Friday, December 31, 2004

Reflections on 2004

Favorite moments:
- Having the best. job. ever. this summer. All moments at job, including bad ones, are the best of 2004.
- Watching a week of a capital trial
- Meeting a hot young public defender in the middle of the pouring rain at a baseball game. Seeing said hot public defender a few days later, having him trick me into kissing him, seeing his two tattoos, and watching him take off his shirt to reveal a perfect, chiseled, olive-skinned body and !surprise! a nipple piercing. Yum.
- Going out to a Latin/Euro bar with summer roomie and meeting Argentinian men
- Dancing drunkenly to Bon Jovi in a small apartment
- a perfectly pleasant 25th birthday party
- seeing Kanye West perform
- walking home after a night of fancy dinner, drinks, karaoke, police, then a bar - and being intercepted by a hot Latino man who steered us into a party, then later making out with hot Latino man in the middle of undergrad party
- The Red Sox winning the World Series. and the Patriots won the Super Bowl or something

Toughest moments
- leaving the summer behind
- attending funeral
- finding permanent employment (this is bound to be a large part of 2005)
- moving every semester, away from friends and familiar surroundings

Favorite: [this took me forever to edit down]
SONG: Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
ARTIST: Kanye West
MOVIE: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Big Fish, Love Actually
BOOK: One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

My 'favorite' list makes me look trite. I need to develop much cooler cultural habits.
Appropriate New Year's Eve article: Drunk dialing.

Most people have pulled a drunken phone stunt at one time or another, according to a recent study by Virgin Mobile, which not so coincidentally offers, at least in Australia, a service that allows users to block the numbers of certain people during prime imbibing hours. (The feature - whose logo is a cell phone with a straw for an antenna - probably will be offered in the United States as early as next year.)

"Without embarrassment, there's no comedy," he said. "Life would be less rich."

If drunk dialing was eliminated by scheming cell phone companies, Taylor said, it "would be a loss" to the world.

Moved, again.

I'm back in my house, with my furniture, and my things. I'm glad to be
back - it feels so cozy and comfortable! I'm moving back into my old room
and I started taking things out of the closets. The closets in my room
are crumbly, and dark, but they're huge. They extend the entire length of
my room on both sides. I crammed them full of stuff before I left and now
I realize, since I haven't seen that stuff since May, that it's all junk!
I don't need any of it! I don't wear it, I don't use it, it's ripped, it
doesn't fit. I've spent the entire evening, not unpacking, but placing
clothing and books into piles of 'sell' 'donate' and 'trash. I have two
dressers in my room that used to both be packed with clothes - but now,
they're each only half full.

My car is leaking antifreeze. Again.

I'm working on some New Year's resolutions. I am constantly evaluating
and re-evaluating myself - perhaps I do so TOO much - so New Year's is
really the time to just organize them all.

A sample of the books I discovered in my closet that I started reading
long ago, left a bookmark in, and never finished:
A People's History of the United States, Zinn
On the Road, Kerouac
Other Side of Paradise, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Today's iTunes investment

playing on the iPod ad nauseum: "Get Back" by Ludacris (turned waaaay up while I belt it out loudly, of course).


Romney to propose death penalty bill. There are some interesting things in there - two juries, a standard of 'no doubt' instead of reasonable doubt, etc. I'm still don't like it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Something about Christmas really brings out the rejection letters in people. I got the expected rejection letter from one incredibly prestigious fellowship and I got a less expected deferral letter from another public defender agency with whom I had, I thought, an excellent interview. The deferral letter was very nice, stating that the agency could not offer me one of the few interviews in February but would like to keep my application under consideration for their hiring process in the late spring/summer. Apparently they're trying to add 50 public defender positions. I'm still waiting to hear anything at all from at least two other places.
Dear Friend,

How are you? We don't talk as often as I wish we did. Frankly, I haven't much to say. Nothing new here, really. Still in law school. Still no job. Still not dating anyone. Family's fine.

Sometimes I think that we're growing apart, because we're embarking upon different paths. We might not be making the same choices, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you're any less of a friend to me. I think it's a testament to our friendship that we still keep in touch, despite the lapses of time and differences in our life. Additionally, I'm not sure that the differences in our lives amount to all that much.

So I'm bewildered at why you seem to be hurt that I'm not spending as much time with you, or that I don't call so frequently. I'm not sure why you might think that our friendship is less important because we don't see each other or speak to each other that often. And I'm also not sure why my actions are the ones upon which are friendship are based. What our friendship means to you shouldn't be based on what I do or don't do. You can call me. You can email me. Don't leave it all to me - I can't support a friendship on my own. And I have no way of knowing when you need me or what you need from me if you don't tell me.

I hope you aren't disappointed with me, and with my distance, or my infrequent contact. You've never come out and said it, but I sense it's there. I'm not sure what I can do to change that. I do wish we spoke more often, and saw each other more often, but I understand that we're both busy. We both have routines, and we both have a 'normal' day that differ greatly from each other. I think that's ok. But if it's not, you have to tell me.

I'm proud of all that you've accomplished. I speak of you to friends that you've never met. They all marvel at the fact that I'm still even in touch with you at all. I don't understand why I wouldn't be. We've watched each other take risks, make changes, and accomplish so many things. Even if our friendship is no longer effortless, I'm ok with that. We're family. Even if I don't see you again until next Christmas, or two Christmases from now, or even if our only contact is virtual, it's fine, because I want you to know that it doesn't make you any less important to me. Not at all. You are still such a critical part of my life, in ways that I can't even begin to express. I take risks because you'll be there to debrief with me when I need it, you'll hear the story later with a sympathetic ear, and you won't judge me or say 'I told you so.' The fact that I know you're there to talk and visit, when the timing is right, makes all the difference.

So call me when you need to, or just want to. I'll answer. Or at least I promise to call you back. And I'll call you, too, just to check in. I hope it's ok that it might take a while. I'm still trying to get myself set up. But I am thinking of you, and I care about you, and that doesn't ever change.


