Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Closing Time

This is it, guys.

I started this humble blog at the beginning of 1L year, in the fall of 2007, when I was as anxious and excited and overwhelmed as everyone else in Section 12--by DC, by law school, by the prospect of being a "professional" and working toward a "career" and all those yuppie buzzwords that give us contemptuous thrills. Having this space available, and having a small but open-minded and dedicated (I like to think) audience, kept my nubile brain creative and helped me see the world through different eyes. I tried to think about my experiences in an articulable way, to tell them to you and experience some sense of sharing and solidarity. You were with me through exams, interviews, and cheesy lolcat jokes. You helped me solve the mystery of my identity thief, the fake sai sai. You listened to my bar prep nonsense. You shared my life over the last three years, and by being there, made me want to live it a little better.

A part of my life has ended. This is okay. Even though my memories are wonderful, and I have no idea what to expect from this next phase, I'm excited about what's to come. But I can't take this blog with me. It's a relic of a past time, and now it's time for me to move on.

I know I'll be on the internets somewhere; email me, or leave a comment with your email address, and I'll give you directions. That's Relevant will stay alive for just a little while longer and then melt away into the ether. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Future (woooooooooo)

Hello friends.

After that summer (that summer!), a long absence was warranted. From the bar exam we at TR helped our favored human become homeless, then became homeless ourselves, then took our homeless selves cavorting around this glorious world. Colorado and Chicago, Spain and Morocco--all are familiar to us now.

Big things are in store, big things. We are moving our lives forward! We are progressing! Things are happening! People, take this to the streets and sing!

And what next?

Why do you ask such questions, love.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

It's over and done with!

[Thanks to Braam for the totally appropriate pointer.]

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The hardest part

It's so goddamn boring.

In other news:
(1) I like snacks.
(2) A federal judge just gave AZ a well-deserved smackdown for denying gay couples state employee health benefits. Fuck you, Jan Brewer.
(3) AscenDance has a great chance of winning America's Got Talent.
(4) If I were at all unsure before about the dangers of sitting in front of a computer day-in and day-out, my current unfortunate back and shoulder pain has me convinced. Really, it's probably healthier to be a construction worker than a lawyer at this point.
(5) Would it be a waste at this point to just go be a personal shopper/life coach? That sounds like fun.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Season 1, Episode 4

The moment I finally got "The Wire."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Warning on the French press

"Children and hot fluids should be kept apart."

Bar lecture quote of the day

"The rules might not necessarily make any sense here. But at least they are really clear."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Repurposing Ayn Rand

"Listen, what's the most horrible experience you can imagine? To me--it's being left, unarmed, in a sealed cell with a drooling beast of prey or a maniac who's had some disease that's eaten his brain out. You'd have nothing then but your voice--your voice and your thought. You'd scream to that creature why it should not touch you, you'd have the most eloquent words, the unanswerable words, you'd become the vessel of the absolute truth. And you'd see living eyes watching you and you'd know that the thing can't hear you, that it can't be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it's breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own. That's horror. Well, that's what's hanging over the world, prowling somewhere through mankind, that same thing, something closed, mindless, utterly wanton, but something with an aim and a cunning of its own. I don't think I'm a coward, but I'm afraid of it. And that's all I know--only that it exists."

What do you think it is?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dead blogs

There are some blogs--not many, but a few--that I check almost daily even though no content has been posted in, let's just say, a while. Why bother, when there are so many great ones that update content 2, 3, 4 times a day? Today I realized: maybe I do it just so I have a reason to be annoyed. Bar studying is good for accumulating amorphous life-frustration. Dead blogs provide martyrs for targets.

Not the most charitable entry I guess, but can't you tell it's simply a very cranky day?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Working Lunch

Studying for the bar exam is not a creative enterprise. My entire mental world has been reduced to: Read this. Hear this. Memorize this. Write this. And, my favorite, Fill In This Little Circle With A No. 2 Pencil. If there was ever a less creative activity invented than filling in a circle of prescribed and uniform width with a prescribed and uniform writing instrument, I cannot think of it.

But, well, a girl's gotta eat. So my creative outlet has largely become: Making Delicious Things To Eat. (Most of them are delicious, anyway.) This week, for example, I picked up some Chinese eggplant, a vegetable I'd never cooked with before.* I softened the crap out of it in a pan with olive oil and garlic--which requires more oil than I like to think about--then scooped them out onto paper towels and threw some green beans into the pan to heat through. I served it (yes, we serve in this house, even in a meal for one) with some brown rice from the freezer and a homemade Thai chili sauce. That was the easy part: throw some Sriracha, fish sauce, and lime juice in a little bowl, and voila! Salty spicy sour goodness. Leftovers for lunch today made Corporations go down easier.**

*Is it a fruit if it has seeds on the inside?
**Admit I considered making a poison pill joke here. But. Ahem. NO.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Random thoughts: community property lecture

1. This woman talks like a character on Daria. It's the intonation. And the way she pronounces her S's. And the little giggle-tremor that occasionally creeps in. See here at 1:45, Principal Lee. Oh, yeah. Dead ringer.

