Saturday, January 31, 2009

Now Where Was I?

I'm trying to work on my moral character application for the bar exam.  Everyone knows it's a nightmare.  It also seems to be a test in memory skills, detective-style investigating and understanding how we remember things.

For my application (every state is different), I have to list every place I've lived in the past 8 years, full street addresses, where I actually was, not my permanent address.  Oh fun.  So far I'm up to 15 addresses.  If we can figure out where I was during the summer of 2001, it might be more.  The best one is trying to put a "street address" for my village in Zambia.  Maybe I can just give each house on the compound a number the way we used to give the bedrooms at home "addresses."

I called my mommy for help, "Mommy, where was I during the summer of 2001?"  "I don't know!"  "But you're my mommy; you're supposed to know where I am!"  It was interesting how we tried to figure it out.  Where was I working, who was I dating, where did the family go on vacation, when did we paint that room, which exchange students were around... etc.  It really sort of shows you what's important to you, what you remember and what you don't.  (Or what you've already had to look up a gazillion times in the past few years, like where you worked.)

We didn't figure it out.  As of now, I'm still awol 7 1/2 years ago.  But, we did come up with some ideas.  And, Mommy reminded me of some really fun things I hadn't thought about in awhile, like painting the sewing room together and our Mega Vacation around Lake Michigan.  Maybe I'll wear my t-shirt this week....

Mega Vacation T

(we each had one)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Life Just Isn't As Much Fun...

... without these guys around.

Family Christmas picture cropped

(and just so no one's confused, that's the Christmas tree angel above my daddy's head, not a halo.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Help! Nashville's Turning into Berkeley

Within 20 minutes of me, there is now a Whole Foods, a Harris Teeter and a Trader Joe's.  I can't tell you the last time I drove down to school and didn't see a car with about 8 bumper stickers on it proclaiming anti-war, anti-life and anti-mainstream sentiments.  And then today, when I got to school, I parked next to a Honda Civic Hybrid!

If they're going to important Bay Area "stuff", couldn't we get some of the good things.  Decent public transportation?  Mandatory recycling?  Pedestrian-friendly roads?

But noooooo, we get the junk.  Free speech to the max (as long as you're extreme liberal), expensive fancy so-called-natural grocery stores and ... ok, the hybrid's not bad, though I'd prefer if it wasn't a Honda.  Can I get a hybrid Buick up in this place?  A hybrid anything I can fit in?

Grrr... at least there's always Wal-Mart...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And Now, a Word from Our (Copyright Law) Sponsor...

This has been out for a few years, but I recently discovered it and think it's really cute.


Credits and license info:

Created by: Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License

Only this blog post is under a corresponding by-nc-sa license; the rest of the blog remains under it's regular copyright as designated at the bottom of the blog.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ah, Productivity

What a great weekend!  I got so much done, even with having a four hour class today.  So, aside from the 100+ pages of reading I had for today, and the 'nother 45 for tomorrow, here's what I did:

Hot and Sour Soup

Mr. Trizzle and I are sort of like Jack Spratt and his wife; we have almost completely opposite dietary restrictions.  I'm a vegetarian and a dairy fiend  (I'm from Wisconsin!).  He hates vegetables, is allergic to dairy and half the rest of the world, and pretty much only eats meat.  Great. :/  One of the few things we can both eat is Chinese food, which he loves, so that works out nicely.  I found a nice little recipe for vegetarian hot and sour soup and set off to make it figuring if it works, that's at least one dish we can both eat.  It took awhile since I had to start by making the "oriental stock" aka vegetable broth, but I think it turned out pretty well.

Hot and Sour soup (1) cropped I'll be eating hot and sour soup for quite awhile  - the recipe was a bit large.  [I was supposed to throw out the veggies from making the stock after draining the stock for the soup, but I couldn't waste all that food!  So I used some of it tonight for a yummy Chinese tofu stir-fry over rice.]

A Whole Pair of Pants

I finished Mr. Trizzle's suit pants! :)

back of mr trizzle's pants             front of mr trizzle's pants

They look a little funny on me cuz, well, they're not made for me.  Our measurements are similar, but not the same.  However, I can't put pants on my dummy because she's on a centered pole, so I had to use myself for taking the picture.  (NO smart-vampire comments Mommy!)  Not too bad, hey?  I also did a little side-project and took in a dress for a friend of mine :)

Next step: the jacket's sleeves... lots of hand sewing and interfacing...

