Thursday, June 29, 2006


On a hot, humid, nasty day like today, a girl's gotta get out of her apartment.

My electric bill for this month is probably going to rival Namibia's GDP and I've spent untold sums on takeout, the actual air conditioner itself, clothing, and so on. Not to mention, although I love my cats dearly, they do tend to crawl all over me as I try to study, which is of course adorable and life-affirming and all that, but also really distracting. Let's face it, I am distracted enough anyway. So I decamped for the wild blue yonder today, and by wild blue yonder I mean my local, neighborhood Starbucks.

This Starbucks has a wonderful basement. It has no windows and no wireless Internet; electric outlets and table lamps are generously distributed; and my cell phone gets no reception. It is like a beautiful, climate-controlled isolation chamber down there and I have used it to study for finals for a couple years now. The only problem with it is that it is so quiet that if someone so much as taps her nails on the table, it is extremely annoying and distracting. They need a good white noise machine or something. But it's still better than my apartment, so off I went.

At a certain time in the afternoon, the neighborhood day camps let out and the neighborhood moms who don't work go to get their little prodigies. They also like to swing said prodigies by my beautiful Starbucks. Usually the basement is kid-free, since it is totally boring down there. I practically want to tear my hair out down there unless I'm really into my studies, I can only imagine being six and not studying for the bar. I'd hate it down there. But today, as I was busy minding my own business and trying to understand property, no fewer than six dirty, sweaty, grubby, LOUD little darlings ran down to my precious basement and began chasing one another in a manner that might have been cute under other, non-bar circumstances.

Another girl who was down there studying remarked out loud, "Don't these kids have parents?"

About five minutes later, two Brooklyn Moms came downstairs with their lattes. They were charmingly dissheveled with expensive dye jobs and expensive glasses. I hoped they might be into discipline and would rein their kids in, seeing as how quite a few people were studying and enjoying what had been the silence of the basement, but no. Apparently they came from the whole-language, spare the rod and spoil the child school of parenting. Or maybe they were just idiots.

"Boy, it sure is quiet down here!" commented one of the Brooklyn Moms.

"Yeah, it's just like a library!" laughed the other, settling into the plush chair to enjoy her latte as her obnoxious children ran around screaming, "TAG! I GOT YOU! YOU'RE IT, YOU'RE IT, YOU'RE IT!"

WWRPD - What would the reasonable and prudent person do under these particular circumstances? Grin and bear it, I guess. What did I do? I gritted my teeth and tried to settle in and wait it out. I thought they wouldn't last longer than a few minutes.

I was wrong.

The children ran around unencumbered by discipline or a "Shhh, Madison, people are trying to study down here," or a "Keep it down, Drexler, and don't disturb the nice people," or a "Kyron, let's practice using our indoor voice!" Nope! Moms chatted and laughed about their charmed lives while their rotten offspring enjoyed MY BASEMENT.

I glared. I gave these two women the stinkeye from hell. I figured at least one of them was probably a lawyer for Legal Aid or the ACLU or something before she was artificially inseminated and might understand my need for quiet better if she saw the books clearly marked BARBRI on the table. Nope!

After three or four children had taken their turn as "it," I took my turn and packed my stuff up as loudly and angrily as I possibly could. Oh, I slammed those books, shut the computer with a bang, zipped up my bag angrily, and huffed and puffed and glared my way out of there. And not one of those bitches even noticed.

Yeah, I know it's not a library, but last time I checked, it wasn't a playground either.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Caution: bar studying may be hazardous to your health

For the past few days, my left foot has really, really hurt. I was totally confused by this, because even though I am a total klutz, I could not remember banging it, twisting it, or otherwise causing injury to myself. I figured I'd best let it go and concentrate on studying, so I didn't go to the doctor or do anything about it. Last night, I took a (painful) walk to the bank to deposit a check, where a perfect stranger asked me, "Miss, are you okay? You're limping!"

Yeah, thanks, buddy.

So today I finally gave in and called the doctor. I described my symptoms (swollen, painful, no apparent bruising, sore to the touch, very difficult to walk on) to my doctor, who of course wanted to know how I did this to myself. I had to tell her that I had absolutely no idea. She prescribed either a heating pad or warm soaks and Motrin, and said I should keep it elevated. "You are so weird," she commented. "You always call me with the most bizarre injuries.* How do you keep doing this stuff to yourself?"

This afternoon, I was busy condensing my evidence outline when my right foot began to really hurt. What the hell is wrong with me, I asked myself. What have I done now???

And then, EUREKA! I figured it out.

See, I do this thing when I study. I sit with one foot dangling and one foot underneath me. I've always sat this way while at my desk. It's always been very comfortable. I don't even do it consciously - it just happens this way. But now that I have been sitting at my desk more than I ever have in my life, and I am not kidding, I have hurt first one foot and then the other.

So now I am tied to my apartment as it is too painful for me to walk anywhere on my bruised and aching feet. And I have an ice pack on the right foot, and a heating pad on the left.

Seriously, people, you cannot make this shit up.

*She may also be referring to the time I called her from Rome, asking if one could get rabies from a horse bite (sustained outside the Coliseum). Don't ask.

Hearsay exceptions

Fanny Friend drops by Sally Student's house to visit for a mid-bar review pep talk. She finds Sally lying barely conscious on the floor. In her cold hand, Sally is clutching a contracts outline. Her two cats are standing over her mewing plaintively and pawing her motionless body. Fanny exclaims, "Sally, are you okay? What has happened to you?" Sally moans, "I'm not going to make it . . . I can't continue like this . . . I am going to die unadmitted to the New York Bar . . . I blame my father for talking me into law school." Immediately thereafter, Sally lapses into a deep coma and dies two days later.

Is Sally's comment admissible in a suit for wrongful death against her father in New York?

