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Diary
By aphrael (Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 02:31:32 PM EST) (all tags)
I've been a bad correspondent. I have my excuses; in many ways I'm at the edge of what I can handle commitment wise, and the weeks since my vacation are a blur of exhaustion and, probably, depression. But you guys are a big part of my tribe, and I want to correspond more; and the failure to do so is occasionally a baton I use to beat myself for my failure.

Here's a snapshot in time, a postcard sent to you with love from California.



Why try, when everything I do seems half right?
How can I be satisfied, writing words from someone else's lies?

The semester is almost over. It was hands down my favorite semester of the three years that I've been in law school. It's the first semester since Fall of 2008 that there wasn't a class I actively hated (see: con law in Spring 2009, Professional Responsibility & Commercial Sales Law in Summer 2009, Asian Legal Systems & Evidence in Fall 2009). That in and of itself would have made it a fantastic semester; freedom from the oppression of miserable classes carries with it an amphora of joy. But this was full of classes which I actively enjoyed: trial practice, where you practice different parts of a trial and get feedback on what you could do better; admin law, where an old man (a Douglas clerk, in fact) with the energy and demeanor of a leprechaun, led incredible class discussions that made arcane and bizarre material comprehensible; sexuality law, a class consisting almost entirely of gay people (leavened by the occasional gay-friendly straight and one moderate conservative) discuss constitutional law as it applies to us.

Still, the last several weeks have been a fucking slog, my energy level has been low, and the god of coffee has repeatedly denied me his favors. The things weighing me down have been the final project for my trial practice class and the final paper for admin law. And as the days passed, and I really didn't want to work on either of them, and the need to work on them grew, and the fear that I would just suck bubbled up inside me, my morale sank. And sank. And sank. And then, in a crush about a week ago, my morale stopped mattering; it was time to just do.

The paper, I think, sucks. The trial didn't. I fucked up in some ways - a subject for another diary - but I did OK, and I learned a lot from the experience, and it will be a good memory to draw on if I ever have to do it for real.

But sometimes I'm standing here, high on a riverbed, and everything feels good for a while.

I turned the paper in Wednesday night. Class was effectively cancelled; the prof took the class out to a bar and bought us pitchers of beer. So we stood, in a crowded bar, conversing; I had one of the most personal conversations I've ever had with a classmate, and another classmate told me (a) that everyone likes me [which i don't believe, because it's so not my experience of the world], and (b) that she particularly likes talking to me because I tend to talk about real stuff and not fluffy small talk. (I ended up in a conversation with someone later about whether they missed thunderstorms - maybe small talk, as it's about large weather, but maybe not). I was giddy; I was free, and I was talking to people about things that mattered to them, and the world was a beautiful place.

It's amazing what the world looks and feels like when the volcanic ash of stress is blown out by the winds of completion.

Yesterday I was happy and high energy all day, although I didn't want to do anything. Today I have been still happy, with a lower energy, more focused, more able to get shit done ... but without the stress which comes from having things to do that you're dreading failing at.

------------------

As expected given the time of year and my mood, I've listened to a large quantity of new music in the last two days: bootlegs of people's Coachella sets. I always like listening to these, especially the ones that I saw live, but somehow it's even more compelling this year because it substitutes for the joy of going. So since they started showing up yesterday, I've listened to:

Devo - ok. this was a high energy set, and the crowd loved them; if i'd been there (i wouldn't have been), I would probably have had a good time. But ... despite having the same love for "Whip It" that any child of my generation (especially a gay man) has, this isn't my thing, you know?

2ManyDJs - holy shit. high energy dance music, live beat matching, a sound aesthetic which reminds me a lot of aphex twin. again, i wouldn't have been there (they were up against Tiesto, and i love me a good trance session), but they totally rocked the house, and this is now one of my favorite bootlegs. :)

Deadmau5 - I first encountered Deadmau5 at Coachella two years ago, and I've seen him live since then; his set is usually entertaining electronic dance music. This was, too. Not as awesome as 2ManyDJs, but fun to listen to, and with enough peaks and valleys to hold my interest. (Sadly, the track order is wrong in the zip).

Echo & the Bunnymen - back when I was growing up, Echo & the Bunnymen were a band that all the hip indie kids listened to. At the time, I listened to soft rock, and so they weren't on my radar; and even after Concrete Blonde got me into alt-rock, I had no exposure to the band, and knew them only by the associational reputation of their fans. I would not have seen them if i'd been at the festival; they were up against La Roux, one of the best acts of modern times (and one of the few female rockers I like). So I was surprised: I really liked their set - the energy was high, the music was good, and the sense of humor was real. Fantastic act.

