make the exam harder than the real MBE, particularly in making you choose between the two best answers, in order to make you think more and prepare you for the real deal. Suddenly, 116 doesn't look so bad, and it looked even better after I realized I made a mistake on one of the questions and really got a 117. I feel like I am making progress, and am knocking at the door, but am still not getting in. I can honestly say that I have studied more for this exam than I did all last semester, and I will probably easily eclipse the effort I put into my last year of law school by the time I am done.
While we were going over review, I couldn't believe the number of people who would only stay for part of the day. I seemed like we lost 10% of the class after every break we took. The lecturers were full of tips, letting us know things such as which answer choices are always wrong, key words in the facts that lead you to a choice, and how to map out difficult property questions. Still, people kept leaving, saying it was boring. It wasn't exciting, and there are explanations to the questions in the back of the test book, but I don't think those are a substitute for a lecture. I can't study from home, and envy those who can, and I hope these people aren't selling themselves short.
Enough about the bar. I saw a very good movie last weekend when I was in Podunk. No, it wasn't "The Aviator," which my mom mentioned at least six times that she really wanted to see. (I would have taken her, but the Vincennes theatre wasn't showing it.) It was the DVD of "The Human Stain." Great performances, great story. I really liked the movie, but my mom loved it. I recommend it if you see it in the video store. I knew the twist before I watched the film, but it still catches you by surprise the way they introduce it.
I also finished the PBS miniseries on the Broadway musical. I treated myself to an hour episode (there were six) every evening that I managed to get a certain score on my questions. It was excellent,and I thank Kelly P for the insistence that I watch it. It goes through the entire history of the Broadway musical, using LOTS of archive film footage. And the footage of Jerry Orbach doing highkicks was worth it all!
Speaking of Broadway, me and Antonio Banderas have been having quite the love affair lately. I obtained the revival soundtrack of the musical "Nine" from the library and am loving it. Banderas is in suprisingly strong voice, and with the support of Mary Stuart Masterson, Chita Riveria, and Jane Krakowski (who steals the show with her "A Call from the Vatican" number, and has a Tony to show for it) I am in heaven. Plus, it's overture is unique, and one that could easily be a trainwreck, but it is pulled off brilliantly. And you know I love me some overture. This so needs to be a movie! Maybe I can get the rights to it.
But now, it's back to the books.
Be Italian, you rapscallion,
Be Not Afraid
You shall cross the barren desert
but you shall not die of thirst
you shall wander far in safety
though you do not know the way
You shall speak your words in foreign lands
and all will understand
You shall see the face of God and live...
If you pass through raging waters
in the sea you shall not drown
If you walk amid the buring flames
you shall not be harmed
If you stand before the power of hell
and death is at your side
know that I am with you throught it all...
Blessed are your poor
for the kingdom shall be theirs
Blest are you that weep and mourn
for one day you shall laugh
And if wicked men insult and hate you
all because of me
blessed, blessed are you!
Be not afraid
I go before you always
Come follow me
And I will give you rest.
If you haven't already,
go see Hotel Rwanda.
Don Cheadle was excellent. It's not often that we are treated the story of a real hero, and one that is so human. Paul Rusesabagina didn't set out to be a hero, but he is one indeed.
Friday, January 28, 2005
Fun with Panties (work safe!)
-The anti-panti. Oh my. Kelly P, I will refrain from the m-word here, but it's tempting.
-The absolute best thing ever. Those were the days!!!
Update: the 'best thing ever' link is NOT working the way it's supposed to. I'm working on it.
'Curse' or 'Cuss'?*
*inspired by the potty-mouths on The Apprentice last night
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Umbrage (warning: rambling ahead)
Geena had a post in early January about nurse-to-patient staffing ratios in which she noted that hospitals are beginning to realize that safe staffing costs money and requires the 'woo-age' of nurses. "Imagine that! Wooing nurses!" she wrote. My comment was:
No one commented further. I was surprised and a bit hurt when I checked back a few days later and found this post. It began with my above comment (but left out the first paragraph and the line about admiring nurses who stick it out despite declining working conditions). It went on to acknowledge that every time we turn around, nurses are asked to fill out even more paperwork, jump through more hoops, and do it in less time than before.
She described being in the break room one day with co-workers waiting for change of shift report. Several nurses were complaining about the latest addition to their duties when one of them said, "...you guys are living the dream." She was in essence reminding her co-worker that while things may be tough, they had all worked hard to get to where they were and most had aspired to become exactly what they now were - nurses.
Geena then stated that if I once loved my job (I did) then it's a shame I felt like I had to leave. Indeed, it is a shame. She also indicated that she feels strongly that nursing is different at different hospitals and that ideally I would have tried another hospital before leaving my profession. Or that I should have tried a school, doctor's office, research facility, children's home, nursing home, rehab facility, home care or any of the multitude of options available to me. She finished by saying "we need good nurses staying in the profession. You know, living the dream."
But that is precisely my point. I was no longer living my dream. I did not enjoy my job and I believe it was beginning to show more and more. I suppose I could have switched to another hospital, but I chose for several reasons not to. Chief among these reasons is that I was working at the county hospital - a patient population I purposely chose. I honestly can't see myself working with a different demographic of patients and a place like a doctor's office would likely bore me to tears (not that this isn't hard work, but such positions generally don't provide the type of variety I prefer).
Commentors to Geena's post had reactions like "great response" and "you are so right." I felt a little attacked after reading all this - and some of that is probably due to my thin skin. Also, in fairness, I only mentioned my frustration with management in her post - because it was relevant - and didn't mention any of the other numerous reasons I decided on a career change.
Geena is right about one thing - nursing needs good nurses to stay in the profession. I thought of myself as a good nurse at one time. But as things became more strained at work, I found myself continually frustrated by both the dangerous atmosphere in which I worked and my inability to care for my patients the way they deserve to be cared for. Last night's short shift is a perfect example.
I arrived at work to find that my area had been short-staffed for the previous 4 hours. There were now plenty of us there, which was good because there was some catching up to do. I helped the nurse running the GYN area by caring for a pregnant patient (early pregnant) who needed IV fluids and anti-nausea medication because she was dehydrated and suffering from hyperemesis. I called the patient back to our area and she walked over - with her not-even-2 year-old-son. Sigh. I asked the patient if anyone had accompanied her to the hospital. No. Can someone come get your son? No. Where is your husband? (yes, she had one, which is rare where I work) At work. Any family in the city? No.
I consulted the other nurse, only because I was sure she was already aware of the situation and yet hadn't warned me. I asked her if I was expected to start treatment on the patient despite that she had a toddler with her. Yes, of course. I then demanded to know who would be responsible for the patient's son once I had hooked her up to an IV. This a good example of what can be frustrating at work. There were really no good options. The patient couldn't keep any food or liquid down so we couldn't release her. But I couldn't effectively treat her with her crying toddler underfoot. We compromised - I started with fluid to rehydrate her but said I couldn't administer the medication (as it would make her sleepy). Finally, after ridiculous telephone issues - we don't have phones for our patients to use even though we routinely keep them waiting for upwards of 4 or 5 hours - she reached her neighbor who came to keep an eye on her son so I could properly treat my patient.