2. Community property makes me want to watch Under the Tuscan Sun! Do you think I could get away with calling that "studying"?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rules of Bar-ville

1. At least one bout of exercise/physical activity every week.
2. No TV unless (a) it's Wimbledon or other sporting events, (b) on a meal break, or (c) after work is done for the day.
3. Cook meals. Eating out is for fun only, not for convenience.
4. If sweets are desired, they must be made at home and cannot be purchased.
5. No pajamas are to be worn outside the house.
6. Hourly lecture breaks must be taken away from the computer screen.
7. Must step outside--even if just on the balcony--every day.
8. Baking is encouraged.
9. Prizes may be awarded for good performance.
10. Limited to one episode of The Wire each day.
11. Read fiction before sleep each night.

[Added 6/30] 12. Do push-ups to guard against wrist pain. (I swear, it works.)

Do any of you have self-imposed rules you want to share? Things that make your life better? I'm firmly convinced the misery of bar studying can be mitigated with good life practices. Do you disagree?

Bizarro Wimbledon

Just because I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been watching! Honestly, it's like you don't even know me at all.

What on earth is happening this year? R-Fed going down two sets and facing match point in the first round... Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters losing in the quarters to a couple randos... The longest match in tennis history three times over... Roddick, last year's finalist, out in the round of 16 by a guy ranked in the 80s... And the Queen making an appearance for the first time in 33 years.

[UPDATE 6/30: Federer is OUT! Not even in the semis! Dude!]

I guess anything can happen this year. Can you say ANDY MURRAY.

At least I owe ESPN2 an unending well of gratitude for replacing the awful Chris "I Know Nothing About Tennis And Have No Personality" McKendry with a substantially better woman--Suzy Kolber? I keep missing her name--who actually says intelligent things and does a good job wrangling Brad Gilbert and Pam Shriver instead of making me want to throw my bar books through the television. Thanks ESPN2! You did good!

[Although it must be said: no one will ever replace Mary Carillo in my heart. She's smart, funny and so cute. (I love you Mary.)]

Friday, June 25, 2010

6.8 billion... and one.

Congrats to Adam & Andrea, proud parents of a new baby boy. Welcome to the world, little one.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My life

I've been camped out in my house this week catching up (slowly) on bar studying. My life has become, shall we say, streamlined. Welcome.

1. Work.

Lecture, notes, lucky stones, earphones, sweater, raspberries.

2. Play.

Remote, flowers, home-cooked meal, postbar trip planning.

3. Sleep.

Comfy comfy comfy bed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A quick breath

So I graduated. I can has J.D.? Indeed, it's on my desk, holding up the 2010 class photo and sitting on the 40 forms I need to mail in, like, yesterday.

Family was in town, things were predictably insane, and one lovely residual from the weekend--my best friend of 16 years (or is it 17?)--is still in town until late Sunday night. I'm trying to cram in as much bar studying as I can in between trips to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Muir Woods, the Russian River, and In & Out Burger. It's not much. I am so behind. Next week is going to, like. blow.

Gossip Girlsai

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mindless Rant Edition: Alejandro

Lady Gaga can put whatever she wants on her crotch, if you ask me. Is her licking a rosary offensive? Are her nun's habit and pope outfit blasphemous? Hey Katy Perry, what's blasphemous is priests fucking children and the pope--the real one, the one with ridiculous amounts of power--knowing about it and doing nothing hiding it. Until the church gets its house in order, how about all the tsk-tskers just STbloodyFU.


Way behind in bar prep
Graduation arrangements
Expired passport
Messy house
Grumpypants Saisai.

At least I have a schweeeeeet outfit for Saturday. Like wise women say: when you look better, you feel better.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My life is Persian

"My parents think playing basketball will make you taller."

"I don't have a middle name."

"Whenever an attendance is read and there is a long pause, I know my name is coming up. And I know they'll butcher it."

"I always have to explain to my non-Iranian friends why there is a watering can in my bathroom."

"Today I shaved... and now I have to shave again."

My people have arrived. MLIP.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


18 exams.

6 briefs.

8 response papers.

1 clinic.

3 short papers.

1 long paper.

3 years.

1 J.D.

And: DONE.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Le French Open, part deux

So I basically know next to nothing about tennis.