Faith No More - Best. Troll. Ever. They opened with a cover of Reunited. This is definitely not my cup of tea, but they put on a great show. I wish I'd been able to see them.

-------------------

I'm mostly free for the summer. I have a take home final in one class, and a shitload of stuff to do at work, but i'm not taking summer classes, and the work is manageable. My goals for the summer, if I can achieve them:

  • lose back the ten pounds i've gained in the last six months
  • finish my paper on the constitutionality of independent redistricting schemes
  • clean up something i wrote for law + lit two summers ago and submit it
  • write at least one story and submit for publication
  • spend lots of time with my husband
  • go see as much live music as i can.
it's nice to be contemplating: FOUR MONTHS without having to go to class. The longest I've gone since Sept of 2007 is three weeks; this is almost inconceivable. :)
< A Day in the Life -- How many teaspoons in an ocean? | the horror of it all >
Dispatches | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
"especially a gay man"? by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:27:02 PM EST
You somehow see a gay theme in a Devo song? Really?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

... by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:29:36 PM EST
surely you're aware of the close association between devo's style of music, 80s dance clubs, and gay men.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Uh, no. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:35:07 PM EST
s/Devo/FGTH or Erasure, then yeah.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
there is nothing more stereotypical by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:41:18 PM EST
About that BDSM stereotype . . .. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #7 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:58:38 PM EST
Is it really that popular in the gay community? It seems to me that the more extreme practices of any community receive disproportionate attention in the media, so I'd wager that it's not really that popular. Probably used more as a shock device against the prudes.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
non sequiter by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #8 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:59:24 PM EST
BDSM being popular and the song being popular are not actually related concepts.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
Only if whips are no longer part of the BDSM scene by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #10 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 04:05:50 PM EST
Even I can see the connotation in that.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
i think by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #15 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 10:34:20 PM EST
i think the remarkable success of 'sweet dreams' as a soft-rock standard strongly suggests that people aren't actually thinking about what the lyrics mean.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
that song's about heroin addiction. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #17 Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 02:16:17 AM EST
don't even try to deny it.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
and that undermines my point how? by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #19 Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 02:08:59 PM EST
heroin, bdsm, suicide, etc: people just hearing catchy shit on the radio really aren't listening that closely.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
My Sharona by houser2112 (2.00 / 0) #22 Tue Apr 27, 2010 at 12:21:14 PM EST
Statutory rape FTW!

[ Parent ]
YMCA? by lm (2.00 / 0) #13 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 06:37:54 PM EST
I think that is more stereotypical.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Hello, "Jocko Homo" by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #16 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 10:42:02 PM EST
Are we not men?


[ Parent ]
That's just a Latin song title. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #18 Sat Apr 24, 2010 at 02:20:02 AM EST
Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
The thing about law school by wiredog (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:53:15 PM EST
and other grad schools, is that (or so I hear) the grades don't matter that much. As long as you pass the course, and then pass the bar.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

less true in a mid-tier law school by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #6 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 03:57:18 PM EST
many jobs are only going to even be open to people who are in the top 10-20% of the class.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
[ Parent ]
What do you call the person who by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #9 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 04:02:43 PM EST
graduated last in medical school?

Doctor
Same for law school. The bottom half will find work if they pass the bar.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
eventually, yes. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #11 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 04:20:24 PM EST
but there's been a real shake up in law in the last couple of years and the market is terrible.

[i'm not worried; i can stay in software, and i'm in the top 10% of my class in any event. but many of my classmates are, and with good reason.]
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
well, except... by gzt (2.00 / 0) #12 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 05:23:06 PM EST
...you're supposed to get an A and can sometimes not get looked at too harshly for getting a B. but, really, it depends.

[ Parent ]
Depends on the grad school by lm (4.00 / 1) #14 Fri Apr 23, 2010 at 06:43:18 PM EST
The grad school I go to, a B is `average' and a C is `marginal.' Any grad student with 2 Cs can be asked to leave the program at the discretion of the dean.

Strictly speaking, it's a passing grade. But there is more to consider. Sure, 10, 15 years after graduation, transcripts may not matter, especially if there is a history of publication. But for a significant amount of time GPA is the only gauge of ability.

In some fields, it probably doesn't matter. Any graduate student in the field of Arabic studies is virtually guaranteed a job with the state department. But in other fields, things are pretty competitive and grades matter.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
as others have said by garlic (2.00 / 0) #21 Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:56:12 AM EST
this isn't quite right. Grades do matter in that they expect A's and B's from you, and may ask you to leave for more than a couple C's, and the most competitive jobs will care about your GPA.


[ Parent ]
don't worry too much about frequency of posts. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #20 Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 06:51:56 AM EST
we're not going anywhere. we'll be ready when you're ready or have time.


Dispatches | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback