if justice is blind... Sua Sponte
My law school odyssey: three years, three time zones and beyond.



I pester my husband's employer to write you letters officially confirming insurance coverage, something for which you really ought to have just taken my word. I pester my mother for "redacted" copies of her federal income tax returns. I pester my file cabinet for un"redacted" copies of my own taxes in three different incarnations. I pester the readers of my weblog, fulminating for weeks about how all of this amounts to a major pain in my ass, and then you *still* go and send me the wrong goddamn tuition bill.

Maybe I just look like an out-of-state resident with no health insurance.

"Well, you *were* forewarned that they have a shitty bureaucracy," my husband winked at me.

[gnashing of teeth]

must...not...yell at poor phone-answering flunky...

thus spake /jca @ 1:40 PM...


Ahhh! Wonderful reassuring phone conversation with my patron saint of law school, St. Daniel of West Newton. I first came to know and love St. Dan back when he was still in undergraduate diapers, listening to Nine Inch Nails and moving into the suite at 484 Calhoun right as my roommates and I moved out. Now he's a Harvard Law grad with a happy marriage, a successful career in litigation, and copious advice to offer on all the things he wishes he could have done differently in law school.

Lest one think that I'm exaggerating by pre-emptively canonizing St. Dan, I cite him here at his inspirational finest:

St. Dan on my law school: "You're going to smoke their classes because your competition will be less and then you're going to get the hell out of there. Frankly, you will probably get a better legal education doing your first year at a non-Ivy. Remember my experience and how I wish I had a better nuts and bolts first year?"

St. Dan on transferring: "You are going to have a DAMN SUCCESSFUL LEGAL CAREER whether you get into [waitlist school] or not. In 10 years, whether you did your first year at [school name] will not matter a bit - you will have transferred to [school name] or [school name] or [school name] if you need to and that's where your degree will be from!"

St. Dan on being waitlisted vs. my self-esteem: "Tons of people love you. We want you to be happy, and to be excited about your impending law school adventure. Whether [waitlist school] lets you in on the first try or whether you transfer there later (or someplace better) does not matter for our opinions of you and belief in you, which is far more enduring than [waitlist school]'s apparent stupidity."

Everyone needs a St. Dan, if only for the compliments.

But St. Dan is more than just a flatterer. "That's it??" he scoffed upon hearing that A Civil Action constituted the entirety of my school's summer reading list. "No, no, no, no. Let me go upstairs and pull you together a real summer reading list." And he did.

He's currently in the process of sending along several Restatements of Common Law booklets, even going so far as to print them off of Lexis himself for me. When my section and first-semester class assignments arrive in the next few weeks, St. Dan has offered to coach me on my study plan. It's just incredibly reassuring to have someone on the team with more to contribute than "Don't worry, you'll do fine." With this kind of coaching, I will be able to quit worrying.


thus spake /jca @ 4:38 PM...

So I have to ask: if a rock from the moon long ago gifted to the government of Honduras by Richard Nixon falls into smugglers' hands, how come the defendant in the property dispute over the rock is the frickin paperweight in which it's kept??

CNN piece on United States v. Lucite Ball Containing Lunar Material

thus spake /jca @ 12:19 PM...

Some Pledge of Allegiance humor, from SatireWire: One Nation, (Sponsorship Opportunity Available).

thus spake /jca @ 10:45 AM...


The transfer vigils are starting to heat up over on the law boards. I'm particularly encouraged by the posts suggesting that one's transfer chances are improved when applying to schools from which one was rejected or waitlisted the first time around. Ah, let it be true...Best of luck, spiritual siblings, may you wind up where you know you belong.

Of course the same old something sticks in my throat as I read posts about how one should not start one's first year at a school from which one isn't prepared to graduate. GAAAAAAHHHH. I'd really rather believe that a year's worth of boilerplate procedural classes is a great deal less random than some of the advice-givers would have me think, that the situation is as predictable and controllable as you make it.

Another interesting suggestion from the discussion: start working on your transfer essays over Christmas break. I like this; I'm itching to start mine now, but recognize the wisdom in waiting. Several months of actual 1L experience ought to give me a better set of real reasons for transferring than the visceral whine that has recently constituted much of the content of this blog. :-)

thus spake /jca @ 1:54 PM...