A. No, because Sally probably took too much Tylenol PM by accident the night before in a misguided attempt to sleep, and when she said that, she was just being dramatic.
B. No, because even though it is criminally negligent to talk a normal person into suffering though law school and the bar, this is not a criminal prosecution.
C. Yes, because it is a dying declaration.
D. Yes, becease going law school and taking the bar really was a stupid idea and her father should have known that, having failed the bar twice himself.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Pity, party of one

Many things about studying for the bar suck. The material is boring. The hours are brutal. The sleeplessness, as noted, is a problem. The constant sense of panic is tough to take. The takeout is expensive.

But I must say, the worst part is definitely the loneliness.

Panic in the streets of Brooklyn

Last night I realized that I am really, really nervous about the bar exam. I manifest my nervousness in a number of unconventional ways, and absolutely none of them are productive. Rather than do the normal thing and up my studying, cut the procrastination, and maybe take a yoga class, I am instead lying awake all night, falling asleep during class, and spending long, beautiful hours researching things I've never before cared about on the Internet. To wit: a transcript of Anderson Cooper's Angelina Jolie interview last night. I don't care about Angelina Jolie. Maybe the only thing I care less about than her stupid illegitimate family is the plight of African orphans with flies on their faces (sorry, orphans; sorry, Sally Struthers). But I am too nervous about the bar . . . to study for the bar.


Although yesterday I did make myself feel better by calling BarBri to complain about Erica Fine, that dumb idiot who "taught" wills and Adrienne Davis, who hemmed and hawed her way through a disorganized trusts outline, as previously bitched about. The hapless phone attendant who took down my complaints had obviously heard from several other stressed-out, borderline psychotic students that day, and breathed deeply through my rant. She summed up, "So basically you feel ripped off."

I thought about it and replied, "Well, yes, honestly, I do. I mean, that's not why I'm calling, I just serously think you should consider, well, I mean, I know it's not your decision, but your bosses should consider never letting either of these two people lecture important, or even not important, subjects again. And yes, I do feel ripped off."

"Mmm-hmm. Well, BarBri values your comments and we hope that you will put them in writing on the course evaluation form. We do take those very seriously. We regret any inconvenience we may have caused you."

"Yeah. Sure thing."

"And by the way," she whispered, "a lot of people have already called to complain about them."

Oh, now I feel better. Thanks. That's great, but they're not going to re-teach me trusts, now are they? ARE THEY?

Well, I guess it's time to hit up some celeb gossip sites.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Wills, trusts, and extortion

Here's the thing. Of course I had to take BarBri. I had no other choice. Pieper isn't really a viable alternative, as far as I'm concerned, and BarBri sure beats doing nothing at all.

In most cases.

The lady they threw up on that podium for NY Wills was appallingly bad. I mean, I could have taught it better, since I've taken Trusts & Estates and did okay in it (against all expectations, I ended up getting pretty good grades this semester, minus one gaffe that tied first year torts for worst grade ever). I would be willing to bet that the lady they had teach it never took T&E, and possibly never even read over the outline before getting up there to teach it to the thousands of eager, sponge-brained young folks trying desperately to pass the NY Bar. Which tests Wills. Very, very heavily. I fail to see how having some office employee read the outline to us for two days is "teaching"; we could all have done that ourselves. I didn't appreciate her obnoxious attempts to bond with us through unfunny jokes, nor did I enjoy her horse-laugh as she, alone, laughed at them.

But even more so, the lady who taught Trusts to us today sucked. I mean she su-uuuu---uuuucked. At least the Wills chick read us the outline and let us fill in the blanks, like 4th graders doing Mad Libs. This bitch didn't even read half the shit in the outline, instead telling us, "You can read over this at home, it's straight memorization." Oh, really? Then what am I paying YOU for?

Not everybody has a fancy law firm to foot the bill for a bar prep class. Some of us have to pay for this out of our own pockets!* And to insult us by telling us how heavily tested this stuff is, then putting an idiot up there to parrot it (or not) verbatim from the outline, is really a fucking insult.

*Or out of our mothers' pockets, in the interest of full and fair disclosure.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Things I'd rather do than study for the bar

(In no particular order):

1. Cook. Since beginning to study, I have made multifaceted, complex gourmet dinners, including stuffed cabbage, baked chicken with honey/soy/mustard glaze, a lemon meringue pie (from scratch, of course), tomato/avocado salad, several varieties of smoothie, and more. Cooking is just so much more satisfying than bar studying. After two hours of hard work, you actually have something to show for your efforts besides a pounding headache and the desire to throw your computer across the room.

2. Paying bills. Gotta make sure my credit doesn't go to hell while I'm studying!

3. Rearranging furniture. Sometimes, you just have to shake it up a little! Fresh start and all that. Helps me focus.

4. Calling my mother. It just brings her so much joy when I call "just to say hi," who am I to rob a sweet lady of that kind of happiness?

5. FRIENDSTER. Enough said. Update your damn profiles, people, so I have something to look at.

6. Jogging. All that eating (see #1) is making me fat, better keep the pounds off by a nice jog now that it's warm and not raining outside!

7. Trips to the new Red Hook Fairway. It really is paradise on earth! Such good prices and selection.

8. Meditation. Sometimes it helps clear the mind just to sit and stare at the space above my computer. And think really hard about nothing.

9. Brush my cats. The weather is heating up and it sure does make them feel more comfortable if I can get some of that winter fur off them!

10. Current events.

But I have actually been making some progress, despite being set back by my inability to concentrate, graduation, and a Jewish holiday. I don't love studying (obviously), but I must say that I think BarBri is really quite good. It really is uncanny how a subject that took 3 hours a week for an entire semester can be reduced down into 3 hours total. Now, if only I could commit some of it to memory.
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