I just can't help it - before I started law school I had a sense that my working environment was dangerous. That due to budgetary constraints and strict limits on staffing (along with periods of being understaffed) we were operating in such a way that put both the patients and our licenses in danger. Now that I know a little bit about how the medical malpractice system works (from class and 2 summer jobs working on some med mal cases) I am even more acutely aware how dangerous it is to work in such conditions. If I'd medicated her and something happened to her son, I'd have been liable. And staffing certainly doesn't allow me to babysit the son for a few hours, as much as I might have enjoyed doing so.
Geena's post struck a nerve because I often wonder why I 'quit' nursing. I feel like a quitter. But I have to remind myself that while I indeed will give up nursing at some point in the near future, I have also opened doors for myself. I'm not just 'leaving' nursing - I'm embarking on a new career, one that will hopefully provide wonderful opportunities for me and my daughter.
We need good nurses to stay in our profession. But those nurses, must desire to be there in order to provide excellent quality care for their patients. Maybe I'll miss it so much that I'll decide to go back one day. But when I dreaded going to work every single day I knew it was time for me to get out. My patients deserve nurses who want to be there, who want to take care of them. I am living the dream...but for better or worse my dream has changed.
I Defer to Chuck
A reader arrived at my blog today by doing a rediff.com search for "stories about male gays sleep over." I have none.
For Carly Simon
I am so vain. I hate it, but it's there. I suppose this is a trait one theoretically has control over; I should be able to limit or reduce my vanity. But it's tough.
A photographer came to school last semester to take pictures for our graduation composite. I didn't feel like dressing up on the given days so I didn't participate. I was also stressed about having to commit to an outfit for the pic so I thought putting if off would help :) A true procrastinator.
Now the camera man (or woman) is back. Pics will be taken today in our atrium. I do indeed have a suit on, but deciding what to wear was a pain. One part of me wants to shrug, pull the first thing I find off my clothes rack, and not care how the picture turns out. But the other part of me won't allow this. I went back and forth over what I should wear. I don't really want the ubiquitous black suit/blue or white shirt combo, but then again I don't want to stick out like a sore thumb in the composite for wearing something too unconventional.
Sigh - this is certainly not my biggest problem. But that's just the point - I hate that I've spent time thinking about this when there are better things I could have been doing.
There are some good posts up over at Kevin's today. Read about mortality, law school listservs, and angry Americans with bumper stickers.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
I Need Your Help
I have several CD's of pictures from my family's New Year's cruise. I'd like to upload them to a central place where any member of my family can visit to view them. Any suggestions as to what is the most user friendly site for this kind of thing? I could create a blog, but figured that wouldn't be the most convenient format. Ideally, any family member would have the ability to upload their pics as well - an online photo album of sorts. (So would need to be able to share Login and Password with unlimited # of people, if possible).
I Catch a Beat Runnin' Like Randy Moss (Rerun)*
Except it wasn't a beat I caught, it was a baby!
I worked in the OB/GYN triage area this evening at the hospital. Around 10:15pm, my shift was coming to an end and another nurse (T) and I were tying up loose ends for a 3rd nurse (J) who would work all night.
The 3 of us were talking in the OB exam area when the secretary came rushing back, "I checked in this woman and she went into the bathroom and she might be having her baby!" The she, the secretary, let out a scream. It is important to note here that things are often not what they seem where I work. Women frequently come in screaming that the baby is on the way and can be seem calmly walking out an hour or two later after being assured that they are not in labor. (One woman convinced several EMT's that she was going imminently deliver a baby - feet first. We rushed her to the OR and very nearly began a stat C-Section before discovering she wasn't even pregnant.)
But of course, sometimes the emergencies are real. So T and J headed out the front door of the triage area to check on the patient who was apparently in the public bathroom. I headed out the back, grabbing a pair of gloves, a cord clamp set (ideally containing those few items one would need in a precipitous delivery), and a wheelchair to meet them around front by the bathrooms.
As I approached the bathroom, I could hear J's voice. Then J and T emerged from the bathroom - carrying the patient. She had been sitting on the toilet with her pants at her knees and as soon as T discovered she could see the baby's head crowning, she and J had picked the patient up off the toilet and were now running toward the labor and delivery unit.
I approached with the wheelchair, sure they would be more than grateful to set the patient in the wheelchair. But they ran right past me, J yelling "Call labor and delivery and tell them we're on our way!"
Now, the L&D unit wasn't far, but I could tell the moment of delivery was even closer. I ran after them, and then got in front of the patient. J was still telling me to call L&amp;D and the two of them were struggling to carry the patient, who was of course in quite a bit of pain. The top of baby's head was clearly visible. I yelled, "You guys, you're not going to make it..." and sure enough, the baby slipped right out!
So I did what any respectable receiver would do - I dropped to the ground and caught the baby girl in mid-air! We scrambled around to get the cord clamped (would've helped if clamps had been in the cord set) and I took the baby to the nursery. I walked into the nursery out of breath, covered in blood and vernix, and holding the newborn. I said to the nursery nurse, "I hope they called to tell you I was on my way." And they hadn't - but she reacted to my arrival without batting an eye.
Mom is fine. Baby is fine. Those are the times when I love that job. T said she'll never forget watching me dive to catch that baby - and that she's going to call me Randy Moss from now on.
*I first posted this about a year ago. Sorry for the repeat, but I have 2 good reasons: 1st - I have reading and an edit to do; 2nd - I happen to know this is the favorite post of one of my regular readers. (Plus, I have more readers now than I did last March, so this is new to some folks).
Monday, January 24, 2005
And the New Year Brings...
...new insurance premiums. Lovely.
I've got to read for class but before I log off I'll leave you with my 2 favorite moments from this past Saturday night. E had some friends over and we had a blast.
The first moment was when I snagged my new sweater, bought earlier that day, on my bracelet. I got up and found some scissors but didn't want to snip the offending thread myself because I've been known to take things a bit too far. I found Deb and asked her to do the honors. I watched as she carefully lined up the snag and then proceeded to cut a hole in the sleeve of my brand new sweater. "You moved!" she cried, horrified that she'd ruined my top. Ha - the look on her face was classic. Lucky for both of us I'd paid less than $7 for the thing. C'est la Vie!
We headed out to a bar later for some dancing - and were lucky that J and her fabulous husband Z agreed to drop us off. We danced until close and then I accompanied E to the bar to supervise the paying of her tab - she was a little tipsy. As she signed, she commented on the total. The bartender reminded her that not only was she paying for rounds of doubles, she'd actually ordered triples and he'd refused to pour them. Heaven help us - and all I'd asked for was a beer :)
Hold On to Your Hats, Kids
He's back!!!* Yay!
