Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Select-A-Spice Carousel

With shipping and handling, QVC is selling a motorized coin sorter with 100 wrappers for $30. And with a minute to go, they've sold almost 1800. Why bother spending money on a motorized coin sorter when you could just count it yourself (good for kids especially) or bring it to someplace like Commerce Bank that has a machine to do it for you even without a bank account there?

Oh... they just mentioned 2 plausible reasons: you can wrap coins to bring to the laundry and to the casino. I don't know how I will deal with not having in-house laundry anymore. I'm so used to just doing it whenever I want to, and leaving it in the dryer until I remember to take it out. I love that flexibility.

Now the guy is talking about Coinstar-like stuff that takes out fees. Commerce doesn't do that, and they give you a gift if you guess within like $1 of the actual amount you put into the machine. More fun - and no need to waste wrappers! If you don't wrap all quarters, how many coins must you have to roll to really make the machine worth the money?

They've moved on to a spice rack, and the guy was like, "You could even double stock this bad boy." I'm sure that's what he said; I can't be hearing things. You better get the spice rack - once it's gone it will be gone forever! Forever, do you hear? :) And now one of the guys just pronounced oregano, "Oregon." Oh QVC...

But they can keep playing with the carousel spice rack. I need to get back to my paper. :)


I've been too tired to discuss my flight experience today. Short version: flight was scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 4:17 Eastern time, and didn't get off the ground in Newark until a little after 4 pm Eastern time.

Just a little bit delayed. But I've been through worse - I remember the day last fall when I was going home for some law firm visits, and I was still sitting on the floor at Midway late at night well after the flight was supposed to have landed. Or flying home from O'Hare the weekend of the 2003 Blackout. That was fun.

I have lots of stories to tell: the tug crash, the previous day's flight story, a packed flight, feeling like a third wheel, picture taking, and more. Let's see when I eventually get around to telling the stories.

I should be getting to sleep now, but I felt this urge to post about the symmetrical bruises on the inner side of my knees. I'm a klutz and I walk into everything, so I should be used to bruises, but one of these is just really unattractive. :(

Monday, November 29, 2004

Bluefly Away

Is it just me or are some of these clothes on Bluefly deep clearance not so attractive?

By Sweet Pea:

It's making my eyes go bonkers!

By Priorities (I really don't love Ashton):

By Vince ... it's not the shirt, it's more like, "shouldn't you get the mannequin a black bra?" (and $75?! How?!):

By Diesel... I'm not sure what to describe this to (edit: hello, English?! I think I meant that I don't know how to describe this... is this how badly my brain works when I haven't slept?), but a $72 original price is the same thing as a cardigan I bought yesterday, which was much nicer:

A $150 skirt by View Collection:

This skirt looks like one of those rotating things where they go around in circles in different directions:

A $136 skirt from Lemon:

At least this shirt is amusing (by Priorities, although I'm not sure how it was originally priced at $60):

Okay, must get back to packing up and not wasting time playing on Bluefly...

Accounting XV

It's sent! It's sent! Jumping for joy! :)

It shouldn't have taken this long, but I washed up for bed and did a little bit of packing. Woohoo packing. :)

Goodnight, sweet Blogger. ;-)

Accounting XIV

Exam complete. Now to proof it while I'm brushing my teeth, and then I have to work up the courage to send it. Woohoo!

In the meantime, I'm going to do a happy dance to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy." But I suppose I shouldn't happy dance until the exam is officially on its way...

Accounting XIII

Club 977 just said, "The longer you listen, the later it gets."

But I don't want it to get later! I would rather sleep! Bah!

Accounting XII

79.4%. Blah. Not moving fast enough.

My old goal was 1 am. My new goal is to be done and to have it submitted and to have done some packing and to have fallen asleep before my dad gets up to make his coffee and go to work. Here's hoping that works out.

(Hey, I made it to Accounting XII... Confused? Go here.)

Accounting XI

70.6% done! Yay! Getting there...

In the meantime, I've done the Locomotion, talked on the phone, wandered around the house and talked to my dad who was half-asleep and wondering why I was still awake and how much I had left to do. Darn exam.

Anyone calculating my rate of progress? (Although it wouldn't be 100% accurate, considering I had notes written down for some questions and had done 2 or so before today...) I envision my night working on the exam as one of those bars progressing like a program installation. I just can't decide if the bar should be blue or green.

Accounting X

Yeah! 52.9% done! I'm over halfway there... although not by much. But I'm not sure how inspiring that should be, considering that it's past 3 here on the East Coast. (Is East Coast such a proper noun that it should be capitalized? I think so, but am I right?)

Awww... they're playing the "99 Red Balloons" version.

Off to make a phone call, progress will be momentarily delayed. :)

Accounting IX

Is it so wrong to be human after all...

I'm 44.1% done. If I keep taking a percentage after every question, I'm going to get disillusioned because I'm going to feel like I've gotten nothing done. And my brain is so fried that, even though I just wrote that I was 44.1% done, I caught myself wondering if I was more than half done yet. Hello?! 44.1% means not even 50% done! What's wrong with my brain?

Oops, my original subject line said Accounting XII. Rushing it a little, aren't I?

Accounting VIII

35.3% done. Woohoo! I'm making such slow progress. Oh well. Onto Part C. Is it bad that I just want to go back to the mall? Or that I can't stop posting?

Accounting VII

I would be almost 29.4% done if I could figure out what this certain term means. I can't find a definition as every site I've found discussing that term just references it and what to do about it, without really saying what it is. Am I that clueless that I don't know what this term means?

I love Club 977. I love 80s music.

Out along the edges, always where I burn to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity, highway to the danger zone...

Name that artist. :)

Accounting VI

Bouncing around to Bananarama at 1:40 in the morning doesn't help you finish your accounting final, in case you ever need to know for the future.

Neither does dancing around to Billy Idol.

If you're curious, I'm almost up to 17.6% done with the exam. With that low number, you shouldn't be proud of me. Wheeeeeeeeeee. I still have to pack and stuff... like sleep...

Accounting V

Still working on the final. I've abandoned the long (last) question, and am now going through the exam starting with question one and the short questions worth only a point. I'm now up to #9. Wheee. It's past 1 am.

It's sad that I'd rather pack than do my work. And other than the work I've done on the final, I haven't done any work over Thanksgiving break. Now, that's no surprise, but I had higher ambitions. I suppose it's no wonder that I'm taking the bar review classes in Chicago unless I have no choice. I don't get any work done here whatsoever. Too many distractions.

Accounting IV

So I just submitted my Staples rebate (yay for getting ~$20 back!) online and should get my money back in about a month. Good.

I printed eRebates for 2 Circuit City rebates, but still need to mail them in with proofs of purchase and copies of receipts. Why must they make it so difficult? Staples just had your receipts coded with a number, and matched up the rebate numbers you entered with the receipt code, so that's proof of purchase enough. Circuit City has all the receipts in a central database since they can reprint receipts for you based on ticket numbers, so why can't they do the same thing? Having to cut out the proofs of purchase is such a hassle!

I guess you can tell that because my mother came by to talk about rebates and addresses and all that, I stopped doing my final.

Unfortunately it's after midnight and I'm still not done with my final. That's not good since I wanted to be done by 1 am. Oh well. I'm just hoping that my answers are good enough to get me a pass in this class.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Accounting III

Christmas shopping is far more fun than identifying companies based on their price/earnings ratios. Wheee.

Accounting II

I'm glad I never decided on accounting as a career path.

I haven't watched any TV today.

It's weird not having a radio in my room at home.

I had an odd clothing experience at Marshalls today: almost everything fit. That never happens me. Don't worry, I didn't buy all of it. Just some of it. ;-)

Club 977 makes me happy. I love the 80s - the culture, anyway.

It doesn't feel like a Sunday to me. It feels like Friday. It doesn't feel like there's classes tomorrow. Maybe that's because I'm not going because I'll be in New York.

Ooh, "All I Need is a Miracle" is on Club 977. This song makes me smile.