Party Time

Last night BLSA had its first house party of the semester.  Yay!  I finally got to spend some time just hanging out with my friends.  And I got to meet two more 1Ls. (Slowly, slowly, I will meet them all.) 

bouncers at House party at Victoria's (3)Victoria had lots of yummy food.  It was a great night of hanging out, talking and having fun.  We played Partini, and everyone really liked it.  Thanks Mommy!


watching tv at House party at Victoria's (9)We also watched a movie called Norbit, much to some people's dissatisfaction.  It was ok.  The love story in it was cute, but the fat people jokes were really ridiculous.  I'm not much of a fan for slapstick humor or Eddie Murphy anyway though, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask about it.  It was nominated for an Academy Award... for make-up.


Very fun weekend :)

Friday, January 23, 2009


You may have noticed I really haven't had any nice substantive posts lately.  I go through these funks periodically where I hate computers and everything they stand for.  I'm in one, and it sucks, and I'm trying to get out of it.

I think this time it was spawned by a decision I made - not really by the decision itself, but by the aftermath of the decision.  I finally created a Facestalk account.  And I hate it.  There's a few people overseas that I'm trying to get in contact with; have their phone numbers, would like a cheaper method that doesn't require getting up really early or staying awake through the middle of the night.  I know they're on this thing, so I figure I'll try it.

Can't find them.  Heck, I couldn't even find my own sister!  The search feature in the site is horrid and useless.  Apparently, there are over 500 people with the same name as my sister.  To find her, I had to look for my other sister (luckily, less common of a name) and then sort through her friends until I found our sister.  Ridiculous.

Everyone raves about the privacy options and settings and such.  That's baloney.  Sure, they're better than Myspace back when this stuff emerged, but they aren't that great.  I could go on about this, but I'm sure nobody wants to read me vampiring for 15 minutes....

Just wanted to let you all know, I'm here, I'm fine, I'm just not feeling the computer thing lately.  Maybe I'll throw up some pictures of Mr. Trizzle's suit as I get more of it done - the pants are almost finished!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dear Obama,

We believe in you, because you believe in us.
                                                                   ~ America

Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What I Imagine My Father Would Say About the Inauguration Speech

"He's wrong.  Only 43, not 44, Americans have taken the oath of office; Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bye Bye Braidies

my braids out (6)

That is not a wig.  That is what happens to my hair when the braids come out.  No more cornrows; great sadness, funny pictures.

I get really sad when I take my braids out.  I like them; they make life easier in so many ways.  Now it's back to shampoo, brushes and continually having to prove myself.  Unpacked my combs and brushes, discovered I don't have any conditioner, and was rudely reminded how much wet hair sucks in the winter.  Boo.

mini beehiveI did have fun playing with it before that though, made a cute mini-beehive and enjoyed the fluffiness.  Kinda wish I could wear it super fluffy, just for a day or two.  Maybe I'll drag out those tiny sponge rollers sometime and re-create the fluffiness.






          look this way

Saturday, January 17, 2009

No More Welts!

I finished the last welt pocket, I hope.  This is the upper pocket on the jacket.  Once again, it was a completely different construction than any of the other welt pockets I've done.  And once again, it's not perfect, but I think it's alright.

upper welt pocket

And Mommy, I checked that strange little inside pocket, and it is a perfect fit.  I'm sticking with my excuse for why it's there.condom pocket

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Welt-miser

I'm Mi-iss Welt-miser, I'm Mi-iss fun;
I'm Mi-iss Welt-miser, I'm Mi-iss... son of a gun, now I have to take that all out and do it again!

I spent all afternoon today making more welt pockets.  My first ever welt pockets with a flap!  They're not perfect, but welt pockets rarely are, and this was a new style for me.  

Since it has this little flap thingy, I couldn't use the nifty easy welt pockets Mary Ruth alerted me to.  :(   There's probably some way to adapt the flap into the easy welts, but in order to adapt a pattern, you have to understand it first, and I had no clue what was going on with these pieces.  It was one of those ah-so-that's-how-it-works! when it's finished type things.

I am getting a little better though.  I've learned to freycheck the little triangles after slashing.  Then the triangles don't unravel into nothing when you're trying to push the welt in between them after turning the pocket to the inside.

I think they turned out pretty ok.  (You can't tell, but this is the same fabric as the pants in the previous post.)


Flaps down...



Flaps up.

