Sunday, December 30, 2007
I can't speak to what the man wants, but what he's campaigning for is to get rid of the federal DEPARTMENT of Education. He wants local control over education. He supports vouchers, but has not done anything toward getting rid of the public schools, just expensive (and Paul argues, unconstitutional) federal control over them.
I don't 100 percent support him in this, though I'd be hard pressed to say that public education has improved much since the ED was founded in 1980. Indeed, several of the programs I dislike most in the Bush administration go through the DOE (again, Paul argues, unconstitutionally so.)
In the comments on the previous post, Steve gives a link to Ron Paul waffling on Evolution. OK, so the man doesn't believe in Evolution or doesn't want to say so.
But, ummm, Ron Paul also says that federal control over the schools is unconstitutional. He doesn't believe in No Child Left Behind or the abstinance stuff the Bush administration spends so much money on, even if he believed in the philisophical underpinnings.
If Paul's waffling/disbelief/lack of gimp on the evolution issue personally is enough to lose your vote, OK. I can't argue with that and will freely admit that he's either not being rational or being a wuss bending to popular Republican opinion. I never said he was perfect. But if you're worried he might DO SOMETHING about his views, I have to say that I find that his repeated asssertions that federal control over the schools is unconstitutional is a pretty good sign he won't.
Also, I've heard the "some white supremacists like him, so even though I can't prove he's never done anything for them, he must be a bad guy."
Chris Matthews likes to tell a story about how he was campaigning for a candidate in Appalachia. This is a paraphrase because I don't have the story in front of me. Anyway, he was knocking on doors and he ran across an old lady who scowled at him skeptically.
"Your candidate is the one who wants to get rid of TV!" The woman said, "I'm not voting for him!"
Matthews shuffled his feet and gently explained that his candidate wasn't going to do anything to television, he wanted to get rid of the TVA (the Tennesse Valley Authority) a Roosevelt-era program that the candidate felt was no longer useful.
"Well, I'm not taking any chances!" the lady spat out. When reading this story, I always imagine the sound of a door slam here.
I'd really like to believe in the age of the internet, people aren't like this anymore. But the spirit of "I don't completely understand this, I just have a strong opinion" and "Sure they SAID X, but it's obvious they MEANT the much stupider and more evil Y" and "Why should I look up the actual facts when assuming good things about people I like and bad things about people I don't works just as well?" are alive and kicking.
BTW, if you'd like to have a look at the Candidate whom I actually support, take a gander at Bill Richardson.
Friday, December 28, 2007
So I'm just about to go home tonight when I get an email from a beloved Chalicesseur, who has breathlessly forwarded me that "Ron Paul met with White Supremacists" thing from a couple of weeks ago, declaring it "proof" that Ron Paul is NOT a good guy. (Emphasis hers. Ok, the scare quotes were mine. The capitalization was hers.)
Ok, first of all, here's the NY Times correction apologizing for relying on that peice of malarky.
If y'all have at any point forwarded the unverified smear, it would be good of you to forward the correction to the same people.
I'm pretty curious why "Oh, nobody's ever noticed that a Congressman who is running for President regularly meets with white supremacists" from one source, who happens to be a Nazi*, was so believeable in the first place, but several people I like and the NY Times believed it unverified, so I guess I'm missing something there.
If I sound crabby about this, it's because I'm really sick of the way liberals are treating the guy. No, he's not perfect. But I can't imagine why smearing Ron Paul is in liberalism's best interest given that IMHO he sucks least of all the Republican candidates, yet if he were the nominee lots of Republican voters would stay home on election day. I would say either one of those is reason enough to leave him alone, yet I'd say both are true and STILL liberals can't stop smearing him.
I mean, watch the man in action.
(No, seriously, do.)
Why are liberals so excited to tell lies about a guy who so obviously pisses off Mitt Romney?
Don't y'all have anyone better to attack than the only Republican who voted against the war? Hint.
who dislikes Richardson least of all the Democratic candidates, FWIW.
*I do not toss the term around lightly as a random smear. The guy whose words the NYT and lots of other people took as fact is an actual national socialist.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
I'm still not gambling, but I admire the person who came up with this.
Her former boss and his wife took a trip to Las Vegas. They weren't really gamblers. They saw a show, and when they came out, the wife needed to go to the bathroom.
There was a craps table near the ladies' room and the husband put down a few dollars while he was waiting. There was a line at the ladies' room, and by the time the wife came out' my mother's former boss was up $1,000.
