May 14, 2010

I-D-A-H-O, Idaho, Idaho, go, go, go!

Sigh... I actually finished my first year of law school. (I expect you all to be clapping right now). This is no small feat for me, especially considering the semi-catatonic state I was in when I left Moscow, ID for Idaho Falls, ID four years ago. Finally, I feel like I'm figuring some stuff out... it feels a little like Fight Club when Edward Norton realizes that he is actually Tyler Durden, luckily though I didn't have to shoot myself in the jaw. Maybe that's a bad comparison...

Anyway, I was excited to finish my last final so I could go home to Idaho. I hadn't been home for a few months and was really feeling the need the for some family and puppy time. I'm always surprised how nothing changes though I probably shouldn't be.

No one has finished the Marriott next to the river since the builder went bankrupt and we are left to wonder if it will continue to be a reminder of the recession for the next twenty years. The local newspaper still only prints a quarter of a page on international news while devoting almost the entire front page to the first local doctor to do a cochlear implant. The old farmers still meet in the early morning hours at O'Brady's Restaurant, drink coffee and talk about the weather until noon everyday.

The same people work in the Java Hut. My old boss still says inappropriate at lunch with the other guys while my very patient and awesome replacement ignores them all completely. My parent's house is still a constant sixty degrees. My dad still lets my dog outside without putting her on the leash even though he has learned time and time again that she does not listen. My mom still leaves half-eaten pieces of toast all over the house. My brother still insists on getting up at 2a.m. to do his milk route. My nephew Weston still looks like a little football player and my sister-in-law still manages to have infinite grace in dealing with both Wes and my brother.

My old friend from junior high once again met me for breakfast, still drunk from the night before, wearing pajama pants and the same shirt that he had apparently been wearing for three days. It is still a rarity to go to the mall and not run into someone you know. The same people are at the local gym as were there the last time I came home. And without fail, after washing my car I find myself behind a truck carrying hay.

So yeah, Idaho has it quirks and some of them are more irritating than others. In the end though, I miss it a lot.

April 12, 2010

Basically, ultimately and in effect...

With only a week left of my second semester law school classes, I finally checked my blog and realized I have seriously neglected it. I would like to say that this is due to my intense focus on my studies, but it is more likely due to a law induced stupor. This stupor is really only comparable to the three-week narcotic haze that followed my tonsillectomy last spring during which I survived on pudding, tea and watched three entire seasons of "Bones" consecutively in my parent's basement. In both cases, I have emerged a bit crazed, a bit paler, with a headache, and in serious need of some rehabilitation.

To begin this process, I will share my semester's experiences, sharing with you what has induced this stupor and submitting to you for suggestions on how to remedy the situation. You heard it here, this is a cry for help people so now you are all liable for my rehabilitation.

The semester began with the assignment to read "A Civil Action." I read the entire book regarding a personal injury suit against big industry for releasing toxins that cause cancer, and was asked by my professor which attorney I deemed "the best." Unfortunately, I determined that all of the attorneys in it sucked and if I have to be like any of them, I would like to quit now. Apparently that was not the right answer but I still can't figure out what the right answer is...

I managed to stay off Facebook for the first three weeks of class, no small feat. Property Law finally broke me though. Property Law has turned me into a communist and a Facebook Farkle addict.

Yes, I'm still dating Gipple. I have been reminded how complicated relationships are and that I shouldn't say things like, "sure," "that's fine," and "I'm ok," even if they are accurate. Also, reacting to stuff two to three days after it actually happens is a lot like giving someone a present and then making them give it back... Oh and adding ellipses ("...") to everything creates interpretive ambiguity. Sigh...

I am relying on my physical similarities to my sister to make up for not having met my new nephew yet. I'm hoping this will help him love me, even though I have yet to bundle him up and squish his chubby cheeks. I believe that holding him and hugging my sister would induce complete zombie recovery instantly.

The Indian guys that live below me getting an X-Box has made me appreciate the guy next door that leaves talk radio on all night. At least the guy next door doesn't make the floor shake for two hours from playing "Call of Duty." The Indian guys also recently discovered alcohol which makes their Wednesday night get-togethers more fun for them and louder for me... not sure how they communicate when ALL of them talk at once. I need to move.