From the National Review: Law Under the Ninth. Apparently my hometown appellate circuit has a reputation for being, er, flaky.

The next question is whether anyone's surprised by this. ;-)

My law school sent me a reasonably kind form letter a few days ago, bullet-listing exactly how many credits I'd be taking this year and in which classes. It was as discouraging as I'd expected, to be left so bereft of options; but my luck, such as it is w.r.t. law school, may still hold out. Cross any applicable appendages and pray that whatever section winds up claiming me also manages completely to avoid 8:40 am classes.

The good folks in Student Services also suggested -- finally! -- some summer reading. No, it's not The Federalist Papers, despite the fact that I actually have been reading them. Really, no joke, I'm up to number 5 or so (the intro was quite long). Instead, I now find out that what I really should be reading is A Civil Action. Apparently it's also on pay-per-view this month. Oh, the conclusions to be drawn from this...

thus spake /jca @ 8:32 PM...


Some fun from the law boards:

Federal Judges Rule that Pledge is Illegal (er, they meant unconstitutional)

Republicans urging principals to disregard Pledge ruling...

Predict Supremes Ruling on Pledge

thus spake /jca @ 4:42 PM...

The Pledge of Allegiance has been declared unconstitutional by my home team, the Ninth Circuit.

"One nation under Vishnu." Heh.

thus spake /jca @ 1:24 PM...


G R E E T I N G S Capricorn

Don't lose sight of what (and who) helped you get to where you are today, Cap. Your road is paved with whatever you call precious. The long haul is over, and now it's time to enjoy the rewards of all your hard work. Look for your more supportive friends to soften the sharp edge of your humor at exactly the right moment. At work, unless you love strategy for its own sake, there's no need to persist. You've already won. Life is good.


thus spake /jca @ 8:45 PM...

Ah, how I miss my school friends.

Seeing a few of my favorite ones at the wedding this past weekend was pure bliss. So necessary. Suddenly all of my blathering-on about the quality of my ideal law school society has meaning again. I want to be surrounded by people like these. Even the folks with whom I haven't kept in active touch -- or whom, in some cases, I never considered particularly close friends to begin with -- all shared something that gave their company a particular collective flavor, a tang that I now recognize as what I crave in a law school.

My college roommate Laura, who's just finishing up her third year of medical school and beginning to consider residency programs, had some remarkably resonant advice to offer on the subject. "Even before I started at Mount Sinai," she said, "my advisor told me that the people there weren't going to be Yalies."

"Not even at Mount Sinai?" I asked. Mount Sinai is an excellent medical school; I'd figure the people there would in large part come from peer undergraduate institutions.

"Not exactly," Laura said, and went on to explain: the people who head on to professional graduate schools tend not to be the generalists, the folks with the calendars full of random rehearsals and publications and off-the-wall interests. Rather, the people who wind up at the best professional schools tend to be the ones who were particularly good at their pre-professional discipline, not necessarily to the inclusion of anything else.


So maybe it's all a myth. Maybe I'm every bit as unlikely to find a commune of philosopher kings/queens at a Trinity/Top 10/etc. school than I would be at a my current school; maybe the only relevant distinction between the student bodies from one to another is the size of the chips on one's cohorts' shoulders. Maybe the answer is a Ph.D. program after all.

I'd really rather believe otherwise, based in no small part on the sheer quantity of demonstrably amazing people I know who are attending, or have graduated from, top ten law schools. Even if the Trinity is puffed full of attitudinous folks high on their LSAT scores and clerkship prospects, I've got to imagine that they'll still skew differently on my interest scale from a similarly-sized group of Cal State fraternity brothers headed for my school who believe the word "definitely" is spelled using the letter A.

"This is just going to be such a different experience from what I set out looking for," I griped to Laura over Stilton fries (yes, they're as good as they sound) at a kickass bar in Ann Arbor. "I'm not going to get the first-year immersive bonding experience, since I'm going to have to be constantly hauling ass to set myself up for a transfer...and then once I transfer I'll wear that letter the rest of my time there."