So he took the money, he immediately bought his wife a fur coat, and he never even looked at the craps table again.
CC heard this story many times as a child. Her mother still admires the rewards of self control, and fur is still big in Vegas.
At check-in, we got stuck behind a group of half a dozen young people who had no id, no reservation, no apparent money and didn't seem to speak English. The clerk worked with them for at least half an hour, which is either amazing or terrible customer service, depending on whether or not you're me. Eventually, theCSO got into another line or we might still be there.
When we finally got checked in, we were told we'd been "upgraded," which in MGM Grand parlance means "tranferred to a tiny room with no bathtub." At that point it was something like 2am Virginia time, so I got on the phone and more or less begged to be transferred to a room with a bathtub.
They gave in and stuck us in the "MGM Signature" a business hotel behind the MGM Grand. The Sig is awesome and I would stay here again, though I was kind of taken with the Paris yesterday.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
(Item: I tipped the waitress $5 when she came back with my drink and she reacted like I'd paid off her mortgage. I guess real gamblers don't tip. Ah well. On to the Mandelay Bay...)
Saturday, December 22, 2007
It would give me awful, wonderful ideas, too.
who suspects she also has garlic in her soul.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Meanwhile, the more thoughtful sorts will want to be there, fighting the battle on IAs, thinking carefully through the Peacemaking issue before voting on it*, working on the revision of the 7 principles**, and yes, maybe doing a bit to comment reasonably on the gay marriage amendment in Florida. I love people like this, and they make me happy to be a UU and they make GA energizing and awesome.
I'm sitting here delighting in the idea of a GA with proportionally fewer hippies. This might be the greatest GA ever. I am looking forward to it like never before.
*And voting against it, I hope.
** We could always, you know, get rid of them?
I am only slightly more ambivalent about the people who are planning protests about the "government-issued ID" issue in Fort Lauderdale. While the theoretical basis for the protest makes more sense on its face, the regulation everybody's protesting comes from the Department of Homeland Security. It's not like the people of Fort Lauderdale had anything to do with enacting it. Indeed, they probably hate it since I'm sure all conventions hate it and it is probably bad for the local economy. (You think GA's coming back to Fort Lauderdale anytime soon? Neither is anybody else, I'm guessing.) So basically you are afflicting the afflicted by protesting as you snarl their traffic and yell at them on their way to work. They didn't get to vote on this, it was imposed on them by DHS, so annoying ordinary Floridians about it is just stupid.
But you know, there is an issue, arguably closer to the hearts of UUs, where the Floridians who have our values could use some help.
When you heard about the guy in Florida who murdered his children, his ex-wife and her lover, you may have noticed that he had custody of the kids despite his threats on his ex-wife's life. "Gee," you might have thought to yourselves, "what sort of crazy state looks at a choice between an unstable, murder-threatening, whackjob and a lesbian, and gives child custody to the whackjob?"
Florida is, as far as I know, the only state in the union with a straight-up ban on gay adoption.
You know those Domestic Partnership benefits Disney gives that the Baptist church hates so much? Well, local governments and large universities have been following the trend. But now there's an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Florida constitution up for a vote that will stop the public sector institutions from offering those. That almost makes me want to draw up a sign. Well, almost.
So yeah, if you believe that protests can make a difference in this day and age, and I don't really, at least you can put your arguably wasted efforts toward influencing people actually making a decision about something important as opposed to further bothering people who had a decision imposed upon them.
* As a Washingtonian, functionally, I do understand why people come to my city from other places to protest things and I don't mind that at all. (OK, I don't mind it as long as protest groups clean up after themselves and refrain from blocking off streets and otherwise taking their righteous anger out on people just trying to get to work in the morning.) But yeah, if you're not going to be making an ass of yourself, come to DC. And let me know you're coming. I make a mean Chicken Marsala...
Thursday, December 20, 2007
who smells like "Sweet Pea" scented bath products today thanks to her package from one of the secretaries.
So, have a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a kwaazy Kwanza, a tip-top Tet, and a solemn, dignified, Ramadan. And now a word from MY god, our sponsors!
