Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday afternoon, I'm avoiding contracts, meme

I've never done one of these, but it looked kind of fun. So thanks for the idea: Chicken Magazine, E. McPan and Kristine over at Divine Angst. Evidently it comes from LibraryThing.

Interruption for geeky yet endearing story about moi: I learned about Library Thing a little while ago and thought: Cool! And then thought: Pooh! Because I very very very rarely actaully buy books anymore. My husband, ever the economist, convinced me that investing in shelf space for books that I'll likely never read again or spending money on books that I am not sure I will like is kind of pointless. Mostly, I agree, but I miss the comforting and decadent feeling of walking away from a book store with a happy sackful of books waiting to be devoured. I did think it was cool though because I was reminded recently of how when I was in the 2nd grade, I made little envelopes and glued them to the inside of all my books, wherein I put an index card and had a master file so that way I could keep track of my books in case anyone borrowed them. Wasn't I a cute little 2nd grader?

Back to the meme: so the schtick is that these are the top 106 books tagged “unread” at LibraryThing. Bold=read; underline=read for school; ital=started but abandonned; and bold-underlined=you read it for school first and subsequently re-read because you wanted to. My results (to the extent that I actually remember some titles) were pretty pathetic considering that way back in undergrad, I was an English major.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Crime and Punishment
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Don Quixote
The Odyssey
The Brothers Karamazov
War and Peace
Madame Bovary
A Tale of Two Cities I've never been a big Dickens fan
Jane Eyre or a Bronte fan
The Name of the Rose
Moby Dick
The Iliad
Vanity Fair
Love in the Time of Cholera
The Blind Assassin
Pride and Prejudice
The Historian: A Novel
The Canterbury Tales
The Kite Runner
Great Expectations
Life of Pi
The Time Traveler’s Wife
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Atlas Shrugged
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Grapes of Wrath
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Mrs. Dalloway
Sense and Sensibility
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
The Count of Monte Cristo
The Sound and The Fury
Memoirs of a Geisha
Brave New World
American Gods
The Poisonwood Bible
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
The Picture of Dorian Gray
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
The Satanic Verses
Mansfield Park
Gulliver’s Travels
The Three Musketeers
The Inferno
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Fountainhead
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
To the Lighthouse
A Clockwork Orange
Robinson Crusoe
The Scarlet Letter
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
The Once and Future King
Anansi Boys
The God of Small Things
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Oryx and Crake
Angela’s Ashes
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Hunchback of Notre Dame do I get bonus points for reading it in french?
In Cold Blood
Lady Chatterley’s Lover
A Confederacy of Dunces
Les Misérables Again, in french
The Amber Spyglass
The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
Watership Down
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation
The Aeneid
A Farewell to Arms
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
Sons and Lovers
The Book Thief
The History of Tom Jones
The Road
Tender is the Night
The War of the Worlds

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

67% on Property!!!!!!!! YES!!

Seriously, there is something wrong when I am excited that I got a 67% on the Barbri Property MBE practice exam. I'm not sure that I've ever been so proud of a crappy score in my life (okay... maybe the games on the LSAT--I can't remember that far back). The DVD Barbri guy says 55% is the national average (or was it 50%?). In any case, I am well above that . . . and consistently so far on each of the 5 property tests that I have taken.

One of my dear friends hates property (kind of like I am hating crim pro at the moment). And she's freaked out that she's getting 45%-50% right. I've tried to tell her to calm herself, but it's not working. Then I made the mistake of answering her truthfully about my average scores. Yeah, it wasn't pretty. But here's the thing--I took Property (duh, we all had to), but I also took Real Estate Finance, which is essentially Property II, and a real estate drafting class, and I T.A.'ed for Property. Mind you--the TA thing would lead one to expect I really know more about property than I do. Nope. Thank you prof Property (whom I had and for whom I TA'ed) for teaching almost exclusively takings and very obsure future interest stuff. I knew next to nothing about easements, nothing about covenants, servitudes, landlord/tenant stuff, and rule against perpetuities before Barbri last week. The dude on the DVD's formula on rule against perpetuities has changed my life. So easy. It's like doing hard math successfully and you only need to get it right for the short-term, not necessarily understand it: don't think, just plug in the formula and voila. In any case, I'm happy with where I am there....

Especially in light of the painful criminal procedure stuff I am now in the midst of. It was one of the few four-credit hour classes I didn't take in law school, and oy! there is a lot to learn. This is my first general disappointment with barbri too--the guy who does the lecture is following the outline in the book pretty closely, which is problematic for me because I think his outline is completely disorganized. Sigh. I'm actually reading the heinous 8.5 x 14 version. Eep!

Prediction: in a few days when I need to start testing the crim stuff, look for a post here with me crying like my friend (who, ironically is a crim law/pro guru) and wondering how I will ever remember it all.

And finally, as I am telling myself daily, I will end with this thought: I don't have to know everything. I just have to know enough.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Survived first week of Barbri

really, the hardest part about it is 1) sitting in some pretty uncomfortable chairs for 3.5 hours a day and 2) making myself stay awake from about the 2-3 hour.