Back to the same question I was working on before. Good thing it's the long question and I'm not just absurdly slow. :)

Accounting I

Working on my accounting final tonight... maybe I should have started this weeks earlier like a lot of other people. But we've already determined that I do everything at the last minute. ;-)

Is it bad that while I'm typing out my answer, I'm bopping around to "Material Girl" on Club 977? :)

Week in Review

This is coming a little late, but better late than never! My week in review, for 11/20-11/26 (I told you they might not be that exciting...), as I listen to Motown songs:

Saturday, I was thankful for rediscovering the joys of IM chat rooms and having fun discussions with friends instead of doing unpleasant academic work.

Sunday, I was thankful for the pleasures of massage therapy.

Monday, I was thankful for extra time to work on my problem set, making it to all of my classes, and collaborative efforts with classmates.

Tuesday, I was thankful for leaving early for Thanksgiving break, a safe and undelayed flight, dinner out at Charlie Brown's and The Amazing Race.

Wednesday, I was thankful for large family gatherings, good Chinese food, a complete family picture, and the relaxation of baking over a movie. (Maybe TBS should call it Baking & a Movie instead of Dinner & a Movie?) (Maybe pictures later.)

Thursday, I was thankful for the holiday, family gatherings, fun playing with digital cameras, and all the side dishes that accompany the turkey. (Maybe pictures later.)

Friday, I was thankful for fantastic shopping deals, found bargains, excellent sushi, and more excuses not to work on my accounting final. (Forgot my camera :( but see this entry.)

Generally, I'm thankful for all the blessings in my life, in the forms of family, friends, strangers that cross my path, my health, my work life (even though I complain about school), good luck, and happiness. I could write an itemized list, but inevitably, I'd be missing something and would be upset that I left something important off the list. So I won't do it. :) Instead I'm going to go to sleep so I can be up and at the stores tomorrow. Yippee!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Diary of My Black Friday

Black Friday Mission Summary
Day: Black Friday 2004
Total Number of Shopping Hours Logged: at least 9.3
Time Shopping Day Started: left home at 5:25 am
Time Shopping Day Ended: returned home for the day at 9:20 pm
Hours of Mid-Afternoon Sleep: 1.3
Stores visited: 15 (Best Buy, Circuit City, Staples [x2], Express, Old Navy, Macy's [x2], Limited, Banana Republic, Target, Costco, Disney Store, Victoria's Secret, Bath and Body Works)
Items bought: haven't taken the time to count :)

To give you an idea of how my day started, here are some snippets of the situation from the Staten Island Advance about my first store: Best Buy. They have pictures in the print edition of the paper, and about 250-300 people back in line, I almost made it into one of the pictures! So here's what they have to say:

"Black Friday," the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season -- and the day stores supposedly go from red to black in their books -- started before midnight as a group of seven poker friends camped out overnight in front of Best Buy in New Springville.

Their mission? Snaring one of 25 laptop computers that were offered at $499.99.

"We're all here for the laptops," said Joe Ciprello, of Eltingville. "EVERY-BODY." At one point the group had pitched a tent until security told them to take it down. Fellow bravehearts Anthony Traverso of Rosebank and Eddie Vaccaro of Great Kills kept warm throughout the night tossing footballs and going to Dunkin' Donuts for some steaming hot java.

In contrast, my aunt in Westchester arrived at Circuit City at 5:30 and was #1 on line (lots of people waiting in their cars came out after that, but still).

My Diary:

All times are approximate. I didn't always have a chance to check my watch as I raced across the parking lot. ;-) (On foot, not in the car, there was no racing in the car to be done today.)

5:25 am. Out of the house and into the freezing cold car. Ready to battle the crowds and hoping that we might actually get to Best Buy early enough to get my grandfather one of the $500 Toshiba laptops.

5:32 am. Arriving at Best Buy. The line doesn't look too bad. Oh wait - the line is going in the reverse direction from last year. And it's really really really really really long, going past 4 storefronts and curved into the parking lot.

5:36 am. I'm on line. There have to be at least 250-300 people in front of me. The chances of getting the laptop are rather slim, I suspect.

5:42 am. I have my fleece headband and gloves on securely while balancing my cell phone and camera. What's wrong with my camera?! No!!! I want to take a picture of the absurd line outside the store and I have a perfect angle, but I forgot my camera battery in the charger!! No!! How could I have forgotten it, when I could have gotten a perfect picture of Black Friday madness to post?

5:47 am. My dad shows up after having dropped off my mom on the Circuit City line. We're going to spread out - he's going to go for the laptop, I'm going to head for the Mean Girls and Will & Grace DVDs. I don't think there's going to be any laptops but I can't hurt to try. We could break the line up by segments based on the pillars outside the store. I think they were giving out laptop tickets and they didn't get beyond the first pillar. He showed up and started looking around a little further ahead on the line for me. I'm like, "I'm still back here, right where you left me!" No movement on the line.

5:50 am. All of a sudden there are chants near the second pillar of the line (and the pillars not far apart, so this is at most 100 people into the line). "No cutting the line, no cutting the line." There are at least 10 people saying this in unison, but there is clearly a ringleader. A ringleader, who no more than 30 seconds after "no cutting the line" ended, started with, "Don't cut the line." My comment? "Apparently someone didn't sleep last night." Oops, I didn't really say that out loud, did I?

5:55 am. Doors are open!! The line is streaming into the store like a river. Go bargain hunters!! At least Best Buy is smart. They handed out double sided diagrams at the door with the store layout. One side was for the 6 hour specials, the other for the 2 day specials. They had numbered all of the specials and showed where they were on the diagram. Incredibly helpful, after I remembered last year's madness running around screaming, "where are the DVDs?!"

6:02 am. I'm done and checked out and we're out of Best Buy. I ran down the aisle to get the DVDs, waited by the line for my dad who found out they were indeed out of laptop tickets, and I paid. Even though they let us in early, the store was only officially open for 2 minutes and I was already done. Not bad. :)

[Best Buy Madness Story: While checking out, I asked the cashier what time they had to get there. She said 5:15 am. I asked her how long the line was when she got here. She laughed and said it was really long. While on line, I heard the guy managing the checkout lines say that when he finished closing the store up last night, there were already a couple of people waiting. I guess there was no way we were going to get that laptop. And judging from that Advance article above, that's probably 100% true. We could have gotten there at 4 am, and been out of luck. But had we been there any later, we'd probably be out of luck for everything else too.]

6:05 am. In the car on the way to the Circuit City/Staples parking lot. My mom's at Circuit City, so we're going to try going to Staples instead. They have free laminators, $10 jump drives, $3 for 40 packs of DVD-Rs, $2 for 40 packs of jewel cases, and free surge protectors. I wonder if Staples will be really crowded.

6:09 am. I'm in Staples. Thank goodness the strip malls are so close to one another and it's not a far drive from store to store and we can team shop.

6:15 am. I've grabbed DVD-Rs, jewel cases and surge protectors. When I came in, I saw a line going to a window but people said it was only for "big ticket items." Since I thought all the things I wanted weren't big ticket items, I went for those first. Maybe if I had gotten on line when I first got in the doors, I could have gotten the laminator and the flash drive. We waited on the line that was the length of the store for a very very long time, only to be told that they were all sold out.

6:30 am. Playing phone tag with my aunt in Westchester and my mom over at Circuit City grabbing rebate stuff. Staples is so disorganized and chaotic. No one knows where the lines are. The layout is dumb, putting the free stuff so close to the registers and so close to the "big ticket" distribution line, which wasn't labeled.

6:40 am. Comment to Dad while on the checkout line: "Hey, it's still dark outside!" He smirked at me. Haha.

6:50 am. How is it possible that I've been at Staples this much longer than Best Buy?

6:58 am. I left Staples for Circuit City to help my mom and buy the rebate stuff. My DVD didn't ring up the right place, and the lines were all messed up so it took a little longer than it could have. Then again their register and line efficiency isn't remotely close to Best Buy. Best Buy has one orderly line feeding into 15-odd registers and someone with balloons at the end of the line as it goes around the border of the store. Circuit City has about 20 haphazard lines all over the store with no order to it whatsoever. It's enough to make your brain frazzled.

7:20 am. Back at Staples with my Circuit City loot. After the stuff is moved to the car and my mom and dad are both in Staples, I take off for a cold morning jog across the parking lots to get to the mall. Express was scheduled to give out free cashmere scarves (with purchase) and the mall opened at 7...