Law school prom is WAY better than High School prom. No one is embarrassed that they know the words to Duran, Duran songs and doing dance moves like "the sprinkler" only makes you cooler. I didn't get to break out my punch-dancing but now I have something to look forward to for next year.

I spent 150 hours on a motion and memo about a fake teacher being fake drug tested and fake testing positive for opiates. Now I get to do fake oral arguments against a classmate using my memo. I am not fake bitter about this.

And there's the basics. Intervention?

February 05, 2010

What a law student thinks...

I feel like I need to dispel the fiction that law school makes law students smarter right now before it gets out of hand. We are not "smarter." We maybe know a little more Latin and try to apply legal rules to factual situations in our lives but I wouldn't call this smarter. Let's face it, waking up in the middle night to my neighbor's talk radio and trying to figure out if I can sue him based on a nuisance theory and recover for my lost sleep isn't smart... it's actually kind of stupid because it means I'm not putting my ear plugs in and going back to sleep.

There are all kinds of more prominent examples though daily at the law school. I'd like to share these with you now so in three years when you call me for free legal advice, I can point to this blog and say, "Hey, I put you on notice that I'm still an idiot a long time ago." Here's your notice...

When my Property professor talks about a state government's "police power"... I automatically think of the video of police beating Rodney King even though that has nothing to do with it.

When my Constitutional Law professor who was born in France says "whereas-es" in his French accent 75% of the class giggles and thinks..."haha, he said ass!"

My law school buddy and I decided it would be funny to name my fictional-future children "Plaintiff, Defendant, and Your Honor." You can only imagine the tom-foolery that proceeded from there. Commentary such as "Your Honor, stop hitting Plaintiff!" has been going on for two days now and makes us behave in class like kids in church.

When I'm staring intently at the professor, looking astute, it's probably only because I got bumped off the internet so the CNN article I wanted to read won't load.

I may know more Latin but I still have no idea what Eddie Vedder is singing.

I generally have three pages up on Firefox during every class: my e-mail, CNN, and just so I can see if my professor is making up words, The legal field has confused the English language more than Ebonics.

Law students are not any better at conflict resolution than the rest of the world. Some even find it acceptable to bang their heads on their desk repeatedly when a fellow-student won't shut up their own ridiculousness. Hilarious? Yes. Appropriate? Probably not.

We still gossip and make up code names for people we either really like or really don't like so they don't know we are talking about them.

So you see, we are just like the rest of you... only more like the way you were in junior high. Lesson from this? Find out what your potential attorney's nickname was in law school before you hire them.

December 12, 2009

A Hug and a Requiem... The Christmas Edition

I don't usually use this forum to spread anything but laughs. Today though, it seems appropriate to share a little more than that. For those hoping for more tales of my ridiculousness, feel free to stop reading now. I promise not to be offended... too much...

I'm one of those people that has a hard time with the holidays. As a general rule, they serve to be reminders of things and of people that I have lost over the years. The holidays make my soul feel more old and tired than usual. And while the sad news of the past few weeks has not lightened this load, there is still enough beauty to be appreciated that I can send my own message of hope. I hope you will bare with me as I do so.

Last week was a particularly difficult one. While preparing for the intensity that is first semester law school exams, I was also dealing with some of those tragedies that seems to befall us more and more as we age. On a particularly cold night, after a long run at the gym, I gathered my things and left for my favorite coffee shop. Instead of going straight to the coffee shop, I decided to take a detour and look around The Cathedral of the Madeleine. I had passed the Cathedral dozens of times in my travels but had never made time to stop. I thought the solitude would be a good way to collect my thoughts on the week's events.

I was surprised to find the parking lot packed and the Cathedral chapel full of people milling about and talking. Frustrated, I was about to make my exit without whatever satisfaction I was hoping to get from a lonely Catholic cathedral. I was stopped though when I ran into an old family friend. She gave me a big hug and we chatted for a few minutes before I said as I always do, "I better get back to work." She gave me another hug and encouraged me to stay a few more minutes; to wait for the choir to come back out and finish the concert that I had stumbled on.