Laura didn't need to ask why I'd transfer, though. She's in a similar situation, choosing a school for her fourth-year residency. "You're looking for something that works for *you*," she said, "but then there are the people who say oh, you went to Yale and Mount Sinai, you can't take a step *down* now!"

"Exactly!" I squealed. Ambrosia. Someone who understood. "There's a real pressure there, because you don't want to be arrogant, but you really wind up expecting it of *yourself*, you don't want to sell *yourself* short."

"Right!" she squealed back. "So what do you do?"

Neither of us had a solution, evidently. But it was balm to connect with someone who not only shared the same values, but chafed against them as well. This is exactly the commonality of experience and mindset that I'm craving...and will probably manage to root out somehow, even if it's not the overwhelming conventional wisdom wherever I wind up.

thus spake /jca @ 5:30 PM...


The Florida leg of my whirlwind June travel schedule has concluded: I'm back in California for a day, just enough time to unpack and repack before we leave tomorrow for an old college friend's wedding in Michigan.

I suppose this is my first real social situation where law school is going to come up and actually be reacted-to by my peers. I'm less worried about my former university colleagues being judgmental than I would be about a similar group of my highschoolmates, but it'll still be a challenge for me to be fair and positive and nonbitchy when describing what's basically an unsatisfactory end result to a protracted ordeal. What should I say?

"I'm going back to school this fall. Yeah, law school. In San Francisco."

"I'm headed to one of the UC law schools, in San Francisco."

"I'm going to do my first year at one of the UC's and then see about transferring...who knows where we're going to live next year?" (This is certainly true.)

Or should I just out? "I'm going to law school this fall, at [school name]." Just imagine the blank stares. "It's part of the UC system. In San Francisco." I've gone on at length about contextualizing myself within a school environment...but the school's own context is also a considerable issue (although yonder the shoulder-chipping status-hunting madness lies; let's not go there).

I did my master's degree at a university in Manhattan which, at the time, was known as the New School for Social Research. They have since changed their name (to my chagrin) to New School University, acquired a famous president in the person of former senator Bob Kerrey, and somehow remain utterly decontextualized outside of the New York metropolitan area. It's similar to my law school, minus the resonance of the University of California; any mention of the school eventually devolves into semi-interrogative statements attempting to establish a sense of place. "I did my master's at the New School for Social Research. In Manhattan. It's right by NYU? Parsons School of Design is part of it? And the Actors' Studio?" And so forth.

But for some reason, New School's lack of reputation never bothered me. It acquired almost a mythical quality in resume reviews and job interviews on the west coast: I did my master's at the University of Shangri-La. It's beautiful there.

Perhaps there's some secret to finding this magic in decontextualization, something that motivates a deeper look even -- particularly -- when a school isn't immediately recognizable.

thus spake /jca @ 2:46 PM...


I'm the kind of person who takes my problems and chews on them until they lose all their flavor. Then I take them out and stick them in my hair. -- Ellen Burstyn in the "Ya-Ya Sisterhood" movie

There are addictive personalities who drink, take drugs, gamble, have profuse sex, or play online roleplaying games. There are addictive personalities who work out, run marathons, lift weights, and make it to the Olympics or world championships. There are addictive personalities who start companies, blow through a half dozen business plans, make it big, go public or sell, wind up millionaires, and then start more companies. For the sheer thrill of...doing something repeatedly.

And then there are addictive personalities who can't stop going to school.

(Memo to self: research addiction-obsession-serotonin connection, at some point, when I can be arsed.)

In a blundering, vacation-relaxation-addled attempt to explain to my mother why law school is actually a good thing, I argued myself down this particular path and found myself here. "It's not about impressing anyone," I said. "I'm twenty-seven years old, I'm married, we're financially stable. I'm long past my trained-seal stage. Who's left to impress? Nobody gives a shit about what I accomplish except me."

Mom agreed through a mouthful of baba ghannouj. (It occurs to me that nearly all of the meaningful conversations I have with people I care about are over food of some sort. No wonder losing weight is such a chore.)

"It's just a way for me to contextualize myself," I said.

"That's different," said my mother. "You just said that it's not worthwhile to measure yourself against other people."