For the men's top eight, I predicted:

Federer, Soderling, Murray, Tsonga
Roddick, Ferrero, Gonzales, Nadal

Results: 3/8 correct. Actual top eight:

Federer v. Soderling, Berdych v. Youzhny
Melzer v. Djokovic, Almagro v. Nadal

And for the women's top eight, I predicted:

S. Williams, Sharapova, Wickmayer, Radwanska
Kuznetsova, Wozniaki, Dementieva, V. Williams

Results: 3/8 correct. Actual top eight:

S. Williams v. Stosur, Jankovic v. Shvedova
Schiavone v. Wozniaki, Dementieva v. Petrova

It's time for a new set of predictions! Hooray!

Men: Federer will play Berdych and Djokovic will play Nadal, with a Federer-Nadal final and Nadal winning in five.

Women: Honestly, I have no idea. But I'll go ahead and pick the upset: Stosur will beat Serena Williams to play Shvedova in the semis, and will go ahead to win the whole thing against Petrova in the finals. It's your year, Sam!

Fun week ahead.

Three good days

Saturday: Walked the Dish with good company.

Sunday: Hit the gym for some light squats: back, front, and overhead.

Monday: Walk/run 3-1/4 miles around the neighborhood, 40 minutes.

Following the Gospel of CrossFit, tomorrow we rest.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Le French Open

Two preliminary thoughts:

1. Jeez louise ESPN, why why why is that awful Chris McKendry in Paris? She doesn't know anything about tennis! She was terrible at the Australian Open! I have no idea what she's like with other sports--and honestly, I don't care. Important Producer Dudes: Get her off your tennis team. Brad Gilbert, Pam Shriver, Darren Cahill and the rest of the gang can make do just fine without her. And I won't feel tempted to throw my heavy-bottomed seltzer glasses through the TV screen.

2. The French crowd is rowdy, and that's an understatement. They whistle, boo, hiss, chant, and yell. During points, during serves, all the time. I feel sort of bad for the players, but as a general matter I think they're pretty coddled with all the hushed audiences they play for. A little rowdiness may be just what they need.

And, because I can, here's my first set of predictions.

From the top half: Federer, Soderling, Murray, and Tsonga.
From the bottom half: Roddick, Ferrero, Gonzales, and (my boy!) Nadal.

From the top half: Serena Williams, Sharapova, Wickmayer, and Radwanska.
From the bottom half: Kuznetsova, Wozniaki, Dementieva, and Venus Williams.

Make your own predictions here and here. And check back in a few days to see how much money I owe you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"I think that the weather should decide it."

That's from an email back in 1L summer, when advice was trickling in about whether I should transfer and to where. "Clerkships are always iffy, but the weather at Stanford rarely is."

Today's forecast:

Cambridge: High of 84 and partly cloudy.
Chicago: High of 86 and partly cloudy.

Stanford: High of 64 and rainy.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Speaking of phones

Is this the true cost of an iPhone?

A 19-year-old employee was found dead Tuesday morning in what appears to have been the ninth suicide this year at a factory in southern China operated by Foxconn Technology, one of the world's largest contract electronics manufacturers . . . . Foxconn, which produces electronics and computer components for Apple, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other global companies, has been struggling this year to explain a string of suicides among young workers at its huge complexes in the city of Shenzhen, where the company employs about 420,000 workers.

Note the suicide rate at Foxconn is still below the national estimate of 14 suicides per100,000 people in China.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The week borne of Satan's loins

That sounded more dramatic than "hell week," I thought.

So! Paper deadline on F-R-I-D-A-Y. Sure, sure, there are two finals to think about, but not until after May 28! People, I need encouragement. One 35+ page research paper, three 5 page response papers, one 12 page winter-leftover paper. Five days. Jeez, why don't you kill me now and get it over with.

Or, NO. Times like this I channel my mother. WWMD? "Soosooooooo! It's only a week! You can do aaaaanything for a week. Hey! What are you doing blogging? Get to work! NOW!"

Okay mom. Will do. Off to bed, then an early morning of "reading films" and writing about banks.

All you graduated folks studying for the bar this week, procrastinate a minute and tell me I'll survive the next few days, plz? K thx. Bye.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tomorrow Alert

RAPID UPDATE. So, I won't be drawing Mohammad tomorrow. I don't want to offend my (very progressive, btw) family members who feel strongly about their religion. But I will be thinking--fervently, angrily--that if someone wants to draw Mohammad tomorrow, they should be able to without being censored, threatened, or hurt. Okay, devout Muslims, so be offended. I am offended by the idea that women are responsible for containing the sexuality of men (hello, hejab). I am offended by the shunning, beating, and killing of gay people for their sexuality (hello, Iran). I am offended by the belief that violence against others brings rewards in heaven (hello, jihad). But you don't see me threatening anybody about it, do you? NO.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Vegas, detox, stone fruits, postbar

This past weekend was the 3L trip to Vegas. I could probably write a whole essay on My First Vegas but instead I'll just say: I spent a lot of time lounging by the pool with a tasty margarita, exclusive clubs are pretty much stupid, I love my friends, rascals rule, and when you order curry at a Thai restaurant you should specify how spicy you like it even if the waiter doesn't ask.