*Blog roll already appropriately updated
Saturday, January 22, 2005
In the Agora has a caption contest - their first ever - running today. Check it out.
I'm thankful that I don't have a Saturday class.*
*One semester I had trial practice on Saturdays - and it was my favorite class by far, so I don't regret taking it. I'm just glad I don't have it this semester :)
Friday, January 21, 2005
Speaking of Balance...
Me and My Dad
Our whole family had a wonderful time on our New Year's Eve cruise. Here here's a pic of me and my Dad just a few minutes after midnight. So, our hair is a little crazy - we were on the open sea for heaven's sake!!!
2 of my 3 grades are in and they suck. I have all these ideas for posts brewing but after viewing my grades I'm just drained of energy to blog. I have the blahs.
I try to tell myself it's not so bad, I have a job lined up so it doesn't really matter, but I am just super disappointed.
Update - comment found recently @ Sua Sponte:
No! That way [being neuortic about grades] lies madness. Trust me, if you take law school too seriously, you will not only choke (and get bad grades) but it will destroy your mental health. Remember, it's just a game, and grades are largely arbitrary no matter how hard you study. Work hard, but keep balance, and your grades will be higher.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Solid as a Rock
No reason for the title, other than to send Kelly into an 80's flashback. Like she needs an excuse.
I was going to apologize for not posting a lot, then I realized this isn't my blog, and I can be as apathetic as I want. At the same time, I can be as demanding of my friends to post on their blogs as I want. Ah, the joys of being an alum.
Just a few thoughts:
Just how many track suits can one person own? That is the topic of my latest investigation. My subject: an annoying woman in my bar review class who likes to talk at the top of her lungs about how the world has wronged her. Hey, as least the President doesn't want to take away your right to bridal registry.
For those marking your criminal law scoresheets at home, take note:
For the crime of arson, if it's "blackened," not arson, if it's "charred," it's arson. I say if your bitch ass lights a match and it makes something smoke, you're guilty. But the bar examiners have yet to ask my opinion.
I think I am getting a Kelly-like guilt complex over this whole studying for the bar thing. Everytime I take a break from studying, I hear a voice in my head saying, "shouldn't you be reading an outline?" I felt really bad watching "American Idol" Tuesday night, though I did skip both the second night and the Golden Globes in favor of studying. I am going to my mom's this weekend for the last free weekend before the bar. I will take practice questions and outlines with me to be sure, and I will listen to Bar Review CD's on the way up and the way down, so that is six hours of studying alone. But I still feel bad for not focusing enough.
I had a job interview today. It's where I want to work, and if you don't know where that is, you don't know me, and don't need to know where I had the interview. I was told I would be interviewing with one person, but there were three people in the room. I felt kind of tag teamed a few times, but think I managed. I heard from someone else that what I really had was basically a second interview. Since I have worked there already and they know my work, they skipped the first one, which would have involved me and the hiring director, and brought me up to the next level. The other two people in the room were the heads of the two starter divisions-when you begin to work there, you go to one division or the other. So I therefore was a little confused as to what to say when I was asked in what division I wished to work. How does one make a choice without potentially offending the other? I played it safe; saying I wanted to go the division I worked for this summer, since I knew that if one is familiar with the procedures of this unit, they can often start there. And to answer the question you were all going ask, I played it safe and went with my blue french cuff shirt and a Ralph Lauren suit. When in doubt, always go with the blue and Ralph. I did debut a new tie that was Chuck tested and KeeKee approved, and was praised by GQ as "classic, yet amazingly innovative." The night before, I also debuted the lilac french cuff shirt with matching tie (this time bought by KeeKee, who will one day demand a salary for being my personal stylist). Vogue said, "Once again Chuck took a risk that seemed destined to fail, but due to this creation, purple hasn't seemed this butch since, well, ever." And Esquire said, "Chuck has more arrows in his style quiver than Amanda has shades of lipstick. Who knew a boy from Podunk would be so shallow?" I would say I hate having my name in the mags, but who am I kidding!
Finally, for the person who asked, "can it be all in one continuous stream, or does it have to be in pearl-shaped drops?" Either, though if it is that detailed, he should be decorating cakes with it.
Hugs and kisses for you and you and you, (but not you),
Some of you may remember that last Wednesday I went out with N, a nurse with whom I work. It was a fun night and I met a good lookin' country boy from Kentucky. Said guy lives in the blue grass state and travels often to Indpls and other relatively near cities. He left early that night - before our real fun began - but informed us he'd be back at the same bar in a week and hoped we'd return.
So, last night was the night but I didn't go. The primary reason is that N had to work at the hospital. She would've forced me to go even if I didn't want to. I almost got Deb to go with me, but she made the smart choice of a good night's sleep.
I toyed for a couple hours with the idea of going by myself. Not the most advisable course of action for a young(ha!) woman, but I figured I could take care of myself for one evening. I wasn't intending to party, just to show up and indicate that I was interested. I couldn't shake the feeling that this might be an opportunity that I would miss out on if I didn't show.
But it was cold. And late. And I was tired. So I stayed home, did some reading for school, and got a fair amount of sleep. I tried to console myself with the things I know about Kentucky boy that I don't like. He smokes when he drinks, which I don't find particularly appealing. And I'm pretty sure when he ducked out for a smoke that night he was pocketing his cell phone as he re-entered the bar. But the kicker is that when I went to the restroom N told him to give me his number before he left. And he didn't. So I'm trying to convince myself that if he was truly interested, he'd have given me his number; he's a salesman, after all - I'm sure he knows how to sell himself.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
A State of Mind
Fun quiz! It was nice to see someone thinks I'm young at heart, but I'm guessing my honest answer to my living situation had something to do with that ;)
Taken from JCA, who turns 30 today - Happy Birthday!
What is it...
...about Kelly Clarkson that causes me to have a general distaste for her? I didn't (and don't) watch American Idol, so it's not anything I saw her do or say that makes me not like her.
I think I just have this weird sense that she's not a 'real' singer, not a 'real' talent, because she was the winner of a TV competition. Perhaps it's a sense that she didn't pay her dues or something? But seriously, I'm willing to admit I enjoy plenty of pop music and I realize that some of this stuff is contrived - writers, producers, and various music moguls get together and 'create' a concept then find the perfect person to be their new star. And though it was through a reality show of sorts that she became famous, she certainly had to work at prevailing over the other contestants.
Generally don't get uptight about how people hit the music scene. If I enjoy the music, I enjoy the music.
But with Clarkson, if I hear a song that I know it's hers I immediately change the channel. Just 'cause it's her. Except for lately. There's a song on the radio that I kind of like, to which I've found myself humming along. Yesterday in the car my daughter informed me it was Kelly Clarkson, and sheepishly admitted that she, too, likes the song.