I was really confused when making the pockets by this little piece called "inside pocket".  I thought it meant "inside of the pocket" and couldn't really figure it out.  Nope.  It means inside pocket.  There's a little secret pocket on the inside of the big pocket.  Pretty neat, no idea what it's for.  Mr. Trizzle, would you like to keep your spare change here?


(It seems to be condom-size; maybe Vogue is trying to promote safe sex among professionals.)

Anyone Got Any Super Glue? (Feet Need to Stay Attached to Ground)

United States of America Congressional Gold Medal Recipient<br>
Cornelius VanderbiltVanderbilt.  The name right there says a lot, carries a certain stigma with it; is, in it's own way, a high class brand.  After two years, I should be used to what Vanderbilt is, in all its preppiness glory.  Yet today I was completely taken by surprise when I was reminded of just how much I don't fit in here.

It used to be different, last year I mean, and the year before.  There were some great real, down to earth, people in the classes before mine.  You know, those people who remind you about real life just by being themselves.  They've left now, graduated, on to bigger and better things: being attorneys.  My best grounding person has up and left, back to the Yay.  Schools not the same, somehow less tolerable.

Tonight was the first night of my Intellectual Property Licensing short course.  The class itself was great, but a few of my classmates made some comments that smacked me upside the head.  The worst part is, they were all members of what used to be my "group," the BLSA people (not all members of BLSA, but the general group that hangs around BLSA).  But most of the BLSA people with whom I connected are gone, what is left is a strange (to me) mix of bougie pretentiousness and snobbish wealth.

Chello's Wife (who really isn't married to or even dating Chello, but got this nickname because she's always just a few feet behind him, like a Muslim wife) piped in on the discussion about brand dilution.  She was upset about how designer Michael Kors diluted his brand by offering a line called Michael by Michael Kors at Macy's.  If you're asking who's Michael Kors, that was exactly my first thought.  My second thought was "wtv?!  Macy's is expensive high end stuff."  Well, turns out a sweater by this Kors guy runs somewhere around $1500.  At that price, it better include the whole flock of sheep, too!

Then another girl started talking about how she used to be a food elitist and only buy brands she had seen her mother buy because if she bought the store brand she was convinced it would be nasty.  She explained that she's no longer an elitist because now she'll buy store brands.  Stores like Whole Foods make it possible because the level of the store ensures that the food inside will all be quality.  (And for a moment I almost thought she was no longer an elitist.  Meanwhile, I'll be walking to Apple Market to get my 33 cent Always $ave macaroni and cheese.)

Another girl was explaining that people buy Prada because they know they'll get good quality and yadda yadda yadda.  I don't care how good you think your quality is, there's a point where it doesn't matter and isn't worth the arm and the leg to buy it.  Yes, sometimes it makes a difference.  Do I think my new Timberlands will outlast my $15 KMart boots?  Sure, but that's mostly because my Timbs are made out of stronger, more durable materials, not solely because they're Timbs.  There's a point where a leather jacket is a leather jacket and a purse is a purse, and shoes that cost as much as rent are just absurd.

Luckily, I got to sit by one of my old friends, JT, in class.  He's fairly grounded, although I can't give him complete down-to-earth cred because his fiance (who is very sweet) is very much a part of the high priced brand club and he goes along with it sometimes to keep her happy.  At least I had someone who could understand my eye rolling though.  And when I got home, my good grounding person was only a phone call away....  :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Doctor, an Engineer and a Vampire Walk into a Metallica Concert...

It sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it was a great night!
(And by "vampire" I mean Munchkinhead, not me!  I'm still just a law student.)

The History

Photo_011209_004 Orgfish and I have been going to Metallica concerts together since we were sophomores in high school.  It seems each time we go, we add someone new.  So we assembled our usual group: Orgfish, me, Alfred, Munchkinhead and Dr. Beaker and added in The Great Ecclestone (and Foo Foo).  6 people, from 6 states, 1 city, 1 amazing band.

Metallica is probably the only show all three of us, my sisters and I, would agree to go see, except maybe for Sesame Street Live.  It's not that we don't have some other musical tastes in common, but those bands don't really tour anymore.  Metallica also has the unique characteristic of being highly loved by each of us.

The Show

The show opened with Call of Ktulu, which is actually one of my favs, and a lot of  special lighting effects.  I was quite relieved when the lazer light show ended and some spot lights came up on stage.  The lazer lights sort of pissed me off, especially when they brought them back at the beginning of Fight Fire with Fire.  The special effects were taking away from Kirk's guitar solo.  A band as good as Metallica does not need fancy light shows and pyrotechnics.