Of course, after such a trip I need to detox. So after getting back home (and sleeping 6 hours in the middle of the day) I went immediately to the grocery store and stocked up on fruits, veggies, sourdough, and brown rice. Yes I know sourdough isn't a stock detox food but honestly I'm in the Bay area for like two more months and I'm eating as much of it as possible until I pop. Moving on....

And as if buying groceries--one of my favorite things in the world--wasn't enough to get my heart going all aflutter, I was greeted at le Whole Foods by a huge pile of stone fruits! Peaches are back! Apricots! Nectarines!!! Oh man, I've been waiting for stone fruit season for six months and I can't wait to eat, eat, eat as many pieces of fruit as possible.

And so finally, as if there weren't enough exciting things in this post to keep you entertained, the post-bar trip is taking shape. Come August we'll be seeing Saisai take over Spain, Portugal, Morocco, and (whew) Chicago. So fun!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Help: cellphone service providers in DC

Hi all you DC kids,

So my phone, while hanging on to life by a thread, is now about 90% unusable. I'm a Verizon customer and I remember it worked fine in DC. But I've also been coveting the iPhone and am thinking of switching to AT&T to get it. How's AT&T service in DC? All you iPhone users out there in the District, is your service alright? Is your 3G usable? Do your calls drop all the time?

I've got to get a new phone early next week. Drop your thoughts in the comments and if they're super helpful you might even win a prize.

Thank you millions!


I am looking forward to this...

"A rancher, being owner in fee simple of a ranch, conveyed the property by warranty deed to a woman. The woman gave her niece a mortgage on the ranch to secure a loan from the niece to the woman in the amount of $500,000. The mortgage was recorded immediately. Two years later, the woman conveyed the ranch to a farmer by quitclaim deed. The woman then defaulted on the mortgage, and the niece brought an in personam action against the farmer to recover the amount of the mortgage due. Assume the woman's quitclaim deed to the farmer made no reference to the mortgage. The mortgagee will probably: [(A), (B), (C), (D).]"


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mental health day

The past couple of weeks have been a little hectic. My house is a complete mess. Do you remember that saying about a clear desk being the sign of a clear mind? It's true enough for living spaces too. And now that I've made my legal studies presentation (moderate success), it's time for a day off to get my ducks in order. Of course, the laundry/folding/tub-scrubbing is interrupted by patches of TV/reading/blogging. It's the 21st century after all.

UPDATE: A side effect of such days is the insomnia that inevitably follows them. 4:21am and still awake! Antitrust'll be fun in the morning--er, in 5.5 hours.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elena Kagan

She's great, but, I mean... The Supreme Court is a big deal, you know? People: am I the only one who thinks you should maybe be a judge somewhere, sometime before you get a seat on the highest court in the land?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Tropic of Cancer

"Once I thought that to be human was the highest aim a man could have, but I see now that it was meant to destroy me. Today I am proud to say that I am inhuman, that I belong not to men and governments, that I have nothing to do with creeds and principles. I have nothing to do with the creaking machinery of humanity--I belong to the earth! I say that lying on my pillow and I can feel the horns sprouting from my temples. I can see about me all those cracked forebears of mine dancing around the bed, consoling me, egging me on, lashing me with their serpent tongues, grinning and leering at me with their skulking skulls. I am inhuman! I say it with a mad, hallucinated grin, and I will keep on saying it though it rain crocodiles."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Giant Pool of Money

Absolutely required listening (if you haven't heard it already--it's from 2008). This American Life and NPR News explore wtf happened in the US housing crisis and resulting economic collapse. Listen listen listen.

(It's 59 minutes long. But hey GW grads, shouldn't be a problem for you!)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Condensed comment on the Catholic church

The video won't embed right, so just go here. You may be offended, or you may fall in love with me. Both equally possible.

saisai drama returns!

The saga continues.


joh*** weg***
to saisaiwala@gmail.com, [MY EMAIL ADDRESS]
date Mon, May 3, 2010

Dear Sai

I hope you are well????

My father is coming to Bagan on 19th May. I was wondering if you were free to show him around on 20th May?

My mother sends her regards to you.



