Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm not as smart as I used to be.

I think law school is eating my brain, and my social skills. Also, having so much goddamned free time, which must be filled with just enough schoolwork, and just enough bathing and eating and social interaction- is incredibly stressful.

I'm used to the working full time/ school full time method of time management: Everything had to be done at the exact moment I had the first opportunity to do it- because otherwise, it wouldn't get done. This applied to all activities, from writing papers to bowel movements.

I've been meaning to write a lot of entries lately.
-An open letter to Charles Barkley
-A Review of "The Last King of Scotland"
-Something vaguely coherent.

Remember when I was coherent?

Remember this? and this one ? and how about this?

Scratch that. I was never coherent.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vampires and Zombies.

Some people don't like scary movies at all. Some only like slasher movies; nothing with the supernatural. Everybody else either likes zombies or vampires. And nobody likes them both the same. You've got to love one more.

I love zombies more.
My friend, N, loves vampires more.

Why vampires?
N says they're sexy.

Are they? Certainly, the vampire is a metaphor for sex. There is an element of desire, of carnality, to the vampire archetype. The vampire is a penetrator; and with his penetration and consumption of the 'innocent' infects them with the same carnality, and need to consume. The victims of the vampire are preserved in the moment of their victimhood.

Dracula is Prince Charming, with sex and death all mixed up. Instead of living happily ever after, pumping out heirs to the fairy tale kingdom, Cinderella finds herself infected by desire, trapped in some elegant night-time demi-monde. She never really dies; she never really gets old. Thus, there is also an element of escape;. The vampires victim, though she loses her soul (the catholic in me would relate the loss of soul to the mortal sin of premarital sex), is also disconnected from the mundane world of work and family.

Vampires work as a romantic metaphor for the loss of virginity. Except, instead of the dull, dissapointed, sticky feelings that often follow deflowering in real life, things actually change after you've been with the vampire.

So why zombies?
No one says that zombies are sexy. Even though some of the same elements are common to the zombie and the vampire. The vampire bites, the zombie bites, they both transform their victims. The zombie, however, is indiscriminate. They don't choose a single victim, so the element of seduction isn't there. In fact, there are very few zombie movies that feature any zombies identifiable as characters. There is no anticipation. A zombie doesn't care if he bites you or your friend. And you're not you, once you're a zombie. You rot. You're gross. If zombie movies are at all about sex, they're a very clumsy metaphor for promiscuity and fear of venereal disease. But I don't buy that they're about sex.

Zombies are not about sex. And zombie movies are not about zombies, per se. They're about survivors. They're about making do. They're about being prepared, being creative. It's another kind of escapism; suddenly, the world is very small, and traditional social constraints are gone. Nearly all zombie movies contain looting. Dawn of the Dead (original and remake) is about almost nothing but looting.

It's also about unemployment. People, the survivors, have jobs. Then the zombies come, and there are no jobs. There are no careers. Skills matter a lot. Ingenuity matters a lot. People who love zombie movies nearly always think they'd be survivors. And that they'd be valuable. Being a zombie survior is almost like being a pilgrim, or a pioneer. It's a whole new world, full of dangers, but at the same time with more potential than the old world. Sure, you'll probably die. There are no new worlds left. There are no indian lands to steal. But, if everybody becomes a zombie, all their stuff is up for grabs. And, the old social order doesn't matter.

Who is always sure to die in zombie movies? The social climber. The person who wants to rely on their status in the pre-zombie world for power in the post-zombie world. They never survive. Think of the douchebag with the boat keys in Dawn of the Dead. The Colonel in 28 Days Later.

The fundamental escapist fantasy underlying the zombie movie is that the zombies will come, and transform the world into a brutal meritocracy.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ugly Betty is awesome.

I liked it in english it's even better. Because in english, I even know some nouns and the past tense, and because this Betty is perfect.

This show could be cringing, embarassing, blushing in the old sitcom "Boy, is she going to look like an ass"...but the actress who plays Betty doesn't cringe. I need to be more Betty in my life.

Friday, October 20, 2006

I loathe Sofia Coppola

But I enjoy her movies.

Recall that I am a resentful, jealous person, and read on.

She makes movies about the problem of being beautiful and static. Movies that are in general assumed to be artful, distorted memoirs of her life as daughter of the glamourous rich and wife of the jet-setting creative. I loved Lost in Translation. The film has the charm of being taken as temporary confidante by the charming high school queen bee, too guileless to be a mean girl.

