Saturday, September 30, 2006

Human Riiiiiiights....

I spent from 9 to 6 today doing a training program for the Human Rights Advocates program here. It managed to be exhilarating, inspiring, overwhelming, exhausting, and confusing. The morning started off on a high note with Dunkin' Donuts and Ken Roth, the director of Human Rights Watch (!!!!). His speech was great, really inspiring and down-to-earth. He took a really pragmatic -- yet principled -- approach to advocacy for human rights issues, and talked to us about torture conventions. Very interesting. I just couldn't get over the fact that the program brought in Roth today and had Paul Hoffman (prominent human rights litigator) speak to us the night before. I guess I got a little human rights star-struck. Cool.

Anyway, as the day progressed and more and more ubercomplicated theories and ideas were thrown at us, I started to get more and more exhausted/disoriented. By the time I got to my second "interest group breakout session," my eyes were starting to close and I had pretty much given up on trying to understand how to bring a complaint before the Inter-American human rights commission, or whatever they were trying to teach us. I was sitting in the front row, struggling to understand how the Commission varies from the Court, and whether they both fall under the Convention, or if they are granted power from the Charter, and my eyes were fluttering open and shut. Oof.

Still, I think it is going to be a really good organization to get involved with, and I am super excited to get first-hand experience with human rights projects. Wheeeeee.

After the training, Elise and I were so tired -- bordering on burnt out -- that we went to Harvard Square for some sinus-clearing Thai food and then saw the Illusionist. Edward Norton always brightens my day, even if he is in period dress with big dark circles under his eyes. Hot. I don't even care.

After that, the closest I came to doing homework tonight was when I turned on Law and Order SVU for a few minutes -- that counts, right? Now I am sort of leaning towards going to bed so I can get up tomorrow and do all the homework that I did not do today. Yay learning.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Bob Loblaw Law Blog

So, I had this epiphany the other day that law school is like, hard. Gone are the days of watching "Parental Control" marathons on MTV, of eating long lunches with my friends, of going out drinking three nights in a row and waking up fully dressed on top of my covers. All of a sudden, my professors apparently decided to bust out the real workload, and I have been staying up past my bedtime every night struggling to read (and sort of understand) cases. This is a new experience for me, and it's short of a shock to the system.

I'm not complaining, though. Law school is fun, and I am really excited about all the opportunities I have here to get involved with things I really care about: the Human Rights Journal, maybe the advocacy program, a reading group, and a student-run corporation that does fun social stuff. The social aspect is key, duh.

The fun thing about law school is that it makes you rethink about everything from a legal point of view all of a sudden... and I'm not just talking about my newfound deeper appreciation for Law and Order SVU. For example, today Elise and I went to a coffee shop to study. I was reading in my Torts book about contributory negligence in car accidents, and I started thinking about the time that I was on a crowded city bus in Chile that ran over a dude's foot. Who was at fault there? The driver, for not taking due care in making sure that soccer-crazed Chileans were not hanging off the side of his bus? Or the kid who was in fact clinging to the side of the bus and fell under the wheels of the bus because of his own recklessness? Hmmmm....

ISN'T THE LAW FUN?!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Next!

Okay, as you guys all know, I am at law school and am nutso busy. But there is always time for reality tv, especially reality MTV, which is unfailingly vapid/wonderfully fascinating. And, since I have always found time in the past to update you all about the goings-on in My Super Sweet Sixteen and Tiara Girls, I think I can squeeze in a post right now to alert you all to another fantastic MTV creation, Next.

Premise: five girls sit in a van and each one of them goes on a "date" with some dude, who usually challenges them to do stupid things involving water or go-carts, and then summarily dismisses them based on their looks. But here's the great part: each girl gets a dollar for each minute she lasts before the guy "nexts" her. Make sense? No? Doesn't matter. The beauty of the show is not about the actual logistics, it's more about exchanges like the one I just witnessed on the show. It went something like this:

Guy: so what do you like to do for fun?
Girl: adventurous things.
Guy: like what?
Girl: Like.. hang out with friends.
Guy: that sounds adventurous.
Girl: Yeah.
Guy: You're cute
Girl: thanks, so are you. (*giggles*)
Guy: So who did you vote for in the last election?
Girl: I voted for Bush.
Guy (clearly enraged): BUSH SUCKS! Next!
Girl: BUSH ROCKS! (*runs off set*)

I love this show.