7:28 am. In Express. It's empty and they have two bins full of scarves. And you didn't even need the coupon to get the scarf. While I purchased my earrings and got my free scarf, the cashier remarked to the other cashier: "They should have made the scarves free only with a $75 purchase." I wasn't sure whether or not I was supposed to be offended by that, but I couldn't care less. I had a free cute cashmere scarf!

7:40 am. In Old Navy because they have $5 performance fleece blankets. The ad didn't say you needed to purchase anything, but apparently you did. But they have $1 shopping bags, so who cares. :) It hasn't even been two hours yet and I'm in store #6.

8:20 am. Heading home from the mall with a trunk full of goodies. We hit 7 stores, pit stop at home, and then we're heading to Jersey. Staten Island has no Target.

9:00 am. At the Staples in New Jersey. They are so orderly! The tables are set up all around the store, there is no chaos, the "big ticket" line is mostly orderly and the guy manning the line knows how to manage and how to distribute to get things moving in a competent manner. We got our flash drives and went on our merry way by 9:15. So organized compared to SI.

9:20 am. Arrival at Target! Woohoo! I'm so excited. I wonder if they still have TV DVD sets left! ... They do! And clothes! And accessories! And Candyland! Oooooh, I am so excited and I love Target. (We all knew this already.)

11:00 am. Trip to Costco. (The diary gets considerably less involved as the time gets later and shopping becomes less frenzied and more "normal." Also the big blowout sales are winding down.) While supplies lasted today, Costco gave out free cookbooks. I'm an excited little girl. Hahaha. And it's $12 off of Fox and WB TV DVD sets. Uh oh...

12:00 pm. Over to Menlo Park Mall for lunch and some shopping. The Wendy's is incompetent - I ordered Wild Mountain Chicken sandwiches and they gave us cheeseburgers. And the cashier looked at us like we were crazy saying he made a mistake. It's something about that storefront - the Burger King that was there before that was pretty incompetent at getting orders correct too.

Mall shopping brought us to Banana Republic, Victoria's Secret (I love the new striped shopping bags and had a birthday coupon to use), The Limited (mmm... comfy pants) and Macy's (didn't buy anything). Going through Bath and Body Works got me excited for after-Christmas sales. Uh oh. I sense an addiction? Except for the fact that, with the exception of some DVDs, I've barely bought anything recently, especially not clothes. So this is fine by me. :)

2:10 pm. We leave the mall. We've been shopping for a solid 8.2 hours. We are insane.

3:00 pm. At home, watching Uptown Girls and random TV, napping. So exhausted and was getting so faded at Macy's. It was so hard to make it through the final stretch.

6:30 pm. Sushi dinner at a restaurant near home that makes yummy sushi as a good reward for an endurance shopping experience. Yay for yellowtail and scallion rolls! :)

7:45 pm. At the local mall at Macy's, since I have a gift card scheduled to expire on Tuesday (although the cashier claims that they can extend expiration dates? I've never heard that before, but that would be great). At first it looked like I had a lot to try on, but then I thought about it, and considering I picked up any sale item I would conceivably buy for the price, trying on about 14 items is kind of sad. That's all I might conceivably wear of all the sale merchandise in the whole store?? I think I'm an exceptionally picky clothing shopper right now.

9:20 pm. I'm tired but not as exhausted as earlier this afternoon due to my nap. I feel satisfied, arriving home. It was a good shopping day. I feel proud. :)

So what was the damage? Let's put it this way: I got a few TV on DVD sets, which generally run anywhere from $30 to $50. But everything I bought today (non-gift) cost less than what the total cost of those DVD sets would be at full price (not mfr's suggested retail, but regular selling price). I think that's pretty good. :)

And as a parting thought on Black Friday and holiday shopping, also from the Advance, check out the list of this year's "hot" toys:
According to the editors of "Toy Wishes," a magazine focusing on family entertainment, the "Hot Dozen" list of toys this year includes: Balloon Lagoon, Barbie as Princess Anneliese and Erika, Bella Dancerella, Bratz Tokyo-A-Go-Go Dance N' Skate Club, Cabbage Patch Kids, E-L-M-O, Interacttv, Ms. Pac-Man TV Games, Nitro Battlerz, Tamagotchi Connection and Vtech V-Smile.

Reading this list really makes me long for the toys of our childhood. I know 80s toys are making a comeback, but give me an old Lite Brite, Etch-a-Sketch, Simon, My Little Pony, Speak and Spell any day over something like a Boobah. Haha.

It's been a long day, I'm getting up early tomorrow morning to go to the gym and the last thing I want to do is any part of my accounting final. But I need to post this before it gets any longer than it already is. What did you do for Black Friday?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Return of the Chicken

After a good night's sleep and a long hot shower, we went out to pick up the Harry Potter DVD and some groceries for Thanksgiving cooking and baking. We went to lunch at Wendy's and as soon as I opened the door, I jumped up and down with glee.

It wasn't because I was finally at Wendy's, having been deprived of it for months because of its lack of a downtown Chicago location. It was because I saw a sign promoting this:

The Wendy's Wild Mountain Chicken Sandwich is back!! Hallelujah!

The sandwich was around last year and I ate it constantly, and then it disappeared and I was sad. It's been like 10 months since I've last savored the Southwestern peppery sauce... mmm mmm good. :) It's basically the spicy chicken fillet with colby jack cheese, lettuce, tomatoes (yes, even with the shortage), red onions, and the sauce. I order it without bacon and the Wendy's near my house takes off 60 cents. :) It's so good. I need to go back to Wendy's again before I fly back next week. At least once. Sandwich so yummy! :) :) :)

In other news, the generic fruit snacks are so much cheaper at Pathmark than Dominicks, Jim Carrey on Oprah just made me laugh so hard that I cried, my accounting final is looming over my head like a hammer, and the newspaper girl is late and I'm really craving my Black Friday ads.

Airport Dispatch

I'm back in New York now, this flight experience having gone much better than my last attempt. After some picture slideshows, dinner at the new Charlie Brown's, catching the tail end of The Amazing Race and finding myself unable to vote on the ending of SVU, here I am, ready to share some short stories about my day at the airport.

Deja vu?
After my last thrilling airport experience, you would think that at the slightest hint of flight problems, I might flip out. I tried checking in on the web for my flight (I actually just wanted to change my seat...), but I couldn't get in. The system told me it could not find my reservation (couldn't find it?!) and gave me a phone number to call. After 20 minutes of being on hold with the "special" hotline waiting for a representative so I could ask if I still had a reservation, I gave up and decided to go straight to the airport to try my luck. Also no luck on the self check-in machines. Could a second confirmed reservation be cancelled (by a different airline)? In the end, I got to the ticket counter, they gave me a boarding pass, even managed to find me a window seat (I know for sure which seat I selected when buying the ticket, even though the computer managed to put me in a middle seat now), and I went on my merry way, all the while wondering how it was possible for the computer not to find my reservation with my confirmation number. I wonder if I'll have the same problem on the return flight.

Milling Around
The airport wasn't too bad early this afternoon, but I suspect that's because I beat the rush. Maybe it's also because the airport seemed pretty well-organized and on the ball. The security lines were slow and some neighboring travelers were a little too anxious to get moving on the line (to the lady behind me: there is no need to move my bin with my coat further toward the back of the line so you can go around me to pick up your bin to put it in front. Do you really think I will go through the security thing without my stuff?), but generally, while crowded, it seemed pretty tame for a major holiday weekend. Judging by the way the airport looked when I disembarked, however, I suspect it was very different at 5 pm than it was at 1 pm. Thank goodness for being able to skip class. The most waiting I did all afternoon was on line at Potbelly's. It was a decently long line that stretched out of the storefront and into the main lobby area. It was worth it though. :)

Fox's Center of the Universe
While dining on my yummy turkey sandwich from Potbelly's, I read the headlines that scrolled on the ticker inside the Hudson News store. I kept seeing the Fox logo, so I assumed the ticker was being run by Fox. Sure enough, when it got back to the beginning of the scroll, it said, "From Fox News Corner of the World." My first thought? "Oh, you mean, the truth according to Fox." That's what it sounded like: this is the way things are going in the Fox News Corner of the World. As if the news should be different there than it is anywhere else!! The "corner of the world" part just bothers me! A sampling of some of the things in their headlines: "ucchy tasting goop" when describing K-rations and "32 bad guys captured in first thrust." Bad guys? They couldn't find a better phrase? Or maybe they just didn't want to in the first place.