I may be ready to admit that I like some of Clarkson's music. But it seems that I'm not alone in being embarrassed to do so.
I read with interest this article about the odd pairings of married couples on some of today's popular sitcoms. I don't regularly watch any of these shows; I've seen an episode or 2 of King of Queens, I think. But I see the ads and wonder who on Earth dreamed that a pairing between Courtney Thorne-Smith and Jim Belushi was a good idea. (OK, Jim's not too bad; he's kinda handsome, actually, but his character on According to Jim is a slob.) And worse is the match up of the beautiful Leah Remini with the oafish Kevin James.
The articles describes reasons beyond simple appearances why these couples are seemingly mismatched and it floats a couple of theories as to why "fat sitcom husbands are paired with great-looking wives." A couple of my favorite excerpts:
-[The shows] do, after all, play to a certain male fantasy: living the gluttonous, irresponsible, self-absorbed life of an infant and basking in the unconditional love of a good-looking woman;
-For a half-hour a week, you can be 300 pounds and still imagine yourself married to Jamie Gertz;
And, on the flip side of the coin:
-In portraying husbands as lousy parents, marginal breadwinners, and repellant sexual partners, the fat-husband sitcoms convey a persecution fantasy that rises from the same swamp of resentments as these books do: "Yes, I'm supercompetent and I even look great, despite all the crap I have to deal with, and, yes, that's my husband over there, the fat, useless one scratching his nuts.
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
It's the first day of my last semester - Yay!!!
Actually, I'm more excited about the new semester than the fact that it's my last one. I guess I'm a freak, an aberration.
Don't worry, the new semester excitement will end soon, leaving me grumbling about the daily drudgery that is school work.
But for now I'll enjoy the new semester, the chance to make a fresh start. It seems that just when things get too frustrating, just when we've fallen so far behind we think we'll never catch up or we are so burdened we need a break, the semester ends and we get the chance to start over. New semesters bring promises to stay ahead of the reading, keep up with studying and outlining, really give it our best effort. Whether these promises get kept is a different story, but there's always next semester!
I enjoyed opportunities to begin anew in my previous occupation, as well. Each 12 hour shift brought the promise of a new start, even on days when I left a crazy shift @ 7:30am and returned to the hospital @ 7pm to find a more horrible mutation of the crap I'd left behind in the morning. In addition, each week brought a fresh start of sorts. I'd work my 3 12hr shifts and try to forget the madness on my days off. When the new week began, I'd tell myself to make the best of it - I'd try to keep a positive attitude and focus on providing the best care possible for my patients. (As time wore on, I was less and less successful at accomplish this, which is a story for another post).
There will be no staring over at my new job. Projects and duties will continue from day to day; there will always be something 'in progress.' I've been told countless times to take a vacation this summer after the bar because it will be the last time in my (law) career I'll be able to do so without taking work with me, without clients waiting for me back home with immediate needs. Projects that are either too boring, too complicated, or simply too amorphous to grasp will not go away. They will be mine to complete. Having a 'day job' (I worked nights as a nurse) wasn't too difficult this summer, but at that time I knew it was temporary. I knew there was a new semester waiting for me at the end - full of anticipation and promise.
*Starting over, indeed. I composed this entire post and then lost it to the cyber netherworld. I hate having to re-write a blog post!!!
Monday, January 17, 2005
True Champs Don't Wilt in the Cold
Thanks to the Michelle Kwan Forum for this magnificient photo of NINE time National Champ Michelle Kwan.
And of course, I am not referring to anyone in particular who has a certain tendency to choke when it gets below freezing. I'm just sayin'.
I Love Jury Duty, Too
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Colts' Season Ends
What a terrible game. Do you really think the snow made much of a difference?
Fact or Fiction??? (for Amanda)
You can order tapeworms-in-a-capsule, via the internet or otherwise, and have them delivered to your home. Then you swallow a capsule, it dissolves, and the tapeworm takes up residence in your intestine, eating all the food you eat - and you lose weight!!!
Don't Go Changin'
I've made some changes/updates/additions to my blog list over the past week or so. Be sure to check out the new listings!
I'm frustrated with my schedule for the Spring semester, my final semester of law school, which starts in 2 days. I may have mentioned this last semester; the class schedule offered left much to be desired. I made peace with my choices before finals came around, but I think that was out of necessity. I had enough to worry about just to get through Fall without stressing over what I'd be taking in the Spring.
But now the semester is upon me. And I'm ticked. Here's the lineup:
-Secured Transactions (a bar topic - and the only UCC course I'll take)
-Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion (will help with bar review, according to Chuck; sort of a 'for fun' class)
-Insurance Law (90% chance I'll be doing insurance defense work in the litigation department of my firm beginning in the fall, figured I should be familiar with some of the issues)
-Family Law II (bar topic again - professor has rep for being entertaining)
So there it is. I was content with it for a while, telling myself that 3 of the classes will help with bar review, 2 of them should be mildly entertaining, Secured is necessary so I won't be a total basket case come summer, and I really should take Ins law since that will be my area of practice as a new grad.
Now, I'm fighting doubt. First of all, many of my 3L cohorts are taking Food & Drug law together, I think on Thurs evenings. They're gonna have a blast; it's a fun and easy class. Maybe I should just pick up the extra 2 cr. class so I can join them. Unfortunately, I'm not really one to voluntarily take on extra work. Not to mention I've been looking forward to a semester with no evening classes - gives me more time with T and more time for lazing around the house.
I'm also unsure about the Ins law decision. Our esteemed Dean is the instructor, and I talked with him about the class a bit at the end of last year. He seems eager to teach it, but I've heard through the grapevine that the reading assignments are hefty and that students are expected to 'teach themselves' quite a bit of the material (class apparently gets out early on a regular basis).
If I dropped Ins law, I could pick up Environmental and Toxic Torts. Both the sweet Amanda and the fabulous Deb are in that class (given at the exact same time as Ins law), the instructor is wonderful, and I to have an interest in the subject matter. Furthermore, I did some work on a toxic tort case this past summer at my firm - so I'm actually not sure which class is most likely to be a benefit to me as I begin my new job in the fall.
I also had some interest in taking Bioethics and Law & the Death Penalty. The former is again at the same time as my Ins law class, the latter is an evening class.
*Sigh* Where did the time go? I can't believe this is my last semester. There were so many classes through the past 2 years about which I thought "I'll take that next semester." Now time is almost out and I didn't take nearly as much fun stuff as I'd planned. If only I wasn't so indecisive - perhaps then I could embrace my schedule and dig in, ready for the new semester to begin.
Unlike Daniel, I'm wiping away tears of disappointment from yesterday's Jets loss (no more home Colts games) and moving on to today...
Friday, January 14, 2005
Catch my Drift?