This is my response. I think I'll just cut & paste it in these situations from now on.

from me
to joh*** weg***
date Mon, May 3, 2010


You have used the wrong email address. We have never met before. Please remove [MY EMAIL] and [ALT EMAIL THAT GETS SENT TO ME VIA GMAIL BUG] from your contact list. And if you can find the person you were trying to contact, and ask him/her to stop using my email address, I would really appreciate it. I get emails like this all the time and honestly they are kind of uncomfortable.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Next baking project

I should say first baking project: I don't have a kitchenaid mixer and I've been scared to try mixing any sort of dough by hand or food processor. But this--homemade pop tarts, people!--sounds too good to pass up.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

First CrossFit workout in... ages

Did a mini version of the DL-burpee workout today and I was DYING.

3 rounds, for time:
5 x deadlift @ 55lbs
10 x burpee

Time: 4:43.62.

I get to run a 5K on Friday! Well, I should say "walk/run" or "walk/jog" or just "jog"--or hey, just "walk!"--depending on my wuss-level that day. Will keep you posted.

Yay for increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains!

Whooooooo are you. Who who. Who who.

It's been a while since we had one of these. Beloved readers of That's Relevant, praytell me this: who are you?

[You can consider this an "open thread" if you want. Dying to hear me wax melodic about, say, grasshoppers? Demand it below.]

Monday, April 26, 2010

Eggs, salad, and sourdough

A simple and delicious dinner.
Eggs scrambled with salt & pepper.
Salad with romaine, "spring mix," endive, celery, and tomato with goat cheese and vinaigrette.
Slice of bakery sourdough to sop up the dressing.

Now that's a happy belly.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Section 12 for life

Congrats to everyone at GW Law finishing up this week! I love you guys (especially YOU, Section 12!). You worked hard, you did good, and now you are mother. fucking. DONE.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I do not respond well

I somehow got subscribed (without my consent, btw) to a listserv that sent out emails about Iran. Of course, more than half these emails are in Farsi, a language I cannot read. So, I ask to unsubscribe. The response I got was priceless. And, jeez, so freaking Persian.
Regretfully you have just left a list that passionately cares for Iran, and prosperity of Iranians. You just turned your back to Iran and oppressed people of Iran, in their struggle to re-gain their FREEDOM.
I think it'd be more effective if they laid on the guilt a little thicker. "You have just personally killed four political prisoners. If you don't rejoin our list right away, their dead bodies will be mutilated and their corpses hung above their families' doors, and it will be all your fault. I hope you're happy now."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Last last last last last

Yes, indeed, the last term of law school. I sort of can't believe this thing has been around for 3 years, any more than I can believe I have been around for 3 years. Saisai, esquire. Got a nice ring to it.

I became kinda a little obsessed with financial systems and the market meltdown last term. No, not "obsessed," more like intensely interested. It's so tricky! And so many smart people function within the beast, anyone on the outside is almost certainly outmatched. I like the challenge, I guess.

What's on tap for my (say it with me) LAST set of law school classes ever?

Antitrust. A famous class at otherwise-business-unfriendly SLS. Great prof, and--as I learned last summer--actually pretty interesting work. Which is why I'm taking this even though it conflicts with really everything else on the planet.

Legal studies. Basically just paper-writing, a directed research/paper workshop hybrid. Not much to say, except I hope I can find people who want to talk to me. Otherwise my paper will be kinda short.

Democratization of credit. I just sat in on this today and was blown away. Very small class, fantastic non-lawyerly teacher (that's very important), and interesting subject matter. We'll do everything from FICO scores to car loan agreements to subprime mortgage securitization. Neato!

Corporate governance. I told you I was intensely interested! This'll cover a bunch of discrete topics, like state competition, criminal liability, and the labor market for directors and managers. I have a theory about corporate governance I'm starting to explore. More on that later, when there's more to share.

So, that's it. I'm one research paper and eleven credits away from J-freaking-D. Well, that and a bar exam. But that's waaaay far off, right?



Thursday, March 18, 2010

Liars still at the poker table

I'm reading for a paper semi-related to the current financial crisis, and the first book on my list is Michael Lewis's new release, "The Big Short." Here's a bit of the prologue, where M.L. talks about writing "Liar's Poker."

Up to that point, just about everything written about Wall Street had been about the stock market. The stock market had been, from the very beginning, where most of Wall Street lived. My book was mainly about the bond market, because Wall Street was now making even bigger money packaging and selling and shuffling around America's growing debts. This, too, I assumed was unsustainable.

I thought that I was writing a period piece about the 1980s in America, when a great nation lost its financial mind. I expected readers of the future would be appalled that, back in 1996, the CEO of Salomon Brothers, John Gutfreund, was paid $3.1
million as he ran the business into the ground. I expected them to gape in wonder at the story of Howie Rubin, the Salomon mortgage bond trader, who had moved to Merrill Lynch and promptly lost $250 million. I expected them to be shocked that, once upon a time on Wall Street, the CEOs had only the vaguest idea of the complicated risks their bond traders were running.