So I did... I sat alone in the back and watched the children's choir pile onto the risers in their white robes, looking nervous and uncomfortable; their backdrop, a dramatic display of gold and turquoise. I listened as they sang a cappella, a requiem. Their beautiful soprano voices filled the Cathedral all the way to ceiling. And for a few minutes, I closed my eyes and got to appreciate something beautiful and think only about that. With a hug and a requiem, I got to be better than okay for a few minutes and for that I am grateful.

I'm not one who believes in fate or even in people being led to what they need at a given moment by unseen forces. But I do believe those few minutes were a gift. I'm not going to try to explain it the way I saw it, I would rather you take what you need from the story whether that be a hug, a requiem, or both...

If you are struggling, I hope you find a reason to feel okay. If you are feeling okay, I hope you find a way to feel loved. And if you are feeling loved, I hope you find a way to share that... Merry Christmas family and friends, I am truly grateful for you all.

November 12, 2009

How socially stupid are you?

This subject has been the source of much dialogue at the law school recently. It doesn't take much for anyone on the outside looking in on our fishbowl to see that social norms have basically been thrown to the wind, replaced by what we like to think is intellectualism but what is more aptly called social stupidity. Of course, this term isn't limited to law students alone. All of us know a socially stupid person and if you don't think you do, it's probably because you are socially stupid yourself. I offer my own, on-point example.

This is classic Staci social ineptness... a few months ago I gave my number to a cute waiter at a birthday dinner for a friend. A while goes by and in the insanity that is the first few weeks of class, I kind of forgot about it. Then out of the blue I get a text from none other than cute waiter! I was way excited as soon as I figured out who it was but I also realized that I couldn't remember his name. Rather than just being a mature adult and asking him to remind me what his name was, I texted, went to coffee with, and set up an additional date still not knowing his name and feeling too weird to ask him (social stupidity in action.)

Sara noted the similarity in my situation to that of Jerry on Seinfeld who can't remember a woman's name and guesses, among other things, "Gipple" because he doesn't want to ask her. I finally devised a plan which involved taking "Gipple" to meet some of my friends which would hopefully result in him telling them his name during introductions, thereby saving me the embarrassment... fortunately his name came up in conversation prior to this so I was saved! I have yet to tell "Gipple" this story but I'm hoping he will laugh it off when I shake off my social stupid and finally tell him.

I think this story is even better when you know that I'm writing it while sitting in the hallway in front of my apartment, waiting for my roommate to get home because I locked myself out this morning and didn't realize it until I got home half an hour ago. Camping by my door was the best solution I could come up with... socially stupid? Maybe so...

October 30, 2009

Update the 841-oh-2: The Gym People

In order to avoid reading about subject matter jurisdiction in the United States Code, I bring you this edition of the 841-oh-2 to discuss the interesting social economy of my favorite place: the gym. Anyone who frequents a gym knows what I'm talking about. I never cease to be amused by the hysterical, annoying or down-right creepy people that join me as I run to nowhere. Here are just a few of the characters that make my best hour of the day so very... interesting...

The Cell Phone Talkers: I have taken to biking recently because running has turned my knees into knobby, arthritic pains in my a**. Without fail when I sit down to watch Campbell Brown's mash-up on CNN at six o'clock, there is a middle-aged gentlemen on the bike next to me on his cell phone. You might suspect that the man is a broker or someone whose livelihood actually depends on being on the phone... you would be wrong. I now know more about this guy's marital problems than his wife does. One of these days I'm just going to leave him a note with a therapist referral.

The Tag-Team De-Motivators: A lot of people that go to gyms require a partner in crime. These partners fall into two categories: (1) those that make you add the extra twenty pounds to the bench press, or (2) those that keep talking about where you guys are going to eat after you get done. I do my silent giggle every time I see a girl lean on the elliptical her friend is diligently trying to figure out. The conversation that follows is generally a depressed rendition of... "I'm just so tired today," "I think I'm getting sick," "I hurt my back the other day," or something equally obvious. Hey, I'm not judging, if you don't feel like working out, no pressure. The problem is that these comments inevitably lead to the poor elliptical girl giving in, joining in the de-motivating, and going to Crown Burger...