When the helicopter intro to One started in fairly early on in the set, Orgfish and I looked at each other in amazement.  At every concert we have attended, One has always been in the encore.  "What on earth were they going to play for the encore?"  Well, when the encore started, it was an even bigger surprise.  I had just turned to Munchkinhead and said, "they'll never play my favorite song (Loverman) at a concert," because it's off of Garage, Inc.  And right as I'm saying this, the band busts out with Die, Die My Darling!  And then they follow it up with Stone Cold Crazy!  I had always figured they'd never do cover songs at a concert.  Welp, I was wrong!  (For those of you that don't know, those songs are also off of Garage, Inc.   They are covers of The Misfits and Queen, respectively.)

The concert was part of the World Magnetic tour, the title coming from their newest release, Death Magnetic.  As appropriate, they played a lot of songs off the new album.  It was clear the audience wasn't really familiar with these new tracks yet, but it was also clear that we were all willing to get to know them.  This was a lot different than the last concert our big group went to together, where the new album was St. Anger.  I don't recall them playing too many songs off that album at the Summer Sanitarium show, but I do remember Orgfish and I both agreed the songs sounded much better live than on the album.  (For that concert Dr. Beaker, Alfred, a very young Munchkinhead and I loaded into the teen mobile and drove to Ohio where we met Orgfish and her friends Happy, PH and Not-Death (I don't remember his name, but I know it wasn't Death.  My favorite part of the trip was Munchkinhead walking around going "plan-e-tarium" to try to get us to go to the planetarium.)

The Snow

It started snowing during the show, and for some reason the parking garage was closed unless you had a special pass so everyone was parked in lots outside.  Our big group quickly set to work with ice scraper, drivers license, gloves and whatever else we could find to clean off Mommy's mini-van.  It didn't take long, but it take long to get out of the lot.  (Longer than it took to drive home.)  We were about to go lend our ice scraping assistance to another driver who was scraping his car with what Alfred thought was a Twister box.  (It turned out to be a pizza box; a little more reasonable to have in your back seat.)  But, someone with an ice scraper appeared out of nowhere.  Alfred did help clear off the windshield of the guys next to us, since there were only two of them and so many of us.
(I just had to include this pic even though Alfred's not in it.  You can see FooFoo's shirt, and there's something particularly eerie about Orgfish's eye peering over my shoulder, not to mention The Great Ecclestone's theatrical smile.)
It was a wonderful night with wonderful people and wonderful music.   The performance was great, the frozen custard delicious (you know we went to Leon's first!) and the company great fun.  I can't wait for the next tour!


Announced today, Metallica will be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame!  The day before my birthday! [(Anybody want to get me a really nice birthday present? ;)  ]
Photo credits: Dr. Beaker

Monday, January 12, 2009

Where Playing is a Full-Time Job

"Ooo.  I like the way that [debauchery] sounds.  Even though I know it means three hours of sober, fully-clothed board games and literacy quips." - The Great Ecclestone via text message.

And so, game night begins.


ready for game nightLast night was game night at Mommy's house.  She even took off work today so she could stay up late and play with us.  And we did, stay up late and play.  Games from 7pm til 2am.  Splendid!

(The kitchen, ready for game night.)

Actually, those of us who live here started early in the day with one of our favorites, "Listen to the Water."

rolling down the river Here's the water rolling down the river.







saw some ducks by the waterside

And some ducks by the waterside.  (Quack, Quack)







Later in the evening Mommy joined in the fun.  10 days in africaWe began with 10 Days in Africa.  (The Great Ecclestone showed up in the middle of the game.)  Munchkinhead won most of the rounds.  I think on one trip, she walked through Sudan about four times.

(The Great Ecclestone near the cheese and cookies while Mommy plans her trip.)

twisterNext, we moved back into the living room for a little gymnastic fun.  The Great Ecclestone took home the most Twister trophies.  Mommy got mad the first round, because Munchkinhead got out before her.  (Alfred, Mommy and The Great Ecclestone on the mat.)

After Alfred popped her hip, Munchkinhead fell on me and Mommy hurt something, we decided to return to the slightly more serene kitchen for a good rousing game of Times to Remember.  It's a match-the-year-to-the-event type game.  Hard enough, made even more so by the fact that the game itself is almost 20 years old.  Well, we managed at least to get fairly even teams by putting me, Alfred and the Great Ecclestone against Mommy and Munchkinhead.  The aggregate ages of the teams were only about 3 years apart.  We won!  Partly because I randomly guessed that Reggie Jackson did some sports thing in 1977 and was spot on. Hee hee.