Are you feelin' me?
Pickin' up what I'm puttin' down?
Smellin' what I'm steppin' in? (a family fave)
Thursday, January 13, 2005
Happy Birthday, Dad!!!
I Heart Wisconsin
Just some various thoughts.
Those folks in the Badger State sure know how to treat graduates of their state law schools; they actually presume that their law schools teach students the law, and taking the bar is not necessary if you wish to practice in state. When I was looking at schools, Marquette kept sending me material, and I had a great chance of getting in according to their matrix, but alas, I failed to realize how big of a hassle this bar study would be. It would have cost more, but when you factor in how much I am paying these BARBRI folks, as well as the couple of months I could be working, I think it may come close to evening out. Plus, I like the cold.
I was listening to a bar review CD today, and the lecturer was taking about why we have to study law that is no longer good law anywhere, like the Rule of Worthier Title, the RAP, Shelly's Case, and all that. He says that we have to study it because everyone else who took the bar had to study it. Well, that's a load of bull. But griping about that will do no good, so it's back to grindstone.
Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that it is no use pretending that I can study in my home, so I am spending the afternoons at a local coffeeshop. Not having the computer, the phone, my collection of figure skating tapes, and the thrills of cutting off hangnails to keep me from studying, I find I am much more focused.
Speaking of figure skating, I would be remiss in my duty to Kween Kwan if I failed to mention that this week is US Championships week. Kwan could tie one of the longest and most sacred of American figure skating records-Maribel Vinson Owen's nine national championships.
My heart also goes out to one of my favorite skaters, Angela Nikodinov. Nikodinov had just flew into Portland with her family, and was in a cab on her way to the rink when she was involved in an accident. Angela and her father were treated and released, but her mother was killed at the scene. It's hard enough to lose a parent, but to lose one in such a way is worse than words can convey. She has understandably withdrawn from the competition, and my thoughts are with her.
I actually used the phrase "Well, giddyup, and hop to it!" twice today. As you probably know, the gays own the phrase "Chop! Chop!" but since I am a country boy by birth, I employ the rural version of the phrase. But just like a poncho, this phrase should be used sparingly, as it wears itself out quickly. The first time I used it was with the student director of the BARBRI program when he didn't bring me a tape he had promised to. He hemmed and hawwed (another country saying) about it, but I had enough, and cut him off with my remark. The second time happened with, you guessed it, BARBRI again, but this time with technical support for not registering my access after they said they would. Having been in plenty of crappy customer service jobs, I try to be understanding, but my tolerance for idiocy is reaching an end, especially when I am paying $1800 bucks for it.
Speaking of BARBRI idiocy, I was very ticked off yesterday when I showed up for what was supposed to be the family law lecture. The format is a mix of taped and live lecture, and yesterday's was supposed to be a tape. One problem: no tape. The daytime director (who is just a student who is studying right along with us, though I assume she is not paying) tells us all how she tried to call the supervisor all day yesterday, but couldn't reach her. I appreciate her dragging me out of bed to tell me there was no lecture. So now we get to make up for it on Martin Luther King Day.
I am so glad I still have access to the student listserv so I can hear all the squabbling. What happens is one student will write a liberal or perceived to be liberal announcement, which causes certain people to respond back with remarks that rip the person to shreds. The guys (and they are always men) are just plain insulting, and when people call them on it, they lamely try to pretend they were joking, and just happened to leave off the smiley emoticon at the end of all their sentences. But what is really insulting is when I grab my stalker book to look at the picture of who exactly is making these comments. I'm telling you, if these guys were laying on the sand, cats would come by and try to bury them. One of them I already knew because I sat next to him in a class one semester. Well, I sat by him the first two classes, but his breath was so foul, and I mean FOUL, that I had to move. And another one, a certain friend and I sat next to in another class. He stunk like a glass of beer does when you soak a bunch of half-smoked cigarettes in it overnight. Trouble was, the friend and I couldn't move in that class because the seating chart was set. And a third, I actually let out a squeal (and not a "I just found this Ralph Lauren shirt on clearance" squeal, more like "I'm six and I just found out that there really is a monster under my bed" squeal) when I saw his picture. Is there a cause and effect going on here? Are conservatives less attractive and smellier than the liberals? I say yes.
But what is really funny about the above situation is that when a certain Professor (whom I have worked for and greatly admire) sends out virtually the same announcements to the listserv, no one dares berate her. What are they afraid of? She's a Quaker, so it's not like she would kick their ass or anything.
I've kept things pretty tame since returning from our holiday cruise (pictures from that to be posted some time next week). Mostly I've been accomplishing various odds and ends that need to be taken care of before the new semester begins, followed by evenings of staying up late watching TV with my folks. Mornings have mostly found me getting up early to wake T up, make her breakfast and lunch, and drive her to school. Then back home and back to bed for me!
But last night began a party sandwich. A nurse friend of mine, N, called and wanted to party - it was the day after her birthday. We had dinner at Palomino (love that place) and then it was off to Ike & Jonesy's.
We had a blast. There was some convention of harmless married men in town and we danced the night away with them. Earlier in the evening, I directed N's attention to a good-looking guy I had my eye on. She turned around, spotted him, and after proclaiming "he's old" and "he's dressed like an old man" she caught his eye and waved him over. She told him he seemed to be looking for a place to sit and when he agreed he was she directed him to the seat next to me. Then she immediately excused herself to the bathroom. Subtle. I protested that I'd been set up and he summed up the situation well: "with friends like that who needs enemies?" Indeed.
Good-looking guy is a pesticide salesman from Louisville. I'm sure there's a joke in there somewhere. As Chuck put it, "Ewwww...he'd be bringing cancer home."
We had a great time and I drove N home to Avon, arriving home myself around 3:30am. Which is partly why when Chuck called today just before 2pm, I was 'taking a nap.' But who can blame me? It's been rainy and gray all day long - perfect for napping. And with 5 days left before class and virtually no suggestions as to what fabulous things I should do in those remaining days (except from my Dad, who recommended a movie the name of which I can't remember), I'll take all the nap time I can get.
Tonight's mission - the meat of the sandwich: productivity. My room looks like a cyclone hit. It's time to clean, organize, and otherwise prepare for my final semester of law school.
Tomorrow? Party #2, the last bit of the party sandwich. Can't wait!!!
Actually, maybe I'll make it a big mac - productivity on Saturday and a Colts playoff celebration on Sunday to top it all off!
In the Money
Loan check came today - Yay!!!
I am incredibly thankful to have had this source of $$ to allow me to concentrate on school and still pay my bills.
2 thoughts: I hope to be able to pay off this ridiculous debt without too much trouble. 2nd, I hope this is the last school loan (for myself) I'll need for a long, long, long time. (I started to say forever, but I've rather enjoyed this trip back to school and one never knows what the future holds).
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Another No Man's Land
I posted a few days ago about the No Man's Land between semesters - not knowing your grades but having to get ready for the new semester (this isn't a new complaint, Prof Cooper, just a recap of the old one!)
I've recently discovered I'm in another type of no man's land entirely - a financial one.
I lease a Jetta and the 39 month lease is up at the beginning of February. I financed through VW and they began sending me letters describing my end-of-lease options several months ago.
I want to buy the car for several reasons: it's a good car, a 2002 Jetta GL with less than 30K miles; it'd make a great 1st car for T when she begins driving, which will be sooner than you might think; if I purchase the car, it will keep me from getting ahead of my earning potential and going out and buying a new car.
I decided to check with my credit union, with whom I have been a member for probably 15 or 20 years, and see what kind of finance rate they could offer me.
Little did I know they would deny my loan application.
The loan is for less than $12,000. I have had a car loan with them before, maybe even 2, and paid them both off in a timely fashion. I don't bounce checks, I have money in savings, checking, and CD with them. My credit is fabulous - I already knew this and the woman with whom I was working confirmed it.
Problem? Income. There's not much of it. I work sporadic hours at the hospital. I worked full time at a law firm this summer - and made a good chunk of change - but I choose not to work there during the school year so my grades won't suffer. School loans supplement my pitiful income. But of course, the loan gods can't consider loans to be income.
This isn't as bad a situation as it may seem - yet. My parents offered to co-sign, which would get me instant approval. As nice as that offer was, I decided to simply go with VW and their slightly higher APR. Because I was pre-approved (due to our current lease relationship) my income wasn't an issue. There are no pre-payment penalties, so once I start working I'll pay off the loan early.
But I worry about what this means for buying a house or condo later this year. I was hoping to do so as soon as physically possible between graduating, studying for and taking the bar, going on a 'last blast' vacation with T, and dealing with my new job and T's new high school in the fall.
Seems like I'll never qualify for a mortgage until they see a few of my new 'pay stubs.' Too bad.
I realize banks have to cover their asses, but it'd be nice if a long-standing relationship and the clear potential for and increased income were enough to take a chance on someone. It's really not even a risk to them - assuming the new job fell through, there is still the fact that I work at the same hospital I have for 8 years and I could work as many hours as I want, I simply don't because school is my priority.
It'll be nice to emerge from this no man's land squarely on safe ground where I can provide for me and T without too much hassle.
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Rubadubdub, Chuck in the Tub
Let me just say, studying for the bar is a nightmare. I can deal with the lectures, I can take the quizzes, but getting me to sit down and read an outline is nearly impossible. This is unlike studying for finals, because with finals, the end is so quickly in sight. Six weeks from today, I finally sit for the exam, so I have a while to go. It is so easy to tell oneself, "Six weeks is plenty of time, no need to stress," but when faced with the overwhelming amount of material one needs to know, it's not long at all.
However, I have figured out a surefire way to get an hour of uninterrupted studying in everyday. I give this hint knowing that some of you who will be taking the bar in the summer need all the help you can get finding alone time, let alone time to study. In the afternoon, when the lesbian roommate is off at the hospital learning how to violate the standard of care so she can make Amanda a very rich woman someday, I draw a bath and put in a bar review lecture CD. I get in the tub, refreshing the hot water as needed, and listen to an hour or so of lecture about a fascinating topic. It is studying yes, but it doesn't feel like it really.
This week has been Con Law, and let me tell ya, I think I am ready to go with it. I got 14/17 on my quiz the other day, and I feel very comfortable with the material. Two of the ones I missed, I had it down to the final two, but chose wrong. Freedom of Speech was such a help. Sadly, however, there are five other subjects being tested on the MBE. Two of those, Evidence and Property, I am utterly clueless about, two of them, Contracts and Criminal Law, I am helpless but getting better, and with the final one, Torts, I am starting to catch on.
I have also noticed that having KeeKee taking the bar with me is not as fun as I thought. Turns out she can be a real bubble burster. Our conversations have been like this:
"You know I think Con Law is going to be my strongest subject. That is the one where I will rack up the points."
"Yeah, Con Law is everyone's strongest subject, so that's not that big of a deal that you are so good at it."
"You know, I just need to stop intimidating myself over this exam. I ran into so many attorneys this summer who were freakishly incompetent, and they somehow passed the bar."
"They probably took it before they added the multistate portion."
Finally, let me tell ya that this BARBRI company has a pretty good scam going on. They advertise prominently that if you take a course with them and don't pass, you can take it again for free. Once you get in the class, they constantly remind you that in order to get a $175 refund, you must mail your books back within 30 days of taking the course. One problem. The results of the bar aren't know until at least two months after the test.
But don't worry, kids. BARBRI has a solution:
You can sit for the class lectures for free, and they will allow you to buy new books for merely $900.
For the record, the IBA has a strict attendance policy-you can only miss one class if you want to retake the course for free. Not sure about the books.
Like Shelley, I've got nothin' in the way of posted grades. The older I get, the more impatient I get.
Resisting the Dark Forces
As some of you may know, my parents are TV junkies. They love nothing more than to watch their favorite shows in the evening. Problem is, they have a ridiculous amount of favorite shows. And they TiVo & tape all of them - so they can fast forward through the commercials as they watch.
I've been watching some TV with them since we've been back from vacation. It can definitely be relaxing - I'm all for mindless entertainment. But I have to be careful not to let them drag me into their dark world. They are retirees, after all, and have all the time in the world to watch their shows. I, on the other hand, am a law student. And I am all too familiar with the fact that freedom comes to an end in a week.
So while Dad tried to talk me into watching an episode or 2 of "24" last night, I held strong. No sense getting hooked on another show. I'll be plenty content with the new seasons of Survivor and Apprentice coming up :)
Seven Days Left!!!
I have 7 days of break left (including today). This has seemed like an unusually long break - I haven't bothered to compare the # of days with the last 2 winter breaks, of course, but I could swear this one is longer. No matter, I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it.
So, readers, tell me what I absolutely must do before my freedom comes to an end.
What movie must I see? Book to read? Household chore to complete? Restaurant to sample? Hot spot to visit for a night on the town?
I've plenty to do, actually, but if I get a good suggestion I might just add it to my current list.
Leave me your suggestions for what I should do before my wonderful winter break comes to a sorrowful end.
Monday, January 10, 2005
I just want to state for the record that I am taking the admonition from Kelly's Dad very seriously. The last thing I want to do is start a blog down the slippery slope to raunch. If only you knew what I have almost posted about, you would say I have shown great restraint.
So, kids, it's time to confess. Because it's good for the soul. But just so no thinks I am asking these questions just to ask them, I am doing this for my senior writing requirement. So you are aiding in the pursuit of science.
Have you ever:
Wanted to break up someone, but your birthday was coming up, so you stuck it out until you got your present?