"Absolutely," I said, "but it's regimented. There is a fixed quantity and range of material you're required to master, your mastery is measured, you've got exams, you've got grades, and every four months you stop and assess your progress. You don't find context like that in any kind of workplace I've been in. Maybe you get a performance review once a year, some informal feedback. There's no absolute scale of how well you're performing."

Mom didn't like this idea, but I was on a roll.

"Where else can you get this kind of context?" I went on. "In the military, where everything is regimented in stone. In a cult. And in school." I took a swig of my Florida-flavored icewater (it just tastes different here). "I'm not cut out for the military, or for organized religion. School works best for me, to give me this kind of feedback."

Mom apparently considered going back to school, when I was in diapers, but didn't do it since there was a baby to deal with and no such thing as distance learning in the late 1970's -- you had to physically be in a classroom then. Mom has also learned to define herself outside of context.

By the time I'm her age, taking my own twenty-seven-year-old daughter out for Lebanese food, maybe I will have too.

thus spake /jca @ 8:53 PM...


On a reread I get the sense that I'm being awfully unfair to state schools.

This is wrong, of course. There are a number of state schools that far outdo their privately-operated peers. Michigan is a state school. Boalt is a state school. Virginia is a state school. Strictly speaking, I think even Penn and Cornell are technically state schools as well. And who, outside of a handful of cocky law-board trolls, could speak ill of the quality of these places?

I do state schools a disservice, lumping them together in a bulk value judgment. Even if I failed to pull off a transfer, I'd still be far, far better off with a sheepskin from the school I'll be attending than I would be coming from some of its private instate competitors. Not to mention the cost of going private instate, with no tax dollars to cushion the blow.

The problem is not with state schools. The problem is with me.

I'm party to a glorious range of vices that cripple my perspective on law schools, I'm finding upon further introspection. I'm a cheapskate, blowing off faraway expensive Boston College for instate tuition here. I'm more of a status whore than I've been willing to admit, weighing the make-a-stranger's-eyebrows-raise value of the name of my school as an actual decisive factor. I'm not lying when I dream of stretching myself in an academic environment stocked with uniformly exciting smart folks, nor when I nervously consider the eastward portability of a law degree from a mid-range West Coast law school...but I'm not quite telling the truth when I cite those as my sole reasons for attempting to transfer.

It's simply that I have come to expect a certain level of performance from myself, which is unfortunately typified and measured by stupid bells and whistles like rank, numbers, and reputation. Much as I can try to project the blame onto other people (my demanding father, my brilliant undergraduate peers, the snobs at my high school reunion, & co.), I've set this bar high for myself, by myself. I'm old and established enough now that I'm probably the only person in my circle who could give this much of a crap about details like these. But here I am, still feeling as though I'm "top ten quality" myself, as though I'm somehow underperforming or losing my knack by winding up anywhere else on the totem pole.

So what's a good tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating-while-still-shoring-up-resolve metaphor for this?

thus spake /jca @ 1:10 PM...


Let me tell you, Duckie,
You're really quite lucky!
Some people are much more,
Oh, *ever* so much more,
Oh, MUCHLY much much more unlucky than you!

Perhaps part of the reason why a sustained lament of any sort feels so self-indulgent is because I was raised on literature like Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are. Who could feel sorry for themselves when comparing their lot to poor Mr. Potter, T-crosser, I-dotter, or that kid who's stuck mowing a huge lawn with a tiny lawnmower? "As fast as it grows, he mows and he mows, and as fast as he mows, it grows and it grows."

But the best was the guy who lived out in the meadows near the town of Hawtch Hawtch. He's the Hawtch-Hawtcher Bee Watcher; his job is to watch. He spends all day watching the single town bee, for a bee that is watched will work harder, you see. But the Bee-Watcher's performance is somehow not up to snuff, since the bee manages to slack anyway, so in typical corporate fashion the town hires a Bee-Watcher-Watcher. And then a Bee-Watcher-Watcher-Watcher. And so forth.