-Krusty the Clown
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
During a break in my work with the student, I checked my e-mail and found a message forwarded by my former wife, a note from her college roommate describing the ongoing last days of the life of her husband of forty years, to whom she was introduced by my mother, who had an uncanny and embarrassing knack for such things. He is a fine man, a logician who somehow found a place for himself in aeronautical research, and produced an able son with his new wife in addition to the two beautiful daughters whom his departed wife had left to his care. Their long life together was happy, and they were the only mutual friends of my former wife and myself who maintained positive interactions with both of us after the divorce, for which I was deeply grateful. His present situation is such that I was reminded of Ms. Kitty’s recent discussion of theodicy, the issue of how an all-powerful and just God could allow such things to happen (I am not claiming that he does).Yes, the Job problem, and many others, of course. I do not weep often, but I wept last night.
Earlier this fall, I came across an old Loeb edition of the major Latin works of the Anglo-Saxon historian Bede (about 673-735 AD) in a Toledo bookstore, and since then I have browsed in it. Last night I was reminded of a passage in his treatise on the early history of the English church, which I found after a little searching. In it, Bede describes how the Saxon King Edwin of Northumbria consulted with his advisors and chief pagan priest to decide whether his kingdom should convert to Christianity, as urged by the Christian bishop Paulinus (d. 644). The events described took place about 627 AD or a little before. I have revised the published translation of the comment of one advisor of Edwin on the basis of the Latin text:
“King, for the comparison of our uncertain time to live, the present life of men on earth seems to me such, as if while you were sitting at table with your captains and thanes, in the winter time, for instance while the fire had been lit in the middle and the dining room being made warm, but outside everywhere there were raging storms of winter rains or snows, and one of the sparrows entered the house and flew through very rapidly, which when it entered at one doorway, it soon exited through another one. Which only during the time that it is inside, it is not touched by the storm of winter, but however once the brief time of good weather has passed in a moment, soon from winter it returns to winter, and escapes your eyes. Thus the life of men appears briefly; but of what will follow, or of what has gone before, we do not know at all. Wherefore if this new doctrine has brought us something more certain, it seems worthy to be followed.“
Of course, neither do I know any answer to this question, but I do know that we must value the birds, and beasts, and friends that we have, at Christmas and at other times. Have a good holiday season.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Starts in five minutes. Eeek!
Monday, December 17, 2007
1. The customary blogger response to a functional cease and desist letter from someone who has no legal leg to stand on is to post the letter and make fun of it.
2. If you create something, especially in your professional capacity, and put your name on it, and I make fun of that thing and by-extension you, your name is public domain for the purposes of that fun-making, nothing in that situation is actionable from a privacy standpoint. If you don't believe me, look it up.
3. If I haven't said anything untrue about you, nothing I've done is defamation.
4. I'm a pretty benign person offline and actually have respected polite requests to remove someone's name before. But being a snotty bitch to me in your email is not the way to get me to behave benignly. If I do take your name off, particularly if you are a professional who should have known better, I am doing you a favor. The world doesn't owe you a free pass when you do a shitty job at something you're paid to be good at and rudeness is not the way to earn that pass.
5. At least for the moment, I'm not attaching a name or a post to this.
trying to decide if the world needs spectator ballet flats
Saturday, December 15, 2007
However, even though the Buy Me Stuff I'm Cute link on my sidebar has linked to said wishlist for several years, I still feel awkward actually advertising to the world that I want somebody to buy me some ballet flats, black, size eight and a half, from Nine West.
It's like registering for my wedding, but without the fighting. My husband and I fought the entire time we registered for wedding gifts, a memory that is funny to me now. I like to imagine that our pictures are posted in some back room at Crate and Barrel.
This is not to say that I don’t argue with myself, because I totally do. (What is with my recent fondness for designer purses? Am I insecure about my status among some of the wealthy-looking and fashionable people I go to school with? Is it a sign that law school is turning me evil? I don’t want to be the sort of person who gets excited over designer purses. But I think I am…)
When I really get obsessive, I start to imagine the wishlist as a cultural artifact. Margaret-who-loves-pots could tell you a lot about a culture by their pottery. I would think my amazon wishlist would produce even more insights. What does it say about CC that she wants a silver bracelet, a video game where you pretend to play guitar, canned outlines of my spring semester classes and DVDs of Alfred Hitchcock presents? Am I a dork for digging this clock?