Exit Row
The only window seats available on the plane when I checked in were in the exit rows. I figured I'd be nice and would take the non-reclining exit row window seat, since I don't recline the seat anyway. I'm glad I got a window seat, so I could take pictures like this:

If only it hadn't been so cloudy and so hazy, that might have actually been a good picture. In any event, I was glad with how my row situation turned out. I had the window, this other guy had the aisle and then we threw our stuff in the middle seat. Before the flight started moving, they offered a $40 upgrade to business class. Some woman bit, and moved her whole family up to business class (at least that's how it seemed to be, unless they just moved to more forward rows, but it didn't look like it). The guy in the aisle seat in my row decided he needed a reclining seat so he could sleep, so he switched to their old seats. So, short little me ended up with an exit row and tons of legroom all to myself. When the seatbelt sign wasn't illuminated, I could have done a full yoga routine had I been so inclined. I'm not used to having so much space! Anyway, it made for a much more pleasurable trip as I could sprawl around reading and watching the sunset.

Grounded Sleep
Since I didn't get much sleep this week and last night, I figured I'd be knocked out cold for most of the flight, the way I usually am every time I fly to New York. Yet somehow I was awake for the entire duration of the flight, even doing some (little, very little) work on my laptop. It had nothing to do with the fact that the oxygen masks from the safety demo reminded me of Lost. (I'm not being sarcastic; that didn't keep me up at all.) It was strange. I'm used to just dozing off for the entire duration of the flight. Yet I only seemed to nap while the plane was on the ground. I dozed off between the safety demo and takeoff, while we sat on the long line of planes waiting to leave (a good 20+ minutes). After the plane landed, I started to feel really sleepy as it was kind of dark outside, and dozed off between landing and the time we made it to the gate. (We had to wait for the "alley" to clear and for some machine to pull us into the gate, probably 10-15 minutes total.) Just amusing how somehow I didn't sleep while in the air, but could only nap on the ground tonight.

Family dinner tomorrow night and doing cooking/preparing/baking (and nothing to tape on TV), Thanksgiving in 2 days (need to tape Survivor & Apprentice), getting up super-early on Friday for the Black Friday deals... so I'm not sure when I'll next post. But knowing me, I won't be able to stay away from the keyboard. After all, my accounting final is due on Monday...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Radio Predicament

What happened to Chicago radio? I used to praise the radio stations of Chicago highly - they had 2 very strong mix stations, one that had mix music with a lot of new songs and one that had mix music with a lot of 80s songs. New York mix music stations never seemed to stay in business for long; they were always replaced by something else. (I wonder if 102.7 is still around as a mix station? I listened to it all summer.) So it was a wonder to me that Chicago could have 2 good mix stations, in addition to a not bad light station, an oldies station, and a top 40 station. (Just listing the ones on my speed tuner.)

Earlier this month, I noticed that one of the mix stations wasn't playing 80s music whenever I turned it on. What was up with that? Turns out that 100.3 has changed from being a mix station (with 80s at 8 and lost 80s lunch hour and everything) to being "Love 100.3." On "Love 100.3," they play a mix of love songs from throughout various eras, mostly of them falling on the really slow, too-light-for-light-radio level. Why did they have to switch?? Speed tuner of reliable stations moves from 5 to 4 (I have 6 stations programmed: oldies, 100.3, top 40, hip hop which I rarely listen to, mix, and light).

This week, I realized that the light station is no longer playing its traditional light fare because it's the holiday season. It's not even Thanksgiving yet and it's "home for the holidays" on light radio. (I remember ranting about this last year - who needs Christmas music 24/7 in November?!) The light station was one of the ones that used to play "more music in the morning," so now I'm stuck. Oh well. I was not in the mood to listen to "Oh Holy Night" this morning. Speed tuner of reliable stations moves from 4 to 3.

I basically do a rotation in the car now of oldies - top 40 - and mix radio. Unfortunately, this increases the chance that I won't find a station without commercials. I guess it's time to bring more CDs into the car.

Incredible McDonalds Dilemma

Lately, whenever I'm around school during lunch and there are no free lunches to be had, I've been heading to the drive-thru as a midday break. It's a chance to get out of the school building (which part of me is convinced is toxic, like "toxic friend" type toxic, not "toxic waste dump"), drive a short distance, save money on lunch and talk on the phone, all while taking in the sights and sounds of the changing seasons. McDonalds is an easy destination for lunch; I've been there more in the past few weeks than I was all summer.

I haven't seen Supersize Me. I don't know if I will. I like McDonalds. I understand the whole health food craze thing and how bad it would be for you if you ate McDonalds all day every day. But who eats McDonalds for every meal every day? Not me. I'm on the everything-in-moderation diet, which isn't really a diet at all, but more just a philosophy about gastronomic life. Don't overdo it, don't overindulge on a regular basis, eat whatever you want in moderation and work out. Is this such a problem?

Anyway, back to my McDonalds dilemma. I seem to have gotten sidetracked. And I think I sound like a gym rat in the previous paragraph, which I was in May but I've lost that momentum and I'd like to get it back. I need to do more than my weekly pilates and yoga fixes, and my nightly yoga stretching. More cardio, for sure...


I went to the drive-thru today at McDonalds and there were signs everywhere about the Incredibles toys with the Happy Meals. I love The Incredibles, and the weekend after we saw the movie, I saw a kid walking down the street with a toy that was clearly a Happy Meal toy (I should say Kids Meal toy, since I wasn't sure it was McDonalds, but I think everyone calls them Happy Meal toys out of habit). My eyes widened and all I could think was, "where did he get that from?? I want one!"

It never occurred to me that he was walking down Illinois Street from east to west, playing with the toy as if it were newly out of the packaging. There is only one fast food restaurant in that direction - the McDonalds at Navy Pier - and if my brain had been working, I would have realized this instead of wondering about it. As much as I was intrigued by the toy, I unintentionally forgot about it within 5 minutes.

Back to today. I'm sitting in the drive-thru and every 2 feet there was a sign for the Incredibles toys. I was originally going to McDonalds for a fish sandwich, but I really wanted the toy! What was I going to do? I don't eat McDonalds burgers and I don't like their chicken nuggets, but I wanted the toy! Dilemma dilemma. Do I get both the Happy Meal and the fish sandwich, ditch the burger part of the hamburger, and just have a big lunch? Get the Happy Meal, ditch the burger part or suffer through the nuggets, and forego the fish sandwich? Order the fish sandwich and forget about the Incredibles toys which would just end up collecting dust in the long run? What to do, what to do!

I pulled up to the window, and asked the woman on the other end if there were any Incredibles toys left. Her answer? A curt "no." What a relief. Crisis averted. Small non-essential dilemma resolved through no decision-making of my own.

I got my fish sandwich and enjoyed it. :) But I do have one remaining question - do your sandwiches at McDonalds come in those cardboard-type boxes or in wax paper-type paper (you can tell I'm really observant about packaging materials)? I really thought they packaged the fish sandwiches in paper more often than not, once they got rid of the styrofoam ages ago, but today I got one of the boxes. I don't remember! Do you get boxes or paper wrappers from McDonalds?

Back to packing.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Sleep Well

I just took a "sleep well" quiz at RealAge. My result? "Your sleep situation may be serious. Seek a healthcare provider's advice right away." That's for anyone who has more than 9 points as a result of the quiz. I got 15.

Edit, 3:11 am, 23 Nov 2004: I just looked at the quiz again. How could you not end up in the "sleep situation may be serious" category? For example, let's say you answered that there is a high chance of falling asleep when "lying down to rest in the afternoon" (hello, afternoon siesta?!) and "riding as a passenger during long car drives." That already gives you 6 points. Now if there's a moderate chance that you'll fall asleep when "reading quietly" and "watching television," you have 10 points and should seek a healthcare provider's advice about your sleep habits. Maybe it's just my brain wiring, because I find it hard to get below 9 points on this test whatever I do. :)


Phew. I finished posting all the stuff I "blogged" into Word this morning. Looking back at the most recent post, it's not all that entertaining. I had some journal entries last year during class which were more exciting. Oh well. It was worth a try.