I also love that each contestant gets a little description with one or two interesting anecdotes about them. One girl, who described herself as "Lindsay Lohan's stand-in" had the following description: Nickname: Stinky. Fun Fact: Once threw up into a paper coffee cup in the back of a car.

Love it.

Okay. Maybe it's time for me to do, like, Criminal Law reading.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

M&Ms

I can't think of a better title for this post except "M&Ms." It might be because I just came from the Dean's Dinner, where they gave each guest a little pack of "crimson" Harvard M&Ms. I would almost gag if they weren't so delicious.

The Dean's dinner was actually really nice. The stated dress was business casual, which for Stephanie implies a bright green halter dress with a cardigan over it and fake pearls from H&M. I sweated through the entire dinner because my dress was teetering on the border of revealing/inappropriate and I didn't want to give my fellow law students a bad impression/wardrobe malfunction by taking off my cardigan.

Anyway, the Dean spoke, and our criminal law professor spoke, we ate sea bass and cheese cake, drank wine, and felt warm and fuzzy all around. I spoke to some people who I hadn't yet met in my section and left feeling pretty good about law school and life in general. Maybe that was the wine talking. Or maybe it was the M&Ms.

The whole weekend was good, actually. It involved a lot of bar-hopping, beer swilling, crazy dancing to Journey, wandering aimlessly around swanky areas of Boston, and coffee drinking. On Saturday, instead of studying -- which is actually what I should be doing now -- some girl friends and I went to Boston to "shop," and ended up spending from 2 pm to 9 pm breezing in and out of the stores around Newbury St., none of us actually buying anything.

The best thing that happened was when we decided to go to dinner at a very nice looking Italian restaurant and Elise saw a mouse skittering across the floor. The waiters tried to pretend like nothing was wrong, but COME on. We ended up leaving, and the manager apologized for the rodent problem, but at least we got free diet cokes and a bread basket out of it.

Okay, I really should be finishing my reading since it is 11 pm and I have 8:50 am class tomorrow. Oof.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Aren't you the Dixie Chicks?

I guess my summer of riding public transportation in San Francisco has made me WAY harder to faze on the metro than the average bear. Last night two of my new girl friends and I were coming back from a bar in the Back Bay of Boston on the T (the metro) at around 11:30. This old, bum-like dude who was simultaneously drinking vodka out of a paper bag, dragging a crutch and playing the harmonica came and parked himself across from us on the train. He busted out the harmonica and started yelling stuff out to us in between puffs on the harmonica/drinks from his bag, including, "Hey, aren't you gals the Dixie Chicks," and "Anyone want a drink?" It was your typical, happy drunk bum stuff.

See, if I had to develop a 1- 10 ranking system for creepy people on public transportation, it would look something like this: 1 would be the smelly guy talking to himself quietly, 5 would be the angry, all-black-wearing dude with long hair fingering something (a hunting knife, perhaps?) in his pocket, 10 would be the dude on the N-Judah a couple months ago who jumped off and repeatedly shoved a windshield wiper up his nose. Using this system, I would rank the guy on the T last night maybe a 1.5: creepier than the ladies with a bags full o' fish that I frequently sat next to on the bus this summer but less creepy than the old men who used to clip their nails on the 71. So, anyway, I was not fazed at all and kept on talking to my friends, ignoring the bum's invitations to come sit by him, sing him a country song, etc.

As soon as we got off the T at our stop (and the drunk bum got up, too), I realized that my friends were totally freaked out.

"Oh my God," one of them said, "we need to run out of here so he doesn't follow us!"

I looked at her, confused. "He's drunk and he has a crutch," I said. "I don't think we need to run."