And that's pretty much how I imagined it; what I never imagined is that the future reader might look back on any of this, or on my own peculiar experience, and say, "How quaint." How

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So not cool news flash: school cancels prom because lesbian wants to bring date

From USA Today, via Dan Savage (plus I saw this on mute during breakfast this morning):
A Mississippi county school board announced Wednesday it would cancel its upcoming prom after a gay student petitioned to bring a same-sex date to the event.
I hope this girl stays safe and the school reconsiders its decision. This is some messed up shit, Mississippi. Get your heads on straight.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The man has a point

From Dan Savage on The Stranger's blog, Slog:

"A Catholic school in Colorado is kicking out a preschooler because the child's parents are lesbians. The child also will not be allowed to re-enroll next year at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic School. The Denver Archdiocese posted a statement Friday saying the parents are "living in open discord with Catholic teaching." The statement says students in Catholic schools are expected to have parents who abide by church and school policies. The archdiocese said students with gay parents in Catholic schools would become confused."

"No doubt the school has already kicked out all the kids whose straight parents are 'living in discord with Catholic teaching' by having divorced and remarried or who've used birth control or who haven't been to mass lately. Right? Hello?"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Paper 2

This one was for Legal Ethics. We had to pick an outside source (preferably a non-legal one) and use it to comment on a topic we covered in class. I picked David Foster Wallace and exclusion from the legal profession. Not brilliant, but it works.

The Sweet and Sour of American Legal English: How Language and Convention Exclude Non-Lawyers from Legal Practice*

It’s a pretty uncontroversial idea that, in the United States, a person may represent himself in court. The space for laypeople to represent themselves in transactions and litigation is also accepted by the self-regulating legal profession. But formal permission to represent oneself isn’t the whole story: the legal profession uses a language, American Legal English, that informally, but routinely, excludes from practice the people who would exercise their right to self-representation. With David Foster Wallace’s essay “Authority and American Usage (or, ‘Politics and the English Language’ Is Redundant)” as a guide, I present several propositions. One: Some parts of legal practice are inherently complex, and using a shared language as precise as ALE reflects this complexity and so helps mitigate conflict. As an example, I consider complicated business transactions between sophisticated corporate parties. Two: Other parts of legal practice that are not inherently complex (such as simple commercial transactions between individuals) have dispensed with ALE and substituted a different, plainer English that functions well without the interference of lawyers or lawyerly complexity. Three: In a few distinct areas of legal practice, self-representation could be a useful fill for hiring a lawyer, but the litigant is required to forego self-representation because knowledge of ALE is still required by the system. In these situations, it’s unclear whether the cost of excluding some litigants from getting an effective hearing of their claims is outweighed by the benefits of precision that using the shared ALE language provide to the legal system. . . .

*Yes, I know law school papers don't have to follow this title convention. I wrote these very close in time (and for two professors who happen to be married to each other), and the titular mirroring is actually deliberate. The colon is now banished.

Paper 1

I wrote this for Law & Culture in American Film, using Birth of a Nation and Avatar as my film-sources. I liked how it came out in the end, but my next paper (this class requires 2) will be less about what people say about movies and more about what movies say about us. Stay tuned.

Story and Spectacle: How New Technology Subordinates Narrative in Film, and Why We Let It

In 1915, D. W. Griffith’s full-length film The Birth of a Nation stunned audiences and critics with the magnitude of its visual experience. It was “the first, the most stunning and durably audacious of all American film masterpieces, and the most wonderful movie ever made.” Critics praised the “splendor and magnificence of its spectacles” and recorded the cheers, tears, and simple awe The Birth of a Nation inspired in those who saw it. Now that the techniques and conventions Griffith pioneered have been imitated a thousand times over, modern audiences are more inclined to look beyond the spectacle of the film to reveal a simple, flawed story: a melodrama of two families divided by war; a “based on a true story” perversion of history; a racist polemic that reinvigorated the Ku Klux Klan. But film critics of Griffith’s day—even those sympathetic to the plight of African Americans in the racially tense early 20th century—set aside their reservations about the film’s subject matter and ideology to marvel at Griffith’s technology, techniques, and mastery of spectacle.

Almost 100 years later, with the release of Avatar, James Cameron can claim to have repeated Griffith’s great leap forward. Avatar is, “simply put, one of the most beautiful movies you’ll ever see.” Using new-and-improved 3-D and performance capture technology, Cameron has arguably reinvented cinema for a new century. Critics are in awe of the immersive experience that such clever and soft-handed use of technology can create for the audience, inserting us “so completely and seamlessly into it that we feel like we’ve actually been there, not watched it on a screen.” But Avatar, like The Birth of a Nation before it, rings a bit hollow beneath its spectacular shell: the clichéd “white man goes native” storyline, political commentary culled from the headlines, and clunky, derivative dialogue lead easily to the conclusion that we’ve heard this story before, even if we’ve never seen it quite like this. And, as they did in 1915, film critics are quite willing to forgive narrative flaws for the sake of a spectacular visual experience.

