February 28th 2006

The worst Mardi Gras EVER

Mr. Angst and I like Mardi Gras. One year, we had a big party, with big pots of red beans and rice, and hurricanes, and some XXX-version of Girls Gone Wild. Our guests danced and played Truth or Dare Jenga, and one of our fun guy friends gave someone a lap dance. (That was his dare.)

So it makes me very sad that I spent today, all day, at school. I had class. Then I had studying. Then I had three hours of group editing. And now I have law school musical rehearsal.

I wore beads today, to show spirit; they’re bright purple and match the lining of my jacket. But somehow they don’t make up for it. It being that today is MARDI GRAS and I have been in this building for…close to twelve hours now. It’ll be fourteen before I leave.

I’m glad February is over. I just wish it weren’t leaving with one of my favorite holidays.

February 27th 2006

i had a really long day

I’m not sure, really, what to add to that, except that I am also generally pissed off at the universe–or, at least, at some not-insignificant percentage of people I come into contact with on a daily or weekly basis. Most of them don’t deserve to be the subject of my pissiness, unfortunately.

Two weeks to spring break. Two weeks.

February 26th 2006

Sunday blogging about things that make me happy

For Christmas, I got a subscription to Cook’s Illustrated for Christmas and I finally received my first issue yesterday. I love Cook’s Illustrated. So Much. This issue had a new recipe for pancakes, which I tried out this morning. Yum. (OK, it was a recipe for blueberry pancakes, but the author stated quite clearly that a good blueberry pancake starts with a cook pancake recipe. So I made them without blueberries. A bit fluffy, but tremendous.)

The other thing I love is America’s Test Kitchen, the companion TV show to Cook’s Illustrated. ATK airs on PBS and is like a 30 minute Cook’s Illustrated fix. Right now, I’m watching a (rerun) episode all about turkey. While it’s not Thanksgiving season right now, I can always use pointers on turkey. (Though I do make a wicked turkey. From a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, no less. This episode is about cooking a BIG turkey, though, and I’ve never done that.)

The thing that I love most about Cook’s and ATK is the common-sense approach. Every article in the magazine takes you through the numerous tests required to produce the “perfect” recipe, whether that recipe is for pancakes, pork tenderloin, or even pan-roasted asparagus. The ingredients are generally simple–the sort of thing you’d tend to have in your pantry, or could get at your local megamart. And they make sense. Instead of throwing out terms like “cream,” assuming the home cook knows what that is (FYI, beating softened butter and sugar together to introduce an aerated, whipped mix, often required in baking cookies or cakes), the recipes are clear, even for the novice cook.

And the magazine has no ads. (Nor, actually, does the TV show, since it airs on PBS.)

A final bonus: the magazine has beautiful illustrations on the back cover, of vegetables, herbs, fruits, and a variety of other food products. You can frame them! (I have a friend who has.) If you like to cook, then, check out the magazine, the TV show, the website. And fall in love.

[Update: Um, I wondered why the issue didn’t have a month listed on it; I also wondered why there was an envelope tucked into the plastic sleeve with it. Turns out, my gift subscription hasn’t arrived yet; this was just a “Please Renew!” compilation issue, since I let my old subscription lapse last summer. Sigh. I guess I have to call Amazon.com (through whom the gift subscription was ordered) after all.]

minor updates around here

I spent a few minutes this morning updating my blogroll. One of the things I love about using Bloglines for my blogroll is that I can mark certain blogs “private” when I don’t want them to show on my blogroll–either because I’m just testing them out, or because they’ve gone dormant. So this morning, I updated those markings, making several blogs public, and several private. I also consolidated some folders. Basically, I cleaned some house.

Of course, I always love suggestions for more blogs to read, so if you read someone who’s not on my blogroll but you think I’d like, let me know about it!

February 25th 2006

Yummy Lemony Risotto

A lot of people hesitate to try their hand at risotto because they think it’s too much work. It’s really not, though. Risotto isn’t hard to make, it just takes some time, and it’s so versatile that you can make it go with anything.

Here’s my favorite version.

1 tbsp olive oil (and 1 tbsp of butter, if you wish)
1/3 cup finely diced onion (or shallot, if you wish)
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken broth (or any mixture of broth and water)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese

See! So few ingredients! It can’t be that hard!

Put a saucepan (a saucier is probably best, but a regular saucepan will work) over medium-high heat.

Add the olive oil and butter and heat until the butter melts and foams. Add the onion (or shallot) and cook slowly. Don’t let the onion burn or fry; stir constantly so that the onion gets nice and soft. I like to cook the onion for a good 10 minutes, because Mr. Angst doesn’t like crunchy onions. Plus, the softer they are, the sweeter they get. (Oh, and don’t use red onions; they turn everything pink.)