Then the Great Ecclestone taught us a new game called "Celebrity."  celebrityIt was pretty fun.  The Great Ecclestone and Alfred won the first game, despite the fact that The Great Ecclestone had never heard of Barnabas Collins.  Mommy, Munchkinhead and I killed them the next game though, even though Orgfish had arrived and joined their team.  Turns out The Great Ecclestone doesn't know Miley Cyrus either.  (Orgfish and I both put the Great Ecclestone in the pot; he does know himself.)  (Mommy thinking of her celebrities.) 

Finally the mail man arrived and we could really get going.  milwaukee triviaSo we played, at my insistence, All About Town Milwaukee.  I really like this game, the others, not such fans.  Daddy got it for Christmas and even he won't play it because he says it's too hard.  Everyone was quite relieved when Orgfish won.  (Alfred, the mail man, Orgfish and part of Mommy playing the Milwaukee trivia game.)

The Milwaukee game turned out to be such cerebral torture that we had to follow it up with Whoonu.  This fabulous game of getting to know your friends is a favorite and comes out at every game night.  We finally had someone who liked the "Big Dogs" card!  Hooray for the mail man.  It's always a challenge when playing with someone you don't know or haven't really hung out with for several years.  Loads of fun.  Turns out Mommy knows best, she won.

Our last game of the evening, which, by this point, was actually the middle of the night, was Wise and Otherwisewise and otherwiseAnother favorite game, often included in game nights.   We probably shouldn't have saved this one for last; it requires thinking.  By this point in the evening, the cheese plate was empty, a gallon of milk was gone, two bottles of wine were quite depleted and several animals had migrated into the kitchen from the jungle room.  Mommy won. 

girafe in the mms

(Mommy's Rhino watching the board and her giraffe getting into the M&Ms.)

Here's my favorite picture from game night.  That's me, The Great Ecclestone and Orgfish enjoying our drink of choice.  (Mommy actually cut us off and said no more milk, gave me wine instead).

These are my oldest and dearest friends (well, most of them).  I've know them since 6th and 5th grade, respectively.  (I don't have any friends from before that because we moved here just before 5th grade.)say milk


After the milk was gone, we switched to another favorite.

 kids wine

And so game night ends.  Everybody happy, tired and with pains in their sides from laughing too hard (and eating too much).  The Great Ecclestone added at the end of the night:

"You know, things really haven't changed here in the last ten years."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gobble Gobble

It wasn't me, but someone did get a turkey tonight.

We're back in the wonderful world of cheese, all three of us.  Monday night is the highly anticipated Metallica concert.  Alfred got in on Thursday; Munchkinhead and I arrived today.  This evening we went bowling with old friends: Smokey the Grrrr, his sidekick and The Great Ecclestone, actor extrodinare.  The turkey was all Ecclestone.

My high was only 126.  Definitely not my best.  My average was higher than that before I left Nashville, but I haven't bowled much since then.  (It's really expensive in Cali and Nigeria, and now, my bowling partner's moved away.  Come back Mr. Trizzle!)  However, I did have one really cool thing tonight.  I won ten dollars!  Orange head pin is special.  Get a strike, spin the wheel.  I got an orange head pin.  I got a strike.  I got to spin the wheel.  I got $10.  That was pretty good since nearly every other slot on the wheel is $1.  $50 is the highest, but if you get $50, you get to spin again, so you can win up to $100.

Oh, and randomly, I just happened to be wearing my lucky bowling shirt.  Light blue with dark blue bowling ball, "This is How I Roll," it says.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Lightbulb goes "Bing!"

If you asked my mommy for one piece of advice in dealing with me, she would say "don't give goldenrail any ideas."  I will take them and run with them, and the next thing you know, there's army men all over your house or strange snowmen on your lawn.

Well, this little piece of advice didn't get to my International Intellectual Property professor.  A conversation in class yesterday went something like this:

Student:  What assignment do we have for tomorrow's class?

Professor:  Nothing.  I don't assign readings during the first week.  We're going back to 19th Century Europe tomorrow.  You can dress in period costume if you want.

Of course, he was totally kidding, but how could I pass up an opportunity like that?!

Day 4Here I am, ready for school.