The Birth of a Nation and Avatar demonstrate a trend in filmmaking history: when technology takes a great leap forward, narrative takes a backseat—at least for a little while. This paper first aims to say why. I propose three considerations. Perhaps it’s unfair to ask directors who are talented at creating astounding new visual experiences to be equally skilled in telling new stories. Or maybe the problem is that moviemaking is expensive, especially when directors and producers develop technology and technique from scratch, and lowest-common-denominator narratives provide the best way to recoup a large investment. Last, it’s possible that filmmakers realize how overwhelming new visual experiences can be; maybe it’s simply too much to ask of an audience to grasp a new narrative about the human experience while simultaneously adjusting to depth of field or 3-D glasses.

A related trend is the complicity of reviewers in the subordination of the narrative experience to the visual spectacle in these pictures. Film critics—whether in 1915 or 2009—have been all too willing to forgive narrative flaws in films that push forward the visual experience of the audience. Some critics minimize such flaws almost unconsciously, dulling themselves to what they hear in deference to what they see.

Luckily for discerning audiences and the future of cinema, this dichotomy fades with time. Though in the beginning of a new technological era the narratives serve the visual experience, as the technology becomes more commonplace, narrative makes a comeback. New stories can be told with the not-as-new technology in a way that moves film forward—not just in the spectacle, but also in a new treatment of the human experience. After a period of adjustment, the relationship between spectacle and narrative restabilizes in its traditional form: instead of the story being a vehicle for a new technology, the technology of production takes its rightful place as a vehicle for a narrative experience. . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Blog not dead

It's been a busy few weeks. I had a few papers due (lots of writing this term--updates ahead) and generally just lots of life in a way I hadn't been having for a while. Plus, I've been reading more, and whenever that happens I get exposed to so many choice quotes that I can't pick which ones to post. It's a tough life, I know.

Since we're on this freaky quarter system, I have finals (!) coming up in a couple of weeks. Then the winter quarter will be over and the spring one will start and I get to do it all over again, while studying for the bar exam and, you know, not going insane, generally. Good times ahead.

So, dear readers, don't abandon us yet! Things always pick up when I have tons of stuff to procrastinate on, and with exams and the MPRE coming up shortly, there's no lack of opportunity.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

calorie counts?!

Is NYC now requiring restaurant menus to include calorie counts right next to the menu item? Bizarre! And kind of awesome. See Exhibit A here.

I love New York. I miss it. It's wonderful to be back.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hidden bits of comedy

In the NYT movie reviews.

“Valentine’s Day” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Everyone is strongly cautioned.

Too bad for the movie, though--I was hoping it'd be good enough to spend ten bucks on. Alas.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Superbowl ad that made me weepy

There had to be one--and here it is.

As Slate's Ad Report Card put it, I'm sick of Google doing everything right.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Didn't even need my advice!

San Francisco's answer to Westboro Baptist Church: spot on, dudes.

"God hates flags" is my personal favorite.

Rickrolling: not even the WBC is immune!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Counterprotest of one