For some reason this was always more impressive to my five-year-old worldview than mythical starving Ethiopians, crippled children with miniature crutches being hugged on television by Sally Struthers, victims of earthquakes or floods or plagues, or pregnant inner-city teenagers with metal detectors at their schools. The collective plights of people with names I couldn't spell in countries I couldn't place on a map paled in comparison to the night watchman up in the north tower who had to climb down several hundred stairs and then back up several hundred more to answer the ringing doorbell in the south tower. Or, for that matter, any of his fellows who so brilliantly sprang fully-formed from the mind of Dr. Seuss.

I wonder what fun the good Dr. would have had with the process of applying to law school.

The thick applications, they come and they come!
The test scores, they make you feel awfully dumb!
But things all should work out well eventually,
Even if it's a state school where you start your J.D.!

thus spake /jca @ 8:21 AM...


"I don't like telling people how worried I get. They'll say I'm overreacting." -- from a commercial for Paxil®


Over her Kentucky Fried Chicken, as I fiddled with my cole slaw, my mother looked me in the eye, cocked her head and raised her eyebrows. (Do I get this from her?) "You can quit law school and just walk away after your first year if it's wrong for you, you know."


"Good that you're still keeping that mindset," she said, visibly relieved.

I should still be keeping that mindset.

Today I mailed off my California Statement of Legal Residence form from a Mail Boxes Etc. storefront in Melbourne, Florida. (That should give the nice folks in the GC's office something to snicker over.) Or at least I attempted to mail it off: it being a Saturday, U.S. Postal Service collections had stopped at noon. The next pickup is Monday morning. Chances are good that I'll get back to California before my envelope will.

Still, it's yet another tickoff item on my list of Things No Longer Requiring Further Thought. I've now effectively halved my law school tuition, merely by disclosing the contents of four different tax forms and a copy of my municipal business license. Ta-daaa! I'm an official Californian. Just ask the IRS. My education will, for once in my life, be funded at least in part by taxpayers.

And yet this failed to inspire me.

"Ahhh," I sighed as my mother and I drove on to the barn from the Mail Boxes Etc. "This year is going to suck."

"Why is that?" she asked, somewhat alarmed. (Background on my mother: After an intense career in information technology management, she has retired early and now actively avoids any potential form or source of stress.)

"Because I'm going to have to bust my ass in a place I don't want to be just so I can get to a place I'd rather be, even though I'm not sure if I really want to be either place."

"Now, wait a second--"

"I'm sorry," I said, attempting to recenter myself: this is me in a pickup truck in Florida, on the way to a barn to feed hay to horses. "I know I keep coming back to this, when I should just be moving past it and getting on with the plan. I guess I'm lucky that there have been so few major setbacks in my life...I'm not used to dealing with them properly."

"I think," my mother replied, "that the law you learn in your first year is the same anywhere. So you should spend your first year figuring out whether you actually like the law, not the school."

She is, of course, absolutely right.

"You're absolutely right," I said. "That is the plan."

(Paxil® is non-habit-forming. Ask your doctor if Paxil® is right for you.)

thus spake /jca @ 8:03 PM...


After barely a day in California to do laundry and repack, I'm on the road again, this time in Florida (which could, in a pinch, rhyme with "Canada" in a country music song). My mother and stepfather remain in excellent health, as do their horses, my "adopted brothers." Every time I visit here I invariably return home resolving afresh to find a local stable in California and seriously work on my horsemanship.

This time I'm realizing that it probably won't happen.

I ought to have thought of this before, but I can't help but wince at the thought of how much time school is going to take up, how much of my freedom to set my own schedule I'll be compelled to sacrifice. Our major annual vacation, two weeks spent visiting relatives over Thanksgiving, won't even be possible this year -- my school appears to allow a mere two days off in November. I don't particularly relish the idea of rescheduling the trip to Christmas break, but am all the more resistant to the thought that someone else is now controlling my time.

My law school has a particularly Naziesque rigidity in their scheduling (although, given my limited information, this may be hardly unique to my school): each incoming student is assigned to a section, which is then assigned to a fixed set of first-year classes with absolute zero individual choice of cohorts, professor, or time of day. My luck could see me blocked into an eight-thirty AM contracts class, extra-thrilling after an hour's commute up to San Francisco through Silicon Valley traffic...and there would be absolutely nothing I could do about it.

(Short, that is, of acquiring a Frequent Drinker card at Starbuck's.)