Once the onions are soft and fragrant, add the rice. Stir the rice in the oil/butter until it’s toasty. Don’t burn the rice grains, but if they get a little browned, it’s OK. Stir the rice in for a good two minutes.

While you are stirring the rice, heat 1 cup of chicken broth until almost boiling. When the broth is hot and the rice is just starting to turn toasty, add the broth to the pot. It will probably sizzle and steam. This is OK. Stir everything in well together and let the broth come up to a low boil. Keep stirring to help the rice absorb the liquid.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 cups of the liquid. (It’s OK if you don’t use all broth; you can use some water. But use some broth, for the flavor.)

As the first cup of broth is absorbed, add more liquid, in half-cup increments. Keep adding liquid as it is absorbed. The rice should have a creamy texture now. Keep stirring and stirring and stirring all the while. (OK, it doesn’t have to be constant, but don’t walk away for twenty minutes or anything.)

Once you’ve added all the liquid, and the rice is creamy, add the lemon zest and juice. Stir in and cook for a couple of minutes to help the flavors meld. Remove the pot from the heat, stir in the cheese, and serve! Yummy!

Saturdays should be more fun

Today has been a frustrating day.

Frustration Part I: group projects in general, particularly the waiting part of group projects. I think I’ve decided that’s the major reason I dislike collaborative stuff–I would rather work on my timeframe and not have to coordinate schedules and stuff.

Frustration Part II: stupid CSS. I am working on a website and it looks exactly like I want it to, except that the container [div] tag that wraps around the content and sidebar [div] tags won’t work right. It’s supposed to wrap around in code and in fact, and give the whole thing a nice border. Instead, I get a 1px high box with a border, underneath my two side-by-side sections. If I set a height for the box, though, it works. But because the content will grow, I can’t make the damn page a static size. So I am seriously annoyed.

On a high note, though, dinner turned out well. It might have been better if we’d had better wine to go with it. Unfortunately, all we have is a Dee-Lite-Ful Ernest & Julio Gallo Shiraz. Mmmmmm. (No, really, it’s drinkable, but doesn’t pair well with my delicately flavored lemon risotto. Recipe to come.)

February 24th 2006

TGIF

Finally, it’s Friday. All of my obligations for the week are over. Mostly. I did all but a small slice of my reading for the week, I wrote up my part of a group assignment due next week, and I collected several more articles and cases for my next legal writing assignment. I even went to to the gym and ran this week.

And I’m not exhausted. Instead, I feel antsy, edgy, twitchy. Even if I shouldn’t be tired (which is questionable), I should at least feel more relaxed–I made it through the week and managed not to either completely collapse or totally throw in the towel. But no. My brain is running a mile a minute. There are a dozen things I think I need to be doing, but I can’t really do any of them.

Looking over the last five days, I suddenly realize this has been one of the longest weeks of the year for me! I didn’t mention it earlier (I don’t think), but I had an interview late last week for a fall externship with a judge–and I got the position. That’s really exciting! But right now I feel like I’ve been living with that knowledge for a month, not a week. Law school really is a marathon, and I’m coming really close to hitting a wall in this stretch of it.

February 23rd 2006

i have a confession

I have stopped bothering to attend law firm receptions. I have a hard time understanding the purpose of them. Sure, I can schmooze with people and enjoy the free food and drink but, barring the unexpected, such events aren’t really fruitful for either me or the firm. If I meet nice people and chat with them for a while, I can collect a business card, sure, but in six months, when I’m doing OCI, is that person going to remember me? Am I going to remember, short of the business card, what firm that person worked at?

Firms put on these events to play themselves up for us. That’s great. But in the end, of course, most of the firms end up looking the same: they have similar offices in the same four-block radius, they have the same kinds of clients and the same kinds of cases. The associates all went to the same law schools. They’re all eager to talk up their firm. They never tell you that the hours are awful or that they never see their spouse.

So I’ve stopped bothering to go to them. I suppose this could be at least partially because I am totally anti-schmoozing. But I think more of it is because I have so little time that spending it at fluffy social events doesn’t really appeal.

February 22nd 2006

a glimmer of goodness in a sea of drudgery

Since I don’t drive anymore, I don’t get the chance to listen to NPR news, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, or The World anymore. When we moved to Our New City, I looked up the public radio station number, just in case, but since I commute by public transportation, it doesn’t do me much good at the time of day when listening to the news is most convenient.