But I want her to stop making movies. I want to beg her to sit down and resolve her life, with her friends and family, talk endlessly about the terrible burden of never being challenged enough in life and in marriage, being valued shallowly.

I will see Marie Antoinette. I will, likely, enjoy it. And I will leave the theater angry. I loathe that there are some types of work, always the most fulfilling, reserved for the children of the rich and connected. Sofia Coppola, born Sophie Smith, would not be a filmmaker.

It doesn't matter that she is a good filmmaker, and that some would argue they are valid and interesting contributions to the marketplace; it would matter if, say, she were an excellent accountant whose daddy happens to be the inventor accounting. Then, one might say, what does it matter if she does as good a job as the next person who would have been hired?

The difference is that if you are qualified to be an accountant, and you are talented, and hardworking, and skillful- you have a very good chance of becoming an accountant. A talented, hardworking, skillful, qualified filmmaker (or writer, or artist, or actor, or actress, or designer) has almost no ability to compete with Sofia Coppola and her ilk. The nepotism inherent in creative fields, the fields that would benefit most from the elevation of the talented over the connected is vulgar, disgusting, and nauseating to any person who consumes or creates entertainment, art, or media.

Nepotism destroys the impression of meritocracy on which American dreams are built. We should legislate against it, as we do discrimination. Perhaps we should allow some nepotism, in small, private businesses, or home businesses- but in any business over 50 employees, or publicly traded stock, we should recognize that there is a vital public policy interest in forcing qualifications and talent to dictate opportunity.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

First Law School Exam.

They gave us cookies and juice afterwards.

I go to the cuddliest law school in the world

Monday, October 16, 2006

Some old-time, down-home xenophobia.

I'm from Quincy, Massachusetts. It's a small city south of Boston. It boasts America's only full-time Uncle Sam impersonator, and seething racial and ethnic tensions, which may be right about to erupt.

In the past fifteen years, there has been significant Asian immigration to Quincy. These immigrants have had a fundamental impact on the city; an impact that has in part contributed to a revitalization of the city. Vacant commercial real estate, once a visual and economic blight on the city, becomes filled with new businesses: Bakeries, laundries, bridal shops, hair salons. In the cavernous empty space left by Bradlees came a sparkling new grocery store, department store, bank, and retail space.

But there was significant push-back against the immigrants. The standard complaints were heard: The immigrants 'take up' too much space in the classrooms. They receive too many services. They don't maintain their houses and yards to neighborhood standards. They don't want to integrate. Their cooking smells different. These allegations were no more or less true than they were when made against Irish immigrants, or Italian, or Hispanic.

For a while, the ethnic tensions seemed to quiet down.

Until the flag. The Quincy Chinese Business Association purchased a new sign for their building. And they put up, along with other banners and flags, the flag of the People's republic of China. Letters were written to local Quincy papers about the "commie" flag. The business association did not remove it; it is, after all, the flag of China. The protests started on Saturday. At the main intersection in the Wollaston Section of Quincy, one of the more heavily Asian neighborhoods (and the one I grew up in), a protest sponsored by a Vietnam Veteran's group, clogged traffic and drew a significant police presence. The signs carried were inflammatory: We don't negotiate with terrorists. No Commie Flags in Quincy.

I'm nervous.

I can't really convey the dangerous feeling in that neighborhood, MY neighborhood. I wish I had photographs of the protest, and the signs. The feeling of anger in those men; the feeling of intimidation experienced walking by them, to get to the bank. I have watched my hometown change. I have watched the people change; I've watched people who were once tolerant, reasonable, begin spewing irrational, paranoid hate when discussing their new neighbors. It's sickening. And it makes me nervous.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It's not for me.

It's not.

I can't do it.

I expected to feel a slight twinge tonight, at my friend's wedding rehearsal.

Actually, that's not accurate. I expected to be infected, tonight, at my friend's wedding rehearsal. I expected, that somehow, by watching my friend be treated as 'the bride', I would feel jealousy, and be filled with the desire to have "my day", as my friend will have "her day" on Saturday. I am, by nature, a jealous person. If someone is treated specially for any reason, I can be relied upon to feel jealous. I've been jealous of a tonsilectomy.

I wasn't jealous tonight. I wasn't anything. All I knew, being taught how to process, being slapped on the back of the head by an old woman, watching my friend be taught how to light candles and not trip over her husband's feet at the kneeler, was that I didn't want to do this again.

I'm just not interested. I can't imagine dressing my closest friends up in little formal uniforms and marching them down an aisle, to watch me perform religious rituals that approach personal meaninglessness. I can't imagine paying and paying and paying and paying and paying, just to throw one party that makes almost no one happy.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Let's shock some kids!

