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April 12th, 2009

07:18 pm - Grrr
I would be so mad if I were in one of the 200 families told they would get a school voucher, then told a week later they wouldn't.  Especially when the decision is a preemptive one, denying families on the premise that the government *might* axe the program.

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March 20th, 2009

12:30 pm - Print Media
I've been hearing a lot about the death of the print media business recently (possibly because of rumors of the Boston Globe going under, which tends to make people in Boston talk).  While I'm somewhat concerned, can we remember that because of the magic of internet I can get links to a Chattanooga paper?  That's pretty awesome, no?  Plus, it means I get to see one of the best political cartoons I've seen in a while:

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March 19th, 2009

01:40 pm - i heart anthony bourdain
I  was reading salon.com today, and somehow clicked through to some old Anthony Bourdain columns, which are always fun (and I almost always agree with).  And then, somehow, I got redirected to travel.com and a quiz that confirmed that I like Anthony Bourdain's show (duh) and that I like going to cool places (again, duh).

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March 6th, 2009

04:04 pm - This is how much of a geek I am
Saw this comic. 

Read it once, thought "Huh?"
Read it twice, "Ah, yes. I see." 
Then I shook my head and thought, "But this isn't a correlation/causation problem. It's a post hoc ergo propter hoc problem."

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February 22nd, 2009

10:16 pm - Thoughts from a sickbed -- my misogyny
I got sick earlier this week, and there's nothing like spending two days in bed but unable to sleep, read, or focus on anything on a computer screen to make you think.  One of the random lines of thought:

My mother has always given me a bit of a hard time that I have so many guy friends.  I think my dad would, too, if he were more comfortable giving me a hard time about things like that.   Normally I just roll my eyes when my mother makes some When Harry Met Sally-type comment about these friendships and go along my merry way.  But let's be honest: it sometimes worries me that I have more close guy friends than close girl friends. 

So why am I more comfortable around men than women?  I think there's a degree to which all my relationships are competitive.  I constantly self-assess in comparison to those around me, which is actually not that fun, but I do it automatically.  Am I as smart as my friends?  As funny? As interesting?  And with women, the comparisons multiply.  For example, it's a pretty well established fact that women dress for each other, not for men. Why?  Because we judge each other.  And it's a veritable judgment minefield out there.  Don't look too sloppy, but don't look too formal, or too slutty, or look like you're trying too hard.  And that's just the costuming, folks.  I still have to think about whether I'm being smart enough, or too smart.  Am I being strong and assertive as they are, as a good modern woman should? On the other hand, am I as kind and sensitive as they are?   And when I look at the lives my women friends have, am I making as good choices about family, work, balance in general?  And of course there's lurking the physical insecurities that I'm told most women have: am I as pretty as my other women friends?

Just thinking about it makes me exhausted.  (or is that lingering sickness?) 

With guys, on the other hand, I feel almost none of that pressure.  As much as we talk about men and women being equal in this day and age, it's just not true when it comes to expectations within a social group.  Which I actually kind of like.  It means I can still be my natural competitive self when I want to be, but I no longer have to measure myself on the same scale when I don't want to.  The way I dress isn't as scrutinized; I don't feel guilty if I'm either talking a lot or not talking much in the conversation; I don't have to compare my life directly to theirs.  And all of this works on the flip side, too -- I don't feel the need to assess/judge my guy friends.

(And then on top of that, when I do go through the excruciating effort of going through all that just to hang out with some of my female friends, we end up talking about things that just do not interest me.  Yesterday I was subjected to a conversation about predicting who would be "cute pregnant" versus "bloated pregnant" if and when pregnancy comes.  I'm sorry, what?  I could not care less, especially as it seems that the cultural imperative is that each woman insist she'll be bloated, and everyone else say no she'll be cute.  With men, on the other hand, unless the conversation is car engines or NBA basketball, normally it's something that's nominally interesting to me. Maybe this is because conversation changes in mixed company (the pregnancy discussion doesn't come up if a man is in the group, unless he's incredibly gay and brought the conversation up, which is what happened yesterday), but it still means I'm not subjected to as many stupid conversations when I'm with guys.)

All of this is obviously oversimplified and overly harsh. It's not like these thoughts and competitive streaks completely overwhelm any moment I'm with women.  And I have women friends with whom I do not feel this judge-y behavior in either direction, but they are fewer and farther between than I would wish.  And of course all this self-conscious assessment still manifests around guys, just in a more tempered way.  But there it is: my latent misogyny based in my own competitive insecurities.