Compared to the last room, this room is a toaster. The other one I was getting cold and my fingertips were chilly. In this room I want to change into shorts and fall asleep. I'm so tired I think I might nap in my car in the parking lot. So sleepy! The heated air doesn't help.

I'm so tired!

Networks Class Snippets

11:24 am. We’re talking about the Blackout of 2003 in my network industries class. That was some experience. I don’t think I ever finished my journal entry from August 2003 about what happened during the Blackout. I’m going to have to look into that. Or maybe I’ll just write another one about what I remember today.

11:28 am. Maybe I shouldn’t worry about other people seeing me blog during class. (I don’t care in any class where there is no one sitting behind me.) The guy in the row in front of me (row 2 of 6) is updating his LiveJournal.

11:30 am. I’m going to take journal notes in this class Bridget Jones style, the way I did in my own Word journal all last year, because I don’t have enough brain capacity to devote to a real thoughtful entry. It’s not because I’m tired necessarily, but more because I’m actually paying attention. It’s the only class in which I won’t go on IM because it’s actually useful to go to class. Unfortunately I missed a few and I’m missing the next two, but I’ll soak in as much as I can about electricity today.

11:41 am. Phew, he was trying to figure out who to call on and he went for the row in front of me. I read the stuff but I’m not sure I understand how to talk about electricity.

12:05 pm. Someone in the row behind me just said he would see his friends in the lunchroom. Lunchroom, not Green Lounge (technical name of the place). I was waiting for the response to be, “yeah, I’ll see you in the cafeteria for lunch period!” Everyone always says law school is just like high school. There will be a post about that eventually. Probably. :)

2 oLd 4 iM

“I think you’re all too old for instant messaging. If you’re 14, you instant message. At least if you’re 14 and a geek, you instant message.”

Thank goodness my professor said that in good fun because I’d say that a good portion of the class IMs. And a fair number may IM in class. :) Although the percentage is probably lower than any of my other classes.

And yes, I too hate the way my subject line is written, but hey, it’s probably similar to the way the average 14 year old would write… I never did that at 14 ... okay that’s not true, I would doodle the whole so-and-so “wuz hea” thing every so often. Or maybe that was when I was 12. I’m so glad that I’m way past that stage. Grammar, punctuation and capitalization count. (I hated misspelling since I knew how to spell, so I don't need to tell myself that spelling counts.)

If you’re curious, I’m going to be blogging a lot today. It’s the longest class day I’m going to have all quarter. 9:45 to 6 doesn’t sound bad, and sounds like a normal work day (or shorter). But somehow going to class is just so much more exhausting than spending the day at work. Last year on my long days (when I would have all of my classes that day including seminar), I would count the percentages of hours of class and hours in the school building that had gone by. It made me feel better about the whole experience.


It’s freezing in here. And I can’t stop writing posts. Maybe it’s because my brain is so tired that it’s set on “off.” Call, put, futures, arbitrage, parity – what a blur. Class is over in 3 minutes though, and then it’s time for another one!


Well that’s it. The first casualty of my television season has arrived: NBC has “grounded” LAX. (Stealing pun from the Zap2it headline because it’s too good to pass up.) I’m sad about that because I enjoyed the show. It’s not a masterpiece like Lost, and it was very hit-or-miss. But it was fun and entertaining.

The first nail in the coffin was when NBC shafted it to the Lost timeslot and put The 25 Million Dollar Hoax in its place for November sweeps. Can we find a dumber show? I think it might be less entertaining than My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance was, and less compelling than the trainwrecks Average Joe and For Love or Money. (Yes, I watched all of those trashy reality shows.) And the move to Wednesday was terrible. Putting it against Lost, one of the huge freshman hits with a devoted following? Ridiculous. Even I forgot that I was supposed to be taping LAX because of the time swap and being a Lost addict.

I’m glad I taped and watched “Secret Santa,” last Wednesday’s episode. It wasn’t fantastic, but considering the fact that we don’t know when (or if) NBC will burn off the remaining 3 episodes of the show, it may be the last episode of LAX I ever get to see.


The person next to me in finance class is sleeping. Like full out asleep, eyes closed, head pointed downward, perfectly still. I shouldn’t stare too much because it might draw the professor’s attention to him.

Oh darn, he woke up now on the person next to him’s second sneeze.

Now the person next to me on the other side is sleeping.

Oh, now he’s woken up too.

Hmm. I hope the sleepiness symptoms don’t spread to me, seeing as how I’m awfully tired.

Gasoline III

I didn’t get enough sleep. My brain hurts. Maybe it’s the gasoline. I don’t get arbitrage. Looking at the numbers makes my head hurt. All of you people who have taken and passed finance are far far smarter than I.

Gasoline II

My nasal passages are stinging. I understand if you filled the car with gas on the way to school, but why would your coat smell that strongly like gasoline unless you worked at the gas station? Maybe I’m just confused and I don’t really smell gasoline.

But I do! And my nasal passages aren’t getting irritated by just nothing. I was thinking that maybe it had to do with the sulphur mask I put on last night, but then surely, my nasal passages would have already been inflamed pre-gasoline smell. Agh, there is half an hour left to inhale gasoline fumes ...

Late Row

I’m in the late row in class and it’s not the last row. I wish it were the last row because then I could post directly to the blog instead of writing it in Word first. There are 8 people in my row right now. 4 of us arrived more than 5 minutes late to class, or at least after the PowerPoint presentation had already started. I guess the row just looked welcoming to latecomers. ;-)


Someone in class smells like gasoline. I didn’t smell it when I walked in, but I smell it right now and it’s kind of nauseating. How do you smell like gasoline? I started getting worried that it was the perfume I was wearing, but it’s definitely not me. The odor is kind of sickening and it’s making my stomach queasy which is not a good thing.

I really think I should try acupuncture. I wonder if it will help my digestive problems. (I know this is unrelated to the gasoline smell but the nausea reminded me of the fact that I have digestive problems and other various ailments.) I wonder if acupuncture is covered by insurance. Limited chiropractic care is. It would be nice if getting stuck with needles would be covered too.


I know I'm supposed to be working on my problem set, but having just described myself as paranoid to about 3 different people, I decided to see if I really was. The last time I took this test, I think I had high percentages on the OCD and somewhat high on the avoidant, but low on the others...

Personality Disorder Test Results
Paranoid |||||||||||||||| 70%
Schizoid |||||||||||||||| 62%
Schizotypal |||||||||| 38%
Antisocial |||||||||||||||| 66%
Borderline |||||||||||| 50%
Histrionic |||||||||||||| 54%
Narcissistic |||||||||||| 42%
Avoidant |||||||||||||| 54%
Dependent |||||||||||| 42%
Obsessive-Compulsive |||||||||||||||| 66%
Take Free Personality Disorder Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Perhaps the problem is that I'm currently obsessing over my problem set, the method of handing it in, how I don't understand any of the questions, how I'm going to fail the class, what to say to the professor about not handing it in tomorrow, how I don't have answers to the questions, how my mind is a blank, how I don't know how I'll pass the final... So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that my current mood would lead to these results? That I'm more paranoid than obsessive-compulsive? I know this wasn't the result before...

So I'll look up the old results on my old blog ...

Hmm. Those were my results from last January. I thought obsessive-compulsive would be higher than avoidant, but I guess not. What do you make of the 11 month difference? I guess it's good that I'm less narcissistic? Not that this was ever a big problem according to the test...

Agh, problem set!

Sunday, November 21, 2004


I am so confused.

Here I am, trying to do my problem set and completely clueless. I told myself that I would go to sleep one hour from now since I have a marathon of classes tomorrow (longer than any day this year so far, every single class I am taking) and need to be able to stay awake and alert. Yet I have 4 incomplete answers to 4 questions. (Or in the case of question #4, it says "Question 4"...)

What am I going to do?

As much as I like my professor and think this stuff is important to figure out, I'm starting to think that taking corporate finance might have been one of the biggest slips I've made in law school. I may have felt completely clueless in Elements about what was going on, but I had a vague idea of what I was going on generally. Here I feel like I'm drowning in a foreign language with no hopes of a life raft.