My roommate introduced me to the newest member of the household this morning. She's a 6 week old puppy. She's adorable. I'm a total sucker for animals and youth, and the combination of the two is unbearable. All of my roommates are working today, but I'm moving out on Thursday, so I'm home for most of the day. My roommate told me that I could let the puppy out of the crate to go outside and do her business. Well, I got back home a few minutes ago from running some errands and she was howling and covered in poo. The crate was an absolute disaster. I cleaned it. She also peed on the living room floor. I cleaned that. She's a total cutie pie, and I'd love to keep her out of her home all day to play with me, but I'm afraid that it would get her training off to a bad start. She only stops howling when she's sleeping, so I feel like a real jerk.

I can't believe I cleaned up that much poo. Ick. I'm no good with these things. I swore this is why I could never birth my own child or have a pet other than a cat. I need things that are already potty trained. Although, I did manage to clean this little mess, so perhaps there's hope for me yet.

Monday, December 27, 2004

I like my earlier blog-writing style better. I'm making a concerted effort to return to that style.

I have five bags of toiletries, and those are the ones that I don't use. The ones I do use take up less than a bag of space.

All of my booty calls are no longer available. They all have girlfriends. And as an aside, apparently none of my platonic friends were available to find some trouble this evening, either. Sigh. So I'm filling my new iPod with music. Some guys might think that's hot. I happen to feel kind of lame about it.

I am moving on Thursday. again.

I don't own the clothes I'm wearing, and the road goes on forever.

Last Monday, my car froze shut. The lock wouldn't turn, and even the unlocked doors refused to budge. I was dressed in my gym clothes and ready to go, for I had big plans. I wanted to get my car to the garage, finish some shopping, and get the Christmas cards out. That way, I could spend Tuesday and Wednesday with family, relaxing, before going to my parents' homes on Thursday.

Shame on me for trying to plan. Clearly I was taunting fate, karma, kismet. I sat on the couch all day, obsessing about getting to the gym, trying to figure out how I was going to work out. I was so miserable and snippy, that after sniping at one friend on the phone, he called me back and calmly offered to drive me to the gym after work, drop me off, and pick me up in an hour. My mood increased 115% after that. My day finally started, at 7 pm. We decided to run by Target to get some shopping done, and when I got to the register with an armful of gifts, I realized that my debit card was in my pants, at home. And all of my credit cards had been cancelled for the lost wallet that wasn't lost, so I had no way of paying for any of them. Friend kindly offered to front the money. I hate, hate, hate taking money from people. (Don't get me wrong - I do believe that merely because I am female, I am entitled to fancy dinners and drinks from men. But that's different). He insisted. I refused. He insisted. I relented.

Then the next day, Tuesday, I was supposed to take another friend to work so he could go straight to the airport. Alas, my door stayed frozen shut until Tuesday afternoon, and so I had no means of transportation. We ended up taking his car, and it all worked out. And he also gave me the keys to his house, so I had a car and a house to use while he was gone. It was a mighty sweet ride, but all I did was drive to the gym and then to his house. Ain't no way I was going to get so much as a scratch on that car.

There are many people in my life, these two men in particular, who are my saving grace. When I was in college, I had a computer hacker that was doing some fucked up shit to my computer, sending messages to other people and making my screen go blank, then typing messages to me. I was convinced that my computer was possessed and that my hacker was coming to slit my throat. I had no idea what was going on, and I was terrified. I called friend #2, shrieking and crying hysterically. He came right over. Just two weeks ago or so, I had a mattress that miraculously did not fit anywhere it was supposed to - not in my house or in friend #1's house. Friend #2 kindly allowed me to move it into his basement indefinitely. Friend #1 lent his truck to me so I could move it. While they were moving the mattress, I joked, "I must be damned good company." With these two friends in particular, as much as I try to give, I feel like I do far too much taking.

When I was at Target, cursing repeatedly at my stupidity, Friend #1 assured me, "That's what I'm here for." He's driven me to the gym, as a matter of fact I'm on his gym membership because the single fee was too expensive; he's bought me brunch; he's dragged me to and from the airport; he cooks for me, and I drink his beer daily.
Me: "But I'm supposed to be the helper. That's what I do! I take care of other people. I can't be the helpee! I have to be the helper! I am not helpless! I do not need anyone's help!"
Him: "Yes you do. Just admit it."

I hate feeling helpless. I hate when my car doesn't work, or my cards don't work, and I'm left to the mercy of others. I've learned to cope in my own ways, but as a result of my dirt-poor upbringing, little things like that turn into huge emotional issues for me. When I'm not in control of a situation, or things don't go as planned, my only safety net (control) gets yanked out from underneath me. Particularly in issues of money - like my car. I hate feeling helpless because it reminds me that my reality is so fragile, that I could be homeless and unemployed in a second, that I have nothing to fall back on, and no one to rely on except myself.

Except, it seems, I do.

Two nights ago, I had an incredibly vivid dream. I was in some sort of dormitory common area. I lived in the dorm and had an hour to wait for someone to arrive. The part I recall most clearly is the moment at which I realized that my neighbor, a large, cut, blond-haired, blue-eyed man, had come to sit on the couch next to me. I was so sleepy, and nodded off. I was slowly waking up and realized that the neighbor and I were curled up together. He was lying against me, with his back to my chest. My arms were curled around him, and he didn't mind that my face was buried in his neck. I couldn't figure out if this had happened by accident, or if he really wanted me to be curled up against him. He was awake, and didn't mind when I moved, nuzzling my nose back into his neck and shoulders. He didn't move at all, he stayed strong, not shifting, or pulling away. In my dream, I was still sleepy, and while I was falling back asleep I was trying to come up with the word to describe how warm and happy I felt at that moment, and why I was so content. When I drifted off, I finally found the word I was trying to come up with - unwavering. My handsome blond was unwavering - he was strong, I felt safe and protected, and he made it clear that he wasn't going anywhere. When I actually woke up from this dream, that deep feeling of contentment stayed with me the rest of the day.