I haven't had a FTOS consulting job in over a year; haven't actually been employed by a company since 1999. I have grown spoiled, holding complete authority over the hours of my day and allocating them to chores or pleasures per my own choice. If I felt like lazing around in my pajamas until lunchtime before going to the gym, I could do so. If I spent the day writing an essay, no productivity police kicked in my door accusing me of forfeiting billable hours. If I found a cheap airfare, I could pop off to Florida for a week of horseback riding without issue.

And now I will no longer be able to.

How does one stop being spoiled? Is it like a frigid swimming pool, where the best approach is just to grit one's teeth and jump in? (And if so, is all of this rumination the equivalent of slow wading?)

thus spake /jca @ 6:43 PM...


While I was in Canada, the U.S. Mail brought a certified letter to the attention of my husband bearing the return address of the National Science Foundation.

He finally got around to opening it after I got back, when we went through the pile of mail (shameful how many preapproved credit cards, Internet service flyers and random catalogs I seem to rack up in the course of a mere long weekend).

His graduate fellowship has now, per his own instructions, been terminated.

"How do you feel about this?" I asked him, observing the intensity with which he stared at the floor.

"It's the right thing," he said, sounding as though continued repetition of this phrase might convince him that it were so. "We're staying here and you're going to law school."

"And you're going to work," I reminded him.

"And you're going to law school," he said emphatically.

And so it goes.

thus spake /jca @ 7:07 AM...


Oh, boy.

Just to be safe, I'll still stick with BART.

thus spake /jca @ 9:59 PM...

And a good time was had by all in Vancouver. I was incessantly amused at the Canadianness of Canada. It's, like, a whole different country up there. Metric signage, British spellings and bilingual consumer-products packaging never fails to make me giggle. (But if citizens of Panama are Panamanians, how come citizens of Canada aren't Canadanians?)

A Canadian liquor-store employee, impressed at the university logo on my Visa card, asked me if that was where I had gone.

"A long time ago," I replied, which is unfortunately growing truer every day.

"Really!" My alma mater's reputation holds up well north of the border, it seems. "What did you study there?"


"Wow!...and, er, what are you doing with that?"

"Going to law school," I smiled. It's nice to finally have a meatier answer to the what-are-you-doing-with-that question than just "consulting," which explains nothing to anyone.

"Same place?" The guy was now flirting with me.

"Oh no," I said, smiling again. "At [school name]."

"Ah," he said and handed me back my credit card and receipt, still smiling back at me, no apparent like or dislike for the University of California apparent on his face.

I kind of like that; a one-two punch that shows "I went to a Name School with a whole mouthful of cachet" immediately followed by "I now go to a state university which proves I'm a normal person and not some freak who looks down my nose at normal people." Or something like that.

thus spake /jca @ 2:26 PM...


Off to Vancouver for a long weekend of goofy touristy law-school-preoccupation-free activity with a bunch of Internet friends. Wheee!

Normal blogging should resume early next week.

thus spake /jca @ 9:58 PM...

Get this: apparently the motivation and ambition of your garden-variety overachiever are cerebrally equivalent to the obsessions of an addictive personality. So saith CNN's Dr. Gupta, who is cute and reads Science magazine more attentively than the rest of us.

In a way, it makes sense. How different, really, is my visceral sense of my school's insufficiency in the East Coast legal pecking order from someone else's visceral sense that they need to wash their hands just one more time? "It's a fine school, honey." "Dear, your hands are clean." And yet we obstinately continue to believe otherwise, even when rational evidence contradicts our gut feelings.

Ah, the complex, tangled magic of serotonin.

thus spake /jca @ 11:00 AM...


Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

-- W. B. Yeats
"To a Friend whose Work has come to Nothing"

thus spake /jca @ 9:29 PM...

Deadlines I must not forget:

June 26, 9 am: Have my @#$*)% physical, which will hopefully be less invasive than the California Statement of Legal Residence form.

July 19: Pay tuition. (Implication: Figure out what to do with savings bonds before July 18.)

July, date TBD: Section information is posted to the school website. Presumably books can now be bought.

August 8: In-office deadline for health forms to be delivered to school. (Implication: If I forget to have the physical-giving person sign my form on June 26, and have still not gotten it done by August 8, I'm screwed.)