Not been sure about breaking up with someone, but their birthday was coming up, so in order to not to have to buy them a present, you did anyway?
Been about to break up with someone, but they had suddenly had a life crisis (death in the family, accident, ect.) which meant you had to stick it out a little while longer?
Stayed with someone you couldn't stand because the, uh, "benefits" were great?
Broke up with someone who you liked solely because the, uh, "benefits" were horrible?
What's your worst reason you ever broke up with someone?
What's the worst excuse you made to get out a date?
I ambled up the stairs to wake T up for school this morning - often no easy feat - and to my surprise she was already awake. Bad news is she was up due to a severe ear infection that woke her up before 6am. She was sitting on her bed, holding her right ear and crying. Ouch. Pobresita. So I made her some breakfast, waited for 8am, and took the appropriate action:
-Called the MD for a same day appt, got in for 9:15am
-Called school to let the school secretary know T probably won't make it today
-E-mailed T's teacher to assure her that I would still be there in the afternoon to help with speech practice
-(Unrelated to today's crisis, I also called the dentist's office to arrange to pick up a copy of T's X-rays before this afternoon's 1st orthodontist visit. Double ouch.)
-Now, off to get ready and head to the doctor's office!
Sunday, January 09, 2005
Does He Really Have to Ask?
Funniest song lyric on the air:
If it wasn't for the money, cars and movies stars and jewels,
And all these things I got - I wonder, hey Would you still want me?
Would you still be calling me? You be loving me? -R. Kelly
The Well-Dressed Man
Let me just say thank you to Kelly for the invite to occasionally post on this great blog. I know if I wear out my welcome, Kelly will remedy the situation, and I am not talking about by buying me a pair of knee pads. Seriously, if Kelly were any more fabulous, she would be a gay man. But, hey, no one's perfect.
Those who know me, know I had an old blog, which was a lot like this blog, except my blog represented all that was wrong with today's society. But there is no need to dwell on the past, so here it is, my initial post on my this blog.
I went out on an impromptu, spur of the moment, date Friday night. I don't usually do that, but then I am new to this game of trying to find things to do instead of studying for the bar exam. Plus, where we were going was the symphony, and since I had never been to the ISO, I bit.
About the date, let's just say the symphony was great. We got there just in time, so I did not have time to look at the thick program before the music began. The selection was Beethoven's 6th Symphony, better known as "The Pastoral." I knew this music, though I could not identify it, and initially spent the first ten minutes wondering who skated to this music. But then I realized I had this CD, and in fact, had listened to the CD this week while I studied. A Hummel symphony with featured trumpet by some Swiss dude and a short piece by Wagner followed. Very impressive, and a magnificent building.
However, I was a little disturbed. When someone says "Let's go to the symphony" to me, that is my cue to trot a suit of the closet. Don't get me wrong, my friends will tell you there is nothing I love to wear better than a simple button up and jeans. But when the situation calls for it, you gotta play the part. Church, weddings, the stage if the ticket is over $30, dinner if the meal is over $50, the symphony, and a few other instances.
Just a tip for the guys here: when in doubt, the House of Ralph Lauren will never let you down. Charcoal grey suit, light blue shirt with matching tie and sapphire cufflinks, and I was good to go, and along with my new overcoat the Mom got me for Christmas, I was cutting a dashing figure, if I do say so myself.
Then, I went to the Hilbert to meet my date. In he comes, in a pair of corduroy pants and a sweater. Then, he totally acted surprised that I was in a suit! I would expect such nonsense out of the mouth of a hetero, but not a fellow gay. WE are the trendsetters, and just because the straights think dressing down is okay for the symphony, it doesn't mean we have to accept it. (And for the record, nearly all of the crowd was in a suit.)
I'll tell you, I haven't arbitrarily crossed off all thoughts of dating someone this fast since a certain ex showed up at my apartment with cornrows. (Cornrows can look hot on the right guy, but the right guy is never a pale white boy.) During intermission, he also told me played the saxophone, and those in the know know the only musicians worth dating are guitar players. Something about those fingers, I guess. But just like the Supreme Court not getting to the constitutional question to decide a case if another ground exists to deny or grant relief, I did not need to know that to make up my mind. The "swish-swish-swish" of the corduroy had already resulted in summary judgment.
Call me shallow, but at least I am consistent.
Wow. I didn't know there was such a wealth of discussion in the blog world about the magnetic ribbons used to display support for our troops. I came across the first few links, which led me to more and then more, at Notes from the Legal Underground.
I find the wrangling interesting because over the past few months I began to look upon those ribbons with some unease myself. I mentioned it once to a few members of my family, I believe on my August trip to Arizona. I brought up the question of who manufactured the ribbons (and thus who was profiting) and whether any of the money made actually went for support of our troops. The conversation didn't go far. Perhaps they hadn't thought about it, or more likely, didn't think it a worthy topic of much consideration - and perhaps they're right. I also learned that my older sister and her husband had a ribbon or 2 on their massive pickup. My intent wasn't to offend, but to learn exactly what effect all those public displays of support were having.
The next time I remember mentioning it was at a Halloween party in October. It was a gathering at the house of a friend of mine, a nurse with whom I work. Somehow the topic came up and again I threw out the idea that the sheer number of cars sporting the ribbons (and the number of ribbons on some individual cars) was bordering on ridiculous. It strikes me as a "fad," a thing to do just because everyone else is doing it. My attempt at conversation on the subject again resulted in uncomfortable silence after an acquaintance or 2 piped up and pointed out the existence of such ribbons on their cars. Again, I wasn't trying to offend or to appear morally superior in any way. And the rapidity with which things got tense surprised me. This was a group of friends with whom I almost never talked politics - and I when I first brought the ribbons up, I didn't think I was opening a political discussion. But somehow any criticism or even questioning of these symbols causes those owning them to take offense. My questioning seems to be taken as criticism of our administration and an affront to the ribbon owners, our troops, and their families.
In fact, my unease comes from just the opposite motivation, I think. It is not because I don't support our troops that I feel ambivalent about these ubiquitous symbols of support. It is rather because I am grateful for the sacrifice our troops and their families make, because I deeply appreciate that they have volunteered to defend our country, because I wholeheartedly wish and pray that each and every soldier returns safely home to their friends and families, that I wonder if the bright yellow symbols cheapen those sentiments.
The ease with which they can be purchased, the presence of the magnets at every gas station and convenience store, the incredible number of motorists who display these symbols on their vehicles. I can't help because of these factors wonder if it is too easy for Americans to think they are "supporting our troops" by buying a ribbon without ever really having to stop and think about the sacrifices being made. It's not about whether I support the war. In truth, I have mixed feelings about it - as I do about almost every other controversial issue. It's about wanting every citizen to contemplate the meaning of war, to spend a few minutes every day or every week counting his blessings and praying (or simply wishing) for the safe return of our young men and women.