I had also looked for NPR podcasts, but found none. Perhaps I was too early–after all, the last time I looked, the only NPR program available was On the Media. A great show, but not exactly the news.

Well, guess what? Since that discouraging search, several months ago, NPR has gotten on the ball. NPR now publishes several podcasts, all of them available in iTunes. First, I can get news updates through the day. And while I can’t get the entire program of All Things Considered or Morning Edition, I can subscribe to the individual stories–NPR Technology, or NPR Music. Which means I get hours of NPR programming, ready to download to my iPod and listen to on the train, or in the library, or while I’m walking around the city.

Thank you, NPR, for publishing your podcasts online. Those of us who don’t drive have been waiting for this. And now that I can hear public radio again, I am more likely to subscribe to public radio.

turning into little monsters, or turning a little into monsters

You know what I’m starting to notice?

The collegial atmosphere in my Law School has started to dissipate. People who I would normally consider very noncompetitive are starting to develop little tics–like shaking their heads in disbelief when someone says something wrong in class, or sighing audibly when someone says something they disagree with. While some people have been doing this sort of thing all year, I’m noticing that it’s spreading. Now it’s not just the gunners, it’s a smattering of nice people, too.

Spring Break, as my counter shows, is not far away. It can’t come too soon, for my mental sanity and that of my classmates. At least the ones I like.

February 21st 2006

the physical manifestations

How do I know I’m exhausted (other than the general malaise)?

My right eyelid has started to twitch. This has not happened to me in YEARS. Any suggestions on what I can do to make it stop?

once again, the walls are crumbling down around me

One of the things I am forgetting to do this semester is take care of myself. I’ve gotten sort of complacent, as far as sticking to a schedule for getting my work done, and the result is that I am exhausted.

It’s funny, because I’ve actually been really good about getting my reading done during the week, at school, so that I don’t have to read at home. I absorb more of the material that way, so it’s been beneficial to my understanding in class. What I haven’t done is also make myself do my other work during the day at school. Other work like papers, research, and outlining. And because I don’t have to do my reading when I get home, I tend to forget that I have that other work to do at home, and just don’t get it done on time. Example: last night, I watched House and some ice dancing before I picked my computer up to finish the paper that was due this morning. Once I got going on it, things were great, but by 11 pm I was so sick of it, I couldn’t look at it anymore. I got up this morning to give it a once over, fixed the few things I could (while noting that my transitions were awful in places and, in other places, totally nonexistant) and lamented the lack of time to fix the other things. I turned it in, and then I turned myself in. I slept for another hour and a half.

I’ve just been less motivated to get things done first. Delayed gratification isn’t working for me–I want to vegetate before I do work, and that just doesn’t work. I have a week to work on my next graded assignment (as well as an ungraded assignment that I haven’t finished the research for), and after that, two more weeks to finish my big legal writing assignment for the semester. All the while, I have musical rehearsals, all the regular meetings I usually have, and bodily functions like sleeping and eating to take care of.

I keep trying to remind myself that I need to rest more, that I need to exercise more, that I need to eat better and drink lots of water. And if I do those things, I will have more energy and a clearer mind, and will be better able to stick to a schedule. I think it’s just that getting started requires so much momentum, and I just don’t have it right now.

February 20th 2006

I really hate Mondays

First, I have an early class, and it sucks. It’s in a cold, dim classroom, half my section doesn’t bother to show up, and the material is not very interesting, for the most part. (It’s starting to get a little more interesting, to be fair.)

Today was made worse because I spent the two hours after my class pounding away on a legal writing assignment; then I ran to a lunch meeting, then I ran to a group meeting for a different legal writing assignment (ungraded, but still required), and rounded out the day by going to another class, in the same dim, cold classroom as my morning class.

In other words, I am exhausted. And it’s just MONDAY. And I still have to finish my legal writing assignment, because it’s due tomorrow morning. And I couldn’t go to office hours today to ask questions because they were during my five hour stretch of meetings and classes. Back to work, then, duckies.

February 19th 2006

a great new browser, but with a critical problem (or not)

I’ve been testing out Camino this week, after reading a review of the new, stable, 1.0 version.

And so far, I really like it. It renders certain pages better than Safari, but looks and feels more Mac-like than Firefox. It’s flexible and stable and, if you really like the idea of using a Mozilla browser but don’t like Firefox on the Mac, it’s a great alternative. In fact, I’ve been enjoying it so much, I kind of want to use it full-time.