I work hard in positions that demand a lot from me, and I'm relentlessly working to help other people, most of whom also believe that they don't need help. And I try to work tirelessly until the work is done, until I've shown them that I respect them, that sometimes life just deals us a bad hand, and that my help isn't charity - it's genuine concern for them as the strong, amazing individuals that they are.
As much as I say that I don't want to rely on anyone else, the truth is, I rely so heavily on the people in my life. The key element of my perfect mate will be an individual who takes care of me, who can hold me up when I'm feeling vulnerable and just too tired to do it on my own anymore, but who doesn't make me feel like I'm less capable or intelligent. I've been looking for men like this my entire life. I want someone who will take care of me, someone who won't be ripped out from under my feet, someone who makes me feel like I can finally put down my weary load at the end of the day without losing face.

I guess I'm slowly coming to realize how much those roles are already filled by other people in my life. Particularly by these two male friends. Every time I think about moving somewhere completely different, and trying something new, or striking out on a difficult career path, my thoughts are based on an unconscious assumption that I'm strong enough to do it, because if it doesn't work out, I have places to which I can retreat. I can go back to my high school and college friends and regroup, because they know who I am and how I feel without me having to say a word. I can return to my law school friends and be welcomed with open arms and rowdy dinner parties with bottles of wine and a home-cooked meal. Karaoke and violent Trivial Pursuit optional. My dreams about moving away and starting over are tempered by my fears that I'll lose these connections if I do move. I am now fully realizing how much I need to let the people in my life know how much they mean to me, the specific and particular roles that each one plays in my life. As much as I try to give as a friend, to be there, to remember important days and events, I fear that maybe I'm taking too much. I'm never afraid to reach out for a sympathetic ear when I'm feeling upset or unsure of myself, and there's a chance that maybe my friends don't realize that it's important for me to be a sympathetic ear to them as well.

I adore my two darling, unwavering male friends. Perhaps it's almost bearable that this morning, my car froze open instead of shut. I didn't lock any doors, knowing that they freeze, and I treated the rubber around the doors with a silicon spray. Nevertheless, the driver's side lock must be frozen, because it won't latch closed now, and the door remains shut only through the grace and genius of a rigged bungee cord. And it's good to know that at least one of them, if I bitch long enough, will drive me to the gym.

After my bestlawschoolfriend's brother's death, I went looking for some stationery to write her a long letter about how I was feeling and how much I cared for her. I think my New Year's Resolution will be try to do that for other friends. Probably mostly the female ones, since the guys don't do so well with things like that. It's probably safe to say that my friends don't realize how my strength in my work and everyday life comes from their presence in my life. I think it's important that they should know. I'm going to continue seeking out my unwavering Adonis, but until then, I have far too many other people and things to put my energy towards.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Dahlia comments on Alberto Gonzales as a candidate for Attorney General.

How did this happen?

Today, I:
Went to the gym
Mourned the loss of my beautiful, personalized, orange Nalgene bottle (R.I.P.)
Ate some of the kick-ass butternut squash and sweet potato soup that I made
Drank beer, ate leftovers from last night's dinner party, and watched episodes from the first season of "The O.C." Many of them. All afternoon.

Yes, you read that correctly. I was forced, against my principles, to watch The O.C. two weeks ago. And then last week I watched it because I REALLY WANTED TO. And then I spotted the first season of the O.C. at a friend's house and borrowed it. It's like crack, that show. I have about 5 more discs to get through though, and not nearly enough time! Argh!

Oh, and can we note that in the past two weeks I have lost 1. my wallet 2. my dangly earring 3. my favorite ring that I coveted and lurked around and finally bought when it was on absolute clearance discount at the uber-hip jewelry store and 4. the Nalgene bottle I've had for 5 years now, the only container from which I ever drink water which doubled as a 'purse' in law school when I clipped my key ring/wallet to it? HOW DOES ONE LOSE A GODDAMN NALGENE BOTTLE?!?!

I never lose shit. How am I such a basket case? And why, why the ring and the Nalgene bottle? Now I'm going to be uncool and dehydrated.

P.S. I'm humming the theme to The O.C. and it's making me happy. Similar to the way that the theme song of Sex and the City used to take me to a happy place, from about 1999 until the last episode last year. California, here we come...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Double your fun.

The Forbidden Fruit - the roommate of a friend that I secretly covet - has a twin. An identical twin. Who, last I knew, was not in a committed relationship. Now, I saw him maybe once in passing, but I've never been introduced, and secretly I had been hoping to meet him or get set up with him (months ago). Friend was going to work that for me, but it never happened. I long ago forgot about Twin until tonight. When he showed up at dinner. And he's identical. and cute. and nice. and he talked to me. and then he left.

But seriously. A twin. That's fucking awesome.

VA bills: increase scope of death penalty, sue gangs.

Legal Aid Society avoids bankruptcy

Monday, December 20, 2004

MPRE scores

I've noticed a lot of people getting to my site with the search term "fail MPRE." I figured I should respond to this, although I am not sure exactly how.

First off, the wonderful thing about the MPRE is that you can take it again. No one wants to, I'm sure. It's a miserable test. I finished it in an hour and left not knowing whether I had answered one single question correctly. I hated it.

If you haven't taken the MPRE, but are looking for hints: study for it. Take the BarBri or some other prep course, where they hand you a book of the essentials, take the practice exams, and hope for the best. You should start studying at least a week in advance - I picked up the book exactly one week in advance and just took a practice test every night before the exam, trying to learn what was on it. Perhaps this isn't the ideal way to 'learn' but trust me, the MPRE is not a test based on what you 'learn' - it's a test based on how you take tests.