So the Westboro Baptist Church (the "God Hates Fags" people) are coming to campus to protest outside the Hillel center on Friday. Students are organizing a counter-protest of some kind. I doubt I'll go--it is at 8am. But were I to join the public opposition, I'd advocate simple laughter. After all, these WBC people are just ridiculous. Here are a few snippets from their website [all errors, jargon, funky caps, and 8th grade AOL-speak theirs]. They really speak for themselves.
  • Contemporary Jewish Museum - BORING on steroids, God H8s U . . . Our God reigneth, Our God caused the punishment which you commonly refer to as the Holocaust. OH PLEASE! You ain't seen nothin' yet! AMEN!
  • ADL San Fran style - You liars are leading bros to hell! You got a problem with WBC telling people what the Bible says on the subject of Jesus Christ, the fact that Jews Killed Jesus and that unless they repent of that crime they can NEVER see the Kingdom of Heaven? Too stinking bad. . . . Yes, it might be nice to be treated fairly and kindly by you haters - but not to the destruction of our never-dying souls. AMEN!
  • JCC San Fran Style - Jews are Fags Really, 2 True! WBC will have signs of truth and warning for these rebels who enable sin all around the world! Zionist freaks: It's NOT your land! What did you steal that land for? Give it back! God Hates Thieves! Thou Shalt Not Steal! Thous Shalt Not Kill! Why you tell the fags they're all good? God Hates Fag Enablers.
  • Lowell High School - SCHMOOZE FOR JEWS? Tell 'em truth! WBC needs to come and show the little brutes what you all have failed to show them - OBEY GOD! . . . Also to be satisfied, having our senses exercised by these events, satisfied I say that these parents will actually be doing the infants a favor if they just go ahead and eat them instead of doing to them what they have done to these pre-teens and teens in this nation. AMEN!
  • WBC to Picket Twitter, Inc.! Now that should get interesting, WBC member(s) Tweeting as they picket outside Twitter, Inc. Won't a black hole or something open in the space/time vortex? Seriously, let us focus in on a few facts, to wit: Twitter is a company which lends itself to mass communication. Why in heaven's name would the great publishers at WBC NOT picket this place? They have a duty to God just like every other person to serve God and to use ALL their resources in their service to him. So we come with hearts of love and joy to humbly suggest they GET ON THAT TASK! . . . Obama's about to take away any/all resources like Twitter to serve him and his Antichristic agenda, so enjoy this freedom while it lasts a little longer. Praise God! AMEN!
  • WBC is determined that each place we go, all the children who you adults have lied to to, get this message: TWO WORDS define Antichrist Obama's "Education Plan", to wit: KEVIN JENNINGS, United States Education Czar. This fag who started GSAs and GLSEN Organizations all across DOOMED america. Now 63 years old, with ZERO CHILDREN of his own, this fag is DETERMINED to sodomize all of you children he and Obama can get their filthy, bloody hands on. Flee these lying false prophets, kids.
  • Congregation Beth Israel & Day School - Rabbis Rape Boys! You pretentious Jews are in BIG trouble, and WBC has the duty - job really - to tell you about it. . . . Just because you filthy, liars reject the testimony and record DOES NOT make it any less true. Each one of you Jews who refuse to help God's true servants, and hide in your little multiple-level-one-stop shops like this place, pretending to be so holy, selfless and kind are just as guilty of these murderers just referred to. AMEN!
  • Obama will shortly bring the trauma to this nation, then as you each turn and gnaw on the bones of all those who you currently profess "love" for, he will step right over your stinking, rotting carcasses (think Haiti corpses piled up, and that stink PEOPLE!)and ascend to his throne of world leader - as promised him by his father the devil. As predetermined by God Almighty, who by the way will be laughing at you brutish cannibals. Tah DAAAAH! Praise God! AMEN!
I think "Tah DAAAAH!" is a good place to end. I fell off my chair reading this shit. How can you not laugh?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just now:

Power goes out.
Lightning strikes.
Huge thunder clap.
Power comes back on.
Car alarms go apeshit.

I love rain.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Maybe I should take her class?

This week's Questions are for Terry Castle, lit prof at Stanford.

Do you agree that lesbians suffer from a paucity of wit?
Well, those who drank the Kool-Aid in the ’70s in the heyday of lesbian separatism — a lot of them have ended up in the academic world as historians or sociologists. And so there is a kind of earnest and stylistically impaired lesbian who is still in existence, like a stegosaurus.
How do you feel about seeing the adventure of life reduced to a function of DNA?

I guess I’m down with it because I’ve always felt, for instance, that my own lesbianism was genetic. My cousin, whom I was just visiting in London, we have the same DNA, and we’re both big, old dykes.
Surely you can find a more graceful way to describe yourself.

Svelte, coltish and effortlessly alluring? Cate Blanchett, please call me.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Things to remember when talking about food

"Agriculture is a business. Farming without a financial motive is gardening."

More here. Parsons calls these "fundamental principles that both sides should be able to agree on." Some are common sense--courtesy and empathy are always good tools in conversations about touchy subjects, after all. But not even ground rules are ideology-free, and if we have to have an ideological conversation, I'd rather it be about stuff than about how to talk about stuff. Thoughts?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

And this is A.O. Scott being "positive"?

"'Leap Year' is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). No sex. No jokes. No serious swearing. No violence. Nothing."

Monday, January 4, 2010

A new year

So. 2010. Two thousand and ten. This is the year that I can say "ten years ago" and be referring entirely to the 21st century. Le wow.

Resolutions? Well, sorta. Starting tomorrow I'm back in the gym, (mostly) CrossFitting. And after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, well, I feel inspired, but to do what? I want to make a change, but I can't articulate a goal. So far--all four days, or at least two of them--I've been trying to buy only organic foods, and only "local-ish," meaning California and nearby states. I'm making as many of my own meals as possible, with allowances for social meals. I have some early thoughts on manufacturing a personal food culture to pass down, but that needs to hibernate a bit longer in my mind. Ideally I'd like to be "opted-out" of the industrial food system, but I have doubts that's even possible in--good grief--2010.

And yours?