How much of me is captured in the tag cloud of interests Amazon has made based on my purchases:
Administrative Law Anthologies Brite, Poppy Z. CD Album Civil Procedure Dandy Warhols Davies, Robertson Dogs Erotica Gay Law Practice Legal Profession Literary Literature & Fiction Maron, Margaret Mystery Nonfiction One-L Political Punk Rock Property Research The Sims United States Women Sleuths
A lot of me, actually. The tag cloud captures a lot about who I am and who I want to be. OK, I never aspired to be a Poppy Z. Brite fan, but as I’ve written, her Liquor series surprised me with how awesome it was. And I do find it odd that religion and art aren’t in my tag cloud. But amazon still knows more about my interests than my mother does.
Ok, back to studying Con Law.
As for the youth, at least in Virginia, if you're under 15 your mom or dad brings your birth certificate to the DMV, they fill out a form and pay ten bucks and you have government-issued ID. If you're 16 or older, you probably have a learner's permit and if you don't the procedure to get one is as simple as the one for the ID card.
I get that some un-documented immigrants* can't attend GA if government-issued ID is required, but honestly, I'd say the $300+ entry fee and the fact that GA is entirely in English would be greater barriers than getting ahold of a half-convincing fake ID, and the entry fee and English-language have been a fixture of GA since its
I guess what I'm getting at is "Enter, Rejoice and Come In as long as you have $300 and speak English" really THAT much more welcoming than "Enter, rejoice and come in as long as you have $300, speak English and have government-issed ID"?
* I've only known three people personally who were in America non-legally, and I know for certain that all three of them had drivers licenses.
**FWIW, the person in America non-legally whom I know best is British, has a drivers license and does have an extra $300, but isn't UU.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
SATURDAY MORNING LECTURE
Spong’s talks took as background his recent book “Jesus for the Non-Religious”. His Saturday morning lecture focussed on the Bible, addressing an aspect in which many modern churches follow the Reformation, the exaggerated reliance on the Bible (sola scriptura) as authority, treated in a way which ignores the past two hundred years of critical and historical scholarship, and thus failing to interpret the Bible in terms of the places and times of origin of its various sections. The Bible has been terribly misused, he feels; it is based on many assumptions which we can no longer share, and cannot be the ultimate source of religious authority, he stated. As a reaction to a different source of authority, he referred to the concept of the “gap-filler God”, the notion that religion is relevant mainly to areas of scientific ignorance.
Spong recalled the Genesis creation-legend of Adam and Eve, and how the story of their disobedience had been transformed into a view of perpetual human guilt, original sin. Since the recognition by Darwin of human evolution, this interpretation of the creation-legend must be abandoned. Your “humanity is not enhanced by making you feel guilty,” he stated. The question then arises, “Can we retell the Jesus story in terms of modern knowledge?” If not, it is the death of Christianity, he felt.
In the question period, I posed a question in which I recalled Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s response to the “gap-filler” concept. He wrote in a 1944 letter from prison that “We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know”, with further clarification that by this he implied the need to base religion on scientific knowledge as well as addressing specific human issues such as death, suffering and guilt. In his response, Spong elaborated about the person and situation of Bonhoeffer for the mostly lay audience, and the significance of his declaration quoted above. Spong himself was comfortable in his agreement with Bonhoeffer’s view.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON LECTURE
In his Saturday afternoon talk, Spong pointed out that the beginning of the misuse of biblical traditions was not recent, taking as an example Paul’s distortion of the creation story of Genesis in his version of the concept of original sin. Spong was concerned as to just how religion is to be combined with science, and whether difficulty in doing so means that the age of religion has passed. Participation in organized religion has declined drastically in Europe, and the United States is anomalous in the Western world in terms of the importance given to religion in public life. What is the significance now of the religion which stems from the Jesus traditions, in a world in which background assumptions have changed greatly, he asked. Church life is seen by him as a complex in which first-century Jewish traditions about Jesus are combined with a liturgy which comes from the medieval Western world.
For Paul, he said, God was in Christ. But what did the term “God” mean at different times, and what is the significance of the liturgy meant to placate him? How much risk of not placating God are you exposed to if you change that liturgy? The tribal mentality in parts of the Bible in terms of which “God favors my guys” in opposition to other groups who have their own gods, is quite current in the modern world. With the emergence of monotheism, God is seen differently. Theism he sees as a human creation, but this very fact points out the possibility of a non-theistic alternative.