I wonder if I'll get any sleep tonight. The file containing my problem set hasn't changed since last night. Not because I haven't done any work, but because I can't figure out anything else to add. It's extremely pathetic. Such is my life.

(Would this be an appropriate time to revive my "I hate school" remarks, seeing as how I will be attending one day of class before going home for a Thanksgiving respite, over which I will have to complete an unintelligible accounting final exam?)

Back to "work" ... that is, trying to learn corporate finance in a crash course. That in itself sounds like it's doomed. Sigh.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Week in Review

I've decided to start a new feature in the blog, a week in review, surveying exciting events in my life for the previous week. I think I'm going to do it for Saturday-Friday, for no good reason, although this first time, I'm going to do it Friday-Friday. I actually thought of doing a "2 weeks in review" since I have a lot of pictures from the past 2 weeks, but not only would that be an extra long photo entry (it's long enough already, right? I'll update the photoblog with them eventually), but I haven't sorted those pictures out yet. :) This posting series may not be very exciting sometimes, especially when it's mostly about school, but I'm willing to take that risk. ;-)

Friday the 12th brought the MPRE, the national ethics exam that you have to pass to be admitted to the bar. Despite actually putting in decent study time for it and lots of practice questions, it was still pretty tricky and I'm not sure I passed. Everyone else I've spoken to has said that they thought it was hard, so maybe there's hope, but I'm not sure.

Alvin and I went to dinner at Fox and Obel down the block. Amy and Oscar came to visit for the weekend (yay!) and we went to go see The Polar Express on IMAX in 3-D. I posted earlier about the movie, but I really do think the description that most sticks with me is "a beautiful moving painting." I think it's an accurate description.

On Saturday, we headed over to UIC for the Pow Wow. It was fun. I didn't get any really clear pictures of the dancing, but here's some shots from the event:

Indian tacos... yum!

Some of the black pottery being sold by a vendor from New Mexico... it's beautiful!

Cute :)

After the pow wow, we went to the Cheesecake Factory on Michigan Avenue for a late dinner/dessert.

Chicken Provencal

Blackout cake... so much cake...

The walk back home down Michigan Avenue passed all the stores.

Disney Store window display for the Incredibles - I love that movie!!

Checking out the Apple Store where we were to head on Sunday

On Sunday, we took some pictures before heading out to lunch and the Apple Store:

From the building's 16th Floor Sundeck:

(Yeah, I know, I closed my eyes. But it's a nice shot were that not the case...)

I think this week I've been coming off a double high: friends visiting from out-of-town two weeks in a row (yippie!) and the end of the MPRE (hopefully, for good). Both of those things combined put me in such a good mood that it overpowered any frustration with school this week, and I don't think I said "I hate school" this week at all! (I think maybe it's also the fact that I truly enjoyed my entrepreneurship seminar assignment and I didn't do a ton of work for my other classes.)

I had better attendance at school this week than the past few weeks (it's the MPRE's fault). Monday was school, Tuesday was school and a supersized musical meeting (with Pizza Capri - yay!), Wednesday was my seminar and a supersized TV evening viewing. Thursday I made it through classes, had a supersized Thai lunch on the school's tab (from a bar information session), and came home to freedom!

I've posted already about today's slow beginnings. I eventually made it to the gym for a supersized session, did some cleaning, watched some TV, and then it was time for dinner! Alvin took me out for my birthday at one sixty blue in the West Loop. I think the restaurant is scheduled to close at the end of the year, and change to Michael Jordan's Steakhouse (he's part owner of this one, I believe). I had been here once before, about a year ago for a firm offer dinner, but this was the first time with a real menu (instead of a slimmed down list of choices) and it was excellent. Here's a photo journey:

For appetizer, I couldn't resist the ahi tuna tartare. If you read my tuna tartare entry from a bit ago, it would be a very easy guess. I don't remember the list of ingredients included with the tuna tartare, but maybe I'll look them up. It was pretty good. A very different flavor from some of the others I've had (sweeter? more citrusy?), but just the right texture. And with tuna tartare, texture is crucial. :) It was yummy.

Alvin got the gnocchi appetizer. Also very flavorful and yummy.

For an entree I got the arctic char which came with chanterelle mushrooms and greens. Alvin got a venison dish. It was very good.

Alvin in the dining room of one sixty blue. Yes I know the picture's slanted, I took it that way.

With a view of the kitchen

Alvin's bread pudding dessert... when I tried it, all I could taste was banana split.

Very happy about having a yummy dinner!

My dessert: bittersweet chocolate souffle accompanied by raspberry sorbet. I know it looks sideways, but that's how it was in front of me. :) Wasn't the message a nice touch?

Our dessert table

And thus ends a fun week - probably one of the better weeks of fall quarter. The first 3 weeks of November have definitely been more fun than the first 3 weeks of October! I love it when my friends visit Chicago. :)

Friday, November 19, 2004


I watch a lot of TV. Don't believe me? Check out my TV diet* since Monday morning (less than 5 full days!):

1 hr Law and Order (currently watching)
1 hr Law and Order
1 hr Charmed
1/2 hr Angel
1/2 hr General Hospital
2 hrs Buffy
2 hrs Amazing Race
1 hr Apprentice
1 hr Survivor Vanuatu
1 hr Law and Order SVU
1 hr Charmed
1 hr Angel
1/2 hr Drawn Together
1 hr Wife Swap
1 hr Jack and Bobby
1 hr Lost
1 hr Rebel Billionaire
1/2 hr Two and a Half Men

* This does not mean I sat in front of the TV as a couch potato glued to the screen and doing nothing else. I was often doing reading, eating dinner, eating lunch, etc. in front of the show, so

Whoa, that's 18 hours. In contrast, I sadly only spent 4 hours exercising over the same time period. I think I need to start exercising in front of the TV... :)


I was supposed to wake up early this morning, go to the gym, clean the apartment, and get to work on my problem set.

I guess that was my ambition for a sunny motivated day. :)

It's cloudy and yucky outside. I slept in and had the first good night's sleep in a while (8 hours!). And then I watched 2 episodes of Buffy. Why oh why am I getting sucked into reruns of shows no longer on the air...

2 pm ... I think I really need to jumpstart the day. Off to the gym. I wonder if I'll get any reading done.

Dangling Hearts

Oh my goodness, they just did the Elaine dance from Seinfeld on the Southwestern Jewelry show on QVC. I realize it's almost 5 am in Pennsylvania, but they still have a large audience watching them and buying sterling bead dangle heart earrings...

Did you know it's QVC's 18th Birthday Week? I still don't think I'm going to buy anything.

Another week of school done. Still running the marathon ... looking forward to December 12th!

Unsettling Signs

I thought it was ironic that the episode of Law & Order that TNT chose to show on Tuesday dealt with both intentional election fraud and journalistic source protecting.

Both are big issues right now. Election fraud slightly less since the initial fervor after the election results has subsided, but the problem of suspecting election rigging will be around until we can have faith in our voting machines and their accuracy. (Or maybe the idea of election rigging is still around, considering DeLay's fixing of the Texas races...) Journalistic source protecting is important and while always a hot issue, it seems to be more on the forefront now than any time I can recently remember.

[Aside: Have my posts been getting more political? I blame the election.]

Yesterday (11/18), an investigative reporter from a Rhode Island TV station was convicted of criminal contempt for refusing to name the source that leaked to him an FBI videotape about government corruption. (Read the article here.)

It seems that lately a lot of journalists have had to worry about jail time for not revealing their sources. A lot of this has centered around the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity (which should have never been done). A Time Magazine correspondent was held in contempt over this, and "a reporter for The New York Times, Judith Miller, who never published an article about Ms. Plame, has been held in contempt by a federal judge for refusing to name people she interviewed about the subject." (Yet the columnist to whom it was leaked has not been held in contempt?) Where does it end?

The convicted Rhode Island reporter, Jim Taricani, had this to say:
I wish all my sources could be on the record, but when people are afraid, a promise of confidentiality may be the only way to get the information to the public, and in some cases, to protect the well-being of the source. I made a promise to my source, which I intend to keep.
This is how journalism has always worked. Sources are confidential. Important information gets out to the public. Since when has government had the right to require reporters publishing dissenting viewpoints to reveal their sources? It's a slippery slope until we get to outright censorship of any viewpoint not supporting the administration (or dominant political parties).