In reality, we're dealing with late 19th century Europe, but I didn't feel like wearing a corset today.  So I opted for an early 19th century outfit, my onion Pride&Prejudice dress!

I had to fix the dress last night before I could wear it.  Another of the seams had come undone.   That was the easy fix.  Then, there were some fairly large holes on the side of the skirt.  I had noticed them in Nigeria, but decided to save the fix 'til I got home.  I have no idea where the holes came from.  They looked like a mouse got hungry or battery acid leaked from somewhere.

To fix the dress, I took apart the side seams and cut off a strip down the side with the holes, cutting off the holes.  The seam itself had been very large, several inches.  That was good.  When I relined the fabric, I put my new edge of the former hole-y part against the old edge of the good side and stitched a narrower, normal 5/8" seam.  There was enough material in the old seam to almost completely make up the difference for the material I had to cut off.  Dress looks fine now.  And I'm a happy little camper,  well... except that my white tights keep falling down.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why Haven't I Seen This on the National News Yet?

Ok, the fact that I don't watch the national news, or any news for that matter, may be one reason.  But it still seems like this is not getting enough coverage.

BART police officer shoots a man dead in Oakland, on the BART platform, in front of a BART train full of people returning from New Year's Eve festivities in the City.  Riots in Oakland last night.  Most of the people at school hadn't heard a thing about it.  My classmates from The Town were doing a good job of remedying that.  Here's the news story.

WARNING:  What you will see here is extremely disturbing.

Would You Take a Look at Those Welts!

I'm making a suit for Mr. Trizzle and just finished the back pockets.  Wow.  It only took me two tries to make them, much less than the uncountable number of tries it took last time. 

The only reason it took two tries was because I accidentally sewed the pocket on backwards.  Ironically, this made the final pocket the way the instructions said because I had intended to sew the pocket on the opposite way so that the softer wrong-side of the fabric would be on the inside.  Oh well.  I couldn't switch it because I'd already slashed the pocket openings so I had to take the pocket facing piece off and sew it on the other side.

Just look at those beauties!  They're A LOT better than last time.  (Although it's not really fair to compare them in the pictures because the new ones are still whipstitched shut until I finish assembling the pants.)

two pockets Two pockets

 one pocket

Close up of One Pocket

back pockets Last Time

I Feel Tricked

Just plain tricked!  >(

Change my vampire!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I am So Fortunate!

Why?  Because I have an amazing family that loves me? 

Yes, but besides that...

Because I have wonderful friends who believe in me and drive me to be better? 

Yes, but besides that...

Because I have a great place to live with a warm squishy bed?

Yes, but besides that...

I happen to be at Vanderbilt at just the right time.  A year later or a year earlier, and things would be radically different.

The school's been going through a lot of changes and they are all playing out in my favor.   I was at Vandy early enough to still have the great professors teaching their classes, Thomas McCoy for Constitutional Law, Suzanna Sherry for Civil Procedure, Jeffrey Schoenblum for Wills and Trusts.  And now the school's added a new International IP professor and a lot of new IP courses. 

But get this, they've added so many new classes that they can't teach all the standards anymore.  No Copyright class this year!  Instead, they offered an IP overview class in the fall, which (I believe) then precludes a person from taking Copyright, Trademarks and maybe even Patents, on their own.  These are BIG subjects and, I think, important to give each their own time.  (Students can't really pass on the overview and wait for the full-length classes because then they can't take the classes that require IP Overview or Copyright as prerequisites.)

And, if I had met Kunle from the Nigerian Copyright Commission at the beginning of my first or third year instead of my second, I wouldn't have been able to do the internship I did at the NCC last semester.

On top of that, it turns out that if I was here in the fall I might not be able to take most of the classes I'm in this semester.  Why?  Because there was an Advanced Copyright seminar that I probably would have taken, and it overlaps too much with some of my current courses for students to be allowed to take both.

So you see, everything's exactly right.  God works in amazing ways; He really put me in the right place at the right time.  The stars are aligned for me to be an IP attorney.  And I'm not at all worried about moving to California without a job.  I'll get a great job.  Where I'll be, it'll find me; it won't be able to help bumping into me. ;)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Meet Me Where the Tweets are Plenty

Mr. Trizzle asked me the other day why I like Twitter so much.  "It seems," he said, "so voyeristic."  Too personal, too open.  After all, unlike Facebook's status message updates - which is sort of what Twitter is in a way - anybody can see it, not just people you actually know in real life.  It's also a bit like randomly im'ing strangers, a behavior that fell out of practice for non-weirdos almost a decade ago.  But here's why I like Twitter so much:
You get the whole person.