In turning to the traditions of the NT, Spong pointed out the coexistence of multiple different concepts of Jesus’s divine character (christology), partly incompatible, in the writings of the evangelists and Paul. For Jesus to be the personalization of God was different from the notion that he was the Christ or Messiah, anointed to be king of the Jews (a dangerous political claim under the Roman empire). The comparisons of him to Moses and Elijah bring in yet other elements. In an extension of this christological discussion, Spong injected deep personal interpretations of the relation of divinity to humanity, saying that “Humanity and divinity are not distinct categories. Divinity is a description of what human nature can be when it is fully human.” If these views are accepted, he felt, there must be new answers to the question of what it means to be a Christian in the twenty-first century.
Rather than asking whether the gospel stories really happened, Spong recommends that we should ask, for instance, why did the authors construct their stories thus to make Jesus the fulfillment of the Messiah stories? It may be unclear how he reconciles this with his membership in the Jesus Seminar, a group which in part of its work has aimed at the assessment of the historical value of the surviving traditions about Jesus. Both directions of inquiry have their value. On the other hand, he refused to be drawn into detailed discussion of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, stating “I’m not into certainty. I think Christianity is not into certainty.”
Responding to questions after his Saturday afternoon lecture, at times Spong was pessimistic about church organizations, stating in response to one question as to whether he saw successors coming in his direction of progessive Christianity, “I don’t expect the Church ever to be Christian. If you expect the Church to be Christian, you’ll be disappointed.” Later he elaborated in a more positive way about how he conceived the tasks of the church. “The job of the Christian church is to transform the world. . .” and to “help people become more human, and not to help them become religious.” He has mixed responses to those who have recently revived the 18th century Enlightenment attack on Christianity, among whom he likes Richard Dawkins.
SUNDAY MORNING SERMON
In his sermon on the second morning of his visit, Spong acknowledged the coming of Christmas by discussing the birth of Jesus. This is treated only in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, not in the basic one of Mark. The divergent treatments in Matthew and Luke agree mainly in showing that by the time of their writing, Jesus’s paternity was an issue which had to be addressed. Spong, who is an advocate of women, handled this in the case of Matthew by considering the summary of Jesus’s genealogy in the first chapter, commonly considered the most boring passage in the Bible. Spong elucidated the significance of the four women before Mary referred to in Jesus’s genealogy: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. He pointed out the late and secondary character of the story of the virgin birth, stating that it apparently was not known to Paul. By the time of the gospel of John, the issue could be ignored.; John’s focus was on christology. Overall, Spong drew from the genealogy of Jesus in Matt. 1:1-17, not christological conclusions, but that “the love of God is sufficient to overcome any human frailties”. On a level of meta-interpretation, Spong’s sermon illustrated the significant conclusions to which one may be led by consideration of an apparently barren text on a critical and historical-literary basis, as suggested in his introductory considerations on the Bible.
At the beginning of his Sunday sermon, Spong had commented with amusement on the difficulty of finding a Bible in a Unitarian-Universalist church as he was preparing for his talk; he had to settle for the King James Version. When he caught sight of me at the lunch which followed his Sunday sermon, and came over to shake hands, I jokingly told him that he had asked the wrong person for a Bible, showing him the pocket Greek NT in which I had followed his discussion of Matthew. He seemed surprised but appreciative.
Before the sermon, I had awoken in the morning to the faint powder of snow that had fallen during the night, hearing echoes in my mind that I finally recognized as coming from a sermon by an unknown medieval Byzantine churchman whose work is wrongly attributed to Epiphanius (circa 315-403 AD), the Bishop of Constantia. I first encountered this work, which is both rhetorically skilled and learned, several decades ago when I was reading through all of the earliest Old Bulgarian texts (originally from the 9th and 10th centuries AD) and their Greek originals, which was an education in Greek Christian literature and thought. I was stunned when I came to the line in this sermon which reads: “I have taken up a pen, that I may sign freedom for the human race.” The sense of this text cannot correspond to a modern political interpretation. Instead, its context comes from Colossians 2:14, looking back to Paul’s view of the abandonment of Mosaic law as liberation, in Galatians and elsewhere. In the thinking of the sermon’s unknown author (called pseudo-Epiphanius), as in Paul’s view, it referred not to a political event but to a shift away from a broad theological point of view which they regarded as imprisoning the human mind and life.