August 19-20: Mandatory orientation on campus. Official give-up point for an eleventh-hour waitlist call, if I haven't given up already (jury's still out on that one).

thus spake /jca @ 3:09 PM...


Nasty dreams last night...scenes of repeated public embarrassment. Not quite nightmares, since I managed to fend for myself in every embarrassing situation I dreamed, but still the kinds of dreams where you wake up every two to three hours exhausted from the effort. (Husband was thrashing around aplenty in his sleep too; maybe it was something we ate.)

One such dream involved running into an ancient rival at a friend's party, which then morphed into my mother's old living room populated with various past and present acquaintances who seemed to be laughing and cheering her on as we argued. The substance of the argument was as vague as dreams tend to be, but I do recall that it was originally regarding old clothes before moving on to the topic of schools. Cut scene; I'm back at my alma mater, or maybe my high school, and pick up a flyer where said rival's accomplishments are detailed in advance of her being awarded some sort of honor. And I'm livid.

It's sad to think how deeply this high-school-level competitiveness is ingrained in my worldview. My ten-year reunion is next spring, and it's implausibly difficult for me to swallow the thought of actually going. I'd have too much explaining to do, to too many people who will potentially be overjoyed at how far I haven't yet come in life. There are still just too many expectations from those days which I'd just rather shed.

But if I'm going to step off the treadmill, then why the hell can't I step off the treadmill? It's one thing to say that none of these old expectations is still important to me, and quite another altogether to realize the extent to which I've internalized them and made them my own. I demand these achievements of myself now, not people I haven't spoken to in ten years.

"How would you feel if I tried to transfer to Yale?" I asked my husband last night as we drove home from the sushi restaurant.

He laughed out loud. "Good luck," he said.

"I don't think it'd be much harder to get into as a transfer than the rest of the Trinity," I said.


"Not as a transfer."

"OK, but why would you want to go there?"

"Apparently, when you transfer, you lose your GPA and class rank and have to start from scratch once you get to your new school. But if you transfer to Yale, where nobody has GPA or class rank to begin with, then you're at no disadvantage."

"You're at no disadvantage anyway if your numbers are good enough," he said, and I guess he's right.

But I haven't gotten there yet.

thus spake /jca @ 10:52 AM...


IIRC, the classrooms at my law school have chalkboards. I wonder if they'll be replacing them with whiteboards as well? Or maybe I'm just remembering incorrectly, and they already have whiteboards. Another interesting thing to which I failed to pay attention.

I'm debating investing in a new laptop for school; but $1500 is a dumb amount of money to spend on something one already owns. I don't have any real performance issues with my current laptop, and in fact am loath to part with some of its more attractive features (among which a full-size keyboard, a trackpad mouse and a beautiful, massive screen).

But I need something that won't be a backbreaker as I hustle through pedestrian traffic and BART turnstiles, already laden under with ten pounds of casebooks. Or do I? Maybe it's as simple as popping out the CD ROM drive or the battery in my Sony (since I did notice that the classrooms at my school have an electrical outlet at every seat). The thing has a 333 MHz processor, an unremarkable few gigs of hard drive space, maybe 128 MB or so of RAM, and Windows 98 still running on it. But if all I'm going to be doing is taking class notes in Word -- something I managed to do as a college senior in 1996, using Windows 3.1 on an old 486 laptop -- do I really need to bother upgrading at all?

thus spake /jca @ 3:12 PM...


From the "Wish I'd been a fly on that wall" department:

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- US Airways and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have resolved a lawsuit filed by a Rastafarian employee who said the airline violated his civil rights by not letting him have long hair.

US Airways will pay $50,000 to Orsino Allen, an employee at Philadelphia International Airport who said the airline was not accommodating his Rastafarian religious beliefs. He claimed in the 2000 lawsuit that US Airways retaliated against him when he complained about the rules on hair length.

US Airways denied any civil rights violations and admitted no liability in the settlement.

thus spake /jca @ 11:26 AM...

more final thoughts...

sua sponte
transferring law schools
on the moblog
the short list
otherwise of note
recurring themes
fellow travelers
other blawgs