I suppose the other option is always to sit for a bar in another state with a lower required MPRE score. My roommate has a theory that the MPRE, because it is scaled, actually scales you according to your ethical abilities to practice in each state. For instance, if you receive one point below the required MPRE score for say, New York, but it exceeds the requirement for Nebraska, what the MPRE did was test you and say, "Well, he's not ethical enough to practice in New York, but definitely ethical enough for Nebraska. Let's assign him this score." I think it's an amusing theory.

I'm fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend a prestigious law school. Let me assure you, there are people everywhere who fail the MPRE. I know several people who didn't pass their first time. The MPRE, which is the same for the bar exam, I'm told, is failed only if 1. you didn't prepare or 2. have difficulty with multiple choice tests. Or both. The only hint I have for the multiple choice thing is, read the answers first, then read the question, then eliminate two obviously wrong answers. This is what Princeton Review teaches you for the SATs and LSATs, and it works.

You're without a doubt more ethical than the MPRE says you are. Ethics for lawyers by lawyers is screwed from the start. Don't worry, you'll be fine.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Lonely Saturday night. What do I do now?

Friday, December 17, 2004

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

I covet the boyfriend of another. He's a roommate of a friend, and I
see him from time to time. And he's fun, easy-going, smart, and cute.
His girlfriend is very attractive - long red shiny curly hair
cascading down her back, a little shorter than me, great physique, and
incredibly hip and stylish. I have only met her once. She was
friendly, smart, a social organizer, likes cooking for friends. All
of the things that I thought I did until I met her, then I realized
that I was playing JV to her varsity. Le sigh. Anyway, I saw him
last night, and proceeded to have a night full of PG-rated but lovely
dreams about him. He touched my side, briefly, last night, to which I
responded, "Yes I will sleep with you." Well, ok, I didn't say it out
loud, but I was thinking it.

I woke up this morning on not nearly enough sleep and realized I had
missed a call at 1 a.m. There was a message from a friend agreeing
with my plan to get a hotel room tonight close to the funeral
services. I panic. I haven't planned to leave work early (I told my
boss, who asked me yesterday, that I'd be here all day), I had planned
on washing an outfit tonight, the weather was supposed to be bad, I
haven't packed, I don't even have a credit card to reserve a room on,
since all of my are cancelled. And then I remembered that tomorrow
night I have plans to take a friend out for her birthday, I made her
PROMISE that she would be available because I haven't seen her in

I do realize that my role, the role that I've assigned myself, is the
role of planner and organizer. That's what I do. I organize, I make
sure everyone knows what's going on, and knows where to be, etc. Not
that anyone else needs me to do this - but it's something I do, and my
friends let me. But seriously people. CAN I GET MORE THAN 8 HOURS
NOTICE? Sheeeeeit. I packed (or threw clothing in a pile on top of)
my suitcase this morning just in case I need to leave as soon as I got
home, checked the weather (looks ok), packed my lunch, remembered the
3 weeks late thank-you letter to send out, and dashed out the door to
work, where I will spend the day trying to make these arrangements
while finishing up my work.

I haven't completely lost my mind yet, but I was a little thrown off
this morning. I purchased my coffee and bagel this morning and tried
reading the news online, but people are stopping by to chat, I had a
friend call (he said nice things - could it be that people actually
miss me?), and so my morning has just been really really fragmented.
I need a 30 min chunk of time to just organize my thoughts. I need to
make lists. Something.

Bailey's on the rocks. That's what I need.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Is it a full moon? Are the stars in some bizarre alignment? What the
hell is going on today? Confrontations with friends, completely
out-of-the-blue phone call from a public defender office in northern
Georgia, and a verdict in the homicide case I've been watching. I
don't even know how to begin to process all this. I'm practically
leaping out of my skin.

I do my best processing with my hands on my keyboard. I should really
buy a journal - you'd be subjected to much less babbling.

As for the verdict - it was what I had originally predicted, although,
in light of some recent juror misconduct, I had my doubts going in.
Of the five counts against each defendant, they were each convicted of
one. I don't want to betray my defense roots, but I do believe that
the verdict was fair. I didn't go to the verdict because I wanted to
see a conviction - I went because I wanted to see for myself what a
verdict looks and feels like. I know, my "feelings" ramblings are
very non-legal. But, like Blonde Justice, my work isn't about the
cutting edge legal theory, or the concept of law itself - it's about
the individuals who get trapped in it. I think it's absolutely
critical for me to go into these experiences open to absorbing and
sensing the raw emotion of it all. And I think I did. The deceased's
family ran into the courtroom seconds before the verdict was read.
The courtroom was packed. The tension was unbelievable. There were
at least a dozen court officers standing along the bar. At the first
two "not guilty" verdicts, the deceased's wife was visibly upset.
Then the guilty verdict was announced on one of the counts. The
defendant's wife and mother began sobbing violently, although not
loudly. Then the second defendant was convicted on one of the last
counts read. The deceased's wife looked relieved. Then, brief
arguments were heard in regards to bail. The bail was revoked (both
defendants have been out for 5 years) and when they were ordered into
custody, and took off their jackets, and had the cuffs slapped on
their wrists, that's when it all went to hell. The mother passed out,
the wife was just hysterical and bewildered, and the defendants'
family was livid. One of the defendants' family members started
yelling outside the courtroom when it was over.

One of the ADAs that I've done the most work for this semester
recalled a probation revocation hearing he did some years ago. The
defendant's probation was revoked and the family was crying, yelling,
"Are you happy now? Now that you won?" He told me that he never
feels like he has won. There are no winners in the courtroom. I
think he's right. Seeing what I saw today makes me feel that way.