Spong acknowledged that on various occasions he had been invited to join the UU movement, but he had declined to do so. He emphasized the long-term continuity of the Western Church, saying that “Episcopalians are Catholics who can’t speak Latin”. Like the scholar Erasmus (1469(?) - 1536 AD), who saw clearly the defects of the Catholic church of his time, but did not accept invitations to leave it to join the Reformation, Spong prefers to work from within, saying “You can’t change your church from the outside.” Further, he stated that “Any Christian tradition that believes it can no longer be challenged has already died”; some of his Episcopalian colleagues counter by declaring him heretical.
One member of First Church asked me at Sunday lunch whether my admiration of Spong meant that I had reached the same religious conclusions that he had. I cannot do so in a general way, because of many other issues that he did not address. If I did, then I would have to become an Anglican. I will learn more about some of Spong’s views by informing myself better about his publications. There may well be important limitations to his point of view. However, Bishop Spong probably has enough to deal with in his own role as a contributor to and advocate of progressive Christian thought. He has, after all, taken up his pen to sign freedom for the human race, not as part of the differentiation of Christianity from Judaism, but as part of a major further advance of Christanity beyond its traditional character, and that is enough of a task for anyone.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
After the party, JWC, Smiley Dave, theCSO and I were cleaning up. Jana was telling Dave how earlier she was asking the group if someone had lost the fresnel lens out of his or her goodie bag.
She explained that she had pronounced “Fresnel” as FREZZ-nul, like Fresno. But one of the kids was very quick to correct her, explaining that the proper pronunciation was “FRAY-nul.”
“So,” I said, “Would you say that this kid was pretty Fresnel-retentive?”
Maybe you had to be there.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
In exactly fifteen minutes, my property exam begins. Chalicessuers are invited to say prayers, perform rituals and make shouts out to the universe as their beliefs dictate.
Friday, December 07, 2007
It's not THAT bad.
Last night was my last property class. (And I am so sincere when I write *sniffle.* I LOVED that class. I know nobody loves property, I did.) I ran around property class handing out invitations to my New Years Eve party and slipped one under the professor's door.
This morning, the other paralegal and I were trying to figure out who has whom for secret santa. She kept listing possible parings off on her fingers. Without missing a beat, I grabbed a pen and drew a diagram that would have made Stanley Kaplan's heart skip a beat. Our girl still knows a classic LSAT problem when she sees one.
I was looking at my calendar and I am taking only one official work day off for my VACATION. (Boxing day.) If I'm not an idiot, I will take Tuesday off to put final touches on my outline for my property final. Christmas Eve and Christmas day I have off anyway.
Again, presuming I'm not an idiot, I will take the day of the Con law final off and probably New Year's eve given the party that night. (Want to be invited to my party? Shoot me an email. I have invitations to mail for a lot of you anyway sitting in my bedroom unstamped, but I also have an email version of the invite.)
So assuming non-idiocy, I'm only working 15 days in December.
That is 75 billable hours assuming I work at an optimum level, achieving five hours even the day of the firm's holday party. (Item: I haven't worked at an optimum level thus far. And I'm writing a blog post now. And it's almost time for lunch...)
New Year's Eve is a Monday, so if I do my party preparations over the weekend I might work then. This weekend is property final weekend, and I also have three parties and invitations to two more that I'm not attending. Next weekend is Con Law Preparation weekend. One review session before then. Gotta buy at least a secret santa present before then. Will do lots of shopping online.
Two days after the con law final is my office luncheon. Two days after that I leave for Vegas and four days of deadly sins with my husband. (Pride=Staying in classier hotel than some, Lust=It's Vegas, Gluttony=8 dollar steaks, Wrath=We always fight at some point on vacation, Envy=Window shopping, Greed=Non-Window shopping. Sloth=Especially if I get that upgrade to a room with a hot tub.)
I will hate myself in May, when I am scrambling to make my hours for the half-year mark. But I will be out of school by late May and can work late again or a weekend. I forget that in real, non-student, life working all day Saturday is the exception, not the rule.
I really feel more relaxed and happy than I've been in a long time. Last Friday, Jana-who-creates took me out and we ate tapas and I had three delicious drinks and a sort of peace descended over me that has been with me all week.
I usually hate Christmas. It has depressed me ever since I grew up sufficiently that recieving presents wasn't the point of the holiday. Holidays with my family are impossible, so I have spent the last six Christmases with my in-laws. The ministers who read this column will sympathize with how I feel about Christmas with my in-laws because they know what it is to enjoy a party, yet on some level still feel they are working. It's not my in-laws fault any more than it's the fault of the well-meaning congregant who invites the minister to a cocktail party. It's the nature of the minister/daughter-in-law job.