First day was an intro and supposedly "essay help." The essay help consisted of some woman who has an unfortunately high-pitched voice read, verbatim, from the calendar/schedule thingamabob we got that day on how to modify IRAC for the bar. Oh, and a tip that yu throw the kithen sink at each essay. For example, if the call of the question is to address whether Plaintiff can get damages, you first start by addressing whether there was a formation of the K. And of course, do all of that in 30 minutes per essay. Oh and in my state--with no scratch paper (morons). I found the "lecture" to be completely uninteresting and nearly worthless since hey, I can read. I found that "lecture" all the more worthless as I was writing my first practice essays where I learned that 1) throwing the kitchen sink at something doesn't work well in 30 minutes when you are trying to cover equitable division of property, alimony, child support, and child custody. 30 minutes is barely sufficient to cover those topics alone. And 2) while I realize that for Barbri to format the model answers might just be too much to ask for my $2000, and I acknowledge that the essay books even say that they just outline the answer and it's not necessarily complete, it's excessively frustrating to know that you CAN'T know if you covered everything you needed to for full points by the graders. Sigh.

This week we studied family law and real property. I didn't take family law in law school, have no interest in ever practicing it, and frankly, take special glee in being able to say to all and sundry who ask: "ooh, you know, I'm not a lawyer, so I can't answer your question about 'fill in the family law topic here' and I never took family law. Sorry, guess you'll have to go hire a lawyer for that." In learning the tidbits on family law, my conclusions were that it's a pretty jacked up, subjective area of law--and that my particular state, as always, is about 100 years behind the times on some of it.

Real Property wasn't really all that difficult. For the first time since I took the bloody class, I was happy (okay, maybe that's too much?? relieved?) that I took real estate finance because I already knew all the stuff about deeds, mortgages, conveyance, etc. And I was happy that I had been a Property TA my second year. I'm sure after I take my practice test in it this afternoon, I'll be singing a different tune, but it just didn't seem like there was anything I heard in the lecture or read in the outline that left me thinking: "Oh yeah! I forgot about that." or "Wow, really? I didn't know that."

I am unexcited about the amount of work on the schedule for the three day weekend, and even more unexcited about the fact that I make up for Monday being a holiday by going to class next Saturday. Ick.

Oh, and a random thing: our property professor noted several places where he said that PMBR materials will tell you the opposite of what he said and that they are wrong. Is that so? Prof Proprty gave me the impression that PMBR stuff is largely out of date. That makes me kind of nervous to use their questions for the MBE. ANyone?

Lastly, and randomly--I just discovered ink on one of my hands. I don't mind stuff on my hands when I did it or at least remember when it occurred. But trust me, when you're a mom, and you don't know if you got it at school or since you've been home... you look at your little kid and think "crap."

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Party's Over. Back to Work!

The Work Part
Sigh. Today was my first day of Barbri. The only good thing about it was that it ended early and the homework for today is "lighter" than most. It's about what I thought it would be in terms of workload. And yes, I am one of those suckers who plans to follow their suggested study schedule. The only anticipated change to it will be using the PMBR questions that I bought on ebay last fall instead of Barbri's.

One thing about today's lecture surprised me though: it was very low key and very "this is going to be, well not quite easy, but not as hard as you think." I thought they were supposed to terrify you into believing that unless you work yourself to death, you are going to fail... oh wait, that's PMBR's line. I was entertained at the veiled comments about how PMBR's method doesn't work over the long run. Generally, I find the Barbri schtick classier than PMBR's. We'll see how it pans out. I was also very saddened to see classes scheduled for 2 Saturdays :( But delighted and somewhat scared to see that classes end the end of June. So July is all me.

The Party Part
It seems only fitting to put what is officially in the past, last. I took my bar trip during finals (since I had none). The Fam and I went to Europe for 2 weeks. And Euro, while convenient for country-hopping, could not have been at a worse exchange rate for us. I still haven't been brave enough to figure out the dollar bottom line :( It's going to be bad--but that's what firm stipends are for right? Wait, I mean tax refunds and economic stimulus packages, right? We had a blast though and it was money well-spent, as is evidenced by the fact that none of us came home this time with scabies. Ew!

We took my daughter with us, and she was fabulous. And I do mean fabulous. By the end of the trip, you could really tell that she needed some peer companionship, but really, truly we were able to take her anywhere. I'm certain that she won't remember much of it, but there are little bits that I hope will stay in her memories as little polaroids, like I have of Hong Kong from when I was her age.

The food highlight of the trip was a $42 2-hot chocolates, 2-pastries tea at a tea room called Angelina's in Paris. I've never tasted anything so fabulous in my life. The raspberries on my husband's tart made me rethink my whole stance that raspberries are to be eaten ONLY when no other berries are available. And the chocolate. Sigh. Amazing. Rich. Decadent. Perfect in every way.

The surprising great thing on the trip was the usefulness of our Garmin Nuvi GPS with European maps. We drove through countrysides and little villages we never would have found (since there were virtually no street signs anywhere) without it. It was definitely an "off the map" sort of vacation.

We got back 36 hours before graduation, which was tight but perfect. I was actually surprised at how much walking across the stage and receiving my fake diploma meant to me. I really don't remember being on the verge of tears at either of my other graduations. The student speakers rocked and really captured the camaraderie of our class. And as luck would have it our main speaker sucked. It was like listening to someone annotate their resume and read it to you for half an hour. But it wasn't even any war story type of stuff of "see how you shouldn't lock yourself into some preplanned destiny" message. It really was a "first, I did this. Then I didn't like it so I transferred here. And I did a good job." Sigh. Total yawn, but it finally ended and we got to walk. I was on cloud nine for the day and when we finally got back home from a big family lunch, I was a little deflated. All of that hard work, and I still didn't really have a diploma. But I'm glad I was part of the whole right of passage experience.

Then I had one solid week at home with child at school and hubby at work, and I did nothing. Really truly, I could not have possibly done less, and it was glorious.

Sigh. Now I'm off to put some laundry in and read up on family law. Cheers.