I see the ribbons as a sort of shorthand, I suppose. As though one could avoid the seriousness of war, the investment of time in thinking about what the war really means, but plucking down 99 cents and slapping a magnet on one's car.
Saturday, January 08, 2005
I just cleaned (for the most part) T's bedroom. While I did so, she lounged on her bed watching football on her new TV, complete with remote control, DVD, and VCR.
I know, I know. Lord help us both.
What NFL Announcers Should Not Say (But did, during the Rams/Seahawks game)
"The ball dropped and bounced off his tummy."
Tummy? Pro football players only have tummies when in the bedroom with their significant others or when frolicking with their kids. On the football field, they are stomachs or, perhaps, abs.
No News = Good News?
Not really. No grades posted for me yet. Some friends are in the same boat, others have essentially all their grades in. Sigh (again). At least since it's Saturday I know not to check back again until some time on Monday. Which I wasn't so OCD.
I watched Maria, Full of Grace last night with my family. I recommend it if you're looking for something different and thought-provoking on your next trip to the video store. It's not an uplifting movie, at least not to this realist/sometimes pessimist.
The scenes were brutally realistic and the indie film was well worth a view. It's in Spanish with English subtitles, but don't let that deter you. I heartily recommend this movie.
Friends and Bloggers
Sadly, Chuck is ending his blog. Most of his readers and friends knew this was coming - he's said for months he planned to quit blogging when he graduated, and he is doing just that. I'll miss his witty insight, and there's definitely no one who can shock me quite like he can. On the bright side, he will at my invitation be occasionally posting here. I haven't given him any limits or rules yet - we'll have to play that by ear!
In other good news, my fabulous friend Amanda has given birth to a brand-spankin' new blog - check it out. She is absolutely hilarious and I have no doubt she will become a popular read in no time. Welcome to blogging, Mandy!
Friday, January 07, 2005
Reading Suzy's recent post about her failed attempts to fly inspired me to share a couple of our adventures from our holiday trip.
We were scheduled to fly out of Indy on Dec 23rd. I'd turned my last final in on Sat 18th, spent the weekend resting, sending out Christmas cards, and trying to get organized (while avoiding the malls like the plague). Then I did all my Christmas shopping on the 20th and 21st - that's right, all in 2 days. Wednesday the 22nd was spent having our 'Christmas' and packing for me and T.
For those in Indy, you likely remember there was a ton of snow predicted for that Wed night. My father had the bright idea of spending the night at a hotel airport so we wouldn't be late for our Thurs am flight. I wasn't sure I could get ready in time, but I did and that dinner at the airport was so relaxing - I was finally done rushing around, we were officially on vacation, and we were safe and snug inside the hotel while the snow came down outside.
On advice of the hotel clerk, my parents parked the van in long term parking on Wed evening. All we had to do in the morning was take the shuttle, with our considerable luggage, to the terminal. My grandfather, who accompanied us on the trip, was supposed to meet us at the terminal in the morning. Turns out my uncle brought him the night before to the same hotel where we were, unbeknownst to us, and he slept in the room right next to ours. My sister happened upon him in the hallway in the morning.
The gang was all there and we crammed into a warm dry shuttle and enjoyed the short ride to the terminal. Snow had indeed fallen overnight - we had 10 or 12 inches, I believe. No worries, though, the runways were being kept clear so we should be departing relatively on time, right? Ha.
We were delayed. For weather? Not really. Our flight was delayed for "crew rest."
Seems the FAA has mandatory minimum periods for which a crew must rest before they can fly. Our crew got in later than expected the night before and apparently needed an extension on their rest period. I understand the wisdom of this rule, I certainly don't want a sleepy pilot in charge of my flight. But has anyone ever thought of "new crew" instead?
After our efforts to ensure we arrived on time, we were a bit dismayed to be held up. And the consequences were serious. By the time we got to Houston, we had long missed our connection. This was the 23rd and we were informed the first possibility of getting on a flight was Christmas Day. Ugh. So after unsuccessfully attempting to fly standby a couple times (one time a few of us actually got on the plane, only to be called back off) we rented a car and drove from Houston to our destination in South Texas. What could easily be a 5 hour drive took upwards of 7 hours due to heavy traffic on the toll road in Houston.
We had better luck on our flight home. Barely. 15 minutes before our flight was scheduled to depart from Valley International Airport, the plane had not yet arrived at the gate and the airline representative insisted that we would be departing on time. When it finally landed, the passengers alighted quickly and we were rapidly boarded on to the aircraft.
Unfortunately, we spent some time waiting on the tarmac before we were allowed to take off, which shaved precious minutes from our already ridiculously short layover in Houston. When we arrived in Houston, my sister went to the nearest airline representative and asked her to call our gate (in another terminal, don'tcha know) and say that we on our way. The rep just snorted and said no because they wouldn't hold the plane for us anyway.
We dashed through the airport, trying to make our connection. J and T took the lead, my Mom and then my Dad close behind. But I stayed back with my Grandpa. At 85 years old, he is in fabulous shape. Truly remarkable. But running through an airport at top speed with his carry-on is a bit much to ask. As we finally approached the gate, they had long since made a final boarding call, but we made it onto the plane. Did it take off right away? Heh. The plane sat around and the captain finally came on and announced we were waiting for some "late luggage."
I had to laugh, I'm sure it was ours. And I beg to differ with his characterization. Our luggage was on time, as we were. The airline chose to book the reservation with only minutes to make the connection, so it serves them right that their timing would now be off as a result.
I like to travel; we had a fabulous trip (I'll post pics once I have them back). But I am incredibly happy to be back home, safe and sound on dry (well, dry in the house anyway) land.
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
No Man's Land
I tend to think of this time between semesters as sort of a no man's land. I'm just floating out in space - no grades from last semester, no real concept of what the coming semester's classes will be like.
I can't stand not knowing what my grades are. And yet, in that moment just before I click on the appropriate link to see one more time whether they've yet been posted, I also have a strong desire to not look. To just go on in blissful ignorance.
I wonder if I could actually do that - get through all of the Spring semester without knowing how I did in the Fall. Realistically, my performance last semester won't change the effort I put into the coming one. So maybe it would be better not to know at all.
I'd probably be better off not knowing, but of course I will continue to compulsively check for my grades. Sigh. I hope this waiting doesn't go on much longer.
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
Back to Reality
I'm back from our wonderful vacation. I'll be posting more regularly, but probably not until the end of this week or the beginning of next. I have a mile-long to do list that I'd like to get through before the new semester starts.
We had a great time and we are all exhausted. I don't think I gained more than 5 lbs - not too bad. And I have a bit of a tan to make up for it, but I'm sure it will fade fast in this chilly & dreary weather! That's OK, though, I kinda like the cloudy days. There is something soothing about them.
Enjoy the rest of your respective breaks - the new semester is just around the corner!!!
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