Here’s why I can’t:

It does not treat certain kinds of redirect scripts properly. At least, I think that’s the problem. I have two pieces of evidence to support this conclusion. First, I can’t use Westlaw on Camino. If you’re a law student and use Westlaw, you know that getting to the search pages takes a couple of clicks. First you go to the main “lawschool.westlaw.com” page, and then you click on the link for the research system. And you get a (very annoying, by the way) new window, which loads the research interface. If you watch what’s going on in that new window, though, you’ll see that the page loads first one URL, then redirects to another. (Basically.) Camino will open the new window, but the redirect never happens. I’ve tweaked settings–turning off popup blocking, for instance–to see if some security measure I use is causing problems, but to no avail. I simply can’t use Westlaw on Camino.

The second bit of evidence bolsters this. I can’t publish from Movable Type on Camino. I can compose my post with no problems and save it. Usually after saving, MT republishes the post page and the index page. That process involves a redirect of some kind, and Camino gets hung up. It never gets there. So I can compose and save in Camino, but I have to use another browser to re-save and get the post to show up. This is a hassle, since it also means I can’t use my “quickpost” bookmarklet. Or, rather, I can use the bookmarklet, but I still have to into another browser, and into MT, and re-save the post.

I’m still going to use Camino and play with it–a lot. But this one problem means I can’t use Camino as my main browser, and that’s too bad.

OK, I just retested Westlaw and MT, and both worked. But two days ago, neither one did. My head may explode.

Um, so, yay! Camino! If you’re using Mac OS X, try it out! It’s great!

February 18th 2006

oh lord

Last week, I had to get out of the house.

I kind of feel the same way today. But this is keeping me in:

cold.jpg

February 17th 2006

it’s that time again

I’ve been getting a lot of hits lately from people searching for things like this, and this, so that must mean it’s time for another advice post.

Firstly, I am fully convinced that there are two kinds of law school applicant: the early bird and the laz-e-boy. Some law school applicants get everything lined up early–they prepare for the LSAT for weeks or months, go through twenty drafts of their personal statement, keep spreadsheets of information on the schools they are interested in. (I fell into this category.) And there are the applicants who are much more laid back–they take the LSAT, but don’t fret about preparation too much, churn out a personal statement in a couple of hours (no more than a weekend), and send apps out to schools based on their proximity to the beach, or the mountains, or major shopping.

Yes, these are extremes. But I don’t think they’re unfair: to a certain extent, every law school applicant leans more towards one side or the other. For those of you in the laid back category, congrats on being laid back and relaxed, but you probably don’t want my advice.

But you neurotics? I was just like you a year ago. So my advice might be spot on for you. And here it is:

I know that with every letter you get–whether an acceptance, rejection, deferral, or waitlist–the entire landscape of Law School (capital L, capitall S) changes. And each one sends you running for your spreadsheet, or for lawschoolnumbers.com. I know that you’re probably watching what’s going on with the competition. I know that you’re starting to plan for admitted students’ weekends. You’re wondering if you’ll need to send more than one deposit, because you don’t know if your dream school will come through for you in time.

A year ago, I wish I’d taken a few more deep breaths. I wish I’d relaxed a little more into the whole process. Most importantly, I wish I’d had a broader perspective on my self-worth. It’s really easy, no matter how chill you started out, to get dragged into the bullshit–the bullshit that tells you that your value is measured by the highest ranked law school you got into. So try not to. Remember the reasons you actually applied to law school in the first place–and then remember the reasons you applied to the particular schools you did. (If those reasons boil down to “its rank,” of course, you might want to do some more research into the school, so you know why you might actually choose it.)

I thought this was the 21st century?

I may be sick.

Sigh.

oh, you have GOT to be KIDDING

Someone is sitting in the public gathering area choosing a new ring tone for his or her phone. At what sounds like full volume.

I know this is an area where people talk and congregate and make noise, but it’s also a place where people work, and choosing a new ring tone in the midst of people who are actually studying is pretty uncool.

February 16th 2006

I’m more than a little disturbed

Dude. Whoever you are, I do NOT want to know what you are wanting with this. OK? Capice? Also? If you are going to do such searches, maybe do them from home, or at least not from a place where the government is your ISP, OK?

:::shudder:::

why, rain gods, why?

The weather gods totally hate me. Really, really hate me. It is POURING. And in an hour or so, it is going to start SNOWING. And then it is going to get COLD. As in REALLY, REALLY COLD.

Generally, I don’t dislike the cold weather. But I have an interview tomorrow, and I have to put on a suit for it. And my first-interview suit is not exactly suitable for really cold weather. Nor, in fact, are my first-interview shoes. I’m debating wearing my pantsuit with nice boots instead, even though the jacket doesn’t fit very well.

So, yeah, I’m sure all of you really care about that. The point is that the weather SUCKS. And I forgot my umbrella.