Since leaving the little 30 minute radius in which I was born, grew up and went to school all the way through college, my life has become compartmentalized.  It was very strange to me when I realized in the Peace Corps I had, for the first time in my life, friends who would probably never meet my parents.  It was a shocking and uncomfortable revelation.  (My mommy's so much fun, I want everyone to know her!)  Now that I'm in law school, still outside that radius, studying something most peolpe don't give a rat's vampire about, things are even more segregated.  I realized last week sometime that I have exactly one person in my life with whom I can talk about everything and anything I'm doing or find interesting.  One.  That's almost absurd.

This results in segregated interactions with the people in my life.  My blogs are a perfect example.  This is my personal blog.  It's for funny stories and random things I want to share.  I don't post about IP (intellectual property) stuff because most of my readers here won't care and won't have enough background knowledge to understand.  In the same respect, Ip's What's Up and the African IP blog to which I contribute only contain posts about their subject matter.  They're not the proper places for random musings.  Few people read all three blogs, or even this and Ip's.  I know my blog readers, my friends and to some extent even some of my family members only in the contexts in which we interact.  It becomes like when you were in grade school and ran into one of your teachers at the store or something and were shocked to discover they existed outside of school.

Twitter is different.  Not only can I leave one little window open on my screen, smaller than aim (I use twhirl), I can get information and updates on everything in one place, and have conversations about it: IP, sewing, shoes, you name it, whatever I choose, whomever I choose to follow.  But the best part is, I get more.  The guy in South Africa who discusses computer and business stuff also shares his pictures of the beautiful African landscape and rejoices over Pepsi.  The IP lawyer in Illinois tweets about new updates and adds links to very interesting articles, but he also tweets about the time he's spending with his son.  The writer in New York tweets about new projects and journals and social issues and the tea cakes his mom sends him.  Lawrence Lessig, renowned scholar/activist who founded Creative Commons (and is now leaving Stanford for Harvard) tweets about the same sort of issues he passionately discusses in his blog, but he also has conversations with his family members and says he's getting on an airplane.  Suddenly, this icon of our times is immensly human.  And Shaq, Shaq is just a regular ol' crazy guy.

Personal?  Yes.  Voyeristic?  Perhaps.  Open?  Very.  But any of it "too"?  No.  Twitter is each of these and none of these.  It's whatever you let it be.   There's one guy in LA that likes to constantly tweet the exact address of wherever he is.  That's more info than I care to know, and far more than I would ever dare give.  But it's what he wants to do with it.  (I may stop following him soon, haven't decided; or send Mary Ruth to sneak up on him, hee hee.)  There's a mom somewhere who likes to sew.  I enjoy reading about how she's trying to get some chore done so she can get in the sewing room.  Why?  Because I can relate.  Because of Twitters nature, it's almost never compartmentalized.  (Organizations' acconuts may be an exception.)

So why do I Twitter?  It brings my life together in one place, and it does it with whole people.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

How to Make Yourself Cry

I spent today, my first full day back in the Ville, completely inside my apartment, unpacking and packing stuff.  I have a lot of stuff.  This packing required going through a lot of stuff that has been packed away since I moved here back in '06.  I found my cabbage patch doll's adoption certificate (Rosa Teresa, Nov. 1st), my first driver's license, my first library card, the surgical mask the doctors gave Rhinokey when I had my tonsils out, lots of random stuff.

I also found a letter I wrote to my parents and mailed to myself before leaving Zambia.  Not remembering what it was, I opened it.  I was just going to glance over the letter to see what I could possibly have mailed from myself to myself, but it sucked me in.  I sent it in case the plane crashed on my way home (I HATE flying), a sort of "if I could tell you one last thing."  I considered doing something similar before leaving Nigeria, but didn't.  I think I feel more content with my life and my communications with my loved ones now.

The letter was short, but full.  I bid good wishes to my oldest and dearest friends, who, happily, almost four years later are still my oldest and dearest friends.   And I tried to say what the words clearly couldn't convey, but what was somehow carried by the tone and the emotion of the writing, how very much my parents and sisters mean to me, how much I enjoy every minute with them and wish we could have more time together.  That's when those tear ducts started going.