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February 14th, 2009

07:00 pm - Christmas Present Update
I've finally found the cord that connects my camera to my computer, so I've uploaded some photos of me using one of my Christmas presents. A couple months ago, my friend Leigh lent me a book called The Hairdo Handbook (1964).  Lots of drawings of how to fix your hair in various ways with rollers, in addition to the obvious information about cut and color.  Anyway, it fed Leigh and my mutual fascination with old etiquette and culture books, but it started a new interest: hair curlers.  I've never done anything to my except wash, brush, and cut it (in descending order of frequency), so this was my first experiment:

I had damp hair at night (took a shower a couple hours before going to bed).
me looking so 1950s

Top view (don't look at the mess on my floor)
top view

Back view:
back view

I was a little worried about it:  I had no idea what my hair would look like in the morning, and I had class the next day:

The next morning, this is what I looked like:

Way more curl than I had anticipated, but what can you do? I pinned some of it back, applied some hair spray. Twelve hours later, at the end of my day, they had fallen, but not completely, which surprised me.  Normally I can't get my hair to stay any particular way no matter how hard I try. 

If I come up with other interesting looks, I'll post some more.

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January 10th, 2009

04:16 pm - New Year's Resolution: Half Hour of Writing
In my life there are many things to apologize for. I'm not good at apologies -- either making or receiving them. I like to drift away, leaving closure for a self-healing process, not a joint project. No, I don't want to be your friend if you hurt me three years ago and now you've decided to make a Facebook account and want to pad your "friends" with people you knew for two months so long ago. And when I did something wrong, I know there's no excuse. Nothing to make up for it, and nothing I can do. Sorry isn't good enough -- I should have been there, I should have called, and I should have let you know it wasn't your fault. But I didn't and trying to make up for it now is like a dying man penciling his name in the wall by his bed to make up for a life of failing to make his mark. Too little, too late, and I am too prideful to make that last desperate attempt. I know that's my own character flaw, but there it is.

So I didn't know whether I should start all over again and drop this website altogether, or whether to leave the connection with a past that only moderately relates to who I am now and the problems I have now. But, getting a new site requires decisionmaking, so here we are. No new decisions to make. Which in the end is even worse than making apologies.

So, apologies for no new updates in a while. If the reasons were more dramatic, I'd say it's because I've been having a mental breakdown, or because I'm having existential crises, or something that sounds like an excuse. But really that's not true. What *has* happened since August? Depressingly little -- I got a job for when I graduate that starts in August. It's a relatively prestigious position with a judge in DC, which rather than letting me sit pretty actually makes more pressure. If I do what's expected of me (apply for clerking at the Supreme Court), it's more work and there's certainly no guarantee I can make the next rung on the proverbial. And if I don't, I constantly have to field questions about why I didn't even try. And I don't have any of the excuses that'll get you off the hook -- that I have a family, or that the job isn't in the part of the country I want to live in, or even that my end goal won't be served by following the expected path.

Other than that, I muddled through a semester, going to class as needed and barely eking out the work I had to do for Law Review without getting in trouble. I did most of the things that I needed to for Christian Fellowship, though I wasn't able to achieve anything special.

Then, I had a great time at home for Christmas, even though the first few days were marked by my bad temper. And my sister and I had important moments -- getting mad at each other and her letting me cry about things to her, and me whisking her away from the extended when she was about to cry and didn't want people to see. I feel bad about many things I didn't do at home. I didn't see one of my best and oldest friends, and haven't called her yet to apologize, either. I haven't

I look back on the fall (and, frankly, this past summer), and I realize I miss having things I love in life. I've been remembering recently all the things I used to do. I used to go to plays, and I used to paint and write, and read novels and pray. I used to sing loudly in the car and during my lunch break took a walk to a nearby park and watched children playing or leaves blowing or whatever caught my fancy. I used to practice karate absent-mindedly, and stretch out in the mornings looking at the bright sun come through my window. But now my life has been in winter for the last year or so. I'm good at keeping up appearances, but I spend more time than I used to watching movies as a fix rather than as a joy. I still bake, but in spurts, and feel guilty on both ends of the process for either not doing it enough or doing it too much and eating everything I bake. I don't have a car to sing in, and it's cold, and if I go to a park, there's a chance someone will see me who knows me and knows I haven't been doing my work. And it's always dark here, and my window points north anyway, so I never get sunlight streaming through.

I hate winter.


August 2nd, 2008

11:40 pm - Duplicate Post
Duplicate Post from my other blog:

Don't know how long this will be up (it's on the Youtube screening room), but it's worth checking out. Harvie Krumpet on Youtube:

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July 30th, 2008

03:59 pm - Wikipedia told me so
Check out this really interesting post about a court citing Wikipedia for a key part of its decision. Now, I use Wikipedia a lot, and generally what I use it for is not volatile enough for that use to risk problematic editing. But just because it's easy and fast doesn't mean it's always the best, and it just seems so out of place in a profession that makes me spend hours and hours finding a properly authoritative version of an outdated state statute in order to cite to it (not that I'm still bitter about that).

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July 25th, 2008

09:17 am - You go, girl.
I wish this were not news.

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