This Christmas feels like the first one I've ever had that was totally on my own terms. In some ways, the crazy schedule I keep the rest of the year has given me permission to be selfish and demand alone time with my husband, a party with my friends, and lots of cheer.
I'm starting to realize why other people like this holiday so much.
Who can't wait to work on her property outline.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
She barely had her seatbelt fastened before she asked about my outline in exactly the tone one asks about the Redskins. The final is Tuesday. We're all like that.
"Well, I'm not writing it chronologically from scratch," I said. "I'm not much of a notetaker, so I'm using old outlines from friends and commercial outlines and what notes I have and combining them that way. I take an old exam for practice, tweak my outline, take another old exam, tweak, etc. I started at the exams from the early 90's and I'd like to get through all his old exams before Tuesday"
"Oh, Ok." She said. After a beat she added, "I took an old exam earlier. That stuff about Estates and Interests scared me. I emailed the prof, though, and I was so relieved when he said not to worry about it and things we didn't go over in class wouldn't be on the test."
"We didn't go over estates and interests in class?" I asked.
"You didn't know that?" She asked, openly horrified.
"Umm... No. I'm not much of a notetaker. When there were a bunch of questions about it on the old finals, I just assumed I hadn't taken notes for a couple of really important classes."
"So you've been studying all that Rule against perpetuities stuff? But he hasn't taught in class since like 2002. And it's impossible!"
"Oh, the rule against perpetuities isn't that bad," I said. "All it says is that a property bequest can't go on forever. You can, say, leave your house to your wife until she dies and then leave it to your son forever, but you can't leave it to your son 'til he dies, then his son 'til HE dies, then HIS son until HE dies and soforth. The common law rule is that estate has to vest within 21 years after the death of the last person alive at the time of the writing of the will to die. Fetuses count. Also, some states have a uniform code that says wills have a flat 90 years to vest. It's more complicated than that in places but that's the jist."
Ivy stared at me like I had sprouted tentacles. "You learned ALL THAT? But it's not on the test!"
"Ooops," I said. There wasn't much else to say. We were in front of her apartment anyway.
"I'm just sorry you wasted your time," Ivy said airily, climbing down out of the jeep.
We said goodbye. I drove away, realizing that I didn't think of it as a waste of time at all. It would have been more efficient to study only what's actually going to be on the test, but I kinda liked knowing that stuff. Besides, you never know when "indefeasibly vested remainder for life" is going to be the answer on Jeopardy.
I'm probably rationalizing here, but I have to say, that I drove home thinking that maybe there's a reason why I don't share the academic success of people like Ivy, but I'm so interesting to talk to.
Who is better at playing the game than she has ever been, but apparently still has a few things to learn.
Like, not visiting a friend and working at their house instead.
Not going to a convention or large meeting to exhaust herself.
No attending a graduation, wedding or any other event.
TheCSO and I do not gamble, but we're going to eat and drink (a lot) and go to shows with half-naked dancing girls. We're going to the Star Trek Experience and the Atomic Testing museum. (Still geeky on vacation.)
We're flying Jet Blue. We're staying in the MGM Grand. On the advice of smart people, I picked my hotel, then googled "MGM Grand Promotional code" and monkeyed around trying codes and codes plus or minus a number. Saved $130 that way.
Then, also on the advice of a smart person who knows Vegas, in the "Special Room Requests" section, I wrote "We'd like an upgrade if you have one. Make us an offer!"
So we will see how that turns out.
But anyway, we are open to suggestions of fun stuff to do. On the whole, we're kind of geekish. We wouldn't mind a show or two, but clubbing isn't usually our thing. We will probably do one or two really nice meals and cheap ones, so we're happy to have suggestions for either.
Ok, back to getting billable hours and studying for finals.
who just wrote "On Vacation but reachable on cell" on her office calendar for the one workday she is missing. Baby steps, Kids, a girl can't learn to relax all at once.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I want to say "Grow up! Quit sucking! People who base their egos on bitching about everyone else are yucky and nobody wants to be friends with them! Also, I've been listening to Radiohead since at least 1996 and I can assure you that plenty of other fairly mainstream people have, too."
But I don't.
I just kind of smile and nod and pray they are being ironic when they refer to people not like them as "normals," "mundanes" or what have you.
Sunday, December 02, 2007