I'm sure it doesn't feel the same in say, drug possession cases.
There's a difference between the 'malum in se' crimes vs. the 'malum

Then I went to the grocery store because gay friend Will offered to
make me dinner. I was going to provide the salad and the wine. The
butternut squash was on sale, which was great because I've been dying
to make this killer recipte for butternut squash and sweet potato
soup. I picked up squash, sweet potatoes, an apple (the recipe calls
for it), plus three yogurts for fun, the trappings for salad, and a
magazine to read at the gym. I reach into my pocketbook at the
register and... my wallet is not there. At all. I can't pay, so I
run to my car. Wallet's not there. My wallet NEVER leaves my purse.
I rush home. Wallet's not there. I've never had my wallet stolen
before, and I know I had it when I got home before I left for the
grocery store. So I called and cancelled all my credit cards. As I
was on the phone with the bank cancelling my card, I found my wallet,
somehow kicked into the dark corner of the laundry room downstairs.

So I had dinner, and calmed down. Drank some red wine. Will's
roommate J joined us, cooking dinner for himself and his girlfriend T,
who happens to be a coworker of Will's. Will brought down a pile of
stocking stuffers he didn't want - combs, CD cases, etc. He went
through each item one by one, and right before he got to the last
item, his phone rang. He left the room to go answer it, and so I
poked at the last item in his pile. It was a talking picture
frame/alarm clock. I thought I would be funny and take it out of the
wrapper, record a message for Will, and then put it back, to trick
Will into playing the message, thinking it had come right out of the
box like that. I recorded the message, and J and I joked about the
picture that came with the frame. I put the frame away, and a few
minutes later T came over, sat down, and said, "Did you see what
Will's godson gave him? He recorded his voice on the alarm clock
frame." I froze. No way. I totally recorded over it, thinking that
Will was trying to give away the stocking stuffers the way he had
given away the rest of them. FUCK. I got totally busted.

Today has just been nutty.

Could I go to Georgia?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Peterson case

A friend pointed out that he had expected me to discuss or put up a
link regarding the Scott Peterson case. I, frankly, hadn't really
planned on doing much more than mentioning, as I did yesterday, that
it was bizarre to hear ADAs cheering the decision. Why? Because I
think this trial is no different, legally speaking, from the thousands
of other trials that run through the court system every day. The only
difference is that this case was hyped. I'm not sure what there is to
say about it. Everyone knows the jury recommended death - I don't
have to bring that to anyone's attention. I categorically oppose the
death penalty. I think it's inhumane that people are cheering for the
fact that they heard their fellow human beings determine that a human
being must be killed. Why? Does it bring back the already deceased?
No. Will it provide closure to the victim's family? No - and as a
matter of fact, there is substantial literature and research regarding
victim's families who say that after the defendant is executed,
they're surprised to discover that it doesn't help at all. How has
society improved as a result of this recommendation? And why does our
country believe that state-sanctioned killing is the answer? I think
the members of the jury should have to watch the execution, if not
'push the button' or 'pull the switch.' How rewarding is it to watch
someone die? Isn't that why Scott Peterson is on trial on the first
place? Because he had no right to kill his wife, and the jury found
that he did? Why does a randomly selected panel of 12 people make it
better than the decision of 1 random person? Death is death. Killing
a human being at the hands of another is just that, no matter how you
slice it. You've all been subjected to my struggles with death
recently - guns and violence in this homicide trial, my friend's
brother, the death penalty in general. I have more faith in people
than all this.

I don't know if he did it or not. I didn't sit through months of
circumstantial evidence. I didn't convict and then condemn a man to
death for his absence of emotion (ah yes, Tom, "The Stranger"?)... I
think that Peterson, it seemed, had a great defense team, should have
had a different jury for sentencing than he did for conviction if for
no other reason than the fact that the attorney sort of had to argue
inconsistent theories (he didn't do it; ok, well at least don't kill
him for it then....) and that's pretty much it. An eye for an eye
leaves the whole world blind.
This breaks my heart: Boy gets 'juvie life'

Monday, December 13, 2004

Missouri's juvenile justice system a model for Maryland?

Teen acquitted of murder

I was surprised to hear shouts of delight from the offices around me today when the Peterson 'verdict' came down. It's been a long time since I've been around people who support the death penalty. And the ADAs for whom I primarily work know that I'm an aspiring public defender, so they usually temper their comments around me. It made me feel uncomfortable, actually. To say "I'm against the death penalty" in the middle of a cheering group of ADAs is what I imagine a Jehovah's Witness feels like in the middle of a holiday parade. I can't wait to surround myself with defenders again.

Breaking news

The Peterson verdict is in.

Rumor: Pedro to go to Mets for 4 yrs, $50 mill. Manny might not be
far behind him. *sigh*

Sunday, December 12, 2004

at a loss

Spent another $700 on my car yesterday. Visited family I haven't seen in years. Roomie from this summer was not rejected from our summer agency, I'm happy for her.

Was notified that bestest friend and roommate from law school's little brother died. Other roommate called me earlier to let me know.

I'm just not sure how to feel right now. I'm in shock that I'm going to watch another dear friend bury another younger sibling. I couldn't call her after I found out - I was too shocked. It took me five hours, 3 miles on the treadmill, and finally, a voicemail from her asking me to call her... to actually call her. When I talked to her, I lost it. I started crying, hard. Which is really helpful, clearly, because then it got her crying. But I'm glad I got to talk to her, and I hate that I'm not near her. She's like a sister to me, and I know her family. I know her brother. I was in shock at first, then I got jittery, then I started getting really upset and almost asphyxiated on the treadmill while trying not to sob out loud, and now I'm just exhausted. I'm not there to help. There's nothing I can do to help. I'm driving the 8-9 hours roundtrip to attend the service this week. Don't know what day, or if my internship will mind me taking a day or two, but don't care.