Taking away the protection for journalistic sources takes away the incentive to do a good job, to reveal secrets and to publish important information in the public interest. Would you risk going to jail to get the truth out? I'm sure some people would, but I think a lot of people wouldn't want to take the risk if they knew about the potential punishment ex ante. There is a reason why 31 states have shield laws to protect journalists from this very danger.

I'm sure there are plenty of cases where we wish we could find out a journalistic source to further other public interests. But taking away a protection like this, or endangering the personal freedom of journalists by rescinding this privilege, doesn't further the public interest in any way. All it does is restrict freedom of speech and the incentive to publish unpopular or dissenting or whistleblowing information. We shouldn't be sending journalists to jail when their refusal to reveal sources doesn't result in physical harm to anyone - what's the point?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Mandatory Sentences

I was asked in one of my on-campus interviews last year with a lawyer from a San Francisco firm what my least favorite class was in law school. The answer was criminal law. (Probably the same answer today.) He mentioned to me that he had just worked on a death penalty appeal, so he was curious about my answer.

Rather than saying that my professor made class unenjoyable and painful (true, but not the only reason), I gave another honest answer: I would get too emotionally invested in my cases when someone's life is at stake. Corporate negotiations are important, but it's not the same life-or-death battle as trying to save an innocent person from lethal injection. I think I might get invested in the lives and futures of my criminal defendants to the point of paralysis, and I don't know how I would cope with representing an innocent person who gets convicted.

I'm also not that interested in the theory of criminal law. But an article I read today awakened the little interest I have in criminal law, and made me a little angry. Short version? I am not a fan of mandatory minimum sentencing.

Basically what happened in this case was that a 25 year old man sold 2 small bags of marijuana to a police informant. Since the man had a gun on him, he was sentenced to 55 years in prison, based on the mandatory minimum laws. For selling 2 bags of marijuana, he'll be imprisoned until he's 80. He had a gun in an ankle holster which he never took out. But because it was on his person, he gets to rot in jail for most of his life.

To me, that's outrageous. You don't go to jail until you're 80 for making a mistake that, while illegal, hasn't harmed anyone. It's marijuana, for goodness sake. Rapists and murderers get sent to jail for less than 55 years. You've got to be kidding me.

One excerpt from the article:
Judge Cassell said that sentencing Mr. Angelos to prison until he is 70 years old [I don't get this: if he's 25 + 55 sentence = 80?] was "unjust, cruel and even irrational," but that the law that forced him to do so had not proved to be unconstitutional and thus had to stand. The sentence was all the more ironic, he said, because only two hours earlier he had been legally able to impose a sentence of 22 years on a man convicted of aggravated second-degree murder for beating an elderly woman to death with a log. That crime, he argued, was far more serious.
The judge told the attorney to appeal the decision and ask the President for clemency, and asked Congress to put aside the law.

While I don't doubt that drug dealers are the source of many crimes in society, I think what the AUSA had to say about the guy was a little extreme. He called the guy:
a "purveyor of poison," and said he had been dealing drugs for more than four years before his arrest. Carrying a gun in the commission of such crimes, he said, meant that Mr. Angelos was prepared "to kill other human beings."
Maybe he's violent. Maybe he would have hurt someone with the gun. Maybe it's true that he dealt drugs for four years. Maybe maybe maybe. But the fact of the matter is that he never took the gun out to hurt anyone. He didn't kill anyone. He didn't rape anyone. He didn't even injure anyone. All he did was sell drugs to a police informant in a completely nonviolent manner.

Mandatory minimum sentencing takes discretion out of the criminal justice system that needs to be there. There are many different goals of criminal punishment, one of which is rehabilitation. The man is 25. He has an entire life ahead of him, a wife, two sons, and he made a mistake. People can change, especially when they're so young. Are we just going to give up on people like this when they can change and lead rewarding lives? Is it really better for society to pay to lock them up for the rest of their lives? It makes me sick to think that a mistake like this could cost someone their life, while someone else can take a life and serve less time. Laws like this just don't mix with me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


"Canadian doctors say that this Winnie the Pooh character suffered chronic depression and couldn't enjoy life." (paraphrase of a Jeopardy answer)

Contestant answered in Eeyore voice.

It was great. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2004

November Sweeps

I think I’ve finally determined my TV watching schedule for the fall (until everything gets all changed up again in January!). The schedule for Sunday doesn’t apply this week though, because ABC is broadcasting the American Music Awards instead of good programming. Items in brackets are the programs that take second billing, and that I'll only watch on tape or when the primary program is not on. Items starred are the ones that are really good and/or that I would tape if I were not home (the unstarred I can go without). All times given are Central Time.

7:00 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Simpsons
8:00 Desperate Housewives* [My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss]
9:00 Boston Legal/Crossing Jordan

Monday (in addition to MNF)
7:00 Fear Factor
8:30 Two and a Half Men

7:00 The Rebel Billionaire*
8:00 The Amazing Race* (2 hour premiere on 11/16 - watch!)

7:00 Lost* [LAX]
8:00 Jack and Bobby*
9:00 Wife Swap
10:00 The Daily Show
After that: encores of South Park and Drawn Together

7:00 The O.C.* [Survivor Vanuatu]
8:00 The Apprentice*

Hmm. Except for Sun and Wed, it looks kind of sparse.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

All Aboard

I just indulged in my reward for completing the MPRE: going to see The Polar Express on IMAX. It was pretty good - the artistry was beautiful, the story was uplifting, I was able to pick a favorite character, and it was good for getting into the spirit of Christmas. But it definitely wasn't The Incredibles (my latest movie high). But it was a nice piece of artistry. It's like watching a beautiful moving painting (especially with the 3-D on IMAX), more than watching a movie. So I would say, if you're going to see the movie, go see it on IMAX. The 3-D is very worth it. If only I had a picture of all of us with our 3-D glasses on!! The one time I don't bring my camera with me... *yawn* It's been a long day... I'm ready to board my magic train to sleepyland soon! :)

Friday, November 12, 2004

Similar Minds

Now that the MPRE is over (hopefully, for good!), I can take more exciting tests.

Similarminds.com, thank you for providing me with great distractions. Now if only other people would be willing to be so distracted and would take the tests as well. :)

Locus of Control Test Results
Internal Locus (41%) Individual believes that their life is defined more by their decisions and internal drive.
External Locus (59%) Individual believes that their life is defined more by genetics, environment, fate, or other external factors.
Take Free Locus of Control Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

The results of the Freudian Inventory test need not be listed here. I don't think people need to know where I stand in categories like oral (dependence), anal (self-control), phallic (sexuality), latency (learning) and genital (productivity). Why did I even take the test?

[insert period of 30-40 minutes where I half-heartedly took tests and played Minesweeper at the same time]

Then I took the combined MB Jung Enneagram test - and got different answers on all of them from last January. Aren't you supposed to get the same answer if it's your personality type? Isn't that not supposed to change this dramatically over the course of a year? Am I that different a person? I don't remember exactly for the MB test but I think I was IN_J. Yet today, I took it twice (once in the combined and then the shorter MB test) and came up with ISFJ!

ISFJ - "Conservator". Desires to be of service and to minister to individual needs - very loyal. 13.8% of total population.
Take Free Myers Briggs Jung Personality Test

I also just don't think that sounds like me!

Oh well. Enough "serious" tests for the day. They ceased being fun for some reason, so this post has taken a long time to write. Oh well. I also don't think it's very much fun for everyone else to read. So enough with the tests for now. Until I feel otherwise inspired or find some more "fun" tests to take. :)

I think I'm going to go watch some DVDs. Anything where I don't have to keep seeing the words "proper" and "subject to discipline" is fine by me.

Almost to the MPRE

"Windy was a named partner in the law firm of Blowhard, Windy & Crooke."

That was the first sentence of one of the practice questions in my BarBri book. No comment.

In less than an hour, I'll be full-on tackling the MPRE. Wish me luck!

Here Comes the Bar

In 12 hours, I will be sitting in a nearby hotel in front of a test booklet with all the rules of legal ethics swimming in my head. It will be very exciting. (Actually, it's more like "in 10 hours", but who's counting.)