Which story am I referring to? Is it this one about a Texas school teacher fired for taking ten year olds to an art museum where they may have encountered nude artwork, or is it this one, about a school for the handicapped and disturbed that uses electric shock as a behavior modification tool?

Let me do the second one first and the first one second.

I'm for shocking the mentally handicapped. Let me tell you a story. My mother teaches autistic children, in the public school system of the town I grew up in. She had a student several years ago who was autistic, had downs syndrome, and was born with both fetal alcohol syndrome and a serious, rare neurological defect that vastly diminished the size of the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is beginning to be thought of as the moral center of the brain. It's involved in weighing rewards and consequences. This student did not have one. She could not 'learn', as we know it. She had preferences. She had behaviors. She could not plan, or delay gratification.

She learned exactly one thing in my mother's classroom: Not to touch the radiator. Because the radiator hurt. Operant conditioning, and classical conditioning don't (as far as we're able to tell right now) use the same pathways as other forms of learning. It's hard to think about hurting children; it's hard to think of a child in pain and not think of abuse; but when a child may not be able to learn to stop harming themselves, or to stay out of danger, or to develop skills that may allow them to walk down the street, or visit their parents, or sit on a bus, without that- I'm not going to deprive them of it. We know how it works. We know that it works.

Ok. Done shocking kids like that.

How about nudity?

This I actually need explained to me. By what mechanism is seeing nudity harmful to children? In what way is Janet Jackson's tit, or marble David's teensy dick, at all dangerous or innappropriate for children? I would understand, perhaps, if we all had a cloaca until age 18, when genitals appear in our pants like fungus after rain...but not when all children have a set of goods of their own.

I understand, completely, the rationale for shielding as much as possible, children from depictions of sexuality and sexual behavior in adults. It's confusing for them, and too much information, and very graphic or lurid depictions may actually be traumatic. But nudity is not sex. (Which is not to say that children don't have any sexual-like behaviors. Fetuses masturbate in the womb. But a fetus doesn't fantasize about putting its penis stub in an unseen unimagined vagina)

How will children be harmed by seeing non-sexual nudity in a completely non-sexual environment? I saw nude statues and nude art often as a child. I'll admit, later (age 12-17) I did spend a good amount of time researching in various books of nordic, south american, greek and roman art for what this thing called an "erection" looked like. I couldn't quite get whether it came up or went out or what, and I certainly didn't know it got any BIGGER. What can I say. I was a late bloomer.

That's off-topic, though. What I really want, and what I'd love someone to tell me, is the PROCESS by which children are harmed by nudity. How was a ten year old boy or girl, verging on puberty themselves, possibly put in danger in any way, by seeing a depiction of some long-dead nipple? I can imagine how their parents were harmed. Perhaps, if you've got a ten year old child who does not yet know that the opposite sex has a different set of equipment, that may be embarassing for you as a parent.

I suggest you visit

a lush in rio.

No, not him.


Because not only does it feature my writing,(here and here) it also features my (lack of) improv talent, and some (geniunely) talented individuals, exploring such topical humor as "What if thirty koalas attacked a leprechaun?" (warning, link contains sound)

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Mixed drinks with diet soda gets you drunk faster.

Finally, something to explain that when I almost never drank, it was so hard to get drunk; and now, when I drink more often, I get goofy fairly swiftly.

It's because I don't want to get fat(ter). As a woman, I have three constant, insane, shameful, horrid goals, which I was indoctrinated with in childhood, possibly by ghosts or the patriarchy. 1)Make people like me. 2)Don't get too fat. 3) Never be not-so-fresh.

Don't worry, I haven't fallen for these. And I won't. Because they terrify me. I, as an adult, am able to live a life while my vagina smells like vagina, and not fruit or flowers. I am sure that anyone would find it discomfiting to find a box that smells like products from Yankee Candle.

But I have fallen for splenda. I love diet soft drinks. I love them so. I love anything fizzy with no calories, because I hate drinking water. I don't have the attention span. Without diet soft drinks, I would probably dry up and blow away.

When I drank very little, I would drink things like Grape Crushes, Midori Sours (I know, gross-I can't believe it myself), Cosmopolitans, Lemon Drops, etc. I'd drink the kind of sugary-sweet drinks that would be very useful, were one trying to get a middle-schooler absolutely toasted. If it was the color of gatorade, and served chilled or over ice, I'd drink the hell out of it.