It got me thinking about the other instances of death in my life. I've rarely encountered it - it's generally been relatives with whom I'm not particularly close (which is most of them) or family members of close friends. My great uncle. A friend from college buried her young brother about 5 years ago. My cousin died at birth. A 14 yr old girl who was at the detention center this summer was released into the community, then found, fatally shot, in a car - two young men who know something about it aren't talking. Another young man who left the center right after I arrived was killed right after I left. I'm thinking back to the homicide case in which we're still awaiting a verdict, and recalling what it felt like to hear a 911 caller narrate the deceased's final moments, while his wife cried silently in the courtroom. All of these things are compounding, becoming one knot in my chest. My eyes are burning. I can feel myself shutting down. If there had been any sliver of hope for me to shake off this semester-long funk, it disappeared today.

My weekend has caused me to strongly reconsider whether I'm willing to go so far away anymore. I hate being this far away right now, I can't imagine being even further away from the people I care about. Things seem kinda crappy the way they are - until they aren't that way anymore, and you'd give anything to get it back to the former crappy way.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Brings a tear to my eye: Victim's mother seeks court mercy for teen

Yuck. Sox reportedly offer Wells a one-year deal. (did I ever tell you that I met Ian Browne? He rocked my goddamn world.)

O's make Pavano an offer. I'd really like to see the O's do well.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Making her case for mercy

Texas man executed on disproved forensics - link from How Appealing

Still no verdict on that homicide case yet - jury's been deliberating for almost a week. Maybe tomorrow will be the big day...

My job is boring as hell again. I have baseball off-season to keep me entertained though. Nomar's with Chicago one more year. Troy Glaus went to the D-backs, the LA Dodgers signed Jeff Kent, and the Sox met with Pedro in an airport. Classy.

A day in the life of an intern:
9:00 am - arrive at office. sometimes later, if the subway is running kooky, which is almost always the case.
9:00 - 11:00 - check email, news, sports, and work-appropriate blogs
11:00 - 12:00 - reluctantly work, checking news pages and 3 email accounts every 3.2 minutes.
12:00 - 1:00 think about lunch while surfing web
1:00 - 2:00 eat lunch
2:00 - 3:30 - work while fighting off urge to nap while surfing web
3:30 - snack break
3:30 - 5:00 think about dinner while surfing web
5:00 leave.

One more week and I'm through with the dark side!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Good night.

and now, I've crawled into my pink silk Victoria's Secret pjs after a long, very cold, rainy, windy day, and I've crawled under my down comforter, and I'm going to lie in the dark under my skylight, listening to the cold rain hit the windows, while I freak the fuck out about what I'm going to do with the rest of my life.
DC Foster Children Get a Boost

This article is about a judge in Maryland who decided that she would not hear victim impact testimony before she decided whether to administer the death penalty. The judge decided this because the statutory factors that must be present to sentence someone to death do not include impact on the victim's family - and in one of my entries last week, I linked to a Slate article that discussed the same question. This article states that the judge reversed herself and has decided to hear the victim impact evidence.

"Money bleaches" - A look at how Latinos see themselves.

NY scales back on draconian drug laws

and my main man Kanye West scored 10 Grammy nominations. It's a great CD, I'd highly recommend it.


I had a very vivid dream last night. What I remember from the dream is that I received a call from a fellow summer intern, and I was going to go pick him up from the rural part of the state (why was he staying there? because his home 8 states over burned down. go fig.) and bring him to hang out with me in the big city. However, I was deterred from doing so in a series of events that involved a tall, nicely built, dark-haired, dark-eyed, fair-skinned mysterious dreamboat who was madly in love with me, assertive but not aggressive, smart but not nerdy or cocky, appropriately social, a rich consultant/businessman turned inner-city teacher (because he was passionate about working with kids) and possessed peanut butter cup ice cream that somehow, miraculously, was not all that fattening. (It's great that the two things I appear to desire most in life are 1. The Perfect Man and 2. The Perfect Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. I don't deny it.)

The dream also involved a baby that needed an IV and an unknown friend's mother calling me asking me to purchase all the Diet Coke in the area and deliver it to her. I was growing increasingly tired, after attending to my dreamboat, then the baby, who needed me to get a particular individual that I had to hunt down all throughout the city but was in the room all along, and then I was trying to drive someone that I've never actually met in real life to meet friends, and all while I was supposed to be going to pick up this guy in another part of the state.

I think the dream about my friend was related to the fact that he called me the day before Thanksgiving and I never returned his call. I thought about it, but didn't. I know him well enough to know that if he called, it was probably job related. If it was job related, then it was probably about the agency we worked for this summer. If it was, then he probably got another interview, and since I hadn't
heard from them, it's safe to assume that I didn't get the final interview. So I delayed contacting him. I emailed him this morning. I also emailed the other intern who worked with us and she got an AWESOME and very prestigious fellowship doing the type of work that I'd love to be doing - but she also received her rejection letter from our agency yesterday. Which means mine should arrive today or tomorrow.

Which means that I will now have two rejection letters and no offer letters.

Sometimes I go through my day feeling like I have everything completely under control. I felt that way when I left my house this morning. Then my umbrella broke, I remembered that I left the heat on in my room (bad idea, it's a sketchy heater), a button fell off my pants, and I have no reason to be at work today as the motion hearing that was scheduled will be rescheduled because the attorney is out sick. I should've played hooky with Will, like he suggested, and joined him in Christmas shopping. Seriously.

At least I can start my Wall of Shame now. Two of my friends from law school did that last year - they covered the wall behind their dartboard with rejection letters from firms. And there are many of them.

My employment anxiety is increasing exponentially with every passing week.
Just got off the phone from interview #2 with the capital trial
fellowship place. Keep your fingers crossed. I adore the man with
whom I interviewed (not once, but twice). I'm pretty sure I sounded
like an ass, but might have had a nugget or two of insight. I hope.

Monday, December 06, 2004

What I bought my Dad for Christmas

A hamster dressed as a NASCAR guy, with sunglasses, holding a green flag, that shimmies and sings "Born to be Wild" when you squeeze his little pink foot: $14 at Target

Look of horror on gay male friend's face when I bought it: priceless

Fraying at the ends

I'm at work, currently trying to make this response to a motion to
suppress WORK. Right now it's a messy conglomeration of, "probable
cause" and "in the alternative, reasonable suspicion" for two
different searches, one involving two people and one involving just
one of them - and damned if I can't figure out why it is, in my head,
I think the first one has PC and the second one doesn't? It's a mess.
It's a disaster. And it's tomorrow.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Trial style

I have a few more observations about the trial I watched for the past 3-4 weeks. First, the defense team introduced the 911 tapes. Counterintuitive, isn't it? But it's the most dramatic piece of evidence in a courtroom. On Friday, at the close of the defense case, they played the 911 tapes. I've heard worse - like a mother screaming into the phone when she saw that her 3 year old child got shot in the head - absolutely chilling. But this one was mostly reported by people who heard shots on the street, people who didn't see anything, or couldn't see anything. Then there was the one phone call where the woman said, "No, I can't see anyone hurt - wait - ohmygod, there's someone lying in the street. There's a man lying in the street!" and as the woman's voice continued to reflect what it's like to realize, and see, that someone was shot dead, everyone looked at the deceased's wife. She had her left hand on the side of her face, and she was crying, quietly. By herself. The defendants have wonderful support in their family - but the widow, with only a few family members around her, cried alone. Listening to the tape, seeing one of the defendants cry, seeing the widow cry, and watching the defendants' family watch her, tears came to my eyes. I couldn't stop wondering why people do this to each other. I've heard a lot of testimony on how a firearm works - what a round of ammunition is, how it is ignited and projected, the difference between a revolver and a semi-automatic, . It all sounds so cold and scientific. But this is what it is. It's a widow, two defendants, and two families changed forever. Why do human beings do this to each other? How are people capable of such brutal and violent acts on one another? Why doesn't anyone care? Sitting in the packed-full courtroom listening to that one woman's voice describe the man lying alone in the middle of the street, seeing defendant and victim's wife cry, I closed my eyes and wished away all the guns in the world. Anything capable of doing that much harm to a human being makes me ill. I wish handguns were never invented. No one benefits. And the idea of arming everyone (CDog)? Bad idea. The defense story in this case is that everyone WAS armed - and someone died. The prosecution's story is that the defendants and one friend of the victim's were armed - but still, someone's dead. It solved nothing at all. For a moment, I felt the agony in the room - a single bullet through the chest, hemorrhaging, fatality. Not copper, lead, and gunpowder, but a father, brother, son, husband gone forever, and two defendants and two families that will never be the same again.

My second comment is to the styles of the attorneys in the case. In the beginning, one defense attorney annoyed me so much that I could hardly stand to sit through his questioning. The other defense attorney I'd seen before, and I thought his style was fine. That's all changed now, at the end. The second defense attorney is either a terrible actor or completely unhinged. He's very smart - I admire his strategies and his legal skill. But he YELLS. He seems to yell when he's making a point - but not because he got riled up to the point. He will just suddenly and without warning start shrieking. It's very disconcerting, very made-for-TV courtroom drama. It makes me quite uncomfortable. I watched him on a few occasions yell at the judge during motions hearings on the case, and I watched him get in a yelling argument with one of the prosecution's witnesses, while the witness was on the stand, in front of the jury, for quite some time. If I were that judge, I would've shut that man down within the first five minutes. I thought the attorney was being disrespectful by yelling like that. Again, it wasn't that he worked himself up through an argument, but he was just yelling at the judge. If I had been in the black robe, I would have said quietly and firmly, "Excuse me, Mr. {yelling attorney}. this is my courtroom and I have no tolerance for such behavior. I do not yell at you during the course of your job and would appreciate that you not yell at me in the course of mine. For the sake of your client I would suggest that you pull yourself the fuck together, sit down, and shut up, or leave my courtroom."

For instance, after he admitted the 911 tapes into evidence, he realized that it included the dispatch recording as well, which he didn't want in evidence (because it was prejudicial to his client). He started glaring at everyone in the courtroom and shrieked, "I WILL NOT BE TRICKED!" Turns out, the prosecutor stated that he didn't see why the tapes needed to be replaced with the one of just the 911 recording - it had already been admitted into evidence, no need to change it now. The defense attorney LOST IT. He screamed at the judge, grew red-faced, was practically foaming at the mouth. The judge firmly insisted that the attorney calm down, take a breath, no need for him to get so upset because it would interfere with his closing argument. [For the judge to be that assertive is significant - he seems to be a pretty mellow judge]. To which the attorney, still either pretending to be in an utter rage or really being an absolute NUT, paced frantically and said loudly and emphatically, "Yes you're right, judge, this absolutely will inhibit my ability to deliver my closing argument." The prosecutor got up and basically said, if he's going to throw a fit like that, replace the fucking tape, for the love of Christ. Then the defense attorney sweetly stood up and apologized for his outburst. It's the first time I've seen him apologize for it, and clearly his outburst was effective because it got him what he wanted, but sweet lord. I think his credibility with the jury, certainly with me, would be much better if he stopped shooting for the daytime Emmy. It's not difficult to get the sense, when he randomly starts shrieking, that it's an act, that it's insincere. I think he's a very clever attorney, but the yelling... Please. Stop. I certainly learned what kind of style I'd like to [not] develop myself. I wonder how much of it is done for his client and the client's large family watching the trial - it demonstrates to them that he's zealous, certainly. Perhaps he's trying to make them feel like they're getting their money's worth.

Third, a juror slipped the judge a note with a question. The prosecution offered one rebuttal witness - the detective on the case - to rebut the defense expert's testimony. There were just a few rebuttal questions, but the juror noticed that the detective had been in the courtroom during the expert's testimony and asked the judge about it. The judge addressed the issue with the attorneys. The prosecutor stated that he sensed the juror felt like detective had an unfair advantage, and could the judge just give a general response about the fact that there are some circumstances in which the sequestration isn't necessary. The defense attorneys stated nonchalantly that they didn't see a reason for the judge to respond. And he didn't. Then the Yeller used it in his closing - something like, "Well Detective XY sat here through Expert's testimony and then came back to say..." Oooooh. Playing on the jury's doubts like that... dirty, dirty, dirty. I don't think I would've thought to use it in a closing, but you can bet I'll be doing that if the occasion ever arises.

Fourth, there has to be a conflict of interest here. One defendant is more culpable than the other, but the defense didn't address that issue at all. Perhaps because it's clear - one defendant shot and the other didn't - and they are both facing the same charges. But it seems as though this could be detrimental to the defense of the less culpable defendant. And actually, the more culpable defendant testified, and his testimony contradicted a prosecution's witness that was favorable to the co-defendant. Ouch. The Yeller took care a lot of the expert and police investigation parts of the case, and the other attorney did more of the issues with factual witnesses and their credibility. They even divided it up like that in closings. I am sure that the defendants and the defendants' family wouldn't want it otherwise, but really, the less culpable defendant could potentially be getting the shit end here. I think the attorneys did a great job of balancing, to the extent possible, the conflicts and [presumed] wishes of their clients, but wow. I don't even know how it's possible to resolve a conflict like that.

Now we wait for the verdict. I would really like to be in the courtroom when it happens, because it will no doubt be very, very dramatic.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Rulings in Texas capital cases try Supreme Court's patience
"In another episode widely perceived as an embarrassment, Roy Criner, a prison inmate serving 99 years for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl that he insisted he had never committed, successfully petitioned for a DNA test not available during his trial. The test determined that the semen in the victim was not his. A second test produced the same result.
The trial court asked the criminal appeals court to order a new trial, but with Judge Keller prominently in the majority, it voted 6-3 to let the conviction stand. Gov. George W. Bush, then running for the White House, granted Mr. Criner clemency. "It's pretty bad when you have to go to Governor Bush for relief," said James Marcus, executive director of the Texas Defender Service."

R.I.P., dangly earring.

I'm under the influence of merlot and tequila. Now's the time to leave if you're looking for something thoughtful and coherent.

What's worse than losing your favorite pair of earrings? Losing one of the earrings in your favorite pair. I just arrived home, thinking, 'well gee, tonight wasn't a total loss' and when I looked in the mirror, I discovered I was missing an earring. A long, dangly, recently purchased, chandelier-sounding earring. I am so upset by this that I am absolutely going out tomorrow and buying another pair, if they still exist. There is no other way to cure this. I must have them. And that way, if I lose another one, then i'll be left with a pair.

I'm on a hiatus from men, more commonly known as a "guy-atus." Not just a hiatus from dating men, but from all men. I wore the same clothes I wore to work today, as though to prove that I do not want to look nice when I go out. (last week that failed, when I dressed in unflattering pants, a plain t-shirt, and crappy shoes, because when I walked into the bar, my friend said, "wow. you look nice tonight.") I even wore an undshirt under a typical booby shirt! No cleavage - the 'girls' are staying in tonight. Tonight and many other nights for a long while. I'm not bitter. For instance, I missed 'Joan of Arcadia' this evening. I had a wonderful dinner, so perhaps missing Joan of Arcadia was ok. But the club afterwards was only good for a little while. I'm still deaf. A friend of mine held up her drink straw (those little teeny black ones) and said to another friend, "You only get dates in this club if you are this size." Then we both downed our drinks while our male friend [wrongly] disagreed.

So why the guy-atus? Let's start with the most recent altercation. You all but came out and told me that I'm the type of girl you'd sleep with but not the type of girl you'd ever date. The mistake was believing for half a second that maybe, just maybe, the men that have flirted with me or dated me in the past few months weren't just an accident, and that maybe I was something worth dating. You reminded me that it really was all just an accident. And that right there was a brutal kick in the ass, something that took me days of anger, shame, and lots of reflection to move past. I moved past it when I realized that I don't have any regrets about any decisions I've made in my life. I love being an aspiring attorney, I love being crazy enough to say that working in a youth prison was the best thing I've ever done, I love where I've been, who I've met, who I've loved, who I've kissed without loving, and what I've done. Every minute of it, I love, even the bad minutes. Stop making me feel like there's something wrong with that.

And the one before that? Couldn't stand his company for more than 5 seconds. And the one before that? homeless. so then. Here we are. I attract homeless men. Oh, and the guy at the bar this evening that was wearing bad glasses and a white sweater with tapered-leg jeans. I should've stuck around to talk to him though, because at least he was good conversation. It says something about me, that the only men who ever talk to me are homeless or really nerdy. And yet I walk away after only a cursory conversation because I figure, nah. Not someone I'd be interested in. But is that true? Don't I get pissed when men think that about me? And how do I know that they aren't funny, and kind, and smart, and have a great body (under really bad fashion?)? I hate me. I left the club (early) to go on to lose my darling dangly earring (I suspect it's on the subway, my nemesis), and started text messaging friends from law school like I'm a 13 yr old girl. I can't wait to go back!

I did have a good time tonight. I'm glad I went. But I do believe that my 20s are whizzing by far too quickly to be this uneventful.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I could tell you about

- the defendants' friend that struck up a friendly conversation with me yesterday, dropping the line, "I'm not married," casually into conversation;

- the man in court yesterday who tried to get my attention and then, when he did, gave his sexy little wink/nod - he was still sleeping on the court bench 6 hours later (I have quite a way with homeless men, apparently);

- how not one of my friends has returned my calls in over two weeks, even the ones that I've called, emailed, called, and emailed again;

- how I watched my potential dream fellowship job disintegrate before my eyes;

- learning how many more of my friends are either engaged or about to become engaged, exponentially increasing my desire to bolt the fuck out of here, never to return ever again.

But instead, I'll say: Dahlia has a very thought-provoking article on the penalty phase of capital trials.