Nonetheless, my friends were super creeped out; neither of them has spent much time on public transport, and I found myself in the opposite of my usual role in any group, which is the cautious, Mom-type figure. But I guess when it comes to the crazy, drug-addled members of society, I have learned to judge when it's necessary to be concerned and when something is just irritating. These are valuable life skills for a girl on her own. And I owe it all to shadies on the 71.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Law Skool, part 2

If I had to break my time at HLS down into percentages, it would look something like this:

Drinking: 83%
Reading cases: 5%
Talking about how I should be reading cases: 5%
Buying candles: 2%
Watching Reno 911: 4%
Eating pizza: 1%

Please note that drinking has dominated most of my time here. Last night I went out to dinner with some of my new girl friends, then we went for a drink at a bar in Cambridge, then we ended up at the Law School drinking society, which was like a sweaty frat party in the basement of this semi-nasty house. I didn't actually drink that much but it amazed me that I was out till 2:00 am on a Sunday, especially considering that I had gone out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, AND that I'm at law school.

It's not all fun and games, though. Tomorrow is my first class, Criminal Law, at 8:50 AM, followed directly by Torts. Until a few days ago, I didn't even know what a tort was, although it sounded vaguely British, and now I am going to a whole class devoted to them. Learning is fun.

Right now I am sitting on my silky bed watching Project Runway (the one where Keith gets busted for using pattern books, oooh), debating whether or not to try to do any more reading for tonight. My main goal is to get some sleep tonight so I can be bright and chipper for my class tomorrow morning. Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Law Skool, part 1

I got to Harvard on Tuesday night, and let me tell you, it has been an overwhelming whirlwind of activity since I got here. It's like your first week of college when you are thrown into one social situation after another and you have to try to meet as many people as you can, be on your best behavior, dazzle them with your wit and charm, all while trying to figure out who's cool, who's not, who's genuine, who's not, who's going to be your friend, your study partner, your ally, and so on. It is exhausting on so many levels.

It's also exciting, of course, but the most exciting part of the whole experience up to this point has actually been the promise of the academics, rather than the social life. Don't get me wrong, socializing has been surprisingly fun -- and I'll get to that in a sec -- but what really thrill me are the classes themselves, and we haven't even really started yet. I feel lucky to be here and to have access to such outstanding law professors and resources, and I'm also excited to start because I think my brain is sort of suited to this type of thinking, and it feels good to finally be able to use the ol' brain again. It has sort of been rotting in my head for the last year or so.

Anyway, aside from the scheduled orientation activities and meetings with my section -- the class of 500 is broken down into 7 academic sections -- I have squeezed in drinking and schmoozing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights. Thursday was a party at the Hong Kong, a slightly shady Chinese restaurant/bar/creepy lounge in Cambridge. The highlight of that night was probably speaking Portuguese with the Brazilian bartender when I was waiting for my Amstel Light to appear. Friday night was a total blast. I got together with some of the girls I have made friends with to drink wine out of plastic cups in their dorm -- TOTAL freshman year flashbacks -- and then we took a cab into Boston to go to Gypsy Bar, this bar/lounge place that played great music. Despite the fact that drinks were crazily expensive, we all drank (more than) enough and danced our butts off.

Here is the best part, though. I have met really great girls here, who are like, NORMAL and fun and smart. I guess all of us sort of approached Harvard Law with a healthy dose of skepticism/terror about the social prospects here -- I mean, we've all seen Legally Blonde -- so it's a really pleasant surprise to meet some good females right off the bat. Today we got some lunch at the old ABP and coffee at Peets, then went to Staples, where I bought essentials, like multicolored, glittery pens and two different types of Post-It flags. I had to hold myself back from buying "fun" paperclips and squishy gel things to put on your pencils so that they're easier to grip. The only reason I held it together and put down the squishy things was because I am still trying to make a good impression on people.

I could go on and on about everything that has happened since I got here -- the people I've met, my impressions of Harvard and Cambridge, the constant temptation that I've been fighting to compare everything here (unfavorably, mostly) to Stanford, the cases I've read, etc., etc., etc., but I don't think I have the energy to be concise and interesting, so I am gonna cut it off now. Stay tuned.