The Old Guy: I fully expect to be one of those strange old people that continues going to a gym well into their 80's so I feel like I have the right to mock the inappropriate old guys that spatter the Field House landscape. Two in particular come to mind. The first is the old guy in WAY too short of shorts that insists on stretching on the half-wall in front of the cardio machines everyday... I will leave you to your imaginations there. The second is the old, somewhat large and very hairy guy that plays basketball with the undergrads, shirtless every evening.... again, I will not elaborate.

The Competitor: Part of the reason I enjoy running on the track on the third floor of the field house is because there are usually two or three people up there with me that want to beat me (I also enjoy being able to mouth the words to my music without so many people thinking I'm crazy.) I find that with enough eye contact, I can usually provoke one of them into thinking that I'm trying to "win"... at running in circles. Do I know how stupid this sounds? Yes, yes I do. Do I still enjoy it? Yes, yes I do. Do I still get upset when someone "beats" me? Sigh, yes.

The Hot People: I know you are saying "UGH!" at this one but I have to throw them in. There are always a few people at the gym, particularly at a college gym that are so beautiful they belong in "Twilight." We all despise them while we secretly note their work-out routine. These are the guys or gals that make you accidentally drop your I-pod or trip off the treadmill because you ramp up the speed another couple miles an hour when they pass, just to show them... Oh beautiful people, we hate you.

I could literally update my blog daily on the strange happenings and visitors at the gym... from the girl with giant boobs trying to do pull-ups to the guy with a fifty pound back-pack on the stair-stepper the gym keeps me laughing loudly and inappropriately. For those who are also gym dwellers such as myself, feel free to add your favorite character to the comments!

August 28, 2009

Salt Lake City: 84102

I promised to keep you all apprised of the wonderment of law school so I'm inviting you to join in the farcical world of a first year law student, lovingly referred to as, "The Eight-Four-One-Oh-Two." You will cry; you will laugh; you will gasp in bafflement; and much like the series 90210, you will be elated when the hot characters come back for a sequel fifteen years later.

But before I get ahead of myself, I would like to answer the question that everyone asks me, "how is law school?" with something more than my usual response of, "Uh, yeah, you know... I read a lot." To really answer that question I offer the following...

You might be a law student if... spend 3-5 hours a day in class then 9-11 hours reading and typing... that's fourteen hours a day. go everywhere with your laptop and backpack. I have started calling my laptop "woobie." look like a slow moving turtle due to the high number and weight of your books. I am not embarrassed to admit, I have even considered one of those backpacks with wheels in an effort to prevent future lumbar fusions. In the meantime, walking up and down the hills on the U campus has developed a new muscle in my thigh that I didn't know existed... physiology meets torts liability?

...waking up at six is considered "sleeping in" by the third week of class. joke about suing fellow students for stealing pens, intentional infliction of emotional distress through competition, etc. and think it's actually funny. Sigh... deep down I think we all know we aren't funny anymore. dream about Ted Bundy because he went to the same law school. Creepy... start out wondering why a majority of the faculty and 3Ls drink at every law school function. By the forth week you begin to see the justifications for why so many attorneys have substance abuse issues and have a greater appreciation for anxiety medication.

...the best part of your day is watching The History Channel at the gym for an hour... who knew Stalin built a tunnel system under Moscow; so prepared but still surprised when Hitler started bombing Moscow, what an idiot! tell yourself during orientation week that you WILL NOT DATE fellow law students, particularly first years. Maybe it's the reading ruining eyesight or the fluorescent lighting in the Gibby (our study room) but some of those guys are starting to look good.

...speaking of fluorescent lighting, you start to look like a vampire from lack of sunlight. Maybe one of the 1Ls will start looking like Edward and my life will be complete. are absolutely sure you saw Gary Oldman while you were walking to school this morning... I'm serious, it had to be him.

...and finally, you might be a law student if you make an inappropriate comment about your professor and turn around to find them standing behind you in line at the coffee kart.

So with that, welcome to the 841-oh-2! Stay tuned for the next installment which will introduce you to my favorite characters from my new life in the SLC!

Oh, and I can't forget to mention Sara, without whom the 841-oh-2 would never have become what it is!