Hopefully this will be the only time I need to take the MPRE. *please please please* I hope I've put in enough work and studying to get myself at least the 85 (of 150) that I need.

I was supposed to take another practice test tonight, but I got so tired, so I'm going to attempt it in the morning. Hopefully I do well, because if I do not, I do not want to get into a panic before the exam. I just need to have faith that I remember the ethical rules, and deep down, I really am an ethical person!

I can do this!

Wish me luck. :) Lots and lots of good luck vibes would be great. :)

Taking the MPRE will officially mark the start of bar time. Not bar time as in "let's go have a drink", but bar time as in working on getting admitted to the bar. The MPRE is step one. It's about 2 hours, while the first day of the real bar exam is about 8. But hey, I guess they're easing us into it.

They're just as strict, it seems, about what we're allowed to bring to the exam. No purses, no backpacks, no food and drink, no cell phones, and blah blah blah. You're supposed to go the whole exam without water?? Thank goodness it's a short exam and I live nearby! Especially with the cell phone rule. I understand that one, but if I were traveling a long distance to the exam, I would want to bring my phone as a safety precaution. Luckily I'm nearby.

The real bar exam has even stricter regulations. I understand the reasons for them, but it's still so crazy. I think they only allow you to carry things in a gallon-size clear plastic bag so that everyone else can see everything you're carrying. For ladies, this includes feminine hygiene products. You're not allowed to bring a water bottle of more than 20 ounces. And of course, no cell phones and blah blah blah. At least you're allowed water (but is 20 ounces for 8 hours normal??), but ugh, the restrictions to me sound worse than the exam. I know that's strange and perverse, but there it is. I think they also have rules on when you can't go to the bathroom during the bar exam. Which makes me wonder: what if you start feeling really sick and it's an emergency and you have to throw up or you have diarrhea or something and it's during the bathroom-restricted time? What happens then? Would they really rather you puke all over the room and your exam than let you go to the bathroom? Enough worrying. I have until July to figure all this stuff out, and to figure out what the rules really are.

I think I've babbled enough. I really need to get myself to sleep if I'm going to wake up in 6.5 hours to get ready for the MPRE. Here we go!

Big Five's Short Version

Big Five Test Results

Extroversion 40% / Introversion 60%: moderately low which suggests you are reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and private.

Friendliness 52% / Aggressiveness 48%: medium which suggests you are moderately kind natured, trusting, and helpful while still maintaining your own interests.

Orderliness 60% / Disorderliness 40%: moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.

Emotional Stability - Relaxed 20% / Emotional 80%: low which suggests you are very worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.

Openmindedness 40% / Closedmindedness 60%: moderately low which suggests you are, at times, overly small minded, conservative, and conventional at the expense of intellectual curiousity, possibility, and progress.
Take Free Big Five Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

My thoughts on the results:
  • No comment on the extroversion or friendliness conclusions.
  • I think the orderly % might be higher, but I think the disorderly part comes from being a little messy.
  • I am amused at the relaxed/emotional separation. Clearly I need to work on this. Similarminds.com thinks I have no emotional stability.
  • I think the open-minded/closed-minded thing may or may not be right. I think part of it was that I answered truthfully how I feel about academic inquiry and intellectual pursuits right now, which is that I'm not that interested in it. In general, I like learning. But right now, I am so burnt out that I could care less and just need a break. So I think these percentages are not really representative of me and my personality itself, but my mood toward schooling and learning at the moment. I'll take the test again sometime later and see if it's the same balance.

I think you should all take the test and leave me a comment or message to tell me what your results are. (Same for all the tests below! Anonymous comments should be enabled if you don't have a Blogger account.) I want to learn more about YOU!

Thursday, November 11, 2004


So maybe I'm not as right brain deficient as the last time seemed to show.... But then again, the new results are based on the "word pair" test which is still in beta.

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (36.4%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (63.6%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?(word pair test)
personality tests by similarminds.com

Global Personality

Global Personality Test Results
Stability (15%) very low which suggests you are extremely worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.
Orderliness (48%) medium which suggests you are moderately organized, hard working, and reliable while still remaining flexible, efficient, and fun.
Extraversion (44%) moderately low which suggests you are reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.
Take Free Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Trait snapshot: irritable, dependent, worrying, emotionally sensitive, depressed, frequently second guesses self, fragile, prefers organized to unpredictable, suspicious, phobic, craves attention, not a risk taker, low self control, unproductive, unadventurous, does not make friends easily, fearful, low self esteem, unsocial, familiar with the dark side of life.

I wonder if the test is at all affected by the fact that I'm taking it the day before a big exam? What do you think?

Also, what do you think of the list of traits? It doesn't sound very positive, but they might actually be true...

Back to the MPRE... Every time I grade practice exam answers, I get the feeling that I'm not a very ethical person. So fulfilling. :)

Orange Sky

Brain Lateralization Test Results
Right Brain (24%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
Left Brain (66%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
Are You Right or Left Brained?
personality tests by similarminds.com

I wonder if test results like this come up more on the left brained side since I started law school. Things to ponder.

It took until 4:30 am, but I have finished the outline. Unfortunately I took another practice test, and my score is exactly the same as it was before I learned a bunch of the rules. That's not promising.

I had every intention of going to school tomorrow since I have been such a delinquent. But it's almost 5 am again. We'll see how I feel in the morning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wed Morning Things

Something to be proud of: Handing in my problem set on time.

Something to relax me: Blasting "Let It Be" on the radio on the way home from class this morning.

Something to gross me out: watching 2 crows picking at a dead red squirrel in the middle of the street in Hyde Park.

Something to fill my tummy: Trader Joe's biryani, can of Costco chicken, Lean Pocket in Chicken Parmesan flavor.

Something to worry me: Passing the MPRE.

Something to visually occupy my time: Court TV discussion about the jurors in the Scott Petersen trial, a conversation which is nowhere near objective as it is clear that the host (who was a prosecutor) who cuts everyone off and won't stop talking thinks he is guilty. (Alvin is so right: "It's like a fricking reality TV show!" It really is, with the Survivor-esque treatment of the jury. And I'm sorry, but there isn't "breaking news" every 5 minutes!)

Something to look forward to to get through the day: Lost, Jack and Bobby, Wife Swap, sleeping.

[Ohmygoodness, the stupid host Kimberly just called Juror #7 "Strawberry Shortcake" because she has pink hair! How rude!]

Something to look forward to to get through the week: The Polar Express on IMAX.

Something I need to do right now: Read for seminar and outline for the MPRE.

And I'm off to do that now. :) 1.6 hours until I need to leave to go back to school. Time to work!


I am 100% done with the problem set due tomorrow. (I had better be at this point, right?)

I am 66.67% done with the MPRE outline. (Blah, spent too much time on problem set. Ideally, I wanted to be done with the outline, but I would have accepted 75% as satisfactory. Oh well.)

Having completed 2 of 3 problem sets, I am glad I did not go to business school. Not that they would have been doing problem sets like these all the time, but being surrounded by this finance stuff all day would have made me crazy.

Knowing my reaction to blood and gore, I am glad I did not go to medical school. I think I would have made myself crazy with one of the following: intense studying, being grossed out by cadavers and guts, being too wrapped up in the emotional aspect of the patient. (The latter is the same reason for my not being a criminal defense attorney.)

Based on my current feelings toward academic papers and homework, and my lack of original ideas and analysis in all of my papers ever, I am glad I did not go to graduate school for a PhD. I would have gone mad before it ended, and instead of truly loving the topic I picked, I would have gotten sick of it and would be hating something I previously loved. Darn those short attention spans. Or maybe I just don't love any academic topic enough...

Despite my ranting in the previous entry, I am glad I went to law school. I'm suffering from severe burn-out right now which makes school extremely frustrating, but knowing what I want to do, it was the right direction. (I just need to actively keep telling myself that... along with "just pass!") Although maybe all the Type A personalities (myself included) are driving me crazy...

Wake-up calls come in 5 hours, problem set needs to be on the professor's desk in exactly 7 hours and 15 minutes, and it's 8.5 hours until I can come home again. It's always good to have something to look forward to. Makes getting through the drudgery just that much easier.