I wish I hadn't opened it, now that I know what it is.  Not because I didn't want to read it, but because it sort of ruined the sanctity of it.  In a sense, I didn't need to read it.  I know how much my family means to me, and I try very hard to share as much time with them as I can.  I try to show them how much they mean; I hope they see it.

Maybe it was writing that in the first place that made me realize how valuable shared time is, and made me decide to always put important human interactions above anything else.

Or maybe it was that night I thought I was going to die...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

south as in South

Like a couple of geese running from winter, Munchkinhead and I headed down south yesterday.  As we left our beloved cheeseland for the land of Uggs-ly, impractical boots and hidden foreheads, there was a certain sadness in our hearts.  More so in Munchkinhead's, who flat out said she didn't want to go back.  I was actually a bit happy to be headed south; most of my life is really in Tennessee now and I haven't really been there since early May.

Driving through Illinois (no traffic in Chicago at 8:30 on a Friday, nice!), Indiana and into Kentucky, we watched the outdoor temperature gauge slowly rise twenty degrees.  It rose another twenty for me between Lexington and Nashville.

We had a really nice trip, I think, even though we couldn't find a Fazoli's for lunch.  At least Burger King had a veggie burger for me and chicken sandwich for Munchkinhead.  Along the way we played two fun games.  First we played a new game that Katrina sort of made up on Christmas morning.  We call it "As In."  It's basically a homonym game.

The Beginnings of As In

In our family, we don't put names on Christmas presents; we put little riddles or clues.  The clues are supposed to tell you who the present is to and from and maybe something about what's inside.  Mommy's this year said more about what was inside than who the present was to, that made the little Elfkinhead's job a tad difficult.  (Although she also opened a present that actually said "Nathan" because she thought it had her name on it, so maybe the obscure clues didn't matter much.)

Several of the presents had cute puns on them.  One tag said something about one thing that "seams" like another, seamed stockings (for yours truly, of course!).  Another was about how the present would keep the receiver from being "board", a board game.  A third present said to "weighting for Christmas."

In each of these cases, while reading the tag, Munchkinhead clarified or tried to express the pun by repeating the word.  "Seems as in seams,"  she says.  Looks great.  Say it out loud and tell me if you hear any difference!

So that became our game on the road/rode.  Say a homonym, say 'as in', say its counterpart.  It's actually really fun, and you'll be surprised by how many homonyms we have in English!  Someone, eh hem, kept trying to use German words, too.  Cheater!

My Grandmother's Trunk

The other game we played was a classic with a slight twist.  I Unpacked My Grandmother's Trunk is a great memory game, and you can have as many people play as you want (well, I guess up to 26).  The first player says "I unpacked my grandmother's trunk and in it I found..." and then says something that begins with the letter A.  The second player repeats this and adds something that begins with B.  The next player repeats those and adds C, and so on through the alphabet.  When a player messes up, they're out.  Last one left wins!

But like I said, we made it a little different.  We did it in the style of Barbara Milne's Alphabet Song from the Sounds Like Fun tape (now on cd especially for Mommy's van.)  The Alphabet Song helps you learn your letter sounds.  It gives a word, repeats the word and then repeats the beginning letter sound.  It's a wonderful song. :)

The thing is, the words in the actual song are arranged so that the syllables fit with the beats.  We had a few problems with that.  Our game went something like this, "I unpacked my grandmother's trunk and in it I found an apple, apple, eh, eh, eh; banana, nana, na, na, na; cookie, cookie, kuh, kuh, kuh."  The worst was the letter L when Munchkinhead made us try to cram "Little Brown Tape, Little Brown Tape, el, el, el" into three syllables!  She won anyway, I put the igloo before the horse.  oops.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Look Ma, We're Twins!

Today Munchkinhead and I finished our matching jumpers.  Actually, Munchkinhead finished hers yesterday, but she had Mommy's help.  Other than that little bit of help from Mommy (with the buttons), we each sewed our own jumper. 

I brought the material back from Nigeria and Munchkinhead found this great pattern in Mommy's boxes of patterns.  It's from sometime in the mid- to late- '70s.  It can be a jumper or a sun dress.  Mommy said she had one of each; she liked the pattern a lot.

It was a good find on Munchkinhead's part; the jumpers are adorable!

two cute jumpers

Don't worry, I won't actually wear mine with a pink shirt.  That's just the shirt I was wearing when it was time to try on the jumpers.











back of the jumpers

Here's a close up of the back.  Munchkinhead picked out some  really cute (and probably almost as old as the pattern) buttons with bling in them, but you can't really see them in the picture.