But when I began to drink a little more often, I switched to rum and diet coke. And suddenly, I was getting rowdy from amounts of alcohol that would ordinarily leave me dull-faced and inhibited. I didn't know what to blame. I wondered if I'd offended my liver or other organ. I breifly had a theory that related to my shoes. I wondered if I'd ever NOT been such a cheap date.

But now I know. It was my beloved artificial sweetener, my bitch juice. My bitch juice was turning me into a two-beer queer. But knowing is half the battle. And now that I am poor, and plan to never, ever drive again (more on that later- suffice it to say, I hate the motherfucking ghetto) I know how to get drunk more cheaply without resorting to beer. Which is awesome. Diet Coke and me: Drunkening since 2003.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CIANA didn't pass.


Do you know what CIANA is? It was legislation that republicans and sundry other conservatives wanted to pass, criminalizing the act of bringing a minor across state lines to secure an abortion, by anyone but her parents. It also criminalizes any doctor, even in states without parental consent laws, who does not obtain sufficient proof that a minor obtaining abortion is from the state she is having the abortion in, and that anyone accompanying her has the legal right to.

A lot of people seem to think there's nothing wrong with this act. They think that an abortion is a medical procedure, and as such, it's reasonable to need parental presence or consent. Of course, there are tons of cases where we allow people to act in loco parentis. For example, on a field trip to New York fifteen hundred years ago, when I was young, a girl traveling with our group had abdominal pains in the middle of the night. She was rushed to the hospital, where it was discovered that she had mono and her spleen had burst. She had emergency surgery. The chaperone was not prosecuted for having secured medical care for a minor without parental consent, because that's not a crime.

There's also the impression that the ONLY reason that a person, not a parent, to take a minor across state lines for an abortion is to circumvent parental consent laws. Not true. There are many states with few abortion providers- it's likely someone in that state may be closer to an out-of state abortion provider than an in-state one.

Another joy to this act not passing is that if it did pass, it would set a dangerous precedent for when Roe is overturned (if it ever is, which I do not think is out of the question), allowing states where abortion is illegal to prosecute residents who have had abortions in other states. Imagine, someone living in South Dakota, traveling to Minnesota for an abortion, and being tried for murder upon return home; or, alternately, never being able to return home. Imagine female refugees, millions, unable to ever return to anti-abortion states for fear of prosecution.

I wanna be an ambulance chaser.

I do.

I love my torts class. I love my civil procedure class, and I love taking 30% of things.

I don't care what the common perception is of personal injury law. I don't care. People get hurt by other people. Then, they get to have some of the money of the person who hurt them. Also, their lawyer gets some money. I will be a lawyer, and I would like to have some money.

This is simplistic. Far too simplistic. But it's no more simplistic than the argument against tort lawyers. When an injury happens, either the person to whom the injury happens ends up bearing the burden, or someone else does. It would be equally unfair for the injured person to always bear the burden, or for someone else to always bear the burden.

So we have a system that serves to determine who should pay. And it's a good system. And someday, I'm going to have a very large television.

Monday, October 02, 2006

When I am rich

I will always over-tip.


That's all.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I win.

You may not know this, but I live in student housing right now. It wasn't a great decision, but I get to pretend that I'm not paying rent, because the housing and utilities are billed with my tuition, not monthly.

It's strange to be an adult, storing all your grown-up dishes and furniture and things and stripping back to an old person's semblance of freshman year of college. And it's even stranger to enter a room full of the same furniture that occupied your first dorm room, six years ago: Modular bed, desk, and flimsy bookcase.

Or at least I thought the bed was modular. When I moved in, I forced my poor boyfriend to help me haul the parts of a full-size futon up four floors, on a 90 degree day, because I was under the impression that I would be able to dissassemble the school-provided extra long twin with the four inch thick vinyl mattress (perfect for celibacy). But I couldn't get the bed to come apart. I thought it was the same exact model that they had at Bennington- the kind that becomes a loft or bunk or drops down to the floor.

But I couldn't get it apart. My boyfriend told me that it wasn't the kind that comes apart. My parents told me it wasn't the kind that comes apart. I wiggled it. I hit it with a mallet. I yelled at it. I threatened it. So I put it on its side, shoved the futon up against it, and lost a precious 10 inches of bedroom space. vThat was five weeks ago.

Today, I got the bed apart.

It was awesome. I got home, and I remembered: You have to turn it upside down. That's all. You just have to turn the frame upside down, it comes right apart.

I win. I am awesome. You can't even comprehend my awesomeness.